13 Home And Garden Improvement Ideas

Outside Home Improvements

A bit of landscaping gives your home and garden a transformational look that is fresh and welcoming. The good thing is that the landscaping is not a regular thing; it is done once after every few years and thus the need to ensure that it is done to give the best results. For this, you need to look at the bigger picture of the available space you are to work with and then consider the various factors to take into account about what you will and will not change. The most common factors include the existing and new structures and building, geographic of your location, size of available spaces, topography, and natural elements such as water, rocks, and plants.

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Armed with this information, you can use it to come up with a plan of bringing about the look you desire that may require major or simple landscaping changes. Yes, even minor changes can give stunning results. In light to that, here are some top home and garden improvement ideas worth considering.

1. Focal Point

How about a focal point for your home and garden? A water feature or the gazebo can be positioned in a manner that makes it stand out. But then again, you can also opt to work with other things that may act as the focal point of your home and garden. It could be an elaborately done wooden deck or a small garden with an array of different colored and sized flowers and shrubs. It could even be something as simple as doing some changes to the exterior wall of your house. The goal is find something at will be at the core of the improvements, that will guide every other thing that you will do when making the changes.

2. Water features

Adding a water feature to your front lawn or backyard can give your home a new look. The features come in different sizes and designs and give different effects; moreover, they are minimal installation limitations. You can install a foyer, fountain, or pond and add some bit of tropical plants around it to help it birth a new dimension to the available space. Consider working with a feature that has moving water since the water will generate a soothing sound when flowing. Remember to add a garden watering system to keep everything fresh and alive. This guy can help you choose an appropriate irrigation system.

3. Install A Gazebo

Gazebos come in an array of designs that often determine their intended use based on personal preference. For instance, an enclosed gazebo commonly has a door and window; it looks like a small house. This type of gazebo is best suited for the outdoor living spaces. It can be the perfect getaway place or play den for the kids.

Then again, the intended use of the gazebo will determine the shape and size. For instance, a gazebo meant to be an entertainment center should be large and done in either an oval or a rectangular shape. It can also include a grill for those cookout parties, and the ample space is ideal for setting a couple of tables for everyone to feel cozy irrespective of the kind of weather. This guy builds awesome timbers decks, patios, and gazebos.

a timber deck outside a gold coast home

4. Flowers, Shrubs, Trees

It is called a garden for a reason, in that it is a parcel of soil that has different plants growing. You need to figure out which plants do well in your location based on the weather, soil type, and other factors. Also, consider how different plants perform with the seasonal changes to ensure your garden never looks drably, and this is necessary when planting new flowers and shrubs. As for trees, an essential thing to consider is how long they take to mature, their foliage and canopy type, and maturity size as well as how their roots spread.

5. Create Movement

A garden is a place of tranquility, a piece of nature in your backyard where you go to relax. Therefore, the landscaping changes should not dent the tranquility. Every new element should create a visual movement that has a soothing feel. From the plants to water features, topography changes and other elements; they collectively should create a serene sense of movement. The hardest aspects of achieving this is mostly when working with plants. For these, you should consider working with plants that have soft arching foliage such as plants with broad leaves, long leaves, or airy seed-heads that sway in the slightest of winds.

6. Add Flair To The Patio

As you work on the garden also consider giving that patio that stretches out to the backyard some touch ups. For instance, you can work on the borders of the patio adding planters to accentuate the boundary between it and the outdoor grounds. They can be ferns, grasses, lush bushy plants, or lilies, anything that you may not have in your outdoor garden. Place the planters strategically around the edges and work with different sizes done in differently shaped pots done in earthy tones. Try to arrange your plants in decorative clusters.

Patios and decks are brilliant entertaining areas especially for the summer months and can be enclosed with outdoor blinds for those colder months too.

grey outdoor blinds for a garage conversion (Australia)

7. Changing The Topography

A sloping gradient may give the backyard a different feel, but it often governs how the landscaping should be done. Such a topography works best if you intend to install a gazebo, which you can erect that bottom of the slope. You can make the gradient less tedious by curving in steps, placing stone slabs in the steps and planting some grasses, ferns, and short flowers along the steps. Sometimes, you can consider changing the topography by bringing in some rock and new soil to fade off the sloping gradient and achieve a flat look.

8. A Pulsating Edging

Edging is a quintessential element of landscaping, a detailing that gives the garden a dynamic look. For instance, placing a swath of rocks on or along the paths between the lawn, the flowers and plants create a feeling of a flowing river. Now that create something magic especially if the paths lead to a water feature with flowing water. You can work with different materials such as bricks, stone slabs, or even pebbles for the paths and work it suitable plants that complement the pathways to create the desired effects.

