The air is getting warmer, the sun is shining and the birds are making new homes on the budding branches in your backyard. Spring is about to arrive, and it’s nearly time to trade in your scarf for a sunhat and head outdoors. But if your backyard or outdoor patio doesn’t resemble the retreat you’ve been envisioning, we’re here to help. These easy, inexpensive tips will help you get it ready just in time for the warmer weather.
1. Freshen up Your Furniture
Gather your supplies – a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Extra Durable and Dawn Ultra dish soap – and use our step-by-step guide to clean your patio furniture from top to bottom and remove a season’s worth of grime and dirt. To add a pop of springtime color to your outdoor seating arrangements, add new cushion covers in weather-resistant canvas fabric. Or convert a piece of indoor furniture, like a rocking chair or bench, by repainting it and sealing it with weatherproof sealer.
2. Get Some Flower Power
Potted plants bring much-needed color to any outdoor space. Keep in mind that frost can still threaten plants in the months before May – if temperatures are expected to be low overnight, take potted plants in, or cover them with lightweight towels. Pansies are a great early-spring choice for planters – they are hardy, frost resistant and come in a variety of cheerful colors.
3. Grow an Herb Garden
Tired of running out of herbs for your favorite pasta dish? A personal herb garden is the answer. Start seedlings indoors in recycled egg cartons, and then transfer them to larger pots, or to an outdoor bed, when it’s warmer. You won’t have trouble finding uses for common herbs like thyme, rosemary, mint, parsley, sage and basil – these fragrant, easy-to-grow herbs taste great in a variety of sweet and savory dishes. (Keep track of which herbs are growing in which pots with our clothespin organizing ideas!)
Tip: After planting, remove dirt stains from your gardening clothes – and keep them smelling springtime fresh – with Tide PODS Plus Febreze.
4. Think About Lighting
Lighting can totally transform the mood of an interior room, and the same theory works outside, too. Hang fairy lights on awnings or trellises to create a soft ambiance for evening parties. Then place citronella candles to Mason jars and place them on tables or along walkways – in addition to lighting up your space, they’ll keep unwanted pests away.
5. Cozy Up
If you’re preparing for guests, try to make your outdoor space as enticing as your indoor one. Place cushions on chairs and benches, keep throws nearby in case it gets chilly, and cover the patio with an outdoor rug for maximum coziness.
6. Garden-Proof Valuables
Stick your expensive speakers in a waterproof cover, and swap glass cups for plastic ones – you’ll relax more, and so will your guests, knowing that they won’t shatter.
7. Do Tough Jobs the Day Before
If you’re planning your first grill-out of the season, do the big jobs (like the annual grill cleaning) the day before so you can relax without rushing on the day of the get-together. Whether you prefer propane or charcoal, our complete guide will help make short work of the task.
8. Don’t Sweat the Details
Entertaining inside is all about little flourishes, but the joy of outdoor dining is in its relaxed simplicity. No time to mow the lawn? Just edge it instead. Skip the cloth napkins in favor of paper ones – Bounty napkins come in a variety of seasonal prints and are great for casual buffets and sit-down dinners alike. And buy pre-made frozen burgers – they taste just as delicious as made-from-scratch ones!