The ultimate backyard To-Do list for your long weekend
This summer has been a rough one. We could all use some TLC; especially your backyard. From drought, to smoke, to flash floods and wild winds, our outdoor areas are probably looking a little worse for wear. It’s time to put some love back into our gardens; spend this long weekend creating spaces of rejuvenation and recovery with this ultimate backyard To-Do list!
To-Do list for the garden:
1. Replenish your soil
To get the most out of any rain or watering, soil needs air and organic matter for it to soak through to the roots and stay in the ground. To avoid wasting water through run-off, spend some time turning through new soil, compost, water beads and a bit of fertiliser; or at the very least, break through the hard ground and fluff it up a bit!
2. Aerate the lawn
The very same concept goes for your lawn. Aerating your lawn will make the most of any rain we’ll be getting and promote recovery. If you know you’re getting rain, you can also spray on some fertiliser, to let it soak down into the roots.
3. Check water levels
Does anything need to be drained? Is there water pooling and drowning fragile plants? Can you redirect water to parts that need more, or move plants into wetter areas? Could you make some DIY rainwater catchments? Do you have time to hand-water with buckets?
Adhere to your local water restrictions and if using grey water, make triple sure you’re not introducing chemical waste to your garden! If you’re after more info on how to care for your dried out plants, check out our drought-tolerant garden tips.
4. Get on top of your weed control
Your plants are fighting for water; you don’t want them battling against thirsty weeds. If your garden is compromised, hold back on chemical weed killers; it’s safer to manually pull the weeds out by hand. Make sure you’re removing them all the way to the roots, or you’ll be back pulling the same weeds out again in a week or so!
5. Trim back the dead stuff
Your plants might also need some guidance on how to best allocate resources; with limited water and nutrients, we want them going to the right places. Trim off all the dead stuff, so the plant can put all its energy into the healthy parts.
6. Refresh your mulch
Soil’s fresh and aerated, there’s a good amount of moisture in the ground and the area is cleared of weeds; it’s time to lock it down! Mulching is a staple for any gardening to-do list. By adding a fresh layer to your garden, you prevent water loss through evaporation, add organic matter through its breakdown and stifle weed growth, all in one.
7. Redefine your garden edging
Is water leaking out of the places you want it? Consider redefining your garden sections; putting barriers around thirstier sections can help keep the water in, and can be anything from defined retaining walls, to a few well placed bush rocks!
8. Reorganise the shed
Are you afraid to open the door of your shed, for fear of something crashing out? Are you confident you’d know where to find something, or would you probably buy a new one to avoid the hunt? Reorganising your shed is one of the best motivators for keeping your outdoor area up to shape. Clear out the trash, introduce some helpful storage solutions and replenish any dwindling stock; your garden will thank you.
9. Consider the wildlife
This summer has seen so much of our wildlife displaced and fighting to survive. Consider installing items such as bird baths and houses, ponds, shaded perches, feeders and wildlife crossings/corridors. There are also a range of native plants that feed local birds!
Ideas for the exterior:
10. Clean windows and exteriors
You’d be amazed how much impact this would have on your home. Break apart cobwebs, wipe away smog and dust off ash to let your house feel shiny and new again.
11. Clear gutters and down pipes
If you haven’t done so already, now’s the time to make sure your gutters and down pipes are clear! The last thing you need is a blocked gutter creating water damage during the next torrential summer downpour…
12. Spruce up your entrances
Do your doorways entice and excite? Are they open, clear, inviting? Or are they cramped, blocked, cluttered? Create the vibe before you even enter a space by paying attention to your entrances and exits; it can have a huge mental effect on the way you move through your home.
Perhaps its simply clearing passages or restyling each entrance. If you’re looking for a more dramatic change, consider widening windows and doorways to create an open, organic flow.
13. Boost your street appeal
We’re venturing out of the backyard, but it’s still a worthy contender for your long weekend to-do list. Take a quick survey of your home; if you’re not overly impressed with what you see, it’s time to boost that street appeal!
14. Revive your fencing
Fencing is one of the most overlooked aspects of an outdoor area…but one of the most important. It is the frame for your home, the backdrop for your garden and the container for your entire outdoor lifestyle. Aesthetics, acoustics, privacy, security; it all comes down to the humble fence!
It might just need a good wash or a lick of paint, perhaps you’re after a privacy screen for a certain area or maybe it needs replacing altogether. Either way, it’s time to surround yourself in style and invest in your peace and quiet!
15. Build a front wall
A front wall can offer some structure and reverence to your property, whilst also controlling foot traffic and boundary demarcation. Additionally, at certain heights, it can even boost security and reduce traffic noise! If you’re intrigued, browse these front wall designs to find one that’s right for your property.
To-Do list for outdoor living areas:
16. Re-evaluate your shelter
Do you have enough shade from the sun? Is there a good balance of shelter from the wind and circulation of fresh air? Is your outdoor area still usable in wet or cold weather? Weather-proofing for both winter cold-snaps and summer heatwaves is a key element to making our backyards a year-round living space.
17. Rejuvenate outdoor furniture
Take a quick minute to look over your outdoor furniture. Could anything use a wash? Some new cushions or throws? A complete replacement? Your seating options play a crucial role on whether or not you’ll use the space, so make sure they’re clean, comfy and inviting.
18. Clean the pool area
This goes further than simply switching on the creepy-crawly. Consider the entire pool area, as a whole; are there pool toys past their prime? Do you need to freshen up the seating options or styling themes? Could the pool coping use a good scrub? You’d be amazed at what a couple of towel hooks, lounge chairs and a beach umbrella could do!
19. Restock the BBQ and fire pit
Fill up gas bottles, clean cooking areas and BBQ utensils, restock the firewood; basically, if you prep the area, you’re way more likely to use it!
20. Clean or re-stain the decking
It takes a bit of effort, but boy, does it make a difference. A clean deck feels amazing under-foot; but a re-stained deck is practically new! This is also the perfect time to bang in any rogue nails or sand down any splinters that you keep meaning to get to…
21. Refresh your pavers
Whether they need a scrub, some weeding, a stain or a complete replacement, this backyard project can completely transform and modernise your outdoor area.
22. Transform the sides of your house
This is such an overlooked space for so many homes…but it offers a world of potential! Just make sure you look into what you can and can’t do with your local council restrictions. If you’re after a hit of inspo, some genius ideas include:
- Outdoor shower/en suite
- Garden shed or workshop
- Pet playground
- Private bedroom courtyard
- Herb garden or veggie patch
- Kid’s activity wall
23. Revamp your outdoor lighting plan
Let it glow, let it glow, let it glow! If you feel like your outdoor lighting is too soft, too harsh or too outdated, check out these inspired backyard lighting designs.
24. Create living zones
Zoning has become a far more manageable way to renovate your backyard. Tackle one living zone at a time and watch your outdoor lifestyle blossom before your eyes!
25. Level your land — by hand!
Finally, levelling uneven ground has a range of benefits; it can boost functionality, aesthetics — and even property value! The best part? You don’t even need any intimidating machinery or equipment to do it. Check out these genius ways to level ground by hand.
Written by Evelyn Kandris