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7 Ways to Get Rid of Mosquitoes Inside the House

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Mosquitoes are slender, long-legged flying insects that can be found in almost every corner of the world. Interestingly, the male mosquito doesn’t bite people and animals; only the female does. Both males and females feed on nectar, plant sap, and water, with the females also sucking blood to help them grow their eggs.

Female mosquitoes are not just annoying, but they also spread diseases. The insect is responsible for spreading malaria, yellow fever, encephalitis, filariasis, Zika, West Nile virus, and dengue fever. Keep mosquitoes away from your home and protect your family by eliminating the risk of getting bitten. If they have already made it into your home, then take these steps to get rid of them:

1. Block Their Entry Points

Mosquitoes enter your house through the doors and windows. Check for any cracks on the door and window seals and repair them where necessary. You can also invest in door and window screens to mosquito-proof your home and replace them when they develop holes. Open the windows to air the house, mainly during the times when mosquitoes are less active. You may be wondering what time mosquitoes come out, which is usually at night and they remain active through the early morning hours. They are less active in the late morning and afternoon hours, as the daylight dehydrates them.

2. Get Rid of Any Breeding Grounds

Mosquitoes breed in standing water. Keep your dishes clean and void of water, even those that you use to feed your pets. Check under the faucets and plant saucers for any accumulation of water and drain it off. With no standing water, there will be no place for mosquito larvae to thrive.

3. Plant Mosquito Repellant Herbs

Mosquitoes are very sensitive to certain smells. Grow herbs like marigolds, citronella grass, tulsi, peppermint, and lemongrass around your windows and door area to keep the nagging insect away.

4. Make Use of Essential Oils

Essential oils work in the same way that repellant plants do. Mint, tea tree and lavender oils will keep the mosquitoes away, and tulsi oil will go an extra mile and keep them from breeding. You can also mix these essential oils with a carrier oil, then apply them to your skin to keep mosquitoes from biting you. Essential oils get rid of mosquitoes and also keep your home smelling great.

5. Use Chemical Insecticides

Chemical insecticides can help you eliminate all the mosquitoes from your home. Pay close attention to those dark and humid places like the laundry room, closets, under the sink, and under the furniture. Ensure you observe safety standards when applying the chemicals, or better yet, engage the services of a professional fumigator.

6. Use a Mosquito Trap

A mosquito trap attracts mosquitoes to it using UV light. It then sucks them in, traps them, and kills them. All you have to do is clean and empty the trap occasionally. This device is affordable and works best when you use multiple of them in different locations around the house.

7. Use Mosquito Nets

If mosquitoes keep finding a way into your home, or you simply can’t sleep with your windows locked at night, get some mosquito netting. These come with breathable homes so you will be comfortable, but the mosquitoes cannot manage to pass through. Install the netting all around your bed and sleep bite-free.

Endnote

Apart from transmitting diseases like malaria and yellow fever, mosquitoes can be annoying. Use these tips to get rid of mosquitoes inside your house.

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Home Care & Living

Marketing on Google: 8 Tips to Market Your Home Business

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Businesses often have a love-hate relationship with Google algorithms. As the search engine giant demands high-standard content from websites, it can be quite picky when it comes to ranking and assessing a company’s online authority.

Here are some tips to help market your business:

Photo by Vlada Karpovich

1. Sign Up for a GMB Account

The first and most crucial step for all businesses is setting up a Google My Business account, which provides you access to all the digital marketing tools that Google offers.

Here you’ll be able to edit and manage your Google Business profile, which contains the most basic information about your company, from its name, address, contact number, and products.

Any updates or changes that you have in terms of prices, operational hours, and more will have to pass through this account.

It also gives you updates regarding any changes in the search engine algorithms that are evaluating your website. More importantly, this account is free, which is especially beneficial for a budding home business that’s trying to save funds and resources.

2. Connect Through Gmail

Local SEO Search Inc., one of the best SEO companies in Toronto (Canada’s central digital hub) will tell you that reaching out to customers first is always a good move. And, one of the most effective ways that you can do that is through a cold outreach technique called email marketing.

Using Google’s efficient and reliable Gmail software, you’ll be able to easily send reminders, vouchers, and promotional messages directly to your clients. However, it’s important to properly tailor and optimize your messages first to avoid getting classified as spam by users and by Google’s strict algorithm.

3. Highlight Location

Digital marketing experts often tell you that content quality should be a top priority when it comes to enhancing your SEO.

However, solely relying on this principle will give a slow customer yield and can have some businesses asking, “How long will it be until we can expect SEO results?” Sure, content quality matters, but the key is to accompany it with other techniques such as local ads promotion.

You can do this by creating a separate location-specific site page that focuses on your target area.

This strategy works best with home businesses that have a limited working space that customers can access due to the absence of a physical establishment. A separate location page is also highly appreciated by Google search engine algorithms as it helps them to pinpoint stores for customer queries that specify a location.

4. Invest in Local Ads

LSAs or Local service ads are Google’s solution for home businesses aiming to expand their local customer reach.

Similar to the original Google ads, this localized version can have your businesses listed as a top result in SERPs when customers input a particular location. Now, even though this service is not free, packages and prices are very affordable and can be easily customized depending on your proposed budget.

5. Business Profile Optimization

After you’ve signed up for a Google My Business Account, you will then be redirected to your Google My Business Profile, which contains all your business’ information.

There will be plenty of things to fill out, ranging from zip code, address, name, category, photos, FAQs, reviews, posts, and more. And, depending on which category you are in, it will open up to a new section concerning bookings, appointments, amenities, services, and more.

The important thing to remember when filling out this profile is to never leave a blank. Optimize your profile by filling it with updated and factual information. Doing so will increase your website authority and customer trust. 

6. Get Listed as a Service-Area Company

A home business’ greatest strength is its location and its capability to offer service to a loyal local following. Since you already have insight into the area, you’ll be able to know the current demands and needs of your target audience.

So, if you’re a shop offering appliance repair in Markham, it’s best to focus your resources on catering to your local customers.

You can better reach out to them by listing your shop as a service-area business in your Google My Business Profile. Doing so will allow you to provide more information about your services, which customers highly appreciate.

7. Provide Authentic Photos

Using stock photos is frowned upon by Google’s algorithms. Not only will it alert them that your content is possibly fraudulent but it can also confuse some of your customers.

To ensure that you are providing the most authentic experience and service, try to upload original, self-captured photos of your products, location landmarks, and employees.

8. Utilize Google Search

Google, like any business, will appreciate it if you’re using their services. So, to get on their good side you should use their software tools in every online and surfing need. Use it as you look for competitors, keywords, sponsors, opportunities, and more.

At the end of the day, what you’ll see in its results will also be seen by your competitors and the audience. So, by familiarizing Google’s ins and outs, your home business can have an easier time adapting to digital marketing.

With more than 1 billion people using Google to surf the web, the failure to shift to digital marketing on this platform can be the end of your home business. One simple listing can create a huge difference in your market influence and open new doors of opportunity for you. So, for a budding home business like yours that aims to increase local market influence, Google provides affordable services that can launch you towards success.

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Home Care & Living

We Buy Houses in San Bernardino – Common Issues Encountered During Property Sales

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San Bernardino, located in Southern California, might be one of the best places to raise a family. As the second-largest city in the inland empire of Southern California, it has lots of public schools and health centers and is full of attractions. 

However, the most common reason why people move to this place is the availability of affordable houses. Its excellent sunny weather is another reason why people move to this area.

Besides these fantastic attractions, occupants of this area enjoy access to several luxuries, including tennis courts, a shooting range, and adventurous hiking trails. 

Regardless of these excellent benefits of living in San Bernardino, people still move out due to the inefficient transport systems in some places. 

Whatever reason you decide to move out of the area, you might want to consider the stress of selling a house in San Bernardino. Not to worry though, we buy houses in San Bernardino.

Before you go online to look for buyers for your house, there are some things to know. The information is well detailed in this write-up. 

What Documents Do You Need To Sell Your House in San Bernardino?

Before going through search results on “companies that buy houses near me,” it’s essential that you make some documents available. Here are some of the relevant document requirements to finalize a deal.

Property Deed

This document passes the rights of ownership that you have on a property to the buyer. In San Bernardino, you can get the deed to your house from the area’s county recorder office. 

Collecting the document is free, but you might pay a fee depending on the locale.

Information Regarding Personal Identification

As important as it is to confirm the identity of companies that advertise their services with the tag “we buy houses in San Bernardino,” they also have to verify your identity. 

These companies verify your identity because many individuals partake in fraudulent activities, causing the buyer of the property a considerable loss.

So, make sure to have your driver’s license or state-issued identification card available to prove your identity.

Housing Society or Association Documents

Before a transfer of ownership of your house between you and the buyer can take place, you must obtain authorization from a competent authority. In San Bernardino, the society is the San Bernardino homeowners association (HOA)

Certificates issued by the association displaying your membership are essential to prevent any hiccups while transferring the property to the buyer.

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Sales Agreement 

This document is one of the most crucial when selling a house in San Bernardino or any other area. The sales agreement covers all the terms of closing of the deal and includes disclosures

The document is the most powerful during a transaction because it’s accepted legally as evidence. If someone makes a claim over your property, you’ll need to provide this document to prove ownership

Problems You Avoid When We Buy Your House at PropertyEscape

Even though people are always searching for houses to buy, selling off your property might turn out to be too stressful for you. In the possibility that someone comes to check out the house, their offer might not be attractive. 

Most individuals contact real estate platforms like PropertyEscape because we buy houses in San Bernardino as-is and for cash without hassles.

Some other problems that you could face when trying to sell your house are:

Structural Issues With the Building 

After staying in a house for long or due to poor maintenance, you’ll either have to spend some money on repairs or sell the property as-is. Although there are buyers who don’t mind buying properties that need repairs, there are very few of them. 

The majority of buyers would not want to pay for a house where they would need to spend extra on repairs. So, depending on your financial condition, it may be better to fix the problems to increase the market value of your house. 

The Buyer Might Change Their Mind

Indecision is typical among people who buy houses. Since they usually have several offers, they can easily change their minds on buying your home, leaving you heartbroken. 

Most of the time, there’s nothing you can do to change their minds. So, you have to start the process again, looking for a new buyer.

We buy houses in San Bernardino as-is and with cash so you can skip the entire process of finding buyers for your house, especially if you’re in a hurry to sell.

Difficulty in Attracting Buyers

If you’re trying to get a good deal from cash buyers for houses in California, you need them to see the property in its best shape inside and out so that you can gain their interest. 

Most likely, because you don’t have the experience of a real estate agent, you’ll not have the knowledge required to get this done. Thus, securing a buyer for your house can become very tough or nearly impossible.

A competent real estate agency will relieve homeowners of the stress of finding buyers to purchase their homes by offering fair prices with zero stress.

Conclusion

Selling a house to a cash buyer in San Bernardino isn’t an easy feat to accomplish, especially if you have no experience in real estate. We’ve covered some of the common issues that real estate investors may encounter when trying to sell a property. 

From being aware of all the potential pitfalls and how they can be avoided or mitigated to knowing what kind of buyer you’ll need for your specific situation. If you have any questions about anything in our article, please don’t hesitate to reach out! We’re always happy to provide more information on these topics as well as offer guidance on where else you might find help with regards to selling a house.  

What are other issues real estate investors may encounter when trying to sell? Have there been times where one issue was particularly difficult for you? Let us know below!

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Home Care & Living

Environment-Related Activities in Your Company to Promote Sustainability

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If you want to help address the global environmental issues today, the efforts have to start right at your firm. Well, the problem of global warming might look huge, but the combined effort of individual companies can have a huge impact. As a corporate, your overall goal should be ESG sustainability reporting. This is the process of disclosing company data and its impact in three areas, environment, social, and governance. In this post, we take a closer look at the environment, and the activities you can undertake in the company to promote sustainability.

Why Environment is So Crucial for Your Company

Before looking at the best activities that you can engage in for sustainability, let’s start with understanding the importance of the environment. Whether you run a processing firm or an insurance company, the operations are directly or indirectly linked to the environment.  A manufacturer will require materials that are drawn from the environment, while a bank will generate reports on papers harvested from trees.

Even for firms that do not directly impact the environment, the effects of degradation still affect them. The impacts of global warming are affecting everyone. Therefore, it is paramount to identify areas where you can contribute towards addressing the challenges facing the environment. So, let’s look at environment-related activities and how you can use them for ESG sustainability reporting.

Cutting Down Wastes from Your Facility

If your facility generates some waste, failing to address it can result in serious damage to the environment. A manufacturing company releasing toxic waste into the natural waterway can cause harm to marine wildlife. If the toxic waste finds its way up the food chain, it can even reach and affect human beings. You can avoid this in a number of ways:

  • Cutting down the waste coming from your facility.
  • Treating the waste  before releasing it into the environment.
  • Recycling the waste coming from the facility.
  • Working with other recycling facilities to help with waste recycling and energy recovery.

You might also want to consider changing the raw materials and adopting those that generate no or very little waste.

Installing More Efficient Machines

If you have a manufacturing facility, the success you can achieve depends on the equipment installed in the production line. If they are not efficient, this means that you are likely to be releasing a lot of emissions and wastes. A good course of action would be replacing them with high-efficiency models. If the cost of the equipment is very high, the chances are that it will be a lot lower when looked at in the long term. Remember also to capture the information on costs in the ESG report because this might be the step you need to justify the need for additional funds.

Adopting Green Energy

Global warming, the biggest problem of our times, is caused by the excessive release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Therefore, your company can help address it by shifting to sustainable energy solutions. Good examples of clean energy include wind energy, solar energy, and geothermal. Make sure to indicate addressing global warming as part of the company’s ESG sustainability reporting goals.

To make your efforts deliver greater impacts and impress your stakeholders, ensure to demonstrate a clear plan for the actions. This means starting the ESG reporting process with a review of the company and making the action specific. Again, the data should be correct and verifiable. To achieve these, and adhere to all the ESG sustainability reporting principles, it is important to have an appropriate program. Visit Diginex.com to pick the best environmental management software and expertise.

Author Bio = Mashum Mollah is an entrepreneur and passionate blogger. He is on a mission to help small businesses grow online. He shares his journey, insights, and experiences at SBNewsRoom. If you are an entrepreneur, marketing professional, or simply an info-holic, then this blog is for you.

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DIY Projects

4 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Outdoor Space

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Sometimes, our outdoor spaces do not get as much love as the interiors of our homes. We tend to forget about our backyards, patios, and decks, focusing on living rooms and bedrooms instead. Nevertheless, an outdoor space is an integral part of every home that significantly affects its curb appeal.

To make the most out of the outdoor space you have, you might want to search for ways to improve its looks and practicality. Lucky for you, we have a list of solutions that will help you do just that. From installing retractable awnings and planting some herbs in your backyard to going for water features and adding a fire pit in the middle of your outdoor living area — there are plenty of things you can do to make your outdoor space more appealing.

If you want to learn some of the best tips to incorporate into your outdoor space, read on!

Installing Retractable Awnings

One of the most important aspects of your outdoor space is its shade. If you live in an area with really sunny days, you might want to find a way to get some shade in your backyard without having to build some kind of structure or buy an expensive umbrella.

A retractable pergola is a perfect solution that will allow you to enjoy your outdoor space while maintaining an optimal level of comfort. This type of awning allows you to control the amount of shade it provides, so you can choose whether you want to sit in direct sunlight or in the shade.

If you decide to install a retractable awning, make sure to get one with high-quality materials. The awning frame should be made of stainless steel or aluminum, which is rust-resistant and sturdy. You should also make sure that the fabric is resistant to ultraviolet rays and water since it will be exposed to both during hot afternoons.

Planting Herbs

Herbs are not only good for cooking purposes but also for enhancing the beauty of your outdoor space. You can plant all kinds of herbs in your patio or backyard, especially if you have enough space for them to grow.

For example, you can plant some basil, cilantro, oregano, thyme, or rosemary. These herbs have various uses for cooking, but they also add a touch of nature to your outdoor living area. They are also easy to grow and maintain, so you will not have any issues watering them or keeping them alive.

If you do not want to plant herbs in your backyard or patio, you can choose some decorative pots instead. Make sure they are made of high-quality materials. The pot should be made of solid plastic or metal, and it should be durable and resistant to weather conditions. You should also pay attention to the design and color of the pot — this way, you will be able to match it with your current decor.

Adding Fire Features

There are plenty of reasons why adding a fireplace in your outdoor area is a great idea — first of all, they look fantastic. If you have a fireplace in your house, you should go for a fire feature that matches it — this way, your house will look like a complete set.

However, the main reason why fireplaces are such a great addition to any backyard or patio is that they provide warmth and create an intimate environment for those who sit next to them. If you do not want to go for a fireplace because it is too big and bulky, opt for a smaller fire feature like a gas fire pit that provides an intimate and cozy feeling without taking too much space.

If you want to install a fire feature in your outdoor area, make sure it is well-protected from weather conditions and vandals — otherwise, it will not serve its purpose for long. Also, try not to place it near susceptible objects like furniture and plants — it could cause damage to these items if it comes into contact with them!

Opting for a Water Feature

In addition to providing a cool decoration for your backyard or patio, water features can also help improve the aesthetic value of your outdoor area by adding a bit of life and movement. If you want a waterfall or a water fountain that will add a touch of nature to your outdoor space, then this is what you need!

There are plenty of different types of water features available nowadays — from elegant water fountains that stand on their own base to small-scale architectural fountains that can go right into your pool or pond. The choice is up to you — all you have to do is pick one that fits your needs perfectly!

The Bottom Line

Your outdoor space is an important part of your house that can significantly improve its curb appeal. If you want to make the most out of it, there are many ways to do it. You might consider adding a retractable awning, planting some herbs, going for a fire or water feature. These additions will make your outdoor living area more appealing and enjoyable at the same time!

Nevertheless, there are a plethora of other ways to improve the aesthetics and practicality of your backyard or patio. All you have to do is find a solution that matches your needs and gives you the results you want. No matter what you pick, make sure it is made from high-quality materials and that it matches your current decor!

The only thing that remains is to take action and start improving your outdoor environment!

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Home Care & Living

4 Energy-Saving Tips for Every Season

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Energy-efficient home improvements are, without a doubt, a worthwhile investment that will help you cut down your bills and ensure that you’re doing something good for the planet. What is best is that going green doesn’t necessarily mean you have to make significant changes to your lifestyle. In most cases, it’s all about the small improvements that work together to help you live a more sustainable but comfortable life.

For example, you don’t have to resign from using a microwave or an oven just because they use a lot of energy — you can switch to new, state-of-the-art, energy-efficient appliances. It’s really that simple!

Installing a programmable thermostat, switching to LED light bulbs, and minding your appliances are just a few more of the many simple steps you can take to make your home more energy-efficient. Does it sound like something you’re interested in? If so, then continue reading for more information that will help you improve the efficiency of your property.

