It’s Summer in Florida, and this year we are all spending a bit more time at home. And while you are whiling away the hours, it’s a great time to refresh your curb appeal for summer.
There are still a few hours of the day when it is not scorching hot or torrential rains, and this is when you will want to get to work.
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. Once the garden beds are weeded, the toys and tools are put away, and broken lawn ornaments are discarded, the real work can begin.
As much as you might want to jump right to planting the beautiful summer foliage and adding color to your gardens, start with some of the messier cleaning so you don’t damage the plants. The summer is a great time to pressure wash your home’s exterior and walkways and getting a bit wet will help keep you cool. 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 take care 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.
After the cleaning is done, the windows cleaned and sparkling,and fixtures refreshed, its time to get dirty. If you already pulled weed and trimmed the bushes and hedges, its 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 all that hard work is done, keep up with watering and maintaining your lawn, so that your lawn really shines. Design a few outdoor living areas with seating and decor that helps to highlight your home’s beauty.
And then don’t forget to enjoy your yard! You worked hard,grab an ice cold drink and enjoy your day.