Create a refreshing outdoor escape for your family this season

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 Summer officially begins June 21, which is all well and good for most of the country, but for us North Valley residents, it’s safe to say, we’ve already been melting. If you have yet to get your home summer ready, check out these sizzling summer solutions to tie together your patio and backyard.

Perk Up Your Patio

Your patio will inevitably be an extension of your home for the upcoming months, so be sure to get it dialed in before kids make their way out back and guests come over to cool off.

  1. Inspect your patio and surrounding areas for any insect infestations. Using a black light, check for scorpions in patio furniture, storage bins, sheds, and even old sneakers and gardening gloves. If you don’t have regular pest-control service, this is a great time to spray the area yourself or call in an expert.
  1. Deep-clean your patio. Use an environmentally friendly DIY cleaning solution that will remove even the filthiest winter grime and dirt. Combine 3 quarts of water, 1 quart of bleach, and ¼ cup of ammonia-free dish soap. Use the mixture with a power washer if you have access to one, or utilize a large outdoor push broom to scrub the patio.
  1. Prep your grill for use. Do a deep-clean for your barbecue, too, and be sure to check for dangerous cracks or leaks in the propane tanks and fuel lines. If you are unsure how to test for leaks, it’s a good idea to call Barbecue Doctor for an expert opinion.

Grilling outside helps keep indoor cooling costs down by keeping the oven off!

Savvy Summer Décor

No pool party is complete without a pop of color to accentuate patio furniture and create evening ambience with solar lights and lanterns.

Toss a couple of new weather-resistant pillows on existing patio furniture to warm up the space. Vivid hues in Moroccan prints are trending this summer.

Play up your trees by stringing Edison-style lights or placing lanterns along walkways or on the perimeter of your entertaining or outdoor dining area. A popular trend this year has been restoration-style string lights and galvanized lanterns.

Roll up colorful pool towels and display them for guests in a wicker basket along with sunscreen. Keeping pool towels and sunscreen accessible to guests takes the burden off the host and makes guests feel at home.

Decorative accessories bring the indoors outside and give style to the backyard. The use of colorful pots, citronella candles, vibrant umbrellas, durable outdoor rugs, and a small beverage cart to chill beverages creates an inviting atmosphere.

 

Get a Handle on an Unruly Backyard

Scorching heat can do a lot of damage to even the most meticulously maintained landscaping. June is the driest month in Arizona, so keep these tips in mind to have your backyard setting looking its best.

Increase your irrigation, but be careful not to overwater, especially when the monsoon season kicks in. Adding mulch to existing plants and new flowers will help to keep the soil moist between watering.

Prune back all existing plants, and remove lifeless flowers.

Replace all annual flowers with drought- and heat-tolerant blossoms. Three annuals that do well in arid desert climates are:

Vinca: thrives in hot and dry climates

Marigolds: great drought-resistant plant that requires minimal maintenance

Lantana: a Sonoran favorite

 

Have a first-aid kit handy

Antibiotic ointments for cuts and burns

Waterproof Band-Aids

Insect repellant

Antihistamine for wasp and bee stings

 

Be Sun Safe

One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of their lifetime. Heatstroke can also be a hazard of summer. To be safe in the summertime:

Apply sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or greater.

Take a break from physical activity every 30 minutes to drink water, reapply sunscreen if needed, and rest in the shade.

Swim or play early or late in the day when the sun’s rays are less intense

 

Always watch your kids around water! Keep pool chemicals out of reach!

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