Stain Your Deck
Why do it? Staining can make old, weathered, wooden decks look bright and new again; on the other hand, if your deck is new, a quality stain will preserve and protect it from sun and rain. Create a lovely outdoor area for entertaining with this easy task.
Step it up: Feeling handy? No need to hire professionals—you can do the job yourself with Behr waterproofing stain that seals the wood with long-lasting protection from the elements.
Expert tip: New decks simply need to be swept thoroughly before staining, but if your deck is a few years old, you should pressure wash it to remove deep dirt and get rid of oxidation. You’ll be decked out in no time.
Keep Bugs at Bay
Why do it? Creepy critters can ruin an otherwise perfect patio party. Keep your outdoor space free of pests to give your guests a pleasant atmosphere.
Step it up: You already know the basics: keep food covered, light citronella candles, and use bug spray liberally, but if you’re really serious about pest control, plant an herb garden.
Expert tip: The scent of certain fresh herbs like garlic, basil, lavender, peppermint, rosemary, and chives are particularly effective at warding off bugs because their odors are malevolent to pests. The added bonus: you get a garden full of fragrant herbs you can use in your grill recipes!
Trim Your Hedges
Why do it? Keep your yard looking neat and tidy by cutting back those overgrown bushes and creating a harmonious garden and a peaceful place for friends to gather.
Step it Up: Forget about hiring a gardener—you’re king of your own yard! Do it yourself with this easy-to-use Ryobi One + Trimmer.
Expert tip: Always wear a face mask when trimming hedges to avoid breathing in dust and particles.
Shore Up Some Shade
Why do it? Creating a shady space in your backyard for guests to sit and relax is key to providing a comfortable outdoor area for entertaining.
Step it up: Rather than using umbrellas—which can clutter your space—build a pergola to provide a cool and breezy spot for protection against the sun. You can DIY this woodworking project or hire a professional.
Expert tip: Be sure to map out your plan, consult with a professional on securing your pergola, and collect all of your materials well before beginning your project. Always use quality tools like the Ryobi One + Drill Kit.
Make Your Space Safer
Why do it? Make sure your summer parties are a smash by providing a safe environment for your friends and family to relax and enjoy their time outdoors without being exposed to risks.
Step it up: Outdoor floors should be slip-resistant, pools and swimming areas should be secured with a gate (to keep little ones from getting in unsupervised), and grills should be updated fairly regularly to ensure they are safe and equipped with a functional fire extinguisher.
A fire extinguisher is a must-have accessory to your grill, but how can you know if your extinguisher is still functional? Typically, an unused extinguisher lasts from five to 15 years, but that’s a big window. To know if yours still works, check the gauge; if the needle is in the green zone, it should be fully operative.
Step it Up: Use bold fabrics and accent pillows in vibrant hues to create an inspiring space, and don’t forget to add natural colors by planting rich, vivid flowers. But, if you really want to make your patio pop, paint your deck in a saturated tone that makes a statement.
Expert tip: When choosing paint for your exterior, select either an oil-based paint or a latex-based paint. While making your selection, you should consider a number of factors but be sure to never use a latex-based paint over an existing oil-based coat—it will peel in no time. How to know if your current paint job is oil or latex? Peel a paint chip off your deck and bend it; if it’s slightly flexible, that’s latex; if the chip snaps easily, it’s made from an oil base.
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