More than decorative, carpeting is practical too

When you think about it, carpet in the kitchen makes sense.
Compared to hard-surface flooring, carpet is better at cushioning a fall, preventing slipping and sliding and providing insulation.

Another plus is that the stain-resistant line of kitchen carpeting is easier to clean and maintain than hard floors, which require sweeping, mopping, waxing. Yes, even with all those messy kitchen spills.

“Floor Recipes” is the name of the new collection of five styles of carpet made for the kitchen and other high-traffic areas. You can get carpet that resembles ceramic tile or gingham or has the ribbed look of sisal, carpet in a diamond pattern or a pattern of interlocking bulb shapes. Colors include neutrals, grays and taupes, blues, greens, rose and mauve shades.

The stuff is tough, assures the flooring and carpet professional. Colorfast, resistant to moisture and stains, the densely tufted loop carpet is soft to the touch and cushioned with a polyurethane backing that prevents liquids from seeping through to the subfloor. Vacuuming can keep it looking good for years.

Consumers shouldn’t be deterred by the price differential between carpeting and hard-surface flooring. Between a wood floor and a good quality carpet, there isn’t that much difference in price, especially if you look at it in the long run

Keep fit and healthy

Changing lifestyles have created a boom market for exercise equipment, health, beauty and fitness clubs and gyms. As free time becomes scarce and daily stress increases, more people are looking at exercise as a way of dealing with the demands of urban life.
The limitations of public facilities have spurred growth in health clubs, fitness centres and athletic equipment sales. Shopping malls, hotels, housing projects and office buildings are all opening fitness centres, either as a pure business or as an additional service.
With modern athletic equipment from Gateway Sports Source, Inc., exercise in the home or office is a viable alternative to traditional outdoor sports such as running or bicycling. Home equipment encompasses a wide range of products, from common dumbbells to computerised treadmills and rowing machines.
For some customers, home equipment represents an addition to daily outdoors exercise, for use when time is short or the weather is bad. Others purchase inexpensive home equipment because they want to get in shape but are unwilling to invest too much money in more upscale equipment or in a health club membership.
While home equipment appeals to some consumers, fitness clubs are targeting a more specific audience of women and shape-conscious young professionals.
Beauty and weight-loss centres attract consumers because of the high emphasis on personal service. Most feature on-site medical staff and fitness coaches to help push clients out of their sedentary lifestyles and on to the weight machines and treadmills. This is a business that can never fail. Women always want to improve and keep their beauty, as well as delay the effects of aging.

Practical tips to conserve water

Of all the plants around your home, grass is the greatest user of water. Consider replacing your lawn with shrubs and flowers that require the least water. Native plants use less water than do sophisticated hybrids.

Where permitted, install a drip irrigation or leaky hose system for lawns and gardens. Each uses water more efficiently than above-ground sprinklers and is available in garden centers.

If you insist on using Sprinkler Systems Phoenix, sprinkle in early morning or late afternoon when there is less evaporation from the sun. Water grass only when it looks wilted; it’s telling you it needs water.

Disconnect automatic irrigation systems that water by a clock rather than by need. Set your sprinklers where they don’t flood driveways and sidewalks and allow water to run into drainage systems. Don’t use a hand-held hose for watering.

Consider using hydrogels, the gelatin-type substances you put in containers or soil when planting. They’re supposed to hold water and release it gradually, although gardening authorities disagree on whether hydrogels work.

Buy a booklet on xeriscaping (planting to save watering.)

Eliminate weeds; they soak up a lot of water.

Mow higher – at least 3 inches; this will allow your grass to go longer without water.

Experts at North Carolina State University remind us that many Southern plants wilt during the heat of the day but recover in the evening cool. If plants remain wilted in evening and early morning, it is time to water – and hope for rain.

Choosing the best kitchen flooring

The three most common flooring types used in kitchens are vinyl, tile and wood. Flooring should be easy to clean and durable. It should also complement your kitchen cabinets while, at the same time, blend with adjacent rooms.

Vinyl: One of the most popular kitchen flooring materials on the market, it’s durable, soft under foot and comes in a variety of patterns, colors and textures. Vinyl comes in either sheet form or tiles. In most cases, sheet vinyls should be installed professionally. A skilled installer will be able to make unwanted seams disappear. When comparing prices, be sure to compare apples to apples. Ask the dealer – Tallahassee floor store about thickness and the wear layer or number of top coats. Try not to settle for less than a 10-millimetre topcoat as this affects the tile’s life expectancy.