Mind Your Appliances

When it comes to saving energy, your appliances play a huge part in contributing to your utility bills every month. Appliances account for around 15 percent of a family’s energy bill, and some of the biggest culprits include refrigerators, freezers, televisions, and dishwashers.

In most cases, these appliances have a lot of power-consuming features, such as a built-in freezer. To lower your energy consumption, it’s essential to check the settings on your devices and, if necessary, adjust them accordingly.

You might also want to take a closer look at your water heater, as a typical one will heat the water in your home even when no one is there. For this reason, you can install an occupancy sensor, so it won’t heat the water unless someone is present in the house.

Additionally, if you ever hear your water heater making noise, you should pay close attention to the sound that you hear. Among other issues, it might mean that your water pipes aren’t properly insulated, which leads to losing the produced heat and energy.

Install a Programmable Thermostat

Some people know that they can save money by installing a programmable thermostat but are unsure whether they should do it. Others are simply not aware of the benefits that come with having one of these convenient devices installed in their homes.

It’s important to note that programmable thermostats are automatic in most cases, meaning that you don’t have to manually make adjustments to the thermostat to get it to turn on or off. Smart thermostats allow you to adjust the temperature even when you’re away by using the app on your mobile phone. The app also lets you program your climate control systems, so they adjust to your schedule.

For instance, if no one is at home from 8 AM to 4 PM, you can program your thermostat to power down during those times, so it lowers the temperature and uses less energy. Suppose you get home from work at 5 PM. In that case, your programmable thermostat will automatically adjust the temperature so that you come home to a cool (or warm, depending on the season) and comfortable house.

Doing this will help you save up to 23 percent on heating and cooling costs, which is an amount that can account for several hundred dollars in savings per year!

Switch to LED Light Bulbs

One of the easiest ways to reduce your energy consumption is switching out your old light bulbs for newer, more efficient LED ones. Most LED light bulbs last longer than regular ones, consume less energy, and often require less maintenance than older ones.

It’s important to note that due to their high efficiency, LED light bulbs might be a little bit more expensive than regular light bulbs, but over time you’ll be able to save money by not having to buy replacements as often. The only downside is that while LEDs are more efficient than regular light bulbs, they don’t work too well with most dimmer switches. If this is the case in your home, it’s best to use an electronic ballast (such as preheat ballasts) that will allow you to dim the lights.

The good news is that if you decide to install LED light bulbs in your home, the chances are that you won’t need them replaced for around ten years.

Use Programmable Lighting Controls

If you want to lower your electricity bills and increase safety simultaneously, consider replacing your traditional lighting controls with newer models such as smart lighting controls. These types of fixtures allow you to control both lighting level and intensity from anywhere that you can access the Internet, giving you total control over your property at all times!

By lowering the light intensity and switching them on and off automatically, you’ll be able to manage energy usage and save on your electric bill more than you might think.

In Conclusion

It’s hard to deny the fact that there are many benefits to saving energy. Not only will you be helping the environment by reducing your carbon footprint, but you’ll also be able to save money on energy bills while doing so. With that in mind, there is really no point in waiting any longer: if you find yourself in need of an energy-efficient home improvement, the time to get started is now!

You can switch to LED light bulbs, use programmable lighting controls, or start paying more attention to your appliances. Whichever option you choose, you will be doing something good for the planet and your wallet!

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Home Care & Living

Top 5 Natural Health Remedies

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Throughout history, many cultures worldwide have relied on plant and herbal medicines for reaching and maintaining optimum health. Despite incredible advances in technology and medicine with an ever-growing pharmaceutical industry, the demand for natural remedies is increasing.

There is plenty of educational resources which list the health benefits associated with natural remedies. They are a popular alternative for many people who fear the risk of addiction and side effects associated with many drugs. Natural remedies also tend to be more affordable and accessible than conventional medicines. Especially the ones you can make at home. This article discusses some of the best natural remedies used in health today.

CBD (Cannabidiol)

CBD (cannabidiol) is a chemical compound derived from the cannabis plant. It affects the brain and body but notably does not cause euphoric highs like the other chemical compound, Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). CBD has been used for thousands of years for medicinal and therapeutic benefits, with much scientific research proving these in recent years. Therefore, you can reap the health benefits of CBD without experiencing the psychotic effects and dangers of addiction associated with THC.

Using trusted information sources such as CFAH, you’ll learn CBD can be incorporated into many products with benefits for sleep, mood, pain, and many more. Examples of products include vapors, topical creams, oral drops, supplements, teas, and edibles. Therefore, there’s something for everyone.

Herbal Supplements

Herbal supplements are another natural health remedy, with many using them in their daily health routine. For example, Echinacea, also known as purple coneflower, is one of the most popular herbal supplements to relieve cold and flu symptoms. It’s also been shown to help reduce pain, migraines, and inflammation.  

Turmeric is another health supplement example. Better known for its use as a spice in Asian and Indian cuisine, turmeric makes curries yellow. Turmeric contains a health-promoting compound called curcumin which is a potent antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties.

Coconut Water & Oil

Coconut is known as being a leading superfood. It’s naturally low in calories but is packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients like potassium and magnesium, which people often experience deficiencies in. Coconut water has gone mainstream since it has become popular for boosting sports performance.

Coconut oil is another product of the coconut renowned for its health benefits. Its high concentration of fatty acids, medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). These fats are processed differently by the body and are associated with several health benefits. Coconut oil is popular for those following the keto diet because MCTs can be converted into ketones by the liver. Ketones can be broken down as a quick energy source for the brain in glucose for those on stricter diets.  

Homemade Ginger Tea

Homemade ginger tea is a must when you have the flu, sore throat, or experiencing symptoms of nausea. It’s a natural health remedy that you can easily make at home by brewing grated ginger in hot water. Another benefit of ginger is its anti-inflammatory properties.

Its anti-inflammatory properties target inflammation by blocking certain inflammatory compounds and breaking down inflammation through antioxidants that interact with acidity in fluids.

Fresh ginger can also be fermented. This is where grated ginger is fermented in sugar water and lemon juice, allowing the natural yeasts in ginger to feed and multiply, creating a probiotic beverage. Probiotics and fermented food have become so popular, given their remarkable benefits for gut health. Modern diets high in sugars, fats, and salt can be harmful to our gut microbiome. Probiotics feed our gut with healthy bacteria that protect and rejuvenate our gut microbiome.  

Natural Activated Charcoal

Activated charcoal is made from coconut shells, wood, peats or olive pits, and other substances. It becomes activated when high temperatures combine with a gas or activating agent to expand its surface area. It has a tremendous ability to absorb impurities, hence why it’s a popular health product. People ingest it to trap toxic substances in the gut and thus prevent their absorption into the body.

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Landscaping

The Pros and Cons of Getting an Artificial Lawn

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Folks living in the arid area of the Southwest USA know full well how hard it is to grow a full, lush lawn in those conditions. It is difficult even when trying different drought-proof hybrids of grass. So difficult, in fact, that many people turn to install artificial turf.

Now that other parts of the country are seeing some difficulties, those people there are beginning to look into whether it makes sense for them too. In many cases, there is little downside to having one but it does pay to know what you’re getting into so you can make an informed decision if it is the best move for you.

In this article, we will go over the pros and cons so you can see if getting an artificial lawn is your best option.

Pros of an Artificial Lawn

People that haven’t heard much about artificial lawns likely still think of how it used to be back in the 60s and 70s when it was first being used in sporting arenas. These days it has come a long way and it is much different than it used to be. Once they realize that the turf of old is long gone and things are different now they will want to know what the benefits are.

First and foremost you’ll have an attractive lawn that requires very minimal maintenance. Since it is fake, it doesn’t dry out when it is hot. With more frequent heatwaves hitting the country and the water bans that follow, it is difficult to maintain a green lawn. Those days are over with artificial turf.

There is also no need to be using any pesticides or herbicides on the lawn. This makes it a much safer environment for pets and children. There are no pests that can burrow in the turf and cause problems both for your lawn and for your pets and children by having them around. And you won’t have pesky weeds that are difficult to eradicate when you want to avoid using an herbicide.

It doesn’t matter what type of environment or climate you live in. The lawn can handle direct sun as well as shade. If you live in an arid area it won’t dry out. And those that live in a spot with far too much water for a regular grass lawn to survive will also benefit.

Lastly, it takes a day to repair a bad lawn when you go with artificial grass. If you have a lawn that needs to be repaired it can take over a year for it to come back and look good. This includes if you buy sod to have it done quickly since it takes a while to look natural and not have the cut lines between the rolls visible.

Cons of an Artificial Lawn

There are hardly any downsides to installing an artificial lawn. However, that doesn’t mean that it is going to work for everybody. There may be a disadvantage that stands out to you and makes you have to reconsider.

The most obvious disadvantage to getting an artificial lawn is the upfront cost. It can cost upwards of $12 per square foot to install. A big lawn can cost a small fortune putting it out of reach of many Americans. There are few ongoing costs, except for one. Every few years you’ll need to buy some infill as an anti-shock layer as it compresses.

The next disadvantage is how hot the turf can get. Since it doesn’t have any water in it like a blade of grass, it heats up quickly and stays hot for a while.  If the lawn is in the shade it stays cool, however.

What Is the Maintenance Like?

Luckily, maintaining a turf lawn is far easier than a real one. It takes cleaning it occasionally and brushing it up so it looks clean and natural. Raking it up in the high traffic areas will prevent it from matting and getting compressed.

Planting some trees around the lawn will provide shade and cool down the surrounding air so the lawn doesn’t heat up. After all, you do want to be able to walk around barefoot in the yard.

When you need to clean it off, it is as simple as rinsing it off with a hose. Food dropping on the lawn can cause a stain so it is important to wash it off, but at least it will be easier than if it fell into some long grass.

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Landscaping

How Much Does Tree Removal Cost?

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Trees are essential assets to properties, adding beauty and shade while stopping soil erosion. However, when a tree becomes a liability, it must be removed. When a tree is damaged, dead, leaning, or too near to your house, a tree removal service can dispose of it for you.

Whether it’s big or small, removing a tree is best left to the experts. But the question is, how much will it cost you? Tree removal services are usually priced based on the size and height of the tree.

But other factors impact the removal costs, as well.

Average Cost

For tree removal services, you can expect to pay anywhere from $150 to $2,000. The prices largely depend on the size of the tree. The bigger the tree, the more expensive the tree removal service is.

Factors That Impact The Cost

As mentioned, bigger trees cost more to remove since they require more powerful equipment. Plus, the process is riskier, and there is more stuff to dispose of. Even so, other things go into deciding the price of removing a tree.

Tree Species, Volume, and Height

Volume, height, and tree species are closely related when it comes to determining the price of tree removal. For example, pine trees and maple trees tend to grow up to 100 feet and can cost at least $2,000 to remove.

Another thing, oaks tend to grow twenty feet lower than pines and maples. As such, they’ll likely cost at least $800 to $1,500 to remove. Keep in mind that height is not the only deciding factor.

Mediterranean cypress can go up to 50 feet high. However, their shallow root systems, low volume, and thin trunks make them easier to remove. Sometimes, they can safely be pulled out and tipped over. The price of removing this type of tree is much lower, about $400.

In another example, palm tree removal costs are at the lower end of the scale because they lack volume even though they are tall.

Health Of The Tree

An unstable or dead tree can be a safety hazard to your family, property, and other trees. Compromised trees may be less expensive to remove since they are easier to cut down. However, it could quickly become expensive if placed in a risky position and could cause harm if it falls.

To get a quote in this particular situation, make sure to arrange an inspection with a tree removal service such as Tree Triage’s tree removal services. What’s more, a fallen tree is more affordable to remove than a living tree as long as it has not caused an emergency.

Physical Obstacles

Physical obstructions can make the most uncomplicated removal hard and challenging. The following are some hindrances that surcharge the cost of tree removal:

  • Nearby trees
  • Muddy or rocky soil
  • Steep property
  • Limited vehicle access
  • Not enough space for the tree to fall on
  • Poor tree condition

Urgency

Emergency tree removal, as with other emergency services, will come at a hefty price. Generally, it will cost at least three times more than the regular price. Also, emergency tree removal is riskier because experts will have to be extra careful not to instigate more damage.

Prices will vary by the contractor and by the situation, although prices can quickly reach up to $5,000.

Crane Rental

If a tree removal requires a crane, you may need to pay another $250 to $600 per day to the total price. Also, you will need to pay another $100 for the operator. Crane-assisted tree removal is the most difficult to do because of the following:

  • Plumbing pipes
  • Power lines
  • Experts have to use rope and climbing equipment
  • Time and grunt work involved in removing the tree

Stump Removal

Once the tree is removed, the tree stump remains. Naturally, stumps will decompose on their own. However, it’s only possible after several years. Throughout this time, new buds and twigs might even develop from the tree stump.

With that said, removing the stump is important. The average cost of stump grinding is around $300 to $400.

Location

Residing in a secluded area is great for peace and quiet. However, a tree removal service will usually charge for the travel. Of course, this differs widely. As such, it is quite impossible to give an idea of the price.

Traffic Control

If a street must be partially or entirely closed down, the cost of flaggers, corners, and traffic control will add to the total price of the removal service. On average, expect to pay at least $175 for a two-person flagging crew.

In Conclusion

It’s safest to have trees removed by a qualified tree removal company, except for small trees wherein you don’t need to climb a ladder. For a tree removal service, expect to pay between $150 to $2,000. Make sure to hire a certified arborist to determine whether a tree should be maintained, treated, pruned, or removed.

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DIY Projects

The Smart Way to Install Your Garden Shed

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You picked out the perfect garden shed, the cherry on top of your landscaping sundae. But even installing a prefabricated shed comes with challenges. Before scheduling delivery, it’s worth taking the time to consider the impact heavy construction equipment will have on your yard.

Self-Installation vs. Professionals

Start by thinking through when you will be available to supervise construction. Once you block off your schedule for that time, determine what type of equipment will be required to move your shed or the component pieces.

Unless you plan to place your shed directly beside the road, you will need to move it into its new home. If you aren’t a trained professional or confident operating heavy machinery like a forklift, it’s probably a good idea to opt for professional installation. Despite the extra expense, make safety a priority.

Protecting Your Yard

Self-installation can save you time and money, but you’ll need to consider how skid-steering and weight impact your existing landscaping. Even with professional installation, you will need to require that they provide yard protection.

More than any other consideration, you don’t want to tear up your newly laid sod or brickwork, or even burst any pipes running beneath your yard.  Construction crane mats are a great way to protect your lawn and any pipelines underneath. Also called access matting, these portable platforms create a temporary roadway. A crane mat effectively distributes the machinery’s weight while protecting the surface of your yard. 

Your contractor either should own or be able to rent these premade composite mats. There are also mats made of other materials, but composite is easier to set up and it protects your lawn better because the mats join together.

Choosing Heavy Machinery

Ask yourself if you’ll need to rent your own forklift. If you choose professional installation, instead, determine what type of equipment will be crossing your yard. Either way, the odds are good that you will need to set up your space to accommodate these machines.

Keep in mind that local bylaws might require you to park your rented equipment on your property rather than the road. Make sure you have a spot cleared in advance and check your city ordinances before starting installation.

Preparing the Area

Before you can place or build your shed, you need a firm and level foundation. The simplest way to prepare the ground for a shed is to use pegs and string to measure the space. Then, you’ll need to dig down at least 6 inches and roughly level the bottom of your hole.

A simple wooden framework inside this hole will support the concrete for the base. First, however, fill the space approximately half full of stone or similar material, like hardcore. Now, the area is ready for your cement.

Ensure you understand when and how to mix your chosen cement and use a spreader to level the surface once it’s poured. When your cement is cured, you can bring it into the shed.

Cleanup Matters!

Cleanup is an often overlooked aspect of residential construction projects. In certain areas, muddy runoff into storm drains will earn you significant fines. You’ll also need to dispose of the packaging or other materials, like the pallets used to support the shed during relocation.

The less time construction mats cover your sod, the better it will recover. Plan to spend an entire day post-installation dedicated to matting breakdown and removal. If you don’t own a truck, it may be worth renting or borrowing one.

Once your yard is clear, you’re finally ready to fill your new shed with all those garden essentials.

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Home Care & Living

Practical Tips for Buying a Mountain Cabin

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Many Americans love the outdoors and this love for the outdoors birthed the concept of mountain cabins. If the mountains are one of your desired places to visit, I believe buying a mountain cabin will be a dream come true. Besides, you can use it as a second home for vacations and occasionally make money off it as a rental property. 

Suppose you’ve always dreamt of owning a secluded place in the mountains, it’d be best if you went through the proper channel and looked out for features you’d love in your new mountain cabin.

While plenty of cabins are scattered across the country, you’d want to choose one that provides the satisfaction and flexibility you require. So, before you begin your search for your dream mountain home, you’d like to ask yourself these crucial questions:

What Kind of Cabin Do I Want?

Many people perceive the word “cabin” as just any mini wooden house on the outskirts of the town. However, that perception is wrong. There are lots of cabin options worth exploring and you can even rent it out like other best smoky mountain cabin rentals. The following are some types of cabins:

Log Cabins

As the name suggests, this log cabin is made from wood. Suppose you prefer this type of cabin, you’ll want to decide on the wood type, corner style, and shape of the logs for the place. Spruce logs are known to be famous for building log cabins. And they’re desirable for their resistance to decay, thereby increasing the longevity of the cabin.

 A-Frame Cabins

The name of this type of cabin gives its design away. It’s a simple triangular-shaped accommodation with vaulted ceilings and sometimes a lofted sleeping area. 

Prefabricated Cabins

This type of cabin surfaced a few years back. And it’s mostly made of metal and wood. The components of prefabricated cabins are factory-produced and transported to the customer’s desired location.

What Can I Afford? 

Many see cabins as a luxury. Yes, some can be. But with reasonable lifestyle adjustments and careful budgeting, you’ll find out that they can be affordable. And a fantastic opportunity to get a property and vacation time as well.

If you’ve been able to provide answers to these questions, you can proceed on your search for the cabin of your dreams. The home market comprises many mountain cabin properties, and you might stumble upon one you love. 

Interestingly, the easiest way to acquire a mountain cabin is to buy from someone else. You’ll save yourself money that way. The thought of getting a mountain cabin can be exciting, and it’d be best if you’re not overwhelmed by the excitement of the moment. Else, you might make an unwise decision. 

If you’ve decided on buying a mountain cabin, you can check out this resource link https://theshorttermshop.com/log-cabin-investments-in-the-smoky-mountains/ or use the following tips: 

Consider Mortgage

In a case where you’re already making a mortgage payment on your primary home, you may find it hard to keep up with two mortgage payments. Yes, luxury and comfort do come at a price. However, you wouldn’t want to pay a fee that will cost your peace of mind.

