Category Archives: Our Garden

Beginner Tips to Get the Most out of your Chainsaw

Beginner Tips to Get the Most out of your Chainsaw

Chainsaws are handy working tools. In fact, if you’re a serious DIY enthusiast, you should have one. Still, you have to know how to use your chainsaw to maximize its potential. These tips will help get you started.

Be Mindful About Safety

You should never attempt to use a chainsaw without wearing a helmet with a visor. You can opt for safety goggles as well. On top of that, put on safety shoes (preferably steel toe boots) and a canvas-made trouser. Don’t forget to carry a cellphone or a whistle in case of an emergency. Whenever possible, use gel-filled gloves for a better grip and excellent absorption of vibration.

Learn How to Use the Extras

Of course, your chainsaw will work better with accessories attached to it. And, it’s unbelievable how many possibilities there are regarding the extras you can use to increase your machine’s potential. The idea is to make operating your unit simple while allowing you to complete tasks quickly.

Avoid the Kickback Zone

Cutting with your chainsaw on the bottom of the bar is the easiest way to get a natural cut. Even then, there’s a specific spot on the bar that you should try to avoid known as the kickback zone.  For starters, this is the top half of the bar’s tip.

Why is this critical? Well, if the bar gets into contact with anything while in motion, the saw will kick up and back to your direction. In fact, this is the primary reason newer chainsaws come with a function that allows you to stop the machine in case of a kickback.

Know When It’s Time to Sharpen

A sharp chainsaw cuts smoothly, with less force on the bar. A dull chain, on the other hand, tends to ride in the cut and doesn’t deepen it.  So, if you’re forcing your saw or “persuading” it to cut, it implies that the chain is dull and requires some sharpening. Further, when the chain is spitting out dust (instead of fine chips), it is time to sharpen it.

It is important to note here that you should mark each tooth with a brightly colored marker after sharpening to avoid confusion.

Know How to Handle the Machine

You can reduce the risk of injury significantly if you know how to handle your chainsaw. Start by wrapping your left-hand thumb around the front handle when cutting. That way, you can manage to control the unit better during a kickback.

Also, be sure to remove your right hand off the back handle when moving from point A to B with the saw running. You want to reduce the chances that the engine can accelerate and get the chain spinning if you stumble or trip.

Treat Gasoline

Do you want the maintenance costs of your chainsaw to be as low as possible? Well, you should make sure that you treat gasoline when you buy it. See, you can never be sure about the quality of the gas you intend to use for your machine. So, add stabilizer before refilling. Keep in mind that when gasoline starts to breakdown, it makes the engine hard to start. More than that, it can gunk the entire system with varnish and gum.

Install a Gas Tank Leak Stopper

Be cautious when tiling your chainsaw to make repairs. The last thing that you want to happen to your machine is gas running out of the vent cap holes of the engine. Be sure to place a small piece of plastic wrapper over the tank’s opening and screw the cap back on.

Protect your Ears

Chainsaws can be loud – with some generating sound levels of over 120 decibels. Invest in high-quality earmuffs, reusable plugs or disposable foam earplugs to keep the noise below 90 decibels. You only need to make sure that the protective gear feels comfortable around your ears.

Keep a Safe Distance

Make sure that you maintain a reasonable distance between the chain saw and whatever it is that you are cutting (at least five meters). Also, clear the area. Get rid of animals and people especially if you are felling trees.  Learn about environmental regulations in your area before felling trees.

The Bottom Line

It doesn’t take much to get you chainsaw to work the way you want it to. However, it makes perfect sense to get well aquatinted with the basics before you can start to use it for large tasks. Start with small activities such as splitting logs. You can even ask a seasoned operator to help with the first few steps.

Also, make sure that you take your machine for checkups once in a while.  One more thing – never use a faulty chainsaw because doing so increases your risk of getting hurt.

All You Need to Know About Garden Design

Garden Renovation

Your garden is an important part of your home. Improving your garden not only makes it a joy to be in, but can also increase the value of your home, too! Here are some tips to help you plan and landscape your garden.

1. Get clear on the purpose of your garden

Before you begin landscaping, you need to get clear on the function your garden holds. Are your kids going to be playing in it? Are you going to be entertaining friends and family on the patio? What about your pets? How much room do they need? You can always design different areas for different purposes and link them together with walkways. You should also consider which areas of the garden get the most sun and shade and at what times of day (this will also help you when it comes to choosing plants). For example, you can turn the shaded area of your garden into a place for the kids to run around, while reserving the sunny spot for the adults to sit and relax.

