Now that the weather has apologized for what it did to us last winter, it’s time to expand our living spaces out into the backyard or the patio. Here is your to-do list to get things ready.
1. Clean surfaces
No matter what else you do to make the yard look nice, nothing will help if everything is dirty. First, give all of the floor surfaces a good sweep, then it’s time to get in there and deep clean. Scott’s Plus OxiClean Outdoor Cleaner Ready to Spray is great for cleaning large outdoor spaces, and it’s safe to use on lawns, plants and fabrics. Attach the spray bottle right to your hose and douse all of the concrete, wood, siding, patio furniture, flower pots, and garden boxes. Then just scrub with a brush and rinse. Voilà! No more winter blahs.
2. Get your lawn ready
Sprucing up the yard is more than just about mowing the grass–take your lawn to the next level with some extra TLC.
- Aerate: Aeration helps the grass to breathe and also helps the water and nutrients reach the root system. You should aerate your lawn every 1 to 3 years, but high-traffic areas may require more attention. Here are some more aeration tips.
- Rake: Debris that has accumulated over the winter can block sunlight and prevent water from reaching deep down to the roots of the grass.
- Fertilize: Do a little research about what kind of grass you have, then fertilize accordingly.
- Maintain: After checking your lawnmower for sharp blades, appropriate oil level, and properly inflated tires, mow the grass regularly, about once a week. Keep grass cut to a height of about 5 cm, except in the hottest part of the summer, when you should let it grow about 1 cm longer.
- Water: Watering your lawn slowly allows water to get all the way down to the roots and avoids runoff, so choose a sprinkler that moves in smooth, sweeping motions. Don’t forget to check the water restrictions in your area, and water your yard at night or in the morning before the sun hits it so that the water doesn’t evaporate before it gets into the soil.
3. Prune trees and shrubs
Pruning dead and excess growth off of trees and shrubs in your yard helps the plants grow, and gets rid of harmful insects and rot. Plus, it looks nicer. Make sure to also remove any branches hanging over driveways, sidewalks, or paths (these can be a major problem for anyone who has mobility limitations).
4. Let your garden grow
Choose a sunny corner of your yard for a new flower bed, planter box, or pot arrangement. Ask at the garden centre which varieties grow best in your region, then select your favourite variety of seasonals and perennials. It’s easier than you think! Just remember to not overwater–flowers don’t require as much moisture as vegetables and other plants.
If you’re short on space, check out this tutorial to make your own (adorable) shoe organizer herb garden! Works great even on a tiny outdoor balcony.
5. Control pests
Check your flowers, shrubs, and trees for any creepy crawlies. Remove any larger critters by hand or with a blast of the hose, and use natural pesticide for the rest. Not sure what works best? Here’s a handy guide to garden pests.
If you have some 6-legged visitors in your yard that prefer to annoy people instead of plants, stock up on wasp, mosquito, or ant control products here.
6. Ready, set, grill
Modern grills are easy to clean. Turn your grill on for 10-15 minutes, then allow it to cool for a while before cleaning it with a heat-safe tool. (Wire brushes can be dangerous, so here are some alternative grill cleaning ideas.) Don’t forget to fill up your propane tank!
We’ve got some great deals on grilling tools and bbq essentials right here.
7. Sit back and relax
Invest in some comfortable, sturdy, weather-resistant furniture to take full advantage of your backyard space. It doesn’t have to be expensive; second-hand items are always available if you take a little time to look, and they often just in need a good scrub to look as good as new. If you’ve got the room, consider adding an entire dining set. You’ll be surprised how much time you and your family spend out there. If you don’t have a ton of room, a simple bench or reclining chairs will expand your horizons beautifully. Don’t forget to add a shady umbrella for the hot days, and some inviting lighting to take your backyard experience into the warm, summer evenings.
If your backyard is in need of some upgrades, London Drugs has everything you need to improve and beautify your outdoor space. Check out our 2018 Outdoor Living Guide, and meet us out back!