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Spruce up for Spring

Get Your Home & Garden Ready For The Season


S2 Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Spruce up for Spring Pre–summer home fitness checklist month on the water bill. Conserve per mon water, and money, by replacing your w drippy faucet. Keep drains in tip– the drip shape by pouring a cup of baking top sha by a cup of vinegar down soda followed fol drains on a monthly basis. the drai Air conditioner: Scheduling an annual maintenance for the air condiwill help ensure its fitness for the tioner w summer ahead. Check the SEER rating SEER rating uses up to thirty per – a 13 S less energy than a 10 SEER unit. cent les Check hhow old the unit is as well, and when the last maintenance was perlist whe formed for easy reference.

Spring fever is hitting across Canada and with that comes the urge to get everything in shape for summer, whether it’s achieving bathing–suit fitness, getting the lawn and garden suited up for entertaining or checking the fitness of the lesser seen areas of the home for warm weather. Namely the inner workings like the air conditioner, changing the furnace filters and programming the thermostat for warmer temperatures. Homeowners should make a little checklist, much like the one a doctor prepares for an annual physical, to track the age and maintenance history of each appliance. For instance, do you know the age of your heating and cooling equipment? When did you last get the ducts cleaned? Can you remember when the last maintenance was performed on your air conditioner or furnace? When was the last time the fur-

nace filters were changed?

Here are a few pointers help i t tto h l fill outt your own home fitness checklist: Furnace: Bet we caught you off guard with this tip. What many homeowners don’t know is that the furnace also serves the home in the summertime by circulating cooled air from the air conditioner. But there’s nothing like being prepared in advance, so mark it down in your calendar to book your annual furnace maintenance before heating season rolls around. While you’re at it, check what efficiency your furnace is working at, how old it is, and when the last maintenance was performed.

Taps and drains: It’s pretty shocking to think that one dripping tap can waste up to 15 gallons of water a day. This boils down to approximately $15

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011 S3

Spruce up

for Spring

Barbecue Buying 101 Once summer arrives, we all want to enjoy the sunshine, warm weather and home grilled fare!

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• Natural gas – Natural gas barbecues are ideal for the experienced grill master. They heat up quickly and have the highest BTUs (British thermal units) for cooking. They do require a natural gas line connection for setup, but once you have it, they offer an endless supply of fuel.

• Charcoal – Charcoal is the ideal choice for the grilling enthusiast who loves an authentic smoky flavour. Charcoal units can be slow to heat up, so if time is concern, consider purchasing a charcoal barbecue with a gas-ignition system.

• Propane gas – Propane gas barbecues are a good choice for both the seasoned and novice griller. Similar to natural gas barbecues, they heat up quickly and provide high level of BTUs for cooking. For those looking to acces-

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S4 Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Spruce up for Spring

Wednesday, April 27, 2011 S5

Great gardening options for anyone, anywhere Vegetable container gardening for all types of spaces Opportunities to have a veggie and herb garden are everywhere. No space is too small to embrace and enjoy the benefits of fresh veggies and herbs. Are you curious to know how green your thumb really is? Vegetable container gardening is a great way to start a hobby with little or even no level of gardening experience. The container gardening trend is steadily on the rise. Its popularity stems from it being so simple, and fun, with a low maintenance appeal. “Growing your own vegetables and herbs helps increase your family’s daily vitamin requirements, especially when adding fresh, wonderful flavours and produce into your meals daily,” says Jeff Howe, president of Fernlea Flowers. “I find healthy eating is much easier when the best ingredients are available at your own convenience.” Adds Howe, “This season, anyone can have an instant garden. Growing

‘six in one’ assorted variety packs of tomatoes or peppers, means you can enjoy having a sampling of all the hardy favourites. The six– packs include the best flavourful tomatoes and peppers, which can successfully flourish in patio containers. What a great way to kick start the gardening season early.” Cherry tomatoes taste sweet, are low in calories, high in vitamins A and C and have beneficial amounts of fibre, iron and potassium. They are also loaded with disease–preventing carotenoids which are particularly important in battling cancer and heart disease. Tomatoes play a key role in maintaining a healthy immune system. “The Bonnie Plant tomato varieties – such as yellow pear, pink lady, celebrity, and super sweet 100 – are only a few of the most popular at your local retailer or nursery,” says Howe. “Depending on the variety, the seedlings produce gorgeous tomatoes, coloured in hues ranging from bright red/purple to golden orange/fuchsia –– perfect for punching up summer salads with vibrant colour while providing a

