Now that the weather has apologized for what it did to us last winter, it’s time to expand our living spaces outside. After all, the sun is shining, and the great outdoors are calling!
Whether you have a sprawling backyard or a chic downtown patio, there are several things you can do prep your backyard and patio for the summer.
Here are 7 tips to get you started!
1. Clean Surfaces
No matter what else you do to make your outdoor living space look nice, nothing will help if everything is dirty.
First, give all of the floor surfaces a good sweep. Once that’s done, it’s time to get in there and deep clean. 30-Seconds Outdoor Cleaner is great for cleaning large outdoor spaces, and it’s safe to use on lawns, plants, and fabrics. You can even attach the spray bottle right to a hose and douse all of the concrete, wood, siding, patio furniture, flower pots, and garden boxes if need be. 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, Shrubs, and Potted Plants
Pruning dead and excess growth off trees, shrubs, or plants helps the plants grow, and gets rid of harmful insects and rot. Plus, it just 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 or patio for a new flower bed, planter box, pot arrangement, or even a few containers for vegetables. 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 mind your watering — flowers don’t require as much moisture as vegetables.
If you’re short on space, check out this tutorial to make your own (adorable) shoe organizer herb garden! It works great even on a tiny outdoor balcony and you’ll have fresh, delicious herbs well into the fall.
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 six-legged visitors in your yard that prefer to annoy people instead of plants, stock up on wasp, mosquito, or ant control products. While we share the outdoors with nature’s creatures, we don’t necessarily want any uninvited guests at our next backyard BBQ.
6. Ready, Set, Grill!
Speaking of BBQs, prepping yours is an essential part of preparing your yard for summer.
Luckily, 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.) And don’t forget to fill up your propane tank — nothing is worse than preparing delicious homemade burgers only to find out there’s not enough fuel to cook them.
We’ve got some great deals on grilling tools and BBQ essentials right here.
7. Sit Back and Relax
Now that you’ve done all the hard work of making your outdoor space beautiful, enjoy the fruits of your labour and relax. You’ve earned it!
Invest in some comfortable, sturdy, weather-resistant furniture to take full advantage of your backyard space.
If you’ve got the room, consider adding an entire dining set. If you have a smaller space, a bistro-sized table and chairs can make even the smallest patios fashionable and a joy to be on! You’ll be surprised how much time you and your family spend out there. Don’t forget to add a shady umbrella for the hot days, and some inviting mood lighting or a home fire-pit to really enjoy your outdoor experience well into the warm, summer evenings.
If your backyard or patio is in need of some upgrades, London Drugs has everything you need to improve and beautify your outdoor space. Check out our Outdoor Living Guide or just stop by and talk to one of our experts about your unique needs. We’d love to see you!