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    Smart devices to help you stay safe on vacation.

    May 21, 2021 9:02 AM by emily.bailey

    Friday, May 21, 2021

    Smart devices while on vacation | Schlage

    Try these smart devices and gadgets to help protect your home while you’re away or tuck them in your bag to stay safer when you’re on the move.

     

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    Whether hitting the road for the long Memorial Day weekend or traveling farther afield for a few weeks, you want to make sure that your belongings are safe. Try these smart devices and gadgets to help protect your home while you’re away or tuck them in your bag to stay safer when you’re on the move.
    Family enjoying the beach while on vacation.

    Get the lived-in look

    One of the biggest deterrents to thieves is human activity. If it looks like you’re home, most intruders will go elsewhere. These smart devices can give your home that lived-in look, even when you’re chilling on the beach.

    Modern white home at night with lighting.

    Lights

    A house that’s perpetually dark – or with too many lights on in the middle of the day – can signal that the house is empty. Smart bulbs or lamps plugged in to a smart outlet can help. Some allow you to set a timer to turn lights on and off at certain times of the day, while others will do so randomly. For external lighting, you might add motion sensors. Someone lurking will often turn the other direction in a hurry when startled by an unexpected light.

    Sounds

    Noise coming from the house can have the same effect as lights. You could have Alexa play music periodically to make it sound as if you’re having a great party. There are also playlists available with everyday sounds – pots and pans banging while cooking, dogs barking, TV show dialogue – you can use.

    Sprinklers

    Dead grass could be a dead giveaway that you’ve left town for a few weeks. Make it look like you’re still around, tending your garden, with a smart irrigation system. Many of them you can set and forget, such as by putting them on a timer. Others, when connected to your home network or smart hub, can adjust based on local weather reports, only watering when the lawn needs it and not right before it rains.

    Lawnmower

    Overgrown grass can have the same ill effects as a brown lawn. A smart mower like WORX Landroid can help. If you’re worried about keeping the mower locked up while you’re out of town, though, you might just pay the neighbor kid to do your landscaping for you.

    Enjoy peace of mind

    Keep an eye on things even while you’re away. It’ll be much easier to relax and unwind when you trust that everything is as it should be back home.

    Woman looking at Schlage Home app on mobile phone.

    Smart lock

    You’re at the airport and you’ve checked that you have your passport for the 100th time, your phone is fully charged, you have a full stash of beach reads … but did you lock the door when you left home? With a connected smart lock like Schlage Encode™ Smart WiFi Deadbolt, you can check from anywhere using a compatible app. And if you did forget, no worries. Simply use the same app to lock the door and go catch your flight.

     

    Maybe you’ve left a pet at home or are worried about your beloved new houseplants surviving while you’re away. Create a unique access code for a pet sitter or plant waterer. There’s no need to exchange a key and you can see when they’ve used their code. You’ll have better peace of mind knowing everyone is taken care of.

    Video doorbell

    One of the many great things about the Schlage Encode Smart WiFi Deadbolt is that it works with the Ring Video Doorbell. All from one app, you can see who’s on your porch, speak to them and unlock the door if you need. Again, it’s a great way to provide easy and secure access to a house sitter or see if someone is poking their nose around things when they shouldn’t be.

    Furbo

    We love the idea of a pet camera, especially for those short trips. Our cats are pretty self-sufficient, so they’re fine while we leave for the weekend. But we still like to see and talk to them. Regardless of how long you’re away, treat yourself and your pet with the comfort of this technology.

    Robot vacuum

    This is admittedly less about home safety and more about mental sanity. Come home to a clean house, especially if those fur babies are really, really furry, with a robot vacuum.

    Take it with you

    You want to be smart on the road, too. These portable smart devices can help you protect your travel gear and enjoy your trip more.

    Traveler rolling suitcase out of airport.

    Luggage tracker

    Slip a luggage tracker like one from Trackdot or a Tile key tracker in your suitcase, daypack, purse or even wet bag. It will make it easier to locate your gear, whether it’s somewhere in the airport, still in the back of your Uber driver’s car or overboard on that rafting trip.

    Baby monitor

    Maybe your vacation is less rafting and more baby-friendly. Tuck a portable baby monitor that works with a smartphone app in your bag, so you can keep an eye on your little one at the Airbnb. Everyone will rest easier. And remember these tips for booking a safe vacation rental.

    Clothes

    Yes, your clothing can be smart. Cooler and more stylish than a bucket hat, the Neviano swimsuit has a built-in sensor that monitors UV levels and tells you when to seek some shade. There’s also the Levi’s Commuter x Jacquard jacket that connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth, as well as other shirts and jackets that can help keep you extra warm using battery packs or infrared light.

    UV sanitizer

    A portable sanitizer that uses UV light to help disinfect small items can help you stay healthy while traveling. This one from Homedics is small enough to fit in your purse or pocket, great for cleaning your phone, keys and other small items on the road.

    Your home should feel like a haven, but we know sometimes you just have to get away for a bit. When you do, follow these steps to keep your home safe before leaving on vacation.

     

    Smart devices for a safe vacation.

     

    5 ways to use outdoor storage and control yard clutter.

    May 20, 2021 9:02 AM by emily.bailey

    Thursday, May 20, 2021

    Garden tool organization | Schlage

    To keep your yard looking clean and beautiful without sacrificing the convenience of having what you need nearby, try these DIY outdoor storage ideas.

     

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    Gardening, grilling, even just relaxing on the deck. It all requires things. Shovels and seed packets, propane tanks and scrapers, cushions and citronella candles. But where do you keep all your supplies when you don’t need them? To keep your yard looking clean and beautiful without sacrificing the convenience of having what you need nearby, try these DIY outdoor storage ideas.
    Outdoor tool shed with gardening tools.

    Tool or potting shed

    The most obvious way to store gardening supplies and outdoor toys is in a shed. You have loads of options, though, from prefabricated structures to DIY huts. We especially like the looks of this outdoor storage locker from Family Handyman, which shows that you can go low-profile and still have everything you need.

     

    Once you’re able to get in your shed, start organizing. After all, having a shed isn’t much help if you can’t find anything in it. Use PVC pipe to hold rakes, shovels and other similar tools. Hang a pegboard to store smaller tools. Bins on shelving, an accordion rack and many of the other organization ideas you’d use in your home will often also work out in your shed.

