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TOOLS

Six essential tools for fixing, installing, removing, replacing or otherwise

IMPROVING THE HOME BY DAN RAFTER CTW FEATURES

When Jonathan McIntosh’s daughter graduated from college and moved into her own home, she asked a common question: What tools do I need? McIntosh knew the answer. “There are so many people who feel lost when it comes to tools,” he says. As founder and CEO The screwdriver Marie Leonard, a of Omaha, Neb.-based Boston-based home CoMc, a company that improvement expert and produces a locking-tile author of the book system known as “Marie’s Home SnapStone, he’s familiar Improvement Guide” (Seal with the traditional Press, 2009), recommends barriers to doing some everyone to have at least serious home four screwdrivers, two improvement. “You can do a lot with a each of the flat-head small group of important and Phillipstools. Those are the tools head varieties. It’s the that I tell homeowners to most basic and frequently get,” he says. used tool, for everything If you’re not fortunate from opening the battery enough to be related to a case on children’s toys to home-improvement putting together furniture expert, here is a look at some of the essential tools to tightening loose light switches. that everyone, Specifically, Amy homeowners and renters Matthews, the home alike, need in their improvement expert for toolboxes.

$219.96 a

Page 2 Friday, March 22, 2013 The Southern Illinoisan

consumer homeimprovement website HomeAdvisor, recommends the sevenin-one or five-in-one screwdriver. This tool includes just one handle but holds several different screwdriver heads inside its body, so consumers can save money and space in the toolbox.

The drill Leonard calls the cordless drill one of the most essential tools that a homeowner can have. With both drill and screwdriver bits, it actually functions as two tools in one, a drill and a high-powered screwdriver.

The cordless drill is indispensable when hanging pictures, tightening loose screws in that wobbly living room floor, hanging drapes and shelves and assembling furniture. Matthews recommends the 12-volt variety for people who anticipate average use for their drills. While 12 volts used to be too weak for regular use, Matthews says the new versions are both lightweight and still pack enough power in their relatively small frames.

wrench, needle-nose pliers, tongue-and-groove pliers and flat-nose pliers.

The caulking gun

Leonard says that homeowners can save thousands of dollars by The saw learning how to use a Unless you plan to finish caulking gun. Spreading caulk or the basement yourself, be sealant around the edges frugal when it comes to of sinks and tubs prevents saws, McIntosh advises. water from seeping into A simple, inexpensive the walls around them. handsaw will suffice for people who will only cut a Otherwise, the water can cause mold and rot limited amount of wood quickly. throughout their lifetimes. It’s a Those who plan on small The tape measure doing larger homeinvestment to improvement The humble tape save yourself the projects measure is an trouble years down extraordinarily useful tool, that the line. require McIntosh says, and it will Some of these tools may more save a lot of time traveling seem daunting, but homecutting can to and from the home improvement pros have upgrade to a smallish improvement store. some advice: The best way circular saw. Leonard It’s important for simple to learn how to use recommends the 6-inch tasks, like measuring a cordless drills or caulking variety. doorway to make sure a guns is to practice on scrap If you new chair will fit through material before using plan on doing a decent it, and more complex these tools for real amount of woodworking, tasks, such as building consider investing in a kit applications. Scrap metal bookshelves or hanging that comes with a battery- and wood is readily drapes. available at the local operated drill, circular hardware store. saw, handsaw and sander. The wrenches and pliers Every homeowner’s toolbox should contain a variety of wrenches and pliers, McIntosh says. He recommends buying a set that will include the most frequently used varieties of these tools, including a combination wrench, adjustable wrench, socket

