Living June 18, 2024

9 Fun Summer DIY Projects for Your Home

Sun’s out…fun’s out!  Our glorious PNW summer is coming in hot with endless opportunities to enjoy the outdoors.  Here are some fun and easy project ideas to help you make the most of it!


1. Backyard Movie Theater

Outdoor movies are a great way to enjoy your yard and entertain a crowd (and keep the mess outside, too!).  Looking for affordable and easy?  You can find portable, outdoor, Bluetooth enabled projectors for under $100; hang up a white sheet or inexpensive screen, grab your portable Bluetooth speaker, and BOOM…it’s movie time.  Ready to take the leap and create something more lasting?  Here is a great how-to for a wooden frame with pull-down screen + helpful tips for your AV setup.



2. Fire Pit

Who doesn’t love a good s’mores roast?  Creating an attractive fire pit may be easier and cheaper than you imagined.  One beautifully simple method we love is to create a ring of stacked bricks, stones or cinder blocks on top of a level pea gravel base, then place a store-bought metal fireplace bowl in the center (here is the full how-to).  It’s remarkably fast and you don’t even need mortar!  You can also go for a modern square look with cinder blocks, use a reclaimed metal receptacle, or find a full kit at the hardware store.  Check out this list of 31 DIY fire pit ideas from the Spruce.



3. House Number Planter

Looking to add some instant curb appeal to your home? This elegant, inexpensive design may just be the “WOW!” you’re looking for.  Choose modern house numbers for an updated look and then a little wood, some pretty plants, and a couple hours of work is all it takes to make your neighbors jealous.


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4. Giant Backyard Jenga

We LOVE this idea for summer BBQs, and it’s so easy!  All you need are some 2×3 boards, a miter saw, and sandpaper (or a power sander, if you have one). Bada bing bada boom…jumbo Jenga to entertain kids and adults alike. Here are full instructions courtesy of Her Tool Belt, including the option to go fancy with colors and a DIY carrying crate that also doubles as a stand.



5. Decorative A/C Screen

If you’re lucky enough to have central A/C, you’re also unlucky enough to have an unsightly metal unit sitting in your yard.  Fortunately, you can build a simple cover for less than $100 and in less than a day.  Here is an easy plan from This Old House, designed with widely spaced slats for air flow and 1 foot of clearance (do your homework on your specific A/C unit before you dive in—you may need to size up).  You can paint it to match your house color if you want to go incognito, or stain it for a stylish natural wood look.


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6. Vertical Garden

Taking advantage of vertical space for planting means that even the smallest of patios can host a garden. It could be as simple as attaching pots to a trellis/rail or framed chicken wire, or something more elaborate like this beautiful living wall by This Old House. Vertical gardens can also double as privacy screens for your yard, porch or patio. Veggie enthusiasts can even build this easy vertical ladder planter with its own drip watering system. For the ultimate quick fix, felt pocket planters offer instant gratification—just attach to your fence or wall, add potting soil + slow release fertilizer + drought-tolerant plants, and water every 2 days. Using freestanding shelves for your container garden is another great option, especially for tenants who need something that is easily removable.



7. Leopold Bench

We love conservationist Aldo Leopold’s simple and iconic wooden bench plan, designed to be used both forward (with a backrest) or backward (where the backrest becomes an elbow rest for using binoculars). Here is a super easy DIY plan with cutting instructions from Construct101. Even amateurs can build this in less than a day, and all it takes are three boards, 6 carriage bolts, and some screws!


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8. Hose Storage Planter

This ingenious project will boost your curb appeal in two ways, both by being an attractive planter AND by stowing away unsightly hoses in a clever hidden storage compartment. There are a few different styles and plans out there. We like this version from DIY Candy with a hinged front that allows you to access the hose without having to lift up the heavy planter. It can be crafted from a pallet or any other reclaimed wood. The Kim Six Fix also has this version made with cedar fence boards instead.


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9. Rain Garden

Did the April showers leave your yard (or basement) a little soggy? Sump pump working overtime? A rain garden is a beautiful way to channel water away from your house while also helping the environment by keeping chemical runoff out of rivers and lakes. The concept is pretty simple: create a below-grade garden bed planted with deep-rooted species that help capture and drain water rapidly into the soil. If you’re serious about improving drainage, you’ll also want either a stone channel or buried PVC pipe to help guide water from your downspout into the garden. Collect some friends to help with the digging! Here are full instructions from the Family Handyman.



If you’re considering selling your home, some of these projects—like planters and vertical garden privacy screens—can help maximize your curb appeal. A rain garden might also be a beautiful solution for drainage issues that need to be resolved before your house can go on the market. Looking for more ideas or advice? Reach out to me any time…I’m never too busy to help!


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