Author: Gilberto Nicolas

Landscaping – Giving Your Garden A New Look

The yard in front of your house is important because it is the first thing that people see when they visit your home. This means that you should take some time to ensure that this area is always well maintained and healthy. Many people spend many hours carefully grooming and maintaining their garden. For new gardeners, the idea of landscaping an entire yard can be very intimidating. These tips will help you know where to start by exploring some simple ideas for landscaping.

Color is key for a beautiful garden. Try to find attractive plants that will infuse a lot of vibrant colors into your yard. You may also want to choose similar plants or colors to create a repetitive and consistent look in your yard. This repetition is especially important in the front yard. A patio can be a great addition and should be utilized if you already have one. The patio can be the jumping off point for yard design. You may want to plant flowers or shrubs around the patio or you could do the same to the path leading up to your home. Cement walkways are particularly attractive when surrounded on both sides by flowers or bushes.

Selecting plants that are native to your region can also greatly improve a garden. Through this means, you will have a garden that is more water efficient to maintain. Also birds and butterflies will be attractive to these native plants. This added wildlife always adds a welcome touch to a garden. These plants will also be well adapted to the soil and also the climate in your region.

Use your creativity. Don’t feel like you are limited to traditional designs and ideas. When landscaping, creativity can make the final product more beautiful and unique. If you have a creative idea, use it. Let your tastes, style and personality manifest in your garden. You may even choose to select a theme for your yard. If you don’t have any ideas, look through magazines, websites and books. Before too long, you will see some landscaping ideas that will spark your imagination.

There are many themes to choose from. You could have an herb garden brimming with edible and fragrant herbs. You may also choose to create a flower garden. A Japanese garden is also a popular choice. These gardens use rocks and water to make a relaxing statement. Other themes include using statues or ornaments in your yard. Choose a theme that expresses your vision for the garden.… Read More

Successful Tips For Do It Yourself Home Improvements

Whether you want to improve your home for resale, or make it a more comfortable, up-to-date and exciting environment for you and your family to live in, there are a multitude of home improvements that you can successfully do yourself.

Not only can you save yourself a small fortune by cutting out certain tradesmen, but you’ll also have the satisfaction of knowing you did it yourself. Better still, once you gain the confidence to tackle your own home improvement projects, you’ll find that DIY can be a lot of fun.

So where do you start?

First of all you need to identify which home improvement ideas are suitable for DIY. While there are some structural renovations that are best left to the experts, you may be surprised how many home improvements you can do yourself. All you need to master are a few basic skills, and follow proven tips and techniques.

What you can hope to achieve in Your Home

One of the best ways to transform any home is with paint. With the right tools and techniques, you’ll find that a do it yourself paint job will give you instant gratification.

Another excellent way to quickly change the look and style of any interior is with wallpaper. You may find it easier working with a helper, but once you know what to do, you’ll be amazed at how quickly and easily you can do it yourself.

A little more complicated than painting or wallpapering, laying hardwood or laminate floors, and tiling walls and floors, are tasks that really are not that difficult. Yet by replacing old, worn floors and by tiling or retiling, you will add more value to your home than you ever thought possible.

Shelving is another element that fits the Home Improvements profile. Yes, you do need to know how to ensure shelves are level, and how to make certain that they won’t collapse when items are placed on them. But rest assured that the techniques required to hang or install shelves are not difficult to grasp. Furthermore, the only tools you’ll need are a drill, a screwdriver to fasten screws, and a spirit level – all of which are invaluable for do it yourself jobs around the house.

Installing or replacing crown molding or cornices between the ceiling and walls, and fitting baseboards or skirting boards at floor level, are other possibilities that will elevate your rooms from boring to beautiful. You’ll need a ladder to get to the moldings, and assuming you’re working with wood, an electric drill, a suitable saw and a screwdriver, possibly also a hammer.

There are also a few plumbing upgrades you can do yourself. These range from replacing the washer in a leaking faucet or tap, and replacing the tap fitting itself, to installing new sanitary ware (a basin for instance). Pipe work must be done by a registered plumber, wherever in the world you live.

The same concept applies to light fittings. Sure you’re working with things electrical, but you aren’t working with wiring, which means you don’t need an electrician. So why not change the fixtures and fittings and improve the look and quality of illumination in ALL your rooms?

Some Tips for Success

Probably the most important aspect of successful DIY Home Improvements is to know when to elicit the help of others. This “help” may be in the form of advice, or it may be physical assistance.

Before you get started implementing your home repair and home improvement ideas:

draw up a sensible and achievable plan of action for all the ideas you … Read More

Home Improvement Trends

From cabinets to floors, home improvement efforts have not stopped, even in the current economic downturn. If you are thinking of improving something around your space, consider these hot trends in the industry.

Bathrooms

Bathrooms are quickly becoming the hottest trend in home improvement. Homeowners are no longer viewing these as simply a functional space. They are now turning them into a quiet oasis, where a soak in the tub is not just time to get clean, but also time to rejuvenate the senses and refocus for another day. Clean lines, uncluttered space, and comfortable pieces are the hottest trends for bathrooms.

