Do-it-yourself projects under $300

Just another weekend? Not if you take advantage of these three easy projects you can easily pull off for under $300.

Most of the cost of these DIY weekend projects is in the materials. The labor–that’s you–is free. All you need now are the hours. But, hey, you’ve got two full days–plenty of time to be a superhero weekend warrior and grab some R&R.

Project #1: Add a garden arbor entry.

The setup: Install an eye-catching portal to your garden with a freestanding arbor. It’ll look great at the end of a garden path or framing a grassy area between planting beds.

Specs and cost: Garden arbors can be priced up to thousands of dollars, but you can find nice-looking kits in redwood, cedar and vinyl at your local home improvement or garden center for $200-$300. Typical sizes are about 7 feet high and 3-4 feet wide. You’ll have to assemble the kit yourself.

Tools: Screwdriver; cordless drill/driver; hammer; tape measure. Kits come pre-cut and pre-drilled for easy assembly and usually include screws. If fasteners aren’t included, check the materials list before you leave the store.

Time: 3-5 hours

Project #2: Install a window awning.

The setup: Summer is super, but too much sunlight from south- and west-facing windows can heat up your interiors and make your AC work overtime. Beat that heat and save energy by using an awning to stop harsh sunlight before it enters your house.

Specs and cost: Residential awnings come in many sizes and colors. Some are plastic or aluminum, but most are made with weatherproof fabrics. They’re engineered for wind resistance and some are retractable. A 4-foot-wide awning with a 2.5-foot projection is $150-$250.

Tools: Cordless drill/driver; adjustable wrench; tape measure; level. You can install an awning on any siding surface, but you’ll need a hammer drill to drill holes in brick. To prevent leaks, fill any drilled holes with silicone sealant before you install screws and bolts.

Time: 3-4 hours

Project # 3: Screen off your air conditioner from view.

The setup: Air conditioning is great, but air conditioner condensers are ugly. Up your curb appeal quotient by hiding your AC condenser or heat pump unit with a simple screen.

Specs and costs: An AC screen is typically 3-sided, about 40 inches high, and freestanding–you’ll want to be able to move it easily when it comes time to service your HVAC. For about $100, you can make a screen yourself using weather-resistant cedar or pressure-treated wood to build 3 frames, and filling each frame with plastic or pressure-treated lattice.

Or, buy pre-made fencing panels. A 38-by-38-inch plastic fencing panel is about $50.

Tools: Hammer; saw; cordless drill/driver; measuring tape; galvanized wood screws.

Time: Build it yourself in 4-6 hours. Install pre-made fencing in 1-2 hours.

This article is being presented by the  (Name of the Board of REALTORS).  In next month’s column we’ll feature two more easy DIY projects, stay tuned… And remember, when you are looking to buy or sell a home contact a REALTOR professional today.