9 End-of-Season Projects to Tackle Now, Says an HGTV Star

Carter Oosterhouse suggests completing these before the summer ends

Patio made of stove pavers with simple outdoor wicker furniture and table, edged with perennial beds and container plantings.

M Lavender Interiors

As summer winds down, the window for DIY home projects begins to close—and no one knows this better than HGTV personality, carpenter, and home design expert Carter Oosterhouse.

“During the late summertime, there’s still an opportunity to get outdoors,” Oosterhouse says. “Take advantage of the nice, warm weather and do the outdoor projects during this time. Save the interior projects for when the weather has cooled down.”

But if you’re facing a laundry list of things to do, this advice can feel overwhelming. With Oosterhouse as our guide, we took a look at the best projects to tackle during the last of these warm-weather days and beyond.

Meet the Expert

Carter Oosterhouse is an HGTV personality, carpenter, and home design expert. He also is an authority in eco-living, creating manageable steps to help people create a more eco-friendly home.

Carter Oosterhouse headshot

Photo: Courtesy of Carter Oosterhouse / Illustration: The Spruce

  • 01 of 09

    Seal Up Your Home

    Home's exterior and windows

    Light and Dwell

    “One place you can start is making sure your home is sealed up,” Oosterhouse says, noting that this is especially key before winter creeps in. “I always say that you want your home to be sealed up like an envelope."

    How can we achieve this? Oosterhouse shares that your windows are a great place to start, as they are basically giant holes in your home. "Start with windows, then move on to other spaces like doors,” he suggests.

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  • 02 of 09

    Clean Your Gutters

    Home's exterior with gutters

    Light and Dwell

    “Your gutters stash away a lot of debris,” Oosterhouse tells us. “Though this is usually considered a springtime project, you want your gutters to be clean year-round."

    Routine gutter maintenance can avoid a host of unsightly problems, including clogging and malfunctioning, so this tip is extra-important before fall. "I clean mine all the time—I just did it this morning," Oosterhouse shares.

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  • 03 of 09

    Check Your Exterior Lighting

    Outdoor patio in LA with lighting

    Sara Toufali for Black and Blooms

    “It’s much easier to make sure your exterior lights are working in the warmer months than in winter,” Oosterhouse says, and we agree. Ensure your summer string lights are packed away to avoid winter damage and replace any bulbs or fixtures if necessary.

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  • 04 of 09

    Perfect Your Outdoor Patio

    Casa Watkins patio

    Stephanie Watkins for Casa Watkins Living

    You might think it’s too late to tackle something like an outdoor patio, but Oosterhouse says now actually could be the ideal time. 

    “Since construction workers are usually busiest in the spring, you can usually get a better deal during this time of year if you’re doing something outdoors," he shares. "I’m actually building an outdoor deck right now not only to give myself enough time to finish, but also so we have a little bit of time to enjoy it.”

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  • 05 of 09

    Save Your Indoor Projects for the Fall

    Carter Oosterhouse works on an indoor wiring project

    Photo: Courtesy of Carter Oosterhouse / Illustration: The Spruce

    “I feel like autumn is the time that we start to hunker down and lose a little bit of energy,” Oosterhouse says. “It doesn’t mean we can’t be creative and start to build things as well, but it’s when we really start maintaining our indoor space."

    Tip

    Use the early autumn season to make sure you have a proper foundation for all your plumbing and electrical, Oosterhouse suggests. That way, you don’t have to look into it again until the springtime.

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  • 06 of 09

    Plan for Delays

    Patio made of stove pavers with simple outdoor wicker furniture and table, edged with perennial beds and container plantings.

    M Lavender Interiors

    Even if you live in a warm-weather zone or a place where perfect DIY weather lasts well into autumn, Oosterhouse says that planning is particularly key right now. 

    “Don’t get into something that’s going to put you in over your head before the weather gets cold,” he says. “With construction being delayed, something that should take two months to complete is taking much longer—and there are only two months of decently warm weather left.”

    This is especially true if you live somewhere with cold winters, Oosterhouse warns. “Be mindful of how much time you have left before starting a big project," he notes. "I would say late summer is a good time for smaller projects that can be wrapped up in about a month or so.”

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  • 07 of 09

    Assess Your Home’s Sustainability

    Carter Oosterhouse for Schneider Electric

    Photo: Courtesy of Carter Oosterhouse / Illustration: The Spruce

    According to Oosterhouse, the lead-up to winter is definitely the time to take a look at your home’s energy consumption.

    “Sustainability is important to think about, and one place to start is by looking at our home energy consumption,” Oosterhouse says. “I have the Schneider Electric’s Wiring Devices in my home, which come equipped with an app called Wiser Energy. I never thought I could see exactly how much energy I’m consuming from an app on my phone.”

    But one word of warning—for anything electrical, it might be best to consult a pro.

    “You can DIY all you want, but at the end of the day, you want your home to be safe. It’s important to know your limits,” Oosterhouse says. “No matter how handy or how much of a weekend warrior you are, the professionals are there for a reason.”

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  • 08 of 09

    Start Small With Lighting

    Outdoor patio and dining table covered with outdoor lights on pergola

    The Spruce / Christopher Lee Foto

    If you’re new to DIY but craving a refresh, Oosterhouse has one major tip: “Lighting is huge and a key component in anyone’s home,” he tells us. “There’s nothing worse than having lighting that is too harsh or too dim."

    Adjust your home's indoor and outdoor lighting for a more ambient space. You can add task lighting if you have a workspace or mood lighting if you have a hangout space, Oosterhouse suggests.

    “I think people kind of tend to forget how essential lighting is for setting the mood for a space," he notes. "As homes are getting smarter with the electronics that we’re using, it’s also easier to set things up on a timer and control them from your smartphone.”

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  • 09 of 09

    Look Ahead to 2023

    lake decor ideas

    mindy gayer design co

    As we wind down on 2022, Oosterhouse has his eye on 2023—and he thinks people are going to start scaling down.

    “I predict there are going to be more 'medium-sized' home projects,” says Oosterhouse. “People are going to start tackling the interior portion of their spaces and realize how they can better improve it.

    Oosterhouse also thinks there will be more updating on the interior vs. the footprint of the home. "The regular homeowner is not looking for the next best home, but rather what they can do best in their home," he says.

Oosterhouse shares his parting thoughts, emphasizing that DIY gets better with practice and to have fun with whatever home project you decide to tackle.

“It’s important to know what you’re doing—your limits, your capabilities—but I want to also empower people to just get out and try it,” Oosterhouse says. “Do the project you’ve been thinking about, or get out and find a new project.”