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Landscaping: Most Popular Articles

These articles are the most popular over the last month.
10 Ways to Keep Cats Out of Your Yard
I'm often asked how to keep cats out of the yard. The answer is cat repellents (commercial or home-made) and understanding how feline pests think.
The Tricks in Hanging Garland Around a Door
Do you wonder how to hang a garland around a door or column (i.e., the best way to attach it)? I discuss a few ways to accomplish this decorating task here.
How to Build Great Rock Gardens for Small Spaces
This tutorial illustrates how to build rock gardens. They're enhanced if attention is paid to color choices (both for the stones and for the plants).
How to Store Dahlias for Winter
Learn how to store dahlia tubers for winter. Being summer bulbs, these tubers have to be dug up for storing in the North, where they are not hardy.
Pictures of Poison Ivy
View pictures of poison ivy and similar vines for identification. See what poison ivy looks like at different stages of development in the course of the year.
How to Keep Dogs Out of Your Yard
A problem with dog repellents sprinkled on the soil is the need to reapply after rain. On the upside, 2 products in this class lie right on the kitchen shelf.
Why It's Not OK to Leave Fallen Leaves on Your...
Why is it necessary to rake leaves off the lawn in fall? The reason behind raking them off goes beyond the oft-quoted admonition about smothering.
How to Keep Voles Out of Your Yard
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Pictures of Landscaping for Front Door Entrances
View my pictures of landscaping showing examples for front door entrances. Using symmetry is popular, but there are many possible styles for entryway plantings.
How Not to Landscape Your Yard
The 10 mistakes I present in my article will help beginners learn how not to landscape a yard. Avoiding these errors means you won't mess things up.
10 Shrubs That Thrive in the Shade
Shrubs that grow in shade are a boon to folks who toil to find bushes to fill shady voids in the landscape. This top 10 list is designed with variety in mind.
What Are the Best and Worst Plants to Grow Over...
Learn which plants are safe to grow over septic tank drain fields and which the worst. Some trees and shrubs are better than others in such plantings.
Everything You Need to Know to Make a Kissing...
This tutorial shows you how to make a kissing ball. Specifically, I focus on how to make one of these Christmas ornaments with mainly natural materials.
Poison Sumac Pictures
Consult these poison sumac pictures for identification purposes. My photos include closeups showing what the leaves, etc. of these plants look like.
How to Determine When to Plant Your New Trees
I am often asked when to plant trees. To answer the question, we first have to know if we're talking about the best time for deciduous or evergreen types.
What Shrubs Make the Best Hedges?
Hedge plants serve the practical function of giving a property security and are also decorative. Here I discuss some of the best shrubs to use for hedges.
How to Build Beautiful (and Cheap!) Waterfalls...
A simple, cheap way to build outdoor waterfalls is to erect cascading stone spillways that hang right over your pond. I show you how in this tutorial.
Grow Ginkgo for a Different Fall Foliage Tree
Ginkgo biloba trees are great for fall foliage, especially if you're tired of the usual maples, etc. Just be sure to avoid the females; here's why.
Plan Your Garden With This Climate Zone Guide
The definition of planting zones refers to USDA hardiness maps, to which I link. I tell you how to use them but explain why you needn't follow them slavishly.
You'd Have to Be Nuts to Grow Any of These Plants
What are the 10 worst plants to grow in a yard? It varies depending on your region, health, tastes and whether you have kids or pets, but this list is a start.
What's a French Drain, and How Can You Install...
Installing French drains is an option for providing yard drainage on land where there is excess water. Learn how to make one in this piece geared to DIYers.
Tired of Tacky Christmas Decorations?
Some folks insist on using only tasteful Christmas yard decorations (you know who you are!). If that describes you, you'll want to see these 17 ideas.
10 Ways to Landscape Your Property Lines
In landscaping your property line, are you hoping to minimize maintenance, maximize privacy or enhance the beauty of your yard? I help you with all 3 here.
What Is the Difference Between a Mole and a Vole?
Garden pests include the mole and the vole, those subterranean, mouse-like garden pests. But what's the difference between a mole and a vole?
Weed Pictures
My weed pictures include photos of plants you probably know, but not by name. Here's some help in identifying common types of weeds.
