Why do I need to prepare my hardscaping for the winter?
Believe it or not, the hardscaping around your property is all part of your lawn care and lawn maintenance routine. Meaning these surfaces and add-ons also need a preparation plan to keep them in the best shape possible! You can have a beautiful lawn surrounding your home; if your driveways, patios, decks, water features, etc., aren’t looking so good, though, that beauty will only stretch so far.
Preparing these areas for the upcoming cold temperatures, rain, and snow is imperative, as even the inorganic materials can succumb to damage. You could be facing severe cracking, crumbling, fading, and more if you’re not careful to make sure they’ll survive the winter. These problems could cause structural damage, rotting, drying the wood, and freezing within the pipes. Luckily, there are many ways for hardscaping to be protected in situations just like this!
How do I protect my concrete surfaces?
There are many ways your concrete surfaces are at-risk during the winter and many ways you can help protect them. When winter comes, ice is inevitable – however, there are plenty of good deicers that can help you eradicate this issue. These will help prevent injuries that slipping on a patch of ice can cause. The second rule of thumb to remember is to watch out for those metal shovels! While they work very well to break up ice and snow, they can cause cracks in the surface or worsen existing ones. In this case, it’s often much better to use one with rubber edges, as they still get the job done without being overly harsh on the concrete.
Speaking of cracks – always have them filled before the snow hits. Otherwise, excess moisture can make its way in and eventually freeze, causing those cracks or holes to progress. If you’re able, it’ll pay off to have any of these surfaces leveled if they’re uneven in any way. This action will help you avoid catching shovels or becoming a trip hazard for those who will be walking around your property. Finally, you’ll need to make sure all surfaces are sealed appropriately to assist in keeping moisture out. There are types of sealants containing grit, which is terrific for high-traffic areas, or you can stick to traditional sealants for areas you don’t plan to touch very often.
How can I protect the wooden surfaces?
The first step of any preparation process is to make sure all those hard surfaces are thoroughly cleaned. You’re more likely to experience wood rot or discoloration if leaves and other debris are all left to sit over the wintertime. You also run the risk of mildew and mold growth should anything be left for long periods. It is then vital to inspect these areas for already existing damages (loose boards, nails, etc.); these can worsen over time due to weather, which can render all your other prep work useless.
Another significant way you can make sure your wooden surfaces are safe is to apply stains, if you haven’t already, so seal it up. Most wood surfaces are sealed when they’re first installed, but it never hurts to make sure it’s redone in time for the season! Finally, the last thing that should be done is to perform water repellant testing to ensure the sealant is still working correctly. If it is starting to absorb water, it’s time to get it redone.
What should I do to protect my water features?
Decks and walkways aren’t the only hardscaping many folks have installed on their property – many of them also have water features as part of their landscape. These features can add a serene sense of beauty that is unique compared to other homes that surround them in the area. Like with everything else, though, there are specific steps you as the homeowner will need to take to keep them in good shape all winter long! To start, you’ll need to remove any moveable plants from the area and clean up any plant debris (or just any debris in general) to ensure the area is clear.
If there are any algae amongst your water features, that will need to be gotten rid of, too. One of the best ways is to have water-activated granular algaecide used to clear it away – it has to be done correctly, as too much or too little won’t do any good. If there are persistent algae, the next best step would be to drain it, scrub it off, and refill it before the harsh weather arrives. After that, just like with drainage systems, it’s crucial to drain the pipes of any features you have to make sure you won’t be dealing with cracked or broken pipes later on down the line. Finally, if your water features contain any pump that needs to be removed, they can freeze and potentially crack, causing water access to the interior.
Should I enlist the help of some professionals to help me out?
There are plenty of ways you as a homeowner can do your part to prepare your home and landscape for the upcoming cold season, but it’s never a bad idea to get a little outside help, either. Local lawn professionals will know precisely what your hardscaping needs are, how to provide them efficiently, and can advise you on how to handle them going forward.
Some people simply do not have access to the materials to get the job done, or they are inexperienced with how to go about using them. It can also be intimidating to try to take on the task of caring for landscape add-ons such as water features if you’ve never dealt with them before. Luckily for you, some people do know what they’re doing! So if you have hardscaping on your property you want to protect, call those pros, like the ones at Revolution Landscape and Design, to help give you peace of mind throughout this most beautiful time of the year!