Lawn and Landscaping Projects You Should Definitely Leave to the Pros

As a homeowner, you probably like the challenge and the cost-savings of handling many of your own lawn and landscaping projects. For example, cutting your grass weekly is a home maintenance task that most DIYers can successfully complete.

However, there are other scenarios in which homeowners are taking matters into their own hands – with disastrous results. These are some of the lawn and landscaping projects you should leave to the pros.

Testing the soil before planting

Acidic or alkaline?

Acidic or alkaline? Image: Aroon phadee/Shutterstock

This is a project that can be done DIY with an at-home soil tester, but our experts don’t recommend it. “Bringing a soil sample to your local county extension service offers the most detailed information on soil pH levels – acidity and alkalinity – as well as potassium, nitrogen and phosphorus levels,” according to Keven Shanks, manager of retailer training at Scotts Miracle-Gro.

It’s important to test the soil, especially if you’re planting a vegetable garden, because different types of plants prefer different types of soil. “Plants like asparagus, onions, garlic, cucumbers and tomatoes prefer acidic soil (pH 5.8-6.5), which tends to dominate in wet climates,” Shanks explains. On the other hand, plants like Brussel sprouts, turnips, cabbage and mustard like a more alkaline soil (pH 6.0-7.5) that Shanks says is typically found in dry areas.

Aerating the lawn

Professionals can correctly aerate your lawn.

Professionals can correctly aerate your lawn. Image: Taweesak Sriwannawit/Shutterstock

Aerating can be a DIY project, but you’ll need to rent and transport an aerator. So, what is aerating? “It is the process of removing plugs from the turf area using a core aerator, thereby creating an artificial system of large pores,” Shanks explains. And it’s important because it allows air, water and nutrients to reach the roots. “Aeration alleviates problems with soil compaction and/or thatch,” Shanks says.

This is a task to complete on a yearly basis. However, renting and maneuvering the specialized equipment isn’t the only DIY issue.

“Many homeowners also have underground infrastructure, including septic, pet fencing and/or irrigation,” according to Dr. Brad DeBels, director of operations at Weed Man Lawn Care. This means it’s possible to damage the infrastructure. However, according to DeBels, professionals know how to avoid this – and if any damage occurs, they’re responsible for the repair cost.

Planning and installing a permanent in-ground irrigation system

An irrigation system need to provide adequate coverage.

An irrigation system needs to provide adequate coverage. Image: kvww/Shutterstock

If you’re comfortable undertaking building projects, you may be able to plan and install a watering system. “You should be familiar with plumbing, electricity, and local building codes, and be willing to take the time to research and design the system well,” Shanks says. This will also entail digging trenches. However, he says it’s the paper and pencil process that usually trips up DIYers.

“Irrigation specialists are by far best equipped to design and install an irrigation system that waters both completely and efficiently,” Shanks advises.  “Find a specialist who has been certified by a professional group, such as the Irrigation Society of America, to ensure you’re getting good advice.” And if you have a large lawn, it includes significant elevation changes, or has very poor drainage, Shanks says you should definitely consult a professional irrigation designer.

Brad Unruh, director of new product development for Hustler Turf Equipment, agrees that DIYers should just call in the pros. “This is an involved project, and professionals have the correct equipment to make it a lot less painful and disruptive to your current landscape,” he says.  “It’s important that your irrigation system has the correct coverage to ensure everything works like it’s supposed to, which will ultimately benefit your future landscaping plans.”

Pesticide treatments

Application rates and timing are crucial.

Application rates and timing are crucial. Image: lightpoen/Shutterstock

You might consider yourself quite handy around the house with a can of bug spray, but landscape pesticides are a little different. And DeBels recommends leaving these pesticide treatments to the professionals. “Highly-effective weed, insect and fungus control can be very dependent on how and when you apply off-the-shelf products, making it difficult to achieve maximum effectiveness,” he explains.

And if you have a full-time job and a life, you’re just randomly applying treatments when you think about it. However, DeBels explains that professionals have spent a significant amount of time perfecting application rates and timing, and don’t forget – they’re actually trained and licensed. “This leads to the most effective control of pests, while limiting pesticide resistance and optimizing environmental safety,” he says.

Most troubleshooting projects

Take the guesswork out of troubleshooting.

Take the guesswork out of troubleshooting. Kamil Macniak/Shutterstock

“When your lawn begins to get patchy, weeds take over, or your soil becomes compacted, it can be difficult to reset the yard to a healthy state,” Sherrington says. “At these times, it is more important than ever to ensure your lawn is properly aerated, the soil’s PH levels are up to par, and weed control is added to the correct areas.” And if done incorrectly, he says these procedures can have disastrous effects on a yard. 

For example, overapplying nitrogen can result in burning a lawn overnight,” Sherrington reveals. He says it can also be confusing trying to purchase the right product, store it correctly, and apply it properly. “That is why we recommend homeowners call in experts to test their soil, handle products and take the necessary steps to maintain their lawn and quickly get it to a thriving state,” Sherrington explains.

Skill level makes a difference

Expertise produces expert results.

Expertise produces expert results. Image: aimful/Shutterstock

While many of these lawn and landscaping projects are best left to the pros, sometimes, the answer is dependent on the homeowner’s skill level. For example, Unruh does believe that homeowners can fertilize grass and spray weeds – but they are best done with some knowledge.

He says you should know what you’re spraying, how it affects the foliage, and what it is intended to kill or enhance. “Also, I recommend becoming familiar with the plants, trees, bushes and grass on your property to know which types of fertilizer would be best and when to use them.” He suggests visiting your local nursery or garden store if you need help. And don’t forget that your lawn isn’t just eye candy. Turfgrass lawns have environmental and health benefits.

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Plan on Entertaining Outdoors This Summer? Here’s What You Need to Do It Right

Warmer weather entices people outside, and let’s face it, wide open spaces can provide more room to move around and reduce the potential for damage to your home’s interior.

However, to truly provide an outstanding outdoor entertaining experience, you’ll need to create a fun and inviting environment, Here’s what you need to create the type of outdoor space that neighbors won’t want to leave.

