Spring has sprung — at least officially, even if there’s still snow on the ground in some spots — and that means it’s time to start looking ahead to warm afternoons and weekends spent in the backyard. But after winter, your outdoor space might be looking pretty uninviting. Here are some easy ways to spruce up your yard for springtime:

Grassy Lawn Areas

Once summer is in full swing, you should have no trouble taking care of your lawn as long as you buy the right gardening tools; about 54 million Americans mow their lawns each weekend. Just keep in mind that generally, you don’t want to cut grass by more than one-third of its height in a single mowing. In order to jumpstart your lawn’s spring growth, however, you may want to put in a little more effort. Once the snow is fully melted, aerate your lawn and remove any thatch (dead stems and leaves) that has accumulated over the winter. Then re-seed any bare patches. If you’ve had trouble with your lawn in past years, you may also want to do a soil test to determine if soil chemistry is the problem.

Decks and/or Patios
Start by giving your outdoor space a good scrubbing; if you have a concrete patio, renting a power washer may be the easiest route. Check wooden decks for any sign of mildew damage, and use a mildew remover if necessary. If you have a brick patio, you may also need to remove weeds from the cracks. Once you have a clean space to work with, you can start to bring in some potted plants and similar accessories for color. Having your patio completely cleared is also a good opportunity to find a safe and convenient spot for your grill. If you have the space, you could even consider an outdoor fireplace or fire pit (taking into account grill and fireplace safety, of course, in your placement).

Outdoor Lawn Furniture

If you haven’t updated your outdoor lawn furniture in a while, just a cursory online search will show you that choices for patio furniture have grown exponentially in recent years (the U.S. outdoor furniture market is expected to surpass $4.4 billion by the end of 2015). One of the most popular trends in outdoor furniture right now is making it look and feel more like traditional indoor furniture, so it’s best to approach updating with the same mindset you would when updating your home’s furniture. That means you don’t need to replace your current set with a complete matching set; if most of what you own is serviceable, you can pick out just a few eye-popping pieces to freshen up the overall effect.

How’s your outdoor lawn furniture looking? Share how you’re planning to get your outdoor space barbecue-ready in the comments.