The following is a guest post written by Lexi Klinkenberg and our friends at Redfin.

9 Backyard Projects to Complete This Summer

As the warm summer weather continues, you may be starting a mental list of those backyard projects you’ve been wanting to get to. It is easy to put off exterior home projects when you’re living in Portland or own a home in Philadelphia where the winter weather can be rainy and cold, but once the sun is shining the work that your home needs may become more apparent. Summer is the perfect time to tackle some of those backyard projects or if you want to get them done in record time, hire a team of professionals to help get your home in great condition this summer.

1. Clean your walkways and patios 

After a potentially rainy year, your walkways and driveway may have a lot of dirt and grime buildup. Cleaning your concrete periodically can extend its service life as well as give your home a fresh new look, not to mention boost your curb appeal. Having a clean home exterior is especially important if you’re planning on selling your home this spring or summer.   “You clean your car, your floors, and even yourself, but why not your home? Having your siding and roof cleaned, and washing and sealing your driveway are great ways to enhance the curb appeal of your home while also protecting those surfaces from harmful contaminants and grime.” –Pristine Clean 

If you only have a small area that needs to be pressure washed you can tackle that project in a weekend with the right tools and safety gear. If you have larger areas that need to be cleaned like a long driveway, dirty roof, or your home’s siding, they can be restored by a team of trained professionals who will have your home looking good as new in no time.  “Don’t forget to look at your roof.  Roof Cleaning not only looks great but adds years of life to your property. Homebuyers often think a roof needs to be replaced when it actually only needs to be cleaned. This can lower the offer price and cause houses to sit on the market. Clean your roof and be amazed at the results.” Aqua-Nomics Exterior Cleaning 

2. Touch up exterior paint 

Touching up your home’s exterior paint is a great way to spruce your home up this summer. As the weather is warmer it’s much easier to get outside and touch up nicks and blemishes in your paint. If you don’t know the exact color of your local paint store can help you find the perfect match. If you find this project is becoming too big to tackle don’t hesitate to call in the professionals to help. They can repaint your home or help you with difficult touch-ups, either way, it may save you time and stress. 

“Thoroughly pressure washing your house before applying exterior paint not only makes a clean surface for the paint to bond to, it can also reveal hidden damage or loose paint. When problem areas are revealed, you can attend to them before painting.  Your paint job will last longer and create a better seal.” –Need for Build Inc

“Paint and seal the exterior of your house. Taking the time in the summer months to have your house painted is the best time to ensure proper paint adhesion and protect your investment!  When you paint, it’s critical to do the right amount of prep which includes power washing and sealing with caulk and always using at least 2 coats of paint.  This is imperative to seal your home and protect it to maximize the life of your paint.” –H3 Paint 

3. Tidy up your landscaping 

Cleaning up your yard is a great summer project to tackle. When tidying up your landscape you will want to start by removing debris such as branches, sticks, leaves, and pinecones. Removing debris is a great start to a clean yard. From here, there are a few things you can do. You can trim and prune your trees and bushes, repair and cut your lawn, and even replace mulch or bark in your garden beds. You might even want to add a tree or two to increase your curb appeal or give that corner of your yard a little extra character.

“It’s best to water your lawn in the morning before it gets too hot so the water can get into the soil’s roots deeply without too much water evaporation.” –House of Yards

If you have a large yard and an overwhelming amount of landscape work to do, or you just don’t like working in the yard, hiring a landscaper to get the job done may be the best option for you. 

“Greenery near windows can be beautiful and help connect us with the outdoors. But overgrown landscaping near the house can not only filter out precious sunshine, but it can also obstruct our view and shorten our visual horizon. So trim those window beauties back a bit and you’ll not only brighten up your interior spaces, you’ll extend your view and bring that beautiful backyard in.” –HouseLift Design

4. Wash your windows 

Summer is the perfect time of year to wash the exterior of your windows. This is a task that usually is only done once a year, so you may need to use a little elbow grease, or some professional help to get your windows squeaky clean. 

