A few hours of diligent work can go a long way toward creating a welcoming space.
Now that the weather is finally warmer, it is time to get out into your yard and clean it up for summer entertaining. Yards take a beating over the winter months and require some effort to spruce up – but fear not, your instruction manual is at hand! You'll have it guest-ready in no time.
1. Clean up the garden beds.Start by raking out the garden beds, pruning branches on shrubs, and pulling out dead grasses and plants. Add a fresh layer of compost to nourish the plants through their next growing season. Trim around the edges of garden beds.
2. Get out the pressure washer (or garden hose).
Spray down your patio, walkways, outdoor furniture, flower pots, deck, steps, and anything else that might have picked up a layer of grime over the winter.
3. Tidy up walkways.
Trim along the edges of walkways to make them look neat. Fill in any gaps between flagstones. This Old House recommends adding sand or stone dust, and setting it with water from a hose, then repeating layers as needed. Rake gravel back onto paths as needed, and scrub away any green spots that may have grown during rainy months.
4. Clean outdoor light fixtures.
These often get ignored, but cleaning them goes a long way toward making an outdoor space look cared for. Disassemble as best you can, washing glass with hot soap water. Replace bulbs as needed. Hang any twinkle lights or other lights that create a warm, cozy ambience.
5. Touch up outdoor furniture.
Pull out your patio furniture and inspect for any necessary repairs. Wash or dust before setting up. Install your hammock or swing seat, and put out wicker furniture. Consider adding a fresh coat of paint to freshen things up.
6. Get ready for fire.
If you have a fire pit, clean out any old ashes and junk that may have accumulated throughout the winter. Stock up on dry firewood, kindling, and newspaper, so that you're prepared for an impromptu gathering. Now is a good time to clean your barbecue, to get ready for summer grilling. Find instructions here.
7. Make planters.
Colorful flowers make a space pop, so don't forget this step. Fill your window boxes, patio pots, and hanging baskets with flowers. You can buy them pre-made or make your own, using a combination of tall, medium-height, and cascading plants to add visual variety. Don't forget to water!