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Reasons Why You Really Should hire a Skip for Your Rubbish Needs

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Many of us like to work in the garden in the UK and sometimes, we like to do some home renovations as well. As with all work, there is always stuff left over that we don’t want anymore, but there is nowhere to put it. The laws in the UK are quite strict regarding the dumping of unwanted rubbish, so it makes sense to take all the stress away and give it to a company who want to deal with such things. These companies come in the shape of skip hire companies and they have proven themselves to be invaluable.

Great Selection

There are a number of different skips available for hire and they range from small mini skips to large skip hire in Milton Keynes and surrounding areas. There are skips available that you can just walk your rubbish into them and others that have a lockable lid to keep undesirables out. Whatever you need, it is very likely that these skip hire companies will have the skip for you. The ease in which you can get one is great. You just make a simple phone call, tell them what kind of rubbish you want to dispose of and they will send the right skip around to you immediately.

Choosing Correctly

When it comes to choosing the right size of skip for your job, this can be a little difficult. Choose one that’s too small and they will have to come back again and again. Choose one that’s too big and you end up paying money for something that you don’t need. The best way is to describe the type of job you are intending to do and the people at the skip hire company will advise you best. Be sure to make sure that there is an area where the skip can be put down quite easily.

Very Affordable

For those of you that may think that hiring a skip is expensive, you couldn’t be more wrong. Hiring a skip has never been cheaper and when you think of the alternatives, then you know you are getting good value for money. Try to do it yourself and you are getting yourself into territory you really don’t want to be in. You need to find transport, load it all up and then unload it all again at the dumping site and maybe have to do it numerous times until it’s all gone. The alternative is to pick up the phone, order a skip and they take it away when it’s full. It’s easy.

Environmentally Friendly

Not only are you getting rid of your rubbish responsibly, but you are also doing your bit to reduce your carbon footprint and to protect Mother Earth. These skip bin companies do all they can do to recycle everything that they pick up and they will only dispatch it to the dumping site when they have exhausted all avenues.

Hiring a skip has never been easier or cheaper and there is really no excuse for not hiring one, and getting all your rubbish taken away responsibly.

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DIY Projects

The Best Way to Stain Your Teak Furniture

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If you’re unfamiliar with teak, it’s a large tree that’s grown in tropical forests. Its superior ability to resist elements in comparison to other woods is why it’s often used to make outdoor furniture. While it’s very resistant, it still has to be treated. If not treated, it can fade to a greyish color. Staining helps to prevent the fading from happening. It’s a simple process that just requires the right tools and techniques. Here’s how to properly stain your teak furniture.

1. Sanding

Before you stain your teak furniture, you have to sand and smooth out the wood first. Take a dry paper towel and brush off any dirt, dust, or debris. If some spots are a little harder to remove, use a wet rag to rub the area clean. Any grease, dust, or dirt left on the surface of your wood will cause the stain to not properly adhere. Avoid any use of cleaning products. It will make staining more difficult and also potentially damage your wood.

Move your hand over the furniture to locate rough spots in the wood. If there are areas that have to be sanded down to match the rest of the surface, use 120 grit sandpaper to do it. As you’re sanding, frequently check to see if the spot has become even with the rest of the wood. When you’re doing that, you’ll need to ensure the surface is even and ready to absorb the wood stain. Use 220 grit sandpaper to sand the entire surface until it feels smooth and even.

It will open up the pores of the wood, allowing for the stain to more efficiently adhere to the surface. Be sure you’re sanding along the grain, so you don’t risk scratching up the wood. Afterward, wipe off any wood dust with a dry rag.

2. Smoothing

Take a foam brush to paint a layer of sanding sealer on the wood. It will make the surface smoother and help give your wood stain a better grip. Dilute your sealer with mineral spirits if you want to achieve a lighter color. After the sealer has started drying, grab a clean cloth, and wipe off any remaining sealer that’s pooled atop the wood. Doing this will reduce the possibility of spots or blotches forming on the wood and keep your surface smooth. The sealer needs to be dried completely. It will likely only take a few hours for this to happen. When completely dry, sand the surface a few more times with 220 grit sandpaper. It will ensure any spots where your sealer didn’t dry evenly are smoothed out. After sanding, wipe off any remaining residue with a rag.

3. Staining

Several tools are useful for painting on the stain. You can use a bristle, a foam, or even a cloth dipped in stain. You’ll want to apply an even coat all over the wood. If there are parts of the furniture you want to avoid staining, you can use masking tape to protect those areas. Wood stain can come in a water-based formula or an oil-based formula. While water-based formulas tend to be more common, oil-based will potentially last longer.

After staining, wipe off any excess amounts not absorbed by the wood with a clean, dry rag. Make sure it’s a rag you don’t mind getting dirty, as the stain can be tough to get washed out. Keep in mind that the longer you leave the stain on before wiping, the darker it will be. The amount of time that it will take for your stain to dry completely depends on the thickness of the layer you used. You don’t want to touch the stain too much if it’s still wet. Otherwise, you could end up with a blotchy, uneven coat.

When the first coat of stain is dry, observe the wood’s color and determine if you’re satisfied with it. If you decide that you want the furniture to be darker, add a second coat of wood stain on top of the previous layer. Repeat the same process as before. After repeating the process, you can use a clean brush to paint the finish if you’ve got the desired color. Once the finish is applied, give it time to try. Be mindful that there are three main types of finish.

Oil finishes look the closest like wood. Unfortunately, this finish isn’t the best for protecting wood and shouldn’t be used on outdoor furniture. Lacquer finishes can give an attractive look while also providing durability to the wood. Be mindful that this finish will require multiple coats. Polyurethane finishes tend to be the best in protecting wood, as it’s effective in even repelling water.

What brand and color match teak wood?

You can mix and match colors like cream and tan. With accent colors, pay attention to the undertones that are on the stain your teak has. Teak often has an orange undertone. If your goal is to bring out this color, go with the opposite color on a color wheel chart. The opposite one, in this case, would be blue.

Final Tips

If there are some gouges or rough areas in the furniture, try using a wood filler before you stain it. If you want some idea of what color you’ll get from staining your teak furniture, use these steps on a plank of teak first. Then, you’ll be able to know if you’re using the right stain or finish to get the kind of color you want to achieve. It will also be good practice for doing these steps correctly. It’s important to remember that wood stain can cause your skin to be irritated. It’s best to wear rubber gloves whenever you’re staining teak.

Teak furniture can be one of the most useful styles to consider selecting for your outdoor furniture. Properly maintaining it through staining is necessary to prevent fading. Following all of these tips will help you keep your outdoor furniture looking nice for a long time. Here’s where you can learn more about Garden Furniture Teak.

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Landscaping

5 Amazing Benefits of Hiring a Lawn Service

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Everyone wants to have a lawn that is the envy of the neighborhood. The problem is that many people simply don’t have the time or the ability to keep their grass looking great all year long. With schedules getting busier every year, not everyone wants to spend their weekends mowing and fertilizing their lawns.

Having a great lawn takes more than just sticking to a regular mowing schedule. Every lawn is different and needs special attention to keep it looking its best. Proper watering, aerating, and feeding are essential to keeping your lawn healthy. Most people don’t have the knowledge or experience to know how to handle lawn problems when they come up.

Hiring a lawn service like lawn.com.au mowing may seem unnecessary, but the benefits can be worth the money and the convenience. Let’s take a look at some of the amazing benefits of hiring a lawn service.

Expertise

Most homeowners are genuinely lost when it comes to keeping their lawn healthy and looking great. Factors like how often their lawn needs watering and proper fertilization are a mystery to most people. If you don’t have the proper knowledge or experience, you could do more damage than good by attempting to do it yourself.

When you hire a lawn service, you will have the advantage of working with professionals. Lawn care experts know what needs to be done to avoid damage.

Labor Free

Cutting the lawn is a manual labor chore that can be too much for a lot of homeowners. Many people end up with aches, pains or even injuries from cutting and maintaining the lawn.

Seniors are especially at risk for heat exhaustion or falling when left to manage their lawn. Anyone that struggles with mobility or health issues can benefit from bringing in a lawn service to take care of the labor.

Save Money

You may wonder how dishing out cash to bring in a lawn service can save you money, but it’s true. When you add up the costs of mowing equipment, lawn fertilizers, seed, edgers, and your time every week, it becomes clear that you can save money by bringing in a lawn service. These professionals show up with all of their own equipment, chemicals and staff to take care of your lawn at no extra expense.

Consistency

Even with the most careful maintenance, it’s inevitable for your lawn to have problem spots. The amount of time that needs to be invested in these areas can leave your grass looking less than perfect.

Professionals can spot small issues before they become unsightly problems. With a regular cutting and fertilizing schedule, you can count on your lawn looking great from week to week.