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fresh, mouth watering sweet or tangy taste. Veggies and herbs are easy to grow in containers and produce a large harvest in a small space. Cherry tomatoes, for example, should be ready to pick about two months after planting. Choose a sunny spot and follow the directions to aid the best gardening g g

practices for optimizing plant growth and health. For more tips on growing and descriptions of each available variety, visit www.bonnieplants.ca. For buying the freshest plants, click on the garden centre locator for arrival times of these seedlings at your nearest retailer.

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S6 Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Spruce up

for Spring

Top 10 dream home features If you were given a chance to design a dream home, what features would you choose first? Take a look at the most popular wish list in 2011: 1. Curb appeal. Home exterior, driveway and landscaping must attract admiring attention. 2. Concrete and natural stone, rather than wood framing and brick. These homes are not only beautiful, they are stonger, more sound resistant and far more energy efficient than wood frames and brick. 3. Maximum energy efficiency throughout from top to bottom. 4. Solar panels in the roof to generate a personal energy source.

5. A large, designer kitchen with natural stone countertops and futuristic appliances, cabinetry and waterworks. 6. Natural hardwood flooring like Brazilian cherry and sustainable bamboo. 7. A sunroom, a front porch, and a backyard finished patio. 8. Vessel sinks, or freestanding bowls above the bathroom countertop, accompanied by wall-mounted faucets. 9. Bedroom walk out or balcony. 10. Designer bathtubs and walk-in shower with marble tile, a seating bench and rainfall showerhead. www.newscanada.com

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S8 Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Spruce up

for Spring

Drought Management Turf Tips 1. Kentucky Bluegrass requires 1 inch of grass per week (including rain!) to stay green, but requires 1/2 of that to stay alive. With lack of water bluegrass will go dormant and return to it’s lush green color once watering resumes. 2. Watering twice per week (1/4”) over everyday is recommended as it encourages a deep healthy root system. 3. Mow your grass to a height of 21/2 - 3 inches. Taller grass shades the roots and soil surface which helps

reduce the amount of water that is lost to evaporation. 4. Topsoil is the best retainer of water and the recommended substrate below turf. 5. Fertilize 2-3 times per year to encourage a healthy root system. 6. Water between the hours of 4 & 8am to minimize water evaporation and always avoid watering during rainy or windy weather conditions.

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9848 Aberdeen Road, Coldstream, BC V1B 2K8 For more information about the sale, please contact the RDNO at 250-550-3700 Earth Machine Composter and Green Cone Digester PRE-SALE BEGINS Purchase one of the remaining Earth Machines for $40 (HST included) while quantities last. Composter vouchers will be available at the RDNO office beginning March 28th. Payment by cash, or debit card is accepted. Composters will be available for pick up May 14th, 2011 from 9:00 am to Noon at the Greater Vernon RDF. Vouchers will be required to pick up composters on May 14th.

Pre-order a Green Cone Digester for $80 (HST included) from March 28th – April 29th at the RDNO office. Payment by cash, or debit card is accepted. Green Cones will be available by PRE-ORDER ONLY. Pick up will be May 14th from 12pm to 3pm at the Xerindipity Garden. Join the 1:00 pm Xerindipity workshop and learn how to use your new Green Cone Digester. For more information about the Green Cone go online to www.greencone.ca.


Wednesday, April 27, 2011 S9

Spruce up

Vernon Home Owners are Saving Big on Hydro Bills

for Spring

Spend more time relaxing ... Gardening ranks as one of the most popular leisure–time activities in Canada. Even so, most of us who garden would not put weeding or watering on our list of favourite garden chores. That’s why low–maintenance gardening is catching on in a big way. “Many homeowners want a landscape plan that requires less labour but still looks well maintained,” says Home Hardware’s garden expert, Mark Cullen. “With some thoughtful planning, you can create a garden that demands less maintenance time and allows more time to enjoy your surroundings with friends and family.” Most of the success you will experience in your garden will result from proper soil preparation. All soil benefits from a yearly application of organic matter. Without it, soil becomes less fertile over time. By adding 2 to 4 centimetres of new organic material such as finished compost, or well–rotted manure in either the spring or fall, you will provide your lawn and garden with nutrients to last all year long. Another smart option for low–maintenance gardens is to choose drought– tolerant plants, says Cullen. These

