By Anjelica Michael
In October 2013, Hayes Organization Solutions was born out of 21-year-old Brandon Hayes‘ Fairfax apartment. “I’ve always been an organized person” said Hayes. “When I started working with friends and family and organizing their homes, a friend recommended I start my own business.”
As part of a generation of budding entrepreneurs, Hayes took the next step and put his dream into motion.
A Michigan native and George Mason University student, Hayes saw there was a market for home organization and decided to pursue it, forming his own before even graduating. We talked to Hayes to learn more about his business, and what makes it different from the competition.
“We can do anything from just going into your closet and color-coordinating your clothes, to a whole closet redo,” Hayes said. “It’s all about functionality and easy access. Each time we go into a home it is different, because it is specific to what a customer wants. Catering to the individual is what its about.” Hayes said that he wants his team to get to know a client before any work is done to evaluate works best for them and their every-day lifestyle.
When asked if he feels like his age plays a role in his business, Hayes laughed and said, “Of course people take it into consideration. But I notice all the ever-changing trends in homes. I notice what works and what doesn’t.”
But despite starting a business when many of his contemporaries are worried about graduation, Hayes is confident in his abilities.
“I’m serious about what I do, and I am in someone’s home to do a good job. Not everyone starts a business at 40.”
Keeping on trend and up to date with new tools are important, but Hayes says it goes beyond that. He always tells clients with kitchen organization projects to go grocery shopping beforehand, so he can see the products they use on a regular basis and work that into the organizational design of the space.
“I like to incorporate style into the space,” he said. “If I go into a space and organize it without knowing the person, sure, it will look nice and trendy, but it won’t work. It needs to be personalized to their daily routine.”
So why start the business in NoVA and not his native Michigan? “There are a lot of homes and businesses and everyone is on the go.” Hayes pointed out that people in Northern Virginia want the perfect home, and with perfection comes organization.
Even if you are on a budget, Hayes said there are solutions that are wallet-safe, ” You can find a lot of things at Target or on Amazon that are nice and inexpensive.”
In the end, Hayes just wants people to be happy in their homes with spaces that they are comfortable in. “I’m looking to create a perfect plan that fits their needs.”
For more about Hayes Organization Solutions, visit its website at www.hayesorganizationsolution.squarespace.com.
Posted by Editorial / Friday, February 21st, 2014
By Janeé Williams
All this snow is a drag and the warm weather is just around the corner. Start preparing for Spring at the Capital Home and Garden Show this weekend at the Dulles Expo Center. Equipped with 3,000-square-feet of Gardens with fountains and water features and exhibits for home decor, this show will definitely keep you on your toes.
More than 375 companies are coming together to provide you with the latest products and services for landscaping, home decor, remodeling, home improvement, gardening and more. The show provides hundreds of professionals to help you with your current remodeling or gardening ideas. Celebrity guests John Gidding from HGTV’s Curb Appeal; Mike McGrath, host of the radio show You Bet Your Garden and garden editor for WTOP, and Jennifer Bertrand, season three’s winner of HGTV’s Design Star will also be there to share their advice.
This show will offer more diverse exhibits, more categories and more presentations. Browse new products, ask professionals questions about your home and garden and go to a variety of presentations by their special guests to get more ideas for your home decor.
“ We are very excited to bring the Capital Home and Garden Show back to Northern Virginia,” said Liz Benkovich the manager of The Capital Home and Garden Show. “We’ll be showcasing more than 3,000 square-feet of gardens creating by six local landscape companies. And more than just gardens, we’ll have 375 exhibitors bringing the latest in home remodeling products, home improvement services and décor.”Capital Home and Garden Show Dulles Expo Center 4320 Chantilly Shopping Center Chantilly, VA 20153 Phone: 703-378-0910
By Janee Williams
It’s freezing out there. This by far is one of the coldest winters we have had and it seems nearly impossible to stay warm. After soldiering through the frigid weather of the week with the endless errand running and long commutes to work, why not wrap up with something that will protect you from the chill.
But instead of dragging the bulbous bed comforter around the house like an anchor, throw blankets are just the thing to beat back the cold. Not only will these look nice laid across your bed, they will also keep you warm when the day gets a little too arctic for your liking.
