As the weather warms and we move towards spring, it is clear that most of our entertaining still needs to occur outdoors. And, even for those of us who may be holding off on hosting dinner parties, being at home this much over the past year has certainly resulted in wanting to spend more time outside. So, as we prepare for spring, here are seven things you can do to make sure your outdoor living areas are ready to be enjoyed by you, your family, your pets, and your guests.
1. Remove the clutter.
Removing clutter is always the first step. Before you can prepare any space for entertaining or comfortable, everyday living, you must first remove unnecessary items and put away any clutter that has collected over the last few months. Now is a good time to clean out and organize your garden shed as well, since that can free up space for some of the clutter currently hanging out on your patio.
2. Check your irrigation system.
Doing an overall check of your irrigation system allows you to prepare for spring planting and to make sure that there are no leaks or wayward sprinkler heads affecting your outdoor living areas. Prune bushes blocking sprinkler heads, walk your system while it is running to look for leaks, adjust sprinkler heads to ensure the most efficient spray patterns, and check your rain sensor to make sure it is working properly.
3. Clean your home’s exterior and gutters.
When the rainy season comes to an end, it is a good time to clean the gutters again, remove cobwebs from your fascia and eaves, and spray down the exterior of your home. The rain may have taken care of any accumulated dust, but it also may have splashed mud on the exterior walls, so a quick spray with a garden hose is probably in order.
4. Clean your outdoor kitchen.
If you are like most folks in Ojai, you have probably been using your outdoor kitchen almost as much in winter as you do in summer. As the weather improves, you will likely start using it even more, so take this opportunity to give your grill a good cleaning, clean out the fridge, and get your servingware organized before your next al fresco dinner party.
5. Clean your fire pit, patio fireplace, or other fire feature.
Since you have likely been using your fire features throughout winter, now is a good time to clean them, make sure they are functioning properly, and check for safety issues before the spring entertaining season begins.
6. Refresh your patio furniture.
Clean metal or plastic patio furniture by wiping it down with a simple vinegar-water mix and a damp rag. If that doesn’t quite do the trick, make a paste by mixing baking soda with water to create a mildly abrasive cleaner for tougher spots. For wood furniture, use a wood cleaner followed by furniture wax to add a layer of protection.
If a good cleaning is not quite enough to bring your patio furniture back to its previous luster, it might be time to give it a new coat of stain or paint to refresh its finish.
7. Clean or replace patio cushions and dog beds.
Between the wind and the rain, patio cushions can get a bit worse for wear over the winter. Take the opportunity to launder or spot clean them as we move into the spring entertaining season. If they are beyond repair, or you simply want to freshen the look of your patio, you might consider replacing them instead.
We mustn’t forget our furry friends when sprucing up our outdoor living areas. If you left your dogs’ beds out in the rain one too many times over the winter, it might be time to upgrade their outdoor living with new beds that match your patio cushions.
AimeeJo Davis-Varela is a freelance writer specializing in real estate, sustainable home improvement, eco-friendly landscaping, green living and travel writing. She is also the owner of Mind Your Manors, which provides second home management services.
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