Winter is only a month away, and if you haven’t already done so, now’s the time to get your hardscaping features ready for the cold season. Here’s what you need to do to ensure your deck, patio, pond, or outdoor kitchen are safely tucked away and remain undamaged.
If you’re able to, move your grilling equipment or other appliances indoors. If this is not possible due to the appliance’s size and weight – or if it’s built into the hardscaping – make sure it’s covered with a weather-proof cover or case to keep it protected. There is a caveat: electric appliances should not be covered because this could cause moisture to collect and damage the device. And speaking of electric appliances, make sure to disconnect the lines for the season. If you have a wet bar, sink, or anything else with plumbing, be sure to turn off the water line and drain it to prevent burst pipes during a freeze. Sinks should be covered along with grills to prevent debris from collecting in them. Lastly, be sure to clean everything, so it’s ready to go when spring arrives!
The best way to extend the life of your outdoor furniture is by reducing the moisture it’s exposed to. Either cover everything with a water-proof tarp or cover or, if possible, move it to the garage or shed. Remove any pillows or cushions and, depending on the instructions, either wash them or have them professionally dry-cleaned and store them indoors. This will prevent mold or mildew build-up and have them fresh and ready to go when spring comes again.
And while we’re here, if you can remove any fabric awnings from your gazebo, rocker or take your umbrella inside, it’s always a good idea. Outdoor textiles are already exposed to the sun’s bleaching effects, and the cold, dry winter can cause the fabric to become brittle and split. Mitigate this damage by taking everything inside.
Usually, this covers decks and railings, but it could also include gazebos and other hardscaping features. Like your appliances, wooden surfaces should be cleaned to prevent microbes like mold and mildew from accumulating on the surface. During the cleaning process, be sure to check the efficacy of the sealant. Use your garden hose or power washer to spray down the deck and see if water is absorbed or if it beads up. If the water doesn’t seem to be repelling off the surface, you should re-seal it to keep moisture out during winter. After your deck has been thoroughly cleaned, you should assess for any damaged areas and have them fixed. Otherwise, water from snow and ice can seep into cracks and worsen the damage when it refreezes and expands.
While these materials are more resilient to damage and weathering than wood, they can still chip, crack, and split. Like with wooden surfaces, you should clean your stone or concrete surfaces – usually with a power washer – and look for any cracks while you do so. Fill any damaged areas in before they get worse. Also, if you find the hardscaping surface has dipped or lowered, have it professionally leveled. This will prevent tripping hazards as well as future problems where water can puddle and turn to ice. Before it snows heavily, decide which type of de-icing product you’ll use. There are several options, including some that are more pet-friendly and others that are gentler on concrete. If you’re not sure which type is the best for you, ask your landscape service technician! Finally, if you have any easily moveable hardscaping features – like birdbaths and statues – try to store them in the basement, garage, or shed, so they’re out of the elements. If that’s not possible, try wrapping them in a plastic tarp to keep moisture away.
Be sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions for specific things involved with the care of your water feature. Fish and certain plants should be removed, or they will be killed during freezing temperatures. Like everything else, give the pond or water feature a thorough cleaning. If possible, drain the water completely and shut off any motors or water lines. You should also take the pump inside to protect it from the cold.
If you’ve always wanted to add a hardscaping feature to your yard, there’s never been a better time. The experts at Images Landscaping & Construction have 30 years of expertise to bring to the table and give you the yard of your dreams. From decks to gazebos to firepits, our hardscaping service will help you make the most of your outdoor space. Let us put our knowledge to work for you! Give us a call at (248) 866-5442 or leave us a message online.
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