It’s Not Too Early to Prepare for Yard Work

Are you a homeowner who is tired of going from one specialty shop to another to get the things you want to make your home look like you want?  For many people the amount of time, travel and gasoline spent going from one shop to another often exceeds the price of the improvement project itself.  And nothing can be more upsetting than to get the things you wanted and then find out the results of your effort didn’t meet your original plans in the least.

That is why taking advantage of a membership in Sam’s Club can be your best option.  After all, Sam’s Club is affiliated with Walmart, the world’s largest retailer.  And you can find almost every tool and material you need for serious work on your home’s exterior, from a stepladder to a riding mower.  You can also get the tools and supplies you want to start serious exterior decorating, including building a deck or patio, purchasing outdoor furniture, barbecue equipment and supplies and shading and weather protection.  By using a Groupon coupon or promo code you can get major discounts on many of the items you purchase from them.


Many people tend to think of winter as the period when they can get a rest from gardening, mowing, trimming and raking.  And this is true.  But they are not relieved from the task of making plans and preparations for the next growing season.  This is the time when you can sit down and make plans and obtain the needed supplies so when spring arrives you can get your new garden and yard started.  It’s also the time to get tools and supplies – often at great savings.  Need a new hose?  What about a lawn feeder or sprinkler.  These items are often sold at substantial discounts, so it’s a good idea to use a Groupon coupon to get them from Sam’s right now.  So take advantage of these and similar deals; get yourself a Sam’s Club membership today.  You can what you’ll need to be prepared to start putting in your garden and yard.  When spring comes around you will be all set to start planting a nice yard for entertaining your friends and family during the coming summer season.



A few unique garden décor tips explored

Your home is a perfect manifestation of your dreams- of your success, of your ability to shape your dreams to your reality. You might have contacted the most reputed and efficient estate agents Chalfont St. Peter to grab the most suitable home buying deal possible and once you start living in it, you should be paying special attention when it comes to decking it up. Today, we will walk you through a few tips with the help of which you can add a unique touch to your garden- a very important part of your home.

A few unique garden décor tips

Gardening and landscape designing are favorite hobbies of many of us. With a little bit of effort from your end you can actually go on to render a striking visual appeal to your garden. Go through the following tips in a bid to be duly guided in this regard.

Your garden is your personal oasis and the best way to accentuate the landscape and the existing plants and trees would be to add multifarious garden décor items including signs, plaques, “tree people” and free standing fairies. Notably, the tree people can not only just be the “face” of the tree but an entire personality. Read on for more tips.

Lighting: What should be your focus while choosing objects?

Lighting remains one of the most important components of your garden décor. So, you should ideally acquaint yourself with ways in which you can accentuate your garden décor with the help of lighting. Let us tell you that there are multifarious lighting options available for your garden patio – ranging from soft lights to the bolder hues. You can even add candles for a soft, flickering effect. The introduction of solar lights means that the sunlight will be soaked during daytime. The preservation of energy would only lead to illumination during the night.

The key is to plan your lighting properly. You would only want to highlight the best parts of your garden – for instance, a visually appealing patch of plants, or fairies or gnome or baby angels among others.

How about adorning your sanctuary with beautiful wind chimes?

Wind chimes can turn out to be striking additions to your garden – specifically because there is a wide variety of designs available and you can add one in accordance with your personal preference and personality. From regular cubes to random shapes of metal or ceramic you can choose from a wide range of features in accordance with your personal tastes and budget. What more? You can even craft your own chime.

Garden Furniture should spell comfort

Choosing your garden furniture is another important task at hand. When it comes to selecting the outdoor furniture for your home steer clear of the uncomfortable nylon webbed or aluminum framed pieces. Opt for the lighter but comfortable coaches or cushioned chairs that are primarily designed for outdoor use.

There is possibly a world of décor items for garden that you can experiment with. Make sure you’re picking them wisely.