Here are our picks for five fashionable blankets to have in your home:
Vintage Kantha Throws: Keep warm and brighten up any room within your house with these Vintage throws. This unique handcrafted Indian throw is created from recycled saris and textiles, catching everybody’s attention with its vibrant colors and designs.
Biddeford Zebra Plush Heated Electric Throw: Get in touch with your animal side with this funky throw. Not only can you wrap it around your body to keep you warm it is electrically-heated just in case you need a little more heat to get you through the night. It has a great design to make any room in your house creative and it is guaranteed to keep you warm.
Hudson’s Bay Point Blanket: Let it light up your home by adding a splash of color to any room. This throw is guaranteed to keep you warm. It is windproof, water repellent and it is made with 100 percent virgin cotton.
Luxe Rose Petal Throw: This polyester throw is super soft and designed keep you warm throughout the day. Made by Bedford Cottage, this blanket epitomizes the brand’s modern design, but retains the softness of a bed of roses.
Valerianne: Keep warm with these great throws, made from soft organic yarns and Alpaca. Alpaca is one of the warmest fabrics out there. It is insulated to keep you warm in the winter and is very breathable to keep you cool when the days start to warm up. Grab this throw, snuggle next to a fireplace and keep the nippy weather away.
Pieces to keep your home on trend. —Lynn Norusis
Organic Orchid Duvet Cover and Shams @ West Elm; $24-$119.
Blenko Amethyst 2 Spout Water Pitcher @ The Hour; $250.
Aloha Orchid Reed Diffuser @ The Nest Egg; $30.
Radiant Orchid Bold Stripe Giclee Glow Plug-In Swag Pendant @ Lamps Plus; $129.99.
Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (in Henrietta) @ Stylish Patina, $38.50 for 32 fl. oz.
Rhapsody Wool Woven Rug @ The Nest Egg; $101-$2,119.
Stonewashed Belgian Linen Hemstitch Placemats, set of 4 @ Restoration Hardware; $48.
Patmos Quilt, in varying sizes @ Timothy Paul Home; $80-$325.
Smoke Rings Dinnerware @ Anthropologie; $12-$18.
‘Painterly View I’ Artwork (42×32”) @ The Nest Egg; $485.
By Cassandra Sturos
Looking for some tips on how to fix up your homestead? Check out these Northern Virginia bloggers, who are building a strong following with their savvy DIY skills.
These married home innovators turned blogging sensations invite you into their house (in Virginia) and their young love, which handily enough is the title of their blog: Younghouselove.
Check out their savvy home decorating tips and tutorials, along with loads of other fun ideas on painting, crafts, DIY projects, money-saving tips and more. This blog has so much to offer for the DIY-er that it could make your head spin, but in the good overwhelming way.
Start by taking the house tours of all three homes that the couple has now lived in, all the way up to their current home and check out the before and after pictures. Then to feel inspired, start in on the projects section (which is ample) or take a peek at how the couple used their knack for craftiness on their wedding day. All the home decorating excitement offered in this blog will have you itching to put down the remote control, find a paint brush and hot-glue gun and get artsy. http://www.younghouselove.com/
Pretty Handy Girl
Brittany Bailey, who grew up in Northern Virginia, A.K.A the Pretty Handy Girl is pretty modest, because she is more than pretty handy, she is downright impressive.
Besides taking on home repair, electrical, lighting and plumbing projects, Brittany went into labor with her second son while trying to fix a bathtub at eight and a half months pregnant! Now that’s a can-do spirit!
But don’t be put off by all the handiness, because Brittany gives great step-by-step instructions on all her home projects and how to build up your tool kit. She even owns power tools (and has tutorials on how to use them) but encourages you to start out basic and embrace becoming handy. And there’s no better way than by cruising her sight for ideas from holiday creations to installing a toilet seat. http://www.prettyhandygirl.com/
Interior designer Holly Holden has a knack for the classics. A Richmond native, Holden recently authored The Pretty and Proper Living Room, a design book which displays the elegance of colonial decor at home.
Holden, whose work has been featured on HGTV, lays out in meticulous detail every facet and function of designs emblematic of Virginia’s colonial heritage.
With a wealth of colorful photographs and vivid descriptions, The Pretty and Proper Living Room is a must for fans of the Colonial aesthetic. You can purchase the book on Holden’s website or on Amazon. -Carten Cordell
Autumnal Tones Are Steeped in Tradition
By Jennifer Shapira
Fall. The word itself is synonymous with color. The last of summer’s blooms and scents give way to a backdrop of foliage in vibrant reds, oranges and yellows.
