7 Best Tips for Prepping Your Backyard and Patio for the Summer

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).

If you need a few tools to get started, you can grab heavy-duty pruning tools and protective gloves here. You got this!


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!

 

Top 5 Things You Need to Do Before Summer Ends

What do we love so much about the summertime? Is it the sunshine, the warm breezes, the lazy days spent at the beach or the lake? Whatever it is that you love about the warmer months, when the end of August starts to roll around, you know that the end of summer is fast approaching. You can feel it in that little nip in the air and the darkness rolling in earlier and earlier.

End of Summer Activities London Drugs Blog

Let’s try and capture some of that summer magic before the kids go back to school and we all get back to our routines—and before the rain and snow come back with a vengeance! Here are a few tips on how to make the most of the dog days of summer before the leaves inevitably start to fall.

Invite your friends and neighbours over for a BBQ

Friends BBQ End of Summer Outdoors London Drugs

Nothing defines summer quite like that unmistakable barbecue scent in the air. Before you have to pack up the grill for another year, have one last backyard cookout. Invite your friends and neighbours over, whip up a batch of fruity drinks, and throw some protein on the barbecue. For all your grilling needs, visit any of our locations for a full range of BBQ products.

Enjoy a beautiful sunset (or sunrise!)

Lake Moraine Canada Sunrise Sunset London Drugs

Head to your favourite hilltop, mountain, or body of water to catch an epic sunset. There’s something romantic and whimsical about watching a sunset, whether it’s at the peak of a mountain or with your toes digging in the sand at your favourite beach. If you’re feeling really ambitious, take in a sunrise at dawn. Currently on the west coast, the sun is rising just after 6 a.m. and setting just after 8 p.m., making this the ideal time to catch nature at its most glorious.

Go on a mini vacation

Jumping into Water End of Summer London Drugs Blog

In just a couple of weeks, the summer of 2018 will be but a mere memory. Don’t pack away the sunscreen and picnic blankets just yet! A last-minute mini getaway is a great way to experience a few more adventures. Whether it’s camping or luxury hotels, there are so many fabulous spots to escape to right here in BC. Just make sure to be cautious of wildfires in the province if you’re planning a roadtrip.

Take in a festival or outdoor theatre

Festival PNE Vancouver London Drugs Blog

Vancouver’s Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival runs right through to September 22. The spectacular waterfront setting is the perfect way to bid farewell to summer, while you take in Macbeth, Timon of Athens, As You Like It, or Lysistrata. If Shakespeare isn’t really your speed, visit the ever-popular end of summer festival, the PNE, and dance along to the I Love the 90s Tour featuring Salt-N-Pepa, Color Me Badd, and Young MC.

Do one thing you wouldn’t do in the winter

Sailing End of Summer Sailboat London Drugs

As the seasons change, there are certain activities we ruefully wave goodbye to. Whatever it is for you, fit it in as much as you can. Sailing, hiking, taking a dip in an outdoor pool, enjoying a live baseball game, or roasting marshmallows for s’mores on the barbecue, this is it! Summer is almost over and it’ll be a long time before we see live fireworks or swim in a lake again, so let’s make the most of it.


London Drugs is your one stop shop for all things summer. Pop in to pick up everything you’ll need for your last summer barbecue or road trip.

5 Great Summer Getaways from Vancouver

Summer Travel from Vancouver London Drugs Blog

When we’re already surrounded by so much natural beauty, it’s easy to forget that there are other amazing places to explore outside of Vancouver. And they’re not far away! At London Drugs, we’re proud of our Canadian roots and we love discovering new places to travel—right here in our beautiful country. So, if summertime has you feeling like it’s time to pack up the car and hit the road, here are some great ideas for local travel this summer.

Yoho National Park, BC

760 km from Vancouver

Emerald Lake Yoho National Park London Drugs

Cruise the Trans Canada Highway to the spectacular Yoho National Park, located on the western side of the Rocky Mountains, in eastern BC. Named for a Cree expression of awe and wonder, Yoho has an abundance of natural beauty including waterfalls, 400 km of trails, crystal clear lakes, and four campgrounds. Train buffs can watch trains entering the spiral tunnels near Kicking Horse Pass.

