Category: Lawn & Garden

Bob Vila Radio: Separating Squirrels from Your Bird Feeder

It's never easy to separate squirrels from access to birdseed, but with a trial-and-error approach to these simple tips, you can likely find a solution that works for your yard.

What’s the best way to keep those persistent squirrels from pigging out at your bird feeder? Here’s an assortment of tactics well worth trying.

How to Keep Squirrels Out of Bird Feeders


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First, make sure the feeder is in a location that’s good for the birds but bad for the squirrels. Squirrels can manage ten-foot horizontal leaps with no sweat, so the ideal feeder location is away from roofs, porches, trees or utility wires. Make sure to prune any trees that are within launching distance. And if you can, mount the feeder on a smooth metal pole at least ten feet high and away from any trees or structures.

No matter where you position the feeder, consider adding smooth plastic baffles both below the feeder and above it. The most effective baffles are designed to tilt and twirl if a squirrel hops aboard. You might also try enclosing the feeder in metal fencing whose mesh is large enough to allow birds in, small enough to keep furry critters out.

One more weapon in your arsenal: Mix cayenne pepper in with your birdseed. Squirrels can’t take the heat, but birds don’t seem to mind.

Bob Vila Radio is a 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day carried on more than 186 stations in 75 markets around the country. Click here to subscribe, so you can automatically receive each new episode as it arrives—absolutely free.

How To: Resurface a Concrete Driveway

Rather than rip up and replace your time- and traffic-worn driveway, why not renew its look, quickly and easily, with a concrete resurfacer?

How to Resurface a Concrete Driveway


Durability ranks high among the many reasons to choose concrete as a driveway surfacing material. After years of exposure to the elements, however, as well as to foot and vehicle traffic, your concrete driveway may begin to look worse for all that wear. Rather than rip it all out and start from scratch, it’s far easier and much cheaper to renew the existing installation.QUIKRETE® Concrete Resurfacer will protect against future damage and discoloration while making your old driveway look new again. If you think your concrete driveway has reached the end of the road, read on and learn how easy it can be to give it a second life.



How to Resurface a Concrete Driveway - Mix Bag


-QUIKRETE® Concrete Resurfacer
- Pressure washer
- Long-handled squeegee
- Power drill with paddle mixing blade
- 5-gallon bucket
- Measuring pail
- Hose with adjustable nozzle
- Chisel
- Hammer
- Wire brush
- Finishing broom
- 1/4″ weatherstripping
- Gloves and safety glasses



How to Resurface a Concrete Driveway - Pressure Washing Detail


Before applying QUIKRETE® Concrete Resurfacer, prepare the old concrete surface so that the renewing layer can properly adhere to it. Start by eliminating dirt, oil, and flaking concrete with a 3,500-psi pressure washer. (Note that if you don’t happen to own a pressure washer, you can always rent one at your local home center.) Once you have cleaned the driveway, inspect it for large cracks or deeply spalled areas, being sure to repair any with patching compound. Finally, hose down the driveway to the point of saturation, then use a broom to remove standing water. Doing so cools down the slab and prevents the mixing water from being drawn out of the wet concrete resurfacer you’re going to lay down. Now, pause to consider the weather: For the resurfacer to cure, temperatures must remain above 50 degrees Fahrenheit for eight hours, and above freezing for 24 hours. So long as you expect those conditions, it’s safe to proceed to the next step.



How to Resurface a Concrete Driveway - Mixing 5g Bucket


QUIKRETE® Concrete Resurfacer isn’t your typical concrete product; as a result, your typical mixing method may not be appropriate here. Being that hand-mixing so often leaves lumps, it’s recommend that you use a power drill that’s outfitted not with a barrel-type attachment, but with a paddle mixer. Now, with your equipment ready, go ahead and recruit a helper; you’re going to need an extra pair of hands. First, add three and a half quarts of water to a five-gallon bucket. Next, while you operate the mixing paddle within the bucket, ask your helper to slowly pour in the resurfacer. After it’s all been added, continue mixing for at least five minutes. Stop only once the mix has reached a lump-free, syrup-like consistency. If the mix seems too thick, add a bit more water; if too thin, add a bit more resurfacer. As you’re mixing, your helper can fit weatherstripping into the expansion joints of the driveway to prevent the resurfacer from filling them.



