We love our furry, four-legged, family members and do everything to ensure they are well taken care of, complete with a good diet, exercise, play toys; and, of course, plenty of room to romp outside. For most families, a two income household is a reality and that presents somewhat of a challenge for Fido and friends.
You want them to be able to heed nature’s call when it’s necessary and don’t want them suffering from heat exhaustion. Here in Sarasota, summers are quite warm and that means keeping pets inside when it’s possible. However, as you and your spouse are working during the day, you probably don’t have time to go home and let the dog(s) out.
That’s okay, because you can make your backyard into a dog-friendly landscape that has all the comforts of home, along with some fun features. This will allow you to leave Spot roam during the day and provide them with a whole host of amenities that will be just right for resting, chowing down, and frolicking about freely.
Though winter is still here in Sarasota, there’s going to be days when it’s too warm, not to be tempted by the lure of your pool. While the gulf temperature is still chilly, the abundance of outdoor recreation remains. And, you call still squeeze in some pool time, if the water is heated.
Many homeowners are concerned about the cost of installation, use, and maintenance. But like most improvements, it’s one that comes will a return on investment. When it comes time to sell, potential buyers will be impressed by your heated pool. This will place your property at the top of their lists.
There are different options for heating a pool. Which you choose really depends on your preferences. (more…)
With the weather changing there’s no better time than to enjoy the outdoors, day or night. It’s a great time to entertain guests, taking in the delight of the wonderful breeze coming off the Gulf of Mexico, winding its way through the shores to inland Sarasota.
Now is the time to get your backyard ready and looking its best. Aesthetics and function will be the center focus of creating an outdoor oasis, complete with one of the most versatile features of any home, the fire pit. It can serve more than one function, from a heat source, to an aesthetic, to a cooking appliance, to a place to gather around and roast marshmallows.
Fortunately, fire pits come in all shapes and sizes, which presents a predicament in choosing the right one. They come in portable models, made of copper and cast iron, as well as stone fire pits, which are often built in a particular spot. Generally, those hardscape features are surrounded by seating, which too, can be portable or fixed in position. (more…)
You’ve been doing a bit of home improvement lately, turning your focus to your yard to create a more functional, aesthetic outdoor living space. Now, you’re thinking about building a patio or attached deck and have stumbled onto the concept of a floating deck. After mulling the options over a bit, you decide a deck is a better choice as it fits your design.
The question becomes whether to install an attached deck, one that’s connected directly to your home, or a floating deck. As with most landscaping and home improvement projects, the choice isn’t easy and you’re wondering which is right for you, your home, and your lifestyle.
The answer really lies in what you’re trying to accomplish. The purpose of the feature will be key to which one you ultimately choose. You’ll have to take many things into consideration, particularly things like how long you plan to be in your home and what you’ll need to actually build your deck. (more…)
If you live in sunny Florida on the west coast near the Gulf of Mexico, particularly in and around Sarasota, you know that winter is usually short and mild, especially when compared to the rest of the country, most particularly the northeast, midwest, and northwest. Although it’s called the Sunshine State, it doesn’t mean summer lasts all year long and freezing conditions do occur, often during January and February.
It’s those two months, and the months of November and December, the temperatures do fall. With falling temperatures, people don their sweaters, jackets, and outerwear, as well as enjoy the comforts of heated spaces, something that isn’t available to the pests lurking about the exterior of your home nesting in the yard and elsewhere on your property. These pests too, are drawn to warmer spaces and your home is one inviting place when the temperature falls.
From the yard softscape features, to the hardscaping, and in between practically every nook and cranny, pests find shelter; but when that shelter isn’t sufficient to protect from the cold, they’ll seek out a warm place to escape. The ironic thing about this slow invasion is that you’re often the one leading those pests into your home, and, in more ways than one. (more…)
The temperatures in Sarasota and Manatee have already dropped to some unusual lows and swung back to their averages. The weather phenomenon isn’t unexpected to those who have lived along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico in the Sunshine State, but what might be out of the ordinary is trouble with one of the most used landscaping machines, the leaf blower.
