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Posts Tagged ‘tips’

Lawn_grassNow’s a good time to start reseeding your lawn and fixing any dead or bare patches. Before heading to the store and picking up any old bag of grass seed, there are a few things to consider. Choosing the right type of grass seed makes a big difference in how well your lawn grows.

Tips for Choosing Grass Seed

  • Cool/Warm Season Grasses: Choose according to the area in which you live
  • Use of Lawn: Consider use of the lawn and how much wear and tear it will receive and choose a grass that can handle its use
  • Maintenance: How much time do you have to mow, rake and water the grass? Choose a high or low maintenance type of grass seed accordingly

New Lawn Installation in Central Maine

Image: MichaelPloujnikov

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Going green is something many households are striving to take on, including making their conventional septic system a little more earth-friendly. There are several ways that make going green with a septic easy, and they’re low cost.

3 Ways to Make Your Septic “Green”

1. Limit how many chemicals go down the drain. Instead of using cleaners with bleach, which can be harsh on the septic system, try a green product, or in other words, one that is made from natural ingredients.

2. Only flush biodegradable products such as septic safe toilet paper and human waste. Never flush feminine products, cigarette butts, q-tips, trash etc. Septic safe toilet paper doesn’t contain bleach, perfumes or dyes, is single-ply and non-quilted. Many brands are made from recycled materials making it a greener product.

3. Use less water. Not only does this put less stress on the septic system, it’s an all-around green way to go. Fix leaky taps, put a time limit on showers and only run the washer when it’s full.

Additional Septic System Help

Septic System Installation in Central Maine
List of Septic Safe Toilet Paper
Septic Safe Toilet Bowl Cleaners
Septic Systems: A Homeowners Guide
What Not to Put Down the Drain with a Septic System

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Spring is almost upon us which means melting snow and driving rain. For those with clogged drainage ditches, the combination of the two can spell disaster. By that of course, I mean flooding of the driveway or surrounding roadway – both of which are costly and dangerous.

Tips for Clearing Drainage Ditches in Spring

  • Handpick all trash
  • Use an ice chipper to break up large chunks of ice or heavy snow
  • Remove branches and other debris

If debris is heavy or too much to clear by hand, call a local general contractor to help assess the situation and clear drainage ditches. This of course is a more costly route, but will save time and money down the road when a flood has been prevented.

Should a flood occur, never drive through it, especially where bridges and culverts are concerned. Stop, turn around and report the flooding to the local authorities. In an emergency situation, always dial 911 first.

To get the latest road conditions in the state of Maine, visit www.511.maine.gov or dial 511 from your phone. The website helps Mainers better plan which routes to take while driving throughout the state avoiding construction and road closures.

Drainage Services in Central Maine

Drainage Installation and Repair in Central Maine
Pipe Installation in Central Maine
Water Line Installation in Central Maine
Sewer Line Installation in Central Maine

Related Drainage Articles

What is a Culvert and Why May Your Driveway Need One?
What is a Culvert and What Happens During Home Installation?
French Drain to the Rescue: When Your Yard Drains Where It’s Not Supposed To
French Drain Definition
French Drain How To: What to Expect
French Drain How To
DIY French Drain System Materials List

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Erosion happens and is a common issue that many homeowners face. Whether it’s the lawn or garden, a steep slope, gravel driveway or drainage ditch, erosion can cause serious problems that quickly put a dent in the household budget. There are a handful of easy DIY solutions that homeowners can do to prevent erosion from happening.

DIY Erosion Control Tip #1: Plant Native Trees and Shrubs along Steep Slopes

Trees and shrubs, once established, put out deep root systems to anchor themselves in the ground. These root systems help keep the soil above in place. When using this tactic to prevent erosion, we recommend planting native trees and shrubs because they are better suited to the growing conditions in your area and will be much easier to care for.

DIY Erosion Control Tip #2: Plant a Garden

Planting a garden is an easy way to prevent erosion. The garden can be large or small, sometimes consisting of only a few plants. We recommend going with native plants once again because they are easier to find, less expensive and easier to grow in your area.

