Why winter is the right time to plan outdoor updates

Does the bitter cold weather have you dreaming of warm days spending time with friends and family in your backyard? The cold may keep us indoors, but professionals in the landscape and remodeling industry are still thinking about the outdoors and use the winter months to plan spring projects, and so should you.

Winter months provide the perfect opportunity to prepare your outdoor space for the warmer months. Planning and prepping now will ensure that you get full use of your outdoor space for the entire season once warm weather arrives. Get a head start by planning some of these spring projects now:

Grass
Before you know it, you'll be peeling off your wool socks and walking around your yard feeling the soft grass between your toes. To ensure a lush lawn, spend time this winter researching grass seed options so you can repair any sparse areas in your yard. Planting grass seed early gives the seed plenty of time to germinate which will give you a healthy, green lawn in the spring. In addition to research, you can also chat with someone at your local nursery for help choosing the appropriate type of grass to plant in the early months of spring. Here in Mobile, most of us are not spreading grass seed.  Instead we are applying fertilizer and  weed killers to prepare our lawns for the spring.

Bulbs
Some bulbs grow best when planted in the early spring when the ground is still cool. Do some research to figure out the best bulbs for your region so you can determine the ideal planting time. There's nothing better than having a yard full of colorful flowers providing great curb appeal early in the season.

Deck
Sitting on your deck enjoying warm, sunny days or cooler evenings is something everyone looks forward to. Adding a new deck to your home or replacing an existing one adds value to your real estate investment. Homeowners have been consistently choosing composite decking over wooden decks over the past several years because composite decking is high performance and low maintenance, unlike wood decking which can splinter and crack, and often requires staining and sealing. Composite decking is long-lasting, durable, made of recycled materials, and resists mildew, warping and insects. According to Remodeling magazine 2009-10 Cost vs. Value Report, adding a composite deck to your home has a 70 percent return on investment.

You can find free online tools to help you plan your new decking project during winter months. Visit www.timbertech.com to learn which decking materials are best for you by taking a quick quiz. Create free deck designs with the Online Deck Designer. Mix and match decking and railing colors with the Color Visualizer and be inspired by other deck designs in the Photo Gallery. Before you know it, you'll have the perfect plan for your dream deck so when warm weather hits, you're ready.

Trees and shrubs
As you're deciding on the deck, consider a plan to plant trees and/or shrubbery to provide a more natural outdoor atmosphere. The right type of landscaping will not only be visually appealing, but will also provide privacy and shade. Planting your selections early can have many benefits including time for each tree or shrub to establish a strong root system so that it flourishes for many years to come.

Stop dreaming of warm weather and put that energy into planning your outdoor space. From decking to landscape updates, your efforts during the winter months will bloom into big results once the spring thaw hits.