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How To Organized Home

With the rise in the Work from Home concept, people have become more conscious about organizing the workstation. The essence of being successful at home office is to utilize the space properly and increase the concentration power. In order to organize your home office, you need to define your work place, no matter in which corner of house you work. Try to keep all distractions at bay and keep office-related items in one place, so that you can create an effective home office. Arranging things properly can easily save your time that usually gets wasted in searching for necessary things.

You can arrange your home office with basic tools required in a large office set up. But for this you need a lot of space, office supplies, calendar, cabinets, phone connections, wastebaskets, an answering machine and a computer. However, you can organize your home office easily by organizing five main things, namely, email, voice mail, verbal requests, paper file and your own ideas. A well-organized office helps create a pleasant day.

The following steps will help you organize your home office:

. Use desk to hold files: In order to keep your work place organized you need to use a desk to hold your files, pens, papers and calculators. If you are using your dining room table as your home office, then you can arrange office-related things in one place. Many times scattered things drive people crazy because they often tend to forget where they have kept certain important paper. If that is the case with you, consider moving your office files and papers to a central location. Keeping it near your computer will be the best option, provided that is the place where you generally get most of your work done.

. Separate your personal files and papers from your office related things: Separating your personal files, magazines, kids notebooks from your business files and papers will help you manage your home office in a better way. Try to keep all your non-office things outside your home office space.

. Make a file system: Develop a file system that can help you in your home office. Analyze the best way that will enable you find important papers. Then depending upon your own convenience you can create a file system to work for you.

. Have a look at your work station: Take a look at your work station and check if you have piles of papers, mail, files and floppy discs or CDs scattered around. If yes, then arrange them separately and put aside all other unnecessary things.

. Keep a few minutes at the end of work: Once you organize your office neatly, keep a few minutes aside daily to keep it like that. Always arrange your workspace after completing your work. It will help you prevent from facing an all-messed up workstation.

. Give a personal touch: By bringing pictures of your kid, plants or inspirational quotes you can add a personal touch to your office. It helps to make your office look pleasant. Besides you can incorporate a different corporate decor to it, so that it looks like a proper office and not merely another part of your house.

Cost Of A Kitchen Remodel

Every day, millions of homeowners enter their kitchen. Unfortunately, not all of those individuals like what they see. If you are unhappy with the way that your kitchen looks, it may be time for a little remodeling project.

Actually, it may even be time for a big remodeling project. When it comes to kitchen remodeling, you will find that, as a homeowner, you have an unlimited number of options. If you choose to do so, you could remodel everything, right down to the kitchen sink.

Speaking of kitchen sinks, there is a good chance that you if you are unhappy with your kitchen, you may want to purchase and have a new kitchen sink installed. If that is the case, you will have to find one that peaks your interest. When searching for a new kitchen sink, you are urged to check out one of your local home improvement stores. There is a good chance that there is at least one kitchen sink that you may want to have. Although there is a good chance that you may find the kitchen sink of your dreams at one of your local home improvement stores, there is also a chance that you may not. If this is the case, you may want to think about shopping online.

Regardless of where you shop, it is important that you keep a number of things in mind. Perhaps, the most important thing to keep in mind is the sink size that you need. If you are simply replacing a kitchen sink, you may find it a little bit more difficult to find a kitchen sink. This is because your kitchen counter already has a pre-sized space for a sink. If you purchase a sink that is too big for that space or even too small for it, a small kitchen remodeling project may turn into a fairly large one. That is why it is important that you take sink sizes into consideration. However, if your kitchen remodeling project includes new kitchen cabinets and new countertops, you may not have to be as concerned with sink sizes.

In addition to the size of a kitchen sink, it is also important to consider the style. The majority of kitchen sinks come with two basins, but it is also possible for them to only come with one. When choosing a kitchen sink that only has one or two basins, you may want to examine your needs. If you do not have a dishwasher, you will need to wash your dishes in your kitchen sink. When doing dishes, it may be easier if you have a two basin kitchen sink. Although two basin kitchen sinks are more convenient, you will likely find that the one basin sinks are more trendy and, somewhat, more attractive.

Speaking of being attractive, the style of a kitchen sink not only includes how many basins it has, but it also includes the color. While most kitchen sinks come in a stainless steel color, there are other kitchen sink colors. Other popular colors include white, granite, biscuit, and almond. In all honesty, the color of a new kitchen sink may be more important to you than whether it has one or two basins. If you are also remodeling other parts of your kitchen, like the floors or your countertops, it may be a good idea to make sure that your new kitchen sink compliments your other repairs or at least matches them.

