7 Incredible Curb Appeal Ideas

Need help deciding how to increase your home’s visual appeal and value? Knowing which outdoor features can increase your home’s curb appeal will help create an attractive landscape that beautifies your property and increases its value.

Curb appeal ideas can include keeping your homes appearance clean and trimmed

homeandgardeningguide.com gathered information and ideas below that help you determine ways to increase your home’s aesthetics and property value.

What is Curb Appeal?

Curb appeal refers to a property’s aesthetic attractiveness as viewed from a distance. Several inexpensive or easy projects can improve a home’s curb appeal. Consider the following:

1. Plant a Tree

Curb appeal ideas can include planting trees

Planting a tree is among the most common and inexpensive ways to add curb appeal to your house. Trees planted in your landscape improve air quality, help cut cooling bills with their shade, provide homes for wildlife, and deliver a substantial return on investment (ROI) in exchange for relatively low-cost maintenance.

Whether you plant trees as specimens or along your property line as privacy screening, the appeal flourishing and well-cared-for trees bring to your home is unmatched by other features.

For more information on planting privacy trees, visit homeandgardeningguide.com/gardening-landscaping/trees/5-best-trees-for-privacy/

2. Install a Wood Fence

Curb appeal ideas can include installing a wood fence

Wood fences increase a home’s value by adding a touch of charm to your landscape, inspiring a sense of protection, and clearly defining a property’s boundaries, but they need regular maintenance, sealing, or staining to preserve their beauty and structural integrity.

Tip: Regular care can prevent a wooden fence from being damaged by rot or termite infestation. Read more about caring for wooden fences at homeandgardeningguide.com/repairs/exterior/5-maintenance-tips-wooden-fences/

3. Plant a Garden, Landscape and Hardscape

Curb appeal ideas can include growing a garden

Great gardens possess unmatched beauty and feel good too. The most inspiring gardens are relaxing, easy to move through, bloom throughout the year, and are not too hard to maintain.

In addition to beautiful plant life, consider the pathways around your home, areas leading to plant beds, porches, and even ponds. Paths and structures should be clean, tidy, and simple to navigate.

Tip: A small garden full of drought-tolerant plants around your mailbox is a simple way to easily enhance curb appeal.

4. Install Window Boxes

Curb appeal ideas can include installing window boxes

If your house looks bland or colorless, try installing window boxes. These features can be placed on front porch railings and below the home’s windows. Window boxes are typically inexpensive; the flowers and soil may cost more than the box. To add curb appeal, you must maintain the plants and flowers.

Tip: If you want to avoid installing window boxes on your house, consider adding container gardens in pots and arranging them on your porch and front steps.

5. Add Color to Your House

Curb appeal ideas can include painting your home

A fresh coat of paint can significantly increase your home’s curb appeal, and a cohesive color palette will make your home look more refined and well-maintained. You can coordinate your home’s architectural features (like the front door, shutters, trim, railing, and garage door). Keep your color palette restricted to two or three colors (any more colors can make the house look too busy).

Note: Colors do not have to match, and you can pick one trim color and then do a lighter or darker shade for the walls or larger surfaces.

6. Install Landscape Lighting

Curb appeal ideas can include installing landscape lighting

Adding landscape lighting to your home and property adds intriguing detail to your beautiful landscaping and home while increasing your home’s curb appeal and value. Landscape lighting accents key landscape features like:

  • Trees
  • Plants
  • Structures
  • Walls
  • Fountains
  • Walkways
  • Driveways
  • Doors
  • Porches/Entryways

A well-planned combination of outdoor lighting (fixtures, colors, intensities, and positions) highlights the architecture and showcases landscaping, creating an appealing and welcoming setting.

7. Keep it Clean

Curb appeal ideas can include keeping your yard well trimmed

Power wash accumulated dirt and grime from your siding, walkway, and driveway.  You can rent a power washer from a hardware store if you don’t own one.

Clean off debris and cobwebs, especially surrounding outdoor light fixtures, windows, and doors, to instantly make your home appear bright and clean.

Note: Occasionally, power washing your home’s structure will expose damaged finishing, gutters, and siding.

BONUS – Install a Fountain

Curb appeal ideas can include installing a water fountain

Water features add sophistication, elegance, movement, and a modern feel to your front yard. For more elaborate features, install a pond or a small waterfall. These features can significantly increase your home’s curb appeal while providing a safe for birds and other wildlife to stop in for a bath or drink the water.

Increasing Curb Appeal

In this article, you discovered several easy ways to modify your landscape that can significantly increase your home’s curb appeal and value.

Improving your property’s exterior appearance helps attract potential buyers when you decide to put your home on the market and set a higher asking price.

Ignoring your property’s curb appeal will leave you in an unfavorable situation when trying to generate interest in your property and securing your asking price.

Sources:
extension.unh.edu/blog/2021/04/annual-perennial-blooms-cut-flower-gardens-foam-flower-audio
newswire.caes.uga.edu/story/5761/curb-appeal.html
extension.missouri.edu/publications/g6905

Visit www.homeandgardeningguide.com/gardening-landscaping/ideas/ for more lawn and landscape care articles, resources, how-to tips, and DIY ideas.

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Advertisement

How to Attract Birds to Your Yard

Tired of not knowing exactly how to attract birds to your yard and garden? Knowing how to adjust your yard’s features to serve birds’ basic needs will help you create an environment for them to socialize, mature, and nest freely.

Ways of attracting birds include installing seed and grain feeders

homeandgardeningguide.com gathered the following information to help you create a safe place for multiple bird species to visit and flourish.

Attracting Birds to Your Yard

The easiest way to attract different bird species to your yard is by offering a variety of food sources, providing fresh water, installing native grass and plants, planting fruit-bearing trees, and growing shrubs in varying heights and densities to promote an appealing, safe habitat for local and migrating birds to forage, roost, and nest in. Consider the following additions and adaptations to your yard’s features:

Plant Native Grasses, Plants, Shrubs, and Trees

Before planting your garden or developing your landscape, you should investigate local, native plants in your hardiness zone. Planning your yard with bird-friendly plants that flower at different times of the year will effortlessly attract various bird species through the flowering season. Planting early bloomers will provide a food source for early summer migrants, while planting late bloomers will attract birds leaving later. By doing this, you are providing sustenance for resident birds as well.

Note: The most effective way to encourage a variety of birds to your yard is to plant multiple native tree, shrub, and flower species as possible.

Provide a Year-Round Water Source

Ways of attracting birds include installing a bird bath

A freshwater source is necessary to maintain a bird population. This water source needs to be shallow (2 to 3 inches) and cleaned or replaced regularly. Running water, like a shallow fountain, is ideal. To minimize predation, the water feature should be elevated or in the middle of an open area. Birds require access to fresh water year-round, so keeping it available during the winter is crucial.

Tip: A pond, fountain, bird bath, or simple feature with water trickling over a large stone will draw birds in for a cool drink or refreshing bath.

Eliminate Commercial Insecticide Use in Your Yard

Using organic or natural insect deterrents helps wildlife thrive. Insects are the primary food source for many bird species and are an essential nourishment source for young birds.

