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Spring & Home Garden

Thursday, April 25, 2019


A Special Supplement to the PRESS-REPUBLICAN

Landscaping Tips

Room Renovations

Smart Investments

Local Offerings

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Spring Home & Garden


Thursday, April 25, 2019

Table of

How to save up for your first home..........3 When it can be smart to hire a painting pro..........4 Cut blooms that will last the longest..........6 Questions to ask before embracing DIY..........7 Valuable renovations..........7 Design a dream outdoor entertaining space..........8 Did you know? Decorative walkways..........9 Considering an energy audit? Get informed..........10 Organize and declutter room-by-room..........11 The basics of backyard beehives..........12 Early spring landscaping tips..........14


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Thursday, April 25, 2019


How to save up for your first home

Spring Home & Garden

Home ownership is a dream for people across the globe. Many people save for years before buying their first homes, squirreling away every dollar they can with the hopes they can one day become homeowners. But thanks to factors beyond their control, even the most devoted savers can sometimes feel like their dream of home ownership may never come true. According to the Pew Research Center, American workers’ paychecks are larger than they were 40 years ago, but their purchasing power is essentially the same. Things aren’t much different in Canada, where analysis from Statistics Canada and the Bank of Canada has shown that, since 2015, wage growth in Canada has been weaker than in the United States. Various challenges can make it difficult to buy a home. However, some simple strategies can help prospective home buyers build their savings as they move closer to the day when they can call themselves “homeowners.”

Continued on page 4

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Spring Home & Garden

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Determine where your money is going. If you’re finding it hard to grow your savings, audit your monthly expenses to determine where your money is going. Using exclusively debit or credit cards can simplify this process, as all you need to do is log into your accounts and see how your money was spent over a given period. If you routinely use cash to pay for items, even just to buy coffee on the way to work, keep a notepad handy so you can jot down each expense. Do this for a month and then examine how you spent your money. Chances are you will see various ways to save, and you can then redirect that money into your savings account. Become a more savvy grocery shopper. Another great way to save more money is to alter something you already do each month: grocery shopping. If you haven’t already, sign up for discount clubs at your local grocer. This is a largely effortless way for shoppers, especially those buying food for families, to save considerable amounts of money. Shopping sales at competing grocery stores also can save money.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

When it can be smart to hire a painting pro

Few things can revitalize a home more readily than a fresh coat of paint. Thanks in part to the affordability of paint and its ease of application, painting is something that even novice DIYers can typically handle. According to the marketing advice guru Brandon Gaille, it is estimated that residential interior paint only lasts around three years before it needs to be updated. Exterior paint can fade, chip and peel due to various environmental factors. As a result, many homes can likely use a fresh coat of paint in at least one room. Continued on page 5

Dine in more often. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says that Americans spend, on average, 6 percent of their household budgets on food. However, the USDA also notes that Americans spend 5 percent of their disposable income on dining out. If these figures mirror your spending habits, you can nearly cut your food spending in half by dining out less frequently. That might be a sacrifice for foodies, but it can get you that much closer to buying your own home.



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Thursday, April 25, 2019


Spring Home & Garden


Continued from page 4

As DIY-friendly as painting can be, when attempting to paint the interior or exterior of their homes, homeowners may learn that some painting projects are best left to the professionals. Painting requires skill, patience and a knowledge of how various paints — including finishes for particular applications — will hold up. Novice painters may do more harm than good by dripping paint on expensive carpeting or floors or fail to recognize the nuances that indicate a spot-on painting job. Professional painters have spent hours upon hours learning the ropes of what works — and what does not. Painters often understand that painstaking preparatory work is crucial to getting pristine finished results. Walls and ceilings must be properly repaired and prepared even before a base coat is applied. Professional painters also have an eye for details. And because professional painters make a business out of doing interior and exterior surfaces, they understand which techniques can improve efficiency. That means a professional job can typically be completed much more quickly than a DIY project. Even though some people think they’ll save money by painting their own homes, that’s not necessarily true. Professionals already have all the equipment necessary, unlike novices who may need to make repeated and potentially costly trips to the hardware store for supplies. Plus, if mistakes happen, DIYers have to spend additional time and money fixing them. Safety can be a large motivator for turning painting over to a pro. Navigating exterior areas or tall interior ceilings can be challenging and may require scaffolding or tall ladders DIYers do not have. Risk of falls or other injuries increase with lack of experience. Painting can give a home a facelift, and oftentimes it is smart to turn the work over to professionals to ensure the job is done just right.


