Jun 22 2015

Get Rid of Mosquitoes Around Your Home – The House Plan Shop

While we all love to enjoy summertime activities like gardening, picnic, backyard barbecues and playing with the kids in the yard, many of us across the country have one thing in common: Tiny mosquitoes can sometimes be HUGE troublemakers! Not only do they annoy us with their buzzing and itchy bites, but they also transmit various diseases. So, it is a good idMosquitoea to try to get rid of these pests near your home. You certainly won’t miss them when you are enjoying your favorite backyard activities.

 

Begin by eliminating standing water. Mosquitoes need less than one inch of standing water in which to lay their eggs. Make an effort to eliminate standing water around your home by emptying bird baths or fill them with fresh water daily. Dump out buckets and pales of standing water. Cover or store things that tend to catch and hold water in your yard or on your back porch like empty flower pots, patio furniture or the kid’s plastic toys. Wading pools, dog dishes, sandbox toys and old tires are all great places for water to collect that will attract mosquitoes sooner or later. Also check your yard for areas where water tends to stand after a rain or after you’ve used the hose or sprinkler. Whether it is in a flower garden or the middle of your yard, areas that hold pockets of water should be leveled with fill dirt to prevent standing water. Finally, check your gutters. Clear any debris from your gutters as clogged gutters are an attractive place for mosquitoes.

 

While water is a main mosquito attraction, they can be found in dry spaces and places that provide cover during the day. Shrubs, bushes and ornamental grasses are wonderful for landscaping, but they are also a wonderful place for mosquitoes to congregate during the heat of the day. Keep your shrubs trimmed and your lawn mowed. Remove weeds as well. All of these things will attract mosquitoes to your backyard if left unattended.

 

Consider natural insect repellants for your backyard. Some plants are natural repellents for mosquitoes and other insects and they blend nicely with other landscaping vegetation. Consider planting catnip, rosemary or marigolds.

 

Using electric outdoor fans on your patios and porches or burning citronella candles when outdoors will help create an environment that isn’t very inviting to mosquitoes. If you create an unfriendly environment for mosquitoes, you’ll actually increase your own outdoor comfort level!

 

At night, turn out porch lights if it isn’t necessary for them to light your porch or entry. Porch lights will attract mosquitoes and other insects after dark. You only need to open your front door one time while these critters are swarming around your porch light, and you’ll quickly have some winged and buzzing guests inside your home. If you need to have the porch light on at night, consider using LED bulbs. These bulbs do not put off as much heat at incandescent bulbs and are therefore less inviting to mosquitoes. Additionally, check window screens for holes and repair them to keep mosquitoes from entering your home.

 

With a little effort, you can make your home and backyard a little less mosquito friendly and a lot more people friendly.

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Jun 22 2015

Characteristics of Duplex House Plans – The House Plan Shop

Duplex Plan 027M-0050While there are a wide variety of multi-family home plans, duplex house plans are a common choice for housing more than one family unit. Duplexes vary in size, style and the amenities they offer, but they do share some common characteristics.

  1. All duplex plans offer two living units. The floor plan for each unity may differ in size, shape and amenities like design 011M-0004, but the floor plan never offers more than two units.
  2. Living units are separated by walls such as design 025M-0081 or they are separated by floors like design 027M-0050.
  3. Each living unit offers its own private entrance.
  4. Duplex plans fit nicely in a neighborhood because they often look more like a home than an apartment building. Many use various rooflines, offset garages and other exterior features to make the structure appear cohesive rather than like to units that have been “stuck” together. Design 020M-0045 is a nice example.
  5. Duplex plans offer a more cost efficient way to house two families than building two separate single-family homes.

For a wider selection of plans that offer more than two living units, please browse our entire collection of multi-family home plans.

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May 27 2015

Recipe: Sweet and Not too Sour Pork – The House Plan Shop

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Category: Recipes

Here’s one of those recipes that was altered from the original because for my family’s tastes, it was just too sour. Of course if your tastes lean in that sour direction increase the amount of vinegar and decrease the sugar. It may have originally had some veggies in it too. That would be the ones that got picked out and left on the plate. It also tastes great with chicken instead of pork.