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Roses
What do black roses mean? My answer is 1 of 11 facts about roses I give here, ranging from which are easiest to grow to what they have to do with the rosary.
Easy and Cost-Effective Ways to Remove a Tree...
Removing tree stumps is possible without the aid of stump grinders. You can do it manually with mattocks or by applying nitrogen and waiting, which is cheaper.
Your 11-Step Guide to Transplanting Trees and...
I present 5 easy steps to take to transplant trees and shrubs. Learn how to dig holes and move the plants; also learn about care after installation.
Learn How to Build a Natural Shrub Shelter
I advise winter protection for flowering shrubs. In this tutorial (with pictures) I show you how to build a shelter quickly and cheaply.
Finish Off Flower Beds in Style With Landscape...
Landscape timber edging installation is simple and looks spiffy. Using photos, I relate how to install it to build an attractive edging with minimal effort.
Incorporating Red Twig Dogwood Shrubs in Your...
Red twig dogwood shrubs are so named for the color of their bark in winter. But these stunning bushes offer much more than just colorful winter bark.
How (and How Not) to Use a Leaf Blower
This brief article addresses how to use leaf blower/vacs in the sense of developing a plan for using them as one component in a yard-cleanup arsenal.
Are Any of These 12 Poisonous Plants in Your...
Pictures of poisonous plants can help you to identify and avoid them. My list includes more than just toxic leaves, berries that you shouldn't eat.
5 Good Shade Vines and 5 Shady Characters
Learn about perennial vines for shade, including that rarity, a cold-hardy, flowering one that grows in shady areas. I also warn about invasive vines.
12 Interesting Landscape Designs to Inspire...
Before you contemplate specific backyard landscaping designs, you have to ask yourself some basic questions.
Build a Stone Retaining Wall in 15 Steps
This tutorial deals with building stone retaining walls 3 feet in height or less. When you build without mortar you have limitations but also some benefits.
How to Incorporate English Ivy in Your...
I discuss growing English ivy plants (picture) as a groundcover here. But my tips come with a warning: they have fallen out of favor due to their invasiveness.
Fence Pictures
These fence pictures illustrate some of the different materials and styles available. Among these landscaping photos are examples of fence plantings.
Gas Snowblowers
Gas snowblowers are available in both single-stage and two-stage models. Learn which type you should buy in regions prone to heavy or wet snowfalls.
Fill in a Bare Landscape Fast with these...
Fast growing shrubs are great for homeowners needing quick privacy hedges. I list several bushes for those who need privacy in a hurry, linking to plant info.
5 Points About Poinsettias That May Surprise You
Poinsettia plants are a favorite Christmas flower. Problem is, what we call the flower on these plants is not really a bloom at all.
10 Shrubs You Really Need to Grow
Consult this list of shrubs before you shop at the nursery. This list describes popular and more unique kinds of bushes for the yard.
Use Tree Wrap, Shelters to Guard Shrubs Against...
How do you guard against wind damage to shrubs (winter burn)? In this article I discuss how to use tree wrap and how to shelter plants from snow and ice.
Will You Be Pulling Out Bittersweet This Fall...
Are American bittersweet plants benign? How do you remove the invasive Oriental vines? Learn all about these bearers of beautiful berries here.
Pictures of Poison Ivy - the Aerial Roots
Have you wondered what those hairy vines are climbing up trees? That's poison ivy, the 'hairs' being the vines' aerial roots. Page 12.
Everything You Need to Know about the Rose of...
Rose of sharon bush is a deciduous flowering shrub, sometimes thought of as a small tree. Learn about pruning it and other growing tips here.
What's the Difference Between Annual Plants and...
What is an annual? In distinguishing between annual plants and perennials, it's all a matter of the life cycle; I explain the difference here.
All About Butterfly-Friendly Milkweed Plants
Learn facts about common milkweed plant (picture), including its uses and growing requirements. Learn what these host plants for Monarch butterflies look like.
Everything You Need to Know About Using...
'Emerald Green' arborvitae trees are evergreens. Technically shrubs, their foliage is like Leyland cypress'; they're used as live privacy screens.
How to Control Moles in Your Lawn and Garden
Mole control is an one element of lawn care and garden pest control. But before you can get rid of them, first learn the difference between moles and voles.
Pictures of Poison Ivy -- Leaves of Three, Let...
