It’s no secret — Michigan winters can be pretty harsh, on both our homes and our yards. So when spring comes along, there are a few projects we’ll need to tackle to ensure our outdoor spaces are clean, refreshed and ready for outdoor dining and playing fetch. Not to mention, it’s important to take good care of your home to maintain its health for many years to come!
To help you prepare for the warmer months ahead, we compiled a list of tasks to complete before spring is in full swing! These chores will keep your home and yard looking good — as well as prevent any unnecessary damage down the road.
Clear Out Your Gutters + Drains
Gutters and drains can collect quite a bit of twigs, leaves and other debris throughout the fall and winter months, which causes problems — especially when rain inevitably comes in the spring! Make sure your water can properly drain by removing all debris from your gutters and downspouts — as well as the drains on your property. You don’t want any water to start building up in your yard or driveway after a heavy rain!
Clean Up Debris From the Yard
There may be twigs, dead leaves and other debris scattered throughout your yard. Try to remove as much of it as you can, to give your grass and plants the best chance to grow this spring! If you don’t, they may not be able to receive the proper amount of sun, water and air needed to grow strong and healthy.
Clean Outdoor Furniture
We’re definitely ready for patio season — but is our outdoor furniture ready? Wipe down all metal, plastic or wood furniture with warm water and mild soap, and throw any pillows in the wash, if needed. You may want to whip out the power washer if your furniture is caked in dirt and grime.
Power Wash Outdoor Surfaces
While you have the power washer out, wait for a sunny afternoon to clean off all outdoor surfaces, such as your deck, patio, driveway and front porch. It’s amazing how power washing has the ability to completely transform the look of your outdoor spaces!
Inspect Your Roof
After harsh winter storms, there may be some damage to your roof that you can’t see from the ground. That’s why it’s important to get it fully checked out to make sure everything — including the chimney, shingles, skylights, etc. — is in top-top shape. This will prevent any leaking and make sure your roof protects your home for many more years to come.
Check for Damage
Similarly, take a look at the rest of your house, including the siding, windows, trim, gutters, brick and any other exterior features, to make sure there hasn’t been any damage. This is the time to make any repairs, especially now that you will be spending more time outside.
Make sure you can properly see all the hard work you’re doing by cleaning off your windows, both inside and out. On an overcast day (so as to prevent streaking), make this DIY cleaning solution with equal parts hot water and white vinegar, and start cleaning! You may want to do the interior one day and the exterior another day to make this chore a bit more manageable — especially if your house has two stories.
Inspect Outdoor Plumbing
Freezing temperatures can do some damage to outdoor pipes. Any weak spots in your piping can lead to pipe bursts as temperatures begin to rise. Check all outdoor plumbing — including faucets, heat pump, AC equipment, pool equipment, etc. — to make sure it’s all functioning properly. Prevention is key when it comes to plumbing!
Trim Trees + Shrubs
Before they are covered with new leaves and blooming flowers, take some time to give your trees and shrubs a light haircut. This will keep them looking tidy and controlled, and encourage new growth down the road. Late winter or early spring is the best time for “rejuvenation pruning” — light trimming that restores the health of your trees and shrubs. While you’re at it, make sure there are no unruly limbs towering over your house that may come down in the next storm!
Secure Windows + Doors
Spring is a good time to make sure your home is properly sealed, so when you begin to crank the AC, cool air does not escape, and when the next spring shower comes, no water trickles in. Your windows and doors are a common place for cracks and gaps to form, so make sure they are properly sealed with caulk, both inside and outside your home. Beyond a simple visual inspection, you can perform a “smoke test” to locate any gaps in your exterior doors and windows. Light an incense stick and slowly bring it near the edges of your windows and doors, and if the smoke is sucked in or out of the room, there is a draft that needs filling.
Clean Off Your Grill
We can’t wait for grilling season! Make sure your grill is ready to go on day one by giving it a little TLC. Use this step-by-step guide to clean your grill properly — and with the correct tools! It feels like a lot, but your summer self will thank you.
Schedule an HVAC Inspection Appointment
It’s a good practice to schedule a biannual HVAC inspection, at the start of the spring as well as the fall, in order to prepare for the two extremes. That way, you’re not in the middle of the heat of summer or the cold of winter when an issue arises with your system. Plus, regular maintenance will help your unit function for many more summers and winters — which is good news, because they aren’t cheap to replace!
Make Sure Your Lawn Mower is Working
Pretty soon, you’ll be mowing your lawn every weekend! Make sure your mower is ready for action by servicing it beforehand. It’s time to drain and replace the oil, sharpen the blades, remove any mud or grass, and lubricate the moving parts.
Prepare Your Garden
Finally, the most fun part! Before you know it, we’ll be frequenting our local garden centers and nurseries, picking up new flowers, plants and produce to grow in our backyards. Make sure your garden is ready by removing any weeds, clearing out dead plants, and thinking ahead about what you want to plant. Consult this list of plants native to the Southern Lower Peninsula of Michigan, which will grow well in the Ann Arbor area — and attract local insects and pollinators!
Your Home Thanks You!
With these tasks out of the way, you can now focus on spending time in your backyard to enjoy the spring and summer.
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