PHOTOS PROVIDED BY SHUTTERSTOCK


CABINETS

High-class, high gloss The new shining star of the kitchen is high-gloss cabinetry. From lacquer to laminates to paint, these finishes add a stylish flair to any space. BY DAWN KLINGENSMITH

and circumstance, and that’s what lacquering does.” Homebuyers and remodelers have three main choices for glossy cabinetry: laminate or thermofoil, high-gloss painted wood or lacquered wood. Laminates are thin, layered plastic coatings fused to a substrate — a natural, earth-derived material such as stone — or with heat and pressure. They offer a wide range of options for colors. Thermofoil, by definition,

laminates to high-end lacquered finishes that impart a modern or retro After shunning them for look, depending on the years in favor of wood and styling. Lacquer in particular wood veneer, “has more of a glamorous homeowners have fallen look to it, and people are in love again with laminate kitchen cabinets warming up to it,” says Elaine Williamson, — not the kind that look principal, Elaine like wood, but a new Williamson Designs. generation of gleaming The trend is consistent laminates with a highwith a “return to gloss finish. elegance” in interior It’s not just glossy laminates that folks have design as a whole, she adds: “People still want taken a shine to. Sleek, clean, tight design but shiny cabinets are all the with a little bit of pomp rage, from lower-priced

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A kitchen design from kitchen and bath designer Jamie Gold, author of ‘New Kitchen Ideas That Work.’

is a laminate but not a high-pressure laminate. Generally, it consists of flexible vinyl applied to engineered wood. It comes in a rainbow of luminous colors (apple green, cherry red, wine red, orange, yellow, cobalt); offers a highquality sheen on an easycare, chip-resistant surface; and may incorporate metallic elements in its finish, like the paint on a sporty car. SEE CABINETS / PAGE 4

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CABINETS FROM PAGE 3

says Joseph Irons, president, Irons Brothers Thermofoil cupboards Construction. “offer a glossy look that’s The prep work is timemore affordable than a consuming because any painted finish, and it’s scratches and reasonably durable,” says imperfections that aren’t kitchen and bath designer properly mended will be Jamie Gold, author of magnified by the glossy “New Kitchen Ideas That finish. And if painting over Work”. wood, the grain might High-gloss paint is show through, Williamson another option, though it’s warns. not widely available Sanding, priming and straight from several thin coats of paint manufacturers. It’s are required for a smooth possible to refinish wood finish. cabinets with high-gloss A capable do-itpaint, but it takes a lot of yourselfer can refinish work to achieve a glasscupboards using highlike sheen. “For the best gloss paint; however, result, you need an oillacquering is “an art better based paint, and it needs left to the pros,” to be spray-applied, not Williamson says. brushed on, or else you’re In fact, lacquering may likely to see brush strokes,” even be beyond the skills

Page 4 Friday, March 22, 2013 The Southern Illinoisan

STAIRS and equipment of home improvement professionals, Gold says: “You get a better finish from the factory because they have equipment and systems in place to control the multistep lacquer process.” With laminate or thermofoil, “You can get a very similar high-gloss look for less, and it’s more practical,” she adds. In glossy finishes, “white is definitely the hottest color, but I’m also seeing some red and different shades of relaxing blue tones,” Gold says. No matter the color, glossy cabinetry catches the eye as well as the light. “It makes a statement,” Williamson says, “but a clean, refined statement.”

Step up to stylish staircases

Three home-improvement projects to take your staircase design up a notch.

BY ALICE OGLETHORPE CTW FEATURES

Just because staircases are functional and constantly getting stepped on doesn’t mean they don’t deserve a little interior design attention, too. These three projects prove that stairs can be both practical and pretty.

Tile under toes On the more difficult side of the homeimprovement scale is tiling a staircase. Adding patterned tile to staircase risers is creative and makes quite an impression on guests. “We were almost done building our home when we had to decide what to do with the staircase — it was our final project,” says Deb Delman, a high school teacher in Portland, Ore., who built her home from the ground up. “The rest of the house is full of artistic projects, so we knew we wanted to do something unusual and really colorful with the stairs. I’d tiled our bathroom before, and it turned out nice, which made me think of tiling the riser.” Delman chose a beautiful Mexican tile and got to work. The toughest part was cutting all of the tiles to be the right size and shape for the risers, she says. “We ran out of tile toward the end and had to make a sort of mosaic design on the bottom step.” After the installation, Delman finished it off with black grout that

