Inside the Innovation House

We pulled out all the stops to bring the latest home tech features to our Innovation Home. See the 16 coolest things from the home and be amazed by how smart one home can be.

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Bathroom Countertop Ideas

Good-looking countertops -- whether made of marble, limestone, or concrete -- create high-functioning bathrooms that spill over with style. These popular countertop materials are sure to inspire a bathroom remodel.

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Find Your Dream Backyard

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

Be the best home on the block for less. These budget curb appeal updates will show you how.

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Popular in Home Improvement

Create a Fall Garden Retreat

Give yourself a private sanctuary to enjoy your landscape on beautiful fall days.


    Everything in this slideshow

    • Mix it Up

      The key to beauty at any time of the year is a wide variety of leaf and flower colors. Here, lush flowers like Pia hydrangea, burgundy leaves from Summer Wine Ninebark, and low-maintenance ornamental grasses intersperse with a range of evergreens. Grace Smokebush provides a pop of bright pink.

    • Add Color with Containers

      A firepit on a bluestone patio is perfect for intimate evenings. Containers help integrate the living space with the surrounding garden.

      Dress up hardscapes with containers to soften lines and brighten the scenery. Keep anchor plants in pots all season, and bolster with seasonal appeal.

    • Portable Color

      Japanese maples turn an eye-popping, fiery hue in fall. Great as container trees, they can be moved where you want.

    • Add Pops of Color

      Select planter combinations that provide a contrast to the surrounding area. Here, a dark grey house and shaded yard make oranges, reds, and greens stand out.

    • Create a Path

      This urban backyard measures just 45 feet wide, but by careful placement of outdoor living spaces and strategic use of plants, the homeowners created a private paradise. This stone path invites visitors to the structure in the back.

    • Top Fall Flowers

      Looking to perk up your fall garden? See our editor's top annuals for instant late-season color.

    • Add a Structure

      Providing privacy from tall surrounding buildings, this gazebo gives the owners a spot to relax and entertain. Gazebos also let you to enjoy the outdoors even during stormy weather. And they're not just for large gardens; the example shown here is tucked in a tight space between a garage and a privacy fence.

    • Look into the Garden

      Draw guests into the garden by locating seating areas away from the house. Use small trees or large shrubs to block the view of your home, and your outdoor room can feel like it's a million miles away.

    • Work with Levels

      Sink your patio to make it feel intimate and easier to screen. The homeowners dug the patio shown here 2 feet below the surrounding grade to encourage the feeling of privacy.

    • 10 of 19

      Add Water

      Mask the sounds of the surrounding city with a trickling stream or babbling brook. Water features such as this pond look and sound great, plus attract birds and other wildlife to the garden.

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      Screen the View

      Keep unpleasant views out of sight with fences, trellises, and tall plantings. Add interest by breaking up solid expanses of screen. For example, use a few different plants for your hedges or add garden art (such as the wrought-iron metalwork on this gate).

    • 12 of 19

      Light the Way

      Light a pathway to take your focus away from streetlights and unsightly security lighting. Landscape lighting also makes traversing your yard safer during evening events in the garden.

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      Mix it Up

      Keep plantings interesting all year by using a mix of evergreen and deciduous varieties. Consider all seasons -- including a fall color or winter display -- when making your selections.

      Test Garden Tip: Think about other qualities as well. Dense evergreens are particularly good at blocking unwanted sounds, for example.

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      Spotlight Garden Art

      Tuck away garden art, a birdbath, a birdhouse, or other found object to create visual appeal throughout the landscape. Place them so they can be viewed only from certain vantage points to entice visitors to stroll through the garden.

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      Think Big

      Choose large trees or quick-growing shrubs to create drama fast. The tricolor beech shown here, for example, looks much older than five years because it was large when planted. And the hydrangea in the foreground is a quick grower.

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      Fill in with Annuals

      Use colorful annual flowers, such as purple globe amaranth, white bacopa, and frilly scented geranium, to fill spaces between trees and shrubs and while large plants get established. Small-scale annuals bring intimacy to the garden.

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      Include Hardscape

      Incorporate large stones and boulders into the landscape to create an instant sense of permanence and age. Bury a portion of some stones to achieve a more natural look as you position the boulders in a grouping.

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      Create Seasonal Drama

      Cannas, ornamental grasses, and large annuals such as cleome make an impact late in the season when many other flowers have faded. These plants may grow 5 feet tall or more in one year, providing a quick fix for filling barren spaces and increasing the sense of privacy.

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      Next Slideshow Outdoor Fireplace Ideas

      Outdoor Fireplace Ideas

      Use these outdoor fireplace ideas to give your deck, patio, or backyard living room a dramatic focal point. Browse pictures of fireplace designs for decorating ideas, inspiration, and tips on how to build an outdoor fireplace.
      Begin Slideshow »



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