How To Prep For Summer

Warm, sunny days are a good indication that it is time to dust off your outdoor patio furniture and freshen up your backyard for ultimate relaxation. In this guide, we will walk you through some tips to help you prepare your home for the summer season. We offer tricks of the tradefrom grill maintenance to lounging, shade structures to ambient lightingfor getting your home summer ready.


Prepping Your Grill for Outdoor Cookouts

American Outdoor Grill 30" Built-In L-Series GrillGet ready for grill season by outfitting your outdoor kitchen with the right setup. Whether that means having the right tools for a perfect cookout, or simply keeping your grill spick and span throughout the seasona prepared grill is all it takes to enjoy a smooth grilling experience. (Pictured: 30" Built-In L-Series Grill by American Outdoor Grill).

Nothing shouts summer more than an outdoor cookout. If you already have a grill in your backyard, then you know it's important to clean and maintain it throughout the seasons to ensure you can enjoy your favorite homemade burgers and grilled peaches without a fuss. Thoroughly cleaning and wiping down your grill after every use helps preserve its appearance in pristine-like condition and maintains its functionality for months on end. Grime-free grates means achieving the perfect sear marks; cobweb-free valves means your grill's gas flow will be unobstructed; and clog-free burner ports means veggies and meats are evenly cooked. Whenever your grill is not in use, we highly recommend using a fabric cover to protect your grill from the outdoor elements. With your grill properly maintained after every use, you’ll look like a prepared grill master when the season starts.

If you don't already have a grill but are interested in upgrading your space to include one, our Grill Masters Guide details the various fuel types, sizes, BTUs, and grill configurations you can choose from. Most freestanding grills have wheels attached to the bottom of the cart that allow you to move them from location to location, while built-in grills are great for customizing an island with matching access doors, drawers, built-in bars, and side burners so that you can have everything you need at your disposal when it comes time for grilling.

Pro tip #1: Grills that have backlit control knobs and integrated lighting make it possible to conveniently enjoy nighttime cookouts for dinner.

With that all said, having the proper toolsets and accessories can make your grilling experience that much smoother. From woodchips and smoker boxes for enhancing the flavor of your New York strip steaks and buttered zucchini, to pizza stones and griddles for cheesy flatbreads and crisp baconyou'll be whipping up impressive dishes like a professional chef. If you fancy pan-fried sides or roasted chicken, consider adding a wok or a rotisserie kit to keep up your sleeve. Whether its routine maintenance or simply outfitting your outdoor kitchen with the right setup, these essential procedures are crucial to making your grilling experience during the summertime a breeze.

Pro tip #2: If your grill is powered by a liquid propane tank, don't forget to restock up on your fuel. This sounds like a no brainerbut you'd be surprised how often chefs get their food ready to go, only to find that their grill won’t ignite. (The same applies to LPT fire pits. You don't want to light your fire pit, only to find the flames cut out ten minutes later).


Keeping Cool Underneath the Shade

Libra 8'2" Square Commercial Umbrella in Aqua by ShademakerBlock out harmful UV rays while relaxing underneath the canopy of a Libra 8'2" Square Commercial Umbrella in Aqua by Shademaker as it minimizes your skin's direct contact with sunlight.

With the scorching summer heat upon us, melting in the sun just simply isn't an option. Prep ahead of time for those moments by sheltering underneath a canopy's shade to protect yourself from harmful UV rays. Umbrellas are great for residential and commercial areasand even compact spacesas they come in various shapes and sizes, as well as whimsical colors and patterns. Some even have tilting features that allow you to adjust the shade's angle to suit your needs. For a more in depth break down on how to pick the right shade structure for your space, check out our Umbrella Guide where we discuss the various umbrella types, styles, and materials there are to keep you nice, crisp, and cool while lounging outside.

Pro tip #3: Opt for umbrellas or awnings made with high-end fabrics, like Sunbrella or Suncryllic, which are specially designed to remain colorfast when exposed to the outdoor elements.

Whether you already have an umbrella or plan on expanding your entertainment space with one, maintaining and cleaning it is just as important as enjoying it. Inspect your umbrella for any broken partssuch as ribs, bases, or cranks—to ensure it opens and closes properly or if it needs any parts that may need to be replaced. In addition to inspecting your umbrella, brush off any loose dirt and follow the instructions on the care tag, if provided, on how to properly clean the fabric. Otherwise, you can spot wash the fabric with a sponge using a soapy solution of mild soap and lukewarm water to remove dirt, stains, and mildew. Then thoroughly rinse the affected area with clean water and allow it to air dry. For a complete list of recommended cleaning solutions, follow this stain chart reference sheet.

If you have a larger environment to work with, pergolas are a great alternative. These hefty shade structures, which do not have a fabric canopy, offer maximum coverage over patio furniture like sofas and sectionals. You can even adorn it by planting vines for a natural touch with the added bonus of more robust shade or add string lights for ambient lighting. Regardless of whether you prefer the fun designs of umbrellas or the robustness of a pergola, there is no doubt these practical shade structures play a vital role in providing you with coverage from the sun.


Achieving the Perfect Seating Arrangement

OW Lee San Cristobal Love Seat, OW Lee San Cristobal Spring Base Lounge Chair, and Treasure Garden UmbrellaShelter beneath the cool, crisp shade of an umbrella during the hot, summer afternoon. Then, gather around a cozy fire while lounging into the plush, soft cushions of an OW Lee San Cristobal Love Seat in Red Rock or San Cristobal Spring Base Lounge Chair in Garden Trove by night.

