Ideas to Make Your Garden Shed Unique

It’s time to think about spring home improvement projects to beautify your home for summer.

 garden-shed

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jollyroberts

 

If you’re thinking about adding to your garden or improving it, a great way to dress up or create new focal points by adding a garden shed. Other than the small structure holding all your gardening tools, it can become a showpiece. It doesn’t take much time or money to create anything from a cute dollhouse or an eye-catching central point. 

By the addition of windows, window flower boxes and shrubbery, a garden shed can begin to look more elaborate. Go rustic by planting a climbing vine to cover part of your shed; it’ll add some country charm. To give your shed more class, use tastefully colored paints to create a very enchanting cottage.

Shed-Flower-boxes

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/24069019@N00


If you don’t want to put too much work into a shed you already have, a splash of paint can dress it up. With an earthy red and blue or green highlighted trim and a greenish yellow door, you can make it energetic or toned down. A new coat of paint can always create a new look without breaking the bank.  If you are the artistic type, start with a beige building and paint on vines or floral decorations. But if you don’t have the knack for free-hand painting, you can always use stencils and get the same result.

Adding a lean-to with inside access for a small greenhouse will make a garden shed both elegant and functional for your delicate plants. Or, if you organize the contents of the shed, your garden shed can also double as a playhouse for your kids.

Lean-to-garden-shed

Photo credit:
Found on sashanunez2ag.blogspot.com

Not only can a garden shed be a versatile and practical building but also can create an ambiance encompassing your gardens. Best of all, it does not have to cost a bundle!

Everyone Needs a Gnome

It’s time to start thinking about your 2014 spring gardening plans, and what better way to jumpstart your motivation than with a post about garden statues? More specifically, we’re talking about cute little garden gnomes that take care of business and guard the garden and stuff. Everyone needs a gnome, and here’s why!

They’re Adorable

Well this is just a fact. Garden gnomes, happy, sad, and mischievous, are cute and funny little creatures, and everyone should have one! They watch over your plants, monitor your vegetables, and do absolutely nothing about the weeds. What more could you ask for in a gardener? Seriously, put one of these in the lap of your cranky kid and see what happens.

patriots NFL gnomes

The Super Bowl is Coming

Wouldn’t you like to display four happy little gnomes spelling out your favorite team’s name? Whether your team remains in the Super Bowl running or not, football season isn’t over until the big game, so keep on showing that team spirit! But seriously, what better way to display your pendant than between two gnomes? Even if you don’t put fan gnomes in the garden, they need to be seen by as many people as possible, so please be sure to use them as the centerpiece on your game day snack table. Thanks.

They Are Instant Friends

How could you ever be lonely with these little guys running around your garden? Well, maybe not running, or interacting, or actually doing, but they’re there, and you can have as many one-sided conversations with them as you want. We do suggest heightening the hedge you share with your neighbors if you decide to have regular chats with the gnomes.

grumpy gnome

They Help You Avoid People 

Okay, so you don’t always want friends around. Let’s face it; there are times when you really don’t want anything to do with anyone at all. This friendly little grumpy gnome can help. With a solar-powered “Go Away” sign, your neighbors will leave you alone both day and night!

 

They Make Life More Fun

And really, that’s what it’s all about, right? A garden gnome is a great addition to your outdoor décor. Need a conversation at a BBQ? Garden gnome. Need a babysitter for your dandelions? Garden gnome. Want a distraction for an awkward silence? Garden gnome. So find a gnome you love and welcome it into your garden!

 

What’s the Foul Smell Associated With the Water Heater?

Water-heaterThere’s nothing worse than foul smelling water in your house. The smell permeates everything. We use water from our tap for drinking, washing, and a number of other things. If there is something wrong, it can cause major problems for you. Rather than dealing with the problem, do something about it. As the holiday season approaches, you don’t want to be left with a large mess, especially if you are having guests over. Address the problem sooner rather than later.

