I inherited my garden and landscaping from the previous homeowner. While some of the choices bloomed beautifully, especially two bright and exotic hibiscus plants, much of the existing backyard landscaping got removed when we redesigned our backyard to create a home office/gym by bumping out our freestanding garage. Looking to make the garden my own I considered multiple options but ultimately decided to create two different gardens.
First, I decided to attempted to seed a wildflower garden. There are many seed kits available to plant a wildflower garden, and I admit the prospect of a self-renewing garden indigenous to our climate appealed to me. Since most wildflowers grow by the side of the road as weeds, planting wildflowers meant less time on hands and knees and more time grilling out and surveying the land–in my imagination.
In reality the first year of a wildflower garden requires just as much care and keeping to produce a full bed as a traditional perimeter garden. I essentially had to brutally destroy the existing plantlife by mowing it short and then solarzing the area I wished to plant under plastic sheeting for several weeks. Seeding was easy, but encouraging growth was a lot like waiting for a newly seeded lawn to develop. The garden grew up hungry for sunlight in some areas, and slowly started in others. After a few supplemental seedings and weeks of patience, the wildflower garden finally started to look like a garden.
Fortunately the plants grow densely preventing the less need for weeding, and the wildflowers do no seem to be invading the rest of the yard. Because I used a seed mix its been fun to play wildflower identification with my garden. I am always learning something new–and the newly cultivated knowledge makes me the go to expert when our gang goes hiking. My dining room table and foyer also benefit from the gorgeous assortment of flowers and greenery I cut from the garden and place in vases.
In addition to my wildflower garden, I also decided to build an herb garden. I love to cook, and having fresh herbs on hand beats having to run to the store or using less aromatic dried varieties. A lot of different versions of herb gardens exist, plenty of people are satisfied with a flower box or even a lonely basil plant on the windowsill.
Always up for a challenge and seeking something with more visual impact, I opted to build spiral herb garden. A spiral herb garden while visually dramatic, also allowed me to create different growing conditions for needy herbs within the same structure. Soil conditions vary from bottom to top and certain parts of the spiral offer needed shade while others open up to ample sunlight. I spent a weekend marking out the spiral, building up the walls will cinder blocks and other rocks. Then I incorporated soil and planted the seedlings accordingly.
It is so nice to be able to walk out to the garden to clip some rosemary or thyme for dinner, or even just step outside to get a whiff of the beautiful aromas of the garden!
I am going to be moving to a new house in the near future, and I really do not think I have the time or desire to try to move all of my stuff on my own. I think I would probably end up hurting my back if I tried to do the move on my own, so I am going to want to hire a moving company to help me instead. I just need to make sure that I hire a company that is right for this move, and I am looking for nationwide moving companies that will be able to help me move for a reasonable price.
I am going to be moving from my current location in San Diego, California all the way to the east coast and the state of South Carolina. Continue Reading »
Spring and summer are the perfect time to work on your landscaping and home exterior chores. The warmer temperatures and longer hours of daylight make it easy to knock out small chores here and there, or to devote a weekend to a major project. As I mentioned in my earlier post, DIY Spring Home Renovation, sometimes the simplest and easy to execute ideas have the most impact. This is true for indoor projects but also for outdoor projects. I’m thinking about installing a new front door.
If it has been more than 4 or 5 years since your home’s shutters and entrance doors have been painted, or if you live in a harsh climate that takes its toll on your home’s exterior, this is a good time to start planning that project. You can easily prepare an average home’s window shutters in a few hours one evening, then paint them the next day.
Painting exterior doors is also an easy to do, less than a one day project. Just be sure you paint them in the morning, after the dew has dried but before the sun heats up the surface and causes the paint to dry too quickly. In this part of the country, 9:00 am is the perfect time to start painting, but the climate zone for where you live may be different. The surface needs to be dry and not hot for best results.
When I bought my house, the front door was painted a dark, cranberry red, to match the window shutters and complement the red brick veneer. The original owners had removed a storm door from the front for some unknown reason, and although its absence is not all that noticeable, it has always bothered me. So, one of my projects this summer will be to replace the front door, rather than paint it, and to install a new storm door.
If the door jamb is in good shape and all you need is a new door, it is just a matter of measuring it correctly and deciding on the type and style of exterior slab door that you want to buy. There are many things to consider in choosing a new door, some are practical and others are person preference, such as
· Type of material – wood, fiberglass, steel, glass?
· What kind of hinges and hardware?
· Energy efficient? Insulated?
· Any special security concerns?
· Budget to include the door, hardware, paint/stain and any extras such as kick plate, doorbell, peephole, etc.
Obviously, if this type of DIY project is beyond your skill level, get estimates from at least three contractors for the installation. And don’t forget to allow for delivery charges and any disposal or take-away fees related to the old door.
