Spring brings a breath of fresh air and that burst of energy you’ve been needing to make some changes. As you look around your home, you probably see the myriad home improvements you’ve been waiting all winter to make.
Now’s the perfect time to plan and take action before the heat of summer is upon us. Think through the big picture (like a new deck) and the small details (like flashing tape for your joists and beams) before you get started.
What are some small and big ways to improve your home’s exterior? We’ve got a few ideas:
Start with the basics — a tidy lawn. So right up front, you’ve got to know this will entail a little time and intention, but it’s not something that will require a heavy lift. Starting out right and keeping up with maintenance will ensure a lovely lawn.
A few tips: Don’t cut the grass too short. For the first mowing of the season go for 1.5” and then as the summer heats up, raise your lawnmower blade to 2” or higher. Keep your lawnmower blades sharp to reduce tearing on your grass. If it hasn’t rained all week, give your grass a good soak — that’s better than a light sprinkling. The best time to water your lawn is in early morning. If possible, use the mulching feature on your mower, so instead of removing clippings, leave them behind to hold in moisture and nutrients.
Go for green in the garden. A beautiful way to add value to your home is to improve your home’s landscaping. While you may want to hire a professional landscaper if you’re redoing the entire yard and want someone with both expertise in plants and an artist’s eye, you can also take a few steps to improve the landscape yourself.
Note: Landscapers are especially helpful if you’re planting trees or bushes that require special equipment. On the other hand, anyone can plant annuals that are easy to maintain and add beauty to your borders. Remember that annuals are just that — meant to last a season — and perennials will come back year after year if well cared for.
Add mulch to reduce weeds and retain moisture, while making your flower beds look neater. Container gardening can also be a fun way to start a small garden or add a pop of color to any space. Be sure to place the planters so they get proper sunlight and remember to water often. Look at landscaping magazines and websites to get inspired.
Add a water feature. Few sounds are as soothing as the gentle movement of water. At the same time, adding a water feature can create a beautiful focal point and a nice respite for the birds and butterflies that visit your yard. You can simply add a bird bath or upgrade to a small koi pond.
You might even purchase a bubbling fountain for your deck. A water feature with running water will reduce your risk of attracting mosquitoes and algae.
Build a deck. A water feature looks great on a garden deck! With today’s materials you can build almost any shape and size — find a design that matches your taste and lifestyle. Just imagine what’s possible: multi-level, multi-colored, curved or straight, two story or ground level.
Talk to a builder and figure out the right fit and budget for your home. Remember to use flashing tape to protect your wood against rot.
Keep up the repairs. Don’t let your house look run down. Do a walk-around inspection each season to look for any broken guttering, siding issues, loose roof shingles, crumbling brick or mortar, cracked glass or pooing water.
Not only does exterior maintenance improve the aesthetics of your home, it can prevent damage from weather and insects.
Make a good first impression. While you’re doing your walkaround, really assess your curb appeal. Does the front door need a new coat of paint? Do you need to repair or replace light fixtures or house numbers? Would a potted plant or a decorative flag add a much-needed pop of color? Consider a little upgrade — your guests will notice!
Build a fire pit — or buy one. Add warmth and charm to your home with a fire pit. You’ll not only enjoy summer s’mores and outdoor movie nights, you’ll love gathering around as the nights get chillier. Think about where to place the fire pit for maximum use and safety. Keep all fire sources away from combustible structures and consult any local ordinances. Choose furnishings without cushions that might be damaged by errant cinders.
Light the night. Instantly make your exterior safer and more beautiful at night with the right lighting. There are so many choices on the market: solar lights, colorful party lights, Edison string lights, street lamps and wall sconces. If you have a deck, be sure to illuminate any stairs or uneven walking surfaces.
Upgrade the driveway. Dealing with cracked asphalt or crumbling concrete? Repair your existing materials or consider upgrading with brick or imprinted concrete. Check out this inspiration and see what might best suit your home and budget.
Wash it off. One quick way to make your home, driveway and deck look better is to clean it off. If you’re using a power washer, be mindful of the pressure, especially when cleaning wood, which can easily splinter. Sometimes warm water and a garden hose can do the work just as well and more safely. For stubborn stains, such as on siding or along the foundation, consider hiring a pro.
Enjoy the temperate days of spring and prep for the summer to come. Your home will look its best and you can kick back and enjoy it when the days really heat up!