Category: Gardening

How to Build a Shed – Part 3 – Build Your Own Shed

Part 1 – Planning is here. Part 2 – Materials here.

Now that you have your plans and all the materials you need in place it is time to get your hands dirty. Well at least you should have the most important materials by now. Maybe you want to uy the other stuff a little later…

Start with the Foundation

Depending on the type of construction you would either start by pouring a little concrete foundation or get to work on the wood right away.

The foundation doesn’t have to be poured concrete. The key is that the foundation is a level surface that keeps the wood frame dry. Meaning that there are no areas on the ground where water can collect and soak your wood. That would cause it to rot.

Also, if you are in an area where you have termites, do to bury any wood. If you have to put wood pillars in the ground wrap them in durable plastic or treat them with resin or tar. Maybe even a combination of both. Termites can travel quite far in underground tunnels and they will get inside the wood without you noticing it. When you find out it might already be too late.

If you pour little concrete “shoes” for the pillars to sit in make sure that your wood is dry enough. Wet wood will contract and might break free of your concrete. Having some nails sticking out of the pillars in the area where the concrete goes helps to prevent the wood from moving.

Another option is to use concrete blocks embedded into the ground for each of the load bearing points of the frame. These blocks would be bedded on a mortar mix and levelled against each other.

Walls and Roof

For handling larger parts like roof beams for example get the help of a friend. While doing stuff yourself is cool it is even more fun with a buddy or two.

Pretty all the avice you need can be obtained either by asking people or by doing a search on the internet. Covering every single construction style is way beyond the scope of this HowTo. If you have specific questions on how to do things or what the best practices are do not hesitate to ask me using the comment function below. Like I said earlier, there is a lot of stuff to know but everything can be learned. No rocket science here.

This last stage is complex and challenging. I know this post hasn’t really delivered. So I’ve added a useful YouTube video which goes into more detail.

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How to Build a Shed – Part 2 – The Materials

In our last post on building your own garden shed we looked at the planning stage. Now it is time to make a shopping list. It does not have to be as extensive as the one I made in the picture but the more you can plan ahead the better organized you will be and the more smoothly the build will go. Believe me there are few things more frustrating than being on top of a ladder, holding heavy pieces of wood in place ready for securing only to find that you don’t have the right fixing.

If you bought the ready-made plans I recommended in part 1 this is going to be way easier because you will exactly see what you need including measurements.

If you made your own plans, again, try to be as exact as possible and also think about the supporting structure and what you will need for that.

If you are unsure it is always better to buy a little less than you need instead of having too much stuff left over in the end. Just make sure that what you need will still be in stock when you come back. That’s often not the case with special offers and promotions because everybody buys it and it might be out of stock soon.

What Material Will Your Shed Be Made From?

Most of the people will want to build wooden garden sheds because, as I said, wood is cheap, easy to work with and looks nice. When you buy wood keep an eye open for leftovers. Often you can get a great deal on pieces that were part of a bigger package. Most decent hardware stores also offer a free service for cutting wood. So, if you need 50 pieces to a given length you might save yourself some work by having them cut it with the big saw. This is another example for how it pays off to have all the measurements down before going shopping.

Tools

If you need to buy tools go for a good brand. Don’t buy the cheapest electrical saw you can find and that’s on special for 20 bucks. It’s definitely worth investing a little money here because a decent tool will just last you way longer ad you will be able to produce higher quality work. Some things can be bought cheaper on the internet, a look into the Home Tool Helper which has great reviews of most of the tools necessary for this sort of project.

Getting the right tools in building projects makes such a big difference. Having observed many professionals over the years, the main difference between the them and the average DIYer is the fact that they use the right tools for the job. If they don’t have the right tool, guess what? That’s right. They go out and buy it. It’s really that easy. In my shed build I was struggling to make mortice and tennon joints. I really just needed to get a plunge router, but did I get one. Noooo. I struggled on with a drill and a chisel. Made the whole thing much more difficult.

Anyway, lesson now learnt.

