Fun Outdoor Projects for Spring

Transform your backyard with these three exciting projects

5/15/2015 10:40:00 AM
Now that the weather is warming up, it is much more enjoyable to spend time outside. If you don’t feel tempted to hang out in your backyard, completing a fun new project is the perfect solution. Any of these projects will give your backyard new life and encourage your family to spend time together outside.

Easy luminaria

Make beautiful luminaria to light your patio, a project your whole family can be involved in, and then have a stargazing party to enjoy the beautiful atmosphere they create. These DIY luminaria are easy, but aren’t weatherproof, so bring them inside after each use.
First, buy tap lights, translucent rice paper, double sided tape and decorating materials. Tap lights are circular, flat on the bottom and are turned on by tapping the top. They are inexpensive and sold at most hardware and department stores.
Now, make a template for the luminaries by laying the light flat on a table and wrapping a sheet of paper around the base. You will connect the sides of the paper with double sided tape, so make sure the sides overlap. To start with, make the paper a little too long and trim it down until there is just enough overlap for the tape to hold it together.
Use this paper as a template to measure out the correct size in translucent rice paper. Have your whole family decorate several of the rice papers with stickers, paint or marker drawings, and their designs will be illuminated when the lights are turned on. Once the designs are complete, tape the cylinders together and place them on the lights outside.

Add new life to your concrete patio or walkway

If you have a concrete patio that is looking dull, you can completely transform the way it looks and update the entire look of your yard by painting it. Most people don’t realize that concrete can be painted, and think they are stuck with the same drab color forever, but you can purchase concrete paint at most hardware stores.
Before you start your project, remove everything from the surface, sweep it, and use a scrub brush to clean up any sticky spots from sap or spilled food. Experts recommend using trisodium phosphate cleaner for this step, which can be bought online or at most hardware stores.
Next, rent a power washer or have it professionally power washed to prime it for the paint. If there is any existing paint on the concrete, the power washer should have been sufficient to remove it, but if you see any remaining portions, you will need to use a removing solvent and paint scraper.
Priming the surface is a crucial step that will leave you with smooth, professional-looking results, so be sure not to skip it. Exterior-grade block primer is best for concrete because it fills in the bumps and pores on the surface. One good choice is Behr’s Concrete and Masonry Bonding Primer. After you coat the surface, wait at least eight hours to paint, even though it dries in a couple of hours.
Now it’s time to paint. Choose masonry paint that can be tinted to the color of your choice and applied with a texture roller, high-capacity roller or masonry brush. You will need several coats for full coverage, and each coat needs time to dry before the next. It is also necessary to wait a few days after the last coat to make sure the surface is fully cured, so make sure there are several rain-free days ahead before you begin.
Choosing more than one color and painting a square or diamond pattern will give the concrete the luxurious look of outdoor tiles. There are many exciting patterns that are popular with concrete painting, so search online for inspiration.

Outdoor checker board

If you have room in your backyard for a new patio, step up the fun factor by creating an outdoor checker/chess board. First, measure the space you have for your patio, keeping it mind it will need to be a square. Eight square tiles go in each row, so to find the correct size tiles you need, divide the length of one side by 8. If you use 12” square paving tiles, you will need an 8’ by 8’ area. You will need 64 tiles, 32 in a light color and 32 dark, but they don’t have to be the traditional black and white.
Next, dig out the area that will be the patio and add at least four inches of gravel. The gravel will need to be compacted, but you can rent a compactor. After that, add 1/2 of your patio sand on top and rake it to make sure that it is smooth. Now you can lay your tiles in the pattern of a chess/checker board. When you are done, sweep more sand over to fill in the cracks.
You can easily make bean bags to use as checker pieces, but chess pieces will have to be marked to assign their position. It is also possible to buy giant chess pieces.
DIY projects are sure to add even more flair and personality to your dwelling so start on yours today.

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