Simple Steps to Summer Prep
By: Danny Lipford
Summer is just around the corner and with it comes cookouts, yard work, pesky mosquitoes and those nasty summer storms. There’s no better time than now to prepare your home and yard for summer fun and the season’s unpredictable weather patterns.
Check out Prepping for Backyard Summer Fun video for more info.
Keep Your Lawn Looking Good
If you want a lawn that’s thick and healthy, the best way to do it is by changing the way you mow. It’s a good idea to mow frequently, about once a week or so, but not too closely. Mowing too short restricts leaf development, making lawns weak and thin. It’s best to only remove about one third of the grass blade’s height in each mowing. That allows the plants to focus on root development, not re-growing leaves. Here are more Tips for Mowing Your Lawn.
Toro’s TimeMaster lawn mower is all about getting your yard work done quickly, so you can get back to enjoying your yard. With its 30-inch deck and double blade system, you can mow up to 40 percent faster; and the Personal Pace self-propel allows the mower to adjust to your pace.
Don’t forget to take care of your lawn mower, including regular tune-ups and blade sharpening, so it can do its job effectively. It’s important to keep the mower blade sharp, so it cuts the grass cleanly instead of tearing it. Ragged leaves are more susceptible to disease and insect damage. Watch How to Sharpen a Lawn Mower Blade for step-by-step instructions and How to Keep Your Lawn Mower Running Efficiently for more maintenance tips.
Prep Your Outdoor Entertaining Area
Make sure your outdoor living area is clean and ready for summer.
If you have a wood deck, start by applying a deck cleaning solution using a pump-up sprayer and clean with a pressure washer or scrub brush. Replace deteriorating boards, and hammer in protruding nails or replace them with deck screws. Finally, apply a clear deck sealer or deck stain to protect the wood. Watch How to Maintain a Wood Deck for details.
It’s likely your deck or patio furniture needs some attention, too. Whether it’s made of wood, aluminum, wrought iron, resin or fabric, your outdoor furniture takes a lot of abuse from the elements. Check out How to Clean Outdoor Patio and Deck Furniture for tips on keeping it looking like new.
Before you toss those burgers on the grill, make sure the cooking surface is clean. Begin by removing the grates and setting them aside on newspaper or cardboard. Spray them with degreaser and scrub with a wire brush before rinsing. If your grill is gas powered, remove and inspect the splatter shields over the burners. These also should be cleaned. If they are damaged, replace them. The burners should also be removed, inspected and cleaned. Use a toothpick to clear the tiny holes in the burner of obstructions. Then vacuum or rinse out the interior of the grill before reassembling the components.
Protect Your Yard from Mosquitoes
There’s nothing like gathering for a family cookout on the deck, only to have to move the party inside because everyone is getting bitten by annoying mosquitoes. There are lots of natural ways to repel those biting pests, including essential oils, plants and flowers that smell nice to us but mosquitoes hate.
My wife, Sharon, and I recently renovated our outdoor living space, and we installed NuTone’s Haven mosquito-repellent fixtures in our backyard. They provide safe, effective, odorless and silent protection against mosquitoes for our family. We love the convenience of the repellent cartridges, which last all season long and are easy to replace.
Since we were starting from scratch with our outdoor makeover, we installed the Haven mosquito-repellent fixtures combined with LED lighting. But, if you already have landscape lighting in place, they also make low-profile fixtures that blend into the landscape.
Prepare for Summer Storms and Blackouts
Unfortunately, along with summer fun comes the threat of strong summer storms. But, there are some things you can do around your home and yard to prepare for severe weather.
Bring any lawn furniture, grills, bikes, toys, garbage cans, potted plants and other loose items inside; or store them in a garage or storage shed. Remove screens from windows; and, if possible, screw 5/8-inch thick exterior plywood over them. Trim overhanging limbs away from the house, and park cars away from trees and power lines. Locate cut-offs for gas, electricity and water. Have adequate tools on hand to turn them off in an emergency.
Power outages can cost homeowners thousands of dollars. Consider a home standby generator, which turns on automatically when the power goes out. Champion Power Equipment’s home standby generators provide convenience, security and peace of mind. If you’re out of town during a power outage, your home’s security system and other important systems won’t miss a beat. Champion Power’s standby generators are quiet, smaller and more streamlined than ever, and they can be installed in existing homes, not just newly built homes.
Check out our Severe Weather section for more tips and resources.
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