In the next installment of this build a shed series we’ll look at the construction phase itself.

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How to Build a Shed – Part 1 – The Plan

Being a big fan of any kind of do it yourself project of course I was facing the task of building a shed more than once in my life. So, how do you approach that? And should you really so it yourself? Here I want to share with you some of my experience on how to build a garden shed by yourself.

My answer would be YES any day of the week. Building a shed yourself is not only going to save you a bunch of cash but it’s also a very rewarding experience. As is building anything nice with your own hands!

If you do not have a ton of construction experience it may seem a bit daunting at first and you might be a little unsure on how to start. Even if you do everything yourself you still have to buy the materials and you don’t want your project to fail. But let me tell you this: If you are passionate about it and willing to learn a thing or two you will succeed and you might even impress some of your peers.

After all building a shed is not rocket science and pretty much everything you need can be learned rather quickly. Not that in some states, depending on what you want to do, you will need to apply for a construction permit.

At fist you should make a plan of what you want. First in your mind and then on paper. Is it gonna be just a wood shed to keep firewood dry or do you want a full-blown garden shed with windows in it where you can hide in case your wife throws you out?

As soon as you have the general idea, try to think about the materials you want to use. Wood is definitely a good idea of course. It is affordable, easy to work with and it looks nice. But what about roofing? A door? Windows?

Make a drawing of your plan how it is going to look from the sides. An architect would call this drawing an elevation. It shows you the dimensions of your walls and which materials are used. That is important to then create a list of stuff you need to buy at your local hardware store. It is definitely worth it to invest some time in the planning and at least make an estimate on the costs. If you see then, for example, that an additional window is going to greatly inflate the costs you still have time to change something. Later in the process it is going to get harder to change stuff like that because you already bought the materials.

Architects always say that a house can only be as good as its plans and although we are talking about a smaller scale here it is somewhat true for your shed. Every little error and optimization you can work out in advance is going to save you a lot of sweat later.

Think about the details. There are a lot of things we take for granted and never think about up to the point where we actually have to figure it out. How high is a door? How much space should I have  between a door and a window? All such things are very important in construction and the standards have been established over hundreds of years.

Don’t worry if it takes you some time to figure everything out on paper. It is going to save you a lot of time later.

Another option that is actually going make it way easier for you is buying some ready made plans from people who have done all that before. There is a great variety of professional plans on how to build a shed available online for the price of two bags of cement really.

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10 Simple Steps To Maintain Your Garden Lawn

The amazing variety of flowers and hedges in your fragrant garden may be the reason for your pride in it, but if they were not for the lawn, most of your garden’s regal splendor would be lost. While seasonal blooms and riot of colors bring your garden its vivacity and charm, they however come with a season and with time. Whereas, the verdant greens of your garden lawns its lush and soft spread, keeps your garden from looking lifeless, giving its charm some permanence. Despite its obvious importance, lawn maintenance is considered back breaking, expensive and tedious. But there are certain surefire tricks to keep your greens looking lusciously healthy and thriving with life. Apart from earning the envy of your neighbors, you would have gifted yourself the coolest most relaxing ambiance. With a little effort and informed action you could turn your front yard, into your haven of comfort. Here are ten of the most valuable tips to get your garden lawn get its most luxuriant lush green look.

Clear Away All Debris

Give a head start to the new grass remove all the dead debris that may have accumulated over many seasons, particularly in winter, to allow more sun and aeration of the soil. It may mean collecting a lot of sticks, dead leaves and grass. One may have to spend a bit to get this spring cleaning done to prepare the grass better for the warmest time of the year.

Get To The Root Of The Matter

Quite honestly, most think that by simply clearing the dead leaves and dried grass the lawn is ready for a fresh start. That is only the initial cleaning which needs to be followed up by what is called as de-thatching. It means the cleaning up of the crowns of grass that could not really grow to maturity and which inhibit the new heads growing from under the soil. While a little build up of thatch helps keep the soil moist by blocking complete evaporation, allow not more than 6 mm of it for a better chance for young shoots to grow into grass.

