10 things to do in May
1 Get your grill on
The central cooking source of your summer entertaining, make sure your grill is in good working order. Scrub down internal racks and change lava rocks that may be lingering from last season. Treat yourself to some new tools of the trade -- a basting mop, grilling basket, non-stick skewers and scissor tongs.
• See our wine list to complement a summer grill menu.
2 Fresh flower arranging
Whether you take a course for fun or gather ideas from magazines, now is the perfect time to brush up on the art of flower arranging. Think of creative containers, mix unexpected elements and play with texture and colour to give your centerpieces unconventional flair.
3 Set out your outdoor furniture
Arrange your outdoor furniture as you would your indoor furniture -- essentially turning your porch or deck into a second living room. Establish a space for eating, group conversation and a more intimate nook for enjoying an after dinner drink or an afternoon read.
4 Repaint trim and doors
High-traffic use of doors and abuse of baseboards can leave a space looking worn and dingy. A quick coat or two of paint on trims and interior doors can instantly refresh your home. Choose a shade darker or lighter than what you currently have to introduce a new contrast with an existing wall colour.
5 Service your air conditioner
Central air conditioners consume a lot of electricity and without regular service, your air conditioner's efficiency can fall by as much as half. Call for servicing now before the temperature spikes, demand for service increases and the cost of a house call goes up.
6 Update your outdoor hardware
With an increased focus on the outside of your home during the spring and summer months, take a look at the state of your outdoor hardware. Door handles, knockers, house numbers and even the mailbox take a beating from the elements and, if they've been present for a decade or more are probably in need of an update.
7 Create a fireplace vignette
With the cold weather months behind us the inside of your fireplace doesn't need to stand empty. Arrange white pillar candles of varying sizes or an assortment of low-light plants in attractive pots to fill this otherwise unused space.
8 Add a splash of colour to your deck
Wood-stains aren't just for preservation purposes. Available colours now go beyond shades of brown and can be used to extend the indoor colour palette of your home. Whether you choose classic blues or greens or bolder colours, proper application is key. Be sure to follow manufacturer's directions to produce a long lasting stain.
9 Plant window boxes
Whether you live in a house or apartment, window boxes make maximum impact of annual flowers. Most plants grow happily in well draining containers -- try petunias, nasturtiums, zinnias, phlox and verbena. Space plants to give them sufficient room to grow, but also ensure that your container will look full and lush.
10 Try wallpaper in a small space
Looking for a big change in a small space? Wallpaper can personalize a small space --out such as a powder room, study or nursery -- in a big way. Wallpaper with a vertical pattern adds the illusion of greater ceiling height while small and open patterns, in lighter shades, can help stretch the perceived size of the space.