It’s finally May and what better way to celebrate seasonal renewal than by thoroughly cleaning up the exterior of your property. The glorious summer months are headed our way – now’s the time to prepare for full enjoyment. So gather up your willing family members and start doing! Here’s a handy checklist to help you plan.

Decks, Patios & Fences

Patios and decks go through a lot during the winter months. Depending on the year, many Canadians don’t even see their deck until the spring thaw. Now is the perfect time to check structural supports, look for any popped nails, boards that need replacing or loose screws or bolts. Hire a power-washer (why not go in on one with your neighbours?) and clean away any dirt, grime or mildew from your decks’ surface. If you haven’t re-sealed or re-stained, it’s time to do so, after your deck is shiny and clean. It’s amazing what a good power wash can do.

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Have a look at your fences and gates if applicable. Do any need repair or a full-on replacement after the rigours of winter? A well installed fence should last 20 to 30 years, but if installation was not top quality, or if termites or falling trees have attacked your fence, you may be looking at a partial of full fence replacement.

If you have a pool, ensure the gates around your pool are solid and lock securely to keep children out when unsupervised. If they are not, bring a pro in to help you make your backyard safe.

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Landscaping & Gardening

Landscaping and gardening are key to rejuvenating your external space in the spring. Your first job will be to clean up the yard from the harsh winter months. Grab your kids, assign them this handy-dandy checklist and before you know it you’ll be enjoying a fine life in your backyard.

  1. Rake up old leaves and dead foliage as well as any dog feces that might be lingering in your yard
  2. If you did not trim your flowering trees or vines in the fall, now is the time to do it before they begin to flower again.
  3. Divide perennials before spring growth recommences; clear and mulch perennial beds
  4. Repair any damage to raised garden beds
  5. Pull spring weeds and cover bare spots with mulch or ground cover to minimize the growth of new weeds. Consider using black plastic sheeting to cover the beds before planting as a way to suppress emerging weeds and reduce the slug population in garden beds.
  6. If you have a lawn, follow these steps to lawn happiness:
    • Thoroughly clean your lawn of all debris, leaves and sticks
    • Apply fertilizer, pre-emergent and weed killer
    • Mow every five days for the first six weeks of spring to ensure a thicker, fuller lawn

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Spring is a great time to re-imagine the exterior of your property. Consider planting new shrubs or investing in a new flowering perennial pretty annuals to brighten up the early season. Or why not try growing a kitchen garden? Plan what you want to add or change in your yard – now’s the time to leap into action so that you can fully enjoy for the coming summer months.

Outdoor furniture & cooking areas

Get your outdoor furniture out and give it a good inspection. Give away, throw away or sell any furniture that is broken or no longer needed. Where relevant, freshen up furniture or outdoor accessories with a coat of paint and power wash anything that you don’t paint. Have a good look at any cushions or outdoor seating and wash thoroughly. Replace any fabrics that appears moldy or mildewy.

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And then there’s the barbecue. Safety first at all times! Follow the checklist below to ensure your barbecue is safe, clean and good to go for the summer.

  1. Check the hose to make sure it’s intact and clean
  2. Give your grill a good scrubbing and run your grilling tools through the dishwasher
  3. Do a test run to make sure all your burners are working. If not, consider replacing the offending burner

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The Shed

Spring is a great time to clean out your shed. Take a look at your tools and clean and sharpen everything so your tools are prepared for the summer. Clean up the interior of your shed and organize it so what you need is at hand. If needed, give your shed a lick of paint to make it look fresh and give your yard a bit of polish.

Window Cleaning

It’s amazing how much grime snow, wind and rain can produce on your windows during the winter. If you are doing the cleaning yourself, consider using a vinegar and water solution as well as newspaper or a squeegee. Clean windows from the top down. Remember to clean your window screens too. Repair or replace any screens that are torn.

If you don’t have time to clean your windows or gutters, make sure you research and read other homeowner reviews of anyone you hire so you can hire with trust.

Cladding and Front Door

Spring is a good time to inspect the cladding of your home. If any of your cladding needs attention, do it now so that insects and other animals can’t get a foothold in your home. Or, if you’re looking for a a more major change, why not brighten up your home with a new coat of paint on the exterior of your home? Painting doesn’t have to be a daunting task. If you hire a pro to do the work, all you have to do is pick your colour and watch while your house gets transformed.

You can also give your front door a face lift. One of the best ways to perk up your home is adding a fresh coat of paint in a new color to your front door.

Air Conditioning

Beat the heat! Don’t get caught in the dog days of summer without AC.

Have your air conditioning inspected and serviced. Among other things, the outside AC unit should be cleaned and filters replaced.

Gutters & Drainage

For a many number of people, gutters are a top priority in spring cleaning. As well they should be. During the winter, gutters can be blocked with leaves, debris, and other items that can lead to drainage problems, ice floes and water leaks, which can in turn compromise the envelope of your home. Often it’s the number one cause of basement leaks.

When you are cleaning your gutters, take time to time for an inspection. If they are damaged, do not hesitate in replacing. While you’re at it, have your drain tiles inspected to further fight against possible drainage problems.

Good luck with the exterior clean up this spring!

Posted by Leslie Andrachuk