DIY projects improve outdoor living spaces

With the right tools and inspiration, you can make more of your outdoor spaces, simply and cost-effectively. (StatePoint)

DIY projects improve outdoor living spaces

(StatePoint) Are you taking advantage of your yard and maximizing its potential as a living space? All you need is a bit of time and energy to transform your yard into the perfect place to spend time with family and friends.

“There are so many projects homeowners can do themselves to increase the appeal and usability of their outdoor living space,” says Doug Scott, landscape designer and blogger behind the website “Redeem Your Ground.”

A new, free, six-part how-to video series from Exmark, a leading manufacturer of lawn care equipment, can help. “Done-in-a-Weekend” offers DIY projects that empower almost any homeowner to improve their yards and enjoy the payoff of their work for years to come. To get you started, here are a few ideas from the online series.

Get cozy
A portable fire pit is a cozy gathering space that’s simple and cost-effective to create. First, select a location and obtain any necessary building or fire permits. It’s best if the fire pit is set at least 10 feet away from your home, fence and other manmade structures. The space should be about 15- to 18-feet in diameter, which allows for five to six feet for the fire pit itself, and another five to six feet around the perimeter for seating and mobility. Mark the space, then prepare the general area by raking away debris and leveling the ground. Use fire-resistant materials such as mini slate chips, stone or brick to create the floor of the pit. Then, select seating and other accessories to give this space the same cozy feel as any room of your home.

Connect the dots
Walkways and paths can enhance the beauty and functionality of your yard, tying together outdoor spaces. Gravel and mulch are cost-effective materials that are easy to install. To kick it up a notch, use paving stones, which are more durable and less likely to cause drainage problems. Before starting, call 811 to have all utilities located and marked. Then, measure and mark the locations of your walkways.

Use a sod cutter to remove existing sod and make room for the walkway to be installed. Next, level and prepare the area. After laying the pavers, fill the joints with sand and install a soldier course along the border to tie the walkway together. Finally, compact the entire walkway so it’s level with adjoining surfaces, eliminating trip hazards.

Layer up
Select and install plants that vary in form, size, color and leaf structure to help you create the dream outdoor space. Seek plant varieties well-suited for your growing conditions. Note, this will change as you move around the yard, as sun exposure varies. Also, when planning, keep in mind that plants will be larger once they mature.

To complete these projects and all standard yard care maintenance, be sure to use high-quality equipment designed to help you work faster, not harder. For more project ideas and videos, visit

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