J&S Landscaping wants to help you prepare your outdoor living space for winter. But we don’t just want to help you with the prep-work, we want to help you enjoy it too. So this month, we’re going to discuss tips to help you make sure your outdoor living area is protected during the worst of our winter weather. Next month, we’ll talk about how to turn your outdoor living area into a winter wonderland.
So read on and don’t forget to return next month for more tips!
Michigan winters are not for the faint of heart or unprotected outdoor living spaces. You’ve invested money and time in your beautiful yard, and we know you want to enjoy it for many years to come. But you also want the freedom to use it—and there’s no reason why not. Let’s take a look at a list of things you should do to prepare your outdoor living space for winter.
Prepare Your Kitchen, Fire Pit, and Outdoor Fireplace
One of the most important chores you should add to your list of the things you do to prepare your outdoor living space for winter is make sure you’ve secured your kitchen, fire pit, and/or outdoor fire pit. If you have outdoor kitchen appliances, shut off the water and drain all lines to the outdoor refrigerator, sink, and ice maker. This will ensure that your pipes won’t freeze or burst—which is not only messy, but expensive.
You should do the same for your fire pit—even if you plan to use it during cold weather. Protect it with a heavy-duty tarp or specially made cover. Excess standing moisture will rust your burner. And if you rely on propane or natural gas, freezing and refreezing moisture can stress welds and damage fittings. Store any wood you have left in a clean dry place, especially if you intend to use the fire pit during the winter (more on that next month). If you use propane, here are some important tips for storing propane bottles.
You’ll also want to cover the outdoor stove, BBQ grill, and sink with a similarly heavy vinyl cover. Do not place a cover on the outdoor refrigerator. This can cause more trouble than leaving it uncovered will.
As the winter progresses, keep an eye on stonework, like outdoor fireplaces and brick ovens. We design them to stand up to the heat produced by a fire. But fluctuations in outdoor temperatures can damage them, especially if they are not protected by an overhang of some sort. If you use your fire place or fire pit during cold weather, remove any accumulating ice or snow before lighting them up.
Keep all doors to brick ovens and fire places closed when you’re not using them. This will prevent any buildup of ice or snow. Also, if you have stone countertops in your outdoor kitchen, now is the time to apply sealants to the surface.
Prepare Your Patio and Walkways
This is a great time to remove the clutter that has a way of finding its way onto your patio and yard. Bring plants in or place them in a sheltered area. And put away portable items like grills, outdoor furniture, and decorative items.
When you prepare your outdoor living space for winter, it’s important to examine your pavers for cracks or signs of wear and tear. If you find any, contact J&S Landscaping as soon as possible in order to protect your beautiful outdoor living space from weather-related damage. J&S Landscaping works with the highest quality pavers and materials by companies like Belgard, Pavestone, and Romanstone. But freezing and refreezing moisture can put unnecessary wear and tear on your beautiful outdoor living areas if you don’t take preventative measures.
If you don’t have a lawncare service like J&S Landscaping to do it for you, sweep leaves and twigs off your deck or patio. And Check your trees and shrubs for branches that could damage your home or outdoor living space. If you are one of our customers, now is the time to have J&S Landscaping to remove or prune away branches that could become dangerous deadfall later in the winter.
If you don’t want to climb a ladder in the dead of winter to clear out the frozen debris, cleaning out your gutters should be on your list. Be sure to check all your other drainage systems for debris too. This includes any French drains, dry wells, swales, and dry creek beds. Clogged drainage systems can’t do the job they are created to do—and if you don’t maintain them, they can even make things worse.
Prepare Your Water Features
If you have any outdoor water features, turn off the water and cover them to protect them from ice damage and accumulating deadfall. Some of them may benefit from being covered with a secured tarp.
Prepare Your Wooden Structures
Sweep wooden structures, like decks, porches, gazebos, and wooden benches clean. They should be treated with water sealant already. Check to see if they need another coat. Check over-hangs or gazebo roofs for leaks. Repairing and maintaining them now will mean fewer headaches later on.
When You Prepare Your Outdoor Living Space for Winter, Remember SAFETY FIRST!
While you’re in a pro-active mood, check the condition of your snow and ice removal equipment. Snow blower working? What about your snow shovels? (More importantly—WHERE are your shovels?).
Stock up a head of time to make sure you have enough salt on hand before bad weather hits. The pavers J&S Landscaping uses will withstand all kinds of conditions, including salt absorption. But here are some ideas from Belgard that can help maintain the like-new conditions of your paver patios and walkways that last for many years.
- Mix deicing salt with sand before applying to your pavers. This will ensure even coverage.
- Salt is for melting ice! Not for snow removal. Sorry. You’re still going to need a shovel for that.
- Do not over-salt. A little dab‘ll do ya when using deicing chemicals.
- Once the ice melts, manually remove it with a broom to avoid build up.
- In the spring, wash any leftover residue off your pavers.
- Every three to five years, reseal your patio and walkways with protective sealants.
As you can see, it’s easy to prepare your outdoor living area for winter and it will add years to your outdoor appliances and spaces. And it doesn’t mean you have to stop enjoying it!
J&S Landscaping is a member of the Michigan Nursery and Landscape Association. We provide top-notch lawn care and support for plants, trees, and shrubs. And everything we purchase and plant for you has a one-year guarantee.
J&S Landscaping is certified by the Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute to install paver patios & walkways, brick paver driveways, retaining walls and more. We are an authorized contractor for Belgard and we’re so confident of our work that we certify our installations for two years. All of our crews are carefully trained, certified, and bonded.
Call today to learn more about what our company can do for you!