There’s a lot you can do to make your outdoor space more inviting. (Outdoor shower, anyone?) Knowing how to get those things done is another story. Whom do you call? How much will it cost? Don’t worry. Consider this your guide to the ins and outs of 28 great projects that can make your outdoor space the best it can be, from adding a deck and an outdoor pizza oven to repainting your home’s exterior and, yes, even adding an outdoor shower.
1. Add a deck. It’s hard to enjoy your outdoor space without a proper place to kick back and relax in. If you’ve got a sloping yard or a raised home, a deck may be right for you.
2. If you already have a deck, you may need to refinish it. Wood decks are great, but without proper maintenance, they can lose their appeal sooner than they should. It’s recommended that you refinish your wood deck every year or two.
3. Add a built-in grill. Ditching that grill on wheels for a proper, more permanent outdoor grilling station is a dream for many of us. Here’s what to know about how much it will cost and whom to hire for help.
4. Get your own pizza oven. Imagine sitting in your backyard while a fresh pizza cooks over a wood-burning fire.
5. Splurge on an outdoor kitchen. A step up from a built-in grill or pizza oven, a full-on outdoor kitchen makes outdoor living better than indoor living.
6. Add an outdoor shower. What better way to enjoy your outdoor space than by taking all your clothes off?
7. Paint your home’s exterior. This is perhaps the most impactful update you can do to change your outdoor space for the better.
8. Make a garden fountain. Water can have a restorative mental effect. Plus, a fountain makes a great focal point in any space.
9. Add a backyard shed. Sheds are great for adding square footage to a home without doing an extensive remodel.
10. Install a green roof. Green roofs add insulation to a home, which can help cut down energy costs, and they can reduce runoff pollution. Oh, and of course, they look amazing.
11. Upgrade your front yard. If pulling up to your home at the end of the day gives you anxiety because your yard is a mess, it’s probably time for an overhaul.
12. Get a greener driveway. No, not greener in the sense of color, but in its environmental friendliness.
13. Install a new doorbell. Though it’s a small detail, a doorbell makes a big first impression. Plus, it’s a relatively low-cost, high-impact update to an exterior.
14. Update your walkway and driveway. Your front driveway and walkway also make a big first impression. If yours are underwhelming, consider repairing, replacing or enhancing them.
15. Reseal your asphalt driveway. Sometimes your driveway just needs a new face. In fact, asphalt driveways should be resealed every two years. The cost isn’t bad, between 10 and 25 cents per square foot, and the result can make a huge difference.
16. Add a ramp. Because you never know when you or someone you know will want wheelchair access to your home.
17. Replace or revamp your garage doors. Garage doors are another one of those things that make a big first impression, and not only for you when you arrive home — if your garage faces the street, it affects guests, neighbors and passersby as well.
18. Implement a landscape lighting scheme. Just because the sun goes down shouldn’t mean you have to scurry indoors. With the proper lighting scheme, you can extend the use of your outdoor space well into the night.
19. Add a solar water heater. Heating water accounts for a huge chunk of our energy usage. Solar is a great way to heat water with a renewable energy source — and without doing an extensive home remodel.
20. Replaster or remodel your pool. Like anything, pools don’t last forever. The expected life span of plaster on gunite pools is only 10 to 15 years. So if you purchased a home with a pool, or it’s been decades since you installed one, it’s probably ready for an update.
21. Put in a natural swimming pool. These pools avoid chemicals by keeping the water clean and clear through the use of plants and sand filters.
22. Replace your lawn with a garden. Less water use and maintenance are just two benefits of ditching your thirsty lawn for a more native garden.
23. Decorate your patio. If you have a deck or patio, chances are that you won’t use it unless you’ve got a place to sit and other things that entice you to venture outside.
24. Hide your air conditioning unit. Eyesores in the yard might make you think twice about stepping outside to relax. That’s why hiding your air conditioner can allow you to enjoy your space more.
25. Design a colorful flower bed. Before you begin, you’ll want to think about choosing a spot, shape and color scheme.
26. Design the perfect front porch. If you’re thinking of adding a front porch or remodeling one, you’ll want to know the right measurements for the most function.
27. Keep your outdoor furniture looking new. Nobody is going to sit on a cushion that’s green with mold.
28. Add a fun feature. Because sometimes all your outdoor space needs is a playful focal point.