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Home Contractors

Bathroom Remodel Tips: Creating a Relaxing Bathroom

After spending a full day working, going home to a relaxing bath or shower can do wonders at relieving tension and stress. To make the most of the peacefulness in your bathroom, take note of the following bathroom remodeling tips:
Easy on the Eyes
Your eyes are tired at the end of the way. To help calm your senses, choose simple appliances, faucets vanities and floorings. You should consider wood-toned or black cabinets that will go great with more natural type accents. For a more traditional look, choose solid colors and avoid loud patterns.
Keep It Simple
Your life is complicated. Your bathroom doesn’t need to be. Keep your bathroom areas clean and clutter free. This includes counter spaces, vanities and the edged of your shower and tub. For more space, add wall cabinets to hold some of this clutter. You can line shelving with baskets or containers if you do not want fully enclosed cabinets.
Paint Color
The color of your walls can have the greatest effect on the overall serenity of your bathroom. Regardless of how you decorate, you should go with a simple, understated, neutral wall color. That being said, neutral and earth tones work very well. Try to avoid giving your bathroom the sterile look that comes with white or off-white tones.
Strategic Lighting
Your lighting design should be carefully planned and carried out. Lighting is one of the most important aspects of a relaxing bathroom design, and should be chosen with care. If possible, utilize skylights and other natural light sources. You can also have waterproofed windows installed that can let light in while offering no visibility from the outside. When it comes to artificial light sources, choose low-light, diffused or indirect lighting for the best results.
Consider Real Plants
There are a variety of live plants that are perfect for inclusion in your bathroom, due to their ability to thrive in low light. Many ivies, African violets, bamboo and ferns often thrive in the humid conditions present in your bathroom. Instead of adding them after you are finished, consider incorporating plants into your original design so that they have a special place in your bathroom all year long.
Decoration
As a general rule of thumb, your relaxing bathroom retreat should utilize as many natural elements as possible. This means reducing the number of artificial decorations that you use. This means using a well-balanced decorating approach, with all elements from countertops to artwork working together. In most cases, less is more in this type of situation.
With a little bit of planning and help from your general contractor, you can turn your bathroom into a relaxing and highly functional space to get ready to meet your day or to relax after everything is said and done. Relaxation is important in the high energy, constantly moving world that we live in. Take some time and create your own oasis to escape to when you need a few minutes to rest.…

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General Article

Why Should You Choose a Solar Water Feature for Your Garden?

Why Should You Choose a Solar Water Feature for Your Garden?

Are you thinking about adding a water feature to your garden? Have you been thinking about going solar to save on your energy costs? These are questions that you may be asking yourself, and they have a great answer. Solar water features in a garden are something can bring you pleasure in more ways than one. Solar features do not use the electricity that electrical features do and they tend to be much easier to install than their counterparts. They also have other benefits that you may want to consider when choosing a water feature for your garden.

The Benefits of Solar Water Features

The benefits of a solar feature are not limited to less energy consumption. They are much easier to install than an electrical installation and can be less hassle. You may even be able to install a small feature that can be moved or changed to accommodate your tastes.

The solar products that are available today are much more affordable than they once were. This makes them not only attractive but affordable. It may even be cheaper to buy a solar feature than to have an electrical system installed for a water feature. It also makes them an easy weekend project for people who like DIY-type projects.

The solar water products that are on the market today may also be a lot quieter than their electrical counterparts. This makes them a more ideal solution for the water features in any garden. If you want a quiet place to sit and read a book with the pleasant sound of a waterfall; solar power may be the way to go.

Installing Your Solar Water Feature

One of the best things about your solar feature is that it can be installed in a matter of hours depending on what type of feature you want to install, but even if it is a bigger project, it will still be much easier with no electrical installation. All you will have to do is find the place and start your project.

Once you have decided on the type of feature you want to install you will be ready to start getting your hands dirty. If you are making a waterfall or pond; you will need to find the spot you want to start with and lay the liner for the water fall or pond. A waterfall should have a basin to collect the water. You can also combine a waterfall, pond, fountain, or any other features. If you are going to install lighting; you can use solar power as well, which you will find that there are many choices of lighting, which will allow you to light up your water feature at night.…

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General Article

Grounds Maintenance Contractors

Grounds Maintenance Contractors

The recognition over the years of the positive effects of attractive landscaped or tidy communal or private surroundings has increased the requirement for services provided by Grounds Maintenance Contractors. Human need for pleasant well designed outside environments across work, social and recreational areas usually means that ongoing care and up keep in majority of cases will require professional help.

