How to Repair Concrete Spalling

Generally, concrete that flakes, breaks, or looses chunks is the result of a bad mixture during its original installation. This does not indicate that the whole area is liable to crumble, as often, concrete uses sand, cement mixture, gravel, and water, so clumps of sand that fail to break up or chunks of cement mixture that do not crumble well during the original mixing can provide for problems later.

If the concrete was poured with such mixture imperfections, extreme weather conditions and time can lead to eventual spalling. Heavy and constant rain, as well as snow, sleet, freezing temperatures, and very hot weather can all contribute to concrete flaking, breaking or cracking, and crumbling. Rusting metal under thin concrete can also cause it to break away.

Repair Concrete Spalling

Repair Concrete Spalling on Flat Ground

Repairing imperfections resulting from breaking concrete on flat ground is fairly easy, presuming that a large volume of replacement is not needed to fill gaps, cracks, dents, or small craters. If cubic yards are needed, calling a concrete truck may be the right move, as bags of cement mix get expensive when they pile up.

To repair basic concrete deterioration, the following items are needed:

  • Bag(s) cement mix
  • Sand
  • Gravel
  • Water
  • Wheel barrow or tub for mixing
  • Shovel
  • Trowel

To mix very small amounts of concrete for uses such as repairing cracks, only cement mix and water are needed. Using the trowel, stir water into the cement powder by folding the powder over as water is being lightly poured in. A thick, wet, but not runny consistency makes for the best cement. To repair cracks or small areas of loose or missing concrete, first remove any crumbled residue or dust by scraping out the area or blowing into it, with safety glasses on. Then, dab some freshly and thoroughly mixed concrete into the spaces, so that it is flush with the top of the original area, and allow it to dry.

If mixing larger amounts to repair larger areas of concrete spalling, use more powder, a little sand, and a little bit of gravel, which serve as aggregates to help hold the mixture together. Turn all of this over and stir it around several times using a shovel, while pouring in water, until a thick, wet consistency that looks like fresh ice cream results. Pour or scoop this into large cracks or holes after removing crumbled residue, and allow it to dry, flush with the top of the surrounding area.

If you instead need to repair mortar, check out this post to learn how to repair mortar joints

How to Repair Concrete Spalling on Vertical Structure

Repairing imperfections on walls or ledges can be slightly trickier. The same materials are needed to make the mixture, and some plywood can also come in handy to keep concrete from peeling out of the pockets in the vertical sides in which it will be placed. Repairing cracks, however, is much easier than fixing up large holes in walls, and wood is usually not needed for this. To fix up cracks or small dents, mix the concrete, and then, holding the trowel with concrete on its bottom tip, scrape the mix into the creases. If it has been mixed well, it should set well; apply it liberally, and later, after it has hardened some, the excess may be easily scraped away with the trowel to make it flush.

To fix larger holes or dents in vertical structure, several mixings may be necessary. Plug the hole insofar as possible with the first batch, and then, if it attempts to peel out, place plywood firmly over the hole until it sets, with something leaning on the wood to keep it firm against the wall. Then, repeat with additional applications until the concrete spalling is fixed. Filling the hole is key here: as long as all of the empty space is filled with fresh concrete, it will turn out fine, as excess can be removed hours after the concrete has begun to set, to make the fresh part of the wall flush with the original structure.

Learning how to fix up cracks, dents, holes, and crumbling areas in concrete structure does not take too much time or money, and knowing how to repair such imperfections is an essential part of one’s capability to perform basic household maintenance.

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Landscaping a Yard Quickly

5 fast growing shrubs

Fast growing shrubs can mature into hedges at a quicker rate or fill out empty spots in the landscape with ease. Planting shrubs that grow fast can give you results in less time than normal or slow growing shrubs. These shrubs are fast growing and can be used in most any application.

5 Fast Growing Shrubs

Mahoe Shrub




The mahoe, Hibiscus tiliaceus, is from the mallow family. It is a fast growing shrub that is evergreen and gets to 25 feet tall. Heart-shaped leaves are leathery and 4 to 8 inches long. Flowers are yellow in the day and then red at night. Grow this plant in full sun with a moist soil. Propagate by layering, by cuttings, or by seed in USDA hardiness zones of 10 to 11.



Savannah Holly



Savannah Holly

The Savannah holly, Ilex x attenuata ‘Savannah’, is from the holly family. It is fast growing shrubby tree that is evergreen and a bird attractor. It will get 20 feet high with light gray bark and bright red berries. Foliage is glossy leaves like most holly plants. Grow this plant in bright sun or medium shade in well drained moist soil. Propagate via cuttings in USDA hardiness zones of 7 to 9.



