Green screen: Plant a living fence around your patio

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Shrubs, trees and ivies can be beautiful privacy borders for your landscape. Robert Frost wondered why “Good fences make good neighbors,” but good fences can turn your yard into a haven made just for you. A “living fence” is a landscape border constructed with greenery. Self-supported woody shrubs and trees add height and shade. Ivies or tall grasses are trained on trellises.

Get crabby! Host a crabfest on the patio

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Whether you call it a crab “fest” or a crab “feast,” it’s time to crack open the crabby party gear for a summer crab celebration. Fresh seafood is one of the greatest tastes of summer. This is the time when a crabfest may be happening near you. Check local and shore-town calendars. A little travel time will be worth the deliciousness. Throwing your own feast, according to the experts, is the most authentic crabfest way to go. Crabs are easy to make and serve. Pair up some beers, some slaws and some salads and you’ll have a feast to remember.

Fun with fireflies

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These little light-up bugs bring delight to summer nights. Here’s a few ways to celebrate their arrival. The airborne bioluminescent beetle called the firefly or lightning bug (official name Lampyridae) surely captures our imagination. Movies, music festivals, operas and comic book characters all carry the “firefly” moniker. Festivals, crafts and activities for the whole family center on the fireflies which pepper our backyards with tiny points of light. Here are a few interesting firefly events and activities you can try.

Patio and garden maintenance tasks for July

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Summer is the time to sit back and enjoy your fall and spring efforts in the garden, but a tiny bit of upkeep will keep your garden looking its best throughout the season.

Anticipate the roadblocks your contractor may encounter

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Getting a patio or pool installed is a major project. Here’s what your contractor wants you to know about the common problems workers face when construction begins. Good communication is the best skill a homeowner can bring to a project. Many difficulties can be avoided when both the homeowner and the contractor are aware of the different snags a project can bring.

Unique 4th of July Traditions to bring to the patio

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Families and friends love to gather for this great national holiday. Here are some interesting celebrations from around the US you can modify for your family and friends. Check out these fun ways to add a new twist to your July 4th party.

Points of interest: Draw the eye to these garden and patio focal points

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Give guests a starting point for their exploration of your hardscape and garden. Gardens can tend to be pieced together bit by bit. One year a raised bed may be the new project, the next year vegetable stakes line the back fence. A year-by-year approach is a great way to add on to your landscape and patio, but a few elements can help the space feel more cohesive.

Work like a dog! It’s Take Your Dog to Work Week

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This Friday, June 23, 2017, you can work like a dog or work with one. In 1999, the Friday after Father’s Day (3rd Friday in June) was designated as Take Your Dog to Work Day by the Pet Sitters International organization. Encouraging pet adoption is the main focus of the annual holiday.

Dream patio: Hire a decorator to put the finishing touches on your outdoor room

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After your patio has been meticulously designed by the landscape architect and carefully installed by the contractor, the last step before you can enjoy the space is to choose the outdoor furniture and decor. Your patio project has been an important and valuable – not to mention expensive! – investment in your home, and you’ve hired the best to complete it. Why not ask for help with this one last step?

Try different BBQ styles from around the US

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May is National BBQ Month, and the month when many east coasters break out their grills. The warmer weather also means that folks begin taking culinary trips, like long weekends to nearby cities or shore towns. But with the kids still in school and work ramping up for a busy quarter, a jaunt to a city famous for its BBQ may not be in the cards. Why not try a few classic BBQ styles at home this weekend?