Curb Appeal

You can have the most unique and stylish home on the block, but without a well-maintained lawn, your property will struggle with curb appeal. A neat and lush lawn equals an attractive home. Impress your neighbors and bring up the value of your home with a great yard all year long.

Hiring a lawn service has more benefits than just relieving you of grass cutting duties on your precious weekends. If you want the best looking lawn in the neighborhood, give your property a neat and attractive appearance and consider a lawn service for your home today.

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Home Care & Living

The Importance of a Rain Gutter in Your Garden: Be a Smart Homeowner

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Image Courtesy of : https://www.flickr.com/photos/132399483@N05/28248230051

If you’re a fan of gardening, then occasional rainfall is always a pleasure to see. It saves you from having to water your garden the manual way, right? But everything in excess is never an ideal situation—and that includes rainfall.

Too much rain can do more harm than good to your plants and flowers. Excess rain water is likely to cause soil erosion. This is generally an undesirable situation whereby excess water is running over soil.

We’ll discuss in detail to help you make the best decision for your garden this season.

What Are the Drawbacks of Soil Erosion?

Soil erosion will unfortunately strip soil of its most valuable nutrients, leaving it infertile. Your hopes of a beautiful garden with healthy flowers can become nearly impossible. Your only alternative in this regard will be to conduct expensive soil treatments to restore the fertility. We’ll quickly add that it’s no cheap exercise.

Aside from removing important soil nutrients, garden erosion will simply cause a muddy mess in your backyard.

The Solution

By installing a rain gutter system, you instantly avoid costly soil treatments and a messy garden. But we can’t emphasize enough the importance of engaging the services of a professional in rain gutter installation such as the cityseamless.com team. This way the job is done properly the first time so you’ll get your system to perform effectively.

Cleaning is Vital

Installing a rain gutter system on your property is only the first step. You need to carry out regular maintenance of the system to ensure that it’s functioning optimally and prevent the problems we mentioned.

Part of regular maintenance includes cleaning the rain gutter. It’s not uncommon for foreign objects—especially leaves—to get stuck in the rain gutter. This obstructs the proper flow of water, rendering the system ineffective.

If you have the tools and DIY skills, you can do this job yourself. It will also save you some money. Just be sure to do the following:

  • Use a leaf blower or hose for the task. Make sure you wear a face mask to prevent debris from getting into your eyes while blowing.
  • You’ll need heavy duty gloves to protect your hands.
  • You need to buy a gutter cleaning kit which you’ll attach to your hose.
  • Not all water can be removed by the blower. Keep a garden tool nearby to scoop out water by hand.
  • Make sure you start blowing near the drainage outlet—at the low end of the gutter—for effective results.
  • Use a bucket to gather all the leaves before disposing of them on your compost heap.

Wrapping Up

Installing a rain gutter system on your property should never be viewed as an unnecessary expense but rather an investment in your home. Your garden needs it and your resale value will soar. Everybody wins!

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Home Care & Living

The Danger Of Leaving Rotten Trees In Your Yard

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Having trees in your yard can provide a lot of benefits. For one, trees can improve the aesthetic value and curb appeal of your property. Trees can also utilize your outdoor space and provide better air quality.

However, when you’re leaving rotten trees in your yard, that’s another story. Rotten trees can be dangerous for you, your family, your property and everyone who’s living around you.

Professional tree trimming services, such as Bellarine Tree Services, ensures that the trees on your property are healthy and well-maintained.

If you don’t hire them and opt to leave rotten trees in your yard, you might experience the following dangers:

1. The Entire Household And Your Neighbors Can Be Susceptible To Injuries.

You saved a lot of money in order to afford a property for your family. You might even have taken out several loans just to buy a home. All of the things you’ve invested in your property will be useless if your family isn’t safe in it.

When you leave rotten trees in your yard, you’re increasing the chances of inflicting injuries to all of your family members.

Here’s how:

  • Trees are like human beings. They need certain nutrients and moisture in order to be strong and healthy. When trees are already rotten, it means that they’re already brittle and can easily fall.
  • When your area is prone to harsh weather conditions, strong winds can cause the branches and limbs to fall, which can result in bruises, cuts, and injuries to your family.

2. It Can Cause Damage To Property And Utility Lines.

Your house will be useless if you don’t have electricity. How else can you use your appliances if you don’t have any power? How can you make your home cool when your HVAC system isn’t functioning?

Without a doubt, electricity plays a vital role in your own and your family’s comfort at home. However, when you’re leaving rotten trees in your yard, your electricity supply might be compromised.

To paint a clearer picture, consider the points below:

  • As mentioned, rotten trees are already weak. When they fall, nearby power and utility lines can be affected, as well. In some cases, these can even fall altogether with the branches and limbs.
  • Sure, having no electricity at home can be inconvenient; no one wants to fan themselves just to sleep well at night, right? Have you considered the effects of the situation to people who are dependent on electrical devices? How long do you think the seniors can survive without power?

Knowledge Is Power

There are a lot of tree trimming services operating across the globe. For you to find one that suits your needs and budget, take the time to scout for options. Ask for recommendations from your friends, and do your own research online. The more informed you are about a particular tree trimming service, the easier it’ll be for you to choose.

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Landscaping

Adding A Rustic Finish To Your Outdoor Furniture

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The rustic look has become extremely popular for interior and exterior home styles. Whether your entire look is completed using a historical flair or you have one or two central pieces that you want to show off, you can now apply a safe weather resistant finish to your outdoor furniture.

The techniques that are used by many DIY decorators involve stripping and distressing the wood using oxalic acid wood bleach, but sometimes they don’t hold up to the elements. This has limited many people to keep their rustic pieces indoors only. But, not anymore.

Now, with the introduction of a protective additive, you can finish your benches, tables and other garden accents with ease. You won’t have to worry about damage from rain, UV rays or wind when you protect your rustic finished items properly.

Let’s take a look at this great new feature in creative paints and get you started.

Outdoor Additive

When you have worked so hard on a piece to create that perfect rustic worn look, the last thing that you want to do is have it ruined by the weather. If you love to use natural mediums like milk paint to decorate and style your pieces, you can now protect them all in one step. The outdoor additive is added directly to your mixed paint and not put on after. It is not meant to be used as a top coat to an already painted item.

Simply mix your paint with the additive solution and apply like you would normally. The additive has a borax base that helps protect your wood items from the elements and prevents your paint from prematurely aging and ruining the rustic effect. There is no lacquer needed when you use your milk paint with an additive included.

Benefits

When you are looking to complete an antique piece with a period appropriate finish, you can’t go wrong by choosing a non-toxic product like milk paint. That being said, milk paint is not known to be durable when exposed to the elements. By adding this adapted borax compound you can now protect your wood and your finish from outdoor deterioration.

Although the outdoor additive has a borax compound complex, it still remains one of the most environmentally friendly finish options.

The outdoor additive acts as a powerful stain blocker. When you are using soft or sappy woods like cedar or pine, the outdoor additive will help to block tannins from bleeding through your rustic finish.

The borax based additive works as an excellent antibacterial agent and mold inhibitor. With unprotected items you may soon start to see spore buildup in areas that have absorbed too much moisture from being outdoors.

The outdoor additive will turn your pieces into flame retardant items. Although, being constructed of older wood in many cases, any item that is treated with milk paint with an outdoor additive will be resistant to heat and flame.

When you put your wood furniture outdoors the paint can quickly start to fade or peel from sun exposure. With the outdoor additive used with milk paint, you will get superior UV protection, keeping all of your outdoor projects looking great for many years.

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Landscaping

A Complete Guide to Garden Design

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Spring graces us every year with blue skies, long days, green trees and flowers blooming everywhere. With these positive changes, many of us feel drawn to nature and awaits warm nights that will be perfect for a bonfire or a grill in the wild. It’s also the perfect time to bring your dreamy garden to life as well. Are you going to add up the trees to the design or are you more of a flowers type of person? Will you focus on many species or you’d rather have the harmony and uniformity? Read our guide to see what can you do to make the design outstanding and enchanting. You don’t have to be a professional to make the dream come true. Are you ready?

A well-kept base

When you see the painting, you don’t only look at the focus area but at the background as well. The same rule applies to your garden. The most magnificent flowers and trees, the gorgeous design will look poorly if the loan won’t be kept in its best shape. A lawn that’s well taken care of is the garden’s exceptional decoration. A green, carpet-like base is the perfect base for any vegetation. But why the lawn doesn’t always look so perfect?

It all depends on how you take care of it. When seeding the lawn in the spring, you should make sure that you do it evenly at every part of the garden. If you have a large parcel, instead of spreading seeds manually, invest better in a spreader that will do it for you. With this device, you will also spread a fertilizer that will help your young grass to root and grow. It’s not necessary, but it sure will make your life easier. If you need help or can’t justify buying a professional spreader, contact those regularly recommended landscape gardeners from Edinburgh.