How Much Do Home Renovations Cost

Are you getting ready to get involved with a home renovation? If so, then one thing is for sure and that is that you definitely want to learn your lessons the easy way rather then the difficult, expensive way! Take the time to study up on what the latest styles and methods are before you get started and you will be much better off in the end.

The Growing Trend In Exotic Hardwoods

Take contemporary kitchen cabinets for instance. For well over two decades the trend in increasingly expensive and exotic woods just keep on growing. In fact it got to the point where almost everyone was convinced that the cost of the wood in the homes cabinetry would basically dominate their renovation budget.

More Affordable Yet Great Looking Quality Cabinetry

What finally happened was designers, decorators and cabinet makers recognized and began to cater to the market niche that was being left behind. The end result is that you can now find a fantastic selection of contemporary kitchen cabinets made from beautiful pines and newer composite materials.

Shoot For Quality Hinges and Cabinet Hardware

Remember that your home renovation project will not be new forever. What this means is that you would be well advised to look beyond the surface of your cabinetry to the hardware that goes into them. Remember that there is a difference between good quality hardware and hinges and the cheaper types.

The Two Most Important Things to Bring Along For the Installation Job

Installing kitchen cabinets is not at all as difficult as it may seem to the novice. If you plan on doing your own installation then the two most important things you will need, are a couple of good steady handed helpers and a quality level that has been tested and verified to be accurate.

Home Remodeling Ideas Pictures

Bathroom remodeling ideas can be used to transform the room into a comfortable, attractive, spa-like and functional space. Good ideas for remodeling a bathroom can help create a space for grooming and even for relaxing and indulging in after a long, tiring day. The bathroom is the most frequently remodeled room in the house.

Here are ideas for remodeling a bathroom to consider:

1. Access to Natural Light – bringing natural light in from the outdoors can open up the space visually, setting the mood in the room. Natural light can be uplifting and energizing in its effect on how you feel. A rather dramatic bathroom remodeling design idea you can use would be to consider adding a window, a skylight or roof window. A window will provide natural light or perhaps even give you a beautiful view to enjoy. If you are going to install a skylight, obtain the kind that can be opened and closed easily for ventilation.

2. Choices of Color – the colors used in a room can affect how you feel and can have an impact on the visual appearance of the space. The use of light colors will make the bathroom appear larger, and conversely, the use of darker colors will make the room appear smaller. Yellow, green, pink, white and blue are considered neutral, softer, cooler and relaxing. Red, darker blue, black, orange or other strong colors will be stimulating and high energy and they will make your room seem smaller than it really is. If the room is large, another of the ideas for remodeling a bathroom can be to use a mixture of these colors.

3. Plan for Storage – one cannot have too much storage in the bathroom. Storage reduces clutter and it hides items that do not need to be seen. Every bathroom needs a place for storing grooming supplies, cosmetics, cleaners, towels and much more. Consider adding shelves in areas where you think it may be possible. Shelves in corners can often take advantage of otherwise unused space. Perhaps there is room for a closet, chest of drawers or cabinet for your towels. If your room is small, use the space over the toilet to add cabinet storage or shelf storage.

4. Medicine Cabinet Selection – multi-purpose medicine cabinets work well for medications, toiletries and other accessories. A medicine cabinet can be purchased as a lockable unit so that small children cannot access it. Hooks, towel bars and pegs can be placed under the medicine cabinet so that towels can be hung there. Medicine cabinets are available in a wide variety of decor styles to complement the look of the room. In general, a recessed medicine cabinet will be more attractive than one that is not recessed.

4. Replace Existing Lighting – upgrading the artificial lights with brighter and better quality lighting can easily make a big difference in the attractiveness of your room. Have you noticed how well lit the showrooms are in home furnishing stores? And if dimmer switches are included, you can raise or lower the light level to suit your mood, high for grooming, low for relaxing in that warm, cozy bath. And the choice of light fixture styles and finishes will complement the decorating style of your home. Consider using sconces, recessed lighting and even chandeliers in the bathroom.

5. Install Mirrors or Pictures – it may not be necessary to spend a lot of money on a quality mirror. You can use a basic looking mirror or one with attractive designs, depending on what you prefer. Mirrors are especially good to use in smaller spaces as they reflect light and help make the room seem larger than it really is. If there is space, a picture can work well to make the room more interesting.

As you can see, there are plenty of ideas for remodeling a bathroom that may not even require the services of a contractor. Enjoy the planning process, learn as much as you can and use your imagination when collecting and implementing your bathroom remodeling ideas. Having a comfortable, attractive and functional room reflecting your personal style means you will have a special place to enjoy for many years to come.

