Get your backyard ready for spring

Mar 30, 2011 at 9:47 a.m. ET

Freshen up your home for Spring
Spring cleaning isn’t just an indoor activity. After all, why should your floors, carpets and windows get all the attention? With warmer weather fast approaching, it’s time to give your outdoor space a much-needed facelift -- your yard can also benefit from a bout of post-winter primping and polishing. To help you welcome spring into your space, we’ve put together some simple tips for taking your yard from chaos to order in no time.

Spring garden and patio

Get your garden under control

If you have a garden, now is the time to clean it up and get it ready for spring planting. Remove any dead annual plants that weren't dug up in the fall. Gather any fallen branches or other debris that may have accumulated over winter so you have a clear canvas to start fresh. Most shrubs or plants with woody stems need to be cut back to encourage new growth, and other perennials that look ragged or unruly should be pruned. Once you're ready to plant, check out these tips for a gorgeous garden.

Storage benchOrganize and tidy

Think of your outdoor space as an extension of your home. Rather than using your yard as extra storage for toys, tools and unused items, get organized and find a place for everything. Sweep the patio and clear it of any debris, dirt or errant twigs and branches that winter weather tossed into your yard.

Scrub patio furniture, eliminating several months' worth of dust and grime (which can accumulate even if your table and chairs are in storage). Clean your patio umbrella by laying it on a length of tarp or several old towels and washing with a sponge and all-purpose cleaner. Let dry in the sun before attaching to your patio table.

Buy an outdoor patio bench for instant storage like this Suncast Patio Storage Bench from Target ($129). Fill with extra blankets, pool toys or even candles and other small decor items you only bring out when company comes over.

Find an attractive storage solution for any garden tools you want to keep within easy reach. Think about painting an old wooden box -- scour garage sales or charity shops -- or use something you have on hand. Choose a color that complements your patio furniture for a stylish way to keep clutter at bay.

Update your patio for springRearrange and update
your space

Spring is the perfect time to breathe some new life into your patio by rearranging the layout of your furniture, better defining your space and updating the look of items you already own.

Define: Think about whether your outdoor living space is properly defined. Are your table and chairs haphazardly strewn around, or is there a specific area outlined for your outdoor furniture? You can use large, decorative urns to mark out four corners of your patio space. Plant these with tall ornamental grasses to further demarcate the area.

Rearrange: Change the layout of your patio by rearranging furniture and other items (BBQ, benches, storage containers, etc.). If moving things around is impractical there's no need to alter what works, but it's amazing how new and fresh your space will look with a few simple changes.

Update: Bored with your patio furniture? Rather than buying a whole new set, simply get some new cushions for your chairs. Choose an entirely new color or pattern, then pick up a few complementary accessories (candles, placemats and other decorative pieces) to further spice up your space.Spring patio accessories

Accessorize and add color

Along with adding colorful flowers and plants, you can brighten up your backyard with decorative accessories. We've handpicked a few stylish items that will help bring your outdoor space together and add an element of design to your patio.

You don't have to go camping to enjoy the cozy ambiance of a campfire. We love the black square firepit from Crate & Barrel ($199), which will add charm to your outdoor oasis.

Install a colored light bulb into one of these X &Y light pots from gnr8 biz ($279), designed by Giuseppe Colonna. Not only are they stylish planters, they also emit a soft glow in your garden.

Jazz up a chaise lounge or bench with these outdoor Grecian block pillows ($34) from West Elm. We love the structured pattern and bold hues -- choose from papaya and white or blue and white.

Give your yard a burst of color with this spiraled citrine planter ($48) from Anthropologie. Or better yet, get two or three to really brighten up your space.

Whatever size your outdoor space happens to be, it doesn't take much to freshen it up and get it ready for spring and summer enjoyment.

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