Tips For Late Summer Gardening

(BPT) – Summer may be winding down, but a new opportunity to garden is just beginning. Plenty of vegetables and flowers can be grown successfully in late summer and into fall, so it’s a great time to refresh with plants that either thrive in slightly cooler weather or are easy to bring indoors once the temperatures start to drop.

Savor the flavors of fresh grown herbs.

With Pesto Party basil from Burpee Plants, you can have your own actual pesto party! Bring the basil indoors when there is danger of frost and keep the plant handy in a sunny spot in the kitchen so you can simply snip off leaves as you’re cooking and entertaining. Just be sure to leave some foliage on the plant so it will continue to grow. If you make a bigger batch of pesto than you can use in one recipe, freeze the leftovers in ice cube trays to pull out and cook when desired.

Enjoy seasonal, fresh from the garden vegetables.

Kale Storm from Burpee is not only tasty, but it’s lovely to look at in your garden with its purple, green and blue-tinged leaves. It can be planted either in the ground or also works well in a decorative patio or porch planter for those with limited space. Unlike some plants, colder temperatures enhance and sweeten kale’s flavor, so it can withstand a hard frost or two.

Like a bit of variety in your salad? Burpee’s Gourmet Blend offers a long harvest range, and it includes five different types of lettuces in one plant for a truly varied and delicious salad selection. A raised garden bed in a sunny location is the best spot for successfully growing these varieties of lettuce during the fall.

A stunning new Brussels sprouts called Redarling has a vivid red hue to offer even more color to your cool-season edible garden. It has a mild taste and is a rich source of vitamin C and folic acid because of its unique red color. They stand up to cool nights and frost, so they’ll be popular at the dinner table late into the season.

Add color and a festive look to your porch, patio or garden.

Available in a variety of autumnal hues, Cool Wave Pansies are a great choice to brighten your outdoor space for the season. Cool Wave’s Sunshine ‘N Wine is a vivid, bold yellow flower with decorative deep burgundy on the petals’ edges, while Raspberry Swirl sports a gorgeous raspberry-colored design. In early fall, plant your favorites in a gourd, like a large pumpkin, to add a fun, festive touch to your front steps, porch or patio. Cool Wave Pansies are easy to maintain and offer long-lasting, colorful blooms to ensure your outdoor space is looking refreshed and vibrant for the season.

To get some colorful perennials thriving in your garden, late summer is a great time to grow flowers like fragrant Lavender, frilly Dianthus or pollinator favorite Echinacea (a native coneflower). Lavender plants can be grown in the garden or large planters and withstand drought well. You can use the florets in scented DIY projects. Dianthus thrives in sunny locations and can tolerate a light frost. They make excellent cut flowers to enjoy indoors. Echinacea colors range from white and yellow to shades of orange, pink and red. All are great choices if you’re trying to attract bees, song birds and butterflies to your yard.

Don’t give up on gardening just because summer is coming to a close. There’s plenty of time left to plant and enjoy the most colorful – and delicious – season of the year. For more tips and gardening ideas, visit burpeehomegardens.com and wave-rave.com.

5 Budget-Friendly Projects That Boost Your Home’s Value

(BPT) – Whether you plan to sell your home soon or you simply want to make your property more modern and livable, there are many things you can do to increase the value of your house. The good news is you don’t need a massive budget to make a big impact. Here are five affordable things you can do to boost your home’s bottom line.

Update the entryway

Updating the entryway provides a warm welcome to guests. Clean the space of clutter and consider adding a new sturdy doormat and plant or wreath to add a splash of style. Of course, the focal point of the entryway is the front door, so if yours is looking drab, a fresh coat of paint can go a long way. If it’s dented and worn, consider a replacement that doesn’t cost a ton but has great return on investment: Remodeling Magazine’s 2019 Cost vs. Value reports an average national job cost of $1,826 with a 74% ROI.