Photinea x fraseri
Red Top Shrub



Red Top

The red top, Photinea x fraseri, is from the rose family. It is a fast growing shrub that is evergreen. Leaves are glossy and red when new maturing to green, 3 to 5 ½ inches long. Flowers are white and 5 to 7 inches wide. Grow this plant in sun to partial shade in any drained soil. Propagate via cuttings and grow it in USDA hardiness zones of 7 to 9.



Schinus terebinthifolius
Brazilian Pepper

Brazilian Pepper

The Brazilian pepper, Schinus terebinthifolius, is from the cashew family. It is a fast growing evergreen shrubby tree that is attractive to birds. The plant can get 30 feet high. Leaves are feathery and 5 to 8 inches long. Flowers are white and on clusters 6 inches long in summer and fall. Winter shows red berries that birds adore. Grow this plant in full sun in moist soil. Propagate via seed and root sprouts. It is grown in USDA hardiness zones of 9 to 11.


Spiraea cantoniensis
Reeves’ Spirea



Reeves’ Spirea

The Reeves’ spirea, Spiraea cantoniensis, is from the rose family. It is a fast growing shrub that is drought tolerant. It will get 3 to 6 feet high and 6 to 8 feet wide. Leaves are dark green on the top and bluish green on bottoms. Flowers are small and white, looking like little roses 2 inches wide. Grow this plant in full sun or partial shade. Propagate via cuttings or seed in USDA hardiness zones of 5 to 9.

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Tips for Creating a Gardening Wall in Your Garage

If you are planning on having a garden during the spring and summer months, why not use your garage as a storage location. Many use their garages to store lots of junk that they no longer need to use. Instead of letting items pile up, why not create a gardening wall in your garage. This is really very simple to do.

Organize All Your Garden Tools

The first things you will want to do are clean out the garage and organize all of the items. The best way to do this is to take all of the items out of the garage and then place them back into the garage in an organized fashion. Set up one wall to hold all of your gardening supplies. I would recommend that you visit your local Home Depot Store, and purchase some hooks. Hang up a nice amount of hooks so that you can store your supplies this way. This will give you more floor space for the larger items such as the planting soil, and additional supplies.


Put Your Garden Design Drawing on the Wall

Another item which you can add to your gardening wall is a diagram or picture of what you want your garden to look like. Some usually find pictures inside of a magazine and will use this as your guide. You can also draw your own sketch and use this. Having a drawing or general idea of how you want your garden to look is certainly a good idea. Hang this up in the center of your gardening wall. It can be the main focal point of the wall.

Check out 10 Steps to a dream garden if you’re interested in learning more about garden design drawings.

Add A Work Surface

A small desk for the area near your gardening wall is also a good idea. If you don’t like the idea of a table which will take up more space, then why not instead put up a simple shelf. You can purchase a long shelf that will run the entire length of the gardening wall. Be sure that when you install it, you make sure that it is secure. This is the perfect area to place all of your seeds, and your pots as well. Basically anything that can not be hung up should be placed on this shelf. I would recommend that you first draw a sketch of how you want your garden wall to be. This will help to keep everything neat and organized when you are ready to get started. Remember that you don’t want to go overboard but instead do your best to keep things as simple as possible.


A List of Companion Plants for Your Garden

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Ornamental crabapple trees make top-notch landscape trees

white flowered crabapple trees

It is important to remember that no single crabapple species or cultivar is suited for all sites and designs despite current crabapple breeding and selection research programs. The eighteen cultivars in the UMass Memorial Garden consistently grow well and appealingly here in western MA.

In the orchard setting, cultivation practices are rigorously kept up, and these are simple enough for you to follow as well for healthy crabapple trees.

3 simple tricks to healthy crabapple trees

  • Trickle irrigation

delivers water to trees in the crabapple planting.

If you want to learn more about watering your landscape, check out this post.
  • Environmentally friendly pest-management spray schedules

for both diseases and pests (Japanese beetles and aphids) are maintained.

Want to learn more about pesticides and their proper usage, check out this post.
  • Regular pruning

removes unwanted branches and sucker growth from seed-grown rootstock to keep the trees beautiful, healthy, and vigorous.