More than a grill

You’ll gain a lot of friends with this Artisan Fire Pizza Oven by Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet.

You’ll gain a lot of friends with this Artisan Fire Pizza Oven by Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet. Image courtesy of La Cuisine Appliances.

A grill is an obvious starting place. “You’ve got to have a good looking and functional grill,” says Daniel Germani, founder and creative director of Daniel Germani Designs.  “My favorite is the one has a lid that folds all the way back and goes flush with the countertop.”

However, Josu Gaubeka, president of La Cuisine Appliances, a kitchen appliances distributor, says he’s also seeing an increasing number of other appliances and accessories in summer kitchens.  “They’re going beyond the BBQ, and building out full kitchens. In fact, many families are adding pizza ovens to keep the kids and their friends close by.”

Specialized cookers

Increase your cooking options with the Goucho Grill by Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet.

Increase your cooking options with the Goucho Grill by Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet. Image courtesy of La Cuisine Appliances.

In addition to grills and pizza ovens, homeowners are also adding other types of cookers. “We’re seeing specialized cookers, such as side burners for boiling seafood or wok cooking, and smokers,” according to Mitch Slater, CEO and Founder, Brown Jordan Outdoor Kitchens and Danver Stainless Outdoor Kitchens.

However, if you want to put a specialty appliance, like an Argentinian grill, in cabinetry, Slater warns that you’ll need to use non-combustible materials, like stainless steel, “Also, it’s best to line your cabinets with firebrick so they won’t become discolored due to extreme heat exposure,” he says.

Another point to keep in mind is that your exterior kitchen layout is as important as your indoor kitchen layout.

Water and refrigeration

Sinks and refrigerators add convenience.

Sinks and refrigerators add convenience. Image: Ozgur Coskun/Shutterstock

“I’m being called on by developers of luxury condominiums to add summer kitchens on each unit – including an electric grill, ice maker, and sink,” says Gaubeka. That comes as no surprise to Germani.  “A sink and a refrigerator are must-have items, and I like to include 2 fridges in my outdoor kitchens — one for food and one for beverages,’ he says.

In fact, if you want to maximize time with guests by avoiding trips indoors, Slater recommends duplicating your indoor kitchen. “In addition to a sink and refrigerator, you could also include trash cabinets, and even dishwashers manufactured for outdoor use.”

However, in lieu of an actual refrigerator, Gaubeka says some homeowners are installing refrigerated drawers.

Shade

Be sure to provide shelter from the heat.

Be sure to provide shelter from the heat. Image courtesy of Belgard

When the sun is beaming down, you’ll need to protect your friends and family members from those damaging rays. “Cantilevered overhangs provide lots of shade while cooking/lounging outdoors,” according to Miami-based architect Choeff Levy Fischman. But that’s not your only option. Slater recommends using fans, misters, and light-colored furniture as additional cooling sources.

Lighting

Lighting provides safety and highlights design features.

Lighting provides safety and highlights design features. Image courtesy of Belgard

“Having good lighting allows you to create a mood, grill and entertain far after the sun goes down and the martinis start to flow,” says Germani. In addition to being an entertainment element, lights also create a safe environment, so you won’t get sued because someone tripped and fell in the dark. HGTV/DIY host Matt Blashaw’s outdoor lighting tips are a good guide for using light strips, spotlights, etc. Also, Duane Draughon, owner and lead designer at VizX Design Studios in Lisle, IL, recommends an overhead structure trellis pergola with lighting. 

Entertainment

Cheer for your favorite team with an outdoor TV.

Cheer for your favorite team with an outdoor TV. Image courtesy of Belgard

“As we navigate from the inside to the outdoor kitchen, entertainment will also transform these spaces with additions like outdoor speakers and big screen TVs,” says Wendy Hammerman, Founder & Lead Designer at WLH Interiors, a full-service interior design studio in New City, NY.

But as popular as TVs are, Patti Wynkoop, VP of Product Development and Purchasing for Miller & Smith, which builds new homes and develops real estate in the District of Columbia, Northern Virginia, and Maryland, believes that music is even more popular as an outdoor entertainment feature. “Outdoor ceiling speakers make it easy to enjoy your favorite music while you cook or entertain guests,” she says.

However, when incorporating technology, consider the needs of your guests. “Be sure to include several usable power outlets for cell phone charging,” advises Draughon.

Seating/Furniture

Multiple seating options.

Provide multiple seating options. Image courtesy of Miller & Smith

Seating is an important choice as it will determine your entertaining options. “While outdoor wicker furniture has been popular in the past, we see a lot more built-in bench seating styled with throw pillows and cushions for a casual, comfortable feel that’s able to accommodate more people,” according to Hammerman.

You’ll probably prefer to have guests sitting upright at tables to reduce spills when they’re eating. However, consider mixing this type of seating with more relaxing options. “Sunken seating areas provide depth and additional space for entertaining,” according to Fischman.

And there’s something else you should keep in mind when choosing furniture. “Composite furniture such as sofas, lounge chairs and end tables are maintenance free, fade resistant and easy on the eyes,” says Wynkoop.

Flooring and ceiling considerations

Your flooring should be durable. I

Your flooring should be durable. Image courtesy of Dekton Nilium Flooring

Flooring should be durable, yet stylish. “Beadboard is a solid choice in flooring materials for an entertainment space and it is often used to seamlessly merge indoor and outdoor living areas,” Wynkoop says. For decks, she recommends Duadek outdoor waterproof flooring. “The suede color is often the best neutral choice for entertainment spaces as it provides flexibility with decor and rugs.”

Maintain the flow between your interior and exterior places.

Maintain the flow between your interior and exterior areas. Image courtesy of Miller & Smith

Just as the connection in flooring is important for flow, Wynkoop says consistency in ceiling height and material will also marry indoor and outdoor entertainment spaces. “If you have a ceiling in your outdoor entertainment space, adding tongue & groove planks or panels gives the appearance of a plank installation – painted or stained – and is perceived as a more refined level of detail.”