Replace appliances

A kitchen remodel certainly boosts a home’s value, but even a minor kitchen remodeling can surpass $20,000, with upscale remodels costing $100,000 or more. To get that new kitchen look and feel without the big price tag, consider putting funds toward new appliances instead. Coordinating appliances for a cohesive look enhances the aesthetic of the room. Stainless steel continues to dominate in interior design, but choose the right colors for your kitchen’s unique look and you’ll love the results.

Add a bathroom

A bathroom addition certainly boosts a home’s value, and if you are strategic about the remodel, it doesn’t have to be costly. Don’t feel limited if the space where you want to add a bathroom doesn’t have existing, below-floor drainage. With smart alternatives like Saniflo, you can add a complete bathroom virtually anywhere, thanks to above-floor plumbing technology that pumps drainage from the fixtures up to the sewer or septic-tank line. The Sanibest Pro is ideal for full baths, especially those used frequently by guests and children. Designed to handle sanitary products that normally should not be flushed down the toilet, the Sanibest Pro can also handle drainage from two other bath fixtures, such as a sink and a tub or shower. Keep in mind, a mid-range bathroom addition recoups 60% of cost, according to the 2019 Cost vs. Value report.

Swap out hardware

Sometimes it all comes down to the details to make a space more visually appealing. It’s costly to get new vanities and cabinets in bathrooms, kitchens and entertaining spaces, but you can give the space a new look by updating the hardware. Knobs, handles, hooks and more become dated and dingy over time. Head to your local home improvement store to select new hardware in a design and finish that reflects your personality and the home’s style. Satin chrome and oil-rubbed bronze are trending in 2019.

Add crown molding

If you think crown molding is reserved just for upscale homes, you’re mistaken. Crown molding is an affordable way to add a touch of luxury to any space, boosting value and enhancing the interior design. Crown molding is available in a variety of materials, including wood, plastic and foam. You can paint it to the color of your choice, although white is always a classic crown molding hue that adds a clean, eye-catching appearance. Not only does crown molding boost design, it also is a clever way to cover any gaps that can emerge over time between the walls and ceiling.

You don’t need a big budget to give your home’s value a big boost. These five projects are a great way to enhance your property today with a great return on investment tomorrow.

With Saniflo, you can add a complete bathroom where no drainage existed before thanks to above-floor plumbing features like a macerating toilet and drain pumps. The Saniaccess3 is a smart choice for full baths, and the Saniaccess2 is ideal for powder rooms.

4 Home Fix-Ups For Fall

(BPT) – With cooler days and temperate weather, fall is a good time to get outdoors and tackle some larger home projects, as well as prep your home for winter.

“Cold weather can wreak havoc on your house, leaving you with a long list of repairs,” said Cathy McHugh, director, brand management at DAP. “It’s important to take preventative action now so you can enjoy the coming weather change, rather than making costly repairs later.”

Don’t know where to start? Here are the top five “must-do” repairs from the experts at DAP.

Refresh around windows and doors

Temperature fluctuations and weather extremes can cause cracks and crumbling in sealants around windows and doors. The resulting gaps allow air to creep inside, putting your energy bills on overdrive. In addition, if current sealant has any dirt build-up, the hot and humid weather of summer can foster mold and mildew. Protect your home and give your windows and doors a refresh and waterproof seal that stands up to the elements by applying a new exterior sealant like Dynaflex Ultra Advanced Exterior Sealant that will provide long-lasting all-weather, waterproof protection, resisting dirt build-up and water absorption. It also comes with a lifetime mold-, mildew- and algae-resistant guarantee. It’s easy to apply and is paint-ready in just an hour, allowing you to quickly repair problem areas.

