Mar 10 2014

Springtime Lawn Mowing Hints – The House Plan Shop

LawnmowerTaking proper care of your lawn in the spring, will give you a jump start to maintaining a healthy lawn all summer. If you polish your mowing techniques early, they will carry you through the growing season like a major league pro. These tips will help you get started:

1. Rake – Remove all of the dead weeds and grass, sticks, litter, and leaves.

2. Sharpen Blade – Keep your lawnmower blade sharp. A dull blade tears and bruises the grass, therefore weakening it.

3. Proper Height – Generally, a lawn should be mowed by cutting off 1/3 of the blade. This may mean making two passes if the grass is especially long. Cutting a lawn too short allows accelerated weed growth and scalping causes uneven growth and bare spots.

4. Direction – Mix it up by cutting the grass in a different direction each time. This helps to prevent the grass blades from leaning in one direction. When turning the mower make turns as smooth as possible.

5. Don’t Mow Wet – Let the grass dry before mowing. Even the morning dew makes the lawn too wet to mow. Besides causing uneven cuts, mowing wet grass can encourage the growth of fungus. Wet grass clumps up under the mower’s deck. This can impede the blade and tax the engine. Also, there is danger to the operator trying to maneuver on a wet lawn. Don’t be a hero; let the ump call the game.

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Feb 24 2014

Featured Adobe House Plan for Southwest Living – The House Plan Shop

Sunbelt House Plan 057H-0039Are you tired of shoveling snow, chipping ice off of your windshield, hunkering in all winter? Maybe a two-story home sounded good until years of trudging up and down the stairs with three loads of laundry every day set in your aching joints. If you are ready for a move to a warmer climate, then you are ready for a new house plan. With its stucco exterior well-suited for living in the southwestern United States, this is a house plan that will help you fit in with the locals. And you will fit in it. No more stairs as everything is on one level in this ranch plan. But if you do feel the need for altitude adjustment, try the sunken great room for a change of pace. You will find yourself moving with efficiency from the attached two-car garage, to the laundry room, to the kitchen island and into the study. With no more snow to shovel, you can devote your time to the landscaping opportunities created by the front courtyard and back patios, one of which has exclusive access from the master bedroom. If you find yourself missing the cold, you can lay back and reminisce about it in the whirlpool tub in you master bath. With less time devoted to shoveling snow and running up and down stairs, you may want to take the opportunity to entertain. Escort your guests from the courtyard and covered porch, through your own gallery of family photographs, and into the dining room or great room, or out to the rear patio. When the kids finally leave the nest, you’ll have two secondary bedrooms to use for guests – the friends and family left behind in the cold, who are ready to escape to your adobe sanctuary. Consider this one-story house plan for your new change-of-pace life.

For more adobe house plans like this one, check out our Sunbelt home plan collection.

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Feb 10 2014

Organize Your Backyard: Build a Storage Shed – The House Plan Shop

Shed Plan 051S-0001When you look out into your backyard, do you see an unorganized mess with toys strewn about the yard, leaf rakes propped against the side of the house, and your patio furniture tucked under a tarp for the winter months? If your yard seems cluttered or you feel like you have more outdoor items that you know what to do with, consider building a lawn and garden shed. Most are attractive and fit neatly into a backyard. Furthermore, they are extremely functional. These versatile designs can accommodate a variety of needs. Some common uses include:

  • Storage for lawn and garden tools such as the lawn mower, leaf blower, and sprinkler
  • Potting shed for gardening enthusiasts offering a place to store pots, potting mix and shovels while providing a place to care for and pot plants
  • Storage for lawn an patio furniture throughout the winter months
  • Ideal for parking the family bikes and storing other outdoor toys like baseball bats and gloves, Frisbees, etc.
  • Tool storage for the family handyman
  • Outdoor workshop
  • Art studio
  • Storage space for the recycling bins
  • Playhouse for the kids/grandkids

There are many more ways you can use a backyard or lawn and garden shed. Your imagination is the limit. If you’d like to view backyard shed plans, please visit The Garage Plan Shop’s outstanding collection of storage shed designs.

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Jan 27 2014

Featured Vacation Cottage House Plan – The House Plan Shop

Vacation Cottage House Plan 054H-0058This adorable vacation cottage house plan appears humble on the outside, but it is certainly grand on the inside with enough coziness to call it home away from home. A vaulted ceiling lends to a spacious feeling in the living/dining area which is bathed in natural light from the clerestory windows. Boasting efficiency, the kitchen is designed as a convenience not a chore. Storage space is offered in the bedroom to hold all of the trendy vacation-wear and in the linen closet for crisp clean sheets and fluffy towels. Whether seashells or dried mountain flowers, souvenirs are proudly displayed in a built-in niche just inside the front door. Leading to more sleeping accommodations in the loft, is a unique space saving spiral staircase. As a weekend retreat or a summer home, this cottage home plan offers the amenities of home with efficiency and class.

Browse more cottage home plans like this one in our cottage house plan collection.

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Jan 13 2014

More Tips for Updating Your Laundry Room – The House Plan Shop

Laundry RoomIf doing laundry seems like too much of a chore and you have to talk yourself in to it every week, consider updating your laundry room. Below are some simple tips to help you improve your laundry room and make it a more enjoyable space in which to work. Additionally, some ideas will help you make your laundry room more efficient saving you time so you can do something else that you better prefer.

  1. Repurpose your Entertainment Center – With flat screen TVs, entertainment centers are becoming a thing of the past. Repurpose your entertainment center and move it to the laundry room. Rearrange or remove shelves to accommodate laundry baskets and laundry supplies such as stain removers, an iron and a jug of bleach. Add a hanging rod to one section so you have a place to hang clothes after you iron them. If you don’t have and old entertainment center, consider a baby changing table. It is the right height for folding and has storage shelves below. No matter what piece furniture you add to your laundry room, paint it  with a high-gloss paint to give it a durable and washable finish.
  2. Create and Entertaining Laundry Center – Speaking of flat screen TVs…..Mount a small flat screen on your laundry room wall or buy a simple radio and place it on a laundry room shelf. Your laundry chores will be more bearable if you can watch part of a favorite TV show or listen to your favorite tunes while you sort, fold and iron your laundry.
  3. Brighten your Space – If you have a laundry room in the basement, chances are you’re looking at concrete walls while you’re working in the laundry room. Brighten the space by adding a fresh coat of white paint to the ceiling and walls.
  4. Gather Cleaning Supplies – If you don’t have a lot of room, add a lazy Suzan to a nearby shelf. It will keep all of your detergents, stain removers, etc., in a easy-to-access place. Just spin the wheel to find what you need.
  5. Get Ready to Iron – Mount a wire iron holder to the side of a cabinet or laundry room wall so the iron is always at your fingertips. Also, mount a pull-down/fold-down ironing board to the wall. It saves space and is easy to “put away” when you’re finished.
  6. Get Creative with a Drying Rack – If floor space is limited, repurposed an accordion-style drying rack by mounting it to the wall to air dry delicate items. When it is not in use, simply collapse it back against the wall.

With these quick tips, your laundry chores won’t seem like chores as much anymore. For more ideas about updating your laundry room, please review, “Update Your Laundry Room for Easier Wash Days”.

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