This post is sponsored advertising content with my friends at State Farm®. All views are, as always, my own.

Summer is here, and whether you have just bought a new home or been a homeowner for a few years, I wanted to share some of my summer home maintenance tips which I’ve found help me keep my home looking great. Plus, my friends at State Farm have helpful home advice from their Simple Insights that can help keep your home safe this summer.

1.    Hydrangea and plant secrets

One of my favorite parts of summer on the east coast is seeing my hydrangeas in bloom. I have them all along our driveway and in front of the house. Every year people ask me how they look so good, so here are my hydrangea care tips:

·      Always cut back any deadwood which has no new growth in the spring. Don’t cut them back in the fall as hydrangeas grow on both new and old wood. Therefore, you can’t tell until the spring which woods needs to be pruned. I prune just above the last bud with three leaves.

·      Once the flower buds start to appear use a liquid bloom promoting fertilizer (0-10-10) and be consistent applying it every two weeks to promote lots of blooms.

·      Deadhead old blooms throughout the summer season as this will promote more flowers on the plants.

State Farm reminds us that summer is a good time to check trees that have grown over the spring, ensuring they aren’t getting too close to the house, and to check to see if any branches are cracked or dead and need to be removed. Living near the ocean I know it’s better to take care of them now before a summer storm hits!

2.    Door hardware trick.

Matte black hardware on doors and windows is very much on trend at the moment. A few years ago we had some steel and glass windows installed on the back our house, which look so good. However, one thing about black hardware is that it does often change color in the summer sun; the heat and direct sunlight quickly takes a toll on its appearance. I have an easy way to bring back that rich, deep black color. 

All you need is some vegetable oil and a microfiber cloth. Dab a small amount of vegetable oil onto a microfiber cloth and then simply wipe over the door handle. The oil will absorb into the metal and bring back its color. Make sure you test in an inconspicuous area first; and remember, a little oil goes a long way!

Talking about the power of the sun, garages can get very hot in the summer so be careful when storing certain items. Don’t forget this tip from State Farm: heat-sensitive materials or combustibles shouldn’t be kept there – think paints or solvents.

3.    Stone and Driveway Care

One of the best tips I have for pools is about extending the life of a stone pool surround. We have a permeable travertine around our pool. With these types of stones, it’s important to seal them to ensure they’re protected from the water. Check with an expert to find out which sealer you should use. We seal ours once every year to make sure that water isn’t absorbed into the stone, and to help keep it looking great for years to come. The sealer I use is easy to apply. I simply clean the stone, and then roller the sealer onto the stone with a larger roller.

I think it’s a perfect time to take note of State Farm’s reminder to check your driveway and other paths for cracks or needed repairs. Doing this early can save money, prevent larger future repairs, and stop accidents. Check out Simple Insights from State Farm for more great advice.


Will Taylor

Will is a self-confessed gentleman hooked-on-hue and his motto is: beige is boring! He works as a freelance author, creative consultant and lifestyle blogger. Will has been blogging about his love of colourful design, fashion and travel since 2009, engaging an army of colour lovers across the world with his quintessential make-you-smile style.

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Hey, I'm Will

Welcome to Bright.Bazaar, my make-you-smile style corner of the internet. I’ve been sharing my love of beautiful design, feel-good homes, everyday style, inspiring travel and, pretty much everything in between, since 2009. As well as working as a content creator, I write interior design books and edit a bi-weekly e-newsletter called Smile Mail. I live in New York City with my heartmate and can often be found listening to Madonna’s Confessions album and dreaming up my next home renovation project.