Don't let dirty windows obscure your view of nature in full spring glory. Whether you do the job yourself or hire an experienced pro, few home investments are as immediately satisfying as clean, sparkling windows.

Rain is a natural resource for your yard.

The Red Abyssinian banana started showing up in garden centers just over a decade ago and now is considered to be the most beautiful banana for the landscape. It is the perfect choice for gardeners looking to create their corner of a tropical paradise.

Spring has been here for more than a month, and I'm just getting to seasonal cleaning suggestions.

Certain objects have been a perennial source of inspiration to artists, artisans and designers. Think of the teapot, a simple vessel both functional and ornamental that has been endlessly reimagined over the centuries. Or the chair in its many permutations.

Ignorance shouldn't be an excuse for wasting water. Yet irrigation systems (particularly those complicated-looking controllers) often baffle homeowners.

By day, Dirk Rash works on some of the largest and most luxurious houses in Orange County, Calif. A carpenter by trade, he also interprets architects' plans, frames walls, lays foundation and cuts roofs. His clients are homeowners with the substantial resources to have their sometimes extravagant dreams brought to life.

Consumers are starting to embrace contemporary kitchens. They're realizing this style is more than just a clean, uncomplicated look. It also can be functional and easy to live with.

Birds are the Godzillas of your garden. At least that's how an inchworm sees a sparrow as she swoops down to gobble it up and carry to her nestlings. We just don't think of songbirds as predators, yet they are indeed ferocious insect eaters. The more birds hanging around the yard, the fewer bugs you'll see. There is no better way to ensure your organic garden is pest-free than to make your yard irresistible to all our avian friends.

Is it time to paint the exterior of your home? Is some of the old paint peeling? Has the current color lost its luster? Or are you just in the mood for change? If you've answered yes to any of the above, read on.

Sandy and Sean's mammoth basement was a giant waste of space that was born back in the 1970s and never really grew up. The dated finishes, ornate ironwork and brick arches were sorely in need of retirement. A one-way trip to the dump was just what the designer ordered.

Dear Helaine and Joe:

Q: Hi Ed, I'm the middle of my one and only kitchen remodel and I'm pulling out all the stops. Since I want to go over-the-top on this job, I recently looked into installing a pot filler next to my stove. But, I'm on the fence. What can you tell me about installing a pot filler?

Q: I currently have 6 1/4 inches of batt insulation in my attic and was planning to add more. I'd like your thoughts on how much to add, just 3 1/2 inches or another 6 1/4 inches instead?

Dear Angie: How do I get money back from a shady roofer after paying upfront?

Ready to celebrate spring in your home? Make your fireplace mantel an ode to this season of new life. Here are four spring mantel treatments our designers crafted to inspire you.

I love pillows, I change mine frequently in my home and office. I also love giving personalized handmade gifts. This project allows you to incorporate a sweet message and a pretty pillow into one lovely gift.

In reviewing my website stats recently, I was surprised to learn that of the hundreds of articles I've posted, dozens of chef authored recipes and online access to every episode we've ever aired, the most viewed page on our website, was the step-by-step instructions for building a pallet garden that we featured in episode 221. Moreover, it's become a popular feature through my contribution to Niki Jabbour's new book: "Groundbreaking Food Gardens."

Big discounts await shoppers at wholesale membership clubs like Sam's Club, BJ's and Costco, and shoppers swear by them to save money.

Actress Anjelica Huston has parted with the five-story contemporary live/work home in Venice, Calif., that she shared with her late husband, sculptor Robert Graham, for $11.15 million.

When it comes to decorating our homes, our choices are many.

The ever-genial Mitch Cohen, of Cohen Hardware in Philadelphia, e-mailed me recently, reporting that many customers were asking him how to get ice melt's white residue out of their brick pavers.

The Chinese fringetrees have been on the spectacular side the last week or so, and they will be the same in your garden as they have in Savannah, Ga. Botanically speaking they are known as Chionanthus retusus, with Chionanthus meaning snow flower.

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - Bluebirds have been at it for weeks, and hummingbirds will be at it soon - nesting and feeding baby birds.

Done right, outdoor lighting makes your home safer, more secure and more attractive.

Rustic Canyon's sylvan beauty and funky charm cast its spell on Jill Soffer a dozen years ago. She liked the neighborhood's relaxed environment and abundance of sycamore trees and purchased a home there in 2002.

Skip Forrest has done a number of things professionally over the years, mostly in design and marketing.

Wouldn't it be nice to have a crystal ball to tell us what awaits us in trends and innovation for the future in interior design? Well, some experts have given us hints of what is to come.

People and things inevitably get older. But the people who appreciate older things appear to be getting younger.

What's so beguiling about bunnies? Their long, floppy ears, twitching noses and cotton-ball tails have an undeniable cuteness factor.

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