“There’s just something about fall,” says Renatta Holt, a designer at Merrifield Garden Center. “Even if, typically, you don’t like oranges and yellows in your garden, when it gets to be September and October, people are just longing for fall colors.”
People by their very nature tend to be seasonal, says Sandra Hambly, principal interior decorator at Herndon-based Décor and You DC. People won’t necessarily decorate in anticipation of a season, but they are often inclined, she says. “We certainly have clients that are more attuned to sort of be in the fall or winter color, and then we do have some clients who like change it up.”
There is a small percentage of her “client base who will want to do a room in neutrals, for example, and they will want a spring rug and a fall rug, and then coordinating spring or fall accessories,” she says. The idea: Keep the base of the room the same, but add some seasonal punch.
The “in” and trendy [paint] color now is all about gray,” says Michael Sapienza, regional director of Decorating Den, adding the popular color is a direct correlation from the runway to interior design.
“Gray, gray, gray is what we’ve been saying all year,” he says. “Gray with accents of citron yellow, navy blue, emerald green. It’s everywhere. You see it in the clothes, you see it at Crate and Barrel. You see it on the furniture in all the lines that we do. You see it even in carpets now. It’s crazy.”
Sapienza is a fan of a number of Benjamin Moore grays: the lighter hued Collingwood OC-28, Old Prairie OC-42, Gray Owl OC-52 and “a little deeper” Stonington HC-170 and Edgecomb HC-173. “I have used and loved them all,” he says, adding they work “great with dark wood furniture and crisp white woodwork.”
Hambly agrees. “Pewters, charcoals and grays have been hot this past year,” but based on the vibrant color splashes she saw at the High Point Market this past spring, she says she’s very happy to see a resurgence of color. She recalls a recent makeover of an elegant library-slash-cocktail sitting room in Vienna in which she paired cool pewter tones with her take on Pantone’s sunny Lemon Zest 13-0756, one of its selected spring 2013 colors. The high-pile rug beckons bare feet; the two chairs invite unwinding—drink in one hand, book in the other.
“There are a lot of economists who say that people have started using gray, not to really be fresh, but because that’s the mood of the country,” Hambly half-jokes. “I think some of that’s true. And what’s really fascinating is that this year it was so evident that the colors were so much more vibrant than they’d ever been—we definitely saw those sorts of Pantone colors—and supposedly that’s because we’re feeling more optimistic. So now everybody wants a pop of color, in their clothing or in their homes,” she says. “It’s fascinating. We were really happy to see bright colors.”
Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, says rich accent colors like the gemstone-hued emerald, Pantone’s 2013 color of the year, can “add a luxurious feel to any room.” But she says, the “unexpected pop of color,” doesn’t have to come from paint.
“We are already seeing many (emerald) home accessory colors, particularly in glass and ceramics, lamps, but there are some wonderful examples in home furnishings such as chairs, pillows, bed and dining linens, tabletop and housewares,” she says.
For the more daring: Eiseman suggests, “an accent wall can be a beautiful statement.” Another idea for interpreting the year’s most on-trend hue: “turning a small powder room into a jewel box with emerald paint on the walls.”
But for those who are color-shy, and can’t envision painting a room or accent wall, there are more casual ways to introduce bolder palette choices. Consider painting a stair runner or the floor of a room, even the mantel for a quick update to a fireplace. For the DIY-er, minimal cost and effort is all there is to lose.
“A simple upgrade is to paint small pieces of furniture,” says Sue Kim, color strategist at Valspar. “Use bright colors like Valspar Iris Moon 4004-9C and Valspar Mustard Glaze 3006-3A on chairs or side tables to add pops of color. These smaller pieces allow for some change without being too overpowering.”
Hambly is also a big of fan of wallpaper, so much so, she says, “we try to work it into every space. And there are some real easy places where we think it makes a major impact.”
Her favorite spot for papering? “We love to put it on ceilings, because it’s kind of the fifth wall—or the sixth, if you do the floor—and so for people who might be a little nervous about putting it on four walls, we suggest the ceiling,” in bedrooms, foyers and powder rooms. Add a chandelier, she says, and “when the light hits it—it’s fantastic.”
