Most homeowners have a routine for getting their property ready for winter. You probably do too.
But are you certain that your getting-ready-for-winter routine covers all your bases? Are you sure that your routine fully prepares your property for enduring and surviving the ravages of winter unscathed?
As it happens, there are several getting-ready-for-winter actions that most homeowners routinely forget – things that just simply don’t occur to most of us. But neglecting these items can create headaches and extra expenses down the road.
So even if you’ve already completed your winter preparation checklist, it might be wise to retrace your steps to be certain that the following action items have been completed:
Do you leave any gardening containers outdoors during winter? That’s probably a mistake, because they’re all vulnerable to damage as a result of Mother Nature’s winter wrath.
These items are often constructed of Terra Cotta, which is extremely susceptible to freeze damage. Terra Cotta items should be stored in a heated area if at all possible. Pots – both glazed and unglazed – are also easily damaged and should be stored indoors.
Plastic gardening containers can remain outdoors, but should be emptied and stored inverted. And if they are left outside, they should be protected from UV damage by covering them with a tarp.
Even metal containers such as pots and watering cans should be emptied and either covered, inverted, or stored indoors. Water that collects in them and then freezes can destroy them.
How about yard art? Do you leave any of these items stored outside? If so, you might want to rethink that.
Most statuary, for example, develops lots of tiny cracks and fissures over time. These microscopic flaws aren’t particularly damaging of themselves. But when water works into those tiny cracks and then freezes – that is damaging. And it will greatly accelerate the deterioration of the piece. So all statuary should be protected.
The same applies to any decorative stonework. Exposing stonework to multiple cycles of freezing and thawing over the winter will greatly accelerate aging, and reduce the useful life of these items.
Even flagstones that sit directly on the ground are susceptible to winter damage – though it may not be worth the trouble to move all your flagstones indoors for the winter.
Anything That Holds Water
While surveying your property, keep an eye out for anything that may tend to collect water. Accumulated water that goes through multiple cycles of freezing and thawing is very likely to damage the vessel that contains it.
Protect these items by preventing water from collecting within them. The best method for providing that protection will vary, depending upon the item. Some items may be easily protected by simply overturning them. Others may need to be covered with a tarp or a lid of some sort. And some are simply best moved indoors for the winter.
And don’t forget any fountains that utilize pumps. Pumps are extremely vulnerable to winter damage, and should be removed and stored indoors. Some pumps should be stored in water during the winter to prevent seals from drying out – consult the manufacturer’s recommendations for best storage practices.
Make One More Round…
Even if you’ve completed your winter preparation checklist for this season, it might be worth making one last round. This time, check to see if you’ve missed any of the items listed above.
At the worst, you’ll spend a few extra moments taking a stroll through your property. But you might just spot some things that you’ve overlooked in the past. And doing so will likely save you some grief and some green come springtime.