How to Keep Pests Away From Your Garden

garden

Springtime marks the beginning of another gardening season. You are out and about planting, pruning and making sure that every inch of your garden looks just perfect. You are just admiring your flower garden, when a cat runs right through the flowers and rips them to shreds. And cats are not the only animals that can ruin your garden. Many types of animals come out during the spring, so here are some ways in which you can defend yourself.

Mole repellents

All the tips here are going to be humane, telling you simply how to keep the animals away, rather than kill or harm them. The best way to get rid of moles is to simply plant the right things in your garden. Plants like daffodils, marigolds and alliums have contents that are natural mole repellents, and will surely keep those pesky moles out if planted around the perimeter of your yard.

Keeping your plants safe

Plant-eating animals are mostly small and not really easy to catch, so you have to protect your plants in a different way. A popular remedy is chopping up and boiling some hot peppers, then pouring the water into a spray bottle and spraying it over your plants. This is safe for your plants and will keep any bugs off. Still, this is not a good solution when it comes to edible plants – imagine putting fresh mint in your lemonade and tasting a hot pepper! For an alternative, you can use turmeric. Grate it and infuse it with some water, then repeat the spraying tactic on all of your plants!  If spider mites are your problem, a mixture of flour, water and buttermilk sprayed on your trees once a week will keep the mites at bay!

Recycling food scraps

Organic scraps are not only good for compost, but also great for many other things. You can bury banana peels two inches in the ground next to the plants that are attacked by ants or aphids to make sure your plants will be safe. And if your problem is more of the slimier kind, use crushed eggshells to form a fence against any snails and slugs that want to enter the forbidden territory.

How to repel bigger animals

If you have a problem with raccoons, remember that they do not go well with dogs. If you don’t have a dog of your own, fake it by placing some dog hair around your yard and kiss the raccoon problem goodbye.  For cats or squirrels, flour mustard and cayenne pepper is your solution. Place the mixture around the perimeter of your yard, or mix it with water to make a spray.  Another option that requires much less effort is using high tech defence. Having an ultrasonic pest repellent, like the one from Bird Control Australia, will make your life a lot easier. You won’t notice it, but potential intruders of the animal kind definitely will! It can keep away insects or any animals, depending on how you set it up.

You are now ready to continue with your daily gardening activities without worrying about any pests, big or small, ruining all your hard work. Try and be as humane as possible with all of the animals, because there are always ways to simply drive them away without exterminating them – and placing various poisons around your garden can also be dangerous if you have kids or pets, not to mention make all of your produce less enjoyable. After all, a few birds chirping around your garden might just be that special touch that is missing for a real fairytale garden!

 

A Few Ways to Make Your Old House the Greenest One in the Neighborhood

Redecorating your house is never easy, especially if you’re trying to do something special with it. Cosmetic changes are always appreciated, but what if you could make a bigger difference with a simple home makeover? Namely, what if you could help your environment become healthier and greener by using specific techniques and materials during your renovation process? In case you’re looking for ways to make your old house greener and save some energy and money in the process, here are a few tips that might come in handy.

A Few Ways to Make Your Old House the Greenest One in the Neighborhood

Insulation, Insulation, Insulation

The absolutely best way to ensure that your house is energy-efficient, eco-friendly and environmentally safe is by getting proper insulation. You don’t have to do much and spend a small fortune, but a well-thought-out plan can do wonders for your house’s sustainability and efficiency.

First, start with an energy audit – do it on your own or let a professional determine what needs to be done. Then, get in touch with a reliable contractor who will install insulation on your exterior walls and spice up your house with a new coat of paint. Finally, think about indoor insulation that will only improve all your hard work.

Doors and Windows

Once you’ve insulated your house, it’s time to pay attention to details. What many people don’t know is that the biggest portion of energy is lost through windows and doors, simply because they’re outdated and in need of replacement.

