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Landscaping Ideas for Your Backyard


Designing a backyard can seem like a big job, especially working with a large area. Luckily, it's easy to handle if you have a good plan. As a part of your home, the backyard requires the same attention and care as any other part of your house. Treat it as the foundation for all of your future outdoor spaces before you get started on any major renovations. Before working on it, you need to have a clear vision of your ideal outdoor space. Do you want modern or traditional? Do you want a space for entertaining or a place to relax and unwind?

So if you are struggling with what to do with your backyard, here are some easy and inexpensive landscaping ideas to get you started:

Start with a Fresh Canvas

Take a good look at your backyard. What do you like about it? Is it the flowers blooming in the spring? The shady trees that provide relief from the summer sun? The colorful leaves in the fall? That algae-riddled koi pond?

Once you know what to keep and let go of, the possibilities begin to take shape. Now is the time to get rid of what you don't like. Sometimes the best way to get started is with a clean slate. It might be time to start from scratch if your backyard is full of old, faded furniture and overgrown plants. You can find some fantastic deals on patio furniture and plants at your local home improvement store or online. You can transition from a weathered concrete planter to a luxurious marble planter, from a rusted bistro set to a beautiful wicker patio set.

If you're feeling ambitious, you can even replace your old concrete patio with a new stone patio or deck. It will give you a new outdoor space to work with and make your backyard stand out.

Think Multi-Purpose

When landscaping your backyard, it's essential to think about how you want to use the space. Do you want to unwind at home? Do you want a place to entertain your friends and family? Do you want a space for your children to tumble or play? 

Once you know how you want to use your backyard, you can start to design it accordingly. If you want a relaxing place, you might want to add a hammock or an outdoor daybed. Adding a fire pit or a built-in outdoor kitchen is perfect for a friend and family gathering spot.

And if you're landscaping for your kids, add fun elements like a sandbox or a treehouse. Storage benches are also great for hiding away outdoor toys.

Plant a Fruit and Vegetable Garden

Let's get organic! You can skip your endless trips to the grocery store (and save some money) by planting your fruit and vegetable garden. Decide what fruits and vegetables you want to grow. Will it be the crowd-cheering tomatoes or the family-favorite zucchini? Maybe you want to try something new, like goji berries or dragon fruit.

Designing your beds, preparing the soil, and planting seeds or seedlings can be a fun weekend project for the whole family. And there's nothing more satisfying than watching your garden grow and then being able to enjoy the fruits (and vegetables) of your labor.

A Pool is All You Need

When the sun mercilessly bakes your skin, and the only relief is a cold glass of lemonade, all you can think about is taking a refreshing dip in the pool. If you're lucky enough to have a pool, take advantage of it! If not, now might be the time to invest in one.

A pool is a great addition to any backyard. It provides a place to cool off on hot summer days, it can be a beautiful focal point, and it can even increase the value of your home. Adding a few simple landscaping features to your pool area can make it stand out. Add potted plants, a few lounge chairs, and a poolside bar.

The Pergola Magic

Have you admired the classic backyard setting of country villas with their elegantly draped fabrics and inviting shade? You can achieve that same look in your backyard with a pergola. A pergola is a garden structure with an open roof of evenly spaced beams. You can find pergolas made of wood, metal, or even PVC. They're relatively easy to assemble and can be customized to fit your backyard space.

Glam up your pergola by adding some fabric drapes or hanging plants. You can even string some fairy lights across the beams for a magical touch.

Find Room for Colors

There's nothing like adding some color to your backyard with the sweet-smelling, vibrant peonies, the delicate lavender, and the beautiful sunflowers. The natural hues of the trees, grass, and flowers can add some life to your space.

And don't forget about adding some color in other ways, too. Consider painting your fence or garden shed, adding some brightly colored outdoor furniture, or even hanging some colorful lanterns. The idea is to draw the eye and add some interest to your backyard. So have fun with it! If you've the time and green thumb, you could even try growing a colorful flower garden.

The Chic Modern Patio

The modern patio is all about clean lines and minimalism. Think sleek outdoor furniture, a simple color scheme, and a few well-placed plants. Shades of subtle gray, white, and black can make your patio pop, and don't forget about the flooring! A modern patio typically features concrete or stone flooring. But if you want something different, you could try using large format tiles or even outdoor carpet.

You’ll want to revitalize the space by incorporating lamp posts, bollards, and string lights. For plants, try using large pots or raised beds. And don't be afraid to experiment with different materials and textures.


