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General Article

How to Create a Beautiful Rock Garden

How to Create a Beautiful Rock Garden

Rock gardens are ideal for filling up spaces in garden or landscape that will not accommodate any other type of garden. It does not matter whether it is a hill, slope or a place with uncontrollable dirt; a rock garden is ideal for covering up and making these areas beautiful. Rock gardens are also used to stop erosion of soil and they cut down on weeds in a property. Other than being functional and low-maintenance, these gardens can be truly beautiful and enhance a landscape immensely.

Using natural rocks and stones are the best way to positively impact your garden. Find beautiful stones in your garden and go to a specialist for more. You can also ideally add plants, flowers, trees, shrubs and even fishponds to these gardens. When adding plants or flowers, make sure you stack flat rocks around them so water will flow to the roots of the plants and be kept at the roots. Arrange these rocks so they are partially in dirt and partially on other rocks. Rock gardens are ideal places for adding benches or garden furniture so people will have a greater opportunity of admiring your garden. They can also section off different parts of the garden if the garden is quite large. A consideration that can influence the design of these gardens is space. In larger spaces, the goal is often to create sprawling, natural rock gardens. In smaller spaces, it is better to stick to a round raised bed made of select rocks. This design can fit neatly into a space you choose.

When arranging your stones, make sure you ground them well so they look natural. When you observe a rocky terrain with wild plants growing on it, you will see there is not a mixture of species. What you will find are large patches of low-growing plants. If you like creeping phlox, for instance, but never know where to put it, a rock garden might just be ideal. To be successful in mimicking nature with your garden design, you’ll need to have a certain mindset when it comes to design: evenness in size or distribution looks unnatural in rock garden design. To achieve your ideal, avoid symmetry, patterns and even distribution. If you want to take a test to determine your garden design philosophy, go to a professional for tips and designs.

Stay away from patterns and follow a specific style: for example, if you want to create a Japanese or Zen garden, the amount of rocks used should be minimal. Choose plants for a rock garden that will generally be low-maintenance. Smaller species that prefer dry soil will be best and remember to consider your climate: for warm climates, choose plants like cacti and for colder climates, go for traditional alpine plants. To prepare the soil for these plants, mix it with sand. Plants near rock gardens need to be in dry soil that drains quickly.

Deciding to use features like fountains or birdbaths can also enhance your garden immensely. However, keep water lines in mind when you design the garden. These elements automatically create a calm, relaxing atmosphere.…

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General Article

Don’t Forget These 10 Important Points When Redesigning Your Garden

Don’t Forget These 10 Important Points When Redesigning Your Garden

If you have reached the point where you feel it’s time for a complete redesign and landscaping of your garden, there are some vital points that you will need to take into consideration to make the project a successful one.

It is very tempting to roll up your sleeves, grab your tools and start digging, but you would be wise to give every aspect of your redesign a lot of serious thought and consideration to ensure that all your time, effort and expense will result in your dream garden.

Below are 10 important points that are well worth your serious consideration:

1. Is this garden project something that you feel confident to carry out yourself or have you accepted that it will be too big a project and would benefit from hired or professional help?

2. If you have decided to carry out the building work yourself, you will of course be requiring specialist tools, so have you considered the hiring cost of these tools when putting together a budget of your project?

3. If your garden design requires major landscaping, you will no doubt require a mini digger to dig and level the garden landscape. Don’t forget to check that there is access for a digger at the side of the house or by some other way.

4. Make sure that any design you follow has taken into consideration the drainage of the garden. The last thing you will want to happen is for rainwater to end up sitting in various parts of the garden and not running away to the correct area. Address the drainage issues early on and add the relevant land drainage pipes and soak away.

5. Ensure that your new garden will be child friendly and that there are no safety hazards. This is something that is easily overlooked especially if there are no children living at home.

6. Spend a decent amount of time considering all the available options when it comes to the kind of patio stones, brickwork, steps or decking that you may be incorporating into your new garden. You will not want to complete your project only to be disappointed with your paving selection, therefore the time spent prior to the build is an investment.

