3 Fresh Ideas for Xeriscaping Your Yard

At the heart of things, xeriscaping is about creating a sustainable landscape. While some homeowners take that to mean doing no landscaping at all, this isn’t always the most beneficial method for managing you yard. Wind and water can create erosion if you don’t lock down your topsoil. Instead, create a beautiful landscape that doesn’t require much supplemental water.

Scatter Wildflower Seeds

Perhaps the easiest method for creating a pretty xeriscape yard is to scatter wildflower seeds. Packets of wildflower seeds often contain both annuals and perennials in various colors. For example, they might include daisies, baby’s breath, blue flax, and poppies. The big benefit is that wildflowers are typically hardy plants that easily grow in the wild, meaning they don’t require much, if any, watering. Consider creating a rustic path out of flat stones in the middle of your wildflower meadow so you can enjoy their lifecycle up close.

Plant an Ornamental Grass Garden

Prairie grass is another hardy plant that originally grew wild. Ornamental grasses come in a wide variety of sizes, colors, and textures. What’s more, these grasses help capture water before it runs off even better than lawn grass. You can use ornamental grasses in a strip as a sidewalk or foundation garden. You can also plant them on a slope to help stop erosion. Either way, look for different heights and colors to make your landscaping more visually interesting. Alternatively, consider mixing them with your wildflowers. For example, use tall ornamental grasses as a frame for your field of wildflowers or plant lower grasses as a subtle border for your path.

Install a Dry Streambed

Speaking of runoff, this can be a problem if you don’t landscape your yard. Depending on the weather patterns in your area, even planting wildflowers and ornamental grasses might not be enough—you’ll know because of all that precious water escaping to the street. Better Homes and Gardens suggests installing a dry streambed. This involves relatively simple construction. Space some large river rocks along the length of the riverbed and fill the gaps with small river rocks. Border the streambed with large rocks that keep the water in place. A dry streambed allows excess water enough time to sink back into the soil. For added beauty, consider planting lush plants around the streambed—they’ll take the benefit of the extra water seeping into the soil.

Essentially, xeriscaping allows native plants to thrive mostly just with the water nature provides. Create a xeriscape yard that’s as pretty as it is sustainable. For more help, visit sites such as http://bourgetbros.com to find professionals near you.

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What Does It Mean If There Are Black Spots On Your Siding?

Black spots on your siding can negatively impact the appearance of your home, thus detracting from your property value. Knowing what causes black spots to appear on your siding and how you can get rid of them can help you take care of your house.

What does it mean if there are black spots growing on your siding?

The black spots you’re seeing on your vinyl siding is very likely mold or mildew. Both may grow on vinyl siding in the right environment.

What causes mold to grow on siding?

Mold and mildew frequently grows in conditions that are warm, humid, and protected from sunlight. Parts of the house that are blocked from the sun or are repeatedly exposed to moisture can easily develop a mold or mildew problem.

What can you do to remove mold growing on your siding?

The best way to remove mold is to use a solution of bleach mixed with water. While chlorine bleach is especially good for removing mold and mildew, chlorine bleach is toxic for plants and can damage your landscaping. To avoid problems, try using oxygenated bleach. Oxygenated bleach is strong enough to kill mold and mildew but will not harm plants. Use a bucket of warm water mixed with bleach, then dip a scrub brush into the solution and scrub down your siding.

When the black spots have been removed, rinse the siding with a strong jet of water from a hose. If you must use chlorine bleach for this project, soak your landscaping in water, then cover your landscaping with a tarp while working in the area.

What can you do to prevent the return of mold in the future?

You can prevent mold from growing on your siding by exposing the vinyl siding to sunlight and fresh, dry air. Below are a few tips that can help you with this:

  • Move landscaping. Landscaping that grows against the side of your house can trap in moisture and prevent sunlight from reaching your siding, creating the conditions that are good for mold growth.
  • Prune overhanging trees. Overhanging branches can block the sun and drip rain water on the house.
  • Fix clogged gutters. Clogged gutters can cause rain water to run down the side of your house, also leading to mold growth.

Fixing these problems can help you prevent mold or mildew from growing on your home in the future. For more information about how you can protect your siding from mold, contact a skilled and reputable siding contractor in your area.

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Great Ideas for Using Wrought-Iron Gates and Fencing in Your Landscape Design

Wrought iron can help to add an elegant touch to any landscape design. Finding ways to integrate wrought iron into your landscape does not have to be challenging, even in small areas. Follow these tips for using wrought-iron gates and fencing in your landscape.

