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Betsy Taylor and her husband decided to embark on a major home improvement project one winter: renovating their kitchen in Portland, Maine.
“We hadn’t planned on redoing the floors, but after three weeks of tracked-in Old Man Winter, the contractor replaced it at no additional cost,” she says. “While it was nice to have a new free floor, in retrospect, I wish we had waited for summer when our chances of terrible weather were minimized. By the third week of construction, I just wanted my home back!”While sometimes the winter blues can make a person want to make home improvements, in many cases, summer is the best time for such projects. While summertime is when attention moves outdoors, that doesn’t mean all summer home improvements need to be relegated to the patio. Here are a few home improvements perfect for summer that you may not have considered:

1. Don’t build the pool, but plan it

“Summer is the best time for a self-analysis for big outdoor-area improvements,” says landscape designer and winner of the 2009 Oasis Award for outdoor kitchen design, Brian Griffith. “Ask yourself, `how do I use my outdoor space?’ Then ask yourself, `how do I wish I used my outdoor space?’ Summer is a really good time to take a good look at how you experience outdoor living.” And take note of Griffith’s rule of thumb: “The less comfortable it is, the less likely you are to use it.”

When the dog days hit, the next best thing to being outside is looking outside. There’s nothing like a great summer storm through a big picture window. And there is no better time than summer to invest in new windows to keep out the cold in winter and minimize heat in the summer — or just expand your view all around.

3. Shade, shade, shade

A super-hot summer can leave your patio and barbecue areas neglected. Consider using the summer months to plant new trees in strategic places that will afford you some great natural shade at some point down the road. In the meantime, look into other ways to get shade now. “Covered porches, umbrellas, and affordable pergolas really help make wonderful living spaces,” says Griffith. These days, shading devices come in so many shapes and colors, so you can embrace your own style and keep things cool.

 Click here to read the full article on my HAR Blog.

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