There is no limit to what your genius mind stirs up for your backyard landscape. After all, it is your paradise where you can enjoy quality time with family and friends or spend some quiet time. Moreover, you can teleport your backyard to any destination in the world with a few simple changes. So whether you want a classic English garden, a modern patio, or a tropical oasis, the choice is yours.

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4 Ways to Prevent Basement Flooding


Flooding and unexpected water levels are some of the biggest concerns among homeowners, particularly those with basements. These areas are usually susceptible to flooding during a heavy rainstorm, or the spring defrost. If your basement is not adequately covered, you might end up dealing with water damage or even expensive repairs. Fortunately, you can take a few steps to help reduce or prevent the risk of flooding. Here are some ways to prevent your basement from water and avoid flooding.

1. Seal your basement

One of the best ways to flood-proof your home is to seal the basement. Sealing your basement can help keep water away and guard your home against moisture damage, which can foster flood protection. You may seal up your basement using a commercial sealant or waterproofing layer.

Cover any noticeable openings and cracks in your basement walls and floor, and add fresh covering around the basement doors, windows, and hatchways. However, if your basement walls leak in water, you might need to call a basement waterproofing company like Direct Waterproofing.

2. Clean and maintain your gutters and downspouts

If your home has gutters and downspouts systems, ensure they drain water properly away from your home. Clogged or blocked gutters can result in water overflowing and down the wall of your property, eventually getting into the basement. Clean gutters and properly positioned downspouts will allow the free flow of rain or storm water, preventing it from flooding against your home walls.

Your downspouts should pour water at least three feet from the foundation, but you may need to use a downspout extension or trough to attain this distance. Ensure you direct the water towards the graded lawn to prevent it from flowing back to your outside walls.

3. Install a sump pump

You may need to invest some money in prevention to avoid spending a lot on repairs. Installing an automatic sump pump can help keep water from heavy rainfall away and prevent basement flooding. Sump pumps act as a large floor drain, drawing any water out of your basement or the surrounding foundation and diverting it to a safe place.

Automatic sump pumps will start up automatically should the first one goes off, enhancing efficiency. For instance, a battery-powered sump pump kicks on if the power goes out, making the first one futile.  

4. Inspect and repair walls and foundation cracks

Cracks in your home's foundation can make your basement vulnerable to water leaks. To prevent water damage and basement flooding, regularly inspect the exterior of your foundation, floors, and basement walls. If you notice any cracks in the basement walls or foundation, get them fixed immediately since these cracks can become bigger, leading to basement flooding.

You can fix the cracks yourself, but you must ensure you have the right tools to get a permanent solution. However, if the foundation is beyond your skill or leaking persists, call a professional for help.


Being a proactive homeowner is the best way to protect your home from significant damage, including flooding, fire damage, or mold growth. As with any other room in your house, you should regularly inspect your basement foundation, floor, and walls. This will help you catch minor fixable issues before they cause flooding in your basement. 

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Red flags to look out for when buying furniture


Buying furniture is as much about comfort as it is about the design. Of course, you want it to fit in with your decor and the rest of the room, but you will also want it to be usable and hard-wearing. 

Furniture can be a good investment if you know what to look for. Here, then, are some of the red flags to keep an eye out for for when you are in the market for furniture. 

The maker of the furniture

When considering buying any furniture, take a look at the maker first and do your research if you are unsure. Companies such as the Modern Furniture Company, a leading Bontempi furniture supplier in the UK, are known for luxury pieces. 

It doesn’t matter if the piece is new or used, you can still get a history of the furniture maker and see if they have a reputation for quality. This may mean a little research on your part, but in the long run, it will be worth it. 

What is the suspension like?

You can tell a lot about the quality of furniture by the suspension used to make it. Some types are of lower quality than others or are unsuitable for the purpose they are being used. 

  • Webbing uses lengths of material that are woven together. While this can be durable, it is also prone to stretching or ripping if there is too much weight. Webbing can be ok for small pieces such as chairs and barstools but will stretch and sag on larger pieces. 
  • Sinuous springs are curved pieces of wire that stretch from one side to the other. They are prone to bending and snapping, so are only useful for chair backs. It is cheap to use and fit so you should consider that it is a poorly built piece of furniture. 
  • 8-way hand-tied uses big springs that are tied together with twine. This is a comfortable suspension that can be used in sofas and armchairs. It is also strong and hard-wearing so will last a long time. 
  • Pocket coil is the ultimate in suspension. It is used in sofas, chairs and mattresses and uses hundreds of small coils that are all in their own pocket and then sewn together to form one piece. The pocket coil is supportive and comfortable across the whole surface. 