Copyright 2007 InfoSearch Publishing

Cost Of Addition To Home

Often times we purchase homes in the beginning of our marriages that are meant to be starter homes. Eventually when children come along a bigger space will be needed to accommodate the growing family so we will move on to another home. What happens when you find yourself in this situation however you don’t want to move? For whatever reason, the neighbors are great, the economy is poor, etc… you find yourself wanting or needing to stay in this home however need more space. Your house needs to grow and we all know there is not any fertilizer out there that will make that happen. What is the next best option? That’s right; add on to the existing home.

Adding a second story to your home allows you many benefits as does any new room addition, the obvious being extra space. The addition of a second story means that you do not have to acquire additional land. This is super beneficial when looking at the cost of land and the limited quantity available in many already existent areas where homes inhabit.

Another benefit to adding a second story is the fact that if you like the location of your home. This is especially true if the property is enhanced with a pool, water features or a family park within walking distance you aren’t going to want to move. The neighborhood means so much too many of us. You might enjoy the history of the home or the proximity to a school.

Another major benefit of adding a second story to a home is the opportunity to modernize the look of your home. Adding space and light often brightens the home up and adds an entirely new perspective. Adding windows and higher ceilings to the second story addition and in turn add light and brightness to the space.

The second story can be used to meet any need for addition space. Traditionally second stories have been built to accommodate more children, guest bedroom or spare bathrooms. So many ideas for addition space within a home.

If you are a movie fan think about adding on a second floor space to accommodate a home theatre. Think about the possibilities with a space dedicated to the movie watching experience. HD wide screen television, theatre seating (comfy extra wide recliners), a small kitchen for drinks and popcorn and some surround sound speakers. Do I have you convinced yet? Room additions and extra space can mean luxury to any second store addition.

Crafters are also in need of a space that can be left undisturbed. Who likes to clean up after every time they start a project when they are interrupted by daily life? A second story addition is a perfect space to create a hobby and craft room.

A playroom is also something many of us moms desire right around dinner time. A space that is safe and free of mini disasters happening. The addition of a second floor can mean an additional space to harbor toys for your kids. A space all of their own with a door that can be closed and clutter kept within.

In-law quarters are also becoming increasingly popular. A space designed to fit their aging needs. Barrier free living quarters are often needed as we age and a floor designed to meet their needs under your roof where you can care for them is ideal. This floor can be accessed using stair chair lifts or even a redesign keeping loved ones on the main level and moving the household into the second story addition.

Of course a second story addition will likely cost more than a simple additional room added on to your home however will likely add tenfold to the value of your home. It is also likely that you will have to hire a licensed contractor or general builder to oversee the project. Home remodeling of any kind is tricky enough to bring in the professionals but with a second story addition it is a must.

Landscaping Ideas In Backyard

Finding the best landscaping ideas is one of the easiest things in the world to do, it is amazing more people are not pros at it by now. There are few houses out there that don’t need some landscaping done to them and there is no reason to hire an expensive contractor when you can do a lot of it yourself. As long as there are no major irrigation issues that need to be dealt with then you can pretty much learn to do your own landscaping on your own. All you need are some fantastic landscaping ideas and that is what all of the books have been written for!

A quick browse online is going to show you just how many great landscaping ideas books have been written. For years and years and decades even books have been written by some of the best landscapers in the industry. And the best news is that these books are not dated at all, the things that worked generation sago still hold true today. Pretty is pretty, nice looking things never go out of style. So if you are interested in changing the look and the feel of your home, get online and start hunting up some good books!

The best landscaping ideas are the simple ones. There is no need to get too complicated and technical in your designs. Stick with what is easy to do and what is affordable. You don’t want to go broke fixing up the outside of your home and you don’t need to. With some well placed shrubs and wonderfully colorful flowers you can transform your home from a run of the mill house to a showplace of style and grace, it is easy! All it takes is a little imagination and some fantastic resources.

There are even some great sites online that will offer you free landscaping advice and landscaping ideas. Try these out first and see what you think, there is no point in spending money if you don’t have to when it comes to getting the best landscaping ideas. Try the sites first, not only will they give you some great ideas they will also be able to steer you in the directions of the best books. You may even find that some of these landscaping idea sites have forums where you can talk to other people like you, you may even be able to learn from their mistakes!

How To Get Your Home Organized

Women like me have many reasons for becoming work from home moms. There are loads of options for women to make a good living from the comfort of their homes while being able to spend time with their families. I can honestly say that becoming a work from home mom requires structure, but once you become organized, this career option is very easy. In this day in age with the computer technology that we have, you can start a home business and help your family out financially while still being around to raise your children. Because much of the workload is on the computer, moms can set their own schedules and manage their time to fit their own needs.

