How To Choose an Outdoor Lighting Professional

Professional outdoor lighting for your home can provide several benefits. It offers curb appeal and enhanced safety for pathways, walkways and steps. Outdoor lighting allows you to extend the enjoyment of your outdoor living spaces long after the sun goes down and adds a layer of security against unwanted visitors.
When considering outdoor lighting there are several options to choose from. DIY products are available in big box stores and online. Solar lights are everywhere, but don’t provide a sufficient amount of light output to light a pathway properly. Line voltage lighting is an option, but a licensed electrician must install it and bulbs tend to burn out quickly.
(Not to mention a higher electricity bill.)
The Basics
A legitimate professional outdoor lighting system installation will include:
• A custom design plan
• Quality products (fixtures, transformer, cable, etc.)
• Thorough, meticulous installation
• Ongoing service to ensure that the system always performs in perfect condition
Outdoor Lighting Design Elements
Less is more with landscape lighting. Over lamping and poor placement of fixtures can wash out landscaping and create unnecessary glare for the homeowner. When working with a professional designer a needs analysis should be developed to determine the goals for the homeowner.
Pathway Lighting
Energy efficient path lights direct light downward to showcase pathways and highlight low flowerbeds. Avoid placing the fixtures in a straight line and be sure to choose quality fixtures that have a large light spread.
Up-Lighting and Grazing
Create that welcome home feeling in the evening hours by evenly up-lighting your home. Be sure to highlight those special architectural details that set your home apart. Extend the look of your home and add a pop of color by highlighting some specimen trees in the front yard.
Lighting for Outdoor Living Spaces
Daylight savings may be around the corner but a well-designed lighting plan will help extend your outdoor living into all four seasons of the year. Don’t forget the perimeter trees to create some depth in your backyard. You will most likely find that the evening hours are soon to be your most cherished!
Deck and Step Lighting
There are great options for under mount deck lights that don’t show much by day, but certainly give off a great deal of light at night. Rope lighting almost completely disappears by day when installed properly underneath a deck rail. It gives off a soft glow in the evening hours. Step lighting is an ideal way to keep your stairs safe by placing lights in the stairs themselves.
Festive and Holiday Lighting
What a great way to spice up your patio or pergola to create the perfect space to entertain. Your local lighting professionals have just the lighting solutions for you to get the party started whether you are shopping for temporary or permanent lighting solutions.
Choosing A Provider
Now that you have a basic understanding of what’s involved and what to expect relative to lighting solutions, do your homework. Come to the 5th Annual Collin County Home & Garden Show, Sept. 15-17 to talk to pros like And trust the pros, like Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of Dallas, America’s most trusted source for professional outdoor lighting.

7 Ways to Stay Cool and Save Money As the Temperatures Rise

Americans spend up to 70% of their summer electricity bills on air conditioning. All that juice adds up to $11 billion a year, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. That’s more than the yearly operating budget of Oklahoma — and about a dozen other states.
Air conditioning keeps us comfortable, but it also creates a lot of waste and costs a lot of money. Sure, you could shut off your A/C altogether, if you don’t mind being ridiculously (and dangerously) hot. Like most problems, the best solution is somewhere in the middle.
Here are a few expert tips for dialing back the A/C, saving cash and staying cool this summer.
The breeze from an ENERGY STAR® rated ceiling fan can make you feel up to 10°F cooler while adding less than $5 to your electricity bill annually. If you turned down your thermostat 10°F to get the same effect, you’d be spending hundreds of dollars more over the course of the summer.
Does your setpoint sit at 72°F all summer? Raise it a few degrees and speed up your ceiling fan at the same time. You’ll save up to 5% on your cooling costs for each degree you raise your thermostat and feel just as comfortable thanks to those breezes.
Prefer to let technology do the work? Seek out smart home products, such as the Nest Learning Thermostat or Big Ass Solutions’ own Haiku connected ceiling fans. These cutting-edge devices have built-in sensors that track the temperature. You can also schedule them to shut off when you’re not around. And after an initial setup, you’ll never have to lift a finger again.
Turn off the A/C when the temperature outside dips and open windows on parallel walls to create a cross breeze. If it’s hot during the day but cool at night, crack the windows while you sleep, then shut them in the morning to lock in cool air.
Much of the heat in your home is the result of sunlight coming in through the windows. Plant bushes and trees or install awnings, shades or shutters to keep unwanted heat where it belongs: outside.
Everything that draws electricity generates heat. Energy-efficient indoor appliances create less heat, but some appliances, such as ovens, produce heat by design. Consider using those appliances less this summer. (As if you needed another reason to grill out…)
Regular maintenance will keep your A/C unit running at peak efficiency. Change your air filter every three months, and get your system inspected by certified HVAC technicians every year, especially if it’s more than 10 years old. If you do have an older system, don’t just Frankenstein it back together every time it breaks. Installing a new, energy-efficient system will save money in the long run through reduced repair costs and lower energy bills.
Want to implement the above tips? Big Ass Services can help with most of them.
Stop by the Central KY Home & Garden Show THIS WEEKEND, March 31- April 2 at the Lexington Conv. Center and talk with Big Ass Fans in more detail about how they can save you money!
The service arm of Lexington-based Big Ass Solutions offers installation, troubleshooting, maintenance and repair for Big Ass Fans, Big Ass Lights, HVAC systems, smart-home products and plumbing.

