The Basics of DIY Gardening

Filed Under: Do it yourself, Gardens    by: ITC

If you’re trying to create a garden on a budget, you can either hire an inexpensive landscaper or, even better, you can do it yourself. This is the way to go if you want to be creative and get just what you want. All you need, besides enough time and a willingness to try, are some basic guidelines and you’re on your way. A green thumb doesn’t hurt, but you may just surprise yourself and develop one along the way!

Some preliminary work does have to be done. You need to plan out what you’re going to spend on what items. Don’t forget that you’ll have expenses beyond those of the plants you choose. Your garden will have to have such things as a watering system, paving in places, artistic focal points, and fences. Of course, you also need the tools with which to garden, so if you don’t already have them, they must be factored into the total cost.

Planning your design is also important. Since you’re on a budget, you might want to have just one or two consultations with a professional landscaper who can give you ideas for the layout of the garden. Or you can just meander through home and garden centers or peruse home and gardening magazines and get your ideas from there. Checking out house tours to see what others have done is also a good thought. Be sure to do your comparison shopping while you’re buying your materials.

Check around at local garden stores to see who’s offering the best buys. It might pay to go to several, or it could be best to just shop at the one that seems most appealing and ask for their bulk rates. There’s also the internet, of course. There are lots of gardening supply places online, and that offers you the possibility of easy comparison shopping. Right there, too, will be easily accessible reviews and comments on how to create your best garden, and there may be some dialogue going on about problems you’re going to face in yours.

Don’t forget that you’re investing time as well as money in your garden, and time is money. Decide on a target date for your garden’s completion. Then decide on how many hours per day or week you can give to this project. You want a well-balanced life, but you do have to live up to your agreement with yourself on this if you want a nice garden in time for the season. Maybe you can get family and friends involved, too, which makes work and play one and the same thing. Then you’ll all feel a sense of accomplishment because you’ve stuck to your timetable and now have a beautiful place to relax and socialize together.

The Best Types of Patio Surfaces

Filed Under: DIY Outdoor, Do it yourself, Gardens, Shopping    by: ITC

Terraces and patios have been very popular spaces for the outside of the home. Whether it is in the form of rooftop alcoves or Parisian courtyards, only sunrooms and porches have the potential to compete against such paved retreats. Or, at least, that’s what a recent reader survey has told us. Here are some patio surface types that exist today:

1. Patio Stones
Patio stones are sometimes also known as slabs or flags and are flat concrete blocks either in rectangular or square shapes. A lot of home builders, as well as homeowners, choose this popular type of patio surface because they are cheap and very easy to install. Although in the past, this type of patio surface was only available in grey, a wide color range is now available.

Pick colors that mesh well with your house or garden, or construct a floor patterned with dual colors. This type of patio surface looks best when matched with contrasting material, such as bricks, landscape rocks, cedar, rot-resistant wood, or aluminum. Patio stones can also be found in various surface textures, such as those that come with aggregates that are exposed. Their consistent kind of thickness is what makes them easy to install, but they are typically more expensive than normal stones.

2. Flagstone
Flagstone is a natural material which is only available when local resources have them. Flagstone is normally cut in regular lengths and widths, but how thick the piece is depends on the cutting and the stone. The change in thickness seems to make this kind of material harder to install, though. Natural flagstone pieces tend to cost more than patio stones that are manufactured.

A lot of the time, flagstone is considered artistic paving since these broken stone pieces are usually set in very random yet attractive patterns. However, flagstone is quite difficult to set the right way since a patio’s mortar joints tend to be weak and these pieces of stone need to be set tight together. Professional installers should be able to break the stones by hitting pieces of pipe or rebar that have been placed on the proper break line.

3. Bricks
One very popular type of material for building for terraces and patios are bricks. Brick colors are either in yellow or red (though there are more variations available nowadays). Choosing bricks for your outside space is really a very personal choice, though weather conditions may also play a part. If your house is situated somewhere cold, it is important to get bricks made for severe weather so they won’t crack no matter how cold or how heavy the snow falls. These are more expensive compared to hot or moderate weather bricks.

No matter which kind surface you opt for, it is important to invest a significant amount of time deciding on a design which fits in with the rest of your property.

