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The Home Garden Guide

How To Properly Install A Rain Chain

Posted by on Aug 12, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on How To Properly Install A Rain Chain

Rain chains are an alternative drainage option that can be used in conjunction with your already-existing gutter system instead of the more traditional gutter downspout. They are desirable for the aesthetic appeal they provide your home, as well as the fact that they cannot become clogged as downspouts can. Thankfully, rain chains have a fairly straightforward installation process that you can do yourself if you have the appropriate tools and some free time. Before You Begin Before you get started, you should gather all the tools and materials that you’ll need. Thankfully, since the installation process is so simple, you won’t need any specialized equipment. You’ll need a rain chain, a ladder, a drill (or a screwdriver, if you prefer), a measuring tape, and a hammer. All of these items can be found at most hardware stores if you don’t already have them at home. Installing a Rain Chain First, you’ll need to remove the rain chain from the gutter system. To do this, begin unscrewing the rivets that hold the downspout in place against the house using the drill (or the screwdriver, again depending on personal preference – though the drill will be faster). Start at the bottom and move upward so that you can grab onto the downspout and prevent it from falling over once you’ve finished. Then, get on the ladder and use the measuring tape to measure the distance from the gutter to the ground. Adjust the rain chain by removing or adding links as needed to fill the entire distance. You may want to have someone hold the ladder while you’re measuring to reduce the risk of falling off. You can then attach the gutter clip to one end of the rain chain and attach it to the hole left in your gutters by the removed downspout. It should be noted that some rain chains use a strap instead of a clip, in which case simply install the strap within the hole and hang the chain from the strip itself. Then, attach the stake included with your rain chain to the last link on the other end, and use the hammer to drive the stake into the ground. This will hold the rain chain in place and prevent it from falling over during periods of high wind. You may want to cover the stake with gravel or loose rocks for decorative purposes or to help improve drainage, but this is optional. You have successfully installed a rain chain on your home in just a few easy...

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How To Wreck Your Window Air Conditioner

Posted by on Jul 21, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on How To Wreck Your Window Air Conditioner

For some reason, people tend to neglect their window air units. Perhaps it’s because they are no longer that expensive, so replacing one would not be a financial disaster. Maybe you simply expect your air conditioning unit to work forever because it’s been so reliable. No matter how well your AC unit performs, you can hasten its demise by doing the following. Don’t Cover It Leaving your window unit uncovered can certainly shorten its life. If possible, you should remove the unit and place it in a dry storage space over the winter. If you choose to leave it in the window, you need to invest in an AC cover. Otherwise, you can end up with bee, wasps, and other pests taking shelter in the coils. Also, your unit may become clogged with dirt and debris. Although a thorough spring cleaning may help, the elements can take their toll, leaving you with a rusted and banged up unit.  Keep It Slanted Because you want the unit to drain properly, you may keep your AC tilted downward. This position is all wrong for a modern unit. They are created to drain as they should when they are level, due to internal channels. If you tip the unit, the water may actually pool inside the AC and harm the mechanism. To maintain the proper position, you may need to attach a piece of wood on the exterior of your window.  Don’t Brace It The fastest way to destroy your unit is not to brace it properly. If you have a large window unit, in particular, it can easily fall out of the window if it isn’t braced or if the brace has become weakened by rust. If your unit falls, it will be damaged or destroyed. In addition, you may be liable if it hits someone or something. Don’t forget to check the strength of your window sill, too. Rotting wood can mean the brace will fall out and take the AC unit with it.  Without the proper care, you should be able to destroy your window unit in just a year or two. If you want to keep it running for years, you need to maintain it properly and also make sure it is securely and properly mounted. Keep it stored inside each year and inspect and clean it thoroughly each spring. Window units don’t cost nearly as much as they used to, but unless you like spending money unnecessarily, you should take good care of the ones you have. Contact a contractor, like HomeSmart From Xcel Energy, for more...

