Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Wagon Planter

Spice up your front porch with a container garden. Dig out that old  rusty Radio Flyer and turn it into a mobile planter!

Drill 1/4-inch drainage holes spaced 4 to 6 inches apart in the bottom of the wagon, using a power drill and a 1/4-inch drill bit. These holes will provide essential drainage to prevent root rot and overwatering.

Cut a piece of wire mesh screen, like a window screen, to fit the bottom of the wagon. You can cut the screen with a pair of household scissors.

Line the bottom of the wagon with the screen to prevent soil from falling through the drainage holes. If the wagon requires multiple pieces of screen to cover the bottom, overlap each piece by 2 to 3 inches to ensure no soil escapes through the joints.

Cover the screen with a thin layer of pea gravel to provide additional drainage, if desired. Use only enough gravel to cover the bottom of the wagon to ensure enough room to add soil for your plants.

Fill the wagon with potting mix, using a bagged mix or your own mixture of ingredients such as peat, compost and sand. Leave about 1/2 inch to the container edge.

Plant small annual flowers, herbs or other small plants in the soil; plant each plant to the same depth as the original container. The wagon planter works well as a kitchen herb garden or an annual flower garden in which you can trade out plant species as the blooming periods end.

Park the wagon in a fixed location (like the front porch!). If you used a working wagon, you can move the wagon to different locations throughout the yard.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Installing a Pet Doorbell

Want to make sure that you always know when your dog is asking to go outside? All you need to do is install a pet doorbell!

There are a variety of different styles of pet doorbells, the pad where your dog steps on it when he wants to go out. The wireless collar that dings whenever the dog gets within three feet of the door.  But the best and easiest pet doorbell is the traditional doorbell that your dog can ring with his paw or nose.

I recommend the Smart Doggie Doorbell.

All you will need to install your pet doorbell is a hook or nail and a hammer, it is that simple.  Holding your pet doorbell up to the wall next to the door, measure how far down you will need the doorbell to be so your dog can nudge it with his nose or paw. Mark the spot where you will need to hammer in the nail or hook that the doorbell will hang on. Install the nail or hook. Once this is done, all you need to do is hang your pet doorbell.

Here are some tips for training your dog to use it the doggie doorbell, you may need to customize these for your device, but the basics are there. 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Clean and Maintain paving

Paving generally requires regular maintenance, it is recommend that paving is cleaned two to three times a year.

If the area has just been paved, allow it to settle for a few weeks. After this, you may wish to lightly hose down the paving to remove any excess sand or dirt. The area should then be treated with a weed killer suppressant, two or three times a year as required.

Regular sweeping to prevent the build-up of grime is always recommended. Light colored blocks, emphasize tire marks and oil spills on the driveway. These areas will need more maintenance if the overall appearance is to be maintained.

A light power hose at medium pressure is all that is required to clean general dirt and grime. Any jointing sand which is removed must be replaced. Do not use high pressure power washers! Aggressive power-washing can damage the pavement surface. A trial area should be tested before large scale power washing takes place.

For general cleaning of dirt and algae, vigorous brushing with a stiff yard brush with plenty of hot detergent solution, thoroughly rinsed with clean water should suffice. Repeated treatment may be required for paved areas sited beneath trees or in permanent near permanent shade.

Thick moss or lichen must be removed by scraping out the joints and then treating the area with a moss killer.  Once the moss and lichens have been killed, they can easily be brushed off.

Large weeds should be removed by hand and then the area treated with a weed killer. Smaller weeds can then be treated directly with the weed killer and these weeds should start to die within days.

It is also possible to seal your paving with a resin material which combats staining and weed growth, while also enhancing color and appearance. The acrylic sealer is sprayed onto the block paving and forms a 'skin' on top of the paving and the jointing sand giving an easily maintained finish. It is ideal for courtyards and other paved areas.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Interesting Article

Interesting Article on Porch resurfacing.
If you are starting to think about ways to freshen up your real estate for the best possible look in the coming months. A great idea to accomplish a new look without spending a lot of money, is to paint your front door a different color and then accessorize your entranceway to match the new color. Don't just use any paint though. Use a full bodied porch enamel, deck paint. There are so many different styles of front doors in the charming villages of Dobbs Ferry, Hastings-on-Hudson, Irvington and Tarrytown that to try to pick the most ideal color for every unique door could take forever. Suffice to say that the possibilities for a great new look, in a short period of time, with a little elbow grease are endless.

A quick color change can give an entryway a whole new look, but painting a door isn't exactly the most fun job on your to-do list. We're all for taking a shortcut, as long as it doesn't mean more work down the road. And that's when we hit the point in our lives where we were excited about door paint.

It turns out the key to painting a door in one easy step is to use…porch and floor enamel. This type of paint dries to a hard, colorfast, moisture and mildew-resistant surface. (All without needing a primer coat.) It's ideal for front doors because the enamel dries to a super-strong coating that offers unparalleled protection against scratches. Once you paint a door with it, the color will stay bright and fresh-looking for season after season.

The caveat: Enamel dries to a very glossy finish. So if you aren't a fan of the look, try an oil-based enamel, which has the same benefits of porch and floor enamel, but comes in eggshell finishes. Just be prepared for a slightly longer drying time.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Rethinking Your Front Porch

If you are going to replace your front door you may also want to consider a whole new front porch. Building a front porch deck is an ambitious project; however you can do it with a little preparation and education freely available on the web.  Before toy start any construction, be sure to check local and city codes in case you need a permit before starting on your front porch deck.

Things to consider when rethinking your new porch:

  • How much room do you have?  Is there going to be enough space to accomplish your goals.  Make sure you have plenty of extra room for safety features and unexpected changes.
  • How much are you willing to spend?  Budget can set the tone for the whole project: is this a simple concrete pour or a lavish deck.
  • Do you have all the correct tools?  This can ad to the cost and save you many hours of frustration.
  • What is the weather like in your area?  This can dictate the materials you use and weather you want to have a covered area.
  • What is your timeline?  If this is a weekend project then it may not be the deck of your dreams, but it could still drastically increase the value of your home if done correctly. 
Once you have considered the above items you can begin with the design stage of your front porch.  

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Planning Your Front Yard Landscape - Trees

When it comes to trees, a decision in haste can lead to a lifetime of regret. Many trees grow more beautiful with each passing generation. Others have the potential to create decades of trouble, dropping messy fruit or bothersome leaves and sticks. So take your time and select the tree that offers the best combination of qualities you will enjoy.

Although there are dozens of great trees from which to pick, you need to be aware of a few factors when selecting a tree:

What is the time involved in pruning and upkeep?
Does it have fruit, nuts or cones?
Will it grow in your area?
How large will it get?
What are the root systems like?

Trees also have their liabilities. Some have thorns that make them unsuitable for homes with children. Others are weedy. Some are messy: sycamores and relatives of the London plane tree drip fuzzy balls, bark, and twigs all over the place. The spiked balls from sweet gum trees and the runaway roots of willows present challenges as well. However, if you choose the right place for some of these less-desirable varieties, you often can overlook their faults and enjoy their virtues instead.

After a little research I found the following to be the best trees for planting in North America.

The Top Ten Trees for Planting:

  1. Red Maple
  2. Yellow Poplar
  3. Red and White Oak
  4. Flowering Dogwood
  5. Sycamore
  6. American Elm
  7. River Birch
  8. American Holly
  9. Redbud
  10. Conifers