In the beginning, you have to water your lawn even twice a week. Later, when the grass start rooting, you can cool down the watering to 2 times a week. The best time for this is in the morning. Avoid using water in the warmest time of the day, as it damages the grass. Evening watering is not the best idea because of long-lasting moisture — this can lead to fungal diseases.

Keep the harmony

Full of colours, shapes and scents but easy to maintain. It does sound like a dream! If you’re new to the gardening, you should know that maintaining the grass is easier and faster than taking care of the flowers. Maybe you’re able to focus on your garden and spend the time necessary to keep it at order at all times, you can get loads of flowers and little trees. If you can’t do that, make the flower space smaller.

When planning a garden, leave places where you can plant flowers. Pay attention to whether these are shaded or sunlit areas — it depends on what species of plants you can plant there, to bloom nicely. Separate the flowers from the lawn with a special ribbon, barriers or rocks.

Find the right area for your flowers

It’s no secret that some flowers like to be in the sun all the time, while some fancy shadowy corners. Before you plant them, teach yourself on the preferred placement in the garden. Most of the flowers like the sunny areas, so if it’s your first time in your own garden, choose those that are easy to plant. If you have a lot of shadows caused by the high-rise fence or old trees, go for azalea that is evergreen or David’s harp, that grows fast and doesn’t really need any additional time. Choose the flower placement wisely to get the most blooming effect possible. If you follow the direction, the flora will pay you back with an enchanting look.

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Landscaping

Designing a Brand-New Garden – Five Tips That Will Help Ensure Your Design is a Success

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When improving the exterior of your home, gardens, and landscaping are an excellent way to add color, personality, character, and uniqueness to a home. But for many people, a garden is about more than just the aesthetics, it’s also a hobby that they are passionate about and take pride in cultivating. The “perfect” garden isn’t typically one that is thrown together without thought or planning, rather there is a real design behind it. That design needs to take into consideration a number of factors in order for it to thrive and be as lovely as you have envisioned.

To help ensure that your new garden is a success, here are five tips you can use during the design process.

Give the Garden Space

When you first plant your flowers and shrubs, it’s hard to imagine just how big they will get, but this is essential to factor in your design. You always want to allow enough room for growth over the coming years, so that means keeping your garden or the plantings back from patio edges, fences, walkways, and more. If you don’t give everything enough space to truly thrive, the garden will end up looking crowded and growth can be stunted.

Don’t Over-Plant

This goes hand-in-hand with the abovementioned tip. Be careful not to over-plant and over-fill your brand-new space. Sure, the garden is going to look a little sparse for that first year or two, but with patience and proper garden maintenance, it will flourish and fill in.

Understand Your Soil and Light Conditions

When it comes to choosing what to plant, picking items you think look “pretty” just won’t cut it. You need to be well aware of your soil and light conditions.

Choose a Mix of Perennials and Annuals

Another tip is to mix up what you’re planting and pick a variety of perennials and annuals. Perennials will come back each year, typically getting bigger and fuller each year that passes.

Annuals are a great way to add that bright pop of color to your garden each year. You can change up the flowers you pick, the height, the fullness, the placement, and even the color scheme.

As for choosing flower colors for your annuals, KG Landscape suggests using the color wheel for inspiration and using color schemes. Some of the most common color schemes are white on white, warm colors, bright colors, cool colors, and pastels. Monochromatic color schemes can also be quite striking.

Prepare the Soil

Now before you go ahead and pop all your plants and flowers in the ground, you also want to prepare the soil. A proper air supply is essential so they may require fresh soil, compost, and even mulch.

All of these tips will help you to design the ultimate garden for your home.

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DIY Projects

How to Convert a Garden Shed into a Home Office

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Working from home can seem like the perfect set-up, but after a while having no boundaries between your downtime and work can become a problem. Everyone needs a dedicated space to work out of. However, if space is at a premium then you may have to get creative with your workspace. Converting a garden shed into a home office can be a great way to make a secure separated space for working without spending a lot.

With a home office for you can improve your productivity and that important work-life balance, all without leaving your home. Making a home office from a garden shed might be easier than you think, it can be achieved relatively quickly if you go about it in the right way. These are the steps for converting a garden shed into a home office the right way.

1. Planning

The first step to converting a garden shed into a home office is planning. You might be excited to start work, but this is the most important stage. There a few big decisions you’re going to have to make. The first is if you want electricity running to your home office. This can be useful if you need to run a computer or charge a laptop. However, it will make your conversion a lot more complicated.

You also need to think about lighting. You will probably need some lighting in your home office for the darker months, but you can work around electricity if you don’t want power sockets in your new office. You need to measure up the shed you already have and decide what sort of space you want to build. If you don’t think you have enough of a foundation to turn your shed into an office, you can think about replacing your shed with one that’s more fit for its new purpose.

2. Designing

Once you’ve taken stock of your resources and decided what type of home office you will be turning your shed into, it is time to design your home office. You will need to plan out how your shed is going to look when it is finished. If you’re adding electricity, you need to plan out where you will run the wiring to your shed. You need to consider which section of your garden you can dig up to run it under since electrifying your shed is a major undertaking.

You also need to plan out windows to ensure your office will plenty of natural light. Natural light is really important for making a nice working environment, you should work in as many windows as you can.

3. Work with What You’ve Already Got

The good thing about converting a garden shed into a home office is that you have plenty already built. You should work with what you’ve already got rather than reinventing the wheel. Make sure that each wall is fully secure and that the roof will not drip. This is especially important for the rainy times of the year since you will have electronics in there.

The wood used for the shed should be checked for rot or instability and replaced if necessary. Since you’re going to be building on this to add insulation, you need to have a secure and solid wall to start with. You should then add in the windows as you planned in your designing stage.

4. Insulating your shed

With a working home office, you need to ensure it stays warm. You can achieve this using insulation to keep your home office warm no matter the weather. Insulating your shed is relatively simple compared with hooking up the electricity. You need to purchase the necessary materials for the insulation and additional wood to cover up the insulation so you’re still working in a nice environment. A coat of paint after installation can be done when you’re adding in your new floor to give you a nice environment during the working day. This guide will run you through insulating a shed to make sure you get it right.

5. Adding Lighting and Power

This is by far the most complicated step. If you only need electricity for lighting, then you can make this a bit simpler. Solar panelled lighting can be powered from a panel attached to the side of the shed for adequate lighting.

However, if you need power sockets to run things in your home office then you won’t be able to use this workaround. A generator might work, but this isn’t a great long-term solution. If you’re going to get a lot of use out of your home office, then wiring in power is the best solution. You will need to dig a trench from your home to the shed to run the power through. You should consult an electrician and ensure this is done correctly.

Converting a shed into a home office can take some time, but it will be rewarding. Once you’re finished you will have a comfy and secure working space away from all those distractions in the home. With a strong enough Wi-Fi connection, you’ve got a dedicated environment to stay productive even when you’re working at home.

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Landscaping

Tips on Using a Strimmer Effectively

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Not only are these great for border edges, but they are also perfect for cutting unruly grass and weeds in those difficult to reach areas of your garden, thus making them a must-have for many garden enthusiasts.

On the face of it, a strimmer is very different from a lawnmower despite the similarities of the 2 garden pieces. A strimmer has a rapidly rotating head, with a hard trimming line in the end; this makes quick work of weeds and long grasses without too much effort.

However, with any piece of equipment, if used inappropriately, you can create more work and risk damaging your new strimmer without getting much use out of it.

Here are some top tips on how to use your garden strimmer effectively.

  • Protect yourself; as with any piece of garden equipment, you must ensure you take safety seriously when operating it. Though that piece of nylon line may not look like much, though put it too close to the skin or feet and you may end up needing a trip to your emergency department! Ensure you wear eye and head protection to eliminate injury from flying debris. Make sure you are wearing a sturdy pair of shoes, gloves, and regardless of the weather, always wear full-length trousers. Avoid loose-fitting clothes and to protect your ears from the inevitable noise, wear a pair of ear defenders or earplugs.
  • Watch out for the cable; if you are using a mains powered strimmer, one key risk is that you may trip over the wire. Similarly, ensure you keep the cutting end away from any wires too; you really don’t want to have to replace a damaged cable!
  • Flying debris; though we touched on this earlier, the context is different. Even if your garden is worthy of winning the Best Kept Garden Award from the RHS, there is always the potential that when using a strimmer, you may hit something seemingly benign, like a stone, and inadvertently turn it into a projectile. This is bad news if there are other unprotected people in the vicinity and can be very bad for your windows! To avoid this, check all areas you will be strimming for such objects and remove them from a safe distance. This will also avoid damage to the strimmer.
  • Take a break; if you have a large area to strim, you will need to schedule in breaks- not just to give yourself a rest but also to prevent your strimmer from becoming overheated, which can cause damage in the long run. Keep your posture straight and if your body begins to ache, stop and leave it for another time; if you are exhausted, you risk dropping your strimmer, damaging it and yourself.

