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Advertising Supplement to the Sun Journal, Friday, April 6, 2012

Restoring your property after a long winter


of t he be st things about the dawn of spring and the return of warmer weather is the chance to get out of the house and get some fresh air. For homeow ners, this is the perfect opportunity to assess any damage the previous months did to yards and develop a plan to restore properties.

Don’t jump the gun. The first warm day of spring might seem like a great time get out in the yard and get your hands dirty. But it’s best to wait until the grass has completely dried out before getting to work. Raking on wet grass increases the risk of tearing out grass, which can cause bald spots and the growth of weeds down the road. In addi-

tion, stepping on the grass while the ground is still wet can compact the soil, which can slow drainage and block the lawn’s roots from breathing.

reaches 40 degrees Farenheit, so mow ing too early is both unnecessar y and potentially harmful to the lawn. When the temperatures regularly reach 50 deg rees Fa ren heit, t hen Patience should prevail with homeowners will likely start to rega rd to mow ing t he law n see their lawns growing. as well. A lawn’s roots will not start to grow until the average Remove debris that’s piled up. everyday temperature routinely Debris has a tendency to infest a

Employ a pre-emergent weed killer. Homeowners who rout inely spend t heir summers agonizing over weeds throughout the yard should consider applying a pre-emergent weed killer around the beginning of spring. It’s important to do so around the end of March or early April, when the weeds have not yet had a chance to grow. When apply ing, fol low t he dosage instructions provided by the product’s manufacturer. Such instructions often recommend a second application right before summer begins.

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yard over the course of the winter months. Fallen branches, stones and even trash can accumulate in a yard, putting those who spend time in the yard at risk of injur y once the warm weather returns. For instance, bits of twigs and pebbles that are blown across the yard during a windy winter can be embedded in the yard, making the yard less of a haven and more of a hazard. Once the grass is dry enough to walk on, remove any debris that’s piled up.

Remove thatch. Once the grass has dried, you can begin to remove thatch that’s built up over the winter. Thatch is potentially very harmful to soil, blocking sunlight, air and moisture the soil needs to ensure a lawn looks lush and healthy. Thatch removal does not necessarily need to be an annual task. If thatch buildup is insignificant, then it can be done every other year. Just use a dethatching rake to make the job much easier. Aerate, particularly if the yard is a heavy traffic area once the warm weather arrives. If your yard transforms into a child’s wonderland upon the arrival of spr i ng a nd su m mer, you might want to revive the soil by aerating. W hen the yard gets heav y usage, it’s easy for soil to become compacted, which makes it hard for air and water to reach the lawn’s roots. That can eventually make for a lessthan-appealing lawn. So if your yard is the place to be in the warmer months, aerate in the spring to loosen the soil and make it easier for the lawn to withstand the months ahead. No matter how harsh the winter months might have been, spring is a great time for homeowners to restore the property around their homes. (Metro)

Advertising Supplement, Sun Journal, Lewiston, Maine, Friday, April 6, 2012

Create an outdoor retreat

hands to guide the material (wood, meta l, cera mic tile, aluminum or plastic).

T h is yea r, t ra nsfor m you r outdoor a rea into a fa m i ly retreat w ith an “out-of-thebox” vision, careful planning and the appropriate tools.

The BladeRunner can be wall mounted, but easily detaches for use at your worksite and has a dust port for attachment to a shop vacuum for continuous cleanup. To hold workpieces together, Jorgenson offers its ISD3 Expandable Clamp in 6", 12", 18", 14" and 36" sizes.

Fi r s t , g at her y ou r f a m i l y together for a brainstorming session and target what you want to do in your outdoor haven. Nex t, ma ke a to-do list of the projects required to make your vision a reality. Finally, round up the tools and supplies you need and get to work! To help you, Woodcraft of fers a few suggest ions to make your work easier.

Advice from Tommy Mac Tommy MacDonald, host of “Rough Cut – Woodworking with Tommy Mac” on public television, has a few tips for your outdoor adventure. “Before you saw a board or drive a screw, make sure you have all the tools, supplies and plans you need rounded up and ready for the project at hand,” said MacDonald. “Stoppi ng a nd st a r t i ng to hunt a tool or make a trip to buy mater ia ls wastes t i me and energ y better spent on bu i ld i ng. Don’t forget t he safety gear and first aid kit and work with a partner on the big projects whenever possible.”

Gathering places Decks, patios a nd porches, both open and enclosed, invite people to gather for a meal, sha re conversat ion or play games. To start your building projects, use the Bosch 12" Dual Bevel Miter Saw for your crosscutting chores. The saw’s patented Axial-Glide System ex pa nds hori zonta l cutting capacit y to 14" and affords a compact work space t hat saves up to 12". Ma ke quick work of building a deck or porch f loor with the Kreg Deck Jig that creates a strong w o o d-t o -w o o d b ond w it h self-tapping screws that are hidden for a smooth, splinterfree surface. Compatible with composite deck boards, ACQ t reated lumber, a nd nat ive softwoods such as redwood,

ceda r a nd pressure-treated pine, the jig comes with Kreg C oa r s e P rote c-Kote (a nt icorrosion) deck screws that are sold separately and can also be used as simple face screws for a variety of outdoor projects. Add a Pinnacle Three-Piece Combination Square (blade, square head and center finder), a Woodcraft 6' tape measure and a selection of HIGHPOINT stainless steel exterior grade screws to your tool lineup for general measuring, marking and joinery.

Comfortable furniture Whether you’re on the deck or on the lawn, comfortable furniture will enhance your outdoor living experience. Woodcraft offers a wide selection of outdoor furniture plans, including Adirondack chairs, swings, garden benches, rockers, picnic tables and benches, arbors and much more. For your furniture projects, use the Rockwell BladeRunner, a p or t a ble, mu lt ipu r p o s e precision cutter that uses any T-shank jigsaw blades to make straight, curved or controlled cuts, allowing you to use both

Two clamps can be joined to extend the clamping length by 6". Use t he Festool CSX Lit hium-Ion 10.8V Cordless Drill Driver Set for all your drilling and driving chores, especially in tight spaces, dark spots and corners.

Activity areas & secluded spots Wooden playground equipment, ga me cour ts, ga rden benches, arbors, gates and trellises organize your outdoor living area for fast-paced play and quiet relaxation. For cutting chores on these varied projects, use the Festool Trion PS 300 EQ Jigsaw, a 720-watt tool that cuts 43/4" wooden beams, 3/4" aluminum or 3/8" steel with ease. If you need a second pair of hands for large or awk ward tasks, the Rockwell JawStand

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wood, old wood, or wood that has had a previous coating removed – for seven years. To protect your hands, cover them with YGC General Utility Gloves. Made of high quality, man-made materials, the gloves are form-fitting, lightweight, washable and tough. Learn more about these products that can help you create your outdoor retreat; visit your loca l Woodcra f t store, ca l l 800-535-4482 or visit http:// (Metro)

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Advertising Supplement, Sun Journal, Lewiston, Maine, Friday, April 6, 2012

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Keep your tools as clean as a whistle By Craig Armstrong Feature Writer


hether you’re at the beginning of garden season or near the end, you can always count on one thing: dirty tools. Here are some tips for keeping the tools you rely on each season in good condition for years to come.

Hose ‘em down The easiest way to clean your ga rden i ng tools is to hose

t hem dow n a f ter each use, especially if they are covered i n du st, mud or chem ic a l re sidue. D ep end i ng up on how caked on the mud is, you might need a scraper. After you have finished hosing off the tools, make sure you give them ample time to dry. Don’t put them away wet.

