Using Your Backyard In Place Of Hired Venues

garden party designEven wealthy consumers are always looking for the most economical and cost-effective ways to entertain. This is especially true for those with lots of children, extended families and friends. Finding and paying for venues to host important celebrations can prove financially taxing over time. With the right outdoor improvements, however, you can start hosting impressive events right in your own backyard.

When you start creating an outdoor improvement plan, make sure to consider both functionality and aesthetics. Not only do you want this place to look good, but you also want it to meet the full range of your basic needs. Choose a stone or rock patio that will stand up to lots of traffic and wear and tear. You can highlight this with a flagstone walkway or other aesthetic elements in order to create the desired ambiance.

Another vital point to consider is whether or not the space and all its features will be easy to maintain. This is especially true when the seasons change. Look for furnishings, structural elements and outdoor accessories that are moisture resistant.

Take stock of the amount of space you have and see how you can use this area most efficiently. It may be beneficial to take advantage of the vertical space. Building up will allow you to fit more features into a much more modest area.

Create a place for seating such as a patio or an enclosed porch. This can be centered in the middle of your flagstone walkway while extending out to all sides. There is even the option of building an elevated station with equipment for food preparation located underneath this structure. You are only limited by your budget and your own imagination. Best of all, you can implement a project like this one in feasible, affordable increment by continuing to add to your design as new funds become available.

It is important for homeowners to consider how well their designs will hold up and function in all types of weather. An all-weather design will give you access to a suitable space for entertaining throughout each and every season. These efforts could make it necessary for you to incorporate both heating and cooling elements. For instance, you can install an outdoor heater for the colder months, while planting lots of trees and shrubbery to create a shaded area for when the temperatures soar.

You also have to think about how you want to prepare meals for your guests and serve them. Creating a functional outdoor kitchen will add tremendous value to your property line. This will also eliminate the need to have large troops of people moving about in the home interior. With a fully-equipped kitchen, you can have everything you need for serving a complete meal and plenty of libation, right outside.

Choose kitchen features that suit your personality and your cooking style. For instance, a large, charcoal or propane grill could be ideal for those who like standing by the flames and grilling lots of seafood and meat. Other families will benefit best from the installation of a wood fired pizza oven. These versatile outdoor appliances can cook high quality pizzas that are perfect for birthday celebrations, retirement and anniversary parties and relaxing evenings with friends.

Home Remodeling Upgrades to Consider for Spring

Now that the season of spring is officially here, homeowners are in a hurry to reverse the unsightly winter effects that have taken a toll on the exterior condition of their homes. We like to call this “spring cleaning”, which can include everything from reorganizing closets to lawn care. No matter what your springtime agenda may be for your home, you may want to also consider some additional upgrades that are perfect to implement this time of year. These upgrades can enhance your quality of home life, as well as, increase property value. Continue reading to learn some recommended spring remodeling upgrades that could potentially be perfect for your home!

Deck, Patio, and Porch Remodels

If you are a lover of the outdoors, and spend much of your time in the family’s’ outside living areas, then you most certainly want to look into upgrading your existing deck, patio, or porch. There are several quick and affordable enhancements you can make to these areas, including stamped and stained outdoor concrete terraces. You can choose to extend the deck or patio to make it larger, perhaps adding a functional gazebo or awning, or even some built-in benches or posts, tables, bridges, or pathways. You can also want to consider replacing and remodeling your patio or deck altogether. Not only will this increase your home’s value, it will add more square footage the available living space.

Rubber Roofing Installation

A new and popular option for residential roofing is called rubber roofing. And now is the time to have your roof replaced if it is old or in poor condition. Not only is rubber roofing easy and quick to install, it lasts much longer than traditional asphalt shingles. It is also easy to manage since it doesn’t require extensive on-going maintenance. Rubber roofing is virtually customizable too since it comes in a countless variety of colors and styles. It protects against inclement weather, rain, water leaks, and drafts, making it a cost-effective option for homeowners.

Door Replacement

Most modern houses have more than one door that exits to the outside. For this reason, doors play a major role in the curb appeal of a home. Of course they also play a large role in energy efficiency, draft protection, and more. This time of year is a perfect opportunity to have your exterior doors and storm doors replaced. You can choose from modern designs, colors, and styles that better match the look and feel of your home. It may sound like an insignificant change, but a front door or side door upgrade makes a huge different aesthetically. You’ll be glad you did!

Tips To Avoid Home Renovation Mistakes

Are you planning to renovate your property? Consider these tips to avoid common home renovation mistakes.

