DIY projects are a great way to learn about a new idea or procedure. You can learn a lot of great things by pulling up your sleeves and getting your hands dirty in the process. This same logic applies to solar energy and other renewable forms of energy. If you’re curious about the possibilities, but don’t want to make the switch yet, then finishing a few DIY renewable energy projects could give you a new understanding and appreciation for what’s happening.
The idea of starting a new DIY project sounds great, but do you know exactly which project you want to start next? If you don’t already have an understanding for solar energy, then you might not know what projects are possible and easy to complete for the novice. Below are a few simple DIY projects that rely on renewable energy and can be built by anyone that’s willing.
The Solar Oven
This is a great DIY project for first-timers. The science, construction, and operation are all extremely simple. The idea behind the project is to replace the need for traditional ovens and their fuel sources, whether it’s fire and wood or electricity and metal. Any and all can be replaced by the efficiency of a solar cooker.
The simplest of solar cookers require very few materials. You will need two cardboard boxes of differing sizes. You place the smaller box inside the larger one and fill the area between the two with cardboard or some other form of insulation. There shouldn’t be much room between the two, so try to find two boxes near the same size.
You’ll then line the smaller box with black construction paper. The paper is there to absorb the additional heat. Then cut four evenly sized squares from cardboard. These will be covered in a reflective material, such as aluminum foil.
To actually cook a meal using the solar cooker all you need to do is place the oven box in an area with plenty of sunlight. You should keep the food inside of a jar or a dark pan to keep most of the heat trapped in the food.
Try experimenting with different times and locations with your new solar cooker. Once you’ve finished this cooker you can take things up a notch by building a heavy-duty solar cooker. These are built from metal barrels and can cook much larger meals in a shorter period of time.
Not everyone wants to jump in ice cold water every time they take a dip in the pool. That’s why they build a DIY solar pool heater. A similar construction method can be used to build a DIY hot water heater for your home, but it’s a good idea to start with the pool heater first until you develop an understanding for the technology and methodology.
A large solar collector collects heat from the Sun’s ray. The magic happens beneath the solar panels in the box. Copper pipes carrying water are warmed by the heat captured with the panels. This is a larger project than the other DIY renewable energy projects, but can be a lot of fun and even save money on electric bills.
Landscaping is an art that makes use of the medium of nature. The landscaper’s palette includes trees, shrubs, flowers, stones and groundcover.
You do not have to be a professional landscaper, and you do not have to have an artistic knack to beautify your outdoor space. Keep these five essential beginner landscaping ideas in mind, and get started making your outdoor area a place in which you want to linger.
1) Consider Your Needs Before Your Wants
First, consider what you need from your outdoor space. If you have children, will you need play sets such as swings, slides or jungle gyms? Are you planning to install a pool, or do you already have one? Do not forget about the family pets, some of whom may spend a good deal of warm-weather days enjoying the outdoors.
Keep in mind who uses the outdoor space and how they use it. Then figure out how to incorporate those things you want from your landscape into your plans.
Other essential needs to consider are the actual amount of space you have. If you live in a planned unit development or condominium, you do not have to give up your dream of improving any outdoor space that belongs to you. Just adapt your plans to the space you have.
Also, consider the kind of weather your home and yard have to put up with throughout the year. For hot climates, drought-tolerant plants and grasses, as well as gravel can make saving water and money an added boost to your new landscape. Or, if you live in a climate where snow and rain are common, you may want to consider adding groundcover in the form of mulch or gravel to various spots in your yard to keep mud from being tracked indoors.
These are just a few pointers to get you started thinking about what you need from a landscape before you delve into what you want from it.
2) Determine Your Budget
You do not have to go all-out and splurge on your landscape. In fact, since you are a beginner you may want to avoid doing this at all. Plants look different when grouped together in your yard or outdoor area and may change more than you thought after a few months as they fill out.
Have a general budget in mind, but try starting out slow for the first time. You can always add new plants and landscaping features to your yard as you get more adept at landscaping. Remember, trying to take an element, like a full-grown tree or pond feature out is not as easy, or as cheap, as you would expect.
3) Variety Is the Spice of Landscaping
Work to have your trees, plants and flower add dimension and visual appeal by arranging them in strategic ways. Add a circle of impatiens around a favorite tree, or have taller grasses planted in front of a row of trees in your yard. Adding smaller plants in front of taller plants creates more dimension.
Color is important as well. Which flowers will you have blooming during the spring Will you need to replant them each year, and do you want to have this flexibility?
