DOING IT YOURSELF: Home improvement projects kick off as weather warms up | News

As temperatures rise, homeowners are hitting local home improvement stores to pick up materials and tools to make their houses a little more comfortable.

Right now, it is deck season, so local residents are coming into Tahlequah Lumber for materials to revamp or build decks for their backyards. To do that, they will need wood, screws, wood seal, and stain.

Around the house, gardening is popular this year, as are raised garden beds. With rising costs for planters and elevated beds, Christian Cruz, Tahlequah Lumber manager, recommends that homeowners make their own.

“People may not know you can use fence pickets for it. It’s just the same. We have our cedar fence pickets for $3.95,” he said.

Cruz cuts off the dog ear on top of the cedar fence, and then uses it to create a planter box. He said he can build two boxes for about $20.

“That’s cheaper than what it takes to fill them,” he said.

For those who want to separate their garden from the lawn, but not raise it, he recommends coil edging.

“That’s something we are going to be doing at my house, but it is tough around here. It’s really rocky, so you have to dig deeper than you normally would, and you have to put a weed barrier,” said Cruz.

Throughout most of Oklahoma, it is enough to place the divider in its desired location, and hammer it into the ground. However, in Green Country, it is necessary to dig a thin hole to make sure there are no rocks in the ground.

Tahlequah Lumber is selling hummingbird feeders. Hummingbirds are returning to Oklahoma gardens, and many stores sell different styles of bird feeders.

“Some people like to use the standard pre-made nectar. Some people say it’s kind of harmful. You can make a simple syrup on your stove with water and sugar, then there’s no dyes,” said Cruz.

Many lawns are in poor condition after the winter. To get them back in shape, Cruz recommends adding a turf builder. Within one month, new seeds will grow and fill in patches left by the cold of winter.

It is also important to spread tick granules throughout the yard. He recommends starting at the house, and moving outward. This way, undesired ants and ticks will be directed away from the house.

“One thing we’ve seen is pest field mice, now that it’s spring time, those senses are coming out,” said Cruz.

Moles are also coming out of hibernation and drilling holes in the ground. Mole peanuts are a popular and effective choice for getting rid of unwanted lawn vermin.

It is also the time of year to worry about fencing.

“Anything that is wood fencing or chain link fencing, they’ll be putting patchwork and repair to that. Anything that deals with chicken coops, chicken pens, getting your chickens set up for the spring, people need to start worrying about that,” said Billy Kissinger, Tahlequah Lumber employee.

It is also the time of year to clean siding and add exterior paint.

“A lot of people are renting our pressure washers right now. That will take off loose paint chips, wood, and debris,” said Cruz.

Homeowners can insert caulking and spray foam insulation as needed, and then apply exterior paint. Currently, there is a shortage of paint nationwide, especially in 5-gallon buckets.

Lesa Cordle, employee at Hearth and Pool, said it is the time of year to invest in swimming pools.

“What seems to be the most popular right now is, we’ve got a swimming pool that we’re getting inquiries about. It’s not a Walmart pool. It’s got a quality metal wall. It is the one that will last you 20 years,” said Cordle.

For many, it is easier to purchase an above-ground pool because it is costly to remove rocks, which are prevalent in this part of the country.

“An above-ground pool is an affordable way to get a pool in your backyard. You want to make sure it is a quality pool. That can be a big problem,” she said.

Hearth and Pool is also selling wood and gas fireplaces, both for the indoors and outdoors.

“We are still selling wood stoves. We are still doing gas logs. There’s a lot of people doing remodeling. There’s outdoor fireplaces that they’ve been putting in. You can put in a unit and build a patio, and you’ve got an outdoor space,” said Cordle.

She said spring is a great time to clean chimneys because it improves the smell of homes. Also, if homeowners wait for the fall to clean their chimneys, they may be on the waiting list for a month or longer.