Monthly Archives: November 2017

Safety Tips for the DIY Home Owner

Before you start any renovation project you need to have a plan and the right tools; however you also need to have the right safety gear. I’m going to give you a few tips on what you may need for that do it yourself project.

1. Glasses

The first piece of safety gear is a good pair of safety glasses. You can get them in several different styles depending on the type of work you are doing. If you are cutting tiles or using a grinder I recommend the style that wraps around the side of your eye in case small pieces fly up. You will have to go to your local hardware store to find them.

2. Ear Plugs

If you are using, or are around, loud power tools like jack hammers, you will need to get some ear plugs. For most situations the soft foam type will work fine and you can find them at the drug store or local hardware store.

3. Dust mask or Respirator

These might not be the sexiest accessory however they are very important to protect your lungs. The quality you need will depend on what you are doing. Plain household dust from demolition or basic construction should only require a basic paper mask. However, if there are any traces of mold or old style insulation (which could have traces of asbestos) you will need a proper respirator. Also, if you are working with harsh chemicals or paints you may need a respirator as well. Go to your local hardware store and tell them what you are doing; they can tell you the proper respirator to get.

4. Proper Clothes

Renovations are not the time to worry about fashion. Wear clothes that you are OK with getting ruined. Avoid loose sleeves that can get caught by power tools or get into paint or glue. Don’t wear open toed shoes and try to wear shoes with a thicker sole – especially if there are nails and debris around. You don’t want a nail in your foot!

You are also going to need a good pair of work gloves. Find tight fitting gloves so you can pick up small screws and nails with them. Ladies you can try gardening gloves since most gloves sold in hardware stores are too large for women.

Renovating can be dangerous so you need to make sure you are protected. By making sure you have these basic safety items you can enjoy the renovation and be safe at the same time.

Landscaping and Garden Design

You want to begin a long overdue garden project so where do you start? Some of you will go to the local DIY store and pick up one of the many flyers that these stores produce that show how to do virtually anything from putting a post into the ground to building an extension to your property.

Some of you will go to a library, hunt out the most relevant books that are available and then return home and hope that your research has uncovered the books that have all that you need in them. Then there are those who need to know how things work, who want to take control so, they will treat the project as an excuse to learn something new and will attend night school or college to achieve the desired result.

However and whatever it is that you do for your project you will need to keep track of your costs. It is no use not having a clue on what it is going to cost as you will quickly realise that unless you keep them under review they will spiral out of control and you will spend more than you intended to.

When you are doing the job yourself it is important that you use a software package that allows you to be in control of your costs. It must be easy to understand and allow overspend areas to be identified quickly. It must be easy to use otherwise you won’t bother to use it and control will be lost. There are a few suitable software cost estimators on the market that can be used to help you but not all of them work on the behalf of the everyday designer/builder in a way that is understandable and straightforward.

As an individual you will find this process quite stressful and difficult.

Imagine how the stress levels would rise if you were in a gardening/landscaping business where people come to you for your knowledge and expertise and who want you to the work on their behalf. They will expect you to provide a professional looking quote, a detailed breakdown of costs around each element of the garden design and they will expect and demand that their money is being spent in an agreed manner and will not be interested in excuses as to why something is going to cost more than has specified.

They rightly feel that if costs escalate after the quote has been agreed and confirmed then the loser should be the landscaping company and not the customer. This is why is it is imperative that the professional has control over all aspects of design, build and costs because it protects their profit and this is an essential element of today’s cut throat business activity.

To protect and enhance your most precious commodity, that is, your reputation, is a vital part of your future business. Your clients must trust in every thing that you do for them. They can see that your testimonials show that you work closely with Landscape Architects, Garden Designers, Landscape Contractors, Local Authorities and Domestic Clients on a regular basis. They can see that you are a professional in the delivery of Landscape and Garden designs to cost and quality specifications, and as a Landscape tender consultant who wins and manages profitable projects for both employers, design professionals and contractors. What THEY want from you is someone who understands, and communicates that understanding of what THEY want, by providing clear, concise and accurate information on the project you are undertaking for them.

American Home Vegetable Gardening

A hundred years ago, almost every American family grew some of their own produce at home. In rural America, farming families would grow almost all their vegetables, as well as raise livestock for their meat and dairy needs.

