Preparing Your Outdoor Living Space for Spring
When winter is in full swing, it’s easy to forget about your patio. But spring fever is here, and it’s time to trade in those days of comfort food and curling up on the couch streaming your favorite show (again) for warmer weather and outdoor get-togethers.
And while the hibernation was fun, we’re sure you’re just as ready for spring as we are. With this in mind, we’re here to share some helpful tips on preparing your outdoor living space for spring.
Clearing the Space
Before you do anything else, the first thing to focus on is clearing your patio space of any debris that may have built up over the winter months. You can use a broom or rake to easily sweep away debris like sticks and leaves, which you can later use to fuel your fire pit for some springtime gatherings.
Another great way to clear your patio space is with a pressure washer. Not only is it fun to use, but it’s a great way to get rid of the build-up that may have made its way on your patio space during those wetter fall and winter months. Most pressure washers have a ‘fan’ setting which is great for general cleaning, as it won’t be too tough on your wooden or vinyl patio. You may even be able to find one with enclosed brushes and a nozzle to avoid splashback.
Checking the Space
Besides cleaning and clearing hard to remove dirt, another benefit of using a power washer is that it exposes any areas on your patio that may have cracks or holes. Cracks are more likely to occur in concrete, but imperfections can appear on wooden and vinyl patios, especially if you live in a harsher climate.
Even with a high-quality structure that will last you for years, it’s still important to do your due diligence and make sure you’re catching any minor deficiencies before they get out of control. If you find any imperfections that need touching up, you can pick up some mortar at your local hardware store and fix them up in no time!
If you find some loose boards while preparing your patio space for spring, it’s best to address them and tighten them up before they become a safety hazard. Over time, even the best wooden patio will have boards loosen because of weather and consistent use. An easy way to test your patio for loose boards is by leaning your body weight on each board to feel if it is sturdy or not. To tighten up any loose boards, you’ll need the following supplies:
- Wood screws
Once you identify any loose boards, remove the loose screws or nails and drill new holes to replace them. Wood screws or nails both work, but wood screws are likely to hold for longer. If you’re finding some of your boards are warped, you can loosen the screws or nails on the original board and place the screws or nails through a different part of the wood. This places the tension on a different part of the board and can relieve warping issues.
If you’ve found an individual piece of wood to be warped beyond repair, simply replace it with a new piece, and you’ll be good to go.
Cleaning the Space
Once your patio’s foundation is clear and ready for use, you’ll want to focus on cleaning your furniture. It’s time to grab some supplies and roll up your sleeves!
Best Patio Furniture Cleaner
Before you start spraying any home cleaning products on your outdoor patio furniture, you want to think of what cleaning products are best for the type of furniture you have.
Plastic and resin furniture is a popular choice because it’s inexpensive. For plastic furniture, skip the abrasive cleaners and opt for an all-purpose cleaner and a damp cloth or sponge. This should do the trick and will keep your furniture looking as good as new for the coming spring.
Iron and stainless steel are popular choices for outdoor furniture due to their durability. Another benefit of metal patio furniture is the ease with which it can return to looking brand new. To clean wrought iron and stainless steel, we recommend adding a quarter cup of dish soap to a gallon of water and using a sponge to clean the surfaces.
Quick tip: The enemy of metal is rust. That’s why it’s important to purchase outdoor metal furniture that is rust-resistant. If you detect rust, steel wool helps remove oxidation if you’re considering preparing your metal patio furniture for painting.
Wood & Wicker
Remember what we said about power washing your wood patio? Ignore that information here! Since your wooden furniture is likely to be much less sturdy than the boards making up your patio, we recommend using soap or soapy water with a soft brush or sponge to remove dirt and grime.
Cleaning Mildew off Outdoor Cushions
Cushions and pillows look great but get dirty quickly. More than that, rain and humidity can cause mold and mildew to accumulate on your outdoor furniture. Before you start cleaning mildew off outdoor cushions, first determine what type of cushions you have.