CTW

For those who feel comfortable measuring and creating patterns, chevron stripes can add a bold punch to your risers.

wouldn’t show dirt. “All in all, it took us about 100 hours to get the project finished — two full weekend days and a lot of weeknights,” she says. “But the end result was worth it.”

of renovating the staircase and I thought it would be fun to paint the balusters in increasingly darker shades of blue,” says Angie Campbell. Campbell, a marketing director, keeps a blog called Angie’s Roost about the household projects she What’s up, ombré? tackles in the Brewer, If there’s a project that Maine, home she shares doesn’t need a lot of time or know-how, it’s this one: with her husband. “I thought I was so creative, With a few swipes of a paintbrush, plain balusters until I searched online and realized I wasn’t the first can be transformed with person to come up with an ombré paint job. this idea.” “We were in the middle


STAIRS

CTW

Tiling a staircase makes a huge impact, but it’s one of the more difficult projects.

Campbell went to the paint store and picked up small sample paint jars in nine shades of blue (this saved her from buying larger cans of paint). After a few coats, she had a fun, eye-catching staircase.

Showing chevron For those who feel comfortable measuring and creating patterns, chevron stripes can add a bold punch to your risers. “My stair risers used to be plain white, and after only a few years they started looking really dirty

from people walking up and down them,” says Sharon Askew, an interior decorator in upstate New York and writer of a blog called Serendipity. “So when I saw an online video showing how to paint chevron stripes on the risers, I thought: I can do that!” Askew started by cutting a piece of heavy cardstock (she actually used a cereal box) into a triangle shape. That way she could trace the edges for her lines and the angle of the stripes would match from one

riser to the next. She then painted a base coat of white on the risers, penciled out the pattern, taped the areas she wanted to stay white with blue painter’s tape and brushed over the exposed sections with black paint. “It sounds complicated, but the whole thing took me less than two hours,” Askew says. “The next day I did a few touch-ups where the paint bled, but they are holding up great. And they make me smile every time I walk up the stairs.”

The Southern Illinoisan Friday, March 22, 2013 Page 5


WOODWORKING

WOOD YOU try this home? Custom storage and organizing pieces can be expensive. Wood, nails and sweat are cheap. BY CHRISTINE BOCKELMAN

Woodworking is an important skill for those who are particular about their furniture — especially storage pieces that are customized for their homes. “I look around my house and think, what do I need Knit something, grow something, pickle something — in a world where technology means you rarely have to make the space work better? What do I need to help to lift a finger, more people are looking for things to do keep myself organized? And I build it,” says Alaska mother Ana White, who started her website Anawith their hands. Increasingly, they are turning to traditional skills and hobbies like woodworking, which White.com in October 2009 and recently wrote “The Handbuilt Home: 34 Simple Stylish and Budgetis not only popular, it’s become downright cool. Once associated with bearded, middle-aged men in Friendly Woodworking Projects for Every Room” (Potter Craft, October 2012). “If I can do this, anyone dungarees and red flannel shirts, woodworking and can.” furniture-making are getting the attention of some White got started in woodworking partially due to new demographics. need and impatience. “I started drawing plans of Women and 20-somethings are powering up table furniture I wanted my husband to build, but he was saws thanks to woodworking schools across the country, including ones in hipster hubs like Brooklyn, busy,” White says. “One day, I got tired of waiting and decided to figure it out for myself.” N.Y., and Portland, Ore. Do-it-yourself furnitureHer website now has hundreds of free plans for making blogs offer tips, plans and step-by-step everything from entertainment units to queen-sized instructions for creating everything from doll houses CTW bed frames. to day beds.

