Worth watching

If you love houses, check out PBS' fascinating "10 Homes That Changed America," premiering April 5. The hourlong show highlights 10 influential homes that transformed residential living, from grand estates to the tenements of New York City. You'll discover what was influential about well-known homes, including Thomas Jefferson's Monticello and Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater. You'll also learn about lesser-known transformational dwellings, such as the Langston Terrace in Washington, D.C., a 1930s public housing project designed by African-American architect Hilyard Robinson, who believed in the power of architecture to transform lives.

There's plenty of eye candy, including a lavish look at the Gamble House, the California retreat of the wealthy Gamble family, whose handcrafted details by architects Charles and Henry Greene helped inspire a bungalow boom.

If you've been to Chicago, you've probably noticed the round, scalloped high-rises of Marina City. But did you know that they were bankrolled by the janitors' union in 1962 in hopes of revitalizing the city's downtown at a time when the middle class was fleeing the city for suburbia?

The show concludes with a look at the Glidehouse designed in 2004 by and for architect Michelle Kaufmann. Compact, green, modern and prefab, it's inspired many other design professionals and homeowners to follow her lead.


DIY walls

Does your yard need some hardscape to add structure? Learn how to install a free-standing wall during a free seminar at Gertens. You'll learn about construction and installation techniques for building wall units that add privacy, seating, gardens and partitions, plus tools needed for the job. The workshop will be held at 11 a.m. on April 9. Registration is requested at gertens.com/events. Gertens is located at 5500 Blaine Av., Inver Grove Heights.

Free landscape help

Need some fresh ideas for sprucing up your landscape? Chat with award-winning designers and horticulturists at a free Open Design Studio, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on April 16, offered by Phillips Garden, a landscape design/build firm. Walk-ins are welcome, as time permits; or schedule an appointment at 612-721-1221. Phillips Garden is located at 2646 Cedar Av. S., Mpls.

Volunteers sought

If you have an interest in wetlands, insects and plants, here's a volunteer opportunity for you. Hennepin County's Wetland Health Evaluation Program is seeking volunteers to monitor wetlands in Minneapolis and north and west suburban areas. No science background or experience is required; Hennepin County will provide training and equipment. The time commitment is about 15 hours per month, June through September. The monitoring will be done in Brooklyn Park, Brooklyn Center, Minneapolis, Plymouth, Medina, Corcoran, Bloomington, Eden Prairie and Minnetonka. For more information or to volunteer, call Mary Karius at 612-596-9129 before June 15.

Gardening support

Eager to start gardening this growing season? Gardening Matters organizes garden hubs in Minneapolis and St. Paul that are now open for membership. The hubs provide seeds, seedling plants, "skill-share" sessions and "gardening socials."

Upcoming seed-distribution events include April 9 in northeast Minneapolis, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Northeast United Methodist Church, 2510 Cleveland Av. NE., Mpls.; April 15 in St. Paul's Frogtown/Midway neighborhood, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Pilgrim Baptist Church, 732 Central Av. W., St. Paul; April 16 in north Minneapolis, 10 a.m. to noon, Redeemer Center for Life, 1800 Glenwood Av. N., Mpls.; April 23 in the Phillips neighborhood, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Waite House, 2323 20th Av. S., Mpls.

Plant-distribution events will take place May 14. For more information and to sign up, call 612-821-2358 or visit gardeningmatters.org/membership.

Hydrangea helper

Here's a new way to keep your Endless Summer hydrangeas looking their best this growing season and beyond. Bailey Nurseries has launched a digital care plan for the popular plants. Opt in, and you'll receive text messages prompting you when to begin fertilizing, best practices for watering and how to prepare plants for the winter months. The reminders will be sent at relevant times and tailored to different regions and their weather patterns. It's easy to sign up. Just send a text to 99000 and type Endless Summer. You'll soon receive a link to a video about hydrangeas and their care.

Better your nest

Planning on repairing, remodeling or revising your abode this spring? At the Home Improvement and Design Expo, more than 150 painters, remodelers, interior designers and landscape pros will offer their expertise and services. Presentations will focus on color trends, geothermal heating and cooling, tiny houses and bathroom remodeling. Sign up and bring photos to a 10-minute interior design consultation. The expo is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 9 at Inver Grove Heights Community Center, 8055 Barbara Av. E. Admission is $6 or free with a nonperishable food item. Go to mediamaxevents.com.

Dahlia sale

Thousands of dahlia tubers, including rare and exclusive varieties, will be available during a one-day sale sponsored by the Minnesota Dahlia Society. Knowledgeable dahlia growers will be on hand to answer questions about dahlias and club activities, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (or until sold out) on April 9 in the Heritage Room at Bachman's Garden Center, 6010 Lyndale Av. S., Mpls. For more information, contact Sandra Ward at 651-686-7485 or visit minnesotadahliasociety.org.

Home projects to plants

Plymouth Parks and Recreation is holding a Home Expo that features a plant sale, gardening and landscaping expertise, home-improvement help, environmental activities and displays of products and services. The free event is from 6 to 9 p.m. April 8, and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 9, Plymouth Creek Center, 14800 34th Av. Go to plymouthmn.gov.

Designer boot camp

Join Gabberts designers in a round-table setting to hear about trends, how to solve design challenges and incorporate cost-effective design schemes in your home, from 10:30 a.m. to noon April 14, 21, 28 and May 5. The free designer workshops are at both locations, the Galleria, 69th St. and France Av. S., Edina, and 3201 Country Dr., Little Canada. To register, go to gabberts.com or call 952-927-1500.