Summer Home Improvement Projects to Cross Off Your List

Summer is a great time for home improvement projects and DIY updates around the house. Set some time (and money) aside this summer to give your home some TLC. Not only will it increase the overall value of your home, but little upgrades here and there can also save you a lot of money down the line.

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Some home improvements can be expensive, such as adding central air conditioning or remodeling an entire room of your house. But some lower-cost projects can add value for less money. Here are some simple, affordable home improvement projects to try this summer that won’t break the bank.

1. Pressure-Wash Outdoor Areas

Winter weather can leave all sorts of dirt and grime on your home’s exterior and other outdoor areas. Take advantage of the warmer weather to give your home a high-powered cleaning. A pressure washer can quickly remove buildup on siding, driveways, decks, patios, and walkways. 

If you don’t own a pressure washer, you can often rent one at your local home center or hardware store. As you clean your home’s exterior, direct the spray downward to avoid forcing water into cracks or seams. Use a lower-pressure setting on surfaces that could easily be damaged, such as painted siding or wood decks.

2. Refinish Your Deck

Sprucing up your deck with fresh paint or stain in anticipation of summer entertaining is a summer home improvement project that will really pay off. Not only will refinishing your deck give it a clean look, but it will also help reduce cracks and splinters, making the surface friendlier for bare feet. Proper prep is key to a beautiful finish, so take the time to clean the surface and strip off the old finish before you begin. 

While you’re at it, consider painting your patio furniture to make it look good as new. Then hang some outdoor string lights to make your space a dreamy oasis perfect for hosting a event.

Jay Wilde

3. Build a Shed

Add value to your home and a spot to park your lawn equipment by building a shed in your backyard. Before starting this project, check with your local authorities, as building codes and ordinances vary by location. Once you’ve gotten the go-ahead, choose a spot in your yard that offers convenient access and prepare a solid, even foundation. You can purchase shed kits at home centers and online or find building plans that can easily be customized with different materials.

4. Declutter Your Home

A summer home improvement project that can make a big difference in your living space is decluttering. Air out and organize those sometimes-forgotten areas that tend to be used less in colder months, like the garage, an outdoor shed, or a basement. It doesn’t usually cost anything to declutter, and you can earn money by selling items you no longer use. Plus, you can use your earnings toward other home repairs. 

“It costs nothing except a week or two of your time, and the ability to let go and part ways with unneeded clutter that no longer brings you or your home joy,” says Emilie Dulles, lifestyle design expert and founder of Dulles Designs. Your clutter can cost you money, and getting rid of things you don’t use will make room in your house and even give you ideas for other improvements.

5. Refresh Your House with Paint

Summer is the perfect season for more significant paint projects. If you have areas in your home that you’ve been meaning to repaint, such as entire rooms or the exterior, summer is the time to do it—and a little paint could go a long way in transforming your space. The warm weather lets the paint cure properly and ensures that it will last longer. 

“I think painting is one of the best DIY projects because it can be easily corrected if you make any mistakes,” says Chicago-based real estate developer Bill Samuel. “It really has a huge impact on the overall space when you take your time to repair any blemishes and do a quality job.” Samuel says you can expect to pay between $15 to $50 per gallon; more expensive paints will usually cover the walls better and last longer. Dulles recommends painting parts of your home (or all of it) white to make it look bigger and brighter.

6. Check Gutters

This might not be the most fun or creative home improvement project, but it’s an important one for protecting your home against summer storms and preparing for the colder months ahead. 

“Winter, followed by a rainy spring, can take a toll on your gutters and downspouts,” says Bailey Carson, home expert at Angi, a digital company that helps people find local professionals for home projects. “If they’re ignored, you could end up needing to replace them altogether, or worse, dealing with foundation damage, interior flooding, driveway cracks, or landscape erosion.” The damage would cost you way more than cleaning your gutters, which averages $160, ranging from $118 to $225. 

All you need (if you don’t have this equipment) is a gutter cleaning attachment for your garden hose, a ladder, a bucket, a gutter scoop, and heavy-duty gloves. You could also buy a gutter guard to protect your gutters and prevent leaves from gathering in them in the first place.

