Tips and ideas on sprucing up your exteriors and gardens for 2013

We take a look at some easy-to-achieve DIY changes for your outdoor spaces

We haven’t had the best weather for DIY this winter, and late November is not a particularly popular time to start remodelling your home, but for those suffering in the adverse flooding and rain in the UK – or for home-owners looking to put their house on the market in the busy spring selling window – then some New Year remodelling plans should be afoot.

One of the major areas of the house which can often get overlooked in the flush of DIY, is the outside of it! Most designers, magazines and TV shows will concentrate on sprucing up your interior. However, first impressions count for a lot: they set the tone, and can have a powerful effect on your sense of ‘coming home’, and feeling safe.

With this in mind, we’ve picked out a few areas for concentration when it comes to remodelling the outside of your house. Whether you are renovating for yourselves, or doing it to up the asking price, taking care and planning ahead is one of your best assets in this cold weather. Make sure you plan and prepare what changes you’ll make well in advance – then when you find a clear and dry winter’s day, seize it!

  1. Change your front and back doors

This is embarrassingly simple, but often just getting a new set of doors creates a dramatic facelift. Especially for homeowners with weather-beaten or well-worn doors that may have suffered in the rain, a new set of stylish, sturdy external doors are just what the doctor ordered.

UK company Todd Doors have some excellent hardwood external doors currently on offer, including window-and-wood combinations that can work beautifully on a back garden, patio or deck. Giving window frames a lick of paint – and a good clean – is also a great idea once the weather dries up a little.

  1. Cut and prune trees and hedges

A little bit of garden action never goes amiss on the road to a healthier and happier house. If you have any large plants or trees in your garden or front drive, and you are not in the habit of giving them a regular haircut, now is the time.

Newcomers to the art can watch some very helpful videos on how to prune and trim a tree via YouTube DIY channels. Make sure you’ve got the correct protective footwear and eyewear before you start.

  1. Treat your drive or front path

Paying extra attention to the pathways and zones which lead towards your house will all contribute to creating a more inviting, clean and safe atmosphere for your home. Tarmac driveways can be prone to freeze-thaw and cracks in the winter months, so be alert to this and make sure to cover and fill and cracks on a dry day. Equally, gravel drives are great especially for resisting slippage and ice, but make sure to replenish the gravel cover every few years to keep an even spread and safer turning.

Give your home and garden a summer make over

After a cold, wet and windy winter the exterior of your property and your garden are in need of a makeover. The long, dry, sunny days of summer are perfect for getting stuck into those jobs you’ve been putting off all spring. Here are five jobs you need to do this summer.

Replace your front door

When was the last time you replaced your front door? Perhaps you never have; maybe you’ve just given it a new coat of paint. Whatever materials your external doors are made from, they succumb to the elements just as much as other parts of your property. You wouldn’t think about letting broken guttering go unfixed, so why leave replacing external doors until they are falling off their hinges? Solid wood doors are the most hardwearing and if you haven’t got one already now is the time to buy one. Todd Doors has the biggest online selection of external doors in the UK and right now it even has a sale on.

Replace your garden shed

With so much rain this year – especially in the last few months – your garden shed is probably looking a bit worse for wear, particularly if it is placed directly on the ground. Rot, damp and mould could be making the structure unsound. When you replace your shed, be sure to locate it in a high, sheltered area of the garden to avoid future damage from wind and rain.

Repaint the exterior of your property

It’s not just wind and rain that damage the exterior of your property. Freezing temperatures can cause cracks and traffic fumes cause discolouration and decay. Be sure to repaint the exterior of your home every five years or so. Take into account the paintwork of your neighbours as rows of cottages and terraces benefit from a coordinated colour scheme.

Resurface your driveway

The big freeze that spread across large parts of the UK this past winter caused severe damage to roads and driveways. Water froze in cracks and then expanded making the cracks even bigger and potentially damaging to motorists. When you do resurface your driveway make sure you thoroughly fill in and cover any cracks completely.

Cut back large trees

To protect your property from falling trees next winter now is the time to cut back any overgrown or potentially threatening trees around your property. If you have large trees with more than just a few branches that need cutting it is best to call in expert tree surgeons to prevent accidental damage.

You’ll find more home DIY tips on 4Homes.

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