So, you’ve invested in outdoor furniture. Great! But now winter is coming and you’re not sure what to do with it.
“I’ve seen the damaging effects harsh weather can have on outdoor furniture if not protected, especially through the winter months,” says George Mcdermott, a landscape designer in Oxford. “Brand-new furniture can look 10 years old in just one winter season. It’s not unusual to see metals rust, wicker unravel, wood split and plastics crack because they were unprotected.”
Here are some options for what to do with deck, outdoor kitchen and patio furniture in the winter, so you can enjoy it for many years to come.
Move Outdoor Furniture to a Garage, Shed or Storage Unit
The best thing to do is bring it indoors, says George. If storage space is limited, stack the furniture to best utilize the area. If you don’t have room to store it on site, George recommends renting a storage unit. Yes, this is an added expense. But you’ve already spent money on the outdoor furniture, and you want to continue enjoying it next season.
Use Individual Covers to Protect Outdoor Furniture
If you can’t bring outdoor furniture inside, George suggests investing in outdoor furniture covers. There are many great options in a variety of sizes.
“Be sure to check covers periodically, to make sure they are still fitting snugly on your furniture throughout the winter,” George says. “Brush off snow, ice, and debris when it builds up.”
Cover Outdoor Furniture with Tarps
Tarps are a less expensive option than covers for protecting outdoor furniture. Look for heavy-duty plastic tarps, like this waterproof tarp, online or at your local hardware store. They’re available in a range of sizes.
Many tarps have grommet holes that make it easy to tie them down over furniture. To fasten your tarp, George recommends bungee cords, twine or rope to cinch the bottom around the furniture. “Place the tarp over the piece, wrap the sides and cinch the bottom so you keep moisture out as much as possible,” George says. Leave some ventilation underneath the furniture to prevent mold and mildew.
Bring In the Cushions and Leave the Frame
“If you live in an area where temperatures are likely to fall below freezing, it’s always best to bring the cushions indoors for the winter,” George says. The frames can stay outside, covered.
Once inside, if the cushion covers are removable, clean them as recommended on the tag. If not, spot clean them. Here’s how to clean outdoor furniture cushions. In any case, make sure the cushions are completely dry, then pack them in boxes or plastic bags.
What if You Leave Outdoor Furniture Outside All Winter?
If you plan to leave your furniture outside year-round, unprotected, you will likely spend some time cleaning, removing rust, resealing and/or repainting the following season. Better to take precautions now and save yourself time and effort in the spring.