When it comes to the perfect summer vacation destination, you might dream of spending your days lounging on a sunny beach somewhere exotic and far away, but when it comes to making the most of your summer vacation, sometimes the best destination is one a little closer to home! Forget packing and trying to catch a flight at six AM: your backyard is a great spot to enjoy the best summer has to offer, especially if you’re willing to put in a little extra work! As the days get warmer and the sun sets a little later, take some time and invest in your own backyard. Before you know it, you’ll be wanting to spend more time outside!

From giving your grass a little TLC to dusting off your favorite outdoor equipment, take the steps to properly prepare your backyard for summer so you can enjoy your private oasis all season long:

  1. Start by cleaning your yard of any leaves or debris left over from fall and winter. Aside from looking unsightly, this clutter can prevent essential nutrients from reaching the soil below, and could end up hurting your lawn.
  2. Aerate and fertilize your grass and other plants. Grass needs a little help to look its best all summer long. Aside from watering it, fertilizer and proper cutting can make all the difference, not only in appearance but also in terms of how long it lasts and stays healthy.
  3. Prune trees and shrubs to help prevent plant infections or insects from spreading to other limbs. While you’ll want some shade, it can be good to keep larger trees trimmed to prevent storms from causing limbs to fall on your home or outdoor structures. Preventative precautions can be invaluable in protecting your home and property during stormy weather.
  4. Repair and maintain any outdoor walking surfaces such as porches and decks, gravel or paved walkways, etc. Some of these areas will need to be cleaned after a long winter, while others may need to be repaired or refinished. Not only are these necessary to keep your backyard looking great, but an unsteady, uneven surface could be a safety hazard.
  5. Upgrade your lighting! LED lighting is affordable, easy to install, and even easier to control thanks to smart phone apps and wireless remotes. Good lighting can transform an outdoor space. Use practical lights to add visibility after dark and use more stylish designs to help add ambiance and atmosphere. Add insect repelling lighting like torches or LED lanterns to help keep pests away.
  6. Clean your backyard furniture. Dish soap and water are safe and effective at removing built up dirt and grime. Be careful with pressure washers, as they can strip or flake paint away and leave your furniture tarnished. If necessary, repaint, reupholster, or replace outdoor furniture.
  7. Stock the yard for a little fun! Install a fire pit or pool for the adults, and don’t forget a playhouse or inflatable splash pad for the kids. All the rage are backyard games such as Corn Hole or Ladder Toss.
  8. Make sure your grill is ready for smoking and grilling duties by scrubbing the grates, deep cleaning the exterior, and upgrading your utensils if need be. Be sure you’ve stocked up on (and safely stored) your preferred fuel so you can focus on getting dinner ready and not having to drive to the store for more charcoal or to replace the propane tank.
  9. Start planning your big projects early on. If you want to install an in-ground pool, it’s going to take a major commitment of time and resources to make that happen. Plan around existing schedules and make a timeline. Stay focused!
  10. Plan a fun event! The cold of winter and the rain of spring keeps many indoors for the season. But when it comes to summer, outdoor entertaining is the best! It doesn’t take much to plan something to do. Borrowing a projector could turn your backyard into a great outdoor movie theater. A few picnic tables and you’ve got the perfect spot to celebrate the next big holiday. Backyards are flexible spaces that you can rearrange to best meet your needs.

With a great backyard, memories to last a lifetime are only steps away!