This is because different environments will contain elements that only a specialist firm with correctly trained staff and professional equipment can maintain on a proper basis and are committed to consistent standards. Also, it is important that any specialist is familiar with existing legislation such as the Weed Act 1959, which stipulates where action must be taken to guard against injury from weeds such as: Ragwort, Spear, Thistle and any other weed type that is acknowledged as being able to cause harm or injury.

If you search the Internet for the term “Grounds Maintenance Contractors” you will find a multitude of companies offering services traditionally associated with customer requirements. If you are in the market for a grounds maintenance provider, it is most likely that all or some of the services listed below will fulfill your needs.

Lawn Maintenance

A competent contractor should be capable of carrying out: aeration, cutting banks, cutting form grass areas, maintaining grass edges, scarifying and applying appropriate lawn treatments.

Strimming

Often used to maintain hard to reach places. It’s important that the contractor has the correct equipment to provide a professional finish.

Maintaining Flower Beds & Shrubbery

These areas will require attention and maintenance by the use of: edging, hoeing and digging, landscaping, where and when appropriate plantings, solid pruning skills, good knowledge of weed control and if required tree surgery skills. In instances where a maintenance contractor possesses strong landscaping skills, should provide additional flexibility.

Maintain Environmental Hygiene

Different environments can present differing demands. But in the main contractors will clear leaves and litter, sweep and apply weed treatments to paths, driveways and paved areas. When required, Jet Washing or Pressure Washing can be a useful addition.

Controlling vermin

This is a specialist area and requires expert knowledge and vermin control usually involves use of poisons and other toxins as control tools and possibly other methods depending on the requirements and the offending vermin. If your requirements include this service, it’s crucial that a contractor with correct qualifications and experience is engaged to carry out the required tasks.

Conclusion

Employing Grounds Maintenance Contractors should not prove a daunting task as most environments make the requirements clear and will be covered by services from the above areas. In instances where specialist’s skills are required, it is better to bring in the specialist contractor to deal with that particular issue. Also, remember to check that firms on your shopping list are fully compliant and up to date with Health and Safety rules.

In terms of the commercials, a confident and competent contractor should be flexible on contracts, as their focus should be on customer satisfaction and service. Not tying you down to long-term contracts.

I hope the information in this article proves useful, particularly for those who are engaging with Grounds Maintenance Contractors for the first time.…

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General Article

Scented Shrubs for the Garden

Scented Shrubs for the Garden

When we think of scented plants for the garden we normally pick flowers like roses or pinks, or herbs such as lavender and rosemary. However, there are a large number of shrubs you can buy for the garden that have an array of wonderful fragrances and often have the benefit of being evergreen too. Here are just a few of my favourites for different seasons in the garden.

Winter fragrant shrubs

Perhaps the very best shrub for winter fragrance is daphne bholua. ‘Jacqueline Postill’ is evergreen with intensely fragrant flowers that are pink to purple with a white or pale pink centre. It is only semi-hardy and so may need some protection in severe weather. Azara microphylla has rather insignificant looking flowers but which have a string scent of pure vanilla. It is evergreen and likes a sheltered position on a patio or a courtyard setting. Winter box or sarcococca hookeriana again has small flowers but with a powerful fragrance. It is a fairly small, slow growing evergreen and so suited to container growing. Hamamelis or witch hazel is a lovely shrub for the winter garden with a strong uplifting scent. Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Aurora’ has yellow flowers, is a medium to large shrub and also gives a good display of autumn colour.

Spring fragrant shrubs

One of the best spring flowering shrubs grown for its scent is Viburnum x burkwoodii. Semi-evergreen it has rounded heads of fragrant, tubular pinkish/white blooms from late winter to late Spring. Skimmia x confuse ‘Kew Green’ is a compact, rounded evergreen shrub with glossy leaves and fragrant cream flowers in spring. Magnolia grandiflora is a large evergreen shrub or small tree with huge highly scented cup shaped blooms during the spring. Perhaps more suited to a large garden. Ribes ‘Pulborough Scarlet’ has pendant deep red flowers amongst aromatic dark green leaves in spring. Lilac or Syringa ‘Charles Joly’ has highly scented purple/red blooms in late spring.

