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Avoid These 6 Costly Fencing Mistakes

1. Applying Finishes or Varnishes Too Early

After your fence is installed, it’s important to allow the fence to completely dry out before applying any new product to it. This is because the manufacturer puts moisturizing and preservation coatings on the fence that will likely interfere with anything you put over it if you do so too soon. Keeping your fence healthy for years can be enhanced by adding a clear coating to the fence if you enjoy its natural look, staining it, or painting it. If you paint it, you will have to repaint every few years.

2. Using Too Weak of Hinges

Most first time fence builders make the mistake of underestimating the size of hinge needed to hold the weight of their new fence. Furthermore, the posts and cement that anchors them will have to be done in accordance with the weight of your fence as well. This all depends on fence material, whether it was pressure-treated which causes fences to become more heavy than expected, and weather patterns like rain that cause the fence to become heavier as well. If you question these factors at all and your ability and experience level to work around them, call a professional for assistance.

3. Up-hill Fence Building

It’s very possible to fence a yard with an incline. You will, however, have to create sections that step up over the elevations properly. Your fence should be broken up into sections about 6-8 feet long and raised by one full or half foot. To insure the job is done properly, call a professional for assistance.

4. Pissing Off The Neighbors

Excuse our language, but building a fence without taking your neighbors or homeowners association into consideration is a big no-no. They say “bad fences make bad neighbors”. You don’t want to make this costly mistake. You want to enjoy your privacy without having to wonder what feelings are being had beyond the fence.

5. Too Long of Sections Without Support

Fencing sections are usually in 6 to 8 foot increments and there should be posts put at no longer than these 8 foot sections to insure that the fence is sturdy enough to withstand any pressure put on it (by animals, weather patterns, or pressure washing).

6. Lazy Posts

Concreting posts correctly, and at the recommended depth in the ground is essential for the integrity and longevity of the fence. Follow instructions and don’t cut corners here. Posts need to be put at least 2 feet under ground, but the rule of thumb is 1/3 the post’s length. Check with your local codes and city ordinances though, because they often have recommendations of their own. In the event you aren’t as cool with your neighbors as you’d like to be, having done everything to code will aid you in any disputes that could ensue.

Any or all of these mistakes combined can be costly. Be sure to check all these mistakes off your list by talking to your neighbors, checking with your city, reading directions, and calling a professional at any times of self-doubt.

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Popular Outdoor Living Space Trends

One of the biggest trends of this century is extending your living spaces to the outdoors. This is achieved through sliding glass doors the size of walls being opened up to an extension of the home or creating an outdoor kitchen or living room. Here are the most popular trends uncovered over the years of extending living to the back yard.

Gazebo or Pergola Dining Space

You’ve seen it in magazines, the romantic dinner party outside at night under a pergola wrapped in white outdoor lights. The table is clothed and set just as you would indoors, real napkins, real silverware, plates, and wine glasses. Bringing your dining room outdoors is an ideal way to enjoy the best seasons of the year, whether you have sunshine all year or just in summer months. This is especially a great option for those that don’t have a designated dining space or have had to convert theirs into a space for another purpose. The trick for bringing living spaces outside is to not shy away from bringing indoor items out, including throw pillows, blankets and rugs. The best outdoor spaces look indoors except for the amazing backdrop of lush green landscaping.

Colored Curtain Enclosure

A newer concept being made popular is enclosing your gazebo with colored curtains and possibly bug nets, for privacy and for comfort. This space can be a romantic outdoor bedroom or living space meant for entertaining, meditation, or as a studio for an artist. The possibilities are endless!

Create An Arch

Accessorizing a gazebo with a decorative arch leading in further presents the structure as a permanent space and really adds to its majestic sacredness. You can also fence the gazebo or plant shrubs around it to add to its curb appeal. Adding mulched beds, or making decorative brick or stone walkways can also add to its charm.

Fire pit

A fire pit is most people’s first thought and is one of the easiest and budget friendliest outdoor living spaces to create. Fire pits can be more permanent structures or can be achieved through portable fire cages. Some beautiful outdoor fire spaces have even been created with an outdoor fireplace! Neater, more contemporary designs are also coming out that are worth considering. Different materials and design can really elevate a property and its curb appeal.

Hot Tub In A Deck

Designing your deck around a hot tub is a great idea. If you entertain adults a lot or your work is very physically demanding, this option might be your favorite.