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Spring Home & Garden

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Cut blooms that will last the longest

Flowers may look beautiful in gardens and even when snipped and brought inside to brighten up a mantel or dining table. Unfortunately, cut flowers have a finite shelf life. While cut blooms can’t live forever, certain varieties will outlast others. Choosing flowers wisely for wedding centerpieces or keepsakes can help couples enjoy selected flowers longer. Peonies Peonies can last for about a week or two when brought indoors. HGTV says to snip the stems when the buds are tight, wrap them in newspaper and store them in the refrigerator until you’re ready to arrange.

Lilies Lilies are traditional flowers that are beautiful to behold. Lilies are available in various sizes and colors and can be bought fresh yearround. Lilies often last longer than a week after being cut. Look for lilies with tight buds, as such flowers tend to last the longest.

Zinnias Gladioli These bright blooms can last for three to four weeks and are best The lovely flowers of the vertical-growing gladiolus, which is sometimes harvested in summer. Related to the sunflower, zinnias are available referred to as the “sword lily,” are available in yellow, peach, pink, in a wide range of colors. white, and other hues. These bulb-based plants can last up to two weeks after being cut and add variety and texture to floral displays. Chrysanthemums Widely referred to as “mums,” these midsummer to late-fall flowers Although advice varies on how to keep cut flowers fresh the longest, can last between three and four weeks after being cut. Mums can be veteran florist Nic Faitos, senior partner at Starbright Floral Design in used to fill out floral displays because they tend to be inexpensive but New York, who has provided his floral expertise for Reader’s Digest, durable flowers. says the best approach is to keep vase water clean. In addition, ProFlowers suggests keeping cut blooms in a cool room away from Coneflower direct sunlight and heat. The purple coneflower is popular, but coneflowers are available in CASELLA OFFERS many colors aside from purple. Coneflowers attract butterflies and are beautiful in cut COMPLETE WASTE & RECYCLING SOLUTIONS displays. FOR YOUR HOME, BUSINESS, SCHOOL, OR TOWN Ranunculus Ranunculus mimic the look of roses and display layer after layer of silky, crepe-like petals. These blooms can last a week or more in vases if they’re put in water right after being cut. Carnations Another budget-friendly flower, carnations are popular from early spring until late summer. Available in many hues, they can be used in conjunction with other blooms to create wellrounded floral displays that may last between two and three weeks.




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Questions to ask before embracing Home improvement projects are as popular as ever. In its 2017 True Cost Survey, the home improvement site HomeAdvisor found that, between February 2016 and February 2017, homeowners spent an average of just over $5,000 on home projects. That marked a nearly $1,900 increase from the year prior, indicating that homeowners are increasingly opening their wallets to transform their homes.

DIY projects can provide a sense of fulfillment and personal attachment to one’s home, prospective do-it-yourselfers should ask themselves some questions before picking up their hammers and getting to work.

In addition to spending money to improve their homes, many homeowners are spending their time on projects as well. While

Continued on page 9

Spring Home & Garden


Valuable renovations

Each year, Remodeling magazine publishes its “Cost vs. Value” report to give homeowners a greater understanding of how much popular home projects will cost across the nation, as well as which renovations will offer the greatest return on investment. According to their research, these projects improved in value between 2017 and 2018 and can be smart choices for homeowners looking to add popular features to their properties. Below are the popular projects and the average cost of the renovations. • • • • • • • • • •

Midrange bathroom addition: $44,717 Midrange bathroom remodel: $19,134 Midrange deck addition (wood): $10,950 Midrange entry door replacement (steel): $1,471 Upscale garage door replacement: $3,470 Midrange manufactured stone veneer: $8,221 Midrange minor kitchen remodel: $21,198 Midrange siding replacement: $15,072 Midrange universal design bathroom: $16,393 Upscale window replacement (vinyl): $15,955


