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| How to Create a Smart Home | Organize & Declutter | Are Backyard Chickens Right for You | Outdoor Improvements

A 2019 special supplement by

&

|L  ighting & Curb Appeal


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April 10 & 11, 2019

Home & Garden

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Items to get you started on creating your smart home Technology has changed the way people live in the 21st century. Once ubiquitous, land lines anchored to kitchen walls have now given way to smartphones that can be taken anywhere. Bulky television sets that required at least two people to move have been replaced with high-definition offerings so light and thin they can be mounted on living room walls. It’s no great surprise that technology also is changing the physical places we call home. Smart homes are a rapidly growing trend. In a typical smart home, devices such as the thermostat, television and even the refrigerator can be controlled remotely through the internet. Converting an existing home into a smart home can seem intimidating, especially for people who don’t consider themselves tech savvy. But today’s user-friendly technology makes it relatively easy for anyone to turn his or her home into a smarter one. Before you get started, recognize that there are certain must-have items to turn a home into a smart home.

Hub

The hub refers to software or hardware that connects all of your devices and gets them to work together. Think of the various devices you have and then think of their manufacturers. Chances are strong you have devices manufactured by various companies, and enabling those to work together might seem impossible. A hub does that work for you. And because they can be connected to your smartphone, Devices hubs also make it possible to control devices while you’re away from home. You won’t necessarily need to upgrade your devices to get a smart home. In fact, if you control or can control any device in your home with a smartphone, WiFi router you are already on your way to having a smart home. Upgrading to a programSome people rent their routers from their internet/cable providers, while others mable thermostat that’s compatible with your smartphone might be a great idea buy their own routers. Regardless of which category you fall into, you’re going if your current thermostat is old and not internet-compatible. With a programto need a good WiFi router to get your smart home up and running. Determine mable thermostat, you can control the temperature in your home remotely. That which type of WiFi your home currently has and then find a router that’s comensures the home is a comfortable temperature when you arrive home and allows patible with that WiFi. Request a list of routers that are compatible with your you to turn off costly heating and cooling units when no one is home. WiFi from your service provider, as not all routers will necessarily work with Smart homes may seem futuristic. But chances are strong your home only your internet connection. If possible, upgrade to the fastest WiFi your internet needs some simple, inexpensive upgrades to join the smart home revolution. provider offers, as that will make your smart home that much more enjoyable -Metro News Service and frustration-free.

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Home & Garden

Organize and declutter room-by-room 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 one-time 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.

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Did you know? Spring cleaning is a ritual that many people participate in as the last vestiges of winter disappear. Spring cleaning is a time to open windows, deep clean rooms and closets and take down and launder window treatments and linens. Others use spring cleaning as a time to sort and donate or discard clutter that might have accumulated over the winter. Even though spring cleaning seems like a modern invention, the act of spring cleaning is believed to have originated centuries ago. Some say that the ancient Chinese cleaned in preparation for their New Year

as they hoped to wipe away any bad luck and misfortune from the previous year. Similarly, the ancient Hebrew practice of thoroughly cleansing a home before the springtime feast of Passover may have evolved into the spring cleaning we know today. Another possible connection is the tradition of ‘shaking the house clean’ in Iran. Iranians celebrate Now Rouz (Persian New Year) with many different rituals, one of which involves buying new clothes and cleaning every corner of the family home to signify renewal. -Metro News Service

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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. -Metro News Service

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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.

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April 10 & 11, 2019

Home & Garden

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Signs your soil might be compacted Compacted soil can result from any number of activities, including walking on a lawn. When soil on a lawn is compacted, grass roots might not receive the water, oxygen and nutrients they need to grow in strong. The can lead to weak lawns that are vulnerable to various issues. However, homeowners need not avoid their lawns to prevent soil compaction. Rather, learning to recognize signs of soil compaction and paying special attention to heavily trafficked areas of the yard can help homeowners identify the problem early and address it before grass begins to suffer. Cooperative Extension, which is supported by the United States

