Why You Should Clean Outside Windows?

No one likes to do external window cleaning. However, ignoring the build-up of dirt and grime accumulating on your windows is definitely not a good idea, because not only will it turn your home into an unsightly place but it will also do a lot of damage to your windows. If you’re still not convinced, then maybe you should check out what happens when you leave your windows dirty for too long.



You Will Enjoy the View


There’s nothing worse than looking out of your window and having to squint your eyes in order to make out if that dot is a faraway object or just a stain on the glass. Clean windows will give you a perfect view on the outside world.


Easier to Clean in the Future


Regular window installation will make it easier to clean them moving forward because there will be no stubborn dirt and grime build up to deal with. Effectively, it’ll take less and less time for you to clean the windows.


Improved Curb Appeal


When your home looks good, it improves the image of the neighborhood in which you live, which is why curb appeal is important to maintain throughout the year, even if you’re not planning on selling your house. Also, a house with dirty windows often ends up looking uninhabited and it causes the structure to look super old.


Your Windows Will Last Longer


New windows don’t come cheap which is why it’s always a good idea for you to take care of the ones you have right now to avoid the cost of doing a window replacement. It’s important to note here that due to the porous nature of glass, the build-up of grime and dirt on the surface of your window can significantly weaken the glass, thus making it easier to break. Apart from that, leaving your windows dirty for too long can lead to dirt that doesn’t want to come off, which means that even when you do eventually decide to wash your windows they’ll still end up looking somewhat discolored. The window seals can also get damaged when window repair isn’t done regularly, causing expensive air leaks.


Brings in Natural Light


Dirty windows can block the flow of natural light into your home, thus making the space permanently gloomy and dark. That’s obviously not good for your mood so it’s best for you to keep your windows sparkling clean so that you can enjoy the feel-good emotions created by getting maximum light into your space. And with clean windows, you’ll get to enjoy a lot of natural light all day long.


Saves You Money in the Long Run


Having clean windows will help you avoid costly heating bills, as the sunlight coming through the windows will naturally heat your house, thus eliminating the need to use artificial heating methods. Not only that but cleaning your windows regularly means that you won’t ever have to hire a professional window replacement service, as the dirt build-up will be small and easily manageable.

Saving Water

How Much to Add Central Air to an Existing Furnace?

Adding central air conditioning into an existing forced-air heating system means you may be rid of noisy, dripping window AC units forever. And since the ductwork to distribute the cooled air throughout the house exists, the whole project can be completed by heating/cooling technicians in two or three days. In most cases they won’t have to make important changes to the ductwork.

Costs Vary

The cost will vary according to the home dimension, orientation to the sun, amount of insulation and positioning of windows and doors. These factors affect the size and efficacy level of their cooling equipment you’ll need. As of publication time, expect to pay from $3,000 to $3,500 in the very low end and from $4,000 to $6,000 in the high end to include central air conditioning into the forced air heating system in a 2,000-square-foot house that’s existing ductwork. As there are lots of cost variables, plan on obtaining at least three bids.

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Traditional Architecture

How Do I Measure Windows to Mini-Blinds and Curtains?

The old adage — step twice, cut does not apply when measuring for window treatments. Rather, measure three times across the width and the length, and use the longest measurement for the most accurate calculations. When measuring for curtains, don’t forget to add one to three times the measurement’s width to acquire the curtain beam desired. Choose your place on the wall — underside of the window, to the floor, or midway between both for your final curtain length. And, last, but not least: Do not neglect to include hardware positioning measurements for hanging the curtain pole; write down all of your measurements.

Curtain Measurements

Position the step stool or ladder as needed to achieve high enough on the window to create your measurements.

Pull the tape measure horizontally across the window width following securing it into the exterior frame by its tab or your fingers on top, bottom and middle of the window. Measure from the exterior of the window trim on one side to the other. If you haven’t mounted the hardware on which to hang the curtain, measure the distance from the exterior frame into the planned hardware place, double it and then add the result to the entire width measurement. As an example, if you hang hardware 2 inches beyond either side of the window frame, you need to add 4 inches to your entire figures for curtain width measurements. Round up each measurement to its closest 1/8-inch measurement and use the longest to your entire width.

Measure the window length from the top of the trim to the bottom in each corner and the center of the window. Write this down measurement. Add the dimension between the top of the window and the curtain pole to that particular measurement to your final curtain length for window-length curtains. If you plan to hang floor-length curtains, measure from the top of the rod’s place — or in which you plan to put it — to the floor. Once again, round up to the nearest eighth and use the longest of the 3 measurements for the final length figure.

