Landscaping Your Driveway

Landscaping Your DrivewayIs your driveway landscaped? It should be. This includes the driveway itself, as well as the design elements on both sides. All sorts of materials from softscape options to hardscape are available to make your driveway attractive.

As the entrance to your home, the driveway should not be neglected. It can either be a scar on the other landscaping around the home or it can add depth to the entire look of your home. You don’t need to spend a lot of money on it either. You can be creative and choose attractive features, and have a very low cost landscape that is welcoming.

Make sure that you take everything into account before choosing your elements. For example, if you are looking for minimal work, do not plant a flower bush at the end of your driveway where the plants can be ruined by those in your neighborhood. Instead, use an attractive fence or a rock garden.

Another important aspect is the footpath to the home. Do not use any design elements that will be in the way of the normal foot traffic. You don’t want to visitors going out of their way, or worse, trampling your plants to reach your door.

Hardscape Choice

You have many options — common ones include walls and fences, which can add distinction and accent your driveway. A small fence can add character and color to the landscape. Use hanging baskets or lanterns on the fence for more charm.

A large rock can be especially interesting, particularly when it has multiple colors. You can plant grasses and small flowers in the cracks of stones to create even more decorative looks.

Softscape Choices

On a limited budget, just landscaping along the sides of the driveway is an excellent option. It will cost little, yet add lots of beauty to your landscape design.

As for softscape options appropriate to driveway areas, many things will work, such as a flower bed or groundcover along the driveway. This will create a border that is interesting and separates the lawn from the actual driveway.

Ornamental trees and shrubs can do the same thing along the edge of the driveway. Shrubs can be cut to become topiary, which will add even more design elements to the look of the driveway landscape.

Another thing to consider is the curved driveway. If your driveway has a curve in it, a great idea is to add a focal point — something to make a statement. For example, you can have a beautiful tree, a flower bed, or a rock garden there. Whatever it is it should be beautiful because the curve will focus attention at that point of your driveway. You can use water gardens, a wishing well, as well as many other types of elements to enhance this area and have it look amazing.

Doing these landscaping operations can completely transform the entrance to your home. In a simple, affordable way, you can add character and depth to your landscape design around your driveway.

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Understanding the Termites Life Cycle

Most of us know what a termite is and what they can do to our homes, but did you know long a termite could live? Here is where you will find the life cycle of termites and characteristics.

A social insect much like the ant is highly organized, decentralized and very cooperative in their search for food and in building their colonies. Because of these characteristics, a termite colony might consist of millions of workers with soldiers and the reproductive.

The difference between ants and termites are very different after that. The Isoptera group is what the termites belong to and the ants belong to the bees and wasps group. Under the Isoptera group we also find cockroaches and mantids all grouped together. The breeding habits of termites are quite different from that of an ant. Therefore, a white ant as the termite was once called was a misconception.

The caste system of a termite is divided into three groups, the reproductive, soldiers and the workers. After reading about these three groups, you will understand the life cycle of termites more.

The reproductive do just as the name suggest, they breed and lay eggs. The reproductive termite has a darker color than the rest of the species and has two sets of wings; these are also known as alates and have a queen and a king.

There are also the secondary reproductive that take over if the queen or king die. The reproductive is the only ones to fly. They will fly around light in the spring of the year, for this is mating time. Once they find a mate, they head to a nest to lay their eggs.

Worker termites build the nest and set out for food to bring back to the colony. They feed the queen and king and the soldiers while they watch over the newly lay eggs. The workers are white in color and sometimes have been confused with maggots.

Soldiers guard the nest and protect the king and queen along with the secondary reproductive. They stand guard while the workers come and go from the nest. These termites will attack with glue like sticky substance that paralyzes the enemy.

If we understand the life cycle of termites, we can further understand how this insect became so devastating to our housing industry. One major characteristic of the termite is the ability to hide and be unseen.

This is how they devour our homes while we sleep, eat and work. As we work, they are hard at work devouring our homes from the inside out.

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More Elegance for Your Home with Stained Glass

Home Stained GlassIf there is one way to throw a new light on your home, it’s through the stained glass you put in your windows. Whether you want to enhance old windows by replacing some of the panes, or are complementing the new Pella windows you’ve installed, stained glass can lend an air of grace and quiet elegance to a room.

Where and how you incorporate stained glass into a window treatment depends a great deal on the style of windows you have, and what you want to spend to achieve that multi-colored glow.

In an older home that has wood framed windows with six or nine panes, it’s possible to take out the upper row of glass, and replace those panes with new ones cut from older stained glass that can be salvaged from yard sales, flea markets and auctions.

New stained glass that is handmade can be quite costly due to the craftsmanship that goes into it. That’s why cutting old panels of stained glass is a cost-effective alternative, that can give you several panes from one sheet. Even if the glass has small cracks or separations in the colored sections, they are easily repaired.

If you have installed a Pella casement window in your kitchen, a semi-circle of stained glass framed and set into the wall over top, will add jewel tones to the warmth of morning sunlight. Or you might choose to replace the entire bathroom window with stained glass, making it a decorative way to preserve your privacy.

The old and the new can come together in harmony. Take a look at your home and consider whether you’d like to warm up the house with stained glass, or combine it with the sophistication of new Pella windows. It’s a pairing guaranteed to create a unique new look.

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The Importance of Circuit Breakers for Your Home

Home Circuit BreakersCircuit Breakers are devices that stop the electrical current of a circuit in the event of excess or very high voltage. Circuit breakers are handy, not only because they can protect and secure against electrical fires but also because they can be reset. When a fuse blows out, it must be replaced each time, whereas circuit breakers are easily reset when tripped.

Each appliance in your home receives electrical currents by way of electrical circuit breakers. Circuit breakers are considered to be either main or individual. The main circuit breaker controls power to the entire house while individual circuit breakers transmit power to individual appliances.

Electrical circuit breakers are probably the most important safety feature in a building. A circuit breaker measures the amount of heat produced by the current or by the magnetic field created by the small coil inside the breaker. When the current becomes too high, the breaker will cut off the circuit to stop it. Fuses serve the same function but can only be used once. Anyone who has blown a fuse can tell you it is much easier to have circuit breakers.

Electrical circuit breakers are also useful for shutting down power to the entire house. If you need to do some electrical maintenance, either for the entire structure or individual electrical wires, shutting down the main breaker can be a safety tool. Although electrical waves are invisible, we all know they have great potential danger. You should label each individual electrical circuit breaker so it is easily accessible for future use.

Direct current, or DC circuit breakers, are commonly used in automobiles. DC circuit breakers, unlike alternate current (AC) breakers, only deliver currents in one direction. These types of circuit breakers are a renewable energy delivery source, and special precautions should be taken when using them.

Since all batteries have the capability of producing enormous amounts of energy when short-circuited, care should be taken to properly install the breaker, fuse and disconnects in a vehicle. Autos should have additional protection against over current for the battery and each of the branch circuits. Vehicle fires sometimes result when the owner does not take proper precautions.

DC circuit breakers often have plastic beads inside of the fuse. When the current becomes too heavy, these plastic beads can melt and fill the void inside the fuse and prevent an arc from forming. If the current is very heavy this can cause electrical fires. While DC circuit breakers are effective in preventing damage from an overload of current, they are only effective to a certain degree. Any power source using DC technology should have a backup master fuse to protect the vehicle against total short-circuit.

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