Outdoor Living 2022

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OUTDOOR

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6.30.22

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Thursday, June 30, 2022 | Outdoor Living 2022

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Some handy ideas can help homeowners transform landscapes without spending too much Many homeowners think they have to spend tons of green to get green in their landscape, but that isn’t necessarily so. Homeowners can improve their landscapes without digging themselves into financial holes. These strategies can help anyone save some cash and still end up with attractive gardens and more.

Use stones or gravel for a walkway If commercially installed pavers or cement walkways are not within your budget, there are some affordable alternatives. Flagstone or individually purchased and spaced pavers and pea gravel can be used to create pathways. Some construction sites even offer free stones when asked. Soften the look with moss or other plants on the perimeter.

cycling center and spread the mulch for an ornamental look or to insulate landscapes over winter and protect against weeds.

Repurpose old items into planters Old wheelbarrows, barrels, watering cans, and other items can be repurposed into container gardening vessels. Figure out if items marked for the garbage bin can be incorporated into garden features instead.

Invest in plants that are easy to propagate Perennials are the gardener’s friend when it comes to saving money. These plants sprout anew each year, and many, such as sedum, catmint, ferns,

hostas, and black-eyed Susans, can propagate by division. Figure out the best times of year to divide the plants and start growing them in individual containers before planting the sturdy new shoots in the ground. A single variety of plants grouped together in mass plantings is affordable and easy.

want to speak with neighbors to see if they’re interested in doing the same. Contractors guaranteed business from a few homes in the same neighborhood

may be willing to negotiate lower prices for the volume of work on things like driveway repaving, deckor fence-building, or installation of paver patios.

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Outdoor Living 2022 | Thursday, June 30, 2022

Revitalize your landscape on a budget

Garden centers may begin to make room for holiday items come the fall. Take advantage of reduced costs on remaining plants and landscape accessories during this time of year. Plants can be covered or allowed to thrive indoors until they can be planted in the spring.

Pool your resources Homeowners planning on a big landscaping or revitalization project may

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Remove some lawn

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Lawns can require hours of upkeep that may involve the application of expensive fertilizers and weed-killing products that are not always so eco-friendly. Reduce the size of a lawn by putting in a mixed planting bed of perennials or ornamental grasses, or use landscape fabric and mulch.

Look for free mulch Municipal recycling centers may offer residents access to free mulch made from grinding up leaves, branches and other plant debris collected throughout the town. Simply bring a few containers to the re-

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Thursday, June 30, 2022 | Outdoor Living 2022

Turn your yard into a vacation-worthy oasis

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Since 1937

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Warm weather means more time to relax outdoors. For those homeowners lucky enough to have entertaining spaces outside, spring and summer provides plenty of opportunities to enjoy fresh air under the sun or stars. Over the last few years, families have become especially familiar with what works about their yards and where there is room for improvement. Pandemic-related travel restrictions and early stay-athome mandates resulted in plenty of time spent in backyards on staycations. Even though many such restrictions have been lifted, homeowners may have seen the benefits of having functional respites right outside their doors. A backyard renovation can cost anywhere from

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$5,000 to $50,000. The American Society of Landscape Architects suggests homeowners budget the cost of a major landscaping project at between 5 and 10 percent of their home’s value. Large or small, here are ways to make an outdoor oasis at home.

above-ground pools also serve the purpose and are more budget-friendly. Stock tank pools are popular among those who want minimal pool expenditure or have small spaces to work with. Stock tanks are metal vessels traditionally

used as watering holes for livestock. They also can be “adult kiddie pools” when combined with some plumbing. Galvanized steel frames make them sturdy. With floats and other accessories, they can become the perfect oasis.

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Provide outdoor atmosphere Create a bespoke bistro vibe by using freestanding planters and posts along with hanging lights to make an intimate outdoor hangout spot at night.

Create living privacy

Decks and patios can help make outdoor entertaining areas more comfortable by eliminating the need to sit on the grass or gravel. Plus, they add another “room” to the home. When paired with weatherproof patio furniture, such as sofas, loungers and tables, a private seating area can be crafted and utilized for any number of entertaining desires.