Lightweight can be bad

Although some high-quality furniture will use light metals and other materials, this is usually the exception. Lighter furniture generally means that the materials used are less supportive and not so hard-wearing. 

Whether it is chairs, cushions, or any other type of furniture, you need to check the weight first. If it has a weight to it, then the chances are that high-quality materials were used to create it. 

The lighter the furniture is, the more it may deform or deteriorate over time compared to high-quality items made from strong materials. 

When leather isn’t leather

Many companies will claim that their furniture has leather, but it isn’t the same as real leather. What is often called ‘bonded leather’ is actually leather pulp that is flattened and fixed to a polyurethane backing. 

You can often tell if something is real leather or fake because fake leather has a uniformity to its patterning while real leather doesn’t. You can also find a distinctive smell in real leather that cannot be copied with fake leather. Lastly, real leather will have a coarse suede feel to it. If the back has a fabric feel, then it is fake. 

If you are looking for real leather, then look for terms such as full-grain or top-grain to show it’s real. If you see 100% leather everywhere your body touches, this means that the sides and back are likely bonded leather. 

You need a solid frame

Luxury sofas and chairs are built on a sturdy frame that is designed to withstand all the rigours of use. This is done using the best hardwoods along with blocking at the corners and tight-fitting joins using double doweling. 

It can be hard to spot a sofa or chair with a weak frame, but there is one sign that will show you. Apart from the weight (luxury furniture will be heavy), you can also lift one of the front feet. You want the opposite foot to rise slightly after the one you are holding. This shows minimal flexing. If it takes a while or doesn’t lift at all, then it's flexing too much. 


Looking for quality furniture is worth the additional time it will take. You will want to know that you are buying something that will probably last for many years – and these tips can help you ensure exactly that.

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Jordanhill School

5 home DIY projects you can attempt on the June bank holiday


When the bank holidays come around, many people decide that is the best time to get creative and start their latest DIY project. Although not all of them go smoothly, it is a kind of tradition that has built up over time. 

If you are in the mood for a project but can't decide, here are five DIY projects that you might try over the course of the June bank holiday. 

  • Give your kitchen cupboards a makeover

If your kitchen cupboards have seen better days, then the bank holiday could be the perfect opportunity to give them a revamp that will make them look modern and beautiful.  All you need is some primer, paint or sticky-backed plastic, and some glue such as that available from Adkwik.

Make sure that the surfaces of your cupboards are properly prepared before you begin painting. You can go along with the current theme of the kitchen, or change it up and redecorate the rest later. 

  • Show the garden some love

Chances are you might not have done too much in the garden over the winter. The leaves and overgrown weeds will need your attention along with cleaning the outside furniture ready for the summer BBQ. 

Don’t do too much at one time, spread it out over a couple of days so that you don’t feel too exhausted. This is also a good time to look at adding more plants or changing existing ones for something new. 

  • Declutter one room

If you or someone you live with is a bit of a hoarder, then you can quickly find yourself surrounded by piles of unwanted things. To help free some space, why not spend the bank holiday decluttering one room in your house? 

It doesn’t matter which room it is, but you will feel so much better once the room is cleared. You can then think about which room you can do next time. 

  • Regrout your tiles

Grouting can get dirty and dry out over time, leaving gaps or unsightly lines on your tiles. The process of regrouting isn’t as bad as it sounds. You just need to first use a grout rake to get out all of the old grouting, and a brush to make it clean. 

You can then either use ready-made grout or make it up yourself and use a grout float to smooth it over the tiles. It can take a few days to a couple of weeks to fully dry out, but you can clean up the tiles when you have finished to give a good final result. 

  • Make some presents

Whether it's for a birthday or starting early for Christmas, making your own gifts is a lovely thing to do. It shows you care and has the advantage of allowing you to create a unique gift that will remind the recipient of you. 

What gifts you decide to make depends on your own creativity, but whatever it is, remember where you put them so that they don’t get lost before the big day. 


Starting a project over the June bank holiday will leave you with a sense of achievement and pride in your creativity – so why not give one of the above home DIY ideas a go?

