Tips for Winterizing Your Patio and Outdoor Space
The onset of winter is often punctuated by damage brought about by the colder weather. This can be as severe as broken patio equipment or the invasion of mildew into cushions and upholstery. Ensuring that your outdoor space is prepared for winter’s various breakages, however, will prevent the need for post-winter repairs and allow you to enjoy a perfectly preserved patio in spring. Use the following preparation pointers to simplify your fall maintenance checklist and enjoy a worry-free winter.
Ensure that your patio is built from durable materials
Perhaps one of the biggest and most expensive repairs faced by homeowners post-winter is the destruction of paving and building materials ill-equipped to handle the frosty temperatures. Porous materials and those not tough enough to handle the rigors of the freeze/thaw cycle include poured concrete slabs, low grade natural stone and asphalt. To ensure your patio remains in top condition come spring-time invest in Unilock’s high quality natural stone and concrete products. Concrete pavers from Unilock are a perfect match for even the harshest winters. If your patio includes jointing, ensure that this too is of a trusted quality and is suited to the extremes of temperature typical of your region.
Clean and store outdoor furniture
Patio furniture should be covered or stored indoors for the duration of winter to avoid upholstery being destroyed and rust creeping into wrought iron structures. It is wise to ensure that the furniture has been cleaned first. It is particularly crucial to wash cushions, throws and chair covers as they can be a breeding ground for mildew. They should be dried thoroughly before being stored to prevent the development of musty odors. Furniture can also be stored outdoors if covered by a waterproof sheet that has been tied down.
Check out this related read for 10 cozy outdoor fireplace designs perfect for the frosty winter months!
Store garden accessories
There are various accessories within your garden that need to be protected from below-freezing temperatures. Hammocks, for example, should be washed and stored indoors. Use gentle detergents on their material as products like bleach can weaken the fibers and create a safety hazard. Umbrellas should also be wiped down with soapy water and stored. Ensure that all fabric is completely dry before being put away to prevent mildew forming during winter. Pot plants can either be brought inside or discarded into a compost heap, starting anew in the spring. All empty pots should be turned upside down to avoid the accumulation of stagnant water within them. Should your garden pond be home to fish, you will need to ensure that there is a hole in the ice through which toxic gases can escape the water all winter long. The pump within your pond should also be switched off and any pipes above the water should be disconnected and stored.
Protect your grill
Keeping your outdoor kitchen appliances safe is a high priority for the avid BBQ chef. Here’s how to protect your most trusted piece of equipment – the grill. Burn off most of the greasy residue on your grill by firing it up and allowing it to heat for several minutes. After this, any remaining particles can be cleared off using a wire brush or aluminium foil. Grease trays should be washed and the exterior of the grill can be wiped down using warm, soapy water. The grill can then be covered and left outside or brought indoors. If you decide to store your grill indoors for the winter, ensure that you disconnect the propane tank and leave it – covered – outside, as these tanks should never be kept indoors.
Prepare your lawn and yard
Fall is the most important time of year to put into action your winter preparation plan. Weeding and pruning, as well as the planting of certain new additions to your landscape should be done before the year’s first frost, this will determine the resilience of your softscape and how it will look when spring returns. Perennial weeds will compete fiercely for the scarce nutrients available to your garden during winter and should therefore be removed. Fall is also an ideal time to plant grass seeds as it corresponds with the plant’s natural growth cycle. Have your plant beds covered in mulch or burlap to insulate tender bulbs from the cold.