The cure for cabin fever? Prepping your home & yard for warm-weather living

Spring is finally here in the Pacific Northwest, and another glorious summer is around the corner. Prepare your outdoor spaces, guests accommodations, and indoor details for the sunny days and relaxing evenings ahead.

Lawns & landscaping

Late spring is a great time to address trouble spots in your lawn. Sow new see and apply any necessary herbicides or fertilizers. Aerating compacted soil will also encourage growth and prevent weeds from taking root. Once grass is 2-3 inches tall, break out the mower (and sharpen the blade, too).

Put down new mulch or ground cover to bare spots in your landscaping. Clear dead foliage and branches and trim trees. Check your homeowners association’s CC&Rs for clearance requirements regarding trees that line the sidewalk outside your home.

Patios & decks

Over the winter, moisture accumulates and moss may cling to decks and patios. Sweep away debris and use a wet mop or broom to scrub dirt and stains. Because powerwashing may erode wooden beams or grout between patio stones, consult with (or hire) a professional. Once your deck or patio is clean and dry, apply stain or sealant as needed so it looks its best before the first barbecue.

Get your outdoor furniture in good condition, too. Take it out of storage and update faded cushions and outdoor rugs. Envision what you and your family do outside (i.e. dine, relax, entertain, garden), then arrange furniture into inviting, functional spaces.


We depend on our grills during the summer. Scrape grates clean and repair broken burners or gas lines. If you have an outdoor kitchen and storage, restock supplies, seasonings, and other necessities. Treat yourself to some sturdy grill tools, too, and some cheerful, durable outdoor dishes. When the first cookout of the season strikes, you’ll be ready.

Fire pits

Spending a warm evening around the fire pit is practically a rite of summer. Check the gas line (or firewood supply for wood-burning pits). If guests or your older children will be operating it, consider having written or typed instructions on hand for them. Prepare furniture surrounding the fire with comfortable cushions and cozy blankets — and don’t forget fireside snacks.


Your pool will be the first stop when temperatures really start to rise. Don’t wait until late summer to schedule maintenance service or address it yourself. Before opening your pool, clear debris or standing water from the cover. Top off the water level and ensure the pump, hoses, and filters are clean and in working order before turning it on. Have the water professionally tested to analyze pH, alkalinity, chlorine, and calcium hardness. Adjust your pool’s chemical level throughout the season so swimmers stay safe, water remains clean, and equipment functions properly. Add some towels and lounge chairs, and you’ll have the hottest summer hangout in your own backyard.


Warm weather affects how we live inside, as well. Spring cleaning always makes homes feel refreshed; declutter, dust ceiling fan blades, and clean windows and screens to let sunlight stream through. Add pops of color with freshly cut flowers or potted plants throughout your home. Swapping heavy, dull textiles for light, bright seasonal accessories can make furniture feel brand new.

Warm weather almost always means visits from out-of-town friends and family, so spruce up guest spaces, too. Clear out closets and drawers. Replace linens with new or freshly washed sheets and towels. Restock extra toiletries, too, so your visitors will have everything they need when they come to stay.


Terrie Cox is among RE/MAX’s top 10 individual brokers in the United States, as well as a skilled stager and designer for Home Concepts in Vancouver, WA. She enjoys spending summer days on her deck overlooking the Columbia River. For more advice on how to prepare your home for warm weather, call or text her directly at (360) 607-4100 or email