4 Summer Projects to Elevate Your Outdoor Space

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When it comes to DIY home projects, there’s no better season than summer in the Hudson Valley. Those sun-soaked days are perfect for getting outside to enjoy the good weather while working on that list of projects that you’ve been waiting all year to start.

“The opportunity to beautify our outdoor living spaces is one of the most enjoyable parts of summer as a homeowner,” says Kim Williams, SVP of Retail Operations at Williams Lumber and Home Centers. With multiple locations, including two kitchen and bath showrooms in Pleasant Valley and Rhinebeck, Williams has been a go-to source for home improvement in the Hudson Valley since 1946.

With Williams’s help, we’ve rounded up four projects that fit a range of budgets and will help add years of enjoyment to your outdoor space.

Freshen Up Your Stain

The perfect place to start on your outdoor endeavors is with a new stain for your deck. If you feel like your project is approachable enough to tackle on your own, Williams emphasizes the importance of properly prepping any surfaces first. Her go-to source is premium paint brand Benjamin Moore, whose Arborcoat stains have advanced technology that provide durability and protection for your wood deck. Before you commit, Williams recommends testing out a range of opacities and colors with pint-sized samples, which will help you envision the final look.

Add Low-Maintenance Decking

If you don’t have a deck yet, this summer might be a great time to add one to your home. Creating a deck might sound like a large investment, but it will reward you with more time spent enjoying nature or dining with family and friends for years to come. Williams recommends selecting durable materials that will survive the elements and require little maintenance over your deck’s life. USA-made Trex is a high-performance, eco-friendly alternative to wood decking that is made from 95 percent recycled material and comes in a wide array of colors, styles, textures, and railing options to create the look you want.

“So often people think that composite is out of their price range,” Williams says. “With escalating pressure treated lumber prices, you might even break even or be ahead with an investment in composite decking like Trex, and it saves you the time, labor, and money you would otherwise spend over the years on a wood deck.”

Create a Lasting Hardscape

“Pavers don’t have to be just for a patio,” says Williams. “They can be used around your pool area, to create a path through or to your garden, or even for your driveway.” Williams likes Unilock pavers and walls because they echo the timeless, rustic charm of natural stone while offering a durable and low-maintenance solution for hardscaping. If you’re looking for an eco-friendly option, the brand also has a selection of permeable lines that help rainwater rejoin your local ecosystem.

Prep Your Outdoor Kitchen for Success

Grilling is one of the best ways to enjoy your outdoor space to its fullest, so summer is the perfect time to invest in a kitchen setup. You can start simple with a classic Weber charcoal kettle grill or go all-in with their Summit multi-burner gas grills, which have enough bells and whistles to put your indoor range to shame. To take your grilling game to the next level, pair one of their gas grills with the brand’s smartphone-controlled Weber Connect Smart Grilling Hub, which allows you to monitor and manage cook times and temperatures from afar.

Paver patio with a fire pit, outdoor kitchen, pizza oven and lighting at dusk.

If you’re looking to explore the wider world of smoking, Williams recommends investing in one of the new styles catching on with backyard chefs. Electric pellet grills available from both Traeger and Weber burn wood pellets made of compressed sawdust from hardwoods like pecan, hickory, or cherry, adding delicious wood-fired flavor to anything you’re cooking. These all-in-one grills allow you to smoke, grill, roast, braise, barbecue, and even bake!

If traditional smoking is more your speed, try a Japanese kamado-style smoker like those from Kamado Joe. These egg-shaped smokers are made of ceramic, which is known for evenly distributing heat and holding in moisture. This allows them to maintain a more consistent temperature that can sustain the low heat needed for smoking—but rest assured they’re great for higher-heat charcoal grilling, too.

No matter which projects you choose to pursue this summer, make sure to take time to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Intimate dinners on your deck with family or friends or a daily sunset stroll along your garden paths will help you appreciate your hard work and make the most of those dreamy days of summer while they’re here.

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