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WOODWORKING get creative later, but in the beginning it’s important to gain confidence and a respect for the tools,” he says. He suggests testing the power tools a few times on scraps before using them on projects. “Practice using a table saw like you’d practice your golf swing,” he says. “Try different cuts to get yourself comfortable, and seek out some experts to show you a few things.” He suggests joining a local woodworking club, where you’ll meet others who can give you local tips on where to buy wood and help with your projects. Plus, they might sell you their tools when they

upgrade their own. Luckily, most amateur woodworkers don’t need that much equipment to start. “You can get everything you need for about $100,” says Christine Sharry, Home Depot’s woodworking expert for the company’s website. That includes everything from a circular saw and drill to clamps and measuring tape. Most important, though, is safety goggles. “I drape a pair over every machine in my workroom,” Johnson says. “That way I can’t get away with saying, ‘I can’t find my glasses, so I’ll just make this one cut without them.’ That’s how you get hurt.”

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made from just four boards – two Need somewhere to put shoes? A nook sides, a back and for books? A place for pictures? With the a shelf. “Use a right tools and materials, you can build it nice wood, like yourself. An organized home is just a few cherry, which takes stain easily, pieces of lumber away. and you’ll have a beautiful piece for NEVER PICKED UP A HAMMER: Any the kitchen,” says woman who has a slew of shoes Bruce Johnson, a cluttering her closet will want to break refinishing out the tools for this high-heel expert, author organizer. “All you need is a saw, a and television personality. hammer and some pieces of molding,” say Christine Sharry of Home Depot, NOT AFRAID OF THE BASIC POWER woodworking expert for the company’s TOOL: Author Ana White’s Ôten-dollar website. ledges’ are great for creating a custom Just paint or stain a piece of crown molding, attach it to the wall studs — or gallery wall in your home. Use two 1-byuse anchors to attach it to the drywall — 4-inch boards and one 1-by-2-inch using screws, and voila! You’ve freed up board — all eight-feet long. Add some screws, some wood filler and a few coats some valuable closet-floor real estate. of paint and pat yourself on the back. Job done! CAN HANDLE A SAW: A small rack, — CTW Features perfectly sized for about 12 cookbooks, is

Projects by skill level

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While she admits building her own furniture was a little intimidating at first, now she says it’s addictive. She recommends that newbie woodworkers start small. “You wouldn’t try to cook a five-course meal your first time in a kitchen, so don’t start building furniture expecting to make something like big builtins,” she says. Instead, find plans for basic shelving or something else straightforward, like a child’s stepstool, says Bruce Johnson, a refinishing expert, author and television personality. “There’s lots of time to

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SEEDS

Get a headstart on your

Caring for your new seedlings

Garden

Starting seeds indoors gives you a jump on the growing season U OF I EXTENSION SERVICE

University of Illinois Horticulture Educator Kelly Allsup says there are added benefits to starting your garden seed indoors. Garden seed started indoors has a higher germination rate, produces more uniform growth when placed in the garden, is cheaper, offers better selection and can give you a jump start on the growing season. Starting seed can be very easy if you remember the three requirements of seed germination: water, oxygen and temperature. Water breaks the seed coat allowing for oxygen to enter. Oxygen is needed to allow respiration. Respiration is required to allow the cotyledon (embryonic shoot) to access the stored energy in the endosperm therefore allowing growth. Temperature plays a substantial role in seed germination because seed will not germinate under temperature extremes. “Planting time for vegetable seeds started indoors depends on when the seedling needs to be transplanted in the garden,” said Maurice Ogutu. “This time may vary from four to 14 weeks.” For example, if the indoor start is done in relation to the last frost, the times are as follow: Ten weeks: broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and head lettuce; Seven weeks: tomato,

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eggplant, and pepper; and Four weeks: cucumber, muskmelon, squash, and watermelon. Here are the steps to take for successful garden seed germination. 1. Choose a location to germinate and grow your seedlings. This can be in front of a south facing window in your home, in a cold frame or in a greenhouse. Cold frames can be easily made out of lumber and plastic or purchased in garden centers. 2. Choose seeds and read the germination requirements on the back of the package. Some seeds germinate faster than other seeds. This information is crucial when timing your plants to be ready for the garden. For instance, cucumber, melon, squash, radish, beets, herbs and peas germinate faster than broccoli, cabbage, pepper, tomatoes, eggplant and brussel sprouts. The amount of

