Pergola kit: An easy way to start a stunning outdoor room

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A pergola can grace your garden with shade, architectural interest and greenery, and make a lovely addition to a garden or patio. Pergolas are a type of gazebo, which is a stand-alone, roofed structure with open sides. They can be freestanding, but unlike gazebos, pergolas can be attached to the home or other building. Sometimes referred to to as an arbor or a trellis, a pergola can also be arched over walkways or mounted over doors or entryways. Often a vine or climbing plant will decorate the posts and roof of a pergola. The roof of the wall-less structure is an open lattice of beams that can support woody vines or a retracting or removable shade cloth.

Build your own wall: a beautiful garden project you can DIY

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Garden walls, those 1-2-foot-high curb appeal darlings, are weekend projects that most do-it-yourself novices can conquer. Spring is coming, and soon Daylight Savings Time will signal us to start dreaming again about that new tree or the raised bed we’ve wanted. This year you can build your own wall - a garden wall! You can construct a decorative and functional wall in your landscape over a weekend. Read through these hints and tricks to spark that DIY spirit.

Beetle bust: Beware of the Emerald Ash Borer

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Have an ash tree? Act fast to beat back the beetles who seek to destroy it. A little beetle is causing a big problem in North America where ash trees are prevalent. Government officials are working hard to fight off the the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) and the billions of dollars of damage the species is poised to unleash on the landscape. Identify your ash trees, watch for signs of infestation throughout the year, and treat the trees preventatively this spring.

Ambient, task and accent lighting ideas for your outdoor room

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Take these well-known interior lighting design tricks outside to make your patio a wonderfully warm and inviting nighttime retreat. Continuous as the stars that shine And twinkle on the Milky Way, They stretched in never-ending line Along the margin of a bay: Ten thousand saw I at a glance, Tossing their heads in sprightly dance. From I Wandered Lonely As a Cloud - William Wordsworth

Herringbone: this classic paver pattern is trending

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Timeless features make a home distinctive. The brickwork pattern for your outdoor walkways or driveways is a place to express the home’s unique character. While there are many layouts and pavers to choose from, the classic herringbone pattern stands the test of time. It looks equally impressive in walkways, patios and driveways.

Sprout some spring: starting plants indoors

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This winter weather can give us a case of cabin fever. If going out isn’t in the cards, bust that boredom by bringing a bit of the outdoors in and starting some seeds inside. Starting up plants from seeds is the least expensive method for populating your garden. It’s also a fun longer-term project for kids that teaches patience and careful attention to detail. Watching seeds grow is fun, and for that you can choose any seed; put it in a pot of soil and see what comes up. However, plants for the garden may take more planning.

New snow removal tools and tricks

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Whether its manual labor or with a machine of some sort, snow removal is a winter necessity for many of us. The “why” is pretty obvious: Life and work must go on. The “how” tends to get highly personal. It’s the age-old problem with a severe-weather twist: how to clear the walkway, the cars, and the driveway of snow. Everyone seems to have one swear-by method to rely on.

3 hot bourbon recipes to warm your winter

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The recent subzero temperatures have kept us all inside. Why not make the best of it? Here are some warm, spiked drinks you may have yet to try. There’s an old tale that a shot of whiskey will warm you up. Indeed, a sip of straight bourbon or whiskey can feel like swallowing embers from your fire pit. Mixing the liquor with some special ingredients can bring the warm feeling without burning your throat.

Winter grilling: roasted tomato soup and crispy cheese sandwiches

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We often think of grilling out on the patio as a summertime activity, but cold weather grilling brings its own unique benefits. Try roasting some ingredients on the grill while a big sourdough loaf or a maple pecan pie warms in the oven inside. Roasted tomato soup paired with crunchy, warm sandwiches warms up the body and spirit in these cold winter months.

Wonderful wood storage: Dress up your stack

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The warmth and crackling goodness of a cozy fire doesn’t have to come with an eyesore of a log pile. Storing wood has never before been so fashionable. One amazing thing about having an outdoor room are the impromptu gatherings around the fire. A night spent out in the cold air is good for our health and our spirits. As that distinct, deep aroma of fall wafts from our fire pits, we cozy up fireside and share a toast with friends and family. Clear skies are perfect for gazing in those quiet moments. We stir only to throw another log on the fire. Don’t let a messy cord of wood break your mood. Many solutions exist for tidy, even chic, storage for the fuel for your fires.

Holiday traditions: Roasted Chestnuts

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We’ve all heard the lyrics but few of us have tried actually roasting chestnuts on an open fire. It’s easier than you may think. Each family has their own traditions with strong roots, some perhaps going back generations. Introducing new rituals into the holidays can seem a bit odd at first, but when friends and family ask for them again and again, you know it’s a tradition that will stick. Roasting chestnuts is one of those traditions that has faded but is experiencing a comeback. Whether in the oven or over an open fire outside or by a cozy fireplace, roasting chestnuts is an easy addition to your holiday fun.

Rumble under the patio: outside earthquake damage to look for

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On November 30, 2017, an earthquake shook the area of Dover, Delaware. Rumblings of the quake, which measured 4.1 on the Richter scale, were felt in a very large radius from the epicenter. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), even a “light” earthquake warrants a check of your home, landscape and patio for damages (check out FEMA’s website for vital information about post-earthquake actions). Here are some places around the patio to look for damage.

Bonfire leaf-burning things to know

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One of the best aromas of the fall season is an outdoor fire. The smell of burning leaves is so distinct and memorable, some people report sensing it in the crisp fall air even when no leaves or fires are burning nearby. As November comes to a close, now is the time for bonfires. Here are some common and not-so-common things to know about leaf burning.

Throw a Friendsgiving feast

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Friendsgiving is a usually casual Thanksgiving feast with those who you consider family. But it’s casual designation doesn’t mean no rules exist. Here’s a guide for the host and guest that will help your Friendsgiving be fabulous. Host A Friendsgiving is meant to be a fun gathering of your closest mates, but the term can apply to any Thanksgiving meal shared between friends, colleagues or even acquaintances. Friendsgiving can be held any time in November. Hosting your dinner on a night other than the 4th Thursday may allow more friends to attend. Thanksgiving Day can work for Friendsgiving too; be sure to coordinate everyone’s schedules well ahead of time.

Fall mantle decor - celebrate the harvest

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The winter holidays may be fast approaching, but we can give thanks for the harvest season with these fall decor ideas. Between the frightening fun of Halloween and the cozy, candied Christmas seasons, it’s easy to lose the best season of the year: Autumn. Thanksgiving is the culmination of the fall season where we celebrate all those small strokes of luck and big blessings that we’ve been fortunate to receive. All too often this decor gets lost between October holidays and the New Year’s Eve parties. Let’s bring back a bit of fall to the fireplace area and tabletops.