Flowers Did Not Grow Well This Year? 2 Ways You Can Improve The Soil

If your flowers did not grow well this year, it could be due to many things, such as they were planted in the wrong location or they got too much or not enough water. Another thing that can be the problem is the soil may need to be improved. Below are two ways you can improve your soil so you can have healthy flowers next year.

Activated Charcoal 

Manufacturers make activated charcoal by heating traditional charcoal in the presence of a type of gas. This charcoal then develops lots of pores (internal space). These tiny spores trap harmful chemicals. It is often used for medical purposes but it can also be used to improve your gardening soil.

Soil can become contaminated due to chemicals, but soil can also become contaminated naturally. If your soil is having this problem, activated charcoal can remove the chemicals. Activated charcoal is also a soil conditioner. You can purchase horticultural activated charcoal at most garden centers.

If you choose to use activated charcoal in your garden it is important that you do not use too much. Measure the square footage of your flower garden and then use approximately a pound of charcoal for every two to three square feet.

Use a tiller to till the garden to a depth of approximately eight to ten inches. Remove any debris, such as rocks and roots. Spread the activated charcoal over the soil in an even layer. When you are finished, use the tiller to till the activated charcoal into the soil.

When you are finished, water and fertilize the garden with a general purpose fertilizer. Purchase this fertilizer at a garden canter. Follow the instructions on the fertilizer on how to apply it to your garden. The activated charcoal will retain both the fertilizer and the water much longer to keep your garden healthy.


Compost is another way to improve the quality of your soil. You can purchase bagged compost at any garden center. This is made of composted manure. This works great because manure is full of nutrients that your flowers need, such as nitrogen. Phosphorous and potassium. When you add composted manure to soil, it loosens the soil so it can better retain moisture.

Spread the composted manure to a depth of approximately two to three inches evenly over the soil. Use the tiller to mix the compost well within the soil.

When you are finished, you can also put about an inch or so of compost on top of the soil and then put mulch over the compost. This is a great way for your garden to retain water for your flowers.

If you do not want to use composted manure, you can make your own compost.

If you continue to have problems with your flowers, contact a landscaper in your area to help you.

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3 Tips For Keeping Your Home Pest-Free During The Holidays

The holiday season is not just a joyful time for you and your family, it is also pretty exciting for pests. The holidays mean more opportunities for pests to move into your home and set up camp. Luckily for you, by taking precautions and being vigilant, you can drastically reduce the number of pests that find their way into your home.  

Inspect Your Wood

Any source of wood, such as a Christmas tree or firewood, can be a mode of transportation for pests. Pests can hide in the wood and travel to your home. Once in your home, it will be difficult to get the pests to move onto another location.  

To avoid picking up any unwanted guests, take the time to inspect your wood before bringing it home. If possible, buy wood that has been pre-treated for pests. If you are buying firewood, do not store it in or near your home. Store the wood away from your home and burn it as soon as you bring it inside.  

Get Your Guests Involved in Keeping Bed Bugs Away

One of the most difficult unwanted guests to get rid of are bed bugs. During the holiday season, the uptick in guests also means a greater chance of getting bed bugs. 

To lower the chances of bed bugs getting into your home, ask guests to keep purses and coats in the foyer or entrance. Ensure there is a place to store these items near the entrance so that if there are any bed bugs in those items, they will not get any further than the front of your home.  

You also need to vacuum as soon as guests leave. Pay close attention to the areas in which your guests convened and the cracks and crevices of the room and furniture.  

Organize Decorations in Plastic Bins

If you have a habit of storing decorations in bags and boxes, now is the time to break it. Bags and boxes are easily breached by pests. Once the pests are in the boxes and bags, they can live there until it is time for you to pull the decorations out again. 

To avoid hosting a family of pests, store your decorations in plastic bins. Ensure the bins are tightly closed before storing them. For an added measure of protection, ensure the area in which the bins are stored is not cluttered.  

As a precautionary measure, schedule a consultation with a pest control company like Ace Walco & Sons Termite & Pest Control before or after the holiday season. 

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How To Maximize Space In Your Park Model Home

Park model homes offer the freedom to move anywhere in the country while taking your home with you. One issue you may run into, however, is not having enough room for all your stuff. If you are considering purchasing a park model home, consider these helpful tips to maximize space in your new tiny home while still having all the comforts you want.

Take Advantage of Vertical Space

Use every inch of your walls to maximize your space and get more out of your park model home. A bunk-style bed with a desk underneath can provide a place for you to sleep and work, and shelves hung near the ceiling can give you a handy place to store shoes, clothing, and other items. Consider investing in matching cloth bins to use on the shelves to create a cohesive look and make the shelves look like they were intended for looks and not utility.