Check out our Complete Guide to Pruning and Cutting to learn more about properly pruning your crabapple tree


There are 18 cultivars (cultivated varieties) in the Tribute Garden at UMass’ Cold Spring Orchard for Research and Education. Each of these possesses special assets that show off nicely in autumn and winter. Here is a selection of a half-dozen of my favorites in this garden, which highlight these autumn features:

  • ‘Red Baron’ (‘Red Barron’) is about 20′ by 12′ (slightly columnar) in its prime, but is, when mature, as wide as tall. This is one of the best crabapples for fall leaf color. The fruit is glossy dark red and about ½” across. It is slightly susceptible to rust and fireblight; vulnerability to scab is uncertain.
  • ‘Snowdrift’, a vigorous grower, has a heavily textured rounded pattern with glossy, dark green foliage. It stands, at maturity, roughly 15′ to 20′ by 15′ to 20′. In addition, this crabapple needs little pruning to reach this shape and maintain it. The fruit is orange-red and about 3/8″ in diameter. Unfortunately, this striking tree shows a slight to moderate weakness to scab, and most tests show severe susceptibility to fireblight.
  • ‘Prairiefire’ is upright when young with an irregular, untidy, and open pattern. Its pattern becomes rounded as the tree ages; mature size is about 20′ high and 20′ wide. Tree bark is a stunning glossy dark red-brown with many prominent lenticels. Fruit is a deep red-purple, 3/8 to ½” in diameter, somewhat cone-shaped, and persistent. Birds do not seem to like them.
  • ‘Sargent’ is named for Charles Sprague Sargent (1841-1927), the first director of the Arnold Arboretum (Boston, MA) and a well-known plant explorer. This crabapple is a good choice for modern landscapes on small pieces of land because of its mounded shape, dense branching, low height of 6 to 8′ and a spread one-half to twice its height. Fruit is bright red, about 1/3 to ½” in diameter, and a favorite of birds. This cultivar apparently fares well in southern growing zones down to 7b (temperatures usually do not fall below 0°F).
  • ‘Donald Wyman’, named after the late Dr. Donald Wyman, Horticulturist at the Arnold Arboretum, is essentially one of the best ornamental crabapples. Here is another cultivar that grows well in the southern U.S. down to growing zone 7. Aside from a slight susceptibility to scab and powdery mildew, it is problem free. Fruit is glossy bright red, ½” in diameter and persistent into the winter. The biggest problem is having space into which to plant this tree because it possesses a large spreading form – 20′ high and 25′ wide at maturity.
  • ‘Louisa’ was selected and introduced by Polly Hill, a Martha’s Vineyard (MA) plants-woman, and named for her daughter. This crabapple is a short – 15′ tall and 15′ wide – weeper. It is susceptible to scab, but fares excellently against other pests and insects. The fruit persists into the winter and is yellow-colored shading to amber with a slight rose blush. Magnificent!

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Should You Get a Dishwasher: Remodeling Your Kitchen

Have your recently made the decision to remodel your kitchen?  If so, do you already have a remodeling plan developed? If not, you may want to think about purchasing yourself a dishwasher, if you don’t already have one.  Even if you all of your kitchen remodeling has been planned and you would like a dishwasher, you still should be able to have one.  That is why you may serious want to think about purchasing yourself a dishwasher before you proceed any further.

One of the many questions asked about dishwashers and remodeling is how it is possible, especially after a remodeling plan has already been developed.  In some cases it will be a little bit more difficult than others, but in other cases it will be relatively easy, especially if you plan on redoing your kitchen cabinets.  When it comes to installing a dishwasher in the kitchen, a large number of homeowners just eliminate one of their kitchen cabinets or cupboards. This will allow enough room for most standard size dishwashers.  Therefore, even if you have planned your remodeling, right down to the last kitchen floor tile, you can still have that dishwasher you have already dreamed of, if you still want it.

In case you aren’t already aware; there are a number of benefits to owning a dishwasher.  One of those benefits is saved time, especially if you have a large family.  The average family goes through at least three different sets of dishes each day; one for breakfast, one for lunch, and one for dinner. Whether you just dislike washing dishes by hand or you feel as if your kitchen sink never stops piling up, you could benefit from the use of a kitchen dishwasher.  What is nice about dishwashers is that you just load them, turn them on, and return back to whatever you were doing before.  In most cases, you will find that it takes less than five minutes to get a dishwasher loaded and running.