2. Decide on shape and size

Do you prefer modern gardens with lots of clean lines, straight paths, and geometric shapes? Or, do you love natural-looking gardens with more of an organic, casual feel? These sorts of gardens tend to have gentle, curving paths, wildflowers, and are easier to maintain. But don’t feel restricted: you can even incorporate a mixture of these two styles. Perhaps you also want your garden to feature plants and structures of only certain colours.

When measuring the size of your garden, make use of a square footage calculator that can help you plan your garden with precision and ease. You’ll then have to decide on the other practical or aesthetic features to include, such as: fencing, walls, hedges, patios, ponds, rock gardens, water features, and pathways.

3. Do you need professional help?

At this point, you’ll be able to determine whether the job’s simple enough for you to do yourself, or if you need to call in the help of a trained professional. If you want to be the one to tackle landscaping your garden, there are plenty of books, online resources, and even courses to provide you with information. Common building materials — bricks, cement, timber, decking, paving blocks, and paint — are easy to find in hardware stores and garden centres.

Alternatively, many people choose to hire a professional gardener and landscape designer who can provide professional advice and expertise on how to make the most of your garden while staying within budget. This is obviously a smart route to go down if you have a lot of work and want the peace of mind and high-standards a professional brings.

4. Choose the right plants

Of course, no garden is complete without plants! Choosing to include a variety of shrubs, flowers, and plants will add colour, texture, and interest to your garden throughout the year. Become familiar with your soil and which plants will do best in each area of your garden depending upon levels of sun, shade, and weather. Hedges can create barriers between different sections of your garden. Potted plants and flowers allow you to easily switch up the look of your garden whenever the mood strikes. You can even create a vegetable and/or herb garden, too!

The process of planning and landscaping your garden is an exciting one — so have fun with it! With the right care, attention, creativity, you can turn your garden into a haven: somewhere to entertain friends and relax with the family in a beautiful setting of your very own design.

Ways to Reduce Your Monthly Water Bill

Ways to Reduce Your Monthly Water Bill

Whether you are doing it to reduce the costs each month or to save the earth, you have numerous approaches when it comes to saving water in the home or the office. Conserving water is also one of the best ways to extend the life of the septic system through reducing pollution and soil saturation. The result of your actions is to pay less regarding water bills at the end of the month. Let us look at the various ways you can reduce this bill.

Reduce the Time You Shower

Do you know that if you reduce the time you spend in the shower by just four minutes you can save up to 4,000 gallons of water each year? You need to focus on getting into the bath and out in record time. Saving these gallons of water each year will end up saving you 100 dollars in costs annually. You can use the money you save to pay for other costs such as heating.

Don’t Let the Water Run

You shouldn’t let the water run when you aren’t using it. This scenario is common when brushing teeth or washing utensils. The simple action of turning off the water and turning it on only when using it will save you thousands of gallons of water each year. Another way to avoid wasting water when brushing your teeth is to use a cup to fetch just enough water for the task.

Keep Your Plumbing System in Proper Condition

One of the causes of increased water bills each month is faulty plumbing. Leaking pipes and faucets lead to wastage of water. You might think that the simple drip on the bathroom sink doesn’t add to your water bills, but at the end of the day, you are wasting gallons upon gallons which in turn translate into larger costs. You need to work with a plumbing expert who understands where to look for leaks and repair them accordingly. You can talk to an expert from http://ecoheatplumbing.co.uk to start the process towards lower monthly costs and better water use.

Run Full Loads Everytime

If you fill the washer machines in your home properly, you will fit in as many dishes or as many clothes as possible. Running the washer only when it is full reduces the number of times the washer has to run, which in turn reduces the amount of water you use during the process.

Reduce the Flow

Most people adopt the shower head that they get on their premises, whether in the office or the home. You can adjust the level of flow of water to an average flow, or change the shower head and install a low-flow one. This will reduce wastage whenever you take a shower.

Final Thoughts

If you notice a spike in your water bill, you need to suspect various causes top of the list is poor plumbing, followed by the cleaning practices that you follow when cleaning and bathing. Make sure you follow these tips to reduce the water bill.