Wood: Oak’s durability makes it the most popular wood floor on the market. A pine floor, however, works in a country setting as dents give it character. Other woods available are walnut, ash, cherry and maple. Strip floors are the most economical wood floors and are usually made of 2 1/4-inch slats. Wider strips, known as planks, come in many widths and typically suit pine. Try adding variety by varying the widths. Parquet floors are wood pieces glued together in patterns. The most common patterns are herringbone and block. Again, add variety by mixing dark and light stained pieces to form a pattern. There are many stains and finishes available that allow you to customize the floor to your decor. To cut down on cleaning and waxing, look into polyurethane. This finish forms a hard, transparent coating that protects wood from the daily wear and tear associated with the kitchen.

Tile: Ceramic tile has many advantages due to the variety of colors, sizes, shapes and textures. It’s easy to maintain, almost impossible to damage and can make a dramatic statement. A pattern can be designed throughout the entire space using a combination of colors, shapes or sizes or you can design a floor using plain tile throughout with accent tiles as a border. The same floor design can be worked into the backsplash and counter top on a lesser scale or by simply reversing it. For example, if you want a green floor with blue accents, use a blue counter top with green accents.

How to Lay a Vinyl Floor

When I was a little girl it was called linoleum. Sheet vinyl flooring is a much improved version of linoleum.

It is a highly durable, moisture-resistant, low-maintenance flooring which makes it an excellent choice for covering kitchen and bathroom floors. It comes in sheets of 6- and 12-foot widths in a wide variety of attractive finishes.

The first step in laying a vinyl floor is to prepare the subfloor. It must be free of dirt because dirt weakens the adhesive bond. You also will need to remove loose nails and fill in any holes or cracks.

Next, gently pry up the baseboard in such a way that you do not damage it. Finally, try sliding a piece of the new flooring under the door jamb. If it doesn’t fit, rest a crosscut saw on the piece of flooring and cut the door jamb so the flooring will fit under it.

The next step is to cut and trim the vinyl sheets to fit your floor. The initial cut should leave each sheet with an additional 3 inches on all sides. The overlap will curl up along each wall when the sheet is laid out on the floor. It is a good idea to put a piece of plywood under the vinyl when cutting so that you do not damage the floor underneath.

To trim the overlap, create a crease along the wall. Using a sharp utility knife and a straightedge for a guide, cut the vinyl sheet along the crease. The best way to trim corners where the vinyl has bunched up is to make V-shaped cuts beginning at the edge of the vinyl sheet and cutting at an angle to the corner on the floor. When trimming, leave a very small gap (about 1/8 of an inch) between the flooring and the wall to allow for expansion.

You are now ready to glue the vinyl sheets to the subfloor. For this task you will need to purchase a notched trowel to apply the adhesive. Roll up one-half of your fitted sheet and apply the glue according to the manufacturer’s directions. Press the sheet into place and make sure that the flooring fits evenly up to the edge of the wall.

Repeat this process for the other half of the sheet. Once all the flooring is glued in place, take a 2×4 about a yard in length and move it up and down the entire floor while applying downward pressure. This will ensure that the vinyl is properly bonded to the subfloor. You might want to place a towel underneath the 2×4 to protect your new flooring.

If your floor is wider than the vinyl sheet, it is necessary to align the two sheets together by creating a seam. As you glue the first sheet to the subfloor, leave several inches of space where the seam is located without glue.

Slide the new sheet under the one you have just glued and match the patterns exactly. Place a metal straightedge along the edge of the top sheet. Using the straightedge as a guide, cut the bottom sheet with a sharp utility knife.

Fold back the top sheet, remove the bottom strip, apply glue to the subfloor, and press the two sheets into place.

The last step is to wash any excess glue from your new flooring with warm water. When reattaching the baseboard, it is a good idea to leave a small space between it and the floor to allow the vinyl to expand and contract according to changes in the humidity in your room, learn more.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding drying time for the glue, and save the excess vinyl for later repairs.

Hardwood flooring is ‘in’ again: Glossy floors return to former popularity

That’s the story one Kitchener resident tells, as he describes the floors he installed back in the 1950s with his brother. The story is very different today. Installation is much easier and wood floors are being put in many areas of the home. What remains the same is the classic appeal of hardwood floors.

“One of the biggest reasons for choosing hardwood floors today is for allergies. People are thinking more and more about air quality, and the choice of flooring affects that directly,” said Christian Wingelaar, a local builder and owner of Wingelaar Estate Homes. “I’ve been talking with a lot of people lately who just don’t want carpet in their homes.”

