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Weekly Gardening Tips for Your Area


Protect Your Patio for the Winter

Lynn Coulter
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Patios get plenty of use when the weather’s nice. But when the leaves fall and the temperatures drop, it’s time to protect your outdoor living space for the coming winter. Furniture and grills can be damaged by the cold, as well as by rain, ice, or snow. Follow our tips to your safeguard your patio so it will be ready to use again next spring.

Patio Furniture

  • Before storing them for the season, clean fabric chair cushions and umbrellas as directed by the manufacturer. If you’re short on space, put them in a weather-resistant deck storage bench. Some models offer extra seating.
  • If your patio furniture is made of woven resin wicker, like the Charlottetown Collection by Martha Stewart Living, vacuum or brush it with a soft brush to remove loose dirt. If needed, scrub the weather-resistant wicker with mild soap and water. Allow the pieces to dry before protecting them with heavy duty covers. Charlottetown slipcovers, made of woven Olefin fabric that resists fading and mildew, are available in a variety of colors and can be changed to customize or coordinate with your outdoor decor.
  • If you have aluminum patio furniture with a powder coating, clean and touch up as directed by the manufacturer. Powder-coated furniture requires special paint; a Home Depot associate can help you find the product you need. 
  • Wash wrought iron furniture with mild soap and water. Sand to remove any rust, and touch up with a spray paint made by the manufacturer. You can use car wax to protect a powder-coated finish. If possible, store wrought iron out of the weather; covers may trap moisture and lead to oxidation or rust.
  • Steel furniture, such as Hampton Bay’s Fall River Collection, is easily cleaned with mild soap and water. The Fall River steel frames are powder-coated for long-lasting color retention.


  • If you live in a climate where the winters are mild, you can fire up your outdoor grill or smoker year round. Otherwise, clean and cover your outdoor cooking equipment at the end of the season to help prevent rust.
  • If you have a gas grill, turn off the propane gas tank and disconnect the hose. If your grill connects to a gas line, turn off the valve to the grill and the one to your home. Then clean the grill, inside and out, with a stiff wire brush and a degreaser, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Don’t forget to clean the drip pan under the grill box, too; you may need to soak it overnight in hot water and a grease-cutting dish detergent.
  • Use a weather resistant cover to protect your grill from the elements. Universal covers fit a range of sizes and shapes, if you can’t find one designed for your model. A good cover should resist cracking and fading and drop down far enough to cover the legs of the grill. Choose a cover that fits snugly, or one with adjustable closures, so it won’t blow off.

The Patio Surface

  • Don’t forget to clean the patio itself. If the surface is concrete, sweep and scrub it with water and a stiff bristle brush. Grill stains can be removed with a degreaser. Natural stone surfaces can be swept, rinsed, and scrubbed with mild detergent. To avoid falls, rinse the patio and allow it to dry completely before using it.
  • If your patio is made of stone or pavers, you may be able to power wash it. Follow manufacturer’s directions if the surface is a composite material. Some types of stone, such as marble and limestone, are porous and need special care to avoid damage. Ask your local Home Depot associate to recommend the right cleaning and/or sealing products for your material.

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