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How To Prep Your Patio For Winter

How To Prep Your Patio For Winter

By Joe Raboine, Director of Residential Hardscapes, Belgard
Photographs courtesy of Belgard

Cold weather is here in most parts of the country, meaning you’re likely spending more time indoors. While you still can use your outdoor living spaces with the right essentials, like heating and lighting elements, routine maintenance and prep work are needed to keep your patio looking its best in colder climates.

From hardscapes to plants, here are a few key tips to care for your patio this winter.

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Prolong The Life Of Your Pavers

While pavers are designed to stand up to a variety of weather conditions – and are more durable than other surfaces, such as stamped concrete – they still need some attention to better withstand snowy and icy conditions. You can easily winterize your pavers in a few steps:

  1. Clean up debris – Remove sticks, leaves, pine needles or other organic matter from your pavers regularly. This helps prevent staining on the pavers from wet or decaying debris.
  2. Assess water runoff – Check to see if your gutter downspouts flow onto your pavers when it rains, as letting that moisture freeze can be detrimental to the life of the pavers. Redirect your downspouts to your lawn or landscape border.
  3. Remove heavy items – Sunken spots can form during wet or freezing weather from patio furniture, heavy flowerpots and other décor.

It’s also beneficial to consider sealing pavers to prevent damage from water and ice, as these materials can degrade the surface of pavers over time. Applying proper sealant every three years is recommended – too much sealant leaves a film on pavers that can cause discoloration.

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Sweeping, De-Icing and Shoveling

As basic as it sounds, one of the easiest and best ways to maintain your hardscapes in the winter is to give them a good sweep. Sweeping any debris or snow off your pavers shields them against the freeze-thaw cycle by keeping the area drier. A soft-bristled push broom makes the work more efficient.

Select the right de-icing agent to use on paver patios, walkways and driveways. Salt-based de-icers cause hardscapes to degrade more quickly. Opt for a paver-safe product instead, such as magnesium chloride, to keep pavers intact.

When the snow builds up, it’s tempting to reach for the snow shovel to clear your path. But metal shovels or those with sharp blades and points can scratch the surface of your pavers. If you plan to use a shovel, make sure it’s plastic – but your best bet is a snowblower.

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Cold-Weather Plant Care

One of the best parts of any outdoor living space is plant life. Colorful blooms add a sense of warmth and cheer – but many of them can’t survive winters. Do some research and see if any of your outdoor plants can be brought indoors before the cold snaps hit.

If you still want some greenery and life around your patio during colder seasons, here are a few different plant varieties you can consider:

  • Wintergreen, with its green leaves and red berries.
  • Varieties of holly.
  • Yew, another plant producing bright red berries.
  • Snowdrops, which produce white flowers in winter.

The biggest piece of advice is to ensure whatever plants you choose are suited for your zone.

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Keep Your Patio Fresh Year-Round

While your paver patio may not need a great deal of maintenance, adhering to some year-round routine care will keep your hardscapes looking fresh. You can pick DIY solutions or enlist the help of professionals to keep your space beautiful no matter the season.

 


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