    One of the upsides of a shed is that they can be easier to secure than some other less permanent storage solutions. Especially if you keep dangerous or toxic supplies like power saws or fertilizers, remember to choose the right lock to keep your belongings – and the people around you – safe.

    2-in-1 furniture

    Multifunctional furniture can be ideal for outdoor organization, particularly if you have a small yard or want to hide your storage in plain sight. Try a DIY project like Ana White’s modern cedar outdoor storage bench. You can then use it to stash patio furniture cushions, s’mores sticks or whatever else you need to keep on hand.

    Jaime Costiglio turned a large planter into a garden hose holder, obscuring a common garden eyesore. You can’t go wrong with anything that’s simultaneously porch décor and storage.

    Gardening storage

    A potting bench can be a convenient place to keep your gardening tools and supplies, at least in the short-term. A simple shelf below the work station or some drawers and cabinets can keep everything nearby and handy, while also giving you a comfortable place to stand while you test your green thumb.

     

    If kneeling while you garden isn’t your idea of a good time, try out this DIY potting bench from Flower Patch Farmhouse, which uses fence boards, or this one from Instructables that has some sneaky storage.

    Kids’ containers

    If you have kids, you probably ask yourself frequently, “Where did all this stuff come from?” Choose all-weather materials to make them a toy box, just like you would indoors, to corral all the pool floaties, lawn darts and sporting equipment.

     

    For those bikes and pint-sized cars, Mom Endeavors made a mini garage. Easy to customize to match the color of your home or hide with landscaping, this is a great way to store larger toys so that you don’t have to look at them but the kiddos can still get to them.

    Kitchen cabinets and bars

    One of the great benefits of having your own yard is being able to grill or host backyard parties. If you build an outdoor kitchen, be sure to include storage such as traditional kitchen cabinetry. Whether it’s a full kitchen or just a grill, consider a rolling outdoor island where you can keep your spatula and tongs, grate cleaner and safety gear like a fire extinguisher.

    If you’re looking for something more modest, try a bar with storage. This can be made from an upcycled cabinet or hutch like Oleander + Palm. Or maybe you’d prefer a fold-down Murphy bar.

     

    DIY outdoor buffet
    Photo by Oleander + Palm

    How to choose the right outdoor storage

    No matter what kind of outdoor storage and organization you choose, look for solutions that fit these criteria.

    Durability

    It’s going to be exposed to the elements and extreme weather. Choose materials that won’t deteriorate and will protect your belongings inside. Some storage, like a shed, to have a solid foundation and be bolted to the ground, if necessary, to keep it from tipping in high winds, for example. If your storage is more mobile – things like bar carts or a kid’s toy box – consider adding wheels to make it easier to bring indoors during the offseason.

    Style

    If you don’t mind seeing it every day, your outdoor storage should be something nice to look at. Other times, you may want it to blend into the background.

    Convenience

    The whole reason you’re adding a shed or storage bench is to make it easier to enjoy your outdoor space. Choose storage that’s not only going to work for you today but also has the flexibility or room to grow with your family and lifestyle.

    Security

    Some of those things you’re storing are big-ticket items – a grill, bikes, expensive power tools. Make sure you secure them, not only from theft, but also to keep kids or other curiosity-seekers out of harm’s way.

    Keep your household clutter under control with more storage and organization tips at the Schlage blog.

     

    Garden storage ides to control clutter.

     

    Home improvement projects to do when you’re expecting.

    May 18, 2021 9:02 AM by emily.bailey

    Tuesday, May 18, 2021

    Home improvement projects when expecting | Schlage

    A new lifestyle and updated routines mean that you’re going to need new ways to add convenience and safety. Try these home improvement projects to help you get ready for the new baby.

     

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    With a baby on the way, your family is about to get bigger and better. Shouldn’t your home also get better? A new lifestyle and updated routines mean that you’re going to need new ways to add convenience and safety. Try these home improvement projects to help you get ready for the new baby.

    Nursery

    When you’re excited about bringing home Baby, there’s nothing more fun than nesting in the nursery. Start with some the basics like painting and installing smart baby monitors. Use water-based paints for safety and paint early to give it plenty of drying and ventilation time.

     

    While we’re talking about ventilation and airflow, consider installing a ceiling fan. A 2008 study published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine found that an infant’s risk of SIDS could be reduce by 72 percent if they slept in a room with a ceiling fan. You might like a little cool airflow as well, especially if you’re nursing in the summer.

    Look at your windows, too. If the windows or frames are damaged, won’t open or won’t secure tightly, it’s time to replace them. This is not only a security issue, helping to keep intruders out of your home, but also can reduce your heating and cooling costs, protect fingers from windows that slam shut unexpectedly and more. Choose window treatments wisely, too. If you have blinds, go cordless to reduce choking hazards.

     

    The nursery can be a good place for a baby gate, especially when you’re introducing pets to your infant. But if you aren’t looking forward to wrestling with an ill-fitting, ugly gate, try installing a Dutch door instead. You can open the top half, effectively creating a stylish baby gate. The kiddos and their toys stay contained inside without you losing sight of them, and everyone else, including Fluffy and Fido, stays outside. Check out these DIY Dutch doors on a budget to get started.

     

    Lastly, don’t forget about storage. For such little people, babies have a lot of stuff. Install drawer dividers to wrangle all those tiny socks and onesies. Because their clothes aren’t very long, use all that closet space by adding hanging shelves or multiple racks.

    Kitchen

    Outside the nursery, the kitchen is one area you’ll probably be spending the most time in. There are meals to prepare for the grown-ups and bottle washing galore for Baby. As the kiddo starts toddling around, you’ll also want to be ready for their sticky fingers to get into everything.

    Father holding newborn baby in kitchen.

    Let’s start with a big-impact kitchen renovation idea for bringing home a new baby: improve your sightlines. Open floorplans lost some of their appeal during the coronavirus pandemic, but there is still something to be said about being able to prepare your meals and while keeping an eye on Baby in the other room. Consider removing walls, creating a pass-through or simply rearranging appliances, if possible. Note that, while there are plenty of DIY projects you can safely tackle when you’re pregnant, demolition isn’t one of them. Recruit others for that step.

