Michigan winters can be cold and brutal and keep you indoors for most of the season. Warmer temperatures in the spring make it possible to take your entertaining outdoors for fresh air while you socialize with family and friends. As the snow starts to melt, it’s time to get your backyard ready for spring and the following is ways you can upgrade the space.
Clean Up Winter’s Aftermath
Start by cleaning up broken limbs and dead plants left behind from the winter season. Add mulch to existing garden spaces, replace broken flowerpots and blow leaves. Use a pressure washer on your deck or patio to remove dirt, and you can even put on a new coat of fresh paint in places that need refreshing. The goal is to create a clean slate for your backyard overhaul.
Build an Outdoor Kitchen
Outdoor kitchens provide a variety of benefits to your home, especially if you like to entertain. They can increase the value of your home and even help lower energy bills. Search the internet for ideas on layouts, materials, outdoor appliances and serving spaces. Most outdoor kitchens have four separate zones.
Your cooking area will likely be the highlight or spotlight of your outdoor kitchen. Choose from built-in grills, smokers, griddles, side burners and even pizza ovens. A built-in grill typically has door underneath to house the propane tank. Drawers and storage areas keep pots and pans and BBQ tools handy. The biggest thing to consider is ventilation. The cooking zone should be in an open and clear space that prevents the build-up of harmful fumes and one that can handle excessive heat.
Your prep zone can be as simple as a small counter-space or a full cabinet with a built-in sink and pull-out trash bins. This area saves you from multiple trips back and forth to your indoor kitchen to cut vegetables, prepare meat and throw garbage away. Plan your prep zone beside your cook zone for greater efficiency and adjust the countertop size to accommodate how many you will normally cook for.
Plate and serve zone
Another area to plan adjacent to your cook zone is the serving area. This keeps guests away from the heat of the barbecue and gives a convenient space to provide plates and utensils. Some serving zones have warming drawers that keep food ready-to-serve when you’re cooking in batches.
If you’re planning on including a mini fridge, cooler, kegerator or ice maker in your outdoor kitchen design then the entertainment zone is a must. This is where most guests will hang out when the meal is over and they are ready to have fun. This area can include a bar with bar stools and even a television mounted on the wall. Be sure to install motorized retractable patio shades that can be raised and lowered to accommodate the direction of the sun. Retractable screens can also add privacy to your entertaining space.
Plant a Garden
Planting a garden is an excellent way to upgrade your backyard to get ready for spring and the warmer months and there are many different ways to accomplish this. For patios and decks, choose small herb boxes and planters or use railroad ties or garden borders to section off an area in your yard to plant vegetables. After you decide on a space for your plants check out the planting guide from the Michigan State University Extension Office. This guide tells you when’s the best time to plant and what plants work best for your zone.
For more information on choosing and installing motorized screens and patio shades, contact us to learn what products are available. We can help you choose the best products for your space.