Moving Day Checklist

Here are a few things you can do in preparation to make the day you move as easy as possible. If your budget allows, working with a well reviewed moving company is the easiest route.

Door stoppers, and protective tools, like plastic wrap, bubble wrap and furniture pads can make moving day a lot easier and protect your furniture, both your old and new homes and your stuff. In the case that the movers don’t bring their own materials, having these on hand will offer peace of mind and make moving day easier.

Keep a few extra boxes on hand, for the last minute items you either forgot or will need to keep out until the very end. Make sure not to just throw all the last-minute things in boxes, instead keep some semblance of organization, even if the last boxes aren’t full. A stressful and unorganized unpacking experience is probably the last thing you want or need at this point. To make it even easier, keep clear tubs on hand, so you can see where things are. If you don’t need them, stack them and you’re ready to go.

Set aside the fragile items or boxes that you know the movers need to be extra careful with, it’ll make the process of loading (and later unloading) the moving van quicker and easier.

Figure out what you’ll need right away when you get to the new house. Have a few days’ worth of clothes and pajamas ready, along with toiletries and utensils. Not having a toothbrush or utensils for when you order take-out on the first night could be equally disastrous. Make sure to have a couple chargers around, too.

Keep out anything you’ll need at the last minute, but plan ahead so you’ll be able to pack them. Extra packing tape, scissors, markers, cleaning wipes, a broom, and anything else you’ll need for the last bit of the packing process can help ensure you leave a clean house, and aren’t stressing about how to clean up after yourself.

Clean out the refrigerator, freezer, washing machine and dryer before you go, unless you’re taking them with you. Leave them open to air out, and perhaps, in the freezer’s case, defrost. It’s likely easier to clean when your hand won’t freeze wiping down the shelves.

Keep some snacks and drinks around, both for you and the moving people. Moving day is a busy day and forgetting to eat won’t help at all. Snacks will offer an excuse for a break and also keep blood sugar up, making sure no one gets grouchy or grumpy. Keep them central, and be sure to offer to everyone.

After the moving van is packed and your house is empty, there are still a few things to keep in mind.

Coordinate with your moving people. Get their phone numbers, their plan and their schedule, so you know when to expect them at the new house. If you’re using more than one moving company (shipping cars or a piano?) make sure to have a way to organize all the info.

Don’t forget your box of the necessities for the first week. Before the moving truck pulls away, double check that it’s stayed separate.

Do one last sweep of the house, making sure drawers, closets and cabinets are empty. Pick up those track bags you had tucked in corners, making sure you leave a clean house.

Pulling away from the house the last time might be bittersweet, but a fresh start in a new home will bring a fresh start, and a chance to make a new home out of a new house.

Why General Liability Insurance Is Important

General liability insurance is an insurance that businesses need in order to protect property damage and worker injuries from costing the business a small fortune. That is the basic idea of it.

To get more technical, this type of insurance is also referred to as Commercial General Business Liability. Not only does it protect a businesses assets, but it helps cover things like medical costs when a person is hurt on the property.

It also covers legal defense costs, due to injuries or property damage. It protects renters, as well, when there is a property fire or other issues. This coverage can also protect the holder against copyright infringement, slander, libel and misleading advertising.

Reasons You Should Have General Liability Insurance

If you are running a business of any type, especially out of your own home, it can be wise to have general liability insurance. In order to determine if your business needs this insurance, and what coverage you’ll need, your insurance provider will help you go over a few things.

Someone that does more physical work with a higher risk of injury will need more coverage than someone that works at a desk. Having the insurance, though, not only covers your own back, but it helps out the people that hire you as well.

If you damage someone’s computer while working on it, it may be covered under property damages on your insurance policy. Just like if you fall while putting a new roof on a client’s house.

To find out what you need, it helps to take some time to get commercial general liability insurance quotes. This way you’ll find out what coverage is best for your business, and you can take time to compare quotes as well.

