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All About Outdoor Kitchens

Posted on August 09, 2016 by James Florence

With Alain Joske, owner of Inscapes

With the beautiful weather in the Bay Area, it’s no wonder that one of the biggest local home improvement trends is to extend one’s living space to the outside with add-ons like decks and covered patios. However, even though these exterior additions are great, you can take your alfresco experience to a whole new level by building an outdoor kitchen, which will allow you to prepare meals and dine under the sun or stars. To learn about the process of outdoor kitchen construction, we’re joined by Alain Joske of Inscapes.

Plan way in advance. An outdoor kitchen isn’t built overnight—it’s a lengthy process, Read more

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Posted in: Consumers, Home Tips, Home Improvement, Landscaping Tips
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Tip Sheet: 5 Things to Consider When Designing a Landscape

Posted on May 26, 2016 by James Florence

Redesigning your landscape is a great way to enhance both the beauty of your home and the enjoyment of your outdoor living space. However, according to Diamond Certified Expert Contributor Jerry Allison, to ensure a good result, you’ll need to take several practical considerations into account, including the following: Read more

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Green Building: Eight Ways to Make Your Home Improvement Project Environmentally-Friendly

Posted on March 08, 2016 by Jennifer Chan

Last fall, we published a long piece about how to make different types of Bay Area homes more energy efficient (download the free e-book here). This month, we’ve distilled the wisdom offered in that post and added a few more Green tips in honor of March, the greenest of months. Enjoy!

1. Implement a whole-house solution
Richard Hiteshew of A-1 Guaranteed Heating & Air, Inc. says people who want to “Green up” their homes should “reduce before they produce.” Read more

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Posted in: Uncategorized, Consumers, Home Tips, Home Improvement, Landscaping Tips
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Turn on the Bright Lights: Exterior and Interior Lighting Basics

Posted on October 06, 2015 by James Florence

Have you ever been in a seemingly well-lit room and suddenly found yourself straining to see? If so, you know how frustrating bad lighting can be. And yet, many people continue to regard lighting as purely one-dimensional, not realizing there’s a lot more to it than its most basic function. In reality, it’s not merely our ability to see in the dark that counts, but how well we’re able to see, as well as how lighting makes us feel. By comprehending the true complexity involved in achieving good lighting, you can make the most of illumination in both your interior and exterior living spaces. Read more

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Drought Busters: Expert Tips on Landscape Water Conservation

Posted on July 16, 2015 by James Florence

For more information on water conservation, visit our drought resource page here.

In light of the ongoing drought in California, the government has called for a 30 percent statewide reduction in water usage. While measures like minimizing shower durations and running dishwashers less frequently will help, in order to achieve this goal, we need to focus our conservation efforts where the lion’s share of our water is expended: outdoors.

There are several ways to conserve water on a landscape, but these can be boiled down to three primary aspects: rethinking conventional watering methods, upgrading inefficient irrigation equipment and implementing drought-tolerant landscaping techniques. To address these points, Read more

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Tree Service Overview: Q&A with Justin Greer

Posted on May 21, 2015 by James Florence

Justin Greer has been servicing trees for Sonoma County residents since he was a teenager, and today, he’s the director of operations at Western Tree Removal Specialists. We took a few minutes to speak with Justin about his field of expertise and gain some helpful knowledge.

Q: Do trees really need to be serviced? Can’t we just let them be?
A: There are a couple reasons why trees need to be serviced, both of which are tied to changed environmental factors. Before humans came on the scene, trees grew in fierce competition for resources, which kept growth in check. Picture a forest where not a drop of light gets through the broad canopy and the trees grow so close together that they’re practically holding each other up. Read more

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Diamond Certified Experts: Crucial Aspects of Landscape Maintenance

Posted on January 29, 2015 by James Florence

While it’s smart to be proactive about indoor home maintenance, keeping up with your exterior property is equally important. We asked four Diamond Certified Expert Contributors to weigh in on aspects of landscaping where maintenance matters most.

 

Seasonal garden preparation: Michael Moore of Masterpiece Gardens & Design, Inc.

A crucial part of garden maintenance is swapping out annual plant varieties in conjunction with the changing seasons, which can be done in a few simple steps. First, remove the outgoing annuals and prepare the bed for incoming plants by adding fertilizer and new soil to provide fresh nutrients. Next, install your plants. Remember to arrange them with the tallest in back and shortest in front to optimize sunlight exposure. Read more

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