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5 Landscaping Tips for a Better Lawn

5 Landscaping Tips for a Better LawnA lush and healthy lawn is a point of pride for many homeowners. But grass doesn’t come with a manual, so what can you do to keep yours looking healthy and impressive?

We’ve provided 5 great lawn care improvement tips to help your lawn become the beautiful, green oasis you’ve always wanted.

Check out our top 5 tips to improve your lawn now.

1. Heavy Watering is Better Than Light Sprinkling

A truly healthy lawn is one where the roots run deep. And because roots won’t extend downwards into dry soil, it’s important to allow moisture to penetrate deeply. This means that your lawn will be better served by occasional soakings than by frequent, light bursts from a sprinkler.

Moreover, because light watering encourages rampant shallow root growth, it will only lead to a greater demand for watering over time. Doing the job properly can save money and energy in the long term.

As a side note, early morning is the best time to water the lawn. Since temperatures won’t hit

Adding a Gazebo to Your Deck

Adding a Gazebo to Your DeckHave you thought about how wonderful it would be to spruce up that old deck with something new?

Gazebos can be a great way to enhance your deck and your evenings. Besides their beauty, they give you a great place to lounge, have dinner, and just enjoy yourself.

But as with any other home improvement project, there are pros and cons to consider before you take the plunge.

The Pros of Adding a Gazebo

When you add a gazebo to your deck, you are immediately enhancing the look and feel of the area. This can definitely add to the curb appeal, and if you are looking to sell your home, it could easily add a big “check mark” in your favor with potential buyers.

Planning to stay in your home? The gazebo can become something that you enjoy all the time, especially during the heat of the summer. It becomes a natural gathering place for family and friends, especially if it is a covered model that blocks out the heat of the sun.

If you opt for an open-air gazebo, that gives you

Can Skylights Lower Your Energy Bill

Pros & Cons of Retractable SkylightsSkylights bring us closer to nature. They allow warm, natural sunlight to stream into your home, illuminating all in its wake, and provide unparalleled ventilation.

What’s more – you can enjoy all the benefits of skylights without spending an extra dime on electricity. But saving on your energy bill with skylights does require some forethought.

We’ve put together a list of factors that go into whether your skylight saves you money or costs you extra.

Energy savings are by no means guaranteed simply by installing a skylight. Because the temperatures on either side of the glass or plastic are often quite different, the effects of convection mean that you risk losing interior heat in the winter or making the AC work overtime in the summer.

The amount of money that you can save with a skylight will depend strongly on three factors: the placement of the skylight, the shape/size, and the materials used.

Placement of Your Skylights

Careful positioning of your skylight will let you control the amount of heat and

Lucky Enough to Make Improvements

This year has been the luckiest year of my life. I was able to win the lottery by simply guessing a few numbers at random. Usually when I do this, I’m left with one less dollar in my wallet, but luck was finally on my side this time. I used some of the the money from my winnings to make some improvements to my home, one of them being putting in new gutters. Even though I was rolling in money, I still wanted to get the best deal, so I looked at the gutter pricelist from a few places that sell gutters.

I went with the strongest quality metal gutters I could find, while keeping my prince range in mind. I wanted the gutters to last long into my old age and beyond, so I wouldn’t have to worry about changing the gutters again. Keep Reading

Hiring a Mason

Bricklayers and stonemasons have constructed some of the longest standing buildings, which makes it easy to understand why people want their homes made of brick or stone. Brick masons and stone masons are not just workers, they’re also artists. But be warned, bricking your home can cost a pretty penny, so make sure you follow these steps to ensure you have the right person, at the right price, for your next brick or stone project.

Before you call:
Research the different stone or brick options that you might want to have installed on your home to get an idea of their pros, cons, and costs. Your mason will be able to better explain how his services with certain materials is determined, but this could give you a ballpark figure of your materials cost.
Find some homes in your area that have recently been bricked or stoned. Talk to the owners to figure out an estimated price of the work to be done.

Choosing the Right Mason:
Compare the brick rates of several masons. Typically, brick masons figure their price per brick. Stone masons often do the same if the stones are uniform, but they also charge by the job or the hour

Tuck pointing

Tuck-pointing is the repair and replacement of mortar between brick or stone walls. Cracks, voids, crumbling mortar, or even areas of mortar from settling or foundation problems are common in masonry work from general exposure to the elements after 25-30 years. Intense freeze and thaw cycles or shoddy installations can sometimes cause these problems sooner. Large holes and washed out mortar are typical signs that tuck-pointing is needed.

