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April 2018

Why turf is the answer to your grass needs

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Tired of spotty, patchy, and hard to maintain grass? Well, turf is probably the answer for you.

When you hear the word turf you may automatically think of a football field or "fake" grass. While most football fields are lined with a certain type of turf, there are actually a few kinds, one of which is actually a plant and as real as can be.

But you may be asking yourself, what does turf have to do with me and my grass needs?

And the answer could actually be a lot. There are many benefits to turf, and to just name a few, there is its curb appeal, easy maintenance, and ability to withstand harsher weather than most grasses.

Here are a couple more reasons turf is the answer to what you need in your front and back yards and will have you singing its praises.

Turf is good for the environment

Not only does turf look good, but it is actually good for the environment.

According to a Turf Magazine, the USDA certified turf as a biobased material. This means they are produced not using petroleum, saving the environment and precious natural resources.

Turf also has the ability to suck pollutants out of the air such as carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide, providing clean air. It also helps to keep the ground cool helping surrounding temperatures.

Turf also helps with water by helping it pass through it all while filtering it and absorbing it easier where it is needed as well.

Tons of curb appeal

Want to increase the value of your home? Turf is such a great way to do that. In fact, studies show that turf can increase the value of a property by 15 to 20 percent.

Not only will turf make your home easy on the eyes, but it will also make it easy on the mind.

According to The Professional Landscape Network, green spaces such as green grass promote improved physical and mental well-being, meaning those around them are more likely to be happier and feel more at peace.

Just looking out your window at your lawn could be the easiest stress reliever ever!

Low maintenance

Keeping your lawn fresh, green, and free of brown spots and weeds is no easy task - unless you have turf.

Regular grass can be prone to bugs, disease, and soil issues. Not to mention the harsh cold of winter and the high heat of summer.

Turf has the ability to withstand harsher weather and temperatures, meaning it will be more likely to stay green and nice-looking through all seasons.

Part of its low-maintenance status is that you won't have to invest a ton of money to maintain it, especially if it is artificial turf. You won't have to pay your neighbor's son to mow it, worry about the best soil and pesticides, or replacing the yellow patches.  

Even if you do have to replace certain parts for some reason, those parts can be recycled and used elsewhere, meaning you get your money’s worth.

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5 apartment necessities for guys

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From entertaining your friends to the ladies, here are a couple ways to leave them impressed.

Man-cave, man-den, stomping grounds or however you want to call it, you finally have your very own bonafide apartment. Sure it comes with a couple of roommates, but other than that it’s all your own.You won’t have a mom or dad telling you to pick up your room or to do your laundry and you can put whatever posters up on your wall that you want.

But you also don't know where to start on the whole making it actually feel like a nice and livable space. You know that when you have people over you want them to think it's nice, and have fun when they come over.

Here are five apartment necessities for guys that will turn your space from basic to awesome.

  • Extra dishes

This probably wasn't at the top of the list, but if you plan on entertaining anytime soon it probably should be.

While many apartments (especially in college) come with furniture, they do not typically come with dishes and cups.

Sure it's good to have one for yourself, but if you want to make dinner for more than one person and don't want to encroach on your roomie's stuff, buy a couple extra plates and bowls, and nice cups.

Your guests will be impressed. 

  • Extra and nice blankets

Movie nights are just not the same if you don’t have some blankets to cuddle under, so it is a good idea to snag a few.

Also, they are a good thing to throw over a couch for decorating, upping your decorating skills in a super easy way.

Plus you never know when a friend will need to crash on the couch for a night or two. 

  • Candles, plugins, or anything else that smells good

Let’s face it, too many men together can sometimes produce a pretty ripe smell, so to be on the safe side it’s best to have some things on hand to combat that.

For the bathroom, it's a good idea to have some air freshener and probably a candle and matches, after all, you are not the only who is going to be using it.

For the living areas, it might be a good idea to get a plugin or again some more candles to keep the public areas smelling extra good.

If your BYU-I men’s housing doesn’t allow candles, there are also flameless candle options or wax burners as well.

  • Cleaning supplies

Nothing is more impressive than a well-groomed man, and it’s also the same with a well-groomed apartment.

Many college housing units do cleaning checks, so it is a good idea to have cleaning supplies on hand.

  • Board Games

Although it may seem a little old-school, some good old-fashioned board games and card games can actually come in super handy in an apartment.

It’s a great way to pull people away from their phones and computers and interact, and also a great excuse to hold a game night every week and meet some fun new people.

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How to prepare to build your dream home

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Want to build your dream home but don’t know where to start? Then read on.

Have you always wanted to build and design your own home?

Building your own home is definitely the American dream come true, but it can be overwhelming to know where to start.

Do you need a designer? An architect? How much will it cost? How long will it take?

