The signs of fall are all around: Golden-hued leaves, crisp temperatures and shorter days. As you prepare for the months ahead- storing summer clothes, checking heating systems and making sure your home is well insulated- don't forget the landscaping around your home.

If you've been mowing all spring and summer. it's not time to quit just yet. Continue until the grass stops growing. (The weather in your area will determine when this happens) And speaking of mowing don't forget to take care of your trusty lawnmower. Drain it in late fall, because gas left in the machine wall winter will get gummy and may make startup difficult when spring rolls around.

As the temperatures drop, so will leaves from the trees around your home. It's important to rake lawns regularly so the grass can "breath" How long can you wait before breaking out the rake?

Most gardening experts say you shouldn't' go longer than three or four days. However, if the layer of leaves is particularly think or has Been weighed down by rain, the sooner you rake, the better.

If your area gets snow and ice, you'll want to protect deciduous flowering shrubs under a lean to or similar structure. Begin by building a wire cage that is secured into the ground with poles. Attach chicken wire or heavy gage wire to the poles and then fasten burlap to the sides of the structure to protect the shrubs from damaging wind.

Last but not least, remember your garden hose. Drain it before storing it for the winter and then turn off you outside water supply to prevent pipes from freezing or bursting.