Wrought-Iron Fencing Around Your Entire Lawn

Many older homes have wrought iron fencing around the entire perimeter of their lawns, giving them a distinct Gothic appeal. Your home does not have to be a huge two-story home to have wrought-iron fencing around it. Newer houses with wrought iron have a more distinctive appeal and an elegance that adds a high level of decorative appeal to lawns. If you have a walkway going up to your front door, you might consider putting a wrought-iron gate at the beginning of the walkway as a special addition to your fencing. Several styles of wrought-iron fencing and finials are available for you to choose from, making your decorative wrought-iron design easier to plan.

Additions That Look Great with Wrought-Iron Fences and Gates

Adding accessories to your landscape that coordinate with wrought-iron fencing can help you get the greatest decorative impact. Tying in the design you choose is important and is easier when you tie in accessories and decorative landscape objects that match your wrought-iron fencing and gates. The following are accessory ideas you may find will give your landscape design a more appealing look.

  • Having wrought-iron lamp posts line your driveway or walkway is a wonderful way to not only light the way but also to bring out the decorative appeal of wrought iron in your design.

  • Lawn furnishings made from wrought iron can also be used to tie in the decorative look of wrought-iron fencing. Remember to place wrought-iron lawn furnishings like tables and chairs far enough from your fence to avoid the effect from becoming too much.

  • Hanging lanterns made from wrought iron can be a unique addition to any area that begs for light. Hanging iron lanterns can look great over picnic areas or flower beds you want to show up at night or near water fountains that need a touch of light. A water fountain with light on it at night can provide a mystical appeal to your landscape.

Wrought iron can be added to your porches in the form of handrails in order to tie the look of your house in with the look of your fencing. Choosing to design your landscape using wrought iron is a good way to add fencing, gates, and other accessories that will last for years.

For more information about iron gates and fencing, consult a company such as Anvil Iron Works, Inc.

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Tips For Designing A Luxurious Master Bathroom

Perhaps you’re remodeling your bathroom or starting from scratch. Either way, you’ve decided you want a touch of luxury in your morning routine. A well-outfitted bathroom can really give your day a good start–or sendoff. Design you master bathroom with at least a few luxuries to facilitate your ablutions.

Install a Walk-In Shower

Shower-tub combinations are good for smaller areas. If you’ve got the luxury of space, opt for a walk-in shower instead. Your walk-in shower can include different luxuries, such as a short ledge for shaving legs or a built-in bench. You can also have a spa panel installed. This includes an array of hand showers and body sprays. Of course, a rain shower head never goes out of style. Think how you’d like your morning to start off, and have these amenities included in your walk-in shower.

Surround the Shower with Glass

The shower is one of the centerpieces of your master bath. To keep the focus on your décor, regardless of the amenities you include, Home and Garden TV suggests designing the space without a threshold and surrounded by glass. Your custom glass enclosure can take on different styles. For example, you could completely encase the shower to create a small room and have a steam generator installed. This creates a steam bath. Conversely, you can have a glass wall installed that keeps the shower as open as possible. Such glass panels can be etched or customized with a film for added privacy.

Include a Soaking Tub

There will be times when you’re not just looking to bathe but actually relax. To that end, have a soaking tub installed. If possible, locate the soaking tub near a window so you have a pleasing view during your relaxation time. Soaking tubs come in different styles. The slipper style allows you to lay back, while a traditional Japanese style is best for soaking. Several mod tubs are also available, which can be an attractive complement in a contemporary bathroom.

Designate Grooming Spaces

Bathing aside, another important activity that takes place in the bathroom is grooming. The serenity of your luxurious bath will be undone if you’re jostling for space or peering into a dim mirror in the mornings. So, designate spaces for grooming tasks. Ensure you have enough lighting and a good mounted mirror. Additionally, create the countertop and surrounding cabinetry to accommodate the tools of your task. For example, ensure the counter is wide enough for a makeup tray, and include drawers for your tools. Finally, have adequate outlets for your grooming appliances, such as electric shavers and blow dryers.

Design your master bath with luxury in mind for a glorious start to each day.

For custom shower enclosures, contact a company such as Ridge Glass & Mirror

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Can You Install Your Own Vinyl Siding?

If you want an affordable way to upgrade the exterior walls of your house, you should definitely consider vinyl siding. Perhaps the best feature of installing vinyl siding is the fact that you can do most of the work, as long as you have the ability to handle the physical aspects of the labor. You will also need some basic tools. This article briefly explains the process of installing vinyl siding. It should help you decide whether or not it is a home improvement project that you can take on yourself, or if it is something you should leave to the professionals.

