Are you handy? Think you can build a gazebo from scratch? There are plenty of gazebo plans available free in libraries and online. There are also blueprints available for fees ranging from $8 to $200. The more expensive gazebo plans are architectural blueprints, which are much more specific and best suited to the experienced contractor. But a talented home improvement buff can make good use of the less expensive options available.
There are several things to think about before starting to build a gazebo. You will need some basic carpentry tools such as a level and a screw gun. You will also need a compound miter saw or sliding compound miter saw. These machines afford the angular cutting abilities you will need when fashioning the various sections of the gazebo. The sliding version is best for larger pieces of wood.
You can either bolt the gazebo to a concrete slab or pre-existing wood floor, or you can create the gazebo with a built-in floor. In the latter case, you will need to pour one concrete pier for each post. Contact your local building department to find out how deep the concrete piers should be, and whether there are any underground cables you should try to avoid.
Three kinds of woods are commonly used to build outdoor structures: pine, cedar, and redwood. Pine is the softest and easiest to work with, but it decomposes the fastest. Cedar and redwood are harder and more expensive, but age well.
Alternatively, you can build a metal or vinyl gazebo. But unless you have all the heavy machinery for fabricating the parts, you’ll need to buy a gazebo kit. These come in sections for you to assemble using the included hardware. A level and a screw gun are usually all that are needed. You might need help from a buddy, especially for the roof sections.
There are lots of options when it comes to building your own gazebo, and you don’t have to be a carpentry star to get really good results. And just think, when you’re done building your gazebo, you can sit inside it and just enjoy the shade.
While chain link fences are use in some landscapes, most people prefer to make use of wooden fences when building an attractive landscape. This is because wood is a rather versatile material that can be made to look a variety of ways. Installing your own wood fence requires time and energy, but it is often worth it as you can have privacy without detracting from the look of your landscape.
Even if you do not build a very tall fence, a wood fence around your yard can prevent unwanted animals (like dogs) from getting into your yard. But before you begin, there are a few things to know about preparing to build wooden fences.
It is important to know the basic elements of the wooden fence before you get started. These are the elements that almost every fence consists of, and are almost universally necessary to build an attractive and effective fence. You will need posts. These are vertical elements that are placed in the ground. They rise above the ground, of course, and properly set posts are essential for keeping all of the other components in place.
Some posts extend above the top of the fence for decorative purposes and others are only as high as the fence itself. Another important element of support is the rail. Rails act as spanners, connect the posts. They run parallel to the ground and serve as the horizontal support elements.
Almost every fence style makes use of top and bottom rails, and some also utilize middle rails. Finally, panels are required for the successful fence. Sometimes the panels are referred to as boards. There are open fence styles that make no use of panels, but panels of latticework or even just straight boards are the main elements that provide privacy.
Next, you should prepare to install your wood fence. If you would like your installation to go smoothly, you should plan and prepare so that everything is in order before you begin. It is virtually impossible to complete a landscape project without any hiccups, but with a little advance planning you should be able to take care of things in a relatively smooth manner.
The first thing you need to do is check with your local zoning or building board to find out the height or design restrictions. Additionally, chances are that you will need a building permit before you begin. You also want to make sure that the fence you build will be within the borders of your own property. If you need to have a survey beforehand to satisfy the neighbors, do so, as this can save you legal fees down the road if the neighbor decides to sue.
Another thing of paramount importance is to find out from the local utility companies where the underground gas, electric, and power lines are located. Additionally, check with the phone and cable companies regarding possible underground lines they may have. It can be dangerous to damage such lines, and if you do so, you are responsible for the costs associated with repairing the damage.
Be sure that you have a plan for your fence, based upon the preparation discussed above. Know where you are going to place your posts beforehand, and have an idea of how high you want your fences. You should also have an idea of how deep your postholes will be. If you have properly planned your fence, then you will be able to complete it that much faster.
Also, make sure you have all of the necessary tools on hand. These tools include a posthole auger, a shovel and a wheelbarrow (to mix concrete), a hammer and a punch, a power saw, a level, mason’s line, and a carpenter’s square. Many of these tools need not be purchased; it is possible to rent them for a reasonable price (especially the posthole auger, which many people do not own).
Once you have everything in place, you are ready to build a fence. Follow the plan carefully, and try to stick to your budget. When you have everything properly prepared beforehand, you will be surprised to realize how fast the work goes, and how good your fence looks as part of your landscape.
If you own a house, at some point the need for extra storage space soon becomes evident. Arguably the most common solution is to purchase a storage shed. There are hundreds of styles and options available, but taking the time review these 5 key steps will enable you to make a smarter decision.
