House and Home

The Easy Way To Put In Outside Landscape Lighting

If you’ve thought about putting in your own exterior yard lights but thought it was too complicated, this is to tell you that it is not. Outside yard lights can be easy to install if you have a design in mind. A first rate design is a necessary component of any exterior yard lights installation. Outside yard lighting comes in a few different variations and before you start planning, you should decide the one you prefer to implement. Also, you are going to want to remain open to new landscape designs that may just allow you to come up with a landscape that simply astounds you.

The Two Types Of Outside Garden Lighting

The first type of exterior yard lights is cabled, electrical exterior yard lights. If you are going to install this, you are going to need to have an existing electrical outlet on the exterior of your house. Every one of the lights is connected along a sequence of protected electrical wiring. Planning for this setup you need to consider both the light fixtures and the cord that they are connected to. Prior to setting up the first lights, it is recommended that you start by outlining your front or back yard, depending on where the lights are being positioned. Draw out and measure the same distance between each of the lights then plot them out inside your yard. You should be sure that you have enough wiring and space for the wiring behind the lights.

The advantages of choosing the electrical exterior yard lighting scheme are that you can switch it off and on whenever you want, it constantly has power, and you can purchase more powerful lights for the set-up. The cable systems are usually less expensive also.

The other kind of exterior yard lighting set-up makes us of solar lights. A solar garden lighting set-up takes the sun rays and charges up in daylight then turns on after it gets dark. These systems are very easy to set up and do not need as much designing that the cabled set-up does. Besides that, it is relatively easy to rearrage the lights if you do not care for where they are. There is no upkeep needed for this style of system and it is very easy to maintain. If any component breaks it can easily be replaced.

The advantages of installing the solar lighting system are how uncomplicated it is to setup and how uncomplicated it is to make adjustments to. This kind of installation can also be fixed very fast if there are any problems with the components within the system. The primary disadvantage is that they generally are more expensive and are not nearly as bright as the electrical system. Also, this kind of exterior yard lights needs close to 8 hours per day of sunshine to be completely charged up, so if you live in a region with little sunlight it can be difficult to keep the system up and the lights shining vividly.

As you can see there are pros and cons to each system, so make sure you consider your location before you come up with your final decision.

Common Places Around the Home to Check to Prevent Invading Pests This Winter

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As the days grow colder and your house gets warmer than the outdoors, pests are trying to become your new roommates without paying their part of the bills. It's not right, but there's nothing that can be done about it except launch a war to kick them to the curb where they belong. You can take preventative measures so that these nasty squatters don't have an easy way to invade your home.

The Outside Wall

Oftentimes, there are holes or gaps in outside walls that allow pests into your home. Bricks are also an issue at times, especially on aged homes. Check around the perimeter of your house to ensure the exterior wall is free of holes or gaps. Extension explains, “if you find cracks, you need to fill them. To exclude rodents, lizards and insects look for cracks around windows, doors and in fascia boards. For small cracks use good quality silicone or acrylic latex caulk. Latex-type caulks clean up easily with water and can be painted although they are less flexible than pure silicone. For larger openings, fill with a strong material that matches the structure such as wood, cement, sheet rock or mortar.”

Windows

Windows are a favorite among pests looking for a cozy place to stay. If you want to avoid unwanted pests, then it's essential that you inspect your screens regularly for any holes or tears. These openings will make it easy for pests to enter your home. If you don't have screens on your windows, then you may want to get them installed. Make sure that there aren't any holes or gaps around the window casing itself. If your windows do not shut properly or are difficult to open, then this may be a sign that it’s time to replace your windows. Ultimately, the tighter you have them sealed, the fewer pests you will have to deal with in the long run.

Sheds

Sheds are where you'll find spiders and other types of bigger critters. It's a warm place where the walls block the cold winds. Pest-proofing a shed requires a little bit of a different approach than pest-proofing a home, but it serves the same purpose as other methods used in home pest prevention. All Storage Online explains, “cleanliness is an important factor for limiting the reproduction of spiders. It is also important to seal all cracks and crevices leading into sheds to deny pests access to their desired living conditions. Check sheds and outside storage areas for spaces under the doors or cracks in walls where pests could enter. Try to keep the inside and the exterior of the shed dry since spiders like humid conditions.” Always be cautious if you think an area may have spiders or other potentially dangerous pests.