The easiest way to go is by weatherstripping using rubber, plastic, foam or silicone. Although this sounds complicated, it’s actually quite easy – it’s just a matter of locating and sealing loose parts of your doors and windows so that the air can’t pass through. That way, you’ll practically seal your home from the inside and prevent leaks, thus saving energy by having more control over your indoor temperature. Alternatively, you can install double glazed windows that may be expensive, but are highly effective and save you lots of money in the long run.

Doors and Windows

Solar Panels

Now, if you want to achieve an even better synergy of architecture and green approach to life, take solar panels into serious consideration. These will make your house more aesthetically appealing and instantaneously turn it into the talk of the neighborhood. Additionally, as a great alternative source of creating and preserving energy, they’ll do wonders for your bills. Of course, you don’t have to go all in and cover your entire roof with solar panels, but adding a few might do the trick.

When choosing how to install solar panels, it’s probably better to consult a professional instead of trying to deal with them on your own. If you want to get the best results, they have to be installed properly – not to mention that you simply must pick the best solar panels you can find. Additionally, by choosing only the best brands and service, you can make sure that you will enjoy your panels for a long time.

A Few Ways to Make Your Old House the Greenest One in the Neighborhood

Ceiling Fans

When it comes to interior decorating, there’s nothing more unique than a ceiling fan. After being very popular in the mid-20th century, these are making a huge comeback today. Their vintage look makes them perfect for people who want to introduce class into their homes and aren’t afraid to experiment. Further, these things will effectively and cheaply lower the temperature of any room during summer, especially if you have high ceilings. Once installed – you can probably handle this by yourself – these fans will work almost for free for years and years to come. Ultimately, these are also useful when it comes to heating your house in winter. By applying slight adjustments, they can rotate in a different manner and circulate hot air from the ceiling downwards.

Other Ideas

Some of the other ways to ensure that your house is the greenest in your street include equipping all your light fixtures with LED light bulbs, adjusting your water heater, insulating your attic and basement and updating your heating system. Finally, you could plant a tree or two in your front and backyard and enjoy the comfortable shade they’ll provide you with during summer.

Update Your Home This Spring with These Eco-Friendly Options

Update Your Home This Spring with These Eco-Friendly Options

It can be hard to think of spring while in the depths of winter. However, this has been one of the warmer winters in recent years, depending on where you live. However, the colder it gets, the closer we are to spring! Spring is a classic time to clean and update your home because everyone is sick of being cooped up all winter and you can finally get outside and play. If you’re interested in making your home more environmentally friendly, then this spring is the perfect time to do it.

Give Your Windows a Perk

Bringing natural light in is always a welcome relief from winter, but it can also put a hurting on your climate control. Replacing the windows in one room, each year, lets you update them slowly so you don’t have to shell out the money all at once. Double paned windows allow for the best insulation, but they are more expensive at a minimum of $500 each. In order to get the full benefit, all windows would have to be replaced. A cheaper option is to upgrade the insulation around your windows, but that requires regular upkeep.

home improvement new windows

Paint Your Roof

Greece is well-known for their stark, white homes. There’s actually a very good reason for that. The white helps to keep the home cooler, which is a necessity around the equator. You can achieve the same thing by painting your roof either white or another light color. However, it’s likely that you would have to repaint it frequently, about once a year. If that idea doesn’t agree with you, it’s also a good place for a garden or solar panels!

Update Your Insulation

A properly insulated home is your best defense again wasting extra energy to remain comfortable. Take a look at your home, and see what’s lacking. Insulation in the attic and basement is often neglected, even though it’s vital to keep your home’s heating and cooling costs under control. Putting in new insulation isn’t even that expensive. If you shop around and are willing to put in the work, it’s even something you might be able to DIY, if you get some advice.

