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HOME & GARDEN

DAAILY ILY IL Y SU N UN

N EWS NEWS

HO M E& GAR DEN

‘TODAY’S LOCAL NEWS TODAY’

2012

HOME & GARDEN

2 - DAILY SUN NEWS

APRIL 10, 2012

Local landscaper turns over a new stone John Van Wingerden has been a professional landscaper for more than 30 years. But the Sunnyside-area resident has added a new venture to his business by offering StoneMakers, a cost-efficient alternative to natural stone. VanWingerden said StoneMakers, based in New Hampshire, approached him about being a dealer/ installer for the product. Six months ago Van Wingerden took the company up on its offer and, though summer weather is still weeks away, has already had three or four projects using StoneMakers, which offers vertically stamped concrete. The unique system allows for the concrete to be stacked, carved and textured. The creativity of the product can be used for retaining walls, fire pits, water features or any other hardscape. The idea is to have landscape elements that duplicate the look and feel of actual stonework. Van Wingerden says with Stonemakers, concrete is poured and shaped free-hand to form walls

and paths that look just like they’re stone. He says Stonemakers has developed a concrete that sets in four or five hours instead of the typical one-hour time frame. Van Wingerden, in turn, notes that allows the time needed to form shapes and textures out of the concrete ranging from stones to tree stumps. Van Wingerden, one of only two Stonemakers dealers in eastern Washington, says the process offers up to 20 stain colors for property owners to choose from, allowing for several stone-like color variations. The cost for using StoneMakers is about half of what it would be to create a wall or garden art item out of real stone. “It’s so time intensive,” Van Wingerden says of picking through stones to find just the right ones to fit in each spot. Even better, he says StoneMakers offers the strength and support of concrete, but the look of natural stone. “The look is very authentic,” he said. Van Wingerden noted that StoneMakers developed its technology over a period of 20 years.

photo courtesy John Van Wingerden

James and Katrina Van Wingerden are pictured creating a “stone” wall actually made out of concrete with StoneMakers technology. The product has the ability to make a concrete wall up to four-feet high with the color and texture of stone. He says the product will withstand cold and frost, as it was developed with Northeast winters in mind. He noted his son, James, traveled to New Hampshire for a week of training with StoneMakers.

H&G Advertiser’s Index ACE Hardware, Grandview _____ 18 ACE Hardware, Sunnyside _______ 3 Aho Construction ______________ 7 Alba’s Excavating ______________ 7 All 5 Landscaping _____________ 10 Artistry Underfoot______________ 8 State Farm Insurance - Ben Sartin 14 Benton REA _________________ 23 Bill’s Berry Farm ______________ 4 Bos, Inc. Refrigeration & Heating _________________ 14 Cliff’s Septic Tank & Sewer Service _____________ 2 Daily Sun News ______________ 24 Desert Valley Powersports ______ 28 Farmers Insurance - Ron Sidwell _ 17 Grandview Lumber ____________ 22 HAPO Community Credit Union _______________ 12 Harold’s Repair ____________ 17, 19 Ideal Lumber & Hardware Supply Inc. ______ 20 Inland Awning _________________ 6 Jerry’s Pool & Spa ____________ 10 Lower Valley Credit Union ______ 21

Mabton Garden Center _________ 26 Marchant Home Furnishings_____ 18 Melange_____________________ 23 Noble’s Paint, Furniture & Floor Covering ___________ 22 Prosser Farmers Market ________ 25 PMH Medical Center __________ 20 Rainwater, Inc. _______________ 11 Robinson Drilling & Development, Inc._________ 25 Sal’s Pump Service ____________ 27 Schreiner Title Company ________ 3 Sears _______________________ 11 Silk Road Solar/Card Enterprises _ 16 Standard Paint & Flooring, LLC __ 15 Sunnyside Chiropractic Centre ___ 24 Sunnyside Glass _______________ 5 Tolman Electric _______________ 28 Top Notch Flooring ____________ 16 Valley Hills Funeral Home ______ 26 Valley Spray __________________ 5 VanWingerden Landscaping ______ 4 Yakima Federal Savings _________ 7 Yakima Valley Chiropractic _____ 27

“They’re family-owned,” Van Winderden says of StoneMakers. “They’re very supportive and try to make the best quality product.” Besides the reduced cost for customers compared to stone,

Van Wingerden said one of the reasons he agreed to work with StoneMakers is that the stone landscaping trend had hit something of a lull. see “New stone” next page

HOME & GARDEN

APRIL 10, 2012

DAILY SUN NEWS - 3

Family owned, serving Sunnyside and the surrounding communities since 1909. Over the years, times have changed, but Schreiner Title Company remains familyowned and is here to serve all of Yakima County with the same friendly and efficient service that has been insisted upon since the beginning. Drop by our Sunnyside office and ask about our title and escrow services. You’ll be glad you did.

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photo courtesy John Van Wingerden

The boulders on either side of this outdoor walkway are actual stone, but the “stones that make up the steps in the walkway are concrete poured, shaped, colored and textured to resemble stone in this finished product created with StoneMakers.

The special concrete created by StoneMakers doesn’t set for four or five hours, giving James Van Wingerden plenty of time to create stone shapes and textures out of this stacked concrete wall.

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continued from page 2

He said property owners are looking for something different. “It’s so flexible, you can be so creative with it,” Van Wingerden smiled. “That’s why we’re so excited about it.” Later this year the public will have the opportunity to see a first-hand sample of Van Wingerden’s work with StoneMakers. That’s because Van Wingerden Landscaping will use the technology to shape, color and texturize the hay bales that will accompany Bonnie Dunbar’s bronze sculpture. “We’re hoping to pour by mid-May,” Van Wingerden said. - John Fannin can be reached at 837-4500 or at jfannin@dailysunnews.com

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HOME & GARDEN

4 - DAILY SUN NEWS

APRIL 10, 2012

Top five tips for growing beautiful roses (Family Features) From June to Sept., roses add a special flourish to yards, gardens and public parks throughout the U.S. But for many gardeners, tending roses may seem intimidating. With 23 years of experience, Jamie Shiffer, head gardener at Hershey Gardens in Hershey, Penn., knows a thing or two about cultivating a beautiful rose, in all of its varieties. Here are Shiffer’s top five rose gardening tips for gardeners of all experience levels: - Plant and fertilize early. Consider planting new rose bushes in early spring. “Both

Watering from above, Shiffer explains, can cause black spots to appear on the petals and throughout the day. As the heat intensifies, the water on the petals promotes fungal growth. Instead, water at ground level first thing in the morning. - Prevent black spot. While good watering techniques can prevent fungal growth, for some gardeners, a humid environment can still lead to the same problem. “Treat black spot using a fungicide spray application on the plants every two weeks,” says Shiffer. - Prune for increased plant growth. To en-

Hershey Gardens in Hershey, Penn. illustrates the result of following five tips for growing beautiful roses.

photo courtesy Family Features

photo courtesy Family Features

Slow release fertilizers help produce superior plant growth. new and existing rose plantings will need to be fertilized at this time,” says Shiffer. He recommends applying a slow-release fertilizer surrounding the base, such as the GreenView with GreenSmart Rose Food, which is formulated with essential macro and micro nutrients that provide extended feeding for up to 12 weeks. Research reveals it helps to produce superior plant growth, improve plant health and vigor, and increase buds, blooms and plant yield. After fertilizing, thoroughly water your roses. If desired, you can apply two inches of mulch around the plant. - Avoid over watering. “You should water roses sparingly throughout the very hot season,” recommends Shiffer. “The biggest mistake people make when watering is to water from overhead with a hose, instead of at ground level,” says Shiffer.