Stick ‘em in sand If hosing doesn’t remove all of the dirt, sand will. Find a large bucket and fill it with dry sand. Then mix in some motor oil or vegetable oil until the sand is moist. Plunge your tools up and down in the sand to remove any remaining residue. Wipe them off with a coarse cloth. You can leave your tools in the sand over the winter and give it plenty of time to work.

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Coat ‘em with oil Metal and wood require addit iona l ca re. A f ter clea n ing metal tools, coat them lightly with a spray oil or an oily rag. This will help prevent rust and keep them in good working condit ion. If you have a ny tools with wooden handles, sand and wipe down the wood with linseed oil once a season to prevent it from drying out and rotting.

Keep ‘em sharp Take time out to sharpen cutting tools, spades, shovels and trowels. Use a hone or whetstone for cutting tools and a file for spades, shovels and trowels. You can do much of the maintenance and cleaning of gardening tools yourself. On occasion, however, you might want to enlist the help of a professional with tasks such as sharpening or removing rust from a beloved tool. Even with the best of care, some of your gardening tools may not hold up. Usually this is due to inferior quality. Buy the best you can afford and take the time to care for it.

The small things matter: Choosing the right gloves By Tresa Erickson Feature Writer


crapes. Splinters. Sunburn. These are just some of the injuries gardeners may sustain to their hands. Underneath all of the dirt it isn’t uncommon for gardeners to find blisters, bruises, cuts and more on their hands, wrists and forearms. While gardeners may not be able to escape injury completely, they can find some measure of protection through gardening gloves. Gardening gloves come in a variety of materials based on the tasks they are intended for.

Cotton C ot ton ga rden g love s a re lightweight and breathable, making them suitable for small tasks in dry conditions, such as digging holes and planting seeds. They cost little and often come in multi-packs.


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Leather Leather gloves can be expensive but provide ample protection for heavy-duty tasks like pruning bushes and chopping down trees. They are durable, and if cared for properly, will wear well for a long time.

Rubber Rubber gloves are great for tasks involving water, such as cleaning water features and clearing out ponds. They are not breathable, however, and can prove difficult to use on a really hot day.

Spandex Spa ndex g loves cont ract a nd expa nd easily, ma k ing them suitable for all kinds of gardening tasks in and out of the water. They are completely waterproof and wear well. Wit h i n t hese basic ga rden glove materials, you will find various styles, including chemical resistant, grip enhancing and puncture resistant. It is best to have several styles on hand to suit multiple purposes in the garden. When shopping for gardening gloves, treat them as you would any other apparel. Try on each pair and make certain they fit and feel good. Flex your hand; you should have plenty of room to move your fingers around, and the interior lining should feel soft to the touch. Some ga rden i ng g loves wear out faster than others. Purchase the highest quality you can afford and take care of them. Read the label and fol low t he ma nu fact u rer’s instructions for cleaning. Store your gloves in a place that is easy to access, such as in the top drawer of your tool chest or on a peg above the workbench in the garage or shed. Keep your gardening gloves in good condition, and they will return the favor to your hands when the time comes to use them.

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Advertising Supplement, Sun Journal, Lewiston, Maine, Friday, April 6, 2012

Protect your garden from hungry animals Homes full of garden beds with blooming f lowers and foliage can seem warm and inviting. Planting f lowers is one of the easiest ways to transform the appearance of a home w ith minimal effort and expense. Too often homeowners plant annuals and perennials only to find their hard work has been damaged by hungry animals, like deer, rabbits and underground pests. There are ways to keep animals away from plants – many of which are humane and environmentally safe. Keeping furry marauders away from the garden is something individuals who live in rural or subu rba n a reas have to consider when planting. Many communities are growing and encroaching on the natura l habitats of wild animals. With some of t heir natura l food sources diminishing, animals may decide to partake of the easy pickings that come from residential home gardens.

If you understand how these anima ls feed, you can ta ke precautions to restrict access to planting beds. Rabbits tend to munch on vegetables and ornamental plants. Small in stature and not able to sca le fences ver y easi ly, rabbits might be deterred by a low fence surrounding plants. Consider digging some chicken w ire below t he fence a few inches to discourage digging under t he fence. The fence should be 18 inches high, and you should keep the openings no more than one inch because rabbits can squeeze through small openings. In terms of gophers, moles, voles, and ot her burrow ing animals, the key is preventing underground access. Chicken w i r e or a not her a br a s i v e material put under the garden soil can help keep underground animals from burrowing under and then up into the heart of the garden. Deer are another stor y altogether. They are tall animals

capable of rising up on hind legs to stretch out and reach branches of trees and bushes. Therefore, taller fences may be needed to protect the garden. But these can sometimes be unsightly, especially in a front yard. Therefore, look for natural barriers that can keep them out. They may be deterred by thorny bushes or plants. Daisies, papaver (poppies), narcissus, r udbeck ia, achillea, agastache, aster, lupine, coreopsis, verbascum, centaurea, and echinacea are available in many varieties and are not attractive to deer or rabbits.

Here are some additional strategies that you can try. •C  reate narrow pathways between raised beds. Rabbits will feel like they are in prime locations for predators to get at them in this type of situation and may be less likely to venture in. Deer may not be able to navigate narrow paths. •U  se mulch. In addition to benefitting the plants, keep-

Deer and rabbits can eat many garden plants down to the ground. ing soil moist and fertilizing the areas, mulch also deters many animals. • I nterplant different species of pla nt s. Some a n i ma l s don’t want to bother picking tasty plants out among other varieties they don’t like. So mi x plants w ith ones that animals find unpleasant. •U  se other natural deterrents. Animals may be kept away by scents of their predators. Ur ine f rom coyote, foxes, dogs, and cats may help. You

can also try human hair, cat litter and soap flakes. •C  reate an anima l-friendly area elsewhere. Feed the deer and rabbits the foods they love somewhere away from your garden. Hopefully, they may fill up with their favorites a nd stay away f rom you r flowers and vegetables. •T  raps may work. As a last resort, use humane traps to collect animals and release them elsewhere. (Metro)

Did you know? Ecoscaping is growing trend


coscaping is a growing trend among homeowners who wa nt to ta ke ca re of t heir law ns a nd landscapes but want to do so in a way that’s environmentally friendly. Integrating both landscape architecture and spatial planning with environmental science, ecoscaping is meant to help homeowners create a sustainable and eco-friendly landscape design. It’s natural to assume that ecoscaping includes looking for ways to reduce reliance on chemical pesticides, but there are many additional ways homeowners can embrace ecoscaping. This includes removing or refusing to plant invasive plants that are difficult to control because they are from different ecosystems and can threaten local wildlife and existing plants. Instead of choosing exotic plants that aren’t native to the area, choose native plants that are accustomed to the local climate. Another way to embrace ecoscaping is to develop a planting strateg y wherein plants are planted in beneficial growing conditions that can eliminate the need for chemical fertilizers and excessive watering. (Metro)

Advertising Supplement, Sun Journal, Lewiston, Maine, Friday, April 6, 2012



Setting up a backyard play set Being able to run, jump and swing outside is an excellent for m of exercise a nd a way for kids to interact with their friends. One staple of youthful play is spending time on a play set in the backyard.