To prolong your strimmer lifespan, keep it in a cool, dry shed or garage; if you are worried about anything, get it checked by a gardening tools expert.

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Home Care & Living

Mom’s Field Guide To Choosing a New Neighborhood

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There are a few things that are more important than a secure home. After all, it’s our little place of respite from a busy, stressful world. Home is where the heart and mind are rested, just as much as the body.

It’s these little things that define a home. And it’s in those definitions that we see how important it is to secure a good home.

What factors should you look at when choosing a neighborhood?

The Right Market Conditions and Affordability

In the simplest of terms, this refers to the value of the property you purchase. That value is going to be determined in part by the neighborhood it’s located in. It’s this aspect of home buying that requires a lot of research, or the help of a real estate agent, to help you determine whether a certain neighborhood’s value is rising or declining, or simply stagnant.

Neighborhood-Lifestyle Compatibility

This usually comes down to personal preference. It’s a combination of a dozen choices. You could be between a rural neighborhood versus a suburban neighborhood or a neighborhood that’s near water (if you’re fond of walks on the beach) or if you prefer an area that has a lot of greenery. Your decision here is going to be dependent on the things you like to do as well as the things you need in order for you to function on a daily basis. You could live in a simple farmland neighborhood or in a high-end neighborhood like this McKinney gated community.

Distance and Availability of Amenities and Conveniences

Conveniences include grocery stores, convenience stores, laundromats, gas stations, and health centers. These are all essentials that provide goods and services that you need on a regular basis.

Amenities, on the other hand, include places like the park, a local gym, museums, and many other points of interest. These are places that allow for some rest and recreation and are where you’re going to spend your leisure time.

Crime Rate

This should be one of the most obvious factors to consider. While you could say that it’s frivolous to even mention it, it’s one of those things that can get overlooked, especially when it’s easy to get distracted with all the other factors. A low crime rate in a neighborhood not only grants you peace of mind, it also means that investors are more likely to move into the neighborhood.

And when there are investors, the neighborhood is more likely to get developed. Remember that a low crime rate is important, especially because this is also where your kids are going to grow up.

And there you have it. These are some of the most important factors to consider when you’re looking for a new neighborhood to live in. Remember that having a comfortable life doesn’t solely depend on choosing a house. Taking the bigger picture into consideration is going to save you a lot of money and heartache in the long run.

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Landscaping

How to Start Your Own Landscaping Business

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According to the Wall Street Journal, over 100,000 new small businesses are opened every year. Many workers are growing tired of toiling day after day to make someone else’s dreams come true. With independent contractors and freelancers taking over the world of commerce, it might be time to think about starting your own private enterprise.

Landscaping businesses can be as lucrative as they are rewarding. With busy schedules, there is a growing demand for companies to come in and take care of people’s property. Give your creative green thumb an outlet to thrive while creating and maintaining some beautiful landscapes.

From a simple mowing business to a more complex landscape design, the choice is yours. Take advantage of the tools of your trade including creative landscape design software to help you make your clients’ dreams come true.

As with any new venture, it’s always best to start with a plan. Opening your own business can be a challenge, so having a picture of what you want to accomplish and how you will do it is the best place to start.

Make A Business Plan

If you have no experience running your own business, you will need to start by doing your homework. To bring in interest for financing, you will need to create a comprehensive business plan to present to lenders. There are many online tools that can help you with a business plan template to get you prepared.

It’s a good idea to consult with an accountant to get advice about setting up your bookkeeping system and taxes before you get started.

Set Your Pricing

The best place to start when deciding what your fees will be is to investigate your direct competition. You may be able to cut some corners when you are just starting out, as your overhead will be slightly lower than the more established companies. Consider your time invested, cost of materials, labor, equipment, and tools, and your overhead costs before calculating your best price.

Licensing

Every state will have different licensing requirements. In a landscaping business, you may need to obtain special certification to use chemicals and fertilizers. You should also check your local bylaws regarding waste management and local irrigation.

You will be required to sit for the Landscape Architect Registration Exam before you will be issued an official business license. The exam will cover the basics of land management, maintenance, and safety. You can write the exam for a one-time cost of $150.

Taxes

Consult your accountant about setting up an EIN (Employer Identification Number) that will connect you to the IRS. Visit the IRS website and fill out the standard SS-4 forms to receive your State Tax I.D. number.

Gain Customers

Start by advertising locally and pick up a few of your first clients by offering services to your neighbors and family. Take advantage of the incredible reach that social media can offer by establishing a company website and a dedicated page on Facebook or an Instagram account.

Create a portfolio of your past work as you gain more experience. Being able to display examples of your work directly to your clients can show them that you have a great experience as well as talent.

Hire Staff

With a small landscaping business you may start out as an independent contractor, but with luck, you may soon have to hire extra staff to keep up with the demand. To protect your business, you should always have a rigid interviewing and hiring process. Check references and past experience before making any hasty decisions. You should expect to provide training for all of your new employees.

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Home Care & Living

6 of the Best Ways to Store Your Bike

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Are you an avid cyclist with quite the collection of impressive bikes?

Luckily, there are some great ways to store your bike, in your home and out of it. With these tricks, you’ll be able to walk through your hallway without sustaining any injuries and your walls will be safe from chain grease and wheel dirt!

Wall display

Bikes come in all shapes and sizes, colors and patterns, and can work as a great piece of (removable and useable) contemporary artwork for your home.

The market is filled with snazzy hooks and racks to hoist your precious bicycle onto the wall. You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to materials and designs. Maybe you’re into the industrial look and fancy a grungy steel rack. Or perhaps you’re like the rustic, wholesome feel of a nice pine hook?

Just be sure that you can easily remove and remount your bike when you decide to go for a cycle!

Hang it from the ceiling

It might seem like a strange solution, but hanging your bike from the ceiling is perfect when you are tight on both floor and wall space.

Get your hands on a simple pulley system to hoist your bike on to the ceiling. This is perfect if you live in a small flat with particularly high ceilings, and is very reminiscent of the clothes pulleys that are characteristic of Victorian homes!

Using this gap is the ideal way to work towards full optimization of every square inch of your property.

Turn it upside down

The awkwardly-shaped gap underneath your stairs isn’t exactly the most practical spot for storage, but if you’re inventive, it can be a great location to stash your bicycle.

All you need to do is screw some basic hooks onto the sloping underside of the steps – they don’t need to be anything fancy, they just need to be strong enough to hold the weight of your bike!

Depending on the height and width of your stairs, you could potentially store two bikes in this nifty little gap.

Store it in the shed

If it’s going to prove too tight a squeeze to fit a bulky bicycle in your home, you might need to look outside of your house for your bike storage solutions.

If you have the luxury of a garden shed or garage, this is a fantastic option! Before you store it inside, make sure that the structure can protect your bike from the elements, bugs and pests, and thieves!

Stow it in a self-storage unit

By far the most secure way to store your bike is in a well-maintained self-storage unit with tight security.

If you’re not a daily cyclist, reserving it for special adventures in the countryside on the weekends, a storage unit is the ideal to keep your bike out of sight and out of mind, but still safe and sound.

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Home Care & Living

The Benefits Of Baking Soda: How To Freshen Up Your Home

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Keeping your home clean can seem a mammoth task with a seemingly endless array of information and advice. From the arsenal of chemical options available on the market and different opinions about the best cleaning methods, it can be hard to know where to start.

In addition, there is also a growing move towards environmentally-friendly options, and this can be hard to reconcile with the different cleaning products available. With different sprats, potions and lotions available for everything from the bathroom to the stove, it seems you will need a new cupboard merely to hold your new products!

If this all sounds overwhelming, the good news is that there is a simple solution to your cleaning woes, and chances are you already have some on hand—baking soda. Before you seek the help of Alpha Bed Bug Exterminator NYC to battle critters in the bedroom, why not give this magic product a try. Here are just a few of the miracles it can perform.

Eliminate Odor

Forget fancy air fresheners. Baking soda is ideal for eliminating unpleasant smells. From carpets to furniture, fabrics to microwaves, you can give your home a new lease of life with a simple sprinkle of baking soda.

Clean Jewelry

There is no need for expensive jewelry cleaning kits. Just make a paste of one part water to three parts baking soda, and apply it to your silver with a lint-free cloth and rinse. Be careful not to use paper cloth, as this can cause scratches. 

Freshen Up Patio Furniture

Patio furniture can often be affected by the weather during the wet winter months. Before bringing your chairs out ready for the summer season, give them a quick wipe with water and baking soda to restore them to their full glory and ensure they are prepared for your summer socializing. Once the winter comes, you can also place baking soda inside the bags used to store the cushion pads to keep them fresh.

Clean Up Oil Spills

Oil can be tricky to clean, as water tends to merely make it spread and stain. It can also be dangerous and lead to slips. If you have spilled oil on the floor of your garage, you can sprinkle on a little baking soda and scrub with a stiff brush to pick up any traces and keep the ground safe and clean.

