Happy Monday, friends! We’re back today with a reality posts of sorts. Recently, this sweet gal Jenny wrote on one of our instagram photos:
❤ your outdoor space! We have one too but I feel like we have to clean it, shoo the spiders away, etc every time we use it. How do y’all keep yours clean for impromptu guests, an unexpectedly cool summer night dinner (like this one probably was), etc… Just curious! Everybody always thinks outdoor spaces are SO great, but the upkeep is “killing me”
Give me, oh, about 25 minutes, and I can have anything (see: our entire home) ready. ;} I try not to fret over our home, and for me, it’s a major exercise in my perfectionist ways. But I love to have it looking picked up, counters wiped off, and dog poop scooped from the back yard before friends come over. Dog poop is always a nice bonus.
I wanted to cover this question today, because while the weather is getting cooler and it’s kind of the ideal time for enjoying the great outdoors, ’tis the season for (seemingly constant) maintenance.
First of all, these photos aren’t reality. While they’re pretty and fun and part of a reveal post, we all know they’re just now how things work in real life. I can have it pretty close to this if there were people coming over and I have a little time (with a lot of work) but aintnobodygottimeforthat. My standards for the outside: dust wiped away, pecans and leaves gone from the patio, and pillows out.
Ever noticed how fabulous older peoples’ yards look where you live? Jamin and I always say there’s a reason for that: because they’re retired. Yards, period, are work.
We get a lot of real use out of our space. But it’s just like any other outdoor space. It requires upkeep, and maintenance. Cleaning it, just like any other room in our home.
Probably more so. In the playroom, I’m managing the lego storage battle. Outside: we’re fighting Bertha, the killer pecan tree. This happened this summer, while Jamin was out of town and a kind friend had to come cut the limb down.
We had a pool (see this photo of us outside working like dorks while they swam) but a giant limb fell on it as well, and popped it. Karma from the stylegods for having an inflatable, superb redneck pool, I guess. We’re just glad it wasn’t the kids. Every year I hold Jamin back from cutting the beast down. Isn’t that like a law or something? I’m pretty sure some fairy tree karma sprites would attack our faces and rip out our eyelashes if we tried such a thing. That, and I would feel guilty forever, so it’s just not an option.
So, while everyone is fighting their own battles based on where they live, we’re maintaining ours as well. I wanted to share a little round up of a few things we’ve used to make it a bit more doable in that aspect. Beyond the obvious, like a mower and rake here are some tried and true things that we love to make it doable.
1. Mr Clean Outdoor Erasers are something we use to manage the outdoor grime once or twice a year. It’s not always picture perfect, but it keeps it manageable.
2. Furniture covers like these, are perfection for our pieces outside. We use them when we know we won’t be outdoors for a while, or if a storm is brewing. If we don’t get them on in time, that’s fine too. It is what it is. Unless you purchase plastic furniture and have zero trees in your yard, this is kind of a necessity.
3. A bucket from Home Depot. Silly, but really handy. To bribe our children to pick up all the pecans so I can make another one of these pies, give them away, and even tell them they can make some money by selling said pecans. Pecans are quite the commodity here. And we have oodles. With little minion slaves in the form of tiny children are awesome.
4. We store our pillows in this. Because one time, I left some outside thinking that’s what outdoor pillows are for.We had a problem with mildew, to say the least. So while I will leave them outdoors for stretches at a time, this extends their life.
5. We have a dog. Which is the equivalent to having a small pony in the back yard. This is how we manage it all before people come over. Otherwise our children are playing in a landmine. Reality can be rough.
6. Windex Rain is one of our fave products. I use it all around my house, but for a quick clean up of our table so we can eat outside, I wipe it down quickly.
This is one day AFTER I cleaned it off. But before we go outside, I use this super simple blower from RYOBI. It’s cordless. You flip it on, blow off the porch, and you’re done. I find that doing this a few times a week keeps it nice.
While photos of a back yard can look effortless, it’s work. Just like the rest of a home. A few little things can make it easier, and I guess you have to decide what it’s worth to you. Our back yard now feels like a retreat (when we blow it off and clean up the table). Throwing out a few pillows makes it liveable and worth it to us. And our home feels larger for it. It’s a list of pros and cons, to decide what its worth to you. It’s a true escape without even leaving home.
I hope this helps give it some perspective. I think it can be easier based on how heavily wooded it is in your area, or what your climate is. For those of you with yards and outdoor spaces, what are some of your favorite tips? Is it worth the effort to you? We’d love to hear!