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courage rejuvenation and growth from your rose bushes, be sure to deadhead through Sept. Count from the blossom down to the fifth leaf and make an angled cut. - Maintain throughout each season. Regardless of variety, roses require year round maintenance. Use this calendar as a guide to care for your rose bushes: March – Thin out the plantings; cut them back to 8 or 12 inches in length. April – Beginning in late April or early May, fertilize roses with a slow-release fertilizer that will last for 3 months, such as GreenView with GreenSmart Rose Food. May to Oct. – Use spray application on roses every two weeks. From June to Sept., deadhead your plantings, so they will push new growth. Sept. – Remove rose petals without cutting the bulb off completely. Nov. – Cut all roses back for the winter to 32 inches in height. For novice gardeners, Shiffer recommends starting with star roses or knockout roses, as they are among the most disease and insect resistant. “They come in many different

colors and produce blooms throughout the year,” says Shiffer. To discover more about Hershey Gardens, visit www.hersheygardens.org

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HOME & GARDEN

APRIL 10, 2012

DAILY SUN NEWS - 5

Replacing flooring needs a plan and a budget The first thing most people think about when they decide to re-carpet a home is how much it will cost. As a result, according to Paul Noble of Noble’s Furniture and Floor Covering in Sunnyside, people start hunting for bargains. What they find is often not what they want. “There’s a lot of ear-candy out there,” said Noble. “The advertising tries to lead you in one direction, but it’s not what you need.” Distinguishing between wants and needs is one of the tasks Noble strives to accomplish when he advises people on new flooring. Another task is teaching people how to work within a budget. “Prices differ by the amount of flooring you need. I can get enough carpeting for your entire house for a lower price than carpeting for a single room,” he said. “You start by knowing which rooms you plan to put new flooring in and how much you have to spend on it.” From there, Noble tries to find out what people really need and will be comfortable with by teasing out preferences. “I sometimes seem a little too interested,” he said. “But if I sell someone what they think they want and they end up hating it, they’ll tell folks that ‘Paul sold me stuff I don’t like.’ If I find something they’ll be comfortable with, they’ll say, ‘Paul talked me into it’ and everyone will be happy.” What flooring a person gets will depend on many factors. Carpeting is often the least expensive, but isn’t good for kitchens and bathrooms. A master bathroom usually won’t need as tough a floor as a utility room or kitchen. High traffic areas need sturdier floors. But strong is not always better. “A piece of canvas is stronger than a terry cloth,” said Noble. “But you don’t want to use canvas as a bath towel.” And toughness doesn’t always mean what people think it means, either. “A car can take a hit from a rock or bug at 80 miles an hour,” he said. “But you don’t want people standing on your car hood or stomping across it constantly.” Noble likens what people think they want

Laura Gjovaag/Daily Sun News

“People say they want thick carpeting, but don’t realize what they are asking for,” said Paul Noble as he runs his hand over a carpet. “This carpet will have visible marks where people walk. When you vacuum you can see the trail.”

Laura Gjovaag/Daily Sun News

A hardwood floor scratches easily, and the marks have to be ground and polished out. To demonstrate the ability of hardwood versus laminate to resist scratches, Paul Noble uses a piece of sandpaper and scratches both. With laminate, the scratch can be wiped off with a little effort. versus what they really want to the items in a closet. “You see the ones back there in the corner, they look attractive to you, but there’s a reason they are in the corner,” he said. “The ones in front are the ones you are comfortable wearing. The one place you most want to be comfortable is in your home.” Noble says people are fooled by prices. Carpeting has traditionally been priced by square yard. Many sellers have moved to square foot instead. “People aren’t real good at math,” Noble said. “They see a price by square foot and a price by square yard, and forget to multiply by nine and not by three.” The result is sticker shock for people who haven’t made the correct conversion. In addition, many prices don’t include essentials see “Replacing flooring” next page

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6 - DAILY SUN NEWS

HOME & GARDEN

APRIL 10, 2012

❚ Replacing flooring continued from page 5

like the pad or transitions, meaning that “great deal” a person got needs unexpected and sometimes expensive extra supplies. Noble’s approach is to take a person’s budget, wants and needs and give them a complete package with no surprises. A bargain shopper is not likely to get what they truly want unless they are already familiar with flooring. Noble also notes that buying carpeting through the internet is a dangerous business. Colors on a computer screen don’t always look true when compared to the real thing. Even a swatch won’t Paul Noble of Noble’s Furniture and Floor Covering in Sunnyside stands on samples of vinyl flooring. The inexpensive covering has a variety of designs and advantages over other flooring, but isn’t right for every situation.

always give a person the right idea of the color, as different batches of carpet have slightly different colors. “Carpeting is something people should touch and see before deciding to buy,” said Noble. “You can’t get a real sense of what you are getting through a computer screen.” Noble’s store has samples of the flooring he sells so customers can walk on them, touch them and in some cases see examples of the results of poor installation. And Noble himself is enthusiastic about making sure people get flooring that will be comfortable. “When you think about how much you use your floors and how much time you spend in your home,” he said. “You want to get it right.” - Laura Gjovaag can be contacted at 509-837-4500, or email LGjovaag@DailySunNews.com

L&I suggests annual water heater checks

Laura Gjovaag/Daily Sun News

The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries says it’s important for folks to check their residential water heaters annually. Excessive temperatures when combined with water tank corrosion can cause a pressure-heat rupture, or explosion. To minimize potential danger, residents are encouraged

to ensure the water heater has a temperature pressure relief valve. The function of the valve is to prevent dangerous temperature rise and overpressure of the water heater tank. L&I officials also say it’s important to test the relief valve on an annual schedule. Lifting the lever or test handle allows water to discharge and

indicates that waterways are clear. To avoid scalding, a drain line should be attached as well. The Department of Labor and Industries will also perform water-heater checks for residential homeowners for a minimal fee. For a full list of warnings and testing procedures, visit http:// www.lni.wa.gov/FormPub/ Detail.asp?DocID=1824.

