Is your backyard summer ready? Find out with these expert tips
Our quick checklist will ensure your backyard is looking its best for hot summer days
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The height of summer is just around the corner, and you don’t want to be caught off guard. After all, when the temperatures soar, who wants to be outside working hard to perfect their backyard ideas in the blazing heat?
So take care of these quick backyard maintenance projects now, so you can sit back, relax, and enjoy the lazy, hazy days of summer with family and friends.
1. Powerwash your home
If you haven’t done it in a few years, now is the time to improve your home’s exterior and increase its curb appeal. 'One of the most important outdoor maintenance tasks to tackle is power washing your home,' says Mihal Gartenberg, an agent at Warburg Realty (opens in new tab) in New York, MY. 'Getting rid of dirt, moss, and mildew can make your home look brand new.'
Plus, with the weather already warming up, spending time outdoors to complete this maintenance task won't seem like such a chore.
Need the best pressure washer to get the job done? Our guide has the top buys for every task.
2. Refresh your deck
Once you're up to speed with how to use a pressure washer, it’s probably a good idea to powerwash your deck as well. 'From there, do an inspection of the deck and look for any signs of damage,' advises Bailey Carson, home expert at Angi (opens in new tab). 'A damaged deck can be very dangerous, so it’s important to get any issues taken care of.'
After the deck has been cleaned (and repairs made, if necessary), she recommends bringing in some new pillows and plants to revitalize the deck.
Want to give your deck a bigger transformation this summer? Our step-by-step guide on how to paint decking is a great place to start your deck makeover.
3. Check your sprinkler and irrigation system
David Steckel is a home expert at Thumbtack (opens in new tab), and he tells us that his company has seen a 123% increase in sprinkler and irrigation system maintenance compared to last year. 'Making sure your system is running properly and without fuss is the best way to ensure your yard is enviable and enjoyable,' he says. 'We’re heading into a big drought year, so make sure all your sprinkler heads are working and that there aren’t any leaks.'
4. Give your front door a facelift
The front door is the portal to your home, but according to Scott Hamilton Harris, co-founder and COO at the Building Construction Group (opens in new tab) in Los Angeles, CA, it’s often the most neglected part of the home. 'Even the most unskilled painter can do wonders on a tired door,' he says. 'The best tip is to select a color that is not too dark if your door is in direct sun.'
So, why would a dark color be a concern? 'On the hottest of days, the sun is beating on the dark color and absorbing the heat – but on the interior side of the door, it’s much cooler.' And Hamilton warns that such contrasting temperatures can cause the door to warp.
There's plenty more ways to smarten up the exterior of your property in our front porch ideas.
5. Refresh your outdoor furniture and paths
This is another job for your pressure washer, and Scott Hamilton Harris says his stone paths and bricks look new whenever he power washes them. 'Any oil stains on the driveway are removed and the concrete has a new sparkle.'
In fact, Harris says he has even used it to make some of his old, teak furniture look like the best outdoor furniture once again. 'While not everyone has one, the machine can easily be rented at almost any DIY store and trust me when I say, you will spend more time thinking about it than the time it takes to do it,' he says.
For more ways to refresh your outdoor space for less, take a look at our budget backyard ideas.
6. Clean your windows
And while you have the pressure washer, Elizabeth Dodson, co-founder of HomeZada (opens in new tab), recommends cleaning your windows. 'This provides several benefits: you have clear views outside your home, and the sparkling windows make your home look clean and beautiful,' she says. 'Another benefit to cleaning your windows is that cleaning screens and window tracks will eliminate any dust or particles from getting into your home while the windows are open during the summer months.'
7. Get your grill ready
You don’t want any grilling issues during the height of the summer season so it's worth seeing if your grill is still in good working order, or whether you need to invest in the best grill instead.
Mark Feldman, chief home officer at Riverbend Home (opens in new tab), recommends inspecting it to see if any repairs are necessary. 'If there’s extensive rust, cracks, or other damage, especially to the body, you should consider buying a new one for safety reasons,' he warns. 'If your grates are rusted beyond repair, you can simply replace them for another season of use, but porcelain-coated grates should be replaced if they show signs of cracking.'
If you just have minor stains and rust, he says they can be removed with soapy water and a cleaning brush. Find out tips on how to clean a BBQ in our guide.
Next, check the grill to be sure that it’s sturdy. 'Remove the grill and if it’s showing any wobbles, tighten or replace any missing or corroded screws.' He also recommends that you test and replace any worn out parts, especially the igniter and firebox. 'You can do this by holding a mirror behind the igniter and pushing the button; if you see a spark, it’s working, and if not, this means it is worn out and should be replaced. Remove and check the burner and venturi tubes for cracks, holes, and wear; if you see those signs of damage, you should replace.'
Then, Feldman says you should check the host, gas lines, regulators, and propane tank, and replace if you see corrosion. 'To check for tank leaks, spray the exterior with soapy water, and if you see bubbles, you have a leak and need to replace the tank.'
Time to upgrade your old grill for a sleek new option? You'll find the best grill deals at today's best prices below.
Terri Williams is a journalist with real estate, home improvement, and product review bylines at Realtor.com, Bob Vila, Yahoo, MSN, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Houston Chronicle, and Apartment Therapy. She also covers business topics, with bylines at USA Today, The Economist, US New & World Report, Verizon, and several other brands that you’ve probably heard of. Follow her adventures on Twitter (opens in new tab).
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