How to Use Weed Burners

Filed Under: DIY Outdoor, Do it yourself, Gardens, Outdoor, Shopping, Tools    by: ITC

Most gardeners face a lot of problems when it comes to the seemingly never-ending onslaught of weeds. Many of these unnecessary plants are actually quite simple to get rid of yourself, while others do tend to be quite persistent as days go on. No matter what your garden situation is, if you manage the weeds in the wrong way, there is always the possibility of a full hard day’s labor or being exposed to harmful chemical herbicides that may cause damage to the environment or to you. This article will show you alternative methods to managing weeds so that you will no longer have to result to chemicals or manual labor: fire.

Weed burners are actually highly effective tools when it comes to getting rid of unwanted and unnecessary plant foliage. These devices come with fuel hoses, metal wands with burner heads, control valves to control gas, and fuel tanks for propane. Hand-held varieties also exist and these are quite similar when it comes to the weed burning function. The difference is that the propane tanks are disposable and can be screwed onto burner wands. Also, hand-held burners are not as powerful and they cost more to use; which is why they aren’t typically recommended.

Weed burners can often be found anywhere online or at garden hardware stores. Most weed burners come in similar functions and designs. What is important is that you are comfortable using a particular burner, as well as its controls. One big difference between weed burners is the BTU rating, which can measure the amount of heat that the burner can actually produce. If the BTU rating is high, the available heat to get rid of plant foliage will also be higher. If your particular weed burner happens to not have strikers or any kind of igniter, you will have to buy one. Before you buy your first weed burner, however, it is important to take some time to get acquainted with the local laws of your state regarding owning and using such a device.

There may be some localities that forbid the use of weed burners during particular times during the year, while some might just forbid them all together. A lot of localities insist that fire extinguishers be nearby while weed burners are in use, while some need you to have a permit to burn. It is always best to be safe and know this before you go ahead with a purchase.

Weed burners tend to be a great alternative to herbicides that are made from chemicals, but users must completely comprehend that weed burners are only meant to manage weeds; safety is always key when using burners to burn weeds.

Essential Tips for Waterfront Living

Filed Under: DIY Outdoor, Do it yourself, Home repair    by: ITC

One of the most wanted destinations, in terms of living accommodation, is waterfront living. This is mostly due to the beautiful scenery which surrounds the home as well as having the option to take a short walk in order to go boating or fishing. But beware, life isn’t always fine and dandy when it comes to waterfront living.

The most common fear that some waterfront homebuyers tend to have concerns the potential rising and rolling of the river, and ultimately having water entering their property. Although this is not entirely impossible, it is quite a rare occurrence. In most cases, the water that is the riskiest, when it comes to waterfront homes, does not stem from rivers, but from water that flows over the land towards the river.

Always keep in mind that rivers are places in which water flows into. Depending on how certain houses are situated and how they hinder the water flow to the river, these factors can determine whether or not the houses in question will stay free from water flow.

Therefore, when considering waterfront property, it may be important to opt for a wonderful view, but it is also important to take a look in-land to ensure that you have the best waterfront living experience without damaging your home.

If you do end up experiencing a flood in your home, do not give up hope. Although everything inside your home may seem to be damaged beyond reason, a lot of your items can still be saved by acting fast and cleaning, drying, or rebuilding it what was damaged. There is also the option of seeking professional assistance in order to keep your home safe.

Here are some tips and tricks to consider if your home is ever subject to flooding:

1. Always protect your family and yourself from fatigue, stress and other health concerns that may come after a flood.

2. Treat your home with first aid by protecting your belongings from any further damage.

3. Organize your things and figure out which ones are no longer worth repairing or may be far too difficult or costly to do alone. Recovery plans can help a lot in making the most out of both your money and your time.

4. Dry out the house to reduce the chances of damaged materials, mildew, silt, mud, and other unknown contaminants.

5. Restore your utilities, such as clean water, electricity, heat, and sewage disposal.

A lot of people sincerely love waterfront living because it is a truly fulfilling experience. It is even more rewarding, if you know exactly what you should be looking for. So pick and plan the smart way.

Easy Home Improvement Projects You Can Do In A Day

Filed Under: DIY Outdoor, Do it yourself, Gardens, Home repair, Plumbing, Redecorating, Remodeling    by: ITC

Homeowners are always planning to work on home improvement projects to enhance their homes. However, most people are usually hesitant to start working on one because they think that they would need to work on it for a couple of days or even a week. If you are one of these people who lead a busy lifestyle, there is no need to completely give up on the idea of working on a home improvement project. This is because there are actually plenty of projects which can be completed in just one day. Here are some easy home improvement projects and ideas that you can try.

