OUTDOOR STRUCTURES

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The 10 Best Sheds for Your Backyard
If you own a garage, you know the struggle of keeping power tools and lawn and garden supplies in place and out of the path of the car. But there comes a point, u...
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10 Easy Concrete Projects You Can Do in a Day
Stylish, strong, and versatile, concrete excels in household projects ranging from exterior walkways to sleek, modern furnishings. And yet, even handy homeowners ...
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DIY Lite: Build a Backyard Hammock Stand from Scratch
Wish that you had a relaxing moment in a camping hammock in your own backyard, but have nowhere to hang it? Rather th...
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So, You Want to... Build a Floating Deck
Summer isn’t summer unless you’re soaking up the sun, grilling, and chilling in your own backyard. Yet a traditional ...
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DIY Lite: The Easy Way to Build Better Backyard Privacy
Are your neighbors so close that it feels like you practically share a backyard? There's no need to fence off your pr...
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All You Need to Know About Fence Materials
From the zigzag post-and-rail of the Colonial era to the elaborate molded vinyl styles of today, fences have always b...
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DIY Lite: Easy Tiki Torches for a Bug-Free Backyard
Nothing spoils an outdoor gathering like unwanted guests, namely the buzzy ones. Enjoy summer nights free from the mo...
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So You Want to... Hang a Porch Swing
A porch swing symbolizes one thing: leisure. That’s why it became such a popular fixture in the mid-19th century and ...
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The Dos and Don'ts of Swimming Pool Maintenance
Nothing says summer like a refreshing swim in the backyard pool. But your swimming pool does need care—and doses of t...
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The Dos and Don’ts of Setting a Fence Post
It's a bona fide do-it-yourself classic: Every summer without fail, legions of homeowners grab their toolbox and head...
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Weekend Projects: 5 Creative Designs for a DIY Chicken Coops
Scientific studies certainly support the nutritional benefits of the incredible egg, but what they don't detail is wh...
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So, You Want to... Build a Carport
Need a place to park that fancy new speedboat? A carport may be just the ticket! While it’s not quite a garage, a car...
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Genius! The Backyard Movie Theater You Can Build in a Day
A night at the movies doesn’t come cheap. With the steep price of tickets, not to mention the popcorn and M&Ms, t...
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The Dos and Don’ts of Deck Maintenance
A deck is a plein-air addition to your home. Like the space inside your residence, it needs regular cleaning and main...
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Genius! The Easy Way to Add Privacy to a Chain-Link Fence
Chain-link fences have bordered American yards for more than a century, and with good reason—they're cheap, easy to i...
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Weekend Projects: 5 Ways to DIY a Fence Gate
Adding a fence to your property provides a simple solution for shutting out unwanted animals and nosy neighbors from ...
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The 10 Biggest Outdoor Living Trends Set to Dominate 2016
Spring is just a few weeks away, so it’s time to get serious about fix-up plans for porches, patios, and yards. To help, here’s a round-up of what’s new and cutti...
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DIY Kids: Build a Backyard Tire Swing
There’s something so incredibly appealing about a simple tire swing. Whether it’s the freeing feeling of soaring thro...
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11 Ways to Elevate Your Boring Balcony
You can run, but you can’t hide from the dog days of summer. You can, however, camp out on your balcony to enjoy slightly deflected rays of sunlight while keeping...
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8 Tiny Backyard Buildings for Work or Play
You know that disheveled shack in the corner of the yard? It might just be one of your home’s major assets. These backyard buildings prove that an underutilized b...
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Weekend Projects: 5 Creative Ways to Make Your Own Birdhouse
For many, the ideal backyard consists of comfortable seating, picturesque landscaping, and the sights and sounds of c...
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Quick Tip: Keeping Ants Out of Your Sandbox
Ants are one of those annoying pests that seem to pop up everywhere they're unwanted during the summer—picnics, kitch...
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DIY Outdoor Chaise
Inspired by a DIY conference, Amy of Her Tool Belt decided to try her hand at custom outdoor seating. After shopping ...
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How To: Build a Cinder Block Wall
Privacy, safety, security—these are only a few of the reasons that homeowners build solid, durable garden walls. Alth...