The first decision parents face is which material to use for the play set. The main materials used to build play sets are plastic, metal and wood. Plastic sets tend to be very basic and may Parents without a play set in be reserved for young children’s the backyard need only look sets. While they can go outside, into a neighboring yard with they may not last more than a a play set to w it ness t hese few years and are often best relprime congregation spots for egated to indoor toys. t he neig hborhood chi ld ren. And play sets don’t just benefit Metal sets are some of the most kids. Parents who want to keep durable and strong. They are tabs on their children can do frequently seen at parks and so much more easily w it h a playgrounds. Metal play sets backyard play set, and knowing are often cemented down to a they are having fun close by foundation for stability, which alleviates worries. doesn’t ma ke them idea l for a temporar y set that w ill be The decision to purchase a play removed when the kids outgrow set is one pondered by parents it. Also, you cannot generally all across the country. There are add onto a metal set. scores of ready-made varieties available or sets that can be Wooden set s a re u sua l ly a custom designed. The choice compromise between the two. of which one to buy should be T hey’re good for back ya rds based on a number of factors, because t hey ca n be ta ken both in desired features and down when they’re no longer also models that offer safety. used. They can also be made m or e u s e f u l w i t h a d d- on

at tach ment s, such a s ex t ra slides, rock walls and different swing variations.

Safety Play set s a re de sig ne d for children, so all of them should be safe, right? Not exactly. Some manufacturers cut corners or create somewhat questionable desig n s. L ook for recessed ha rdwa re a nd bolts so t hat clothing doesn’t snag on pieces that stick out. Choose play sets t hat have handles for extra stability while children are climbing. Avoid ones with metal hardware that can rust and weaken over time. Wood-to-wood at tach ments won’t rust and w ill be more durable. When choosing wood sets, be sure to select hardwoods that will not soften and warp. In addition, choose designs that feature rounded edges so there will be less chance for splinters or injuries to users from hitting blunt edges.


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Play sets can be fun additions to the backyard. They come in different sizes and configurations, so it’s possible to find one that will fit in any backyard. Be sure to have plastic-covered cha ins on sw ings a nd ot her moveable parts so that fingers cannot get inside of the links and be pinched. Check to make sure treated and stained wood does not contain harmful material, like arsenic, that can leach out of the wood into the surrounding soil. Some

parents also may want to look for a wooden play set that is made from materials harvested following sustainable forestry g uidelines. Play sets can be fun additions to the backyard. They come in many different sizes and configurations, so it’s possible to find one that will fit in any backyard. (Metro)

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Advertising Supplement, Sun Journal, Lewiston, Maine, Friday, April 6, 2012

Go green in your garden


ardening can be a re- • Plant more flowers. Planting warding and rela x ing flowers is another eco-friendly hobby, one that allows way for you to garden. Native gardeners to escape from the flowers can help maintain an daily grind and soak up some area’s natural ecosystem, prosun. As rewarding as gardening viding food and shelter for incan be, it’s even more so when sects and other wildlife. gardeners ply their trade in an More flowers and plants around eco-friendly way. the property also means there Gardening with the environ- will be significantly less grass to ment in mind is somet hing mow, which reduces the amount many gardeners might do al- of gas necessary to mow that ready without even knowing it. grass in the warmer weather The following are ways to gar- and the amount of greenhouse den that’s mutually beneficial to gases the lawn mower produces. gardeners and the environment. In addition, less grass means less need for fertilizers and pes• U se mulch to conserve re- ticides to maintain that grass. sources and reduce reliance on fertilizers. Conserving re- • C hoose gardening tools and sources is one of the best ways products with the environto help the environment, and ment in mind. Veteran garapplying mulch is a great way deners have a host of tools to conserve water. Mulch helps that help tackle every problem the soil retain water, keeping imaginable. But many older the water from evaporating tools or gardening products into the air, which means less might not be made of recycled watering for gardeners who mater ia ls. W hen shopping want to keep their gardens for gardening tools, whether looking lush and healthy. you’re a beginner who needs everything or a veteran garIn addition to helping conserve dener whose tools have seen water, mu lch ca n a lso help better days, choose products reduce reliance on fertilizers. made from recycled materials. That’s because mulch provides For example, many gardeners nutrients to the soil as it breaks use mats to help reduce stress down, providing an eco-friendly on their knees when kneeling alternative for gardeners who down to garden. When buying don’t want to rely on fertilizers a new mat, choose one made to deliver nutrients to their soil. from recycled tires.

Planting more plants and flowers around the property is one way gardeners can garden in a more eco-friendly way. But emphasizing recycled prodimpractical. Certain spiders ucts shouldn’t stop at the tool prey on other insects that can shed. Mulch, for instance, can be harmful to a garden, while be made from recycled rubber butterflies and bees help poland won’t impact the environlenate flowers. ment in a negative way. Just be sure to purchase recycled mulch Earthworms are also very benthat is nontoxic and does not eficial to a garden, helping to aerate and fertilize the soil and consume natural resources. • L ive a nd let live. I n sec t s might be a nuisance, but they can also be a gardener’s best friend. Spraying insecticide simply because insects can be pesky is shortsighted and

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enabling plants to grow by removing harmful matter from the soil. Gardening is a rewarding hobby, one that is even more so when gardeners institute eco-friendly practices. (Metro)

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Problems in the landscape: Nuisance ivy By Tresa Erickson Feature Writer

Solid, well-constructed surfaces such as masonry walls can handle ivy growing on it. Old, weak brick, dry-stacked walls, porous torybook pages are filled wood and any other areas prone with images of stone cotto cracks and crevices, on the tages covered in ivy, makother hand, cannot. ing them appealing to the young and old alike. W ho wouldn’t Such substa nces a re h ig h ly enjoy coming home to an old susceptible to iv y, and once it English cottage wrapped in ivy? takes hold and weaves its way Long, tender, green tendrils throughout the structure, the trailing down the side of a home damage can be vast, ranging can make for a lovely scene. from leaks to pest infestation to total loss. Upon closer inspection of the crumbling mortar underneath, Pulling down the iv y may not however, you might see that the be the right fix either. While it old adage, “Looks can be deceiv- will prevent further growth, it ing,” is true. If not attended to may also lead to even greater carefully, ivy can make for some damage. Boards, bricks, chunks real damage to homes. of paint and stucco and who k nows what else have been W h i le it w i l l push t h roug h known to come down with every cracks and crevices, iv y is not strand of ivy pulled. strong enough to make cracks.


Entire wood structures have fallen down once the ivy holding them together was removed. Home ow ner s w ho s u s p e c t damage due to iv y should not underta ke t he remova l of it themselves. They should hire a professional to determine the best way to remove the ivy with the least amount of damage possible. They might also be able to repair any resulting damage. There is nothing wrong with having ivy in the landscape. It is best to contain it to well-constructed structures.

Ivy in general is a very tenacious, invasive plant. Once it starts growing, it can be difficult to stop, and once it gets its claws into the cracks and crevices of your home’s exterior, it can be very hard to remove. Ivy has been known to push its way into the smallest of spaces in brick mortar, siding, stucco and more, penetrating walls and windows, invading rooms and peeking out from behind electrical sockets.


