Crown Moldings

Crown molding is a great way to give your home a sense of added value, without spending much money. Many perceive crown molding as expensive, and equate it with wealth. However, this is a total misconception because it costs very little. So, why hasn’t everyone rushed to the lumberyard to buy up crown molding and add it to their home? Well, for one, installing crown molding really hasn’t been a DIY project because cutting compound angles and keeping track of inside and outside corners, not to mention all those splices and the molding’s various orientations, has been such a nightmare that most folks either call a pro, or balk at the cost of doing so. The material itself is inexpensive, but paying someone to install it can be costly. So, what can you do if you want crown moldings, and you do not want to pay the price for an installer?

To start we need to identify the reasons it is difficult to do it yourself, and then try to overcome them. If you can install crown moldings yourself then there should be nothing stopping you. It seems like the biggest problem with self installation of crown moldings has always been cutting the angles, rather than the actual installation. Why? How hard can it be? If the angles of your room were perfectly square, then this would be simple, but unfortunately most crown moldings don’t sit against the wall at 45 degrees, and the corners in your rooms are rarely a perfect 90 degrees. So, cutting them just right becomes problematic.

So, how do you solve this problem? You find tools that eliminate the problem and confusion, as well as the math because this is where many people mess up their crown moldings project. So, get a true angle measurer, and a miter saw that you feel comfortable using, and eliminate the guesswork.

Curtain Walling

In the middle ages, the castles or tombs needed some protective and secure option to be safe from intruders. Earlier these walls were made of stones which were very effective and did not rot easily as well. Now with the passing time, the look and feel of the space became an important aspect as well apart from protection and safety. Today’s curtain walls are made up of aluminium frames and glass material to make it look appealing yet strong as a whole. In the present structure, a thin wall of glass is attached or affixed to the building exterior along with the frames of a robust and pocket-friendly material called aluminium. This wall is proven helpful in keeping the wind and water outside. The wall being horizontal in shape does allow space or facility to have an overall stable structure.

The material of this structure is very lightweight and doesn’t put any pressure or force on the building. People who love going with the durability and ecstasy should go for the combination of timber along with aluminium as it is very strong and beautiful to look as well.

Being transparent, they are a great source of natural sunlight or daylight which helps in having less use of electrical components in the daytime. Apart from savings on electrical bills, they help in enjoying the outer view of the surroundings as well. With the hustle bustle view of outside the employees can enjoy and relax after the mental fatigue and will be informed about the activities going outside as well. The glass appearance will not be only beneficial for the employees but will also increase the value of the property.

The structure is also influential in maintaining a good thermal performance. It doesn’t allow the heat to come inside the premises in hot summer days and doesn’t let the temperature of inside go outside at any cost. This wall is a perfect and economical option for the commercial spaces where safety and elegance go hand in hand.

Get Plants For Free With No Effort

Poppies

Poppies are beautiful flowers and prolific self seeders. They can remain in the ground for years and then grow when the soil is turned over. They grow fine in poor soil but like lots of sunshine. The seedlings are easily recognisable once you have them and that is useful if you want to transplant them because they are not keen on being moved but you may get away with it if you move them while they are still small. Make sure if you try you dig round and deep so you get the whole tap root and some soil around it.

Foxgloves

If you have more shade and less sun then tall and elegant foxgloves may be for you. They are poisonous though so consider carefully if you have children or pets. They self seed easily but the purple is the dominant colour so self seeded plants may revert to purple. That said the creamy foxgloves in my own garden have stayed creams so it doesn’t always happen and the purple is gorgeous anyway.

Nasturtiums

Apart from the double flowered types which may not self seed these vibrant flowered plants, with attractive foliage, return year after year. They will grow in part shade but you get the most flowers in full sun. They seem to attract copious quantities of black fly so they are a good companion plants for more valuable plants that are plagued by this little black pest. The flowers are edible and make a really pretty addition to a summer salad.

Forget Me Nots

Forget me nots are a pale blue froth of flowers that grow well in moist soil and shade. This makes them great in a woodland setting and near a pond or stream. They are easy to grow and return tenaciously.

