Know More About Home Exterior Sidings

There are many modern options in siding for the exterior of a home; it is usually classified as the clothing that we humans wear. In so much as that may be the case because the clothes we wear are dependent on factors like location, climate and the impression we want to create like the exterior…

There are many modern options in siding for the exterior of a home; it is usually classified as the clothing that we humans wear. In so much as that may be the case because the clothes we wear are dependent on factors like location, climate and the impression we want to create like the exterior of a home, it also differs greatly because unlike clothing it is difficult to keep changing the siding or exterior of a home repeatedly. Choosing the siding for a home is a 'once in a life-time' choice that will keep the home looking good for a long time.

The common material options used for siding are brick, stucco and tiles but there are equally fascinating options like fiber cement, metal and wood to choose from. Factors like price, quality and color also play an important part.

These are some of the interesting home exterior siding options to look at.

• Horizontal Lap Siding – These can be made from a variety of materials like aluminum, fiber cement, vinyl and wood and come in a range of colors; they are a perfect and natural choice for traditional style or colonial homes.

• Board and Batten – Available in fiber cement and wood, they are a good choice like the horizontal lap siding for traditional homes; in addition, they can create a vertical emphasis creating an impression of height or making homes appear taller.

In combination with horizontal lap siding, the board and batten can create a rural inspired exterior look.

• Brick – An ideal choice for most home exteriors due to many reasons – colors, sizes, patterns, textures, all-weather resistant durability, price and low maintenance.

• Fiber Cement – Provides a contemporary appeal with a flat and uniform surface by use of large fiber cement sheet panels.

• Metal – Metal sidings of copper and corrugated steel are very durable and are usually chosen for contemporary homes with an aesthetic appeal; however, it is not a commonly used material for home exterior siding.

• Shingles – Also called 'shakes' they are most suitable for homes that have an aesthetic appeal. Shingles are available in fiber cement, polymer and wood.

• Stone – Also very durable and low on maintenance, stone sidings come in a wide variety of colors, sizes and textures and are highly adaptable on any surface.

• Stucco – An all-time favorite for home exterior to cover large surfaces, this is available in natural as well as synthetic forms and comes in coarse or fine textures. It is well suited to all home types but is most commonly associated with colonial Spanish style homes and its popularity is aided by the factor that natural stucco allows the walls to 'breathe', ie provides for easy passage of air and moisture through it.

• Wood Strip Siding – The only factor that is seen as a disadvantage in this type of siding is that if insufficient waterproofing membrane is not provided inside, it can allow water seepage that damages the home interior. It is generally used as a flat or horizontal siding.

Asphalt Vs Concrete Driveways

Concrete and asphalt are some of the most common materials which are used to make driveways. It is important to analyze their pros and cons before using any of the materials to construct a driveway. Asphalt contains a tar which gives it its adhesive property. On the other hand, cement is responsible for the adhesive…

Concrete and asphalt are some of the most common materials which are used to make driveways. It is important to analyze their pros and cons before using any of the materials to construct a driveway. Asphalt contains a tar which gives it its adhesive property. On the other hand, cement is responsible for the adhesive property of concrete. The two substrates give these materials their unique characteristics which also affects the maintenance process required, durability and cost.

To use either asphalt or concrete to make a driveway, the base must be compact. This will ensure that it can withstand the weight of the materials and that of the load eg cars. The two materials are made from stones and sand.

Factors to consider when choosing a driveway material

There are very many properties which you should consider when choosing a driveway material and these include:

Aesthetics

It is true that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Therefore, you will expect a number opinions when it comes to the aesthetic value of the driveways. For people who have the feeling that a driveway should be an extension of the road then they will definitely go for asphalt. However, it is important to note that it is impossible to achieve a wide range of finishes when using this particular material. This is for the reason that it has to be roled and compressed. Moreover, there has been very little options when it comes to the choice of the asphalt driveway color other that its standard color; black.

Generally, concrete is an easy material to work with when you want to realize a wide range of finishes. They can be stamped, etched or engraved into different designs. Furthermore, they can also be stained to get an array of colors. This gives a wide range of options which can be used to realize different designs making it a better choice for anyone who would wish to customize their or her driveway.

Maintenance

When asphalt has been installed and subsequently sealed properly, they can may last for 30 years. The sealing process should be done a year after the first installation after which it should be redone after every 3 to 5 years. Of course this can be very expensive as compared to the concrete driveways which last for over 50 years without sealing.

On the other hand, concrete driveways stain easily as compared to asphalt driveways. Therefore, you have to use detergents to remove the stains. Apart from these, cracks in asphalt driveways are easier to seal than those of concrete driveways. Basically, each material has its unique advantages and disadvantages as far as the maintenance costs are concerned.