Recall, it’s advisable that housing shouldn’t gulp more than 30 percent of your monthly earnings. So, before you look to get yourself a mountain cabin, you’d want to do your homework to know if you’re capable of financing multiple properties

Maintenance and Repairs

Is buying a mountain cabin necessary? I thought you’d ask that. I wouldn’t say it’s essential. However, I know it’s a wise decision and a profitable investment. It’d be pleasant to have a nice mountain cabin to enjoy some days off and make some cash off of it. The only problem you might have is its maintenance.

Not a small amount of money goes into home maintenance. For a place you’ll visit occasionally, regular maintenance is required. And that’s going to cost money. So, you should get ready to cover these costs.

For ease of management, it’s advisable to earmark one percent of the cabin’s price for maintenance. Maintenance cost is a key reason you should consider the age and condition of the mountain cabin you’re about to get. The older the home, the higher the possibility of an increased maintenance fee. An old cabin will likely need multiple repairs. And that’d cost you some extra dollars. 

Photo by Ruben Hanssen on Unsplash

Ease of Commuting 

Suppose you intend to run Smoky Mountain rentals, you’ll need to consider the ease of commuting from the cabins to the major roads. Mountain cabins often have limited access to the larger roads and highways. It may take half of an hour to get to any significant road from some mountain cabins.

Are you the unorganized type? Are you sure you want a cabin that’s far from any major road? These questions and more require answers from you. Imagine driving up to your place on a beautiful weekend to find out you’re out of milk or eggs. I bet you’ll be frustrated.

So, when searching for a vacation mountain cabin, keep in mind to look for one that best suits your persona. One other important thing you’ll want to consider is the power supply and the condition of the roads when it rains. Trust me; you’ll not regret looking into those aspects before getting your dream mountain home. 

Don’t Rely on Pictures: Visit Property Site

Not everything is as excellent as it appears in pictures. With shots taken from the perfect angle, an undesirable property can be made to look exceptional – and otherwise. That’s why you should visit any cabin property of your interest.

Even if the pictures speak well of the cabin, you’ll still want to check the mountain cabin’s surroundings, its proximity to a major road, and other personalized features. You wouldn’t want to settle for a beautiful cabin in an undesirable location. Hence, you should be ready to make physical inspections. 

Rentability

Since you probably won’t be staying in your cabin most of the time. Renting it out would be an excellent idea. Imagine how profitable it’d be to run a rental cabin. That’s an easy way to earn some money and even invest it further, for example in cryptocurrency. You could buy BNB, Bitcoin, USDT etc., get some profit and have some extra income. 

You can list your property in the Airbnb Smoky Mountain cabin rentals section or have someone manage the property including its rental.

Owning a mountain cabin will save you the cost of lodging your family in a hotel for multiple days if you’re in the area for vacation. And this will limit your spending to probably gas and groceries. 

Summary

Whatever is worth doing at all is worth doing well. If you’ve concluded on buying a mountain cabin, you should be prepared to look until you find something you like and one you can afford. These tips will guide you on your quest to buy the mountain cabin of your dreams.  

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Home Care & Living

Buying a Home: Tips for First-Time Buyers

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If you’re embarking on the exciting journey of buying your first home, you may feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of homes on the market.

Or maybe you’ve perused all the listings of homes for sale in Alabama and know exactly what you’re looking for, but you’re confused by the buying process and have no idea what to expect? 

Not to worry. Here’s everything you need to know about purchasing a home as a first-time buyer. From getting a mortgage to the day of closing, we’ve covered everything below – and more.

Save Up for a Down Payment

Before you even consider buying a house, you need to assess your finances. As a first-time buyer, you’ll need a mortgage. Getting a mortgage means that a lender will front you the money to buy your home, and you’ll pay the amount back with monthly payments.

To qualify for a mortgage, you’ll need to put some cash down – this is called a down payment. Usually, a down payment on a mortgage is twenty percent of the price of the house (if you want to avoid additional fees).

If you don’t have a down payment of twenty percent, certain types of mortgages will accept five to ten percent. 

Know Your Credit Score

When you decide to buy a house, you need to know your credit score. First-time buyers will need a good credit rating (as well as a down payment) to qualify for a mortgage. If you have let a few of your payments to lenders lapse, it will negatively affect your credit rating.

Your credit score is a three-digit number that represents your credit history. Your credit report will also include a document with details that disclose the payments you have made on time, as well as any lapses. This document will display all your past debts, such as student loans, credit cards, and any other credit accounts you have.

When you apply for a mortgage, the lender will check your credit report and credit history to calculate your risk – which is the likelihood that you will pay back the mortgage – and the interest rate you will pay.

A history of non-payment or late payment will reduce your chances of being approved for a lower interest rate, or even decide if you qualify for a loan at all. That’s why it’s vital to check your credit score before applying for a mortgage – knowing what to expect makes it possible for you to rectify any errors or non-payments and improve your credit score.   

Get Pre-Approved

Once you have checked your credit score (and perhaps made some improvements) you should get pre-approved for a mortgage to buy your home. Getting pre-approval from a lender entails meeting with a loan officer – preferably from several different companies as you shop around for the best rates.

The lender will assess your debt-to-income ratio, as well as your assets. This is to determine if you qualify for a loan, and what amount you can afford to pay monthly for your mortgage.

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage will assist you by minimizing the risk that you will default on your payments. When it comes to looking at potential houses, your pre-approval amount will provide a realistic figure for houses that fall within your price range.

Bear in mind though, pre-approval for a mortgage and mortgage pre-qualification are not the same. Getting a pre-qualification is a simpler process that will only give you a rough estimate of the amount you may qualify for, and it’s not guaranteed.

Getting pre-approved takes time and requires a lot of paperwork – which is worth it because it guarantees your creditworthiness.

Find a Trustworthy Real Estate Agent

Once you have been pre-approved, you’ll need to find a trustworthy buyer’s agent. A good buyer’s real estate agent can help you find a home in your price range based on your specifications and help you negotiate a deal.

A good real estate agent will also be able to help you with the process of buying your first home and navigate any pitfalls and paperwork. Using a real estate agent’s services as a buyer is free – all sales commission is covered by the seller.

Shop Around

Now, it’s time for the best part about looking for a home – looking at listings and attending viewings.

You should be able to find hundreds of listings online, in local papers, and by driving around. Once you find a suitable listing, ask the agent to set up a viewing so you can go and see it.

Due to the sheer number of listings, you’ll come across, the best approach to looking for a home is to make a list of your non-negotiable features and “nice to have” features and go from there.

Make a list of how many bedrooms you want, how big the yard needs to be (do you plan on having children or getting pets?) and any other must-have features to narrow down your options. You should also consider the area or neighborhood you’d like to live in.

This is also where you’ll decide if you want a new home with all the bells and whistles or if you’re looking for a home that you’d like to fix up or renovate to your specifications.   

Put Down a Strong Offer

Once you’ve found your dream home, you’ll need to make an offer. In a competitive buyer’s market, you might consider limiting your contingencies and offering more than the asking price of the home.

Your real estate agent will be able to help you negotiate and give you an idea of what constitutes a strong offer.

Get a Home Inspection

You’ll need to hire a home inspector to thoroughly inspect the house. An inspector will be able to see if there are any problems – such as faulty electrical wiring, a weak foundation, asbestos, mold, garden pests, or anything else that might make you hesitant to move in.

The results of the inspection will allow you to find out more about the home that may not be noticeable at first glance, and it can help you when asking for concessions from the seller.

Prepare for Closing

The final step in the process is closing – which is also referred to as settlement or escrow. In the closing phase of purchasing a house, all the relevant parties will meet. This includes the seller, the buyer, mortgage representative, real estate agent, and anyone else who is part of the transaction.

On the day of closing, you’ll pay everyone who was involved – which includes the down payment for your mortgage, closing costs, and any other fees. You’ll also be given the keys to your home.

Closing costs vary, ranging from two to seven percent of the price of the home.

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Home Care & Living

How to Find the Best Outdoor Grill

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For many American homeowners, the barbeque grill is the centerpiece of their backyard space. It is the central piece of equipment for every successful family gathering and can be used to grill up delicious meals all year long. Choosing the right grill for your family will take some serious consideration.

If you are a casual barbeque, you will likely opt for either a gas or a charcoal grill, two of the most popular types of equipment. For barbeque experts, you may want to compare wood-burning stoves like the Z Grills vs. Traeger grills. In this article, we will take a closer look at the factors to consider between a gas and charcoal barbeque.

Whether you want to throw a steak on your barbeque or are more interested in taking things up a notch with seafood and side dishes, you need a grill that fits your needs. Let’s take a closer look at some of the factors to consider when buying a gas or a charcoal grill.

Gas Grills:  Factors to Consider

Temperature Range

Different foods need to be cooked at different temperatures for the best results on the grill. If you like to cook everything from steaks to fish on your grill, you will want to check the temperature ratings of your candidates. The higher the score, the better the range of temperatures are on the grill, making them the right choice to cook various foods. 

Burner Warranty

The burners on gas grills are the most common part of any gas barbeque. For that reason, it’s crucial to find out how long your burners are under warranty. On average, a burner will last up to 10 years with proper maintenance, so you want your warranty to cover a minimum of that period.

Construction

Your barbeque will have to stand up to the weather of every season and a lot of abuse from yearly usage. You want to find a unit that is of solid construction. When looking at different grills, check out the pressure points and joiners to find the one that has the most solid construction.

Safety

Grilling can be dangerous if you aren’t working with a safe grill. Sturdiness is an essential part of keeping you safe. Make sure that your unit also comes with the appropriate safety screening and automatic shut-off features. 

Charcoal Grills:  Factors to Consider

Airflow

Your charcoal grill will need proper airflow to regulate your cooking temperature. You will want to choose a model with adjustable vents, a secure lid, and solid vents to help you adjust your temperature. 

Coal Bed

If you are cooking on your barbeque for an extended period, you will need to add more charcoal. Look for models that have an accessible side door so that you can safely build up your charcoal.

Grill Size

Coal briquettes burn fairly evenly, so your temperature regulation will depend on the size and shape of your grill area. For a hotter and longer-lasting flame, you will want a cooking size that is larger. For low-temperature cooking, your grill surface should be slightly smaller. 

Safety

Charcoal grill flames are controlled by the user, not by an adjustable setting. This makes them slightly more dangerous than a gas grill. It’s a good idea to have an extinguisher around your grilling station or a garden hose to handle any flare-ups. 

Grilling for your family is an American tradition. Consider these factors as you choose your new barbeque that will be with your family for many seasons to come. 

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Home Care & Living

5 Factors to Consider When Renting Out Your New Jersey Home

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Renting out your New Jersey property is a terrific way to supplement your income. With New Jersey’s higher-than-average family income of $73,702 compared to the national average of $55,322, the potential for profit in the rental business is substantial.

The apartment renting business, which includes more than 500,000 rental units in buildings of five or more units each, is a vital component of the New Jersey economy. The industry has helped produce nearly 44,000 jobs in 2010, accounting for 1.2 percent of total state employment.

Furthermore, the industry actively or passively contributed 1.2 percent of total state GDP, amounting to $5.7 billion to state GDP. The renting business also generated local tax revenues worth more than $1 billion. The rental apartment business in New Jersey has significant revenue potential for you. However, before you get started in the rental business, you should consider the following.

1. The Cleaning Upkeep

It is critical to present a clean rental property to potential tenants. However, don’t expect your rental property to be impeccably clean and in good shape once the previous tenant has left.

A well-kept property reflects highly on you and your property. You’re sending the message to your tenants that you care about your property and want them to keep it in good condition. However, cleaning between each guest can be quite challenging and time-consuming.

You can either get to someone to perform this or save money by doing it yourself. Remember to account for the time it will take to clean between each guest. Make sure that everything left behind by your prior tenant is removed. Double-check closets and shelves, and clean up any stains on the walls.

Some other cleaning basics include:

  • Empty all cabinets and refrigerators.
  • Vacuum the carpets, cabinets, and other areas of the house.
  • Make sure your property is spotless and freshly painted.
  • Take a video to record the property’s condition for your next client.

2. The Little Details

With over 500,000 rental units available, competition can be intense. Therefore, you must ensure that your house stands out from the crowd. Adding additional decor and providing items such as shampoo and conditioner can help set your rental apart from the competition.

To finish your house makeover:

  • Add paintings and accessories.
  • Place a vase on the table or arrange various boxes, candles, and books on the shelf.
  • Arrive at your property at least 20 minutes early to meet with prospective tenants (unless you have a lockbox).
  • Clean the front porch, vacuum the carpets, set a lightly scented candle, and open the shades to allow in natural light.

3. Have Services On-Hand

Renting out your property has several responsibilities, and you should always be prepared for unexpected events. While tenants are living in the rental home, everything from bug infestations to leaks can occur. You must be prepared to deal with common household pests such as cockroaches, bugs, ants, and beetles. These pests have the potential to contaminate your tenant’s food and personal items.

It is better to be prepared with service providers to remedy the problem ahead of time and have services readily on hand. Be ready to contact pest control services in NJ or a handyman that can fix a leak and do minor repairs easily.

4. Protect Yourself

You must ensure that your property is protected before renting out your home. Make sure you have a signed lease that outlines your tenant’s rights and responsibilities. A decent lease contract should be following insurance laws and other housing, rental, and tenant requirements.

It is critical to protect your property with the appropriate insurance policy. You’ll be required to have rental home insurance as a landlord. This covers policy that protects your home, as well as medical expenditures, legal fees, and loss of rental income.

5. Think Seasonally

Typically, visitors to New Jersey come during the early summer months. That would be from July to August when the weather is usually hot and humid. As a result, this season should see an increase in the number of prospective tenants.

Most tourists avoid winter because it is too cold, preferring the milder weather of autumn and spring. So people likely won’t travel to New Jersey as much during the winter. So consider this to be your low season for rentals. Try to rent out your house during peak season if possible.

Be Ready to Deal With Tenants

Renting can generate additional revenue if the rent is greater than the mortgage payments. So, if you have a vacant property, one alternative to explore is renting it out to generate rental revenue. But, of course, you must be prepared to deal with tenants and maintenance along the way.

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DIY Projects

8 Modern Features You Need for Your Home Exterior + Bonus Tips

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It’s not just the inside of your home that sets off the first impression. Your exterior is also important. That’s why modern homes are doing things like adding glass walls, radiant heating and cooling systems, skylights, green roofs, and more to their exteriors. Let’s explore some of these features in detail!

1. Glass Railing

The first thing that most people see when they step up to your home is the railing. You can make a great impression with a glass railing since this beautiful design sets off both your home’s exterior and provides safety for those entering it. You can also find more online if you need new ideas.

Extra Tip: Glass Railing for Stairs on Porches and Added Porch Space

You can add stairs on porches to help protect your house from damage caused by weathering and erosion while adding more living space for you and your guests. When you add a glass railing for the staircase on stairs or porches, it provides an eye-catching look that adds extra safety features.

Adding porches is another way homeowners can enjoy more living space without breaking their budget by moving into a bigger home. With added porch space, families can eat dinner together outside or enjoy time with friends and family around the grill without feeling cramped inside their home! This is also great if you have small children playing nearby in the yard because you can keep a closer watch on them.

2. Green Roofs

You know green roofs provide homes with insulation and natural beauty, but they also help insulate them against noise pollution and bad weather conditions such as high winds or hail. This feature also helps filter pollutants from the air for cleaner indoor air. If you’re building a new home, consider adding one to help keep your house cool in the summer and warmer in the winter.

3. Sliding Glass Doors and Energy-Efficient Features

Sliding glass doors are an increasingly popular feature to add to homes because they can turn any room into a fully enclosed patio space. With these types of doors, you can open up several rooms for entertaining or relaxing while enjoying the fresh air!

When you add energy-efficient features to your home, you will have all the above benefits without paying more on your utility bill each month. These features include things like double pane windows, insulation, and radiant heating and cooling systems. With these in place, you can save money by lowering your monthly energy costs. Of course, if budget is not an issue for you, then there are even more modern features that you can choose from – it’s truly up to you!

Super Tips: Radiant Heating and Cooling Systems

You can also add radiant heating and cooling features to your exterior design because these types of systems are easier on the eyes when compared with traditional HVAC units. Not only do radiant heating and cooling systems look better, but they also offer the added benefit of keeping your home more environmentally friendly since they recirculate air instead of needing to draw in new air after each cycle.

4. Modern Exterior Lighting

Adding exterior lighting is another way you can turn your house into a modern home. This feature is important because it allows people to see your home more easily at night, but there are some other reasons that exterior lighting is great for homeowners. For instance, security lights will help protect your home against intruders and thieves during the evening hours when most burglaries occur.

5. A Glass Wall on the Garden Side

You can also add glass walls around outdoor spaces like pools or gardens for safety purposes and design appeal. These types of enclosures keep children safe without compromising the look of your property since these glass walls blend in with any kind of architecture that you’re using throughout the rest of your property.

6. Placing the Garage at the Front of the House and Front Entrance Areas

With home exteriors all about adding more living space, why not consider placing your garage at the front entrance? This feature is becoming increasingly popular with homeowners because it adds square footage for parking or future expansion room. Plus, this type of layout typically showcases a beautiful front yard and walkway, so you can add amenities like flower gardens or even a water feature to make your home stand out from the crowd!

If you’re going to be remodeling or updating your home exterior, then making sure that the front entrance area of your property is just as nice looking as the rest of it is a must! This is why people are choosing to add unique features like glass railing or crystalia glass best railing for staircase with wood accents because they look aesthetically pleasing and keep people safe when walking into their homes.

7. A Roof Suitable for Storms in High-Wind Areas and Skid Resistance Surfaces

Adding a roof suitable for high wind areas is another safety feature you may add to homes in coastal areas or other high-wind regions. This way, when storms roll in, people can remain safe without having to worry about damage to their roof, which could result in expensive repairs.

Because it’s common for homeowners in high-traffic areas to walk up to their driveways when returning from work, be sure to consider adding skid-resistant surfaces such as brick pavers or gravel so people don’t slip and hurt themselves if it’s raining out. Since these walks are typically pretty long, this is an important feature, so people feel safe walking onto their property after a long day at work!

8. A Background That Offers Privacy

Having a background or landscaping that offers privacy is another thing you should consider when updating your home exterior because it will help place more emphasis on your front entrance. This added privacy screen can also minimize noise pollution from nearby roads, so people don’t feel bothered by outside distractions once they step onto their property.

And finally, three great bonus tips for your home exterior:

A. Focal Point Decks and Pergolas

When looking at the best ways to add living space without increasing the square footage of your home, be sure to include adding deck areas or pergolas for seating into the plan! Not only are these types of features great for entertaining guests, but they make fantastic outdoor entertaining or living spaces.

B. Brick Accents

Adding brick accents is another detail that homeowners are implementing on their new homes or when updating existing properties because it creates a unique aesthetic appeal beyond wood siding. If done correctly, a brick accent wall can add a lot of personality and flair to your home exterior while also complementing areas like stone or stucco that you may have used on the rest of the structure.

