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Lawn Mowing Tips

Regular grass cutting is one of the easiest ways to keep your lawn looking its best. Regular mowing keeps grass healthy and prevents weeds from having a chance to grow.

How Much to Cut
One of the biggest mistakes homeowners make is cutting their grass too short. Letting the grass stay a bit high allows the grass develop a deep root system and prevent weeds from invading. Cutting grass too low can also make it more susceptible to drought and insects. The rule of thumb is to cut no more than a third of the grass each time you cut. Set your mower to cut the grass at 3 inches high.

How Often to Cut
Cut your grass once it reaches 4.5 inches. Some grasses grow at faster rates than others. Use this chart as a guide:

Common Bermudagrass, Hybrid Bermudagrass: 3-7 Days

Kentucky Bluegrass, St. Augustine Grass, Texas Bluegrass (Reville), Zoysia Matrella (Fine bladed Zoysia): 5-7 Days

Zoysia Japonica or Coarse-Bladed Zoysia: 7-10 Days

Buffalograss, Centipedegrass, Tall Fescue: 7-14 Days

Mowing Tips:

* Only mow dry grass
* Cut the grass in a different direction each time you mow. Changing directions makes an even cut..
* Maintain your lawn mower for efficient mowing. Sharpen blades and change the oil as necessary.

Mowing Safety
Mowing is a dangerous activity. Ensure the safety of yourself and your family by following some of these important safety tips:

* Keep children and pets out of the yard while mowing.
* Remove sticks and debris from the lawn before mowing.
* Clothes: Wear sturdy and closed toe shoes with non-slip soles. Wear eye protection.
* Read the operating manual for your mower and understand the safety features.
* Do not cut the lawn in the rain or when there is lightening.
* Never allow young children to ride a mower alone.
* Be smart and use common sense when mowing.


Professional Landscaping Services Yield Long-Term Benefits

Employing the services of a professional landscaping designer can result in several long-term benefits for you and your family. Professional landscaping designers are experts in their field. Landscaping is not a simple matter of heading to the nearest garden supply store and buying whatever "looks good" and placing the plants whimsically around your property.

Landscape design, plant selection and placement is a science that requires the services of a landscaping designer who understands the regional soil composition, climate and dozens of other considerations that only a professional landscape designer would be aware of. Obviously, a Minneapolis landscaping design would be significantly different from one better suited to Oahu or the Mojave Desert. Most home owners simply do not have the skills or knowledge necessary to make the most out of a landscape design.

Landscaping Services Increase Home Values

Your landscape designer will consider many factors: slope, sun exposure, erosion, maintenance costs and rainfall are just a few factors of selecting and placing plants. The expert knowledge incorporated into landscape design creates a project that results in increased home values and decreased utility bills. The basic rule of thumb for landscape investments is 5% of the home's value is spent on landscaping services, resulting in a 15% increase in home value. In other words, the owner of a $200,000 home would spend $10,000 and increase the value of the home by $30,000, for a net profit of $20,000, or, pout another way, a 200% return on a landscape design investment.

Patio improvements tend to increase a home's value by 12-14%. Mature trees are valued at $1,000 to $10,000, depending upon type, age and size. Simply landscaping the curb area of your property can increase the value of your home by over 4% and hedges result in a 3.6% increase. As these plantings mature, their value increases. In addition to increasing the value of your home, correctly placed trees can reduce your utility bills by 20% and cut air conditioning costs by 50%.

Landscape Design Reaps Environmental Benefits

Properly placed and well-maintained landscape buffers prevent erosion, reduce the flow of pollutants into nearby bodies of water and will provide shelter for both the home and local bird populations. While not everyone cares to provide bird feeders, it is important to note that birds consume large numbers of bothersome and potentially dangerous insects, making the time you spend outside more pleasant. A single, mature tree will purify 26 pounds of carbon dioxide from the air you breathe each year, as well as block up to 50% of the noise from nearby streets, highways and neighbors. Trees also minimize storm damage and provide shade to the home, reducing energy demands, all from a professional landscape design.

Health, Wealth And Happiness

Not only do home owners garner environmental and financial gains by using a professional landscaping service, but they can also enjoy their property more. Imagine never having to mow the lawn or rake the leaves ever again. No more bagging leaves, pulling weeds or thatching the lawn. Instead, home owners are free to entertain guests, host yard parties and allow their children to play in an environmentally sound and aesthetically pleasing atmosphere. When your yard is improved by the efforts of a professional landscape designer, you will find you spend more time outside, out in the sun, breathing fresh air and getting more exercise.

Research has shown that people with natural surroundings, such as trees and flowers, experience far less job stress and that they experience more job satisfaction. Frustration, anger, headaches and other illnesses are reduced simply by being around beautiful plants. With this improved outlook and a beautiful yard, you are more likely to enjoy the further benefits of casual social interactions, cementing family relationships and more frequent physical activity. You simply can't lose with a professional landscaping service for your home.