Why You Want To Hire People With General Liability Insurance

One of the top reasons for hiring someone with is that it helps you know that you are getting a reputable business to do your work for you. If your contractor is backed by this insurance you know that they care about your property and their workers.

Not only does this insurance protect their workers, but if something were to happen while they are working on your property you don’t have to be worried about being sued over it.

On top of that, if your property gets damaged in any way the insurance your contractor has will cover it. From yard damages to home damages, you can feel safe while they do their work.

Insurance is created to protect people, and there are numerous types of insurance out there, from health to auto and life to liability. It helps to know what insurance you should have in your life. However, it’s also important to know the insurance the people you work with have as well.

Don’t hesitate to ask a contractor what their coverage is before hiring them. If they are a trustworthy company they’ll be happy to share that info with you so that you can feel safe and secure while they do their work on your home or business.

How to get your garden ready for the summer season

As the weather warms up, now is an excellent time to start preparations for the summer season. Use these cooler, wetter months to prepare your garden for the hotter, dryer parts of the year.

Water efficiency

It’s important to be water-wise in the garden and try and conserve water where possible. The water from our taps takes a lot of energy to process, so it’s more environmentally friendly to minimise its use in the garden where possible. Luckily there are plenty of ways to conserve water use and still have a thriving garden.

If you haven’t already installed a water butt, it’s a good idea to do so sooner rather than later. Plants prefer to be watered with rainwater rather than tap water, and it’s more environmentally friendly. Get one with a connector fitting so you can connect your home pipe from Swell UK more easily [].

Other tips for saving water

Mulching is a great way to conserve water by preventing evaporation from the soil. Most plants benefit from a two or three inch layer of well-rotted manure, shredded leaves or bark chips applied over their roots in spring. Inorganic mulching materials, such as pebbles, aren’t always water efficient as they can retain heat in the soil and cause a higher level of water evaporation. Try to avoid inorganic mulches where possible.

Plant for water efficiency

You can also select drought-resistance plants – geraniums are a good example of plants that are very forgiving of dry conditions and don’t need frequent watering, even in August. Other drought resistant species include sedums, lovely blue ceanothus, many grasses, and also flowers such as gazania and portulaca (moss rose). Get planting soon – the more mature a plant is during the hotter months, the better chance it has of survival.

Train your plants to be water wise!

It might sound impossible but plants can be trained to be water efficient. If you water young plants frequently, they don’t send out a big root structure that will help them cope with dry conditions. It’s best to get young plants used to dry periods to encourage root growth. For this reason, aim to water generously but infrequently, so the soil has time to dry out between waterings.

Big Construction Firms Protecting Their Turf

There’s no question that in the construction business, it really feels like “when it rains, it pours.” This is an industry that has seen the meanest kind of droughts, gang-buster spurts and the leanest profit margins. At the same time, though, when the industry turns around, as it started to do in 2014, it can suddenly seem like the industry is nothing but sunshine and daisies.

According to Sageworks (a financial firm), sales for privately held construction companies grew at an average rate of 17% in 2014, making it the second fastest growing industry, behind real estate brokers and agents, an industry that grew 23%. It was followed by four other construction-oriented businesses: wood products, foundations and building exteriors, utility systems contractors and lumber and other construction materials; all of which grew by at least 15%. Following them was the computer design industry which grew by 14%, and then six other construction-oriented industries–all within the top 20 industries on the list.

For privately held construction companies, that 17% growth rate even exceeded the previous year’s growth rate (14%).

Even more encouraging, “residential companies are growing sales at an extraordinary rate and earning pre-recession profit margins. In other words, they are not only increasing revenue, they are also squeezing more profit out of each revenue dollar,” said Sageworks analyst Libby Beierman, in an interview for Inc.

How did this happen? It looks like pent up demand from the very prolonged recession, when combined with the return of jobs and financing created the perfect 1-2 punch that bolstered the market.

