HarborFest may have hints of summer following you around Sag Harbor this weekend, but while you’re enjoying the sun don’t forget that back home, fall and winter are lurking, hoping you forget your yard and outdoor furniture.
No worries, our friends at Dodds & Eder are happy to share their expert tips for getting your outdoor world ready, whether you’re concerned about your garden design or outdoor furniture. “Did you know fall is the best time to plant?” offers Dottie Simons, President of Retail Sales at Dodds & Eder. “By planting now, trees and shrubs have the optimal time to establish themselves and come spring they will flourish!
As for those outdoor chairs, tables and chaises, “If you’re going to get ready, you should be cleaning and storing for spring of 2012,” she says.
•We recommend you clean your furniture before you put it away. Most manufacturers will recommend you clean furniture with a soft nylon brush and dish soap. It removes a tremendous amount of residue from frames and cleans up grease, especially from suntan lotion and things like that.
•If you have any black spots growing, that’s a situation where you have mold and mildew and you do have to use bleach. Dilute it, but you have to clean and kill that mildew or it will grow all winter.
•Clean up debris on any cushions. Give them a good hosing and then clean them with a soft nylon brush and dish soap, and let them dry completely before you put them in storage.
•All cushions and umbrellas should be stored in a secure shed or indoor space. Squirrels and mice are known to nibble, so choose a location carefully, because critters use fabrics and cushions as a food source in the winter, they nest in them and they eat them.
•A lot of our customers will shrink-wrap their furniture for the winter. Teak is the perfect product to shrink-wrap but you have to have it done by somebody who knows what they’re doing so they vent it properly. You can take a table and chairs and shrink-wrap it in one bundle.
•A very good preventive for your metal furniture is to go over your frames with a liquid car wax, even before you wrap it up for the winter, because that helps to repel dirt.
•For furniture covers you’ll want a rhino fabric, which is a breathable fabric so condensation can get out. I don’t recommend vinyl or plastic on any synthetic wicker or teak because you’re creating a hot-house effect and you’ll have moisture building up the whole time.
Here’s the secret to the whole thing: You don’t want to clean up now but then not wrap up for a month, because you’ll all kinds of end-of-season stuff from trees falling on it. So you want to clean right before you but away. Out here I know some people have their pools open until Thanksgiving time!
You can visit Dodds & Eder at their Sag Harbor location (1-800-691-1913) during HarborFest or online at www.doddsandeder.com.