International Builders' Show 2009

Top Picks from the 2009 International Builders’ Show

The 2009 International Builders’ Show was held in Las Vegas recently, and we were there. As always there were some great new products on display, from ceiling fans that play music and siding made from bark to titanium hammers and motorized scrapers. Here are a few of the more innovative ones that stood out as top-notch.

Learn More »


How to Select Insulated Windows

How to Select Insulated Windows

Janet asks, “Should I choose replacement windows with argon gas and Low-E coating, or is it a waste of money?”

Windows account for up to a third of your home’s heat loss in the winter and half of the heat gain in the summer, and the type gas and coating can a big difference in energy savings.

Learn More »


Branch with ice on it.

When to Water Plants Before a Freeze

Carol asks, “A hard freeze is in my weather forecast. What are your recommendations about watering trees and shrubs in cold weather?”

In winter, the dry conditions can be more damaging than the cold itself. Learn how to water your plants properly here.

Learn More »


Spring buds on flowering quince

Waiting for Spring

This time of year in the garden, most everything is hushed, hunkered down, waiting for spring. The trees and shrubs patiently tolerate bird feeders, decorations, and dustings of snow, but if you listen closely, you can almost hear the snoring. This is the time of year when a gardener has to practice trust, but I love to sneak around the winter garden and see if I can catch a glimpse of spring.

Learn More »


DIY aluminum toolbox

Building an Aluminum Diamond Plate Toolbox

I got a call a while back from the editor of Popular Mechanics magazine who asked if I’d be interested in writing about building a traditional-style carpenter’s toolbox. I said, sure, but suggested that rather than building it entirely out of wood, I’d use a more unusual, cooler-looking material: a sheet of polished aluminum diamond plate.

Learn More »


Spring Hill Nurseries gardening catalog.

Gardening by Mail Order

January is National Mail Order Gardening Month. If you’ve never checked out a gardening catalog, it’s well worth the time and can open up a whole new world of possibilities. Read on to find out the advantages of ordering by catalog, tips for choosing a reputable mail order grower, and how to care for your plants when they arrive.

Learn More »


Blooming lilac bush

How to Control Lilac Sucker Growth

Elizabeth asks, “Our lilac bushes are sprouting from the roots. How do we kill them without harming the main plant?”

Those sprouts are called “suckers,” and lilacs are known for spreading in this manner. Read more to learn how to control sucker growth.

Learn More »


Travel trailer

Testing for Formaldehyde and other VOCs

Robin asks, “I live full time in a travel trailer. How can I test for formaldehyde and other pollutants?”

Environmental testing firms can can check air samples for the presence of formaldehyde and other harmful chemicals. Read on to find out more.

Learn More »