As the year draws to a close, most South Africans will be thinking of relaxing outdoors and entertaining friends at home. Whether it’s gathering in the garden for a braai or inviting friends around for a pool party, you will want to make sure your garden and outdoor area is ready to welcome guests.
Cleaning and maintaining the exterior of your home will not only offer guests a hygienic and aesthetically appealing setting but contribute to the general upkeep of your property, thus retaining its value. There are a few important steps you can take now to make sure your garden and outdoor entertainment areas at your home are ready when you choose to welcome guests.
Here are our tips for how to get your garden summer-ready:
Take stock of the area
Before scheduling family gatherings or stocking up on necessities for outdoor entertainment, inspect the areas and equipment outside your home that need cleaning after the long winter months.
Clean your braai
One of the first things to tackle is the braai. It’s been a long winter, so it’s probably been a while since you last used your braai. Check your braai grid for grease and leftover morsels of food that may still be around from your last summer braai. Before using your braai again, take the time to give it a good clean.
You may think that cranking up the heat on your grid or using the ‘auto-clean function on your fancy gas braai will be enough, but unfortunately, this is not always the case. It is below the burners where fats and grease usually accumulate, and this area does not get hot enough to kill whatever has been cultivating in these spaces.
When not in use, grills and braai areas make the perfect safe haven for rodents, which results in droppings that can spread bacteria, contaminate food sources, and trigger allergic reactions in humans. When cleaning, ensure that the cooking grill is properly rinsed and wiped after cleaning with chemicals to avoid these transferring onto your food when you next use it.
Check exterior walls for mould
Mould is another issue to keep in mind when maintaining an outdoor area. While mould is mostly present in interior walls, it does also appear on exterior walls. It is hard to prevent, and you can take steps to minimise it, as it does carry health risks. Over time, mould will eat through materials like drywall and wooden decks causing them to rot which can cause them to collapse, posing a safety risk.
Invest in the right tools for cleaning
It might sound like cleaning up the outside areas can require a lot of time and effort, but you can speed up the job by using the correct cleaning tools. For example, a small high-pressure washer designed for home use can help you clean larger areas when the old “brush and soapy water” might take too long.
A high-pressure washer is not only meant for industrial use. At home, they can also be used to spray off a wooden deck, wash your car without scratching it, clean your braai, get your mountain bike ready for an adventure, or clean concrete surfaces such as a patio, walkway, or driveway.
Regular cleaning can also help avoid accidents such as insect bites as a result of infestations or a slip on a deck covered in moss. These machines also help reduce water usage. Pressure washing can get rid of some of those hard-to-deal-with soils like grease, tar, gum, wax or even rust, and it is useful for preparing your braai area for summer.
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Using a high-pressure washer at home
There are specific areas to focus on when using a pressure washer at home.
Windows: This is no longer a job that needs to be left to the experts, as a small high-pressure pressure washer can help clean those hard to reach areas.
Exterior walls: A high-pressure washer is ideal for cleaning exterior walls that are usually left splashed and stained with mud after winter rains, especially near ground level. Pay attention to recessed areas and the tops of walls where insects like to nest.
Wooden deck: Your deck is the area where you will most likely host most outdoor entertainment so pay attention to the areas where you and your guests will be sitting.
Gutters: Cleaning your gutter can prevent mould growth, avoid pest infestations and ensure that they work properly.