T here a re more t ha n 2,700 different types of earthworms resid ing on t he pla net. Earthworms are often known to be workhorses in the garden, helping to aerate and fertilize t he soil while f illing it w it h




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nutrients. Earthworms recycle mater ia ls l i ke dead leaves, decaying animals and feces so new plant seedlings can grow a nd have t he process beg in anew. Worms have been around for 120 million years – one of the few species of insects that have stood the test of time. In just one acre of soil, there may be a million or more earthworms t u r n i ng ov er t he s oi l a nd chewing on organic matter. W it hout ea r t hwor m s, most pla nt s wou ld not t h r ive. E a r t hw or m s h a v e muc ou s covering their bodies in order to stay moist. This helps them to breathe through their skin. You may have not iced t hat after it rains worms appear on sidewalks and outside of their underground burrows. This is not because they are drow ning underground, but because t he env ironment is moist after it rains, making it more conducive for worms to breathe and move around to find mates. Normally the dr y conditions above ground make them dry out and die. Earthworms can be remarkable creatures to watch. Cont ra r y to popu la r bel ief, worms do have a mouth and an opposite end for waste removal t hat is not intercha ngeable. (Metro)

Advertising Supplement, Sun Journal, Lewiston, Maine, Friday, April 6, 2012

Creating an attractive dog run


illions of dogs share the homes and hearts of people across the country. Dogs can provide companionship, affection and joy to their owners. But when dogs spend time outdoors and cause damage to lawns and gardens, that cute and cuddly appeal might dwindle. Although dogs are beneficial in numerous ways, their tendency to create unsightly messes in the yard have many homeowners wringing their hands in frustration. Erecting a dog run or using other strategies may help to alleviate any damage the dog causes in the landscape. A dog run is essentially a fencedin part of the yard where dogs can play or be trained to relieve themselves. As most pet owners k now, dogs, particularly females because their urine is concentrated to one spot on the lawn, can create unsightly urine burns. Looking at patches of burnt, straw-like grass where a lush lawn used to be can be aggravating. The same can be said for finding dog “presents� all over the yard.

All it takes is stepping in or sliding in a pile of joy to raise blood pressure.

of foot traffic. This way your dog ca n r un back a nd fort h and watch t he neighbors go by. Again, pea gravel is a good by you, a dog run will be a way choice here so that it will mask to let the dog spend time outpaw-trodden grass. side in a way that he or she won’t get into trouble. The run can be Dogs will behave like dogs, so constructed of any material you pet ow ners should learn the desire, whether chain-link fenc- best way to enjoy the backyard ing, wood slats, lattice material, together. Training the pooch to or tightly spaced shrubbery. relieve himself in one spot and creating places that are safe for Pea gravel is a good material him to urinate may alleviate to use on the f loor of the dog destructive behavior. (Metro) r u n. Not on ly is pea g ravel aesthetically appealing, but it also allows urine to run through into the soil below and will be able to keep feces above for easier clean-up. It also can be hosed off and topped off when gravel is depleted.

Give your dog his own space in the yard and make everyone happy.

Av o i d l a n d s c a p e f a b r i c s or a r t if icia l tur f t hat is not de s ig ne d f or p e t s . It m a y collect waste and lead to the proliferation of bacteria, which can create odor and unsanitary conditions for the dog. Many people like to camouflage dog runs from the rest of the yard. Trailing vines of iv y or other upward growing plants may suffice. Avoid planting any poisonous plants next to the run so they are not accidentally consumed. It is also best to keep sweet nectar plants away to minimize bees and wasps from flying close to the dog.

If you do not want to segregate your dog from the rest of the yard, find ways to prevent him or her from getting into places you’d rather keep off limits. Cobble rock is often difficult Plus, there’s the extra work of for dogs to walk on. Use it to tracking down such presents form barriers of 3 to 5 inches and having to clean them up. in width to prevent access to This can be time-consuming certain parts of the yard. Border with a big yard, not to mention pla nt i ng bed s w it h t hor ny messy a nd smelly. Conta in- bushes or big rocks that don’t ing your dog to a run will keep allow traction. messes all in one place. When Do make a dog running path the dog cannot be supervised by the fence where there is a lot

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This year’s project: Improve your home’s curb appeal What do you do when you can no longer stand the shrubbery you planted two years ago that has turned brown instead of vibrant green? By Dan Marois Feature Writer / Photographer The roses that you replanted from your cousin’s yard never really took to the soil in your yard. A nd that rolling green lawn you’ve always dreamed of looks more like a rundown Little League baseball field with some green, but mostly dirt and sand. Fea r not. T here’s hope for homeowners from landscaping experts ready to spice up your property and improve its curb appeal. Greg Morin, of Shaker Hill Outdoors in Poland Spring, gives sound advice on where to begin your landscaping project. “A ssig n a budget. It is ver y important to know how much you are willing to spend on the project to help figure out size and quantity of plants you will need,” said Morin.

homeow ners and do-it-yourselfers. “We love to assist people in creat ing t heir ow n la ndscapes. Our employees will ask a lot of questions and provide the selecting plants. Some plants that were omitted.” Davis added roses and had tried to grow information necessary for alprefer acid, such as evergreens, that a long-term landscaping them unsuccessfully. The site most any person to do their own and other plants prefer a more pla n w i l l ma ke t he project was shady, but the owners still home landscape project,” said alkaline soil, such as Spirea. It more affordable as it a llows wanted lots of colors. Morin. “Pictures of your prowould also be helpful to know time to budget and prepare for posed area are always helpful.” “We chose astilbe, hosta, daylilif your soil is sandy, rich or associated costs. ies, mountain laurel, rhododen- Davis added a bit of caution to clay to help determine what types of plants will work best,” Rick Gammon, from Gammon drons, and yews,” said Gam- the process. “Although it (landadv ised Morin. “Soil can be Landscape Nursery in Auburn, mon. “These are all plants that scape design) may seem fairly treated to adjust in any of these commented on some projects do okay in shade and are some- simple in theory, there is a phesituations.” Spireas are small- that he’s worked on that brought what drought tolerant. They are nomenal amount of expertise to medium-si zed deciduous resu lts to t he homeow ner’s plants that give color at different and knowledge required,” said times throughout the summer Davis. “All this lends to the idea shrubs that produce cascades of original plan. and other times of the year.” flowers in spring and summer. of going through a professional.” “The work done at the Cat RaConrad Davis II, president of mey residence is an example Morin, at Shaker Hill, believes Davis Landscaping in Lisbon, of proper choice of the correct that landscaping can be easy for suggests taking a careful look at plant for the site,” said Gamwhat activity will take place in mon. “The Rameys came to us the area you’d like to landscape. with a sunny, steep, and dangerous slope that they didn’t want “Think about all the functions to mow any longer. We gave and features you want to ad- them several options instead of d ress. T h is ca n encompa ss grass. They chose Massachumany areas such as privacy, setts Bearberry.” recreation areas with a pool, play areas for children, enter- Gammon said that the plants tainment areas, dining areas, do well in full sun, will take arid or outdoor living areas,” said soils, and they spread at least Davis, who believes that creat- four feet with a dark, glossying a landscaping plan comes green, oval leaf with bright red easier when the homeowner has berries in the fall.

K now you r su n e x posu re. Mor in ex pla ined, “K now ing how much sun exposure your landscape area gets during the day is very important. This will a clear vision for the space. At t he of f ic e s of Bu i ld i ng help in selecting the types of “The operative word here would Solutions, LLC on King Street plants you will purchase.” be ‘planning.’ That is why we in Ox ford, t he ow ners loved And perhaps the most impor- refer to a landscape plan,” said tant element Morin shared is to Davis, who has been beautifying homes for over 35 years. “By know your soil. having a plan, one can look at “It is important to know what it on paper, cull out ideas that t y pe of soil you have before don’t make sense, and add those

A “before” photo, above, of the Building Solutions office in Oxford.

