B’s Outdoor Project Summer To-Do List

Okay guys, it’s finally time to talk about the outside of our house and to be honest, I’m kind of dreading it because it’s so bad (spoiler alert: way worse than the photos even make it look). We have a LOT of outdoor projects to do and the thought of the never-ending to-do list is starting to feel a tad overwhelming. But like any project we’ve taken on so far, I’m trying to focus on the amazing transformation we’ll have to show for all of our hard work on the other end.

Before Photos

landscaping before projects

Here’s a picture of our house from the MLS listing and to be honest, this photo makes the entire outdoor space look way better than it actually does in person. Here’s what our house looks like now, 7 months and one cold winter later…So many things to do on this outdoor project to-do list to improve this home's curb appeal for the summertime

And once again, this photo makes the landscaping look better than it does in person… if you can believe that. The landscaping is pretty awful. There’s grass growing where it’s not supposed to, there’s also grass not growing where it is supposed to, the bricks in the landscaping are a hot mess, the brown door hurts my eyes, and the 1950’s bushes are not helping add any visual interest.

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my house (well, maybe not the brick color but that’s a whole story for a different day). Bottom line: this house needs an outdoor facelift… ASAP.

Living On A Corner Lot  patio landscaping before

I don’t know if I’ve ever told you guys, but we live on a corner lot. I know you’re probably thinking, “ughhhh, yikes”, but to be perfectly honest, we LOVE it. But the one thing that’s a little less than ideal is that our corner lot means our “backyard” is actually a side yard. The previous owners added quite a few trees to add privacy, but it’s just not working.

Our neighborhood is super friendly and filled with kids and families being outside, and this secluded space just doesn’t work.

before patio makeover

Not to mention, the “patio” is the worst part of all of our landscaping problems. patio landscaping in order

A window well that is a safety hazard outside on the patioThese brown shutters need to be painted to get rid of the peeling paintThe existing patio is small and narrow, the paver bricks are uneven, and there’s a super ugly window well smack dab in the middle of it that could swallow a little kid right up (I’m only half-way joking about that part). The current set-up is just not working, not to mention those shutters are peeling, and every time I look at them my heart breaks just a little bit. How am I a DIY blogger living with shutters that are that bad?! #embarrassing  front of house with landscaping that needs makeover

Pavers that are falling over in the grass

Man oh man, do we have a lot of work ahead of us! But before we get to the master outdoor project to-do list for this summer, let’s chat about the other side of our property — the ugly garage door side and everything that comes with that.

The Garage Side

A brown garage door needs some attention to improve the curb appeal of this home. A brown door with chipping paint needs some TLC More brown. More chipping paint. More uneven paver bricks. More weeds. You guys get the idea… it’s bad and is screaming, “please help!!”. And that’s exactly our plan this summer. It may be a little a lot ambitious, but here is our MASTER outdoor project to-do list for the landscaping this summer.

Outdoor Project To-Do List

  • Clean windows and screens (I had to put something on there I already completed so I could feel a tiny bit accomplished… this list is overwhelming!)
  • Rip all of the old bushes out
  • Remove rocks/brick
  • Find and hire a landscaper for project
  • Get a permit from the city for a new patio
  • Install new patio
  • Hide window wells
  • Power wash shutters and repaint
  • Power wash the home’s brick (has anyone done this, does it make a difference?!)
  • Add window flower boxes (like we did in our last house)
  • Update address plate (still love this one from our old house)
  • Power wash mailbox and repaint
  • Power wash step up to the mudroom door and repaint
  • Fix the pavers by the mudroom door
  • Pick a color for the front door
  • Paint the front door
  • Buy and set up furniture
  • Upgrade lighting (and figure out how to turn on the outside lights!!)
  • Add some type of shade on the patio
  • Paint garage door and mudroom door
  • Give the grass some extra TLC
  • Add string lights on a timer
  • Hide garbage cans from the street
  • In the future: change the handrail up to the front door, add more shutters, and increase overall curb appeal

Next Steps

Making a list of outdoor projects to improve our home's curb appeal

Obviously, we have A LOT of work ahead of us, but we’re excited to revive this old place and make it just as beautiful on the outside as it’s becoming on the inside. I’m currently in the processing of searching for a landscaper to hire in order to build out the patio. I’d love to DIY it but let’s be honest, I want it to look gorgeous for years to come and be able to survive the harsh Chicago winters so I think it’s a job for the pros.

Until I get those details ironed out, I want to get started on something. So I chose a project that will add a pop of color (and hopefully a heck of a lot more charm) right away. Tune in tomorrow for details and because I need your advice before I commit!


The Year of Casey

Hey there!

I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m a Chicago gal teaching you how to design, DIY, and maintain your home…by yourself! Learn more about me right here.

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