After an Oklahoma winter, homeowners take on the task of getting their outdoor living spaces ready for our extended warm season. If everything is in order, the work amounts to light maintenance, cleaning, polishing, and maybe some lubrication of moving metal parts.
You might lack the time needed to perform all these tasks, or you may not want to take on extra work on top of your day job. This is understandable, but you may regret your decision when you discover it could cost thousands to repair or replace your outdoor living systems, spaces, and features. Why take the risk?
It is always best to get in front of preparing your outdoor living spaces for the upcoming winter. If time is short, even a quick run-through will prevent the more costly repairs.
Winterization Secures Your Residential Landscape Investment
Outdoor Lighting and Other Electrical Systems
An important tip to keep in mind regarding landscape winterization is to have all your electronics checked before winter. For example, if any in-ground cables for your outdoor lighting system appear slightly exposed, winter’s influences can exacerbate the situation.
The effects of failing to winterize electric-powered equipment usually extend beyond damage to the equipment. Everything is powered by your home’s main electrical system. If equipment that is powered fails, it could lead to electrical imbalances that present serious safety risks for you and your family.
Any electrical appliances or devices that will not be used should be unplugged or disconnected before winter. Unplug kitchen appliances, sound systems, and things of that nature. If you plan to use them during winter, be aware that their connections to electrical sources should be protected from water intrusion.
For peace of mind, it’s best to hire an electrician to audit your home’s outdoor power needs before winter. He or she may suggest supplemental measures to enhance the system’s safety. And nowadays, this may include the capability to monitor and control it from a mobile app.
Automatic Irrigation Systems
One of the most critical landscape maintenance tasks is winterizing your outdoor plumbing. To begin, start at the source and shut off all outdoor water supplies completely. Then disconnect any hoses or supply lines from these sources. This simple task will save potentially significant damage from bursting indoor pipes.
Drain any remaining water from the pipes in your irrigation system. This ensures that water will not become ice that expands and potentially breaks those pipes or the valves. More modern systems are designed to self-drain, but most experts still recommend clearing the lines with a compressor by a professional contractor.
The latter option involves attaching an air compressor to the irrigation system to push air through the pipes and out of all the irrigation heads. This process may seem involved, but during late autumn it is cost-effective. The procedure takes less than an hour and contractors will offer competitive pricing to fill their schedule for different neighborhoods or communities.
Pools, Ponds & Water Features
For the same reasons, you will need to drain your pool, ponds, and other water features. Turn off any pumps and move them to a warmer spot, so they will not freeze. Unless your garage is heated, this will require bringing them inside, maybe to an unfinished portion of the basement.
If you decide not to drain your pool, you will have to use chemicals that maintain the pH and chlorine levels of the pool water to avoid the growth of algae and bacteria. Make sure to use a cover to keep the water clean and clear of any leaves that fall in. Additionally, it’s best to check with your pool installer to determine whether the pool should be drained.
Doing this work does not always guarantee success. As pools age, they become more susceptible to winter influences, no different from a driveway or sidewalk cracking over time. If your pool has a liner, it most likely will benefit from leaving some water in the pool to act as a protective layer for the liner.
Outdoor Fire Pits and Seating
Many Oklahoma homeowners use their outdoor fireplaces and fire pits throughout the year. Using your firepit and related features such as seating areas is the best way to keep them safe and ready. As an extra measure, cover them to keep everything dry until the next use, especially if it consists partly of metal.
Not all outdoor furniture and seating can withstand heavy winter conditions, so it is advised that you store them, so they are at least protected from the elements and preferably sub-freezing temperatures too. This also clears your outdoor spaces to make snow removal easier during winter.
If you follow these winterization tips for outdoor furniture, fireplaces, and fire pits, you will thank yourself in the long term and avoid costly damage and headaches.
Decks, Patios & Walkways
Keep all your pathways clear as it begins snowing. Clear out the accumulated snow, when possible, by shoveling or using non-corrosive de-icing materials. Only use salt on asphalt as it is corrosive to most other materials.
If you like to use your deck or patio during winter, take preventative maintenance to accommodate that use. If any of your structures are made of wood, apply a protective coat of waterproof sealant to at least every three years to minimize the drying that leads to wood splintering and checking.
You should also fill in any gaps as they can worsen if the wood starts swelling. Before applying the sealant, ensure you have thoroughly cleaned the patio, as debris and rotting materials (dead leaves) create bacteria that can further damage the wood.
Another reason it is crucial to keep your walkways and patios clear is to prevent anyone from getting hurt on your property. It is common for people to slip on an icy surface if not properly cleared. Besides the unfortunate accident, you may also be found liable to compensate them for their injuries.
Proactive Landscaping: Helping Oklahoma Homeowners Enjoy Outdoor Living
Our top priority is creating outdoor living spaces that are right for you. We pride ourselves on working with you from concept to construction to create the right landscape for your needs. Contact us today for a free consultation to explore your next landscaping project.