2/12/21

5 Things To Know About Planning Your Exterior Home Improvement Projects


By on 2/12/2021 11:48:00 AM

We still have snow on the ground in our little corner of the world--but that doesn’t mean that we aren’t shifting our thoughts to spring and summer! Winter is the perfect time to begin planning those outdoor home improvement projects that may be lingering on your to-do list (or your wish list!) What are some things you should know about planning your exterior home improvement projects?





Be Sure Necessary Permits are Obtained--and Necessary Inspections Scheduled. We know that heating & cooling installations, large electrical or plumbing projects, or building projects generally require approval, permitting, and inspections by local officials depending on where you live. However, there are often common outdoor, do-it-yourself projects and upgrades that homeowners take on--and may not realize they require special permits or inspections.


From fencing to retaining walls--to roofing, windows, and doors--many cities and municipalities have permit requirements and specific guidelines in place to ensure projects are done safely. If you plan an outdoor project, check with your local city building department to ensure that your project doesn’t need a permit before you begin. It is essential to know if any follow-up inspections are required once the project is completed as well. Even if you have work professionally done and permitted by the contractor--it may be your responsibility to ensure that the project is inspected and deemed complete by local authorities.


Gather Inspiration from a Variety of Sources. We frequently head to Pinterest for home improvement inspiration. While it is a great resource--with loads of new ideas posted each day--many wonderful DIY’ers rarely visit the site or publish their work on blogs or websites. In addition to looking online through the search engines--join some Facebook or DIY groups related to the types of home improvement projects you are planning. While some of the posts and pictures may not be Pinterest-perfect--the ideas may be just what you are looking for in your project space!


Learn A Lot About your Exterior Home Improvement Project. Once you have an outdoor home improvement project in mind--it is time to learn everything you can about the project, the materials, and the work required. You may need special tools for a specific project or even a particular type of lumber that your local home improvement store may only have in limited varieties. The more you learn about your project, the better prepared you will be to make decisions--or even adjustments as the project moves forward. As you know more about the project, you will also be better able to decide if the project fits your skillset and time availability--or if you need to call in some professional help! In some areas, a homeowner may not be legally permitted to perform specific projects without licensing or certifications--so make sure to contact local authorities before diving into a project!


Create a Budget--and Give Some Wiggle Room. You probably set a tentative budget in the back of your mind as you began considering a project and learning about it. Once you know what is needed for a project and have decided if you or a pro should do it--you can begin to gather estimates from contractors and scout pricing for tools and materials. I always plan for a project to cost more than my “budget,”-so I never budget the maximum that I can spend! My maximum budget always includes about $500 more than I hope to spend--just in case some mishaps pop up along the way!


Measure Twice, Cut Once. Once you have the inspiration, the resources, and the budget--it is time to plan your project's details. Many large home improvement stores have a host of project planning tools and calculators for customers to use as they plan projects. Plan to spend the bulk of your time planning and calculating to ensure that your project details mesh with your project space and your goals! You may find that you can combine a couple of large projects into one giant project without adding a lot of time or expense by sharing resources. We opted to repair and stain our deck and fence and re-build some landscape boxes when we were having pool repairs done so that the area was only “out of service” for a part of our summer--and the mess of one project wouldn’t impact the other.


Outdoor home improvement projects really add value and curb appeal to your home. Choosing your project may be the easy part of the process--but, these tips should help you better plan your next home improvement adventure.


About Angela

Angela is a freelance travel writer and lifestyle blogger, blessed with 3 beautiful daughters, 5 moody cats, 1 spoiled dog, and 1 very supportive husband.

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