The variety of shrubs and trees you have will also be key in attracting various birds or butterflies, which can add even more spice to your outdoor space’s appeal.
Creating borders with the help of small retaining or garden walls is another way to add visual impact to your landscape. You can hide a vegetable garden by segmenting it off with a low stone garden wall, or if you prefer, you can accentuate it using that same type of garden border depending on its placement.
If you are living with a small outdoor space and have a limited area with which to work, you can still create visual dimension and appeal by getting creative, recycled planters to hang in a pleasing arrangement on your garden or patio wall. Anything from old mason jars to watering cans can make for a perfect planter for a landscape arrangement you create and hang right outside your door.
4) Be Patient
Be patient with your beginner landscaping ideas. You want to give your plants a chance to grow or fill out for a season or two, before you commit to them or give up on them.
You may decide you have changed your mind halfway into beginning the installation of a deck around your garden. Whatever the case, start your project off with an intent to give everything time to come together.
5) Be Flexible with Beginner Landscaping Ideas
Trees will look different as they mature and as seasons change, so be flexible as well as patient with your landscape. Continue to learn and experiment. Soon, you will become a proud, advanced beginner landscaper.
Like any building house or structure, your choice of siding is a very important decision. A good siding will be able to protect your belongings and also effectively ward off any harsh weather. When it comes to your backyard shed siding, there are multiple choices, each having their own pros and cons. Other aspects that can affect your decision making is the cost, ease of maintenance, its durability and availability.
If you want a durable shed siding, then wood would also be a good option. And with this option, you have many choices. For enhanced resistance in rotting and bug infestation, you may use red cedar. The downside to this is that it can be a bit costly to some. A less pricey alternative is the white cedar. Another popular choice for wooden siding is the rough sawn pine.
It is commonly used for a siding with a board and batten design. It is important for you to remember that if you are using wood, you should purchase them when they are already dry. Or else, they have the tendency to shrink when the moisture is gone. If this happens, the strength and durability of your shed is greatly reduced.
Another option for a shed siding is vinyl. A vinyl siding is a great option as they are effective in resisting the elements and they don’t require much maintenance. This siding can also be purchased in a variety of styles which can emulate different types of finishes, like wood, tin and aluminum.
Another great advantage of a vinyl siding is that they can be designed to match your existing home to compliment it well. Vinyl siding has, unfortunately its own disadvantages. Like the tin siding, it can also be pricey. It is also not easily repairable unlike wood. But luckily, vinyl sidings don’t just crumble and break and can withstand wear and tear. And because it doesn’t require much maintenance, you can get your investment back in a short time.
It is important that you are able to assess the pros and cons of all shed sidings that are available to you. Choose one that has more advantages than disadvantages. You can do this by taking into consideration your budget, the aesthetics of your home, its practicality, the durability it can provide and the amount of time that you can spent in maintenance.
Take the time to weigh your options, plan ahead so you can be sure that when you invest your time, money and effort, you get more in return.
The need to build a shed cannot be stressed enough. Many households today are being overwhelmed with material belonging that were either used just once or never used at all. It’s also difficult to decide which if which to throw away, to donate, or to sell. And to those that did not make the cut, they are relegated back to the attic or to the garage, in which case causing clutter still.
The sure fire way of clearing up this space is to build a backyard shed, whether for your tools, your garden equipment, your mementos or an outdoor office. Whether you decide to buy or build one this is by far your best option. If you do decide to build it yourself, then kudos to you, building a backyard shed is one of the simplest task in rudimentary carpentry.
Building A Shed Requires Detailed Plans
If you have a great command using tools and have a free weekend or two to work on some measuring, hammering, cutting, drilling and sawing, then all you need are the proper materials, tools, building plans, and you can soon have your very own shed in your own garden made by your own two hands. The beauty of creating your own shed from scratch is that you will be able to customize your shed design and allow it to directly cater to all your storage needs. Not only will you have a functional structure in your property but you will also have a source for great pride and joy.
But, if you’ve never even built a stool from scratch or even a simple paper weight, then what more with a shed. This case though is not hopeless. If you have the extra money, then by all means buy yourself a shed. But because you’re reading this, it’s highly likely that you plan to build a shed yourself. To make sure that you don’t build an eyesore or a hazard in your own yard, you then need to know that as a beginner you will need a good set of detailed and comprehensive plans.
The best thing about purchasing or downloading a set of shed plans is that, there are so many design options already available today. You won’t have any problems finding a design that will suit and compliment both your needs and the aesthetics of your property. By just following these plans to the letter, you will have a great chance of succeeding of building a shed on your own.
