Spring Home Improvement • April, 2018 • Lillie Newspapers

Spring Home Improvement • April, 2018 • Lillie Newspapers
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The Stories


 

10 reasons to plant a tree this spring

Did you know planting a tree is one of the easiest and most powerful things you can do to have a positive impact on the environment? It’s true. Trees clean the air, prevent rainwater runoff, help you save energy and even combat global warming. And they’re a snap to plant, no horticultural degree required. With Arbor Day taking place in April, there’s no better time to give Mother Nature a little TLC by planting a tree.

 

Trees fight climate change

Wish you could do more than recycling and reducing your carbon footprint to combat climate change? Trees have you covered. Through photosynthesis, trees absorb harmful carbon dioxide, removing and storing the carbon and releasing oxygen back into the air.

 

Trees clean the air and help you breathe

Trees don’t just absorb CO2. They also absorb odors and pollutants like nitrogen oxides, ammonia, sulfur dioxide and ozone. It’s estimated that one tree can absorb nearly 10 pounds of polluted air each year and release 260 pounds of oxygen.

 

Trees prevent soil erosion and rainwater runoff

During heavy rains, water runoff finds its way to streams, lakes and wetlands, creating the potential for flooding. It also picks up and carries pollutants along the way. The EPA and the Center for Watershed Protection are recognizing the importance of trees in managing runoff. Leaf canopies help buffer the falling rain and their roots hold the soil in place, encouraging the water to seep into the ground rather than run off.

 

Planting trees is easy

Gardening can be intimidating for newbies because there are so many variables. Which plants and flowers should you put next to each other and which should you separate? Which bloom in the summer and which bloom in the fall? When you’re dealing with trees, there’s none of that. Just choose a spot in your yard and you’re good to go. View a video showing you all you need to know about planting your young trees at www.youtube.com/watch?v=d5FiqoypXfo.

 

You’ll save money

Trees conserve energy in summer and winter, providing shade from the hot summer sun and shelter from cold winter winds. With trees standing between you and the elements, you’ll spend less on your energy bill to heat and cool your home.

 

Trees increase your home’s value

Studies of comparable homes with and without trees show that, if you have trees in your yard, your home’s value increases by up to 15 percent. It’s all about curb appeal, and trees make your home and yard more beautiful.

 

You’ll attract birds (and critters)

Trees provide nesting sites, food and shelter for your bird friends. Hang a feeder in one of the branches and enjoy the birdsong all year long. Squirrels love to make their homes in trees, too, and watching their antics is a great way to spend a lazy summer afternoon.

 

Trees are good for your mental and physical health

A view of trees in urban areas has been proven to reduce stress, anxiety and even the crime rate. Tree-filled gardens on hospital grounds speed healing in hospital patients.

 

You’ll be giving your descendants a gift

Trees can live hundreds of years, so when you plant one, you’re giving a gift to your children and grandchildren. It’s a symbol of your commitment to the environment and the beauty of the world around you that will live on far beyond your own lifetime.

 

Free trees!

Join the nonprofit Arbor Day Foundation for $10 and they’ll send you 10 trees selected for the region of the country where you live, at the right time to plant them. You’ll also get planting instructions and other information. The trees are guaranteed to grow or the Foundation will replace them. Visit www.arborday.org to join.

 

An ancient Chinese proverb states: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” To find out more about planting trees, visit the Arbor Day Foundation at www.arborday.org. (BPT)


 

Protect your home from termites this spring

Spring will eventually be here to stay, bringing flowers, greenery and increased pest activity. Because termite evidence is more noticeable in warmer months, it is important to check for any warning signs every spring. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to reduce the likelihood of a termite infestation in the first place.

 

Keep shrubs trimmed

Well-maintained shrubbery looks nice, but it also serves an important purpose: Trimming shrubs reduces the likelihood termites and pests will enter your home. Stray branches that touch a house’s exterior provide pests with direct access to potential entry points. By properly maintaining landscaping, you can make access more difficult for these unwelcome houseguests.

 

Modify your landscape

It’s important to make smart decisions when adding landscaping, because termites are more attracted to some materials than others. Instead of traditional mulch, opt for synthetic mulch or pea gravel. These alternatives are less attractive to termites than wood-based mulch.

