Scientists and healthcare professionals agree: warm weather, sunlight, and the great outdoors can all do wonders for your physical and mental well-being. Studies show that sunlight boosts levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter responsible for stabilizing moods and increasing your happiness.
With that in mind, spending plenty of time in your backyard this summer is not only a good idea — it is good for your health, too!
With some due maintenance and well-selected upgrades, you can craft your backyard into the perfect summer retreat. Learn how to upgrade your backyard using the tips below.
Manage Any Pests
First thing’s first. Establish your backyard as a place to relax and unwind by making sure it is rid of pests.
Pest control professionals share their secrets to a pleasantly pest-free lawn:
- Take care of standing water. Standing water attracts bugs and particularly bothersome bugs (think mosquitos) to boot. Carefully assess your lawn after heavy rainfall for puddles and pooling water. Pick up gardening tools and equipment and children’s toys — and anything else with a reservoir or space for water to accumulate in over time. Clean out gutters routinely and make sure to clear away any caked in debris and dirt that may trap standing water.
- Stay on top of garden and lawn maintenance. Tall, overgrown grass, weeds, and errant plants and shrubs give pests a place to thrive. Snakes, beetles, worms, slugs, and more will take advantage of the extra cover.
- Dispose of perishables carefully. If meat, fruit, or vegetables go off — of course — it is wise to throw them away. Keep the location of trash bins in relation to the outdoor areas you frequent in the front of your mind. Whether you have a short driveway or an especially long driveway, it is best to seal perishables firmly in plastic bags before putting them into garbage cans. This will help keep garbage cans clean and free of odors and pests.
- Know when to call an exterminator. Depending on where you live and the pests in the local area, you may need to take more significant preventative steps. Keeping your lawn in-check is just one important step. In hot, humid areas or areas with nearby lakes, swamps, or standing water, it is a good idea to hire an exterminator to come into your home and spray for periodically — typically every few weeks or once a month.
Weed, Plant, And Prune: Get The Garden Ready
Before getting carried away with elaborate plans about how to upgrade your backyard, start with the basics. A well-cared-for garden goes an incredibly long way to sprucing up your lawn. One that is dying or overgrown with weeds can have the opposite effect: it can act as an eyesore that is near-impossible to ignore, even with a nice pool and new set of patio furniture.
A diligent home gardener needs to refresh gardens in summer and spring by weeding, cleaning up edges, and laying down mulch. At the beginning of each season, do some serious weeding. Get up all of the weeds that are growing astray along with any dead or dying plants. Create a natural weed killer using dish soap and vinegar. Add fertilizer and mulch to garden beds to discourage further weed growth.
Plus, a mulch service can help you line areas where you won’t dig frequently: around bushes, shrubs, and trees or along a walkway or path. Mulch adds instant finesse and gives gardens a polished look without requiring too much extra effort on your part.
Get plants started by growing them in pots. Purchase potted plants to add instant color to your porch and backyard. Start fruits, vegetables, and herbs off in mini allotment plots, a tool that is becoming increasingly popular as more and more people plant gardens in small apartments and patios. These kits often use high-quality soil to nurture and grow more plants in a limited amount of space.
Take Another Look At Your Fence
Is your fence accomplishing what you want it to do? For trendy and utilitarian fence installation, consider what you want out of your fence first. If you want to keep children and pets safely inside your yard or simply want to put up a fence for decorative purposes, a traditional picket fence will do. If privacy and/or security concerns drive your decision to upgrade fencing or install a new face altogether, tall, sturdy fences that wall off areas are best. Tall, wooden fences with opaque plexiglass panels strike the perfect balance between looking trendy and chic and keeping prying eyes out of your backyard.
Refresh old wooden fences with a fresh layer of paint. Painting fences can also be a quick and efficient way to add a pop of color to contrast the deep green of grass and plants. Newer fences incorporate several different elements. Spruce up a tired, old fence with lighting or built-in planters.
Clean Up the Pool
A list of strategies about how to upgrade your backyard would be incomplete without mentioning the pool. Remember, it is important to start with a clean pool. A green pool, a grimy pool, or pool water with floating debris is not doing any favors for your backyard.
It is essential to clean your pool. What does that mean? Even if you carefully keep an eye on chemical levels, maintaining the chemicals in your pool is not enough. You need to fish debris and bugs out of the pool, and clean the bottom and walls of your pool regularly. Remember, chemicals like bromine and chlorine sanitize and clean pool water. Swim University asks homeowners to think of it this way: when you shower, you use soap and shampoo. That keeps you clean, but it does not necessarily go a long way to keep the walls and tiles of your shower or tub clean. Pool chemicals work the same way, mostly cleaning the pool water, not the interior of the pool.
Pool cleaners can do that for you. In addition to cleaning the walls of the pool, professional pool cleaners or pool cleaning services check and maintain the water level, upkeep pool chemicals, clean the filter, clean baskets, and brush or vacuum the pool floor. You can also opt for additional services, like algae prevention, if necessary.
