Sunny days are here again and it’s time to make merry memories for your loved ones! Memorial Day and the Fourth of July are prime times for outdoor entertainment, but with a little planning, a backyard oasis can be the perfect place for fun every day! Here are some ideas on how to set the stage for an epic summer.
- Sketch out your current backyard and consider modifications. Maybe you’ll want to add another flower or vegetable garden. Maybe an enlarged barbecue area, outdoor bar or firepit. Consider walkways connecting one area to another. Design these improvements on paper first so you have a clear vision.
- Clean out your garage and shed.
- Organize and take inventory of your lawn tools, discarding and replacing where needed.
- Check your Decks and patios, checking for loose boards, railings, missing nails, rot and mildew. Pressure wash and treat/stain decks.
- Treat your landscaping to eliminate weeds and pests. If you’re not a DIY’er, schedule your appointment now so you’ll have a pest-free backyard early on. Add citronella candles or bug zappers to gathering spaces.
- Prune and trim bushes, trees and shrubs.
- Aerate your lawn by poking holes with a pitchfork.
- Roll your lawn. Lawn rolling is useful for leveling out bumps and uneven areas. Contact your local hardware store for rentals.
- Check fencing. Fix repairs and freshen with paint or stain if necessary.
- Make sure your lawn mower is in working order. You may need to take it to a repair shop to have the blade sharpened for peak performance.
- A key component of your outdoor space is a place to dine. Clean your outdoor furniture and think about replacing worn pieces or adding new ones. Check cushions for mildew or tears. Don’t forget, comfortable seating is important, too. Outdoor lounge chairs, sofas and hammocks will keep visitors comfortable long after the meal is over!
- Buy a backyard tent. Screened tents facilitate backyard dining and lounging by providing shade from sun and keeping the bugs at bay. You’ll get more out of your backyard if sunburns and bugs aren’t minimizing the time spent enjoying your outdoor living space. Or if you are looking for an upgrade, investigate a pergola!
- Clean and overhaul your grill and stock up on supplies for backyard barbecues: propane, charcoal, grilling tools, etc.
- Check your outdoor lighting — and maybe add to it. Solar-powered stake post lighting is a great way to illuminate walkways or spotlight areas of interest. Or, make your backyard dreamy with globe string lights for a moody look. Also consider replacing burned-out bulbs with low-energy LED bulbs.
- Clean your bird feeders. You don’t want to invite your feathered friends for a meal and then spread salmonella. Wash all the feeder parts with soap and boiling water or allow the parts to soak for 10 minutes in a diluted bleach solution, or an hour in a weak vinegar solution. Afterward, scrub with a clean bottle brush.
- Clean your outdoor faucet traps. Using pliers, unscrew the end of the faucet, remove the screen, rinse off any debris, and then put it back together.
- Add colorful potted flowers and outdoor rugs to make your backyard more inviting.
- Check out your current yard game accessories. Take inventory of what you have and make note of what you need. Clean your equipment, inflate balls, organize games.
- Add to your outdoor games repertoire. Here are some ideas:
- Water guns
- Hula hoops
- Bocce Ball
- Giant Jenga
- Yard Twister
- Giant Pong using trash cans and big balls (beer optional)
- Outdoor Pictionary with a chalkboard and sidewalk chalk
- Bowling (Use water bottles for pins. Add glow sticks to the water bottles for a fun night time game!)
- Frisbees (Cool LED lighted frisbees will keep your game going after dusk!)
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