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How To Grow Wildflowers From Seed In A Residential Garden

Posted by on Jun 27, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on How To Grow Wildflowers From Seed In A Residential Garden

For residential gardeners, there is nothing more satisfying than sowing plants from seed and nurturing them into mature plants and blooms. A residential gardener can be very successful with many types of plants, especially wildflowers. These natural plants grow in different geographical locations and can be transplanted or grown from seed in your own residential garden. Here are some steps to grow wildflowers in your garden:  Check Your Geographical Location and Timing – Research the wildflowers that are indigenous to your area to find the type of wildflowers that are successful in your location. Wildflowers in the Northern Hemisphere are most often sown and grown in the autumn. However, if you live in an area that has consistent rainfall and weather that does not greatly vary between seasons, you may be able to sow and grow wildflowers at any time of the year.   Clear the Ground – Clear a selected garden plot of all other growing grasses and plants to create a space for your wildflower seeds. Dig deep enough to pull up the roots of the existing grasses and plants and discard them. Till the soil with a rake and break up any large clumps of soil so that new wildflower seeds and seedlings can easily push their way through it.  Choose Your Wildflower Seeds – When choosing wildflower seeds for your garden, consider the following: Color – Most wildflowers have subtle colors that blend well together. Choose any wildflower seed that you would like to grow and plant them together in your garden plots, planters, and pots.  Height – When planning your residential garden, think about the mature height of the wildflowers that you sow. Place wildflowers of equal height together so they do not block the sun from smaller plants. Sow small wildflower seeds together on the edges of your flower boxes and pots to create a full carpet of wildflowers in your garden.   Coexisting Environment – When planning your residential garden, choose wildflower seeds that will have an ample supply of pollen to encourage bees, butterflies, and birds. In this way, you will create a natural habitat that will self-propagate and grow new wildflower plants next season.   Plant Your Seeds – Prepare, sow, and care for your wildflower seeds as follows:  Prepare Your Wildflower Seeds – Mix your wildflower seeds with 10 parts light sand or vermiculite to 1 part wildflower seeds. Blend the seeds well with this planting medium and place the mixture into a large plastic bottle. You can use the spout of the bottle to easily pour your planting mixture where you wish the wildflowers to grow.  Sow Your Seeds – Dig small holes, approximately 1 inch wide and 5 inches deep, with a garden awl or wooden dowel. Depending on the type of wildflower seeds you are planting, space the wildflower seeds apart so that the plants will not crowd each other when mature. Immediately after sowing your wildflower seeds, give them a sprinkle of water to encourage them to swell, take root, and grow.     Stake Your Plants – Wildflowers often grow in deep forests with plentiful trees, bushes, and rocks. Wildflowers naturally entwine themselves around these uprights to have something sturdy to support their branching systems. When planting wildflowers in your garden, insert stakes into the...

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4 Benefits Of Stamped Concrete

Posted by on May 28, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 4 Benefits Of Stamped Concrete

When you want to be sure that your patio, driveway or other exterior fixture is solid and dependable, it all boils down to the materials that you choose. Stamped concrete is an excellent material to choose from for a number of different reasons. If you want to learn more about stamped concrete and why it is an excellent selection for you, read on and take in these four benefits of stamped concrete and then reach out to a landscaping services professional that can look out for you.  Benefit #1: Stamped Concrete Is Versatile For Decorating When you need to get a paver product that gives you plenty of options that are aesthetically pleasing, it doesn’t get better than stamped concrete. With stamped concrete, the choices you have in front of you in terms of color and texture are virtually endless. This gives you the opportunity to be as decorative as you would like with any fixture you are creating. Benefit #2: Stamped Concrete Is Very Low Maintenance The amount of care that you have to put into your stamped concrete is minimal, which is one of the greatest benefits you will enjoy. The main thing you will need to keep in mind is that pavers can sometimes become a little loose over time, which creates safety hazards. However, with stamped concrete, you never have to worry about this once it is installed, so you can simply leave it and forget about it for the most part. Benefit #3: Stamped Concrete Is Friendly To The Environment When you get stamped concrete professionally installed, you are making an environmentally sound decision. This allows you to prevent having to worry about trees being cut down or transported for the installation. Concrete is a far more environmentally sound material to use from a sustainability point of view. Benefit #4: Stamped Concrete Is Cost Efficient There are plenty of savings to be enjoyed when you spring for stamped concrete. This gives you a great value, since your concrete can be stenciled or decorated to look like more expensive brick pavers even though you pay far less.  Since maintenance is far less extensive a requirement for stamped concrete, you also pay a lot less money in the long run in keeping up with it. With these four benefits in mind, you can see what steps concrete can be an excellent option for you. Take advantage of these benefits by reaching out to a landscaping services contractor near you. Contact a business, such as http://www.masterlandscape.net, for more...