How to Resurface a Concrete Driveway - Squeegee Application


In 73-degree weather, QUIKRETE® Concrete Resurfacer remains workable for 30 minutes. In hotter weather, it hardens more quickly, but by keeping the bag in the shade and using cold mixing water, you can widen the window of workability. Resurfacing a large driveway? It may be wise to work in sections, mixing and applying resurfacer on one modestly sized area (no larger than 144 square feet) at a time. Once it’s ready, pour the resurfacer from the mixing bucket onto the driveway in strips about a foot wide. Then, with a long-handled squeegee, spread the material back and forth across the driveway, effectively scrubbing the resurfacer into the concrete. After allowing the smooth new surface to set for five minutes, you can give it a nonslip finish, if you choose, with a wide-head concrete broom. For a uniform appearance, run the broom, without stopping, across the work area, and be sure to make each broom stroke in the same direction.



How to Resurface a Concrete Driveway - Moist Cure


Believe it or not, that’s all it takes to renew the look of your driveway for the life of the concrete slab. In mild weather, the resurfacer cures on its own, requiring no extra steps. If it’s very hot—above 90 degrees—QUIKRETE® recommends misting the driveway intermittently for up to 48 hours after application. Most of the time, however, you can expect the new surface to be ready for foot traffic in about six hours. And in 24 hours, you can pull your car in and park in the driveway again—that very same driveway that was tired- and worn-looking yesterday, but today, thanks to QUIKRETE® Concrete Resurfacer, appears brand-new.


See how to resurface a concrete driveway in a step-by-step video, courtesy of QUIKRETE®!

For more even more details on concrete driveway resurfacing, visit QUIKRETE®!

How to Resurface a Concrete Driveway


This post has been brought to you by QUIKRETE®. Its facts and opinions are those of

How To: Build a Paver Patio

Nothing encourages outdoor enjoyment quite as much as a patio does. If you've been coveting the idea of a sturdy, inviting paver patio for years, take heart: Even a relatively inexperienced do-it-yourselfer can achieve professional-level results. Here's how.

How to Build a Paver Patio


Patio. The very word conjures up visions of lazy, relaxing afternoons spent with friends and family. For those whose homes lack this appealing outdoor feature, however, the word stirs up the unwelcome prospect of building a new patio. Homeowners assume that constructing a patio requires either a huge expense or a similarly monumental amount of hard work. The truth is that anyone can handle the installation of all but the grandest of patios, especially if you work with DIY-friendly pavers. Indeed, with proper planning, the right tools and materials, and attention to detail, you can achieve professional-level results in a short time—even within the space of a single weekend—regardless of your skill level or previous experience. To see how surprisingly easy it can be enhance your outdoor living with a long-lasting patio, scroll down for step-by-step instructions, courtesy of QUIKRETE®.



How to Build a Paver Patio - Project Materials Shot


- Stakes and string
- Shovel
- Edge restraints
- Level
- Carpenter’s square
- QUIKRETE® All-Purpose Gravel
- Tamper
- QUIKRETE® Patio Paver Base Sand
- 2×4 boards
- 1×1 boards
- Hammer and nails
- Pavers or natural stones
- Rubber mallet
- QUIKRETE® PowerLoc Jointing Sand (for joint widths up to 1/2″) or
- QUIKRETE® HardScapes Polymeric Jointing Sand (for joint widths up to 2″)
- Garden hose with spray attachment
- Push broom



How to Build a Paver Patio - Stakes and String


Before you can make any real progress toward building a paver patio, you must first decide where to put it. Don’t have a specific spot in mind? Think about it this way: How do you intend to use the patio? If you would like to enjoy alfresco dinners on your patio, situate it within an easy distance of your kitchen. If, on the other hand, your patio fantasies involve a suntan, then site the installation on a part of your property with a southern exposure. Once you’ve settled on a location, mark off the perimeter with stakes and surveyor’s string. Alternatively, if your plans involve an irregularly shaped patio, outline the dimensions with a bright-colored spray paint.



How to Build a Paver Patio - Excavation


The next step may be the most physically taxing part of this project. Though the finished patio surface ought to sit slightly above ground level, you must excavate to create space for the substrate—that is, the gravel and sand that will provide a stable, leveling base for the paver installation. With a shovel, excavate to a depth of seven inches below grade. This depth allows for two to four inches of gravel, one to two inches of sand, and accommodation for the height of your chosen pavers.



