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How To Do Landscaping

One of the most common searches on my site is for pictures of landscaping. So I know that a lot of folks rely on photos of other peoples designs to get ideas. But at the same time, while I do have a large picture directory of other peoples projects on my site, the most common questions I receive are still related to specific shapes and design ideas.

It would seem that with as many pictures of landscaping there are to look at online, just about everyone could find a close match to their own property that could be copied. It would seem so. . . . . if every yard was square or rectangular. However, the fact is that most yards aren’t square or rectangular. So even with the endless landscaping ideas and examples out there, it’s still highly unlikely that you’ll find an exact match to the shape of your property.

Don’t tell anyone. . . but even as a professional, I still use pictures of other peoples landscaping as an educational tool and to get new ideas. However, unlike most people, I don’t search for an exact idea to copy. I look for unique, creative, and new ideas and pieces of the puzzle.

Now here’s a piece of advice and the point to this entire article.

When looking at pictures of landscaping, pay attention to the details, ideas, and principles that are universal to most designs. Look for the things that are common and repeated often by different designers. These are the elements that look good because they are generally based on basic principles of art. These are the things that will probably incorporate well into your own design project regardless of shape.

Other peoples landscaping pictures are a great design tool to help you get your project done. However, instead of hopelessly searching for your exact layout, borrow several ideas from several different designs. You’ll save yourself a lot of frustration and have a much better chance of creating something unique to your own property.

Planning A Garden Layout

Planning your garden in advance helps produce maximum crops in minimum space. The less space you use, the less work you have to do. Also, you can improve the soil in a small plot much more rapidly than in a large area and at less expense. This sets up, within limitations, a chain reaction. The better the soil, the smaller the area required to produce a given quantity of peas or beans or corn, and, the smaller the area, the faster its soil may be improved.

The best time to plan your vegetable garden is right now in midwinter. Unless you are a draftsman, you will probably find it easiest to draw the plan on cross-section paper, which you can get at any office supply store. Use sheets which provide plenty of space for both the simple plan of our vegetable garden, and for additional notes to be made on the margins during the season to help plan a better layout for next year. You will also need a pencil and a ruler.

There is just one other planning aid which you will find indispensable. That is a copy of the bulletin on home vegetable gardens published by your state agricultural extension service. You can get it free or at nominal cost from the main office in your state or from your county extension agent. The bulletin will help your initial work in laying out your garden plan by telling how far apart to separate the rows of different kinds of vegetables. It will help you in many other ways as well. Our plan for this year’s garden is not to suggest what you should plant, but simply to illustrate how easy it is to lay out such a plan on cross-section paper. Nobody else is likely to want as many rows of beans, for example, as we intend to plant. We happen to like them. And there is no provision for parsnips because we hate ’em!

Leave Room to Turn

As you can readily perceive, each little square on the cross-section paper is allowed to represent a square foot of the actual garden area. The first step is to outline your garden with heavy pencil lines, counting as many spaces on each side as the garden measures in feet. You will want to leave some space between the ends of rows and the edges of the garden to allow for cultivation and a path. If your garden is surrounded by mowed lawn, a two-foot strip is sufficient if you use only hand tools. If you use any type of cultivator, it is safer to allow four foot strips for turning at each end of the rows in order to protect your lawn.

For several years we have been gradually reducing the size of our garden without reducing its yield be it vegetables or outdoor foliage plants. Apparently we can carry on this trend if we are careful to continue improving the soil and if we plan each year’s garden carefully. This year, for example, we are going to raise cucumbers on a rough trellis made of 2 by 4 posts and horizontal slats instead of letting the vines spread out on the ground for six feet on each side of the row. In the next year, you may opt for colorful plants instead of the climbing plants. This figures out to a net saving of 280 square feet in our garden.

A nice little city garden 14 by 20 feet, covering that area, could produce a lot of lettuce, radishes, parsley, carrots, beets and onions. Not too sensibly, I fear, we intend to offset that saving by planting two rows of early potatoes. Our plan is to harvest them in July when potatoes are most expensive on the market. At that time they should be about the size of golf balls, the stage at which they are claimed to be most delicious.

Landscaping Ideas For Trees

I guess you too enjoy landscaping, so please go ahead and try to absorb in as much as you can. Hopefully you will pick up a few new tips and ideas on how you can make your own yard more attractive to yourself, your family and your friends.

As you know, yard landscaping is an exciting hobby for many persons and home owners. With the right commitment you can transform basically any back yard into an enjoyable and relaxing getaway for everyone you know, including yourself. This can be your spot for peace and quiet and maybe also a fun spot to play with the kids after a long hard day at work. There’s simply more uses for your backyard than you can ever come up with, so why not make the best out of it?

