6 Curb Appeal Projects You Can Do With Your Kids

Get your kids outside and spark their creativity with these fun landscaping ideas.

Kid standing next to a DIY stepping stone
Image: Willi Eggerman Ceramics

If you’re looking for ways to unplug your children and get them some fresh air, try these projects to do at home. You'll boost your home's curb appeal and landscaping while introducing them to a little pride of home ownership.

When making stuff with kids, remember the "keep it" rules:

  • Keep it safe. Use gloves and safety glasses when necessary.
  • Keep it simple. If it’s a project they can handle easily, they’ll come away with a sense of accomplishment.
  • Keep it under an hour. Kids’ attention spans are short.

#1 Making Stepping Stones

This classic kids’ project never gets old and has certain characteristics. It’s gooey, messy, and arty. You’ll make the stones using ready-mix concrete or mortar; a 40-pound bag makes three to five stones. Make your own forms with wood or use old pans, aluminum cake pans, or anything that’ll create a two-inch-thick stone.


While the concrete is still wet, decorate with beads, tiles, marbles, and polished pebbles. Wait 48 hours until the concrete is dry to remove it from the form.

Cost: A 40-pound bag of ready-mix mortar costs $6.

#2 Painting Your Mailbox

Put a little sizzle in your snail mail when you let your kids paint the mailbox.

Unmount the box and clean it. When it's dry, give it a coat of metal primer, then let your kids’ muse take over. Inexpensive craft store stencils help keep designs on track. Take the kids to the store and let them pick out designs. Don’t forget to include house numbers.

Cost: Primer, $5; acrylic craft paints, $20 to $40 for a set of 10 colors; plastic stencils, $1 to $2 each.

#3 Planting a Shrub That Attracts Hummingbirds and Butterflies

There’s some delayed gratification with this project. The payoff doesn’t happen until the critters find the shrub, but the fun factor is high when they do.

Keep the digging minimal; one or two plants are plenty. Make a generous hole and have the kids fill it with outdoor potting soil and put them in charge of watering as the plant roots in. Hold a contest to see who spots the first wildlife visitor.

Nectar-producing shrubs that attract hummingbirds include hibiscus, flowering quince, and lantana. Butterflies like butterfly bush and potentilla, which is also called shrubby cinquefoil or bush cinquefoil.

Cost: $10 to $30 per shrub; a bag of potting soil costs $9.

#4 Building a Garden Gate Arbor

It’s easier than it sounds. You’ll find simple DIY kits at home improvement centers that you and your team can put together in one to two hours. If that challenges younger kids’ attention span limit, let them wander away for a bit, then call them back when it’s done. They’ll love carrying the finished arbor to the garden and setting it in the ground. 

Cost: $150 to $250 for a wooden kit.

Related: 5 Easy DIY Weekend Projects Under $300

#5 Adding Solar Lights

This is one of the easiest projects. Gather up some solar walkway lights — the kind mounted on a stake — and have your kids put them along your sidewalk, paths, and at the edge of garden beds. When the sun goes down, they’ll get a kick out of seeing the lights switch on.

Cost: Outdoor lighting comes in all styles and prices, but you’ll find an eight pack of solar stake lights under $50 at your home improvement center.

Related: Outdoor Lighting for Curb Appeal and Safety

#6 Stacking a Tipsy-Pot Plant Tower

Here’s a great optical illusion that kids will really dig. Stick a half-inch-diameter wooden dowel or piece of copper pipe firmly into the ground or a big pot. Put clay pots of various sizes onto the pipe, threading the pipe through the drain holes. Fill the pots with soil and tilt them at crazy angles — the rod holds all the pots upright. Plant easy-care impatiens or petunias.


Cost: Copper pipe costs about $3 per foot; an eight-inch-high clay pot costs $4.

John Riha
John Riha

John Riha has written seven books on home improvement and hundreds of articles on home-related topics. He’s been a residential builder, the editorial director of the Black & Decker Home Improvement Library, and the executive editor of Better Homes and Gardens magazine.