Monday, January 7, 2013

Winterize Your Patio ~ Pearl Landscaping & Patio Company

big chunk of fall is devoted to preparing for winter. Whether it's enjoying clear skies and the few remaining sunny days, or getting the most out of your garden before the frost hits, we all instinctively know that we have to get ready for darker, wetter, colder days ahead.

If you're a homeowner, this includes prepping your home for a round of nasty weather. For those with an outdoor patio, there's a lot to consider. From storing to cleaning, these 8 tips will help you keep everything in your patio ready and waiting for warmer weather.
1. Clean and store your patio furniture. If you're packing away patio furniture for the winter, give everything a decent cleaning so your furniture isn't sitting in grime for the next 6 months. No need to go overboard though — they're bound to gather more dust and grime before next summer.

For now, wipe dirt and debris off tables and chairs, and spray and wipe down everything with water. Make sure it all dries completely before storing it indoors or covering it with a patio-furniture cover. Tie each cover to the furniture's legs so that it stays in place.
2. Scrub patio cushions. Cushions can become a breeding ground for gunk of all sorts. Wipe off all your outdoor cushions with a soapy sponge and water, and scrub off anything that needs to be removed. Let it dry completely for a few days to make sure there's no moisture left.

If you find any mildew when cleaning your cushions, leave them in the sunlight (the sun is a natural mold inhibitor). When the cushion is dry, scrub off loose spores with a dry sponge. If you encounter a particularly tough stain, rub a few drops of bleach on it and wash and rinse it away after a few minutes. After washing and drying completely, wrap your cushions in an old sheet or a garbage bag and store them inside.
3. Clean off the grill. First, fire up your grill for several minutes to burn off any remaining residue. Turn it off, and scrape off all the extra bits with a wire brush or ball of aluminum foil. Remove the grease tray and wash it in the sink with dish soap, and wipe all of the exterior surfaces of your grill with a soapy sponge and water.

If you have a grill that can move and you're planning to move it indoors for the winter, make sure to detach the propane tank — these tanks should never be stored inside. Cover the tank loosely with a large plastic bag, and keep it in a safe spot outside. If you're keeping your grill outside, make sure everything is turned off and cover it.

4. Store garden tools and accessories. If you have small potted plants you don't want to bring inside, toss them into the compost. It's generally better to just start fresh next year. Turn any empty large containers upside down to avoid water collecting inside. Untwist and untangle hoses, and wind them in a neat circle to put inside so they won't freeze and crack.
5. Clean off hammocks. Take your hammock off of its hooks, lay it flat and scrub it with warm water and dish soap. Rinse and hang to dry. Make sure you never use bleach on hammocks — it may wear through the fibers, creating a safety hazard.
6. Clean and store umbrellas. Cleaning umbrellas can be a bit tricky. If there's just a bit of dirt and pollen on it, simply dust it off and store it inside until summer. If it needs a bit of a scrub, wash it off with dish soap and a sponge. If you have a vinyl umbrella, a detergent made for convertible car tops can do the trick.

After you're done washing the umbrella, make sure to let it dry completely in the sun for a couple days. Never store an umbrella that's remotely wet if you want to avoid mildew!
7. Freshen up the base of your patio. It's always a good idea to get the summer grit off of your patio before winter hits. Power-washing your patio base (or just using a hose with an attachment nozzle) will help remove any dirt and debris that's piled up.
8. Keep using it! If you live in a location blessed with decent winter weather, you may very well use your patio throughout the winter. Keep everything covered so it won't get dirty or wet, but don't store your furniture so you can still use it at a moment's notice. Consider using an outdoor patio heater and keeping some quilts handy for brisk evenings outdoors.


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