The best way to extend the life of your patio or deck and reduce the need for costly repairs is to regularly maintain both the structure of your outdoor living area and any furniture and fittings, particularly in preparation for seasonal changes. Here are our top 6 tips for getting your patio or deck ready for the colder months.
1. Give it a thorough clean
This applies to both patios and decks, as summer and autumn can be hard on outdoor areas in terms of dirt, whether it’s a build-up of dust, cobwebs or dead leaves. Get out the broom and give your deck or patio floor a good sweep, concentrating on corners and areas under furniture where debris might have piled up. Clean the underside of your patio or deck roof using a soft broom or cobweb duster, again focusing on hard-to-reach spots. Finally, wipe all your outdoor furniture and fittings with a damp cloth, using a mild liquid cleaner such as vinegar and water.
2. Check for damage
Once you’ve cleaned your deck or patio, this is the perfect opportunity to inspect it for any damage and assess whether there’s a need for professional repairs. In most cases, unless there has been significant structural damage from wind or rain, you should be able to carry out the repairs yourself. This includes things like tightening loose screws or sinking raised nails, sanding and staining your timber floor and rails, or cleaning your roof’s gutters and downpipes. Have a look at our post on sprucing up your timber deck for the recommended timetable for sanding and staining.
3. Weatherproof everything!
The last thing you want is your outdoor furniture, cushions or other accessories to be ruined by rain or blown over and broken in a high wind. This is why the lull between the seasons is a good time to consider storage options for those things that aren’t waterproof and protection for those things that can’t be stored. These days, there are some really sturdy protective covers available for everything from tables to BBQs, and they’re well worth the investment given how much they’ll extend the life of your outdoor furniture and fittings.
4. Prepare your plants
Getting your plants ready for colder weather should definitely be near the top of your list, as giving them some attention now will ensure a beautiful display come spring and summer. Prune back any climbing vines, such as jasmine, bougainvillea and passionfruit, as this will not only encourage healthy new growth but reduce the likelihood of them blocking your roof or gutters. For perennial plants and trees in pots, give them a good feed with a liquid fertiliser and move them to a sheltered spot if they’re susceptible to the cold. It’s also a good time to plant some seasonal vegetables, which for SE Queensland includes tomatoes, capsicums, eggplants, lettuce and beans, alongside the more traditional winter Brassicas, such as cauliflower and broccoli.
5. Test drive your heating
Before you hold your first outdoor event for the winter, you should make sure your heating source is working properly and address any issues that arise. If you have an outdoor fireplace built in to your patio and it doesn’t seem to be drawing properly, you might need to get a professional to clean the flue. In the case of standard patio heaters, check your gas supply and ignition and then run the heater for 15 minutes or so to make sure everything is functioning as it should. Or, maybe this is the first time you’ve thought about adding heating to your outdoor entertaining area? For a round-up of the options available to you, check out our post on outdoor heating.
6. Update your lighting
Now you’ve cleaned, tidied, waterproofed and sorted out your heating, it’s time to think about outdoor lighting, as the cooler months are also the darker months. First, check all your current lights to make sure the bulbs haven’t blown and replace them if they have. Then, think about ways you could light your outdoor area through winter that will enhance your time spent outside at night — there are so many inexpensive forms of lighting available these days, why not take advantage of them! After all, autumn and winter are perfect for outdoor entertaining if you’ve spent a little bit of time getting the ambiance just right.
The cooler months are the ideal time to think about adding an outdoor living area to your home. For a free design consultation, give the experts at Lifestyle Patios a call on 1300 417 950 or 0427 461 486 or contact us via the website.