Even so, at the same time, public works projects continued to slip. But government cutbacks put the squeeze on revenue in the public sector. (This doesn’t have a direct impact on growth among privately held firms, which can also bid on public projects.)

After a 1.7% drop in January, construction spending continued to fall for the second consecutive month in February, with most of the negative impact coming from the public sector. Construction slipped 0.1% to an annual rate of $967 billion, the Department of Commerce said.

In both months, brutal winter weather was partly to blame. Economists had already estimated that spending would be flat for the month but then spending on private construction rose 0.2% with a 1.4% gain in single-family housing and 4.1% growth in multi-family buildings. Spending on public projects – which largely consists of education projects, highways, and bridges – dropped 0.2% that month.

Simply put, private construction projects are carrying their weight, but that doesn’t make a great difference for the firms and companies gearing up for massive projects, like roads and bridges.

A company designed to pave roads or to construct a 2 million square foot school building is not necessarily geared towards hiring only small crews of four to 24 men who are used to hammering up frames and putting down flooring in a new subdivision. Projects that occupy a small footprint on a third of an acre rarely require cranes (or the people who know how to operate them). Hence, the sudden fight-for-scraps feeling among the largest firms in the country, the few who are geared for $2 million to $20 million projects.

It is among these firms that the profit margins are slim to none. In fact, when the boom is not booming, the profit margins that sound so lavish today are actually among the slightest in the country.

Prior to the recent growth spurt, where did residential building stand in the world of profit margins? Among U.S. industries, according to the online magazine Chron, residential building was in last place, ranking 97th on the list with profit margins of 0.78%, a sharp drop from 2006, before the recession, when profit margins stood at 4.84%.

Not far ahead of that, in the 96th position, was highway, street and bridge construction with margins of 0.83%. And, moving up the ladder, third from last, was utility construction with profit margins of 0.88 %. In fact, out of the 10 lowest profit margins, only one – printing and related services – had nothing to do with construction.

By comparison, the top five included accounting (above 18%), dentists at 17.04%, legal services at 16.75%, healthcare professionals at 16.14% and “other” financial investment services at 16.11%.

It follows, then, that many are now calling on states to use pre-qualifying tests to judge whether or not a company can bid on public projects. But the imagined migration of small firms with roofers and carpenters, like Precision Roofing Inc, chasing the “big boys” for public works projects is a myth. You can’t bid on a road project with construction license and a hammer. Furthermore, why would you when life and work in the suburban subdivision is good and that’s where the money is anyway? These smaller companies are not bidding on multi-year contracts that will force them to compete against industrial-sized earthworks firms and construction companies with 20 cement trucks and 10 cranes in their arsenal.

This makes it all the more imperatives, some say, to make sure what is left for the big companies is not usurped by cheap under-bidding firms who are aiming for contracts as the cheapest company that can get the job done.

Pre-qualifying tests run through a wide spectrum of screening questions from finances to safety records and making sure that a business has the proper bonding and contractors insurance. In California, pre-qualifying questions include current average lost workday incident rates, professional licensing and credentials, financial security, pending legal issues and questions pertaining to why the company may have been denied permission to bid on public projects in the past.

In other words, you are either in the club or you are not in the club. This is just a question of the big boys protecting their turf.


A Homeowner’s Guide to Subterranean Termites

Subterranean termites are a homeowner’s worst nightmare. A subterranean termite infestation can severely compromise the structure and the safety of your home. Subterranean termites are the most destructive and commonly found wood pests in the United States. If your home is infested with this type of pest, consult with a pest control service to learn more about the termite treatment process.


Habitat and Behavior


Subterranean termites live in colonies underground and travel through mud tunnels to forage for food and water. Some colonies live above ground in moist and secluded areas. Their primary source of food is wood, although they will eat anything that contains cellulose. Subterranean termite colonies consist of three castes – workers, soldiers, and swarmers.


The workers of the colony are cream-colored. They are responsible for gathering wood and cellulose to feed the rest of the colony.