C. Skylights

With all the benefits that skylights bring to the table for homeowners, it’s no wonder why people would choose this type of exterior feature for their homes! Not only do skylights allow ample sunlight into your home, which reduces energy costs by cutting down on electricity usage, but they also create a fantastic aesthetic appeal that enhances any room you install them in.

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Selling a House As Is in Georgia

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Selling a house as-is in Georgia appears to be an excellent deal for sellers seeing as homeowners aren’t required to rush around repairing the property. 

However, what do as-is offers imply for buyers? Some individuals see the phrase “as is” as a cautionary sign when browsing real estate listings without knowing the implications.

Suppose you’re a homeowner desiring to sell your property in its current condition, click this link for selling a house as is in Georgia.

What It means to Sell a House As Is

When a realtor puts a home for sale as-is, it signifies the owner is selling the property in its current form, with no plans to make repairs or modifications before the transaction (or negotiate with a prospective buyer for credits to finance these fix-its). 

People frequently sell properties that need repairs because the landlords or other sellers can’t rectify the issues before selling (which would enable them to sell the house for a higher figure).

If you’ve been considering selling a house as is in Georgia, this article will help to guide you through the process. Let’s delve right in!

Why Sell a House As Is?

Here are some reasons you might want to sell your house as-is:

  1. You Can’t Cope with the Stress of a Property Sale

Sometimes property owners find themselves in positions where they need to sell their house but can’t cope with the mental strain of a lengthy sales process. 

If you’re sick or unable to handle the selling procedure, you might conclude that selling the property as-is is the most suitable option. Ensure you consider all your choices before deciding to sell your home in its current state. 

If you can enlist the support of friends or relatives, or if your real estate agent agrees to handle all the stressful aspects, you’ll probably receive a higher price for your building than if you sell it as-is.

  1. You Can’t Afford Repairs

You might be in an economic situation where making repairs isn’t an option. If the building has flaws that you can’t fix, you can be forced to sell it as-is. 

However, before making a hasty choice to sell the house in its current condition, try to be open-minded and speak with your real estate agent. 

Your realtor might develop innovative solutions that will allow you to avoid selling as-is or avoid including it in your initial listing under homes for sale by owners in Georgia.

Tips on Selling Your House As Is

You can sell a residence as-is by following the same stages as a typical home sale, except you won’t have to deal with the home staging. Isn’t that wonderful? Who doesn’t want to work less? 

The only disadvantage is that you must display all the property’s flaws. Follow these guidelines to figure out where to begin when selling a house as is in Georgia:

  1. Consult a Local Real Estate Agent

You may be short on cash, nevertheless working with a knowledgeable real estate agent is critical. First, they’ll assist you in determining a reasonable fee.

Seller’s agents conduct a comparative market analysis, meaning they learn how much comparable houses have traded for in your region. 

This allows you to fix a reasonable price from the beginning, preventing your home from staying on the marketplace for too long.

In addition, an agent provides you with exposure to a multiple listing service, which is a home-listing network run solely by real estate brokers. This network makes it easy to contact the purchasers who are interested in acquiring an as-is residence.

  1. Disclose the Property’s Defects

Even if you’re selling your property “as is,” you’ll most likely need to provide potential buyers with a home seller disclosure before they make an offer. 

The disclosure report tells purchasers of all your home’s issues in advance so they won’t try to cancel the deal later. 

All states have various regulations regarding disclosure reports, so consult your realtor to ensure that you understand what you’re legally required to submit. 

Some jurisdictions have a caveat emptor rule that lets your buyer discover the flaws in your home themselves.

Man in White Coat Standing Beside Blue Wooden Door. Source: Pexels.com
  1. Conduct a Home Inspection Before You List it

How do you evade getting affected by your region’s disclosure laws? Before you put your house on the market, get it inspected. 

A home inspection usually costs between $200 and $500. It’s a modest fee to incur compared to forfeiting a sale or being sued for failing to disclose a severe problem. 

On the plus side, giving prospective buyers a complete disclosure analysis based on a thorough home inspection demonstrates that you have nothing hidden, which may enable you to sell your property faster.

Some issues you may have to reveal to your prospective buyers include plumbing problems, foundation damage, water intrusion, plumbing problems, and mold.

Additionally, your realtor will help you understand your state’s disclosure regulations, so you’re not stuck guessing what potential buyers are legally required to know.

  1. Acquire Cost Estimates for Possible Repairs

You can figure out how much it’d cost to repair your house after knowing what’s wrong with it. You aren’t required to make any repairs after determining the estimates.

If purchasers try to undercut you on price, you’ll have greater negotiation leverage if you acquire realistic cost estimates from neighborhood contractors. However, you might discover that some repair expenses are actually within your budget. 

You’ll also have a higher chance of making more profit at the closing table if you renovate the property. Therefore, create a list of all the jobs that need to be performed and obtain estimates for each.

  1. Set a Reasonable Price

You should now have all the information you require to determine a reasonable price for your property as-is when selling real estate in Georgia. 

Your realtor can help you advertise the home’s good aspects, such as size, floor plan, and location, to ensure that prospective buyers aren’t just looking at several flaws when they view your listing. 

That way, you won’t have to bother about scaring off purchasers or not getting your fair portion of the sale.

Summary

Selling a home as-is is a bit different from selling a standard house. Regardless of the state of your house, you can easily sell it off as-is.

Suppose you seek an agent to help you sell your house as-is, contact Tim Stout and Associates today to take care of everything.

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Home Care & Living

The Most Popular Home Decor Trends in 2021

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If we talk about the world of interior designing a few decades back, it would definitely not have been the same. The recent years have seen a great change in the world of interior designing. Shifting from the art deco of the roaring twenties, onto the emergence of new shapes and colors into the ’80s, the recent era has developed with a new twist of modernity in our home decors. As interior designing continually evolves, today great significance is being given to making homes comfortable and relaxing. 

Home decor trends may come in quick, but they won’t always last too long. Much like the changes in the previous years, interior designing trends in 2021 are much different than the previous years. If you are searching for home decor trends in 2021, you’re at the right place. Below are some of our favorite home decor trends of 2021. 

1. Use a Wallpaper

Wallpapers are an old trend that has made its way back in the year 2021. Being used greatly in the previous decade, wallpapers had lost their charm in the early years of 2000. Today, there are multiple wallpapers of diverse colors and designs available that you can choose on from. For those who love and adore minimalist designed homes, this tends to be a great option. Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean that wallpapers have to be monotonous, you can keep them as colorful and wild as you want. The color and design options are endless. 

2. Greenery With House Plants

Again, the use of indoor plants to decorate homes is not a new trend but has boomed in recent years due to the pandemic. Not all of us have the privilege of being surrounded by nature, but you can always bring nature inside with house plants. The recent trend of 2021 has revived the beauty of indoor plants. Decorate your comfort zone with beautiful greenery. You can plant flowers, or grow herbs in your windowsills to bring a touch of nature inside. 

3. Add Layered Rugs

One of the popular home decor trends of this year is layered rugs, and there’s no doubt why! Layering rugs not just double the depth and texture of the palace but also makes the place seem warm and cozy. Moreover, layering your rugs is a convenient option because it costs less than buying one big rug. A good combination for a layered rug is one big jute rug with a smaller-sized patterned rug.

4. Being in Personalized Pillows

A custom pillow like a throw pillow is a superior interior designing tool. Again, customized photo pillow has been a running style for several years and only continues to be a great trend in 2021. You can get your favorite pillow with picture from different shops. Allaboutvibe has the best collection of personalized throw pillows for your home. Click here to explore the collection and find your favorite one. Personalized throw pillows are a pocket-friendly option because you won’t always have to get new ones, you can just swap the pillow covers and get a new look. 

5. Get Started With Leather Furniture

Leather furniture, ever since the start has been a constant style in interior designing because of its natural hardiness and everlasting beauty. Leather furniture is a classic idea for your home decor, one that never goes out of style! Other than the elegant look that this furniture gives, this timeless beauty is never going out of fashion! 

6. Set Your Home Office

In the 21st century, people have shifted from work outside to work from home. With this recent rise, homes are now turning in offices. People have started setting up trendy and pretty offices in their homes. After all, who wouldn’t want to work in such a pretty office, and that too at the comfort of their homes? Home offices are decorated and set to bring motivation and creativity to work. So, with the rise in work from home, home offices have made their place in the list of the most popular home decor trends of 2021. 

7. Decorate With Curtains

This year, bird farewell to blinds and welcome in the curtains! The home decor trends of 2021 have brought elegant floor-to-ceiling curtains that make the room feel cozier, and the windows, larger. Moreover, curtains are an elegant addition that will add depth to your room. Curtains are an interesting way to decorate your home as they bring in the shade with style.

8. Try Woven Wall Hangings

Woven home decor like wall hangings has been amongst the list of the most popular trends in 2021. What better way to add a touch of detail and texture to a dull wall than to add an interestingly woven wall hanging. Woven wall hangings are an attractive addition to your wall and are sure to capture everyone’s attention. Get creative with these wall hangings because there is plenty to choose from. Woven wall hangings come in different colors, shapes, and sizes. And the best part, they won’t be heavy on your pocket. 

9. Gallery Wall

The gallery wall trend is one we can assure you won’t go out of fashion that easy! There are multiple ways you can set your gallery wall, and the best part, it sets in perfectly with almost every style. When you are setting up your gallery wall, make sure to blend the colors, sizes, and textures of the art you choose. This adds a great aesthetic look. If you like it raw, you can even go for standalone art pieces like mirrors, clocks, or canvases. 

Verdict 

We have seen some of the most exciting home decor trends that came rose to the top in 2021. With the trends of home decor changing every year, we can’t predict what the next year will bring, but we hope that most of these amazing trends stay the same! If you are yet to decorate your home, make sure to follow these top home decor trends of the year. We are sure you will love them! 

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Why Engaged Couples Should Consider An At-Home Wedding

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81% of respondents to the 2020 Brides American Wedding Study have changed how they look at and plan their weddings in light of recent global health circumstances. Smaller ceremonies and micro weddings are on the rise and the focus has been placed on celebrating love rather than how elegant or grand the wedding ceremonies and receptions are. Social distancing, travel restrictions, and economic uncertainties have also made a lot of couples think of hosting their weddings and receptions at home. Even a small garden can look stunning and just as classy as any for-rent venue. Read on to find out why a small at-home (garden) wedding can be a wonderful idea.

Environmental Impact

87% of Millennials think that all companies have the duty to seriously take into consideration social and environmental issues. This concern has been influencing companies in all industries including the wedding industry. 73% of events like a wedding’s total carbon footprint comes from guests making the trip to and from the venue. Needless to say, having a small sustainable wedding at home will be of great help to Mother Nature.

Natural Backdrop

Having the wedding in your garden or backyard will reduce the need for decors, which is one of the more wasteful elements of a wedding. Instead of ordering floral arrangements that are usually thrown after, the plants and flowers you already have will serve as a gorgeous natural setting for a memorable occasion. If you have the budget, consulting with a professional landscaper will help you decide how to best get the look you want for the wedding. If you’d like to keep costs down and you feel that what you currently have in your garden isn’t enough, getting a variety of potted plants is one way to go. They are also a lovely addition even if you decide to hold the ceremony indoors or on the patio. You can add fairy lights or candles for an evening wedding to create a more romantic ambiance. The best thing about having your own plants as decors is you’ll still have those plants after and you’ll be remembering your wedding day every time you see them.

Making Memories

Having a small wedding at home can be likened to an intimate dinner party with your closest family and friends where you realize which people you truly want to share such a momentous event with and even how to celebrate it. When you have the ceremony and reception at home, you and your partner decide on how formal or casual it would go. This and having it at home, which is certainly special for you, will make for an extraordinary event that will be retold in years to come.   
Just like with any important event, you’ll still need to plan for a micro wedding at home. You’ll be able to save more when you carefully think about which part of the house to use, the number of guests, and the mood you want to create.

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DIY Projects

6 DIY Home Remodeling Ideas That Pay Off

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Ever thought of giving your home a makeover without the trouble of a complete renovation? Then you’re in luck; there are plenty of fun DIY projects you can undertake to spruce up your space and add something new. Check out these simple projects to transform your house and spice it up, and without any help from a contractor.

1. Spruce up Your Front Door

Your front door is one of the most visible and noticeable parts of your home. Mixing things up with your front door is an easy way to add some character to the house’s exterior. A fresh coat of paint helps revive your door and creates a new look for your exterior. You can match the paint to the colours inside the house to give any visitors a taste of what you’ve got to show off inside. If you want to take your renovations to the next level, you can even add a new door handle or knocker to add a few more points of interest just before anyone comes inside.

2. Make Your Own Shelves

Photo by Vicky Tran

You can never have too much storage space, and a few extra shelves around the house can help you in that regard. Think about adding some shelves, particularly floating shelves, or avail a self-storage North York facility to give yourself some more storage space. A few extra shelves can also work as great decor. For example, place some books on the shelves so you have your favorites close to hand, and show them off. You can also consider using recycled materials like used wood pallets to make your project more eco-friendly while staying cost-effective.

3. Update Your Fixtures

Replacing your lights is a great way to change the ambiance inside for the better. It’s a good chance to replace any harsh white bulbs with more calming yellow ones that’ll be easier on the eyes. Opt for LED lights that’ll last longer to get more bang for your buck and make the house just a little more energy-efficient. You can also install dimmers instead of light switches to go with your new lights. Dimmers let you set the brightness in each room to match your mood and time of day, allowing you to create specific moods as you like.

4. Get Smart

Technology brings with it some new conveniences, and you can take advantage of them to spruce up your home. There are plenty of smart home features you can integrate into existing systems. Think about adding smart thermostats or irrigation controls. In Toronto winters, having these devices offers greater control over your systems to avoid wasting heat, water, or electricity. You can set timers or control those systems from your phone and make those essential systems more energy-efficient and easier to control.

5. Replace Cabinet Hardware

Photo by Nathan Oakley

Rather than replace your cabinets entirely, you can replace the handles to give them a dramatic uplift without breaking the bank. Measure the existing drill holes to get the right size, then buy the hardware you like. Take care to choose a style that complements your cabinets to create a harmonious aesthetic in your rooms. This project works equally well for all sorts of cabinets, from the medicine cabinet in the bathroom to your bedroom drawers. You can also think of it as a tip for storing your glassware, clothes, and knickknacks in style.

6. Add a Touch of Green

One effective way to breathe some new life into a bland or dated space is to bring in some plants and flowers. Plants do far more than just add a splash of colour to your home. Even adding a few potted plants to your rooms can freshen the air and add some vitality to your space. For beginners, look into more durable and low-maintenance plants that’ll be easier for you to take care of. Rather than using pots to hold your plants, you can use your imagination. Look for old items around the house you don’t really use anymore and turn them into DIY pots. Not only is it a great way to be more eco-friendly, it’s also a great chance to show off your artistic side as you decorate your recycled pots to your liking. You can even make it a bonding activity with the family; take a weekend to decorate your own personal DIY pots and put your own stamp on each one.

Renovating your home doesn’t always have to be a large, time-consuming process. Even a few simple DIY projects can go a long way toward making a house feel new. Use these ideas or connect with an interior decorating Toronto professional to start giving you some inspiration and making your home look and feel exactly how you want it to.

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Home Care & Living

Diagnosing Solar Panel Problems in 5 Easy Steps

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Many people out there want to make their houses environmentally friendly, and installing solar panels on the roof is one of the easiest ways to do just that. However, as easy as it might be, your journey with solar panels does not end with the installation. Then, you will need to learn how to keep your solar panels in top shape.

Fortunately, this article will definitely come in handy! Here, you will find a list of ways to diagnose common solar panel problems, including checking your breaker switches, looking for obstructions, checking your solar inverter, inspecting your solar meter, and installing solar monitoring. Check it out!

Check Your Breaker Switches

For starters, you might want to check your breaker switches. As experts from 10powerup.com state, if you plan to inspect your solar panels, you will need to turn off the breaker switch that feeds your solar panels beforehand. This way, you can ensure that you will stay safe while inspecting your panels.

If it is an old system, you should see one breaker switch per panel. Once you have located the breaker switches, ensure that they are all in the on position. If they are, turn the panels off for a few minutes before switching them on again. You should find your breaker switches in boxes on the ground, below the solar panels. If your solar panels are pretty new, the chances are that you have an electronic monitoring system instead of breaker switches.

Check Your Solar Inverter

If you have a string inverter, you should find out if it has a built-in amp meter. If it does, it should give you an accurate reading of how much power your panels are generating. If you have an inverter without a built-in amp meter, you can use a separate amp meter to check your solar panel system. You should be able to get one in most solar supply stores out there.

If you are a homeowner that is looking to invest in renewable energy, you need a great solar ac and a great inverter. Hooking up your ac and other appliances to the inverter can ensure that it runs efficiently. This will not only save extra energy but also cut down on repair and maintenance costs. Make sure that you check the kind of solar inverter you are getting for your home. If you need to make it work for a heavy-duty commercial affair, you would need an inverter that will help you with your load requirements. 

Check Your Solar Meter

Solar meters are used to measure the total amount of electricity generated by your solar panels in a specific period. If there is something wrong with your solar panels, the readings that your solar meter will give you are expected to be way off.

If you have a metered system, it is vital to check the solar meter regularly. That way, you will be sure that it is working the way it should and gives you accurate readings.

Inspect Your Solar Panels

If you are experiencing problems with your solar panels and checking the breaker switches and the solar inverter did not help, you should inspect your solar panels visually. If you want to take a closer look, remember to disconnect the solar panels from the main power supply before you get to work.

First, check for damage and dirt on the surface of the solar panels and the frame around them. Next, look for broken and missing screws, as they can cause problems with your panels’ connections. Lastly, check for dirt on the power cable connections and corrosion on metal parts.

Install Solar Monitoring

If you suspect something is wrong with your solar panel system but cannot pinpoint the exact problem, think about installing a solar monitoring system! This piece of software will help detect solar panel problems early on before they become too severe issues that you can handle on your own.

In short, a solar monitoring system is a piece of software that will allow you to keep an eye on several important metrics. These include the number of panels generating energy, the current generated by each panel, the voltage output from each panel, the current coming into and going out of your house, and the total generated kilowatt-hours, among other things.

Hire a Solar Panel Inspector

In the end, you might end up unable to determine the cause of your solar panel problems, and that is perfectly fine! Instead of worrying about it, hire a solar panel inspector. They will help you figure out what the problem is and come up with a viable solution. It might be a bit costly, but it will definitely make you rest easy knowing that your solar panels are in the hands of a professional who knows what they are doing.

In Conclusion

Hopefully, this article has given you valuable insight into how to diagnose the most common solar panel problems. If you are experiencing issues with your solar panel system or just want to check whether everything is working the way it should be, you should try looking over the list of our tips.

