Fast-Growing Evergreen Bushes for Landscaping

Confront an embarrassment of riches when they visit the nursery. Soft winters imply that conifers are not the shrubs to maintain their leaves all year. Broadleaf evergreens have several advantages: they form year-round screens can blossom during an assortment of seasons, maintain moisture, withstand heat and enhance landscape fire resistance. There are appropriate for poolside the seaside and urban heat island.


Conifers are, but some grow to fill an area in a few seasons. The salt-tolerant”Bar Harbor” creeping juniper (Juniperus horizontalis”Bar Harbor”) turns a plum color in winter. Hollywood juniper (J. chinensis”Torulosa”) grows 15 feet tall and 10 feet wide in a twisting shape reminiscent of expressionist paintings and Spartan juniper (J. chinensis”Spartan”), a thinner, straighter bush, makes a display when massed and sheered.


Shrubs trained as hedges need pruning or sheering to maintain a streamlined form. Wax myrtle (Morella cerifera), also called Southern bayberry, makes a handsome 6- to 10-foot hedge with sheering, but can grow to 20 feet if failed. Waxleaf privet (Ligustrum japonicum”Texanum”) blossoms in late spring; it grows to ten feet and is frequently chosen as a topiary shrub because of its dense branching growth. Pinch and prune African boxwood (Myrsine africana) to form a 4-foot hedge. Untended, it can grow quickly to 8 feet with a spread up to 6 feet. Texas sage (Leucophyllum candidum”Thunder Cloud”) grows 3 to 4 feet tall to make a little hedge; it is heat and drought tolerant but necessitates full-sun exposure.

Flowering Shrubs

Broadleaf evergreens may have long seasons of bloom. The Mexican orange blossom (Choisya ternata) develops rapidly to 9 feet tall with an equal spread; it bears white flowers from spring through early fall. California privet (Ligustrum ovalifolium) is an aggressive, rapid grower that bears heavily scented white flowers and creates a thick hedge up to 15 feet tall. Bush morning glory (Convolvulus cneorum) grows just 2 to 4 feet tall and blooms from May to December.

Seaside Evergreens

Seaside plants must tolerate salt spray and salt in the soil. Coast rosemary (Westringia fruticosa) grows 3 to 6 feet tall with foliage resembling its own herb garden namesake. Sun promotes growth and the flowers that are intermittently throughout the year in white or purple. Hollyleaf cherry (Prunus ilicifolia ssp. Ilicifolia) grows from 10 to 20 feet tall and creates an attractive windscreen.

Fire Resistant Bushes

Plants with thick foliage such as Texas privet withstand fires and the heat of wildfires compared to other plants. Italian buckthorn (Rhamnus alaternus) grows 12 to 20 feet tall with shiny oval leaves. Maritime ceanothus (Ceanothus maritimus) is a small shrub, 1 to 3 feet tall, that rapidly spreads to 6 feet wide. Lily of the Nile (Agapanthus”Peter Pan”) is a dwarf shrub which also stands 1 to 3 feet tall but spreads just two feet wide.

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The Best Way to Size Radiators for Rooms

Radiators are one way of heating a room that has heater, central heating or no fireplace. But they need to be sized correctly for the effective energy usage. When a radiator is little, it cannot keep a room’s occupants warm. When it is big, it can cycle on and off more often, using up energy.

Assess the length, height and width of the room in feet. Multiply all 3 values to determine the footage of the space. For instance, if you’ve got a room that measures 12 feet by 10 feet wide by 7 feet high, multiplying 12 by 10 by 7 generates 840 feet.

Multiply the result by 5 to get a radiator in dining and living rooms, 4 bedrooms for bedrooms, or 3 to kitchens and other regions of the home. For instance, multiplying the 840 feet from the bedroom by 3 produces 2,520.

If the room faces north, add 15 percent to the result. When it has doors, add 20 percent and if it has windows, then subtract 10 percent. For instance, since the bedroom to your radiator faces north, you add 15 percent to 2,520 to produce 2,898, that’s the number of BTUs or British Thermal Units your radiator must produce per hour to adequately heat the room.

Because most radiators’ specs list their heating capacity convert your BTU calculation to watts. Because BTUs are units of heat, the conversion is not exact and watts are units of electricity.

Divide the number of BTUs by 3.41. For instance, if you divide 2,898 BTUs by 3.41, the result is roughly 850 watts. You want an radiator to produce the 2,898 BTUs per hour desired by the foot room used in the instance.

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How To Separate a Room

San Francisco’s rich architectural history has filled the city with buildings — a few of which have floor plans which don’t match modern residents’ expectations. If your new apartment used to be a part of a house, you might want to divide an mystery room. Easy partitions can be convenient for privacy if you’re sharing a one-bedroom using a roommate or two.


In the old tradition of roommates the easiest way is probably to hang a curtain in place of a wall. Though it doesn’t provide much barrier that is sound, curtains are relatively cheap, easy to install and easy to remove again when you move out. They are also more versatile than sturdier choices: shut them for privacy, or pull them out of the way to start the space for roommate or business hangout time. A folding screen that is tall works.


To imitate the solidity of a wall, divide a room with bookcases. To provide shelving on each side of the partition, then put two bookcases side and confront one in each direction. Hang tapestries or wallpaper on the backs to hide the wood. If each side of the room has its own entry, install the bookcases across the width of the space to make a wall that is complete. Leave 3 or 4 feet open on one side if you need a door through the partition and cover the gap using a folding or curtain screen.

Closet Doors

If you have the property or your landlord gives you permission, install folding or sliding closet doors to get a more permanent solution. Because closets arrive in all dimensions, it is possible to find closet doors narrow enough to fill in a vacant door or wide enough to partition an entire room. Runners on ceiling and the floor add sliding wooden or mirrored panels to divide the space. If you’d like the option of opening the doors to restore the room utilize doors.

Open Floor Plan

Old apartments feature spaces which were small areas at a large residence, hallways or closets. They might have a kitchen at the rear of the dining room. Utilize the arrangement of the scheme and the furniture without shutting them off to divide spaces. Paint the walls in each space distinct colours; carpeting the den area and tile the kitchen area; put a sofa so that it faces the area and backs onto the dining room. Experiment until you find.

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The Way to Grow Ornamental Kale Sunset

It will not cut once you’ve discovered ornamental kale. This cool-weather plant provides big, leafy rosettes of purples and brilliant pinks , offset by green or ivory. Long-stem varieties are more eye catching, with roselike centers you can accentuate through trimming — a favorite in fall floral structures. The decorative kale cultivar Sunset (Brassica oleracea”Sunset”) is a long-stemmed variety that can reach 24 inches tall and features deep pink”blossoms” with green outer leaves, sometimes streaked with pink. Like Sunset, it’s best to begin with seed in midsummer while kale seedlings are available each autumn, when you’re looking for a specific cultivar.

Fill flats with sterile seed-starting mix when day temperatures are around 70 degrees Fahrenheit and it is at least 75 days before temperatures are regularly below 50 F. This will be about mid-August, but assess by your particular climate or microclimate.

Sow seeds 1/4 inch deep and gently cover with all the mix. They can be kept outdoors provided that the temperatures are warm and you keep them moist. Ornamental kale seeds must germinate within 10 days at a temperature of 70 F.

Transplant the strongest, most appealing seedlings to 4-inch pots filled with potting soil around a month after they germinate. Water well. Use a soil with plant foods or fertilize with a balanced fertilizer.

As day temperatures start to dip near 60 F clear weeds and summer annuals from an area of well-drained soil in full sun. In accordance with University of California Extension, this really is from early October through November depending on where you are. Until temperatures cool, the plants don’t start to show their true colours and colour can take up to a month.

Dig holes equal to the root chunk of each plant in full sun in their final place as evening temperatures fall toward 60 F. Space the holes six inches apart. While ornamental kale needs 10 to 12 inches between plants to achieve it summit, tight spacing promotes the stalks of types like Sunset to elongate.

Add a handful of slow-release fertilizer and pop a plant. Business up the soil and water well. Keep the plants moist as they set in their new location.

Remove leaves of Sunset ornamental kale beginning when the plants are 6 inches tall, so lasting as they grow till they have a reddish to deep pink center with one outer layer of green to pink-streaked green leaves and a stem. It may take up to completely develop.

Stakes and tie stalks to supports once they reach 10 to 12 inches. Sunset has rosettes from 3 to 7 inches across and may grow to 24 inches tall, so though stalks are fairly sturdy, supports keep the top-heavy plant from flopping over.

Fertilize once a month with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer. While established practice is to cease fertilizing once the plant begins to colour, as it may keep color from developing this may not be the situation. Research conducted for farmers by North Carolina State University showed that when the plant has feedings the plants can suffer from nutrient deficiencies if fertilizer is stopped and demonstrate no difference.

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The Way to Construct an Affordable Wood Deck

When you have a deck to relax on spending time outdoors on a summer day can be even more enjoyable. A deck gives a good foundation for you to put a grill and patio furniture, in addition to keeps you rains. For those who don’t have the lawn or money space for a large, extravagant deck, you can construct an small deck. Putting the deck can help protect it from moisture in the floor, extending its life.

Putting the Concrete Footers

Spray paint the floor to indicate the outline of this deck. Mark the location for the blocks across the deck lines, putting them.

Dig on deep holes that are 6-inch . Tamp the soil in the bottom of the holes to compact it.

Fill each hole using a coating of gravel. Tamp on the gravel.

Push two stakes to the floor 12 inches behind among the holes on the edge of the deck line. Position one stake on another on the edge of the deck line, and the side edge of the deck line. You’ll tie strings to these lines to inspect for level in the blocks as you set them.

Set an cube.

Place a level. If needed, tap down on the block using a rubber mallet to level it.

Tie a string you drove to the floor. Tie the other end to a second stake, and drive the stake into the floor 12 inches behind the block that is next.

Until the string is put on top of the two blocks, adjust the string on both stakes.

Hook a line level onto the string. Until it’s level with the very first block, adjust the block.

Examine the rest of the blocks using this method. If the deck is put against the house, tape the string to the house behind the blocks.