plants need regular watering their first year to get established, after which they will require less. Some winter hardy, low maintenance plants include purple cone flower, shasta daisies, yarrow, and day lilies. When planting, Cullen suggests adding Mark’s Choice water wicks below the roots of new plants. The water wick holds water near the roots, reducing the need to water new plants by up to 50 per cent. “Mulch is the low–maintenance gardener’s secret weapon,” says Cullen. Among its many benefits, mulch will improve the nutrient content of soil, reduce weeding and the need to water and protect the soil from temperature fluctuations. www.newscanada.com

Vernon home owners are discovering cove an inexpensive and innovative nova new way to cool their homes hom without using electricity. With hydro rates steadily rising risin and increasing environmental men concerns, many Vernon residents resid are realizing the benefi efits fits of using an exterior shade scre product. Developed in screen the Sun-Belt states like Arizona and California; exterior shade shad screens have proven to be the most effective and economical way to cool a home or R.V. These screens block up to 90% of the sun’s heat and lower interior temperatures by up to 10° Celsius and they don’t block your view like blinds or drapes. Studies by the U.S. Dept of Housing and Urban Development have proven that shade screens on the outside of the window is up to 7 times more effective at stopping heat than blinds, drapes or shade products on the inside. The state of California even offers a rebate program to Califorre nians nian who install exterior shade screens. This reduces the huge scre drain air conditioners have on California’s energy supply. Cali According to the U.S. Dept A of Energy, air conditioners use E

up to 16% of U.S. electricity and consume 43% of the U.S. peak power load in the summer. “Shade screens have replaced awnings as the most popular method of stopping the heat” says Ray Waddell, owner of local awning company, Central Tarp & Awning. “We’ve installed shade products for over 25 years in the Vernon area and the exterior shade screen product, EZ Snap™ Exterior Shades, have become the #1 method used to cool homes. They are very effective and costs about 75% less than awnings”, says Waddell. With over 2000 hot sunshine hours a year in the Okanagan, the use of exterior shade screens will continue its rapid growth. Like fluorescent lighting, exterior shade screens are one of those rare products that actually pays for itself through energy savings. For more information on how exterior shade screens will save you money, contact Central Tarp and Awning at 549-5251 and view their web-site at www.centraltarp.com or the EZ Snap web site at www.ezsnapdirect.com. Finally we can block the heat without blocking the view.

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S10 Wednesday, April 27, 2011

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for Spring

Light up your outdoor nightlife... When the stars come out, you don’t have to head indoors. With the right lighting, your backyard can become the perfect spot to entertain long after the sun goes down. Take the same approach to lighting your exterior as you would your interior. Combine several types – ambient, accent, task and decorative to set an intimate or dramatic mood. Lighting should serve both functional and aesthetic purposes – ensuring safety and beautifying your landscape. Spotlight please: By illuminating objects from below, such as a tree or fountain, you can create dramatic focal points. The effect you achieve depends on the angle of the light. For instance, if you want to emphasize the texture of a tree trunk, install lights near its base. If you want to illuminate the leaves, place lighting further away. To maximize visual impact, choose only one or two focal points.

Keep it gentle: Similar to ambient light indoors, area light is general floodlighting that washes larger spaces in a soft glow. Use it to gently illuminate sections of lawn, hedges, patios or conversation corners. That’s entertainment: Solar lights that look like patio lanterns or are encased within stepping stones, are creative and decorative ways to light your yard for outdoor entertaining. Consider adding lights to a patio umbrella or string fairy lights along the sides and top of your gazebo to simulate a starry night. Time it: Low–voltage and energy–efficient lights like LEDs on a timer are a great way to illuminate your yard at night and keep costs in check. www.newscanada.com