7. Research the plants that you intend to use thoroughly and make sure that you have taken into consideration drainage, shade, the type of soil and the amount of sun different areas of the garden will get. As you are no doubt well aware, plants are not cheap and so you will want to make sure that they thrive in your new garden.

8. What about the electrics? Give serious thought to lighting and power and make sure all that all the preparatory work and cabling is laid at the right time. You will want to be on the ball here as it can be very easy to lay a patio, only to wish that you’ve laid cable prior to this.

9. When it comes to outdoor dining, once again the positioning of lighting will be important. It would help at this stage for you to know what type of cooking area you will be utilising, i.e. brick built or maybe a transportable cooker or barbecue.

10. If you intend to incorporate a water feature, make sure that all the relevant preparation is carried out at the right stage and water and power is safely connected by a professional.

While some of these points may seem obvious, it’s all too easy to overlook them due to the complexity of a new garden project. Hopefully these few points will help you get the dream garden you want.…

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Renovation House

Do It Yourself Kitchen Renovation: Planning for Function and Beauty

The best looking kitchens in the world can’t make up for poor planning. If the guiding principle of the “work triangle”–meaning the close proximity of the refrigerator, sink, and range–is broken, then the kitchen will always feel and look awkward. Functionality has to lead the plan, and a connection to the outdoors and nature can lead a great design. While a small window over the kitchen sink used to be the kitchen highlight, now large windows and glass doors leading onto the deck or patio is the norm.
If you are redesigning your kitchen within its existing footprint, then plan wide walkways. The pathways throughout should be at least 36 inches wide. Paths around the cooking zone should be 42 inches wide for a one-cook kitchen and 48 inches wide if two people are cooking.
Place the refrigerator in a location accessible to both kitchen guests and the one or two cooks actually working in the cooking and cleanup areas. Also, keep the cook-top out of traffic areas so guests or children don’t accidentally catch handles and cause spills when walking through.
Keep the refrigerator, dishwashers, oven ranges away from the kitchen corners. You don’t want the doors banging into each other if they need to be opened at the same time. Also, to make kitchen cabinets fully functional, plan space for the door’s clearance and the best swing direction in your kitchen design.
If you can create a separate walk-in pantry, it frees up space in the kitchen that may be used for wider doors and windows that can look out at the rear garden view. This is especially helpful as at least one wall is lost to windows and a door and there’s less space for cabinets. One handy tip, if you do build a walk-in pantry room, include an additional stand-alone freezer. It allows you to keep your grocery budget in check by buying and storing lower-priced bulk items.
And, if you can, open up the ceiling and expand the kitchen upward. It adds a sense of spaciousness and can also provide upper cabinets for long term storage of rarely used items, such as large bowls and baskets.
Kitchen Islands
Peninsulas and kitchen islands do look wonderful and provide an awesome place to gather friends and family while cooking–or even a great informal place to eat. However, plan the wide pathways accordingly. You need at least 42 inches between the island and the surrounding cabinets and appliances to maintain traffic flow, according to the National Kitchen and Bath Association, and your local building codes. While the island might be one of the most desired items, if it’s not appropriate to the scale of the room, it won’t work for you or for your home’s value.
Additional cabinet space and a prep sink increase an island’s function, but think hard about adding a cook-top. The splatters, mess and smells it creates are a nuisance. And consider the ventilation, which is dependent upon the layout. Experts have tested and found under-cabinet and wall-chimney hoods, the type commonly used over ranges, are much better at capturing smoke and steam than the downdraft systems frequently put in islands.
The Open Floor Plan
Trends will continue for kitchen designs to open their floor plans to include an informal family living space, formerly called the “den.” It is now called the “great room” and is considered to be the most likely room to be included in new homes built in 2015, according to the National Association of Home Builders’ survey.
If you can afford to expand your kitchen renovation, then break down a wall or two and integrate the kitchen with an adjacent room or family living space to create your must-have great room feature. Therefore, when it comes to your design focus of connecting with the outdoors via large windows and glass doors to the deck, patio, garden or backyard, then let the idea expand to the design of the great room as well. However, while you are letting in the light and the view, it’s necessary to keep heated and cooled air from leaking out. Pay the added expense for windows and doors with extra insulating features like heat-reflecting low-E coatings or argon gas between glass panes.
Be Practical
Find the correct height and location for a microwave oven as it may vary from the standard depending on the height of the chef or the kids in the household. For adults, the standard is at least 15 inches above the counter-top level. For kids, a below the counter-top shelf setup might be more suitable. Also, consider how and where you use items as you plan the pantries and cabinets so you can eliminate wasted steps, like locating flatware drawers near the dishwasher for ease of unloading.
Be smart and don’t sacrifice …