Summer scented shrubs

Buddleia is a wonderful shrub for the garden. Not only are the tubular flower heads highly fragrant, they are also very attractive to butterflies, hence the common name ‘butterfly bush’. ‘White Profusion’ has sprays of white flowers that are produced throughout the summer, especially if regularly de-headed. Choisya or Mexican orange blossom has both scented flowers and leaves. ‘Sundance’ has yellow scented leaves and white flowers. It is best grown in the shelter of a wall, away from strong winds. Sambucus racemosa ‘Black Lace’ has black, feathery pungent leaves with creamy pink blooms in early summer. This shrub is stunning at the back of a perennial border.

Climbing fragrant shrubs

Lonicera or honeysuckle is a popular climbing shrub with highly perfumed flowers during summer. Almost as popular is jasmine with its tiny white or pink flowers and delicate scent, perfect for a sunny sheltered spot. Clematis armandii ‘Apple Blossom’ is an evergreen climber that flowers in early summer and has fragrant white flowers. Lastly, no summer cottage garden would be complete without the scent of a climbing rose. Rosa fruhlingsduft is a tough climbing rose with highly perfumed blooms of pale pink. Grow it in large garden planters placed in the middle of your herbaceous border or against a sunny wall.…

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General Article

Growing Orchids Thai Style

Growing Orchids Thai Style

Orchids have the reputation of being difficult to grow in the West. Gardeners shy away from attempting to grow them because they think that they are a problem to grow and because they are expensive. This is easily understood, but there is more to the story than that. The fact is that most countries have their own native orchid species, so it is not that difficult to grow orchids wherever you live, if you pick the right species.

The other side of the coin is that what most gardeners in the West think of as orchids are orchids from exotic countries and they can be a problem to grow. I say a problem to grow, but that is not the whole story either. If you can make an environment equivalent to where the orchids come from, it need not be difficult at all.

A lot of the spectacular orchids are parasites, like mistletoe is a parasite plant in the temperate countries of the West. These orchids frequently grow on trees. In trees and on trees, that is. So, their natural environment is to be attached to the bark of a living tree or to get lodged in the fork of a branch.

The orchid will then draw its nutrients and water from the inside of its host much in the same manner as does a flea or a bed bug. Another thing to become aware of is that if a plant lives under the canopy of a tree, it rarely, if ever, experiences direct sunlight. Wooded regions are also pretty humid. It is also worth mentioning that exotic plants normally come from warm or hot countries.

Therefore, if you can reconstruct these conditions of providing warmth, humidity and a host, growing exotic orchids should not become that much of difficulty. And in truth, it is not, although in the West it may necessitate a greenhouse.

Thailand is home to many parasitic orchids, most of which grow on trees in the forests, which are warm to hot and humid, but most Thais do not live in those conditions. Most Thais live in either open villages or cities where conditions are not favorable to growing jungle orchid varieties. However, most Thai gardeners do not need or even have greenhouses.

Instead, if a Thai gardener is interested in nurturing jungle orchid species, he or she will buy (or acquire) the root complex of a dead tree which also has a tree stump of, say, a metre attached. They will then move this tree stump in to a very shady place, say, under a canopy and grow their wild jungle orchids on that.

How is that done?, you may ask. Well, it is actually simplicity itself. First you acquire a sample of the orchid and then you affix it to the stump with a ‘strap’ of something that will both allow the plant to grow and to breathe. Most Thais use some of the fibres from inside a coconut.

The gardener will strap the baby orchid to the stump using the coconut matting as a band-aid with either staples or small nails. By the time the orchid has buried its roots into the host, the matting will have rotted away, as will almost certainly the staples.

The only thing left to do is to keep the tree and the infant flower well watered so that it can suck the remaining nutrients out of the dead tree. They will flourish for many years under these conditions and the tree stump will be a living flower pot, of sorts.…

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General Article

Ceramic Garden Stool

Ceramic Garden Stool

Add a Touch of Sophistication to Your Patio

These cute little barrel shaped garden stools are an excellent way to add to your comfort in the garden. Although they are known as stools, they make lovely coffee and drinks tables as well. They’re perfect for when you’re having a glass of wine in the evening with friends on the patio and big enough to hold a couple of plates of dainty sandwiches or cakes, if you like to take afternoon tea outside in the fresh air on a warm day.

There is an amazing selection for you to choose from: there are round, square and hexagonal shapes and every color or design that you can think of from vibrant greens, dark sophisticated Chinese red, deep midnight blue, ones decorated with a blue and white Chinese dragon motif, zebra pattern and even ultra modern silver finished ceramic garden stool models as well as many other attractive colors and patterns.

