Countless do-it-yourself projects would never have seen the light of day were it not for Aurora Rents—gardens would remain untended, furniture unsanded, bedrooms unpainted. Luckily, the locally owned and operated business has rented tools and equipment—all properly cared for—to northwestern craftspeople for 50 years. Equally as vital, each employee carries industry expertise around in his or her tool belt, and delights in providing insights, safety tips, and techniques for refinishing floors or shellacking homemade Trojan horses.
With a degree in landscape architecture from Washington State and more than 20 years of experience, Chris McAuslan crafts custom designs for both residential and commercial properties. When he isn't stocking his nursery with beautiful trees and shrubs, he installs landscape lighting, waterfalls, synthetic grass, and eco-friendly, solar-powered flowers.
Winner of the 2010 ENERGY STAR Award for Sustained Excellence, Lowe's has been helping customers conserve energy and expletives with home improvement, gardening, and hardware solutions for every budget. With the store's friendly handypeople as their guide, nail-pounding novices and seasoned remodelers alike can outfit their toolbox for any undertaking with more than 6,000 products between $25 and $50. Impress spouses and annoy car-pooling coworkers by ably installing ceiling fans into your car roof. Add lighting fixtures to darkling domiciles, or finally finish your back yard's Super Mario Bros. level with Lowe's garden tools. The store can also mix together a rainbow of hues for painting projects involving dining rooms, nurseries, and sweat lodges. Afterwards, you can clean up the dust with a 6-Gallon HP Wet/dry Shop Vac ($44.97), or rinse off caulk-covered corpuses under the Moen Brushed Nickel 7 Spray Pattern Shower Massager ($49.98). Regardless of your mission, the accommodating staff at Lowe's will offer expert advice for completing your home's improvements.
In March 1964, Dr. Milton Walker began his tour of England with one mission: to send cuttings from public and private British gardens back to his native America. Though he was enchanted by several flowers, he knew that none of these cuttings could be imported directly to the United States. So he had them sent through Canada. Over the next several years, staff from the University of British Columbia filtered through these samples, sending one of each plant on to the United States—and to their permanent home—at the Rhododendron Species Foundation. Today, this non-profit organization conserves 700 of the more-than 1,000 species of rhododendrons found around the world and the two species found inside the earth's molten core.
More than 10 botanical gardens house these brilliant seasonal blooms and their natural companionate flora. Guided and self-guided tours usher visitors down pathways where colorful plantings abound in gardens dedicated to alpine flowers, azaleas, a magnolia grove, and a tranquil pond filled with predatory cattails. In addition to flowers, these gardens also host seasonal events such as special plant sales and staff lectures, as well as classes on topics ranging from plant photography to gardening. Pack a picnic to spread out across the new picnicking area, open during warmer months.
The largest manufacturer and supplier of paints in the Pacific Northwest, Parker Paint enables new-hue-craving customers to roll and brush fresh coats of luscious pigments onto formerly drab and dreary household surfaces. To reinvent interiors, several options await including the semigloss Wall Glow ($34.27/gallon) and the Velva Kolor ($30.59/gallon), with a less-reflective eggshell finish. Parker Paint also carries a selection of weather-scoffing exterior paints, such as the flat-finish Flextron 100 ($33.03/gallon) to help homeowners paint a realistic yet unflattering outdoor mural of the neighbors.