Outdoor Kitchen

The outdoor dining space is a simpler version of the outdoor kitchen and is for those who prefer to cook inside and enjoy the food outside. For the avid griller or outdoor cook however, the outdoor kitchen can be an amazing space. Options and add-ons for grills are endless, including outdoor refrigerators and granite countertops. This is a really fun option that leaves a lot of room to consider your cooking style, needs, and design preferences.

Tree house

Tree houses are less popular but still a contender for an outdoor living space. The most important thing in deciding to build a tree house is whether you have a strong enough tree to hold the space and if your county or city will permit it. The idea can be a romantic one for adult guests or children, if you have them.

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4 Low Maintenance Trees To Landscape With

There are far more trees and bushes you shouldn’t plant in your yard than ones that you should. When shopping around for low maintenance landscaping choices, you’ll need to consider the plant’s susceptibility to illness, critter infestation, its shedding patterns and pruning needs. These are 4 of the lowest maintenance trees and why you should consider using them in your landscape design.

Crape Myrtle

Varieties of Crape Myrtle provide a beautiful range of colors, usually in the pink and purple family. They require little work in pruning if given enough room to span and they enjoy hot climates. They could easily survive a drought and bloom well past other trees “showing times”. They make a beautiful choice for a first level landscaper who wants something “showy” and flowering. Most Crape Myrtle varieties can be found for between 30.00 and 40.00, with some more rare or extravagant varieties costing upwards of 100.00.

Colorado Spruce

Colorado Spruce trees, among other spruces, provide a beautiful needle producing tree with greater purpose. Birds love to nest in them and pesky deer do not enjoy this variety because they cannot eat it. This tree can survive almost anywhere but needs space to spread. It makes a good visual barrier between properties and can be harvested in winter as an ornament tree. Otherwise, it makes a perfect wintery picture blanketed with snow. Spruce trees can be found for as little as 10.00 per potted tree and may take a few years to establish, but once it’s strong enough it can grow as quickly as 24 inches per growing season.

Maple Varieties

There are many low maintenance trees in the Maple family, such as the sugar maple and Amur maple. These trees are sturdy and provide good shade with their thick leaves. They are the types of trees you drive around looking for during fall season when the leaves change from shades of dark maroon to red and orange before they fall. Young maples can be found for between 50.00 and 80.00 per tree.

Apple Trees

For the beginner wanting to plant something fruitful, Apple Trees lend themselves one of the easiest to grow and maintain fruit trees. Gardeners might enjoy harvesting something from their trees and expanding their gardening knowledge. Mid-range apple trees can be found for 30.00 to 50.00 per tree.

Of these four options, one is sure to fit your landscaping vision and improve your curb appeal. They are year round landscaping favorites, quite affordable and are widely available. In writing this article, we’ve made sure these tree varieties were available through your neighborhood hardware stores, so they should be made easily available by your local nurseries as well.

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Reasons Why You Should NOT Drive Through The Smoky Mountains

cades-cove-smoky-national-park-dont-just-drive-through-itDon’t Drive Through The Smokys

A 30-mile road, known at the Newfound Gap Road, passes through the Great Smoky Mountains. You may be familiar with this road because you use it from time to time. Well, it is time for you to explore the Great Smoky Mountains as opposed to just passing through it. This national park receives more three times more visitors than Yellowstone Park does because it has a unique and awesome experience to offer its visitors. More specifically, it hosts about 9 million visitors every year. Visiting the park will not cost you anything, as admission into it is free. Here are some reasons why you shouldn’t drive through Smoky Mountains National Park.

– You Could Go Camping

Camping is always a great idea. It gives you and your family time to bond with each other and with nature. You no longer have to worry about the hustle and bustle of the outside world as long as you are camping in the Great Smoky Mountains. This park has 10 camping grounds. You can go for tent camping or opt for an RV. You can also decide to go with a camper. The choice is yours. You should read ‘Family Fun in the Smoky Mountains’ if you are new to camping. This book has great ideas on how you can make camping fun, educative, and unforgettable.

– You could go for a hike

Hiking is a wonderful physical adventure that you, your friends, and your family members would love. You can even hike to a waterfall so that you can rest near cool waters after a long trek. Remember, this national park offers you 20 waterfalls so you can pick any one of them will the shortest or longest trek. You can also choose one based on the scenery along the way as you hike towards it. Safety comes first so make sure that you do not climb rocks near waterfalls. These rocks are slippery and you might fall if you step on them.

