Transforming an Oakland Neighbor’s Curb Appeal

Our team here at Orchard is excited to be in the full swing of spring. As we’ve seen all the new outdoor living offerings we’ve selected for the season hit stores and felt the energy coming through our lawn and garden sections, we’ve been excited to get in on the action, too—not just in our own yards, but yours as well.

This neighborly spirit recently inspired our fabulous photo team to get out of the studio and into a neighborhood here in California—particularly the Glenview neighborhood in Oakland, where the team left flyers asking some neighborhood residents whether they might be interested in the team transforming their front yard with a curb appeal makeover. 

“We decided to find a house that was in need of a refresh and give it an Orchard Supply-style makeover,” said Sean, who heads our photo studio. “Within 30 minutes, our phones started to ring from interested homeowners. The first step was to find just the right house.” 

After hearing from quite a few interested neighborhood residents, the team decided to transform the front yard of Wade and Jan Hufford.

The Huffords had recently painted and remodeled their house, but they had not yet gotten around to giving the same transformation to their front yard. So, with a $1,200 budget in hand, Orchard’s team set to work.

Our team took pictures and studied the front yard. From there, they worked with the fantastic team in our Berkeley Orchard store to find the right mix of plants and products that would transform the curb appeal of the Huffords’ home to match the work they’d done to their house. Then, our team of six showed up to get to work.

“Wade was there on the day to meet us and kindly make us coffee and share cake as we set to work on the yard,” our producer David told us.

The team set to work cleaning the yard of debris, cutting the grass, pulling weeds, and removing older planters. They also had gardeners on their photo crew who brought their personal passions into the project—but they made sure to respect the Huffords’ style.

“We did this project for them, but we asked what they were sensitive to and what they didn’t want to be disturbed,” Sean said. “Wade said the rose bushes were Jan’s pride and joy; ‘You probably can’t touch those.’”

As the team worked, they made plans to transplant the existing plants to work within the new design. They were going to be sure to keep the rose bushes prominent in the front yard, within the new design. However, the homeowner loved their vision.

“Jan told us, ‘No,’ and had us put the bushes in the back of the house,” Sean said. “She said, ‘Leave it just like it is. I love it!’”

The Orchard team’s makeover included:

Installing and painting cedar planter boxes

Adding hanging plants

Adding house numbers

Replacing old, weathered outdoor furniture with Orchard-exclusive furniture

Adding solar pathway lighting

In the process of transforming the curb appeal of this house, many of the neighbors ended up swinging by to chat with our team.

“We were inundated with curious neighbors wanting to know what we were up to; ‘Is this a TV show?’” Sean said, echoing one of the most common questions he received.

He was especially happy that the neighbors seemed as excited as Huffords not only to see the way the products Orchard’s merchandising team carefully selects came alive in a neighbor’s yard, but also to see how his team was going the extra mile to help the Huffords think through how to transform their yard.

Sean’s team goal with this special project was to echo the spirit of going the extra mile that our colleagues have within our stores every day. If you’re thinking about transforming your front yard, swing on by. The teams at our stores will be happy to help you think it through.

Craft a Hardware Snowman Ornament

All it takes is a little imagination to turn a few nuts and screws into a festive Christmas tree ornament. Read on for the steps and what you’ll need to make this fun little snowman ornament.

What you'll need:

  • Loctite Super Glue Gel
  • 7/16 Washer Cap Push Nut
  • 6-32x1/2 Combo Round Machine Screws (2)
  • 5/16-18 Coarse Finished Hex Nut
  • 3/8-16 Coarse Finished Hex Nut
  • 7/16-14 Coarse Finished Hex Nut
  • Optional: String


Instructions

  1. Glue the mid-sized nut to the top of the largest nut using the Loctite glue, then let dry for 60 seconds. 
  2. Glue the smallest nut to the top of the mid-sized nut. 
  3. Glue the nut cap to the top of the smallest nut. 
  4. Glue the flat side of the screw to the medium size nut so it looks like an arm. Let dry. 
  5. Repeat with other screw to create the other arm. 
  6. Attach the optional string to the "hat" by threading through the holes in the nut cap. 


And there you have it! Your own hardware snowman ornament. These little guys are perfect to hang from your own tree, give as gifts or tie onto a present as the finishing touch.

·      Loctite 60-Second Glue

·      6-32x1/2 Combo Round Machine Screws (2)

·      5/16-18 Coarse Finished Hex Nut

·      3/8-16 Coarse Finished Hex Nuts

·      7/16-14 Coarse Finished Hex Nuts

·      Optional: Red String

All it takes is a little imagination to turn a few nuts and screws into a festive Christmas tree ornament. Read on for the steps and what you’ll need to make this fun little snowman ornament. 

