Weekly Home Help with items on patio decor, glass packaging, building a tornado shelter and more.
Building your own outdoor paradise can be a daunting yet rewarding project. Before you invest your time and money, it's a good idea to consider the components of a successful landscape or patio project.
Here’s how to avoid common landscape design mistakes:
Mistake: Choosing the wrong size for your patio
Solution: Ensuring your patio's dimensions work with your concept for patio furniture arrangement may be the most important tip. For example, your patio should be at least 10-feet-by-10-feet to accommodate chairs around a table with a 5-foot diameter. If you're crunched for space, consider different furniture options, or creatively adjust your surfaces to add space behind the areas where chairs will be placed.
Mistake: Creating a disconnect between indoors and outdoors
Solution: Consistent use of colors, materials and even plants between your patio and adjacent indoor space can make your patio seem like an extension of your home. Design consistency makes each place seem bigger and more useful when your patio doors are open.
Mistake: Plants that don't fit your space
Solution: Choosing plants that will fit in a designated space when they reach maturity can help ensure your yard and patio don't become overgrown. Plants that need to be sheered to fit their spaces often don't look as beautiful as a plant that's allowed to flower and flourish. Choosing plants that survive well in your climate will also save you time and effort.
Decorating Tip: Small fixes for a high-end kitchen
To redecorate your kitchen for the warmer seasons, start by updating the color, reducing clutter, adding new hardware and fixtures and consider a new backsplash. These simple, low-budget fixes can help create a high-end look.
Home-Selling Tip: What’s your sheen?
If you are repainting your home, preparing it for the marketplace, consider the sheen. You can choose high gloss, semi-gloss, satin, eggshell or flat. A flatter sheen will hide imperfections, but a glossy sheen will clean easier.
Did You Know …
According to the National Association of Realtors, 65 percent of realtors report lending conditions have tightened thus far in 2011.
Home Improvements: Build a tornado shelter
If you live in a high-risk area for tornados and severe weather, consider building a shelter in or near your house. A shelter or safe room should be well-anchored to resist overturning and uplift and strong enough to resist penetration by wind-borne objects.
“This can help protect families from injury or death caused by extreme wind forces,” said Bob Schultheis, University of Missouri Extension natural resource engineering specialist. "Common house construction techniques based on minimum building codes generally do not provide adequate protection.
“Whether you build a shelter or not, two important steps you can take to protect your family are to prepare an emergency plan for dealing with disaster situations and put together an emergency supply kit for home, business and each vehicle,” said Schultheis.
Garden Guide: Use a starter fertilizer
Most vegetable growers understand the importance of soil fertilizers and are applying them. But some may not realize the importance of applying starter fertilizers when the weather is wet and cold.
A starter fertilizer is a small quantity of either soluble or granular fertilizers that contains mainly nitrogen, phosphorus and, in some cases, potassium and other micronutrients, as well. Phosphorus is important because of poor mobility in the soil, making it difficult for the roots of young seedlings to get the necessary amount for root growth unless soil analysis indicates that the soil is high in phosphorus. There are many soil fertilizers to choose from, but growers should make their decision based on a soil test.
-- University of Illinois Extension
Going Green: Package it in glass
The Glass Packaging Institute is encouraging people to "Ask for Glass" in a new social media campaign. President of GPI, Lynn Bragg, says glass packaging is environmentally friendly because glass is 100 percent recyclable and can be made into a new glass container. Bragg says it is another option in packaging. Bragg also says Heinz is reintroducing the 14-ounce glass ketchup bottle this summer, as requested by consumers.
GateHouse News Service