Projects for your backyard, front yard and home exteriors

Sprucing up your home's backyard, front yard and exterior goes a long way towards enhancing its curb appeal and raising its value. Landscaping is one of the most popular DIY projects for the outdoors, but you can also invest a little time and effort in your home exteriors to give your house an updated look that will catch the eye of passersby.

Popular DIY Projects for the Outdoors

Beginning in the backyard, here are some ideas for do-it-yourself home improvements:

  • Gardens. Many people enjoy gardening, and there are endless ways you can put your green thumb to work to make your yard a more attractive place. Plant and flower gardens are extremely popular, but be sure to consider factors like sun exposure and your region's hardiness zone when choosing plants. Vegetable gardens offer a great way to get outdoors while reducing your food bills, and you can also consider other types of gardens, such as rock gardens, and gardens designed to attract birds and butterflies.
  • Water features. Ponds and water gardens can transform your backyard into a soothing oasis, though they do require careful planning and considerable upkeep. If you spend a lot of time in your yard, though, they can provide value and greatly enhance the livability of your outdoor space.
  • Shading structures. Gazebos, pergolas, terrariums and archways add a quaint touch of class and charm to your backyard. These structures are excellent additions to your yard if you're looking for a way to fill in empty space or add shade.
  • Decks and patios. These rank among the most popular backyard DIY projects, and they're fairly easy to build. You can get deck kits from home improvement retailers which offer foolproof, step-by-step plans for building your own deck, and paved or gravel patios are great for outdoor entertaining.

Moving to the front yard, you can add elements like:

  • Gates. Whether you want to boost your home's security or simply add new visual elements to your front yard, gates and fences are excellent. You can choose a design that matches your home's architectural style to bring its curb appeal to a whole new level.
  • Trees and shrubs. Trees, shrubs and hedges add to your home's visual appeal, create shading, attract birds and can double as a natural alternative to fences between properties.
  • Walkways. Is your walkway falling into disrepair? You'd be surprised how much a simple repaving or reimagining can improve the look of your front yard.

Finally, consider these economical ways to improve your home's exterior:

  • Window treatments. The most popular exterior window treatments include ultraviolet sunscreens and window films and shutters. Window films block sunlight, stopping it from entering your home and reducing your summertime cooling load. Shutters add a subtle but attractive touch, and today, you can get shutters which can be operated from inside your home with wireless remote controls, making them practical rather than simply cosmetic.
  • Windows and doors. New windows and doors do much more than just beautify your home -- they can also significantly improve its energy efficiency. If you're suffering from high heating and cooling bills, energy-efficient windows and doors can take a bite out of your utility costs.
  • Power washing. Whether your home's exterior is built from brick, wood or siding, power washing is an easy DIY project that can make it look like new.
  • Painting. If your home has a siding or wooden exterior, it's just a matter of time before it will need a new paintjob. Chipped and crack paint can make your home look like it's falling into disrepair, so keep it looking great and add to its value by repainting and weatherizing its exterior.

If your eaves have seen better days, it's also a good idea to replace them -- leaky or structurally wonky eaves can cause problems with indoor moisture and humidity, which can in turn lead to mold and structural problems, particularly in your attic.

Home improvement experts stress that landscaping is one of the very best ways to add value to your home, and its return on investment is excellent compared to other DIY projects. If you're looking to beautify your home while increasing its resale worth, research outdoor landscaping ideas, choose the improvements that best suit your home, and get to work!