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General Article

Butterfly Garden Basics

Butterfly Garden Basics

In order to build a great butterfly garden you need to understand a few basic requirements. The first requirement is to plant your garden with plants that will attract butterflies. I know this sounds simple but it is important. In building a butterfly garden you need to concentrate on two different types of plants. You have your nectar plants which attract the butterflies to your garden in the first place to feed. Then you have your host plants which is what butterflies lay their eggs on and what feeds the caterpillars that will turn into new butterflies. Lets take a look at both.

Nectar plants are what the butterflies will be attracted to in the first place they like flowers with the colors red, orange, yellow, and purple. You goal will to be to plant flowers that will bloom from early spring into the fall so that will mean different plants that overlap in bloom times. Always try and plant in large splashes of color rather than in little scattered pockets, it is much easier for butterflies to see large splashes of color when hunting for food. You should try and avoid big show flowers because they are bread for their size but usually are poor nectar sources. As you are developing your garden you may find that some of the plants that are recommended do no appeal to the butterflies that visit. There is nothing wrong with that but you should take note of the ones they visit most and then plant more of those next season.

Once you have attracted the butterflies to your garden you will want to keep them coming back and the way to do this is to plant host plants. These are plants that the butterfly larva which are caterpillars will eat. You will have to understand though that these plants purpose is to have their selves all eaten up in order to feed the caterpillars and therefore will not be attractive looking. Planting them amongst other plants that will shield them from view will help camouflage them a bit. Again certain plants are required if you want a particular variety of butterfly to lay eggs. A good example is you will only get monarch larvae if your have milkweed growing in your garden. That is the only plant that these caterpillars eat.

The best way to determine what plants are best for your butterfly garden is by observing what plants are planted that attract butterflies in your neighbors yard, local parks, and botanical gardens. You can also contact your local cooperative extension service they will be happy to provide the information for your region. Once you have a viable butterfly garden I think you will spend a lot of afternoons out there enjoying these beautiful and graceful creatures as they flutter from flower to flower. If you are wearing bright colors you may even find a few that want to come over and land on you.…

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Kitchen Renovation

Types of Home Repair Every Homeowner Should Be Aware Of

Many responsibilities come with be a homeowner. Not only are you financially responsible to support your home but you’re also responsible for the upkeep, aesthetics and overall maintenance of every aspect of your home, its structure and your yard.
Unexpected problems can cause significant stress – especially if you’re already struggling to make ends meet. When it comes to owning a home, there are 4 areas of home repair every homeowner should be aware of. If something breaks, you should have knowledge on the subject so you can take appropriate precautions to fix the problem.
Below are 4 areas of home repair every homeowner should become abreast of:
Plumbing Repairs. Plumbing problems can be some of the most expensive things to fix – especially if you don’t know a professional plumber who can help fix your problem for free. Plumbing repairs include anything from pipe leaks to toilets that won’t flush to sinks that won’t drain.
Electrical Repairs. Electrical repairs can be costly, depending on the specific problem. If you’ve encountered a small problem with broken appliances, it might not be as big of a deal as it would be if you’re experiencing difficulties with the electrical wiring of your home. Talk to a professional about what the problem is and the best steps to take to fix it.
Heating Repairs. Every homeowner has probably faced heating problems in the home. Whether you’re dealing with furnace problems or fireplace problems, heating challenges are important issues to address – especially for individuals and families in colder climates. Likewise, air conditioning problems should be addressed immediately for homeowners living in warmer climates.
Window Repair. Window repair can also be costly, depending on the extent of the damage. If you’re simply repairing one or two windows in your home, overall costs should be minimal (under a few hundred dollars). On the other hand, if you have to replace all of the windows in your home, it can end up costing you a lot more (we’re talking thousands). It’s important to make sure your windows are in good condition and functional – especially if you plan to resell your home in the future.
It’s hard to predict what’s going to happen in your home. If you’re fortunate enough to live in the same home for years without having to make any major repairs then you’re extremely lucky. If we could leave you with a piece of advice, it would be this: If something is broke, don’t fix it. But if something is broke, fix it as soon as possible. Waiting will only make things worse and will end up costing you more money in the end.
We hope our tips have helped!…

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Remodeling Contractors

Custom Kitchen Remodeling – 3 Reasons You May Want to Custom Kitchen Remodel

Why might you want to custom kitchen remodel? There’s lots of valid motives for doing so. The reason that most people do not seriously consider it is usually inertia. Scarcity of good info is sometimes the reason. At other times fear of the unknown is the cause. Sometimes it comes down to not knowing how. Still other times it may be just being unaware of the possibility of doing it or of the potential benefits.
The key here is knowing enough about it. Let’s get some more info. Let’s look at the three most important reasons that influenced others to custom kitchen remodel.
Reason Number 1, you have full control over your remodeling. You make a valid point when you point out that this takes more time and energy. I concede your point, but the ability to control everything will mean that you should like your new kitchen a lot more than you would if you hired someone to remodel it for you.
Second, you can choose energy efficient appliances. Plus, you get to choose appliances with all the functions you want. And this should pay for itself in the long run with the amount of energy you will be saving.
Third and last, you will get the most bang for your buck. This will most likely mean that you will shop around looking for the best prices so you should be able to shave off a lot of the costs involved in remodeling a kitchen. And again, you will get everything that you wanted at a much more reasonable price!
Consider those three reasons, evaluate them, think about them. When you think about it, you can see that there are compelling reasons to consider trying to custom kitchen remodel. Do they really apply to you also?
Seriously now, just think about it for a moment. Don’t those reasons apply to you? Perhaps you really should custom kitchen remodel.…