Building the Deck

Cut 2-by-6 boards using a circular saw to match the dimensions of the faces of the deck. Cut two boards for each side of this deck. Wear safety goggles when sawing the wood.

Nail the two boards for each side. Assemble the boards and nail them together. Here is actually the deck frame.

Put the frame. Measure the frame diagonally in both directions. The frame is square if the dimensions match. If not, cut fits inside the frame from a board. Put it and measure. Until it’s square, move the spacer inside the frame.

Screw angle brackets to the interior corners of this frame with screws. The corners of this frame strengthen.

Nail galvanized joist hangers to the interior of the framing along the long edges of this frame. Use galvanized nails, and set the joist hangers 12 inches apart at most.

Cut on the joists to your deck, utilizing boards. All these are.

Install the joists by slipping them and nailing them to the hangers with nails.

Measure the distance throughout the surface of the deck perpendicular to the joists. Cut decking boards to fit that space.

Screw the decking boards and joist with screws.

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The Way to Figure the Wattage of Ceiling Fans

A watt is a unit of energy or electricity that the appliance or device uses. Fans and different appliances are definitely marked with many watts they have. Knowing a fan’s wattage could be important in areas where electricity prices are high, or when comparing the use of a ceiling fan with even box fans or central air. There is an easy method if the wattage of the fan isn’t marked, however.

Look at the label on your ceiling fan. It is going to show the amount, even if it doesn’t demonstrate the amount of wattage used. The location of the label can vary; although it’s usually on the outside of the enthusiast in a hidden place — like above a fan blade or from the light socket — it may be on the inside of the fan base, which attaches to the ceiling.

Find the amount of amps on the ceiling fan’s label. This could be as few as 0.5 to 0.9 for the ordinary enthusiast; the larger the engine, the more amps will be required.

Multiply the amount of amps recorded by 120, which is the number of volts of electricity. This amount should be recorded on the ceiling fan label. The formula of x volts equals the amount of watts used from the ceiling fan. For example, 0.5 x 120 = 60 watts; 0.9 x 120 = 108 watts. This wattage sum is how much electricity the ceiling fan uses at speed.

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How to Insulate a Basement Cinder Block

Buildings constructed from concrete cinder blocks offer long-term strength and durability against weather, wind, fire and pests. Regrettably, concrete cubes also provide hardly any natural thermal resistance. With insulation, cinder block walls enable unwanted cold air from the outside to go into your home, particularly in the basement. Add insulation to your cellar walls to improve energy efficiency, decrease heating and cooling expenses, and improve the comfort of your home.

Visit the Department of Energy site to find out how much insulation you need. Most homes need thermal resistance of R-13 on outside basement walls, though houses in the coldest areas of the country could gains from around R-21. Your uninsulated concrete cubes offer just about R-1 or R-2, therefore subtract this from the R-value you’re trying to achieve prior to buying insulation.

Install 2-by-2 wooden furring strips along the length of the cinder block wall. Set the strips perpendicular to the floor every 16 inches and secure them to the block utilizing masonry or concrete screws.

Cut your foam insulation to match between the furring strips. Keep the foam panels tightly to the edge of each strip to minimize air leaks. Cut your foam boards using a utility knife.

Put a double layer of foam board involving each furring strip. Two layers of foam offer an R-value between 8 and 16. Together with the insulation already provided by your block wall, you’ll achieve roughly the R-value advocated by the Department of Energy. In very cold climate zones, then you may need to use 3-inch furring strips to match one extra layer of insulation inside the wall cavity.

Use extra masonry screws to anchor the foam board to the wall every 6 to 8 inches. Choose screws to pass through both layers of foam and into the wall. Think about purchasing specialty foam board anchors designed for this type of program to make the job simpler.

Put in a coating of any typical vapor barrier across the whole wall. Overlap the seams by 6 inches and use nails or screws to secure the vapor barrier to the furring strips.

Insert a layer of 1/2-inch drywall to complete the basement walls. Even if you’re delighted with your unfinished basement, most building codes require foam insulation to be covered with 1/2-inch shingles to improve fire resistance.

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Measures to Stucco a Home

Stucco is a Portland cement-based plaster material that is most frequently employed as an exterior wall finish. It is employed to Spanish- or Mediterranean-style homes. Color pigments can be added to the plaster mixture before it’s applied, or it may be painted after application. Section of stucco’s allure is that it may be textured in many different approaches to make distinctive and beautiful patterns on a home’s exterior.

Assess Your Foundation

Stucco must be applied to a solid material for adhesion. A cement or masonry wall that has been inspected for imperfections and washed nicely is ideal. Should you wish to stucco over some other material besides cement or masonry, a substructure made from wire mesh, wooden or metal slatting is recommended.

Scratch Layer # 1

The base coat of stucco is referred to. Before employing the scratch layer, the structure or substructure should be dampened. Employ a 3/8-inch-thick layer of stucco to the damp surface with a trowel and allow to dry for several hours, until it’s just damp. Scratch the surface together with criss-cross ridges together with the edge of the trowel or a similar tool and allow to dry for 24 hours.

Scratch Layer # 2

Apply a second scratch layer in precisely the same manner as the very first and allow to dry for 24 hours.

Smooth Layer

Apply a thin layer of stucco, measuring roughly 1/8 inch, over the scratch layer. Create designs and textures while the smooth layer is still wet and pliable. If high temperatures threaten to dry the stucco too fast and cause fractures, mist the stucco with water several times during the drying period.

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What Exactly Does House Appraisers Look at to Set a Value on a House?

The job of a house appraiser would be to determine the market value of your house, according to its size and location, and on”comparable sales” in your neighborhood. This task is crucial to the home-buying market and notably to lenders, who have to have an accurate notion of property worth when extending loans secured by that property to potential buyers. Appraisers work for public agencies which impose property taxes according to the assessed value of a property.


For the most basic initial estimate, appraisers consider the square footage of the house and the number of rooms and compare it to properties of a similar size and configuration which have recently sold in the exact same location. Residential houses are in contrast to other houses, and condos are in contrast to other condos. All these”comps” can be adjusted up or down according to several additional factors. These comps have to be carefully selected, as in California property values can change substantially from 1 block and square mile to another.

Exterior Condition

The appraiser next believes the exterior appearance of the house or building. He examines the condition of the paint, windows, roof, windows and landscape surrounding your house. The garage is analyzed, as is your driveway, sidewalk, and any exterior furnishings such as patios, verandas, decks, pools and fencing. Damage or bad maintenance ends in a downward-adjusted evaluation.

Interior Condition

The inside of the house then comes under examination. The appraiser checks the condition of the plumbing and electrical wiring, where visible. The heater, air conditioning unit, ventilators, water heater and the other mechanical equipment in the residence is examined carefully. The appraiser looks for signs of mold and mildew on the walls, ceilings and floor, and examines the condition of tile and carpeting, kitchen appliances and fixed lighting units

Pest Control

The appraiser also must watch carefully for any termite damage by analyzing the condition of exposed studs, rafters, paneling, floorboards and other wooden fixtures which are a part of the house. Termite and other pest damage is noted on the evaluation report.

Owner Opinion

Finally the appraiser can speak with the homeowner to ask her fair opinion of the worth of the house, to inquire about any unseen damage in addition to developments the homeowner has left, along with her overall expertise with the house. Appraisers need to make honest assessments of land, without inflating the amounts at the behest of the house owners, which would be in breach of the law.

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Explanation of Homeowners Insurance

A home is likely the largest investment anyone will make in his life and needs to be guarded. Home buyers purchase homeowners insurance to shield them from loss due to fire, deliberate or unintentional destruction of the home by another individual, and damage caused by household pets. Most homeowners policies exclude acts of God, like floods and earthquakes, from coverage, although supplementary policies are available for these possible occurrences.


Homeowners insurance provides coverage for the construction of the home and will repair or reconstruct it if it’s damaged by storm, fire, lightning or some other insured disaster. Additionally, it covers structures which aren’t connected to the home, like gazebos, tool sheds and garages. Insurance will not pay for regular wear and tear.

Personal Belongings

Furniture, clothing, art, sports equipment, electric appliances and other household goods are covered by homeowners insurance if they are ruined by any disaster outlined in the policy or lost to burglar. On average, companies look at how much the construction of the home is guaranteed for and provide 50 to 70% of the value on the contents of the home. A complete replacement cost policy may also be purchased if the amount of coverage offered in the policy appears insufficient. Coverage for expensive items like family heirlooms, jewelry, silverware and art ought to be insured to their entire value via a special personal property endorsement, because their worth under the overall homeowners policy is restricted.


The liability portion of the homeowners policy protects against lawsuits for bodily injury or property damage that policyholders or family members cause to other men and women. Obligation also pays for damage caused by pets. It pays for the expense of defending the policyholder in courtroom and anything the court awards the other partyup to the limit of this policy.

Living Expenses

In case a homeowner ought to be forced from her home by natural disaster or fire, homeowners insurance may pay the additional costs associated with living away in the home although it’s uninhabitable. It covers hotel bills, restaurant meals and other living expenses. Coverage for additional living expenses varies from policy to policy, therefore it is advisable to read a policy carefully before registering.


Owners of multifamily properties normally purchase a homeowners policy with an endorsement to cover the dangers associated with having tenants living on your premises, such as anything which may happen to other folks while they are seeing. These policies are available from”bare-bones” to comprehensive coverage.

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About Federal Government Mortgage Help to Stop Foreclosures

The federal government offers several programs to prevent homeowners from losing their homes to foreclosure. Throughout the Making Home Affordable plan of the President, you can use to refinance or change your mortgage. The Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, eases refinancing through its HOPE for Homeowners program. To ascertain which program is right for you–or if you’re even qualified –you want to know some fundamental facts.


The foreclosure process begins once you start missing mortgage obligations. By the fourth missed payment, based on HUD, you’re perilously close to losing your home. You should not wait until this point to seek out assist. Earning Home Cheap and HOPE for Homeowners accepts mortgage holders who believe they’re in danger of default in addition to those behind. The overarching goal of these programs is to bring your monthly payment down to a manageable level.