• Standing water: Water standing on top of soil for a long time is doing so because the soil is likely so compacted that the water, which roots need to thrive, cannot get through. • Excessive water runoff: Runoff occurs when watering lawns. But if nearly all of the water intended for the lawn and the soil beneath it is seemingly being diverted away from the grass, then that means the water cannot get through to the soil or that so little is getting through that the lawn’s health is in jeopardy. • Loss of vegetation or poor plant growth: Compacted soil prevents water, nutrients and oxygen from accessing the root zone. As a result, plants, including trees, are vulnerable to disease and even death. • Surface crust: Surface crust, which blocks oxygen and water from penetrating the soil and tends to inflict areas like footpaths and playgrounds due to heavy foot traffic, contributes to runoff and soil erosion. Compacted soil is relatively simple to fix. But when untreated, compacted soil can threaten lawns, plants and other vegetation. -Metro News Service2

Did you know?

Department of Agriculture and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, notes that the following are some sign potential indicators of compacted soil. • Hard soil: Soil that is difficult, if not impossible, to penetrate with a shovel is likely compacted. Even healthy soil is sometimes resistant to penetration, but if homeowners put some muscle into their efforts to penetrate the soil and still can’t do so, then the soil is compacted.

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Oxygen is essential for the roots of grass to breathe and grow strong enough to support healthy lawns. But according to the Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, compacted soil can produce a decrease in oxygen content that can make it hard for roots to thrive. Soil compaction can result from a number of activities, including walking on grass or driving or parking vehicles on grass. When soil is compacted, it breaks into small particles that

reduce the amount of pore space in the soil. That makes it hard for water, oxygen and nutrients to get through, threatening the strength of the roots and putting the grass in jeopardy. Aerating a lawn can help homeowners foster strong root growth and healthy grass. When to aerate may be contingent upon local climate, so homeowners who suspect the soil in their yards is compact should consult with a local landscaping professional to determine the best time to aerate their lawns. -Metro News Service

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Home & Garden

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Create a fire safety plan Fire safety protocol gives people the ability to get out of a building promptly escape routes. Mark two ways out of each room. If a window exit is recommended, have a functioning ladder that can provide safe egress. and safely in the event of a fire. Fires are unpredictable and can cause devastating loss of life and property. The • Choose an outside meeting place that is far away from the residence or buildU.S. Fire Administration states that, in 2017, there were 1,319,500 reported fires ing, but close enough that it can be easily reached by all. that resulted in 3,400 deaths and 14,670 injuries in the United States. • Set up a buddy system so that certain members of the family or company will Travelers Insurance company advises people to develop a comprehensive fire be responsible for helping elderly, young or disabled people exit the premises. safety plan, which can help save lives when used in concert with functioning smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. However, the National Fire Protection • Practice identifying escape routes, and institute regular evacuation plans so Association says only about one-quarter of households actually have developed that everyone can function quickly should a fire occur. and practiced a fire-escape plan or have taken measures to prevent fires around Fires can spread quickly and easily claim lives. By addressing fire risks and their homes. implementing safety plans, people can save lives. -Metro News Service Here are some ways to stay safe. • Repair or replace malfunctioning kitchen appliances promptly. Keep them clean and always use them according to manufacturer’s instructions. • Do not leave a room while cooking. The Consumer Product Safety Commission says that most kitchen fires, which can ignite in as little as one minute, start after someone left the room. • Keep a fully charged and functioning fire extinguisher on the premises, preferably one on each floor of a home or business. • D o not overload power strips with plugs, and have a licensed electrician inspect and suggest updates to antiquated wiring systems. • Teach children about the dangers of playing with fire. Keep matches and lighters away from children. • P ull together all members of an office or household to come up with an effective evacuation plan. Walk through the building and inspect all possible