Wash the Patio
At this point, the steps building up to how to upgrade your backyard are adding up. With a pest-free lawn, new or freshly painted fence, a pruned garden, and a clean pool, one of the last big things left to clean is the patio itself.
To truly enjoy your backyard this summer, it is important to clean the patio. Power washing is the perfect solution for most concrete patios. Power washing banishes mold and mildew, grime, and tough stains. It can even breathe new life into discolored concrete.
Do not skip this critical step when considering how to upgrade your backyard. A clean patio provides a clean foundation for patio furnishings, planters, and more!
Build a New Deck
What better way to welcome summer than to build a new deck? A new deck can provide the perfect place to share meals with family, enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning, or curl up outside on the weekend with a cup of tea and a book.
Custom deck builders can help you design and build a deck that best suits your specific needs. For example, start by identifying your priorities for your new deck. You may want to divide these up into categories, like essentials or must-haves and wants or things you would like to have.
Many homeowners who build a new deck, for example, prioritize safety and low maintenance decking materials. Composite materials, natural wood, or pressure-treated lumber are long-lasting and durable, making them the ideal low maintenance choice. Each material has its perks. Composite materials are less likely to cup and warp, for example. Pressure-treated lumber looks just as elegant as natural wood, although it is markedly less expensive. Natural wood “resists rot and insects,” according to Bob Vila.
After accounting for the must-haves like safety features and durable and/or easy-to-maintain materials, homeowners can begin to think about the extras. To make the deck and backyard even more inviting, more and more homeowners are adding outdoor kitchens and Infratech lighting. Outdoor kitchens may include built-in mini-fridges, bars, cabinetry, and grills. Infratech patio lights or heating lamps give you the option to learn how to upgrade your backyard for summer — and for cooler, chillier months.
Decks with standout colors, geometric shapes, and unique handrails, like glass handrails, are trendy in 2020 as well.
Open Up the Garage
In addition to a new deck, many homes can benefit from a new garage door as well. According to HomeAdvisor, a new garage door can pack an impressive return on investment (ROI) of 97.5%! HomeAdvisor elaborates, “The near-perfect return on this project is because it improves both a home’s beauty and functionality.”
How are homeowners revamping their garage doors in 2020? Increasingly, homeowners are opting for the functionality of energy-efficient garage doors, garages with extended living space, and smart home-friendly garage doors.
Energy efficient garage doors are made from insulative materials. The insulating materials keep air conditioning in during the summer and heat in during the winter. To be as environmentally friendly as possible, some homeowners opt for recycled insulating materials as well.
Another top trend is refitting the garage door — perhaps with a garage door screen — to create an extended living space. Large garage spaces can be used to create an outdoor gym, an office, a rec room, or a children’s playroom. Opening up the garage door and using a garage door screen while in the new room of your choice keeps the room open, airy, and free from unpleasant bugs, like mosquitoes.
Finally, if you are considering how to upgrade your backyard, consider installing a new garage door — or updating an old one — with smart home technology. Upgrade your garage door and control the door and/or the garage door screen using mobile devices. This is a convenient and safe option for those who keep an extra fridge in the garage that they are regularly in and out of while entertaining. Pull up the app to open up the garage door quickly, or open it up for guests to serve themselves using only your smartphone.
Take Care Of Essential Home Maintenance
One of the last steps when mulling over how to upgrade your backyard this summer may be taking care of essential home maintenance. For example, just as it is important to routinely clean your gutters to prevent pests from nesting in or around your home and preventing the accumulation of standing water, other maintenance and repairs demand your attention as well.
Before you can truly relax in the backyard, you need to handle residential roof repairs.
What repairs are necessary? First, rooftops need inspecting a minimum of once or twice per year. This professional inspection will help you pinpoint any necessary residential roof repairs. It is also wise to inspect attics and ceilings for any signs of serious water damage. Make sure gutters remain firmly attached to rooftops, without any significant gaps or bending. It is important to address warning signs of water damage as soon as possible as they can result in pooling water, rotting wood, weakened infrastructure, and/or collapse.
A roof inspection can identify any shingles that are torn, cracked, or blistering from extreme weather, like heavy rain, snow, or winds. It can also identify other problems, like holes or tears from animals, or scratches and scrapes from tree limbs and debris falling onto roofs.
Knowing that your roof is in top-condition gives you peace of mind and ensures that leaks won’t ruin your outdoor entertaining this summer.
Are you wondering how to upgrade your backyard this summer? Make your backyard look like new with essential maintenance, clean-up, and a few key additions. Using the steps above, learn how to upgrade your backyard and then sit back and enjoy your favorite summertime activities, like having a barbecue, playing cornhole, sitting around the pool, or having a cozy potluck lunch or dinner.