Outdoor Spaces

As the property market continues to struggle, more and more property owners are putting money into improving their outdoor space. Doing so helps ensure that the house looks as good as possible when they decide to sell. This curb appeal can make or break a potential sale. As an added bonus, the property’s owner has a beautiful space in which to live while still owning the house.

Renovating Small Kitchens

People with small kitchens are often known to expand their space by knocking down walls and incorporating dining rooms into kitchen space. However, some are opting to make the best use out of what they have through revitalizing their small space, incorporating vertical storage to add functionality, and adding fishing touches to make it look modern without adding physical space.

Focusing on the Environment

Environmental friendliness is becoming a household term, and this is showing up in home improvement efforts time and time again. From using renewable resources for the actual materials to choosing the most energy efficient appliances for the house, homeowners are making more responsible choices when they redo areas of their properties. Even windows and doors are becoming the target of remodels, as people are replacing drafty windows with energy efficient options. By focusing on energy efficiency, not only are they improving things for future generations, but they are also ensuring that their current energy bills will be lower.

Wood Flooring

Today’s homeowners are opting out of carpeting and choosing wood or laminate flooring for their homes. This is helping to improve indoor air quality for families who suffer from allergies, and it also helps improve property values. When the time comes to sell the house, potential buyers will be pleased to see lovely wood or wood-like flooring, rather than carpeting that they will want to replace or professionally clean.

Unusual Materials

For those who are planning to stay in their homes, unusual materials are becoming more and more prevalent in home improvement. Bamboo or metal cabinetry, for example, is becoming common in today’s markets. Sometimes these unusual materials can detract from a future sale, but for those with no intention to put their house on the market, they can add a touch of class and drama to your living space.

Lots of Color

White is out, and color is in! If you are thinking about painting, make sure you embrace this trend! Choose a color that you love, and add it to your home improvement plans. If it is too much for the whole room, consider an accent wall or furniture piece in a brilliant, bold color. With today’s trends, your living space does not have to be boring!… Read More

Simple Steps to a Stylish Eco-Friendly Kitchen

A kitchen is a place where you would find the maximum number of energy and water guzzling appliances. However, simply buying the most efficient appliances will not solve your problems.

If you care for the environment and want to begin the change right from your kitchen, you can follow these simple tips to have an eco friendly  water by using good tapsA lot of water is wasted because of taps that rush out water at a high pressure even when not needed. Your regular kitchen tap lets out as much as 18 litres of water every minute. You can use a high star rating (low-flow) tap and bring it down to as low as 2 litres per  recycled productsRecycled products are easily available these days.

You can use recycled materials and fittings to make your eco friendly and at the same time very unique. You can get just about anything at auction houses and salvage  for renewable materialsIf you really want to go eco friendly then you must do away with the use of old growth timber and natural stones in the kitchen. Opt for environment friendly timber like bamboo, cork or other plantation timber. If you want the marble look, you can try new cheaper and easily available materials like Marmoleum that are renewable  eco friendly materials for your kitchen decorMost adhesives and paints give out toxic compounds after they have dried up.

All these emissions can cause various respiratory problems and allergies. They even contribute to global warming to a certain extent.Now that you know this, you can choose adhesives and paints that have very few VOCs (volatile organic compounds).Insulation and LightingProper insulation is often neglected in most homes. If you want your kitchen to be eco friendly, you must ensure that it is well insulated. You would be able to keep your room cooler in summers and warmer during winter. You must ensure that you do not use a lot of fibreglass particles for insulation. As far as lighting is concerned, you must have as much natural light in your room as possible. Opt for energy saving bulbs and tubes. Your kitchen should have enough natural light to let you work without switching on any bulb or tube during  following these simple tips, you can have a functional yet eco friendly kitchen.… Read More

Is Your California Housing Development Prepared for a Fire?

It’s never pleasant to think about the possibility of a fire harming your living space, but it’s a necessary obligation when you own an apartment building or other housing property. The right preparations ensure that the structure stays safe and the belongings of your tenants remain intact. Make sure you’re taking the following steps to keep your west coast property protected against fire.

Is Your California Housing Development Prepared for a Fire?

Perform Necessary Maintenance

The alert and control systems in your building are crucial to prevent a situation from escalating. You should regularly check and maintain components like hydrants and smoke detectors. In fact, in order to be compliant with fire sprinkler certification California laws, it’s necessary to have your system inspected and serviced every five years. You should do your best to keep up with these routine checks.

Review Emergency Protocols

A lot must be done when a fire takes hold of your property. Someone may need to notify emergency services, shut down utilities or direct tenants to local relief facilities. It’s important that the employees of your complex know exactly what they are responsible for. Review safety steps they should take in the event of a fire so that each person on staff is comfortable with the procedures.

Develop an Evacuation Plan

Evacuation is necessary for the safety of tenants; have a detailed layout of emergency exits available to each resident in your building. It may be useful to provide this in both paper and electronic formats. Some buildings have automatic shutdown procedures in the event of an alarm, such as door closures and elevator operation. Make sure each person is aware of these restrictions so that evacuation is smooth and safe.

The peace of mind that comes with appropriate precautions is invaluable. You and your tenants can enjoy the living space you’ve created with the knowledge that you’re ready in case of fire.… Read More