Make Your Furniture Do Double-Duty

Your furniture can be multifunctional. Look for pieces with hidden storage, such as ottomans with interior storage compartments. Some sofas and armchairs even have storage built into their arms, giving you a place to stash remote controls and other small items, which can quickly make a small home seem cluttered. Pullout sofas and chairs can also come in handy, providing extra sleeping space without taking up too much room in the home.

Organize In The Kitchen

The kitchen may be the most challenging space in your park model home. You’ll likely want to make sure you have all of your cookware, appliances and dishes in the new home, but coming up with storage options can be difficult. For cookware, consider installing a ceiling-mounted pot rack, which lets you hang your cookware neatly while giving you easy access while you cook. You can add magnets to small baskets and attach them to your refrigerator to store spices, seasoning packets and small cooking gadgets. Place hooks on the inside of shelves to organize ladles, spatulas and spoons, and use under-shelf bins to make use of the vertical space in your cabinets. These bins let you store items under each shelf as well as on it, so you could store cups and saucers in the same space, or keep parchment paper and  aluminum foil in the same place you store your bakeware for added convenience.

The key to storing all your items in your park model home, like Resort Homes, is to look for multifunctional pieces and come up with creative storage ideas. Make use of all the empty space in your home, such as the inside of cabinets and doors, to find new ways to store your items.

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Three Ways To Give Your Driveway A Facelift

For homes with the garage on the street side of the building, the driveway is a major part of your landscaping and curb appeal. Unfortunately, old cracked concrete, or concrete with visible stains, detracts from the overall appearance of your home. The following three ideas can help you give your driveway a facelift so it becomes a welcome part of the landscape.

Idea #1: Get it resurfaced

Cracked or badly stained concrete needs a fresh start. There is simply no way to make it look better unless you begin with a new surface. Fortunately, you don’t need to waste the time or expense on tearing it our and installing a new one. Instead, a paving company can grind down the top surface to level it, and then pour a thin layer of fresh concrete over the top. The result looks like a brand new driveway without the effort or cost. This works best for concrete that is cracked, pitted, or stained. It isn’t a suitable fix for driveways that have shifted and become uneven. Unevenness or heaving is a sign of problems with the driveway foundation, which will likely require a whole new installation.

Idea #2: Design it with class

One major issue with concrete driveways is that they look boring. They may even clash with the design of your home or with the surrounding landscape. Fortunately, there is also a fix for this. When you have the driveway resurfaced, the paving contractor can stamp a design into it. This gives the driveway the appearance of bricks, cobblestone pavers, tiles, or flagstones – really any design is a possibility with stamping. This means you can tie it into the look of your home. A cottage-style house looks lovely with a cobblestone design, while a home with a rustic exterior and natural elements in the landscape may look best with flagstones.

Visit a site like for more information. 

Idea #3: Add a touch of color

If stains or discoloration is a constant problem on your driveway, why not ask for dyed concrete when you have it resurfaced. If stains are your only issue, acid staining is another option that is applied topically, so you don’t have to have the driveway resurfaced to add some color. Darker colors are best for both options, since these will hide stains the best. A dark brown or a deep charcoal works well. Another option is to combine dying or acid staining with stamped concrete. This way the concrete will look even more like the material the stamping is emulating, whether it’s red bricks or terracotta tiles.

Contact a paving contractor in your area for more help.

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4 Problems That Can Cause A Gas Furnace Pilot To Go Out

Does your central heating system work inefficiently because the pilot to the furnace always goes out? There are actually several different things that can be the root cause of a gas furnace pilot not staying ignited. In this article, you will find a list of the possible problems that can lead to a gas furnace pilot going out.

1. The Thermocouple is Faulty

The thermocouple to your gas furnace plays a major role in whether or not the pilot will ignite becaue is the part that signals a valve in the furnace to release gas to the burner. The only way that the thermocouple will signal the release of gas is if it can sense a flame burning in the pilot. When there is no pilot flame, there will also be no gas released to the burner. However, a faulty thermocouple might incorrectly sense that there isn’t a flame in the pilot, which leads to the gas shutting off and the pilot flaming going out.

2. A Clogged Up Pilot Orifice

Sometimes the root cause of a furnace pilot going out is simply a clogged up orifice. The orifice of the pilot is the area in which the flame comes out of. It is possible that a lot of dirt or dust has accumulated in the orifice and need to be removed. It is in your best interest to hire a contractor to clean the orifice, as he or she might find that it is damaged and need to be replaced. 

3. Problems with the Gas Valve or Line

It is possible that your furnace has a problematic valve that does not send a sufficient amount of gas to the burner. The valve may be broken and not set at the right level. You can get the gas valve replaced if it is the problem. However, keep in mind that the gas line to the valve can also be the problem. There might be a gas leak that requires prompt attention to prevent a possible explosion.

4. A Damaged Pilot Burner

The burner to a gas furnace is responsible for igniting a flame that is sent into the pilot orifice. It is possible that the burner is unable to fully ignite a flame because it is dirty. If it is found that the burner is the pilot problem, you will simply need to get it cleaned or replaced. Speak to a heating contractor about your gas furnace so he or she can inspect and repair it.