Hydration Watering The Right Way

Watering your lawn is the most life enforcing factor. The best time for watering is early morning. The trick is also in knowing when your lawn is in serious need of deep quenching. The clear sign being when the grass loses its color or does not spring back when you step on it. Soak deep and always water to an extent that the level of water on the lawn is as high as an inch. This will ensure that the soil soaks in the water deep to help the grass grow its root deeper. This ensures the strength of the shoot and the healthy growth. Early morning watering ensures that the harsh afternoon sun will not burn the grass.

Aeration

As much as water, air too is essential to put life into the soil that feeds the grass. Due to increasing foot falls, the soil gets compressed and the fertilizer, water, as well as air find it difficult to circulate to reach all the roots. When that happens it causes the grass to turn yellow and soon bald patches will begin appearing. This means that at least once or twice a year the soil needs to be lifted to allow it to aerate. You can also make your home green and eco friendly with the help of air conditioning services provided by Air Master Heating & Air, Inc

Regular Mowing

It’s ultimately the nutrient from the soil that matters but when the grass gets taller, it means a great deal of wastage of nutrition due to the unnecessary length of the shoot. If one mows the lawn regularly, it encourages the growth of the grass laterally, thus the spread of the lawn followed by new leaves that make more food and give the lawn a dense and thicker appearance. While it’s alright to keep the grass shorter in winters, it’s better to allow the grass to grow a bit taller in summers to keep the evaporation at bay and to keep the soil cooler.

Fertilize Regularly

If you are in the habit of mowing regularly, the grass is bound to grow more and its nutrient requirements will be higher. The soil itself cannot sufficiently provide all its nutrition and thus the usage of granular, water -soluble spray fertilizer or natural compost, are all equally efficient in giving the much needed nutrition boost to the soil. Fertilizing intensely every season and using the right amounts as per specification must be taken into consideration.

Weeding Woes

Weeds are a clear indicator that your grass is not strong enough or that the soil itself is weak to sustain more grass or even that it may even be an indication that there is water logging. Under such circumstances de-weeding is the only solution. It is a rather simple exercise which may include manually pulling out the troublesome growth or using an herbicide in small quantities.

Pest Control

Do expect a few pests that feed on your lawn grass but what’s good news is that if any presence is controlled early, pets generally do to lead to an infestation. Most can be controlled using pesticides. Do keep the spiders and ants though as they actually control the harmful pest population.

Stop That Balding

So the winter’s gone but seems to have left some rather stark naked spots on your lawn. Winter months are terribly harsh on the tender shoots of grass and in fact its growth reduces. Further frost kills all young grass. Seed the area right away with the setting in of spring and see the lush greenery get revived. It’s just a matter of time and regular care that these bald patches will merge with the rest of the lawn.

Fungus Alert

Most lawn diseases are due to the inability of the grass to withstand the attack of fungus. This is more so in case your grass is weak. Use fungicides that do not impair grass growth and yet treats all fungus concentrations. Be sure to use the desired quantities as mentioned to avoid the spread.

With a bit of timely care and these rather simple and easy to follow tips, you are bound to create your haven of comfort with complete ease.

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Backyard Bliss: Turning Landscape Passion into Profit

So you’ve completed your dream yard. A gazebo that looks like a king could have tea in it, and an outdoor grill unrivaled by Wolfgang Puck himself, not to mention the Eden-esque foliage arrays you designed and maintain yourself. You could turn that accomplishment into a lucrative business.

You can set your own hours and deal with exactly as much bureaucratic red tape as you feel like. Starting your own outdoor landscaping business sounds pretty nice to most of us yard fiends, and getting one up and rolling is only a matter of time, effort and learning the industry.

Get to Know the Industry

According to Entrepreneur.com, there are over 10,000 individually owned lawn care and landscaping companies operating in the U.S., ranging from one man operations to large contracting companies. This means two things: it’s a flourishing industry and you’ll have competition.