Weather and climate

This is yet another important factor to consider especially in areas where there is either very warm summers or very cold winters. In cold freezing winters, concrete suffer from frost rising and has the tendency to crack. In addition to these, when salt is used to melt ice on a concrete driveway, it will create pits on the driveway. On the other hand, tar which is found in asphalt softens when exposed to high temperatures surrounding being tacky. Therefore, it is important to share the weather and climatic conditions with contractor before settling on any material.

Cost

There are two main factors to consider when it comes to cost: the installation cost and the maintenance cost. Asphalt is cheaper to install than concrete. However, fluctuations in oil prices directly affect its cost. Concrete is expensive though its cost will depend on the type of finishing which is required. It is important to note that asphalt requires low initial costs. However, when it comes to the “value over time”, it is advisable to go for concrete since they are longer than asphalt.

Ideally, no material is 100% perfect and therefore analyzing the environment where the driveway should be installed will help you to make the right decision.

Landscaping for Privacy: Ditch That Rotting Wooden Fence

If you've ever set out to build a privacy fence on your property, you know what an expensive hassle it can be. You have to dig holes that are two feet deep, mix and pour concrete, and nail countless boards together. Everything has to be level and in a straight line. Paying someone to do…

If you've ever set out to build a privacy fence on your property, you know what an expensive hassle it can be. You have to dig holes that are two feet deep, mix and pour concrete, and nail countless boards together. Everything has to be level and in a straight line. Paying someone to do it will cost several thousand dollars. However, there's a better way to get the same results through creative landscaping.

Privacyences can be attractive when they're brand new, but they need to be painted and sealed every few years. Boards will need to be replaced when they inevitably rot after being in contact with soil, sun, and rain. If you did not get that spacing just right, your fence will lean or fall over. Privacy hedges are a great alternative that add beauty and are good for the environment to boot. They add color and texture to the exterior of your home while simultaneously blocking your yard from view and muting unwanted noise.

There are many variations of hedges to consider as you think about the look you want for your space. Landscaping can determine the aesthetic of your yard, so you'll want to decide if a more formal or formal look most desirable. For an informal privacy hedge, think about choosing bushes like the blue- or pink-flowered hydrangea or the striking rhododendron. For a more formal, trimmed hedge, consider the beautiful sweet bay or the lovely white-trimmed leaves of the evergreen euonymus. If you're looking for something unique or unusual, bamboo may be an option for you. There are two kinds of bamboo: running and clumping. The running types fill in quickly but have to be contained so they do not wander their way into your neighbor's yard by accident, while the clumping variety grows slower and is more shrub-like.

For the maximum level of privacy, you'll want to choose an evergreen shrub. Unlike the deciduous varieties, evergreens will not drop their leaves in the winter. They afford lush privacy all year long. The blue holly will grow from 5-12 feet tall. It has glossy leaves, sprouts beautiful red berries, and grows in partial shade or full sun. You also may want to look at the Oregon grape. This bush has a little bit of everything. It grows 6 feet in height, sprouts small, yellow flowers, and produces an edible blue-black fruit. It loves full sun and can be trimmed into a formal hedge or left in its natural state.

Picking the right bush depends on where you live, the look you want for your yard, and the space you need to cover. Hedges come in all shapes and sizes, so you may want to reach out to a landscaping professional for advice. A professional can help you design the privacy hedge of your dreams and can help shape your living “fence” into neat shapes and incorporate the beautiful mix of colors best for you.

4 Popular Veneers You Can Find at Your Stone Supply Company

Do you want to spruce up your patio or walkways, but do not want to go bankrupt in the process? Do you long for a gorgeous mantle, but can not justify the expense? You're in luck because your local stone supply company has the alternative for you: veneers. Affordable, charming, and durable, veneers are the…

Do you want to spruce up your patio or walkways, but do not want to go bankrupt in the process? Do you long for a gorgeous mantle, but can not justify the expense? You're in luck because your local stone supply company has the alternative for you: veneers. Affordable, charming, and durable, veneers are the right choice for the economically minded homeowner. Lighter than natural stone, veneers are easier to install and can be utilized in areas where space is at a premium. Check out the following four popular veneer vendors.

MSI

One of the most respected names in the field, MSI provides Natural Stone Thin Veneers that have a higher quality than manufactured products. Available in a wide variety of sizes, shapes, and colors, these veneers are simple to install and can transform any home into a natural oasis. Their finishes are naturally colored through, so surface scratches and chips do not affect the surface's sheen. MSI's products are a great choice if you want a veneer you can trust.

