By: Paul Gosselin of NightScenes Landscape Lighting Professionals – Austin, TX
Almost anybody can stick some lights in the landscape of your home and it would be an improvement over not having any lights at all. In order to make it better though, a little time needs to be dedicated to the actual lighting design. Here are a few tips to take an ordinary outdoor lighting system to another level:
1. Don’t use the same fixture for everything. The most commonly used fixture for residential outdoor lighting is the “bullet” or spot light. This fixture can accept an MR16 lamp, either halogen or outdoor-rated LED, which can produce several different lumen levels and beam spreads, depending on the lamp. Unfortunately, we commonly see the same lamp in every fixture, which can be a bit boring. When using this type of fixture, don’t be afraid to use different lumen outputs and different beam spreads. You can even use different light colors these days with LED lighting.
2. Move some fixtures to different locations. We see this all the time where the installer will place a single fixture in front of each tree. Yes, this does look better than no light at all, but there is no imagination and no depth in the design this way. Try back lighting some of these specimen plants to generate some interest and dimension.
3. Avoid the runway look. An all-too-common lighting design mistake is lining a walkway with light fixtures, commonly known as the runway look. Try staggering path lights back and forth on both sides of the walkway, or you may try lighting on only one side.
4. Use more fixtures with lower lumen outputs. All too often we see people trying to save fixtures by using fewer lights, but using higher light intensity. This produces really over-bright spots with very dark holes between them, creating an unsafe situation on the property that just looks bad. A great lighting design uses different light levels throughout the landscape without black holes unless there is a dramatic reason for it. Keep in mind that these dark holes become very good hiding places for bad guys.
5. Experiment with the lights. Try different locations with different fixtures to see how you can get the best effects. I know that wide wash fixtures work better for grazing walls to enhance surface texture because I did some experiments. Using bullet lights against a wall creates what I like to call the “mark of Vorro” (instead of Zorro). If you’ve seen homes with a row of V looking light beams shining up on them, you can bet that they used bullet lights with 30 degree beam spreads and no lenses. Wide wash fixtures will create a nice wide, more diffused beam of light, eliminating the telltale V that is often seen in poorly designed lighting plans.
These are just a few very basic tips, but they will help you create a more visually pleasing overall lighting system. And to learn more, bring your pictures, plans and ideas to the Austin Spring Home & Garden Show April 1-3 and stop by booth number 643 to talk with NightScenes!
So What is the Difference between Hard Water and Soft Water?
The main difference between hard and soft water is the mineral content. Minerals commonly found in hard water are chalk, lime, calcium, and magnesium. Rain water is naturally soft but picks up these minerals as it runs through the ground. Hard water can cause problems in the house.
Hard Water Problems
Calcium, lime, and magnesium cause the problems commonly associated with hard water. Here are some of the most common issues:
- There are spots on dishes after cleaning.
- There is soap scum in the tub and shower.
- Scale buildup and drain clogging is frequently occurring in the tub and shower.
- The clothes are dingy after going through the washer.
- Large amounts of sediment are present at the bottom of the water heather or other appliances including faucets.
These signs are a good indication of hard water but there are more conclusive methods you can use to test your home’s water.
Gather a clean empty plastic bottle with a cap and dish washing liquid. Remove the cap and fill the bottle about halfway. Add about 5 drops of the dish washing liquid and shake vigorously. You should see foam forming. If the foam stays, the water is not hard. If the foam quickly dissipates, the water is hard.
Water Test Kit
A hard water test kit will indicate the hardness of the water with a good accuracy. To perform the test you start out by filling a vial with the water in question. Then add a drop of solution and shake well for 5 to 10 seconds. Keep adding one drop and shaking until a half inch of suds is sustained. Each drop used represents 1 grain of hardness. Anything less than 3 grains of hardness is at most slightly hard and does not need to be remedied. Anything higher than 3 you might want to treat.
You can buy these kits online or Call 512-388-0022 to Schedule your FREE! Water Test from a professional.
Hard Water Solutions
If you do have hard water and the resulting problems, the best solution is a water softener. These devices run the water through a resin bed to exchange the hard ions with soft ones. The resin bed will slowly buildup up hardness ions and need to be cleaned, as you might already know the Kinetico systems clean themselves. The salt in the bin is the key chemical for this cleaning process (a.k.a. regeneration process). Depending on the hardness of the water, this regeneration process is run on a timed basis triggered by a control panel. More efficient systems work based on the usage of water and not on a clock.
If a water softener is too expensive or isn’t possible for your home, try these tips:
- -Use an homemade all purpose cleaner to remove scale buildup.
