Spring is in full swing, and it's time to prepare your backyard for warmer weather. The winter and fall months tend to leave most backyards in rough shape, from piles of leaves and uncut grass to pollen-covered patio furniture, so we're here to help! Whether you're planning on hosting outdoor gatherings or simply relaxing on your patio with loved ones, you'll want to follow our spring checklist to ensure your backyard is clean and ready to enjoy.
Your Spring Home Maintenance Checklist:
- Lawn & Garden Maintenance
- Remove Leaves & Debris
- Mow Your Lawn
- Trim & Prune Plants
- Prepare Your Patio
- Clean the Ground
- Refresh Outdoor Rugs
- Clean Patio Furniture
- Clean Patio Furniture Covers
- Add Shade & Decorative Accents
- Deep Clean the Grill
- Other Outdoor Spring Cleaning Activities
- Check Outdoor Lighting
- Activate Your Sprinkler System
- Clean the Gutters
- Refresh Landscaping
Download our infographic for a quick reference guide, and keep reading below for additional details and bonus tips.
Spring Lawn & Garden Maintenance Tasks
Remove Leaves & Debris
The first step to getting your backyard spring ready is going around your yard and raking all the fallen leaves, branches, and other debris accumulated over the past few months. Use a leaf blower to give your yard an instant visual boost and ensure you aren't hitting foreign objects when you mow. Add your leaves to your compost pile, or start a new one instead of throwing them out.
Mow Your Lawn
After a long winter, it's important to properly cut your grass to ensure a healthy and attractive lawn for the upcoming season.
It may sound counterintuitive, but you should set your mower blade height higher than usual. For example, if your mower has 6 settings, and you use setting 3 in the summer, move it to 5 or 6. A higher blade will allow your grass to adjust gradually to being cut again and prevent shock to the roots. A good rule of thumb is to only cut one-third of the length of the grass blades in one mowing.
In the early spring, it's best to mow your lawn more frequently than during the summer months to promote healthy growth and prevent weeds from taking over. Aim to mow every 5-7 days to keep your grass at the desired height.
Trim & Prune Plants
Taking on the task of trimming and pruning your bushes can be daunting if it's your first time. With a few tools and some guidance, your plants will be thriving and the envy of your neighbors!
Before you start cutting away:
- Assess your plants' overall health and shape.
- Look for dead, diseased, or damaged branches, as well as branches that are crossing or rubbing against each other.
- Decide which branches need to be removed to maintain the shape of the bush and promote healthy growth. If you need more clarification, search your plant species online to see what's recommended to keep it healthy.
Depending on the size and type of bush, you may need different tools for trimming and pruning. For smaller bushes, hand pruners or loppers may be sufficient. For larger bushes, a pruning saw or hedge trimmer may be necessary. Using sharp, clean tools is essential to avoid damaging the bush and spreading disease.
Start by removing dead, diseased, or damaged branches using a clean, angled cut. Then, remove any branches that are crossing or rubbing against each other. Finally, shape the bush by trimming back any branches growing too long or out of shape. Make clean, angled cuts to avoid damaging the bush and encourage new growth.
Remember to step back and assess the bush periodically as you work to ensure you're maintaining the overall shape you are trying to achieve. If you make a cut you are unhappy with, don't stress; it will grow back before you know it.
Spring Patio Preparations
Start from the Ground Up
You'll want to start with the floor as you move to spruce up your patio or deck. Cleaning your patio floor is recommended at the start of spring to keep your backyard looking fresh, whether made of concrete, wood, or stone.
Remove your furniture, potted plants, decorations, and anything else on your patio or deck space.
- If you have an outdoor rug, roll it up and place it out of the way.
- Sweep or vacuum your empty patio.
- If your patio or deck still looks dirty, we recommend scrubbing with a soft brush and a gentle dish soap, then rinsing with a garden hose. You can also use a pressurized power washer. We do not recommend using a power washer on wood decks or natural stone.
- Allow your patio to dry completely before replacing furniture, rugs, or decor.
How to Clean Outdoor Rugs
As your patio dries, it's time to clean your outdoor rug. Move the rug first to your driveway or lawn for ample workspace. We recommend wearing a protective face covering if your rug is exceptionally dusty.
- Shake out the rug to remove loose dirt and debris. You can drape large rugs over a railing or fence and hit it with a stick. The goal is to remove loose dirt and help loosen up caked-in dust.
- Lay the rug flat and vacuum or sweep up the remaining dirt and dust. We recommend vacuuming both sides.
- Use a garden hose to rinse off your rug until the water runs clean.
- Mix a small amount of mild soap or rug cleaner (check your manufacturer's recommendations) with lukewarm water and scrub with a soft bristle brush to remove stains. Be careful not to scrub too hard and damage the rug fibers.
- Rinse your rug again to remove the soap until the water runs clear.
- Keep the rug laid out flat to dry in the sun. When the top feels dry, flip it over to dry the bottom before putting it back on your patio.