Cultured Stone

If you want to create an immediate and lasting impression of elegance and reliability, this vendor is an excellent choice. With more than twenty-two textures and one hundred colors to choose from, the possibilities for turning your home into a work of art are endless. The knowledgeable staff at your local stone supply company can help you narrow the choices and identify the perfect veneer for you.

Ply Gem

Are you considering increasing your home's curb appealing? Try Ply Gem. Recently highlighted in “Better Homes and Gardens” and “The New York Times,” Ply Gem can help your house become the envy of the entire neighborhood. Offering a custom-looking exterior that boosts your home's energy efficiency and driving down your electric bills, these layers combine two of the best words in the remodeling business: style and affordability.

Quarry Cut

With over 16 years in the industry, Quarry Cut is a pioneer in the veneer stone supply field. Their products are never dyed or treated with chemicals and are all created from locally sourced materials. If you are looking for 100% American-supplied veneers, Quarry Cut is your vendor. One of the superior aspects of Quarry Cut is that they own the rights to their own quarries, so you will always receive the best price combined with the highest attention to detail.

If you want to make your home's curve appealing skyrocket, increase your energy efficiency, or simply have the walkway you've always wanted, veneers are a solid decision. Lightweight, durable, economically practical, and attractive, veneers are a wonderful option for homeowners who want to maximize beauty and minimizeize hassle. These four popular vendors can supply the home of your dreams.

Helpful Tips To Follow To Properly Prepare Your Lawn For The Winter Season

Aside from the sunny summer season, most property owners also hate winter. And this is due to the fact that their beloved lawns will soon be covered by snow and all the grasses and plants will become dormant and some will even die. If you have a lawn, there are certain important things you need…

Aside from the sunny summer season, most property owners also hate winter. And this is due to the fact that their beloved lawns will soon be covered by snow and all the grasses and plants will become dormant and some will even die.

If you have a lawn, there are certain important things you need to do to prepare your garden for this year's winter season. The following are some of these helpful hints and tips:

Remove leaves and other types of debris on your yard. Your yard needs sufficient sunlight so that it can still thrive, even when it is winter. As such, before the cold season approaches and even during it, you need to keep leaves and other debris off your lawn. Leaves and debris that sit on the surface of your lawn will prevent sunlight from reaching the grass blades underneath.

Mow your lawn before the official start of the winter season. This tip is very important to follow since if the grass is left too long, it will lay over on itself from the pressure of the snow cover. The air circulation around the plant will also be reduced and snow mold, a particular type of lawn disease, can become a problem in your garden. This particular law disease can cause large areas of grass in your yard to die or wane in vigor.

Properly spread mulch on your garden. Mulch will act as a shield against the cold and frost that the winter season will bring. Garden experts recommend that you mulch all planting beds at a depth of 1.5 to 2 inches so that this lawn product can keep your plants warm and protected. Do not put mulch on the trunk of your shrubs or tree trunks though since they hold moisture and can cause the trunks and roots to deceay.

Prune or trim your trees, hedges and shrubs. The week before the winter season officially kicks in is the perfect time for you to prune and trim the perennial plants you have in your garden. You should also prune your hedges, shrubs and especially your trees since any dead branches the tree may have can get easily blown away when it becomes too windy outside or during a heavy snow fall and they can definitely cause some accidents in your property.

Fertilize your lawn. Give your yard its needed nutrients before it becomes dormant during the cold season. Lawn care experts recommend you spread fertilizers that are rich in nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.

Lastly, water your lawn one last time before the winter season begins. Before the harsh effects of winter kicks in, give your lawn one good last soak. Doing this will also help to stimulate the fertilizers you just spread on your garden.

5 Reasons to Choose Pavers for Your Next Outdoor Project

Tired of your dreary old patio? Sick of replacing old, worn concrete? It might be time to consider using pavers instead. With a little imagination, you can use them to transform your outdoor space into the patio of your dreams. Whether you want to completely re-do your outdoor space, build a small sanctuary, or pave…

Tired of your dreary old patio? Sick of replacing old, worn concrete? It might be time to consider using pavers instead. With a little imagination, you can use them to transform your outdoor space into the patio of your dreams. Whether you want to completely re-do your outdoor space, build a small sanctuary, or pave your driveway, you have tons of options from which to choose. There are a few great reasons why individual paving stones may be the right design element for you.

1.) You get to create your own signature style. Unlike concrete, pavers give you the creative flexibility to design your own patios, driveways, walkways, and other outdoor areas. You can mix and match colors and shapes to reveal your inner artist, all while being assured that your art will stand the test of time.

2.) You can increase your home's “curve appeal.” Nothing says “drab” more than a plain concrete slab leading lazily up to your home. Pavers will brighten up the tone of the exterior of your house without detracting from other design or landscape elements. They come in all shapes and sizes; the possibilities are endless.

