Guide written by:
Sebastian, self-taught DIY-er, Exeter
June is always an exciting month. The mercury is rising, the summer solstice is on its way and everyone's minds are turning to holidays. But there is still lots to do at home! Vegetable gardens are in full swing and the weather is perfect for getting paint dry...! Read on for our tips on staying busy this month.
- Planting, taking cuttings and watering the vegetable patch
- Lawn maintenance
- Pool care and installation
Summer's here – lettuce celebrate!
Between planting, transplanting, watering, weeding and checking your plants are healthy, gardeners don't get a lot of rest in June. As soon as the warmer weather hits, it's time to put cold-sensitive plants like tomatoes, cucumbers and melons in the ground. Whether you have flowerbeds, borders or pots and planters, you can now enjoy an abundance of annual, biennial, perennial and bulb plants. Mexican marigolds, pheasant's eyes, morning glory, cosmos, lavatera, zinnia... the world is your oyster in June! Got a shady spot to fill? Go for some fuchsias and New Guinea impatiens for bright summer blooms and heady fragrances. But it's not all fun and games – don't forget to put in the hard work too! Your garden and vegetable patch will need weeding now more than ever and if you want to keep your garden watered over the drier months, you'll need to find a system that suits your outdoor space. Remember: it's best to water in the evening or early in the morning at this time of year to prevent water loss. Mulching your crops with straw can also go a long way!
Sun's out, buns out
When it comes to outdoor grilling, you have plenty of choice. From electric to charcoal barbecues or even a plancha grill, your decision will depend on your cooking preferences – but that's not all! Unless you have acres of your own outdoor space, you'll also have to think about your neighbours. While there are no laws against barbecuing on a balcony, you will have to use your common sense to ensure your grilling isn't bothering anyone. Notice your neighbours have their washing hanging out or a bedroom window open? Giving them a heads up about your bbq plans might just save you a lot of hassle! After all, no one likes their bed sheets to smell like burnt chipolatas. Finally, don't forget that in times of drought, barbecues should be strictly avoided unless you want to be featured on the six o'clock news...
Time to get mow-tivated
Unless you've given up and put down synthetic turf, keeping a lawn green and healthy is no mean feat. A neat lawn requires hard work – in fact, watering and mowing alone might not be enough! If there is a significant amount of thatch in your lawn, you may need to scarify the grass to restore it to good health. You'll also need to add a nitrogen-rich fertiliser to the lawn on three separate occasions between the months of March and September. This will help to boost the colour of your grass. If your lawn needs reseeding, do so before mid-June and pull out all weeds by hand throughout the summer. If the weather is dry for a change, you'll need to water your lawn about twice a week. Finally, don't forget to mow! Start by mowing your lawn to about 5 cm at the beginning of summer and work your way down to 3 cm for a really smart lawn. That said, avoid cutting your grass any more than about a third of its overall length at any one time – this will stop you from having to gather the clippings. Finish off by trimming the edges and your lawn will be the envy of all your neighbours!
Fiesta? I thought you said siesta...
Insomnia affects more than one and three people in the UK and the average person is under-sleeping by an hour every night. The negative effects of consistently not getting enough sleep are numerous. Sleep affects everything from concentration and mood to stress levels. The solution? Take a nap! Just 10 to 30 minutes of sleep in an afternoon can fight the effects of sleep deprivation and help boost concentration. Now that the weather is looking up, why not take your siesta to the garden? From hammocks to garden swings, sun loungers to gazebos, there are plenty of options to keep you snoozing all afternoon.
If in doubt, swim it out
With the exception of paddling pools, every pool will need special treatment at the start of the swimming season. You'll need to check all pool water parameters including pH level, total alkalinity and total hardness. Be sure to invest in a pool water test kit to monitor your water and treat it as required. If you're installing an above-ground pool for the first time, don't underestimate the importance of preparing the ground! A pool with a diameter of just four metres can hold about 10 cubic metres of water – that adds up to 10 tons of weight overall! With all the pressure of the water distributed over the bottom of the liner, it'll come as no surprise to hear that something as small as a twig can cause a tear. Finally, pool safety is a huge part of owning a pool, especially if you have children. Be sure to invest in the correct safety equipment to secure your pool.
Don't sweat it
It's no secret that the UK is getting warmer. While air conditioning might have been a laughable prospect ten years ago, the reality is quite different these days! If you're not quite ready for a full air conditioning system, there are plenty of other options. Portable air conditioners are really easy to set up and can be significantly cheaper than traditional split air con systems. Alternatively, if you only need to lower the indoor temperature by a few degrees, an air cooler will work perfectly.
Less talk, more caulk!
With the exception of fitting insulation, summer can be the best time to do all kinds of renovation work and DIY tasks. As long as the weather stays dry and warm, it's the ideal time to keep your windows open to let out any dust and VOCs from construction work. The temperature should also be perfect for all kinds of decorating jobs including tiling, painting, wallpapering or even caulking a bathtub.
Rover hits the road
Our four-legged friends are part of the family and a weekend away wouldn't be the same without them! But the time when you could just plop Rover on the back seat is well and truly over! In fact, it's actually illegal to leave your pet unrestrained while travelling in the car. Luckily, there are plenty of options to keep your dog or cat safe including special harnesses and seat belts and different types of crates and carriers. If you're going further afield, you will need to check the pet policy of your travel company. Travelling by plane? Your crate will need to be IATA-approved.
Guide written by:
Sebastian, self-taught DIY-er, Exeter, 209 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!