Is your front porch filled with empty potting plants, dead leaves, and ugly patio furniture? If that’s your current reality, it’s time for an upgrade. Summer is here, and in addition to your new summer wardrobe, you need a summer-ready deck. To spruce up your porch for a fun-filled summer, start with these ideas:

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Start scrubbing that deck!

How long has it been since you’ve scrubbed your porch with a deck brush? If the answer is never, you’re past due for a good scrub.

No matter how great your deck looks, giving it a good scrub will make it look better. Over time, dirt and leaves get stuck to the wood, especially after it rains. You can sweep your porch every day but it won’t take care of the muck.

Deck scrub brushes are cheap. You can get the brush for under ten bucks and a good handle for about the same. If you can’t find the brush you want at your local hardware store, head over to Amazon. You could also power wash your deck, but only if you know for sure it won’t cause damage.

Be sure to follow your local laws regarding what detergents you can allow to seep into the ground. The EPA has strict rules about power washing and using detergents outside when the water might run into the storm drains. Even washing your car outside could be considered a crime. Always check with the city to find out what biodegradable and eco-friendly detergents are acceptable for your cleaning projects.

Ditch the table umbrellas and install an awning

You need shade in the summer! If you don’t have an awning, you’re probably using one of those crank umbrellas in the middle of a glass table. That’s sufficient to shade a few people who can sit still, but what happens when you have a big barbecue or want to provide shade in other areas without adding more tables? That’s where an awning comes in.

If you’ve got the funds for a retractable awning, go for it. During the harsh winter months, you can reel it in to avoid damage from heavy snow, debris, and wind. Otherwise, you can get a basic awning for a few hundred bucks. If you’re serious about shading your deck, check out eCanopy for a great selection of all types of awnings.

Surround yourself with potted plants

Is anything more relaxing than sitting on your porch in the sun with some iced tea in hand, staring at beautiful flowers?

Line your deck with colorful plants that make you feel good when you look at them. For instance, asters, cosmos, hyacinth, and marigolds are a few kinds of flowers that will keep you smiling all summer long.

Head over to your local garden center to see the variety of flowers they’ve got and start loading up your cart!

Add some bird feeders to your porch

You can always find a place for a bird feeder or two. A beautifully crafted bird feeder will make your porch look inviting to both you and the birds.

If you’ve got tiny birds like wrens, get a bird feeder with a small hole that only wrens can fit into. That will assure they get their share of the food since other birds won’t fit in the hole.

Hang a few hummingbird feeders

Hummingbirds love to drink the sweet nectar provided by us humans. To make their special nectar, mix 1 part sugar with 4 parts water and dissolve the sugar completely. Be sure not to add anything else to the mixture, and swap out the feeder every few days to prevent mold growth. Mold can be deadly to hummingbirds.

Remember that hummingbirds don’t migrate in flocks, and they will stay wherever they feel the habitat is favorable. If you provide food for hummingbirds in the winter, you’ll need to continue to provide that food in the winter. Otherwise, they might wait too long for you to provide more food and starve.

If it’s too much to maintain your feeders in the winter, take your feeders down when winter starts to hit.

Upgrade your patio furniture

If your patio furniture doesn’t look brand new after being hosed down, it’s time for an upgrade. You’ll enjoy the summer more while sitting in a comfortable and clean patio couch or chair.

Relax, relax, relax

Summer is a time for relaxing, so grab yourself an iced tea and go enjoy your porch!