Heard the well-known rhyme about poison ivy, 'Leaves of three, let it be?' This picture provides visual verification, showing the plant with its 3 leaflets. Page 14.
American Holly Trees and Other Great Winter...
Holly plants vary in size and shape. Some are bushes, but the focus of this article is on the growing requirements and uses of American holly trees, Ilex opaca. Page 2.
Choose the Best Flowers for Your Landscape with...
The lists of flowers (with pictures) here are organized by color. Browse these galleries to gain ideas for creating colorful landscape designs.
What Does Poison Ivy Look Like?
What does poison ivy look like? Pictures do the best job of answering the question, thus this photo gallery. Use it for positive identification. Page 5.
Are You Shoveling Snow Properly?
Snow shoveling can be difficult enough without making the job tougher on yourself. Read these tips to make the job of clearing a driveway easier.
All About Mountain Laurel Shrubs and Bay Laurel...
My description of mountain laurel shrubs is supplemented by pictures. I distinguish between these shrubs and the bay laurel trees made famous by the Greeks.
Care Tips for Healthy, Lush Privet Hedges
Privet hedges (Ligustrum shrubs) are traditional favorites, being amenable to pruning. But these bushes are invasive plants in North America.
Top 10 Trees and Plants That Love the Shade
My list of the 10 plants that do best in the shade includes flowering dogwood trees and one each from all major categories of landscaping plants.
Step-by-Step Instructions for Planting Boxwood...
This step-by-step tutorial walks you through the steps in planting hedges. Through pictures I show you how to plant boxwood shrubs in a straight row.
Ideas for Going Natural at Christmas
There are natural outdoor Christmas decorations you can use to juice up the yard with color. Here are some alternatives to store-bought ornaments.
Plants That Your Skin Will Hate
Itchy rash plants are the weed equivalents to yellow jackets in the bug world. For example, like stinging insects, stinging nettles can also burn you.
7 Shrubs That Are Compact but Colorful
I discuss 7 types of small evergreen shrubs perfect for owners of tiny yards who crave big-time color. Consult my list of compact bushes before you shop.
Montauk Daisy: Beacon of Floral Color
Montauk daisies are late-bloomers (offering fall flowers) with shiny foliage. They tolerate deer, drought and salt. Learn how to grow this exceptional plant.
Do You Know the Hidden Meaning Behind a Classic...
The holly and the ivy have been intertwined for ages, and not only in a Christmas carol by that name. This intertwining explains the latter's meaning.
How to Bring Your Canna Bulbs Indoors for Winter
Do you wonder how to store canna bulbs? You can use the tips given here for storing cannas and other tropical plants with rhizomes through winter.
Try This Project to Increase Landscape Drainage...
Learn how to build dry creek beds for landscape drainage. It's an easy landscaping project if the soil you'll be excavating isn't strewn with roots and rocks.
Learn About the Different Types of Maple Trees
Read my intro, with pictures, to discover the best maple trees for fall color (e.g., red ones). Besides these good varieties, I warn about invasives.
What Are Some Common Types of Palm Trees?
Beginners are bewildered by all the different types of palm trees available. To help, I offer a handy list of some of the various types in this introductory article.
Help, My Snow Blower Won't Start Up
Don't you hate it when your snow blower won't start up? But don't reach for that shovel just yet: Ariens offers troubleshooting tips to help you.
Pictures of Poison Ivy -- Ripened Berries
My image shows the white berries of poison ivy, their color when they ripen. As this picture shows, the berries come in bunches. Page 8.
Types of Plants: Browse My Database
Need to find information about a particular kind of plant? Search my database by clicking on the links below. Search by common name or scientific name.
How to Plant the Perfect Flower Beds
Practice layering when planting flower beds, plus preventative weed control. These are just 2 tips I offer here, as we go from back to front row of a sample bed.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Electric Snow...
Rather than a review of specific electric snow throwers, my article compares them (as a general class) to gas-powered models. Discover the pros, cons
Picture of Poison Ivy Leaf
View my picture of a poison ivy leaf to see how the plant looks in summer. In this example, it's a vine growing on a stone wall. Page 9.
Pictures of Poison Ivy -- "Beware of Vine!"
My picture displays poison ivy climbing a clapboard-sided building. The vine's aerial roots allow it to climb structures. Page 13.