Note: The more bird species you attract to your yard, the fewer insect pest problems you will have.

Provide Fresh Nectar for Hummingbirds

Ways of attracting birds include putting up feeders

Install hummingbird feeders at eye level or higher in partially shaded areas. You can make a sugar solution (one part white sugar to four parts water). Boil the solution briefly to sterilize it and dissolve sugar crystals. Feeders should be washed and sanitized every few days with very hot water and kept clean to prevent mold or bacteria growth.

Supply Food in Feeders

Simple bird feeders are excellent sources of supplemental nourishment when food is not readily available. They also enhance your bird-watching opportunities.

Note: Birds eat a variety of food. Some consume seeds, while others eat insects, berries, and fruit. Seed-eating species may nest through the winter, eating from your feeder if you provide seeds they like. But birds that thrive on insects and fruit will migrate to locations where those foods are plentiful.

Strategically Locate Bird Feeders to Prevent Window Collisions

Protect birds from window collisions by not placing any feeders or attractions within five feet of windows. Window treatments, hanging plants, and decorations outside windows will help prevent bird strikes.

Tip: Attach fruit tree netting outside windows as a barrier to deflect birds from the glass.

Keep Dead Trees

Ways of attracting birds include leaving snags and logs in your yard and garden

Dead trees (fallen trees or sturdy snags) provide cavity-dwelling spaces for birds to raise offspring and as a food source to collect insects. Many species will seek shelter from bad weather and predators inside these hollowed-out trees.

Note: Be careful so as to not preserve an infected tree that’s capable of transmiting disease to others in your yard.

Keep a Brush Pile in Your Yard

A brush pile in a secluded corner of your yard will significantly benefit birds dependent on ground-level features. Start your pile with sturdy logs, topping it with smaller branches, leaves, and clippings. Some birds hunt, roost, or nest in brush piles.

Keep Cats Indoors

Ways of attracting birds include keeping cats indoors

Cats kill birds, often pouncing on ground-feeding birds and those stunned by window collisions. Outdoor cats are particularly dangerous to birds in the spring when fledglings are on the ground.

Attracting Birds

In this article, you discovered valuable information and tips to help you attract and nourish multiple bird species to your yard and garden.

Attracting birds to your yard and garden provides purpose to its components and features while supporting local wildlife with a safe space, water, and nourishment.

Stop guessing why birds won’t visit, and learn the exact ways to attract birds into your yard.

Sources:
extension.uga.edu/publications/detail.html?number=C976
ucanr.edu/datastoreFiles/268-824.pdf
nwf.org/Garden-for-Wildlife/Wildlife/Attracting-Birds
audubon.org/news/11-tips-feeding-backyard-birds

Visit www.homeandgardeningguide.com/gardening-landscaping/ideas/ for more lawn care articles, resources, how-to tips, and DIY ideas.

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5 Best Trees for Privacy

Prevent curious neighbors or unwanted attention from invading your privacy and outdoor living space. Knowing which privacy trees to plant on your property line will help you protect your loved ones’ privacy.

homeandgardeningguide.com gathered the following species information, mature size, and soil information for some of the best privacy trees.

1. Arborvitae (Thuja)

Excellent tree species for privacy include arborvitae

Arborvitaes have reddish-brown bark, and their soft, scale-like leaves are arranged into fan-shaped branchlets. This variety of evergreens is mildly aromatic and soft to the touch. This species is most often planted as a privacy screen or for hedges.

Mature Size – This species grows to a height of 40 to 60 feet and a 10 to 15-foot spread at maturity.
Spacing – Planting your arborvitae approximately ten feet apart is wise. If you plan to prune the plant to maintain a size or shape, make necessary adjustments when spacing your arborvitae.
Soil Requirements – Arborvitae adapt to a range of soil types, including red clay, but the species prefer moist, well-drained loam.
Water Needs – Approximately 10 gallons of water per inch of the tree’s diameter is recommended for established trees growing in well-drained soil.
Hardiness Zone – 3 through 8

2. Leyland Cypress (Cupressus leylandii)

Excellent tree species for privacy include leyland cypress

The Leyland Cypress is an evergreen, vigorous tree, densely foliaged to the base. This species has a pleasing mid-green or blue-green foliage made up of soft, scale-like needles.

Mature Size – This species grows to a height of 60 to 70 feet and a 15 to 25-foot spread at maturity.
Spacing – Cupressus leylandii should be spaced 6 to 10 feet apart for privacy.
Soil Requirements – This species grows well in acidic, alkaline, loamy, moist, sandy, well-drained, and clay soils.
Water Needs – A Leyland cypress requires a few months to get established and needs frequent deep waterings during this time. Once established, give the tree 1 gallon of water per week for each foot of height.
Hardiness Zone – 6 through 10

3. Juniper (Juniperus)

Excellent tree species for privacy include juniper

Junipers can vary in size and shape (depending on the variety) from tall trees to columnar or low-spreading shrubs with long, trailing branches. This species is evergreen with needle or scale-like foliage.

Mature Size – This species grows to a height of 1 to 50 feet and a 6 to 20-foot spread at maturity.
Spacing – For a privacy screen, space your juniper trees five feet apart or three feet apart for a solid wall.
Soil Requirements – Junipers are very tolerant of dry, clay soils, and many varieties will thrive in sand. All varieties require well-drained soil.
Water Needs – Once established, Juniper trees require little to no supplemental watering. In fact, they are more likely to contract soil-born diseases from overwatering.
Hardiness Zone – 2 through 7

4. Weeping Willow (Salix babylonica)

Excellent tree species for privacy include weeping willow

Weeping willow trees are popular for their dramatic, elegant, weeping appearance. Their long, graceful branches fall into an arch, creating a rounded canopy gently grazing the ground. Their flowing, narrow leaves are light green on top, with silver undersides until they turn yellow in fall.

Mature Size – This species grows to a height of 30 to 40 feet and a 30 to 35-foot spread at maturity.
Spacing – For a privacy screen, space your weeping willow trees 40 to 50 feet apart.
Soil Requirements – Weeping willows grow well in acidic, alkaline, loamy, moist, rich, sandy, well-drained, and clay soils.
Water Needs – You should water a weeping willow weekly for the first year after planting. Once established, you only need to water it enough to keep the soil from drying out.
Hardiness Zone – 6 through 8

5. Yew (Taxas baccata)

Excellent tree species for privacy include yew

Yew trees are densely branching, evergreen trees with big trunks. The tree’s bark is thin, scaly, and brown, coming off in small flakes. Its leaves are dark green, leathery, and narrow with a pointed tip. Once called the “graveyard tree” in England, the yew has a reputation for sudden death in both people and livestock.

Mature Size – This species typically grows to a height of 20 to 30 feet and a 15 to 20-foot spread at maturity.
Spacing – Space your yew trees 5 to 10 feet apart for a privacy screen. This species grows considerably more densely when planted closer together.
Soil Requirements – This species thrives in rich, loamy soil with a neutral to slightly alkaline pH. It also does surprisingly well in heavy clay. However, planting sites that trap water can quickly result in root rot.
Water Needs – Yews require minimal watering. Only during drought conditions would weekly watering be recommended.
Hardiness Zone – 3 through 8

BONUS – Holly (Ilex)

Excellent tree species for privacy include holly

The American holly is an evergreen tree with stout, stiff branches and spine-tipped leaves. Female trees produce small, bright red berries. Holly is well known for its tough, spiny leaves; the long, needle-like spines successfully deter browsing wildlife.