Those whose businesses blossom into cash cows are the ones who take the time to know the ins and outs of every aspect of the business, from the best time to buy daffodils to how much profit their overall sector is projected to make in the next year. PLANET estimates landscaping services generate 704,000 jobs and $35.6 million dollars in services alone.

Get a Leg Up on Equipment

Landscaping equipment is (obviously) an essential cornerstone of building your own landscaping company, and it doesn’t always come cheap. The cost and overhead of maintaining all the equipment you’ll need to help your company set sail doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg though. You can find used forklifts, riding mowers and even garden tools on auction sites across the web, which will save you thousands on essential machinery. For those larger-than-life tasks, you can rent about any type of building/landscaping machinery you’ll need for the project at your local construction emporium. You can also use the rental costs plus estimated labor costs to help you put together your pricing plans for the project.

Build Your Branding Strategy

Jonathan Pototschnik, from LawnCareMillionaire.com, instructs would-be landscaping titans that marketing is one of the most important parts of starting your business. Building a marketing and branding strategy can make the difference between floundering into oblivion and and ruling your industry. If you’re just starting out and have a limited budget, don’t let that hinder your marketing and networking efforts. You can make $1,000 go a long way with crafty planning, and it doesn’t cost a thing to spend some time spreading the word on social media outlets and frequenting landscaping shows and events in your community. Building a brand is just as essential as having the perfect tools of the trade.

Although every small business has it’s hills and valleys, starting your own landscaping venture might just be the perfect way for you to break the corporate shackles that have been holding you hostage.

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Planning Your First Vegetable Garden

Do you love gardening? Does the idea of getting fresh vegetables from you own garden excite you? You should be. If so, then give some thought to planning your first vegetable garden. Starting the garden can be quite fun and will give you a sense of pride as you nurture the vegetables from small seeds or seedlings to something that people can eat. This can also create an activity that the whole family will take part in to bond and just have fun. When done in the right way, vegetable gardening is not hard.

Some of the tips that you can follow to achieve great results:-

Type of vegetables to grow

The first step that you need to take when planning your first vegetable garden is to decide the type of vegetables that you want to grow. It is advisable to start out small before moving on to bigger things. There are some things that you need to consider however such as the type of soil available in your garden as well as the climate in your area. This will help you pick the vegetables that will thrive in your garden to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Amount of space to be utilized

The next thing you need to figure out when planning your first vegetable garden is the amount of space that will be needed to execute the plan. You can think about the quantity that that the family will need to know the space that is going to be utilized. There is no need to worry if you do not have a lot of space in your backyard as it is possible to grow vegetables in various containers. There is a lot of information from books as well as online websites that can give you the right direction to follow when it comes to this or can contact Griffith Energy Services.

Picking the perfect spot

For the vegetables to thrive, you need to choose the perfect spot where they will grow in the best way possible. Some of the factors that you should have in mind when choosing such a place include:

Good soil

This is what will determine the success of the growth of vegetables when planning your first vegetable garden. Ideally the soil needs to be well drained, moist and very rich in organic matter such as peat moss or compost to present the ideal environment for the vegetables.

Sunshine

it is important to pick a spot that enjoys plenty of sunshine as most vegetables require at least 6- 8 hours of direct sunlight in order to grow well. Lack of sun can affect the production rate and it also makes the vegetables susceptible to disease and insect attack.

Water

It is important to understand that vegetables need a lot of water when planning your first vegetable garden. This is because most vegetables in the garden are not drought tolerant thus you need to think about giving them a drink especially during the dry spells. If it is possible, choose a spot that is close to a water source as this will make things much easier for the gardener.

Designing the vegetable garden

Design is also important when thinking about planning your first vegetable garden. Basically, there are two approaches that you can work with in regards to the layout of the garden. These include:-

Row cropping

This involves placing the vegetables in a single file row and leaving a walking path between the rows. This is ideal for large gardens that have space to maneuver.

Intensive cropping

This entails planting the vegetables in wide bands which are usually 1-4 feet across. This is ideal for smaller gardens as it reduces the amount of space for the walk paths.

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