Home and Garden Tune Ups

House and Yard Tune Up May 29

Gardening - Make Work or Love Work
Gardening – Make Work or Love Work

When warm weather arrives many of us feel a burst of energy to get outdoors and shake off being cooped up all winter. Being in the fresh air feels good so it’s an incentive to sort through the garden gear in the garage and tidy up the yard and garden.

Along with the yard and garden it’s the ideal time to take stock of the exterior of the house and property to see how it’s weathered the winter. Take a walk around the house and look for signs of damage and what needs repair.

Here’s a checklist of jobs to keep your property and home looking its best. These jobs are little or no skill required so even a first-time homeowner can do them.

Lawn and Garden

  • Make a clean sweep of the property and remove fallen tree branches, twigs and debris. Use a rake and an old tarp to drag around and collect and dispose of the debris.
  • Give trees and shrubbery a good pruning and thinning to improve their overall health and appearance. Get advice from your local lawn and garden center.
  • Pull weeds in garden beds and make a plan for adding new plants.
  • Give the lawn a dose of fertilizer and a good first cutting with a mower and trimmer looking for bare spots to fill in and weeds to pull.
  • Use an edger to manicure the lawn and garden to separate flower beds from the lawn and keep creeping plants in their place.


  • Sweep patios, decks and walkways and remove debris.
  • Use a power washer to clean patios, decks, kid’s outdoor equipment and any plastic or metal lawn furniture.
  • Tune up the barbecue grill and lay in a supply of charcoal or propane so it’s ready to use.
  • Get a bucket, heavy gloves and tall ladder to clean gutters and remove debris and dried leaves. Use a garden hose to flush them out and see that water runs to downspouts and into a splash block to keep water away from the foundation.When it’s raining, check out downspouts looking for any leaks and mark the leaks so you can fix them.

Visit www.diyornot and find the cost of these and hundreds of other jobs so you can compare doing it yourself with hiring a contractor.


Home and Garden Hints and Tips Spring Cleaning

Spring Into Cleaning Jobs


Here’s advice about getting your home sparkling clean and organized for Spring from our readers and the folks at Bissell. These ideas will freshen your rooms so they sparkle and shine shedding all signs of being closed up for the winter. Don’t plan to tackle these ten steps all at one time. Figure on spending a few hours at a time and before you know it you’ll be starting the new season with a squeaky clean home.

It starts with making a plan to create a cleaning checklist that outlines tasks for every room. As you move from room to room, you’ll feel encouraged and motivated as you check items off your list.

Before you begin, go through each room and closet and declutter, donate or toss what you’re no longer using.

  1. Create an Enjoyable Work Environment. Turn on the radio, make a playlist of upbeat music to keep you energized through your cleaning routine or select an audiobook to keep your brain engaged while you clean.
  2. Open the Windows. When the weather permits let fresh air into the home and reduce the smell of cleaning supplies.
  3. Go from High to Low. Clean from the upstairs down and from top to bottom in a room. Dust and wash down surfaces before moving to vacuuming or mopping. This way, you won’t drop dust or crumbs on an already clean floor.
  4. Find Your Vacuum’s Extension Tool. Use it to clean hard-to-reach nooks and crannies, behind and under furniture, baseboards, window blinds, ceiling corners, and light fixtures.
  5. Clean Appliances. Wash the dishwasher, refrigerator, freezer and washing machine inside and out, including knobs and buttons. Also, wash or replace filters and other parts as needed.
  6. Spot Clean Well-used Surfaces. Remove handprints on doors and handles of kitchen cabinets, room doors and exterior doors.
  7. Clean the Windows. Before washing the glass, wipe away dirt in the sill and channels.
  8. Clean the Floors. Wash all the floors and vacuum rugs and carpeting.

For more advice click here for our database of HOME HINTS & TIPS from our readers at

Deck FixUps

Spruce Up a Deck and Get Outdoors


Think of your deck or patio as an extension of your home and create an open-air living space that’s ideal for outside cooking, dining, entertaining and lounging. A deck improvement makes a comfortable outdoor space that becomes a magnet that pulls you outside to read the morning paper, curl up with a favorite book or relax with a setting sun.

