Building A Raised Bed Garden

April 15th, 2012 No comments »

Should I build a raised bed garden or till up some ground to make a traditional row garden?  This spring has been unusually warm and the massess are flocking to the nurserys and garden stores buying all their supplies. Much like the over zealous gardeners I too was able to jump on an early spring project.  I completed a paver patio I had started in the fall but failed to finish as cold weather set in too quick. Having actually completed this project weeks before I ever figured to start it back up again has given me several free weekends in the up coming month.  Not sure what I would tackle next I decided to jump on the garden bandwagon and get some vegtables planted.  It’s been years since I’ve actually planted a garden and while I was desciding on how to build a garden this year, thoughts of endless weeding,  hours of tilling and treating our hard clay soil came rushing back.   Thats when I took to the internet to research other options on how to build a garden.   I came across server very informative article on the benefits of raised bed gardening and its realative ease compared to traditional row gardening.   Hours later after having viewed just about every type of raised bed garden option that was available I decided to take the plunge and jump in.  Now comes the work part deciding How to build a raised garden bed

Off to the home and garden store I went with a general idea in my head just to see exactly how much it would cost to build a raised bed garden.  I looked at the various types of lumber avialable in our area  including cedar, white pine, pressure treated and even a few railroad ties.   Having remembered several articles mentioning several negatives in building a raised bed vegtable garden using rail road ties and pressure treated lumber I was left with the choice between cedar and pine.    Given the price in our area for cedar was redicuals I decided to use 2×10x8 standard pine boards to create my raised bed vegtable garden.  I would have went with 2×12 but they were too expensive and 2×6 were nearly same price as 2×10.  I opted for a bit taller hoping it would be a deturant for my dog.   Labs love to dig unfortuantely.    I was able to get out of the home and garden store with 40 dollars of lumber , 5 bucks for some 3inch deck screws,  and a bit for my drill.   Just slightly over 50 dollars and I had all the makings for my raised garden bed. 

It took be approx 1 hour to build out two 4×4  and one 4×8 raised garden beds.   this included cutting the boards,  assembelying the beds and leveling them out.  I then proceeded to fill them partially with the the soil I had removed when making my paver patio.  Knowing how poor the soil was I didnt want to fill the garden boxes without getting some decent nutrients added.  One more trip to the store for 20 bags of top soil, 4 bags of peat moss and 4 bags of compost and another hour worth of labor and the raised bed garden was completed.  All told it ran about 125 bucks.   A bit pricey to grow some vegtables but with some proper composting and crop rotation I shouldn’t have to spend anything in the next few years.

Home Improvement Tools You Must Have

November 7th, 2011 No comments »

Anyone looking to venture into the world of diy home improvement, kitchen remodeling or weekend project work around the house must have the basic tools for the job. Below are several of the essential household tools everyone should have before attempting even the most simple carpentry, electrical, plumbing or landscaping project.

1. The claw hammer – You should have atleast one quality claw hammer with a solid shaft, tapered head and well crafted comfortable grip.  You can find a large selection of claw hammers at just about any big box retailer, hardware store or lumber yard.  The claw hammer is essential for any carpentry work and will often be needed in just about any diy home improvement project your start.  I personally perfer a fiberglass shaft with solid rubber grip. they tend to produce less shock on the wrist and hand when hammering larger nails.

2. Selection of screwdrivers- NO matter what type of project you attemp you will need a screw drivers.  I suggest getting a small set that includes several sizes of both phyllips and straight edge heads.  You should choose a set with several different sizes of both heads, handle lenght and width.  Stanley, Craftsman and Black and Decker all sell reasonably priced screwdriver sets that will contain a nice selection of all sizes and styles for under $20.00.  Here i like to stick with the brands above as they usually come with a life time warranty and can be easily replaced when broken.  Do not use a screwdriver as a pry bar!!! That is not only a good way to break a quality screwdriver but often times ends up sending the user to the hospital for a few quick stitches after they gouge themselves.