     

    A full kitchen reno isn’t for everyone, though, especially if you’re watching your finances before your expensive bundle of joy shows up. We also have some budget-friendly ideas for Baby. Install safety latches on cabinets and appliances. You’ll want to protect their tiny fingers and keep them from getting into the refrigerator, oven or under the sink where you keep cleaning supplies. Similarly, there are covers for stove knobs so your kiddo can’t turn on a burner.

     

    Find a way to hide the trash. A pull-out cabinet could be your answer to not only having a more beautiful kitchen but also to keeping Junior out of the garbage.

    Baby bottles on drying rack.

    Kitchen organization when you’re expecting is huge. You’re about to have tons of new gadgets and accessories – bottles and bottle warmers, pacifiers, pump accessories, food storage – and it’s all going to be tiny. Put a dishwasher basket on your baby registry and invest in bins for your pantry to keep from losing parts and your mind.

     

    Make extra room in your refrigerator and freezer while you’re at it. Baby is going to have a liquid diet for a while. And if you’re breastfeeding and pumping, you’ll need space to freeze your surplus. Again, bins can help you stay organized and avoid wasting precious nutrients for Baby.

    Bathroom

    Like your kitchen, bathrooms have a lot of potential for mishaps. Use safety latches on cabinets and even the toilet seat. Install anti-scalding devices on sink and bathtub faucets. An anti-scald valve prevents hot water from leaving the tap. Lowering the chance of burns means greater peace of mind during bath time, whether you’re protecting Baby, an older family member or someone with sensitive skin.

    Parents giving newborn baby a bath.

    And if you’re feeling a bit more extravagant, we have a few more ideas. Consider updating your bathtub to something more kid-friendly for starters. No one wants to bathe a toddler in a giant jacuzzi tub. Give your back a break.

     

    You might also like heated flooring. Trust us when we say bath time, and eventually potty training, will be more enjoyable for everyone.

    Laundry room

    The amount of dirty wash is about to expand exponentially. Lots of little clothes that have to be changed multiple times a day due to spit-ups and any variety of accidents – all of them wet and with weird stain – blankets, bibs, burp cloths, washcloths, cloth diapers. So. Much. Laundry. You need some upgrades to make life easier.

    Mother taking break from folding laundry to tickle baby.

    Now might be a good time to invest in a more efficient washer and dryer to save energy and water consumption. If you choose appliances with smart features that can automatically adjust washing and drying time and send notifications to your smartphone when it’s done, you can also spend more time with Baby and less time checking on the laundry.

     

    Set up a sorting and folding station. This could be multiple hampers or baskets – you should have a few good hampers anyway, especially in the nursery – or additional countertop space. If you don’t have room to add dedicated counters, try this budget hack from Down Home Inspiration.

     

    You’ll also need safe storage for detergents and anything else you want to keep away from Baby. This could simply be a high shelf or cabinets that lock. We especially like this compact cabinet, which includes a bit of storage space as well as a fold-down ironing board and hooks. Anything that folds up and away can be a great solution when you’re tight on space but need to store supplies, line-dry those adorable little outfits or need a temporary table for folding.

    The rest of the home

    Obviously, you and your baby won’t stay in just one spot, so it’s important to prepare your entire home for their arrival. Some of our suggestions are about safety, other are all about adding convenience. Your life is about to get a bit more … interesting, after all.

    Big brother reading book to baby.

    First, examine your home with a critical eye for safety. Test for lead paint, especially if you have a house older than about 1980, as well as mold and air quality. Make the appropriate updates. You might need to paint, treat mold and mildew, or invest in an air purifier.

     

    All those safety monitors you have in your house? The carbon monoxide, smoke and gas detectors? Make sure they’re functioning properly and replace their batteries now. You might even want to upgrade to smart smoke detectors, which will send alerts to your phone and, depending on the model and smart home compatibility, sometimes even contact emergency personnel for you.

     

    Check your stairways and railings, both inside and out. You never want a tripping hazard, but it’s even more important when you’re carrying Baby or have your hands full with all their gear (and when you’re dead-on-your-feet tired and less observant). Fix any rickety or uneven stairs, maybe install anti-slip tread and resecure loose hand railings.

    Baby crawling on living room floor.

    When they’re fresh home from the hospital, they won’t be very mobile, but eventually Baby will start crawling and exploring. Be ready for that day by securing bookcases, TV stands, dressers and any other furniture that could tip. You can find brackets for securing furniture to the walls at most home improvement stores.

     

    For a dose of safety and convenience, install smart lighting. Do it all over the house – the nursery, the kitchen, your bathroom. When you can see, you’re less likely to trip. Think of all those new toys lying around. And soft lighting, which you can often control via a smartphone app, means you can make it to the bathroom or nursery in the middle of the night without blinding yourself.

     

    Sync your lighting with a smart home hub and create Scenes or Routines. Tell Alexa to start the Baby Bedtime routine to dim the lights, play lullabies, turn the temperature down to 70 degrees – Baby sleeps best between 68 and 72 Fahrenheit – and turn on the smart baby monitor, all with one command. Doesn’t that sound a lot nicer than running around while you’re trying to get your little one down for a nap?

     

    There are so many opportunities to make your home welcoming for your new baby and the family who wants to visit and help. We didn’t even get into door locks for toddlers or childproofing your home. Find these tips and more at the Schlage blog.

     

    Wake up your garden with reused coffee grounds.

    May 17, 2021 9:02 AM by emily.bailey

    Monday, May 17, 2021

    Gardening with coffee grounds | Schlage

    Here are three ways “grounds-keeping” – reusing coffee grounds – will help with your groundskeeping.

     

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    If you want the best curb appeal on the block, you have to keep your garden looking nice. How to do that easily, inexpensively and, for some, naturally, is the big question. If you’re a coffee lover, the answer is probably already in your kitchen. Here are three ways “grounds-keeping” – reusing coffee grounds – will help with your groundskeeping.
    Person adding coffee grounds to potted plants.

    Compost your coffee

    Add used coffee grounds – they contain valuable nutrients like nitrogen, magnesium and potassium – and paper filters to your compost pile. The grounds are considered “green material,” the same as other food scraps. The filters are “brown material,” like newspaper or dried leaves. You want to keep a 4-to-1 brown-to-green ratio for an effective, healthy heap. Too skewed in either direction and you won’t have the right balance of nutrients and heat for materials to break down.

     

    Worms love those filters, so don’t be afraid to throw the paper in your vermicomposting bin.