3.) You get maximum beauty with minimum upkeep. No one likes to permanently repair or restore a driveway or patio area. Once you make the switch to pavers, weird, mismatched sections in your driveway or patio will be a thing of the past. By being able to replace individual paving stones instead of patching ruined concrete, you save on hassle and increase the time you have to enjoy your outdoor space. Who would not want that?

4.) You can help the planet, one stone at a time. Unlike non-permeable paved driveways or patios, pavers allow rainwater to permeate the ground, which reduces land availability and erosion. Moreover, permeable solutions like individual paving stones encourage the natural process of filtering out contaminants from rainwater before they infiltrate the water supply. That's good for everyone!

5.) You get the most bang for your buck. While they are initially slightly more expensive than concrete or asphalt paving, in the long run, individual paving stones offer an economic advantage that your bank account will appreciate. Many companies offer lifetime warranties on individual paving stones. Also, they are 2 to 3 times more durable than concrete or asphalt and are easier to maintain. Lastly, they do not crack or succumb to weather conditions.

It's easy to see why pavers are so popular. These stones are a beautiful, environmentally friendly, weather-resistant, and economically sensible option to increase your home's appeal. From intricate, colorful patterns to sleek, minimalist designs, pavers can help transform your outdoor area into a wonderful oasis that reflects your personality and style. It's no wonder that we've used these stones since the Roman Empire: they are just as attractive and durable now as they were thousands of years ago.

Am I Watering My Lawn Too Much?

How to water your lawn The weather this year has been mild throughout the United States. Most areas show signs of dryness and browning by now. Even though showers are important to your grasses' health, you may still need to water them. The area has been receiving daily sporadic afternoon showers and still it may…

How to water your lawn

The weather this year has been mild throughout the United States. Most areas show signs of dryness and browning by now. Even though showers are important to your grasses' health, you may still need to water them. The area has been receiving daily sporadic afternoon showers and still it may need additional watering to keep your lawn lush, healthy and green. How do you determine what the right amount of water is? The following information may help in determining when sufficient is enough and achieving the year-round beauty you seek for your lawn.

Too much water

Harder to diagnose than its counterpart, too much water on the lawn can make your grass susceptible to disease and destructive pests. Sure signs of over watering are feeling too spongy, yellowing and excessive weeds. A typical lawn only needs one to two inches of water per week. The key to this is making sure that the water penetrates at least six inches into the ground. Often times, over watering occurs when a homeowner waters frequently because they really think that it is helping, when if you do not water long enough, the water does not have a chance to penetrate the soil. This can lead to a weakened and shallow rooted turf. This can lead to other problems, such as weeds, disease and insect problems. If your lawn's soil is dark and moist looking, it's likely that your lawn does not need any further watering.

Not enough water

This condition is much easier to recognize. Grass will feel dry and brittle, and a brownish-blue gray tint will begin to display. Do footprints remain on the lawn for an extended period of time? Another sign it may be time for the sprinklers as part of your lawn treatment. It's best to water your lawn early in the day or in the afternoon following local watering regulations as well. To ensure efficient, even coverage in your watering, you may try this trick: place empty shallow cans in various spots through your lawn. Each can have an even amount of water collection. Each watering session should yield approximately to to an an inch of water.

Other considerations

One of the first things to take care of when it comes to lawn care are any infestations that would destroy your grass no matter how much you water. There is always help out there as well, offering recommendations and adjustments. Selecting a maintenance schedule along with what lawn care services are going to work best for you and your lawn will keep your law healthy all year around.

4 Ways a Landscaping Company Will Help Your Yard Recover From Winter

If you're a homeowner, you probably spend a good chunk of time keeping up with the lawn and plant life that grows on your property. Think of the abuse your grass, shrubs, and trees take all year: they bloom in the spring and summer, only to dry out and freeze in fall, then get blanketed…

If you're a homeowner, you probably spend a good chunk of time keeping up with the lawn and plant life that grows on your property. Think of the abuse your grass, shrubs, and trees take all year: they bloom in the spring and summer, only to dry out and freeze in fall, then get blanketed in snow during the long winters. As the seasons change, they wreak havoc on our yards. When the winter weather thaws, there are few key yard work duties that a good landscaping company can perform to make sure your property blooms to its full potential all summer long.

Brush Clearing

Brush and chaff are major enemies of springtime bloom. Harsh winters cause dead leaves, stalks, and branches to fall and become impacted into the ground. This brush can smother new plants and foster disease. You need to rake your yard, and especially any plant- or flowerbeds, clearing them of brush so that soil is healthy and ready to support growth. It's also a good idea to clear away old mulch, discard it, and replace it. A landscaping company can perform a more extensive brush removal. They will uproot existing perennials, thoroughly clear away brush, add nutrients to the soil, and then replant your garden.

