Let’s focus on the big 3 areas that will help transform your yard into your outdoor living space.
Temperatures are rising, plants are booming, and I find myself daydreaming about our summertime outdoor living room. I can almost smell the tantalizing aroma of BBQ sauce and the mouthwatering sweetness of roasted marshmallows. I can practically picture the kids outside playing with squirt guns and myself lounging in the sun reading a book.
Sounds nice right? I thought so too until I actually went out into my backyard and beheld the train wreck that resides there. I have my work cut out for me…. and I am guessing that I am not the only one!
Part 2 of our Spring Cleaning Series is focused on getting your yard in shape for spring and summer. Let’s focus on the big 3 areas that will help transform your yard into your outdoor living space.
The first task is to move the furniture, chairs, BBQ, container plants, and toys. I recommend moving them on to the lawn and washing them there. This way you are doing double duty and watering your lawn as well!
- Wash cushions and furniture frames with mild soap and clean water. Let cushions dry completely before replacing them on the furniture to prevent mildew from growing.
- Use auto polish on metal frames to make them shine
- Clean off the worst of the grime on your glass tabletops with soap and water. Then use glass cleaner on glass tabletops to make them sparkle. Don’t forget to clean the glass on the windows of your outdoor lanterns so the light shines through
- Open your umbrella and wash the fabric with mild soap and water and use a household oil on any moving parts to keep them working well. If you have a wooden pole, check for dried and damaged wood to avoid splinters.
Have a Gas BBQ?
Not that I have EVER made this mistake (cough cough) but now is a great time to check the propane levels on your tank. There is nothing worse than inviting friends over for a BBQ only to realize that you need to make a propane run.
- Clean the grills by using degreaser on grates and the outside of stainless steel grills
- Check the burner. Most burners only last about 2 seasons, depending on how often you use your BBQ. If it looks alright, light it to make sure the flame is even.
- Remove old or dirty lava rocks and replace with new ones. While the grates and lava rocks are out, clean up any grease or ash that may have accumulated on the bottom of the barbecue.
Have a Charcoal Grill?
- If you have stubborn gunk on your grill, you can place the grates in a large trash bag and spray grill grate cleaner inside. Let the grates sit in this bag overnight. Scrub again with the wire brush or a scouring pad over a protected surface for ease of cleanup
- When everything is dry, replace the grates and add charcoal and light the charcoals. Cover and let the fire burn for about 20 minutes to burn off anything left over from the cleaning
Having a beautiful yard here in California is a challenge because we are still in a drought. The dream can be achieved by taking care of your lawn the right way.
- If lawn growth has slowed, apply fertilizer with nitrogen (pay attention to the directions) You will need about 1 pound of nitrogen for every 1000 square feet of lawn. As my Soil Science teacher told me in college “More is not better, sometimes it is just more”.
- As the weather warms, gradually raise the blade on the lawn mower to cut the grass 1 1/2 to 2 inches tall so that the lawn will retain more moisture and be more resistant to summer heat.
- Never remove more than 1/3 of the grass blade length at any one time.
- Mow when the grass is dry. The blades will be upright and less likely to clump when cut.
The biggest pitfall of summer outdoor living? Pests! No, not that annoying kid from down the street.
- Try spraying cold water on the leaves, sometimes all aphids need is a cool blast to dislodge them
- In a spray bottle combine 2 parts rubbing alcohol, 5 parts water, and 1 tablespoon liquid soap.
- The soapy water/alcohol should be reapplied every 2-3 days for 2 weeks.
Consider Lady Bugs:
According to Saferbrand, Ladybugs or lady beetles, are considered a beneficial bug which helps rid an area of plant damaging aphids, mealy bugs and other destructive insect pests. The adult ladybugs feed on these insects. They also lay their eggs among the aphids or other prey so the emerging larvae can feed on the insects, too.
What better way to celebrate the return of warmer weather than by hosting a BBQ in you newly cleaned backyard. Make those sultry scents of summer a reality in your outdoor living space and save a roasted marshmallow for me!
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- 10 ways to repurpose Easter leftovers – Spring Cleaning Series Part 1
- Clearing the Clutter from your Closets – Part 3 of our Spring Cleaning Series