SOURCE: Arm & Hammer

June 07, 2012 05:00 ET

Get Your Backyard Ready for Fun

MISSION, KS--(Marketwire - Jun 7, 2012) - (Family Features) From an elegant dinner party with close friends to a casual cookout with the whole family, your backyard can be the perfect place to entertain with ease during the warm summer months. Follow these simple steps and you'll be prepared to host a soiree at the spur of the moment.

Take a seat. Before inviting guests to stop by, spend a few minutes to get your patio furniture looking lounge-worthy. Plastic chairs can easily be cleaned by sprinkling ARM & HAMMER Baking Soda on a damp sponge and wiping it down. The baking soda acts as a mild abrasive to help scrub furniture clean.

Set the stage. Make sure your lawn looks well-manicured by trimming overgrown bushes and trees and raking up any leaves or twigs that have built up. Then, spruce things up with inexpensive flower pots filled with colorful blooms. For evening gatherings, a few delicate strands of party lights will cast a soft glow around the backyard.

Fire up the grill. Burgers and brats are a staple of summer entertaining, so dust off the grill before company arrives. Sprinkle dry baking soda on a damp brush and then scrub the grill to remove dirt and food build-up. For tough stains, make a paste of three parts baking soda to one part warm water, and then scrub with a wire brush. Rinse the grill clean and let dry before bar-b-queuing your favorite meal.

Party on. If you have some extra space, put together some party-ready essentials so they're always on hand. Stock up on plastic plates, cups, napkins and serving pieces so you're ready for an impromptu get-together. Other things to consider -- citronella candles and a few inexpensive table cloths.

Make a splash. Keep pool water crystal clear and balanced with ARM & HAMMER Baking Soda, available in a convenient 13.5-pound, resealable bag. You can also clean plastic and vinyl pool toys with a solution of 1/4 cup baking soda mixed in one quart warm water -- just wipe down and then rinse. For more pool maintenance tips, you can download a handy Pool Owner's Guide at

Be the talk of the neighborhood with a welcoming backyard that's sure to become a summer hot spot. Get more tips at

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