Jul 18, 2016

Life Hacks To Better Your Outdoor Areas

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The outside of your home needs attention, just like the living area inside. Keeping your patio & deck, backyard, garden and home exterior healthy is pretty easy, if you know some simple life hacks. The value of your home doesn’t only apply what’s between the walls. The exterior and outdoor living areas are crucial to the overall appearance and appraisal. Here are some super easy life hacks to check out:

Patio & Deck Hacks

Your patio and deck are the spotlight of your home for gatherings with friends and family. Summer time, especially, demands that you keep it clean and looking great. Here are some quick and easy life hacks for your outdoor meeting grounds:

  • DIY Wasp Catcher: Wasps and bees can ruin an outdoor gathering. An easy fix is to grab an old 2-liter bottle of soda and some honey, molasses or sugar-water. Just push in the top of the bottle, so the opening is about 1/3 the way down, and upside-down. This creates a funnel for the pests to fly into, and traps them inside. Adding something sweet at the bottom to tempt them, will definitely distract them from you and your guests!
  • Clean Decks: Powdered laundry soap is a great way to get your wood deck clean. Spray the deck first, with a light coat of water. Sprinkle the laundry soap all over, and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. You’ll need a pressure washer (or you can use your garden hose if you don’t have one) to wash it away. you might need some elbow grease to really clean, too.
  • Patio Pavers: Over time, patio pavers can become faded, moldy and dirty. Every 2 years, plan to clean and re-seal your pavers. Wash them with a diluted acid based detergent first. After they are cleaned and dry, apply two coats of sealant to them to keep them looking new.

Backyard Hacks

Whether you have a large and spacious, or small and intimate backyard, simple hacks can make a big difference. Maintain an area where you can entertain and the kids can play with these ideas:

  • DIY Sprinklers: Instead of buying expensive sprinklers for your backyard, use this quick tip! Attach the end of your garden hose to an empty, plastic 2-liter bottle. Poke several holes in the bottle, and turn on the water. The holes create a great spout for a sprinkler effect, and is much cheaper.
  • Fire Pit Starters: A quick and simple way to get that fire pit started is to keep some DIY starters on hand. Use cardboard paper towel rolls, stuffed with newspaper or dryer sheets to get the blaze going. Keeping these inside, in a dry area will also help them catch easier.
  • Ant-Away: Ants can take over your backyard. Place cucumber peels, mint tea bags or bay leaves around your yard to keep them at bay!

Garden Hacks

Show case that beautiful garden you work on year-round! As seasons change, the flowers and plants you display will need to be adjusted. Use these simple life hacks for your garden to take the ease off your back and knees, and make your garden glow:

  • Containers: Use larger, old, metal coffee cans to place your flower pots in before putting them in the ground. When the seasons change, simply pull out the buried container, and switch the potted foliage. Place the new plant or flower pot in the container, and cover with fresh dirt and soil.
  • Eco-Friendly: Here’s a great way to reuse old lightbulbs, AND make your garden more interesting! Place a little water in the bulb, then add new flowers or buds from their planters inside. Hang them upside-down around your garden for something different!
  • Weed-Eaters: Weeds can quickly take over your garden, and de-value it. Try these home grown methods to eliminate weeds from your garden: 1) add a tablespoon of sugar to a damp or moist weed. 2) try vinegar! Just spray it directly on the weeds 3) boiling water – pour over weeds, but keep it away from your plants, flowers and produce.

Home Exterior Hacks

The exterior of your home is the first thing people will notice. Cleaning exterior areas seasonally will help to preserve the structure. It will also allow you to avoid potentially expensive and extensive damage that can occur from neglect.

  • Clean Siding: The siding of your home can easily collect mildew. A simple way to get rid of this is to use Mr. Clean Magic Erasers! Scrub off the mildew and dirt on your wood or vinyl siding once a month with ease.
  • Window Cleaning: Hard to reach, high windows can be a pain to wash! Using your garden hose can only clean so much, and leaves water deposits. Try a floor cleaning device like a Swiffer! This will give you more reach, and allow you to dip the pad in window cleaner or soap & water for a better clean.
  • Preserving Fences: The fence around your home might look great, but for how long? Coating your fences with varnish will not only help them look great, but will save you money, as well. Varnish will help the wood defend against direct sunlight, storms and bad weather. This is a simple, cheap investment to keep your fences looking great.