Cottage Care

On a sultry summer weekend, you want to spend as much time as possible sitting on your dock, feet dangling, the newspaper in hand. Although you can't ignore maintenance at your weekend getaway, you can still find ways to streamline chores and carve out as much leisure time as possible.Here, you'll learn tips and best practices to care for your furnace, your well, and your septic system. You will also find gardening advice to transform a ho-hum spot into a restorative waterfront retreat.

Rett Davis: A fortuitous time for fertilizing fescue

Question: How soon can I fertilize my lawn? Answer: That time is now for fescue lawns. Fescue lawn fertilization can begin as early as the last week of January and proceed through mid-March. This time period is critical especially if you are applying...

Do indoor plants need special care during winter?

You will need to adjust your basic care routines for houseplants over the winter to get the best results. During the winter, most houseplants will not be actively growing because of short day lengths, reduced humidity and lower temperatures in the typical...

5 potential problems to watch out for during the thaw

Ice dams in your gutters? Snow in your attic? Flooding? Giant, slushy puddles that freeze into treacherous slick patches on driveways and sidewalks? Yes, yes, yes and yes. These are all potential problems suburban homeowners could face when the...

How To: Enjoy Your Outdoor Space Year-Round

If you’re lucky enough to have an outdoor space for entertaining, your patio probably gets a lot of use in the summer and early autumn, but that’s only half the year. Once the mercury drops and the snowflakes begin to fly, most homeowners...

Redesigning a tiny Cape Cod cottage for year-round living

To say that Annika Richter’s home in Dennis was in rough shape when she first saw it would be an understatement. The house, built in the 1930s, had been a summer cottage for decades. The layout was choppy, a bathroom jutted into the dining room,...

Fire service offers advice for dealing with extreme winter

Last week’s bitter cold was a reminder that extreme winter conditions bring their own set of potential hazards, a fire prevention officer says. Kevin Meijerink of Kawartha Lakes Fire Rescue says it isn’t just a risk of fire — carbon...

Tips for renting your waterfront home

There's a saying that goes, "if you're lucky enough to live on the lake, you're lucky enough." Let's go further. Say you're lucky enough to live by a lake or river, but you don't live there full-time, and you're interested...

How to Keep Cottage Safe Over the Winter

As Canadians lock up their cottages, trailers and hunting camps for the winter, the RCMP are out with tips to keep them safe until spring. Nova Scotia Mounties say they get more than 300 reports of break-ins at seasonal properties, and thieves are...

Deck the Halls with money-saving ideas

The holiday season is stuffed full of traditions from the Thanksgiving turkey to the New Year’s toast. There’s Grandma’s pumpkin pie, Aunt Betty’s green bean casserole, the flocked Christmas tree in the living room and new flooring...

House Works: Winterizing tricks make cottage close-ups better

Beating Mold, Mildew & Mustiness Cottages sometimes get musty and moldy when interior moisture levels get too high, with no way of lowering these levels remotely from where you live in the winter. Leaving some heat on in the cottage over winter...

Should we keep our summer home?

The boathouse contractor, arms crossed severely across his chest, announces to me that he's not willing to do any more "quick fixes" to our aging structure. It needs to be emptied, raised up and mostly rebuilt. The "around $30,000"...

Gas Grill Maintenance Checklist

Clean the burner and tubes. Make sure the propane tank is turned off. Remove the briquettes and cooking grates, and carefully detach the gas tubes and burner. Clean the tubes with warm, soapy water and towel dry. Wipe the burner clean with a damp cloth....

Maintaining A Fire Pit

A fire pit creates great backyard ambiance, providing your family and friends with a great gathering place on cool evenings. The following maintenance steps will keep your fire pit safe and in service for years to come. Keep it Clean It...

The 15 Must-Dos of Fall Yard Cleanup

Autumn means football games and visits to the local pumpkin patch. It also means it’s time to get your yard ready for winter. The right preparation now will save you time and energy when spring rolls around, and will keep you and your family safe...

Handyman: Close cottage down properly for the winter

If you have a place up north or are planning to make your annual snowbird trek to Florida, you will need to start planning to shut down your cottage or home for the winter.

