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Easy Ways to Refresh Your Backyard

Is your backyard looking old and dumpy after the fall and winter seasons? Does your outdoor furniture look as though squirrels nested in it? Do you notice cracks in the hardscape? Flowers non-existent? Well, now’s the perfect time to refresh that worn backyard with some splash and color.

Probably like me, you’re still waiting to inherit a boatload of cash from a distant relative, which doesn’t leave a big HGTV remodel budget. Which is why our own backyard refresh has been a “work in progress” the last year. Doing some research, including interviewing my mother-in-law (MIL), who is knowledgeable in landscaping and reviving outdoor living spaces, here are a few ways to refresh that dull yard:

The lovely Sister Teresa Hydrangea.

The lovely Sister Teresa Hydrangea.

Add Seasonal Flowered Plants
If you love vibrant hues of summer flora, these are a few no-fail flowering plants that will bloom all season long: Perennial Hibiscus, Purple Wave Petunia, Profusion Zinnias, Globe Amaranth and Sister Teresa Hydrangea. Before planting, though be sure to check the amount of sunlight during various parts of the day.

I've got my eye on these lights at Lowe's.

I’ve got my eye on these lights at Lowe’s.

Light It Up
Adding some simple lights can make a dramatic change in your backyard space. Consider twinkling lights, starry lights, paper lanterns and solar lanterns. For a soft night-time glow, wrap tree trunks and branches with strands of white lights. Define borders by placing small candles in glass holders along mow strips, walls and walkways.

Mulch, What?
Not being a green thumb like my MIL, the word sounded like a cross between mud and soggy pond water. In actuality, mulching enriches and protects soil. Mulching is simply a protective layer of a material that is spread on top of soil – such as grass clippings, straw, bark chips and similar materials. It’s also an easy way to make your garden look new again and fill in those barren spaces.

Refresh Hardscape
The best way to clean the concrete is to rent or buy a power washer. It can be a very tedious process, but it is the best way to make the concrete look fresh (be sure to check the bottle for environmental friendly solutions). We actually hired a local resurfacing company to refresh our hardscape. Applying concrete paint is another way to go. The color should compliment your patio area. Ask paint professionals for recommendations of concrete paints that will withstand the weather extremes.

Finding the right accessories to refresh you outdoor space is key.

Finding the right accessories to refresh your outdoor space will make all the difference.

Clean, Replace Furniture & Add Accessories
The patio chair cushions seem to be the first to go when left in the weathering outdoor elements. If so, using a combination of water, dishwashing detergent and borax, can make those cushions look new again. Be sure to top with an outdoor protective furniture spray. For worn teak and aluminum furniture, you can lather on some fresh paint from your local hardware store. If you weren’t able to bring those pieces back to life, you may want to consider replacement. You can often find gently used outdoor furniture from estate sales, garage sales, consignment stores and online. Don’t forget to add the right accessories – a few throws and pillows.

Over the next month, we look forward to completing the final phase of our own backyard refresh. Meanwhile, I am holding close those visions of relaxing under the twinkling lights with an aperitif in hand. No better way to spend the summer.

Kristal Zacharias is the mother of two beautiful, vivacious girls, and wife of a hunky husband who works in the action sports industry. For the past 15 years, Kristal has worked for several Fortune 500 companies as a professional communicator. Follow her journey at Clearly Kristal or on Facebook and Twitter.



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