Smart Shoppers Guide to Outdoor Entertaining Areas

The Smart Shoppers Guide to Adding an Outdoor Entertainment Area -7 Tips to Bank on!
1. Dream Big, but then carefully consider your budget. Looking through magazines and planning or idea books is an awesome way to get ideas for your new space. One downside can be dreaming way beyond what is realistic for your budget. A quality product is achievable on any size budget.. The baseline for your consideration is what can you comfortably afford to spend? Having a plan before you begin is the best way to insure you love the end product.
2. Features and accessories can make a plain space spectacular! Design elements can easily be incorporated into your project without breaking your wallet. Wherever possible combine features to maximize efficiency space and time. For example, if you have a retaining wall around your fire pit, add a bench for seating. Want an outdoor kitchen and bar? Do both at the same time best utilizing your space and combining counter space. Water elements can be as simple as adding a bubbling fountain in your landscaping, a pond-less waterfall in a flower garden or a pond.
3. Decide on the scope of your project. How big does your paver patio need to be? Do you want steps and coordinating sidewalks? What about adding walls around existing landscaping? Are you going to add sod to give an immediate “finished” appearance? Determining your details on the front end saves time, money, and frustration on the back end. In most cases, it’s much easier to buy the materials and do the work in a sequential order rather than back tracking and adding to what was already completed. This of course is more time efficient which in turn keeps you to your budget.
4. Realistic time expectations go along with the scope of your project. This one may save more frustration than money, but is important to address. Quality work takes time. The company you choose should have an estimate of the time it will take his crew to complete your job which is then figured into your cost. Remember though, that even the best contractor is not in charge of the weather. One day of rain usually costs two days of work-the day it rains and then a day for the ground to dry.
5. Materials matter. The adage “you get what you pay for” certainly applies in terms of landscape and hardscape companies. Fortunately, for you as a consumer, there are multiple options available. There is sure to be an option in your price range! Quality Landscaping is able to suggest options based on your dreams and budget. Due diligence in selecting the best materials for your space and project will save you future headaches and money.
6. Choosing a reliable and reputable landscape company is your best defense against spending too much money. Select a landscaping company with a great reputation in the community and a history of quality work. Select a company that can do all aspects of your job such as irrigation, landscaping, and hardscaping. Ask if the company you are considering has a website with a portfolio, literature with pictures, written testimonials from customers? Ask if there is a cost involved in obtaining a quote. A reputable contractor will be happy to break down the pricing so that you know exactly what you will be paying for before you sign a contract. Another thing to look for is industry credentials. What companies do they represent? Being an “authorized dealer” is a difficult status to obtain which means the company is dedicated to it’s craft
7. If you are really interested in saving money, sooner is better than later! Take advantage of seasonal specials-getting discounts for early booking or bundling services. Ask if there are show specials and if yes, be prepared to take advantage of them. Getting on the schedule early means you have a great chance of enjoying your outdoor space while marshmallows can still be roasted and wine glasses toasted!
These awesome tips are provided by Quality Landscaping, LLC of Lexington Kentucky! Stop by their booth at the Home & Garden Show March 31-April 2 at the Lexington Center to learn more!

