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5 DIY Outdoor Projects for the Spring Weekends Ahead

From smart light switches to living walls, make the most of warmer temps with these DIY home improvement projects for reviving your outdoor spaces.

April 12, 2021

​​​​​​​Spring has arrived, hooray, and with it we have the return of flowers, baseball and outdoor renovation season...

If you are looking to spend some time in the sunshine, while also giving your house a little TLC, we have some great, easy ideas for you:

1. Apply some pressure

Spring is a time of renewal, as we all emerge from the cold, dark days of winter...

And that renewal should probably include your porch, deck, driveway, fence and/or siding, if you had any “winter weather” at all.

As most places are starting to thaw out, now’s the perfect time to check the forecast, grab a pressure-washer and go crazy. Depending on the number of outdoor surfaces you have to clean, as well as your climate and cleaning frequency, it might be worthwhile to invest in a pressure or power washer of your own. But it is also easy to rent them from stores like Home Depot for affordable daily rates.

​​​​​​​And if you’ve never power-washed anything before, get ready for some fun. It’s oddly satisfying watching the worn-in grime disappear, perhaps even reminding you that patio was once an entirely different color.

2. Get smarter lights for those summer nights.

String or twinkle lights? Are not just for the holiday season. They, as well as electric lanterns and just about any other outdoor lights, can be the heroes that keep a summer barbecue or dinner party going strong even after the sun has set. Especially when nobody has to leave the fun to go flip a switch or find the plug thanks to the genius of smart lighting.

​​​​​​​With an installation practically as simple as “plug it in,” this smart outdoor switch, which conveniently includes GFCI protection, is the quickest, easiest way to ensure you always have perfect mood lighting for relaxing or entertaining out back. Use the app to turn on the lights from wherever you are with just a tap, or schedule them to automatically start shining right around sunset. Plus, as it is usable for three outlets at once, you can get smarter control of other outdoor appliances or electric décor (decorative ponds, fountains, etc.) at the same, and be fully prepared for those holiday inflatables when winter returns.

3. Go grand with your entrance.

Backyards get a lot of hype this time of year (and rightfully so), but don’t let that pull all your attention away from the front of your house. A little spruce to the porch or stoop is a great way to shake off the winter drabness.

Some easy options include:
•Updating your home address sign or post with a custom piece from Etsy.
Painting your front door. Whether you go for a clean bright white, a cool neutral or a pigmented pop of color, it’s going to make a big difference.
•Have room for seating? Nothing is more warm-weather classic than white wicker. Except maybe a porch swing.

4. Don't forget to modernize.

Spring updates aren’t only about looks. Some should be about what your outdoor space can do and ways to ensure optimal use and enjoyment. Like the addition of conveniently weather-resistant USB outlets.

While part of the joy of being outside might be its lack of screen time, the modern reality is most of us don’t feel comfortable being without the connection our phones provide. We like being ready in case of an emergency, not to mention prepared to snap a cute pic of the kids playing in the sprinklers, or able to double-check the perfect internal temperature of a well-grilled steak. And if you have teenagers? Well, it’s probably best not to expect them to go anywhere willingly without their phones. You can easily upgrade your outdoor outlet to one with built-in USB ports, even including advanced features like fast charging. Then the whole family can easily avert the crisis of a dead battery and focus more freely on the fun to be had together.

5. Plant your way to privacy and ambiance.

Neighbors are great (usually), but nobody has ever wished their backyard was less private.

A great way to add a little more privacy around an outdoor entertaining area, or even just bring another aesthetic dimension to your backyard or patio, is a living wall.

As a vertical garden, this project is probably best for those with at least a little green on their thumb. But the options for personalization – both in structural design and the plants to include – are almost limitless. As an easy starting point, you can use new or existing fencing as a frame, or a freestanding trellis (another example here), or a multi-tiered planter. If you are on the handier/craftier side, there are an abundance of YouTube tutorials that show how to take Ikea pieces, recycled pallets, or, you know, lumber, and transform them into a ready mount for plants to grow in, on, through, around, etc. Not sure what plants work for walls? Experts at your local garden center should be able to help you easily identify what lush or climbing plants will work best for the overall climate and your space’s sun exposure, as well as offer insight into what plants will work with the structural shape you have in mind. From flowering vines – climbing roses, trumpet vine and wisteria – for trellis style walls, to various types of ferns that bring volume in a raised bed, the results will be gorgeous.

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