Bob Vila's 10 "Must Do" July Projects

Longer days and warmer weather mean there's so much more to enjoy this time of year. At the same time, you may also find there's more to do around the house. Help yourself tackle this month's to-do list—and have a little fun along the way—with my must-do projects for July.

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  1. Ready the Grill


    There's no time like the present for an impromptu barbecue, so keep your grill clean and ready to be fired up at a moment's notice. Remove the grates and allow them to soak in warm soapy water. Using a stiff bristle brush, scrub away caked-on residue. Once dry, reassemble your grill so that it's all set for your next culinary adventure.

    Related:  No Sweat—The 7 Best Barbecue Shortcuts

  2. Build a Water Feature


    Turn an ordinary backyard into a spa-like retreat with one simple addition: a DIY fountain. While building your own water feature might sound daunting, you can actually create your own patio fountain with little more than a large planter, river rocks, and a fountain pump.

    Related:  Make a Splash! 10 Stunning Backyard Ponds to Enhance Any Landscape

  3. Screen Time


    Window screens let you welcome fresh air without inviting bugs or large amounts of dust and pollen into your home—but when one tears, it can't do its job. Check your windows to see if any need a quick fixing. If you find a spot in need of repair, all you need to do is stretch a length of screening over the metal frame and cut to size. Then insert a new spline into the frame using a rolling tool. Lastly, trim the excess material, and return the screen into the window frame.

  4. Curb Appeal Update


    A freshly painted door instantly boosts the look of your home—and it only takes is one sunny weekend to complete. First, take the door from its hinges and remove its knob and other hardware. Then wash it down and allow it to dry completely before cracking out a bucket of exterior paint. Consider a bold color like red or yellow, or choose a classic black or gray shade. Just a couple of coats will offer a total facelift for your front porch.  

    Related:  Instant Curb Appeal—15 Fast Facade Fix-Ups

  5. Prevent Pests


    Summer is prime season for mosquitoes, but there are a few things you can do to keep them from calling your backyard home. Take a walkabout after a rain and dump out pools of standing water that accumulate on patio furniture and planters. Trim overgrown shrubs and grasses away from the house, as mosquitoes like to hang out in dense vegetation. Lastly, consider planting natural mosquito repellent plants like citronella or lavender.

    Related:  10 Natural Ways to Combat Summer Mosquitoes

  6. Clean the Fridge


    A clean fridge is more than just good kitchen hygiene—it's also an important step toward an energy efficient home. So before you leave town for a long weekend, take the opportunity to toss old food and wipe down interior shelves and walls. No need to stop there, though: Unplug the fridge and pull it away from the wall in order to vacuum the coils. Clearing away the gunk helps your fridge cool your food without working as hard.

    Related:  How To—Clean Any Appliance

  7. Bath Fix Up


    Give your bathroom a little revamp simply by switching out the fixtures this month. Upgrade your daily shower by swapping in a luxe shower head, or save on water by converting your toilet with a dual flush repair kit. You can also dramatically change the look of your space by changing out small but key pieces, like towel racks or cabinet hardware. 

    Related:  7 Mistakes Not to Make in Your Bathroom Remodel

  8. Chill Out in the Basement


    In most homes the basement is the coolest room in the whole house, making it a great place to beat the heat. Even if you don't have the time or money to devote to a full basement remodel, you can do a few simple changes to spruce up the space. If you can hang drywall over cinder block walls, splash a little paint on them. Consider staining a concrete floor or laying down removable carpet tiles for instant comfort.

    Related:  Life Underground—10 Beautiful Basement Makeovers

  9. Reset Your Mower Blade


    During the height of summer, heavy rains and warm temperatures can make grass grows faster than ever. Cutting your lawn often is a key to keeping it healthy, but be sure to cut no more than a third off the top. You'll probably need to adjust the height of mower blades to ensure that even as your grass growers taller, you're cutting the right amount and preventing shock to your lawn.

    Related:  9 Mowing Mistakes Everyone Makes

  10. Check Concrete Cracks


    Cracks and chips in your concrete patio or driveway age your home and can cause costly repairs down the line. For an easy fix, use a hammer and chisel to remove any loose concrete. Then rinse the area and allow it to dry thoroughly. Finally, fill in the crack with a concrete repair mix, and smooth with a putty knife.

    Related:  Easy DIY Fixes for 11 Annoying House Problems

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