Winter is coming, and while you aren’t preparing a literal castle, you’re preparing your castle — patio, balcony, front stoop — for the colder months ahead. Outdoor furniture is engineered to withstand the elements to some degree, but it can’t do so on its own, and it can easily fall prey to fading, water damage, cracks and more. But with proper treatment and storage, you’ll lengthen the life of your furniture and preserve your investment.
We talked to John Galloway, a landscape architect and the owner and creative director of 40North. Their cadre includes properties by the Four Seasons Resorts, One&Only Resorts, Mandarin Oriental Hotels, Hyatt and more in the US, Middle East, North Africa, Bahamas and beyond. He gave us his expert tips — including his very own recipe for cleaning and treating wood furniture — for winterizing outdoor furniture so it’ll be ready to go in the springtime.
Secure a storage space. Secure a shed, indoor area or covered area to store your furniture away from rain and snow.
Start with the cushions. Water is especially nefarious in the winter, when it can seep into cushions and cause them to expand in freezing temperatures. Beat the dust out of cushions, then store them in plastic bags in a dry and covered area.
Treat your timber. Wipe down your wooden frames with a mix of 20 parts white vinegar and one part water to kill mold and fungus, or Murphy Oil Soap and water. Then rinse and dry — just don’t power wash. Repeat the oiling process every 3–5 years in the fall so that your furniture is fresh and ready to use in the spring.
Store and stack. Invest in furniture covers to keep rain and snow from ruining your timber, or store in a garage or covered porch. Stack to save space.
Power-wash your resin. Whereas you should hand wash timber frames, it’s best to power wash plastic resin furniture for optimum cleanliness and longevity.
Don’t forget the umbrellas. Cloth umbrellas protect you from the elements, but they need to be protected, too. Beat the dirt from them, then store them in plastic and (at the very least) in a dry location.