In addition to the above mentioned dishwasher benefits, you may also like that dishwashers come in a number of different styles.  While most dishwashers are the same size, the designs are what set most apart.  It is not uncommon to find traditional white dishwashers, black dishwashers, black and white dishwashers, silver, as well as stainless steel dishwashers. Essentially, this means that you could easily find a dishwasher to match the rest of your kitchen, even after the remodeling has occurred.  In fact, purchasing a dishwasher when you purchase your other kitchen remodeling supplies is a great way to ensure that everything matches.

The price is something else that you may be pleased about.  Even if you are remodeling your kitchen on a budget, you should be able to find a dishwasher that fits into your budget. Standard model dishwashers, which typically come in white or black, sell for as low as $150.  If you are not necessarily shopping on a budget, but rather shopping for the dishwasher that would best match the rest of your kitchen, you should expect to pay more.  High end dishwashers often sell for $1,000.

Perhaps, it would be easiest to add a dishwasher to your kitchen remodeling plan if you are doing your own repairs.  Many homeowners, with an instruction manual, are more than able to successfully install their dishwashers.  However, even if you are using a professional to remodel your kitchen, they could still easily add a dishwasher into their list of things to do. In most cases, you will find that the cost of remodeling is the same, but it isn’t guaranteed; you may have to pay a small additional fee.  Whether or not these fees exist depends on who you are working with.

Although there are a number of benefits to working a new dishwasher into your kitchen remodeling plans, you may still be unsure as to whether or not you really want to.  If this is the case, it may be a good idea to examine dishwashers online or in one of your local home improvement stores. There is a good chance that once you see all of the dishwashers that are available, preferably one that would look great in your kitchen after it was remodeled, it may be easier to make a decision.

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Make a Tin Mini Chalk Board

Far too many of the chalkboards and memo boards made for kitchen message centers and by home phones are so dreadfully boring. Fortunately, this tin mini chalk board is super simple to create and looks so adorable when finished! Make one or several for your own home, or give as a perfect housewarming gift for a friend or family member.

To make a mini tin chalk board, you will need:

  • One eight inch tin scroll tile
  • Masking tape
  • Krylon Premium Metallic Paint in Original Chrome
  • Krylon Chalkboard Paint in Black
  • A piece of chalk
  • Craft knife
  • Magnet
  • Newspaper or drop cloth

Steps to making a chalk board

Cover your entire workspace with newspaper or a drop cloth to prevent overspray. When using spray paints, it is always important that your work area is well ventilated. Usually, this means an outdoor area. Also, use extreme caution when working with sharp items like craft tin or a craft knife which can cause a serious cut or other injury.

Lay the eight inch tin scroll tile flat on your workspace. With a craft knife, cut enough masking tape to completely cover the center of the tin tile. Adhere the tape to the tile, smoothing with your fingers to prevent any bubbles.

Spray the tin tile with an even coat of Krylon Premium Metallic Paint in Original Chrome. (This causes a shinier finish than just leaving the galvanized tin alone.) Let the paint dry for a half an hour before adding a second coat. Dry completely.

If you are in need of some other budget friendly decorating ideas, check this post

Remove the masking tape. Apply another set of masking tape to the entire scroll area on the tin tile. It is extremely important that the tape is not bubbling to prevent any overspray from the next step in our project.

Apply one thick coat of Krylon Chalkboard Paint in Black to the center of the scroll tin tile. Let the chalkboard paint dry for a half an hour. Add a second coat. Let this layer dry for a half an hour. Add a third coat, and again dry for half an hour. Continue this process until you have built up enough chalkboard paint that the color is a rich black and a magnet easily sticks to the board. (The magnet should not slide or move when placed on the board with a piece of note paper.) Also test with a piece of chalk.

Remove all masking tape. Hang the chalkboard as desired, or place in a decorative plate display stand for an easy countertop viewing.

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Hardy Orchids Grow Well Planted in a Perennial Shade Garden

Bletilla to Spiranthes, hardy orchids grow well in woodland gardens. Shade-loving perennials like hosta, foamflower and Solomon’s seal are good mixers.

Gardeners, looking for a challenging plant, will find it among some orchids tough enough for outdoors. Able to thrive in environments where cold winters are the norm, gardeners who grow indoor orchids will easily recognize the beloved flower forms. Gardeners can turn to Bletilla, Calanthe, Cypripedium or Spiranthes for inspiration, both in species plants and hybrid cultivars.

Hardy orchids are not for the faint-of-heart gardener but those who love plants have found success growing them as natives among a wildflower planting, in a shaded garden or as a cherished, and protected, specimen plant. Gardeners will want a well thought-out site, taking into account the expense, when choosing where to plant these woodland perennials.