Don’t rush to start a home renovation process: If you’ve a clear idea regarding what you expect from your home renovation project, then you’ve won half the battle. A well thought-out plan with perfect budgeting as well as project sequencing will not only help you to effectively handle the stress of a home renovation procedure but also enable to complete the project within the stipulated time frame.

Take enough time to choose your building contractor: When you decide to hire a contractor for your home remodeling project, make sure that you dig beyond the surface to choose a professional service provider. Compare quotes collected from different contractors, look for referrals, undertake a thorough background check, and most significantly speak to them directly to know about their skills and abilities, before zeroing in on a builder.

Create a realistic budget: A renovation project usually sets you back more than you initially anticipate. There will be leaks, rusted pipelines and other issues which you may notice only once the project commences, leading to additional expenses. An effective strategy to tackle the unforeseen expenses during the renovation is to add 15% to 20% to the total cost calculations you have already made.

Be sure to abide by the building codes: Based on your home renovation project’s intricacy and scope of the work, you may be entailed to obtain a permit from the local building authority. The whole procedure as part of obtaining the approval may appear hectic. But failing to comply with the building permit related paper works, rules and requirements will be even worse, as it – besides resulting in hefty fines – can delay or sometimes constrain your renovated property’s sale.

Pay attention while choosing building materials: Perhaps the most important thing you’ve to care of while remodeling your home is check for the quality of building materials. With enhanced safety features, you can never go wrong investing on branded quality materials. Not only do they delay wear and tear and cut down maintenance cost significantly but also make your living easy. Most of all, it is vital to ensure your property’s structural integrity.

How To Plan For A Successful Home Renovation

Many home buyers run into serious spatial concerns just five to seven years after having moved into their new homes. Families grow and change. Houses, however, do not. If this sounds familiar, you may want to renovate your property, rather than selling it and searching for a new one.

With a renovation project, you can expand your current abode or radically alter its interior design in order to free up space. For instance, your project may be as simple as knocking down a few interior walls in order to create larger and more open spaces. This type of interior layout can be far more flexible in terms of meeting the needs of growing households than are those that have been sectioned off.

Some households opt to add in-law units to their properties. These sit on the same tract of land but they are entirely separate from the original structures. If you have an aging relative or a college-age child living in your home, this is a great way to give your loved one more space while still living in the same basic area. Units like these can also be rented out in the future for additional income.

Before beginning these efforts, you should determine your budget and decide how you will fund this project. Some families may need to implement these projects in affordable stages. This allows them to pay for various improvements as the funding becomes available. Keep in mind that you do not need a tremendous amount of money to make impressive changes at home. You may even find that these efforts can be a lot cheaper than trying to upgrade to a bigger property by simply selling your current house.

There are many builders who may be willing to accept retention payments. Retention payments allow you to remit funding for each phase of a project right after the last phase has been completed and approved. It gives you the chance to verify that the workmanship is up to your standards, while giving you a longer period of time to cover the full costs of these endeavors.

If you have additional goals aside from creating more usable space, you should define these before you start shopping around for a builder. For instance, you may want to make your home more energy efficient or more aesthetically pleasing. Knowing what you want in advance of starting is key for choosing the right contractors and building materials.

Determine whether or not it will be possible to earn any credits or rebates by altering your design. Adding on solar panels or increasing water efficiency is one way to qualify for special government grants. Anything that you do to protect or improve the local environment could lead to the award of funding that you can use to offset other aspects of your improvement project.

Start screening local custom home design companies to find the right professionals to head your renovation up. Look for builders that are aligned with reputable supply companies and who are willing to stand behind their work. You can find a lot of reputable builders online, many of which have comprehensive image galleries that host photos of their past renovation projects.

How To Repair Your Residential Log Cabin

Keep a regular maintenance schedule

The first step in repairing your residential log cabin is actually to keep a regular maintenance schedule. In fact, with regularly scheduled inspections that you can do on your own, you can detect any potential problems that need to be addressed by an experienced contractor. You want to do this check at least once a year to ensure that no single issue will go on for too long without being detected and fixed. You need to take the necessary time to go over all the house from the roof all the way to the foundation. It might be a good idea to have a checklist so that you do not forget to look for anything of importance. If there is anything that catches your attention even if you are not sure about whether it is a problem or not, you should make a note of it. Taking pictures or making a short video might also make it easier to show the problem to your contractor ahead of a future maintenance or repair visit.

Simple tasks such as keeping the wood clean and making sure that the coating is still effective at repelling water can be done routinely without any special equipment. Likewise, gutters and pipes should be cleared so that no water is accumulated or sent back towards the house.

How to keep the roof of your residential log cabin leak-free?