Nelson, BC

650 km from Vancouver

Nelson BC Getaway London Drugs

Known as the “Queen City” of the Kootenays, Nelson is a rare gem. It has maintained its heritage feel while still providing plenty for visitors to do. It has more restaurants per capita than Manhattan or San Francisco, so it’s a foodie’s paradise. Wander around the downtown core and take in the restaurant scene or one of the many coffee houses or breweries. If you’re more of an adrenaline junkie, Nelson also boasts impressive river rafting or kayaking on Kootenay Lake, as well as ziplining over the Kokanee Creek Canyon.

The Okanagan Valley

400 km from Vancouver

Okanagan Lake BC Roadtrip Vancouver London Drugs

Known for its sunny and dry climate, the Okanagan Valley provides a stunning backdrop for boating, water sports, golfing, and wine tasting. This region has long been a summer playground for visitors from Vancouver and Alberta alike. Whether you’re exploring the many vineyards in Kelowna, the desert oasis in Osoyoos, golfing in Penticton, or boating on Kalamalka Lake in Vernon, there’s always something to do in the Okanagan Valley.

Pemberton, BC

158 km from Vancouver

Pemberton BC Joffre Lake Getaway from Vancouver London Drugs

Most of us think of Whistler when we think of a quick getaway close to Vancouver. But just 20km north of Whistler is Pemberton, a quieter option which also has a lot to offer. There’s hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, golfing, and fishing, to name a few. With plenty of lakes in the area, water sports are popular and visitors can enjoy white water rafting, kayaking, and jet boat tours. Pemberton is also an agri-tourism hot spot and features u-pick farms, a distillery tour, bustling farmers markets, and the slow food cycle every Sunday in the summer.

Rathtrevor Beach in Parksville, BC

115 km from Vancouver

Parksville BC Vancouver Getaway London Drugs

Located in the 347-hectare park near Parksville, Rathtrevor Beach is surrounded by Douglas Firs. It’s perfect for exploring the wooded trails as you make your way to this wide sandy beach. At low tide, the ocean recedes one-kilometre into the Strait of Georgia, providing lots of space to enjoy the sand and surf. This spot is ideal for lovers of wildlife and many varieties of birdlife, including eagles, hawks and owls. It’s also home to the Rathtrevor Beach Nature House. You will need to ferry to Nanaimo and then drive to Parksville to access Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park.


Whatever sort of summer getaway you are after, there’s plenty to offer right here in our Canadian backyard. Wherever you go, London Drugs is your first stop for local Canadian products. Happy travels!

Enter for a chance to win one of three Dyson fans

Dyson fans use Air Multiplier™ technology to create a powerful stream of uninterrupted airflow without blades.

Together with Dyson, we’re excited to be giving away three Dyson fans! See below for full Terms & Conditions and how to enter.

Dyson Facebook Contest Terms & Conditions

To enter: Comment with the answer to “What are some benefits of having no blades on a fan?” (Hint: Check the product page!) on the Dyson giveaway Facebook post.

Contest is open to all residents of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba who, as of the date the prize draw is made: (i) have not won a London Drugs contest since Aug 3rd, 2017; (ii) have reached the age of majority in the province in which they reside as of July 20th, 2018; (iii) are not employees of London Drugs, their respective advertising and promotional agencies, the independent judging organization (if any), or any family member living with any such employee.

No purchase necessary. Limit one (1) entry per person per social network per contest. Entries must be received no later than 11:59 PM Pacific Time on Aug 3rd, 2018. London Drugs is not responsible for entries that become lost or misdirected. All entries become the property of London Drugs Limited and will not be returned.

One (1) winner will be randomly chosen on the day the contest ends (see dates below) in Vancouver, British Columbia, from all eligible entries received per contest. To win, selected entrants must correctly answer a skill-testing mathematical question and must sign London Drugs’ declaration and release confirming compliance with the contest rules and acceptance of the prize(s) as awarded, releasing London Drugs from liability in association with the contest and prize and consenting to the use of their name, photograph, voice and statements for promotional and publicity purposes.