Dryer Vents

Dryer vents are easy for pests to get into, and pests can be drawn to the heat that's emitted when your dryer is in use. If a rodent or pest gets into your dryer vent, then you will be left to deal will a variety of problems. Unwanted invaders can damage your dryer, cause a bad odor, result in illness, and start a fire. An easy fix is to take a piece of screen and secure it so that it covers the opening on the exterior of the house. This will make it difficult for pests to get in there and cause you headaches.

Keep an eye on these places to prevent pests from entering your domicile or surrounding structures. It's important to call in professional pest control services when in doubt. Your safety is always the utmost priority. If you’re looking for more ways to make it easier to maintain your home’s exterior, then keep Crider’s Landscaping in mind!

5 Ways to Keep Pests Out of Your Garden

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Keeping pests out of your garden can be a real challenge for any gardener. But for those committed to natural methods and organic gardening, it can seem even more difficult. But don’t worry, as there are actually a lot of things you can do to keep bad bugs away without polluting your garden. Here are five of them.

Grow Herbs That Repel Pests

Frequent HGTV contributor Meagan Francis offers this tip. “Many aromatic herbs, like yarrow, citronella, mint, fennel, catnip, basil, and lemongrass are natural deterrents for garden pests from aphids to potato beetles.” Scattering these and other plants strategically throughout your garden can greatly improve the chances of pests leaving your garden alone. Not only that, but who doesn’t love having fresh herbs from the garden to add to their favorite recipes?

Read more: Controlling Aphids, Slugs and Snails | HGTV

Use Essential Oils

As discussed already, Planting aromatic herbs in your garden can repel some kinds of pests. Thankfully, you can still benefit from these plants without actually growing them in your garden. You can do this by using essential oils such as lemongrass, peppermint, cedarwood, rosemary, and spearmint oil.

A few drops of these lovely extracts strategically placed around your garden plants can keep some types of pests away for days or even weeks. The length of how effect it is depends on how often you need to water your garden and on where you place those drops. Placing them in dry spots around your plants might help them last a bit longer.

Read more: doTERRA Essential Oils | The Paleo Mama

Attract Pest-Eating Animals

Frogs, toads, lizards, birds and even cats are known to munch on many of the pests that threaten your garden. The trick is to only attract the predators you want, such as toads and lizards, without attracting the predators that you don’t want, which would include the birds and cats.

While birds and cats might be a lot more fun to look at - and cuddle - they might end up causing just as much damage to your garden as the bugs! Make sure to keep lots of loose, moist soil around for toads to settle into. Lizards will enjoy some rock walls and large rocks in sunny areas of the garden upon which to warm themselves.

Attract Pest-Eating Insects

There are also several varieties of insects that prey on other insects. These could also do an excellent job of guarding your flowers and veggies against pests. Spiders, ladybugs, and wasps are known to eat other bugs like aphids and caterpillars, so be sure to leave those spider webs intact whenever you come across them in the garden. You can make sure to keep lots of pollen and nectar generators in your garden as this will attract many insects that eat common garden pests. You could also make sure there is enough water that it can form small pools, which will keep the predatory pests well hydrated and ready to remove any harmful pests.

Read more: Buglogical Predator Insects | Today’s Homeowner

Sprinkle Crushed Egg Shells

One more tip is to sprinkle crushed egg shells along the surface of your garden soil. Slugs and snails will avoid their sharp, jagged edges as they slither along the ground, so including these around your perimeter could convince those slimy pests to look for more friendly terrain.

Read more: Using Eggshells in the Garden | GrowVeg

Protecting your garden from pests without resorting to harsh chemicals and pollutants is possible even if it doesn't feel like it. Just follow these five organic gardening tips to keep your flowers, veggies, herbs, and fruits safe from pests.

If you’re prepping for a garden or are just in need of a yard facelift, keep us in mind. We have worked in all sorts of landscaping and yard beautification situations and have great results. See how we can help you today!

