Landscaping can be a rewarding activity for homeowners. Not only do you get some exercise, but you can also enjoy enhancing the appearance of your home. But outdoor work comes with hazards. By following some basic landscaping safety rules, you can ensure that the time spent gardening, mowing and doing other landscaping tasks will be safe and satisfying.
Scope Out The Land
Begin your safety survey by examining all natural aspects of your property to see where potential hazards lurk. Be especially watchful for dangerous pests, such as bees or wasps, which can have nests in trees, under eaves and even in the ground on which you walk. Their stings can be quite painful and, for some people, cause severe allergic reactions.
Poisonous plants may cause gastrointestinal distress, skin rashes and even death. You should also look for tree roots that disrupt the evenness of the land and could cause accidental tripping. Know about all flowers and bushes in your garden and thoroughly research new plants before adding them to the landscape.
Tools Are Not Toys
Lawn mowers, weed trimmers, edgers and pruning shears are tools you can use to beautify your land. But they can be dangerous. To reduce the chance of injury, be sure to follow the instructions in each tool’s operation manual.
Always use proper safety equipment to protect your health. Safety eyewear is necessary to avoid eye injuries that could occur from handling sharp tools or chemical pesticides. When spraying chemicals, wear clothing that will reduce skin exposure and a protective mask to prevent inhalation. To avoid insect stings and bites, wear insect repellent. Wear gloves to protect your hands from the toxicity of poisonous plants and scratches from thorns and bristles.
Safe Landscaping Is For Everyone
A crucial aspect of safe landscaping is maintaining a secure area for children and pets. Never leave children or pets unattended in the garden, especially when you are working with tools or machines. Do not leave lawn equipment out when it is not in use. Keep tools stored it in a locked area and put any keys to machinery out of reach.
Most safe landscaping tips are just good common sense. Sometimes, though, following the rules can seem annoying. All you want to do is get the job done quickly and move on with your busy schedule. Well, hectic happens – but lapses in safety procedures can cause problems that ruin your day. So take the time to be safe when you landscape, and you will have plenty of time to smell the roses.
Spring is here, out with the old and in with the new! Are you looking to revamp your home for the warm and colorful seasons of spring and summer? We’ve gone ahead and listed some simple, yet effective, ways to give your home a warm inviting presence for the approaching months.
Nothing quite says, “springtime” like the presence of flowers. There are many options for introducing florals into your home. Patterns on pillows and drapery can be a wonderful subtle approach.
For a stronger statement, adding a floral chair or even wallpaper to one wall to create an accent wall will add the fresh pizzazz you are looking for.
Hesitant to change any of your large interior pieces? Create a statement piece from a large vase and build your own custom, lavish floral arrangement to fit any color scheme or décor in a room. Another subtle option could be floral paintings or photos. Adding bold colors alongside soft hues will establish a warm, bright and inviting presence.
Modern & Rustic
Home décor trends are heading heavily into the modern and rustic feel. It may seem like an oxymoron, but this is a huge movement for 2016. What is so amazing about this trend is that it can be carried into any room of the house, regardless of the room you are looking to decorate.
Interested in taking a bold step? One product we love is Stikwood. Why do we love it? The application process of this product makes it user friendly and can be applied just about anywhere you envision. The wood adds texture to any area and can create this rustic feel in any room all on its own. It can be applied to a project of any size, small or large. The versatility of this product along with the multitude of design and color schemes available make the design options limitless. See more design inspirations for Stikwood here.
Distressed wood pieces alongside sharp and smooth edges create this unique and timeless interior. Adding silver or gold accents can soften the dominant nature of this distressed look and counter it by including a “new” contrast. Depending on your preferences, a touch of industrial pieces accentuates the vintage aura. Not only does this design style invoke a warm and cozy presence of a summer farmhouse, but you also get a sleek, edgy and modern feel. It is the best of both worlds combined into one.
A great way to reinvigorate your home is to introduce statement pieces. A bold piece can transform a room from drab to fab instantly.
One trend that is in full swing are decorative mirrors. They can be added to any room to give it a little something extra. Try swapping out your traditional bathroom mirror for something with more character.
Light fixtures or chandeliers are another way to enhance your living spaces. They can add a bold look and become a focal point to change the atmosphere of the room. There are many options available ranging from contemporary to modern to rustic. Try adding one above the dining room table or to the entranceway foyer to rejuvenate the area and create an ambiance of your choosing.
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Did you like the suggestions above or do you have any of your own you would like to share? Tell us! Find us on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ and let us know.
