Spring Cleaning for Your Summer Curb AppealApril 23, 2021 | By Dara Giddings
It’s Spring, but the rainstorms will quickly give way to the heat and humidity of the Florida summer. Before the days are too hot to handle, take the time to freshen up your exteriors.
If you live in a neighborhood with a homeowner’s association, you are likely starting to get notifications to pressure wash, mulch, and otherwise clean your home. You are also likely to be having a community garage sale in the next few weeks.
Now is the time to clean up and declutter! Start by cleaning and decluttering your outside areas. In my opinion, this is the most tedious and boring task, but it is also the task that will make the biggest impact. If you plan to set up for a garage sale, set all of the items you are planning to sell aside in one location for easier set up the day of the sale. Many communities will also have the option to post that you are participating in the sale. Check your neighborhood’s Facebook or Nextdoor pages for details.
After the mess and clutter is gone, its time to clean. Every year I am amazed by the difference looking at my home after it has been pressure washed. Be aware that some additives for the pressure washer that can help with the cleaning, may also bleach or damage your outdoor textiles and furniture, and you may want to relocate them or cover them while you are cleaning. If your house has gutters, take the opportunity to clean and make repairs before you pressure wash as well as to trim any branches that may be hanging low and touching your roof. Tree limbs and branches that can reach your roof can be a source of damage during a heavy storm as well as a way for bugs and other pests to reach your home.
After the pressure washing is done, check for areas where the paint may be chipping, or other wear and tear has built up. A little bit of sanding and touch up paint can make your home look years younger, but be certain that the paint matches exactly, or else it will make the spot stand out even more. View your home from several angles and step back and look at your home from across the street or the neighbors’ homes. Take note of how the mailbox looks, the front door, the trim on the windows and doors, lighting, etc. and paint or replace as you feel necessary. Many hardware stores now offer a wide array of outdoor spray paints but do the task right and cover and protect areas you do not want painted and follow recommendation for personal safety.
Now it is time to pick some summer plants. Central Florida, including Lake, Orange, Seminole, and Volusia counties, is in a tropical zone and plants that tolerate the heat and are rated for zones 9-10 hardiness do the best. You can find a list of some plants from the UF IFAS Extension Office or by asking your local plant distributors. Some of my favorites include caladium, impatiens, and zinnias.
If you have any utility boxes or other unattractive permanent features, plants are also a great way to disguise or minimize their presence. Even if you do not know exactly which plants you want before you head to the store, make a sketch of your yard and mark which areas need plants, and what the sun/shade is like in those areas. If you work with nature, it will make maintaining your garden much easier.
Once that hard work is done, maintain your lawn with a proper watering schedule and regular mowing. Check out this article from the UF IFAS Extension Office about what watering schedules are best for Florida lawns.
And then don’t forget to enjoy your yard! You worked hard, grab an ice-cold drink and enjoy your day.