Mature Size – This species typically grows to a height of 40 to 50 feet and a 20 to 40-foot spread at maturity.
Spacing – It is recommended to plant hollies 5 to 6 feet apart to create a dense hedge or privacy screen.
Soil Requirements – Hollies prefer loamy, well-draining soil kept evenly moist.
Water Needs – Once established, the bush should get 2 inches of water weekly.
Hardiness Zone – 3 through 11

Privacy Tree Species

In this article, you discovered species, mature size, and soil information for some of the top-rated, most popular, and fastest-growing privacy trees.

Planting privacy trees allows you to enjoy your outdoor activities without worrying if your neighbors are spying on your every move. These trees will also provide much-needed shade and protection from severe weather.

Without privacy trees your outdoor activities and family’s personal lives will be in the open for curious neighbors and potential criminals to watch.

Sources:
ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/GARDEN/PLANTS/arborvitae.html
edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/ST671
hgic.clemson.edu/factsheet/juniper/
bellarmine.edu/faculty/drobinson/weepingwillow.asp
ipm.missouri.edu/MEG/2020/6/yews-DT/
gardeningsolutions.ifas.ufl.edu/plants/trees-and-shrubs/shrubs/holly.html

Visit http://www.homeandgardeningguide.com/gardening-landscaping/trees/ for more tree planting and care articles, resources, DIY, and how-to tips.

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3 Practical Garage Conversion Ideas

Without the best ideas and knowing if converting your garage is worth the money, you may make a costly mistake. Having clever conversion ideas, knowing the impact on your home value, and knowing how to convert your garage into a functional space can save you from costly permitting, land disturbance and construction fees.

A garage conversion can be one of the fastest and most economic ways to add extra usable space to your home

homeandgardeningguide.com gathered the following information, ideas, and tips on converting your garage into a living or workspace.

Is It a Good Idea to Convert Your Garage?

Yes and no. A garage conversion can alleviate the pressures a growing family faces by moving specific activities to that designated space. However, builders, designers, and inspectors agree that converting your garage into a living space will not add significant value to your home.

Tip: A garage conversion is typically not a good idea if you’re planning to sell your home in the next few years.

Note: Before embarking on any remodeling project, research local ordinances and consult your HOA to make sure there are no restrictions on altering your garage’s use.

Is It Cheaper to Convert a Garage or Build an Extension?

While building and construction costs vary based on your location and plans, you can expect a garage remodel to cost a mere fraction of what you’d spend to build a home addition from the ground up.

Garage Conversion Ideas

One of the greatest things about converting your garage is the extra space you have to work with (in a way that’s relatively fast, unobtrusive, and inexpensive). Properly converting a garage is hardly fast or cheap; doing the job correctly can easily cost thousands of dollars in materials and upgrades and may take weeks to complete. Consider the following garage conversion ideas:

1. Workshop Conversion

A garage conversion can be one of the fastest and most economic ways to add a fully functional workshop

Convert your garage into a functional workshop by first completely clearing out the garage. An empty garage lets you plan what you need and where you need it. Lay out cabinets, counters, shelves, drawers, pegboards, and bins for an optimized workshop with a place for everything and zero clutter.

Step 1 – Sketch the layout for each workshop wall
Step 2 – Completely empty the garage
Step 3 – Refinish the flooring or install new flooring
Step 4 – Level, Mount, and Hang wall and base cabinets
Step 5 – Install countertops
Step 6 – Level, Mount, and Hang shelves
Step 7 – Mount your pegboards
Step 8 – Move your tools, equipment, and supplies into their new space

Tip: You will need an open floor plan to safely operate larger machines like circular or miter saws, and you should reserve storage space for raw materials like lumber and pipes.

2. Gym/Fitness Center Conversion

A garage conversion can be one of the fastest and most economic ways to add a personal fitness center to your home

It is quite common that garage spaces are converted into a home fitness center. The “home gym” has increased in popularity with the recent social distancing policies and public distress over the COVID-19 pandemic. A garage can be converted into a home fitness center by:

Step 1 – Sketch the fitness center layout
Step 2 – Clear out the garage
Step 3 – Insulate and finish the walls
Step 4 – Determine what type of flooring you want (hardwood, padded, etc.)
Step 5 – Install heating, cooling, and air circulation options
Step 6 – Hang cabinets and place racks for equipment storage
Step 7 – Increase the room’s lighting
Step 8 – Invest in quality equipment

Tip: Hang mirrors strategically around the fitness center to watch your progress and make the room feel larger.

3. Home Office Conversion

A garage conversion can be one of the fastest and most economic ways to add office space to your home

If you want to save space and add a home office to your home, your garage is the answer. Since garages are enclosed and developed spaces, they can serve as an ideal area to install your home office. Consider the following steps:

Step 1 – Sketch the office layout
Step 2 – Clear out and thoroughly clean the garage
Step 3 – Insulate and finish the walls (a fresh coat of paint will work wonders)
Step 4 – Determine what type of flooring you want (hardwood, carpet, tile, etc.)
Step 5 – Add or adjust electrical outlets (you may need an electrician for this)
Step 6 – Install heating, cooling, and ventilation options
Step 7 – Verify wi-fi, hardwired, and landline connections
Step 8 – Install appropriate lighting (ambient, reading, video, etc.)
Step 9 – Arrange desks, cabinets, shelving units, etc.

Tip: Requirements for your office size, equipment, and layout will depend mostly on your profession and what you need to efficiently meet your goals.

What Permission or Permit Do I Need to Convert My Garage?

Planning permission and building or construction permits are not usually required for a simple garage conversion, providing the work is internal and does not involve enlarging or changing the building’s footprint. If you intend to convert a garage into a separate house or housing unit (regardless of who will occupy it), then planning permission and permits may be required, no matter what work is involved.

Garage Conversion

In this article, you discovered information, ideas, and tips to help you convert your garage into a practical workshop, gym, or office space.

Converting your garage will allow you to move specific activities into a newly appropriated space, allowing you and your family to feel less restricted or cramped.

Ignoring your converted garage’s potential can leave you paying for expensive expansions or additions, contractors, and building or land disturbance permits.

Sources:
magazine.columbia.edu/article/designing-your-home-working-home
housingworksri.org/Learning-Center/Learning-Center-Overview/Accessory-Dwelling-Units-ADU/Garage-ConversionType
cfsms.org/index-993.html
health.clevelandclinic.org/how-to-create-a-home-gym-youll-actually-use/

Visit http://www.homeandgardeningguide.com/improvement/garage-conversion/ for more garage conversion articles, resources and tips.

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DIY Wallpaper Installation

Avoid the wasted effort and embarrassment of poorly hung, peeling, or crooked wallpaper. Knowing how to properly install wallpaper will help you take on the DIY project of adding tranquility and coziness to your home’s decor.