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Common Sense Water Consumption

Posted by on May 5, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Common Sense Water Consumption

With 30 percent of the average household’s water usage going toward maintaining lawns and gardens, it is becoming harder to ignore the high cost of turf lawns and thirsty plantings. Practice using water more wisely. The Impact of Turf Grass on Water Usage Turf grass lawns are traditional, but they have now surpassed edible crops as the number one use of water in the U.S. Irrigating lawns uses an average of 200 gallons of water per person every day. Replacing your lawn with native groundcovers which require no supplemental water or decreasing your lawn area by adding hardscaping can potentially save you thousands of gallons of water and hundreds of dollars a year. Choosing Better Irrigation Methods Replacing your old, inefficient sprinkler system with a water-saving drip irrigation system makes a huge impact on the amount of water you use. While there are pros and cons to drip irrigation systems, they can be up to 90 percent more efficient than a standard sprinkler system. Because they deliver the water directly to the roots where it is needed, they drastically reduce water waste from evaporation. Coupled with landscape plants with low-water needs and less garden space, you can significantly decrease your water usage. Using Native Plants Look around you at the abundance of wildflowers, flowering trees, vines and fruits that thrive with no care other than what nature provides. You can easily build a beautiful colorful landscape using only these native species, or intersperse them with other drought-resistant plants to minimize water usage. Choosing Food Over Grass If you think growing your own food isn’t water-wise, think again. Consider the millions of gallons of water wasted by commercial agriculture every year, not to mention the over-production of food that is ultimately thrown away. Research estimates that it takes approximately 75 to 100 gallons of water to grow a commercial tomato plant as opposed to 20 to 40 gallons per plant in a home garden.  Growing your own food using water-wise irrigation and rain harvesting saves volumes of water and other resources. As you can see, using less water doesn’t necessarily mean turning your landscape into a desert and not using any water at all. It means using less water to better advantage, such as removing lawns and replacing them with vegetable gardens or beautiful outdoor living spaces. Talk to your landscaper about how using water more efficiently can work with your...

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Searching For The Perfect Gift For Your Guy? The Best Selfless Options To Pick

Posted by on Apr 11, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Searching For The Perfect Gift For Your Guy? The Best Selfless Options To Pick

If you are looking for the perfect gift for a guy that has everything, you have to think outside the box to know what they really need. There may be gifts that you can get him that he’ll actually need, instead of items that will collect on a dresser or in a closet and get thrown out. There are a variety of presents that are going to serve a purpose, and put a smile on his face, like the following. Outdoor Power Tools Does the guy go and rent a pressure washer every time he wants to wash the house? Does he always complain about his weed whip, leaf blower or hedge trimmer? If so, these are great items you can get him as a gift, and he can enjoy them every week when he is taking care of the lawn and exterior of the home. Find out what he needs casually so you can wrap it up for the big day. You can purchase outdoor power equipment at a company like Joe’s Tractor Sales Inc. Electronic Devices Has your guy been dreaming of a new and bigger television to watch all their favorite sporting events? Would he enjoy a sound system throughout the house? Purchasing these from local suppliers and having the installation work done, so everything is completed when you give the gift, is going to impress the guy. Docking stations for smart phones to play music, an electric car starter, or a new smart system for their car are other ideas. Day Trip Has the guy been trying to get to a game for their favorite sports team, or trying to get to an event or attraction? Arranging the entire trip in advance, and then surprising him with having all the arrangements made is a great way to give him a gift he isn’t expecting, and that you already know that he wanted. This trip may have to be shared in advance if the guy has to get off work. These are some of the gifts that your guy is going to enjoy, and that he is going to remember when he uses the items in the future. Listen to what your guy says that he needs, instead of getting him something that you want him to have or wear. The gift should be something that he is interested in and that fulfills him, not something that is going to make you happy with the way he looks or what he...