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Home Improvement Contractors

Home Repair and Maintenance Using Software

Owning a home can be costly – especially if the home is older and requires a large amount of repair work. Luckily, basic repairs and home maintenance can easily be performed by the home owner with just a little bit of know-how, the correct tools and some time.
It is important to recognize the difference between home repairs and maintenance. Home repairs are just that: things that need to be fixed. Leaky faucets, broken floor tiles and inoperative door locks are perfect examples of repair work. Maintenance is slightly different. It is the things we do around the home to keep everything in working order. Oiling hinges, cleaning gutters and waxing floors are all examples of maintenance.
If home maintenance is the all about routines and schedules, home repairs can, with a little bit of forethought, be about creativity and a chance to do something new with your home. For example, a shower that needs recaulking is a perfect opportunity to redesign your bathroom while broken cabinet doors can be looked at as an opportunity to redecorate the kitchen. It all comes down to money.
Designing and laying out a remodel or redecoration of a kitchen or bathroom can ensure your ‘repair’ doesn’t cost you an arm and a leg. Specialized software is designed to help you choose materials, styles and even help estimate costs – all helping keep you on track and on budget.
This software is easy to use and gives the user access to hundreds of paint colors, three dimensional representations of cabinets and even offers flooring options. By spending a bit of time looking at your options, you may determine that a repair can easily turn into a minor remodel, adding not just functionality and beauty to your home, but value as well.
In today’s economy, it just makes sense to do as much of your home maintenance and repair work yourself and designing a remodel is no different. Utilize design software to determine options, work out a budget and keep yourself on track. If you find a particular ‘redo’ is too costly right now, you can easily work on the changes one at a time or simply save your design for a later date. Turning a home repair into a chance to change the way your home looks and functions is an opportunity that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Always remember that the time you spend maintaining your home is time well spent. It could very well prevent a costly repair down the line. Simple repairs like a leaky faucet can be fixed in no time at all – even by the inexperienced. Larger repairs or exciting home renovations take more time and know-how, but can easily be managed by using software designed to help you plan your project out. Home repair and maintenance is an important part of home ownership and it is vital that each homeowner takes the time to take care of business and not be afraid of making changes!…

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General Article

Gardening – Where You Can Get Free Mulch

Gardening – Where You Can Get Free Mulch

If you are an avid gardener, you no doubt know the importance of mulching for growing a healthy garden. However, you may not know all your options when it comes to mulching.

There are many types of resources you can use as free mulch. These include your lawn clippings as well as prunings from your shrubberies and bushes to keep your garden healthy.

A New Use For Your Grass Clippings

People tend to remove all the extra clippings of grass left on their lawns when finished mowing. This is understandable since dying grass clippings are not exactly aesthetically pleasing.

However, rather than raking up the clippings, spread them out on your lawn to help promote its health. Mulching lawn mowers are great for this. Leaving some of the grass clipping on your lawn will help your lawn hold in the right amount of water and inhibit the growth of weeds.

Additionally, when leaving the clippings on the lawn, you won’t need to water it as much, making general lawn care (and your water bill!) much easier. You simply need to make sure your lawn is not getting overexposure to water since that will actually kill it. (Think “drowning victim.”)

You can also use excess lawn clippings to help fertilize your garden, keeping it healthy by placing a layer of grass clippings above the soil and around the plants.

The best things about grass clippings are that they are free and flexible for use, while saving your energy since you won’t need to bag it up for the trash.

Use the Branches Left From Pruning

When you prune your trees and bushes, you will likely wind up with a large pile of branches and twigs – so what do you do with those. You can – as I have done – toss them into a large pile that after a while starts to look like a hut and burn them when your local laws permit. (I often wondered what creatures took up residence in there…)

Or alternatively, rather than simply eliminating them, you might find a more productive use for your branches. Turn them into mulch for your garden.

To accomplish this, you can rent a wood chipper to create your own mulch out of the branches – though be very (very!) careful using it. You will want to wait until you have a large number of branches to make the one-day cost of renting the chipping machine worthwhile.