Planning for colder weather

You can entertain outdoors at least 3 seasons of the year.

With the right setup, you can entertain outdoors at least 3 seasons of the year. Image: TimAbramowitz/Getty Images

Summer will be over before you know it, but by planning wisely, you can continue to entertain outdoors well into the fall months. “Just like indoor furniture, you can add cushions, throw blankets and pillows to your outdoor furniture for comfort and enjoyability throughout the year,” Wynkoop says.  Firepits and outdoor fireplaces can also keep you warm and toasty when the weather turns colder.

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Can’t Go on Vacation? Recreate a Hotel Vibe in Your Home

Going on vacation is a great way to relax and refresh. And if you stay in a luxury hotel, lakeside inn, resort spa, or elegant bed and breakfast, you’ll also enjoy a lush living area, and a luxurious bathroom experience. However, you can create that hotel vibe in your own home, and enjoy luxurious living every day. Here’s how to achieve those looks.

Make your bed irresistible

Make your bed inviting. Image:

A plush bed is inviting. Image: Beyond Time/Shutterstock

One thing everyone enjoys about luxury hotels: the luxurious beds. However, Wendy Hammerman, Founder & Lead Designer at WLH Interiors, a full service interior design studio, says you can recreate that vibe by investing in new bedding. “There is something about crisp, clean, freshly laundered sheets that says ‘I’m on vacation!’” Hammerman says. She also recommends a cozy down comforter and a feather mattress topper. “Add lots of fluffy pillows, the fluffier the better, and last but not least, add a throw at the end of the bed for a homey feel and perhaps a pop of color.”

Consider sheets with a higher thread count.

Consider sheets with a higher thread count. Image courtesy of Lance Selgo with Unique Exposure Photography.

Karen Otto of Home Star Staging agrees that luxury linens can create a luxury hotel vibe for a staycation or when family and friends come to visit. “Look for sheet thread counts higher than 500, and since we run an Airbnb, we always purchase white for ease of cleaning – and they always just look fresh and inviting.” Otto says.  “From comfy pillows to fluffy absorbent white towels in the bath, who wouldn’t want to feel like they’ve come home to a luxurious night’s sleep in a bed that looks like it was made at a 5-star hotel?”

Use appealing scents

The right scent sets the right mood.

The right scent sets the right mood. Image: Rido/Shutterstock

While creating an environment that appeals to your senses, don’t forget your sense of smell. “The first thing you will notice when you arrive at a high-end, luxury hotel and spa is the aroma,” says Hammerman.  When you enter the resort, she says you’re surrounded by a fabulous fragrance that evokes feelings of calm and comfort. “Whether it’s beachy, floral or clean and crisp, smell is a great way to transform your space and instantly take you away to another place without leaving home.”

Hammerman recommends using a candle or atomizer that you can get at any home store. “Nest is a popular brand with several scents to choose from, including my personal favorite, Grapefruit – clean, fresh and fruity.” She also recommends Ocean Mist and Sea Salt, which smell like the beach. And if you want sometime more exotic, Hammerman suggests Moroccan Amber.  “If candles aren’t your thing, Aroma 360 offers a plug-in with an array of interchangeable options, depending on your mood.”

Recreate a spa bathroom

Achieve a spa-like experience at home.

Achieve a spa-like experience at home. Aqua-Sense Collection. Image courtesy of GRAFF

If you want to transform your bathroom to feel like it’s in a luxury hotel, Celine Marcotte, Business Development Manager at GRAFF, recommends refreshing the shower. “Products that stimulate the senses instantly provide a luxury hotel feel. Water, light, and sound, orchestrated in a harmonic balance allow for a deeper sense of wellness, a sensation and experience that can be achieved with GRAFF’s Aqua-Sense Collection, which uses chromotherapy and LED lights.”  And the finishes and textures can also enhance a space’s appeal. “For example, 24K Gold, Rose Gold, and Matte Black come to mind as uber luxurious options.” You can also get ideas from the 2019 Trends in Bathroom Technology.

Marcotte also recommends accessories that can update your bathroom and can be easily swapped out. “Grab bars are one way to go, providing both an elevated style and a great aging in place solution.”

The right showerhead makes a big difference.

The right showerhead makes a big difference. Image: ImageFlow/Shutterstock

According to Leah Tuttleman, a designer at Re-Bath, sounds and sights can help you achieve an ultimate level of relaxation. “Let stress float away with a countertop waterfall to help your spa achieve an air of serenity. Install dimmer switches to set a calm, sunset-like mood to capture the essence of a professional spa’s tranquil ambiance.” And you can achieve this experience by just upgrading to a massage shower head. “Whether you prefer a waterfall shower, high-pressure or hand-held, these modern designs that mimic the natural flow of falling rain emanate relaxation.”

Other elements reminiscent of high-end luxury hotels include touchless faucets and soap dispensers, and Tuttleman says they’re easy to install. “Also, matching benches are a beautiful, functional addition to almost any shower, and a built-in caddy makes storage a breeze so you can focus on that clean, simple, minimalist look of a 5-star hotel.”

Layer your lighting

There are many ways to create lighting.

There are many ways to create lighting. Image: Beyond Time/Shutterstock

Hotel rooms usually provide several lighting options. “Layer your windows with a lighter drape to accommodate sun-filtering light and a heavier drape that creates a black-out effect essential for sleeping late on lazy weekends,” Hammerman recommends.  “Also, consider a 3-way bulb in your bedside lamp which gives you the option of a bright reading light or the opportunity to create a softer ambiance.”

Lighting effects can change the look of your home.

Lighting effects can change the look of your home. Image courtesy of Philips Hue

And there are other tips and tools to hlep you vary lighting – for example, Mike Deschamps, US Product Marketing Director at Philips Hue Signify, recommends layering your lighting – with ambient, accent and task lighting – to recreate a luxury hotel vibe at home. “Ambient lighting illuminates your space evenly; you can achieve this with the right ceiling fixtures or recessed lighting,” he says. “Accent lighting sources indirectly illuminate spaces while remaining mostly hidden; for example, use the Philips Hue Play light bars to highlight particular elements in your room like artwork or plants. “

In addition, Deschamps says you can use light strips in cabinets or under a bed or sofa. “Lastly, bring in task lighting through table and floor lamps to give you the light you need for specific activities like reading.”

