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It’s Time to Improve your Garden

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Been waiting for that right opportunity to improve your home? Are you missing that combination of extra time, right tools, and willing planters? This summer, schoolʼs out, gardening is in, and the right solution to your home improvement needs is closer than you think!

You can now improve your garden while spending quality time with your family and teaching your kids the essential tools they need to plant the earth. Miracle-Gro is helping those parents who see nature as an important educational tool, by providing you the expert tips to help your garden blossom.

With the right guidance, your kids will toss those video games in no time. And you too can gain valuable, lifelong experience from Miracle-Groʼs tips. Company spokesman William Moss, a former teacher in Chicago public schools, attests to how much kids enjoy learning in nature, leading to better cultivation.

From growing vegetable gardens, to small herbs, Mossʼ three simple, effective tips are helpful for any level of gardener. Choose a lightweight, nutrient-rich soil, a selection of which is readily available from Miracle-Gro. Feed your plants often, and make sure towater them daily.

So what are you waiting for? Get outside!

Fridge-Buying Guide: The Basics

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You have decided to splash out on a new refrigerator. Perhaps your old one has malfunctioned, isn’t big enough, or maybe you’ve moved home and the old one doesn’t fit. Here’s a handy guide to help you decide what you should be looking for.

Probably the most important thing is to decide where you are going to place your fridge. Then measure that space where it is going to stand, height, width and depth. Then knock off a few inches to allow air to circulate behind and above the fridge. That’s the size of fridge you should be looking for. Even the best fridge in the world is useless if it doesn’t fit in the space you have allocated it!

Almost as important: doors. Where do you want the hinge- left or right-hand side? Is there enough room for the door to open wide enough for you to get at the contents in the door? Have the door put on the way you want it before it’s delivered.

Next up what type of fridge do you want- a pure and simple fridge with no freezer compartment? (maybe you have a chest freezer somewhere outside of the kitchen)

Or maybe you like refrigerators with the freezer on the top, with a separate door. If you will be going to the freezer quite a lot, then it’s an advantage to have it at eye level or thereabouts, so you don’t have to bend or crouch to get at freezer produce.

If you aren’t going to use a freezer much, than have it in the lower part of the appliance. You won’t be bending that often.

A quick word about shelves, trays and baskets inside the fridge. Flexibility is the watchword here. Have glass fridge shelves (easier to clean) that can be slotted into a variety of different positions to suit you. You don’t want to be caught out when you have a party and want to put lots of wine and bottles of beer in the fridge, but the shelves are all fixed, with only one tall enough to accommodate opened white wine bottles.

There are also side by side appliances that have a fridge on one side and a freezer on the other. The shelves are likely to be narrow, so storing larger items could be a problem.

Here on the right is a luxury side-by-side frost-free fridge from Panasonic with a host of features- the NRB53V1XB.

Finally colour. Yep, fridges come in many designs and colours these days, not just boring old ice-white. However that outrageous pink and cerise fridge may have looked nice when you had a similarly trendy/bohemian kitchen- but now you have an all-white kitchen, it stands out like a sore thumb. Probably better to get a white one and then have a fridge transfer laid over the front to give your fridge a personality and vibrancy, but one that you don’t have to keep forever!

So armed with these basic requirements, you can then start to look at other things, such as price, efficiency, and any add-ons it may have, like a built in cold water/ice dispenser.

For more information on fridges, please visit this website: http://slimlinefridgefreezers.com/

Simple ways to improve your garden

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No matter how small it is, a garden can be a great place to spend time. There are a number of ways of improving your garden some of which will be cheap and others which will be somewhat more expensive, but all of which will help to make your garden a more pleasant place for you and your family to enjoy.

Soil

If you want your garden to be a riot of colourful blossoms or a source of healthy vegetables, good fertile soil is vital. This doesn’t cost much, but it may be hard work depending on the current state of your garden. You may need to do a considerable amount of weeding, or remove topsoil that is hiding rubble to create a larger planting area.

