3 DIY Home Improvements That Help The Whole Neighborhood

3 DIY Home Improvements That Help The Whole Neighborhood

When you live in an apartment, where you literally share walls, ceilings, and floors with your neighbors, it’s easier to remember that your personal lifestyle choices have a direct effect on your neighbors. This becomes a little more difficult to remember when you move into a home and your neighbors are a bit farther away. While living in a detached home provides more personal freedom, your home is still a part of the neighborhood and your exterior choices still affect everyone. Here are 3 DIY improvements you can do to be a great neighbor.

Refurbish the Exterior

Accumulated dirt build up can make your home appear dingy, faded and out of date. Remember that an attractive neighborhood is created by attractive homes. Keeping the exterior of your home neat, tidy and sparkling clean will make your home a valued addition to the neighborhood. And who knows, maybe you will even influence other neighbors to do the same, which will add value to your home as well as theirs.

Install a Maintenance-Free Yard

With water prices skyrocketing across the US, many homeowners are opting to install yards that don’t require as much water. If you’re not going to spend the time and money to turn your front yard into an outdoor oasis, you might want to turn it into a pleasant landscape instead. If rock gardens aren’t your thing, you can install synthetic grass. Eco-friendly synthetic grass doesn’t need watering or mowing and stays lush and green for up to 10 years so you don’t have to worry about a brown and yellow lawn in the summer. Again, the look and curb appeal of your home can raise home values in the entire neighborhood.

Outdoor Living Spaces

When you have a backyard suitable for entertaining, you have a tendency to entertain more – and this is great for the entire neighborhood. Whether it’s a backyard BBQ or 4th of July picnic, having a great outdoor entertainment space will help you connect with your neighbors and create a deeper sense of community. Best of all, cleanup after an outdoor party is significantly less than cleaning up after an indoor party and there are no muddy footprints or high heel marks to clean up from your floors. If someone spills an entire cup of red wine during the party – no problem, you can simply wipe up the mess without leaving a stain.

Being a good neighbor involves keeping your own home and living spaces in order so as to add value to the entire neighborhood. You can save yourself and your family a significant amount of hassle with the neighbors by keeping your property neat, tidy and orderly. You can be an ever better neighbor by inviting your neighbors over to entertain in your beautifully maintained outdoor spaces. If you’re ever wondering what other projects can help your home, and neighborhood, value, talk to a realtor like those at Cooke Realty.

How to Weld Your Own Barbecue Together for Spring Entertaining

barbeque

There is nothing quite like the taste of world-class barbeque, and now is the perfect time to start thinking about what type of hardware you want in your backyard this spring. Welding your own barbeque together gives you full control over its size, cooking power, appearance, and features. With a little patience and some hard work, you will be able to start cooking up mouthwatering meals for your family and friends in the customized barbeque of your dreams.

Choosing the Right Materials

One of the most important steps of building a barbeque is choosing the right material. Not only are some materials inefficient at maintaining a consistent temperature, but they might even be dangerous when exposed to flames. As a general rule, barbeques should never be made from aluminum, copper, or brass. Many professional pit masters prefer stainless steel barbeques that have been coated with a high-temperature sealant.

Tools

Anyone who doesn’t regularly work with metal will most likely need to purchase at least a few new tools including a stud welder, calipers, a small machinist’s square, center punches, and a drill press. Some companies, like Northland Fastening Systems, knows that if you are not sure of which tools you would like to invest in, then you might want to see if there is a local metalworking shop that allows does equipment rentals. Once you have spent a few hours learning how to cut sheets of metal and weld them back together, you will know exactly which features you would like to see in your own tools.

How to Weld Your Own Barbecue Together for Spring Entertaining

Dimensions

It might be tempting to build yourself an enormous contraption, but larger barbeques are very difficult to use properly. Most home cooks will only need a grilling area of around 500 square inches. Trying to control the temperature of a barbeque that is much larger than that is very difficult. When you are working on the height, you want to be sure that the grill itself is as tall as your midsection so that you don’t have to bend down or lean across open flames.

