Nature Canada

Fall Guidelines for Living by the Water

If you have waterfront property, prepare for the changing seasons with helpful maintenance tips from this seasonal guide.

The information originally appeared in On the Living Edge: Your Handbook for Waterfront Living by Sarah Kipp and Clive Calloway as part of the Living by Water project.

Here are several tips, just in time for Fall:

Plan for Runoff

    • Check your runoff control systems in anticipation of spring runoff. Check how drainage systems are working by walking your property during a rainstorm.


  • Install any needed runoff control devices.



  • Clear drainage ditches, swales and culvert ends of sediment, rocks and other debris that could block the flow of water.



  • Clear eavestroughs and downspouts of debris.



  • Clean out silt deposits along driveway runoff logs.



  • Check that any water surge deflectors are in place.



  • Weigh the pros and cons of wintering your dock on shore. Talk to neighbours to learn about winter conditions. Beaching your dock can help prolong its life and protect it from being buffeted by winter storms or squeezed by ice. However, the process of dragging it ashore may create wear and tear each time you move it, and damage your shoreline.

Plan for Snow Removal

    • Designate areas for piling snow that will minimize interference with spring runoff, to avoid any possible flooding problems in the spring.


  • Stake and mark any trees, shrubs, large rocks, runoff logs or other objects that could be damaged by snow removal equipment, or could damage your plough or snowblower.



  • If heavy snow build-up on roofs or overhangs is a concern, investigate ways to reinforce the roof, or make arrangements to have the snow removed during the winter.



    • Avoid negative encounters with wildlife by keeping them out of your home.


  • Block all means of entry for insects, rodents and bats via foundations, porches and steps; through doors and windows; holes in roofs or eaves; cracks in floors, ceilings or walls; and through access points for wires and pipes.



  • Discourage contact; trim tree limbs that touch the roof or walls of your home. Store firewood away from main buildings or in a special shelter. Use yellow light bulbs in all outside light fixtures – insects will be less attracted to your house at night.



  • Keep food away. Use animal-proof garbage cans, keep pet food inside, and keep barbecue equipment clean and in a secure area. Do not put meat, bones, dairy products, fats or cooked grains in your compost.


Fall Leaves

  • Compost leaves or use a mulching mower. Don’t dump over banks or bluff edges into ravines or the water.


    • Make sure that water pipes, pumps and outside faucets are either well insulated or drained so they can withstand the cold temperatures of your area.


  • Protect unheated crawl spaces. If necessary, insulate footings.


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Canada’s wilderness is the world’s envy. It’s our duty to keep our true north strong and green.