Use a multi-functional sofa

Who doesn’t love a great – and great-looking sofa?

Who doesn’t love a great – and great-looking – sofa? Image: Beyond Time/Shutterstock

Luxurious leather sofas are common in upscale hotel lobbies and private rooms. Whether you’re waiting in the lobby with all of your luggage, or you return to your room loaded down with a laptop and suitcase – or after a busy day of shopping – those stylish sofas are convenient and handy.

However, you can also create this look at home, for less than you might think. And you won’t even have to leave the sofa when you want to charge your phone and other devices.

A versatile, luxurious sofa without the luxurious price tag.

A versatile, luxurious sofa without the luxurious price tag. Images courtesy of Coddle

For example, the Coddle Smart Couch is stylish and versatile, and is available in leather and microfiber verions. “It was designed entirely with the consumer in mind. With built-in USB ports and outlets, and the ability to transform into over a dozen different positions, the couch is both practical and useful, without sacrificing a luxurious feel,” says Nuri Djavit, CMO of Coddle. It folds flat to become a sleeper sofa, but you can also choose to fold up the arm rests on either side, or fold up all or just half of the back section. In addition, any spills wipe right up.

“Through the Coddle Smart Couch’s modern design and high-end materials and finishes, the atmosphere of a luxury hotel is easily recreated, but at a reasonable price point,” Djavit say.

Redesign your storage

Eliminate clutter by keeping everything out of sight.

Eliminate clutter by keeping everything out of sight. Images courtesy of Ornare

In most hotel rooms, there’s a place for everything, which reduces the clutter in your room. “Declutter your space, especially your bedside tables. Keeping only the essentials handy (and maybe some fresh cut flowers) helps bring a sense of calm and simplicity,” Hammerman says. Removing unnecessary items also creates more space in the room – making it appear to be larger. And you don’t have to have a walk-in closet. “We are seeing a lot of our clients redesign their master suites lined with Ornare closet doors that become part of the design of the room, and leave the bed to float in the room – instant private island,” says Claudio Faria, director of Ornare USA.

Choose a soothing paint color

A neutral tone provides a soothing backdrop.

A neutral tone provides a soothing backdrop. Image courtesy of Benjamin Moore.

“For better or worse, that warm Southwest-type of palette has come to be associated with mass hotel chains, and so, if you’re going for luxury or boutique, the exact opposite in terms of color and design is key,” explains Benjamin Moore Color and Design Expert, Nivara Xaykao. “Nothing beats crisp white walls, and luckily, there are new paint products out there that can keep your bedroom walls looking pristine. She recommends Chantilly Lace as one of the company’s favorite whites for achieving this look. “To bring a designer’s touch to the space, keep accent colors cool and neutral with calming grays and graphic blacks. Bold color statements can transform the bathroom into a special sanctuary.”

Deep blues are also calming and always stylish.  “Lastly, don’t forget paint sheen. Higher glosses in the right places, like cabinetry and trim, can really heighten the glamour in a space,” Xaykao says.

Add artwork

Artwork can add personality to your space

Artwork can add personality to your space. Image courtesy of ArtSugar.

The last step is to incorporate artwork to liven up those blank walls. “Hammerman recommends a palette of warm neutrals to create a soothing hotel-like environment.

And fortunately, you don’t have to spend a lot to get quality artwork. You can buy large framed art prints to recreate eye-catching looks without breaking the bank,” according to Alix Greenberg, Founder and CEO of ArtSugar, who recommends incorporating art featuring scenic landscapes to remind you of being on vacation. “Art or art prints featuring beaches, mountains, or even jungles can create a feeling of wanderlust, reminding you of being in a luxury hotel,” Greenberg says.

However, she recommends keeping frame colors simple. “Stick with white or black frames for a chic and elegant look reminiscent of a luxury hotel.”

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The DIY Network’s Sara Bendrick Explains the 2019 Landscaping Trends

Creating the perfect outdoor space is not something that homeowners take lightly. Cutting your grass weekly is a good start, and incorporating Matt Blashaw’s outdoor lighting tips is also a step in the right direction.

DIY TV host and landscape designer Sara Bendrick. Image courtesy of STIHL

DIY Network TV host and landscape designer Sara Bendrick. Image courtesy of STIHL

But what else can you do? Well, the National Association of Landscape Professionals has released its top 2019 landscaping trends. And landscape designer Sara Bendrick, host of DIY’s “I Hate My Yard,” author of “Big Impact Landscaping: 28 DIY Projects You Can Do on a Budget to Beautify and Add Value to Your Home,” and a STHIL spokesperson, provides insight regarding the NALP’s report – and adds a few of her own landscaping trends.

 

Multi-functional designs are beautiful and practical.

Multi-functional designs are beautiful and practical. Image: Werner Muenzker/Shutterstock

Trend #1: Two-in-one landscape design

Gone are the days of an either/or landscape. “Many people have limited space, so creating a landscape with multi-purpose features can add substantial property value, in addition to being a conversation piece,” Bendrick says.  For example, a retaining wall can also double as seating, and instead of just a privacy fence, consider an edible garden on a trellis. “A fun example is creating a corn hole game on a back deck by building in corn hole boards flush to the deck with hinges. You can lift them open to play and put them back down when finished,” Bendrick says.

 

You have better things to do than mow your lawn.

You have better things to do than mow your lawn. iMOW Robotic Mower. Image courtesy of STIHL

Trend #2: Automated lawn and landscape maintenance

Spending more time outdoors doesn’t necessarily mean spending more time working outdoors. And homeowners are looking for tools to make lawn care more convenient. “The latest in innovation includes smart sprinklers and robotic lawn mowers – but I recommend having a servicing dealer to do the initial install,” Bendrick says. “While it is great that so many landscape jobs are being automated, getting your hands dirty in the garden will never go out of style,” she says. However, you can incorporate technology while also feeling connected to your space.

