Before: Blue Blemish
Recycling is a good deed (and it’s the law in many U.S. locales), but it does raise a question: where to put the extra bins needed to sort the trash?
After: Boxed In
To add polish to her yard and a hiding place for the bright blue recycling containers, this homeowner fashioned a nifty cover from spare 2x4 boards that she had left over from building a chicken coop. She screwed it together and stained it an attractive dark brown.
Before: Ghastly Gadgets
Our friends at the gas and electric companies don’t always have the greatest taste in gadgets. Their meters are pretty unsightly.
Related: 10 Money-Saving Gadgets That Pay for Themselves
Afte: Clever Curb Appeal
A neat, slatted screen comes together quickly with a brad nailer, plywood, and 2x4 boards—and even features the home’s address number as well. Before you attempt a similar project, be sure you understand your local utility company’s needs for clearance around and access to the meters.
Related: Lower Your Electric Bill with 11 Savvy Hacks
Before: All Tangled Up
A garden hose gets tangled and dirty just lying like a snake in the grass, and detracts from your yard’s beauty.
Related: The 10 Best Buys to Make Yard Work No Work
After: Get Growing
This homeowner built a neat wooden box to hold the hose, then topped it with a lid that features recessed planter. The flowering plants disguise the purpose of the container and add color to the landscape.
Related: 10 Totally Unexpected Things to Remake as Planters
Before: Uncool Cooling Unit
This incredible hulk is a genius at cooling your home during the steamy season, but let’s face it: the rest of the year it looks pretty monstrous.
Related: New Front Doors Change Everything in 4 Entryway Before-and-Afters
After: No-See AC
A creative use of segmented wood slats creates a truly eye-pleasing screened cover for the AC unit. Steel rods at each corner allow the screen to hinge and fold away for winter storage. This DIY project is a bit labor-intensive, but the results make it worth it.
Related: 10 Backyard Wood Projects for Total Beginners
Before: Beat Up Back Door
On many homes, the utility meter sticks out like a very sore thumb. Whose home is painted that drab institutional gray, after all?
Related: 9 Bright and Bold Colors for Your Front Door
After: Camouflaged with Color
Simply take a cue from the chameleons and paint the box to match the surrounding wall. Suddenly, the offensive box just blends into the scenery. Use rust-resistant outdoor paint (and consider checking with your utility company before painting).
Related: Hard Sell: 7 Pretty House Colors That Scare Buyers Away
Before: Chipped Paint
Painting a less-than-lovely cinder block foundation helps a little bit, but it’s not a long-lasting fix—and when the paint begins to peel, it can really detract from a home’s curb appeal.
Related: Before and After: DIY Facelifts for 8 Home Exteriors
After: Fresh Facade
A product called Ledgestone is designed just for spruce-up jobs such as this. It comes in easy-to-use sheets, but you’ll need a diamond blade saw to cut the edges to fit. Epoxy and a sealant keep the whole thing together.
Related: No-Fail Exterior Paint Colors
Before: Unsightly Septic Tank
The concrete lid of a septic tank is definitely an eyesore in this otherwise verdant landscape.
Related: Curb Appeal to Steal from 12 Hollywood Homes
After: Secret Garden
This clever gardener covered the lid with mulch, which can be easily swiped to one side when access to the tank is needed. A few potted plants, surrounded by more mulch, and a pretty bird feeder top it all off. Guests will never know what’s lurking below.
Related: 11 Low-Cost Buys to Boost a Boring Backyard
Master of Disguise
Necessary evils don't have to look the part.
If you have the money to hire a handyman for every household woe, go ahead. But if you want to hang on to your cash and exercise some self-sufficiency, check out these clever products that solve a million and one little problems around the house. Go now!