The heat of summer is upon us – faces are sun-kissed and electricity bills are at an all-time high. Cranking the AC seems like the only way to survive these 100 degree days and forget about the outdoor maintenance tasks that keep piling up. Fortunately, there are ways to manage the heat that will save you time, money and the irritation from unsolicited sweat.
Summer is a fun time to enjoy the outdoors with family and friends, but only when sun coverage is sufficient. By adding shade to the yard or patio, you can stay cooler and more comfortable all season long. Consider hanging an outdoor waterproof fabric around a seating area to make a retractable awning or canopy. If your outdoor space lacks columns or posts to attach the fabric, invest in a large umbrella or movable cabana. If you prefer natural sun blockers, potted citrus trees can move around as the sun shifts and wood structures like a pergola add a striking statement.
Furthermore, if you have lived in your home for at least a year, you likely know where the sun enters each room. Make a long-term plan to plant trees or shrubbery that will block the harsh sun, naturally increasing curb appeal and decreasing energy bills.
Plants need special care in the heat, yet most of us dread spending hours in the lawn on a hot summer’s day. Luckily, the prime time to water is morning or early-evening, but be aware that too much water can cause just as much damage as too little. In addition to watering, plants require appropriate coverage to avoid sunburns and continue their flowering. Try an umbrella or lightweight fabric stretched over a trellis to protect your blooms. Note that eggplant, peppers, basil and tomatoes are a few heat-tolerant plants that require less upkeep.
What’s the secret to staying cool without spending a fortune? One of many tips is to invest in a programmable thermostat like Nest, which allows you to come home to a cool house without running the air all day. Other tricks for reducing your energy bill include changing the air filters monthly, moving lamps and large electronics away from thermostats, cooking and laundering in the morning or evening and rotating ceiling fans counterclockwise to move warmth up and away from the room. Closing curtains and lowering blinds is another obvious tip, but should you be concerned about obstructing a beautiful view, consider applying window film to the glass to minimize radiant heat.
Many are concerned about maintaining an attractive yard amidst heat and dehydration. First, avoid mowing the lawn during a period of drought. Second, refrain from cutting the yard too short as it reduces the plants’ ability to produce energy and develop strong roots. Third, watch out for over-irrigation. Grass performs better when it’s dry rather than wet; when soil is constantly wet, roots could be deprived of oxygen and susceptible to disease. Finally, keep lawnmower blades sharp – dull blades could tear plant tissue rather than cut it, turning the grass brown at the surface. It is also important to maintain grass’ year-round health in preparation for the summer stresses by proper fertilization, watering, mowing and pest control.
It’s that time of year when having a pool is a dream-come-true. Not only is it refreshing after a morning run or spending an afternoon in the yard, it’s the perfect place to entertain friends with cocktails and burgers on the grill. However, maintenance can be a hassle. Invest in an automated vacuum to gather the hard-to-reach debris and don’t forget to test the pH levels and change the filters.
Should you have any questions, please call one of our agents at The Lipman Group Sotheby’s International Realty. We are here to help you enjoy your summer!
Lawrence M. Lipman is the owner and president of The Lipman Group / Sotheby’s International Realty in Nashville. Real estate is Larry’s career, but also his passion. He can be reached by calling 615-364-3333.