The Cat Ramey house, above, where a steep front lawn was replaced with Massachusetts Bearberry by Gammon Nursery in Auburn. An “after” photo, above, of the landscaping at Building Solutions provided by Gammon Nursery in Auburn. 10


Advertising Supplement, Sun Journal, Lewiston, Maine, Friday, April 6, 2012

How to improve your landscape before selling Selling a house is seldom easy, a nd homeow ners a re of ten willing to do whatever it takes to make their home more attractive to prospective buyers. One of the areas sellers typically focus on is the home’s landscaping. A well-maintained lawn and garden increases a property’s curb appeal considerably, increasing the chances a buyer will have a strong first impression of the home. But homeowners don’t need to have a green thumb to ensure t hei r law n i mproves c u rb appeal. The following are a few tricks of the trade savvy sellers can employ to make their home an instant hit when buyers pull up to the curb. Color the landscape with a few spots of color. The plants outside a home shouldn’t stick out like a sore thumb, but a few splashes of color can make a home more appealing. For the cost of some annuals, which are typically inexpensive, homeowners can turn a drab flower bed into a colorful spot bound to catch a buyer’s eye.

Gardening ideas from rooftop and balcony gardens

Clean bird baths and other water features. Water features create a peaceful atmosphere around a property if they’re well maintained. If not, buyers won’t see the yard as a sanctuary but rather a place where mosquitoes congregate and odors ema nate from a lgaefilled water. Remove any debris from water features, including leaves and algae, and clean the filters so water is always clear. Invest in a power washer. Buying a power washer might be a tad over the top, but homeowners whose yards are filled with grimy surfaces might find a power washer can work wonders at restoring a home’s external appeal. If plants are in pots that are covered in years-old dirt and grime, a power washer can restore the pot’s luster in a matter of minutes. Spray down walkways and even home siding that has fallen victim to dirt and grime over the years.

If planting trees, don’t go too big. Especially large trees are not always attractive to prospective buyers, who likely won’t want sight lines obstructed or won’t want to worry about Lay down new layers of mulch. a tree falling and destroying Mu lch is not on ly good for their home during a storm. plants, helping them to retain moisture while inhibiting weed Address issues with weeds. A germination and growth, but a prevalent problem with weeds fresh layer of mulch also adds around the property is another to a yard’s aesthetic appeal. situat ion t hat some buyers Mulch made of wood or bark might feel is indicative of nechips is also slow to decay, so glect. Weeds are a pretty simple apply a new batch right before problem to remedy, so buyers the “For Sale” sign is erected might be correct to assume and you might not have to apply weeds around the property are another batch before selling there because the homeowner the home. was not concerned with mainPrune trees and shrubs. Pruning trees and shrubs is one of the easiest and most effective ways to improve a landscape. Dead branches in shrubs and trees might suggest to buyers that the homeowners weren’t ter r ibl y pre oc c upie d w it h maintenance, and this might cause t hem to t h in k t w ice about making an offer. Stay on top of pruning regardless of the season, and be sure to remove any fallen branches from the yard on a regular basis.

tenance. Lay mulch around f lower beds and gardens to reduce weed growth, and pull any weeds from sidewalks and the driveway. Once weeds are pulled, spray areas that were infested with a weed-treatment product to ensure weeds don’t grow back.

Use gardening books with beautiful photos for ideas to try in your own garden: Include colored spotlights aimed at plants for dramatic effects; small shrubs planted in lightweight containers which allow for shrubs to be located where needed; and privacy fences made from branches and growing greenergy. Idyllic urban oases offer inspiration to anyone yearning to add nature and serenity to an outdoor living space. Rooftop Gardens showcases some of the most unique and extraordinary outdoor spaces in New York City that urban dwellers have created as retreats from the daily chaos of life. A sumptuous array of gardens ranging in style from working to exotic fills the pages, a diverse selection befitting different scales and changing seasons. From the lush produce garden of Eli’s Vinegar Factory to a glass-enclosed conservatory perched atop Park Avenue in which amaryllis, paperwhite narcissus, and cyclamen grow during the winter months, this stunning portfolio illustrates innovative and original ways to design one’s own outdoor sanctuary – be it sky-high or ground level – and is a musthave for homeowners, decorators, and landscape architects alike. Rooftop Gardens: The Terraces, Conservatories, and Balconies of New York, written by Denise LeFrak Calicchio and Roberta Amon, and photographed by Norman McGrath. – Courtesy of Rizzoli.

A well-maintained landscape is a great way for men and women hoping to sell their homes to make a strong first impression. (Metro)

Advertising Supplement, Sun Journal, Lewiston, Maine, Friday, April 6, 2012



Create an outdoor living space that adds value Outdoor l iv i ng spaces have become increasingly popular over the last several years. The home improvement boom has shown many homeowners just how easy it can be to transform a home into a private sanctuary that caters to the personalities of the home’s residents. Outdoor living areas have become an extension of the home’s interior, with many homeowners creat i ng outdoor l iv i ng rooms and dining areas so they can rela x and eat meals outside just as they do indoors. But homeowners thinking of creating outdoor living spaces should consider a few tricks of the trade before beginning their projects.

Strategically place the space. Property often dictates where the outdoor living space will go, but it helps to keep in mind that the outdoor space is more likely to be used if it’s easily accessible from the inside of the home. For instance, if residents need to walk out the front door to access a n outdoor liv ing space in t he back yard, t hen residents might find the area is too inconveniently located and they won’t make the most of the space. Whenever possible,

plan the outdoor living space so it’s easily accessible from the home’s interior, preferably from the kitchen so it will be easier to carry meals outdoors when dining outside.

Emphasize comfort. Many homeowners look at their outdoor living areas as places to kick their feet up and relax, so comfort should take precedence when planning the space. Forego the plastic patio chairs of yesteryear for furniture that’s more sturdy and roomy so you won’t feel cramped or sweaty on warm summer evenings and afternoons. In addition, don’t forget to shade the area. If the outdoor living area is near trees, they might provide sufficient shade from the often blistering summer sun. But keep a few umbrellas in the garage just in case.

A few tricks of the trade can help homeowners create an outdoor living space that adds value to their property. who want to avoid giving their outdoor area a luau feel might prefer sola r-powered accent lights, which won’t require any wiring. If your backyard attracts its fair share of insects, look for insect-repelling lights or lamps.

table, families and friends can gather around the fire pit and rela x with some s’mores and share stories. But even when guests aren’t coming over, a fire pit makes for a great place to relax and let the time go by.

Whatever your preference, don’t forget to have some lighting so those summer evenings spent Illuminate the area. under the sky don’t have to end In addit ion to prov iding a n when the sun goes down. Summer nights spent relaxing outdoor respite f rom t he in the outdoor living area make daily grind, an outdoor living spac e c a n a l so i nc re a s e a for great memories. But such Don’t forget a fire pit. home’s resale value. However, nights are nearly impossible A fire pit provides a great focal homeowners who have one eye if the area doesn’t have some point for an outdoor living area. lighting. Tiki torches might do on R&R and the other on resale Instead of sitting at the dinner value should keep the design the trick for some, while others

With more and more homeowners transforming their homes into their own private sanctuaries, outdoor living spaces continue to grow in popularity.

Keep the design consistent with your home.

of their outdoor living space consistent with their home. One of the goals when designing an outdoor living space should be to create a seamless transition from the home’s interior to its exterior. The best way to do that is to keep the designs of both living spaces consistent.