Cutting Back

Pruning perennial plants also claims lots of time and patience. When temperatures rise, your yard will have plenty of healthy plants that contain unhealthy elements – namely, branches and leaves that did not survive the winter. A major pruning job is in order to solve this problem. Blackened or damaged stalks and stems Need to be cut down. All flowering plants should be trimmed to a height of 4-5 inches to allow healthy new stems to shoot up. Ornamental grasses should be trimmed down to 2-3 inches. For larger trees and bushes, use a handsaw to cut away sickly branches. Perennials should be dug up, bunched into groups of three or more stems, and spaced farther apart in the soil. In general, all your foliage needs to be combed through to remove any brown or woody elements.

A Stylish Way to Nurture Your Soil

A landscaping company will handle the bark dusting and mulching duties on your property. In addition to adding color and accent to your yard, bark dust and mulch work wonders for soil health. These procedures help to regulate pH levels in the soil by assisting chemical processes that increase acidity. Bark dust and mulch retain heat and moisture, optimizing seedbeds for growth. These conditions not only help desired foliage shoot up, but they also fend off weeds and other noxious elements. As such, bark dusting or mulching should be essential items on any homeowner's to do list when spring rolls around.

Laws of the Lawn

Lawn care starts as soon as things thaw. A landscaping company can help ensure that your grass grows healthy by testing the soil's pH level and determining what nutrients to feed your lawn. They'll also remove turf damaged by salt, plows, and disease, and prepare the land for re-seeding. They may also fertilize the ground with a layer of compost.

Quick Fixes To Make Your Home’s Curb Appeal More Beautiful

I have always embroidered the “8 Second Principle” in my design work. This simple observation states that we have approximately 8 seconds to make a first impression. After that you begin battling invisible forces which all too often will better even your best efforts. This is as true upon meeting someone new, being introduced to…

I have always embroidered the “8 Second Principle” in my design work. This simple observation states that we have approximately 8 seconds to make a first impression. After that you begin battling invisible forces which all too often will better even your best efforts. This is as true upon meeting someone new, being introduced to a prospective new client or upon experiencing a new home for the first time. The clock is always ticking. As a designer responsible for making those first impressions count, I have warehouses full of ideas for making those seconds memorable.

But I recently discovers something amazing about the houses we work hard to make into homes. Without you have paid the same attention to the experience from the curve to the front door as you do to what's going on inside your home, it's very possible that all your effort has been for nothing.

Getting things correct right from the curve sets the stage for all that comes next.
So here's a short list for Homeowners;

4 Easy Fixes to Make Your Home's Curb Appeal More Beautiful:

1. Fresh Paint. I do not care how carefully you have selected furniture, antiques, art and accessories inside your home; if from the street your house looks dilapidated and dreary with old pealing and chipping paint your work may be in vain. Nothings says “welcome” like a freshly painted home and even if it's you on the ladder doing what must be done, it's always worth the effort when your home looks fresh, crisp and neat.

2. Easy to Read House Numbers. Something as simple as easy to read house numbers can set the experience of visiting your home apart. Gone are the frustrating trips up and down the block hunting for numbers that often do not exist or are placed where they're hard to find. Make it simple for your guests to find you and they'll enjoy the experience of visiting you even before they get out of their car.

3. Green Lawn / Live Plants The impact of a dead lawn and shriveled potted plants shrarily diminishes the positive impact a home makes from the street. You may not have the greenest thumb in the world but these services can be hired out (even to a talented local teenager) and by so doing you up the ante on your own property. A neatly trimmed green lawn and properly watered potted plants on your porch or steps goes far in making that house a home.

4. Detailed Front Door. Add to the fresh coat of paint by creating a moment of interest at and around your front door to make a powerful first impression for all who visit. Something as simple as a beautifully composed seasonal wreath hung on the door or a pair of potted topiary flanking the door itself add immensely to the experience of entering your home. Study a few gardening books or magazines and glean a few simple ideas for dressing up your entry door and watch the compliments flow.

Investing in Landscaping? Why Proper Irrigation Is Needed To Keep Things Alive

Many home owners think that landscaping should only involve the layout and design of a garden area. However, once a new garden has been planted, it will need to receive the correct amount of water on a regular basis to ensure that it thrives. There are many benefits associated with having an automated irrigation system…

Many home owners think that landscaping should only involve the layout and design of a garden area. However, once a new garden has been planted, it will need to receive the correct amount of water on a regular basis to ensure that it thrives. There are many benefits associated with having an automated irrigation system in your garden.

