Home Tip Tuesday: Getting Your Outdoor Space Ready for the Season

Make sure your outdoor living space is safe, clean and functional.

Summer is calling, and it's saying get that patio ready for me! All those holiday parties, cookouts and family get-togethers will be more enjoyable if your patio not only looks good, but is safe and functional. After being unused and neglected all winter your outdoor space will need a little love to be ready for summer entertaining. 

It's a Dirty Job
The first step is to give your patio a thorough cleaning from top to bottom. Sweep cobwebs and debris from overhead eaves and from all the corners. Don't forget to move all the furniture and clean underneath items that have been sitting out all winter. If your patio needs deep cleaning, follow instructions for your specific building material. Concrete patios can be refreshed with a pressure washer though greasy stains will require the use of a de-greaser. Wood or composite decks can be brought back to life with a wood cleaner and a long-handled scrubbing brush. If staining or resealing is needed, a thorough pre-wash is part of the necessary preparation. While cleaning, look for cracks, crumbled concrete or raised nails that need repair. Small damages can quickly turn into big problems if left untreated, and they present safety hazards.

Move furniture and thoroughly clean the patio or deck surface.

Furniture Care
Most patio furniture can be cleaned with a damp cloth and gentle detergent solution. Follow this guide if yours needs extra care:

  • Plastic - A soft-bristled scrub brush and hot soapy water should remove any stains, but for sticky messes try rubbing on a little WD-40 with a clean cloth
  • Wood - A light sanding and application of teak oil will revive even the dullest wood furniture
  • Metal - Avoid using harsh cleansers or bristled brushes so you don't accidently remove any paint. Hot soapy water and a sponge should do the trick
  • Wicker - Handle wicker with care. Clean with a soft cloth and mild detergent solution and dry thoroughly

Use the same concepts for decorating outside as you do inside.

Spruce It Up
Now that everything's clean, it's time to make it pretty! Use the same concepts for decorating outside as you do inside. Arrange furniture so that it functions for your needs. A dining area and one or two conversation zones is typical. Use outdoor rugs to help define each space, and accessorize with potted plants or other outdoor-safe knickknacks. And don't forget lighting. Porch lights are best for safety, but string lights, battery-operated candles and solar lamps will help create an inviting atmosphere. Ambient light can also make dark, unused corners of the patio feel safe and welcoming.

Think of patio preparation as part of your usual spring cleaning tradition. Once your patio is neat and tidy you'll be excited to invite the gang over to help make it dirty again! 

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