Making sure your outdoor living area is winter-ready may not seem like that big of a deal when living in the south, but in fact, it’s incredibly important for protecting the value of your home. 1) Make sure your heating units are in working order. Your outdoor patio won’t be enjoyable if there are not heating units to keep you warm. Call a professional to check on your furnace or outdoor heaters to make sure they are working properly. It’s also wise to make sure the pipes inside your house are working properly because any outdoor installations that involve water (i.e. hot tubs or outdoor sinks) could cause problems if your pipes freeze over. 2) Make sure that there are no gaps or holes in your patio walls. Your enclosed patio space should be well insulated and while this may seem like a troublesome task for homeowners but with professional help it’s as easy as pie. Ask your outdoor construction designer the best way to insulate windows and outdoor living areas. Sometimes the problems can be easily fixed by the homeowner themselves but other times you may need a professional’s hand. 3) Install a fire pit in lieu of having a man-made fire. While you may think you’re ready to get your Fire Scout badge, many wild fires start from poorly extinguished outside fires created by humans. Fire pits are a smart and efficient way to enjoy an outdoor fire without the risk of burning your landscape or even your house down. 4) Garden protection is a key rule when prepping your outdoor landscape to be winter-ready. The sudden cold snaps can wreck havoc on a garden area so it’s best to make sure your garden area is protected. Have your landscape designer pull up annuals and install an insulated flower bed to make sure any flora or vegetation left in the ground survives the harsh winter cold.