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Prepping Tips for Outdoor Projects PAGE 2 Six Hot Home Design Trends PAGE 4 Five Surprisingly Simple Deck Updates PAGE 5 Top Spring Home Decor Trends PAGE 8

Prepping tips for spring outdoor projects

Morris Daily Herald / • Saturday, March 29, 2014

| Spring Home Improvement


Soon, winter will be winding down and homeowners will start planning - and prepping for - a variety of outdoor projects for spring. From cleaning, repairing or replacing decks, to creating raised beds for veggies and flowers, now is the time to start gearing up for those spring projects.

Cleaning up Start with spring cleaning existing structures. Take a weekend to clean decks, gazebos and pergolas of dirt, debris, mold and mildew. For structures made of naturally durable Western Red Cedar, a broom, garden sprayer and hose, plus a little bleach are all you need. Sweep winter debris such as twigs and leaves from decks, taking care to clean between planks on horizontal surfaces. This facilitates airflow and drainage, and can help prevent a buildup of moisture when spring showers arrive. Next, use a garden sprayer to apply a-mild oxygen bleach solution to kill mold and mildew. Be sure to leave the bleach solution on the wood surface for approximately 30 minutes, and then rinse with water. Never use a pressure washer as it can damage the wood. -

Maintenance and repair Carefully inspect outdoor structures for wear and tear. While Western Red Cedar contains natural preservatives that make the wood durable, all outdoor structures require annual care, including those made of pressure-treated lumber or composites. Check planks, beams and boards for cracking, warping or rough spots and repair accordingly. Replace damaged wood, and be sure to examine hardware to ensure it’s working properly and free of rust.

New projects If you’ve always dreamed about lounging on a lovely deck on a summer afternoon, or savoring a spring morning beneath the shade of a decorative pergola, now’s the time to start planning the project.

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As gardening grows in popularity, you might consider adding raised planting beds to your landscaping. Raised beds not only make caring for and harvesting your garden easier - no bending required - they can also function as a decorative enhancement to your outdoor environment. The material you choose will influence the longevity, beauty and enjoyment of your structure, so carefully consider your options before deciding. “Many homeowners choose Western Red Cedar for its beauty and natural durability,” says Paul Mackie, western area manager, Western Red Cedar Lumber Association, or “Mr. Cedar” as he is known in the industry. “It has a deep, rich luster that other woods and man-made materials just can’t match. Plus, it’s a greener choice because it’s renewable and recyclable - unlike composites - and doesn’t require chemical treatment as non-durable wood species do. It’s naturally rot and insect resistant, and you can stain it or leave it natural, depending on your preference.” The green qualities and durability of Western Red Cedar make it a great choice for virtually any outdoor structure - including those

popular wooden playsets that begin appearing like wildflowers in backyards across the country every spring. Whatever project you’re dreaming of this spring - from building a new deck, pergola, or planting beds to refurbishing an existing outdoor structure or playset - careful planning, cleaning, maintenance and the right materials can ensure your project adds value and beauty to your home environment.



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• Saturday, March 29, 2014


Spring Home Improvement | Morris Daily Herald /

A great deck is the showpiece of an inspired backyard, and spring is a prime time to add one. To ensure your deck affords you the most value and enjoyment, consider using an online deck planner to help you envision your deck before you begin building.

Morris Daily Herald / • Saturday, March 29, 2014

| Spring Home Improvement


Six hot

home design trends for spring 2014

rior accents like decorative shells, drift wood furniture and marinethemed prints.

Contrast in texture

Step aside Pantone, texture is spring’s hottest new color. Homeowners are putting down their paintbrushes and adding interest with texture through high-gloss finishes, metallics, sequins and mirrors. A textured tile wall brings visual and tactile interest, especially when paired with contrasting high-gloss lacquer or low-gloss matte accessories.

Visual punch

Reawaken the senses this spring by incorporating a striking visual element to the home. Multi-dimensional surface treatments in pearl, metallic and gold/silver combinations add panache as a coating used for hardwood, or can be applied to wallpaper, furniture or decorative accessories. And don’t forget to look up - coffered ceilings bring a striking je ne sais quoi to any room. -

Manipulated metals

The versatility of manipulated metal makes it a great addition to any style home - from hand-crafted artisan to contemporary high gloss. Copper, pewter and nickel are getting in on the action and can be styled in a variety of ways, including hammered metal sink basins, tin-look ceiling tiles, antiqued copper light fixtures and brushed stainless steel cabinet hardware. Does the change of seasons have you itching to refresh a tired, lackluster room? Or maybe you’re looking for some small ways to make a big impact on your home’s style? Whatever the case, here are some of this season’s most buzzed-about trends and how you can incorporate them into your next project.