3. A 3ft Level-  A good capentry level is something if you dont purchase a head of time will most certainly send you out to the hardware store right in the middle of your project, wasting vaulable daylight and time.  I personally like 3ft levels as they lend themselves to many different types of projects from carpentry to landscaping.  Much like screwdrivers these are relatively inexpensive and easily found at any retail outlet with a hardware department.  Select one that is either metal or heavy plastic frame with glass bubbles.  These types of levels dont get dinged or dented and will make them a vauluable straightedge for years to come.

4. Channel Lock Pliers - If your going to attempt any type of plumbing you will definately want a small selection of channel lock pliers.  Try and buy a small set that contains serveral sizes to cover any potential need you might encounter.  These can also be purchased in sets of 2 or 3 and are usually under the $20.00 price point.

While there are more tools you will definatley need for individual home improvement project these basic tools listed above are a must have.  In the upcoming weeks I will describe some of the additonal tools I highly recommend adding to your toolbox.   FYI, dont forget Christmas is just around the corner and what a better way to start buildign your collection of home improvement tools than getting them as gifts.

Window Screen Replacement And Repair

May 15th, 2011 No comments »

Window screen replacement and repairs are one of the most frequent things home owners have to tackle in the spring as the weather turns warmer.  I for one tackled this job this past weekend.  Keeping window screens in good repair helps allows you to keep bugs out, delay using the air conditioner until necessary and makes the overall appearance of the house look better. 

After a few seasons without doing any work or repair on my window screens I finally took advantage of an unseasonably nice spring day to tackle replacing multipl damaged screens on my house.   There are several things you should do in preperation for this type of job.

  1. evaluate the condition of all your window screens
  2. take measurements of the windows screens needing repairs or replacement
  3. examine the screen frames for damage. » Read more: Window Screen Replacement And Repair

Best Screen Doors To Choose From

February 15th, 2011 No comments »

If you’re looking to find out what the best screen doors for your home are, you’ve come to the right place. Follow the information below to find the best door for your home.

1. One primary example is the wooden screen-door. The frame is made of wood and basic screen. However, specialty shops are now offering carved & intricately designed frames to this basic type to add more elegance and beauty. These custom made frames are specially designed for those who have Tudor type homes or have traditional homes with wooden floors or basic red tiling and would love to retain a welcoming look without compromising practicality.

2. Some people prefer using the security screen-door. This type is more popular with people living in less than secure neighborhoods, apartments, and other areas where there is an increased risk for crime. The extra strength metal frame and extra thick mesh combination provides added security for the owner. Additional grills may be added as an option. This minimizes incidences of break-ins and offers more security than chain locks.

3. For homes with a higher number of residents or different age groups and activities, the sliding patio door is highly recommended. This is ideal in monitoring different areas of your property and at the same time give the added feeling of space and open area. You can check the pool area and backyard anytime without disrupting current activities or chores and very ideal for checking up on the children or giving you time to stop your pet from uprooting your garden plants or chewing up a favorite cushion. » Read more: Best Screen Doors To Choose From

Get Solar Lights Go Greener

January 22nd, 2011 No comments »

If you are searching for an economical and effective lighting which can be used in any application within your house , then you can surely consider solar lights. They can save dollars on your electricity bills ads they are made of light emitting diodes, which are commonly known as LED.  These bulbs are designed to consume a very little amount of energy, which will surely help you to save on your electricity bills. These bulbs further add savings to you as they can last for many years.

You can install LED bulbs either by mounting them in the wall or by fixing into  the ground with the help of stakes.  You can also adjust the direction of these bulbs which will help you to illuminate the part of the room according to your wish.  Even LED bulbs they can be used in any room of your house, it is highly recommended to use them as kitchen light fixturesSolar Lights Exposed will surely give your kitchen a royal and pleasant look.

Led Bulbs are also an ideal choice for decorating your house. They can be effectively used for giving your flowerbeds an awe-inspiring look. Fences, overhangs and decks can be also decorated by suing hanging solar lights.  You can also try sconce and flush lights for fences, railings and walls, which will make them more attractive. In order to find the most suitable LED lights all you need to do is to go to the nearest store. You can easily choose the lights from a wide range of designs. If you are looking for LED bulbs for the garden then you can buy hanging lamps.  If you are looking for varieties then you can get animal fixture bulbs from the store.