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Charlotte Holmes

5 Popular Summer Blooms to Make Your Home Pop


Whether you’re trying to sell your home quickly or you simply want to upgrade your home’s exterior, upgrading your home’s curb appeal is a smart investment in its value and livability. And there’s not much that’ll make your home pop more than planting some colorful, eye-catching blooms that brighten your summer. 

Take a look at these five popular summer-blooming flowers and consider adding them to your home’s garden and landscaping. They’ll brighten up your property beautifully. Flowers are also a great way to stage your home’s exterior, raising that curb appeal and helping you sell your home yourself more quickly. 

1. Zinnias

Available in bright and cheery hues of red, pink, orange, yellow, purple, and more, the humble zinnia is an annual with a strong shape and profile, as well as intense hues to elevate your garden into a lush oasis. Because it’s an annual, you’ll have to plant them again in a year, but their stunning beauty is worth the extra effort. 

As a bonus, zinnias attract bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies to your garden. They’re also a great choice for vibrant arrangements of cut flowers. Just remember to start cutting with the center blooms first. That way you can enjoy their beauty while still encouraging the plant to sprout more blooms. 

2. Bougainvillea 

These bright, vivid blooms may first launch into full blossom in spring, but they’ll often last well into summer. Once in full bloom, they love to climb and burst forth into intense shades of red and fuchsia in large, lush clusters. Put them near trellises or fences to give them somewhere to go. They look great and grow well in large containers, too, making them one of the most flexible summer flowering plants around. 

On the other hand, they don’t tend to do well outside their ideal climate, which typically sees low temperatures of 40 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. Bougainvillea plants love the warm summer sun! 

3. Sunflowers

If you’re working in a sunny spot and looking to make a big statement with your summer blooms, why not plant sunflowers? These beautiful, cheerful blooms make a huge impact on your yard and garden and they’ll never fail to bring a smile to the face of anyone lucky enough to spot them. Best of all, they’re fairly easy to grow and low-maintenance, making them an ideal choice for beginning gardeners. You will, however, need to keep an eye out for damage done by squirrels and birds seeking out those tasty seeds. 

The original sun worshippers, do best in full sunlight so that their bright daisy-like faces can follow the sun’s path throughout the day. With a peak blooming period of anywhere between eight and twelve weeks, they’ll be around for you to enjoy for a huge chunk of the summer. Remember that sunflowers tend to grow fairly tall—most standard varieties can easily reach ten feet or more!—so look for a place in the rear of your garden or yard if possible, so that they don’t obstruct your view of smaller blooms and ground cover plants. 

4.  Hydrangeas

A lush bloom that’s not afraid to take up space, hydrangeas can show up either pink or blue (or lavender). The difference? Believe it or not, it’s the soil’s pH levels! When the plant’s soil is more acidic, the blooms tend towards shades of blue and pale purple. If the soil is more alkaline, however, the blooms tend to be pink. 

You can find lots of different varieties to choose from if you like the overall look and shape of hydrangeas. If you’re new to growing hydrangeas, consider the Endless Summer variety. It does well in a range of light exposures, from full sun to light shade. Bonus: they produce a very pleasing scent that can heighten your enjoyment of these lovely flowers. 

5. Larkspur

Also known as delphinium, larkspur produces tall, stately plants with brilliantly colored cone-shaped blooms. These perennials prefer full sun and slightly cooler summer climates. Given those optimal conditions, larkspur can reach three to four feet in height. That means they’ll tower over the floor of your garden bed, so keep that in mind when planning out your garden. Also, due to that height and the general structure of the plants, they tend to appreciate some supportive structures to help them stand up straight. 

Larkspur is a perennial, and as such, they’ll come back year after year with proper conditions and good care. If you cut those first blooms early, you can even get a second blooming to grace your garden before the summer’s over. 

partnered post by Annie Sisk • cc-licensed image

How Do You Beat The Summer Heat?

The long-awaited summer is finally here. The weather is beautiful, the days are longer, and there’s so much to do. However, there’s the risk of dehydration, heat exhaustion, and even heat stroke. You'll have to find ways to beat the heat and stay cool all summer long.

Escaping the heat with everyday responsibilities is a challenge but don't worry; you're covered. Here are tips on how to beat the heat this summer:

Make Your Indoors Comfortable

Staying indoors becomes your only option when it's too hot out there. However, that doesn't mean you have to be miserable. There are plenty of ways to make your indoors comfortable to enjoy your summer without stepping outside.

