Florence Low / Bee file photo

Home and garden checklist

Published: Saturday, May. 12, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 12CALIFORNIA LIFE
Last Modified: Sunday, May. 13, 2012 - 1:43 pm


Installing tile? Planning a garden room? Remodeling a kitchen or bath? There are apps for these.

Smartphones, iPads and other mobile devices are becoming important tools for do-it-yourselfers.

"Remodeling projects are daunting and confusing, and homeowners are going online and mobile to do their research," said kitchen and bath designer Max Isley, co-founder of the Kitchen and Bath Channel.

Starting with its information-packed website, www.KitchenBathChannel.com, his company offers free Smartphone apps for iPhone, Androids and BlackBerry as well as a YouTube channel of project ideas and how-to's.

The KBC app allows consumers to research on the go as well as locate pros who can help. For example, it features more than 15,000 professional contractors, designers, suppliers and specialists. Homeowners can sort for them by ZIP code, type of project, professional expertise, accreditation, products and more – using their phone's geolocation capabilities.

TEC recently released an app for both mobile devices and PCs that makes using its tile-installation products much easier. Input project details (measurements, room type, uses, etc.) and the free app generates a customized shopping list, helpful tips and a list of other not-so-techno tools that may be needed to complete the installation.

"We developed the TEC product selector to take the intimidation factor out of tile setting and help homeowners approach their DIY projects with more confidence and ease," said TEC's Lauren Fontela. "Many people are unsure where to start when it comes to tiling, but having a tailored list of suggested products and quantities required as well as recommended tools for their specific job helps pave the way to completing their installation."

Find it at www.tecskillset.com/ product-selector.

In the garden, HGTV's Jamie Durie – known for his outdoor "rooms" – offers his help via his "Garden Design With Jamie Durie" app, available for iPhones for $2.99. The popular landscape designer and TV host boiled the basics from his nine books and long-running TV series into a carry-along format that gardeners can take anywhere.

Durie's app features inspirational images of many gardens he designed, sortable by climate, style and function. Gardeners can search plant lists with links to nurseries where those suggestions can be found. Users also can upload images of their own gardens for Durie's comments.


It's planting time! Get transplants in the ground for a summer harvest of tomatoes, peppers and eggplant. Most varieties will bear fruit about 60 days after transplanting.

Plant seeds for basil, beans, corn, cucumbers, melons, pumpkins, squash, sunflowers and radishes.

Harvest cabbage, lettuce, peas, fava beans and green onions.

Mulch around plants to control weeds and conserve moisture. Be sure to leave a small circle around the base of each plant to prevent rotting stems or trunks.

For continued bloom, cut off spent flowers on roses as well as other flowering plants.

Check for powdery mildew on grapes. If needed, spray with sulfur or potassium bicarbonate, available at nurseries.

Be on the lookout for slugs, snails, earwigs, sow bugs and aphids.

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