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Spring Home & Garden

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Design a dream outdoor entertaining space Upon the arrival of warm weather, many individuals prefer to spend their free time outside, relishing the fresh air and sunshine and evenings spent under the stars. But cracked patios and makeshift chairs and tables may not establish the desired ambiance. An outdoor entertaining area that offers the same amenities found inside a home can make outdoor retreats both comfortable and functional. Creative planning can help homeowners design dream areas perfect for hosting friends or family. Establish goals As with any project, the first step when coordinating outdoor living areas is to determine what you hope to achieve with the space. Will it be a location for lounging? Will people be cooking meals outside? Is the pool the central focus of the yard? Answering these questions and more can help homeowners decide how to design their entertaining spaces. Remember, however, that goals may evolve as landscape designers and even architects make their own suggestions for the space or present limitations. Evaluate the space Look at the lot and decide what will go where, such as where to place the party space, where to create a quiet hideaway and where to locate a poolhouse or outdoor shower. A large, flat yard can be divided into a series of patios that serve different purposes. Yards that are built on a hill or a slope can still be utilized with creative design elements, such as multi-tiered decking. By working with qualified designers, homeowners can bring their ideas to life. Easy food and drink access Traipsing in and out of the house for refreshments can become tiresome when entertaining outside. In such situations, people also can track dirt inside of the home or leave a trail of pool water in their wake. Outdoor kitchens allow easy access to food and drink that makes outdoor entertaining much easier. The experts at Angie’s List suggest outdoor kitchens be built close to the house to make it easier to run electricity and plumbing to the outdoor kitchen. Outdoor kitchens should include a sink, small refrigerator, built-in grill, and bar area. Continued on page 9

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Thursday, April 25, 2019


Spring Home & Garden

“DIY” continued from page 7


“Outdoor” continued from page 8

Do I have any physical limitations?

Creature comforts Homeowners should think about No matter how much home improvement television shows may simplify projects, prospective DIYers the things that make the inside should know that such undertakings are typically very difficult and oftentimes physically demanding. of their homes so comfortable Homeowners with existing health conditions or other physical limitations may not be capable of performing and then replicate that outside. certain tasks or may need to take frequent breaks, which can delay projects. Sofas and loveseats covered in fabric suited for outdoors and Do I have the time? plenty of pillows can make for great lounging. Lighting that can Many home improvement projects require a significant amount of time to complete. Homeowners whose be adjusted for day or night, or time is already stretched thin with commitments to work and/or family may not be able to complete even to set the mood, is another projects within a reasonable amount of time. That’s fine if working on a part of the home that won’t affect consideration. Shade structures, daily life, but can prove stressful or problematic if the project is in a room, such as a kitchen or bathroom, like a trellis or retractable awning, that residents of the home use each day. Novice DIYers should be especially honest with themselves will keep the area comfortable about the time they have available to work on the project, as such homeowners are bound to experience and can also define outdoor a few time-consuming missteps along the way. “rooms” and establish privacy. Can I afford it?

Fire it up Many homeowners enjoy having While DIY might seem more affordable than hiring a contractor, that’s not necessarily true. Novice DIYers fire elements in their yards. may need to buy or rent tools, costs that can add up. Contractors already have the tools necessary to Lanterns and candles may begin and complete projects, so the cost savings of DIY might not be as significant as homeowners create a romantic feel, but a think. Before going the DIY route, homeowners should solicit estimates from contractors, comparing the fire pit or outdoor fireplace may estimates to how much a project will cost if homeowners do it themselves. help extend use of the outdoor Can I go it alone? entertaining area beyond summer. Many home improvement projects require more than one set of hands, and it’s risky and even foolish for first-time DIYers to assume they can begin a project and see it through to completion entirely on their E n t e r t a i n i n g own. Homeowners whose spouses, partners, friends, or relatives are willing to chip in may think that’s outdoors is made enough. However, the DIY skills of those who volunteer may be a mystery until the project begins. Novice that much more DIYers should enlist the help of a friend or family member with home improvement experience. If no such enticing with a person is available, it may be wise to hire a contractor instead. dream outdoor living space full Home improvement projects may seem simple on television. But prospective do-it-yourselfers must make of amenities. honest assessments of their skills, time and budgets before taking on a DIY project. Wellness & Fitness Center

Did you know?

