Outdoor tasks you should do before winter

20 November, 2014

Fall always goes by too quickly, ushering in the icy grip of winter. In the month or so left before Jack Frost pays a visit, you should do what you can to protect your yard and everything in it – after all, you've put so much work into your lawn, garden and decor, and you'd hate to see snow ruin it. Knowing what you need to do is the first step to prepping your backyard for winter, so we've compiled a list of tasks you should put on your to-do list.

Seed your lawn
Cold weather kills plants and can cause your beautiful lawn to be patchy come spring. Fortunately, by taking action now, you can protect the consistency of your grass. The key is over seeding. Spread plenty of seeds on your lawn and care for them about six to eight weeks prior to the first freeze (that means get on it now!). That way, the grass will have a chance to build a strong root system that can survive frost and snow.

Bring in plants
Delicate and tropical plants can't handle the intense cold of winter, so you'll have to shield them. Move your plants from the ground into pots and bring them indoors. Make sure the pot is large enough for the roots of your flowers. During this time, you can take cuttings from your plants to cultivate new ones for springtime.

Clean and store furniture
Outdoor furniture sets may be durable, but they shouldn't be left out in the cold, literally. Extended exposure to ice and snow isn't good for the material. As such, you should keep your furniture in a sheltered area, whether it's your basement, garage or shed. Before you do, follow these cleaning steps:

  • Brush off debris using soft bristles (like those on a paintbrush).
  • Spray down with water and let dry completely.
  • Scrub cushions and covers using gentle, fragrance-free soap.
  • Rinse and let the cushions dry.
  • Store your furniture.

Cleaning your patio furniture now will ensure it's in good shape come spring. If you have a patio hammock or umbrella, you should clean those as well.

Clean your grill
Take grates off your grill and clean them. Clear it of ash if you have a charcoal-burning model. When the grill is clean and dry, you can cover it and move it indoors. However, never bring the propane tank in the house. Instead, detach it following the manufacturer's instructions and cover it with a plastic bag outdoors. You can keep your grill outside if you want, though we recommend covering that as well – you don't want snow to rust the metal.

Clear debris
Sweep away dirt and debris from your patio, and rake leaves in your yard. Be sure to place the leaves in the correct disposal bag, or the garbage-removal company won't take them away. Leaves left on the grass can choke your lawn, making it patchy and messy when the snow finally melts.

Whether we're in for another Polar Vortex this winter or not, you should make sure your yard is ready for the season. You still have time left this fall to protect your furniture and lawn.