Rare And Exotic Garden Perennials For Landscape Planting

The term, ‘perennial plant’, means simply that the plant returns following severe freezes, to grow again the next year. Trees are cold hardy tested perennials by nature, some trees that are evergreens and do not go dormant, but merely slow down during various seasons, and other shade trees enter dormancy and shed the leaves. Tree growth of shade trees may stop altogether in extremely cold climates, but in the spring, will surge with buds that open to flower and leaf out.

Great difficulties arise in assigning a plant, ‘perennial’, mainly because the primary determining factor, temperature range varies from year to year; and every century extreme cold temperatures may erase certain plant populations that have survived in areas before for decades or sometimes even centuries. A perennial plant may be a survivor, thus a “perennial” for a given growing area, then suddenly may become extinct in that growing area. The USDA has constructed a zone map that reveals averages of temperatures reached by the location in your State. This map is a nursery tool used to predict whether a perennial will live (cold hardy) in your area.

Agaves are a diverse genus of over 200 species of rosette, spear-like, leafed evergreen perennials. Agave typically grows as low shrub-like plants in dry or well-drained soils of the Southern part of the U.S. from New Jersey down to Florida, and then West to California. Many Agave species, such as Agave americana or Agave tequilana, have sharp recurved, protective teeth running along both sides of the blade of its semi-curved, lance-shaped leaves, with a sharp needle-tip lance at the end. There are Agave species, like Agave attenuata, and Agave stricta, that do not have sharp-teeth at all, but are smooth. The color variations of Agave plants range from shades of green, to silvery-grey, bluish-green, top yellow or white stripes, such is the case with Agave americana ‘media-picta’. The bloom of mother Agave plants are a beautiful array of pendulent bell-shaped, creamy-white flowers soaring high above the mother plant on a flower stem that may reach 20 feet or more for some agave species. The bloom period of a mother Agave plant is during the summer and the flower stalk is magnificent to behold, however, this event means the cycle of life ends for mother Agave and begins again for her Agave offspring. Agave plants are an excellent choice for rock gardens or well drained soils that lend themselves well to terracotta or cement planters. Agaves are fairly slow glowers so expect higher prices on these sunloving garden jewels at retail garden centers. Huge specimen agaves can be quickly delivered by semi-trucks.

The ancient Egyptians in 1500 BC grew the Aloe for healing, and while the Pharaoh held all the Jews in captivity, aloes were used as cosmetics and for the sacred healing power of this mysterious perennial. The Book of John, in the New Testament Bible, John 19-39, records that Jesus’ body was wrapped in linen cloths and aloes after the corpse was removed from the crucifiction cross before burial. Aloes are evergreen perennial plants that grow as shub-like, climbing or tree-like plants. The aloe plant leaves are fleshly, succulent, long tongue-shaped groups of rosettes, or as star-patterned limbs. Most forms of the aloe, 300 species genus, have toothed leaf blades with soft to piercing hard teeth. Aloe saponaria and Aloe vera are the two most commonly found containerized aloes in homes and gardens. Aloe vera plant extracts have long been used by mothers on their children for fast relief for minor cuts and burns. Aloe saponaria is cold hardy down to freezing temperatures and is widely grown in Southern gardens for the beautiful, coral-colored, tubular blossoms and for the making of medicated soap. Most aloe plants are small, 1-3 foot tall and width, however, a few tropical aloe species, such as Aloe marlothii grow into large, 120 foot succulent trees. Aloe plant varieties may vary enormously in color from yellow, red to blue-greens, or to spotted or striped with random variegation.

Repairing Scratches in Laminate Flooring

When I moved into my home, the floor in the living room had just been refinished with beautiful honey toned laminate flooring. It was beautiful and it fit my decor perfectly. The only problem was the fact that one of my chair had popped a cap, unbeknownst to everyone involved, and it wasnt until a few weeks later, when I went to rearrange a few pieces of furniture, that I noticed it. Much to my horror, the gleaming floor beneath the chair had become a scratched mess and I shuddered at the thought of having to fix them.

