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What a Lovely Place for a Party!

It’s only going take Mother Nature a short time to “close the gap” between when we found ourselves shoveling our driveways to when we experience the lovely fragrance the blooming lilacs as spring breezes drift through the neighborhood.

Ahhh…the season of graduations, weddings, BBQ’s, birthdays and “Sprinkler Day” has once again arrived in Minnesota.

summer_fun_bbq_party_invitation-recfd9e5fe7234fbeb7c93e0c0a3429bb_8dnm8_8byvr_512As the Twin Cities is nationally known for its biking/walking trails, numerous parks, golf courses, lakes and community gardens, a late start on taking advantage of outdoor activities has been taxing to us who live here.

In addition to the larger public areas we enjoy, summertime is when our private yards and gardens are often considered an extension of what “home” means to us.  Warmer weather not only helps us reacquaint ourselves with neighbors, we also must figure out what outside maintenance is required now that the snow is melted and the buds burst.

Spring cleanup may end up more of a project than raking and picking up whatever surprises that appeared when the snow banks melted.  What if we were lazy or busy in the fall and didn’t trim that dogwood bush next to walkway leading to the front door?  It was almost easy enough to squeeze by then, but you know how dogwoods grow.  Yup…time to find the loppers.

In addition to regular maintenance, curb appeal is not only important to feel happy when you drive up your street and see your lovely abode, it helps your property value.  There are also special times that we may want to “spiff it up” even more – for both the safety and honor of your guests when you entertain.

The event(s) you host may dictate your level of spiffing.  A backyard crowd under a tent for a wedding or grad party will be different than a scavenger hunt with a dozen 4th graders dropped off by their parents for a few hours.  Even a relaxed Saturday evening grilling with a few good friends be made easier when you know your property is well maintained, safe and your guests have been given a few directions.

If you are doing outdoor entertaining over the next few months, here are a few tips which can ultimately save you time as a host(ess), honor your guests and possibly prevent mishaps:

  • Sweep or use a leaf blower to clean your driveway and any sidewalks
  • “Edge” the sides of the driveways and walkways with an edging tool to keep the grass from doing “pavement creep” into your paved areas
  • Get rid of any weeds growing in the pavement cracks – high heels don’t do well on driveway or sidewalk cracks in the first place, and organic ones are not any better
  • If your event is at night, have adequate lighting from the house to the street on all paths and stairs
  • Inform your guests specifically where you want them to park for your event when you extend the invitation
  • Have adequate signage to find your party if your street is not easy to find, and once your guests arrive.  If you are expecting a crowd, free up your time with directive signs:  how to find party (go to the back/side or through your home/garage), where to place food/gifts/shoes, locate changing room(s) for water play, restroom, bar
  • Anchor anything that can blow over with the slightest breeze – table cloths, balloons, runner for the bride to walk “down the aisle”, flowers in tall vases, canopies, paper goods, etc.
  • Have designated trash containers in accessible areas
  • Know your city’s ordinance rules for open fires, including distance from buildings, decks, etc. so the nice officers don’t need to crash your party
  • Unless you know you have dog/cat lovers that are expecting to hang with your 4-legged family members, manage your pets.  Allergies, phobias, spilled red wine…not worth the hassle
  • Inform your neighbors of your party – for common courtesy reasons with street parking or music and laughter beyond the standard neighborhood curfew.  You may even learn about possible other events that may compete with parking spaces, to help with your planning
  • Have fun.  Summer is short.