Even as you make all these improvements, keep in mind that gardening should be a pastime that is necessary for maintaining that special magic woven into the new look of your home and garden. Cut, trim, prune, and water your plants and they will keep doing what they know best and that is making your home and garden a serene place.

Inside Home Improvements

a kitchen renovation
When it comes to the real-estate markets that are still slow, more people have made the decision that they are not ready to sell their homes and would prefer to wait until there is an improvement in the real-estate market. With this decision to wait it out homeowners should use this time wisely by planning a few home-improvement projects that will definitely increase the value of their current home when the time is right to put the home onto the market.

Below are a few ideas to consider:

Remodeling The Kitchen

For many people, the kitchen is considered to be the heart of any home and due to this belief, any type of update to this particular room can pay off. According to a few experts, homeowners can expect to recoup anything between 60 to 120% of their initial investment for their kitchen remodel, provided they avoid going overboard. It is not advisable to make a kitchen a fancier room than the remainder of the home or even the neighborhood.

Painting

When deciding on a budget on what one would like to spend on remodeling their kitchens, the prices can vary significantly from about $5,000 all the way up to $75,000. However, for those working on tight budgets the best way to achieve the most out of the money they spend would be to consider colors. A fresh coat of paint in a modern color can instantly add an updated look to a kitchen.

When it comes to painting in the kitchen a great choice would be low-VOC paint which assists in making this area more eco-friendly. It can also assist in avoiding people living in the home breathing in chemicals such as benzene that are known to off-gas from fresh, regular paint.

Energy Efficient Appliances

air con unit for the homeAnother great home improvement idea for those who have the money would definitely be replacing all old-appliances in the home, including dishwashers, ovens, washing machines, dryers and air conditioning units. with the latest energy-efficient models. Appliances that are Energy Star-Rated are not only a better choice for the surrounding environment, but they also help to save on utility bills as they use up far less energy. In addition, buyers today are always on the look-out for methods they can save money when looking to buy a home.

Energy efficiency can also be achieved with the right kind of carpeting. In addition, carpet has wonderful acoustic qualities.

Bathroom Remodeling

If a home has just one bathroom, homeowners stand to recoup just about their entire investment by deciding to add in another one. Property experts estimate that one can recoup around 80 to 130% of the money spent on this addition when it comes time to sell the home.

However, when it comes to finding the space for an extra bathroom, one should consider underutilized spaces or a room that is not in use. Other spaces could also include the area under a staircase or even a closet. To ensure that the space chosen will be adequate for a bathroom, a half-bath would require a minimum of 18 sq feet, a full bath that includes the stand-up shower requires 30 sq feet and for those in search of installing a bathtub, the room required would be a minimum of 35 sq feet.
Similar to any project, costs related to a bathroom addition will depend on the accessories and additional types that the homeowner is interested in using. Ways to save money on this particular home improvement idea would be to visit places such as Home Depot of Lowe’s where they often reduce their prices drastically on toilets and sinks that were previously floor models. Another popular place to find great deals on fixtures, toilets, tubs, and doors would be Mitre10 or Bunnings

Reinventing Rooms

When it comes to adding more space or square footage to a home in the form of a brand new room is usually very expensive. However, reinventing an existing space can be a way to save a lot of cash. This can include converting an attic or a basement into a guest bedroom. In most cases, homeowners could even consider a small apartment over or even in their garage that can later be used as a rental income. Before deciding to demolish the rafters or walls, it is always wise to consider ways that potential buyers or the homeowner can make use of a space. This can include:

•Rooms that are versatile often hold a greater appeal when it comes to different potential buyers

•Basements often work well as a games room or a second living-room. This space can also be used for a tenant or an aging relative

•Attic spaces are the ideal spot for either a craft or games room, particularly when they have a high ceiling. Making this an extra bedroom for a child is also a great way to perk the interest of potential buyers

There are a variety of options when it comes to home improvement ideas and projects that will definitely add value to a home. However, it is important to consider that the home improvements today are not likely to pay off when they previously did in 2004 when housing markets had peaked. Today it is wiser to concentrate efforts on smaller and more affordable projects.

If you have a tiled roof that has seen better days, a roof restoration can make it look like new again for a relatively low cost.

bathroom renovation

Roller blinds can bring relief from the early morning sun in bedrooms and kitchens and they just look so darn good! Check out this company for roller blind installation ideas and what’s currently available for window treatments.

Security screens on windows and doors don’t have to be ugly these days and are a great idea for the security conscious.

