We have lived in our house for two years, and this year was the first summer we had the money and the time to do anything with the backyard. I had to tear up the garden to rid it of all the lily bulbs, making a mess on the sidewalk. We tried to make a swing in the big tree. It ended up becoming a pull knot for our pit bull, but she loves it. Finally, we stained the new deck a solid white. These projects took place over a few months and each of them taught us something about outside DIY projects.
Have a plan- Not having a plan for our swing made it an unsuccessful project. When I had to tear up the garden, I made a plan to first get rid of the lily bulbs and then turn the soil to break up the remaining roots. My garden turned out great and the seeds began sprouting within a week. I even got the idea to put a plant box on the deck railing for easy access to spices from the kitchen.
Research city codes, homeowners’ association guidelines, property lines, and permits needed for your project- This is mainly for large projects but it can make a big difference depending on where you live. Our garden against the fence separating us from our neighbor so I want to make sure my plants stay on our side. The owners before us installed the fence too close to the road, putting it on city property.
Use a tarp to prevent run off- If the project involves disturbing the Earth and may take several days, put a tarp over the project at night and secure it with heavy objects or stakes just in case it rains. Run-off is unsightly and bad for the environment. No one wants to go back to a project having to work with mud and water everywhere.
Make it a social affair- Outside projects are a fun way to socialize with family and friends, especially if there is a promise of pizza involved afterward. It also teaches kids a little about owning a home and working with their hands. My husband and I could have used a lot of help staining the deck but we did not think to ask. Our next door neighbor did however fix the leak we had in the sub-pump pipe for us.