The roof is an important element for moisture control in your residential log cabin. If your roof is covered with shingles, each one needs to be inspected to make sure that none is damaged creating an opening in your roof. A properly maintained roof will not develop leaks and will be able to resist heavy rains, snow as well as excessive heat. Keeping the roof free from all sorts of damages protects your entire residential log cabin from the inside out.

Avoid future problems with proper sealing

The logs of your wall must be checked to find out if they are still properly sealed. The corner notches must be carefully inspected as they are a common place where leaks tend to occur. It is important that they are all properly sealed. If any leaks or cracks are detected between or in the logs, they need to be sealed otherwise they will cause the wood to rot by accumulating excess moisture.

It is best to leave the sealing to professionals. However, if you are adamant about doing it yourself, there are a few basic elements that you must consider. Most importantly, you should only use products that are meant to be used for log cabins. Opt for a product that is not a fad and is likely to be available for years to come because once you have made your choice you will need to keep using that same product over time. Indeed, there are different products that are not compatible with each other and require that the previous coat be removed before re-sealing.

Repairing and replacing damaged wood

If you notice that part of your logs is rotting, you need to intervene quickly. First, you need to find what caused the wood to rot. In most cases, the root cause is moisture. Fix that problem to make sure that you will not lose larger sections of your logs to rot. Then you need to remove the part of the wood that has rotted and replace it with a similar piece of wood preferably from the same supplier. Nail the new section of wood into the empty space. This type of repair requires special equipment and precision, it may be best to let a professional handle it and not attempt to do it on your own, unless it is something that you have successfully done before.

Repair damage caused by insects in untreated wood

If you used wood that was not properly treated or maintained to resist insects, your residential log cabin may fall victim to insect damage. In this case, you need to buy insecticide that you can use to plug the holes dug by these insects. In this way, you kill the insects and close the holes in the wood at the same time. This is an easy repair to do on your own. Nevertheless, to make sure that you will not have this problem in the future, you should consider having a professional inspect your home to make sure that all the logs have been properly treated and you should maintain the treatment up to date by following a strict schedule.

Common problems with windows and doors

Over time you may notice various problems in areas around your doors and windows. Leaks tend to occur there which is why you always need to pay special attention to them when inspecting your home. One of the reasons for this is the fact that large gaps tend to form in these areas. An easy way to solve this problem is with expanding foam which will fill in the gap and prevent water accumulation or heat loss in cold weather. With a can of foam and a foam gun, you can get this done with precision and in an economical manner.

A regular maintenance schedule where the exterior and interior of your log cabin is checked for any signs of cracks, leaks or any potential source of damage to the house is an important part of preventing serious damage to your residential log cabin. Taking preventive action will eliminate the need to perform a complete restoration which can be costly, but necessary on poorly maintained cabins. Additionally, there are routine maintenance tasks that are very simple yet crucial and can be performed by any homeowner without the need to hire a professional. However, when it comes to actually repairing you residential log cabin, it is best that the work be done by a contractor who has a lot of experience and is knowledgeable.

Tips for Spotting Dangers When Mowing Grass

So, you have your lawnmower and are about to launch on that much overdue grass cutting exercise.

Before doing so though, there are certain dangers that you should protect yourself against – and here are a few top tips as to how to go about doing so.

1. Walk around the area to be mown before you start. Make sure you remove any branches, sticks, stones and anything else that could fly up into your cutting machinery. If you hit such obstacles, they could damage your cutting edges or shoot off at odd directions and be potentially dangerous.

Even if it is an area you have mown before, check for new additions such as branches that might have fallen out of nearby trees or bones that your dog might have helpfully left in the grass for you to find with your lawnmower!

2. If it is an area you have not mown previously, try to make sure that it is at least reasonably flat. Things such as raised bumps or creases in the land can be devastating for a lawnmower. If the ground looks particularly bumpy, it will be very sensible to consider rolling it and eliminating those crinkles and bumps before you start on it with your mower.

3. Keep an eye open for electric cables. These can be particularly dangerous if they were buried underground and not in compliance with regulations. That means that although they should be at a certain minimum depth and protected, some people in the past might have simply buried them at a shallow depth and in ordinary electric sheathing which might mean they start to protrude above ground over time. Hit those with a lawnmower and you could be facing serious problems.

If you are mowing in an area where there are electrically-driven fountains or lights, be sure you know where the cables run and that they are safe.

