Make Your Property Beautiful with Hardscaping

Hardscaping may not be a term that you are unfamiliar with but it is simply the part of your landscaping that doesn’t include living plants.  Hardscaping are your retaining walls, fences, walkways, outdoor kitchens and patios.  It is what adds function to your property while still making it visually appealing.  Hardscaping requires little or no maintenance and can last a lifetime.  Making your property look beautiful with hardscaping can be as simple as adding a deck or it can include a ton of features like ponds, outdoor kitchens, retaining walls and gazebos.  Let’s look at how hardscaping can improve your property.

Features You Can Add to Your Property

There are plenty of hardscaping features you can add to your property without it becoming overwhelming.  A simple bench or a gazebo can be added to the landscaping where you can sit and enjoy the landscaping.  You can add koi ponds or other water features that will give you a very relaxing  place to escape from it all.  There are features that are just as functional as they are decorative such as fences, retaining walls or walkways.  Fences can offer you privacy and retaining walls can help to prevent soil erosion.

Advantages of Adding Hardscaping

Hardscaping elements can increase your property values, make your property look beautiful and you don’t need to give any of these features a second thought.  There is no weeding, pruning or cutting you will ever have to worry about when it comes to hardscaping.  Adding hardscaping is perfect for people who want a beautiful property but don’t have the time to garden.  If you live in the southwest where rain is infrequent and watering lawns is restricted then you can incorporate hardscaping instead of plants.

Drainage and the Soil

Some hardscaping features aren’t just decorative they will affect things like the soil and drainage that happens on your property.  If you want to add lots of hardscaping features you do need to think about the impact on the water content on your lawn.  You may need to add a sprinkler to make sure that the flowers, grass and other plants get enough water.

On the flip side you also want to make sure that whatever feature you add doesn’t stop the water from draining on your property.  The water needs to flow away from your house and not towards it.  You need to make sure that the hardscaping feature works with your house and your plants.  Work with a landscaping company, they can look over the property and suggest what features will work with the natural features of your property without causing issues.

Ideally your hardscaping should be both functional and decorative.  You can create some amazing features on your property and at the same time dramatically increase your home’s value.  Sit down with a landscape designer and go over your property, its natural features and what you can do with it.  Talk about the additions you want to incorporate and how you can make it all happen.

Dealing with Condensation in the Bathroom

There is nothing like the feel of a hot shower after a long day at work, it loosens your muscles and washes away the day.  That lovely hot shower isn’t so kind to your bathroom, it creates a thick layer of condensation all over everything.  The room is small and the air is warm and that gives you even more condensation.  All of this condensation on a daily basis can lead to the growth of mold and mildew…yuck.  Dealing with condensation is something that every homeowner has to go through, here are some tips to help keep your bathroom mold and mildew free.

Ventilate the Bathroom

Ventilation will go a long way in getting rid of unwanted moisture.  The easiest way is to open a window when you shower, but that isn’t always possible and if you live in the north opening a window in January isn’t going to happen.  Another option is to put in an exhaust fan in the ceiling.  Heat and moisture rises, you can turn on the fan and vent the hot, damp air out.  Lastly you can run a dehumidifier while you are in the shower and for a few minutes after you’re done to keep the moisture down.

Bathroom Paint

One of the best ways to reduce the amount of condensation in your bathroom is by repainting it with special paint.  If you go to a home improvement store to buy paint and let them know that it is for the bathroom specifically you can get paint that reduces condensation.  This type of paint insulates both the ceilings and walls, that makes the surface temperature higher reducing condensation.  Bathroom paint is mildew resistant  included and that will help to keep mold a mildew away from the walls.  You want to make sure that you put at least two coats of paint on the walls to give you the best protection.

Insulate the Bathroom

Keeping the bathroom even a couple of degrees warmer can reduce the amount of condensation.  However since we don’t sit in the bathroom like we do the other rooms in the house our natural inclination is to turn the heat down to save on energy costs.  Leaving the heat on in the bathroom isn’t an option it is just too expensive, instead a small space heater that uses very little electricity may be a better option.  It can keep the room warmer and reduce the condensation.  Bear in mind that space heaters are just a waste of money if they are left in a room that isn’t properly insulated.  If you have windows in the bathroom it may be time to replace them with more energy efficient windows.  If the walls are poorly insulated then some blown-in insulation can make the room warmer.

There are more things you can do to keep the moisture out of the bathroom, keep the area around the sinks dry, fix leaky taps  and remove the damp towels and bath mats.  Turn your shower down a couple of degrees so less steam is created by your shower.  If you live alone you can shower with the bathroom door open a crack to allow the steam to escape.  Bathroom condensation doesn’t have to be a problem, there are a number of ways to deal with it.

