With toys and kids gear beginning to stake a claim to all parts of our home, we’ve started strategizing to try to make the most of our spaces. A big part of this has been to transform the unfinished basement into a more functional area. It’s a work in progress, but we’re making strides with small projects to make it feel more welcoming. One of the first was an upgrade to our sort-of-outside view.

When we bought our house we had one request for the window well – to have a steel grate installed to keep kiddos and critters from falling into the pit. At the time, we didn’t care too much that it was ugly and unfinished – it’s a basement window well, who is ever going to see it? Now that we’re spending more time there and enjoying that we actually do get a little bit of natural light into the basement, we decided it was time for a quick makeover.


The plan was pretty simple – chop off the excess drain pipe, install some surface drains, and fill in with new river rock. Two drain covers and three bags of river rock came out under $15. Within an hour, I had the leaves and debris cleaned out, drains installed, rock spread, and even the walls of the window well scrubbed clean.


To install the drain covers, I dug out around the pipe and used a utility knife to cut off the pipe just below ground level. The drain covers slip over the top and sit snug on the pipe – no need for any adhesives or hardware to keep them in place here. Once they were both installed, the new rock was spread evenly so the drains were level with the surface.


It’s not a huge, glamorous project that will blow anyone’s mind by any means, but it sure makes the view out of the basement more pleasant. It doesn’t have to be a major project to make a real difference and we plan to share some more steps along the way to making our basement a fun, livable space!

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