Page 8 Friday, March 22, 2013 The Southern Illinoisan

time to germinate also depends on temperature. 3. Gather supplies needed to start your seed. A plug tray, plastic inserts in a flat that you may have leftover from buying plants or peat pots are the best vessels to start seed. Fill trays with a high-quality germination mix composed of peat moss, vermiculite and/or bark rather than average garden soil to ensure good drainage. Use fluorescent lights mounted over the seed trays or heating pads placed under seed trays to reach optimal temperature for seed germination. Use a water spray bottle to water plants while they are young.

This information will also be on the seed package. Either sprinkle a thin layer of germination mix or push seed down with the tip of a pencil. 6. Use water bottle to finely mist the soil media until saturation. 7. Cover with glass or clear plastic tucking under the sides of the plug tray to ensure moisture at all times. Germinating seeds must be kept moist. Remove plastic daily and only spritz the cells that have dried out.

8. Place the plug tray on heat mats or place lights over them to emit extra heat. The optimal heat for germinating seed is 77 to 86 degrees. Use a thermometer to 4. Pack trays with germination mix, tapping tray on hard surface determine the temperature of your rooting media. to ensure all spaces are filled. 5. Use finger to create indention in the soil. Place 1 or 2 seeds in the divot. The general rule of thumb is bury the seed the same depth of the size of the seed; 1:1.

9. Once one seed has germinated, remove plastic or glass to prevent damping off (fungal disease) of young seedlings.

Congratulations, you have germinated seeds like a real professional. However there is more to know to make sure this new seedling makes it to the garden in good health. Please follow these steps for successful garden seedling care. 1. New seedlings need light. The fluorescent light you originally had to heat the seeds will now provide light for photosynthesis. The best indoor light situation is the combination of natural light from a south facing window and the addition of fluorescent lights. Place fluorescent lights 6 to 8 inches above the seedlings. 2. Once all seedlings have emerged, remove plug flat from heating mats. 3. Use water sprayer to individually spray dry cells in plug flat to prevent overwatering. 4. Once first leaves are on the seedling, fertilize with weak fertilizer (1 to 2 teaspoons per gallon of water) using a watering can that is designed to make the water trickle out. Fertilize additional times if plants are slow to start or nutrient deficiencies are evident. 5. Be conscientious of timing. Our last frost free date in Zone 5B is April 15. Cool weather vegetables can be planted earlier and covered if frost comes. Most seeds take 7 to 10 days to germinate and 2 to 8 weeks to grow in their plug flat before planting in the garden. This amount of time varies with temperature, light and kind of garden seed. 6. Harden off plants by placing outside for a few days before planting. This allows plants to acclimate to the environment. Congratulations you are ready to plant your vegetable garden and enjoy the fruits of your labor. — U of I Extension Service


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able to provide in a large in-ground garden. Container gardening The popularity of allows you to enjoy container gardening has growing plants in places exploded. Plants in that might be thought of containers are showing up as impossible or everywhere. From the unthinkable in which to front porches of plant. bungalows to the rooftops Poor soil or no place to of urban high-rises to the put plants in the ground is streets of Main Street no longer an excuse for not U.S.A. plants in pots can being able to enjoy the be found. simple pleasures of Container gardening in gardening. European countries is Container gardening almost an artform where allows you to create the passion for gardening special gardens to fit any is not diminished because situation. You may grow of lack of space. Gardens special plants that need a show up in window boxes, bit more attention to soil balconies and decorative and water than you are pots filled with flowers,

vegetables and herbs on the most modest of properties. With these gardens, individual plants can take on an entirely new look when displayed in containers highlighting the plant’s unique color, texture and form. Combination planters using a variety of plant material achieve the look of a “bouquet with roots” providing color throughout the season. Containers also allow gardeners to provide instant color anywhere and at anytime.