Calculate the height of a valance, if you mean to hang one over the upper portion of the curtain. Divide the entire window length by four or three, dependent on whether you desire a valance that is one-third to one-fourth the height of the window. When selecting the figure that works to your valance, measure for the valance around the wall approximately 1 inch over the rod’s planned or known place, down the window length the necessary distance. As an example, if you have a window that is 48 inches tall, a well-balanced valance will equal 12 to 16 inches.

Mini-Blind Measurements

Run the tape measure across the width from the interior of the frame to its side on very top, middle and bottom. This measurement determines the width of the mini-blinds for an inside mount.

Extend the tape measure on the interior of the window from the top to its bottom to obtain the length that the mini-blinds will need to be. Step from the top to bottom in each corner and the center.

Step in three places for each measurement, top, bottom and middle, for the width, or each corner and the center of the window for the length. Utilize the most significant number for your final width and length measurements following rounding each measurement to the nearest 1/8 inch.

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Home Cleaning

Natural Things to Clean the Interior of a House

When it comes to cleaning your own house, there are lots of powerful store-bought options to find the job done, but a lot of these include harsh, potentially dangerous chemicals. Natural cleansers made of earth-friendly ingredients work as well and you wo not need to worry or wonder about what you’re using. In the event that you or somebody in your home is sensitive to chemicals or chemical scents, these homemade cleaners provide effective alternatives.

White Vinegar’s Wonders

White vinegar is a versatile all-purpose cleaner for multiple family surfaces, including glass. Vinegar cuts grease and disinfects, therefore it offers a streak-free shine for windows and glass tabletops when utilized with an equal amount of water in a spray bottle, paired with a lint-free cloth for wiping the glass. Vinegar removes mineral deposits from shower heads, faucets and fittings and absorbs smells. It even removes hardened debris in a microwave. Put equal parts water and vinegar in a microwave-safe measuring cup, heat for at least a moment or until very hot, and leave the cup in the microwave for several minutes without opening the doorway to steam the microwave’s internal chamber. Wipe the interior of the microwave with a damp cloth or vinegar-soaked fabric to eliminate the old food residue.

Super Citrus

Lemons come in handy for cleaning a great number of household surfaces. Lemon juice disinfects, removes stains and offers a pleasing scent regardless of what the cleaning process. Rub lemon juice or a piece of lemon over food stains on plastic cutting boards or within plastic bottles, letting it sit on the surface for 20 minutes or so before washing normally. Lemon juice also cleans and removes rustlike deposits onto brass cabinet hardware: Pour a little bit of the juice onto a soft cloth, wipe the affected area, follow a fresh damp cloth, then dry the brass with a soft fabric. Run your leftover lemon pieces down the trash disposal to freshen it also.

Beneficial Baking Soda

Baking soda does a lot more than eliminate smells from a fridge. Sprinkle it over upholstered furniture or carpet to eliminate stale smells such as smoke and pet smells, then vacuum it away after an hour or even more. Pour baking soda down a slow drain, followed by vinegar, to loosen items causing a clog in the pipe. Don’t plunge or use chemical cleaners with this homemade drain cleaner. A small baking soda mixed into water functions as a general surface cleanser for kitchens and bathrooms, cleaning and removing smells at precisely the exact same moment. For difficult stains or caked-on chemicals, make a paste of baking soda and a small water; apply it above the issue area, then buff with a soft fabric.

As Simple as Salt

Salt functions as a simple, gentle antimicrobial secure for surfaces too fragile for chemical-based abrasive cleansers. Scatter salt into a coffee mug or coffee pot, then rub with a wet cloth or sponge to remove coffee stains. Sprinkle salt onto deposits or stains on a butcherblock countertop, then rub with a soft, damp cloth to clean out the area. Sprinkle salt on a lemon to scour away debris or stains on household surfaces, then rub with a damp cloth.

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Eclectic Homes

Basement of the Week: Fishing-Focused Spaces Lure the Family In

When a devoted muskie fisherman needed a place for his decorations, photos and gear, his adoring wife suggested he make a log cabin into their own basement. With pine half logs, aluminum rust slate, comfy furnishings and ample light, interior designer Melissa Bovee transformed a dingy, unfinished underground lair into an inviting escape. Have a tour and you’ll find out why it has come to be a favourite getaway for your family members and their friends.