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April 10 & 11, 2019

Home & Garden

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Things to consider before building a greenhouse Avid gardeners may be enticed by the idea of a greenhouse that allows them to explore their passion for plants year-round. While it’s true that greenhouses afford this luxury, there are important things to consider before erecting a greenhouse in your yard. Greenhouses require ample time to maintain. Greenhouses are not self-managing; they require heat, water, venting, electricity, and maintenance on the part of gardeners. Individuals need to determine how much time they have to devote to a greenhouse and then consider their options. Start by choosing the size of the greenhouse. Many experts, like those at the home and garden information site The Spruce, suggest getting the largest one you can afford and fit into the yard. It is much easier to fill a large greenhouse than try to expand on a small one later on. Next, consider whether you want to build the greenhouse from scratch or utilize a prefabricated kit that can make easier work of the job. Kits typically contain all of the materials needed, and are easiest for someone who is a construction novice. Look for “grower greenhouses,” which are all-purpose options with adjustable shelving and space for growing plants full-term. The next step is deciding where the greenhouse will be located. The goal is to have a consistent amount of sunlight year-round. A south-facing locale is ideal, and structures should remain north of the greenhouse so they do not cast a shadow on it. The building, cars and technology resource Popular Mechanics advises gardening enthusiasts to take into consideration the angle of the sun during all seasons before choosing a location. Doing so ensures that the sun is not obscured in the winter or fall. Select a spot that also has ample drainage, as you will not want water pooling up along the sides of or underneath the greenhouse. Raise the greenhouse on footings to alleviate flooding concerns.

Consult with a gardening or agriculture expert about the best way to heat the greenhouse. Options abound with electric-, gas- and propane-powered heating sources. Some systems will require venting. You also will need to know what is available and legal in your area. Check to see if you need a building permit for the greenhouse and any accompanying heating elements. Once the greenhouse is situated, you can begin to add other items, like benches, additional shelving, hooks for tools, and even an automated watering or misting system. Greenhouses take commitment, but the reward is the chance to enjoy gardening all year long. -Metro News Service

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April 10 & 11, 2019

7

Home & Garden

Get ready: Early spring landscaping tips time and money planting flowers or vegetables only to have them zapped by another frosty day. • 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. • L awn 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. • C heck 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. • T hink 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. -Metro News Service

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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

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April 10 & 11, 2019

Home & Garden

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Prevent mosquitoes from spoiling your summer fun Summer is a beloved time of year that’s often dominated by time spent outdoors soaking up summer sun. But all that extra time outdoors can make people vulnerable to mosquitoes. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, mosquitoes are more than just hungry, unwanted backyard guests. In fact, mosquito-borne diseases, including the Zika virus, the West Nile virus and dengue, pose significant threats. While not all mosquitoes carry disease, even those that don’t can still bite humans, leaving them to deal with discomfort and itchiness. Taking measures to control mosquitoes outside your home can reduce your risk of being bitten by mosquitoes. • Remove places where mosquitoes like to lay their eggs. Mosquitoes like to lay their eggs in standing water. Once a week during summer and other times of the year when mosquitoes might be buzzing around, walk around

Did you know? When tending to their lawns, homeowners are advised to pay attention to areas that may feature standing water. According to the World Health Organization, standing water is a breeding ground for mosquitoes, which can breed in great numbers in pools of water. Mosquitoes are known to carry diseases like malaria, West Nile virus and Zika. Furthermore, mosquitoes that bite pets can transmit heartworms, a serious problem if gone it goes undiscovered. Standing water also can be a haven for bacteria, mold and parasites that are dangerous to

human health. If standing, stagnant water is a problem in your yard, remediation is necessary. Directing downspouts away from the house can remediate standing water. Changing the grading of soil so that low spots are elevated is another way to reduce instances of standing water. This may be a project that requires the assistance of a drainage professional. In addition, homeowners can remove standing water from empty flower pots, pool covers, bird baths, and more to reduce the likelihood that mosquitoes will appear on their properties. -Metro News Service

