Summer in Chicagoland usually means sunny days, warm nights, and plenty of chances to go out and work on your home’s landscaping.
Whether you are looking to take on projects that can help get your home ready to sell, or simply want to invest some time in the space you already own, summer is a great opportunity to start thinking about your home’s lawn, garden, and outdoor living spaces.
Research shows that the “curb appeal” of a home can be a make-or-break factor for potential buyers. Taking some simple steps to improve your landscaping can also help you make the most of your home’s outdoor space, all summer long — particularly important when you want to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine during our current era of social distancing.
Looking for some outdoor inspiration? Here are 10 summer landscaping and gardening projects to try around your Chicagoland home this season:
1.) Protect Your Lawn
With hot, dry days on the horizon, now is a great time to turn your attention to your lawn. There are lots of simple steps you can take to protect your yard during the summer months. Adopt wise watering practices — turning on the hose or sprinkler about once per week, and doing most of your watering in the early morning hours. Summer is also a great time to treat your lawn for weeds, pests, and diseases, and get in the habit of mowing regularly, maintaining a grass height around 2.5 to 3 inches.
Looking for more practical summer lawn care ideas? Give your yard a boost with our helpful guidelines, available here.
2.) Add Mulch to Your Flower Beds and Garden
Incorporating mulch into your home’s landscaping is a great way to keep your favorite plants and flowers healthy, all summer long. As Better Homes & Gardens explains, spreading a thin layer of mulch over the soil in your garden helps blanket the ground and shield the soil from the sun — which helps keep the ground cooler, prevents moisture loss, and makes your plant roots a whole lot happier. Mulch can also help prevent weeds from taking over your beautiful garden.
Interested in learning more about the benefits of mulch, and what types may work in your Chicagoland garden? The Spruce has a great guide on “Different Types of Mulch and Their Advantages.”
3.) Help Draw In Local Wildlife
Are you a certified nature lover? This summer, try opening up your garden to the incredible flora and fauna that make the Chicagoland area so special. There are lots of ways to help attract beneficial native wildlife to your yard, from installing bird feeders, to adding specialized plants that may help attract butterflies, bees, and backyard birds.
Looking for some ideas?
- HGTV has a guide to “Beckon Pollinators to Your Backyard With a Bee-neficial Container Garden”
- The National Wildlife Federation offers “Four Can’t-Miss Ways to Attract Birds to Your Yard or Deck”
- Birds & Blooms shares a list of “12 Flowering Shrubs That Attract Butterflies”
4.) Give Your Plants a Haircut
Have you ever gotten a haircut at the beginning of the summer, to help yourself stay cool and comfortable during the dog days? Pruning your plants works in a similar way, allowing them to thrive and experience healthy new growth, all year round.
As This Old House explains, pruning can help provide “thicker foliage, more flowers, and healthier plants.” Curious about how to get started? Savvy Gardening recommends clearing up overgrowth on annuals and trimming back perennials, including cleaning up seed pods and dead flower spikes.
5.) Brighten Up With Summer Colors
A pop of color can be a great way to breathe new life into a space, both indoors and out. The bright, warm months of summer can be a prime time to start experimenting with vibrant new colors. Get creative, and add summertime accents and colors throughout your outdoor spaces. Try putting out vibrant door mats; repainting your patio furniture; swapping out your exterior pillows, tablecloths, or rugs; or even adding a bright new coat of paint to your fence.
6.) Spruce Up Your Hardscaping, Deck, Patio, and Walking Paths
Have the elements started to take over your deck or patio? This summer, focus on making your outdoor living spaces as comfortable, accessible, and safe as possible. Check the safety of your deck, and make any repairs or fixes it needs — like replacing rotted floorboards or adding a new handrail. Clean your deck or patio with a broom and a good rinsing, and consider re-finishing and sealing your deck or patio to protect it from the elements. Clear away overgrowth and weeds, to help make sure your hardscaping and walkways are always clean and ready to use.
7.) Add Some Summer Lighting
Looking for a quick and easy home project you can take on in a weekend? Add some new outdoor lighting elements. After all, the warm nights of summer are a perfect invitation to hang out in the great outdoors. Make sure your next evening outside is perfectly illuminated by adding accent lights around your paths or walkways; stringing fairy lights or bulbs across your deck or balcony; or strategically placing lanterns on your tables and railings. Get creative, and see what works around your home!
8.) Invest in Local Plants
Looking to grow plants that will be able to stand up to a hot and muggy Chicagoland summer? There are lots of plants — including veggies, flowers, and greenery — that positively thrive during summer in the Midwest. Looking to add some local color?
- Better Homes & Gardens names “Low-Maintenance Perennials for the Midwest”
- MidwestLife lists “25 Top Easy-Care Plants for Midwest Gardens”
- The Field Museum has a handy post on “Five Native Plants to Grow in Your Home Garden”
9.) Build the Perfect New Accent
Want to get creative and flex your DIY muscles? This summer, look around your home for old household materials that you can upcycle into incredible landscaping elements. HouseBeautiful, for example, suggests using old sinks and tables as “quirky planters,” or adapting old pallets and boards into “planters, bug hotels, or compost bins.” Outside of recycling, look for fun and useful projects you can take on to spruce up your outdoor space — such as building a stone wall; constructing a quick trellis for ivy or hanging plants; or installing a sustainable rain barrel to collect and save water.
10.) Get Crafty, Indoors and Out
Looking for things to do with all the amazing plants and veggies in your garden? This summer, why not bring a little bit of the outdoors in? Getting creative and sourcing craft ideas is a great way to get the whole family involved in a project together. You can use leaves or branches from your garden as fun art materials, or make wreaths for your doors. Try cooking with the veggies and herbs you grew outside, or working together to build nifty new planters or hanging baskets with materials you already have around the house.
How Are You Making the Most of Your Time at Home?
This is the time to remember what’s truly important — health, family, and the bonds that tie us together. Whether it’s now serving as a school, office, playground, or simply a safe space, our home has never been more important. We know this is as well as anyone. At Baird & Warner, Chicagoland has been our home since 1855. We are here for you, no matter what. We understand that you still have important real estate decisions to make, and our mission is to make achieving those goals easier.