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Spruce up for Spring

Wednesday, April 27, 2011 S11

Simple tips to ensure a home–safe–home Home Safe Home... but is it? According to the Home Safety Council (HSC), home–related injuries result in nearly 20,000 deaths and 21 million medical visits every year, with the top three culprits including falls, poisonings, and fires and burns. Since we know these leading injury causes, we should be able to avoid them – right? Unfortunately, that’s not the case. A recent HSC survey showed that while 92 percent of homeowners think about home safety often, only one–third were able to name a precaution they had actually implemented at home. Be sure to complete a few simple home updates to help protect you and your loved ones from these top home dangers. Fight Against Falls Did you know that a person who lives to be 75 years old will have spent an average of 1.5 years in the bathroom? That’s why it’s essential that this highly–used room be as safe as possible. Grab bars are an easy and effective

solution to avoiding falls. Products such as grab bars with integrated accessories combine the safety benefits of a grab bar with three common bath essentials – a towel bar, a toilet paper holder and a shelf – making each bath functional and fashionable. Next, add a motion–sensor nightlight in the washroom – or in the hall outside the washroom – to provide a well–lit path for nighttime visits. The illumination will allow you to see where you’re going and avoid any potential tripping hazards.

as adding child–proof locks on cabinets or purchasing and installing a medicine or storage cabinet with a built–in lock for added safety. Banish Burns Thank goodness 93 percent of adults report working smoke alarms in their homes. However, some burns occur without any smoke. In fact, more than 112,000 emergency room visits occur

each year from hot tap water scald burns. To prevent tap water burns, simply turn your hot water heater down below 48 degrees Celsius. Finally, never leave potential fire hazards, such as space heaters, candles, irons, curling irons or food on the stove, unattended. In no time at all, your home will be better equipped to fend off the top three home safety hazards. www.newscanada.com

Prevent Poisoning Accidental poisoning is the second leading cause of unintentional home injury deaths. Luckily, preventing these poisonings can be simple. To start, do nothing. That’s right – keep all cleaners, chemicals and medications in their original containers with labels to ensure that they are all used properly and not mistaken for another product. Next, ensure that all poisonous items and medications are locked and out of reach of children. This can be as simple

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S12 Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Spruce up

for Spring

Grow a green healthy lawn the natural way Preventative maintenance is the secret to a healthy lawn during the dry, summer months. By following some basic rules, you can maintain a beautiful lawn and garden this summer, whatever the weather. “Mowing is essential to the health of your lawn,” says gardening expert, Mark Cullen. “Grasses are like most plants; if you clip off the growing points they will produce new shoots and become denser.” Cullen says that maintaining a healthy height for your lawn also helps to keep weeds under control by crowding them out and helps protect grass roots from drying out. The best clipping height is approximately 5 to 7 centimetres. Watering is also essential to keeping your lawn green and healthy. When your lawn is actively growing in the spring and fall seasons, an effective watering technique is to provide no more than 2 to 3 centimetres of water per week to keep it looking green and healthy. This will establish deeper roots resulting in a more drought–resistant lawn. “To save on water and maintenance time, you may want to invest in a soaker hose,” says Cullen. He recommends a soaker hose to gently water where it is needed most – the root zone. “It is also essential to use a sprinkler that reliably delivers water to both the largest and smallest areas of your yard,” says Cullen. “The heart shaped water ‘breaker’ shatters water droplets into a fine mist, improving the delivery of

water to the root zone of the lawn by 30 per cent.” Cullen also says that using mulch is nature’s way of recycling as it decomposes and transforms organic material into nutrient rich soil. An excellent source for your lawn is grass clippings, so try to refrain from bagging them when you mow. It is important to take the necessary steps to ensure a healthy and beautiful lawn. By following these simple tips, you can maintain a lawn that provides a natural, safe surface where your family can play and relax. www.newscanada.com

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Spruce up for Spring

Wednesday, April 27, 2011 S13

Fast Fixes for a Fabulous Bath If your bathroom looks better with the door closed, it may be time for an update. Make some big–impact changes without spending big bucks. A trip to your home improvement store and a weekend of elbow grease is all you need to transform your bath from boring to beautiful.

Fabulous Faucets As the focal point of the vanity and one of the most used items in the bath – update your current faucet with a new stylish design in a beautiful finish. Your local home improvement store has a wide variety to meet your design needs – and be sure to also look for water– saving models to help the environment… and your water bills.