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HOME & GARDEN

APRIL 10, 2012

DAILY SUN NEWS - 7

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HOME & GARDEN

8 - DAILY SUN NEWS

APRIL 10, 2012

Top 2012 garden trends Cultivate the good life with the power of plants (ARA) - In today’s world where news travels at the speed of now, people are searching for balance and purpose and are tapping into the power of plants to cultivate the “new good life.” “Plants are powerful,” says Eric Liskey, deputy garden editor for Better Homes and Gardens magazine. “Whether it’s enjoying garden-to-table meals or sharing great new plant finds, people are naturally drawn to plants.” Besides beautifying our homes and gardens, plants play a vital role in our health and well-being. They elicit powerful positive emotions, revive neighborhoods, and influence everything from what we eat to life’s milestones. “Plants are no longer a luxury, but a necessity for our lives,” says Susan McCoy, trendspotter and outdoor living expert. “Plants can live without us, but we can’t live without plants.” Here’s what McCoy and her team of Garden Media Group trend spotters see for gardening in 2012: 1. Eco-scaping. From rocks in the garden to rocks in the living room, nature’s influence can be found both indoors and out. “Borders are blurring between indoors and out as nature becomes more important in our lives,” says Bobbie Schwartz, president of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers. “Many people want their gardens and their homes to be sanctuaries of tranquility, reflecting their ideal concept of nature.” Beauty and sustainability are key. Liskey says that people want the “beauty and romance” of a garden with less work. “Gardeners want easy, low-maintenance

plants that give plenty of color.” The new Bloomtastic! dwarf butterfly bush Lavender Veil from Hines Growers is low maintenance and attracts butterflies and hummingbirds with richly-colored abundant blooms. “Herbs are popular as cooking shows and healthy eating habits grow,” says Briscoe White, head herb farmer at The Growers Exchange. “It’s easy to pot up herbs indoors and out for fresh ingredients year round.” He recommends planting containers of herbs de Provence for beauty and cooking or edging a landscape border with lavender. 2. Go local. People are accessing local farmers markets and joining CSA’s (Community Supported Agriculture) for fresh produce, plants and products. “Farmers markets are our new backyard veggie gardens and are becoming our local grocery store,” says McCoy. According to the U.S. Dept of Agriculture, sales of “locally produced food” generated approximately $7 billion in sales dominated by fruit and veggies in 2011. 3. Conscious consumption. According to the 2010 Cone Survey, 83 percent of consumers still want to see more brands, products and companies that support worthy causes. “We’ve finally moved from “me” to “we” and consider our earth and each other when we purchase,” says McCoy. American Beauties Native Plants’ partnership with the National Wildlife Federation is a great example of this mind shift. When you buy an American Beauties’ native plant like the new groundcover, ‘Blue Moon’ woodland phlox, for example, a donation is made see “Garden trends” next page

photo courtesy ARA

Grow healthier plants using less water with SoilReef biochar.

photo courtesy ARA

Use Tangerine Tango, the hot color for 2012, to turn your back yard into a paradise with Bloomtastic! Hibiscus from Hines Growers.

HOME & GARDEN

APRIL 10, 2012

DAILY SUN NEWS - 9

photo courtesy ARA

Edible landscapes create a mixture of beauty and function like this rosemary wall from The Growers Exchange.

❚ Garden trends continued from page 8

to NWF’s Certified Wildlife Habitat Program. 4. Water watchers. Recent drought and regional water restrictions are causing us to grow plants, flowers and vegetables with less water. Soil amendments like the new SoilReef biochar are considered by many scientists to be the “black gold” for gardening. Its high carbon content and porous nature help soil retain water and nutrients, saving gardeners time and money. Hydroponic gardening is hot, allowing plants to grow year-round in nutrient rich solutions that actually use less water. 5. In living color. Neon colors, pop art and color blocking are influencing fashion on the runways and fashion in the garden. From Tangerine Tango, the new Pantone color of the year, to deep purples and soothing greens, colors are all over the landscape. Rich, gem colors create your own personal piece of paradise. Tropic Escape Hibiscus, for example, produces huge flowers that last twice as long as regular hibiscus and are perfect for decorating patios and landscapes. Create a technicolor summer with multi-colored bougainvillea patio trees. Hines’ new Patio Tropics Desert Rose, Adenium Kissable Pink adds intense tropical color to patios, balconies and poolside. 6. Inner gardening. Decorating our inner gardens with houseplants for better, healthier lives is now the norm. These natural oxygen machines clean indoor air while bringing life to any room. Whether you want ferns, peace lilies or palms, bring nature in and green up your spaces. 7. Techno-gardening. With the rise of smartphone technology, consumers are able to go directly into the buying experience. According to TrendWatching, “dealer chic” is on the rise where securing the best deal is not just accepted - it’s admired. Gardening is going digital with free e-zines. Costa Farms’ GrowingStyle magazine brings designer tips and the latest plant info from growers and designers in this free app. Garden products are going high-tech, too. Now’s there’s a way to rid your yard of pesky critters. New motion activated sprinkler repellents from Havahart provide caring control solutions that safely rid animals from your yard. 8. Seedlings. From the White House to the neighborhood schools, kids are learning how to grow their own food and take care of the planet. McCoy says we’ve ignored two generations of gardeners and need to get kids back to having fun growing things. She says the popularity of fairy gardens is ideal for kids and the young at heart to share the whimsical world of plants and appreciate the joy of gardening.

H&G

photo courtesy ARA

Plants like the new dwarf butterfly bush from Hines Growers attracts wildlife to your back yard.

Cheap and easy ways to better your bathroom (MS) -- For many new homeowners, remodeling their home’s interior is near the top of their priority list. While a complete overhaul might not be on their minds, a room or two here and there is probably something they intend to do sooner or later. But, as veteran homeowners can attest, such remodeling jobs usually don’t come cheap, and oftentimes unforeseen problems (a leaky roof, the kids need braces, etc.) have a way of taking precedence. While remodeling a room might not be in your immediate future, you can make some minor adjustments that can make a room more appealing and maybe even save you some money. Take, for example, the bathroom. The following do-it-yourself bathroom tips might not give the room an entirely new look, but they can change how you feel about the room and they won’t break the bank. * Replace the bathroom fan. Many people feel their bathrooms attract mildew. While all bathrooms are susceptible to mildew, an ineffective bathroom fan can make your mildew problem even worse. If you find yourself with an overwhelming mildew problem, your bathroom fan is probably too small. Jot down your bathroom’s square footage and then head to a hardware store for a new fan that will suit your needs. Fans aren’t expensive, and installation is often easy, especially if you purchase an upgrade kit as well. * Fix the toilet. Many people cannot understand why their water bill is so high each month. It might be thanks to a defective flapper on your toilet. The flapper is the rubber device that seals the drain at the base of your toilet’s tank. A new flapper is only a couple of dollars and will only take a minute or so to install. * Install new sink fixtures. Older sink fixtures can make a bathroom appear dingy and antiquated. Replace your old handles and faucets with new ones to give your bathroom a more modern look.