If you end up unable to figure out the source of the problem on your own, hiring a professional solar panel inspector is always a viable option. However, you should hire someone who really knows what they are doing. In order to do that, you might want to check out a few discussion boards related to solar energy and ask for recommendations, as well as look for other people in the area who have already installed solar panels on their roofs. That way, you should be able to find someone who will take care of your solar panel problems in no time!

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7 Interesting Ideas to Give Your Interior Design an Elegant Touch

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Redecorating your home gives you an opportunity to improve its interior and adding a touch of style to it. And it does not always take a lot of time! Sometimes, all you need to do is to buy contemporary display cabinets, repaint an old table and use it as a kitchen island, or do whatever else your imagination suggests. However, it can be hard to figure out what elements to add to make it more unique.

To help you find a solution, here are a few not-so-common ideas for giving your home an elegant touch. Below, we tell you about rethinking old furniture, using metallics, considering crown molding, choosing shades and drapes carefully, using unique elements, adding wainscoting, and buying a taller headboard. Read on, find something that will freshen up your house, and enjoy your stylish interior!

Rethink Your Old Furniture

If you are looking for ways to give your interior design an elegant touch, the simplest solution is to repaint an old piece of furniture. If you have a few chairs that are too worn out to be used, repainting these chairs in a warm shade should result in an elegant look!

However, if you want to take it a step further and drastically change the appearance of your old furniture, there are many other options to choose from. For example, you can reupholster it in a different material. It might take a bit of time and effort, but it is definitely worth it!

Use Metallics

To make your house stylish, you should think about incorporating metallic items into its décor.  Metallics are thought to be fashionable, as they are both trendy and timeless. On top of that, the metallic finish works great in many different spaces, particularly in kitchens.

Ideally, you should buy a few metallic chairs and tables for your kitchen. However, it is worth noting that metallic accents should not be that prominent. Instead, they should complement the design style that you use throughout your house.

Consider Crown Molding

Crown molding is an original element that can add depth to every room of your house. In addition to that, it will make ceilings appear taller than they really are. If you want to make your house appear more spacious, using crown molding to add height to a few rooms is a great option!

Choose Shades and Drapes Carefully

In order to make your house appear more elegant, you should pay special attention to shades and drapes. They are usually made of fabric and wood and can influence a room a great deal. In fact, they can change its ambiance and the amount of light that enters it, which means that they have a significant impact on the way your house feels.

In terms of colors, pastels, such as sand, creme, dove-grey, and mint green, are great, as they bring a sense of lightness and warmth into the room. However, if you prefer a darker ambiance, opt for neutral tones instead.

Use Unique Elements

You might not be aware of this yet, but unique design elements can make any room look great. In case you have a lot of money to spend, you can purchase things like custom-made furniture and rare trinkets, such as collectibles and souvenirs from foreign countries. On top of that, if you have a large and empty wall, you can decorate it with works of art painted by your favorite artists!

Add Wainscoting

Wainscoting has been around for a long time, and it should come as no surprise. It is one of the most popular design elements out there, and it can work wonders for most interior design styles based on classic themes.

In short, wainscoting is a baseboard that is made of wood and installed on the walls as an architectural adornment. It helps define the room and can be used as an accent piece in long hallways and spacious living rooms. Unfortunately, it might not fit your house if you are a fan of contemporary interior design.

Buy a Taller Headboard

In order to make your bedroom as elegant as possible, you should buy a taller headboard. It will draw attention to the bed and make it seem bigger than it really is. If you want the headboard to look great, you should choose one that will complement your mattress and other pieces of furniture in the room. Otherwise, it will look out of place.

Final Words

To sum up, there are quite a few things that you can do to make your house appear more elegant, such as using metallics and adding wainscoting. Doing that does not require that much time and money, and yet it can add a touch of style to any room and freshen it up!

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DIY Projects

8 Easy and Quick Garage Projects You Can DIY

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What does your garage look like? Is it as useful and spacious as you would like it to be? If not, do not worry. It is an area of the house that tends to be forgotten about and neglected. In fact, it is often reduced to being a chaotic storage space filled with spiders and dust.

Fortunately, there are many easy and quick ways to upgrade your garage. Would you like to know what they are? In that case, this article is definitely for you!

Here, you will find a list of garage projects that you can take care of yourself, including installing a garage heater, adding windows to your garage door, insulating your garage walls, adding storage space, and updating the lighting. Check it out!

Install a Garage Heater

It is safe to say that most garages out there are cold and stuffy. If your garage is like that, do not worry – you just need to make it a bit cozier, and one of the easiest and most efficient ways to go about it is to buy a garage heater.

It will ensure that your garage is warm and toasty during the winter months, turning your garage into an ideal space for a number of exciting activities, including fixing your vehicle and woodworking.

Add Storage Space

The other thing that you can DIY is adding more storage space to your garage. This should be your priority if you store many different items inside your garage, such as sports gear, camping equipment, gardening tools, seasonal decorations, etc.

It would be beneficial to install cabinets, shelves, and hooks, among other things, in order to keep this space organized and use it to the maximum extent.

Add Windows to Your Garage Door

Next, you might want to upgrade your garage by adding windows to an existing garage door. That way, you will allow the natural light to come in and brighten up the garage’s interior, making it feel comfortable and cozy.

Ideally, you should add windows near the top of your garage door, making your garage look more airy and spacious. Other than that, you should choose the type of windows that will match the rest of your house.

Insulate Your Garage Walls

Your garage will be a much better place to work in if its walls are insulated. This will ensure that the temperature inside the garage is comfortable, regardless of what the weather is like outside. Ideally, you should go with fiberglass insulation – it is really efficient.

Add Durable Flooring

If you want to upgrade the flooring in your garage, you should go for something durable and easy to clean. In addition to that, you might want to customize it a bit. For instance, if you want to buy floor tiles, you can go for the ones in your favorite color.

Other than that, you can think about installing epoxy flooring in your garage. It is a unique choice that will improve the durability of your garage floor and make it easy to clean – and it is affordable, too. You can expect to pay $2 to $5 per square foot for the equipment and materials alone.

Update the Lighting

If your garage is dark and gloomy, it is high time that you update the lighting. It is an easy and quick way to make it feel much more welcoming. Besides, insufficient lighting can make it more difficult to repair your car or perform other tasks in your garage. Ideally, you should go for LED lights, as they are both eco-friendly and energy-efficient.

Furthermore, it is recommended that you go for warm lighting – it will be easy on your eyes. You do not have to install the lights on the ceiling if you do not want to; instead, you can buy a few bigger lamps.

Add a Personal Touch to the Garage

Each room in your house could really benefit from a personal touch, such as a painting that you like and souvenirs from your journeys – and your garage is no exception! If you want your garage to feel welcoming, this is definitely the way to go.

Replace the Garage Door Seal

Lastly, think about replacing your garage door seal. First of all, it will help keep the warm air inside the garage, making it much more comfortable in the winter months. Second of all, it will keep rainwater away from your garage.

In Conclusion

These easy and quick garage projects will help you turn your garage into an area that is as functional as it is attractive. Once you are done, you will get to enjoy having a cozy, warm, and welcoming garage that your neighbors will be jealous of.

It is worth noting that garage project ideas can be put into action even if you are not a car enthusiast. In fact, if you do not own a car, you can turn your garage into a home office, workshop, extra living space, or even a cinema room. It is up to you!

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7 Budget-Friendly Building Materials That You Should Think About Using

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When building or renovating a house, every homeowner strives to make it durable without somehow spending a fortune on it. And for many of them, this seems to be a dream scenario impossible to implement in real life. However, everything’s not that hopeless.

Today, you can find several inexpensive building materials that will last you for years to come. And in addition to their cost-effectiveness, they do not look cheap, so choosing budget-friendly materials no longer means settling for ugly ones. Thanks to it, you can live in a nice-looking home without spending a small fortune on it. Moreover, according to highestcashoffer.com, it will also have a positive impact on the overall value of your property.

Below, you will find a list of several inexpensive building materials you should consider using for your house. They range from reclaimed wood, concrete sheets, and stone veneer to used bricks, bamboo, and cork, among others. Continue reading to learn more about their characteristics and how you can use them.

Concrete Sheets

If you want an inexpensive building material that looks neat and modern, concrete sheets are exactly what you need. Made of cement coated with colored aggregate, concrete sheets are durable and pretty water-resistant. This is why they are used for floors, walls, and countertops.

One of the best things about concrete sheets is that they can be easily installed over existing surfaces without removing the previous layer of the floor or wall. And if you’re not sure about how to install them, you can always ask your local builder to help you out with the process.

Stone Veneer

Stone veneer is an affordable building material that can be used to create a unique decorative look. You can use it in the form of panels, tiles, blocks, and even in the form of stripes. Stone veneer is made of stone (granite, marble, etc.) combined with adhesives that give it the flexibility to conform to any shape or size.

It can be used in interior or exterior areas like patios, bathrooms, kitchens, living rooms, fireplaces, etc. The texture and color of the veneer will vary depending on the type of stone used. For example, if you choose granite veneer, it will have a smooth finish with a grayish color. On the other hand, the marble veneer will have a fine grain and a white-colored finish.

Reclaimed Wood

Reclaimed wood is another inexpensive building material worth considering. In fact, many builders recommend using it because it’s very durable. It also has a distinct texture and appearance that make it perfect for rustic homes. However, not all reclaimed woods are good for use in any setting. So before choosing a specific type of reclaimed wood for your project, be sure to consider its appearance and characteristics. This way, you will end up with a home that looks sleek and stylish while also being sturdy and durable.

Bamboo Flooring

Bamboo flooring is an excellent alternative to other flooring materials like hardwood, laminate, and tile. In addition to being inexpensive building materials, bamboo flooring is also easy to install and maintain. To add to this, it is also highly durable and water-resistant. So if you live in an area with frequent rainfall or floods, bamboo flooring is the perfect choice for your home. It won’t succumb to water damage and rot like other types of flooring would.

Cork Flooring

Cork flooring is another inexpensive building material worth considering when renovating your house. With cork flooring, you can prevent noise from transferring from one room to another and reduce sound transmission by up to 48%. It also absorbs moisture which makes it an excellent option for areas such as bathrooms and kitchens. And lastly, cork flooring can be laid over existing floors, so you don’t have to worry about removing them for installation.

Used Bricks

Bricks are usually associated with luxurious buildings. However, there are now inexpensive building materials that you can use to create a brick facade on your house. You can find used bricks at brickyards, which sell them at low prices. There are also some companies that repurpose old brick buildings so you can get your hands on some really great-looking bricks at lower prices.

Bricks give your house a rustic, cozy, and warm vibe. You can either lay them on the ground or use them as wall cladding. Used bricks are easy to install and maintain, and they come in a variety of colors and designs.

Stucco

If you’re looking for inexpensive building materials that can make your house look rich and stand out, consider stucco. Stucco is a plaster-like material made from lime, water, sand, and cement, which is applied directly on walls after troweling. It’s commonly used to cover the exterior of buildings, although some homeowners also use it on their interiors. Stucco is one of the most popular materials for home exteriors. It’s often found in Mediterranean homes, where it may come in different styles like ornamental stucco, which can be painted or left plain, or carved stucco. Stucco has the advantage of absorbing small amounts of moisture without getting damaged, so it’s great for areas with high humidity. It also resists fire and pests. However, it doesn’t do well if exposed to freezing temperatures, so it’s not ideal for houses located in cold areas.

Conclusion

There you have it – several inexpensive building materials that will not only save you a lot of money but also last for years to come.

When renovating your house, you don’t have to worry about spending a fortune on materials. There are many inexpensive building materials out there that will not only save you from the expenses but also from looking cheap.

So if you’re on a budget yet want your house to look modern and stylish, try opting for the materials mentioned above.

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Why Do We Need Outdoor Furniture?

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Why do we need outdoor furniture? There are many reasons, and the great news is that there are some attractive and affordable furniture options for your yard, garden or even a balcony! You don’t have to have a large space to enjoy your outdoors, and as we will show you it’s good for you! Where to start looking at outdoor furniture?

The first step is to assess the space you have. If you have even an average size of yard you can pick the spot where you want your outdoor furniture to go. We suggest a spot that gets the sun but also offers shade, and that you can protect from the wind. You may want to lay decking for added practicality, or you can simply place your furniture on the lawn. Let’s have a look at outdoor furniture and why you want it. 

Relaxation in the Open Air

First, we recommend you click this link https://www.eq3.com/us/en/category/outdoor and have a look at the superb modern outdoor furniture they have. EQ3 is a forward-thinking company that offers quality furniture at great prices and has some truly beautiful designs that would look great in any yard. 

Now think about this: you’ve had a long day at work, you’re looking to wind down. You get home, grab a beer from the fridge, and step outside onto your patio where you can relax on a comfortable chair or sofa and enjoy the fresh air and evening sun. It may sound idyllic, but it’s entirely possible and should not cost much.

If you have an outdoor space and are not using it, you really are missing out as getting outside and enjoying some relaxing time is the best thing for that wind-down you’re looking for. Check out that furniture again and see what would look great in your garden or yard.

Health Benefits of Being Outdoors

There is more than ample evidence that being outdoors is good for your health especially when we are talking about mental health. We live busy lives with much expected of us from our employers and families, and sometimes it all gets a bit much. Getting that weight off your shoulders by simply going outside and relaxing is one benefit of outdoor furniture.

But consider this: people who are diagnosed with anxiety and stress are often told to take up gardening. Even if it’s just a few pot plants on your patio or in a small outdoor space, the benefits of watching something that you have tended grow, bloom or produce fruit are proven. If you’re not into gardening, just chairs and tables on your lawn, patio or decking can make a world of difference to that heavy feeling we all get.

Being outdoors is therapeutic and being among nature is also great for your health. Use that outdoor space no matter how large or small and you’ll see the benefits of being outdoors surprisingly quickly. 

Socializing with Friends and Family

Our final reason for enjoying your outdoor space is that it is a great way of spending time with friends and family. Outdoor furniture adds a lot to a gathering – whether a party for a special occasion or simply an impromptu get-together – and a few chairs and tables here and there make it more of an occasion. We suggest that if you are investing in decking, a patio or even that family favourite the hot tub, you also add lighting.

Some of the best evenings outdoors are those where the light fades and it’s still warm, and your automatic lighting – solar powered is the way to go – cuts in providing a lovely warm light that keeps the evening going. That’s a picture conjured up for you that says exactly why you need outdoor furniture – it gives you more reason to enjoy the outdoor space you have access to.

Conclusion

How you use your space is up to you but here’s the thing: do use it! Too many people fail to take advantage of the outdoors and don’t realise the benefits it has to their state of mind and general health, so check out that outdoor furniture at EQ3 and see how you can add something special to your garden at little expense. 

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How To Use A Leaf Blower (8 Easy Steps To Blow Leaves)

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How to blow leaves with a leaf blower may seem straightforward, but there is a technique to getting your yard looking in tip-top shape. Follow these 8 easy steps to get leaves cleared in no time.

Leaf blowers are supposed to help you get your leaf blowing job done faster but they can be counter-productive when not used correctly.

We want to help save you both time and energy by knowing how to best blow leaves with a leaf blower. So let’s get on with it.

Choosing the Right Leaf Blower

Worker blowing leaves in street in autumn.

To clear leaves efficiently, you first need to find the right power tool for the job. There is no point investing in a huge backpack gas-powered leaf blower if you only have a couple of trees. However, on the other hand, buy one too small and you will have wasted your money.

You will want to find the right leaf blower for your needs. The most important factors to consider are that it holds enough power for the size of your yard and the number of leaves falling.

How To Use A Leaf Blower: Tips & Tricks

Before starting your leaf blowing you first need to understand how a leaf blower works and a couple of important safety precautions. Firstly, gas leaf blowers are noisy so always wear ear protection, and secondly, wear suitable clothing, long pants, and sturdy shoes are a must.

A leaf blower is a versatile tool but it can kick up a lot of dust and dirt, especially when blowing around bushes or in corners. Therefore, before you start blowing, it is very important to protect your eyes with safety goggles.

Fall blowing street leaves blower.

1. Have a Plan

Look at the layout of your yard and think about the most efficient way to blow leaves. Generally, a good rule of thumb is to start with awkward areas, such as tight corners and under shrubs. After which, you can then move away from the house, but plan where you want your pile to be before you begin.

If your leaf blower doubles up and can also be used as a leaf vacuum, you may want to keep the bag attachment handy. A leaf vacuum is great for those tight spots, under shrubs, and around flower beds.

2. Holding the Leaf Blower Correctly

The most common mistake people make is holding the leaf blower directly in front of themselves and attempting to clear the ground by walking forwards.

However, the correct technique is to hold the leaf blower at a slight angle and by your side. This way you can then clear a path perpendicular to where you are walking.

3. Use a Sweeping Motion

Keep your arm at a slight and shallow angle and at a steady height, while creating a swooping motion. A subtle movement is better as you will have more control over where the leaves go.

4. Consider Wind Direction

Although it is important to blow leaves on a calm day, if possible, get to know the direction your winds usually blow. Then should gusts start to blow halfway through the job you can let the wind work in your favor.

There may also be different air flows around the house so check this beforehand. Plan for these differences when deciding on how you will move through the backyard. You may even find you need to make several piles because of this.

UltraPlus Variable Speed Impeller

5. Start High & Work Down

All things must come down and this is something to remember when considering how to blow tree leaves more efficiently. Start with objects standing at a greater height, for example, cars, outdoor furniture.

6. Gather Leaves onto a Tarp

Here’s a great tip for how to make a leaf bagger you can blow the leaves right into. Place a large lightweight tarp on the grass to blow the leaves onto. When you’re finished all you have to do is lift up the corners and tie it off.

7. Don’t Try to Blow Wet Leaves

Dry leaves are lightweight so ideal to use a leaf blower on, even with other debris mixed in. However, no matter how powerful your leaf blower is, you will not successfully make wet leaves into piles. For this, you will need a rake and even then, it will not be easy.

8. Don’t Try to Get Them All

With the exception of very small yards with little vegetation, you probably won’t be able to collect all leaves when you use a leaf blower. Get a good leaf rake to gather the small amounts of strays left behind.

People Also Ask (FAQs)

Worx Corded Blower

The tips we have given you above should help you get through the fall season with a tidier backyard. These last few tips could answer some of the questions you might still have.

What is the fastest way to pick up leaves?

Using a leaf blower first and finishing off using a leaf rake for stray leaves is probably the fastest way to pick up leaves. Before starting, place a lightweight tarp and secure it, once all the leaves are gathered simply pick up the corners and away you go.

What can I do with a large pile of leaves?

When you have a large pile of leaves either mulch and bag them or add them to your compost heap. You will then be able to use the mulch as a natural fertilizer for your trees, shrubs, and flowers. Alternatively, some landscaping companies and/or local services offer leaf collection.