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Weekend Projects: 5 Fun DIY Swing Sets
The earliest swing sets, which date all the way back to the fifth century B. C. , were nothing more than slabs of woo...
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Weekend Projects: 5 Designs for a DIY Rain Barrel
These days, it would be hard to ignore the need for water conservation. Due to drought conditions, California now enf...
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Genius! Hack This Old Appliance for the Perfect Fire Pit
This story starts out like many other tales of DIY savvy. While browsing the a trendy retailer store, Sarah of House ...
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Before & After: Simple Upgrades Wake Up 5 Tired Sheds
Backyard sheds may be a storage boon, but nobody ever said they were loaded with style. They can be, though. Check out these amazing shed makeovers that will insp...
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Genius! DIY Portable Fire Pit
Karen loves fires—summer bonfires, barbecues, and winter evenings spent 'round the living room hearth. Even so, she'd...
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Bob Vila Radio: Adding a Fire Pit to Your Backyard
If you enjoy cozying up to the fireplace in your home, why not consider adding a fire pit in your backyard? Fire pits...
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Weekend Projects: 5 Low-Cost DIY Fire Pits
After a summer spent out in the Great Wide Open, we hate to retreat indoors, but in most parts of the country, it's o...
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9 Ways to Extend Patio Season into Fall
As temperatures drop in the fall, our outdoor activities start to dwindle, and the bustle of life moves indoors. But there are still beautiful days and evenings l...
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Genius! DIY Trash Can Shed
Who hasn't admired a great product in-store before balking at the price tag? When daring DIYer Anne Davis saw a $300 ...
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8 Kids Clubhouses You Never Want to Outgrow
So many memories are made in the backyard. Every kid craves a little place of his or her own—a place to imagine and invent, plot and plan. A clubhouse is the perf...
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Weekend Projects: 5 Creative Ways to Build a Garden Trellis
You can buy a trellis, sure—but where's the fun in that? With no sacrifice in function, a unique DIY trellis separate...
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How To: Maintain the Metal in Your Yard
Enter the yard of most homes in America and somewhere among the trees, shrubs, and grass, you're bound to find metal....
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How To: Hang a Hammock
Laying in a hammock is the epitome of summertime relaxation. Getting the hammock set up, on the other hand, can be a ...
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Weekend Projects: 5 Quirky Ways to Build a Bird Feeder
Whether you're washing dishes at the sink or sitting at the desk in your home office, it's pleasant to look out the w...
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Weekend Projects: 5 Ways to Make Your Own Hammock
What else says summer like a hammock gently swaying in the afternoon breeze? If you do not love the styles—or the pri...
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How To: Choose the Right Materials for Your Outdoor Project
Thinking of building a fence? Looking to add a deck? Both projects will be subjected to the whims of Mother Nature, s...
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Great Entrances: 10 Welcoming Garden Gates
A thoughtfully designed gate can make an already welcoming garden even more so, and give a much-needed decorative boost come winter. Whether integrated into a fen...
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12 Garden Sheds You Could Actually Live (or Work) In
Whether you’re upgrading to a bigger building or find you no longer need your backyard shed to store lawn and garden tools, consider giving your old shed new life...
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Bob Vila Radio: Why Have a Raised Garden Bed?
Growing plants in raised beds is a tradition that goes back at least hundreds of years. Here are five reasons why a r...
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How To: Bevel a Fence Post
Here's how to dress up a fence post with a beveled cap. It's easy to do with a radial arm saw. Set the blade at a 45-...
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9 Incredibly Cool Pool Houses
Waterfront property sells at a hefty premium. But don't be discouraged if you're landlocked. You can create your own home-by-the-sea environment with a pool house...
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11 Fire Bowls to Heat Up Your Outdoor Living Area
Stop running—and bring warmth and ambience to the night with one of these artisan-crafted fire bowls.
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Retaining Walls 101
Retaining walls offer aesthetic as well as practical benefits: In addition to beautifying the home, they inhibit soil...
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Bob Vila Radio: Planning Birdhouses
It’s one of life’s true pleasures to watch birds as they nest in the spring. If you’d like to encourage birds to buil...