Basement at a Glance
Who lives here: A couple with two teenaged boys. An abysmal daughter utilizes the lower degree as a private flat when she visits.
Location: Waukesha, Wisconsin
Size: 1,000 square feet

Brillo Home Improvements

Pine logs have been cut in half and affixed to the walls, giving the space its own rustic cabin look. Copper Rust stacked stone along with a slate flooring provide a rich, rugged contrast.

“While the remainder of their home is much more conventional, our inspiration down was an ‘up North’ cabin,” Bovee says. “He’s a big-time fisherman and desired it to feel rustic and outdoorsy.”

The light wood walls contrast with the dark slate fireplace at the end of the room, drawing the attention to the latter. There are just two separate seating areas defined by the furniture one together with the fireplace and one for watching TV and playing video games. The leather armchairs are arranged around a lively coffee table featuring a recumbent black keep topped with a sheet of glass. It’s a great illustration of the relaxed layout of the basement.

Brillo Home Improvements

Cleverly tucked beneath the stairs, this moist bar ensures that one seldom has to leave the basement. The habit built-ins incorporate a wine rack, beverage sink and refrigerator. Puck lights underneath the staircase draw the eye on the stacked-stone wall above the countertop.

The strong diagonal line of the staircase divides logs and stone, railings and wine rack. The hickory cabinets have a simple, rustic style, with unfussy doors and doors. The countertop is granite.

The plan shows the way the spaces relate to one another. Closets include storage for fishing gear, a sump pump and also a spot in which to tuck away a treadmill. A special closet (observable in the lower-right corner of the design) is outfitted with French doors and custom light, providing extensive storage to your husband’s collection of handmade muskie fishing lures. (See a photo in the first Comment box below.)

Custom French doors also lead to an office. The proprietor is a catch-and-release fisherman; the decorations are replicas made to remind him of his triumphs.

Brillo Home Improvements

The bathroom is a great place to heat up and clean up after a long day of fishing, and functions guests that are staying on the lower level. Knotty pine overhead and on the walls, and coppery slate tile and from the shower, make a rustic jewel box of a bathroom.

The frameless glass shower stall allows a clear view of all the slate tile in the shower, which includes both a rain showerhead and a handheld showerhead.

Brillo Home Improvements

The colour variations in the tile add scrumptious earth tones and vitality.

Now that the basement is done, it has become a favourite family room, especially for the teens playing video games and hosting sleepovers. Dad might have his guy cave, but he’s seldom alone.

More: Watch more great spaces designed for guys

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Summer Fruits and Vegetables

How to Grow Your Own Peaches and Nectarines

Peaches are fuzzy and nectarines are eloquent. For many people, that’s the only difference. And since nectarines are actually a variety of peach, fuzz or absence of it is a good way to tell them apart. This also suggests that if you can grow peaches, you are able to grow nectarines.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that as soon as you’ve decided to grow peaches, nectarines or both, your decision making is over, especially given the vast array of peaches and nectarines available. It’s not just a question of if you want a fruit with white or yellowish flesh. Would you desire to have an early, midseason or late crop? How about a cling variety, the ideal option for canning, or a easy-to-eat freestone? What about the semifreestone? Maybe you want something really unusual, like a cherry which isn’t even round.

And if this isn’t sufficient, you have the option of having a standard tree, pruning a standard tree to a height which makes for easier picking or developing a true dwarf, a few of which are even small enough for a very large container.

But do not worry, whatever you choose, the end result will be delicious, tree-ripened fruit which can not be beat for taste and juiciness.

Where to grow: Peaches and nectarines are fairly fussy. They enjoy winter chill but not long freezes or late-winter frosts. They also favor it hot and somewhat dry. It’s no wonder that California has great peach-growing areas, though peaches can be seen growing throughout the U.S. in USDA zones 5 through 8 or 9.

Favorite berry: Arctic Supreme, Bonanza II, Early Elberta (Lemon Elberta, Improved Elberta), Earligrande, Elberta, El Dorado, Frost, Gleason, Harken, Indian Blood Cling (Indian Cling), Indian Free, June Pride, Loring, Nectar, O’Henry, Pix Zee, Redhaven, Redskin, Reliance, Snow Beauty, Strawberry Free, Suncrest, Tropic Snow, Vulcan, White Lady

Favorite nectarines: Arctic Fantasy, Arctic Glo, Arctic Jay, Arctic Rose, Arctic Sun, Fantasia, Goldmine, Harko, Juneglo, Mericrest, Nectar Babe, Nectar Zee, Panamint, Snow Queen, Southern Bell

Aaron Jerad Designs

Planting guidelines: select a spot in sunlight with well-drained soil; amend if your soil is heavy or overly muddy. Bare-root trees are the most common and should be planted in late winter or early spring when the ground is achievable and the frosts are over. Container plants may be planted from autumn through spring.