Utilizing A Wood Splitter Is A Efficient Answer To A Hard Chore

I imagine the only way a new human being could possibly get pleasure from splitting wood by hand was if they were aiming to build muscles. It's fun to watch wood burn up inside the fireplace or wood stove, and generate heat for your house, nevertheless you can find better ways of getting the identical job done employing a wood splitter as an alternative to brute force. Wood splitters are available in many different styles and dimensions and give the homeowner the convenience of splitting wood while at the same saving themselves a back busting job.

7 important steps to get your home ready for winter

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winter home picture

Photo by Diane Deaner at Unsplash

Getting ready for winter is about more than just dragging out your coats, scarves and gloves. You’ve got to make sure your house can manage through the season, too.

Don’t worry -- the list of chores isn’t too long or expensive. But getting these things done before the weather gets cold can really help your home mind the weather better, and it can save you some extra money and hassle in the long run.

Here’s a list of things to do and why they’re important:

  1. Check your alarms: Your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors need to be checked to make sure they’re in working order and not too old. If you look at the back of your smoke detector, you’ll see the manufacture date. If it’s more than 10 years old, get it replaced, asap. Why: These detectors save lives: One out of three fire deaths happens in homes without smoke detectors. With furnaces and fireplaces being used in winter, fire hazards increase.
  2. Change your filters: Furnace filters should be changed every three months if you get high quality filters. Check the MERV rating, and get one somewhere around the 11 to 13 range. The higher MERV rating will filter out dust, dander, cigarette smoke and even bacteria. Why: Your furnace needs a filter to prevent dirt, dust and dander from getting into it, causing it to get clogged up or to spew that stuff back into the air you breathe. It’s better for the furnace, and it’s better for you.
  3. Insulate your pipes: Check your pipes in non-heated areas to make sure they are insulated. Don’t turn your heat off when you leave -- keep it at 55 degrees or higher. Why: If your pipes aren’t insulated or heated, they will freeze, and frozen pipes often burst on the coldest day of the year. When that happens, you have to call a plumber, and you might even have flooding in your home.
  4. Rake your leaves: Use a rake, a leaf blower or a lawn mower to remove the leaves from your yard or turn them into mulch. Put piles of leaves into your compost pile to have nice, fertile compost next Spring. Why: Leaving your leaves on the lawn will smother your grass over the winter. Having wet leaves down there can also cause mold and rot to infect your lawn.
  5. Seal your windows: Put a bead of caulk around the drafty areas of your windows, and add weather stripping to the parts that move. You can do the same with your doors, and add a draft snake to prevent more drafts. Why: Drafty doors and windows leak out your money in the form of heat. Keeping the seals nice and tight will ensure you aren’t wasting any of the heat you’re already paying for.
  6. Secure crawl spaces: If you have openings in your crawl space, make sure you fix any holes or loose openings before winter. Make sure crawl space doors are secured with a strong padlock. Why: Criminals can get into crawl spaces and steal copper pipes, as well as listen to the home’s activities for later burglary.
  7. Get your furnace checked: Call an HVAC professional to do an inspection and check that your furnace is working well for the winter. You can also ask him to do a tune-up on it. Why: Making sure all is working well before winter will help prevent parts from breaking down or your furnace quitting in the dead of winter. It also helps spot gas leaks early so they don’t cause fires or carbon monoxide poisoning.

Taking care of these things before the real cold sets in can save you costly repairs down the line, and it helps ensure that you’ll make it through the winter warm and cozy.

7 Questions You Must Ask Before Hiring a Tree Service

WARNING! Never hire any tree service company to remove or trim your trees without asking these 7 questions.

These questions will help protect your and your property.

1.      Who pays for injuries or damages?

Many “companies carry no licensing or Insurance. If any of these companies damages anything, or they are injured, you the homeowner can find yourself financially responsible, including if one of the workers falls and breaks a leg. Another tactic of fraudulent businesses is to start an insurance policy and not pay their premiums. They carry an evidence of insurance form that is not valid.

Our Difference: Crider Landscaping is both licensed and insured. Our $2,000,000 Commercial Liability policy gives you and us protection for your home or business. Once we provide you with our evidence of insurance, we also provide the contact information where you can verify coverage. This is what every reputable company should provide.

2.      Where do you get your employees?

A secret fact is many landscape companies hire felons or illegals, those who cannot get jobs “anywhere” else. It is possible for homeowners to be penalized for allowing illegals to perform work on their property. In addition, with the close proximity to your property and family, felons may not be whom you want around your loved ones.