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Spring Home & Garden

Thursday, April 25, 2019

used in homes, nearly 50 percent goes to heating and cooling. Water heating, appliances, electronics, and lighting account for the remaining consumption. Consumers can save between 5 and 30 percent on home energy bills by getting a home energy audit and making the adjustments advised by auditors. There are two types of energy audits: professional and do-it-yourself. Professional auditors will go room-to-room to assess a home’s energy use. Typical testing includes thermographic scans and infrared cameras to determine air leakage and insulation; a blower door test, which depressurizes the home and simulates the effect of a 20 mph wind to find air leaks; and watt meter measurements to test energy usage by various devices throughout the house.

Considering an energy audit? Get informed

Before an auditor comes to the house, homeowners can make a list of any problems or concerns they want to discuss with the auditor. The auditor also may interview the homeowner to learn about how the home normally runs and can analyze energy bills to determine typical energy consumption. Windows, doors, HVAC systems, insulation, fireplaces, and lighting fixtures all may be assessed during a professional audit.

Even though a professional audit is usually the best way to determine where a home is losing energy, homeowners can conduct their own Overconsumption of energy is a problem that plagues many audits to detect and fix problems. Locating and sealing air leaks, homeowners. Wasting energy can hurt homeowners’ bottom lines addressing inadequate ventilation, checking that insulation levels and the planet. But many homeowners aren’t aware just how much and vapor barriers are at recommended levels, and inspecting HVAC energy their homes are consuming and even wasting. That’s why a systems should be part of any DIY audit. If a heating/cooling unit is home energy audit can be so important. more than 15 years old, the DOE suggests having it replaced with a newer, energy-efficient unit. A home energy audit or assessment investigates just how much energy a home consumes so homeowners can make their homes An energy audit can identify areas around a home more energy efficient. Audits identify where energy is being wasted where improvements can be made to reduce energy and can offer suggestions to fix the problem. consumption and waste. Upgrading to new appliances, The U.S. Department of Energy advises that the average U.S. household consumes around 90 million btus in a year. Of the energy




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Thursday, April 25, 2019


Organize and declutter room-by-room

Spring Home & Garden


Getting organized is a popular New Year’s resolution. Clutter can be a major source of stress that affects how individuals feel about their spaces. Psychology Today indicates messy homes and work spaces can contribute to feelings of helplessness, anxiety and overwhelming stress. Clutter bombards the mind with excessive stimuli, makes it more difficult to relax and can constantly signal to the brain that work is never done. Tackling messes no matter where they are lurking is not a onetime project. Much like losing weight and getting healthy, clearing a home of clutter requires dedication and lifestyle changes. With these organizational tips and tricks, anyone can work through their home room-by-room and conquer clutter. Find a place for everything Clutter creeps up as people accumulate possessions over the years. Over time, failure to regularly go through belongings and thin the herd can lead to the accumulation of clutter. But clutter also can accumulate if people fail to find a place to put items. Racks for garages, organizational systems for closets and furniture with storage capacity, such as storage ottomans, are some storage solutions that can help people find a place for their possessions. Utilize vertical space when possible Getting items up and off the floor can maximize square footage in a home. Bookshelves, hanging wall shelves, hooks, cabinetry, built-ins, and other storage solutions that rely on walls and ceilings are simple and effective storage solutions. Unused space behind cabinet or closet doors are some additional places to store belongings. Hang razors or toothbrushes on medicine cabinet walls and curling irons and other hair tools on the interior of cabinet doors in bathrooms. Continued on page 12

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Spring Home & Garden

Saving bees one hive at a time: The basics of backyard beehives

Scientists and environmentalists have been warning the public for years that honeybees are disappearing at alarming rates. Scientists were initially uncertain in regard to what was decimating bee populations. Even though no single cause is to blame, data has pointed to pesticide use and the mysterious colony collapse disorder, which is a name given to the dwindling colonies seen around the world. National Geographic News says bees are essential because of their roles as pollinators. Agriculture industries rely on honeybees, especially managed honeybees, to keep commercial crops pollinated and productive. Estimates indicate that roughly one-third of U.S. crops rely on honeybees — accounting for more than $15 billion in crop production. Without bees, the costs of everything from blueberries to apples to broccoli would rise, as farmers would have to use a different, more expensive pollination method. Continued on page 13

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Create a coding system Home offices can be some of the more disorganized rooms in a house simply due to the volume of electronics and paperwork within them. HGTV suggests using a color-coded system for important files to keep them organized. Label important items, whether they’re paper or digital files, in accordance with your system. Put it away When you finish using an item, return it to its storage location. This eliminates piles of belongings strewn around the house — and hunting and pecking for missing things. If you can’t put it away immediately, have a few baskets on hand labeled for the different rooms in the house. Pop the items in the requisite baskets and then routinely take each basket around the house to return the items. Investing in custom cabinetry and organizational systems also can help people organize their belongings. Tackle rooms such as the garage, basements, bedroom closets, and pantries, or those areas that tend to accumulate clutter the fastest.