Also, as the trend to renovating existing homes continues, more people are choosing hardwood floors as a way to increase the value and enjoyment of their homes.

“The most popular areas for hardwood floors in the home today are the front foyer and the kitchen, said Diana Brenchley, who co-owns Ayr Hardwood Flooring Inc. in Waterloo with her husband. “We’re still doing dining rooms and dens, but there are some distinct advantages to a hardwood floor in the kitchen.”

Those advantages include appearance, comfort and surprisingly, durability.

“Wood floors are more esthetically pleasing,” said Brenchley. “They have warmer look than ceramic, which can appear and feel cold.”

Wood floors are also kinder to your back when you stand for long periods of time. Ceramic and linoleum can be difficult for people who have back problems.

Durability is also an issue to consider when installing a kitchen floor, as well as any floor in the home. Each option has its drawbacks. Linoleum tears and can be difficult to clean thoroughly. Ceramic is cold and can crack. And wood can scratch, dent and wear down. While all of these products also have their advantages, Brenchley says wood, the only natural product, does tend to be more giving.

There are many things to take into account when considering hardwood floors for the kitchen. Ensure that the bevel (groove between planks) is not very deep because it is likely food and dirt will fall on the floor and find the grooves, making cleaning difficult.

Also consider traffic. Some areas, such as around the sink, will sustain more use and show wear. This problem is easily fixed with a decorative rug or mat, but make sure the backing of the rug is suitable for wood floors.

Another option for hardwood floors today is in the basement. Although the higher level of moisture likely rules out solid wood floors because they might buckle and shift, laminated floors provide a good alternative. With the appearance of wood, a laminate looks just as warm and cosy, but can be glued directly to the concrete subfloor. Being more stable, this flooring will not likely sustain damage due to moisture. It’s slightly more expensive and less linear looking because it is made up of smaller, shorter pieces.

Of course, hardwood floors are popular in most rooms of the house, but what is often not popular or even conceivable to the faint of heart is installation. There is something about hardwood floors that makes them seem like an insurmountable challenge to install. Perhaps that was true in the ’50s, but not today.

“We get a lot of people who do the installation themselves,” said Brenchley. “When it’s one or two rooms, they can do as good a job as we do.” Brenchley is referring to pre-finished wood flooring and installation. Pre-finished wood comes in easy-to-install planks, with as many as seven coats of urethane baked on at the factory. With a nail gun (often supplied by the flooring distributor), installation advice and tips (also from the distributor), and one day’s work per room, installing pre-finished hardwood flooring is not a difficult task.

“We’ve never had anyone give up and ask us to come in and finish the job,” Brenchley said. “Once you get going, it’s quite simple.”

Brenchley does not recommend that homeowners try to do custom flooring themselves. This involves buying the raw wood, laying it down, and then doing the sanding and finishing. This is difficult, and takes days of quite intensive labor. Sanding and finishing also involve a higher level of skill and experience.

If the thought of oil-based urethane is not appealing, there are also water-based finishes that are extremely durable and negate the potential for chemical “off-gassing,” but they’re harder to work with because they dry so fast.

However, says Brenchley, “water-based is about five times more expensive – nut it will last about that much longer, too.”

Oil-based finishes can cause an “ambering” affect, so in the case of maples (where the lightness of the wood is a selling point), almost everybody uses water-based polyurethanes.

Before putting down the first piece of wood, make certain to consider the different styles and colors of flooring. Oak, maple, ash and birch are some of the many kinds of wood, each with its own look. While natural wood is by far the most popular, some people opt for stains such as burgundy or brandy. Other color techniques include bleaching or pickling.

When choosing a color, keep in mind your furniture and the size of the room. For example, with a dining room, it’s a good idea to go with lighter colored flooring to “pick up” the furniture, if it happens to be a darker wood.

And remember, what looks good as a sample in the store, may not be as appealing across your entire floor.

The width of your planks is also important to prevent future problems. Brenchley suggests no more than

3 1/4-inch width or you could sacrifice the stability of the surface. A common width is 2 1/4 inches.

One aspect that often deters people from hardwood flooring is the cost.

“We have people come in and say, ‘You know? This really isn’t much more than good-quality carpet.’ ” Brenchley said. “But the difference is, the carpet will last for maybe 10 years. Hardwood flooring can last forever, with the occasional refinishing.”