First, keep your windows and curtains closed during the day to prevent the heat from coming in. If you have a ceiling fan, make sure it's running counterclockwise to push the hot air up and out. You can also use a portable or oscillating fan to circulate the air.

Another way to keep cool is by using a humidifier. It adds moisture to the air, which will make it feel cooler. Most importantly, use an air conditioner. It's a sure way to keep the indoor temperatures low. Before it gets too hot, book an inspection and a tune-up service. If the unit is not working properly, look for AC repair in Anderson service or your locality.

Wear the Right Clothing

The type of clothing you wear can also make a difference in how you feel. When it's hot, wear light-colored and loose-fitting clothes. Natural fabrics such as linen, cotton, and silk are your best bet as they are breathable and will keep you cool. 

Avoid synthetic fabrics such as nylon and polyester as they trap heat. If you have to be outdoors, wear a wide-brimmed hat or a scarf to protect your head and face from the sun. Darker colored clothes absorb more heat. Stick to light colors.

Use Sunscreen

When outdoors, always wear sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. It will protect your skin from harmful UV rays. Reapply every two hours or more often if you're sweating a lot. If going for a swim, choose a waterproof sunscreen. Wear clothes with a UPF rating to provide additional protection.

Limit Your Time in the Sun

One of the best ways to prevent heat-related illnesses is to limit time in the sun. If you have to be outdoors, stay in the shade as much as possible. Take frequent breaks and go indoors when you start to feel too hot. Most importantly, avoid being in the sun during the peak hours, which are usually between 10 am and 4 pm. Run errands and do outdoor activities early in the morning or later when it's cooler.

Drink Lots of Fluids

When it's hot, your body perspires more to cool itself down. You'll lose fluids and electrolytes, which need a replacement. The best fluids to drink are water and electrolyte drinks.

Avoid sugary drinks, alcoholic beverages, and caffeine, as they can make you feel more dehydrated. Take at least eight glasses of water a day and more if you're sweating a lot. When outdoors, always carry a bottle of water with you.

In addition, beat the heat by using ice. Fill a basin with cold water and ice cubes, and soak your feet for a few minutes. You can also put a damp cloth in the freezer for a few minutes and then apply it to your skin, cooling you down quickly.

Beat the Heat

Taking steps to stay cool and hydrated prevents heat-related illnesses. Drink plenty of fluids, limit your time in the sun, and take cool baths or showers. You'll enjoy the summer much more when you beat the heat.

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6 Health Concerns Pests Can Cause in Your Gilbert Home


Pests are more than just a nuisance – they can pose serious health risks to you and your family. They are known to spread diseases, trigger allergic reactions, and even cause physical damage to your home.

If you're like most people in Gilbert, AZ, you want to do everything possible to protect your home and family from harm. That is why it's crucial to be mindful of the many health problems pests can cause in your home. By taking steps to address any pest problems you may have, you can help keep your family safe and healthy. Read on for more information on the health risks associated with common Gilbert pests.

Spread of disease

One of the most typical health problems associated with pests is the spread of diseases. Many pests, such as rodents and cockroaches, are known to carry and spread diseases. They can contaminate edibles and surfaces with their feces, saliva, and urine, leading to the spread of diseases like Salmonella and E. coli, which in some cases, these diseases can be severe or even deadly.

Pests can also spread diseases to humans directly. For example, mosquitoes carry and transmit viruses like Zika and West Nile virus. These viruses can cause serious health problems, including congenital disabilities and neurological damage. People living in Gilbert should be particularly aware of the health risks posed by mosquitoes, as the Gilbert area is home to many mosquito species.

Physical damage to humans or pets

Pests can also cause physical damage to humans and pets. For example, bites from fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes can cause various problems, including skin irritation, infections, and even disease. In some cases, these bites can be deadly.

Scorpions in Gilbert AZ, and other venomous pests can pose a severe threat to humans and pets. Their venom can cause various health problems, including pain, swelling, and even death.

If you have pests in your home, it's essential to address the problem as soon as possible. By getting rid of pests, you can help reduce the risk of physical damage to your family. If anyone in your household gets stung or bitten by a pest, it's essential to seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Allergic reactions

Another common health concern associated with pests is the potential for allergic reactions. Numerous people are allergic to the proteins found in pest saliva, feces, and urine. When these substances come into contact with the skin, they can cause various allergic reactions, including skin rashes, hives, and swelling. Sometimes, these reactions can be severe or even life-threatening.

