Cleaning The “Winter” From Your Outdoors
Well it’s here. Spring has finally arrived, and just as we start to shift the clothes in our closets from bulky coats and boots to windbreakers and sneakers, the spaces outside our homes need some “turn-over” as well. Once the snow has melted, we finally get a glimpse as to how our yards have fared over the long cold winter months. But before we get into full-blown grass-cutting and gardening, there are a few steps we can take in the early days of spring, to help get our outside spaces ready for the busy summer season.
The winter months can take their toll on our windows, with snowstorms leaving them dirty and streaked. In order to let all that springtime sunshine in, start your cleaning process from the outside, beginning with the screens. Take them off and give them a good rinsing with a hose, and if they’re particularly dirty, a little dish soap and sponge treatment should do the trick. The windows themselves come next, and again, start from the outside, so that once you move inside you’ll be able to see if they’re truly clean.
Take a walk around and check the overall condition, and at the same time pick up and bag any large twigs or branches that may have fallen over the winter. A light raking (so as not to disrupt any young growing roots) is a good way to clean off any surface debris or leftover leaves that may be choking off the new growth underneath. This is also a good time to pull up any weeds that are showing, as well as to prune back your shrubs to make way for new growth. Many professional gardeners will tell you that early spring is the best time to prune, before the plant starts to flower.
Garden Furniture & Decks.
This is a good time to pull out, inspect, and clean your summer chairs and tables. Brush off any dirt and cobwebs that may have accumulated and give everything a good soap and water wash. If your outdoor furniture is wood, this would be the time to consider re-staining, to help protect the wood throughout the summer sun and rain. Your local hardware or building-supply store will carry a large selection of stains and protectors for the job, including products designed to deal with mold or fungus. The same process applies for your deck, a good wash (preferably with a power washer) and stain will have it looking good as new and ready for summer entertaining!
Clean gutters are very important to making sure the rainwater is routed safely away from your house where it can’t seep into your basement or cause other damage. While up on your ladder, make sure to clean out any old leaves, twigs, etc., and give the whole gutter system a washout with the hose, clearing out any clogged sections, especially through the downspouts.
Make sure as well to check your fences and gates for any damage, and make repairs as required.
Getting an early start on these tasks will help shorten that to-do list of chores that seems to come along each time we transition from one season to the next. And getting some of the dirty work out of the way now will give you more time to relax and enjoy your outdoors, once the summer season kicks into full swing. If you simply can’t make the time or find the task too large to tackle on your own, make sure to check out your copy of LivingSpaces & Life Styles magazine. There are several great companies and contractors listed throughout the pages who are ready to help get your outdoor space repaired, cleaned, and organized, and leave you ready to take on all that outdoor summer living has to offer!