Eligibility varies from program to program. The federal government requires lenders who service Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans to take part in Earning Home Affordable; all others are”encouraged” to take part. To refinance through Earning Home Affordable, you should be present in your loan and realistically be able to meet the payment obligations of your loan. To modify your current mortgage under Earning Home Affordable, you must document financial hardship which renders your present mortgage payment unaffordable. The present payment needs to exceed 31 percentage of your monthly gross income. The HOPE for Homeowner’s refinance strategy uses the exact same hardship and 31 percent standards. Both applications require that the house you have is a one- to – four-unit dwelling.


If you refinance, you move out of your present presumably unaffordable loan into an entirely new loan with new terms and a reduced monthly payment. Below a modification, your lender simply”changes” the conditions of your present loan. The Building House Affordable and HOPE for Homeowners’ refinance options get homeowners to new fixed-rate loans with constant monthly payments, unlike the flexible rate alternatives many past-due homeowners are fighting with. Making Home Affordable’s modification program tweaks the conditions of your loan to bring the down payment. Lenders can increase the term of your loan, lower the interest rate and forgive or forebear a portion of the principal balance.


Making Home Affordable includes a program for the jobless. Your Home Affordable Unemployment Program reduces your mortgage payment below 31 percent of your gross monthly income, generally for three months. In the conclusion of this period, your lender provides instructions about the best way best to use for Earning Home Affordable’s alteration option.


If you’re ineligible for unemployment aid, refinancing or a modification, the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives Program, or HAFA, could be your very best option. This system uses two choices — either a brief sale or a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure. Your lender permits you to sell your home for less than you owe him under a brief sale. The lender then forgives the balance left in your loan after a sale. With a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure you”voluntarily” hands over the deed on your home to your lender, that lets you walk away, exonerated from financial obligation, according to this Building House Cheap site.

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First-Time Home Buyer Expense Checklist

Buying your first home is one of life’s major events. It’s easy to get caught up in the euphoria of the decision and overlook the reality that it costs a substantial amount of money not only to obtain a home, but to keep it and maintain it.


If you are purchasing your first home, there’s a good chance you are coming from a situation in which someone else–your landlord, a property management company or your parents–will be responsible financially for maintaining the property in which you live. It is a good idea to understand that you will be responsible for keeping up your property for a homeowner before you commit to a purchase. Julie Holden, a real estate agent in Austin, Texas, indicates homeowners put aside about 2% of their home’s purchase price to pay maintenance costs, including the purchase of lawn maintenance equipment and home tools, in the first year.


Not only do you need to keep your new residence, but Holden notes that you probably ought to stock it with appliances. Most new houses don’t come supplied with a refrigerator, washer, dryer and other necessities. You’ll be on the hook for at least an extra couple of thousand dollars for those items alone. If you are moving from a smaller to a larger area, you have a choice–abandon the extra space chilly and empty or supply it. Spare beds, dressers, couches and chairs–the listing of furnishings you need, or at least will want, when you move into your first home is endless.


You might need to spring for mortgage insurance when you get a new home. Many first-time home buyers utilize less than 20 percent for a down payment. In this case, mortgage insurance is necessary, as stated by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Mortgage insurance provides your creditor with security in case you default on your loan. If you are receiving an FHA loan, you are going to cover a 2.25 percent mortgage insurance premium up front in addition to monthly premiums. Homeowners insurance can be required when you get a home. You’ll need proof of a coverage at final. As HUD clarifies, premiums for mortgage and homeowners insurance are usually contained in a monthly mortgage payment.

Property Tax

Though it’s handled different depending upon where you live, you will likely pay property tax on your new residence. The last thing a first-time homeowner needs is a surprise once the bill comes in the mail. In California, thanks to the state’s controversial Proposition 13 passed by voters in 1978, property tax is limited to roughly 1 percent of the assessed value of your home, as stated by the state’s Board of Equalization.

Earnest Money

Whenever you choose to make an offer on a home, you’ll typically need to submit”earnest money” with it. According to HUD, real money is a deposit, which range from 1 to 5 percent of the expense of the home, that ultimately gets applied to your down payment or closing costs and is used to show the seller you are seriously interested in the transaction. In case the vendor does not accept your offer, you get your earnest money back.

Down Payment

Obviously, you will need a down payment to buy a home. After the housing crash that occurred in 2008the days of zero down are just about all gone. On FHA loans, your down payment can be as low as 3.5 percent. On a conventional mortgage, expect to pay somewhere around 20 percent for a down payment. Your individual financial situation greatly influences what is required.

Closing Prices

Closing costs consist of a string of fees–seemingly arbitrary fees, even to”seasoned” home buyers–you need to cover when it is time to sign the deal in your residence. HUD reports that closing costs include attorney’s fees in addition to a loan origination fee, a survey fee and record preparation fees. HUD estimates that final costs equal about 3 to 4% of your home’s value.

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What Forms of Contracts Are Employed in Real Estate?

As in any lawful trade, contracts are necessary to execute a property sale. Real estate buying and selling demand a number of contracts depending on the stage of negotiation. Some contracts are somewhat unique to the buyer or seller. Others have been shared and signed by both the buyer and seller. The laws and the contracts required may vary from state to state. It is a good idea to hire a lawyer before signing legal documents.

Exclusive Contracts

Licensed real estate agents are often utilized in property transactions. The buyer and seller obtain separate property agents to represent them in the trade. When enrolling with a realtor, the seller signs a contract typically known as an Exclusive Right to Sell Contract. This arrangement provides the broker exclusive rights to list and market the property. A purchaser signs what is often known as an Exclusive Buyer Agency Contract, which requires the purchaser to completely use the signed agent to buy a house.

Seller’s Disclosure

By law, the vendor must finish what is typically known as the Seller’s Disclosure and Condition of Property Addendum. This arrangement divulges specific facts about the house to prospective buyers. Sellers are required to answer questions concerning the era of the house, the roof along with the HVAC system. Foundation movement, bug issues and issues with the land or soil has to be disclosed in this contract.

Lead-Based Paint

Federal law requires sellers to finish a Lead-Based Paint Disclosure contract for homes built before 1978. The vendor should disclose any knowledge of lead-based paint in the house. Both buyer and seller fill out and sign this contract.

Financing Addendum

Buyers are occasionally needed to finish a Lending Addendum, which indicates the sort of financing obtained, whether the purchaser is prequalified to your home loan along with his arrangement to particular conditions in the contract. Some terms in the contract allow the purchaser to legally withdraw from the actual estate sale.

Sale Contract

When a buyer is ready to make a deal on a property, what is commonly known as a Residential Real Estate Sale Contract has been initiated. The vendor indicates what things will be included and excluded from the sale. For example, the vendor may want to include the refrigerator, but exclude the washer and dryer. Both buyer and seller accept and sign this contract.

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Why Is Urban Sprawl an Matter?

Urban sprawl–low-density development spreading into previously rural or agricultural soil –has been a problem since Jane Jacobs wrote about it in 1961's”The Life and Death of Great American Cities.” Sprawl critics such as the Sierra Club state sprawl damages the environment; free market advocates such as the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA), state the injury is overstated and that we ought to respect homeowners' desire for big suburban lots and low-density improvement.


One of the qualities of sprawl, says California State University, is that there is little combined use: Homeowners no longer live close to their jobs or near stores. Because of this, the Sierra Club says sprawl means more driving, which means more use of petroleum, more pollution in the atmosphere and more pollution running off the streets as it rains.

Homeowner Desires

Sprawl reflects how Americans want to live, the NCPA states. Land outside cities is cheaper, making it possible for homeowners to pay for the huge piles they crave. According to the NCPA, the perfect thing to do would be respect home buyers’ wishes and permit sprawl to develop unregulated.


Another reason for leaving cities, the NCPA says, is the fact that taxes are usually reduced in the suburbs. One of the criticisms of sprawl recorded in a California State University research, however, is that suburbanites still use city services–parks, streets, police services–even though they’re no longer paying taxes to encourage them.


It costs more to expand infrastructure such as roads and sewage systems to a suburb outside a city than to growth within city limits. The Sierra Club says that among the issues of sprawl is the cost of the extra infrastructure is borne from the city taxpayers. The Property and Environment Research Center (PERC), on the other hand, says it is around the city government to insist that the developer or the sprawl homeowners endure the expense of expanding infrastructure.

Leapfrog Development

If a developer”leapfrogs” over rural land near a city to build farther out, the land between city and suburb will fill up, often with commercial growth catering to new homeowners and commuters. Critics such as the Sierra Club say that this increases the problem of sprawl; PERC argues in favour of fill-in development for a boost to the local economy.

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How to Decorate a House in the Southwestern Style

Homeowners have always looked for a way to create their houses stand out from the cookie-cutter crowd, a way to add a little personality and spark into the interior decor. In the 1980s, a interior layout craze swept the nation, introducing Americans to kitschy, ethnic-inspired objects and howling bright colours. The trend didn't last long as other, more subdued styles of layout took centre stage. The Southwestern style of interior design has been revisited with a fresh, classy look meant to provide a more elegant alternative for lovers of the old fashion.

Create the illusion of pure adobe walls by using a pre-mixed texture compound, available at any home improvement center. Lay wood beams, or a facsimile of wood beams, to your ceilings, providing your home a genuine”Old West” feel. Natural light is an important element in Southwestern design, significance window treatments must be nominal and made of natural materials or regional fabrics. Interior shutters may be an alternative to draperies, pulled open to allow sunshine to pour through during the daytime.

Introduce Southwestern colours . This Southwestern style’s bright colours are drawn from the property. There are the bright reds of the fiery red chili peppers, cobalt and turquoise of the sky, yellows and oranges found in desert plants, and the sage greens, browns and beiges that scatter the desert floor. Utilize Taos blue, a mixture of sky blue and purple and a standard in Southwestern decorating; legend has it that the color was introduced with the Spaniards who believed it would ward off evil spirits.

Use fabrics. Roughly textured fabrics and fabrics supply a degree of authenticity to a Southwestern-inspired room. Scatter them throughout the space by using them throw pillows and tapestries.

Mix styles of furniture. Antiques, primitive furniture and distressed bits blend perfectly with comfortable leather in a Southwestern style house.

