Friends warming hands

The cool autumn weather will soon give way to the chill of winter.. The question you need to ask yourself if this: is your backyard ready?

There are a few things you should have on your checklist to be sure your outdoor space is ready for winter. Preparing ahead of time will mean that come spring, you will have a lot less work to do.

 

Get Out That Leaf Blower - or a Rake if You’re Old School

You can quickly remove debris from your outdoor living space by giving everything from umbrellas to the deck a quick rinse with the hose and allowing everything to dry in the sun. Areas that are especially susceptible to mildew or mold-like wicker furniture, the fabric on outdoor cushions, or umbrellas should also be washed with a mild soap, cleaner, or a water & bleach mixture at a ratio of 8:1.

Use a rake or leaf blower to remove all leaves and other fallen debris from your yard, garden beds, and the areas under steps and decks. Once leaves get wet from rain they are much more of a hassle to clean up, so get rid of them while it’s dry out. Leaves can also be a potential fire hazard, so you don’t want them collecting.

After you’ve gotten the leaves out of the way you can spruce things up and protect your plants from winter weather by adding in an extra layer of fresh mulch around trees and other plants. Bonus tip: Using a darker colored mulch will help attract the warmth of the sun to your plants in the cooler months.

 

Show Your Grill and Fire Pit Some Cold Weather Love

There’s nothing worse than opening up the grill in the spring to realize it didn’t get a good scrubbing before you closed it up for the winter. This is one step on your checklist that you absolutely don’t want to skip. For best results, scrub with a degreasing agent, rinse with a sponge and soapy water and then do a final rinse with the hose. Leave the grill open and preferably in the sun while it dries.

While you have these cleaning products out, it’s smart to clean the fire pit the same way. Once they are both clean and shiny, pop a fitted firepit and grill cover on them to help keep them dry and prevent rust throughout the winter months.

 

Poolside Care

If you live in a warmer climate, you’re likely able to use your pool and hot tub for the majority of the year. Even so, there is probably a brief period of the year that visits to the pool and hot tub are sparse. You’ll want to winterize your pool and hot tub by adding a cover to keep out leaves and other falling debris.

 

Clean and Cover Patio Furniture

Cleaning your patio furniture is an essential part of winterizing your outdoor space. Mold and mildew are the enemies of your patio furniture, so don’t give them a chance to set up housekeeping on your stuff! You can wash most outdoor furniture cushions with a simple soap and water solution before allowing it to dry in the sun. Larger pieces of furniture should be covered with waterproof covers for outdoor furniture when not in use and when damp air is present, no matter what the winter temperatures are like where you live.

 

Last Minute Weatherproofing

Right before the cold weather really hits is a great time to add a fresh coat of paint and water protectant sealant to all of your wooden outdoor furniture. You’ll also want to pack away pillows and cushions into a storage bag and place into your indoor storage space. Place custom tailor-made covers on any larger pieces of furniture that you’ll be keeping out for the winter months.

Check your deck to see if any sections need to be resealed. Ensure that all sections that have metal pieces or bolts — like a handrail for instance - haven’t started to rust. If you do see any signs of rust, head to your local hardware store. You can pick up a can of rust neutralizer there for around $5. If you’re smart enough to make this a part of your seasonal maintenance routine you’ll never have to worry about time-consuming maintenance when spring comes back around.