Our Difference: Crider Landscaping only employs individuals who are licensed to work in the United States. Before hiring, our employees get a background check and have to be able to pass a drug test. We want to ensure that we can trust our employees and more importantly that you can trust us. We want responsible workers.

3.      How long have you been doing this type of work?

One can claim to be a tree company with only a truck and couple of ropes and saws. They are typically going to “climb everything” rent a chipper and have little or no access to other equipment such as bucket trucks and cranes. Meaning year to year there are new “tree companies” that are in their first year of business with little to no experience and are learning on your property.

Our Difference: At Crider Landscaping, our new staff is trained by our veteran staffers to ensure the best possible service. We have several staff members that have been working in tree care since their teens. Therefore, Crider Landscaping staff and employees have many years of experience in tree service.

4.      Will you leave my yard in a mess?

Many companies say they will clean up but actually leave the brush for city clean up. This is an illegal practice and if the city believes that, a contractor did the work they will not haul it off. This will become another expense that can cost more than just having the mess removed in the first place. If the mess is taken care of in this “city” manner, then you get to spend an hour or two raking your lawn after this is finished.

Our Difference:  At Crider Landscaping, we chip all brush, then blow and rake the area so your lawn is actually cleaner than before we arrived to do the work.

5.      How do you ensure my satisfaction, will you put it in writing?

Many companies do not offer any contracts therefore leaving a lot of gray area when it comes to your tree removal and trimming services. Without contracts, you are not completely protected in what services you are supposed to be receiving and could end up dealing with a mess.

Our Difference: At Crider Landscaping, we use carbon-copied quotes and contracts outlining exactly what services you can expect from us. With these agreements in place, you can be assured that you are receiving exactly the services you are paying for.

6.      How much of a down payment do you require?

Many companies require deposits of 50% or more, and you hear many stories about the contractors that took deposits and never showed up. Do not be one of those stories. Companies that operate with sound business practices should not need any deposit, unless it involves an insurance claim and that should be no more than your deductible. Our Difference: Many times, we do not require any prepayments, because of our sound business practices and relationships with insurance companies that allow us to bill them directly.

7.      Why are you so expensive? OR Why are you so cheap?

Many companies have to charge much more than us because most if not all of their equipment is financed, they work out of high profile offices with higher rents and are trying to act as if “corporate executives” while you the client pays for the additional costs.

Our Difference: We operate our company on minimal debt; we rent equipment when necessary and work diligently on keeping our operating costs low. We do not have monthly debt payments that lead to higher operating costs, costs that are passed on to you. We also purchase equipment used when possible in order to lower equipment cost. However, we are a professional company who invests in quality equipment and employees to ensure a great job and a good experience for our clients. We also provide insurance, and worker’s comp.

Keeping it Light

Keeping it Light

When it comes to painting a home not all colors are created equal.  Selecting the right shade is difficult enough, but increasingly difficult when trying to choose a paint color for a small house.  Which begs the question, "What paint colors make a house look bigger?"  Glad you asked.  Here are some quick tips and tricks to keep your home looking classy and larger than ever.

Choosing the most effective solar patio lights

Are you contemplating solar patio lights to boost and lighten your landscape? It is possible to follow these easy and simple, straightforward suggestions to look for solar lights that will go the length. Buying solar fixtures for garden area and the patio is a good option. You will quickly enrich the charm of the entrance as well as your residence's inherent value using these lights.

Enjoy The Winter With Fireplace Inserts

Enjoy The Winter With Fireplace Inserts

A fireplace is a beacon for quite a few homes over the course of the winter season. Families take refuge beside it for warmth and comfort. There are some, though, that don't use their fireplace simply because of the bother of preparing and cleaning additionally to the cost for refurbishing a fireplace in an older house. But you will discover alternatives to overcome those concerns.

Enjoy The Winter With Fireplace Inserts

Enjoy The Winter With Fireplace Inserts

A fireplace is a beacon for quite a few homes over the course of the winter season. Families take refuge beside it for warmth and comfort. There are some, though, that don't use their fireplace simply because of the bother of preparing and cleaning additionally to the cost for refurbishing a fireplace in an older house. But you will discover alternatives to overcome those concerns.