These come in electric and fuel models, when electric powered machines fail, that’s typically a sign it’s time to buy a new one because the cost of repair will likely be near or more than a new purchase. However, that’s not the case for fuel powered blowers, which, like all internal combustion engines, may not start or stay running from time to time. Because we live in a subtropical climate, a leaf blower is one lawn care tool that gets a lot of use, not just for leaf control, but to blow grass clippings away from the patio, driveway, and sidewalk.
Nothing can be more frustrating than to put in hours worth of work, only to reach for the last thing you need and discover it won’t start or won’t keep running. Fortunately, you don’t have to be a garden machine expert or a mechanic to get it to work again. The fixes are usually simple and straightforward, meaning you’ll be able to get back to your cleanup, which you might be doing wrong. (more…)
Depending on where you live in the country, be it in sunny Sarasota, Florida, or up north, you’ll experience freezing temperature during the winter months. In places like the Sunshine State, although infrequent, cold snaps cause temperatures to fall to at or below freezing, which typically happens in the months of January and February. What’s more, in places like Sarasota, said freezing temperatures generally last no more than a day or two and the mercury rises steeply in some instances with wild swings.
Of course, in the northeast and midwest, freezing temperatures are present during most of the winter, and, are not at all unusual. This means nearly regardless of your location, your landscape will have to survive through freezing temperatures.
During the winter, we often here about ways to keep plants, pets, and pools safe through freezes. However, not much attention is paid to water features. And, the absence of reminders can easily lead to an unpleasant and expensive reality of having to make repairs. These can range from quick fixes to all-out replacement, depending on the severity of the weather. (more…)
There it is, rising from out of the ground, interrupting the continuity of your beautifully landscaped lawn, that ugly, slowly rotting stump. The felled tree once attached to it sits neatly stacked in a firewood pile or has long left your property. Yet, that stump remains; and, though you’ve considered repurposing it to make it into a base for a bird bath or another feature, it’s deteriorating steadily.
That’s a problem in itself, because as it does so, it becomes a haven for pests that will wreak havoc on your lawn, garden, and their very presence will attract others who are looking for prey. Now, you’re praying there’s an easy way to get rid of it, without having to go through the time and effort of renting a machine grinder or a stump removal service.
The good news is, depending on how much patience you can muster, there are several options for DIY stump removal. Some take longer than others and though there are products available which claim to magically dissolve the entire thing, that’s more marketing than magic. (more…)
Every homeowner wants their property to look its best, inside and out. After winter and spring has passed, the summer sun comes on strong and it’s a great time to give your home’s curb appeal a boost. However, some homeowners make some big mistakes, not thinking things through when they are planning their new landscape.
Taking ideas from various websites, from home improvement stores, and magazines, they get excited about how it will look once it’s done and that provides the inspiration to get outside and get started. Unfortunately, in the excitement of a new yard comes a bit of myopic thinking, not taking some factors into consideration.
In just a few weeks, months, or even a couple of years, it becomes quite obvious that some of those things were not the best ideas. It’s then you’re left with the task of undoing the damage, which can be costly in some cases, or just purely inconvenient in others. In order to avoid such mistakes, make sure you pick and choose wisely because that will save you time, energy, and money in the future. (more…)
Fences function in two ways: an aesthetic boundary to confine children and pets and to give homeowners privacy. When a fence begins to degrade and fall into a state of disrepair, it compromises those very functions and becomes a safety hazard as well as a potential code violation. Add to it the possibility of it collapsing onto a neighbor’s property, then a homeowner’s insurance property claim might become an unpleasant reality.
When fencing is damaged, as the result of natural outdoor element ware and tear or as the result of storm damage, it becomes necessary to take it down. The problem with this task, of course, is the sheer size of the structure, which can easily run for yards and yards. Once it is removed from the perimeter of the property, you’ll have to decide to replace it with another fence or patch up the perimeter and enjoy a more open space. (more…)