10 Spring DIY Ideas for Your Home
Simple home improvements ideal for spring weather
Daylight Savings Time and shrinking snow banks are sure signs that spring is near in the Granite State. But less snow means more visible signs of winter havoc. Spruce up your yard and home now, and you can better enjoy the warmer, sunnier months ahead. Here are 10 spring home improvement ideas.
In the Yard
1. Clear debris.
If you didn’t rake leaves in the fall, now’s the time. Raking and clearing your yard and garden beds of old leaves, vines and other debris helps you prepare for mulch and compost. “Leaves and old plants can harbor disease and smother your other plants,” says Quenby Jaus, a manager at Wentworth Greenhouses in Rollinsford.
2. Add compost and mulch.
Once you’ve removed yard debris, add valuable nutrients to your garden and lawn by applying a layer of compost (if you don’t already make your own compost from vegetable or fruit peelings, leaves or grasses, Jaus recommends Coast of Maine, a locally-produced organic compost). Then add a layer of mulch to seal in moisture, prevent weed growth and protect against erosion (it also gives your gardens and trees a landscaped appearance).
3. Start seeds.
Tomato and pepper seeds can be started indoors and then planted outside after the weather warms. “Those summer harvest vegetables need six to 10 weeks to germinate,” says Jaus. If you’re storing flower bulbs indoors, they can be transplanted to the garden as well.
Outside the House
4. Give your house a once-over.
Walk around your home and see how it survived winter. Is there dirt on the walkways and driveway? How about on the siding or trim? “You want to clean dirt build-up,” says Mark Pittendreigh of PittPro Home Improvement in Exeter. “You especially want to check the trim around your garage door for rot.” Pittendreigh recommends cutting the rot out and replacing it with PVC (short for polyvinyl chloride, a plastic) trim that looks and cuts like wood and lasts longer.
5. Check for roof and gutter damage.
Inspect your roof to see if there’s any debris left from winter storms. Make sure any vents or skylights aren’t damaged and make sure your chimney cap isn’t loose. While you’re up top, check your gutters. Gutters clogged with leaves, twigs and other debris can block water flow. Clear gutters of debris and use a garden hose to clear any remaining dirt. Installing a gutter debris shield lets water in but keeps debris out. Make sure there aren’t any dents, holes or cracks.
6. Clear the deck.
Grime collects on outdoor decks during winter. Pressure washing gets off the dirt — but make sure you know how to use a pressure washer correctly if you decide to rent one. “You can damage the wood or take paint off if you don’t use the correct nozzle,” says Jutta Donahue of Great Northern Cleaning in Belmont.
If your wood deck is showing wear and tear, consider replacing the boards and railings with non-wood alternatives. “Look for systems made of Trek or no-rot materials,” says Pittendreigh. “You buy railings and decking separately and have to cut the boards down to the size you need.”
7. Check doors and windows.
If you noticed winter breezes more than usual this year, check your doors and windows. “You may just need to add weather-stripping, not replace the entire window,” says Pittendreigh. Your local utility company may offer free energy audits to determine insulation and cooling issues. Check screens and storm windows for extra wear and tear.
Inside Your House
8. Let the sunshine in.
Clean windows let the sunshine in. “You’ll notice one window is clean if the others aren’t,” says Donahue of Great Northern Cleaning. If cleaning all the windows seems like too big a job, clean those in rooms used the most, like main living areas and the kitchen. Window cleaner is a personal preference: vinegar and water works, as does regular window cleaner. Avoid using paper towels, which leave lint behind.
9. Clean rugs and carpets.
Clean carpets and rugs last longer. You can rent a rug-shampooing machine (which includes buying the cleaning solution as well as picking up and returning the equipment) or hire a professional. Great Northern uses its van-mounted carpet cleaner to clean furniture upholstery as well.
10. Update your kitchen or bathrooms.
Updating your kitchen or a bathroom is one of the easiest ways to add value to your home, not to mention create a space to enjoy for years to come. Even if you don’t have the budget for a major remodel, there are simple ways to update, particularly in the kitchen, says Sue Booth of Vintage Kitchens in Concord. “A new wall color, new hardware and updated lighting are relatively simple fixes,” says Booth. “You could also add a pre-made kitchen island for more space or replace the countertop on an existing one.” Consult a kitchen designer or knowledgeable home improvement professional for more ambitious projects.