Will a Backyard Storage Shed Improve the Resale Value of Your Home?

If you invest in a metal storage shed at one time or another and then you decide to sell your home, does your shed add to the resale value of your home? This is a question that looms on the minds of many homeowners who make such important investments throughout the ownership of a home. Sometimes homeowners choose to take their metal storage shed with them when they move. That's if it is easy to move. Other times they decide to include it with the home, especially if moving it is going to be a daunting task. But does it add value if you decide to leave it there?

As far as monetary value, it does add some money to the resale value of your home. It could also be that factor that helps make up the mind of an individual who is trying to decide between your home and another home. People love the idea of having somewhere to store their belongings that they don't use or won't fit in the home. So you're probably going to be a shoe in if you have that extra storage space and the other home does not.

Other advantages

If your metal storage shed happens to be garage size, that is another advantage. If there is not a garage on or next to the home, an individual may choose to turn the shed into a garage for their car. Otherwise the metal storage shed is going to be an excellent place to store outdoor furniture and toys in the winter, to store the kids' bicycles, to store lawn equipment, and other outside tools such as gardening tools. Homebuyers like the idea of their outdoor items being protected within a metal storage building instead of on the back porch. First of all, all of these items on the back porch can be an eyesore. Second of all, items that are left out in the open are invitations for thieves to come onto the property and steal these items. This means that the metal storage shed is going to keep them from having to replace their outdoor items due to theft or damage from the elements.

There are just so many uses for a metal storage shed. Other individuals may find that the shed makes a great workshop for building projects or that it serves as a great place to store summer clothes during the winter and vice versa. There are so many uses for a metal storage shed that a person's mind goes into overdrive when they see one. They begin thinking about what they can place in it or what they can use it for. Some people have always wanted a space that they could call their own and that metal storage shed could be it.

A great investment

Because your metal storage shed adds to the resale value of your home, that is further proof that investing in a shed is certainly worth the money. It helps you out while living in your home and helps you out again when you are selling it. Then again, it continues to serve those people who move into your home after you sell it to them. That just proves how durable a metal storage shed can be and they are also attractive, so that is another selling point when you put your home on the market. It looks strong, it is strong, and it is going to stay strong no matter how many people decide to move in and out of that home.


Best Fathers Day Gifts - Fiskars 7067 Garden Tool Set

Brief Overview Of The Garden Tool Set

The Fiskars 7067 3-Piece Softouch Garden Tool Set includes a trowel, cultivator, and transplanter, which makes it excellent for outdoor, patio and indoor gardening use.

These tools are made of single-piece aluminum that makes it rust-resistant. Hence, the tools are light and are great for any gardening tasks. Plus, the handles are comfortable, have a secure grip and are designed ergonomically so that your wrists are at a neutral position when using the tools.

Also, not forgetting the fact that each of these tools in the Fiskars 7067 garden tool set also have hanging holes so you can store them easily in the garage.

Customers' Feedback About This Fiskars 7067 3-Piece Softouch Garden Tool Set

A huge majority of the customers have given this Fiskars 7067 garden tool set a big thumbs up - Citing reasons such as the fact that these tools are very rugged, and that they are covered by lifetime warranty by Fiskars, as reasons why they are extremely satisfied with their purchase.

Plus, they have also commented that the handles of each of these tools were built in such a way that it not cause any hurt to their hands from gardening (unlike many of the other gardening tools they have used before).

And finally, in terms of its cost, many agree that this gardening tool set is priced at a very reasonable price (it currently cost just $13.99 on Amazon.com with free shipping at this time of writing) and they said that it is money very well-spent.

Our Final Verdict

If your dad is those who loves gardening, then this Fiskars 7067 3-Piece Softouch Garden Tool Set will definitely make an excellent gift for your dad this Father's Day.

These tools will be a great addition or replacement to his gardening tools and he will certainly be delighted to receive this gift. The tools are light but still strong, and thus can help relive the strain on his hands while gardening. Your dad will definitely love gardening with these tools by Fiskars as they are comfortable yet sturdy.

Furthermore, the garden tool set is priced really affordably (as mentioned earlier it cost just $13.99 on Amazon.com with free shipping at this time of writing) so it is great if you are on a budget but still want to get something useful for your dad who loves gardening. These tools also come with a lifetime warranty so your dad need not worry that the tools will break easily.

Therefore, if your dad loves gardening, make him happy by giving him the Fiskars 7067 3-piece garden tool set on Father's Day.


Understanding the Vocabulary of Pressure Washers

If you are looking at pressure washers, but are new to the market, some of the terminology may also be new to you. Understanding what those terms mean can make shopping around a whole lot easier, then you know what you are looking at instead of reading a box and wondering. Let's take a look at some common terms that are used in identifying different features of pressure washers.

