Get your backyard ready for winter with these expert top tips
The end of spring marks the beginning of a trying time for homeowners. Thanks to our favourable climate, many of us don’t have to worry about the ground freezing or snow falling, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of things to do around the backyard to get ready before the mercury begins to drop.
In some way or another, nearly every element that you have in your backyard can (and should) be winterised in order to protect your investments, right from your lawn furniture and grills to your swimming pool and garden accessories. Plus, there are plenty of projects you can do to help make your patio an enjoyable place to spend time year-round.
When you properly winterise your backyard, it can save you a lot of time and energy when spring comes around again. Try these expert ideas to preserve and maintain your backyard during the winter season.
A stylish fireplace, such as the EP1350 Outdoor Fire Table from Escea, can help make your patio enjoyable for entertaining year-round. Protect your exterior concrete pavers with Resene Concrete Conserver for a clear finish or rejuvenate with Resene Concrete Stain. Exterior cladding in Resene CoolColour Concrete and Resene CoolColour Double Gravel.
Tend to your plants
Autumn is the perfect time to get your growing space ready for the winter months. Frosts will either provide the temperature drop your plants need – crops with starch get a little flavor enhancement when a cold snap turns their starch to sugar – or could be detrimental to their growth.
If you have a flourishing herb garden that requires a chilly venture out far from the house on winter eves, transplant some to pots or planters near your door to make it easier to obtain them. Pick up a few Resene testpots to repaint your planters in colours that contrast or complement your exterior palette or choose autumnal hues such as Resene Paddock, Resene Kamikaze or Resene Mai Tai. Most Resene testpots are Resene Lumbersider, which is durable for use indoors or out. If you’d prefer a higher gloss finish, you can apply a coat of Resene Clearcoat UVS or Resene Concrete Clear.
Make sure your outdoor furniture and decking is in good repair before the cool weather arrives – especially timber surfaces. If they could use a fresh coat, look to Resene Lumbersider or Resene Lustacryl for solid colours and Resene Woodsman timber stains for semi-transparent colours. Rockcote wall painted in Resene Triple Sea Fog and timber cladding in Wood-X Kauri Gum, available at your local Resene ColorShop. Remember to apply Resene Deep Clean to patio areas like pavers to help clean off the lichen over the colder months.
Weatherproof your walkways
No matter what time of year it is, you’ll want all the surfaces you traverse on your property to be both clean and safe, but wetter, colder weather can cause outdoor pathways to become extra slippery – especially if you live where it can drop below freezing.
Look to Resene Non-Skid Deck & Path, especially for surfaces that are on a slope. The light gritted texture offers extra grip and slip resistance that can help reduce the risks of accidents. If you have a specific colour in mind, Resene Non-Skid Deck & Path can also be tinted to complement your exterior’s current décor.
Natural wood is a stunning material to use for decking, but to keep it looking spick and span, proper protection is a must. Resene Woodsman Decking Oil Stain is penetrating and can be easily recoated over time. The Resene Exterior woodcare colour chart has a wide range of colour options to choose from.
Don’t forget that it’s proper preparation that will keep your deck looking its best the longest. If any of your paint is flaking or blistering, it’s going to need a thorough scrape to remove as much paint as practicable to make the stripping stage easier. Use Resene Strip-Off to remove the remainder.
For solid colours, Resene Lumbersider low sheen or Resene Sonyx 101 semi-gloss are ideal for a wide range of outdoor projects. Remember that our harsh sunlight tends to wash colours out, so chances are you will need to opt for a shade darker than the one you are initially drawn to.
Outdoor surfaces gather up lichen and the like and it can be surprising just how quickly this can make surfaces look dirty.
Slow acting Resene Deep Clean gets right down to the roots of the problem, destroying lichen and mildew growth and is ideal for use on paths, patios, decks and other exterior cementitious, timber and painted surfaces. For areas like terracotta tiles, seal with Resene Aquapel & Terracotta Sealer, a water repellent treatment that will provide a water-beading effect and help keep surfaces cleaner.
If space isn’t an issue in your backyard, designing your landscaping and decking so that it creates areas with different purposes, such as eating or relaxation – much like the rooms in your house – can help create more intimacy.Rockcote wall painted in Resene Triple Sea Fog and timber cladding in Wood-X Kauri Gum, available at your local Resene ColorShop.
Decks are a big investment, so you’ll want to look after yours and make it last. Even though homeowner Trudy’s deck was only 12 months old, it was already showing signs of moss an mould establishing. Freshly cleaned and resealed in time for winter, Trudy’s deck looks good as new. She used Resene Timber and Deck Wash before giving it a fresh coat of Resene Furniture and Decking Oil. Exterior cladding in Resene Mondo and trim in Resene Black White.
Fix up your furnishings
Just because it’s colder and wetter out doesn’t mean that you need to say goodbye to your backyard or patio until spring – even if it isn’t covered. There are plenty of ways you can make your space one that can be enjoyed year-round. More permanent structures like wind walls or roofed pergolas can do wonders for blocking out less desirable weather, if you have the space and budget, but there are plenty of flexible, temporary stylish options like screens, gazebos and umbrellas that can help keep you dry and protected. Resene Umbrella Additive is an additive for exterior waterborne coatings providing rapid protection from light showers even before the coating has dried.
Tracey Johnston of Johnston Imports recommends giving your outdoor furniture a good clean every four to six months and treating outdoor timber and wicker products with a sealant that has a built-in lichen and moss inhibitor to prevent stains and repel dirt and water while also keeping the natural look of the surface.
“Outdoor cushions should be removed and stored over the colder months. Do not leave them to be wet for prolonged periods of time. If at any time your outdoor cushions do get wet, ensure you let them dry properly prior to storing them away,” she says.
