If you think about it, the concept of spring cleaning makes no rational sense. We’ve been cooped up in the house all winter, so we’re going to spend more time in the house now that spring is here getting everything clean. It just seems backwards to me.
Although I’m sure there are plenty of things to do in the house – including some cleaning tasks we overlook – it gets to the point where I say to myself, “If I spend one more minute in this house, I’m going to go stir crazy.”
If you’re like me, maybe it’s best for everyone’s sanity if you start your spring cleaning outdoors. There’s plenty to do. Here are just a few things homeowners can do to keep the outside of their house looking beautiful throughout spring and summer.
Prep the Lawn
The snow has melted for good. (Although this writer lives in Michigan, so that’s more hope than certainty.) Your yard will naturally return to its former green glory, right? Maybe, but odds are you need to give it a little help.
Proper lawn care is one of the most basic steps for making sure the outside of your house is in excellent shape.
Remove any dead vegetation from your lawn. Although this layer can help during the winter by preventing the buildup of weeds, it also can hurt in the spring by preventing the entry of water and other necessary nutrients for healthy grass growth. This process is known as de-thatching.
Next, rake anywhere your lawn has yellowed in order to remove the dead area and prepare for reseeding. You might need to pay extra attention if, like mine, your dog has certain spots where he always does his business. Those areas will need extra care.
You should also aerate the lawn in order to soften the soil and allow the nutrients from the fertilizer to get in along with water. It won’t penetrate as deeply in hard soil and the lawn won’t be as healthy.
As important as prepping your lawn is, you also have to make sure it’s properly hydrated. Your lawn is just as thirsty as you are on hot summer days. With that in mind, if you have an automatic sprinkler system, spring is a good time to get it turned on before it gets too hot.
If you’re a little bit handy, you can turn the system on yourself. Personally, I know me and anything mechanical don’t mix.
Green Thumb Gardening
Now that we’ve covered the lawn, let’s move on to the garden.
You’ll have to till the soil, but you have to make sure the soil is ready first. If it’s too wet, it won’t work. Give your soil this simple moisture test: ball soil up in your hands and drop it on the concrete. If it retains its shape, the soil is too wet.
If it’s ready for tilling, go ahead and do it either by hand or with one rented from the hardware store. This accomplishes the same effect as aeration, breaking up the soil to let nutrients enter.
Next, lay out where your plants will go. This should help with making sure they not only have enough space, but also are getting enough sunlight.
Finally, make sure they’re getting enough food. If fertilizer is not in your budget, check out these homemade fertilizers.
Update Siding and Paint
One thing that will definitely add to your curb appeal is to update the siding on your house. And not just for aesthetics, although looking good certainly helps. The exterior siding on your house can definitely wear down, especially if you haven’t put time into maintenance.
It’s important to pick siding that matches the character of your home. They have options for everything from vinyl and brick to stucco and metal.
While updating the siding can be a bit expensive, another thing you can try is just a relatively cost-effective exterior paint job. Picking the right color can really make your home stand out and give it a fresh look.
Hands-On with Your Deck
The last big thing you probably want to do on the outside of your house is make sure the deck is properly prepped for all the hanging out you’ll be doing on it this summer.
Before you do anything else, make sure to power-wash it to get out the dirt and grime. It’s imperative to do this before applying sealer or stain.
Applying stains and sealers protects your deck from UV rays and repels rain. Depending on the type of stain you select, they can last up to three years.
If boards on your deck are starting to show wear and tear, it could be cheaper to replace individual boards rather than go through a complete tear down and rebuild. Of course, this all depends on how handy you are and how widespread the damage is.
Cleaning up is great, but it’s also fun to build new things. Check out our post on the power tools every homeowner should have.
What are your tips for spring cleaning for the outside? Share them with our readers in the comments.
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