Accessorize your space with artwork and crafts items related to Native Americans and Hispanic culture, that have come to represent the Southwest style. Intricate carvings, Talavera pottery, woven blankets, Kachina dolls, bleached skulls and bones, punched tin Spanish folk art, and hand painted tiles on the walls, countertops and floors all punctuate the interior layout of a Southwestern style home.

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How to Prep Your Ground for a Healthy New Lawn

Low-maintenance lawn alternatives are growing in popularity, but many homeowners still love a little bit of turf grass — yards make great areas for entertaining; children can play along with pets can operate on them. However, what if you have to put in a new yard or start over if your current yard is past its prime? Is this a great DIY project for someone with average skills? As it happens, yes. However, just like the majority of things, a thriving yard starts with the ideal preparation.

Samuel H. Williamson Associates

Materials and tools:
Soil testSod cutterHoeTillerHard rakeSpreaderSoil amendmentsFertilizer

How to Prep for a New Lawn

1. Test your soil.
The only way to learn what’s on your soil (and what’s not) is to test it. For about $15, you can have a sample of your soil tested at your regional county extension office. There are fundamental kits available for you to conduct a test, but your extension office will have the ability to give you more extensive info about what’s going on with your own soil, so it is money well spent.

A good soil test will tell you what your soil pH is; what kind of soil texture you’ve got; the comparative quantities of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium; and quantities of other minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium and copper. Once you have this info, you can amend your soil properly to prepare it to your new yard.

Photo by Ryo Chijiiwa

Jocelyn H. Chilvers

2. Remove present grass weeds and plants. Starting out with a fresh slate is important — you don’t wish to spend time and money on a new yard if you are simply placing it on top of a weedy area. The way you eliminate this undesirable material is up to you, and largely depends on how big the area is and what kind of plant material you’re going to be removing. For small areas having old weeds and grass, a hoe will work nicely, but for larger areas consider renting a sod cutter (normally $70 per day). If you’ve got big plants (shrubs, woody perennials), remove them first and decide if you want to replant them in another area or transfer them into a compost pile.

3. Loosen the soil with a tiller. This is an optional step, since there are a couple of schools of thought concerning tilling your own soil. Some specialists believe tilling is required to completely combine old dirt with amendments; others think tilling simply disturbs weed seeds and produces a mess. My recommendation is that if you’ve got a place of very hard dirt, it might make sense to break it up to a thickness of 6 to 8 inches utilizing a rear-tine tiller (normally $55 daily to lease) before incorporating your soil amendments, but otherwise feel free to omit this step.

Photo by Flickr Commons user Topslakr


4. Add compost. All lands, regardless of the results of a soil test, can benefit from a 2- to 3-inch use of compost. This is sometimes compost taken from your pile or bought from a landscape supply yard. Use well-rotted mulch, as compost that is too new or “warm” won’t be broken down and won’t benefit your new yard. Good-quality compost costs about $30 to $50 per cubic yard, depending on the kind you purchase along with the area in which you live. Make sure you distinguish the landscape supply yard which you need it to set a new yard, since there are often different combinations for various backyard software.

You can also put in other soil adjustments, such as sand, to break up clay-like lands. Soil amendments tackle the soil’s physical state (feel, ability to drain), and are not to be confused with fertilizers, which tackle the nutrient amounts in the dirt.

Noelle Johnson Landscape Consulting

5. Add fertilizers and rake smooth. Based on the results of your soil test, you might elect to add some starter fertilizers to get your lawn off to a good start. Your soil test should make some recommendations on what to add to bring your particular soil up to healthful nutrient levels; search for a lawn starter fertilizer with those components. If you have any questions, make certain to ask your county extension office for clarification to avoid performing any unnecessary actions or steps.

Use a spreader to add the compost evenly, then use a hard rake to evenly smooth the surface of your soil. You’ll want the dirt to be approximately 1 inch below grade to permit for the elevation of the installed bud. Ensure that your soil surface is totally free of “hills and valleys,” which will make for a lumpy lawn along with a less-than-professional look.

Koch Architects, Inc.. Joanne Koch

Plant sod or spread grass seed as soon as possible after completing your prep work. The longer your unplanted soil is bare, the faster weeds will once again stake their own claim.

Special considerations:
Every geographic area has its dirt quirks — too much rock, sandy soil, clay dirt etc.. Get to know so that you can better tackle your gardening issues.Don’t skimp on soil planning when planning for a new yard — even though you won’t find the specific materials in the end, a healthy lawn will be your reward.Always use sod or grass seed that is suggested for your region and your website. More:
5 Great Grasses for a New Yard
Getting Along With Less Lawn
The situation for Losing the Traditional Lawn

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Fantastic Garden Combo: A Fall Landscape Scene That Lasts

Fall is one of the most exciting seasons in the backyard, when we can benefit from the many autumn foliage superstars to make a frame for late-blooming perennials. As opposed to thinking in terms of picking a favourite flower or two, make a vibrant vignette of trees and shrubs which will span the seasons and offer your garden a picture-perfect appearance in autumn.

When decorating a space, we generally start by choosing a wall color. With that in place, the fun starts as we locate the perfect floors or accent rug prior to finally think about the placement and style of furniture. The total color palette can be kept restrained, with attachments providing the finishing touch and extra color punch.

Creating a backyard vignette is a little like that. Start by choosing the key vertical elements — picking the trees which will look great over many seasons but that also have wonderful autumn tints. For the floor plane, search out grasses and shrubs which bring color, different leaf shapes and exciting textures to the spectacle. Finally add a swath of your favorite late-blooming perennials and garnish with an enjoyable container or 2 to get a bright splash of color.

Le jardinet

Creating a Foliage Picture Frame

In the scene below the eye is naturally drawn to the wide sweep of golden black-eyed Susan, yet this scene’s great looks rely a lot more on great foliage than on these ephemeral flowers.

A mixture of evergreen and deciduous trees and shrubs creates a frame for these sunny daisies. Although two trees punctuate the boundary, notice how several of these grasses and shrubs are planted in massive classes to help balance the bulk of flowers.

Strategic placement of simple containers helps to carry the color scheme through the cabin’s porch, making a wonderful escape for people who care to linger and enjoy the autumn screen.

The principal color scheme is green and gold, with a few bold accessories in crimson, showing restraint while being enjoyable.

This combination will start to develop in late July as the flowers begin to bloom. Those plants which are deciduous or die back in winter will do so over a period of many months. Even when the last leaf has fallen, the evergreen blossoms, conifer and striking bark of the pine tree will add interest.

Here is how to get the appearance.

Le jardinet

1. Begin with the trees. Insert structure and height with a couple of trees. Both the golden locust tree and the paperbark maple used here offer you excellent fall foliage, so this late-season border will continue to become a garden display for many months.

The golden locust tree shines a foliage spotlight on the entire scene. The chartreuse leaves of summer and spring turn into a softer yellow in autumn — a beautiful counterpoint to the adjacent maple and a wonderful comparison to the cedar-shingled cabin.

Botanical name: Robinia pseudoacacia ‘Frisia’
Common title: Golden locust tree
Where it will grow: Hardy to -30 degrees Fahrenheit (USDA zones 4 to 9; locate your zone)
Water requirement: Low once established
moderate requirement: Full sun for best color
Mature size: 30 to 50 feet tall and around 20 feet wide
Seasonal interest: Spring to collapse
When to plant: Plant it into well-drained soil in spring or autumn.

Caution: Golden locust trees can produce unwanted suckers in some parts of the U.S.

Le jardinet

The paperbark maple is a modest-size, slow-growing deciduous shrub, prized not just for its beautiful foliage but also for its appealing paring cinnamon-colored bark.

Le jardinet

In autumn the leaves of the paperbark maple vary from green to shades of peach, coral and caramel — a wonderful highlight of any autumnal screen.

Le jardinet

Botanical name: Acer griseum
Common title: Paperbark maple
Where it will grow: Hardy to -30 degrees Fahrenheit (zones 4 to 8)
Water requirement: Low once established
moderate requirement: Full sun or partial shade
Mature size: 18 feet tall and around 15 feet wide
Seasonal interest: Year-round
When to plant: Plant it into well-drained soil in spring or autumn.

Le jardinet

2. Insert a lesser tier of shrubs. With the elevation established, it’s time to fill in the floor plane with an range of shrubs and low-growing conifers. Soft gold shades blend with blue-green to make a vibrant fall tapestry.

Feelin’ Blue deodar cedar is a standout in the garden with its low, wide-spreading habit and stunning blue tones. This evergreen conifer is totally low maintenance and deer resistant, and has also been drought tolerant in my backyard.

Botanical name: Cedrus deodara ‘Feein’ Blue’
Common title: Feelin’ Blue deodar cedar
Where it will grow: Hardy to 0 degrees Fahrenheit (zones 7 to 9)
Water requirement: Low once established
moderate requirement: Total sun
Mature size: 2 to 4 feet tall and around 6 feet wide. It can also be trained as a low standard to form a brief weeping shrub.
Seasonal curiosity: Year-round
When to plant: Plant it into well-drained soil in autumn or spring.

Le jardinet

Spirea come in many sizes and its foliage comes in many colors — it is really just a matter of choosing your own favorite. This layout features Double Play Big Bang spirea.

In spring the leaves opens in shades of orange and aluminum, turning a gentle green in summer and yellow in autumn. Apartment clusters of pink flowers attract butterflies in summer. And although deer do nibble the new shoots, I do not mind — it boosts a flush of new rosy growth, as shown here.

Le jardinet

This is unquestionably a shrub to put in your backyard for 3 seasons of interest.

Botanical name: Double Play Big Bang Spiraea ‘Tracy’
Common title: Double Play Big Bang spirea
Where it will grow: Hardy to-30degrees Fahrenheit (zones 4 to 9)
Water requirement: Low once established
Light requirement: Total sun
Mature size: 3 feet tall and wide
Seasonal interest: Spring through autumn
When to plant: Plant it into well-drained soil in spring or autumn.

Le jardinet

3. Use wispy textures to add softness. Bring a feeling of movement to your garden by including delicate grasses or other fine-textured foliage which will move in the breeze. They will produce a soft background for the stiffer shrubs and flowers.

