(Family Features) Before you can fully enjoy your outdoor living spaces this spring, chances are high you’ll need to wash away a layer of winter grime. Thoroughly cleaning and sprucing up these outdoor areas can get you well on your way to a season filled with outdoor entertainment.
Take yourself one step closer to backyard barbecues, leisurely evenings around the fire pit and generally reveling in all the season has to offer with these tips for updating your outdoor living environment.
Make functional repairs. Start with a careful scan of your yard, giving close attention to items that may have sustained damage during months of disuse. Look for cracks in planters and other items. Inspect wooden furniture and accessories for splintering and rough patches. Check the bolts and hardware securing furniture, especially moving pieces like swinging benches or rocking chairs that are prone to loosening over time. Where needed, make repairs, apply fresh stain or paint and generally ensure each item is in good working condition.
Turn attention to aesthetics. Once everything is ready functionally, you can turn your attention to appearances. In most cases, a vigorous washing is all you need to bring fresh life to windows, siding, decking, sidewalks and other concrete or stone surfaces. An electric pressure washer can make short work of the task, and each of Briggs & Stratton’s models offers a variety of maximum pressure and flow rates to fit homeowners’ unique outdoor cleaning needs. These units feature an onboard detergent tank to easily store and dispense cleaning detergents. Some pressure washers offer additional versatility, such as the POWERflow+ model that has a high pressure mode – ideal for cleaning tough grime – and a high flow mode, which is particularly useful for extended reach, power soaping, power rinsing and delicate surfaces.
For best results when using a pressure washer – whether you’re power washing the patio, cleaning outdoor furniture, washing outdoor windows, rinsing out the grill or scrubbing messy garbage bins – aim the spray nozzle perpendicular to the surface you’re cleaning. Use a steady motion because inconsistent pressure leads to striping. Be sure to “feather” your strokes, overlapping each previous sweep with half the height of the new sweep. Also, allow the detergent soak into difficult stains for 3-5 minutes before rinsing so it has time to latch onto the stain and pull it from the surface.
Focus on details. An outdoor space can evolve from a practical area for outside activities into a true extension of your home with just a few simple touches. Plush cushions make it more comfortable to spend extended time outdoors and accents like rugs and decorative accessories lend a sense of character and charm. Convenience features like end tables make it easy to rest a refreshing beverage nearby. Also consider elements like fans and shades to manage the climate as temperatures climb, and don’t overlook the importance of lighting so your enjoyment can continue after the sun fades from the sky.