A good place to start if you are planning to buy a ceramic garden stool is on the internet, because thirty minutes spent in the comfort of your home admiring the many types of ceramic garden stool, will give you a much better idea of the sort of color and pattern that would best fit in with your home d?�cor. I always say that if you do your window shopping at home on the computer, you can save yourself hours of dragging around from store to store and ending up too tired to care what you buy.

You only have to type in the words ceramic garden stool into the search engine and you would be amazed at how many stores there are online offering some lovely ceramic, porcelain and pottery garden furniture and cute decorations like garden gnomes, frogs and other animal models. Terracotta pottery plant pots filled with pink and white petunias or salmon pink bizzy lizzy make such an appealing border dividing your patio ‘outdoor room’ from the rest of the garden.

When I’ve been out in the garden doing a bit of weeding or dead-heading the flowers, I like to take a break by bringing out a cup of coffee and a plate of cookies, which I place on my ceramic garden stool. Then I settle down comfortably in my chair beside it and enjoy the feel of the sun on my skin. I’m always surprised by the many uses that ceramics can be put to and I guess it’s the durability and attractive surface of porcelain and ceramic that has made ceramic floor tiles and wall tiles such an enduring part of everybody’s dream home, inside and out.

I’ve always like the feeling of warmth and sunny skies that I get on a patio with a terracotta colored ceramic floor tile. I remember visiting Spain one summer and the decorative ceramic tiles that you see everywhere in the bars and in people’s homes had the most wonderful geometric patterns on them. Especially in the parts of Spain that were occupied by the Moors hundreds of years ago. The Moors were finally expelled but the ceramics that they left behind them have remained popular and they really are so pretty. I don’t remember seeing any types of ceramic garden stool there, but it’s a fashion that’s certainly doing well in the U.S.…

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Kitchen Renovation

Healthy Home Environment

We spend most of our lives at home. This is the place where we sleep, eat, relax, work, meat with friends, spend time with our families. And we want this place to be safe and comfortable for us in every respect. There are several attributes of a healthy home, and you need to pay attention to each one of them if you want to maintain proper environment for you and your family.
Most women think that if they want to maintain a healthy home environment, regular cleaning is all they need to do. But this is only half the story. There are many more aspects that you have to be aware of, otherwise they will cause really unwanted consequences.
So, here is the picture of a perfect home: clean and organized, dry, pest-free, ventilated, free of toxins. These features are really important, and their proper treatment is crucial for your health, both physical and mental.
Clean. This aspect is pretty obvious. You can’t speak of a healthy environment in a dirty house. Keeping your house clean and organized should be an essential part of your everyday routine. Yes, organization is extremely important as well, especially for mental health. Researches show that people living in poorly organized homes more often suffer from stresses, frustration, anxiety, mood swings and other mental problems.
Dry. Excess moisture creates great conditions for growing and spreading of mold, which destroys not only your house, but your health as well. Mold spores can cause strong allergic reaction, asthma attacks and other respiratory problems. Besides, wet surfaces are perfect for bacteria, viruses and insects.
Pest-free. Cockroaches, lice, dust mites, bed bugs and other home insects can spread dangerous diseases, cause allergies, skin conditions and irritations, weaken your immunity. This is why proper pest control is also crucial for creating a comfortable and safe home.
Ventilated. According to researches, indoor air in some modern houses may become more harmful and polluted than outdoor air in the biggest industrial cities. Excess CO2, dust, viruses, our skin and hair particles, evaporations from furniture surface and construction materials, emitted toxins, smoke – all this creates an awful mixture that is simply not appropriate for breathing. But the problem is that we are all so accustomed to it that we don’t even notice that. This is why it’s important to make sure that you breathe clean and fresh air at home: regularly ventilate every room, especially bedrooms, purchase an air conditioner and purifier.
Toxin free. In modern world, toxins are literally everywhere. Harmful chemicals are in the air, water, food, furniture, carpets, clothes, toys. But we want to make sure our environment is as toxin free as possible. With this in mind, prefer high-quality, expensive, natural materials for your house, don’t overuse detergents and household chemicals or even learn how to make your own natural cleaning solutions, avoid purchasing plastic and rubber items with a strong smell, buy natural cosmetics and personal care products, avoid synthetic fabrics, especially for your underwear, sleepwear and bed linen. In your diet, prefer organic ingredients, avoid highly processed and instant foods, drink bottled or filtered water.…