Spring is an opportunity to take stock of your home’s outdoor areas and exterior condition. You can help the natural landscape renewal that will occur and prepare for safe and fun outside activities. But spring cleanup should involve more than raking up the yard and sweeping the porch. Here are some tips on how to include a full assessment of your home for spring maintenance so that your living spaces can last a long time.


Start with a good overview


Before picking up a tool, take the time to come up with a comprehensive plan.  Consider all of your home’s exterior parts: roofing, siding, windows, gutters, patio, and landscaping. Walk around your house and visually inspect these areas a make a list of anything that looks like it needs repair. Make sure to check on major structural concerns, like foundation cracks or warped decking. Decide which maintenance jobs are within your abilities and determine which require a professional.


For example, if roof damage is evident, it’s crucial to have the roof inspected by a professional. Roof problems often are under the surface, and repair and maintenance of roofs can be treacherous. As a DIY project, keep your job limited to visually inspecting. You can determine the general state of a roof by looking for missing shingles, rippling of the roof surface, problems with vent flashing, and too-close tree limb overhangs. Make a note of any of these problems to save time when a professional is needed for repair.


Tackle exterior cleaning first


Since pressure washing can erode mulch and damage new plantings, do a full-house rinse, including patio areas and furniture before you don your gardening gloves. Pressure washing is a great way to add life to your exterior. It makes walkways shine like brand-new and removes mildew and stains from siding, garage doors, and decks. Before using a harsh anti-mildew cleaner, see if the pressure washer’s power alone removes the stains, as the bleach and acid in cleaners can severely damage plants.


Trimming is the key to landscape renewal


After you repair and wash the exterior, you can safely move to trees, plantings, and mulch. Use garden shears to cut back any dead branches on bushes and smaller trees, pruning as appropriate for the plant and your desired look. Add a thin layer of mulch to protect plants and suppress weeds before spring growing season turns your flower beds into jungles. Trim trees that grow close to your house, and make a note of any signs of tree illness to have checked by a professional. Reseed your lawn and get all your lawn equipment ready for the season. Have your lawnmower tuned up and check rakes and shovels for damage. Routine tool wear on the handles can be quickly fixed with duct tape, but if the tool’s working edge is damaged, replace it entirely.


Don’t forget AC maintenance


Although its work is felt indoors, your air conditioning unit is likely outside. Outside units often get buried in leaves and debris over the fall and winter, which can cause functionality problems in the summer. Do not wait for a 90-degree heatwave to see if your unit is in working order. You should keep up with filter replacement in forced air systems year-round, as your heating system flows through the house as well, but if your AC unit has a separate filter, replace or clean it in spring. When purchasing replacement filters, make sure to measure your old filter (if there’s no size printed on it) to get the right size.


A focused plan that includes a bird’s-eye assessment of your home is the key to spring maintenance. It will keep you on task, highlight any concerns, and ensure that you maximize your home’s lifespan.