The arrival of cold winter weather can bring all sorts of issues for your yard and our sewer system. Fallen leaves can clog gutters and storm drains then freeze in place, causing flooding when it rains or snows. Water expands when it freezes, which can crack and damage garden hoses or rain barrels that haven’t been emptied.
Prepare your yard and home before winter:
- Drain, remove, and store garden hoses. Close the inside valves that control the water supply to the outside hose spigot, then open the outside spigot to allow any remaining water to drain.
- Clean out roof gutters. Remove leaves and other debris so that the gutters can drain properly when ice and snow melts.
- Rake up leaves. Fallen leaves can smother your lawn or wash away into storm drains. Compost leaves at home, or bring them to a Pittsburgh yard waste drop-off center: pittsburghpa.gov/dpw/leaf-waste
- If you have a rain garden, add a layer of mulch and rake any leaves. This will help the garden manage stormwater during winter and ready it for spring. Avoid cutting back plant growth, since it can provide food and cover for winter birds.
- If you have a rain barrel, drain and store it. Clear the barrel filter of debris. If storing outside, cover with a tarp and leave the barrel spigot open so it can drain any water that may enter. If you have a downspout diverter, switch it to bypass the barrel so that water drains through the downspout.