 

Maintain home exteriors

Termites need water to survive. Controlling excess moisture can help reduce the risk of an infestation. Regularly maintaining home exteriors, such as wooden siding and windows, can help you detect and repair leaks early.

 

Monitor interior moisture

Many homeowners forget to think about moisture inside their homes, particularly in basements and crawlspaces. Properly ventilating these areas helps minimize the amount of moisture around floor joists and subflooring. Reducing moisture in interior spaces can help reduce the likelihood that termites will take up residence in your home.

 

Termite warning signs include blisters in wood flooring, hollowed or damaged wood, and evidence of swarms such as discarded wings, mud tubes and droppings that resemble sawdust or coffee grounds. Early detection can prevent a small termite problem from becoming a widespread infestation. (BPT)


 

5 musts for a low-stress, on-budget DIY home project

Owning your own home is a life accomplishment for many adults, and keeping it looking sharp and adding your personal touches brings a sense of pride. It seems there are always things you want to improve, so don’t let a limited budget or lack of know-how hold you back from dreaming. There are plenty of ways to enhance a room or remake a space without breaking the bank, along with many resources out there to show you how.

With a little research and a weekend or two of elbow grease, your budget and your abilities are more than enough to take on many smaller jobs. When you’re done, the satisfaction you’ll experience from a successful DIY project will give you plenty of motivation to start the next improvement.

Before you launch your plans, here are a few tips for an affordable and stress-free DIY project.

 

Map it out

Prioritize the projects you’d like to tackle first. Whether it’s painting the living room, replacing the kitchen countertops or retiling the bathroom, the project will be much less stressful when you have solid planning behind it. Set a realistic schedule, gather your supplies in advance and be sure and review instructions before starting. If you’re making an improvement for a special event or out-of-town guests, give yourself ample time to complete it so you’re not adding stress to the project.

 

Find creative ways to cover costs

Make a budget for your project that includes a list of expected expenses and add padding for the unexpected. Assess what funds you have available, and if you don’t have enough, consider a savings plan so you can avoid paying interest and fees on a credit card. To speed up your progress, grab your change. You’ll be surprised at how quickly a jar of coins can add up to purchase needed supplies on your list.

 

Learn through many available resources 

If you’re like most DIYers, you’ll find online videos and home improvement websites are great sources for how-to tips and information. And if you’re a novice, take advantage of the vast information that’s available at your fingertips and review several sources so that you completely understand the process and are confident before your dive in. Don’t be afraid to tap friends, family members and neighbors who have completed similar projects, as they can be good advisers and may even offer to help. You can reward them by inviting them back to your newly improved home to just relax and enjoy.

 

Keep it light 

Doing DIY projects with a spouse or a family member can be fun if you take the right approach. When working alongside each other, it’s all too easy to take a frustration out on each other. Minimize tension by creating clear expectations and give everyone a defined role. Take needed breaks and acknowledge accomplishments along the way. Keeping things calm and positive ensures everyone feels good about their contribution.

 

Permission to make mistakes 

Most homeowners are not professional contractors and projects can and do go wrong. If you make a mistake, do your best to correct it and don’t beat yourself up. Focus on the fact you’re making progress in getting your house just the way you want it and saving money by doing it yourself. Next time, you will be that much more proficient. According to a survey, 90 percent of homeowners say they feel a sense of pride after completing a DIY project. Pat yourself on the back and plan your next DIY endeavor. (BPT)


 

Dominate spring: 5 easy steps to wake up your lawn

There are a lot of things people miss during the winter flip-flops, shorts and warm sunshine. But one of the things homeowners miss the most is the sight of green grass.

For months their lawns go into hibernation and disappear under a blanket of snow. Once the temperature starts to rise and the days start getting longer, many are eager to get outside and restore their lawns to their former glory.

But in order to get a lush green lawn that is the envy of your block, it’s crucial to get to work at the beginning of spring. Here are five key steps you can take right now to ensure you have a beautiful and healthy yard all year long.

 

Tune up your equipment

Before you start work on your lawn, you want to make sure your mower is ready for the season. This means changing out the oil, tightening up any loose bolts or fasteners and starting the season with fresh spark plugs. You should also make sure the air filter is clean, and don’t forget to have your blade sharpened. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

 

 Evaluate your lawn

Once all the snow has melted, set aside some time to walk over your lawn. Take note of any dead spots, snow mold or raw patches of earth that need reseeding. Bring a rake with you to clean up dead leaves or break up any thatched areas that may have formed over the winter.