Spring is here and the light at the end of this wintery tunnel has begun to shine. It is time to freshen up your home, which has been collecting dust and grime all winter. Some people enjoy this time for a deep cleaning while others, not-so-much. Either way, there are tricks to help you get started on the right foot.
When cleaning your kitchen, circle clockwise around the room. With the stove usually being the most affected with grease and grime, you should clean it last to avoid spreading it around entire kitchen. For your stainless steel appliances, you can use a stainless steel specific cleaner. If that is not readily available to you, white distilled vinegar and mineral oil will work just fine. You will want to rub in the direction of the grain to clean effectively and for a shiny appearance.
Hard water build-up around your faucets? Lay paper towels soaked in white distilled vinegar and let rest for one hour. This will soften the deposits and will make for easier removal.
Is your sink food disposal starting to smell and infiltrate your kitchen? Take a couple lime or lemon rinds and put them down the disposal. Run your disposal with hot water. This will disinfect and leave a fresh citrus scent.
Don’t forget to run your oven on self-clean after you have cleaned up any spills inside. Never run this cycle while you are not home. It is best to do this first thing in the morning to avoid your AC working overtime to compensate for the high temperatures during the heat of day.
The bathroom is often most people’s biggest fear when it comes to cleaning and with good reason. The grout in your bathroom is highly susceptible to harboring bacteria due to its porousness. It is recommended to dip an abrasive brush in undiluted bleach and scrub directly on the grout. Rinse well when finished.
Has your once crystal clear glass shower door turned opaque from what seems like an indestructible film? We know, it is unpleasant and very difficult to remove. Hard-water, dirt and soap scum create this unsightly residue. To remove, a good cook top cleaner should do the trick. To prevent these stains in the future, try using Rain-X. This will allow the water to bead up and fall right off the glass. Reapply every 6 months or so.
Your Washing Machine
The washing machine is frequently overlooked during cleaning rituals. How dirty could it be when it cleans your clothes? Over time laundry soils, soap, and hard water deposits build up and can develop an undesirable odor and bacteria.
For top loading washers, add 4-cups of white distilled vinegar and run the highest and hottest cycle. Mid cycle, pause the wash and allow the hot vinegar water to soak in machine for one hour. After one hour has passed, complete cycle. Begin a new cycle after first one is complete, using 1-cup baking soda instead of the vinegar. Wipe inside of machine after cycles to remove any build up. For front loading washers, select your hottest setting and add 2-cups of white distilled vinegar into detergent dispenser and run a full cycle. Once complete, run another cycle on your hottest setting only this time adding 1/2 – cup baking soda into the drum and run complete cycle. Once complete, wipe down any remaining residue. It is recommended to repeat this process every once every 6 months or so.
Share Your Cleaning Tricks
Never underestimate the power of curb appeal. Spring is a good time to spruce up the landscaping and make your yard more inviting. Plus, you can enjoy the spring weather and fresh air. Let’s look at some recent landscaping trends and homeowner-friendly DIY projects to help your home make a good first impression this spring.
Research Is Key
Before you buy all those beautiful flowers from the store, make sure you do some horticultural analysis to determine which plants are best suited to your landscape. Some plants thrive in the shade; others enjoy full sun much of the day. Another factor to consider is wildlife. Is your neighborhood prone to deer or rabbits? You may have to avoid certain plants so you don’t attract them – or other pests and critters. You don’t want to go a lot of trouble for your garden only to have all your newly planted flowers wither or get eaten.
Texturize Your Terrain
Adding texture to your garden will enhance its dimension and provide a beautiful, woodland feel. Texture also adds a great contrast to soft florals. Try choosing a couple of large boulders (rocks never seem to be singular in nature) and selecting a location a little off the path. An odd number looks best for your outdoor décor. For a natural feel, plant them in the ground as opposed to just sitting them on top. Pro tip: buy your boulders locally. Multiple boulders are extremely heavy and shipping costs can add up very quickly.
Dress It Up
Is your exterior lackluster due to years of neglect? One sure way to liven up your yard is to introduce bright colored ceramic or decorative planter pots. They can be filled with colorful flowers and plants to make the colors pop. Another benefit is that if you later decide on a better spot for them, you can move them relatively easily. Experts advise using varying heights to create a smooth flow and ambiance. Looking for another fun way to add a touch of whimsy to your landscape? Check out this article on making your very own hanging chandelier planter.