By employing a few simple tricks of the trade, homeowners can create the outdoor areas of their dreams. (Metro)

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Cleaning water features around the property is one way for homeowners to increase the curb appeal of their home. Advertising Supplement, Sun Journal, Lewiston, Maine, Friday, April 6, 2012

Snakes in the garden By Tresa Erickson Feature Writer


person and on screen, we’ve all seen our fair share of snakes. Behind glass, snakes give us little reason to fear them.

Once you’re out of st ri k ing distance, resist the urge to run back to the house, grab a shovel and kill the snake. Remember, snakes eat insects, mice and other pests. Kill it, and you will lose out on a measure of natural pest control. If the snake is poisonous, you should think twice about killing it. One wrong move, and you could end up in a very bad waycould you get the right medical treatment in time? Leave t he sna ke be, a nd it should move on. If it is trapped, injured or in a position where it cannot be tolerated, call your local animal control office. Officials there will know the best course of action to take, and if removal is needed, where to take the snake.

Out in the open in our bushes or basements, snakes strike fear in many of our hearts. It’s no fun to find a snake curled up in the drain you’re about to clean, the Un for t u nately, t here is no bush you’re about to trim or the surefire way to prevent snake flowerpot you’re about to fill. enc ou nt er s ot her t h a n t o relocate to an area where there It’s even worse when your beare none. There are some steps, loved cat or dog brings t he however, you can take to make snake to you. Fortunately, most you r law n a nd ga rden less snakes are harmless. Nevertheattractive to snakes. Some of less, it is a good idea to know these include: how to deal with them. • C lean up! Remove all weeds, Some sna kes a re poisonous junk, compost heaps, woodand some are not. It is essential pi les a nd a ny ot her a reas that you know the difference, where snakes might hide. Trim especially if you live in an area your bushes and mow your with a lot of snakes. Find out grass. The fewer places snakes what poisonous sna kes a re have to hide in your yard, the common in your area and learn less likely they’ll stick around. to identify them. • Clear out! Got lots of grasshopDo the same with non-poisonpers, mice and other tasty tidous snakes, in particular garter bits that snakes like to munch snakes, as these are most often on? Get rid of them through found in lawns and gardens. chemicals, mowing, etc., and The more you know about the you’ll get rid of any snakes snakes you may encounter, the hanging out in your yard. better equipped you will be to deal with them. • P ut off ! Snakes hate mothba l ls. Consider scat ter i ng W het her poisonous or not, some around your lawn and your best bet is to move away garden, but make sure they’re from any snake you encounter, out of the reach of little hands. unless you’re within striking Mothballs are toxic to kids. distance. In that case, stay very There are many other snake still and wait for the snake to deter rents ava i lable, f rom slither away. Do not, under any chemicals to fencing. circumstance, attack the snake. It will feel threatened and may For those who fear them, snakes try to bite you. can be of great concern. Learn as much as you can about them, Do not attempt to pick up the including what to do in the snake and move it, unless you event of a bite, and take care know for certain that the snake to reduce your chances of an is not poisonous and you have encounter. Imagine enclosing some experience in handling your f lowerbeds with snakesnakes. Again, the snake could proof fencing and never catchbite you, and while the bite may ing another one again. How not be poisonous, it could be great would that be? very irritating. Advertising Supplement, Sun Journal, Lewiston, Maine, Friday, April 6, 2012

Budding gardeners

and give your plants the extra boost they need. Creating a compost bin is not that difficult either. There are tons of howto’s and tips online.

By Tresa Erickson Feature Writer

Be realistic

Again, gardens ta ke time to mature. Don’t push yourself hile some people apso hard in the beginning that pea r to have been you run out of steam and call bor n w it h a g reen it quits. Ta ke your time, be thumb, others aren’t so fortuprepared to make mistakes and nate. Gardening does not come don’t be afraid to ask for help. so instinctively to them. If you are among them, do not despair. You can learn how to garden and become really good at it by following some basic tips.


The best gardens often come out of years of trial and error. If you don’t get it right the first time, ask a buddy for some advice, and remember, there’s always next year. You don’t have to be born with a green thumb to become a great gardener. You can learn how to master the art over time – it doesn’t have to happen overnight. All it takes is some patience and practice.

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Learn all that you can Read up on the subject of gardening, from the basics to the fine details. Check out some books and subscribe to a few magazines. Join a gardening club or at the very least get together with a group of gardening friends.

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Watch out for the pretty selections Budding gardeners too often select plants on their appearance rather than their requirements. They like t he way a certain plant looks, plant it and then wonder why it doesn’t measure up later. You need plants with requirements that your garden can meet. If your garden gets a great deal of sun, then you need plants that require full sun. If your garden is in the shade much of the day, then you need plants that require shade.

Be patient Gardens take time to mature. Don’t tr y to turn a budding garden into a mature garden w it h clos er pla nt i ng s a nd invasive species. W hile your garden might look fuller at first, it will not stay that way. Some of t he plants competing for space might not survive, while others might get run over by the invasive species.

Compost, compost, compost! Set up a compost bin, add to it regularly and apply it every spring for a fertile garden. It will save you a lot of money in fertilizer costs, help the environment

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Landscape structures: Garden Shed 101 By Craig Armstrong Feature Writer

rain, a metal garden shed might not be a good idea.


Finally, review any ordinances in place on garden sheds. You may need approval from your homeow ner’s association as well as the city. You might even need a permit.

ou’re an avid gardener, with a plethora of tools and equipment to prove it. Your garage, in fact, is bursting at the seams with all of your gardening gadgets, and your family is starting to yell about all of the accumulated clutter.

When you have a style and size in mind, you can start the actual shopping. Look online as It’s high time you got organized well as in-store. You will find a and looked into the purchase of wide range of styles from freea garden shed. standing units to kits to install to ready-made buildings you Garden sheds come in all styles can buy onsite and have moved and sizes from small, plastic, to your landscape. Should you f reesta nding units to la rge, go with the latter, make sure wooden, bi-leveled barns. You the delivery truck can get to the will want a style that compleshed site. ments your landscape and is large enough to accommodate Depending upon how handy your storage needs. you are, you might even want to build your own garden shed. To determine the style and size Building plans are available at of garden shed you will need, many lumber stores. And, of first weed through your garden course, you can build a shed tools and equipment to see what w it h lef tovers f rom a not her you plan to keep and to store. completed project. You may discover you don’t need a shed after all or need a rather large shed with a workbench for the multiple projects you’ve always got going on.

Budget, of course, will always be a factor, a nd you shou ld shop around for the best price. Shou ld you choose to bui ld your own garden shed, make Next, check out your landscape sure you take everything into to determine where the shed account from the shingles to the would go and what materials foundation. Many garden shed would hold up best there. If you kits call for a foundation. Make live in area that receives a lot of sure you accommodate for that in your budget.

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Advertising Supplement, Sun Journal, Lewiston, Maine, Friday, April 6, 2012

Statuary: Lovely in every way By Tresa Erickson Feature Writer

You could spend all afternoon just looking at all of the art in that garden. Apparently, the gardener liked statuary, perhaps spent many an a little too much, as your aunt a f ter noon a s once remarked. a k id ad m i ring the neighborhood gardens Now that you’re older, you’d like with your aunt Ginny. W hile to add flair to your garden with most of the gardens looked like some statuar y, but you don’t a scene from a magazine spread, want to repeat that garden scene there were a few that didn’t quite from your childhood. Here are a make the cut, either because of few tips: neglect or excessiveness.