Wood is the new neutral

This season’s strong trend toward wood textures pairs the warmth, richness and texture of real wood with limitless design flexibility. Think wood-textured textiles, tree-printed wallpapers and embossed soaps that look like wood. Installing engineered wood ceilings and wainscoting can bring the unique look of reclaimed wood into any environment - an easy do-it-yourself project with striking results. -

If you’d benefit from a little windfall to help finance your fabulous spring home improvement projects (and who wouldn’t?), consider checking with your favorite vendors, many of which are running seasonal promotions. Armstrong Residential Ceilings, for example, is running a Style Is Looking Up Giveaway in February and March and will offer the chance to win free product and gift cards to spend on home improvements at

Ode to the elements

Mother Nature is inspiring design in a big way this year and homeowners are finding unique ways to incorporate rocks, minerals and other natural elements into their home’s design. Try replacing a common-place item like an alarm clock with one encased within a multi-colored agate. Bring this look to the kitchen with a stainless steel backsplash, or swap out run-of-the-mill hardware with mineral-inspired drawer pulls and knobs.-

Shore thing

Homeowners, inspired by the calm, care-free attitude of coastal living are all about bringing the beach inside this season. Beachinspired design elements are popping up throughout the home. Weathered and white-washed wood ceilings are a subtle but stunning on-trend addition - especially when finished with inte-

TOP LEFT: Coffered ceilings are an easy way to add a visual element to the home. ABOVE: Wood textures bring warmth, richness and texture to a room of any style.


surprisingly simple deck updates It’s easy to dream of perfectly pristine outdoor spaces when looking at the decks in magazines and online, but too often what we want and what we have don’t align. If your deck suffers from weathered wood, loose railings or dated balusters, you’re not alone. The good news is there are surprisingly simple ways to give your deck a facelift and transform it into the outdoor oasis you want in as little as one weekend.

1. Add or update post caps

One of the easiest ways to add a dash of design and even some color and light to your deck is to update your post caps. If you currently have post caps, most can be removed by gently tapping them with a mallet. Then it’s an easy DIY project to add new post caps simply by using exterior construction adhesive. These decorative caps come in a variety of styles, including basic wood that can be stained to perfectly coordinate with your existing color scheme. If you want to add a bit more pizzazz to your outdoor space, give your deck the Deckorators touch with classic copper post caps or solar powered caps that illuminate once the sun sets.

2. Replace balusters

Balusters are connected to the railing vertically and provide an important safety feature. But they also add to the visual appeal of the deck and are a main feature in your line of sight. If your wood balusters are worn, you can instantly upgrade your outdoor space with new options. Metal balusters, for example, come in a variety of designs to match any home’s style - from contemporary to traditional. Have a stunning view from your deck? Enjoy uninterrupted sight lines with glass balusters that simultaneously maintain a deck’s safety and visual appeal.

3. Bring back deck boards

After seasons of changing weather and lots of foot traffic, your

4. Refresh railings

When it comes to deck railings, there are endless options to match any style or price point. You can go with an off-the-shelf product or customize one to fit your personal design aesthetic. For example, Deckorators co-extruded composite CXT railing is ultralow maintenance and gives you the options to mix-and-match railings, posts, balusters and caps for a look that’s entirely your own. Not looking to do a full railing replacement? Sand down wood railings and apply a new coat of stain for an instant update.