High on Colorado Blue Spruce
Colorado blue spruce trees are deer-resistant and used as specimens or windbreaks. A classic Christmas tree, they can also be impressive landscaping components.
What the Young Leaves of Poison Ivy Look Like
See my picture of poison ivy leaves to learn what they look like when young. Their appearance in spring is different from what it is in summer or fall.
Poison Ivy Flowers
As this picture shows, poison ivy flowers are rather unremarkable. But knowing what they look like will help you identify this weed. Page 7.
The Landscape Design Principles Do-It-Yourselfe...
The basic landscape design ideas (color, form, line, scale, texture) are introduced with pictures to illustrate how they play out in designing a garden.
How to Use Vinegar as a Natural Weed Killer
The organic gardener sometimes uses vinegar as a natural weed killer. It's non-selective, so be careful not to spray or pour it on your good plants.
Pictures of Poison Ivy Look-Alikes
Poison ivy weeds have many look-alikes. This picture of Virginia creeper will help distinguish the two and help you with identification. Page 15.
Pictures of Flowering Shrubs
Pictures of flowering shrubs can give you ideas for your own landscaping. Browse my shrub pictures to view photos of some of the finest blooming bushes of spring and summer.
Pictures Illustrating the Concepts Used by...
If you need some ideas for the yard, study these landscape design pictures showing some basic principles and learn about the concepts the pros use.
All About Japanese and English Yew Bushes
English yew bushes are widely used for foundation plants or in hedges, while a number of cultivars of Japanese yews exist and can serve similar functions.
What's the Difference Between Rhododendrons and...
Read this intro to learn how to care for azalea and rhododendron plants. I give tips on planting these popular flowering shrubs, including pruning azaleas. Page 3.
Pictures of Poison Ivy -- Picture of Fall Foliage
Picture of poison ivy with its fall foliage. The leaves turn orange, yellow or red in fall. Page 10.
The Right Way to Care for Your Lantana Plants
Lantana plants are a tropical shrub and a symbol of Florida landscaping, their salt-tolerance making them a favorite flower in seashore communities.
Just How "Dwarf" Is Dwarf Alberta Spruce?
Dwarf Alberta spruce trees will eventually reach 12' tall but only over a long period of time. The green needles have a tight, densely-packed growth habit.
Don't Know Much About Landscaping? Start Here!
If you're wondering how to get started landscaping your yard, I offer every type of resource available under the sun. See which one is right for you.
Young Leaflet Picture
Poison ivy leaflets are sometimes notched, a feature that may be especially prominent in young leaves. Variations increase the difficulty in identification. Page 2.
How to Get Rid of Crabgrass for Good
What's the best way of killing crabgrass? Using preemergent herbicide is one way to get rid of this weed, but proper ID must come first, so I provide pictures.
Your Guide to Ground Covers, Vines, and Cover...
Learn about the best flowering vines you can plant -- and how to use them in your landscaping. Also discover the pros and cons of some dubious choices.
Winterberry, a December Favorite
The use of winterberry holly shrubs in yards enhances the winter landscape and entices songbirds, who eat the shrubs' bright red berries.
Pictures of the Flower Buds
This picture is of poison ivy flower buds. Yes, even such troublesome, rash-inducing menaces as this can bloom (not all that blossoms is beautiful). Page 6.
Pictures of Poison Ivy - Color Changes
My picture of an orangy poison ivy leaf captures the weed's look in spring. The color can morph from red to orange to green. Page 4.
What's the Difference Between "Cement,"...
The terms cement, concrete and mortar are used interchangeably by laymen in conversations about cement mixing, but they serve 3 different purposes.
Leyland Cypress Trees: A Great Option for...
Leyland cypress trees are often planted for fast-growing privacy screens. These slender trees are generally grown by those seeking a mass of evergreen foliage and who are in a hurry.
Learn How to Seal a Deck
Thompson's Water Seal is one of the deck sealers used to protect against rot. Learn how to use this sealant to guard against damage to your decking.
Tulip Trees: Tiptoe Through the Fall Foliage
Tulip trees are referred to as yellow poplars, although they are related to magnolias, not poplars. These tall specimens provide yellow fall foliage.
Native Lilies: 5 Beauties Northeasterners Need...
These five native lilies grace the woods and meadows of the Northeastern U.S. Native plant lovers can grow them in that suitable shady or sunny spot.
