Posts made in November 11th, 2014

5 Water Feature Ideas For Your Landscape Design

Add a water feature to your landscape design to transform any ordinary backyard into a tranquil oasis. From quiet ponds and flowing waterfalls to tabletop fountains and fountain walls, there are numerous ways to incorporate water into any landscape design. These beautiful water feature ideas make a great addition to any landscape.

1. Sloping Stream

In your landscape design, incorporate a narrow flowing stream that runs down the center of the property. Large, flat boulders can be placed to form a path that leads to an open pond. Use colorful plants and materials along the slope to make the sloping stream appear natural. Water plants, such as water lilies, can be grown in the water.

2. Three-Tier Fountain

Make your water fountain the grand focal point of your backyard, patio or deck. Three-tiered water fountains are a luxurious addition to any traditional landscape design. Add potted plants, such as hydrangeas and ferns, around the perimeter of the fountain to give the area pops of color and texture.

3. Bubbling Pond

Create a gravel or stone path from your home to a large, round pond in the center of the property. Install a bubbler machine at the bottom of the pond to create movement in the water. Stone benches can be placed on either side of the pond to give guests a place to sit as they take in the view.

4. Tiled Fountain Wall

Create an awe-inspiring backdrop that acts as a vertical fountain. Cover the back wall of the fountain with colorful glazed tiles. Other water elements can be added to a fountain wall, such as a tiered water element that flows down level by level. Build a short wall around the bottom of the fountain to display potted plants.

5. Bridged Pond

Large ponds can act as a focal point in any landscape design. Consider creating a large pond surrounded by colorful plant life, boulders and lanterns that light up the water at night. Place a bridge across the water so that guests can overlook the pond.  Add visual interest to the top of the water with lily pads or a small waterfall element.

Enhance your landscape by adding a spectacular water element. These unique projects are designed to make any outdoor space more relaxing and beautiful. For more information about adding a water feature to your landscape or to hire out assistance in planning and executing your landscape design, contact your local landscape design service provider (such as Cottonwood Landscapes LLC or another company).

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How to Stain Your Fiber Cement Siding

There are many benefits to choosing fiber cement siding—one of which is having the ability to change the color if you should choose to do so. Whether you bought a home that was not exactly the color you want, your color preferences have changed, or the neighbor next door finished their house to look like yours, you can stain the fiber cement siding.

To stain your fiber cement siding you will need:

  • Ladder
  • Pressure washer
  • Painter’s tape
  • Paint brushes
  • Fiber cement siding stain (labeled semi-transparent)

Step 1: Clean the Siding

You must take the time to clean the siding thoroughly. If you fail to get all of the dirt, debris, and mold off of the siding before staining it, you will seal it into the side of your house forever. Use a pressure washer to clean the siding starting at the highest point and working your way down. After the house has dried, inspect it to be sure that no dirt remains. If you notice any dirt, repeat the pressure washing process until you no longer see any dirt left behind.

Tip: To decrease the time requirements for this project, consider hiring a professional company such as Side-Pro, Inc. to clean your siding. They have the skills, equipment and knowledge to get it done much faster than you will.

Step 2: Tape off the Trim

Unless you have a very steady hand, taping off the trim around windows and doors is a necessary step. Skipping this step could result in a finished look that does not look as great as it could. It can be very difficult to complete the edgework around trim without bumping it once or twice and once the stain is on, it is nearly impossible to remove.

Step 3: Apply the Stain

Using a paint brush, apply the stain starting at the highest point of one wall and work your way to the bottom. Use thin, even coats of stain to avoid dripping and running. Thin coats will also help to expedite the dry time, so if you desire a second or third coat, the waiting time will not be quite as long. Apply additional coats of the stain until you reach the desired tone.

This project can be time consuming, but it is rewarding. You can give your house a complete makeover on a small budget that will not only beautify your house, but also provide an additional layer of protection against the elements.

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The Importance Of Draining Your Plumbing System

Draining the plumbing system in your entire home may become a necessity if you have water hammer issues. Water hammer is a noise that problem that makes sounds like a clang in your plumbing system. It may occur when you shut off water that is rushing through the pipes too quickly. This results in an abrupt pressure change that causes a hammering noise in the pipes. Water hammer can destroy pipes and fittings. Draining the plumbing system introduces air into the plumbing system and this softens or eliminates water hammer. If you use a home only in some seasons and are not there on a regular basis, it is often a good idea to drain the entire plumbing system before you shut up the house, in order to clear out excess water and particles that may have gotten trapped in the plumbing system. If you are about to have extensive plumbing repairs done it is also a good idea to drain the entire plumbing system so that there are no waterlog issues that can hamper repairs.

5 Steps for Draining Your Plumbing System:

Draining your plumbing system should not be too much of a hassle. Here are some simple steps you can follow to get the job done quickly and effectively.