Prices vary among retailers and installers. Ayr Hardwood Flooring charges $7 per square foot for Select and Better Grid (a more uniform pattern of wood) installed and about $1 less for Traditional (more variation in the wood grain). For pre-finished projects, add $1 per square foot, and do-it-yourself takes off $2, Stains cost 50 cents extra.

For inspiration, consider a home recently built by Wingelaar Estate Homes in Hidden Valley. It’s a $2.6-million home, with 50-per-cent hardwood flooring.

“This particular home is really well-designed,” said Wingelaar. “The owners are interested in Oriental design and don’t want floors that compete for attention. They have chosen a neutral, low-grain maple. It is bright and very strong, resistant to denting.”

“We also tried to dress the floor up a bit with a border of Brazilian cherry, that runs about 12 inches from the wall. Everything has a real look of cleanliness and openness, with a lot of warmth.”

Of course, you don’t have to have a $2.6-million home to install hardwood floors. Brenchley says that while most of the new homes that have hardwood floors installed are in the upper price range, installing hardwood as a renovation project is being done in everything from a small bungalow to a sprawling estate home.

Maintenance tips for hardwood floors

Shoes should be removed before walking on wood floors. Shoes carry sand and grit that scrapes away at the floor surface.

Stiletto heels are extremely damaging and should never be worn on wood floors. (Vinyl and linoleum aren’t fond of them, either.)

Chairs and moveable furniture should have floor protectors or pads to prevent rubbing down the finish.

Vacuum with a soft brush head.

Do not overuse water when cleaning wood floors as this can cause extensive damage. Use a damp wipe method, using minimal liquid.

Only clean wood floors with products recommended by companies selling hardwood floors. Never use oils or detergents. Use a gentle cleaner that leaves no film. (Brenchley does not recommend Murphy’s Oil Soap for hardwood floors, although the product is commonly used.)

How to fix a small hole in wood floor

One possible way to make a repair is to steal a patch from flooring under an appliance, under a sink, or in a closet. Contrasting flooring can be used in those areas and not be noticed. If you decide to do this, here’s how to proceed:

Cut a piece of vinyl flooring a few inches larger all around than the area to be repaired. If the flooring is glued down, warm the cut piece with a heat gun to soften the glue and lift it carefully with a wide spatula. Remove any adhesive from the back of the patch with lacquer thinner or an adhesive remover.

Tape the patch over the area to be repaired, using masking tape. Be sure to line up the pattern of the patch with that of the flooring. Cut through both the patch and the damaged flooring at the same time with a sharp utility knife, guiding the knife with a metal straight-edge. Many vinyl floorings have fake “grout lines” in their patterns; cut through the center of the grout lines if possible. The result of cutting both layers of flooring at once is a patch that is exactly the same size and shape as the material cut from the damaged flooring. Cutting on grout lines will make the patch less conspicuous.

Lift the patch and remove the damaged piece carefully, without marring the edges of the flooring around it. Spread vinyl-flooring adhesive in the space to be filled, and insert the patch. Touch up the edges of the patch with seam sealer, sold at many flooring supply stores. We recommend Ann Arbor Flooring America store.

Investing in carpets

A.S. Tahir Chaudry, 40, owner of Farah’s Oriental Rugs & Carpets, a pioneer of the carpet business in the UK, compares carpets to paintings.

“Carpets are an art in itself. They draw admiration, not so much because of their beauty, but because each one of them actually contains a magic formula of its own, telling a tale of tradition, perseverance, hard work, expertise and also of romance and riches.”

Part of an essential design of elegant living as found in most interiors of middle-income housing, carpets also denote a status symbol for their owners.

“Without a carpet, a room appears empty and lifeless. It would be a room without character,” stressed Tahir.

According to Chaudry, carpet weaving is an Islamic art whose origin dates back as far as 4000 years ago. The earliest pieces were traded by the nomadic hill tribes of Persia, the Middle East and West Asia.

Shaving lamb’s wool and hand-spinning it into yarn was the spare time activity of the tribes’ male members. The wool yarn was soaked by the women while they took care of the young and kept up life in the tents. The women then soaked the yarn in a mixture of leaves, roots, tree bark, kernels and fruits before weaving them into colorful carpets of unspeakable beauty. It was an activity that filled up their days on end.

“Genuine carpets are true pieces of art, in them are interwoven emotions aroused from incidents, experiences and profound feelings of the carpet maker,” said Tahir. “It is no surprise if a carpet takes as long as 15 years to make. It doesn’t mean laziness on the part of the maker, it just means that the maker was under emotional stress,” added Tahir, a father of three.