Today, with the advent of mass transportation and the growth of suburban America, there are fewer and fewer self-supporting family farms. Many Americans living in urban or suburban areas do the majority of their grocery shopping at large commercial grocery stores. However, home vegetable gardening has reemerged as a popular hobby for families.

Of all homegrown vegetables, the tomato is considered the most popular crop. Many American families plant at least one tomato plant each year, either in their backyard or somewhere in the landscaping around their home. What is the reason for the tomato plant’s widespread popularity? It is an extremely easy plant to grow, thriving in almost all U.S. climate conditions and soil types. Tomatoes will grow in almost any location that receives at least four hours of sunlight per day. They do require regular watering for optimum fruit production, but will produce some fruit even in dry conditions.

Tomatoes are a fairly disease resistant crop, too, suffering only occasionally from leaf wilt and blight. Good planting and pruning techniques can usually prevent these problems. Tomato bugs, white flies, and cutworms can also pose threat to tomatoes, but these pests can usually be kept at bay with soap spray, cutworm collars placed at the bottom of the plant, or other commercially available pesticide sprays.

Because tomatoes are such a popular plant for home gardeners, they are usually readily available for purchase as young plants from local garden centers and discount stores during the early spring months of the year. Plants found in stores will probably be of the more common varieties and hybrids such as Better Boy, Beefsteak, Sweet 100 (a cherry type tomato) and Early Girl. Less common varieties may have to be purchased as seeds and grown “from scratch” by the gardener. Growing plants from seed is certainly a more economical option than buying already established plants, and can be worthwhile, particularly when planting on a large scale.

Growing plants from seed is not difficult, and seed packets for many vegetables and herbs usually begin appearing on store shelves as early as January or February. Starting plants from seed indoors is a good way to get a head start on the growing seasons, and can often result in bigger plants and larger harvests. All you really need are pots full of soil and a warm, sunny location for them during the day. For optimum seed starting conditions, you can also use a grow light or heat lamp.

Greenhouses can also be enormously helpful in starting plants from seed, because they create warmer growing climates for the plants than the surrounding air outside. For the gardener with space restrictions, indoor tabletop green houses can be a good option, as they occupy no more space than a small table or workbench. For the serious gardener with plenty of outdoor space, a larger outdoor greenhouse may be the better choice. Greenhouse kits to help you build your own greenhouse are readily available through specialty catalogs and online stores.

Though home gardening isn’t what it used to be a century ago, it has adapted along with the American family and our growing and changing way of life. Most families today obtain the vast majority of their food from grocery stores; however, the small suburban garden continues to thrive as a source of good food and a leisurely pastime for millions of American families today.

Home Water Gardens

Whether you’re making your own backyard water garden or hiring a contractor to do it for you, there are things you should definitely be careful of. Given the time and money you’re investing in the project, it’s vital that you’re well-informed before you upturn a single shovelful of dirt or place a single stone.

Common DIY Water Garden Mistakes to Watch For

Gardening industry analysts have found that the average do-it-yourself water garden builder makes, on average, three ponds – not one. Why? Because their planning is too conservative. People tend to be overly cautious, planning small ponds, only to later expand them again and again. When you’re working on your pond design, don’t be afraid to think big if that’s what you really want – you’ll save yourself a lot of time and money down the road.

Proper research will help you here. Taking the time to learn from the mistakes of others is the easiest way to make sure you don’t make those errors yourself. You’ll find plenty of how-to books and instructional DVDs at your local bookstore and online, so get reading. These resources will also give you lots of creative design ideas that you may otherwise not have thought of.

Also, if you’re planning to add a layer of gravel to the pond in your water garden, be very careful not to add too much. Gravel layers thicker than 2 inches can emit noxious gases when they interact with the water treatment chemicals you’ll use to keep the water clean. These gases can be fatal to aquatic life, so be extra careful if you want to house fish or friendly amphibians in your pond.

If you’re going to use a liner to protect the finished product, remember to check closely for cracks and leaks before you cut away and discard the excess lining. Should you miss a leak in need of repair, you may have to refit your entire pond with a new liner, costing you hundreds of dollars that a little foresight would easily have saved.

Pitfalls of Home Water Garden Contractors

The first, and most important, thing you need to know about water garden contractors is that their past work is their only real calling card. For all the promises a contractor may make, if he can’t prove that he’s delivered results in the past, don’t trust him with your garden fountain project.