Have you recently completed your landscape improvements and feel your yard is looking its best? Don’t let all that hard work go to waste when night falls. Strategically placed lighting can accentuate the best features of your home and create a wonderfully inviting atmosphere in either the front or back yard. You have a number of options when it comes to lighting. Solar-powered lights are so user friendly that you can easily install them yourself. Looking for something more elaborate? Contact a professional for advice and assistance with your lighting installation needs. If you’re looking for something easy, consider string lights or lanterns to give a warm, eclectic feel. They are also a fantastic quick fix if you have guests coming over for the evening.
Tell Us Your Thoughts
Do you have any great landscaping ideas to share? We would love to hear about them! Find us on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+.
Last winter’s snows are a fading memory. The heat of summer is yet to oppress us. Right now, temperatures are moderate, the days are lengthening and the crowds are light. All of which makes spring the perfect season to visit Indiana.
One of the smallest Midwestern states, Indiana offers a diversity of experiences for visitors, from first-timers to locals interested in exploring their own back yard.
We took a look around Hoosier land and found five activities that travelers can enjoy during a short seasonal sojourn.
Take a hike!
Who wouldn’t like to get outside and fill their lungs with fresh Midwestern air? One of the most popular places to lace up one’s athletic shoes is Indiana Dunes State Park. Established in 1925 in Porter County, it offers 2,182 acres of primitive, beautiful and historic Hoosier landscape, including 3 miles of beach along Lake Michigan’s southern shore. Impressive sand dunes tower nearly 200 feet above the great lake.
Hikes range from an easy 3-mile stroll to see spring flowers and ferns to a short (1.5-mile) but rugged trek over three of the highest dunes.
The rolling hills of the Hoosier National Forest offer more than 260 miles of backcountry trails for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding. The best part: it’s located within easy driving distance of Cincinnati, Evansville and Indianapolis,
Rugged hiking trails are the hallmark of Turkey Run State Park, where steep ravines and sandstone gorges showcase 300 million years of history and nature’s effects on the land. Sugar Creek, one of the state’s most popular canoe streams, runs through the park.
Visit Santa – and Lincoln
The town of Santa Claus, known as America’s Christmas hometown, is a delight when the weather warms up. The jolly old elf himself might be working on toys – or he could be riding the roller coasters at Holiday World or cooling off at Splashin’ Safari. At Pioneer Village in nearby Rockport, Abe Lincoln is the star attraction. Re-enactors portray him as both president and in his younger days when he was growing up in Spenser County from 1816-30. Spring Heritage Days, held in late May, feature historic re-enactors, period demonstrations, sheep shearing and other family-friendly fun.
Not all attractions are on the surface. Sometimes your journey takes you down toward the center of the earth.
The Indiana Cave Trail highlights four accessible underground adventures, all between Indianapolis and the Kentucky border. Bluespring Caverns feature a boat tour on a subterranean river. Indiana Caverns, the newest to be opened to visitors, is the state’s longest cave system and part of the 11th-longest system in the nation. Marengo Cave offers easy walking tours, and Squire Boone Caverns was discovered in the 1790s by Daniel Boone’s brother.
Don’t forget your jacket – the temperature is a steady 56 degrees year-round. If you visit all four though, and have your cave passport stamped, you can get a free T-shirt.
Wine, wine, wine
Corn, soybeans and wheat dominate the Indiana agricultural scene, but this versatile state also produces grapes – including the kind used to make wine.
A wealth of wineries dots the state, from the suburban northwestern corner on the shores of Lake Michigan to the scenic forests and rolling fields of the south. They’d all like to pour you a glass of their favorite or newest vintage. Many also offer tours and occasional events, while others have cafes on site.
In the Indianapolis area, you can check out the Indy Wine Trail, an association of seven wineries all within minutes of downtown and all with something different to offer. Have your trail passport stamped at all seven to receive a gift.
Start your engines!
Spring is when the racing world gears up for another season of internal combustion exhilaration and Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the perfect place to explore this high-octane activity.
Start in the museum, a 30,000-square-foot temple to automobiles and auto racing. Its collection includes vehicles from IndyCar, NASCAR, Formula One, Sprint and Midget racing, as well motorcycles and drag racers. And of course, here in the racing capital of the world, you have to satisfy your need for speed! Check out the Angie’s List Grand Prix in mid-May or, for the ultimate in auto excitement, be part of the automotive glory of the Indy 500 over Memorial Day weekend. This year is the 100th running of what many consider the greatest spectacle in racing.
Whether your ideal getaway involves machinery screaming around an oval track or the quiet rustle of a breeze through the leaves, you’ll find that spring is always a great time to visit Indiana, the crossroads of America.