Outdoor Home Improvements the Whole Family Can Get Involved In

Home improvement is a worthwhile project for any homeowner, and this can take many different forms. Home improvement for the interior means hiring remodeling crews to remake any or all of the rooms, and outdoors, landscapers can be hired to make the front and/or back yards look their best. Many surveyed American homeowners say that they care a lot about their lawns since they spend a lot of time there to get fresh air. Your lawn does not just have to be a patch of grass and a driveway; consider any variety of outdoor home improvements to refresh your property, and enjoy the return on investment (ROI) later on. When you spend money on worthwhile outdoor home improvements, you are not only making your lawn enjoyable but also making your property more attractive to prospective home buyers. Consider this: investing just 5% of the property’s value in outdoor home improvements and landscaping can yield an ROI of 150% or so. How can you cash in on this?

Dock Repairs

On one hand, perhaps you planned on taking a nice vacation somewhere exotic this year until the pandemic changed things. Around 100 million Americans, or 40% of all adults, had planned on taking a family trip in 2019, and 44% of Millennial travelers bring their children on vacation with them. Even if you cannot go on a trip to a different state or part of the world this spring or summer, you can improve your back yard and make it into a sort of miniature getaway. At the very least, it can be a nice place to relax and take a break from working in your home office, and this means investing in outdoor home improvements as necessary. Starting with dock building or repairs is a good idea, as docks are a popular form of hardscaping for any backyard.

This is going to be some labor-intensive work, and you will need the right tools, equipment, and bodily strength for this variety of outdoor home improvements. In addition, be sure to check with local homeowners associations about outdoor modifications, and double-check that you are not violating any permits or regulations. If you are all clear, you can start construction.

For outdoor home improvements like these, you will want to decide on the exact dimensions of your project before proceeding and mark the construction area in your yard. This means using stakes and strings to mark the boundaries, and then, use spray paint and little orange flags to mark the deck’s corners and midpoints. These also show where eight concrete support posts will be placed. You can then borrow large equipment to boreholes in the ground at the right spots and use caissons (tubes) to set up the boundaries for the concrete supports. Pour the concrete into those caissons, and use tools to level them off and place a J-bolt in each. Next, assemble the deck frame with the right sort of lumber, and install steel bracket ties for added support. The perimeter boards can be fitted onto the concrete supports, and the rest of the wooden deck can then be built. Note that the deck’s outer surfaces should be the most attractive ones, and wood can be painted or varnished for protection from the elements.

Gardening

Gardening is a hugely popular hobby that anyone can enjoy, and that may include your family. Gardening falls under the broader “greenscaping” category, and it can involve flower beds, vegetable patches, or anything else you would like to plant. You can order any garden supplies you need online for this, if your local garden retailer is closed or inconvenient to visit, and you can visit Pinterest and similar websites to see examples of what a lovely backyard garden can look like. Such outdoor home improvements are largely aesthetic, meaning there are all kinds of ways to do them. As long as the plants are healthy, there is no “wrong” way to make a garden, so feel free to look up all kinds of inspiration.

Once you plant a garden, a shrub, or a sapling, consider hiring a mulch service to finish up your outdoor home improvements with professional hands. Why use mulch or bark dust? Such materials not only look nice when they ring a shrub or get placed on a garden, but mulch layers can help prevent the soil from drying up and eroding under the hot sun. In addition, mulch can help prevent weed growth and keep moisture trapped in the soil, right where you want it. Such outdoor home improvements carefully balance plant health with aesthetics, and you are advised to make sure any plants to install are given the right soil type, watering, and sunlight levels. Some plants have different needs than others; for example, a vegetable patch needs constant sun, while some flower types do well in partial shade.

Lawn Maintenance

This is one of the more mundane types of outdoor home improvements, but your lawn won’t look its best without it. If your lawn has thin grass or bare patches of soil, you can simply add more grass and add fertilizer to restore your lawn’s lush green look. You can find and buy entire bags of grass seed, and push around a wheeled dispenser that scatters the seeds all over your lawn. Once that is done, add fertilizer in a similar fashion, and allow your lawn’s new grass to grow in (try not to step on it). Property maintenance can also extend to looking for and patching up holes in your fence, and this is important for keeping your pets inside the lawn and keeping wild animals out. You don’t want disease-carrying raccoons or rabbits to get into fights with your dog, for example. Lawn maintenance may also include more regular lawn mowing to keep the grass in good shape, not to mention weed removal.