Adam Albright

7. Spruce Up Landscaping

Give your yard some attention, too—you’re probably spending a lot more time in it enjoying the beautiful summer weather. While the cost of renovating your outdoor space varies depending on the project, there are simple DIY improvements to elevate your backyard or front yard for a lot less. 

Commercial real estate investor and founder of Property Cashin Marina Vaamonde says landscape your front yard. “Gardens make homes more aesthetically pleasing, and they also can add to the property value. Summertime is the perfect time to plant perennials, a variety of beautiful-looking flowers that are low maintenance,” says Vaamonde. She also suggests lupines and hydrangeas as other beautiful (and low-maintenance) additions to your garden.

Adding plants or flowers up the walkway to your front door can give you instant curb appeal and liven up your front yard, says money-saving expert Andrea Woroch. You can do the same sprucing up in your backyard to eliminate overgrown or dead plants, trees, or shrubs, and add some patio furniture.

8. Clean or Replace AC Filters

Another not-so-fun but critical summer home improvement project: cleaning or replacing the filters on your HVAC unit. Don’t worry: this one is quick and won’t take as much time as cleaning your gutters. 

“Filters get dirty, especially if they haven’t been changed in six months,” says Rick Hoskins, home DIY expert and founder of FilterKing. Dirty filters can cause allergies by circulating dust, mold, and other allergens throughout your home when the AC is on during the summer. All you have to do is find your AC and furnace vents, unscrew them, and clean or replace the filters. Hoskins suggests looking for filters with a MERV rating between 8 and 13 for optimal protection.

9. Repair Siding

Summer is a good time to evaluate your vinyl siding for holes or tears that compromise the barrier it provides to your house, as well as unsightly areas that might have grown dingy or stained. If you find a small damaged area, you can clean and repair with caulk. If your siding has a larger area that needs repair (beyond your DIY skill level), seek professional help.

Check the integrity of your caulk at siding seams and in the corners. A fresh bead of caulk might be needed to secure the siding. Remove the old and dry caulk, then run a fresh bead where needed.

10. Install a New Doorbell

Your home might need a new doorbell that simply works better or maybe you’re ready to upgrade to a next-generation video doorbell that keeps the “porch pirates” away. Either way, summer is the perfect time to replace your doorbell.

Even if you aren’t tech-savvy, installation is fairly simple and the manufacturers do a thorough enough job explaining the process. Of course, no two homes are alike and, sometimes, the manufacturer’s instructions can leave you with unanswered questions. To ease you through the process, we’ve put together a step-by-step guide for installing your video doorbell.

Kritsada Panichgul

11. Plant a Garden

The longer days give us more time to work outside. For gardeners, or hope-to-be gardeners, summer is the season to try to new plants, design a new garden bed, amend soil, and more. If you’ve never planted a thing in your life, there’s a lot to consider—your planting Zone, your soil, light conditions, how much you want to tend to your plants, and even food production vs. flower beds.

If you want to start small, consider a raised garden bed. The structure of the bed (usually some type of wood) defines the size of what you can grow, and therefore, how much time you’ll need to devote to your garden.

12. Clean Your Windows

Clean windows improve your home’s curb appeal and allow natural to fill your rooms inside. They also give you a better window to the world outside. But cleaning those windows can present a logistical challenge. How do you safely get to your exterior windows, especially those on the second floor? There are various approaches, including using a ladder, extendable poles, magnetic window cleaners, and robotic cleaners, and safety is a top priority.

If you’re not cool with working on a ladder or have a tricky terrain, there are plenty of other gadgets and tools that make it possible to reach difficult windows—from telescoping squeegees to cleaner sprays you attach to a garden hose to robots.

13. Add Lights in Your Garden

Bringing in light is a great way to make your garden usable at all hours. Garden lights along a sidewalk can add style as well as safety. There are plenty of low-voltage landscape lights to choose from. Or for the easiest way to add light, buy some solar lights. They are a stock item in the big box stores or you’ll find lots to pick from online. You pop them in the ground and that’s it. The sun charges them throughout the day. The lights come on in the evening.

Another way to bring light to your yard is by hanging string lights in your tree. Wrap them on low hanging branches or around the trunk. If a permanent installation is an option, hire a pro to install uplights on trees for extra drama.

The longer summer evenings will be more fun with light


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