Today’s wallpapers have really exploded into gorgeous textures and patterns. Hambly says the 1980s saw unadventurous mini-prints, but today’s makers are turning out vibrant graphic, geometric designs. “We love to put them in shadow boxes and then hang artwork or mirrors on top of that because that’s just a really great textural element,” she says.
Quick Change Artistry
While most experts would agree that the average homeowner doesn’t regularly change out paint color or wallpaper with the seasons, in an entryway or powder room, for example, they say people like to seasonalize living spaces by adding clever, colorful touches.
Perhaps it’s a back-to-school-inspired lampshade to freshen up a reading nook, or a couple of throw pillows that provide some pep to an otherwise neutral sofa.
The trick, experts say, is to rotate often. And if you don’t break the bank on these accessories, you can do so a few times a year.
An important tip: Pare down before embellishing. That’s how guests really take notice of the changes in a home, says Sapienza. Remove the clutter—even if it means concentrating on just one area of the home—and start anew.
One of the easiest areas of the home to seasonalize is the entryway, says Sapienza. Dressing it up with in-season flowers is a good idea, it’s cost-effective and a quick fix. But he also suggests keeping the space as clean and simple as possible. “Because then people will notice when you actually do change things,” he says.
“A lot of times, people put so much clutter in that first room of their house,” he says of the front hall area. By virtue of its location, it’s a classic dumping zone for mail, shoes, book bags—often a literal shedding of the day’s detritus.
Sapienza also suggests mounting an eye-catching mirror for instant interest. “Whether it’s oval, rectangular, etc., depending on the size of the space, a mirror can really liven up an entryway.”
Punches of Pumpkin
Deep purples are really starting to come into trend, says Alyson Skinner, co-owner/decorator of The Suite Shoppe. And while most homeowners in this area aren’t repainting their neutral blue-greens and sea glass walls, aubergine accents can provide a touch of fall.
“When you bring in the fall colors, if you have a very pale blue or green wall, that works really well,” she says. “It really pops against it and looks really nice.”
There are a number of small ways to introduce shades of fall color into the home, with minimal effort. Purchase an inexpensive pouf in a bold color to add seating and personality to a living area. A couple of throw pillows, or a throw blanket provide a bright makeover to a neutral couch.
Make a quick seasonal update to a powder room: add vibrant hand towels and coordinating decorative soaps. Place a cinnamon-scented candle in a pretty holder and a branch of autumnal leaves to a small vase. If there’s a shelf of photographs or other keepsakes, shop a local farmer’s market and add a tiny gourd or two to add a little more fall interest. In a foyer, fill a tall, clear glass vase with pinecones or acorns, then add low-maintenance branches of red or yellow twig dogwood, or snips of shrubs like iridescent purple Beautyberry or scarlet Burning Bush.
And don’t neglect the front of the home. At the front door or the porch steps, add pots of classic gold chrysanthemums or gorgeous blue asters.
There are also perennials that have rich oranges and reds colors; grassy sedges called Carex, Evergold and Toffee Twist, says Holt. “They’re great to use in arrangements or in containers by your front door because they’re basically evergreen perennials, and they’ll be around for most of the season.”
And everybody still loves that old Martha Stewart trick, says Skinner, of pumpkins stacked like snowmen. “That’s so easy to do. And if you do that, everybody walks by and says, ‘That’s so cool!’ That’s still a great way to give your front porch a sophisticated look.”
And while Pantone’s color of the year may seem more spring—even winter—but decidedly less fall, emerald is a color that designers and decorators say can transition into winter and its ubiquitous presence at holiday parties. In the home and just outside, think pine-scented evergreens, red-berried holly and festive front-door wreaths.
All that is in the not-too-distant future. But for now, the focus is on autumn.
“Fall makes us feel a certain way,” says Holt. “You get rejuvenated. It’s cooler, the air has a different smell and everybody is just clamoring for those bales of straw and chrysanthemums and pumpkins. It’s something that happens to all of us.”
Bring it on.
By Meghan Furey
Create Your Own Lights for Warm Summer Nights.
Coming from a very crafty family, I always love finding ways of keeping money in my pocket, and so with Pinterest and blog searching, I have been finding easy and fun ways of creating my own outdoor votives with items I find around the house. For those evenings when you are relaxing on porch with friends and family or warm weather events when you are setting up table arrangements, these DIY votives are simple and beautiful ways of adding a unique touch to your outdoor décor. Here are some of the surprising things you may find around the house that can actually make your life a lot brighter!
