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Indoor Herb Garden

Indoor Garden

Ikea has it right when it introduced the Socker, an indoor cultivation unit for those who doesn’t have space outside of their home. It followed other mini-conservatory/greenhouse units for more specific purposes.

Krydda

The Krydda came before the Socker and is probably not in production anymore.

Hindö

Hindö

A conservatory you can use inside and outside, as pictured above, in a balcony.

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Making Arrangements to Build a Deck

 

Perhaps you have been thinking about putting a purposeful addition to your home. You may want to do some remodelling. However, you are not sure which project you should choose. You might consider container gardening in your balcony or maybe adding a deck if you have the space for it. A wood deck has many advantages that you should seriously think about. There are quite a few things that you will need to do in order to make a deck project become a reality. Here are the things that you will need to do if you finally decide that adding a deck to your home is something that you want.

1. Decide the dimensions of the deck.

You will first need to determine how big your deck will be. You might be forced to build a deck that is smaller than what you want if there is another home that is very close to yours. You will also need to decide if the deck will just be on the ground floor or if it will extend up to the second floor. A two-story deck will require a lot more work and be considerably more expensive than a simple deck on the ground floor of your home. Take some time to think how often you will actually use the deck. How many people do you plan on having on the deck at the same time? The answers to these questions will be useful when you are trying to decide how big you should make it.



2. Hire an architect to design your deck.

You will now need to secure the services of an architect in your area who has experience building wood decks. You will tell this person the dimensions and features that you want your deck to have. He will then make the plans that your contractor will follow once construction on your deck has begun. Ideally, you should hire an architect who has been designing decks for many years.

3. Find a contractor to supervise the building of your deck.

Your next task will be to locate a reputable contractor. This is a person who has many years of experience in the construction industry. He will know the right way to build your deck so that it will be safe and sturdy for many years to come. Your contractor will also be responsible for buying all the materials that you will need to build your deck. He will acquire all of the necessary timbers and adjustable deck supports. It would be in your best interests to look at the website of the Better Business Bureau to find out what they have to say about the contractors who work in your area. Get in touch with the contractors who have high ratings.

4. Get estimates from a variety of contractors.

The prices that contractors will charge to build your deck will be very different. This is why you need to take some time to call many contractors and get an idea of the price range. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by shopping around. You can save yourself a considerable amount of money by doing this. Do not be afraid to negotiate with the contractors you talk to. Some of them might be willing to lower their price if they need the work.




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The Cost of Owning a Car

The Cost of Owning a Car




Running a household is no walk in the park.  You have to think about a multitude of expenses ranging from your everyday food to your monthly mortgage.  So although the prospect of owning a new car may seem like a solution to your family’s commute woes, think again.
When you check out sites like toyotacostofownership.com or even review sites for various vehicles, you will notice that there is more to owning a car than just paying for it up front or paying off your car loan. You have to consider all of these other costs as well, before buying a new vehicle, so that you can decide if it is really going to fit into your budget or not.

One thing to consider is that the tires are going to wear out. Tires typically cost around $100 each, though it really depends what type of vehicle you own. For a small coupe, you could find deals for $60 a tire, while finding them for $100 each would be a deal for a truck. Either way, to make your vehicle safe to drive, especially in the rain or in the winter, you need to replace your tires every five years or so. It is also a good idea to buy a full-size spare so that you have it on hand in case you get a flat.

Another thing to think about is just the cost of standard maintenance. You need to do things like replacing the washer fluid, adding more coolant and changing the oil. These things do not cost much, but they have to be done a few times a year so that the car does not break down. You also may need to have the tires rotated or aligned, helping them to wear evenly while you drive.

You should also take into account where you plan to park your car.  Do you have a garage or are you simply going to park it along the sidewalk?  If your car is just parked out on the street, it is subject to all sorts of danger.  Kids can hit your windshield with a football, or it could be easy prey for thieves.

 

Owning a car is pretty much just like getting a new pet or giving birth to a new baby.  It becomes part of your family, and starts to eat up a portion of your time when it comes to care and maintenance.  Before you head out and get a car, think it over.  Make sure you still have enough left for other expenses, and that the entire family lends a hand in the car’s upkeep.  Then, the benefits will outweigh the costs.