Care requirements: Fertilize per week after planting using a complete fertilizer, then fertilize heavily with a complete organic fertilizer each spring. Nitrogen was added by provide if needed.

Water frequently. Adding compost around the tree (but not touching the back) will help preserve moisture while keeping the earth soft so decreasing fruit doesn’t get bruised.

Most peaches and nectarines will naturally drop fruit in early summer, but you are going to have to supplement which organic thinning with more rigorous thinning in your to space out fruits and prevent branches from becoming overloaded and breaking.

Leave 3 to 5 inches involving meals. Also, remove fruit in the ends of smaller branches to keep the branches from breaking.

Pruning: This is a necessary chore for any cherry variety. On the other hand, it encourages other side effects also, consequently, more fruit. Prune when the tree is dormant in winter or early spring. Start with removing dead and diseased branches and anything that crosses through the middle.

If you have pruned when planting, the following spring choose three to five branches which are ideally evenly dispersed to form the most important shape of the tree. An open centre is perfect, since it allows air to circulate and provides easier access to inside fruit. Remove any surplus branches to encourage the growth of these principal shoots.

In the next years, cut back about two-thirds of the previous year’s growth. For ease of care and harvesting, keep even criteria under 12 feet tall. To keep them even smaller, especially in the event that you don’t possess a dwarf variety, prune in summer too. If you are more experimental or just have limited space, try espaliering your tree from a wall.

Pests and diseases: The dreaded peach leaf curl is your cherry grower’s nemesis. It appears just like it seems, together with the leaves curling upward and becoming stained. It may hit anywhere, but the wetter the weather, the more likely it will happen. Other problem diseases consist of brown rot and peach scab. A spray program in autumn and winter using a dormant spray of lime sulfur or fixed copper can help. When the tree blossoms, spraying won’t help.

Problems like gummosis, or oozing sap, can be avoided by keeping the region and some other backyard resources utilized on the trees clean and by eliminating dead fruit and diseased branches instantly. Don’t forget to dispose of them someplace other than your compost pile.

The most frequent pest problems are cherry tree borers, which render a jelly-like substance coming out of the holes they create. Methods for controlling them differ from region to region, so check with a nursery or extension service for advice. For different problems like aphids and earwigs, a tacky barrier wrapped around the bottom of the branches will out them.

Then you will find animals, especially birds, which love the peaches as much as you do. You can net a tree a few weeks ahead of the fruit is ripe, something that is a lot easier to perform when the tree is modest. Or hang shiny objects from the branches — today you know what to do with all those old CDs. Or try a fake owl or hawk. Don’t forget to move them around, or even the birds will probably catch on that they are not real.

Harvesting: Decide when the fruit is fully ripe, with no green skin. It will be slightly soft to the touch, but be careful when checking, as peaches and nectarines bruise easily. Twist off the fruit at the stem. The crop season is short for an individual tree — a good reason to plant more than just one — but you will have tons of fruit when it is in full production.

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Tropical Style

6 Great Ways With Garden Ground Covers

Ground cover crops play an important function in the garden. Characterized with their low-growing forms and capability to strangle weeds with a carpet of vegetation, soil covers provide several benefits to almost any outdoor space. There are an enormous variety of ground cover plants readily available, often with unique growing requirements which range from full sun and dry conditions to moist soil and color. Pay attention to choosing a variety that is employed on your location and hardiness zone.

Some soil cover plants can be vigorous growers in certain growing conditions (borderline invasive, really), so be certain to do your homework and choose the necessary precautions. This can indicate segregating areas of ground cover and lawn, since voracious ground cover plants can migrate into the bud and take over. That said, as soon as you select the right floor cover and establish the right site, the opportunities to create a truly striking landscape appear.

Listed below are some of my favourite ways to use ground covers in the garden.

Plan-it Earth Style

Between pavers. This is most likely the most frequent use of floor covers, and rightly so, since it’s very effective. Whether it’s a casual approach with irregular stone slabs or a modern high-contrast aesthetic with modular pavers, floor covers fill in the spaces between stonework and generate a surface that is visually appealing and functional.

