Age Proofing a Home Mother's Day Gift Ideas

Gift Ideas for a Handy DIY Mom

Is your Mom a do-it-yourselfer? Here are some gift ideas for gardening and decorating that she’ll probably enjoy. They’re clever and useful products that make a special gift for any handy mom. The best part is she’ll smile and think of you every time she uses them.

The solar-powered Edyn Garden Sensor detects soil moisture, humidity and sunlight exposure when used with its companion app on a cell phone. No matter where she is, she has access to a real time snapshot of the garden so she’s informed about the condition of the soil. You’ll find it for about $100 at Home Depot.

She can take on any tough yard cleanup work with a Compact Billhook – a what? It’s a specialty tool used for trimming shoots and stems, dividing plants and any strong-arm pruning jobs in the garden. You can buy Fiskar’s compact clearing billhook for about $30 at Home Depot.

Here are two nifty gifts for container plants. Drain-Smart at makes container drainer discs that fits into a container and encourages faster drainage and prevents root-rot. (3 pk of 3×12-inch discs $20).

Pot Risers are invisible pot feet that support containers and statuary. They elevate a pot to prevent staining and rotting of decks and patios and promote better drainage. Learn more at A 6-pack of risers for 4-5 pots is $14. Both products are made of recyled material and are available at

The new Black +Decker Garden Cultivator efficiently breaks up soil to allow water and nutrients to reach plant roots while counter oscillating tines prevent weeds from tangling. The soft grip, adjustable handle and upright design provide comfort and limit fatigue when cultivating. Works to easily prepare bare patches in your lawn before seeding, too. ($90) True Value, Ace and others.

If Mom likes painting projects consider any of these Handy Paint Products. Choose from a variety of painting aids $3-$15

Another painting aid that Mom will appreciate is an easy way to cover up a wet brush or roller in an airtight container until it’s time to paint again. The handy Paint Brush Cover ($5) and Roller Cover ($7) are available at

Who doesn’t need to get organized? Clever Crates are space saving storage crates made of recyclable material and lightweight and collapsible. These useful crates sell for under $20 and come in various sizes

Arbor Day gardening hire a landscaper Landscaping

Plant a Tree for Arbor Day, April 29

Diy106aIf you’re considering planting a tree, the best resource we’ve seen is, the Web site of the National Arbor Day Foundation. You’ll learn everything you want to know about planting trees and can use their online guide to identify trees to plant on your property.

Planting a tree by hand can be strenuous work, but the reward is lasting beauty and the protective shade the tree provides for years to come. While a tree enhances the landscape of a house, it’s also a good investment that you can enjoy and watch grow over the years. A leafy maple tree is an attractive addition to any landscape when in bloom, and in winter its bare branches allow the sunlight to shine through.

A landscape contractor or tree service will charge $339 to plant a 2-inch caliper maple tree that’s approximately 9 feet high. That includes the cost of the tree and the labor to plant it. You can buy the tree for $175 and plant it and save 48 percent.

To determine the size of tree to plant, make a scaled drawing of your yard and note any existing trees and what surrounds them. Try to imagine how a tree will look when it’s full grown. You don’t want to plant a new tree too close to the growing zone of existing trees, where it would be under their shadow or too close to the house, property line or under overhead cables. To prevent hitting any underground cables or pipes, call your local utility company. Many of them promote a “call before you dig” program, and will send someone out to mark any underground utility lines in your yard.

Visit us at to compare the cost of hundreds of improvement and gardening projects to decide to do it yourself vs. hiring a pro.

Do it yourself Garage Sale

Get Your Garage Organized

Spray Paint a GarageToday a garage means different things to different people. It can exist to protect a car or to create a man cave, but for most of us it’s somewhere in between. As young marrieds we didn’t have a garage with our first home so it became a must-have on our list of features for our next one. As we moved from house to house our garages evolved from an old farmhouse garage with a dirt floor designed for a horse and carriage to a luxurious 3-car studio and workshop. A friend has a garage so organized and decked out it’s fit for entertaining, ours is a basic one-car unit we use for storage and workshop. Come bad weather in the winter we pull in the car to protect it from snow or ice and it suits us just fine.

If you’re inclined to make better use of the garage you have, here’s a link to garage projects in Garage Overhaul and How Much It Costs. The upgrades give you an idea of what’s involved and the price you’ll pay. No matter how practical or elaborate you make your garage the most challenging part of the job is getting rid of what’s there and organizing what’s left so you can find it. Good luck with that.

To learn the cost of hundreds of home improvement projects and compare the price of doing it yourself with hiring a contractor, visit us at

gardening Landscaping

Grass Growing Advice from Grass Seed USA

Gene and Katie Hamilton
Gene and Katie Hamilton

To create a lush green landscape keep your grass healthy and in tip top shape with these helpful hints from the experts at Grass Seed USA, a coalition of American grass seed farmers. These are 3 easy peasy takeaways any homeowner can do using ordinary household items – ruler, screwdriver, mason jars – most everyone has around the house.

Tip 1: Mowing advice. To check if you’re mowing your grass to the right height use a ruler. Wait until your grass is three inches tall before mowing, and then cut it to two inches in height. By trimming only one-third of the blade length, you’ll avoid stressing the grass while leaving enough leaf to protect the roots from the sun. When you mow your grass to the correct height you create a low maintenance, drought-tolerance lawn.

Tip 2: Avoid overwatering. By watering only when your lawn needs it your grass will develop longer roots that are able to pull moisture from deep in the soil. To test for moisture, push a screwdriver (an old one) into the ground. If it’s tough to push it in, the soil is dry and the grass needs a drink; if the tool goes in easily, you don’t need to water yet.

Tip 3: Do It Yourself pH test. Most turf grasses prefer soil with a neutral pH (neither acidic nor alkaline) and you can test for it with a pair of pint size mason jars. Fill each jar about half way full of soil taken from different parts of the yard, removing any rocks or other debris. Add a half-cup of household vinegar to the first jar and if the mixture fizzes, the soil is highly alkaline and you don’t need to test the other jar. If you get no reaction, continue the testing by adding a half-cup of water to the soil in the second jar. Mix well and then add a half-cup of baking soda to the slurry. If this mixture fizzes, the soil is very acidic.

Amend overly acidic soil with lime; amend alkaline soil with sulphur.

For more tips about your lawn go to, the Grass Seed USA website.

If you’re considering any lawn and home improvement jobs visit us at and find the cost of doing it yourself compared with the cost of hiring a contractor.

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April Home Maintenance Checklist Monthly Home Maintenance

April Home Maintenance Checklist

A007At this time of year it’s a good idea to take some time to make inspections and clean and maintain some of the well used systems of your home. Take a look at these 11 chores and make your own list of what needs to be done to make your home clean and fresh and ready for warmer weather.

* Replace filters or wash permanent ones in heating system
* Change batteries in carbon monoxide and smoke alarms
* Clean out and organize the attic
* Clean and inspect gutters and downspouts
* Inspect the siding and foundation for damage from pests, cracks or weather
* Inspect insulation for gaps and remove vent covers
* Inspect heat pump or air conditioning unit and clear debris
* Clean out fireplace and wood stove and have chimney and flue cleaned
* Tune up gas grill, lawn mower and other power equipment
* Turn on outdoor water spigots
* Apply pre-emergent on lawns to curb growth of weeds

If you’re considering any lawn and home improvement jobs visit us at and find the cost of doing it yourself compared with the cost of hiring a contractor.