Hang a hammock

Install a pool Pools are the ultimate spots to cool off on hot days. An elaborately shaped inground pool can blend in with the landscape and offer the ultimate hang-out zone. However,

Extend the living space

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Few things evoke feelings of relaxation better than a hammock. Fitted between two trees (or two posts if trees are sparse), a hammock is an ideal place to grab a nap or read a book. Additional oasis-inspired ideas include outdoor kitchens, letting up lanterns, cascading water features, and bird feeders to attract the sounds of nature.

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Living in close proximity to neighbors may make privacy harder to come by. Wood or vinyl fences, however effective, may not provide the all-natural look many people desire. Vertical gardening, which trains easy-care vines like English ivy, Clematis or various climbing roses to grow on trellis or fencing adds greenery and privacy. Hedges and fast-growing shrubs also can be used for natural barriers.

For those with permanent structures, like a deck or a gazebo, lights can be strung across the area or on railings or edging.

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Thursday, June 30, 2022 | Outdoor Living 2022

Guide to outdoor lighting Lighting can transform outdoors spaces for the better Lighting is an essential component of interior and exterior home design. Not only does lighting add style and make spaces more appealing, when done correctly, it also makes a home safer and more functional. Homeowners who plan to utilize outdoor spaces like backyards, front porches and walkways to the fullest should think carefully about lighting. These guidelines can assist with selecting outdoor lighting fixtures.

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Security lighting

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Flood lights and security lights are a good investment for those who want to beef up visibility and security around the home. These lights are high-intensity and designed to illuminate large areas. The brightness and reach can serve as a preventive measure to keep animals and even criminals away. Motion-sensor lights will immediately engage if something crosses the path of the sensor. Some lights will remain on from dusk until dawn. Lowes Home Improvement suggests using the correct wattage on outdoor security lights so they flood an area thoroughly without affecting neighboring properties.

Wall, post and ceiling lights Outdoor lighting fixtures beyond security options come in a variety of styles, according to Lamps USA. Wall lights are mounted to the outdoor wall of the home. These typically flank doorways or the garage. Post lights

are often installed on the posts of decks and porches, or are free-standing on properties, providing visibility but also style. Ceiling-mounted lights may be above doorways or installed in any structure that has an overhead area. Warm-colored temperature bulbs in these fixtures can create an inviting atmosphere that is not too bright and jarring, especially when multiple lighting fixtures are working together. When selecting lighting for wall-mounted fixtures, experts suggest sizing up if you are not sure of the size to pick, as lights will look much smaller in scale from a distance.

Accent and landscape lighting A bevy of accent lighting choices are available. Accent lighting is designed to enhance the mood and appearance of certain elements of a landscape. Accent lighting is not intended to add bright light. For example, upward-directed lights can be cast on trees or shrubs to accentuate their shapes. Accent lighting also may call out a structure, such as a garden or a fountain. While accent lighting may be hard-wired, homeowners who want the luxury of changing lighting can opt for solar fixtures, which are more mobile but not as bright.

Additional pointers When shopping for bulbs, consider the number of lumens. A standard 100-watt bulb produces around 1,600 lumens. Security lights

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should range from 700 to 1,300 lumens for optimal brightness. Other lights needn’t be so bright. Furthermore, ensure that any fixtures that are being used are safety-rat-

ed for outdoors. Wet-rated fixtures are designed to withstand direct exposure to outdoor elements, advises the design experts at Schoolhouse, a lighting and lifestyle goods com-

pany. Damp-rated fixtures are built for outdoor locations protected from harsh weather. Look for the product details or work with an electrician to choose the right lighting choices.

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Outdoor Living 2022 | Thursday, June 30, 2022

Outdoor activities benefit kids Getting outside and engaging in any activity has a variety of benefits for children and adults Modern amenities and indoor comforts have made life easier in many ways, but they’ve also helped to fashion a generation of people who spend much of their time inside. A 2018 report from the international research firm YouGov found that around 90 percent of study respondents from North America and Europe spend close to 22 hours inside every day. Children may get a little more time outdoors than adults, particularly if they participate in outdoor sports. There are distinct advantages to engaging in more outdoor activities. Here’s a look at some of them.

