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How College Students Can Enjoy Their Garden in Comfort Throughout the Winter Semester

How College Students Can Enjoy Their Garden in Comfort Throughout the Winter Semester

Our gardens can be a great place to study and unwind from college life. However, when the days start drawing in and temperatures drop, this is easier said than done. For many students, winter gardens can be hard to make the most of because poor weather conditions cause our outdoor spaces to become too chilly, dreary, or damp to offer the same appeal as summer. This doesn’t have to be the case, however. With the right measures, it’s possible to get as much joy out of our gardens in the winter as we do when the barbecue season kicks into gear. Not sure how to transform your garden into a winter wonderland? Let’s take a look at seven great ways to make your outdoor spaces more cosy this winter.

Use Mulch to Keep Your Garden Thriving

The great thing about hay or mulch is that it can hold in both heat and moisture to keep your plants looking great no matter how cold the weather gets. This can be a great asset in keeping your garden thriving despite a gloomy outlook. 

It’s even possible to buy colored mulch to add a bit of brighter student living to your outdoor spaces in gloomier weather. 

Durable Garden Furniture Offers All-Season Comfort

Garden furniture that provides comfort no matter the weather is essential for keeping your garden as enjoyable as possible in both the summer and winter months.

Socializing is key to the lives of college students, and our gardens can be great for unwinding or hosting group study sessions. However, winter weather can turn this great social spot into a cold, damp outdoor space. 

Weather-proof fabrics can be great for sitting spaces that don’t become too chilly as temperatures drop and can provide a nice relaxing ambience even in frostier climates. 

Likewise, keeping discreet storage space for blankets and cushions can allow you to embrace those colder days and still enjoy the tranquil surroundings of your winter garden. 

Chimineas can Bring the Heat for Less

While fire pits can be costly and outdoor heaters may appear clunky, chimineas are highly portable and relatively inexpensive to set up in your garden. 

They can offer extra layers of warmth during winter outdoor studying and could even double up as an excellent makeshift barbecue for some al fresco dining with college friends. 

With steel chimineas costing as little as $50, and options ranging from brass, cast iron, cast aluminium, and stainless steel, chimineas can be customized to suit the aesthetic of your garden. 

The best thing about chimineas? They have a small chimney attached to them, so you’re safe from having to put up with smoke blowing directly towards you when the winter winds pick up. 

Lighting Helps You to Stay for Longer

One of the biggest drawbacks of the winter months is the shortening days and its impact on the time we spend in the garden. 

Outdoor lighting is an essential way to ensure that you’re able to stay outside for longer as the days draw in. They can also be a great tool for transforming the appearance of your outdoor areas. 

You don’t have to install fancy perimeter lighting to make a positive difference, either. Placing tea lights inside jam jars can be great for adding a great look to your garden and a little bit of brightness can help you to continue enjoying your time outside long into the evening on mild nights. 

Shade Sails Offer Seasonal Shelter

Weather can also be a tricky factor to navigate for winter garden dwellers. Fortunately, shade sails offer a convenient and adaptable solution for keeping you protected from the elements. 

Installing a shade sail can be great for all seasons, with the materials adept at blocking harmful UV rays in the summer while protecting against the risk of rain in colder months. 

Wildlife Needs Winter Pick-Me-Ups Too

The best winter gardens offer comfort for not only its human guests but for wildlife as well. Adding and maintaining a bird bath and feeders can be a thoroughly enjoyable feature for your garden, and getting to watch local animals make use of your facilities can be one of life’s simple pleasures. 

Caring for local wildlife can also be a great way of ensuring that your garden is doing its bit to keep the surrounding ecosystem in check while temperatures fall. 

Adding Frost Proof Plant Pots Bring Durability

Sudden temperature changes can take their toll on terracotta plant pots, which can crack under stressful conditions. However, one effective way of preventing this from occurring is to opt for glazed terracotta, stone, or fibreglass pots instead of their more commonplace counterparts. 

This can help to reduce the risk of cracking taking place and keep your plants safe from the threat of broken pots. 

A Garden Isn’t Just for Summer

We may often associate our gardens with warm weather, barbecues, and relaxing in the sunshine with our coursemates, but these valuable outdoor spaces should never be confined to just one season. 