Repair imperfections and surface damage

It’s important to take a walk around your property and inspect your home and outdoor living areas for surface damage issues caused by hail, wind and heavy rain. Common damage includes cracks in sidewalks and driveways, as well as chips in siding. Address problem areas like these with an exterior filler, which can fill in exposed, vulnerable areas and prevent further damage. To save time and money, choose a multipurpose filler designed specifically for exterior repairs like Platinum Patch Advanced Exterior Filler, formulated with innovative Weather MaxTechnology for long-lasting, all weather protection. The mold-, mildew- and algae-resistant formula creates a durable bond that prevents discoloration, as well as cracking and crumbling over time. It is sandable and paintable and offers superior adhesion to porous and non-porous building materials such as brick, concrete, metal, composite or wood decks, vinyl or fiber cement siding, PVC trim board and more.

Inspect your roof

Start by making a simple visual inspection of your roof. Before hauling out the ladder, use binoculars or zoom in with a smartphone camera to spot obvious damage. If your roof has a relatively flat surface and you feel comfortable on a ladder, then go up for a closer look. Shingles that are cracked, buckled, loose or are missing granules need to be replaced. And of course, while you’re up there, be sure to clear any clogged gutters to prevent potential water damage.

Prepare your furnace for fall

Now is the time to prepare your furnace for fall. Change the filter, clean vents and remove any dirt or dust that has settled on the unit and connections. If you suspect problems, schedule a professional to check it out now – rather than wait until temperatures drop.

For more information to help tackle your to-do list, visit DAP.com.

How To Keep Your Home Cool and Improve Indoor Air Quality

(BPT) – Summer heat may be good if you’re at the beach or pool, but when you’re at home, it often means fighting scorching temperatures with costly air conditioning. Not only can this feel like an endless battle during the dog days of summer, but leaving the trapped hot air in your home can also worsen indoor air quality.

Considering people spend an average of 90 percent of their time indoors, this is a big deal. Proper ventilation has many benefits, from keeping a home comfortable all summer long to improving overall home health, including removing pollutants and stale indoor air to improve air purity. What’s more, when you ventilate strategically, you can enjoy cost savings as you won’t have to use your air conditioner as frequently.

You may be able to block the sun strategically using blinds and shades while opening windows on the particularly cool evenings, but if you really want to embrace the trend of healthy home ventilation, consider systems that focus on specific parts of your home, including the attic, garage and indoor spaces.

Whole house fans

Whole House Fans don’t just recirculate air in your home like air conditioning does; they work by continuously replacing it with fresh air in your home and attic. Solatube Whole House Fans will pull the cool, fresh outside air into your living spaces through your windows. Then they push hot, stale indoor air through your attic and out the vents.

During the warmer months, using this Whole House Fan cools the air in your house as well as the structure and contents. This helps cool your home including your attic by up to 30 degrees, allowing those areas to stay much cooler the following day, which is the principle of Thermal Mass Cooling. This equates to fresher air and lower overall costs to keep your home cool when compared to air conditioning.

Attic fans

When the heat of summer hits, hot air needs to be vented from your attic to keep living spaces comfortable, air conditioning units from overworking, and roof structures and materials from deteriorating. With attic fans, your attic stays cool and dry while you enjoy greater comfort in your home, lower utility bills and prolonged roof life.

These solar-powered attic fans help keep spaces from reaching incredibly high temperatures when the sun beats down on the top of a home, plus you can feel good about adding to the eco-friendly features of your home. Learn more at www.solatube.com/attic-fans.

Garage fans

For many people, the garage is an extension of the home and offers a bounty of usable space. Whether it’s your place to work on your car, your fitness or a DIY project, you want to keep the heat out. Solatube offers two great solutions: powered and solar-ventilation fans to remove heat and fumes from any garage all day, so you can enjoy your garage in total comfort.

Solar-powered systems run all day without using any electricity so you keep the entire space cool with no cost to operate. You can mount different solar fans on the side of the garage or the roof depending if you have an open ceiling or a living space above the garage. For garages with attic space above them, keep both spaces cool and comfortable and your home protected from the elements with Solatube’s powered garage fan that pulls hot air out of the garage and attic while bringing cool air in from the outside.

