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General Article

What Do Gardeners Do In The Winter?

What Do Gardeners Do In The Winter?

I’ve lived in zone 8, where gardens just need to be trimmed up a little and maybe mulched for some protection. Even in the warmer zones, most gardening activities take place in spring, summer and fall. So what do gardeners do in the winter?

There are the holidays to enjoy, and that will last till the first of the year. Some gardeners enjoy traveling or visiting distant family. It’s hard for gardeners to get away during the growing season, because too many things need attention, but in the winter, there is a lot more free time. If you live where there is a lot of snow, like we do, then it’s fun to go to warmer parts of the world. We like to go to Mexico, or to south Florida, where it’s sunny and warm even in January and February.

Here in zone 6, the winter is long, but even with the holidays and traveling, there is still plenty of time before spring arrives. This is the best time for gardeners to evaluate their garden, to think about expanding the planting areas, or building raised beds for vegetables, or even planning an herb garden. As you think about problem areas, where plants might not have done so well, you might consider improving the soil. It’s also a perfect time to think about adding arbors, decks or fencing to your yard, to give it structure or vertical interest. I kind of mentally walk around the yard and garden, trying to find places to plant another rose bush, or maybe another fruit tree.

It is very helpful to make a drawing of your yard, being sure to include the house and garage or any other buildings or structures, like patios or decks. It makes it much easier to evaluate the growing space in your garden and see how everything relates to each other.

Winter is also a good time to learn more about soils, fertilizers, soil conditioners and mulches. In the long winter evenings, you’ll have more time to learn about plants you may have heard of and wanted to grow, like hardy kiwi or bamboo.

One of my favorite winter activities is watching the birds. There are so many different kinds of birds at the feeders in the winter, and it’s fun to watch them inter-act with each other. They can get quite territorial at times, but usually they all feed in peace, taking turns at the feeders. When food is so scarce, it’s much easier for them to eat at our dining room, so we tend to have a lot more visitors in the winter months.

One of the bonuses of feeding the birds during the winter is that as the weather begins to get warmer, the migrating birds will begin to come through and then, for a short time, we get to see so many different species. Winter is a great time to learn about the birds, how to recognize them, what they like to eat and how best to attract them to your yard.

As you can see, winter can be a very enjoyable, and productive time of year.…

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Bathroom Remodel

Industrial Flooring Surface Preparation

There are different types of floor surface preparation types that concrete services contractors use to start any project. An important point to remember is that the company hired must have the experience in carrying out the industrial flooring preparation process. These methods have specialized equipment and contractors don’t usually offer a service not unless they are equipped to do the work. The floor surface preparation process is a vital step in industrial flooring.
More common surface preparation processes are:
1. Shot Blasting also know as Captive or Dust Free Shot Blasting
This is the most commonly used method because it is the most effective and cheapest of all preparation methods. The machine used is attached to a dust extraction unit. This prevents dust from circulating in the area and will not disrupt what is going on around the work area.
2. Scarification
This is a mechanical process wherein the deteriorated surface of the concrete is removed or “scarified”. The objective is to get to a sound substrate which the flooring system can be placed. The process can be of two methods – diamond grinding and STR machines.
The method removes thick mill coatings, overlays and as much as 1/2 inch of concrete with several passes. The equipment ranges from 8, 12 and 13 inches wide and is powered by electric power or by gasoline. They are always equipped with a dust collector.
3. Scabbling
The scabblers are used prior to shot blasting weak industrial flooring substrates. This is a more time consuming process but good for removing of thick flaky coatings & oil contaminated floors.
4. Grinding
The floor preparation process may take more than one method to complete. Another method that is seen often is the grinding process. Floor Grinders have ability to remove coatings, glue, and other particles while leaving the surface clean, smooth & ready for the application of thin mil coating & stains.
5. Acid Etching
Etching the when the area to be prepared is hosed carefully with acid. This is a two-man process with one man operating a nylon grit brush and the other is responsible for pouring the acid evenly and working with a broom. This is a risky process so only those experienced with such method should make the application. Contractors would have the necessary safety measures and outfit to do etching. Never attempt to do this yourself to avoid accidents and improper application of the acid.
It is good practice to know the different industrial flooring surface preparation process to be able to monitor effectively the progress of your project.…

