Early Spring Outdoor Projects

We've been having freakishly warm weather and an abnormal amount of sunshine in Chicago. (Well, except for tomorrow. The forecast says 30--ugh.) But generally speaking, February has been kind to us and everybody has been dashing outside to take advantage of it before things get dreary again.

Last week I had a couple of thoughts about the state of our yard, now that I've actually spent some time out there. One: everything is still REALLY dead. Two: maybe we should do some sprucing to make it look less like the scary part of a fairy tale. It's too early to plant anything, and even if we did I know the cold weather will eventually be back, thus killing it, but there are plenty of other things we can do to enjoy this little heat wave while we have it.

1. String up some lights. Even if you do nothing else, lights will be an instant ambience booster. Look at the picture above: don't you feel welcome at the fire pit? It's so cozy and the lights were a big part of that. You can hang them from poles like we see here, drape them across a pergola, or wrap them around a tree. 

2. Clean! Nobody likes to do it, but your yard might not be looking so hot right now. This is a good time to rake any stray leaves you didn't get to in the fall, power wash the deck, or uproot any dead annuals that you'll re-plant later. Get yourself back to a fresh slate so you're ready for other projects when the weather warms up for real.

3. Bring out the patio furniture. Most people either store their outdoor furniture for the winter or cover it with a tarp. Let it out for some air! Yes, you'll probably have to put it back before Real Spring arrives, but why not lounge in the sun while it's 60 in February? If your furniture stays out year-round, you can still shake things up with a couple of new outdoor pillows.

4. Build a planter box. It's not planting season for most of us yet, but there's no reason we can't bust out some tools and start working now. This tutorial is excellent.

How's the weather where you are? Do you have any outdoor projects planned for spring? How about that gorgeous outdoor furniture above? Me-ow.

Image sources: one  //  two