Summer Project – Install Your New Artificial Grass Lawn

artificialGrassArtificial lawns are becoming commonplace but I bet that many people know what benefits they bring other than the perfect landscape look, even in small yards.

I had no intention of using a fake grass for my back lawn, but while researching the type of grass that I would need to sow for a pet friendly and children friendly lawn, I learned about how the world of synthetic grass has changed in the last few years, and it just made sense.

Here is a look at the benefits of the artificial grass…

Fits small spaces and does not need meticulous care

For people with small yards, or what can be called a stamp size yard, the grass can only be cut by a weed trimmer. The task is hectic. Even after committing hours of work, the lawn never seems to look that healthy. On the other hand, artificial grass does not grow; it remains in size and density just as a perfect lawn would be and that is one less worry for the homeowner.

It can be a good cover where plants won’t go

Even the most defensive enthusiast of all things natural agrees that some places cannot hold plants. Their features could be too harsh for any grass and plants yet when left bare; they look dead. Having concrete may not be an option, and the best alternative is artificial grass. It camouflages well with adjacent grass lawns and presents a uniform perfect lawn.

No weeds and no mudbest-artificial-grass-hesperia-california

The site of mud especially after rain messes the look of a perfect lawn. Luckily, artificial turf puts your lawn into resistant mode against weeds and mud. It serves as a carpet that keeps dirt covered and does not allow light into the dirt, which would promote the growth of weeds.

Owners of lawns and always are free to use potted plants to improve the look, and they can go for bushes and other hedge plants to ensure they get a natural look in the lawn. The always-manicured lawn is a pleasure to look at.

Installed by professionals to fit anywhere

The grass is cut to measure the space available and trimmed to adapt to the theme selected for decorating the lawn. It takes a very short time, and unlike natural grass; it will not need weeks of watering just to realize that the wrong grass was planted.

Artificial grass comes with no climate requirements. It is suitable for all landscapes, weather, and climatic conditions. It will be good in a rooftop yard as much as it fits the front suburban yard with white picket fence.

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For natural grass, if there is an accident in your yard, such as burst pipe or a massive depression caused by a heavy truck, it takes weeks to recover. With artificial alternatives, all you do is cut out the affected part, harden the dirt surface using gravel or appropriate material and lay a new turf.

It takes at most a week, and some professional service companies will lay the replacement turf in a day.

The family can enjoy family time

Children need to play, but when you have grass, you worry about them getting soiled. With artificial options, you can hold barbecues, have meetings in the yard, chill out and play all manner of games with no worries. The surface is smooth, feels great and is hard enough to withstand daily stress.

I love those time lapse videos of projects from beginning to end. Here is one showing an artificial lawn installation.

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Summer is almost here – time to stain your deck!

Well it’s that time again, and the deck needs maintenance.. again! It’s not a difficult job, and it needs doing before summer kicks in and we are using it everyday.

I found this video which is short and to the point, and reminds us of the steps required to get the deck through another busy summer.

Watch and learn!!

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Hire A Professional Handyman: 3 Important Tips

handyman logoSo our little house project is coming along nicely, and we are really proud of our new home in England. We are finally getting it together and it feels like home.

There are however lots of little niggly jobs that need to be done. We start the big projects such as knocking down walls and installing a new bathroom with great gusto, but then as the project draws to a close, we seem to lack the motivation to get the little jobs, or the “snagging” jobs taken care of.

But we have found the answer… our local handyman. We bumped into him in the supermarket car park, and after a brief conversation he came to the house to see our problem, and he was a gift from heaven.

The next day he was able to finish off almost all of our unfinished projects, while my husband and I worked, he polished off all of our little maintenance jobs, and for very little money really. I wish we had found him sooner.

So I thought I would let you know my thoughts on hiring your own handyman to take care of the honey do list of jobs that are bothering you at home but that you just can’t seem  to get finished.