If you smell a rotten egg stench coming from your tap, or from your utility closet, there is a good chance that the water heater is the problem. Get this solved as quickly as possible. Letting the smell continue longer than necessary will only do more damage.

Finding the source

Most of the time, the rotten egg smell will be caused from the hot water heater. There are a few cases however where this is not true. Before calling a professional, or tearing the water heater apart, verify that that is indeed where the smell is coming from.

To ensure your water heater is the source of the problem, fill a glass with hot water, and another glass with cold water from the sink closest to the heater. Make sure to allow enough time between filling them to ensure the smell doesn’t cross over. Smell both glasses to see which one smells worse. If the smell is obviously coming from the hot water sample, and is unnoticeable in the cold water, your problem is related to the water heater.

Fixing the problem

This issue with water heaters is more common than many people would think. Hard water is the main cause. When the iron particles breakdown, the water begins smelling worse. The more iron you have in your water, the harder it is, making the smell difficult to deal with.

Before you run out and get a new water heater to mend the problem, there are a couple of things that can be done. There is an anode rod made of magnesium that helps to protect the lining of the tank. As a result, this rod corrodes, causing the iron to be eaten by bacteria. The smell is released through this process, causing more damage than good as far as taste goes. In some cases, the rod can be completely removed.

Even with this rod out, there is a chance sulfate-reducing bacteria could still be inside the hot water heater. This will cause the problem to remain, feeding off the hard water. To solve this problem, raise the temperature about 140 degrees Fahrenheit for at least eight hours. Make sure to avoid using hot water in the home during this time, to prevent scalding. Before starting, make everybody in the house aware of what you are doing, keeping you and your family safe. These temperatures are way above what the hot water heater should normally be set to. If the problem persists past this point, it may be necessary to contact a professional to drain your hot water heater.

Timing is everything

Dealing with a malfunctioning water heater can be difficult. You don’t realize how often you use it until it’s gone. Before the problem gets too out of hand, make sure you have a grip on the situation. Rather than wasting time and money, fix the problem as soon as it comes.

Whether you are traveling for the holidays, or you have family and friends coming to your home, you don’t want the problem festering for longer than necessary. It is much easier to fix the smell and cover that up than a full on flood caused by a faulty water heater. Be sure to address the problem prior to company, making the experience less stressful for you, and more enjoyable for everybody.

Maintain your hot water heater properly to ensure it will continue working for years to come. Hard water can be damaging, so do all you can to protect the heater. If you notice a foul smell coming from your water supply, do the research to find the source. There are a couple of different ways to fix the problem, find the one that works best for your hot water heater.

Cassie writes on the various plumbing projects that can be done on your own around the house, and when to call a professional. She has researched the best Salt Lake City plumbers to find the most common causes of hot water heater problems.

Finding Spots Where Air is Leaking Out of your Home

warm-houseIn the coming months, the weather will be getting colder and it will require more and more energy to keep the environment inside your home warm and comfortable. If you want your home to be as energy efficient as possible, you might want to have it examined before winter hits to detect for spots around your windows or doors where air might be entering or leaving your home. Whether you live in an old home or a new home- any of the properties available on the real estate market, air leaks are a possibility, and they can have a drastic effect on your electricity bill each month. In fact, air leaks can be responsible for as much as one third of a homeowner’s overall heating expenses. Heating expenses are a major utility cost, accounting for perhaps half of all of your overall utility costs.

Air leaks in the home are remedied with the use of techniques such as caulking or weather stripping around the windows and doors in a home. Such procedures can take in part of much of the additional costs brought about by air leaks. It is the perfect time to weather strip areas in your home, as such procedures can immediately make your home easier to heat and insulate effectively. Sealing your home is less important before periods of pleasant weather when heating and air conditioning is not as necessary.

It might seem like gaps and cracks around windows are so infinitesimally small that they cannot significantly impact the temperature in the home. However, a gap of only one eight of an inch around a window is the same as a hole in a wall with a diameter of as much as five and a half inches. This equates to a great deal of cold air leaking into a home.

