It’s never too early to start preparing for winter. The earlier you get started getting ready for Snowpocalypse 2020—whether you see record snowfall or just a few flurries—the better prepared you, your family, and your backyard are to weather any winter storms that head your way.
If you want your garden and backyard to not only survive but thrive this winter, you have to do a little winter preparation. Taking some time in summer or fall to check these winter prep items off of your to-do list will make it so, come spring, your backyard and garden will be ready for planting and enjoying with minimal fuss.
Bring Plants Inside
If you have lots of potted plants outside, it may be wise to bring them in from the cold if there’s a storm on the way. Dirt and even snow can protect plants in the ground from cell expansion caused by the cold. But potted plants don’t have that much insulation, and are therefore more susceptible to damage from cold weather and freezing. Bringing your potted plants inside, even if it’s just to a shed or garage, can help keep them warm and dormant through the winter season.
Winter is the best time to prune most plants. Keep an eye on trees in particular—snow can build up on branches and potentially cause them to break. Strategic pruning of bushes, shrubs, and trees can help protect your home from falling branches and keep your greenery looking healthy come springtime.
Coat and Cover Outdoor Furniture
If you have space, it’s best to put your outdoor furniture away in a shed, garage, or even indoors before the weather gets excessively cold and rainy. But if that’s not an option—or if you enjoy spending some time outside with a fire pit or grill year-round—be sure to winterize your patio furniture. Clean your furniture with mild soap and water according to manufacturer instructions. Once clean, remove any rust and apply touch-up paint appropriate for the material.
You can apply a layer of automotive wax or similar protection to iron or aluminum furniture to protect it from the elements. Cover your patio furniture with water-resistant (not waterproof) covers, especially those with vents, when not in use to protect from mold and mildew to keep moisture from forming underneath the cover.
Stain, Varnish, and Protect Patio or Deck
Bringing your potted plants inside, even if it’s just to a shed or garage, can help keep them warm and dormant through the winter season. Not only do you not want to be outside applying stain or varnish in the pouring rain or dumping snow, but stain and varnish can also protect your outdoor living space from moisture damage during the wet months and add more value to your home when it’s time to sell.
Regardless of how you choose to seal your deck or patio, you’ll want to give yourself plenty of time to get it clean, primed, sealed, and cured before the wet weather starts.
Mulching in the winter helps keep your soil nice and warm, even if the temperature drops. The cycle of freezing and thawing can play havoc with even healthy plants, and having a steady soil temperature will help ensure your plants stay dormant. Mulch also helps the soil hold moisture throughout winter.
Choosing a mulch for winter is a little different from choosing a springtime mulch. You want something that can be easily removed, such as straw, pine needles, or shredded leaves, all of which can be worked into the soil to provide nutrition in the springtime. Snow actually makes a great mulch—it keeps the soil warm, provides moisture, and prevents cell expansion, so don’t worry about cleaning it out of your garden beds.
Check Your Roof and Gutters
Insulate and Protect Your Interior
Though the inside of your house might be nice and toasty, the same can’t be said for its exterior. If you lack insulation in your attic or elsewhere, you could find yourself with drafts or leaks, putting a damper on your cozy season. Patch or caulk these drafty spaces before the winter winds hit.
Likewise, be sure to insulate exterior faucets and pipes. This can be done with faucet covers, rags, or regular home insulation. Check your weatherstripping inside and outside to prevent drafts through doors, and also be sure you have no leaks or sealing issues with your windows. Doing all of this in advance will mean you can enjoy your winter without worrying about working outside!
Whether Snowpocalypse 2020 really hits or not, having your home winterized properly will let you relax and appreciate the winter without the stress of having to patch issues as they pop up.
How do you prep your home for winter? Share your tips with us in the comments! And if you’re looking for expert backyard renovation services to maximize your winter fun, contact Transblue—we’d love to help you create an exterior living space that’ll keep you comfortable, cozy, and content year-round.