Even if you can only work a few hours a day on your home business, a comfortable income is possible. These few hours could bring in money, but the more hours you work the more money you could possibly earn. The key is to not work in large blocks of time everyday because you will be wasting the valuable time you spend with your family. Spending time with your family is the reason why as a mom, you want to work from home in the first place. Pace yourself. You do not want to wear yourself out as if you were still commuting back and forth to your outside the home job. You will not be doing yourself or your family any favors.

There are many things you can do to get and keep yourself organized running your home business.

1. Take full advantage of nap times. While your children are sleeping, you will have guilt free time for yourself. Spend time with your family in the evening then work on your business after everyone else has gone to bed.

2. Use your time wisely. Do not check your email every five minutes during the day. I used to do this and found that once I sat down to check my mail, I needed to do a few other miscellaneous items while I was online. I find that checking my email a couple of times throughout the day; answering anything that needed my immediate attention, and then saving the rest for when I could deal with all my mail at once was a better option.

3. Set up a voice mail system so you can retrieve your calls when you can sit undisturbed for a long stretch of time. It will be easier to manage each phone call and give it the attention that is required.

4. No one can tell you exactly how to manage your time because each individual is unique. I strongly suggest scheduling a coaching session with one of your up line or a professional coaching service. These people are time management specialists. Take advantage of their wealth of information. You will find that your life as a work from home mom will be ten times easier to manage.

Trying to simplify your family/home business is indeed one of the biggest challenges you may ever have to face. Many online websites are unique to home business moms. These sites can help you find other moms who want to, or are make money from home, and are willing to share their downfalls and success stories. You can learn from the women who have gone before you. The fact of the matter is, running a home business is easy, but if you do not invest a small amount of time to get your home and work life organized, you may wind up putting more hours in at home, than you did at your regular job. That means less money per hour and less time spent with your family.

The bottom line: Get information from others in the know. Get organized. Use your time wisely and you will have the best chance for success with your home business.

Simple Front Yard Landscape Design

You are about to learn the landscaping information you have been searching for. I hope you find it helpful.

Front yard landscaping is a fun expression of yourself and your home. If you are looking for a way to say, “welcome to my home” then you may want to start thinking about redesigning your front yard. If you were coming to visit your house, would you want to knock on your front door? If you are not sure about that answer, then you may want to start thinking of ways to spruce up your front yard.

To help you get started, here are some fresh ideas:

1. Add some pep to your front yard

Your home is a stranger’s first impression of you. To make your home look friendlier, add some flowers to your yard. Flowerbeds are great and simple ways to accent your front yard. Flowers can be used to line a sidewalk or the pathway to your front door. Colorful flowers in beds around your front porch are sure to be a pleasure to any newcomer.

2. Add some trees to your front yard

Trees and shrubs are a great way to line a porch or front yard property line. Shrubs are a great way to keep things looking neat and well maintained. As long as you give them the proper attention they require. Try not to use trees that loose their leaves on walkways and make them slippery. Consider using fruit or dogwood tress for the front yard. These are beautiful trees that produce sweet calming scents.

3. Decorating Porches

What you do with the front porch depends on its size. One good way to add comfort to your front porch is to use benches, tables, and accent pieces to create a warm and comfortable look. Plants and greenery is another way to add not only beauty but also, color and dept to any front porch or patio. Climbing vines are an impressive way to accent a porch railing or arch way.

4. Fix your sidewalk

Your sidewalk or pathway should be well maintained and kept clean or debris. If you have a sidewalk that needs repaired, then make the necessary mends to make it not only safe but also inviting. Sidewalks made of concrete or some sort of decorative stone or rock are best. Add a little creativity to make it a focal point of your yard.

5. Fountains or ponds

A peaceful addition to any front yard is a pond or small fountain. You do not want something that is too overwhelming. If you are add in a pond or fountain to your landscape, then add some brick or stone for the border or foundation.

6. No confusion

Some good advice for your front yard is to keep it simple. You do not want your front yard to look like a jungle or make people feel like they are going through a maze to find your front door. No matter what design you choose for your front yard, as long as you keep it neat and well maintained you will be delighted every time you walk up to your front door.

Small Garden Landscaping Ideas

Do you admire with envy beautifully landscaped lawns and gardens? Wish your yard looked more like those and less like a hodge podge of weeds, bare spots and badly placed bushes? If you want a yard others will envy, there are several sources for ideas. These sources include neighbors, professionals, and lawn and garden magazines as well as landscaping software.

