Everyone wants to improve on their home. The list is usually a mile long. But most people don’t have an endless supply of money and time to make this happen. Hence the FAQ:


What can I do in one weekend with a $1000 budget to make an improvement?


Many projects are brought to mind but your house has an exterior, too. Remember that everyone can see your yard and the outside of your house. If you want to impress the neighbors, this might be the place to start.


  1. Paint: With a $1,000 budget, painting is the only exterior option that works. Whether your home is brick or siding, it can still be painted. Even vinyl siding can be painted with the appropriate paint. All that’s required is a few brushes and a ladder, in most cases.

  2. Mulch: Mulch is cheap, or even free in some cities during certain times of the year. Those old flower beds will look a lot better with a layer of mulch.

  3. New numbers: Every house ought to have the address clearly posted. It’s easier for the pizza delivery person, fire department, and the police to find your house. There are even a variety of different font options that add to the overall look of your house.
  4. New mailbox: It’s not uncommon to see a beautiful home with a mailbox that looks like it was run over by a truck. If the mailbox is in good structural shape, consider giving it a coat of paint.

  5. Flowers, shrubs, trees: Depending on the variety and season, these are inexpensive ways to add to the curb appeal of your home. Ensure that you’re purchasing plants that will thrive in your particular soil and climate.

  6. Planters: Whether under a window or sitting on your patio, planters are attractive, mobile, and inexpensive.

  7. Clean up: Many yards would benefit from a simple clean-up. Trim the grass around the house, trees, fence, and driveway. Pick up all the sticks. Then, plant grass seed on the bare patches. Pull the weeds. Fertilize the lawn. Keep the grass cut to the proper length. Pick up anything else that doesn’t belong in the yard. Throw out the broken porch swing and toys that nobody uses anymore.


Many of these tasks are entirely free and only require sweat equity.

When the weather is nice, landscaping and other outdoor projects can be very enjoyable. Consider the weather and season when planning your outdoor makeover activities. It can be tough to do gardening or painting in the middle of a thunderstorm.


“The house has to please everyone, contrary to the work of art, which does not. 

The work is a private matter for the artist. The house is not.”

- Adolf Loos


Those are all great but what’s the damage?

Again, landscaping projects are the first thing people might notice. But, we said our budget was only $1,000. Let’s see how the above might break down:


  1. Clean up the yard – Free: Take the time to clean up around your yard and make it look great! 
  2. Grass seed - $10 – Five pounds of grass seed is enough to cover 500-1,000 square feet.

  3. Trees - $90: Five, 2-gallon trees will set you back roughly $18 each. This is the average price for various pine and fruit trees.

  4. Flowers - $75: A decent sized rose bush is $20, depending on the variety. Chrysanthemums are only $8 each, which would cost $40 if you bought five of them. A fifty-pack of tulip bulbs is $15.

  5. Mailbox and post - $60: Pick one you like. A new post is around $25.

  6. Exterior paint - $160: A 5-gallon bucket containing a combination of paint and primer is $70 for white. Colored paint will set you back $160 for 5 gallons. That’s enough paint for a 2,000 square foot home.

  7. Mulch - $15: Two cubic feet of mulch can be found for $3. This price is by the bag. A truckload would cost much less per cubic foot. A large 4x15 flower bed would require 10 cubic feet of mulch to have 2” of coverage. Five bags would cost around $15.

  8. Planters - $150: Planters can range from less than $1 to several hundred dollars. A very nice planter is in the $50 range. Let’s use three of them.

If you add that all up, the total is only $560! When you’ve physically recovered from all the hard work, you could spend the other $440 on a few more beautifying projects. 


A lot can be done to enhance the landscaping and exterior of your home without spending a bundle. With the weather getting nicer, now is the time to tackle the outdoor projects.