The Gutter Shutter Co.

GutterShutter is North Americas leading manufacturer of leaf & debris free systems. We use only the highest quality materials. Our manufacturing facility utilizes cutting edge technology, to ensure precision.


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Crafty Ideas for Winter Curb Appeal

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1. Add splashes of green and purple. Plants, grasses, and evergreens can liven up a home’s winter landscape. Experiment with tall grasses, such as fountain grasses, that survive harsh winters. And in late fall and early winter, plants from the cabbage family add a vibrant purple color. Make the front door the focal point with a large wreath adorned with a colorful ribbon. To finish the look, place large, colorful planters filled with evergreens beside the front door, suggests Elizabeth Lord, broker with Carolina Farms & Estates LLC in Rock Hill, S.C.

2. Give it seasonal sparkle. Transform an unused bird bath or fountain into a seasonal display by adding twigs with red berries. Or fill frost-resistant urns with twigs, winter greenery, and sparkly baubles (sold at most craft stores), Storozuk says. For extra sparkle, roll twigs in glitter and incorporate a gazing ball—a mirrored glass ball available in various colors—into the display.

3. Make the garden statuesque. Roman- or Greek-themed outdoor sculptures can add class and elegance to a garden in winter. Be sure to use frost-resistant statues so they don’t crack, Storozuk says. Place the statues strategically throughout the garden to draw buyers’ eyes around the outdoor space.

4. Light it bright. During the winter, it’s more likely that buyers will be viewing home after sunset. Use clear flood spotlights to focus on the home’s architectural features, Storozuk says. Keep exterior lighting fixtures at maximum wattage and clean them regularly. When snow covers the ground, Michele Thompson, broker-owner of White Fence Real Estate in Vevay, Ind., takes photos of listings at night with all of the interior lights on—the light bounces off the white snow to create a warm, inviting glow. For the best results, turn off the flash, and use a tripod to avoid blurring, she says.

5. Show off the lifestyle. Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you can’t use the deck. Shovel your backyard sitting area and leave your grill uncovered so buyers can envision themselves using the space, Storozuk says. If the home has a hot tub, leave that open and running during showings as well.

6. Make the deck an extension of the house. Set up your outdoor tables and chairs just as you would in warmer months. “Home owners often cover their furniture and place lawn objects haphazardly on the deck,” says Kitty Schwartz, president and owner of Classic Home Staging in Katonah, N.Y. For added appeal, she adds a weatherproof cafe set with pillows that play off of interior accent colors. “Glancing out onto this type of vignette can make the indoor space feel larger and more interesting,” she says.

7. Create a photo display of sunnier days. Show buyers what the outside of the home looks like during other seasons by displaying some landscape photos in frames or using a digital photo frame with a slide show of images. “This will give a sense of what the property looks like at other times of year,” Storozuk says. If the home has a garden, make a list of what’s planted where. “Perennials can be expensive,” she says, “so treat them as a selling feature.”

8. Don’t forget to clear a path. If the ground is covered in snow, the simplest and most important thing you can do is shovel the driveway and sidewalks and keep the home’s patios and decks as clear as possible so buyers can get a sense of their true size.

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9 Handy Tips to Winterize Your Garden

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1.    Drain irrigation. Start out by draining irrigation systems. When you do this, you will help prevent pipes from stretching and bursting.

2.    Clean out ponds. Clean out ponds of any debris. This can help lower the volume of water by as much as 40%.

3.    Rake leaves. Remove accumulated leaves and use as insulation for plants.

4.    Use leaves for mulch. Use a mower to shred leaves to create winter mulch for garden beds and around trees.

5.    Install gutter screens for gutter protection. Along with this step, install gutter screens for gutter protection. Gutter Helmet® offers the nation’s premier gutter protection system.

6.    Add spring bulbs. Plant spring bulbs if you have not done so already. Spring bulbs need cold weather conditions to activate the flowering process.

7.    Trim up trees and bushes. Lightly prune shrubbery and trees just enough to remove dead wood and branches. Prune in more depth in early spring to stimulate growth.

8.     Build raised beds. Build raised beds and fill them with soil and generous amounts of compost and chopped leaves for a healthy garden in the early spring.

