Spring has sprung. You know what time it is and don’t need me to tell you what you just experienced or that you’ll start seeing “For Sale” signs growing like weeds on neighborhood lawns. What you might want, though, are some project inspirations that’ll help tune the house up whether you’re getting ready for the season or the big sale.
1. List It
We get used to what we see every day. It’s easy to forget that it might not be what other people like to see, whether it’s our spouse or a prospective home buyer. As Ask This Old House master plumber Rich Trethewey says, make an appointment with yourself to check out your house with a fresh set of eyes. And think clean. Are the kids’ bikes organized or piled against the side of the shed? Is the shed painted or does it need work? How about that tarp over the firewood pile, has it seen better days? And how long has the pile been there? Gutters, windows, house numbers, unkempt shrubs? Make a list, a plan, and set out for supplies. Finally, make a list you can accomplish. The second your list crosses the line from practical to fantasy, it’s not going to happen.
2. Color It
Think color. Spring is a great time of year to organize your flowerbeds so you can have color throughout the season. If you’re planting now, think about late-season bloomers—or even ahead to next spring. Balance blooms with greens from small annuals like impatiens to ornamental trees like dogwoods.
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3. Clean It Up
Roll up your sleeves and get after it. Some projects, say an overgrown area, might require a chainsaw, truck, dumpster, or other receptacle like a Bin There Dump That dumpster to get the extra debris removed. Dumpsters don’t cost as much as you think and they take a lot more trash than you might think. Organize the tools and materials you think you might need ahead of time—anything from loppers to grass seed. Check with your trash removal company for bulk pick-ups. And be careful of poison ivy. Even the vines.
4. Front Fix-Up
Add some texture and variety. A black mailbox is fine, but a blue one can play off the white door trim. Ditto with lame-o builder-grade brass house numbers. Be playful, think about a pop of texture and design. Add hanging plants or window boxes. And painting a front door is a beautiful way to say welcome.
5. Grind It
Did the tree service or previous homeowner leave a giant tree stump in your yard after removing that old tree? Tune into your inner macho, because the tool to get rid of that is a stump-grinder. Rent it and rip it. Plan to import some soil and compact the area and replant with new grass or a new tree. You may also need a mattock to chop roots in or just below the ground during final clean up. Don’t use a regular axe for this, at least one you want to keep sharp.
6. Swing It
Adding a storm/screen door is a great weekend upgrade. A unit with its screen and storm window stored internally are ideal. Open the screen in nice weather. Close the window when the heat or AC goes on to help save energy.
7. Snail Mail It
I’ve seen many mangled, misaligned mailboxes on the nicest homes. It’s great fun to design a custom mailbox post—or just get a new one from the store. We set them in concrete (helps it stay straight, even when the plow goes by in winter). It’s also a reason to “spy” on your neighbors and see what creative ideas you can get from a neighborhood drive. And, a nice mailbox post is a perfect anchor point for a sweet flower bed.
8. Cut Edges
A neatly edged lawn along a sidewalk or driveway is a thing of beauty. While landscapers often use their string trimmers turned upside down for lawn edging (check the instructions on yours to see if this is acceptable use), you can get an edging machine. If you’ve never edged before, it’s kind of an acquired skill. It can take a while to cut through the overgrown grass. Patience is a virtue. A broom and shovel can clean up the mess. A backpack blower can clean it up faster.
9. Bedding Edge and Garden Beds
Lots of people use plastic edging around their garden beds above the level of the grass. We prefer to cut a new edge with a garden spade and use the edge of the turf as the barrier. It makes a nice, clean edge to place mulch up to and is easier to maintain. If you have a lot of garden bedding, you’ll have a lot of little strips of grass and dirt to recycle or compost.
10. Spring Clean
I’ve cleaned really dirty windows before—that didn’t seem that dirty—and it literally gets brighter in the house. It’s like magic. If it’s been a couple of years, give it a try. It couldn’t be easier.
11. Reclaim It
Reclaim the bare spots and weed clumps with new grass. All you usually need is a metal tine rake, a hose and seed that’ll grow. Make sure you water to get the seed to germinate. Pretty soon, your whole lawn will look better.
12. Fence It
Using a split rail fence post and 4 or 6 rails, you can create a beautiful “corner” where there is just a whole bunch of nothing. It’s a great way to create a barrier, add color, contrast, and climbing plants on a widowed area of any yard.
13. Rock it
Does your landscape look just like your neighbor’s? Not if you bring in and place some rocks—or even stone posts—as focal points in your landscape. Rocks, big and small, are a great way to add texture and muted color. And they’re pretty much maintenance free. If you get a rock with some deeper concave depressions, you can plant greens in there. Just know, you might need to get help or rent equipment to help add some muscle to the weekend.
Spring is the perfect time to get outside and make sure your home stands out. Through these 13 spring DIY projects, you can ensure that your home will stand out and sell faster.