Once warm weather arrives, you’re bound to spend more time outdoors. Since you winterized your patio, deck and garden, it’s time to prepare these areas for the sunny season. Wondering where to start?
Here are a few tips and tricks to help you get your outdoor space ready for the warmer months in no time. Whether you need a simple list to get started or seek inspiration for a few upgrades to your outdoor space, you’ll find it here:
For some people, the best part about warmer weather is shopping for upgrades to their outdoor spaces. Here are a few of our favorite ideas:
Best upgrades for outdoor spaces
A high-tech grill and smoker
This Pro 575 Wifi Pellet Grill and Smoker burns all-natural wood pellets to give food a hearty, smoky flavor.
It’s WiFi-enabled, so you can control the grill and smoker anywhere through Trager’s WiFIRE app.
A comfortable porch swing
A breezy porch swing with stand is ideal for warm-weather lounging. It has a charming canopy and cup holders to keep occupants relaxed and comfortable.
A welcoming outdoor rug
We like an easy-care polypropylene outdoor rug for its versatility. It transforms patios and sunrooms into cozy, welcoming spaces.
An inviting pergola
A spacious pergola with a sling canopy offers 120 square feet of entertaining space. The canopy is retractable, so you can enjoy as much or as little sun as you like.
An outdoor pizza oven
Enjoy a personal pie any time of day with an outdoor pizza oven.
It uses charcoal, wood, pellets or gas to cook pizza at 900 degrees to deliver the perfect crispy crust.
Outdoor prep checklist
Clean outdoor surfaces
- Clean lights and cameras
Outdoor light fixtures and cameras require periodic cleaning and inspection. Light fixtures like lanterns or deck post lights can get filled with insects or dirt, so you’ll need to take them apart for dusting or wiping down. Security cameras can be dusted with a microfiber cloth.
- Pressure wash surfaces
Outdoor surfaces still get dirty during the colder months, and your best option to deep-clean them is pressure washing. A pressure washer has enough power to blast away stubborn buildup on outdoor surfaces. Select a multipurpose cleaner to use with the pressure washer so you can clean all outdoor surfaces with a single solution.
- Move furniture
It’s time to return outdoor furniture to its normal locations, but before you do, consider enhancing the “flow” of your outdoor space with a new setup. Something as simple as relocating a tiki bar to a sunnier spot can make a big difference. You can also rearrange seating around a focal point such as a fire pit.
- Check components
Before you begin using outdoor furniture, perform an in-depth check of its components. Bolts and screws may loosen in patio furniture, which can result in swaying or wobbling. Use screwdrivers or Allen keys to tighten pieces.
- Clean furniture
If you’ve stored patio or deck furniture in the garage or shed, wipe it down with a damp cloth to remove dirt or dust. Clean beneath seats and tabletops, and make sure no critters have formed nests in corners or crevices. Cushions without removable covers should be wiped down with a diluted mixture of warm water and vinegar. Those with removable covers should be hand- or machine-washed.
- Use furniture covers
While most outdoor furniture is waterproof, it’s still smart to invest in covers for additional weather protection. Furniture covers usually have waterproof and UV-coated shells. Most designs slip over furniture easily.
Spring garden maintenance
Bring out pots and urns
If you brought pots and urns indoors during the winter, you can take them outside once temperatures are consistently above 45 degrees. Place the plants and flowers in appropriate areas around your patio or deck — some plants need shade, while others require direct sunlight. If you grew plants indoors during winter with a hydroponic garden, make sure you have enough pots or urns if you’d like to replant them outdoors.
Service electric- and gas-powered tools
Landscaping and gardening tools that are electric- or gas-powered may require maintenance or service before you use them this season. Electric tools like a cordless hedge trimmer will need to be charged fully prior to use. If the rechargeable battery doesn’t hold a charge as well as it used to, you may need to replace it. Gas-powered tools need their fluids and tires checked.
Organize your shed or garage
Since it’s gardening and landscaping season, rearrange your shed or garage to make tools and equipment more accessible. Manual tools like tillers or shovels can be hung on garden tool racks to free up floor space. Place regularly used tools in a garden cart, whose portability saves you trips to the shed or garage. Move large equipment such as lawn mowers closer to doors so they’re more accessible.
Prepare kids’ outdoor spaces
Kids’ outdoor furniture like playhouses should be cleaned and inspected before it’s time to play. Plastic playhouses and furniture can be hosed down with water, or you can use a pressure washer. For wood playhouses, you may need to use a wood-safe solvent and a soft brush. If you’re concerned about critters finding their way into the playhouse, ward them off by planting mint around it.