These are pretty common questions, and the following will provide answers to a few of those as well as how you can prepare to build your dream home now or in the future.

Save, save, save, and then save some more

Building a custom home is no cheap endeavor, and the cost greatly varies from state to state.

For example the average cost of building a home in Idaho Falls, Idaho is about $111.45 per square foot for basic construction, which comes to around $220,000 for a 2000 square foot home, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

Whether it’s an Idaho Falls home builder or any other state, it's obvious that it's important to save as much as possible if building a home is your goal.

Not to mention there are so many unforeseen costs that come with building, so having a nice savings to fall back on when things happen will make everything go a lot smoother.

Scout out several locations

Before you start hiring a contractor and designer it’s a good idea to know where you would possibly like to build and if the land is available.

Make a list of all the things you want near your house such as parks, stores, schools, etc. Also see if you want to build in an existing neighborhood where you could possibly knock down an old house, or if you would prefer a newer development. Also, something to consider is what location you want your lot, such as on a corner, in a cul-de-sac, etc.

Then drive around the city you want to live in and see what land or lots are available to start building your home.

Decide on a general contractor and designer

When it comes to building, although technically you can do everything yourself, it might be best to hire a general contractor and designer to help out.

The benefits of hiring a contractor are that they will be able to help adhere to any city codes or zoning codes, as well as oversee the workers building your home.

The benefit of a designer is that they can help you know how big you should make the bedroom, living, rooms, dining room, etc. based on the type of furniture and appliances you want.

They can also help to pick out all the things you will need on the inside and outside of your house, what paint colors, tile vs wood, carpet, and any other design specs that you want or need.

Make plans and be firm about them

Before you start building, plan for as much as possible.

Plan with your significant other and family about what you want and need, then plan with your contractor and designer.

This is important because when the actual building process starts everything will go a lot smoother if everyone, including you, has a clear vision of what is wanted and needed, which will also prevent any unnecessary delays.

Planning will also take away some stress, because building a home is just going to be a stressful experience, and lessening that in any way possible is the smart thing to do.

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7 fun and affordable ways to spruce up your home

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Making your home Pinterest worthy doesn't need to cost an arm and a leg.

Home is where the heart is, and it’s also the place all your friends and family see when they come to visit.

You are constantly and consistently pinning things you wish you could do to your interiors to update it and make it look worthy of Joana Gaines, but you don’t want to spend a ton of time or money.

Well, there are many affordable things that you can do to your home without having to shell out a ton of money or be on a remodeling show.

Even small changes can make a big difference and be super affordable and chic.

Here are seven fun and affordable ways to spruce up your home and be more than proud to show off when people come to visit.

  • Change the knobs 

Something as little as switching out the knobs on your drawers and cupboards can make a big difference in enhancing the look of your home and making it look more modern and trendy.

The best part is you can look for interesting and unique knobs in all sorts of places, from yard sales to second hand-stores to thrift shops.

  • Paint the front door

Another fun and easy cosmetic change is painting your front door.

Painting your front door is an easy way to draw attention to your home as well as adding a fun focal point for it.  

  • Put up some fun prints or vinyl lettering

Nowadays it is pretty easy to find some inexpensive, but beautiful, prints and paintings.

Hanging some up in different parts of your home, above beds, in the bathroom, or even creating a gallery wall looks chic and modern.

Another aspect of your gallery wall or a great way to fill an unused space is vinyl lettering. Put up a meaningful quote in a pretty font and you are good to go.

  • Bring in some plants 

Nothing adds in life to a home like some fresh plants.

If you seem to have more of a black thumb than a green one, they don’t even have to be real. No one except you and those who live in your home have to know that beautiful green plant requires no effort on your part.

It’s pretty easy to find one in a size and look that would fit any room in your home.

  • Rearrange some things 

Sometimes all it takes to make a room feel new is re-arranging items and furniture that you already have.

Take something from one room and put it in another, or change where the couch and chairs are placed.  

  • Fill in blank spaces

There is such thing as having a room that is not decorated enough, and finding the right piece of furniture or wall-art can make a really big difference.

If there is an oddly empty space see what you can do to fill it, whether it’s placing a chair, some vinyl lettering, a tall plant, or anything else you see fit to take up that space in a visually appealing way.

  • You can always rely on the pillows

Never underestimate the power of a few new throw pillows, they can really turn a couch or bed from “meh” to “wow.”

Even having some extra ones lying around to switch out in different seasons can liven up your home décor.

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Curtain hanging techniques to create the perfect look

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Hanging curtains can set the mood for any room. Vibrant colors bring energy to a space, while pastels and muted greys or tans can help create a relaxing vibe. Patterns such as stripes and florals can bring both life and personality to a nook or window, and layering can create depth and change the dimension of a room. Your choice of curtain can help create the look of your home, but only if you hang it correctly. 

