Winter can take a toll on the home and yard, and it can be particularly brutal to fences. Now that you can head outdoors again, walk around your property to check posts, gates, and other fencing elements. Replace a leaning fence post by breaking up the old footing, standing it upright again, and then pouring new concrete into the excavated area. While you're at it, refresh any tired pickets or other surfaces with a coat of paint for a quick boost of curb appeal.
You don't need to sink thousands of dollars into a bathroom remodel to enjoy an updated appearance. Don't increase your budget, just change what goes into it. Swapping out the shower curtain, towel rack, medicine cabinet, drawer pulls, faucet, and bath mat can give the room a brand-new look. These little changes won't take you more than a few hours, but the results could be dramatic.
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Reseal the Driveway
The secret to a long-lasting driveway is a routine resealing regimen. Choose a rain-free weekend to work, then spray down and scrub the drive clean. Allow to dry for a full 24 hours. When it's dry, pick up a sealer from your local hardware store and work it onto the asphalt in 4' x 4' patches using a squeegee or the back of a push broom. Keep tires —and feet—off the surface for another 24 hours to allow it to set properly.
Know Your Lawn's Needs
Before you fertilize, sod, and reseed your lawn, you need to become familiar with its pH conditions. You can buy a simple test kit at your local home improvement store. (Many kits also test for key nutrients like nitrogen.) Follow the manufacturer's instructions to determine your lawn's pH. Once you're armed with this crucial info, you'll be in good shape to establish a feeding schedule for your lawn.
Prevent Basement Flooding
If your basement is prone to flooding, take action now to prevent disaster this season. Clear gutters of debris and position downspouts so they (ideally) lead at least three feet away from the house. Fill foundation cracks with epoxy to minimize the chance of leaks, and invest in window well covers to keep rain out of below-grade windows.
Wash Your Windows
Your home needs a thorough window washing twice each year—once in the spring to wash away winter dirt and grime, and once again in the fall before winterizing. Pick a cloudy day to work; this will help prevent streaks on the glass. Wash out window wells with a hose, then remove any storm windows and set aside for the season. Wipe screens clean of cobwebs and debris, and take a soapy sponge to window tracks. Dry with a lint-free cloth.
Plant a Tree
April is full of good reasons to plant a tree: Arbor Day, Earth Day, and—of course—the right climate to plant dormant trees. Your local nursery or garden center can help you choose an adolescent tree that's right for your region, or you can become a member of the Arbor Day Foundation and receive 10 seedlings to plant on your property.
Related: 6 Fast-Growing Shade Trees
Prep for April Allergies
A wet and snowy winter can portend acute allergies come spring. Take precaution now by changing your HVAC filters regularly and keeping your windows closed while tree pollen is in the air. Allergy-proof your home by changing up your family's routine: Get in the habit of checking footwear at the door, and place welcome mats both inside and outside the door to trap extra pollen—just be sure to keep the mats clean.
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Refresh Outdoor Furniture
As spring picks up steam, patio season and alfresco dining return at last. Ready your backyard for BBQ guests by cleaning and perking up your outdoor furniture. Wicker chairs can be cleaned with a scrubber, and rusty metal can handle a wire brush. A can of spray paint will go a long way toward putting a fresh face on a surprising range of patio pieces.
Start a Rain Barrel
The rainy season is great for parched lawns and gardens. Turn April showers into a gift that lasts by building and installing a rain barrel to save and store rainwater. It's simple to install, and you can save money on your water bill! Just be sure to check your local ordinances before you get started to make sure you're in compliance.
Related: Rain Barrels That Perform with Style
Whether you're a lawn care novice or a master gardener, everyone can use a little help around the yard. Subscribe to The Dirt newsletter for tips, recommendations, and problem-solving tools that can help you tame your great outdoors.