The first test to hiring a professional handyman is to ask the range of work that can be done. If the response is something akin to all work them that is a red flag, move on.  Just be aware that sometimes he can be a  jack of all trades and master of none.

Handymen are people who have good intentions mostly. Rather than looking at the task as a business transaction only, consider it a friendship that you want to develop. A good relationship with a professional handyman ensures that future jobs are done perfectly. It also improves the chances of being referred to specialists for any job you want done. Again, relationships are important because you are less likely to take advantage someone you know personally, and the same applies to the handyman.

Help beyond what is paid for
A good handyman will be willing to offer advice about the problems you are having because of the knowledge possessed and the intention of demonstrating expertise. A bad handyman wants money in exchange for even the tiniest bit of information, and you have no idea of whether it is really worth. Ask small favors and see whether the handyman bends your way. If that happens, then you can proceed to shortlist the candidate.

Handymen belong to professional organizations for the sake of meeting regulatory requirements for their jobs or as a way to have access to a big market. The professional organizations make it easy for you as a customer to evaluate the suitability of the person you are about to hire.all_logo

You can check the reviews of their previous work and can even read about their overall conduct and qualification. Always note that the most proficient handyman will also be one of the most expensive. Therefore, if you are going for a basic job, you do not need to be fussy about high-end qualifications of a handyman. Getting your match is the best tip for saving money as a good job gets done.

Houses break down often
Rather than wait for things to fall apart, it’s nice to do diagnostics a few months after each job just to check if things are holding up correctly. It is often a good time to involve a handyman who will tell you what needs additional checking and repair, as well as anything that is about to fail.

It will be cheaper for you to get things fixed before they are worse, and even when you are short on cash, you can always plan so that when the feature breaks down, you are covered. Having a handyman engaged before the actual work is a good way to reduce the pressure that comes with last minute panic and need to fix things.

Prices are not the full story
As these tips show, it’s good to look at more than just the price quoted. Sometimes good jobs take time and are costly, but they also save money in the long-term and may increase the value of a home.

Preventative mainenance pays dividends in the end. Your new handyman friend will be an asset, and I thoroughly recommend that you find one in your area that you can trust and use him to the fullest for your annoying little jobs at home.

As you know by now, I always like to finish with a video, and this one below is from a handyman who discusses his services. I just thought it might give you some ideas.

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Organic Gardening For Health and Profit

Get-garden-ready-for-summer-690x460I never thought I would say this.. but I am really enjoying my organic garden! If my mum heard me say that she would thing I had been replaced by an alien!

My organic garden allows me to slip into another world, lowers my stress, and gives me a fulfillment I have not encountered before, except from my writing.

I intend to do a full blog about the garden and the benefits that anyone can get from eating healthy home grown food and the process that brings it all together.

But I saw this image and thought I would post it just to get everyone interested. Please contact me if you are interested in more information, I would love to swap ideas.

Enjoy the image, and watch this space.

organic gardening

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The different steps of kitchen makeover planning for a beautiful kitchen

There are a large number of homeowners who want a complete kitchen makeover as it helps in making their kitchen even more attractive and beautiful. A kitchen makeover  is considered as the major kitchen remodeling project that you can undertake for changing the looks, appearance and functionality of your kitchen.

There are different elements of the kitchen that you can change in your makeover plan which include cabinets, lighting, appliances, countertops, paints, wallpapers, flooring, fixtures, sinks and window treatments.

Benefits of kitchen makeover planning

There are different benefits of changing the look of your kitchen as it offers you an opportunity of having a new kitchen layout. You can select from a large number of beautiful and new kitchen designs that can offer you valuable ideas for the makeover of your kitchen.

You have the option of altering the style, design, layout, colors, appliances and themes of your kitchen. If you are considering the remodeling or makeover of your kitchen then you will need to keep into account your needs and personal tastes so that that re-designing of the kitchen can be customized according to your preferences.

