You waited all year for this. Friends on the back deck. Toes in the grass. Cricket song at twilight. Those cool evening breezes that rustle the leaves. But backyard magic doesn’t happen on its own. It takes work, planning, and organization to keep your lawn primed for hosting – and those very ingredients can deliver a party-ready backyard all summer long.
For your summertime pleasure, we’re proud to present Mosquito Shield’s Party-ready Backyard Checklist!
Clear the Clutter
What if the yard could be always presentable? No tidying up kids’ toys. No lugging storage containers from the garage. Imagine if you had the things you needed out in the yard, and none of the things you didn’t. That dream is real, and it starts by remembering that your yard is for fun, not storage.
Decluttering can be a helpful first step as you prep for a party. If you’re a family with young children, your yard may have fallen victim to toy clutter. Deflated footballs, abandoned scooters, and wiffle balls that accidentally went through the mower. (Sound familiar?) And even recent home projects can leave lingering clutter, invisible to you yet totally in the way, like stacks of paving materials, empty supply buckets, or planters with no plants in them. No judgment, we’ve all been there! Take an inventory of your yard. If something’s taking up space, or if your family’s spending more time moving something around than using it, it’s clutter. Time for it to go.
Keep it Green
You want grass that’s long enough to maintain a healthy root system and hold up under the punishing summer sun – think July and August. You don’t want grass that’s so long that ticks and other pests move in. Be sure to trim ⅓ of your grass height every 4 to 7 days. If you cut your grass too short, you’re going to have brown, bare patches, not to mention vulnerability to disease and drought.
Grow the Garden that Works for You For some, gardening is a passion. For others, it’s a set-it-and-forget-it exercise, one that goes no further than weeding and watering occasionally. You know what works for you. Here’s a simple reminder: Pace yourself and only give what you’ll get back. If you find yourself hunkered down in work gloves and a pile of weeds, blushing with embarrassment before every party, it may be time to scale down your garden. And that’s OK!
Since we’re on the topic of parties, we’ll give a plug for a simple wildflower garden. If you plant annuals like zinnias and cosmos around Independence Day, you’ll have a healthy, technicolor splendor on your hands by Labor Day. Get prepared to pull out the hose, though, because these glories are thirsty.
Games are another great way to enjoy your yard this summer. Are you among the many who set up a badminton set during the pandemic? A few others to consider include cornhole, bocce, and horseshoes. These games are a great way to entertain guests. And, there’s an added bonus because you can set them up where you want them, sparing your lawn the punishment of roaming foot traffic. There are tons of newer and lesser-known games that are gentle on the lawn too, like Spikeball, Kan Jam, and Mölkky (pronounced “milk” – it’s a Finnish pin-tossing game). It’s sort of a mobile bowling game but with narrow pins and different rules.
And nothing’s easier on the lawn than a deck of playing cards and a picnic table. Can’t perfect a classic.
Make a Mosquito Control Plan for Your Yard
Make sure you have a plan to prevent mosquitoes from crashing your parties.
Start by considering these important facts when you’re deciding the location of your leisure areas:
Mosquitoes lay their eggs in shallow water. So be wary of setting up camp near any garden ponds or fountains you may have. On the bright side, these could be good locations for pesticides, like larvacides or adulticides.
They like to rest on the undersides of leaves. So that shady spot where your lawn meets the woods might not be the ideal place for your Adirondack chairs or horseshoe pit. One whiff of a warm-blooded gathering might be just the invitation the mosquitoes need–and the ticks too, for that matter.
In closing, here’s an overall rule of thumb: Follow your pleasure and respect your margins this summer. If you know what you enjoy and how much maintenance you can give, you’re much more likely to be satisfaction-guaranteed all season. You’ll keep up the pace and not get overwhelmed mowing, watering, and seeding new grass. And that’s the point. Nail down your top personal items, whether it’s grilling or giving the kids space to romp around. This way, you’re doing lawn work in the right proportion and have plenty left over for long, lazy summer nights. Cheers!