If you are looking for something to make your backyard pop out and stand out from the crowd in order to deliberate your personality, then why don’t you go for it! If you are looking for a fun and wild spot to spend time with friends and relatives, then what a better place than your backyard? You could go for flowers and other decorative landscaping materials. In case you are doing a new place for the barbeque, choose fun colors for the floor covering or stones on the floor. You definitely should add special touches to your backyard to give it your personal personality.

There are simply so many different themes that you can go with for your backyard. Plant some bushes or trees and maybe even a put a hot tub in there. Add in those soft colors you love and romantic candles and you have a honeymoon getaway in your backyard. Some people also like to place flowers in strategic places as part of the overall design to give the backyard even more attitude.

If you are someone who wants to use your backyard for the family and friends to get together in and enjoy a barbeque, then there are many choices for you. Building a larger patio will give you more entertaining space and more room for extra seating at dinnertime. You may even think of joining a roof to your patio. This would allow you to enjoy the feeling of being outdoors even when the weather is not so nice.

Getting the whole family in on the backyard landscaping is a great idea and one way of doing so is to plant trees or flowers together. Have the kids assist you with the flowers. Let them each choose a special flower or even a tree and let them plant it a special place. This is a great way to do something meaningful with the kids and it will give you memories for life and a family backyard at the same time.

A great family landscaping project can most likely be done in one or two weekends. Produce it at your own speed and make it reflect your have personality to create your own sanctuary and getaway from the rest of the neighborhood.

Landscaping Shrubs And Trees

Shrubs and the perennial plants are the most important things that are used in landscaping. Landscape can be improved marvelously if we make use of the seasonal shrubs properly. Majority of the flowering plants bloom in the spring, however there are certain plants that give good foliage in winter while still others who do not dry up and shrivel in the autumn. With the proper use of these shrubs we can create marvelous landscapes and beautiful sceneries.

If you are willing to develop privacy hedges for your home and you cannot wait for too long, quick growing shrubs are the most important plants that can solve your problems. Not only are the quick growing shrubs important for making privacy hedges, but also if you want to maintain separate bushes in or around your home you can take some help from these privacy hedges.

Cotoneaster is a beautiful shrub that bears the berries and has rough, rocky appearance due to its stiff branches. The shrub is very easy to cultivate at home and thus can easily form beautiful foliage. The branches are woody and branch in the V-pattern known as the herringbone pattern. But the rough woody look of these plants is instantly softened by the red colored berries. These small fleshy gifts of nature beautify the whole landscape with their appearance.
If you want to make your home fragrant, there are a lot of shrubs that grow very quickly to make bushes that emit pleasant fragrance. Mock orange is a shrub that grows quickly to form a bush that emits citrus smell. This is the reason that it is named mock orange. The plant has beautiful blossoms that create a striking scene. Other than mock orange we have other plants like lilacs that can be cultivated because of their beautiful smell. The lilacs are not only great in their smell but also their lovely hues.

If it is the winter season and you are looking for some landscaping there are many plants that blossom in winter, and make your home look a cheerful place even when covered with two feet of snow. Maples are the trees that grow very fast and add a lot to the winter scenery. Redtwig Dogwood is beautiful shrub that is well known for its stunning bark that stands vividly amidst the winter giving a beautiful contrast with the white snow.

A beautiful fast growing shrub that bears yellow flowers is Forsythia. With its yellow flowers it says welcome to the spring giving a stunning look to the flower buds. Besides forsythia many other flowers can be easily grown in spring.

Moon gardens are the places where we can enjoy our nights and relax. They are decorated with the white flowers and night bloomers and therefore are named moon gardens. There are a number of bloomers that can contribute marvelously to our moon gardens these are snowdrops, daffodils, bleeding heart, fothergilla and azaleas. We can also add many creepers to our gardens. Creeping phlox is a good creeper when it comes to cultivating creepers at home.

Home Remodeling Cost Per Square Foot

Whether you’re updating an out-of-date bathroom for your family or selling a house bathroom remodeling is a sure way to add elegance and value to your home. The bathrooms in a house can be the determining factor of whether or not a house sells. Bathroom remodeling can be expensive so buyers generally are looking for bathrooms that already meet their expectations.

An easy way to add value to your house is to convert half bathrooms into full baths or three quarter bathrooms. This can be easily done by installing a small shower enclosure unit or steam shower. Neo-angle showers and corner units are a great way to save space in a small bathroom while adding that futuristic look you’ve always been looking for. These units are inexpensive and add elegance and function to your bathroom with features such as a steam generator, back massage, foot massage, sound system and much more. Homes with steam shower units installed have been reported to sell in half the time as normal houses.

