With this particularly frigid winter showing no signs of letting up, this is a good time to educate yourself on how to maintain your garden landscaping and hardscaping so that it’ll be in the best possible shape come spring. You’re probably much more familiar with how to deal with landscaping plants — perennials will mostly come back on their own, and annuals need to be replaced in the springtime anyway — but since you probably paid one or more hardscaping companies quite a bit to install your design, it’s worth following these three simple tips to protect your hardscaping investment:
- Choose De-Icing Products Carefully
Rock salt can be very hard on the sealant used for concrete, so it’s best to avoid it whenever possible (it can run off into your planting beds and create a problem for your soil, too). Liquid de-icers are a better choice, but you still need to be careful not to overuse them. Whenever possible, use sand or grit to provide traction instead. You might even want to choose pavers with built-in texture the next time you’re making some outdoor improvements.
- Use a Plastic, not Metal, Shovel
When you’re shoveling wood or concrete areas such as decks and walkways, stay away from old-fashioned metal shovels. Especially if you have to be aggressive to chip away at ice, metal shovels can chip and scratch the surface. A plastic shovel with a rubberized edge is a good choice. A snowblower, if you can afford one, is even better because they have rubberized feet to protect surfaces.
- Take Advantage of Temporary Relief
When it’s cold out, it’s easy to throw your hands up and just wait for springtime to come along. But if you’re looking to keep your outside space in the best possible shape, it’s important that you take advantage of any temporary lulls in winter weather to remove snow and ice and level out your pavers (which are often moved or pushed up as the ground freezes and thaws). This will prevent unnecessary damage from snowblowers or the small plows used by residential snow removal services.
What other tips can help you minimize the calls you make to hardscaping companies regarding repairs in the spring? Discuss in the comments.