How to Weatherproof Your Outdoor Space

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Investing time in your outdoor space offers rewards in the form of fresh air and appealing views while you lounge by the pool or sip iced tea on the covered patio. However, rain, snow, and even harsh sun rays can damage outdoor decor and infrastructure, so add weatherproofing to your outdoor living plans.

1. Umbrellas

If you have a patio dining table or a conversation area that's not under cover, use umbrellas to offer shade and protect you from drizzle. Umbrellas also protect the surfaces of your furniture from the damaging effects of sun and rain. Be sure to leave your umbrella down if it's windy and clean it periodically to avoid stains and mildew growth.

2. Porch Covers

An open porch or deck is a wonderful way to absorb the heat of summer, unless of course you have a western-facing backyard that becomes punishingly hot in the afternoon, or live in an ultra-sunny location. If the sun is too intense in your area, a porch cover offers shelter while allowing breezes and scents to filter through. A porch cover can be anything from a complete roof to a simple fabric covering over a pergola.

You could also install a fabric shade that extends out from the house, or even place a canvas canopy on the deck. Regardless of the design, when using cover to weatherproof your porch, be sure to keep the cover free of leaves and other debris, anchor portable options like canopies and umbrellas, and tighten screws annually to make sure everything stays secure.

deck area with cover

3. Fire Pits

Fires add ambiance and function to an outdoor space, but they also require a bit of upkeep. Cover fire pits when not in use to protect them from the elements. During very cold weather, store your portable fire pits in a shed or garage. For larger units, disconnect hoses to gas models. Also tend to any flaking paint and refinish the surface for protection.

4. Grills

Your grill likely spends its entire life outside and it takes a beating as a result. When not in use, cover your grill to protect it from debris, rain, sleet, snow, hail, and sun. Also make sure your grill is clean and dry before covering it to avoid locking in moisture or dirt.

covered grill with light snow on a deck porch

5. Furniture Covers

You can make your own patio furniture covers or buy them premade in the sizes you need. Either way, use furniture covers in areas prone to extreme weather so your furniture is protected and ready when it’s time to enjoy the space.

6. Seal Wood Decks, Fences, Furniture

Some types of wood hold up well against rain and moisture, like teak and cedar. Other woods quickly collect mildew or rot. Whether the wood was used to construct a fence, table, play structure, or deck, protect it with a good sealant. This typically means thoroughly cleaning the wood, applying stain, and using a protective coating as needed.

7. Blinds

Another way to protect a space from the weather is to use blinds around the sides of your gazebo or porch. Blinds are easy to install and they allow you to provide shade as needed rather than being a stationary solution. Rinse your blinds or rolling shades a few times each season and take them down during winter if you live in a severe climate.

waterproof fabrics

8. Waterproof Fabrics

Choose fabrics for your furniture carefully. Waterproof fabric is more expensive than other types of material, but you’ll see the return on investment with a longer lifespan. There are also waterproofing sprays you can apply to fabric to increase water resistance, thus keeping mold and mildew at bay. The other nice feature of quality waterproof fabric is that it dries quickly so you can get back to enjoying your outdoor space following a rainstorm.

9. Rugs

Using throw rugs or an area rug on your back deck offers excellent protection for wood decks and added comfort to concrete ones. Rugs protect your feet from hot or cold surfaces and reduce slipping hazards. However, dirt and moisture can build up beneath rugs so be sure to move and rinse them every few weeks. If they are small enough you can toss them in the washer for a quick cleaning.

10. Storage Benches

Wood, resin, or metal storage benches offer a designated place to keep cushions, hand garden tools, and kids toys. Just be sure they get a layer of protective coating each summer, and cover them when not in use.