Who can withstand bronze fennel? Not me! Just look at that foliage — and it looks even more amazing when the early-morning dew collects on its feathery branches. Yes, it does self-seed, so perhaps this isn’t for everyone — and really, this autumn combo would still look lovely without it but you need to acknowledge the feathery foliage is spectacular and certainly adds to this scene.

Botanical name: Foeniculum vulgare ‘Purpureum’
Common title: Bronze fennel
Where it will grow: Hardy to -30 degrees Fahrenheit (zones 4 to 9). In zone 3 it could be appreciated as an annual without anxiety of these seeds’ overwintering
Water requirement: Low
moderate requirement: Total sun
Mature size: 6 feet tall and wide
Seasonal interest: Spring through autumn
When to plant: Plant it into well-drained soil in spring.

Caution: Bronze fennel can self-seed and become a nuisance.

Le jardinet

Grasses are the typical choice for adding excellent texture to the backyard, and the evergreen Mexican feather grass is one of my personal favorites, as it is not invasive where I live. You may prefer to substitute orange hair sedge (Carex testacea, zones 7 to 10), which is also evergreen and would stay within the color scheme.

Botanical name: Stipa tenuissima
Common title: Mexican feather grass
Where it will grow: Hardy to -10degrees Fahrenheit (zones 6 to 10); avoid planting where it’s invasive.
Water requirement: Low
moderate requirement: Total sun
Mature size: 18 to 36 inches tall and wide
Seasonal interest: Year-round
When to plant: Plant it into well-drained soil in spring.

Le jardinet

4. Add bold sweeps of your favourite autumn flowers. Black-eyed Susans are with no doubt a drop favorite. Place them within a picture frame of beautiful foliage, and they’ll really shine.

Botanical name: Rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm’
Common title: Black-eyed Susan
Where it will grow: Hardy to -10 degrees Fahrenheit (zones 6 to 10)
Water requirement: Reduced to moderate
Light requirement: Full sun or partial shade
Mature size: 3 feet tall and wide
Seasonal interest: Summer through fall
When to plant: Plant it into well-drained soil in spring or autumn.

Le jardinet

Zagreb tickseed is a remarkably low-maintenance perennial which produces dozens of 1-inch-diameter yellow daisies within a period of many months without deadheading. In the first picture you can see they’ve been used to flank the pathway resulting in the cabin.

Botanical name: Coreopsis verticillata ‘Zagreb’
Common title: Zagreb tickseed
Where it will grow: Hardy to -40 degrees Fahrenheit (zones 3 to 9)
Water requirement: Low
Light requirement: Total sun
Mature size: two feet tall and wide
Seasonal interest: Spring through autumn
When to plant: Plant it into well-drained soil in spring or autumn.

Le jardinet

5. Accessorize. Insert detail and an excess layer of color by incorporating a drop container garden in your vignette. This container sits on the cabin porch, and while the mix keeps within the general warm color scheme of this garden planting mix, it moves past the golden yellows to fiery orange and red.

Caution: Some of the plants listed in this ideabook may be invasive in your area. Check with your neighborhood cooperative extension or county extension office prior to planting any.

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Do You Really Want That Hallway?

What exactly makes a fantastic layout? Well, it’s less about how your job looks (Though It should look amazing ) and much more about how efficient it is.” ‘Design’ is a funny word,” Steve Jobs once said. “Many people today think design means how it looks. But of course, when you dig deeper, it’s really how it works”

Fantastic home layout can get you all you need in a smaller footprint, which means there is less to build and more room within your budget. Among the initial actions to a fantastic layout is having an efficient floor plan. Cutting back on circulation space, including unnecessary and massive hallways, can assist you to decrease square footage, and in the long run, can save you money on the general cost of your new home.

Harrison Design

A hallway ought never to be a narrow, dark passageway between two chambers. On the contrary, it should get the most out of space and enhance functionality. There are two ways to take care of hallways: Get rid of them or embrace them as part of the property’s architecture.

Kenorah Design + Build Ltd..

Among the greatest ways to produce a hallway disappear is by adding it in the circulation of the more public rooms. By opening rooms up to a another, you remove the need for different circulation (a hallway) and can use the present room circulation to get you out of 1 side of the house to the other. This room, for example, combines the living and dining room, eliminating the need for a hallway in between. The big, open area makes the house feel larger.

A open plan does not work for each and every house, and many men and women prefer a more formal separation between the main rooms in their homes. That is OK. After all, it’s your house, and you need to have what you would like. Just remember, if you spend a little additional time to produce your hallways greater than just an afterthought, the reward will be enormous.

Dylan Chappell Architects

Here’s an example of a floor program with an excessive quantity of circulation space. The customer came to us with a self-designed program; he said that he was on a tight budget and needed some help obtaining a construction permit. I told him right away he could save a lot of cash if he cut down on all the hallways in his property.

This diagram indicates the circulation spaces in orange and the living spaces in blue. The entire square footage for this home is 2,815 square feet, and 924 square feet of this was delegated to circulation — that is 32 percent of total square footage squandered on unnecessary hallway space.

JAUREGUI Architecture Interiors Construction

What does that mean in real numbers and real cash? Well, if you are building a house in Santa Barbara, California, where I work, building costs average approximately $300 per square foot. So all of that extra circulation space may cost more than $270,000. That is a good deal of cash to spend on hallways.

Dylan Chappell Architects

Here is just another conceptual floor plan; this one is for a four-bedroom, four-bath house. The general area is 2,588 square feet, with 115 square feet of it utilized for circulation (highlighted in orange). That is a superefficient 4 percent of the total square footage utilized for getting round the house. The remaining portion of the space goes to great use in dwelling spaces or can be taken out of the entire square footage prices.

MAC Custom Homes

So why do we have hallways? Obviously, sometimes nothing else will do. Most of the time, you have to have some way to get to each of the rooms in your house. But that does not signify that a hallway can’t function as yet another space. A fantastic way to manage a hallway is to give it another purpose. Maybe it can be a small study area, a window seat or a place for book storage.

Koch Architects, Inc.. Joanne Koch

The truth is, fantastic layout doesn’t signify some glass box which each architect loves but nobody could reside in. Rather, fantastic design translates into a house that works better, costs less to build, is much more efficient to run and keep, and gets you more .

More: Put a Narrow Hallway to Function

Tell us: Do you have a great hallway layout? Just how do you cut back on circulation space in your property?

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Blast Decluttering Roadblocks Once and For All

There is enough information on decluttering and organizing to fill an entire wing of a publication, and a fast internet search brings up billions of outcomes. But if it were as simple as picking up a book and after the author’s information, wouldn’t we all have perfectly organized, compact homes? Well, judging from my experience, and by the experiences of many readers that have chimed in with opinions on the subject, there is a lot more to culling clutter than tossing items in a bin. Our relationship with our home, and the things in it, is charged with emotion — it is not so simple to give up things when something as simple as a rusted tackle box or a worn picture can bring memories flooding back. In the past several months we have been exploring this topic, and a number of the best tips from our discussions are pulled together in this guide.

Beneath, locate eight ways to maneuver through your psychological and emotional roadblocks to operate through your clutter, from the interior.

Lux Decor

1. Come to terms with whether you are naturally arranged or not. Shimmering magazine spreads featuring perfectly organized spaces with nary a stray paper or shoe from location could possibly be fun to look at, but they’re not right for everybody. The truth is, some folks are more prone to be neat and orderly, while some feel more comfortable with a great deal of stuff around. Instead of fighting against your character, learn from it and work with it.

Get the guide: Get Organized: Are You a Piler or a Filer?

Tamar Schechner/Nest Pretty Things Inc

2. Put things in perspective. The ideabook below, by Alison Hodgson, is an excellent place to begin any decluttering travel. Hodgson and her family lost their home and all of their possessions in a fire, and the lessons she has to discuss are priceless. If you’re thinking about where to start, or how you could ever possibly eliminate items you love, it’s a must-read.

Get the guide: Suggestions to Get With a New Minimalist Mentality

Justine Hand

3. Face your fears. That is what stands between you and the clean and neat home you wish you’d: fear of creating a poor choice, fear of tossing something out and regretting it later or fear that a family member will make you feel guilty to get rid of something. We are all experts at inventing excuses for keeping things we really do not want anymore.

Confront your fears, and you may find it easier to give up possessions which are becoming a burden for you.

Get the guide: Decluttering: Don’t Let Fear Hold You Back

Siemasko + Verbridge

4. Tackle your upper problem area. What is the 1 thing in your home you find it tough to consider decluttering? Think about starting there. For some it may be novels (see below for a fantastic ideabook on decluttering the library); for many others, china or clothes. Find the something which would make the biggest impact if you were able to streamline this, and begin your job there. Use tip number three (face your fears) and dig in.

Get the guide: Not My Favorite Books! Pain-Free Ways to Reduce Your Library

5. Get and remainmotivated. Find your motivation by imagining what a clutter-free home would feel like. What would it enable you to do? Why do you want this? Keep your answers in mind while you get started decluttering. Once you’ve gotten the ball rolling, then prevent yourself from backsliding by creating a few important habits: for each new item you purchase, get rid of a similar item, and once you see something which must be cleaned, put away or returned, just do it.

Get the guide: Clutter Clearing 101


6. A special note for parents. Having kids in the home, as any parent will tell you, can ramp up the chaos in the most (previously) organized homes. Fortunately, as parents, we do have control over a fantastic deal of the things that moves our houses, including toys. For starters, knowing how many toys and games your child needs — an overabundance of playthings is less appreciated, tougher to clean up and more likely to receive wasted or broken. To acquire a crazy-cluttered family home back in shape takes some work; there is no doubt about that. But the habits you form to deal with the kid chaos will pay off in sanity in your home, and you’ll be passing those good habits along for your kids.

Get the guide: Stop the Toy Takeover by Changing the Way You Think

Tom Stringer Design Partners

7. Get help if you need it. If you’re still feeling overwhelmed or if the job seems too big to undertake alone, you can get help! Telephone a really organized buddy and bribe him or her free food in exchange for decluttering physical or advice help. Or call in a professional. Professional organizers have observed it all, will be able to help you sort out the very cluttered space, and can teach you systems which will assist in preventing your overstuffing your home in the future.

