When it comes to home improvements, the reason for summer projects likely fall into one of two categories.
Either you’re intending to complete projects that make sense to finalize in warm weather like painting, or you’re hoping to get tasks completed before it’s too cold out like fixing shingles.
Summer is also the perfect time to get your yard in tip-top shape and add new elements to your indoor or outdoor space to enjoy the rest of the season.
“I’ve been in business for 11 years, and everyone has this idea,” said Chris Fago owner of CKF Painting & Home Improvement Services, LLC in Bradenton, Florida.
“Everyone is used to northern seasons, and they decide to paint exteriors in the summer, which is by far the worst time.”
If you’re looking to save a little money and complete the exterior paint job yourself, get started with a few important steps, said Fago.
“You’ll want to know what paints they’re using,” Fago said. “A quote may say they’re painting with latex, but what does that mean? There are a million different grades, and they could charge you for high grade and use junk latex.”
Fago said you should know what grade is being used and actually see it on the job.
“Take the time to tape off the floor where baseboards meet tile or laminent,” said Fago. “Always cover everything with plastic and tarps, including the floor.”
Fago also recommends the following:
- Start from the top down and paint the ceiling first, then the walls, then the trim
- Take off the wall plates for the outlets
- When cutting or edging, cut in the walls first and then roll to avoid the halo effect
2. Create a backyard oasis
Your backyard can be a great place to relax and host friends and family members. If you have always wanted to expand the features of your backyard, summer is the most ideal time to do so.
Days of extreme heat spent dipped into a cool pool make the high temperatures much more bearable.
For states with year-round warm climates, pools can be installed pretty much whenever desired, though residents should avoid hurricane and rainy seasons.
“It has to be 70 degrees, warm and sunny,” said Jessica Gersin, president of Lillie’s Pool & Spa Cleaning in Perry, Ohio. Gersin is a pool installation and maintenance professional with over 25 years of experience in the industry.
Before pool installation, in or above ground, you’ll need to contact a pool company for a site evaluation. Specify your preferred location of the pool, the design, additions like the depth, size, tanning ledges, diving boards, slides and more.
Dependent upon your budget, the size of your installation and the design specifics, you can get a pool added to your backyard pretty quickly.
“You may not get the pool where you want it, so the evaluation is very important,” said Gersin. “But installation for an above-ground pool can be done easily. They’ll show up with a machine, strip the ground, put the pool up in two hours, fill it and usually by the next day you’re swimming.”
“There’s a misconception that an above ground pool is for people who can’t afford an in-ground pool,” Gersin said. “In-ground pools actually used to decrease property value. I’ve seen in-ground pools go in for $160,000-$180,000. Above ground pools can cost between $15,000-$20,000, so it’s not even comparable.”
Keep in mind that above ground pools need proper care, too. This includes testing pH levels of the water, adjusting chemicals, vacuuming weekly, scrubbing and more to maintain cleanliness through the summer months.
In Midwestern states like Ohio, Michigan and Indiana, where it snows for part of the year, you’ll need to winterize your above ground pool following summer months.
The type of window you need is also a cost factor you should consider.
6. Work on the landscaping of your yard
Summer is an ideal time to give your yard a little extra love. Whether you’re planting grass, flowers or new trees, it’s most ideal to do so in the summer.
If you intend to do some of your own landscaping work, you can undertake mowing, basic planting, accruing your own lawn or other low maintenance projects.
The straw protects the seed from being eaten by birds. Borally emphasized the need for watering plants and grass, especially on long, hot summer days. Water for 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the evening and avoid the middle of the day as the water will simply evaporate.
“In 2–3 weeks, you’ll have a full lawn,” said Borally.
For larger projects or if the low maintenance ones aren’t of interest to you, you’ll want to hire an expert, especially when introducing new plants like bushes and trees to your yard.
7. Start a garden
Growing fruits, vegetables, and herbs from your own garden is a fulfilling project for those who partake. Gardens can be tricky to start if you’ve never planted one before. Be advised that they do need a lot of time and attention to keep them growing.
“Most tomatoes are a 90-120 day crop,” said Taylor Rhodes, owner of Frank’s Produce and Greenhouses in Elkridge, Maryland. “Brussels sprouts are probably the longest crop. They’re about 150 days to maturity.”
Vegetables that grow well in the summer include tomatoes, especially Early Girls, peppers, eggplant, squash, zucchini, pumpkin, watermelon, cantaloupe and green beans.