These days, more people than ever use their backyards as spaces for entertaining and whiling away the hours, particularly during the warmer months of the year. As the indoors have flowed into the outdoors, yards have increasingly become where family members of all ages go to unwind and reconnect, whether through dining, reading, watching television, swinging in a hammock, practicing yoga or meditating.

As the New Year makes you think about how you want to most benefit from your entire property in 2019, take the time to follow steps to set the right mood and give yourself an entertaining area you’ll be excited to use each week. Read on for some key tips to help you create the perfect backyard space for you.

Declutter Outdoor Areas

To have the outdoor areas you dream of, take the time to get rid of anything currently in your yard that doesn’t correspond to your mental picture. It’s easy for clutter to build up over the years, so the first step in creating the ultimate entertaining space is to get rid of unnecessary items.

Go through your yard and look for things that haven’t been used for ages because your family has grown out of them, gotten bored with them, broken them etc. For example, there could be old swing sets your children are too big to play on now, sun loungers that have never been comfortable, a rusted-out trailer or sculptural items that no longer reflect your style. Donate goods in decent condition and recycle as many other things as you can.

Get the Gardens in Order

Get the Gardens in Order
Next, get the gardens in order, particularly if they’re overgrown and haven’t had much attention. If you hate gardening, don’t have the skills to do the job well or just don’t have the time, you can hire a tree and shrub service like TruGreen, to come in and cut down trees that are too messy or large for their positions and shrubs that need to be trimmed back into shape. Weeding may be another key task.

If you have an outdoor area that is actually quite bare, you’ll want to go shopping for some nice new plants to give it a more welcoming, relaxing feel. You don’t need to spend a lot of money on this; you can buy affordable plants such as natives or succulents that look great but won’t need a huge amount of attention as time goes on. Add mulch to garden beds to help plants retain moisture and at the same time keep weeds at bay.

Give Your Lawn Attention

Give Your Lawn Attention
Grass needs more than just the occasional mow to look its best. Mow regularly to keep things looking good, although be careful not to trim off more than a third of the length at any time. You’ll also need to water your lawn each week if you’re not getting much rain in your area. Sprinklers can take much of the work out of this job though, especially if they are connected to a Gilmour water timer.

Other lawn-based jobs to put on your to-do list include fertilizing approximately twice per year (fall and spring are good times to do this); annual aerating, to help the grass absorb fertilizer along with oxygen, sunlight and water; and raking leaves: If you don’t make an effort to get rid of an influx of leaves on your lawn, they can turn into a sticky mat when wet. This mat can then actually suffocate lawns and result in fungal diseases. If bare patches keep showing up in your lawn, you should also consider overseeding — a task that includes distributing grass seeds right onto existing turf to
improve the density of lawn.

Invest in Repairing or Installing Fittings and Fixtures

Relaxing, stylish yards always incorporate non-plant-based features too. You’ll want to ensure your outdoor spaces have quality fittings and fixtures that finish off the overall look. For example, add a fence to your yard if you don’t already have one, or repair any current boundary markers if you notice palings are broken or need painting or other work is due.

You should also install outdoor lighting; bring in pavers or edging, especially to doors into your home’s interior; add a shed to keep your gardening tools and equipment out of sight; and think about any specific functionality and feel you’d like to bring to your yard. For instance, you might be interested in the addition of a porch swing, hammock, pond, fountain, covered entertaining space or dedicated yoga and meditation zone.