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The Southern Illinoisan Friday, March 22, 2013 Page 9


CONTAINERS

Choosing and combining plants Think of a container garden as a living flower (and foliage) arrangement with roots!

z What look do you desire? Are you interested in something harmonious, dramatic or soothing? z For a long period of enjoyment, keep the plants looking attractive by making sure the roots

are healthy, and the foliage receives the light it needs to make its own food. z Just one kind of plant in a container is the simplest to maintain. z Plants that thrive in

like soil, watering and light conditions make successful combinations. z When combining plants, size, texture, proportion, color, setting and lighting all play a role. — U of I Extension Service

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What veggies grow in containers If you have a passion for vegetable gardening, consider growing vegetables in containers. Vegetables and even flowers and herbs grown in containers can be placed or moved to any spot such as windows, balconies, patios and doorsteps where there is full sun. The vegetables suitable for container gardening are the ones that require small spaces — particularly the dwarf or determinate types that bear fruit or other harvestable parts over a longer period of time. They usually require full sun, more than six hours of sunlight a

day — or partial shade, three to six hours of morning or early afternoon sunlight a day. Full sun: Most fruit bearing vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash and eggplant require full sun. More shade: Leafy vegetables such as lettuce, cabbage, collards, mustard greens, spinach and parsley can tolerate a more shady location compared to the root vegetables such as turnips, beets, radishes, carrots and onions. Most herbs can perform well in full sun and partial shade locations. — U of I Extension Service

Choosing containers Anything that holds soil and has drainage holes in the bottom may be transformed into a container garden for terrestrial plants. Consider eye appeal, convenience and cost, when choosing a container. Also think about how easy it will be keep the plants healthy. For vibrant plant growth, the containers must provide adequate space for roots and soil media, allowing the plant to thrive. Use containers of vigorous plants to provide focal points: z Divide outdoor rooms

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z Create privacy z Screen objectionable views z Accent the landscape z Grow tasty herbs, fruits and vegetables. Your choice of container (along with choice of plants) communicates feelings and sets a mood. It can be amusing, a statement of value, clever, loud, quiet, classy, creative, solid, sophisticated, stylish, primitive, homespun, environmentally friendly, understated, matched and more. — U of I Extension Service

FROM PAGE 9 maintained and longContainers can change lasting container just the entire look of a doesn’t happen. When a landscape. few basic principles are Even when there is applied, even first-time ample room to garden in gardeners can create and the ground, well-placed maintain attentioncontainers within the grabbing containers. garden can provide easyWith appropriate to-achieve seasonal containers and proper changes as well as bold handling, anything that statements. can be grown in the Successful container ground can be grown in a gardeners know that a container. good looking, well-


OUTDOOR LIGHTING

Shedding light on your options Ideas abound for illuminating your yard BY MELISSA RAYWORTH

chandeliers on patios or decks that are covered: “They’re an excellent way to make any humdrum Many Americans have outdoor space feel like an embraced outdoor actual room.” decorating, filling their But, he says, choose yards with fluffy sofas, wisely: “To get them right, gleaming end tables and you’ve got to take scale and even outdoor rugs. But what happens when proportion into consideration. Install one the sun goes down? that’s too small, and it will Chris Lambton, look like an afterthought. landscape designer and Install one that’s too big or host of HGTV’s “Going Yard,” advises his clients to hangs too low, and it will completely overwhelm the give as much thought to space.” the lighting of their Flynn also recommends outdoor space as they do to using floor lamps and table the furnishings. lamps designed for outdoor Forget yesterday’s use. Prices vary widely glaring porch light, he (from more than $1,000 to says. You can now choose from a wide range of much less than $100), so he suggests hunting online for subtler lighting options. Many are inexpensive and deals and the perfect style. Another option: Create stylish enough to quickly your own outdoor fixture. turn a basic patio into a Many electricians can chic entertaining space. rewire your favorite indoor Here Lambton and two lighting to be safely used other outdoor decorating outside, Lambton says. experts — Los Angeles“Search for whatever based designers Jeff Andrews and Brian Patrick fixture you like,” he says, “then put an outdoor Flynn — offer advice on the newest, most attractive conduit in and attach it to a switch.” and safest options for outdoor lighting.

