It’s the middle of summer – all of the flowers are in bloom and you’ve been able to spend many days and nights so far enjoying the outdoors. While spending so much time in the yard is always a great thing, our perfectionism can often get the better of us, and we begin picking out all the things about our yard that can be improved on.
“Next year,” we think, “Next year I will finally get around to hiring a contractor or landscaper to get started on [project X], [project Y], and maybe even [project Z].” But why wait, and why not start projects X, Y, and Z on your own? There’s still half of the summer left to go, and now is just as good a time as any for some good old-fashioned home improvement.
We at Total Home Supply love a good Do-It-Yourself project, and think that any homeowner, regardless of DIY experience or skill level, should be able to fix up their own homes safely, easily, and at a low cost. Here are four of our favorite ideas to give the outside of your home a little face-lift – four quick and easy DIY projects to upgrade your yard.
Conceal Your AC Outdoor Unit
This is a very common concern for people who own an AC system that requires an outdoor unit, and since we have spent time writing about all the great benefits of ductless mini-split air conditioners, we kind of do have a responsibility to help you make that outdoor component less unsightly.
The go-to way to conceal an outdoor AC component is to build some sort of fence around the unit, but even then, a wooden box stuck randomly on the side of your house? It still looks out of place. Try surrounding the fenced-in AC component with low-care shrubbery, ferns, and flower bushes to draw attention away from what the fence conceals.
If you opt for a “criss-cross” or picket fence as opposed to solid wood, you can plant some sort of vine (Ivy and Virginia Creeper are easiest to grow) at the base of the fence to grow up and around it for a really cool look.
If your outdoor AC component rests on a concrete slab too large to plant anything that close to it, a few tall potted plants work well to conceal the unit and the fence, and add a little extra to the aesthetic of your home.
Transform an Empty Corner into a Seating Area
Have a bare corner in your backyard and not sure what to do with it? Turning an empty, unused patch of land into a cozy seating area is much easier than you think.
First, mark a decently sized area of lawn out from the corner of the house with spray paint. Next, remove the grass and at least 1-2 inches of dirt from inside the marked area with a shovel. Then, fill the dug-out area with quick dry cement and let dry for a good 24-36 hours, depending on climate, weather, and humidity levels (throwing a few drops of water on the concrete mixture is a good way of telling when it is fully dry). Finally, place an outdoor chair or two, and maybe a small table or potted plant, on your new mini-patio and enjoy!
If working with concrete really isn’t your thing, place your table and chairs on the patch of dug-up lawn, pressing hard to fasten the furniture into the ground so that it stays in place. To finish, fill the area with tiny pebbles for a unique look that requires no drying time!
Depending on how much space you actually have for your mini-patio, both techniques also work well to create a display area for potted plants.
Use a Variety of Outdoor Planters
Get creative! Pots and planters come in so many shapes, sizes, and colors, why resort to displaying all of your flowers or herbs in the same reddish-orange clay container? (We all know which ones I’m talking about). Quite frankly, uniformity is boring, and anyone trying to ‘up’ the look of their yard should veer as far away from boring as possible.
Try staggering differently sized planters in no particular pattern or order along the side of your house, or in a cluster in the corner of your patio. If you already own planters that are the same size and hue, spend a day outside adorning your pots in different colors and patterns. Garden decor does not have to perfectly ‘match’ your house, it just has to complement it, so don’t be afraid of adding splashes of color – if you have a garden, your flowers already add a variety of vibrant color anyway, so what do you have to lose?
Create an Accent Island Flower Bed
Any place is a good place for a garden. A problem many homeowners with larger yards have is figuring out what to do with all of that empty, unused space, and a strategically placed flower bed can make all the difference between a large patch of grass and a lively yard.
First, pick a spot – any spot. Also choose a shape – do you want your flower bed to be a circle, a square, an oval, or something more abstract? Once you’ve decided where your flower bed is going to go and how it is going to look, roughly mark the area with spray paint. Unlike marking space for a patio or a fire pit, the shape does not have to be perfect here, as flowers and plants do not grow symmetrically and will distract from the ‘imperfect’ shape of your bed.
Remove the grass and at least 1-2 inches of dirt. What you plant here is entirely up to you, but choose a variety of colorful flowers, shrubs, and small trees for the best results (remember our rule about staying away from boring outdoor decor!). After your flowers are planted and growing strong, feel free to spruce up your flower bed by lining the area with rocks and/or filling the center with wood chips.
Have you undertaken an outdoor DIY project lately? Tell us about it in the comments section!