As brownish leaves twirl down from the trees and the sun starts to descend in the early afternoon, your garden suddenly looks far less hospitable than it did in the warm summer months. Winter may indeed be on its way, but it does not mean that your eco-friendly gas BBQs or outdoor reunions should come to a halt altogether.
With miserable, unpredictable weather on the agenda for the next foreseeable future, it is only natural to have some doubts and concerns about your outside furniture. Will it survive the rain, the frost and – possibly – the snow?
Here we look at what you can do to ensure that your garden fittings are not hampered by the hostile winter climate.
Clean your furniture
With the cold days fast approaching, it is easy to fall into the trap of postponing your cleaning duties to more pleasant spring mornings. Besides, you may reason that you are more likely to use your outdoor furniture in April anyway.
As a matter of fact, it is vital to get your brooms and brushes out before the winter fully settles in. Indeed, a good scrub will prevent rot and mould from materialising on your items. Dirt holds moisture more effectively than clean surfaces, and ultimately, it is moisture that accelerates the decay.
So do not delay the clean-up! It also means that the furniture will be ready for use as soon as the sun starts finally shining again.
Keep its legs dry
As well as keeping your own feet dry with waterproof shoes or boots, ensure that your furniture (wooden especially) is not standing in puddles or wet grass for too long. Conversely, it would be sensible to place it on a stone or pebbled surface from time to time to allow its legs to drain and dry out.
If this is not a possibility, think about applying a preservative, as this will soak up into its feet and offer the area more protection.
Cover or wrap it up
To leave your furniture uncovered, at the mercy of the cold winter weather, would be a hazard. Wrap it up with purpose-made covers or protect it with a tarpaulin to prevent climate factors from causing your garden fittings to wear down.
Additionally, make sure there is ventilation for air to circulate so any moisture can get out on a drier day.
Move it to a sheltered position
It is no secret that storms and gusts of wind can be pretty strong in the winter. While we enjoy our own cosy interior space, our outside fittings will inevitably have to forgo and sustain the challenging climate.
Lighter furniture, in particular, is rather prone to being shaken and blown all over the place by wind blasts. Not only will it suffer damages itself, but may also end up causing problems to the rest of the garden. This is why it is wise to move them to a sheltered spot to prevent potential dangers.
Check the weather forecast
Do not change the channel or switch the telly off at the end of the news – wait for the weather forecast. By listening to the weather updates, you will know whether your garden furniture is safe to stay where it is or if it needs reshuffling instead.
Store gas appliances properly
Wouldn’t it be nice to place a green, warm outdoor heater in the proximity of your outdoor seating area? Whether it is a gas fire pit, gas BBQ, or a gas cylinder, it is vital to adequately protect your gas appliances when winter arrives.
As for the latter, in particular, it is pivotal that it remains outdoors – whatever the weather – as a safety precaution to prevent gas accidents inside the house. This said, since the freezing climate and moisture may affect the correct functioning of valves and regulators, so it’s important to check your regulator and hose for the gas bottle each time you intend to use it.
Here are a few extra steps you can take to ensure the safety of your gas bottles
- Cover its tap – Ensure that no dust accumulates on the tap by covering the tap completely. Additionally, store it in a well-ventilated space, away from sources of heat and ignition.
- Stand it upright – This is important as it will minimise the eventuality of leaks occurring. Moreover, if possible, store it on a shelf or raised surface to avoid knocking your cylinder down by accident.
- “Never work with children or animals” – Keep your gas bottles in a safe environment, as they do not work well with kids or pets!
As winter approaches, it is easy to abandon the garden furniture to its own destiny. With this brief guide at hand, however, you will be able to safeguard your outdoor fittings from adverse and hostile cold weather.