Winter is Coming – Snow Removal 101

Winter is Coming - Snow Removal 101

Winter is coming. All jokes aside, it really is and if you don’t live on a tropical island, this may pose some problems. If you’re from a warmer climate and have moved to where winters are really winters, you might be under-prepared. Luckily, it’s not to late to change that and be well on your way to adapting to your new frosty environment.

Welcome to where the whether is still beautiful, but in a different way

Those from a more tropical climate get to enjoy what is more often than not two seasons: rainy and sunny. As someone who’s had the opportunity to live in such a climate, it’s amazing. But, you’ll never know where life will take you and sometimes that’s north.

Maybe you’ve recently gotten married and your spouse wants to be closer to their home town. Maybe your reason for relocation is work. No matter what it is, there are some easy ways to prepare initially and some guidelines that will make taking care of yourself and home far easier.

The first step is to make sure you stay warm

The first tip is simple but important: get a quality jack and gloves. This is easily overlooked because they aren’t necessarily needed the closer you get to the equator but they’re essential. If you’re way up north you may want a down jacket or one with a multiple layers of fabric.

Your hands are your most used tool and even if it’s just for a trip from the front door to the car, gloves are great. They’ll also come in handy when it’s time for you to remove all the snow that will inevitably fall on your lawn. Dressing in layers is also suggested as you adjust to the new climate.
While you’re out and about doing your snow removal tasks a good pair of boots is also suggested.

Hypothermia is no joke and even people who have dealt wit the colt all their lives are at risk. A pair of quality insulated boots will ensure that you’ll be back in your house comfortable instead of frostbitten.

Snow removal: tools of the trade

On the topic of snow removal, what you’ll need will be determined by where you live and how much space you have. Your means of transportation can also determine some of what you may need. Details on what tools you’ll need for what job are below.

If the area you live in is metropolitan, chances are you need to maintain your part of the sidewalk. Some places have public workers that do this, but this simply isn’t the case everywhere. The most obvious choice for this is a shovel. You can buy a quality snow shovel at any hardware store.

If by chance you need something capable of more heavy-duty work than a shovel, a snow blower is your next option. While more expensive, the snow blower saves time and effort in task that most don’t enjoy anyway. While you may need to shovel smaller areas like near dryer vents, your lawn, driveway and other open areas are easily completed with the snow blower.

Before you head over to your nearest, keep in mind that there are some requirements. Snow blowers must be maintained. They’re mechanical, and many are gas powered, so there are steps that must be taken. Failing to start a snow blower early in the morning isn’t a great feeling and realizing you’re out of gas isn’t much better.

If you’re looking for info on a quality snow blower that won’t quit, check out this and other reviews by Snow Shifts.
They also require storage space. This can be an issue for people without a garage or those with minimal space in the garage this currently own.

These issues are small and the benefits drastically outweigh the cost when it comes to efficiency and time saving. Just make sure to take care of your tools. Something to keep in mind is that a snow blower blows snow, not ice. It makes life easier but it isn’t perfect. You just may have to come back to that shovel, or you can just keep some snow salt around just in case.

The final option, for those with an extra heavy-duty vehicle (preferably a truck) and no worries for time constraints, is a snow plow. When the forecast gives you the heads-up, attach the snow to your truck the night before and easily clear out your driveway the morning after.

Or, you can just pay someone else

If where you live is well populated, chances are there are other people more than willing to shovel, plow or snow blow your property for you. If you can afford to, feel free to save the time and effort. Take care and stay warm.

Trimmers and Edgers Best Practices

Are you having a hard time trying to get stubborn weeds out of your lawn despite using chemicals and putting in some extra work? Perhaps you are using the wrong approach to the whole weed issue. I guess it is time you changes the tool for weed removal. The right tool to consider in such an instance when everything else isn’t working is a string trimmer. These tools are handy for trimming weeds, grass and small bushes.

This machine works by utilizing a nylon thread spinning at very high speeds. The thread is strong enough to cut through even the toughest weeds and shrubs. The machine is light in weight, allowing you to use it for hours on end without feeling tired, a problem you would have experienced when using heavier trimmers. To get the best out of this tool however, you need to follow some best practices.