The Finer Points of Tuck-Pointing
Joints, the visible area of mortar adjoined to the stone or brick, can be installed in any number of ways. The mortar can be flush with the mortar, angled in either direction, recessed, rounded, or in a V configuration. Each design has varying levels of effectiveness in repelling water and aesthetic appearance. Flat and angled joints are more popular with common brick. Rounded and recessed joints are more popular with face brick.

Mortar mix is another key component in proper tuck-pointing installation and also depends largely on the type and condition of the brick wall. Not all mortar mix is created equal and you can choose your mortar based on performance, appearance, and cost. Although the right material and technique are usually enough

Foundation Repair Address it NOW

Foundation repair is critical to address as soon as you suspect a problem. For starters, the sooner you fix a failing foundation, the less damage it will cause. The second reason is directly related to the first. A settling, shifting, or failing foundation can cause major structural damage to your home, and the longer you put off fixing the problem, the worse that damage is going to be.

Signs That You’ve Got a Problem
The worst part about foundation problems is that they don’t reveal themselves overnight. Instead, your foundation settles, shifts or fails little by little, exposing signs along the way that most homeowners overlook. Since addressing problems early is the key to minimizing damage, it’s important to know what to look for. Keep an eye out for these telltale signs if you suspect a costly foundation repair project may be in your future.

  • Misaligned exterior doors, windows and garage doors
  • Cracks in brick, stonework or the foundation itself
  • Interior doors stick or don’t fit their jambs any longer
  • Cracks in interior sheet rock
  • Cracks in floors
  • Bulging floors<

Call in an Engineer
Once you suspect that you may be in need of a foundation repair, the first step is to hire a structural engineer to

Dallas Deck Installation

In warmer, drier climates like we have in Dallas, a new deck is truly a way to increase living space for your home. Whether you’re a native Texan with a passion for BBQ or simply a big fan of Big D’s outdoor weather, your backyard deck is a great first step for creating a relaxing oasis for your home.

Deck Builders
While most Dallas deck builders can build your deck to almost any specification you require, it’s good to know what sort of deck you’re interested in having built before hand. Natural wood makes for a beautiful deck, but can be difficult to maintain. Composite decking may not have the same traditional beauty, but is more functional and long-lasting. You probably need to ask yourself both what you want and where you’ll be in ten years.

Composite decking, for example, is great when it comes time to sell your home. Potential home buyers are going to jump at a long-lasting, low maintenance backyard deck. On the other hand, they may see a wood deck and immediately cringe at the annual or biannual resealing project they’ll have on their hands.

If, though, you plan on staying in your current home indefinitely, don’t mind small

Have the Best Solution for Your Home Painting

Do you feel so comfortable in your home? Do you want to have the best look of your home? If you are such a person who really loves to spend most of your time in the home, you need to make sure that you can create the best design and look for your own home. You need to make sure that you can prepare all of those things in order to have the best look of the home. There are many kinds of things that you can do if you want to have such a perfect and wonderful look of the home.

One of them that you can do is by preparing the home design concept that you want to bring for your home. There are many kinds of home design concepts that you can bring for your home. One of them is modern house design concept for instance. Then, after you have chosen a certain kind of house design concept, you need to determine the painting for your home. It is better for you to choose the home painting that has the best look and tone with the house design concept that you have chosen.

10 Home Renovations That Will Still Be Hot In 2016

There are those of you who remodel based solely on your own interests and others who renovate based on the popular trends in housing. Each side has its pros and cons, but for the purpose of this article, I will focus on the hot housing trends that are sure to be popular in 2016.

Remodeling based on current and future trends vastly improves your odds of recouping the cost you put into the home. While very few projects recoup 100% of the total cost you put into it, some retrieve more than others. Therefore, I analyzed data from the three most recent Remodeling’s Cost Vs. Value reports to find the most ROI-friendly remodeling projects.

If the past three years are any indication, the following 10 home remodeling ideas are sure to remain valuable in 2016.

1. Entry Door Replacement

Surprising to many, but the most valuable remodeling project for the last three years (in terms of cost recovered) has been entry door replacement (steel) and the value is only going up. From 2013 to 2015, the cost recouped was 73%, 97% and 102% respectively.

