Summer is the perfect time to embark on a home improvement project. Far be it from me to tell you which project is most important for your house, but here are a few ideas. All of the following are summer home improvement projects that I’ve taken on in the past, or ones that I’m planning for this year.
What’s great about each of these projects is that they are great investments for your property value, and also make it better to live in the house right away.
Make the Garage a Functional Space
Oh, the garage. For some people, it’s a wonderful space where they can do woodworking and painting projects, store all of their sporting equipment, and maybe even let their kids film an awesome summer movie project. And then there are those of us who are afraid to venture into the garage to dig up their Christmas decorations because of spiders and mice.
Your garage should be a functional space for your family. Don’t surrender it to the unwelcome intruders of pests and clutter. Here are some tips:
- Clear it out effectively and keep storage to an organized minimum. Here are some ideas for a simple garage clear-out.
- If you want to turn your garage into a workshop or play space, insulate it to make it closer to your house’s temperature instead of the temperature outside. Carpeting is also a great way to add insulation and make the space feel more homey.
- Build some DIY shelves and counters to get storage up and away from the floor, and create more useable space.
Redoing the entire landscape of your yard might feel like a project too big for you to handle alone. It’s true that there’s a big difference between a professional job and one that you do yourself. However, embarking on a landscaping project as a family can be a great experience! You’ll get more time outside together, learn how to cooperate better, and wind up with a beautiful result that’s all the more precious because you made it together.
If your thumb is anything but green, but you want to find a creative outlet in your yard, consider doing some stonework. You could build a rock garden in the Japanese style for meditation, set pavers as a pathway across your lawn, or create flower beds with some low-stacked walls. Many local garden stores will have pebbles, stones, and pavers available, and you can take all the time you want as you set up and execute the project. Here are some more ideas for rock landscaping.
Potted Border for Your Doorway
Do you ever feel like your doorway is a little bare? I do, but I usually just don’t know what to do about the plain concrete steps leading up to my entrance. I don’t like seasonal decorative clutter, but one decoration you can never go wrong with outdoors is greenery. This year, I’m adding some potted plants to my entryway in the hopes of making a more welcoming aesthetic. As I plan and research, here are some important tips to make the decoration effective and easy:
- Change the levels. The area will look fuller and more lush if you can stack the plants to catch the eye at different levels. Get tall planters, or tall plants (or both!). Look into some dwarf varieties of trees, like fir or fig trees. But don’t neglect the areas below eye level, either. Plant perennial flowers into the pot at the base, or add more pots. In order to get extra height, you can also add shelves.
- Use a pot within a pot. You have the option of planting the plant directly into a decorative pot, but it can be a lot easier if you simply put the cheap plastic pot into the decorative one. This gives you the option of easily changing out your plants if you want to adjust the look according to the seasons. It can also make it easier to change potting soil and get better drainage. If you want to avoid the way that a pot-within-a-pot looks, you can add some mulch or moss to the top of the soil.
- Choose plants with consistent needs. This is especially important if you end up planting several species in one pot. Make sure you don’t pair a shade-loving, water-guzzling tropical plant with a desert bloomer who loves broad sunlight and great drainage.
Energy-Efficient Window Tints
This was a great idea for the beginning of summer, because in the heat, you start to see energy savings right away. Installing window tints can be especially useful if you have one extremely sunny room where things heat up quickly, or a skylight. Depending on what kind of window film you want, it might be worth hiring a professional, but most jobs you can pretty easily manage yourself. Just make sure that you’re equipped with an effective tape measure, an Exact-o knife, and perhaps, a second pair of hands.
The savings will vary based on your house and location. But for me, I save about $150 each summer with these, so the tints pay for themselves almost right away.
There are also decorative window films available that can help to insulate your house. I also appreciate window clings for the extra safety that they offer. They make it much harder to break the glass, so it can prevent intruders, or keep your children from running into a sliding glass door and cracking or shattering it.
Christine is a professional writer and an avid reader who’s passionate about storytelling in all its forms. At any given moment, she’s in the middle of at least three books on anything from human psychology to ninjas. Although she’s a marathon swimmer and enjoys camping in the mountains, she believes there’s nothing better than a carton of ice cream and a Dawson’s Creek marathon.