Ready to get outside the season, but don't want to fight the mosquitos?

We know, you have tried it all! And you have bathed in OFF and NOTHING WORKS… UNTIL NOW!
Mosquito Shield can give you several reasons why they’re the leader in residential tick and mosquito control, but the real vote of confidence comes from their customers. Over 90% of Mosquito Shield® and Tick Shield® customers repurchase season after season. To help bolster that confidence, only Mosquito Shield and Tick Shield carry an unconditional satisfaction guarantee. Something we’re happy to say mostly collects dust.
With that said, several things clearly set them apart:
• Their proprietary Mosquito Protection Blend™ (MPB) is the product of over 15 years of continual research and development — more than any other mosquito control company of whom they’re aware. And, they’ve enlisted the help of leading companies like Bayer to assist in the testing of our products to help ensure their impact and effectiveness.
• Mosquito Shield and Tick Shield provide provide your property with multiple modes of control working to both kill harboring mosquitoes, no-see-ums, black flies and other flying insects as well as ticks, while simultaneously repelling airborne insects and working to prevent new infestations within the treated perimeter.
• Mosquito Shield and Tick Shield were the first to provide customers with flexible treatment schedules that help to improve results during seasonal periods of mosquito breakouts or peak populations. They don’t sell treatments because a single treatment simply doesn’t work. By monitoring the weather and mosquito population, they are able to provide a worry-free, season-long solution.
• State-of-the-art routing software enables them to deliver on their flexible treatment schedules and better serve and communicate helping to improve operating efficiencies and satisfaction. Meanwhile, their sprayer equipment may look similar, but it too has been engineered to deliver product more effectively and efficiently while Mosquito Shield and Tick Shield technicians receive more training. Their technicians aren’t just trained on how to properly apply the product, but also on mosquito and tick behavior and species identification, helping to improve the overall service they provide to their customers.
Come learn more by stopping at booth number 207 at the Austin Spring Home & Garden Show, March 24-26 at the Palmer Events Center!

Pro Roofing Tips for When Hail Nails You

Don’t Delay:
If you suspect roof damage, it is important, for insurance reasons, to discover the extent of the damage as soon as possible. An extensive delay may result in your claim being rejected.
Safety First:
Rooftops are dangerous! It is best to call a professional to examine your roof for damage.
What Homeowners Should Look For:
Examine gutters, downspouts and siding, and look for water damage/leaks inside the home.
Call Your Insurance Company
Be sure you know where your current warranty stands and know what your deductible is. Make sure you understand the procedure for filing a claim. Reputable roofing companies will often send a representative to meet the insurance adjuster onsite while they examine damage.
Beware of Stormchaser Companies
Only use a local, reputable roofing contractor. Request workmanship warranties, credentials, proof of insurance, and references. You can also check with the Better Business Bureau.
Reputable Roofing Contractors
Professional roofers will do a thorough inspection, give you a detailed, written quote and explain warranties and timeline of the job. Thoroughly research ANY roofing company you are considering.
Triumph Roofing – We’ll Nail Your House, When Hail Nails You! Stop by and talk with them about hail damage or any other roofing needs you may have at the Collin County Home & Garden Show at the Allen Event Center, February 10-12, 2017.