To nomads, tracking from one dessert plane to another, carpets were multi-functional items. They were used as bags to carry household items, sleeping or sitting mats, treasury sacks, chest covers, and so on, and so on.

The oldest carpet dates back to 500 B.C. It was made by an ethnic tribe in South Siberia, East Asia, said Tahir. The carpet was one of several burial items like gold, diamonds, various gems and weapons which once belonged to a tribal chief. Grave robbers, having no use for the carpet, left it for archeologists to discover after thousands of years.

“That carpet is now in a British museum,” explained Tahir.

The traditional carpet industry of Iran, the most renowned in the world, grew with leaps and bounds when it enjoyed support and protection from the Persian kings. Throughout the 17th century Persian carpets were imported by the Moghul emperors in India, including Akhbar the Great who brought carpet makers from Iran into the country to develop the carpet industry.

Carpets enjoyed a respectable place when Islam rose to its greatness. Carpets became a major interior object in the salons and living rooms of leading politicians, generals, rich merchants and members of the aristocracy.

Today, original and traditional carpets, evaluated on the basis of basic materials used, size and motifs come from Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkey and India (Kashmir).

“I have to hunt for quality carpets every month, deep in the interiors of Iran, Turkey, Afghanistan, or Pakistan,” said Chaudry. He visits carpet making centers and buys genuine antique or unique pieces straight from the makers.

First

Chaudry’s interest in carpets is rooted in the family’s history. His father and grandfather, Mitran and A. Hameed Chaudry, were Indonesia’s first prominent carpet merchants.

“Both my grandfather and my father were the first representatives in the country to cater to carpet collectors since there was such a big demand for Farah’s carpets from Indonesians in England. They considered Indonesia a potential market then,” said the man, who confessed that he’s never had to formally study carpets because he was born into a carpet environment.

“As soon as I opened my eyes my vision was crowded with bundles and stacks of carpets,” said the young Chaudry, a member of the third Chaudry generation hailing from Lahore, Pakistan.

“They never miss an international carpet exhibition, let alone in Jakarta, just to see if there are any new pieces entering the market,” commented Hussein, 50, one of the directors in Farah’s.

It does not take much to maintain a carpet.

“Cleaning once a month at most with a special broom will make it last for ages,” said Ahmed, 32, service manager of Farah’s Carpets.

Use of a vacuum cleaner should be done with reservations and the equipment should be of medium sucking power only. Anything stronger could destroy the fine threads of Persian carpets which are made of six-month-old lamb’s wool and cotton.

“Carpets used in air-conditioned rooms don’t need airing at all. Broom cleaning suffices now and then,” said Ahmed.

Persian carpets are very sturdy home accessories.

“In Iran, carpets are often laid down on the road for days, with cars riding over them as a proof of their sturdiness. Such stunts make them more attractive in the eyes of prospective buyers. We cannot give such demonstrations in the UK because of rough and gravely roads. Iran’s roads are made of very fine sand,” explained Chaudry.

Carpets are not just a pleasure for the eye like paintings, they are also considered investments.

“The older they are, the more value they will catch. carpet prices are always rising,” according to Chaudry. This is because there is only one copy of every carpet. “Carpets are so exclusive,” he remarked. “Even after becoming machine made products, they can never be the same.”

Designs may be similar, but generally the motifs, materials, color elements and weaving techniques are different.

“A carpet making machine will never turn out the same carpet because of material complexities,” he said.

“Carpet prices are unlimited, it could be US$4,000, $40,000, or even $40 million,” said Tahir.

Who wants to be a collector or an investor?

How to fix a flooded basement

Most basement flooding is associated with either poor surface drainage around the base of the house or problems with gutters.

Carpeting tips: If carpeting is slightly wet it will need to be vacuumed several times with a wet vac to get out excess moisture. If carpeting has been thoroughly soaked, it will need to be removed and the padding discarded and the carpeting sun-dried, if possible.

You can also rent or buy a dehumidifier to speed the drying process.

Drywall problems: If drywall has been damaged, it may need to be removed from the wall in order to drywall cavities and insulation.

Problems can be lessened by checking gutters around the house to makesure they are working effectively.

If water is puddling around the house, you can pack dirt up around the house so the water drains away.

Cracks in the basement: Small cracks can be repaired with hydraulic cement from the inside. Use a chisel or other instrument to create a hole in the interior wall that is bigger than the hole you see.

If the crack is large, you may need to fix it from the outside with mortar.

If you try all of these measures and still have water problems, your may need to hire a contractor.