9.     Order seed catalogs. Order your catalogs and plan out your growing season for the spring.


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Why You Shouldn’t Prune Trees and Bushes in the Fall

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There is a popular myth about pruning that, if followed, can leave your plants weaker instead of strengthening them. Too many gardeners end up pruning bushes and trees in the fall, unaware that fall pruning stimulates new growth that weakens the plants going into winter. While raking and mulching are essential, pruning is not. You can and should clean out debris and remove dead leaves and twigs. However, keep it at that and avoid the impulse to hack away at your trees and bushes!

Pruning Can Do Harm

If you trim trees and shrubs in the fall, you will end up stimulating growth just before your plants get ready to go dormant. This, in turn, makes the plants weaker. When you prune on a warm day, sap starts to rise in the plant. When the temperature drops below freezing, the plant suffers and can even die.

Pruning is best left to early spring or the tail end of winter. Give your plants a haircut then. Most gardeners err by over-pruning bushes and trees pre-winter, leaving their plants vulnerable to the stresses of winter temperatures, pests and disease.

For lilacs and spireas that bloom in early spring, prune them after they finish blooming. The only exceptions for pruning at the end of fall and start of winter are deciduous shrubs that are overgrown.

Also, remember to not prune when it is wet outside. This can spread diseases through the growth of microbes that take advantage of the weak state your plants are in. Instead, wait to prune when the sun is out for a period of time to dry out and kill bacteria and mold.

When the Time is Right, How to Prune

When you do have to prune, first remove dead and dying branches from the body of the plants. If branches are rubbing each other, prune to allow for healthy growth.

Plants that can be pruned just before the start of spring include glossy abelia, beauty berries, hydrangeas, Bradford and Callory pears, crabapples, poplar, spruce, junipers, sumacs, cherries and plums. Maples, birches, dogwoods, walnuts, and elm tree should be pruned only after spring has started to prevent sap from oozing out of the trees and weakening them.

Remember to keep your pruning shears clean to prevent disease from spreading accidentally. Simply wash tools with a teaspoon of bleach in warm water and then allow to dry.

Fall Maintenance Tip: Install Rain Gutter Guards

One of the most important steps of fall garden maintenance is to clean out your gutters and make sure you have rain gutter guards installed and functioning properly. A gutter leaf guard helps protect your gutters from debris and plant material accumulating in your gutters, thus allowing the steady natural flow of water down the roof, through the gutters and to the ground. With properly installed rain gutter guards, you can keep your gutters clean and protect your home from water damage that happens when water does not flow properly away from the house.


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Put Fall Leaves to Work: Make Compost

Smart people rake, but smarter people mulch and compost! Once the gardening season has come to a close, it’s time to harvest another crop: fall leaves. Leaves are much more than a nuisance to be raked and bagged for disposal in your local landfill. They are a valuable source of organic matter packed with minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and potassium that tree roots have pulled from deep within the soil. In fact, leaves contain twice the mineral content of manure.

Using Nature’s Bounty

The Old Farmer’s Almanac estimates that the leaves gathered from one large tree can provide up to $50 worth of plant food and humus. Once decomposed, leaves improve soil by lightening heavy clay soil and increasing the moisture retention ability of sandy soil. They even provide a source of food for earthworms and beneficial bacteria. Here’s how to put this resource to work for you by making compost.

  • Gather leaves. This is the easy part – gather leaves as soon as they begin falling, when they contain the most nutrients. Keep in mind that some leaves – including maple, ash, beech, elm and fruit tree – are better than others for composting. Use oak leaves sparingly for compost as they are more acidic than other species. If you don’t have enough leaves on your property, you’ll likely have neighbors who are more than happy to share.
  • Shred. Leaves for compost must be shredded. This allows microbes to break them down much faster, and prevents matting that keeps out air and water and delays the decomposition process. Shredding can be done with a commercial shredder or your lawn mower.
  • Add nitrogen. To create compost, you will need to add a source of nitrogen to your shredded leaves to speed up decomposition. Freshly cut green grass is a great option. You can also use horse, chicken or rabbit manure. Mix these ingredients in a 5:1 ratio, using 5 containers of leaves to one container of grass clippings or manure.
  • Gather, mix, turn. Create an area near your garden for a leaf compost pile. For the fastest results, your compost should be turned with a shovel every few days to encourage it to heat up and decompose. Make sure to keep the pile moist to further encourage composting.
  • Wait. With regular attention, your pile will compost in four to six months, creating a dark, crumbly material that’s a wonderful addition to garden soil.

