The Blue Ridge Home and Garden Festival

One of the reasons I haven't made rapid progress when it comes to decorating is that our house has required several "behind the scenes" improvements that were more important than painting and hanging drapes.

Right now, the list of major outdoor projects that need to be done includes:

1. Replace the old air conditioner with a heating and cooling HVAC unit.
2. Fix gutters that were configured wrong, add downspouts, and set up rain barrels.
3. Survey the property.
4. Remove about 50 small trees that have sprouted next to their mature "parents."
5. Build retaining walls and level slopping parts of the property.
6. Fence in the backyard.

Down the line, we hope to:
7. Re-establish planting beds and add landscaping.
8. Remove the deck, which isn't code-compliant, and install a patio.

I'm sure there are some things I'm not remembering. As we talked about the list at breakfast on Sunday, I remembered that a home and garden show was coming up. Thanks to a quick google search, we realized that the Charlottesville Home and Garden Festival was in progress. We went over to the Main Street Arena to check it out...

Though Snow's Garden Center was present in displays, they didn't have any representatives there. They had some wonderful little gardens installed, though. We were also impressed by the other landscape groups that were there, Serenescapes and Zenscapes.

The roof at our house hadn't been installed properly and we already had Roof Top Services out to fix the problems, but we stopped by their booth to see their slate products. We'd love to have slate on our roof one day. While shingles last a few decades, the representative said that slate can last over a hundred years if properly maintained.

We also learned that the metal pieces that are installed along metal and slate roofs are to keep snow from sliding down the roof and causing damage along the way. I'm surprised I never heard this in all my years living in the north.

By the way can you guess which slate in the picture below is real and which is synthetic?

(Synthetic is on the left and the real slate is on the right)

Roof Top also showed us the new solar sun lights that don't need to be wired at all. They even sense when it rains and close themselves to keep the water out. 

One booth we hadn't planned to visit was one for a mosquito prevention company called Mosquito Guard. They had an adorable dog with them, so we had to stop and talk.

Having the dog there was brilliant. Who could walk by that face? They brought him to show that their product isn't harmful to pets.

We were probably most interested, at first, in talking to a gutter company. There were at least six gutter booths at the show. By the third one, my eyes were glazing over. Everyone claims to be the very best, but they appear to be selling very similar products. There was one guy who seemed to have a great product, but he took the time to say something negative about another vendor, which kind of irritated me. I'd rather someone extoll the virtues of their product than talk about another being inferior.

We also have a solar panel guy try to tell us that LEAP, a non-profit focused on energy efficiency, was wrong in their assessment that our property isn't ideally set up for panels. Who to trust...the guy who makes a living selling solar panels or the agency tasked with helping homeowners improve their energy usage?

We left the show with a bag full or brochures and a few appointments for estimates. I thought the show would be larger, but overall, it was interesting.


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