Everyone has a list of things they Spring clean indoors (or at least, would Spring clean if they had the time and energy!), but your porch and yard needs a little love too before the Summer heat strikes and before you start entertaining outside. Here’s my go-to things on my outdoor Spring cleaning checklist that I try to get done before Summer temps arrive, so I can truly enjoy my outdoor space all Summer.
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Front Porch Clean Up
Our outdoor Spring cleaning checklist starts with the front porch. A long winter can leave your front porch looking tired and dirty, so it’s important to give it a little love! After all, it’s the first thing everyone sees when they look at your home. Here’s a quick list of what you should clean on your front porch, and then we’ll cover them in detail:
- Clean Porch Railings and Touch Up Paint
- Power Wash Front Porch
- Power Wash Exterior of Home
- Touch Up Front Door Paint
- Change Out Storm Door Insert
We have a concrete porch and iron rails, with a brick walkway that leads up to it. As you can see, the white paint gets really dirty on the porch. And, the railings have started to rust. Not exactly the clean, updated look I’m going for.
If the railings weren’t so rusty, I’d probably just touch up the paint anywhere it had peeled in the last year. But, since I haven’t touched these railings since we moved in two years ago, they need a total makeover. That’s on my to-do list for the next month, so I’ll update you on how that goes when it’s done!
Update: I tackled that project and the new railings look AMAZING! See my post all about it here!
Power Wash the Front Porch
I always thought I needed to paint our white concrete porch gray to help hide all the dirt that collected on it every few months. Then, I discovered power washing. It transformed my porch from gross to gorgeous in just 15 minutes of minimal effort!
Power washing your front porch is an easy Spring cleaning task if you have a power washer (or borrow one from your mother-in-law, like I did). You can power wash your concrete porch, your deck, your sidewalks, your driveway, the front of your home, really almost everything. Just be careful on painted and stained surfaces–if you spray to close, you may strip some of the paint or stain away.
Don’t Forget the Storm Door
Once the weather is consistently in the 50s and 60s, I change out my glass insert in my storm door for our screen. It takes about 15 minutes and provides such a lovely breeze throughout the house. If you have both inserts and have never done this before, check out my DIY post here!
And, while you’re changing out the insert (or if you don’t have an insert to change out), take the time to wipe down all the nooks and crannies in your storm door. It can get super dirty over the winter, and a good wipe down with some soapy water (or even a wet paper towel) will make it look brand new!
Spring is a great time to touch up the paint on your front door. Chipped paint makes things look old and beat up real quick. And, if you have extra paint from when you painted the door, you can easily touch it up in just a few minutes! (If you don’t have extra paint or haven’t painted the door in a few years, why not buy a new quart of paint and give your whole door a fresh coat?!)
If you just have a few spots to touch up, you don’t even need to break out a paint brush (I can see you already thinking about having to clean). You can buy these great foam brushes at any craft store, hardware store, or Amazon! Use them to do your few touch ups, and then throw them away! That’s it–it’ll probably take you a grand total of 5 minutes.
Front Yard To Do’s
Next up on the outdoor Spring cleaning checklist–your front yard. Your front yard is probably a big focus of your energy during the warmer months–which makes sense. That’s the first thing everyone sees when the drive up to your home, and you want to show it off! Whether you have a big yard, a small courtyard, or cute little porch and some potted plants, there’s a few easy spring cleaning projects that will start you off on the right foot!
- Fertilize and Overseed Your Yard
- Patching Any Holes in Your Yard
- Trim Back Bushes and Trees
- Plant Your Annuals (or add your potted plants)
- Add Mulch to your Garden Beds
I hate weeding, as I’m sure everyone does. But, this year weeding was A LOT easier with this garden stool I got for Christmas a few years ago–the Vertex Garden Rocker Rolling Seat. It’s a comfortable seat that swivels 360 degrees, and it’s on wheels! So, you don’t have to get up to move your garden stool over a foot and then sit back down; or if you don’t have a stool, don’t have to constantly squat, or crawl on your hands and knees. It saves my low back a lot of aches and pains, so I can weed for more than 30 minutes at a time, which used to be my limit.
I know $40 can seem like a lot to spend on something for the garden, but I literally use it every week in the warmer months. And, I don’t dread working on the ground like I used to and can actual enjoying spending time in the garden.