Since kitchen makeover is considered as the biggest home improvements projects for you, it is very important that you pay special attention to every details of the project. You can also make changes or additions towards personalizing the design of your kitchen so that it can look beautiful and attractive, and is special to you.

The different steps of kitchen makeover planningkitchen-after

Repainting kitchen cabinets-
This is considered as the simplest way of starting the makeover as you can give the kitchen cabinets a refreshed look by painting it in bright and attractive colors.

Changing kitchen flooring-
kitchen flooring plays an important role in changing the entire look of the kitchen and hence you will need to pay special attention to the flooring. You can either opt for hardwood flooring or laminate flooring but you can also apply a fresh coat of wax on the floor for a completely new look to the floor.

Ceramic tiles are a good option too; they are possible more expensive than wood, but are much harder wearing, and can last for many years. They can however feel cold in cooler climates, but that can be a benefit in a warmer part of the world.

For a cheap alternative that looks good is a vinyl flooring option, such as rhinofloor. There are many price variations here, so choose carefully.

Painting kitchen walls-
colors can do great wonders for kitchen along with hiding the signs of wear and tear that your kitchen is subjected to on a regular basis. You can give a complete makeover to your kitchen by just painting its walls with pleasant colors that can enhance the beauty of your cooking space.

Kitchen countertops-
this is one of the most important elements of your kitchen because it is a place where the majority of your kitchen tasks are done. Hence make sure to select the best kitchen countertop you can afford, as it can make a huge difference to your kitchen looks. You should also pay attention to changing the outdated sink or faucet of your kitchen and replace it with functional pieces of fixtures and furniture.

Probably the most important element of kitchen makeover planning is to give attention to the small details of your kitchen such as adding more storage options, or a water filter, since it can make huge difference.

Your kitchen makeover is a very personal thing, it can cost a lot or a little, depending on the work you decide to do, if you can do any of it yourself, and if you are able to paint and decorate rather than replace.

The kitchen in our house was a pre-war very basic pot sink type kitchen that needed total replacement, so we went with the full replacement, but was able to source cabinets at a good price and we are happy with the result. Our neighbours were working on their kitchen too, which was much more modern, and they achieved great results by calling in a local company specialising changing just the kitchen drawers and doors.

For ideas, watch the kitchen design video below by Ikea, and if you have an Ikea store near you, they have some excellent kitchen cabinets etc for value prices.

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Using Multi-Fuel Stoves in an Effective Way


Have you considered installing a multi fuel or log burning stove in your home? They are a hot topic right now. If so… read on.

Multi-fuel stoves are those stoves that use multiple fuels to burn the stove such as wood, coal, peat or pellets. It is designed to burn a variety of fuels in an effective way. The multi-fuel stoves utilize the central grate and ash pan along with the moving bars to effectively burn the fuels.

The regular discarding of the ashes is required in multi-fuel stoves so that the combustion and burning of the fuels are carried out in the right way. The ash pan will collect the ashes which can be de-ashed after each burning process.

Multi-fuel stoves are provided with various controls that help the user to use them in a safe and effective way. The most common control is the damper that is fitted in the outlet of the stove. It is here where the flue pipe is connected. The damper is important as it helps in the alteration of chimney draw depending on the extent to which it is opened or closed.

The burn rate of the stove can be controlled by the bottom spin wheels or the slide ventilators. They help in the required air flow inlet to the stove for the burning process. The amount of airflow decides the burning rate. All these ventilators will aid in the proper control of the multi-fuel stove. The stoves which have the ventilator situated above the door will have an air wash method.multifuel-stove

This method ensures the cleaning of the glass. For such stoves, the damper needs to be opened completely with the closing of the bottom controls. In some of the multi-fuel stoves, dampers are not available, and one can buy them separately to fit them in the stove.

There are various criteria that one should consider before opting for a multi-fuel stove. The multi-fuel stove should be appropriate for the space where it is to be used. The heat output should be bearable within the room.

