Get spring ready with tips on mowing, cleaning | Outdoors

Spring is here and it’s time to dust off the gray and grime of winter. Kansas City-based Westlake Ace Hardware offers these top five tips to help get a lawn, garden, and patio in top shape for the warmer months ahead.

Mow early, mow right: A common mistake many homeowners make is not mowing their lawns early enough in the spring. A good mowing right now, with the collection bag attached, will help remove old debris and give the lawn a neat appearance. Also, since most grasses should maintain a three-inch height for optimal health, a spring mowing will trim off excess early growth and get the grass ready for the season. Make sure your mower engine is tuned up, has fresh oil, a clean air filter, and a sharp blade.

Make your beds: Clean out your garden and landscaped beds, removing dried leaves, branches, and dead plants from last summer. Some weeds may already be growing, so either dig them up or apply a weed control product. Once the beds are cleaned out, add up to three inches of mulch – especially around the bases of trees, shrubs, and perennial plants. Not only will it give the beds a tidy look, but it will also help prevent weeds and diseases throughout the summer.

Clean and revitalize: Winter leaves behind a lot of dirt, grime, and dust on patios and decks. Break out the leaf blower, power washer, and hose and give your patio or deck a cleaning. While you’re at it, scrub and clean your outdoor furniture and patio umbrellas with a mild soap and water solution. This is a great time to think about how you use the space, and make plans to rearrange, replace, or repair furniture.

Make it glow: Decorating an outdoor space with lights takes the backyard oasis ambiance to another level. String globe lights between poles, through pergolas, attach them around the edges of the patio roof, or line a fence. The lights give any space a warm and festive glow for the coming summer evenings. A fire pit can create an inviting centerpiece and provides cozy warmth on cooler evenings.

Ready the grill: Get your grill cleaned and ready for delicious summertime cookouts. Remove the grates and let them soak in warm soapy water before scrubbing with a brush. Scrape any charred drippings from the grate and burners and vacuum the inside of the grill with a shop vac. Clean the grill’s exterior with a mixture of dish soap and warm water and use a stainless-steel cleaner to bring back the shine. Spring’s also a good time to clean out the grease trap and replace the propane canister.

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