HOME & GARDEN

10 - DAILY SUN NEWS

APRIL 10, 2012

Granger man making space with custom closet work GRANGER – There aren’t a lot of business owners in the Yakima Valley competing for customized closet orders. Granger resident Dennis Brubaker says some contractors who are building homes award contracts for customized closet work to out-of-town businesses. Brubaker spent his early career working at

custom cabinet shops. “Then I migrated from that into custom millwork,” he added. While dabbling in mill working, Brubaker worked with custom doors, moldings and manufacturing. He then took his expertise into a remodeling construction company. But when his employer decided to move out of the country, Brubaker decided to vensee “Closets” next page

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HOME & GARDEN

APRIL 10, 2012

DAILY SUN NEWS - 11

❚ Closets continued from page 10

photos courtesy of DEB Construction

This factory photo gives the consumer an idea of what customizing a closet can do for organization and space utilization.

Pruning tips for trees and shrubs Homeowners typically spend lots of time caring for their property. Be it a modest ranch house or a mansion on top of a hill, a home’s outside appearance is often a point of pride for homeowners. One commonly overlooked element of an aesthetically appealing home is the role trees can play. Trees can add an element of beauty to a yard while also playing a practical role, such as shading the grass from intense summer sun and acting as great support for hanging a hammock. While trees can add appeal to a homeowner’s property, they can also be an eyesore if not properly pruned. Homeowners hoping to get the most out of their trees should consider some pruning guidelines. * Fruit trees. If the buds on a fruit tree have already started swelling, you’ve waited too long too prune. In general, fruit trees are best pruned in late winter or early spring. When pruning, be sure to remove all branches growing inward as well as limbs growing straight up. * Berry bushes. Berry bushes are typically pruned in late fall or early winter, once you have finished harvesting the berries. When pruning berry bushes, keep in mind the importance of shape with respect to a berry bush’s aesthetic appeal. * Rose bushes. Rose bushes are generally best pruned in late winter, with early spring the latest possible cutoff date. Remove any older shoots and leave between four and eight canes while removing any that are growing inward. When cutting them down, try to cut them to right around two feet above ground, and cut close to an inch above a bud or strong shoot. * Evergreen shrubs. Evergreen shrubs won’t flower, but they can be pruned after they have produced cones or shrubs. That typically occurs between late winter and early spring, so this can be done as the weather begins to warm up as part of your early season spring cleanup. * Evergreen trees. In general, evergreen trees do not need to be pruned. It’s generally obvious when an evergreen does need to be pruned, as the tree will be noticeably larger and in obvious need of pruning. Evergreens that do need to be pruned typically need it in late spring or early summer, and they will likely not grow much after a good pruning. * Deciduous trees. Deciduous trees are generally only pruned for shaping. For those looking to shape, mid to late winter is the ideal time to do so. * Deciduous shrubs. Mid to late spring is often the best time to prune deciduous shrubs. That’s generally after they have flowered, and it will be obvious when they are in need or pruning, as they will likely have lots of unsightly branches evident to the naked eye.

ture out on his own. He says customizing closets is closely related to his previous experience in cabinetry. “I realized there was a market for (customized closets) here that nobody was really addressing,” he said. Brubaker decided in 2008 to put his more than 15 years of millwork, woodworking and remodeling experience to work for his own business, DEB Construction. Though his work also includes remodeling and finish carpentry, Brubaker finds his niche in customized closets. He says customizing a closet is the best way to utilize a home’s space without adding square-footage to the house. He is working to build the closet part of his business by reaching out to local contractors and individuals. In addition, he says the custom work is surprisingly affordable. “It might surprise somebody how reasonable a custom closet is,” he added. A basic closet can start at about $100 per lineal foot, according to Brubaker. But the price, of course, depends on how elaborate the work can get. Brubaker says, though right now he’s a one-man show, he may be looking to expand his company “If the right person comes along at the right time.” For more information, contact Brubaker at (509) 439-9100. - Amber Schlenker can be contacted at 509-8374500, or email ASchlenker@DailySunNews.com

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Grounds for gardening A cup of coffee enjoyed in the garden can make for a relaxing morning. However, that java can also be a pick-meup for your landscape. Coffee and tea byproducts can be used in and around the garden to act as a slow-release fertilizer and a main component of compost. Like leaves left to decompose in the garden, coffee grounds when dispersed thinly in the soil, can be an amendment and add nutrients back into the ground. Consider these uses for grounds. * Add to compost piles (filters and all) along with tea bags to make an all-natural, rich source of energy for plants. * Dilute with water to make a fast-acting fertilizer. * Use in soil for houseplants or in vegetable beds. * Some people believe that coffee grounds can help repel pests, such as snails and slugs. * If your garden needs more nitrogen, definitely turn to coffee. Nitrogen is essential for plant leaf development. * Plants that thrive in acidic soil, such as pines, evergreens, blueberries, raspberries, roses, azaleas, gardenias, ferns, rhododendrons, lily-of-the-valley and even marigolds, can benefit from coffee grounds which slightly lower the pH of the soil. * Feed the coffee grounds to garden worms. It seems they love to consume them. Worm excrement in the garden is beneficial, as is the aeration provided by tunnelling worms.

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H&G

Front yard transformation… a work in progress Sergio Gonzalez has always wanted his dream home. In his perfect mind his home looks good from the moment you step out of your car, with a beautiful and peaceful landscape. “We believe you should have your home looking nice,” he said. When he purchased his home in the 700 block of Buena Vista Ave. in Sunnyside, nearly five years ago, he began the work to remodel the landscape. After $4,000 spent on plants, sprinklers, hoses and retainer wall blocks, Gonzalez said he stopped counting how much money has gone into his property. “I figured it had to be done, so I just went ahead and kept going,” he said. With a brother in the landscaping business, he says he saved much more in labor costs and creative ideas than anyone else with a similar quality designed yard. The yard remodel is still going from the day he purchased the home. “I did it little by little, when I could afford it,” he said. “I’m still not completely done.” The first task was to plant a different kind of grass. When he purchased the home, the yard came with crab tree grass and a sloped front yard. see “Transformation” next page Rod Smith/Daily Sun News

Here is a frontal view of the Gonzalez home and landscaped front yard.

A butterfly stops by to enjoy the yard at the Gonzalez home.

Rod Smith/Daily Sun News

An animal skull is one of the many unique features the yard offers. Rod Smith/Daily Sun News

HOME & GARDEN

14 - DAILY SUN NEWS

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❚ Transformation continued from page 13

“I wanted to make the lawn even; we wanted to give it a different look,” he added. “We wanted to add character.” So the Gonzalez brothers went to work. When he first purchased the home, it had been unoccupied for a number of years and the upkeep of the home was absent. “It was sitting for about two years, everything was dead and the deck was rotted out,” he added. So he and his brother went to work. They began with tearing out the front yard. “There were months where I just had piles of dirt in my front yard,” he said. To add character to the home, the brothers designed the shape of the lawn that he says is “oblong.” Along with the different plants and flowers the front yard also holds a water feature. “I thought a water feature would look nice there,” he added. In order to create a beautiful yard without creating more maintenance work, he installed an automatic sprinkler system and an automatic drip system. “This makes it so the water will drip from one plant to the next; it makes it easier to water and keeps everything alive,” he added. Gonzalez said little by little the landscape of his home has transformed into something he is proud of. Though he’s not completely finished, he is happy with the results thus far. - Amber Schlenker can be contacted at 509-837-4500, or email ASchlenker@DailySunNews.com

Rod Smith/Daily Sun News

A rock-filled walking path leads to the front door of the Gonzalez home.

