Friday, December 4, 2020

COVID-19 Prompts Home Improvement Projects


Submitted Photos | Wallace “Bo” Booth digs away at a mountain of rock he’s using for “xeriscaping.”


Steve Conner tests a paint sprayer after rejecting an $8,000 quote for his house to be painted.

Gardening and DIY home improvement has been one constructive offshoot of the COVID-19 curveball. 

That much is clear simply by taking a ride, cycle, jog or walk around Marco Island. 

Wallace “Bo” Booth, an electrical contractor, figured that with more time on his hands, why not paint his house on Dogwood Drive? 

Well, that’s what he did after choosing a Key West-flavored teal color with white trim. It took him about a week; working pretty much when he felt like it. 

“Then I thought, ‘Okay, the house is painted, now I’ll do the yard,” Booth stated. 

He and his wife Julie opted for low maintenance “xeriscaping,” bringing in 21 tons of crushed rock to carpet the yard, which will gradually be enhanced with assorted droughttolerant plants, bushes and trees. 

So far, Booth has introduced Texas Sage, Pineapple Plants, Rosemary Tufts and some trees whose names he happily admits not knowing. 

“They have nice yellow flowers,” remarked Booth, before adding that he’ll keep at the laborious task of shoveling and spreading the mountain of rock around “until it’s done.” 

Over the road, Adrian Conner fussed happily over her newly planted mango treean addition to all sorts of plantings down the side of her house. 

Booth is opting for tolerant plants to pretty up the yard. This is Texas Sage.

They include watermelon, Everglades tomatowhich she said is an amazing perennialzucchini, carrots, cucumber, green beans, eggplant, arugula and squash. 

Son Easton (8) and Emersyn (6) enjoy eating some of these homegrown veggies, Adrian said, because they’ve actually seen them grow over a couple of months. 

“They don’t leave anything on their plates,” she said. 

Steve Conner, the man of the house and at the moment working from home as a sales engineer for national power systems products manufacturer Basler Electric, decided to use his weekends productively. 

Rejecting a quote of around $8,000 to have his house painted, he bought a sprayer for $400, prepped the walls himself, practiced on a piece of sidewall, and then did the job himself. He also painted the sills, gutters and soffits, and said he was pleased with the end result. 

Marco Ace Hardware Store owner Steve Trafton said he’d noticed a reasonable uptick in gardening tool sales as well as painting products when COVID-19 confined people to their homes.  

“We also saw more people attempting home repairs that would normally call for professionals,” remarked Trafton. “These would be for things like small plumbing and toilet repairs, but we advised against any bigger jobs. That’s why permits are required by the city.” 

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