A swimming pool keeps you cool in the summer, looks great in the garden and is useful for keeping the children occupied.

This is one of the best months for Southern Californians to get outdoors and get gardening. School’s getting out, summer heat hasn’t fully arrived and the longest days for garden work happen in June. Here’s a quick to-do list of some of the things you can get to work on this month.

Real estate prices are likely to take their time coming back in most parts of Southern California, so why not make your home a comfortable place to ride out the economic woes. June is a perfect time to add some comforts to your garden. Consider adding a swimming pool, a barbecue area for entertaining, or a golf putting green for practice in your own backyard.

  • With all the rain we got this year, it could be a serious year for wildfires. So get out there and clean weeds, gutters and cut back branches that come too close to the house.
    Enjoy the cooler weather for digging and planting. Soon it will be hot for both you and new plants making the job that much more difficult. This could be a great year for adding a raised vegetable garden if you don’t already have one.
  • You can still seed root crops like beets and radishes, beans, corn, squash (for later season cropping) and some of the hot-climate spinach substitutes like Malabar spinach. Slow-growing edibles like tomatoes, peppers and eggplant are best set out as small plants in June.
  • Pay attention to water. The drought may officially be over, but our water bills are going up anyway. Efficient watering and drought-resistant planting will save you maintenance labor as well as money on your water bill.
  • Save lugging waste into bins by building a compost heap. You can construct your own or buy one ready-made.
  • If you do have a vegetable garden, check over fruits and vegetables daily for anything that is ready to crop and for incipient signs of insect infestation or disease. Supplement with hand watering and spray any insect invaders hard when watering to dislodge them. Insecticidal soap should handle remaining pests.
  • Re-set sprinkler systems and check for low-volume and drip irrigation alternatives. Consider installing smart irrigation controllers to take the guess work out of watering.
  • Check ponds and fish regularly. Spring is when disease is most likely as the water warms and fish become more active. Treat at the first sign of white spots, lesions or parasites.
  • Consider redesigning your landscape or reducing lawns for lower water consumption. Check into artificial lawns before buying. There are pros and cons you might not know. And consider re-designing lawn so you get the most out of what you have and make the rest of your property more productive and attractive.
  • What about starting a cutting garden? Grow your own cut flowers rather than buying them.

Enjoy the few days when it is cool for doing the June to-do gardening list in this part of the country — especially for Southern Californians who live and garden inland. Summer heat is coming!