Rod Smith/Daily Sun News

Rod Smith/Daily Sun News

Gonzalez wanted a water feature in his yard to add to the aesthetic beauty while bringing a peaceful feeling to the yard.

Flowers are carefully arranged between the rock-filled path and the oblong lawn.

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DAILY SUN NEWS - 15

Rod Smith/Daily Sun News

Another shot of the walking path and front yard lawn. The lawn was leveled with extra dirt and a retaining wall.

“We believe you should have your home looking nice� - Sergio Gonzalez

H&G

Rod Smith/Daily Sun News

Sergio Gonzalez has spent countless hours reviving his yard. Each plant or flower in the yard is unique to the rest of the landscape.

HOME & GARDEN

16 - DAILY SUN NEWS

APRIL 10, 2012

Concrete formed homes saving energy NACHES – A new energy code is mandating much higher insulation values and restrictions on air loss in homes. That’s according to Cornerstone Contractor Inc. owner Kelly Coons. Coons, of Naches, says insulated concrete forms is becoming a new way to build an energy efficient and well insulated home. The concrete forms begin as hollow Styrofoam structures with an interlocking system, looking much like Lego’s. To build a home out of these concrete blocks, the first step is to connect the Styrofoam forms.

Once connected, the contractor can fill the inside with concrete. “There is solid insulation,” Coons said. Cornerstone Contractors opened its doors for business nearly eight years ago. During his first job, the customer requested an insulated concrete form basement. Coons says the concrete forms have been around since the early 1960s. After extensive research on the product, he was hooked. Though the company will also build traditional “stick frame homes,” the concrete form method is a passion of Coons that he says helps create a better quality of life.

He says the company is also looking to work with local solar distributors. Last year, Cornerstone Construction also took on Cornerstone Distributor, to sell Logix concrete forms. Logix is a manufacturer of the concrete forms, and since Coons uses the product often, he decided to also sell it. Coons says the upfront costs to build an insulated concrete form home is 5 to 15 percent higher than the traditional home. “But your overall savings is (nearly 75 percent) on energy bills,” he added. - Amber Schlenker can be contacted at 509-837-4500, or email ASchlenker@DailySunNews.com

Amber Schlenker/Daily Sun News

Pictured here is an insulated concrete form manufactured by Logix.

Photo courtesy of Cornerstone Distributors Inc.

An insulated concrete form home can withstand up to 200 mile an hour wind gusts. Pictured here is a home in mid-construction when Hurricane Katrina hit. Kelly Coons says the frame held its ground, while its surroundings were destroyed.

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DAILY SUN NEWS - 17

Home insulation 101 (Family Features) Homeowners spend a lot of time and money making their homes comfortable, inviting places to live. But if you’re not putting some of that effort into what’s behind the walls, you could be missing out on comfort and savings. Insulation is Key Heat naturally flows from warmer spaces to cooler spaces. Proper insulation decreases the heat flow and helps you keep your home at a comfortable temperature. “Good insulation can do a lot for your home and your family,” said Ed Reeves, building scientist with Icynene, makers of spray foam insulation. “It can improve indoor air quality, protect your home from winter damage, and, ultimately, save you money.” Reeves says that proper insulation can help with: Indoor air quality – Moisture can build up in your walls, causing the interior to slowly rot. Not all insulations can prevent mold, however. Spray foam insulation forms an air barrier, which protects your walls against moisture. Protection from ice dams in winter – In winter, as warm air from your home comes in contact with the inside edge of your roof, snow melts on that section. As it slowly trickles down, it refreezes, causing ice to build up. Water can then leak into your home, causing damage. Closing any insulation gaps with the right insulation can prevent ice dams from forming. Saving money – Air leakage can run up your energy bills significantly. Making sure you close air leaks with weather stripping, caulking and insulation helps reduce your heating and cooling bills. The U.S. Department of Energy says that floors, walls and ceilings account for 31 percent of the air leakage in most homes. Choosing Insulation There are a number of different insulation types to choose from. They all have what’s known as an R-value, which is the measurement of insulations resistance to heat flow. The higher the R-value, the more effective the insulation. Older insulation types such as fiberglass can settle or compact over time, decreasing their insulation properties. Compressed insulation won’t keep its full R-value. “Spray foam insulation such as Icynene has great long-term benefits,” says Reeves. “The others may have a cheaper up-front

Call before digging

graphic courtesy Getty Images

A properly insulated home can improve indoor air quality, provide protection from winter damage and save money. cost, but in the long run, spray foam protects better, lasts longer, and can reduce your energy bill by up to half as much as with older insulations.” Reeves recommends asking these questions to make sure you’ve got the right insulation for your home. - How well does the insulation control air leakage without the use of extra finishing materials (tape, gaskets, plastic wrap) and labor? - How quickly will the insulation pay for itself? Could the monthly savings outweigh the monthly cost of financing? - How does it compare in reducing air leakage in hard-to-insulate areas without extra materials? - Will it improve the air quality in your home by minimizing air infiltration to help keep out allergens, dust and other outdoor pollutants? - Can the insulation shift with the home as it settles and lose its R-value? - What happens if it gets wet? How well will the insulation dry out? Will it keep its insulating properties?

- Can it help make your home quieter, suppressing plumbing, between-room and street noise? Learn more about insulation and how you can choose the right one for your home at www.icynene.com or www.insulationsmart.com.

With home and garden improvement projects underway during the spring season, the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission wants to remind area residents the importance of calling before you dig. The “call before you dig” law requires anyone digging 12 inches or more into the ground to dial 811, or 1-800-242-5555 at least two business days before beginning the project. Digging without calling can result in a $1,000 fine. If the digger damages a utility, they might be subject to a $10,000 fine and triple the repair costs. Underground systems that carry essential services such as natural gas, electricity, water and telecommunications are vulnerable to damage if struck by a shovel. Some utilities, if struck, may result in fatalities, such as gas leaks and explosions. The Utilities Commission asks area residents to call, and request the commission to locate the underground utilities for free. In addition, residents can visit www. callbeforeyoudig.org. In addition, area residents who didn’t receive adequate utility locate assistance can call the commission at 1-888-3339882 to report any issues.

