Spring Spruce Up Before and After

Spring Spruce Up Before and After.

Ah…it happens just about this time every year. Well, at least it does in California. Like a perfect martini or four-part harmony, the coming-of-spring’s temperature becomes almost unnoticeable – there is no chill, nor is it too hot. Again…it’s simply perfect.

So, I guess there’s no wondering why this DIYer started making plans to improve our curb’s appeal, especially our front steps. You can see by these pictures in the “before” and below, that we had no railing, and thus, no real landing to greet guests.

Steps and landing not to code

Steps and landing not to code. With no railing on either side, anyone could fall off the three foot drop!

Additionally, my mom, on one occasion, began climbing these steps, lost her balance, had nothing to steady herself, and ended up falling backward from the third step and hitting her head on the cement. Yes…my heart immediately leapt into my throat! Thank goodness she was alright, save for a goose egg on the back of her head. (Yikes!)

Soon after telling my neighbor of this frightening event, I learned that these steps were not to code! Aside from aesthetics, the danger issue decided it for us to build a new wooden railing.

Now, I’ve done a lot of DIYing, but, because of safety and code compliance requirements, I decided to hire a pro through HomeAdvisor. We’ve had such good experiences with their professionals in the past, like when they installed our new glass shower door, and when they super-cleaned our home in time for our family reunion. Lucky for me, I’m one of their blogger ambassadors, so they are sponsoring this post so that I can show you how I spruced up our steps for spring!

Sprucing Up Projects:

hired a pro to build a railing

added inexpensive solar lighting to stairs, mailbox and big tree

garden hose holder makeover

personalized-painted, curbside-freebie terracotta pot

doormat makeover

created cute door decor painted message

archway makeover and flowers

outdoor decor 3D letter makeover

Mind you, most of these projects above were FREE, using leftover paint, a little elbow grease and a pinch of creativity. It was just a matter of seeing what needed a little love!

Here are some additional recommended outdoor projects to ready your home for spring:

Cost Guide Information

HomeAdvisor Cost Guide Information.

re-paint overhang & front door

install window moulding

prepare sprinklers for spring

seal a deck

Hiring a Pro Tip for HomeAdvisor!

Hiring a pro to build our railing was my first step. I simply hopped online and onto HomeAdvisor. What is so often the case when navigating through detailed sites, is that we get lost or don’t know where to begin. No worries! I learned a great tip: Use HomeAdvisor’s Cost Guide to search by project, then receive helpful information and referrals on pros who can complete the work you want.

Getting Started: At the top of HomeAdvisor’s homepage, you’ll see a navigation bar. When you click onto “Cost Guide”, you’ll see a drop-down with their popular categories of projects. Simply look for the one that best fits your project (mine was “Stairs & Railings”…spot on, mind you!), then click on that project.

HomeAdvisor's Cost Guide Projects

HomeAdvisor’s Cost Guide Projects.

You’ll arrive at their cost guide which includes handy information about the type of project you wish to complete (in this case, stairs and railings). It helped me understand more about the scope of the project as well as some things to consider when interviewing my pro.

HomeAdvisor's Cost Guide details

HomeAdvisor’s Cost Guide details and project scope.

To narrow my search even further, I scrolled down to “Select your Stair & Railing Project”, then clicked on the exterior “Build Stairs or Railing” link, which brought me to this page:

HomeAdvisor's Cost Guide Estimator

HomeAdvisor’s Cost Guide Estimator.

Though I could enter my zip code to see how much I might be looking to pay in my area, this particular part of the cost guide wasn’t as helpful. Their estimate was quite a bit more than what it turned out to cost, most likely, because I wasn’t able to enter the dimensions of our railings, stairs and landing. I did learn, from Lauren Hogan, HomeAdvisor’s Digital Manager, that they are working on and will be rolling out the following features this spring for the newly named True Cost Guide:

• Removing outlier projects by reviewing time/cost of projects in more detail

• Updated project cost information including a break-down by size of project and materials used depending on home improvement projects

What I absolutely love, as mentioned above, is the ability to find the right man or woman for the job. The BIG orange button next to the estimator that reads, “Get Estimates for Your Project” makes finding someone and receiving numerous quotes quite easy.

So, who did I find? None other than The Manly Man Handyman company! Jason Lucier was not only professional, he was fantastic and did an amazing job. Anyone in the South Bay of Los Angeles needing a handyman should absolutely give this man a call. He was truly mindful of my time, my budget and my desire to add something beautiful and safe to our home. Thanks to Jason and HomeAdvisor, we now have steps that are spruced up and ready for spring!

The new railing adds an architectural interest all its own

The new railing adds an architectural interest all its own!

Klunkers loves his new steps and landing!

Klunkers loves his new steps and landing!

Here’s a peek at what I did, along with some tips for some springtime sprucing up!

Spring spruce up tip: makeover an outdoor decor piece and add new flowers to pots

Spring spruce up tip: makeover an outdoor decor piece and add new flowers to pots.

Do double duty with an edible, citrus tree potted plant

Spruce up Tip: do double duty with an edible, citrus tree potted plant! Oh, and the custom painted pot can offer guests a humorous “hello”.

The door says "Knock, knock..."

The door says “Knock, knock…” A little humor goes a long way!

Madeover mat

Made over mat!

Spring spruce up tip: paint your door's threshold

Spring spruce up tip: paint your door’s threshold for an easy doorway freshening up!

Repainted archway

Spruce Up Tip: Repaint your entry’s archway and add new flowers with vines to climb.

Spruce Up Tip: Don't forget your steps at night

Spruce Up Tip: Don’t forget your steps at night – add lights to illuminate your mailbox, trees and steps.

Spruce up your steps with solar lights!

Spruce up your steps with solar lights!

Fun battery powered lighted sign to greet evening guests

Spruce Up Tip: Add some fun, battery-powered signage to greet evening guests. I found these letters on sale for 50% off at Michaels.

Hoont Outdoor Solar Step Lights

Hoont Outdoor Solar Step Lights, available on for only $21.95 for a set of 4!

Klunkers and that's what I call sprucing up!

Klunkers and Matt…now that’s what I call sprucing up!

Now it’s your turn!

Have you ever hired a pro through HomeAdvisor? We’d love for you to tell us about it!

This is a sponsored post brought to you by: HomeAdvisorThe opinions are completely my own based on my experience.

All photography by Skaie Knox, HomeJelly.

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