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Easily Turn Your Yard Into An Easter Scene

Do you live in a climate where you’re able to hold a beautiful Easter celebration in your yard? Take advantage and go all out! Adorn the yard with animals, ribbons, eggs, pastel colors, busy patterns, and the activities everyone loves, adults and children alike. Here are the best pieces of Easter decorative and entertaining advice.

The Basics

Mow your lawn a few days prior, so the grass is lush and healthy looking. To keep grass looking its best the months prior, mow in different directions every time and skip bagging the discards as it helps the grass maintain its nutrients and will grow straighter and longer when alternating directions. Take a rake to it lightly the day before your celebration to pick up any objects, leaves or grass.

The fun part is filling your yard with decorations that transform it into a world of Easter. Consider decorating some focal points first, to really make an impression with the least amount of things. Tables and seating are a great place to begin. Table cloths, runners, centerpieces, chargers and napkins are all items to adorn your table with. The table and the items can be rented pretty inexpensively as well. More focal points of your yard to decorate are deck railing, sheds, ponds or bird baths, and trees. You can decorate these just as you would a Christmas tree, with garlands, egg ornaments, animal figures, and more.

Activities

Easter egg hunts are the most obvious choice of activity for an Easter celebration, but there are endless Easter activities to choose from. Egg spoon races are second most popular Easter game. Guessing the number of jelly beans, egg tossing, and egg throwing are traditional Easter activities.

For the sake of this article, and showing off your beautifully decorated yard, Easter egg hunting is the way to go. Keep it safe by mapping out the parameters of the hunt to show the children, and give willing adults and teenagers bunny ears to wear while supervising the hunt.

Adding Extravagance

If you want to create an event to remember, hire an Easter bunny to take photos with or a small petting zoo. Animals such as goats, bunny rabbits, and baby chicks are popular and accessible. Creating a photo booth with a Easter decorated wooden walkway element is another great idea. You could even have a best or funniest photo contest, especially fun for the adults. An Easter stage can also be created in the backyard, where the children can put on an Easter play for the adults. Strategically plan it or just give them a stage and a box of dress up clothes and accessories and they’ll figure it out!

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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.

Yard Fencing Basics

Your Priority

What is the reason you are wanting to install a fence? Is it to keep the pet or children in the yard? Or for privacy and aesthetics? This question will likely narrow your choices a lot. If only to keep your loved ones in the yard, you can choose from many inexpensive chain link style fences. They are low maintenance and can be dressed up with colored plastic slats. For noise reduction and privacy, you’ll want a fence that is much taller and more solid.

Consider The Elements

Depending on where you live, there are probably fencing trends. If you are exposed to high risk of damage caused by storms, hurricanes, and other natural disasters, you’ll want to consider this when making your decision. In places that are threatened by these types of disasters, a wrought iron fence might be best. Even extreme high or low heat or humidity can cause your fencing material to crack, such as in Florida where you would not want the wrought iron fence because it would rust easily.

Budget

Common materials include (from usually most expensive to least expensive) wrought iron, aluminum, wood, vinyl, and chain link. Wrought iron is probably the toughest, followed by aluminum which is naturally rust-free and low maintenance. Vinyl can look really nice and be much lower maintenance than traditional wood (think white picket fence), but might cost a pretty penny. Wood is more expensive only because of its required maintenance to keep it looking nice (staining/painting/weather proofing/repairs), however, f you live in a neutral weather place, a wood fence can look really nice and serve its purpose. It’s a beautiful choice, aside from being costly. Chain link fences are the least expensive and get the job done. Like previously mentioned, you can enhance its look by adding colored slats. You can also landscape around the fence to improve its appearance. If you live in an HOA place or care what your neighbors think, gather their opinions because your decision effects the look of their backyards or neighborhood.

City Ordinance

Be sure to check with your city to obtain a permit for building a fence and follow all your city’s guidelines. If you choose to hire a company, be sure they are at least within these guidelines. Otherwise, look for their reviews and further evidence they are legitimate. Call three fencing companies to get their fence recommendation and quote before choosing one to be absolutely confident. Beware of low prices! As you know, companies who underbid are not always the most professional and you’d hate to pay less and get a poor execution.

