Swimming pools are very common home amenities here in the Sunshine State and there’s certainly no shortage of them around Sarasota. Pools are a great way to beat the summer heat. And, make a wonderful centerpiece around which to entertain. Swimming pools have a lot of value in their creature comfort, but can be costly features because of ongoing maintenance costs and period repairs. Pools can act as a selling feature, as well, however, they can be a deterrent if not in tiptop shape.
Pools are endure a lot of stress, which comes in many forms. The weather elements are one thing that can affect a pool, particularly the water quality, as rainwater is harmful to a pool. Swimming pools also collect a lot of debris, even when protected by a birdcage, pollen and insects being the principal containment. In addition to these, all pools are under constant stress, especially here in the state of Florida, because of the high water table. It’s known a hydrostatic pressure, which is an ever-present force pushing on the walls of a pool. This is why a pool that’s significantly empty can begin to crack, because the outside stress forces are so great.
Sooner or later, no matter how well you maintain your pool, you’ll have to resurface it. While this isn’t a welcome proposition, it certainly is necessary. If you don’t resurface your pool, the damage will certainly worsen and cost much more to repair. The longer you wait, the more it will cost and the longer you’ll be without that cool water environment. (more…)
The very phrase “landscape design,” is an imposing one, concocting a vision of complexity seemingly unimaginable and obtuse. Indeed, one could spend years upon years studying the various theories and applicable aspects of the art-science, but, what about weekend do-it-yourself types who just want to spruce up a yard or install some features? You probably want to give your front or backyard a facelift of sorts, either to create a space to relax and entertain or because you’re going to sell your home. Whatever the reason, you likely want to avoid any in-depth explanation and get right to the most important aspects or practical details just to make it cohesive and professional. Well, that can be done, if you understand basic principles.
What makes landscaping design seem all too complex is the end-result. You’ve seen those gorgeous outdoor spaces and thought about how long and how much effort went into coming up with the concept and then making it into a reality. The truth is, it does take quite a bit of planning and a lot of elbow grease to get from concept to reality, but, it’s all done through the lens of five basic design elements. These are guidelines to work within and serve as a great help to produce an eye-catching ebb and flow. (more…)
Installing a new pergola on your deck, over an outdoor kitchen, or in the yard is one of the most aesthetically pleasing elements in outdoor living design. You can opt to grow vines over a pergola, hang decorative curtain panels, or, put a fire pit in the center to serve as a cooking, warming, and entertaining space. Regardless of what you envision, you obviously would like the best results possible. To achieve that, you need to have a good, actionable plan before you install a new pergola.
You have two options for your new pergola: go the do-it-yourself route or hire a professional installer. Since this isn’t a complicated task, but one that will require substantial elbow grease, you can make it a DIY project. (more…)
When it comes to the ultimate in outdoor living, nothing beats an outside kitchen, complete with all the amenities of a traditional interior space. It takes entertainment to a whole new level and is ideal for hosting parties around the pool and nice for family dinners on weekend evenings.
There’s just one, actually several, problems that homeowners inadvertently invent and invite on themselves because they do not take into consideration some undeniable factors. Every home improvement project comes with its own set of challenges and just like hardscaping or implementing measures to deal with common pests, it isn’t a simple do-it-yourself proposition.
To make the most of your existing landscape, you’ll want to expand upon the theme already in place. One thing you really want to avoid is not synchronizing your new kitchen with your existing features. If you do, it will look out-of-place and that will negatively impact your home’s value come resale time. (more…)
Putting a landscape design together takes a lot of preparation and know how. Unfortunately, homeowners are bombarded with media that magically transforms properties in thirty to sixty minutes, yielding stunning results that isn’t possible without the help of dozens and dozens of crew members. That phenomenon gives homeowners the misconception landscaping is not difficult. Of course, it’s often the hard way that notion is dispelled and that’s when disappointment sets-in.
Landscaping, like anything else, is a process, and, it can be a complicated and complex one. Breaking it down to fundamentals is essential to getting the right results. By following some basic principles, do-it-yourself types can produce a great design that really impresses the eye and serves in a functional capacity.
Where many people go wrong is going all out and going too big. It’s best to start small and work up in an incremental manner, developing on a particular theme and keeping it flush with continuity. It’s wanting the perfect design and not seeing the forest for the trees which causes mistakes to be made and that will cost a lot more time and money. Settling on a concept and executing in a step-by-step fashion will yield the best results, not trying to do it all in one shot. (more…)
SLandscaping isn’t just about picking the right colors, lines, and shapes, it’s also about what you chose to plant. While you will probably opt for color and beauty to make it really pop, you ought to avoid certain plants. Not only those which won’t thrive on your property because of its geographical location and type of climate, but others as well. You should research each choice in order to prevent problems that will later be a reality.