You can also use a pressure washer to help remove dirt and rinse the soap from your rug. Set the washer at the lowest PSI and use the fan setting to avoid damaging the rug.
How to Clean Patio Furniture
Considering most families stop using their patio furniture for around 3-4 months out of the year, it should be no surprise that they need a deep cleaning come spring. Your patio furniture has faced a lot, from rain and pollen to snow and dirt.
- Start by brushing off any loose dirt or pollen. You can also use a leaf blower, but we recommend using a brush to ensure you can get to all of the hard-to-reach spots where dirt and debris tend to accumulate.
- Add 1 part white vinegar and 3 parts water to a spray bottle. This mixture may vary depending on the material. For more sensitive woods and fabrics, dilute the mixture and spot-test it in a non-visible area.
- Once tested, spray the mixture on the furniture and scrub with a cloth or soft bristle brush. Use your best judgment to determine the best scrubbing method for your furniture.
- Use a garden hose to rinse off the furniture and repeat the process focusing on the remaining stains.
- Let the furniture fully air dry.
- Use a weatherproof patio furniture cover to protect your hard work year-round.
Cleaning Patio Furniture Covers
If you covered your patio furniture through winter and fall, remove your covers, and you are ready to enjoy your outdoor furniture! We recommend giving your covers a thorough spring cleaning to ensure they keep working like new.
- Remove your covers and place them on a clean towel or your freshly cleaned patio.
- Use a specialty Fabric Cleaner or a mild soap and water mixture and gently scrub the cover.
- Rinse with a garden hose and allow to air dry.
- Use a Fabric Protector spray to increase water and dirt repellency.
- Place your covers back on your furniture, or use a storage bag to keep them clean and out of the way.
Spruce Up Your Patio
Now that everything is clean put your rugs, furniture, and decor back in place. Inspect your furniture cushions for tears or signs of weather damage, and consider purchasing replacement cushion covers if needed.
Spring is a great time to evaluate your outdoor living space and see what's missing. Consider these options to bring your patio to the next level:
- Add shade, privacy, and style to a covered porch with outdoor curtains.
- Create comfort and pops of color with fresh outdoor pillows.
- Improve your pergola with a light and UV-filtering shade.
- Don't have a porch covering? Install a shade sail as a cheaper alternative to a permanent structure.
How to Deep Clean a Grill
Next up is your grill. Maintaining a clean outdoor cooking space will ensure your backyard BBQs always go as planned. We recommend a yearly deep clean and regular light cleanings throughout the spring and summer. Follow these steps for a basic grill deep cleaning. Note that this may vary based on your specific type of grill.
- Brush to wipe away loose debris from the exterior and side tables.
- Use a wet sponge or cloth with mild soap and gently scrub your grill's exterior and side tables.
- Remove your grill grates. Apply a cleaning solution and wipe clean or let them soak for 2-3 hours in hot water and a degreasing soap. Once grease and debris have loosened from the grates, use a sponge or soft cloth to wipe them clean. Rinse the grates with a hose or a bucket of clean water, removing all soap residue. Set aside to dry.
- Use a vacuum or brush to remove ashes or loose debris from the bottom of your grill. Apply a cleaning solution and wipe clean.
- Finish drying your grates with a clean towel and place them back in your grill.
- Allow your grill to completely air dry, then use a protective grill cover to maintain cleanliness and prevent weather damage.
Other Outdoor Spring Cleaning Activities
Clean Outdoor Lighting
If you have outdoor light fixtures, now is an excellent time to clean them and replace burned bulbs to ensure your yard is well-lit and safe for outdoor activities.
Check Your Sprinkler System
Once you are past freezing temperatures, activate your irrigation system and ensure everything works properly. If you winterized your sprinkler system, follow these steps from Liberty Plumbing to get it functioning again.
Once you've verified everything is working and has no leaks, set a regular schedule to water your lawn and garden.
Clean Your Gutters
We recommend cleaning your gutters at least once a year to prevent long-term damage and debris build-up. Before you start, make sure you dress for the job! Wear long sleeves, pants, and a protective face covering.
- Lay a tarp or old sheet beneath you while you work to collect the debris you remove.
- Securely set up your ladder and use a small scoop or shovel to remove debris from the gutters.
- Work around your home until you've cleared all large debris.
- Use a hose to remove the remaining debris and clear the downspouts.
Refresh Your Landscaping
Add fresh flowers native to your area that will thrive in your yard's conditions. Your local garden store can help with recommendations specific to your location and maintenance requirements.
Spring is the perfect time to work outside and refresh your outdoor space. But this doesn't all need to be done in one weekend! Pace yourself and tackle one angle of your patio at a time. With these tips and recommendations, you are well on your way to a clean and functional outdoor living space.
Looking for more ways to revitalize your home's exterior? From laying fresh mulch to installing screen enclosures, check out these 12 ways to breathe new life into your outdoor space.