Paint Perfection Once you’ve chosen your new faucet, you’ll want to coordinate the finish with the rest of the metal surfaces throughout the room for a cohesive look. Luckily, you don’t need to purchase all new products – simply a few cans of quality primer and spray paint

will do the trick. To start, remove all your cabinet hardware, bathroom accessories, shower curtain rods – and even non–metallic surfaces, such as light switch plate covers – and spray them with primer. Then add a few coats of brushed metallic spray paint in popular bathroom finishes like brushed nickel or oil rubbed bronze. . Once you have removed the accessories and hardware, it’s the perfect time to add a splash of colour to the walls. Some of the newest colour trends for 2011 include nature–inspired hues, such as rich greens and warm golds, so spice up your space with your favourite shade. Once all the paint is dry, reinstall your accessories and hardware and you’ll be amazed with the dramatic results.

Finishing Touches Now that the majority of the bathroom update is complete, it’s time to add the final elements that truly personalize the space. Hang a piece of art that

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With these simple updates, your boring bath will soon be beautiful. Plus, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that you did it yourself without spending a fortune. www.newscanada.com

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S14 Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Spruce up

RETRACTABLE SCREEN DOORS

for Spring

10 ways to make your home more energy efficient Consider these energy efficiency upgrades prior to buying or constructing your new home: 1. Choose ENERGY STAR® qualified windows and doors 2. Upgrade the attic insulation

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011 S15

Save money and energy this spring Looking to save some money in the run–up to summer? Did you know that a simple home renovation can benefit both your wallet and the environment? It’s true and it’s a project any handy homeowner can complete in as little as a weekend. “Something as easy as re–insulating the attic can provide homeowners with short and long term benefits, which include increasing the energy efficiency of their home,” says David Flood, insulation expert at Owens Corning. “By topping up the insulation in your attic to the recommended standard, you can cut down on energy bills and help save up to 28** per cent on your heating and cooling costs as a result.” Re–insulating your attic to meet the recommend standard of R–50 by installing up to 15 inches of PINK™ FIBERGLAS® insulation batts, you can help cut down on energy bills now and also help reduce the impact on the environment. Taking on this simple home renovation project, you will help

avoid high energy costs resulting from prolonged A/C this summer – which means more cash in your wallet. By using new and innovative products like Owens Corning’s new EcoTouch™ PINK™ FIBERGLAS® insulation batts, you can feel comfort in knowing that you are helping to save on energy bills and reducing up to a half ton** of greenhouse gas emissions year after year. EcoTouch™ PINK™ FIBERGLAS® insulation is a sustainable products that is made from natural materials and over 70 per cent recycled content, the highest amount of recycled content in the industry. In addition to the monthly savings* you’ll receive on energy costs, there are additional provincial and municipal grants available for homeowners who conduct energy efficient renovations. For more information about available grants visit www.showmethegreen.ca. www.newscanada.com

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S16 Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Spruce up

for Spring

Mow your lawn easily and effortlessly with new Turn Tight Technology Mowing a large lawn seems like such a simple task and it can be if you have a yard or garden tractor with the right features. Turn Tight Technology enables homeowners to manicure their lawn quickly and easily while reducing the amount of gas needed to get the job done. This is because Turn Tight technology features an innovative steering system to help the user closely mow around objects, like garden gnomes, and quickly and easily cut grass around tight spaces created by trees and flower beds without the need to reverse. Turn Tight Technology is an innovative steering system that offers a tighter

turning radius to be able to efficiently mow around obstacles, such as garden beds and shrubs, without using the reverse motion. This means that in many instances you do not have to get off your tractor to complete the job manually. For open areas, a tight turning radius is important as it allows users to quickly turn around and mow parallel to the last mowed swath in the opposite direction. Tractors with a large turning radius require more time and more use of the reverse gear to properly position the unit for parallel path mowing. www.newscanada.com

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Spruce up for Spring

Wednesday, April 27, 2011 S17

How do you make a garden grow? Due to Canada’s vast size and diverse climate, it’s not surprising it has nine planting zones! So understanding which plants and flowers grow best in your region requires a little research. Get started with these helpful planting tips:

Vegetable Growing 101 The type of vegetables you can grow depends on temperature. Generally, in early spring or for cool areas, you should stick with hardy vegetables that thrive in cool soil and air. These include cabbage, cauliflower, carrots and potatoes. Not until warm temperatures arrive can you start planting tomatoes, cucumbers, beans and corn. Fortunately, container gardening gives Canadians all year access to some of their favourite fresh herbs!