your property to remove standing water. Bird baths, flower pots, kids’ toys, pools, old tires, and trash containers are some of the more common places where water can collect and present perfect places for mosquitoes to lay eggs. Turn these over to empty any standing water you find. Remove empty flower pots and old tires from the property, and make sure water storage containers are tightly covered at all times. • A ddress areas where mosquitoes like to rest. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that mosquitoes like to rest in dark, humid areas. This includes car ports, garages and beneath patio furniture. Outdoor insecticides can prevent mosquitoes from resting in such areas. When inside a home, mosquitoes may be resting under a sink, in closets, beneath the furniture or in a laundry room. Indoor insect sprays and indoor insect foggers work quickly and can be highly effective, but reapplication might be necessary, as they won’t prevent more mosquitoes from entering the home at a later time. • Check your window screens. Mosquitoes might prefer the outside, but that doesn’t mean they won’t enter a home looking for meals if given the opportunity. Inspect window screens to look for holes that may provide mosquitoes with access to your home’s interior, replacing any damaged screens immediately. When leaving or entering a home, make a concerted effort to close doors as quickly as possible. -Metro News Service

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Home & Garden

Control problematic termites Are backyard chickens Few things elicit fear in the minds of homeowners like termites. Termites are voracious and can turn wood to pulp wherever they take up residence. Termites have felled massive trees, but they also can bore through the wood in homes, wreaking havoc as they go. Ants and termites can look similar, so homeowners who suspect they have a termite infestation should learn to distinguish one from the other. A close look at termites can make it easy to identify them. Unlike ants, termites have no ‘waist;’ their bodies are more rectangular. A termite also has straight, beaded antenna, while an ant’s antennae are bent or elbowed. Termite wings are equal in size, uniform in shape and much longer than their bodies. Ants have a reddish hue, while termites are creamy white. Prevention is always preferable to having to treat termites after they are established. Termite Web, a site devoted to termite information, states that treating home foundations and surrounding soil with termite spray is often the best course of action to stop subterranean termites from taking hold. If termites are already present, drilling into the floor surrounding the building and using a termiticide may be necessary. Baiting termites outside with wood that is tainted with slow-acting insecticide can eliminate an entire colony in one to four months. Termite control methods may need to be repeated. A multi-pronged approach using different chemicals may be necessary to kill existing insects and repel further infestations. Trial and error can help homeowners rid their spaces of termites so that they can repair damaged wood and ensure structures are sound. -Metro News Service

right for you?

Raising backyard chickens has been a growing phenomenon for several years. Many cities have passed laws legalizing backyard chickens, encouraging many to raise chickens as a rewarding hobby. One of the biggest benefits to raising backyard chickens is that their eggs are fresher and often tastier than storebought varieties. Hens can lay one egg per day. Multiply that egg per hen, and breakfast is always available. Another benefit to chickens is they produce a natural fertilizer that can be used in gardens. ‘The Old Farmer’s Almanac’ says chicken manure can be composted, aged and eventually added to the garden. In about six months, a person will accumulate about one cubic foot of manure per chicken. Egg shells and other compostable material can be added to create an even richer formula. Chickens also can help control bugs around the yard, offers the experts at Tractor Supply Company. Before investing in backyard chickens, people should determine if chickens will fit with their lifestyle. Costs and care are a big consideration. Each chick will cost anywhere between $3 to $5 a bird. Then there’s feed to consider. The most expensive item will likely be the coop. The experts at The Happy Chicken Coop, a resource for raising chickens and starting coops, says handy men and women can build homemade coops, but ready-made ones will cost a few hundred dollars. The coop will need to offer around four-square feet of space per chicken (or what’s recommended for the breed). Despite being seemingly independent birds, chickens need people to be active caregivers. They require feed and water daily. The chickens will need a caregiver while you vacation. People who are frequently away from home should reconsider chickens. Chickens also are prone to worms, parasites and lice. They need to have rear feathers trimmed to stay clean and sanitary, and they will require an area where they can ‘dust’ and self-groom. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises not to cuddle and kiss chickens like pets because they can carry salmonella. Not every coop is completely varmint-proof, and some chickens may succumb to predators. Squeamish or sentimental folks may find chickens aren’t the right fit. Chickens require commitment and care that many people can provide. It is essential to do one’s homework to ensure that backyard chickens are a sound investment. -Metro News Service