 

Pergolas are versatile and practical.

Pergolas are versatile and practical. Image Spiderstock/Getty Images

Trend #3: Pergolas

“Pergolas are always on trend in my book. I love them for many reasons, but primarily because they bring scale, detail and shade to a space, making it more interesting and inviting,” Bendrick says. And because they’re so versatile, she says more people are seeing the value of adding them in their landscapes. “Incorporate amenities to make them more comfortable for longer, such as misters, fans, space heaters, lighting, adjustable louvers, and pull-down shade screens.”

 

Add pops of color with pink. Image: Peter Turner Photography/Getty Images

Trend #5: Pretty pink

Pops of color add pizazz to any landscape. Bendrick admits that pink traditionally leans feminine, but thinks colors, in general, are being seen as more gender neutral. “I expect to see pink used in both masculine and feminine designs,” she says. “A great way to incorporate pink would be to create a modern landscape with all white flowing plants, green foliage, charcoal concrete, a steel I-beam water feature and a pink accent wall.” Another trend is to use pink roses, hibiscus, petunias, and zinnias in flower beds to add pops of color.

 Stainless steel would look good in your backyard.

Stainless steel would look good in your backyard. Artisan Fire Pizza Oven. Image courtesy of Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet

Trend #6: Mesmerizing metals

“I love using raw materials, specifically metal in landscape design. They add a sense of permanency and strength,” Bendrick says. She recommends using metal panels for decoration, as well as function, such as a privacy screen. Other trends include using metals in furniture and water features. “While I am a big fan of metal, it does jump up the price of the landscape as it’s typically more expensive than wood or plastic alternatives,” she says.

 

Gardening is fulfilling and provides beauty and nutrition.

Gardening is fulfilling and provides beauty and nutrition. Image: Irina Fisher/Shutterstock

Other landscaping trends

Bendrick is also noticing other trends and considerations in landscape design.

Organic gardening

“People are becoming more and more interested in what they are eating, where it came from, and how it was harvested, leading them to more traditional methods of gardening.” Bendrick says.

Going local

“Sourcing local materials and incorporating native plants are trending as people are trying to be more resourceful and reduce their footprint.”

Landscape updates increase property value

Never underestimate the power of curb appeal. Set the stage for buyers. “It’s easy to imagine yourself relaxing at a home with a well-maintained landscape, outdoor space and a full garden,” Bendrick says.  And she recommends creating a landscape that complements the home. Also, don’t just design for summer use. For example, fire pits and outdoor fireplaces can help you entertain in the fall and winter months.

The post The DIY Network’s Sara Bendrick Explains the 2019 Landscaping Trends appeared first on Freshome.com.

Update Your Patio This Year With This One Outdoor Decorating Trend

Desert-inspired earth tones and bohemian chic vibes are the biggest trends this year for the home. And the trend goes outdoors this summer, too. You don’t have to break the bank to update your patio every year. Designers are focusing on one main zone of your outdoor space this year: your outdoor flooring.

Depending on your budget, the best way to update your patio can be as easy as painting your patio floor or adding an outdoor area rug. Or you can get more involved by staining the existing concrete or adding patio tile or stone.

Here is some inspiration on how you can breathe new life into your existing patio furniture setting. All you need is to focus on your patio flooring. Then, you can consider adding some simple accents like throw pillows, candles and some new plants and pots.

Outdoor Rugs

One of the easiest ways to update your patio is by adding an outdoor rug to cover your boring deck or concrete patio floor. Look for a rug that says it’s for the outdoors. Made with synthetic materials like nylon, acrylic or heavy-duty natural fibers like seagrass, they’ll be less prone to mildew and fading.

how to update a patio

Warm tones and a tribal pattern add an exotic feel to any outdoor space. Image: Pottery Barn

how to update your patio

The pattern on the outdoor rug matches the iron scrollwork of the dining chair backs. Image: TimAbramowitz/Getty

how to update your patio

Layers of rugs are added to an ordinary patio for a boho-chic vibe. Image: West Elm

how to update your patio for a modern look with Chilewich rugs

Believe it or not, you’re seeing a woven vinyl rug that looks like stone. Image: All About Space/Shutterstock  

Tiled Patio Ideas

A tiled patio adds value to your home. Tile is low maintenance, easy to clean and very resistant to the outdoor elements. Make sure to choose a tile that’s not slippery when wet.

how to update your patio floor with tile

Mix and match different shades of the same type of tile for a unique look. Image: karchana p/Shutterstock

outdoor tile ideas for updating your patio

For an elegant look, create a diamond checkerboard pattern in your yard by using square black and white stones or tiles. Image: Photographee.eu/Shutterstock

saltillo tiles outdoors

Earthy and hand-hewn saltillo tiles are a beautiful and classic choice for your outdoor flooring. Image: Elena Elisseeva/Shutterstock

Outdoor Painted Flooring and Stained Concrete Floors

If you like DIY projects, painting or staining your outdoor flooring may be a satisfying project to take on. It’s all about the correct materials. If you’re working with porous stone, concrete or brick outdoor flooring, visit your local home improvement store and ask for help. There are plenty of products available for every type of surface and use.

how to paint patio floor and patio flooring ideas

Selectively paint your floor in alternating colors to create a patterned tile look. Image: vidguten/Shutterstock

outdoor paints to update your garden

A matte outdoor masonry paint should make it easy to transform boring concrete outdoor flooring into something fresh and new. Image: Michael Wels/Shutterstock

outdoor flooring ideas

If you layer your paints by starting with a neutral color and painting over it (when dry) with a bright color, you’ll achieve a lovely patina when the paint starts to wear down. Image: Michael Wels/Shutterstock

outdoor decorating ideas

Stain the concrete in a designated area to create an outdoor room effect. Image: Tunde Gaspar/Shutterstock

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Onyx Is The New Marble And Here’s Why

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There’s a new stone that’s taking over marble’s popularity — and it’s onyx. Are you wondering what the difference is between onyx vs. marble? Onyx is actually a type of marble and it has many of the same properties. The difference is the stunning patterns and veining in each slab.

