If you want to create a backyard oasis, consider using wood. This renewable resource is a timeless and durable material that’s well-suited for building patios, decks, pergolas, and other structures that can enhance an outdoor space.
With so many varieties on the market, there’s a type of wood for every budget. The most affordable options include treated wood, such as pine, which is often used to construct decks. However, more expensive choices like cedar, ipe, and torrefied wood will hold up better against the elements and add character to your landscaping.
Although it requires regular maintenance, wood is one of the most widely used landscaping materials. This is because it can be matched with nearly any design style. In addition to being ideally suited for a rustic or Scandinavian backyard esthetic, wood provides warmth and balance to modern and contemporary spaces.
To ensure you select the right wood for your next outdoor project, consult a professional. Landscapers and experts at your local home improvement store can help you create a beautiful yard.
Five great gifts for seniors
Are you looking for a Christmas present for the senior in your life? If so, here are five great gift ideas to show you care.
1. A book
Whether your loved one likes gardening, history, or science, there’s sure to be a book or audiobook that suits their interests. If you need advice, ask a bookstore employee what they recommend.
2. A game
Consider offering a fun puzzle, board game, card game, or memory game. You may also want to consider a video game for the tech-savvy senior in your life.
3. A kitchen gadget
Electric can openers and pepper grinders are perfect for elderly people who want to remain independent but lack strength and dexterity in their hands.
Purchase a picture frame or album, including photos of family members and friends. If there’s enough space, add one or more handwritten notes.
5. A cozy accessory
Give the gift of relaxation with an electric blanket, a pair of non-slip slippers, a soft scarf, or an essential oil diffuser.
For more great ideas, visit your local stores.
Winter home updates: do’s and don’ts
Everything has its right time and place, including home renovations. If you want to update your home this winter, here’s a look at some recommended do’s and don’ts.
Regardless of the weather, you can take care of these interior jobs:
• Paint the walls inside your home
• Renovate a whole room, such as a kitchen, bathroom, or living room
• Upgrade your electrical system
• Update your plumbing system
• Install new flooring
• Complete the addition you built in the summer
• Add insulation to interior walls and the foundation
The following jobs shouldn’t be completed in winter because the outdoor temperature and seasonal storms could create complications. It’s best to avoid the following:
• Yard improvements
• Roof renovations
• Siding repairs
• Exterior paint jobs
• Garage replacements
• Addition installations
Do you have a renovation project in mind? To develop your plan, work out the right timing and get the job done right, and meet with a contractor in your area.
Give the gift of an unforgettable experience
Instead of wrapping presents this year, consider providing your friends and family members with memorable experiences. This is an especially good idea for loved ones who already have everything they need and want. Plus, an outing will offer an opportunity for the person to take a break from their daily grind. Here are a few suggestions:
• A relaxing afternoon at the spa
• Dinner at a gourmet restaurant
• A theater, music, comedy, or circus performance
• Tickets to a ski hill or winter festival
• An introductory course to something exciting like dog sledding or wine tasting
• A weekend at a hotel
To find experiences your loved ones won’t soon forget, research the various activities offered where they live.
How to keep your home rodent free
As winter approaches, various pests will start looking for a cozy place to spend the season. Fortunately, you can take measures to prevent rodents from moving in with you. Here’s what you should do.
Eliminate points of entry
Mice can pass through openings as small as a dime, so close off every small hole you can find. Seal cracks in your foundation, place weatherstrip under your doors, and install backdraft dampers in your ducts. You should also screen off dryer outlets, fans, air intake vents, and roof vents. Finally, add caulking around windows and pipes as needed.
Tidy the kitchen
Take care to keep your counters clean. Store all dry food in sealed containers to avoid creating a buffet for unwanted critters. This includes your pets’ kibble.
Clean your yard
Remove anything cluttering up your property that may serve as shelter for pests. In addition, keep your firewood at a reasonable distance from the house and about one foot above the ground. You should also trim tall grass and plants growing near your home’s foundation. Furthermore, be sure to supply garbage and compost bins with tight-fitting lids and place your compost on wire mesh to prevent rodents from burrowing up from underneath.