Spring Blooming Ground Orchid Bletilla

Bletilla striata, called the Chinese ground orchid, is hardy in zones 5 – 9. As its name implies, Bletialla is a native of China and Japan. Issuing up from the center of the plant, the long leafless stems are lined with quintessential orchid blooms flourishing in spring. The foliage in mass, which reaches approximately 12” – 24” tall and wide, looks like swords of grass but more papery than the leaves of bearded iris, for instance.


Although Bletilla striata may tolerate a full sun location in a northern garden, a partly shaded planting bed is best for plants to thrive long term. The soil should be well amended with organic matter if a humus texture is missing. Mulch is wise to use for protection against drought conditions in summer and freezing temperatures in winter.

Old and new Bletilla striata cultivars include:

  • B. ‘Albostriata’ has a strip of white edging the margins along the leaves. The flowers are the usual purple color.
  • B. ‘Alba’ has white flowers.
  • B. ‘Big Bob’ has lavender sepals and petals but the lip has a hint of white.

Bletilla striata grows from pseudobulbs. Like other hardy orchids, more plants can be had by digging up and dividing the plants or, in this case, dividing the bulbs. Overwintering and growing the bulbs indoors as a houseplant is another way of saving these orchids until the next spring.

Calanthe Hardy Yellow Orchid

Calanthe is another hardy orchid genus from which to choose. Calanthe discolor and Calanthe sieboldii, a hardy yellow orchid, is limited to zones 7 – 9. Gardeners who wish to push the boundaries of hardiness will consider late spring frosts their enemy; something to guard against.

Calanthe orchids have very vertical racemes, up to 15” tall, on a plant whose leaves are more oblong than narrow. This hardy orchid likes shade in a wooded environment and makes good companion plantings for blue hosta and Solomon’s seal perennials.

Cypripedium Called Lady’s Slipper Orchid

Cypripedium, called lady’s slipper, is an orchid with a hardiness range of 2 – 7. Cypripedium has species native to southern areas of eastern North America, making it ideal for woodland wildflower gardens. This orchid plant benefits from leaf mold mulch under a canopy of trees and prefers acidic soils.

The Cypripedium plant grows up to 24” tall with leaves that have an accordion appearance resulting from the vertical veining. Each spring flower is made up of three petals and an exaggerated lip called the pouch, also an iconic feature of many orchid species.

Fall Blooming Spiranthes Chadds Ford

Spiranthes cernua is a fall blooming hardy orchid, which is more reliable for northern gardeners. The native orchid ranges from Canada to the southeastern United States, from zones 4 – 8. The common name is ladies tresses and has a fragrant flower.

Spiranthes cernua f. odoratea ‘Chadds Ford’ was rescued in the 1960s in Bear, Delaware, that since has been bred into cultivation. The hardiness range, distinctive flower spike and native plant distinction makes Spiranthes cernua f. oderatea ‘Chadds Ford’ a good choice for native gardeners looking for autumn flowers.

Protecting Wild and Hybrid Orchids

Protecting the hardy orchid should be part of a maintenance care plan, first consider the site of the planting bed. Culprits that threaten orchids outside can come in the form of two-legged Homo-sapiens or four-legged mammals, as well as insects who want to feast on the succulent plant.

Hardy orchids can be sited as a specimen plant in a private garden to keep it safe from theft or as a collection surrounded by less favored plants to deter wildlife. Slugs like orchids outside, as well as hostas, so use strategies to dissuade slugs from chewing up the foliage.

Although there is an increase in hybridizing orchids, the cost of a hardy orchid is still prohibitive for many. Plant lovers know it is no less dangerous for wild orchids threatened in the native plant world so gardeners must recognize they are the orchids’ first line of defense, by not creating a market for species harvested from the wild.

Shady Loving Perennial Plants with Outdoor Orchids

Gardeners can successfully grow orchids outdoors as long as the correct habitat is provided. Whether a species or hybrid plant, the hardy orchid makes an excellent singular choice for the north side of a building or several planted among like-minded shade-loving plants.

Tiarella, Heuchera and Lilium Martagon perennials and woodland ferns are more plants that, combined with hardy orchids, will grow to make an interesting landscape.

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Power Tools Everyone should own

power tools everyone should own

Owning your own power tools is much easier than having to rent them or buy them when a household project comes up. It is much cheaper than hiring someone else to do the work if you are able to do it yourself. Since power tools aren’t cheap, you can reduce the expense and still accomplish most day to day projects at home with these tools. They are versatile and can be used for a variety of jobs.