Have the Right Machine

As with any type of equipment or tool, you are faced with a variety of choices in terms of the brand, size, engine capacity, weight and cost. If you can afford it, opt for a professional trimmer that has a minimum engine capacity of 20cc and a 2-cycle displacement engine. This type handles any residential lawn grass and will still serve you efficiently if you decide to move to a bigger home. You can even contract it out for weekend grass cutting to make some money on the side. Trimmers and Edgers stock a wide variety of these machines and you definitely get what you need from them. Check them out!

Now that you are armed with a heavy-duty, well-manufactured, reliable trimmer, let us look at some of the ways to maximize its usefulness and make it serve you longer.

Read the User Manual

Read the manual that accompanies the machine and understand its operation to the fullest. Don’t dispose of the manual after this; instead keep it in an accessible place that you can refer to at any time. Know the type of gasoline to use and the gas/oil ratio required for smooth operation, the maintenance issues that might arise and how you need to tackle them, etc.

Clean/Change the Spark Plugs and Filter Often

This is one of the easiest things to do to keep this trimmer working perfectly. Make sure you remove the spark plug and clean it regularly. As the fuel burns, the spark plug accumulates carbon deposits that lead to loss of power and poor ignition. When replacing the plug, make sure you buy the right one as indicated in the user manual.

You also need to pay some attention to the filter as well. It is usually a spongy material located in the intake mechanism. This component gets dirty regularly from the fine grass and dirt particles that you produce when trimming. Don’t forget to remove the sponge periodically to clean and oil it as per the directive in the user manual. Re-insert it in the required position properly before use.

Only Use it in Perfect Weather

Make sure you use the trimmer when the weather is ideal. Using this machine in the rain is entirely possible, but it will lead to issues with the trimmer. The trimmer will take in water which can damage some of the delicate parts. Apart from damage to your machine, the trimmer will sling wet weeds and grass on to your concrete pathways and create a hard-to-clean mess.

Proper Storage

When not in use, store the trimmer in a secure place away from the reach of children. If you are storing the trimmer for long, let’s say during the winter months; make sure to drain the fuel from the tank. Long-standing fuel solidifies and will make it hard for the fuel to flow next time you need to use the trimmer.

Conclusion

Using trimmers makes weed management an easy and effortless task for you. However, to make this task much easier, you need to have the right trimmer for the job. Armed with this, you need to master the user manual so that you know some aspects of maintenance and how to perform some tasks. Don’t forget to pay some attention to the spark plug and filter, which can affect the performance of the trimmer. Finally, always store the machine safely for future use.

Differences Between a Compost Tumbler Bin and a Compost Bin

Composting has become increasingly popular among gardeners and home owners as a mode of enriching the soil. It involves a simple natural process that you can manage in your garden or backyard regardless of the size. As such, the market has plenty of designs and models to offer to meet the diverse user needs. Different types of compost bins are suitable for different purposes, thus, knowing your needs and the various options available in the market can help you make the right choice. That said, it is important you take into account certain factors so as to get the best look and yield of whatever you are growing, be it flowers or plants. Thus, you need to understand the differences between the different types of bins at your disposal.  A good starting point would be to research on sites such as http://hydrobio.org/best-compost-bin/ and understand their features to help you choose the right fit for your needs. Nonetheless, this article explores some of the major differences between compost tumblers and compost bins.

Durability

Compost tumblers are constructed using heavier materials compared to compost bins. Those materials make them more long-lasting than their counterparts. The heavy construction helps to support the full weight of the composting waste. When buying a compost tumbler, be sure to inspect the central axis connection and the supporting legs to ensure they are strong enough. Also, ensure that the handles in place for spinning the drum are not flimsy. The compost bins constructed using thin plastic that can be damaged easily by prolonged exposure to sunlight and may also chip or crack with hard use.

Capacity

Compost bins can hold a larger volume of composting waste compared to tumbler bins. Depending on the model, their large size enables them to hold up to 20 cubic feet of organic material. On the other hand, compost tumblers hold up to 15 cubic feet of composting material. Their capacity is much lesser to allow for easy spinning. However, newer models of compost tumblers can support larger volume and still spin with ease.