One of the best ways to get ideas for landscaping your yard is just to take a drive around the neighborhood. Look at what neighboring homes have planted in their yards and decide what you like and don’t like. After you get a feel for what you like, you can move on to the actual landscape design.

If you’ve driven around your block and don’t find any landscaping styles that suit your fancy, you might try checking out lawn and garden magazines. Often these publications will feature unusual or unique landscaping designs that can be adapted to fit your yard. These ideas are especially great if you want your yard to be different from those around you. If you wish, you can also integrate a combination of ideas you get from your neighbors – yards along with any inspirations you may find in magazines.

Another way to get good ideas for your new landscaping is to hire a professional. Even if you’d rather do the work yourself, a professional landscaper can be of great value to get initial ideas of what to do with your yard. Often these landscapers will look your yard over for a small charge and give you ideas about what you should plant where as well as what features, such as a water garden, might look good in your yard. A professional can also tell you what types of plants will grow well in your yard as well as any additives your soil needs to make plants grow better.

Landscaping software is another great way to get landscaping ideas. These computer assisted programs allow you to get an idea of what your yard and house will look like with the shrubs and plants you choose placed around it. This software also allows you to rearrange your plants until you get them in just the right places. It is a great idea to do this on a computer since it is not usually a good idea to continuously dig up and replant live plants.

If you want a beautifully landscaped yard, but aren’t sure where to start, there are several places from which to get landscaping ideas. First, look at neighboring yards to get an idea of what you might like. Next, check out some lawn and garden magazines if you want something totally different from all your neighbors.

You also might want to consult a professional to get their opinion of what you should do with your yard. Finally, before you actually plant, try out your design with landscaping software to make sure it is what you had in mind. Using one or more of these sources, it is easy to find landscaping ideas that will fit your yard.

How To Remodel A Home

What is the easiest way to add more living space to your house? The answer is to remodel your garage. A very cost-effective way to expand the area for your home is to remodel all or part your garage to fit your needs.

You can greatly expand your home’s living area especially if you do not need to use your garage to park your car and are using your driveway instead. Remodeling your garage can help you become more organized by not storing all of your belongs there.

Your garage offers a perfect place to have your workshop, studio or home office. Many people also find that their garage can also be used for a gym or for another room designed for specific activities. However, remodeling your garage does not necessarily mean that you have to sacrifice your storage area or your parking area. Garages today have become multifunctional, allowing vehicles, general storage, a workshop and even a home office all in the same area.

Because many garages are connected to the house they can benefit from using the same utilities as a home: telephone wires, heating, air conditioning, electrical and plumbing. All you need is a little imagination, a set budget and a plan.

If you think that by remodeling, you may be losing too much storage area, you can always build a small storage room behind your garage to keep gardening equipment, tools and other things.

Also, when remodeling your garage you should consider an addition above the garage. Adding a room for an office or a room for one of your children above the existing garage can increase the value of your home without major changes to the floor plan.

If you want to remodel your garage but don’t know precisely what you want or need, you should consider doing some of the following:

1. Change your garage into a laundry if you don’t have one. This, of course, can only be done if you have the ability to add plumbing to the area.

2. Add a music studio. This will keep the “noise” out of the main part of the house. The garage is the place where many garage bands started. Consider soundproofing to avoid your neighbors’ disapproval.

3. Use a part of your garage for a gym. If you have a lot of equipment and nowhere to use it in the house, the garage is an excellent area to put it.

Even if you still need to part your car in the garage, you can still take a portion of it to use for other activities. All it takes is creativity, planning and hard work.

How To Get Your House Clean And Organized

The bathroom is one of the most often used rooms in the house so it’s easy for it to quickly become unorganized, dirty and cluttered. To make it easier to organize your bathroom, it’s always good to begin with a clean space in which to work. Here are some helpful tips to make cleaning and organizing your bathroom a breeze.

Five Tips to Keep the Bathroom Clean

Start with countertops and around the sink de-cluttering surfaces and wiping down with your favorite cleanser. It’s easy to keep faucets and spigots clean with an old toothbrush, which are also good to use for grout and hard to reach parts of the toilet. Just be sure to keep your cleaning toothbrushes away from the “real” ones!

Next is the toilet, put some cleanser inside the bowel to soak while you work on other parts of the room. Remove any items from the tank, wipe it down making sure to remember the handle and behind the hinges of the seat where hair, dirt and dust easily build up. Wipe down the outside of the lid and the top and bottom of the toilet seat. Wipe around the bowel of the toilet and around the base where it bolts to the floor, an often neglected spot.