Save Water

One of the world's most precious commodities is water, which is why it is crucial for us to do everything we can to save as much of it as possible. An irrigation system will allow just the right amount of water to reach your plants at pre-determined intervals, helping you to save thousands of gallons of water each year. Irrigation systems are typically designed in such a way that the water is discharged directly onto or right next to the plants, meaning that little to no water is wasted on areas that are between plants.

Save a Lot of Time

Depending on the size of your newly landscaped garden, chances are that you are spending at least a few hours a week just watering the plants – time that could be sent doing something else. Timers can be added to these garden watering systems so that they do not provide your plants with too little or too much water. This will also ensure that watering is done at the right time of day to prevent plant leaves from becoming burned in the midday sun. An added advantage of these systems is that if you go on vacation or can not get out to your garden, your plants will still receive the water they need.

Improve Growth and Reduce Weeds

When plants are wated correctly they thrive. Irrigation systems work by delivering smaller amounts of water to your plants over a longer period of time, which also helps prevent the roots from becoming planned and rotting. Another point to remember is that when plants are watered by means of an automated watering system, it helps prevent weeds from sprouting in the areas between the plants. This is because only the targeted plants are receiving water instead of the entire garden bed.

Save Money

Although many people think these systems are expensive to install, they end up saving a lot of money over time. Most new watering systems are equipped with rain sensors, so if it has rained during your plant's usual watering cycle, it will ensure that they do not receive too much water. This means that a lot of money will be saved on water as well, as the cost of water has gone up significantly over the past few years.

When having your garden re-designed, your landscaper will be more than willing to provide you with numerous irrigation tips that will help ensure that your garden remains luscious and green all year round – in a water-conscious way.

The Lady Bug Invasion!

Sitting in our back porch this weekend it was hard to ignore the small swarm of Lady Bugs joining us. Then, surfing through Facebook there was a comment from a friend who had recently moved to a new home concerned about the swarm of critters around her front door. Why are all these bugs here?…

Sitting in our back porch this weekend it was hard to ignore the small swarm of Lady Bugs joining us. Then, surfing through Facebook there was a comment from a friend who had recently moved to a new home concerned about the swarm of critters around her front door. Why are all these bugs here? Are they dangerous? How do I get them out of my house? Should I call an exterminator? The Facebook conversation that followed her post made it clear to me that many of you could benefit from a brief education on the harmless, actually beneficial, Beetles that are currently inviting your space.

First, there are two varieties of Lady Bugs in our area, the common one with pronounced spots, and the Asian Lady Bug is mainly orange with spots that are usually rarely visible. Neither of these beetles pose a health or safety risk to your family or your home. During the summer months they feed on aphids which are detrimental to both landscape ornamentals and food crops, therefore Lady bugs are actually desirable for their natural pest control properties.

As summer fades the Lady Bugs begin to look for a place to over winter and on warm sunny fall days you will see them congregate in mass on southern locations on your home. They are attracted to both the warmth and lighter colors so white and yellow homes are prime areas for congregation. Once they migrate indoors they do not feed or reproduce but they can be a nuisance by their presence. There are technically chemicals that have some effect to kill them but do you really want to apply pesticides inside your home to control a harmless insect? The best option is to break out the shop vac and suck up some beetles!

There is also a common misconception that lady Bugs or Asian Beetles bite, this is incorrect. They rarely pinch exposed skin but this is not a bite or a sting and they carry no diseases. If this does occur it is more startingling than painful and merely brushing the critter off your body is sufficient. I do not recommend crushing them because as they do possess a fairly strong odor when crushed. Hopefully this brief education on Lady Bugs helps to answer some questions, and just as the Lady Bugs are, get out there and enjoy the beautiful fall weather when the opportunity arises!

Why Is My Tree Dying?

Are you a homeowner who's perplexed wondering, ” Why is my tree dying? ” Or for those who own a few more, ” Why are my trees dying? ” Believe it or not, dying trees are a fairly common occurrence and you are not alone . That's not to say you can not do anything…

Are you a homeowner who's perplexed wondering, ” Why is my tree dying? ” Or for those who own a few more, ” Why are my trees dying? ” Believe it or not, dying trees are a fairly common occurrence and you are not alone . That's not to say you can not do anything to prevent it from happening in future, after you first identify what led to it.

Here are some factors that could have been threatening the survival of your tree. It's good to realize it's not always harmful insects and diseases that can result in a dying tree!

You've changed the soil grade.

When you add or remove the soil where the root system is, you are changing the grading of the soil. What this does to your tree is that its feeder roots go into a shock and causing injury. As little as a few inches can lead to these effects, despite the addition of soil causes far more harm.

