Give Your House a Facelift...Outdoor Home Improvement Projects

Give Your House a Facelift
Outdoor Home Improvement Projects
by Jennifer LB Leese

Spring is here! If you're anything like me, you're ready to get outside for the longer days and warmer weather. Birds are beginning to build their nests, hibernating animals are waking, and flowers are soon to bloom. Spring is refreshing. It is also the time of year when many think of home improvements. Here are a few tips on giving your home a facelift inside and out.

Painting- New paint, on both the interior and exterior of your home, is one of the simplest, yet most overlooked home improvements of all. It is amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do to enhance a home's curb appeal. Interior paint can be a very inexpensive and cost effective way to enhance your home. Any area of the home where the paint is faded, peeling, cracking or just unattractive can benefit from a fresh coat of paint. Best of all, painting is the one home improvement project every homeowner can do. All that is needed is a bucket, some rollers, some drop cloths, and some imagination and of course some paint.

Landscaping- Like painting, beautiful landscaping is key. A well-placed flowerbed, some fresh shrubbery and a few trees can enhance every home. Plant a tree. Nothing will appreciate more in value than a tree. If the landscaping around your home looks drab and dingy, it could benefit from a fresh planting. Maybe all you have to do to improve the landscape is trim, mow, weed, and then plant a few flowers. Adding or upgrading an existing patio, deck, or walkway can also be very worthwhile.

Thresholds- What does your front door say about you? Customization reigns supreme. Homeowners are now choosing more upscale, custom entry doors to make bold statements about their homes and their lifestyles. They're choosing decorative accents with their mail boxes, door knockers and ringers to floor mats, plants, and number plates--setting the overall tone of their home. When choosing an entry door be sure it fits the architectural style of your home.

Patios- If you are retired, travel frequently, or simply don't enjoy working on your landscaping and yard work, a small, low-maintenance patio is a good solution for you. Small doesn't have to mean dull and uninteresting. A well-designed patio, no matter how small, can be a fun escape from indoors. On top of choosing styles, size, and building materials for your new patio, don't forget to pay attention to where the sun shines in your patio area. If you would like to have box gardens, or a small patch of grass, plan to have them in the areas that receive consistent amounts of sunlight.
Outdoor rooms are a hot trend this spring, often replacing traditional patios and porches. Give yourself a reading room with a view!

Outdoor Cooking- If you like grilling outdoors, why not build an outdoor kitchen? They can range from a modest fire pit to a full-blown outdoor kitchen. The possibilities are endless. Visit your nearest home and garden store to see what they can do for you.

Decorative Details- Add details such as shutters, decorative moldings and fun elements like weathervanes to the outside of your house. Make bland windows come alive and define the architecture of your house with mullions, moldings, decorative eaves, fixed shutters or iron scrollwork. Add a stone walkway or path going to the house.

Fencing- Replace a chain-link fence with a wood one or one that will accent your house and garden instead of hiding it or dulling it.

Driveway- Not everyone has a driveway or room for one, but if you've got space, build one. There are many types of driveways you can consider: asphalt, concrete, paving stones and more. This should be decided upon the landscape, character, and setting of your home. Let's face it, driveways get used. Our cars drip oil on them and weather beats them down. Resurfacing your driveway can do wonders for the outside of your home.

New Roof- Many older homes can greatly benefit from the addition of a new roof. While a new roof is not an inexpensive home improvement, it can be a huge selling point. If the existing roof is showing its age, replacing it before major problems occur is a must.

Exterior Siding- The exterior siding, naturally, is the first thing people see. There are several types of exterior siding to choose from. Sometimes, brick is the alternative that can really bring out the style in your home. There's aluminum siding, vinyl siding, stucco, wood siding and plank siding to name a few.

Windows- Whether replacing windows in an older house or choosing windows for a new house, your decisions on what type of windows to buy will be among the most important decisions you will make in terms of energy use. Because of the impact windows have on both heat loss and heat gain, proper selection of products can be confusing. If you're looking for a simple touchup try stripping the paint from the wood or replace the glass with decorative stained glass. It's your home...choose window designs and functionality that best fit you and your family.

Garage- For the modern homeowner the garage has become not only a place to store your car, but a space for tools, projects, and boxes that date back to the turn of the century. If you want to accommodate a growing family or achieve a spacious home office without undertaking an addition maybe you should think about adding a garage. Maybe you're looking to update your existing garage. Try organizing it by hanging most of the larger items from the side walls, or purchase wall and floor protectors.

Outdoor Leisure- Adding a pool or spa is like adding a lifelong vacation spot right in your own back yard! These outdoor stress-relievers are not only relaxing they also add entertainment value for you and your family. When having a new pool or spa built, be sure to choose the right lighting--it can make your backyard magical. Also be sure to landscape for atmosphere and privacy.
General Cleanup- Spring cleaning is dirty job, but someone's got to do it. So set aside a weekend and tackle as much as you can. Start by making a list of everything you want to accomplish and assigning duties to family members.

Clutter- Removing clutter is another worthwhile project and requires adequate home storage with a combination of cabinets, shelves and bins, and sufficient strength of mind to discard all junk, no matter how much you love it. Small, decorative containers can be used to organize and conceal the ongoing accumulations of such items as incoming mail. In the yard, removing clutter means getting rid of dead trees, dead branches, broken slabs and stones in patios and walkways, and tidying up the garden and lawn. When faced with clutter, ruthlessly throw it out, recycle it, hold a garage sale, donate it to the charity of your choice--just get rid of it.

Whatever you choose to do to update or maintain the outside or your home and yard, be sure to plan ahead, have fun, and enjoy spring.