Guide written by:
Sebastian, self-taught DIY-er, Exeter
July is all about firing up the BBQ and hanging by the pool. But it's also a good time to harvest veggies and get some jobs done around the house – and with most of us staying in the UK this year, there couldn't be a better time to get our homes in order! Read on for our top tips on staying busy this month.
- Harvesting vegetables
- Pool care
- Kitchen renovations
- Holiday preparation
- Safety and workwear
If you can't stand the heat, get out of the garden
After a busy June, gardeners won't be getting a lot of rest this month either. It is still possible to direct sow some seeds but it's best to do so when it's overcast. Whatever you do, don't plant anything new in a heatwave! Leeks, spinach, winter cabbages and many varieties of lettuce can still go in the ground. If the weather is cool enough, you can sow your last green beans in the first half of the month. Other tasks include thinning out plants, securing tomatoes to stakes, summer pruning, and deadheading roses and other flowering shrubs. You should also keep an eye out for pests and disease, and be sure to water in the evening to reduce evaporation. Alternatively, a drip irrigation system will always be a welcome addition to a vegetable garden! Don't forget to give your trees some care and attention, too. Your apple or pear trees can be thinned for a better harvest and if you're lucky enough to have grapes, look out for mildew and powdery mildew. Now is the time to really get your flowers going so divide flowering perennials, take cuttings from hydrangeas and plant autumn-flowering bulbs like autumn daffodils, autumn crocuses and naked ladies. You'll have a beautiful carpet of scented flowers as summer draws to a close!
Water you waiting for? It's time to banish the hose!
With British summers heating up year on year, hosepipe bans are becoming increasingly common. But we shouldn't be waiting for hosepipe bans to think about how we use water. There are plenty of things we can do to reduce our water consumption such as watering in the evening, investing in drip irrigation and mulching. Or why not go one step further and harvest rainwater? It's good for the planet, your wallet and your plants, so you have nothing to lose!
Set up for an unbe-leaf-ably relaxing summer
Anyone with a patio, deck or garden will be soaking up as much sun and fresh air as possible at this time of year. Depending on the space you have available, your outdoor space can be decked out with anything from a little dining set and parasol to a whole outdoor kitchen and chill-out spot filled with sun loungers. But remember that the sun is at its most powerful at this time of year and shade is a must. Shade sails, gazebos, patio awnings... there's an option for every garden and every budget. And if you're really craving more space, why not install a new shed? Whether you're looking to create a new guest room or just a cosy spot to spend the summer, sheds are affordable and easy enough for any DIYer to tackle. Kit your shed out with some basic furniture and lights and you've got yourself a peaceful haven away from the hustle and bustle of the house!
School's out, pool's out
Green pool water is due to a build-up of algae which can be caused by any number of reasons including heatwaves, inadequate sanitisation or an unbalanced pH level. But algae isn't the only thing that can put a pause on swimming season and it's important to invest in a pool water test kit to make sure the rest of your pool water parameters are in the correct ranges. By monitoring, filtering and cleaning your pool on a regular basis, you'll cut down on harsh cleaning chemicals and ensure you can bathe in crystal clear water as long as the weather allows! If you have kids, don't forget to install a few safety devices to keep them safe.
Don't hesitate – renovate!
Summer is the perfect time for renovations and the majority of kitchen remodels take place at this time of year. After all, it's a lot nicer to eat outdoors in July while the work is going on than it is in the middle of winter! The average person in the UK spends 61 minutes cooking per day so make sure your kitchen is a place you enjoy being in. A kitchen islands can be a particularly functional addition to provide extra worktop space, more storage or even an informal dining area. Just need to fit a new sink or worktop? Don't worry – we've got you covered there, too!
Sweating? Not a fan
July is historically the hottest month of the year and the warm weather doesn't appear to be going anywhere. Heatwaves are more common than ever in the UK and few of us are equipped to deal with them when they arrive – sometimes opening a window won't quite cut it! Luckily, there is plenty of equipment to give us a helping hand. Fans, air coolers and air conditioners can all provide some much needed relief when the mercury rises, but the choice isn't always an easy one. Follow our guides to find the best way to stay cool this summer!
No paint, no gain
The outside of our homes is often overlooked, but don't forget that it's the first thing visitors see! A fresh lick of paint can do a world of good to a shabby house or fence and while you're at it, why not give the shutters and front door a quick once over? If you've decided to get the ball rolling on repainting your house, there are few important steps to follow. Firstly, choose the right colour. Before you rush out to buy your favourite colour, make sure to check that there are no local restrictions on what colours you are allowed to paint your house. Secondly, make sure you have the right equipment; that includes scaffolding, a work platform or even a ladder provided you have the right fall prevention equipment. Thirdly, make sure you have a few days of free time ahead of you and a lot of energy in the tank...
Holiday mode: activated
Okay, so we might not be jetting off on any foreign holidays any time soon but there are plenty of great places to go right here in the UK! No matter where you're headed, it's important to ensure your home is protected. Summer is a prime time for burglars to take advantage of empty houses so make sure your alarm system is up to date. Secondly, all of the those house plants you have been nurturing since the beginning of the pandemic won't water themselves! Finally, if you're just off out for a few hours and the pets aren't invited, make sure your dog or cat is fed on time with an automatic feeder and don't forget Bubbles the fish!
Do It Yourself without Doing Yourself In
Think you don't need safety goggles or proper shoes for a quick sawing job? Wrong! On average, 21,300 DIYers are admitted to A&E every year after a project goes wrong. Six in ten Brits are constantly making home improvements and there is plenty of room for error – even for the most cautious among us! In short, protect yourself as best you can and always wear the correct safety wear, no matter how small the job.
Don't worry, bee happy!
Few of us enjoy dealing with a fly infestation in the vegetable patch or an onslaught of mosquitoes at a barbecue. But the bottom line is that insects create the biological foundation for all terrestrial ecosystems whether that be through pollination, soil aeration or as a food source for bigger creatures. According to studies, the total mass of insects in the UK is falling at a rate of roughly 2.5 per cent every year. So while it is necessary to deal with an influx of insects from time to time, it's best to do so using the most natural methods available and to avoid pesticides at all costs. When it comes to bugs on our pets, we need to be a little more ruthless. Internal and external parasites can wreak havoc on our dogs and cats so preventative treatments are essential if you want to avoid more problems down the line.
- How to get rid of flies in the house
- How to get rid of ants in the house
- Dog flea and worm treatment buying guide
- Cat flea and worm treatment buying guide
- Fly screen buying guide
Guide written by:
Sebastian, self-taught DIY-er, Exeter, 216 guides
Redo a roof with wooden beams? Check.Advise Mister everybody in the DIY shop? Check.Redo the bathroom plumbing? Check.Fit together, build the walls, paint a partition, throw my hammer in a rage thinking that it will fix the problem? Check. The DIY motto ? Learning is better than delegating… well, it's also a question about your wallet! The satisfaction? The beer at the end of the job! What do the best have in common? The influence of Gyro Gearloose, Mac Gyver and Carol Smiley depending on your generation, a good dose of curiosity, a average hand-eye coordination and a taste for risks… and if it doesn't work, try again! Advise you? I'll do my best!