Strategize and Stick to the Plan!
Begin by asking yourself this simple question: â€œwhat do I want my space to be?â€ Consider asking a friend or relative to provide their unbiased suggestions, or take photos to view the environment through a more objective lens. Once youâ€™ve arrived on an answer, prepare accordinglyâ€”having a clear goal in mind will help focus your efforts moving forward. Next, create a prioritized checklist of jobs and set a timeline with achievable goals for yourselfâ€¦ and be sure to stick to it. Seriously. This will help keep you on schedule and on task as you work towards achieving your ideal outdoor space.
Know What You need
Before you set to work with the checklist youâ€™ve created, spend an afternoon taking stock of what you haveâ€”and make a list of what youâ€™ll need. You can begin to summerize your space by pulling out essential tools and supplies (like the mower, hose reels, and hedge clippers). Be sure to test everything for usability, especially electric tools, which made need fresh batteries or maintenance before the work can begin in earnest.
Divide and Compost
Take a first pass at your yard and remove any unwanted objects and debris, such as tree limbs, leaves, sticks, roots, rocks, dog toys, etc. Sort these materials into two piles: compostable and non-compostable, and throw away what wonâ€™t biodegrade. Add everything else to your compost pile (for tips on how to start a compost pile, check out this helpful blog post from Bonnie Plants).
Freshen Up Your Furniture
After spending all winter in storage (or out in the snow!), your outdoor furniture will no doubt need a good washing. Resin is a great choice because itâ€™s easy to hose down and keep clean all season long. Just grab your hose, a sponge, and a bucket of soapy water and remove any cobwebs, dirt, and grime that may have accumulated over the last several months. Once done, move the furniture to a sunny spot to air dry.
Scrub Those Surfaces
Once youâ€™re finished with the furniture, set to work on cleaning any other neglected surfaces and materials in your yard. To remove mold and mildew from an umbrella, for example, mix equal parts warm water and white vinegar and apply the mixture with a brush (and be sure to hose down the umbrella afterwards). For the patio itself, get a stiff nylon-bristled brush and clean with a solution of bleach and water. Add about 1/8 a cup of dish detergent to the mixture and transfer to a spray bottle for easy cleaning.
Donâ€™t Push Your DIY Limits
Some jobs are either too big or too dangerous for you to take on alone. Knowing when to step aside and hire professional help is critical to prevent serious injury to yourself or damage to your home. Focus first on the tasks youâ€™re confident you can achieve, and then reevaluate any outstanding larger projects, such as taking down a tree, pouring concrete, or adding a new structure. With hard work and a little bit of help, you wonâ€™t believe what you can achieve in your yard.