With people spending more time indoors than ever before, it’s important to stay comfortable while also being mindful of indoor air quality. Smart ventilation systems let you have both comfort and cool during the toughest days of summer. Learn more at www.solatube.com.

3 Emerging Smart Home Trends of 2019

(BPT) – If you’re building a new home, you want it to be stylish, functional, and of course, state of the art with the latest technology advancements. Smart home features are on top of the wish list for homeowners, with 81 percent of homebuyers stating they would favor purchasing a home with smart accessories already installed, according to Digitized House. By building your own home, you get the advantage of these features being integrated seamlessly into the design.

Every year, smart home technology gets better and better, with new trends emerging that make homeowners’ lives easier and more convenient than ever before. Here are some of the top smart home trends of 2019 that you may want to integrate into your building plans:

Smart circuit breakers

For the most part, circuit breaker boxes in traditional homes have remained unchanged for decades. The mysterious gray box in your basement or garage is one that you tend to avoid, but smart design and technology is taking these load centers into the 21st century. Leviton’s new load center with optional internet connectivity sends homeowners real-time monitoring data and customizable alerts to their smart devices.

How does it work? The Leviton Load Center’s smart circuit breakers communicate with a Wi-Fi or Ethernet-enabled data hub to report real-time status. Using the My Leviton App, homeowners can conveniently monitor electrical usage per circuit branch or specific appliance, safely turning breakers off remotely if needed. Smart circuit breakers also report home energy consumption, including historical views by day, month or even year. The My Leviton App also allows users to receive alerts when a circuit breaker trips, or if a circuit is using more energy than usual. They can even set contractors as recipients of these notification and give them secure access to their app’s panel view, allowing them to troubleshoot remotely. No more wondering if the stove was left on – you’ll be able to see instantly.

More than just a simpler way to improve your home’s safety, if you’re concerned about your home’s energy output, Leviton’s smart circuit breakers provide real-time data on how each circuit is performing, as well as information on current and historical costs – so you can make smarter energy choices. Good for the environment and your utility bill. Learn more at www.leviton.com/loadcenter.

Smart comfort

You want to stay comfortable from season to season in your home, but you also want to heat and cool it efficiently. Smart temperature controls are making this easier than ever for homeowners, allowing you to put the temperature decisions virtually on auto-pilot.

Smart thermostats go beyond programmable thermostats by using technology to analyze heating and cooling usage and maximizing efficiency for when you are home versus when you are gone. Connected to an app on your phone, the technology knows through your device’s physical location if you are home or away at work. It records patterns and begins to make suggestions and adjustments based on your lifestyle. These smart temperature controls allow you to make automatic adjustments remotely if necessary, so if you’re headed home early, you can have the house to your ideal temperature by the time you arrive.

With access to historical energy use data and temperature control charts, you’ll be able to analyze your energy footprint and make informed decisions about how you want to use your home’s heating and cooling systems best for your comfort and for the environment.

Smart security systems

It’s amazing what modern home security can do when paired with smart home technology. Not only will your home be safer, but it will be more accessible, too.

For example, pair cameras with intelligent locks to let you know who is at your door even when you’re away. If it’s your child coming home from school, they can be safely let into the house. If it’s a package delivery, you will know right away. If it’s a package thief, you can be alerted and take action through two-way audio before the police arrive. Smart cameras can detect people, animals and things, making your spaces incredibly secure.

Smart sensors are also a big part of the smart home security trend, bringing peace of mind to homeowners. These sensors monitor environmental changes in the home, so you’re alerted to air quality changes and other concerns such as temperature fluctuations or smoke. For example, you’ll know right away if high levels of carbon monoxide are detected, whether you’re at home or away.

Another way to keep your home safe is by making it look like you are home when you are away. Smart lighting options such as the Leviton Decora Smart with Wi-Fi Technology enables you to schedule lights to turn on and off throughout the day from any location all through the convenience of the My Leviton App.

When building a home, it’s important to make it a smart home. These three emerging areas are bringing the home fully into the future with more innovations still to come.