air filters and cutting blades. In some
instances, maintaining the lawn mower
not only preserves its life, it prevents
problems from cropping up in the yard.
You need to have a sharp blade when
cutting grass, home improvement expert
Danny Lipford said. Otherwise, it doesnt
cut the grass, but tears it instead. (This)
can lead to a diseased lawn.
Once the lawn mower checklist is com-
plete, grass cutting can begin. Lawn care
experts generally recommend grass
height range from 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 inches
While spring is generally synonymous
with planting flowers and gardens, it also
can be an ideal time to consider planting
or transplanting a variety of tree species
to spruce up a lawn. Steven Becker, owner
of New Berlin-based Tree Transplanters,
said spring is the best time of year to
replant a tree, so long it is dug up from
When visiting a nursery to select a tree,
Becker said it is best to think beforehand
about the configurations of a yard and
where specifically the tree would be plant-
ed. Certain trees look really good in the
nursery, Becker said. I recommend peo-
ple think about how big (the trees) are
going to be before they make a decision.
The horticulture team at the University
of Wisconsin-Cooperative Extension rec-
ommends several small steps be taken to
ensure a yard is in pristine condition as
the weather warms up.
In the later months of fall and through-
out the cold, dormant months of winter, it
is all too common for a variety of loose
debris including leaves, branches, twigs
and garbage to settle into a lawn. Before
tending to any yard maintenance, UW-
Extension staff recommends picking
items up off the ground.
Early spring also is an ideal time to take
inventory of a yard. If there are any bare
spots with minimal or no grass, the area
should be reseeded to give a yard a full
look. UW-Extension staff recommends
consulting a lawn care expert for any
areas with significant areas lacking grass.
As temperatures warm up, a variety of
invasive species including crabgrass
can invade yards and deprive grass and
other native plantings from flourishing.
Treating a yard with an herbicide is an
ideal way to curb this scenario.
Continued from Page 4
Lighting tips create
SPECIAL TO HOMES PLUS
(StatePoint) Are you looking for a way
to spruce up your home but dont want to
spend a bundle?
Consider your light bulbs and fixtures.
Lighting can go a long way in creating
ambience in a home, and is often cheaper
than painting. Plus, its more functional
than unnecessary knick-knacks cluttering
your living spaces.
Here are some lighting tips to create a
welcoming atmosphere in your home:
First impressions count. Make your
guests feel at home by using floodlights,
which provide illumination across a wide
area. And consider adding a light bulb dim-
ming switch, which allows you to illumi-
nate the entry but creates a lower level of
light to help visitors adapt to sudden
changes in light levels when coming in
from outside. Floodlights can also create
added drama in hallways, kitchens and
Add color. Looking for a subtle shift in
the color of your living spaces? Light bulbs
are available in a variety of color tempera-
tures, from warm, soft white to cool, natu-
ral daylight. Each changes the look and feel
of a room.
You can filter out dull yellow rays pro-
duced by standard incandescent bulbs with
CFL or halogen lights. Or use a special
incandescent light, such as GEs Reveal
bulb, to make colors pop, bringing out
the vibrant colors and textures of fabrics
and furniture that would typically go unno-
Cozy up in the kitchen. Often a main
gathering place, the kitchen should be well
lit for both cooking and entertaining. Cre-
ate a cozy look using recessed downlights
that also offer a well-lit work surface for
creating those gourmet meals. Place them
six to eight feet apart for even illumination.
Let the dining room glitter, not glare.
To achieve a welcoming ambience in the
dining room, keep your chandelier
dimmed. For extra sparkle, consider
installing small recessed downlights on
either side of the chandelier.
If your dining room table, china cabinet
or fixtures incorporate dull materials such
as wood, pewter or wrought iron, coated
Reveal bulbs offer a softer illumination
that brings out the textures of these mate-
rials. And theyre offered in candelabra,
globe and other shapes fitting for decora-
Enhance brick and stone. Many of
todays home fireplaces incorporate stone
and brick walls that can be highlighted
with a wall-washing technique called
grazing to showcase their great color and
texture. Place recessed directional fixtures
six to eight inches away from the wall and
12 to 30 inches apart for a dramatic visual
More lighting tips can be found at
With the proper lighting, you can change
your house into a home.