It’s about that time again. The weather is heating up. The kids are itching to go out into the sun and play with friends. Things may be uncertain now, what with the COVID-19 pandemic, but seasons will still come and go. Sprucing up your backyard in preparation for the summer months will not only give you something to do while in quarantine, but it could also prove to be a fun endeavor the whole family can get into.
Tackle That Pool
Get the biggest job out of the way first. Your backyard pool has been covered up during the winter months, so you need to make sure that it’s clean and ready to be used during the summer.
Check Your Filtration System
Seasoned pool owners would know not to completely drain their pool of water and to cover it up during the colder months. According to professionals, emptying your pool could potentially make it pop out of the ground because no weight is holding it down. Plus, the added moisture in the soil around your pool could cause additional damage requiring you to have a complete pool replacement.
That said, the first thing you need to check is your filtration system. Put it all together and make sure all the baskets are clean. Keep the cover on your pool as you’re working on its filtration. Top up the pool with water once you’ve got everything working.
Test Your pH Levels
The water in your pool should have a pH level between 7.2 to 7.4. Increase it with the use of sodium ash or decrease it with muriatic acid. Not a fan of hard chemicals? Sodium bisulfate or organic carbon dioxide-based substances are great substitutes for muriatic acid.
Additionally, chlorine levels should be between 1 ppm (parts per million) and 3 ppm, while calcium hardness can range from 150 ppm to 250 ppm. Testing kits for your pool’s chemical properties should be available at your local hardware.
Clean Your Pool Deck
Lastly, make sure your pool deck is free from any debris and dirt that could cause accidents. Ideally, you should have been doing this at least once a week during the winter months, but if you hadn’t, now’s a good time as any. This is also one job where you can get your elementary-aged kids to help with. Make a game of it and see who gets to clean up faster or who collects the most fallen leaves.
Add Some Pizazz to Your Patio
Now that you’ve got the biggest job out of the way, time to look at how you can add aesthetic elements to your deck or patio. You can start by cleaning up your furniture. We suggest investing in a good pressure washer as having one can lessen the time you need to clean outdoors.
Once all the furniture and appliances are cleaned and dried, add some simple touches like decorative outdoor pillows or small side tables. Decide on the kind of mood you want to set when you’re lazing outdoors. Do you want it to be buzzing with activity? Or do you want a more tranquil spot? Adding proper light fixtures can help you achieve the look and feel you’re going for.
Plan Out Your Garden
Regardless if you’re a seasoned gardener or just starting out, the first thing you want to do is plan your garden. Do your research and see what plants are good for your area. Decide whether you want to grow a vegetable garden or a flowering one (or a combination of both!).
Use your neighbors as inspiration. See what plants they’ve grown and how well it’s grown. A walk in the neighborhood would already give you landscaping inspiration.
When you’re ready to plant, don’t forget the basics like putting mulch on your soil or creating a weed barrier (cardboard boxes placed between the mulch and the soil). You can also choose to plant in raised beds. This is especially easier for older gardeners or those with back problems.
And there you go! With just a few simple tweaks, you can have the backyard of dreams. Summer nights can be relaxing in your patio, while afternoons are made for getting some sun and lounging in the pool. You may not be able to host a big July Fourth party yet, but you can still enjoy your time outside with your family.