5 Hardscape Ideas to Make Your Backyard Beautiful

Covered paver patio
(©Ozgur Coskun, Adobe Stock Photos)

Landscaping makes your home’s exterior more attractive, but it also requires a lot of maintenance. If you feel overwhelmed by the upkeep, you may be focusing too much attention on softscape and not enough on hardscape ideas.

Lush backyard with stone path and retaining wall filled with plants and bushes

The Elements of Landscaping

Front-yard landscaping adds curb appeal that makes a great first impression and adds resale value. Backyard landscaping makes a home feel functional and luxurious.

If you design your landscape with the care and time it deserves, it will be attractive and low-maintenance. That means you’ll need to bring both softscape and hardscape ideas to the drawing board! But first, here’s a quick vocabulary lesson. 

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines hardscape as “structures (such as fountains, benches or gazebos) that are incorporated into a landscape.” Softscape, on the other hand, is “vegetation (such as shrubs and flowers) that is incorporated into a landscape.”

If you have too much hardscape, the exterior will be easier to maintain, but it will look cold, lifeless and uninviting. If you have too much softscape, it could be beautiful at first, but a pain to keep up.

The goal is to balance softscape and hardscape; you’ll want enough hardscape to make

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Creating a Spooky Cemetery Front Porch for Halloween

When it’s finally the time of year for Halloween, everyone loves to decorate their home to celebrate. Christina Brooks of Bee Tree Design Co was able to show off her family’s spooky side, participating in The Home Depot’s Halloween Style Challenge. With help from The Home Depot’s decor, she was able to try something different and celebrate this Halloween season. A cemetery front porch filled with reapers and skeletons.

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays to decorate for! So when The Home Depot invited me to participate in their Halloween Style Challenge, I was thrilled but also scared. I usually stick to a particular theme for Halloween. But this year, The Home Depot pushed me out of my comfort zone and tasked me to decorate with a cemetery theme. I’m so glad they challenged me to try something different! It was so much fun to combine our usual theme of spiders with this years theme: cemetery.

Planning and Shopping

Creating a Spooky Cemetery Front Porch for Halloween

I decided to shop online this year and The Home Depot’s website made it easy and fun! The Halloween portion of their website is separated into different themes. This makes it easy to find exactly what you’re looking for. I

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Celebrating Halloween: Zombies and Skeletons Style

Spooky season is in full effect, quarantine style. Stacey-Ann Blake of Design Addict Mom decided to celebrate Halloween a little differently this year by styling her front “grave” yard. This not only keeps the kids entertained while socially distancing, but it adds “life” to the neighborhood. See how she styled her yard below.

Is Halloween canceled this year? Are we celebrating Halloween this year? Are we going trick or treating this year? Those are the questions my 11- and 8-year old kiddos have been asking. Who would have thought social distancing recommendations that first came about in March would still be in effect several months later? This pandemic has dramatically changed our lifestyle including how we celebrate occasions like Halloween, but Halloween is certainly not canceled. We’ll have to take extra precautions to make sure Halloween is safe, but I say this is an opportunity to have fun and go all out with your decorations. This is an opportunity to build a spirit of community in your neighborhood and to give the children something to look at even from a distance.

Celebrating Halloween with Zombies and Skeltons Style

In fact, I even went out of my comfort zone this year when decorating for Halloween. I was able

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Transform Your Front Yard into a Haunted Graveyard for Halloween

Nestled beneath mature oak trees, yet set high on a hill, our home is – how shall I say? Oozing with haunted vibes. For Halloween this year I felt it was only appropriate to turn our front walk, and the adjoining front yard, into a haunted graveyard scene. Matching the haunted aesthetic our home already lends itself to during the holiday season. I did all my Halloween decor shopping online this year. The Home Depot had everything I needed to create the spookiest haunted graveyard.

Setting the Scene With a Ghostly Welcome

To reach our front door, you must take a winding path covered in oak trees and dogwoods. Which leads to the front porch and front yard. I wanted to set the haunted scene right from the beginning of the walk. So I added a ghostly animated doll to greet our guests, beckoning them to play hide and seek with among the oaks.

Transform Your Front Yard into a Haunted Graveyard for Halloween

Guests who do stay and play must disregard the warning signs to turn back, because no trespassing is allowed. The warning signs are made from old pallet wood with hand painted letters using red paint. An oversized spider web is the backdrop of our ghostly setting,

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5 Tips to Slash Heating Bills This Fall

Heating a home may keep you comfortable, but it also can be expensive. Looking to reduce your heating bills? Follow these tips.

Not all heat pumps are created equal. Make sure yours has a high SEER and is rated for your home’s size.

1. Use an Efficient Heat Pump

Heat pumps can be a more energy-efficient option than furnaces because it’s easier to transfer heat than to make it. But not all heat pumps are created equal, and not every region of the country is suited to only heating with a heat pump. So it’s important to do a little homework; otherwise, it could cost you more in the long run.

The most important feature to consider when selecting a  heat pump is its Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, or SEER, which measures the appliance’s cooling efficiency. Basically, the lower the SEER, the less money you’ll save on the system’s operation.

Most heat pumps installed before 2006 are 10 SEER or lower, which means you’re saving just about 20 percent on your heating bills.  

That’s unreasonable when you could use a system like American Standard Heating and Air Conditioning’s AccuComfort Platinum 20 Heat Pump, a 21 SEER system that saves

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Superior Lawn Care Review | Today’s Homeowner

Luxury house with freshly mown grass lawn. Home exterior.
Superior Lawn Care USA has been offering lawn maintenance services to the Pittsburgh area for nearly 40 years. See how it stacks up against the competition. | Photo Credit: Shutterstock © ppa

Keeping a lawn looking green and lush year-round is no easy task. You can mow and water it yourself, but when it comes to treatments like fertilizer, aeration or lime amendment, you may not know what your grass needs. Luckily, there are many lawn care providers who are happy to help you keep your yard looking its best.

Located near Pittsburgh in New Stanton, Pennsylvania, Superior Lawn Care USA offers its lawn care services to the southwestern Pennsylvania area. It’s been around since 1981, and it remains locally owned by the Brown family. All of its technicians are licensed in the state, and it’s a member of numerous local business associations. In this Superior Lawn Care review, the reviews team has evaluated the company’s services, reputation, customer ratings and more to give you a verdict on the best professional lawn care company for you. 

Ultimately, the biggest drawback about Superior Lawn Care is that it’s a local company and unavailable to homeowners outside of southwestern Pennsylvania. For lawn

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