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Confronting Winter

Confronting Winter

 



As the world turns its back on those warm summer days, homeowners like you are scrambling to make sure that they have everything ready to confront the oncoming cold.  From blankets and coats to sealed windows and gas heaters, there are quite a few things that are necessary when good old winter comes a-calling.  For newcomers to the area or people who have found themselves as homeowners for the first time, there are a few very important things to keep on your list.

Outside Considerations

Depending on the type of home you have, you may also need to winterize your yard and the things in it.  For example, those lucky homeowners who own a bit of earth covered in grass, it is important to fertilize the ground once more before everything freezes and gets covered in snow.  This will help the lawn to grow much better when spring comes.

If you have any outdoor tools, machinery, or even decorations in your yard, you may need to bring them inside, cover them with weatherproof material, or even do more to make sure that everything will be in working order once winter blows over.  For example, if you have an air conditioning unit that is placed outside your home, you will need to make sure it is appropriately serviced and well-covered before the snow comes.

Keeping Winter Out

Going inside the home, you may want to check some other things to make sure that winter stays out of your home.  Walls, windows, and doors that are well insulated and sealed will not only help to keep things warm, but also save you on your utility bill, as the furnace will be working to keep the heat inside the home.  If your home is old and you are unsure as to the state of these items, get some professional help to make sure that everything is just how it should be.

One great item that many homeowners love in the wintertime is a small heater, powered by natural gas, this is especially important to have in times of extreme cold, winter projects that must be done in the garage, etc.  It can be used almost anywhere, and some models can produce enough heat to fill an entire floor.  Before winter begins, however, it will be very important for you to check on the state of your heater, to make sure that any needed gas heater parts are replaced well before they become a necessity in your life.

Up on the Rooftop

Well before the coldest of days, it is a good idea to check to see how your roof is doing.  Check the flashing to make sure it is secure, and replace any shingles or tiles that seem to be worn.  This will help to minimize the possibility of damages due to water on the roof, or even pests that are looking for a warm place to wait out a storm.  Also, clear any debris from the gutters or drain pipes on the roof, to ensure that all runoff will be safely directed to where it needs to go.

By taking the time to do these few things, you could save yourself quite a bit of worry, and possibly even potential damage.  Confront winter with confidence this year.

This article was written by Dave Johnson.

 




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Functional and Spiced Up Balcony Container Gardening

Functional and Spiced Up Balcony Container Gardening

 

A balcony can either be one of several things depending on the size of your home. For instance, a balcony in a special room of a big house is reminiscent of a personal sanctuary. It’s usually where the lady of the house takes her breakfast or it’s where some members of the family escape to when they want some peace and quiet. On the other hand, for small homes, a balcony becomes somewhat like an extension that attempts to blend the outdoors and the indoors.

As a wing of a bedroom, a study, or a family room, one can use the balcony as an extension of the room to offer some privacy for coffee, reading, doing crafts, or even taking a nap if some blinds, billowing curtains, or plants offer some shade. Either way, a balcony is generally a small space that can be functional in a big way if the room owner or homeowner would give it a chance to acquire a personality through balcony container gardening.




What is container gardening? Simply put, it is the practice of growing plants exclusively in containers instead of the ground. That means you don’t have to till land and spend endless hours under the sun to plant. A simple container would suffice. You can actually grow many plants and herbs in nice pottery and containers.

Of course, if you’re new to container gardening, you need to remember a few things to ensure that you’ve got all bases covered.

boxed

Always start with choosing your containers. Pick a few big ones or several small ones to allow companion planting in the big containers and single herb potting in the small ones. You can choose the style based on personal preference but keep them functional too. To avoid water logging, make sure there are drainage holes on the containers.

When choosing the herbs, pick the ones you like to cook with, you like to eat, require easy maintenance and with appealing flowers and scent. Generally, cooks, foodies, and gardeners agree that the best herbs to plant include the mint, sage, rosemary, basil, and thyme.

Companion planting is a great idea in herb container gardening for plants with similar needs. For instance, parsley, chives, and marjoram like moisture. Herbs like thyme, rosemary, basil, and oregano prefer drying out between watering. Plants, like mint, are better when planted solo in a small pot. You can also group several solo planters for appeal and convenience.

Successful growing of herbs depends mostly on the care that you will provide. Provide enough sun, water, good potting mix, and food. Most herbs love the sun for no less than 6 hours a day, but put them in the shade when it gets too hot. Good potting mix and drainage holes in the pots will prevent the garden from being waterlogged. Use less fertilizing and stick to organic.