Another quick way to add value to an already existing shower that still looks good but is a little out of date is installing a modern shower panel. These shower panels transform typical showers into luxury showers. They come in a variety of styles and have options such as digital temperature display and adjustable massage jets. These shower panels are very economical ranging from $300 – $600 and can drastically increase the value of your property.

Master bathrooms are the most important bathroom in the house. This should be the nicest bathroom in the house. Modern master baths are more like home spas with the addition of massage bathtubs and steam showers. Remodeling your master bathroom is a sure way to increase the attractiveness and value of your home. When planning your master bathroom renovations keep in mind buyers are looking for a large shower with a built-in or external bathtub. Large 2 person steam baths are an economical way to fill this demand. They also have many extra features that really grab buyer’s attention. Updating your old bathroom fixtures is another way to increase the appeal of your bathroom. When planning your renovation decide what type of theme you are going with. There are many bathroom vanities that come in many styles and materials ranging from glass to exotic woods. It is important to match your vanity with the rest of the bathroom fixtures, for example you would not want to have and old fashion marble vanity with a modern computerized steam shower. My-Bath.com has old fashion fixtures with modern day features, such as claw foot jacuzzis.

Flooring is another very important part of bathroom remodeling. There are many choices such as linoleum, tile, and hardwood floors. Tile is a favorite among buyers. It ranges in price from $1 per square foot up to $20+ per square foot. Linoleum is another option and is much cheaper; however it is not as durable and is not as impressive. Depending on what bathroom fixtures you have installed you should match the floor. If you have installed an economical acrylic steam shower you can get away with installing a cheaper linoleum floor and it will look great. However if you have choose a high end glass shower we recommend tile or hardwood floor with a protective covering. This adds visual appeal and durability to the bathroom.

Cost To Remodel A Kitchen

A comfortable kitchen is a delight to use. You can be more productive in it, and feel proud of it. But it can also be an investment in your home.

A good kitchen remodel goes beyond an investment, of course. It may increase the overall value of your home, but it should also make you happier.

But there is a definite balance between what you love and how you use your kitchen, and what other people will love and how they would use that kitchen after you sell your home. This could be an issue in a short time or decades later. When it comes to kitchen remodeling, you need to take the long term into account.

Kitchens right now often get beautiful and highly functional appliances. High quality stoves and ovens can really make a difference in how you cook, and make a great selling point someday down the line if you do sell your home.

Similarly, granite or other rock countertops are popular because they are beautiful, functional and durable. You have a huge range of colors to choose from, so you can match your preferences easily.

You will want to think about the advantages of cabinets vs. drawers for the lower cabinets. Some people love how you can pull drawers out to look over everything in there. Nothing gets lost in the back. Other people prefer cabinets, with or without slide out shelves.

A good contractor can help you with all of this. While simple things such as repainted you can do on your own, more complex things really are best done by a contractor. I can tell you that from seeing the mess people can make trying to do things such as installing their own granite countertops. It’s a tough job, and even with all the resources for do it yourselfers out there, not every job is something you should do for yourself if you want the best results.

The real beauty is how much of the value of the remodel you can recoup on selling the house. It’s not uncommon to come close to recouping the entire cost. So not only can you get a beautiful, more functional kitchen that is a true pleasure to cook in, it’s overall cost can be recovered should you need to sell.

Deciding how you remodel a kitchen should always be balanced between your needs and what will sell well. Your dream standout feature may be a risk that makes your home harder to sell later, or the perfect touch that adds tremendous value to your home.

Cost Of Remodeling A House

Many homeowners have come to know that remodeling the home is an affordable and cheaper option than to buy a new home. With the cost of new house going up day by day, remodeling is considered to be the best option of getting new look and feel from one’s old house. Home remodeling design trends for homeowners in Florida have changed and instead of thinking bigger they are choosing to be smarter. Through renovating, their motivation is not only to update the look and feel of the home, but also to improve the comfort and utility of their space to meet the changing needs of their lifestyle.

Remodeling helps to enhance the look of your home and the task of remodeling is performed to replace the old and traditional material with the fresh and latest one. Florida has many trained and experienced remodeling professional who hold specialization in remodeling of homes as per the clients taste and requirements. Team of experts carries out the designing and construction works after studying the location of the property and do the renovation as per the need of the customer. Some of the major areas of the house that are renovated are kitchens, bathrooms, room additions, floor plan with latest designs and also reconstructing the damaged area of the house. One of the common remodeling that is done in a house in is its entrance. The entrance of the house is renovated by stately covered porticos, columns etc. These not only provide aesthetic up gradation to the house but it also increase the economical value of the house.

