Spring is here at last, and like many other homeowners you may be looking for simple do-it-yourself projects to spruce up your home or to increase its value.

Keep reading to get ideas on a few weekend updates and upgrades that are sure to be worth your while.

We've all heard the term "curb appeal." And that's where our projects start today. Curb appeal is another way of saying your home's "first impression." It can affect your home's value and saleability.

One easily overlooked element can be your driveway, sidewalks, and steps. Dirt, oil, and grime can darken and stain your concrete, giving it the appearance of being unkempt. This is not a first impression that sits well with buyers. But have no fear, there is a simple solution.

Power washing your concrete can be a great way to renew its look. You can rent a machine at your local Home Depot or local home improvement store. You could also buy one for use over and over again. Pressure "power" washers start for as low as $100.

Another concrete solution can be using stain. This is as simple as choosing the color, buying a gallon, and then rolling it onto your surface.

To prep your concrete, sweep the surface and then power wash or scrub it with soap and water.

Another great curb appeal booster is your front door. Many homeowners make the design mistake of picking a color that matches the house and recedes into the background. For just a few dollars and an hours work, you can make your front door noticeable and more welcoming. Consider selecting a bright or contrasting color. Red complements green hues, and blue complements orange hues.

Once you're inside the house, a quick fix can be changing and updating light fixtures. Nothing says dated like track lighting. Safety first, however, so be sure to turn off the breaker before you start working with anything electrical. Next, take out any light bulbs in the fixture to avoid broken glass. And finally unbolt and unscrew plates and mounts.

Moving into the backyard we find the next weekend project. While it may not be the huge equity booster that many projects can be, it does add a different kind of value to your home life. What are we talking about? Vegetable gardens. According to Texas A&M, "Home gardening continues to grow in popularity. One of every three families does some type of home gardening, according to conservative estimates, with most gardens located in urban areas."

It's not only popular, it can help you save big when it comes to providing your family with organic or fresh produce.

To find out when to plant what and how, check out the National Gardening Association website at www.garden.org.

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