Weddings, graduations and summer barbecues are just around the corner.
Sprucing up your yard now will save last-minute entertaining panic, and who knows? You just might entertain more if your backyard looks gorgeous.
“When we look at outdoor entertaining spaces, we’re first concerned with the ground. Winter’s freeze-thaw cycle is tough on patios, so the first step is to clean, tuckpoint and reset any uneven patio pavers,” says Chuck Hyams, landscape architect for Scott Byron and Company.
“Then, take your outdoor furniture out from storage. You’ll need to clean it, check cushions for fading and wear, and if they’re more than five years old, re-evaluate colors and styles.”
Because Hyams sees the patio or deck as an extension of the house, if it’s time to buy new outdoor cushions, it’s ideal to pull the colors used on the interior of the house to the exterior.
“Stepping out from your house to your deck or patio should feel like a seamless transition,” says Hyams.
Hyams carries the same colors through not only in textiles, but in the containers, table arrangements, benches and trellises that surround your outdoor entertaining area.
According to Jeff Hester of Hester Painting and Decorating, decks in particular need to be maintained yearly, with all flooring and handrails washed, sanded and topcoated. If you neglect a deck for very long, you’ll find yourself with major problems and major expenses.
One simple fix for patios and furniture is a simple washing, he says. “A low-power pressure washer attached to the garden hose is a miracle worker. A quick wash on furniture, fences and patios, with the help of a scrub brush, will remove winter’s dingy film.”
Hester recommends having your gutters cleared and testing downspouts to make sure they are directing water at least a foot from the house. Another tip: Wipe down the exterior of gutters with a household cleanser like 409 or Fantastic. They’ll shine like new.
“This is also the time to consider adding features to your patio, like a fire pit or fountain,” says Hester. “Both are easy, attractive ways to draw people out of the house and create a point of interest.”