There are leaks in the home where leaks are more difficult to detect. For example, it is very obvious when there is a draft under a door due to a large gap between the door and the floor. No machinery or procedure is necessary to detect such a crack. However, other types of cracks around other openings towards the exterior of a home are harder to detect. To detect such an opening, it is necessary to first turn the AC units off and seal the house by closing all of the windows and doors. Next, fans and vents in the bathroom and kitchen should be turned on, and incense can be used to see where air is leaking out of the home. Light incense and walk around the home. You will be able to see where air is escaping because the smoke from the incense will make air flow visible. You will see the incense being sucked towards gaps in the walls and towards the outside.

This is a simple, DIY method of looking for air leaks in the home. However, you could rely on professional consultation if you want to be absolutely certain that you are not missing any air leaks. It’s probably wise to make this a regular fall tradition so that you can prepare for the winter months each year. Once you have caulked or weather stripped to stop air from exiting or entering your home, you will see that your heating bills go down considerably.

Image Credit: www.newair.com

Add Value to your Home without Wrecking your Bank Account

add-value-to-your-homeWhen making home improvement decisions, it is always smart to start small. Even if your home is relatively new, chances are that there will be a few cracked walls, paint that already looks a bit glum, etc. Small projects like this do not necessarily add value to your home, but they do a great job at retaining the value of your home.

Simple Cleaning
If you plan on selling your home, the cleanliness and upkeep of the house will determine how long it will be on the market. It can even get buyers’ offers closer to what you are asking for. Smaller projects usually require a simple can of paint, some paint brushes, some spackle, and a bit of elbow grease. Painting the exterior is a way to add some curb appeal without the enormous expense of hiring a contractor. It’s relatively easy with the highest cost being time rather than money.

Small Reno
Once your house is spruced up and looking fresh. It is then time to get focus on the making tasteful renovations to the most important rooms in the house. Most home buyers base their decision on the quality of the bathrooms and kitchens, therefore renovations to these rooms add the most value. You don’t need to get carried away with updating these spaces as such renovations are among the most costly in the home improvement industry. Here are some inexpensive touch-ups your family can do to improve your kitchens and baths.

Revive the Kitchen
Let’s focus on the kitchen since it is often the heart and soul of a home. Kitchen renovations need to play to the advantages of the design of your kitchen. Kitchens need to feel as good as they look. It is easy to start with paint. The paint sets the mood of the space. Lighter colors make rooms feel larger and warm colors create set a social tone.  You do not necessarily have to go with what is in fashion to add more value.

Neutral colors create a timeless look and appeal the most buyers, buyers want to picture themselves living bright colors can disrupt their fantasies. Materials chosen can affect cost. When choosing counter tops, it does not always have to be expensive granite to get the price you want. Soapstone is a wonderful material.  It is durable, beautiful, and will wow any buyer. White subway tiled back-splashes are fashionable, timeless, and won’t cost you an arm and a leg.

DIY or Contract?
If you have the confidence and the know how to do the job yourself, then do so. But bear in mind that buyers, real estate agents, and appraisers have a sixth sense for detecting amateur work. Thus the savings from not hiring a contractor are at risk of being lost in the long-run. So if you do it yourself, be sure to do it well.  If you are not handy with a hammer, then there are countless online resources that can help you find a contractor who is both reputable and affordable.

These are only some of the ways that you ways that will give you a leg up on making a return on your investment. And the other benefit of renovation is that you and your family get to enjoy the fruits of your labor while the house is still in your possession.

Matthew is an American ex-pat real estate agent and knows a thing or two about home pricing. He has closed many deals and knows real estate markets around the world. When not helping clients find with their property search in Monaco, he enjoys taking his Bulldog, Buster, on walks and enjoys Southern French Cuisine.

Image Credit: www.fugoolive.com