Gardening and landscaping tips

Now is the time to start preparing your plans for landscaping your property. In order to avoid costly mistakes, you may want to contact a landscape architect. If you are doing your own landscaping be sure to draw up a plan before you start to plant. It is easier to move a plant on paper than to move one that has been planted in the wrong location. Keep maintenance in mind as you plan and plant.

January is a good month to plant camellias. Plant camellias in a partially shaded location, which is not exposed to strong winds. Camellias require cool, moist soil that is well-drained and has some acid. Camellias grow best in a soil pH between 5.0 and 6.0. A soil test might be needed to determine the pH balance of your soil.

Mulch camellias with pine needles, oak leaves, or sawdust. Compost is always a good mulch right after planting camellias. Additional mulch should be applied during cold weather. Water thoroughly once a week if there is no rainfall.

When choosing a tree for the yard most of us only think about it with its leaves on. But deciduous trees don’t have leaves several months out of the year. So winter appearance should be taken into consideration when planning your Landscaping.

– Amur Maple (Acer ginnala) – Reaching 15 to 25 feet tall at maturity, this tree can be used for screening purposes. It can be grown under utility lines and if you buy a variety such as Flame it gets a fiery-red fall color. The tree is hardy to much colder climates and grows well here. It can also be grown in containers.

– Paperbark Maple (Acer griseum) – This tree is a slow, upright grower, that will reach 20 to 25 feet high. The peeling cinnamon-colored or red-brown bark provides winter interest. This is a fine tree for use as a focal point in the landscape.

– Serviceberry (Amelanchier) – These trees or shrubs, native to this area, produce white flowers in mid to late-April, and edible small fruit in June. The berries attract birds. Fall color is a yellow-orange or apricot-red. In winter, the grayish white bark provides interest. The trees perform well in woodlands or naturalized areas, but could be used in a small yard if kept pruned. These trees thrive in good soil and are often found in wetter areas.

– Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis) – This multi-stemmed tree will mature at about 20 to 25 feet. It grows in a nicely rounded form, has heart-shaped leaves, pinkish-purple flowers in late-April and early-May and turns yellow in the fall. These trees are not as graceful or refined as a serviceberry, but they do tolerate drier soil and can be trained to a single stem. Canker, which causes twig and stem dieback, can sometimes be a problem, so if you buy one, get a multi-stemmed plant.

– American Fringetree (Chionanthus virginicus) – This multi-stemmed tree will grow to about 20 to 30 feet and can spread as wide as it is tall. The white fragrant flowers in late-May and early-June hang like fringe, hence the name. In fall it sports a good yellow color. Younger plants have an appealing smooth gray bark. It makes a nice patio tree or would look fine planted near a creek or stream. It is air pollution tolerant.

– Kousa Dogwood (Cornus kousa) – This native of Japan, Korea and China will top off at about 20 to 25 feet, but it is a slow to medium grower. (Slow-growing trees push 12 inches or less of new growth per year; medium growers 12 to 24 inches per year.) Kousa dogwoods are used in many plantings as a replacement for the American dogwood, which has been plagued by disease. Though this tree blooms at a young age, it is not as prolific a bloomer as the American dogwood until it becomes established. The tree has a reddish-purple fall color and a good winter form as it matures, developing exfoliating bark. Although these trees make a fine lawn specimen, the homeowner should be aware they do form fruit, which drop, so trees should be planted away from sidewalks and driveways. On the upside, the birds like the fruit.

– Washington Hawthorn (Crataegus phaenopyrum) and Green Hawthorn (Crateagus viridis “Winter King”) – These trees bloom with white flowers in mid to late May and show a reddish-purple color in fall. The red fruit stays on the tree through much of the winter, and will look especially beautiful after a snowfall. A good tough tree.

– Franklin Tree (Franklinia alatamaha) – A slow growing tree with a narrow form when young, it widens slightly as it matures. It bears white fragrant flowers from July through September, has a scarlet-red fall color and a pleasing winter form. Now extinct in its native Georgia, this tree benefits from a protected location, where it will look good in all seasons. It can be used in a small garden and requires a moist well-drained soil.

– Japanese Stewartia (Stewartia pseudocamellia) – This tree matures at about 25 feet and is beautiful in all seasons. Japanese Stewartia grows in a pyramid-oval shape, pushing out white flowers in July and sometimes August. In fall the leaves turn yellow or red to dark reddish purple. As the tree matures, the bark begins to exfoliate (peel) and becomes mottled, giving added interest.