Home remodeling team first shows the pre-designed structures to the clients so that they can get their approval and after that only they start the construction work. Careful planning of the home renovation reduces the unexpected things that occur during the renovation. Today’s major need of home remodeling in Florida is to have an airy, well ventilated house with lesser extra walls. The need of fresh air circulation in all the rooms is considered at the first step of planning. These home renovation company of Florida consider all the requirements of clients and perform the renovation as per their needs.

In Florida number of bedrooms and baths vary from person to person and the dinning room and kitchen are connected through the big rooms of the house. Some of the major aspect due to which remodeling is required are, many houses in Florida are not able to handle the scorching sun of summers. Houses should be energy-efficient in its construction. These types of houses surely require remodeling so that the owners can avail maximum comfort and relax at their home. Remodeling also raises the value of your house and the purpose of remodeling the house varies from person to person and the further usage of the property.

Diy Home Projects And Repairs

Arbitron, a major media service, uncovered who’s really doing, “Do it yourself, home improvements”.

An average of 49 percent of the adult population in 75 cities throughout the country made a home improvement of some kind, in the past 12 months, as reported in a new study by Scarborough Research. The results show that people who live in smaller areas are more inclined to do their own home improvements in comparison to those who live in larger big-city, areas.

In cities like Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, who came in at number one, Buffalo, New York and Toledo, Ohio, it’s reported that over half of their population has begun a home improvement project in the past 12 months.

55 Percent or more of the population in the cities of Atlanta, Rochester, Indianapolis, Detroit and Cincinnati have either started or finished a home improvement project, landing them in the top 10, of all the areas reported.

Ranking lowest, Honolulu, Hawaii was reported to have only 37 percent of it’s population doing their own home improvements in the last 12 months, making Honolulu number 75 out of all cities accounted for. In bigger cities like Fresno, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Diego, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Miami and Washington DC, it was reported their population as doing less than the average number of repairs to their homes with percentages in ranging from 40 to 48.

With all the home improvement happening by do it yourselfers in smaller communities, it would appear that this is the arena in which companies offering materials and services geared toward home improvement, would do the majority of their advertising.

Among the above findings, it was also reported that do it yourselfers were more apt to paint or wallpaper their interiors or try their hand at landscaping, with a telling twenty-five percent of all surveyed. A small percentage (two) were said to install their own home security systems, while a mere one percent add a pool or spa.

Studies show, since 1999, people have dished out 30 percent more money to improve the overall look of their homes. The average cost of today’s home improvement is over $3,000! If history repeats itself, that number will likely continue to climb.

A resounding 46 percent of all do it yourselfers were between the ages of 35 and 54, and 63 percent are married with 55 percent having a total household income of over $50,000.

But there’s more to this story! The Scarborough Research study also uncovered the following interesting facts.

People who use the internet will likely turn to do it yourself home improvement, as opposed to those who do not. And note-worthy enough of those internet users, the ones who search out financial services, vehicle information and frequent auction sites are even more apt to do their own home improvement!

Music lovers of classic, country and 70’s along with sports radio fans are 14 percent more likely than the average to do home improvements too! The breakdown for do it yourself home improvements, go like this:

Of those fifty three percent who remodeled their own kitchens, just four percent broke down and paid for the work to be done. Ranking high among what most home improvement do it yourselfers are doing, include painting and wallpapering, remodeling bathrooms and landscaping. Projects that do it yourselfers would rather pay to have done include the installation of home security systems, carpeting or flooring and heating or air conditioning.

Home Additions And Remodeling

A mobile home remodeling addition is a great way to add more space to your home. Most mobile homes are fairly small and it is difficult to have a growing family in one. If you own the land that your home is on, you might want to consider adding an addition to your home.

You can use a computer program to design your addition or just make up some of your own designs. You can also hire an architect who is trained in creating additions for real estate that is similar to what you want your home to look like.

The Decision Process

Deciding on the interior design of your addition is often the hardest part. You will only have a limited amount of money, but you want to maximize the space that you are adding on to your home. Homes that have a good design will automatically feel more comfortable.

When you start to remodel you will also need to decide on the quality of products that you will be putting into your home. Building products come in a variety of styles and costs, so you will need to do your homework to make the right decision for your needs.

There are many different little decisions that you will have to make throughout the process of your remodel or addition. You may have to pick out cabinets, create a color palette, or even decide where electrical outlets need to go.

The Plan

It is important to have a plan when you begin your remodeling project. You will need to create a budget and repair the budget as needed throughout the building process. Creative home remodeling is often necessary to stay within your ideal budget.