Keep in mind that the lowest price doesn’t necessarily mean the best product. Firms that both design and build home water gardens have higher overhead costs and therefore charge more, but their expertise will show at every stage of the project and the extra money could be well worth the investment.

Finally, never proceed without a formal contract. This protects both parties, and will clearly set forth your expectations and responsibilities, the agreed-upon cost of the services and a payment schedule. If it makes you feel more secure, have your lawyer take a look at the contract before you sign it.

Sheds and Garden Rooms

Despite invariably mundane contents (paint cans, kids’ bikes, tools), the conventional timber shed, out-building or summerhouse has always had universal appeal. Often tucked at the bottom of the garden, its physical separation from the house promises a hint of privacy, while its scaled-down proportions appeal to the child in us all. Gardeners may see it as a sensible store for seedlings and implements, but anyone in search of peace – from writers and artists to children or those working at home – regards it as the ultimate retreat from the domestic scene.

It’s small wonder, then, that more of us are choosing to add a garden structure to our homes, all the better to provide an extra spot to escape to. For those who work regularly from home, a garden home office not only provides physical separation from a busy household, cutting down on noise and constant interruption, but the (albeit short) commute from home to shed marks an important emotional division between work and evening down-time. Family members with antisocial or messy hobbies – from photography (with a need for a darkroom) to home DJ-ing or portrait-painting – will also appreciate a zone that needn’t be tidied up and in which creating noise isn’t a problem. Then there are those who simply want a quiet spot for contemplation, taking in garden views and fresh air.

If a garden structure appeals, work out your available budget and do your research. The market is huge – offering every conceivable style, combination of materials and interior fittings – and quality and prices vary enormously. There will be decisions on whether to choose a modular unit, a bespoke design or the humble DIY option, though even high-street stores are offering increasingly sophisticated options. It’s worth remembering that a garden office, fully wired and heated, will still cost substantially less than the price of adding a structural extension to the house. Also ask yourself who will use the new room. Try not to be too activity-specific once the garden room is in place, you might decide to keep your quiet study in the body of the house while the kids move their ‘den’ outdoors.

Where the garden escape will go, how much floor space it will occupy and whether its presence is permitted by local planning regulations are key questions that you will need to answer. Regulations include not having the structure too close to the house or a highway, or being in a conservation area, so always check with your local authority before proceeding with your plans. If a specialist company is supplying the structure, they will advise on the regulations. It is generally accepted that a garden building should occupy no more than 50 per cent of the exterior space, but small is good: you don’t want a barn-like room, just a cosy retreat. Think about how the structure will look when glanced through the window. Decide whether to match the style to your own house or to go for a fantasy structure that will be just glimpsed between the trees.

The least sophisticated, but often most charming, form of garden retreat is the humble timber shed. Even the simplest will have a waterproof roof, a door and a couple of windows (budget styles won’t have glass). Finished in plain planking, inside and out, it will blend with garden foliage if timber is treated and stained a natural shade.

Home With Garden Steel Sheds

Space around the house to store things in is always a problem.Sometimes, you may find your attic already cluttered and close to overflowing, not to mention the effort you have to put in just to climb those stairs to reach it. That is when you can make use of garden steel sheds to provide you with the storage space you need.

Garden steel sheds are usually preferred by many, instead of an attic. These sheds are great places to store your thingamajigs like garden tools, DIY tools and kits, old things that you no longer use regularly, and even old car parts that you have not disposed of yet.

These sheds provide you with an adequate amount of storage space where you can easily organize your stuff. You can install shelves and cabinets so that you may be able to locate your things without difficulty.

You can also use these sheds as a hobby area. You may want to do various things that you may not normally do inside your home such as experimenting with engineering projects, or even assembling remote-controlled airplanes and helicopters or any other activities. If you have come up with an ingenious device, you can try out its performance in your shed.

Aside from being a hobby area, you can use garden steel sheds to do some repairs. For instance, if you have old appliances that needed repairs, these sheds would give you a great working area to do them. You would be comfortable enough knowing that even if you make a mess, it wouldn’t matter much!

One great advantage of garden steel sheds is that they are just within your reach. You do not need to tackle a flight of stairs just to store those bulky furniture up in the attic. You can simply walk towards your shed with ease.

Just remember that in order for you to achieve the utmost functionality that you need for your shed, you have to be careful in selecting one. Look for companies who have acquired the right experience when it comes to making these garden steel sheds. That way you would get quality at a reasonable price.