deck with furniture

Winterizing Your Deck, Patio and Other Outdoor Spaces

As the recent burst of cold fall weather has reminded us, winter is just around the corner. With the Thanksgiving holiday over, it’s time to winterize your deck, patio and other outdoor living spaces before the weekends get any colder! Here is a short list of things to do, compiled by our staff, to prepare your landscape and outdoor areas for the colder months ahead.

If you have outdoor furniture, cover it or store it inside a garage or shed.  This can help preserve the appearance of your furniture, and in the case of wooden or stone material, may protect it from serious damage caused by freeze/thaw cycles. If you don’t have a grill cover, invest in one!  We’ve been using the same grill at our office for over 12 years, and it still looks and works great because we cover it every day.

Many of us have power equipment with small engines such as lawn mowers, chainsaws, string trimmers, and leaf blowers that are put away in the shed and forgotten about after the last use. It’s common for the latter three to have two-stroke engines that use a fuel-oil mixture. With those, be sure to top off the tank. The oil in the mix will help stabilize the fuel over the winter months.

For four-stroke engines that use straight gasoline, add a fuel stabilizer and run the engine for a few minutes to get the stabilizer into the carburetor. Doing this can help prevent hard starting in the spring.

While your dad’s mower didn’t really need a fuel stabilizer, modern gasoline (E10) contains ten percent ethanol, which absorbs moisture and subjects your engine to corrosion. It also can separate from the gasoline when allowed to sit for months. And never use E15 in your outdoor power equipment, which is worse than E10.

pondWater features are extremely important to winterize and the necessary steps depend on what kind of feature you have. Here are some basic steps to take:

  • Protect plants. If you are going to overwinter any of your plants, contact the experts at Hively for tips to help them survive.
  • Clean. Remove leaves and accumulated debris from the pond bottom or pump vault. Fortunately, winter weather will kill any algae present.
  • Remove the pump. Probably the most important step is to remove the pump. Be sure to store it in an unheated area– the water in it can still freeze! Pumps are not designed to withstand freezing weather and most pumps will need to be replaced if allowed to freeze.
  • Drain the pump. You’ve avoided frozen pump syndrome by storing your pump in a warmer area, such as a climate-controlled garage or utility room. But if you don’t drain it thoroughly first, water can leak from it and damage things stored nearby.

Winterizing your deck, patio and other outdoor living spaces is well worth doing. We hope you learned a thing or two from our little list. It always feels great to have one’s property secured and ready for the holidays!