Not sure about you, but I’m over the moon excited at finally getting the patio ready for entertaining and sprucing up the yard and flower beds. I hope I have company 24/7 for the next three months! Well here are some tips from my very own “To-Do List”. I was also super excited when the TODAY SHOW wanted to air these topics!
Sealing Wood Furniture
Wood is not great outdoors unless it’s treated. With sun, wind, rain and for us, snow and ice, wood varieties may only last a few short seasons. At that investment, I want to take care of this so it’s in great shape for years to come. When I assembled this furniture last year, I immediately put a clear coat of waterproof sealer on all of the wood components. TIP if you curious is your furniture is treated already or not, simply pour some water on a surface, if it soaks into the wood, you should seal it. It the water puddles or beads and remains on the surface, the piece is most likely already sealed. There’s no hard in more sealer btw. Simply paint on directly to the wood surfaces. Make sure you apply out of direct sun on a day with mild temperatures to let the sealer cure properly without the heat of the sun or temps too chilly to slow the drying time. A cloudy day is best with temps between 55-70 degrees. Let dry and enjoy!
I used Olympic Waterquard, $15.88 from Home Depot
Edging The Beds
How lucky am I that my ten year old loves to help out with the yard work?! Edging is a great task for the kiddos because it’s not challenging, mentally or physically, and dare we say FUN! Edging does a few things – it makes a clean, manicured line between your beds and your grass; it creates a root barrier keeping your grass and weeds out of the beds where they can suffocate your plantings; lastly, mowing is easier with a clearly defined area to mow. No rules here, take your edger and with striaght up and down movements, create a break between your bed and the lawn. Straight lines, or go nuts and create some fluid movement to your landscaping!
Natural Homemade Pesticide
We jumped on the DIY raised garden bandwagon this Spring after the Easter Bunny left Alex some seed packets and we are happily watching our cherry tomatoes, basil, thyme and string beans thrive. So now it’s time to protect them but I hate the idea of treating them with chemicals when we’ve worked hard at keeping the garden organic. So, a natural pesticide it is. After some research I decided on two I liked best, one for plantings known to be a bit more enticing to critters, the other a more mild version to use more liberally. TIP – adding essential oils is great for not only scent near your patio but many insects and pests hate scents like lavender and peppermint. See below for a better guide of what scents keep which pests away.
Recipe 1 – Mild
1 quart of water + 1 1/2 tsp mild (Castille) soap + a few drops of Lavender or Peppermint essential oils. Shake in a mason jar or whisk and add to an empty spray bottle. Use liberally
Recipe 2 – More Intensive
1 cup of vegetable oil + 1 tbsp mild (Castille) soap; Shake. When ready to use, add 2 tbsp of this mixture to 1 quart of water and add to spray bottle to apply to plantings.
Everywhere and anywhere is my tip here. I LOVE using these inexpensive lights that bring big drama and don’t effect my utility bills – BRILLIANT! The spotlight versions to showcase the front of the house, the walkway versions to illuninate my pathways, and for safety, I love using this type that installs directly to the risers on my porch and desk steps. For some height with dramatic evening effect, I plant small hibuscus trees in planters, surround the base with herbs and flowers and insert a solar spotlight. The flowers hide the light and the solar panel but when night falls, it’s a very dramatic site that adds such interest and elegance that you can do anywhere, at any budget! TIP Mosquito issue? Plant lavender plants in pots (insert a walkway solar light!) and place near your outdoor dining areas, remember, as noted above, lavender is a natural mosquito repellent.
It’s time for the air conditioning. I wait as long as possible as I love cool Spring evenings with the windows open and hearing the birds in the early morning hours. We waited a long time for this! But alas, it’s time. The humidity is here and these are some tips on keeping your air clear as the windows close.
Change those air filters
Check your heating/ac system, these filters are located adjacent to the system itself. Sizes range from 1”,3” and mine here is a beast at 5” thick. Stretched out, this fabric coil would be nearly 100 feet long! Replace these filters a few times a year, more if you have or plan to do any work in the house that involves sawdust! These filters not only clear the air the dust, dirt and allergens, but they also ensure your system will continue running efficently. (hello, lower utility bills if the unit isn’t working harder than it needs to be)
Vacuum your heat/ac registers
Super simple way to help keep dust and dirt down in your home, just a quick once over with a dust buster will be sufficient or, for a more intense clean, pop off the register and with the hose attachment to your vacuum, simply vacuum the inside walls as far as you can reach.
Wood and natural fiber rugs are the worst for dust and allergens, especially if you have active pets that can cause more of the fibers to release into the air with their claws. A great (and budget friendly) alternative is man made polypropelene. These are stain resistant and also great for indoors and outdoor placements. Need to clean them? Simple take them outside and hose them down, let dry and you have a clean rug!
Faux flowers may look great at first, but they’re dust magnets and tyipcally hard to really get clean. Solution – natural branches, shells, even rocks. Clear vases filled with these natural elements are easy to clean, or inexpensive to replace. For branches, once a year on a sunny, warm day, I take them outside, a quick squirt with 1 part bleach to 8 parts water in a spray bottle, let dry and your done. For shells and rocks, a quick hose down on a towel outside and let dry. Easy!
June 15, 2021