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Jay Laux's Wildwood garden can easily be described in multi-syllabic superlatives. But on a hot summer day, when someone steps through the wooden gate and catches their first glimpse of the cool, green glowing landscape, the words you are most likely to hear are "Oooh," "Aaah" and "Wow." 

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Spice up the front of the home or the side of a deck with a beautifully planted window box. Colorful and catching, window boxes can be filled with a variety of plants and flowers. Trailing plants make a statement by spilling over the sides. Check out local landscapers' favorite trailing varieties for window box planting.

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All of August: Annuals may appear leggy and worn now. These can be cut back hard and fertilized to produce a new flush of bloom. Soak shrubs periodically during dry spells with enough water to moisten the soil to a depth of 8-10 inches.

August 1 - 15: Madonna lilies, bleeding heart (Dicentra) and bloodroot (Sanguinaria) can be divided and replanted.

August 1 - 15: Sow seeds of beans, beets, spinach and turnips now for the fall garden. Spinach may germinate better if seeds are refrigerated for one week before planting.

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Your work is finally done. The garden is planned and planted, the weeds are pulled, the deck is set and your patio furniture is beckoning. You pour a glass of something lovely and pour yourself into an Adirondack chair. It is, at last, time to enjoy a summer sunset that makes your weeks of toil worth it. But that’s when you hear the all-too-familiar buzz, feel the all-too-familiar bite and face your necessary but limited options: slather on the smelly sprays or retreat.

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Built in the 1970s, Tom Kraatz’s Kirkwood home possessed some anachronistic elements in the master bath that kept the retiree from fully enjoying the generous 375-square-foot room. 

“While there was a lot of space, it was all disconnected and in smaller separate rooms,” Tom says. “The prior owners presumably wanted independent bathrooms, which made for redundant fixtures, aisles and restricted natural light into the different spaces.”

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Your choice in tile can take your bathroom to the next level. Whether you stick with classic neutrals or bold brights, a showstopping tile in the shower creates the perfect spa-like ambience in the bath.

1. Zellige decor in graphite, Mestizaje collection by WOW, available at Virginia Tile

2. By Jim Walters, JP Walters Design.

3. By Sharon L Sherman, Thyme & Place Design. Photography by Peter Rymwid Architectural Photography.

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