There was one, in particular, that stuck out like a sore thumb because of all of the garden art. There were statues everywhere of everything from frogs and deer to angels and gargoyles.

Less is more. Limit yourself to pieces that really shine. Twenty statues of various saints woven throughout your garden will not make the same statement as one large statue of St. Francis of Assisi, the popular patron saint of animals and the environment.

Groupings are best. Whenever possible, group the selected pieces that complement each other. Bird statues here and there will not have as much impact as one large statue placed strategically.

Situate and keep your statuary in good condition, and it will serve as a lovely feature in your landscape for years to come.

Placement is everything. Set up groupings amid foliage rather than wherever there is a spot. The statue of St. Francis of Assisi set in the first open spot will not be as striking as it will overlooking smaller bird statues under the cherr y tree in the center of your garden.

To slow down the aging process, wash your statues regularly and apply a coat of sealer to them annually. Should a piece ever suffer a chip, crack or break, arrange to have it repaired or refinished. Depending upon the extent of the damage, you may be able to do this yourself. Fina lly, protect the statuar y in the winter. Don’t leave the pieces to freeze in the snow and ice. Cover them up or bring them inside. Choose the right statues for your garden, place them with care and keep them looking good!

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Once you have your statuar y in place, take the time to care for it. The elements will take a toll on the statues after a while, speeding up the aging process.

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Advertising Supplement, Sun Journal, Lewiston, Maine, Friday, April 6, 2012

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*$0 down, 0% A.P.R. inancing for terms up to 60 months on purchases of select new Kubota equipment from available inventory at participating dealers through 6/30/2012. Example: A 60-month monthly installment repayment term at 0% A.P.R. requires 60 payments of $16.67 per $1,000 borrowed. 0% A.P.R. interest is available to customers if no dealer documentation preparation fee is charged. Dealer charge for document preparation fee shall be in accordance with state laws. Only Kubota and select Kubota performance-matched Land Pride equipment is eligible. Inclusion of ineligible equipment may result in a higher blended A.P.R. Not available for Rental, National Accounts or Governmental customers. 0% A.P.R. and low-rate inancing may not be available with customer instant rebate (C.I.R.) offers. Financing is available through Kubota Credit Corporation, U.S.A., 3401 Del Amo Blvd., Torrance, CA 90503; subject to credit approval. Some exceptions apply. Offer expires 6/30/2012. See us for details on these and other low-rate options or go to for more information.



Riding mowers can make lawn care more manageable Homeow ners love extensive, ing to the landscape is far less is mowing the lawn. Traditionlush, green lawns. But the el- beloved. One task that routinely ally, mowing the lawn has been bow grease that goes into tend- causes bouts of procrastination a task largely handled by homeowners pushing walk-behind mowers. Whether these mowers were powered by gasoline, electricity or simply human power, they were the type of mower that was generally the most popular and most affordable.

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to be an efficient method of mowing the lawn, and one that also does not require as much effort out in the sun.

Riding mowers can change the way homeowners view mowing the lawn.

Individuals had different features they could consider in their mowers, including horsepower and the size of the deck. There were also mowers that A riding mower’s cutting deck is could bag or mulch. in front, while a lawn or gardenDespite these features, home- ing tractor’s cutting deck is midowners with a particularly large mounted, which is how they difback or front yard – or both – fer. Lawn tractors also may be may have found lawn mowing able to accept other landscapto be tedious work. Those who ing attachments. A riding lawn have yards of almost an acre or mower is more maneuverable more often find riding mowers than a big tractor, particularly

The correct way to mow your lawn By Craig Armstrong Feature Writer You cut your grass a few days ago, but already, it’s looking a little long. You trudge to the garden shed, pull out your mower, set t he blades low and start chopping. Yikes ! If you want your lawn to look good, you need to mow it well. Proper mowing is essential to a healthy lawn, and timing is everything. When do you mow your lawn? Do you get up early in the morning and plow your way t h roug h t he wet g rass, never worrying about slipping, spreading disease or clogging up the mower blades? Do you mow in the evening when the sun has almost set and the grass is dry? Hopefully, you choose the latter when conditions are perfect for mowing. How do you mow? Do you start in the same corner and mow in the same direction each time? While you might appreciate the routine, your grass won’t, as it will soon grow in the pattern you have created. For straighter

for landscapes that may have trees or planting beds. Cost is the one thing that may deter some homeowners from a riding mower. While a walkbehind mower could cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars and up, riding mowers generally start at $1,000 and may be as much as $10,000, depending on the extra features, like cruise control and cup holders. However, some find that what riding mowers lack in affordability, they make up for in convenience. Plus, buying a riding mower may pay for itself in savings on landscaping services over the course of one to two sea sons. A s w it h a ny law n tool, it’s important to note that riding mowers are not toys and they should not be handled by children, nor should children be allowed to ride along while mowing. (Metro)

grass strands, mow in a different decompose quickly and fertilize direction each time. This will the grass (they will not lead to also allow for a more even cut. the buildup of thatch as you may have heard). How sha r p a re your mower blades? Mower blades are like If you want to dispose of the knives. The duller they are, the clippings, you may do so, but more ragged cut they will make. be careful how you go about Sha rpen your mower blades this. Most city dumps will not often throughout the season for t a ke t hem. Con sider u si ng a clean cut. them to fertilize your garden or flowerbeds instead. At what height are your mower blades set? Sharp mower blades As the growing season comes won’t mean a thing if you don’t to an end, lower your mower have t hem set at t he proper blades for a shorter cut. This will height. You will find dozens of retard the growth and reduce charts with height recommen- the chances of snow mold later. dations for various grass types. When spring arrives, take a day to clean up and make way for Most experts, however, advise new grass. never cutting more than a third of the glass blades at a time. Remove any leaves and other This will allow for deeper root brush that may have fallen onto systems, better g row t h a nd your lawn during the winter that fewer weeds. could smother the grass. W hat happens if you miss a week or two? Don’t try to make up for it by moving down your blade and cutting it shorter. The longer, heavier clippings will clog up the mower fast and leave many clumps on the lawn. Instead, cut the grass at the highest height possible and then cut it again at the normal height a few days later.

Proper mowing is key to a lush lawn. Know what is involved, follow through and never take safet y for granted. Wear the appropriate apparel and safety gear when mowing – long pants, good shoes and eye and ear protection. Clear the lawn of debris beforehand, take pets inside and insist children stay well away.

Stick to the one-third rule and you’ll never have to worry about clippings. You can just leave them on the law n. They will

Finally make sure your mower is in good condition and the blades are sharp. Then get ready to give it a go!

Advertising Supplement, Sun Journal, Lewiston, Maine, Friday, April 6, 2012

Things to consider before adding a greenhouse for vegetables and flowers


any men and women w it h a pa ssion for gardening hope to one day have a greenhouse they can call their own. Though greenhouses are a great place for gardeners to hone their crafts, they can also be quite expensive, and there are some things gardeners should consider before building a greenhouse.

Size: A greenhouse can be grandiose or small in stature. The size of a greenhouse depends on the gardener and the amount of property available. Larger greenhouses can be breathtaking, but the homeowner in you might not want a greenhouse to dominate your entire property.

gardening seasons, then you won’t need to heat it. However, most greenhouse owners want to use t he greenhouse yearround, in which case you will need to heat the interior. In addition, those who want to keep gardening during the dog days of summer will have to ventilate the greenhouse. Consider the use and the potential cost of a year-round greenhouse before making your decision.

