Container Gardening for Beginners

Container gardening is versatile, easy to pick up, and the perfect way to keep your green-fingered spirit alive no matter where you are. Essentially, container gardening enables gardening in a small space. It’s likely that you’ve come across a form of container garden before: they could be elaborate hanging baskets at weddings, a tiny cactus on a windowsill or some flowers blooming on a patio during a warm spring evening.

Container gardening in space with limited size and minimal sun

Container gardening is an integral skill for any budding gardener who wants to add some color and ambience to their home without worrying about restrictions like space and placement. If you have ample space in your yard visit homeandgardeningguide.com/gardening-landscaping/ideas/backyard/, otherwise this post will walk you through every aspect of gardening in a small space, looking at factors like container choice, types of compost and the best vegetables for container gardening.

What Makes Container Gardening Different from Normal Gardening?

What makes container gardening so unique and popular amongst both novice and expert gardeners is that it works especially well in small spaces whilst still maintaining a wide breadth of flexibility and functionality with what you can grow. Gardening in a small space offers a range of flexibility – from easy-to-change outdoor displays, to growing your own fruit and vegetables with ease (although you will need to do some research into the best vegetables for container gardening).

It is important to note that container plants need a little more TLC than your average plant order to thrive the same way they would in the ground. Although gardening in a small space might involve a little extra work, it’s by no means impossible – with the right foundations, equipment, tips and tricks, anyone can transform the smallest of spaces to a beautiful hub of nature to admire and harvest.

What Can I Grow with a Container Garden?

The first (and arguably most important) question to ask yourself before you plunge into container gardening is what exactly do you want to plant? Despite the fact that you are gardening in a small space, one of the biggest advantages of container gardening is that there is a lot of versatility in what you can do with it – it’s truly what you make of it!

Container gardening with fruits and vegetables

Questions to Consider when Container Gardening

The possibilities are truly endless, but in these cases, it is important to do your research before diving in and consider the following:

• What time of the year do they need to be planted?
• How much sunlight/water does it need?
• Does it need a specific type of soil/feeder?
• What are the best vegetables for container gardening?

Answering these four essential questions is the first step in ensuring the success of your home-grown produce. However, what is equally as important is ensuring that your care for them is consistent, and being absolutely prepared before diving in no matter how tempting it might be!

Before digging into the best plants for your container, there are more tips and questions about gardening in containers that you may want to consider at extension.uga.edu

Best Vegetables for Container Gardening

A lot of people like to grow their own produce via container gardening – developing fresh herbs and vegetables in a pot conveniently near the kitchen! With the right container (we’ll go into why that’s important later) and conditions, most of the fruit and vegetables you’ll find in widespread allotments can also be produced in a container. Apples, pears and tomatoes are common fruits for container gardening, whilst the best vegetables for container gardening are as follows:

• radishes
• carrots
• peas
• potatoes
• lettuce
• spinach
• peppers and chilis

There are an abundance of vegetables that will thrive in containers, for more options visit missouribotanicalgarden.org

What Else Can You Put in Your Container Garden?

Furthermore, it’s important to note that knowing the answers to the above four questions are equally as fundamental not just for growing produce, but for anything you choose to plant in your container garden. Your options are plentiful, and can range from basil and thyme, decorative leaves and all your favorite flowers like petunias, fuchsias and miniature roses. What makes container gardening so popular in this day and age is that whilst you’re gardening in a small space, you have a large variety of options.

A Thriller, a Spiller and a Filler

You might even want to put a combination of plants into a container, but for a first timer this may be intimidating, and you might not know where to start. When you want to combine plants in a single container, you’ll generally be advised to include ‘a thriller, a spiller and a filler’.

The ‘thriller’, as the name implies, is usually the elaborate focal-point plant that will be the center of your display. This main plant will be complemented and surrounded by small decorative plants and leaves that ‘spill’ over the container. Finally, you have the ‘fillers’ which will be your staple plants all year round – so choose wisely!

These can include further decorative flowers or other ornamental plants like salvias or peppers.

Container gardening in yard with limited space

Choosing a Container

But what about containers? It’s important to note that the bigger the container, the bigger the chance that your container garden is a success. It sounds obvious, but roots are the most important part of a plant, and if they are given as much room as possible to grow in a spacious container, everything else will fall into place. This is especially important if you’re planning on putting multiple plants in a single container, or mixing and matching. Make sure that when you pick a container, you are giving your plants room to breathe! Equally, if smaller containers are the only viable option for you, it is best to focus on smaller plants that have smaller roots and, subsequently, require less room.

In any case, it’s always advisable to pick a lighter-colored container if possible. These containers keep the soil cooler whilst darker ones will absorb any heat and dry out the roots, stopping any budding bloom in its tracks.

When picking a container, it is also important to ensure that it has adequate drainage, and if it doesn’t, adapt it so that it does. If the water in a plant has nowhere to drain, the roots can become saturated and begin to rot.

Other Things to Consider When Container Gardening

Location is also a crucial factor, and with this, it is important to let the plant guide you. Whilst some grow best in direct sunlight, others are more likely to thrive if they live in the shade.

Container plants won’t have access to the same amount of moisture they would in the ground, and for that reason it is important to take extra care when it comes to watering and choosing compost. Home-made compost or a multipurpose type from your local garden center will be a lot better than typical garden soil because they are rich in nutrients, lightweight, and retain moisture.

