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Winterize Your Outdoor Areas With Ease

Winter is coming as ferocious as ever. Nothing like the natural elements to destroy all your gardening advancements. But as this is not the 18th century anymore, there are numerous steps you can take to protect your outdoor areas from the chilling forces of nature. In this article, you'll find tips about how to winterize all your outdoor belonging, as well as some links to home-proofing and car-proofing for winter. Let's get to work then! 

Preparing Your Pool

pool closed for winter
Pool prepping is all about prevention. Instead of dealing with a bunch of problems or maintenance issues, you can take a few steps now to enjoy your pool first thing in the summer. Here are the specs:
  • Save yourself time and money and purchase a pool closing kit. It contains all the chemicals you may need. 
  • Clear the pool thoroughly. This means not only catching leaves and the occasional bug but going in with a deep scrubbing and vacuuming. Clean and backwash the filters and pumps. This will prevent bacteria from growing, as well as clogs in the filtering systems. 
  • Test, balance, and treat the chemicals in your pool one last time before next summer. Use a pool kit and pay extra attention to pH levels (should be between 7.2 and 7.6), alkalinity (should be between 80 and 120 ppm), and calcium hardness (should be between 180 and 200 ppm). A week before the final closure, add a phosphate remover. 
  • Give your pool a super chlorinating powder treatment. Pay special attention to quantities, and wait a few days after the treatment until the chlorine levels return to 1 to 3 ppm. 
  • If the temperatures in your area go below freezing you'll need to lower the water level in your pool. According to Bob Vila, If you use a mesh cover, the water level should be 8 to 12 inches below the skimmers. If you use a solid cover, the water levels should be 3 to 6 inches below the tile. If your pool is above the ground, this step isn't necessary. 
  • Remove any accessories you can to make sure the cover fits well: the diving board and ladders, and the skimmer baskets. 
  • Cover the pool: mesh covers don't require any maintenance, are cheaper but allow debris in the water. Vinyl pool covers are pricier and require you to remove accumulated water from the top but they are 100% sealed. 
  • Each month, monitor the pool's chemical profile to maintain a pH level of 7.4, chlorination levels of 2 to 4 ppm, and alkalinity of 80 to 120. The minimum calcium hardness should be 200 ppm.
    Keep on with precautionary measures such as closing the safety gates all through winter. 
  • For further instructions including a helpful FAQ section, visit BobVila.Com
  • If you have a pond, lower the water level to 25% to 50% of the original, and add antibacterial additives. Store the pumps inside. 

How to Prepare Furniture

dining set in the patio
  • Brush all the furniture and if you have space, store it away. If you don't have space, gather all the furniture tidily together and cover it with a plastic sheet, and then with a thick water-resistant cloth. Make sure it's well secured so that it stays through the winds. You can put moth repellents if your furniture is padded, or remove the padding and store it away altogether after thoroughly washing and drying it. 
  • If you have an outdoor rug, you'll need to clean it before rolling it away for the season. Start by shaking it, or if it's too big, hang it over a banister and use a tennis racket to hit the dust off. Consider using a facemask and some glasses to protect yourself from all the dust and pollen. 
  • Vacuum the rug, then rinse it with your water hose. Shampoo the rug with mild dish soap and warm water solution, and for tougher stains, use a paste of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. Work the stains with a bristle brush and rinse again. You can use a pressure washer on the lowest setting. 
  • Rather than hanging it, lay the rug flat to dry to preserve its shape. When the top feels dry to the touch flip it. Don't worry if the carpet feels coarse- it will soften up with time. 
  • Only when you're 100% sure that the rug is fully dried, roll it carpet side out. Wrap it in a nylon sheet and store it away. 

How to Prepare Plants 

  • November is the time for winter fertilization: the grass slowly stops growing. According to the Spruce, nitrogen is the most important nutrient in winter fertilization, but choose one that also has potassium and phosphorus. The best mixes allow the potassium and phosphorus to slowly release, while the nitrogen is readily available. 
  • Bring any potted plants inside. First, quarantine them for a week in the garage and spray the leaves with neem oil to kill any pests. Sprinkle cinnamon on the soil or saturate the first inch with 3% to 5% hydrogen peroxide to kill any fungus. 
  • Now is the time to aerate the entire lawn and reseed bald spots. Tend to weeds and give the lawn one last mow if needed. Here's an in-depth guide to reseeding bald patches in your lawn, including tips on dethatching. 
  • Wrap the tree trunks with paper tree wrap to avoid bursting. This happens mainly in thin bark trees when warm sap freezes and splits the bark.  
  • Disconnect the garden hose, drain it and store it away. 
  • Storing summer bulbs: dig them up after the first frost, dry them and store them in peat moss or sawdust in a cool, dark space.
  • Here's a list of winter herbs and vegetables, and some additional tips for gardening during winter

Home and Car Prepping

This video will effortlessly take you through the measures to take for home preparation before winter:
Here are some additional clever tips to prepare your interiors for the cold season, as well as some home upgrades that can take place during the last days of the fall season.
This guide will take you through the safety measures before the first seasonal use of the fireplace, and what you can do with the leftover ash
Additionally, help yourself to these two guides for how to prepare your car for winter:
Drive Safely This Winter
Prepare Your Car For Winter
And finally, the last maintenance guide is for your soul: here's how to scientifically beat the seasonal winter blues
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