Seriously, buy it. It will change your gardening life.
If you have a yard, Spring is a great time to give it a little extra love to make it lush and green for the year! Now’s the time to fertilize your yard, overseed it, and patch any holes in the lawn. You probably need to leave an afternoon to get these projects done right, but I promise you, it’s so worth it!
Look at the difference it made in our yard, from before we overseeded it to early Summer. And, make sure you heck out my post on overseeding your yard for more details!
Prune Your Trees & Bushes
Pruning the overgrowth from your trees and bushes is a great Spring cleaning checklist task to knock out. When they’re overgrown, they can hide a lot of the front of the house and make things look a little haggard. And, the overgrowth can be hard on your trees and plants. So, taking the time to prune your trees and bushes can make a great difference visually AND be beneficial for your plants.
When to Prune?
There’s some debate on when the best time to prune your trees and bushes is. Trimming at the wrong time can damage your plants. So, here’s what I’ve found from a little bit of Google research 🙂
It’s always ok to remove dead or dying branches–no matter what time of year it is.
For flowering tress and shrubs, it’s best to trim them after they bloom, so you don’t lose the pretty flowers.
For other trees and shrubs, it seems the best consensus is late winter or early spring before they sprout leaves.
If you need some good hedge shears, I love my Fiskars Telescoping Hedge Shears. They make it super easy to trim bushes and small trees, and the telescoping handles let 5’5″ me reach some of the taller branches without help.
Planting Flowers & Mulching
Once the weeding and pruning was done, it’s time for flowers–the fun part! I love pansies because they are so low maintenance. They come in many colors, can survive in direct sun, and in the humid heat we get here in the MidAtlantic. I’m still trying to figure out what to place where the peach tree used to live, so this year there’s vincas all over 🙂
Then, to finish it all off, I put down a bunch of fresh mulch. I always hate mulching before I put it down, but it’s always my favorite finishing touch to any garden once it’s all done. For $3-$4/bag, mulch just makes your garden look more “complete.” Spread an even layer, a few inches deep, over all your garden beds, leaving a small opening around the base of any plants and flowers to allow water to easily reach the roots.
And, it has a purpose too. Mulch helps reduce weed growth, protect your plant roots from summer downpours, as well as help retain water in summer droughts. Mulch is definitely worth investing in every Spring for your whole garden!
Let’s Get to the Back Porch!
Outdoor spring cleaning for your back porch is super important if you like to use the space to entertain. You probably spend the most time here in the warm months, so take the time to make sure it’s all ready for your barbecues and wine nights! Here’s a quick list of what to tackle:
- Uncover & Clean your Patio Furniture
- Power Wash Your Porch
If your patio furniture can get wiped down, use some warm soapy water to get the grime off from the winter. And, if you have any cushions, take the covers off and wash them, so they’re fresh and clean! And, if you want, maybe add a potted plant or two. Or, add some new outdoor pillows to give your couch a new look!
And, we already talked about the joys of power washing, so I won’t repeat myself, but take the time to power wash your porch as part of your outdoor Spring cleaning.
Last But Not Least, the Back Yard
For us, the back yard takes up all my time and attention in the warmer months, so it definitely makes sense that for outdoor spring cleaning, the backyard takes up more of my time. I’m just going to list the things I do in the backyard for now, since it’s pretty similar to the front yard 🙂
- Power washing the shed and fence
- Fertilize and Overseeding the grass
- Patching any holes in the lawn
- Trimming away any dead branches
- Weeding the garden beds
- Mulching the garden beds
If I was to try to get all this done in one go, it probably take one day of hard work. But, I feel like I never have time to dedicate one full day to the back yard between work and life, so these tasks took me about a month to get done, on afternoons after work.
The End Result of All Your Hard Work!
It’s so nice to to enjoy all the hard work you put into completing the outdoor Spring cleaning checklist, but so easy to forget why you’re doing everything when you’re in the middle of laying your 36th bag of mulch. So, here’s a quick reminder of what you’re working for!
The end result is 1000% worth it. A little bit of extra effort in the Spring with our outdoor spring cleaning checklist certainly sets your yard and garden up for the warmer months (and will hopefully save you a little time and effort down the road).
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