There will be three (3) prizes of

  • ONE (1) Dyson AM06 10” (L5070982, valued at $299.99)
  • ONE (1) Dyson AM06 Blue (L5070990, valued at $349.99)
  • ONE (1) Dyson AMO7 Black (L5071014, valued at $449.99)

See details and contest date below. Prizes must be accepted as awarded, are non-transferable and no substitutions are permitted. Prizes will be awarded at the closest London Drugs location to contest winners.

Contest date – Friday, July 20th, 2018 – Friday August 3rd, 2018, 11:59 PM Pacific Time

Draw date – Tuesday August 7th, 2018

Only one prize may be won by any one person and household. In the event that any selected entrant incorrectly answers the skill-testing question or is otherwise unwilling or unable to comply in full with these rules, a new entry will be drawn.

Selected winners will be contacted by email or on the social network they were drawn from. No correspondence will be entered into except with selected entrants. If the winners do not respond then they will be notified for the second time, 3 (three) days after the first notification. If the winners still do not respond within 3 days of the second notification, a new winner will be chosen in the same manner until a winner is successfully contacted.

The chances of winning a prize will depend on the number of eligible entries received. Decisions of the judges in respect of all aspects of this contest including, but not limited to, eligibility of entries and correctness of answers given to the skill-testing question, are final.

London Drugs and their respective advertising and promotional agencies, the independent judging organization, and their respective agents are not liable to an entrant in any manner relating to the contest or the awarding and use of the prize(s).

This contest is subject to all federal, provincial, and municipal laws and regulations. By entering the entrant consents to the collection of all personal information included on their entry and agrees to the use and disclosure of such information by and between London Drugs, an independent judging organization, and their agents. The winner(s) also agrees to the collection, use, and disclosure of their name, entry, photographs, voice, and statements for London Drugs’ publicity purposes without further compensation. All personal information collected from entrants will be used only for the purposes of administering the contest and for marketing and promotional purposes as contemplated by these rules; under no circumstances will any personal information be sold or rented to third parties. All personal information collected by London Drugs will be kept in accordance with the privacy policy of London Drugs, which can be viewed at www.londondrugs.com, and in accordance with all applicable privacy laws.

The right is reserved by London Drugs to terminate this contest, in whole or in part, and/or modify, amend or suspend the contest, and/or these rules in any way, should any cause beyond the reasonable control of London Drugs or its agents affect the proper administration thereof.

 

 

Reminder: Widely-used medications can make skin vulnerable to sunlight, may cause severe sunburn or rashes

Before heading outdoors this summer, our pharmacists are reminding you to be aware of sun-sensitizing drugs. Widely-used over-the-counter and prescription medicationssuch as antibiotics, sulfa-containing medications, and acne treatmentscan make skin more vulnerable to sunlight, increasing the risk of sunburn, and in some cases, make the skin photosensitive. This photosensitivity can cause photoallergic or phototoxic reactions to the sun’s UV rays, in the form of painful and itchy rashes, or even blisters and sunburns.

Phototoxic reactions are the most common and result in a sunburn-like rash within minutes or hours of the medication interacting with UV rays. Meanwhile, photoallergic reactions can develop days after sun exposure. They occur when UV rays trigger chemical changes, resulting in the body reacting to the medication as if it is an allergen. Side effects include a red, itchy, scaly rash and in severe cases, blisters. Reactions are somewhat unpredictable and can be a one-time occurrence, or it can happen each time the drug is taken and sun exposure occurs.

Be Proactive About Sun Protection

Everyone should be proactive about protecting themselves from the sun, but for those on sun-sensitizing drugs, it’s even more critical. Wearing protective clothing and applying sunscreen regularly are two important measures. 

If you’re taking sun-sensitizing medications, you can also reduce your likelihood of a reaction by planning sun exposure for earlier or later in the day to avoid the sun’s rays when they are strongest.

For advice on sun safety and sun-sensitizing medications, visit us at any London Drugs location to speak with a pharmacist.

3 Summer Essentials to Celebrate Canada Day Long Weekend

As a Canadian company, we can’t help but burst with national pride when Canada Day comes around. We have the honour of calling this amazing and beautiful country home, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. What’s more, the Canada Day long weekend also usually feels like the true kick off of summer. And aren’t Canadian summers just the best?

