Bob Vila's 10 "Must Do" Projects for July

July ushers in the start of summer, which translates into outdoor living, grilling, and staying cool. But this month, like any other, there are things you can do to improve your summer living; things that will bring you more opportunity for leisure-time pursuits, while still keeping your home and garden in peak condition. Here are my top 10 "must do" projects for July.

Cool Down Naturally

Ceiling Fan

Installing a ceiling fan is a great way to cut energy costs all year round. It helps circulate cool air in the warm summer months but can also help push down heated air in the winter, allowing you to dial down the thermostat and save money. It’s also the perfect weekend project for a homeowner, since you can accomplish the task in a few hours and enjoy the investment immediately.

Keep Up With the Pool

Pool Maintenance

If this is the year you add a swimming pool, be sure to do your research. Whether in-ground or above-ground, its size, shape and location will be important considerations. So too will its care and maintenance. Be sure to maintain chlorine and pH levels to reduce algae growth, and remove leaves and debris that could clog drains and filter.

Related: 10 "Dream-Worthy" Swimming Pools

Nurture the Roses

Rose Gardening

If you have roses, you know that, although hardy, they do require special care to lead up to their full potential. Since their roots go deep, frequent watering is important. So too is fertilizer, which you should lay down after each flush of new blooms.

Related: Managing 3 Common Problems Faced by Roses

Lawn Games

Cornhole Toss

Rather than pile the kids in the car and drive to an amusement park, create some summer fun in your very own backyard. With a little bit of planning and ingenuity you can DIY a variety of lawn games from twister and tetherball to bowling and—everyone's favorite—cornhole toss.

Plant a Container Garden

Container Gardening

Containers are a great way to dress up your patio, porch, or deck—and to flex your gardening muscle. Be sure to choose a pot that is appropriately sized for your requirements and has adequate drainage. And, don't forget to fertilize, as most potting soils have little-to-no nutrients.

Summer Pests

Eliminate Mosquitoes

There's nothing more annoying than having your summertime fun ruined by the buzzing and biting of the season's peskiest foes—mosquitoes. Before they breed and congregate, consider some natural ways to keep them at bay, like planting rosemary or thyme. Be sure to eliminate standing water from your property as well.

DIY with the Kids

Summer Kids DIY

Looking for a way to keep the kids occupied this summer? Get them involved in some easy DIY crafts. Make your own fingerpaint, bubbles, and crayons. Create a fort-building kit and superhero capes that will kick their imaginations into overdrive. Or, convert a bookcase into a magical dollhouse, like the one shown here.

Stay Safe

Storm Safety

Don't wait for storm clouds—or warnings—before taking steps to keep your family safe. Be sure to have flashlights and batteries on hand and stock up on bottled water. If the threat of a severe storm is known, be sure to charge your mobile devices. And, if you live in an area prone to flooding, make certain the sump pump is in good working order.

Fire Up the Grill

How to Clean a Grill

A well-maintained grill—whether gas or charcoal—will not only keep your food safe, but make it more flavorful. Cleaning the grill while it's still hot will be easiest. For a deeper clean, remove the grates when the grill is cool and squirt on a little dishwashing liquid (or place the grates in warm soapy water to cut the grease), then scrub with a wire brush or abrasive pad.

Related: Get Grilling! 10 Best Grills Under $100

Tackling Some DIY Fixes

Leaky Faucet

Whether it's a leaky faucet, a loose door hinge, removing paint from concrete, or cleaning dirt and grime off of the patio—there's always something to tackle at home. Before calling a handyman, consider whether you can do the job yourself. You'd be surprised at how many simple fixes are DIY doable.  

Related: 20 Insanely Easy 60-Minute Home Improvements

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