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Home & Garden

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How tree services can protect your property Cold weather can take its toll on a property, especially in regions of the world where winters are harsh. Most parts of the landscape are vulnerable to damage from winter storms, but trees may be especially susceptible. By the end of winter, many homeowners wonder if their trees would benefit from some professional TLC. Tree services provide a host of services. While fall is a popular time to remove trees from a property, doing so in spring is not unheard of, especially if trees were affected by winter storms and now pose a threat to a home and the people who live inside it. Homeowners considering tree services can explore the following ways that some professional arbor attention can protect them and their homes. • Tree services can help protect a home’s foundation. Old trees that stretch well into the sky can be captivating, but they also can pose a threat to a home’s foundation. Such trees may have especially large root zones that may extend beneath walkways and even a home. In the latter instance, foundations may crack as roots try to stake their claim to the ground beneath a home. According to the home improvement resource HomeAdvisor, homeowners pay an average of just over $4,000 to repair foundation issues, though major problems can cost considerably more than that. A professional tree service can remove aging trees that might be beautiful and awe-inspiring but still pose a threat to a home and the areas surrounding it. • Tree services can improve visibility. Trees that have aged a bit since their last trimming might affect the view of a property from inside a home. Overgrown branches can compromise residents’ ability to see and experience the natural beauty just outside their windows. The average homeowner may be able to trim short trees on his or her own, but if views from the second floor of a home or higher have been compromised, it’s much safer to call a professional tree service. Such services have the right tools and experienced personnel necessary to safely trim high branches on tall trees. • Tree services can help prevent future damage. Even if trees made it through a recent winter unscathed, that’s no guarantee next winter or even the coming seasons of spring, summer and fall won’t ultimately prove their undoing. Travelers Insurance notes that weather-related roof damage, including damage resulting from falling limbs and branches weighed down by snow during the winter months, accounted for more than half of all Travelers property loss claims between 2009 and 2016. According to BNC Insurance and Risk Advisors, homeowners may be liable if a tree they knew posed a threat falls onto a passerby or a neighbor’s property and causes damage or injury. Having all trees properly trimmed each year, but especially those that can fall on your home and your neighbors’ homes, may prevent future damage and legal issues. Tree services can ensure trees maintain their awe-inspiring beauty and help homeowners protect their homes and their belongings. -Metro News Service

Outdoor improvements that boost home value Whether home improvement projects are design to improve the interior or exterior of a house, focusing on renovations that make the most financial sense can benefit homeowners in the long run. The right renovations can be assets if and when homeowners decide to sell their homes. So how does one get started? First and foremost, speak to a local real estate agent who is knowledgeable about trends in the community. While a swimming pool may be something coveted in one area, it may impede sales in another. It also helps to study generalized trends and data from various home improvement industry analysts to guide upcoming projects. The following outdoor projects are just a few renovations that tend to add value. •F  ire pit: A fire pit is a great place to gather most months of the year. Bob Vila and CBS news report that a fire pit realizes a 78 percent return on investment, or ROI. • Outdoor kitchen: Many buyers are looking to utilize their yards as an extension of interior living areas. Cooking, dining and even watching TV outdoors is increasingly popular. Outdoor living areas can be custom designed and built. In addition, prefabricated modular units that require a much smaller commitment of time and money are available. • Patio: Homeowners who do not already have a patio will find that adding one can increase a home’s value. Patios help a home look neat, add useable space and may help a home to sell quickly. The experts at Space Wise, a division of Extra Space Storage, say that refinishing, repairing and building a new patio offers strong ROI. • Deck: Deck can be as valuable as patios. A deck is another outdoor space that can be used for entertaining, dining and more. Remodeling magazine’s 2018 ‘Cost vs. Value’ report indicates that an $11,000 deck can add about $9,000 in resale value to the home, recouping around 82 percent of the project’s costs. • D oor update: Improve curb appeal with a new, high-end front door and garage doors. If that’s too expensive, a good cleaning and new coat of paint can make an old door look brand new. These easy fixes can improve a home’s look instantly. • New landscaping: The National Association of Realtors says an outdoor makeover that includes well-thought out landscaping can net 105 percent ROI. Installing a walkway, adding stone planters, mulching, and planting shrubs are ideas to consider. Many different outdoor projects can add value to a home. -Metro News Service