Adjustable pressure regulator - this regulator allows the user to vary the pressure of the spray.

Adjustable spray / multi-reg nozzle - a multi-reg nozzle allows you to adjust the angle of the spray with a turn of the tip. These nozzles also allow for the low pressure application of chemical and cleaning solutions.

Axial cam - these types of pressure washers uses a cam to transform the rotary motion of the motor into the reciprocating motion of the pump's pistons. An axial cam system has fewer parts than other systems so are normally less expensive.

Belt drive system - a belt driven system uses pulleys and belts to slow the speed of the pump. This type of system allows for a longer pump life, but some efficiency is lost due to the additional friction caused by the belts and pulleys. There is also additional maintenance in keeping them belts adjusted.

Ceramic vs. non-ceramic plungers - the plunger is a primary part that moves back and forth between the rubber seals to create the flow and pressure of the system. Industrial grade pressure washers use ceramic plungers because they are very smooth, extending the life of the seals so they do not wear out.

Chemical injector - this allows chemicals or soap to be injected into the water stream, resulting in faster and easier cleaning. Without a chemical injector, the user must switch to a special soap nozzle.

Direct drive - in these types of pressure washers, the pump is connected directly to the engine. The pump and engine spin at the same speed. This system is very simple, having few moving parts which makes it less expensive. However, the disadvantage is that the bearings get more wear and tear which reduces the life span of the pump.

EZ start adjustable unloader - this eliminates the pressure in the pump when you start it up, it makes pressure washers easier to start and causes less damage to the starter motor.

Gearbox pumps - these types of pressure washers have a gear reduction box between the motor and the pump, so they run at about half the speed of direct drive pumps. WIth less need to replace the seals and valve as often, there are less maintenance expenses.

GFCI - this only applies to electric pressure washers, it stands for Ground Fault Current Interrupter which protects the user from accidental electrocution.

GPM - stands for Gallons Per Minute which is part of the measure of the power of the washer. The great the GPM, the faster and more powerful the cleaning capacity of the unit.

This is just the first part of the helpful vocabulary when shopping for a pressure washer. There are many other terms about pressure washers, and we will take a look at more of them next time.


Prepping Your Lawn Mower for the Summer

Your lawnmower is an investment that will keep your lawn turning heads--as long as you take care of the engine. Proper lawnmower care is crucial to for smooth performance. The changing seasons require certain precautions to properly store the lawn mower while it is not in use. Here are six steps you should take to protect your lawn mower throughout the year:

1. Check the Battery
Recharge the battery throughout the off-season starting the engine from time to time or simply attach the battery to a charger.

2. Check the Fuel
All engines can be damaged by old or deteriorated fuel. In as little as just one month, gasoline can deteriorate damage your lawnmower's small engine by clogging the carburetor, thus preventing the engine from starting properly. The keep your lawnmower's engine clean, add a fuel stabilizer each time you fill the tank.

3. Check the Oil
Just like automotive engines, small engines must undergo regular oil changes. Oil lubricates the engine during use, which prevents premature damage. Before starting the lawn mower in the spring, give it an oil change. This is especially important if you did not change the oil before storing it for the winter.

4. Lubricate Moving Parts
The engine is not the only part of your lawn mower that requires proper lubrication. It is a good idea to keep all moving parts, including the wheels and cables, adequately lubricated with oil or grease. If you still have the owner's manual, check it for details on properly lubricating moving parts.

5. Replace Spark Plugs and Filters
Replacing spark plugs and air filters before the first spring use is an inexpensive way to properly maintain and protect your lawn mower. Do this every year to extend the life of your mower. Replace paper filters, and thoroughly wash and air dry foam filters. Don't forget to change the fuel filter as well.

6. Check the Blades
Every spring, you should have your lawnmower's blades sharpened. Dull blades could damage your lawn and will cause the lawn mower to be less fuel-efficient. A damaged lawn and inefficient mower will also make you work much harder than you need to. It is a good idea to sharpen the lawn mower blades at lease once a month during the peak season.

7. Clean the Deck
A dirty deck can cause your mower to work harder than it should and to burn more fuel. It can also damage your lawn. Cleaning the deck is relatively simple and should be done after each use. Simply turn the mower onto its side, carefully positioning it so that motor oil does not leak into the fuel system. Then scrape or hose off lawn clippings from the deck of the mower. If possible, spray silicone lubricant onto the deck to reduce build up during use. Make sure the mower is completely off before cleaning the deck to avoid injury.

Behind every pristine lawn is careful lawnmower maintenance. In addition to better mower performance, lawnmower maintenance saves money, as a well-lubricated, clean machine is more energy efficient and requires less fuel. As long as you follow these simple tips when preparing your lawn mower for the spring and summer, you should enjoy a good working mower for many years to come.

~Ben Anton, 2009


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