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Giving Your Home's Exterior and Garden a Spring Clean

Updated on January 23, 2015
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Spring Cleaning the Garden

Once spring is sprung and plants start growing again, it's time to start caring for the garden again. An improvement in the weather can also allow maintenance of other parts of the exterior that would be hard, or pointless, to do in adverse weather conditions. The garden and exterior can now have any neglect or damage caused over the winter months remedied.

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Lawn

The lawn could well be overgrown after the winter, as it can sometimes be hard getting a decent last cut of the season due to adverse weather conditions. Rake the lawn clear of any debris that has accumulated over the winter and then resume mowing it when the weather is suitable. The first cut of the year is often the hardest due to rain, or even snow, contributing to keeping the lawn damp, something that is exacerbated with an overgrown lawn as the damp will frequently stay deep in the grass until it has been cut. If the lawn is too long, it may be necessary to use a strimmer to cut it first. Trim the edges of the lawn; those that but up to concrete or pavers may need the use of a half moon.

Start applying a lawn fertiliser that is suitable for spring usage. Most spring fertilisers will not have a weedkiller in them. Follow the instructions on the fertiliser and check to see if children or pets need to be kept off the lawn. Water in if required. If there are any dead bits or patchy parts of the lawn, look into sowing some grass seed on them.

Borders and Flower Beds

With the start of the growing season it's time to start removing perennial weeds. These can be sprayed with weedkiller, something that can't be done until they are growing, or otherwise dug out.

Once bulbs such as daffodils have finished flowering they will need dead heading. Dead heading is the process of removing dead flowers from plants. Depending on the plant in question, this can be done with scissors, secateurs or even with the fingers. With flowering bulbs scissors are usually sufficient; with smaller bulbs such as crocus and snowdrops nipping the dead flower of with your fingers will do. Only the top of the plant with the dead flower should be removed; the remaining greenery will help the bulb for next year. This neatens the garden up and removes unsightly dead flowers.

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Fences

Any wooden fences should be checked for winter damage, such as missing or broken pieces. Repair or replace this as required. If the fence is painted or treated with a wood treatment such as creosote, give it a new coat if required. Some treatments will last for years, so a touch up may be all that is required.

Metal fencing, such as wrought iron, is less likely to have pieces missing but may still require repainting.

Gates

Gates will be similar to fences; wooden gates should be approached in the same way as wooden fences; check for missing pieces or damage and repair as necessary, and repaint or re-treat as required and metal gates are also similar to metal fencing; damage is unlikely but paint them if required.

Garden Walls

Check your garden wall for any loose or flaking bricks. Problems with bricks other than the top level can be very hard to fix, as they cannot be accessed without demolishing the wall first, but the wall can be pointed and there are a number of brick treatments that can be applied to protect the wall from any further damage.

Decking

Wooden decking has become increasingly popular over the years. Check for damaged deck boards and replace as required. Over the winter months moss and slime may have built up on the boards, so clean these if required. Pressure washers can be suitable for this, although steam cleaners may be better. If the decking requires a regular wood treatment, do this after cleaning it.

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Patios, Pavers and Concrete

These may also have had moss and slime grow on them. These should also be cleaned. A pressure washer will usually work, but chemical cleaners may be required. Be careful that such aren't used where the cleaning agents can damage borders and lawns. If there are any weeds between the joins of pavers, spray them with weedkiller or remove them with a tool designed for the job.

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Check any concrete areas for cracks; cracks can allow water to penetrate the concrete and, come winter, this can freeze and expand, further damaging the concrete. Patch or fill these cracks to prevent this.

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Garden Furniture

Plastic furniture should be cleaned of any dirt that has accumulated over the winter months. Metal furniture may also need cleaning and also repainting. Wooden furniture should be cleaned and treated if needed; hardwood furniture really requires treating on a yearly basis to keep it in the best condition. Failing to treat it can reduce its useful lifespan. Check any screws, bolts and fastenings that hold the furniture together, tightening or replacing any that have come loose.

Outbuildings

Outbuildings such as sheds are often made of wood. These should be retreated or painted if required. Felt roofs should be checked for damage and repaired if necessary. Nails holding the felt roof down may have become damaged or lost over the winter. If the felt itself is badly damaged then it is time to replace it with new.

Using Chemicals

Before using, or even buying, any chemicals that are going to be used in the garden, such as chemical fertilisers, weedkillers and cleaners, first check any safety warnings on them. Some require pets or children to be kept off the treated area until they are dry or watered in, so make sure you get something suitable, or can keep them off the area until it is safe.

Tidying the House Exterior

As well as tidying the garden, it's time to get the exterior of the house into shape.

Windows and Doors

Check for loose or flaking paint on any external woodwork. Sand this down and repaint as needed. Clean the glass of any windows of accumulated winter grime. uPVC window frames should also be cleaned.

Walls

Brick walls should be checked for loose or flaking mortar. Any mortar that is badly damaged enough should be re-pointed. Bare brick itself can be treated with various sprays to help maintain it and protect. Painted brickwork should be treated in a similar manner to painted wood.

Wooden walls, like wooden windows and doors, should also be checked for flaking paint and, if needed, repainted.

How Do You Tidy Your Garden?

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