Party Pointer: Clean Up for Outdoor Parties

 

If you are planning to use your deck, patio or yard for entertaining this summer, you will first need to clean up for outdoor parties. Below is a to-do list of clean-up tasks to do to ready your outdoor space at the beginning of the season. Once you have done these things, you are ready for your guests and great fun!

Clean up yard waste. Making your yard party-ready begins with cleaning up any leaves, branches, and yard waste. This includes under decks, behind AC units, next to bushes, and in the corners of fences. Feed your lawn to get it healthy and green. Cut your grass, and trim any weeds. Trim trees and shrubs.

Put down mulch because it provides benefits to your trees and flowerbeds by keeping moisture pressed against the plant roots. But mulch also provides a clean, finished appearance to any yard. Make sure to add a thick layer of mulch, or use a weed barrier to ensure no weeds invade the mulch bed.

Add plants to your yard. Shrubs, trees, and flowers serve a variety of purposes in your backyard landscape, from creating natural borders to adding a splash of color to your yard. Add perennials as part of your permanent landscaping, and add annuals planted either in the ground or in containers on a patio or walkway to complement them.

Clean walkways, decks and patios. Your guests will likely enter your backyard through your house or an outside entrance, so make sure these pathways are clean and clear. Remove any moss, mildew, and dirt with a pressure washer or hose. Brush off leaves or mulch with a broom. If there are any loose bricks, or if the concrete or mortar is crumbling, make repairs.

Sweep your deck and Inspect it for signs of decaying wood, loose railings, or stained boards before you have a lot of people are on it. Once the deck is safe, you can clean and restain it if needed.

Sweep your patio of debris that can leave behind stains. Check it for moss or mildew that could make it slippery. Power-wash the concrete or clean the bricks of moss and stains.

Clean up your patio furniture when you take it out of storage–be sure to get off cobwebs, mold, or mildew. If you have fabric cushions, make sure they are washed and clean before a party. Mix a solution of water and dishwashing liquid to clean plastic and metal furniture, as well as soft goods, like rugs and umbrellas. For wood furniture, use a gentler, oil-based soap. Wipe down furniture with a soft rag, and use a soft-bristled rush to scrub outdoor rugs clean. Rinse everything with a hose and leave items to dry in the sun.

Clean the grill. The best time to clean the grill is right after using it, but if you forget, you can help soften leftover grime with a spray made of equal parts water and distilled white vinegar. Coat the grate, close the lid and let it sit for an hour. The mix will help break down residue, so that you can scrape it away with a grill brush or balled-up aluminum foil. Then use a sponge to wipe down the grill’s exterior with warm, soapy water.

Discourage unwelcome insects from swarming by placing lighting as far away as possible from where guests are gathering. Put a lid on outdoor garbage cans and wipe up spills, crumbs and trash immediately so as not to invite ants, yellow jackets and fliers. A large portable fan can help keep away mosquitoes who are relatively weak fliers.

>Create mood lighting on the deck and in the yard–solar lights that mark pathways are terrific. Garden torches add ambience, as do mason jar lanterns hung in tree branches or on garden crooks or hanging fairy lights.

Place your outdoor furniture in conversational groupings for your guests’ enjoyment. An outdoor rug defines your space and makes it look homey. Porcelain garden stools work as side tables as well as seating. Have a few extra stackable chairs that guests can pull up to the large groupings.

Create a buffet space or table for food items served at your party that is out of direct sunlight. You may need to get a large umbrella with a stand that could be placed over the space.

Create a separate bar and drink station in the shade. A plastic or metal tub in which to ice cold bottles or cans is helpful, as is a cooler just for ice for glasses.

Have a trash and recycling can or box for your guests to use throughout a party.

A plastic or wooden storage container that can double as a bench is a wonderful deck or patio addition, because you can keep your entertaining supplies at hand. You might put your clean grilling tools in it, or your outdoor table linens and tableware so they will be together when you need them for your next party.

Consider adding a permanent or portable fire pit--great for roasting s’mores!

Happy outdoor entertaining this summer! Enjoy!

 

 

 

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