The acceptable metrics are usually given in the manufacturer’s manual along with the product. The fuels that are allowed to be used in the multi-fuel stove is another point to be considered. Multi-fuel stoves are also used for heating the rooms other than just heating the water.

This is one of the criteria to select a multi-fuel stove. There are certain multi-fuel stoves that are dedicated for room heating along with the conventional water heating. They are cost-effective in that they cut down the cost of the heater systems that may have to be installed during the winter.

As mentioned previously, one should try to use only fuels in the multi-fuel stove that do not produce smoke. The smoke-free burning depends on the fuel used in the stoves. It is important to check that the fuels are approved ones to be used on the stove.

The multi-fuel stoves are considered superior over other fuel-burning stoves in that they employ a wide range of fuel materials. There are various multi-fuel stoves that are available to be used in the living rooms, garage, or basement.

In most cases, the multi-fuel stoves are designed such that the burning process does not involve any smoke and does not cause any trouble for the users. Since the multi-fuel stoves burn a variety of fuels, one can get exposed to a wide range of products and supplies to choose the best one satisfying their needs.

The video below may give you some more insight into understanding how a multi fuel stove works, or if you would like more in depth information contact your local hetas registered multi fuel heating supplier.

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Green Lighting For Your Home

I was just considering the lighting plan for our new home, and I was researching LED lighting. LED’s are more expensive to buy than regular bulbs, and everyone seems to miss the warm light that we always enjoyed from tungsten light bulbs, so I wasn’t sure which lighting type to use.

But then I found this infographic, and the facts are shocking. Just look for yourselves:

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When you consider the lifetime costs and the energy savings, there is no comparison. I suppose I could use the odd tungsten bulb in areas where I want a warmer tone, unless I can find an alternative warmer led lighting option. If you have an answer to that little problem just contact me to let me know.

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5 Things to Consider When Installing Laminate Flooring

laminate_flooringLaminate flooring has many advantages and pro’s over other flooring options. These options usually include tile, stone or hardwoods. Laminate flooring is super durable, easy to clean and easy to install. Actually, even a newbie DIY can complete an entire room in a day.

Keep in mind that the laminate planks can be cut with a circular saw or a hand saw. In other words, no special tools and machines are required. Most modern laminate floorings have easy-to-snap planks that simply snap together with a groove system. However, in order to ensure that your money is well spent and that your laminate flooring will fit your needs, you need to consider some things.

Below are discussed these things you need to consider when installing a laminate flooring.

Know what your visual goals are
In the first place, always make a plan and a goal in regards to the desired appearance of your home. For example, do you want to make your rooms appear larger and open? You can use very wide laminate planks to create such a visual effect in a small room, say kitchen or bedroom.

You can amplify this effect by using brighter colors. The added brightness will create an effect of a larger room.

Smoothness of the existing floor
Always make sure the surface of the existing floor is smooth, level, clean and free of any debris. You should do this before you even start to lay the laminate. You may have to fill low spots with leveling compound or grind down any rough or sharp areas.

You can use a level to see how flat your existing floor is. Lay a five foot level on the sub-floor and see how close you can get the bubble to float between the vertical lines. That said, if you find that the bubble is floating to one end of the level, the floor may be uneven.

Prepare door jambslaminate_samples_3
It is way easier to cut the trim around the doorways, than it is to cut the laminate material to match the moulding’s irregular shape. Even more, once cut, the laminate flooring will easily slip under, leaving a more finished look.

Take a laminate plank and a section of underlayment (if required) and lay it finished side down next to the door’s mouldin.g This will show you exactly how high up the moulding you need to cut. Trace a guide line with a pencil. If you don’t plan to take a project like this often, you can rent a jamb saw.

The room traffic
Any good quality laminate you buy will withstand the harsh pressure given by a busy household. That’s why laminate flooring is such a decent option for high traffic areas. However, always consider what kind of traffic you will be getting.

