How To Winterize Your Outdoor Patio

There are no truer words than Jon Snow’s “Winter is Coming.” While most outdoor furniture is built to withstand the harsh elements, it is still advisable to prep your porch or patio for the cold winter months. As the leaves shed and winter is about to start, it’s time to start proofing your furniture and open-air setting to preserve it and make it last for more seasons to come. It’s not only a necessity but it can also keep you occupied during those weekends where it’s too cold to go outside.

1. Take Down Umbrellas and Awnings

Give your umbrellas and awnings a good cleaning before you store them. A good dusting can get rid of dust and dirt but if your umbrellas and awnings have stains, you might need to give it a wash before you store it in a dry area. Umbrella fabrics should be cleaned with a gentle soap like a dish soap with warm water. If there are tough stains from mildew or tree sap, check the label first if the fabric can be bleached. Do a patch test sample on a hidden area of the fabric. Awnings and umbrellas made of vinyl can be cleaned with the same cleaning solution used on convertible car tops.

Wipe down wooden frames with mild soap and water or diluted white vinegar for aluminum frames. Always air dry your umbrellas and awnings before folding and storing.

2. Clean, Inspect, Repair and Store Outdoor Furniture

Take this time to assess any damages on your outdoor furniture. For teak or other wooden furniture, you may want to check for any signs of peeling or cracked wood. You can ask a professional to sand and seal it or if you’re an avid DIYer, you can also use this time to smoothen, seal or give your wooden daybeds a fresh coat of paint or a new wood stain.

For slipcovers, hammocks, and cushions, wash, dry, fold, and store these items in a dry place. You can also take it to your nearest dry cleaners for a quick cleaning. Outdoor cushions and fabrics are breeding grounds for mold and mildew so it’s a must to clean it well before storing.

For other furniture that is beyond repair, this may just be the best time to score some great discounts on new outdoor furniture.

3. Clean your Outdoor Kitchen

Give your kitchen a good scrubbing to prevent manifestations of different food bacteria. Clean your grill thoroughly by firing it up to burn or melt any remaining oil or residue. Clean any grease and let your kitchen dry. Cover all appliances if these are not movable.

4. Keep or Store Away Breakables and other Accessories

Items like ceramics, terracotta pots, and garden gnomes should be kept and hidden during winter to avoid freezing and breaking. Keep it out of the way where snow will likely collect and bury these items. For non-breakable items like buckets or watering cans, turn it upside-down so it won’t collect water and freeze. Keep all hoses drained and dried before rolling it neatly and storing it away along with your other gardening tools in a shed. Don’t forget to shut off pipes that lead to the faucets outside. Disconnect all connection from your outdoor faucet.

5. Weatherproof your Patio

Freshen up your patio by power washing everything. If you have wooden floors, you can choose to sand and seal it in advance before springtime. Check for loose nails or sagging boards to avoid possible accidents.

You can choose to hire a professional to seal off your patio with a temporary patio enclosure that will keep away rain, snow, and wind. This can make it possible for you and your family to use your patio benches and swings even in the midst of winter. Stock up on firewood if you have a fireplace located on your patio. Exchange screen doors with storm doors and check that your weather stripping is dead tight to prevent cold drafts from coming in.

6. Don’t Forget your Plants and Birds

If you have small potted plants, you can choose to bring these inside to protect them. Other garden plants that cannot be taken inside will benefit from a frost blanket. Place stakes for the blanket to drape over and don’t forget to remove the blanket in the morning. You can also produce a greenhouse environment for your plants by using a cold frame. A cold frame is a glass-topped frame that traps and retains heat and moisture for your plants. Each plant is different so do some research on the type of plants that you have and learn how you can protect it during the winter season. If you have tall trees near your patio, prune broken limbs and keep an eye out for weakened trunks that could be dangerous during winter storms.

Remember your feathered friends and leave out some bird feed for them. Use feeders that are specifically designed to be used in winter so that it won’t collect snow and at the same time provide protection from the snow.

7. Decorate for Fall and Winter

These cold months can be drab and lonely but just because you’re keeping everything away, doesn’t mean you can’t put a little color on your patio. One idea is to grow windbreak plants. These are plants that create barriers to protect from harsh winds. While this may take some time to grow, it’s worth checking it out as it can provide reliable insulation and protection. Talk to a professional landscape designer or your local plant nursery to see which plants can survive winter. Create colorful winter planters to bring color to your space. You can even put a small natural Christmas pine tree that will last as these can survive the cold temperature. Months ahead of fall, look at what type of winter plants you can grow and will breathe life into your garden.

As much as it is an inconvenience to prep for winter, planning ahead will protect your patio and keep you occupied while giving your furniture the cleaning it deserves. Come spring, it will lessen your chores when it’s time to take out your outdoor furniture again out in the open.

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