Onyx comes in varying degrees of patterns and a rainbow of stunning colors. Many of the most popular onyx colors — like jade, mint, light pink and warm tan — work well with today’s on-trend colors.

onyx vs. marble

Dusty pastels and earth tones are the hottest colors at the moment and the warm tones of onyx stone tie in with the look. Image: Philipp Shuruev/Shutterstock

An interesting quality of onyx is its lack of opacity. Onyx is more translucent than marble, making it a great stone for lighting or for creative purposes like a backlit wall or surface that casts a glow and enhances the stone’s patterns.

onyx decorating ideas

A panel of onyx was backlit to cast a glow and display the intricacies of the stone. Image: T_A_P/Getty Images

Considering onyx vs. marble? Here are some onyx decorating ideas that can help you incorporate onyx in your next home design. We even have some onyx home accents in stores now that you can add to your space to bring some unique texture to your room.

Pastel Onyx Decorating Ideas

You’ll find onyx in pinks, lavenders, tangerine, pale blues and celadon-like greens.

different between onyx and marble

An onyx wall adds texture and high luxury to a room. If you’re on a budget or renting, consider onyx-patterned wallpaper instead. Image: Philipp Shuruev/Getty Images

onyx home decor

The cool, smooth surface makes a great table or counter. Just remember to give it the same care you’d give marble since both stain easily. Image: Philipp Shuruev/Getty Images

onyx decorating ideas and onyx home decor

A dramatic pink onyx bathroom gives this large space a modern yet art deco flavor. Image: snorkulencija/Shutterstock

Warm-Toned Onyx vs. Marble

If you find marble a little cold in hue, the classic earthy shades of onyx may be a refreshing option, especially when paired with crisp white or greys.

onyx decorating ideas

Onyx may be a better choice for a bathroom or kitchen if your space feels too flat or cold. Image: tulcarion/Getty Images

onyx bathroom decor

Your powder room may be small but can be dramatic. This one features onyx mosaic tiles, countertop and a vessel sink. Image: T_A_P/Getty Images

onyx kitchen countertops

Gold is one of the most popular tones of onyx and works with nearly any home design style. Image: Corinne Labastrous/Shutterstock

Neutral Onyx Colors

If you’re looking to add texture without the warm tones, you’ll find onyx patterns featuring black, cool beige and pale greys.

onyx tile

This bathtub backsplash is understated and neutral, but still interesting, thanks to the onyx tile’s veining. Image: Food Travel Stockforlife/Shutterstock

onyx or marble?

For a dramatic effect, try adding some black onyx to a room. The white veining is high contrast and looks like a piece of art. Image: Philipp Shuruev/Getty Images

onyx decorating ideas

How’s this for a dramatic dining room setting? Image: Philipp Shuruev/Getty Images

onyx vs. marble decorating ideas

A grey onyx bathroom looks contemporary and unique. Image: Vadim Ovchinnikov/Shutterstock

Onyx home accents in stores now:

onyx vs. marble decorating ideas
onyx vs. marble decorating ideas
onyx vs. marble decorating ideas
onyx vs. marble decorating ideas








 

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5 Ideas for Home Office Color Schemes

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When designing a home office, it’s common to get completely focused on what you’ll put in it and where everything should go. You might worry about what kind of desk you should get, how many chairs you should have, if you need a sofa and how the shelving will work in the space. These are all important considerations. However, another large part of your home office is the color scheme. The color scheme will define the look and feel of the space, so it’s important to think about it as you plan or redesign a home office. Below, we’ll look at home office color schemes for some inspiration.
Home Office Color Schemes White Office

White is a classic go-to for any room. Image: Photographee.eu/Shutterstock

White Monochrome in Home Office Color Schemes

If you want your office to look modern, you can’t go wrong with a white monochrome color scheme, like in the photo above. White monochrome color schemes give an open feeling of airiness, making them work well in home offices. Since you might be spending so much time in there, the last thing you want is for the space to feel cramped after a while.

And because white opens up a space visually, it’s also a solid choice for small space home offices. Also, white has a clean look that tends to not go out of style. If you want something basic and clean, white might just be your choice in home office color schemes.

Home Office Color Schemes Wood Style

The neutrals in rich woods match other neutral elements in the space. Image: pics721/Shutterstock

Rich Wood Neutrals

Another option is rich wood and other neutral shades in home office color schemes. You can see in the photo above how rich wood gives a feeling of luxury. If you want one of those home offices that looks like an executive suite, consider going with wood textures in the flooring, paneling and furniture.

The photo above also shows how well rich woods combine with other neutral tones in the carpet and furniture. Wood layers well with rich visual textures, as you can see in the floor rug and chair off to the right. Also, small accents like the wrought iron lamp and wall sconces add classic appeal.

Home Office Color Schemes Blue Neutrals

Blue really does go with anything, including this home office space. Image: Artazum/Shutterstock

Blue and Neutrals

Yet another idea for home office color schemes is to combine neutrals and blue shades. You can see in the photo above how doing so creates a transitional home office, meaning it isn’t likely to go out of style. Stark black cabinetry creates a modern appeal against the open white walls and ceiling.

The blue shades help round out the space by giving it some color. However, it’s a muted gray-blue, so it doesn’t overwhelm the space. It also shows that blue can go with anything. In this case, you might notice how the blue shade fits with the textured carpet and rich wood piece in the center of the room.

Home Office Color Schemes Colorful

Get a classy, colorful look by combining bright neutrals with bold colors. Image: Africa Studio/Shutterstock

Bright and Colorful

If you enjoy plenty of color in a space, you can achieve that without looking like your office is a child’s bedroom. You can see in the photo above how bright colors combine with a white neutral backdrop. The colors pop all the more, while the white adds a modern appeal.