Another soil-related cause of dying trees is the compact of soil. Under this type of circumstance, there are not enough pores in the soil to make way for the oxygen that tree roots need to live. Aerating is a way to mend this problem.

You over-water it.

Just like how plants can die from the lack of water, watering your tree excessively can lead to your tree's demise in a relatively short time. Before its untimely death, the range of effects includes yellowing of the reduced number of leaves and weakened shoot growth.

You dispense too much herbicide to it.

Too much of anything is never a good idea. In the case of trees, too much herbicide given solely for your tree or other plants' benefit can lead to its eventual death. The components found in it can cause your tree to change the shape and color of its leaves, among others. This leaf injury is why you should never apply herbicide under or very close to your tree.

It houses harmful insects and disease that are killing it.

The most obvious of the bunch are the harmful insects and virulent and common diseases that lead to a tree's death. The former includes pine beetles and emerald ash borers while the latter include chestnut blight, oak wilt and anthracnose, among others.

Your tree is dying of old age.

Congratulations! Your tree has managed to live through its stages of maturity and now is moving on to old age. Growth has slowed down for the tree and its ability to support itself through water and food will slowly cease. As with every living, breathing thing, trees are a part of the circle of life. The dying tree gradually begins to dry up and succumb to its own weight. What they leave behind, however, is nutrients for new trees.

Other: There was a major adverse event.

Things that may not happen in your backyard, or one that can not go by without your notice, can also cause a tree's health to deteriorate. These can be a major adverse event like hurricanes, floods and fire. Trees in these instances are damaged beyond repair or killed completely by the elements.

These are just among some of the reasons why your tree may be dying. For example, the environment itself could have been a problem for trees or even improper pruning. In most cases, a tree could be dying because of a combination of these factors rather than due to a single one. The only way to know for sure is to call up your local arborist or tree service provider. Dying or dead trees should then be removed to avoid adverse consequences to the surrounding areas.

Is It a Case of Crepe Murder?

Crepe Myrtles can be one of the most spectacular additions to any landscape. Aside from the brilliant bloom that lasts all summer long. (and with tips in this article we will learn how to improve the bloom.) Crepes also boasts a peeling bark and a growth pattern that gives character to your landscape even in…

Crepe Myrtles can be one of the most spectacular additions to any landscape. Aside from the brilliant bloom that lasts all summer long. (and with tips in this article we will learn how to improve the bloom.) Crepes also boasts a peeling bark and a growth pattern that gives character to your landscape even in the winter.

For centuries of years people have been producing different cultivars of Crepe Myrtles until now we have varieties that grow from 1 foot to over 100 feet tall!

There are shrub-like, tree-like, vase-shaped, excurrent or decent growth patterns. With colors ranging from bright white to deep purple.

Why do we see Crepe Myrtles hacked all the way back to look like 3-4 sticks stuck in the ground? A customer of mine calls it crepe murder. The real truth is Crepes are extremely resilient, and can withstand heavy trimming every year with little detrimental effects.

So what are the pros and cons of heavy trimming?

– Often a Crepe species is planted in a space that is too small for that particular variety. If that is the case, Heavy trimming may be necessary in order to continue enjoying the tree's beauty.

– On certain occasions heavy topping may allow you to enjoy the bloom at a particular height, say at the level of your deck or upper window.

Some of the down sides of heavy trimming are;

– Heavy trimming will destroy the natural growth pattern. Once cut back too heavy, it may never really recover it's natural shape. In several cases, you may be required to cut the tree down to the ground, then the following year, select 3-4 of the best shoots and start over again.

– When you cut large limbs back to a stub, that stub will produce several thin weak sprouts. These sprouts will produce blooms that are too heavy and will cause the thin twigs to bend over.

– As always, every time you cut a limit, you expose the plant to pathogens that can enter the vascular system through that wound.

Best care practices in caring for Crepe Myrtles

1. First and foremost, select the correct variety for the desired placement. consider the mature height and girth before planting.

2. Crepes will bloom best if they have full sunlight. Even a few hours of shade during the day will have an effect on the amount and size of the blooms.

3. Trim and prune in very early spring. Late February or Early March.

4. Trim away sucker growth and small lower limbs. Clean and thin out the extra growth on the inside. Remove the weaker of any two limbs that cross.

5. Do not over fertilize your Crepe. Over fertilizing will cause the foliage to flourish at the expense of the blooms.

6. After the bloom has faded, use a sharp tool to cut off the old bloom. this will cause a new bloom to form. You may be able to have several blooms in one season.