Once you have come up with a reasonable budget, then you will need to start looking into contractors that can complete the work for that budgeted price. You will want to find a contractor that is good and has references from previous clients. Make sure and actually call those past clients and talk to them about their project.

After hiring a contractor you will want to stay as active in the remodeling process as you can. Stay informed of the progress and continually ask for updates. It will be easier to remedy any problems if you know about them well in advance.

Remodeling or adding onto your home is a fun and exciting project, but it can also be a bit overwhelming if you have not planned correctly. Make sure you spend the necessary time planning your project so you do not have more problems later on.

Stick to your budget as close as you can and you will avoid spending more money than you wanted to. The additional space that you add on is a great way to increase your home’s value while adding comfort to your family’s daily life. Now get started on planning your mobile home remodel… It is a long process … that will be full of many ups and downs… but well worth it in the end!

How To Design A Kitchen

Kitchen cabinet doors can add to the beauty of your kitchen. The appearance of your kitchen cabinets rests on the quality of your cabinets. You can therefore completely change the look of your kitchen simply by changing the doors of your kitchen cabinets. Good kitchen cabinet design is also important if you want to get the most storage use possible out of your available storage space, and this should also be the goal in the design of any kitchen.

Kitchen Cabinet Wood Types

Kitchen cabinets can be made from dozens of woods including Oak, Maple, Pine, Cherry, Hickory, Poplar, Alder and Birch. Hickory and Oak are the hardest and the heaviest. Cherry, Birch and Maple are considered to be well suited to cabinetry. Less expensive and more plentiful woods such as Alder and Poplar work best with glazed finishes used in creating an ‘antique’ look. Pine is a soft wood that can be more prone to dents and scratches.

There are three types of cabinet door shapes, slab, recessed panel, and raised panel.

There are many cabinet design styles to choose from. Four of the more common cabinet design styles are: traditional, country, shaker and contemporary.

Kitchen Cabinet Construction

Kitchen cabinets are generally constructed using a combination of these kinds of woods, as well as particleboard or plywood.

Some cabinet doors are made of solid wood, which is generally more expensive. Although solid wood and plywood kitchen cabinet doors are regarded a stronger and thicker, particleboard is considered less likely to expand.

When selecting kitchen cabinets it is a good ideas to start by defining your style. Will your kitchen design be more along the lines of a traditional look with raised panel doors and a lot of ornate molding? Or will it be more of a rustic look with knotty pine and more simple detailing?

There are three main types of kitchen cabinets. These include, in-stock kitchen cabinets, semi-stock kitchen cabinets, and custom kitchen cabinets.

While custom-cabinet doors are more expensive than the do-it-yourself variety, the advantage is that you are able to get exactly what you want at a very high level of craftsmanship. You can tailor the cabinets to the exact specifications and needs of your kitchen.

Add On To House

Whenever persons construct a residence, section of the plans includes specific places where lamps will possibly be positioned inside. And simply because of all of the attention and excitement that the interior space generates, the majority of people are likely to disregard the parts outside the house. In other occasions, lots of people would integrate outdoor house lights at the final part of the building process, almost as if it was merely an afterthought. This is not actually sensible, and listed below are some extremely important points why you mustn’t leave out your home’s exterior lighting:

Individual safety: Certainly, there’s just one apparent explanation why people need light fittings in and around the dwelling: to recognize things clearly. Nonetheless, you don’t absolutely place lights simply for the sake of seeing; you put lights to help you to go about doing endeavors the entire day normally and even more important, carefully. Because you don’t frequently complete significant or deadly duties – for example bathing or cutting up food – outside your home, it doesn’t entail you don’t need lights there, specifically during the night. A rock, an attractive gnome, or protruding tree roots can look harmless throughout the day, however without having ample illumination from outdoor house lights during the night time; these may become really harmful.

Security: Time and again, you’ll hear men and women notifying others never to go into dark alleys as well as other shady spots alone due to the fact that you never fully realize what resides in the shadows. It’s genuinely no great surprise that dark areas make good settings for felony: victims will not ever know what struck them or maybe obtain a glimpse of the burglar’s face. Bright lights outside your home can dissuade probable crooks, vandals, as well as other vile personalities – like those shifty animals that are chiling out around your waste these days. Don’t transform your home into a detrhymental dark alley; use a few outdoor house lights and you’ll sleep easy knowing your residence is a haven of safety.

Art: Of course, there’s nothing that can compare with the bright, warm sunshine that can reveal the charm of your backyard and front lawn. Yet, a couple of strategically put fixtures that provide light through the night can improve your residence’s external appearance, lending another worldly beauty to your garden which is not apparent in the daytime.