Hanging wallpaper involves installing one sheet at a time

homeandgardeningguide.com gathered the following essential information and tips on DIY wallpaper selection, sizing, and installation.

How Much Wallpaper Do I Need?

This fundamental question is relatively simple to answer. Use the following to determine how much wallpaper to acquire (all measurements should be made in feet and inches):

Walls – Measure walls from corner to corner and again from floor to ceiling. Multiply those two figures to ascertain the wall’s square footage. Repeat this process for each wall, then add the totals to give you the amount of space to cover.

Tip: When wallpapering your ceiling, multiply the floor’s width by its length.

Windows and Doors – Use the same measurement formula to determine the size of windows and doors (length X width = SqFt). Subtract these totals from the wall space you just calculated.

The Wallpaper – Divide your totals by 25. This will give you the number of standard wallpaper rolls to purchase.

Tip: Unless you are purchasing custom-made wallpaper, standard rolls cover 25 square feet.

Hanging wallpaper involves using a tape measure to figure out the size of your walls

Hanging Your Wallpaper

Once you’ve selected your wallpaper and acquired enough to cover the intended room(s), follow these steps to hang your wallpaper like a pro:

Fixtures – Before you can start, you should remove the switch and plug plates, light fixtures, appliance controls (thermostat), etc. This will give you an unimpeded space to work.

Prepare the Walls – Prime your walls by patching any holes, correcting significant irregularities, and sanding them smooth.

Tip: If your walls were previously painted with an enamel-based paint, sanding them will help the wallpaper’s adhesive (glue) more efficiently hold it in place.

Cut the Wallpaper – Roll out the wallpaper on your work surface and cut several pieces to the wall’s length with a utility knife.

Tip: Allow an extra 5 to 6 inches of length when sizing your wallpaper. You will trim this off later in the process.

Mark a Plumb Line and Hang the First Sheet – Mark a plumb line on the wall, apply a thin layer of wallpaper adhesive to the area or remove the wallpaper’s protective sheet covering the self-adhesive side and begin applying it to the wall. Adhere the wallpaper on the wall with the heels of your hands, aligning the wallpaper’s edges with the plumb line.

Note: If you are using wallpaper adhesive, paste, or glue, make sure it is “tacky” or beginning to cure before applying the wallpaper.

Tip: Mark a plumb line before beginning a new section or room to ensure that the first application goes up “squared.” This first application will serve as a guideline for all other sheets.

Hanging wallpaper involves tracing a plumb line to align the sheets correctly

Smooth the Surface – After hanging each sheet, use a soft-bristle wallpaper brush to smooth the surface. Repeat this process for each application, ensuring the sheets are properly adhering to the wall.

Corners – When you reach a corner, use your straightedge and utility blade to cut off any excess paper. If the piece (strip) you removed is more than 2″ wide, use it to start the next wall. Draw a plumb line 1/4″ less than the width of the strip, and hang it.

If you are left with any gaps, use caulk to fill them in. Use a damp cloth to remove any excess.

Tip: Always cut your sheets to size when reaching a corner. Trying to fold a sheet into a corner can result in an uneven, sloppy-looking application.

Outlets and Switches – Hang your wallpaper over any outlets and switches (ensure the power is turned off for this). After 20 minutes, cut an X over the covered outlets and switches, then trim the excess paper away.

Bubbles – After finishing your wallpapering, you may encounter a few bubbles. Don’t try to remove them; they should disappear after a few days.

Wallpaper Selection Tips

The wallpaper you select can make a room appear larger, warmer, cozier, and brighter (or the contrary) and cover or distract from your wall’s imperfections. Consider the following elements:

Style – large patterns with dramatic colors lend to a formal appearance. Small, open, and evenly spaced patterns like polka dots or patterned stripes give a fun or whimsical appearance. Be patient when searching for the perfect wallpaper style – the choices are practically infinite.

Tip: Use borders to give the eye a place to start and end.

Color – Color quickly establishes a room’s mood. Select patterns with cool colors, like green, blue, or purple, to make a room visually larger and the ceiling appear elevated. Soft cool colors suggest relaxation and tranquility, while intense cool colors are fresh and somewhat dramatic. Warm colors include red, yellow, and orange shades. These colors tend to make people feel warmer.

Tip: Blue is the only primary color entirely within the cool spectrum. Greens assume some of yellow’s attributes, and purples or violets assume some of red’s attributes.

Light – In a dark hallway or windowless room, look for wallpaper that reflects light around the room and consider patterns with smooth surfaces, which brighten the room by reflecting its light.

Tip: Darker colors absorb light, making walls appear closer and the room significantly smaller.

Mix and Match – A room without any pattern can quickly disenchant, while a room with too many patterns can trigger a deep restlessness. When combining stripe, floral, or plaid patterns in a room, select repeating patterns (color or style).

Selecting the “right” wallpaper style, color, and pattern can be a profoundly personal venture and should be done with patience to avoid any potentially regrettable decisions.

Wallpaper Hanging

In this article, you discovered answers to frequently asked questions, information, instructions, and tips to help you hang your wallpaper like a professional.

Knowing how to properly hang wallpaper will help you completely personalize your living area, creating the perfect atmosphere inside your home.

Without knowing the steps, your DIY wallpaper hanging project can turn into a disaster and wasted time.

Sources:
nyiad.edu/design-articles/interior-design/hanging-wallpaper
wallcoverings.org/page/SurfacePrep

Visit http://www.homeandgardeningguide.com/decorating/ for more DIY articles, resources, and tips.

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Tree Planting and Care in Georgia

Avoid planting the wrong tree species, or killing it due to not knowing when to plant it or how to care for it in Georgia’s climate. Knowing Georgia’s hardiness zone and how to care for your trees will help you get them properly planted and thriving.

homeandgardeningguide.com gathered the following information and tips on planting and caring for trees hardy to the temperate climate of Georgia.

What is Georgia’s Hardiness Zone

Georgia has a humid subtropical climate

Georgia is known for its humid subtropical climate. Georgia summers are typically long and hot, while winters are short and mild. The time in which you should plant your trees depends on what Georgia planting zone you are in.

Georgia’s hardiness zones are from 6a in the north to 9a in the state’s southeast.

When Should You Plant a Tree in Georgia?

In Georgia, most deciduous trees are dormant from late fall until the end of winter, while evergreen species slow their growth through the cold months. The best time to plant is between January and early March.

When a tree is first planted or transplanted, it can go into shock. The tree needs time to get familiar with its new surroundings and may struggle to get enough water and nutrients. You can minimize this shock by:

  • Selecting a location with enough sunlight for the species
  • Adjusting the soil’s pH for the tree species
  • Enriching the soil with organic matter
  • Providing the newly planted tree with frequent deep waterings
  • Feeding the tree with nutrient-rich fertilizer
  • Protecting the tree from sunscald

Note: Planting trees in the fall is often recommended. However, in northern parts of Georgia, early winter freezes may cause irreparable root damage and kill your newly planted tree(s). You can avoid this by scheduling any new tree planting for the beginning of spring (when the threat of freezing has passed).