The key to having a great landscape is to plan well in advance of taking-on the project. That’s true of most big jobs, planning ahead and taking into account as many contingencies as possible. While you might not think of everything, you will be able to come up with enough to make the effort really matter. Take into consideration more than style and function and you’ll certainly be glad you took the time to do so. (more…)
Tall tales from years of old are a common phenomenon in our society. These are perpetuated by some inkling of truth, or, just made out of “whole cloth.” The hobby or passion of gardening isn’t immune from these old wive’s tales. We hear them, and because of the claim itself, discount practically any notion of illegitimacy. After all, since these seeming helpful hints survive, there must be something to them or they’d disappear.
All of this might be otherwise logical, but at some point, experience tells us something quite different. In a few instances, it’s common sense which prevails, in many others, it’s scientific testing that uncovers and exposes practices which might be counterproductive, benign, or downright harmful.
Take for instance burying banana peels to promote growth, particularly in roses. Now, it is true that banana peels contain high amounts of potassium. What’s more, it is true that roses do thrive and bloom from potassium, it’s also true that chemical reactions in the soil occur simultaneously. While microorganisms break down the banana peels, an excess amount of nitrogen must be contributed to cause said breakdown. When nitrogen is taken away, so is the very nutrient that’s needed to promote growth in all plants. Hence, banana peels buried into the soil do more damage than good. In this case, it’s best to compost banana peels rather than bury them. (more…)
Many homes, especially older homes, have concrete patios. These outdoor features are built to last, and purely for function, having little to do with style or aesthetics. Concrete patios are great for outdoor living because they are a dedicated space and help to define borders. Over time, however, the weather elements, inclement storms, root systems, and foot traffic all take their toll. These combined forces eventually cause even the sturdiest of patios to begin to crack.
Those cracks only grow larger, and become a source of aggravation because now, you’re constantly having to pull weeds out, plus, insects use them as kinds of miniature highways. What’s more, those cracks present another problem, and that’s safety since you can trip over them, or worse, find a sandal or shoe wedged between. All of this, not to mention the fact, that they completely detract from their already plain, but worn look. (more…)
Punk trees, also called paperbark tea trees, are scientifically known as Melaleuca quinquenervia, and, are not native to Florida, but can be found throughout the southernmost part of the peninsula, up into the central portion of the Sunshine State. Here in Sarasota, these nuisance trees can also be found, in no small part, because of their ability to rapidly reproduce. Their remarkable fortitude allows them to grow in upland, that is, relatively dry environments, as well as in aquatic systems.
These trees generally grow to about 40 feet in height, though have been documented to reach 100 feet tall, and are native to the continent of Australia. Though these species hail from quite far away, they were first introduced to the state over fifty years ago. Since that initial introduction, punk trees have spread their presence through most of the south and up to and across central portions. This is so because of how the species is able to withstand the elements, as well as its aggressive method of spreading its seeds.
While this species is valuable to its native environment because it naturally attracts bees, birds, and bats, here, is an altogether different story. It thrives in bright wetland areas, moist soil, which is quite abundant in Sarasota, and even grows heartily in standing water. It’s distinct bark, which appears paper-like, peels off the trunk and its leaves, when crushed, produce a camphor-like smell. Because it is an evergreen, it doesn’t truly go dormant in the strictness sense, it does slow or stop its growth during the winter, which makes it the ideal time to cut them down. (more…)
If your deck looks a bit worse for the wear and the life seems to be zapped out of it, you can give it a makeover with some smart improvements. Homeowners love their outdoor spaces, when the weather permits. Regardless of where you live in the country, chances are excellent your deck takes a beating year in and year out. Even though it might be built of sturdy materials, designed to withstand the elements, that doesn’t make it impervious. Over time, said elements will exact a toll, starting with minor but noticeable signs of wear and expanding into unavoidable, unsightly, problems.
The good news is, that in the majority of cases, unless the damage is extreme, the structure can be saved. It might not be one-hundred percent salvageable, but, you’ll have quite a bit to work with to rebuild. If your deck looks worn but the structure is intact and not compromised, you can elect to refurbish your deck to save money. This will allow you to keep the current configuration, while giving it some long lasting protection to keep it looking great for many years to come. (more…)