 

 Take care of snow mold

If you find a spot of snow mold and other types of lawn fungus that are common in early spring, take a rake and gently break up the matted grass so it can dry. Oftentimes, this will be enough to dry out the mold and get the grass in the area growing again. However, depending on the extent of the damage, you might have to patch or reseed the area.

 

 Reseed where needed

For the bare spots as well as areas of your lawn that are looking a little thin, overseeding is a great way to return it to its full, lush state. Spread grass seed over the area you want to patch, add some fertilizer and about a half inch of topsoil and gently rake the mixture in with the grass and soil. Thoroughly water these patches every day until the seeds begin to germinate.

 

Plant while it’s still cool

The cooler temperatures in spring are ideal for roots to take hold before the hot summer weather arrives. This is why spring is the best time to seed your lawn. Also, if you’ve been thinking of planting any shrubs or trees, you should do it before it gets too warm.

 

Spring will eventually be here, and taking a few steps can ensure your grass comes back better than ever. (BPT)


 

Innovative new looks for your kitchen renovation

Renovating your kitchen? Think about making updates that will add beauty and functionality to one of the most important rooms in the house. Here are a few innovative new looks and ideas to consider including in your plans.

 

Add geometry

Geometric tile designs can create a bold modernized look in your kitchen, whether you’re adding a backsplash or redoing the flooring. Get creative by adding a mosaic design as trim around the perimeter or as a central point of focus.

 

Create your focal point

Enhance any kitchen with an impressive new range that combines the functionality and green energy features of a modern appliance with the charm of old-world design

 

Get cozy

Create a lounge in your kitchen with some furniture that lets you kick back and relax. A nook that contains a loveseat or couch, along with a small bookshelf and side table, may become your new favorite place to look through cookbooks or read a few pages of a novel while you’re waiting for the dough to rise. If possible, create this area in a sunlit corner of the kitchen that’s convenient to where the main cooking action takes place, so that those giving the chef a little company will have a comfortable place to sit and chat with their host.

Innovative new looks for your kitchen can transform the space into one that’s more functional and beautiful. (StatePoint)


 

6 home décor trends to make a style statement

Is your home décor starting to feel a bit stale? Spruce up your interiors with some of the hottest home design trends for 2018 — from customized cozy to natural textures to retro touches.

Here are some stylish ways to incorporate new trends, from interior designers, Taniya Nayak.

 

Create an oasis.

Make your home a tropical escape all year long. Add floral or banana leaf accents to form a staycation-worthy “at-home paradise” no matter the temperature. Nayak suggests pairing pops of metallic gold with plush greens and crisp white to build a look that is sophisticated, yet fun and exotic.

 

Keep it simple

 In 2018, Nayak encourages DIYers to “go big or go home … in the simplest way imaginable.” An easy way to accomplish this is to paint your baseboards, trim or window mullions a dramatic contrasting color, like black against a white wall, for an effortless, yet powerful effect. And when it comes to achieving clean, sharp paint lines, one of Nayak’s vital, go-to tools is a premium painter’s tape.

 

Incorporate natural touches

This trend is all about nature’s textures — think wood grain, geodes or ocean waves. One way to incorporate this look is to combine earthy tones like browns, beiges and deep blues with vibrant neon colors to generate the effect of the northern lights around the home.

 

Get back to the future

Give what’s old a modern, futuristic update to achieve this trend. Try painting a vintage chair with a pop of color. This creates an eye-catching masterpiece that seamlessly integrates into both retro and modern home décor. Introducing bright colors to antiques produces a beautiful new spin on a classic look.

 

Design it with love

What’s “in” in home design this year? Creating warm and cozy spaces that are customized just for you. This is the true essence of DIY. Painting an accent wall in a pastel color, like lavender, will set a relaxed and comforting tone in the room. From there, add personal pieces like a soft woven blanket, a macramé wall hanging or ivory plates on a wall to transform any room to “your” room.

 

Embrace New England prep

 This style embraces the timeless combination of crisp white linens and navy blues, but what really gives a room an authentic New England vibe is the addition of camel-colored leather décor accents. Nayak recommends adding monogrammed pillows to a leather accent chair, or whitewashing your brick fireplace to create a look that never goes out of style. (StatePoint)


 

 

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