Getting your yard winter ready? Between weeding, tilling the garden and cutting back plants, make sure you pay attention to the harder, manmade features of your garden as well.
Natural stone patios, benches, walkways, paths and walls also need a bit of love and attention before the cold months ahead. Here are some pro tips for making sure your stone surfaces stay beautiful through any harsh weather.
1. Clean, clean, clean
The first step in safeguarding your stone is cleaning it thoroughly. During winter months, conditions are perfect for the growth of mould and mildew, which is why it's essential to make sure surfaces are free of leaves and other organic matter.
Beyond this, you should clean the stone according to manufacturer instructions. Different stone needs to be cleaned differently, so be sure to check to make sure you don't inadvertently cause damage. Most stone can safely be scrubbed with a stiff bristled brush and warm water.
With backyard barbecues, you should also remove grease and grill from the floor. Degreaser can be used on some stone products, but not all – so be sure to check or ask your supplier about any special care requirements.
2. Pull weeds and grass between stones
If grass and weeds have begun to grow between your stone tiles or in any small cracks, now is the time to remove them. Pull out any plant buildup or even use weed killer to prevent growth.
During the winter when you're spending less time outdoors, weeds continue to spread, which could cause cracks or even change the way your stone has been laid.
3. Remove heavy furniture
Unlike those living in chillier climates, Australians are lucky enough to avoid the freeze-thaw cycle throughout winter.
That said, severe cold snaps can still cause stone to fracture and crack, which is why it's essential to remove heavy furniture, including tables, chairs, fire pits or barbecues.
4. Repair cracks and seal stones as necessary
When it comes to your backyard hardscape, winter means moisture and moisture means damage. When heavy rain falls (or even snow, although most of us won't experience this), it can permeate the surface of your tiles or pavers, particularly if you've installed a porous stone such as sandstone or limestone
To avoid complications due to winter rain, take preventative measures, such as:
- Sealing stone for the weather you're likely experience, whether that's rain, ice or snow,
- Adding polymeric sand to the joints between stone pavers,
- Making sure your stones lie flat on the ground to avoid trapped moisture underneath.
Have more questions about caring for your natural stone hardscape? Contact the experts at BauMart. We're here to make sure you get the most out of your backyard.