Sprucing Up for Summer

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As the weather starts to heat up, people are getting ready for projects to spruce up their homes and gardens. While updates vary from home to home, certain trends are fairly consistent, like a focus on outdoor living.

“People’s decks are more important than ever,” said Patsy Pahr, president of Total Craftsmen in Towson. “Composite decking is really big and railing systems are different. It used to be that railings were made out of two-by-four lumber and now people are choosing more see-through things, the kinds that are made out of tubular steel with cables stretched across instead of pickets. We recently installed one that had tempered glass, so you could sit on the deck and see through into the garden.”


As far as those gardens go, Pahr said native plants, trees and shrubs are growing in popularity.

“People are also interested in pollinators like coneflowers and black-eyed Susans,” Pahr added. “Butterflies, bees and birds, as well.”

To prepare for full-blown summer gardening season, Pahr said now is the time to get rid of leaves.

“You should be adding compost,” Pahr said. “If not, you can go to a big- box store and get leaf grow. Or you can have it ordered from wherever you get your mulch. Incorporate as much organic matter as you can. As a top dressing, about an inch over everything, if possible, and then put down the mulch.”

In home improvement, garages are starting to take center-stage. After all, said Keith McQuaid of Granite Garage Floor in Towson, garages are typically the entry point into the home for “75 percent of the cases throughout the country.”

“People who have done all the work in the home to make it beautiful want that main entry point to not go from an ugly looking floor into the home,” McQuaid said. “They’re looking for ways to freshen up that garage area. It’s always been overlooked. It’s mainly been the place for storage or where you parked your car. However, the garage is now becoming an extension to the house.”

McQuaid’s company, in particular, is capable of transforming a normal concrete floor into a floor that looks like a granite countertop.

“It’s cosmetically pleasing, but from a practicality standpoint it allows people to have a floor that’s easy to clean that won’t stain and is not going to peel up,” McQuaid said. “If you have a house, you’re used to seeing stains in there from oil or salt. This type of floor allows their house to be beautified, relative to other home improvement projects, at a normal cost.”

And be sure not to underestimate the uses for concrete, McQuaid said.

“Because of how epoxy has evolved, it enables customers to create a marble look or to create a hardwood look,” he said. “I think it comes down to consumer awareness. It allows homeowners to utilize space in a way they may not have envisioned originally. It becomes another area of the home that has not only short-term value, but also long-term value because as people sell their homes, a lot of new homebuyers are looking for these upgrades.”

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