It’s that time of year when relatives and friends from northern climes start dropping hints—big hints—about visiting you in Florida. Despite Punxsutawney Phil’s optimistic prediction for an early spring, folks up north still have ample cold, grey days to get through. And, of course, they’re dreaming about lounging by your pool, under your lanai, with your specially blended margarita in their hands, gazing appreciatively at your lovely lawn and tidy tropical plant collection. Whether or not you can successfully deter them from inviting themselves to stay, you still must attend to these items on your outdoor spring-cleaning checklist to get ready to enjoy your outdoor areas this season.
- Clean out gutters, check for blocked downspouts, wash windows, and clean your siding and garage doors. If you use a power washer on the siding, keep it on a lower setting, and never aim a power washer at a window. Power washing can damage walks and siding if used incorrectly; power washers can shatter windows and even break bones. A spray nozzle on a garden hose is usually enough for these tasks.
- Sweep walkways, porches, and patios, and hose off or power wash surfaces.
- Weed and rake the yard and apply fresh soil, compost, and mulch to flower beds. Trim bushes back.
- Clean outdoor light fixtures and change bulbs if necessary.
- De-gross the grill. If you made the mistake of putting your grill away for the winter without thoroughly cleaning it first, you’ve got a grimy job ahead of you. Take it apart and de-grease the grates and racks, and clean the drip pans, or replace them if you use disposable ones.
- Clean the lawn furniture. Take the covers off or take them out of the shed and hose them off gently. Use mild dish soap and a soft cloth or sponge to clean plastic or composite materials, and use the recommended cleaners for outdoor wood furniture.
- Check the deck. If you have a wood or composite deck, check for wear, warping, or nail pops. Sweep, scrub, or power wash, and decide if it’s time to re-seal or re-stain your deck.
- Clean the pool enclosure—this may be your biggest and most important job. Check for tears or wear in the screening, and use gentle dish soap or vinegar and water to clean supports. Inspect your pool deck for cracks or mildew, and wipe down your pool deck furniture. Look for fraying or wear in cushions and consider freshening the pool area with new cushions and planters.
- Clean your front door area. Sweep and rinse off your front porch, wash your front door, and add a new welcome mat to brighten the area.
Spring is a good time to tackle those big tidying up jobs you’ve been putting off, like cleaning out the garage and the shed. Take a critical walk around your house’s exterior and find places under eaves where cobwebs and insects hide and hose them off. Note areas that need a paint touch-up. Take a close look at door and window frames, your home’s foundation, walkways, the driveway, fencing, and retaining walls and pay special attention to areas that may need professional restoration or repair.
Now that you’ve completed your outdoor spring-cleaning checklist, you can enjoy the delights of a Florida home in the springtime.