Solid Hardwood vs. Laminate

  By: Penny Keoppel
of Floor Coverings International
We often get asked by our customers whether they should install solid hardwood or laminate hardwood in their home. We know it can be a tough decision, so to help you out we’ve put together a few things you should consider in your decision making process.
Solid hardwood will almost always be a higher price point than laminate hardwood. If budget is a concern for you, laminate might be the better choice. Plan out your budget ahead of time and stick to it to avoid buyer’s remorse down the road.
While laminate hardwood is extremely durable, solid hardwoods will last for years and years if cared for properly. If you’re planning to stay in your home for a long time, it might be worth choosing solid hardwood over laminate hardwood.
With today’s technology, laminate hardwood looks very similar to solid hardwood. However, most people can still tell the difference. Decide whether or not the look of solid hardwood is worth the extra cost to you.
One of the key differences between the functionality of solid hardwood and laminate hardwood is that laminate can withstand certain environments better than solid hardwood. In particular, laminate hardwood is better suited for high-humidity rooms like basements. Exposure to moisture can cause solid hardwoods to warp, so if you live in a humid area, laminate hardwood may be the better choice. While solid hardwoods are very popular in the kitchen, if you have a few messy cooks in the house and spills are an everyday occurrence, you may feel more at ease with laminate floors.
Come to the Orlando Fall Home & Garden Show this weekend, Oct. 21-23 2016, and let us at Floor Coverings International of Winter Garden help you decide whether solid hardwood or laminate hardwood is right for you! Contact us today for a free in-home estimate.

Why Geothermal Energy IS Right For Your Home

The benefits of geothermal are lifelong. Geothermal systems provide you unlimited comfort inside your home, and you will also enjoy month-to-month savings on energy bills. Act quickly before December, and Obama’s tax incentives will help you purchase a brand new geothermal system along with installation services at little cost to you.
There are plenty of reasons to go geothermal. A geothermal system for the home is:
Affordable with Obama’s Tax Incentives
The Economical Benefits
Did you know you can use the ground next to your home to cool the inside? Well with a geothermal system you can, and you can use less energy doing so, saving you a lot of money on your monthly energy bills!
A geothermal system cools the inside of your home by using coils that are installed underground outside, using 30 percent to 60 percent less energy than traditional systems. You can potentially save up to 80 percent on your energy bill a year. Now that’s being economically savvy!
The Sustainable Benefits
Geothermal systems are the future of home cooling! About 70 percent of the energy that a geothermal system uses is completely renewable.The efficiency of a geothermal system has other HVAC systems beat!
The ground, even just two feet under, is drastically cooler than the temperatures above ground, even on the hottest days of summer! The refrigerant lines are buried underground to take advantage of the natural coolness of the earth. This method is so efficient that it has the same environmental impact as taking 13 cars off the road a year!
You’ll enjoy great refrigerated air, with an environmentally friendly twist!
When you go geothermal, you don’t have to worry about the system breaking or glitching from usage. Geothermal systems are incredibly reliable, and all major parts are warranted for 10 years, just in case. When you choose One Hour Air Conditioning & Heating, you don’t have to worry about maintenance. You get two years of maintenance with us as part of your geothermal system package! Our installation professionals are licensed and backed by our U-WIN Guarantee! We guarantee punctual, professional services, and 100 percent satisfaction with your new AC.
Home Comfort
Let’s face it: refrigerated air is glorious when the extreme summer and spring seasons hit!
When the hottest days of summer hit and you need to crank up your AC just to survive. When you go geothermal, you can rest easy knowing your electric bill won’t be breaking the bank.
Along with bringing you the comfort of cool air in the summers, the geothermal cooling method is very stable with excellent indoor humidity control. This prevents the air in your home from becoming “over dried” in the summer. Refrigerated air will not fail you like traditional swamp coolers do.
Innovative Technology for the Home
Geothermal systems are multi-functional and can be expanded with plenty of additional components!
Did you forget to turn up your thermostat before leaving for work? One Hour Air Conditioning & Heating offers smart thermostats with installation. This provides our customers the ability to control their thermostat from their smart phones.
People often forget how important air quality is. Each geothermal system comes with an ultraviolet air purifier and a state-of-the-art electric air filter to keep your family safe from indoor toxins, such as mold and carbon monoxide.
This article was provided by:
Call One Hour Air Conditioning & Heating of Las Cruces, NM
(575) 449-3565 •
They’ll give you a free quote and answer any questions you have.

Remodeling For The RIGHT Reasons!