    Fertilize your spent java

    First, a science lesson. Experienced gardeners know that the level of acidity in your soil can affect how well plants grow. Some plants love acidic soil, others don’t. It might be worth doing some research beforehand to determine which coffee-fertilizer method is right for your plant friends. That being said, used coffee grounds are generally low in nitrogen, and therefore acidity, so they probably won’t kill your plants outright. You can always test for coffee-based fertilizer and only keep it up if your plants seem to be thriving.

     

    Now, how it works. For a dry fertilizer, sprinkle your used coffee grounds right on top of the soil or mix it into the top few inches. Do this every week or so. For a wet fertilizer, which is great for watering your plants or spraying on leaves, brew two cups of used coffee grounds in five gallons of water for several hours or overnight. It’s tempting to just chuck your leftover java straight from mug to pot, but you need that diluted brew. Again, it’s an acid issue.

    Fight pests with old beans

    There are conflicting opinions about what keeps pests from bothering coffee-treated plants. Some say it’s the abrasive texture of the grounds and others think it’s the caffeine, which can be toxic to some bugs. Dried grounds sprinkled around your plants ward off slugs and snails and discourage cats and rabbits from bothering your flowers. Like you would with coffee fertilizer, add “fresh” used grounds every week or two.

     

    Prefer a nice cuppa instead of coffee? You can reuse your tea bags and water house plants with a cooled second brew. Beyond just hydrating, the weak tea will also protect against fungal diseases.

     

    There are even more DIY tips on the Schlage blog for all kinds of projects. If it’s more sustainable curb appeal you’re after, we have you covered. Find and share more gardening advice on Facebook and Pinterest.

     

    Our favorite landscape lighting for security and style.

    May 14, 2021 9:02 AM by emily.bailey

    Friday, May 14, 2021

    Landscape Lighting | Schlage

    Here are some of our favorite picks for making your outdoor lighting work for your safety, style and convenience.

     

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    When it comes to improving home security, lighting is perhaps one of the easiest upgrades. It’s also one of the most versatile – indoors or out, motion-activated, solar-powered, subtle, dramatic, relaxing. Here are some of our favorite picks for making your outdoor lighting work for your safety, style and convenience.
    Modern landscape lighting

    Spotlight on security

    You might not have to make major changes to your home to enjoy landscape lighting for security purposes. Many people already have a porch sconce by the front door. If that’s you, make sure it’s clean – outdoor dust can block the light – and replace the bulb. Would-be thieves typically won’t risk a front-door entry if they’ll be well-lit when trying to get in. You’ll also appreciate not having to stand in the dark when you get home and are unlocking the door. Additionally, consider putting your porch light on a timer so that it switches on in the evenings, even when you’re away.

     

    Motion-activated lights are popular for outdoor spaces for much the same reason as sconces. Some also connect to security cameras that will store the video for later, send a live clip to your smart phone or both. Position your lights and sensors in driveways, by gates at the side of your house or near a shed. Your backyard, especially if you have a pool, is another prime location. Just do your neighbors a favor and make sure it doesn’t shine in their windows when it flicks on.

    Modern landscaping with white contemporary home.

    Safety first

    A motion-activated spotlight certainly has the potential to scare off potential intruders, but there’s more to home safety than protecting your family against burglars. You want to be able to see where you’re going when you walk up the front porch steps or stroll through the garden. Use lighting to reduce the risk of tripping and falling.

     

    Solar-powered path lights are popular for a reason – they work. They’re also super easy since you don’t need an electrician or have to remember to change the batteries. A quick online search offers a variety of styles from traditional to quirky to practically invisible.

     

    Stairs, whether on your front porch or back deck, can be especially tricky for family members who are less stable on their feet or have trouble seeing at nighttime. Attach lighting to balusters, AKA porch posts, and railings. Don’t forget the steps themselves, either along the edges or underneath for something that’s as eye catching as it is safety-focused.

    Lovely lights

    The options below can still add an element of security, but let’s face it. We also love them for their curb appeal. And that’s OK! New lighting is a quick and often budget-friendly way to make a big impact with little effort.

     

    String lights have been popular for years for their simplicity and because they can really set a mood. A relaxing night for two on the patio or a festive soiree on the deck for the whole crew will benefit from the extra sparkle. If you have a pool or water feature, hang those twinkle lights over the water, which will reflect the light for extra magic.

    We all know plants love light, but did you know so do their planters? Tuck small lights in or around your planters to show off your flowers, even at night. These solar-powered illuminated planters offer a bit of a twist with different colors. Go for pure aesthetics or line your walkway and use them to illuminate a trip-free path.

     

    What about uplighting trees? Use lighting from below to give leaves a dramatic glow. It also works for larger shrubs, along fence lines and at holiday time or year-round.

    Landscape lighting illuminating trees and plants.

    Finally, if you add candles to lanterns, outdoor chandeliers or simply on a side table on your porch, practice good fire safety. The best option might be to opt for less flammable LED candles.

     

    Gorgeous curb appeal makes a great first impression on guests to your home. Get gardening tips, ideas for hosting the perfect backyard party and outdoor DIY projects at the Schlage blog.

     

    Landscape lighting ideas.

     

    How to grow your own pizza.

    May 13, 2021 9:02 AM by emily.bailey

    Thursday, May 13, 2021

    How to grow your own pizza toppings | Schlage

    What better way to use your harvest than to plant the ingredients you need for a tasty pizza the whole family can enjoy? Here’s what you need to grow your own pizza (cheese not included).

     

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    Gardening is a satisfying and relaxing way to spend the summer. Growing vegetables that you can then use in delicious meals is even better. What better way to use your harvest than to plant the ingredients you need for a tasty pizza the whole family can enjoy? Here’s what you need to grow your own pizza (cheese not included).
    Homemade pizza with tomatoes and basil from the garden.

    Tomatoes

    What’s a pizza without some good sauce? Making homemade sauce is a great way to use up all those tomatoes, especially if you overestimated how many plants you’d need at the beginning of the season (raise your hand if you’ve been there).

     

    Another reason we love tomatoes is that they can be grown practically anywhere, either in a garden bed or containers. If you’re going the container route, they thrive best in large pots, but because they grow vertically – be sure to get a tomato cage – they’re still ideal for balcony gardens. Plant them deeply, water them consistently and make sure they get plenty of sun.