Also, be mindful of the surroundings, location, and nearby trees, as their roots can cause issue. You may need to remove a tree to make space when planting, but refer to these Georgia tree permitting instructions to ensure a lawful removal, and find a qualified arborist if you need assistance.

Common Trees to Plant in Georgia

Planting birch trees in georgia landscapes

While there are numerous tree species that will flourish in Georgia, the following tree species are found growing throughout Georgia landscapes thriving in the state’s temperate climate:

  • Trident Maple (Acer buergerianum)
  • River Birch (Betula nigra) – Native
  • Deodar Cedar (Cedrus deodara)
  • Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis) – Georgia Native
  • Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida) – Georgia Native
  • Black Walnut (Juglans nigra) – Native
  • Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia)
  • Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) – Georgia Native
  • Crabapple (Malus) – Native
  • Loblolly Pine (Pinus taeda) – Georgia Native
  • White Oak (Quercus alba)
  • Flowering Cherry (Prunus) – Georgia Native
  • Tulip Poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera) – Georgia Native

Tip: Selecting a native species when planting a tree in Georgia can benefit you by:

  • Saving water – Native species are adapted to the areas water table and will require little supplemental water once established
  • No fertilizer needed – Once established, native trees will require little to no fertilizer
  • No pesticides needed – Native trees have more immunity and resistance to local insects
  • Erosion control – Native trees grow strong and deep root systems, helping protect the soil and its biodiversity from erosion
  • Restore natural habitats – Native trees attract native insects and wildlife

When you plant a native tree species, you are taking steps to preserve the area’s biodiversity, support native wildlife, and grow a tree that needs much less attention than imported or exotic species.

Fast-Growing Georgia Shade Trees

People plant trees for multiple reasons. However, most will plant a tree with the expectation that it will provide shade from the sun and shelter from the wind. The following are among the fastest growing shade trees in Georgia; growing up to five feet per year:

  • American Sycamore (Platanus occidentalis) – Georgia Native
  • Lombardy Poplar (Populus nigra)
  • Silver Maple (Acer saccharinum) – Georgia Native
  • Weeping Willow (Salix babylonica) – Georgia Native

Planting weeping willow trees in georgia landscapes

Tip: The weeping willow species has been known to outpace other trees by reaching an astounding growth rate of up to ten feet per year, finally topping out at about 40 to 50 feet.

Planting Privacy Screens in Georgia

While most tree species require copious space between planting locations, the following tree species can be planted in close proximity to create a living privacy screen along your Georgia property line:

  • Green Giant Arborvitae (Thuja plicata)
  • Leyland Cypress (Cupressus × leylandii)
  • Carolina Sapphire (Cupressus Arizonica)
  • Cryptomeria (Cryptomeria japonica)

Note: With ideal weather conditions and proper tree care, these trees will grow, on average, three to four feet per year and provide decades of privacy from your nosy neighbors.

Georgia Tree Planting and Care

In this article, you discovered essential information about planting and caring for trees hardy to Georgia’s plant hardiness zones (6a through 9a).

Knowing which trees to plant in Georgia and how to care for them will help you develop an impressive and thriving ecosystem in your yard and landscape.

Haphazardly planting trees can lead to unintended consequences and them dying before reaching maturity.

Sources:
extension.uga.edu/publications/detail.html?number=B625&title=Landscape%20Plants%20for%20Georgia
planthardiness.ars.usda.gov
plantnative.org/best-shade-trees-for-georgia.htm
gatrees.org/forest-management-conservation/reforestation/
audubon.org/content/why-native-plants-matter

Visit http://www.homeandgardeningguide.com/gardening-landscaping/trees/ for more tree planting and care articles, resources, DIY, and how-to tips.

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How To Get Rid of Ants in the Garden

Avoid becoming the target of an angry ant colony thriving in your garden. Knowing how to get rid of ants in your garden will help you do your gardening duties without worrying about irritating ant bites and stings.

homeandgardeningguide.com gathered the following information and tips on how to eliminate ants in your garden.

Why Do I Have A Lot of Ants in My Garden?

Getting rid of ants in your garden requires eliminating their food source

It is normal to have ants occasionally foraging through your garden. That stated, when they move their colony to your garden and become a nuisance, it is typically a sign of more significant problems. Ants are attracted to the following:

Sap Farming – Ants will cultivate and protect mealybugs, scales, whiteflies, leafhoppers, and aphids, and the sweet bi-product they produce when feeding on your plants.

Anything Sugary or Sweet – Ants have a keen sense of smell. They are attracted to candy, scented foods, carbohydrates, sugary drinks, scented candles, perfume, nuts, seeds, fruit, flower nectar, and anything that may satiate their sweet craving.

Pheromone Trails – Ants use pheromones to mark their paths, helping other colony members efficiently get from the nest to a food source and back again.

What Kills Ants Instantly in the Garden?

Before resorting to harsh commercial pest control sprays and chemicals, try these three safer extermination methods:

Cornmeal and Baby Powder – A few handfuls of cornmeal or baby powder on ant mounds can prove effective in eradicating ants.

Borax – Borax placed in containers mixed with jelly will attract and kill ants. Ants cannot digest borax and will quickly die, taking many colony members with them.

Note: Borax can be toxic to wild animals and pets, so use it judiciously.

Diatomaceous Earth – Diatomaceous earth comes from dead sea creatures called diatoms and is available at almost any garden center or nursery. The granules’ sharp edges kill ants and other insects as they try to digest them.

Tip: Diatomaceous earth needs to stay dry to be effective. Re-apply it after rain or watering.

Vinegar – A 1-to-1 mixture of vinegar and water is often sufficient to ward off small numbers of ants when sprayed over their pheromone trail and ant hill.

Neem Oil – Another natural way to eliminate ants in your garden is to eliminate their food source. Spraying your plants with neem oil (foliage top and bottom) will help eliminate scale, mealybug, whitefly, leafhopper, and aphid infestations, effectively cutting off one of the principal food sources helping ants thrive. Neem oil will also irritate and discourage ants from nesting in your garden.

Getting rid of ants in your garden can be accelerated by using neem oil

Should I Get Rid of Ants in My Garden?

While ants can be a menace (especially in great numbers), consider how they help create healthy ecosystems:

  • Ants eat fleas, caterpillars, termites, and dead remains of insects and animals.
  • Ants aerate the soil
  • Ants dig extensive tunnels that carry water, oxygen, and nutrients to plant roots
  • Ants accelerate the decomposition of organic material, like leaves and dead insects, thereby enriching the soil and fertilizing plants

Note: Ants can displace approximately the same amount of soil as earthworms, loosening the soil while enriching it.

How Do Ants Damage Vegetable Gardens?

Ants cause the most damage to young, tender plants and can be especially damaging to the following crops:

  • Corn
  • Cucumbers
  • Okra
  • Potatoes
  • Watermelon

Use extreme caution if you choose to apply chemical (commercial) repellants. These substances can infiltrate your soil and be absorbed by your plants. It is highly recommended to apply non-toxic solutions, like cornmeal, baby powder, borax, diatomaceous earth, vinegar, and neem oil.