1. What is the primary function of the shed? In most cases, storage space is the key requirement, so figure out how much space is needed. A small 4’ x 8’ lean-to style provides sufficient space for small tools, but larger items do require more space. I strongly recommend choosing the largest size that you can afford, which still blends in with your landscape. Remember that most municipalities require building permits for any building over 100 sq. ft.2. Is the shed going to play a prominent role in your day to day activities? If so, make sure that you choose a style and options that give you good access and provide adequate lighting. Windows and skylights provide plenty of natural light, but it is common to run electricity to the shed. For easy access, make sure that the doors are at least 34” wide, as most lawn mowers will easily pass through.3. How important is the look of the shed to my property. Remember that anything you erect will either add or impair on your property value. Metal and vinyl are the least expensive options, but these tend to look ordinary. Wood and pre-finished sidings normally add character and value, but are usually more expensive.
4. Consider the grade and accessibility of the location. A level site is the starting point for all shed construction The greater the grade, the more work needs to be done. Typically a grade of 6” or less over the dimension of the shed can be compensated for by using patio stones, especially for smaller units. In areas faced with frost upheaval or poor drainage, it is recommend that at least 6” of topsoil be removed and filled with screening stone (1/2” or smaller gravel is also acceptable).
5. Be considerate to your neighbors! Don’t put up something that belongs in a junkyard beside your neighbor’s manicured backyard. Most municipalities require that storage sheds be 2 ft from the fence or property line, so be sure to check ahead of time to avoid any aggravation. Talk to your neighbors about your intentions – 99% of the time they will appreciate your concern and be very supportive of your project.
The internet is an excellent source for information on the hundreds of suppliers and styles available. If ordering online be sure to read the warranty and returns information carefully as often goods of this nature cannot be returned. Just because a company has a fancy website it does not mean it stands behind its product – try searching for articles or information on the particular company.
Most companies offer either pre-cut or pre-fabricated kits delivered to your residence. If choosing a fully installed product, deal with a local company with a fixed location (avoid the ones that set-up at seasonal locations), and again be prudent with your research.
I strongly recommend avoiding companies that require more than a 30% deposit – you’ll end up waiting longer than you should. A storage shed is an important purchase – a little research will go a long way in helping making the right decision.
When it comes to home improvement, many people just like to think of remodeling rooms, painting the walls, redoing the floors, explaining an existing space, and the like. They also tend to think about their pipes, air conditioners, heaters, etc. What many are starting to consider now is going green with their home improvements. Solar energy in particular can give the owner a better return on their investment quickly. Here are some benefits to adding solar energy as a home improvement.
Benefits Of Solar Energy
Solar energy is able to get the homeowner a much higher resale value than standard non-green energy. In fact, it can cause the value to rise between 87% and 157%! That’s a huge difference in what you would get without this energy improvement. The values will also rise as energy costs rise making you even more money in the long run if you time your selling right. It also is has a much better chance of paying the original homeowner up to 100% of their initial investment for it. That means that it literally pays for itself!
Recently, mortgage companies and banks have said that adding solar energy as a home improvement actually greatly raises the property value. Think about it. It is decreases utility costs, which makes the property worth more to potential buyers. For many people, the idea of saving on energy in a world that is plagued with ever-rising energy costs is worth so much more than the more expensive cost of an energy efficient home. It is worth it to many buyers, which is why they will pay top dollar for many homes with this kind of home addition. Generally, this value fluctuates, but the home value can rise by up to $20,000 for every $1000 saved on energy in a given year. Now that’s how you save and earn!
As previously said, homebuyers will pay more for home that have solar energy. They also tend to sell faster than homes without it. Nearly everyone is susceptible to the allure of having a home that is designed to save energy and money. Energy costs rise every year making traditional electricity harder to keep up with. An “out” is going with an alternative energy like solar energy so that the home can still function, but without the owner going bankrupt over it. In fact, it’s just the opposite; the homeowner can even gain energy credits from having an energy efficient home in some states if the energy system was turned over to them in the sale. Due to these perks, traditional electric home sales are being outsold by those that have solar panels, water reclamation systems, and geothermal cooling and heating.
While many standard home improvements can up your property’s value, none of them compare to all of the benefits of solar energy. To cut your energy costs, have a system give you back nearly 100% on your investment, and up the value of your property when you decide to sell, try adding a solar energy system to your home.
Setting up the perfect environment your perfect Koi pond starts with the actual pond itself. You have to create a pond that will not only be pleasing to the eye, but will also adequately sustain Koi. Proper placement, size, and pond type is essential when building your pond.