Borage

You can grow borage in any type of soil even if it is dry or poor, although feeding helps and they do like full sun. They attract bees and both the flowers and leaves are edible. That said the leaves are best picked whilst very young. The flowers are a stunning blue star and are perfect added to summer drinks.

Ruby Falls Redbud

Ruby Falls blooms in profusion for two to three weeks in the months of March and April. Clusters of hot pink and rose-purple, pea shaped flowers bloom in clumps of color on mature trunks and the bare branches before the leaves show up. The bright flowers attract pollinators such as bees, birds and butterflies for a colorful display of movement and grace. Sitting on a bench nearby and watching the show is a way to get back into nature. It’s also a great way to introduce butterflies, bees and birds to young children who are sure to enjoy the display.

When the seed pods appear in summer, they give the appearance of looking like snow peas. The heart shape leaves of a deep rich purple open up in a ruby purple color in spring, then darken to a deep purple. As the season progresses the leaves change to summer green and then to bright yellow until the leaves fall in early winter. This tree gives color all year around for the enjoyment of all the seasons.

The Ruby Falls grows in loamy, clay, or sandy soil as long as the soil is well drained. It will need to be watered regularly until the tree is firmly established. It’s grown best in part sun to shade and is hardy in U.S.D.A Zones 6 through 9 with a pH level between 5.5 and 7.5.

If you want an eye-catching, elegant and small stature tree, then Ruby Falls Redbud is the one you are looking for. Your garden is sure to be the envy of all your gardening friends with this magnificent specimen in that special spot in your garden. The Ruby Falls Redbud will be a great addition to your yard for many years to come.

Deer Resistant Plants

Holly bushes grow in drained and slightly acidic soils. The bright red berries on this evergreen plant are said to repel the deer from reaching towards it. Planting time for these bushes is in spring through early fall. It can give a deep and enriched look to your place in winters as it matures.

Azalea is a flowering shrub that grows red in color. It is one of those shade plants that requires only light shade. Therefore it is always preferred to grow them under a tree or shaded side of the house. Azaleas are broadleaf evergreen and slower growing than other flowering shrubs, yet they are popular because they are deer resistant.

Euonymus shrubs are popular deer resistant shrubs. While there are many euonymus varieties, burning bush is the most popular. The berry fruit that grows over it is of pinkish red color and have orange seeds. The leaves of this plant are opposite and ovoid. It is used for medicinal purposes and its direct consumption is poisonous to animals and humans.

Yucca actually falls under the species of perennial plants. Many of its kinds are evergreen perennial. It has the leaves which are shaped like sword with white flowers. They have waxy skin over its surface which prevents the loss of water due to evaporation. It is like an ornamental plant which has prickly leaves and therefore the deer stay away from this plant as its sharp spine leaves can injure them.

Abelia Shrubs are popular summer flowering shrubs. The pink colored tubular shaped flowers bloom under lustrous leaves making it look lovely and fragrant. Due to its low maintenance and pest control qualities, it is the favorite of all. It requires a sunny atmosphere and therefore in winters as well as summers it requires at least half-day sunlight.

Old Fashioned Viburnum shrub, also known as snowball bush has beautiful white ball bunches of flowers. This species of viburnum is seedless and bears no fruits. It can bloom even on the old wood of previous season.

Agastache is a great gardening plant. Many varieties produce many flowering colors that are generally long blooming. This perennial plant is both deer resistant as well as drought tolerant plant. The attractive blooms attract bees and hummingbirds.

Outdoor Fire Pit

Before you build your own fire pit, you need to make sure it is OK that you make your fire pit based on the laws regarding creating structures like this on your property. Once you have the green light to make your fire pit on your residence grounds, the next part is gathering up the necessary supplies. In order to build your own fire pit, you will need to comparison shop and price tools and materials, such as bricks, trowels, cement and shovels.

When you wish to make a fire pit in your background, there are several ways to accomplish this task. Below you will find one set of step-by-step instructions to approaching this fun and exciting do-it-yourself home improvement project.