The soldiers are similar in appearance, however they are slightly larger than the workers. They use their strong jaws to fight and protect the colony against threats.


Alates (swarmers) are the reproductive caste of the colonies. They have two sets of wings that they shed once they reproduce. They fly off in the spring to start new colonies. Once they find a suitable place they mate, reproduce, and become the king and queen of that colony. Once they start their own colonies, they stay with those colonies for the rest of their lives.


Risk to Homeowners


Each year, subterranean termites cause billions of dollars in property damage. They use their jaws to bite tiny pieces of wood 24 hours a day. They never stop eating until their food source is depleted. An infestation significantly increases the chances of a homeowner losing their home to extreme structural damage.


Treatment Process


The sooner you start the treatment process, the better your chances are for saving your home. Things you can do to prevent a subterranean termite infestation include:


  • Reduce the amount of water that accumulates around your home’s foundation. Regularly inspect and maintain all gutters, spouts, and splash structures. They direct water away from the home.


  • Firewood should be stored at least 20 feet away from the home and mulch should be kept at least 18-inches away from the home.


  • Reduce the humidity inside of the home by improving the ventilation of air throughout the home, especially in crawl spaces, basements, and attics. A dehumidifier can help to reduce the humidity as well.


If you suspect that you have an infestation, contact a professional pest control service right away. For additional information and resources on termites, visit PlanetOrange.

Tips For Packing Collectibles

Whether you’re moving or packing your collectibles for shipping, you must take extra special care in order to minimize any chance of damage to your precious collectible. Here are some tips for making the process easier.


Glass collectibles like shot glasses, collectible glassware, pressed glass or cut glass are one of the most difficult types of items to transport. Since many glass items have elements that use thin glass or decoration, they can be challenging to keep safe while being handled. When packing vases or any item that has space inside, it is critical to stuff the interior with something to minimize the shock from any movement. You can stuff the interior with items like fabric, tissue paper or even packing peanuts. Next, you need to wrap the item with something, typically bubble wrap or a fabric, making sure to take special care when wrapping any handles or decoration that may be on the outside. Lastly, place the wrapped item into a box with a generous amount of packing peanuts or crumpled up newspaper. Place the glass item at least several inches away from the sides of the box for maximum protection.


Similar to glass, you must take special care when handling in pottery in order to not damage it during moving. Place something soft inside the pottery piece first, like newspaper, packing peanuts or crumpled up tissue paper. Then wrap the piece in bubble wrap and place it in a box with more packing peanuts or crumpled up newspaper.


While jewelry is small, it’s not as simple as you might think to pack it properly.  Jewelry is typically very delicate, and collectible jewelry is often especially delicate. You can keep your jewelry safe during shipping or moving by wrapping each piece separately in something soft, like tissue paper or a fabric. The key here is to keep the jewelry from rattling around and getting damaged from movement. You will not only want to wrap up each piece of jewelry , but even with sets of jewelry, like earrings or cufflinks, you’ll want to wrap each of them separately in order to stop them from rubbing against each other, creating small scratches. Then place the items separately into another box for transport.


Packing up paper collectibles, like a stamp collection, autographs, playbills, menus and other ephemera can be tricky. The key here is to pack the paper items with or between something that will keep the items from folding or bending, so use something hard like a plastic notebook or wood board. It’s also critical to keep exposure to any type of moisture to a minimum. For example, if you are moving from an area that is dry to somewhere that is very humid, you need to make sure your paper collectibles will have proper airflow so that the increased humidity doesn’t damage them.Once you have placed your paper items safely between hard materials or boards, you can then place them into a box or bin. Make liberal use of packing peanuts or bubble wrap to allow for airflow between the items in the box.

Author Bio

Marie is a home maker who occasionally blogs in her free time. She lives in Perth Australia and has been moving quite a lot around Australia due to her husband’s changing job profile. She usually calls upon removalists Sydney for her transport needs.