Whether covering a standard area or installing the perfect made to measure curtains, you'll want to ensure your window is properly covered with neat and even fabric.

Things to remember when ordering your curtains

With the variety of curtain options available, there's no reason to settle for ill-fitting or odd-shaped curtains. You can find many standard sizes available and in-stock at online and local retailers, as well as easily find made to order sizes at affordable rates. Apartment Therapy offers some wisdom when it comes to making your curtain purchase:

  • Make sure your curtain rod is wider than your window, or you'll have gaps on either side. A standard rule of thumb is at least 6" wider, although many people prefer an overlap of 8"-12" beyond the window frame.
  • Overlap your curtain fabric too. Don't get curtains the bare minimum width of your window, instead look for curtains that are 2-2.5 times larger than your window area.
  • Extend your measurements on height as well. Curtains are frequently hung above the window frame about 4"-6" from the ceiling. Standard curtains should fall to just skim the floor, or slightly puddle on the ground for a more dramatic look. Cafe length curtains should clearly extend past the base of the window for shade and privacy.

Strangely shaped windows may require a little more creativity. For octagon windows, the easiest curtain option is to base your measurements on the widest part of the octagon. As all sides should be an equal length, you can use the same measurement for height and width to create a fabric square for full coverage. 

The same idea applies to circular, diamond-shaped, or triangular windows, measuring from the largest area and covering the surface in a square. 

Fabric choices for curtains

Fabric choice is also a consideration for your curtain purchase. The fabric your curtains are made from will affect everything from your look to the weight and durability of the curtain rod and bracket you need for installation. Lighter weight fabrics often symbolize spring and summer, or a more casual vibe. Heavier fabrics can provide protection against the elements, and are often associated with formality and colder weather. Some common curtain fabrics include:

  • Polyester – an affordable and durable fabric, this material is stain resistant and easy to care for – available in a variety of colors, it is, however, flammable, and should not be used in kitchens.
  • Cotton – a natural material with a crisp clean feeling, commonly used in bedrooms and dining rooms as a light and affordable material. Linen offers similar qualities as cotton but provides a softer, more billowy look at a slightly increased price.
  • Silk – luxurious and light, silk is sought after for formal rooms. Difficult to clean and susceptible to sun damage, this material is best paired with a stronger fabric or in a low traffic area.
  • Velvet – this soft and heavy fabric can create a rich, gothic look. Beyond image, velvet can also block out unwanted noise or drafts.
  • Lace – this fabric offers more a hint of privacy than any actual protection against the outdoors. Lace curtains can come in both delicate and durable varieties.

How to hang your curtains

The curtains you buy will come in a package, and some of these items have been folded and stored for quite a while. Make sure you remove your curtains and hang them for a while before they settle into their final look. Most materials can take a light ironing if any wrinkles remain, but be sure to read the direction on the package. Check for pleats and strings for custom looks, and your curtains will soon be window-ready.

Use curtains to create a whole new look for your home by finding the perfect fit.

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Syncing Home Improvement with the Seasons

Are you working on your dream house one project at a time? Getting hands-on with home improvements can save you thousands and some projects can increase the value of your home when it’s time to move. But many homeowners end up losing their smart investment because they fail to time their handiwork around the unique challenges of each season. No one wants window replacements in the middle of winter, or heating and air conditioning upgrades in the sweltering heat of summer. Get a leg up on your next project by getting the timing right and making sure you’ve got the best home insurance coverage to protect you and your home. Here’s when you should plan for these popular home improvements:

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How to keep your home bug-free this summer

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Spring and summer bring sun and flowers, but that also means bugs and spiders.

No one likes the idea of bugs in or around their house.

But what can be done to get these pests under control?

Pest control is something all homeowners are on the lookout for, and there are actually several ways you can keep your house bug free yourself.

Warmer weather doesn’t have to mean an infestation for you or anything near your house.

Keep up with repairs

Bugs are small, so it seems pretty obvious logic that even the tiniest breeches in your house could be a way for them to get in.

Keeping up on the small repairs in and around doors, windows, or other places that touches the outside is a great way to make sure those pesky critters stay out.

Make sure to clean

A tidy home is one not only free of mess, but it stays free of bugs too!

One of the best types of pest control is to sweep, vacuum, and mop as much as possible.

Not only will you be grateful for a spotless house, but you will be grateful for the comfort of knowing you are living bug-free.

You can go natural

If the idea of using too many chemicals to help with your pest control keeps you up at nights as much as the thought of bugs inside or outside your house, rest easy that there are natural ways to keep them away.

One such way is using vinegar to clean, because not only does it naturally kill germs, but it’s a natural repellent for ants.

Some other natural repellents that you probably have lying around in your spice rack are mint, cinnamon, pepper, and turmeric.

