DIY projects to im­prove your out­door liv­ing space

The Palm Beach Post - Residences - - News -

(StatePoint) Are you tak­ing ad­van­tage of your yard and max­i­miz­ing its po­ten­tial as a liv­ing space? All you need is a bit of time and en­ergy to trans­form your yard into the per­fect place to spend time with fam­ily and friends.

“There are so many projects home­own­ers can do them­selves to in­crease the ap­peal and us­abil­ity of their out­door liv­ing space,” says Doug Scott, land­scape de­signer and blog­ger be­hind “Re­deem Your Ground.”

A new, free six-part how-to video se­ries from Ex­mark, a lead­ing man­u­fac­turer of lawn care equip­ment, can help. “Done-in-a-Week­end” of­fers DIY projects that em­power al­most any home­owner to im­prove their yards and en­joy the pay­off of their work for years to come. To get you started, here are a few ideas from the on­line se­ries.

GET COZY A por­ta­ble fire pit is a cozy gath­er­ing space that’s sim­ple and cost-ef­fec­tive to cre­ate. First, se­lect a lo­ca­tion and ob­tain any nec­es­sary build­ing or fire per­mits. It’s best if the fire pit is set at least 10 feet away from your home, fence and other man­made struc­tures. The space should be about 15- to 18-feet in di­am­e­ter, which al­lows for five to six feet for the fire pit it­self and an­other five to six feet around the perime­ter for seat­ing and mo­bil­ity. Mark the space then pre­pare the gen­eral area by rak­ing away de­bris and lev­el­ing the ground. Use fire-re­sis­tant ma­te­ri­als such as mini slate chips, stone or brick to cre­ate the floor of the pit. Then, se­lect seat­ing and other ac­ces­sories to give this space the same cozy feel as any room of your home.

CON­NECT THE DOTS Walk­ways and paths can en­hance the beauty and func­tion­al­ity of your yard, ty­ing to­gether out­door spa­ces. Gravel and mulch are cost-ef­fec­tive ma­te­ri­als that are easy to in­stall. To kick it up a notch, use paving stones, which are more durable and less likely to cause drainage prob­lems. Be­fore start­ing, call 811 to have all util­i­ties lo­cated and marked. Then, mea­sure and mark the lo­ca­tions of your walk­ways.

Use a sod cut­ter to re­move ex­ist­ing sod and make room for the walk­way to be in­stalled. Next, level and pre­pare the area. Af­ter lay­ing the pavers, fill the joints with sand and in­stall a sol­dier course along the bor­der to tie the walk­way to­gether. Fi­nally, com­pact the en­tire walk­way so it’s level with ad­join­ing sur­faces, elim­i­nat­ing trip haz­ards.

LAYER UP Se­lect and in­stall plants that vary in form, size, color and leaf struc­ture to help you cre­ate the dream out­door space. Seek plant va­ri­eties well-suited for your grow­ing con­di­tions. Note, this will change as you move around the yard, as sun ex­po­sure varies. Also, when plan­ning, keep in mind that plants will be larger once they ma­ture.

To com­plete these projects and all stan­dard yard care main­te­nance, be sure to use high-qual­ity equip­ment de­signed to help you work faster, not harder. For more project ideas and videos, visit WeAreEx­

With the right tools and in­spi­ra­tion, you can make more of your out­door spa­ces, sim­ply and cost­ef­fec­tively.

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