Do-it-yourself projects are a great way to spruce up your home. They can transform otherwise boring spaces into focal points for your relaxation or for parties. They can even add to the value of your home if you ever need to sell.
The advantage of DIY projects is that you save a lot of money by doing them yourself instead of hiring a contractor.
In addition to saving money, you also get the pride and satisfaction that comes with completing a job. Many people love to work on such projects, but they often stop doing them in the fall or winter. That is a shame, because some of the best DIY projects are winter projects.
If you find yourself itching for your next project, here are some great ideas for DIY outdoor projects in the fall and winter.
1. Build A Fire Pit
When the weather grows cold, nothing beats sitting around a warm fire with friends and family. There is something truly special about outdoor fires that an indoor fireplace just cannot replicate.
Building an outdoor fire pit is as easy as digging a pit, adding some quality fill dirt back into it to provide a stable (and non-flammable) base, laying down some crushed stone, and surrounding it with simple stonework. Easy, fun, and provides a great spot to enjoy the outdoors even in the coldest weather.
2. Build Raised Garden Beds
It may seem odd to do this in the winter, but this way you will be ready to plant in the spring. Raised garden beds are great because they can bring the soil up to a comfortable height for you. You can raise them by just a few inches or you can raise them to waist height by essentially building them like giant tables.
Much like the fire pit, you will need to excavate the soil and fill it back in. You may need to purchase new soil to ensure that you have a garden rich in the nutrients that plants need. Simple wooden boards are all that is needed to form the beds themselves, unless you plan to raise them off the ground completely, in which case plans are available online from many different sources.
3. Build A Patio
In many places, winters are cold, but mild, while the summers are brutally hot. If that describes your area, winter is the perfect time for you to get outside and build something. A patio or a deck is a great way to add a comfortable outdoor living space to your backyard.
Patios and decks require a good foundation, which means excavating at least some of the ground where the supports will be, laying down fill dirt for even support, and topping that off with concrete once the supports are in. It can be a big project, but it is very satisfying and will end up dramatically improving your yard.
4. Build A Garden Path
Garden path, sidewalk, walkway, or anything else you want to call it. This is a paved path between the back door or the patio and a specific spot in your yard- perhaps the fire pit you have just finished building.
Use quality fill dirt topped with gravel or crushed stone to create a stable, weight-bearing base, and then you have a few options for how to top it. You can lay down a flat, thick stone every few inches for people to step on, you can use bricks or smaller stones to cover the whole walkway, or you can mix up some concrete and spread that out to pave it.
A paved pathway like this can really tie the whole yard together, and make entertainment spaces like fire pits or outdoor kitchens more accessible.
5. Plant Some Trees
If sitting outside in the yard was too warm for you this summer, planting shade trees is a great solution. Not only can they cool down your yard but, if properly positioned, they can help keep the interior of your house cool as well.
For this to be effective soon, though, you need to buy and plant fairly mature trees that can tolerate the cold well. You will need to dig out the soil where you intend to plant them, and add quality topsoil and/or screened fill dirt once the tree is in the ground. This ensures that the soil around the new tree is nutrient rich and free of rocks or other obstacles that would impede root growth. Select the right trees and care for them properly and by summer you will have shade.
6. Add A Water Feature
Whether it is a small pond or a fountain, winter can be the perfect time to add a new water feature. If the weather is not too harsh where you live, the winter is much more pleasant to work outside in than the summer is.
Adding in a small pond requires digging out a hole for a liner that will contain the water. Quality fill dirt is then placed back in underneath and around the liner to ensure that everything is level.
7. Build A Bocce Ball Court
Lawn games are great in warm weather, so make sure you are ready for the spring by building a bocce ball court in your yard. Cut away the sod and use extra dirt to make sure that the ground is level. Regulation size is an area of thirteen feet by ninety-one feet.
Build a wooden frame, lay down some more fill dirt or base rock and level it, and top it with a layer of decomposed granite.
8. Outdoor Seating Area (stone “island”)
At the end of your garden path, or just at a favorite spot, build a stone seating area. Mark the boundaries and cut away the sod inside them, using fill dirt to level the area afterwards. Then top that with crushed stone, and finish with a layer of flat paving stones to create a smooth surface. You now have a beautiful seating area away from the house. This is a perfect spot for an above-ground, metal fire pit.
If you have any questions about these, or would like to know more about outdoor DIY projects, contact Dirt Connections. In addition to answering your questions, they can also help you with the supplies that you need in order to complete these projects.