- -Use a squeegee to remove sitting water after a shower or bath.
- -Use vinegar to prevent clogs.
- -Use a detergent that works with hard water.
While these are temporary remedies, will help you out on the short term. We highly recommend a Water Softener or Treatment for the prolongation of your appliances and plumbing.
Give us a Call if you want to find out more about your quality of water and the available solutions.We also offer Water Purification Systems and Reverse Osmosis Systems
Stop by the American Water booth @ The Austin Spring Home & Garden Show THIS WEEKEND!
Serving From Belton TX to Buda TX and anything in between.
Indoor air pollution has been described by the EPA and Congress as America’s number one environmental health problem and indoor air pollution can be four to five times worse than outdoor air. The Department of Consumer Affairs states that children and the elderly are the ones most affected by polluted indoor air. One of the greatest contributors to poor indoor air quality is mold spores.
We spend about 90% of our time indoors and these mold spores are inhaled by us and our children. Mold spores and other indoor pollutants can and do cause allergies. The American College of Allergists state that 50% of all illnesses are caused by polluted indoor air. They state that 10 to 12 million people in the US suffer from asthma and that asthma is the single largest cause of hospital visits by children.
If you have allergy symptoms year-round — or if they get worse in damp weather — you may be allergic to mold. While people with pollen allergies tend to have seasonal symptoms, mold allergies can flare all year long. Indoor mold can be a problem in winter months when we tend to tighten up our homes which increases humidity levels. Mold will grow in your house where there is enough moisture, whether it’s on a basement wall, in your crawl space, a damp carpet, or behind the bathroom tile.
You may not even realize the mold is there — but if you’re sensitive you’ll react with coughing, wheezing, stuffy nose, or irritated eyes.
“Very often, people don’t really know what the problem is,” says John Martyny, PhD, an industrial hygienist with National Jewish Health Center in Denver. “They have an allergic reaction, lots of sinus drainage, lots of upper respiratory problems, and it doesn’t last for just a month or two. This goes on 12 months a year. It is not a minimal problem — it can really change your life.”
It may be hard to get a mold allergy correctly diagnosed. “Very often, the root of the problem isn’t identified correctly,” Martyny says. “People have these symptoms, but they don’t realize they have a moisture and mold problem at home. If you get rid of the allergens — the mold — people get better, and they get better pretty fast.”
Mold infiltration can be a difficult and destructive problem. Once it takes hold, its elimination can be uncertain and costly using conventional techniques.
Green Home Solutions gives home and property owners an effective, long-lasting, and environmentally sound solution.
Our process employs a proprietary formulation of enzymes scientifically engineered to shut down mold. Our EPA registered formula, applied in mist form, has been verified to be safe for humans, pets and plants, and is no more “destructive” than a simple mist of water. Most other mold treatments on the market today use harsh chemicals that actually rely on their toxicity to have any effect at all.
The non-volatile, preventative nature of a Green Home Solutions Treatment will interact with mold spores allowing the enzymes to penetrate deeper and remain effective longer.
Our treatment eliminates the need for costly and time consuming demolition. Moreover, this is truly a non-distributive process since we don’t require the removal of furniture, carpeting or personal items.
Stop by the Green Home Solutions booth at the Central KY Home & Garden Show THIS WEEKEND to learn more!
Aside from being sleek, beautifully crafted, metal roofing holds an abundance of advantages over traditional roofing. As a premium choice with premium advantages, the initial cost may be higher but metal roofing will actually save you money over time. The following are primary advantages of metal.
Unlike the traditional jingle, the metal roof, roof, roof is NOT on fire! Metal building materials have a Class A fire rating (most resistant) due to their noncombustible nature, so you can rest assured that your roof will not burn or go up in random flames.
Metal roofs are one of the most energy efficient roofing options because they reflect heat, cutting back on cooling costs. In the cold months metal roofs act as great insulators, saving you heating costs.
•Longevity and Durability
On average metal roofs will last 2-3 times longer than a traditional roof. They have been known to last between 40-70 years, depending on the material of the metal.
Contrary to popular belief, metal roofing is lightweight! Most varieties of metal roofing weigh 50-150 pounds per square, while traditional roofing material (shingles or tile) can weigh anywhere between 750-900 pounds per square. This makes the roof quicker to install and places less stress on your home’s structure.
Due to its durable nature, metal roofs can survive heavy rain, high winds, mildew, insects, rot, and snow accumulation. Additionally, Manse Metal provides a 25-year Galvalume warranty and a 40-year Valspar WeatherXL warranty in case of disaster.