Mason jars are probably one of the most popular ways to create your own outdoor lighting. The patterns on these jars create a beautiful authentic feel to your home’s outdoor décor. One can just place candles inside the jars, but many projects involve filling them with other materials such as floating candles in water or placing them in sand or pebbles to make them more ornamental. These jars also look great when wrapped in twine or ribbon, painted or even bedazzled with glitter. One can go on and on about how you can decorate these jars, and even when they’re just plain, they add a simple and unique light to any outdoor space.
Once you have the Mason Jar lights made, there are so many ways you can arrange them too. One can simply them set on tables for dinner lighting. Many DIY bloggers have also created chandeliers or hanging lanterns like Holly did with her Mason Jars on Chez Beeper Babe. While creating a chandelier or hanging lantern may sound more complicated, both projects are a great way of spending time saving some dimes.
Tin cans are also an easy and accessible material to use to create beautiful lighting for those fun summer backyard parties or even just for your outdoor seating areas. Tin can lanterns can be a shiny decoration that glitters in the light and glows in the dark when lit. Most cans are opaque, which allows the holes punched in create beautiful prints and patterns. From birthday parties to outdoor dinner events, these votives can be a personal and unique ornament for any outdoor event. The cans can also be painted to match with other outdoor furniture or to make them even more festive décor like. .
While these luminaries look great on tables, many DIYers say that they look just as amazing hung. Decorating a backyard with strung up tin can lanterns would make an excellent source of light in any part of your outdoor space, and all without busting your wallet. Not to mention, it is an excellent summer activity for the kids to showcase their creativity to your friends and family!
Despite its narrow opening, wine bottles can be made into and are beautiful sources of light for any outdoor gathering. With their various glass hues and shapes, wine bottles can be versatile décor pieces that create a summery glow without spending more than a bottle of wine (literally).
A great wine bottle votive can also eliminate those nasty mosquitoes in your yard by creating a wine bottle tiki torch. By placing a using citronella torch fuel on a tiki wick in a wine bottle, you can make an effort in fighting against these pests while also creating a nice ambiance for your outdoor space.
With a glass cutter, you can also make a beautiful candle cover with a wine bottle . This creates a beautiful glow that can last all night long. With long-lasting light like this, you can enjoy those summer nights hours on end and the people you are spending them with. After, that is what summer is all about, right?
Experts offer tips on achieving your perfect green space.
By Jennifer Shapira
The perfect backyard is a landscape colored with four-season interest, is high on style and low on maintenance. Achieving the combination makes for an ideal garden, but even scoring some of those details is a welcome start.
Everyone wants to make their outdoor space more inviting, more in keeping with their lifestyle. Everyone loves the idea of grow-your-own vegetables, or herbs, of being able to snip off some basil or rosemary and toss it into a summer night’s dinner.
Who doesn’t want fresh-cut flowers, like whimsical, sun-loving hot-pink cosmos or cheerful black-eyed Susans cut right from your own plot? Or sitting beneath the cool shade of a sugar maple in summer that in autumn turns a bright red? Or the gorgeous springtime sculptural dogwoods that bloom white or pink in early spring?
Sound like a fantasy? Local experts can help you make that a reality. They’ll visit your property, complete a total site analysis, paint a picture catered to your wants and needs, show you what will do well in your yard (and inform you of what won’t) by helping to identify proper plantings, suggest the right hardscaping materials and add in the all-important design accents, making it all come together.
For the creative homeowner, much of this, if not all, might seem like a series of do-it-yourself projects, but to get everything just right, it’s best to seek the advice of a professional, says Tom Harley, landscape designer at Meadows Farms Nursery. Such collective experience will keep your project on schedule and free of errors, and you will no doubt be pleased with the final results.
In Northern Virginia, Harley says, most of the landscaping requests he receives are modest. He hears a similar checklist from almost every homeowner. “They want low-maintenance, color all year and inexpensive—that’s what they’re hoping for,” he says.
Sounds simple enough. But plans, materials, plants and accents can start to add up. So how to proceed on a budget?
“A lot of times people will come to me and have no clue what they’re looking for,” says Harley. “They just know they want their backyards to be beautiful. They want to soften the architecture, get plants into the ground that grow in and just keep getting better every year.”