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How To: Build a Quick and Easy Trellis
Low-cost additions to any landscape, easy-to-make garden trellises can be used to introduce shade or privacy, or to s...
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Recycled Fences: 8 Clever Ways to Put Salvage to Good Use
Old doors, wine bottles, shipping pallets—and even bowling balls and surf boards—can be repurposed into alternative fence material. Here are 8 surprising ideas th...
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Build Your Own Greenhouse: 11 Easy-to-Assemble Kits
A die-hard gardener’s ultimate dream is having a greenhouse in the backyard. If this is your dream, it’s not as far away as you might think. You don’t necessarily...
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Planning Guide: Building a Backyard Greenhouse
Shorter days, colder temperatures, and frozen earth: For most, the advent of winter marks the year's end of planting,...
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Treehouse Envy: 12 Lofty Designs
Taking backyard play to new heights, these tree houses just might inspire you to create one to delight the kids—or your inner child.
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How To: Stain Outdoor Wood Furniture and Equipment
Outdoors, stain helps wood furniture or backyard equipment look at home in the landscape. Whether you're working on a...
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16 Amazing Homemade Sheds to Inspire Yours
Everyone needs a place for their stuff, and sometimes the garage just won’t accommodate it all. A backyard shed can help alleviate the space crunch. Pre-made shed...
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How To: Build a Basic Backyard Fire Pit
Many homes have fireplaces or propane stoves inside, but there’s nothing quite like enjoying a fire pit under the sta...
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Beat the Heat: 16 DIY Outdoor Showers to Cool You Down
Nothing feels better on a hot summer day after hitting it hard outdoors, than showering outdoors. Even if you can’t swing a pool or spa on your property, an outdo...
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Fences 101
Through the ages, fences have been made from a variety of materials. Around my neighborhood, I see vinyl, cedar, meta...
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Sheds Reach New Style Status
On the day that Mary Jane McCarty’s prefab shed was delivered, it was raining cats and dogs. But the Bucks County, PA...
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Play Sets: Enjoy a Park in Your Yard
When today’s parents and grandparents were growing up, many backyards boasted a simple, inexpensive swing set made of...
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Outdoor Showers 101
Outdoor showers accent pool areas or backyards, providing a convenient place to clean off and a yard feature that is ...
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5 Simple Ingredients for Successful Rainwater Harvesting
People have been harvesting rainwater for thousands of years. In the last decade, the practice has emerged as a popul...
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Chick Magnets: 15 Irresistible DIY Chicken Coops
As the popularity of raising poultry in the backyard burgeons, so too does the variety and quality of designs in DIY chicken coops.
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Bob Vila Radio: Spring Fence Routine
A wooden fence is a beautiful accent on any home, but it takes some maintenance to keep it looking neat and trim. Spr...
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Wing It: 16 Approaches to a DIY Birdbath
Welcome feathered friends to your backyard with a DIY birdbath modeled after any of the following inspiring designs.
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On the Fence: 7 Top Options in Fencing Materials
Browse some of today's most commonly used fencing materials, from timeless wood to utilitarian chain-link.
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Bob Vila Radio: Bird Feeders
Winter’s a great time to feed the birds, but if that means feeding the squirrels too, they can quickly wear out their...
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Bob Vila Radio: Firewood Storage
There's nothing better than a crackling fire on a chilly night, except maybe not having to go back outside for more f...
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Repairing a Retaining Wall
Walls, normally thought of as interior design elements, are useful in landscaping, too. A landscaping wall can be fre...
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"Best in Show" Doghouse Contest Winners!
We celebrate the best runners-up and reveal the victor of this year's competition.
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Bob Vila Radio: Stone Walls
Nothing beats the natural look of a dry-laid stone wall, but building one requires a strong back, deep pockets, and a...
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12 "Different" Ways to Store Firewood
Don't settle for an ordinary pile of logs. Showing off your wood in a creative space will help add another dimension of warmth to your home.
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Bob Vila's "Best In Show" Doghouse Contest
The doghouse has been part of human history since the Ancient Egyptians built mud-brick kennels for their favorite ca...
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The Wright Doghouse
In the summer of 1956, a 12-year-old boy wrote a letter to Frank Lloyd Wright to see if the architect would design a ...
