It’s been a long, cold winter and we’re all looking forward to spring when the air warms up and the flowers burst into bloom. It might even be happening in your part of the country already, and if so, lucky you!
While you sing a happy song and put away your puffy jackets and boots, you might also be thinking of doing some spring cleaning to brighten up the inside of your house. Don’t stop there, though. The outside probably needs some TLC, too. Here’s a checklist to see you through:
Examine for Weather Damage
Winter can be wicked on the exterior of your house. Before you start on the cosmetic fixes, do an all-around inspection.
- Roof. Check to see if you’ve got any missing or warped shingles or broken tiles and have them replaced before spring rains find their way in. If your weather has been especially harsh, schedule a professional inspection rather than risking life and limb by climbing up there yourself.
- Gutters and downspouts. The weight of snow and ice could have pulled them away, so check to see that they’re still attached firmly. While you’re at it, clear gutters of debris that will cause water to pool and lead to leaks and mold.
- Foundation. Do a walk-around to look for cracks that cold weather might have caused. At the same time, check to see that the covers on all exterior vents and other openings are still in place and intact.
Revive Your Lawn
Weather can cause the soil to compact and can also alter the pH, making it inhospitable to grass but encouraging weeds and disease. The best and easiest way to get your lawn going for spring is to arrange for a local lawn care service to come in with their professional know-how. If you’re determined to DIY, here are the steps:
- Rake with gusto. Really go at it to remove all the leaves, debris, and dead grass that has accumulated. Raking vigorously will also disentangle matted areas and thatch.
- Correct surface and soil. If you’ve got the muscle to transport and use it, rent an aerator at a garden center to loosen up compacted soil. You’ll also find pH test kits there, as well as the products to correct any imbalances. If you’re not sure of what you’re doing, though, get expert help.
- Seed bare spots or overseed the whole lawn for thicker grass overall. Seeds will germinate once the soil reaches 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Pre-treat for weeds. Using a pre-emergent herbicide will stop weeds before they start, but it will also stop grass seeds from germinating, so be careful where you use it.
- Fertilize. Feeding the lawn in spring promotes a strong root system and the energy for a long growing season.
Trim Trees & Clean out Flower Beds
Storms may have cracked or broken some tree branches, so they’re the first ones to prune off. Also look for branches that are crossing each other or growing in odd directions.
Clear out winter’s debris and pull any weeds that have begun before they invade your planting beds. Now’s also the time to divide clumping perennials so their roots have time to establish themselves before the weather really warms up. Local garden centers will have a variety of spring annuals as soon as it’s appropriate to plant them in your area, and they’re a great way to add fresh and fast color while your perennials are still waking up.
Boost Curb Appeal
To make the house welcoming from the street, take a look at the front of your house the way someone else might. Not happy with what you see? Then consider spending a little time sprucing things up.
- The porch. Has the front porch become a storage spot instead of a gracious entry? Sometimes odd items sit somewhere for so long that you don’t even notice them anymore. Banish whatever doesn’t belong.
- Front door. Polish up the door handle, door bell, and other hardware. If they have seen better days, replace them. As for the door itself, if it’s natural wood, give it a good cleaning and polish. If it’s painted, you might want to apply a new coat or even change the color. Going bold with red or another vibrant color could make a big difference.
- Trim and shutters. Even if the whole house doesn’t need painting, the trim and shutters might benefit from a clean new paint job.
- The little details. Don’t forget the house numbers, the mailbox, and the lighting fixtures. Small details count toward the overall impression.
Now put out a new welcome mat and you’re ready for spring!