5. Install lighting

A great deck will serve as an extension of your home both day and night, but if you don’t have proper lighting, you’ll be heading indoors once the sun goes down. Add visual appeal and an element of safety to your deck with easy DIY lighting options. Lighting on your stairs adds a splash of drama and makes it easy to get around. Balusters are an often-overlooked item that can provide a great lighting location too. Solar Baluster Lights install around 3/4inch round balusters with nothing more than a Phillips screwdriver. Finally, Solar Accent Lights can be placed on posts to illuminate pathways and deck edges. Expanding a home’s livable space to the outdoors is a top home improvement trend. With these simple tips, your deck will find new life and you’ll be able to enjoy plenty of time outdoors with Mother Nature. For more information, visit

• Saturday, March 29, 2014

Consider these five ways you can update your deck and grow your real estate value:

wood deck boards may be showing wear. Protect the integrity of the wood and refresh the look of your outdoor space by cleaning deck boards and giving them a new coat of paint or stain. Start by scrubbing or power spraying off dirt and grime, and then let wood dry thoroughly. Next, use stain or paint made specifically for decks to help protect the wood from the elements. Just as indoor paint transforms a room inside your home, new stain or paint on your deck boards will make your outdoor area look new and refreshed, making you feel like you have a whole new outdoor area.

Spring Home Improvement | Morris Daily Herald /


Creating a pollinator-friendly habitat in your backyard

| Spring Home Improvement


Morris Daily Herald / • Saturday, March 29, 2014

Pollinators such as bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, bats and beetles play an important role in producing healthy plants and food for people and wildlife. Without pollinators feeding on nectar and moving pollen from one flower to the next, most plants would not produce fruit or seeds. You can attract pollinators to your lawn and garden by following these steps to create a pollinator-friendly backyard habitat. Grow a diverse assortment of trees, shrubs and flowers. Place water sources throughout your lawn and garden to draw a variety of pollinators to your yard, while providing them with food and sheltered nesting areas.

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Select flowering plants that bloom at different times to provide nectar sources throughout the growing season. Place plants in clumps to supply large areas of color and coverage that attracts pollinators. Choose plants native to your area to encourage healthy pollination activity. In the South, flowers from mint, oregano, lavender and other herbs attract bees, while pink azaleas and coral honeysuckle vines entice hummingbirds into your yard. In the Northwest, birds are drawn to flowering grape holly shrub and blue columbine flowers will draw butterflies into your outdoor space. Pay attention to how you apply lawn and garden products. “When using insecticides, carefully read and follow label directions to protect pollinators,” says Aaron Hobbs, president of RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment) - a national organization representing the manufacturers, formulators and distributors of pesticide and fertilizer products.

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Add color to your backyard. Each pollinator is drawn to specific plants based on its size, shape, color and scent. Bees are attracted to yellow and blue flowers, as well as fruit and nut trees with strong fragrances. Hummingbirds prefer large red or orange tubular flowers with no odor.

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Pollinators are as essential as sunlight and water in the production of flowering plants, many of which are important food sources. Support your backyard ecosystem while attracting pollinator populations and surrounding your home with colorful arrays of native plants.

Freezing temps and pests Rodents and mosquitoes may not be homeowners’ main concerns at the moment, but experts from the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) want to be sure the temperature’s effect on pests is not overlooked. Many pest species have methods for coping with the cold. Some enter an overwintering state called diapause or produce an antifreezetype liquid to protect their bodies. Others avoid the cold by finding their way into heated homes, and believe it or not, some insects can actually stay alive and insulated from the freezing cold air by being buried in snow. Especially in areas that have experience with harsh winters, pests have adapted to the cold. Even if the temperatures are detrimental to the adults, they have most likely already laid eggs that will hatch in spring. However, with such extreme temperatures, there is a good chance that summer pest popula-

tions could be smaller. This is determined, in part, by the number and length of hard freezes during the winter. Repeated freeze-thaw cycles are more likely to affect pests than a gradual cooling. Also, low temperatures for an extended time are more likely to reach insects buried deep in the ground. The biggest difference could be seen in areas of the South that do not usually experience this type of winter weather. To both prevent a pest infestation and curb future pest populations the NPMA has the following tips for homeowners battling the cold: Watch out for ice dams. Heat escaping from a home can cause snow to melt on the roof. Sometimes the melted water refreezes around the cooler edges of the roof creating an ice dam that prevents water from properly draining. This moisture can seep into the attic and siding causing mold to grow and can attract pests. Install or repair weather stripping. Windows and doors offer the easiest access into a home. Weather stripping and door sweeps will help keep out the cold, as well as pests. Manage melting ice and snow. Especially in

areas unaccustomed to snowfall, the thawing period can be just as difficult to manage. Pools of water are breeding grounds for pests, specifically mosquitoes. Homeowners should make sure old tires, pool covers, empty pots and other outdoor containers are regularly emptied of rain or melted snow. Repair damage to siding, windows and roofs. Cold temperatures and ice can cause damage to vulnerable areas of a home. Regularly checking for and repairing any cracks or holes around the outside of the house will protect it from pests looking to get indoors. For more information on preventing household pests and pest-proofing tips, please visit

