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General Article

Garden Route Travel Options

Garden Route Travel Options

Few coastal stretches in the world can claim the beauty of the Garden Route, so named for its lush, green, indigenous forests, golden beaches and rushing rivers. An abundance of bird species and wildlife can be found here and the area’s pristine beaches, lapped by azure waters, are home to seals, dolphins and whales (the latter from June to October to calve in the warm Indian Ocean).

Occupying a slender coastal plane from the Gouritz River near Mossel Bay in the west to the Storms River mouth east of Plettenberg Bay, the Garden Route meanders for 350km along the N2, its main arterial road.

While often compared to the Lake District in England, the Garden Route’s climate is considerably more temperate. Summer temperatures average 27 Celsius and the winter average is 14 Celsius in the daytime. The region’s Mediterranean climate and natural splendour are complemented by excellent amenities catering for the most diverse and discerning of travellers.

Nature lovers will be in the their element. Hikes along the craggy coastline takes you through pristine forests and remote beaches with shimmering rock pools and waterfalls along the way. The popular Otter Trail is a five day hike that follows the coastline from Storms River Mouth to Nature’s Valley in the Tsitsikamma National Park. It’s essential to book well in advance as places are limited.

If hiking is not for you, there are many other ways to experience the natural splendour of the Garden Route from horseriding in the Plettenberg Bay mountainside to paddling canoes around the Robberg peninsula. More sedentary options include packaged safaris offered by a variety of game lodges and dolphin and whale watching boat trips.

Needless to say, the Garden Route offers something for everyone and its accommodation is equally varied. Whether its a wooden tree house in indigenous forest, surrounded by monkeys and bird life, a rustic beach house, or a sunny penthouse suite, you’ll find what you are looking for and so much more.

A popular option to see the Garden Route is to hire a car in Cape Town and drive up the coast, stopping at charming seaside towns along the way.…

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General Article

Top Tips for the Maintenance of a Perfect Lawn

Top Tips for the Maintenance of a Perfect Lawn

Following the basic steps below can improve a lawns health. For those who prefer to maintain the lawn themselves rather than hiring garden maintenance services, these steps are easy to follow for a perfect lawn all of the time.

1.) Fertilizing: A well balanced diet of fertilizer can promote the health of any lawn. The experts recommend fertilizing the lawn four times a year; in the spring, summer, fall and then again, just after the first frost. Those who live in hot climates should not fertilize in the summer. Too much fertilizer can easily kill the grass because the soil becomes sterile. Grass will not grow if the lawn is over-fertilized. Be sure to follow the directions carefully to avoid over-fertilizing.

2.) Watering: Over-watering the lawn can easily cause more damage than under-watering. The best time to water grass is early in the morning, never after dusk. Mould can grow on the soil if it isn’t allowed to dry before night time. Watering in the hot sun can burn the grass and diseases can grow on soil that is watered at night. For those who don’t know how to measure how much water the grass is getting, purchase a rain gauge. A lawn only needs 1 to 1 1/2 inches of water each week.

3.) Mowing: Grass should not be cut any shorter than 2 to 3 inches, always being sure you lawn mowers blade is sharp. To avoid burning, especially in the heat of the summer, keep the grass within this range. It is tempting to cut the grass shorter to cut down on mowing but it also may destroy the grass. To prevent suffocating the soil it is best not to cut the grass when it is wet. The soil needs to be able to breathe, plus it will keep your mower blade sharper for a longer time.

4.) Herbicides: For a lawn that is full of weeds and bare spots an herbicide may be needed. To kill just a few weeds a dandelion tool can be used. A tool with a forked end can easily pull weeds from the lawn. A small tank sprayer may also be used to kill weeds or pests that cause bare spots in the lawn. When purchasing an herbicide read the directions carefully before applying. Spot spraying is best rather than spraying the entire lawn unless professional garden maintenance services are used.

By following these few simple steps a beautiful lawn can be maintained quite easily. Mowing, fertilizing, watering and spraying techniques and instructions can be found in any lawn and garden store.…

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Renovation Contractor

Basic Home Maintenance Tips

Home maintenance is an inevitable part of real estate property ownership so be sure that you do everything to care for it.
Disasters and emergencies can occur anytime, therefore, planning ahead and being prepared can make a big difference. Being ready whether you are facing a problem this time or not can save you time and money and may even keep you away from disaster. Make sure that your home stays comfortable and safe for your family.
It is always important to get familiar with preventative maintenance for your every day household needs, like electricity and plumbing.
You could spend few minutes of your time to do preventative maintenance but it can certainly keep your family safe from any disaster and can trim down costly repairs in the future. This can also help you avoid repairs and can lessen energy consumption.
Toilet repairs are often easy because they are usually quite urgent. To check if your toilet is leaking, you can pour a small amount of red food coloring to the tank, and check it again later. If the water turned red, you may need to change some tank parts. Another problem that requires repair is a toilet that runs. Once water runs continuously from the tank into the bowl, it makes a hissing sound that wastes lots of gallons of water each day. This can be caused by variety of problems.
If you doubt about you house wiring, get a qualified electrician for a complete inspection and to check if your house wiring needs replacing. It is essential that when dealing with electrical issues, safety must be your top priority.
For your exterior, Roofing should be inspected for damage and tree branches must not touch your roof surface. Gutters should also be checked if there is any leakage or blockage.
Walls are also needed to be checked if there are any cracks and deterioration.
Keep in mind that every item marked as safety issues or priorities on your home inspection report require immediate attention.…