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photo courtesy ARA

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Spring cleaning tips: - Delegate: The entire family contributes to the mess over the year, which means the entire family should also help clean it up. Don’t try to take on a deep spring cleaning alone, enlist the troops and assign ageappropriate chores to everyone. - Make a list: Before everyone commits to several hours of spring cleaning, do a quick walk-through of the house and take notes on exactly what needs cleaning up or needs to be tossed out. This makes prioritizing work a bit easier, and you’re sure to get everything that needs to be cleaned done. - Supply suitably: Everyone has their ever-growing stash of cleaners in a closet or under the sink, but having a multitude of products just drags out your projects, not to mention creates more clutter. Try some effective multi-purpose cleaners that can take care of a few different rooms and several tasks for easy and quick cleanup. Use CLR Bath & Kitchen Cleaner to tackle caked-on grime from ceramic tile, shower doors, toilet bowls, kitchen counter tops and more without any of the elbow grease. - Keep your perspective: There’s nothing better than a freshly cleaned home but life is messy. Things are going to get dirty along the way, so while a good spring cleaning is definitely necessary each year, there are always going to be things to tidy up. Taking the steps to making your spring cleaning efforts as efficient and effective as possible is the best way to get your home looking its best, and your family back to enjoying their post-winter fun.

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Upgrades now included as standard features at Harvest Village in Sunnyside Sunnyside’s Harvest Village, developed by Aho Construction, is offering newer models complete with more detailed and standard features that were considered optional during the first phase of the project. That’s according to Dallas Aho, manager of Aho Construction. He said the floor plans for the homes at Sunnyside’s Harvest Village are also among the many choices available through the company’s on-your-site program, allowing those seeking to build a new home on their own lot the opportunity to take advantage of the quality offered at Harvest Village. RE/MAX First Advantage Inc.’s Hector and Gina Gamboa are the on-site realtors at Harvest Village and the couple is excited about the many options available to potential home owners. Mr. Gamboa said each home is constructed within 100 days time because Aho’s subcontractors are already in place. “They have really placed a lot of attention in the details,” he said of the subcontractors. Some of the included amenities in each of the 11 available floor plans include central heating and air, a two-car garage, Whirlpool appliances in black or white, custom kitchen cabinets, formica countertops, five different styles of backsplashes, tankless hot water systems and craftsman style white woodwork. Mr. Gamboa said, “Tankless hot water is a huge upgrade in builds elsewhere. “And, there are four differ-

Spacious open floor plans complete with detailed moldings make up the selections offered by Aho Construction, giving the craftsman-style homes a contemporary feel. The company also offers an on-your-site program for those with property not included in the Harvest Village development.

see “Upgrades” next page

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20 - DAILY SUN NEWS

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APRIL 10, 2012

â?š Upgrades continued from page 19

ent door styles to select from.� Mrs. Gamboa said there are several options for upgrading countertops and the appliances. She also noted the porches on the newer homes are larger, as are the columns. Aho said all the homes constructed by his company are built with quality and liveability in mind. He said his intent is to make buying a home more affordable through the many development projects he has under construction at this time. Mrs. Gamboa said, “There was a real need for affordable homes in Sunnyside. This project is just what the community needed.� Aho said the on-your-site program provides property owners the same quality of construction at affordable prices, as well. His company provides its expertise and assistance throughout the process of constructing a home from planning and design to the final product. Build prices for an on-your-site home include single-pour foundations, concrete front walkways and patios, white craftsman trim,

Craftsman styling with larger porches and more detail distinguish new Aho homes from the first phase of construction at Harvest Village in Sunnyside. panel cabinetry in oak or alder, chrome hardware and lighting, and a gas or electric furnace. There are some additional variable costs like building permits, wells and septic installation,

and utility hook-ups. Much of that, said Aho, is due to requirements by the municipality or county the property is located in.

“We try to make the process as worry-free as possible,� said Aho. - Jennie McGhan can be contacted at 509-837-4500, or email JMcGhan@DailySunNews.com

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DAILY SUN NEWS - 21

Custom cabinetry, formica countertops, Whirlpool appliances and five backsplash choices are standard amenities in Aho homes.

Lap-board siding and antiquestyled details add to the character of the homes offered by Aho Construction.

Polished chrome hardware and lighting fixtures are now standard in Harvest Village homes.

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Family business leads to advanced gardening techniques The enthusiasm for John Van Wingerden’s family business is contagious and ever-growing with advances in the commercial greenhouse business, as well as an invention devised by his brother Alan. John is excited about the product his brother invented, a plant pie. He said it will be sold locally at Sunnyside’s Melange and at Buds & Blooms in Zillah for the first time-ever. The plant pie is a circular tray in which Van Wingerden Greenhouse has established starter plants. Van Wingerden said it is ideal for barrel gardens, but it also flourishes in flower beds. Demonstrating how it is used, he said one only needs to press the tray down on the desired location for the plants, making an indent as deep as the tray itself.

The next step is to turn the tray over in one hand and press on the bottom with another to extract the plants. Place the entire “pie” into the indent and care for the plants as required. “It’s much easier than using pony packs…they really take off,” said Van Wingerden, explaining a pony pack is the six-pack of flowers gardeners typically find in gardening centers. With pony packs, he said problems arise from bound roots that must typically be broken by gardeners. With a plant pie, the roots aren’t bound and need not be broken, giving the plants In preparation for Mother’s Day, hanging baskets line the upper rafters of John Van Wingerden’s three-acre greenhouse in Sunnyside. On the floor are other starter plants recently germinated. the ability to become established. Van Wingerden said he had been looking at his brother’s idea for a while, tried it at home and decided it would benefit his own business. Currently there are two sizes of plant pies, a 12-inch and an 8-inch option. However, there are ideas for additional sizes, as well as ways to allow for spike plants. He said, “The idea is to have garden areas covered in blooms.” John said the company is continually attempting new techniques and ideas, growing combinations and herbs. “I feel there’s a lot of potential…I’m a big fan of my brother,” he said, stating others have responded positively to the concept as well. John told the story of his brother seeking a patent for the plant pie, stating the patent attorney was convinced it was a winner when Alan did a side by side comparison between a barrel planted with “spikes” and

Three acres of annuals sit on a rolling bench system outside the Van Wingerden greenhouse. If sudden inclement weather hits, the plants are sent indoors via rails. It takes approximately half an hour to complete the process.

see “Techniques” page 24

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John Van Wingerden shows how lush plants grow when using his brother Alan’s plant pie trays.

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❚ Techniques continued from page 22

one planted using a plant pie. He said Alan had a customer whose order grew from 500 plant pies to 2,500 in one year. “It’s also good for landscapers,” said John, noting the ease of using the invention to create flourishing gardens. “For less work, you will have more success,” he said. The Sunnyside Van Wingerden Greenhouse grows annuals for commercial distribution through businesses owned by his brother, Ron, in Idaho and his cousin, Dave, in Blaine (Pacific Growers). John said the greenhouse and plant business is a long-standing family tradition. Alan still lives in New Jersey, where he owns and operates the business first opened by John, Alan and Ron’s father Orie Van Wingerden in 1958. John’s sons Matt and Mike are also in the greenhouse business, working for their father in Sunnyside. “It’s not often you get to do what you love,” commented John. He said operations have changed quite a bit since he established his business in 1978. One example is the improvements in cliPetunias, Lobelia, Impatiens and Marigold plants line the trays inside the Van Wingerden greenhouse. A few “spike” plants can also be seen as the company gets creative with plant pies to be distributed this gardening season.

