“Your alfresco areas will definitely need a spruce up after winter,” says owner of landscape architect company Landart, Matt Leacy. “Tiled areas are prone to mould and algae from rain and cooler weather. It’s essential to remove this so it doesn’t overtake pavers. Scrub it away with warm water and a high-pressure washer.” Selleys Rapid Mould Killer can be used on ceramic tiles, but for porous stone such as sandstone, use a diluted chlorine mix. “Use 10 per cent chlorine in warm water, spread it over the tiles, let it sit there for an hour or so, then hose it off. A high-pressure washer might disrupt porous stone though, so you’ll need some elbow grease,” warns Leacy.
“Wash all the cushions and covers on any outdoor furniture,” says Leacy. “Then wipe down the furniture itself.” Senior Development Chemist at Selleys, Eunice Adeyinka, suggests using Selleys Sugar Soap to get rid of stubborn stains and marks on your outdoor furniture. “It is great at removing dirt, grime and even old stains such as BBQ sauce,” she says. “Do a small test patch first, then use a Selleys Super Cloth in a diluted solution to clean all over.” To keep furniture looking clean throughout the summer, give a quick spray of Selleys SuperKleen sugar soap whenever you need and wipe down with a damp cloth.
“A clean fence can really lift an outdoor space, making it look fresh and inviting,” says Leacy. “Selleys Sugar Soap is a quick and effective way to get rid of dirt on fences,” says Adeyinka. “Dilute it in a bucket of warm water and use a cloth to clean the fence from top to bottom.”
To prevent decks and pavers getting dirty and mouldy again throughout the summer, a bit of prep now will save you a lot of time in the next few months. “If you have feature pots on your deck, elevate the plant inside and put drip trays underneath, so dirty water isn’t spilling out on to your deck,” suggests Leacy. “Then you can swap the plant out, clear the water and put it back. This also minimises the leaching of soils in water.”
If you’ve left your plants to their own devices over the winter, now is the time to get them ready for spring. “Clip hedges now before they start shooting, and prune plants to get them in prime condition for growth in spring and summer,” says Leacy. “Mulching means adding a compost and fertiliser to the soil, and is a really important part of spring cleaning your garden,” he adds. “It will help your soil retain moisture as the weather heats up – and it’s also helpful for keeping weeds at bay. Dig it into the soil by hand where possible, but be wary of applying it too close to plant trunks and stems as excess moisture can cause stems to rot. As the weather gets hotter, keep an eye on your plants and keep topping mulch up.”
If your barbecue has been sitting untouched since last summer, give it a thorough clean so it’s ready for its first cook-up of the year. “Selleys BBQ Tough Clean contains cleaning agents that solubilise oils, actively removing grease and grime,” says Adeyinka. “It’s a great way to give your barbecue a really good clean before it gets used heavily during te summer season. Remove any hotplates and grills, and then spray on to the barbecue. For really tough grease, you can leave on for up to two hours before wiping it away.” Keep your barbecue clean for the rest of the season with Selleys BBQ Tough Grease & Grime Cleaner which you can spray on a warm grill each time you’ve used your barbecue to keep grease at bay. Spray, leave on for two to three minutes, and wipe clean with a damp cloth. Selleys Super Cloth is ideal. Rinse and wipe with a dry cloth to remove any product residue. Once the inside is clean, it’s time to turn your attention to the outside. Selleys BBQ Exterior Clean & Shine will make a stainless steel hood look shiny and new, says Adeyinka. “It contains active ingredients that form an invisible layer on the hood, repelling grease and grime, so making future cleaning a lot easier.”
Grubby outdoor toys covered in cobwebs and dirt aren’t appealing. “Firstly, use a disposable wipe to remove all bird droppings,” says consultant at Platinum Housekeeping, Cathy Littlejohn. Selleys Sugar Soap can clean metal, plastic, and wood surfaces. “Use a sponge for large areas, but be ready to follow up with a bristle brush to get out ingrained dirt,” says Littlejohn. “Rinse, then dry thoroughly.”
If some outdoor areas just can’t be cleaned effectively, it’s time to get creative. “Ornamental grasses are a great way to hide eyesores,” says Leacy. “They cover large areas for a relatively low budget, grow quickly, and have a lovely soft appearance in pots.”
Give your garden an instant refresh by adding some succulents. “They work well in pots or in soil, are water-wise and bring a lot of structure to an outdoor space,” says Leacy. “A big succulent can be a great main feature. You can add texture by planting native ornamental grasses such as Lomandra, Westringias and Casuarinas. These can create really interesting palettes with varying textures and colours. A few new plants in the right place can make your garden look fresh and ready for the entertaining season.”