Handling Vinyl Siding

First, you need to consider the logistical and physical requirements of handling vinyl siding. It is usually sold in packages with several planks. These planks could be quite long, sometimes over 12′, so you obviously need a truck to transport them to the job site. Vinyl is relatively lightweight, but the packages usually need to be carried by 2 people, if only because they are so awkward to handle. You also need to carry the planks while you are climbing up and down a ladder throughout the process. This not only requires a little bit of strength, it also requires good balance and coordination. If you don’t feel comfortable climbing up and down a ladder with this load, you should let professionals, such as Hatboro Lumber & Fuel Co., handle your job.

What Tools You Need

It is also very important to consider the tools that are necessary for vinyl siding installation. In reality, the tool requirements vary depending on what type of sidewalls you have. It is usually the easiest to install vinyl siding on wooden or stucco walls with wood framing. However, if you have a concrete or brick structure, it will be a little more difficult to secure the pieces to the wall. You will need to use special concrete bits to pre-drill the holes for the anchor pieces.

The Design of your Home

One last thing to consider is intricacy and design of your phone. If your home has a bunch of curved walls and a lot of edges, it will be more difficult to install the siding. You will have to make many more cuts compared to a a home with mostly flat walls.

In the end, if you don’t have any construction experience, if your home has a complicated floor plan, or if you have concrete sidewalls, you might want to let professionals install your vinyl. However, if you have a basic tract home with wooden framing, and have the essential tools, you should not be afraid to take on the project.

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The Perks Of PVC Fencing

Even a short fence can add a little bit of privacy and safety to your yard. Small fences are especially useful for households with young children or pets. If you want to install a fence in your yard, you probably want a material that is easy to maintain and can withstand the harsh treatment from your active children and pets, not to mention moisture from the rain and sprinklers. PVC is a great material if you have these requirements. This article explain the various perks of investing in a PVC fence.

PVC is Waterproof

To many homeowners, the most important reason for choosing PVC is the fact that it is perfectly waterproof. This means that you don’t need to worry about moisture from the sprinkler system, rain, or morning dew ruining your fence. Even puddles of standing water on the top side of the fence rails will not affect or deteriorate the PVC. Best of all, you don’t need to paint or seal your PVC to keep it waterproof.

PVC is Easy to Maintain

The fact that PVC is waterproof also makes it very easy to maintain. In fact, if you want to, you can just clean your fence with the hose or pressure washer. Alternatively, you can wipe it down with large sponges and use basic household cleaners to remove the more stubborn dirt stains. It is also worth noting for that PVC fences are modular. This means that if a certain piece, be at a rail or post, gets damaged, you can easily change it out with minimal tools and labor.

PVC Colors Last a Long Time

PVC fences come in a wide variety of colors. You will have no problem finding all the most common colors used in residential construction. Maintaining the bright color of your PVC fence is very simple. Since it is dyed, instead of being painted, PVC is a solid color throughout the entire piece. This means that if your fence get scratched or chipped, the color difference will barely be noticeable. Furthermore, this also makes it more resistant to fading. As long as you just clean your fence with water every once in a while, you can ensure that the color is bright and true.

Since PVC is waterproof, colorful and easy to maintain, it is a top choice for many homeowners. You can buy with confidence, knowing that PVC is practical and stylish at the same time.

For a PVC fence, click on this link http://www.lishmanfence.com or do an online search. 

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Want To Work In The Housing Industry But Don’t Like Sales? 3 Great Alternative Options

If you want to work a job that allows you to be around real estate transactions and in the housing market, but you don’t want to be a real estate agent or work in direct sales, there are some alternative occupation options to look into. Many of these jobs even allow you to work from home, or to make your own schedule. Here are a few different career options and training to look into.

Land Surveying

If you are interested in driving around the area where you live, looking at different properties, and being outside, land surveying is a great career option. You can get your flood certification certificates, and learn how to survey boundaries and more. This is a way to work with real estate and construction, but you aren’t responsible for the sales of properties or working directly with the buyers.

Home Appraising

Being a home appraiser is a great way to stay up to date with the property market in your area, and since houses are always being sold, you should have an easy time finding work. To get your certification in home appraising, you’ll be able to take an online course and do training. You’ll have to spend time comparing the sales of recent homes in the area, looking at the price of other listed homes, and driving by to inspect different properties. This is a job that often allows people to work as often or as little as they want.

Home Inspection

The home inspection process will require you to be inside and outside of a home, to determine if it’s in good enough condition to sell. You will have to look at all of the physical components of the property, to determine if the house is structurally safe, and worth the loan that the buyer is trying to take out. This job is very detailed, but can be very rewarding if you get in with a company that offers full-time benefits and other perks.

There are many online and in person training options for all of these different real estate career options, and you may want to look into the salary and training requirements of all three before deciding which program is going to be the most suitable for you. You may want to pursue a career in more than one field to expand your job options and income potential somewhere down the road.   

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