Start by digging out the weeds, as well as any tired old shrubs. Once you have done this dig in lots of well rotted organic matter such as garden compost or horse manure, and then apply an organic fertiliser such as bone, blood, and fishmeal – usually about one handful per square metre. Preferably this should be done during the winter, but if you didn’t get around to it you can still apply the fertiliser before planting in the spring. If there are already plants in the beds, apply mulch.

When choosing your plants remember to consider the type of soil you have and the area in which the plant will be placed. Some plants like shady locations whilst others prefer sunnier conditions. When planting, always ensure the holes are large enough for the plants, and remember to water the new plantings frequently. You don’t, however, want to water them too frequently. Installing a flow meter device will measure exactly just how much water you’re using. It’s a no brainer for avid gardeners.

Lawn


You can improve the condition of your lawn in a number of ways including using natural lawn fertilisers, aerating by punching holes in the lawn at least three inches deep, watering deeply but less often, and cutting your grass to the correct height.

In some circumstances artificial grass can be an excellent option for improving your garden. Artificial grass is easier to maintain than natural grass, requires no fertiliser or mowing, and if you live in an area that is prone to droughts it will keep its good looks even when there is a hose-pipe ban. Artificial grass really comes into its own when used in high wear and tear areas, roof gardens, splash-back areas of swimming pools, and dog runs since it will not die off and leave unattractive bald patches.

Patios and decking

In warm weather your garden can become a true extension of your house if you install a patio or decking. A patio or deck can be used as an outdoor room, adding extra space to your home, and you can create a wonderful space with tables and chairs, lights, plants in containers, and a BBQ. In sheltered areas, trellises can be erected for grapevines which will provide excellent shade and create a glorious feeling of the Mediterranean; mixing in some scented plants such as jasmine or perfumed roses is also an excellent idea. Designs for large gardens can also include water features, play-areas for children, and rockeries.

Other ideas

Small gardens can also be fantastic; container gardening is a great way of adding colour or creating a source of tasty herbs for the kitchen. Wooden barrels, planter boxes, and hanging baskets can all be used; a number of plants such as pansies, snapdragons, tomatoes, and herbs are perfectly happy in small containers provided a good planting medium is used which will drain well, but still retain adequate moisture.

HGTV Design Star 2012

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Home improvement has never been as easy, or as fun! HGTV Design Star 2012, is back for another exciting season, and is bound to inspire and give you great ideas. Host David Bromstad teams up with celebrity judges and other HGTV hosts as they set out to find the next great design star, showing off and exhibiting great spaces all in the
process.


This yearʼs celebrity judges know a thing or two about home design. Beloved TV personality Daisy Fuentes has had great success with sales of home decor items. Multiplatinum recording artist Vanilla Ice is a home remodeling expert on the DIY Network. These stars – along with CSIʼs Marg Helgenberger, Kardashian mom Kris Jenner and Entertainment Tonightʼs Mark Steines – will look for creative exhibitions, practical designs, and everything in between.


What better way to to learn how to improve your home than by studying designers from all over the country who bring their own style and flavor to large-scale design? This yearʼs competition, from New York to California, from Texas to Minnesota, will make you feel like tuning in is both entertainment and an education. HGTV Design Star premieres May 29, at 9 p.m.

How you can renovate your patio

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A patio space is great for any home, offering you a place to relax when there’s sunny weather, spark up the barbeque and sit out to enjoy your garden. Having a patio area does not only offer an entertainment space for the family, but can also increase the value of your home and the interest from potential buyers if you put the property on the market. And, if your patio is looking a little tired, there are a number of ways that you can spruce it up for the coming summer.

 

1. Sweep and clear

Firstly, the weather can take its toll on patios of even the highest quality. It’s therefore important to take time to repair damage at the beginning of each year to ensure that faults are fixed as quickly as possible, and do not worsen. Giving your patio a sweep with a stiff brush is important to remove debris that may have penetrated the cracks, or moss, which may have started to grow, instantly making any area look better.

 

2. Re-grout

Mortar can crumble during the winter as frost works its way into the material. Taking the time to dig out and replace grout is advised and will instantly improve the look of a patio, providing a clean and fresh look.