How to Build a Paver Patio - Edge Restraints


Once the project area has been excavated to the appropriate depth, proceed to install edge restraints around the site perimeter. At your local home center, choose from a selection of ready-made edge restraints in a variety of materials, including plastic, aluminum, and wood. These simple hardscaping components perform the vital role of preventing pavers from settling and shifting over time due to foot traffic and harsh weather. Additionally, because the pavers are installed level with the edge restraints, the latter serve the secondary, though critically important, duty of ensuring that the patio allows stormwater to run off its surface. So, take care to position your edge restraints on a slight incline; professionals recommend a slope of about a quarter inch for every 12 linear feet. Direct the angle away from, not toward, the house.



How to Build a Paver Patio - Adding Gravel


Next, add enough QUIKRETE® All-Purpose Gravel to fill up two to four inches of the excavated project area. The amount of gravel you can add largely depends on the height of the pavers you plan to install. For instance, if you’ve excavated to a depth of seven inches, and your pavers are each four inches tall, then there’s room for only a couple of inches of gravel. That said, there’s a direct relationship between the amount of gravel under a patio and its compression strength—in other words, its ability to endure great weight, whether from a parked car or a large group of people. Where circumstances allow, depending on how exactly you intend to use the patio, it may be wise to incorporate as much gravel as the vertical space allows. After you’ve laid the gravel, pack it down by means of a tamper.



How to Build a Paver Patio - Screeding


Over the tamped-down, compacted gravel, add one to two inches of QUIKRETE® Patio Paver Base Sand. Whereas the gravel provides strength to the patio, the sand contributes precision, helping the installed pavers sit level. To function properly, the sand layer must be smooth and level. A screed board—that is, a straightedge—is the most effective way to even out an expanse of sand. You can make yours from a simple two-by-four that has been cut to equal the shortest distance across the project area. After that, cut a one-by-one into two pieces, nailing one onto each end of the larger board. These “handles” lend accuracy to the screed. With a helper manning the opposite end of the screed, push the board along the surface of the sand. As you go, periodically remove the excess sand that accumulates in front of the board. Use this excess to fill where dips appear behind the screed. Several passes may be necessary before the bed becomes level.



How to Build a Paver Patio - Rubber Mallet


At last, it’s time to install the pavers. Starting in a corner, work outward as you place the pavers in the sand, tapping each into position with a rubber mallet. Note that it’s important for the gap between pavers to be the same width. To keep the gaps consistent, use a piece of plywood whose thickness corresponds to your target gap width. Keep a level handy so you’re able to confirm frequently that your paver surface conforms to a drainage-promoting incline.



How to Build a Paver Patio - Joining Sand


After you’ve set all the pavers, the penultimate step is to fill the joints between pavers with sand—but not just any sand. For lasting, professional-quality results, be sure to use a sand that’s been specially manufactured to bind pavers together. For narrow joints of a half inch or less, choose QUIKRETE® PowerLoc Jointing Sand. For joints up to two inches wide (or if your pavers are natural stone), opt for QUIKRETE® HardScapes Polymeric Jointing Sand. Simply pour your chosen sand directly from its packaging into the joints. Finish up by sweeping the excess sand out of the project area. As you go, look for any unfilled joints and top them up.



How to Build a Paver Patio - Misting


Finally, attach a nozzle to your garden hose and gently mist the pavers, allowing water to saturate the sand-filled joints. After the initial spray down, dampen the pavers once every 60 minutes over the next three hours. Be judicious in your spraying—avoid flooding the sand onto the paver surface. As temperature and humidity are significant (and changeable) factors, it’s difficult to estimate the dry time, but over the course of several days, you’ll notice that the joints are firming up.

By the following weekend, you’ll have nothing left to do except write up the guest list for the first barbecue on your new patio!


Watch the project come together in a step-by-step video, courtesy of QUIKRETE®:

For even more details on the paver patio project, visit QUIKRETE®!

How to Make a Paver Patio - Job Complete


This post has been brought to you by QUIKRETE®. Its facts and opinions are those of

How To: Clean Patio Furniture

Start the season right by inviting friends and family over to celebrate the warmer weather—and your sparkling clean outdoor furniture! With this new, almost life-changing tool and whatever cleansers you have on hand, washing your patio furniture has never been so easy.