 

Outdoor Blinds For Outside Entertaining Areas: Care Guide

Have you ever given much thought as to how much you outdoor blinds actually do for your home? Consider the fact that they help reduce the amount of sun glare and high temperatures in your home on a daily basis. Aussie Outdoor Alfresco & Cafe Blinds provide here helpful information about blinds for exterior use

Depending on the type of outdoor blinds you are using they may even be protecting your home from dangerous UV rays. However, most people are just thankful that they look good and help to further beautify the home.

While it is fine to simply enjoy your blinds, you must be proactive in cleaning them as well. This will ensure that you are giving your blinds an extra long life.

Below are a few tips that will help in your outdoor cleaning process.

Cleaning Both Sides

One of the first things you will want to do to help keep your blinds clean is to brush them as often as possible. It is best to use a bristle brush that will easily help to remove any dirt that has crept under the fabric. It is important though to find a brush that is not too course as this may lead to damage to the blinds.

You will want to ensure that all bird droppings, dust, dirt, and other debris have been removed. If this is not done on a regular basis, your blinds fabric can be damaged or discolored.

Take Care With Cleaning Solutions

Many homeowners make the mistake of using harsh cleaning liquids on their outdoor blinds. It is essential that you do not use liquids that contain harsh chemical compounds as this will lead to damage to the fabric.outdoor blinds

In addition, it is best to not use any type of liquid cleaner during humid weather as this will lead to the formation of the mould rather quickly. In fact, it is best to allow your blinds to sit before they are reattached after cleaning. You will want to ensure that the blinds and all fabrics are fully dried before they are installed to the house again.

Search For The Right Blinds From The Beginning

One of the most important factors in blinds is to ensure that you get the right type of your situation. If your home is faced by a lot of sunlight, you want to make sure that you get blinds that are going to be able to absorb all of that light without getting discolored. Likewise, if you are in an area that is prone to particularly difficult weather, the blinds will have to hold up to it on a daily basis.

The best thing you can do is to align yourself with a good blind supplier in the city and explain to them what you are looking for. They will be able to match you to the best solution for your needs. In some cases, it is simply best to have new outdoor blinds installed as opposed to constantly trying to upkeep your old blinds which may not be correct for your home.

Home Carpet Cleaning Challenges

There are many advantages of having your carpets cleaned by a professional. Professional cleaners will be able to give your carpets a deep cleaning, getting rid of any dirt or bacteria that are located within those carpets. If you work with a professional cleaner, you’ll be able to keep your carpets spotless all year round.

However, there are a lot of challenges associated with commercial carpet cleaning. If you are thinking about hiring cleaners, you’ll have to be prepared to deal with these problems.

Finding The Right Cleaners

One of the biggest problems that you will have to face is finding the right filters. There are so many carpet cleaners challenges-of-carpet-cleaningout there, and it can be difficult to find someone that can meet your needs.

With that said, there are several things that should be able to help you choose an appropriate cleaner. First, you should have a very clear idea on what you want and what your standards are. You can look for a cleaner that comes highly recommended. Check out this company; they are highly regarded in the Gold Coast area. You can also try to find a commercial carpet cleaner that offers the kind of services you are looking for.

You may want to look at several different cleaners. If you consider all of the options that you have, you’ll be able to make the best possible choice.

The Price Of Cleaning

Commercial carpet cleaning isn’t always cheap. As a matter of fact, there are a lot of people out there that spend a great deal on carpet cleaning.

If you live on a relatively tight budget, choosing a cleaning company may be a challenge for you. How can you find a company that charges rates you can afford?

When you look at carpet companies, you shouldn’t just look at the flat rates that they charge. You should think about how often you will have to pay those prices.

You don’t have to have your carpets cleaned every month. You can work with a professional cleaner once or twice a year.

Also, you should think about what a cleaning company is saving you. If you work with a cleaning company, you will be able to prolong the lifespan of your carpets. That can save you quite a bit of cash.

Is There A Better Choice?

If you’re worried about the challenges of commercial carpet cleaning, you may be wondering if there is the best option. The answer to that question depends on you.

It is possible to rent or buy commercial carpet cleaning equipment. If you have this kind of material, you will be able to deep clean your carpets yourself.

If you’re worried about hiring a cleaner, you may want to look into this. However, you should keep in mind that professional cleaners have a lot of training. They’ll be able to do more for your carpets than you can, even with professional quality tools.

A lot of people feel overwhelmed when they consider all of the challenges associated with commercial carpet cleaning. If you feel this way, you should know that you aren’t alone. This is something that a lot of people out there are struggling with. Look at your options and make a choice that works for you.