Check out where the bug hangs out

They say the best way to beat your enemy is to know it, so what other way to beat bugs away than knowing where they hang out the most.

Check up on areas around your house where bugs seem to gather, and make sure to keep those areas clean and clear to prevent those areas from becoming an infestation instead of just a few pests.

Also, even if you see just one or two bugs in a certain area make sure to take action right away, because bugs such as ants send out scouts to scope out the good spots to come in and take hold. They will also leave chemical trails to lead their friends to their spot, so even just cleaning with soap and water will not only get rid of that trail but also keep the area clear from any other invasions.

Stay high and dry

Humans aren’t the only living things that survive on water; bugs also need it.

If there are places in your house that tend to have a lot of liquid, make sure to be vigilant about keeping them dry or you might attract some unwanted housemates.

Places that hide leaks such as pipes under the sink or in and around the bathtub are areas that should be monitored and cleaned as frequently as possible.

Do not feed the bugs

As funny as it sounds you may be unknowingly feeding your insect friends by leaving open food containers or food crumbs lying around.

Make sure all food is stored in a clean, easy to see area, and with airtight containers.

Although they might want to share your food with you, you know that’s the last thing they have planned.

Call a professional

Bugs can be tricky and sneaky and even when you do all of the above and more, they still find a way into your house.

This is probably the time to turn to someone who knows how to deal with bugs and knows how to properly and efficiently take care of them.

All it takes is a search on your phone or computer, such as “pest control Idaho Falls” to find your local insect removal specialist.

Pests come in all shapes and sizes, but by following these guidelines you can make sure the ones with six or more legs stay far away from you and your home.

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ofuro: Japanese soaking tubs

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pictured above: a beautiful custom wooden ofuro designed & built by Bartok Design

A few years ago, I remodeled my bathroom, and removed a traditional shower/tub combo. In replacing it with a tiled shower stall and a tub, I faced a dilemma: how to fit these two new items in the same space? Luckily, my solution was Kohler's Greek Soaking Tub, substantially deeper, wider and shorter than their traditional tubs. However, I originally investigated building a custom Japanese soaking tub - or ofuro - before discarding that idea in favor of my lower-cost Kohler alternative.

My father is facing a similar project: he wants to turn the upstairs in his 1917 Craftsman home into a small apartment, with the 1/2 bath currently there becoming a full, albeit tiny, bathroom. Being that the entire upstairs of his house is finished in rich rough wood - mostly raw redwood planks and other woods - he wants the bath to be similarly subtle and consistent, so I recommended an ofuro.

One of the best resources on the subject is Bruce Smith & Yoshiko Yamamoto's Japanese Baths book - lots of eyecandy and ideas in it. But here are some other resources that may be useful.

  • Hydro Systems' 4040 round/square soaking tub
  • Neo-Metro's luxury baths
  • THG's Yoko
  • Neptune makes some larger whirlpools in a vaguely Japanese style
  • MTI has a huge line of luxury baths, including several space-saving corner models and a few deep soakers
  • online retailer Signature Hardware has a nice consolidated listing for several different makers of unorthodox bath & soaking tubs
  • I saw a Cabuchon tub recently installed in Portland, Oregon; it looked great but I couldn't exactly strip down and take a bath at the cocktail party where I saw it
  • Bathpro's Yubune are short and deep
  • TeakTubs look gorgeous but I'm not sure how safe they'd be on a second story, but as long as they're sealed well, I know teak shouldn't split or swell, so maybe they're fine
  • Robert's Hot Tubs makes some really nice tubs, several of which are bathroom-sized
  • Bartok Design's custom Japanese tubs are beautiful and minimalist
  • Driftwood Design also makes custom wooden baths
  • master carpenter Hiroshi Sakaguchi also makes custom tubs, all of which are absolutely gorgeous
  • of course, if the floor is strong enough, you can always frame & pour your own concrete tub to fit any possible shape or space
  • for less than $900, you can have a portable ofuro that will fit in a large shower stall or which can be placed above a drain on a tiled floor - something you can take with you, and one of the simplest solutions to this sort of problem. No reason you can't use a flexible filler, with a hook on the wall above it to turn it into a shower!

6 Effective Home Remedies to kill roaches

Nowadays, everyone is getting more concerned about the family health issues. More and more diseases are taking place in this era. One such reason for diseases is the overgrowing population of pests. German cockroaches belong to the same unruly. 

There are many over the counter medicines available to eradicate the problem. However, they are not safe for health and are inefficient as well. On the other hand, professional pest controllers are too expensive to hire. Furthermore, they cause a lot of nuisance and also not safe for your children. You may have to leave your home for 3-5 days which is a very cumbersome process. It is time to for you to try some DIY/home remedies to take actions against these pests. 

If you want to learn more about the home remedies to German cockroaches control. Take a look at the infographic below to learn more:

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