Eco-Friendly Lawn and Garden Care

They may look green, but a lot of lawns are anything but. American homeowners use a lot of toxic chemicals on their lawns - up to 10 pounds of pesticides per acre. When it rains, pesticides are flushed into local streams, rivers, and lakes, harming fish and plants along the way. Here are some tips to make sure your grass looks great - and is safe for pets, children, and other living things. Choosing the Right Mower Using a gas-powered mower for just one hour produces the same amount of air pollution that a car emits from driving 100 miles! Luckily, there are many low-energy, high-quality alternatives to…

7-Day Plan to Organize Your Kitchen the Right Way

Have you noticed that the state of your kitchen can make a huge difference in how your entire home feels? When things aren't running as they should, the smallest tasks (making breakfast, putting away groceries) can feel like a hassle. Here is a helpful plan of attack from the editors of Houzz: "Set goals that make sense for you. Setting a goal that relates to how you want your kitchen to function better is more helpful than blindly tackling a long list of cleaning and decluttering jobs, so consider what you personally want to get out of this week. Want help getting through hectic mornings? You may want…

Tips for Organizing and Cleaning the Bathroom

Keep Your Bathroom Organized & Clean The Easy Way First, close your eyes and visualize your personal bathroom for a few seconds. Think about how the cabinets, sinks, and other utility areas are positioned, and reflect on how you feel when you're preparing for your day. Are your sanitary and hygiene needs nearby? Do you feel comfortable soaking in your bathtub or resting in the shower after a long day? If all of this sounds frightening or scary, this is where we come in to remind you that once upon a time, it wasn't like this. And getting it back will be easier than you think. Organize Right & Reclaim…

Frequently Overlooked Issues to Consider When Building Your First Home

You've done it — you've decided to build your first home. Congratulations -- building your own home can be rewarding and exciting! But we've all heard the horror stories of first-time builders who neglected to consider key issues that later came back to haunt them. Don't let that happen to you! You want to avoid these painful — and often costly — regrets. So what should you be paying attention to as you put together your plans? Here are a few important considerations that can sometimes get lost in the excitement of building…

Tips on Buying Land to Build a House

You want to build a custom home, but do not own a lot to build on yet. Buying land to build a house is your first step, an important one that needs your thought and careful planning. But don't let the idea of buying property intimidate you. By following the tips provided below, you can make the process easier and soon become a land owner ready to build your custom home. Determining Your Budget: Loans to Buy Land & Build a House Before you begin searching for land to buy, you need to know how much you can afford to pay. Keep in mind that you will also need a loan to finance construction for your new…

Late Winter Gardening Tips

Now is an excellent time to transplant mature or established trees and shrubs while they are dormant. Make flower and vegetable garden plans now before the rush of spring planting. Time spent in armchair gardening before the fireplace will pay off in improved plant selection. Besides, it is fun to page through the garden catalogs. Sow seeds in flats or containers to get a jump on plant growth before hot weather arrives. Petunias, begonias, and impatiens should be sown in early January. Warm temperature plants, such as tomatoes, peppers, marigolds, and periwinkles, should be sown in late January or…

Cleaning and Removing Mildew from Exterior Walls and Siding

Mildew is unsightly but easy to remove. Moisture, and therefore mildew, can be controlled to a degree by arranging landscaping so that natural breezes can flow near the houseand dry the siding if it becomes wet from rain or dew. Keep shrubs awayfrom the walls. Gutters and downspouts, as well as a moderate roofoverhang, will help also. Give special attention to air movementpatterns on northern exposures where sunlight cannot assist in drying.On sidings which may have a tendency to absorb moisture from rain ordew, a semi-gloss or gloss latex or oil paint with an appropriateprimer is recommended. When wood…

Maintaining Your Foundation and Concrete Flatwork

Your foundation has been designed by an engineer to withstand the plasticity of your soil, based on the soils investigation done prior to construction. It is critical for you to try and maintain even and uniform moisture content around your home. Uneven moisture content could cause one part of your home to move at a different rate than the remainder of the home. For this reason, in periods of drought it is important to water completely around the foundation, and to maintain proper grade and drainage so that excess water runs away from the house. In some situations it may be necessary to install perimeter…

Cleaning Ceramic Tile

Ceramic tiles are popular as design features within many areas of today's modern homes. They vary in size, style, color and cost, and are popularly used because of their beauty as well as their ease to clean. Whether used as flooring or on walls, ceramic tiles can be maintained easily if you follow some standard procedures for their upkeep. Ceramic tiles are made from clay that contain silicates. To produce a tile, this clay mixture is formed and baked at high temperatures. Ceramic tiles can be purchased in two forms: unglazed or glazed. Unglazed tiles typically require more cleaning maintenance because…