Get the guide: The way to Use a Professional Organizer

ras-a, inc..

8. Take it to another level: Simplify your daily life. Once you’ve been working on paring down for a while and are feeling good about the progress you’ve made, consider taking things a step farther. Downsize to a smaller, easier-to-maintain space, go paperless or challenge yourself to eliminate items you do not use.

Get the guide: Surprising Ways to Pare Down at Home

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6 Ways to Get a Decorated Room

I recently wrote in blending two disparate interior design styles, like conventional and modern, to help couples develop a new style based on compromise. But that was only scratching the surface. The matter is, every couple is different, and each design style is different, even if it’s lumped into a broad class like conventional or modern — there will remain personal nuances that slightly change each space.

To create a pleasing design equilibrium, a few designers use the 80/20 rule, where a room represents 80% of one style and 20 percent of a contrasting appearance. However, creating a lifetime together is much more of a 50/50 proposition. Occasionally 60/40, occasionally 40/60, but overall it’s a balancing game.

I do not get wrapped up on the percentages, but the key is to produce a prosperous result which respects each person. Working with two people’s styles when the styles have little in common could be a source of conflict, but this can also be a chance to create a new appearance with components common to both.

Here is more on how to process the job while keeping harmony on the front.

Architects, taC studios

Relate via form. This chamber is powerful because the usage of organic kind is normal among the components, and all of them have a tactile quality. It’s possible to attain a great result like this when you really understand why each of you’re drawn to a specific look of a bit.

This chair, by Eero Saarinen, was called the Womb Chair if made for Knoll in 1948. Named because of its comforting sense of security, it marries well with other security- and comfort-offering pieces with which it retains business. For many people historical or traditional elements offer you a feeling of relaxation because they have stood the test of time.

Knowing the reasons your partner is drawn to a different look is essential to knowing how to operate with these tastes. And if both spouses’ tastes are mirrored in a room, the result can be a lot more interesting.

Jane Lockhart Interior Design

Compromise. Transitional spaces like this occasionally please both spouses. If you really are a purist and can’t bear to find a less-than-ideal version of the look you love, you might need to start looking for something that you both can enjoy.

This chamber is neither too conventional nor too modern. The ideal design and peacekeeping solution might be a straight-up-the-middle compromise.

More about transitional style

Andrea Schumacher Interiors

Freshen up. You could find that traditional pieces are more pleasing for your partner if they’re updated through routine and colour. With your grandmother’s handed-down ottoman, by way of instance, it might be the floral pattern your partner is objecting to.

The ottoman here feels quite current in a neutral cloth. And the remainder of the furniture is a carefully disciplined mix. The room has traditional furnishings and elements, but the textiles keep it clean and modern. You can see that the fireplace has been once very detailed — again a case for simplifying. It currently reads as feel and does not create the space too fussy. If you’ve got elaborate millwork, try painting it to reevaluate the detail.

Debbie Basnett, Vintage Scout Interiors

Add something bold and unexpected. This chamber was decidedly traditional until the bold and picture rug was introduced with the sectional. If among you enjoys modern, do not hesitate to actually shake things up by adding a bold announcement. The strong blue of this upholstery retains the appearance together because it has the exact same visual weight because the carpet.


Duplicate, relate and get the mix just perfect. This beautiful room, by C.R. Lane, is a great illustration of a balanced mixture of traditional and modern furniture. The couch and the chairs on the left are flexible pieces (they would work well in a modern or modern room) that contrasts well with the more traditional wing chair on the right, in addition to with all the kilim-upholstered ottoman.

When you look at the details, you will notice that each element is connected to another by colour or pattern, as well as the components are repeated. If you love this appearance, do not forget that the key to success is repetition (do not just include one bit that is conventional; encourage it to welcome a buddy), and relate the pieces by usage of colour or pattern.

Island Architects

Stick with the 80/20 rule. It works superbly here. If you are just gaining confidence in this mix-and-match match, take some cues from this look. A traditional area rug grounds that this otherwise modern living room, giving it a feeling of history. If you’ve got modern furniture, putting a bit of history through a conventional element will keep it from looking like a showroom setup. The result will be individual and personal.

Inform us What would you fight with including your partner just can’t live without?

Component 1: Practical Ways to Merge Tastes

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Southwest Gardener's September Checklist

Summer’s almost over and temperatures have started to cool, so it’s time for desert gardeners to venture outside and dress their own landscape with new trees, shrubs and succulents. Vegetables and fruits growing in upper-elevation gardens are ready to be harvested, and bulbs may be planted now for a gorgeous spring display.

Noelle Johnson Landscape Consulting

Low Deserts (around 3,000 Trainers)

Add feel with distinctively shaped succulents. The spiky traces of agave contrast beautifully with the rounded shapes of shrubs here, including a distinctive layout twist to the landscape.

Plant a couple of big agave, such as octopus agave (Agave vilmoriniana), smooth leaf agave (Agave desmettiana)or Weber’s agave (Agave weberi). Add three to five flowering ground covers around the base of each agave, such as purple trailing lantana (Lantana montevidensis), verbena (Glandularia spp), blackfoot daisy (Melampodium leucanthum)or prostrate rosemary(Rosmarinus officials ‘Prostratus’).

Shown: Weber’s agave with gopher plant (Euphorbia biglandulosa)

Noelle Johnson Landscape Consulting

Fertilize palm trees. Palms should be fertilized throughout the hot months of summer, since they can uptake fertilizer only when the soil is warm. Use a fertilizer specially formulated for palm trees, which will include the significant nutrients and micronutrients that palms need to be healthful. Follow the directions on the fertilizer package water and carefully deeply after applying. When in doubt about how much to use, it is best to apply a little less fertilizer rather than a lot of, which may burn your crops.

Find the Ideal palm to your lawn

Shown: Mediterranean fan palm (Chamaerops humilis)

Noelle Johnson Landscape Consulting

Prepare your vegetable garden before planting cool-season edibles. Add a 3-inch layer of compostor manure to existing vegetable garden dirt and lightly rake it in.

Toward the end of September, plant broccoli and cauliflower from seed or transplants.

Shown: Broccoli

Noelle Johnson Landscape Consulting

Give citrus trees their last application of fertilizer to the year. Citrus trees have to be fertilized three times each year: in late winter, early summer and late summer. Apply citrus fertilizer around the base of this tree, after the package instructions. Be sure to add fertilizer out to the drip line, which is really where the majority of the origins of citrus trees are situated.

For the best results, water before and after applying fertilizer to allow it to attain the roots.

Shown: Kumquats

Noelle Johnson Landscape Consulting

Mid- to High Deserts (3,000 to 6,000 Trainers)

Spice a boring garden with ornamental grasses. There’s a great reason why these grasses are known as cosmetic. They add beauty to the landscape with their gently mounded shapes.

Plumes of varying colours of burgundy to tan look in autumn, based on the species. Plant ornamental grasses in groups of five or three; try gulf muhly(Muhlenbergia capillaris ‘Regal Mist’), deer grass (Muhlenbergia rigens)or Mexican feather grass (Stipa tenuissima)for a gorgeous autumn display.

8 Spectacular Grasses to Energize a Fall Garden

Shown: Regal Mist pink muhly (Muhlenbergia capillaris ‘Regal Mist’)

Noelle Johnson Landscape Consulting

Year-old perennials by breaking them. If your elderly perennials are not flowering just like they used to, it is probably time for them to be divided (that is, dividing the root system of a large plant into at least two sections that may then be replanted). Perennials such as daylily, Shasta daisies, coneflower and iris do best when divided every 3 decades.

You can use a scoop to separate plants to smaller portions and then replant them in your backyard or give some to friends.

Shown: Shasta daisy (Leucanthemum x superbum)

Noelle Johnson Landscape Consulting

Change outside warm-season annuals for cool-season blossoms. With the approach of fall, it is time to switch out of summer-flowering annuals to people that will thrive in Southwestern winters. Before planting new flowers, amend the soil with compost and a slow-release fertilizer.

Create lovely colour combinations in your favorite container by incorporating three distinct flowering plants. Try planting yellow snapdragons at the center, then add deep purple petunias and finish off with white alyssum round the exterior. Or use bright pink geraniums surrounded by white petunias and gloomy lobelias.

Shown: Snapdragons

Noelle Johnson Landscape Consulting

Fertilize your warm-season lawn. Even though summer lawns will shortly go dormant, now’s the very best time of year to fertilize. Fall fertilizing adds vital nutrients which will strengthen the roots and will help the grass to green up earlier in spring.

See more autumn lawn maintenance

Noelle Johnson Landscape Consulting

Plant leaf lettuce. Leaf lettuce is very easy to grow from seed or transplants. Anyone who has tasted new homegrown lettuce understands that the flavor of store-bought lettuce simply can not compare to it.

Shown: Leaf lettuce

Noelle Johnson Landscape Consulting

Upper Elevations (More than 6,000 Trainers)

Harvest tomatoes before the first frost. September generally attracts the first frost, so head out in the backyard and pick each one your tomatoes — green ones and all. Don’t worry if you’ve got a bunch of green tomatoes; they will ripen indoors.

Noelle Johnson Landscape Consulting

Plant spring-blooming bulbs now to ensure a gorgeous show. The blossoms from spring bulbs would be the much-looked-for harbingers of spring. But to appreciate them, you need to plant bulbs now, so they are going to grow roots before the ground freezes.

For maximum color effect, plant crocus, daffodil, hyacinth or tulip bulbs in massive swaths rather than in a single row.

Shown: Blue hyacinth

Noelle Johnson Landscape Consulting

Grow your garlic. Plant garlic now for a yummy harvest next summer. Garlic is very easy to grow. Only plant person tsp 2 inches deep in your vegetable garden or in a container. Plant each clove with the pointed end up, 6 inches away from each other in rows which are just 1 foot apart.

Noelle Johnson Landscape Consulting

Preserve the flavors of your summer garden by drying herbs. Herbs can readily be dried by tying them in bunches and hanging them in a dry, dark location. Drying takes. When the herbs are dry, then crumble the dried leaves into small pieces, keep them in sealed jars and use them to flavor your favourite dishes.