Should you leave fallen leaves on flower beds?

You should leave fallen leaves on your flower beds as they provide nutrients for your plants as they decompose. They also provide a safe habitat for valuable garden insects during the winter months. The only time I recommend that you remove the leaves is if they pile up so high, they start to cover the plant life.

Conclusion

We hope this quick guide has helped you in your leaf clearing quest and that you are now confident that you know how to use a leaf blower efficiently.

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What To Know About Moving to Robstown, TX

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Moving into a new home can be both thrilling and scary. You won’t always know what to expect, but there are ways to make the move with more ease.

If you are making the move to Robstown, aka “The Biggest Little Town in Texas,” you are up for an adventure. The highly accessible town has a lot in store with a rich history and continuously growing economy. For one, Robstown is recognized as the home of Texas hold ‘em. Beyond this, there are many exciting things to discover about the city.

A major move can be daunting, but the challenges and worries can be easily alleviated with preparedness. There are several things to keep in mind when moving to Robstown, TX.

Robstown Has an Interesting Past

According to history, Robstown’s name actually came from Rob’s Store, a small store established by Robert Driscoll, Jr., who was among the early entrepreneurs to settle in the area. Rob’s Store became Rob’s Town; thus, Robstown is called as it is today.

Beyond just the name, Robstown, TX, has a rich history as a civilization. It is located in the Gulf Coast region, where the early inhabitants were Native American. Therefore, you can expect traces of various native tribes in the area.

Robstown was established in 1906 and received township status in 1907. It was eventually incorporated into a city in 1912. The economic growth in the city of Robstown was brought about by railroad construction that connected it to the entire Gulf Coast and South Texas regions. The railroads paved the way for retail, agriculture, and business opportunities, which later helped make Robstown the “crossroads of opportunity” and “The Biggest Little Town in Texas.”

You can visit many historical sites and museums in the city, including Hotel Brendle, the train station, sites where Native Americans lived, and the Robstown Area Historical Museum.

Prepare For the Weather: It’s Hot Here, So Keep Your Cool

With its humid subtropical climate, Robstown’s average weather is projected to be hot and humid during the summer, while winter will be cool and windy, though it often does not last long. It is also mostly cloudy throughout the year.

It is important to make sure your new home is well ventilated during the hot season. Also, you should consider a good heating system for the winter. Preparing the proper clothing is also necessary to make sure you’ll get through different weather conditions comfortably.

There is also a risk of hurricanes and flooding in Texas, especially in the southeast region, which borders the ocean. Familiarize yourself with hurricane preparedness and write down important websites and emergency contact details that you can reach out to in case of calamities, especially in the city of Robstown. Securing home and vehicle insurance can also be very helpful in preparedness and recovery.

Get Ready to Handle the Local Pests

With its high humidity and hot weather, there are common pests in Robstown, including mice/rats, wasps, ants, and mosquitos. There is also a chance you may find silverfish in your home. These nocturnal insects seek shelter in dark, moist, and humid areas, just like mosquitos. Inspect your basement, ceiling, attic, and other corners of your home, and make sure to clean those areas using proper chemical treatments to avoid infestations.

Keep your home clean and maintained to prevent any kind of pests from coming in and infesting your space. If you notice that pests are setting about, try to control them as early as possible. 

If you feel overwhelmed or unsure how to handle a pest problem, don’t hesitate to get expert help and search for Robstown pest control services near you. You actually save more money, time, and stress by avoiding severe damage to your property and furniture.

Making Robstown, TX, Your Home

Robstown, TX, has the right amenities and is home to an array of museums, restaurants, nightlife, and events, as well as a booming business district. Located in Nueces County and as a western suburb of Corpus Christi, Robstown is also near some well-known educational institutions like the Texas A&M University-Kingsville, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, and Del Mar College.

As most of the year is cloudy to sunny in Robstown, there are many outdoor activities. Go shopping, find community groups within the neighborhood, or start a new one. Make new friends and nurture life. Make the city work for you.

Enjoy the Warmth of Robstown

It is warm in Robstown, especially in the summer, but the warmth you should anticipate more is in your new home as you start your new life in it. Getting familiar with the city is important. But it is also worth mentioning that getting to know and see it by immersing yourself in its authentic culture and people will be a whole new experience. Be sure to prepare everything you need ahead of the moving day so you can enjoy your new adventure.

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Plants You Should Have In Your Outdoor Garden if You Are Living in Toledo

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The most important thing to remember while setting up a garden in your front yard is that you must use native plants. And even if not native, they should at least be able to tolerate the weather and climate conditions of that area. Otherwise, there is no point in having plants that you know cannot survive the weather.

Weather data collected by the Toledo weather radar over the years gives us a vivid picture of how the climate is over there. In this particular part of Ohio, the summers are quite warm while the winters are windy and freezing. There is also cloud covering throughout the year. Temperatures usually vary from 19-83 degrees Fahrenheit, and hardly go below 3 degrees, or above 91.

So when you are thinking of setting up an outdoor garden at your place in Toledo, Ohio, you have to take these conditions into account. Without considering the weather and weather forecast, you cannot be sure what type of plant you should have there, and when. 

To get you started on that front, here is a list of plants, mostly shrubs, and flowers, that you can have in your outdoor garden at Toledo. For this list, we will specifically focus on plants and flowers that will make your front yard or outdoor garden look attractive.

Black-eyed Susan

From a distance, they look somewhat similar to sunflowers. However, when you get closer, you will realize these flowers are much smaller and a bit brighter too. 

Black-eyed Susans look more like daisies than sunflowers. They grow 2-3 inches in width and on 1-2 feet long stems. This golden-yellow flower has minute hair-like particles on it that give it a slightly rough texture. They bloom from June to October and need slightly cool weather for this. Keep these flowers away from the scorching heat of the sun, otherwise, they might not bloom.

You should remember that Black-eyed Susans are territorial flowers. Their presence might affect the growth and development of other flowers around them.

Iris Versicolor

The Iris Versicolor has a tulip-like appearance. It is graceful in the sense that these flowers have down-curved sword-like sepals. The violet-blue color makes these flowers look more appealing. You can find them in different shades of purple with a bit of yellow on them at times as well.

The Versicolor grows 2-3 feet in height, while some of its regional versions (like the ones in Texas) are much smaller, around 60 cm. These flowers will look great in any type of outdoor setting. Whether it is a normal garden or just an arrangement of plants and bushes, the Iris versicolor always manages to outshine the others.

These flowers bloom from May to July. They require wet soil, and partly shady conditions to grow, although full sun also does not bother them. The Versicolor is an invasive species. So at times, you will find them growing in your garden even though you have no recollection of planting them.

Ironweed

The Ironweed is a stout plant with small and bright flowers and dark-green leaves. They usually grow small, with numerous leaves and flowers on a single branch. The rose-purple color on these flowers makes them very attractive. Having them in your garden will elevate its overall appeal.

Ironweed blooms from July-September. They can attract a lot of butterflies which facilitates the pollination process. So do not be surprised if you find them all over the garden at some point in time.

Butterfly Milkweed

These plants are bushy and grow up to 2 feet tall. The flowers are bright orange, with alternate leaf growth. Flowers are mostly clustered on top of the flowering stems.

Like the Ironweed, they too attract butterflies and facilitate pollination. They bloom from June-August. This plant is versatile in the sense that it can tolerate different temperature and humidity settings. It is native to Toledo and other regions of Ohio and flourishes in the environment in these regions.

Wild Geranium

These pink flowers bloom from late spring to early summer. They grow in loose clusters of 2-5 with deeply 5-lobed leaves. The Wild Geranium has deeply cut leaves. They colonize through rhizomes but are not aggressive in any way.

These are some of the plants you can have in your outdoor garden in Toledo. They are all native to the area, and you do not have to ensure special weather conditions for their overall growth and development.

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Extending Your Outdoor Living Space With a Patio

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Most homeowners dream of having a backyard where they can spend lazy days in the sun or having friends over for a barbecue. Unfortunately, homeowners often find that they can not spend as much time in their backyards as they would like. This is due to one simple, yet unpredictable constant in our lives; the weather. However, with a well-thought-out patio, you can create an outdoor living space equipped for all seasons.

The “Who” and “What”

One of the first things most homeowners consider when creating a new patio space is their furniture. As exciting as it is to buy new patio furniture, it needs a bit more thought than scooping up the latest springtime displays in your nearest home and garden store. Think about who and what your patio will be serving. Are you looking for intimate moments with a partner or curled up with a book, or do you want to host family dinners or get-togethers?

Once you have the “who” and “what” down, you can more appropriately choose your patio furniture. If you are looking to furnish your patio for more intimate moments, swings and loveseats are always good options. For patios serving the purpose of hosting multiple people or groups, large bench-like patio couches will be able to look purposeful whether their seating is five or 10 people.

Heating for Cold Weather

For those chilly evenings or winter nights, it’s important to have the ability to heat your patio space. The best way to do this is to introduce outdoor heaters to your patios. Today you can find heaters in every style, shape, and size imaginable. Although many people think of classic stand-up heaters or parasol heaters for outdoor spaces, an outdoor space heater can be an attractive centerpiece. There are many gas and electric fire pit heaters, or even an outdoor fireplace. 

Patio Covers

One of the most crucial elements in making your patio useful through every season is a quality porch cover. Solid or insulated porch covers allow for you to enjoy your outdoor living area, rain, shine, or snow. Professional services such as City Seamless Patio Covers offer a large selection of porch covers to suit your needs. One type of porch cover to consider is an aluminum porch cover. Aluminum porch covers are sturdy and need little maintenance to stay looking sharp throughout the years.

Flooring

Patios do not have to be made up of slabs of cement. Explore different flooring options to give your patio an original look. Spanish or antique tiles, brick, lattice woodwork, or even mosaic are just a handful of options available when considering outdoor flooring. 

Once you have pulled together your “who” and “what”, your choices for outdoor heating, quality porch cover, and flooring, you are ready to build. Building your dream patio is the ultimate D.I.Y. project, but to be sure that your new outdoor living space is set to enjoy for years to come, consider calling in professionals to help get the job done. All you will have to do is to sit and enjoy your new outdoor living space.

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Impact of Untreated Water Damage on Your Property and What Precautions to Take

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When you don’t treat water damage on time, it can lead to severe consequences. A slow drip and massive flood can do huge damage to your property and even deteriorate your health. The untreated water damage adversely impacts your property. Here, you will learn them and the precautions you can take for treatment.

So what are the effects on your property if you don’t treat water damage on time?

Here are the adverse consequences:

Weak Wood Structures and Brittle Drywall

Water damage softens and weakens wooden frameworks that support floors and walls. Drywall turns out to be brittle and build mold. Thus, you need to replace or cut out the drywall.

Mold Formation

A microscopic amount of mold starts to grow within 1 to 2 days after water damage. Though, you can see the mold after 1 to 2 weeks.

Unsafe Electrical System

As soon as the water gets in contact with wiring and outlets, the electrical system becomes unsafe. Thus, you should immediately examine the system.

Pipes Breakage

Flood water contains hazardous elements that break down pipes getting into contact with only tap water.

Stale Odors

Some surfaces smell bad after getting exposed to water for a short time. Carpets start to smell fast and attract bugs and bacteria.

Floors and Walls Staining

If you don’t clean water quickly and perfectly, it causes stubborn stains on floors and walls. Staining reduces your property value as you can’t cover them up sometimes by painting.

Precautions to Cure the Impact of Untreated Water Damage on Your Property

Flood Insurance Claims

Do you have flood insurance? Call your insurance adjuster right away to start cleanup and drying. The adjuster will examine the untreated water damage to your property.

You must sign a loss statement. Reach out to government offices to get more information. If you don’t have flood insurance, your insurance does not tend to cover the loss.

Electrical System Deactivation

Deactivate all electrical and gas systems before entering the water-damaged area. Before reconnecting the system, employ electricians to check the premises to detect risks and threats.

Water and Food Sanitation

Purify water to be used for all purposes. Pass water via a filter or clean cloth. Then, boil water for a minute and let it cool. If you can’t boil, add fresh, unscented liquid chlorine bleach to water and then stir. Let the solution stand for half an hour.

Remove the labels to save retort pouches and commercial food items in metal cans. Wash the cans and rinse them thoroughly. After that, disinfect them using a sanitizing solution containing one tablespoon of bleach per gallon of drinkable water. Then, add labels specifying expiry date to containers without labels.

Carpets and Furnishings

Remove all carpets and furnishings from your property to clean and dry them outdoors. Replace rugs and flooded carpets as floodwater tends to contain contaminants. You should always replace and discard flooded carpet pads. After flooding reduces, remove water-logged carpets, pads, and rugs within two days.

Spread out carpets and rugs on the outdoor space and hose them off. If they are soiled, hire professional cleaners or use a carpet shampoo with a broom for cleaning. Apply a solution of 1-gallon water and two tablespoons of liquid chlorine to sanitize and rinse the carpets. Don’t add bleach if they are made of wool.

Dry your carpets and subfloor quickly. If the carpets are installed damp, they can mildew. Though your carpet tends to shrink, professionals can easily stretch it.

You should discard all the mattresses and furniture affected by floodwater. If you have a very expensive piece of upholstered furniture, you should replace the stuffing and upholstering. You can clean and restore plastic, metal, and solid wood furniture. Remove any mud, clean, sanitize and dry them out directly under the sun.

Walls

The open flooded walls tend to appear unaffected even after untreated water damage. But, take precautions to prevent odor, mold formation, and decay. Wash away water and ventilate the structure as quickly as possible. Replace baseboards and cut holes in your wallboard to drain uninsulated walls.

Cut out the interior exterior of insulated walls to a point above water height and get rid of flooded drywall. Prop open or reinstall undamaged paneling after cleaning. Throw away all flooded fibrous insulation.

Spray disinfectant on wall plates and studs to kill fungi and mold. Dry them quickly with dehumidifiers and fans. Choose replacement materials like ceramic tile that withstand floods.

Bottom Line

So, now you know the impact of untreated water damage on your property and precautions you can take. If you are suffering from the discussed consequences presently, take the right initiatives immediately.

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How Home Renovations Can Wreck Your Lawn

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Your long-awaited home renovation is almost underway. As you begin preparing for the chaos that will be the next few months of your life, you start to look at your lawn a bit differently. How will the green grass fare during the remodeling of your home?

If you don’t take measures to protect it, your lawn might sustain some damage. Tree branches will be snapped, flowerbeds will be trampled on, and grass will be driven over. Looking for ways to preserve your yard? We’ve assembled a few tips that will help protect it during your renovations:

Store Items Off-Site

Planning to redo your basement? You might be wondering where to store your couch, entertainment unit, and/or storage bins while construction is underway. Here’s a tip: don’t store them on your lawn, not even for a few hours. The weight of these items will compress the soil and crush the grass. Instead, load any furniture into your vehicle and take it to a storage unit until your renovations are complete.

Schedule Lawn Care

Before and after your renovations, you can contact a professional lawn care service to improve the health of your lawn so it can bounce back more easily afterward and/or to repair damage sustained from a renovation. Some of these treatments include:

  • Lawn aeration. During this service, a machine makes small holes throughout your lawn. This loosens up compressed soil and makes it easier for air and water to penetrate it. In turn, it leads to fuller, healthier grass.
  • Dethatching. When your lawn is old or damaged, it accumulates thatch, which is a mix of dead and living organic debris. Power raking services remove this thatch to promote the growth of healthier grass.
  • Laying down sod. Is it time to give up on your old grass and start fresh? A lawn care specialist can remove all the old material from your lawn, and lay down a new layer of sod. It’s a great way to instantly revitalize the appearance of your yard. Just be sure to wait until after renovations are complete to schedule this service—you’ll need to avoid walking on new sod for a minimum of two weeks.

Protect Trees, Shrubs, And Flowers

If you have a green thumb, your garden might be your sanctuary. Perhaps you’ve spent years cultivating an array of greenery in your backyard, from your pristine flowerbeds to well-trimmed trees.

Are you concerned about damaging a particular area of your garden? You can dig up those flowers or small plants and relocate them for the time being. Once the coast is clear, replant them in a suitable location. You can’t easily relocate a large tree, but you can build a layer of mulch around its base to boost its defenses.

Lay Down Drop Cloths

Your lawn will see a lot of foot traffic during your renovations. What can you do to brace it for impact? Choose a fabric that’s thick, yet breathable, and lay it over top of your grass. Something made of plastic will restrict airflow too much, especially on a hot sunny day.

Are you requesting demolition work in your home? Heavy tires from moving pieces of equipment cause immense damage to delicate lawns. Consider temporarily laying down plywood so that the vehicles have something else to drive on top of.

Work With Experienced Contractors

Damage to your lawn can be minimized when your professional demolition contractors are careful. Of course, some things can’t be avoided. But communicating to your contractors about what you want to protect can go a long way in preserving your lawn. Let your renovation crew know which areas you want to protect, and together, you can devise ways to keep them safe from damage.

Make The Most Of It

Despite your best efforts, your lawn may still end up looking like a patchy, torn-up mess. There is one way to turn your fate around—take this opportunity to renovate your lawn, too! Rather than spending your money repairing the damage, consider landscaping the yard and changing its design altogether.

Is the grass torn up? Now is the perfect time to lay down a new path. You can completely change the layout of your flowerbeds or plant new trees where others were lost. Soon enough, you’ll be designing the lawn of your dreams to go along with your newly-renovated home.

Homeowners plan renovations for a range of reasons; they might be eager for a change, or they’re looking to boost their property value before selling their house. Either way, a wrecked lawn will hinder your enjoyment of your remodeled home.

Put these preventative measures in place to keep your lawn safe during your renovation project.

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Home Care & Living

The Importance of Properly Handling Household Leaks

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Household leaks can waste nearly one trillion gallons of water annually nationwide, highlighting just how damaging they can be. However, they can also cause damage in other ways, including financial damage and even structural damage to your home, depending on the leak. In regards to your own home and managing such water leaks, knowing the importance of assessing the problem properly can save you both money and more extensive damage to your home.

The Cause Behind the Leak

While leaks coming from the roof can be an obvious problem that can be caused by weather or general wear and tear due to age, those in regards to appliances such as your hot water tank can seem a little more daunting to assess, especially since there are a number of reasons as to why the leak could be occurring. For example, common causes for a hot water tank leak include issues with the drain valve, having too much pressure in the tank, faulty valves, a problem with the internal tank, or just the fact of having an older tank that’s on its last legs. If you notice your hot water heater leaking, the first thing you should do is turn off the water, turn off the power supply, and then identify where the leak is coming from by doing a full inspection (including areas like the bottom of the tank and the top valve). From there, you can then begin fixing the problem. However, other types of leaks may be more difficult to handle.

The Financial Aspect

While a household leak can be a simple fix – like that of a drippy faucet, those that involve the water pipes of your home can present a myriad of issues and hefty financial costs that may require that you actually dig up your yard in order to assess the problem and fix the waterline. For example, if your current copper water line needs to be repaired or replaced altogether, then fixing the issue can result in the need to call a professional (such as a water service specialist or local plumber) in order to make sure it’s done properly, thus making it worth the extra cost. However, the job in question can be quite pricey depending on aspects such as locating your water supply line, the location, and potential licensing problems (as in many cases you’ll have to obtain authorizations before digging).

The Importance of Inspections

When preventing future household leaks, routine maintenance and inspections are key. This is primarily due to the fact that not doing so can result in damage being done without you knowing about it – until you receive clues like a hefty water bill in the mail. It’s important to realize that while repairing household leaks can cost quite the chunk of change, fixing it as soon as possible is key in preventing more extensive damage and cost down the line. Not knowing about a leak and not taking care of it right away can lead to structural damage to your home (depending on the leak, of course), and of course, results in water waste as well. Through regular maintenance and inspection, you can effectively stay on top of the pipes, appliances, and roof of your home, which will aid in considerable savings down the line while keeping everything running smoothly.

Dealing with a household leak can be daunting, especially when the job requires extensive work (like a main water line repair or replacement). However, through routine maintenance and inspection, you can effectively stay on top of things while saving yourself from the potential costs in damages down the line.

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Landscaping

The Top Benefits of Opting for a Sod Lawn in Your Garden

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Many homeowners aspire for a beautifully manicured lawn. However, installing and maintaining a lawn is easier said than done. There are plenty of aesthetically pleasing alternatives to a lawn. From a zen garden to wooden decking or paving slabs, the choices are endless. For some, nothing comes close to the feel of grass beneath your bare feet. If you’ve ever looked over at a neighbor’s yard with envy and wondered how they manage to keep their lawn looking so good, you might find that sodding is the answer.

If you don’t know much about sodding, we’re here to provide you with some useful insights into the advantage of a sod lawn: 

What Is a Sod Lawn?

Let’s begin with the basics. Sod can be described as grass and soil held together by a biodegradable root system or material. There are different options when it comes to having a sod lawn. From Bella bluegrass and bermudagrass and centipede grass, the list of choices you’ll have is endless. Sourcing a sod lawn and installing it won’t be easy, so it is best to speak to experts at The Sod Source for more information. 

It’s an Instant Solution

The most obvious advantage of sod is that you’ll have yourself an instant lawn. With regular lawns, seeds take at least a year to grow and are fully established, and you’ll have to deal with unattractive yard space. Sodding, however, provides an immediate aesthetic change and will be fully established within a matter of weeks. 

Less Soil Erosion

Unlike seeds, which take a while to establish themselves, sod is better able to control soil erosion because it is fully grown. For those with a garden that becomes muddy as soon as it rains, sod is a great option for eliminating the issue of soil erosion, since it acts as a barrier between rainfall and the soil. 

You Won’t Need to Stress About Irrigation

A seeded lawn needs to be watered at least four times a day at the germination stage. This ensures that the ground will stay moist, but it will also take up a lot of your time. On the other hand, sod only really needs to be watered a few times a day for the first few weeks after it is installed, which makes it a less time-consuming option for the homeowner. 

Sod Lawns Are a Professional Solution 

Unlike a regular seeded lawn, which will require the homeowner to tend to by themselves, sod is grown by professionals. Sod farms grow their sod using the best quality seeds and use specialist machinery. Furthermore, sod farms harvest to order, so you can guarantee you receive a top-quality product.

Maintaining a lawn requires a lot of hard work and patience. A seeded lawn will take a fair amount of time to establish itself, and that is not to say you won’t experience teething issues along the way. Even if you have a green thumb, opting for a sod lawn will save you a lot of time and effort.

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Landscaping

The Top 5 Best Approach in Lawncare

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Keeping a nice lawn does not have to be difficult. It could be as easy as following a routine that will rapidly become your favorite part of the day.

Its maintenance may come with a little price, but it doesn’t always require a professional to have an immaculate-looking lawn. You don’t need to pay a fortune to have an envious lawn in the neighborhood. So allow us to tell you a piece of confidential information: lawn professionals are not doing anything to your turf that you can’t do alone. They know exactly what to use on your lawn and when and how it is used.

Indeed, help from professionals like Lakeland Lawncare can be great, and you can take notes from them. However, it will be therapeutic if you can take care of your own yard. The best tips to take care of your lawn in your ways and insert your modifications in your lawn care are just one read away. Take your cue from the following.

Eradication Of Weed, Thatch, And Moss

In some cases, these things don’t necessarily damage your lawn. However, they can steal nutrients and water supposedly meant to grow your green, luscious yard.

Weed Removal

Weeds grow unabated in gardens, and there’s nothing we can do about it. They fight for nutrients and water with plants and lawn grasses, and they spread over the garden, making it less appealing.

There are precisely three methods to remove weeds: you pull it by hand, remove using a hoe, and in worse cases, you use a chemical product.

Take note that the best time for weed removal is when the soil is moist and damp because it’s easier to pull the weeds out by their roots. If you don’t, you risk leaving the roots behind since they’re caught in the dirt.

Dethatching

Thatch is a coating of organic debris made up of dead leaves, grass, and root stems that can accumulate between the leaves and the soil.

The buildup causes an obstruction, preventing vital moisture and nutrients from reaching the roots through the soil.

The ground will feel spongy, and the absence of nutrients will leave dull, lifeless spots on the grass, making these areas easier to spot. However, there is no need to worry. Scarification, which is the process of raking and removing mulch from the lawn, is the most outstanding technique for eradicating thatch.

Moss Removal

Mosses are non-flowering plants that can take over your landscape and cause chaos. They flourish in regions with a lot of wetness, shade, and poor turf.

The level of moss will increase if left uncovered or untreated, decreasing the grasses’ ability to thrive. The cause of the moss must be recognized and reduced before you may remove the moss. It can then be fed and satisfied, and it can be watched and nurtured from there.

Upgrade Drainage System

Lawns with inadequate drainage systems carry lots of disadvantages. Ranging from issues such as being soaked for hours, even days, and to the extent of destroying your green grasses.

In upgrading your drainage system, you have to make sure that it is sufficient in giving enough water and nutrients throughout the whole lawn, and it will avoid problems such as drowning the grass. An improved damage system should fix these issues, not make them worse.

A drainage system expert will evaluate your property (slope, soil, etc.) and recommend what will work best for you. A professional will also be aware of any local restrictions on where you can direct your water. For example, directing the water into storm drains is unlawful in many places. In addition, there are regulations prohibiting water from being directed onto sidewalks or roadways that may freeze over during the winter.

Aerate Your Lawn

Aeration is essential for keeping a healthy lawn because it enables air and water to penetrate developed grass or turf mulch.

This technique permits more air and water to get to the grass’s root system, critical for the grass to get the nutrients it needs to flourish. It’s an excellent approach to deal with drought-stricken or water-logged lawns.

Aeration is accomplished by poking small holes in the soil at defined levels and thicknesses with a garden fork or mainly designed instruments and machines.

Aeration’s primary purpose is to alleviate soil compaction. Soil layers have an excessive amount of solid particles packed into a small amount of space, impeding proper air, water, and nutrient flow.

Much yard thatch and heavy organic compounds hiding beneath the grass surface could be depriving the roots of these essential nutrients.

Over-Seeding

By covering the entire area with massive amounts of seed combined with fertilizer, over-seeding rejuvenates old and worn-out lawns. This method improves the color and reduces the possibility of weed and moss incursions while filling in damaged and thinning areas.

The grass should be kept moist after seeding to aid germination, and a top dressing should be applied to preserve the seeds and offer nutrients.

This method should be done once a year to keep your lawn healthy.

Feeding And Watering

Most gardening supply stores have a variety of grass feeds and fertilizers. The type required will be determined by the soil and weather conditions in your area. The majority of these will come with application directions, so it’s best to stick to those.

In general, you should fertilize your lawn twice a year, once during the springtime with a nitrogen-rich yard fertilizer and again in the fall with phosphorus and potassium-rich feed. All lawns require watering in addition to feeding. If a lawn isn’t given enough water, it will turn brown and lose its spring, causing the grass to stay flat when stepped on.

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DIY Projects

8 Exclusive Tips for Painting a Garden Fence

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Maintaining your garden fence and keeping it up to date may not sound like something fun, but it would be if you’re fond of gardening. Unfortunately, sometimes it could be a tiring job. A job that will sap all of your energy even you’re the most practical person in gardening.

But if you do not maintain your garden, the garden will lose its beauty. On the other hand, if you keep painting or staining your fence and garden gate every couple of years, its beauty will be preserved for many years.

Let’s face it; the garden is where we spend most of our time when the weather is favorable, pottering around the flowerbeds or inviting friends and family round for barbecues in the sunshine.

Having a perfectly groomed garden will add value and beauty to your house. So please don’t rush out and splash the paint when the time comes; take your time and follow our top tips for painting your garden fence mentioned below to give your garden a beautiful look.

While painting the garden, preparation is vital, like in most DIY jobs. The trick is that the more care you take and more time you spend while making sure that the preparation work is completed as best as you can, the better the final outcomes will be.

Tip # 1 – Trim

Mow the lawn. Get your garden trimmer out to trim around the fence gate, the bottom of the fence, and fence posts. You can use edging shears or scissors if you don’t have a garden trimmer.

Tip #2 – Debris and Dirt

Brush away all debris and dirt from all fence areas by using a stiff bristle hand brush or broom. Make sure to clean all the areas that need to be painted properly. To stop any leaves and grass cuttings from blowing up against the fence while painting, it’s also a good idea to sweep away them from around the fence base before painting.

Tip # 3 – Scrape Before you Paint

You’ll need to scrape the fence before moving onto the next step if the old paint is flaking, cracked, or chipping. To smoothen the paint surfaces, try to use a wide blade paint scraper and coarse sandpaper.

Tip # 4 – Wash and Dry

The next step before starting the painting is to wash the fence thoroughly by using a pressure washer if you have one, or you can use a garden hose and spray nozzle if you don’t have the washer. For any stubborn spots of dirt cleaning, keep your stiff bristle brush and a bucket of soapy water to hand and clean all of them right away. Next, apply a diluted bleach solution (1 part bleach to 1 part water) with the hand brush for cleaning fences that have attracted mildew and algae. Before rinsing the bleach solution, please clean it with the pressure washer and leave it to dry thoroughly.

Tip # 5 – Masking or Removal

It’s best to remove the hinges, door handle, and barrel bolt when you are repainting a fence with a gate so that they don’t get paint stains. However, if you’d instead paint it, you can mask off the hardware by wrapping a small plastic bag over the handle, simply sealing the edges with masking tape so that it doesn’t get painted.

Tip # 6 – Protect, Don’t Forget

Now we are almost there where we are ready to start painting, but before making it happen, lay tarpaulin or dust sheets to cover up the ground below the fence areas that you’ll be painting.

Doing this will help you to protect your grass, garden decking, flower borders, or whatever lies underneath it from getting splattered in paint or stain.

Tip # 7 – Trees and Greens

Place a plywood sheet or hardboard against tall shrubs or hedging trees planted close to or making contact with the fence if you have them in your garden. Doing it will allow you to squeeze in between the woods and the fence and gently lean back on the hedging to keep it away from the fence while painting.

Tip # 8 – Paint, Don’t Faint

Avoid garden painting during the heat of the day when the sun will be at its strongest and sunlight for best results and make the tiring job a little easier. Otherwise, the garden paint will dry too quickly, and the outcome will result in a patchy finish.

While painting a garden fence, the final tip is to check the weather forecast and choose a couple of days that are looking dry.

For excellent garden painting, you can contact Promain, a leading supplier of exterior paints and coatings from some of the world’s largest paint manufacturers and brands, including Centre coat, So lignum, Ron seal, Cuprinol, and Rustoleum.

Their exclusive range of external paints not only covers the outdoor of your home but through to large industrial premises, and all hold waterproofing properties second to none. Feel free to take the time to browse their large selection of multi-surface paints.

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Landscaping

Top Benefits Of Installing Drip Irrigation For Your Home Garden

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Drip irrigation is not just suitable for large farming areas, as it can provide your home garden with numerous benefits. Whether you are growing organic produce, a herb garden, or simply searching for ways to maintain your landscaping, drip line irrigation will offer you these excellent benefits.

Save On Water Usage

Regardless of how extensive or small your yard area is, of course, you want to reduce your water bill for numerous reasons. However, your plants and lawn need watering regularly, and an ordinary hose can waste a lot more water than you may be aware of. Installing an irrigation system will save you a small fortune each year on your water bill. These systems use between thirty and fifty percent less water than other traditional methods of watering the yard. Even using the ordinary sprinkler will have up to fifty percent of the water evaporating in hot weather conditions.

Enhance Growth

Providing your yard with smaller, more constant amounts of water will boost growth substantially. Therefore, irrigation systems improve the growing conditions for plants. It also prevents soil erosion, which can hinder growth significantly. A nutrient runoff will also no longer be a concern for your landscaping or vegetable garden as your plants will have an ongoing supply of water.

Discourage Weed Growth

Overspray from water sprinklers can cause weeds to germinate where you don’t want them to. This can also lead to your yard growing out of control as the build-up of surface water is not ideal. Installing irrigation will reduce the growth of weeds by delivering water straight to the roots of plants in your garden.

Reduce Fungal Diseases

Fungal diseases can become a problem when watering a yard the traditional way, as fungal diseases thrive in moist conditions. Wet foliage can burn with sunlight and spread disease quickly, so watering only where hydration and moisture are necessary is an excellent way to ensure the reduction of fungal diseases that can destroy everything growing in your garden.

Prevent Overwatering

It’s a lot easier to overwater a garden accidentally than most people realize. Forgetting you have left the sprinkler on can lead to a swamp pretty quickly, and this will damage everything in your yard. Irrigation systems prevent the possibility of overwatering as you can add a timer to your irrigation system and have your yard watered automatically.

Save Time And Effort

You won’t only be saving on your water consumption bill when installing an irrigation system, as you will also be saving substantially on time and effort. You won’t ever have to spend hours on end hosing your plants and lawn or waiting for the sprinkler to deliver enough water to each area of your garden. Installing an irrigation system with a timer means you won’t have to worry about watering your yard ever again. However, you will need to prioritize maintenance and potential repairs of the system to ensure it is always functioning at its best to benefit your garden and everything in it.

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Landscaping

4 Ways to Drought-Proof Your Lawn This Summer

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Summers are getting hotter and drier each year. In 2020, many northern states were subject to unprecedented droughts that exacerbated wildfires across the area. Droughts can take a harsh toll on your lawn. To prepare for the dry weather, you can take steps to make your lawn and landscaping more resistant to drought.

During a drought, you may not be able to add extra watering times to your lawn maintenance schedule. Many towns and cities have water usage mandates during the aridest parts of the year. When your lawn is parched, it can look dull, yellow, and scrubbish.

If you live in an area that experiences an annual drought, you will need to prepare your lawn in advance. Taking action prior to the dry season can help your lawn resist a harsh period of drought. In the spring as you prepare your lawnmowers, you can take these steps to help drought-proof your lawn.

Aerating

During a drought, your lawn has to work harder to leech moisture out of the soil. In many cases of extreme drought, your lawn will go into a dormant period with minimal growth and some permanent loss. To prevent your lawn from drying out you can help it to access the moisture in your soil by aerating. The process of aerating will provide deeper pockets in your lawn where moisture can accumulate providing an extended water source for your lawn. 

Fertilizer

A lawn that is well-fed will have a better chance of surviving a drought.  Prior to a period of drought, it is essential that you switch to a potassium-rich fertilizer and ditch the nitrogen formula. A potassium fertilizer will help to strengthen each blade of your lawn including the crown helping it to retain strength during periods of heat and dryness. During a drought, it is best to avoid using any pesticides or herbicides as they can leech the soil of excess moisture. To help retain moisture and provide extra nutrients during a drought you can spread a light coating of your clippings.

Watering Schedule

The key to helping your lawn survive a drought is to encourage longer root growth. By establishing the correct watering schedule you can promote the proper growth pattern in your grass that will help them cope with drought. Watering less often with more water is the best way to train your lawn for a drought. Watering less than once a week to the extent that there is minor pooling on your lawn will help your grass extend its roots and become more drought resistant.

Proper Mowing

Mowing your lawn too short or too often can put a strain on your grass. Following the one-third mowing rule is the best way to cultivate strong blades. Only cut off the top third of your grass routinely to keep the blades strong and avoid damaging the crown of the root. Keep your mowing to a minimum, no more than once a week. 

If you want to help your lawn survive the summer drought, you will need to start your maintenance in advance. Before the dry heat hits, follow these tips to help your lawn become drought-resistant and stay looking great all season. 

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Home Care & Living

New Home, Old Furniture? What to Do With Your Furniture When You Are Moving to a New House

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There is only so much that you can do with your old furniture when moving to a new place. However, despite the limited options, you should still be able to make the most out of your old furniture. Hence, to help you understand better, here are all the things that you can do with your furniture when moving to a new house.

Take the Furniture with You

The simplest solution to the problem at your hand is to take the furniture with you to your new home. This option is especially applicable if your old furniture is not really that old. That means it is still new and maintains necessary standards in terms of quality.

You need to take the furniture measurements into account if you want to bring them with you to your new home. That will help you to plan the layout quite easily. In some cases, like when you are moving to a home with smaller rooms, the old furniture might not fit. Hence, to see if you can fit them, you must take their measurements first and work out the different layout options available to you.

By utilizing your old furniture, you will not have to buy new ones. That means you get to save money. Most importantly, by not buying or making new furniture, you are helping to preserve nature and save the environment in a way. Hence, taking the furniture with you to your new home is undeniably the best option out there.

Repurpose the Furniture

You do not have to use your old furniture if you do not want to. However, you still need to take them with you if you cannot find a buyer. In such cases, instead of just throwing them away, you can repurpose the furniture. Break them down and build something else with them.

Or you can also use your old furniture on the patio or in the garden. For example, you may need garden loungers or pool loungers for your new house. But instead of buying new ones, you use DIY methods to turn your old chairs into loungers.

Repurposing is a great way to save money as well as the environment. Plus, you also get to utilize the material and build something you might need at your new home.

Sell Each Piece (or Set) of Furniture Separately

You should consider selling the furniture if you cannot or are not willing to take them with you to your new home. There could be multiple reasons why you might have to do so. For starters, you may not be able to accommodate the old furniture in your new house. Or it could be that they will not look good over there. Besides, it is also possible that you are no longer fond of them and want to get some new ones. Thus, under these situations, the logical thing to do is to sell your furniture.

Selling the furniture will require a bit of work from your end. Since you are likely to sell them online, you first need to take a few good pictures of them. In your product description, you should mention the furniture dimensions, material type, how old they are, what problems they might have, and so on.

You will find it difficult to attract buyers if the furniture looks too old or has too many issues with them. In such cases, you might want to get them refurbished before putting them up for sale. However, that decision will ultimately come down to whether or not you want to invest in something that you will be getting rid of anyway.

Sell the Furniture with the House

Apart from selling the furniture sets separately, you can also sell them with the house. In such cases, it is important to make sure that the furniture is in good condition. People will be easily put off with the idea of buying a new house with furniture that is of poor quality. Hence, get the furniture refurbished if necessary, but do not try to sell them in poor condition.

The furniture’s condition will affect the value of the property. You are more likely to see a depreciation if the furniture’s conditions are below standard. Besides, furniture can affect the valuation in other ways as well.

There is a possibility that selling the house with the furniture may not seem like a viable option. Besides, people have their preferences when it comes to furniture and interior decor. Hence, even if they like the house itself, they will try to settle for a deal where they do not have to pay extra for the furniture.

Each of the points mentioned above comes with its pros and cons. You have to work out which one will be more beneficial for you before you can choose that particular option.

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Home Care & Living

5 Practical Box Opener Hacks

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Your package arrives in the mail, and you grab the first pair of scissors or keys to pry it open. Or, maybe you have a box opener handy to see what the delivery carrier brought you. While you may have initially bought that box opener for obvious reasons, don’t just think it’s for opening packages. In fact, this versatile tool might just become one of your favorite “go-to” gadgets once you see the many life hacks it can be used for.

A box opener also called a box cutter or utility knife is a nifty little tool that consists of a handle and a blade. Typically, the blade is retractable and stores neatly inside the handle housing when not in use. There are many different styles, colors, and designs to choose from. Finding a box opener should be fairly easy. One should take into account the blade style and handle, as well as the material that they are made of. For instance, ceramic is a really great material, especially from a safety point of view. A practical box opener is really durable and easy to grip. So let’s find out more about why you need one and how to make the most of your purchase. 

Why Do You Need a Box Opener?

As the name suggests, a box opener is great for opening and breaking down cardboard boxes. However, box openers are also handy for: 

  • Home Improvement Projects: Cutting drywall and insulation board; scoring vinyl tile or veneer; trimming linoleum or carpet; deburring polyvinyl chloride (PVC); removing caulk seals
  • Landscaping Applications: Cutting landscape fabric or sod; opening bags of mulch or granular fertilizer; pruning small unruly bush stems
  • In the Kitchen: Opening food packages; slicing through meats, cheeses, and small fruits and vegetables.
  • For Hobbies and Crafts: Scrapbooking; wood carving; bookbinding; soap and candle making; leather and fabric crafting
  • Outdoor Adventures: Cutting fishing lines; cleaning fish; trimming rope or twine; making emergency repairs

Do Box Openers Really Have Hacks?

While this isn’t a comprehensive list, here are a few very practical hacks for box openers that you may want to try.

Hack #1 – Perfect Edge Painting

Have you ever taken the time to carefully apply painters tape to trim and other woodwork before painting your wall, only to be frustrated when the tape tears away bits of your freshly painted wall when removed? A box opener tool can be used to remedy this pesky problem.

Before pulling off your painter’s tape, simply make a neat cut with your box opener tool right at the edge of the tape, where it connects with the wall paint. This small step will help your tape pull off cleanly, leaving the wall paint intact.

Hack #2 – Cardboard Template Cutting

Mounting items on the walls of your home is often necessary—but tedious. It can be difficult to know exactly where to place your nails or screws, especially when there are multiple brackets and you are working alone. The next time this problem arises, reach for your box opener tool and some basic cardboard to help.

Use a pen to trace the shape of the item onto the cardboard, and then cut it out with the box opener tool. Mark appropriate places where brackets or mounting hardware is located and then place your newly created template on the wall for reference to narrow down where you will need a drill or hammer. 

Hack #3 – Softening Ice Cream

Having a good working freezer is a fabulous thing until you try to scoop hard-as-rock ice cream from a carton. The next time you want ice cream and it’s frozen solid, skip the mess and try this box opener hack instead.

With your box cutter blade fully exposed, run it under hot tap water for about 30 seconds. Using the warmed blade, cut several horizontal lines straight across the surface of the ice cream. Turn your carton into a vertical position, and make similar cuts perpendicular to the first ones. This will result in a checkerboard pattern in the ice cream. Once all cuts are made, use your ice cream scooper to get your dessert.

Hack #4 – Trimming Photos

Whether you print your own images or you cut apart sheet photographs delivered from a print studio or photographer, a box opener tool and a straight-edged ruler make this task quick and easy.

Start by laying your photo on a solid-cut, proof surface. Then lay the ruler along the photograph’s edge. Score carefully with the box cutter tool, and then discard any unwanted scraps. Your photos are now ready to frame!

Hack #5 – Replacing Screens

Everything from pets to the weather can wreak havoc on a home’s window and door screens, and replacing the screen material seems to be on every homeowner’s to-do list at some point in time or another. With the help of a box opener tool, this becomes a relatively simple DIY project to tackle.

Once you have removed the old, torn screen material, cut your new screen just a few inches larger on all sides than the screen’s frame. After aligning the new screen with the frame and pressing in your rubber seal strips, use your box cutter tool to trim off the excess screen material, leaving a clean-cut finish.

Whether your project involves a sweet tooth, a do-it-yourself project, or showing off your favorite pics, here’s hoping these five handy tips make your life a little easier courtesy of your box opener.

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Home Care & Living

How to Efficiently Clean Your House

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Everyone loves a clean house, even though the process can be an arduous task. There are many elements involved in cleaning that take up a lot of time, and you might not know where to start. If you live in a house with outdoor space or garden, the cleaning might seem all the more daunting. However, you don’t need to take a lot of time cleaning. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you get the house cleaning done quickly and efficiently.

Clean the whole house

Many people tend to pick a few rooms to clean or a few tasks to do each day. This makes the chore seem a lot more time-consuming. Try to tackle the whole house in one go. Another helpful tip is to pick up one task, such as dusting, and do that throughout the house first before moving on to another task. Don’t clean the house room by room, as this will make it feel like an endless cycle. 

Gather all your tools in one place

Before you start cleaning, gather all the cleaning equipment in one place in a caddy, bucket, basket, or something similar. This will make cleaning easier as you won’t have to keep leaving a task just to get the necessary cleaning tool. You can also include baking soda in your caddy to freshen up your home.

Declutter

Before you start cleaning, clear the clutter around your house. There might be magazines, toys, footwear, or other items lying around, and putting them away will make cleaning easier. If you’re planning on doing a deep, extensive cleaning, you can declutter by clearing out any items you no longer need, and either throw them away, recycle them, or sell them.

Go top to bottom, left to right

When cleaning a room, it’s best to start from the top of the room by dusting ceiling fans or shelves and work your way down to the floors. Similarly, work your way from left to right to ensure that you cover the entire room. 

Vacuum in rows

Vacuum the length of a room in a row, and continue cleaning this way until the whole room has been covered. This is a fast and efficient way of vacuuming, especially for high traffic areas that you need to vacuum frequently. If your carpet needs more deep cleaning, you can get it done by carpet cleaners Dublin.

Wash your cleaning tools

Clean tools can be of great help when trying to do a quick clean. A dirty mop or a vacuum with a full bag will be less efficient and you will end up wasting your time on tasks that could be done quickly. Be sure to replace any tools that have been worn out.

Don’t procrastinate on cleaning your house. Dedicate the time you think will be needed and get started. If you live with others, you can get them involved in the cleaning process to get it accomplished faster. Cleaning can be tiresome, but it can be fun when done with a group.    

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Landscaping

Does Landscaping Increase Property Value?

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If you have been wondering, does landscaping increase property value, then you will find this article to be extremely insightful. The truth of the matter is that landscaping that is done in the right manner does indeed increase the value of your property. That is why we share in-depth some amazing ways that landscaping can increase the value of your property. We’ve written this article with the help of a landscaping company called RocDog, which says a lot of clients are property developers wishing to increase the price of their property.

1. Increase the value of a property by adding trees.

Though adding trees can seem like a simple landscaping feature, the reality is that trees are beautiful and do make a property look more interesting. They are perceived as increasing the value of a property. Thus, those properties that have trees tend to have a higher value than those properties that do not have trees. That is why properties that have trees can sell for as much as ten to fifteen percent more than the asking price in comparison to those properties that do not have trees.

2. Increase the value of your property with uniformity in style.

A sure way to add value to increase the value of your property is to apply an approach of uniformity pertaining to the style of your landscaping and home. In other words, your landscaping should conform to the style of your home. If there is a different style for the home and a different style for the landscaping, this would result in the clashing of the designs and would make the property much less appealing. This then causes the property to experience a decrease in its value. But when you are careful to apply landscaping that matches the style of your home, then this will surely increase the value of your property in a positive manner.

3. Increase the value of your home when you add colorful flowers and plants.

When you take the time to invest in adding gorgeous and colorful flowers, plants that bloom as well as thick shrubs, you will be magnifying the curb appeal of your property instantly. This will portray the idea that your property is well landscaped and meticulously maintained. Moreover, when you also are careful to add flowers and plants that are aromatic, this will attract butterflies and birds to your property as a result of the lovely scents. This will also contribute to increasing the value of your property.

4. Increase the value of your property when you provide a definition with lawn edging.

If you are looking for an easy way to increase the value of your property, then you should consider providing definition via the usage of lawn edging. This will result in giving your property an appearance of being nicely manicured. This also gives the look that a property is more low maintenance, which can be a great selling point for those who want a nice-looking property that does not require a lot of fuss during the process of caring for it due to being busy. To achieve this look, there should be a neat separation that is noticeable in regard to the walkways, garden beds, and lawn. The addition of bricks, stones, or timber between the walkways, lawn, and garden beds can make the ideal type of lawn edging.

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Landscaping

4 Landscaping Tips for a Beautiful Patio

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Nothing is more relaxing than having a beautiful home with amenities to help you unwind after a tiresome day. Apart from offering additional relaxation space, an attractive patio enhances the value of your property. It can also minimize the hustles of lawn maintenance while providing extra multifunctional space in your home. A well-designed patio can make your home feel more inviting and cozy in many ways. In this piece, we will take a look at some landscaping tips you could use to make your patio a space of beauty.

1. Variety of Plants

Plants breathe life and a relaxing feeling into almost any space. Whether you are building a new patio or reviving an old one, think about how flora can help you construct a beautiful area. Introduce a diverse range of colorful plants that bloom at different seasons of the year. You can also use containers with different colors or designs to bring in the aspect of art. Moreover, they are portable and can easily be interchanged.

This will bring energy and a sense of life to your patio out of the varied ornamental leaves blooming throughout the year. For instance, some of the plants like the Rozanne geranium bloom from June to October. Planting a variety of plants will also ensure your patio retains its attractiveness.

2. Use of Bricks

Stone or brick are some of the materials you can use to add a unique feature to your yard patio. Bricks are long-lasting, and they bring out a natural feel, style, and class. You also have a variety of designs and colors to choose from. The colors range from traditional red to grey, brown, and even multi color options. You can assemble the bricks in your own unique design that best suits your preferences.

3. Fountain Patio

Designing a captivating patio can be a daunting task, but it becomes easier when you are guided and informed. Water fountains are a unique feature. It speaks elegance to your outdoor space. If you are looking into ways to enhance your patio, a fountain will deliver exemplary results. The sight and sound of the falling waters will bring a sense of calmness and relaxation aura. It’s soothing and fascinating to watch and hear the water trickling.

4. Covered Patios

Lately, covered patios seem to have acquired significant popularity. Many homeowners are embracing covered pergolas to create comfortable and inviting outdoor spaces. As seen on Malone’s Landscape website, the shaded outdoor units are multifunctional. They can be used for a wide range of outdoor social activities or occasions like barbeques, dinners, parties, and many more.

The shade allows you to hide away from the hot rays of the sun while enjoying the soothing warm breeze. The cover makes it a cozy recreation area. It provides an ideal hideout for your family and friends during summer while enjoying your barbecue portions. You can even add extra entertainment like TV or sound system to make it more alluring.

Considering the countless benefits they offer, a patio could be just what you need in your home for times when you need to escape into the solace arena of nature. With the right tips, you can create an oasis of comfort and allurement in your yard. The above tips can help you design an eye-catching patio that your neighbors will probably get jealous of.

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Landscaping

Landscaping Ideas for Small Gardens

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A charming outdoor space is always invigorating to the mind and soul. However, designing this area of your home comes with several challenges, and space is one of them. If you have been wondering how you can create a stunning garden that will awe your guests and family at your abode, look no further. Below are some landscaping ideas you could use to give your small garden some life.

Use Potted Plants

Creating a lush, welcoming garden shouldn’t be complicated. Landscaping with pots can add extra space when gardening in a small backyard. You can grow a wide range of potted plants, including creepers, ornamentals, herbs, and much more. Some could even be hung or placed on the ground. Integrating pots into your landscaping is also cheaper. Doing this will also help you add more color to your yard. The best part of it is that pots are mobile. You can change them after some time to break up the monotonous look. Add some uniqueness by choosing pots with visual appeal. You can use metal buckets, barrels, teapots, or whatever suits your style.

Create a Secluded Nook

Every backyard needs a nook where you can relax from the turbulence of life. Consider setting some space aside in your small garden where you can relax alone and read a book, welcome guests, or nap in a chair or a hammock. You only need to select the right spot in your backyard with minimal noise, preferably one with a wall and a surrounded hedge. It should be placed for privacy away from the house. Add some seats with pillows and blankets to keep you warm and cozy at night. Ensure it is surrounded by some potted plants, especially creepers, herbs, and a few trees where possible.

Consider Illuminated Walkways

Walkway lights can go a long way in improving the visual appeal of your garden. Ensure you choose the ideal lighting for your yard to supplement the landscaping and the architectural hallmarks of your home. You can install geometrical structures or tall angled lights with more illumination coverage. The walkway lighting should give you a stunning view and set the right mood for your outdoor space. It should be relaxing as you enjoy the surroundings, the trees, flowers, and plants around.

Don’t Forget the Contours

A garden path connects distinct areas in the garden. The paths in your garden should be inviting and encourage an expedition. With the help of an expert landscaper, you can create subtle, curvy paths with a fun and interesting look. This helps enrich your landscaping design as the contours create curiosity about what’s lying around the corner. Complement the meandering paths with an attractive trail of beautiful blossoming plants. You can use pebble stones, bricks or gravel, or granite stepping stones on the walking surface.

Whether you are making a garden from scratch or modifying an old one, landscaping can be quite puzzling, especially in a small backyard. Despite the space limitations, you can transform your small garden space into a marvelous haven of greenery. Along with the few tips above, all you need is a little creativity and perhaps some professional help to create a lasting statement in your small garden space.

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Landscaping

9 Benefits of a Backyard Pond

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A backyard pond might look great on a magazine cover. But they require a lot of time and effort to create. So, are they worth it?  To help you make up your mind, let’s look at some of the benefits a pond can provide.

1. Visually Stunning

One of the biggest reasons why you might want to purchase a pond is to create a stunning feature in the backyard. There are plenty of ways that you’ll be able to create a beautiful pond. For example, you might want to add some water-based plants. Things like lily pads and flowering plants can be a great choice, adding some color to the pool. Another great option is to add some fish. You might also want to put in a rock boundary. In some cases, you might want to put in a water feature. This can be something like a waterfall or fountain. The way you set-up your background pond can be as simple or elaborate as you like.

Another way to help your pond stand out is by adding lights. It’s best to get some that are run on solar power, so you won’t need to pay high electricity costs. There are many ways that you can use lights. For example, you might want to put them underwater to show the movement of the fish in the water. In other cases, you might want to put a spotlight on water features. 

2. Environmental Benefits

While a pond can be great for humans, it can also be good for the planet. A pond can serve a few critical environmental features. First, you might be able to save money. Once a pond has been filled up, you’ll be able to rely on rainwater to top it up. This can be compared to the lawn or garden, which require consistent inputs of water to grow. A pond will also support the local ecosystem. For example, birds and frogs will often visit the pond. This can be a great tool for teaching young children about biodiversity and the ecosystem.

3. Relaxing

It’s important to look after your mental health. One of the best ways to do this is by taking the time to de-stress. A pond can be a great place to do this. You can sit back and watch the fishes swim. Or you can listen to the calming cascade of a waterfall. In some cases, you’ll be able to enjoy watching the birds playing in the water. 

It’s easy to create a relaxing area around the pond. First, you’ll want to get some bench seating. Pick an outdoor furniture unit, so it will be able to withstand the wind and rain. Then, you’ll need to get some shade. This can be natural, placing the bench under a tree. In other cases, you might need to use an umbrella. If you want to go the extra mile, put in a sound system, so you can listen to your favorite music while watching the pond.

4. Mask Background Noise

No-one wants to sit in their backyard and listen to the traffic drive past. However, in some locations, you won’t have a choice. Thankfully, there is a way to stop this problem. You’ll need to install a waterfall in your pond. This will mask the noise coming from the street. It will also serve an important role, aerating the water so the fish will be able to use it. The good news is that there are plenty of water features for you to choose from.

5. Keep Cool

Another benefit of owning a pool is being able to stay cool during the warm summer months. On hot days, water will heat up. This results in evaporation. This process cools the surrounding air, similar to how the human body cools through sweating.

6. Create a New Hobby

Maintaining a backyard pond can be a lot of fun. For example, you’ll need to care for the fish and plants. This can be a relaxing task, helping you connect with nature. There’s also a sense of satisfaction that comes with watching the fish grow older, and the plants start to mature. In some cases, you might even be able to breed the fish, establishing future generations.

7. Break-up a Green Lawn

Some people want to put in a lawn to break up their yard. Looking out on a flat, featureless green lawn can be boring. Why not put in a pond to add some visual intrigue. As we mentioned, once installed, the pond will often be easier to maintain than a lawn.

8. Improve Property Values

When people are buying homes, one of the most important things they are looking for is an emotional connection. This creates strong memories, making them picture themselves living in your house. A pond can be a great way of forming an emotional connection. In this case, the buyer will imagine themselves relaxing by the pond, listening to the waterfall. Because of this, you’ll be able to get a higher price for the property. It’s also a good way of selling the home faster.

9. Create A Gathering Place

Finally, you’ll often find that a pond becomes a natural place of congregation for friends and family. It can be a place to go to a party for a more private conversation. At other times, you might want to sit down and relax by the water with your friends.

Conclusion

As we’ve seen, there are plenty of reasons why you might want to consider building a backyard pond. The good news is that it doesn’t need to be difficult. All you need is a few simple materials to get started, like pond liners. These will hold the water, stopping it from seeping into the soil. They’ll also be tough enough to withstand damage, so your pond will last for a long time. For more information and to find the right ones for you, check out this pond liners compilation. So, start work on building your dream pond today to experience the joys that it can provide.

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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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Home Care & Living

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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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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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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