Column: Improving the spring aesthetics


Your front door and entry will likely appreciate an update, cleaning and overall manicure this spring. (File photo)

Commentary by Randy Sorrell

Outdoor living spaces and landscapes tend to look a little tired after winter. Lack of sun, ice melt, snow, dust and general environmental conditions take a toll.  Most of us can relate to that personally as well. Compound that with the lack of care we generally offer our patios and plants from December through February and attention is needed.

Here are several sweaty strategies that will quickly elevate your heart rate/space dramatically and improve the aesthetics of your home.


Not covering up your furniture? Need to change that habit soon. Weather using a simple tarp or fitted covers, it makes a huge difference. Sure, it’s a pain but that habit will prolong your investment for many years. Despite winter covering, critters, leaves, dust and other gizmos invade and encourage a vigorous scrubbing in the spring. We’ve used Scotch Gard Fabric Cleaner and a heavy scrub brush for the frames with great success. It’s not the most enjoyable 30 minutes of your life, but wow…what a difference it makes!


OK, don’t get too excited about the manicure. I am actually referring to your front door and entry. It would likely appreciate an update, cleaning and overall manicure. Door handles often patina pretty quickly and a generous cleaning will help. Faded brass becomes vibrant with a light sanding. Try a simple polish on chrome, brass and other finishes after scrubbing. A quick coat of paint goes a long way on faded surfaces. Finally, clean the windows for a sparkling entry.

Mailboxes need a boost to their ego! Think about it…it’s one of the first things guests identify with your home. Make it shine with new paint, updated address numbers, shine the box itself. From personal experience, expect a few interesting looks as you detail away…then a few compliments.


Pretty basic stuff here, and it works. Get comfortable with your Stihl blower, fire it up and go.  Blow everything…sidewalks, patio, deck, window sills, neighbors, kids, grill, etc., and watch the dust and cobwebs disappear. Let’s presume you are familiar with the general landscape clean-up process: clean the gutters, blow debris from all the beds, cut back the perennials and grasses, fresh edge on the beds, apply pre-emergent weed control and fertilizer, add a few inches of black dyed mulch for bright contrast. Complete in that order.

Here are a handful of other ways to rejuvenate your outdoors:

  • Coach lamps respond well to cleaning and fresh bulbs, particularly the glass panels.
  • Replace the broken hose reel (note to self).
  • Mechanically edge sidewalks for a crisp statement.
  • Scrub the deck, patio, concrete. We like the Olympic Deck Cleanser, which works brilliant on most surfaces.

I like staging it over a few days so that it doesn’t feel as overwhelming and hurt so bad the next day. Rejuvinate!

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