Speaking of moisture, keep in mind that container plants will need more watering than ones in the ground if you want to keep their moisture levels healthy. When watering container plants, you should ensure that the water soaks right through to the plant’s roots, and make sure to do this morning and night – especially if it’s a hot sunny day!

Ultimately, container gardening is a rewarding and flexible skill that anyone can learn – but it can take some time. If your plants end up dying the first or second time you try container gardening, please don’t give up! Keep persevering, researching and planting. Before you know it, your container plants will be in full bloom and you’ll have the garden of your dreams no matter what the size!

Visit http://www.homeandgardeningguide.com/gardening-landscaping/container/ for more container gardening resources, and tips.

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How to Repair Torn Drywall Paper

Avoid lumps, unwanted textures, and an ugly surface from appearing in your drywall repair job. By following some simple steps, you can get your wall looking like no damage ever happened.

Damaged and torn drywall paper repair

homeandgardeningguide.com gathered information and step-by-step instructions on how to repair torn drywall paper.

Repairing Torn Drywall Paper

To repair torn drywall paper, you will need a few simple tools and supplies from your local hardware or home improvement store, such as:

• 6 inch Joint Knife (scraper)
• Sandpaper (150 grit)
• Plastic Drop Cloth (one for the floor and more to cover furniture, electronics, etc.)
• Large Sponge (soft texture is best)
• Spray Bottle (filled with water)
• Protective Latex Gloves
• 2 Paint Rollers (one for the primer and one for the paint)
• Paint Tray with 2 Liners (one for the primer and one for the paint)
• Shellac or water-based Wall Primer
• Spackle, Joint Compound, or Drywall Mud

Use the following steps to help you make clean and efficient repairs:

Drywall Paper Repair Step 1 – Cover with Drop Cloths

Get one drop cloth on the floor with one edge taped to the baseboard under the damaged area, and extend the drop cloth several feet in either direction to catch as much debris as possible.

Drop cloth on floor during torn drywall paper repair

Use multiple drop cloths to cover desks, furniture, computers, Televisions, plants, and books.

Drop cloth to protect electronics during drywall repair

Note: Even the slightest breeze from a fan or air conditioning vent may carry particles far from the area being repaired.

Drywall Paper Repair Step 2 – Scrape the Damaged Area

Use the joint knife (scraper) to scrape away any loose pieces of paint or drywall paper. This process may enlarge the area to be repaired but is necessary to achieve a well-executed, flat and seamless repair.

Preparation for torn drywall paper repair scraping the wall

Avoid using a blade or x-acto knife to cut away rough edges. Doing this may cause you to score the sheetrock, creating a weakness in its structural integrity.

Drywall Paper Repair Step 3 and 7 – Apply Primer

There are two steps in the process where primer should be applied during drywall repair. For this step, once you have scraped away all of the loose drywall paper and paint, apply a thin coat of primer to the damaged areas.

Do so using a roller, roll on the primer using some force. You want the primer to get into the cracks, crevices, and loosened paper to re-strengthen the damaged areas.

Wrap the roller in plastic to prevent it from drying out; it will be used again in step 7.

Drywall Paper Repair Step 4 – Apply Spackle, Joint Compound, or Drywall Mud

Once the primer has dried, use your joint knife to spread the spackle onto the area being repaired. The following will help you avoid extra work:

• Apply generous amounts of spackle to the damaged area
• Use your joint knife to run over it, taking away excess material
• Leave approximately an eighth of an inch of material above wall level

Smoothing spackle with joint knife during drywall repair

It is essential to put enough spackle on the repair. You can sand the excess away, but when you have to apply more after the fact, you lose time and risk ruining the job.

Spackle application for torn drywall paper repair

When you have an area that the spackle doesn’t want to adhere to, apply it by hand, using pressure until it stays where you applied it. Use the joint knife to scrape the excess away.

Spackle hand application for drywall repair

When the spackle goes on rough, or leaves flaky edges after scraping the excess away, Spray the area with water and lightly smooth it over with a soft sponge.

Smoothing spackle with sponge after application during drywall repair

Once you have filled all of the damaged areas, allow the spackle, joint compound, or drywall mud to completely dry. Some compounds are colored when wet and fade to white when dry. Generally, eight to ten hours is enough time for your repairs to completely dry.

Drying spackle after application during drywall repair

Drywall Paper Repair Step 5 – Sanding

Before beginning the sanding process, make sure that your drop cloths are covering your furniture, desks, electronics, and carpet. This is fine dust that travels easily with the slightest breeze.

Use a 150 grit sandpaper to remove any excess compound. Sand both horizontally and vertically until you have flattened the repair level with the wall.

150 grit sandpaper for torn drywall paper repair

Use a ruler or flat edge against the wall to confirm that the surface is level. Use a pencil to mark areas that still need to be sanded gently.

Flat surface to confirm level drywall repair

Once you have finished sanding, take a moment to look over the finished areas and confirm that no spots were missed or left rough.

Inspection and verification of drywall repair

Drywall Paper Repair Step 6 – Cleanup

Using a soft-bristle brush, brush the repaired area from the top down to remove any residual dust from the wall. Then, using a clean, slightly moistened cloth, wipe the area from the top down.

By cleaning the wall, you will ensure that the primer has a clean surface to adhere to and avoid any bubbling or peeling.

