Backyards are a place to put your DIY power on display, from maintaining the exterior to grilling dinner. When you have a few projects on your agenda, a local hardware store is often the best place to shop. Employees will have special knowledge of local needs and trends, there are small parts for fixes that are not often in big box stores, and some top brands, like Benjamin Moore, only sell to independent shops.

Maine Hardware in Portland is an outstanding and long-time resource for all types of projects. They are part of the ACE Hardware buying cooperative, so they can order anything from the ACE website in house while also independently carrying the brands you love and providing the services you need.



Your home’s exterior is part of your backyard and a splintering deck or peeling paint do not make a nice backdrop. Aura is Benjamin Moore’s top of the line paint, which can be mixed to any color—or color matched—for a long-lasting exterior. Chuck, one of the team members in Maine Hardware’s paint department, suggested using flatter finishes if you have some imperfections that you need to hide and semi-gloss or satin paints for trim.

When it comes to the deck, wood stains are less problematic than paint because they allow a bit of moisture to pass through and won’t peel away as much. While you will need to sand and clean like you would with new paint, you do not need to prime if you are using a wood stain, which will cut down on work hours if you plan to DIY. If you are looking for a solid stain, Maine Hardware carries Benjamin Moore Arborcoat, which can be tinted to almost any color. Other transparencies are available as well, such as semi-solid, with a more limited color selection.


Quieter, easier to maintain and fume free, battery-powered lawn tools can operate for 30 to 45 minutes on a single charge, which makes them great for city lots or daily maintenance jobs like leaf-blowing.

EGO is a leader in battery-powered lawn care. Each tool uses the same 56V battery type, either at 2.5Ah ($159.99) or 5Ah ($259.99), which uses a single charging system ($159.99). One of EGO’s top-selling products is the modular POWER+ Multi-Head system with customizable attachments for an edger, pole saw, hedge trimmer and more. The base unit retails at $149.99 with various attachments ranging from $70 to $270.

STIHL products have an overall higher price point that consumer reviews confirm are tied to the overall quality. Each tool uses one of four battery types, which go from $90 to $240, while the chargers start at $49.99 for basic to $149.99 for high speed. Another reason to spend a little more on STIHL is that Maine Hardware provides the warranty and service for their products. If you buy EGO, you will have to work directly with the manufacturer for any issues.


If you want to get extremely locally grown, use Coast of Maine organic soils and dressings in your garden ($12.99 to $30.99 per cubic foot). Not every ingredient is produced in the state, but
they are locally owned and exclusively sold to independent retailers.

Use the nutrient rich Bar Harbor Blend Potting Soil or the Castine Raised Bed Mix for container planting, though you can hopefully super-size your veggies with the mighty Stonington Blend, which has mycorrhizal fungi, kelp, fish bone and alfalfa meal, as well as worm castings, peat, coir and lobster compost.

If your beds need a pick-me-up, Tomato & Vegetable Planting Soil or Quoddy Blend Lobster Compost are great mix-ins. Dark Harbor Blend Enriching Mulch is pre-composted, so it will protect surface soil in the summer and then be turned into beds in the fall.


Consider the Big Green Egg, an eye-catching, ceramic-cast, charcoal-only grill that maintains temperatures like nothing else on the market, so you can use them as smokers and to bake bread or pizza. 10” diameter Mini Eggs ($429) are perfect for small spaces or single or two-person homes, though sizes go up to the 29” 2XL ($2,199) so you can host the annual family reunion. BGEs come with a limited lifetime warranty.


Check out the Maine Hardware Rent and Repair Center. They’ve got a large assortment of hand tools, power tools, and other equipment, including log splitters, carpet cleaners, lawn aerators, lawn mowers, tillers, post hole diggers, power washers, floor sanders, drain cleaners, and more.

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