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The sun is shining, the birds are singing, the grills are grilling…and you’re probably already dreading the amount of yardwork you have to do.

Don’t despair! Now that the sun is out there’s plenty to do, but you have plenty of time to do it. Instead of getting caught up in one massive project and getting all stressed out, why not try to start the summer right with a few quick projects you can get done in an afternoon or so?

Plan ahead.

This is the time of year everyone starts talking a mean game about finally getting that pool installed. A good way to start is to take a few hours and examine both your backyard and the way you use it. Would your family even get a lot of use out of that pool or would that time and money be better spent on something like a playset for the kids or even just some extra benches and lawn chairs? How much room do you even have in your backyard anyway? Set aside an afternoon to really examine the space you have and the room you can use for Fun Backyard Stuff and settle on the one that will work best for you.

Clean up the porch a little.

If you’ve got a porch facing your front or back yard, it probably didn’t get used much over the winter, and now’s a good time to clean it up for relaxing outside! Sweep off all the leaves and crud, set up some living room furniture, outdoor furniture, and/or rustproof wire shelves to give everyone a place to sit and keep their drinks, and rearrange your chairs and tables to make sure everyone has room to hang out and relax.

Made in the shade!

Any backyard is going to need a little shade to keep everyone cool now and again, and this is a great time to do it. Set up some tables with umbrellas, get a roof over your porch if there isn’t one there already, or take some time to set up a pergola – one of those little portable wood awnings, and yes, it is a real word – to make sure your family and your guests aren’t out roasting in the heat.

Wash your windows and let the light in.

Nothing makes it feel more like summer than the sun shining through the windows. Of course, your windows might have gotten a little…er…funky over the winter, so now is a good time to take out some cleaner, scrub the windows, and get more daylight even when you’re still inside. If you’re not into the usual products, you can try using a mixture of water and vinegar, or a few drops of dish soap in a warm bucket.

Give the furnace a once-over.

We can hear what you’re thinking already: “check the furnace? Isn’t it June?” It is, and that’s exactly why now is the best time! Furnace work is best completed when the furnace isn’t working overtime, and now that it’s on summer vacation you should get down there to replace the filter. Furnace filters can generally be replaced with a few hand tools and quick spot-check to see if the filter is too dirty to use; if it looks like your dryer’s lint filter after a few loads of socks, it’s time to get another one before the weather cools off and you have to use it again!

Hopefully these quick tips will help you stay productive through the summer months – at least before you start the really big stuff!

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