Prepare swing sets
Prepare your kids’ swing set for another season of play with a few safety checks. If the swing set has any chain links, examine each one to make sure they aren’t damaged or broken. Slides should be stable and properly affixed to the ground. All nuts and bolts should be tight, and no parts of the swing set should wobble or jiggle.
Sian Babish is a writer for BestReviews, a product-review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.
You don’t need to reside in a rambling old manor house or live way out in the country to bring a farmhouse style into your home:
Consider your color palette
When choosing furnishings and accessories for a farmhouse-style home, it’s important to choose your color palette carefully. It’s fine to have some color in the mix, but stick to muted tones rather than anything too bright or bold.
You might choose to add pops of color here and there to brighten things up. For instance, you could add a couple of ochre or deep-mustard throw pillows to a gray sofa to add some interest. The Rizzy Home Self Flange Throw Pillow is a nice choice and comes in a handful of colors that would work with farmhouse decor.
Use reclaimed wood
Reclaimed wood is a big part of rustic farmhouse style. Or if you can’t find any pieces you like made from genuine reclaimed wood, you could opt for furniture that looks as though it’s made from reclaimed wood. We love the UMBUZÖ Reclaimed Wood Dining Table, made from solid reclaimed pine and fir lumber.
If you’re looking for smaller reclaimed-wood accents, a reclaimed picture frame is perfect for displaying photos or prints.
Don’t be afraid to mix and match
The farmhouse style is all about your decor looking natural and organic. It should look like you gradually accumulated all the pieces in your home over the years and it’s a happy accident that they work together rather than appearing as though you intentionally cultivated a farmhouse style. This is easier said than done, but the key is to mix and match.
You don’t want to buy matching coffee and end tables or buy a full matching bedroom set; rather, you should choose pieces that complement or contrast one another in interesting ways. You might choose a vintage chest as a coffee table a reclaimed wood side table and then buy a sofa from a big-box store. You can also go mix and match with plates, bowls, mugs and other tableware if you choose. Either buy a few different sets or buy mix-and-match dinnerware sets with pieces that look similar but don’t match exactly. For example, the Noritake Hammock 12-Piece Dinnerware Set features bowls, salad plates and dinner plates in the same color but different patterns.
On one hand, rustic painted wood looks at home in farmhouse decor. But on the other hand, painted wood furniture is also a feature of farmhouse style. So try to balance the two. If you have any wooden furniture that has an unfashionably dark stain or that you just don’t like the look of as it is now, consider painting it. Chalk paint, such as The Spruce Best Home Chalky Finish Paint, is excellent to get started with if you’ve never painted furniture before.
You can paint it over anything without prepping the wood, and brushstrokes don’t show, so you don’t need to have a good technique.
If you have wooden kitchen cabinets and you’re looking to revamp them, try painting them in a suitable shade, such as French gray, country blue or antique green. Those who prefer their farmhouse style on the rustic side can also try distressing painted furniture by taking sandpaper to some of the corners and edges and rubbing the paint away until the wood beneath shows through.
Painting your own furniture isn’t for you? Buy it already painted or distressed, such as the Southern Enterprises Jacinto Distressed Farmhouse Coffee Table, which has an attractive distressed white finish.
Stick to neutral walls
When decorating your home in the farmhouse style, stay away from bright colors on the walls or accent walls with bold statement wallpaper. It’s best to stick to calm neutrals that can let the rest of your decor shine. That doesn’t mean you must paint every wall stark white — you have a wide palette of neutrals that you could choose to work with.
In addition to a wide selection of off-white hues, you could choose a cool gray, warm taupe, pale buttery yellow or fresh sage green. It’s up to you whether you want to paint all the rooms in your home the same shade or if you’d rather have some variety.
Choose prints carefully
Prints can certainly be a part of farmhouse decor, but you must be careful which ones you choose. Any bold geometric prints or modern statement florals are out, while more traditional prints are in. Gingham, plaids and Buffalo check all work well when decorating your home in the farmhouse style, as does most other check and patchwork. You might opt for something like these Blair Farmhouse Plaid Semi-Sheer Curtain Panels in the living room or perhaps the patchwork quilt set for your bedroom.
Ticking fabric and other stripes are also a mainstay of farmhouse decor. A striped accent chair can make a lovely addition to any living room. Some polka-dot prints also work, especially in muted tones with small to medium dots, plus some more traditional florals.
Rural prints — such as those featuring farm animals, bushels of wheat and ears of corn — can make a nice touch in moderation, but you risk your decor looking cheesy rather than refined.