Now, Im sure that I am not the only person who has had to deal with scratched laminate flooring. In fact, Im almost positive that the problem is universally shared. The simple truth is, if you are going to own laminate flooring, at one time you will own scratched laminate flooring. Most people would simply sigh and shift the furniture around to cover the evidence, something that I actually did for a few months, but laminate flooring can be fixed without having to tear out pieces and replace them.

Most repairs in laminate flooring are pretty minor. A glass may have fallen and gouged a small hole or the kids may have scraped a toy car, minus wheels, across a small section. The scratches and holes are simply surface damage but they definitely detract from the once shiny beauty of your floors.

With minor damage, you will only need to do minor repairs to your laminate. Unfortunately, as with most repairs, there is nothing regularly stocked in your shelves that will fix the floors. You will need to make a run to the local home hardware or flooring store to pick up a repair kit. Some manufacturers will make repair kits for their flooring so the best place to start is the store where you purchased your flooring.

If you arent sure of the manufacturer or the manufacturer does not have a repair product, simply purchase a generic repair kit. A repair kit usually consists of a tube of putty or wax. This is your actual filler. Some repair kits have colored putty while others have paint that you mix to create the matching floor color; this you mix with the putty before applying. Both are perfectly fine to purchase and you will usually run yourself about ten to twenty dollars.

Some repair kits come with putty knife and everything else you need but if it doesnt simply pick up a putty knife while you are at the store. Popsicle sticks work perfectly for applying the putty to the crack. Before you start repairing your scratches and dents, make sure the area is clean of any debris and is dry. There is no sense repairing a spot if a patch of dog hair is going to be glued into the floor. Once the area is prepared, its time to get mixing.

If you went with a colored putty that matches your floor, all you will need to do is spoon in the putty, but if you went with a mix, you will need to match and create the desired color. Once you have that, spoon in the putty and smooth with the putty knife. Remove any of the excess putty so you have a smooth surface. Lastly, wipe the area around the scratch, being careful to not touch the repaired scratch with a clean cloth to wash away any residue.

Once it dries, your laminate flooring should look as good as new.

Sometimes, you will find the occasional scratch that is too shallow for the putty to work properly. If this is the case, the best product on the market is ScratchAway. This is a spray on treatment for any small scratches on laminate and other wood flooring. All you need to do is spray the area and then buff until it is dry.

So with a few little tricks of the trade, there are very few reasons why you cant enjoy scratch free laminate flooring for years to come.

Meaning Of Kitchen Design Layout

In the yester years people did not give importance to the kitchen area, things have changed now as humans today are focusing on building a modern kitchen in every home. A functional and a well designed kitchen is part of every dream house that humans want today. Whatever the reason that you want your cooking area to be renovated redesign it with keeping other people in mind. The kitchen appliance and equipment make a crucial part of your decision. Entertaining guests and having a family time together would be immaterial without a well built kitchen. One of the must visit places which will help you make the choice simpler is the Toronto appliances. The culinary skills of a chef or a homeowner come to a standstill without a functional and well designed kitchen. Avoid these major pitfalls before renovating the kitchen area or building one in the first place.

From my experience, all my friends have placed a lot of emphasis on the kitchen triangle; however it didn’t work for me as with a spacious kitchen it seemed like a waste of space. With kids around there had to be better organization than the traditional kitchen triangle. Instead shift your focus on the home appliances and fixtures and build work stations revolving it. The work stations work wonders in the kitchen compared to the triangle. A well built kitchen reflects a lot on the personality of the person. So having a well designed kitchen is an asset today for a better future as a family and for entertaining guests. Always keep one thing in mind that guests and other persons are going to use the kitchen along with you. Avoid the clutter and if there is a possibility of a wedding on the cards building a dream kitchen is going to be even more fun. If you can afford a spacious cooking area don’t settle for less and enjoy every moment of cooking you spend in the kitchen.