• Saturday, March 29, 2014


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Spring Home Improvement | Morris Daily Herald /

The newest buzz word this winter is “Polar Vortex.” Most of the country has experienced weeks of extremely cold temperatures, and these repeated bouts of ice and snow could have an impact on local pest populations.


Morris Daily Herald / • Saturday, March 29, 2014

| Spring Home Improvement


From floor to fixtures: Top spring home decor trends add style and personality Spring is in the air, which means it’s time to refresh your indoor spaces to reflect the energy and optimism of the season. The top home decor trends of spring 2014 take a fresh approach to traditional design elements to create an aesthetic that is fresh and full of life. Best yet, the trends are easily accessible, so anyone can update their space with a few simple tips.


More homeowners are seeking the beauty, comfort and safety that carpet provides, making it a top flooring trend for spring 2014 and beyond. What types of carpet are popular?“New soft fibers,” says Vickie Gilstrap, director of design services for The Dixie Group, a top U.S. carpet manufacturer. “Consumers went away from wall-to-wall carpet, as hard surface flooring gained in popularity. Then, people began to miss the softness and warmth of carpet. Carpet absorbs sound, making homes quieter, and traps dust at the base of the carpet fibers so that dust doesn’t circulate in the room air.- The soft fibers give us a reason to put carpet down again.” She is also seeing increased interest in “mixed-media” carpet styles - with hi-lustre and low-lustre yarns used in the same carpet. Additionally, patterns are being featured on top of texture, giving a multidimensional appearance to flooring. Not only stylish, carpet is healthy, too. People with allergies or other sensitivities can choose carpet as a way to improve

indoor air quality. A recent study supports previous findings that carpet, when effectively cleaned, traps allergens and other particles, resulting in less dust, dander and airborne contaminants escaping into the air. For more information, visit the Carpet and Rug Institute at


Thoughtful use of color in home design is a top trend for 2014. “Colors are getting warmer,” notes Gilstrap. “Taupe is the bridge color taking us from gray to browner tones. Warm pinks are returning, as well as warmer greens like moss and olive - even apple.” Keep in mind adding personality to a space through use of warm color doesn’t necessarily require a complete interior overhaul. Consider incorporating spring colors using accent pieces. It’s easy to switch up pillows, throws or artwork without investing a lot of time or money. Plus it’s a fun way to update the personality of your favorite spaces every season.

Texture and pattern

This spring, more homeowners are using textures and patterns to make a visual statement through design. Strategic use of texture and patterns can highlight certain interior spaces, manipulate the light within the room and influence scale. Blending both adds visual interest and helps homeowners create a unique space to call their own. “Layering of pattern and texture - in floors, walls, upholstery, window treatments - gives

a more individualized feel,” says Gilstrap. Scared of mixing patterns and textures? She suggests placing patterns on stairs or in hallways. If big and bold patterns aren’t your taste, consider sticking to small, neutral patterns that can be a subtle way to add visual interest and design complexity to interior spaces.


Lighting plays an important two-pronged role: it makes a space functional and also helps define its design aesthetic. Adjusting the task lighting within a room can instantly make the space more livable and highlight the design motif. Another easy lighting update is purchasing new lamps or simply adding new shades to existing lamps - a great way to refresh a space with minimal cost. Keep in mind, when selecting fixtures, there’s no longer a need to avoid gold tones. “Gold is coming back- we are seeing more gold and copper and less silver,” says Gilstrap. Want to really redefine your home’s lighting? Ornamental lighting is big this year with designers thinking outside the box when it comes to how and where these fixtures can be used. For example, dramatic chandeliers are no longer reserved for formal spaces such as the dining room or foyer. This spring, you can add a touch of elegance to any space by adding a stylish chandelier, plus it doesn’t take up much design real estate space. Bedrooms, basements and bars are just a few unique areas where chandeliers can be featured.

Spring Home Improvement 2014