Brighten Your Whites

If your whites are looking a little faded and grey, you can bring them back to life by adding a cup of baking soda to your washing machine, alongside your usual laundry detergent. This will help bring new life to your white shirts and other clothing items, leaving them looking and feeling bright, white and fresh.

Cleaning your home doesn’t have to be a tiresome chore involving hundreds of chemicals. Instead, replace the multiple products with one single, simple solution which will do a fantastic job and help save you cash.

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Home Care & Living

How to Provide a Sense of Nature and the Outdoors to a Screened Porch

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Is this the year that you have decided to build a screened porch in your yard providing you with the perfect spot to enjoy a little shade, and escape all the pesky bugs that flourish during the warm summer months? If so, then there’s no doubt that you are excited about your big project and the many ways in which it will transform how you use your yard. With that said, even though you are building a screened porch, it doesn’t mean you want it to feel like you are indoors.

Here are some simple tips you can use that will help provide that sense of nature and the outdoors to your screened porch, so even though you will be sitting under a covered room, and behind screened windows, you’ll still feel as though you’re outdoors.

Choose a Design with Plenty of Windows and Screening

The first tip has to do with the design you choose. The best way to make your porch feel like the outdoors is to allow for plenty of light. Choose a model that offers a number of windows and screening so that your view isn’t skewed and you’ll still be able to see all angles of your yard.

The pros at Architectural Landscape Design also suggest that you pick a screened porch design that fits and flows with the roofline of your home so that it feels natural and organic, rather than a wholly separate entity.

Plan a Nearby Garden

While it’s impossible to have a garden inside your porch, you can have one in very close proximity. Plan out a garden that borders the porch or that is close by to provide you with that lovely scenery. If you are planting things up against the base of the porch, be sure you pick shrubs and bushes that do well in those particular lighting conditions.

Add a Water Feature to the Yard

One of the best ways to impart a sense of nature and relaxation to your yard is to install some sort of water feature. This could be a fountain or a pond. Again, plan to place the feature near the porch so that when you’re sitting in the screened area you’ll still be able to hear the soothing water sounds.

Hang Bird Feeders from the Porch

You can also install hooks on the roofline of the porch that are strong enough to hold bird feeders. You’ll be able to enjoy nature up close and personal as you attract all kinds of incredible bird varieties to your yard.

Use Indoor Plants for Greenery

Lastly, there is nothing wrong with using standard indoor plants in your screened in porch to give that sense of greenery and nature. You can pick varying heights, colors, and sizes to add interest.

A Lovely and Inviting Porch

By using each of these tips, you’ll be able to design a screened porch that is not only lovely to look at but relaxing and enjoyable to use.

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Home Care & Living

Features to Consider When Selecting a Water Dispenser

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There are numerous benefits of investing in a water dispenser for your home, business, or office. The quality of water is outstanding, eliminates wastage of water, and also contributes to a reduction of your carbon footprint through less use of bottled water. While some may opt for a water dispenser for personal preferential reasons, others may require a dispenser because of lack of healthy and hygienic drinking water.

A few things to consider when deciding to invest in a water dispenser include:

Do you require it for an area with limited space, or contrastingly, do you need a large capacity-dispensing system with a filtration mechanism for your business or office? You could choose between a water cooler or water dispenser subject to your needs. While both dispense water, the only difference is a water cooler utilizes electricity to cool the water, and water dispensers just dispense water at room temperature.

Kinds of Water Coolers

Point of use: These are the most expensive to install and are useful if there’s an existing water line or tap to connect. These help to cut down on costs without the need of attaching water bottles and getting replacements.

Top load bottled water cooler: These are lower in cost than point-of-use and easier to set up. There’s no need to tap into a water source, and all it requires is to attach a water bottle on the top. The size of the bottle is subject to the amount of water you’ll need to use.

Bottom load bottled cooler: For those that prefer the taste of bottled water, but don’t want a bottle plugged in at the top of the cooler, the alternative is a bottom load cooler. In this model, the bottle is placed in a concealed cabinet in the bottom section of the cooler. 

Countertop water cooler: For those living in an apartment with limited space or any location that doesn’t offer access to potable water, this is the perfect option. These save money and space. 

Countertop water dispenser: These are also economical in cost, save money, and are suited for areas where there’s no need to cool the water or when electricity is unavailable or very expensive. 

Other aspects to take into consideration:

Apart from the kind of water cooler you require and its features, some of the other factors that need to be taken into consideration include:

How you intend to utilize it: Would you be okay with buying and replacing the water bottles, or would you prefer a point-of-use model that taps directly into the water source?

The area you plan to install: Some smaller models can be installed in limited spaces or even bigger models for use in offices, businesses, etc.

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Home Care & Living

Key Tips On How To Prepare For A Swimming Pool Deck

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Having a swimming pool is an excellent addition to your home. With that comes the deck, which is the area surrounding your pool. A properly planned swimming pool deck is essential to ensure that your landscaping is functional. It also creates a transition from one area of your backyard to another. Here are tips so that you can have your dream backyard pool area:

1. Think of your space

The size of your space will often influence the kind of deck that you can build. It’s important that you’re keen about your area because your design, budget, materials, and others, can then be planned accordingly. For most homeowners, there’s one spot in the property where you can build the deck, and those with larger areas are fortunate to be able to choose as they please. Some of the factors affecting your deck are the lot size, view, shade and sun, proximity to the house, and privacy. Here are a few other considerations:

  • Small areas can have a multi-level deck that utilizes vertical space. Consult with local building codes for requirements when planning to do this in your property.
  • Irregular spaces can still have amazing deck designs. Talk to swimming pool experts for the best options to maximize your space.
  • Larger spaces have more options like a gazebo, dining area, and so on. Don’t cram everything just because you have space; think about functionality, too.

2. Re-evaluate its uses and functions

Besides aesthetics, you need to know what the pool deck is going to be used for. This is essential to dictate the functionality of the design, the safety measures, and other options for your swimming pool decking. Brainstorm for ideas with your family and include each member who will be using the pool as much as possible. This way, you will know where balance or compromise is needed. Homeowners can use a pool deck for:

  • Hosting pool parties
  • Privacy and relaxation
  • Dining and grilling with family and friends
  • Quality time with kids
  • Spa surround

3. Choose the materials

A swimming pool deck can be made of various materials, and it’s vital that you’ve evaluated your options as part of the preparation. Choosing the decking materials is an important step to ensure that you can afford the project, it’s suitable for your space, and it can serve its purpose. Typical materials are concrete, brick, pavers, stone, wood, tile, turf, synthetic, or a mix of these. When choosing materials:

  • Opt for materials that blend with other areas and elements in your yard, including container gardens.
  • Consider how safety fences can be installed.
  • Choose materials that are resistant to frost, mold, mildew, algae, and other chemicals.
  • Go for those that aren’t slippery when wet.

Final thoughts

Building a pool deck is an exciting project. As long as you’ve done the necessary preparations, you’re swimming pool decking will look stunning. Use the tips above as a guide to your planning and preparation.

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Home Care & Living

Stop! Make Sure You Really Need a Surveyor or Architect for That Site Plan

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If you’re planning or managing a home improvement project, it’s likely your jurisdiction requires a site plan before you can get the necessary permit. But don’t rush to hire a surveyor or architect just yet!

What Is a Site Plan?

Let’s start by explaining what a site plan is and how it is used for home improvement projects.

A site plan shows what structures exist on the property, as well as the proposed improvements. Many counties have specific development code requirements for particular projects, such as:

  • Driveways
  • Sidewalks
  • Sheds
  • Gazebos
  • Retaining walls
  • Fences
  • Ponds
  • Etc.

The local building department will look at your site plan to determine whether your development project meets the necessary development code requirements. If it does, you’ll get the okay to move ahead. If not, you will need a new site plan..

I Need a Site Plan – Where Can I Get One?

Before you jump into creating a site plan from scratch, one thing that can be helpful to do is to check to see if one already exists.

Where exactly would you check for this?

  1. Check your own files and see if you can find a site plan that reflects the current status of your property.
  2. Reach out to your title company to see if they have a copy.
  3. Your local development office that is asking you for a site plan may have one on file.

If you can’t find an existing site plan, you may consider hiring someone to create a plan for you- Architects, Engineers, and Surveyors can be used. They will be professional, thorough, and detail-oriented, but also charge you upwards of $1,000.

Are There Alternatives to Hiring  a Professional?

Contact your local development office and ask if you are required to submit a site plan that has been stamped by a certified architect, engineer, or surveyor.

If it is not required, then you have a viable alternative in using  online site plan providers. They use  satellite imagery, GIS information, county parcel maps, and other sources to produce site plans.

These site plans are as accurate and detailed as those produced by certified professionals. Moreover, they can do it quickly (some offer a 24-hour turnaround), and at a mere fraction of the cost – around $100 to $200, depending on the level of detail required.