5 ways to add designer flair to cottage decor: Glen Peloso

Your summer home should have more than a collection of unwanted furniture sent to live out its final years. Here are five ways to keep things fresh:

‘Very nasty’ giant hogweed plant spreading in Ontario causes burns, blindness

It can cause third-degree burns and even permanent blindness – and it's spreading. Giant hogweed is cutting a wider swath in B.C. and Ontario, and the Nature Conservancy of Canada is urging people across the country to document sightings...

The tax hassles of owning and selling a cottage or second home

Perhaps the biggest tax problem associated with a vacation property is the potential for capital gains tax upon either the sale, or gift of the property, or upon the death of the owner.

Muskoka Cottage Waterfront Landscaping

Houzz:  Discover design ideas.  Browse more than 14 million photos and filter based on your taste. Connect with local home professionals who can help with your project.  Shop, decorate and design your home with products from our curated...

Check Yourself: 6 Home Maintenance Tasks You Should Tackle in August

The dog days of summer are barking and Labor Day is just around the bend, signaling the end of yet another epic season in the sun. But before you give your flamingo pool float one last hurrah, take a break with some home maintenance prep for...

5 Vacation Home Spring Cleaning Tips You Need To Learn Now.

It’s that time of year again.  Time to spring clean the cottages.  After about fifteen years, we’ve finally got it down. Sort of.  It’s a chore, for sure.  It seems that I never, ever get to relax at any of my vacation...

Pattie Lovett-Reid: Keeping the cottage in the family? Consider this first

Canadians love their cottages. In the interest of disclosure, we have just built our family cottage and have deemed the first two weekends of operation a success. It might seem strange, but we are already talking about what if our kids want to keep the...

The Annual Home Maintenance Checklist

Given the option, few of us would volunteer to spend a Sunday on a ladder pulling leaves out of a gutter. But when your home is your biggest investment, as it is for most Americans, maintaining it is a must. Home maintenance can feel like a daunting chore...

Why the family cottage may prove hard to hold onto

As Ontario’s cottage country ages, its largest generation of owners faces challenges in handing down their properties. Cottages in communities such as Muskoka and Haliburton may no longer be passed down, because the children of baby boomers may...

A simple guide to estate planning

Planning your estate matters is first and foremost about having a will. But it can also be much more. A well-thought-out estate plan ensures that your family is cared for should something happen to you, and that your money goes where you want it to. It’s...

Planting Design Basics, Part 2 of 4

In Part One, What Can I Give My Plants, you were encouraged to analyze your planting site, and to determine the existing conditions in your garden space. With site map in hand, the fun begins as you explore our second guiding question, What garden style...

13 Closet Organization Ideas to Get You Ready for Summer

Summer is nearly here, which means it’s time to start prepping your closet for the warm days ahead. Beyond stocking up on sundresses and swimsuits, rethinking your organization is a must-do. Not sure where to start? We’re here...

56 Beautiful Summer Flowers That Will Transform Any Exterior

Are you a flower fanatic? Maybe you are someone that would like to be, but are new to planting flowers in your garden?

TECH TIP: Two Ways To Finish Outdoor Wood

Finishing wooden decks, fences, outdoor furniture, picnic tables and gazebos is not as simple as it looks, and too many people pay a high price for this illusion.

Garage Storage Organization Ideas

Hello everyone! It’s Christine again, from First Home Love Life, and today we’re going to discuss some different ways on how we can organize and make better use of our garages!

Spring Cabin and Cottage Maintenance: An Ounce of Prevention…

With the warm weather finally returning, cabin and vacation home owners will want to start thinking about getting their properties ready for the season.


At the start of every cottage season, it's important to ensure your country home is fire-safe. Go through the checklist for a guide.

What You Need to Know About Changing Your Shoreline

Home 9 mins ago For many this time of year is spent dreaming of the sunny days of summer spent on the lake and perhaps this gets you starting to prepare your spring cottage or waterfront home projects. Whether it’s landscaping, building a new structure...