If you have a lot of soap scum in your bathtub or shower, spray down the surfaces when you begin cleaning the room to save time. Use a non-abrasive scouring pad and be sure to rinse completely clean. Don’t forget the faucets, soap holders and shower curtain.

Using a broom or dry mop, or even the vacuum cleaner, sweep up all of the dust and hair that’s accumulated on the floor remembering to also get inside the closet. Now using a wet mop and some cleaner, wipe down the floor and allow to dry. For good measure, sweep one more time after the floor has dried to remove any stray hairs or debris that may have snuck back in.

Five Tips to Keep the Bathroom Organized

Hang a cheap, plastic shoe bag on the back of the door or inside the closet and stuff a few pockets with rolled up towels and wash cloths.

Keep drawers organized by categories such as make-up in one, first-aid supplies in another and hair care items in yet another. Hair dryers and curling irons can be hung on hooks on walls or doors to save drawer or shelf space.

Extra rolls of toilet paper can be stored on top of the toilet tank or on a spindle in the closet or even next to the toilet. If space is at a premium, use slim, vertical cabinets or shelves that are able to fit in just about any area and are great for holding toilet paper, bottles of shampoo, soap, and towels.

If your bathroom or its closet is large enough, use more than one hamper or basket for dirty clothes keeping whites and darks separate to save time sorting on laundry day.

Stick to a firm rule that nothing should be stored loose under the sink or on closet shelves. Use small plastic bins to keep like items together and everything neatly in its place. Using plastic containers helps eliminate messes and allows for easy clean-up in case something should leak. As with drawers, similar items should be kept separate in their own bins.

Affordable Landscaping Ideas Backyard

No matter where you live, there’s nothing better than relaxing outdoors on a warm summer night watching your backyard landscaping ideas come to life.

Unfortunately, re-landscaping your entire backyard during the course of one growing season can be back breaking, expensive and requires major planning.

Here’s a simple solution: Break up your backyard into rooms” and remodel one room each year. This is especially helpful if you’re on a budget. You’re results will be much better if you spend as much time and money as you can on one project, rather than trying to revamp the entire backyard all at once for the same amount of money.

Although you’re landscaping only one section of the yard at a time, you still need an overall plan. Using graph paper, sketch out the permanent structures on your property including the house, out buildings, deck and trees.

This is also a good time to consider which existing plants and shrubs will not be a part of the new landscape.

Make copies of your sketch and experhyment with different designs. Incorporate ideas you like from magazines or gardens you’ve visited.

If you host frequent cook outs you’ll probably want to keep the yard open and plant along the borders. If you don’t need the space, you could create real drama with an island bed, walkways, solar lighting and cutouts for comfortable furniture to relax on.

Here are some ideas you’ll dig:

Screening with Plants

If your yard doesn’t have a fence, you might want to consider planting a row of hawthorn, juniper, arborvitae, or a combination of these bushes to create privacy and provide a backdrop for future flower beds. A strategically place evergreen screen will also provide a windbreak from winter winds and drifting snow.

Planning a Border Flower Bed

The hardest part of designing a border is choosing flowers that complement each other both in color and height. The list of perennials I suggest here is for a six foot wide bed in a mainly sunny situation. Wide, in this case, means outward from the plant screen or fence, not the length of the bed.

Use 3 or 5 plants for each kind of flower and allow 16″18″ between each plant. Allow 20″22″ between the different plant groups. Planting an odd number of plants is more visually appealing than an even number.

Allow sufficient space at the rear of the bed for access. This will also prevent choking off necessary air and light from the plants in back.

These are my suggestions for a perennial border. They were chosen to give a long display, with the first flowers appearing in April and the last in October.

Tall plants for the back row: SEDUM ‘Autumn Joy'; RUDBECKIA Goldsturm; PHLOX White; IRIS light blue or yellow; VERONICA Blue; SOLIDAGO ‘Golden Shower'; and HOSTA fortunei ‘Picta’.

Shorter plants for the front row: GERANIUM grandiflorum; POTENTILLA ‘Firedance'; HUECHERA Pink; ASTER Dwarf Blue; SEDUM Dragons Blood; ACHILLEA ‘Moonshine'; and ERIGERON ‘Prosperity’.

Obviously, these plants will not be the best choice for every climate. A worthwhile book to help you choose plants native to your climate zone is The Comfortable Lazy Garden. It’s also an excellent reference for beginning gardeners.

Island Bed

An island bed, as the name implies, is planted in the middle of the yard surrounded by a sea of grass. It can vary in shape and size according to your imagination and available space. Scale the plants from tallest in the center to shortest at the edges.