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Home Improvement Contractors

Choosing the Right Faucet For Your Bathroom

What’s Your Style?
Is your bathroom traditional or are you interested in a more contemporary style? The style of your bathroom will dictate what type of faucet you select. For example, disc faucets are washerless, contemporary faucets while compression faucets (which use washers) is a more traditional faucet which has both hot and cold handles. Stick to a faucet that reflects the style you want. Contemporary faucets often have sleek, curved spouts and either one or two handles.
What’s Your Budget?
Since bathroom faucets can vary widely in price, it’s important to determine how much you want to spend prior to shopping for faucets. While budget is obviously important, don’t let it be the sole deciding factor. As with many home improvement items and products, you get what you pay for when it comes to faucets and other plumbing fixtures.
What Type of Finish Matches Your Style?
Chrome is one of the most popular materials used on faucets because it is one of the least expensive and can easily be matched with other fixtures. Chrome can also be easily matched across manufacturers, so chrome faucets from different manufacturers will generally have the same finish. Other popular finishes to consider include brass (antique and polished), pewter, brushed nickel, and oil rubbed bronze.
How Do You Know It’s High Quality?
To ensure you get a high-quality faucet, here are a few things to consider. First, make sure the faucet is made of only metal and has no plastic parts. A heavier faucet indicates it is solid metal. Next, look for ceramic or washerless valves which are more durable and great for long term home maintenance. Take a trip to a local hardware store that has displays out. Examine the displays to check for quality and notice the differences between the cheap models and the higher-quality, more expensive ones. Lastly, check if the faucet has a warranty prior to purchasing it.…

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Home Repair

Choosing a Contractor For Your Kitchen Remodel

When you set out to remodel your kitchen, one of the most important decisions you will make is which contractor to hire. It can be difficult to choose quality kitchen contractors who meet your needs, budget, and matches your tastes. Doing research on the Internet is a great way to find a list of contractors to interview. Word of mouth is also a priceless thing. Ask people who have done remodeling recently, and you will get praise, advice, and warnings.
You will want to narrow down your research information and interview about three to four contractors. One of the surest signs of a good contractor who has a lot of experience will be small hints of reliability. For example, answering every question you have in an assuring, honest way is a sign of a contractor who will be great to work with. Ask for references. This is one of the best ways to find out if this contractor you are interviewing is the one you want to work with.
They should be able to give you a close estimate for all work, and an expected schedule. Even though time can be an unsure detail when it comes to building, the contractor should be able to give a good estimate of how long the work will take to finish.
Find out what subcontractors your chosen contractor will be using. You will want to know who is going to have access to your home at any given time. Check to make sure the contractor is licensed and insured. They should also be able to secure all the work permits needed and have any inspections done that may be required to deem the work safe.
A good contractor should also include you in the remodel process as much as possible without causing you much stress. They should consult with you before making any big decision, but they should also be confident in making small decisions that they know will not affect or compromise your preferences.
Make sure your contractor knows you have a certain budget. They should know if this budget is tight or flexible. This will enable them to offer you options that fit your budget without getting you excited over material choices that you will not be able to afford. An honest, reputable contractor will work with your budget and not try to nickel and dime you to death.…