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Getting your Backyard Ready for Summer

The summer vacation season means spending more time outdoors, and spring is the perfect time to get the backyard of your investment property ready. After a general cleanup, take a good look at your landscaping and pay special attention to areas that need shrub and mulch replacement. You may want to add low-maintenance foliage, flowers and trees to make the yard more attractive. Consider enhancements like inexpensive and carefree solar lighting to brighten things up. Remember that wood decks require annual maintenance, and now is the time to get your deck ready for barbecues and relaxing during summer vacation.

Maintain your Investment

Your property manager can tell you that as an owner of an investment property you will want to maximize your return on investment (ROI) with proper maintenance. You can optimize the resale value of your home and rent it more quickly by keeping up with your backyard.  Many of your potential renters are looking for a home that provides an inviting backyard living space that allows them to take advantage of today’s indoor/outdoor lifestyle. You don’t have to add an expensive outdoor kitchen or inground swimming pool, but a clean yard free from dead shrubs along with a well-maintained deck is a big plus when it comes to attracting renters.

Tidy Things Up

It is surprising how much your backyard can change over the winter season. Tidy up the yard by weeding the flower beds, clearing out the gutters and washing down the patio furniture. Give the barbecue a thorough cleaning, and continue your outdoor spring cleaning by power washing the patio and washing the outside of windows and glass doors. Organize and clean outdoor furniture, and consider replacing worn outdoor cushions with bright, colorful new ones that make fashion statement.

Freshen Up the Landscaping

Take a good look at the trees, shrubs and grassy areas in your backyard, and make changes as needed. Many trees need regular trimming so branches do not touch the house and invite pests. Get rid of dead shrubs and replace them with low maintenance plants that thrive in your area. Adding lively annual flowers can make a big difference in your backyard. Rake stray leaves and sharpen the blades on your lawn mower before cutting the grass. Cut the lawn a couple of inches tall and leave some grass clippings that will to return nitrogen to the soil. Strengthen grass roots by watering the lawn less often for a longer amount of time, and keep your lawn lush and beautiful by fertilizing it once or twice a year. Aerate once a year after the summer season.

Don’t Forget to Mulch

Mulching around your shrubs can help you keep out the weeds, preserve moisture and add beauty to your landscaping. There are many different types of mulches out there, but the most popular and least expensive mulch is shredded bark. Much of the popular shredded bark mulch you see is the reddish color cedar mulch, which is environmentally friendly. However, it does break down eventually, and shredded bark has a tendency to remove needed nitrogen from the soil during the decomposition process. You will probably have to add organic fertilizer for the health of your plants. Another option is to use small stones instead of mulch. Stones are a permanent solution, and although they require an initial investment, replacing mulch with stones can pay off in the long run since mulch needs constant replacement.Shredded bark is one of the most common and least expensive types of mulch. It comes from a variety of sources, including cedar trees. Shredded bark is one of the best mulch types to use on slopes and it breaks down relatively slowly. Some shredded-bark products are byproducts from other industries; they’re considered environmentally friendly. Check the mulch packaging for more information.

Mulch tip: Shredded bark can take up some nitrogen from the soil as it decomposes. If you have poor soil, adding some organic fertilizer to the soil can help keep your plants healthy.

 

Add Outdoor Living Space

People love to have a quiet space to relax outdoors, so adding a patio or deck will make your home more attractive to renters. While a large outdoor living space can provide areas for a barbecue, seating and play spaces, a smaller area can serve the purpose. Landscape with low-maintenance trees and shrubs, and add extra-large pots and planters overflowing with cascading greenery and flowers. Make sure that the outdoor living space has room for a table and chairs for outdoor dining. A colorful umbrella over the table, especially the kind that tilts to provide shade as the sun moves, makes the space more inviting.

Plant a Tree

Nothing is more relaxing than sitting under a shade tree and watching while a pleasant summer breeze stirs the leaves. Some properties have natural treed areas that provide a natural backdrop to the yard along with ample shade, but many backyards can benefit from a few more trees to protect against strong summer sunshine. Remember to keep trees away from the house to prevent damage from roots. If your yard won’t accommodate large trees, consider installing a retractable awning or a shady lanai.

Maintain the Deck

If you own a single-family rental property, you may already have a deck in back of the house. Maintaining your deck every year will prevent the need for repairs and defend your investment. Remove debris between the boards of the deck and give your deck a good cleaning with deck cleaner. Be sure to read the directions carefully, since some cleaners are applied to the deck when it is wet, and others are fine with a dry deck. Let the deck dry and finish it off with a weather-proof clear sealer, toner or stain to protect the deck and retain its beauty. You may want to add inexpensive solar powered lights around the deck that store energy without wiring. Just place them in the ground and they will give off light for hours.

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