Party on the Patio: How to Get Your Yard Set for Summer Fun

by Matt Solis


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.

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.

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