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Whether you dream of sunning by a state-of-the-art pool or strolling through a simple cottage garden, there's an outdoor oasis with your name written all over it. Take this quiz to find out where you really belong.

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DIY Patio Ideas

Want to boost the beauty and usefulness of your outdoor spaces? Put one of these inspiring DIY patio ideas to work in your landscape.

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Easy Fireplace Upgrades

Does your fireplace need a facelift? Check out these 20 ideas for updating your fireplace with easy-to-apply embellishments and simple-to-make constructions.

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8 Cutting-Edge Exterior Features

The wow-factor of the Innovation Home starts with great curb appeal. See the eight things that make the home's exterior stand out.

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Budget Curb Appeal

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Contractor Communication

Try these ideas to communicate with your contractor.

Communication will make or break the relationship between you and your contractor. Consider the following communication systems before starting your next remodeling project:

Weekly meetings
Each week, at a set day and time, plan a meeting to discuss the progress of the project. This is your opportunity to express any concerns you might have or changes you wish to make.

Daily contact
If possible, try to connect with your contractor every day. If you leave the house in the morning for work, ask that the crew arrive before you leave so you know there is someone at the job working.

Cell phones
Ideally, you should be given the cell phone numbers of those supervising their jobs for easy contact at any time during the day.

Job-site notebook or dry-erase board
When you leave for work early in the morning and arrive back home after the remodeling crew has gone, a job-site notebook can be an effective way for you to communicate concerns and ask questions, which then are responded to by the crew during the day. It could also serve as a legal document if communications during the job need to be reviewed at a later time.

Decide on a method of communication ahead of time.
Knowing that communications will be flowing freely throughout the project tends to lessen homeowner anxiety and makes getting through the remodeling process a little easier.

Save yourself communication headaches by interviewing your contractor before committing to his or her services. A company's communication style often is revealed during your first contact. If there are red flags during the initial interview, that could be an indication of future trouble.

Ask yourself: Did the company respond to my initial call in a timely manner? Did the contractor or salesperson listen to me? Did I feel heard? Did the contractor or salesperson heed my needs and issues? Similar questions should be asked when checking a contractor's references.

With these communication skills in your pocket you are well on your way to getting the job done well the first time.


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