In areas that erode due to excess water, plant vegetation with an absorbent root system. In areas where wind is a problem, go with vegetation that has a strong root system and plants that provide a windbreak. Below are links to reputable websites that list the best vegetation for erosion control – remember to choose varieties that are suited to or native to your area.

theodorepayne.org – Theodore Payne Foundation for Wildflowers and Native Plants, Inc.
dot.ca.gov – California Department of Transportation
northeastnursery.com – List of Erosion Control Plants for the Northeast
aces.edu – List of Erosion Control Plants for the Southeast
extension.umn.edu – List of Erosion Control Plants for the Midwest
ehow.com – List of Erosion Control Plants for the Northwest
nwf.org – List of Erosion Control Plants for Southwest

DIY Erosion Control Tip #3: Mulch

Putting down a layer of mulch is an inexpensive way to prevent erosion. Large quantities of mulch can be bought from landscaping companies and some general contracting companies and usually at a lower price found in stores. Some municipalities may charge a small fee for mulch or give a specified amount of it away for free per household.

Apply a layer of mulch about ½” thick in areas where erosion is a problem. You can even spread a layer of mulch between plants, trees and shrubs for even better erosion control. Applying too much mulch will make it more susceptible to being washed away during heavy rains. Besides helping to prevent erosion, mulch helps prevent weeds and keeps the ground below moist and warm.

DIY Erosion Control Tip #4: Install Erosion Control Fabric

Installing erosion control fabric is another way to prevent erosion. This type of fabric is slightly different from landscape fabric because its thicker and coarser. Erosion control fabric can be used on moderate to steep slopes, hillsides, gardens and in other areas where erosion is a problem. Here’s a free DIY guide to installing erosion control fabric.

If erosion is a serious problem, building a retaining wall at the base of a steep slope or installing drainage ditches along the roadway may be the best solution. Though these projects can be done by the adventurous homeowner with the right knowledge and physical ability, a qualified general contractor can be hired to get the job done.

Image: Volker Prasuhn/CC-BY-SA-3.0

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As temperatures drop here in the north and other parts of the country, many homeowners are looking for tips on how to reduce home heating costs. Though there are many ways to save money this heating season, we’ve put together a list of 4 ways to reduce heating costs for free.

Tips for Reducing Home Heating Costs

Tip #1: Reverse the Direction Ceiling Fans Blow

Most ceiling fans today come with a little switch that allows you to change the direction the blades of the fan move in. When temperatures outside drop, make the switch from counterclockwise to clockwise. According to thedailygreen.com, setting the fan in a clockwise motion helps to re-circulate warm air in the home which can save up to 10% on home heating costs.

Tip #2: Remove Air Conditioners from Windows instead of Covering Them

Instead of covering your window air conditioners and leaving them in place for the winter, remove them completely. This helps to stop drafts further helping to reduce home heating costs.

Tip #3: Lower Set Temperature on Water Heaters

Thedailygreen.com also suggests turning down the temperature on your home’s water heater to reduce water heating costs anywhere from 6 – 10%. On average, most water heaters are set to an even 140° F but 120° F is suitable for most.

Tip #4: Turn Down the Thermostat

Simply lowering the thermostat a few degrees during the winter helps reduce home heating costs. Lower the temp by a few degrees before heading off to work or school in the morning . Doing this can save you 1 – 3% on your home heating costs.

There are many ways to reduce home heating costs. A good place to start is by stopping drafts. Next, prepare your home for winter by cleaning the furnace, changing its filters and lubing it. The best way to save on home heating costs is to prepare your home for winter.

Related Home Winterization Articles

Weather Stripping: A Homeowner’s Guide
Prepare for Winter: A Homeowner’s Guide
Winter Troubleshooting: A Homeowner’s Guide
Winter Home Improvement Project Ideas
Simple Ways to Stop Drafts in the Home

Image: freedigitalphotos.net

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Hurricane Sandy has blown in and out here in Maine and other parts of the north. While Maine didn’t receive the destruction other North Eastern states like Connecticut and New Jersey did, many of us still have lots to cleanup in our yards. When the weather settles in your area and it’s safe to head outdoors, there are a few things you can do as a homeowner to cleanup after Hurricane Sandy.

