When the weather turns warm and the birds start to chirp, it’s a siren call to go outside – and stay there. Almost any excuse will do, so it’s the perfect time to put that pent-up outdoor enthusiasm to good use and do some freshening around your home that will pay off all summer long. Here are a few key areas that deserve focus, recommended by Houzz magazine. These will give you the most pleasure in return for energy well spent. Read on for 6 great tips for hurrying spring along.  1. Refurbish the front porch. Blast away any debris or leaves still lingering from the fall die off. Use your hose to wash the siding, flooring, lighting and outdoor furniture. You won’t need a power washer – in fact, some siding can be harmed by the extra force – but there are hose attachments designed for cleaning siding that may help. Replace faded or worn out cushions and door mats. Check the front door. Does it need to be painted? You might even try a new color to update your home’s appearance. 2. Plant a spring centerpiece. You’ll have a long-lasting table centerpiece if you plant low-profile succulents in a shallow container to place on your dining table. Wheatgrass is another alternative for that spring green look of an outdoor meadow. Or, for a spring flower fest, buy several six-packs of pansies, leave them in their original container, and tuck them into a 4-inch deep container.  The pansies  do double duty – they bring a quick, easy infusion of spring into your home now, and when the last frost date passes can be planted in your outside beds. 3. Ready your patio for outdoor living and entertaining. Get your home’s most popular spring and summer spot ready for the season. Remove the furniture covers and wash up your patio furniture with warm, soapy water and let it dry in the sun. Take a look at your patio pillows and wash or replace as needed. Place new candles in the candle holders and lanterns. And don’t forget to put out your yellow jacket traps now. The queen comes out when the weather gets warm and you want to get rid of her so she can’t reproduce.   4. Start seeds indoors. Tomatoes, peppers and eggplants can be started from seeds in containers now and transplanted to your garden when spring is solidly under way. It’s important to plan your seed planting based on the number of days to maturity for each type of veggie. If you start too early, your seedlings will get leggy. To time, find the average last freeze date for your area and start your seeds indoors six to eight weeks prior to that date. For the Boulder-area, the 32-degree threshold with only a 10 percent chance of dropping below freezing is May 13, according to the Colorado State University Extension Service. To allow the soil time to warm up, wait a couple of weeks after May 13 to plant your seedlings outdoors. 5. Cut back ornamental grasses. Often these are left up for winter texture, but now is the time to trim these to the ground before new foliage begins to emerge. Use long-bladed shears or a string trimmer to make quick work of this fun outdoor task. 6. Get a jump on weed control. New weeds are easier to pull and keeping them at bay now and through June will pay off all summer long. Make sure you use a weed pulling tool that allows you to get deep into the soil to break off the roots. Read the full Houzz articles at:  http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/7396518/list/Rocky-Mountain-Gardener-s-March-Checklist and http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/61589227/list/10-Ideas-for-a-Spring-Home-Refresh .
RE/MAX of Boulder Real Estate Blog

* Article originally posted on RE/MAX Boulder website at http://www.boulderco.com/blog/