The lighter color of the floor, the more often you’ll need to clean mud and spills. On the other side, darker floors have a tendency to highlight dust and pet hair.

The temperature of the laminate
Often overlooked is the fact that laminate flooring can change in size. Laminate that has been left outside in a cold atmosphere will slowly change in size in a warm room. This can cause humps and cracks in the floor and ruin the complete project.

That’s why it’s a good idea to allow your flooring to warm up overnight before installing it.

The easy option
If all of this sounds too difficult, you can always get your local flooring company, carpet shop or handy person to give you a price for installation. To be honest, I did the first couple of rooms in my house myself, but then I asked a local guy to install the rest for me, leaving me free to concentrate on other jobs.

Laminate or hardwood flooring is hard wearing, classy looking, easy to clean, and will last for years. I prefer carpet in my living rooms where I like to feel more cosy, but in higher traffic areas where I want a harder wearing option it’s laminat flooring every time. Take a look at the Armstrong Flooring website for some good ideas.

Below is a detailed video on how to lay laminate, and there are many more on youtube for you to watch if you are going to lay the floor yourself. It really isn’t that difficult, just do wome research and have the correct tools available and you will get the floor you were hoping floor.

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Learn how inexpensive soft furnishings can improve your room

At times you may have a very tight decorating budget and having a high-end looking home may seem to be impossible. Luckily enough, this is not a problem now because you are going to learn how inexpensive soft furnishings can improve your room.ea2b6371612aa5c4e7a9a7db177aefc1

There are very many simple ways that you can use to make your living room, bedroom, dorm room and many other rooms in your house look elegant without having to break the bank. Here is how you can achieve this.

Treating your window

What makes your room or home complete are the windows. Try to imagine having a room without any windows. That place will obviously look very cheap and unfinished. Window treatment is one of the best and budget friendly way to add an elegant look to your room and maintain your privacy.

The window is one part of the room that everyone notices, it is like a picture frame with a view of the outside, so it is important to get this feature right.

It is advisable that you avoid thin materials even if the materials are cheap for example choosing flimsy unlined materials. Many chain stores will always offer lined draperies that appear elegant still at affordable prices. Some of the materials which you can use in the window treatment include natural silk, cotton, and linen.

You are also not fixed to the use of draperies, but you are free to try using woven bamboo shades or wood blinds. What you have to make sure of is to treat your window well, and your room will always look very elegant and attractive.

Using unique hardware soft finishes in improving your room

You need to know how inexpensive soft furnishings can improve your room here by trying to be unique and very stylish. Bulk hardware pieces are always cheap, but some are of poor quality. Still for just a  few dollars, not enough to break your bank, you can get elegant and more expensive looking pieces that you can use, giving you an expensive look for a budget price.

The best places that you need to check whenever you are looking for a unique hardware to furnish your room is the smaller hardware stores, antique shops and flea markets. Here you will be able to get expensive-looking, heavy duty drawer knobs and pulls at very affordable prices. This will be able to give your room a unique and elegant look that you have desired for long, and no one will ever know your secret.

Making a difference with lighting

A small thing liketiffany lamp considering the lighting of a room is another secret way you can use to furnish your room with style. Most of the contractors will always use standard lighting fixtures but to get more elegance to your room, using designer light fixtures can be the best choice for your room. This is because the standard lighting fixtures are usually used as a standard fitting, and will probably not give you the look of feel that you are looking for.

Luckily enough, there are some tricks that you can use to get the high-end look with inexpensive designs. The trick is that you try looking at the second-hand stores and the flea markets. Here you will be amazed when you get a unique piece at a very friendly price. Another thing you can employ is the blogger’s trick of adding a drum shade around an old chandelier. This can give you a custom look that everybody is craving for at the moment.