Tip: Treat your surrounding lawn with ant baits and deterrents as well to prevent new ant colonies from invading your vegetable garden.

Treat ant infestations quickly and early, as the longer you wait, the harder they become to exterminate and the more plant damage they cause.

Getting Rid of Fire Ants Naturally

Getting rid of ants in your garden often requires you to destroy the ant mound

Fire ant colonies can reach massive proportions, cause severe garden damage, and inflict painful stings when attacking unwitting passersby. Here is how you can quickly and naturally eradicate them from your garden:

Step 1 – Mix 1 tablespoon of liquid dish soap or ¼ cup Castile soap with a quart of water
Step 2 – Poke a large and deep hole in the top of the fire ant mound
Step 3 – Slowly pour the soapy water mixture into the mound
Step 4 – Put the remaining soapy water solution in a spray bottle to spray the ants you see outside the nest

Tip: Add cooking oil to your soapy water solution, and the oil will suffocate the ants.

Note: Soap decomposes the protective wax coatings that fire ants use to retain water. Without their exoskeleton, ants quickly dehydrate.

Eliminating Ants in Your Garden

In this article, you discovered essential information and tips on how to safely get rid of ants in your garden.

Getting rid of ants in your garden can prevent damage to young, tender plants and help you avoid painful bites and stings from aggressive colonies.

Ignoring ants in your garden can result in significantly damaged plants, severe attacks on pets, unsuspecting children, and yourself.

Sources:
hgic.clemson.edu/factsheet/controlling-fire-ants-in-the-vegetable-garden/
nwdistrict.ifas.ufl.edu/hort/2016/08/12/fire-ants-in-the-garden/
pestadvisories.usu.edu/2020/05/15/ants-in-the-garden-cold-damage-vs-disease-aphid-movement-in-the-landscape/
extension.psu.edu/programs/master-gardener/counties/clinton/news/2015/ants-friend-or-foe

Visit http://www.homeandgardeningguide.com/gardening-landscaping/maintenance/ for more garden maintenance articles, resources, DIY and how-to tips.

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Common Home Insect Infestations

Avoid insect infestations in your home and from making you paranoid or grossed out. Knowing how to identify and deal with an insect invasion will help you maintain a clean and safe home for you and your loved ones.

homeandgardeningguide.com gathered the following information and tips on how to identify, control, and prevent common home insect invasions.

1. Spiders (Araneae)

Home insect infestations can be caused by spiders

Spiders represent any of more than 46,700 species of arachnids that significantly differ from insects in having eight legs rather than six and in having their body segmented into only two parts rather than three.

Infestation – The primary reason that spiders invade our homes is in the search for food. If you inadvertently have insects thriving in your home, spiders will thrive too. If you want to control spider populations in your home, it’s crucial to pest infestations.
Danger – Black widows and brown recluse spiders, the most poisonous in the US, are the two predominant dangers of spider infestations. A bite from one of these arachnids can be deadly. These spiders are usually found in dark, secluded, and undisturbed areas of the home.
Control – Caulk all cracks and fissures in your home’s foundation. Seal windows with fitted screens and all doors with sweeps and new weather strips. Clean window shutters, rain gutters, leaf piles, garages, or utility sheds regularly, and power-wash any webs off your home.
Prevention – Besides keeping your shrubs and trees trimmed and eliminating clutter, you can plant lavender, mint, eucalyptus, and citronella plants that spiders don’t like. Adding these plants to your yard and garden can help deter spiders from building webs in and around your home. If you don’t want to grow these plants, you can use essential oils, like peppermint oil and tea tree oil.

2. Ticks (Ixodida)

Home insect infestations can be caused by ticks

Ticks are tiny, wingless, bloodsucking arthropods. They will burrow their heads into their host and typically change drastically in shape, color, and size when they are engorged with the host’s blood. Ticks have extremely small mouths that will typically go completely unnoticed when they bite.

Infestation – The most common sign of a home tick infestation is the presence of ticks on family members’ and pets’ skin when they did not spend time outdoors. When your home is infested with this pest, you may often find them inside your vacuum cleaner bag or canister.
Danger – Ticks may be infected with bacteria, viruses, or parasites. Common tick-borne diseases include lyme disease, babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, anaplasmosis, Tick-Borne Relapsing Fever, and tularemia.
Control – For tick infestation removal, use a nontoxic pesticide like Wondercide Flea and Tick Spray. Spray this tick extermination product liberally along baseboards, window and door surrounds, furniture, edges of rugs, under cabinets, and on curtains to kill ticks.
Prevention – You can prevent a tick infestation by clearing tall grasses and brush and installing a 3-foot wide barrier of wood chips or gravel between lawns and wooded areas that restrict tick migration into developed areas.

3. Fruit Flies (Drosophila melanogaster)

Home insect infestations can be caused by fruit flies

Fruit flies are a very small fly, with adults growing to a mere 1/8th of an inch in length. Their thorax is tannish in color, and their abdomen is black with a gray underbelly. However, in general, fruit flies tend to have a tan appearance. Fruit flies often have red eyes, although some species have dark-colored eyes.

Infestation – Fruit flies will often infest homes with ripe, rotting, or decayed fruit and produce. They are also attracted to fermented items like beer, liquor, and wine. Fruit flies may breed and develop in sink drains, garbage disposals, and trash cans.
Danger – Some of the bacteria fruit flies may carry include salmonella, E. coli, and listeria. These germs can each cause food poisoning, and severe cases may require hospitalization and can even be life-threatening.
Control – Remove any potential food source from your home, then pour boiling white vinegar or water into drains and other suspected nesting areas. This is a simple way to get rid of fruit flies immediately.
Prevention – To avoid a fruit fly infestation, store your fresh produce in air-tight containers or refrigerators and thoroughly inspect any fruits or vegetables brought into your home. Establish a regular schedule to clean drains, garbage disposals, and any location where food waste potentially accumulates.

4. Mosquitoes (Culicidae)

Home insect infestations can be caused by mosquitos

The slender, elongated body of an adult mosquito is covered with scales. Mosquitoes are also characterized by their long, fragile-looking legs and elongated, piercing mouthparts.

Infestation – There’s an increased possibility of mosquito activity and infestation if your property is near any standing water with a constant water source. Mosquitoes can easily enter your home and lay their eggs in even the smallest amount of standing and undisturbed water. House plants are a common attraction for mosquitoes inside your home.
Danger – Consequences of some mosquito bites can be the transmission of severe diseases and viruses like malaria, dengue fever virus, Zika, and West Nile virus, which can result in disabling and potentially deadly effects like encephalitis, meningitis, and microcephaly.
Control – You can use citronella torches or candles to keep mosquitoes away from outside areas. Fans can circulate air strong enough to disperse mosquitoes, while electrocuters, or mosquito zappers, utilize heat and carbon dioxide to attract and kill these pests.
Prevention – Since mosquitoes require water for two stages of their life cycle, it’s imperative to eliminate standing water sources. Get rid of any standing water in rain gutters, tires, buckets, water troughs, plastic covers, toys, plant water trays, or any other container where mosquitoes can breed.

