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A pedestrian-friendly street makeover in Langley, Washington, includes a number of Hellstrip Gardens — flowers, trees and shrubs planted between sidewalk and street. Frequent watering is often difficult at these curbside plots. Langley gardeners are using slow release water bags at the base of the newly planted trees until their roots can become established. The bags only need to be refilled once or twice a week.

    Landscaping

    Swales: Challenge lies beyond the sidewalk

    Making a yard and a community more beautiful begins at the curb. But that narrow space between sidewalk and street — sometimes called a swale, median, hellstrip, parkway, verge or tree belt — is a gardening challenge.

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Meg Caswell, designer and host of HGTV’s “Great Rooms,” painted the walls red then added a clear glass cover to create a chic, vibrant backsplash.

    Cooking up a color-happy kitchen

    Appliances, walls and cabinetry are taking on vibrant hues

  • Condo Line

    What happened to our annual meeting?

    Q: I would like your opinion on whether or not an association must have an annual meeting. As of now, the last annual meeting in our HOA was in March 2012. FS 720 states that the association “shall” conduct an annual meeting. Our current board and property management company are of the opinion that you only have to try to have one. If a quorum is not reached then the annual meeting is not held and no attempt is made to schedule another meeting.

  • Washington Report

    Stuck in the credit score logjam

    Homeownership is now at its lowest level since 1995, in part because so many buyers can’t get past lenders’ severe underwriting requirements.

  • Ask Angie

    How to check a contractor’s references

    Q: When I contact contractor references, what should I ask?

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Dormify's Black Diamond and Stripe Bed Set is reversible with grey diamonds on one side and bold stripes on the other at $69. For a loft look, install temporary brick wallpaper ($98/roll) and hang graphic posters with washi or painter's tape.

    Home away from home

    How to furnish and decorate a dorm room

    Today, creating a dorm-away-from-home requires little more than a simple college try. Many university dormitories are often more akin to collegiate cells, with white walls and institutional furniture design that doesn’t always make the grade.

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Noise reduction is part of the design considerations with new high efficiency toilets, such as this Kathryn one-piece 1.28gpf toilet from Kohler.

    Ask a plumber

    Under pressure to update loud toilets

    Q: We have three “air-pressurized” toilets in our home. They flush great, but they are older models and when flushed sound like a jet engine taking off! Everyone knows when anyone in the house is using the toilet, especially at night when we’re trying to sleep. Can I remove the pressure systems and install regular flushing systems in these toilets?

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