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Go vintage Indulge your indoor style Many indoor furniture designs and fabrics are now available as outdoor items, Lambton says, and the same goes for lighting. Companies are creating outdoor versions of their most popular indoor lamps and fixtures. Flynn is a fan of outdoor

“Vintage is always a key to good lighting,” Andrews says, “indoors and outdoors.” “Recently I got these really cool, inexpensive Moroccan lanterns” with a vintage look. Rather than simply displaying them on a table, he hung them from outdoor branches. “I had

AP

A light-up plastic planter is used in an outdoor family room to give it nighttime use. For the planter to work, it simply requires being plugged into a nearby outlet with its attached cord and an extension cord.

them wired for outside and hid the wires in the trees,” he explains. When the vintage lanterns glow from the tree branches at night, it gives the yard a “romantic and kind of European feel.”

Forget the flood light Rather than one or two bright porch lights, all three designers suggest using a variety of softer lights. Lambton has used faux stone blocks with LED lights hidden inside, alongside traditional lighting. Flynn has done the same with illuminated planters. “Sneaking in ambient light in unexpected ways is something I love to do,” Flynn says. “In Los Angeles, I turned the middle of a family’s Los Feliz backyard into a fullfledged family room, comfy sectional sofa and all. To bring light to the space, I used modern, plastic

planters that light up. They have cords on the back of them, and connect to exterior outlets. Once turned on, a light bulb inside the transparent plastic illuminates and the entire area glows softly. This is so genius because it requires no electrician whatsoever.” Even simpler options: thin strips of lights that can be attached along the underside of deck railings, or strands of lights in the shape of everything from simple bulbs to stars, hearts or jalapeno peppers strung overhead. No matter which style of light you choose, Andrews says, add dimmers to your outdoor light switches. “Everything in the world,” he says, “needs to be on a dimmer.”

Go beyond your deck or patio Don’t forget to light the far reaches of your yard, Lambton says. It will make

AP

An excellent way to help control harsh sunlight in an outdoor space is to use a shade sail. Designer Brian Patrick Flynn for Hayneedle.com made this backyard a bit more kid-friendly by covering a portion of it with a bold orange shade sail.

your property feel bigger and banish the feeling of being enveloped by darkness when you entertain outside. It costs little to place a few small, solar-powered lights at the bases of trees and shrubs. He also suggests attaching a few to tree branches. “And I love to uplight ornamental grasses,” Lambton says. “It adds nice depth to the yard.”

Don’t forget the fire Fire pits of all sizes — from huge outdoor fireplaces to small tabletop containers — provide golden, flickering light for your outdoor space. Display a collection of pillar candles in varying sizes (battery-powered or real), either clustered on their own or tucked inside large, glass lanterns to “add a bit of sparkle” to your yard, Andrews says. Or create an outdoor chandelier with candles: “I

tend to try my hand at rustic do-it-yourself ideas,” Flynn says. “In my own outdoor dining room, I suspended a candelabra made from reclaimed pine planks, rope, mason jars and tea lights above the dining table. When my family comes over for pizza night, it creates the perfect ambience.”

Combine safety and beauty Home improvement stores and websites offer a huge array of options for lighting outdoor pathways and deck stairs, adding beauty while making your space safer. And what about the safety of leaving lighting out in all weather? If it’s outdoor-rated, Andrews says, it should be fine. But keep your climate in mind. Flynn prefers not to leave “most lighting sources out year-round unless an outdoor space is covered,” he says.

The Southern Illinoisan Friday, March 22, 2013 Page 11


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