5 Tips to Make Your Kitchen Renovation a Success

Cable stations are filled with home renovation shows that make the whole process of a kitchen remodel look easy.  They condense a 6 week project down to an hour and they have an unlimited budget to make the whole thing a success.  The first thing you have to know is that none of those shows are remotely real and home renovation projects NEVER go the way you want them to.  There are a ton of obstacles that will get in the way in the real world. That being said, here are 5 tips for making your renovation a success.

1. Put Together a Realistic Budget

You need to put together a budget that is realistic, costs can get out of control quickly and before you know it you can spend twice as much as you planned.  Know what you can afford and factor in all of your costs for materials and labor.  On top of that set aside at least 10% of your budget for unexpected expenses and emergencies. Here is a look at how to put together a proper budget.

2. Create a Timetable

A kitchen renovation can be anything from painting your cupboards to gutting the kitchen and starting from scratch.  Either way you need to know what to do and how long each step of the renovation should take.  Bear in mind that you will be without a kitchen until it’s complete so having it completed on time is important.

3. Hire the Right People

Most of the cable shows that inspired you to renovate your kitchen focus on DIY, along with that Pinterest is filled with boards of the most amazing DIY projects but these are realistic.  Unless you were a handyman and interior designer in your spare time you need to hire people to get the job done.  Not to mention DIY projects take forever to complete.  Hire the right people to get the job done.

4. Don’t Demo the Old Kitchen Until You’re Ready

There is nothing like the feeling of taking a sledgehammer to a kitchen that you hate, it really is glorious.  You think to yourself, all my cabinets are going to be in tomorrow so let me smash my kitchen today, then the manufacturer notifies you they are on back order and it will be six weeks before they come in. Don’t smash the old kitchen until the new kitchen is actually on the premises.

5. Be Patient

You need to accept that things rarely go as planned so you need to find patience.  It is almost inevitable that something will go wrong and you can blame Murphy’s Law but you need to not lose your cool and just have patience.  As we said in the first step you need to allocate part of your budget to this happening.  You may need to move some plumbing or there is a wiring issue and you now need an electrician.  All of this makes your project more expensive and takes longer to complete.

Kitchen renovation can be among the most stressful renovation projects you can take on, follow these tips and you should be okay.

Hire a Plumber or Do it Yourself

One of the things that people don’t warn you about after you buy a new house is just how tight money can be.  Whether it is a starter home on the property ladder or the house of your dreams you still need to keep your expenses to a minimum.  That means juggling what needs to be fixed right now and what you can put off until later.  Should you hire a plumber or fix it yourself and save yourself a bundle?  There are pros and cons to each so let’s have a look at what you should fix and what you shouldn’t.

Doing it Yourself

There are some projects that you can easily handle on your own and by doing it yourself you can save yourself a ton of money.  Plumbers are skilled tradesmen and they charge accordingly.  Here are some of the pros.

Pros of DIY:

  • You know about plumbing: If you have some basic knowledge about plumbing and you’re fairly handy and do many of the repairs around your home yourself then yes you can try to do it yourself. Be very aware of your limitations and what you have the skills and tools to fix.  Not knowing what you are doing can make the problem even worse and cost you more in the long run.
  • It is a quick and easy repair: If you have a dripping tap or some small issue like that then you should definitely fix it yourself, this is basic home maintenance.  Don’t get carried away though but big repairs need an expert to handle them.
  • Have a backup plan: Let’s say that you have a leak and you try and fix it and instead of repairing the leak the pipe bursts and you have water all over the place. What do you do now?  This is not the time to head to YouTube to learn about plumbing it is time to call a plumber.  No matter what you are trying to fix have a plumber on speed dial just in case.

Cons of DIY

  • You’re not sure what the problem is: If you don’t have the first clue what the issue is then this is not the time to learn about plumbing.  If you can’t tell if it is a big problem or small one then call a plumber.  Band-aid solutions are only meant for the short term.  Issues like leaking pipes can turn a small problem into a big one pretty quickly.  If you feel in any way out of your depth then call an expert.
  • You’re flipping a house: If you bought a fixer-upper, this is not the time to do the plumbing yourself. It is an older home and it is not in the best of conditions so you want to make sure there are no hidden issues that keep your house from being sold when the time comes. Potential buyers will likely hire an inspector who will find any issues.  Deal with them now when it doesn’t matter if the plumber has to make holes in the walls to fix a pipe.
  • It is cheaper: If the cost of a plumber is fairly low then just let them fix it for you.  You know it has been done by a pro and you didn’t break the bank…win-win.

Saving money where you can is always a good thing, but there are going to be repairs that are beyond your skillset.  Bite the bullet and get the pros in when you need to.