If you wash your windows more than once a year, you may be able to get away with just using a common household cleaner, but a bucket of soapy water and a sponge will usually deliver the best results. If your windows have not been cleaned for an extended period of time, having professional window washers assist you with this backyard project can save you a lot of time. 

“Cleaning your home’s exterior siding, decking, and patio surfaces every 3-5 years, windows and gutters when they become dirty and your roof when visible black, green, and white organic growth is present will help you earn more ROI. Your home is your number one investment. Protect and prolong it by hiring a professional.” –Squeegee Klean

5. Decorate your backyard 

If you have a patio or deck it is time to start getting your space ready to possibly entertain or just enjoy with your family. Creating a space in your backyard to gather and place furniture is a great start. Once you have found your space you can start adding decorations as you please. Water features to attract wildlife, herb gardens, and hanging plants. You could even consider adding an outdoor pool table. Every detail adds more layers and creativity to your yard and makes the space even more enjoyable.

“Bring the indoors out by creating a designated outdoor space. Covid-19 has limited our social lives but being outside is deemed as safer, we suggest defining an outdoor relaxation or entertaining space by using an outdoor rug under your patio furniture. Polypropylene is a popular choice because it is stain-resistant, easy to clean, won’t fade from sunlight, and can handle high moisture and heavy foot traffic making it a strong and durable choice.” –Kimberly Harrison Interiors 

“A water feature is one of my favorite items to add to a yard. Water is one of the most calming attributes you can add to a yard, because who doesn’t love the sound of the ocean or a babbling brook. Today, there are so many DIY’s that can help you to make your own” –Coastal Decor and Interior Design “Add color! Colorful throw pillows on outdoor dining or lounge chairs provide an instant refresh.  A pretty outdoor rug also adds color and pattern and makes your outdoor space like a cozy living room.” –K+K Interior Design 

“2020 is the Year of the staycation. Upgrade your outdoor space to an at-home oasis with luxurious handcrafted furnishings. Whether relaxing with a book, entertaining close family and friends or lounging by the pool, you are guaranteed to embrace all the feels of a getaway, while enjoying the comforts of home. Turn your furnishings into a treasured heirloom by taking advantage of our complimentary personalization.” –The Best Adirondack Chair Company 

“You can create a unique look by adding fresh new custom made outdoor cushions to your space. Swap out your throw pillows on your outdoor furniture with bold patterns. Do not hesitate to mix and match patterns as it would create a very unique look. Your backyard is meant to be a place of enjoyment, somewhere to escape, entertain, unwind, relax, and have fun.” –Online Replacement Cushions 

6. Clear out your gutters 

As we wrap up spring, debris such as leaves, pine needles, and branches may have built up in your gutters. Clearing your gutters can save your home from future damage to your roof or even your foundation. It is recommended that you clean, or have your gutters cleaned, twice a year. To make this chore a little easier and less messy it is better to wait until the debris is dry to clean them out. A few sunny days should be a sufficient amount of time to wait. “One of the most neglected household chores is gutter cleaning. Making sure your gutters and downspouts are clear and free-flowing is vital to having peace of mind and enjoying your outdoor spaces. End Gutter Cleaning Forever and have our Micro-Mesh Gutter Guards installed.” –The Gutter Boys

  “If you can reach them safely – we suggest flushing the eaves and downpipes with your garden hose. Often debris can build up in the elbow joints and cause a blockage which could then result in a cascading overflow from the eavestrough. As well, using water to flush the system will show you if any corners or seams are leaking or of any other potential repairs that might be required before becoming a big problem. We also suggest installing a rain barrel wherever possible – this could help save some extra money by using the roof generated water to keep your garden cool this summer” –Tip Top Trough 

7. Renew porches and decks 

Rain, sunshine, wind, and snow can all wreak havoc on the structure and appearance of your home’s porch or deck. After the cold and rainy season is finally behind us it could be the perfect time to repair, stain, or paint your deck or porch. If you are planning on painting or staining, make sure you have a good amount of time with no rainfall so your backyard project will have ample time to dry. Giving your deck a new fresh look may be exactly what your backyard needs to become that backyard oasis you’ve always wanted.