– You could search for unique animals

When was the last time you saw a salamander. This national park has a nickname attached to it. People call it ‘the Salamander Capital.’ This nickname stems from the fact that the Great Smoky Mountains host 30 species of salamanders. No other region in the world boasts of such a high number of salamander species concentrated in one area. This national park also offers you a chance to see an elk. Humans nearly wiped out Elks in wave after wave of hunting raids, but these majestic creatures are making a comeback in the Great Smoky Mountains. Make sure that you catch a glimpse of these rare and precious animals.

– Other Fun Things to Do

These are just some of the adventurous things you can do when visiting the Smoky Mountains. However, you can do many other things. For example, you can go horseback riding or fishing. You can also visit historic sites such as cabin, schoolhouses, gristmills, and churches built by settlers. Kids can also become Junior Rangers. You can get an official booklet for Junior Rangers at only $2.50. Being a ranger will be an awesome experience for your child.

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Calming Effect of Trees

 

knoxville-tree-calming-effects-servicesWe all need trees for the planet to survive. Millions of them are cut down all of the time. Trees can also affect us psychologically. Many people feel very calm when they are outside and surrounded by trees. People may not realize, but there are many ways that we can show how trees calm us down.

A 1984 study found that patients in hospitals that had a view of some trees were discharged sooner. Researcher, Robert Ulrich studied patients who had had gallbladder surgery. Another study looked at the city of Toronto. People with 120 more trees on their block were happier and healthier. These studies look at trees that were planted in people’s yards or on city blocks. They need to be placed where people walk by often.

You don’t necessarily have to like trees and nature to get the calming effects. You can get a less intense version of this effect while looking out of a window. Ulrich’s research inspired the designs of many new hospitals. They added walk ways and gardens to the hospitals.

Being out among trees and nature can reduce stress and improve mood. Breathing in fresh air can boost your immune system and lower your blood pressure. Breathing in the chemicals from plants can help fight disease. Take your workout outside! Exercising in the forest or even just sitting in the forest looking at the trees can lower blood pressure. They can help you focus on what is important. Sometimes, you just need to take a break from life.

New research shows how trees calm us down by looking at your parasympathetic nervous system. This can calm your entire body. It also helps lower levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. Both of these things are what helps with your immune system. This is likely because we evolved from beings living in wooded areas, not the concrete jungles we live in today.

In your brain, different sets of neurons process different images. Unnatural images are scale variant; they can actually make you uncomfortable, especially stripes. The most common ones we look at everyday are text. These images cause an abnormally large oxygen uptake in the brain. Visual discomfort is an effort to release oxygen in the brain.

Trees can even have economic and social benefits as well. They can reduce your winter heating bills if you are in the west or the south. Businesses with trees in front of them produce a more inviting atmosphere, which can increase their business by as much as eleven percent.

Socially, trees have a calming effect on people. People who are dealing with high stress tend to be calmer in the presence of trees. It can even lower crime rates in your neighborhood. Having a community tree planting drive can help you get closer to your neighbors as well. We are all social animals, we want to make friends and connect with people. In children, trees have been shown to increase levels of concentration in children. Children exposed to nature learn self-discipline and have decreases in impulsive behavior.

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The World’s Most Famous LumberJack & Where You Can See Him

According to Legend

Paul Bunyan was so gigantic at childbirth, it took five worn out storks to carry him to his folks. When he was a week old, he fit into his dad’s garments. He ate 40 bowls of porridge a day. He got a major blue ox named Babe for his first birthday. Babe developed so big that her strides around Minnesota made the state’s 10,000 lakes. Also, Paul made the Grand Canyon essentially by dragging his hatchet behind him. As a team, Paul and Babe the blue ox were phenomenal lumberjacks.

Lumberjack (Paul Bunyan)

The Extraordinary Lumberjack (Paul Bunyan)

Renowned for his superhuman labors and other inordinate exploits, Paul Bunyan is a legendary lumberjack in American folklore. According to lasting tradition, the time-honored man of extraordinary power and grit is normally accompanied by the equally mystical Babe the blue ox.

While the great character originated from the tales of North American lumbers, his name was not widely known until popularization by William Laughead in a 1916 advert for the Red River Lumber Company. Since that time, the fictitious figure has been universally used by musicians, literary composers, as well numerous globally celebrated actors and film stars. In addition, his imaginary image is prominently displayed in many places across North America.