Effectivity: As mentioned beforehand, ample lighting helps you to see clearly so that you can carry out actions in safety and comfort. Although you may do devote a great deal of time within the house, you could still find many things that can be done outside the house: barbecue with all your spouse and children, have drinks with close friends, listen to music… the list goes on. By installing outdoor house lights, you can relish life in your own home from sunrise to evening, irrespective of whether you’re indoors or out.

Curb Appeal Landscape Ideas

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If you own a home, then sooner or later you are going to be ready to sell that home. Maybe you’ve already sold a home or two. People tend to move more often than our parents did.

There are a lot of things that go into getting the best possible price for your home, but the very first thing your home needs is curb appeal. When a prospective buyer, or a realtor for that matter, pulls up in front of your home, they immediately form an opinion about your house. Fair or not, that’s what people do. You can have the most beautiful home in the city, but if prospective buyers don’t get a super positive feeling about your house the minute they lay eyes on it, they are going to enter and view the rest of your house with a negative impression.

Fixing that problem is easy enough to do.

When people pull up in front of your house there are two things they see. A house, and the landscaping in front of that house. If the landscaping is unattractive, the house will appear to be unattractive. Landscaping for curb appeal does not cost a lot of money, it’s simply a matter of making sure the landscaping is neat, with well defined edges, and colorful. But when landscaping for curb appeal, the most important thing you need to do is to raise the beds with topsoil. Of course you have to do this before you plant.

Plants do much better in raised beds, and the plants in the beds really stand out. In order to raise the beds around your house you do not have to buy expensive stones and build retaining walls. Just establish the outline of the planting beds, cut an edge into the soil with a spade, and fill the planting beds with approximately ten inches of good rich topsoil. You’d be amazed at how much you can raise a planting bed without any type of retention.

Here are two more things you don’t need:

Plastic edging. It’s expensive, a lot of work to install, and it never stays in place. You can cut an edge with a spade and your landscape will actually look better. Then you can make the bed a little larger any time you need to.

The other thing you definitely do not need is weed control fabric. The stuff just doesn’t work. The weeds grow right on top of the fabric, then root through the fabric making it even harder to keep your beds weed free. You’ll find a really good article on weed control on my website.

When landscaping for curb appeal, plant placement and selection is very important. In a corner bed you need a centerpiece. I like Canadian Hemlock because they are evergreen and provide an excellent background for more colorful plants. In front of the Hemlock you can use a bright colored evergreen like Gold Thread Cypress, but don’t use too many. Usually three is all you want. Around the backside of the same bed you can use a darker evergreen like Taxus or even a flowering shrub that you keep trimmed down low like Weigela. Lots of colors are fine, but don’t stagger the colored plants in your landscape, use them in groupings, and be careful not to use too many in any one grouping. When you use more than three of any colored plant they lose their effectiveness. You are adding them for contrast, and when used sparingly they look much better.

There are lots of landscaping photos on my website that will give you a lot of good ideas.

In front of a house I like to use an arc of medium height plants like Blue Girl Holly, then put a couple of taller plants behind the arc. When landscaping for curb appeal you want the landscape to stair step toward the house. In other words, the lawn is the bottom step, the raised bed is step two, low growing plants step three and so on.

If you are re-landscaping an older home you probably should start with a sledge hammer before you do anything else and bust out the sidewalk to the front door. Builders put in the ugliest sidewalks in the world, and they usually are hard to maneuver as you walk toward the front door. Once you have the old sidewalk removed, let your imagination run wild. Remember, you are landscaping for curb appeal, and there is no better way to establish ultimate curb appeal than with a beautiful curved walk that gently winds its way to the front door. Once again, there are photos of such sidewalks on my website, and you’ll see what wonderful landscaping opportunities they present.

The last step in landscaping for curb appeal is to create an interesting shaped raised bed in the front yard. Fill this bed with spring flowering bulbs, and annual flowers for the summer. If your house is going to be on the market in the fall, add some chrysanthemums for a burst of fall color.

So what’s the best benefit of landscaping for curb appeal? You’ll gain great experience so you can make sure your new home is landscaped just the way you want it!

Government Programs For Home Improvements

So, you have been thinking about making home improvements but you lack the cash to do so? You feel that it is the right timing and you regret that you have not saved for this situation? You do not need to despair. If you have been paying your mortgage installments and you have some equity available on your home, you can refinance your home loan and take some cash out of your home equity.

With a Cash out refinance home loan you can refinance your current mortgage for a higher loan amount than your outstanding debt and thus obtain extra cash for whatever purpose you desire. You can easily use the money to make home improvements and thus, you would be using as collateral for the loan the very same property that you are going to improve.