Update Your Insulation

Replace Old and Damaged Goods

Old drafty doors need to go. If unchecked, they can be a constant drain on your energy usage. This actually applies to a lot more than just your front and back doors, as well. Garage doors are rarely replaced when they need to be. Damaged siding or roof tiles also need to be replaced before they cause more damage. Doing a thorough, yearly inspection of your home’s exterior can give you the chance to fix problems before they become serious. Plus, a new garage door can do a world of good for improving your curb appeal. That update can pay for its self, as do many other green updates.

Pack Your Home with Green

Pack Your Home with Green

House plants are good for a variety of reasons. They tend to be good for your spirits, they help keep the air clean, they provide a visual reminder of warmer weather and they can help your home be a bit eco-friendlier. In addition to filtering out a wide variety of potentially damaging chemicals from the air, they also pack your home with humidity. Heating and air conditioning both tend to suck that right out of the house!

Update Your Floors

Most classic flooring isn’t exactly environmentally friendly. A little updating can make a big difference in it. This is a slightly more expensive option, but floors take a lot of wear and tear. They all need to be replaced at some point. Bamboo is a beautiful, sustainable option but it’s also pricy. It’s hard enough to last a lifetime, cutting down on the environmental impact of another replacement.

However, if it’s not in your price range, or you don’t like the look, then cork is another green option. It’s much cheaper, incredibly simple to harvest, it lasts a very long time and it has an unusual texture. It’s great for kids and keeps the floor warm during the winter.

Update Your Home This Spring

Take it Outside

Since these are tips for spring, it only makes sense to remember the landscape. Native plants are wonderful, and provide a simple way to keep your lawn healthy with minimal work. You can also look into drip irrigation, composting, rainwater harvesting, and growing your own garden. Leave as many plants and trees as you can, especially if they provide protection to your home. Bushes provide an extra layer of insulation, and lots of plants allow for the wildlife to have food and cover. With humans encroaching on their land everywhere, they need it!

If you plan to spend a hefty chunk or just a bit, there are a ton of options to make your home greener. Pick a small one to start, and progress on to larger endeavors. With all the savings you’ll get from updating your home, you’ll be able to make bigger changes!

Kacey-MyaKacey is a lifestyle blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations and cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts.

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Building A Home? 4 Tips To Reduce Your Construction Carbon Footprint

Building A Home 4 Tips To Reduce Your Construction Carbon Footprint

You might be surprised to hear just how much waste is produced during the construction process. Even for a smaller home, your construction crew could potentially release a huge volume of toxins into the air and contaminate the local environment. If you are getting ready to break ground, then take a look at these four tips for reducing your carbon footprint during construction.

Focus On The Location

Determining the location of your new home is probably the most important step in this process. While building deep within a city is not always ideal, those who buy property far off the beaten path will drastically increase the amount of fuel it takes to transport supplies. Whenever possible, you want to build on a piece of property that is relatively close to the materials you need. You should also research local water sources to make sure that your construction will not contaminate creeks, rivers, and underground aquifers.

Consider Recycled Materials

Not only are recycled materials very trendy right now, but they are also much better for the environment. Many construction companies and contractors sell their leftovers at just a fraction of their original price, and you will be saving those materials from going to the dump. When buying these supplies, you should double-check to see if they have been manufactured with any toxic chemicals. Materials such as construction-grade lumber and pipes are often treated with hazardous compounds to increase their longevity.

Green Insulation

Insulating your new home is one of the best ways to reduce your energy consumption, but you don’t need to stop there. Many older insulation pads and rolls are made with petroleum-based chemicals, and they can wreak havoc on the local environment during the installation process. Modern polymer sprays, like those offered at SPRAY FOAM DISTRIBUTORS, provide homeowners with the same amount of insulation, but they are produced with sustainable materials that will not release additional toxins into the air.

Request LEED Certification

The U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED program is designed to exhaustively test new buildings to ensure that meet the strictest standards for sustainable construction. In order for your home to be certified, a third-party inspector will need to follow every step of the construction process starting on the very first day. In addition to being better for the environment, this certification could significantly increase the value of your home as well.