To increase the elegant look even further, you have to ensure that you have several light sources including floor lamps and table lamps throughout your home. This will give an overall lighting level that you can read and relax with, but without harsh spot lights and deep shadows. They also give a unique and elegant look to your room.

This is how simple it is to use inexpensive soft furnishings to improve your room. Keep your eye open for bargains, market stalls and garage sales. You might be surprised at what you will find. I was able to find the tiffany lamp above at a garage sale. That was one of my better days!

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Inexpensive Ways To Upgrade Your Bathroom

Have you had bathroom remodeling ideas recently? Just tired of the same old look of your bathroom or have you been inspired by an interior design magazine super_showeror TV show. If you are like most people you sit there and day dream about dipping your toes into a warm bath, or feeling the stream of the hot shower wash away your problems. In most people circumstances it is just a day dream and in no ways is bathroom remodel reality. Either you are too afraid to take on such a large task, don’t have the time, or you think you don’t have enough money.

I agree bathrooms can be a time consuming, expensive job, but it doesn’t have to be. A few minor, inexpensive adjustments can transform your bathroom into the one you dream about. There is always the first step in everything. Fortunately, if you have been considering a bathroom makeover, you are halfway there. Now that you have your ideas write them down draw them, and take some basic measurements.

This will help organize your strategy and tell you what you can can’t get with your budget. Always keep in mind if you or your husband are not handy with the tools, it’s suggested you factor in installation costs for whichever fixtures you desire. Do some shopping around, read through some magazines, watch those corny re-modeler shows.

They will help you get even more ideas, prices and most of all they will help you realize the potential of the current items in your bathroom. Leading you utilize them in a different way. You will be amazed at how easy it is transform something from the past to something you like with a layer of paint or a rearrangement. For instance start by rearranging small items such as a tooth brush holder, or a towel holder. Changing the location of these items to make them more convenient for you. May give your bathroom a different feel. If you feel bold, enough go out and buy a new soap dish, toothbrush holder, and towel rack.

These items together if you shop around wisely should cost under 50 dollars. A fresh coat of paint or new wall paper would change your bathroom’s style. I just want to warn you are changing wall paper has gotten easier over the years, but it Is still a messy job. By easier I mean if your wall paper is not from the 1950s where it is nearly impossible to get off and could potentially be holding up the house because of its strength, you know that last comment was a joke.

Anyways painting may be the easier option. Its never that fun like they make it out to be on those shows. Make sure you get blue tape for cutting in. Blue tape is suggested it does a great job and won’t pull up or harm any surface.

Make sure the you run your finger along the edge of the tape to make sure it is completely down or else the paint could get under the edge of the tape. Which defeats the entire purpose of putting it down in the first place. Next make sure you get a drop cloth and cover everything. Yes, even the toilet and the vanity.

Paint drops look sloppy on anything. Finally, when choosing paint for a bathroom you want a quality paint one that is suited for bathrooms. Cheap paints and non-bathroom paints will chip and peel. Now for the colors always remember light colors open up and dark colors close in space. Hence, if you want you bathroom to seem larger go with the lighter shades. If you want to close in your bathroom, chose a dark color.

If you want to add 1 luxury item to your bathroom, for me it would have to be one of the new style multi jet showers. They can bought as a complete unit, or as a complicated through the wall plumbing challenge, but the end result is amazing. It’s rather like an upright Jacuzzi. I have included a picture here. They can sometimes feel like you are drowning if you get the nozzle angles wrong, but get it right and there is nothing quite like it.

Take my word for it and treat yourself! Check out the steam and hydro massage shower video below if you need further proof.

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The First Of Many

So here we are, the first post on my new blogsite. No need to explain all again, as you can read my story in the about section of the site, but I hope this blog helps me to log the changes and plans to my new house (exciting!) and keeps my writing skills honed and fresh.

In the mean time, I have found a video below that sums up our life right now. Watch and enjoy!

Best wishes to all!!

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