Improved mood and reduced risk of depression

The YouGov report notes that around 15 percent of the world’s population is affected by different levels of seasonal affective disorder, which is believed to be a direct result of lack of daylight. Symptoms go away when days are longer and individuals can enjoy more sunshine. Children who go outside and get ample exposure to sunlight may experience a more positive mood and renewed energy.

Lower risk of obesity Dr. Kenneth Ginsburg from the American Academy of Pediatrics says outdoor play can help reduce obesity in today’s youth. Children can enjoy self-directed physical activity that also stimulates awareness of one’s surroundings.

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Improved vitamin D levels Vitamin D has been dubbed the “sunshine vi-

Lower stress levels

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Students of all ages are faced with stressful situations that come at them from every angle. The arrival of the global pandemic has been an added stressor that continues to affect children and adults. According to research by the University of Essex, outdoor exercise offers mental health benefits that exceed those gleaned from indoor exercise. Spending time in a green space can result in im-

proved mood and self-esteem. A 2017 study of Japanese students found those who spent time in the forest for two nights returned home with lower levels of cortisol, a hormone used as a marker of stress, than students who remained in the city. The practice of de-stressing outdoors is often referred to as “forest bathing” or “nature therapy.”

Better focus A dose of nature may help children diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder improve their concentration levels. A 2008 study from researchers at the University of Illinois found that children with ADHD demonstrated greater attention performance following a 20-minute walk in a park as compared to a residential neighborhood or downtown area.

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tamin” because sunlight hitting the skin prompts the liver and kidneys to create vitamin D in the body. A deficiency in vitamin D can lead to depression and heart failure and may compromise the immune system. Children can improve current and future health by maintaining adequate vitamin D levels through healthy exposure to sunlight.

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Thursday, June 30, 2022 | Outdoor Living 2022

The buzz about bees Warm weather and extra hours of sunlight spark flowering trees and plants to bloom anew. This is the time of year when the air is sweet with the aroma of blossoms and the familiar hum of insects can be heard all around. Not all “bugs” are the same this time of year. While you probably won’t want ants invading your backyard grill fest, the presence of bees nearby can be a good thing — even if those curious yellowand-black critters get a little close for comfort from time to time. That’s because almost 90 percent of wild plants and 75 percent of the leading global crops depend on animal pollination, indicates the World Wildlife Federation. Bees are remarkable creatures in small packages.

The following are some bee facts to buzz about, courtesy of the WWF, Save the Bees®, NASA, and the Texas A&M University Honey Bee Information Site. · There are roughly 20,000 species of bees around the world. Most of them are solitary bees. · Bees have five eyes. Two of the eyes are large compound eyes with hexagonal facets. The other three are small, simple eyes. · Honeybees have a move called the “waggle dance.” It is a clever way of communicating to tell them where to go to find the best sources of food. · Bees can carry up to 122 times their body weight in pollen and nectar. · Bumblebees leave footprint scents behind. They are able to distinguish between their

own scents, the scent of a relative and the scent of a stranger as they look for food. They also can avoid flowers already visited. · Should a queen bee perish, the hive workers will select a new young larva and feed it a special food called “royal jelly.” The larva will develop into a fertile queen. · Bees flap their wings 190 to 200 times per second. They can fly up to 15 miles per hour. · Female bees can sting; males do not. Losing the singer will cause the bee to die. The honeybee only can sting once because its stinger is barbed. Bumblebees and hornets can sting multiple times because they have smooth stingers.

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· It can require nectar from two million flowers to make one pound of honey.

them can prevent a person from being stung. Generally, bumblebees and honey bees will only sting by accident or if a nest is being disrupted.

· Many bees are not aggressive. Simply moving away from

· Wasps are different from bees in that they are mostly

known to be predators. They eat other insects and often food that people eat, which is why wasps are more likely to be found around your cookout. Bees tend to be covered in hair, while wasps (which include yellow jackets) are smooth.

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See More In-store to Enjoy Outdoors!