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Bob Vila Radio: Retaining Walls
A sloped yard is hard to use, and if it’s got erosion problems or it’s channeling water toward the foundation of your...
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Fab Doghouses
We dog owners are a strange breed. We obsess about the day-to-day comfort, happiness, and health of our pets. We own ...
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10 Luxurious Doghouses for Your Pampered Pet
If Snoopy's standard doghouse won't cut it for your pooch, browse ten puppy palaces that can even put some human-size houses to shame.
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10 Compost Bins for Backyard Gardeners
Composting is one thing... how you manage it is another. If you're searching for the best compost bin to help you turn scraps into gardener's gold, look no furthe...
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Bob Vila Radio: Dog Home Safety
A dog is happy when he knows where home base is. a pet crate, a designated corner, a closet with a pet door or even a...
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The Gazebo: At Home Everywhere
Nothing says “summer” quite like a gazebo. Images of languid afternoons sipping ice-cold lemonade in the sheltering s...
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Pergolas: What’s Old Is New Again
[bobsays_inset]It is interesting how a chance comment can cause you to pay attention to a garden design feature you h...
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Outdoor Showers: The New Accessible Luxury
Whether they are freestanding, store-bought, or built-in, today's outdoor showers are accessible luxuries for many. Here are some of our favorites.
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Shopping for a Swing Set
One thing we miss about living in New York is the awesome city playgrounds. You could walk to a different one every d...
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10 "Style Setting" Garden Sheds
Whether you are looking to house garden tools or create a workshop or studio, here are ten stylish sheds worthy of consideration.
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Bob Vila Radio: Fencing Options
If you’re looking for a way to give your home some character, to frame your garden, or to get a little privacy from t...
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Bob Vila Radio: In the Doghouse
Giving your pet a place of his own to take shelter from wind, rain and sun is a noble pursuit. Doghouses now come in ...
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5 Ways to Create the Perfect Garden Room
Unlike the glass-enclosed garden rooms or conservatories in the UK—glazed interior spaces that provide visual access ...
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Bob Vila Radio: Dog Fences
We all know they don’t like to be fenced in, but after thousands of years of domestication, dogs need boundaries to b...
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How To: Make a Rain Barrel
Rainwater collection has an ancient history with archeological evidence dating back at least 4,000 years. Urban deman...
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5 Outdoor Shed Storage Bargains
Sometimes the garage doesn't cut it for storing garden tools and lawn supplies. That's when outdoor storage enters th...
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How To: Build a Dry Stone Retaining Wall
Depending on the size and weight of the stones used to construct the retaining wall, the tools and materials for the ...
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How To: Make a Birdhouse
The homemade birdhouse is a DIY classic. And with good reason: It’s usually the first woodworking project for many; o...
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How To: Make an Outdoor Shower
Whether you’re cooling off, rinsing off, or actually bathing, an outdoor shower is a fun and relatively easy summer D...
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12 Birdhouses We Love
House hunting for your fine feathered friends? Here are some fun designs to make or buy.
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Project Guide: Building a Sandbox
With little or no woodworking experience, you can easily build your own backyard sandbox—here's how.
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Arbors: A Garden's Best Friend
Looking for a way to add instant character to your landscape or garden? Consider one of these beautiful arbors.
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The 10 Best Bird Feeders for Your Wintertime Yard
This winter, keep the birds happy and fed with one of these fully functionally yet delightfully decorative feeders.
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Building a Redwood Deck and a Redwood-and-Cedar Fence
Bob helps carpenter Bob Ryley build a redwood deck. Carpenter Danny Ruffini installs a custom-made redwood-and-cedar fence on the perimeter.
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Building a Privacy Fence and Touring the Completed Kitchen
Bob reviews the progress of his western red cedar custom fence, designed to provide privacy and block the carport from the neighbors’ view.
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Installing a Retaining Wall
Bob reviews the Allen Block retaining wall that is being installed in the backyard. This secondary terrace will serve to transition from the wood deck to the big ...
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Installing a Porch Floor and Light and Constructing a Porch Trellis
The front of the Melrose house gets finishing touches, including a new, insect-resistant porch deck, new trellises, and a porch light.