 Lumberjack (Paul Bunyan) and blue ox

20 Places You Can See The Legendary Paul Bunyan’s Babe the Blue Ox

Despite his beginnings, Paul Bunyan is still one of the quintessential saints of American old stories. Why else would no less than six towns in the United States claim him as their own?

1. Paul Bunyan Statue | Bemidji, Minnesota

Paul Bunyan and Babe the blue ox are the names of two statues of the extensively admired American folk hero Paul and his ox. These two landmark figures are located in Bemidji, Minnesota. Due to their international and regional significance, the two statues were set aside as National Register of Historic Places in 1988.

Motivated by the continual influx of outsiders coming to get a glimpse of these historic monuments, the city of Bemidji has developed to cater to the needs of the visiting sightseers. For instance, the area around the hero’s awe-inspiring figure is home to many state-of-the-art resorts and cottages. As a result, Bemidji is now classified as one of the most important tourist centers in the country.

Paul Bunyan stands roughly 18 feet (5.5 m) high and measures about 5 feet (1.5 m) across at the base. The measurement from head to the heels is 3 feet (0.91 m). On the other hand, the blue ox, Babe, is an estimated 10 feet (3 m) in height and 8 feet (2.4 m) across at its front hooves. The length from nose to back measures an estimated 23 feet (7.0 m).

FUN FACT: In case you’re going through Bemidji, Minn., on a Wednesday, you’ll see loads of individuals dressed like loggers, in black and red plaid.Paul Bunyan Statue; Bemidji, MN

2. Exhausted Paul Bunyan | University Park,  Illinois

The official name is “Paul 2006,” a larger than life 25-foot-tall statue of a fatigued, shoulder hanging Bunyan, his axe obviously too tired for him to lift off the floor. It remains solitary in a lush field (all trees securely out of range) and was made by craftsman Tony Tasset, who later manufactured a mammoth eyeball in St. Louis.

Maybe poor Paul is simply drained: cleaving down timberlands is diligent work.Exhausted Paul Bunyan University Park, Illinois

3. The Paul Bunyan statue at Paul Bunyan Land in Brainerd

In Brainerd, there’s a 26-foot tall, 5,000-pound Bunyan statue at the Paul Bunyan Land amusement park with a moving head, arms and eyes and who greets visitors by name.  This statue was originally part of the Chicago Railroad Fair in 1949 and was moved to Brainerd in 1950.

FUN FACT: He’s still wearing his original pants and shirt, under the new ones, from 1949.

The Paul Bunyan statue at Paul Bunyan Land in Brainerd

 

4. The Paul Bunyan statue at the Brainerd Welcome Center in Minnesota

Standing — er, sitting — about 12 feet tall, it was built in 2006

The Paul Bunyan statue at the Brainerd Welcome Center in Minnesota

5. The Paul Bunyan statue in Akeley, Minnesota (outside the Paul Bunyan Historical Museum)

Middle of Minnesota, the city of Akeley (pop. 432) has a 25-foot-tall Bunyan with an outstretched palm sufficiently low enough for guests to it into the palm for a photograph.

outside the Paul Bunyan Historical Museum

6. Log Chute ride at Nickelodeon Universe at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota9c54f8-20150624-bunyan05

 

7. Paul Bunyan Logging Camp Museum in Eau Claire, Wisconsin

They were installed in the mid-1980s. The Bunyan statue underwent repairs in 2002 after being vandalized and knocked over. Paul has since been replaced with “Tall Paul.” The same local firefighter (now retired) who fixed the Bunyan statue built the new one that’s about 3 feet taller than the previous one (which was about 10 feet).

Paul Bunyan Logging Camp Museum in Eau Claire, Wis

 

8. The Eau Claire museum also has a folk art Bunyan statue, carved by Bill Vienneaux of Washburn, Wisconsin

It was at Sandie’s Log Cabin restaurant for the first 25 years of its existence. A few years ago, after the restaurant was sold, the new owners redecorated and returned the statue to Vienneaux, who gave it to the Paul Bunyan Logging Camp Museum.

The Eau Claire museum also has a folk art Bunyan statue, carved by Bill Vienneaux of Washburn, Wis

9. Paul Bunyan and Babe in southern Hancock County, Iowa.

Paul Bunyan and Babe in southern Hancock County, Iowa

10. The 31-foot-tall Paul Bunyan statue in Bangor, Maine

Once called the “Lumber Capital of the World,” Bangor, Maine, is fighting for the bragging rights that they claim to be his birthplace. Now, Bangor is considering whether the blue ox should join the legendary logger.