How Do I Know If I Have to Get My Site Plan Stamped?

There are a number of different types of projects that do not require a certified professional  to stamp them. These include:

  • Conditional Use Permits
  • Construction Permits
  • Demolition Permits
  • Exterior Home Renovation Permits (many of them)
  • HOA Permitting
  • Residential and Commercial Site Plans
  • Sign Permits
  • Swimming Pool Removal Permits
  • Tree Removal Permits

If you need a permit to make one of these improvements, there’s a good chance you will not have to pay for a certified professional to create your site plan. That being said, though, there’s only one way to know for sure: ask your local development office.

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Landscaping

6 Budget-Friendly Landscaping Ideas for Homeowners

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Landscaping in a particular area gives you more than a pleasant sight as it also relieves stress. A simple house with a beautiful landscape looks elegant. You don’t need a professional gardener or a massive budget to achieve a beautiful landscape. You can make your beautiful backyard without spending too much.

All you need are the following tips:

1. Determine the space and topography of the area for landscaping

The space and topography for landscaping should be considered first. It’ll give you a hint of how many and what type of plants to select, arrange and grow in your backyard. It will also serve as a basis for your layout. When you have a small yard, you can include flowering plants or potted plants in your layout to optimize the space.

If you have a wide yard, you can plant large fruit-bearing trees. If you have trees and you need to decorate it, use scaffolding. Check this link for cheap scaffolding.

2. Make a simple layout or landscaping plan

Aside from visualizing how your yard would look beforehand, making a layout will save you a lot of time, effort and money at the end of the day. Planning and putting everything you have in mind on a piece of paper can create a good outcome.

It helps you determine the available plants in your area and the kind of plants that best grow in your target site. Moreover, you’ll know what tools to buy instead of buying every tool.

3. Recycle used containers

Bottles whether plastic or glass could save you from pot needs. Today, a lot of home-gardeners create a sophisticated arrangement of containers blending well with the plants. For instance, big plastic bottles can be carefully cut into an artistic feature and could serve as pots for small plants or those with shallow roots. Aside from keeping you a lot from spending, you are helping the environment, too.

5. Choose low maintenance shrubs and perennials

Since landscaping is intended for a long-term plant arrangement, shrubs or perennials are ideal for it. Some plants look good for just a few months and eventually wither and die. Some plants need to be watered most of the time and require the right amount of fertilizers to grow well. To save energy, time and even money, choose plants that can live for more than a year while growing beautifully as they age. When you have perennials, you can save so much from buying plants again and again.

Conclusion

If you’re a homeowner, you can create a beautiful sight right in the backyard without following all the conventional and expensive landscaping models. Your creativity, determination, and action are the best capital for a low-cost yet elegant landscape. Remember that the key to successful landscaping is utilizing most of the available resources with careful planning with the right implementation. As long as you’re happy and satisfied with the outcome, nobody can question the quality of your landscape.

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Home Care & Living

Electric Fly Swatters

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The future of killing insects is bright with use of electric fly swatters, just hit with the rackets as the insect get electrocuted.

How is this possible then?

One would wonder why waste energy looking for insect and then hit? Why can’t one use a traditional one? Okay, as aforementioned, the equipment uses electricity, when one runs a pest; it has no chance of surviving as it is electrocuted in coming into contact. Using this machine is fun, one can set a tournament with friends; the winner kills more!

Pros and cons of electric fly swatters

If one is wondering why it should bother him or her to have the machine; firstly, it is a better way to do exercise.  The scientific approach shows that the practice calms the nerves, relaxes and relieves tension.  Additionally, it is a game; one does not get bored all the way!

However, the smelly nature of the fried mosquitos is not pleasant at all and the sound produced when mosquitos are on the grid is annoying!

Caution! The machine is electrified, handle with great care! Safety comes first!

The Best 5 Best Electric Fly Swatters

Black Flag Handheld Bug Zapper Racket

The machine boosts on its size that makes it suitable for women to use. Also, it is a powerful machine having the ability to produce 2750v. The alkaline batteries used are purchased separately. The pros side is that it provides no sound when hitting an insect.  Furthermore, it has been made in a manner that guards the fingers of the user.

Zap-It! Electric Mosquito Racket

They have enjoyed a monopoly in the market for long. It is expensive and more feature packed, but it is not as heavy as one would finally think. It is powerful too, producing 3, 000v. The machine operates on the rechargeable batteries unlike the latter.  It is more improved in a manner that the light fitted on it can attract insect, thus trapping them.  The reviews from the customer are pretty encouraging!

 Zap-It! Mini Electric Mosquito Racket

It is light with a weight of 0.2 pounds making it possible for children to use.  It has similar features as those of other swatters.

Koramzi Electric Fly Swatter

The light produced can serve as a torch; thus the rate of killing insect during night-time is improved.  The technical specification is weak, but it has the lower price than the latter.  Its batteries produce lower volts, 2,600v as compared to the previous swatters.  Also, it is heavy making its usage hard for poorly exercised muscles.

PreciShock Electric Fly Swatter

The client’s reviews have placed it to be the best among the swatters.  It has 3,000 volts and can be used against large bugs.  The product lacks 3-layer mesh, unlike the previous swatters.  It operates on alkaline batteries, and it is much heavy with the weight of 0.7 pounds Electric Fly Swatters

Do not waste time with insects in your house; get rid of them by electric fly swatters.

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Home Care & Living

Care & Maintenance for Outdoor Furniture

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If you’ve invested a lot of money in outdoor furniture, or you are thinking about buying a new outdoor item, you should know how to maintain and care for it to ensure its longevity. Due to its location, outdoor furniture is more prone to deterioration. If you keep to a schedule and clean your furniture on a monthly basis, it helps maintain a good appearance and makes your furniture last a lot longer.

Wicker Furniture

You’ll find some lovely pieces of outdoor furniture made from wicker, to ensure you keep these items looking great, you must maintain them in the best way possible. Outdoor wicker furniture can be easily cleaned using a garden hose or pressure washer. All you have to do is remove the cushions and spray away excess dirt. There may be some stubborn stains on the furniture, so it is advisable to use warm water and soap to tackle these areas. Once the wicker has dried, you can apply a wax to the frame to protect the furniture, if your wicker isn’t water-resistant, you’ll need an added layer of protection.

Metal Furniture

Metal furniture is very easy to care for and maintain, it is highly durable and simple to keep clean. Most types of outdoor metal furniture like wrought iron and aluminium can be cleaned using soap and water, they don’t require any special type of cleaning solution.

Modern outdoor metal furniture is coated with a protective adhesive, this is designed to protect the material from rust and corrosion. If you purchase outdoor furniture in Melbourne from a reputable supplier, the items should be rust-free and rust-resistant. If the metal isn’t, you’ll need to buy a wax adhesive from your local hardware store to protect the material. If you don’t take steps to protect the metal, it will start to corrode and lose its visual appeal. Corrosion can affect your furniture’s structural integrity, making it dangerous to use.

Fabric Furniture

This type of outdoor furniture does require a little extra attention, it isn’t as durable as other items on the market. Some types of cushions gather mildew, while others are mildew resistant, it all depends on where you buy your products. If you need to clean them, you’ll have to use bleach and solution to keep them looking new.

Umbrellas

Many homeowners forget that umbrellas need to be cleaned and maintained on a regular basis. Umbrellas are great for several reasons, they help to protect other outdoor furniture by providing cover from the sun during the hot summer months. If they’ve been in storage, they’ll need to be thoroughly cleaned once opened out. It is important to oil the joints and wash the cover using a soft-bristled brush.

If you plan on looking after your outdoor furniture and keeping it looking great well into the future, you must clean and maintain each part. Outdoor furniture is a great investment, especially during the summer months when you can really enjoy the weather. If you fail to maintain your furniture, it will quickly degrade and lose its visual appeal.

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Landscaping

Why Tree Lopping Should Be Avoided

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Trees are an essential component to any outdoor area, as they provide essential shading and screening, not to mention a healthy dose of greenery that gives the garden texture and depth. Most Australian homeowners are familiar with the term “tree lopping” and while you might think that lopping is something to be carried out at certain times of a tree’s life, research suggests that this practice is actually harmful to the tree.

Definition of the Term “Lopping”

For many people, tree lopping can mean any of the following:

  • Tree Pruning
  • Branch Trimming
  • Tree Shaping

According to the Tree Protection Act of 2005, it is illegal to lop a tree, and their definition of lopping is to make cuts at the fork of a tree between the branch unions, while the correct practice, pruning, is to cut branches after the union, which allows the tree to develop in a healthy way. Lopping a tree is likely to cause severe xylem dysfunction and decay in the major branches of the tree and this will result in the tree forming a layer of new wood around a decaying core, which can be very dangerous.