I wish the very best in your gardening

Exterior Design

Driveway Repair and Restoration: A Guide to Asphalt

The sun is harsh on asphalt driveways and so are the other elements like snow. In addition, daily wear and tear is not exactly helping. However, with a few products and some knowledge of driveway repair and restoration, you'll have one that looks good and lasts a lifetime! Repairing Cracks You may need to fix…

The sun is harsh on asphalt driveways and so are the other elements like snow. In addition, daily wear and tear is not exactly helping. However, with a few products and some knowledge of driveway repair and restoration, you'll have one that looks good and lasts a lifetime!

Repairing Cracks

You may need to fix a crack many years after you seal the driveway, but you also need to do it beforehand. For driveway repair and restoration of small cracks, use pourable crack filler. You'll need to remove all the dirt and plants first. You can use a wire brush to remove all the dirt. Next, you should use a garden hose to get out any debris that may have remained. Make sure where you park your car dries before you begin filling the cracks. Shake the bottle prior to pouring it, then cut the top of the bottle. Squeeze the tube to fill the crack. Use the tool that comes with the solution to even out the filler. While it's drying, it soaks into the crack. Because of this, you may need a second coat. Do not walk or drive on this area for 24 to 48 hours after applying it.

A larger crack will need stone grade crack filler. You'll need to start by removing debris from the crack. Use the filler tool to get the crack filler out of the container, and then apply it to the crack. Next, use the tool to push the material into the crack. Make sure the entire crack has been filled. With this material for driveway repair and restoration, you can drive or walk on it immediately.

Sealing

You need to seal it as part of the driveway repair and restoration process. You can purchase one that does not require any mixing to make the process a bit easier. You'll want to make any repairs first. It's best to wait at least six months after mending to apply the sealant. It needs to be completely dry to apply sealer, so wait a day or two after it rains. Make sure it's at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit outside.

Tape off any area that you do not want sealed, such as bricks or gutters. When doing the edges, use a dry brush to put the sealer on. After opening the sealer, pour it from one side of the pavement to the other. You'll want to start at your garage. Use the tool to spread the sealer thinly across the entire area you're sealing. Once the sealant has been applied, you should allow 24 to 48 hours before you resume driving on it.

After your driveway repair and restoration, you can rest assured that it will be in good condition for years to come!

Tree Problems? Hire an Arborist

Trees are valuable home assets, but sometimes you need to control their growth or face the risk of damage to your property. If you have issues with the trees on your property, you might not know what to call for help. The professional who will provide all of the services you will need is called…

Trees are valuable home assets, but sometimes you need to control their growth or face the risk of damage to your property. If you have issues with the trees on your property, you might not know what to call for help. The professional who will provide all of the services you will need is called an arborist. Offered services include:

Tree Removal

Sick and rotting trees can cause major problems to your home and any vegetation around it. An arborist will have a few different options when it comes to removal services. There are standard, low-impact, and down-only options of removal. Standard options include downing the tree, disposing of the limbs, and cutting the parts suitable for firewood into 16-inch lengths. If the client decides they would rather not have the firewood, it can be removed for an additional fee.

Down-only removal options provide the same safety-conscious tree removal service, but the downed limbs will not be cut into firewood or moved for disposal. All cleaning is left to the homeowner in this option, but this does make it the cheapest option available to the homeowner.

Low-impact extrusion options are designed with your property in mind. The tree is cut carefully into small pieces and lowered onto your yard so as not to cause damage. After the tree has been cut down, it will be chopped into smaller pieces and lifted off your property so as not to cause drag damage to your flowers or lawn. Occidentally, a crane may be required to properly complete this task. Your specialists will be able to offer you a free consultation to go over all of your removal options.

Pruning

An arborist is also skilled at pruning the limbs and leaves of your trees. There are a number of techniques that can utilize depending on the effect you are looking to get out of trimming, including canopy cleaning, thinning, elevating, view clearing, dead branch removal, and restoration pruning.

Canopy cleaning removes all of the dead, dying, weak, diseased, and otherwise useless bodies off of your trees.

Thinning is a method of pruning that select eliminates branches and limbs to increase light penetration and air movement, as well as to reduce branch weight.

Elevating is a great way to provide more clearance for your outdoor activities. In this method of pruning, the lower branches are removed to give you more space.

View clearing and dead branch removal pruning methods are self-explanatory, but restoration pruning is not as clearly defined by its name. This method is for trees that have been damaged by storms, vandalism, or weak ground foundations. The aim of this method is to improve the appearance, structure, and form of the tree.

Beside removal and pruning services, your local arborist can also offer you a lot of other services including stump removal, fallen and hazard tree removal, cabling, tree evaluations, and snow plowing in the locations that could benefit from this service. A good arborist can offer you peace of mind above all else. Trim that sick or dead looking branch before it falls through the roof of your house. Get in touch with your local professionals before you wish you had.