  “An easy way to spruce up your backyard and really get it summer ready is to stain your deck. You can choose a solid stain for more color options such as red, or grey, or go for a more traditional look with a semi-solid or transparent stain to highlight the natural wood. The stain will also help protect against the elements such as rain and snow and deter pesky insects from damaging your deck.” –ONiT Painting 

If you find that your deck has structural problems, such as loose boards or sinking in certain spots, it’s recommended that you hire an expert to examine and repair your deck. This will ensure the job is done correctly so you can enjoy your deck for those summer days ahead.

8. Plant new flowers and plants  

Flowers and new plants can act as a great accessory to any yard. After cleaning up your landscape you may have a vision of what you want your garden beds to look like. Whether that be rows of luscious plants, patches of colorful flowers, or even creating a vegetable garden, the ideas are endless. Visit a local nursery to find everything to need and learn about the plants and flowers that would thrive in your yard.  “Want to upgrade your curb appeal? Add raised, bottomless planters. The modern lines of these modular planter beds quickly pull the yard together creating an artful yet tidy appearance. Conveniently place them in any arrangement desired, working around existing elements such as trees or shrubs. The lack of a bottom on this planter allows your plants to root directly into the ground which means a lush, abundant garden.” –Yard Couture  

9. Add a Firepit

Adding a DIY fire pit to your backyard is an excellent way to keep the fun going long after dark. Instead of an unsightly dirt fire pit, spend a day making a new statement piece for your yard, or consider buying one to save time. Adding or creating a fire pit can be exactly what your yard needs. 

“Your outdoor living space deserves to be as warm and inviting as the family and friends you are entertaining. Provide extra warmth and art by adding Steel Fire Studio logs on top of your fire pit or table. Bring the warmth of a Colorado resort to your backyard with one of a kind, handmade, steel Art on Fire.” –Steel Fire Studio

“Design the entire backyard experience around this captivating, elegant focal point. Solo Stove fire pits produce little to no smoke and so easy to light you can have a beautiful, roaring fire in minutes. Satisfy late night s’mores cravings and make special summer memories around everyone’s new favorite gathering spot.” –Solo Stove

“Fire adds instant ambiance to any landscape design and there are many ways to bring fire into your outdoor space. Once you choose your location, plumbing in a natural gas or propane line is the best and most integrated method of fuelling your fire. You can run a gas line under hardscape, wood, or synthetic decking. If you can’t pipe in gas you can run an outdoor fire off of a small propane tank that you can conceal in a side table or bench. And even if propane or natural is not an option, you can use a clean-burning bioethanol burner that doesn’t require an external fuel source—just fill and fire.” –Paloform 

“When planning your backyard for a firepit take into consideration the height of your furniture with the firepit. DreamCast designs its firepits at 15″ for an outdoor coffee table height. Outdoor furniture is much lower than indoor sets, and if the fire pit is too high then not only does it take away from the modern aesthetic, but it also reduces the warmth you experience. As a general rule the lower your firepit the more warmth you’ll get.” –DreamCast

  “Gathering around a roaring fire has been a family pastime for centuries.  We no longer gather around a few logs strewn on the ground, families gather in their own beautiful setting circled around a fire feature, in many cases a handcrafted fire pit created and designed by Artist, Rick Wittrig of Fire Pit Art.  Our artistic, handcrafted, made-to-order fire pits create an artistic focal point with a fire or without updating your outdoor living space with a warm artistic flair. –Fire Pit Art

  The most important thing to remember when preparing your home this summer is diligence. Keeping up on your home maintenance is very important. If you see a problem with your home, don’t wait until the last minute. Find some time to fix it yourself, or call a professional and schedule an appointment as soon as possible. There is no time like the present to start your backyard projects.