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Creating a Lattice-Top Gate and Converting a Mudroom to a Pantry
The backyard is enhanced with a lattice-top gate, and a mudroom is converted into a kitchen pantry to provide storage space.
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Hardscaping, Selecting Plants, Installing Artificial Grass in the Backyard, and Preventing Weed Growth
Backyard landscaping has progressed with the completion of stone work, new plantings, weed control, and the installation of artificial grass.
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Replacing the Gutters, Trimming a Tree, and Creating a Low-Maintenance Front Yard
Old gutters are replaced and external landscaping continues with the trimming of a tree, installing a front garden, and creating steps from recycled granite.
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Installing a Fence on a Sloped Site
Bob talks with a fencing expert about installing a white-cedar fence in sloped areas at the Melrose house.
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Building a Retaining Wall, Front Steps, and Backyard Patio With Stone
Stone workers install a granite retaining wall, replace a front walkway, and build a backyard patio.
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Custom Bamboo Garden
Kalo joins Bob to create a Zen bamboo garden.
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Removable Swimming Pool Safety Fencing
Bill Jasper joins Bob for the installation of a removable Baby Barrier pool fence.
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Elm Court's Library and Architectural Detailing
Bob meets with Sonya and Bob Berle in the library of Elm Court to discuss the interior design and preservation of this magnificent home.
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Picket Fence Installation
Jay Triandafilou and a crew from Architectural Fence are on location to install the exterior fence.
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Working to Develop Affordable Housing and Installing a Maintenance Free Vinyl Picket Fence
Bob is in Mashpee, Massachusetts, where the affordable housing project is well underway with five of the eleven homes currrently under construction.
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Retaining Wall Construction
Bob meets up with landscape mason Hector Santos, who is building a dried-laid stone retaining wall.
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Splitting Granite for the Retaining Wall
The mason on-site installing a retaining wall, Hector, shows Bob how to split a piece of granite that is too large and heavy to use as is.
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Trellis and Lattice Fencing & Workshop Tour
Fred Goode (from Brattle Works) joins Bob to view the trellis and lattice fencing, and Bob visits the Brattle Works workshop to see how the fencing is manufactured.
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Discussing the Plantings on the Property
Bob, alongside architect Kristian Fenderson and Tom Strangfeld (from Weston Nurseries), walks the property, focusing on the planting selected for this home.
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Discussing the Northern White Cedar Picket Fence
A Northern White Cedar picket fence is discussed and installed.
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Hot Tub Installation
Bob drops by the third Elmwood project house to watch as the deck is covered with rubber and the hot tub is installed.
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Porch Railing and Screen Door Installation
Carpenter Bob Ryley helps install a new porch railing and new screen doors. An underground sprinkler system is also installed.
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Installing a Brick Walkway and Porch Lighting, and Milling the Railings and Balusters
Contractors put in the brick walkway. Forester Moulding and Lumber replicates the porch railings and balusters. Also, new security and sprinkler systems are insta...
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Building a Pergola and Gate
Bob confers with contractor and carpenter Cortney Lofton, as he builds a pergola at the Studio City bungalow, which will serve as a gate to the backyard.
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Tour of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
Bob begins the new state-of-the-art greenhouse project with a look at Boston's most famous solarium, part of the quirky and romantic Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.
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Plans for the Greenhouse
Bob, the architect, and the homeowner discuss plans for the new greenhouse. The exact position of the greenhouse in relation to the existing house is chosen so as...
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Demolition of the Front Porch
Bob and contractor Bob Ryley discuss the demolition of the existing farmer's porch, and, once the electricity has been turned off, they begin to remove the roof.
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Foundation Layout
The foundation has been hand-dug and the forms laid for the footings. Bob and contractor Bob Ryley discuss the layout of the greenhouse foundation and framing.
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Brooklyn Botanical Garden Tour
Bob takes a trip to New York City to tour the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, a spectacular, world-class museum greenhouse.
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Pouring the Concrete Foundation
Bob watches as the crew prepares the footings for the greenhouse foundation. Contractor John Pratt pours the concrete, using a conveyor instead of a traditional p...