4. Be clear that you know how to safely operate or drive your lawnmower. It doesn’t matter whether it is a zero-turn lawnmower or a walk-behind model, there are certain techniques and operating instructions that must be understood if the machine is to be used safely. Be certain you have read up on these

5. Do not let young children play anywhere even remotely near your lawnmower while you are using it. Kids are notoriously unaware of danger and that game of football can be some metres away and apparently safe when suddenly one of the children, in the excitement, will run towards the lawnmower.

Ban children from the area altogether for the duration of your cutting.

6. Be cautious with slopes and inclines. This is perhaps more likely to be an issue with sit-on lawnmowers and it can be extremely dangerous if you’re trying to tackle a gradient that is beyond the maximum capacity of your machine. People have been seriously injured and even killed in this fashion. So, be certain you understand the maximum incline you can safely tackle.

Hardscape Ideas for Your Small Backyard

For those that are not sure what hardscape is, it includes the heavier elements in designing your backyard like your patio, driveway, rocks, stones, stone benches, arbors, etc. It can also include installing sprinkler systems and installation of swimming pools and fountains. Now that you know what hardscape includes let us look at some design ideas for your small backyard.

• Visual levels – to give your backyard a dramatic look create some levels there. You can add a pathway laced with flowers, bushes, etc to give it an aesthetic appeal. You can also convert a wall into a vertical garden. You could even use the top portion of the wall to hold your plants. You can use steps to reach this high wall and the area that surrounds the area can be a seating area with a nice stone bench or two.

• Living water flows – you might think that it would not be possible to add a water feature to your small backyard but it can be done. Doing this will add dimension to your yard and it will also make a soothing area to come to when you want to relax and unwind.

• Isolated islands – to make this happen you will need to choose a spot that is the center of your backyard. Using tiles to create an island make sure that it is big enough to accommodate a couple of chairs with a side table between them. Another type of hardscape would be a trellis or two behind the chairs so you could plant climbing roses or other climber plants, ivy, or creepers. You could also plant some plants. In a few months you will have your own special island.

• Interesting pathways – you can make a special pathway from your backdoor to your special island or the living water oasis. Use artistic blocks to spruce up your pathway. You can plant palms or bamboo shoots along the boundary of the pathway or keep flowering plants there. Put in some solar lights to light up your pathway.

• Decor – keep any decor that you use simple so it will not take away from your special areas. You want to use hardscape elements that will breathe space into your special island or water oasis.

Make sure that anything you have built is easy maintained. You want to make sure that you spend more time enjoying your special area instead of maintaining it. In your area you may want to include some lighting so you can enjoy it at night. If you do make sure that you include citronella candles to keep the bugs away.

Five Things to Know About Synthetic Grass

Artificial turf has changed a great deal since it first came on the market. Today’s turf systems usually consist of a drainage layer, a multi-layered backing system, and synthetic grass blades. Today’s systems are usually infilled, meaning that the blades are dispersed among top soil, which can be made of a variety of different materials. This is designed to make the turf more stable and resilient. If you are considering artificial turf, here are five things to help you understand this product.

Cost

The cost of an artificial lawn varies but is usually $10-$20 per square foot. The price fluctuates depending on the characteristics of the area in which the turf is being installed including the area’s size, condition, and geographic location. The specific type of turf used also impacts the cost.

Maintenance

Synthetic grass does not require watering or weeding, but there are some necessary maintenance steps to undertake to keep it in good condition. Because artificial turf is not self-sanitizing like a natural lawn, it does need to be periodically sprayed clean and treated with a disinfectant. If pets use the turf, it will need to be cleaned more often.

Warranty and Disposal

Artificial lawns usually carry a warranty of 8-15 years. The length of the warranty is how the long the consumer can usually expect the imitation lawn to last. When disposing of synthetic grass, it may be possible to recycle certain components. Consumers can contact recycling centers in their area to find a place that handles this type of product.

Installation

Imitation lawn is installed in a manner similar to carpet. It is usually tightly stretched over a base. Care must also be taken to avoid the appearance of seams. Usually, there is a base of decomposed granite with a weed barrier. The lawn is cut to size and nailed into place, and the installer uses a treatment to conceal seams. Once the turf is in place, the infill material is applied.

Types of Infill

There are many different types the installer may use with synthetic grass. Crumb rubber, which comes from recycled tires, is one option. Crumb rubber can also be coated with a colorant, an anti-microbial product, or a sealer. There are also many organic options made from natural materials including cork and coconut shell fibers. Silica sand, or coated silica sand, is another type of material. EDPM, a polymer elastomer, usually comes in green and tan shades and is an infill product that remains in the same solid form at high temperatures. Thermo Plastic Elastomer, or TPE, is considered a non-toxic that is free of heavy metals and can also be recycled and reused at the end of the turf’s lifespan. TPE is also available in many colors. It is important for consumers to research each type of infill extensively to understand its pros and cons, as well as to understand which purposes it is best suited for.