16 Flowers that Bloom All Summer Long
Long-blooming perennials give continuous garden color with just a little deadheading or dividing from you. Learn about flowers that bloom all summer.
How to Clean Cement Spills Safely with Muriatic...
Cement products get all over the masonry structures your building with them, and cleaning with muriatic acid is one way to deal with the problem.
Washington Hawthorn Trees
Washington Hawthorn trees bloom in late spring-early summer. Learn about the taxonomy, care requirements, and landscape uses of Washington Hawthorn Trees.
Regional Maps to Help Find Your USDA Growing Zone
Growing zone maps are provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. They show average extreme minimal temperatures broken down by region.
Should You Grow Ornamental Grass?
Description of the types of ornamental grasses (short, medium and tall), and why they are the best examples of low-maintenance plants.
Growing Tips for the Popular Hinoki Cypress Tree
Slender Hinoki cypress trees are semi-dwarfs, being more compact than the species trees but not as short as 'Nana Gracilis,' the true dwarf.
These Plants Put Your Dog at Risk
Many plants poisonous to dogs are very common in back yards. These bad plants may be only mildly toxic or cause more serious canine health problems.
Should You Drop the Bomb on Ticks?
One option for tick control in the yard is to spray to kill ticks. There are other options for organic gardeners; I help you pick one suited to your lifestyle.
Pictures of Poison Ivy - Autumn Foliage
My picture reveals the autumn foliage of poison ivy plants. Their leaves' color ranges from orange to yellow to red. Page 11.
Build Your Own Floating Deck in 10 Easy Steps
It's easy for DIYers to build floating decks, because they are not attached to a building. This tutorial (includes pictures of the small structure constructed) shows you how it's done.
How to Grow Elephant Ear Plants
Elephant ear plants are tropical but can be overwintered in cold climates in containers. Keep your plants in a cool, but not freezing basement or garage.
Lighting the Way to a More Festive Yard
See my pictures of outdoor Christmas light displays for ideas for decorating your own yard. My pictures have something for everyone in terms of style.
Why Dwarf Trees are the Ideal Choice for...
Dwarf trees (evergreen and deciduous) are popular in small yard design. You can plant them with the knowledge that they won't quickly spike out of control.
All About the Lombardy Poplar Tree
Lombardy poplar trees may be planted for quick privacy screens or windbreaks, as they are fast-growers. However, they are not long-lived trees.
Vine Plants Similar to Poison Ivy: Virginia...
Virginia creeper is among the vine plants similar to poison ivy. Other vines mistaken for it include bittersweet. Page 16.
Pictures of Landscaping: Framing a Front Entry
A planting doesn't have to be located smack up against a front entry to have an impact on it. The planting in this image frames the door but is not located near it. Page 13.
Landscape Design Photo Gallery
Check my landscape design photo gallery for front-yard design ideas. Let these landscaping pictures inspire you in your DIY projects.
Pave the Way to Easier Mowing With a Mowing Strip
Learn how to install lawn edging to lower maintenance. Edging keeps grass stolons out of garden beds; incorporating a mowing strip into your lawn facilitates mowing.
Landscaping Ideas for the Botanically Challenged
Front-yard landscaping ideas suited to suburbia may not work in rural areas, and vice-versa. But these basic design ideas will point you in the right direction.
Sumacs: They're Not All Poisonous
Distinguish poison sumac trees from their harmless namesakes and consider the latter to create colorful fall foliage. Tiger Eyes is a tamer cultivar.
Symmetry for Front Doors
This front entry picture shows a symmetrical landscape design. Symmetry draws attention to front doors. Page 11.
What Is the Difference Between Dioecious and...
What's the difference between dioecious and monoecious? Learn what these terms used in reference to plant reproduction mean.
Mum's the Word: the Secrets of Selecting and...
The chrysanthemums covered here are hardy mums, a good choice for fall flowers in the North. Learn about their care: dividing, pinching, etc.
Do You Mean Business When Tackling Garden Bugs?...
Neem oil, an organic insecticide, is pressed from seeds of tropical trees of that name. It works as an organic insecticide by disrupting insects' life cycles.
Leaves of Young Poison Ivy Plants
Young poison ivy plants start out with reddish leaves, as my picture shows. Don't be fooled by this spring look: they lose that color later. Page 3.