Cost: Greenhouses can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars.

Price should not dictate which greenhouse you buy, so if you want a large one but can only afford a small one, then it might In addition, if your planting be best to keep saving money plans are relatively modest, a until you can afford one that bigger g reen house probably meets your needs. doesn’t make much sense.



The greenhouse will need to be If you plan to use the green- in a place on the property that house just during the standard gets lots of sun. Before buying or

Maine Greenhouse and Nursery Day Saturday, May 5, 2012 Visit your favorite local greenhouse or nursery to help celebrate the joys of gardening in Ma ine. Ma ine’s g reen house gardeners garden where you garden and love to share their experiences and their expertise with visitors. Get the best advice on plant varieties and gardening tips for your area. Check with your favorite loca l greenhouse or nurser y for their schedule of events and offers for the day.

The new Grow & Store structure combines two essential components for any home gardener – a greenhouse for your plants and a storage shed for all of your gardening gear. building a greenhouse, choose an area on the property where plants will thrive. If that area is currently used for something else, ask yourself and those who share the home with you if converting that part of the property to a greenhouse is something they can all live with.


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Turns your PAS power source into a commercialgrade grass/sod sweeper. Turns your PAS power • Over 22” swath delivers fast, source into a commercialefficient cleaning grade grass/sod cleaner. • .028 dia. concave nylon bristles • 22.5” sweeping swath minimize windrowing and allow for • (10) 1/625” durable rubber easy and thorough cleaning finsinclude offer long lifeedgers, • Perfect for allavailable types of surfaces Other attachments • Won’t harm grass surfaces including concrete, lawn and soil.

tillers, thatchers, pruners and hedge trimmers.

Also, visit the Mid Maine Greenhouse Growers Association at w w w.pla nt s4Ma i for additional information. • M-F 8-5 • Sat 8:30-12 Advertising Supplement, Sun Journal, Lewiston, Maine, Friday, April 6, 2012

You don’t want the greenhouse to be a burden or negatively

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How to maintain the look of freshly cut flowers


resh f lowers serve many ers in a garden with the express purposes. A bouquet of purpose of cutting them and flowers can be a gift on a bringing them into the home. special holiday or birthday.

Remove leaves.

Cut correctly. Creating a large enough surface area on the stem for the uptake of water is essential. That is why florists recommend cutting the stem on a slant to expose more area to the water. While outdoor f lowers can remain beautiful and bountif ul outside, once they are cut, there is a limited a mount of time before t hey begin to wilt and wither.

Place flowers in water immediately. Simply recut the stems on flowers you brought inside and immediately put them in a vase of water. The key is not to let the tip of the stem dry out or close up with an air bubble, sap or other substances, preventing the uptake of water. Be sure to use lukewarm water so as not to shock the blooms.

Take off the leaves of the plant that would end up underwater in the vase. Exposure to the water could cause the leaves to rot and fall off, creating algae or sludge in the vase water. Leaves also may breed extra bacteria or attract small insects to the water. However, do not remove the thorns from roses, as this tends to shorten their shelf life.

Choose young flowers. Some mature flowers may have pea ked a nd beg un to ma ke room for a new round of blooms, so try to choose young buds or blooms that have just opened so that you’ll have an opportunity to enjoy them longer. Once a fresh flower is cut and a stem is placed in water, you must act quickly. Bacteria and fungi can start to grow almost immediately. These microscopic organisms can clog the small tubes inside the stem that suck up water for nourishment.

“Here are the roses, Alchymist , the peachy one, and William Baffin, the pink one, with double feverfew, chartreuse ladies mantle, and blue delphiniums,” noted Cheryl Welch, owner of The Petal Press, an Etsy shop.

Many people like to display fresh-cut flowers in their homes because their beauty can brightalleviate some problems in the bacteria and fungi. There will more acidic to a l low better en the mood indoors. Others Ma ny f lor ist s send home a indoor environment. The packet be an acidifier as well as sugar. absorption of water up the stem. plant rows and rows of f low- packet of water add it ive to will contain a biocide that kills The acidifier makes the water The sugar is a food source for the f lowers. Homeowners who cut f lowers from their gardens can purchase these additives or Distinctive Design with Imagination & Creativity create their own variations from items around the house. QUALITY WORKMANSHIP





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It has been said a penny in the water will kill the microorganisms because copper is a fungicide. An aspirin can make the water more acidic. Don’t place cut flowers next to fruit, which gives off gases as it ripens, causing f lowers to age faster. Also, keep t he f lowers away from direct sunlight and try to keep them in a cool place. Keep on top of water maintenance by changing it at least every two to three days to maintain good water health. Be sure to replace the additives each t ime you cha nge t he water. By following a few strategies you can keep fresh-cut f lowers la st i ng longer for more enjoyment. (Metro)

Advertising Supplement, Sun Journal, Lewiston, Maine, Friday, April 6, 2012

Family fun ahead: What to look for when furnishing an outdoor room


utdoor entertaining areas have always been popular among homeowners. The ability to entertain friends and family or simply relax by yourself is something that homeowners cherish, particularly during warm weather.

Comfort: The whole idea behind an outdoor entertaining area is to have a relaxing place to spend time outside. So be sure to choose furniture that’s comfortable and can handle the elements. Metal furniture, for example, m ig ht be durable, but such furniture can also get very hot if out in the sun.

Weight: Un li ke f u r n it u re inside t he home, outdoor furniture will be moved around quite frequently, such a s to protec t it f rom inclement weather or changing seasons. While you don’t want furniture that’s too lightweight and will blow away any time

a strong gust of w ind comes along, it’s a good idea to choose furniture that isn’t too heav y. Furniture that isn’t too heavy is easier to move should a storm suddenly appear and it won’t require the entire household to help move the furniture into a nd out of t he ga rage when inclement weather arrives.

Versatility: Ma ny homeow ners enjoy changing their home’s interior decor from time to time, and it can be just as enjoyable to do the same to a home’s exterior decor. That said, look for furniture that can be accented with a variety of accessor ies, so you c a n change the look of your outdoor entertaining area easily.


Look for furniture that can be accented with a variety of accessories, so you can change the look of your outdoor

Protecting exterior furniture entertaining area easily. from the elements should be a priority. When shopping for outdoor furniture, figure out if made. The latter alternative can protective covering is available be quite expensive, so you might or if it will need to be custom

Tips when hiring a landscape contractor


wel l-ma inta ined la nd- • M ake sure the contractor is scape is i mpor ta nt to licensed. A lways verif y if a ma ny homeow ners. In landscape architect is licensed addition to adding to a home’s aesthetic appeal, a lush landscape can also help increase a home’s resale value. Oftentimes, homeowners without much experience tending to law ns and gardens hire a landscape architect to do the job for them. •F  ind a professional who will work with you. •L  ook for a professional with some experience. •D  iscuss subcontractors. Some landscape architects will handle the project entirely on their own, while others might subcontract part of the project. •D  iscuss fees a nd get a fee schedule. •G  et references. A professional landscape architect should have a list of references at the ready for potential customers.

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standard protective coverings to make it more affordable. (Metro)

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Advertising Supplement, Sun Journal, Lewiston, Maine, Friday, April 6, 2012

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Advertising Supplement, Sun Journal, Lewiston, Maine, Friday, April 6, 2012

Landscape & Garden 2012  

Landscape and garden for curb appeal or improve your yard.

Landscape & Garden 2012  

Landscape and garden for curb appeal or improve your yard.