There’s no place like home

A week at the beach — who needs that? Not Denise Jillson! She’s got a brand-new patio at her house.

The recession’s “staycation” trend taught many people that staying home during the usual summer travel period is a great way to save money or put money toward necessities. Even if tight purse strings have eased this year, some homeowners have chosen to put summer vacation time and money into their own backyards — literally, working on their own backyards and home exteriors. 

“This summer, the project I’m working on is the exterior breezeways of my house,” says David Simeone, who lives in Malden. “The one in front has slowly sunk forward, so I have to rip the bottom apart, jack it up [and] install supporting posts. Not having a vacation isn’t really a big deal, because the weather is beautiful here in the summer. I just enjoy the warm temperatures, even if I have to work through it.”

Handily, Simeone works in construction and can do the work himself. Other people have hired professionals.

“I have contracted for new landscaping in the backyard,” says Chris Lyons, a Framingham-based restaurant publicist. “I may have the patio re-bricked and add a trellis out front too.”

Lyons is no stranger to holiday sacrifice: “Last summer, it was house-painting and windows.”

Of course, those people who got work done this spring can enjoy their yards this summer.

“I just finished redoing my garden and patio,” says Denise Jillson, executive director of the Harvard Square Business Association. People who ask her where she’s going for her summer vacation get a witty retort: “I tell them, ‘We usually take a nice trip to Europe, but this year we will be vacationing at 2203.’”

If you haven’t guessed, 2203 is the number of her house.

Enjoy thoroughly

Summer vacations come and go, but the benefit of home improvement lasts:
“It boils down to economics,” says Lyons. “I plan to stick [with this house] for a while, and I will enjoy those years more thoroughly with new windows, a few fresh bushes and trees, and a refurbished patio.”


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