    Garlic

    Plan ahead if you want garlic on your pizza. You’ll need to plant this pungent cousin of the onion in the fall, right after the first frost but before the ground freezes. The same goes for if you decide to grow it in containers. The long growing period is about the only downside to garlic. That and your breath, of course.

     

    Use your finger to push the clove about three inches below the surface of the soil, pointy end up, and space your cloves about three to four inches apart to avoid crowding. Water your garlic consistently, even through the winter months, and cover it with mulch or straw to help insulate the bulbs. If all goes according to plan, you’ll be ready to harvest in early to mid-summer.

    Peppers

    Sweet and hot peppers are some of the most common plants for urban gardening. You’ll need a pot at least one foot in diameter. Your little starter plant will look a bit funny in such a large container, but it will fill out before you know it. Water your peppers daily, feed them every week or so while the plants are flowering and make sure they get plenty of sun.

    Onions

    Whether you put onion on top of your pizza or in the sauce, this is a good plant to try in your garden or containers. They’ll need to be buried about five inches deep with at least one inch between each plant for best results. The variety you choose depends partly on where you live – long-day onions are ideal for northern states versus short-day onions farther south. You can try starting them from transplants, but seeds are easier.

    Herbs

    Some of our favorite herbs and seasonings are also the easiest to grow yourself. First up is basil. Grow it in a container with some fresh potting soil. When watering your basil, avoid getting the leaves and stem wet. Because it doesn’t need a lot of room to grow, you can plant this herb in a small container – about six inches should be fine – and keep it outdoors or indoors on a window sill for year-round deliciousness.

     

    Italian parsley is another great plant for small container gardening. Mix the potting soil with compost or fertilize it monthly for best results. It’s not a total sun-lover, though, so make sure it gets partial shade or keep it indoors. This will also help keep the soil from drying out.

     

    Third up is oregano. Not only can you grow this herb in pots, many experts recommend doing it that way. Oregano is very hardy, which means it’s easy to grow, but it also means it easy to let get out of control. Containers help keep it from spreading to your entire garden. Wait until the last frost to plant your oregano or be prepared to bring it indoors at night.

    Mushrooms

    Your kids might not like mushrooms, but that’s the beauty of a homemade pizza – half-and-half toppings are easier than ever. Growing mushrooms like the Button variety in a container is possible. A word of warning, however: mushrooms are probably best left to more experienced gardeners. You’ll need to set up the right conditions – Gardening Tips has a full guide – which are most easily achieved indoors.

    Pineapple (if you must)

    Pineapple on pizza is controversial, we know. If you’re pro-fruit on your pie, you can grow this topping in a container, even if you don’t live in a tropical region. Start it from scraps by cutting the spiky part off a store-bought pineapple, soak it in water for a day and then plant it in a gallon-sized container. Keep it in a warm, sunny place like your deck or balcony garden.

    Cauliflower

    Here us out. We aren’t recommending this cruciferous vegetable on your pizza, although that could add some delicious crunch. If you’re really and truly committed to a homemade pie, grow your own cauliflower and turn it into a crust. Cauliflower can be planted in a garden or containers wherever they get plenty of daily sun.

    Growing your own vegetables in containers is easier than you think. Get a more complete guide, including some creative recipe ideas, at the Schlage blog.

     

    How to grow your own fruit and vegetables in containers.

    May 12, 2021 9:02 AM by emily.bailey

    Wednesday, May 12, 2021

    Container gardens | Schlage

    Try these 10 fruits, vegetables, herbs you can grow in containers, plus our tips on recipes to make with your harvest.

     

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    As we’ve stayed closer to home in recent months, many of us tried our hand at new hobbies, gardening included. Our cooking habits have also changed and are influencing our gardens. We love the idea of growing your own vegetables. But what if you don’t have the yard space or want to start with a smaller project? Try these 10 fruits, vegetables, herbs you can grow in containers, plus our tips on recipes to make with your harvest.
    Herbs growing in small grey planters in windowsill.

    Choose your container wisely

    Before we get to the plant list, let us start by saying that growing container vegetables typically requires larger-than-usual pots. Veggies tend to be bigger and need more water, so you’ll need to give them plenty of space and deep soil to hold the moisture. The Old Farmer’s Almanac recommends barrels, buckets, large tubs and boxes. Whatever you choose, make sure it has drainage holes or add some of your own.

     

    If you want or need to use smaller containers – maybe you’re planting a balcony garden – just choose plants accordingly. We’ll let you know which plants are best for smaller gardens below.

    Spinach and kale

    Small-space gardening fans, rejoice! If you’re growing spinach and kale, you’re in luck. Put one spinach plant in just an 8-inch container or three to five kale plants in a single 20-inch pot. Both varieties prefer indirect sunlight, so if you’re growing them outside, find a shady spot. You can also grow them indoors, even in the winter. One of the nice things about kale is that you can start it from seed or transplant it, a great way to share your garden with friends and neighbors.

     

    You can also grow lettuce of nearly any variety in containers since they have a shallow root system, making it easier than ever to get your greens.

     

    How to use it: The obvious answer is to use your bounty to make a salad. Consider other recipes like a vegetarian lettuce wrap, add spinach to your next omelet or try your hand at baked kale chips.

    Summer squash

    It’s a common misconception that you need a lot of space to grow zucchini and other summer squash. That’s not true, but you will need a larger pot for these veggies. It’s also important to keep an eye on your plants. Harvest the squash every few days so they don’t crowd.

     

    How to use it: If you’re sick of zucchini bread already, slice your squash on a mandolin for a low-carb lasagna or simply cube and roast it in the oven for a delicious side dish.

    Pineapple

    Yes, you can grow pineapple in a pot, and no, you don’t have to live in a tropical region. You can even start this from scraps. Cut the spiky top off a store-bought pineapple, soak it in water for about a day, then plant it in a gallon-sized container. Keep it in a warm, sunny place like your balcony or deck.

     

    How to use it: You could always just eat it, although we have a friend who used the juice as the cooking liquid for rice. Perfect for luau-inspired meals on the back deck.

    Pineapple plant in black and white container.

    Strawberries

    Like squash, most people think you need a lot of room for this fruit. You will need a larger container, but you can certainly grow strawberries in a pot anywhere there’s plenty of sun. Also like squash, make sure you harvest the … ahem, fruits of your labor … regularly. That will encourage additional growth so you can reap the rewards year-round.

