With summer fast approaching, you’ll want to prepare your outdoor living space for optimum enjoyment of the warm, sunny weather. Photo: Hansen Landscape Contractor (2015)

If you’re like most Bay Area residents, as the long days and balmy evenings of summer set in, you’ll want to be spending as much time as possible outside. An outdoor living space can serve a variety of functions, whether an ambient setting to entertain guests or a relaxing oasis for lounging during your annual staycation. In order to get the most enjoyment out of your space, however, you’ll first need to get it clean and functional again after having sat unused all winter. Here are a few aspects likely to require your attention:


Proper swimming pool maintenance consists of two essential aspects: cleaning and sanitation. Photo: Royal Pools of Santa Clara, Inc. (2015)

Swimming Pool
Following its winter dormancy, your swimming pool needs a bit of maintenance to get it ready for summer use. According to John Pittman of Roger’s Pool and Spa Service, Inc., it’s best to start by getting the pool and its filter cleaned. You can clean the filter by disassembling it and using a garden hose to wash off the individual parts. You’ll also need to adjust your filter’s run time, from the minimal off-season setting up to 6-8 hours a day during the summer.

After a thorough cleaning, it’s time to address the other crucial aspect of pool maintenance: sanitation. In addition to adding chlorine (aim for a ratio of 1.5 – 3 ppm), you’ll need to obtain a proper pH balance, which Mr. Pittman says should fall between 7.2 and 7.4. To determine your pool’s chemical levels, Mr. Pittman recommends bringing a water sample in for testing at your local pool supply store, a service that’s usually provided free of charge. Once you’ve achieved the desired chemical balance in your pool, all that’s left to do is jump in and enjoy.


In addition to providing shade, an awning represents an aesthetically pleasing addition to your outdoor living space. Photo: Awnco Retractables (2015)

Awnings and similar sunshade devices not only provide shade, but add aesthetic charm to your home exterior, which is why you’ll want them to be looking their best during seasons of use. Fortunately, cleaning an awning is a relatively simple task: After removing the fabric from its frame, use a sponge or soft bristle brush to apply a cleaning agent, whether a mild detergent or a vinegar or ammonia solution. While cleaning, be careful around the fabric’s stich line, which can be broken if scrubbed too vigorously. Let the awning sit and soak for a few minutes before rinsing with a hose (use of a pressure washer is not recommended); once fully dry, you can return it to its frame.



In addition to cleaning, a stone or concrete patio requires periodic resealing. Photo: Spryscapes Construction, Inc. (2015)

After accumulating dirt, weeds and mildew over the winter months, your patio will need a good once-over come summer. After removing weeds, discourage new growth by spraying white vinegar or pouring salt between patio tiles. When washing your patio, be sure to use an appropriate cleaning solution: while bleach and water will suffice for a concrete patio, a stone surface will require something milder, such as brown soap or soda crystals. Avoid letting your cleaning solution spill onto your lawn or flower beds, as it can kill them.

In addition to cleaning, it may be time to reseal your patio to protect it against fading and stains. To determine the condition of its current seal, pour a little water on it and see if the water beads; if not, it’s time to reseal.

Pest Control
If there’s one thing that can spoil the enjoyment of a clean and comfortable outdoor space, it’s an overabundance of pesky pests, so you’ll want to take steps to minimize their presence. Start by performing some basic landscape maintenance: prune back overgrown vegetation and eliminate standing water, both of which attract insects. You should also check around your home and property for bee, yellow jacket or wasp nests and remove them using the appropriate procedure. Additional ways to deter bugs include putting up bird feeders and lighting Citronella candles during times of use.

To find a local Diamond Certified company that can help you prepare your outdoor living space, click on one of the links below.

Decks & Patios
Deck Cleaning & Restoration
Landscape – Contractor
Landscape Maintenance
Pest Control
Swimming Pool & Spa

Learn more:
How to Refinish Your Deck
Diamond Certified Experts: Crucial Aspects of Landscape Maintenance



7 Responses

  1. james harvon says:

    All of these would be great summer additions to a home. The addition that we would love the most is a new awning. A retractable awning would be ideal. It won’t take up much space when not in use, but will also allow us to stay out all summer.

  2. Nick Mallory says:

    I really agree that an awning is essential for summer patio fun. If you patio is like mine, it gets too hot during the day in the summer to be useful, but an awning makes it so much cooler. Thanks for the tips on how to clean it; that can be troublesome.

  3. Nora Moore says:

    That’s true that an awning can give your patio a fun style as well as providing shade for your guests. We will have to make sure that it is clean and ready for our party that’s coming up. I will make sure that we are careful around the stitch lines.

  4. Natalie Darcy says:

    I have been looking to get an awning for my patio. In the summer, it gets really hot, and the heat often keeps us from utilizing our beautiful yard. I appreciate all of your information on how to clean and maintain this type of thing. My only concern is what do I do with the awning in the colder months? I live in an area with a lot of snow, so I am not sure it would survive.

  5. Logan Murphy says:

    I like how you mentioned an awning can provide shade and make the yard look good. This will make my wife really happy. Our backyard is in the setting-sun every day so my wife has been wanting some sort of shade provided for us. I think this would work great. How does an awning do in the winter months with snow? Thanks for your help!

  6. Kyler Brown says:

    My wife and I are designing a new home together, and we’re trying to figure out what to do with the back patio area. We’ve actually been considering a awning option, and it definitely seems important to have a source of shade as well as aesthetic charm to our home exterior. Thanks for sharing this article with me, as it definitely has helped!

  7. Lauren Woodley says:

    I love the insight you gave about awnings! You talk about how these provide shade and aesthetic to your yard, which is what makes them so beneficial! I completely agree and have been looking into getting one for awhile. I’m glad that they’re easy to maintain, and will definitely consider finally adding this to my backyard this summer. Thank you for sharing!

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