Tag Archive 'Lawn and Garden'

Jun 22 2015

Profile Image of Curtis Cadenhead

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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Mar 10 2014

Profile Image of M.K. Tenney

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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Aug 22 2012

Profile Image of Curtis Cadenhead

5 Simple Ways to Boost Your Home’s Curb Appeal – The House Plan Shop

House Plan 025H-0124You don’t have to own a money tree or take a month off work to spruce up your home and add some curb appeal. With a little imagination and creativity and a willingness to have fun, these DIY projects will give your home an inviting look and maybe even boost your property value.

 

  1. Give the front door a fresh look. With a fresh coat of paint, your home will make a statement to the passers-by on the street. Bright red or a bold hue of blue will give classic Colonial and Cape Cod homes, as well as other styles, a striking look. Likewise, a good cleaning and a fresh coat of varnish will give natural wooden doors an elegant look.
  2. Remodel your porch. Adding a new porch or remodeling the one you have is like giving your home a facelift. A small porch will accentuate the entry while a full-length porch or wrap-around porch will transform the look of your home and add outdoor living space.
  3. Enhance your walkways. Be adventurous and try something other than traditional gray concrete walkways. There are all kinds of interesting pavers and stepping stones available at home improvement stores and landscaping centers. Build a walkway with bricks or paving stones and add a touch of enchantment and charm to your home.
  4. Add a little life. Dress up your walkways, porch and entry with flowers and plants. Simple touches such as hanging flower baskets or ferns on the front porch, window boxes, potted plants on the steps, or a Japanese maple along the sidewalk can make the most ordinary home stand out in any neighborhood.
  5. Add accent lighting. There are a variety of lighting fixtures that will dramatize your home from dusk to dawn, including solar power lighting. Add carriage lamps by the garage, decorative lighting on the covered front porch or landscape lighting along the driveway and walkways. You’ll give your home curb appeal from the dark street and increase safety.

 

By tackling just one or all of these curb appeal enhances, you’ll make your home stand out in the neighborhood and deliver a welcoming look to all who enter.

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Mar 30 2011

Profile Image of Curtis Cadenhead

Tips for Adding a Garden Shed to Your Backyard – The House Plan Shop

Shed Plan 028S-0008Spring is here and that means it is time to start gardening, landscaping and taking care of our yards. If you have a green thumb and enjoy landscaping or gardening (vegetables or flowers), you might benefit from building a garden shed in your backyard. They are the perfect addition to your lawn or garden and work well for storing tools and supplies as well as seeds, bulbs, pots and more. If you think you might benefit from building a lawn and garden shed, the following tips will help you get started.

 

  1. Determine how you will use the garden shed. Do you need it to store items like the lawn mower, rakes, leaf blower, sprinklers and hoses during the off season, and DIY tools? Do you need extra space to store other seasonal items like patio furniture during the winter? Will you store other items inside that you don’t want to keep in your home or garage like paint cans, fertilizer and oil containers? Will you use the garden shed for planting and potting plants? Drying seeds and storing bulbs? Do you simply want a peaceful place where you can enjoy your gardening hobby?
  2. Decide what size garden shed will accommodate your needs. If you have minimal space or a small lot, your lot may dictate the size of the garden shed. However, if space is not an issue, knowing how you plan to use the shed (see # 1) will help you determine what size garden shed you will need.
  3. What type of shed access will you need? A single door? An overhead garage door making it easy to access the riding mower? Double doors so you can easily move or access large items?
  4. Consider your budget. If you are working with a tight budget make sure you stick to it. Check various lumberyards for deals on building materials to keep from overspending. If you have a generous budget, keep an open mind about adding potential special features that you may find particularly handy like lighting, a workbench, planning table or utility sink.
  5. Determine your electrical needs. If you plan to spend a lot of time in your garden shed, you may want to install overhead or task lighting. If you’ll only be in the shed a few minutes at a time, perhaps a couple of windows will provide enough lighting. Also, think about any power tools you may have that require you to charge batteries or need electricity. Plan to install electrical outlets accordingly.
  6. Take time to research local building codes. Before buying a garden shed plan ask your local building department what building codes you must follow. Some municipalities have height and size restrictions. Others must follow building codes based on local weather and climate conditions. It is important to know what your building department requires and what your limitations might be ahead of time.
  7. Choose a garden shed plan in the size that accommodates your needs, local requirements and budget. Also, find a style that blends nicely with your home and other surrounding homes, especially if you live in a neighborhood.

 

If you are considering building a backyard garden shed, The House Plan Shop recommends these helpful tips to help you get started on your project.

 

If you’d like to browse garden shed plans, please visit our sister site, The Garage Plan Shop, to view our shed floor plans.

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