How Awesome Is Your Irrigation Contractor?

Three Ways To Maintain A Clog-Free Plumbing System

Keeping your plumbing system free of clogs is one of the most important ways for you to maintain your daily schedule.  If your system becomes backed up, there could be a costly time delay before you’re able to get a plumber out to your residence, possibly causing you to miss work and other major activities.  Taking a few preventative measures can help ensure that you don’t have to deal with clogged pipes.  Use these tips to learn more about what you can do to keep your plumbing system clog-free. 

Cover Your Drains with Strainers

One easy and inexpensive technique you can use to keep your clogs running smoothly is to cover them with strainers.  You can find drain strainers at most home goods or hardware stores, and it is quite simple to affix them to your drains.

The strainers are so helpful because they catch things such as hair or soap chips.  If this debris makes it down your drain, you could eventually have a blockage on your hands.

Keep in mind that you will want to remove the strainers from your drains periodically so you can clean away any debris that has accumulated.  Be sure to empty the strainers into a trash can, rather than run water over them that goes down one of your drains.

Switch To 1-Ply Toilet Paper

Another way you can maintain clog-free pipes is to switch to 1-ply toilet paper.  Using 1-ply toilet paper is a good idea because the tissue is so thin that it readily evaporates once it comes into contact with the water in your toilet bowl. 

Although 2-ply tissue is a popular choice, the paper is thicker and is therefore not as biodegradable as its 1-ply counterpart.  Over time, the tissue that did not evaporate fast enough could gradually cause your toilet to become backed up.

An added benefit of using 1-ply toilet paper is that it is usually more affordable than 2-ply. 

Use The Power Of Hot Water

To keep the leftover grease from pots, pans and dishes from causing a nasty clog, always run hot water down your sinks after each use.  This keeps the grease flowing so that it won’t have a chance to bind to the walls of your pipes and build up.

You have what it takes to keep clogs out of your sinks and toilets.  Start using these tips right away so you can maintain clog-free pipes. And contact plumbing contractors, like Rakeman Plumbing, for any necessary repairs. 

Learn More

Beyond Chrysanthemums – Beautiful Fall-Flowering Plants To Brighten Your Landscape

Chrysanthemums have long been the go-to plant for fall garden color, and garden centers are usually overflowing with pots full of their orange, red, yellow, purple and white blooms. As easy and showy as mums are, if you want something different in your garden, there are other plants whose flowers put on quite a show in the fall.

Russian Sage

This Central Asian native sends up voluminous 3- to 5-foot spikes of airy purple-blue flowers on stand-out  grayish-green stems and foliage. A member of the mint family, this is a tough, trouble-free plant that grows well in full sun in well-drained to dry soils. It is hardy to USDA zones 5-9.

 Goldenrod

A North American native, goldenrod has a bad, but undeserved, reputation for causing hay fever. In actuality, it is dog fennel and ragweed, which bloom at the same time, that are the culprits. Goldenrods come in many varieties that vary in height from 2- to 4-feet. Their gorgeous plumes of golden-yellow flowers look best when planted in masses. They are drought tolerant and care-free when grown in full sun and well-drained soil. Goldenrod is hardy to zones 4-9.

 Red Spider Lily

These striking red spidery flowers emerge from the soil in a burst of color every fall. These sun-loving bulbs grow to 2 feet tall and make excellent cut flowers. When the blooms die back, the leaves emerge. Hardy only in zones 8-10, red spider lilies are a southern pass-along favorite.

Helenium 

Helenium’s yellow, rust and mahogany blooms top 2- to 8- foot tall plants in a long-lasting blaze of fall color. These sun-loving plants are deer resistant, attract birds, and are hardy to zone 3-8. 

Jerusalem Artichoke

This member of the sunflower family not only gives you beautiful flowers, but food as well. Bright yellow blooms grow on stalks up to 8 feet tall. When the plants die back in late fall, it is time to harvest the tubers, which can be eaten like potatoes or pickled raw whole or in chow-chows and relishes.

Toad Lily

Toad lily’s spotted, orchid-like flowers add interest to the garden from late summer to mid-fall. These easy-to-grow plants are perfect for a shady spot in the garden, growing to 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide. Toad lilies are hardy to zones 4-9.

You don’t have to be stuck covering your yard with chrysanthemums for fall color. With a little planning, your fall landscape can be bursting with amazing shows of color from an assortment of easy-to-grow flowering plants. To find out more, speak with a business like Wild Geese Gardens.

Learn More

3 Ways To Make Your Patio More Enjoyable

Your patio should be an extension of your house that you can enjoy whenever you want. If you find your patio lacking comfort and protection from the weather, you may be tempted to use it less. If you want to make your patio more enjoyable to use, consider any of these 3 upgrades.

Patio awning

A patio awning from a place like Lehman Awning Co is a material cover you can place over your patio space to protect you against rain and sun. An awning can be retractable, meaning you can roll it out when weather is poor and retract it back when you want to enjoy the sunshine. With a patio awning, you can enjoy being outside even if the weather isn’t agreeable. An awning also helps protect your patio furnishings and plants as an added benefit.