Functionality

Whereas the compost tumbler and the compost bin are both effective at composting, they work in distinct ways to produce the end results. For instance, the design used to construct compost bins does not allow for adequate mixing or turning of the composting pile. It can be quite tasking to turn the pile with a shovel or a pitchfork, and there is a high risk of damaging the bin. Again, due to the minimal aeration involved with the compost bin, it takes much longer to process the compost. On the contrary, compost tumblers are designed to speed the composting process because of the improved aeration and the extra heat generated by the sealed unit.  Also, when it comes to emptying the bins, it is much easier as you just need to roll the wheelbarrow directly under the bin and empty the contents.

Cost

Compost tumblers tend to be more expensive because of the heavier materials used for construction and their design. Besides, they are also more durable and can serve you for many years compared to the thin plastic compost bin.

Modern Sprinkler Controllers enabling you to Water your Plants with Ease

Whether it is an orchard, flower bed or lawns well-watered plants are eye catching and can significantly make your home compound more fulfilling.  A big number of people have also become health conscious and want to feed on organic foods that have been produced carefully in the home garden or backyard. However getting flourishing plants in your home is not an easy task because they have to be watered to prevent withering and to encourage growth. Remember the most vital factor for plant growth is moisture and the plants in your garden can not blossom if they are not well watered.

In the past plants were watered mainly using watering cans but technology has changed every aspect of human life, and you don’t have to get tired putting water into a watering can and wasting a lot of energy watering the plants.  Engineers in the agricultural field have developed devices that have made watering easy and more convenient. The modern equipment is environmentally friendly, and they help in conserving water and reduce wastage caused by traditional watering methods.  The device controls the amount of water watered into your flowers, plants or fruits in the orchard.  The ancient irrigation practices were improper, and a lot of water was going into waste.  With the best smart sprinkler controller, you don’t have to be worried again because your plants will get the right amount of water when needed without you having to be physically present.

The smart devices are a great innovation, but if you are bringing up kids, you should at times allow them to do manual irrigation. This will impact them with skills which will enable them to appreciate the value of nurturing plants, and as they grow up, they will quickly embrace the modern devices. Physical farm activities can also help the overall development of your kids and give them a healthy physique and bones that are strong enough.

Choosing the best smart sprinkler controller can be challenging if you are buying for the first time. There are numerous models in the market with different specifications, and you can easily get confused if you don’t understand the most important features to consider before purchasing the controller. To equip you with information on the factors to consider when buying a sprinkler controller I have discussed a number of the crucial aspects that a sprinkler controller should have;

It should be Able to Isolate Zones

Different geographical areas have different plants. Depending on your zone the sprinkler controller should be able to water the plants according to their needs. If there is enough rain, the sprinkler should be able to detect and reduce the amount of water fed to the plants.  If your zone does not have sufficient rain water for the growth of your plants, the controller should sense and supply the plants with adequate water.  This aspect ensures that the plant receives enough water all the time and also prevents possible rotting excess water uptake can cause that.

The Controller has to be Wi-Fi Enabled

Operating a sprinkler by hand has been phased out by innovations. A significant number of devices used in modern days are Wi-Fi supported, and your sprinkler controller should not be an exception.  A driver that is Wi-Fi enabled will give you an easy time managing your garden because the plants get watered regardless of where you are.  The wireless control aspect allows you to continue doing your regular job without worrying about the plants watering schedule.

The Controller must have an Automatic Adjustment

With the current climatic changes, you can never predict the weather condition. The sprinkler controller you purchase should be able to adjust and fit current weather conditions automatically. If there is a lot of heat, the controller should tweak the sprinkler to release more water to the plants to avoid drying. The controller should have the ability to assess weather conditions and make an accurate forecast to ensure that plants are watered depending on the weather.

It should be User-friendly   

Some sprinkler controllers are sophisticated. You don’t have to employ a technician to man your controller; you should ensure that the device you purchase is easy to operate.  The instructions provided by the manufacturer should be easy to understand to make sure that you set the controller in the right way.

With the new sprinkler controllers, you don’t have to worry about your plants anymore.

What are infrared heaters?

Infrared heat is similar to the heat we receive from sunlight.

Infrared is invisible to the naked eye, it is beyond the spectrum we can see and this invisible light gets absorbed by our skin, clothes and other items in proximity. (more…)

Enjoying Your Summer: Keeping Things Clean

Keeping Things Clean

The summer is a time for many different things, most of which will include your property getting dirty in one way or another. If it isn’t the outside of your house, it’s the inside; (more…)