When selecting a floor cover to your paving project, be certain to choose a specimen that can handle traffic. One of my favorites is brass buttons (Leptinella squalida, USDA zones 4 to 10). As can be found in this case, Leptinella is a vigorous grower and forms a dense carpet of miniature fern-like foliage that is evergreen in temperate climates.

More: Plants to Your Pathway

About trees. Many trees have a unique form to their branches and trunk — a feature that should be emphasized. Rather than planting shrubs and perennials around the bottom of a feature tree, try integrating a carpet of ground cover that will enable the main form to be valued. Mosses such as Irish moss (Sagina subulata, zones 4 to 8) also form interesting mounds that bloom with tiny flowers in midsummer.

Garden Mentors

In rock gardens. Rock gardens are unique growing surroundings, and not all plants will appreciate the arctic conditions. Besides alpine plants, there are a number of ground covers that flourish in these conditions and can create interesting, low-maintenance and mini gardens.

Knawel cushion (Scleranthus biflorus, zones 9 to 11) is a truly fascinating noun which will likely become a feature in your rock garden. This slow growing, mound-forming plant gives a dense carpet of green foliage that will slowly creep over the surrounding rocks. Ensure the soil is well drained, as knawel cushion is prone to rotting with an excessive amount of water.

Meissner Landscape, Inc

In acidic soil. Planting around the foundation of large conifers can be hard due to the acidic, depleted soil and low-light conditions. Most ground covers won’t do nicely in this situation, but there are frequently significant distances between shrubs and perennials that will gain from floor cover.

One plant that is up to the challenge is bugle weed (Ajuga reptens, zones 3 to 10), a rapidly spreading evergreen ground cover that makes a tight mat of leaves with flower spires in the early spring. It’s worth noting that Ajuga can be somewhat invasive and should be sited only in locations where it can be included.

Matt Kilburn

Around partitions and hardscape features. Some floor covers are nicely suited to areas of a site where the standard change is characterized by walls and other hardscape features. It can be difficult to incorporate these features into the landscape, due to their hard outlines comparison the aesthetic of the surrounding softscape features.

Baby’s tears (Soleirolia soleirolii, zones 9 to 11) is a versatile floor cover that is well suited to this situation, since it flourishes with hardly any soil present and develops over hardscape features with little or no assistance. Brick walls take on a very different appearance when they are blanketed in baby’s tears, also it’s likely to create the impression they have been there for centuries.

Matt Kilburn

As standalone capabilities. Every once in a while, you come across a very creative use of ground covers that makes for an interesting conversation piece in the garden. Last year I toured England, seeing some of the very influential gardens in the country and soaking up the layout inspiration.

Whilst exploring the various garden rooms in Sissinghurst Castle, I came across an intriguing feature tucked into the hedge lining the herb garden. A stone bench was adorned with a carpet of chamomile, forming a chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile spp) seat.

This type of feature was common in medieval gardens, and it can offer inspiration for aromatic floor covers in your own yard. Try Roman chamomile or English chamomile to get the best outcomes (they are equally low-growing varieties), or experiment with different varieties of low-growing floor cover, such as creeping thyme (Thymus serpyllum, zones 4 to 8).

Read about some other Fantastic floor cover: Golden Creeping Jenny

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Tropical Style

Bid Usher In the Good and Garden Bugs Goodbye

Summer’s long days and hot nights are fantastic for going outside and enjoying your garden. Finally, all of the work you have put in over the past season will be paying off, and you are able to relax and revel in the fruits of your labour. Unfortunately, you are likely not the only one who would like to appreciate your plot — there’s a veritable legion of nasty creatures waiting to spoil your outdoor plans and send you to the protection of your home.

In addition to all these unwelcome guests, but there are a range of beneficial garden insects. But how do you eliminate the bad guys and welcome the good guys? With just a little preparation and old-school understanding, you can accomplish this without pesticides or other substances that can damage you and your garden.

Below you will learn some of the more common insect threats to your garden and how you are able to persuade the bad bugs to depart on their own volition.

Rossington Architecture

4 Garden Pests and How to Remove Them

Mosquitoes. In many regions mosquitoes are a major issue in the summertime and can hinder outdoor activities. They thrive in regions with a normal water source and can multiply very quickly into big numbers if left unattended. All of your lawn’s water attributes should have motion on the surface of the water. Mosquito larvae can survive just in stagnant water, so if a pump is installed in a water feature, mosquito colonies are not as likely to survive. Adding fish into a pond is also a excellent way to fight mosquitoes, since they consume the larvae until they hatch. Goldfish, minnows and betta fish (also called Siamese fighting fish) are great options for controlling mosquitoes.