The first easy home improvement project would be updating lighting fixtures. Before installing a new fixture, you may want to assess the theme or the existing design of the room or space where you would be installing it in. This is needed so that you would be able to choose a fixture which would complement the existing décor or accentuate a certain area. You might also want to replace your existing lights with energy-efficient bulbs to save on your future energy costs. Installing or updating lighting fixtures can easily enhance the theme or design and dramatically change the mood of a room or space and can be done within just an hour or two.

Working on your yard and garden is another easy home improvement project which can be done within a day. You might want to turn a corner of your yard into a place where you can relax through setting up new outdoor benches and planting some bamboo plants. You could even get one of those miniature outdoor ponds or waterfalls which are powered by a small motor and provides soothing sounds of water in motion. These are readily available from most stores selling home building and gardening supplies. You can also add new plants and seedlings as install some outdoor lights to enhance the look of your garden.

Lastly, another easy home improvement project that you can do would be fixing any corroded or leaky water fixtures. These are not very difficult to replace and can be done within just a couple of hours, depending on the number of faucets you have in your home. You can search for the procedure online and you should be able to do it on your own. Changing your faucets or repairing them can greatly improve the look of your kitchen or bathroom while ensuring that you would not be wasting water because of any leaks.

The Top 10 Most Popular DIY Projects

Filed Under: Crafts, DIY Outdoor, Do it yourself, Featured, Gardens, Home repair, Kitchen, Redecorating, Remodeling    by: ITC

We’ve looked around a little to find some of the coolest and most popular DIY projects out there, and these are our favorites. Click the links to get to the original how-to guides, if you see something you like.

10. Mailing Tube Wine Rack

Re-purpose sturdy mailing tubes to create a stylish wine rack. This project is flat out simple: just stack the mailing tubes under a shelf. If you like, you can add a quick coat of colorful enamel. The end result is quite handsome, too. Use the money you save to expand your collection of vino.

9. CD Stack Lamp

This clever lamp takes some effort, but is well within the DIY reach of most of us. It’s the perfect way to transform all those AOL CDs into an awesome accessory. This quirky lamp is an eye-catcher best suited for the basement rec room, game room or family room.

8. Wall-mounted Magnetic Knife Block

Kitchen knives shouldn’t be left to bang around in a drawer, but who has the counter space for a chunky knife block? This wall-mounted magnetic knife holder is a happy solution. Carve slots into the backside of a wood block, then glue heavy duty magnets into the slots. Mount the wood block, and slap your knives on it. Check out the video when you click the link! This baby is way stickier than it looks.

7. Auto-on Watch Holder Pantry Light

Take a plastic wristwatch holder and mix in a dash of ingenuity, and put an end to fumbling in a dark cupboard, pantry or closet. This light works like the one in the fridge. Hook up a reverse switch to rope lights inside the closet or cupboard door. Mount the switch in a watch holder. Open the door and the light comes on; close the door, which opens the switch and turns off the light.

6. Hands-free Flusher

While this gizmo would probably fare best in a frat house, it works if you want hands-free flushing. A foot pedal is fashioned from a wire clothes hanger, shoe polish and some paper towel rolls.

5. Wall Outlet Safe


Your Own Secret Hidden Safe! For Under $2More amazing videos are a click away

Watch the video to see how this one works and for details to make one of your own. A thief probably won’t think to look behind an outlet plate for your valuables, making it the perfect spot to hide jewelry and small treasures.

4. Secret Bookshelf Door

If you’ve ever dreamed of a secret door that is activated by taking a book off the shelf, this project grants your wish. Avid DIYer Simon Shea offers this outstanding project, –or, he used to, but you’ll find an alternative method on Instructables if you follow the link. It takes time and dedication, but it’s really cool.

3. Automated Garden Watering Drip System

DIYer and Green Thumb Matt Haughey explains how to construct an automated water drip system to keep plants properly hydrated, even if you’re away for several days. A parched lawn and garden become things of the past.

2. Homebrew $30 Air Conditioner

When you can’t bear another sultry summer day without air conditioning, this project offers some relief. You can build an effective air cooling unit for about $30. Necessity was the mother of invention for this one, brought to you by college summer schoolers stuck in a dorm with no AC. It’s a bit clunky, but it works. And there’s a closed circuit version that eliminates the water run off.