Home Extensions for a Growing Family

First-time homeowners soon find out their starter home is just too small when their first-born begins toddling around. But this doesn’t mean that they need to run out and buy a bigger home, simply that they may need to consider the idea of making some renovations, alterations, and extensions to make room for their growing needs.

Before diving headfirst into remodeling, there are however a few factors that you need to keep in mind:

1. Plan Ahead

Don’t simply make plans to extend the home to suit your immediate family requirements. Think ahead. Do you plan to have more children in the future, will your parents need to move in at some point and do you have a great entertainment area that you can adapt as your kids need change when they reach adolescence? One idea would be to create a den or teenagers retreat and another to create a great outdoors area by building a deck or patio area. For timber deck construction ideas click here.

Backyard Timber Deck

This will give you the benefit of making the necessary renovations in one go rather than having to go through the process again shortly. And with the growing cost of building materials, labor, and other remodeling costs, sooner is better than later.

2. The Cost

Good quality, professional home extensions are costly, there’s just no getting around it. In fact, if you skimp on the quality to lower the cost, you may regret your decision at a later date. So make sure that there is enough room in the budget to renovate just the way you want. A little wriggle room is also a good idea to take care of any incidentals that may arise during the renovation project.

If you simply don’t have the cash available, approach your mortgage holder and find out if they will extend the loan to provide you with the necessary funds. Alternatively, take out an additional loan. Always remember that the value that the additions will add to your property will be more than worth the money you spend in the long run.

3. The Contractor

Once again, the keyword here is quality and without a qualified, skilled and experienced contractor, you simply aren’t going to get the same standard of home renovations. So take your time to find just the best contractor available to you that will meet the specific requirements of your renovation.

It may be best to find a reputable contractor before you start your planning and budgeting phases of the project. You can then work your budget around the cost of the contractor as well as get them involved in the planning. Remember that a good contractor will have contacts in the industry that could provide you with lower costing building materials, equipment, and other necessities.

The cost you save on these goods should offset the higher rates of a professional contractor. However, even the best contractor needs to be supervised to make sure that you stay in contact with them and that they are reaching the projected milestones to ensure that the project stays on track.

So before you hit the real estate market looking for a bigger family home, first look around and see what your current home has to offer with an extension or renovation.

Window Awnings

Awnings are beautiful and a worthy addition to every home. These pieces of art can not only be used to decorate your home, but also improve energy savings in the same. Window awnings, for example, help reduce heat loss in cold weather/winter as well as reduce heat gain during summer. It is for this reason and more that many people are inclined into investing in quality awnings for their homes. Although almost all awnings serve a similar purpose, it’s advisable to choose the right one for the application, and for your home as well. Outlined below are the various types of awnings available in the market, and how they can be of benefit to your home.

Types of Window Awnings

1. Automatic Window Awnings

These types of awnings work by sliding up and down and can be adjusted to provide maximum shade in the house. window awning leading from home to outdoor areaSome of these awnings come with sun, rain, or wind sensors, which activate the awning to either retract or extend for better protection. Most people, however, prefer these, as they can be customized to fit any window, and do not need to be controlled manually.

2. Retractable Awnings

Retractable awnings come in the form of automatic and manually operated ones. These are mounted on the wall, just above the window, to help provide UV protection in the house. One of the main advantages of going for these awnings is the fact that, they can be retracted safely (automatically or manually) to a slim housing, which helps protect them from bad weather and such.

3. Fixed Window Awnings

Unlike retractable awnings that can be retracted, fixed window awnings remain in a fixed guide rail permanently regardless of the weather. These awnings are however made of a much tougher material that can withstand all types of weather. The awning frame/rail, however, has to be mounted on the wall properly to help it withstand weight from snow or strong winds.

4. Drop Arm Awnings

This type of window awning is mostly found in crowded areas or houses near a high traffic area or neighborhood. Aside from providing heat and cold protection, drop arm awnings help ensure maximum privacy even when the windows are open. This is because of the awning frame and fabric art at a ninety-degree angle over the window, leaving only the lower end. The awning fabric, however, allows some light to pass through for room illumination but blocks clear line of sight for people on the other side.

5. Portable Awnings

Portable awnings are usually large though can be dismounted for easy transport. This type of awning is mostly used over large windows next to an en-suite master bedroom, where the windows could be allowing too much light or the sun. The awning can, however, be moved based on the sun’s trajectory, thus providing optimal cover.

Aside from the various types of window awnings, experts recommend looking for the best awning material/fabric possible. The awning material should be capable withstanding harsh weather, such as in cold winters and stormy days.Durability is also another factor to consider when choosing an awning fabric/material.

Karen Allen is CEO of a local blinds, shutters and awning supplier. Check out her website.