Preplanned Gardens

I understand all of this Latin mumbo jumbo can be daunting for first time gardeners, it was for me. If you would like a ready made solution, Direct Gardening offers a wide selection of preplanned gardens designed to take all the guess work out of plant selection and placement.

Water Feature

Imagine the reflective beauty of a pond or the gentle splashing of a man made waterfall. How about a 100 foot high waterslide? Maybe next year.

Do Your Yard a Favor

Before you buy any vegetation, visit a real garden center for advice on drainage and soil preparation. Also, bring a copy of your plan; a soil sample and an extra credit card just in case you cannot wait years to make your backyard landscaping ideas come true.

Spring Cleaning Safety Tips

As we slowly roll out of the winter months, spring is coming on like gangbusters. You know what that means. Yep, time to do some spring cleaning. Here are some tips to help.

1. Shower Door Cleaning – When it comes to shower doors, getting them clean can be difficult. Use white vinegar. It will always do a better job than any commercial product.

2. Cleaning Shower Heads – Cleaning shower heads is a necessary task and fairly easy. Take the shower head off. Place it in a bowl with equal mixes of hot water and white vinegar. Leave it for an hour or so and then rinse it thoroughly.

3. Dirty Piano Keys If you tickle the ivories, they inevitably will get dirty. Dab them with a towel soaked in lemon juice. It will sound terrible, but they will be clean.

4. Candle Wax in Carpet If you get candle wax in your carpet, grab the iron and a brown bag. Place the bag over the wax and apply the iron. The wax will melt into the bag.

5. Cleaning Gloves When you are cleaning, gloves are critical. By definition, you are usually using abrasive chemicals to scrub off dirt, grhyme, mold and other unsavory things. This can absolutely destroy your hands, so make sure to protect them!

6. Repair Carpet Burns If you have burn spots in your carpet, don’t fret unless they are big. Walk around your house and pull out small tuffs of carpet from other areas till you have enough material. Now glue it into the burn area and trim as necessary.

7. Allergies and Cleaning If you have allergies, take your medication before cleaning your place. Cleaning is primarily about the removal of dirt and dust.

8. Remove Coffee China Stains China is delicate and can stain easily, particularly when coffee is involved. To remove it, mix one teaspoon of white vinegar and cold water. Dab appropriately.

9. Removing Your Stickers When it is time to get rid of those stickers, soak them in vegetable oil. Wait for 15 minutes and then carefully scrape off. Mayonnaise also does the trick.

10. Bleach Safety Bleach is the best choice for cleaning mildew. That being said, it is nasty stuff. Make sure to wear rubber gloves or it will remove the hair from your hands and arms where it touches them.

A thorough cleaning of your house should happen at least a couple of times a year. You might groan at the idea, but you will feel much better when it is completed.

Remodeling A House Ideas

You have not updated your kitchen for decades and now you’re thinking about improving its function and appearance. The kitchen is a favorite room most homeowners first think of when an upgrade is needed.

Although remodeling a kitchen can get quite expensive, it is the best investment in your home because it is the room used most often and when it is time to sell the house, the upgrades done to the kitchen usually keeps its value.

It’s good to know what you want to do to your kitchen before you hire the contractor or do it yourself. You can find ideas for your kitchen in a variety of ways. Here are a few suggested ways to fire up your imagination.

Visit Open Homes

Many owners put up their house for sale near your area. You can visit these homes when they are open for viewing. You can dash straight into the kitchen and take notes of the layouts or floor plans you like. This is a chance to see what other people’s kitchens look like. Be sure to look at such things as cabinetry, proximity of the stove, sink and refrigerator, countertops and flooring. You should be able to get a feel of what your neighborhood has by visiting several of these open homes. Naturally, the quality will vary in each home you visit, but you will get a firsthand look that will help you find the features or the styles most appealing to you.

Visit Showrooms

Many retailers have set up complete kitchens in their showrooms. They have arranged them to include cabinets, appliances, sinks, stoves, refrigerators, tables and chairs to help you get a feel of how a new kitchen will “almost” look like in your own home. You are sure to find a few of these retailers within your neighborhood. Don’t just limit yourself to the well known chains such as Home Depot or Lowe’s. Look in your phone book to find the smaller dealers were they could give friendlier and cozier service.

Attend Home Improvement Expos

There will be at least one big show during the year where leading vendors gather under one roof to present their products or services. In these fairs or shows, you will see the newest kitchen remodeling products available today. They usually hold “how to clinics” or workshops that will teach you how to do certain remodeling or home improvement jobs. There may be a small entry fee, but it would be worth it, considering what you will learn by talking to the experts.

