Welcome Mat: An Uber for snow removal? Nashville apps offers on demand shoveling

Maureen Feighan
The Detroit News
A new app, GreenPal, lets you find an outside vendor to clear your driveway of snow with a few clicks of your smartphone.

An online service lets customers request snow removal services

We've been blessed with a mild winter so far but we all know Mother Nature could change her mind at any moment (possibly as soon as this weekend). If the next snowstorm is too much for you when it comes to shoveling, a Nashville-based company has a solution: an app that lets you hire an outside vendor t with a few clicks on your smartphone. GreenPal works with landscaping vendors in large markets across the country and likens itself to an Uber for lawn care. The company, says co-founder Gene Caballero, now is branching into snow removal. Customers simply download GreenPal's free app on their smartphone or use the company's web address, answer a few questions about the type of snow removal they need and submit their request. It can be a one-time job or for the entire season. Vendors bid on the job and homeowners get to decide whom they'd like to hire. Caballero said they already have 15,000 vendors that use GreenPal's platform and most do snow removal so it made since to branch into that area. Caballero said GreenPal launched in Detroit last year and has about 100 landscaping vendors who bid on jobs.  Snow removal prices depend on the size of each job and how many surfaces a homeowner wants cleared. To visit the GreenPal platform online, go to https://www.yourgreenpal.com/local/lawn-care-detroit-mi.

Islands continue to be one of the top features in kitchen remodels as homeowners either add them or rework them, according to the 2020 U.S. Houzz Kitchen Trends survey released earlier this month.

New Houzz kitchen study: transitional, contemporary style 'in' 

Farmhouse style is losing steam in the most popular room of the house -- the kitchen -- while transitional and modern kitchens are growing in popularity, according to a new study by Houzz.com. The 2020 U.S. Houzz Kitchen Trends study of 2,600 people who are in the midst of a kitchen remodel, finished one or are planning one found 21% of the remodels were done in a transitional style, 16% in a contemporary and 15% in a modern style, while farmhouse style fell from 14% last year to 11% this year. The survey also found islands continue to be a hugely popular element in the kitchen with 61% of homeowners featuring an island in their remodel. And while 68% replaced cabinets during their model, more than a quarter, 27% did a partial upgrade. People also are spending more on kitchen remodels, an average of $35,000 for a major remodel across the country compared to $30,000 a year ago, the study found. 

In 2019, plants begin to take root in a sensory garden at David L. Mackenzie Elementary-Middle School. The MSU Extension is giving out mini-grants for school gardens.

MSU Extension to award grants for school gardens, garden programming

Does your child or grandchild go to a school that could benefit from a school garden? Do you work at a school that could use one? The Michigan State University Extension can help. The MSU Extension is giving out mini-grants, funded by the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, to schools in southeast Michigan to support school gardens or help schools that would like to start a garden. Approximately 15 grants will be awarded to schools or early care education sites in Oakland, Macomb or Wayne counties, ranging from $500 to $1,500. Along with funding, grantees also will receive training, technical assistance, and connection to a network of peers. To learn more, go https://www.canr.msu.edu/community_food_systems/school-gardens/school-garden-mini-grants

Drew and Jonathan Scott's new magazine, Reveal, is out now.

Scott brothers new lifestyle magazine hits newstands

HGTV stars and twin brothers Drew and Jonathan Scott are revealing a lot more in their magazine, Reveal, and it's out now. The magazine, which hit newstands last week, will be published four times a year by Meredith, the same company that publishes People and other magazines. It will feature everything from home decor and design to lifestyle tips and music and travel. It costs $20 for a one-year subscription. Jonathan Scott told People magazine that they chose the name Reveal for a couple reasons, one of which is their show. "We want to show simple steps that reveal new ways to get the most out of life," he said. "...People ask us all the time why we do what we do. And after all these years — and we’re almost at 400 episodes, 400 families that we’ve helped with our shows — the one thing that we always absolutely love is that moment we reveal the dream home to the families."

Five readers and a guest will win a chance to have coffee with "Trading Spaces" designer Laurie Smith on Jan. 25.

Contest to meet designer Laurie Smith runs through Jan. 23

It's not too late to enter to win a chance to sit down and have coffee with "Trading Spaces" designer Laurie Smith at the Novi Home Show. Homestyle is sponsoring a special VIP coffee (or tea) at 9 a.m. on Jan. 25 with Smith and five winners who will be able to bring a guest. Each winner also will receive a copy of Smith's book, "Discovering Home: Find Your Personal Style," and two tickets to the home show. The deadline to enter is 5 p.m. Jan. 23. Winners will be announced Jan. 24. Smith will speak three times during throughout the weekend of the Novi Home Show, Jan. 24-26 at the Suburban Collection Showplace. The weekend will be filled with hundreds of exhibitors offering nearly every product for the home. And if you need some decorating advice, the American Society of Interior Designers Michigan Chapter will again be on hand, offering free 15-minute consultations. For more information about the show and the contest to meet Smith, go to http://www.novihomeshow.com/the-novi-home-show-winter.html