The photo above also shows how you can incorporate color into a home office in easy ways. You simply need to add some bright pieces to some open shelving, like the picture frame, file box, binders and cactus pot. You basically create one of the monochrome home office color schemes, then layer on colorful objects spread throughout the office.

Home Office Color Schemes Deep Red

Get a burgundy shade in a home office by choosing an accent wall. Image: Photographee.eu/Shutterstock

Deep Red

There’s something about a deep burgundy that just screams home office or study. You see the shade in classic libraries often, so that might create the shade’s connection with spaces where you’re ready to focus. It’s both bold and grounded, so it adds a nice sense of balance to a space. There’s little to hate about burgundy in home office color schemes.

The photo above shows how easy it is to incorporate this shade into a home office. A simple accent wall with the shade can define the whole space. Combining burgundy with neutrals like white and black shades keeps other elements from competing with the accent wall. A nice touch is the added pink rug, chair and curtain, which complement the red wall without overpowering it.

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What is a Barndominium? Could It Be Your Next Home?

Barndominium Color Ideas

Choosing the right paint color for every room of your barndominium is easy when you’ve already created the perfect color palette. Image courtesy of PPG – Modern Farmhouse Palette.

You may be new to the barndominium style, but this pretty and practical home style is gaining in popularity. Barndominiums, nicknamed “barndos,” got their start as a practical living option. Many farmers and ranchers created a loft area above a working barn so that animal caretakers could stay close by.

Today, the popularity of barndominiums has evolved into luxury homes and vacation rentals, especially in upscale rural areas with ranch land and vineyards. Fixer Upper’s Chip and Joanna Gaines remodeled a barndominium on their show, creating a social media buzz about these unique homes. Most barndo construction uses a steel shell, then adds tons of interior customization options.

Entertaining is a breeze with large doors and windows that flow outside. Image: Mint Images/Getty Images

The Advantages of a Barndominium Home

There may be no ‘typical’ barndominium, but most share a few key advantages:

  • Simplicity: Barndos are often built as a shell with simple interior framing.
  • Construction Time: The popular metal shell construction goes up quickly.
  • Durability: Metal barndos withstand the elements and have a longer life than most standard home-building materials.
  • Flexibility: Barndominiums can be configured for living or work/live space.
  • Indoor/Outdoor Lifestyle: Rollup doors and large windows encourage indoor/outdoor living.

Designing the Interior of Your Dream Barndo

One of the barndo features owners like best is the flexibility of the interior layout of their new space. Some rooms will require a specific location due to plumbing and other utilities built into the home. Beyond that, though, the interior layout can be customized to your needs.

Plan your essential needs first, like square footage and how each room will be used, before you start your interior layout sketch. Knowing how you’ll live in your home is essential to a comfortable design. Barndominiums work best as an open concept home, often with a loft area above. 

The structure of a barndo encourages indoor/outdoor living. Rollup doors, big windows and wrap-around decks can give a feeling of spaciousness to your interior living space. 

Bring the outdoors inside with dramatic windows in your barndominium or open concept home. Image: hikesterson/Getty Images

Interior Design Tips for This Open Concept Home

A barndominium is truly an open concept home, so tips and ideas for an open interior layout definitely work here. When you’re decorating a barndominium or great room in any home, color becomes your easiest and best tool for defining space. To unify a large, open space, a colorful stripe that runs the perimeter of the room is a great trick that helps it look more intimate. Accent walls are still very much in style and can create a focal point in a large open space. And don’t forget, ceilings can be accents walls, too.

Furnishing the main areas of a large barndominium can be a challenge, but there are a few tips that make it easier to get a balanced look.

  • Choose Large Furniture: If you are furnishing a big, open space, using large furniture, like sectionals and oversized chairs, can fill the space without looking too busy.
  • Create Areas Within the Space: Grouping furniture together for conversation or eating areas prevents the “furniture store” look from which many open layouts suffer.
  • Use Color to Unify: If you’re grouping furniture within your barndo great room, stick with one color palette across all the areas you’re furnishing. That way, your colors tie everything together.

The HGTV Fixer Upper Barndominium Episode

HGTV’s Fixer Upper tackled a barndominium in Season 3 for a family looking for acreage and a unique home. Chip and Joanna Gaines reimagined a 1980s barn that already had an apartment upstairs. Their remodel used the upstairs apartment and the stable area downstairs to create a two-story, 2,700 sq. ft. home.

The Fixer Upper floor plan created a large upstairs kitchen and living room. Family bedrooms and an indoor/outdoor gathering space for entertaining complete the downstairs floor plan, including a 17-foot custom dining table for entertaining. The owners listed the totally remodeled barndo for sale in 2019 with a 1.2 million dollar price.

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4 Ideas for Creative Stepping Stone Pathways

If you’re looking for a timeless addition to your yard, consider stepping stone pathways. These add a rustic, natural element that is great for the outdoors. They’re also very versatile in style. Many stepping stone pathways are part of a zen style, as these types of yards make great use of stone elements. Stepping stones can also be set into grass for a more rustic and aged look. Or they can sit in more modern and neat gravel displays. Plus, many of these styles go well with water features. So take a look below for some inspiration for stepping stone pathways. You may just be installing a new pathway before you know it.

Stepping Stone Pathways Zen Garden

Naturally cut stepping stones work well in classic styles like zen. Image: Sakarin Sawasdinaka/Shutterstock

Zen Stepping Stones

As touched on above, zen styles and stepping stone pathways were made for each other. You can see in the photo above how well stepping stones work against sand or gravel designs. The stepping stones give an additional visual element among all the light gravel. Also, by choosing darker stones to sit on the light gravel, you can create some visual interest in the garden area.

Stepping stones are also a practical element, as the pathway allows you to travel across the garden without disturbing the sand or gravel patterns. Also, stepping stones with natural textures keep the space looking classic and organic.

Stepping Stone Pathways Water Feature

Stone pathways work well over water. Image: Rigamondis/Shutterstock

Water and Stepping Stone Pathways

Stepping stones also work beautifully when used alongside a garden water feature, like a backyard pond. Stepping stones were a classic way to get across rivers, creeks and other small waterways, so this is another way to create a classic and rustic element in the backyard.

