Kill Unwanted Pests
A bug bite or two won’t ruin an entire barbecue, but it can really spoil someone’s day and keep them from enjoying the party to the fullest. So, invest in a pesticide regimen to keep the harmful creepy-crawlies out of your yard.There are numerous pest control products on the market for killing unwanted pests, so be sure to ask at your local home and garden store for recommendations depending on pest type, application type, or yard size. Apply pest control according to directions. If you live in a part of the country where mosquitoes are common, pick up some citronella candles or a zapper lantern to fend off mosquitoes in the evening.
Weeds are pests too, just the botanical kind. Not only are they ugly to look at, they can be harmful to your lawn because they compete for sunlight, nutrients, space, and water. They can also produce burrs or thorns and even be harmful to household pets if they ingest them. Plus, you want your yard looking good for your guests! If you only have a few weeds, pull them up by hand. If you have quite a few, try this green tip: layer newspapers over the affected area and soak with water frequently. The shade from the papers will kill the weeds while the moisture from the newspaper will speed up the decomposition.
Pick Up Dog Poop
If you have a dog, you probably already know that sinking (and stinky) feeling of accidently stepping in Fido’s mess. Save your guests the agony and clean up your backyard of any unsightly piles beforehand and throw them in the trash bin. You may also want to warn your guests if you aren’t sure if you got them all. Better safe than sorry! Bonus tip: if you have kids, delegate the task to them and give them a quarter for every mess they pick up, but only after they’ve thoroughly washed their hands.
Don’t Plant New Seed or Install Sod
If you want to make sure your lawn is looking good for the first barbecue of the season, you have to get started early. Early meaning at least a few weeks after you’ve installed any sod or planted new grass seed anywhere in your yard. One of the worst things you can do is step all over some grass seed that hasn’t germinated yet, or allow plenty of foot traffic over freshly-installed sod before it’s had a chance to put roots down. To keep your yard looking healthy and fresh, mow it a day or two before the cookout and water.
Grill From Your Garden
The best tip of all is to utilize freshly harvested veggies from your garden. Not only will it be delicious, it can be a great conversation starter. Eggplant and corn are great for grilling and nothing beats a garden-fresh tomato. If you don’t have a vegetable garden, consider starting one. They can be as big or small as you like, and some plants (like fresh herbs or strawberries) can even be grown in pots or on the windowsill.
Emily Kaltman writes for The Grass Outlet in Austin, Texas. She enjoys writing about lawn care and attending summertime cookouts.