So never think twice before buying them as they can save your money one invested. Just go to the nearest store and get the solar lights to decorate your porch swing, favorite plant or to light up your walkway and pool » Read more: Get Solar Lights Go Greener

Beat Condensation and Remove Mildew

January 19th, 2011 No comments »

There are certain situations where excess water gets into your home and causes damage where it would be difficult to have foreseen the problem, for instance in the case of flooding or broken pipes. However one of the greatest causes of water damage is simple and nonthreatening condensation. When hot air hits cold air droplets of water are formed that sit on the surfaces of your home, this is condensation. When you live in a cold country many household activities can trigger condensation and if you want to ensure decent mildew prevention throughout your home you will need to deal with your condensation problems.

Here are some of the major causes of condensation for you to consider. Take action if you want to avoid regular sessions removing mildew.

1. Running hot showers and baths in a cold house causes lots of steam and this settles into droplets of condensation over your tiling and window frames. » Read more: Beat Condensation and Remove Mildew

Why Cabinet Refacing can Save you Money

January 18th, 2011 No comments »

Refacing kitchen cabinets is a cheaper way to improve your kitchen. This will give your kitchen a new and fresh look without spending more money. This process involves keeping the existing structure while replacing them with new doors and drawer front. The kitchen cabinet refacing price is around $5000-$8000 compared when buying the whole new cabinet set which is about 50% more of the price. Replacing the old cabinets to a new one will take much of your time and money.
Kitchen unit doors are one of the furniture that can easily be seen by your friends, visitors and families. Since the cabinet is very useful, it is easily exposed to damages. Especially when opening and closing it a thousand times. These damages can easily be detected by the people that have been going in and out of your home because of its visibility. You might need to reface it. The good thing about this is that you can do it on your own. Or if you have no idea about this, you can actually hire experienced professional workers to do this. They will give you the best outcome ever. Remember before anything else, you should have a checklist with you so that you will not forget the things that are important.  » Read more: Why Cabinet Refacing can Save you Money

Save Money with a Simple Plumbing Snake

January 3rd, 2011 No comments »

Anyone who has ever experienced a clogged drain in the kitchen or bathroom knows just how expensive it is to hire a plumber to have it cleared. Reliable plumbers are difficult to find and the better they are, the more they will charge. One way to save money on service calls is to purchase a plumbing snake and clear the drain without the help of a professional.

This handy tool is something that every homeowner should purchase. With the proper technique a clog that is unaffected by a plunger can be cleared with relative easy.
Different types of snakes all work basically the same way. A bendable wire or cable is guided into the drain to break through the clog or push it out the other end. Gather some towels and a bucket and put them in the work area.

Introduce the snake into the drain. Crank on the mechanism to spin the snake. Remove the clog and discard it in the bucket. If nothing comes out, repeat the same action. If the clog is still drained, a longer snake may be required. It is a good idea to have a couple of snakes that are different lengths to be prepared for anything. » Read more: Save Money with a Simple Plumbing Snake

DIY: Installing or Replacing Your Sump Pump Check Valve

December 31st, 2010 No comments »

Check valves are an indispensable component of any sump pump system. A sump pump check valve works by letting water flow through it to the discharge line and blocking it from re-entering the sump pit once the pump stops working.

Let us say your sump pump system is fitted with pipes 1.5 inches in diameter and stretching to ten feet from the sump pit out to where the water is safe to be discharged. Before it reaches its end point, the pipe system has to climb straight up from the pit and bend at a right angle, parallel to the ground for discharging. If your sump pump system does not have a check valve somewhere in the pipeline, the water that’s been pumped out by the motor from the sump pit will flow right back in when the motor shuts off. The result? Your sump pit will get filled again with 10 feet worth of sump. Aside from the inefficiency this will cause, it will also hasten the deterioration of your sump pump, because it will have to work twice as much for every discharge cycle.

This is why it is important to make sure you get the right type of sump pump check valve when you initially have your sump pump system installed. More importantly, when it’s up and working, it’s best to check the condition of your check valve regularly. This will ensure that you’ll be able to address every minor repair or replacement requirement.

The best time to test if your check valve is in working condition is when the » Read more: DIY: Installing or Replacing Your Sump Pump Check Valve