3. Use a pressure washer

Utilising a pressure washer or scrubbing the area with a brush can also make a huge difference to your patio’s appeal, and a simple clean and tidy can quickly make any area appear almost as good as new.

 

4. Adding garden furniture

You can also renovate your patio by incorporating garden furniture, adding extra elements to the design to bring the entire concept of an outdoor living space together. The size of the space and what you want to use the patio for will determine what kinds of garden furniture you should buy.

5. Create an intimate nook

A small deck where you want to simply sit with a morning coffee and read the paper can benefit hugely from a two-seater table and chairs, offering a sense of seclusion and intimacy.

6. Create an entertaining space

If you want to entertain guests, then you can indulge yourself and buy a large outside dining set, lounge chairs or even a patio sofa set which will allow guests to enjoy your outside space on warm summer evenings.

7. Add pot plants

There’s nothing better for bringing a patio to life than by adding some pot plants. A patio area should be full of garden life to help incorporate it into a luscious garden setting. By bringing some flowers and colourful foliage onto your patio, it’ll be even more appealing to both look at and indulge in.

 

8. Add lighting

Adding lights to your patio will ensure that you can use it long into the summer nights. You can use candles, solar lights or even electric illuminations to create a great atmosphere to light your patio space whatever the weather.

What flooring would you have in your bathroom?

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When it comes to bathroom flooring, the first thing that comes to mind is often ceramic tiles. However, there are many options that are just as suitable, and can help to finish off a unique bathroom with just the look you are aiming for. Carpet One floor covering has a great range of flooring available.

Ceramic Tiling

Ceramic tiles are a popular choice for bathrooms and there are a huge variety of different tiles available, in different sizes, shapes, colors and finishes. Ceramic flooring is a particularly good choice as it resists moisture well. However, for this reason it can be quite slippery when wet, so it is a good idea to put a good quality bath mat down when your feet are wet.  These tiles also lend themselves very well to use with an under-floor heating system.

Vinyl

Another popular choice for bathroom flooring is vinyl (tiles or sheet). Vinyl flooring is easy to fit in any bathroom as it can easily be cut to exactly the right shape, and there are plenty of designs available to complement the color scheme of your new bathroom, including those that look like tiles or wood. Vinyl is an economical choice and is also warmer under foot than ceramic, making it ideal for stepping onto when barefoot.  Different textures of vinyl carry different slip or trip risks – the smoother the vinyl, the more likely a slip or trip as it has less grip; a non-slip bath mat may be needed.

Carpet

Carpet is the warmest and the most comfortable to stand on choice for bathroom flooring, although it doesn’t usually last as long as other types of flooring due to the fact that water and carpet do not mix well. There are plenty of colors and patterns available to suit your style and budget, and like vinyl, carpet can quickly and easily be cut to the right size. It is also easy to remove and replace if you change your color scheme or your taste in the future. If installed properly carpet is probably the least likely floor covering to cause slips or trips.

Hardwood

Hardwood is an elegant and upmarket choice to finish off your new high-quality bathroom, although it is quite costly. Different woods are available with different grains and colors to finish off the look you are aiming for. Hardwood is warm under foot but can be damaged over time by moisture. It can be slippery when wet, especially when it has a high gloss finish. A good quality, grippy bath mat can reduce the risk of slips and trips.

Laminate

Laminate flooring creates a clean, polished look similar to hardwood with a lower price tag. It is relatively simple to put together even if you don’t have carpentry experience, as many varieties are ‘clip together’ and can be cut to size using basic tools. Like hardwood, laminate can become slippery when wet – again, a bath mat may be needed.

Stone

Another upmarket finish is natural stone flooring, which looks especially good in a natural colored bathroom, and is not damaged by water. However stone can be cold underfoot and also slippery when wet, therefore a bath mat is likely to be needed for wet feet. It is also one of the most expensive options.

