Christmas and summer. Could there possibly be a better combination? But if your house and garden are looking a bit the worse for wear, now is the time to spruce things up before the party season arrives in earnest.
Following is a checklist of jobs, with tips to ensure your Christmas, New Year and summer celebrations are safe and fun for everyone.
Put out the welcome mat
Literally. Make sure your family and friends know they're welcome by checking that the front door mat is looking fresh and clean. If it's not, now is the time to invest in a new one. Not only does it make the entry to the house look tidy, it helps to keep dirt on the outside – where it belongs.
Scrubba dub dub
Give the front door and windows a good wash. In fact, what the heck! Give the whole house a good wash down with a high pressure washer. That includes the verandah, the front footpath and the driveway. Same goes for the side passages and the back of the house.
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Get the deck sparkling clean for those summer parties.[/caption]
Hit the deck
Actually a good scrub will do. Followed by a coat or two of decking oil. Above all, make sure there are no nasty accidents to mar the festivities. Check that all the boards are free of rot, and are secured properly. The same goes for hand rails.
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Get the lawn looking green and lush in time for those summer parties. Image courtesy of Scotts Australia
It wouldn't be Christmas, Boxing Day, or any day in Australia without a backyard cricket match. Make sure your lawn is ready for the annual kids versus oldies test by giving it a good fed now. Scotts Lawn Builder Extreme Green slow release liquid fertiliser
is a great to have a lush healthy lawn that will be the envy of the neighbourhood.
Garden beds that is. Now is the time to feed your plants (where appropriate), spend a fun afternoon weeding (I find it very therapeutic), and mulch. This will help protect their roots from the summer heat and keep moisture in the soil.
Let's not open up the barbie on Christmas day to turn off the guests with the sight of a greasy or rusted hotplate, dusty lid or – horror! – an empty gas bottle.
Step one is to make sure the gas bottle is turned off and disconnected. Lift up the hood and remove the hot plate, grill and the drip tray. Then remove the burners and (if they're cast iron) scrape off any loose flaky crust with a wire brush. Put fresh aluminium foil on the drip tray and clean the hot plate and grill with barbecue degreaser.
The best way to clean the outside of the barbecue is with soapy water and a soft scourer pad or BBQ wipes. Coat all cast iron surfaces with canola oil to prevent rusting. Do not use olive oil, butter or margarine to coat the BBQ. Don't forget to check the hoses and replace them if they show any signs of wear. Finally, and vitally, make sure the gas bottle is full and perhaps have a spare on standby.
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A pot of petunias will add to the party atmosphere.[/caption]
Dead head any flowering plants to encourage them to bloom again. If your annuals have gone to heaven, hit the nursery now to find some potted colour that will pretty things up. Even if you (or an annoying significant other) doesn't like annuals, popping some in a few pots near the front door or around the outdoor entertaining area won't cost much. Don't forget to add soil wetter whether you go for pots or garden beds.