outdoor living

Extend summer living by weatherproofing your outdoor space

Chris Palmer on how to prepare your yard for the inclement weather to come

Chris Palmer is a guest expert on the Global Morning Show and is the owner of Handcrafted by Chris Palmer.

Nothing beats Toronto in the summertime, especially if you have a backyard to kick back in and soak up the sun. But before you know it, summer turns to fall, and with fall comes the wind, rain and eventually the snow.

For homeowners who have invested a lot of time and money in their gardens and outdoor spaces, it is disheartening to watch the weather destroy them. With weather that changes rapidly in winter and summer, proper weatherproofing can make a huge difference in the lifespan of your projects.

I have some tips to help your outdoor oasis last longer this season and for years to come.


From deck to dock, pressure treated lumber gets the most wear and tear. Wood is a natural product and needs to be properly protected from the elements.

Many people make the mistake of buying a stained top coat to protect the wood, but this stain sits on top of the wood and inevitably flakes off. You need to use an oil- based wood sealer that really sinks into the wood and keeps it looking fresh. I like to build with MicroPro Sienna lumber because it’s the most environmentally friendly treated wood option and has a beautiful brown colour. I use a tung oil–based product a few dry days after I’m finished construction to protect the wood and seal in the colour, and I’ll reapply the oil every three to five years (depending on the directions on the label) to keep the wood looking great.


Concrete is one of the most expensive materials to replace, and once the waterproof seal goes away, it wears out quite quickly.

If you use salt to de-ice your driveway or wash your vehicle in the driveway, the seal on the concrete will wear out faster. Your concrete will tell you when it needs some love, usually every two to five years. Also, don’t make the mistake of using a multi-surface waterproofer. Focus on getting a really good concrete sealer. You can find it in your local hardware store.


If you want to leave your barbecue cover and canvas furniture outside year-round, find a fabric seal spray with a UV coating.

This coating will improve the colour and durability of your fabric. Umbrellas should be naturally waterproof, so check before you spray them. If you have water beading off the fabric, it’s already waterproof. If the water starts going through fabric, you need to treat it.


Another outdoor element to pay attention to is natural stone. Many homeowners have chosen to make the most of their outdoor space with an outdoor kitchen, and that can often include a marble countertop. Flagstone paving has also become a popular design feature for those classing up their yards. Both of these features use natural stone, and stone needs to be sealed, so make sure to hit it with a specialized treatment.

Finally, don’t forget your windows. Those wonderful glass panes that let all that sunlight into your home can also be the gateway for water seepage. Check the caulking around the glass every year, especially on your basement windows.

Once you’ve given your yard a bit of TLC, it’s time to enjoy every last minute before the snow forces you indoors.

Article exclusive to STREETS OF TORONTO