Allergic reactions to pests are not limited to the skin. These reactions can also occur when someone inhales airborne particles from pest saliva, feces, or urine. These reactions can cause difficulty breathing, wheezing, and chest tightness. In some cases, they can lead to anaphylactic shock, which can be fatal.

Asthma and other respiratory problems

Pests can also cause or worsen asthma and other respiratory problems. Cockroaches, in particular, are known to trigger asthma attacks in people who are sensitive to their allergens. In some cases, exposure to cockroaches can even lead to the development of severe asthma. Dust mites are another common trigger of asthma and other respiratory problems. These tiny creatures live in mattresses, bedding, and upholstered furniture, and their feces can trigger asthma attacks and other respiratory problems. Individuals with asthma and other respiratory issues should avoid exposure to these allergens. If you feel like you may be experiencing asthma symptoms or another respiratory problem, it's critical to seek medical attention asap. Medication can effectively treat many pest-related respiratory issues.

Physical damage to your home

Pests can also induce physical harm to your house. For instance, termites can weaken the structural integrity of your house by eating away at the wood that supports it. Thereby greatly increasing the risk of your home collapsing during a fire or extreme weather.

Carpenter ants and other wood-destroying pests can also cause physical damage to your home. These pests tunnel through wood, which can create holes and cracks in the walls and floors of your home. This damage can make your home more susceptible to water damage and mold growth. Pests like rats and mice can also gnaw on electrical wires, creating a fire hazard. Arizona is home to many species of pests that can cause physical damage to your home. So, it's vital to be mindful of the signs of pest infestation and to contact a pest control professional if you suspect that your home is infested.

Emotional damage

Pests can also cause emotional damage. The pressure of dealing with a pest infestation can take a toll on your mental health. The fear of not understanding when or where pests will attack next can be overwhelming. And the constant fear of being bitten or stung by a venomous pest can be paralyzing. It's critical to visit a mental health expert if you're having difficulties coping with the emotional trauma caused by pests. Also, let your friends and family know what you're going through. They can provide support and help you get through this difficult time. Many people in Gilbert, AZ, have to deal with pests at some point. But you don't have to face this problem alone. There are many resources available to help you deal with pests and the emotional damage they can cause.


As you can see, pests may cause a slew of health problems in your home. It is crucial to be mindful of these dangers and take the necessary precautions to protect yourself and your family. Please do not hesitate to contact a professional for assistance if you believe you have an infestation of pests in your house. We hope the details in this article have been helpful and informative. Thank you for reading.

partnered post • image of the beneficial orbweaver spider, which eats many garden pests, from Pixabay

5 Tips That Will Make Your House Purchase More Economical in 2022

Every family’s dream is to own a home and a place they can call their own. However, achieving this dream for some families becomes a great task due to the high payment rates. Below is a guide that offers various strategies one can employ to reduce the cost and pressure of purchasing a home and finally get a chance to make that dream a reality. 

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  1. Research for the affordable homes

Of course, the most straightforward way that makes buying a home more affordable is by looking for less expensive offers. Maybe you can’t afford to buy your dream home, at least not in the meantime, but you can afford to buy a home that will offer you that comfortability as you steadily work to earn your dream home. You may view houses here and select the best one that fits your needs.

There are several platforms such as that allow you to find an affordable home with just one tap. Another way is to look for homes that require slight renovations and remodeling. These homes come with a cheaper price tag. 

  1. Increase your credit score

You must clear your debts before applying for a mortgage to increase your credit score. When applying for a mortgage, lenders analyze the credit score to reach a verdict on whether you qualify for a loan agreement and the interest rate. Having a fine credit score enables you to get a lower interest rate, which will save you plenty of money over the lifespan of the loan.  

  1. Pay a higher deposit

If you want to lower your monthly mortgage plan, consider making a larger down payment. Making a larger deposit will make purchasing your home easier and more affordable. You will avoid settling for private mortgage insurance companies when applying for a mortgage not insured by the government. 

  1. Save up for the down payment

Saving up for the down payment is another step that brings you closer to owning a home. You might wonder how you will make this happen, but it is possible. If you give yourself a few months and adjust your budget, you can firmly build up the funds you need. This plan, however, requires you to start planning to purchase that home before you are even ready to get enough time to save. 

