The harsh winter season can wreak havoc on your landscape and hardscapes if you don’t take the time to prepare and protect them from the impending colder temperatures and precipitation in California.
So what can you do now to guarantee a thriving and sustainable outdoor space come springtime?
There are a number of steps and specific products such as grout, cleaners and sealers along with tips from the experts you might not be aware of that will set you up for success this winter.
In this guide, we will be sharing California winter landscaping tips along with the best way to protect your hardscapes so that you can maintain your yard for years to come. Read on to learn more.
If you are a beginner you might be wondering, what is hardscaping and landscaping?
Landscape, also known as softscape, refers to the softer, living, natural elements such as trees, flowers, bushes, and shrubs. Hardscape refers to the solid, manufactured components added to outdoor spaces. Examples are paving in driveways and walkways made of brick, stone, concrete, patios, retaining walls, water features, pergolas, decorative landscaping rocks, aggregates, and other hardscape ideas custom-built for your home.
Preparing Your Landscape for the Winter Slumber
Trim, Rake and Aerate Your Lawn
You’ll want to start by cutting your grass back shorter than you do in the warmer months. Leaving only 2-2.5 inches will protect growth and reduce the attraction of pests. Ensure all leaves and debris from the fall season have been raked and removed. Any dead debris left behind can suffocate your lawn and stunt new growth.
With your lawn hibernating in the colder months, it will require a consistent supply of nutrients to survive until spring. Aerate your turf to give easy access to roots within the ground by providing them with fertilizer, oxygen, and water. You’ll want to aerate in combination with fertilizing when the grass is still green. This will ensure it quickly springs back to life when winter is over.
How to Protect Trees, Plants, and Shrubs
If you neglected to apply mulch in the fall, or if you didn’t use enough, now would be the best time to do it. Add a thick layer of mulch around trees, shrubs, and plant roots to provide extra protection. Mulch also helps protect against erosion, water loss and provides a more uniform soil temperature. In addition, you should plan to prune your plants in the late winter so that you are only leaving fresh wounds for a short period in the cold temperatures.
To learn more about California winter landscaping tips and tricks, check out our detailed guide.
Protect Your Hardscape From Harsh Winter Elements
Even though winter in California doesn’t involve blankets of snow, there are still harsh seasonal elements such as colder temperatures and precipitation, which can take a toll on your paved surfaces. So let’s discuss how to care for your hardscape this winter.
Clean and Seal Natural Stone
Pavers made of natural stone need extra care and love when faced with the wet season and should be sealed ahead of time. Many people think of sealant for old, deteriorating driveways; however, we suggest using it to prevent deterioration of pavers and concrete from elements such as UV rays, ice, staining of any kind, and overall wear and tear. If you consider using rock salt in the winter, it is advisable to avoid it altogether as it dries out and weakens your hardscape over time.
Pavers still need to be cleaned regularly, so whenever a dry, sunny day rolls around, plan to give your driveways and walkways a good cleaning. Some of the most common stains found on stone are mold, algae, bird droppings, efflorescence, calcium deposits, rust, tree acid, leaf litter, bubblegum, oil/food, and wine. We suggest products such as our SynPro Masonry Cleaner which is the strongest hardscape masonry cleaner in the world that is also color-safe, non-toxic, and non-fuming.
Cleaning and sealing natural stone will ultimately enhance the preservation of their colors, helping you maintain their life for years to come. You can check out our product line of sealants and cleaners that are guaranteed to leave a long-lasting, breathable, protective barrier against staining and seasonal elements.
Consider Installing Permeable Paving
Permeable or pervious paving is made of porous material such as pervious concrete, porous asphalt, paving stones, or interlocking pavers. These permeable pavers eliminate or significantly reduce stormwater run-off – protecting our creeks, bay, and other surface waters from toxic pollutants.
They benefit landscape plants by allowing essential air and water to penetrate their root systems and play a significant role in recharging dwindling groundwater. They reduce reliance on more expensive and higher maintenance infrastructure/landscape solutions for stormwater control and may qualify for permeable credits for new home construction.
Pervious Grout for Flagstones
Flagstone is a generic flat stone, sometimes cut in differing shapes and typically used for paving slabs or walkways, patios, flooring, fences and roofing. Here at Lyngso, we highly recommend pervious grout to care for your flagstones. PerkGrout is a polymer-modified pervious concrete using non-shrink cement to produce a crack-resistant, durable finish for flagstone set in compacted base rock/crushed stone or pervious concrete.
You can learn more about the history of various types of stone, the types of stains to look out for, and how to keep your stone sparkling clean in our Beautification Guide.
At Lyngso, landscape and hardscape experts are at the heart of our business. Based in San Carlos, we are a family-run and employee-owned business working for over 50 years as a resource for our community. We offer materials and expertise to educate, assist, and ultimately satisfy our clientele so that we build long-lasting relationships. Please contact us if you have further questions about your landscaping and hardscaping needs.