Everyone in our neighborhood has been out in their yards – weeding, cutting and planting – because of the mild winter and warm weather we’re experiencing. The first year as homeowners we were eager to tame the garden and I got good advice from a neighbor who said always sharpen your hand tools so they will cut sharper and dig deeper into the soil. It was good advice then and it is today. If you didn’t get around to giving your hand tools a once over at the end of last season do it now before using them. It’s a simple matter of removing any dirt and mud from weeders, pruning tools and shovel blades. Get rid of tough dirt with a wire brush and coat the metal parts with a lubricant like WD-40 especially at the pivot point of the tool. Use a fine metal file on cutters and shovel to sharpen the blades. If wooden handles are rough to the touch sand them with some fine sandpaper and rub on a wipe on oil finish to prevent splinters. These quick fix ups cost nothing and will keep your hand tools working all through the season. A power lawn mower is a little more involved and expensive. You can have a mower tuned up for $90 or do it yourself for only $15. Here’s a link to find out what’s involved Tune up a lawn mower. A professional tune up for a lawn tractor will run about $200 but you can do it for $80. Here’s what’s involved Tune up a lawn tractor.
The argument for gardening is a strong one that includes the benefits of being outdoors, physical activity and exercise, enriching the soil with nutrients and all while making your property more beautiful. But I left it behind when we moved to a townhouse and I’ve never missed it. As a matter of fact, I truly enjoy watching the lawn folks – Gary and Wendy – meticulously maintain the complex we live in. It makes me smile every Friday afternoon when I hear the churn of their mower and edger and look out my window to see them transform the lawn with their talents. I smell the freshly cut turf and it makes me smile even more. Many of my friends, who are gardening enthusiasts, can’t understand how and why my attitude changed and I can’t say I do either. While I used to love working in the yard pulling weeds and watching plants grow, now I consider gardening akin to make-work. It keeps you busy, but at what expense? I think of all the chemicals I’ve worked into the soil over the years and wonder what harmful effects they might have on the environment in the future. I think I’d rather get my physical exercise at the local YMCA with others than being isolated in my yard. I think of all the work I’ve put into gardening only to repeat it several times each season. As I get older I see the value of my time and think it’s better spent doing things that have more meaning to me.
I hope you’ll visit us at www.diyornot.com if you want to know the cost of home improvements comparing doing it yourself vs. hiring a professional.If you’re an ebook reader, check out our ebook about Outdoor Project Job Costs and others http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=katie+and+gene+hamilton.
Get ready for guests with good lighting at your front entrance. The addition of a new outdoor fixture on a porch or front entry illuminates the area while it also acts as a deterrent against intruders who prefer a darkly lit front door. And you can’t have a more welcoming beacon for friends then a well lit entrance so they can read the house numbers and be confident of sure footing on walkways or stairs.
We pulled together the cost data for the most popular types of outdoor lighting fixtures – solar entry and solar landscape lights, a porch lantern, a security light and a light post in a feature called Outdoor Lighting Fixtures and How Much They Cost at www.diyornot.com. I hope you’ll visit us there to find the cost of hundreds of home improvement, repair and decorating jobs so you can compare the cost of doing it yourself with hiring a contractor.
One of the advantages of a second level deck is its expansive view of leafy treetops, another benefit is the untapped potential of the space below the deck. Since the open decking makes the area below it unprotected from rain and snow it’s vulnerable to weather conditions so it’s often allocated as a catch all area. But it doesn’t have to be. There’s a whole lot more that the space can be used for with the addition of an under deck ceiling. You can create found space and redefine it as a ground level living space or protected storage area with a vinyl ceiling material.
At www.diyornot.com you can compare the cost of doing a project yourself with hiring a contractor. You could hire a contractor to install the under deck ceiling below a 14-by-20 foot deck for $2,330. Or, because the material is designed for a handy homeowner to install, you could purchase the materials for $2,000 and do the project yourself, pocketing a 14 percent savings. To learn more go to Install an underdeck ceiling.
And visit us at www.m.diyornot.com on your smartphone to compare the cost of doing hundreds of home improvement projects yourself with hiring a contractor.
Cleaning gutters has always been a dreaded chore of homeowning but well worth the effort. Twice a year in the Spring and Fall we’d spend a Saturday morning maintaining the gutters and downspouts. One of us would scale the ladder with bucket in tow wearing rubber gloves while the other stood at the base of the ladder securing it and ready to load a garbage bag with the debris sent down in the bucket. The system worked as efficiently as it could, but it was never a pleasant experience digging into the mucky wet leaves and dirt that accumulated and scooping the mess into the bucket. We developed our routine after several ill-fated attempts to get it done quicker by working together. It seemed we spent more time climbing up and down the ladder to empty the bucket so we attacked the job as a team.
The system worked well especially on our one-story house because the climb and decline were not a great distance. We’d use a garden hose to flush out the cleaned gutters and check for any leaks. It was always a good feeling when it was over.
To find out how much it costs to do it yourself compared with hiring a handyman go to Repair and Clean Gutters. Look for the project costs of hundreds more home improvement jobs at our website www.diyornot.com and its mobile site www.m.diyornot.com.
Looking for a mindless job that pays off big? Power wash your deck. It’s grunt work that is tedious, time consuming and requires little or no skills. Power Washing a Deck is a good example of grunt work and it’s a job we usually do ourselves. Whether you rent a power washer for the afternoon for about $80 or buy a unit for about $165, it’s money well spent. Every Spring the buildup of dead leaves and dirt deposited on a deck by Mother Nature should be removed, it’s an annual part of home maintenance.
The repetitive nature of using a power washer makes it easy for even an all thumbs homeowner. If you can control a garden hose, you’re likely to be able to handle the wand of a power washer once you’re familiar with its operation. And there’s a sublime feeling of satisfaction as the dirt is removed revealing the natural grain of the wood decking. Noisy it is, that’s for sure, but when the hum of the motor stops the silence and clean decking makes it all worth the effort.
Visit us at www.diyornot.com to compare the cost of hundreds of home improvement projects by doing it yourself or hiring a contractor. On a smartphone try www.m.diyornot.com.
Today a garage means different things to different people. It can exist to protect a car or to create a man cave, but for most of us it’s somewhere in between. As young marrieds we didn’t have a garage with our first home so it became a must-have on our list of features for our next one. As we moved from house to house our garages evolved from an old farmhouse garage with a dirt floor designed for a horse and carriage to a luxurious 3-car studio and workshop. A friend has a garage so organized and decked out it’s fit for entertaining, ours is a basic one-car unit we use for storage and workshop. Come bad weather in the winter we pull in the car to protect it from snow or ice and it suits us just fine.
If you’re inclined to make better use of the garage you have, here’s a link to garage projects in Garage Overhaul and How Much It Costs. The upgrades give you an idea of what’s involved and the price you’ll pay. No matter how practical or elaborate you make your garage the most challenging part of the job is getting rid of what’s there and organizing what’s left so you can find it. Good luck with that.
To learn the cost of hundreds of home improvement projects and compare the price of doing it yourself with hiring a contractor, visit us at www.diyornot.com. On a smartphone we’re at www.m.diyornot.com.