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As our focus shifts outside this time of year, I see people savoring the simple bliss of the season, such as tire swings and long walks with the dog.

Our annual condo maintenance also signals the imminent arrival of summer with the steady hum of the lawnmowers and the landscapers patching the grass for regrowth after the damage left from the frequent snowplows last winter.

This also marks the start of the seasonal weeding and trimming and treating they do that makes everything look better. In addition, the return of the fountains in our pond is a welcome sight that adds a soothing backdrop to my surroundings.

As I notice other updates currently in the works, like the new outdoor light fixtures and the repairs being made to the sprinkler system, I find these improvements make me want to address my own outdoor spaces as well.

For starters, I need to get my garden area in gear with a little weeding, some fresh mulch and a few new plants. After seeing some impressive hanging varieties at a local market, I’m inspired to give them another try.

A new lounge chair that’s long enough for my lanky husband, yet still able to accommodate the narrow depth of our deck tops my list this year, along with some other pieces to replace the current ones that are starting to show their age.

I’m also on the lookout for a specific picnic table along with some outdoor decor for our patio so that our daughter can host the summer gatherings she’s been imagining. I’m sure I’ll get some inspiration from the graduation parties we plan to attend.

Classic games like badminton, bocce ball and bean bag toss are good to have on hand when entertaining.

As I walk our dog this time of year, I’ve been admiring what my neighbors are doing to add a little curb appeal. I’m always inspired by their progress, which typically nears completion long before mine begins.

For instance, some colorful cushions on a pair of outdoor chairs positioned on a front porch show that even a small outdoor space can benefit from a little pick-me-up.

I’ve also seen some unique garden art, statues and benches along the way that remind me I could use some more statement pieces outside. Despite the fact that I didn’t find the right fit last year, I’m still hopeful something special will come along when I least expect it.

Sometimes it takes the efforts of others for me to get going on all those seasonal projects, but I know that time is of the essence when it comes to the outdoor spaces we get to enjoy for a few months. For now, I’ve seen enough progress to head in the right direction.

A friend’s barbecue on Mother’s Day served as a reminder for one of my favorite perks that comes with the warm weather, casual gatherings with friends with the requisite grill in the background.

Perhaps that’s the biggest motivator for me this season, to share our outdoor space with others.

Jeanine Matlow is a Metro Detroit interior decorator turned freelance writer specializing in stories about interior design. You can reach her at jeaninematlow@earthlink.net.

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