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19 Outdoor DIY Projects to Help You Find Some Fresh Air

Get your car, lawn, home and yard in ship-shape with these outdoor DIY projects.

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FH17MAY_578_00_233_hsp patio chairs fire pitFamily Handyman

Build These Perfect Patio Chairs

This DIY patio chair is about as close to perfect as you can get. It’s comfortable to sit in for hours at a time. The arms are wide enough to hold a drink. And you’re reclining enough for relaxation, but not so much that you’ll groan every time you get up (unlike most Adirondack chairs). Add any common type of outdoor chair cushion, available at any home center, though it’s fine without one. It’s light enough to move around easily, and you can fit it through a doorway without contortions. Plus it’s inexpensive and easy to build. Learn how to build this patio chair here.

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treat windshieldFamily Handyman

Treat Your Windshield Glass

Research has proven that glass treatment products can improve your view through your windshield in rainy weather by as much as 34 percent. The improved vision can increase your response rate by up to 25 percent. That could mean the difference between avoiding an accident or being part of one. We’ll show you how to treat your windshield glass.

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DIY Butterfly house plansFamily Handyman

DIY Butterfly House


Butterflies like the protection of dark, sheltered areas — whether for months at a time during long, cold winters, or briefly when dodging hungry predators. Here’s a simple refuge you can build for them for under $20. And check out these 12 ways to prepare for your spring garden while it’s still cold.

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sharpen lawnmower bladesFamily Handyman

Sharpen Lawnmower Blades


The hardest part about sharpening a lawnmower blade is detaching the blade safely from your lawnmower. Once the blade is off and secured in a vise, a good file is all you need to add an edge to the blade. Just make sure that you’re sharpening the correct side of the blade! When detached, it can sometimes be difficult to tell which way the sharpest edge is facing. Get complete instructions for sharpening lawn mower blades in our tutorial. Plus: Tune Up a Lawn Mower

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grow green grassFamily Handyman

Fix Lawn Spots


Improve your lawn’s natural defenses and reduce future maintenance chores with these common sense cures for spots, thatch, fairy rings, grubs and shade.

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seed a bard spot in your yardFamily Handyman

Seed a Bare Spot in Your Yard

Dead spots on a lawn may be caused by disease, repeated dog visits or snow mold. Adding extra fertilizer or randomly scattering seed on the bad spot isn’t going to revive it. Start over by digging out the old sod and disposing of it. And don’t put diseased sod in your compost bin. Here’s how to fix your lawns bare spot for good.

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relocate sprinkler headFamily Handyman

Relocate a Sprinkler Head


These simple lawn irrigation system fixes will solve 90 percent of the common breakdowns. You’ll save on repair bills and keep your lawn lush and green. No special skills needed.

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siding removal toolFamily Handyman

Replace Damaged Vinyl Siding

Vinyl siding repair is tough, but not indestructible. If a falling branch or a well-hit baseball has cracked a piece of your siding, you can make it as good as new in about 15 minutes with a $5 zip tool (available at any home center) and a replacement piece. It’s as simple as unzipping the damaged piece and snapping in a new one. Here’s how to replace your damaged siding.

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Clean Your MAF SensorFamily Handyman

Clean Your MAF Sensor


A Mass Air Flow (MAF) sensor monitors the temperature and weight of air entering your engine. Your onboard computer needs that information to calculate the right amount of fuel for all engine operating conditions.

The sensor works by heating a delicate platinum wire or plate and measuring the current required to keep it at a constant temperature while air blows past it. Over time, dust and oil particles stick to the hot wire/plate and bake on. Eventually those baked-on particles insulate the wire/plate from the airstream. This causes starting, idling and acceleration problems, as well as poor gas mileage. Learn how to clean your MAF sensor when it’s dirty rather than replace this $300 part. It’s quick and easy.

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change air conditioner thermostatFamily Handyman

Change the Air Conditioner Thermostat


If your AC won’t come on, the thermostat may be saying no. If you turn your central air conditioner on, off and then on again in rapid order, chances are you’ll blow a fuse or shut off a circuit breaker, or the air conditioner simply won’t respond. That’s because the compressor in the outdoor condensing unit may have stopped in a high compression mode, making it difficult to start until the compression releases. Learn how to change the air conditioner thermostat here.

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boost your homes curb appealFamily Handyman

Boost Your Home’s Curb Appeal


There are dozens of small, inexpensive improvements you can do that add up to a dramatic upgrade. Here you’ll find a menu of ideas to consider. Also consider how much time you’re willing to invest in undertaking the project and maintaining it afterward. Lining a walkway with bricks or installing a screen door can eat up a day, but neither requires much maintenance. Installing a flower box is quick and easy but requires regular upkeep. And keep the big picture in mind. If you’re replacing your old light fixture with a copper one, your door hardware and house numbers will probably look best in copper too. Go at it, add your own touches and have fun!

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organize garageFamily Handyman

Organize Your Garage For Less Than $200


There are lots of ways to create more storage space in your garage, but you won’t find another system that’s as simple, inexpensive or versatile as this one. It begins with a layer of plywood fastened over drywall or bare studs. Then you just screw on a variety of hooks, hangers, shelves and baskets to suit your studs. And because you can place hardware wherever you want (not only at the studs), you can arrange items close together to make the most of your wall space. As your needs change, you’ll appreciate the versatility of this storage wall too. Just unscrew shelves or hooks to rearrange the whole system.

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keyless lockFamily Handyman

Give Your Front Door a Keyless Lock


Forget your key? Unlock your front door with a four-digit number that you punch into an electronic keypad. This electronic lock is easy to install; you only need a screwdriver. Learn how to install this keyless lock here.

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transmission fluidFamily Handyman

Change Your Transmission Fluid


Extend the life of your engine by changing transmission fluid. It’s much easier by using a special pump, and you’ll save $100 in shop costs when you do it yourself. We show you what you need and how to do it.

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car weatherstrippingFamily Handyman

Repair Weather Stripping


Repair torn weather stripping on car doors quickly and easily, and treat it with silicone spray to prevent winter freeze-up and further weather stripping damage. We’ll show you how to repair your car’s weather stripping here.

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Family Handyman

Replace Spark Plugs Yourself

Change your spark plugs yourself to maintain peak performance and high gas mileage. In most cases it’s a simple job as long as you have the right tools. Learn how to change spark plugs. We’ll also explain when to change spark plugs.

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touch up car scratchesFamily Handyman

Touch Up Scratches


Remove and repair flakes, chips, dents, dings and scratches on your car’s finish before the rust sets in. It takes just a few minutes of your time over a few days. These great auto painting tips and techniques will show you how to touch-up those little eyesores and take years off the look of your car.

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lube car locksFamily Handyman

Lube Your Door Locks


We don’t think much about our door locks until the key breaks off in the cylinder. Keep these delicate mechanisms moving freely with a blast of dry graphite powder. You may need to push the dust protector flap back slightly with a small metal nail file to get at the lock. A quick pump of the tube will dispense enough graphite. Move the lock cylinder with your key several times to work the graphite into the mechanism. Do this to your trunk lock as well. These simple yet small lube job tips will bring back that new-car quiet ride.

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epoxy outdoor furnitureFamily Handyman

Protect Outdoor Furniture


If you’d like to preserve the natural wood appearance of your wood entry door or your outdoor furniture, take a lesson from boat builders. Boat builders and restorers use multiple coats of epoxy and spar varnish to protect wood instead of spar varnish alone, because the combination is much stronger than either finish is separately. Epoxy creates a tough, flexible moisture barrier. Spar varnish adds depth and UV protection, which keeps the epoxy from yellowing and eventually disintegrating.