1. Remote Control Deadbolt

This project isn’t easy, but it gets loads of points for being clever as well as utilitarian. Watch the video for the demonstration, and click the link for instructions on how to build a remote control device to unlock the deadbolt in the garage or tool shed.

Simple DIY Home Improvement Projects

Filed Under: DIY Outdoor, Do it yourself, Gardens, Home repair, Redecorating, Remodeling    by: ITC

Today, doing things yourself seems to be the best way to go. This is especially true with home improvement projects. If you have been thinking of enhancing the beauty and functionality of your home but are afraid of having to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars, you need to know that there are many DIY home improvement projects which are simple and easy to do but can give you amazing results. Here are some of them that you can try.

The first would be painting your home interior. This is a simple DIY home improvement project which can certainly be done by any adult and it can greatly enhance the appearance of your home indoors. A simple color change on your walls can instantly enhance your home interior without having to spend too much. Hiring painters to do this project could have you spending quite a bit so it would be a better idea to do it yourself.

When painting the interior of your home, you just need to remember to protect your flooring and trim from any spills. Make use of tarps, paper and paint tape to cover up anything which you do not want to end up getting painted on. If you would be painting large areas, make use of rollers. For more detailed painting jobs, make sure to use a brush.

Another simple DIY home improvement project would be installing new flooring. However, although this is simple, it does require some basic handyman skills. You can first decide on what type of flooring you want to have such as carpet, linoleum or tile. Check the proper way of installing each type as the process usually differs from one type to another.

Refinishing your cabinets would also be a great DIY home improvement project. It could be done by sanding, painting or varnishing. You can also look into some of the newer refinishing techniques such as color washing, which could be simple provided that you have the proper steps of doing it.

Refinishing would be a good alternative to replacing the cabinets altogether since new cabinet systems are quite expensive. Once your cabinets have been refinished, you might be surprised at how much better they look and how much they can enhance your home interior.

A simple but interesting DIY home improvement project would be landscaping. It can easily be done by first planning out your desired landscaping and then researching for some new ideas online. Simple landscaping is not too expensive and could even serve as a DIY home improvement project that everyone in the family can participate in.

Lastly, you could consider constructing a deck or patio. This is still a DIY home improvement project but it could be more suited to those who have some skill in carpentry and building. However, it could still be an easy project because there are many kits which are readily available in the market. When building a deck, it is important to make sure that the ground where you are building on is level, stable and is not prone to sinking.

How To Minimize Home Improvement Construction Costs

Filed Under: DIY Outdoor, Do it yourself, Home repair, Money tips, Redecorating, Remodeling, Shopping    by: ITC

Many home improvement construction projects could be expensive and there are some homeowners who end up with a huge debt after having them done. Although home renovation can increase your home’s market value, it is important to know that there are actually several things that you can do so that you would incur minimal home improvement construction costs while still being able to get what you need and want. Here are some of them.

First, you need to limit the home improvement projects you would be making. There are some homeowners who have a limited budget but are planning to remodel their entire home. Avoid doing this because you could end up borrowing money to complete all of the projects or having to compromise the quality of the materials which would be used for the renovations. List down the home improvement project that you are planning to have and go through them one by one. Assess which ones are truly needed and which ones are just nice to have done. For instance, if you want to remodel your bathroom, you might want to just repaint the walls and bring in some new décor instead of replacing all your bathroom fixtures. However, if your bathtub and your toilet are already broken or are not functioning, then you could go ahead and replace if the damages can no longer be repaired.

For the projects which are not urgently needed, you can just put them on hold and plan to have them done within the next couple of months once you already have the budget for them.

Another way to minimize your home improvement construction costs would be to try doing the project or projects yourself. Some homeowners automatically hire a professional or a contractor to do the repairs and renovation even for simple tasks. You might want to check first if the project is simple enough for you to manage. If it is, then you could go ahead and do it yourself. Just make sure that you know the proper way of doing it and you have the appropriate tools and materials to complete it. Through doing this, you would definitely be able to save a lot of money, hundreds and sometimes, even thousands of dollars.

Choose to do those which would give you a high return on your investment. These would be the home improvement construction projects which can greatly increase your homes’ market value. Examples would be kitchen and bathroom remodeling, outdoor projects and home expansions.

You can also consider using imitation materials. Although having stainless steel appliances, hardwood flooring and granite countertops are fabulous modern additions to your home, they can be quite costly. You may want to use imitation but high quality imitation supplies instead.

