The summer season means lot of backyard BBQs with family, friends and neighbors. Between family reunions, cookouts with friends and block parties with next door neighbors, you might be hosting a lot of guests in your backyard this summer. However, after a long winter and messy spring, your backyard may not be ready for get-togethers. Don’t panic! Below are some outdoor cleaning tips to help you better prepare for your next backyard BBQ.
#1: Look at the Lawn
The first thing BBQ guests will notice is your lawn, so be sure to address any glaring issues before they walk the green carpet. Give the grass a good trimming, finish any pending yard projects and check the sprinkler system to make sure your daily grass watering schedule doesn’t go off when guests arrive.
#2: Prune and Plant
Many homeowners tend to neglect plant pruning, but something so simple can do wonders for the health and overall appearance of your landscape. Looking for a pop of color in your planters? Plant a few vibrant flowers in small pots or containers to add some visual variety to your outdoor space.
#3: Don’t Forget the Driveway
Hardscaping, aka the driveway, sidewalk and backyard walkways can often look unsightly after the winter season. Think of what all that shoveling and salting has done to your outdoor walkways and driveway! Eliminate any evidence of a harsh winter season by cleaning pathways and repairing crumbling surfaces. Hit the pavement with an outdoor broom and get to work!
#4: Light It Up
Brighten a dull and drab dining area with solar and/or battery operated lights. Both of these options are convenient since no wiring is required. Another fun option is to use all-weather garden torches. While you’re at it, install lights along any dark walkways to brighten up outdoor areas. This additional lighting will remove any potential tripping hazards.
#5: Check the Deck or Patio
Inspect the deck for any signs of decaying wood, loose railings or stained floor boards before guests make matters worse. If you have a cemented patio or brick patio, check for moss and mildew as these can both make a patio incredibly slippery. Give the patio a good washing with the garden hose. For larger jobs, rent a power washer from your local hardware store.
#6: Get Grill Ready
If your grill has been idle all season, it’s time to get it ready! Add a place for grilling tools, serving dishes and platters so you can efficiently prepare meals around your guests with minimal time spent running inside the house for supplies like grilling tongs and plates.
#7: Fancy Up Furniture
Grab a scrub brush, an all-purpose microfiber cleaning cloth and your favorite natural cleaning spray and wipe down all patio furniture including chairs, dining tables and end tables. Perk up the picnic table or add some drama to your deck by picking up a few affordable outdoor accessories like cushions, pillows and twinkle lights.
Get your backyard ready with these summer outdoor cleaning tips, just in time for your next backyard BBQ.
Looking for some delicious dishes for your next backyard BBQ? Try serving up some fun bacon appetizers made three different ways.
BACON BURGER BITES RECIPE
- 8 slices of bacon
- 1 pound ground beef
- ½ cup bread crumbs
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon barbecue sauce
- 1 egg
- 4-6 slices of cheese
- Salt & pepper to taste
1. Mix ground beef, bread crumbs, garlic powder, egg and barbecue sauce. Use Playtex® Clean Cuisine gloves to protect your hands and your kitchen when cooking with raw meat
2. Roll mixture into small ball shapes.
3. Wrap bacon around the meatball
4. Cook in a skillet or on the grill until bacon is crisp and the meat is to your liking, about 12 minutes
5. For the last 1-2 minutes of cooking time, place small squares of your favorite cheese on top of the meatballs and cover
O-Cedar Tip: Top with sliced jalapeño peppers then add barbecue sauce, ranch dressing or ketchup as a dipping sauce.
BACON POPPERS RECIPE
- 4-6 large jalapeño peppers
- 4-6 slices of bacon
- 4 ounces softened cream cheese
- ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
1. Slice jalapeño peppers in half and scoop out the core and seeds. Use Playtex® Clean Cuisine gloves to avoid the sting of the spicy juice
2. Place cream cheese, shredded cheddar cheese, garlic powder, and paprika in a bowl. Mix together and stuff mixture inside jalapeño peppers
3. Wrap bacon around the outside of the stuffed jalapeño pepper and Place on a sheet pan
4. Bake at 400º for 20 minutes
5. Serve with ranch or your favorite sauce
BACON HEARTS RECIPE
- Slices of Bacon
- Sheet pan
- Parchment paper
1. Take full slices of bacon and shape into a heart on the parchment paper
2. Make sure the hearts are exaggerated in shape and loose with plenty of space as the bacon will shrink as it cooks
3. Cut bacon in half and use two pieces to form bigger hearts
4. Bake at 400º for 18-20 minutes or until crispy
O-Cedar Tip: Top with a stream of chocolate for a touch of sweetness.