The leaves have turned and fallen to the ground, as the air has a familiar chill. This can only mean one thing. Winter is nearby.
After getting over that shock, but before pulling out the boots and mittens, the yard and outdoor living area needs to be winterized. If not, you risk damage to things such as the outdoor furniture, plants, and grill.
I have put together some steps that will help your yard and outdoor space survive the winter, no matter how mild or fierce it may be this year.
Hibernation for the Yard
Applying a fertilizer to the yard will help protect it during the winter months. It will also prepare it for the upcoming spring season.
There are two good options. You could buy a fertilizer from the store. However, there are the chemicals to consider, especially if you have young children, or pets. It’s not a bad option, if you stay off the lawn for the time period it suggests.
The other option is to chop up your leaves with the mower, so they go right back into the ground. However, don’t leave them in their whole form to remain on the grass during the winter. This could damage the grass, rather than fertilize it. This is the option we go with at our house, because we don’t want to worry about the kids staying off it.
Protect the Outdoor Furniture
Outdoor spaces can be designed beautifully with nice patio dining sets, garden furniture such Oxford benches, or outdoor kitchens. If you have made this type of investment, then you should also take precautions for winterizing these items.
In states that have a lot of snow, furniture should be brought inside to protect them from the elements, if possible. If not, covers that are designed for winter protection would be a wise investment.
Prepping the Perennials
Perennials need some special attention going into the winter season. The best thing to do with perennials is to pare them down a little before winter, to avoid foliage disease. If the plant is healthy to begin with, there is no reason to cut it all down.
Any foliage that is left on the plant is a magnet for birds, as they will use it as food during winter. I read up on how to best winterize my outdoor plants through books and websites. There is a lot of helpful information out there to know the precise steps to take.
This is also a great time to plant new bulbs for spring blooming. Some of the most popular bulbs to plant in the fall are:
Plant the bulb in the ground during the fall, and you will have beautiful blooms in the spring.
Sprinkler System Blowout
Sprinkler systems will have water that has remained in the system, even if it hasn’t been used in a while. It’s best to have this blown out for the winter, especially in more severe climates. If you don’t, the pipes could freeze and ruin your system.
This is something that can be easily done on your own, or hired out for minimal cost. My husband does ours, but I have seen it advertised for under $40 which isn’t bad to stay dry and warm.
Disconnecting Hoses and Drain
Outdoor hoses should be disconnected from your faucets, and drained completely before winter comes. Just as with the sprinkler system, the remaining water can freeze and ruin the hoses.
Also, they make insulated covers for outdoor faucet heads, which is especially recommended if you live in an area that tends to have a lot of below freezing temperatures, snow, and ice.
Trim the Trampoline and Toys
If you have a trampoline in the yard, it’s best that you take special care of it for the winter. The frame can be left intact and left where it is, but the springs, jumping mat, and pad should be taken inside for the winter.
Elements such as snow and ice can be very damaging to these parts, leaving your children vulnerable in the spring.
We like to place all of our outdoor toys away for the winter, with the exception of the wooden playset because that is not mobile.
Enhance the Yard with Storage
It seems that storage sheds and other storage options have come a long way in appearance. They can actually add character to your property with the available designs. This is great because so many things need to be stored such as the lawn mower, gardening tools, patio umbrella, and lawn toys.
Some of the sheds look like mini barns, which looks amazing with homes on larger properties. Besides our shed, we also have an outdoor wood storage bench, which doubles as extra seating.
If you take these extra steps to winterize your property and your outdoor items, you will be able to enjoy them for many years to come.
Hopefully I have given you some good tips in how to winterize your outdoor living area, so you can have peace of mind, knowing it is all protected.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Melissa Cameron is a freelance writer, who through her articles, provides valuable tips and advice for her readers, often on how to save money, or ways make our lives easier. Melissa is in her early 30’s, married with 2 young children, living in Austin Texas. She loves to search the internet for new ideas and deals, and just recently discovered Twitter.
Earnest Parenting: helping parents get their yards ready for winter.
Image courtesy of rsgreen89 via Creative Commons license, some rights reserved.