Flower Power Your local garden centre will be a valuable resource in helping you make

the right selections for your garden. They carry the bulbs, flowers, shrubs and trees that will thrive most in your region and can provide guidance on where and when to plant for best results. Annuals, especially young seedlings, are susceptible to frost damage – so wait to plant until the soil feels warm. Perennial planting is best a season in advance, during summer or early fall weather. Planting at this time allows for maximum root growth even in cold weather.

The Garden Anchors Because of their hardy make-up, trees and shrubs survive well in both hot and cold temperatures. In Canada, deciduous types, including fir, pine, spruce, cypress and maple are very popular. And evergreens, in their variety of shapes and sizes offer homeowners an ideal landscaping option. www.newscanada.com

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Spruce up

for Spring

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Build safety into your renovation plans Renovation projects are a great way to add value to your home and make it more comfortable. Many homeowners know that renovating can be a big and sometimes overwhelming job. From budgets and timelines to choosing designs and décor, there is always a long list of details to consider and decisions to make. One of the critical elements is to plan with safety in mind while preparing for your renovation project. Build safety into your renovation plans by keeping this checklist top of mind. •Plan ahead – It’s important to plan ahead and account for the time it will take to get municipal building permits, finalize details or identify any utility lines (such as natural gas or electric) that run through your property before you start working on your project. •Investigate before you renovate – Natural gas pipes can run throughout your home, delivering the energy you use to heat your home or cook your food. Neverassume you know where

REALTOR® . ABR. Interior Designer. AIOP

the pipes are located within your house, or what’s running through them. Before you begin your project, hire a licensed heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) contractor to identify any pipes and what’s inside them. Even during the most routine renovation projects you could damage these pipes, which could pose a serious safety risk. •Leave room for air – If your renovation plans involve modifying the space around your furnace, water heater or appliances, be sure you leave room for them to breathe. Confirm with your licensed HVAC contractor that there will be adequate ventilation and combustion air for your natural gas, and other fuel–burning appliances, to work safely and efficiently.

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•Call Before You Dig – Before building a deck, installing a fence or starting any other outdoor renovation project that involves digging or excavating, remember to contact your local utility office they will locate buried utility lines in your yard. www.newscanada.com

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Spruce up for Spring

Wednesday, April 27, 2011 S19

Home décor trends: what’s hot for 2011

Black is back – Black and smoked finishes are back in kitchens, furniture, lighting fixtures and accessories. Whether replacing your old fridge with a sleek black one or simply opening up a space with glossy black framed mirrors, throw a little black into the mix. Private screening – Many of today’s homes offer an open and airy layout concept, making room dividers an option to create some privacy where needed. Some stylish alternatives to the traditional include mirrors and drapery. If lack of storage is a factor, consider a shelving unit that is open on both sides so that various décor items, baskets and books can be stylishly stored while functionally working to divide a room. Utilitarian – Military trends that

have been so popular on fashion runways have also entered the home for 2011. Pairing industrial–style accessories such as brushed nickel fixtures with contemporary home décor can add a chic update. New laundry – Laundry appliances have gone from functional to fashionable. With stainless steel finishes, advanced LED technology and silent load capabilities, appliances are being taken out of the back room and placed in kitchens to show them off and open closets for more accessible usage. The Home office – Today’s home offices are versatile in look, function, form – even location. When decorating the home office, think beyond the typical filing cabinets and look to incorporate floating shelves, brightly painted peg boards and even decorative light fixtures. If you are tight on space consider an office closet. Simply add shelving to create storage, a small desk and wall paper for a little décor.