French doors

French doors make accessing your patio much easier. Since both doors open, you can easily move furniture or other items outside to your patio without feeling crammed for space. You can also fit many people through your doors at once, or even opt to leave one French door open at a time for easy access to and from the house. Even when you are out on your patio, you can see and enjoy the activities inside since French doors are known for being completely covered in windows for open views. French doors come in a variety of styles, from antique to cottage designs, so you can find the right doors to match your tastes.

Trendy furnishings

Patio furniture doesn’t have to be all wicker or plastic. There are many modern styles that are strictly designed to be outdoors so you can enjoy your patio in luxury. Choose trendy pieces, such as deep lounge chairs with a side table for relaxing with drinks, or a cushioned chest that you can both use as a seat and to store toys and other items. Consider a loveseat for entertaining guests, or a tall table with bar stools to create a trendy setting when you are having an intimate outdoor meal or drinks.

Your patio should be a location of your home that you enjoy hanging out in. If weather or space are a bother to you when it comes to your patio, you can handle these issues easily. A patio awning protects you in many weather elements while French doors make accessing your patio much easier. Complete your patio transformation with beautiful, comfortable furnishings you’ll love, and you will be amazed at how much more fun your patio can be.

Learn More

Learn How To Identify And Safely Remove Poison Ivy From Your Yard

If you are concerned about lawn care and some plants growing in your yard and think that they may be poison ivy, learn how to identify them and safely remove them with the following steps. Once you have finished the project, clear the section where the poisonous plants were once growing and plant grass seed in it so that your property looks nicer.

Identify The Plants

Poison ivy plants have leaves that are shiny and dark green. The leaves grow in groups of three and are pointed. The plants grow as a vine or shrub and have small, yellow flowers growing between the leaves. In the fall, the leaves turn a reddish color and small yellow berries are found between the leaves. 

Use The Following Materials

  • long sleeved clothing
  • rubber gloves
  • safety goggles
  • face mask
  • pruning shears
  • trash bags
  • large shovel
  • weed killer
  • rubbing alcohol
  • cleaning cloths
  • heavy duty detergent
  • soapy water 
  • water hose
  • rake
  • grass seed

Remove The Plants

Before removing poison ivy plants, it is very important to cover all exposed parts of your body. Put on a pair of pants, long sleeved shirt, pair of rubber gloves, safety goggles, and a face mask that covers your mouth to keep yourself protected. If the plants are growing closely together, use a pair of pruning shears to trim the bottom of each stem as close to the ground as you can. Place the plants inside of a trash bag.

If only a few poison ivy plants are in your yard and they are spaced apart, use a shovel to loosen the soil around each one so that you can easily pull the plants upwards and remove the roots from the ground. Secure the bag and dispose of it immediately. Spray weed killer on any remaining stems, being careful not to spray the product on any grass or plants that are growing nearby. The chemicals that the weed killer are made out of can harm any plants that it comes into contact with.

Clean Your Tools And Clothing

The resin that is inside of poison ivy may be on your tools and clothing after you have finished removing the poisonous plants. Disinfect the tools and safety goggles by wiping them off with rubbing alcohol. Rinse each one off with soapy water, followed by plain water. Remove all of your clothing and wash it with heavy duty detergent and hot water. Dispose of the rubber gloves, and face mask. Use a scrub brush and soapy water to clean your shoes. Rinse them off well with a water hose.

Plant Grass Seed

After a few days, the remaining poison ivy stems will have wilted and can easily be pulled out of the ground. Wear a pair of rubber gloves while removing them just in case there is still any resin left on some of the stems. Use a rake to clear the areas where the poison ivy plants once were growing. Sprinkle grass seed liberally over each section and water them with a hose.

Continue watering the grass seed a couple times each day until new grass begins growing. Soon, your lawn will be attractive and you will be able to enjoy spending time in the areas where the poison ivy once was. 

Learn More

How To Get Rid Of Fleas On Hardwood Or Tile Flooring

You may think that if you don’t have carpeting that you’re protected from a flea infestation, but the tiny pests can invade hardwood and tile floors as well. If your dog or cat has fleas, it’s important to treat all of your home’s flooring so that you kill the insects in all four stages — eggs, larvae, pupae and adult — of their lifecycles.  Treat the flooring while treating your pets with medication to eliminate the flea infestation.

Here’s how to get rid of a flea infestation in non-carpeted flooring:

Vacuum the Floors

Adjust your vacuum to the bare flooring setting, which is usually the lowest one, and run the appliance over the floors to suck up any fleas in their various stages. Equip the vacuum with its brush or nozzle attachment to thoroughly reach all corners.

If you have area rugs, vacuum both sides of them as well. After vacuuming, either take the disposable bag off and throw it away immediately, or empty the canister into a sealed bag and wash the part with warm soapy water.

The jarring action of the vacuum cleaner should kill most of the fleas, but you don’t want to risk any living and reproducing in the appliance.

