Getting your patio or deck ready for the spring season is just as important as attending to any room inside of your home. The proper attention now could make the difference between “pretty” and “pretty ugly.”
RECLAIM YOUR SPACE
Consider your patio or deck as you would a room in your home. What’s the first thing you’d do to an interior room? Clean it. Reclaim that space with a deep clean of the whole area. Getting in there andcleaning out your patio now will ensure that when the weather gets warmer, you can focus more on relaxing and entertaining and less on mold, clutter and pollen.Start by moving everything — grills, flower pots, outdoor décor and patio furniture — and clean underneath, sweeping away everything you find there, from leaves to pollen to spider webs to old bugs — it is the Lowcountry, after all. (If you’ve got more winter sludge than usual, you may want to consider a power wash.) Clean all exterior windows of your home that surround your patio, and check for any damage on the surface of your patio that might be a structural or tripping hazard — such things can happen when you’re not looking.
Repair / Replace
Patio elements wear out quickly due to —what else — exposure to the elements. But spring is the perfect time to repair and replace anything that might be looking the worse for wear after a relatively long cold winter.
If you have an outdoor rug, now’s the time to put it in place on your newly cleaned patio. If your outdoor rug is dirty, scrub or power wash it on your driveway and allow it to dry before putting it in place for the season.
Patio furniture is a little different. Depending on the amount of exposure and damage, it may also need to be power washed. But all patio furniture, regardless of where it spent the winter, will need to be freshened up. If you find your metal furniture needs just a little bit of love, touch it up with Rust-Oleum to prevent further rust.
Make sure your lighting is all in place: Check all outdoor lights, and add lanterns or solar-powered lighting along pathways or around seating areas. Both are stylish, inexpensive and can be dramatic.
Next, and this is a big one, make a bug maintenance plan. Purchase fresh citronella candles or contact a local exterminator about treating your yard and the area around your home for the many nefarious biting insects that call the Lowcountry home. A visit to your local hardware store will provide many other pest control options as well. While you’re on the subject, survey the areas in and around your patio to make sure they are not a welcoming home for any unwanted critters.
Finally, give your grill a good once-over, particularly the propane tanks for gas and the debris catcher for charcoal. And yes, it’s probably time to replace 2010’s gross old brush.
Now that you have a clean working space, it’s time to get your hands dirty.
Start by planting new spring blooms on and around your patio. Empty and clean all flower pots — except those with bulbs that bloom in spring. Spraying the pots off with water should be sufficient; be careful not to use chemicals that could potentially harm your plants in the future.
This part doesn’t have to be difficult; adding even a small amount of foliage to your patio can really make it a visual joy well into the fall. Pay attention to when and where the sun hits your patio throughout the day. Then, visit a local nursery and ask for assistance in picking out the perfect blooms for each location. (You may also need to add soil or mulch to your flower beds so do inquire about this as well.) While you’re on the subject, consider growing a small kitchen garden; the patio is a great place to grow some vegetable and small potted herbs which are not only pretty, but useful as well.
All that’s left to do now is sit back, enjoy and relax!