There are many reasons to get a bathroom remodel, and one of the most common is having an outdated bathroom. But, how do you know if your bathroom is outdated or that it is time to remodel for the right reasons?
Unusual colors is one of the common signs of an outdated bathroom. What may once have been a warm gold, has faded to a rather murky yellow, leaving the floor and walls to blend together despite the different patterns.
There’s also a couple flaws that make a bathroom unsuitable for long term use. For example, Its important to measure a toilet properly before purchasing so that you get the right height and style to match with the plumbing in your home. Otherwise, eyesores will abound in most any outdated bathroom.
Additionally, some tubs have no shower option. And though deep tubs are a great way to soak, they can make it difficult for home owners to age in place with grace. If you’re having difficulty climbing in and out of your tub, or find that you no longer use your tub, then it’s time to upgrade to a bathroom feature you’ll adore, such as a bathtub to shower conversion.
Need some color in your life? Updated colors are soothing and refreshing. As a bonus, pale colors visually increase the space of this bathroom, making the ceiling feel taller, and the floor feel longer. Love it!
Another great idea? Using wainscoting adds a professional look, and will also help prevent walls from warping and molding, giving your bathroom a longer life, and making it easier to maintain. Additionally, wainscoting visually increase the height of the room, again making it feel larger and more welcoming.
As for that old bathtub, we can replace it with a low threshold shower that will allow homeowners to age gracefully. A built in shower bench ensures a place to sit back and relax while grab bars ensure the user’s safety.
Ready for a Remodel?
Come by the San Antonio Home & Garden Show, this weekend, Sept. 30-Oct. 2 and talk with ReBath about your needs & plans! Don’t hesitate to bring your pictures, blueprints and questions!

Landscaping Can Change Your Life & Health… No, Really… Here's How


There are many environmentally sound reasons to landscape.
Professionally designed and well-maintained landscapes protect water quality, reduce soil erosion, improve air quality and lower air temperatures in the summer, which is a huge perk here in Texas!
There are many personal health reasons to landscape.
What we hear most from prospective landscaping clients is that they want to create an outdoor friendly space for themselves, family and friends. Having access to a beautiful environment for relaxing and entertaining will improve your quality of life and decrease your stress level.
There are many economic reasons to landscape.
A professionally designed and installed landscape does more than just make your home look great and cause your neighbors to stare. It increases the value of your home. By a lot. Depending on factors such as starting value, neighborhood and season, study after study shows that landscaping is a much better return on your investment than other home remodeling projects such as kitchens and bathrooms.
“First impressions are as important for houses as they are for people.
If you are considering selling, good landscape design can add up to 20% of value to your home.” Bob Villa
“Forget wiring your new home for audio, video and data. Pass on the upgraded kitchen cabinets. Say no to thicker carpets. If you really want to add lasting value, opt for landscaping.”
LEW SICHELMAN, Herald Tribune
Landscaping. Worth every penny… and then some!
THIS WEEKEND! Come to the Collin County Home & Garden Show & talk with the folks at Flowers’ Garden & Landscapes to learn more!

3 Warning Signs That Your Roof Is Leaking


Sleeping peacefully at night? To continue staying dry at night, make sure to check out these easy to identify, but often overlooked warning signs that your roof is or will be leaking soon!
1. Missing Shingles
We are all in the habit of looking straight ahead. As we pull out of the garage and back in, it’s easy to neglect seeing what’s not covering your home. Whether it’s just one or several missing shingles, it’s wise to invest in performing a monthly check up just to make certain that everything is in place.
2. Small Discoloration In Your Ceiling
This is almost a guarantee that your roof is or has been leaking in the past. Often more than not, that tiny little spec or dark spot doesn’t seem like a big deal, but if recognized earlier enough, it can be the difference between a few hundred dollars vs. several thousands in repairs.
3. Search That Scary Attic
It may not be on your to do list, but inspecting the rafters in your attic with every seasonal change is a good idea. This could be considered a valuable preventive measure and by catching the leaks early can save you on repair costs.
To learn more about roof repairs and prevention from your local experts, stop by the Lexington Blue booth at the CKY Home & Garden Show THIS WEEKEND! Plus, enter to win a FREE roof or $5000 at their booth!!