Prepare for October. Plants need less water as the temperatures cool, so adjust your irrigation control as needed.

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Set Your Shade Garden Aglow With Light

Light and life are inextricably related. From its beginning, the human race has worshipped, celebrated and sought to catch light. And I feel that gardeners, over most people, are aware of lighting: how it affects our plants and the way it influences our moods. Phototropism (how plants grow toward sunlight ) and seasonal affective disorder are just two examples of its effects.

People appear to desire what they apparently can’t have. People with straight hair want curly hair. People that have curly hair want straight hair. Shade gardeners want more sun. Sun anglers desire more colour. My personal garden resides in partial to full shade. Through the years I have celebrated it, cursed it, embraced it and tweaked it. My garden has gone through this procedure with me, indulging me, being patient with me and sometimes fighting back at me. Finally, my garden is all the better for it, as am I. We’re at peace.

Let me take you on my journey. If your garden is a color garden, I think that I can help save you time, money and frustration. Let’s take a stroll and have that dialogue.

Jay Sifford Garden Design

Take inventory of the way that light plays in your own garden. Since most gardeners realize, a truly great personalized garden takes some time to develop. This type of garden is no one-weekend DIY project, regardless of what television commercials preach to us. A fantastic gardener is one who has developed a keen sense of observation. An experienced gardener knows that sunlight strikes her or his garden differently at various times of year, the intensity of the sun ebbs and flows with the seasons, and that the color of sun varies with its own intensity.

Whether you are in the process of initially developing your colour garden or at the continuous process of renovating and editing, take a year to really notice how light interacts with your garden. Take photographs or maintain a journal to document your findings. Your garden is going to be better for it.

On the edge of my pond, beside the largest waterfall, is a flat boulder I affectionately call my”wine stone .” I sit in the evenings with coffee or in the day with a fantastic malbec, watch the koi and reflect in your life.

I shot this movie one day in late spring, when the morning sun appeared through the trees and flawlessly choreographed the interactive dance between the hardy begonia (Begonia grandis, zones 6 to 9) and also the fall fern (Dryopteris erythrosora, zones 5 to 9). This only happens for a few minutes daily, but what a spectacular way to begin the day. I wouldn’t miss it.

Ron Yeo, FAIA Architect

Consider pruning, limbing up or elimination to open up your distance. Your garden space will talk to you if you open your mind and soul and just listen. My approach to garden design incorporates a bit of mysticism, as I feel that a distance will enable you to know what it yearns to become. A successfully implemented garden is a cooperation between what the space says and the way the gardener interprets this speech. This skill comes naturally to some people but is a learned skill to most. If you are having trouble in this area, don’t hesitate to request the help of a fantastic garden designer or landscape architect with whose work you are familiar.

Once you have a vision to the shape and scope your garden needs to take, you might find it necessary to prune, thin saplings or limb your trees up to create an environment that welcomes sun. You might also need to hire a fantastic arborist to remove trees that are detracting from the overall feel of your garden or inhibiting your sight lines. This occasionally requires fortitude, but your garden will thank you in the long run.

Chicago Specialty Gardens, Inc..

Embrace the art of backlighting. Some of the mundane plants in your garden will suddenly take on fresh vibrancy when placed in front of available light.

Some of the best plants for this technique are the ones that are translucent by nature, the ones that catch and diffuse light.

My favorite translucent plant is the sometimes-invasive horsetail rush (Equisetum hyemale, zones 3 to 11). Its 3- to 4-foot vertical growth habit is an ideal foil for a curved or rounded sculpture, or a clumping shrub. Just make sure you contain it, lest it spread indefinitely.

Jay Sifford Garden Design

Aside from backlighting an individual plant, you can backlight an whole garden scene. This photo shows a magic late-afternoon garden second. Who wouldn’t wish to return home to this after sitting at rush-hour traffic?

Harold Leidner Landscape Architects

Catch reflections on water. Water features are excellent instruments to use in our quest for inviting light into our garden spaces. Water churns, bubbles, spills and cascades, all the while catching light in ever-changing ways. A correctly sited and designed water feature may be a mesmerizing focal point.

I wholeheartedly suggest that you consult a pond specialist, and that you view her or his work in different gardens, before you design and set up your own pond. A badly constructed water feature will probably be an expensive disappointment.

Locate pond designers on

Jay Sifford Garden Design

Watch ice light the winter garden. Most of us think ponds to be warm-weather features that are coated, drained or place to bed for winter. Your pond may reinvent itself in winter, performing double duty as a cold-weather garden focal point. Consider the captivating elegance of ice because it forms at a pond. Notice the way its opaque beauty captures the winter light better than any artist could.

Jay Sifford Garden Design

Insert glass. Nothing catches, reflects and refracts light such as glass. The pieces shown here have been custom designed to mimic fresh shoots of plant growth and placed so that they rise out of a sea of shade-loving ground cover.

One thing to consider before installing a glass sculpture in your garden is potential breakage from overhead limbs falling in inclement weather. Assess your financial plan and tolerance amount for reduction before purchasing your glass. If you decide to put money into a glass garden sculpture, then you’ll get shining rewards.

Jay Sifford Garden Design

Let light project onto a screen. Much like the drive-in film theaters of the past, you are able to project light in your garden, capturing its movement and nuances, by erecting a wall or screen, or perhaps by enlisting the side of your residence. This three-paneled privacy screen, built from concrete backer board like you’d find beneath a tile flooring, faces west and jobs a virtual documentary of the day sun. Who wouldn’t wish to watch this light display?

Margie Grace – Grace Design Associates

Create the illusion of light with chartreuse foliage. The human eye generally reads sun as having a yellow cast. You can present the illusion of light into a color garden by introducing plants using chartreuse foliage. This photograph illustrates the principle brilliantly. Do not you almost wish to squint when you view this photo? On a closer look, you understand this really is a shaded area, the impact of sun is an illusion.

Pulling off this illusion does require some skill, but here are some tips to get you started.
Begin by observing the way that shafts of sunlight pierce the tree canopy in your garden and the consequent shape on your garden floor. Is it an elongated triangle, a line or a patch? Leave your plants in their pots and arrange them in this pattern until the outcome is gratifying to you. Easier still, wait till the sun creates its distinctive shape on your garden flooring, then trace the pattern with your potted plants.
Among my favorite chartreuse-leafed plants for you to consider, taking into consideration your specific growing requirements:
‘Sun Power’ and ‘Sum and Substance’ hostas (Hosta cvs, zones 4 to 9)‘All Gold’ and‘Aureola’ Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macra cvs, zones 4 to 9)‘Orange Fantasy’ Japanese walnut (Acer palmatum‘Orange Fantasy’, zones 5 to 9)Golden sweet flag (Acorus gramineus‘Ogon’, zone 5 to 9)Scotch moss (Sagina subulata‘Aurea’, zones 3 to 9) ‘Skylands’ Oriental spruce (Picea orientalis‘Skylands’, zones 4 to 8)
Note that plants with chartreuse foliage require at least a few hours of sun to carry out correctly.

Katia Goffin Gardens

Insert plants with white flowers or foliage foliage. Nothing brightens a color garden such as white flowers and foliage. While white doesn’t imitate sun quite as well as chartreuse, it’s still quite effective in providing the illusion of lighting. It’s also especially effective at dusk, when it appears to glow.

What’s a color garden without a minumum of one hydrangea? Before buying your hydrangea, do some quick research on the types best suited to your location.

The oakleafs and mopheads are much better suited to colour, whereas the paniculatas require sun to achieve their thriving possible. ‘Little Honey’ (Hydrangea quercifolia‘Little Honey’, zones 5 to 9) combines the best features for our discussion since it may take colour or partial sun, also has chartruese foliage and white flowers. Another one of my favorites is ‘Incrediball’ (Hydrangea arborescens ‘Abetwo’, zones 3 to 9). Its nondrooping 12-inch flower heads are real showstoppers.

Some plants with variegated foliage that you consider are bugloss (Brunnera macrophylla, zones 3 to 2 ),’Patriot’ hosta (Hosta‘Patriot’, zones 3 to 2 ),’River Mist’ Northern sea oats (Chasmanthium latifolium‘River Mist’, zones 4 to 9), also’Floating Clouds’ redbud (Cercis canadensis‘Floating Clouds’, zones 5 to 9).

Possidento Lightscapes LLC

Invest in garden light. Nothing animates a garden quite like good-quality lighting. This spectacular photo says everything. There are a number of points to consider before light setup. Do your research concerning technology, yearly utility cost, and fixture and bulb life.

LED light has come a long way in just the last couple of years and is extremely economical as time passes. Buy the best-quality light you are able. Cheaper lighting is going to wind up costing you more in the long term, in terms of both replacements and electricity usage.

Most significant, decide which focal points should be illuminated and which ones are better left to daylight. There is a fine line between just enough light and also much. Consider the enchanting elegance of shadows and shadow to gain the most from light your garden.

I have seen way too many DIY lighting jobs that wind up looking like the vegas strip. If you are not gifted with an eye for design, please consider having your system designed and installed by a certified professional with whose work you are familiar.

Discover outdoor lighting experts on
The 3 Best Ways To Light Up Your Landscape

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Transition Time: How to Connect Tile and Hardwood Floors

Transitioning a bathroom’s tile floor into the wood of some other room is often given little forethought. However, not going the transition could cause a final product which doesn’t satisfy your expectations, or even a floor assembly that is destined to fail.

Most of the floor framing in North America is designed to fulfill a base business standard. This regular (usually quantified as a deflection score) enables for materials such as little ceramic tile, vinyl, carpet and wood to be used on floors. However, these days a lot of my customers want large, natural stone tile.

Many also want the tile to transition seamlessly from one room to another. This can be done, but most homeowners don’t know that their home has to be equipped with extra strength and rigidity to carry this weight.

Below you will learn what to define when planning a transition from tile flooring to hardwood.

The Turett Collaborative

This bath is a great example of current trends in bathroom design: plenty of room, bright light, a good soaking tub and a walk-in barrier-free shower.

Notice the flush transition out of hardwood flooring to tile. Looking closer (click on the photograph to enlarge it), you will understand that the tile is large (approximately 1 foot by 2 feet) and made of marble; both attributes require a more solid floor than most houses have.