How to Clean Patio Furniture


A fixture of backyard barbecues and poolside parties, patio furniture must withstand not only the elements, but also the everyday wear and tear that occurs even in fair weather. Given your furniture’s almost constant exposure, dirt and grime inevitably accumulate over time, but with proper preparation, you can clean patio furniture fast—and with next to no hassle. The key? Insisting on the very best tools for the task at hand. Read on to discover the easy way to care for wood, metal, and plastic outdoor furniture.

- HYDE PivotPro Outdoor Cleaning Water Wand
- Garden hose
- Vacuum with hose attachments
- Sponge
- Oil-based soap, dishwashing soap, or automatic dishwashing detergent

How to Clean Patio Furniture - Table 2


Cleaning patio furniture the easy way hinges on HYDE PivotPro, a triple-threat tool that’s part sprayer, part soap dispenser, and part stiff-bristle brush. Swing the brush into position, then use the 46-inch tool to scrub away all the loose dirt or debris from the furniture. Before you get going in earnest, remove any cushions, setting them aside to be handled separately.

Different cleaning agents are best for different patio furniture materials. No matter what type of furniture you’re dealing with, however, you can usually count on having to pull out a bucket and pour in about a quarter-cup of the appropriate cleanser with about a gallon of warm water. But with PivotPro, you can skip the bucket and let the tool dispense the correct cleanser-to-water ratio.

• For wood and natural wicker furniture, opt for a nourishing oil-based soap.

• For both colored plastic and wrought-iron furniture, choose a clear, mild dishwashing soap.

• For white plastic furniture, use automatic dishwashing detergent. Because such detergents typically contain bleach, wear rubber gloves for protection. After applying, remember to let the solution stand for 15 minutes before rinsing it off.

The PivotPro comes with a built-in 16-ounce mixing reservoir. Just add the appropriate cleaner to the reservoir and set the tool to dispense precisely two ounces of soap for every one gallon of water (which is just one of several available ratios). Now attach the PivotPro directly to your garden hose.

Point and shoot, using the PivotPro to spray down the furniture with a steady, rapid stream of soapy water. Be sure to address every surface—top and bottom, front and back. For best results, capitalize on the patented pivoting nozzle from which the PivotPro derives its name. Simply slide the grip on the barrel of the tool, and the spray angle adjusts along a radius of 135 degrees, enabling you to clean those hard-to-reach areas, all without bending, stretching, or stooping. If you encounter any crud that refuses to budge, swing the brush back into position and scrub while simultaneously spraying. That ought to do it!

Disengage the soap dispenser and rinse the furniture with clear water, taking care to remove all residue left by the cleaning agent. Finally, let your furniture air-dry outside, and it’s sure to be ready in time for a relaxing, well-deserved alfresco dinner that very evening.

How to Clean Patio Furniture - Al Fresco


This post has been brought to you by Hyde Tools. Its facts and opinions are those of

Bob Vila Radio: Give Your Gas Grill a Tune-Up

For better-tasting food and longer-lasting equipment, set aside time at the start of barbecue season to give your gas grill a little tune-up.

Grilling season is back, and not a minute too soon! To avoid any unpleasant surprises on your inaugural cookout, give your grill a little TLC before you start it up.

Gas Grill Maintenance


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Listen to BOB VILA ON GAS GRILL MAINTENANCE or read the text below:

Shut off the valve on the propane tank, then carefully remove the cooking grates, gas tubing, and burner. Wash the grates and gas tubing in soapy water, then use a damp rag to wipe grime off the burner. Next, poke a toothpick into each hole in the burner to dislodge any gunk from last season. Finally, use soapy water and a stiff brush to clean the inside of the grill before reinstalling the gas tubing and burner.

Before your first cookout, fire up the grill, with the burners set on high. Let the heat burn off any grease or such that you may have missed. Doing so also provides assurance that all components of the grill are working as they should. It may be wise to keep a couple of propane tanks ready to go, as you never know when unexpected guests may show up with an appetite for one of your juicy burgers!

Bob Vila Radio is a 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day carried on more than 186 stations in 75 markets around the country. Click here to subscribe, so you can automatically receive each new episode as it arrives—absolutely free.

Bob Vila Radio: Best Practices for Mounting Outdoor Speakers

Outdoor speakers bring the party outdoors, but to enjoy optimal sound and to maximize product lifespan, remember these simple installation guidelines.

