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Winter Hardscape Maintenance: Protecting and Preserving Outdoor Spaces.

Updated: Jan 26

Introduction:

With the arrival of winter, it brings along challenges for the maintenance and preservation of hardscapes such as patios, driveways, and pathways. Cold temperatures, snowfall, and freezing conditions can cause damage if proper care is not taken. In this article, we will explore useful tips and techniques to help you maintain your hardscapes during the winter months, ensuring their longevity and aesthetic appeal.

 

1. Clearing Snow and Ice:

- Remove snow promptly: Regularly clear snow from hardscape surfaces to prevent accumulation. This will reduce the risk of water pooling and refreezing, causing potential cracks and heaving.

- Use the right tools: Avoid metal tools that can damage the hardscape surface. Instead, use plastic snow shovels or snow blowers with rubber paddles to minimize the risk of scratches or gouges.

- Choose ice melt carefully: Select ice melt products that are safe for your hardscape material, like calcium magnesium acetate or sand. Avoid rock salt and other chloride-based melts that can cause chemical damage.

 

2. Sealing and Protecting:

- Apply a fresh coat of sealer: Ideally before winter sets in, check if your hardscape surface needs sealing. A good quality sealant will protect against moisture infiltration and the freeze-thaw cycle. If you did not get a chance to do this before winter, check with your local landscaper (like us!) to see if it’s still a good idea to apply sealant.

- Patching cracks and joints: Inspect your hardscape for cracks or gaps. These should be repaired promptly to prevent further damage during freezing temperatures. Use appropriate patching products specific to your hardscape material.

- Consider protective coverings: For particularly delicate or expensive hardscape features, such as ornamental structures or delicate stonework, covering them with tarps or other protective materials can shield them from harsh weather elements.

 

3. Proper Drainage and Gutters:

- Clear debris from gutters and downspouts: ensure that your gutters and downspouts are clear of leaves and debris. This will prevent water overflow that can pool and damage hardscapes underneath.

- Direct water away from hardscape areas: Make sure your landscape slopes away from hardscapes to divert water flow. This prevents ice dams from forming and reduces the chances of water pooling and subsequent damage.

 

4. Maintenance and Regular Inspections:

- Regularly sweep and clean: Regularly remove debris and keep your hardscape surfaces clean by sweeping. This prevents dirt and leaves from accumulating, which can promote water retention and potential damage.

- Inspect for signs of damage: Regularly inspect your hardscapes for signs of cracks, chips, or erosion. By catching potential issues early on, you can take the necessary steps to prevent further deterioration.

 

Conclusion:

By following these winter hardscape maintenance tips, you can protect and preserve your outdoor spaces throughout the colder months. Regular clearing of snow, proper drainage, sealing, and routine inspections will help maintain the longevity and beauty of your hardscapes, ensuring they continue to enhance your outdoor experiences for years to come.




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