Mature Trees and Lopping

If a mature tree actually survives the lopping process, it will require very careful management as the tree develops, with extra weight being added by the new growth, while the dysfunctional inner core is not able to hold this extra weight. Rather than cutting off a main branch, the branches that run off the main bough can be trimmed back to a point just after the branch union and this achieves the objective, yet does not harm the core sections of the tree.

Eco-Friendly Tree Care

If you think your garden trees need some attention, source an eco-friendly arborist and one that understands that tree lopping is not advisable under any circumstances. If the tree is in a bad condition, perhaps removal is the best solution and with stump grinding, all remnants will be removed and you can use that patch of ground for something else. While there might be many companies offering tree lopping in Perth, look for one that complies with the Tree Protection Act and therefore does not practice tree lopping – which is also known as tree topping.

Tree Pruning & Shaping

A qualified arborist will employ pruning techniques to reshape a tree or remove dead branches, which is not harmful, in fact, correct pruning promotes healthy growth. An arborist would know how a tree can be cut back without causing damage and always has the tree’s best interests at heart. Shaping can be carried out in such a way that the removed branches will not hinder healthy growth and rather than simply taking away branches to achieve the desire shape and size, the arborist will only remove what he can without harming the tree.

Specific Exceptions

There are cases when tree removal is not the best solution and if the tree is old, then lopping is a manageable way to help the tree finish its lifecycle. The lopping would be a precursor to removal, which might be scheduled a few years from now, yet the instances when tree lopping is suitable are rare indeed.

Safety First

Large trees can weigh anything up to 50 tonnes and lopping such a tree could very easily put people and property at serious risk. There would be no outer signs of a problem, as the core timber is decaying slowly, and with so much weight to support, some species simply crack under the strain, sending a bough of a few tonnes crashing to the ground.

Once you have managed to locate a qualified arborist, it is advisable to let him schedule any tree work that needs to be done. He would know the best time of the year to prune back and would ensure a balance of natural beauty and good health.

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Home Care & Living

Building your Dream Home? 5 Reasons to Choose Hybrid Flooring

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If you are planning on building your dream home anytime soon, your thoughts will invariably turn to flooring materials sooner or later. You might prefer solid hardwood floors or perhaps Italian marble, but if the budget simply won’t stretch to top end flooring, the next best thing is hybrid flooring, which is a combination of vinyl and laminate. Hybrid flooring is fast becoming the floor material of choice for Australian homeowners and when you consider the many benefits, it’s hardly surprising.

  1. Stunning Range of Finishes – Technology allows for a high-resolution digital image to be digitally printed onto a very thin membrane, which is just under the outer protective layer of the hybrid flooring. The wide range of finishes includes many timber grains, such as oak, ash, pine and walnut, while marble, granite and travertine finishes are ideal for lovers of stone. The finish is scratch proof and waterproof and very easy to keep clean, making it an obvious choice for Australian homeowners.
  2. Completely Waterproof – The core of the hybrid flooring plank is made from a mixture of resin, bamboo dust, limestone and virgin PVC. With a solid timber floor, one is always worried about a liquid spillage, yet with hybrid flooring, you can absorb all of the liquid with a sponge or some thick tissue.
  3. Soft and Silent – Thanks to a thin cork underlay that is attached to the underside of the hybrid plank, the flooring is both soft and silent, making for the perfect walking experience. This cork layer absorbs any slight movement and also acts as an insulator, preventing moisture rising up from the substrate. Once the floor has been professionally laid, there will be zero movement and sound, and with super scratch resistance, you have an elegant, yet extremely durable floor surface.
  4. Great Value for Money – When you consider that you can have the looks and durability of solid timber or stone for a fraction of the cost, it isn’t hard to understand why hybrid flooring has taken the market by storm. The surface is protected by a specially formulated, scratch resistant outer membrane and the material is incredibly durable.
  5. Easy Installation – Hybrid flooring can be laid on any substrate and it comes in plank form, which is as easy to cut as timber, and with every length having a special cork backing affixed, there is no need for underlay. It is advisable to order from a supplier who will install the flooring, thus ensuring a smooth and trouble-free installation.

Hybrid flooring is ideal for high traffic areas like the kitchen and hallway and as the flooring is completely waterproof, it is the perfect choice for the bathroom. If you would like to know more about hybrid flooring, an online search will help you to locate a local supplier and with their help, your dream home will be complete.

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Landscaping

3 Essential Steps to Keep Your Lawn in Great Condition

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Creating and maintaining a beautiful garden takes hard work and dedication, but the results are certainly worth it. Great gardens come in all shapes and sizes, and contain a number of elements, but at their heart is always one thing of especial importance: the lawn. Your garden lawn should always be the centerpiece of your garden, so if it looks damaged or out of shape, the garden as a whole won’t be seen at its best. Don’t worry, we’ve come up with this handy three-point guide that will help you get a lawn you’ll be proud of all year round.

Optimal Watering

We all know that lawns need watering, especially during the hot, dry months of summer, but just how much should you water them and exactly how should you water your lawn? The first thing to note is that the soil type will determine just how much watering it needs, with sandy clay soils needing less watering per session than heavy clay soils, but as it holds less water it will need watering more frequently. Generally speaking, your lawn will need at least an inch of water per week during cooler months and an inch and a half per week at the height of summer. It’s also best to water your lawn in the early morning hours, particularly during the summer when hot temperatures can cause water evaporation before it sinks into the clay beneath the grass.

Lawn Aeration

Aerating your lawn is a simple process, but when done correctly the results can be spectacular. Put simply, aeration is the act of punching holes in your lawn, and this is especially important if your lawn sees heavy usage. Over time, a lawn’s soil becomes increasingly compact, making it difficult for water to drain away and for it to receive the air and nutrients it needs to thrive. By making holes of approximately three inches in depth, the soil has room to move and breathe, and this leads to a much healthier and vibrant lawn. Aeration can be done by hand or via a special aerating machine, and it should be done at least once a year to soil that’s relatively dry.

Use Organic Fertilizers

It’s important to fertilize your lawn if you want it to stay looking great throughout the seasons, but some fertilizers contain harsh chemicals which can be harmful to you and your family, wildlife, and plants. That’s why we recommend the use of natural, organic fertilizers, and as an added bonus a recent study into the effectiveness of lawn fertilizers by the prestigious Texas A&M University found that organic materials worked better than synthetic ones.

When your lawn looks good, you’ll enjoy spending time there even more, and it will also be a great place to meet and greet house guests. Lawn care and maintenance can be as simple as watering it correctly, using organic fertilizer and aerating it on an annual basis.

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Landscaping

A Guide to End of Summer Garden Maintenance

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The British summer can be unpredictable at the best of times and this year we seem to be enjoying an ongoing heatwave of epic proportions and as the summer draws to an end, it is time to think about some pre-winter gardening. It is natural for all plants and fauna to sleep during the colder months and there are some important jobs to get out of the way before autumn sets in, which will help your flowers, trees and shrubs better deal with the onset of winter.

  • Heavy Dose of Watering – In the heat of the summer, your lawn and border plants will require a healthy regular dose of water, especially the lawn and this helps to prepare for the winter. This should begin when the temperature starts to climb and should be ongoing, right up until the sun loses its power and the light evenings recede. If your water sprinkler system and hose have seen better days, it might be time for a replacement and with online garden suppliers, you can order from the comfort of your own home.
  • End of Summer Pruning – When all of the flowering varieties have finished blooming, you should prune back a little and not too radical, especially for younger plants and shrubs. Remove all dead branches and the pruning will add some shape to the bushes and shrubs and help them to prepare for the winter shutdown. Trees should also be pruned at this time and if you are not confident working at heights, it might be an idea to call in your local landscape gardener, who is fully equipped to safely prune and trim even large trees.
  • Halt Fertilization – It is never a good idea to fertilize past the end of August, as this will stimulate new growth at a time when the plants should be doing the opposite. While fertilization is important in the spring and summer, it should be ceased before the cold weather sets in.
  • Spike the Lawn – This can be done effectively with a garden fork, if you don’t have a separate tool and this will ensure that the grass receives the right amount of nourishment. This is especially important if your lawn has bad drainage and don’t forget a liberal watering once the spiking has been completed.
  • Cut the Lawn Higher than Normal – As the warm weather recedes, you should raise the lawnmower cutters a notch or two, as the extra grass length will aid the lawn to deal with the impending frost.

If you are lacking in gardening tools, there are online suppliers of all things horticultural and they typically have end of summer sales, so purchasing tools and other essentials at this time is a god idea. The harsh UK climate does mean your plants, trees and shrubs are well equipped to deal with the winter and by including all of the above as the summer draws to an end, you are helping your garden to prepare for the cold season.