Home Renovation Mortgage- Your dream home is just one step away

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Home is the largest investment, one could ever think of and the process can be intimidating, if you don’t comprehend the mortgage industry well. With the real estate market going down, a number of homeowners are selling off their homes in order to eke out maximum profits. You can take advantage of this opportunity and can buy a new house at a reasonable price. However if you exhaust all your savings in the purchase of this new house and set aside nothing for future home maintenance and repair costs, you will face trouble in future. The situation could worsen further, if the home, you have purchased remained deserted for a prolonged period of time and now need immediate renovation. Ideally, before buying a home, one should stay prepared not only to make the down payment, but also to invest more on the maintaining the property and keeping it up to code. This is where renovation home mortgage comes into picture. It can come to your rescue in tough times and can help you pay for the required redecorations.

Function of renovation mortgage

Few people know the fact that renovation mortgage can help you cover both the expenses of buying a home and the estimated cost of house repair within a single loan. In order to qualify for a renovation mortgage, you need to have a robust credit rating, an adequate amount of down payment and a steady income flow, which will help you ensure that you are able to repay the loan in full in future.

How to obtain Renovation mortgage

You can get the renovation mortgage loan from your same old mortgage lenders. You can approach several commercial banks for the mortgage renovation loan. A mortgage broker can help you to make the final choice in this regard. In fact federal government can lend you home renovation mortgages through the Department of Housing and Urban Development as well. However, remember, these Government aided renovation mortgages are only for those, who need help for their family residence. Those who need money for large commercial or rental properties won’t be benefited by Government-supported renovation mortgages.

Advantages of renovation mortgage

First and foremost, borrowing a renovation mortgage can make the entire process much easier and convenient, as here you obtain one loan to pay for both home buying and repairs both at a time. Those who can’t take advantage of renovation mortgage have to look for a second mortgage to fund the renovations.

How to make the most use of it

Last nut not the least, renovation-mortgage fund could be used for any home improvement purpose. For example, you can use it to make essential enhancement like to build a new roof, electrical plumbing or foundation building. In fact you could use the money to back up energy efficiency, set up more wadding and energy-saving electrical devices as well. Finally, you can employ the renovation-mortgage fund to make the home look more stylish through landscaping, siding and lighting.

Are you ready for a lawn care revolution?

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Isn’t it about time your lawn looked its most beautiful without the hassle and guesswork of traditional lawn care systems?  Scotts thinks so, which is why it has developed the Snap Spreader System for beautiful lawns.

The Scotts Snap Spreader is the perfect solution for any homeowner who is frustrated with the old way of doing lawn care.  Custom-designed to go with the Scotts Snap Pac lawn care products, the Snap Spreader will make you wonder how you ever put up with the wasteful system you are using now.

The Snap Spreader is easy for anyone to use.  Simply snap the Scotts Snap Pac into the Spreader and lock in place with the lever.  The innovative Snap Spreader design automatically sets the flow so you do not have to guess about how much product your lawn needs.  After treating your lawn, the Snap Pac will automatically seal itself, eliminating the wasteful spillage from old systems.

Scotts designed the Snap Spreader System to minimize waste at every stage of lawn care.  No hassle or waste loading the feeder.  No hassle or waste guessing how much product your lawn needs.  No hassle or waste storing the product.

So … are you ready for a lawn care revolution?  Experience the Scotts Snap Spreader System and see what the buzz is about.

Saving for that first mortgage

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Purchasing a home, particularly the first one, is an enormous undertaking that requires a great deal of advance financial planning.  This is not always obvious to those who have yet to enter the housing market.  Such potential purchasers may only think of a mortgage in respect of the monthly payments they must be able to meet.  However, being able to qualify for that first mortgage will also require a hefty down payment.

In the years prior to the present worldwide economic crisis, down payment requirements tended to be considerably smaller than now and the interest rates on the loans were higher.  The reverse is now true.  In addition, the steep decline in house prices since 2007 has made many banks much more cautious about lending.  Because the lending institutions are concerned that the housing market has not yet stabilized, they have increased the level of their deposit requirements.  By asking borrowers to initially contribute more money, banks have increased confidence that homeowners will not simply abandon their mortgage if the economic situation worsens, because they will own some equity in their home.

