Canadians love their outdoor time. With long, harsh winters keeping us cooped up indoors, the longer, warmer summer days make outdoor living a welcome treat. With summer just around the corner, you may be looking at ways to refresh your outdoor living space. Not only does this increase the value of your home, but allows you to take full advantage of all that your property has to offer.
Harsh Canadian winters can wreak havoc on the appearance of your garden. Soils erode, wind, snow and frost can damage plants and trees, and alternate freezing and thawing of the soil damages plant roots. Naturally, your garden will benefit from a reset at this time of year.
Begin by clearing your garden of dead leaves and weeds. If you have perennial plants, cut back any dead growth. Ideally, you want to have loose, dark topsoil for your garden, which is full of organic material and natural nutrients. Check the soil in your garden, and find out if you have too much sand, too much clay, or a good mix. If you aren’t sure, take a sample to a local garden center, and ask for an expert’s opinion.
Plan new additions your summer garden before you take out your wallet. Take into consideration the amount of sunlight your garden receives and what type of plants you are likely to have success with. If you have pets or children you’ll want to ensure that the greenery you chose is safe if touched. It is also important to consider any wildlife that might visit your yard – rabbits love to eat luscious plants growing in backyards and you’ll be disappointed when they get gobbled up. Thick-leaved, prickly or scented perennials that often discourage rabbits include: lavender, iris, peony and Black Eyed Susan, just to name a few.
Summer Refresh For Your Backyard Deck
The fall and winter months can be hard on your deck. Cleaning, repairing and re-staining if necessary will help prolong the life of the deck and will ensure that it is a safe surface. Begin by thoroughly sweeping the deck surface and using a screwdriver to loosen and remove debris between floor boards. Check for water damage, loose screws, splintered or rotten boards that may need replacing. When cleaning your deck, dampen areas you want to clean, then brush on a layer of cleaning solution and use a hard bristle brush to remove the grime.
It is important to remember to cover any surrounding plants, bushes or grass before using any harsh cleaning chemicals on your deck. It is recommended that the use of a pressure washer be avoided on wooden decks as the immense water pressure can damage the wood. A natural, non-toxic cleaner and some elbow grease is usually the best bet. If a pressure washer is the tool of choice, be careful not to aim the nozzle too close to the wood, and use a stream of water that is not too aggressive. Concrete patios also look instantly better when cleaned, either with a special high pressure washer or plenty of scrubbing.
Keep The Party Outside This Summer
A warm space is an appealing space, and when cooler summer evenings hit, a cozy and snug atmosphere is what you want for your outdoor entertaining area. Those cooler evening temperatures should not deter you from enjoying your backyard oasis. Families that really want to make the most of their summer patios and decks may find it useful to invest in a patio heater that they can use to keep their patio area warm long after the sun has gone down. The heater that you will need will depend on the type of outdoor space you’re trying to heat. They come in a range of sizes and styles and can provide heat for small or large groups. Fuel types are another factor to consider before purchasing a heater. The appliances can operate on oil, butane, or propane.
Create Warm Summer Atmosphere
A home that features a beautifully furnished outdoor entertaining space is a huge selling feature and will add great value to your home. People enjoy entertaining outdoors in the summer —well into the Fall, in fact—and for this reason, it is important to highlight the features of the outdoor space, regardless of the season. An outdoor oasis set up for entertaining should include a variety of seats where people can comfortably carry on conversation, as well as tables where food and drink can be accessed. Having an outdoor speaker system or a small stereo is a good idea, as music can create atmosphere and stir conversation. Chimneys, fire pits, fountains, and plants also work to create atmosphere in an outdoor space.