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Retaining wall construction can be backbreaking labor

Q: It’s time to landscape my backyard, which is currently dirt. I have a 2-foot-high bluff where I’d like to put a retaining wall, but I’m uncomfortable with masonry work. I’ve seen stackable blocks in stores and wonder if they would be suitable because I plan only to go about 1½ feet high with the wall. Besides, I think it would add visual excitement to my yard.

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Think of three F’s when arranging living room furniture

Let’s tackle the living room. The key things to keep in mind when arranging furniture are flow, function and focal point. The furniture should be arranged to facilitate traffic flow in the best way possible. Think of the pattern the traffic will take and arrange the furnishings for the best use of that space. Can you get in and out of the seating area with ease? When walking through the living room to get to another room, is the furniture in the way or can the traffic flow easily?

Programmable thermostat reduces power bill

Q: I recently moved into a new house and received my first power bill. I was shocked at the amount and was sure there had been a mistake. I was wrong. A friend suggested I replace my thermostat with one that is programmable. What are the particulars on this job?

1950s items in demand by collectors

Collectors and collections are getting younger. So the old 1950s favorite, Chippendale furniture, has now been replaced by 1950s Eames pieces. And 18th-century English Staffordshire ceramics are not as wanted as much as Ohio-made 20th-century Rookwood pottery.

Scale insects difficult to control

I should report an email to me regarding rabbit problems in landscapes. One reader suggests that she has always used mothballs around her plants and never had a problem with rabbits. Some of you might know mothballs can contain either naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene. It was not clear which one she meant.