These Portulaca plants have been prepared for gardens using a plant pie. The plants will be near to overflowing in just a few short weeks.

mate control for greenhouses. “It used to be done manually…if you were busy, there were times you had to leave the windows up until you could get to them,” said John. He said most of his operation now allows the company to be more productive and efficient because of computer operated climate control systems. The greenhouse itself is three acres in size. There is another three acres just outside. Plants are moved inside or outside by a computer operated rolling bench system. A wall of windows is raised, a rail is manually connected and all the trays can slide across the system. “I try to leave the plants outside most of the time because it makes them hardier,” said John. By exposing the plants to the el-

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- Jennie McGhan can be contacted at 509-8374500, or email JMcGhan@DailySunNews.com

Spring cleaning getting you all bent out of shape?

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ements they are less susceptible to adverse weather once they have found their way into gardens. The plants are moved inside when a hail storm or extreme wind blows into the Lower Yakima Valley. “That hardens the material, preventing the need for growth retardants,” said John. “It takes about half an hour to move the entire three acres,” he said. John said another 8,000 hanging baskets are spread throughout the greenhouse, doubling the amount of space utilized inside the operation. “Our goal is to make sure the customers get plants that meet their gardening needs and standards,” he said.

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HOME & GARDEN

APRIL 10, 2012

DAILY SUN NEWS - 25

Using the five senses to help kids think spring (ARA) - From the moment a groundhog looks for his shadow in February, until the new baby bunnies, chicks and birds appear, the arrival of spring is marked with celebrations and excitement across the country. Spring fever usually sets in well before the warmer temperatures and green grasses return, making this the perfect time to start looking for signs of the coming spring season with kids. These signs return every year, so teach children to experience Mother Nature using the five senses: touch, taste, sight, smell and sounds. - Touch: For colder regions, winter must leave before spring can arrive. Melting snow is one of the very first signs warmer weather is around the corner. Rising temperatures is a big change everyone can feel. The earth slowly warms, bringing plants to life anew. For a “hands-on” experience, gather spring garden elements. Soil, water, seeds and light all work together to help plants grow - the basics of photosynthesis. Even if it is still too cold for an outdoor garden, get kids gardening indoors by planting a small tabletop garden. Miracle-Gro Kids has developed a series of small gardening kits for kids that make this process rewarding. Simply plant the garden, place it in a sunny area, water and watch for sprouts. - Taste: Spring greens are some of the first tastes from the garden. Pot a “grown-up” table-top container garden or visit the first local farmers market selling home-grown ingredients for salads this spring. - Sight: In spring, flowers bloom, leaves bud, birds build nests and the backyard fills with life. One of the most obvious signs of spring’s arrival is the appearance of flowers. Even before the snow has melted, tiny crocuses can often be seen peeking out, making the statement that spring is, indeed, approaching. Make a scrapbook or photographic diary of which flowers are spotted first in your area. Flowers and blossoms are only part of the colorful sights. Many animals are returning from migration. Most people

are not aware that earthworms migrate, so be on the lookout. Earthworms make one of the shortest annual migrations, coming above ground only when the earth begins to thaw and the soil is ready for new root growth. Their appearance above ground is a gardener’s reminder that the ground is almost warm enough for planting. Animals and birds will then return to gobble up these tasty morsels as quick forms of protein. To further explore the underground world of gardening, try the MiracleGro Kids Root Viewer to let kids experience what goes on underground in spring before plants appear above ground. Children can watch as seeds germinate and roots grow right before their eyes. - Smell: Spring brings soothing scents like lilacs, apple blossoms, hyacinth and daffodils. Sweet aromas turn a stroll through the garden into a delicacy for the nose. The smell of fresh, cool air wafting into an open window or the scent of laundry that’s been hung out to dry in the sun are some of the greatest moments of spring. And, of course, the pleasant smell of freshly cut grass after that first mowing of the year is a reminder of all the summer fun just around the corner. - Sounds: In the spring, birds returning from long migrations are busy building nests, looking for food and laying eggs. Their singing and twittering are a welcomed signal that spring has truly arrived. Set up a bird feeder in the backyard or patio and take turns documenting which feathered friends visit most frequently. In addition to the birds, frogs are also making their spring appearance in many parts of the country, filling the night air with song. Listen for their high-pitched calls in the evenings, especially around wet areas like lakes and ponds. The signs of spring are popping up all around. Using your five senses to discover them will lead to hours of fun for the whole family. With a little luck, it may actually help make the time go a little faster and spring come a little sooner.

photo courtesy ARA

Use the five senses with help from items such as kids gardening kits to help children appreciate the spring season

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HOME & GARDEN

26 - DAILY SUN NEWS

APRIL 10, 2012

Creativity blooms with season’s floral decor (ARA) - A little black dress, a great pair of jeans and a leather jacket - some styles never go out of fashion. Some elements of home decor share that same sense of timelessness, and none more so than a simple floral theme. “Flowers are always fashionable, stylish and on-trend,” says Dani Nichols, of MuralsYourWay.com. “Whether you’re looking for just the right touch of elegance and life for patterned upholstery or modern floral murals to make an accent wall pop, flowers are always appropriate,” Nichols says. She points to hot trends in floral decor this spring and summer: - Floral walls. “Flowers have always inspired paint makers to create colors that pay homage to both the boldness and the delicacy of floral inspirations,” Nichols says. “This year, paint manufacturers are offering a diverse palette of floral-inspired colors, from dusty roses and iris blues, buttercup yellow and daisy white, to frothy lilac and popping peony.” Floral wallpaper and floral murals are also great ways to incorporate flowers into a room’s decor. A subtle pattern of small, delicate flowers can create a gentle, peaceful feeling in a room. Or, go bold with an accent mural that depicts a single, showy bloom. You can find a plethora of floral options online at websites like MuralsYourWay.com. - Sustainability. One of the most enjoyable ways to decorate with florals - cut flowers - is also one of the most fleeting. Few beautiful things are as short-lived as cut flowers. This season, look for cut flower designs to trend toward sustainability, as everyone looks for ways to get more enjoyment from their flowers for longer. While adding the packet of plant food will help keep a florist’s bouquet alive as long as possible, there’s more everyone can do to make their displays more eco-friendly. Look for more florists to use biodegradable packing prod-

photo courtesy ARA

The rules are changing when it comes to décor in the home. Multiple bold floral patterns – including accent items – in the same room are now a popular trend. neutrals. ucts, compost their leftovers and choose seasonal blooms that This year, however, florals are going daring, mixing in don’t require long-distance shipping. metallic accents, and deep, saturated purples and blues that - Daring pairings. When you think of floral design, you almost appear black. A touch of silver or gold matched with probably envision bright, rich hues paired with background see “Floral decor” next page

