It will soon be summer. Let's all put our shorts on and see how far down our kneecap skin has slid over the winter. These are the summer projects (big and small) that have made my summers epic and can do the same for you.
During the summer there's a work stoppage on any indoor work at my house. I vacuum because if I don't things stick to the bottom of my feet, but other than that basic chore, my house really becomes more of a flop house.
If the days are long and warm, I'm outside with my good friend Mother Nature. I'm pretty sure she's bi-polar because she can snap moods in an instant.
Table of Contents
5 Epic Summer Projects to Try
Time Required - 1-2 hours
Cost - $130 for 6 high end metal lights, wiring and transformer. The cost will increase with the more lights you want and therefore the bigger transformer you'll need.
In a house one of the things that has the biggest impact but gets the least attention is lighting. Ditto for outdoors. Have you ever driven past a house at night and thought OoOoOooooahhhhhhh? It's the lighting. Lighting on the porch, under the eaves and landscape turn a little bungalow into something you assume must be a vacation home for Meghan Markle.
This post outlines the step by step information you need to install LED landscape lighting. IT'S NOT AS HARD AS YOU THINK. In fact it isn't hard at all. Maybe .... unfamiliar ... but not difficult. It's an easy, high impact summer project.
Time Required - 1 Full Day (for a large garden)
Cost at time of installation - $324 for a 40' x 40' garden. (approximately 0.20 cents per square foot)
If you have a small garden, drip irrigation will save water. If you have a large garden drip irrigation will save you water, time, money and a lot of therapeutic sessions with friends discussing how you kill everything you grow. It's summer project #2.
By August the rain usually slows down, things dry out and shrivel up. Sadly it's also the time we're least likely to water the garden because by August we're all secretly wishing things would just up and die so we don't have to take care of them anymore. This only applies to plants, not friends or relatives. The fed uppiness with gardening is a short lived and usually only last for a week or so prior to the big harvest.
Drip irrigation, again isn't all that difficult, doesn't cost that much and can save you time. The benefit of being able to water your garden while you're working in it is reason enough to install a drip system (no overhead sprinkler to dodge, no hose to stand there with pointing at the dirt.)
When I installed my drip system a few years ago I wrote an entire tutorial on how to install a drip system from beginning to end. Only one other thing has done more to improve my harvest than the drip system.
Time Required - 3 hours
Cost - (around) $50 per hoop house
Who knew building a box with hinges on it would revolutionize my gardening. I'm not sure how many of you have already built yourself a hinged hoop house after I featured it last year but if my community garden is any indication, a pretty large percentage of you have done it. I know my hinged hoop house was met with a few suspicious eyes up at my community plot but one by one people started to soften to the idea of these monstrosities in the middle of nature.
After living with the hinged hoop house for a year I found a couple of areas that I could improve on so I updated it. I've made it taller to accommodate my monstrous kale and Brussels sprouts (ick). I also beefed up the structure of it.
In a week or so I'll be bringing you the Hinged Hoop House 2.0. so hold off until then to build one if you can. Until the new and improved version is posted you can see the basics of how it's built and why it's so great here.
Time Required - a few hours per tree.
Cost - Around $50 for the tree, $25 or less for the hardware.
If you've always, always, always, always wanted a fruit tree but didn't think you had room for one (or two which is what you need to produce apples for instance) you can finally have what you want. An apple (or pear or fig ...) tree that takes up almost no room at all.
I planted a pair of matching espalier apple trees (which are now available at most nurseries) a few years ago and they've performed way better than I thought they would. They're easy to maintain, look neat and tidy and shock of all shocks ... supply me with apples.
This type of espalier has 6 varieties of apples grafted onto one rootstock so it's like having 6 different apple trees. That means an espalier like this can be planted as a single tree (you don't need two of them) because it can pollinate itself.
The only trick to an espalier is wiring it. You need to attach it to a sturdy wire (either against a fence, wall or between posts) to help it keep its shape over the next few decades as it grows. If you've always wanted to grow an apple tree but didn't think you had room, here's my full tutorial on how to plant and wire an apple espalier.
Time Required - 3-4 weekends
Cost - Anywhere from nothing to $200. Depends on how much you can scrounge.
You didn't think I was going to forget this did you? My backyard pizza oven. THIS is a DIY that I know a lot of The Art of Doing Stuff readers have done which SHOCKS me because it's kind of a big project. It's led me to believe I'm not alone in my enthusiasm for cuddling pizza. I mean eating.
This pizza oven has led to countless pizzas, breads and other foods being baked in a roaring fire through the spring, summer, fall and winter. It's also led to a lot of pizza parties and yes, I'll say it again, back fat.
I built my pizza oven 2014 and in 2022 finally replaced it with a Gozney Dome pizza oven. It remained in perfect condition until the winter of 2021 when I forgot to cover it up before the bad weather hit. Even AFTER I forgot to cover it and it cracked and fell apart it was still in much better shape than my kneecpas.
Good luck and have fun with your own summer projects. If you complete any of these send me a photo!