The 31-foot-tall Paul Bunyan statue in Bangor, Maine

11. A Paul Bunyan statue in Rumford, Maine.

A Paul Bunyan statue in Rumford, Maine

12. Paul Bunyan and Babe at Castle Rock in St. Ignace, Michigan

Paul Bunyan and Babe at Castle Rock in St. Ignace, Mich

13. Paul Bunyan and Babe statues on U.S. Highway 23 in Ossineke, Michigan

Paul Bunyan and Babe statues on U.S. Highway 23 in Ossineke, Michigan

14. The Woodsman And Ox In Klamath, California (Trees Of Mystery Nature Attraction)

At the Trees of Mystery in Klamath, California, there’s a 49-foot-tall Bunyan inclining toward this hatchet with a 34-foot tall Babe the blue ox close by. This Bunyan has been winking, swiveling his head and “talking” to bystanders by means of a concealed open location framework since 1961. This Bunyan is nearly 50 feet tall, with a 35-foot Babe. Both weigh a hefty 30,000 pounds. In 2007, Babe’s 1,000-pound, 9-foot-wide head tumbled off due to rain harm. It has since been supplanted and fortified.

The woodsman and ox welcome guests at the Trees of Mystery nature attraction in Klamath, Ca

15. The Paul Bunyan statue in Portland, Oregon

The 31-foot-tall statue was erected in 1959 to mark Oregon’s centennial and the state’s timber industry. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2009.

Paul Bunyan statue in Portland, Ore

16. Blue Ox Bingo in Westwood, California

The area around Westwood is Lassen Volcanic National Park, a 106,372-acre park with over 150 miles of hiking trails. But maybe the most exciting part of the park is Lassen Peak. In 1915, 9 years after Paul Bunyan’s story was first told, Lassen Peak exploded and scattered ash for over 200 miles around. The park is still full of active hydrothermal areas and sputtering fumaroles throughout.

17. Paul Bunyan in Flagstaff, AZ

Paul Bunyan Flagstaff, AZ

18. Paul Bunyan in Phoenix, AZ

This Paul Bunyan statue was originally installed at a gas station in San Francisco. Don Parks bought the statue in 1969 and moved it to Phoenix. At that point, the statue’s feet were cut off. Parks added new feet and a base. Many of these fiberglass statues were cemented in place for stability which required sawing off their feet when they were moved. That was most likely the case with this statue. The statue’s right eye was also damaged at some point.
At some point, Parks sold the statue to a shoe store. When the store closed, the statue was sold to Lumberjack Building Materials. The photos from 2006 above were taken there. When the lumber store closed, Parks bought the statue again. In 2007, it was moved to his front yard where it is part of his collection of fiberglass statues and other objects. For more, see this website.

Paul Bunyan Phoenix, AZ

19. Paul Bunyan in Tucson, AZ

This Paul Bunyan statue was installed here at Don’s Hot Rod Shop in 1964. In 2011, the statue was repainted.

20. Paul Bunyan in Cheshire, Connecticut

This Paul Bunyan statue beat nearby zoning laws by holding a banner. It was viewed as a flagpole as opposed to a sign. Initially, the statue remained before tire stores in Bristol and Plainville, CT. He was moved here in the late 1970s. Around then, the proprietors of House of Doors worked a tree benefit so the Paul Bunyan was a suitable notice. In 2006, his upper middle was either expelled or tumbled off. The jeans in the primary photograph were all the while remaining independent from anyone else in 2007. By 2009, the statue was totally reestablished. His flagpole now takes after only a bit of funnel.

Paul Bunyan Cheshire, CT

BONUS: Bunyan’s other babe, his sweetheart Lucette Diana Kensack in Hackensack, Minnesota

Bunyan's other babe, his sweetheart Lucette Diana Kensack

In conclusion

Paul Bunyan is indisputably one of the most cherished folklore heroes, not only in the United States but also across the entire world. In a similar vein, the woodsmen’s giant lumberjack tale that birthed this indelibly fabled character remains one of the most enduring fictional accounts in oral literature.

As for the thrilling statues – Paul Bunyan and Babe the blue ox – the extraordinarily toured and surpassingly photographed historical figures are, just as the Kodak Company fittingly put it, the most extensively photographed artistic structures in the US, if not throughout the whole world.