Every year it seems like summer flies by, and swimming pool season must come to an end. Even though you may not be poolside until next year, there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy your backyard once the pool cover is on. Here are some ways to keep your backyard looking great when the weather cools off.

First things first, don’t ignore the pool—it is still the focal point of the backyard! Choose a LOOP-LOC mesh pool cover in blue, green, gray, tan, or black; or a solid pool cover in tan, blue, green, or gray. Any of these colors will provide a gorgeous backdrop to the red, orange, and yellow autumn leaves as they fall from the trees.

Once those leaves start to fall, it’s time to break out the rake. Regularly raking will keep the grass from suffocating and breeding fungus. If you wait until all of the leaves fall, you will be dealing with a wet, sticky mess. Or, you can use a lawnmower with a vacuum system or collection bag. Either way, remove the leaves to preserve the state of your lawn.

Speaking of the lawn, continue to mow it as needed, even though summer is over. Drop your mower’s blades to the lowest setting for the last two mowing sessions of the season. Doing so will allow more sunlight to reach the grass’s crown. Pull all weeds—applying an herbicide so they won’t pop up next spring. It is also a great time to fertilize the lawn because the grass leaves will grow more slowly while the roots and plant stem that lies just beneath the surface of the soil will grow more quickly. Fertilizing in the fall provides the grass with nutrients that last through the cooler months, and will ensure a beneficial start to spring. If you have any bald spots in the lawn, fill them in with a lawn repair mixture that contains organic mulch, grass seed, and quick-starter lawn fertilizer.

Now that your lawn looks immaculate, why not plant some fall shrubs and trees around the pool and surrounding area to really make the yard stand out! Mums are a fall favorite and come in so many incredible colors such as red, orange, purple, while, yellow, and pink. The balloon flower starts off as a bubble, then pop open when they are ready to bloom. The backyard will be awash in shades of pale pink, lavender-blue, and white—and their blooms will appear slowly. The blue mist shrub is a popular fall shrub that also blossoms slowly before opening into gorgeous blue flower clusters. Even when this shrub isn’t in bloom, it has a beautiful gray-green color for the remaining seasons.

Put on a sweater, sip a hot beverage, and keep the patio furniture out to take in the glory of autumn. Add a fire pit to the backyard for another festive fall touch to keep the chill at bay and extend the outdoor season just a little while longer!