Sanded and cleaned wall after drywall repair

Carefully remove the drop cloths from your furniture and electronics. Replace the drop cloth on the floor before applying primer and paint to finish the job.

Drywall Paper Repair Step 7 – Apply Primer

Now that you have finished sanding and cleaning the wall apply another coat of primer to the repaired areas using the same method as in step 3.

The primer will stop the repaired areas from soaking up paint and leaving faded or darkened marks on your finished wall.

For professional tips on painting your wall, read homeandgardeningguide.com/improvement/painting/diy-interior-painting-trim-baseboard-crown-molding/

Watch this video about primer application:

Torn Drywall Paper

Drywall “facer” and “backer” paper is the covering that protects and reinforces panels of sheetrock material (calcium sulfate dihydrate or gypsum).

Sometimes, the facer paper can be torn away, exposing the actual “sheetrock”, and leaving an unsightly gash in an otherwise perfect wall. The following may cause drywall paper to tear and should be avoided if possible:

Glue – Using glue to anchor a vanity mirror or other large object to a wall is common practice. However, when the glued object must be removed, it will likely tear the paint, primer, and drywall paper wherever the glue was applied.

Torn drywall paper repair

Tape – At times, we put tape on a wall to re-do the trim on a paint job, mark a spot to hang an object, or secure something to the wall. Like glue, strong adhesive tape can tear drywall paper away when removed.

It is recommended to use painter’s tape or tape with a lower adhesive quality if it is applied directly to your wall.

Nails and Anchors – We use nails and anchoring systems to hang paintings, pictures, and other objects on the wall. Removing those nails or anchoring systems can not only tear the drywall paper, but they can also break the drywall, causing a bulge or even a large hole.

Drywall Paper Repair Tips

In this article, you discovered step-by-step instructions and professional tips on how to restore damaged drywall and its paper.

Fixing your damaged drywall will not only restore the aesthetic to your room, but also increase the value and appeal of your home.

With a little effort and guidance, you can easily restore the wall and make its damaged paper or drywall look like nothing ever happened.

Sources:
heightslibrary.org/materials/hrrc/26-Drywall-Plaster/PLASTER-DRYWALL_REPAIR.pdf
iafcs.org/docs/Docs_Repairing_Minor_Damage_Presentation.pdf

Visit http://www.homeandgardeningguide.com/repairs/interior/ for more interior home repair articles, resources, and tips.

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How to Make a DIY Wall-Mounted Coat Rack

Are you ready to add a personal touch to your home’s décor? A wall-mounted coat rack provides a place, not only to hang your coat but a place to drop off your keys and other pocket contents as you arrive in your home.

DIY entryway furniture wall mounted coat rack

homeandgardeningguide.com gathered information and instructions on how to make a DIY wall-mounted coat rack with optional stowing capability.

Wall-Mounted Coat Rack – Location and Space Requirement

The space in which you will mount your coat rack is as essential as the coat rack itself. The last thing you need to do is mount a coat rack that blocks the opening of your door or interferes with traffic entering and exiting your home.

Location – Before you do anything, you need to decide where your coat rack will go.

Location selection for a DIY wall mounted coat rack

• Make sure the location is free from obstacles, or that the coat rack will not become an obstacle itself.

• Measure the available space. You will need a minimum of 2 feet 6 inches of clearance below the coat rack to hang coats or other garments.

• The length of the space can be anything from 6 inches (for a single hook and storage tin) to several feet (with multiple hooks, storage tins, and features).

• The width of the coat rack can be as small as 3 to 4 inches or as wide as 12 inches or more (depends on your décor and preference).

Wall-Mounted Coat Rack – Supplies and Tools

Like a recipe for a meal, there are some things you will need to gather and prepare to assemble your wall-mounted coat rack.

The supplies you will need include:

• Wood – Nearly any type of wood will work for this project. Anything from a 2”x4” piece of common wood to a 1”x4” or even a 1”x8” cedar or walnut plank will work (base this selection on the space for the coat rack and décor it will be a part of). Choose wood with little to no dents or damage, and look for grain patterns or knots that will add aesthetic appeal to your project. (most home supply stores will cut a length of wood to size for you).

• Wood Stain – Choose a stain color that compliments your home décor. No need for a large container unless you have multiple projects, as you will only use a few ounces for your coat rack. If you prefer the natural wood look, no stain is required.

Application of wood stain to a DIY wall mounted coat rack

• Varnish – There are many types of varnish or finishing coats that will add shine and texture to your wood. Choose the finish best suited for your home’s décor.

• Coat Hook(s) with Mounting Screws – You will find a multitude of available styles, colors, and sizes. Choose the coat hooks that appeal to your taste, and there is no right or wrong.

Hooks and mounting screws for a DIY wall mounted coat rack

• Potting Tin(s) or Pre-assembled Box(es) with Mounting Screws (optional) – This is where you can get really creative. Nearly any type of lightweight open container can be mounted to your coat rack between the hooks if desired.

• Fasteners (minimum of two) – 1/8 inch by 3-inch toggle bolts and wings for drywall, 3-inch wood screws for anchoring to a stud, or screws and plastic screw anchors for wood, stone, or masonry (brick) walls. Screws or toggle bolts must be long enough to pass through the wood, drywall, and securely fasten the piece to the wall.