Keep Leaves Out of Gutters with a GutterShutter

Leaves are perfect for composting but only cause problems when they fall in gutters. Keep your gutter system leaf-free by installing GutterShutter. Not only is GutterShutter a highly effective leaf guard, it keeps out every other kind of debris. Water can get in, but everything else simply falls off the edge!


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Outdoor Storage Spaces

As the days get shorter, you might be starting to think about the things you need to do to get your home ready to winter. For most homeowners, getting ready for the cold months involves putting many items in storage, from patio furniture to sporting equipment to the grill. If you’re wondering just where you’re going to stash all of those items, check out our list of often-overlooked places for outdoor storage.

  • Above the garage door. The garage is a common storage space, but the area above garage doors is often overlooked when it comes to storage. Adding ceiling-mounted shelves above the doors is an excellent way to put this wasted space to use.
  • Under a deck or porch. A raised deck creates a convenient area underneath to store a variety of weatherproof items, from hoses to mowers. To conceal your storage area, add skirting around the deck with a door for accessibility. The area underneath patios can be used for storage of smaller items.
  • Storage benches. Stash your garden tools inside a waterproof storage bench and enjoy clutter-free surroundings. The bench will also provide extra seating for next summer’s gatherings!
  • Storage shed. Larger items such as patio furniture and pool accessories require more space and also need to be shielded from winter weather. A storage shed can provide the extra space you need to corral all of your outdoor accessories while making them last longer. You’ll also enjoy the bonus of more space in your garage!
  • Temporary storage unit. This can be a great short-term storage solution. Temporary storage containers are secure, waterproof and can be stored on your property, so you can access your items anytime.

Protect Your Home with GutterShutter!

A gutter leaf guard is good, but GutterShutter is better! Protect your home and belongings from water damage year-round with our gutter protection system. For more information call 513-671-4000 or visit guttershutter.com.


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Money-Saving Tips for Your Lawn & Landscaping

bigstock-newly-designed-garden-95119667-300x200Maintaining your lawn and landscaping takes time, effort and resources that can get quite expensive over the course of a year. Here are four money-saving tips for caring for your lawn and landscaping.

#1 Be Smart About Water Usage

Figure out how much water you need for your lawn. For example, the average lawn requires just one inch of water a week. This in turn translates into a certain amount of time running your sprinkler. You can test this out by running your sprinkler for 20 minutes in a bucket. Measure the amount of water that fills the container. If you are able to collect about one-quarter inch of water in 20 minutes, you can estimate that watering your whole lawn will take about 60 minutes per week.

#2 Time Your Watering

Water evaporates fast during the middle of the day, when it is hotter outside. Set your sprinklers on a timer or water your lawn only during the early morning hours or early evening hours, thus saving on water consumption. In terms of potted plants, you will need to water them frequently as they dry out faster within the pots. Again, be sure to water during the early morning or evening hours.

#3 Use Auto-Watering Systems

You can set up an automatic watering system that saves you time and effort. They also can cut down on the amount of water you use as they regulate the flow of water. Using a soaker hose that snakes around the garden can also be efficient as you can set it to a timer.

Targeted drip systems cost more, but are permanent and can water plants right at the roots. You can add them to potted plants and hanging baskets, which also will save you time.

#4 Install Gutter Guards

When you have a gutter cover installed, you also ensure that rainwater flows properly down from the roof, through the gutters and on the ground without damaging the roof, sides or foundation of the home. It is important to install well-made, high-quality rain gutter guards like GutterShutter that provide excellent functionality and do not require extensive maintenance.

Proactive steps like installing gutter guards will help you keep water flowing smoothly away from the home and prevent depressions and stagnant areas from developing in your lawn and landscaped areas.

While there is a fee to purchase and install gutter protection systems, you end up saving significantly over time because you prevent water erosion and protect your home from water damage.

Gutter guards can help significantly in preventing water pooling in the lawn and landscaped areas, ensuring that your lawn remains green, smooth and well-maintained. Call GutterShutter at 513-671-4000 to learn more today!!