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3 Ways To Turn Your Yard Into A Backyard Oasis

Posted by on Mar 8, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 3 Ways To Turn Your Yard Into A Backyard Oasis

You do not have to travel to get away from it all. It is possible to turn your backyard into a getaway that you can visit anytime that you want. Here are some tips to help you transform your backyard.  Dress Up Your Patio Without decorations, the patio can appear to be no more than a slab of concrete. Fortunately, you can dress up the patio to make it more inviting.  For instance, instead of just adding plain concrete to your home and calling it a patio, add texture to the concrete. The effect is a natural look that imitates stone and is far less expensive.  You can also add features, such as plants and a water feature, to the patio to make it appear more warm. The simple addition of a water fountain can help with reducing noise and be aesthetically pleasing.  Choose the Right Furniture Your patio furniture is most likely the focal point of your outdoor oasis. The furniture can be used to set the tone for the backyard. When searching for patio furniture for sale, look for patio furniture that is comfortable and capable of withstanding the elements. Opt for the highest quality furniture you can reasonably afford.  If you plan to invite others over, consider buying a modular outdoor sofa set. The set can easily be rearranged when you have gatherings or parties. Remember that the furniture is exposed to the elements year-round, so choose your colors carefully. If you do choose furniture with light colors, ensure that it can be easily cleaned.  To enhance the relaxing elements of your furniture, place it around a feature, such as a water fountain or fireplace. If you have a pool, you can face it in that direction.  Do Not Forget Privacy One of the final elements you need to incorporate in your outdoor oasis is privacy. A curious neighbor peeking over the fence can be distracting and take away from the getaway theme you were aiming for.  There are a number of ways you can add privacy. For instance, you can use lattices and fences to keep curious eyes out. You can also use landscaping to your advantage. A garden wall not only helps to provide privacy, but it also can help with drowning outside noise.  At the minimum, you can install screens strategically around the sitting area to keep that part of your backyard hidden from the view of...

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Enjoy Decorating A Birdhouse With Your Child On A Rainy Day

Posted by on Feb 6, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Enjoy Decorating A Birdhouse With Your Child On A Rainy Day

If you are looking for a fun rainy day project to do with your child, you may want to consider decorating a wooden bird house. This project can be done in just one session if desired, or it can be an elaborate ordeal that stretches for several days depending on the type of decor you decide to give your house. Here are a few ideas you can use to make a festive home for birds in your yard, allowing you and your child to remember the time you had shared together. Add Some Paint A wooden birdhouse can be painted in a variety of ways. Add several shades of the same color to make a camouflaged home for your fine-feathered friends. This can be made in colors that are not easily seen in wooded areas using earthy shades like browns and greens. The birds will enjoy a home where they will be undisturbed. Children of all ages can make this type of project by adding dabs of color randomly on the wood. Try adding paint with a sea sponge for a great look. Other ideas include the look of marble or tie-dye. Allow your child to select their favorite colors and use differently-sized brushes to add paint to the home for a whimsical look. Make It Shine If your child would rather their birdhouse stand out so it is noticeable, try adding glitter to the sides and roof. Have your child paint the exterior with glue and then sprinkle glitter over the birdhouse to give it some enticing shimmer. Different-colored glitter can be added to make it really stand out when sunlight hits the panels. Add some rhinestones along the trim or cover the roof with an entire layer for even more shine! Personalize The Home Make the home personalized by having your child glue photographs of things they love onto the wooden rooftop of the home. They can rip out photos from magazines, print them from a computer, or use real pictures to add to their home. Once they are glued into place, have them paint any untreated surfaces and allow both the glue and the paint to dry thoroughly. Add a coating of polyurethane over the entire home to seal the pictures into place. Add Burned Designs For an older child, try some wood burning for a wonderful look. A wood-burning tool can be purchased from a craft store and used to make darker portions on the wood. Make sure to have water on hand in case of an emergency. Have your child wear insulated gloves while working with this equipment. They can make intricate scrolled patterns, a maze, a jigsaw appearance, or a variety of other designs just using their imagination. Companies like Alive With Items can help you get...

