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Monthly Archives: Aug 2016

Patio
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How Clean Is Your Patio?

Many people don’t bother giving their patios a good cleaning because they figure it’s outside and nature will wash everything anyway. Unfortunately, nature has other plans for your patio. You can extend the life of your patio by cleaning it a few times a year. So, how clean is your patio? If you don’t know the answer, then it’s time for a scrub down. The whole patio cleaning adventure shouldn’t take more than an hour unless your patio is in particularly bad shape.

How Clean Is Your Patio?

Before you get started see if you have the following materials in the house. You may need to visit a home and garden or hardware store to stock up.

You will need:

  • Hose or pressure washer
  • Bucket of warm water
  • Dish soap
  • Soft brush
  • Stiff brush
  • Empty spray bottle
  • Paper towels
  • Fabric protector spray
  • Borax
  • Bar of heavy duty laundry soap
  • Broom
  • Kitchen knife or small hand shovel
  • Rubber gloves or other gloves you can use to protect your hands

Start at the surface

First you will need to clear of the patio. You can also use this time to get rid of anything you don’t use anymore. Create three piles; keep, give away and trash. Place items accordingly and keep them away from the patio while you’re cleaning.

Put your gloves on and with your kitchen knife or hand shovel, remove any weeds that have grown up around the patio area. If you’re worried about weeds coming back you can pour salt between the tiles, but do that after you’re done cleaning.

Now that you’ve taken care of the weeds, it’s time to sweep the patio to get rid of any debris and dirt that has accumulated. Once you’ve swept, it’s time to get out the hose or the pressure washer. Rinse the patio down and ensure that you are keeping the spray nozzle at the same distance from the ground to get a uniform cleaning. If you’ve never used a pressure washer before, be careful and read the instructions. They are very powerful.

If your patio is only moderately dirty, water from the hose or pressure washer will be enough to get rid of dirt. On the other hand, if your patio hasn’t been cleaned a long time, you will need to use your stiff scrub brush to really get the grime off. Use the bucket of soapy water and get to work. Then, use the hose or pressure washer again. Repeat as necessary. (If you have to repeat this process more than once, you should probably take this as a sign that you need to clean your patio more often.)

Before you put your patio furniture back in place, you should give it a good cleaning too. Here’s how:

Furniture’s time to shine

To thoroughly clean your furniture mix a cleaning solution of 1 teaspoon Borax, 1 teaspoon of dish soap and ½ cup warm water. Put the cleaning solution in a spray bottle.

Remove cushions from patio furniture and saturate both sides with the cleaning solution. Don’t be shy with the cleaning solution either. Really spray it on the cushions and between the crevices and creases to get the mold and mildew off. Wait about 15 minutes for the solution to sit and then spray the cushions with your hose to ensure that all the dirt is gone.

Let your cushions dry until they are damp. If it’s a hot day, this will take no time at all. Once your cushions have gone from wet to damp add the fabric protector.

If your cushions are made of canvas, do not add the fabric protector. Instead, when the cushions are still damp rub your soft scrub brush across the bar of heavy duty laundry soap. Then, run the bar across the canvas cushions. Heavy duty laundry soap is also great for awnings that are covered in bird droppings. After you’ve rubbed the scrub brush across the canvas you’ll need to run the hose over the cushions again before letting them dry for good.

Plastic patio furniture is probably the easiest to clean since all it takes is soap and water. Scrub it down and then hose it off. You can use the cleaning solution if you want, but usually the dirt on plastic furniture comes right off with regular dish soap and warm water.

Wood furniture probably requires the most care when cleaning. You’ll need to use a cleaner that is safe for wood. Moreover, you may have to sand, stain or repaint the furniture altogether.

Once your cushions and furniture are dry, put them back on the patio. Now you can sit back with a nice cold drink and admire the great cleaning job you did.

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Gardening
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Tips To Get Your Garden Ready For Fall

Before the first hint of a chill hits the air, before you get out the sweaters and pumpkin spice lattés, you should get your garden ready for fall. If you’re not sure how, try our tips to prepare your garden for that crisp autumn air.

Tips To Get Your Garden Ready For Fall

Spring into autumn

Before the ground freezes, you should plant your spring bulbs. Spring bulbs need to be planted early so that they are able to grow properly. For best results, ensure that your spring bulbs are planted at the end of summer or at least by mid-October. After that you risk dealing with frozen ground and soil that is less than kind.

Play doctor with your plants

Any plant that is dead by fall has the chance to infect your entire garden. Get rid of diseased or expired foliage before autumn hits, otherwise you can have an outbreak in your garden that carries over into next season. You don’t have to get rid of the entire infected plant, but you will need to trim away dead or sick stems and leaves. The same goes for weeds. Get rid of them now, otherwise you’ll be dealing with them in the fall.

Stake your trees

If you’ve planted trees in the summer, you’ll need to stake them before fall is upon us. Newly planted trees may not be strong enough to deal with the wind and rain that fall brings, but staking them will help them stay put. Depending on where you live, you may even see snow in the fall. Staking your new trees before autumn is a great way to ensure they remain intact as they grow.

Give your perennials a haircut

Perennials, once they’ve gone dormant, will need to be trimmed. Before fall hits, give your perennials a good pruning. If the stems and leaves of your perennials have not turned brown or yellow yet, you can wait to give them a cut. However, at the onset of any discolouration, it’s time to get out the pruning shears. Now is also a good time to divide up dormant perennials.

Mulch it up

Garden beds need to retain moisture, especially as temperatures drop. Mulch your garden beds at the end of summer so that they’re ready for fall. Also spread compost over your vegetable garden to make sure that it’ll be prepared for the temperature fluctuations that come with autumn. Plus, mulching and compost spreading ensures that your garden will be ready to be dug into come spring.

Don’t stop planting

Just because fall’s around the corner, doesn’t mean you have to stop planting. Many people take a hiatus from their garden as summer dies down, because they feel nothing will grow when the weather changes. This is simply not true. Your garden can be ongoing year-round. Although you don’t have to deal with it during the snowy season, you can still plant in the fall for spring.

Give your tools a bath

Garden tools can rust or stop working as effectively when they’re dirty. Take the time to give your tools a good cleaning before fall. Ideally, you should be cleaning your tools before the onset of each season but many of us forget. So, since you’re already preparing your garden for fall, you might as well give your tools a bath too. Make sure that everything is nice and dry before you leave it for the season.

Set a reminder

Many people neglect to water their garden during fall because they assume the rain will take care of it. If it rains daily where you live, this won’t be a problem. However, if you’re lucky enough to enjoy a warmer than usual fall, then you’ll need to remember to water your garden. Set reminders for yourself so you don’t forget to water your plants. You should also set another reminder to remind yourself to take in any clay pots you have in your garden. You do not want those left outside in the fall or winter. They will become damaged and you’ll have to get new ones. Save yourself the headache and the money by taking your clay pots in before fall.

For the birds

Fall brings beautiful birds with incredible plumage. If you don’t have a bird feeder, you can make your own DIY version or purchase one at your local dollar store. Set up a bird feeder in your backyard and as soon as autumn hits, you’ll notice gorgeous feathered creatures will be flocking to say hello. Just remember to add bird seed regularly, otherwise the birds will stop coming back.

Get your garden ready for fall now, so you don’t have to worry about it when the ground starts to freeze.

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