But he, like many experts, cautions homeowners that a “no-maintenance” backyard simply doesn’t exist: One still has to water and weed.
“You’ve got to do some work to get things established. But once established, you shouldn’t have to do anything ever,” he says. “You shouldn’t have to prune, or do anything, if it’s done right. That’s the whole reason we’re there.”
Through a series of in-depth lifestyle questions: (How should your garden grow? What styles do you like?) Harley is able to dissect a homeowner’s bullet/wish list and help them to realize a vision for their outdoor space. Quite often, he says, he’ll insert himself into the design plan: If the space were his, how would he design it? What trees and plants would he choose? That’s when he says a mix of knowledge and creativity goes a long way.
“Maybe they show you a picture in a magazine,” he says. “A lot of it has to do with budget. You’ve just got to be ever-mindful of certain things: budget, drainage, engineering. Then it’s taking all those factors and coming up with a solution.”
While there are a number of common denominators, Harley, like most landscape professionals, is quick to point out that no two jobs are exactly alike. But he has noticed that more people are focused on a beautiful landscape, and that’s usually where more of the money goes.
Project Timeline (Job Process)
Tom Harley, Landscape Designer at Meadows Farms Nursery
1. Client contacts Meadows Farms.
2. Meadows assigns lead (usually within 24 hours).
3. I call client to set appointment to meet (usually day I receive the info).
4. Appointment is set with client (anywhere from the next day to two weeks out or more, depending on clients/my schedule…usually about a week).
5. Goal is to provide a plan and estimate at the time of the appointment (and to get deposit for job at that time); however, depending on the scope of the job it can take longer. Ninety percent of the appointments I go on, the plan and estimate are completed impromptu.
6. The job is entered into “the system,” a computer contract is generated which needs signature and deposit, plan all in order. (This can be done in a hour or over several days.] Then, the client has to put down their deposit, usually 50 percent down. and, it’s really up to them when they are ready to proceed.
7. Once everything is turned in and approved by management it goes to scheduling (takes about one day) and the client is called to schedule an installation date. Usually the job is scheduled to begin within two weeks of the deposit, although this can vary depending on the clients’ preferences. Most often the work is completed in one day, although depending on the scope of the work, it may take a weeks to complete.
8. The balance due for the job is collected upon completion and this is usually the last item to be taken care of. However, there may still be additional work to be done such as add on work, any plants not on site because it was not in inventory, etc.
9. Follow up of whatever is necessary is done as soon as possible, depending on the situation. There is also a lifetime warranty on all the plants we install, so even years after the job is completed we may be called on.
Some Things to Note:
Generally, it takes about a month from womb to tomb for an average job of $1,000 to $20,000. However, if you are constructing a swimming pool in Fairfax County it is going to take four months minimum from the time you submit your plans until you to get your permit. It will take even longer if you are in an RPA (within a hundred feet of stream). Larger projects like this can take months or even years; require engineered plans, impact studies, etc. Other projects, like decks that require permits, can be in your hands in one day to two weeks. It really varies, but in general the bigger the project, the longer it takes. No permits are required for plantings or most patios and walkways.
Projects any space can take.
By Jennifer Shapira
If an improved backyard is the goal, but keeping costs down is the priority, there are a number of small, inexpensive upgrades that can provide impact. Allen D. Ford, install sales coordinator at Lowe’s of Alexandria, has a number of suggestions to save some green, while incorporating style and personality to an outdoor space.
Spruce up any patio with updated furniture; shop around for a bistro set that is a step up from the traditional color palette. Cheer up the space and go bolder with a pop of rich color. Try your hand at growing your own edibles; plant your favorite herbs and vegetables and practice in small pots that sit on the steps of your deck.
You want your outdoor space to feel secluded, private, your own. Creative landscaping can be the key to providing that kind of escapist feel. Put in a simple waterfall to add interest, and in any desired look—go natural, modern, classic, formal or Asian-inspired. The bubbling sound of a water feature can do double duty: It can bring a relaxing vibe to any backyard area, while masking the hum of traffic from a nearby busy thoroughfare.
“Defining areas is a big thing,” says Ford, but it doesn’t have to be a big job.
Increase a home’s curb appeal with neatly trimmed lawn edges, and create a hardscaped zone with interlocking pavers abundantly available in sizes, shapes and colors to complement your home’s style.
