Innovative solutions for creating healthy, efficient, eco-friendly homes

Archive of: Porches & Landscape

Title Issue
Designer Decks

Designer Decks

June 2008

All Decked Out

The vast array of outdoor decking materials available today is less bewildering when you've had a chance to size up what you need in your own backyard. From pressure-treated and naturally rot resistant wooden decking to composite, plastic and metal decking, it's important to know which materials work best in your climate and are best for you and for your family's lifestyle.

September 2007

Wood Protection

It's springtime, and neighborhoods are full of the sights and smells of homeowners staining, painting and varnishing their decks, siding and fences. If you'll be joining the brush brigade, here's some information to make your project easier.

September 2007

Natural Decks

Despite it's reputation, untreated wood decking can last a lifetime all on its own. Choosing the right species and grade of wood, and installing it properly, are the key steps to a long-lived, natural alternative to either pressure-treated wood decking or the composite wood options being popularized today. Although costly, real wood decking may also be the best choice for determined "green€


September 2007

Anti-Mold Decking

Despite many homeowners' best efforts, mold and mildew can latch on to exterior decking, causing permanent black spots that can affect the deck's appearance. Once it takes hold, the mold can be extremely difficult to remove, even with heavy scrubbing. What's more, mold can affect decks made of either wood or composite materials, which are becoming increasingly popular.

September 2007

There's another way: Overhangs, awnings and trees

During the long, hot summer, roof overhangs, awnings, shutters and well-placed trees can occasionally provide shade to at least some rooms of a home. The amount of shading achieved depends on the coverage, the orientation of the home, the season and the time of day. South-facing windows can usually be successfully shaded with a roof overhang. The wider the overhang, the more hours of the day it will provide shade.

September 2007

A Mad Cow in the Garden?

The diagnosis of Mad Cow Disease in 30 people in Great Britain raised concerns as to whether using animal by-products in the garden poses a hazard. Most human cases of Mad Cow Disease resulted from people eating animals that had been fed tainted by-products, but four gardeners who came down with the disease might have been infected by inhaling bone-meal dust they were using on their roses.

May 2003

Tips on Using Grey Water

If you can be choosy about the gray water you recycle on your garden, then use shower and bathtub water first, followed in decreasing order of desirability by water from the bathroom sink, utility sink, washing machine, kitchen sink and dishwasher. Water from the kitchen sink and dishwasher is not desirable because of the larger proportion of grease, food particles and other materials it will contain. If there is no way you can avoid using water from the kitchen sink and dishwasher, try to limit the amount of grease and solid food particles that go down the drain.

January 2003

Wet Above? Try Dry-B-Lo

Do you have a second-story deck that provides a nice, shady spot on sunny days, but offers no protection from rain? Dry-B-Lo converts the area underneath these decks, where rain and snow has to be allowed to drain through the decking, into an attractive, dry and usable outdoor living space. This professionally installed and fully ventilated system features all-aluminum construction with baked-on enamel in several colors and carries a limited lifetime warranty.

November 2002

Turning Yard Waste Into Garden Gold

Composting crusaders have just about given up on persuading the rest of us that when we get to heaven, there'll be a compost pile just inside the Pearly Gates. These days they're preaching a less evangelistic message. "I just want people to know two things,€

says Rachel Solomon, who runs the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens Urban Composting program. "It's easy, and it doesn't stink.€

September 2002
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