Building A Backyard Shed Builds Confidence
Another easy way to create and build your own shed is to purchase a storage shed kit. With this kit, you will already have everything that you will ever need to construct the shed. Also included will be the instructions plans for you to follow. And those are now your options. Whichever you choose, you can be assured that you will have a great time building your shed and also have the self satisfaction that knowing that that shed was created by you. Plus you will now have a more organized home.
Despair and confusion is what sets in when a person looks at their cluttered homes. You may not have realized it at first, but as you accumulate things, you soon would have filled out house with outdated and useless objects and even your garage becomes a no man zone. Many of these things are not used or have used only once, so you will then realize that you either have to sell them, or just create a storage space for them, preferably, not inside your home. This is the time that you may need to build a backyard shed.
Build Backyard Sheds Basics
Although there are some sheds that can be bought pre fabricated, sometimes they may not provide the size and shape that you require, plus, they can be a bit pricey. Building your own shed will allow you to customize its size and the storage space inside, like shelves and cabinets for optimum storage.
Most storage sheds are created with wooden walls and sometimes concrete foundation. You will also require certain tools to do the building project. Sheds are not overly complicated so if you know the basics of handling your tools and building, it will be easy for you, it’s also one of the best projects to learn about building stuff.
Here are some of the things one should learn on how to build a shed.
First off, you should know what your purpose for the shed is. Is it just for storage, or do you plan to make it as a garden shed as well? Prepare your plans well and determine its size, consulting first the area where you plan to build the shed.
Make sure that the area is free from any underground cables, wirings, or pipes. This will ensure that the shed will not act as a hindrance if there are repairs to be done.
Once your plans have finished, make an estimate of the materials and the tools you will need. Commonly, these materials and tools are wood, nails, roofing, hinges, cement, sand, hammer, tape, saws, and screws.
Start from the ground up. Make sure that your foundation is level. Nail your floor properly to the foundation blocks. After the floor, make the frame for your walls and then for the roof. Make provisions for your windows. Pre-fabricated kits can make the job easier, but it can much more costly.
There are many books and websites which can help you do your plans, there are even ready made plans which you can just customize to achieve the desired size. Also, doing the frames can be consulted with carpentry books; here you can learn the different styles to ensure that you will be able to create a sturdy frame, in some localities, it is necessary to obtain a permit first before building a shed, consult your local government first.
After building your shed, you can now do the finishing touches. Create shelves and cabinets, and you can even varnish or paint your shed to make it look lovelier in your garden, and not an eyesore.
A storage shed can be considered as a minor project, not as minor as a stool or table, but if you have some basic skills in woodworking, you can just as easily build one for yourself. Inspiration and motivation is what drives the human spirit to go where they have never gone before, so even if you have never built a shed, you can build one with your own two hands and the basic tools that are needed for home woodworking projects. Your motivation in this case is an attic bursting to its seams and a garage that can’t fit in a car.
Your one greatest tool is your building plan.
When it comes to building a shed on your own, you can either start from scratch or get some help from corporate America and use pre-fabricated shed kits. Either way, you are going to need a good set of tools.
Many people would not even consider this as a tool, but this the single most important aspect to ensure that you will have a great flow when building your backyard shed. With your plans, you can determine the exact number of materials that you will need what type of materials and all the other tools that will be required.
For manufacturing the parts that you will need, you will have to use a top quality hammer, a power drill, a spherical saw and a number of handheld tools like wrenches, pliers and screw drivers. If you don’t have any of these tools, you can either borrow them for yourself as this is an integral part of the building process.
Like any woodworking project, it is important that you are able to make correct measurements. Failure to do so would mean a rickety structure that would surely fall down with the slightest gust of wind. To help you in this endeavor, you will need the services of tools like a tape measure, a pair of levels, chalk lines and a framing square.
To further ensure that your backyard shed is rock solid and will be able to provide your belonging shelter for decades to come, it is imperative that you provide it with a good foundation. To help you achieve this, you will need tools like a spade, shovel, post-hole digger and a wheel barrow. Don’t forget that you will also need a good pair of goggles to protect your eyes and a set of industrial gloves to protect your hands.
To make your tool shed look beautiful, you may want to finish it off with some paint. So, you would need a pan, paint brush, roller or a paint sprayer. You may also need some sandpaper to clean out your wood.
Aside from your tools, you would also want to get top quality materials to build your shed. Any backyard shed can either be made using wood, metal, vinyl or aluminum. Other materials you will need are roofing materials, nails, screws, cement and concrete blocks. But never forget your blueprint.