According to our entry door replacement cost guide, the

Window Installation Do It Yourself or Not

With the high costs of maintaining a home, many homeowners turn to the DIY approach to save money. This can work very well for some small projects, and can give you not only more cash in the bank but a sense of accomplishment in a job well done.

Unfortunately some projects are more conducive to calling in a contractor from the start.

Window installation is one of those questionable projects that falls in the middle: Should you call a contractor or tackle it on your own?

Here are a few questions that can help you decide.

Do You Have Experience in Window Installation?

Those who have worked with windows in the past probably have a good idea of how things will go. But for those who have never tried to install their own windows, it pays to consider exactly what type of work needs to be done.

For instance, an insert window – one that allows you to keep the existing window frame and trim – is much easier to install than a full-frame replacement, which often requires serious construction skills.

Is the Frame or Surrounding Area Damaged?

When you

5 Simple Ways to Organize Loose Cords and Wiring

From cell phones to smart TVs, our homes are jam-packed with gadgets and appliances these days. And that ever-growing rat’s nest of chargers and other cords can be quite unsightly. Get your cables under control with 5 of our best tips:

1. Group Cords with Velcro Cable Ties

Cheap yet effective, many cable management solutions start with Velcro ties. These highly adjustable fabric strips are perfect for grouping cords together, strapping them to table legs, or really for anything else that you can imagine. They’re also ideal for neatly wrapping up any cords that you’re not currently using, and are even durable enough to be used outdoors!

2. Use Cable Housing Tubes

If you’ve got many cords running together, consider gathering them up in a flexible plastic housing. These consolidate your collection into a single tube, and give the entire room a cleaner look.

Look out for floor concealers as well – feed unsightly cables through these thin and flat covers, which blend in much more nicely with your carpet or floorboards.

Cable housing is usually quite affordable, and it’s an easy way to clean up your clutter. For those on a

6 of the Best Home Organization Products

Ask anyone who has dealt with cluttered spaces: it’s really quite amazing what a difference just a bit of organization can make. If you’ve found yourself swamped with “stuff”, what’s the next step to take?

Transform your household with our top picks for home organization products.

1. Flatware Trays

It’s hardly the first thing that a new homeowner or apartment-dweller thinks of, but a dedicated storage solution for cutlery is pretty much essential.

You’ll find flatware trays made of simple plastic, as well as more elaborate models made of gorgeous materials like wood and bamboo. What’s more – since these trays are, at the core, simply flattened boxes with plenty of compartments, they are ideal for other purposes.

Pick up a few, and use the extras for makeup, jewelry, and anything else you can imagine!

2. Shoe Cubby

For those of us who seem to collect footwear, the pain of losing a single shoe and breaking the pair is all too real. Keep your shoes from straying with the dedicated pockets of a cubby.

Typically, these will fit conveniently on a closet floor or shelf, making it simple to find that

Pros and Cons of Retractable Skylights

If you’re considering installing a skylight in your home, you’ve got some decisions to make. From choosing the best style of skylight, to factoring in the placement in the home, there are many variables to consider.

When it comes to basic skylight types, you can go with a traditional, inert skylight – or opt for a retractable version, one that can be opened up to provide a direct link to the great outdoors.

But are retractable models all that they’re cracked up to be? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of retractable skylights.

The Benefits of Retractable Skylights

  • Aesthetics – Skylights bring a flood of natural light into any room during the day, and provide an absolutely incredible starry view at night – especially in areas with low light pollution. With a retractable skylight, the benefits are even greater – you can draw back the intervening layer of glass or plastic and see straight through.
  • Ventilation – The natural chimney effect of an open skylight allows cooking smoke, volatile organic compounds, and moist, stale air to escape from the home – and without the noise or energy of fans. Put simply, you’ll breathe easier with a retractable skylight.
  • Temperature Control – If the summer

Does My Home Need a Fancy Alarm System

Think you’re already protected against crime? Don’t be so sure. Each year, millions of American households are burglarized – and most robbers strike when nobody is home to catch them in the act. While there are a number of steps you can take to reduce the attractiveness of your house to a burglar, the safest bet by far is to invest in home security.

