As Wisconsin summer days quickly wane, there’s nothing more enticing than spending time in your outdoor space. While days get shorter and shorter and a long winter approaches, 80-degree days that lead into 65-degree nights feel even more precious. As a Midwest homeowner, you have a unique opportunity to create an inviting, functional, and beautiful outdoor area to enjoy with family and friends. 

It’s no secret that Fall is coming fast, and you have only a few weeks left to enjoy the weather and make outdoor improvements that will make your yard a summer oasis for years to come. Whether you’re looking to revamp your backyard, upgrade your patio, or add a touch of greenery, these DIY home projects can be completed in less than 6 weeks and will transform your outdoor space into a haven of relaxation or an inviting area for entertainment.

Project 1: Cozy outdoor fireplace nook

Cozy Outdoor FireplaceAs the temperatures start to dip, creating a cozy outdoor fireplace is an excellent way to extend your outdoor enjoyment into the fall season. This project will provide a warm and inviting gathering spot for family and friends, perfect for relaxing evenings by the fire.

Week 1: Begin by envisioning your dream outdoor fireplace nook. Determine the ideal location in your backyard and choose a design that complements your home’s architecture. Look into fire pit or fireplace kits for easy installation and safety features.

Week 2: Clear the designated area and level the ground for a stable foundation. If you’re opting for a fire pit, construct a sturdy base using gravel and sand. For a fireplace, ensure you have a proper foundation to support the structure. Don’t forget to consider how far your fire pit is from any buildings or low-hanging trees on your property to ensure a safe distance.

Week 3: If you’re using a pre-built fireplace kit, this week is the time to assemble and install it. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and consider adding heat-resistant materials to the surrounding area for extra safety.

Week 4: Transform the space into a welcoming nook by adding comfortable outdoor seating, plush cushions, and warm throws. Finish off the space with weather-resistant outdoor rugs and side tables to hold snacks and drinks. Stock up on firewood or arrange for a gas supply to keep the fire burning during those chilly fall evenings. Don’t forget storage bins to keep all your new decor safe during harsh winters.

Project 2: Re-stain your deck or fence

Restain deck or fenceYour deck or fence has been the backdrop to countless summer gatherings and cherished memories. Now, as the sun sets on the summer season, it’s time to give your outdoor structures the care they deserve. Re-staining your deck or fence is a rewarding DIY project that not only restores their beauty but also protects them from the elements.

Day 1: Spray your deck or fence with a hose, followed by a stain removal product. Rub the removal product in with a brush or rag and spray again with a garden hose. Let dry overnight.

Day 2: Once the wood is dry, use a brush to apply the stain. Let the stain dry overnight again.

Day 3: When the first coat of stain is dry, apply a second coat.

Project 3: Raised planter beds perfect for fall vegetables

Raised planter bedsEmbrace the fall season by creating harvest-themed raised planter beds. Growing vegetables and herbs during this time not only provides fresh produce but also adds vibrant colors and textures to your outdoor space.

Week 1: Research the types of vegetables and herbs suitable for planting in late summer and early fall. With Wisconsin weather, pumpkins are a must! Opt for varieties that thrive in cooler temperatures, such as lettuce, kale, spinach, and carrots. Plan your planting layout for the raised beds.

Week 2: Construct the raised planter beds using untreated, rot-resistant wood. Fill them with a nutrient-rich soil mix containing compost and organic matter to ensure healthy plant growth.

Week 3: Sow the selected seeds and seedlings into the raised beds according to your planting plan. Water the plants regularly and provide appropriate protection if frost is expected. Apply mulch to retain soil moisture and regulate temperature.

Week 4: Consider adding trellises for climbing plants and adding seasonal flowers for extra color. In a few weeks, you’ll have a delicious fall harvest to fuel your favorite seasonal treats!

Project 4:  Outdoor lighting installation

Extend the magic of summer evenings into the fall season by installing enchanting outdoor lighting throughout your backyard. This project will create a warm and inviting ambiance, perfect for shortening fall days.

Week 1: Start by envisioning how you want to illuminate your outdoor space. Consider a combination of string lights, pathway lighting, and accent lights. Plan the positioning of fixtures to highlight key areas of your yard while maintaining a cohesive look. Don’t forget to think about functional areas where you may want brighter lights.

Consider adding solar-powered lighting fixtures to conserve energy and reduce your environmental impact. Solar-powered pathway lights and string lights are easy to install and can be positioned in areas with good access to sunlight.

Week 2: Begin the installation process by placing pathway lights along walkways and around the garden beds. Hang string lights to create a soft, warm glow above seating areas or the fireplace nook. Install accent lights to highlight focal points like trees or decorative elements.

Week 3:  For added convenience and flexibility, integrate smart lighting controls. Use smartphone apps or voice commands to adjust the brightness or color of the lights, creating the perfect atmosphere for any occasion.

Week 4: Complete the outdoor lighting project by ensuring all fixtures are securely installed and working correctly. Test the different lighting zones at dusk to ensure they achieve the desired effect. Time to plan your next outdoor get-together!

As summer ends and the fall season begins, Midwest homeowners can embark on these exciting outdoor home improvement projects. To pack an even bigger impact into the last few weeks of summer, consider an exterior painting project with JB Custom. A fresh coat of paint can give your home a new look and increase resale value. Book your exterior paint job with local experts on our website.