Lastly, compare your finance options if you would be borrowing the money. Some choices that you have would be credit cards, contractor’s finance packages or home equity loans. Compare the rates of each option to make sure you would not be overpaying for the financing you would be using.

Popular Home Improvement TV Shows

Filed Under: Cleaning, DIY Outdoor, Do it yourself, Home repair, Redecorating, Remodeling, TV    by: ITC

If you are planning to work on a home improvement project but are at a loss on where to start, you might want to consider watching some home improvement TV shows. These shows are becoming more and more popular because of the valuable information, tips and tricks that viewers can pick up from watching them. As a matter of fact, some of these shows are selling DVDs with their episodes that homeowners and designers could buy to get some home improvement project and design ideas from.

There is a wide variety of home improvement TV shows that can give you plenty of tips on home improvement, organization, interior decorating, gardening and landscaping and home repair. There are also some which show arts and crafts projects and home makeovers.

Here are some of the more popular home improvement TV shows today.

1. Clean House

Hosted by Niecy Nash, this home improvement TV show helps individuals and families who are in need of a home makeover and reorganization. The show basically brings in a group of interior designers and organizers to work on the home. They first decide which items and furniture in the house to get rid of and then sell them in a yard sale. From the money earned, the crew works on different home improvement projects from adding storage spaces to painting walls to installing new flooring. Clean House is an excellent show to watch if you have been wanting to get rid of the clutter in your home and if you need some simple and inexpensive design ideas which can improve the functionality and appearance of your home.

2. Home Made Simple

Debuting in 2006, Home Made Simple is a home improvement TV show that is hosted by the Home Mavens. They help families from all over to come up with simple solutions to improve their homes from talking handyman projects to room organization to interior decorating to creating easy meals for the family. It is a show that any homeowner or home renter would be able to pick up plenty of ideas and expert tips from.

3. Take Home Handyman

This is a home improvement TV show on TLC which is hosted by Andrew Dan-Jumbo, a craftsman, carpenter and a handyman. At the beginning of each episode, Andrew approaches a Home Depot customer and offers his services to help them complete any home improvement project that they are working on or are planning to work on. Aside from the main project, Andrew also works on small additional projects around the home. The good thing about this show is that viewers can easily understand and follow the steps done by Andrew so that they can do it in their own homes as well.

Some of the other home improvement TV shows would include Trading Spaces, Holmes on Homes, Design Start, Mission: Organization, I Want That!, Designed to Sell, Designers’ Challenge and Decorating with Style.

Do It Yourself Sunrooms

Filed Under: DIY Outdoor, Do it yourself, Remodeling    by: ITC

Have you ever wished that you could have a sunroom in your home and just did not want to hire a contractor to get the job done? Well this is no longer the case. You now have a variety of different options that are available to you that will allow you to build your dream sunroom and you will not even have to hire that expensive contractor. You can even have a whole sunroom including the essential elements delivered right to your door step. The main idea behind these great kits is the ability to save you money while you getting that dream room.

This is an excellent idea to help you cut the costs on the overall project if you happen to have a fairly limited budget. This is due to the fact that you will not only save on the labor costs because you will be doing it yourself but also because you are completely cutting out the middle man. Possibly the best cost savings would be having it delivered directly from the manufacturer you save on the total cost of the supplies that will need. Another great advantage in doing yourself sunroom kits is that you have the ability to order an energy efficient kit that will also save you money on your overall electrical bill as well as maintenance costs over time. With today’s economy this can be an excellent benefit.

One of the important things that you need to be aware of however is that the cost of your sunroom kit will vary according to both the requirements that you may have and the overall condition of your home. If you are simply looking into building a simple sunroom on an existing cement block or deck then you will be spending less costly than it would be when you have to build a foundation as well.

If you are one of the luckier ones to have an existing concrete block it is an ideal place to install your dream sunroom. The concrete blocks are one of the best places because it is already prepared for construction and you will not have to do anything extra to it. However if you are not lucky enough to have a cement block you will need to do some careful research on the best possible place that you can place your sunroom. Also it is important that you prepare that area before you lay the beginning foundation to prevent cracks. This will increase the overall time that you will need to plan in the construction phase but it will be well worth it in the end.

As you can see there are a variety of different options available to you when you plan your dream sunroom. The more careful consideration that you do in the beginning will save you time and money in the end.