How to Winter-Proof Your Outdoor Spaces Effectively

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driveway covered in snow

A snow-laden garden is a breathtaking sight to behold. Also, occasional walks around your outdoor spaces could be a real treat. However, for mostly-used patios, walkways, paths, and main entryways, safety is usually a real concern. Here are some easy things you should do right now to keep ice and from snow endangering your family, guests, and delivery people.

Things to Do Right Now

Prevent the Buildup of Ice on Walkways

You can do this by keeping track of the water flow and ensuring that water on the gutters and the roof is flowing freely. Consider installing downspout extensions or rain chains to direct water flow away from your home’s foundation and paved areas.

Get Rid of Snow as Soon as Possible

Use a snowblower or shovel and a broom to avoid snow buildup. Once it hardens, it would be much harder and dangerous to remove, so you’ll need help from your local snow removal professional. Remember that compacted, dense snow turns into ice quickly, so sprinkle some wood or straw chips or gravel to give some traction on sites where snow or ice remain.

Reduce the Use of Ice and Snow Melting Products

Products like these are usually composed of salts and work by drawing moisture and producing a liquid brine, generating heat to melt ice and snow. But salt could damage plant roots and, in turn, lead to desiccated and brown edges on fresh shoots and leaves, or worse, death. Also, salts are corrosive and could damage your hardscape. They’re likewise harmful to your fur babies.

If you must use the products, you can minimize its negative effects with the following precautions:

  • Opt for products that have pet-safe labels.
  • Always follow the instructions of the manufacturer and pick a product that suits the conditions best.
  • Mix in some sawdust, kitty litter, or sand to give traction and minimize the amount of product you need to apply.
  • After a snowstorm, clear walkways as soon as possible to prevent using more product than you need.
  • Once the walkways and areas you applied product has cleared, clean up the product remnants promptly. Avoid sweeping it onto your garden beds, lawns, or into the street to keep it from contaminating the natural waterways and stormwater drainage system.
  • Flush all pavement and landscape areas with water and other areas where you think there’s an excess product.

snow covered street

Planning Right

Pick the Right Hardscaping

If possible, keep paving surfaces textured but even in areas that are subjected to active traffic. Consider landscape pavers, natural stone, or brushed concrete to prevent slips and falls.

In particular, wood decking is easy to maintain and clean, offers some traction, and enables moisture runoff due to the spaces between wooden planks. Likewise, certain composite decking surfaces could be extremely slippery when wet, while expanded metal could be an excellent substitute if you want that industrial look.

Add Railings for Safety

Stairways located outside must ideally have handrails for safety and support, particularly in snowy climes. For easier cleaning, consider installing backless or riser-free stairs.

Light Up Your Landscape

Sufficient lighting could help guide people and keep them away from harm. Strategically placed lighting along clean and ice-free pathways are great, but decorative lighting could also work.

Invest in Subsurface Heating

Consider installing subsurface heating for areas beneath decks, patios, and driveways so you can continue doing your outdoor activities even if it’s cold outside. While this could be quite costly, it could prove valuable in areas with excessive snowfall.

Winter offers a wonderland and snuggle weather, but also various hazards in outdoor spaces. But using the tips suggested above, you could certainly enjoy the season and keep everyone safe.

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