Taking care of your home is a year-round endeavor, and there are plenty of steps that you can take to make your home a better place to live this summer. Here’s a brief list of 8 home improvement tips that you can get started on immediately.

Tip #1: Install ceiling fans inside your home

Tired of paying high air-conditioning bills all summer? One way to bring down the cost of cooling your home is with new energy-efficient ceiling fans.

Tip #2: Hang exterior shutters on your windows

There are two major purposes for exterior shutters. One is purely functional – they help to protect your home and windows from storms and high winds. That’s especially the case if you live near a large body of water like the ocean. But the other is purely aesthetic – there’s nothing quite like having a pair of brightly colored exterior shutters to add some character to your home.

Tip #3: Plant a fruit or vegetable garden

More and more people are embracing the idea of growing their own fruits and vegetables, all without the need for harmful pesticides or chemicals. One favorite option is growing vine-ripened tomatoes, together with herbs. Voila! Your summer salads are ready to go, and it’s all completely organic.

Tip #4: Plant flowers in a weather-resistant box

If you’re the summer gardening type, why not change things up a bit and plant flowers in a weather-resistant box? You can then assemble several of these boxes around your backyard or exterior of your home. The flowers add a nice touch to any summer experience, and you can add a new aesthetic appeal by painting or decorating the flower box. (Or better yet, have your kids decorate them!)

Tip #5: Install landscape lighting along walkways

There’s nothing more welcoming for guests than to encounter an illuminated walkway guiding them to your front door. And if you happen to have a spacious backyard, illuminated lighting can help to frame romantic outdoor walks.

Tip #6: Re-stain your deck or fence

In addition to making everything feel new and improved for the summertime, a re-staining project can help to add needed protection from the elements to any exterior wood.

Tip #7: Power-wash any walkways or driveways

Summer is the best time to remove all the accumulated grime from the past few months of rainy weather. Power-washing walkways and driveways is one way to give a “just-moved-in” look to your home. And you can also use a power-washing treatment for the exterior of your home, to make it look very bright and cheery for the summer.

Tip #8: Add a deck to your backyard

You don’t need to hire a contractor to build a backyard deck. Any large home improvement store will have plenty of options to add weather-resistant decking to any size of backyard. If you have a large enough backyard deck, you can do some summer grilling there. Or, if you have a very modest area, you can just set up a lounge chair (or two) and a weather-resistant table to enjoy an early-morning weekend brunch outdoors.

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You’ll probably want to spend as much time as possible outdoors this summer, and one great way to do that is by implementing any of these 8 simple steps for home improvement.

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