Win Danny and His Crew
I’m on the road in Windham, New Hampshire, to lend a helping hand to the winners of the “Win Danny and His Crew for a Day” sweepstakes, sponsored by John Deere.
The winners, Matt and Kristen Bouchard, were chosen at random from among the thousands of entries submitted online at todayshomeowner.com and John Deere dealerships.
The grand prize was for me and my crew to spend a day taking on the lucky homeowners’ to-do list around their house and yard, with the help of $1,500 in landscaping materials and equipment supplied by John Deere.
The Bouchards, who built their house a little over a year ago for their growing family of three young boys, and had several projects in mind for me, including:
- Landscaping a steep hill next to the driveway.
- Trimming out the latticework around the deck.
- Installing a fluorescent light and electrical outlet in the basement workshop.
Project #1: Landscape Hillside
The project that needed the most attention was landscaping the steep hill adjacent to the driveway. To handle the job, John Deere brought in a:
- Compact Excavator
- Compact Tractor
- Gator Utility Vehicle
Landscaper Ron Hill of Shady Hill Greenhouses & Nursery in nearby Londonderry, New Hampshire, took on the project. The John Deere excavator was the perfect tool to scrape off the layer of weeds and expose the soil beneath.
The resulting debris was then picked up by the front end loader on the tractor and hauled to a low spot on the lot. I managed to get into the act, too, using the Gator to handle some of the cleanup work.
Once the cleanup was complete, fresh topsoil was brought in and spread out. With the ground ready, Ron and his crew began digging holes and setting the plants, with a few large rocks used as accents. As a final touch, a layer of mulch was spread around the plants.
Project #2: Trim Deck Lattice
To improve the unfinished look of the existing latticework surrounding the deck, Allen and Tim carefully cut and fit a mitered frame around all four sides of the lattice from 1”x 4” lumber. The frame served to cover the rough edges of the lattice and give the deck a finished look.
To allow access under one end of the deck, the lattice and framework were attached with bolts and easily removable wing nuts.
Project #3: Install Workshop Light and Outlet
The final project on the Bouchards’ “Danny-do” list was adding an electrical outlet and fluorescent light fixture to Matt’s basement workshop. To accomplish that, holes were drilled in the exposed ceiling joists, and a wire run from an existing light to a junction box above the workbench.
Next, a hole was cut in the wall behind the workbench for the outlet box, and a wire snaked down behind the wall to it. The fluorescent fixture was then suspended from the ceiling joists using eyebolts and chains.
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Power Miter Saw Stop Block
Here’s a simple jig that allows you to cut several boards to identical lengths at the same time. Clamp a block of 1/2″ plywood to the fence of the miter saw, making sure it’s square with the table. Stack two or more pieces of wood on the miter saw table, holding them firmly against the stop and fence, then cut them all at once. (Watch This Video)
Best New Products with Jodi Marks:
Black & Decker CompactFit Lithium Screwdriver
The CompactFit Cordless Lithium Screwdriver from Black & Decker is the perfect tool for working in tight spaces. The powerful lithium-ion battery can hold a charge up to 18 months, while a built-in LED work light provides easy visibility. Since the bit for the CompactFit Screwdriver mounted almost flush with the top of the tool, it makes getting in close a breeze. The CompactFit Screwdriver is available at The Home Depot. (Watch This Video)
Thinking Green with Danny Lipford:
Landscaping with Indigenous Plants
When landscaping your yard, indigenous plants can create a more eco-friendly environment around your house. Native plants are better suited to your local climate, which means that they require less fertilizer and are lower maintenance than many nonnative plants. So remember when you go green landscaping your yard, go native, too! (Watch This Video)
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