Cash Out Refinance Mortgages

Cash out refinance home loans are just like regular refinance home loans, only that you actually refinance for a higher loan amount than your outstanding mortgage making use of the equity you have built on your home. Thus, you get a fair extra amount to use for whatever purpose you can think of.

For example: Let’s say you own a property worth $100,000 and you still have to pay a mortgage loan of $60,000. This implies that there is $40,000 worth of property that can be used as collateral. Though some lenders are willing to finance up to 100% of the property or even more, most of them will only lend up to 85%. Thus, in a common scenario you can request a refinance mortgage loan of $85,000, use $60,000 to repay the previous loan and keep $25,000 for other purposes.

Home Improvement Loans

When these loans are used for home improvements, they are actually raising the value of the property that is used as collateral for the loan. Thus, the lender is benefiting from the fact that the asset guaranteeing his money is more valuable and thus, the risk involved in the transaction lowers.

Some lenders will consider loans used for home improvements to be of a lower risk and thus will offer you special loan conditions, including lower interest rates, longer repayment programs and thus lower monthly payments. All this benefits can be easily obtained by just requesting a loan specially tailored for home improvements.

Interest Rate

Usually the interest rate charged for these loans is a bit higher than a regular home loan. But this is true only under the same credit circumstances. If your credit score has improved since you requested your current home loan, chances are that you might get a lower interest rate and general better loan conditions by refinancing your home loan.

Thus, consider checking your credit report prior to applying to know where you stand and what you can expect by refinancing your current mortgage with a cash out refinance home loan. Also check that there are no prepayment penalty clauses in your previous home loan since this can increase the costs turning refinancing more onerous than you thought.

Easy Inexpensive Landscaping Ideas For Front Yard

Planting a tree is a wonderful experience, and helps enhance the beauty of the earth we live on. But care and forethought should be exercised in advance to help insure that each tree can reach its full potential.

In general, it’s best to try to plant young trees if you can. It’s certainly possible to plant a mature tree, but it’s very difficult to do for the average homeowner, and very expensive to pay for if you hire someone to do it for you. If it is necessary to have a mature tree for any reason, then it may justify the expense. But otherwise planting smaller trees that can grow into your home landscaping design may be your best solution.

The best time of year to plant trees is the springtime. The second-best time of year is late fall or even winter. You may choose to plant a young tree during the summer, but if so, then be sure to use one of the new wilt-proof sprays that help the leaves avoid moisture loss until the roots get well established. And if you are planting a tree that is taller than 6 ft., try to make sure that it’s moved with a burlap root ball to protect the roots.

Preparing the soil is extremely important for both tree and shrub planting. Generally speaking, it’s good to dig a hole about 2 ft. deep and about a foot wider in each direction than the full spread of the trees roots. Then make sure that the soil at the bottom of the whole is loosened quite a bit and is mixed with peat, loam, and fertilizer, before placing the tree in the hole. If for any reason you come across a layer of hard clay or building rubble as you dig your hole, be sure to remove a good portion of a that material and substitute in its place good soil that will promote growth for the tree right away. If you fail to do this, a new tree will most often not be able to get the nutrients that it needs and stands a good chance of dying.

A lot of people overuse manure as they feel that a lot ot it will benefit the tree. However manure should only be used sparingly on the top of the tree hole and not around the roots, as it can actually burn the tree instead.

For planting seedlings that are not balled in burlap, it’s a good idea to protect it before planting by giving it a mud bath, or puddling it. This protects the roots from exposure to the air before planting. When you have dug the hole to the proper depth for the seedling, fill the hole with water to allow the soil to settle at the bottom. Once the water is drained, then put the tree in position and apply the soil and settle at around the tree’s roots. Be sure to work the soil in closely to the roots, and don’t allow air pocket’s to develop in the hole. When the hole is two thirds full, pack it with soil tightly again and fill with water. Then go ahead and fill the soil up to ground level afterward.

Planting a balled tree root is somewhat easier because the root ball is being held in place by the burlap. So dig a hole about twice the size of the root ball and plant immediately. If the ground is dry when planting, fill the hole with water and let it soak in well before you actually insert the tree. Once the tree is in position, cut the top of the burlap and roll it back a few inches. It will eventually rot away into the soil that way.

After the first year, cultivate the tree as much as you can and keep weeds away by applying straw or mulch in both the spring and fall. This will also help keep moisture in the ground as well.

By following the guidelines listed here in this article you should be able to plant any tree correctly and successfully, and enjoy it’s beauty for years to come.

Mobile Home Wall Repair

Before you decide that you are ready to make some changes to your mobile home, you should have well laid out plans. Mobile home improvements are different than traditional home improvements. There are a few things that you should take into account before you start making changes to your mobile home.