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S20 Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Spruce up

for Spring

Home renovations made easy From experts to novices, ambitious renovators to weekend warriors, do–it– yourselfers all look for products and tools that help to complete easy, affordable projects with professional results. This spring, Lowe’s (lowes.ca) recommends the following new product innovations to help you get the job done: Tiling – for a new twist on a tiling project, consider using the Bondera Tile Matset which makes for quick, easy tile installation. Just peel and stick the tiles to the special mortar mat, and they’re ready to grout immediately without the use of special tools or mixing. Insulation – save energy and money on heating and cooling bills by using insulating sealants to seal gaps in the home’s exterior and help maintain consistent air temperature year–round. A product like Touch ‘n Foam provides easy installation by expanding quickly to fill cavities and gaps around sources g The air–tight g application pp of air leakage.

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Demolition – there are certain elements of a project that can seem daunting or better left to the ‘pros’. Whether excavating rock or breaking marble, flagstone, limestone, granite or reinforced concrete, DIY’ers can now embark on demolition tasks for home projects with non–explosive demolition agents that can be used for breaking rock and concrete. A product such as EcoBust, is a safe and eco– friendly powder that is mixed with water, poured into pre–drilled holes and then begins to expand and break rock in a controlled environment – without the noise, vibration or explosions often associated with demolitions. www.newscanada.com

7 - 1/4” Circular Saw with 2 built in LED job lights

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011 S21

Spruce up

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Create your summer escape at home When it comes to spending time outside, make the most of the space you have. Whether you have a small yard, simple patio, elaborate deck or sprawling backyard and garden, visit a one– stop shop such as Lowe’s (lowes.ca) where you’ll find everything you need to get started and create your dream outdoor escape. Keep the following in mind when compiling that important outdoor shopping list: Invest in lighting. Make the warm, spring evenings last even longer with outdoor lighting. Look for lights with dimmers for a muted effect. Solar lighting is another great option – they require no wires and are easy to install. Choose durable goods. All–weather patio furnishings are essential for outdoor living. They hold up to the elements, but still look good. Look for sets that feature hand brushed finishes, rust– free frames and UV–protected fabric. Multitask. Make the most of your space with multifunctional furniture. Look for coffee tables that double as beverage coolers or deck boxes that keep clutter at bay and act as a conve-

nient place to store outdoor must– haves. Show off. Highlight your yard’s best features. If you have a beautiful garden or great views, arrange seating so you can enjoy the landscape. Include flowers. Container gardens are a good way to grow fresh, organic herbs and vegetables in a limited space. Planters can be coordinated with patio furnishings and go a long way in creating a vibrant look without the commitment typically involved with keeping up a garden. Personalize. Today’s modern furnishings allow you to create the look and feel of the outdoor space you desire. If you crave peaceful afternoons reading and relaxing, invest in loungers, hammocks and gliders for a serene backyard oasis. If you have a love for entertaining, glam your space up with gazebo chandeliers and formal dining sets such as the Dellinger, available at Lowe’s. With everything available from grills to outdoor kitchens, bistro tables and chairs to formal dining and conversation sets, anything goes! www.newscanada.com

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S22 Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Spruce up

for Spring

Three ways landscaping boosts the value of your home A well–landscaped yard can provide a lot more than good looks. Landscaping can also increase property value, offer home–energy savings and provide privacy and home security. Property value: In contrast to many home improvements, the value of an investment in landscape improvement increases over time, since the growth and maturity of trees and shrubs continues to enhance aesthetic appeal. The value of an attractive landscape to the selling price of a home is often cited at between 10 and 12 per cent. However, a 2009 Virginia State University study concluded that design sophistication was the highest ranked factor to add perceived value of a home, followed by plant size. Thus, securing the services of a landscape design professional could optimize your return on investment. Energy savings: Strategic placement of trees around your home can

significantly reduce monthly utility bills. Deciduous trees, when placed to shade windows that receive a lot of sunshine, can lower energy bills with a lower draw on air conditioning. Since deciduous trees lose their leaves in winter, the sun can shine in during the cooler months, serving to warm the house. To save on heating bills in winter, a thick evergreen hedge can block cold winds from robbing a house of heat. Privacy and security: A thorny hedge at key points around a property provides a good deterrent to intruders. Prickly shrubs around windows can also ward off burglars, but be sure to trim back regularly since shrubs that have grown too tall can have the opposite effect. Trees and shrubs also serve to provide privacy in a yard and to block unwanted views outside your property.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011 S23

April 18 - June 5

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S24 Wednesday, April 27, 2011

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