Pointers for prepping your deck and backyard for summer fun

If the sunshine, gentle breeze and chirping birds are calling your family outside to enjoy some fresh air, it's time to get your outdoor space ready for fun activities.
BY ARA CONTENT Published: May 14, 2012
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Warm weather is here to stay, which means people everywhere are spending more time outdoors. If the sunshine, gentle breeze and chirping birds are calling your family outside to enjoy some fresh air, it's time to get your outdoor space ready for fun activities.

With some smart home improvements, you can easily prep your patio and deck for a full season of enjoyment.

• Clean patio furniture.

Today's patio furniture can be as comfortable and stylish as indoor options, and similarly, it needs to be periodically cleaned. Resin, resin wicker or metal furniture can typically be cleaned with mild soap, water and a sponge or nonabrasive brush.

Metal pieces can be polished with a light coat of car wax to bring back shine and protect it from rusting. Insider tip: If you live in an area with a lot of pollen, you may want to wait to clean outdoor furniture until it is done dropping.

Wood pieces can benefit from a quick cleaning also. For finished wood, use an oil-based soap and a soft brush or cloth.

If you have a treated wooden deck, picnic table or Adirondack chairs, use a pressure washer and deck cleaner to remove dirt. Remember to use the low-pressure tip so you don't damage the wood.

• Get the grill ready.

Every warm day is better when you enjoy the succulent flavors of food cooked on the grill, but to keep the food tasting its best, the grill needs to be kept clean.

At the start of the season, it's wise to do a thorough, deep cleaning on your grill. If you have a gas grill, remove the propane tank, flame guards and disconnect the igniter wires, removing the igniters. Move the grill over a drop cloth and clean the inside with dish soap, water and a scrub brush. Grates may need to soak in a bucket before getting scrubbed. Once dry, reassemble and get cooking.

In addition to the deep cleaning, remember each time you cook to scrape the grates to get rid of any food residue from previous uses. Simply light the grill and after a few minutes, the heat will have loosened the residue and you can do a quick scraping with a wire brush.



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