Fabric Cushions: Dilute a ½ cup of bleach into 1 gallon of water, add it to a spray bottle and use it on your cushions. From there, you want to make sure you scrub vigorously. For deeper mildew issues, you may have to repeat this process several times. Once clean, leave the cushions out in the hot sun to dry — the heat will also help kill remaining bacteria.
A word of caution, not all cushions can handle bleach, and it may end up staining or stripping the material. When you can, consult the manufacturer’s directions on cleaning and proceed accordingly.
Acrylic Cushions: These are a bit easier to clean than fabric. Simply mix 1 cup of bleach and 2 cups of detergent into a gallon of water and use a spray bottle. After letting it sit for 30 minutes, you can come back and rinse it with water.
Curating the Space
Okay, you’ve cleared the space, cleaned your furniture, and now you’re wanting to do some spring decorating. And for those of you who want to try your hand at some outdoor design, we’ve got some helpful tips to steer you in the right direction.
Choose Your Colors Wisely
Cohesion is the king of design when preparing your patio space for spring. The main thing you want to focus on is making sure your color choices are aesthetically pleasing, seasonally appropriate, and match with one another. Some popular spring colors include:
Gold and dark tones: Gold or yellow helps add a splash of vibrancy to your outdoor setup and are right in line with warmer weather and longer days. Try pairing these with darker tones like black and grey for an easy combo that isn’t too distracting.
Pastels: It’s tough to think of spring and not think of pastels. To match the Easter egg hunts coming up, blues, pinks, yellows, and greens are an easy-on-the-eyes choice. You can also experiment with adding a bolder color here and there, like bright sky blue pillows or a dark green patio umbrella.
Eggplant and tangerine: For a more sophisticated look, opt for deeper, richer colors and a simplistic design. A popular, modern choice includes colors like dark purple, navy, and white.
Whatever your preference, it’s a fun idea to match your flowers with your outdoor furniture!
Bring in the Blooms
Speaking of flowers, seasonally appropriate plants and flowers are a must-have when preparing your patio space for spring. Some of our favorites include:
Finding yourself quality patio table flower planters is another great way to spruce up the communal area with some of your favorite flowers. We recommend sticking with earth tones and more neutral colors to not distract from the beautiful flowers planted in them.
If you’re finding the weather to have been exceptionally tough on your patio this year, or you simply want to switch it up a bit, staining or painting your patio is a great idea. You’ll want to make sure you purchase the correct stain or paint to match your patio’s material and follow the appropriate steps before applying the paint or stain (some of which you’ll already have completed if you’ve been following our tips). Before you can apply paint or stain to your patio floor, you first need to make sure you:
- Remove all dirt and build-up (sand and scrape if needed).
- Allow the wood, vinyl, or concrete to dry.
- Replace damaged boards.
Update Your Furniture
If the furniture from the last few years just isn’t cutting it, it may be time to update and upgrade. When preparing your patio space for spring with new furniture, the most important element to remember is to choose materials and brands that are durable and built-to-last. The last thing you want to worry about is your furniture every time a couple of clouds start rolling through your area.
How to String Outdoor Lights on a Patio
Okay, so you’ve cleared your patio space, cleaned it up, added some flowers and new furniture, and it’s looking great! Well, when you can see it. But it’s dark out, and those earth tones are blending right in with the night.
Fear not, because if you’re wondering how to string outdoor lights on a patio, we’ve got you covered. Here are some supplies you might need:
- Zip ties
- Extension cords
There are a few different ways you can decide how to hang your patio lights, but a few popular options are:
- Square or Grid: this involves hanging patio lights in straight lines across the length and width of your space or outlining just the perimeter of your space in a square shape.
- Zig zag or W: this pattern is good for fully illuminating your space with a more interesting design.
- The Horizon Point: this is similar to the V but requires at least four locations to attach your lights to. This is typically the design used in professional installations for events and restaurant settings.
- Tent or Maypole: This setup features multiple light strings anchored in a wheel arrangement from one central point. This one can be tough and may require professional installation.
Your choice of lights depends on personal preference, but typically a bulb-style light works better and looks better for lighting your patio than your typical Christmas lights. That way you continue relaxing in your outdoor space on a comfy seat into the night too!