Summer is starting soon and you won’t be the only one who’s happy to see it arrive. Your home will be, too. Cold, rainy winter weather takes its toll on our homes. Fortunately, shaking off the winter doldrums and whipping our homes into shape is both easy to do and won’t break the bank.
Here are nine simple steps you can take to ensure you and your home have a great summer.
1. Clean the grill: It may not be the biggest fixture in the home, but it’s arguably the most important come summertime. It will take you all of 15 minutes to give your grill a thorough cleaning and you’ll enjoy the fruits (and burgers and brats) of your labor through Labor Day. If you're sporting a gas grill, be sure to disconnect the propane tank before you start. After that, it’s a matter of scrubbing under the hood, cleaning the inside walls, rinsing the grates, and polishing the exterior for good measure. For grill inspiration, check out these high-end, tricked out beauties.
2. Make the porch screen look like new: You'll be going in and out of your door all summer, so a clean porch screen is essential. For best results, use a mixture of warm water and non-ammoniated all-purpose cleaner, along with a scrub or utility brush. Before you scrub, whisk away dust and dirt with a hand-held vacuum or a soft counter brush. Once you’re finished scrubbing, rinse the screens thoroughly with a garden hose and allow them to air dry. Now, summer can officially begin.
3. Don’t just clean it, make it beautiful: You took the time to clean your screens, so why not extend your effort to the porch? Add greenery. Replace chair cushions. Our friends over at House Beautiful have compiled 26 additional tips that will help transform your porch into a cheerful summer idyll you’ll never want to leave.
4. Inspect the deck: Deck issues aren’t simply an eyesore. They can actually lead to serious injury. Deck builders recommend an annual inspection or safety check for decks that are more than 10 years old. Be on the lookout for corroded or missing screws, split or decaying wood, weak joints, and other signs of wear and tear. It’s worth the effort to prevent an injury.
Pro tip: Professional deck inspections are typically free of charge and you’re not obliged to hire the inspection company to do your repairs. You can even use their report to get a second opinion or request a quote.
5. Mulch much? Many homeowners consider mulch to be magical. It enhances the health of your landscaping by reducing threats to trees and plants, and it adds to the overall aesthetic. Toward that end, we suggest you choose a mulch that matches or complements the exterior colors of your home. Pros recommend mulching twice a year. First, remove any old mulch still in the bed. Then till the soil and add three inches of the new stuff. Avoid rotten and faded mulch the way you avoid sunburns and summer mosquitoes—at all costs.
6. Conduct a playground check: If you’ve installed an outdoor swing set or playground for your kids, first congratulate yourself on being a great parent. But, now is the time to double check that it's safe. Inspecting both the equipment and the playing surface for potential hazards is paramount. For added safety, consider installing protective surfacing at least six feet in all directions from the play equipment.
7. Check the AC: It’s easy to get carried away with outdoor updates, but prepping for summer is an inside job, too. The biggest thing you’ll want to do is inspect the AC unit. It may not make your home sparkle per se, but nobody wants to deal with a preventable AC malfunction when the mercury starts to climb.
8. Bring the outdoors in: What happens when it gets too hot to experience nature’s splendor? Indoor plants and herb gardens are two great ways to bring the best of the outdoors into the house. Check out The Spruce Family’s carefully curated list of suggestions here.
9. Let the sunshine in: Summer brings ample daylight. What better way to enjoy it than to let it into the house? Opening the blinds will make your living space feel larger and brighter. If your space heats up easily, avoid allowing in direct sunlight, or close up once the morning sun has passed. Now is also a great time to put away throws, pillows and other winter-related décor. Enjoy the summer months while they last. Winter will be back before you know it.
There’s always more to be done. Washing the windows. Planting summer flowers like asters, hyacinths or marigolds. Giving the front entrance a fresh coat of paint. If it has to do with summer, the time to act is now. Winter had its run. Now, it’s summer’s time to shine.