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SALT LAKE CITY — If the exterior of your home got a little worn down and neglected during winter, check out these easy do-it-yourself projects to spruce up your yard and home.
Lou Manfredini has been a homebuilder and renovator for 25 years. Now he serves as Ace Hardware’s home expert, and he offered several tips for homeowners to update the exteriors of their homes.
The first thing Manfredini recommends is to clean up and declutter the outside of your home. Winter can often mat down shrubs and break branches in your yard, giving it an unkempt look. Spend a day raking up dead grass, pruning your bushes or trees and using a pressure washer to clean away mud or dirt from the sidewalks and driveway.
“It will be remarkable how much better your exterior on and around your home can look,” Manfredini said. “And you really didn’t spend any money, it was just really more of your time.”
He also suggested standing across the street to take a look at your home. A new vantage point can help you notice things that should be fixed like missing shingles.
A new coat of paint can go a long way in preventing your home from looking drab or rundown. Manfredini recommended touching up areas where the paint has started peeling, whether on the house or fence. He also suggested using accent colors to make your home look fresh and new.
“If you really want to change the look of your home, then paint the front door a color, and I mean a real color — a deep green or a deep red or a purple,” he said.
He said if you have shutters on your home to paint them a corresponding color to brighten the overall appearance.
Cost: $10 for good paint brush and $30 for typical gallon of paint
Adding flood lights can go a long way in brightening and “adding life to your home in the evening,” Manfredini said. A simple way to do it is to buy two LED flood lights, attach them to stakes, stick them in your front lawn close to the front of your home and point the lights towards your house. You can also buy stake lights.
“It’s accent lighting that creates a funnel effect of light,” he said. “It’s really a beautiful look.”
Manfredini recommended centering the lights if you have a center-entry home.
Cost: $12.99 for stakes and $20 for two packs of LED lightbulbs
Condition your lawn
The largest area around most homes is usually the lawn and so if the lawn is yellow or untrimmed, it is very noticeable. Manfredini said one of the best ways to achieve a really green lawn is to use soil conditions, not just fertilizers.
He recommends using Milorganite, an all-natural soil conditioner, and sprinkling it on your grass about once a month during the spring and summer. Too much fertilizer can burn out the grass, but you can use soil conditioner more regularly, Manfredini said.
“It’s full of iron and so it gets inside the soil and it has so many nutrients in it that it gets inside the soil and it feeds the root of the plant,” he said.
Cost: $12.99 per bag
Fill in cracks and put sealcoat on driveway
Asphalt driveways can crack and often look worn out after a few years. Manfredini said putting a sealcoat on your driveway will not only protect it from further damage, but it will make it look brand new.
First, you should take a broom and sweep the driveway really well. Then use a bucket of soapy water to wash the driveway, using a broom as a scrub brush. After you have sprayed off the driveway, let it completely drive.
Next, take an asphalt crack filler and fill in all the cracks in your driveway. After it dries, use a squeegee or paint roller to spread the asphalt sealant — Manfredini recommends the Black Jack brand.
For best results, don’t do it when the temperature is above 80 degrees or right in the middle of the day. Also, check the weather and make sure it isn’t going to rain before you do it. Asphalt sealant typically take 48 hours to completely dry, so don’t drive on it before then, Manfredini said.
Cost: $39.99 to $69.99 for five gallons of asphalt sealant