  • Identify where you would like to make your fire pit and insert a wooden rod into the center of this location. To the rod, attach a 10 1/2 -inch string with a can of spray paint at the end. While holding the string tight, spray-paint a circle. Next, connect a 22 1/2-inch string to the same spray can and draw another circle. Using these guidelines, dig a trench that measures 10 inches deep and 12 inches wide.
  • Next, place 2 inches of gravel about the trench to create a lining. Tamp the gravel, making it firm to the touch. The gravel will then be covered with concrete that reaches ground level. Using a shovel can eliminate air pockets. Level this area with a piece of 2×4, followed by trowel smoothing. Allow the concrete to harden and then cover it with plastic. This should set for a couple of days with an additional week of open-air curing.
  • Once the concrete has cured, use water to create a mist and smooth out the mortar. Next, press a manhole block measuring 6 inches into the mortar, followed by another piece lying flush against the first. Scrap pieces of 2 x 4 can be used to keep the tops of the blocks in an even pattern. Leaving three equidistant 3/4-inch gaps creates air vents within your fire pit.
  • Continuing to build your own fire pit, you will dry-lay a second layer of 6-inch manhole blocks over the first. Mortar is not used during this step. The blocks should be positioned so that they are flush with one another. Internal edges of this second layer should line up with the bottom layer. A slight lip will begin to form on the outer edge.

Info of Home Landscape Lighting

As far as our homes are concerned we tend to think about outdoor lighting in strictly practical terms. We have a light outside at the front and back doors and maybe a motion detector triggered light above the garage door. They are attached to the house or garage and are there just so you can safely see where you are going when outdoors at night.

But your homes outdoor lighting can be so much more than that. It doesn’t need to be just for seeing things at night. Properly done outdoor lighting can have a beauty and charm all its own and at the same time provide nighttime safety for your walkways and garden.

For many years savvy homeowners have tried to duplicate this beauty with landscape lighting in the yard around their homes and in their gardens. For the most part it has not worked out very well for the average homeowner. In the past most dependable landscape lighting systems were powered by standard household electricity (120 volt). It had to meet a strict electrical code and you had to have an electrician do all the installation and hookup. The connectors, fittings and bulbs all had to be heavy duty, waterproof and weatherproof. It was too expensive and outside the budget for the average homeowner. Those homeowners that followed through with all of that often ended up with a system that didn’t look right. A common mistake is to use too many lights, or put them in the wrong place. You don’t want your sidewalk or garden path to look like an airport runway. So doing it properly often meant hiring a landscape architect or a contractor who specialized in landscape lighting. Of course, that pushed the price up even further; and usually outside the reach of all but the wealthy.

Low voltage landscape lighting (12 to 18 volt), however, has several distinct advantages. Electrical codes are much less strict and because it is low voltage you don’t need an electrician to install it. You can buy an inexpensive kit and often install it over the weekend. Because it is easy to install and setup you can spend more time working on the light locations and lighting design and not worry so much about hiring a landscape architect to do all that for you. If you don’t like the light locations, you can change it yourself without too much trouble. You don’t need an electrician or designer to move it. One common problem with low voltage systems 20 or 30 years ago was the durability of the components. Back then low voltage outdoor lighting systems were often little more than toys. But today all of that has changed. The do it yourself low voltage lighting system you buy at your local hardware store is usually not only affordable, but durable as well.

Homemade Stepping Stones

Before designing your own unique stepping stone you need the following things

  • A bag of quick setting concrete
  • Bucket
  • Water
  • Shovel or hoe
  • Container to use as a mold
  • Coins
  • Leaves
  • Broken tile or other hard items which can be used for decoration
  • Old spoon

The size of your stepping stone can vary but you have to make sure that its thickness is at least 2 inches. You also have to make sure that your work area is covered by newspapers or plastic wrap which will help in cleaning after you are done.

Before starting the preparation of stepping stone you need to decide what would be the shape and size of your stepping stone. In layman’s language your structure is pre-decided and requires giving the shape. The most important thing which you have to keep in mind while preparing the stone is it has to be two inches thick. In order to give a best shape to your stepping stone you may use a mold or if you don’t want to buy a mold you can use a plastic saucer ice cream bucket or a pizza box.