You could go a couple of different directions with this idea. You could create a more clearly defined trail with larger stepping stones, like in the photo above. It’s also common to see widely spaced stepping stones in backyard ponds. These are more for show than actual use, but they give a romantic and slightly adventurous feel.

Stepping Stone Pathways Grass Style

Place stepping stones deeper if you want them to integrate with the grass. Image: Paolo Omero/Shutterstock

Set-In Stepping Stones

Another idea for stepping stone pathways is to place the stepping stones into the soil so that grass grows around them, or even over them in some cases. That gives the look that the stone pathway is very old, adding some rustic appeal. Choosing stones with deep textures also makes the stones look old, and stones with a natural cut to their shape further add a rustic look.

Placing the stones in a mosaic pattern also gives tons of visual interest. Stepping stone pathways like this are good in natural-looking gardens, leading to pool areas or bridging the gap between patio spaces, as a few ideas.

Stepping Stone Pathways Clean Modern

Gravel and stepping stones can create a clean, updated look. Image: Yatra/Shutterstock

Gravel and Stepping Stones

Not all stepping stone pathways need to look rustic. The clean gravel stepping stone pathway in the photo above is so organized that it has a modern appeal. The colored gravel gives the look some visual texture and helps the neutral stepping stones pop. This style goes well in garden spaces where the plants are clearly defined and organized themselves, as the photo above shows.

The stepping stones themselves have an attractive design of small stones encased in concrete. This style reminds us to feel free to make our own stepping stone designs, since they’re fairly simple to create. That way, you can have a customized and artistic look in the garden.

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HomeAdvisor’s 2019 Report Reveals Popular Spending Trends

The new State of Home Spending report by HomeAdvisor provides a treasure trove of information regarding the habits and behaviors of homeowners relating to home improvement spending, home maintenance spending, and home emergency spending.

Misha Fisher, Chief Economist for ANGI Homeservices (which owns HomeAdvisor), provides insight on the report.

Improving and remodeling are more popular than upkeep projects for homeowners.

Improving and remodeling are more popular than upkeep projects. Image: Breadmaker/Shutterstock

Homeowners spend more on home improvement than home maintenance

When taking out their wallets, homeowners are more likely to spend money to improve their space, rather than tackle a maintenance project. “For every dollar they spend on home maintenance, homeowners spend an average of five dollars on home improvement projects,” Fisher says.

In 2018, homeowners spent an average of $7,560 on home improvement projects. “They spent an average of $1,105 on home maintenance projects, and $416 on home emergency projects,” according to Fisher.

Some states spend significantly more on projects.

Some states spend significantly more on projects. Image: Breadmaker/Shutterstock

States spending the most and least on home improvement

Residents in Massachusetts, Hawaii, Rhode Island and Maryland are among the states that spend the most on home improvement projects. “On the other hand, West Virginia, Wyoming, New Mexico, South Dakota, and Maine are some of the states that spend the least amount on home improvement,” Fisher says.

Home improvement spending is up by 17.5% from 2018. Fisher attributes some of this to an increase in consumer wages, and a cultural focus on design aesthetics. “Also, the cost of skilled tradespeople is rising, and there are better (but more expensive) home improvement tools,” he says.

Everyone wants a renovated bathroom.

Everyone wants a renovated bathroom. Image: plusONE/Shutterstock

What are homeowners improving?

Rooms are the most popular home improvement choice. “Among these remodeling projects, bathrooms remain the overwhelmingly popular choice across all generations, likely in part because of their comparatively cheaper cost relative to kitchens,” according to Fisher.  Many homeowners are incorporating 2019 bathroom technology trends. “A bathroom renovation usually costs $10,352, and most homeowners spend between $5,957 and $14,832.” While a small or medium-sized bathroom ranges between $3,500 and $7,000, he says that a master or large bathroom could cost more than $13,000 to remodel.

Besides remodeling rooms, other popular projects include installing new appliances, replacing the roof, and refinishing hardwood floors.

Replacing windows can increase energy efficiency. Image: onzon/Shutterstock

Replacing windows can increase energy efficiency. Image: onzon/Shutterstock

Motivation to complete projects

Among generations, millennials are more likely to complete a home project to increase the home’s resale value. “Also, while baby boomers and Gen X are more likely to want to ‘modernize” their homes, millennials and the Silent Generation say they want to improve aesthetics and design,” Fisher explains.

When homeowners turn their attention to fixing parts of the home, they’re replacing or repairing areas that are damaged, decaying, or defective. Fisher says they’re most likely to focus on the following projects: a new roof, a new HVAC, new fencing, building a deck, new gutters, replacing windows, and new siding.

Roof repair is one common emergency home project.

Roof repair is one common emergency home project. Image: Radovan1/Shutterstock

Emergency home projects

One out of every five homeowners reported the need to complete an emergency home project. Examples of home emergency projects include fixing hail damage to the roof or replacing a failing hot water heater. “Homeowners who live in areas prone to extreme weather events spend the most money on emergency projects,” Fisher says. Texas, Alabama, Georgia, and Louisiana lead in this area, as a result of tropical storms, thunderstorms, flooding and hail.

However, you might be surprised to find out that an older home doesn’t necessary mean you’ll spend more in the event of an emergency. “The owners of a 100-year-old home spend an average of $370 less on emergency home repairs than the owner of a brand-new home,” Fisher says.

Millennials and more likely to conduct research via the internet.

Millennials and more likely to conduct research via the internet. Image: one photo/Shutterstock

How homeowners research costs

When researching home improvement costs, there are stark generational differences. For example:

  • Millennials: 77% use the internet, 64% check big box stores, 30% ask a previously used contractor
  • GenX: 74% check big box stores, 70% use the internet, 23% ask a previously used contractor
  • Baby Boomers: 60% check big box store, 58% use the internet, 35% ask a previously used contractor
  • The Silent Generation: 50% check big box stores, 32% ask a previously used contractor, and 25% use the internet

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