According to a Gallup poll, only 11% of Americans consider winter to be their favorite season. While this might not be terribly surprising, there are many wonderful things that make winter a beautiful and practically magical time of year.
If you are a property owner that takes pride in your landscape and hardscape, however, you might have a few choice words to share with the month of winter.
Winter conditions and storms can be quite harsh on your beloved yard and property. If you follow these tips on how to care for your hardscape during the winter months, however, you might just find that you're able to relax with that cup of hot cocoa after.
Let's take a look at what you need to know about winter hardscape care.
What Is Hardscape in Landscaping?
Most people are familiar with the term landscaping, but fewer are aware of what "hardscaping" means. Basically, your hardscape is made up out of all of the non-living elements in your landscaping.
This might be a wooden arbor, a brick patio, or a beautiful stone wall. Hardscape is considered one of the two major categories of landscaping, with the other being known as the "softscape." As you might be able to guess, the softscape is made up of all of the organic and living elements in your landscaping.
Your hardscaping elements can serve both practical and aesthetic purposes. These elements can help to define the space, create a pathway through your property, and more.
Wood and Composite Materials
If you are looking to protect your hardscape during the winter months, you are likely concerned about how the wooden elements will stand up to the winter weather. Depending on how much hardscape maintenance you do before winter, you can help to save yourself repair work in the spring.
The first thing you want to do in terms of hardscape upkeep is to clean all of the surfaces. You want to make sure that there isn't an opportunity for mildew or mold to form on decks or other wooden hardscaping during winter months.
Check For Damage or Weakness
You'll want to check for any cracks or screws before the winter. Fixing these issues before the weather turns cold can ensure that further damage doesn't occur.
If you haven't done so already, you'll want to seal the wood to prevent damage. It is typically recommended that you apply two coats of an oil-based resin.
Test to See If Your Wood Is Still Water Repellent
If you initially stained your wooden hardscape elements a few years ago, you might want to test to see if the sealant is still working. Spray water onto the wood and check to see if it absorbs or if it doesn't. If it absorbs instead of beads up on the surface, it's time to reseal.
Stone or Concrete Materials
Stone and concrete materials are far more durable and resistant to winter weather than wood. That being said, stone, concrete, and brick can break, split, or crack due to snowstorms.
Use a Good Deicer
If you live in a wintry place, you have every reason to expect some ice during the season. You want to plan ahead and purchase a good deicer so that you are prepared if your walkways, driveway, or patio are slick with ice.
Choosing the right deicer is important, as both calcium chloride and rock salt will eat away at your concrete. If you choose one of these options, you will end up having to make expensive repairs when spring rolls around. Instead, choose one with CMA, potassium chloride, or simply use sand.
Don't use a Metal Shovel
While a metal shovel can be a satisfying way to shovel your driveway, they can damage the surface. Instead, you'll want to use a shovel that has rubberized edges.
Fill in Cracks Before It Snows
If there are any holes or cracks in your concrete, you want to fix them before the winter begins. If you don't, moisture and snow will likely enter them and make the cracks and holes worse.
Level the Surface
Uneven surfaces can be dangerous. They can be both a tripping hazard or snow shovels can get caught on them. If snow shovels get caught on an uneven surface, they can end up damaging the surface of your driveway or walkways.
Use a Sealant With Grit Mixed In
You might consider using a sealant that has grit mixed into it to create an anti-skid surface. This type of product is ideal for high-traffic areas and can create better traction in the winter.
Store Landscaping Items Inside
If you have stone statues or other movable items on your hardscape, you will probably want to move them inside or at least winterize them. This will protect them from any potential damage during the winter months.
Ensure Your Hardscape Is Visible With Outdoor Lighting
Keeping your outdoor space well-lit during the winter can help to ensure that you and your family don't slip and fall and hurt yourself on any of your hardscape elements. These lights are both functional and aesthetic, making sure that your family stays safe while also providing a beautiful pathway of light to guide guests into your home. Outdoor lighting can also be used to focus attention on landscape or architectural features and make your house the envy of all your neighbors.
Are you looking for landscape lighting to brighten up your house during the winter or during any season, for that matter? Check out our selection of outdoor lighting to find the perfect type of product for your home.