As all New England knows, the winter is harsh. Preparing your hardscape is an important task to add to your fall cleaning. Without the proper preparation, your new patio, outdoor kitchen, and other hardscape could get ruined. Take the following steps to ensure the safety of your outdoors during the cold winter months ahead of us.
Clean and Do Some Weeding
First and foremost, weed and sweep your hardscape and power wash or just hose off the stones. Starting off your winter with a good clean of your patio, walkway, or driveway will ensure less cleaning after the cold months ahead. While you are cleaning, keep an eye out for any damages that you should get ahead of before the snow comes, like if there is a slight crack or hole in a stone get it repaired before. If not, then water and ice can get into the stone which will make the damage more prominent.
Get a Good Deicer
Avoid the use of rock salt or anything with calcium chloride in it. This can eat away at the concrete causing discoloration of brick and leaving you with more repair expenses in the spring. Use deicers that are just sand or one with potassium chloride. In any case, if you must use ice melt, be sure to clean off the stones as soon as the winter is over, so you don’t cause any more damage.
Avoid Metal Shovels
Do not use a metal shovel on your brick hardscape for a few reasons:
- It easily gets caught on edges of stone which can pull them up during the winter allowing dirt, ice, salt, or sand and leaves collect in the winter.
- Scraping from the metal on brick can ruin the color of the stone and can make pavers more brittle and apt to break.
Fill Cracks Before the Snow Hits
A good life hack to start doing before the winter comes is to add more sand between the stones in your walkway or patio. This will keep bricks in place throughout the harsh weather changes and after shoveling or plowing occurs. Giving your hardscape that extra cushion of protection, keeping any sort of debris from getting under the bricks, and making it less possible for stones to move or break. The less work that needs to happen in the spring is the better.
Prep Your Outdoor Kitchen
Many people only have one outdoor appliance, that being a grill that is kept out all year long. If you don’t use your grill year-round, consider making space in your shed or garage to store it. For the outdoor people who have a full kitchen it is important to start winterizing your appliances:
- Shut off water supply to outdoor sinks and drain pipes to ensure there will be no frozen pipes during the winter.
- Cover your sink. You don’t want leaves or ice to get inside and stain it.
- Disconnect all electricity to outdoor appliances – but be sure not to cover them because that can cause moisture to collect on wiring and damage equipment.
- Seal stone countertops with specialty winter sealant, this prevents leaf stains and cracking.
Have more questions on how to prepare your landscape and hardscape for the winter months? Dolan Landscaping can help with all your hardscape needs. Contact us today to help preserve your stone walkway, patio, or other hardscape.