  • Mix the concrete with the mixture by following the manufacturer’s instructions. The mixture should have the consistency of peanut butter. Quick setting concrete is available in all the home- improvement stores or hardware stores.
  • Start mixing the materials, once the materials are mixed spoon the concrete into the mold which you have designed. Level the mold gently and make sure that there is no possibility of air bubbles.
  • Leave your mixture for few minutes so that it sets in properly. Make sure that you are not decorating the stone while it is setting in the mold.
  • Once the paste is set properly into the mold start decorating your stone. You may use leaves, broken tiles, coins, colored mirrors or dishes according to your preference.
  • In order to make sure that the stone is set up properly, please leave the stones for three or four days without being disturbed. Once you are sure that the stone is dry, gently pop it out of the mold.

The best suggestion is to let your stepping stone to sit for a week before putting it into use. In order to prevent the stepping stone from breaking you have make sure it is not raised above the ground from more than ½ inches. Once the process is over your stepping stone is ready to use. You may use the stone according to your choice.

Landscaping Doorstep

Jazz Up Your Front Garden

You can give your home a more welcoming look by adding flowers to the front garden: whether in flowerbeds or lining the walkway to your home, vibrant flowers will be a pleasure for the eye. They will enhance your visitors first impression of you and your home.

The Power Of Trees

You can use trees and bushes to line your home’s porch or front garden to great effect. You should always maintain them properly to keep them neat, and can use fruit trees and dogwoods for their beauty and relaxing fragrances. You may, however, want to avoid planting trees that lose their leaves near pathways as they could become rather slippery in the fall.

Spruce Up Your Porch

Depending on the size of your porch you can add various pieces of furniture such as benches and rockers to enhance the feel of warmth and comfort. You can also increase its appeal with plants of various colors and sizes, and even train decorative climbers to accentuate railings and arches.

Curb Appeal

Don’t forget to pay attention to the walkways, and ensure they are rubble-free, in good state of repair and clean. This will make your sidewalk more appealing and safer, too. Be creative with the materials used, such as ornamental boulders or concrete as a main feature.

Water Features

Adding a pond or small fountain can enhance the sense of calm, but make sure your plans are not over ambitious as the result could be overpowering. You can also brick or stones to add even more interest to the feature.

Make Flower Borders

Perennials are considered the mainstay of the mixed borders. Though some are short-lived, most live for years increasing in number. Each winter they die down, then spring comes and up they spring.Some bloom just once and briefly, while others may bloom, if dead-headed (removing the spent flowers), for months and months. Although there are perennials you never disturb, for example – peonies; most, however, need dividing every few years.
If you only have one mixed border, you probably would like to have flowers throughout the growing season. Choose plants that are lovely for more than just a week or two. If there are any gaps (no blooms) in the border, you can fill with annuals or other flowering plants in pots. Flowering shrubs and remontant (repeat blooming) roses add color to the background.

The border should be at least 10 feet wide. The plants should be planted in drifts of odd numbers . The plants should vary in height from low to high. To keep the border from looking like a stairway to heaven , vary a few drifts throughout the border with a drift of shorter plants in back and a drift or two of taller plants in front.

You may have borders using all types of color schemes. If you have 2 borders, you may choose to have one border of cool colors, and one border of hot colors. You may also have the border begin with cool colors and gradually increase the intensity of color until the other end has hot colors. Some people enjoy doing their borders with just once color, using different shades and tints. Some are happy with using two colors of which they may be two complementary colors, such as red and orange, or contrasting colors, such as red and green.

Many people use three or more colors. Using color is a tricky thing with plants, particularly if you use different seasonal color schemes. Out of the blue two plants that are neighbors and should not bloom at the same time all of a sudden clash, because of strange weather. Use color to achiever unity. At the same time, shake things up a bit to create tension. This is a fine line. But all borders need a touch of pizazz to arouse your neighbors’ envy to shades of green.