  1. Clear your debts

Lenders rely on the ratio measure between your total monthly debts and your monthly gross income. They prefer that your monthly debts range around 43% of your gross salary. However, the much lower the percentage, the better for you. 

The best way to go about this is to focus on the things that you need and cut on the wants. The things you need include car and mortgage payments. You can cut off on the wants and these include payments for items such as vacations, nice dinner dates, and high-end television.


When trying to get a loan to build your home, there are certain requirements that you will have to meet. You will also be required to provide certified estimates from contractors that display the total cost of the project.

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An Essential Guide to the Moving Process


So you’re thinking about moving and don’t know where to start? There are many steps involved in the process and many details to keep track of. Depending on your reasoning, moving can be stressful. If your reason is retirement, you want to make sure you choose the right location and house so you’re happy and comfortable in your home. If you have a dream location in mind, your search might be easier than most. If not, make sure to do your research into different areas and think long-term about accessibility of the houses you’re looking at.

Another common reason for a move is to live in a better climate and experience something new. This type of change can be great for a lot of people, but do keep in mind that no matter where you live, there will always be an adjustment period. Moving away from friends and family is less stressful today with the technology we have to stay in touch, but it’s still not the same as spending time in person with each other. As you get involved in your new community, it’s important to stay in touch with friends and family from back home.

If you’re moving because of a job change, there are a few things you should keep in mind before the move. First, consider the cost of living compared to your new salary. The difference in prices by location can be quite a shock in certain areas. The same size home you live in now could cost twice as much in a different location, and everyday items can be much more expensive. 

Prepare Your Finances

Perhaps the most important part of a move is the financial burden. You might have the perfect idea in your head about where you want to live and what kind of house you’d like to live in, but if the costs don’t line up with your budget, you’ll either be unable to move, or be in house debt longer than you expected. The last thing you want to do is settle or reach above your means, as that can end up being a costly mistake in the long run. 

Look into how much money you’ll be spending per month on your new mortgage if you were to follow through with the purchase. If you don’t have a lot of money on hand after the down payment, you might consider taking out a small loan to cover moving costs, especially if you’re traveling a long distance. It’s important to know the minimum credit score for a personal loan, as that’ll affect the amount of interest you’ll pay, and your ability to have a reasonable interest rate on your mortgage payments. If moving isn’t time sensitive, it may be best to spend the time to increase your credit score by making regular credit card payments on time. The difference in credit scores could save you thousands of dollars over the course of your mortgage if you qualify for a lower interest rate.

Timing is also an important consideration when selling your current house. The market could be a great time to sell, but the value of your home could also happen to be less than what you bought it for. If you absolutely have to move during a certain time frame, you may have to take the loss, but if you can choose a timeframe that allows you to at least break even on your home, it would be worth the wait.

If your plan is to rent an apartment instead, your financial situation will be much less complicated. You’ll likely still have moving expenses, but you can make the move without having to shell out a large down payment on a house. If all of your utilities are included in the rent, you can easily include this number in your overall budget. 

Truck Rental

Most people need to utilize a truck rental to move all of their belongings, especially with a family. Renting one yourself is an option, but you can also hire a moving company to handle everything for you. If you’re older or have physical issues, this is well worth it, and it’ll save you time and effort. There are also services that can ship vehicles. If your move is cross country, you probably don’t want to add thousands of miles to your vehicle, so this is a great way around that problem.

Choosing a Location

As previously mentioned, the reason for a move can vary from a job, retirement, climate, and more. Keep in mind your long-term and short-term goals, and make sure the move will not hinder your future plans. When scouting an area to live in, one of the things you can do is explore the area using Google Maps and Street View specifically. Keep in mind that the environment could be a few years old, so what you see may not be exactly as it is today. Even so, this is a great way to gauge what the area is like and what kinds of things there are to do. 

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Thad Zajdowicz

5 Ways to Enhance Your Backyard


Everyone deserves to have somewhere on their property to retreat to after a hard day at work. It might be an area you create just for you or an entire space planned out for entertaining family and friends. You might dream of having such a place in your backyard, but knowing how to make your dreams a reality is not always easy. If you need a helping hand enhancing your backyard, any of these ideas below might appeal. 

A Dining Area

Summer entertaining can often be made much easier when you have somewhere to enjoy a meal and a glass of wine outdoors with family and friends. If you’re unsure how to create such a space, landscaping experts at Neave Commercial Landscaping might be of assistance. 