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Thursday, June 30, 2022 | Outdoor Living 2022

How to keep outdoor living areas safe Homeowners are urged to prioritize safety when designing and enjoying outdoor entertaining areas at their homes Outdoor living spaces are a wildly popular trend. A 2021 survey conducted on behalf of the International Casual Furnishings Association and American Home Furnishings Alliance found that 90 percent of individuals surveyed felt outdoor living spaces are more valuable than ever. That popularity was evident during the pandemic, during which 23 percent of respondents indicated they bought new furniture while 18 percent acknowledged building a deck.

The excitement of seeing a new or renovated outdoor living area can make it easy to overlook safety. But outdoor living areas, particularly those that include entertaining areas with televisions, lighting and other electronics, can pose significant safety hazards if homeowners don’t take some necessary precautions.

Use an appropriate extension cord String lights above outdoor living spaces like

decks and patios can create a warm, relaxing nighttime vibe. Those lights need to be plugged in, which increases the risk for electrical accidents. When utilizing an extension cord outdoors, never use a cord designated for indoor use. Outdoor extension cords are better insulated than cords made for indoor use. That insulation provides better protection against the elements, including sunlight, changes in temperature and moisture. When using an exten-

sion cord outdoors, make sure the cord is secured and not left lying on a deck or patio where it can easily become a tripping hazard.

Consider fencing Fencing can make an outdoor living space more private and safe. Local laws may mandate that pools be enclosed with fencing, but even living spaces without pools can be made safer with the installation of a fence. Firepits are wildly popular, as more than 35 percent of homeowners who responded to the ICFA survey acknowledged their intention to purchase new firepits in 2021. Adding fencing around areas with firepits establishes boundaries, which is a must for homeowners with small children. Fencing also makes it harder for local wildlife to gain access to a property, which can decrease residents’ risk for tick-borne diseases like Lyme disease.

Purchase an outdoor television Outdoor televisions can be expensive, but the cost of such devices will depend on what homeowners are looking for. Homeowners who plan to spend ample time outdoors watching games, movies and their favorite shows may feel a high-end outdoor television, which can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000, is well worth the investment. But those working with smaller budgets can find a quality 4K outdoor TV for around $2,000. That’s still a steep price tag, but the electronics experts at P.C. Richard & Son note that outdoor TVs are designed with safety features that indoor televisions don’t have. For example, outdoor TVs can self-regulate temperature and moisture levels, greatly reducing the risk of electrical issues.

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Safety is vital when around water A backyard pool can be a wonderful summer oasis. Swimming immediately cools people off on hot and humid days, and even provides thorough exercise that works many different muscles in the body. And summer revelers know that swimming and splashing in the pool is an entertaining activity for people of all ages. Though pools are great summer spaces, one downside of pool usage is the potential for drowning. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that, every year in the United States, there are an estimated 3,960 fatal unintentional drownings — an average of 11 drowning deaths per day.

In addition, around 8,080 nonfatal drownings occur. It’s important to note that many of these incidents are unrelated to pool usage, as boating and even bathtub accidents contribute to drowning as well. But a 2020 review of 2,213 unintentional immersion deaths and other water-related injury deaths in Canada by the Canadian Red Cross found that immersion deaths were most likely to occur when swimming and wading. Children ages one to four, males, and people with seizure disorders or other medical conditions like autism are among those at a higher risk for drowning. Pools are fun, but it’s a great responsibility to keep all swimmers safe.

The following are some pool safety measures to put into effect. · Keep water sanitary. Make sure pool water is chemically balanced so that it is comfortable to swim in and will not harbor any pathogens that can make swimmers ill. The pool equipment company Pahlen says the ideal water pH is 7.4 because that is the same as the pH in human eyes and mucous membranes, and it also supports good chlorine disinfection. The free chlorine content of a pool can range from 0.5 to 1.6 to keep it sanitary. A quality testing kit can help pool owners balance water. · Learn your local ordinances. Local ordinances will spell out which pre-

cautionary measures are required by law for people who have a backyard pool. These often include a fenced yard, a fence around inground pools that is at least four feet high, self-latching gates, and/or pool ladders that can be locked or closed when the pool isn’t in use. · Rely on non-slip surfaces. The pool environment can be wet and slippery. Utilizing materials like non-slip deck surfaces or rougher concrete finishes around pools can help reduce some slips and falls. The pool resource Poolonomics says people should be instructed to avoid running near or around the pool. · Inspect water returns and drains. PoolSafety.

gov warns that hair, limbs, jewelry, or bathing suits can get stuck in a drain or suction opening in a pool or spa. Broken or missing drain covers should be replaced immediately and no swimming should occur until the issue is remedied. · Install other barriers. Barriers, alarms and pool covers can save lives and prevent access to pool water when the pool area is not in use. · Learn how to swim and perform CPR. Families can take swimming lessons to become better swimmers. Learning how to perform CPR on adults and children can save lives. Courses are available at many hospitals and community centers or through the Red Cross.