Wash the Floors

After vacuuming the hardwood or tile flooring to remove any loose debris, it’s time to wash it with warm, soapy water. Add a few drops of a mild dishwashing soap to a sink full or bucket of water and mix.

Use a mop to wash the hardwood or tile floors, making sure to reach the corners of the room as well. The soapy solution will help to remove any remaining fleas. After going over the floors one or two times, rinse them with plain water to remove any soapy residue.

Allow the floors to thoroughly air dry before going on to the next step.

Treat the Floors with Boric Acid or Diatomaceous Earth

Apply either Boric Acid or food-grade diatomaceous earth, both of which are less toxic to children and pets than traditional flea-killing powders. Both powders kill fleas by damaging their fleas’ waxy exoskeletons, which results in dehydration.

Sprinkle either powder, not both at once, onto the hardwood or tile floors and allow it to rest for up to 24 hours before vacuuming it up.

Keep children and pets away from the area during the treatment. Repeat the entire process, starting with vacuuming the floors, if the flea infestation isn’t gone after two weeks. 

To learn more, contact a pest control supply company like ASE Pest & Weed Supplies

Learn More

How To Landscape In Front Of A Bay Window

A bay window is a highly sought-after feature in home architecture, and it’s probably one of the features that drew you to your home in the first place. If you’re hoping to make it look even more beautiful with sharp landscaping beneath the window, you can create something unique with just a few materials. This guide gives you an idea to put together three practical types of landscaping material in just an afternoon.

Plant Small Drought-Tolerant Plants

Add a few small hardy plants that will be able to withstand direct sunlight. It is important to choose smaller varieties of plants so they will not grow so big that they block the view from the window.

Choose plants of the same variety or incorporate a few different types of plants to create an attractive design of your choice. Some plants to consider include:

  • ground cover plants
  • small shrubs
  • perennial flowers

Add Colorful Pebbles

Add a bed of colorful pebbles to provide a beautiful foundation that is also eye catching around the plants. Pebbles are a low maintenance addition that helps keep the area under your bay window neat and manicured without much continuous effort.

Pebbles are available in a wide assortment of colors, sizes, and textures so you can choose what will best compliment your home. Measure the area in front of your window so you know how many bags of pebbles to purchase. The bags are various sizes, so ask a landscaper, like Sound Landscape Professionals,  for help if you don’t know can’t figure out how many bags to purchase.

Lay Down Slabs of Rock

Outline the plant and pebble area of with slabs of rock for a sturdy border. There are many beautiful varieties of rock available at your local home improvement store. Like pebbles, the types of rock slabs available vary in color and texture so you can find a style that compliments your home as well as the pebbles and plants you have chosen.

Lay the slabs flat between and around the edge the pebbles, or stack them loosely on top of each other. Opt for straight clean lines or scatter them to obtain a more natural look.

This project will take some careful planning as you put your design together, but will be worth it as it highlights your bay window. If you don’t want to add pebbles, plants and slabs of rock together, consider choosing one or two of these options. Either way, the area beneath your bay window can be as unique as you want it to be.

Learn More

3 Features That Make Luxury Apartments Worth the Money

With open space at a premium in most American cities, apartment units are becoming more popular among homebuyers. While you might think that an apartment cannot be customized, many luxury apartments come equipped with the same amenities as their larger, mansion-like counterparts.

Here are three features that make luxury apartments worth the hefty price tags they command in today’s real estate market.

1. Secure Entry

Sharing your living space with many other residents can be dangerous at times. Authorities estimate that nearly 66% of the 2 million burglaries that take place each year are residential. When you invest in the purchase of a luxury apartment, you are purchasing added security against these break-ins.

Most luxury apartment buildings come equipped with a doorman, who is responsible for ensuring that only residents and their approved guests are allowed entry to the building. Having the additional security a doorman provides can help you feel more at home in a luxury apartment.

2. Convenient Access to Appliances

Living in a traditional apartment means that space is limited, and most builders opt to leave out large appliances in order to free up room. When you choose to purchase a luxury apartment, you don’t have to compromise convenience for space.

For many luxury apartment dwellers (like those living in Manhattan), having an in-unit washer and dryer is a status symbol. Moving into a luxury apartment complex will save you time and money each week by eliminating those pesky trips to the laundromat.

3. Updated Kitchen

If you enjoy cooking for friends and family, then the quality of the kitchen in a luxury apartment will be a significant selling point. Traditional apartments have functional kitchens, but tend to leave a lot to be desired. Appliances are very basic, and many don’t include a dishwasher due to the lack of available space.

Investing in a luxury apartment is the best way to ensure that you will have the kitchen you have always dreamed of. Upgraded design elements like granite countertops, travertine tile floors, and stainless steel appliances are generally featured in luxury apartment kitchens. These upgrades make it easier for you to entertain with ease in your luxury apartment.

Making the decision to invest in real estate can be stressful, especially in cities where apartments fill the market. If you aren’t willing to compromise space or quality, but living in an apartment setting is the right option for you, invest in a luxury apartment.

Learn More