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Basement Remodeling

Why You Should Choose A Full Service Contractor Before Your Architect

The basic rule of thumb is if your project costs more than 5% of the value of your house, or if you are making structural changes to the interior or exterior of your home, or if you are making significant changes to the floor plan of your home, you need an architect for your project.
This is the part of the project where the design build approach will add significant value and save you a lot of money over the life of your project. Its best to find a contractor that will work with the architects and have long term relationships with many very good architects. This can get you better pricing for their services for your project than you can by contacting them directly. They will pass that savings on to you.
Once you select the architect you want to use for your project, the contractor will work with them throughout the design process to make sure they are designing a project that fits into your budget. We cannot understate how important this is for the success of your project and we have seen many projects never get off the ground because this step was not followed. Your architect is not paid to tell you no. If you tell him you want something, he assumes you can afford it. The time to determine how much your project is going to cost is during design, not after design is complete.
Once the architect finishes the design it is time to pull permits and build your dream. Proper planning and constant communication are the keys to success.
Before the work is started, you should sit down with the contractor and have a project kickoff meeting. At this meeting you will go over the construction estimate with you in detail as well as present you with a construction schedule so you can make plans to minimize the effect of the project on your day to day life. You will also be provided with a list of items you need to select, the budget for those items (with the contractor discount), and the schedule of when those items need to be selected to meet the construction schedule.
Once we begin construction we will communicate with you about the status of the project however often you like, but we recommend status meetings weekly at a minimum. If something comes up of major importance we will contact you immediately. We will never proceed with work that is different than the original estimate before we have approval from you in writing.…

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General Article

Divine Providence, RI: Turn Over a New Leaf by Tending Your Own Community Garden Plot

Divine Providence, RI: Turn Over a New Leaf by Tending Your Own Community Garden Plot

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, 15 per cent of the world’s food is grown in urban areas comprised of backyards, self-contained pots on roof-tops and balconies, and community garden plots spread over slopes, river banks, or vacant land which otherwise would be unproductive. Rhode Island’s own capital city of Providence has a plethora of divine, fruit-of-the-vine, communal gardens:

Amherst Street – 125 Amherst St.

Burnett Street – Burnett and Bucklin

Chapin Street – Chapin and Sycamore St.

City Farm – West Clifford St.

Communal Garden – 219 Pearl St.

Dexter Street – 564 Dexter St.

Early Street – Early and Niagara St.

Feinstein High School – 544 Elmwood Ave.

Fertile Undergound Glenham Street- 31 Glenham St.

Fox Point – Gano and Power St.

Grove Street – 111 Grove St.

Manton Avenue – Manton Ave. and Pope St.

Mt. Hope – 65 Knowles St.

Mystic Miner – 112 Miner St.

Peace and Plenty – 89 Peace St.

Potters Avenue Park and Garden – 179 Potters Ave.

Prairie North – 468 Prairie Ave. St.

Riverside Park – Aleppo and Pelham St.

Sessions Street – 160 Sessions St.

Somerset – 85 Somerset St.

West End – Bridgham and Westminster St.

Wilson East and Wilson West – Wilson and Gilmore St.

Urban Environmental Lab – 135 Angell St.

Statistics cite the capital city’s South and West side neighborhoods as having high unemployment rates with low median household incomes. Also noted is the loss of full service grocery stores in these areas, leaving corner stores with limited fruit and vegetable selections for healthy eating. The Community Gardens Network Initiative made up of volunteers offers training programs in growing sustenance, facilitates city-wide coordination of tool banks, bulk purchases, composting, and fund raising activities. During these tough economic times, the community gardens provide a significant amount of food with less of a strain on household food budgets.

Community gardens are not solely for low income residents in the Providence metropolis. Apartment dwellers without a plot of land to plant may take advantage by renting a slice-of-heaven haven. For instance, Fox Point Garden was founded in 2006 on Providence city property as part of a bond initiative. There are 100 plots with yearly dues of $25 for one. There are common work days to help maintain the garden, several potluck dinners throughout the growing season, and an annual fundraiser. The organization conducts several gardening workshops on subjects such as: seed starting, vegetable garden planning, collecting rainwater, alternatives to Miracle Gro, how to tap maple trees, composting, cooking demonstrations, and seed swaps. Planting in Rhode Island begins as early as the first of April for the likes of: broccoli, kale, lettuce, parsley, onion, and potatoes. Generally, other vegetables are planted late April to mid-June. Hoe, hoe, hoe-it’s time to sow!