If you often host outdoor get-togethers and seek a better method of providing music, installing outdoor speakers is the way to go. Here are some issues to consider before tackling the job.


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Listen to BOB VILA ON INSTALLING OUTDOOR SPEAKERS or read the text below:

First, make sure to purchase speakers expressly made for the outdoors. And know that even specialized outdoor speakers last longer if you minimize their exposure to the elements. You can do so by mounting them under an overhang or an awning. Don’t be tempted to hang your speakers to gutters or flimsy aluminum siding. It’s far better to screw them into sturdy wooden posts.

Audio experts say that for optimal sound, it’s best to mount outdoor speakers about ten feet high and ten feet apart, tilted slightly downward. Try to be precise in determining how much speaker wire you’ll need, so you don’t run any more than you have to. Excess wire takes away from the quality of sound.

A final point: Even if you have everyone on the deck dancing, don’t go overboard with the volume—that is, unless you invited all your neighbors to the party!

Bob Vila Radio is a 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day carried on more than 186 stations in 75 markets around the country. Click here to subscribe, so you can automatically receive each new episode as it arrives—absolutely free.

One-Step Spring Upkeep with a Multitalented Outdoor Tool

Wash away a winter's worth of dirt and debris with a practical, versatile tool that attaches to your garden hose and lets you both soap up and scrub down grimy surfaces all around your house.

Photo: JNoonan

Here’s what the real estate agent doesn’t say: Owning a home near the ocean is rarely a day at the beach. Salt air puts vulnerable components to the test, and thanks to frequent strong winds, all manner of dust and debris gets whipped against the home’s exterior surfaces. That’s why our spring cleaning routine tends to focus as much on outdoor decking and house siding as it does on things like forgotten closet shelves and the neglected hardwood floors beneath heavy furniture.

Photo: JNoonan

Although there’s a fully exposed deck in our backyard, the covered front porch typically takes more of a beating due to its orientation toward the sea. Here, the floorboards are made of a composite material touted for its low maintenance requirements. In my experience, composite may need less upkeep than natural wood does, but it calls out for at least yearly attention, particularly in our neck of the woods.

When we clean the porch, our goal is not only to refresh its look, but also to discourage the growth of mildew, an unsightly, damaging menace that always looms threateningly in the background around here. Our usual tools for the task are a humble assortment of buckets, brushes, and garden hoses. But this year, we took things up a notch by trying out the new HYDE PivotPro Outdoor Cleaning Water Wand.

PivotPro fits onto your garden hose and gives you more concentrated power from your garden hose. As with some other quality hose nozzles and wands, you’re able to obtain more pressure by forcing the water through a constricted nozzle. But PivotPro surpasses others with the patented feature for which it’s (presumably) named. By pushing or pulling a grip on the barrel of the tool, you can rotate—or pivot, if you will—the spray along a radius of 135 degrees. So without bending or stretching, you can attack grit and grime from every angle.

The PivotPro Outdoor Cleaning Water Wand Kit includes a built-in scrub brush as well as a spindle brush. While the oversize scrub brush works well for flat surfaces, such as my porch floor, the spindle brush lets you clean narrow crevices where even hands can’t easily fit. I used the spindle brush on my porch rail, both along the top and up and down the balusters, and I must admit that that’s probably the most attention those unsung heroes of the porch have ever received in my career as the home’s owner.

The other feature that distinguishes PivotPro is its integral 16-ounce mixing reservoir. Here, you can pour in your chosen liquid cleanser and, at the push of a button, set the tool to spray soapy water at one of six preconfigured soap-to-water ratios. In years past, we applied deck-cleaning solution first, then followed up separately with a scrub and a rinse. Today, armed with PivotPro, we were able to do all three at once.

After adding deck cleaner to the reservoir, I set the soap-to-water ratio I wanted, then got to work spraying soapy water even as I scrubbed. The combination of a powerful spray, crud-cutting soap, and the stiff-bristle brush worked wonders to eliminate the muck that hadn’t seemed like it was going to budge. To finish, I moved the bristle brush out of the way, disengaged the soap dispenser, and rinsed with clear water. Clean!