Ultimately, there are lots of plants you can add to your garden to help repel mosquitoes. Catnip is a natural mosquito repellent which develops in most regions within an easy-growing perennial. Marigolds also have a distinctive odor that is unbearable to mosquitoes. Try planting these annuals in pots around your patio and next to windows, and the odor will prevent mosquitoes from hanging around.

Kim Gamel

Wasps. As the summer winds on, wasps can turn into a major issue in the garden. These competitive carnivores have ruined many an outdoor dinner. Regrettably, vibrant-colored blooms can attract themso place plants which bloom in summer time away from sitting and dining areas. You could even deter wasps by placing out a bowl of crushed cloves on the table — the odor is offensive to wasps, and they will find someplace else to spend their time.

Ants. Depending on your geographical area, there are lots of types of ants that could make a home in your garden. Some ants are more difficult to eliminate than others. Luckily, the ants in Vancouver, where I reside, are rather simple to control.

As a guideline for many ants, concentrate on where they live and what they feed on to dissuade them from the garden. Ants don’t like the odor of cinnamon or mint, so if you are able to find the mound where the ants are coming from, sprinkle some cinnamon or go a potted mint plant to the region (mint should always be contained, since it’s an aggressively invasive plant) to make the region less hospitable to those little pests.

But ants are tenacious critters, and they might just move their home elsewhere in your garden. That’s why it’s also important to concentrate on their food resource. Among the means that ants gain sustenance is by”farming” the honeydew secreted out of aphids. They will even go so far as to move the aphids onto prime real estate on fruit trees and create elaborate methods for aphid farms to produce honeydew. And this leads us to our very last insect:

Aphids. Aphids can be tricky to eradicate, and the solution generally comes down to a combination of strategies. I’ve found blasting them off leaves with the hose are the most successful once they’ve infested a plant (versus soap-based sprays, which can often damage leaves), but there are also beneficial insects which can be introduced to your garden to manage an aphid problem.

The New York Botanical Garden

Two Beneficial Garden Insects and How to Welcome Them

Ladybugs. As mentioned before, aphids are a major issue in the garden. Ladybugs are a natural predator of aphids and can make a big difference to the health of your garden. An adult ladybug can eat around 1,000 aphids a day, so it’s easy to see how introducing this little helper can be useful. It is possible to buy ladybugs in many garden centers, but before you spend the money, be sure you take appropriate steps to help them stay around rather than flying away to your neighbor’s garden:
make certain there is not any insecticide on your crops, and scrutinize the leaves to see if there are aphids. Publish the ladybugs at night (they do not fly at night, so they’re more inclined to get established in your garden immediately) near the aphid-affected plants.Provide food resources other than aphids to make them feel at home. Ladybugs also eat pollen and love many flowering plants, such as marigolds, fennel, dill and geraniums.

Le jardinet

Mason bees. Bees and wasps frequently get thrown in precisely the same category of garden pests, but in reality, bees play an important role in the life cycle of crops. They also have more important things to concentrate on than you and your garden visitors, so that they aren’t going to bite or be a nuisance. Bees are avid pollinators and a crucial part of food crop production. International honeybee populations are in decline, so it’s more important than ever to help different types of bees take hold of their pollination jobs at hand.

That’s where mason bees come in. Introducing mason bees in to your scheme is as simple as sourcing a mason bee house and a few bee cocoons. Make sure there is also a water supply available so the bees can produce mud to package their cocoons into the mason bee house.

The cocoons hold dormant mason bees which come to life when the temperature warms in the spring (optimum conditions are if the noontime temperature is a minimum of 57 degrees Fahrenheit or 14 degrees Celsius). They can be kept in the refrigerator until the time is right to release them. Mason bees do not kind hives and live brief lives. Given the right conditions (flowering plants, a water supply and a home to put eggs in)they will work hard to pollinate your plants throughout the summer, along with the cocoons which are left behind in the mason bee house can be placed in containers in the refrigerator in the autumn and saved until next spring.

More: Porch Life: Banish the Bugs
4 Good Ways to Get Rid of Mosquitoes in Your Lawn

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Tropical Style

Garden Alert: 22 Plants to Eliminate Pets

Plants and pets aren’t always a perfect mix. A surprising variety of crops, such as landscape and houseplant favorites, are toxic and even deadly if Rover or Fluffy decides they are edible. Below are only a couple of the more than 300 plants which can result in problems. Speak to your vet or see the ASPCA’s website for a complete list.