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Spring Home & Garden


Order bees. and do their part to replenish Bees can be acquired from much-needed bee colonies. other beekeeping enthusiasts Know the laws. Even though backyard beehives or bee farms may not be It’s important to get the go- or can be ordered online. The crucial to consumer agriculture, ahead from local authorities bees will need to consist of the bringing healthy colonies back before introducing bees into the queen, drones and worker bees. to various areas is beneficial to community. By checking city According to the resource Bees the environment overall. The or town ordinances, potential Brothers, a starter set of bees is art of beekeeping has become beekeepers will know how many called a “nuc.” Bee suppliers start an important endeavor, and just hives are allowed and which type selling in the winter for spring about anyone with some time of property sizes are amenable swarms. and resources can start their own and allowable. Place the hive. apiary. It’s important to set up hives Get the right supplies. Research can help prospective away from foot traffic. In addition, Start by studying bees. Interested beekeepers can beekeepers understand the type face hives away from strong begin their journey by reading of equipment they will need. One winds, with the ideal directions all they can on beekeeping. can purchase this equipment, but being east and south. Hives The American Bee Journal or some beekeeping organizations need sunshine and some shade backyard beekeeping books and may be willing to lend or rent it on summer afternoons, advises articles are great places to start. to interested parties. Hive boxes, BackYardHive. Local beekeeping associations bottom boards, a veil, a jacket, a also are invaluable resources for smoker, and a top feeder are just With time, homeowners can become successful beekeepers information on local bee species some of the supplies needed. and traits.

Continued from pg 12

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Spring Home & Garden

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Get ready: Early spring landscaping tips During the cold months of winter, many people stare longingly out of the window dreaming of spring and time spent outdoors. For those with green thumbs, images of tending to the garden and other aspects of their landscapes no doubt dominate such daydreams. Draw inspiration from those budding crocuses and daffodils pushing through the last remnants of snow and employ these tips to prepare for the upcoming gardening season. •

One of the first steps is to apply a preemergent weed killer to get a head start knocking out weeds that can plague the lawn during the growing season. Killing weeds at the roots early on can mean far fewer hassles in spring and summer, and may prevent new generations of weeds from cropping up each year.

While it may be tempting to take a prematurely warm day as a sign that spring is in full force and purchase a bunch of annuals, it’s better to know the last of the possible frost dates (check “The Farmer’s Almanac”); otherwise, you may waste time and money planting flowers or vegetables only to have them zapped by another frosty day. Continued on page 15

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Continued from page 14

Amend the soil so that it is the right consistency — just crumbling when lifting it. Soil that is too muddy after spring thaw can harden, making it difficult for plants to flourish later on. Speak with representatives at a local lawn and garden center about which types of amendments you can add to the soil in your particular area to enrich it.

Spring Home & Garden


Lawn and garden experts at The Home Depot suggest filling in bare patches of lawn now by mixing a few shovelfuls of soil with grass seed. Then apply this patch to the bare areas, water, and continue to care for the area until the spot fills in.

Spend a day in the garage or shed tending to the lawn mower and other gardening equipment. Clean all tools and ensure that everything works, repairing parts as needed.

Give outdoor entertaining spaces a good scrubbing, clearing away dirt and grime that may have accumulated over the winter. Use a leaf blower to blow away any leftover leaves.

Check if the front porch, railings or decking need painting and/ or staining. Tackle these projects when the weather is cooler so everything will be ready for those peak spring days.

Think about any annuals you might want to plant in the landscape this year that will complement any existing shrubbery or perennials. Come up with a theme so that the entire yard is cohesive.

Before homeowners know it, winter is gone and it is time to once again enjoy long days spent outdoors. Get a jump start on spring lawn prep as soon as you can.


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Profile for Press-Republican

Spring Home and Garden 2019  

A Special Supplement to the Press-Republican

Spring Home and Garden 2019  

A Special Supplement to the Press-Republican