Additional Features

After you have chosen a type of metal and decided on the overall size, you can then start adding any features that you would like to see on the barbeque. At the very least, you should plan on having a small preparation table where you can put plates, sauces, and seasonings. Many pit masters also like having a warming chamber that will keep their food warm without overcooking it.

Once you have finally put the last few pieces on your barbeque, you should then heat treat it for at least a few hours before cooking any food. Even if you carefully clean the barbeque, there might still be lingering contaminants in the smoke chamber or firebox. Bringing the barbeque up to a very high temperature should destroy any dangerous toxins or chemicals.

Enhance Your Curb Appeal This Spring with These Trends

Spring is coming! You see all sorts of articles in magazines and blogs online about fashion and interior design trends for the season.

But what if you want to update the outside of your home? Below are 7 of the hottest trends in home exteriors for Spring 2017!

Enhance Your Curb Appeal This Spring with These Trends

1) Covered and Screened Decks and Patios

Take your outdoor living space up a notch by adding pergolas or covers to your deck or patio. Besides providing shade, it will beautify and define the space.

Screens are another way to make the exterior of your deck or patio look great for your neighbors and people driving by. But they also provide you with the privacy that makes your outdoor space actually feel like a retreat. You can buy ready-made screens or get creative and design your own. In any case, the neighbors will get a nice view and you will get your spa-like retreat.

2) Fancy Pools

There is nothing like a swimming pool to beat the summer heat and provide a fun gathering spot for friends and family. So, if you’re considering building one, why not follow the current trend of building a luxury pool?

If you have the space and budget, you can build a rooftop pool that looks out over your city. Or you can build one that combines indoor and outdoor living by installing a retractable wall of windows that lead to your pool. Or you can invest in an infinity pool that makes it look like you’re swimming in the sky.

Whether you use the contractor’s established designs, or come up with ideas of your own, a pool will add a splash of curb appeal.

swimming-pool

3) Structured Gardens

Make your garden appear larger and more stylish with garden structures. First, design a layout for your space that includes where you want to place the pieces. The type of garden you want, whether it be cottage style, a Zen retreat, formal or an eclectic mix, will determine what type of structures you use.

You can go the traditional route and choose brick walls or concrete fountains. Or you can use sleek modern vine-climbing walls or garden sculpture. Buy your pieces or make your own. Either way, you can create your own enchanted garden that you and passers-by will enjoy.

4) Home Additions

Another growing trend is home remodeling. Porches are a popular exterior addition. Or, if you already have a porch, you can make it up-to-date by adding design details like those on Craftsman or Victorian homes. Cornice moldings, thick porch posts, finials, urns and much more can be added to your porch to make it stand out. Also, most of these porches display boho-chic furnishings.

Another popular remodel is replacing builder-grade garage doors with garage doors that match your home’s style. If you’re replacing an old door or adding a brand-new garage, don’t skimp on this item. Whether your garage is front-facing or not, the look of its door can have a major impact on the appearance of your home.

porch

5) Limiting the Colors in Your Garden

Another trend for gardens is using a simple palette of only 2 or 3 shades. It’s a modern, almost minimalistic look. But for those new to gardening or don’t want to be bothered by too much planning, it’s any easy way to go.

So how do you keep your garden from looking boring? One way is to have 1 color be the feature color and have the other shade or shades be highlights. And choose a variety of plants of the predominant color or colors. For example, have white roses, white hydrangeas and a white dogwood tree in your landscape.

Limiting how many shades appear in your garden will make it look classy, modern and sophisticated.

6) Grand Entrances

Even if you don’t have or want a porch, fabulous entrances are all the rage. The recent trend of red doors is now being replaced more imaginative front entries.

Some doors that are growing in popularity are Dutch doors and doors made of glass encased in intricate iron work. The symmetrical look of matching topiaries or marble benches on either side of the front door is trending. As are wreaths made for each season, banners and wind chimes.

All of these elements will make people say “Wow!” when they are about to enter your home.

7) Stone and Brick Exteriors

This trend piggy-backs on the natural, sustainable materials movement. If your home is already built with brick or stone, you can use paint to give your home a new look. Just be sure to choose the right type of paint and that it is applied properly.

If you just want to add a stone or brick accent to your home, you can choose between the real thing or an artificial alternative. Man-made options can look just as good and are usually cheaper.