When shopping for synthetic grass, be a savvy consumer. Research the ins and outs of artificial turf so you can choose the option that best meets your needs for long-lasting enjoyment.

Steps to Providing Total Lawn Care in the Spring

As the weather warms up, you may find yourself engaging in some spring cleaning to tidy up the inside of your home. This season is also perfect for sprucing up the outside of your home and creating an outdoor space to enjoy throughout the warmer months. Here are five ways to provide total lawn care for your yard in the spring.

Complete a Soil Test

After a long winter, you may find your yard has some bare or brown spots. Before you begin maintenance on these areas, it is important to test the soil to find out if there is an underlying reason why grass is not growing in these areas. Many local cooperative extension services will test a sample of your soil. Once a soil test is done, you can find out if there are any nutrients you need to add to get it up to par.

Reseed Your Yard

After correcting any soil issues, your next step in total lawn care is reseeding your yard. Aerating your outdoor space is a critical first step, as it will alleviate soil compaction. Be sure to choose grass seed that is suited to your area’s climate. If you’re seeding a large area, using a broadcast spreader is a good idea. If you do not have access to one, you can easily seed by hand. After reseeding, be sure to water the area regularly and consider using fertilizer to be sure the seed has a successful start.

Give Your Yard a Good Mowing

Though it may be tempting to cut your grass short, this is not really beneficial to your yard. The best way to provide total lawn care is to only cut your grass down to the tallest height recommended for your type of grass. Allowing the grass to be a little taller is more effective at keeping weeds out because taller grass has a bigger root system and is able to handle hot temperatures better. Taller grass also shades the underlying soil, which provides better water retention. Each time you mow, you should only take off the top one-third of each blade of grass. Leave the clippings on the yard as this provides valuable organic matter.

Give Your Mower a Tune-Up

Once you have pulled your mower back out for the season, it is a great opportunity to give it a tune up. You can learn how to do this yourself or have someone else do it for you. Mowers need tune-ups about once a year, and this is the perfect time to get it done before the busy mowing season. During the tune-up, be sure to sharpen your mower’s blades and change its oil.

Get Watering… But Not Too Soon

Watering your lawn is important, but it is crucial not to start doing so too early. Spring tends to be a rainy time, and watering is often not necessary until late in the season. Hold off on watering your grass until the weather is hot and dry. Even if the grass begins exhibiting drought stress signs, it is still fine to wait. Doing so allows the grass roots to grow deeper as they look for water. This deep rooting will help your yard handle the summer heat.

By following a few key steps, you can provide total lawn care for your yard this spring. With a little time and effort, you can have an outdoor space that you can enjoy throughout the warm months to follow.

6 Types Of Kitchen Faucets

Kitchen faucets are a must have. If you are constructing a house or you are planning of renovating your kitchen there are many types of faucets that you can go for. Here are some of the most common ones:

Pull-out

They feature a spray wand that pulls out straight at you. They are common in restaurants and other food facilities. They are loved by many people as the pull-out nozzle makes it easy for you to wash food and other kitchen items. It also makes it easy for you to clean the sink.

Most of the modern pull-out faucets have the ability of turning 360 degrees allowing you to reach all the target areas.

Wall mount

From their name, these are faucets installed on the wall. They give your kitchen a custom look. They are usually installed to the wall above the kitchen sink. They come with a number of benefits. One of the benefits is that they make it easy for you to clean the countertop as there is nothing to distract you.

To properly install the units you need the services of professional plumbers and masons.

Pull down

They are similar to pull-out faucets only that they pull down straight into the sink to provide you with widespread use. They are ideal when you are cleaning or washing the vegetables. They are easy to pull down thus allowing you to easily water anywhere you want.

Fusion style

If you are constructing a commercial kitchen this are the faucets to go for. The cool thing with them is that you can install them in any part of your kitchen and still achieve the same results. Interior designers recommend that you should install them at the center of the sink in order to make them more decorative.

Disc

They are characterized by a single handle that controls the flow and temperature of water. They function through the use of two discs that open and close in order to control the flow of both hot and cold water.

Two handle

They are not only elegant, they are also ideal for homeowners who like controlling hot and cold water from separate handles.

Conclusion

Regardless of the faucet that you go for, you should buy it from a reputable store. As rule of thumb you should ensure that store is certified to sell the units. To avoid the chances of your faucet leaking you should ensure that it’s installed by a professional plumber.