Creating mulch with your lawn and garden wastes is an eco-friendly means of saving money on your landscaping while improving the overall look of your lawn. It is a little more work than simply purchasing mulch from a store, but well worth the effort.…

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Renovation Contractor

How to Determine Your Bathroom Remodeling Cost

The bathroom is one of the first places homeowners want to remodel, but determining your bathroom remodel cost can be easier said than done. Up until relatively recently, the bathroom was a place people were more likely to sneak off to or get in and out as quickly as possible, but today’s modern bathrooms are places of luxury and relaxation, even in modest or small bathrooms. This has led to the bathroom being the top choice for modification and upgrades, but there are other reasons homeowners are turning to bathroom remodeling, including the high potential return on investment, the low comparative cost for the remodel and the level of enjoyment and appreciation a good bathroom design will offer. Talk with a bathroom remodeling and design professional early on in your planning stage and take advantage of in-person advice to create your perfect bathroom remodel.
The right bathroom remodel cost and benefit for you
A quick search on the internet will show you that estimated bathroom remodel costs can vary widely, usually from a low of $4,000 to a high of $15,000, which is a huge variance. There are so many factors that contribute to the cost of any remodel that it’s impossible to get an accurate estimate, or even a close ballpark at times, without a detailed list of desired materials and a personal consultation. For example, a small guest bathroom could cost just a few thousand dollars to replace the floor, vanity, countertop and lighting with most of the work done yourself, or you could end up spending several thousand dollars on granite, custom designs and expanding the size of the bathroom into an adjoining closet. While labor plays a huge part in determining your bathroom remodeling cost, so do the materials you want, making a bit of compromise likely if not absolutely necessary. It’s also important to take into consideration the time involved with your ideal bathroom remodel, which will help determine your cost versus benefit ratio.
Budget bathroom remodeling
Because bathrooms are the smallest room in the house the cost of a remodel will be much less than one for a kitchen or master bedroom, but because the bathroom is the second most frequented room in the house the need for a good layout and design is crucial. These two factors contribute to the reason bathroom remodels recover nearly all of the cost when the home is sold. Doing much of the work yourself is a great way to get even more value out of your bathroom remodel and keep costs down, and most homeowners can do the demolition themselves and buy their own materials from discount shops to better control their bathroom remodeling costs. Understand, however, that this method requires a good amount of foresight, planning and education, and if your time is very valuable (like if you have young children or only one day a week free) it might be worth the time and frustration to hire a general contractor and have it done quickly and correctly.
Design your perfect bathroom on any budget
Think about what is most important to you in a bathroom remodel: imagine your most perfect design as if the cost was unimportant, and go from there. If you’ve always dreamed of having a jet bathtub it’s OK to splurge a little and save on the less demanding areas. By knowing what you want ahead of time, and having a list of must-haves and a list of areas you can compromise on, you’ll be able to better budget your bathroom remodel and save yourself from potential heartbreak after realizing you can’t afford a material you’ve fallen in love with. Talking with a professional at this point can be highly beneficial because you’ll learn where you should be spending a little extra and where you should be saving. Don’t skimp on the necessities of your bathroom or you’ll end up not enjoying the finished product and not getting a decent return on your investment. For example, get a great low-flow toilet that won’t give you any hassle or frustration down the road, and the extra money you spend will be recovered in your water bill.
It’s good to know that many modifications that seem like luxurious upgrades can actually help you save money in the long run, such as installing radiant floor heating and environmentally friendly faucets and fixtures. Even if green bathroom remodeling isn’t high on your list of priorities, it’s something that should be considered, especially if you might sell your home in the future, as buyers are increasingly looking for eco friendly products and conveniences. The good news here is that although some green bathroom materials are slightly more expensive than their traditional counterparts, the majority cost about the same and most will contribute to overall household savings.…

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Home Maintenance

Great Ideas for a Successful Bathroom Remodel

Remodeling your bathroom can be just the thing your home needs. A bathroom remodel can brighten your home, improve its resell value, or just provide you with that extra bit of comfort and convenience you need. Of course, not all of us are contractors or plumbers. Where to begin? Here are a few tips to consider when undertaking a bathroom remodeling project:
Plan ahead – A remodel is not something you want to get done flying by the seat of your pants. Yes, be creative in the execution, but make sure you have a carefully constructed plan going in. Mistakes can be very expensive and very time-consuming.
Know your budget inside and out – Have a very good idea of just how much you can spend on a project, and try to stick with it. Costs can pile up quickly, so make sure that you have a ‘big picture’ idea of the costs involved and just how much wiggle room you can afford.
Repair, if you can – Not everything needs to be replaced! Find value where you can and repair fixtures and elements that will work within your new plan and design, instead of replacing them entirely. Work with what you have, if possible.
Ask for help – There’s no reason to go it alone. Get advice from contractors, plumbers or even the guy or gal at your favorite hardware store. It could help you avoid costly mistakes and even provide you with some ideas that hadn’t occurred to you.
Small changes can make a big difference – Sometimes small aesthetic tweaks can really brighten a space and make it feel like a whole new room. Concentrate on the small details like drawer pulls, faucets, etc. Creating a cohesive look across these elements can pull the bathroom together and give it a polished, professional look.
Build to code – If you are doing any serious structural changes to your bathroom, make sure that you are staying within your local/county regulations. Not building to code can leave you with a very costly second remodel down the road and strip away all the value you thought you were building into your home with the remodel.
Let there be light – Don’t stick with the old light bulb over the sink routine. Your bathroom is where you groom, right, so don’t you think you should have as much visibility as possible? Consider supplementing your existing lighting with additional fixtures, recesses, etc.…