Guide written by:
Sebastian, self-taught DIY-er, Exeter
The hard work of July isn't over yet with plenty still to be done in the garden in August – but at least we'll break a sweat doing it! Got an ornamental garden? Make the most of the good weather to sow a few flower seeds. Biennial and perennial flowers can go in the ground alongside autumn-flowering bulbs. In the vegetable garden, it's time to plant autumn veg such as cabbages, celery and winter leeks. You can also sow rocket, radishes and spinach, and start preparing for next spring by sowing green manure seeds wherever you have an empty spot. If you haven't already done so, it's best to mulch any thirsty plants such as tomatoes and courgettes. Any herbs you've been growing from seed, such as chervil and angelica, can go in the ground alongside woody herbs like thyme, sage, rosemary, bay leaf and lavender. The latter can be grown from cuttings or by dividing existing plants. If the hot weather hits, let your lawn grow little longer, mow less frequently and water now and again if necessary.
August is often a dry month and water levels can drop very low at this time of year. To cut down on the amount of water you use around the garden – without sacrificing your vegetables or flowerbeds – you have a few options. Firstly, you can loosen the surface of the soil with a mattock or garden claw before mulching around your plants using straw or bark. Mulching will help to reduce water loss and help the soil to retain warmth; aerating the soil helps oxygen to flow to the plant roots and help them absorb water more easily. When it comes to watering your plants, do so in the evening or first thing in the morning. Invest in a drip irrigation system or soaker hose to ensure your plants get just the right amount of water without wasting a drop. And if you have the option, go for an automated system to make your life easier!
Summer isn't all about tan lines – far from it! We all dream of the sound of waves hitting the shore and the smell of sun cream in the air, but all that lounging about won't get those jobs done! Whether you've got a driveway to gravel, a fence to replace or a roof to clean, there are some jobs that seem to sit on the back burner for years. So why not tackle them now while the weather's good? You may even earn a farmer's tan to be proud of in the process...
Unless you have a keen interest in amphibians or algae, a green pool is probably an unwelcome sight. While there can be any number of reasons behind green pool water (lack of chlorine, inadequate filtration and so on), summer temperatures don't help. In fact, warmer water allows algae to grow thicker and faster. The best way to avoid algae growth? Keep your filters clean and check your pool water regularly to prevent any imbalances.
Traditionally used as storage spaces, attics are increasingly being converted into functional rooms. As long as you have enough head room beneath the rafters, there's nothing stopping you from converting a loft into an office or bedroom. But the job can be a big one! From putting up walls to fitting insulation or even fitting a new floor, there are many steps to making your attic a comfortable living space.
August 2020 saw the south-east of the country hitting record-breaking temperatures. Some parts of the UK reached 34 degrees or more for six consecutive days and the nights weren't much cooler. In short, it's best to be prepared so we've put together a few guides to pick your cooling equipment. Will we see yet another heatwave this August? Just a couple of weeks to find out...
Long, sunny days are perfect for lounging about. But they're also handy if you've got paint to dry or a room to air out! It's important to limit Volatile Organic Compounds (or VOCs) as much as possible. So once you've finished painting, wallpapering or even laying new tiles, be sure to leave all windows and doors open for as long as possible. Trust us: you'll appreciate a fresh breeze after all that hard work!
If you have been lucky enough to book some time away this year, make sure your home is protected before you pack up the car and set off. Summer is a prime time for burglars so it's well worth investing in some form of home security. There are plenty of options out there from budget options like CCTV stickers and light timers to installing an alarm or purchasing a safe to keep your valuables in. If you don't want to come home to wilted flowers and shrivelled leaves, remember to make plans for your plants before hitting the road. While most fish will be able to cope for a few days without food, it's best to take a few measures if you plan to be away for any longer. Just popping out for the afternoon and want to make sure your pets don't get dinner late? Invest in an automatic feeder!
No longer able to see your workbench with all the clutter? Spend twenty minutes looking for the right nail? Haven't seen your spanner in weeks? These are all good signs that it's time to get your workshop or garage in order. Luckily, there are a few pieces of equipment to help you out from tool chests to storage hooks. Remember: an organised workspace is a productive one!
As temperatures rise, don't forget to keep a close eye on your pets! Our four-legged friends are much more sensitive to heat than us and heat exhaustion can set in faster than you might think. Heat stroke usually occurs in dogs on hot days in spaces with inadequate ventilation. But it can also be caused by overexertion. Generally speaking, if a dog's body temperature exceeds 40 degrees it is considered hyperthermic, and your pet is at risk of multiple organ failure and even death. To avoid catastrophe, ensure your dog is kept in a shaded, well-ventilated spot with access to water at all times. It goes without saying that in no circumstances should you ever leave your dog unattended in a vehicle. When it’s just 22°C outside, a car can reach 47°C within the hour. Heat stroke has a mortality rate of 50% so don't take any chances! Think it's too hot for a walk? There are plenty of ways to keep your dog amused at home from toys and chews to a quick training session.
Guide written by:
Sebastian, self-taught DIY-er, Exeter, 248 guides
Redo a roof with wooden beams? Check. Advise everybody in the DIY shop? Check. Redo bathroom plumbing? Check. If it doesn't work, try again! I'll do my best to advise you in your projects.