Now that summer is in full swing and we begin to gather in small groups, we can turn to getting our outdoor areas in tip-top shape. Here are some helpful tips to effectively turn our outdoor areas into a place we want to spend some time entertaining friends and family.
1) Whether you have a deck or patio, move all outdoor furniture, plants, decorative items out of the way so you can sweep off all debris. This is also a great time to either mop or even re-seal surfaces.
2) If you have a patio, take some time to pull up those weeds peeking through the cracks. You may need to use a weed-killer if their roots are particularly stubborn.
3) Before moving your patio furniture back into place, take some time to give it a good wash. For items with an aluminum, powder-coated finish, use your garden hose to gently spray off any debris. Then use a mixture of water and a mild dishwashing detergent to wipe off the rest of the dust, debris, and grime. Use a soft cloth or brush but do not scrub too hard, since you do not want to put any nicks in the finish; this could lead to corrosion. Use a gentle touch. Rinse thoroughly. You can also use this same method on teak furniture. Just be sure to apply a teak sealer, after it has completely dried to protect the wood. For wicker furniture, use the same solution of water and a mild dishwashing detergent. A toothbrush works great for getting into all of those nooks and crannies. If your furniture has cushions, this same mixture works great! Make sure to read any special instructions for laundering if there are any. Make sure to stand the cushions up in the sun so that they dry completely.
4) Clean outdoor light fixtures next. Using a mixture of water and dishwashing detergent, wipe down all of the surfaces. Then use a glass cleaner to clear away any residue. Replace bulbs at this time.
5) Shake out all outdoor rugs and welcome mats, rinsing with a hose if necessary.
6) Clean the doorwall inside and out with a glass cleaner or mixture of 50% water and 50% white vinegar in a spray bottle. Don’t forget those window tracks! A toothbrush works great. Screens can be removed and given a gentle wash with the garden hose.
7) A pop of color goes a long way! Grab your flower pots and fill them with a mix of annuals, trailing vines, and grasses for an instant patio makeover!
8) Now, to freshen up those flower beds. If you are in a hurry, the fastest way to get them looking crisp and clean is give the beds a good raking to remove leaves and other debris that might have collected. Then add some fresh mulch. A 3 inch depth of mulch is recommended for keeping weeds away.