With the change in time every person has become career oriented person, time is very important for them. They hardly get time to do their household work, with kids around the matter becomes little more difficult. It’s always safe to keep all the glasses, cups, pots and pans & all the kitchen gadgetry in storage spaces. If a person has ample space to store things then all the unnecessary stuff can be kept there. Any person who is designing his cooking area this is the main thing which he has to consider first. The path to cooking success is using high tech quality kitchen appliances in the kitchen area. Any person can get them from Canada warehouse, they provide their customers with latest High quality equipment. Redesigning your kitchen area or changing your home is very difficult job; this job can become very easy if the person knows beforehand what appliances have to be installed. Out of the wide range of appliances available in the market, one can choose those appliances which best their needs and requirements.

Home Improvement Projects Are Important But Safety is First

Every year, around 1.6% of American households embark on a key home improvement plan. Only two other loan application desires are more popular than home improvement projects requests. With the rise in home-improvement cases, accidents and injuries have also increased. In this article lets review the use of ladders as they are one of the most usable equipment in almost all the home improvement project whether commercial or residential.

Whether in use inside or outside, tools and equipment must be dependable and operated safely. Reliable gear is essential to safety management. Confidence in the equipment is critical. Many home improvement projects require the use of a ladder. When using a ladder in the project consider the following features.

The ladder should be in compliance with OSHA standards. If the ladder does not comply with OSHA, it should be eliminated as a ladder choice. With the OSHA rules in place it is possible to minimize the number of accidents that take place using the ladders

Use a ladder prepared for the quantity of weight being applied. Never load the ladder beyond the manufacturer’s specifications for weight capacity. Verify the weight capacity before purchasing a ladder. Consider the weight of the person using the ladder as well as the load to be carried by that person.

Check the material the manufacture used to create the ladder. Make sure the material is strong enough to not only hold the weight but to prevent it from damage from dents or twisting. Verify that the connections are securely attached to the legs. Use of a quality-manufactured ladder averts accidents.

If the home improvement project requires ladder usage on an uneven surface, use a staircase ladder or a leveler. Stability is a key factor in safe ladder handling. If the ladder is still unsteady, a helper can add stability by holding onto the ladder while it is in use.

If possible, use a transportable work platform as a place for objects such as paint or tools. The platform eliminates the need for continuously climbing up and down the ladder. This not only averts dangerous trips but eliminates the need to carry heavy or awkward object up the ladder. Make sure the platform has a weight capacity suitable for the objects to be placed on it.

When visiting the home-improvement store, bring a list of the desired features that you would like to see in the ladder which you will use in your home improvement project. Ask the contractor friend you have or a home builder what they recommend for people like you. Also mention the project and stuff you will use it for.

Refer to the list when examining potential products. If the store does not carry a safe, reliable ladder, purchase one from another store. Safety is worth shopping around for.

Ladders provide extended height in order to complete projects otherwise inaccessible. However, utilizing a safe ladder and applying safety measures avert possible dangers and provide homeowners a greater likelihood of a successful project.

Importance & Benefits Of Gardening

Gardening with kids is a great outdoor activity which allows the whole family to participate. Selecting your flowers and vegetables, making the earth and planting and harvesting, gardening with kids could be a wonderful way to spend time with your child/children and a healthy hobby which all can enjoy. Working in the garden, helps a child build all senses and children learn to work together and share.


Now a day, children spend more time sitting in front of their computers & TV than playing outdoors. A study by the California Department of Education, kids’ fitness levels may affect their performance in school. The Study done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found exactly the same results on academic performance. The study revealed that increased amounts of physical fitness translated into higher academic achievement. The benefits were most evident in tough subjects like math scores. It is also found that girls at a higher fitness level had better achievement than boys.


