Getting it done: three businesses to help you simplify your outdoor to-do list

Featuring Lifestyle Home Products, Kawartha Lakes Landscaping, and Merrett Home Hardware

Simplify your to-do list this summer so you can spend more of your outdoors time at home relaxing and entertaining. Get a worry-free long-lasting metal roof from Lifestyle Home Products, a low-maintenance yard or an outdoor room from Kawartha Lakes Landscaping, or build the deck of your dreams (pictured) with plans and materials from Merrett Home Hardware Building Centre. (Photo: Home Hardware).
Simplify your to-do list this summer so you can spend more of your outdoors time at home relaxing and entertaining. Get a worry-free long-lasting metal roof from Lifestyle Home Products, a low-maintenance yard or an outdoor room from Kawartha Lakes Landscaping, or build the deck of your dreams (pictured) with plans and materials from Merrett Home Hardware Building Centre. (Photo: Home Hardware).

Time outdoors should be spent relaxing, not tackling a massive to-do list. In this column, we bring you solutions that last from three local businesses. There’s a roof with a lifetime guarantee, landscaping solutions that are virtually maintenance free, and DIY project packages that make it easy to get your dream project done right the first time.

A roof that lasts a lifetime from Lifestyle Home Products

Keith Carroll, co-owner of Lifestyle Home Products, wants you to replace your roof only once — and have it last for the rest of your life.

Lifestyle’s metal roofs are an environmentally friendly, economical solution that Keith says will provide peace of mind for years to come.

“The beauty of a metal roof is there’s absolutely nothing to worry about once it’s installed. It’s done.”

Lifestyle Home Products manufactures sunrooms, windows and exterior doors from its 150,000-square-foot facility located at 944 Crawford Drive in Peterborough. Lifestyle is also a respected supplier and installer of metal roofs, as well as outdoor awnings.

Before Lifestyle Home Products began installing metal roofs, it offered conventional asphalt shingles. Keith found it frustrating: often manufacturers would find reasons not to back their warranties.

In 2013, Lifestyle Home Products started installing Wakefield Bridge steel shingles and other metal roofs. The metal shingles match the look of a traditional shingled roof, but they interlock four ways and are made of durable steel to withstand the elements for years to come.

Calm in the storm

Many of us can recall the sound of rain falling on a metal roof. Older styles of metal roofing had to be mounted on a surface such as wood.

That wood creates a space in the roof. It’s what can also create that metal roof rain sound. With older metal roofs, Keith says, “you get a drum.”

A Lifestyle roof with Wakefield Bridge steel shingles is much quieter than a traditional metal roof, due to both the installation process and the product.

Cost-effective lifetime solution

Keith estimates that, while his metal roofs cost about twice as much as regular shingles, they last for 50 years — much longer than the 12-to-14 year lifespan of many conventional shingles.

Also, you don’t need to pay to dispose of your old asphalt shingles; the new steel shingles are installed right over top.

A green roof, no matter what colour you choose

Imagine four roof loads of asphalt shingles. That takes up a lot of landfill space. Installing steel shingles instead is an environmentally friendly method of construction, adding up to a third layer to an existing roof system.

In addition, Lifestyle’s metal roofing products contain between 25 and 95 per cent recycled content.

Keep critters out

For those looking to keep out squirrels and starlings, a Lifestyle metal roof can prevent these pests from moving in. There’s an interlocking strip around the entire perimeter of a Lifestyle metal roof.

It’s completely sealed with metal on all sides so, according to Keith, “critters can’t get through it.”

The last roof you’ll ever need

All Lifestyle Home Products metal roofs come with a transferable 50-year warranty so, no matter who is living under it, your roof is guaranteed to last.

“Once you get a Lifestyle metal roof, you have real peace of mind,” says Keith.

You can learn more about Lifestyle Home Products on their website at You can also find them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.. For more information, call 1-800-465-0593 or email


Whether you’re thinking about a beautiful outdoor kitchen with wood fireplace, a modern armourstone oasis, or just of spending more time enjoying your outdoor space instead of maintaining it, Kawartha Lakes Landscaping (917 Kelly Blvd., Bridgenorth, 1-888-451-5550) can make it happen.

Owners Allan Hancock and Kevin Kingsbury are celebrating their 13th year in business. Kevin’s been in the construction industry for over 20 years and Allan has been a landscaper for his whole career, and has a diploma in landscaping design and construction. As Allan notes, “we’ve always been in the industry one way or another.”

Part of what Allan enjoys about the work is the creativity of doing something unique.

“You never know what someone’s going to ask for. Someone will have a really off-the-wall idea and we can tweak it to what can be done.”

Bringing his clients vision to life is satisfying work.

“At the end of the day, every day, we get to see something we’ve created.”

Natural stonework

As specialists in armourstone, flagstone, steps and interlock, Kawartha Lakes Landscaping has everything you need to hardscape the outdoor space of your dreams. One of their most popular products is armourstone, according to Allan.

“Armourstone is always in such high demand. It’s become a staple, but there are always people wanting to add their own twist on it to make it look modern. It can look very modern or very natural: everyone has their own taste.”

