Wednesday March 15, 2017
Daylight Savings Time tells us to move our clocks ahead one hour this Sunday morning at 2:00AM, but it’s also a good reminder to get our patio geared up and ready for the warmer days to come. You’ll want to take advantage of any grilling weather that pops up. Here are 3 areas that will need your attention now.
Put the power washer away; you won’t need it. A good old-fashioned sweep is all that is required to clear your patio pavers of the little bits left over from the previous seasons. A mild soap and a scrubber broom is only for those who fancy a bit of exercise and absolutely, positively want a gleaming patio. Pull up any weeds growing around the edges. Moving any portable grills or patio furniture off the pavers before you sweep is the best way to clean the patio. Sometimes debris collects in the wells of furniture legs or under tables.
A rag, some water and material-specific soap is good for wiping down your patio furniture. Different cleaning agents can work great on some surfaces but end up damaging others. Take time to look up what kind of soap is best to use on your plastic, metal, wood, wicker or painted furniture, even if you’ve been cleaning it the same way for years. It’s likely that new and safer soaps - for both your furniture and the environment - are available. Getting years of usage out of the furniture is the long-term goal you’re going for.
Big chair cushions can present a cleaning challenge. Most homeowners simply spot-clean fabrics that are sewn around foam cores and then spritz the cushions with a little freshener spray. If your chair cushions have met with a musty source over the winter, you’ll want a deeper cleaning to get them smelling fresh again. Commercial laundry shops have big machines meant to wash and dry comforters and large cushions. For only a few dollars per load you can get your cushions Spring-ready on a weekend afternoon. If DIY cushion-cleaning is not your thing, dry cleaning businesses have services that will do all the washing and drying. Call around for “regular laundering” prices. (Consider having them clean the indoor and outdoor drapes, too).
Pester the pests
Now, not later, is the time to think about pest control. Landscape contractors often offer all-natural mosquito sprays on a monthly basis. This is usually all you’ll need to keep the biters at bay. They work more efficiently if you being the sprays before the insects start breeding en masse. DIY sprays are also available if you want to save a bit of money, but you may not find the all-natural versions that are available to contractors.
If you have screened-in areas, check those thoroughly for holes and tears at the seams. You’ll want to repair those before the bees and other stinging creatures come back to search for food. Field mice and voles are everywhere, and they are great at getting into tiny spaces, so make sure any screen doors close true and tight to their frames. Look for any small (and we mean tiny!) holes in the house’s foundation, especially where the patio meets the house. You’ll want to plug those up promptly. Garages especially seem like lovely homes to mice. Consider laying down some traps in some tucked-away corners where they won’t be disturbed by kids, cars or guests.
LED the way
Lighting features are a patio requirement nowadays, as people spend more and more time outside during the evenings. Check all those bulbs, and where you can, replace them with more energy-efficient ones. If you use torches, double-check their wicks and canisters. You’ll want to make sure they are still safe and patio-worthy. Stock up on oil now so you’re ready to fire up that fiesta at any time. Fire pits will need a little spring clean-out, too. It’s good to get the fire pit totally clear of ash and debris a few times a year at least, and now is a good time to do that.