Preparing Your Outdoors for the Winter

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Winter is coming and it can be unforgiving. While it’s important to prepare your house for the winter season, don’t neglect your outdoors. Remember that while you want to live cozily and comfortably indoors, there are plants and other fixtures outside that will need some form of winter prep or maintenance, too. You may also have outdoor furniture and installations that need proper maintenance before you cover or stow them away.

Here’s a guide to preparing your outdoors for the coldest season.

Lawn and garden

Because winter isn’t the season for gardening, you understandably may be concerned about your landscape. Landscapers like Landscapes Unlimited can tell you how you can keep your outdoors looking good even in winter. They also offer maintenance for your lawn and garden.

Grass typically goes into dormancy once the temperature reaches below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. If your area experiences such temperatures in the winter, make sure to mow your lawn one last time in the late fall. To ensure that it stays alive until spring, test your soil’s pH levels with a testing kit and fertilize it. You’ll also want to test your lawn for growth-inducing elements such as phosphorus and potassium.

Many – if not all – of your plants won’t survive the winter so you need to beat mother nature to it and pull out your seasonal crops. Harvest any remaining vegetables. Add the healthy plants to your compost pile and dispose of diseased or blighted plants and leaves.

Prepare your perennials for the season by cutting them back and adding a layer of mulch on top of them to keep them from freezing.

Pet care

Our furry companions are prone to frostbite, so make sure to keep them warm. Ideally, you should keep your pets inside the house throughout the season. You can also keep your pets in insulated pet houses. Make sure to keep these as close to the house as possible – preferably in the garage. Don’t let your pets go out unsupervised.

One winter staple you need to keep your pets away from is antifreeze. It contains ethylene glycol, which makes it tasty even to pets, but even ingesting small amounts of it can lead to pet kidney failure. Make sure all containers of antifreeze are tightly sealed and stored in locked cabinets.

Roof and gutters

Your roof and gutters can get a lot of dead leaves and twigs on them, which can clog the gutters. Make sure to have your roof and gutters checked before winter comes. While it’s still possible to do checks and cleanings in the winter, it’s best to check in the late fall. Add non-diseased twigs and leaves to your compost pile.

Outdoor water supply

outdoor water supply

Turn off your outdoor faucets before it gets too cold outside. Detach hoses and splitters from the spigot to avoid trapping water that could freeze and damage them. Doing this will also prevent the buildup of ice inside your pipes that could block water flow.

Outdoor furniture and installations

Cover your outdoor furniture or bring them to a safe, covered area, such as your garage or shed.

If you have a swimming pool, you’ll need to winterize it too. Using a test kit, check your pool’s pH levels. Lower the water level and if necessary, add an extra bit of chlorine to the water a few days before you cover the pool for the season.

Prepare for snow

If you live in a snowy area, stock up on all the materials you need to manage snow levels. Make sure you have de-icers, rakes, and shovels. Also, check on your generators and heating appliances.

Winter is a very harsh time of the year and it can take its toll on your and your property if you don’t take maintenance measures. Turn off your outdoor water fixtures to prevent damage, cover and winterize your furniture, keep your pets warm, and prepare your lawn and garden. Doing all these will not only reward you with less stress this winter season, but it will also keep things in good condition until spring comes.

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