So, roll up your sleeves and begin the real job of herb container gardening. As they grow, pinch and enjoy them and these will grow lusher. These also make great gift ideas to friends and family who either likes cooking, eating, or growing plants.

 




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Don’t Hire Temporary Fencing – 6 Reasons Why

Don’t Hire Temporary Fencing – 6 Reasons Why

An old proverb advises that “anything worth doing is worth doing well”, implying that lasting value is an important aspect of most projects. A temporary fence usually requires replacement, making it a less desirable option than one that can last for years. Utah State University suggests these considerations for building a fence:

  • safety of animals, people and property
  • appearance
  • function
  • life expectancy
  • installation and annual maintenance costs

Vinyl, privacy wood, chain link and wire are typical types of popular fence options that satisfy the requirements recommended by the university. Six reasons that give property owners a basis for deciding against installing temporary fence are worth considering.

1. Inferior Protection

Temporary fence usually lacks the type of installation methods that guarantee the safety of animals, people and property. Without supports that are secured in the ground, temporary fence may present little or no deterrence to thieves or vandals.

Preventing unauthorized entry is a major reason that property owners invest in fencing. Temporary fence is often unable to resist efforts by intruders to move it or damage it sufficiently to allow entry on foot or with a vehicle. It is well known that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and a fence is effective when it is capable of providing protection successfully. A weak fence is no substitute for one that protects the area that it surrounds.

2. Lack of Aesthetic Appeal

Temporary fence usually has the appearance of a makeshift job that seems to lack a proper amount of planning. Communities often have regulations regarding the appearance of fencing to make sure that neighbouring properties are not adversely affected. Materials used for temporary fences are often inexpensive, lacking the aesthetic appeal that is desirable. Showing disrespect for existing standards, while perhaps not illegal, reflects a lack of understanding of local customs that is not appreciated by neighbouring property owners.

3. Substandard Functionality

Flimsy fencing materials that are hastily installed do not provide the functions that are typically associated with permanent fences. A well-constructed fence maintains a straight line across the top, regardless of the type of terrain. Drooping or sagging is unattractive as well as inefficient. Low areas in the fence line offer easy access for unauthorized entry, making it possible for an intruder to step over a temporary fence easily.

Gaining access for the purpose of theft or vandalism requires less effort when a temporary fence is in place than when the fence is permanent. A thief may drive through a barrier that provides substandard functionality and steal valuable items. A fence that is not capable of protecting a property may serve as an invitation to intruders. The American Fence Association shows types of fencing that are functional for a variety of installations.

4. Limited Life Expectancy

Purchasing items that have a short life expectancy is a matter of personal preference that owners may choose to do on occasion. Inexpensive or throw away items can provide an opportunity to enjoy buying something without regard for frugality. The price of an item is often an influential aspect of the decision making process, though it is not always the primary consideration.

Purchasing an item that has a temporary life span requires an owner to devalue price as a factor in evaluation. For reasons that may relate to a lack of planning, an owner may elect to build a temporary fence. Constructing a fence that does not conform to accepted standards for permanent fencing may require an owner to accept the expense as a loss.

Don't Hire Temporary Fencing

5. Expensive Initial Investment

Installing a temporary fence is likely less expensive than installing a permanent one, depending on the type of material used for construction. Installation of a fence requires an outlay of funds for material and labour, and one that needs temporary supports can add to the cost.

6. Costs of Annual Maintenance

Temporary fences are often used for long periods, effectively making them permanent structures. Temporary fencing is usually not intended for extended exposure to the elements, and frequent maintenance may occur as a result. Home and business owners typically avoid investments that have little return, and temporary fencing exhausts its value quickly without providing the opportunity for tax advantages.

Property owners can benefit from comparing the relative merits of permanent versus temporary fencing options. Some owners may have no time for planning for the long term use of a fence installation, but making a plan that includes the current and future use of land space is a wise move. Relying on the advice of academic professionals and a national fence association helps property owners make decisions that are based on facts. Sound evaluation of fencing options involves consideration of safety, appearance, function and life expectancy as well as costs.

Dave Ward owns and runs Awards Fencing, Perth fencing contractors based in Maddington, WA. Connect with Dave on Google+ now!

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