Bigger Is Better
When it comes to a the perfect Koi pond size, the bigger is always better. Koi have a habit of growing rather fast, so you have to consider pond size at the same time you are considering how many Koi you are going to put it in.
Unless you have a large amount of knowledge in outdoor landscaping, fish keeping, and construction, it may be a good idea to leave the pond building to a professional. While some people think that building the pond yourself with save you money, this could not be further from the case. If your pond is not build properly the first time, you will end up spending a large amount of money on fixing the problems that come up. Not only that, if your pond is not properly setup, you may not even be able to keep fish alive.
Remember when you hire a professional, it is their job to give you what you want. They can give their knowledge when it comes to decision making, but ultimately, they will do whatever you want them too. Because of this, you cannot blame them if your pond fails do to location, size, or other factors. However, beware of extremely cheap quotes as they may cut corners that could potentially cause you problems later. While quotes will come in different, there should not be a very dramatic difference between them.
Learning about Koi Keeping
Knowledge is power when it comes to Koi keeping. It is important to learn as much as you possibly can about the hobby before jumping in with both feet.
It is important to learn the information yourself rather then relying on other sources. People such as your product dealer and pond builder will have limited knowledge, but should not be trusted for a reliable source, as they are selling products and may be bias. Plus, once you are at home with your Koi, your product dealer or pond builder may not be available to help you in the event of a problem.
Picking Out Koi
Once you have created the perfect environment, you will need to start looking into buying your fish. It is important to remember never to purchase to many Koi because they will grow rather large, and they breed almost yearly. Overpopulating your Koi pond will cause serious problems in the future.
Preventing Common Koi Pond Problems
You can prevent certain types of Koi pond problems by following simple prevention steps.
Always quarantine new fish before introducing them to your current Koi population. Koi can have certain illnesses and viruses, such as KHV or Koi Herpes Virus, with little or no showing symptoms. By quarantining, you will greatly reduce the risk of exposing your population to potentially deadly situations.
Do water tests at least on a weekly basis. This will allow you to notice discrepancies in the test results long before your pond starts showing symptoms of stress. This iwill potentially save not only your pond, but your fish as well.
Feeding You Koi
Finally, feeding you Koi can be one of the most pleasing parts of having a perfect Koi pond.
You should check with your local pet store or Koi dealer when it comes to the amount and types of food that you should be feeding your fish. Feeding patterns change with season and temperature.
Koi can be fed treats such as fruit, veggies, bread, and store bought treats.
Koi can literally be trained to eat directly from your hand. This takes time and patience, but will ultimately provide entertainment to you and your visitors.
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Firewood cost, either you bought it or you chopped it yourself. In the former you shelled out your hard earned money and in the latter you spent a lot of energy and time. So if don’t build a backyard firewood shed your firewood gets wet or becomes filled with moisture, all your money and your efforts will just go down the drain unless you have a good backyard firewood shed.
A wet piece of firewood will not burn properly as we all know, and if you live in an area where rain and snowfall is frequent, it can be virtually impossible to keep your wood dry. Building a backyard firewood shed is the key to this problem and you can be sure of having dry firewood each time you need it.
The location of your backyard firewood shed is among the most important decision you will It should be in an area where water does not pool surrounding the shed, yet it ought to be close to your home therefore it will be easy for you to get firewood whenever you need it.
You definitely wouldn’t want to walk a long way just to get some when it’s raining hard or there is heavy snowfall. Also build a raised floor so that moisture from the ground will not seep inside the shed. Wet wood easily gets rotten and decomposes.
Regarding the roof of your firewood shed, you should be certain that in your plans that it is high steep and is slanted. This way, snow and rain will easily slide off and would not get inside to the firewood. This goes the same for the foundation, making it higher from the ground and providing a slant to slide snow and water away from the shed.
Most firewood sheds are built with only three sides. Only three walls are provided and the fourth side left open. This is necessary as this allows airflow which in turn allows the firewood to dry properly. But because of this open side, it would also be easy for rain and snow to be blown inside by the wind.
To avoid this or to minimize moisture, it is best that the open side should not face the direction of the wind.
To further prevent moisture from seeping into your firewood, you should put a layer of plastic on the floor and to allow good airflow for drying, under your woodpile stack your firewood on off-cut lumbers.
Most firewood sheds are not really that big, they are easy to make and don’t require as much cost as most typical storage sheds. With just a couple of lumber and nails, you can build a backyard firewood shed and be assured that you will have dry and effective firewood ready to build a roaring fire for a comfortable warmth.
Always remember that in starting any project, having plans is the best way to ensure that you will have a worry-free time when you’re in the actual process of building the shed. So get your hands on a firewood shed plans and more from My Sheds