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Choose The Right Sprinkler Head

Not all sprinkler heads are created equally. They each have their own uses, which means that the best sprinkler for your lawn may not work well for your flower gardens or bushes. The following guide can help you sort through the options so you can set up an automatic sprinkler system that works to the benefit of your entire landscape.

The lawn

You have a couple of options when it comes to choosing sprinkler heads for your lawn. If you have a relatively small lawn, or if your lawn is chopped up into zones due to garden beds, bushes, or patios, standard fan-style spray heads work well. These provide a gentle drizzle of water in a radius out from the sprinkler head. They come in full circle, half circle, and quarter circle set-ups and in various coverage areas so that you can fit them into almost any area.

Rotary sprinklers send out a spray of water in a stream. The sprinkler heads rotate in either a full or partial circle. These have a lot more distance, so they are often used in larger lawn areas. This way you can use fewer sprinkler heads to get full coverage.

Flower beds

The issue with overhead watering using spray heads or rotary sprinklers in your flower garden is that many flowers can develop fungal diseases or lose their blooms early when moisture sits on the leaves. For this reason, drip irrigation is an excellent choice in many flower gardens. Instead of sprinkler heads, there are emitters that drip water at the base of the plants, delivering enough to keep the soil moist.

There is one exception. Some shade and moisture loving plants, like those in the moss family, do better with overhead watering. One way to ensure they get the moisture they need is to install pop-up fan heads that emerge several inches from the ground.

Trees and shrubs

Many trees and shrubs don’t require separate irrigation since their roots have spread sufficiently to take advantage of the moisture supplied to the lawn. If you have any water-loving trees and shrubs, however, or some planted away from lawn areas, separate irrigation may be necessary. Skip the rotary style sprinkler heads. The force of the spray can damage bark on trees or the foliage and branches on shrubs. Instead, opt for a fan-style sprinkler head that delivers moisture low to the ground. Drip irrigation can also work well around trees and shrubs. To find out more, speak with a business like Krupske Sprinkler Systems.

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Replace Your Boring Old Downspouts With Decorative Rain Chains

Dispersing the rainwater that runs off the roof of your home is important. You cannot just let the water gush through the hole at the ends of your gutters. Water will splatter all over the side of your home, or splash onto the ground creating erosion problems. You may think your only solution is to use old-fashioned downspouts to deal with this problem.

But, there is a different choice you can use to handle the water flow coming from your downspouts. Rain chains are an alternative that gets the job done, plus adds an ornamental decorative appeal to your home

What are Rain Chains?

Rain chains are decorative downspouts that replace conventional gutter downspouts. They can be made of different types of material, using various ornamental type objects.

The primary objective is to disperse the water flow coming from your gutter spout, so it does not splatter into the air, or simply runoff into the ground. While rain chains can be used just to disperse water runoff evenly, they are predominantly used to help collect some, or all of the rainwater coming off your roof.

The first rain chain design accomplished this using a series of cups, separated 2 or 3 inches apart, and connected with a link type chain. This dangling chain of cups is suspended from the gutter spout opening.

The idea of using rain chains is definitely not a new concept. The idea originated hundreds of years ago in Japan. The Japanese have been credited with developing the first rain chains to help with the collection of water from their rooftops.

Water would flow off the roof, streaming down a series of chains, gently falling into a collection barrel. This water can be used to water gardens, or sand filtered for household use. Since rain chains are quite visible around the home, their ornamental appeal has led to a multitude of unique and interesting ideas.

3 Simple Rain Chain Design Ideas

Here are three interesting ideas for your rain chains.

  • Aluminum Cone-shaped Cups

This design is the most basic rain chain you will find on the market. It is a series of aluminum cones linked together with a chain. They are usually 2 to 3 inches in diameter and around 4 inches tall. The lower two-thirds of the cone is full of evenly spaced holes that allow the water to gently flow down the chain to the next cup, eventually trickling out on the ground, or into a holding container.

  • Flower Cups

Many people enjoy using decorative flower pots suspended by a center chain, or nylon rope. The pot size and color are optional, and the rope can also be many different colors. This can add a bit of color to your exterior decorations.

  • Wind Chimes

Another, and very unique rain chain idea is to use a series of wind chimes all connected by a single chain. While this is not the best design if you want to collect the water for use somewhere else, it does have a unique feature. As the water trickles from your downspout, the natural flow will gently vibrate each wind chime making a melodious sound as the excess rainwater gently gets channeled to the ground.

The types of design ideas you can find for rain chains are endless. There are helpful do-it-yourself plans available, or you can search the market for professionally manufactured rain chains. Whatever your choice, you can add a pleasant decorative appeal to your home, while you gently disperse the water from your downspouts. To learn more, speak with a business like Monarch Rain Chains.

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