DIY wall mounted coat rack types of fasteners

• Washers (one for each fastener) – Washers prevent the head of the screws or toggle bolts from “digging” into or damaging the wood.

The tools you will need include:

• Measuring Tape
• Stud Finder
• Level
• Drill (you will need bits appropriate for the size of the screws or bolts for your fastening system)
• Circular Saw (not required if the wood was cut to size)
• Screwdriver
• Sander or Sandpaper – coarse (120 grit) and fine (400 grit) are needed
• Pencil or Pen (for marking mounting locations)
• Vinyl Disposable Gloves
• Painter’s Rag or Sponge (for stain application)
• Paintbrush (for varnish application)

Wall-Mounted Coat Rack – Preparation and Assembly

Preparing and assembling your coat rack is a remarkably easy task. The following will guide you through the process:

Wood Preparation – Take the length of wood you have selected and do the following:

1. If the wood is too long, use a circular saw to cut it to size.
2. Examine both faces of the wood and select the one to face outward.
3. Drill your holes (minimum of two) for your fastening system. If fastening to studs, know the length between studs and match the distance between the holes to that length. For toggle bolts and wings, knowing where your studs are will help you avoid them.
4. Using the rough sandpaper, sand down the face and edges of the wood to remove any protective resin (used for shipping and storage), dents, or uneven edges.
5. Using the fine sandpaper, sand the wood until it is smooth and without any sanding marks.

Sandpaper grits used on a DIY wall mounted coat rack
6. Using a lightly dampened cloth, clean the wood. Make sure there is no sawdust left on the wood.
7. Apply a thin, even coat of wood stain to the front, back, and border using a painter’s rag or a sponge (wear vinyl gloves to avoid staining your hands).

Wood stain cloth used on a DIY wall mounted coat rack
8. Once the stain has completely dried (4-5 hours), sand the stained area with fine sandpaper until smooth, If you find that the color is too light, apply another coat of stain and repeat this step until reaching the desired color.
9. Once your wood is stained, dried, and sanded smooth, use your paintbrush to apply a thin, even layer of varnish to the face and border of the wood. (It is not required to apply a finishing coat to the back of the wood).

Finishing coat application on a DIY wall mounted coat rack
10. Once the varnish has completely dried (8-10 hours), sand the varnished area with fine sandpaper until smooth, then wipe the wood clean with a lightly dampened cloth, let dry, and apply a second thin and even coat of varnish. Allow the piece another 8-10 hours to completely dry.

Adding the Hooks – As long as you maintain a minimum of 2 inches between each hook or feature, you can add as many as you like. Follow these steps to fasten the hooks to the coat rack securely:

• Use the tape measure to find the center of the board length-wise.
• With the board on a table, place the hooks and tins along the board in the desired arrangement.

Storage tins and hooks for a DIY wall mounted coat rack
• Measure the space between the hooks and adjust them so they have equal spacing across the board.
• Once you’ve arranged them and measured them out, use the mounting holes in the hooks to mark where the screws will be placed.
• Remove everything from the board. Using a 1/16 size drill bit, drill a starter hole 1/8 inch deep for each of the holes you marked (this will keep the board from splitting.
• Place the hooks in position one-by-one, manually tightening each screw (if you use your drill to tighten the screws, you risk breaking the board, breaking the hook, or stripping the screw head).

If you are using a tin, box, or container between the hooks, follow the same steps to secure them to the board. These features are an excellent way to cover up the fastening method.

DIY wall mounted coat rack with storage and hooks

Wall-Mounted Coat Rack – Putting it Up

Depending on how large your coat rack is, you may need someone to assist you with this step. Follow these steps to fasten the coat rack to the wall securely.

1. Use a stud finder to confirm the position of the studs in the wall (to use them or avoid them).

Wall stud location for mounting a DIY coat rack
2. Place your coat rack flush against the wall in the desired permanent location.
3. Lay the level across the top of the wood. Adjust the wood until the bubble indicator is centered, then mark the wall using the holes in the wood.

Use a level to mount a DIY coat rack
4. Drill holes for screws with a drill bit slightly smaller than the size of the screw (for stud mounting).

DIY wall mounted coat rack fastening screw and drill bit
5. For toggle bolts and wings, you will need to drill holes large enough for the wings to pass through in the closed position.

Toggle bolts wings and drill bits for fastening a DIY wall mounted coat rack
6. For plastic screw anchors, drill holes with a bit that match the size of anchors, and push the anchors into the holes (it should be a snug fit).

Plastic screw anchor and drill bit for a DIY wall mounted coat rack
7. Place a washer on each screw or toggle bolt and pass them through the mounting holes in the wood (for toggle bolts, attach the wings to the very of the bolt).
8. Return the coat rack to the selected position on the wall and tighten each screw into place. For the toggle bolts, close the wings and push them through the holes. You should hear a “snap” as they clear the drywall and open back up, then pull them back so the wings are against the backside of the drywall and tighten them up.

If you decided to use the tins or containers to cover the bolt or screw heads, fasten them into position once the coat rack has been mounted to the wall.

Hidden fastener on a DIY wall mounted coat rack

Making Your Own DIY Coat Rack

A great way to personalize the space in your home is to make your own wall-mounted coat rack. Strategically placed by the door, this can be your drop off point for keys, loose change, your wallet or purse, and of coarse your coat.

