Organizing outdoor spaces, for some, can be a huge undertaking especially if your property is large and you have a number of structures.
However, you can get your outdoors looking great with a little bit of planning, a lot of elbow grease, and some patience.
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Setting Up Zones for Your Outdoor Spaces
The first thing you should do is separate your outdoor spaces into zones and tackle them one at a time.
Some common zones include:
- Front yard
- BBQ area
- Hot tub area
- Children’s Play Area/Tree House
- Flower Gardens/Food Gardens
- Pet House
- Trash/Receptacle Area
On a separate sheet of paper, list all zones that you have in order of the ones that really need help first.
Then place a star next to the ones that may need more than organizing such as extensive cleaning and any DIY.
For those that need DIY, click here for my Project Planner which can help you with those tasks.
Assess Any Structures
Before you can begin organizing your outdoor spaces, you should give your permanent structures an inspection.
These include structures such as a gazebo, pergola, carport, deck, treehouses, or shed.
Check to see if they need any extensive work such as board replacements, tightening of loose bolts, a fresh coat of paint, or a good power wash.
Also, double-check any swing set for stability and safety.
If you find that you have structures that seem unfixable and dangerous, get rid of them.
Better safe than sorry.
Make sure to write down all these tasks and start completing them as soon as you can.
Cleaning Up Your Outdoor Spaces
Start with a Blank Slate
Once you are done with your list of repairs, you’ll want to begin picking up your outdoor spaces.
That is clearing walkways, picking up toys and trash, and anything else that doesn’t belong where it is at.
Next, mow your lawn while you have everything picked up.
Then, go ahead and do some weed whacking and edging to get that lawn looking beautiful.
You should also trim any hedges and prune back any other foliage you feel needs to go.
As you do all this, note and jot down anything you see that needs some attention that was not part of your repair tasks.
You will be surprised by what you may find when you do some trimming or move around flower pots.
Other areas you may want to consider giving a good clean now are your windows, gutters, and siding.
Check out some Youtube videos that will better help you tackle these tasks letting you know the best cleaners and tools to use.
Organizing Each Zone
Each zone listed here will have suggestions for cleaning, some minor DIY, and organizing.
Give your front yard a check at least once a week.
Pick up any trash that somehow ends up in front of your home like cigarette buds and yes, dog poop, unfortunately.
Check your mailbox area.
Does it need any maintenance like another coat of paint or a little oil in the hinges?
Check your driveway and any walkways to see if they need some power washing.
Do you have a potted flower garden or hanging pots?
See if they need a little TLC by removing any weeds, turning them around once in a while so other parts get some sun, and getting rid of dead flowers.
The same will apply if you have potted plants in your backyard areas.
If you have any type of furniture or swing on your front porch, go ahead and clean these off.
Remove any coverings (if possible) and toss them in the wash cycle.
If you keep shoes on your porch, provide a way to keep these organized like using an extra-large baking pan.
You can also nicely line them up under a bench or install hooks.
Check out Pinterest for lots of organizing and storing hacks to tame your footwear.
Ugly but Necessary
While we need trash bins and, for many, an A/C unit, they can become eyesores.
First, make sure that you keep your trash bins away from anywhere you entertain.
If they have a smell after your trash has been picked up, it’s time to give the inside a good wash.
Remove any debris around your A/C unit.
These can block vents making it harder on your unit to do its job and eventually making it harder on your pocket.
For both your A/C unit and trash bins, consider creating or buying a screen especially if you cannot relocate it to a concealed spot.
Again, you can add this to your projects list.
However, be careful with anything you place around your A/C unit. Make sure it allows for air circulation around the unit.
You can also get creative.
A neighbor of mine many years ago painted a garden scene on her trash bin.
It really looked nice.
Again, if you keep furniture in these spaces, you want to give it a good clean especially if it is left out in the elements most of the time.
Wipe down tables and give any removable coverings a turn in the wash cycle.
Sweep the flooring area and if need be, wash and scrub it down as well.
If you use electric string lights at night, check for any bulbs that need replacement.
Then readjust them if they are starting to lean over.
BBQ Pit/Outside Kitchen
If you bbq, then you will need to keep this area as clean as possible so as not to draw the attention of small animals when not in use.
As soon as you are done with your meal, take any non-disposable utensils, flatware, and plates indoors and into the dishwasher.
This will keep the bugs at bay while you enjoy your time outdoors.
If you have a beverage station/bar, keep this organized, clean, and stocked.
If you have a separate portable grill, keep it clean by covering it up at the end of your day.
This will help keep it free of bird droppings and other debris as well as make your grill last much longer.
And if you use firewood or charcoal to cook your food, consider a special container to store them.
Try to keep the deck area clear of pool toys and floaties.
Hang up towels after use or place a basket nearby to collect them for a wash.
Keep all pool chemicals out of children’s reach.
Consider storing them in a shed or compartment box near or under the deck.
Keep a pool skimmer handy for picking out bugs, leaves, or other debris that fall into the pool.
One way to deal with long pool maintenance tools like a skimmer is by hanging a couple of hooks horizontally onto the deck structure or on a fence.
If your shed is a dumping ground for everything in the yard and more, then it’s time to declutter and organize it.
The first thing you want to do is empty it completely.
As you remove things, try to keep like items together.
So gardening tools in one pile, paint cans in another, and so on.
Now inspect the shed and see if it needs some cleaning.
Also, make sure that it is watertight especially if you keep items in there that need to be kept dry.
If you have a barebones shed, consider adding shelves, pegboard, or hooks.
Next, go through all those items you initially removed from the shed.
Get rid of any damaged and useless tools.
The same goes for broken flower pots and old seeds.
Place items that need to stay dry on shelves and hang any tools with a hole in its handle onto hooks.
Again, check Pinterest for lots of budget-friendly storage hacks for your shed.
Lastly, if you keep your mower in the shed, make it the last thing you put in your shed.
That way, it is at your disposal when you need it next.
You don’t want to have to fish it out later.
And make sure you cover the sandbox after use to keep cats from using it as a bathroom.
Standing and stagnant water can lead to an abundance of mosquitos in your yard.
If your fountain has an electric pump, turn it on occasionally to keep the water moving.
This will keep the mosquitos at bay.
If your fountain or birdbath is not electric, try to freshen the water every week.
You can also use mosquito dunks that are safe for all animals including humans, fish, and birds.
If you have a dog house or fenced-in area for your pets, make sure it is clear of any poop.
If you leave pet dishes outside, clean their bowls daily and empty them before the day is over to keep other animals from eating whatever is leftover.
Maintaining Your Outdoor Spaces
If you live in an area with year-round warm weather, maintaining your outside area’s organization will be an ongoing activity.
You will have to mow/de-weed your yard and flower & food gardens on a weekly basis, at least.
So, use this time to neaten all your outdoor spaces before they have a chance to become messy again.
For those who live in an area with at least 6 months of warm weather, most tasks will be reduced during the colder months.
However, here are some tasks to do to winterize your outdoor spaces:
- store items like a portable grill, bar, and patio furniture in a shed to keep them out of the elements which can cause damage over time. If this is impossible, consider purchasing covers.
- give cushion covers one last wash and then store both cushions and covers away until next spring.
- if you have a pool, cover it to prevent debris from accumulating.
- continue raking leaves to keep your yard looking nice.
Organizing your outdoor spaces can be a very overwhelming task.
Enlist help if possible and don’t worry if it is not done in one day or even in one week.
Just keep at it and you’ll start to see your efforts pay off.
Also, don’t forget to sign up for our weekly organizing challenges.
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