That isn’t to say that these crops and your pets can’t coexist. Many cats and dogs won’t give these plants a second look. And even if they do get into them, the toxins may not bother them. I’m personally acquainted with a puppy who dug up and ate daffodil bulbs, the most poisonous part of the plant, and didn’t even suffer a stomachache.

Nevertheless, it’s far better to be safe than sorry. Keep an eye on your pets and their chewing tastes, especially puppies and kittens who can, and will, chew on everything. Consider using bitter apple or sour orange spray to discourage leaf chomping, installing ornamental fencing or wrap netting around larger specimens, and placing houseplants out of reach. And should you suspect that your pet has gotten into something it should not have, contact your vet or an emergency clinic straight away.

Remember that some of these very same plants are toxic to humans. While adults generally do not chomp their way through a nonedible backyard, it’s sensible to keep an eye on little children, especially if they explore the world by putting everything in their mouths.

Filmore Clark

The amaryllis (Hippeastrum) is a favorite holiday bloomer, but for cats and dogs it can cause a selection of issues, from gastrointestinal issues to tremors as well as anorexia. The botanical Amaryllis, more commonly called Naked Lady, is both toxic.

Amy Renea

Autumn crocus appears benign, but vomiting, diarrhea as well as organ damage can be the result of ingesting this innocuous-looking plant. Interestingly, creative mystery authors have used this as a poison of choice for people (see also foxglove below).

J. Peterson Garden Design

Azaleas as well as other rhododendron species can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, general weakness and, even if the dose is powerful enough, even death.

Barbara Pintozzi

The pyrethrins at chrysanthemums may help ward off pests, but they can also cause problems from the gastrointenstinal system.

Exteriorscapes llc

The most likely effects from nibbling on coleus are vomiting and diarrhea, but depression and anorexia can also result.

Le jardinet

Consuming cyclamens can lead to vomiting. The most toxic parts of the plant are the roots, but it’s ideal to maintain all parts from the mouths of cats and dogs.

Laughlin Design Associates, Inc..

A springtime display of daffodils and tulips is always welcome. However, the bulbs are a source of toxins which can cause everything from drooling to convulsions and circulatory issues.

The New York Botanical Garden

Dahlias can cause both gastrointestinal and skin problems, so they should be outside of the range of sensitive pets.

Kim Gamel

English ivy is famous both for landscaping and as a houseplant, but if digested it can cause vomiting, diarrhea, pain and excess salivation.

environmental notion

Considering that foxglove goes from the botanical name of Digitalis, also the title of a commonly used heart medication, it’s not surprising that it can lead to cardiac problems in people and pets. Other symptoms include gastrointestinal issues.

Le jardinet

Hellebores, a winter-garden favored, can cause abdominal pain, colic and depression in both dogs and cats if ingested.

Westover Landscape Design, Inc..

Although hydrangeas are backyard showstoppers, symptoms vary from oral irritation to gastrointestinal distress to depression for pets who eat them.

Jocelyn H. Chilvers

Numerous members of the lily family, such as Asiatic hybrids like those shown here, are highly toxic to cats, resulting in acute kidney damage even if just a little amount is consumed.

Barbara Pintozzi

Daylilies, although a member of a distinct botanical family, can also be toxic.

MTH Design Group

Oleanders are toxic to both people in pets. Problems vary from gastrointestinal troubles to compromised cardiac problems and death.

D for Design

The peace lily is an ideal houseplant. It’s happy in reduced light and is hard to kill. Regrettably, it can result in significant oral problems along with vomiting if swallowed by a cat or dog.

Scheer & Co..

While chewing consuming and on the leaves can cause swelling and irritation, the fantastic news is that most pothos look better when grown as hanging plants, from the reach of pets.

Constantine D. Vasilios & Associates Ltd

The sago palm is a dramatic houseplant and a favorite outdoor pick for temperate landscapes. The downside is that it’s toxic to pets. While the leaves can cause problems, the seeds, also called the nuts, are the most debatable and can lead to seizures and liver failure.

RLH Studio

The favorite umbrella tree, of the Schefllera genus, can cause intense oral irritation and vomiting if ingested.


Keep delicate sweet peas from experimenting pets, as they can cause tremors, seizures and, in acute cases, death.

Heffernan Landscape Design

The taxine at yew affects the central nervous system. Additionally, it can lead to cardiac failure.

