Winter is here and with it comes the added risk of damaging your outdoor areas long before the spring thaw. Colorado winters can be unpredictable, but you can bet there will invariably be a certain amount of snow and ice coming for your front and back yards. While you’re limited as to how much you can protect your outdoor plant life like your grass and your garden when the cold comes, you can still protect your patio or deck, your fire pit, your outdoor furnishings, and more.
Here are a few tips to prepare your outdoor areas for winter’s cold reach in the coming months.
Protect Your Deck
Most decks, whether they’re made of cedar or composite materials, are relatively low-maintenance, even in winter. If you haven’t stained your deck before temperatures start to chill out, it’s too late. The best option for deck staining is to wait until spring when the air and land dry out a bit. Staining a cedar deck helps you get a few more years from your deck, but it’s mostly for aesthetic reasons. In the fall, keep your wooden deck free of leaves, which could discolor the wood if left to get wet, freeze, and thaw over the winter.
Keep Water from Accumulating Under Your Stone Patio
Stone patios use pavers, stone building blocks, essentially, to form an attractive outdoor area. Winter is when debris tends to accumulate, so try and keep this area as clean as possible. In the spring, it’s best to power wash your patio to make sure lingering dirt and lawn waste doesn’t accumulate.
Water is your biggest enemy here, however. The gaps between the pavers are usually filled in with polymeric sand. Keep an eye on these gaps throughout the season and touch it up as needed. You want to make sure the gaps are filled in because if water gets underneath the pavers, the very active freeze-thaw cycles in Colorado winter can cause damage to the pavers themselves.
Fire Pits and Furnishings
Natural, wood burning fire pits don’t need to be maintained over the winter, unless you want to dig out a hole in the snow for a fire. However, if you have a gas-operated fire pit, you should take your ceramic logs inside and store them somewhere dry and safe for the winter.
Outdoor furniture generally needs to be covered and protected reasonably well from moisture. This is especially important if you have wrought iron or aluminum furniture. Either throw a cover over them or bring them inside. Chairs and chaise lounges will fade if left out, not to mention they become enticing targets for bird droppings, so it’s a good idea to bring these inside, too.
If you have a grill, cover it over the winter. It’s a good idea to clean the grates as well by turning the grill up to 500 or 600 degrees to burn off some of the excess char, then take a wire brush to them.
You can bet on a good deal of snow each winter in Colorado, so your primary problem will be water getting where it’s not supposed to as it melts. Keep in mind what outdoor furniture and other elements of your yard will be most affected by the freeze-thaw cycle occurring around your home.