Consider adding an inviting bench to a favorite garden area. “It would draw more people out into your yard to get a closer look at the landscaping you’ve done,” says Ford. “You’d see the butterflies that it draws, the hummingbirds that it draws. It’s just a way to get people out there and look around more at the yard and flowering trees.”
Another low-cost tip: Showcase a particular tree or garden feature with a low-voltage spotlight. Point the beam up or down to kick up a little DIY garden drama. For instant ambience, place a number of lights low to the ground to illuminate a stone pathway, or go even simpler with string lights threaded through a gazebo or pergola.
Harley, who lives in a forested area, has spotlights trained on favorite trees: a hemlock, oak and beech. “It makes something ordinary look extraordinary at night,” says Harley. “I really like what that does for a place.”
8 Outdoor Products
1. MoMA Store Bistro Set
Give your patio or garden area an instantly stylish update with MoMA’s zippy bistro set. Constructed from sturdy steel, the bright orange table and chairs offer an inventive take on the Parisian classic, providing the perfect outdoor perch for a morning coffee or an early evening cocktail.
Bistro Table, $246 and Bistro Chair, $99; momastore.org
2. Felco Pruners
For the more-than-casual DIY gardener, a pair of red-handled Felco professional-grade pruners are a must, says landscape architect Jennifer Horn. The strong blades make clean cuts instead of pinching or tugging branches, which can cause damage. But, she cautions, “You can get tired from using them,” so expect a workout.
Felco pruners, $49.99 and up; available at Merrifield Garden Center and amazon.com
3. Color-changing Waterproof LED Light Patio/Bistro Set
These geometric remote-controlled color-changing LED-lit patio pieces add a sci-fi flair to any outdoor area. Translucent white when powered “off,” the rechargeable pod-like mod seating provides a vibrant, warm glow at night, turning any backyard into a party zone.
Color Changing Waterproof LED Light Cube, $129.99; amazon.com
Ibiza chair, $229.99; brookstone.com
4. Garlic Juice
Everyone in this area knows mosquitoes can ruin any outdoor gathering in the summer months. Landscape architect Jennifer Horn suggests spraying organic garlic juice which plants absorb, so there’s no lasting pungent garlic smell in your garden. “If you have a large, substantial, garden space, that’s a great way to help keep mosquitoes at bay,” she says.
Mosquito Barrier, $29.95 per quart; mosquitobarrier.com and amazon.com
5. Rain Barrel
Hook up a rain barrel kit to a downspout outside your home, and let the rain fall from your roof into the airtight cistern where the water will stay until you’re ready to use it. Most barrels hold upwards of 50 gallons of water, so you’ll save some green on costs associated with watering your plants, and feel good about reusing natural resources.
Rain Wizard 50-Gallon Black Recycled Plastic Rain Barrel with Spigot, $137.80; lowes.com
If an outdoor space is at a premium or the backyard is the size of a postage stamp, add visual interest with a simple trellis that you can easily push right into the ground, says Allen D. Ford, install sales coordinator at Alexandria’s Lowe’s. Create a sort of vertical garden with a pretty climbing vine such as clematis or a perfume-scented rose.
Garden Treasures 24”W x 72”H Zen Garden Trellis, $39.97; lowes.com
Add a stylish update to any garden space with an easy-to-install spotlight. Accentuate the positive: Illuminate a favorite tree or shrub or water feature. Whether you’re hosting a gathering, or enjoying a quiet evening, the light creates ambiance and “makes something ordinary look extraordinary,” says landscape designer Tom Harley.
Portfolio Black Low-Voltage Halogen Flood Light, $18.98; lowes.com
Enjoy the fruits of your backyard labors from a bench-style perch. Choose a classic park-style bench, or a concrete version and place it squarely in your garden among the blooms, or make it a destination at the end of a stone walkway. It will serve as the perfect spot to relax and take in your surroundings—the happy results of hard work.
Garden Treasures 50-1/2-in. L Patio Bench, $118; lowes.com
Photos: Courtesy of Garlic Research Labs, Inc. (Mosquito Barrier); Courtesy of PYGAR USA Inc (Felco pruners); Courtesy of Lowe’s (trellis, bench, spotlight, rain barrel); Courtesy of Main Access (LED light patio); courtesy of MoMA Design Store (Bistro set)