Spring Cleaning Guide Round-up Part 2: Outdoors

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“In the Spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”

-Margaret Atwood from Bluebeard’s Egg

Spring Cleaning The Outdoors

Flickr photo credit: Andrew Watson

Have you been busy with all the Spring cleaning tasks you found in Spring Cleaning Guide Round-up Part I: Indoors? (What a mouthful, right? Good thing I only have to type it!) While the weather is becoming less like a lion and more like a lamb it’s a good idea to plan your outdoor projects for the beautiful days soon to come.

I’ve rounded up the best of the online guides for 10 of the highest priority projects and the projects that will have the biggest impact on your home, all in one convenient spot for you to reference. Be sure to share it on Facebook or pin to your “to-do” Pinterest board. Follow me, while you’re at it, and keep up-to-date on home maintenance and real estate news. Well, what are we waiting for? Let’s get our hands dirty!

The 10 Highest Priority & Biggest Impact Outdoor Projects

Click on the images to open the link.

1) Fire Safety

Click to view Landscaping Your Home In A Fire Area from Los Pilitas Nursery
click to view Landscaping Your Home In A Fire Area from Los Pilitas Nursery

Landscaping for fire safety is normally a smart idea, but during a drought it’s imperative for home safety. Las Pilitas Nursery gives a practical guide to reduce the risk of fire. There are a lot of ideas presented that I never thought about. Let’s just say, I have a lot of work ahead of me this season to prepare for summer.

2) Easy Weeding- How To Get Rid Of Weeds In Your Vegetable Garden

GrowVeg has shared this very informative guide to easy, organic weeding on Youtube. I don’t usually look forward to weeding, but this looks easy enough and I have enough information now, I don’t think I’ll mind it.

 2.5) Drought Proof Your Yard By Mulching

Why shouldn’t there be a #2.5? Weeding and mulching go hand in hand.

Click to view Rodale News' "The Easiest Way To Drought Proof Your Garden."
Click to view Rodale News’ “The Easiest Way To Drought Proof Your Garden.”

 

Leah Zerbe from Rodale News writes, “…Garden mulch derived from organic (often free) materials like grass clippings, leaves, and pine needles will stifle weeds, retain more moisture, and cool the soil, which in turn conserves water, as well as build soil fertility, which is the basis for organic gardening.” in The Easiest Way To Drought Proof Your Garden. Again, another guide I’m so glad to have read. It will really help reduce my outdoor work load and save water during this California drought.

 3) Pruning Trees and Shrubs

Click to view The Old Farmer's Almanac's "Pruning Pointers For Trees And Shrubs"
Click to view The Old Farmer’s Almanac’s “Pruning Pointers For Trees And Shrubs”

I didn’t realize how important pruning is and this article from The Old Farmer’s Almanac empathizes with that mindset while teaching why it’s needed. “Pruning is a vital part of gardening. The key is to know why we’re sharpening our shears.” Be sure to check out the “Related Articles” at the bottom of the post for plant and season-specific pruning tips.

4) Paint Your House

Click to view The Family Handyman's "Exterior Painting Tips and Techniques"
Click to view The Family Handyman’s “Exterior Painting Tips and Techniques”

You know waiting too long to repaint your home will only make more work for you and can hurt the integrity of your siding. The DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine write, “A good exterior painting job will extend the life of your siding and trim and increase the value of your house. Learn the best techniques for applying paint quickly and thoroughly.”

I have attempted enough projects to know that if I want a professional looking paint job I better first consult a guide each time I paint something. It’s not easy to remember every tip and trick and ends up taking longer and looking not-so-great if I don’t.

5) Repair Your Driveway

 

Click to view the article "Driveway Discipline"
Click to view the article “Driveway Discipline”

Just like painting a house will protect the siding from damage, the same can be said for repairing your driveway. “Put the brakes on driveway problems with some routine maintenance. A little elbow grease and time could save you thousands of dollars down the road.” eLiving Today’s article Driveway Discipline is a quick read which will equip you with the knowledge you need to keep your driveway in great condition year after year.