 

Sweet and Not too Sour Pork

2 tbs cooking oilSweet-and-Sour-Pork

1 lb pork tenderloin cut into 1” cubes

½ cup dark corn syrup

¼ cup vinegar

¼ cup catsup

1 tsp soy sauce

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

¼ cup brown sugar

15 oz can of pineapple chunks drained

2 tbs cornstarch

2 tbs cold water

 

In a skillet, brown the pork in the oil. Then add the corn syrup, vinegar, catsup, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, and pineapple chunks. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Mix the cornstarch with the cold water and add to the pan stirring constantly until mixture thickens about 2 minutes. Serve over prepared rice.

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May 14 2015

Characteristics of Country House Plans

Country house plans come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but most have a few common and recognizable features. Consider the features of these country home designs.

 

047H-0016 Country House PlanCovered porch with rail – One of the most easily recognizable features of a country house plan is a welcoming covered front porch lined with a decorative porch rail like the one that dresses up the exterior of plan 047H-0016. A covered porch offers a relaxing space for conversation, sipping lemonade with neighbors, and a peaceful place to sit in your rocker and watch the sun set.

 

Metal roof – Nothing says country like a metal roof. Take a look at plan 063H-0208. A metal roof takes you back in time, while giving your country home plenty of character and charm.

 

054H-0010 Country House PlanWrap-around porch – For those who enjoy outdoor living, a country-style wrap-around porch provides plenty of outdoor space to read, visit with friends and neighbors and watch the kids play in the yard. A wrap-round porch extends the living areas outdoors and gives everyone room to relax. Just imagine your very own porch swing! Check out the wrap-around porch on plan 054H-0010.

 

Roofline parallel to the road – Many country house plans feature a roofline that runs parallel to the road. Design 021H-0134 offers a perfect example.

 

Country kitchen – Country home plans are known for their country kitchens or eat-in kitchens. When the dining space is situated within or adjoining to the kitchen, it easy to serve an entire family with little effort. Consider the step-saver layout of plan 006H-0074.

 

059H-0039 Country House PlanFarmhouse style – Speaking of going back in time, some country home plans exude farmhouse styling. While reminiscent of yesteryear, farmhouses deliver modern floor plans with many of today’s most requested features. Consider farmhouse plan 059H-0039.

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Apr 30 2015

3 Ideas for Vacation Home Plans – The House Plan Shop

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Category: Vacation House Plans

Vacation House Plan, 052H-0088We offer a variety of vacation home plans suitable for different environments and a variety of vacation needs. For instance, take a look at plan 052H-0088. This plan is well suited for the beach or waterfront. Whether you are rolling out of bed, soaking in the tub, or washing the dinner dishes, this plan offers every room with a view, concluding with a nice porch on which to witness magnificent sunsets or sunrises. The simplicity of this plan meets creature comforts with an emphasis on location. It is the perfect getaway adventure for two, certainly meant for a romantic weekend every weekend.

 

If your destination is the water, but your romance has blossomed into a family, check out plan 047H-0077. This beach bungalow offers some great views too, including a screen porch for spending time outside but with protection from the elements and crawly things. It offers a little more space to accommodate friends and family. The open floor plan includes a kitchen with a cooking island, a dining room, and living room with a fireplace opened on three sides. How cozy is that? There are two full baths, a laundry room, three bedrooms for family and guests and parking for two vehicles, plus storage space for all of your beach accessories like boogie boards, lawn chairs, and beach balls.

 

But if your cup of tea tastes better in the wilderness, check out 012L-0020, a nifty log cabin with all the comforts of home plus a scenic deck. This open floor plan includes a kitchen with a snack bar, the dining area, and a great room with a corner fireplace. On the first floor there is a bedroom and upstairs are storage closets plus loft space to accommodate a multitude of kids in sleeping bags. Roughing it without it being too rough, wide open spaces for family togetherness, rustic and simple to reflect nature, but comfortable enough to provide home away from home.  Vacations should always be so good.

 

For more ideas, browse our vacation home plan collection.

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