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Bathroom Toilet Have Limescale? The Reason Why, How To Get Rid Of It, And How To Prevent It

Posted by on Jan 13, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Bathroom Toilet Have Limescale? The Reason Why, How To Get Rid Of It, And How To Prevent It

If you have limescale in your toilet, this can be very unsightly and make it look like you haven’t cleaned it. The problem is, when you do clean it, the limescale will keep coming back. The information below explains what limescale is, how you can get it off your toilet, and prevent it from coming back again. Why You Get Limescale If you see an off-white chalky crust in your bathroom toilet, this is known as limescale. This is a high concentration of minerals, such as magnesium and potassium, which is left behind by hard water. Once it starts forming inside your toilet, the limescale can accumulate very quickly, making it even harder to clean. Preventing the Limescale The best defense against limescale is to install a water softener in your home. This is because a water softener system removes the magnesium and potassium from your water. These systems are permanently installed so they continually remove these minerals. Water softeners use an ion exchange process, which exchanges the magnesium and potassium minerals for sodium. If you are concerned with the amount of salt you get into your system, you can purchase a salt-free water softener. This type of water softener does not reduce the amount of minerals in hard water but instead prevents these minerals from being deposited as limescale to surfaces, such as in your toilet. Contact a water softener company, who can go over these water softeners with you in much more detail. This will help you choose the one that is best for you and your family. Removing the Limescale There are products on the market that were made to remove limescale. Make sure what you purchase is specifically made for bathrooms. Read the instructions on the label on how to use the product that you purchase. If you would like to remove the limescale using natural products, you can try using vinegar. Vinegar works well because it is acidic, which penetrates stains to lift them from the surface. You do not have to mix the vinegar with anything, as using it pure works best. Simply pour a gallon of white distilled vinegar into your toilet bowl, and let it sit overnight. After this time, pour some more vinegar into the bowl and scrub the limescale with a toilet brush. You may have to repeat this a second time to completely get rid of the limescale if there is a lot of it. Your toilet should now be shiny and clean, and if you installed a water softener, it will stay that...

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5 Inexpensive Ways To Lower Your Heating And Cooling Bills

Posted by on Dec 17, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 5 Inexpensive Ways To Lower Your Heating And Cooling Bills

While older homes typically have more charm and unique architectural elements than those that are newly constructed, old homes often lack insulation and energy efficiency, so they cost more to heat and cool. The good news is there are some simple and inexpensive things you can do to increase your home’s energy efficiency and greatly lower your heating and cooling bills, such as: Weatherize All Windows and Doors Each fall and spring, you should walk around the entire interior and exterior of your home and check all of the doors and windows for places where air is leaking. Weatherize the door jambs with new weather stripping material, and use a caulking gun to caulk around the outside of all of your windows. This will go a long way towards keeping heated air inside your home in the winter and cooled air inside your home during the summer months. Use Blackout Draperies Since a lot of the heat and cooling in your home is lost through window glass, you can use blackout draperies to insulate the area between your windows and your home’s interior. Keep the draperies closed at all times, except in the winter when the sun shines on the glass panes and you can open the draperies and take advantage of the extra heat source. Use Fabric Door Snakes No matter how tight the clearance between your exterior doors and their thresholds, air from the inside of your home will leak out under the door and the outside air will leak in. The easiest way to prevent this loss of temperature-controlled air from your home is to use fabric door snakes at the base of each exterior door. Fabric door snakes can be purchased at any hardware store and attach to the bottom of the door for easy use. Use a Chimney Balloon Chimney balloons are large, plastic balloons that are inflated and placed into your fireplace chimney. The balloon insulates the space and stops any drafts from going up or down the chimney. Chimney balloons are reusable and available at home improvement stores or from your local chimney cleaning business. Install Blow-In Insulation Finally, you can have blow-in insulation installed in the attic, crawlspace, floors, and walls of your older home to increase its energy efficiency. You can purchase inexpensive insulation made of: recycled textile fibers recycled agricultural fibers recycled cellulose fibers The fiber insulation is blown into the empty spaces in your home with a tool that resembles a leaf blower. Get in touch with a company like Early Times Home Solutions to make your home more energy...

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