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Landscaping, Composting, and Green Home Improvement

Home improvements are often labor-intensive projects that are meant to update one's home and make it more functional, comfortable, or aesthetically pleasing. Although people may tend to think of the interior of the house when it comes to renovations, the exterior of one's home can benefit from improvements as well. The outside appearance of the house and the landscaping are the first things that people see when they visit or drive by a home, which means one should consider including those areas in a renovation project.

Because protecting the environment is a major concern, sustainable landscaping ideas are more popular than ever. Homeowners who are seeking environmentally friendly ways to landscape their home will find that composting is a good way to enrich the soil used for plants in their yards and home gardens. Composting helps the environment by reducing the use of chemical fertilizers, which in turn cuts down on the use of fossil fuels in their production. In addition, it also reduces both the amount of waste that ends up in landfills and the resulting greenhouse gas emissions. Composting is the production of a rich, soil-like substance from organic materials such as food waste and plant trimmings that one would normally discard. This includes eggshells, fruit and vegetable scraps, leaves, grass clippings, twigs, and paper. Composting can be broken up into two forms: backyard composting and vermicomposting. For backyard composting, organic waste goes into a bin that must remain damp and be turned at regular intervals to reduce odors and maintain adequate aeration until it achieves the composition of soil. Vermicomposting involves placing organic material in a bin and using worms to break it down. The waste excreted by the worms helps to enrich the soil for organic farms, gardens, and landscaping projects. Vermicomposting is a more suitable option for smaller spaces that have no yards.

Landscaping is one of many ways in which one can make home renovations that are friendly to the environment. Eco-friendly home improvements range from simple retrofits to major renovations and additions. For example, homeowners can buy a programmable thermostat to more efficiently regulate temperatures in the home or caulk to seal leaks that let air flow in and out of the home. Sealing ductwork around the home and adding insulation in the attic is a moderately inexpensive way to make home improvements that save energy and thus are friendly to the environment. More expensive options include replacing and upgrading insulation around the home, installing triple-paned windows, and replacing old and inefficient major home appliances such as the refrigerator or washing machine. One of the most expensive eco-friendly home improvements is investing in solar power. Solar panels generate electricity without using fossil fuels and as a result significantly cuts down on a home's carbon footprint.

Composting at Home: Improvement of the Soil

The Composting Council Research and Education Foundation offers visitors informational resources about how to start a home or commercial program for collecting organic waste. It includes links to existing collection programs in various parts of the country, sustainable food management pages, and home composting articles and videos.

Chelmsford Local: Landscaping

Typically, home lawn maintenance can represent a problem for the environment, as it requires the use of a lot of natural resources as well as toxic chemicals. Chelmsford Local offers some ideas on sustainable landscaping techniques, such as composting and introducing native plants that are adapted to the local climate.

Resources on Plants and Soil Around the Home: Repair the Environment With Proper Soil Management

Find information about composting, soil testing, invasive plants, plant hardiness and climate zones, and more.

Real Estate Links

Houston Community College provides visitors with a long list of links about subjects including flood control, real estate, environmental protection, and more.

National and Local Homes

Visit the Betancourt Properties website for a list of links to real estate-related websites.

TLS Appraisal Service

Go here to see a long list of links to real estate resources. Topics that it covers include apartment rentals, real estate auctions, commercial properties, financial resources, industry news, foreclosures, and appraisals.

Odd Home Repair and Maintenance Work That Landlords Often Neglect

Landlords are responsible for more than just obeying laws and ensuring that their rental properties are safe for habitation. There are a number of obscure maintenance issues that they must also deal with, such as pipes and plumbing, fixing or replacing sump pumps, cleaning gutters, and checking insulation.

Surface Drains vs. French Drains

Homeowners need to pay attention to proper drainage around their home to prevent flooding, particularly around foundations. Cracked foundations as a result of water damage can result in repair bills as high as $10,000, according to this article.

SMUD Home Improvement Program

SMUD offers homeowners financial aid through their Home Performance Program for certain energy efficiency-related home improvements.

Building a Market: The Rise of the Home Improvement Industry, 1914-60

Visit the University of Chicago Press Books website to read the description of a real estate industry book written by Richard Harris.

Homeowner How-to Guide

Some construction projects around the home require permits in the city of Albuquerque, New Mexico. This page offers information about how to apply for permits for activities such as demolitions, roofing, and garage conversions.

Repairing and Improving a Home

Go here to read about financial aid that homeowners can receive for home repairs and improvements.

Energy Conservation in the Home

Colorado State University offers interested readers information about how to save energy on heating and cooling costs around the home.

Building Resource Center/Home Improvement Center

Visit this page by the city of Scottsdale, Arizona, for a list of links to resources concerning home improvements.

Home Improvement Courses

The College of Southern Maryland offers a home improvement licensing exam preparation course on their career development website.


 

Fri, Nov 24, 2017

Holly and Ivy hanging up and
something wet in every cup*

Not so long ago, Irish Christmas decorations were much simpler than they are now. The children gathered holly and ivy for adorning, windows, doorways, mantles and pictures, and the father would carve out a turnip in which would be placed a large red candle. This would go in the window to light the way for the Holy Family on Christmas Eve. Only in relatively recent times did an Irish family have a Nativity scene and a decorated tree in the house. As for Mistletoe, it's quite rare in ireland and is generally associated with ancient Celtic and Druidic fertility celebrations; this is most likely where the custom of kissing under the mistletoe comes from.
*Old Irish Christmas toast
Image: Pashley Manor Gardens.



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