5. Ants (Formicidae)

Home insect infestations can be caused by ants

With bodies covered by an exoskeleton, most ants will be either red or black and can measure anywhere from 1/3-inch to 1/2-inch. Ants have six articulated legs, large heads with compound eyes, elbowed antennae, and extremely powerful jaws.

Infestation – Indoor spaces (like your home), especially the kitchen and pantry, offer sources of food, water, and climate-controlled shelter for them.
Danger – Ant bites can cause some mild pain and discomfort, but they aren’t usually dangerous. However, your skin can become irritated or even infected when not cleaned after a bite.
Control – The most effective control method for an ant infestation is using ant baits, removing any potential food or water source, and eliminating the pheromone trail left behind by any invading ants. Read more about eliminating an ant infestation at homeandgardeningguide.com/repairs/pest-control/5-ways-to-eliminate-ants-in-your-house/
Prevention – Prevent ants from entering your home by sealing up any cracks and holes in your walls. This will also prevent them from nesting inside wall insulation.

6. Cockroaches (Periplaneta americana)

Home insect infestations can be caused by cockroaches

Cockroaches are characterized by a flattened oval body, long flexible thread-like antennae, and a seemingly polished black or brown leathery outer protective layer. The head is bent downward, and their mouthparts point backward.

Infestation – Roaches will invade your home in search of food, shelter, and water. They can use even the smallest of openings as an entryway into your home. They can come in through cracks in the exterior walls, dryer vents, crawlspaces, or the tiny gaps between walls and floors.
Danger – Cockroaches are dangerous and seen as an allergen source or asthma trigger. They can carry harmful illness-causing bacteria when left on food.
Control – Use glue traps, poisonous baits, and roach sprays like Raid, Black Flag, or Combat. Focus on thorough cleaning and vacuuming where traps catch roaches. Flush cockroaches out of voids and from behind appliances with a hair dryer and suck them up with a vacuum as they run out.
Prevention – Use baits and sprays that leave a protective barrier or residue behind. Peppermint oil, cedarwood oil, and cypress oil are extremely effective at keeping cockroaches away.

7. Termites (Isoptera)

Home insect infestations can be caused by termites

Termites have straight antennae and two sets of wings equal in length. Termites have two body segments with a straight abdomen. They voraciously consume cellulose obtained from wood, grass, leaves, and vegetative materials like paper, cardboard, and cotton.

Infestation – Homeowners might unwittingly bring termites inside in firewood or untreated lumber. In addition to wood inside the home, termites are drawn inside by moisture, wood in contact with house foundations, and even cracks in building exteriors.
Danger – Termites are not known to carry harmful diseases. However, people who are living in termite-infested homes may suffer from allergic reactions or even asthma attacks. Termites are also known to cause severe and costly structural damage to homes.
Control – One control method uses an oil-based termiticide to kill termites in 24 hours by attacking their nervous systems. This treatment is not recommended for indoor use but can be sprayed around the perimeter of your home to kill termites. For those already indoors, hire a reputable pest control service to help remove and kill your termite problem.
Prevention – Termite prevention is essential to protect your home’s structural integrity. Consider the following:

  • Remove all dead wood and other debris from your yard and landscape
  • Keep plants and vegetation away from your home
  • Avoid using mulch near your property
  • Keep your trees and shrubs pruned
  • Eliminate any excess moisture on or around your property
  • Keep any water features like birdbaths, ponds, or waterfalls clean

Termite infestations can cause your home’s market value to plummet. Prevention and immediate response are critical to preserving your greatest investment.

Home Insect Infestations

In this article, you discovered essential information and tips on the identification, control, and prevention of several prolific insect species infestations.

Knowing how to identify, control, and prevent insect infestations will help you safeguard your loved ones from infectious bacteria and illness.

Neglecting the need for immediate action against insect infestations can result in unsanitary living conditions and contaminated food, leading to severe illness and life-threatening medical conditions.

Sources:
entomology.ca.uky.edu/ef623
cdc.gov/mosquitoes/mosquito-bites/prevent-mosquito-bites.html
cornell.edu/whats-bugging-you/ticks/how-do-i-protect-myself-ticks/
agrilifeextension.tamu.edu/library/insects/indoor-flies-and-their-control/
ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7411.html
extension.msstate.edu/publications/control-cockroaches-and-around-your-home
epa.gov/safepestcontrol/termites-how-identify-and-control-them

Visit http://www.homeandgardeningguide.com/repairs/pest-control/ for more pest control articles, resources and how-to tips.

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What You Need to Know Before Installing a Pool

Avoid installing a pool with never-ending problems and unexpected expenses. Knowing what to ask and look for before installing an inground swimming pool will keep you from regretting the decision.

swimming pool installation

homeandgardeningguide.com gathered the following information and tips about installing a swimming pool, what municipal ordinances may apply, and what safety measures to install or learn.

Is Installing a Pool Worth it?

Besides making you popular with the neighbors and your kids, a pool can increase the value of your home. However, the increase is likely less than you may believe. There are no guarantees that you’ll make your investment back. In fact, adding an inground swimming pool may only increase your home’s overall value by 6 or 7%.

Don’t be surprised when your budget pans out at double the cost of the pool itself. Consider the following expenses when making your final decision:

swimming pool kids toys

  • Decks
  • Fencing
  • Patios
  • Privacy screens
  • Whirlpool spas
  • Outdoor sound system
  • Pool cover
  • Patio/poolside furniture
  • Equipment shed and storage
  • Pool toys and floatation devices
  • Additional outdoor electrical outlets.
  • Outdoor lighting
  • Landscaping
  • Pathways

Note: You must also factor in ongoing expenses like periodic cleaning, eventual repairs, filter replacements, increased power bill, and chemical treatments to keep your pool pristine.

What Type of Pool do I Want?

There are three principal types of inground pools. Consider the following:

Concrete Pools – These pools are custom-built and can conform to virtually any size, shape, or depth. Gunite or Shotcrete pools – as they are referred to in the industry – because concrete is shot from a gun onto preformed steel-reinforced walls. Once the concrete cures, the pool’s surface is plastered, painted, and finished with tiles or a textured surface.

Concrete swimming pool installation

It takes more time to install concrete pools than any other kind, but it is the strongest, most durable pool type. Existing concrete pools can be remodeled, enlarged, and even updated, unlike other inground pool types.

Fiberglass Pools – These pools are factory-molded into one giant piece, which (after transport) is placed into an excavated hole by crane. Fiberglass pools can be installed much faster than other pool types. Fiberglass pools have a smooth gel coat finish that is durable and stain-resistant. Fiberglass pools are nonporous and use fewer pool chemicals while harboring less algae than other pool types.

Fiberglass swimming pool installation

Fiberglass pools come with fewer size and shape options than concrete or vinyl pools. Shipping may also drive up the cost of your pool depending on how many states the truck driver must negotiate to deliver your pool.

Vinyl Pools – These pools are made from a preformed liner that fits into your excavated hole. It is secured to a reinforced metal or polymer frame.

Vinyl swimming pool installation

Vinyl pools can be easily damaged by pool toys, pets, and other sharp objects. While these liners can be repaired, your best option is to choose one that is about ¾ to an inch in thickness.

