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The Seattle Guide to Backyard & Patio Organization By Cynthia Stern

In a city surrounded by water and mountains, forests, and steeped in a peaceful ethos, you shouldn’t have to look farther than your backyard for natural calm. But if you’re like most homeowners, you get busy. It’s easy to let things get disorganized.

You don’t have to let the long grass, and garden tools and toys overtake the patio. Here’s the Seattle guide to backyard and patio organization.

Green in the Emerald City
There’s a reason why Seattle is nicknamed the Emerald City — all the green. Getting your lawn in shape is a must here. It’s the biggest element that makes your backyard look neat and organized. That means regular mowing, edging, watering. In spring, it can mean weeding, aerating and fertilizing. If you have continuing problems with weeds, the fall is another time that you can put down a post-emergent weedkiller to stop the cycle.
A manicured, emerald green lawn will always look good, and will always make your yard look more organized. It can also help potential buyers linger, allowing themselves to imagine enjoying their new outdoor space.

Flower Beds
Smart floral selections can add a burst of color and texture to any landscape. This can create character and bring personality to your outdoor space. Start by cleaning up any existing flower beds by weeding, watering, and fertilizing. Replace any diseased or dead vegetation, and prune your bushes. It may take a weekend of work, but it will pay off substantially in a stylish, new visual appeal.

Storage
Your top priority should be getting rid of the clutter. It’s lesson No. 1 when staging your home. You want your patio furniture to multitask because this is how you’ll get organized. Choose outdoor seating that doubles as a storage trunk for yard tools, or the kids’ toys and sports equipment. You’ll find benches, ottomans, and tables that serve both functions at any home and garden store. Make sure your gardening bench or table has shelves. Even better, buy individual crates to organize your tools, spare pots, and bags of soil. Place the crates on the shelves of the gardening bench for an organized look, instead of a disorganized mess. Or, you can buy a potting bench that comes with cabinet doors.

There’s no consensus on whether a shed will increase the value of your home. But it will make your backyard look better. It’s an easy and convenient place to put the lawnmower, yard tools and other items that you might lack space to store. A shed can hold any multitude of messes from a plethora of yard tools to foldable patio furniture. It’s also a convenient place to access your lawn and gardening tools quickly. If you have a small backyard or only a patio, a storage cabinet will do the trick.

Hardscapes
Patios, walkways, pool decks or any other kind of hardscaping can get dingy and dirty. The solution? Rent a power-washer or hire someone to blast that grime off your hardscaping to show it off to its best advantage. Even concrete that’s decades old can glimmer again if you clean it up. (And it’s a weirdly mesmerizing chore, to boot!)

Junk any outdoor furniture that’s broken, rusted, chipped, dated, or mismatched. You want a matching set of up-to-date outdoor furniture — whether you buy brand new, or get it off of NextDoor, or even rent it. Remember, less is more, because a cluttered or overcrowded space immediately looks disorganized. Accessorize it with some containers of herbs or flowers grouped together, and a clean grill or smoker.

The idea is to make your backyard enjoyable — a clean, green space where anyone can imagine finding their serenity.

Cynthia Stern is a landscaping and gardening writer who has a passion for decorating outdoor living spaces.

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