In this article, you discovered the steps to make your own DIY wall-mounted coat rack with stowing capability.

Save money and add a personal touch to your home by building and mounting your own coat rack.

Sources:
https://web.stanford.edu/~rayan/wood/woodfinishing.pdf
http://www2.ca.uky.edu/HES/fcs/FACTSHTS/HF-LRA.054.PDF

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

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Exterior Home Repair – Vinyl Siding

When your weather damaged vinyl siding has your home looking rundown, you could call an expensive handyman or follow these easy DIY tips to restore your home.

Home exterior vinyl siding weather damage and repair

Hurricanes, tornadoes, and other extreme weather conditions can damage your vinyl siding, allowing moisture in your walls and causing structural damage to your home. Repairing these damages is imperative to preserving your home’s structural integrity, and preventing its decline in value.

homeandgardeningguide.com gathered this DIY information so you can knowledgably repair or replace your home’s damaged vinyl siding.

Vinyl Siding Repair – Small Holes

Small holes in your home’s vinyl siding (up to the size of a nickel) are straightforward to repair. The following steps will help you make these repairs in a matter of minutes:

Level the Surface – Using a utility knife or razor cutter, cut away any protruding parts of the edge of the hole. You are creating a flush surface to work with.

Sanding the surface is not recommended, as it may cause off-pattern scratches that are not easily covered up.

Exterior Caulking – Apply a generous amount of exterior caulking into and around the hole (if you are unable to find caulking in the right color, use paintable caulk).

Finish the Repair – Once the caulk has completely dried, use a razor scraper to remove any excess caulk, leaving the repaired area flush with the outside of the siding.

Razor scraper for home exterior vinyl siding repair

If needed, paint the caulk (once it has cured) with acrylic latex exterior paint matched to the color of your siding.

Vinyl Siding Repair – Medium Sized Holes

Medium-sized holes in your siding (up to 1 1/2 inches) can be repaired similarly to smaller holes. The following steps will help you efficiently make these repairs:

Level the Surface – Again, using a utility knife or razor cutter, cut away any protruding parts of the damaged area. In performing this step, take care to avoid increasing the size of the hole.

Unlock the Siding – Use a siding removal tool (also known as a zip tool – readily available at home centers), unlock the bottom of the damaged siding far enough to gain access to the back of the siding.

Watch this video to see how to use a zip tool when unlocking vinyl siding.

Seal the Back of the Hole – With the siding unlocked, trim the back edge of the hole so that it is flush with the back of the siding, and apply foil tape to the backside of the hole. Use multiple pieces of tape if necessary to extend the coverage to at least one inch beyond its edge.

High-quality foil tape is preferred over masking or duct tape as it works well in humid and low-temperature conditions without peeling off, and it can remain in place for a decade or longer.

Lock the Siding in Place – Once the hole is covered from the back, lock the siding back in place.

Exterior Caulking – Apply a thin layer of color matched or paintable caulk to the hole. For best results, the layer of caulk should be flush with or slightly raised above the level of the siding.

Finish the Repair – Use a razor scraper to remove any excess caulk once it has completely dried, leaving the repaired area flush with the outside of the siding.

If you used paintable caulk, paint it with acrylic latex exterior paint matched to the color of your siding.

This repair can also be made from the outside without unlocking your siding. Watch this video to see how it is done.

Vinyl Siding Repair – Large Holes and Cracks

Large holes and cracks in your siding will need a solution other than caulking. For this type of damage, a siding patch or replacement is necessary. The following steps will guide you through this repair.

Before proceeding, verify that you have a matching section of siding (wide or long enough to cover all of the damaged area) for a seamless patch or replacement.

Siding Patch – When the damage to your siding is concentrated in a specific location, a patch can be put over it following these steps:

• Using a utility knife, carefully score the top of the siding patch along the base of the nailing strip, then snap off the nailing strip. Siding shears can be used just to cut it off.
• Do not make this cut too low. The upper edge of this patch will be shoved into the joint formed by the original siding.
• Before proceeding, verify that the patch fits firmly in place and is flush along the sides and that the interlocking flange will snap into place*.
• Clean and dry the surfaces that will be in contact with each other.
• Apply a bead of waterproof heavy-duty adhesive to the back of the patch along the top, one inch from the edge.
• Align the patch in its position, then firmly push it into place with the top edge shoved into the joint of the original siding, and the lower interlocking flange snapping into place.
• Firmly press against the top portion of the patch to spread the adhesive evenly.

Watch this video to see how a patch is prepared and applied over damaged siding.

* Some models of siding have an interlocking lower section that won’t allow the “snap in place” to occur. When this is the case, cut off the interlocking flange, leaving an inward fold that will conform to the existing siding. When the patch is firmly in place, use two to three rivets to secure the bottom of it in place.

Applied correctly, this type of patch can last for many years, likely until the house is due for new siding.

Siding Replacement – When the damage to a section of siding is extensive, replace the damaged siding with an entirely new piece.

The following steps will help you successfully replace an entire section of siding:

• Use the zip tool to unlock the siding from above and below the damaged piece.
• Remove (pry out) the nails from the nailing strip.
• Remove the damaged siding.
• Situate the new siding in place of the old piece, locking it into the lower piece.
• Verify that the new piece of siding correctly overlaps the existing siding and that it rests seamlessly into corner fittings.
• Drive nails in the nailing strip of the replacement siding close to where the old nails were driven.
• Do not drive the nails too deep. They should be left flush with the nailing strip to allow for expansion and contraction without buckling.
• Use the zip tool to lock the upper piece of siding to the new piece.

