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If you live in the city, use water features, such as fountains and bubblers, to mask street sounds so you can enjoy the great outdoors in peace. Outdoor sound systems are also great for camouflaging unwanted noise. No matter where you live, dress up your deck with a water feature or use one as a focal point in the garden.
A simple, twice-a-year rinse with a garden hose should keep vinyl siding looking spiffy. If the siding has been neglected for years, rub it down with a mixture of three parts water to one part bleach (cover your plants before you apply it). Don't use a power sprayer; the force of the water can bend the pliable material just enough to let water behind it.
Bent or disconnected gutters and downspouts look terrible and allow water to drain where it shouldn't. Seal gutters that leak at the seams with a smear of silicone caulk. Consider, too, a gutter-cover system to prevent debris from getting in and clogging your downspouts. Before you place any gutters, inspect the fascia boards beneath them; they might need to be replaced.
Garage door openers are a worthwhile luxury, especially when it's raining. Installing one is a two-person job; you'll be glad to have an extra set of hands to hold one end of the chain track while you mount it. And remember: Most states require the opener to be plugged into a separate outlet on its own circuit.
No matter how many garage doors you have, painting them the same color as your home's exterior cladding will help to lessen their visual impact from the street. Choose a high-quality latex paint; you can brush or spray it on.
Homes boasting traditional architectural styles look great with window boxes. Choose premade boxes or build your own; keep them the width of the windows. You can bolt the boxes directly through the siding and into the wall studs, or bolt supporting brackets to the studs and fasten the boxes to the brackets. If you choose to bolt directly through the siding, run a bead of caulk along the top and side edges of the box where it meets the siding so rainwater can't seep behind the box. Leave the bottom edge of the box uncaulked for drainage.
Warm and welcoming front-entry lighting provides security for your family and safety for guests. Choose compact fluorescent bulbs to save energy.
First, fix cracks in your driveway. A canister of patching compound or a tube of latex sealant with silicone is all you need. Wait for a warm day, shake the compound well, and apply. Further instructions are on the label. Next, add a fresh coat of paint or sealant. Choose masonry paint for best results; a nonslip type will give your car a better grip during winter. A sealant will blacken and protect gray asphalt.
It's easy to create a walkway from your driveway or sidewalk to your front door. Use a garden hose as a guide for placement. Here, the curved path adds visual interest. Set brick or rocks alongside the hose. Use a yardstick to place the rocks for the other side of the path exactly 3 feet away, then fill the path with gravel or wood chips
Tuck a strip of zinc beneath the ridge shingles at the top of every roofline on your house. You'll need to sneak in a nail every couple of feet; make sure shingles cover the nails. A zinc strip is a long-term solution for controlling moss, algae, and fungus growth. Every time it rains, the metal strip leaches away small amounts of fungistats, which kill the fungus and keep the shingles looking their best.
Note: If moss, algae, or fungus is already growing on your roof, kill it and remove any residual debris before placing the zinc strip.
Assuming your materials are delivered on a Friday and the scale of your project isn't too massive, you should be able to wrap up this project in a weekend. You'll need a 4- to 6-inch layer of compressed base material (such as class 5 gravel), then a 2-inch layer of sand. Place pavers or flagstones on top of that, then fill in the gaps with more sand or gravel.
Instead of installing a low-voltage lighting system, take advantage of the sun with solar-powered lights. Solar-powered path lights are a cinch to install. Choose an area that receives at least eight hours of full sun per day, and either hang the lights or mount them on ground stakes.
Create a cozy ambiance in your yard with a fire pit. A portable unit like this one is a budget-smart way to add in the feature. Or, if you're looking to invest a little more money, consider a built-in fire pit that is sunk into the ground.
FULL YEAR just $5.99