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house_entry_homespunRISMEDIA, August 25, 2009-(MCT)-As summer draws to a close, home owners have home improvement on the mind. If you have been avoiding your around the home to-do list for fear that home improvement projects will take up too much time (that you don’t have), ShopSmart magazine has put together a list of projects that can be done in a weekend and for a relatively low cost.

-Replace house numbers with oversize numbers in a style that complements your home’s architecture. Cost: $1 to $40.
-Put out a welcome mat. You can change it with the seasons or use it to show your individuality. Cost: about $30.
-Clean up the landscaping by seeding bare spots in the lawn and pruning overgrown foundation plantings. If you decide to add shrubs around the house, choose varieties that won’t grow bigger than 3 or 4 feet, and plant taller bushes and trees at the edge of the house to frame it. Cost: about $150 for a small-scale planting.
-Paint the front door. Consider a bold color such as high-gloss red, forest green or black to call attention to the entry or complement a color on the trim or in the masonry. Cost: about $30.
-Hang a door knocker. You can choose from classic designs, bold rings or whimsical motifs. Cost: about $75.
-Put up window boxes. Wood boxes can be customized with paint or stain; synthetic boxes require no maintenance. Cost: about $50.
-Add some potted plants near the door and along walkways. Cost: $50 to $100.
-Replace the doorknob. If you stick to the same size as the existing handle, it’s an easy do-it-yourself job. Cost: about $100.
-Upgrade the lighting. A hanging or wall-mounted fixture near the door is like jewelry, and lighting in the yard adds interest. Cost: $25 to $150.
-Replace the mailbox, or touch up the rust spots with paint. Cost: $50 to $100.

(c) 2009, Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio).
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.