Why You Don’t Want to Neglect Outdoor Maintenance

These tips will help you protect your yard all winter long.

It’s hard to believe that the winter months of 2017 are already approaching. It seems as if we were just enjoying 4th of July fireworks and a warm summer breeze last week. But with those times behind us, some are starting to find themselves in panic mode about how to winterize their homes before the cold weather hits. Whether it’s breaking out a parka and snow boots or swapping for snow tires on your car, we all have our pre-winter rituals. But are we forgetting anything?

It’s crucial for homeowners to protect their homes from the cold elements. And one extremely effective way to be proactive, rather than reactive, is outdoor upkeep. Even though it may be a tedious task that homeowners try to avoid, it’s worth putting in the effort.

One thing people don’t properly maintain is their outdoor pool. Pool maintenance is generally time consuming, but if you are doing the wrong things, it will lead to even more work as winter sets in. There are two schools of thought when it comes to pool upkeep during the winter season: keeping your pool open or closing it. According to Gwen marsh, marketing manager for Pool Scouts, closing it is the smarter decision. She says, “Closing your pool adds to the life of your pool and the costly equipment used to maintain it.” Marsh adds that leaving your pool open increases the risk of freezing—and expanding—water, which can lead to damaged pipes and equipment.

On top of closing your pool completely, Marsh says that “properly draining your skimmer, pump and return lines will help to ensure that your equipment does not crack during the cold winter months.” That means that a couple of days of good maintenance at the end of the summer and beginning of fall will prolong the life of your pool. And if you take the time to close your pool properly at the end of the season, it’ll be easier to get up and running in the spring.

Another common—yet easily avoidable—form of outdoor negligence is landscaping. Whether it's planning for the spring season by planting bulbs, maintaining flower beds or the year’s last yard clean, addressing landscaping can help your yard bounce-back tenfold from the dead of winter.

One way to stay on top of landscaping is to spray your lawn for weeds and crabgrass at the end of the season. By mid-September, a lawn can be covered with seeds that bring unwanted plants as soon as the snow clears. Also, pruning trees, bushes and flowers will improve next year's production and bring out lush foliage. By doing these easy maintenance projects during the fall, you are also missing the heat, dodging the cold and giving yourself a pleasant climate while hard at work.

Lastly, many believe that decks, porches and other outdoor structures are only in need of a paint job every few years for maintenance. Little do they know that there is an easy way to keep their deck in check. “A simple wash goes a long way,” advises AZEK Building Products, a leader in performance building materials.

A late fall wash will remove debris that has built up throughout summer use. Be sure to remove any leaves or branches from between the floorboards, and if possible, trim any bushes and branches surrounding the deck. A close proximity to shrubbery can cause the deck to develop mold and mildew decreasing its lifespan.

Although outdoor maintenance can be laborious, it can prevent you from spending all of your time and money making repairs in the spring. These simple tips, if done properly, can protect the yard you worked so hard to create all winter long.