  1. Begin by finding your water meter and shutting off the main water valve.
  2. Go to the highest floor in your house and turn on all the faucets.
  3. Go to the lowest level of your house (this is usually the basement) and turn on the laundry tub’s faucet.
  4. Go through the house and flush every toilet.
  5. Check all your open faucets. You shouldn’t see any water coming out or there should only be a slight leakage.

The plumbing system has now been drained.

Preparing Your Plumbing System for Winter

Draining your plumbing system just before the start of winter is one of the best things you can do to save your pipes. Often pipes will become frozen during the winter. An excess of water in the pipes will only heighten the chances that your pipes will become frozen and burst. This is especially true if you have copper pipes. Draining the entire plumbing system will give you a better chance of avoiding frozen pipes that burst and bring costly repairs.

Draining your plumbing system periodically is one of the most proactive moves you can make as a homeowner. This can often be the crucial step that saves your plumbing system from costly damage. For more information, contact a plumber like A Absolute Plumbing & Heating.

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Kitchen Renovations for the Modernly Chic

There are ways to modernize your kitchen so that it reflects your overall chic persona. The modern chic kitchen has become a popular trend among young homeowners. Here are some tips on how to change your kitchen into a modern chic one.

Add Reflective Surfaces

Adding reflective stainless steel surfaces to your kitchen will have it looking more posh. The shiny surface adds to the allure of the chic persona as well as being aesthetically appealing. In addition to adding a chic appeal to your kitchen, the stainless steel surfaces are also considered water-resistant and stain-proof. This is because stainless steel surfaces are non-porous, which prevents more liquids from penetrating through the surface. Stainless steel materials can also prevent other common household germs such as bacteria and mold from growing on your kitchen surfaces.

Add Chic Lighting Fixtures

The chic look is easily achievable for your kitchen with modernized light fixtures. Consider layering the lights in your kitchen with different types of fixtures to represent your chic image. For instance, you can add a decorative hanging light fixture to create ambient lighting, add colorful pendant lights above your kitchen table as well as use recessed spots for accent lighting. In addition, the lights can be put on a dimmer so you are able to quickly adjust them as needed.

Add Wood Flooring

Antique hardwood honey or mocha colored floors can add to the overall chic appeal of your kitchen. The floors will add a fresh and stylish quality to your kitchen. Distressed hardwood floors are a good choice for rustic chic kitchen concepts and flow seamlessly with blue, burgundy, and hunter green accent colors.  

Add Bright And Bold Pops Of Color

The accent colors you can add to your kitchen to achieve that chic look can be both bright and bold depending on your preference. The interior color scheme of your kitchen can consist of modernly chic colors such as ruby red, hunter green, blue sapphire, and sparkling turquoise. Consider changing up your kitchen furniture and chair cushions, pendant lights, appliances and walls to include a variety of these chic colors. The chic colors and patterns can also be mixed up to provide an eclectic look as well.

If you do not have the time to start and finish a kitchen renovation project, it may be beneficial to seek the assistance of your friends and family. However, for major renovation projects, it may be beneficial to consult with a general contractor and interior designer.

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How To Take Care Of Your Furnace

Heating systems can be costly to repair. Thankfully, there are several ways that you can protect your furnace in order to maximize its performance. Every autumn and throughout the winter, keep an eye on these maintenance tips to keep your furnace running smoothly.

Replace the Filter

Your filter needs to be replaced every few months, depending on how often you use the heater. If you don’t replace the filter, it can cause stale air to circulate in your home. It can also place extra strain on your heating system, leading your machine to break down more quickly.

Fortunately, replacing the filter is a do-it-yourself project. First, you must shut down the power on your heating system. Then, locate the filter; it is often visible as a mesh frame inside of your heating vent. Carefully pull out the filter and replace it with a new one.

Keep the Area Clean

At the same time, having a dusty or dirty area around your furnace can encourage debris to get into your filter. Especially since dust can get trapped under the furnace, it’s important to vacuum the area regularly.

Don’t Make it Work Too Hard

Many people have the habit of leaving their thermostat turned up all winter long. After all, no one wants to come home to a chilly house. However, there are products on the market that help you control the temperature of your home remotely, such as thermostat timers. Use these products to reduce wear and tear on your machine while also reducing your heating bill.

Keep the Parts Lubricated

There are several moving parts in your furnace, and keeping them lubricated can help prevent corrosion and other problems. You can use a generic motor oil or lubricant to lightly grease the blower motor. You should also check the burner to make sure there is no corrosion. If you don’t have your user manual and can’t locate these parts on your own, you can also consult a professional heating repair company, like Action Air of Florida, for routine maintenance.

Using the tips above, you can extend the life of your furnace system. However, it will likely need repairs at some point. An affordable heating maintenance center can help you deal with cracks in your ventilation systems, faulty machinery, and other issues that may come up. Doing some home maintenance and following up with an affordable professional service is key to keeping your home heated all winter. 

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