5. Patio Furniture
What's a well-maintained, flower filled deck without furniture? If your current patio table and chairs is on its last legs, before you buy a new furniture set take into account Roberts' mini-guide below for purchasing outdoor furniture meant to last:
• Weather-resistant pillows in bold colors bring comfort and zest to the seating area, while floor pillows add extra seating.
• Make sure your patio umbrella is weighted to prevent high winds from taking hold. Many glass top tables have been broken by high winds
And finally, Roberts says wind chimes and an outdoor clock/thermometer are affordable outdoor accessories to spruce up the area.
6. Building a Fence
Installing a fence around the perimeter of your property could costs thousands, but is certainly necessary for safety and privacy reasons. Barbara Hastings, senior manager in marketing communications at Troy-Bilt, a manufacturer of outdoor power equipment, offers the following tips for constructing the perfect fence (though this project is likely for the experienced DIYers.)
Step 1: Spacing
To begin, you need to plot out the fence outline and mark all corners. Posts should be spaced six to eight feet apart.
Step 2: Posts
Set the fence posts at least two feet into the ground. This should equal one-third of the overall length of the post. Dig post holes at marked locations and add gravel in the bottom of each hole. Place posts in holes and fill with concrete to two inches above ground level -- then brace the posts.
Step 3: Rails
Cut your fence rails once the posts have set. Nail them four feet apart from each other. Attach bottom stringers to fence posts with screws and nails -- usually six inches up from the grade. Attach top stringers to the fence posts approximately six inches below the top of the pickets.
Step 4: Pickets
Once you have determined how many pickets you will need, cut them to length. Lay out the pickets side by side to determine how wide the spaces between them should be. Attach pickets to the stringers with screws and nails. Using a spacer block can help with space consistency.
Step 5: Protection
Once you have completed construction, remember to apply paint or stain to protect the fence from inclement weather.
7. The Birdhouse
You read that correctly -- the birdhouse. It's a common backyard accessory, but whether or not you have one in your yard, it may not have a copper roof. Eric Berman of Erikson Birdhouse shares the following tips for how to construct a striking copper roof for your birdhouse, bound to stand out and garner compliments from guests (and neighbors!)
Step 1: Calculate
Determine the dimensions of your birdhouse's roof to estimate the appropriate size of sheet metal to purchase. Most home improvement stores will cut the sheet metal for you.
Step 2: Bend
Use the bar folder to bend the edges over two to three times around the perimeter. This provides a sturdy, blunt edge for the roof and improves the look of the finished product. After the edges have been folded, you can easily bend the roof with your hands to fit it onto the birdhouse structure.
Step 3: Customize
For a patina look, use the metal spritzer to lightly mist the copper roof. Allow to dry completely. For a newer, polished copper look, omit this step.
Step 4: Attach
Align the copper roof to your structure. On the copper sheet, mark where the nails will attach the roof to the birdhouse. Once the marks have been made, drill holes into the roof using a metal-cutting drill attachment, making sure the holes align with the wooden structure of the birdhouse. Using the copper nails, attach the roof to your wooden birdhouse.
8. Barbeque Cleaning
Now that your deck is looking brand new and your outdoor furniture is in tip-top shape, it's time to start grilling. A filthy barbeque impacts the taste of the food. A dirty grill doesn't mean you need to replace it. Instead of buying a new grill, cleaning your current one is a cost effective way to grill as if you bought the barbeque yesterday. Bruce Yacko, CEO of JAWS Cleaners, shares his expert tips with MainStreet:
Step 1: Heat
Heat the grill to a low heat and use a stiff wire brush for the grate(s). Be careful to avoid coming in direct contact with the hot grates.