When the summer weather finally hits, it’s time to move your parties to the backyard. Break out the charcoal grill, put the drinks on ice, and apply a generous layer of sunscreen. Invite your closest friends over and get ready to make some sun-kissed memories.

But before you start grilling that corn on the cob, you’ve got to get your backyard ready for company. After a long winter spent indoors, the first outdoor party is always the hardest to prepare for. And with Memorial Day on the way, the backyard season is finally about to begin. You need to be prepared for an outdoor gathering at any time, and our simple cleaning tips will get you there unscathed.

Assess your needs.

Before you dive into cleaning mode, it’s important to recognize that every backyard is different. While some backyards may need only minor touch-ups, others require a full-scale offensive to be tamed. Maybe you need the works, or maybe your lawn is just overtaken by weeds.

The more you need to do, the more overwhelming the prospect of cleaning becomes. To make things more manageable, write a list of every area that needs attention. Beneath that, get more specific. For instance, if the garage is one of your areas, you might write down that it needs a new paint job or the door is broken. Rank them in order of importance and how long they’ll take to complete.

Find a home for everything.

Look around you. There shouldn’t be anything in your backyard that doesn’t have a home. If something is sticking out like a sore thumb, it means it needs a home. That might require you to prioritize that garage so that you have space to put everything. But don’t forget that you need everything laying around in your backyard. Start a donation pile to get rid of the things you no longer use that are taking up space.

Give your lawn some love.

Whether you have grass growing in the backyard or an elegant rock garden, you need to be giving it daily attention. If the grass is looking dry or unkempt, start working to bring it back to life and, if needed, call a lawn care expert. Even rock gardens, which are very low maintenance as far as backyards go, need some love. Try to spot any weeds or disturbances to keep everything looking fresh.

Break out the pressure washer.

If you have a patio or outdoor furniture, it needs to be thoroughly cleaned with a pressure washer at least twice a year. Think about it: the surfaces outside are exponentially more likely to be coated in dirt throughout the day. With regular pressure washing, you can stop the dirt from accumulating to an unmanageable degree.

These tips may seem small, but you’ll be surprised how consequential the outcome will be to the overall look and feel of your backyard. The result is feeling more excited to have people over for a barbecue, and who could possibly be upset about that?