Looking for a DIY project to improve your outdoor space and create an inviting oasis for everyone in the family to get outside and have fun together?
Here are some projects to consider, and the prep work involved.
1) Check your deck
Does your existing deck need repair? Check for loose balusters or railing or other issues needing attention. If you want to resurface your deck or build a new deck, measure the area and research how much decking you’ll need. Fortunately, there are free online deck plans and design tools available. Many include cost calculators to help determine your expenses. Check with your local municipality for building codes and a building permit before beginning construction.
When choosing materials to create the deck of your dreams, not just any wood will do. Wood is now available that is treated with more environmentally advanced preservatives, with stabilizers that can weather the elements while still retaining the beauty of real wood. Pressure-treated wood is ideal for decking, deck framing, railing, joists and beams. Its advanced wood stabilizing preservative system makes wood look better longer and repels water for up to two years.
For projects that contact or are within 6 inches of the ground, such as support posts, stair stringers and ledger boards, a higher retention level of preservatives is required to fight fungal decay and termite attack at ground level. Ground contact wood are treated to required levels to protect against fungal decay and termite attack.
2) Enhance your garden
To increase your yard’s beauty while encouraging plant and flower growth, make simple wooden structures for your garden that can be completed in a weekend. The easiest project is a trellis, which can be any size latticework designed for climbing plants. Similarly, an arbor combines two trellises with an overhead arch to create a passage or gateway. An arbor beautifully embellishes any path or walkway with flowering plants growing up and over it.
A pergola takes that idea one step further, creating a scaffolding of overhead wooden beams for your yard, patio or deck that can be used for installing a ceiling fan, hanging plants or flowers, or a sun shade.
The gazebo resembles a mini “house,” usually raised from the ground, that can be screened in if desired. Gazebos are wonderful little retreats to enjoy the outdoors while still feeling the comfort of seating and other furniture, along with a roof for keeping out the elements.
3) Raised gardens
For the green thumb in the family, raised planter beds decrease the back-breaking work of planting and weeding, while keeping neighborhood critters out. Attach chicken wire or other screening to discourage smaller animals from munching on your garden.
4) Outdoor furnishings
Love to grill and eat outdoors? Why not build your own benches or picnic table? They provide a wonderfully rustic look as well as being sturdy. You can add removable cushions for comfort.
Nothing could be more fun for kids than watching or helping to build a play set, sandbox or treehouse. If kids help, educate them about safety rules that you follow, such as wearing gloves, goggles and a mask while working with wood.
6) Add privacy and beauty
A well-designed stained or painted fence can enhance the look of your garden, patio or deck while adding privacy and keeping neighborhood animals out. A variety of fence styles are available to serve many purposes. From containing pets to providing safety for your children, fences can help block wind and noise, enclose HVAC and trash bin areas and add curb appeal. All you need are posts, pickets and backer rails or fence panels to complete your project.
If you’re new to building, start with smaller projects like a trellis or sandbox. Once you’re more confident or have experience, consider the larger, more complex projects you’re dreaming about. Engage the family in brainstorming ideas to make your yard and garden a great place to hang out together.