Date Archives: May 2020

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Living in a neighborhood with houses close together can make you feel as though eyes are upon you whenever you set foot in your yard. With some relatively simple modifications, though, you can have more privacy.

Ways to Make Your Entire Yard More Private
A fence can keep strangers from peering into your yard while you're relaxing outdoors or while your kids are playing. A fence can also keep strangers and wandering animals out of your yard to protect your family. Before you install a fence, check on the location of the property line and local zoning rules and discuss it with your neighbor.

Some people are offended if a neighbor puts up a fence. Hedges can be an effective way to shield your family from prying eyes that may be more appealing than a fence to the people living next door. If you plant shrubs and small trees in a variety of species, you can have beautiful colors along the perimeter of the yard that both you and your neighbors can enjoy. Visit a local garden center to ask for advice about species appropriate for your region's soil and climate.

If your backyard doesn't have any naturally occurring hills, you can create one or more berms, or small hills. They can raise any shrubs you plant to provide more privacy. Berms also drain better than flat plant beds.

A solid wall can be an attractive addition to your property that can increase privacy. You can make a wall seem less imposing by including a gate or some plants.

How to Make One Part of Your Yard More Private
You might be able to use an existing structure to your advantage. For example, putting a patio next to your garage or building a deck on a side of the house that already has trees can block that area from view.

Lattice panels are easy to install and can block one section of your yard. If you have a patio that you use for entertaining and don't want your neighbors to be able to see you and your guests, a few lattice panels can do the trick. Vines and flowers can add some color to the area. Just make sure the vines you choose aren't too heavy for the lattice panels.

A pergola is another way to create a secluded space in your yard. A pergola can be an ideal location for a table and chairs to relax with family and friends. Vines and lattice panels can offer additional privacy.

Choose the Best Solution to Increase Privacy
Many homeowners find their dream home and realize after moving in that they crave more privacy. There are many ways to accomplish that goal. Explore a range of options, and familiarize yourself with local zoning codes and homeowners association rules before you make changes to your property.


Homeowners and buyers alike are increasingly embracing the natural beauty of hardwood floors. Unfortunately, even with proper upkeep, wood floors can get unsightly dents and scratches over time due to normal wear and tear.

If you have hardwood floors in need of repair, the experts at HomeAdvisor offer the following tips, two of which might surprise you:

Walnuts. Take a quick peek into your kitchen cupboard. If you have walnuts, then you have a solution for light wood scratches. Simply crack open the shell and remove the meat of the nut. Then, rub the inside of the walnut over any blemishes in the floor and blend the oils from the nut into the wood using your finger. It should disguise the scratch!

Wood Filler. If you'd like to try a DIY repair on a larger blemish or crack, look to wood filler. It comes in many varieties, but it's basically a putty-like substance used to fill gouges in wood. There are several different colors available that can be matched to your existing flooring. Or, you can choose a filler that accepts wood stain. Note that filler doesn't have the color variation of natural wood, so the more problem areas you have, the more noticeable this fix will be.

Mayonnaise. Here's another light-scratch solution that may be hiding in your kitchen. Believe it or not, many DIYers swear by mayonnaise. To try this hack, first clean the affected area. Then, apply mayonnaise directly to the wood and let it sit for a few minutes. After a while, wipe it away with a towel. The oil from the mayonnaise should fill in the scratches to match the color of the wood.

Wood Stain Marker. For slightly deeper scratches, a wood stain marker may do the trick. These markers come in several different shades and can darken problem spots so they blend right in with the floor. Just clean the area around the damaged floor, touch up with the marker and wipe away the excess. Don't forget to spot test your marker color first to be sure it's a good match. If your home has several trouble areas, consider talking to a pro about getting the floor refinished.

Professional Help. For deep scratches or significantly gouged flooring, you'll probably want to hire a professional. Depending on how bad the damage is, the pro can sand and refinish or repair your hardwood floors. Some projects may require replacing a few boards. But a quick call can have your floors gleaming again in no time.


It's summer–the season to fire up the grill, fill up the cooler, and invite family and friends over for a picnic or other get-together in your home's yard. To stay safe and keep the outside fun going, however, you'll want to avoid inviting two potential visitors: mosquitoes and ticks.

Too many pesky insects can ruin a good time, and although most bug bites are annoying but harmless, some mosquitoes and ticks can spread dangerous diseases, such as West Nile virus and Lyme disease. Fortunately, you can take steps to help prevent mosquitoes and ticks from joining a yard party this summer, and to keep you and your family safer.

Make Your Yard Less Attractive
Mosquitoes lay eggs in or near standing water. To help eliminate mosquito breeding grounds, either empty and scrub, turn over, or cover outside items that hold water—including buckets, planters, birdbaths, flowerpots and trash containers—once a week. Also throw out things you don't use that can collect water, such as tires or old toys. Add chemicals that kill mosquito eggs, called larvicides, to water that won't be used for drinking and can't be covered or dumped out, such as a pond or fountain.