Home Improvement Magazines

Many kitchens are shown in magazines that focus on home improvement such as kitchen remodeling. You get to see the newest designs and appliances. Sometimes you might think these kitchen designs are out of your price range, or your home is not big enough, but it is a good source for fresh ideas and you might learn a thing or two about what’s new. Many of these periodicals can offer you how to information and reviews you can use to help you decide what to look for in a design, materials and more.

Final Thought

You can get ideas for your kitchen remodeling from anyone you know. You can talk to family members or relatives, friends and co-workers who might have had remodeling done. Ask for their experience or advice. Good luck in your kitchen remodeling.

Copyright 2006 by Leroy Chan

Cleaning Houses For A Living

Having a clean house is very important from the point of view of hygiene. Without properly clean interiors, different kinds of viruses and bacteria will be able to flourish within the premises. That is why many people in Canada, including Toronto, would look for Toronto house cleaning service. This is because; these professional cleaning service providers are capable of delivering the best service. These services are of such high quality that the house will become squeaky clean. All the latest technologies and high-class equipments like vacuum cleaners and their different accessories are available with these organizations. They often are available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. This means that they will be there to provide their good service at any point, whenever they are called.

The house cleaners are skilled at their jobs and the ordinary residents will definitely love the way these people accomplish their tasks. One of the main aspects of efficiency is timeliness or proper management of time. No one would want the cleaning company people to take a lifetime to give their service. This would mean occupying the living space for too long. Instead, these service providers or in particular, the residential cleaning services Toronto are very efficient when it comes to optimal usage of time also.

It is imperative to keep the residence clean at all times to beat diseases and illnesses. At the same time, most people are so engrossed and busy in their works these days that it is impossible for them to devote enough and sufficient time for household cleaning. So it is very important to go to the Internet or look up some kind of directory for the address and other contact information of the best and nearest Toronto condo cleaning services.

These services are only improving over time. Newer ways of cleaning in a time-controlled manner are evolving. Although the costs per service are increasing slightly, so is the quality of each service. In other words, people will save money in the long run. Apart from cleaning, one can even opt for Toronto maid services. This is really useful for those who need to take care of babies or children at their homes. It may not be possible for all mothers or parents to take care of the young ones at all times. They may have to go out for work. Besides, cooking food and cleaning are other jobs as well.

Toronto house cleaning service is a very cost-effective way of doing away with the potential diseases by killing viruses and bacteria that can feed these diseases. Epidemics would have broken out without them. The entire system could collapse without their useful works. Cleaning furniture, especially the undersides are very difficult. But because of their sophisticated equipment, it is possible to do this sort of cleaning which would be impossible with bare hands. One can find the websites being floated by many of these cleaning companies. They have the details like contact information and areas of expertise given explicitly on these websites for benefit of the searchers.

Wireless Home Security Systems

Most home security systems rely on phone lines to send an alert to the Security Company and police. Nowadays, more systems have become more sophisticated and are updating with the times. Wireless home security system more and more seem to be the way to go. People are increasingly interested in doing away with complicated and sometimes confusing wired operations.

If you think about it, if a burglar makes it into your home and you have a security system in place, you would expect that it does what it’s supposed to and sends a signal for help. However, if the burglar cuts the phone line or takes the phone off the hook, the signal will never go out. This prevents the security company from providing the help that you’re paying for.

If your internet connection uses DSL, then the signal can go through your PC to alert the security company of a potential break-in. One factor to keep in mind is compatibility. You can let the security company know you are using the DSL connection and they can install a filter to straighten it out, usually for a fee.

Another option available now is cellular back up. This way, if your phone line is cut during a break-in, the alert is automatically sent via your cell phone. Most companies charge an additional fee for this service, but it is available. Other wireless options are also available, such as wireless security cameras and others like voice dialer security systems where the signal going out to the security company is voice activated, rather than phone activated. The security company can also communicate wirelessly this way.

There are other advantages going with a wireless home security system. For starters, the installation is easier without all the wires involved with a hard installation. It also allows for more flexibility with the security plan you may already have. Most of the benefits are related to the lack of wires versus the many wires involved in a traditionally installed system. Wireless systems are cleaner because of it. Plus, the maintenance on a wireless system is easier as well since it’s not as bulky as a regular system. If you choose to make improvements at some point on your home, a wired system can create some inconvenience.

However, while wireless home security system is an up and coming way to go, both options are good and serve the purpose of protecting your home. You may want to consider incorporating both systems as part of an overall home security system.