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Bathroom Remodel

Discover The Secrets To Having Great Curb Appeal For Your Home

Even if you have just moved into your home and presently have no intention of selling it, maintaining the curb appeal of your home is very important. Read this to find out why it’s so important and ways to ensure that your home scores high. Let’s start at the beginning.
What is curb appeal? When people drive by your home what is their impression? You can tell when a homeowner focuses on curb appeal – the home looks well maintained, both the home itself and the grounds surrounding the home. When a home looks uncared for there are tell-tale signs. For example, signs of neglect may include chipping paint, a gutter along the front of the house that has become detached and is hanging, overgrown bushes, or overflowing garbage cans in the front near the garage. You may have moved into a home that suffers from these problems, but the sooner you fix them the better. Let me explain why.
Why is curb appeal important? The average time that a homeowner owns a home is 5 to 7 years, so it’s likely at some point in the future that you will be selling your home. If your home always looks unloved with the lawn not cut, the front door looking shabby, or screens missing people will take note. Their impression will probably be ‘if this is how the homeowner cares for the outside of the home, then what is the condition inside the home? ‘ They’ll never know for sure, but they will wonder.
When and if you do decide to sell your home and put the ‘for sale’ sign out front, wouldn’t it be great if people who have driven by your home all those years were excited. It may be that your home has been their dream home, the one they always felt they’d love to move into if it comes up for sale. Maybe they know someone who’d like to move in.
On the other hand, a home that has been uncared for over many years and all of a sudden has been “fixed up” to sell just doesn’t create the same excitement to a passerby. If you keep your home well maintained all along you’ll be spending less money to get it ready for sale. This is true because it is much more cost effective to take care of things that need fixing when they are small problems, rather than letting them become big problems.
What can be done to have great curb appeal? Here’s the principal behind great curb appeal for your home. At least twice a year, perhaps in the spring and fall, take a walk around the exterior of your home and complete a checklist of anything that needs attention. Items to assess include the condition of paint, doors, windows, roof, walkways, and landscaping.
Then prioritize your list, with any structural items going to the top of the list. These structural items are the things that will cost more to fix as they get worse, so take care of them sooner rather than later. As you conduct this twice a year inspection, take a critical view of your home as someone driving by might do. You’ll find that some of the things will cost little or nothing to address, you may just not have thought about them. For example, finding a place for your garbage cans so that they are not visible in the front of the house may be as simple as moving them to the back, or may require installing a small fence to shield them from view.…

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Renovation House

Helpful Home Cleaning Tips

Many families today are constantly hustling about, trying to make sure that everyone is where they are supposed to be for work, sporting events, music lessons, and a myriad of other activities. With all of the running around from place to place, it is easy to sometimes let regular maintenance slide around the house a bit. There are some simple things that you can do to help keep your home organized and clean without having to devote an entire weekend to it.
The first thing to do when attacking a house that has gone out of control is to get rid of as much clutter as possible. This usually involves at least one day of simply sorting through the items that actually get put to use and those that are simply taking up space unnecessarily. A good rule of thumb is to consider whether or not you have actually had a use for an item over the past twelve months. If the answer is no, and there is not any strong sentimental attachment, such items should be added to your collection of future garage sale items or a box that is destined for a local donation center.
Once the clutter is gone, start getting organized. Closets can be very useful for keeping things where they belong, but if people simply throw things into a closet, it defeats the purpose. Consider getting an inexpensive closet system or other organizational aid that includes plenty of shelves and an area for storing items on hangers. Some systems include special hanger attachments which allow clothes to cascade down in an arrangement that lets you see what you have without taking up a lot of space. Just adding something like this can save a ton of space.
For cleaning chores, look for ways to simplify your life. Making a small investment in a vacuum and steam cleaner combination such as the popular Shark Vac Then Sweep can save you valuable time that would otherwise be spend sweeping by hand and then damp mopping the hard surfaces in your house. Such devices also work well at getting rid of stuck on messes that sometimes result from spills on the floor. This eliminates the need to scrub the tough dirt by hand.
Finally, to deal with the chore of dusting, consider using the brush attachment that comes with most vacuum cleaners. This makes it easier to dust around ridges or uneven surfaces and also does a better job of actually capturing the dust. Many times, when people simply dust with a dry rag, all they really do is throw the dust into the air. The result is a room that is covered in dust again as soon as things settle.
There are many more small things that you can do as a homeowner to make the maintenance of your home a bit less of a burden. It may take a while to form new habits, but in the long run, doing these things can save you time and make life just a little bit easier.…

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Renovation Costs

Earth Friendly Linoleum Floors

Invented in the mid-nineteenth century, linoleum has a long history of popularity. Made from all natural, biodegradable materials that can be recycled, such as linseed oil, wood or cork powder, and ground limestone. This earth-friendly flooring option has experienced a recent resurgence in sales as consumers have become more concerned with sustainability. Linoleum flooring can last for decades and, upon removal, is still biodegradable and toxin-free.
Linoleum is known for its vivid colors and marbled patterns, but it is available in a variety of other styles as well, including geometric patterns and subtle earth tones. One of the unique qualities of linoleum is the fact that the color is consistent all the way through the material up to the cloth backing. Because of this, if the linoleum is scratched or scuffed, the damage will be nearly imperceptible, as the color and pattern will not change. Linoleum’s durability makes it a great choice for high traffic areas, or homes with small children or pets.
Because it is resistant to moisture, linoleum is a good flooring choice for kitchens and bathrooms in the home, or hospitals, where sanitation is critical. It is also considered to be a non-allergenic floor covering, and is often used in non-allergenic homes and medical centers.
Another benefit of linoleum is the fact that it is easy to clean and maintain. Regular sweeping and damp mopping will keep your floors looking great without the use of harsh chemicals, and spills can be easily wiped clean with a damp cloth.
If you are looking for an attractive, environmentally friendly floor covering that will look great in any home, consider linoleum. It is perfect for both retro and contemporary settings, comfortable underfoot and easy to maintain. Contact a flooring specialist today to learn more about linoleum.…

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General Article

How Do I Make a Garden Gnome Tree?