Green building methods are going to promote biodiversity while protecting the local ecosystems. Many of these alterations will also provide you with long-term savings to keep your energy consumption and utility bills as low as possible over the years.

Tips For Creating A More Eco-Friendly Bathroom

Tips For Creating A More Eco-Friendly Bathroom

Want a more eco-friendly home? The bathroom is a great place to start. It may be the smallest room in the house, but per square foot it offers more opportunity for positive impact than any other area in your home.

Between fans, hair dryers and other electric devices, lighting and water heating, the bathroom is a hot spot for energy use. Plus, it’s where the lion’s share of household water consumption takes place.

Fortunately, it isn’t hard to create a more eco-friendly bathroom. Here are some ideas to get you started:

1.   Choose a Low-Flow Toilet

The average household flushes 27 percent of the water it uses down the toilet, making this fixture by far the largest water consumer in your home. Choosing a WaterSense labeled toilet can reduce the amount of water you flush by 20-60 percent.

2.   Install Water-Saving Fixtures

Replace standard bathroom faucets and aerators with high-efficiency ones. Today’s high-efficiency models work great, and they can save you up to 700 gallons per year. Consider also installing a WaterSense labeled showerhead. If your shower water consumption is anywhere near average, it can save you $70 per year in utility costs!

3.   Weatherize Your Bathroom

A drafty bathroom is uncomfortable and will cause you to turn up the heat and prolong your showers. Nip that cycle in the bud with some simple weatherization. If your bathroom has an exterior window, use caulk to seal around it. Also, seal any cracks in the woodwork, around your tub or shower, and around fans, vents and plumbing penetrations.

4.   Insulate Your Pipes

Insulating your hot water pipes is an easy one-hour home improvement project nearly anyone can do. It can raise your domestic hot water temperatures by up to 4 degrees. That means you can set your water heater temperature lower, which saves energy! You also will run less water because it will not take as long for hot water to reach your tap.

5.   Switch to LED Lighting

You need good lighting in the bathroom. It’s also a place where you’re likely to turn the lights on and off frequently. If you haven’t yet made the switch to LEDs, this is the place to start. LED bulbs offer high-quality light and are the most energy-efficient lighting option available. They are also the most durable type of bulb, which is good news if you hate messing with your bathroom light fixtures. And, unlike CFLs, LED bulbs are unaffected by frequent switching on and off.

6.   Choose Eco-Friendly Bathroom Materials

Next time you remodel or outfit your bathroom, pay attention to what goes into it. From bathroom cabinets to toilet paper to towels to cleaning supplies and body care items, today’s market offers many recycled, organic and other environmentally friendly options from which to choose. Not only will you be helping the planet, but selecting eco-friendly items is usually healthier for you and your family, too.

7.   Take Clean Air Action

High humidity in such a small space can lead to mold growth and other indoor air quality issues in the bathroom. Clear the air by installing a high-efficiency exhaust fan. Green Tips For Creating A More Eco-Friendly Bathroomplants can also help keep your bathroom air clean. And, next time you paint your bathroom, choose zero VOC (volatile organic compounds) paint to avoid off-gassing fumes.

Greening up your bathroom doesn’t have to be a major endeavor, and it needn’t be expensive. Nearly all of these ideas are easy for the average homeowner to do. Most are quite inexpensive. If you do them one at a time you will hardly notice the difference in your family budget — but you’ll definitely notice the utility savings and enjoy increased comfort in your bathroom!

Author bio: Erica Garland is Content Marketing Manager at Modern Bathroom and has 15 years of experience in the bathroom renovation industry. Modern Bathroom sells a variety of products you would need for any bathroom renovation project. With such a large selection of contemporary bathroom vanities, sinks, toilets and bathtubs for sale, Modern Bathroom is sure to have the perfect piece to give your bathroom an updated look.