Replacing the Gutters, Trimming a Tree, and Creating a Low-Maintenance Front Yard

Project: Basement Finishing and Family Space, Episode 9, Part 1

Bob is in Melrose, where seamless aluminum gutters are extruded and installed to pitch the water toward the front of the house and away through storm drains. A Norway spruce is limbed to bring air and sunlight to the tree, making it sturdier in wind and snow. In the front yard, the focus is on low-maintenance landscaping with pachysandra that will spread to cover the ground, holly, rhododendrons, spring bulbs, and a red Japanese maple. In the backyard, low-maintenance solutions include reclaimed granite steps, built-in sheds for gardening, toys, and tools, and a field stone and pea stone terrace that backs up to the stone retaining wall, plantings, and white cedar fence. Bob learns about no-pesticide weed control under and around the fence with a durable rubber weed inhibitor and admires the craftsmanship on the tongue-and-groove, lattice-topped gate. The final outdoor touch is the multi-stranded, soft, artificial grass that is installed for a lush, no-maintenance side yard. Bob shows us that the tiny back door has been replaced by a triple slider and the cluttered mudroom has become an organized pantry space with a counter, storage, recycling, and drawers for snack bags, utensils, and lunch gear.

Part 1: Replacing the Gutters, Trimming a Tree, and Creating a Low-Maintenance Front Yard
The Melrose home had only one gutter left on the front, which had been neglected and was clogged with muck. In the back of the home, a vinyl gutter had been installed by the homeowners. New England Gutter Kings were called in to install a seamless aluminum gutter system. The old gutter was removed and the lengths were carefully measured. Heavy-gauge sheet aluminum was measured and extruded right out of the truck in front of the house. This 32-gauge aluminum holds the profile of the gutter well and will stand up to years of abuse and cleaning. It also gives the profile of the crown molding. Only about eight feet of fascia board needed to be replaced, so western red cedar was used before the gutter was installed. The installation required three people and is set on a slope to drain the water out to the street and sewers. Many of the projects in the Melrose home fall under the category of safety. The big Norway Spruce tree on the left side of the front yard was limbed by Tree Tech. Using a cherry picker and a little chainsaw, they cut off the necessary limbs so light and air could come through the tree. This is important because in case of a blizzard, if a tree is very dense it is in danger of falling onto the house. The side of the home has been fenced in with a white cedar fence from Architectural Fence. This fence has been designed with attached sheds to create a bin for garbage, a stall for gardening equipment, and an area for a potting bench. Recycled granite from the Danvers State Hospital was used here to provide some steps. The granite was cut into lengths of four feet using wet saws equipped with a water attachment and diamond blade. The cut ends of the granite block are given a rough finish with a torch and chisel. The pea stone used for the walkway is a good color match with the fence. Pea stone is easy to maintain because water drains right through. Three steps were constructed using the granite blocks, all of differing widths, which creates a pyramid effect.
Part 2: Hardscaping, Selecting Plants, Installing Artificial Grass in the Backyard, and Preventing Weed Growth
Part 3: Creating a Lattice-Top Gate and Converting a Mudroom to a Pantry