     

    How to use it: Two words. Strawberry. Shortcake.

    Strawberries growing in Terracotta planter.

    Radishes, cucumbers and carrots

    The Brothers Grimm might have given radishes a bad reputation when the witch in Repunzel grew them. Don’t let that stop you from planting them in your own container garden, though. They’re actually very easy and good crop for beginners. Choose a small planter – something the size of a paint bucket should give them plenty of room – and water them every few days. Now you won’t have to steal them and sacrifice your first-born to the witch next door.

     

    Cucumbers are a good veggie for those smaller gardens. The Old Farmer’s Almanac recommends a one-gallon pot for varieties such as Patio Pik, Pot Luck or Spacemaster cucumbers. Cucumbers are a vining plant, so make sure you also have a trellis or porch railing they can climb.

     

    If you’re growing to grow carrots in a container, the number one rule is to choose the right variety. Thumbelina, Romeo, Little Finger, Short ‘n’ Sweet (how adorable are those names!) are perfect because they don’t grow as long. Your pot should be wide and, more importantly, at least one foot deep to give your carrots room to grow underground. Try not to crowd the seeds, then place the container in full sun. You’ll likely see growth within about a week.

     

    How to use them: Toss them in a healthy side salad or pickle your cucumbers to enjoy later in the year.

    Carrot seedlings in a terracotta planter.

    Beans

    Try bush beans or pole beans in particular. All you need is a 12-inch pot and a pole or tomato cage for them to climb. Gardening Know How recommends a vegetable start mix, which has more nutrients than generic potting soil. After planting about two or three seeds around each pole, you should see some growth with a week. Give it about a month or two, depending on the sun and weather, and you’ll be dining on some delicious green beans before you know it.

     

    Some plants grow better when they have a compatible friend nearby. Beans can often go in the same container as carrots and squash, but keep them away from onions and garlic.

     

    How to use them: Put the casserole dish away. Try bacon-wrapped green bean bundles instead.

    Quinoa

    We don’t often think about growing whole grains, but if you plant quinoa, that’s exactly what you’re doing. It’s a bit more labor intensive than some of the other plants on this list – you’ll have to eventually separate the seeds from the chaff before eating – but most people think it’s worth the effort.

     

    How to use it: So many ways – in a soup, as a salad topper, in place of oats at breakfast, as the base for a burrito bowl …

    Quinoa in bowl with quinoa plants laying on brown table.

    Looking for more DIY projects? Visit the Schlage blog and find new ways to amp up your curb appeal, refresh your home for spring and more.

     

    Mother knows best: Lessons from Mom for a happy, healthy home.

    May 7, 2021 9:02 AM by emily.bailey

    Friday, May 7, 2021

    Lessons from mom | Schlage

    As we celebrate Mother’s Day, now is the perfect time to think about the best advice she gave when it comes to taking care of our homes.

     

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    Mom has taught you many things over the years. As we celebrate Mother’s Day, now is the perfect time to think about the best advice she gave when it comes to taking care of our homes. Here are some of our favorites from home improvement gurus, the people at Schlage and Allegion who help to keep your home secure and other experts.
    Mother and daughter embrace during backyard party.

    They got it from their momma

    Brian Patrick Flynn, contributor and featured designer for HGTV.com

    “As far back as age six, I remember thinking of how boring my friend's houses were and wanting to redo them myself. At six, that was unlikely to happen. It probably stemmed from my mom always updating our house every two years or so with a new paint color, millwork tricks and new upholstery … That one small taste of design had me hooked. What's fascinating most about it is that I've gone the opposite direction of my mom: bold colors are my norm and I barely even use white. Maybe I was adopted?" HGTV

     

    Anthony Carrino, HGTV star

    "My mom is the most selfless, giving person I have ever met, and I largely credit her for getting me started with interiors." HGTV

     

    See Anthony’s historic firehouse renovation, complete with Schlage door hardware now.

     

    Design lessons for real life

    Mina Starsiak Hawk, co-founder/owner of Two Chicks and a Hammer, HGTV star

    “The way I designed homes before I owned my first one was different. Now, designing the one that I’m currently in, that we filmed my forever home special about, we’ve been more driven by, ‘Okay we’re going to have a kid…’ I know babies have all the gadgets and the bottle warmers. So when I did my kitchen layout, I had a cabinet that literally sits right on top of the counter and has outlets inside of it. So, you can leave things plugged in and close the cabinet, so your counter doesn’t look cluttered. So just a lot of functional things like that, that until you’re in the situation, you don’t really realize that maybe you don’t have.” TV Insider

     

    Heidi Klum, model, TV host, producer and businesswoman

    "I'm not someone who [lives] like, 'Okay, this is a museum and you can't sit here and you can't touch this and everything has to be put in its place—[the kids] live here as much as we do. You come into our house and a giant elephant and lion are welcoming you. We have toys and things everywhere." Good Housekeeping

     

    You get what you pay for

    Coty M., Allegion Digital Workplace Administrator

    “My mom always told me it’s your home, take care of it. When it comes to repairs, if you go too cheap, then you will have to fix it again. Before committing to a project or repair for your home, do your research. If you can do it yourself, then do it because you will have a much better appreciation for your home. If you intend to hire individuals to do the work at your house, negotiate. The worst thing they will say is no.”

    Coty M with mother.

    Becky H., Content writer/Schlage blogger

    “$20 isn’t too much to spend if it makes your life better. My family tends to be frugal, but my mom has reminded my sister and me more than once not to be too stingy with our wallets. It doesn’t matter if it’s patio furniture, a filter to help the dryer work better or a high-quality spatula. If it adds enough value to your life, it’s money well spent.”

    Becky and mom during camping trip.

    Masters of the clean house

    Craig B., Allegion Manufacturing Engineer

    “After you shower, if you wipe your body down with your hands to remove the excess water before grabbing a towel, you reduce the amount of moisture on the towel and it stays clean longer.”

    Tyler B., Allegion Director of Customer Experience Applications

    “Does a lesson I was taught but clearly have never implemented count? My mother always tried to teach me that cleaning up a little bit every day helps you avoid the major interruption of having to clean up everything at the end of the week/month/<time period in between visits from adults>, and yet I don't seem to ever actually learn that lesson.”