Landscape Design

When it comes to outdoor home improvements, landscape design should be the first thing to come to your mind. Like with interior remodeling, you need to have a good idea of what your lawn should look like before you begin work, and you should take everything into account. This is counting greenery and hardscaping alike, and you will want to make sure there is room for everything and that nothing will clash with the others. As mentioned earlier, you can use home improvement magazines and Pinterest for reference, and get ideas for how to arrange and combine different natural and man-made features for an affordable, attractive final product. Some features might be too large for your lawn, or too expensive or suited to different climates. Some preliminary landscape ideas, and consultations with your partner, can help you create a blueprint for what the yards should look like.

Cleaning Gutters

This sort of work is hardly fun or glamorous, but it is important to do, and it can save you a lot of trouble later. The gutters are vital for keeping water away from your home’s foundations, and if your home’s gutters are clogged with debris, they will allow too much water to pool on the roof during a rainstorm. If that happens, all that heavy water can bear down on your roof and leak into the attic through the smallest cracks or holes, and leaking water will cause all kinds of expensive damage in there.

So, use a ladder to carefully check out your roof, and you can use your gloved hands to remove any clogs yourself. If you are not physically able, you can ask a trusted associate to handle this, or call on professionals. And if your gutters are damaged, such as if they are old and leaky or if they are breaking free of your home, it is definitely time to call for professionals to repair or replace your gutters. New gutter models are tough and leak-free, and they may carry more water at a time than old gutter models.

Tree Care

Let’s not forget about the trees on your property, such as carrying out essential tree pruning or checking your trees for harmful diseases or wildlife. As for tree pruning, this is a simple but important part of outdoor home improvements, as this can keep your trees attractive, healthy, and fruitful (sometimes literally). Hedge trimming is one thing; tree pruning means using sharp tools to carefully trim twigs and small branches from growing trees, to help redirect the plant’s growth. It’s not a good idea to hack off huge limbs from a tree for the most part; instead, pruning is done on smaller growths, and it can be done to help keep a younger tree healthy while it is maturing.

Tree pruning can be done for a number of reasons, such as removing cluttered and excess twigs or small branches so the remaining ones can blossom and bear fruit more easily. Also, tree pruning can remove dead or diseased twigs and small branches to protect the tree’s overall health, and pruning can also keep a tree from growing too close to your house, other trees, or any other feature. Doing this can remove deadwood and help the tree maintain a healthy and aesthetically pleasing shape in your yard.

Hardscaping Projects

If the greenery in your backyard is in good shape, you may turn your attention to hardscaping features, or man-made features ranging from a new concrete patio to an outdoor fountain or a garden shed. Hardscaping features can both look good and serve a purpose, and this even includes fences. If you do not already have a fence, you can consider getting one, especially if you will soon get a dog. A chain-link fence is the least expensive and won’t block your view of the landscape beyond, though it does allow people to see into your yard, and it is easy for intruders to climb (it will keep out stray dogs, though). A wooden fence is more costly, but it maintains your privacy and can look very nice, especially when painted. You can hire a fence installation company if you so choose.

An outdoor fountain will take some time to install, and you’ll have to give it enough water to function and prevent it from suffering from evaporation. A fountain can look great in your yard and relax you with its sounds, and on a similar note, you can have a birdbath installed so bards can clean themselves and cool off in your yard (if enough birds are in your area). You can also consider having paving stones or stepping stones laid down, which look classy and make for a convenient walkway to a garden, your shed, the gate, or any other feature.

Creating Recreational Spaces

This type of outdoor home improvements will take some work, and you may end up hiring professionals if you need to. But it can be a worthwhile investment, such as setting up a new fireplace right there on your backyard deck and placing outdoors chairs and couches around it. You can also set up a table with chairs for meals or any recreational activity such as cards, and this can make your backyard double as a second living room during fair weather. This can even expand to include an outdoor kitchen, or at least a backyard grill. Many Americans like to grill in their backyards for birthdays, the Fourth of July, and similar times of the year. So, before this year’s grill-worthy holidays, you can renovate your deck, buy a grill, and set up the tables and chairs for a small outdoor lunch party.

If you want to take this further, you can hire professionals to install an entire outdoor kitchen, which can include a countertop, a sink and stove, cabinets, and more. Of course, these surfaces must be ready to endure outdoor exposure, and you can put covers on them when not in use. A proper outdoor kitchen will need the right gas, water, and electricity utilities connecting it to the home, which may go right under the wooden deck. As for pests, you can and probably should drape a large mesh screen around your entire patio or deck, and support it on the house and tall poles. Such mesh screens allow air to pass through, but their holes are small enough to block not just birds, but insects like mosquitoes, wasps, horseflies, and houseflies, too. Check that mesh screen regularly for any rips or holes.

Outdoor home improvements will cost you some time, money, and effort, but if done right, these projects can totally transform your yards into beautiful, healthy, and fun outdoor spaces for you and your entire family. This can range from a charming new blossom tree to a bubbling fountain, stone pathways, a wooden fence, or a backyard fireplace for the autumn months.

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