Outdoor Living 2022 | Thursday, June 30, 2022

Pool safety essentials to live by

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Thursday, June 30, 2022 | Outdoor Living 2022

How to prepare for drought in advance

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NASA, the last 20 years have produced some of the driest conditions in the American west on record. When drought occurs, it is now more severe and pervasive than it once was, which underscores the importance of planning for drought before it occurs. Government efforts to combat climate change, which NASA indicates is behind the increase in drought over the last two decades, might produce large scale change needed to protect against drought. But there’s also steps private homeowners can take to prepare for drought before it occurs.

Check your well pump regularly The U.S. Department of Homeland Security urges homeowners who have a well pump on their properties to check them regularly for leaks. If the pump turns on and off while water is not being used, it has a leak. Addressing the leak promptly helps to conserve water, which is one of the most effective means to combatting drought.

Plant native species The U.S. Forest Service notes that native plants are adapted to the local climate and soil conditions. That means they will require less water and will be hardy enough to withstand heat waves in areas where especially high summer temperatures are the norm.

Raise the blades on your lawn mower The DHS notes that lawn mower blades raised to at least three inches encourage grass roots to grow deeper and hold soil moisture. That can help lawns survive drought without much intervention, including extra water during times when water restrictions are in place.

Reseed lawns with drought in mind When reseeding a lawn, consider the potential for drought. The DHS recommends individuals in areas affected or likely to be affected by drought plant drought-resistant lawn seed. Drought-resistant

grasses, which include Bermuda and Zoysia grass, can withstand prolonged periods without water. However, before reseeding, consult a local lawn and garden professional to ensure the grass will thrive in your area.

Devise a wise watering strategy

Come late spring, devise a watering strategy to take you through the dog days of summer. Water-efficient irrigation systems can protect flowers, plants and shrubs during prolonged periods marked by little to no precipitation. In addition, less water will be lost to evaporation when watering during early morning or evening hours when

temperatures tend to be less extreme and the sun is not as high. If possible, hand water during these times of day or set irrigation system timers to do so. Dry conditions are more common today than they were 20 years ago. That reality means homeowners must plan ahead as they try to help their lawns and gardens survive drought.

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Home gardens can yield many gifts, from flowers to fruit. Beginners can utilize some time-tested strategies to increase their chances of planting a successful garden. Homeowners enjoy gardening for many different reasons. In addition to adding beauty to a property, gardens can offset grocery costs by yielding tasty produce. They also offer important habitats and food sources for both insects and animals. While growing a vegetable or flower garden can turn into a rewarding hobby, or even a passion, gardening also can be overwhelming — particularly when the results are less than stellar. Novice gardeners have scores of resources at their disposal, including the advice of gardeners who have made mistakes and learned from them. The following guidance can make home gardens that much more successful.

1. Start small.

2. Assess the soil. Plants need nutrient-rich soil to encourage extensive root systems

You can give plants a leg up by growing them in optimal conditions.

3. Arm yourself with knowledge.

6. Use rainwater.

Do you know how deeply to plant seeds and how far apart to space plants? Are you aware of the sunlight needs of certain flowers or plants? If not, read the packaging and do your research so your plants have the best chance of not only sprouting, but also surviving. Many people prefer to start seedlings indoors in late winter and then transfer those plants outdoors when they are stronger and more established.

5. Choose hardy varieties. Certain plants have been bred to thrive in your climate, including heat-tolerant plants for climates with sweltering summer sun. Consult with a local gardening center to figure out which plant zone you are in and which plants will do best within that zone.

Rainwater contains fewer contaminants and additives than tap water, which can benefit garden plants. Collect rainwater in rain barrels and use irrigation systems to deliver it to the garden.