Because many types of ticks live in areas with woods, bushes or high grass, it's important to keep your home's yard tidy. Clear bushes, tall grass and fallen leaves from around your home, and mow the lawn often. Also use wood chips or gravel to separate your patio or play equipment from wooded or brushy areas. For even more protection, consider applying tick control products to your yard. You can do this yourself or hire a pest control company.

Use Insect Repellent
Insect repellent makes it harder for mosquitoes and ticks to find you. Use a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered repellent with one of these ingredients: DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), para-menthane-diol (PMD), or 2-undecanone. Always follow the product instructions, and don't use repellent on babies under two months old; instead, cover their stroller or car seat with mosquito netting. If you have pets, talk with your veterinarian about the best way to protect them from ticks.

Cover Up Your Skin
To keep mosquitoes and ticks away from exposed skin, cover up as much as possible. When practical, wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants and socks. Wearing light-colored clothing will also allow you to see ticks more easily.

Check for Ticks
After spending time outside, check everybody in the family, including pets, for ticks. Search the entire body, especially under arms, in and around ears, behind knees, around the waist, and in and around hair. If you find a tick, remove it right away. Use tweezers—not your fingers or a hot match—to properly remove the entire insect. Talk to a doctor if you or a family member gets sick after a tick bite.


A grass lawn, trees and flowers all look wonderful in a yard—if they're properly maintained. All that work leads to an enjoyable view, but not much else. But instead of getting little in return for their yard work, homeowners can take advantage of their land and plant vegetables and fruits that can feed them for years to come. Here are five types of edible landscaping to consider planting in your yard: Herbs A bed of herbs can be as small or large as you want. Rosemary, thyme and oregano are easy to grow in a small garden bed that's simple to build yourself, or you can plant them in pots on a patio or straight in the ground. Basil, an herb used often in Italian dishes, can grow almost anywhere. Greens Lettuce, radishes, carrots, cabbage, spinach, peppers, tomatoes, arugula and other salad greens can be planted in a small garden in a yard. Leafy vegetables prefer nitrogen-rich soil, so add a lot of compost or manure before sowing seeds. Most will require regular watering and four to six hours of sun per day. If you live in a region where the temperature regularly exceeds 75 degrees Fahrenheit, grow salad greens in a shaded area so that they don't form seeds. Trees Fruit and nut trees provide shade and food. Apple, peach and pear trees are common types to grow in a home's yard. According to the Arbor Day Foundation, the best low-maintenance fruit trees are plum, peach, pear and cherry. They don't require aggressive watering and only require minimal fertilizer applications. Nut trees that can be grown in a variety of locations include almond, chestnut, hazelnut, pecan, pine nut and walnut. Vining Plants By putting up a few decorative trellises in your yard, you can create a sitting area or entryway that's full of edible vegetables or fruits called vining plants. While scarlet runner beans can grow in the ground, they also look fantastic on a trellis with their red flowers climbing around it. Other kinds of vine-type beans can also be grown. Peas, squash and grapes are also excellent vining plants that can add flavor and beauty to a yard. Edible Flowers For the best of both worlds, plant edible flowers that are beautiful and can be turned into a salad that looks like a piece of art. Some edible flowers also work well in drinks and desserts. Types of edible flowers include calendula, zucchini blossoms, hibiscus, lavender, nasturtiums, pansies and roses. Don't use flowers that have been sprayed with pesticides or other chemicals. After picking edible flowers, wash them gently in a bowl of cold water and let them dry on a paper towel. Use them immediately, or store them in the refrigerator in an airtight container lined with a damp paper towel for up to a week. Published with permission from RISMedia.

If you're looking to organize and store items in your garage, then you need to have a plan. The last thing you want is to not have enough room to park your own vehicle in your garage.

Here are the five most popular storage hacks that'll allow you to make the most out of your garage:

Garage Shelving
One of the easiest ways to store a bunch of items in your garage is by installing shelving. The good news is that shelving systems are easy to assemble. A good shelving organization tip is to put the heaviest items on the bottom. This will lower the center of gravity of the shelf. Also, you'll be able to easily access the heaviest items.

Storage Bins
If you want some flexibility, buy several plastic storage bins. You'll be able to put large and small items in the bins, as well as store the containers in various ways. No installation required.

Ceiling Storage
If you want to dedicate most of your garage space for your vehicles, you may be pressed for space. However, you can actually store items above your vehicles with the use of ceiling storage racks. These racks are mounted from the ceiling and can hold a number of items. It'll take some expertise to install the ceiling rack, but it will be well worth the time for this garage storage hack.

If you're looking to store your bicycles or other heavy items, or if you want to organize your tools and lawn care equipment, you can use pegboards to attach the items to your garage wall. First, install the pegboard on the wall. From there, you can add hooks that'll allow you to hang your items.

Wall-Mounted Cabinets
With wall-mounted storage cabinets, you'll be able to secure items of all sizes. You'll also be able to better organize your items while keeping your garage looking neat and clean. Wall-mounted storage cabinets may require professional installation; however, it will be well worth the investment.

By using the right garage storage hacks, you'll be able to properly organize one of your home's largest spaces. Consider what you need to store before planning your strategy. Most likely, combining two or more storage hacks could allow you to get the best use out of your garage.

Source: Kara Masterson/RISMedia's Housecall

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