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Small Bathroom

From Dated Southwestern to Serene Minimalism in a Cleveland Bathroom

When a Cleveland couple saw the house, their imaginations ran wild … nevertheless minimalist. Its original style has been Southwestern, not for their tastes that are modern , but it had bones. The renovation, designed by architect Ryan Duebber, included a toilet that inspires minutes of Zen (in actuality, a wall-mounted TV near the tub means that the homeowners may enjoy that section of The Daily Show whilst carrying a spoonful).

Natural materials, a simplified colour scheme with powerful textural contrasts, an elongated vaulted ceiling, additional storage and a new design add up to a minimalist retreat created for 2. Sneak a tiny break from whatever you’re working on and allow this toilet daydream take you away.

Bathroom at a Glance
Who lives here: A few and their blended family
Location: Cleveland
Size: About 192 square feet

Ryan Duebber Architect, LLC

The present vaulted ceiling and large window make the room feel spacious, which Duebber enhanced using a minimalist approach along with a thoughtful design. By putting the bathtub in front of the 18, he made the the majority of the view.

The bathtub sits on a stage made from Brazilian massaranduba timber. “The stage elevates the tub so they may enjoy the view, and creates a moment of comparison between the stone and wood,” Duebber says. Massaranduba is used for decking and can resist water splashing on the sides.

Before Photo

BEFORE: A dated garden tub and surround clunked up the area. I’m relieved that the owners upgraded the TV choice, since this scenario looks like a setup for the first two moments of a Six Feet Under episode.

Ryan Duebber Architect, LLC

AFTER: For all those of you worried about looky-loos, the bottom of the window will be at least 7 feet above the ground, and there are no nearby houses beyond.

Duebber found that the river stones at a landscaping yard for about $5. The tile ends where the stones start, leaving a 3/4-inch recess for placing them in place beneath black concrete board. In addition to the stones, Duebber used natural cut limestone tile onto the ground and at the shower to bring in a warm, natural texture. The stage has been stained to match the vanity, which you’ll see next.

Faucet: R10 Series 3FRTL, Rubinet; bathtub Barcelona, Victoria and Albert; floor tile: Arctic Gray limestone, Daltile

Ryan Duebber Architect, LLC

The custom vanity that is floating is stained maple.

Ryan Duebber Architect, LLC

The mirror includes his-and-her medicine cabinets on each end, with recesses built into the wall behind them for added depth.

Straightforward clear glass tube pendant lights continue the clean lines and play the crystal clear glass shower surround.

Pendant lights: Top-si Coax Pendant, clear, LBL

Ryan Duebber Architect, LLC

The sink is incorporated into one piece of concrete and has faucets. The countertop with all the built-in spout included cost about $2,500.

The previous design had two sinks (see floor plan, next). Applying a long trough-like sink increases the area’s minimalist aesthetic. “The finish is amazing, and the colour blends really well with the limestone,” Duebber says.

Faucets: R10 Collection 1BRTL, Rubinet

You can observe the adjustments to the design on this program; Duebber made a tiny space in the walk-in closets for the whirlpool bath.

Before Photo

BEFORE: The bathroom had a separate toilet room, along with the vaulted ceiling finished at the wall that separated it in the rest of the room.

Ryan Duebber Architect, LLC

AFTER: Duebber gained space by tearing down the individual bathroom room wall, and he extended the vaulted ceiling from end to end. The bathroom is tucked past the partial wall in the front end of the shower stall.

Intelligent lighting is also an important part of the plot; LED tape beneath the vanity and the bathtub platform illuminate the river stones.

Ryan Duebber Architect, LLC

He also borrowed a tiny room from present walk-in closets to make a large shower stall for 2. One side includes a rain showerhead, while another has a one; there’s a shower seat between the two.

A 4-inch-wide ledge along the entire wall provides space for bath solutions. Clear glass produces an open texture.

Ryan Duebber Architect, LLC

The clients saved money by edging the shower with 12- from 24-inch limestone floor tiles rather than a slab. Limestone tiles , 2 by 2 inches, were used on the shower floor.

Ryan Duebber Architect, LLC

A track door separates the analysis from the toilet and closet corridor; the door on the other side opens to the bedroom. Both rooms have doors to the family room, so this isn’t the only way the master along with the analysis connect.

Duebber reiterates what I’ve been hearing a great deal from architects recently: Many clients these days want track doors. He advocates Grainger and Stanley for track options that are inexpensive.

See the rest of the renovations in this home

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