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4. Sit in your yard and observe. Watch the way the sunlight dances over areas of your landscape. Take note of which areas get the most sun and shade. This will help you plan what to plant and where to plant it. Vegetable gardens tend to need ample sunlight to bear pick-worthy produce.

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You may have visions of an expansive garden growing rows of crops or acres of flowers. But it is smart to start small and build on what you find successful, which includes plants that thrive in your lawn and garden. This also is beneficial if you are unsure of vegetable yields. Several blooming plants producing bushels of crops can be overwhelming, especially if you can’t get to harvesting or cooking them in a timely fashion.

and produce strong, hardy plants, according to the gardening resource GrowVeg. Nourish soil with organic matter, such as manure, compost, shredded leaves, and natural mulch. Add this organic matter in the off-season to give it enough time to be incorporated into the ground before spring. You can have your soil tested for pH and other characteristics that make it friendly or averse to plants at a local garden center.

Outdoor Living 2022 | Thursday, June 30, 2022

6 ways to make your garden more successful

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A backyard oasis can feel like an even more welcoming retreat when the area is private. Homeowners and their families often find that a backyard is most relaxing when they cannot hear or see their neighbors, and creating such an environment can be as simple as planting some privacy trees. Fencing is an option when homeowners are looking to make their backyards more private. But HomeAdvisor reports that the average cost to install a privacy fence is just under $3,000, and those costs can be considerably higher depending on where homeowners live and how big a fence they need. Privacy trees can be consid-

erably less expensive, and homeowners can spread out those costs by planting over time, an option that’s not possible when installing fencing. When planting privacy trees, homeowners can consider these varieties that can do the job while also providing some aesthetic appeal.

Emerald arborvitae The Arbor Day Foundation® notes that the emerald arborvitae is unique among arborvitaes because it maintains its green color even in the coldest months of the year. The emerald arborvitae can grow to between 10- and 15-feettall and spread as wide as four feet at maturity. The

tree features a pyramid shape and is considered slow-growing at less than 12 inches of growth per year. The ADF reports that full sun and partial shade are best for this tree.

Carolina cherry laurel Carolina cherry laurels are popular choices for privacy seekers. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center notes the trees can grow very tall and boast a pyramidal shape. The Carolina cherry laurel require sun and thrive in moist, well-drained soils. Parents with young children should know that the leaves of this family of plant contain hydrocyanic acid and should never be eaten.

Boxwood The ADF notes that boxwoods are renowned for their use in formal gardens. That can make them an ideal option for homeowners seeking a traditional garden aesthetic in their backyards. Boxwood trees can grow up to 20 feet tall, but they can vary greatly in height. Homeowners purchasing them as privacy trees should speak with their local gardening center to ensure they’re getting boxwoods that will provide ample privacy. Though they still have aesthetic appeal, smaller boxwoods may only reach a foot tall. Boxwoods vary considerably in terms of their growth rate, so homeowners should inquire

about this as well before purchasing and planting any trees.

Privet Privets are dense privacy hedges that grow very quickly, with the ADF reporting they can grow up to three feet per year. Privets may reach 12 feet in height and spread as wide as six feet at maturity. Privets tolerate shearing well, which can make them ideal privacy options for those looking for a formal appearance. Privets require full sun for uniform growth. Privets are considered invasive in many areas of North America, so homeowners should consult their local garden center prior to planting.

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Thursday, June 30, 2022 | Outdoor Living 2022

What to plant when privacy is a priority

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Emerald arborvita

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Boxwood

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Privet

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Outdoor Living 2022 | Thursday, June 30, 2022

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Thursday, June 30, 2022 | Outdoor Living 2022

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Light & Lively

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It’s a quality you’ll feel the moment you enter the room and every time you open a drawer. Your kitchen was designed and built just for you by artisons who are passionate about getting every details just right.

Stop In Today For: • Windows • Doors • Siding • Cabinets A Family Owned Business In Operation Since 1900.

Mon. - Fri. 6am - 5pm • Sat. 6am - 1pm • Check out our website www.LPADAMS.com 484 Housatonic St. Dalton MA • 413-684-0025