Storm doors can help with reducing heat loss, privacy and security. Self storing storm doors will have both glass and a screen to allow for air flow and the change of seasons. Since my door jamb was damaged when the original storm door was removed, I will be shopping for both an entry door and a storm door, with new jamb.
The current style trend in my neighborhood is to replace the old, painted panel doors with more natural looking wood doors with a glass insert, which is actually called a windowed door. The wood is stained and often matches the color of the wood floors in the entry way or living area. The glass inserts come in a variety of shapes and styles, from square panels to ovals that are etched with floral designs.
I’m looking forward to this home renovation project and have already started shopping for the right door style and type for my home. When this project is completed, I will be welcoming visitors to my home with a new, attractive and energy efficient front door.
My wife and I are going to start making our home improvement plans in the next few days. Last year we took care of the front of the house, putting up a hedge in the front yard and doing a lot of landscaping. We cut down six trees, or at least we hired a guy who cut down a bunch of trees for us. That is a really difficult job and while I can use a chainsaw pretty well, I do not take chances on dropping big trees. That opened up the yard a lot and now we need awnings on the back patio and the side porch. Continue Reading »
Redecorating your kitchen can be a chore as well as very expensive, unless you choose to do it yourself. There are many different ways to add character to your kitchen while getting rid of the old to bring in the new. The obvious method of replacing the kitchen cabinets is one of the most expensive details of redecorating it. Sometimes it is best to just refinish the cabinets and change the knobs and colors for a less expensive project.
You can make a lot of space in your cabinets without changing them for new ones, by removing those large pots and pans from them for use for other stuff. Hanging them from the ceiling or walls can help with that, as well as give the kitchen a completely different look at the same time. Once the pots and pans are removed, you can turn those cabinets into large drawers for storage space. Tall cabinets can be turned into slide out walls or layered doors to use up that empty space. These are also really neat looking as well.
Choosing appliances can be daunting, but there are many places that can help you with that. They will deliver your appliance and haul off the old one for you. That saves a lot of time for you. Make sure the appliance you choose conforms to your decor, while making the most of your space. Refrigerators with bottom freezer drawers can hold more of your frozen food then others, so you might want to contemplate buying one of those. They hold significantly more food in general and look great. Today’s new appliances are also energy efficient as well, which helps conserve your energy and lower your bill. The cost to buy one is made up in the first two years on your electricity bill.
For your kitchen counters, you can spruce things up a bit, by buying new Benchmade knives and other counter top necessities. A new spice rack, coffee maker and toaster can make a big difference in looks for your kitchen decor. When you buy them all at once to match each other, they will bring a uniformity to the kitchen that says “neat and clean”. You don’t want to have too much clutter on the counters though, so store away the items you don’t use every day, like mixers, food processors and the like. That counter top mixer may look good, but they are usually large and take up a lot of counter space needed to prepare meals.
Pick a bright or light color for your kitchen walls if you are going to change the paint. A kitchen should be a bright and cheery place to feel comfortable in. Dark colors will make it feel closed in and crowded. In the end your kitchen should be easy to navigate with everything at your fingertips, so you can create meals for yourself and your family with ease, while having plenty of room for storage. It should reflect your personality just as the rest of your home does.
Plan your kitchen with the help of the new IKEA Kitchen Designer online. Get started today. When you’re ready, either print out your drawings or save your plan to the IKEA server.
The HVAC community is always in need of more technicians to handle the many jobs that are out there. There are multiple HVAC companies in every city and millions of homes in this country that need to have their central heating and air systems worked on. While looking for jobs can be difficult, it is best to look in a place where only the jobs that require the HVAC skill set are listed.
There are many different types of companies and many different types of jobs in HVAC that must be filled.
For the worker who prefers to be with a local HVAC company, there are jobs out there driving a van or truck and completing repairs and service appointments every day. These jobs are the most common in the industry, but they are not the only jobs in the HVAC industry that must be covered.
Individual companies sometimes prefer to have an HVAC technician on staff to ensure that their buildings and facilities are taken care of. This is especially true in the medical industry because patients cannot be properly cared for if they are in a hospital or medical facility that is too hot or too cold.
Also, large businesses prefer to have an HVAC tech on their staff to handle entire office buildings. These jobs with larger corporations still offer a salary and benefits, but they often do not require driving around town to get to appointments.
Finally, there are jobs in the HVAC industry that are at housing complexes and communities. In apartment communities, an HVAC technician must be on staff to ensure that all of the complaints about the heating and air conditioning can be handled in a day. Also, the people who manage the property are not necessarily qualified to complete repairs.
When looking for the best HVAC jobs, it is easy to assume that there is only one place to go to work. However, HVAC technicians are needed in many different places to ensure that workers, tenants and patients are kept warm or cool depending on the seasons. Don’t stop searching until all of the possible options have been considered in the HVAC job hunt.
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