Moving into a new home is exciting, but the list of projects to personalize the space can grow quickly. Don’t get overwhelmed. Tackle these 5 DIY updates one weekend at a time and soon you’ll be enjoying your summer oasis.

Painting—This job isn’t entirely cosmetic, although nothing makes an indoor or out-door space pop like a fresh coat. Wood needs to be protected from the elements and one way to do that is with paint. Examine the side of your house, the shed or garage, and trim around windows and doors: if anything looks weathered or cracked, it needs new paint. But also consider changing the colour if it will improve the look of the building. Watch this short video for tips on how to tackle painting quickly and easily yourself.

Garden beds + curb appeal—Are all the plants healthy in the front? If they need some attention, do that now, and if they can’t be brought back to life, remove them. Dead plants aren’t good for neighbourly relations. Remove old grass and turn the earth so it doesn’t look compacted and dry. With a shovel, work in a few bags of new soil and fertilizer. Focus on perennials—shrubs and plants that will add permanent structure to your space—before any new grass or other ground cover. Deciduous shrubs keep out wind in winter and create shade in the summer…along with a warm welcome every time you come home. Watch this video for more landscaping possibilities.

Fencing—Chain link is inexpensive and common, but it’s an eyesore. Replacing it with wood or pre-fab acrylic versions will improve your property value and make your garden parties and barbecues more private.

Deck—You’re going to want to use it this season, so repair it, stain it, extend it now. Individual boards often come loose over time, or through attention from animals or pests, so look for those signs (get under the structure if you can) and fix them. You may want to gain a few extra square feet by building a simple extension, or sanding and re-staining what’s there. For tips on making your structure safe and secure, check out this article from Canadian Home Workshop.

Lighting—It’s important for safety, but also for aesthetics and your personal enjoyment. Install motion sensor lights on walkways and around sheds and garages and make sure there’s a light at the front and back door, too. Choose something that works with the design of your home, but also something that can throw enough light to be functional. You don’t need a floodlight, but a 15-watt bulb won’t cut it for this space either. Solar lighting has improved in quality lately; it makes great focal points in front and back outdoor space, so add some to flower beds and the top of fence posts.

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