Go Purple This Fall With Beautyberry
Purple beautyberry shrubs bear beautiful fruit, as the name suggests and my photo shows! The berries of the bush are a striking lilac or light purple.
What Are Landscape Fabrics and How Can I Use...
Learn how to install landscape fabrics, a high-tech solution for weed control. Weed barriers suppress plant pests without suffocating everything under them.
Planting Urns on Porch
This picture of a front entry shows the use of wrought iron fence and symmetrically arranged pots. The overall effect is of a landscape filled with grace and charm. Page 12.
Beginner's Guide to Landscaping
Need some simple landscaping ideas? From designing front, back and side yards to how to start a garden, read my tips to help with your yard makeover.
Photo of a Harmless Relative
This picture shows the seedtuft of non-poison sumac. You can easily tell toxic types apart from non-toxic kinds by looking at this plant part. Page 7.
Think You Know About Living Privacy Fences?...
Options for privacy fences are divided into building hardscape structures vs. using shrubs in hedges as living screens. I list the pros and cons of each here.
How Much Slope is Needed Near a House?
Will you be doing any land grading near a foundation to correct drainage issues? To grade properly, you must first know how much slope you need.
How to Protect Your Lawn from Moss
How do you get rid of moss in a lawn? The real question is what causes it to grow there in the first place.
10 Components of a Beautiful Yard
Home landscaping pictures give numerous ideas for creating your own beautiful yard. My photos illustrate components found in the best landscapes.
How to Care for Your English Boxwood Shrubs
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The Top 10 Weeping Trees for Your Home's...
Of the weeping trees, some Japanese cherry trees are among the most spectacular. Such specimens give your landscaping a drooping habit and lovely blossoms.
Learn the Correct Way to Prune Your Shrubs
Familiarize yourself with the basics of pruning shrubs in this introduction, including the proper cutting angle to use when cutting. It's easy once you learn how.
10 Perennials That Thrive in Full Sun
Full-sun plants are often perfect for rock gardens, for example. Learn about some types of drought-tolerant perennials before you buy a plant for that hot spot.
Deck Pictures
Browse these deck pictures for design ideas. The images are supplemented with links to information discussing their designs.
Help! My Dog's Pee is Killing My Landscaping!
Landscaping with dogs means compromise. You must alter plans you'd otherwise have for a yard, e.g., avoiding extensive lawns that will only be stained by urine.
How to Care for Shade-Loving Climbing Hydrangea...
Climbing hydrangeas solve a problem for people with shady areas to plant, being shade-tolerant vines. But they'll flower better if they receive some sunlight.
Breaking Ground: How to Open Up a Garden Bed
To start a garden from scratch, take stock of the conditions where you'll be opening up the new bed. I supply all the basic info you need here.
10 Best Plants to Grow in Shady Areas With Dry...
Plants for dry shade meet a dual challenge: little water and little light. The tough plants discussed in this article will tolerate these difficult conditions.
Pictures of Vines Mistaken for Poison Ivy
My picture shows the flower buds of Virginia creeper. Many people mistake this vine for poison ivy. Page 17.
Lavender: Classic Mediterranean Herb
English lavender plants (Lavandula angustifolia) are perennial herbs with aromatic blooms. Many harvest and dry them, but they also look great in landscaping.
Grow a Piece of the Ivy League in Your Own Yard
Boston ivy is related to another vine, Virginia creeper, but mature plants have simple, not compound leaves. Learn how to grow this classic vine here.
Set Your Fall Yard Ablaze With Autumn Blaze Maple
Autumn Blaze maple trees reach 50 feet tall with a rounded crown. Fast-growing specimens, maturity comes quickly for this red fall-foliage favorite.
Everything You Need to Know About Canadian...
Eastern or 'Canadian' hemlock trees are long-lived evergreens. Many cultivars have been developed for landscape usage, including more compact ones useful in privacy hedges.
There's a Lot More to Mistletoe Than Kissing
Learn how kissing under the mistletoe originated. History tells us that this practice has its roots in Celtic rituals and Norse mythology.
How to Build Your Very Own Concrete Patio
Learn how to build concrete patios, including forms, installing drainage, using automatic cement mixers and pouring. This tutorial is for beginners.

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