5 Tips to Take Your Outdoor Spaces to the Next Level

These simple steps can help you elevate your outdoor spaces

Summer is here! If you like hosting backyard barbecues, pool parties, cocktails on the back patio, or generally entertaining family and friends outdoors, you’re probably thinking about giving your exteriors a good spruce.

The process of elevating your outdoor spaces, landscaping, and hardscaping isn’t as daunting as it may seem—with just a few simple steps you’ll be well on your way to a beautiful outdoor space that you can enjoy all summer long.

1.  A Good Scrub Goes a Long Way!

“Don’t underestimate the power of a good cleaning,” said Rebecca Mahanes with LandTech, a landscaping and pool contractor serving Central Virginia.

If your hardscape is looking a little dingy from red clay stains (thanks, Virginia!), moss, or mildew buildup, you should start your spruce with a power washing. And you don’t need to spend a lot of money renting a high-powered gas power washer, either.

“Hardscape power washing tools are available at most garden centers and department stores, and they do the job just fine,” Mahanes said. “You can use the same tool to give your wood surfaces, like porches and decks, a good thorough cleaning as well.”

2.  Get Down to the Details

The next step is to address the little things that can make a big difference. If you have a patio or walkway made of stone pavers, it’s time to refill the joints with polymeric sand and make sure your edging is firmly in place so those stones don’t begin to slide and spread. This will help prevent weed growth between the pavers, and make your stonework look fresh. If you have cracked or broken mortar in your hardscaping, remove and replace it. You can DIY this project, or call a mason to come and help you out.

3.  Deck the…Deck!

After a long, damp winter, wooden decks and porches can begin to look weathered and splintery, even if they are structurally sound. Touch up those spots where the paint or stain has faded or chipped. For the deck boards, there are special products available at home and garden centers for making wood surfaces look good as new—or better! They’re a little thicker than paint, and fill in the cracks between the wood grain, smoothing over any rough areas and creating an improved walking surface. 

“When it dries, it can even be power washed for easy future cleaning!” said Mahanes. 

4.  A Bright, Fresh Look

You may consider replacing your patio furnishings for a quick but impactful splash of color. Check out the new seasonal options for pillows, cushions, umbrellas, and outdoor throw rugs. There are plenty of fun colors and patterns to choose from that are sure to be instantly eye-catching. 

Looking for something a little bigger? Think about adding a fire pit! You can build your own or purchase ready-to-go backyard fire pits and fireplaces of all sizes and shapes.

5.  Perfect Plantings

Simply adding a few patio pots with brightly colored annuals can really liven up an outdoor space. If you’re looking to take it a step farther, new edge plantings like shrubs and flower beds can really add variety, color, and elegance to your landscape. 

Looking for plants that the deer won’t eat? 

“For shrubs, plant boxwoods,” Mahanes said. “For deer-resistant perennials, plant daffodils, iris, peonies, hellebores, lavender, foxgloves, ferns, and heuchera, to name a few.”

It’s worth noting that for some of these, the deer don’t eat them because they are toxic, so do a little research before planting if you have young kids or pets.

You don’t have to spend a fortune to refresh your hardscape this season. Any one of these little improvements can make for a great outdoor project and go a long way in sprucing up your backyard. So fire up the grill, get the marshmallow sticks ready, call the neighbors, and let the good times roll!  

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