You’ve just emerged from your long winter’s nap and you’re ready to burst forth from the four walls of your home. You’re ready for sunshine! Fresh air! Tulips and dogwoods and forsythia! It’s spring, and you’re ready to do something good for yourself and your home. But where to start?
Whether your house needs some touch-ups like painting the front door or protecting your deck or some bigger investments such as a landscaping overhaul, now’s a great time to spruce up. Here are a few ideas on outdoor improvements that add value and beauty to your home.
How your house looks from the curb matters — not just for today’s visitors, but for tomorrow’s buyers. To keep it looking its best, take time to give it a thorough inspection. Note any loose roof shingles, crumbling brick or mortar, cracked glass, broken guttering or standing water after a rain. Taking care of home maintenance will make it more beautiful and more able to weather the months to come.
For instance, you can start with your roof first. A slate shingle roof can last for about 75 – 100 years, if maintained properly. However, the weather conditions would also play a part in their performance and longevity. Likewise, you can then move on to check your windows and outer walls for cracks or signs of damage.”
Once the basics are covered, think of how you might elevate your entrance. A new coat of paint on the front door can protect it from moisture damage and add a pop of colour. Take note of any broken or ageing light fixtures. Replace house numbers that are damaged or faded. Add a potted plant and a new welcome mat.
Along with the front door, you’ll want to make sure your garage door also looks its best. If your door is dated or in need of paint, maybe now is the time for a change. When considering a new garage door, look at price, aesthetics, insulation and materials.
The state of your driveway makes the first impression. Don’t ignore cracked asphalt and crumbling concrete. Repair your existing materials or consider upgrading with brick or imprinted concrete.
If you have a walkway to the front door, consider ways to make it more inviting. Plant flowers along the border, install solar lights and repair any broken or uneven concrete or bricks.
Additionally, a good power wash can make your home look new. Spray down your home, driveway and walkway. 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 safely accomplish your desired results. For stubborn stains, such as algae on the siding or mud along the foundation, consider hiring a pro.
Let’s start with the basics: the lawn. Don’t cut it too short: For the first mowing of the season go for 1.5” and then as the summer heats up, raise your lawnmower blade a half-inch. Sharpen your lawnmower blades to reduce tearing on your grass. When you water, go for a deep soak in the early morning rather than a light sprinkling. Use the mulching feature on your mower, which will leave behind clippings to hold in moisture and nutrients. Use fertiliser and weed killer at the recommended time. Bonus points: Keep soil from compacting by aerating once a year.
Next, think about your plants and trees. If you want to pull out old shrubs and plant new trees, you might consider hiring a professional landscaper, who has the heavy lifting and digging equipment to make this easier. They are especially helpful if you’re wanting to redo a large area and need a plan for what to put where.
However, if you just want to freshen up a bed or clean out your borders, you’ve got this! Plant a few annuals to add colour and texture (remember that annuals just last a season whereas perennials will come back year after year). Reapply mulch to reduce weeds and retain moisture, while making your flower beds look neater.
Try your hand at container gardening, but choose the right plants and give them proper sunlight. Water often, because containers cannot hold moisture well. Look at landscaping magazines and websites for inspiration.
Did you know that a fully-grown tree can cut your cooling costs by as much as 40%? Trees also provide a habitat for wildlife and add curb appeal to your home. To plant a new tree, be sure to dig a hole two to three times the size of the root ball. Before digging, check underground utilities.
A new deck can add beauty and utility to your backyard. With today’s materials you can build almost any shape and size — just find a design that matches your taste and lifestyle. The big decisions are material, size, colour, and special features. Just imagine what’s possible: multi-level, multi-coloured, curved or straight, two-story or ground level. Decide between wood or composite decking boards — wood is less expensive, but composite is virtually maintenance-free. Talk to a builder and figure out the right fit and budget for your home.
Elevate your deck with lighting, comfortable seating and welcoming accessories such as outdoor rugs and pillows. You might hardwire in lighting or string up some party lights and lanterns. Be sure that all stairs are well-lit for safety. For extra relaxation, including a water feature, such as a bubbling fountain or a small nearby koi pond. A water feature with running water will reduce your risk of attracting mosquitoes and algae. For extra outdoor space, include an under-deck drainage system and finish off space beneath your deck with a ceiling, and lighting and enclose it as a screened-in porch, play area for the kids or bonus storage.
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