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How To Prepare Your Outdoor Living Space For Warmer Months Ahead In Ocean County, Nj

Alborn Supply of Ocean County provides tips on how to clean and refresh your backyard and landscape

The weather in Ocean County might be indecisive lately — strong winds, rain, snow storms — but spring is right around the corner, and once it warms up, you'll probably want to be out on the patio. Before it arrives, local experts recommend a few patio preparation tips for maximum landscape enjoyment.

CLEAN
First things first: get rid of that winter grime.

“Dirt, sludge, debris and leaves build up on your patio over the winter,” said Colin Waddick, landscape designer at Forever Green Landscaping in North Liberty.

If you don’t clean it off, he warned, it can stain your patio, or worse, corrode it.

Cleaning can be hired out to landscaping companies, or done on your own, but hiring a professional can save a lot of time and hassle, as well as prevent any mishaps.

“If you don’t do it right, you can screw it up,” Waddick warned.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t do it on your own. In fact, taking the DIY approach can save you quite a bit of cash if you’re careful.

Here’s the how-to:
— Declutter: move any furniture, grills, plants or other decorations from the patio’s surface.

— Weed: clear out any dead weeds or grasses that have grown between the patio tiles, or use a weed killer to prevent them from coming back.

— Sweep: use a stiff bristled broom to remove dirt, leaves and other debris from the surface of the patio.

— Rinse: hose down the patio to remove any remaining dirt — but steer clear of pressure washers, as they can damage the grout between bricks or even the bricks themselves, warned Brian Hughes, owner of Landscape by Design in Hiawatha.

— Deep clean: if your patio is stained or needs a deeper clean, you can use cleaning products, household soaps, vinegar or bleach for stain removal, depending on the patio’s material. Before applying a solution, be aware of how it will affect the stone. Also be sure to protect plants surrounding the patio, as some chemicals may damage or kill them if not protected properly.

— Seal: sealant products help preserve your patio, keeps the colors from fading and even add a glossy finish that “gives it a little pop,” Waddick said.

                                                                                         
REFRESH
After you’ve cleaned your patio, freshen it with new furniture, lighting or other add-ons to make it feel like new.

Furniture
Updating your patio furniture is an easy and sometimes more affordable way to spruce up your outdoor living space, Waddick said.

Even a simple change, such as adding decorative pillows, an outdoor rug or other accessories can give a fresh feel. Other more elaborate features such as a sound system, lighting or perhaps a pergola for shade and style, can make the space even more inviting.

Landscaping
Re-mulching your landscape bed and pruning your bushes are another quick, easy and inexpensive way to polish the appearance of your patio, Waddick said.

Adding flowers, whether potted or planted, adds color and interest, too.

Waddick recommends “knock out roses,” which require little maintenance but bloom “pretty much all summer long.”

“There’s all kinds of different things you can do,” Novak said of landscape design. “I’ve been doing this for 22 years and with everything that’s available now, the options are limitless,” he continued. “It’s hard to put a finger on one thing that’s trending, but the options to create something unique, individualistic and catered to you and your style is just amazing.”

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