How to spruce up outdoor space before hosting guests

NORTH COUNTY – Beautiful spring and summer nights make for great opportunities to invite some friends over for a starry soiree under the nighttime sky. Unlike house parties at which guests will be spending most of their time indoors and in various rooms throughout the house, outdoor parties are often limited to smaller areas, such as patios. That can make things much less taxing on hosts and hostesses, who won’t have much prep work to do to get an outdoor hosting area ready for guests.

But even an impromptu party requires planning and a little elbow grease before guests arrive. The following are a few areas to address before guests arrive for an outdoor get-together.

• Clear the walkways and patio of debris. The walkways and patio may not need too much attention, but give them a once-over with a broom to clear any debris. When clearing the patio of debris, move all furniture, making sure to sweep up any debris, including food, that might have fallen beneath tables and chairs since the last party. If the patio is especially dirty, consider power washing it to remove stubborn stains that can rob the area of its aesthetic appeal.

• Clean the furniture. Whether it’s been months since the last party on the patio or just a few days, the furniture must be cleaned. Unless items have been stored in a garage or shed, patio furnishings are exposed to the elements, and that means dirt, soil, soot or pollen may have accumulated on the furniture. Wipe down all cushions, using a mild detergent when necessary. Cushions may need some time to dry, so make this one of the first tasks, and leave cushions out in the sun so they dry more quickly. Once the cushions have been cleaned, wipe down the furniture with a wet towel to clear them of any dirt or debris.

• Clean and inspect the grill. The grill is a go-to necessity when hosting an outdoor party, so give the grill a thorough cleaning before the first guests arrive. Nothing brings a party to a halt like hunger, and guests may begin to grow antsy if they are not served food in a reasonable amount of time. If using a propane grill, check to make sure the tanks are full while in the process of cleaning the grill. Running out of propane is a summer soiree faux pas, so it’s best to keep an extra tank handy just to be safe.

• Clear the entryway to the home. Guests will likely be using the same entryway over and over again during the party, so focus on cleaning this entryway so guests don’t trip or have to jump over toys on their way to an indoor restroom. Once the entryway has been cleared of potential tripping hazards, make sure the indoor path to the restroom is clear as well.

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