Buying and Caring For Outdoor Furniture

There is a lot to consider when buying your patio furniture. Spending more will not always get you the best quality. Design should almost be your last consideration. Finding outdoor furniture that requires little maintenance and can stand the test of time in the natural elements probably won’t be just a trip to the store. You will want to buy furniture with your specific state and region weather patterns in mind, whether or not you have proper storage for them in the off season, and how often you are likely to clean the items yourself. Here’s what you need to know:

Outdoor Grade Materials

My favorite low maintenance material to buy outdoor furniture in is Aluminum because it’s naturally rust-resistant, it lasts a long time, and don’t need special attention to cleaning because it develops a protective layer of oxide on its own! Cleaning is a snap. Just rinse it with a hose if you like. Any other metal you will want to look for a rust-resistant powder coding to bring it to the same caliber. If wood is more your style, they also aren’t created equally. Teak is the best wood material to consider because it has a 100 year durability rating and is naturally resistant to damage caused by bugs. Eucalyptus and Cedar are second best.

When purchasing cushions and pillows for your furniture look for high UV rating so they won’t fade or be vulnerable to damage over long periods in the sun. The best material to look for is a mildew-resistant acrylic. Cleaning these items can be done easily once per month during use using a water and bleach spray.

Caring For Your Furniture

If you don’t have space in your garage, shed, or home during the off season, it’s best to at least cover your furniture as a barrier from the harsh elements of fall and winter. Buy any cleaning and keeping supplies you might need to care for your furniture at the same time you buy the furniture and keep it in a storage ottoman or table nearby to encourage you to maintenance it as needed. If you purchased an iron set, with or without a rust-resistant coating, you can consider purchasing a wax product made specifically for weather proofing that material. You can spot clean your cushions in between uses to remove fallen leaves and dirt using mild soap and water and once per month, allow a bleach and water solution sprayed on to sit 30 minutes before wiping. This will keep them looking new! Some items can be machine washed, but should never be dried in a dryer. Hang them outside to dry and read any tags sticking out of the product for proper instruction from the manufacturer.

Umbrellas

Umbrellas and umbrella-like outdoor products need maintenance too! Especially after being used all season and then being stored. The joints need to be oiled and the fabric washed with a soft bristle brush and mild soapy water.

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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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Watch For These Signs You’ve Got a Sick Tree

You don’t need to be a professional to tell whether you’ve got a dead, sick or healthy tree. Dead trees need tree service to remove them, but a sick tree can be nursed back to health on your own. If you are in need of the guidelines for determining what you’ve got, look no further.

Your Tree’s Leaves and Branches

Sick trees will shed their trees earlier than is appropriate, or at a much faster rate than usual. Other times your leaves may not fall, but can look sick. Sick leaves look unusual, curled up or discolored. It’s also not uncommon for sick trees to shed leaves and have branched fall completely off. If there is no other explanation for branches falling, such as strong winds or a recent storm, you may have a sick tree. Check your tree’s other vitals to further indicate whether your tree is well or not.

Your Tree’s Trunk

One of the more noticeable signs of a sick tree is a dented, has holes or looks like it’s deteriorating or rotting in anyway. A healthy tree’s bark will be soft and bend a little and a sick or dying tree will have brittle bark that breaks easily or falls off. This, balding, is a sign of a dying tree and should be addressed immediately.

Your Tree’s Roots

Your tree’s roots are extremely important and often left exposed and vulnerable. If a child’s toy or a lawn mower damages the roots in any way, the whole tree maybe in danger. The same is true if there is flooding around the tree’s roots.

New Growth or Insect Infestation

Harmful insect species are a potential threat to trees and many have usual suspects they fight off each year. A vulnerable tree may not have the strength if one or more other symptoms are present. If new mushroom types or caterpillar like bugs are present in conjunction to other symptoms, you might want a second opinion from a professional.

What To Do

A sick tree can be diagnosed and treated by a professional arborist. An arborist is different than a tree serviceman. An arborist is a tree doctor. If you have every reason to believe the tree is dead or beyond help, it’s best to call a tree service to safely remove it from the property without damaging the surrounding earth, plant life and people.

 

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