Weather Friendly Design

Making your homes more prepared with weather friendly design will maximize sustainability and resilience during harsh conditions


With Spring upon us, it’s never too late to begin thinking about the summer, winter and fall. And if we plan, we will be ready for the seasonal changes. Weather friendly design can mean subtle changes — or sweeping changes depending on where you live.

“Considering the weather throughout the year when designing spaces both indoors and out is smart design for the long-term ownership of your property.”

Considering the weather throughout the year when designing spaces both indoors and out is smart design for the long-term ownership of your property. Even in the sunny parts of the country, we are accepting more deliveries and staying indoors more. Here are a few ideas to keep your property in ship shape and functional no matter what the weather:

Outdoor Areas

Rain and heat can be just as destructive as snow on surfaces and furniture. Protecting your purchased assets is just as important as designing for them.

Deck Sealing. Just a reminder to seal your wood decks. When designing decks consider the maintenance as a part of your vision. Of course, another very weather friendly surface is composite decking.
Make sure to clear your decks of leaves and debris and keep them clear for the winter season to help deter rotting.

Furniture Covers. I can’t say enough about how much furniture coverings add to the life of pieces. Covers can be purchased online or through the manufacturers’ websites. Covered and cared for furniture can last for a decade or more and it will stay clean in between use.

Planter Pots. I’ve just emptied all my pots to prep for evergreen tree tops. Depending on what zone you live in, there are either plants or boughs to naturally create designed decor for your home. I’ve designed my outdoor areas to feature pots manufactured out of zinc or composite material so I can leave them out year round. Think about potting heartier varieties of plants and flowers so you can leave them in for several seasons.

Lights On. Now is a great time to check on all your outdoor lighting. We just updated our exterior lights to new LEDs. We use a timed switch to turn on our entry lights as the sun goes down and off later in the evening. We also have motion lights around the perimeter of our home. Sealed LED light fixtures are great for keeping rain and snow out and they last for many years on average.

Solar Energy. Around our yard and woods we place a few extra solar landscape lights to help us through this darkest part of the year. This is an inexpensive way to light up pathways and driveways if you haven’t fully installed a permanent lighting system.

Garage Spaces

In the North—where I live—our garages are a point of entry during the cold months. Every fall we prepare our garages for the onslaught of snow and ice. Here are a few design ideas:

Boot trays. This is a must in our house. Our muddy, sloppy, dirty boots must be left outside the garage door. I source rubber or mud boot trays at big box or farm implement stores. They can be emptied in the garage drain and sprayed out in the utility sink.

Wall clamps. A place for everything and everything in its place. Hang your shovels and ice scrapers and choppers so they don’t rust on the floor and create another mess to clean up.

Wall shelves. Place your ice melt type product—hopefully paw friendly for pets—on your wall shelves with towels to wipe off puppy’s feet. It’s also a good idea to have an extra leash and some extra dog poop bags standing by just in case.

Indoor/Outdoor Rugs. I’ve recently purchased several indoor/outdoor rugs that are really quite nice looking. With two pups in the house we get a lot of muddy feet so I selected charcoal rugs with some pattern to hide the dirt. These rugs are washable too so that helps me keep a tidy home through whatever weather happens in these parts. I have one outside the door and a matching one inside the back door.

Delivery Drop Off: Design a designated area for grocery and other delivery drop offs both inside and outside the garage. Make sure to have sanitary wipes standing by if you are bringing the boxed or bagged items in right away. Wipe off the containers, door knob and your hands once inside. A lidded metal or wood box works on the outside and a table or shelf works on the inside of the garage.

Barbara Schmidt is a nationally published Interior Designer and Marketing Expert known for her authentic storytelling about spaces, places and trends @

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