Does your child consume the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables each day? We have known for years that fruits and vegetables provide essential protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber that keep us healthy. According to the nationwide nutrition survey research, daily consumption of fruits and vegetables decrease risk of stroke, cancer, and heart disease, improved memory and lower blood sugar levels. So why not try this.


Following are the Benefits of gardening with your children:
Social and Life Skills
Science
Relaxation
Environmental Awareness
Quality time with family


Following are some tips for gardening with your children:
Before you start, Study what kind of climate you have. Once you know your zone, you can find out and choose what plants to select.


Allocate a place where your child will be gardening.
Guide them about the importance of quality soil and soil preparation.
Before starting a garden with your children, the first thing you should do is remove any large debris, rocks, and branches.


Let the kids lay out the shape of the garden.
Ask your kids what kind of plants, vegetables or flowers they like to plant and let your kids pick them out.


Explain them what will work well in the garden and what won’t.


Let them help in the seeds selection and blossoming plants at the nursery. Let your child do the money calculations.


Depending on your kid’s age, let him dig, weed, or watering. This is a great way for your child to explore.


Get them their own gardening gear. Nothing will motivate your little gardener more than having their own little shovel, gardening gloves, watering pail, and colored rubber boots.


Plant some quick growers to keep the child’s interest or purchase plants from garden center.


Watch plants breed and enjoy time together in nurturing nature.


Gardening with children could benefit both children and adults and it’s all about having fun and learning together. Gardening & nature are great stress relievers, enhance the environment, develop individuals, and build communities.

Parquet Hardwood Flooring

Parquet hardwood flooring has a very different look from typical hardwoods. They were originally made up of many small pieces of exotic woods arranged in intricate geometric patterns. Modern parquet hardwood flooring consists of solid tiles of wood pre-arranged in patterns, making it easy to install. Parquet hardwood flooring is generally the cheapest, however it is harder to refinish than other solid wood floors and its life span is relatively shorter.

Parquet hardwood flooring comes in many designs, ranging from the basic parquet, to basket weave and herringbone. They come in large tiles made up of geometric patterns composed of individual wood slats, held in place by a paper or plastic mesh backing. The visual effects of parquet hardwood flooring can be quite stunning, and variety can be brought to the room simply by moving a rug of piece of furniture to expose of cover different patterns.

Parquet flooring can be attached to either a wood or concrete sub-floor, however concrete sub-floors often require an underlay to help compensate for any unevenness. Because the smaller pieces arranged in different directions result in less overall cross-grain expansion, parquet is a good choice in areas where the moisture content of the flooring is expected to change significantly over time.

Parquet hardwood flooring comes in a variety of woods such as oak, cherry, mahogany, beech and walnut. It is a good idea to make a dry run of the pattern you want to lay out by laying a test arrangement before permanent installation.

The wood tiles should be stored in the room they are to be installed in for at least 24 hours so they can acclimate to the temperature and humidity. You should buy about 5% more flooring than you calculate that you will need, to compensate for any mistakes. The extra material, if not needed, could come in handy later in case of damage.

Unlike strip or plank flooring, parquet flooring is laid in two directions at once. Parquet hardwood flooring should be laid by starting in the center of the room and working outwards toward the walls. This establishes a centered and well aligned geometric pattern.

Find the center of the room by measuring from wall to wall. Snap a chalk line between the center of opposite walls, then snap another chalk line between the other two walls. The intersection between the two lines is the center point. Make sure the two intersecting lines form right angles. Lay a test run of parquet along the chalk lines starting at the center, working toward the wall. Adjust the center to keep the tiles on the edges of the room from being cut too thin.

Using a trowel, spread adhesive on a 2 x 2 area at the intersection of the chalk lines and let it thicken and become tacky. Pressing firmly, lay down a tile on the adhesive using the lines for placement. Ensure the placement of the first tile is accurate, as it will determine the layout of the entire floor. Tap the tile into place with a mallet, placing a piece of scrap wood on top to protect the tile. If any adhesive seeps between the tiles, clean with a cloth soaked in solvent. Working toward each wall, fill in one quadrant at a time. To avoid putting your weight on any one tile, use a piece of plywood as a kneeling board.