How Do I Make a Garden Gnome Tree?

Making a garden gnome tree is easy and is a lot of fun too. Decide on a suitable tree in the garden to house your gnome collection, and this way the rest of the garden design is unaffected by the Lawn gnome invasion look.

The tree you choose should have plenty of surrounding shrubs and bushes to add to the mystery of the gnome world you are about to create.

A front door, little steps, windows etc can be brought or made to suit the size of your gnomes and fixed onto the tree trunk. The front door of the gnome home should be the same size as your gnomes so it looks more believable that they actually live in the tree. Add a few domestic type items such as a door handle, letterbox, a doormat and round window frames with curtains. You could even add a little wooden staircase winding up the side of the tree trunk that leads to another door higher up the tree.

Maybe you could give the tree some decoration, paint a picket fence around the base, add a tiny electric meter box or a hat stand. Leave small garden tools around the tree to give the effect of gnomes at work. Another great idea is to make a little winding path out of broken tiles, marbles or colored stones which leads to and from the gnome tree home. By now your gnome tree should be starting to look really magical and gnome-like with lots of original design ideas being put to work.

However, you can have a gnome tree even if you do not have any gnomes of your own. They could be invisible gnomes that you have to imagine!

Another option, you could get a local artist to make some original gnomes for you, creating a unique collection. You might need to sit down and try and design your own ideas of gnomes to give the artist or sculptor and idea of what you want made.

The gnome tree is a sure way of making a special spot for younger children in the garden. Kids love the idea of finding a gnome garden hidden in their own yard. Also it is another way to encourage children to enjoy being outdoors in a safe environment, looking closer at nature and playing make believe. Mums, dads, grandparents and family members can all enjoy adding to children’s enjoyment of the gnome tree with little added touches to the design and new gnomes maybe?

Add a little post box on the tree for children to write letters to their favorite garden gnomes and they are likely to make use of it when they run out of things to do and complain about being bored. The gnome home theme ties in with the tradition of dolls houses and Wendy houses except the environment also encourages a love of outdoors and nature.

The same idea can be applied to a garden rockery if one is not fortunate enough to have a suitable tree around which to house your gnomes. Both environments allow for an enjoyable, pleasant expression of creativity and after all, ones garden should be a place where you can be light-hearted and tasteful at the same time. A word of caution though, gnomes randomly scattered throughout a garden can spoil it’s appearance especially if they are of different designs colors and sizes and out of proportion with each other. I am sure that if you follow the advice offered here and apply the universal principles of good design, your garden and gnomes should be able to live together in harmony without causing offense. If not, well maybe you might consider employing the services of a reputable Garden Lawn Gnome Consultant, to ensure success.…

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General Article

A Pet Owner’s Guide to Home and Garden Ideas

A Pet Owner’s Guide to Home and Garden Ideas

Plenty of homeowners are often at a loss as to how to decorate their homes and gardens when they have pets around. There are just so many things that can go wrong when you have animals in the area and these are things that you have to factor in when thinking of your home and garden design. To keep a pet safe to roam inside your home and your garden, you need to think about them when conceptualizing your home and garden design. It will be good also to do some research on ways to keep your place pet friendly, and maintain a balance between what is safe and what is beautiful.

Most pet owners try to come up with various home and garden ideas to keep their places safe for the pets. While you can find so many from different sources, you still need to be careful especially with those that are yet to be tested. There are people who think that animals can tell what plants are harmful and will therefore not eat them but this is a myth. You will be better off making sure that all plants you place in the vicinity of your pets are safe for them. Some pets would chew on the plants because they are not aware of the potential danger that doing this will lead to.

Fish ponds are also included in home and garden ideas for pet owners. The common pets that we have are cats and dogs but there are some of us who also have fish and animals who live in ponds that we may have in the garden. You have to incorporate the safety of our watery friends when thinking of home and garden ideas. This also includes thinking what types of plants are best to place inside a fish pond.

Take Japanese gardens, for example, where normally there would be a Koi pond. Koi can be very expensive and sometimes there are animals and plants that do not agree with them. Your home and garden ideas should consider this. Think about what plants and animals are compatible with each other.

Using Fences and Safety in Water

Pet-friendly home and garden ideas often incorporate the construction of fences. These are usually created to keep them away from the water areas. It is a precaution to keep them from drowning or any accidents occurring. The fences are also great for keeping your little children out of dangerous water areas.

There are plenty of home and garden ideas which you can find to care for your pets. Remember that safety always comes before aesthetics and this should be your main concern when creating home and garden ideas.…