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Burrage House Tour
Bob takes a walk down Boston's Commonwealth Avenue for a look at an upscale solariums from the last century, that of the Burrage House.
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Insulating the Foundation
Bob and contractor Bob Ryley insulate the foundation of an attached solar greenhouse.
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Cold Weather Brick Laying
With the bricklayers on hand, Bob discusses the techniques being used, and explains the "anti-freeze" that has been added to the concrete to retard the cold weath...
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Tour of Indiana University Greenhouses
Bob interviews Don Burton from Indiana University as they tour a 1955 greenhouse. Bob then tours a modern state-of-the-art greenhouse under construction at the Un...
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Installing the Rafters
The architect pays a visit to check on progress, while Bob and contractor Bob Ryley begin installing the Paralam rafters. Ryley goes into depth discussing these m...
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Reviewing the Pergola Design
Bob checks on the progress of the greenhouse construction and examines the framing of the pergola roof.
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HVAC System for the Greenhouse
Bob meets with HVAC contractor Dave Talbot to discuss the heating and cooling of the greenhouse. A system of thermostats, blowers, vented windows, and boiler has ...
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Greenhouse Glass Installation
Bob and contractor Bob Ryley install sloped glazing on a greenhouse with the help of Mark Santos.
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Bench Construction
The wood has arrived for the perimeter benches, so Bob and contractor Bob Ryley begin constructing the architect-designed benches for the greenhouse. The wood is ...
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Installing the Greenhouse Windows
Contractor Bob Ryley shows off the greenhouse's motorized windows. At the touch of a button, or via a thermostat, the windows open and close. Bob helps Ryley asse...
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Stucco Walls
Bob meets with John Clancy who is applying "California" stucco inside the greenhouse. A tint is applied to the mix to match the interior, and a latex bonding mate...
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Installing a Bluestone Floor
Bob discusses the bluestone floor being installed in the greenhouse.
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Tour of the Completed Greenhouse
Bob and contractor Bob Ryley tour the spectacular finished greenhouse and, in addition to the greenhouse, a vestibule to the house has been created, solving the h...
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Plant Shopping With Martha Stewart
When shopping for plants at Haskell's Nursery, the homeowner gets some professional help from Martha Stewart, who transforms the greenhouse into an elegant settin...
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Tour of the Greenhouse With Martha Stewart
Bob, Martha, and the homeowner look at the plants in the new greenhouse. Martha explains why she selected certain plants and put thought into their placement.
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Discussing the Greenhouse
Bob, Martha and the homeowner, Diana, discuss the greenhouse and the decor before Bob reveals a special suprise.
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Building a Playground, Part 1
Bob visits Columbus, OH to help volunteers build a playground.
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Playground Construction, Part 2
In Columbus, OH, Bob and other volunteers are constructing a playground. Bob discusss the materials and techniques used in the project, including the octagonal ro...
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Playground Construction, Part 3
Bob makes his third visit to the playground in Columbus, OH to tour the nearly-complete project and comment on its various features.
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Reviewing the Landscape
Bob meets with a landscaper to discuss the existing plantings, some of which will be removed or cut back to maximize the amount of interior light. Trees, shrubs, ...
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Building a Trellis
A trellis-- the frame and lattice of which have been built in the workshop-- is installed in the front yard.
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Reviewing the Home Exterior
Bob and carpenter-contractor Bob Ryley review the exterior of the home, pointing out the new trellis and the new entryway. Next, they move inside to have a look ...
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Landscape Design With a New Fence
Bob has a discussion the landscape architect, Joanne Smallwood, and new wooden fence is installed.
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Working on the "Ell" and Shed Dormer
The old <a href="http://www.bobvila.com">ell</a> is joined to the new construction, with some demolition done to make room for a shed dormer and a slider door.
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Discussing the Landscaping
Bob discusses landscaping with specialist Susan Hofer. Topics include sod, a gravel driveway, brickwork, fences, and perennials.
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Facing the Retaining Walls with Cultured Stone
Retaining walls, foundation work, and curving stairways are faced with Cultured Stone from Owens Corning. These cast cement, pumice, and iron oxide products are m...
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Cutting the Crud on Your Kitchen Cabinets More clips
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