If the finish on your outdoor furnishings has worn through or if a change of colour is in order, autumn is a great time to repaint or stain to ensure they will be properly protected over the colder, wetter months. For solid colours, choose Resene Lumbersider or Resene Lustacryl or look to Resene Woodsman timber stains for semi-transparent colours.
Uphold your heat source
These days, we are spoilt for choice when it comes to elegant outdoor fireplaces, and they can be an important element in making sure your backyard is comfortable enough to enjoy year-round. But of course, your fireplace will need to be maintained to keep it looking beautiful and working safely.
“Whether you use your outdoor fireplace year-round, in the longer summer nights or in the middle of winter, there are certainly a few things you can do to maintain it, extend its life and keep it burning at its best,” says Matthew Cuffe, Architectural Advisor at Escea.
“As with any household gas appliance, make sure you get your outdoor gas fire serviced every 1-2 years (depending on how often the fire gets used). If the firebox or fascia is showing signs of rust or has marks, you can clean it with a suitable cleaning product. With some outdoor gas fires, like the Escea EF5000 Outdoor Gas Fireplace, you can actually replace the fuel bed or fascia if it needs it, or if you simply want to change the look.“
Matthew says that older outdoor fireboxes are prone to rust, but you can sand and repaint the firebox and make it look as good as new.
“For outdoor wood fireplaces, make sure you regularly scoop the ash out of the pan to prevent rusting when the fire isn’t in use. And just as you would get your indoor wood fire chimney swept, it’s a good idea to get your outdoor wood fire swept regularly too. We usually recommend getting this done once a year. Monitor your wood stack and make sure it’s stored in a dry place, ideally off the ground – and ensure you have a hose or fire extinguisher handy, just in case a log happens to roll out while you’re using it.”
Matthew also recommends checking if your outdoor fire comes with a weather cover or if you can purchase one for it. “A weather cover will protect the firebox from the elements when it’s not in use and help prevent rusting.”
Chill your grill
If you know you won’t be firing up your barbecue over the winter months, there are some easy steps you can take to ensure your gas grill will be ready to come summer-sizzling season. Firstly, be sure to disconnect the propane tank or natural gas line before starting any cleaning. Remove cooking grates, heat plates and warming rack and brush them clean as best you can with a wire grill brush. Then, wash them in warm soapy water, rinse and dry thoroughly. Scrape the inside of the burner box making sure to remove as much build-up as possible and wipe down the inside of the grill and remove any food particles, dirt or leaves that have accumulated. Store your BBQ under a cover to help protect it from moisture all-year around when it’s not in use.
Different guests will find different types of seating more comfortable than others, so why not offer a range of seating and let them pick what suits them best? Even a mix of sofa, armchairs and beanbags can do the trick. Rockcote wall painted in Resene Triple Sea Fog and timber cladding in Wood-X Kauri Gum, available at your local Resene ColorShop.
Check your cladding
If you’re tempted to get the paintbrush out this winter, remember that cold conditions can cause standard waterborne paint to crack or powder and lead to premature paint failure. When using paint in the colder months, keep an eye on the temperature, both on the surface you are painting, and the air. Don’t be fooled by a balmy day, if you’ve had a cooler morning surfaces like concrete take longer to warm up than the likes of plasterboard.
If you are applying paint when it's cold, Resene Wintergrade Additive can be added to Resene exterior waterborne coatings to provide extra protection for paint application that takes place in colder temperatures – even when it dips as low as 3°C.
Where you can, get to those touch-up tasks while the weather is still decent so you can maximise your painting time.
The bright sun tends to make exterior colours look lighter, so you'll need to make sure your exterior colours have enough contrast. Always test and view your colours outdoors first by painting a large piece of cardboard with a full Resene testpot in two coats, leaving an unpainted border around the edge.
If you are using a dark exterior colour, remember to ask for the Resene CoolColour formula. It reflects more of the sun’s UV, protecting the paint and the cladding by minimising heat stress and potential damage. For a quick clean-up of outdoor surfaces, either before painting, or to wash your home every 6-12 months, use Resene Paint Prep and Housewash.
“Regular maintenance of your spouting system will protect its looks and help ensure it performs as guaranteed,” says Nigel Montgomery, Senior Product Manager for Marley.
“Cleaning requirements will depend on your external environment – such as the number and type of trees around your property, or if you are in a coastal region subjected to windblown sand and salt spray. But, to maintain its appearance, spouting can be washed at least once per year, and autumn is the ideal time to do it. Use warm soapy water and a soft bristled brush or cloth and simply rinse it off with clean water.”
When it comes to maintaining the inside of your spouting, Marley has two special products that can help keep things clean and make your seasonal outdoor chores even easier. “Install a Marley Outlet Strainer. This inexpensive device will stop larger debris and tennis balls getting into your downpipes. Or, install a Marley Curve – a leaf and debris diverter that removes matter from the water as it passes down your downpipe. It is easy to install, self-shedding and will help stop the risk of stormwater systems and retention tanks getting blocked up with leaves and sediment,” recommends Nigel.
Don’t forget that the colours you choose on your exterior can also have an effect on your mood when you’re out enjoying your backyard. Paul and Marion gave their bach on Awhitu Peninsula a fresh coat of paint in contagiously cheerful Resene Happy complemented with a roof and fence in Resene Blue Zodiac. With plenty of seating, a large umbrella, a fireplace and barbeque, their rear deck looks to have everything they need to comfortably entertain year-round.
images Escea, Trudy Dickinson, Registered Master Builders (supplied), Marion Walker
Published: 04 Jun 2020
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