To create an easy, seamless transition, use outdoor furnishings that extend your inside décor to the outside. For example, if your home has Country-style furnishings carry the theme outside with old-fashioned porch rockers or a metal glider. Use wrought iron furniture outside to complement traditional furnishings inside. With is natural look and appeal, wicker furniture is a proven winner for any deck or patio. The new wicker furniture made of resin is weather-proof and can be left out year round.

Choose multi-purpose furnishings that can do double-duty like a storage box with a seat that keeps outdoor gear dry and neatly stored, while it also provides seating. A gardener’s potting bench is convenient for planting chores and can be re-invented as a buffet for entertaining. And an old fashioned kid’s wagon is handy for moving heavy bags of fertilizer, but serves as a charming accent when filled with colorful geraniums.

If storage space is at a premium, consider fold-away furniture so it is easy to store out of season.

Yard sales are a good place to find castoff outdoor furniture at a bargain price. A vintage metal table and chairs or wrought iron and glass furniture can be restored with rust-proof enamel paint and provide years of service.

When selecting cushions for outdoor furniture, choose fabric that is mildew-resistant and UV-protected so the cushions resist soil and stains and will withstand sun damage.

For outdoor dining and entertaining, there’s a wide selection of gas grills and cooking islands. While a basic grill is the choice of many, the gourmet chef can find an outdoor kitchen complete with grill, built-in range, side burners, warming drawers, even a compact sink and refrigerator.

The most colorful and versatile accessory for a deck or patio is flowering plants and herbs. Use them in hanging baskets, planter boxes, urns, or clay pots in a grouping or individually on a tabletop.

Some useful accessories are a copper outdoor thermometer and clock or decorative wall sconces with candles to cast a warm and inviting atmosphere at night. For a soothing sound effect, you can’t beat a wind chime.

For sun protection get a colorful market umbrella designed to fit in the center hole in outdoor tables or stand alone in a decorative cast iron base. The diameter of umbrellas range from 6- to 11-feet in round, square and rectangular shapes. One that is vented at the top or a two-tier design is best for stability in windy conditions.

For a more permanent solution to sun protection, consider the addition of a retractable awning installed on the siding of the house. You pull on a strap to unroll the awning and then set the supports, which can be angled against the house or set vertically on the deck or patio floor.

Find the cost of deck building projects at DIYORNOT Job Costs for Deck Building


May Maintenance Checklist Monthly Home Maintenance

May Monthly Maintenance Checklist


We’ve had unprecedented rainfall where we live and everyone is waiting to take off their waders and get into their garden. While the weather is getting warmer we’re all drawn outside to get busy cleaning out the weeds and fertilizing the garden beds. In the meantime there’s plenty to do inside the house to get it ready for summer.

So now’s a good time to inspect and clean up your house, both inside and out. But take it one step at a time and you’ll be finished well before Memorial Day at the end of the month. It involves looking for damage from the winter weather and freshening up the interior and uncluttering. Weather permitting, you’ll be able to get out in the yard and get busy.

      • Tune up portable and central air conditioners
      • Clean and tune up ceiling, exhaust and bath fans to maximize air flow
      • Unclutter clothes closet and sort and store seasonal clothes
      • Wash window glass, frames and sill and lean out weep-holes in window sliders
      • Wash and change storm door and window panels to screens
      • Wash window curtains and blinds
      • Clean deck and protect with sealer
      • Inspect driveway and walkways for winter damage
      • Clear outdoor vent of lint build up in clothes dryer
      • Clean and set up outdoor furniture, cushions and lawn equipment
      • Rake lawn and garden beds to remove winter debris
      • Prepare garden beds and plant containers with fertilizer and plantings
      • Fill in bare spots of lawn with grass seed

Visit us at to find the cost of home fixups projects like theses and compare doing it yourself with hiring out the job.