Party Tonight? Last-Minute Landscape Tips

Here’s how to whip a scraggly landscape into shape before the first guests arrive.

It's late in the afternoon and the party's in less than two hours. Whether you forgot, were busy with other party-planning details, or just got a "Hey, can we stop by" text, there's no time to spare to get your landscape looking great.

Here are some fast-fix tips to help you clean things up in no time flat.

1. Tend to the big stuff.

Give your landscape a quick once-over and tackle whatever you see first that doesn't belong. Putting up toys and getting rid of trash and pet waste should top the list. Let the little things be. Chances are, if you didn't notice something right away, neither will your guests.

2. Do a speedy sweep.

Grab a broom and sweep dirt and debris off walks, pathways, and the driveway. Extra time? Run an edger or weed whacker along the most overgrown areas. Move left to right and you may not have much to clean up. Otherwise, sweep excess dirt and grass into the lawn.

3. Tackle landscape and garden weeds.

Just have one or two young ones? Pull each one gently, making sure to get the roots, then toss it in the trash. For bigger, stubborn, or multiple weeds, it's quicker to spray them with a fast-acting weed killer like Ortho® GroundClear® Weed & Grass Killer, which delivers results in just 15 minutes. Use only on plants you want to kill (not your lawn) and spray until weeds are completely covered. Then you can just leave them alone to die or hide them with a little mulch.

4. Deadhead annuals and perennials.

Grab a bucket, clip off spent flower blooms and dead buds, and toss them in. If you can't find garden clippers, a pair of household scissors or your fingers will do just fine.

5. Nix the bugs.

You want your guests to stroll barefoot on your beautiful lawn, right? That won't happen if they're being attacked by bugs. So spray your lawn and landscape with odor-free Ortho® BugClear™ Insect Killer for Lawns & Landscapes Ready-to-Spray to start killing pesky outdoor insects like mosquitoes, ants, ticks, and fleas within minutes. (Just be sure to allow enough time for the lawn to dry before your guests arrive, and don't spray if you've recently used a weed killer.) If guests will also be spending time in the house, create a bug barrier with Ortho® Home Defense® Insect Killer for Indoor & Perimeter2 with Comfort Wand® to keep household pests like ants and roaches from coming in and joining the party. With both products, be sure to read and follow all directions.

6. Do a grab-and go.

Beautify your landscape with some fast grabs: Grab a potted plant and place it by an entrance, on a step, or in a garden bed. Grab a decorative item like a rustic sign, gazing ball, or bird bath and tuck it in with the landscape. Grab some colorful pillows and toss them on outdoor furniture. Then grab yourself a drink and a seat and relax—your work here is done.