Tip: If you’re working with large-format tile or natural stone, define that your rooms fulfill a stronger deflection score: L/720, rather than the base-standard L/360. This number indicates how much flex a floor has before tile is set up — both the Tile Council of North America (TCNA) and the Terrazzo, Tile and Marble Association of Canada (TTMAC) need L/720 for thick installations.


Many of today’s floor tile is ⅜ inch to 3/4 inch thick. Most hardwood flooring is 3/4 inch thick. It follows that when you place tile beside hardwood flooring, your tile selection will be critical to get a flush transition.

Simply tiling along with a plywood subfloor is not an option — this practice is frowned upon and is not allowed by the TCNA or even TTMAC. Nevertheless, you can install a thin uncoupling mat (such as Laticrete’s Strata Mat or Schluter Systems’ Ditra) to fulfill with the tile business’s requirements.

Tip: Installing another layer of plywood over your subfloor and under your hardwood enables for more floor preparation options later on. In addition, this is a valid option if your house’s floor joists were not designed for a stronger, thicker floor. Nevertheless, this should be planned early on, since it affects how your stairs and stair risers are built.

Here’s an action shot of timber being installed over an uncoupling membrane out of Laticrete, which adopts the plywood subfloor for tile.

Tip: If your floor is not powerful enough to satisfy the right deflection rating, an uncoupling membrane will not help. Increasing the floor joist width or adding another layer of plywood is a much better and safer option.

Before Photo

Tarkus Tile, Inc..

Here Tarkus Tile is prepping to get a tile installation with another layer of plywood and an uncoupling membrane. The orange substance (Schluter Systems’ Ditra) was set up with a quality modified thinset (mortar). Since this house’s existing framing wasn’t suited to maintain the new tile choice, the installers beefed up the subfloor to make sure that the installation would last for many years to come.

Tip: The selection between a flush installation from tile to hardwood and one which meets business guidelines shouldn’t be a hard one. Always follow industry guidelines! They will most likely be stricter than local construction codes.

This custom walnut transition helps adjust for the difference between the bathroom floor and the bedroom floor in this master suite. This is often referred to as a reducing wood transition, since it functions with two surfaces, reducing their height differences.

We focused the tile installation below the door, so as soon as the door is closed you see only tile in the bathroom and walnut in the bedroom.

Tip: I discover that these alterations seem cleaner if the door jamb (the perpendicular area of the door frame) overlaps the tile just a bit. However, this is hard to do if the tile has not been set up yet. If you can, install your bathroom door after the tile installation.

Megan Buchanan

The simplest way to link floor tile and hardwood of different heights is with a transition strip. These strips may be finished to look like the ground or painted to stand out.

Tip: Leave ⅝ inch to 3/4 inch of space based underneath the door for the base of this transition strip. Should you affix a bit of scrap baseboard or plywood in precisely the exact same dimensions, it’ll help keep this channel clean of thinset, making the transition strip simpler to install.


A custom made transition could be milled by your floor contractor for installation after the tile is complete. Notice in which the wood transition matches the tile — the wood is not cut into a feathered edge but kept to approximately ⅛ inch thick. This produces the advantage stronger. The transition also overlaps since tile and wood expand at different rates, the tile, which assists with motion.

More: 20 Great Examples of Transitions in Flooring

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Budget Decorator: 8 Ways to Make Mature Furniture Look Brand New

Staining, stripping and whitewashing, oh my! If you would like to revamp a well-loved old piece of furniture but are not sure where to start, this manual is for you. Here you will find tips for when to use what technique, along with some invaluable how-to advice.

Susan Duane

1. Strip finishes. This is not an easy task and definitely is not advisable for anybody with respiratory issues to tackle — but aside from those caveats, stripping your own old furniture may save you money and produce good outcomes.

Tools of the trade: Chemical stripper (note the faster-acting strippers will also be the most poisonous), solvent respirator with new filters, safety goggles, chemical-resistant gloves, work apron, brushes, scrapers and steel wool.


How-to: Move the piece to an outdoor location or well-ventilated garage and remove any hardware. It is crucial to protect yourself from the caustic fumes of a chemical stripper (see the list of safety equipment above).

After you brush the stripper, the paint must start to bubble up. Use a scraper or steel wool to remove the layers of paint. Afterward, be sure to give the piece a coat of mineral spirits or denatured alcohol to remove traces of this stripper.

Theresa Fine

2. Stain wood tables and seats. For those who have an old solid wood piece of furniture, then look at staining rather than painting it to show off the wood grain. The walnut dining table shown here was a Craigslist locate — it had been initially orange, along with the homeowners stripped it and gave it a lovely dark end.

Tools of the trade: Sandpaper, wood conditioner, rubber or nitrile gloves, wood stain, soft fabric and polyurethane varnish.

Theresa Fine

How-to: Starting with stripped wood, smooth the slice with vacuum and sandpaper or rub away all dust. Implementing wood conditioner will help the finish proceed more evenly.

Rub the wood stain evenly using a soft fabric (you may want to use a number of coats) and finish with a coat of polyurethane.

Before Photo

Wild Chairy

3. Reupholster a classic. Taking on an upholstery project takes some significant DIY skills — but if you’re patient and prepared to learn, it may be carried out. Andrea Mihalik of the reupholstery biz Wild Chairy learned her craft by studying an upholstery book and recommends that potential DIYers do exactly the same.

Tips: Take photos at every step as you take apart your seat; save the first cloth pieces to use as a pattern.

When to find an expert:
as soon as your bit has structural issues or uncomfortable springs. A pro can completely rebuild your chair … maybe not something the average person ought to try in your home.

Watch our interview with Mihalik for much more seat makeovers and DIY upholstering tips.

How to Work With an Upholsterer

Studio Marcelo Brito

4. Whitewashing, liming and pickling. You can achieve a faded, cursory appearance using lots of methods. What they all have in common is they lighten wood whilst still allowing the grain to show through.

Tools of the trade: Brass or copper wool or brush, sandpaper, liming wax, liming alternative or primer, soft rags and very clear wax or clear polyurethane.

perfectly imperfect

How-to: Rough up the wood using a copper or brass brush to allow the whitewash to stick better. Sandpaper and vacuum the face or wipe the dust away.

To lighten the wood, you may use liming wax, liming wash or a way of primer and water, working it in with a rag. If you’re using wax, remove excess wax with fine steel wool and seal the surface with wax. If you’re using primer or liming alternative, wipe off the excess with a rag. When the piece is dry, then seal it with a coating of polyurethane.

5. Milk paint. The most natural type of paint on the current market, true milk paint is really made out of milk; it comes in powder form and you mix up the paint yourself. It is nontoxic, comes in a wonderful range of customizable colors and functions on unfinished or finished wood surfaces.

Tools of the trade: Buckets and stir sticks for blending, paintbrushes and shed fabric.

Rethink Design Studio

6. Latex and oil paints. First, which to select? Latex paints have the distinct advantage of being water soluble, which means cleanup is as simple as dunking your tools in a bucket of water.

Oil-based paint necessitates taking more safety measures: The fumes imply it is best to work outside; harsh chemical solvents are needed for cleanup; also you must bring all leftovers to a hazardous waste center. The advantages of oil-based paints are better coverage and, some say, richer colors.

Tools of the trade: Fall cloths, sandpaper, mini foam rollers, painter’s tape, primer, latex or oil paint, and solvent for oil paint.

Amoroso Design

How-to: Eliminate all hardware and drawers, and set the piece up on bricks or wood blocks on top of a drop cloth. Sand lightly and wipe out dust. Tape off the edges of the drawers as needed with painter’s tape. Give the piece a coat of primer and allow it to dry.

For painting, then use a small roller to get a smooth program without adhesive lines. Start at the top and work your way down; let the paint dry thoroughly between coats.

Adrianna Beech

7. Spray paint. For outdoor furniture, nothing beats a couple of coats of spray paint. Decide on a formula created for outdoor furniture, and it will stand up well to the elements.

Tools of the trade: Outside furniture spray paint, rubber gloves, painter’s mask and fall fabric.

How-to: Gently wash the furniture, scrubbing off scuffs and rust, and let it dry thoroughly. Wear rubber gloves and a painter’s mask while spray painting. Working outside on a drop cloth, spray on the furniture with even strokes. A number of light coats will provide even coverage with no a lot of drips.

Caitlin Wilson Design

8. Re-cover a seat cushion. Unlike a complete reupholstery job, re-covering a seat cushion is a relatively simple and gratifying project.

Tools of the trade: Staple gun, new cloth and foam or batting.

How-to: Unscrew the seat cushion from the seat. Eliminate the old cloth and use it as a template to cut new fabric. If the batting or foam cushion is very worn, replace it. Wrap the new cloth over the seat and use a staple gun to attach it. Screw the seat back in place.

Step-by-step directions: How to Re-Cover a Chair Cushion

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Show Us Your Great Patio, Deck or Rooftop!

I’m putting my Basement of the Week series on hold for the summer to get us away in the underground spaces and outside during the wonderful weather. We’ll be featuring a great terrace, deck, rooftop or other imaginative backyard space each week. We are looking for jobs from homeowners as well as pros, so get out your cameras, get a great shot and provide your new outdoor space its big break.

Shoot us a picture of your space and post it in the Comments section below. If we choose it for a featured ideabook, we will want at least four high quality, high-resolution shots; they could be a mix of the entire space, smaller areas within it and close-ups. They don’t have to be accepted by a professional, but they do need to be in focus, nicely lit and large (at least 1,000 pixels wide).

McClellan Architects

If you’ve got beautiful environment, we’d really like to see that the views from the terrace as well.

PLLC, Lynn Gaffney Architect

Let us know where you are located and how you enjoy your outdoor space. Can you sunbathe, entertain or see the little ones as you enjoy a cocktail, have foods or toast marshmallows?

Spore Design

Be prepared to have a tiny phone or email conversation with yours truly in the event you are interested in getting your deck or patio comprised as a Patio of the Week. I guarantee it will be quick and painless.


Paul Davis Architects

Pros and amateurs are both welcome and will receive equal attention. I look forward to seeing everybody’s spaces. Bring them!

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