Fall may be when kids head back to school, but it’s a busy season for adults planning to sell their homes in the springtime. Many hopeful sellers focus on indoor projects – and ignore what prospective buyers will see curbside when they pull up – their yards!

Fall is the best time to lay the groundwork for a great springtime yard that will lure in buyers. Attractive landscaping can add as much as 17% to the sale price of a home. Here are five tips from the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute’s Kris Kiser to help homeowners:

  • Nurture healthy turf. Fall is the time to aerate the soil by punching holes in it so oxygen, water and nutrients can reach hungry grass roots. You can rent an aerator, purchase one to use, or hire a landscape contractor to do this for you. Continue mowing your lawn as needed throughout the fall.
  • Trim it short. For the last two cuttings of the year, lower your mower blade to its lowest setting so your grass gets a tighter cut. This will enable more sun to reach the crown of the grass – and you’ll see fewer brown leaves in your lawn. Just be careful to leave one-third of the grass blade in place.
  • Rake or collect the leaves. It may be tempting to wait until all the leaves fall off the trees before clearing them up, but don’t delay. Leaves on the ground block the grass from sunlight (suffocating your grass) and can breed fungus. Get them up and remove them. Compost the leaves, dispose of them, or mulch them.
  • Load up on nutrients. Practice “grasscycling” by using a mulching mower to shred and return cut grass back to the lawn. You can also finely mulch your leaves and distribute them on your lawn. Shredded leaves can help control weeds and load your lawn with nutrients for a long winter.
  • Fix the bald spots. Fall is the time to repair those yucky bald spots in your lawn. Get a lawn repair mixture at your area garden shop and follow the directions.