Even if your yard doesn’t get much sunlight, it’s still possible to grow a beautiful garden. The key is to select shade-tolerant species. Here are some suggestions.
In addition to hostas, which thrive in shady conditions, many perennials don’t require much sunlight. Consider planting:
• Leopard plants, whose yellow flowers are sure to brighten dim spaces
• Coral bells, which are great for lining the edges of a flower bed
• Undergrowth ferns such as ostrich, lady, and wood ferns
• Bugbane, which has spikes of wispy white flowers on tall stems
• Forget-me-nots, which have beautiful blue springtime blooms
There are also a number of ground cover plants that are well-suited for shady conditions such as bugleweed, lily of the valley, and creeping dogwood.
There are several types of ornamental shrubs that can add height and texture to a shady garden, including:
• Squirrel corn
• Some hydrangeas
In addition to looking for shade-tolerant species, be sure to consider the hardiness zone you live in when selecting plants for your garden.
How to choose the right type of wood stain for your project
A fresh coat of stain can breathe new life into wood furniture and flooring. Here’s an overview of the three most common types of stains.
• Oil-based stains are inexpensive, readily available, and easy to use. They’re ideal for large projects because they dry slowly and create a uniform appearance. Oil-based stains penetrate deeply, which provides rich color and a durable finish that often doesn’t require multiple coats.
• Water-based stains are mold and mildew resistant, making them suitable for moisture-prone areas such as kitchens and bathrooms. They dry very quickly, which makes them best suited for small projects. The biggest downside is that they don’t penetrate wood as deeply as oil-based stains, which results in less saturated colors.
• Gel-based stains are often described as a cross between stain and paint. They require less preparation than other products as you don’t need to completely sand the wood’s surface to get a good result. In addition, since gel-based stains coat the surface of the wood instead of penetrating it, they’re especially suitable for woods like birch, cherry, maple, and pine.
If you need help choosing the right stain for your project, speak to the sales staff at your local hardware store.
How to choose the perfect wedding dress
Choosing a wedding dress can be both exciting and nerve-racking. To help you create the look of your dreams, here are a few tips.
Make a plan
Before you try on a single gown, make a list of the criteria you’re looking for in a wedding dress. Do you want a certain cut, style, or length? Do you want to show off your shoulders or hourglass figure? Establishing some criteria will allow you to narrow down the choices.
In addition to your list of criteria, bring along pictures of dresses to show to the bridal store consultant. They can use the information you provide to quickly find several different gowns for you to try.
Try different styles
After the first fitting, you may realize that the dresses that look good in pictures aren’t the right fit for your figure. Don’t worry, your consultant can suggest other styles until you find the dress of your dreams.
Additionally, keep in mind that all wedding dresses need to be altered. Therefore, don’t be dissuaded if a dress is too long, short, or loose.
Whether you decide to buy or rent a wedding dress, choose the one that makes you feel most beautiful. For inspiration, visit your local bridal stores.
Want a second opinion? Bring along someone you trust who knows your style and can give you honest feedback.
7 tips for safe snowmobiling
Snowmobiling is a popular winter activity in many northern communities around the world. It’s a great way to get outside and enjoy beautiful snow-covered landscapes.
This year, International Snowmobile Safety Week takes place from January 15 to 23, and it’s the perfect time to highlight the importance of safe snowmobiling practices. Here are a few tips to keep in mind this winter:
1. Never ride a snowmobile under the influence of alcohol or drugs. You should also avoid hitting the trails if you’re tired. Doing so can slow your reaction time and affect your ability to make good decisions.
2. Always pack emergency supplies. You should have a cellphone, a flashlight, waterproof matches, a survival blanket, hand warmers, non-perishable foods, a rope, a spare drive belt, flares, a whistle, and a first-aid kit.
3. Check the weather forecast, trail conditions, and opening hours of the busines¬ses and shelters you plan to visit before you leave.
4. Always ride with someone else, and let your friends and family know where you’re headed and your estimated time of return.
5. Avoid crossing large bodies of water where there are no marked trails. It’s al¬most impossible to assess the thickness of ice at a glance.
6. Follow other snowmobilers at a safe distance, keep to the right, stay on marked trails and stop at all road crossings.
7. Avoid stopping in the middle of a trail, on a curve, or on a downhill slope to avoid blocking traffic and to ensure you’re vi¬sible to other riders.
For more safety tips, visit snowmobile.org.
How to repair a pocket door
Pocket doors are great space-savers because they conveniently disappear into the wall when opened. However, fixing a pocket door can be a hassle, as many common issues necessitate removing the trim or a section of drywall. Here’s how to go about doing this.
What you’ll need
To repair a pocket door that’s misaligned or has fallen off its track, you’ll need:
• A putty knife
• A pry bar
• A cordless drill
• A bubble level
• A wrench set
If the track must be replaced entirely, you’ll also need a drywall saw.
Steps to follow
Use a putty knife and pry bar to gently wrest out the three sections of the door trim. Take care not to damage the trim so it can be reinstalled later. Next, use a drill to unscrew the floor guide beneath the door. You should now be able to remove the door and reposition it correctly on its track.
If you need to access the portion of the track hidden in the wall (to replace it, for example) you’ll have to cut out a small section of the drywall next to the door opening. You’ll then be able to use a drill to unscrew the track.
Keep in mind that if you want this repair work done quickly and seamlessly, it’s best to leave it to a professional contractor.
Choose the perfect area rug
If your living room or bedroom is looking a little tired these days, don’t start planning to redecorate just yet — an area rug might be a quick and much cheaper way to refresh a room.
First, think about how big you want the rug to be. In the living room, all the furniture should sit on top of the rug comfortably or all the front legs should be on the rug. In a dining room, the rug should be large enough that the chairs remain on it even when pulled out. In a bedroom, an area rug should frame the bed and be big enough that the front feet of bedside tables can sit on the edge.
Next, consider the needs of the space. A high-traffic room like the living room requires a more durable low-pile rug that can be easily cleaned, while a more intimate space like a bedroom can handle something a little more delicate.
Think about how the rug will fit into the space. A rug should work with the furniture above it — a round rug with a round table, for example. If you fall in love with a rug that’s too small, you can layer it with a less-expensive plain rug underneath that covers more area, like jute or sisal mat.
Once you have a rug picked out that suits the space and brings your room back to life, make sure to get a rug pad to maximize your rug’s lifespan. Look for one that’s about two inches smaller than your rug on each side so it won’t show through.
As for color and design, a good rule of thumb: Your rug can either stand out or blend in, but it shouldn’t fight the existing colors and decorations in your room.
A light gray room could carry off a dark rug with some colors reflecting the room’s art. For a more subtle effect, choose a gray with a simple pattern.
Rooms with browns and leathers could look nice with a lightly patterned brown, maroon, beige, or gold rug.
The more traditional a room, the more traditional the pattern should be.
Is geothermal energy right for you?
Do you want to save money on your utility bills and minimize your carbon footprint? If so, you may want to upgrade to a geothermal unit for heating and cooling your home.
Geothermal systems use long loops of fluid buried below ground to exchange heat with the surrounding soil. Although installing a geothermal system requires a fair amount of work, it might be a smart investment if:
• You’re about to replace your furnace or cooling system
• You can take advantage of an energy rebate or government incentive to cut costs
• You plan to stay in your home for a long time
• You live on a large lot with plenty of space
If you’re interested in investing in a geothermal unit for your home, make sure you get quotes from multiple companies to ensure you get the best value for your money.