If you’re planning to spend the Canada Day long weekend pool-side, lake-side or beach-side (really, any excuse to enjoy the sun), then you’ll first want to make a stop by our London Drugs Photolab to order your custom-made summer essentials. We’ve just launched brand new beach blankets, beach bags and water bottles: all of which you can add your own personal touch to with your summer photos.

As a special Canada Day offer, you’ll save $19.98 when you purchase all 3 personalized summer essentials together – just $179.99 for the whole package!

Photo Beach Blankets

As you hit the beach (or outdoor pool) for possibly the first time this season, you’ll be all the more excited to roll out your brand new personalized 60″ x 70″ beach blanket. Use some of your favourite summer photos from over the years to decorate it with the help of our Photolab; choose from either a horizontal photo beach blanket, or a vertical photo beach blanket. Even better: toss it over your poolside chair, and everyone will know exactly which spot is yours!

Photo Elegant Water Bottles

If you plan on soaking in the sun over the long weekend, you’ll not only want to be lathering on the sunscreen, but also making sure you and your family stay hydrated. Our new photo elegant water bottle can be personalized with a summer snapshot, and are a perfect addition to your beach bag. Personalize one for each member of your family, and you’ll never fight over whose bottle is whose again.

Photo Beach Bags

Your long weekend summer fun wouldn’t be complete without a beach bag to carry all your essentials, from towels to sunscreen. We’re very excited to now offer quality beach bags which can be customized with a photo of your choice. This also makes a great gift for friends and family who have summer birthdays.


To complete your long weekend packing list, don’t forget your floatie! We have giant swan floats, donut floats, fun pretzel floats, and even the coveted giant unicorn floats that will be the star of all your Instagram pics. And don’t forget – you can order prints of all your Canada Day fun straight from your smartphone with our FREE London Drugs Photolab App for iOS and Android.

Of course, in true Canadian fashion, our incredibly polite (and knowledgeable) Photolab Experts are available in-store to help you with crafting your custom summer beach blankets, water bottles, and beach bags. Just visit us at your local London Drugs!

Share Your Summer Travel Memories on Instagram…and IRL

Summer is the season of camping trips, beach vacations, hiking adventures and most importantly, making memories. With the extra-long days, there’s time to squeeze in even more outdoor activities. Whether you’re spending your summer being a tourist in your own town, or jet-setting to somewhere entirely new, you’re likely planning to snap a lot of photos along the way. After all, summer is fleeting, and the best way to preserve those memories is with photos.

Of course, part of preserving those memories is sharing them. We snap hundreds of photos while on vacation, but how many of them never end up seeing the light of day? Some of them get posted online to Facebook or Instagram, but there are plenty more that end up sitting on memory cards and hard drives unseen. Make the most out of your photos by printing them. There are endless ways to showcase your summer travels, from square Instagram Books and Book-Its, to photo DIYs if you’re feeling crafty.

 

Book-It Mini Books

Your photos tell a story of where you’ve been, what you’ve experienced, and what you’ve learned. It may feel bittersweet to arrive home after an incredible vacation, but it’s always fun to relive the best moments while journaling your trip in a photo book, like the 6×4 Book-It Mini Book. Pick a colourful, graphical theme and customize the layout and text to tell your story.

Instagram Books

Instagrammers rejoice, even your square photos can be turned into a photo book. Compile your Instagram-worthy shots into a 4×4 square Instagram photo book that’s wire-bound and printed on quality glossy or pearl photo paper. When family or friends ask how your summer vacation was, you can pull out your handy brag book to show them all the awesome places you explored this summer.

 

Photo Print DIYs

Start off with some good old 4×6 photo prints, and let your creativity do the rest! Collect ticket stubs and other small souvenirs throughout the summer, and use your photo prints to create a fun collage. Or make a Summer 2017 timeline to hang on the wall: pick a photo of each summer excursion, and use wooden pegs to hang them chronologically along a string.

If a traditional photo album is more your style, add your printed photos to a Pioneer Canada 150 Photo Album to showcase your favourite moments from #Canada150.

 

Don’t forget: great prints start with a great camera. If you have a vacation planned for later this summer, plan ahead and upgrade your camera so you can capture your summer memories in the best quality possible. It might be a matter of upgrading your smartphone, point-and-shoot or DSLR, or even switching up your camera’s lens to something new. You’ll appreciate the boost in quality when you go to print your photos!

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