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If you live in Great Britain, there's not much chance that you'll be sitting outside during the winter months.
While it's always nice to enjoy the great outdoors when the warm summer allows us, it's a different story during the colder parts of the year.
We already know that weather affects the appearance of timber, so if you're unlikely to be using your garden furniture in the winter, how should you prepare it for the cold weather?
Water hazard: Leaving wooden garden furniture on a lawn during the winter can be detrimental to the timber because of the water content of the grass.
Here's our guide to keeping your wooden garden furniture protected during the winter...
Have you ever excitedly dragged your garden chairs and table out at the first sight of the spring sunshine, only to find that it's covered in mildew and mould? Bet you didn't clean it before you packed it away the previous winter, did you?
Didn't think so. And why would you? It seems pointless cleaning something that you're not planning on using for a few months. But the dirt and moisture left in your garden furniture whilst it's packed away can cause mildew and mould to build up, meaning you've got a problem when it comes to use it again.
You'll either have a huge cleaning and restoration job on your hands, or you might even need to take the plunge and invest in some new garden furniture.
To prevent the build up of mould and mildew, clean the furniture before you pack it away. This will help to remove embedded dirt and grime, as well as preventing things such as bird droppings from forming stains over the winter period. Once it's dried, you can pack the furniture away safe in the knowledge that the threat of mould is greatly decreased.
To clean wooden garden furniture, follow these simple steps:
- Wash with a soft sponge and warm soapy water.
- Remove any stubborn stains by gently scrubbing with a soft bristle brush.
- Rinse of any excess water and suds.
- Allow the furniture to dry completely before packing away for the winter.
Don't be tempted to use a pressure washer. While you might save time, you may strip away the layers of the wood, making it rough and uncomfortable to use.
Usually, your wooden garden furniture will be treated with a preservative treatment to prolong its life. For example, all of our furniture is pressure treated with an oil based preserver.
Over time, it's important that you re-apply a preservative to ensure that the timber is fully protected. It is beneficial if you do this prior to packing the furniture away for the winter, as it helps to prevent the wood from becoming damaged by the harsh weather.
If you have the space, it's a great idea to pack your wooden garden furniture away for the winter. A large garage or is the perfect place to keep the furniture away from the winter's elements.
This will keep it nice and dry, preventing it from becoming damaged by moisture.
If there's no space in your garage or shed, and you really have to keep it outside, it might be worth moving the furniture to a more suitable position in the garden.
If you use the furniture on the grass during the summer, move it onto hard ground for the winter. This is beneficial because it avoids constant exposure to the moisture in the grass which is likely to be wet for much of the winter. As we have already seen, allowing moisture seep into the wood have a damaging effect.
Similarly, ensure that you keep the furniture in a part of the garden where puddles don't form, and don't allow water to pool around table and chair legs. Also make sure that water does not collect and sit on the seat of garden chairs or the surface of tables and benches.
Which brings us on to our next point...
If you have no garage or outdoor storage space to store your wooden garden furniture during the winter months, it might be wise to invest in some furniture covers. These can be used to protect your furniture from the elements when the weather is at its fiercest and most destructive.
In fact, it's a good idea to use covers even if you are storing the furniture in a garage or shed. The covers will help to prevent a build up of dust and dirt that can occur while the furniture isn't in use. This will save you more time in the spring too, as it will require less cleaning when you bring the furniture out to use again.
Use It (Indoors!)
There is one more option that might interest you, especially if you have no space to store the furniture in a garage. How about using it indoors?
Of course, many larger items such as big patio tables won't fit in your house. But for relaxing chairs, why not consider moving them indoors during the winter? They could make for some great additional seating in conservatories or sun rooms, allowing you to entertain guests indoors while it's miserable outside.
When the cold weather comes and it's no longer pleasant to sit outside, taking care of your wooden garden furniture should be a high priority. Unless you want to replace your furniture every spring, follow these steps to keep it in good condition and prolong its lifespan.
That way, when the warm sun returns the following spring, you can simply roll out your furniture and enjoy the garden without the hassle of cleaning or replacing it.
Is your wooden garden furniture prepared for the winter?
Want to read more on preparing your garden for winter?
Check out our other wintery articles: