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Natural Pest Control for the Garden

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Honeybee Pollinating FlowerYou may think that organic pesticides are safe to apply on plants just because of the word “organic.” Growing the plants listed below will help attract beneficial insects that feed on the marauding pests that damage plants. Attracting beneficial insects to destroy harmful insects is a traditional method followed in Integrated Pest Management and sustainable agriculture. Dr. Geoff Zehnder, Professor of entomology at Clemson University, that to attract good insects you have to make your garden attractive to them.

Pollinators, Predators and Parasites

Pollinators

Pollinators like honeybees pollinate flowers which in turn will increase the productivity of crops like apples and zucchini.

Predators

Predators like ladybugs and hoverflies munch on troublesome pests.

Parasites

Parasites use pests to feed their young ones.

The 3 “P’s” feed on either pests or pollen in your garden or farm. If you learn to identify these pests, it will be easier to understand how they work and avoid reduce the need to use herbicides.

Regular use of chemical or biological pesticides can have an impact on plants as by affecting the texture of the soil or potentially polluting water sources. Attracting beneficial insects to safeguard plants from harmful pests is safer for the environment and encourages biodiversity and plant pollination. Farmscaping is a strategy of growing plants designed to attract beneficial insects. The general rule is to designate 5-10% of the growing area to plants that provide an attractive habitat for beneficial insects.

Plants that Attract Beneficial Insects

Lupinus SucculentusSucculent Lupine

Common Names

Hollow leaf annual Lupine, Arroyo lupine, succulent lupine

The upper portion of the plant is fleshy, and the stem bears sweet-smelling flowers. It is easy to grow and is quite adaptable to all the climatic conditions. Avoid over-watering as it can cause mildew disease on the leaves.

Stenaria nigricans var. NigricansNarrowleaf Bluets

Common Names

Diamond Flowers, Narrowleaf bluets, Baby’s breath, Bluets, Fine-leaf bluets, Rubiaceae

These delicate and slender plants grow to 20 inches in height and produce diamond shaped flowers. The flowers are either pink or white and turn black when they become dry.

Gilia tricolorGilia

Common Names

Bird’s-eye gilia or Birds eyes

Gilia has a musky fragrance that grows a foot tall and has divided leaves and attractive flowers. Their flowers are either light blue or violet.

Eschscholzia californicaCalifornia Poppy

Common Names

California poppy, California gold poppy

These plants are easy to grow and drought resistant. Their blooming period is usually from March to May with colors of the flower ranging from orange to yellow.

Achillea millefoliumCommon Yarrow

Common Names

Common yarrow, Western Yarrow, Yarrow, Milfoil

These flowers grow up to 3inches in height and have branches only on the top.

Euonymus atropurpureusBurning Bush

Common Names

Bning Bush, Eastern Wahoo, Burning Bush, Wahoo, Waahoo, Whahoo, Spindle tree

These shrubs can develop into small trees that grow up to 20-25 feet tall.

Beneficial Insects

Lacewings

Larvae of lacewings voraciously feed on aphids, mealybugs, scale, thrips and mites. Adults require pollen, nectar, honeydew, and water to survive. They are usually brown or green and have delicate transparent wings.

Ladybugs

Ladybugs are yellowish orange or red and have black spots all over them. Both the adults and larvae feed on a variety of insects such as aphids, scale, thrips, whiteflies, spider mites, mealybugs and other soft-bodied insects.

Wasps

Wasps mostly look like tiny flying ants. They lay eggs in the bodies of insects such as aphids, thrips and Mexican bean beetle larvae. When the eggs hatch they feed off the fluids of the host. These insects are attracted to the nectar of small flowers.

Predatory Bugs

Predatory bugs look like squash bugs that have sharp backs and are large eyes. They feed on leaf beetle larvae, caterpillars and other insects.

Ground Beetles

Ground beetles are black and shiny bugs that are found primarily under mulch and are active during night time. They attack snails, slugs and other soft-bodied insects. These beetles grow slowly compared to other insects and can as long as three years.

Hover Flies

Hover flies look similar to bees but they do not sting. They mostly feed on aphids, mealybugs and other small insects.

Angela Thomas works with nycitypestcontrol.com. NYCity is a leader in new and innovative methods to control insect and rodent infestations in an environmentally friendly manner.

Want more information? Try these articles:

Attracting Beneficial Insects to Your Garden

Helpful Insects for Your Garden

Natural Pest Control for Greenhouses and Indoor Gardens

Pest Control Using Predatory Insects

Preventing, Identifying and Treating Common Greenhouse Pest Insects

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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.

https://pixabay.com/images/id-2328984/

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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Hydroponics

4 Tips for Successful Hydroponic Growing

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With the global population growing at a rate of approximately 1.05% per year or 81 million people annually, the increased demand placed on the Earth’s natural resources calls for new and innovative solutions to farming methods and food production.

One possible solution which has developed in the field of horticulture is a method of growing plants known as Hydroponics. Here plants are grown without soil, by using a nutrient-rich growing medium such as coco coir, gravel, rockwool, or sand, allowing for nutrients to be absorbed directly into the plant’s roots.

Without the need for soil, crops such as corn can be grown throughout the year, resulting in higher yields and fewer fluctuations in price. If you are looking for some growing tips for your hydroponic plants then read on.

Water

Before plants can be introduced to a hydroponic growing system it is important to check the quality of your water supply to ensure the pH levels are correct. Ideally, the water should have a pH of between 5.5 and 6.5 which can be measured using pH strips or a pH meter.

EC or Electrical Conductivity levels of water measure its ability to dissolve salts and other chemicals and should also be checked to ensure your plants receive the nutrients and minerals they need from the water. The temperature of the water should be kept between 68°F and 72°F and can be maintained through the use of a heater or chiller.

Lighting

One of the most important factors when it comes to hydroponic plant growth is light. Grow light for indoor plants is an essential factor in the cultivation of hydroponic plant growth, especially when there is less sunlight available.

Light-emitting diode lamps or LEDs are a preferred method for many growers due to their efficiency and effectiveness and their full spectrum of light which is similar to the rays of the sun.  Lighting can also be adjusted according to the life cycle of your plants.

Growing Medium

The right growing medium is another essential step when it comes to your hydroponic success. Due to the absence of soil in this method plants must be supported in other ways. 

The growing medium must have the right combination of oxygen and moisture allowing for nutrients to be properly absorbed by the roots of the plants. Coco coir and rockwool are some of the popular mediums used by growers as they retain moisture and oxygen well.

Nutrients

Without the presence of soil to nourish your plants, hydroponic plants will require nutrient-based solutions which are specifically designed for growing plants hydroponically.

Hydroponic plants need 17 essential nutrients in order to grow and develop properly, therefore, a good quality nutrient fertilizer will be required.  With a variety of nutrient-rich fertilizers on the market to choose from it is advisable to purchase from a reputable supplier and to ensure the solution is right for the types of plants you are growing and the stage they are at in their life cycle.

These four tips will help to ensure the success of growing your plants hydroponically.

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Greenhouses

Choosing the Right Greenhouses for Your Backyard – Tips to Buy the Best

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A greenhouse is an essential part for gardening enthusiasts. It is ideal for sowing seeds, growing tender plants, germinating tender crops, and taking cuttings.

A wide range of options is available when choosing a greenhouse. The prices depend upon the variety you choose. The cost of a greenhouse may vary from a hundred to thousands of dollars. 

The final choice of greenhouse depends upon your budget and available area. When purchasing a new Greenhouse, you should look for a quality brand that comes with a guarantee, to safeguard you against any manufacturing defects.

It is better to settle on the site first, as it is the prime determinant for the size of a greenhouse you are installing. After finalizing the site, and size, you can proceed with other factors. Decide whether you can lay the greenhouse foundation yourself or need a professional to do it.

Here in this article, we will provide you with some tips that help you choose the best greenhouse option. We also discuss the factors to consider while making a correct choice.

After finalizing the greenhouse, there are some essential kits and accessories that you will need to maintain the greenhouse. Garden sheds are also the options if you opt for outdoor storage over growing space. But choosing a greenhouse is a better prospect.

Factors to Consider When Buying a Greenhouse

1. Size of a Greenhouse

The greenhouse comes in 2 feet increments. The area is measured in width, length, and height. For a limited or smaller site, a 6 feet wide greenhouse is a good option. Although having an 8 feet wide greenhouse enables you to have shelves on both sides. 

A height of 5 feet will allow a sufficient amount of sunlight. Gardening enthusiasts wish to have the biggest one if their budget and area are enough to do so.

Vertical gardening is an excellent idea for a small area. You can have a greenhouse with maximum height even if your site is smaller in size. With an elevated greenhouse, you can opt for vertical gardening.

2. Greenhouse Shape

Traditional shape, Octagonal shape, and Lean-to shape are three primary shapes of a greenhouse. New shapes, like domes, are also in trend. Domes and Octagonal shapes are best for an awkward open area. A lean-to shape gets a benefit of an already existing structure. If a wall of an existing structure faces the south, it will remain warm even at night due to sunlight absorbed in the wall helping the plants to rise faster.

3. Timber or Metal Greenhouse?

Aluminum is economical and low on maintenance. It is available in different colors and comes powder-coated. Timber is attractive but costly and needs regular maintenance. Wooden models are better than metal in maintaining temperature. It requires a brick or timber wall up to half of its height for support. It holds the sunlight heat very well, but you cannot do plantations at ground level.

4. Which Glaze to Choose for a Greenhouse?

Glasses for horticultural use allow maximum sunlight. It is easy to replace if damaged and long-lasting. Comparatively, toughened glasses are more costly. However, it is a better option when kids and heavy traffic surround the place. A toughened glass shatters safely on the damage. Polycarbonate is also an alternative for durability and cost and provides better insulation but allows lesser sunlight through it.

5. Greenhouse Ventilation

Ventilation is necessary for humid and hot weather. A greenhouse measuring 6 x 8 feet in width can have two hinged vents at the roof and also on the walls. An automatic vent opener for a greenhouse is a new technique that is trending nowadays.

Greenhouse ventilation helps in every system of plant growth.

6. Greenhouse Floor

The flooring of a greenhouse is necessary. A level floor is essential for better results. Gravels on sand or hardcore top allow easy drainage. You can make it wet in summer for humid air ventilation. Borders with soil are excellent to sow crop seeds in a greenhouse.

7. Greenhouse for Home Office

To go green at your workplace is like showing responsibility towards the environment. Be careful while installing shelves to your work desk yourself. Your desk should have enough space so that it does not hamper your work. The height of the desk or counter will work well if you sit on a chair or stool. Add a hardtop to your desk to write comfortably making a perfect greenhouse for the home office place.

8. Placing the Greenhouse

Take some precautions while installing a greenhouse at your living place. One of the precautions you must consider is not to install a greenhouse near the swimming pool deck. If a greenhouse already exists, never construct a swimming pool nearby. A greenhouse near a swimming pool has its negative impacts.

9. Greenhouse Alternatives

A polytunnel is a cost-effective alternative to a greenhouse. However, it is a less attractive option. A polytunnel is an alternate way to grow tomatoes in summer and lettuce in winter. It does not hold sunlight like a greenhouse in winters, thus unable to give sufficient protection to tender plants in winter.

A cold frame is helpful to provide a supplement to a greenhouse. It helps take cuttings, shield plants in the worst of winter, and harden off plants. It is used in seeds sowing that requires a cool temperature.

Mini greenhouses are good options for small gardens. They are feasible in growing tomatoes, peppers, and aubergines. Mini greenhouses are effective in small kindergarten schools to teach gardening to students. Gardening by students makes them aware of their responsibility towards the environment.

Guidance Is Necessary

Greenhouse helps grow off-season plants, crops, and vegetables, providing a feasible environment. Never hurry to install a greenhouse. Instead, follow the tips given above to choose from the available options.

With the help of the tips provided in this article, you will surely make the best decision in choosing a greenhouse.

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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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General Gardening

5 Tips for Garden Plumbing

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The plants in your garden require enough water and at the right frequency. If any of this isn’t achieved, the plants in your garden will start to wilt and eventually die. This is the last thing you want as a homeowner who is passionate about playing your part to make the world a greener place to live. Fortunately, an irrigation system helps you accomplish this goal by ensuring that your plants are watered at all times. 

Getting the right irrigation system isn’t straightforward, and you may need help from a plumbing expert. This guide will take you through garden plumbing tips to consider when installing your garden’s irrigation setup. 

1. Be Familiar With Your Area’s Water Regulation 

Before you buy the necessary gardening components from EasyMerchant or hire a plumber, make sure to first familiarize yourself with your locality’s implemented water regulations. You can find this information either by reading over resources explaining in detail your area’s water regulations. This means either personally visiting your state’s offices or checking their website. 

Another option would be consulting with a certified professional who’s well-versed with the local water regulation. You can also research online to find all the relevant information on your area’s water regulation. Doing this gives you the peace of mind to proceed and install a quality irrigation system without worrying about any legal repercussions later in the future. It also saves you from paying more money on plumbers for repair or redo. 

2. Know the Right Components 

It would be best to avoid installing an irrigation system on your own. Otherwise, you might spend more money on this project due to issues that later arise in the future. This usually happens because you aren’t familiar with the proper plumbing equipment required to get the job done.  

3. Inspect the Irrigation System 

You’ll need to regularly examine the irrigation system to make sure that it’s in perfect working condition. During this inspection, you need to pay close attention to the nozzles and valves to confirm they’re working well. Doing this is critical as rocks and soil usually find their way into the valves or nozzles and block the smooth flow of water. As a result, this affects how well your garden gets watered. 

Other changes you need to make are replacing depleted batteries and inspecting the timers to check the dates and time. In addition, you should carefully examine the lines for potential leaks that might prevent your garden from getting adequate water. 

4. Use a Drip Line Emitter 

Water pressure keeps changing from time to time. The best way to address this problem is by using a drip line emitter which ensures that all the plants in your garden are always well-watered regardless of the water pressure. In addition, the drip line emitter prevents damage to your flower bed due to excess water pressure as it controls the flow of water. The water also gets directed straight into the soil, meaning your plants won’t suffer any damage. 

5. Prepare Yourself Financially 

Setting up an irrigation system isn’t cheap, and you don’t want to rush into this project without preparing yourself financially in advance. There are many costs involved during this project, such as buying the necessary components and paying a professional plumber. 

When looking for a plumber, you should take your time and try to find one who charges reasonable prices without compromising on the quality of their services. You also need to carefully examine the components to install in your garden’s irrigation system, as some can considerably stretch your budget.    

Endnote 

For the plants in your garden to thrive, they need a constant water supply. However, this can’t be achieved without a proper irrigation system that ensures your garden is appropriately watered. 

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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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General Gardening

5 Things You Need To Know About Plant Delivery

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The idea of getting plants delivered to your house, and to the houses of other people for that matter, has been around for a while and it has recently started gaining in popularity. There are quite a lot of reasons why people decide to use this specific option instead of visiting their local shops and buying the products there. Among other things, they prefer this option because it is much more convenient since all you have to do is visit plantedpot or a similar place, order your products and wait for them to arrive.

As you can see, the entire process is quite easy, especially for those people that are used to general online shopping. Given that we live in a world that’s driven by technology, I think it’s safe to assume that most of the people reading this are actually quite familiar with the concept of online shopping, so there is no need for me to dwell on explaining that. I also suppose that you can conclude all on your own what the benefits of buying plants this way are.

Yet, even though you might be familiar with the benefits and with the general concept of shopping online, there is no doubt in my mind that you still don’t know everything about the idea of buying plants this way, and that certainly needs to change. If you are wondering how it can change, let me immediately make it clear to you. Basically, the only way to change this is by spending some time learning about this whole notion and getting familiar with everything that it entails.

Well, we are here today to begin the learning process. To put everything as simply and as straightforwardly as possible, I am going to tell you a few things that you absolutely need to know about the concept of online plant shopping and delivery. This way, you will get a much clearer idea about how it all works and about whether you should use these specific services.

Of course, you might also want to learn which mistakes you should avoid when shopping for these products online: https://anaturalcuriosity.org/buying-houseplants-online-mistakes/

1. It Is Quite a Popular Option

While this might not be the most significant thing that you need to know about this concept, it is undeniably still worth mentioning. In short, this option has actually become quite popular in recent years. People are increasingly shifting towards the idea of buying these products online and I am quite sure that you will fall in love with this option too the moment you try it. The popularity of the concept keeps on increasing and things aren’t going to change any time soon, meaning that we could easily expect this to become the primary option of buying plants.

2. The Plants Are Delivered Safely

A lot of people are worried about the idea of getting these plants delivered because they might create all kinds of scenarios in their heads about those products getting damaged during transport. While I can undeniably understand your concern, the truth is that you shouldn’t expect to get damaged products, as those are delivered in a completely safe manner. They are kept protected during the transport and they are bound to arrive to your doorstep intact and in perfect shape. Of course, this will depend on the supplier you choose, but we will get to that a bit later.

3. There Is a Wide Assortment to Choose From

One of the disadvantages of those physical shops lies in the fact that those shops usually don’t have a wide assortment of plants to choose from, and that can be quite disappointing for everyone. Well, this brings us to the next thing you need to know about the concept of buying these products with the help of the Internet. Since you will get to visit quite a lot of different shops with just a few clicks on your smart device, you will easily be able to find a wide assortment of products to choose from. Practically every single shop will be available to you and easily accessible, meaning that you will certainly find both those plants that you are looking for and some new ones that might grab your attention.

4. Not Every Supplier Is the Same

As mentioned previously, the place where you’ll buy your plants will play a huge role in their quality. There are certainly a few detrimental errors you can make when shopping for these products, but not researching the suppliers is probably the worst one. What you need to know is that not every supplier is the same. The quality of their products differs significantly, as well as their delivery methods and a lot of other important factors. Since I’ve mentioned mistakes, you might want to check out what experts have to say about the worst thing you can do when plant shopping.

5. Prices Can Differ Too

Apart from those suppliers differing in the aspects of product quality, reputation, experience, and similar factors, you should also know that the prices of these plants can also vary significantly from one place to another. This is why you should always shop around and do extensive research about certain suppliers and their products before doing any shopping whatsoever. I would advise you to gather as much info as you can about specific suppliers, compare your findings and choose the right shop.

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Growing Tips

Which Rose Is Best for Your Garden?

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If there is a traditional garden flower among the millions of species it must be the rose. Officially ‘Rosa’, they come in an abundance of exciting colors and also in many different types and formations of blooms. Roses are beautiful, whatever type you choose, and many are fragrant too. But are they easy to grow? And what are the different types of roses you can buy for your garden?

In the article that follows we look at what to choose in a rose, where best to plant them for maximum effect, and what you need to do in terms of maintenance. Let’s start by looking at some different types of roses.

What Types of Roses are There?

Roses come in a wide variety of types. For example, there are some roses where the blossoms look like Pentas, which are very popular with US gardeners. These are some of the various types of rose you could put in your garden:

  • English Roses are the most prevalent type and come in a vast array of colours. These are the hardiest form of rose and the original English garden rose.
  • Climbing Roses are often called vines but are not, they are simply roses that like to spread out more than the regular type.
  • Groundcover roses are fast growing shrubs with a less grand flower than other types and are useful for filling spaces.
  • Hybrid tea roses have been developed as garden roses with many large and colourful buds but are often affected by diseases so are avoided by some growers.
  • Rambling roses are another form of climber and a vigorous one. This traditional type of rose is found in formal English gardens.
  • Tea roses are the original form of rose from China that were first brought to the west by explorers. Just about every type of rose arises from this beautiful variety.,
  • Miniature roses are as described and are often grown in pots on patios; hence they are referred to as a patio rose. Very pretty, easy to grow and hardy.

These are a few of the types of roses you can find in your garden and garden stores across the USA, so are they easy to grow? Let’s have a look in more detail about growing roses.

Are Roses Easy to Grow?

In general, roses are easy to grow and many types are in fact surprisingly hardy. However, it’s best to know that roses will struggle in dry soil or ground that is waterlogged, so need to be kept at just the right level of moisture. Furthermore, when planted in the shade they will not flower as abundantly as when in a spot with access to light. Roses love sunlight and will reward you with bloom after bloom during the summer season. Look for colors such as deep reds, bright orange, pinks, and whites and you’ll be able to put together a collection of roses that will be the pride of your neighborhood. Finally, a bit about tending for roses.

Tending for Roses

As we have said most types of roses are beautiful and hardy plants that will grow practically anywhere. You will need to wear gloves when pruning a rose – it should be cut back to encourage growth at the season’s end – as they do feature sharp thorns. Also, cut away dead flowers to bring about replacement blooms throughout the season. Apart from keeping the ground in which the plant grows regularly watered – but not overwatered – that’s just about all the maintenance needed, so check out the roses that take your fancy and give your garden more color.

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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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Pest Control

Different Types of Pest Control Treatments

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Household pests are commonplace across the USA. Whether we’re talking rodents or roaches, ants, and termites, they are everywhere. While some pests are essentially harmless, you still don’t want to share a home with them. That’s why we’re going to be looking at different types of pest control treatments and methods.

If you want to look at an example of a typical pest control company, we believe Majestic Pest Control is a good one. They have some interesting information on their website about how to get rid of many different pests. We’ve put together some information on how to deal with pests and what methods are suitable. We’ll start with something that is often overlooked, and that’s knowing what you are dealing with,

Correct Identification

It is important to know what youre up against when dealing with pests in the home, as each different one presents a separate scenario. Rats and mice, for example, will be caught mainly by bait and traps, while roaches are usually only eradicated by chemical methods.

The first thing a professional pest control expert will do is thoroughly examine your property for signs of pests that identify the species involved. They will then trace back to where the creatures are coming from and how they get into the home. 

In the case of insects, it is vital to destroy the source to prevent further infestations and kill the creatures in the home. Some pests will not be exterminated. Bees, for example, are vital to the ecosystem. A bee’s nest can be dangerous and should not be tackled yourself – the same applies to wasps and hornets – and the expert will remove the nest and the bees to somewhere they can thrive.

So, step one is identification, and the next step is choosing the correct treatment method. 

Organic Pest Control

The three main methods of eradicating pests are organic, chemical, and bait and trap. Many people do not like to use chemical pest control methods – more on them in a moment – and indeed, many commercial pesticides that have been removed from the market are now illegal to use. If you have any old pesticides in your shed or garage, please check if they are among the banned substances and ensure they are disposed of safely and correctly.

What do we mean by organic pest control? It’s an umbrella term that applies to any non-chemical – or safe chemical – pest control method. For example, Sodium fluoroacetate is a poisonous substance to many household pests and is regularly used in baits for rodents, roaches, and more. It is considered safe as it is biodegradable and causes no harm. Other organic methods include insecticide soaps, safe oil sprays, and even nematode worms targeting pests. Talk to your local pest control experts for more information on organic methods. 

Chemical Pest Control

Chemical pesticides – as we have already mentioned – are the last resort. Many have been banned as the residue they leave behind finds its way into the watercourse and the ground. This is dangerous not just to us but to animals and plants. However, your pest control experts will be licensed to use certain chemicals, for example, when getting rid of roaches and other problematic insects.

Pest Control Exterminator Man Spraying Termite Pesticide In Office

These methods use sprays, bombs, and other devices to eliminate even the most troublesome pests. As they know how to use these products correctly and safely, they will leave your home clean of chemicals and pests. The experts will advise you on how long you, your family, and your pets will need to remain off the premises while the work is carried out and ensure that the home is safe to return to before you do.

If you have an infestation of roaches, ants, or other insects, this may be the only treatment that works. On no account, dig out those old pesticides mentioned earlier as they will be dangerous, and don’t try using chemical methods yourself. Always talk to the experts and remain on the safe side. 

Baits and Traps

Baits and traps are not just used for mice and rats – and other rodents – but can also be successful for insect pests. Roaches may be caught in a trap and are easily attracted by the right bait. The same applies to ants and termites, each of which can be drawn out from their hiding place by a carefully considered bait.

The knowledge that comes with the services of an expert in pest control cannot be overestimated here. They will carry out their home assessment and know precisely where to place the bait and trap and what bait to use. This method has a high rate of success. The expert will revisit your home regularly to collect the dead pests and monitor progress, and eventually, no more will be caught – they’ve been eradicated.

Preventative Pest Control

A professional will also be able to assess your house for preventative measures. Some of these are simple. For example, ensuring all food in the house is kept in airtight containers, and none is left out on the side for roaches and mice to enjoy. Also, look for leaking water pipes and other sources of moisture that insects tend to enjoy.

Then there’s proofing all entrances – including doors, windows, and air bricks – and filling in cracks and holes in masonry. You will be surprised how small a gap a mouse can squeeze through. There are many preventative measures you can take, and while none are a guarantee, each will help to an extent. 

Conclusion

There is a strong likelihood you will experience an infestation of household pests at some point during your life. We recommend an immediate call to your local pest control experts as the best course of action. If you think you have a pest problem, get in touch now and have them assess your home for immediate treatment.

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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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Greenhouses

How to Clean Your Greenhouse This Summer in 8 Easy Steps

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1. Make Sure Your Greenhouse Is in Good Working Order

Take a good look around your greenhouse. Remove everything that isn’t appropriate so you can start over. Look for broken pieces of plastic, glass, or wood, make any necessary structural changes, and check for leaks in the irrigation system. If your home becomes flooded during the winter, you’ll want to repair it without delay. Also, keep an eye out for any bug hiding spots (keep reading to learn more).

2. Sweep Your Greenhouse’s Interior and Exterior

Remove any dead plants, pots, tools, and other abandoned items from the greenhouse. For the garden, fill a bucket halfway with hot water, some soap, and disinfectant (they’re available at any home improvement store or even regular supermarkets). Use a clean cloth to clean and sanitize the outer surface of plants and pots. Do not forget to sweep and clean the floor.

When you’re ready to plant, clean out any unused jars or pots you have. Clean the outside of your greenhouse with a high-quality pressure washer. Then double-check to see if there are any leaks.

3. Pay Attention to Seasonality

March is an ideal time to plant the seeds for those plants that need a little more time to mature before harvest. Begonias, geraniums or even peppers, and eggplant are just a few examples of plants that like to begin growing early. Check the online resources to find a convenient and comprehensive schedule of how to make sure your gardening tasks are season-appropriate.

4. Conduct a Pest-Prevention Sweep

The cold, contrary to common opinion, does not solve your insect issues. Snails, critters, and other tiny animals hibernate in previous year’s leftover pots and crevices, as well as in the crowns of plants. The vine weevil has larvae that like digging through compost heaps for plant roots to eat. To cleanse your greenhouse against annoying vine weevils, weed out any you discover and apply the anti-parasitic chemical liquid. This is another reason to make sure your deep cleaning is comprehensive and thorough before the new season starts.

5. Make Sure the Beds, Gates, and Trellis Are in Good Working Order

Well before sweltering heat sets in, get the hard lifting done. It’s important to repair any structures or equipment that have fallen into disuse now, so once the warm weather arrives, it’ll be all about the garden. Another excellent idea is to put a wood preservative on any wood material in your greenhouse during extended periods of dryness.

Photo credits to www.pexels.com

6. Keep Your Gardening Equipment Clean and Sharp

If it wasn’t obvious before, cleaning everything that will come into touch with or be in proximity to your greenery is critical. Dirty tools may spread illness and introduce germs and fungus to newly pruned plant markings. Keeping your tools sharp can also help you save time and money in the long run. If they are sharp, they will function better. They’ll also be more convenient to deal with and provide cleaner and more precise cuts.

7. Prepare Your Compost Pile

It’s time to create a compost pile in your yard if you don’t already have one. It doesn’t matter whether you buy a prepared compost container or construct your own out of scrap wood. This achieves two objectives: You now have a place to store your garden trash, and your crops will appreciate the fertilizer full of nutrients, that is produced as it decomposes! Green clippings, vegetable and fruit peelings, wood chips, and even shells may all be used to make the ideal mix. To keep your compost fresh, turn it in once a month with a garden shovel or fork to keep it fresh and oxygenated.

8. Check to See Whether the Ventilation Is Enough

Inadequate airflow in the greenhouse is a common cause of fungal infections. Make sure that your greenhouse has adequate apertures and that they are properly positioned to allow for optimum air circulation to prevent a catastrophic infection for your plants. This should ideally include two vents on opposing sides of your greenhouse, as well as two vents on the roof. Investing in a fully automated vent-opener is one option. This may preserve your whole crop if temps increase and the greenhouse becomes hot. If you fail to open those vents for whatever reason, the automated vent guarantees that warm air escapes, avoiding the withering of plants.

The preceding are only a few things to think about before the official season begins. How long does it take you to get your greenhouse ready for the season? Share your ideas with us so that others may benefit from a beautifully prepared garden.

Photo credits to www.pexels.com
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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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Home Care & Living

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

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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General Gardening

Garden Remodeling Ideas On a Budget: The Ultimate Guide

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A garden remodeling project can be expensive, but you can get the best out of it for less with proper planning. This will help you come up with estimates for your budget. You may also seek professional help if you require it. Here are a few garden remodeling ideas you can execute on a budget.

1. Add flowers

Flowers are an affordable and easy way to remodel your garden. You can plant ready-bought bedding plants, seeds, or bulbs. Choose beautiful, low-maintenance flowers you can easily take care of. For your flower garden to succeed, collect samples of your garden soil and have it tested to determine if it has the proper nutrients. If your garden soil doesn’t meet the relevant nutrient requirement, check out this company for enriched topsoil mixes. Find out what flowers will thrive in your soil type and know your frost cycle to ensure your garden survives all seasons. 

2. Grow some produce

Vegetables, fruits, and herbs are an excellent addition to a garden remodel. It’s cost-effective and doable even with the smallest amount of space. You can use pots to grow tomatoes, courgettes, salad leaves, basil, or coriander plants.

3. Invest in outdoor furniture

Depending on the available space and the theme you want to bring out, consider buying garden furniture. Go for quality furniture designed for the outdoors and ensure it’s easy to care for. This will not only create a relaxing space for your family, but also upgrade your garden.

4. Build a fire fit

A fire pit is an excellent fit for your garden if you want to create a cozy and comfortable environment for your dear ones. It’s ideal for the evenings when family members are relaxing and catching up. When building a fire pit, consider its size and location and go for a comfortable height.

You may also consider incorporating a built-in seating area while taking advantage of the surrounding views. You can buy a fire pit from a local store, get a custom-made one, or seek the help of a landscape professional with experience in fire pits.

5. Consider wall garden plants

Adding plants to your garden wall is a great way to beautify your outdoor space. When choosing plants for your garden wall, ensure they won’t grow past the wall and that they can do well facing a particular direction. Check the soil to ensure it isn’t thin and dry. Select plants ideal for walls and vertical spaces such as roses, fruit vines and trees, flowering vines, climbing vines, and shady climbing plants.

6. Maintain your lawn

Maintaining a healthy, green lawn requires regular mowing and watering. If your lawn lacks lustre, consider using lawn seeds or grass food for an easy and quick lift. Rake your lawn to identify any bare patches that need your attention then gently fork over the patches and add compost or top soil. Scatter the seeds, sprinkle compost over them, and sparingly water them.

Endnote

Garden remodeling can be done on a budget and still boost aesthetics. Consider using these tips for your next garden renovation project. Additionally, find ways to protect your garden and keep it healthy.

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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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Home Care & Living

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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General Gardening

Essential Spring Gardening Tips

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When spring is around the corner, it’s time to step up and do your chores! Going back to your garden after a long, cold winter might seem a bit overwhelming, but you could also see it as a relief. The air might still be chilly, but there are lots of things you can start doing little by little to get your garden ready for warmer weather.

The beginning of spring is a great time to assess your garden’s state – leftover effects of winter, condition of your tools, landscape, lawn, pruning plans, flower beds, soil feeding, and new ideas for planting. Your garden will certainly need help to get back in shape, so it’s best to have a plan for how to make it all happen. This is also an ideal time to install a deer fence to keep those winter starved deer from invading your garden. Here are several essential spring gardening tips that you might find helpful.

Inspect your yard

The first step would be to inspect your yard and assess the trees. Decide which tree limbs need to be removed or supported, particularly those that overhang structures. You can also enlist the help of an arborist to tackle larger trees.

The next step is to assess the mid-level. You should cut down and clear out last year’s perennial foliage, and add it to your compost pile. Then, move to the ground level and rake out all the mulch from beds planted with bulbs before foliage starts growing. Also, mulch in other planting areas should be refreshed after the soil warms. Finally, inspect all your hardscaped areas –check your steps, pathways, and fences for any necessary repair.

Tune-up your tools

You have probably stored your essential gardening tools properly before the onset of winter, but just in case, give them some attention to make sure all is functioning when the time comes for garden work. Pruning tools might need sharpening and wooden handles can benefit from a good clean and another layer of linseed oil. Also, if anything is missing or broken, you have time to buy new tools for the season.

Prune shrubs

While the shrubs are still in their winter sleep, it’s perfect timing to do some clearing up – remove dead, damaged, and diseased branches. With the exception of once-bloomers, you should thin and you’re your roses and summer-blooming shrubs such as hydrangea and butterfly bush. Cold-damaged wood should be pruned after plants start growing in the spring and those shrubs and trees that bloom in the spring should be pruned after flowering.

Refresh the lawn

If you have a lawn, spring is the right time to give it some TLC. Have your mower and leaf blower serviced and sharpened. Refill your mower with oil, replace old spark plugs, and lubricate all the moving parts. Clear the winter debris off your lawn and check out if there are any areas that might need reseeding before you start mowing.

Address the gaps

If you see there are empty or bare spots in your garden, choose new plants that could fill up those spaces. You could opt for perennials, trees, or shrubs. Nurseries are generally quite helpful when it comes to ordering whatever variety you want even if they currently don’t have it in stock.

Prepare new beds

If you feel like creating a new planting bed where there was none before, this is a perfect time. Start by digging the soil, adding oxygen, and relieving compaction. The next step is to add compost to kick-start the development of nutrient-rich soil. As soon as the soil can be worked on, clear the planting area from debris, weeds and sod spread the amendment of your choice, and cultivate it 10 to 12 inches deep. Then, rake it well and smooth before you start planting.

Plant new flowers and shrubs

Once you’ve done all this preparatory work in your garden, you can finally being to add some new plants. When it comes to choosing what to plant come springtime, it’s best you first check with what grows well in your climate. Different zones are suitable for different plants, so picking the right plants will mean much less hassle and worry later on.

The general advice is to pick more perennials rather than annuals since annuals have to be replanted every year. This means investing in plants that will die every year and need replacement the next.

Fertilize

As your garden begins to wake up from the winter slumber, it’ll appreciate some fuel. Choose a balanced fertilizer or fish emulsion to spread around trees and shrubs once the new growth starts appearing. Also, fertilize perennials when they start actively growing. You can also use high-acid fertilizer and pine-needle mulch around shrubs like blueberries, azaleas, camellias, or citrus.

Add mulch

In addition to fertilizers and compost, consider adding mulch to flower beds. A couple of inches of mulch can help prevent weeds and diseases. It also locks in the moisture in the garden and maintains the optimal temperature.

Put up supports

If you’ve taken down your trellises and stored them safely into the shed for winter, early spring is a perfect time to put them back up in the garden. Make sure their structure is still solid and apply a fresh coat of paint if necessary. If you grow peonies, or any other perennials that need support, set them out and when they start to grow, gently wrap their stems to help them grow up. This is easier done now than when the leaves start unfurling.

Start a compost pile

This is also a perfect time to start your compost pile – begin by collecting plant debris and all the leaves you have previously raked up. Combine equal amounts of brown and green materials – dried leaves and straw and grass clippings and weeds. There are different ways you can take to forming your compost pile so pick the one that most suits your preferences and possibilities.

Be prepared for the weather

If you live in an area where there are late spring frosts and freezes, be ready to cover up plants. The tender emerging buds or foliage need protection if freezing temps have been predicted. However, if the buds haven’t started opening yet, you don’t need to cover them.

Old sheets and towels are a good option to use but you can also get professional row covers. One thing you shouldn’t do is to cover tender plants with a tarp or plastic sheeting. This will only amplify the cold’s effect, rather than reduce it.

With these tips, your spring won’t be a hectic time any longer! On the contrary, it’ll become a productive period and as it slowly turns into summer, you’ll be pleasantly surprised how all the good work you have done has paid off!

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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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General Gardening

How to Create an Eco-Friendly Garden

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One would think that conventional gardening is inherently eco-friendly, after all, it’s just working with soil and plants, isn’t it? What’s there to improve? Should the grass be greener? Should the flowers that we tend to so carefully grow higher or attract more buzzing bees?

Well, let’s just say that while certain things might seem to be already perfect, there’s always something that can be improved. You’ve probably already heard about being more environmentally conscious, but what does it mean in practice? Here are 5 sustainable gardening ideas you can consider when trying to help the planet and make the local wildlife love you!

Learn a Safe Way of Dealing With Uninvited Visitors

Whether just a beginner or a pro, at some point, every gardener has to deal with the type of guests who don’t call before paying you a visit. They just show up in your prettiest begonias, and while most of the time their presence is just slightly annoying, they can also cause some serious damage. What’s a safe solution to the problem, then?

If it’s a deer that’s wreaking havoc in your garden, try planting plants with fuzzy and fragrant leaves like verbena or boxwood. The strong scent should keep them away. Got some rabbits? Hot peppers, spicy basil, mint, and garlic is the way to go. Protecting individual plants with physical barriers like picket fences or chicken wire should also do the trick. And, just so you know, gophers hate daffodils, while squirrels will leave you (and your plants!) alone if you provide them with some free nuts or maybe a few extra tomatoes from time to time.

If you think that all of this sounds great, but your main problem is that you have no space for a garden, you might want to check Sea Pines Real Estate website and see whether anything catches your eye.

Know Your Allies (And Your Enemies)

While it doesn’t quite mean being at war with your own garden, learning which plants enjoy growing next to each other could work to your advantage. Just like people can have their likes and dislikes when it comes to who they associate with, plants also enjoy some of their neighbors’ companionship more than the others. Let’s see some examples:

  • Corn will enjoy growing next to cucumbers, squash, peas, beans, and pumpkins, but it doesn’t do well next to the tomatoes.

And on a more positive note:

  • Tomatoes should go next to basil because it actually makes them taste better.
  • Bright and fragrant nasturtiums help protect the courgettes from aphid attacks.

Balance the Landscaping

While planning which materials to use while arranging the most beautiful garden, remember to be mindful. Try to resist the urge to go straight to your local home improvement and gardening retailer. Instead, use what you already have. Got some wood pieces laying around that would look great if sanded and stained a natural color? There goes your own flowerbed! Rather than replace that old garden furniture that had seen some better days, opt for a new layer of paint and maybe do some repairs. Why buy new, when you can use what you already have. And save some money on the way!

Appreciate What’s Already There

Don’t be shy – celebrate the native plants. Instead of going grey while trying to figure out how to grow those stubborn exotic seeds you got online, look around and let into your garden more native plants. While some of them might not look as impressive as, let’s say, a sequoia tree growing in the middle of the lawn, they’re much easier to sustain because they’re already used to the climate, soil, and even the rainfall in your region.

If you tend to feel just a tad bit lazy from time to time, you’ll be happy to hear that they also require much less effort than rare flowers or exotic plants. If you’re not sure where to start, try asking your local gardening experts for some tips.

Be More Efficient With Water

Now, if you really want to call yourself eco-friendly, don’t you dare to waste that precious rainwater. Get yourself a nice-looking big barrel and start collecting. Do you have a tendency to over-water? There’s an easy solution — remember to always turn off your sprinkler system when it rains and try to water your garden in the morning; this way, less water is going to evaporate from your precious plants.

If you have the opposite problem and live in a dry place, look up some drought-tolerant plants. And no, succulents aren’t the only ones! Herbs like rosemary and lavender, shrubs like lilac and forsythia ensure beautiful colors, even better smells, and they don’t require that much water!

Conclusion

Becoming more environmentally conscious doesn’t have to mean a complete revolution in your garden. So don’t feel pressured to flip everything upside-down in one day. Start by taking one small step after the other and improve your space in ways that feel most natural to you. Whether you introduce the changes in one month or one year, the rush is not necessary. Just like anything in life, creating an eco-friendly garden is a learning process and there are no gardening mistakes, only experiments along the way to becoming more mindful of the world around us and the ways that we can give back to it.

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Home Care & Living

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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Home Care & Living

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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Home Care & Living

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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Home Care & Living

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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Home Care & Living

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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Home Care & Living

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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Home Care & Living

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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Pest Control

Guarding Eden: Protecting Your Garden from Pests and Disease

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Gardening is good for your health. Studies show that gardening provides health benefits by increasing exposure to Vitamin D, providing aerobic exercise, and improving one’s mood. Spending time in green surroundings even helps combat loneliness and dementia.

Since your garden improves your health every time you visit it, shouldn’t you do your best to enhance your garden’s health in return? Just like humans, gardens need special care and attention to thrive and avoid destructive diseases and invaders. With a bit of planning and effort, you can keep your garden pest- and disease-free and repay it for all the benefits it provides.

Eliminating Pests

Numerous species of insects and small animals can cause irreparable damage in a garden. These pests can ruin all of your hard work and drastically reduce your harvest. While it is impossible to keep all pests out of your plot, there are specific actions you can take to protect your garden without resorting to harmful chemicals.

For instance, slugs and snails are common garden infiltrators. Because they are nocturnal, it’s challenging to find and remove them during the day, when you most likely perform most of your gardening. These pests will feed on your crops and leave dozens of eggs, perpetuating the problem indefinitely.  

To eliminate slugs and snails, place small containers of beer around your garden. The mollusks will be attracted to the yeast in the beer. When they attempt to drink the beverage, however, they will fall into the container and drown.

Preventing Disease

Keeping your garden clean is the first step in disease prevention. Regularly remove all plant debris from your garden, as it can serve as a breeding ground for plant disease and pests. You should also clean and disinfect all of your gardening tools and paraphernalia regularly, including gloves.

For trees, it is essential to avoid injuring the tree or its roots when caring for your lawn. A cut on the body of a tree is similar to a wound on human skin. Infection can seep in through these abrasions. However, in the worst-case scenario, tree removal due to disease might be necessary as leaving a dying tree in place is a threat to nearby trees. It can even endanger your house and loved ones since dying trees often fall. It’s not a task that comes easily, especially if it’s a tree that’s been around for generations, but if it cannot be saved, it’s better to remove it. 

Dealing with Sick Plants

No matter how often you clean and disinfect your garden and tools, some of your plants may fall ill at some point. The first step in dealing with a sick plant or tree is identifying its symptoms: discoloration, wilting, and defoliation can all be signs of an ill plant. Several online tools can help you determine what kind of disease your plant is suffering. 

If possible, find an organic remedy for the disease with which your plant is struggling. Unfortunately, not every plant can be nursed back to health. If a plant is slow to respond to treatment, it might be best to remove it before the disease spreads to other nearby plants. 

While pests and diseases are an inevitable aspect of gardening, you can reduce these factors. Organic products can be used to repel pests. Keeping a clean and disinfected garden can help reduce the chances of infestation or disease. When a plant or tree succumbs to disease despite your best efforts, removing it can help protect the surrounding plants.

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Home Care & Living

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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Home Care & Living

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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General Gardening

Organize and Store Your Seeds Right to Keep Them in Perfect Condition

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If you are a keen grower, your seeds represent the engine room of your horticultural operations. If seeds are not properly stored and organized, you can’t expect to grow healthy and vibrant plants. Effective seed management and storage practices are about more than just keeping your garden shed tidy and organized. They are intrinsic to the ultimate success or failure of your crop.   

Storage Basics 

The beauty of seeds is that you can hang on to them for a long time before planting and they will not deteriorate in quality. But that only holds true if you store them correctly. There are some fundamental things that apply across the board, whether you have carrot seeds for your vegetable garden or you want to try cultivating feminized cannabis seeds in one of the states where that has been legalized. Practically all seeds like to be stored in dark, dry, and cool conditions. Yet most gardeners keep them in little sealable plastic bags, or perhaps in half-open envelopes. Stored like this, they will be OK if used within a few months, but don’t expect them to remain at their best for much longer.  

Moisture Control 

Keeping seeds away from moisture is the most important consideration and the easiest way for things to go wrong. People often elect to keep seeds in a basement, and that typically meets two out of the three requirements, being dark and cool. But basements are often damp, too. There are a few tricks for keeping seeds dry. Those little packs of silica are, of course, made for the job, while you can fashion a home-made alternative using cat litter. The ideal solution, though, is to store your seeds in small metal tins with tight lids. As well as keeping the moisture at bay, it also guarantees they stay in the dark till you need them. 

How Cool Is Cool?

Ideally, seeds should be kept at a temperature below 40°F (5°C), so the exact storage strategy will depend to a large extent on where you live. If you have the luxury of that cool, dark basement we were talking about, then that’s your problem solved. For many of us, however, the only way to maintain an ambient temperature that low is by placing your seeds in the fridge. If you don’t want them in the kitchen, you could always buy a beer-cooler-style fridge especially for them and keep it in your shed.  

You’ve Got to Have a System

With the environmental conditions worked out, the last step is to work out a system so that you know what you’ve got and can immediately lay your hands on the seeds you need. It’s an extreme illustration, but remember our example from earlier. You really wouldn’t want to find you’d got your carrot seeds and cannabis seeds mixed up. There are so many options open to you here. If you are just storing the seeds in paper, an old-fashioned photo album is highly effective. Alternatively, a jewelry box, tackle box, or pill organizer will all do the job.

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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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Image by ljlabarthe from Pixabay

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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General Gardening

4 Tips For Optimal Tree Maintenance

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In tough times, many Americans are relying on their gardens to get them through, with The New York Times recently publishing the headline, Food Supply Anxiety Brings Back Victory Gardens. In times of need and plenty alike, few things are quite as gratifying as having a large garden with trees that provide shade and food. Common trees you may have in your yard include American hollies, red oaks, silver maples, sugar maples and Eastern redbuds. Popular fruit trees, meanwhile, include honeycrisp apple, Lapins cherry, Harken peach, Warren pear, and Santa Rosa plum trees. If you want to ensure that the trees in your garden last a lifetime, resisting common problems and pests, the following tips may be useful.

Getting Your Watering Schedule Right

Trees have very specific needs when it comes to watering. For instance, newly planted trees require frequent watering, with experts recommending daily watering for up to two weeks after planting, tapering to every two or three days for the next three months or so, and culminating in just once a week of watering after the roots have stabilized. This is only a general rule, though, since watering frequency will depend on everything from the type of tree to the climate in the zone you are living in. One general tip to test for the need to water is to take an eight-inch or longer screwdriver and stab it into the soil. If it doesn’t slide into the soil further than around six inches, it is a good sign your tree needs more water.

Choosing The Right Fertilizer

Fertilizer is a vital way to ensure your beautiful trees receive an optimal cocktail of nutrients, but choosing a quality product is key. Avoid those containing high levels of nitrogen as well as weed-and-feed fertilizers, since they can damage roots. Seeking advice on the best products for your specific trees is important, to ensure you aren’t doing more harm than good through your product choice. Aim to fertilize your trees every two or three years in the autumn or winter season. Make sure you reach the totality of the root area, applying product to any turf surrounding your tree as well. Be aware that some trees require less fertilization than others; for instance, applying too much fertilizer to pine trees, causes ‘leaf scorch’ and an unattractive, gapped appearance between leaf whorls on branches.

Keeping An Eye Out For Pests And Disease

When pruning your tree to remove broken branches, watch out for signs of disease and pest infestation. Signs are usually visible on the leaves, bark, branches and twigs. These signs can include leaf discoloration, thinning foliage, poor branch growth, holes and frass on the trunk, and roots that lift upwards. Sometimes, pests such as carpenter ants are present. While these insects don’t necessarily destroy the tree itself (since they feed on parts of the tree that are already rotten, injured or dying), they should be given due importance. Carpenter ants in trees should be eliminated quickly, since they can damage nearby structures, tunneling and chewing through wood to create nests. Other common pests include gypsy moths (which eat hardwood tree leaves), the Western tent caterpillar (which attacks aspen, fruit trees, poplar and willows, as well as other trees), and wood borers (which attack the bark of ash trees). It is a good idea to have a yearly inspection by a trusted professional to spot such problems before they cause severe damage to your tree or other parts of your property.

Applying Mulch

Mulch is a great ally for any tree to have, since it insulates roots, helps them stay hydrated, and protects them against wear and tear. To ensure your tree benefits optimally from mulch, remove any turf beneath your tree and apply around four inches of mulch, keeping the tree base clear. There are many different types of mulch to choose from – including wood chips, grass clippings, and hay. Whichever you choose, aim to go organic, since these materials decompose, improving the quality and fertility of soil.

Trees are a boon to many families currently undergoing tough times and seeking to literally ‘live off the land’. If you have a yard with fruit trees or you simply enjoy gathering with others beneath the shade of your favorite tree, remember to water, fertilize, apply mulch, prune, and check for pests. Most importantly, schedule an appointment with an ISA-certified arborist, who can alert you to any potential problems early, so you can take the steps you need to save your trees.

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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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Greenhouses

4 Reasons Everyone Should Have a Greenhouse

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2020’s COVID-19 pandemic forced people to retreat into their homes under government-imposed lockdown orders. While this was a major inconvenience, it also provided a great opportunity for us to focus on home improvements. Spending more time in our homes provided the much-needed motivation for some people to kick-start those projects they’d been putting off for years. For many people, their outdoor spaces became a tranquil retreat. With limited opportunity to get outdoors, we began to appreciate our small outdoor spaces and gardens in a greater capacity.

As lockdown measures ease in some places, many of us will continue to invest in these outdoor spaces. Installing a greenhouse is one such project. While it may seem like quite an intense job, there are lots of greenhouse kits available, which means it’s highly likely that you’ll find something suitable for your space. If a greenhouse is something you are pondering, these are some of the best greenhouse kits on the market currently.

You Can Grow Your Own Vegetables 

Having a greenhouse enables you to have access to quality, fresh vegetables all year round. Being able to have your own herbs during the winter is very satisfying. While hardier vegetables such as cabbage and brussel sprouts can grow well under tough wintery conditions, this isn’t the case for more delicate vegetables such as lettuce. The year-round growing conditions provided by your greenhouse will allow you to grow more fresh produce than a regular vegetable patch would. Furthermore, by growing your own organic produce, you can be secure in the knowledge that your veggies haven’t been sprayed with chemical pesticides making these considerably better quality than you’d find at your local supermarket.

A Greenhouse Can Be Great for Your Mental Health

Focusing your attention on gardening and being outdoors is known to be good for your mental health. Taking some time out in natural settings can provide relief from mental fatigue by slowing down the heart rate, reducing blood pressure and generally making people feel less anxious. Building your own little indoor nature sanctuary by starting a greenhouse project and watching your hard work reap the rewards will also offer you a huge sense of satisfaction. 

It’s Great for the Environment

Not only is gardening known for being great in terms of a person’s mental health, but it also has a positive effect on the environment. Homegrown fruit and vegetables tend to be pesticide-free. Having access to fresh produce right on your doorstep will save you a few drives to the supermarket. Furthermore, avoiding the supermarket will mean you won’t need all those plastic or paper bags, which will limit unnecessary waste. 

It Can Add Value to Your Property

Adding a functional element like a greenhouse adds value to your property. Landscaping your garden serves to make the property more appealing to potential buyers and a greenhouse takes things to another level by providing the perfect place to incubate new plants and more delicate seedlings. In turn, this allows you to upgrade your landscape garden for a much lower cost than purchasing these. 

It’s evident that there are plenty of good reasons to make the addition of a greenhouse your next big investment when it comes to improving your outdoor space. Not only can it be a thing of beauty, but a greenhouse is also very functional. While the decreasing size of gardens can make adding a traditional greenhouse a bit of a challenge, greenhouse kits are now being made available in smaller sizes, too.

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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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Greenhouses

How to Build a Garden House Without Breaking Your Bank?

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The year 2020 has brought many changes to our lives.

From making masks, gloves, and sanitizers everyday essentials to changing the way we live, socialize and work.

Out of the most changes that happened, changes to our work lives is the most important one.

Companies that enforced 8-5 office working earlier are now promoting work-from-home culture.

A 9-month long work-from-home study conducted by Stanford reported that employee performance rose by 13 percent in comparison to office working, thus giving about an extra day worth of work output in a week.

Moreover, quit-rates for employees dropped by 50 percent!

However, everything isn’t sunshine when it comes to remote working.

Working from home can quickly get boring if there is no dedicated space or equipment.

Most people prefer setting up office space at home.

But, why do you have to follow the typical route?

Why don’t you try to create a unique office space that makes you feel at ease and concentrate?

If you’re looking to build such a space in your home, then building a garden house is the best option.

Nowadays, people are really interested in searching for ways to build garden rooms on their property. A simple online search like https://gardenofficerooms.co.uk/ will give you plenty of options to guide you in building a garden room just outside your home.

What is a Garden Room?

A garden room is a construction that is usually built using wood and is double-glazed and completely insulated.

You can attach a garden room as an extension to your house. However, most people prefer to build it as a standalone construction.

The best part is that you can tailor-create a garden room to fit as an office, studio, home gym, etc.

Why Are Garden Rooms Becoming Popular?

So, what makes garden rooms a better alternative to the typical home office space?

Below are some of the main reasons.

  • No Special Permission Requirements: Special planning permissions are required when considering loft conversions or extensions to your house. In the case of building a garden room, permission from authorities is seldom required.

    However, there are several restrictions to build a garden room without permission. For instance, the maximum height cannot exceed 2.5m, the garden room should not be located on the main front wall, etc.
  • Cheaper to Build: As there are no permissions or paperwork requirements in most cases, you can build a garden room on a quite cheap budget, in comparison to home extensions.

    There are no much groundwork requirements, which further decreases the funding you need to create a garden room.
  • Multi-Functional Space: A garden room need not just be your office space. As mentioned above, the garden room can be your home gym, hangout place, or just a place where you can relax and feel at ease without going elsewhere.

How to Build a Cost-Effective Garden Room?

In these times of uncertainty, spending money on unessential home construction is the last thing you want.

However, there are ways by which you can save up quite a lot of money while building a garden room.

Below are some of the ways to build a cost-effective garden room in 2020.

  • Install Ready-Made Garden Rooms: There are several ready-made garden rooms that you can purchase and install within your home space without any construction required.

    If you choose to complete the installation yourself, then you can additionally save on costs which otherwise would be spent on hiring professionals.
  • Hire a Professional Company: There are companies that provide designs to build a garden room.

    As these professional companies deal with lots of clients, they can easily provide you with a garden room design that matches your property and home.
  • Follow Guidelines: As discussed above, most garden rooms require no special permissions. No permission requirement means cheaper costs.

    So, make sure to follow all the local guidelines in place while setting up / building a garden room to ensure that you do not have to spend any money on obtaining permissions.

Final Words

We hope you found this article on building a cost-effective garden room helpful and informative.

In case you have already built a garden room, do leave your suggestions and experiences as comments below to help others out.   

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General Gardening

Unique Gadgets Every Gardener Should Have

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Every experienced gardener knows that they must have the necessary gadgets to help them in their hobby. If you have a parent who loves gardening, you may realize that they may have everything they need when it comes to pots, fungicide, and other needs for their plants. Still, there are likely to be some gadgets that are missing from their arsenal. Here are a few that you should consider: 

Thermal Weeder

Weeds are a gardener’s worst enemy. A considerable part of maintaining their garden is often spent on weeding. Those who want to make sure that they can spend their time potting and repotting their plants should make sure they have a thermal weeder. This gadget helps to blast away weeds with a temperature that can reach up to 600 degrees Celsius. Even deep-rooted weeds are easily killed within minutes. Since it utilizes temperature, there’s no need to use dangerous chemicals that can harm their plants. 

Rolling Composter

Serious gardeners know how important it is to have their own compost pile at home. These compost piles can grow into compost heaps that will usually take several months of turning. Not only is this time-consuming, but it is also back-breaking. Having a rolling composter can get this job done within weeks. All you have to do is to place all your waste ingredients into the composter and roll it, cutting down on any back-breaking hours spent on your compost mounds. 

Digital Soil Tester

Gardeners need to check the quality of their soil before planting anything always. Often, these gardeners will use an old-fashioned kit. Since soil quality will usually change, it can be a time-consuming activity. With a digital soil tester, it will be easier to check for soil quality with a simple touch of the button. The great thing about this tester is that it can also help them test their garden whenever they like. 

Tool Sharpener

Most gardeners will have tools for pruning, hoeing, cutting, grafting, and even trimming, but most of them will never think about buying a sharpener, a special piece of gear that can help them sharpen a multitude of their tools. So if you have the same issue, you should consider having a multi-tool sharpener. 

Mobile Potting Bench

A gardener will spend a lot of time potting and repotting their plants. When plants need to propagate, gardeners will need to put their little plant babies into their own little pots. To make the process as organized as possible, it needs to be done on an organized work station. For many gardeners, their potting areas often end up cluttered. One way to prevent this is to have a mobile potting bench that you can easily take around your garden. 

Herb Aero Garden

If you are a gardener, you probably spend most of your time outdoors, perhaps even in extreme weather. If you want to be able to continue gardening while indoors, you should buy yourself an herb aero garden. It is a great alternative if your indoors do not have the appropriate lighting to accommodate most of your plants.

When you think of a gift for your parents, you always have to think about their hobbies. If they are avid gardeners and love to play with soil and plant many different species, gifting them with these gardening gadgets will surely be a hit.

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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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Greenhouses

How Temperature Control Helps Your Greenhouse Plants

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 Photo by www.zanda. photography on Unsplash

If you’re an enthusiastic gardener, it’s amazing how you lose track of time while tending to your garden, right? It’s such a satisfying feeling seeing your plants blossom and grow. But did you know you can do even more for your plants when controlling the temperatures in your greenhouse?

Identify Your Specific Greenhouse Needs

Not all greenhouses are identical. Each greenhouse has a unique design and structure. If you’re a greenhouse manager, your first task is to ascertain the cooling and heating systems required for your specific greenhouse. If you’re simply an enthusiast that turned your backyard shack into a greenhouse, the same applies.

Testing different cooling solutions is essential for your specific greenhouse to ensure you achieve the ideal temperature for optimal growth. Look at it as a trial and error exercise.

 

Do It On A Budget

You don’t have to go to the extreme with expensive chillers and heating systems to get your greenhouse functioning efficiently. Keep it simple with low-cost cooling methods such as shade cloths and circulating fans.

Using Shade Cloths

Something as simple and inexpensive as a shade cloth or curtain can lower the temperature inside the greenhouse significantly. Use a smart cooling method for effective temperature control. The only drawback of using shade cloths is you’ll have to consider light will be blocked out. Some plants in the greenhouse need light, so be careful of how much of this method you implement.

Ventilation Is Key

Accuserv air conditioning and repair services know all too well the benefits of ventilation; the same is true for greenhouse managers and owners. They know there are several ways to ventilate a greenhouse. You can either use an open roof or sidewalls that open up to allow air to flow to lower temperatures in your greenhouse.

If you decide to use the open roof or sidewall method, to maximize the cooling effect, make a note of the direction of the wind. 

 

Keep The Air Flowing

If you pride yourself on being a respectable greenhouse manager, then you should know circulating fans are useful tools used to control temperatures. These fans allow the air to flow optimally inside the greenhouse.

The circulating fans work well to keep temperatures consistent. They push out warm air and hold cold air down to make sure the area doesn’t overheat.

Conclusion

Continue to enjoy your time in your greenhouse when using these easy tips for controlling temperatures more effectively. The methods listed are cost-effective and straightforward so that you can implement them immediately. Let your fingers do the pruning and enjoy better-controlled temperatures for your green buds.

We want to hear if you have any other tips to share on controlling temperatures in a greenhouse. Leave a comment below and help others in your position.

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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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General Gardening

How Hemp is Farmed and Turned into CBD Biomass

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If there was ever a perfect time to grow hemp in America, it is now. For the first time in over 80 years, farmers can play the hemp game without looking over their shoulders, thanks to the passage of the Farm Bill in 2018.

The legislation allows farmers to legally grow the cash crop for both personal and commercial use. Now, hemp wholesale companies, retailers, farmers, and many other entities would love to know more about growing hemp for various uses.

In this guide, we explore farming and commercial of CBD-hemp in detail. We will give you a rundown on the growing process right from the basics of growing the hemp cone until it is converted into CBD biomass.

Understanding Hemp Varieties

Firstly you need to understand that there are three categories of it: fiber, grain, and high-CBD varieties. Here’s a succinct explanation of each variety:

  • Fiber: This type of hemp produces long fibers and biomass and is primarily used in textiles, building materials, paper, composites, fuel, and more.
  • Grain: Thanks to their high fatty acid, protein, and fiber content, grain hemp is utilized for food and nutritional needs. Essentially, these varieties produce low cannabinoid content than their counterparts. 
  • Cannabinoid (CBD) hemp: These are the most sought-after strains of hemp since they find use in pharmaceutical and nutraceutical industries. They are grown as female species for better yields and zero seed production. This is where the money is.

Growing a CBD hemp farm

Before growing cannabinoid hemp, it is always a good idea to find out what the law says about it. Once you understand the legalities and obtain the necessary approvals, the steps followed in growing the crop include the following:

  • Choice of Equipment: The first thing is to select the farming equipment to use for planting, harvesting, and extraction the CBD. 
  • Planting and Weeding: Typically, the planting season begins the end of May till the first week of June. Hemp clones, provided by in-state processors, are transplanted into 40” rows on the ground. After planting, the hemp needs to have sufficient moisture to fix the roots. Weeding is done using hoes or row cultivation. No herbicides, fungicides, and insecticides are allowed.
  • Harvesting: CBD hemp grows rapidly within the first 60 days. When it reaches maturity, the field will have to be inspected for male plants as these can cause pollination and a drop in the CBD concentration. After between 100 and 120 days, the female-only crop would be heavy with cannabinoid content both on its flowers and biomass, yet less than 0.3% THC. Once harvesting is done, the crop is dragged down to any available drying point—a rack, shed, tobacco barn, fan, dehumidifiers, mechanical dryers, and even straight to extraction.

CBD hemp farming is quite intensive but if done right, it can be a goldmine. The success of the process lies in understanding all the laws associated with hemp and choosing the right equipment. The rest is mostly trial and error alongside wit and instinct.

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General Gardening

Easy-to-Grow Vegetables for Garden Neophytes

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As the cost of living and groceries continues to increase, many people are starting to think about growing their own vegetables at home. To do it right so you get a good yield of edible vegetables, you have to consider many things — the complexities of soil type, the amount of sunshine per day, what seeds or strains to use, and more. As a beginner, you will have a lot to learn a lot about gardening to make it worth your time.

If you want to get started you don’t have to worry about it being a chore. Here are some of the best vegetables to try growing as a beginner.

Cucumbers

Cucumbers are excellent for beginners for a few reasons. First, you can use them in a variety of ways in your cooking — make pickles, add them to salads, to drinks, make cucumber loaf, and so on. Second, there are two varieties of cucumbers — vining and bush cucumbers — that are different enough that you can learn about how to alter your technique. Vining cucumbers crawl up a trellis, fence or on soil where they flaunt their lush, green leaves. On the other hand, bush cucumbers yield in small gardens and containers you can put them inside your custom barn homes.

Cucumbers can be seeded indoors or transplanted in the ground but should be done not earlier than two weeks after the last frost. Because these veggies adore sunshine, grow them where they can be soaked in the heat and the light of solar power and not under the shade of trees. Make sure the soil is fertile, moist, neutral or highly alkaline, well-drained and not soggy.

Onions and Garlic

Both onions and garlic spices are probably the easiest to take care of since they are better able to fight off diseases and can grow in certain climate conditions. Also, both are planted and grown in almost the same way and require almost the same types or level of soil, watering and sunlight. If you want to maximize the yield and want to get bigger bulbs or cloves, you can fertilize the soil with nitrogen every few weeks.

Others

Fresh lettuce of multiple varieties, like romaine or iceberg, can be harvested in large amounts when you plant them in mild temperature with frequent watering. However, they tend not to fare so well during the warmer parts of the summer. Potatoes can survive in containers so you can have them indoors if the garden is full. Just keep the soil moist by watering daily.

Having your own garden does not just make you self-reliant. Also, it brings you fun even when you’re doing it while the sun strikes very hot or the cold temperature creeps in to your bones. For a start, you do not need to put pressure on yourself to get everything done impeccably. You just need to take it easy first, learn the ropes of gardening until you master it.

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Grow Lights

8 Important Things To Check When Buying LED Grow Lights

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There was a time when we had to rely only on sunlight before our crops can grow. But with more studies and research, it has been discovered that, LED grow lights can help the plants grow naturally. Today, many farmers and agricultural professionals have come to embrace this latest trend.

And there is a reason for it though; LED lights offer you the following:

  • Durability
  • Energy efficiency
  • Stimulated growth
  • Compactness
  • Adjustable wavelength

There are many LED grow lights that are on sale and not every one of them really works. You can easily get distracted by different models and end up choosing the wrong LED lights. Here are 8 things to look out for in LED Grow Lights

  1. Electricity capacity and consumption

If you have to run your LED grow light for up to 10 to 11 hours every day, make sure you choose a LED light within 300W to 500W with high output so that you get good result without having your electricity bill shooting up. 

  1. Durable materials and built

Good quality LED grow light can last up to 10 years. Preferably, US products have more durable grow lights than many other products.

  1. Low heat production

Too much heat can damage your plant and give the adverse effect. You want to protect your plant even as they are encouraged to grow. Therefore, choose a LED grow light with balanced heat output that uses less energy.

  1. Full spectrum

Some plants do better with the blue and red spectrum light present. Full spectrum also includes ultraviolet and infrared lights too. With these present, your plant will have what it requires to really grow.

  1. Take your plant into consideration

There are different lights for different plants. You must make sure that the LED grow light you are going for is suitable for the plant you intend growing. Flowers need lesser grow lights than tomatoes. You also need to find out if the light will serve you for the first cycle or the total growing cycle.

  1. Flexibility and ease of use

A good quality LED grow light is easy to use and yet, very efficient. You won’t need to spend the whole day trying to figure out how to best position it. Look for the one that its light intensity and wavelength can be adjusted.

  1. Warranty

LED grow lights are very durable when you get the good one. So, if yours if offering anything less than 10 years warranty, it could be an indication that the manufacturer is not sure of the quality of his product.

  1. Good semiconductor chip

Semiconductor chip in LED grow lights is what helps them convert electrical power to grow light and also determines the right wavelength. If the light’s chip is at least up to 3 watts, you can be sure that it will give your plants enough illumination.

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Greenhouses

The 6 Most Common Greenhouse Crops

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Are you living in or moving to Liberty Hill? While the area is great for luxury activities such as camping and hiking thanks to its natural beauty, you can also utilize the vast landscape and ideal climate with greenhouse farming.

We’ve taken the liberty to highlight some of the most common greenhouse crops you can plant that are highly profitable, so you can turn your hobby into a lucrative business.

Things to Consider When Picking Crops

Before deciding on which crops are the best for planting in a greenhouse farm, there are a few factors you to consider.

Single or Multiple Crops?

Do you want to grow single or multiple crops?  Experts strongly recommend that you stick to a single crop so you can concentrate all your time, effort and resources to ensure it grows healthy and lush. This is because taking on different kinds of crops at the same time will require different and specialized needs with regards to:

  • Water
  • Attention
  • Fertilization
  • Shade

Are You a Beginner or Experienced Farmer?

If you’re new to the greenhouse farming business – or farming altogether – it’s advisable to start with a crop that’s easier to grow and monitor until harvest time.

How Much Space do You Have?

You’ll also need to determine exactly how much space you have in your backyard for a greenhouse. This is important for estimating the costs involved with a crop you are considering.

Types of Crops to Choose

Fruits and vegetables are the most common type of crop that can thrive in greenhouse environments. We list a few examples below.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes are among the common crops that many greenhouse farmers prefer planting because of how many you can grow. They’re also very profitable, with almost every household using tomatoes in some fashion in their usual diet.

Lettuce

Lettuce is another favorite crop among greenhouse enthusiasts. It can be profitable, but it’s also relatively easy to grow for beginners or casual farmers. There are also many different kinds of lettuce that you can grow.

Cucumbers

Cucumbers are a highly profitable vegetable to grow because of how versatile they are in catering and cooking. They are not as popular as tomatoes or lettuce, because they are not as easy to keep fresh after harvesting. Nonetheless, if you grow organic cucumbers they can fetch high prices.

Peppers

Have a few popular varieties and colors, but mainly red, yellow and green. We’ll quickly point out that peppers aren’t the easiest greenhouse crops to grow but they’re still very profitable due to their use in popular cooking dishes like stir fry.

Spinach

Here is yet another vegetable that’s best suited for greenhouse environment. Beginners will appreciate how fast it grows, but its growth depends on the environmental and climate conditions.

Conclusion

Now, from the above mentioned vegetables, which one will you grow in your greenhouse once you move into one of the new homes in Liberty Hill?

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General Gardening

Green Waste Skip Tips On Disposing Your Garden Waste

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After cutting your grass, pruning your trees, and trimming your branches, you are now left with the question of what to do with all this green waste, as it can be quite a tedious thing to dispose of. One of the best ways for you to dispose of your garden waste is through green waste skip bins, which is common in Australia. These bins refer to garbage containers that are used specifically for domestic and commercial garden waste.

That said, here are 3 tips that can help with your garden waste disposal through skip bins:

1. Call your local sanitation or waste disposal department.

When you have a green waste skip bin filled up, you don’t have to wait for the next time that the sanitation department will come to collect it. For example, if you’ve got a house party coming up and you want to clear your front lawn of your bin, you can call for a pick up today, or at the next earliest possible time. Doing this is also very helpful, especially if you’ve got big dogs who might dig through the skip bin and bring the twigs out. Imagine the time wasted having to clean up again!

2. Haul your garden waste and bring it to the local dump.

After you have completed clearing your garden, you can gather all these and haul them in your skip bin to deliver them to the local dump yourself. Just be sure that you are dumping it in the right place for biodegradable or green waste. Not only are you cleaning your house better and faster, but you are also helping out the load of the local waste disposal trucks. That is, of course, if you don’t mind taking it yourself.

3. Pile the smaller twigs and leaves first.

 Each skip bin has a limit of 150 kilos, which is a lot. But if you’ve done a huge clearing of your big garden, then the size might not be enough. To be more efficient, pile up the smaller twigs and messy leaves first in the skip bin, so you can put in as many green waste as you can. For the bigger logs, if they don’t fit anymore, you can pile them close to the bin, ready for the truck to come pick them up. Not much of a worry for this, as logs don’t easily create a mess, unlike leaves and twigs.

Conclusion

Green garden waste is actually one of the best waste materials in your house because of the very reason that they’re biodegradable. However, ironically, it is also one of the hardest to dispose of, especially if you are dealing with larger quantities. With these tips to guide you, you can now feel happier cutting your grass, trees and branches, as disposing of these garden wastes now aren’t so much of a hassle.

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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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General Gardening

Tips for Students for Gardening in a Small Backyard as a Stay at Home Mom

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Nowadays, tight space can’t be a restriction to have with herbs, flowers and garden veggies around you. You can use small containers or make garden bends in available space. A backyard garden can help you to reap several benefits. Gardening is an engaging and moderate exercise for students. They can develop analytical abilities with their gardening exercise. Try to get some time out of your routine for gardening. Gardening allows children to breathe fresh air and relieve their stress. If you are worried about some lengthy assignment, feel free to get the advantage of reliable research proposal writing services.

Consistent gardening may contribute to social skills, cognitive abilities, and alertness. If you are ready to set up a small backyard garden, here are some tips for your assistance.

Look for Sunlight

Before starting your backyard gardening, you have to figure out the right place with lots of sunlight. You will buy bushes, plants, flowers, herbs and veggies based on the duration of the sun in your backyard. Feel free to set up a shade garden in a deck with little sunlight. For a veggie garden, you must have sunshine for almost 6 to 8 hours.

Several flowers need sunlight too. You have to sunmap your backyard gardening by observing the number of sunlight’s hour in your garden. Tall bushes, trees, and even your house can increase shade and decrease light for backyard gardening. 

Choose Suitable Containers

In your small garden, you can plant your favorite herbs, veggies, and flowers in containers. You have to provide proper water, sunlight, and air to your containers. These may dry out quicker than gardening beds, so you have to pay special attention.

In a restricted space, you can try square foot gardening. In this method, you will plant things as close as possible. Instead of creating long rows, you can divide every garden bed by 1-foot x 1-foot squares. Each square will have one kind of crop.

Add Contrast and Colors

You can make your containers beautiful by adding different textures and colors. Try to combine veggie or ornamental plants. For instance, purple veggies look good with greens. Frilly leaves like dill, celeriac, parsnip, celery, and carrot make a beautiful contrast with lettuce, beets, and greens. You can add a nice variation with garlic, onions, and leeks.

Arrangement of Containers

Carefully arrange containers around your courtyard for a pleasing ambiance in a backyard garden. Plant on edges to increase growing space by leaving the middle of the garden for play or patio area. Northside can be an excellent place to plant trees.

You can use vertical space by growing upwards. In this way, you can get most out of your backyard garden. A vertical garden can add layers and height to your garden for additional oomph of function and beauty. By using upward space, you can increase your space for gardening and get better yields.

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Indoor Gardening

What Indoor Growing Equipment Canada Should You Buy For Your Indoor Garden Setup

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When you have no space to set up a garden in your backyard, you can still do it with indoor gardening. Whether for growing herbs, organic vegetables, or flowers, indoor gardening can accommodate this endeavor of yours. But you need the following equipment to set up a successful indoor garden:

1. Grow Kits

One of the advantages you can have with indoor gardening is an easy and fun way of growing your plants. Without extra tools and a green thumb, grow kits are a must for your indoor garden. These kits are ready to grow, and all you need is to choose the type of method you’ll use for cultivation.

For soil cultivation, you need containers and soil to grow your seedlings, while hydroponics don’t require soil. What hydroponics need are a solution of nutrients and mostly water. Hydroponics are much popular nowadays because it doesn’t take up too much space, not messy, and the nutrients are easily absorbed, thereby, producing healthy plants. These Canadian indoor kits are available in stores like Canada Grows Indoors LLC.

2. Grow Lights

To grow sun-loving plants like vegetables up to their maturity, use grow lights. You can choose a fluorescent, LED, or HID grow lights. Fluorescent bulbs are good for seedlings, LED for growing larger quantities of plants, and HID for lemon bushes or tomatoes and other large plants. You can avail of discounted high-quality grow lights by following the Canada Grows Indoors Facebook page.

3. Grow Tents

A grow tent is an enclosed space that increases the grow lights’ effectiveness. It has a sturdy canvas exterior and is a reusable and portable grow room. Some grow tents have built-in grow lights that are suitable for a hydroponic kind of cultivation. Moreover, it stimulates the growth of plants and sustains the heat because of its insulation system.

Here are some tips when choosing a grow tent:

  • Height – If you’re planning to grow tall plants, choose a grow tent that can adjust up to 9′ tall. Some grow tents have adjustable features. But if you’ll only grow small or medium-sized plants, then you can opt for a smaller indoor grow tent, which is up to 6′ in height.
  • Durability – It’s recommended to purchase grow tents with metallic poles and frames with fasteners. The fasteners will secure the tent’s structure while the metallic poles are sturdier than the ordinary tents. Also, choose the ones with durable fabric and zippers, tight seals, and thick viewing windows so that it can last longer.
  • Thickness – Most grow tents only have 190D-600D that can result in easy ripping and leaking of light. But a 1680D fabric is thicker than the ordinary ones that allow a stronger and safer environment for your indoor garden.

Conclusion

Indoor gardening in Canada is popular nowadays. And with the availability of growing equipment, indoor gardening is made easy. Invest in your equipment so that you don’t waste your efforts in gardening.

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Growing Tips

What Are Some of the Best Eco-Friendly Apps that can Help You Go Green?

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Going green can have major benefits for the environment and for your health. However, it can be difficult to make some of the major changes that come with going green and focusing on sustainability, even if you believe in the cause.

So, what can you do to make going green easier? There are a number of tools right at your fingertips that can help. Let’s go over some of the best eco-friendly apps that can help you go green right here.

General Eco-Friendly Apps

We’re going to break our eco-friendly app suggestions into categories. Some apps offer a well-rounded focus on all things green. You can check out:

  • BrightNest
  • JouleBug
  • Oroeco

These apps focus on your lifestyle choices and actions around the home as a whole, allowing you to focus on going green in all aspects of your life. Some of these apps, like Oroeco, offer you personalized tips that can make going green even easier.

Recycling Eco-Friendly Apps

If you want to focus specifically on recycling as you go green, you may want to focus on apps like:

  • iRecycle
  • RecycleNation

These apps can help you improve your recycling habits and they’re both free. You can get information about where to recycle in your area and about what items can be recycled.

Energy Usage Eco-Friendly Apps

Energy usage – and the kind of energy you use – is a big part of going green. You can monitor your carbon footprint with apps like:

  • greenMeter
  • Energy Cost Calculator

These apps can help you determine areas where you can lower your carbon footprint, perhaps by deciding to drive an energy-efficient car or by deciding to purchase energy-efficient light bulbs. You can even check out Light Bulb Finder if you need help selecting the eco-friendliest lightbulbs for you.

Shopping Eco-Friendly Apps

Going green can mean making some big changes to your shopping habits. Fortunately, there are some apps you can turn to if you need help focusing on sustainability while you’re out doing your shopping. You can check out:

  • GoodGuide
  • EWG’s Food Scores
  • Locavore

These apps can help you compare products to determine which ones are the most environmentally friendly, or to find local food in your area.

Additional Eco-Friendly Apps

Some of the best eco-friendly apps are very highly focused on specific aspects of going green. For example, you can use Dropcountr to monitor your water consumption on a daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly basis to decrease your water usage.

You can also cut down on paper waste in your life with PaperKarma. This app can remove you from mailing lists that end up with you dealing with mountains of junk mail, reducing the overall strain on the planet.

Start Using Eco-Friendly Apps in Your Life

You don’t have to figure out how to go green all on your own. There options out there that can help you shift to an eco-friendlier lifestyle.

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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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General Gardening

4 Gardening Scenarios Where It’s Best to Call In the Pros

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DIY is a popular word, and YouTube videos can teach you almost anything these days. But is that always the best route to go?

While we respect your willingness to try it yourself and we understand the importance of managing your budget, certain scenarios require some skill & expert advice.

If you face one of the following scenarios, it may be time to ask for some help from your local gardening professionals.

Anything Relating to Your Power Lines

This is a rule you should teach everyone in your household: if gardening takes you near the power lines, you need to outsource.

This is often the case when it’s time to trim your trees. You may not have realized just how quickly those branches are growing, and at the end of the summer they’re almost touching the power lines.

First of all it’s probably the local authorities’ and power line workers’ responsibility to cut them down anyway. Secondly, it only takes one misstep and you can end up falling against the live wires. Don’t do this yourself!

Damaged Trees

Even a general trimming of trees can quickly turn dangerous if you’re working on damaged trees. A vicious storm or parasites may have weakened trees in your garden. Many plants may never recover.

With a weakened structure, you have no idea where that tree will fall or which branches are still strong enough to support you. Call in the pros on this one. With their knowledge and proper safety harnesses, they will remove the damaged growth piece by piece.

Problems With the Pipes

The idea of having your gas or water pipes dug up is enough to put most homeowners in a bad mood. Important tip: don’t wait for a small problem to become a big one.

A telltale sign of plumbing problems is when water collects in a certain grassy area or you see your paving is wet. It could be the roots of a tree that damaged the pipes, but removing the cause won’t fix the problem. And don’t think you’ll fix it all yourself. You need pros with handy tools such as inflatable pipe plugs that will locate the problem and repair it with the least amount of damage to the surrounding area.

Pests Require the Pros

Another unwelcome sight is when you realize you have pests that are chewing on your plants or contaminating the garden. You’ll find many DIY solutions at the store for rats, bugs and other pests, but they often only minimize the plague; it’s rarely destroyed completely.

A better solution is to call a pest control company that knows how to track down the nest and eliminate the problem.

Final Thoughts

You know how to look after your property, but more often than not DIY projects lead to temporary fixes, not long-term solutions. Know when you’ve reached your limits and call in the professionals so you can enjoy your garden again.

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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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General Gardening

Why Should You Learn About Gardening: The Benefits

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Most of us enjoy the experience of a tranquil, relaxing garden. Beautifully planned and professionally planted, these spaces offer a fantastic sense of peace and calm, with perfectly selected aromas and a dazzling display of colors, all of which seamlessly fit together as though by magic.

While we may enjoy the end result, the truth is that many of us are clueless when it comes to the fundamentals of gardening. It can be a subject which seems overwhelming, with jargon such as ‘soil pH’ and ‘seasonal planting’ making this sound like a dry and theoretical bore, as opposed to a fundamental basic. In truth, learning about gardening can be a huge benefit for your home and life, changing the way you relax, exercise, and even eat. Whether you are keen to grow your own veggies or learn more about lawn care.

You are what you eat

Gardening is not merely restricted to beautiful flowers; it is a fundamental part of the food chain. Leaning to grow and harvest your own food is not only a hugely satisfying experience, but it could also help you cut your food budget. In addition, growing your own fruit and vegetables helps you to develop a better understanding of what you are putting in your body, and can provide inspiration for creative new meal ideas.

Extend your home

If you are a homeowner, gardening offers a chance to extend your living space at a little extra cost. By learning the basics of gardening, you can identify things that will thrive in your garden, and use this knowledge to create a relaxing and stunning space which is perfect for late-night entertaining, chilled summer barbeques, and informal family picnics. Make the most of every inch of your home by transforming the outside.

Improve your health

As well as helping to change your diet, gardening is also an excellent form of exercise. The bending, stooping, and squatting required can provide a full-body workout, and burn more calories than a traditional gym session! As a bonus, you can feel satisfied that you are doing something productive while exercising, whether that is pruning, weeding, or digging a brand new bed. By having visible results, you will increase your motivation, helping to turn a workout from a necessary evil to a productive and genuinely useful task.

Save the planet

Having a good knowledge of plants and flowers is also beneficial in helping save the planet. Plants provide the oxygen which keeps us alive, and so learning to respect and maintain them is essential. In addition, you can help attract bees and insects to your garden with the right combination of foliage. These are creatures that are in danger of being lost, and so we need to invite them in at any opportunity. By maintaining a garden, you will be doing your bit to generate a whole new ecosystem, and play a valuable part in the lifecycle of many creatures—not merely humans.

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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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General Gardening

How to get Electricity to your Garden

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An electrical connection to the garden adds a whole new level of usefulness, comfort as well as improving security. A constant electrical source in the garden is ideal if you’re looking to add some flare to the backyard garden with a fountain, speakers, a projector for a party or extra lighting to run along footpaths or beside stools.

Aussie’s today are using their gardens for more than just somewhere to grow vegetables and that means electricity is essentially required to get the most out of the garden. Below we’ll take a look at a few of the easiest ways to get electricity running to your garden.

Solar Panels and Batteries

The most environmentally friendly option for getting electricity to the garden will be through investing in an array of solar panels paired with rechargeable batteries and an inverter. This way you’ll have a near-constant source of free electricity that your garden’s lights and other accessories can connect to.

Keep in mind that depending on the size of your solar panels and your battery’s voltage output you might not be able to power everything you’d like to. These solar solutions are fantastic for lower electricity use, but if you’re wanting to power other appliances, tools and more then it’s best to consider a generator. More on that below.

Portable, Low-cost Generators

If you’re looking for a solution a little more permanent then it might be a good idea to consider a generator. This way, when the time comes to switch on all of your home’s garden lighting and other accessories like pool lighting, outdoor speakers and more, you’ll be able to start your generator and be done with it. There’s very little that a generator can’t power in the garden and that means you’ll have no cap on what you could do.

You might want to consider smaller, more portable generators for your garden as these will be easy to conceal but will also be virtually silent. Generators from retailers like Outbaxcamping are perfect solutions for at-home garden electricity requirements as they’re affordable and incredibly efficient.

Temporary Extension Cables from the House

One of the easiest, quick fixes to getting electricity in the garden is running an extension cable form the house to whatever you need to be powered in the garden. Whether it’s a temporary water feature, lighting, bug zapper or just about anything else, an extension cable should do the trick on a temporary basis. Just be sure to use more heavy duty extension cables for appliances or tools that require higher amperages.

It’s important to remember that an extension cord isn’t designed to be a permanent solution. You’re still able to use these cables to temporarily power appliances, tools and lighting in your backyard. Just be sure it’s not forecast to rain and make absolutely certain no children or pets will be able to mess around with it.

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General Gardening

Why There Is a Need for Wheelie Bin Storage

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Wheelie bin storage is the best way to keep your bin out of sight before the next collection pickup. There are many reasons why you need storage for your wheelie bins.

Wheelie bins are essential on collection day. They are the perfect size for holding rubbish, and their use makes it easy for collection workers to remove your garbage. However, these large bins are also quite unattractive.

  • More Attractive

The colors of your wheelie bins more than likely do not compliment the exterior of your home. The bold colors of these bins are designed to make it easy for the refuse collector to know what type of garbage is inside. This is especially helpful for recycling.

A wheelie bin storage container keeps these unsightly bins out of sight until collection day. Storage containers come in a variety of materials and colors, so it’s possible to find something that looks attractive next to your home.

  • Less Mess

If you’ve ever picked up the rubbish after a wheelie bin has been knocked over, you know how much of a hassle it is. All it takes is a large gust of wind, and your wheelie bin may topple over. Everything inside may blow onto your property. You’re entirely responsible for cleaning up the mess.

Locking your wheelie bin in a bin store, however, will prevent it from falling over. This means you no longer need to worry about chasing rubbish down the street.

  • No Theft

Wheelie bins are often targeted by thieves. This is very sad but true. While you may not initially miss your stolen wheelie bin, you will have to replace it. In many instances, you will have to pay to obtain another wheelie bin. If you had a storage area for your bin, you would no longer have to worry about it being stolen by desperate thieves.

  • Fewer Pests

Stray animals and rodents love to scavenge for garbage. They may be looking for bits of food in your wheelie bin. Unfortunately, if an animal tries to get inside the wheelie bin, they will most likely end up knocking it over. Once again, this means you’ll be responsible for picking up all the garbage. Locking the wheelie bin up in a bin store will ensure four-legged creatures are unable to feast inside your bin.

If you’re ready to get a bin store, you can easily make one yourself. Those who are not handy can purchase a pre-made one from a home improvement shop. Keep your rubbish covered and out of sight by storing your wheelie bin in a closed bin store.

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General Gardening

6 Expert Tips to Find the Right Lawn Mower

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Planning to buy a lawn mower for your garden? It will be wise to think of a few factors before you invest on a lawn mower. Starting from the size of the garden to the frequency of mowing, everything has to be taken into consideration because lawn mowers can be quite expensive. In addition to the brand, features, and the price of the mower, you should also keep an eye on the shape and size of the topography. But there are three main factors that will help you decide the best lawn mower for your garden: the level of terrain, the number of obstacles in the garden such as plants, flower beds, trees, etc, and the size of the garden. Here are some of the lawn mowers that will be suitable for you:

1. Walk-behind mowers

Probably the most popular of all the lawn mowers is the walk-behind variant that will give you plenty of options to mow your lawn. These are generally two-stroked mowers that have the ability to cut yards of lawn continuously without any interruption. Moreover, these mowers can run for years and they require very low maintenance too. The ideal size of the walk-behind mowers is 20” to 22”. You should always measure the length and width of the garden along with the size of the yard gate so that you don’t have any problem while using the mower.

2. Zero-turn mowers

These mowers are hugely popular when it comes to mowing golf courses and landscapes. They are easy to use as they offer high-speed cutting and can turn very precisely. There will be two lap bars that you will act as the driving wheel. You have to maneuver the bars carefully to make sure that you are mowing the right areas of the lawn. If you have a huge lawn that has got big obstacles such as ponds or trees, then a zero-turn mower will be the right choice. With the fast mowing capability, it will be easier to cut down the grass in a relatively short period of time. This will allow you to mow a large area very quickly.

3. Push mowers

Push mowers are the most common in houses that have a small garden in front with grass in it. These mowers are small in size and you have to push them manually to cut the grass. The blades are attached between the two wheels and they are appropriate for mowing small patches of grass in the garden. There is no engine to operate this mower. So, you will have to push it around the areas that you want to clean. The standard size of these mowers is 16” but you can get a bigger variant that measures 20” or even a smaller variant that measures 14”. One of the benefits of the push mowers is that they are really affordable. Their price varies from $80 to $110 because of their manual operation and size.

4. Gas or electric motor-powered mowers

There are various pros and cons of buying a gas or electric motor-powered mower. First of all, electric mowers are absolutely a gem because of their precision and cleanliness. They are easier to operate and do not create any mess while you mow. However, they can run out of power if you don’t have two batteries. The corded mowers are still okay but the size of the cord will be a challenge. But if you are using cordless mowers, then you need to have a couple of extra batteries charged up.

Gas mowers, on the other hand, can be more powerful and precise and electric mowers. According to Discover Ziehler, they have the ability to last longer but there are a couple of factors that can get in their way. First, they require frequent maintenance so that the gas does not run out. You have to constantly check the level of gas left in the mower so that it does not stop working all of a sudden. The second thing is it creates a lot of mess while cutting the grass. That is something that the electric mowers do not have. You will have to keep cleaning the grass after mowing for a few minutes so that the blades can cut through better and quicker.

5. Self-propelled mowers

These are all-wheel mowers that are quite heavy to drive around. They have the capability to cut through grass quickly but their weight can be a challenge when you are going uphill. Make sure that you buy this model only when you are planning to mow a flat lawn because, with so much weight, it will be difficult to maneuver the mower on various parts of the lawn.

6. Riding mowers

Those who find it extremely difficult to use a push mower or take a lot of time to mow a small lawn, it will be better to buy a riding mower. This type of mower will offer the basic facilities of mowing. They are just push mowers with an electric motor in the rear end so that you can drive the mower instead of having to push it around the lawn. In fact, this can be a cost-effective solution if you don’t want to spend a huge amount on a mower but want to get the job done somehow. They are easy to operate and can mow small gardens very quickly. Depending on the size of the mower, you can look to spend between $600 and $1000 to get one of these mowers for your garden.

Buying a lawn mower can be a big investment. You will have to decide what the priorities are and then find the right type of mower according to the different features given above. There are several varieties of mowers from different brands that you can get but the size of the lawn and the comfort that you want to get while cutting the grass can be two big factors to decide which type of mower will be best suited for your garden.

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General Gardening

House Cleaning 101: 5 Tips to Maintain Cleanliness in the Garden

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It’s so nice to relax in your outdoor living space and spend time bonding with kids in your garden with fresh air, colorful flowers, trees, and green grass around. While it’s crucial to water the plants and mow the lawn, a beautiful garden should be organized and clean. So, let’s check these helpful tips to maintain the cleanliness in your garden!

1. Remove Leaves and Branches

During the fall season, dried leaves, stems, and branches usually accumulate in the garden. It’s important to clear your garden with these things and human-made rubbish to maintain a beautiful garden. Removing dry leaves also reduces pests from attacking fresh leaves during spring. Here are some helpful tips:

  • You can remove leaves by cleaning the garden yourself. You can also hire a rubbish removal service, like 1300 Rubbish Removal, if you can’t manage to do it due to your busy schedule or you have no appropriate tools available.
  • Pruning damaged branches and stems is a good practice to prevent plant diseases from spreading or damaging the whole plant.

2. Keep the Land Clear

While it’s crucial to keep your garden clear of fallen leaves or twigs, you also need to ensure that:

  • You store garden tools, such as spades and rakes, in your garden shed to avoid accidents and keep your garden clutter-free.
  • Dispose of leaves, stems, and branches into a compost heap or separate bin. You can recycle them and use it as fertilizer for your plants.

3. Prevent Soil Erosion

Soil erosion can extremely mess up your great garden design, including its layout and your plants, too. The soil gets eroded because of heavy rainfall and winds. You can prevent soil erosion by:

  • Growing plants that can protect the soil against wind or water movement (e.g., yellow foxtail, blue fescue)
  • Building raised plant beds
  • Using rocks as resistance for loosening the soil
  • Hiring a professional garden landscape designer

4. Clean Hardscape Elements

Don’t miss to clean your garden décor. The hardscape elements of your garden include statues, fountains, pathways, and other human-made structures. You need to ensure you don’t miss cleaning them. Here are some tips:

  • Garden gnomes or statues can promote mold and moss growth and can easily collect dust during hot seasons. Clean them regularly.
  • Garden fountains and ponds should be cleaned. Fill them with clear water. Don’t keep stagnant water in them. 

5. Get a Garden Hose Reel

A garden hose can be a huge mess. It’s a smart idea to invest in a garden hose reel to keep the hose neatly gathered, making your yard feel instantly more organized and preventing slip accidents.

Conclusion

Maintaining a beautiful and clean garden shouldn’t be stressful. You can dedicate 10 to 15 minutes a day or every other day to clear the garden of rubbish and clutter as a way of relaxing and as a bonding activity with your family.

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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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Pest Control

How to Kill Vegetable Garden Pests with Ease

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When it comes to harvesting the vegetables from your garden, you don’t want to find out they’ve been destroyed by insects or pests. Luckily, it’s quite simple to kill any pests that may be damaging your crops.

  • Slugs and Snails

Both slugs and snails are commonly found in gardens, but unfortunately, these pests are notorious for damaging crops. Not only do they feed on crops, but they also only come out at night, making it tricky to kill them during the day. Slugs and snails also lay many eggs, which can lay dormant for several years before they hatch.

If you’re struggling with a slug and snail infestation, try a beer bath. Simply place small vats of beer around your garden. Slugs and snails are drawn to the yeast in beer. However, once they try to drink this yeasty beverage, they will fall in and drown.

  • Aphids

Perhaps one of the most destructive insects, aphids love to drink the sap out of any plant in your vegetable garden. They even spread diseases. If you notice signs of an aphid outbreak, then you should make an organic insecticide out of dish soap.

Simply mix a few tablespoons of organic dish soap with a quart of water. Add a couple drops of orange or lemon essential oil. Spray this concoction directly onto your plants, making sure to fully saturate the leaves. This dish soap insecticide is also effective at killing other vegetable garden pests, including mites, mealybugs, and whiteflies.

  • Cabbage Root Fly

The cabbage root fly is known for destroying vegetables by damaging the roots. These pests lay their eggs at the base of plants. When the eggs hatch, the maggots burrow deep down to the roots, where they feast. This can quickly kill your vegetable garden.

If you notice damage to the roots of your crops or you find maggots on the roots, you can quickly remedy the situation by placing a cabbage collar around the base of your plants. This will prevent any newly hatched maggots from reaching the roots.

  • Rodents

Rodents, including mice, rabbits, moles, and squirrels, are always looking for their next meal. However, you don’t want them feeding on your vegetable garden. Spraying a mixture of soap, chili powder, and garlic onto your vegetables is one of the best ways to deter these pests. It even works to repel beetles, slugs, leafhoppers, and borers. This mixture will also keep your family pets out of your garden without harming them.

It doesn’t take very much effort to keep your vegetable garden healthy and free of insects and other pests. Natural and organic products are often all that’s needed to deter or kill these unwanted visitors.

Be proactive all year long to ensure your vegetable garden thrives and kill garden pests organically.

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General Gardening

6 Essential Tools For Your Garden Maintenance

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Working in a garden is not possible without any tools at hand. It requires a lot of tasks and having the right tools will make your garden maintenance plain sailing. Since there are a lot of gardening tools available, you might be confused about which ones are essential or not.

Here are some necessary tools that you will need to keep your garden looking at its best:

1.    Cutting Tools

A huge part of gardening maintenance involves cutting and trimming small trees, bushes, and other perennials. Hand pruners and loppers are essential for these tasks. Pruners can be used for cutting stems and branches with a small diameter. Loppers are intended for larger branches.

These tools can be used for deadheading or regular trimming activities. Pruning your bushes regularly will initiate healthy plant growth and will make it grow to your desired shape. Cutting tools is also essential during harvesting season if you grow fruit trees and vegetables in your garden.

2.    Lawnmower

Grasses usually grow fast, most especially during the rainy season. Proper maintenance of your lawn is essential in every well-maintained garden. You can avoid it being bushy by investing in a lawnmower.

Getting an affordable lawnmower is enough for your garden maintenance needs. Usually, these are the convenient types where you can easily use and store the equipment.

3.    Garden Hose and Water Sprinkler

Water is essential in every gardening activity. Garden hose can facilitate, bringing the water supply to any area of your garden which makes it easier for you. However, having a water sprinkler is good when you are working in planters, plant boxes, and flower pots with delicate herbs and flowers.

4.    Wheelbarrow or Garden Cart

Having a wheelbarrow in your garden will make it easier for you, especially if you do not have anyone to help you out. Garden maintenance also involves moving and lifting objects such as garden soil, fertilizers, and pots. Investing in a wheelbarrow will help you accomplish these tasks in a breeze.

5.    Shovel and Spades

Shovels and spades are useful when digging soil, edging, and even moving mud and large debris in your garden. Investing in a good one with high-quality material will provide better garden maintenance. Make sure that you get it with a handle that is comfortable on your hands and has a length that will provide good leverage.

6.    Hand Trowel

Another garden essential is a hand trowel where you can use for various purposes such as transplanting seedlings in pots or trays, distributing soil in pots, and getting fertilizer in sacks. Having a well-made trowel will make your garden maintenance a stroll in the park.

Now that you know the essential tools needed to have a well-maintained garden, it’s now time to buy and gather them in stores. By investing in the right tools, you will avoid overcrowding your garden shed, and at the same time, you can accomplish your gardening tasks in no time.

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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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General Gardening

How to Choose Garden Furniture: 5 Factors to Consider

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In buying outdoor garden furniture, there are certain factors you need to check for first to ensure that you spend your money on furniture pieces that will truly answer your needs. Budget is of course an important factor that you need to consider in shopping for your home and outdoor furnishings, but aside from that, the other factors where you could use more helpful information about include furniture material, style, size versus available space, comfort, and maintenance requirements. These five factors are further discussed in this simple but essential guide to buying the right outdoor furniture.

Material

Outdoor furniture is typically made of materials that can resist the elements better, such as rattan, timber, wrought-iron, aluminum, and stainless steel. Choose natural plant materials for an easy outdoorsy feel, or more modern metal materials for added character and spunk.

Style

Furniture style largely depends on material. Small wrought-iron chairs, for instance, usually have intricate designs that reflect the French style with an antique touch. Chunky timber benches inspire a more rustic ambience, while sleek stainless steel chairs offer sophisticated elegance.

Space

Take out that measuring tape and work out how much space you actually have for your garden furniture. Take care to leave ample space over for walkways and enough room for other movement; you don’t want your furniture to look like they’ve been crammed in too tightly without enough elbow room left over. Note down the measurements you have made and refer to it while shopping for your outdoor furniture, whether you’re just looking at online catalogs or visiting physical furniture showrooms. Do not commit to buying furniture without checking whether its dimensions will comfortably fit your available space. No matter how elegant the design or high-quality the material, if the piece doesn’t actually fit the area, it will be of no practical use to you and you’ll end up wasting time, money, and effort.

Comfort

Your garden furniture will not be there for mere display; they need to be functional pieces you can not only use, but actually enjoy using. The key to this is checking for comfort before purchasing furniture pieces such as sofa sets, chairs, sun loungers, daybeds, and deck chairs. If you’re buying a rattan chair, for instance, sit in it and get a feel for fit and comfort. Is the chair seat roomy enough to fit you front to back and side to side, but without having you feel dwarfed by its size? If it comes with a cushion—which is recommended, to prevent sagging over time—does it have ample padding? If you’re shopping for a rattan dining set, check that the seat heights are appropriate for the table height, and that the table’s legs give the sitters plenty of clearance.

Maintenance

Maintenance needs are determined by furniture material. All-weather wicker rattan furniture will need a simple routine cleaning involving a soapy but not wet wiping using a soft cloth, and air-drying it afterwards. You may use a small toothbrush dipped in soapsuds to reach the small crevices in woven furniture, but you would need to be careful not to soak rattan furniture. As for aluminum, stainless steel, or plastic furniture, you can hose them down with warm water to clear away airborne dust and dirt. With wrought-iron metal chairs made of more traditional heavy cast iron, you will need to protect them from rust by protecting them from rain exposure and performing routine repainting.

For more information visit https://poshh.co.uk/

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General Gardening

How to Do a Tree Removal Process in 5 Easy Steps

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Removing a dying or dead tree can be a very challenging task, especially because safety is a significant concern in the whole scenario. It is best to leave it up to the pros who have been doing this for a while.

The process is tree removal can be tricky, but the five steps mentioned below could make it easy for you. So here are few things you need to keep in mind.

Steps Involved in the Removal Process

After examining the tree to check whether it is diseased, dying, or dead, there are specific steps that need to be kept in mind. These steps may seem easy for homeowners, but it is always better to hire professionals to do the job.

1.    Clearing the Area – When you plan on removing a large tree, you will require a significant amount of space to let the tree lay flat after it is removed. Therefore, you will have to estimate the height and accordingly clear the immediate area in the vicinity.

In order to do so, you will have to sift through the tree. You need to see in which direction is the tree leaning naturally. It will be of great help in determining the best direction for the fall. If there are signs of decay, there are high chances that the tree may collapse and not fall where it was previously intended.

2.    Picking Up an Escape Route – Sometimes the tree may fall out of control, and in such situations, you will require a clear path to scape and run in the other direction. Keep a tab on the areas near the tree that does not have any obstacles. All in all, you have to be prepared for everything.

3.    Gathering the Right Equipment – when The size of the tree will determine the kind of equipment you will need for cutting the tree down. You can either go with a handsaw, but in case of larger trees, you will need a chainsaw. If you do not have the right equipment with you just go for tree removal services within your location. For example if you are based in NSW, Sydney you can search for phrases like tree pruning Sydney, NSW to find services near to your location.

4.    Starting the Undercut and Backcut – After scoping the area out, you will have a pretty good idea of the fall’s direction. You will have to cut a 45-degree angle V-shape near the bottom then to induce the fall. After it is done, a cut must be made from the opposite side as well.

5.    Moving away – Right after cutting the tree, you will have to walk away and alert others around you about the falling tree.

After the tree has fallen on the ground, you will be able to remove the branches very easily. You can also cut the log into several pieces for transporting it away from the site.

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General Gardening

Practical and Affordable Home Improvement

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Social life in Australia involves quite a few outdoor events, blessed as we are with such a wonderful climate for much of the year, though the weather isn’t perfect every day, which is why so many homes and businesses are adding some cover for their outdoor areas. A shower of rain can really put a dampener on your barbecue, or have customers trying to grab their bits and pieces, along with their lunch, to scurry inside quickly. And of course, sometimes the weather is just too good, with a clear blue sky, without a cloud in sight, with you and your guests cooking almost as fast as the food on the grill. Once mostly seen on camping sites, attached to the caravan or tent, the awning has found a new lease of life not only to provide shade and shelter in the back yard, but for many of our favourite eateries too.

Functional and Simple

One of the beauties of an awning, is that it provides an excellent level of cover from the sun’s rays, and will keep everyone dry in all but very nasty and blustery storms. There is nothing really complicated about them and even the kids can extend or retract them simply. While many choose the retractable type operated by a simple crank handle, the motor operated variety sees it slide out smoothly, providing cover in seconds.

Aesthetics and Style

Awnings are available in an immensely wide range of colours and styles, so you can choose one which fits in perfectly with your home and surroundings, or choose something bright and vibrant, to catch the eye and reflect your mood. Restaurants and cafes can similarly use them for advertising themselves, or key brands available within, providing marketing opportunities as well as protection.H

Simple to Install

Fixed and retracting folding awnings in Melbourne and across the country are finding themselves in more and more places around the home and business. We have come to think of them as jutting out from a building to provide cover for the garden deck, or the café, but are more frequently being used in other areas too. Many a balcony now sports an awning, to provide shade and cover, while people enjoy the elevated views. Freestanding models also offer the same great looks and protection for the swimming pool or an extended garden patio.

Fitting an awning to your property is an extremely simple and fairly cheap home improvement, with the majority of installations installed in a very short period of time, especially when fitted to the side of a building. Any of your outdoor areas where you seek an extension to the natural shade provided can be inexpensively achieved. Not only do you have the benefit of the cover right now, to keep everyone protected while you are in the property, it can also be beneficial when it comes time to sell, by providing extra style and flare, though you also have the option of swiftly uninstalling it and taking it with you. Such is its versatility, it’s pretty likely to be able to be swiftly refitted to your new home too.

With remote control options, as well as sensors for sun, rain, wind and even timers, making the property look good while controlling the outdoor environment has never been so easy.

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General Gardening

Smart Home Improvements That Boost the Value of your Property

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If you enjoy improving your home and are looking to add value to the property, while also providing a new level of comfort, there are many ways to do this. Of course, you can’t do everything at once and by prioritising your projects, you can gradually add features, as and when you are ready. If you are planning for next year’s home improvement projects, here are a few great ideas that will boost the value of your home, while providing you with a new level of comfort.

Permanent Shading Solutions

The garden is an integral part of the living space for most of the year and shading is an essential requirement. Rather than mess around with that old rope and pulley system, why not install a state of the art folding arm awning? There are established suppliers of folding arm awnings in Melbourne who tailor the units to fit perfectly and with motorised solutions, you have effortless adjustment. A wide range of rich fabrics offer stylish and elegant shading that blends in with your home, and as the units are fabricated to fit the terrace, you can be sure of a first-class installation.

Plantation Shutters

If you want to add some character to your home, made to measure plantation shutters will do the trick. With a choice of real timber or composite materials, plantation shutters allow you to decide how much shade and privacy you want, and by dealing with an established provider, you can examine the many design options. Aluminium shutters are an ideal choice; easy to keep clean and there are some stunning powder coated colours to enhance your interior. If you would like to explore the potential that plantation shutters offer, there are online companies that can easily be found with a Google search, and they would likely send a technician to your home to discuss the many options.

Aluminium Roller Shutters

The ultimate in home security, made to measure aluminium roller shutters offer the homeowner a whole host of benefits – aside from the obvious security – roller shutters greatly improve thermal and sound insulation, and storm damage is a thing of the past once you have roller shutters installed on the windows and doors. With a choice of motorised or hand cranked units, roller shutters are designed to blend in with the surroundings, with slimline frames and the internal mechanism protected in aluminium casing. Auto locking ensures you don’t go out and forget to fasten the shutters, and whenever you are away on holiday, you can rest assured that your home is safe.

These are just a few ways in which you can improve the home, and by searching online for local suppliers, you can quickly get the ball rolling. Permanent shading in the form of a folding arm awning would be high on the list of priorities, and once that is covered, window shutters would complete the look.

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General Gardening

Super Easy Homegrown Foods You Should Plant Now

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Introduction:

We are all caught eating junk and fast food almost all the time. The toll it takes on our health and bills are significant if you look at the accumulated costs at the end of the year. Going green is the best option we have these days. Given the nature of the planet’s health along with our individual health, we ought to start taking better care of ourselves. The benefits and profits are far more than the effort required. Like growing your own food. Imagine saving all the costs you could on food and be sure of its quality because it literally grew on your own backyard.

Top Tips for Homegrown Food Items:

You can have a long list of items that you can grow in your own home. You just need to get a sense of what it takes to be a good gardener and you’ll be eating your homegrown delicious vegetables in no time. You can also have a digital setup with smart devices that can take care of the plantation for you. For which, you can also have apps on your phones that allow you to monitor their growth and health so you can leave them without a worry.

Items to Grow:

Potatoes:

When you are planting potatoes, make sure you do so in February or March. Potatoes are healthy and they can make for a great side vegetable that can be added to any dish to make it worthwhile. Potatoes are grown in potato bags. Add compost to the bag and keep adding compost when you see buds shooting up from the ground. Patience is the key with all vegetables and after 10-20 weeks, you will start to see the foliage die back. That’s the time you should dig up the soil and get your potatoes.

Peas:

If you are looking for an evergreen veggie, you should try Peas. Not only are they available all through the year, they only take 2-3 months to grow. Although some experts would advise a chicken wire or something similar to make the stem erect. Peas are nutritious, tasty and go well with other ingredients.

Spring Onions:

Spring onions are known for making any salad crunchy and enjoyable. One problem with Spring Onion plants is that they can be a target of onion fly but if you plant mint near it, that should resolve the issue. These plants can be grown in pots as well as under the ground. Try sowing them in March to provide favorable conditions. You can expect the onions to be ripe in about 8 weeks. You should let them flower before you harvest.

Conclusion:

Use enhanced tech to help you grow your own food. You can search online for smart sprinklers and monitor systems and read reviews like mobicip to get a better understanding of the kind of tech that’s available these days. Let’s use our tools to save ourselves rather than to amuse ourselves.

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Indoor Gardening

Easy Ways To Incorporate Plants Inside Your Home

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More homeowners these days are discovering the benefits of decorating with plants, and literally greening the home has been on trend in recent years. Besides adding glam and color to your home’s aesthetics, another advantage it provides is wellness. They give off oxygen while absorbing carbon dioxide, and helps purify the indoor air you breathe.

When decorating with plants, it’s worth keeping these five tips in mind:

  • Group pots of greenery in odd numbers for a casual look. The symmetry of an even-numbered grouping makes the arrangement appear more formal.
  • To add interest, mix plants of various shapes, heights and widths.
  • Color choice depends on your preference. Similar hues provide cohesiveness but if you’re aiming for variety in your décor, opt for foliage featuring different colors.
  • Like plant color, pots can be expressions of your design taste. You can have a set arrangement using plant containers of the same color and texture, or use variety to lend a more eclectic ambiance.
  • As living things, plants have preferred conditions. Be aware of these needs and make them part of your houseplant care routine. Some thrive in a moist environment while others like lots of light.

Decorating with houseplants

Incorporating plants in your décor is not that difficult to do. Try bringing nature inside your home with these simple but stylish suggestions.

  1. Empty corners in your home can be tricky to decorate, and plants provide a way for you to get creative. Putting indoor trees like yucca and ficus in colorful Huge Commercial Planters takes care of the awkward space.
  1. Don’t throw away old dinnerware. Instead, use these to create tiny indoor gardens in your home. Arrange different kinds of succulents in a soup tureen, teacup or glass and top the soil with colored marbles to add more charm.

  2. Think of indoor plants as living sculptures or artwork. Let them cascade over vessels to lend a sense of movement to your living room.

    Alternatively, mimic a still life painting with an assembly of tiny succulents. Combine round and pointy shapes with shiny and matte surfaces, tying them together using a specific color scheme.
  3. Create a green haven within your bedroom by trading one of your bedside lamps with a pot of fern or peace lily. Adding a sturdy plant in a sunny corner provides freshness. Greenery in the bedroom can help absorb pollutants from the air so that you breathe in purer air every time you get your beauty sleep.

Plants are an affordable way to freshen up your interiors. Whether your style preference is modern, traditional, minimalist, or eclectic; there is greenery to match it. Different species provide you with a range of colors, textures, and shapes to choose from. When you incorporate plants in your design, you not only breathe more life into your home but also enjoy the healing properties they provide.

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General Gardening

Ways You Can Protect Your Garden and Keep It Healthy

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There are so many wrongs things that can happen to your garden. You will lose all you have worked hard to build if you are not careful enough. You need to take some precautions to keep your garden healthy and productive.

You also need to protect your garden from pests, frost and freeze on winters. This article will give you general tips to help you take care and protect your garden:

1. Weed Control

Weeds compete for nutrients with your crops, thus your crops might not do well. They also make your garden look untidy. There are several methods you can use to keep weeds off your garden. Some of the methods include mulching, use of chemicals or you can use the weed control fabric. The weed control fabric may not apply in all situations but it will surely help. There are other natural methods of removing and controlling weeds from your garden. Pick one that is effective and affordable for you.

2. Apply Well Decomposed Manure

Always ensure that the manure you use for your garden is fully composted. The benefits of using well composted manure is that it produces high temperatures that help kill pathogens in the soil. When it is not fully composted, it may introduce bacteria or diseases to the soil that may harm your crops. For example, when an infected plant is not fully decomposed, the infection is carried back to the soil.

3. Water Regularly

It is important that you water your garden regularly to keep your plants healthy and lush. However, you need to ensure that you are doing it well. The pathogens and bacteria in the soil also need water to grow and multiply. You should water your crops at the root level only.

4. Use the Row Cover

Having a garden row cover is a clever move for your garden. It helps shield and protect your garden in so many ways. The original use of the row cover is to protect your garden from frost and freeze during winter. The thick fabric is used to protect the garden from frost and freeze. It can be used to shield your garden from pest and insects. You can use the lighter fabric row cover to keep off the insects. In summer, the garden row cover is used as sun screen for crops. Remember to leave the garden with enough air circulation when using the row covers. Additionally, they help prevent instances of cross pollination. This is important if you are keen on the variety of crops you grow.

5. Always Apply the Right Fertilizer

Applying too much or the wrong fertilizer will not only damage the soil, but it might damage the roots of the crops. This affects their ability to absorb water causing low yields. Know the type of soil in your garden and the suitable fertilizer to apply.

Proper care and maintenance of your garden will give you great yields. Most of these methods and tips are inexpensive. These tips will help you to take care of your garden.

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Pest Control

Mosquito Foggers

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Nasty mosquitos can be one of the problems in a home. When they sting its itchy and may cause diseases. The foggers are handy in ridding them. They create a fog when the insecticide solution is sprinkled. The fog is able to penetrate into the depth of grass, trees and bushes making them the best alternative. Here are foggers worth trying; –

Burgess 1443 40-ounces Outdoor Propane Insect Fogger

This propane fogger is a reliable product. It is a thermal fogger making it suitable for outdoor use. It is effective in killing even in damp and marshy regions. It holds up to 40 Oz and uses the insecticide without wastage. The fog does not damage trees or shrubs when droplets fall on them.

Tri Jet ULV Non-Thermal Flogger

The fogger is easy to set up and use and operates using electricity. Though it has not become very popular the few customers have expresses satisfaction in its effectiveness. The fogger can be used for both indoors and outdoors purposes. It is effective in eradicating mosquitoes, molds, spiders, roaches and bugs. It sprays 4000 sq. ft of territory and has a tank volume of 1 gallon, the approximate insecticide needed for 1000 sq feet is 1 quart of the insecticide. The fogger sprinkles up to thirty feet. After spraying the fog covers the area to up to 25 to 30 mins. One defect is that it is expensive.

Bonide420 Fog-Rx Propane Insect Fogger

This propane powered fogger is effective in getting rid of mosquitoes and midges. It is easy to operate and fast acting giving up to 4 days of mosquito-free time. However, it requires safety measures as the flogging fluid can shoot flames mosquito foggers

Burgess 960 40 oz. Outdoor Electric Insect Flogger

It the successor of burgess 1443 however it uses electricity instead of propane. Very effective for outdoor use. A compatible insecticide is recommended for use. Treatment may last 3 to 5 hours or longer offering protection by vaporizing the insecticide killing mosquitos and other biting insects. Dissatisfaction by the users has been expressed, stating that it does not have any effect on the number of mosquitos.

BEAMNOVA Mist Duster Blower Spray Gasoline Powered Mosquito Powered Cold-Fogger Backpack Sprayer

Its engine operates using petrol. Not only can it be used as a fogger but also can also be used in pest control. It can also be used with both liquids and dust. Users feedback is positive, it is highly recommended for its speed and works without any mechanical issues. However, it is expensive and assembly manuals, to others, may not be so helpful.

Aerosol fogger

Are simple and easy to use. There are very effective outdoors and kills mosquitos on contact when sprayed effectively.

Black Flag 190255 fogging insecticide works with a variety of foggers such as black flag, burgess, and repel thermal fogger. When sprayed it kills the mosquitos and offer protection few hours up to 3 days.  It’s well for use.

Hope the information above helps!

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Greenhouses

Greenhouse 101: 3 Useful Tips Every Beginner Should Know

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Invest in the correct seed starting supplies for your greenhouse.

If you’re looking for a gratifying hobby, cultivating your own plants in a greenhouse may be right for you. To ensure your success as a beginner, checkout the following tips:

Before you get a start plotting out your growing schedule, buy the correct materials. For starters, purchase the following basics:

  • Seeds or starters

Seeds are the most cost-efficient option for newbies. You may also avail of starters that are sold at plant nurseries.

Make sure that you’re choosing durable and disease-resistant plants. Cultivate plants that are easy to care for and won’t die easily. Here are a few examples:

  • Amaranthus
  • Aster
  • Basil
  • Cabbage
  • Carnation
  • Cucumber
  • Roses
  • Containers

You need suitable containers for growing your plants. Check that the containers you choose are deep enough to contain the plant’s root system. Otherwise, your plants won’t thrive. Additionally, make sure you sterilize your containers properly before using them.

  • Sterile soil

Do not plant on unsterilized soil as it may contain parasites and bacteria that will harm your seedlings. If you still prefer to use soil that’s collected straight from the ground or used before, sterilize it. The best option, however, is to invest your money and buy fresh sterile soil.

  • Fertilizer

You’ll need fertilizer to boost the growth of your plants. Note that most of the commercial soil being sold in stores already have nutrients in them to feed plants for approximately three weeks. So, be careful not to overuse fertilizer when you’re beginning. To be safe, give fertilizer a little bit at a time. You may start by giving a diluted fertilizer solution and then slowly strengthen the solution per week.

  • Wear appropriate clothes and footwear for gardening.

Make sure to choose clothes that are fit for gardening chores. Interestingly, you have to avoid wearing bright-colored outfits because these attract insects that will follow you inside your greenhouse.

Make sure you wear gardening boots that properly protect your feet while you work in your greenhouse. Check out online sites such as workboothub.com for a list of the best gardening boots you can choose from.

  • Install an adequate lighting system inside your greenhouse.

In late spring up to the summer months, sufficient light will reach your plants in the greenhouse. If you want to plant year-round, you need to invest in a supplementary lighting system so that you can continue to cultivate healthy plants all throughout autumn and winter.

When you’re starting out and have a small crop, a regular fluorescent strip hung 3 to 7 inches over your plants will be enough. Once you have a bigger area, upgrade your lighting system to LED grow lights. These are quite the popular choice as they conserve energy while lighting up larger areas.

Follow these basic tips and continue to research the best practices for making your greenhouse thrive. The effort you put into your very own greenhouse will definitely be worth it!

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General Gardening

Tips for Gardening During the Colder Months

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If you thought your gardening skills would be put to rest during the winter, you were wrong. Your plants need you more than ever in order to survive Winter. While some plants are sturdy and capable of surviving a freeze, others cannot. Give everything in your garden a fighting chance to make it through even the coldest winter.

Keep Your Plants Warm

When plants freeze, their cellular design is damaged. This often results in death. Avoid this from happening by keeping your plants as warm as possible. At night, consider covering your plants with straw or fleece. Uncover them during the day so they absorb plenty of sunlight.

Trees, especially those designed to survive cold weather, are still susceptible to damage. Instead of worrying about their leaves, it’s more important to keep their roots warm by pouring a thick layer of mulch around the base of each tree.

If you have especially tender plants in your garden, they should be transplanted to a pot. This way, you can easily move them indoors to a warmer environment such as a winter greenhouse until the temperatures outside rise once again.

Prepare the Lawn

During the winter, your lawn becomes very vulnerable. Avoid running and playing on it as it may damage the surface. Instead, make winter a time when your lawn gets to rest.

It’s also important to fertilize your lawn during the winter so that it gets enough nutrients to thrive. If you saved all of the leaves and trimmings from autumn, then you should have a hefty compost pile. You can also bring in additional loam to ensure your lawn is properly cared for.

Bring in More Trees

Plant new varieties of trees and shrubs in your garden. The soil should be perfectly moist for new roots to grow deep into the ground. Choose species that are known for being hardy during the cold months, like evergreens.

Add mulch around the seedlings to keep them warm and protected. If the weather gets too windy, it may be necessary to tie the tree to a stake for additional support. Any snow or ice should be gently removed from the branches as soon as possible.

Care for the Birds

Birds and other wildlife are vital to the health of your garden. Beautiful to watch, they also eat insects that may otherwise damage your plants. That’s why you should place some feeders around your property. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the assortment of winter birds flying into your garden for a meal every day.

Temperatures are dropping so do not ignore your garden. In fact, you need to spend even more time tending to the needs of your plants to ensure they survive until spring.

By taking the necessary steps to carefor your garden now, you’re sure to have a beautiful, blossoming garden comewarmer weather. If you need any tips, look for a local tradesman skilled at gardening.

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Indoor Gardening

5 Reasons Why You Need an HVAC System for Your Grow Room

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If you have decided to flex your green thumb on an indoor basis rather than outside, you’ve likely given a great deal of thought already to the prospect of building a grow room. This can be conducted in various spaces throughout the home, depending on the size that you need. Some people are fully satisfied with a closet-sized space, while others require an entire master bedroom to conduct their growing operations.

One thing that remains consistent in any of these situations, however, is the necessity of recreating a natural environment for one’s plants. This includes lights and water sources, and also a fair amount of HVAC-related tech. While the necessity for ventilation is well-known in these circumstances, what’s lesser known is exactly why this is.

Airflow

You’ve probably been in a room with no airflow before. No windows to open, no fans to run, making the air stifling and thick. This isn’t fun to deal with, and it’s no fun for your plants, either. Adequate airflow mimics the air that they would receive if they were growing naturally (i.e. outdoors), which can strengthen the stems of plants as they grow.

Temperature

When growing indoors to keep your business private or simply to produce a greater yield than you could with whatever outdoor space is available to you, monitoring the temperature of your grow room is key. Grow lights throw a substantial amount of heat, but it’s important that the room not be made too hot by the temperatures produced by your lighting-system. This can be alleviated, to a degree, with the implementation of lights that throw a bit less heat.

Humidity

The humidity in the air is another thing that you will need to pay diligent attention toward if you are trying to grow anything inside. Excess moisture in the air, paired with the heat given off by your growing equipment, can result in mold and completely ruin your crop. A properly installed HVAC-system will remove extra humidity in the air and make it easier to keep track of the humidity levels in your grow room.

Ventilation

Chances are, you want to avoid making the outside of your house reek like the inside of your grow room. The most effective way to minimize or even eliminate this issue is to install a ventilation system that will filter out the smell of your growing crop. You’ll also want an HVAC-system with a high-quality MERV 13 filter that will keep the air in your grow room as healthy as possible-a plus for you and your plants.

Technology

Growing-indoors means that there are a lot of specific steps that you must take to ensure a proper growing environment. Essentially, one must synthesize the environment of the outdoors (particularly from a region wherein the plant grows especially well). This means that there is a lot of tech going into this project, and you want to get the most out of it.

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General Gardening

Essential Heavy Equipment For Your Garden Maintenance

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Do you find yourself always tending to your lawn and keeping it neat? Gardening is one of the most therapeutic hobbies you can do at home. Some people even level up their landscaping hobby by purchasing tools and types of machinery to grow and cultivate their plants properly. Gardening can be tedious if you get into it seriously and you’ll need some extra help using heavy equipment to maintain your garden.

Here are some of the essential heavy-duty equipment you might want to start using:

  1. Skid-steer Loader

A skid-steer loader consists of heavy equipment parts like wheel bearings and loader-arms. It can also have various attachments depending on the kind of work you want to do – if it’s snowing, you can clear out the snow in your yard with a snowblower attachment or if you need to do excavating jobs you can attach a backhoe to it.

For a typical homeowner, a small-frame skid steer is best in doing landscaping, hauling, and moving garden materials. Since it is lightweight and compact, it’s easy to maneuver around. It’s a base motor equipment for several heavy-duty tasks and its versatility can save you more money in the long run.

  1. Landscape Tiller

Having a cultivated soil is always best for making a great garden for your backyard. Your soil is the foundation for creating planting beds to growing your vegetation by having it neatly leveled, graded, and pulverized.

You will need a landscape tiller to make your soil ready for planting – it needs to be broken apart due to rocks, weeds and mostly compacted soil that’s hard to tackle. The tiller will do the heavy labor for you; it will also mix up the compost so that your land will be conducive to planting your flowers, vegetables, or even Bermuda grass.

Seasons change, and you need to grow several different kinds of plants that go with it, and tilling the soil makes it easier for your plants to grow abundantly.

  1. Lawn Tractor

Mowing is an activity you need to do to keep your yards neat and trimmed. If you’re just starting to landscape your residence, you may want to purchase a small lawn tractor. These are often called ride-on lawnmowers which are motorized and are suitable for medium-sized lawns going up to an acre.

These types of mowing tractors have advanced features, a wide-array of adjustable cutting decks, and come with better engines. Research on what kind of tractors are right for your area and this will definitely be an excellent investment for you.

 Conclusion

Your garden, an outdoor space in your house, is in need of tender loving care throughout the year. Weather changes from time to time and it may affect your soil and plants; you need to prepare yourself in doing hard labor for a number of times to maintain your landscape. Gardening is not a simple task, but it’s worth doing when you see your flowers bloom in your backyard.

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General Gardening

A Homeowner’s Guide To Shed Organization: The Do’s And Don’ts

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Your shed is a beneficial part of your property, but it is usually overlooked and undervalued. It is where homeowners store unused items, tools, supplies, and anything that won’t fit inside the house, so things get quickly out of control if you’re not aware of the do’s and don’ts of shed organization. Let’s get started!

Shed Organization – Do’s

  1. Determine If DIY Or Ready-Made Garden Sheds Are Right For You

While you can save creating your DIY shed, why not look at great garden sheds online? These are ready-made are now available to make your life a lot easier. It is crucial to have a well-designed garden shed because it usually stores dangerous substances. Ready-made garden sheds are engineered and built by professionals to ensure that homeowners will have less hassle organizing their stuff. If you’re ready to get organized, make sure that your existing shed can handle order. If not, invest in a new one.

  1. Organize With Shed Shelving

Shelving is an essential aspect of shed organization. Before you start piling things in your shed, be sure to have an adequate number of shelves. Organize the items according to what you use the most. For example, you can store everyday tools within easy reach and somewhere where you can easily see them. Stow rarely used items on top. To prevent nasty incidents, put bulky or heavy items at floor level.

  1. Declutter Your Home

In your free time, it would be nice to declutter your home to get rid of the things you need to throw away. Sometimes we store unwanted items in our shed thinking that they can still be used in the future. However, they may get damaged over time, rendering them unusable. Remove residential rubbish as early as possible to prevent accumulating trash in your shed. You can always repurpose old cupboards and shed furniture to save money.

  1. Use Shovel Racks

Your hardware and cleaning tools, like forks, spades, hoes, and brooms are all necessary, so you need to organize them in a shovel rack. You can create a shovel rack from a piece of plywood with slots or using an old pallet. Attach the shovel rack securely on the wall.

  1. Use Pegboard

Attaching pegboard on the walls enable you to hang all types of tools, making them accessible and also saving space. You can hang your power tools, hand tools, sprinklers, hoses, paintbrushes, and gardening shears. Make your pegboards fun and bright by painting them with different colors which also serve as codes for tool organization.

  1. Use Household Items For Storage

Small metal items, such as screws, clips, pins, nails, bolts, and other hardware bits can be stored in repurposed mason jars. A door shoe organizer is a good place to store your seed packets.

  1. Use Hooks

Hooks are your best buddies in your garden shed. You can use them to hang tools such as secateurs and trowels. Hook your tools on a shower curtain rail, old palette, or a window frame.

  1. Use The Ceiling

Convert ply boards into a useful space or shelving up top. You can hang your big bikes from the ceiling so that you can reclaim some floor space.  You can even use an old PVC pipe as a fishing rod holder.

  1. Use Magnets

Magnets can do wonders for shed organizing. A magnetic tool holder and magnetic knife rack can store pliers, files, screwdrivers, and other metal tools.

  1. Hang Your Garden Hose

You can make a perfect hose hanger out of an old bucket or cable-spool. A wall-mounted cylinder or an old car wheel can be converted into a hose hanger. By doing so, your garden hose is accessible and ready whenever you need to water your geraniums, organic veggies, and all sorts of your plants in your greenhouse or garden.

Shed Organization – Don’ts

  1. Store Paint

Storing paint in your shed will leave it unusable over time due to temperature fluctuations. Store paint in dry places where the temperatures are low, such as closet indoors or basements. Contact your local recycling agency to dispose of old paint.

  1. Store Pet Food And Paper Products

Paper products, such as napkins and paper towels, and pet food can attract rodents and bugs. Store these products separately and away from high temperatures.

  1. Use Your Shed As A Dumping Area

Immediately dispose of trash and don’t dump unused items in your shed. If you’re 100% sure that items are not usable anymore, it is best to get rid of them.

Conclusion

Organizing your shed can be fun and exciting, allowing you to use your resourcefulness and creativity. There are many things you can find at home that can be repurposed as shed organizers. While you can create your DIY garden shed, you can always purchase ready-made garden sheds online if you’re too busy or don’t have the interest to build one. Every home repair and maintenance activity is made easier and faster if you have a well-designed and organized shed. Happy organizing!

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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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Greenhouses

Deep Clean Your Greenhouse

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Plants love the warm, humid, cozy protection of a greenhouse. The problem is that pests and diseases do also. We have to get rid of them to keep our precious plants healthy. A deep cleaning does not only that but also improves the overall aesthetics of the greenhouse. It’s a job—there’s no doubt about that, but it helps if you break the chore down into the simple steps below rather than careen from one task to another and back again. Luckily enough, the folks at HousewaresInsider.com have compiled a short list of handy steps to follow.

Clear Out

That would be everything: plants, soil, weeds, debris of any kind, containers, equipment, clutter that somehow made its way into your greenhouse. There can be no place for any creepy crawlers or pathogens to hide

Sweep

“Shop vac” or sweep down walls, internal structures and peripherals, such as tables, benches and containers. Start at the top where dangerous organisms lurk in such places as rafters and window ledges. Clean the floor of the assorted debris that gathers there: soil, organic matter, weeds, broken pottery shards.

Scrub

Now scrub or power wash everything. If you use soap, be sure that it is a gentle, natural soap that leaves no residue. Otherwise, rinse very thoroughly to remove any residue. Hydrogen peroxide-based products are both user- and environment-friendly. Garden disinfectants work fine, as do specialty greenhouse cleaners combining sulfuric acid and wetting agents. Whatever you use, it is of utmost importance that you follow manufacturer’s directions.

Wood tables and benches and any concrete areas (and, actually, any textured surface) need special attention. They are favorite places for root rot diseases, algae and insects to breed. If you are going to reuse containers, clean thoroughly to remove all soil and debris even if there has been no problems with disease.

Let the Sun In

Plants need all the sunlight they can get. Keeping the glass clean is a “must do.” Begin by lifting of any moss or algae with any utensil that won’t scratch the glass, but you really can’t beat those plastic plant labels that can get into every crack and crevice. Wash the glass with a firm brush and a mild all-purpose liquid cleaner that doesn’t need rinsing. Open the windows to speed up drying and give the hinges a quick fix of WD-40 while you’re at it.

Clean Gutters and Water Butts

To clean the gutters, put on rubber gloves and scoop out the accumulated debris. Use a wire coat hanger to “ream out” the top of fall pipes. Then use the hose to sluice away the remaining dirt.

To clean water butts, tip over to drain out any standing water. Scrub out the inside with a coarse brush and rinse with clean water.

Maintain

Are you ready to resolve to keep the greenhouse clean? Not only to save yourself work but also because it’s easier and less expensive to prevent insect infestation and diseases than to deal with them once they have settled in. Some routine preventive measures:

  • Sanitize tools, containers and equipment immediately after use,
  • Wash your hands prior to contact with plants, soil or equipment,
  • Wash your gardening gloves after use,
  • Keep a pair of shoes or boots to be used only in the greenhouse,
  • Keep plants (and the floor) free of weeds,
  • Toss diseased plants immediately, and (believe it or not)
  • Avoid bright-colored clothing, especially yellow or blue—you’ll attract insects who will “stalk” you right into the greenhouse.
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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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General Gardening

Is it Safe to Garden Near your Septic System?

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Food is the source of survival for every living thing. Yet, if contaminated, it can become the foundation of sickness, caused by bacteria. This can happen when food is grown in contaminated soil. Is it safe to garden near your septic system? No, it is not safe for vegetables. The water and wastewater measurement are too difficult for the non professional gardener.