DIY Halloween Home Décor

When you’re on a budget, celebratory occasions can be difficult to fund, let alone when they’re just a few months before Christmas. Halloween is a time of year that’s often dreaded by parents doing their best to save up for Santa’s loot, but of course, you don’t want to disappoint the kids by not getting into the spirit of the occasion. Decorations bought from the store can be extortionately priced, so we’ve put together a guide to creating your very own haunted Halloween house on a budget with a few clever DIY projects.

Spooky Shadow Puppets

Encourage a bit of family fun by getting the kids together to make your own Halloween shadow puppets. All you’ll need is some paper, sticky tape, a packet of Sharpies and some lolly sticks or straws. You could create some card templates using old cereal boxes for younger kids to draw around, including bats, witches and pumpkins. Once the shapes have been cut out, stick them to the tip of the lolly sticks or straws to create a handle and you’ll be left with Halloween toys that will provide hours of entertainment.

Horrifying Halloween Mobile

Whilst you’re creating your shadow puppets, make a few extra spooky silhouettes for a hanging Halloween mobile to place in the entryway. Take a small fallen branch from the garden or your local park and spray paint it black. Next, attach a piece of string and hang it from a light fitting or drill it to a beam using power tools from somewhere like Elcocks.

Then, make small holes in the top of your paper bats, witches and pumpkins and thread some string through them. Tie them sporadically onto your branch to create a horrifying Halloween mobile like this one. If you wanted to go the extra mile, you could spray your paper figures with a glow-in-the-dark paint to make them look extra spooky when the lights are switched off.

Ghoulish Garden Ghosts

If you want to try something that will shock anybody that enters your home at Halloween, then stock up on chicken wire and glow-in-the-dark spray paint and create your very own garden ghosts. Mould the chicken wire into human-like shapes and spray paint them so they glow in the dark. Place them in the garden and turn off any outdoor lights to create the illusion that you have ghastly ghouls visiting for Halloween. If you’re hosting a Halloween party, this DIY project is sure to impress your guests.

Winter Home Décor Trend: Tartan Twist

Tartan has been a big trend in the fashion world for the past few winters, and now it’s working its way into our homes. How can you incorporate this latest interior design trend into your home décor without going over the top, though?

Cosy Cushions and Quilts

The easiest way to add a tartan twist to your interiors is to incorporate it into your existing fabrics. Add a tartan bed throw in the master bedroom or a few tartan scatter cushions in the living room. If the rest of the décor in the room is simple, you could even go for heavy, soft tartan curtains to keep out that winter chill and make your home feel extra cosy just in time for Christmas.

DIY Feature Wall

If you consider yourself a dab-hand with a paint brush, why not go one step further and add a tartan feature wall in your home? This works particularly well if you have a chimney breast, and using darker colours like navy or racing green will really help the room to feel cosier. You’ll need four different paints, some masking tape and a design in mind. Before you start, you’ll need to draw out your design on paper, and always watch an online tutorial before you start.

When paired with clever lighting, a tartan feature wall will look particularly effective. Place a spotlight just above the chimney breast and add a dimmer switch from somewhere like Downlights so you can adjust the ambience according to your mood.

On-Trend Accessories

If you don’t want to spend much, you could just add a few tartan-themed accessories to your home. Printed mugs and tea towels are an easy way to incorporate the trend into your kitchen’s design, whilst a printed vase or some crockery will look lovely alongside wooden furniture in the dining room.

Get Creative with Colour

Remember that when you’re adding tartan to your interiors, you don’t have to stick to the traditional colour palette. There are hundreds of different types of tartan, with each traditionally belonging to a Scottish district or family name. If you have Scottish heritage in your family, it’s a nice idea to find your family’s specific tartan and use that around the home. If not, then tartan comes in pinks, oranges and even yellows on the high street, and although this might not fit in with Scottish tradition, it means you can add a tartan twist to your décor no matter what colour scheme you prefer.