Home exterior vinyl siding nail placement for loose fit

As siding models, colors, and sizes change over time, if there are sections of the damaged siding that can be cut away and stored for future use (as patches), it would be wise to do so.

Likewise, be sure to keep several lengths of the new siding stored away for eventual patches and replacements. Visit homeandgardeningguide.com/repairs/exterior/ for other exterior home repair and maintenance articles.

Your Home’s Vinyl Siding

Don’t let your damaged siding make your home look rundown and shabby when there are easy to use DIY repair and replacement tips.

In this article, you discovered how to quickly and easily repair or replace damaged vinyl siding.

By not taking action when your vinyl siding is damaged or cracked, you are risking costly structural damage, and the need for significant repairs or substantial replacement costs.

Sources:
https://www.vinylsiding.org/installation/installation-manual/other-recommendations/
http://howtobuildit.org/2013/09/20/how-to-repair-vinyl-siding/2/

Visit http://www.homeandgardeningguide.com/repairs/exterior/ for more exterior home repair articles, resources, and tips.

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3 Tax Deductions for Home Improvements

Get a bigger tax return now and pay less tax later. Sound like a bargain?

Tax deductions limited for home improvements

Under certain circumstances, a portion of home improvements may be deducted from your yearly taxes. If that doesn’t catch your attention, the money you can save when it’s time to sell your home will.

homeandgardeningguide.com gathered information on how home improvements for a home-based business, as medical expenses, and for the sale of your home can help you maximize your current tax season and help you save money when you sell your home.

What Home Improvements Are Tax Deductible?

A home improvement (for tax purposes) is work that substantially adds value to your home, extends its useful life, or modifies it for new uses or activities. Such home improvements include:

• Adding a new bathroom
• Adding or expanding a room
• Installing a deck
• Installing a driveway
• Installing walkways
• Replacing the roof
• Erecting a fence
• Upgrading the electrical system (wiring)
• Making energy efficient upgrades
• Upgrading the plumbing
• Upgrading the kitchen

Here’s the spoiler. If your home is used solely as your personal residence, you are not allowed to deduct the cost of home improvements. In this scenario, home improvement costs are nondeductible personal expenses. However, the property tax you pay is deductible.

This is relevant because when you make home improvements that increase your property’s value, your property taxes will generally increase in tandem.

Don’t be discouraged though, when the time comes to sell your home, the cost of your home improvements are added to the tax basis of the home, reducing the amount of taxes you must pay when selling your home at a profit (we’ll address this in more detail later in the article).

For now, let’s discuss how to benefit from your home improvements in the current tax season.

1. Home Business – Deductible Improvements

If you operate a business from your home, the improvements you make that benefit the entire home can be partially deducted from your taxes in the year the improvements were made.

Home improvement tax deduction proportionate to percentage of space used by business

A great example of a partial deduction is as follows:

If your business occupies 25% of your home’s square footage and that space is only used for business purposes, you can deduct 25% of the home improvement costs when those costs directly impact the space allocated for your business.

So, if you spent $4,000 to upgrade your home’s heating and air conditioning last year, 25% of that or $1,000 may be used as a deduction on last year’s taxes.

The remaining $3,000 may qualify to be applied to the tax basis of your home when you sell it.

An example of a full deduction is:

Upgrades made exclusively to the space used for business purposes, e.g., the installation of a shelving unit or floor replacement, can have the full value deducted from that year’s taxes.

The Internal Revenue Service has strict qualifying guidelines for home business space, learn more at irs.gov/newsroom/must-know-tips-about-the-home-office-deduction

2. Medical Expenses – Deductible Modifications

If you have been diagnosed with a medical condition or have a disability that requires you to make modifications to your home, these expenses can be written off as medical expenses.

These modifications may include:

• Installing ramps for access
• Lowering cabinets
• Widening doors
• Installing handrails
• Installing lift chairs

Tax deduction for handrails as a medical expense

Note that if the improvements add to the value of the property, the cost of the improvement is reduced by the increase in the value of your property. The difference is considered a medical expense. And if the value of your property does not increase from the improvement or modification, the entire cost can be calculated as a medical expense.

For more information regarding medical expenses, visit irs.gov/publications/p502

3. Sell Your Home – Deductible Moving Expenses

The ultimate home improvement may be selling your current home and buying a better one!

When You Sell Your Home – The “tax basis” is the term used for the profit you make. For tax purposes, home improvements made to the house – while you owned it – reduce the IRS calculated profit you have to claim in the sale of the home.

Home improvement deductions reduce taxable profit when selling a home

This translates to less money on which you can be taxed. In addition, you only get taxed on the profit if your gain as a single person is over $250,000 and $500,000 for a married couple filing jointly. Take a look at how this is calculated:

$300,000 Purchase price for your home
-$100,000 Qualified home improvements
=$200,000 New tax basis
   
$700,000 Selling price of your home
-$300,000 Purchase price for your home
=$400,000 Profit
-$100,000 Qualified home improvements
-$250,000 Single person exemption
=$50,000 Total taxable profit

Moving Expenses – If you are active military personnel and must move due to permanent reassignment, the following may qualify as deductions:

• Transportation
• Lodging
• Shipping
• Storage

Note that your moving dates should reasonably coincide with your assignment start date. Simply stated, any expense you would not normally have (if it weren’t for the move) may be an eligible deduction.