If, despite your best efforts, unwanted critters infiltrate your home, call an exterminator in your area to get rid of them once and for all.
Useful gifts for practical people
If you’re not sure what to buy your loved ones for Christmas, you may want to consider giving them something practical. Here are a few ideas to inspire you.
• A gas station gift card
• A firewood sling
• Reusable containers, food wrap, or sandwich bags
• A set of quality bed sheets
• A portable cell phone charger
• A bathtub tray
• A gardening tote
• Heated gloves
• A bike repair kit
• Car storage accessories like a trunk or seat organizer
• Compact camping dishes such as a pot with a folding handle
• Warm socks
Visit your local retailers to find a host of gifts that will make your loved ones’ lives easier.
12 advantages buying local for the holidays
1. To help protect the planet
Buying local is the eco-friendly way to shop for the holidays. When you opt for items produced and sold nearby, you help reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions created when goods are shipped. The need for excess packaging is also eliminated. This Christmas, help protect the environment by buying locally crafted presents, decorations, food, and more.
2. To get superb service
If you want personalized recommendations, information about specific items, or gift ideas for someone with unusual interests, your local merchants can help. These people typically have a passion for the goods and services they offer. Consequently, they’re committed to providing exceptional customer service. Plus, you can count on them for streamlined after-sale service.
3. To enjoy delicious food
When it comes to making a great meal, nothing beats local foods. Keep it close to home by choosing bread, cheeses, wines, meats, and vegetables produced in your region. Whether you’re making an elaborate feast or preparing a simple dish, put fresh, local ingredients on the menu. Your holiday guests will thank you, and so will your tastebuds.
4. To find unique gifts
Are you looking for the perfect present? Whether you’re searching for a practical, decorative, or gourmet gift, you can’t go wrong if you select goods and services provided by the artists, artisans, and small businesses in your area. Find original art pieces, handcrafted items, and unique experiences to pamper the people you love most.
5. To reduce stress
The drama-free way to gather everything you need for the holidays is to shop locally. You’re sure to find the clothes, toys, games, ornaments, cooking supplies, and greeting cards on your list in record time. Plus, making your Christmas purchases locally will eliminate the hassle of delivery delays.
6. To stimulate the economy
A booming local economy helps create a thriving community. You can do your part to sustain your region simply by buying locally. If you do, you’ll contribute to the success of established businesses, enabling them to grow and create more jobs. In turn, this will attract new merchants and entrepreneurs to your area. When you shop locally, everyone wins.
7. To make pleasant discoveries
How well do you know your region? If you explore what your community has to offer, you’ll likely stumble on treasures you never knew were there. Imagine discovering handcrafted jewelry, artisanal chocolates, or a pleasant eatery to spend the afternoon in your backyard! Who knows, you may even find a great park, gallery, gym, or other new venues to haunt.
8. To energize your community
Over the holidays, many communities host an assortment of Christmas events and activities. You’ll likely be able to enjoy attending a tree lighting, nativity play, holiday market, or Christmas concert. Participating in these types of events is a great way to support your local organizations
and businesses. It’s how you help create a vibrant local culture.
9. To free up more time
If you visit the shops, restaurants, concert halls, and museums that are close to home rather than heading out of town, you can save time in your busy schedule. With the extra minutes or hours you gain, you may be able to fit in another activity or simply find more time to relax and unwind.
10. To save money
Frequenting the businesses in your area is a great way to save on gas and other driving-related expenses. This is especially the case if you can walk to your destination. You won’t even have to pay for parking. You could see significant savings depending on how often you tend to make these outings.
11. To procure quality products
Locally crafted goods tend to be better made than mass-produced items manufactured overseas. Consequently, they’re likely to be more durable. If you keep these items for a long time, you’ll save in the long term. Plus, the working conditions for the people producing the goods are more likely to be fair.
12. To create a sense of belonging
If you want to call your region home, simply living there is not enough. You must get to know your area, find spots you love to frequent, and establish a routine. To engage with your community and feel connected to your corner of the world, participate in local events, and support your region’s businesses.