When it comes to hosting outdoor get-togethers for your friends and family, having your patio decked with the perfect seating arrangement can make all the difference. Optimize comfort in your entertainment area with club and dining chairs offering full arm and back support while banqueting underneath the stars, sectionals and sofas offering the versatility to seat multiple guests while relaxing by the fire, and rockers and gliders offering swaying capabilities for swinging the summer heat away. Achieve the ultimate resort-like experience for all your relaxation needs while reclining into the backrest of a chaise lounge and propping up your feet over an ottoman while relaxing poolside. For an added splash of color and comfort, don't forget to add some plush cushions and pillows for extra flair and luxury while staying hydrated by keeping your refreshing iced drinks on the nearby side table.

Pro tip #4: Sectionals make great accompaniments on patios because they have design flexibility when it comes to seating arrangements. If you're unsure about what size to get, we recommend starting off small with a love seat and some armchairs. Then, when you're ready to expand your seating options, build your way up to adding benches and larger pieced sectionals.

To ensure your furniture looks immaculate in appearance throughout the season, dust off any debris to prevent dirt buildup and clean the surface with mild soap and water using a soft rag, when needed. If you have cushions or pillows, you can also scrub the fabric with a soft brush or sponge using a mild soap and water solution. Then rinse off the affected areas with clean water and allow to air dry. But you could always change out your old cushions with a new set for a fresh, clean look.

Pro tip #5: We can all agree that patio furniture should last a lifetime. Look for patio furniture made of solid, premium materials. Aluminum and iron, though more expensive than standard grade materials, are more durable and resistant to corrosion and will last throughout the seasons. Remember: the higher the grade, the higher quality material it is.


Accent Lighting for Cool, Summer Nights

The Outdoor Plus 24" Round Concrete Fire and Water BowlAfter sundown, extend your gatherings into the evenings and achieve the perfect all-inviting atmosphere with accent lighting. With a 24" Round Concrete Fire and Water Bowl—or twoby The Outdoor Plus, you can enjoy a cozy ambiance all while basking in the therapeutic sound of trickling water.

When the sun sets, prolong afternoon gatherings into the evenings with accent lighting transforming your outdoor living space into an all-inviting atmosphere. Achieve the perfect ambiance with fire and/or water bowls next to your poolside oasis as it combines opposing elements for a mesmerizing spectacle of fire on water. Alternatively, you can outline the perimeter of your yard with lanterns and torches or decorate your outdoor dining area with tabletop fireplaces to add an enticing glow after sundown.

If you have an existing fire and/or water feature, inspect the applianceprior to each use—for debris and remove any loose materials or natural fragments, as needed. Then, turn on the appliance to test the pumps are working properly and check for any leaks. If any leaks are detected, you may need to patch the affected area with silicone sealant.

Pro tip #6: Accent pieces can help add a satisfying symmetry. Consider adding two fire bowls (or more) to set a boundary for space.


Keeping Warm After Sundown

OW Lee Patio Set with Treasure Garden UmbrellaWhen the summer chill sets in during the night, keep warm around a fire pit or an outdoor fireplace. These fire features make fantastic focal points and make extending afternoon gathering into the evenings easy.

When the summer breeze kicks in, fire pits and outdoor fireplaces are wonderful options when it comes heat and entertainment. These fire features make for great focal points as they require little to no decorating and offer warmth during the cool nights. If you prefer building your own DIY fire pit project, why not show it off during your summer gathering?

Pro tip #7: As with any other appliance, maintaining your outdoor fire feature is important. If you have an existing gas fire pit that isn't lighting anymore, our Why Isn't My Fire Pit Lighting article breaks down the possible reasons why. To prevent these events from occurring during your outdoor gathering, stay ahead of the game before the summer season starts by testing to see if your fire feature works a few weeks in advanced. If your fire feature isn’t working as desired—it may be time for a qualified service technician to inspect your appliance.

Though installations, repairs, and annual inspections require a qualified service technician, there are small steps you can take to care and maintain your outdoor fire feature. Whether you have an outdoor fireplace or a fire pit, keeping the burn area free of debris ensures the flames of your fire feature burn bright without obstruction. Because insects, such as spiders, are attracted to the scent of gas, they have the potential to nest or lay eggs inside the ports of air mixers—which can cause fuel to build up inside the fire feature’s cavity. Carefully remove any dust or webs from the burn area prior to use. To safeguard your investment from the elements, we highly recommend protecting your fire pit or fireplace with a fabric cover or burner cover, when it is not in use.

Pro tip #8: If you are using fire glass in a preexisting gas fire pit or outdoor fireplace, and are needing to freshen up your burn area, check out our How to Clean Fire Glass article to keep your fire glass dirt-free. This ensures your fire glass looks spick and span when it comes time to gathering family and friends around the fire during the cool summer nights.


Whether its prepping your outdoor kitchen or arranging the perfect patio seating area complete with plentiful shade, comfort, and accent lightingwe hope these tips and tricks help you ease your way into the summer season. If you have any questions about how to make your home summer ready, feel free to send a message via our live chat feature, contact us here, or give us a call at (866) 578-8538.


Main Image: Relax in the cool, crisp shade of an Sonoma Wood Pergola by Outdoor GreatRoom Co. while grubbing on your favorite seared chicken and roasted veggies. Then cozy up to the warmth of an outdoor fireplace by nightfall when the summer chill kicks in.


Stephany Phimmasouk

An avid rock climber, Stephany is one of the Ecommerce team members responsible for the addition and maintenance of product listings on the website.