GREAT MILLS, Md. — If you’re planning a spring home improvement project, you may find yourself suffering from a bad case of sticker shock. COVID-19 has triggered high prices and shortages for items like lumber, shingles, and insulation.

However, local building expert Melanie Dyson says some types of projects are still a bargain. Dyson’s family has been serving SOMD for nearly 100 years. Dyson Building Center started as a sawmill back in the 1920s. Melanie’s grandparents transitioned the business to a hardware store in the 1950s. Today Dyson Building Center offers a wide array of home improvement options.

Melanie, one of three of the fourth generation of the family working in the family business, said, “Last year with the lockdown, we were insanely busy with people doing home projects. We’re expecting that again. However, this year some items are hard to get. Treated lumber and plywood prices are crazy because of manufacturers. Normally, we’d suggest building decks and treehouses but the cost is outrageous.”

Fortunately, Melanie has some great ideas for projects that are a little easier on the wallet.

Refresh Your Lawn

“We have a great grass seed called Jonathan Green that’s only sold to independent stores,” Melanie said. “It does really well in our area.”

Their most popular grass seed is called Black Beauty. There’s also a special line called Chesapeake Beauty designed especially for Maryland soil. “A lot of people have tried and come back and told us how much they love it.”

She says the store not only carries seed but all of the equipment you’ll need to care for your lawn.

Up Your Mulch Game

Mulch not only helps retain moisture and fight weeds, but it can also improve the look of your house. Melanie said, “We have five types of mulch – Cypress, shredded hardwood, and black, brown, and red mulch. You can match it to your house for a unique look.”

Grow Your Garden

Dyson Building Center carries many different types of soils and fertilizers to get your garden ready for the growing season.

Unlike big-box stores where the employees might not know much about the products, the employees at Dyson are there to offer advice. “Our soil experts would be happy to help you make a plan for whatever you want to grow. Our clerks are always front and center to help people. We have people who have worked there for 20 or 30 years and they have the knowledge to steer you in the right direction. If we don’t know, we’ll find someone who does or help you research it and find the answer while you’re there.”

Spruce Up Your Deck

While high lumber prices might make building a deck expensive, Melanie says it’s the perfect time to update your deck with stain. Whether you want to stain a deck you built last year or prolong the life of an old one until lumber prices come down, she says they’ve got the perfect product. “There’s a very good brand of stain called Cabot. They make stains for many types of products. We took a special course on Cabot, so we know the best kind to recommend for your project.”

Melanie says if you haven’t been to Dyson Building Center, you’ll likely be surprised. “We have a large 6-acre lumberyard filled with different building materials. But we also have tools, accessories, whatever you need for your home project. We have tons of stuff inside the store including paint, stain, plumbing, lawn, and garden… we even have crabbing supplies. Come check it out and walk around to see all the unique stuff you can find.”

And remember, if you need help, a local expert will be glad to assist you.

Visit the store at 20375 Point Lookout Road in Great Mills or check them out online at

You can also call 301-994-9000 if you have any questions.