Such an area can be established in a dedicated patio area, on a deck, or even in a pergola. You can also get creative with unique outdoor dining suites, outdoor kitchens, and fabulous lighting to tie the whole look together. 

A Water Feature

A water feature, such as a fountain or pond, can be an idyllic addition to any large or small yard that lacks a focal point. Water features attract wildlife, reduce noise pollution, and might even be soothing for those experiencing stress. Once a water feature takes pride of place in a yard, other elements like seating, lighting, and gardens can be developed around it. 


When you have a beautiful backyard, it’s only natural to want to spend as much time in it as possible. However, it can sometimes become quite uncomfortable once night falls when you’re unable to see the faces of your guests. 

As you’re developing your backyard for entertaining, think about the value high-quality lighting can bring. Tiki torches, fairy lights, energy-efficient spotlights, and walkway lighting might all be options you consider to provide ambiance and ample lighting for entertainment long into the night. 

A Fire Pit

When you invite family and friends over for an outdoor dinner in your backyard, the meal, discussions, and drinks can hold their attention for at least a few hours. However, once the dinner dishes are cleared away, it’s not always easy to know how to keep your guests entertained. 

A fire pit might be an ideal solution. When safely installed with seating, your guests can enjoy spending time warming their bodies around a crackling fire while possibly even satisfying their sweet tooth with smores or toasted marshmallows. 

A Hot Tub

Creating a backyard paradise can be challenging, especially when you’re unsure how to work with a blank canvas. However, if you were to install a hot tub, you might be surprised at how the rest of your backyard design can come together seamlessly. 

When you position a hot tub in a sheltered area near your home, you can pair it with pathways, forms of shelter, lighting, and seating that all work in harmony. Once the installation is complete, you have somewhere to entertain friends and relax after a hard day of work. 

Enhancing your backyard can take creativity and imagination. However, if you started with any of these features above and worked with landscaping experts, you might be surprised at how quickly you can end up with the outdoor paradise of your dreams.

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Randy Fath

5 Simple Ways To Maintain Your Air Conditioner


Air conditioners are expensive and can have longevity if you maintain them regularly. To avoid headaches or having to replace your air conditioner within a short time, you should regularly check your air conditioner.

We have compiled a list of the five best, simple, ways of maintaining your AC unit. Your air conditioner will give you years of trouble-free service if you follow these tips.

1. Clean or Replace the Air Filter Every Season

The air filter of the AC unit needs to be cleaned or replaced every change of season. The air filter can become dirty, and it will affect the airflow. Get some soapy water and a soft brush to clean your reusable air filter. If you don’t know how to remove the filter, contact AC repair service in Huntersville for a professional service.

If you don’t have a reusable air filter, you should replace it with a synthetic pleated air filter. It’s not recommended that you buy a cheap fiberglass filter as they don’t last long enough.

2. Swap Your Old Thermostat for a Programmable One

You can control the inside temperature much better and save a lot of money on electricity bills if you swap your old traditional thermostat for a programmable one. Programmable thermostats can automatically set the desired temperature in your home. These devices will also allow you to set your preferred temperature at different times of the day.

3. Check That the Air Conditioner is Clean and Clear of Debris

If you have an outside AC unit, it may become clogged with debris or covered in foliage. Make sure that your air conditioner has enough space to operate properly. Usually, it’s a good idea to clear a space approximately a foot from the unit.

You also need to keep the metal fins of the AC unit clean. To clean the metal fins, simply switch the power off and spray the AC unit’s metal fins off with a hosepipe. If the debris has become stuck over time, you can use a soft brush to clean it off.


4. Straighten Bent Metal Fins and Clean Coils

The metal fins on the outside of the AC unit may have become bent over time.  You can buy a fin comb and run it along the length of the metal fins, or you can also use a butter knife to straighten the metal fins, but be careful not to push the knife in too deep; you shouldn't push the knife into the coils more than one inch.

5. Professional Preventative Maintenance

It’s highly recommended that you book professional preventative maintenance of your AC unit at least once a year.. A professional service technician will be able to check for issues and fix them before it becomes too expensive to fix or lead to irreversible damage.

Final Thoughts

Air conditioners make our lives a lot more comfortable, but they are quite expensive. If you have an air conditioner or two in your home, follow these simple precautions to ensure that your AC unit provides you years of service with no unexpected breakdowns. These maintenance tips will also save you a lot of money in the long run.

partnered post • cc-licensed images from Unsplash