Out with the old and in with the freshness of the season! Follow these trends so your curb appeal will pop this spring!

Author Bio:

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.

https://twitter.com/kacey_mya

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Tips on Improving Your Backyard

One of the most important parts of the home is the backyard. The backyard is a place for your family to come together, have fun, and commune. It shouldn’t be a part of your home that you avoid because it has nothing to offer. If your backyard is nothing more than an empty patch of grass, you’re not using it to its full potential, and that is why Tru-Link Fence put together a slideshow that lists 10 backyard ideas that can bring life back to your property. You can view the slideshow below. 

10 Ways To Improve Your Backyard created by Tru-Link Fence

Author bio: Dean White is Owner and Operator of Tru-Link Fence, one of the largest fence companies in northern Illinois. He has more than 30 years of experience in the fence industry. 

 

3 Simple Backyard Improvements That Will Expand Your Living Space

3 Simple Backyard Improvements That Will Expand Your Living Space

Your house is just a fraction of your living space. There are several ways to upgrade your backyard to make it a more appealing and inviting space for entertaining or simply for relaxing in the fresh air. The following backyard improvements will provide you with enjoyment for years to come. They can be completed as a do-it-yourself project or subcontracted out to professionals.

Fire Pit

Fire pits are a simple addition to your home enjoyed by one person on a quiet night or several people during a party or after dinner. You can build your fire pit in a weekend day with materials from your local hardware store. You can construct a simple paver or concrete block fire pit as a circular or square design. Make sure to build the structure to accept the fire pit insert, and stabilize the structure by staggering each block layer.

Gather ideas about materials, mainly shape and color by browsing fire pit galleries online.

fire pit

Garden Swing

This isn’t your kid’s swing. Garden swings or arbor swings are sturdier and larger to accommodate adults. While the project is more labor and time intensive than the fire pit project, it can still be completed in a weekend. The tools for this project are also more specialized but need not be purchased. You can often rent the tools you don’t own from a local home improvement center or equipment rental business.

Wooden-Garden-Swing

Arbor swings usually start with square or round beams sunk in concrete. An auger can make digging the hole much easier. This is one of the tools you can rent if don’t own one. After sinking the upright supports, shad is created with the addition of a trellis. Make sure the concrete is dry and the beams are straight before building the trellis. The final step is hanging a swing with chains from the trellis. There are several videos and plans available online giving step-by-step instructions for the project. You might also be able to find plans at your local woodworking center.

Pub Shed

Who hasn’t dreamed of owning their own bar? Possibly, that fantasy involved a cozy little place where friends gather to celebrate and enjoy each other’s company. The dream can come true without the headaches of real bar ownership. Build your own pub shed! This is the most complicated of the projects. The time and complexity will depend on how much of the actual shed construction you take on. Pre-assembled sheds are available if you want to save. Building a shed may take a weekend to a week to complete.

Irish pub

The time it takes to decorate your pub depends on how fancy your interior decoration. Your dream pub may continue to look like your neighbor’s garden shed from the outside. What makes them different is what’s on the inside. Your shed dimensions will dictate how intricate the interior may be. The smallest pub shed might resemble a small food stand, with a window and counter where friends can drink their favorite ale while the host plays bartender inside.

Looking for a more elaborate project? A larger shed might offer a bar area for standing and an open area with chairs or couches for people to sit on. Outside of physical dimensions, money and imagination are your only restraints. So, whether you fancy a traditional English pub or have always dreamed of owning a bar on the beach, create your shed to make your dream come true.

Store Bought or DIY

Whether you want to build your own fire pit, garden swing or pub shed, contract it out, or do something in between, decide how much effort and money you want to invest before you begin. Plans are often available online or at your local home improvement store. Garden shed plans are a good foundation for building your pub shed.

Author Bio

James Houser is former Navy and a father of two. He has a 4yr old son who is currently training to become a Jedi and a 21 month old daughter who is already prepared to rule the galaxy. When James isn’t building forts or being used as a climbing gym by his kids, he enjoys writing, gaming, and listening to the Truth & Justice Podcast. Follow him @sifuhouser.