Click inside for the weekly home and garden rail, with items on adapting your garden to its surroundings, the importance of clearing out clutter when selling your home, and more.
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Garden Guide: How to tailor your garden to its surroundings
Even seasoned gardeners have at least one difficult area in the landscape where no plants survive. Whether it is around a trash can storage area or in a shallow space surrounding a tree, understanding the appropriate plant material for bare, problematic areas can bring new life to the lawn and garden.
Plant brand experts work each year to produce solution plants and educate homeowners on how specific varieties can eliminate landscape woes. These tips can grow a green thumb on most any homeowner.
Using plants with varied heights, colors and textures will draw the eye throughout a petite garden just like larger landscapes. Yet the effect will be diversity that makes the space appear expanded.
Consider the use of a low-growing groundcover such as Stepable's Isotoma “Blue Star Creeper” to maximize interest close to, and spreading across, the ground. Combine this with taller shrubs like J. Berry Nursery's “Deja Bloom” Hydrangea around the space's edges to create a sense of place and depth in the center.
The use of creeping perennials also provides a low plane, allowing other, larger plants to be used in layers.
Compare and combine
Areas in the landscape overrun with trees and shrubs can cause homeowners frustrating maintenance issues. When areas are planted without regard to this, plants can quickly overwhelm a homeowner. Combining plants with comparable growing attributes can lead to less work later.
Grouping plants that require similar conditions will make confined areas easier to maintain because plants will remain healthier.
Taking it in stride
Certain areas of the landscape become bare of plantings due to the high-traffic these spots endure. Planted borders near sidewalks, mailboxes and trash cans receive daily beatings. Grassy areas around play sets and pet areas are often eyesores given pattering feet.
Stepables plants have a tolerance for foot traffic. Plants such as Lotus “Plenus” provide these areas with a dense mat of yellow blooms that flower in spring and can tolerate foot traffic.
Home-Selling Tip: Clear out the clutter
Removing clutter is a difficult but necessary part of selling your home.
After years of living in the same home, clutter collects in such a way that may not be evident to the homeowner. However, it does affect the way buyers see the home, even if you do not realize it.
Clutter collects on shelves, counter tops, drawers, closets, garages, attics and basements. You want as much open clear space as possible, so everything needs to be cleared away.
Take a step back and pretend you are a buyer. Let a friend or your real estate agent help point out areas of clutter.
Decorating Tip: Simple upgrade, dramatic difference
Many of us dream of updating the most-used room in our homes, the bath, to create a beautiful and inviting space. But in today's tough economy, many of us can’t dedicate a hefty sum of money.
A curved shower rod can make you feel like you have an oversized, lavish shower without adding any square footage. Plus, it's an affordable solution that provides up to 7 1/2 inches of elbow room while adding terrific style and visual appeal.
Moen offers both fixed- and adjustable-length curved shower rods with pivoting flanges to make installation a breeze -- even on irregular wall surfaces.
How to: Fix up your kitchen for less
Replacing laminate countertops with another material can be costly. An easier option for many people is to simply paint over the laminate they already have.
Even if your laminate is scratched, gouged or faded, it's possible to paint it. Use a good quality spackle to fill in cracks, chips, scratches or gouges. Be sure the entire surface is clean and dry, and then apply a coat of bonding primer to help ensure the paint adheres to the laminate.
Next, apply two or three coats of paint in your chosen color. Finally, seal the counters with polyurethane. You can get creative by stenciling designs on the surface or faux painting to make the laminate look like granite.
Did You Know …
Clorox is offering a $5,000 reward and a year's supply of toilet cleaning products for tips leading to the arrest of the person lighting portable toilets on fire in San Francisco.
Home Improvements: Are asphalt shingles right for your home?
Many American homeowners may be unfamiliar with the process to repair or upgrade their existing roof. Consider creating a list of goals and a budget. Then, it is important to research your options.
Asphalt shingles are a practical choice, and are one of the most widely used residential roofing materials.
- Three-tab asphalt roofing shingles are made from individual layers of fiberglass mat, an asphalt roofing base material manufactured from glass fibers that provides additional strength to the shingle. The fiberglass mat is dipped in asphalt and coated with fire-resistant granules.
- Also known as "architectural shingles" or "three-dimensional shingles," laminated asphalt shingles have added dimensionality because of extra layers of fiberglass mat, which create a wood shake-like appearance. Laminated asphalt shingles provide a more distinctive look when compared to classic three-tab asphalt shingles.
Our everyday activities impact birds and their habitats. One way to protect birds is by reducing the use of pesticides.
Not only can pesticides be toxic to birds, but they kill the insects that birds eat. Weed instead of spraying. If you must use pesticides, look for biopesticide alternatives.
Prevent pests from entering your home by replacing worn weather stripping and screens, and filling in gaps in floors and around windows and plumbing fixtures.
GateHouse News Service