•Low Maintenance and Versatile
As stated, metal roofs are highly resistant to typical wear and tear making your upkeep minimal to none. With many types of metal roofs available it is one of the most versatile building materials that can be placed on an abundance of projects.
With numerous advantages over traditional roofing, it is clear that metal roofing is the top roofing choice! When you are in the market for a new roof remember, “Don’t Settle for Less than Mansea Metal!”
For more information please contact head to booths #520 & #522 at the Central Kentucky Home & Garden Show to speak to a knowledgeable representative! April 1-3 at the Lexington Center.
The closet is a great place to start your Spring Cleaning & Organizing!
Closet Factory, one of our Central KY exhibitors has put together the following tips to help you get started!
Code Your Closet
Color coding your closet makes it simple to find the clothes you’re looking for, and creates an order that is deeply pleasing to the eye. There’s also another great reason to color code your closet: to find out if you need another black skirt. Without your clothing sorted by type and color, you can’t effectively see the black skirts you own, so you probably think “yes” and go buy a new one. However, if all eight of your black skirts were placed together, you might think again.
Ready to try it? Begin with these simple steps.
Start by separating clothes by type: shirts, pants, etc.
Starting with shirts, sort by color. Move to pants, and so on.
Choose your color coding method. There are many ways to go but we’ve narrowed it down to the two most effective:
• Light to Dark – Start with white and gradually make your way to darker colors by sight. If colors become too similar use a dividing color in an accommodating color family. For example, separate navy blues from blacks by inserting a section of light blue clothing.
• ROYGBIV – Roy-gee-biv! Sort by the colors of the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. Many people believe it’s the best way to go about color coding a closet—it’s easy to remember and provides greater contrast between groups. You’ll have to decide for yourself the best place for your blacks, whites, browns and grays.
For multi-colored items, simply determine the dominant color of the item. You may even want to create a section just for patterned clothing so that you not only color code your closet by color, but also by solids and prints.
Experiment. Figure out what works best for you. There are no set rules when it comes to color coding a closet. Learn which method of color coding looks better to you and which method will be easiest for you to maintain.
Visit Closet Factory’s booth at the Central KY Home & Garden Show, April 1-3 at the Lexington Center, to get more ideas from them in person, or visit their website at www.closetfactory.com!
Our Exhibitor in Reading and past Best In Show Winners, GoodFellas Granite & Marble, will tell you why!
When it comes time to remodel your home, your kitchen and bathrooms are likely to be two of the areas that you focus on the most. With the help of the professionals at GoodFellas, you will need to make important decisions on many things in these rooms such as flooring, appliances, fixtures, and more. However, one of the most important choices you will have to make is what type of surface to go with for your kitchen countertop or bathroom vanity.
There are many types of materials that can be used for the construction of kitchen, bathroom, podium and table countertops. Granite and marble have gained in popularity of the past decade and here are some of the reasons why:
1. Beauty. Simply put, granite and marble are possibly the most stunning options available when it comes to kitchen and bathroom countertops. They are natural stones with a rich beauty that will elevate the look and feel of your home significantly. This is especially true in the kitchen, which most people consider the centerpiece of their home. With the countertops being one of the more visible things in your kitchen, the value of going with a beautiful material like granite is magnified even more.
2. Durability. Granite and marble are two of the hardest natural materials in the world; Because of this, granite & marble countertops are extremely durable. With proper installation by GoodFellas, your countertops will last the lifetime of your home! They are strong enough to handle almost anything you can throw at them without getting cracked, chipped or scratched. They can also handle both hot and cold extreme temperatures.
3. Easy to Clean and Maintain. When properly sealed, granite countertops are simple to maintain and clean. Basically, all you have to do to clean them is wipe them down with soap and water. They
are also very resistant to water damage, staining and bacteria; Hence, they are ideal for bathrooms and kitchens.
4. Variety. Granite countertops are offered in a wide variety of colors, patterns and styles which is a great advantage to you as the home or business owner. This wide selection makes our countertops a great
choice when you are remodeling your entire kitchen. It also makes them perfect for situations where you only want to renovate your countertops, because you can find a style and color of granite
that fits your current kitchen design.
5. Raises Your Home Value. Since so many people love granite, having granite countertops in your kitchen and bathroom raise the value of your home. They can modernize your home or business and making it more appealing to both you, guests and even your clients. This investment will pay off in many ways both in the short run (having you and your family enjoy it) as well as adding value to your home or business.
If you would like to learn more about granite countertops , please come to the show and chat with GoodFellas for more information.