6) Take It To The Next Level With Window Boxes

Click to view DIY Network's "How To Build A Classic Window Box." Flickr photo credit: Rachel Kramer
Click to view DIY Network’s “How To Build A Classic Window Box.” Flickr photo credit: Rachel Kramer

A window box is a beautiful way to add color and charm to your home. I like how cut and dry this tutorial is, though the image here isn’t the same as the one in the tutorial. You can use the same instructions with slightly different materials to get this look and, as they suggest but fail to do in the tutorial, if you make the window box slightly bigger than the window it will look much nicer. Unless you’re going for an Italian villa look where it’s a narrow poof of colorful plants within a narrower window, I’d stick with a wider box.

7) Outdoor Lighting

Click to view HGTV's "How To Illuminate Your Yard With Landscape Lighting"
Click to view HGTV’s “How To Illuminate Your Yard With Landscape Lighting” by Sandra Petersen.

In this guide, How To Illuminate Your Yard With Landscape Lighting on HGTV’s website, Sandra Petersen writes, “Create a stunning landscape that can be enjoyed during the day and night with inventive outdoor lighting solutions.” This guide teaches you how to cover all you outdoor lighting needs. It’s not a one-size-fits-all solution, it teaches you to design the perfect effects for your own yard.

8) Mind the Mailbox

Click to view John Conca's Pinterest Board "Mailbox."
Click to view John Conca’s Pinterest Board “Mailbox.” Flickr credit: Spyffe

The mailbox can be an opportunity to show some personality. You can really get creative with it because it’s a small, singular item in front of the house and it shows intention when something creative is done. On the other hand, even if you apply a fresh coat of paint to your home, repair the driveway, add window boxes, spruce up the foliage and add gorgeous lighting, a dirty old mailbox in front is going to convey neglect.

I searched but couldn’t find one website with enough inspiration for the variations in taste out there for mailboxes which also included do-it-yourself guides, so I created a Pinterest board for you to check out and follow if you want. There are photos for inspiration and several different DIY pins. If you’re new to Pinterest, remember that after you click the photo and it enlarges, you’ll need to click it again to be sent to the website it links to.

9) Accessorize Your Yard

Backyard:

Click to view Real Simple's slideshow of 22 Outdoor Décor Ideas
Click to view Real Simple’s slideshow of 22 Outdoor Décor Ideas

Accessorizing your yard is important to give it a welcoming vibe. A plain, empty patio will never feel as welcoming as a patio with some furniture, shade, cushions, some lanterns and a fountain. “From yards and terraces to patios and porches, these easy decorating ideas can work for any spot you have big plans for beautifying.” Real Simple’s 22 Outdoor Décor Ideas is a slideshow of backyard inspiration to help you realize how best to accessorize your yard.

Front Porch:

Click to view ConfettiStyle's "How To Accessorize Your Front Porch" by Shelly.
Click to view ConfettiStyle’s “How To Accessorize Your Front Porch” by Shelly.

Shelly from Confetti Style writes, “Simple touches go a long way when it comes to decorating a porch but the message it sends is worth the effort.” This blog post shares many great ideas and details to think about when deciding how to accessorize your front porch.

10) Proactively Reduce Yard Work

Yard_work_5_8_13_1
Click to read The Family Handyman’s “Five Easy Ways To Reduce Yard Work” by Elisa B.

Check this out! I wasn’t sure whether to make this the last point or the first, but hopefully you’ve read the whole post before starting your projects. You know, like you’re supposed to read recipes all the way through before cooking? (If you didn’t know that, I’m glad I could help you just now.) Elisa B from The Family Handyman writes, “Here are some easy ways to reduce or even eliminate basic yard chores so you can free up some time to actually enjoy being outside!” Tell me, who doesn’t want that?

 

I hope this post serves you well. If you use any of this advice, post a comment about it below, I’d love to hear about it. Please feel free to browse my website and follow my blog for updates on local events, real estate news, timely home maintenance suggestions and tips for buyers and sellers.

 

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