The last tiles against the wall will need to be cut to fit. They should be cut slightly smaller than the measured space to allow for expansion of the wood. A ” ” space is usually sufficient. Allow the new parquet hardwood floor to dry for a least a day before using.

Resources: http://tamalpaishardwoodfloors.com
http://www.lowes.com

Annual Roof Maintenance Taking Care of Your Roof

Annual preventative roof maintenance is the easiest way of taking care of your roof, to protect the most valuable physical asset you own your home. A wellmaintained roof system on the home not only keeps the family dry, but can increase its energy efficiency as well.

Over time, even a minor roof leak can cause a catastrophic failure during harsh environmental conditions, which can eventually promote the growth of harmful organisms including mold and mildew. When left untreated, a small leak in the roof can eventually degrade the homes structural integrity and quickly deteriorate its interior and/or exterior.

Maintenance Is a Necessity

Property owners often recognize how important HVAC maintenance is to the comfort level of the homes interior. However, most homeowners give little thought to roof system maintenance until a serious problem occurs. Waiting until a leak appears in the roof is often referred to as reactive maintenance, which often costs significantly more to repair than the price of an annual or biannual inspection to catch a small roofing issue.

Unfortunately, a small leak in the roof system can often create more serious problems than a major hole in the roof. This is because moisture will continuously come in contact with wood, gypsum, flooring materials, insulation, and other building materials causing deterioration and potential structural failure.

When insulation becomes wet, it quickly eliminates its Rvalue, or its ability to insulate against the heat of the summer, and the cold of the winter. In addition, wet insulation promotes the growth of harmful contaminants on organic surfaces while increasing the roofs structural load. It also has the ability to rust roofing fasteners and cause significant damage to structural components including stucco, brick, concrete and wood on the buildings exterior.

Preventative Maintenance Program

To ensure that you are properly caring for your rooftop, you should consider implementing an annual or biannual roof maintenance program to safeguard the home and minimize the potential of costly repairs. A preventative maintenance program involves:

The Inspection This program often starts with an inspection where the contractor walks the roof surface, looking for any signs of deterioration, holes or damage, at least once every year. The inspector will evaluate wall flashing, the perimeter edge, terminations (termination bar, counter flashing, metal coping, etc.), stack and pipe flashing, curb flashing, fasteners, seams, caulking, etc.

Documenting Deficiencies Building a repair checklist, the inspector will detect and note deficiencies and take photographs of the top and underside of the roofing system, while marking any defective or disintegrating material that requires repair.

Perform Repairs Part of the maintenance program includes performing repairs, using quality materials and proven repair methods, to increase the roofs longevity and minimize the potential of developing serious roofing issues.

Annual or biannual preventative maintenance by a licensed roofing contractor is an easy solution for taking care of your roof. Avoid reacting to serious roofing issues when they arise. Instead, incorporate an affordable, preventive maintenance program to protect the home against outdoor environments while maximizing the value of the house.

Why Is My Kitchen Flooring Idea Very Important

The kitchen is the most-used room in your house every day. It where you are busy the most and this call for an excellent flooring that is durable and is easy to clean. Durability and ease of cleaning are the two top criteria of choosing the best kitchen flooring material and design. Choosing the right floor is always a daunting decision. A process combines your personal taste and practical careful thinking. It finally comes down to a personal choice.

What Are The Possible Flooring Surfaces For My Kitchen?

Do you want to change the flooring surface for your kitchen? Are you changing the looks for your kitchen? Replacing the material for your kitchen floor is definitely the only easy way of improving the looks around your kitchen. There are wide ranges of flooring options that you can choose from during the selection process. Remember you need something that is easy to clean and durable.

Stone or tile Flooring- This is excellent flooring for your kitchen since it is recommended for heavy traffic areas. A ceramic tile is usually durable and is available in assorted colors and styles with distinctive option of decorating the borders and designs. It is a perfect option for your Kitchen Flooring.