The quality of manufactured homes has greatly improved over the past few years. The majority of mobile homes that are purchased these days will not need any repairs for some time. Even so some mobile home owners want to make renovations after a few years. A new baby could be the reason why or the owners could just be bored with their current surroundings. If the home is a new model, you may just be wishing to add detail to the current woodwork by using a table top router.

When considering mobile home renovations, there are some important things to think about. Traditional home renovations is a different story. The major benefit of mobile home renovations is the fact that there is no structure to deal with. In traditional homes, the interior walls are made to be the spaces between the walls but they also serve to give roof support. Mobile home roofs hold up the side of the trailer as well.

Someone who is considering mobile home renovation to give themselves extra living space, might want to think about cutting out one of the littler rooms. For example, taking out a wall that stands between the bedroom and the wall will create more space.

There are some serious complications that can arise when taking out a wall in a mobile home. When taking out an entire wall in a mobile home you have to be careful not to invite in critters. This new space may be a gateway for both walking and flying pest to join you in your mobile home. The floors in mobile homes are thin and are easily exposed to the outdoors. They may also be weaker than that of a basement ceiling that might be found in a traditional home.

Taking out a wall can weaken a part of the floor. When you are pulling nails or taking out screws you must be careful to not loosen the floor. Fill in any small holes that are made before putting down new flooring. This will help to keep those unwanted pest out of the house. Also, any adjacent walls that you leave standing should be renovated as well.

Putting a porch on the outside of a mobile home is simple enough, if you do not try to incorporate it into part of the porch. Put up a free-standing unit that is connected to the exterior of the mobile home. When making mobile home renovations, be aware that they are different than the ones that are made to traditional homes. Have a plan before embarking on mobile home renovations.

Landscaping Ideas For Gardens

Xeriscapes were originally developed for drought-afflicted regions, arid climates and desert environments but they have recently increased in popularity with environmentally conscious people because they save on costs as well as water while being low-maintenance and are at harmony with the local environment.
Sonoran Gardens Landscape Design & Construction use xeriscapes in each of their designs to promote the various benefits of such landscapes, which become ever more important in the face of global water-crisis predictions by scientists and researchers worldwide.
Benefits:
Water Conservation: Xeriscapes can reduce water usage for landscapes by 50% to 75%.
Low Maintenance: Drip irrigation systems are used to save time, and there’s no need to mow or fertilize a lawn.
Increased Value: Enhanced curb appeal and reduced water costs can significantly improve the value of a property.
Low Pollution: A xeriscape has very small areas of grass which either reduce or completely eliminate the need for lawn mowers, and thus, the pollution caused by them.
Cost Effective: There is very little use of fertilizers in xeriscapes and pest control measures aren’t needed nearly as much as in traditional landscapes, saving money for the landowner.
The 7 Principles of Xeriscaping
There is a set of seven principles used when creating a xeriscape that help achieve water conversation. Following these principles, Sonoran Gardens has created breathtaking landscapes that compliment their surroundings with richness in colors and design.
Design and Plan
This involves drawing the intended landscape area to scale, with elements such as the house, the patio, trees, boulders, etc, all shown on the diagram. Factors such as soil types, climate and planned irrigation systems as well as applicable local regulations should also be taken into consideration.
Soil Amendment
This principle is simplicity itself. The soil used should be one that is compatible with the plants, or the plants should be chosen according to the soil. The soil should contain organic material that helps it save water through retention or drainage as needed, and the drainage should be contained by soil gradation to direct the flow of water.
Irrigation
Planned irrigation systems increase the efficiency of water usage in a landscape by providing exactly the right amount of water just when it is needed. The most efficient systems even collect rainwater for future irrigation purposes.
Choice of Plants
While drought tolerant plants are the most obvious choice for xeriscapes, native plants and plants that are suitable to the particular environment can also be selected. Trees and shrubbery are grouped together when they have similar water needs to make usage more efficient and help conserve more water.
Alternative Turf
A xeriscape aims to minimize turf areas and use aesthetic paving and decorative ground covers as an alternative. Native grasses like blue grama are cultivated for such purposes, being able to survive with a fraction of the water supply that more typically used bluegrass varieties need.
Mulch
Organic mulch, such as wood grindings can prevent the crusting of soil which reduces evaporation, maintains the temperature of the soil and minimizes the growth of weeds while improving soil quality as it decays.
Maintenance
Even xeriscapes need some maintenance, especially when they’ve been newly planted. The required maintenance grows less over time but pruning, fertilization and watering are needed initially as well as pest control.
Sonoran Gardens Landscape Design and Construction create unique, spectacular xeriscapes that are perfect to the client’s needs as well as being environmentally responsible, cost effective and water efficient.