Wherever you choose to sow a row in divine Providence, ye shall reap much with a harvest of plenty by forging a connection with the earth. The quality of life improves for every participant working communal farmland through the benefits of physical exercise, eating nutritious and tasty produce without chemicals, and fostering a cooperative spirit among gardeners for a common cause. Saving money at the supermarket is yet another dividend from working fertile ground.

Just as the individual gardener reaps what he sows, the planet also benefits from community gardens. High density development of the land improves air quality, while reducing noise and air pollution. Gardening beautifies and utilizes vacant land that would otherwise have gone to waste. Soil erosion is prevented through a network of roots which take hold.

Come spring, don’t be a couch potato. Gather a few gardening tools and tend your own community garden plot. Mind your peas and watch your urban garden grow. Cultivate a sense of pride, stemming from working the land in divine Providence.…

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Basement Remodeling

In Need Of A Professional Handyman?

A truly efficient handyman is a go-to-guy whom we often need to fix seemingly simple household repairs. The handyman service is quite popular in a place like Austin which has a varied, eclectic population. If you’re in Austin and need the assistance of a handyman then you have no need to worry. There is an Austin handyman who will extend professional help and will be right for your needs. There are many reputed handyman service providers that can be sourced online.
Austin offers you both licensed and none licensed handymen who can provide you a range of services. Licensed handymen can provide you with services like plumbing, gas and electrical system problems. There are a variety of other services that are offered by the handyman in Austin; these services include small-sized construction projects, maintenance of gardens and painting houses. The construction-projects undertaken by the handyman range from small to large scale projects like remodeling your home. The small scale projects range from repairing your floors and changing wall paper to remodeling your bathroom. If the problem is larger in nature than the scope of a handyman, they can get you in contact with professional service providers who specialized in your needs. The handyman can take excellent care of your garden and make it bloom like a professional gardener. The services provided by handymen in Austin may also include house-sitting.
If you want to avoid the costly insurance cover for services provided by a handyman then you should look for a licensed handyman, it being much easier to find an insurance coverage that covers any accidental damages caused during work. A licensed handyman is cheaper to insure as well. So far as payments are concerned, the payment modes differ from one handyman to another. While some handymen are available on hourly basis, others prefer to charge on contract basis for larger projects like floor repair or garden services. The internet is one of the most potent sources of handyman services in Austin but local directories are equally helpful. They register many individual handymen who offer quality services.…

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General Article

Gazebo Canopy or Real Gazebo: What’s the Difference?

Gazebo Canopy or Real Gazebo: What’s the Difference?

Gazebo and gazebo canopy are often referred to as the same thing but in reality, are very different structures. They both provide shade and protection from the elements but their size, strength and construction are very different. Let’s compare these two to see some of the differences.

A gazebo canopy is very similar to a shade canopy or garden canopy. These are all simple structures with four metal posts for legs and fabric canopy tops. They are very versatile and portable due to their lightweight design and simple construction. Some of the fancier ones have more complex legs and valances which give them a gazebo type look which may account for some of the confusion.

These canopies are perfect for backyards, parks or other outdoor functions that require lots of time in the sun. Their portable shade is a welcome relief. They come in many different styles and colors to match any backyard or patio decor. They are usually quick to setup and take down which makes them perfect for parties, bar-b-ques, picnics or wherever you need portable shade.

Some varieties are referred to as pop up gazebos as the fabric top is already attached to the poles allowing for quick and easy setup. Other designs can be semi-permanently mounted and left up for the whole summer. You’ll need to be careful here as high winds and other violent weather can easily rip or tear the canopy top. Replacing a canopy top is fairly common and many stores carry the gazebo replacement covers.

Real gazebos are usually larger and more sturdy. They are most often permanent structures and can be found in parks and other public gathering areas as well as backyards. They are usually made of wood or vinyl and built to withstand the weather. They are often mounted on cement pads to insure a solid and level anchor to the ground.

Gazebos come in many different shapes although the octagon and oval are the most common. They can also be built small for residential backyards or very large for outdoor public parks or as a centerpiece in a town square.

They are enclosed by waist high railings but always open for plenty of fresh air. They can be screened if for bug protection if that’s a problem in your area. Real gazebos will often have a cupola on the top which adds to their attractive design and gives them that distinctive gazebo look.

You can see that a gazebo is quite different from a gazebo canopy. Both structures provide shade and can enhance your backyard although a real gazebo will cost more and require a more permanent place to be erected. A gazebo canopy, on the other hand, is very versatile and great for trips the park, beach or perhaps a booth at the local art fair. Either way, the word gazebo brings to mind a stylish and attractive structure that is sure to enhance any backyard or landscaping project.…