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April 10 & 11, 2019

Home & Garden

11

Quick and simple ways to make a front door pop Visitors’ impressions of a home are often dictated by the home’s entryway. Must as one may judge a book by its cover, the same can be said about the impression that a front door and entryway can create, regardless of how accurate that impression is. Making certain changes to an entryway can go a long way toward improving curb appeal. Entryways also can set the scene for a home’s interior. Whether one chooses to be classic or bold, modern or traditional, there are various ways to quickly transform a home’s entryway. • Bold front door color: Color can dramatically enhance an entryway. Painting an existing door or replacing it with a more vivid option can do the trick. The DIY Network says certain colors stand out as favorites. These include turquoise, yellow, red, indigo, orange, and black. The door color should complement the other shades of the home, such as those on siding and trim. • C ustom walkway: Guide guests right to the front door with an attractive (and safe) walkway. Stamped concrete or decorative paver blocks may fit the bill. This walkway can extend to the street or to the driveway.

• Contain plants. Landscaping around the entryway should be neat and well-tended. Overgrown plants or shrubbery may give off an air of neglect.

Container plants and carefully curated shrubs can create a neat and inviting aura. • Highlight the address. Make sure the home can be found easily with bold and decorative house numbers. Consider two different address signs: one illuminated and easily viewed from the curb, and another closer to the front door. • Utilize high-end materials. The relatively small area of real estate by the front door enables homeowners to splurge on more opulent materials that can really add a feeling of luxury. These can include colorful tiles, ornate planters, decorative wooden doors, or elaborate knobs and lighting fixtures. • Add architectural details. Find out which architectural elements will meld with the style of the home and then incorporate them. Moldings, columns, shutters, and trim are areas to consider. The entryway to a home garners a lot of attention. Homeowners can enhance their spaces with entryways that really make a statement. -Metro News Service

Lighting is a key component of curb appeal Curb appeal can affect prospective buyers’ perception of a home. When addressing curb appeal, homeowners may be inclined to focus on features that are easily seen from the street during the day. But what can a homeowner do to improve on his or her home’s nighttime aesthetic? Outdoor lighting is one aspect of curb appeal that is often overlooked, advises the home improvement experts at The Spruce. Homeowners may fail to recognize the importance of how proper illumination can provide their homes with a warm glow and make it look beautiful after the sun has set. For example, think of how cozy and inviting neighborhoods appear during the holiday season when homes are strung with twinkling lights. Homeowners can replicate that look all year long with lighting elements. Lighting for evening hours also helps maintain a safe environment for people who are visiting the property. Illuminating walkways and doorways provides a clearly visible and safe path to and from the home. The following are a few ways to improve outdoor lighting. •F  ocus on architectural features. Outdoor lighting can focus on the external features of the home’s architectural style. Use light to draw attention to interesting gables, dramatic roof lines, dormers, or curved entryways. •P  lay up landscaping. Stylish lighting can highlight trees, shrubs, pathways, gardens, and all of the elements of softscapes and hardscapes on a property. The lighting experts at Vernon Daniel Associates say that soft lighting can make homes feel warm and cozy. Uplighting trees or other elements can add a dramatic effect. •L  ight up all doors. Make sure that doors, both entry and garage, are properly lit for ease of entry and egress from the home. Safety.com, a home and personal security resource, says a home burglary occurs every 15 seconds in the United States. Installing motion-activated lights or lights on timers can deter break-ins. Consider using home automation to control porch lights and other outdoor lights remotely, if necessary. • Create entertaining areas. Outdoor lighting can be used to extend the hours residents can spend outside. This is great for entertaining and can be an excellent selling point. Homeowners are urged not to overlook outdoor lighting as a vital part of their plan to improve curb appeal. -Metro News Service

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2019 Home & Garden