Although it is tempting to get a head start on fall, we are holding on to summer as long as we can. That being said, it’s that time of year when our outdoor flowers are drooping, our outdoor fabrics are fading, and much of our outdoor decor isn’t as crisp and clean as we want it to be. I took a look at our back courtyard and front porch area and decided that it’s time to freshen up the outdoor spaces for late summer. They can use some TLC until we convert to fall in a few weeks. I came up with five easy ways to tide things over until we take the plunge into fall. These are easy things you can do to put a fresh stamp on our place, too.
1. Change out your patio umbrella.
I had a wonderful cream colored canvas umbrella that we used over our outdoor table. It certainly kept the sun off of us when we ate al fresco, but after two years of use, it started to mildew. While shopping at a Ballard’s Design outlet a few weeks ago, Jordan and I discovered that their outdoor umbrellas were reduced drastically – as in 80 per cent off. They had some with navy and white stripes, and they were the same size as our existing umbrella. You all know that I am all about navy and all about stripes, so I grabbed one. All I had to do was remove our old umbrella cover and add the new one. All of a sudden, I had a fresh look for our eating area.
2. Freshen up your outdoor pillows.
I made some new pillows for our courtyard last spring, and they are still perfect. I have been mindful to keep them out of the sun and bad weather when we aren’t using our courtyard. However, if your pillows are looking like the last rose of summer, there are tons of sales going on right now. We bet you can find some good-looking pillows for fractions of their original price. Then in the fall you can pull out your plaids, wools, and sports coat pillows, and maybe layer them with your new purchases.
3. Pull those weeds and add some mulch.
The easiest way to freshen up your outdoor plants is to make sure the weeds have been pulled, the dead flowers have been removed, the limbs that have gone rogue have been clipped, and the mulch is still in place. We have two pyracantha bushes in our courtyard, and they are trained to grow on frames. We want to maintain the original shape, and so clipping them on a regular basis keeps them under control. I love to dead-head my flowering plants. I simply use a pair of garden clippers to cut off the old blooms. This also encourages more buds and blooms to form, and at they same time, the old plants look healthier and more controlled. Also, if your window boxes have seen a better day, it’s okay to just remove the old plants, and add some filler plants like small boxwoods. Then you can tuck in some colorful gourds, mini pumpkins, mums, or pansies later for fall. As far as mulch goes, just raking it will often fluff it up and make it look fresh again.
4. Clean your windows.
Take a look at your windows. Are you seeing spider webs, black spots from insect do-do, or dust? Maybe it’s time to get out the vinegar and water and give them a good cleaning. You will be amazed at how much brighter your interior spaces are when the outside windows are clean. And while you are at it, give the inside surface of your windows a good washing, too. And don’t forget your front door. Clean off the finger prints and smudges that have collected there. It’s the first thing people entering your house will see, and a clean entrance is an easy way to make a good first impression.
5. Clean your porches and side walks.
This is an easy one, right? I learned this simple trick from the garden chairman of my garden club. She said that no matter what shape your yard and garden are in, if the sidewalk is clean, then everything looks better. Maybe it’s time to get out the garden hose, and spray down the porch to remove spider webs overhead that you can’t reach. Then use it on your sidewalks, and get rid of any built-up dust, dirt, leaves, etc. Then sweep away the excess. Easy-peasy.
So, there you have it! Do you have any ideas to add to my list? We would love to hear about them.
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