Here are a few of the reasons we recommend protecting your home with an alarm system:

They Decrease Crime

Ever wonder whether those big, fancy systems advertised on television really deter burglars? We wouldn’t blame you for being skeptical, but there is scientific evidence of their effectiveness!

A 5-year study carried out by researchers at the Rutgers University School of Criminal Justice found a direct link between residential alarm systems and a decrease in crime, after systematically removing all other factors. And even if a burglar does target a protected home, the property losses tend to be lower than in homes without protection – Consumer’s Advocate estimates that you’ll save $2,000 on the average break-in. After all, few criminals are going to stick around long in a home with a

Choosing the Best Garage Door Opener

Anyone who has ever gone to war with their own garage door opener knows they’re a serious piece of machinery. After all, it’s designed to move a heavy door up and down, over and over, and is expected to last for a very long time. So when one of them malfunctions, it not only makes for a serious inconvenience, but can also lead to high costs to repair the problem.

If you’re looking for a new garage door opener, you’ll need to consider many factors before making a final purchase. We’ve put together a list of popular garage door openers, broken down by brand and price, as well as their pros and cons.

The Most Popular Garage Door Openers

The homeowners have spoken, and these are the best garage door openers for the money. Here’s what you get with each:

  • Chamberlain Whisper Drive. This gets top marks because it is extremely quiet, has a lifetime warranty, and can lift almost any door within a reasonable weight. But beware if you have a vehicle older than 2011 – the HomeLink remote function might not be compatible. Cost: $250.
  • Sommer Direct Drive. If you have

Put Your Gutters to Work for Your Garden

Your gutters perform a valuable service on your property – they direct rainwater to the downspouts, which then carry it away from the foundation of your home or outbuilding.

Obviously your gutters help prevent water buildup, preventing your home from experiencing serious water damage. But did you know that gutters can do much more than protect your home?

We’ve put together a quick list of additional benefits you can receive from your gutters.

Capturing Rainwater

The serious drought in California over the last few years has made headlines, but it’s not just the West Coast that is in danger.

For instance, 36 percent of Texas and a whopping 93 percent of Kansas are looking at severe drought conditions, while even North Carolina and Delaware are expected to feel the effects of water shortages very soon.

No matter where you live, it is important to put systems in place to conserve water.

That’s where rain barrels come in.

Gutters are the perfect collection agent for rainwater, and all that water can be saved in rain barrels. Invest in a good rain barrel with a spigot at the bottom, where you can attach a hose for garden watering. A good rain barrel can cost anywhere from $60 to $100; if

Quick DIY Fixes for Your Garage Floor

Over time, most garage floors begin to show their age. It often happens after a harsh winter, when you suddenly see small cracks begin to form.

Or it might happen when you drop something heavy on the concrete, and soon you have a crack radiating out from the point of impact.

Or you might simply have a garage floor that has been through so much, it is now pitted and cracked enough that you worry about your tires as you drive into it.

Here are the most common garage floor problems, and how you might be able to use a DIY fix to get it back up to par.

What’s the Problem with the Concrete?

Remember that garage floors take a great deal of abuse over the years. Some small cracks through the concrete slab are actually expected with time, and most of them are just fine. They won’t make any difference.

But what happens if the crack widens, or the area around it starts to crumble?

Even worse, what happens if the garage floor cracks so badly that it starts to sink on one side of the crack?

There are a few steps you should take to be certain that your fixes will hold up.


5 Landscaping Projects That Don’t Pay Off

WOW, We just got our taxes back! I got a raise! We got an inheritance! Let’s upgrade! We’ve wanted a new pool for years. Now’s our chance. Just think of the fun we’ll have, plus, it’ll improve the value of our home.”

Whoa Nelly! Not so fast! All of those improvements sound like fun and could improve the value of your home, but not all of them will.

While you might love your new backyard, some folks (particularly potential future buyers) may not see it your way. Some people may see that new pool as a huge maintenance problem and added water expense. Others may hate that garden you want to add and view it as a huge turnoff.

So before you consider hiring that landscape architect, be sure you know what you’re getting into and if that expense is going to help you, or hurt you financially when it comes time to resell.

Here are five projects that may not produce such a happy return down the line:

1. Swimming Pools

Oh yeah! You get home from work on a hot and steamy day, and what is the first thing you want to do? Take a dip, of course! That’s when you are so

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