Welcome Mat: Projects lead to outdoor entertaining

Jeanine Matlow
Special to The Detroit News
Tomato season

Think sunny, warm thoughts of fresh tomatoes at class

Ray Hunter Garden Center in Southgate presents Master Gardener Paul Rodman to kick off their season series of gardening classes at 11 a.m. Saturday with “Growing Heirloom Tomatoes in Michigan.” He will share techniques and tips to help grow stellar tomatoes in our crazy climate. This class is free and the location for Ray Hunter Florist & Garden is 16153 Eureka. For information, go to rayhunter.com.

Outdoor projects lead to outdoor entertaining.

Projects lead to outdoor entertaining

According to the Houzz 2018 Landscaping Survey, over half of homeowners spend more time entertaining outside after completing landscaping projects. These homeowners invest in a variety of elements during their projects that make their outdoor areas more livable, including ample seating for everyone with lounge furniture, dining furniture and benches. The addition of fire pits, ceiling fans and patio heaters stretch the season, while string lights and rugs add ambiance. Technology also plays a role in outdoor entertaining spaces. Of the nearly one in five homeowners who added or upgraded entertainment systems during their projects, three in five opted for a new TV followed by wired and solar speakers. One in 10 homeowners also added wired and solar charging stations. While the majority of outdoor projects take place in the backyard, nearly two in five landscaping homeowners update their front yard and more than a quarter work on their side yards. For information, go to houzz.com.

Bicycle dish cloth.

Mark Earth Day by cutting paper products

In honor of Earth Day on Sunday, there are plenty of ways to be kind to our planet long after the celebrations have come and gone. For instance, you can reduce your paper towel usage with this super absorbent all-natural Swedish dishcloth that retails for $6.95 at Catching Fireflies. Besides the classic bicycle pattern, additional styles feature everything from ladybugs and cherries to mushrooms and more. There’s even one with an Up North Michigan theme. Catching Fireflies has locations in Berkley, Ann Arbor and Rochester. For information, go to catchingfireflies.com.

Remodeling tour.

Be inspired by home remodels at NARI Renovation Tour

The 2018 NARI Tour of Remodeled Homes, presented by NARI (National Association of the Remodeling Industry) of Southeast Michigan, will take place from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and noon-6 on Sunday. Featuring 10 homes that have been remodeled throughout Ann Arbor and Plymouth, attendees can see how local design-build professionals work within existing constraints to produce new and improved spaces. This year’s tour offers a well-rounded mix, from contemporary kitchens to whole-house remodels. Not only will attendees get to see some of the latest industry trends, they can also speak with design and remodeling professionals on the tour, which is sponsored by Mans Lumber & Millwork, family owned since 1900. Admission is $10 per person (children 5 and under are free). Tickets are available at all of the featured homes. They must be validated before entering and are good for both days of the event. Each ticket sale includes a tour guide, complete with project map. Online ticket sales are available at 2018tourofremodeledhomes.eventbrite.com. For information, go to narisemich.org.

Go light and bright with new fixtures

Now you can update those builder-grade basics with affordable lighting from Sylvania, one of America’s first lighting companies. The company is tapping into its roots and the farmhouse-industrial decorating trend with its new Heritage Collection of flush mount and pendant LED light fixtures. Available at walmart.com, the series includes indoor and outdoor options with classic matte black finishes and clear and seeded glass shades for every room in the house. Each fixture includes Edison or A19 filament bulbs. Whether you prefer a jelly jar glass ceiling light or a clear glass pendant, the Heritage Collection offers an array of styles at great price points from around $20-$45. For information, go to walmart.com.