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Don't forget the outdoors during spring cleaning

by ROSE SHABABY
Staff Writer | March 24, 2021 1:23 PM

Springtime is a time of renewal and for many, spring cleaning. Often overlooked, the areas around your home and property as well as outbuildings and outdoor furniture deserve a place on your spring cleaning list, too.

We’ve talked to some local experts and compiled a checklist to help aid in these tasks.

To make it easier keeping track, it’s recommended that you break down your tasks into four categories: Porch and patio, garden space, home exterior, and miscellaneous.

Before you start on any of those things, however, it’s recommended that you first take a walk; walk around your property and survey the area. Inspect outdoor structures for any damage and needed repairs like loose fence boards or missing shingles. Test outdoor plumbing equipment.

Additionally, If you don’t have a compost bed or pile started, this is a good time to begin as you start clearing out flower beds, gutters and more. The fallen leaves, twigs and weeds can all be added to your compost. You can compost your home waste, too, including grass clippings, wood chips, hay or straw, coffee grounds, eggshells, fruit, and more.

Porch and patio:

  • Sweep away debris and cobwebs from ceilings, walls and floors
  • Rinse or power-wash concrete walkways and decking
  • Pull patio furniture out of storage and thoroughly wash using a solution of three parts water to one part white vinegar to remove light mold or mildew stains. This solution can be used for cleaning your porch and patio as well

Garden space:

  • Clean out any leaves, twigs, weeds or dead foliage, including those in your flower beds. (Remember to compost!)
  • Trim and prune trees and shrubs (talk to a local horticulturist or arborist if you’re unsure about which plants need pruning)
  • Add fresh soil and/or mulch to beds
  • Cut and divide perennials
  • Take inventory of plants and/or flowers and decide what needs to be replaced or what you are going to add
  • Clean out planters and replace dead plants

Home exterior:

  • Rinse or power-wash house exterior and doors; use a mild detergent and water if needed. If needed, use a sponge, soft brush or cloth to scrub the surface, rinsing with your garden hose. Finished by touching up your paint job if needed
  • Clean built-up leaves from gutters and downspouts (use a tarp to catch debris to avoid dirtying your lawn, and again, remember to compost). Identify possible leaks by flushing with a garden hose.
  • Rinse away dirt and residue from windows and shutters
  • Wash screens and check for tears that need repaired

Miscellaneous:

  • Clean outdoor lighting fixtures and replace bulbs
  • Check hoses for cracks and leaks; store on a hose reel for longer life and easy cleanup
  • Clean and set up grill and refill propane tanks if necessary

Remember to plan out your gardens and flower beds; what look do you want for the area? Will the flowers, shrubs or perennial bed be in full sun, part or full shade? Do you need to consider deer resistant plants?

There are still ways to enjoy gardening if you are an apartment dweller. If you have a small patio, use portable containers. Just be aware that the soil will dry out faster and you will have to frequently check soil moisture. Tomatoes, lettuces, peppers and herbs work well for this method.

If you have any questions, make sure to reach out to your local experts like SugarPlum Floral and Greenhouse at 208-267-1129, General Feed and Grain at 208-267-3185, or someone with the GROW Community Garden at 208-304-6337.