Little girl in construction hat

School’s out and summer’s here. Along with the more relaxed routine and the warmer weather, many families are finding that they have a lot of time on their hands right about now. If you’re looking for something to do with the kids, why not tackle a few projects around the home? Not only can you keep the kids entertained, you can improve your property values, and make your home more comfortable for everyone at the same time. Best of all, each of these projects is budget friendly and can be done for under $500.

Little boy touching stepping stones in back yard1. Create Homemade Stepping Stones

If you have a garden path, outdoor patio or eating area, consider making some homemade stepping stones with your kids. Stepping stones can enhance the whole area, and you and your kids can customize them to make a personal statement around your yard.

Budget

You can make stepping stones for around $20 a piece depending on the types of embellishments you use.

Money Saving Tips

  • Make molds out of things you already have in the house such as pie tins, pizza boxes, and bucket lids.
  • Buy your embellishments in bulk and use them again and again throughout the stones.

Helpful DIY Tips

  • Mix up only enough concrete for one stone at a time.
  • Get your mold and embellishments totally ready before mixing your concrete to avoid it beginning to set too soon.

Brick barbecue pit in back yard2. Build a Brick BBQ

If your kids are handy with Legos and other building blocks, why not give them a real challenge to build this summer, and take on a family brick barbecue. A brick BBQ is actually not too difficult to build, provided you take your time, and it costs a lot less than some top-of-the-line grills. Best of all, it’s sure to become a point of pride for the whole family for years to come.

Budget

The average cost to build a brick BBQ is around $500, including the concrete pad, bricks, mortar, and other tools necessary to build.

Money Saving Tips

  • Look for reclaimed bricks or pavers to build your BBQ with. Many can be found for free or low cost at salvage sites.
  • Rent equipment rather than buying it to save money on set up costs.

Helpful DIY Tips

  • Pour a level concrete pad that you can build on for stability first.
  • Hose off your bricks about 30 minutes before you start. This will prevent them from absorbing too much moisture from the mortar.
  • Remember that you can turn your bricks 90 degrees every so often to create a pattern in the sides of the walls.

Back yard fire pit3. Install a Fire Pit

Does your family love to entertain in the outdoors? If so, you may want to consider installing a fire pit near your patio for everyone to enjoy. Fire pits can be large and imposing or something simple and minimal, so it’s possible to find something that will fit your landscaping and your family’s needs. Your kids will find that stacking the stone is as easy and fun as creating a block structure indoors.

Budget

The average cost of a 5’ x 5’ stone fire pit is around $500. The total costs for this project range from $200 for a DIY pit to $1400 for a decorative, granite fire pit.

Money Saving Tips

  • Look for reclaimed bricks or pavers to build your fire pit with
  • Buy things like crushed stone to fill the surrounding area with in bulk to save money

Helpful DIY Tips

  • Use fire bricks or stones meant for this purpose to ensure they will contain the fire safely.
  • Use curved bricks or blocks for a round pit that doesn’t require any cutting.
  • Dig out the area around the pit and fill it with crushed stone to prevent fires from stray sparks, and to increase the visibility of the project.

House with blue door and flower box4. Paint Your Front Door

Summertime has everyone running in and out the front door, which can mean that it starts to get a little battered over time. Adding to this, is the impact that your front door has on your curb appeal. Break out the paint and have your kids help you paint the front door to revitalize the entire area.

Budget

The average cost of painting a door is around $100, including the cost of paint and supplies for the whole entryway.

Money Saving Tips

  • Ask to see odd paint at the hardware store – this is paint that was mixed, but wasn’t sold. Often you can get several cans of high quality paint much more cheaply this way.

Helpful DIY Tips

  • Use an angle brush around the edges of the door, then roll the paint through the center.
  • Plan on applying at least two coats of paint for the best coverage.

Waterfall for pool or back yard5. Build a Waterfall

If you have a pool, garden, or small pond in your yard, and you want to enhance your landscaping, consider building a waterfall feature with your kids. Waterfalls add a tranquil, soothing atmosphere to your yard, and can be a real draw for everyone on the property. Best of all, DIY kits are available that allow you to build the waterfall out of lightweight composite materials – perfect for putting together with your kids one hot afternoon.

Budget

DIY a waterfall kits are available for around $450.

Money Saving Tips

  • Save money by installing your waterfall someplace you already have water flowing like a pool or pond. While you can buy waterfalls without current sources, they cost more money to run when you need to add water to the set up.

Helpful DIY Tips

  • Purchase a kit with lightweight material that doesn’t require cutting; just follow the stacking and mortar instructions as if you were putting together a block kit with your kids.

Summer can feel endless without enough to do. These five projects will keep everyone busy, and will help enhance your enjoyment of your property this summer. Take on any of these DIY, budget friendly projects with your kids under $500 this summer and beat the summertime blues in style. To find out more about what things cost, be sure to visit Fixr’s Cost Guides.

Get everything you need for these home improvement projects with Cash Back at Ebates here: Ace Hardware, Build.com and Lowe’s.

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Yuka Kato
Yuka writes about home improvement tips & tricks to help homeowners learn more about improving their properties. She also delivers useful cost information you can use to help improve your own home at Fixr.com.
Yuka Kato

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One Comment

  1. OMG! Waterfall project is really nice. I love it. I with my son planned to made it on our backyard.
    Thanks for sharing some useful and nice project!

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