Detangling Holiday Light Hanging

mom_child_decorating_christmas

The holiday season is a magical time of year but it can also be full of questions when it comes to lighting. How many lights do you need for your Christmas tree? Do you need any special equipment to hang lights on your house? How many extension cords do you really need?

The holiday season is a magical time of year but it can also be full of questions when it comes to lighting. How many lights do you need for your Christmas tree? Do you need any special equipment to hang lights on your house? How many extension cords do you really need?

christmas_tree

Start Inside

Of course the magic all starts with the perfect Christmas tree. If you need a hand in that department, visit our Holiday Tree Wonderland at your neighborhood Orchard. One of our friendly staff members will be happy to assist you in picking out the perfect tree. Once you’ve got that covered, it’s time for lights, right? Hold on, first you have to choose a holiday theme!

Your theme will give your decorating direction and can help you create a cohesive look – you know, if that’s what you’re going for. Are you more traditional? Eclectic? Or maybe a little eccentric even? There’s no wrong answer. And if you need ideas, check out our five themes here.

Okay, now it’s time for lights. Here’s our recommendation for how many lights you need based on the size of your tree (keep in mind the amount of lights can vary by box):

tree_lighting_tips

Finally, plug your lights in (to check if all the bulbs are working and see how they look as you go) and make sure the plug reaches a power strip near the base of your tree.

Finally, plug your lights in (to check if all the bulbs are working and see how they look as

you go) and make sure the plug reaches a power strip near the base of your tree. 

According to our lighting tree experts, simply start at the bottom and string your lights around and through your tree in a random fashion, placing some lights deeper into the tree and come closer to create depth. If your lights aren’t cooperating, you can always use little green zip ties around the cord and branch to hold it in place. Once you’ve finished, take a step back and look at your tree through squinted eyes. Do you see anywhere that isn’t as bright? This is a good test to check for any bare spots. If you do, adjust as needed then sit back and enjoy your handiwork!

bonus_tip1
home_decor_nighttime

Move Outside

Once you’ve got your décor set up indoors, it’s time to tackle the outside of your house. First, decide if you’re sticking with the same theme or if you want to change it up outside. Sticking with the same theme is simpler, but changing it up can be more fun….decisions, decisions.

stringing_lights

Once you’ve decided on your theme, it’s time to gather those lights and hang ‘em. Don’t forget to stock up on replacement bulbs and fuses, as it’s common for a few lights to go out or break along the way. Grab your ladder and Command™ Outdoor Light Clips and get hanging. (Speaking of light clips – these babies allow you to string lights around a door, window or anywhere really without nails or screws. In other words, they leave no holes or marks – perfect for apartment dwellers!)

BonusTip-02

Now you know the basics of holiday lighting, with a few extra tips along the way. And remember, don’t hesitate to get creative. Orchard has a ton of holiday lights and decorations that will let your artistic side shine bright. Still have questions? Stop by your neighborhood Orchard, we’re happy to help.

Once you’ve got your décor set up indoors, it’s time to tackle the outside of your house. First, decide if you’re sticking with the same theme or if you want to change it up outside. Sticking with the same theme is simpler, but changing it up can be more fun….decisions, decisions.

According to our lighting tree experts, simply start at the bottom and string your lights around and through your tree in a random fashion, placing some lights deeper into the tree and come closer to create depth. If your lights aren’t cooperating, you can always use little green zip ties around the cord and branch to hold it in place. Once you’ve finished, take a step back and look at your tree through squinted eyes. Do you see anywhere that isn’t as bright? This is a good test to check for any bare spots. If you do, adjust as needed then sit back and enjoy your handiwork! 

Start Inside

Of course the magic all starts with the perfect Christmas tree. If you need a hand in that department, visit our Holiday Tree Wonderland at your neighborhood Orchard. One of our friendly staff members will be happy to assist you in picking out the perfect tree. Once you’ve got that covered, it’s time for lights, right? Hold on, first you have to choose a holiday theme!

 

Your theme will give your decorating direction and can help you create a cohesive look – you know, if that’s what you’re going for. Are you more traditional? Eclectic? Or maybe a little eccentric even? There’s no wrong answer. And if you need ideas, check out our five themes here.

Okay, now it’s time for lights. Here’s our recommendation for how many lights you need based on the size of your tree (keep in mind the amount of lights can vary by box):