Hurricane Sandy Cleanup Supplies

Depending on the amount of destruction left in your yard, you may need to pick up a few supplies before your cleanup process can begin.

Work Gloves
Wheel Barrow
Shovel
Handsaw
Safety Goggles
Steel Toed Boots

Tips for Safe Yard Cleanup

I think this goes without saying, but if there are any downed wires in your yard do not try to handle them yourself – call the proper utility company and report the downed wires to them. If a tree, branch or other debris has fallen on the wires, do not remove it yourself – report this to the utility company as well.

Pick up all Branches
Hand Cut Felled Trees for Easier Removal (for large trees you may need to call in a professional)
Collect & Bag Debris
Rake Up Broken Glass & Dispose
Clear Drainage Ditches
Clean Exterior Windows

Professional Yard Cleanup

In some cases, when a large tree needs removal or a washed out gravel road needs repair, you may need to call in a professional for cleanup and repairs. If that’s the case, get on the phone and call your trusted general contractor as soon as possible. Remember – always think safety first.

Tree Removal in Central Maine
Gravel Roadway/Driveway Repair in Central Maine
Drainage Installation in Central Maine

With all the weird weather we’ve been having here in Maine and the Northeast, do you think it’s a precursor to what we’ll see this winter?

Image: Ks0stm/CC-BY-SA-3.0

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Whether it’s the 4th of July or a summer night, campfires are a tradition for many Maine families. They’re meant to be a fun and relaxing time, making campfire safety of the utmost importance. Before heading to the backyard or that favorite camping spot, review these campfire safety tips and remind the kids how to have fun while staying safe.

Check for Fire Bans/Permits

Here in Maine, we sometimes have fire bans when Mother Nature hasn’t showered us with rain for a while. Check with the local fire department to get the okay to have a campfire and get a permit if need be while your at it.

Fire Pit Location

When choosing a location for a fire pit, choose one that is at least 25 feet away from all structures. Also, make sure the area is free of low branches and other flammable items such a dry leaves, brush and stumps etc.

Clear the Area for Added Safety

Clear at least 8 – 10 feet of space around the fire pit of anything flammable including grass and weeds before starting the fire. This safety measure will help keep the fire from spreading should it get out of hand.

Keep the Fire Small and Contained

Before starting the fire make sure the fire pit is clean and sturdy. Either build a fire pit before hand or use a pre-made device such as a hibachi. Keep the campfire small and contained to the fire pit.

Pile Kindling Away from the Fire

Pile kindling upwind and at a safe distance from the fire.

Have Water at the Ready

Roll out the hose or have a few buckets of water standing by should any loose embers need to be doused or in case the fire licks its way out of the fire pit.

Never Use Gas

Never use gas or other flammable liquids to light a campfire. This is very dangerous and these products can explode or create large, out of control fires. The fire can and will spread to any areas where flammable liquid was dropped.

Never Leave Children Unattended

Children should never be left unattended around a campfire. They could get severely injured trying to feed the fire like mom or dad did or trip and fall and burn themselves. When children are present, teach them campfire safety and establish the rules such as no running around or near the fire pit.

Never Leave a Campfire Unattended

A sober, responsible adult should monitor the campfire at all times. This safety move greatly cuts down on the risk of the fire getting out of control.

Always Extinguish the Campfire

Never leave a campfire to go out on its own. Soak the entire fire pit with water making sure the coals, embers and leftover kindling have been extinguished. Stir the contents of the fire pit around and soak them with water again. Also water down the fire pit itself whether it is made of rocks or cinder blocks.

Kindling for Sale in Maine
How to Build a Stone Fire Pit
How to Build a Cinder Block Fire Pit

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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