For Non-Military taxpayers, this moving expense deduction has been suspended from tax years 2018 through 2025. For further reading on deductible moving expenses and who is eligible, visit irs.gov/publications/p521

Maximize Your Tax Refund

By making certain home improvements, you can increase your current tax refund or benefit from a lower tax basis when you sell your home.

In this article, you discovered how your home-based business, medical expenses, and selling your home can increase your tax return or decrease taxes owed.

The government offers tax breaks and deductions as incentives. If you do not take advantage of them, you are losing money and passing up exceptional opportunities.

Disclaimer:

As federal tax codes and regulations may change from year to year, we at Home & Gardening Guide strongly recommend consulting a tax specialist before attempting to make any deductions in reference to the above stated material.

Sources:
https://www.irs.gov
https://www.energy.gov/science-innovation/energy-efficiency

Visit http://www.homeandgardeningguide.com/improvement/finances/ for more home finance articles, resources, and tips.

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Simple Winter Garden Preparation for Spring Planting

Without prepping your garden properly in the winter, it can struggle to thrive in the spring. If you could guarantee a beautiful spring garden with some simple preparation steps, would you do it?

The nutrients and balance of your garden soil are not perpetual. A healthy garden depends on your involvement and preparation for the coming growing season.

Winter garden preparation for spring planting and flowers

homeandgardeningguide.com gathered information and professional tips to help you prepare your garden soil for spring planting by knowing what you will plant, what soil type you have, how to enrich it, and when to till it. You will also find answers to some frequently asked questions.

Preparing Garden Soil for Spring Planting

There are several aspects of your garden’s soil which require attention before planting. The following will help in soil preparation for your spring planting.

Know What You Will Plant – Before doing anything, figure out what kind of a garden you are going to plant. Some plant species require different nutrients, soil types, and pH levels.

While the majority of plants will do well with a pH level between 5.5 and 7, there are many species which have adapted to thrive outside these levels.

For a more acidic soil, you can add compost, peat moss, sulfur or iron sulfate. For a more alkaline soil, lime or baking soda are recommended.

Winter garden preparation soil pH control with baking soda

Plants like strawberries, blueberries, and azaleas will flourish in more acidic soil, while squash, spinach, radishes, and beets prefer a more neutral to alkaline soil.

If you’re interested in planting shrubs, check out homeandgardeningguide.com/gardening-landscaping/shrubs/how-to-plant-evergreen-shrubs/

Know the Type of Soil in Your Garden – There’s more to it than dirt. Soils can be clay, sandy, rocky, or shallow. For every type of soil, there are plant species that have adapted to them.

• Clay soils tend to retain too much water
• Sandy soils do not retain enough water
• Rocky soils do not retain nutrients very well
• Shallow soil is highly subject to erosion and nutrient leaching.

Winter garden preparation for clay soil

Most (garden variety) plant species require well-drained, moist, nutrient-rich, and slightly acidic soil.

Improve Your Garden Soil – Improving or enriching your garden soil can be accomplished by adding organic material. Here are a few options to help you create the perfect growth environment for your garden:

• Plant Material
• Manure
• Compost
• Sawdust
• Wood Ash

Winter garden soil preparation with manure for spring planting

You can add up to 4in of any of the above materials to loosen tight clay or help sandy soil retain water while adding nutrients to the soil and making it easier to dig.

For heavy clay soil, adding gypsum (4 pounds per 100 square feet) will provide some nutrients while loosening the soil, and making it more workable.

Tilling Garden Soil – Tilling the soil is generally not recommended. However, there are times when it may be necessary. See the following to discover whether it is needed or not.

Tilling is recommended for:

• New garden beds.
• Incorporating organic material into a nutrient deficient garden bed.

Tilling is not recommended for:

• Established and healthy garden beds.
• Adjusting soil pH levels.

Tilling inverts the soil of your garden bed which has the following impact on established garden beds:

• Tilling creates bare loose topsoil which is highly vulnerable to erosion and leaching (nutrient loss).
• It compromises soil structure and buries the microorganisms that flourish in the top 4 to 5 inches of the soil.
• Repeated tilling creates a compacted layer of soil at the depth the soil is tilled at. This soil compaction stops water and roots from penetrating further into the soil.
• Tilling moves dormant weed seeds closer to the surface where they are able to germinate.

Winter garden soil preparation and tilling for spring planting

Over time, your garden soil will be able to sustain itself to the point that fertilizers, organic material, and pH balancing agents will only need to be applied to the surface. In the long run, tilling will end up doing more damage than good to your soil.

People Also Ask

Question: When should I prepare my garden soil?
Answer: Late fall or late winter. If you choose late winter, wait until there is no snow cover and the ground is not frozen.

Question: What can I plant in early spring?
Answer: As soon as the soil can be worked, radish, kale, broccoli, snow peas, and lettuce can be planted in early spring.

Question: Which flowers bloom first in spring?
Answer: Bulbs. You can plant bulbs when preparing your soil, and by early spring, they will break through the surface, and bloom fairly quickly. Daffodils, tulips, crocus, and hyacinth are among the most popular bulbs to plant.