These higher down payment requirements – typically 20% of the purchase price of the house – mean that most prospective buyers must save tens of thousands of dollars in order to qualify for a mortgage.  Accomplishing this will require a real effort, but it can be done.

How to save money

A first step to saving money toward a deposit is to find ways to cut your expenses.  Most financial planners recommend that you track your spending carefully for at least a month. This will allow you to understand how your income is currently being distributed across various expense categories, such as rent, food, clothing, entertainment, and job-related expenses.

Accumulating enough cash for a down payment can be a challenge that may require some sacrifices.  Most entertainment expenditure that was previously regarded as normal will have to be cut dramatically.   One of the simplest steps to take is to eat out less often – a similar meal can often be prepared at home for a fraction of the cost.  It will also be necessary to eliminate the use of unnecessary goods and services.  Few people truly need both a landline and a cell phone.  Similarly, many people with an unlimited cell phone plan only use 200 minutes per month.  Examine your spending to see what kinds of items can be cut out.

The single biggest monthly expense for most Americans is rent, which means in turn that housing expenses are a potential source of significant savings for those willing to adjust their way of living.  A person paying $1000 per month for a major city apartment can free up $500 per month for savings merely by taking in a roommate – a strategy that will also result in shared utility bills.  Young adults are also living with their parents for longer periods of time before they set out on their own, so that they can save toward a down payment.

Those that are unwilling to share their living space or to return to the family home can probably still trim their rent expenses by moving to a less expensive apartment.  Be careful, however, to evaluate how a longer commuting distance to work may impact your overall budget.  There is no sense, after all, in saving $50 off your rent only to pay $75 more in transportation expenses.

Other ways to save money toward a deposit may not produce huge sums each month, but every little bit will help.  Economize as much as possible by shopping in second-hand stores more often, or by comparison shopping online.

Types of savings accounts

You should also compare the savings products at banks and other financial institutions to determine the best place to open your account.  Ideally, a savings account should be more than merely a place to deposit money toward your goal.  To ensure that you can reach your target sum as soon as possible it should also be an efficient investment vehicle that will help your money to grow.

Most banks offer consumers two kinds of savings accounts.  The first, known variously as a basic, passbook or traditional account, usually has a very low minimum balance requirement and allows you to withdraw your funds as needed.  These accounts generally carry modest interest rates.

The second kind of account is a money market account.  These generally require a significant minimum balance and may also limit your withdrawals to some degree.  In return, they pay interest at money market rates.  These higher interest rates will obviously help your money grow more quickly.

Many savers begin with a traditional savings account but fail to realize that as their balance grows, more options become available.  As soon as you can meet the minimum balance requirements for a money market account, you should consider whether moving your funds will help you to more quickly achieve your ultimate goal: home ownership.

3 Benefits of Eating Belvita Breakfast Biscuits in the Morning

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These days, most people do not have the time to grab a breakfast in the morning. And when they do, the breakfast tends to be junk foods like cholesterol filled sandwiches, grabbed and eaten while standing. And they wonder why they’re lack so much energy by mid-morning. Instead, you should take belvita breakfast biscuits. The benefits are huge. They include:

  1. 1.       Abundant Energy Throughout the Morning

If there’s one thing we all want, it is to have boundless energy all morning while we’re at our best mentally and physically. With belvita breakfast biscuits, you can never go wrong. Specially produced to slowly and gradually release energy, a pack of four biscuits with some fruit and tea or yoghurt will carry you throughout the morning.

  1. 2.       Rich in Fiber and Vitamins

Belvita breakfast biscuits are filled with fiber and vitamins. Fiber keeps you full because it digests slowly and the vitamins help keep your brain active. With this combination, you can be sure that you won’t be needing more junk food or coffee fixes all morning.

  1. 3.       Generally improved Health

Since breakfast is necessary for great health and even weight distribution, eating a healthy pack belvita breakfast biscuit helps you improve your health generally. With it, you’ll have less need for junk food, thus keeping your weight in check.