    Mom-work balance

    Christina Haack, HGTV star

    “After you shower, if you wipe your body down with your hands to remove the excess water before grabbing a towel, you reduce the amount of moisture on the towel and it stays clean longer.” TV Insider

     

    Caitlin Taylor, architect

    “After you shower, if you wipe your body down with your hands to remove the excess water before grabbing a towel, you reduce the amount of moisture on the towel and it stays clean longer.” Architizer

     

    According to Architizer’s interview with Taylor and other woman architects, women start architecture careers in approximately the same numbers as men but leave the field in greater numbers. The American Institute of Architects’ Diversity in Architecture Survey found that 71% of women in the industry were concerned about work-life balance, compared to just 50% of men. Additionally, 70% of women, and 47% of men, found long hours make it difficult to start a family, thereby encouraging them to leave the field.

    This and that

    Mimi M., Allegion Executive Administrative Assistant

    “My advice to my kids (and one of them in particular said it saved him several times) is, ‘If you have to ask yourself if you should or you shouldn't … you probably shouldn't.’”

    Photo of Mimi with mother.

    Molly Williams, Apartment Therapy

    “Take your houseplants outside in the summer (or at least open a window). This is a lesson I’ve taken to heart over the years! When I was a kid, my mom would drag all her houseplants outside once the weather started warming up. By the time it was time to bring them indoors in late September, they would have grown tenfold.” Apartment Therapy

     

    Erin Napier, HGTV star

    "Don't do something to your home because you saw it on Pinterest. Your home should tell your story and be a soft landing at the end of the day. There's only one you, and you should celebrate that." Southern Living

     

    We trust our moms with our homes, our own children, practically everything. With everything she’s given you over the years, wouldn’t it be nice to give something back to her? Find thoughtful gifts for Mother’s Day at the Schlage gift guides and be sure to check out the newest guide for gardening mommas.

     

    Home improvement projects to complete in May.

    May 5, 2021 6:15 AM by emily.bailey

    Wednesday, May 5, 2021

    May home improvement checklist | Schlage

    Take advantage of the revitalizing season and tackle these projects for a safer, cleaner, happier home.

     

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    When school is winding down and you have summer fun on the mind, you might need a little help staying on top of other responsibilities. This list of DIY projects, maintenance tasks and ideas for celebrating the season can help. Don’t forget to download the May home improvement checklist, too.
    Spring landscaping with flowers.

    Indoor home checklist

    Even when sunshine and springtime call your name, make a bit of effort to get the inside of your home looking and working great.

    Farmhouse dining room with vase of tulips on table.

    checkbox Inspect plumbing fixtures

    Check the grout, caulking and pipes in your kitchen and bathrooms. If it’s discolored, peeling or cracking, it’s time to redo it. Repair leaks under the sink, dripping faucets or running toilet tanks to avoid water damage as well as to conserve water.

     

    checkbox Inspect cooling systems

    Hopefully you’ve already made an appointment for a professional to service your air conditioning system and keep it running efficiently. If you’re doing it yourself, start by replacing the filter and clear away debris, not just from the unit itself, but from floor vents and duct work as well. No central air? Install your window units now, taking special care to get a good seal. Don’t forget to dust your ceiling fans and reverse their flow to push cool air down from the ceiling.

     

    checkbox Touch up walls

    Clean them thoroughly, paying special attention to high-traffic areas like the foyer, halls and playrooms. How to clean your walls will depend on the type of paint. Once they’re free of dirt and grime, repair imperfections, especially if you’re going to repaint the walls. Patching holes and fixing dents will help your new paint job look flawless.

     

    checkbox Deep clean the laundry room

    If you haven’t cleaned the dryer vents or washed your machines lately, now’s a good time to do that. Because it’s a room with a lot of moisture, check for leaks, mold and mildew. Once that’s done, clear out anything you don’t need like half-empty bottles of detergent and that basket of orphaned socks. If your laundry room doubles as a mudroom, clear out cool-weather supplies and make room for summery items.

     

    checkbox Give bedrooms a lift

    It can be easy to do a budget bedroom makeover. Literally and figuratively lighten things up with new bedding with a less heavy comforter or with a brighter color. At a minimum, give everything a thorough wash. You might also change up the nightstands, either with upcycled furniture or by using a side table from another room. Hang new artwork, gift yourself some fresh flowers or add a reading nook.

    Outdoor home checklist

    May is the time to perfect your backyard and curb appeal. These DIY projects can help.

    Blood hound dog standing on front porch

    checkbox Refresh outdoor lighting

    With long summer nights on the horizon, you might not think much about lighting, but you’ll be glad you did when you end up spending more time out on the deck and when you’re on vacation. Replace the bulbs in existing porch light fixtures if necessary. You might also add some new fixtures that fit your lifestyle and set the mood for relaxing nights on the deck. And because lighting can deter thieves, consider putting them on an automatic timer with a smart plug or home automation hub. It will help your home look lived in, even if you’re roadtripping.

     

    checkbox Turn the porch into a hangout

    We’ve talked before about cleaning your patio furniture and getting it ready for backyard gatherings. This month, you might add a new feature. Maybe it’s a porch swing or hammock. Perhaps you want a water feature or hanging potted plants suspended from your porch ceiling. A new porch accessory could do wonders for your curb appeal as well as your comfort.

     

    checkbox Repair or replace exterior doors

    When the weather and humidity change, you might find that your front door sticks or doesn’t latch properly. Check your door frame and threshold for warping or cracking. Repairing these weak spots will eliminate that annoying stick as well as improve your home’s security. A well-maintained door combined with a secure exterior deadbolt is one of the leading ways to protect your home.

     

    checkbox Maintain garden pavers and walkways

    A safe front walkway is fairly obvious, but don’t forget about walkways through your garden. Make accommodations for guests and family members who have special needs. More of us are having older relatives come to stay, and you want them to be able to move safely about the yard even if they have mobility or vision impairments. Start with these tips for adapting your home for elderly relatives in ways that are both stylish and safe.

     

    checkbox Upgrade pool safety

    The demand for backyard pools skyrocketed in 2020. Whether you’re a new pool owner or a veteran, use May to upgrade your safety measures. Secure fencing, gates that lock and lighting are a good place to start.

