Backyard patio furniture

Labor Day weekend is a great time to tackle all the projects you’ve been putting off in the name of summer fun. With fall rapidly approaching, now is the time to buckle down and check all your home improvement plans off the to-do list before the cold weather hits.

Don’t know where to start? Here are six great ideas for home improvement projects that you can take on over Labor Day weekend.

Up Your Home’s Curb Appeal

Improving the exterior look of your house can seriously add to its value. Whether you’re planning on selling soon or just want to feel the pride of having the nicest-looking house on the block, upping your home’s curb appeal is a simple and relatively inexpensive home improvement project you can do this Labor Day weekend.

Start in the yard. If the grass is looking a little thin or bare in some areas, now is a good time to reseed.

Do some basic cleaning and maintenance. Rent a pressure washer and wash everything: the driveway, walkways, porches, patios and decks, as well as your home’s exterior. Fix any sidewalk or driveway cracks.

Then work on making your home look inviting. Repaint the front door a bright color. Switch out your old house numbers for something new and modern. Place some pretty potted plants on your porch. Install some overhead or wall-mounted lighting on your porch. Or, opt for some solar fixtures to light up your walkways. Put in a new mailbox or plant some flowers around your current one.

Revive your garden beds by adding new mulch, and if you don’t have it in place already, put some stone or brick curbing around your garden to make it look more put together. Add some new shrubbery to the mix. Plant a tree. All these little improvements will make your home look well-maintained and much more appealing.

Create a Backyard Haven

Do you find yourself wishing you spent more time in your beautiful backyard, if only it were a little more inviting? Take some time to create a backyard haven for yourself – an area where you and guests can chill out among nature.

First things first: update your old outdoor furniture. Backyard décor isn’t what it used to be, and no longer do you have to sacrifice style and comfort for function. You can easily find beautiful and cozy recliners and sofas and even daybeds that are made to be kept outdoors.

If one of your biggest obstacles to hanging out outdoors is lack of a sturdy foundation underfoot, lay down a pathway of pavers or stepping stones so that people can get around without having to navigate wet grass or dirt.

Create a dining area or even consider building an outdoor kitchen if you grill a lot.

Also think about adding a pergola or some other sort of garden feature to help give your space structure. Pergolas are wooden structures often used to create an open, shaded area in a garden. Place one over your dining or seating area and decorate the pillars and beams with vines to create a peaceful, garden-escape vibe.

Make sure there’s plenty of lighting, whether it be wired or solar powered. If you go with the pergola, string lights on the beams will add a warm, glowing ambiance at night.

If your backyard is more open and you’re looking to add some privacy to your oasis, putting up a lattice wall around one or multiple sides of the area can be a classy way to achieve this. You can also plant a few more trees or some big flowering bushes to help obscure the view while adding to the back-to-nature vibe.

If you don’t have many trees and your yard gets a lot of sun, add in some artificial shade for your space. A big patio umbrella placed near your seating should do the trick.

Make Your House More Eco-Friendly

Making a few choice swaps can make a big difference in the ecological impact of your day-to-day activities, so if you’re ready to invest in making your house more energy-efficient and save yourself money on utility bills in the long run, dedicate your weekend to making your home more environmentally friendly.

A lot of this will be fairly simple and cheaper than you might think.

Switch out all your conventional power strips for advanced power strips and save up to $100 per year on electricity costs. Advanced power strips prevent electronics from drawing power when they’re off or not in use, reducing electricity waste. Plus, they don’t cost much more than traditional power strips.

Install a smart thermostat. While they can be a little pricey, they do all the work of raising and lowering the temperature based on when you’re home, making cost-cutting effortless. Many can also be controlled remotely from your phone. They’re especially useful for anyone who unintentionally leaves their HVAC unit running all day or for anyone who likes to come home to a house that’s already been heated or cooled to their liking.

Don’t forget water efficiency. Go around and fix any leaky faucets. Install low-flow showerheads. According to the EPA, replacing an old toilet with an EPA-approved model (look for the WaterSense label) saves the average family nearly 13,000 gallons of water in a year. You can do this yourself to save on installation costs.

If you’re really committed to reducing your home’s carbon footprint, consider using the weekend to shop around for some new big-ticket appliances. If you have an air conditioner that’s more than 20 years old, upgrading could save you money and electricity. Old refrigerators use significantly more energy than new ones, so if your fridge was made before 2001, trade it in for a newer, energy-efficient model. Same goes for an old water heater.

Build a Patio

If you’ve always dreamed of adding in a patio, now is your time. There are many different types and styles of patios, so figure out what look you want and choose your materials accordingly.

Before you begin, make sure you get any necessary approvals: Your homeowners association may require that you get a project like this approved by the board before you may begin building. Depending on where you live, you may also need to obtain a permit from your city.

Once you have the go-ahead, purchase your materials. Pavers are a staple for patios, as they’re easy to put down and are made in a variety of materials, including concrete, brick and rubber, giving you plenty of looks to choose from. Flagstone is a beautiful choice if you’re looking for a more natural, earthy look. However, because the stones are irregular, it can be difficult to work with.

If you’re looking for something a little more practical, poured concrete patios are very durable and easier to maintain. They’re also more utilitarian and might not be a good choice if it’s not in line with the aesthetic value you’re looking to add to your property.

Pea gravel patios can be a visually interesting option for your backyard but can be uncomfortable on bare feet. It’s arguably the easiest option if you’re looking to put in a patio because it entails little more than creating a border and spreading the pebbles. A gravel patio might be a good option if you’re looking to create a chic space around your fire pit.

Whatever material you end up using, be sure you build your patio on a level, sturdy base that allows water to drain away from your house.

Build a Fire Pit

Just because the sun is beginning to set on summer doesn’t mean it’s too late to get the most out of a fire pit. A good-looking fire pit will have your whole family enjoying your backyard well into the chilly months.

Plus, having a beautiful fire pit can be a real asset to your home’s outdoor space when the time comes to sell. Many buyers look for a home with an attractive yard, and putting in a fire pit is a cheap and relatively easy way to make a big impact.

Make sure you pick materials that can handle the heat. You’ll also need a steel ring insert to put inside your fire pit. Home improvement stores usually sell ready-to-install built-in fire pit kits for as little as $200.

Before you plop your built-in fire pit just anywhere, plan out how you want the finished project to look, beyond just the pit. The key is to make the whole area look welcoming. A hole in the ground surrounded by a few dinky old lawn chairs planted in the dirt isn’t going to have the same “wow” factor as, say, a stone bench that curves around a matching stone wall fire pit.

Lay down some stepping stones or a small patio to surround the fire pit. Pick out some comfy outdoor furniture or, for something a little more rustic, build a couple log benches.

Before you start this project, check your local ordinances and make sure it’s legal for you to have a fire pit and how far away it needs to be from your home and your neighbor’s home.

Install New Fixtures and Hardware

If you’re looking for something simple but useful to do this Labor Day, consider making some small updates around the house to make everything look brand new.

Switching out your cabinet and drawer hardware, especially if its old or the look is outdated, is one of the quickest ways to fix up your home. New pulls or knobs can take your cabinetry from dated to modern with just a few twists of a screwdriver.

Likewise, new light fixtures can significantly change the feel of your rooms. Or swap out your overhead bedroom lighting for a ceiling fan with a light.

If your interior doors are starting to look old and beat up, or if they’re hollow core and you want something sturdier and more soundproof, consider replacing them with new doors. Solid wood or solid core doors will be better at blocking sounds and will look and feel like higher quality.

Ready to make an investment in the long-term value of your home? Head over to RocketLoans® so we can help get you started on your next big project.

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