Maintenance-free landscapes

Looking to spend less of your outdoor time maintaining and more time relaxing? Allan points out that Kawartha Lakes Landscaping specializes in virtually maintenance-free landscape design.

“We bring in slow-growing plants, hard surfaces, river rock instead of mulch. It cuts down on what you have to look after on a weekly basis, so it may be something where you’re doing maintenance on it twice a year and spending an hour. Two hours a year doesn’t seem like such a bad landscape to look after.”

For larger projects they even offer maintenance packages.

“Once a year, we’ll come back in the spring and make sure everything’s perfect.”

No more outdoor chores? Sounds perfect to me.

Outdoor rooms

Allan says that one of the biggest landscaping trends this year is outdoor rooms, particularly outdoor kitchens. He says that this is the perfect place to host guests.

“Think about where you hang out when it’s Christmas time. You’re in your kitchen. Your outdoor kitchen is where you’re going to be when you’re outside and you have people over.”

You can make your outdoor kitchen complete with a bar, a food prep area, or a fireplace; there are many ways to make outdoor cooking comfortable and stylish.

So many options

In addition to the services previously mentioned, Kawartha Lakes Landscaping offers shoreline services, retaining walls, pools stamped concrete, excavation, basement waterproofing, clearing, water features, golf greens, lighting… the list goes on.

Allan suggests that no matter what landscaping project you want to pursue, you come into the project with a clear idea of what you’re looking for.

“Have an idea of the things that you like and don’t like. It’s always good for somebody to have an idea of what they’d like to see, and then we can kind of steer them in the right direction of what can be done and what makes sense.”

You can find out more about Kawartha Lakes Landscaping on their website at You can reach them by phone at 1-888-451-5550 or use the contact form on their website.


Do your dream project yourself with help from Merrett Home Hardware

Merrett Home Hardware Building Centre (1460 Lansdowne St, Peterborough, 705-743-3553) has been the place to bring your home improvement projects for 21 years. Owner Drew Merrett prides himself on the level of service they offer.

“Customer service is our key factor,” he explains. “We have a lot of great employees. One of our mottos is that we don’t train people to be nice, we hire nice people.” Their staff is on hand to help with any project.

Free custom designs for decks, fences, and railings

Some of the most popular projects this time of year are decks, fences, and railings. Drew says that if you bring in the measurements, his staff will figure out exactly what you need for free.

“We do the whole design for them.”

Many of Merrett Home Hardware’s customers are making the move to maintenance-free railings, which can be customized in five different colours. Drew says that installing these railings is a breeze.

“It’s an easy do it yourself project. All you need is a drill and a hacksaw to do it. It’s very easy to install.”

So many project design ideas

Merrett Home Hardware Building Centre also provides project packages complete with detailed plans, all of the materials you will require and cutting and assembly instructions. These include bunkies, playhouses, tool sheds, picnic tables, planter boxes, and more.

Golfers will enjoy the mini-golf packages. Drew says that there are four different holes available to make. They are even portable: you can pack your golf course into the truck and bring it with you to a party.

There are even projects for your canine friends … or not. Drew jokes that “We have doghouses available so, if you get in trouble with your wife, you can build a doghouse.”

The right tools for the job… and more

Two years ago, Merrett Home Hardware Building Centre opened a rentals department. Casual DIYers can rent everything they need for a project including hand tools, yard maintenance equipment, construction tools, and generators.

One of the more unusual tools offered for rental is what the Merrett team refers to as the Skylift. It’s a lift that can be towed behind your vehicle, particularly useful for cleaning eaves troughs, cutting down trees, trimming trees, putting up siding, or installing windows on a second story.

There’s also a sensor that Drew says works like an X-ray for your walls, locating electrical wires, plumbing and studs.

“For older houses it works great. It saves a lot of guesswork.”

There’s even a money-blowing machine, sure to be a hit at Stag and Doe parties and fundraisers. You climb in and the machine blows money around you. Your job is to catch as much as you can. Unfortunately, the machine doesn’t come stocked with money.

Drew’s advice for DIYers

For those planning projects for this spring, Drew says that the right tools are key.

“You need the right tools for the job. You do your homework and make sure you have the right tools to accomplish it.”

Another factor that can make or break your project is getting the right materials. Drew suggests consulting with a professional because, with so many new products on the market, there might be something available that’s perfect for the project at hand that you’ve never even heard of.

“Ten years ago when you built your last deck, maybe you used one product. Now there’s probably a new product out there that’s replaced it. Come in and ask some questions — don’t just give us a material list and say ‘Here’s what I need’.”

That’s where Drew’s friendly staff really shine.

An expansion is planned for this fall, when Merrett Home Hardware Building Centre will add another 3,000 square feet to their retail space and redo the front face of their building. In spite of their growth, Drew knows there are benefits to not getting too big.

“There comes a level where you can’t get good service in a store that’s huge. We’re going to continue to be a family home hardware store that can give good service and good advice. My service level is too high to have a store that’s huge.”

You can find Merrett Home Hardware online at and on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

They are open seven days a week, Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sundays from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.