Winter garden preparation and planting for spring tulips

Question: When can I start planting my spring garden?
Answer: Late March and early April. However, for plants that are intolerant to frost, mid-April is the best time to get them in the garden.

Garden Preparation for Spring

With some simple preparation, you can transform your garden into a spectacular show of color. And it all starts in the winter.

In this article, you discovered how to prepare your garden by knowing what you will plant, what soil type you have, how to enrich it and when to till it. You also uncovered answers to some frequently asked questions.

Without your help, your garden soil may not have the necessary nutrients for healthy growth or blooming, which may lead to stunting, wilting, and the death of your plants. Avoid this by keeping your soil in prime condition by preparing it for spring planting.

Sources:
https://pss.uvm.edu/ppp/articles/fallsoils.html
http://pss.uvm.edu/ppp/pubs/oh34.htm

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

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DIY Bathroom Design Ideas When on a Budget

You can save thousands and increase your home’s value when you upgrade your bathroom yourself. Your day begins and ends in the bathroom, so why not turn it into an attractive place that you can enjoy.

DIY bathroom decorating and design ideas

A bathroom makeover doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Good ideas combined with your creativity, and a little motivation can produce stunning results.

homeandgardeningguide.com has collected some of the best DIY bathroom projects, professional advice, and expert tips to help you quickly personalize, update, and transform your bathroom.

Using Decor to Make an Old Bathroom Look New

Since bathrooms are smaller in size, compared to other rooms in your home, they are inherently easier to spruce up. Any of the following tips, besides being inexpensive, can be accomplished in a matter of minutes:

Shower Curtain – With an infinite number of designs, themes, and color schemes, you can immediately change the vibe of your bathroom with a new shower curtain.

Towels – Towels serve more than one purpose in a bathroom. Not only do they dry us off, but they can also play a part in the decorative color scheme or theme. Like shower curtains, towels come in an infinite array of themes and colors.

Bathroom design and remodel towels

Bath Rug Set – Bath rugs offer added comfort to your bathroom, as well as a touch of style when they compliment the shower curtain and towels.

Bathroom Accessory Sets – Including everything from a soap dish, liquid soap dispenser, tissue box cover, toothbrush caddy, etc. These sets allow you to give your bathroom a stylish and personal touch.

Bathroom design DIY decorating accessory set

Plants – With the ability to fit into any decor, a plant brings a “live” aspect to your bathroom. The pot it comes in or fits into should match the basic color scheme or theme you’ve created.

Be sure to select plants which tolerate high humidity and low light exposure like snake plants, orchids, and grape ivy.

Candles – Strategically placed on a countertop or shelf, candles can be used to freshen the air, provide lower lighting, or be a decoration. Since candles come in various sizes, colors, scents, and shapes, they can be mixed and matched to complement the bathroom’s decor.

Bathroom Wall Ideas

The wall space in your bathroom can be transformed into storage, shelving, a place for pictures, or painted to fit your new decor. The following bathroom wall ideas will require some tools and preparation but continue to be low budget and easy to accomplish.

Paint – One of the most significant transformational actions you can take in a bathroom is to paint it. Here are some of the ways this can be done:

• All walls one color.
Bathroom decorating DIY painting
• Each wall a different color within the scheme.
• One “accent” wall with a darker contrasting color.
Bathroom design and decorating accent wall
• 2 toned with the darker color at the bottom.
• Stencils to paint figures or words.

Pictures – Hang a map, an old poem, picture, or set of images with frames that compliment the decor. Images of nature and still photography do very well in this environment.

Bathroom remodel picture decorating

Mirrors – Add an additional mirror to the bathroom. Mirrors can magically make small spaces seem large, especially when they are hung opposite each other.

Shelves – Both practical and aesthetically pleasant, there’s just something about a shelf that gives a wall new life.

Bathroom DIY decorating shelves

Hanging Cabinet – Great for storing extra towels or toiletries, the space above the back of the toilet is a great place to hang a small cabinet.

DIY bathroom decorating hanging cabinet

Curved Shower Rod – Install a curved shower rod to give a more substantial feel to the shower.

Bathroom design ideas curved shower rod

Tip: Use extreme caution any time you drive a nail into or must drill through a wall in your bathroom. Use a stud finder to locate wooden beams behind the drywall and use them for hanging or fastening if possible..

How To Spruce Up Your Bathroom on a Budget

Transform your bathroom into a place you want to be. Whether the morning routine, makeup, shower, or taking care of business, most people spend 30 minutes to over an hour per day in their bathroom. Your experience and bathroom space should be appealing and pleasing to the senses.

In this article, you discovered some of the best DIY bathroom projects, expert tips, and professional advice to help you transform your bathroom even if you are on a tight budget.

Before spending your money on interior designers and decorators, get motivated and use your creativity to spruce up your bathroom. You could save thousands of dollars and increase your property value and appeal when you do it yourself.

Sources:
https://keepstudy.org/diy-bathroom-decor/
https://www.remodelingcalculator.org/9-bathroom-decor-ideas/
https://www.remodelingcalculator.org/small-bathroom-makeover/

Visit www.homeandgardeningguide.com/decorating/bath/ for more decorating and design articles, resources, DIY and how-to tips.

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