A string of holidays best celebrated by grilling and outdoor fun are just around the corner, but — especially if you live in a region where it feels as if spring has only recently arrived — your lawn and garden may not quite be in shape for entertaining. Luckily, there are a few steps you can take to get your outdoor space wow-worthy in just a week or two. Here are some to consider:

Give Your Lawn a Salon-Worthy Cut

If you have a square or rectangular lawn, you can add a little more visual appeal by cutting it diagonally. Start by making a pass that starts in one corner and goes to the opposite one. Then all you’ll have to do is keep your lawn mower parallel to that line as you work your way across on either side, and you’ll have a snazzy cut that will make you the envy of the neighborhood.

Make the Most of Plain Old Mulch

Mulch is inexpensive and easy to work with. Use a layer to cover up any dirt that’s showing in your flowerbeds so that they don’t look empty even if they’re still a little bare from winter.

Strategically Plant Bright Annuals

Instead of trying to get a lush landscape right away (which is both costly and work-intensive), plant rows of eye-popping annuals in strategic areas around your lawn and garden. Focus your planting around doors or other access points such as arbors and gates, where the flowers will make the most impact. You should be able to do this in somewhere between an hour and a half day, depending on the size of your yard, and the only tool you’ll need is a simple garden trowel.

Feature a New, Shiny, High-Tech Grill

If you want to make your backyard as functional as possible, then a new grill is a worthy investment. Around 63% of the U.S. population grills every single month — and probably many more grill in warm weather — so a new charcoal or propane grill is something you can expect to get your money’s worth from. You may even want to feature it in a complete grill center; just be sure that it’s placed wisely. Based on data collected between 2007 and 2011, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 8,800 home and outside fires involving grills each year, and you don’t want to find yourself a part of those kind of statistics.

Clean and Update Outdoor Furniture

Pull out or uncover your outdoor furniture and give it a good cleaning and inspection. Get rid of anything that’s falling apart (nothing can make a guest feel worse than sitting on a chair and having it break), and pick out at least a few new pieces to spruce up the entire collection. If you’re really short on time, even a few brightly colored outdoor throw pillows can hold you over until larger pieces arrive.

Enhance Lighting for Evening Ambiance

Consider adding or updating your outdoor lighting to create a warm and inviting ambiance for evening gatherings. String lights, solar-powered garden lights, and lanterns can transform your outdoor space into a magical setting. Proper lighting not only enhances the beauty of your garden but also ensures safety for your guests as they move around.

Add a Touch of Comfort with Outdoor Rugs

Outdoor rugs can define spaces and add a touch of comfort and style to your patio or deck. Choose weather-resistant rugs that complement your outdoor furniture. These rugs can also help protect your deck or patio surface from wear and tear, making your outdoor area more welcoming and cozy.

Create a Relaxing Atmosphere with Water Features

A small water feature, such as a fountain or a pond, can add a soothing element to your garden. The sound of flowing water creates a tranquil atmosphere, perfect for relaxing after a long day or entertaining guests. Water features come in various sizes and styles, so you can find one that fits your space and budget.