Limestone Flooring- Limestone is no doubt a natural stone that offers an old World look. Since it is a porous material, it must be sealed upon installation and twice a year. It is also durable.

Cork Flooring- This is the most durable and versatile material that is available in a variety of designs and colors. It is water resistant and reduces high-pitched sounds. Printed Cork flooring is the best for Kitchen Flooring due to durability and ease of cleaning.

Hardwood Flooring- Most Kitchen Flooring is made from this. It is very popular on kitchen floors due to durability and is excellent flooring on high-traffic areas. It is comfortable and creates a warm look.

Vinyl or resilient Flooring- This type of flooring provides a variety of styles, designs, and colors for tiles, and is good for you if you are on budget.

If you are considering a kitchen floor that is beautiful, attractive, easy to clean, and durable, then you pick the printed cork flooring. It is smooth and well designed to match with any looks in the other rooms. Your kitchen is where all the food in your home is prepared and can get dirt very fast due to falling foodstuffs and peelings. You,therefore, require a floor that is easy to wipe and can dry very fast. A dry floor is a comfortable ground to stand.

Printed cork flooring is a leading kitchen flooring technique in most homes around the world. It is easy to clean and reduces dust allergies meaning it is safe. Hardwood floors are very natural and eco-friendly. Make an order for them and you will be surprised by vast benefits that come with cork. It is a perfect choice for your kitchen floor.

Weekend Warriors Top 5 Home Improvement Projects

If youre like most of us you love to watch those home improvement shows on TV, they make it look so easy to change the appearance of your home by doing some simple home improvements. And if youre like most of us and have to work Monday thru Friday any home improvement projects have to be done on the weekend. So for all you weekend warriors here are my top 5 weekend projects:

If youre like most of us you love to watch those home improvement shows on TV, they make it look so easy to change the appearance of your home by doing some simple home improvements. And if youre like most of us and have to work Monday thru Friday any home improvement projects have to be done on the weekend. So for all you weekend warriors here are my top 5 weekend projects:

Bathroom or Kitchen facelift- Im not talking about a major remodel here just a simple facelift can totally change the look of a kitchen or bathroom. Refinishing the kitchen cabinets, new paint and wallpaper, replacing a toilet, or maybe even replacing that old bathroom or kitchen facet can greatly improve and update the look of any home.

Install new lighting- Installing new lighting can not only brighten your home but give a room a totally different look. Whether installing a light kit on a ceiling fan or replacing that old outdated fluorescent light in the kitchen with some of the new kitchen lighting on the market, installing new lighting is a weekend project thats relatively easy and comes with a big return.

Install tile- whether a kitchen floor or backsplash or new tile in the bathroom, installing ceramic tile is easier than you think and is a great weekend project for weekend warriors. Most home improvement stores have everything you need for professional looking results, one tip: Be sure to rent a tile saw, it will save you a lot of time and is well worth the cost.

Changing the color of a room- Color is in! You will be surprised how a splash of color can totally change the look of any room. Many homes have either white or off-white walls but many homeowners have found adding color to a room can brighten and warm up a room and is a great weekend home improvement project for anyone. As with any painting project the time you spend in preparing before actually painting will speak volumes as to the results.

Staining Garage Floor or Patio- This is a great project for weekend warriors. Perhaps you have a garage with oil spots, old paint, and other unidentifiable stains on the floor. Staining your garage floor can bring new life to any garage and look great! Some of the new epoxy products on the market offer numerous color choices and colored flakes that you wont find in most home improvement superstores and will give your garage a unique and customized look.

Being a weekend warrior when it comes to home improvement projects can be fun and rewarding. Be sure to do your research about the best products and techniques before starting any home improvement project, but dont be scared to try something you have never done before. There is an abundance of information and how-to books on just about any project you decide to tackle, so go ahead and conquer that weekend project.