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HOME & GARDEN

APRIL 10, 2012

DAILY SUN NEWS - 27

Simplify and organize

The hottest trends in home improvement (ARA) - With the economy remaining uncertain, homeowners are tending to stay in place and upgrade their homes, rather than move up to something newer or larger. Just as economic conditions evolve, however, so does this housing trend. Simplifying and gaining control are now the hot incarnations of the “staying put” trend. Organizational design expert, TV and radio personality, and author of numerous New York Times bestsellers, Peter Walsh offers some advice on how do-it-yourselfers can simplify home improvement, and gain control of their home environment, room by room: - Coping in the kitchen. The kitchen is the heart of the home, where you spend time as a family, prepare meals and entertain guests. All that activity and use can make it difficult to stay or-

ganized in the kitchen, but doing so can save you time and money. * Maximize cupboard space with easy-to-install sliding racks. These racks make it easy and fast to find items, even in the deepest cupboards. * Keep cooking utensils and flatware neat and easily accessible with a compartmentalized drawer organizer. You can find them in kitchen and home design stores. * If you store often-used spices in a cupboard, it’s easy to lose track of what’s in there. You don’t have to give up your cabinet convenience. Just put your most-used spices in a small baking sheet (you can even buy a disposable one) so that when you need something, you can slide the sheet out to make finding it easier. * Retire your junk drawer - we all have one. It’s the drawer where you deposit receipts, warranties, product

❚ Floral decor continued from page 26

pure white creates an upscale, classic effect. A dash of bronze or copper married with vibrant yellows or blues is an unexpected and delightful decorating twist. And while bright or light colors are as intrinsic to floral decor as the background greenery, dark blooms impart an almost mystical aura, whether the hue is natural or dyed. You’ll see these daring pairings pop up everywhere from throw pillows to centerpieces, this year. Nichols also predicts designers will continue to experiment with combinations of floral patterns. “Long gone is the conventional wisdom that if you had one bold floral pattern in a room, you couldn’t do more,” she says. “It’s perfectly alright to experiment with one floral pattern on the drapes and a complementary - or even competing - one on accent pillows.” Nichols adds, “Few decorating themes afford the timelessness and flexibility of florals.”

photo courtesy ARA

Cubbies can not only add storage options for toys, but add a dash of color as well. manuals and other items. One way to clean up the paper portion of the mess is with an online organizational tool like MyLowe’s on Lowes.com. The free online tool from home improvement retailer Lowe’s allows you to keep track of purchases, warranties and manuals. “I’m always trying to teach my fans the latest tips and techniques for organizing their homes and simplifying their lives, especially when families are staying in their homes longer in this uncertain economy,” Walsh says. “Keeping track of everything in our homes is now so easy with MyLowe’s, the newest and best way to take

home maintenance and planning to a whole new level.” - Cutting closet clutter. Whether you have a spacious walk-in closet or a modest single-bar one, keeping your bedroom closet organized can be a challenge. But an organized closet means speedier wardrobe changes and a more harmonious environment. * “We wear 20 percent of our clothes 80 percent of the time,” Walsh says. Declutter your closet by getting rid of that 80 percent you don’t wear. At the start of the season, turn all your hangers so that they face back to front. When you take something out and wear it, rehang it the correct way. At the end of

the season you’ll be able to see which items you haven’t worn. Those are the ones you can probably live without. * Reclaim vertical space. Look for creative ways to use the walls, backs of doors and other vertical spaces in your closet. Modular home organization systems can solve most storage challenges. - Taming the toy room. Children outgrow toys almost as quickly as clothes. It’s important to regularly sort toys with your children to decide what to discard, what to pass on and what to keep. * Involve kids in deciding what should stay or go. Arrange toys in piles by type of toy, age appropriateness

or length of time the child has had the toy. This will help your kids see the toys as distinct groups and make the task more manageable. * Bring in space-maximizing organizational products like colorful cubbies with canvas bins or decorative shelving units. MyLowe’s makes it easy to find storage products that will fit in your space. Simply enter your room dimensions and the site helps identify solutions that will fit your needs. - Advice for every room. Getting organized is great, but staying organized is even more important. Rather than having to tackle organization tasks in a daunting mass once or twice a year, take steps to stay organized throughout the year. A little organization today means fewer headaches tomorrow. Keep track of your home improvement and decorating purchases, like the paint colors you use and the creative choices you make with MyLowe’s. You can create a home profile and sort information by room, assign products and wish lists to each room, track purchases, store product manuals/warranties and more. Organization issues stem from the stuff you have, and not just from the space you have. Anyone struggling with clutter faces the decision to either move to a larger home or learn to make choices and live within the limits of their space. By reducing clutter and increasing organization, everyone can learn to honor and respect the space they have.

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HOME & GARDEN

28 - DAILY SUN NEWS

APRIL 10, 2012

k r a p s e h t t u p We’ll e! f i l r u o y n i k c ba Service Changes Troubleshooting • Remodels Dairies • PLC Work Mobile Home Hookups • Lighting New Installation • Thermal Imaging

photo courtesy StatePoint

Countertops are one way to update the kitchen’s appearance.

Quick and easy ways to update your kitchen (StatePoint) For many families, the kitchen is the most important room in the house, topping the list of rooms where they gather most. And it’s almost always the busiest room when entertaining friends. But if your kitchen is outmoded or looking just plain drab, some easy, costefficient updates can make it more inviting, without undertaking a major remodeling job. Walls Wallpaper styles come and go. And if your walls were papered more than a few years ago, you are probably living with a design that’s no longer in fashion. For a timeless look, strip the dated wallpaper and replace it with a bright new coat of paint. Be sure to choose a color that nicely complements the floors, countertops and cabinets. For a modern take on wallpaper, look for mosaic tile collections that showcase beautiful tiles and patterns, providing texture for any wall in your home. For example, Trend USA offers patterns ideally suited to give tired accent walls a fresh twist. Countertops Inconvenience is a major factor with a full kitchen remodel. But you can update the overall appearance of the kitchen by redoing just the countertops. For example, Granite Transformations, a kitchen and bathroom remodeling company, can

transform a kitchen in one day by replacing your countertops with heat, cold and scratch resistant glass or granite. For an even more elegant look, consider opting for mosaic tiles, inspired by traditional Italian glass mosaics. If you’re nervous about making such a drastic change, fear not, new technologies are making it easier for consumers to visualize potential refurbishments. A new iPad application, iGRANITE, for instance, allows users to upload a snapshot of their space, and change the colors and textures of every surface of the room. More details about downloading the app see granitetransformations. com . Appliances When is the last time you replaced your kitchen appliances? No appliance, however durable, will perform optimally forever. It may be time to evaluate if your products are really doing the job. Replacing major appliances like stoves and refrigerators might sound like an expensive prospect, but outdated products are not always as energyefficient as newer models. Swapping these items will not only give your kitchen a sleek new look, they might also save you money on utilities in the long run. According to real estate experts, kitchen updates

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Home & Garden 2012