Although the hot sunny days of summer are over and the leaves have started to change color, you can still enjoy your backyard during the fall months. Here’s a checklist to prepare your yard for autumn.

Mow the lawn. You may think that once summer ends, you won’t need to mow the lawn again until the spring. But, many grasses still grow through the fall months and will continue to do so until the ground freezes. Mow the lawn every 10 to 14 days.

Fertilize the grass. You most likely fertilized your grass throughout the spring and summer. Fertilizing it before winter will provide it with much-needed potassium—making it more likely to survive the harsh winter weather.

Clean leaves and fallen brush. Now is the time to rake or blow your leaves and clear any brush or branches that have fallen into the yard. Doing so will keep the grass from becoming smothered.

Build a compost pile. Take those leaves and build up your compost pile so it is ready to go next spring. The cleared brush can also be used. Add some composted manure and it will break down over winter.

Prune your perennials. Fall is an ideal time to prune and cut back your perennials. They have completed their growth cycle and will now store energy that will sustain them during autumn and winter.

Safely store furniture. Unless your deck and patio furniture are weather resistant and strong enough to withstand harsh wintry weather, you should put it away. Wipe it down first with soapy water, rinse it off, and dry it. Make sure cushions, pillows, and other accessories are stowed in a place that mice and other critters cannot access and ruin your items.

Put pool equipment away. It is also important to store all pool toys and equipment during the fall and winter months. Wash pool floats and toys with soapy water as well, then rinse, and dry. Then, remove the ladders, fittings, and skimmer baskets and store them in a safe place. Place all plugs in the skimmer basket so you can easily find them come spring. Drain all the water from the equipment so it doesn’t crack or freeze.

Cover your pool. Make sure to winterize your pool properly, and protect your pool with a LOOP-LOC safety pool cover! These safety pool covers meet and exceed ASTM guidelines for safety covers, which state that in the event of an emergency they will easily support the weight of a child or adult, although it not recommended that anyone walk on the cover. Safety pool covers also ensure that dirt and other debris do not get into the pool, and they also preserve the pool liner.

After following this checklist, grab a cozy blanket and a hot beverage and admire your handiwork. Breathe in the crisp fall air and relax! It will be swimming pool season again before you know it.