It’s well worth noting that PivotPro accepts not only its own attachments, but a range of third-party components as well. That’s encouraging, because as much as I love my garden-watering hose attachment, it’s not perfect. This summer, I hope to hook it up to the PivotPro, a tool that, at 46 inches in length, would certainly help me reach those flower-filled baskets that I always hang but usually can’t water without a stepladder. I’m also really looking forward to using the HYDE PivotPro Boat/Auto Cleaning Water Wand, because after those last few weeks of winter, my poor station wagon would surely benefit from a bit of—no, a ton of—TLC!

For the time being, though, now that the porch is sparkling, I can’t wait to sit out in the morning with a cup of tea, reading the newspaper as the sun comes out.

Photo: JNoonan

This post has been brought to you by Hyde Tools. Its facts and opinions are those of

One Attachment Turns Your Garden Hose into a Powerhouse Cleaning Tool

Fully featured and eminently user-friendly, HYDE PivotPro makes light work of all the outdoor cleaning jobs on your to-do list, from cleaning patio furniture to clearing the gutters.

HYDE PivotPro - Siding


This time of year, we all rely on the garden hose for any number of chores around the yard. But useful though it may be, the garden hose does nothing more than extend the reach of, and give you control over, the water from your outdoor spigot. That’s why so many homeowners equip their hoses with specialty nozzles of one type or another. You’ve probably owned one in the past, and no matter its design or material composition, you may have been frustrated by its limitations. If that sounds all too familiar, take a minute to meet the HYDE PivotPro Outdoor Cleaning Water Wand. When you need a hose attachment to make quick and easy work of outdoor cleaning jobs, there may be no tool on the market better suited to the task. Dirty decks, driveways, paths, siding, windows, and outdoor furniture—none are a match for PivotPro and its cleansing spray, pivoting nozzle, built-in scrubbing brush, and soap-dispensing functionality. Find out why it’s so different.

HYDE PivotPro - Product Shot


Easy and Convenient
PivotPro takes its name from its patented pivoting nozzle, a feature that saves you from having to bend, stretch, or stoop to access those hard-to-reach places (e.g., the underside of your patio table). Simply pull or push the slide grip, and the spray angle, rotating along a radius of 135 degrees, instantly adjusts to your setting. You can remain standing on your own two feet the entire time, letting the tool eliminate all the hassles you’d usually associate with seasonal maintenance.

The power and convenience of a pivoting nozzle may be most easily appreciated by way of an example. Have you ever used a regular hose nozzle to clean off the blades of your lawn mower? Like me, you probably tipped the mower onto its side, got down on your knees, and ended up soaking not only the mower, but your clothes as well. With PivotPro, you just lift the mower a few inches, position the wand, and point the nozzle upward. The tool takes it from there; you stay high and dry.

Powerful and Effective
Water and water alone doesn’t always do the trick. Sometimes, you need a bit more punch to overcome caked-on grime or lingering stains. With PivotPro, consider yourself fully equipped to easily handle even the most challenging cleanups.

Two features make PivotPro much more powerful than the average hose wand. First, there’s the built-in mixing reservoir. Here, you can add up to 16 ounces of your favorite liquid cleanser. After setting your desired soap-to-water ratio, you simply toggle the lever and boom—right away, you’re ready to spray the soapy water needed to cut through tough crud.

The other key to the potency of PivotPro is its adjustable stiff-bristle nylon brush. Swing it into place when you want it, and when you’re done with it, swing it back out of the way. Particularly when combined with the tool’s soap-dispensing spray, the brush gives you a heavy-duty, effective weapon to deploy in the fight against mold and mildew, soils and oils.

Endlessly Versatile
Depend on PivotPro to clear the gunk out of your garbage cans, wake up a tired fence, or restore your weathered garage to its pre-winter glory. Plus, with its 46-inch reach, PivotPro can even blast all the leaves and debris out of your gummed-up gutters. For a tool that’s so lightweight and compact, and takes up such little space in your toolshed, PivotPro brings scores of common upkeep projects within reach, whether you’re a veteran weekend warrior or a newbie.

Purchase HYDE PivotPro Water Wand Outdoor Cleaning Kit, $50.99


Of course, the house isn’t the only thing in our lives that needs TLC. Check out the other PivotPro specially designed for boats and automobiles. Like its outdoor cleaning cousin, HYDE PivotPro Boat/Auto Cleaning Water Wand gives boat and car owners a convenient, powerful, and versatile tool that makes maintenance not only hassle-free, but actually sort of fun!

Purchase HYDE PivotPro Water Wand for Boat/Auto Kit, $50.99


Want to see both tools in action? Watch the video!