Making the most of your garden in the winter months can convert it into an enjoyable venue for hosting friends and family, enjoying seasonal wildlife, and unwinding in comfort even as temperatures outside drop. 

By taking the right measures in cooler climates, it’s possible to make sure your garden is ready for the winter season without being forced into hibernation until the end of spring. 

SEE ALSO: Emergency Preparedness 101: A College Student’s Ultimate Guide

Navigating Winter Weather: College Student's Guide to Safe Driving

Navigating Winter Weather: College Student’s Guide to Safe Driving

Owning a car in college is a boon. You don’t have to rely on friends for lifts to and from class and won’t freeze while cycling to campus. However, driving in the colder winter months presents serious challenges. Snow, ice, and extreme cold can present precarious road conditions that increase your risk of accidents and collisions.

Get ahead of the winter weather by equipping your car with winter tires and altering your driving style to handle slippery roads and wet weather. This will keep you safe while on the road and ensure you make it to all your classes and social activities on time.

Preparing Your Vehicle

When searching for your first car, you probably weighed up variables like mileage, style points, and fuel efficiency. However, when the cooler months roll around, you’ll need to reassess your car to ensure that it can stand up to the winter weather.

Start by taking your car into the garage for a service between October and early December. This gives mechanics a chance to find faults, check your tires, and refill your oil. This also minimizes the risk of a breakdown while on the road and can save you money by ensuring that your car is running correctly.

If you live in an area that experiences snowfall, cold conditions, and icy roads, you should invest in a set of winter tires. Winter tires are essential in cold climates, as snow and ice can reduce grip on the road by up to 50%. By upgrading your wheels for the winter, you can improve your stopping time and enjoy heightened traction when others are sliding around the road. You can swap out your winter tires in spring, too, which will improve the longevity of both sets over time.

You will also need an emergency kit for your car in the winter. This should feature a candle-powered heater, a flashlight, a cell phone charger, and a small tool kit. If you expect to be driving in an area that experiences heavy snowfall, you may also want to pack a shovel and some kitty litter to help remove snow and help you gain traction when driving on ice. A basic first-aid kit can also be handy in an emergency, as can a set of warm gloves, hats, and a scarf.

Altering Your Driving Style

Driving in the winter presents a series of challenges to you as a driver. You’ll experience reduced grip thanks to ice and rain and may have to drive in the dark more often when the days grow short. Altering your driving habits to accommodate these challenges is key.

Start by leaving earlier for classes and social activities. You don’t want to rush while on the way to campus when driving in winter weather, as driving at speed is sure to increase your risk of a crash when the road conditions are poor.

Try to research your route before you leave and study from home in the event of extreme weather. However, if you do find yourself driving in extreme weather, make appropriate adjustments like:

  • Snowstorms: Heavy snowfall can render roads impassable and drifts can trap you in your car. If you can drive, slow down and leave a longer gap between you and the driver in front.
  • Flooding: Driving through flood water can damage your car’s engine and put your safety at risk. Standing water also increases your risk of hydroplaning. Stay safe by driving slower than normal and turning around if you encounter flooded roads.
  • Fog: Fog dramatically reduces visibility and increases the risk of a collision. Minimize your risk of an accident by navigating built-up areas like campuses with care. Make sure your fog lights are working properly before you set off, too, as this will help you be seen by other road users.

Driving in the winter is all about minimizing risk and slowing down. Leave earlier when possible and try to stick to roads that you know are well-maintained. If possible, try to do the bulk of your driving a few hours after the sun has risen, as this will reduce your risk of hitting a patch of black ice in the cold winter mornings.

If you do hit a patch of ice, try not to panic. Keep your speed consistent and do not overcorrect your steering. Overreacting will increase your risk of going off the road when you clear the ice. Instead, pick a higher gear and aim to keep your RPM low. Pull over if hitting the ice has rattled your confidence and start again slowly when you’re ready to drive safely.

Conclusion

Navigating the winter weather safely requires forward planning and a risk-averse mindset. Get started by servicing your car before the cold weather rolls in and install winter tires. This will minimize the risk of a breakdown, reduce the chances of an accident, and keep your car insurance costs down. If possible, avoid driving in extreme weather and study from home after heavy snowfall. If you do drive in extreme conditions, slow down and leave plenty of room for other road users.

SEE ALSO: Navigating the Uncharted Waters: What Students Aren’t Prepared for in College Life