Swimming Pool Installation Cost

It is virtually impossible to determine precisely how much your pool installation will cost since prices vary widely depending on material availability, your location, water system, the type and size of the pool, and the location’s soil conditions.

Tip: The time of year can also cause the final price to fluctuate. Some contractors offer discounts for projects completed in the off-season.

A 20 X 40-foot rectangular concrete pool will cost somewhere between $70,000 and $100,000. The same-sized vinyl installation will run between $60,000 and $90,000, while a fiberglass inground installation will run between $50,000 and $80,000 (before transportation and crane fees).

Note: These pricing estimates should include the pool’s filtration system, fill-up, underwater lighting, and stonework around the pool’s perimeter.

Building, Land, Tree, and Zoning Regulations

Inground swimming pools are subject to land disturbance, tree removal, building, and zoning ordinances, so you must apply for the corresponding permits and receive approval before any digging or prep work may begin.

Building, land disturbance, tree removal, and zoning ordinances differ from municipality to municipality, but in most cases, you will be required to satisfy minimum distances from the pool to property lines, wells, sewer lines, wetlands, etc. There will also be codes regulating pool barriers and gate height, structure, and functionality.

Safety Tip: For added protection, especially if you have special needs individuals, young children, or grandchildren, consider installing alarms on house doors and gates granting access to the pool.

For a complete list of specific municipal guidelines, rules, and restrictions, contact your local building or city zoning departments.

Swimming Pool Safety

swimming pool safety fence

The unique pleasures that come with installing a swimming pool do not come without significant responsibilities. Topping this list is pool safety, and here are some safety concerns to consider:

  • Never leave a child in or near the pool without supervision
  • Teach children and young adults to stay away from pool drains
  • Teach children and loved ones how to swim and tread water
  • Know how to administer CPR on children and adults
  • Install slip-resistant pathways to, from, and around your pool
  • Install functional gates, barriers, covers, lighting, and alarms on and around your pool

Tip: CPR certification courses are offered by the American Red Cross and/or by your local police and fire rescue departments.

Inground Swimming Pool Installation

In this article, you discovered essential information and tips on swimming pool installation, ordinances that must be considered, and pool safety measures for all to follow.

Installing an inground swimming pool may require more information and knowledge than you initially considered. However, you can enjoy a safe swimming pool for many years by making informed decisions throughout the installation process.

Ignoring the nuances and municipal codes for inground pool installation can result in surprises, costly mistakes, and unforseen costs.

Sources:
muhlenberg.ca.uky.edu/files/pool_installation_-_financial_considerations.pdf
poolsafely.gov/parents/safety-tips/
shotcrete.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/2018Sum_Guarino-Oakes.pdf

Visit http://www.homeandgardeningguide.com/improvement/swimming-pool/ for more swimming pool articles, resources and tips.

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5 Ways to Eliminate Ants in Your House

Prevent pesky ants from moving their nest into your home. Knowing how to recognize the cause of an ant infestation in your home will help you halt their activities and prevent future infestations.

Ant infestations happen when a colony finds a food source

homeandgardeningguide.com gathered the following information and tips about ant infestations, why they enter your home and how to get rid of them.

Why Do Ants Infest Homes?

As a homeowner, the absolute last thing you want to see in your home is a winding trail of ants traveling to and from their food or water source. According to the National Wildlife Federation, there are more than 12,000 ant species worldwide. Driven by instinct, ants search wide and far from their nests for water, nutrients, and shelter, making your home a potential target for an entire colony to infest. Consider the following circumstances in your home that can lead to an ant infestation:

  1. Your pipes or faucets are leaking
  2. You’re leaving food out
  3. You have surfaces with food or grease residue
  4. You have dirty garbage cans/trash bins
  5. You have decaying wood somewhere in your home

Tip: An ant infestation will sometimes (rarely) go away on its own. However, it is more likely that your ant problem will move from one food or water source to another, perpetuating your home’s infestation.

Ant Infestation and Control

Before you start unloading cans of ant & roach killer all over your floors and baseboards, observe the following 5 issues potentially leading to an ant infestation and the measures you can take to halt their presence in your home:

1. Leaking Pipes or Faucets

Problem: Ants, like all other lifeforms, are in a constant struggle to gain access to nutrients, water, and shelter. Your leaking water connections, pipes, faucets, and appliances in your kitchen and bathrooms offer a life-giving water supply for an ant colony.

Ant infestations happen when a colony locates a reliable water source

Solution: Inspect your water connections, toilets, and sinks thoroughly for even the smallest of leaks and repair them. Thoroughly inspect your home for other sources of moisture (including areas where rainwater may be getting in.

2. Food Left Out

Problem: Ants will almost always take advantage of accessible food sources, which explains why infestations are common in kitchens and places where leftover or dropped food may be. This is one of the principal causes of an ant infestation and one of the simplest to eliminate.

Solution: To avoid this type of ant infestation, immediately clean up food spills, store food in sealed containers, and keep fresh fruits in the refrigerator. You can also discretely spread some whole bay leaves, as they are a natural repellant to most ants.

3. Food and Grease Residue

Problem: Another less obvious food source in your kitchen that you may not even be aware of is left-behind grease and/or food residue. Often hidden on your stovetop or on the sides of food storage containers, these food particles easily attract ants.

Solution: Wipe off condiment dispensers, honey bottles, syrup containers, jam jars, and anything else that could leave a sticky or sugary residue. Regularly wipe down your stovetop after cooking, especially when making foods that typically splatter, like fried chicken, bacon, and sauces.

4. Dirty Trash Bins and Garbage Cans

Problem: It’s easy to miss or forget to regularly rinse out your garbage bins, soda bottles, and canned food jars before throwing them away. Ants have no problems searching your trash to find your leftover food scraps.

Solution: Try to regularly clean out your garbage bins, especially those in your kitchen. Be sure to also rinse out food packaging waste before you toss any of it in the trash.

5. Decaying Wood

Problem: Leaky pipes or a severe rainstorm can saturate wood components in and around your home, creating the perfect conditions for carpenter ants to move their nest or establish a satellite nest (this species typically nests in moist or decaying wood).

Ant infestations can happen when a colony detects decaying wood

Solution: Remove and replace any rotting wood in your home’s structure, and remove any dead or dying trees, tree stumps, and fallen branches from your yard. It is also wise to store any firewood at least 20 feet away from your home!

Ant Infestation

In this article, you discovered essential information about ant infestations in your home, why they invade your home, and how to get rid of them.

Knowing how ants seek food and water and communicate with each other will help you identify and eliminate the attractions your home presents them.

Ignoring an ant infestation in your home can lead to severe structural damages and become extremely frustrating when you start finding ants in all of your food and anywhere in your home they can find a water source.

Sources:
consumerreports.org/pest-control/how-to-get-rid-of-ants-in-the-house-a3627053544/
nwf.org/Educational-Resources/Wildlife-Guide/Invertebrates/Ants
nationalgeographic.com/animals/invertebrates/facts/ants

Visit http://www.homeandgardeningguide.com/repairs/pest-control/ for more pest control articles, resources and how-to tips.

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