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Home Care & Living

Stylish and Elegant Shading Solutions for the Modern Home

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If your home is just how you want it, you’ll no doubt have spent a lot of time and money transforming your living space into the perfect place for rest and relaxation and, of course, like every Australian homeowner, the outdoor area is an important part of that. With such glorious summers, shading is an obvious requirement and finding something in keeping with the overall concept can be more than a challenge. It isn’t only about keeping the sun at bay, there is also aesthetics to consider and with the latest generation of retractable awnings, you can create an attractive shading solution that complements the property.

Bespoke Shading Solutions

Whether you require an awning attached to the side of your home or have a special stand-alone area you want shaded, talking to an established outdoor awnings supplier is the best solution. They would have many years of hands-on experience in supplying and installing customized shading in both domestic and commercial settings. There are no off the shelf solutions for exterior shading and it very much depends on the setting as to the system that is best suited. Retractable awnings offer the ultimate choice as you can enjoy as much or as little of the sun as you choose and with motorised units, there’s no effort required for adjustment.

Choose a Profile that Works for You

There are several tried and tested retractable awning systems, each with its own advantages, and by enlisting the help of an experienced supplier, you can be sure to select the most suitable for your needs. Folding arm systems are very popular, as they open and close with ease and are not obtrusive in any way, while drop arm awnings are ideal for balconies and large windows that require shading. There’s something for every setting and with made to measure units, you are sure of a perfect fit.

Stunning Fabrics that Won’t Fade

The wide range of rich colours and patterns allow you to be creative and with the highest quality acrylic fabric, you can be sure of a long lasting solution. Awning coverings are typically tested in harsh desert environments where the sun beats down relentlessly all day, so you can be sure the fabric is more than a match for the Australian climate.

Permanent Shading at Affordable Prices

Installing a retractable roofing system really does give you all the choices and the system is under a long warranty and with a little maintenance here and there, your shading will provide you with many years of trouble-free use. You would be forgiven for thinking you’ll need to take out a second mortgage, but in reality, even the best quality retractable roofing system is affordable for all. An online search will bring up a list of local suppliers and with some browsing, you can select a suitable company and invite them to inspect your outdoor area.

Stylish and attractive shading is now possible and with made to measure solutions, you are certain to be impressed with the outcome.

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Landscaping

4 Good Reasons To Hire A Lawn Care Company

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People often lack the time or resources needed to engage in Do-It-Yourself lawn care. In such
cases, great lawn care companies come in to help with proper lawn maintenance. Good lawn
care companies offer local residential and commercial lawn care services. Here are some good
reasons to hire a lawn care professional:

Top 4 Reasons To Hiring A Lawn Care Company

1. Hiring A Lawn Care Company Saves Time

One of the major reasons why people hire lawn care companies is always to save time. For
instance, people who want to practice Do-It-Yourself always experience breakdowns. This is
because they always have to sit down and do some research on lawn care as they plan on what
needs to be done.
Time will also need to be invested on when driving to different stores to purchase seeds,
fertilizers, equipment and different tools that can be necessary for such processes. A lot of time
will also be needed during mowing and maintaining the lawn.
Comparing the time it takes to engage in Do-It-Yourself against contacting a lawn care
company, the latter saves time. Professionals already have the tools and equipment necessary
for lawn care.

2. They Have Professionally Trained Expertise

One doing their lawn on their own doesn’t guarantee that there won’t be any mess made on the
lawn. Professionally trained expertise have the necessary skills to care for the lawn without
messing around. Experts always know what they are doing because it is something they have
done for several years and have a good experience of it.
Hiring a lawn care company for their services is the best thing to do since one’s expectations
are always high for better results in the end. This is usually of their knowledge, experience,
expertise, and skills they have.

3. Cost-Effective

Due to the volume of work lawn care companies do, they have their costs subsidized. This
means that when one wants to try Do-It-Yourself, they always have to purchase expensive tools
and equipment required for the job which might cost them a lot of money. Unlike when one hires
a professional lawn care company, the money they would have used to buy the tools will be
saved and used something else.
Most lawn care companies can always take equipment loans and pay them incrementally
through contracting work. Ordinary individuals would take a fortune to pay off such loans as
equipment used for lawn care are costly. This means that money will be saved by using it on a
lawn care company.

4. Lawn Care Company Are Liable For Damages And Injuries They Cause

A good lawn care company should be insured and licensed to prevent one from being liable for
injuries or damages cost by lawn care companies. This means their clients won’t have to worry
about proper storage of chemicals such as fertilizers and pesticides or how to apply or dispose
of these chemicals. When inexperienced technicians handle these chemicals incorrectly, they
can cause harmful effects to the environment.
Are you looking for a Lebanon lawn care company in Ohio? Contact us to find out more about
our services and how we can be of help.
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Home Care & Living

Understanding Skip Hires

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Skip Hire and Recycling Materials

The days of filling a skip up with just about everything you can think of, and it being taken away and thrown in a landfill have long gone, and today, skip hire companies have become serious professionals in recycling. Most skip hire companies already recycle more than 90% of everything that comes their way, and some even offer a discount when you are filling a skip with certain materials only, where a 100% recycle is possible, and also if you pre-sort the waste before putting it into the skips. In fact a skip hire company today, is able to provide recycled building products, at very competitive prices, in addition to its main line of work. If you have a building project and are going to be needing a skip, it may pay to have it delivered full of materials you can use in your building works and save even more money.

Skip Hire Documentation

The days of parking a skip anywhere you like are gone too, as council and Government regulations on just about everything continue to tighten. If your skip is going to be parked on the street, rather than private property, you will require a license from the council and will have to adhere to several regulations, regarding having it lit at night and be placed where it will not cause interference to emergency vehicles, or other traffic. If you hire a skip in Doncaster or Dover, you will also probably be required to fill out documentation, declaring exactly what the skips contents are, with further restrictions, if any of it is potentially hazardous.

Getting the Right Sized Skip

It is very easy to underestimate the amount of material you are going to generate when working on a project. Whether it be a renovation, a landscaping project, or even just a good old fashioned spring clean and clearing out of the garage, it is advisable to talk to your local skip hire company. They have lots of experience and will be able to advise you on which size to choose. Remember, that as recycling is important and discounts may be offered for certain materials, you may find it more cost effective to hire more than one in smaller sizes. Either way, it pays to talk about what you are doing and listen to the advice.

Choosing the Right Skip Hire Company

Skip hire is generally very competitive, so many of the quotes you are given will likely be quite similar, with how far the company has to travel to drop it off, and pick it up, being key influencing factors. However, it is important to choose a company that has experience and multiple vehicles and skip sizes available, especially at short notice, so always ask if they can do same day delivery. The last thing you need is for a full skip to be sat at the bottom of your driveway, not only looking like an eyesore, but slowing up the work on your project.

Someone entering the business with a single lorry, might offer attractive rates, which is great until the vehicle breaks down or has an accident. Many work diligently to recycle, so do your bit for the environment and rent from those who keep things green.

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Home Care & Living

How Skip Hire Can Help with a Garden Revamp

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Once winter has passed and the first hint of summer arrives,  it is time to turn your thoughts to the garden and whether a basic tidy up or a full on revamp, you will generate a lot of waste. There is lots to do to keep a garden looking good and well maintained, like cutting the grass, weeding, pruning and generally clearing up dead leaves and twigs and rather than heaping it in a corner, hiring a suitable size skip ensures that your garden waste is responsibly removed. Garden waste is not classed as general domestic waste and therefore cannot be put into bags and left for the dustman and if you are soon to be sorting out your garden, here are a few reasons why skip hire is recommended.

  • So Easy to Hire – Getting a skip delivered to your home couldn’t be any easier and if you are wondering, “Is there skip hire near me?” An online search will reveal the whereabouts of a local provider who will ask you questions in relation to your needs. Once they know what you need a skip for, they can best advise you on the kind of skip that would be most suitable and also the size. Once you are happy with their recommendation, the skip will be delivered to your home. When it’s full, give them a call and they will come pick it up and take it away. It really is that easy.
  • Available in Many Sizes – Depending on your project, skip bin hire companies can offer you a number of sizes and types of skip bin. For the small garden jobs where there isn’t much to take away, there are mini skips that would be very suitable. However, if you have decided to undertake a big landscaping job for your garden then you are going to want to rip out a lot of plants and trees to make way for your new plants. This is when the bigger skips come into play and you can even get a skip that you can just walk into and dump your garden rubbish. No lifting over the side, just walk right in with your wheelbarrow. You can also get them with lockable lids to keep dogs and critters out.
  • Reduces Your Carbon Footprint – By hiring a skip bin, you are doing your bit for the environment. If it is tree cuttings and other wood debris that you are dumping, the skip company will be able to recycle this material and maybe have it ground and mulched down to provide fertiliser for distribution to someone else. Nothing is wasted and they are experts in green waste and they know exactly how to deal with it. You get all your garden rubbish taken away and Mother Nature gets a break. It’s a win-win situation.

Next time you have some garden waste to dispose of, give your local skip bin hire company a call and let them do take away the hard work!

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