     

    checkbox Power up flowers

    By May, we can be fairly confident that the last freeze is behind us. Move potted plants back outside if they’d been wintering indoors and get those flowers going in the beds. Choose varieties that are native to your area. They’ll not only thrive the best, but you’ll be doing Mother Nature a favor by not introducing harmful plants to the ecosystem.

    For the future

    Some planning is exciting, some less so. But it’s all important to get the most from your home.

    Men grilling food in backyard.

    checkbox Get ready for outdoor entertaining

    Grill masters, make sure you have enough propane or charcoal. Fire pit afficionados, double-check that your setup is still safe and you have enough wood to get through a full s’mores session. Everyone, get the patio furniture ready, trim the yard, clean up any doggy deposits left over from winter and prepare for some backyard bashes.

     

    checkbox Make a painting plan

    Summer is usually a good time to paint or stain your home’s exterior. Use this time to decide if you’re going to do it yourself or hire a professional and figure out the best color for your home’s exterior.

    For the greater good

    There’s lots to celebrate in May. Help everyone enjoy the festivities.

    Mother holding bouquet of daffodils while hugging toddler son.

    checkbox Celebrate Mother’s Day

    Treat your own mom or another inspiring woman to something special. To make a positive impact on those in your community, try donating a small gift to a local women’s shelter where they might not have someone to help them celebrate.

     

    checkbox Honor others for Memorial Day

    Before you fire up the BBQ, head to a local cemetery or veterans’ home. Lend your DIY skills for repairs, trash removal or simply offer flags and flowers to show your appreciation.

    In case you missed it

    If you got overly caught up in the April Fool’s fun, circle back and check off these items from our April home improvement checklist.

    Spring kitchen with pink vase of flowers.

    checkbox Clean trash bins

    You’ve been spring cleaning, maybe eating more fresh foods (which can mean more food waste from trimmed veggies and such) and shaking off the dredges of winter. Thoroughly wash your trash and recycling bins with a combination of distilled vinegar, dishwashing soap and warm water to keep stink to a minimum.

     

    checkbox Test the irrigation system

    Many regions are about to see hotter temperatures and less rain. Keep your yard and plants looking grand by making sure your sprinkler system is up to the task. If you don’t already have your irrigation system on a timer or synced with your smart home system, consider those options now.

    Time to buy

    Indoor and outdoor appliances, home goods, DIY tools. According to Consumer Reports, there’s great variety on the list of items to buy in May.

    checkbox Appliances: Air conditioners, dishwashers, freezers, blenders, carpet cleaners, ranges, grills, leaf blowers

     

    checkbox DIY: Paints, wood stains, chainsaws

     

    checkbox Electronics: Smart watches, wireless speakers

     

    checkbox Home goods: Air mattresses, mattresses, strollers, insect repellents, sunscreens, bike helmets

    All work and no play makes even the savviest homeowners dreary. Visit us at Schlage.com/blog for hosting and entertainment ideas or follow us on Pinterest for spring curb appeal inspiration.

     

    Choosing the right security grade for your exterior deadbolts and locks.

    May 4, 2021 9:02 AM by emily.bailey

    Tuesday, May 4, 2021

    Right security grades for deadbolt locks | Schlage

    Here's what you need to know to choose the most secure, and stylish, deadbolts and locks for each door of your home.

     

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    When it comes to exterior door hardware, quality matters for both security and style. You need to choose a lock you can trust to help keep your belongings and loved ones safe. A great bonus is if it happens to enhance the curb appeal of your home, too. Here's what you need to know to choose the most secure, and stylish, deadbolts and locks for each door of your home.
    Young girl unlocking front door with Schlage Encode wifi smart lock.

    What are door hardware grades?

    The grades from door hardware testing are a great way to determine if a lock meets your security needs. Look for hardware that has been tested against the highest industry standards, like the BHMA residential grading system.

     

    BHMA is a group of industry experts that grades residential door hardware performance in the categories of Security, Durability and Finish. A grade of ‘C’ is good, ‘B’ is better and ‘A’ is best. When you see something is AAA, that means it received the best grade possible in all three categories.

    Residential door hardware security grades
    Now that you understand how to find the best possible grade (AAA) for deadbolts and locks, you can start to figure out what the best exterior door hardware is for each of your home's doors and for your lifestyle.

    Front door

    Yellow front door with Schlage Custom Handleset.

    Most break-ins – 34 percent, according to some reports – happen at the front door. That means improving security at your front entry is a good step toward improving the security of your home overall. Choose a deadbolt that’s been tested for quality against bumping, picking and forced entry and received the highest BHMA rating in Security.

     

    The front door is also your opportunity to make a lasting first impression. Greeting your guests with a chipped or faded handleset might cause them to think that other details in the home will be neglected. Instead, choose a deadbolt and handleset with a style and finish you love and that will last.

     

    Do both these features – security and style – come in one neat package? They certainly can. Schlage mechanical deadbolts and F-series handlesets are graded AAA in residential Security, Durability and Finish. When you want to make your home your sanctuary, someplace you feel both secure and comfortable in all ways possible, you know you can turn to Schlage.

    Back and side doors

    Schlage Encode Wifi Smart Lock in Bright Chrome on back door.

    Like many homeowners, you may find that your back door or side entrance are the most frequently used. Finish and security still matter here, but you may want to look for a lock that also adds greater levels of convenience. A smart lock or electronic deadbolt at the back door ensures that trusted family, friends and service providers who need access to the home have it without you needing to hide a spare that can be easily found by intruders.

     

    If you’re looking for a smart lock with a AAA grade, you’ll want the Schlage Encode™ Smart WiFi Deadbolt, Schlage Sense® Smart Deadbolt or Schlage Connect® Smart Deadbolt with alarm.

    Interior and exterior garage doors

    Teal garage door with Schlage Keypad lever door lock.

    Convenience definitely matters for garage doors, whether interior or exterior. As we get closer to summer, we often find ourselves coming and going more frequently. Our outdoor DIY project list is growing and summer activities are picking up. Make it easy to get out the door to start the fun or get tools from the garage by choosing a AAA-rated keyless lock that adds convenience and an extra layer of security.

     

    The Schlage Touch™ Keyless Touchscreen deadbolt and lever are perfect for garage doors and are rated AAA in Security, Durability and Finish.

     

    For more information about door hardware grading and finding the most secure deadbolts, visit the Schlage Security Center.

     

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