This post has been brought to you by Hyde Tools. Its facts and opinions are those of

Weekend Projects: 5 Designs for a DIY Rain Barrel

It pays to be green when you collect rainwater for your landscaping needs. Start saving on your water bill this very weekend by setting up a rain barrel based on one of these easy designs.

These days, it would be hard to ignore the need for water conservation. Due to drought conditions, California now enforces strict water regulations, and it may be the first of many states to enact such measures. No matter where you live, you can get proactive by setting up a DIY rain barrel. Inexpensive and easy to construct, DIY rain barrels collect and store rainwater for use, if not in a garden, then wherever you would like. Here are five favorite ways to approach the project.



DIY Rain Barrel - Stock Tank


A galvanized stock tank is great for collecting and storing rainwater—it’s naturally rust resistant and just the right height to sit underneath a shortened downspout. A slatted cedar lid outfitted with a mosquito screen on the underside completes the tank’s country-rustic look—so well, in fact, that the DIYers at The Bike Garden set up four outside their home.



DIY Rain Barrel - Wine Barrel


Aesthetics are not of foremost importance with DIY rain barrels, but when you enlist a reclaimed wine barrel for the project, function and form come together in a charming win-win. When sourcing a barrel, opt for one with a lid and a cork. Read one DIYer’s adventure from wine country to backyard at Nail Polish and Paint.



DIY Rain Barrel - Painted Plastic


When using rainwater to nourish a vegetable garden, be sure your DIY rain barrel hosts no contaminants. A sure bet might be large food-grade plastic barrel like this one, which once held olives. To better integrate the vessel into your landscape, paint it a neutral, non-offensive hue. Get all the details over at Lovelace Files.



DIY Rain Barrel - Trash Can


Don’t care to get fancy? With an 32-gallon Rubbermaid Roughneck trash can, plus a few important spare parts—namely, a couple of spigots, window screening, and a handful of locknuts and washers—you can fashion a DIY rain barrel you’d be happy to see overflowing. For the step-by-step, visit Instructables now.



DIY Rain Barrel - Pallet Surround


If even the most carefully considered and constructed rain barrel seems like an eyesore, this project from The Doodle House is for you. The ever-versatile reclaimed wooden pallet comes to the rescue here, with openings between slats ready to support a collection of cheery camouflaging plants. Set up this structure around your barrel, and you’ll soon be doing your part for the planet in style.

Genius! Hack This Old Appliance for the Perfect Fire Pit

Break out the marshmallows! See how one DIY blogger transformed an old washing machine part into a high-end summer staple, and you'll surely want to make one of these for yourself.

Washing Machine Fire Pit


This story starts out like many other tales of DIY savvy. While browsing the a trendy retailer store, Sarah of House and Fig fell in love with a particular product—a geometric steel fire pit, to be exact. The problem? Its four-figure price tag. Rather than break the bank, Sarah and her husband, Joe, instead set out to create their own version. In doing so, they would revisit a peculiar concept they’d discovered on a camping trip years before: lighting a fire in a washing machine drum.

Why a washing machine drum? Well, its stainless steel holds up against high heat, and the slotted housing allows for the free flow of the oxygen that a fire needs to burn efficiently. Also—and unexpectedly—the humble washing machine drum somehow manages to look quite stylish when lit up against the a dark night sky.

To follow Sarah’s lead, head out to a used appliance store—she snagged her washing machine drum, used, for $10. Besides an angle grinder, you’re going to need several grinder attachments, including a cup wire brush, cut-off wheel, and flap wheel sanding disc. Also a must is the proper protective gear—don’t forget glasses!

First, remove the drum’s plastic rim and base. Next, use the grinder and cut-off wheel to take out the center spindle, thus carving out space for firewood. From there, it’s largely a matter of shaping the drum to your liking. Sarah and Joe ground down their drum’s metal lip and smoothed its rough edges with the flap wheel attachment. Lastly, with the wire brush, they cleaned the drum walls to completely eliminate any soap scum still lingering from the drum’s previous incarnation.

You could stop there, but if Sarah’s uncompromising sense of style has inspired you, then finish things off by giving the drum a coat of black high-heat spray paint. Also, importantly, consider welding on a quartet of legs at the base. Perhaps sooner than you think, you can be be roasting s’mores over your finished project!

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Washing Machine Fire Pit - Grinding