Winter is coming.

Old Man Winter doesn’t care about your landscaping. Intentional or not, he can do some serious damage to irrigation systems, fountains, pools, and a wide range of plants. Like any investment, it’s wise to take steps to protect them. 

You may be one of the multitudes of estates with a water feature or pool. If you have a fountain, and this is especially true of the “bubbling urn” fountain, it needs to be completely drained and turned off for the winter, as freezing water can cause the foundation to crack. Pool equipment like pumps and filters should continue to run if you don’t drain your pool. It takes moving water longer to freeze, so it’s best to keep the system running. If your property has an irrigation system, make sure to continue having it checked regularly. While winters here don’t tend to get as severe as they do up north, recent winters have taught us that you can never be too prepared for freezing temperatures. 

Plants, and tropical plants, in particular, can be ruined by severe cold. Covering them with freeze cloth during the winter months is the best way to keep them safe—and is a much better solution than buying new plants when Spring rolls around. Potted plants are even more at risk, as there’s no natural heat stored in the ground to help them out. So make sure they’re covered, even if they’re a hardier plant. If you’re wanting to landscape with plants that are naturally better suited to the cold, Boxwood is the way to go. It’s a hardy plant that works with both classic and modern designs. 

When there’s a freeze warning, the best thing you can do for your outdoor plants is to make sure the soil has some moisture. On nicer days, run your irrigation system because when you combine new plantings with dry soil and cold weather, the end result is dead plants. Having rain/freeze sensors to help you monitor your systems is extremely important in weather like this. Winter is also a good time to consider updating your irrigation system with the newest tech like smart controllers & weather stations.  Being able to control everything from your smartphone is great, especially if you are out of town for the holidays.  Beyond that, leaf pickup, gutter cleaning, drain cleaning, and the like, should be performed as well. Wrapping yourself in a blanket with a mug of hot cocoa is a great way to fight the cold weather. The steps listed above are the equivalent of a blanket and hot cocoa for plants, landscaping, and garden. 

Taking good care of your landscaping during the winter will definitely pay off when the sun comes back out in the Spring.