The Power Tools Everyone should own

A power screwdriver may not seem essential, but for those of us who have fought endlessly to get a screw in our out of somewhere in the home, we know all too well what a luxury they can be. It just a few seconds you can get that screw out of the wall or put in anchor screws to hang up picture frames. I keep my power screwdriver fully charged and ready to go. It is the power tool I reach for the most. Since they come with a tip that can be changed from Phillips to a flat head, there is no need to have any other screwdriver around.


A power drill, either with a cord or without, is very versatile. The biggest investment here is going to be on the various drill bits that you will need. The size and the type of drill bits you need depend on the project. You can purchase them individually, but you will get a better deal if you purchase an assortment that are sold in a package. Just make sure you only use the right drill bit for the type of drill you have and for the type of material you are drilling into.


Power saws are the most commonly used of the power tools out there. You should purchase four different types of saws, and you will be set to take on most any project.

  • A miter saw is fairly inexpensive. It works well for cutting angles on the edges of wood and other materials. This is great for getting the perfect fit on the corners on the first try.
  • A jigsaw is great for placing circular cuts and square cut outs. One of the most common uses for a jigsaw is to cut out the power outlet when installing paneling. Most jigsaws are adaptable for a variety of saw blades and are easy to handle.
  • A circular saw is great for a variety of projects. You need to be very careful with a circular saw as many power tool injuries occur with this particular power tool. Always use a circular saw with a safety guard attached to it. Circular saws cut through most any kind of materials if you use the right saw blades. They can also cut through thick materials. You will also get a very smooth cut with a circular saw.
  • A table saw is usually an expensive power tool to invest in, but it will be very handy and last for years. It will only take a couple of ties using it to be glad you purchased one. There are many things you can do with a table saw. It is very helpful when you are cutting long pieces of material or heavy materials because you have a table to balance the weight on. It is also great for join pieces and getting a very straight cut.

These next two items are debated as to their necessity when it comes to power tools. It really depends on your preference and the types of projects you will be doing.


A sander that works with or against the grain is something I recommend if you will be doing any type of sanding. This can be on a vehicle, furniture, or a number of other projects. Having a power sander is going to save you hours or even days of sanding by hand, depending on the size of the project. You will also get a nicer finish. Make sure you use the right grade of sandpaper. Start of with a very coarse grade and finish up with a finer grade for a very smooth finish.


A router is a great tool for detail work. If you will be engraving or doing finishing work, this is the tool you don’t want to be without. There are so many accessories for routers that you can be very creative with your designing.


While the power tools you purchase are completely up to you, this is a list of the ones that you should have as well as a brief explanation why. With these tools on hand, you will be ready to tackle a variety of household projects that are sure to materialize over the course of time.

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4 Alternative Lawn Options

An alternative lawn is a great low maintenance option

Turf lawns are a tradition that extends back to the Middle Ages in Europe where such a lawn was a status symbol. A properly kept lawn required extensive watering and the care of many hands. Today a turf lawn is still a status symbol that many homeowners aspire to, and it still requires work, water, and money.

In the days of rising energy and water prices and economic depression, many homeowners are seeking alternatives to the eternally thirsty grass lawn.

4 Alternative Lawn Options

A low maintanence lawn option with flowers
Clover Lawn

Consider Clover Lawns

One low maintenance lawn alternative is the clover lawn. White clover, also known as Dutch clover or Dutch white clover, grows to two to eight inches in height, reducing the need for mowing. It is drought resistant with a deep root system and stays green even in the heat of summer with minimal water. Almost any soil type is suitable for growing clover and as a nitrogen fixing plant, it improves the soil as it grows rather than needing fertilization. Since clover chokes out most weeds, no herbicides are necessary. Clover won’t stand up to heavy foot traffic as well as a traditional turf lawn, but it will feel luxurious under bare feet, and if mixed with grass or another grass alternative it will resist heavier traffic. However, it does resist those unsightly brown spots common in yards with dogs.

sedge is a native grass alternative for low maintanence lawn
Sedge Lawn

Sedge: A Native Alternative Grass

Another alternative is sedge. With over 2,000 varieties of this grass-like plant, there is one for every occasion. The types that most accurately mimic a turf lawn come in varieties suited for every environment found in the continental United States. Sedges grow well in sun and shade and rapidly fill in their allotted space. They tolerate light to moderate foot traffic, are soft underfoot, and only need mowing two or three times a year. Expensive herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers are unnecessary as sedges are hardy plants that will quickly choke out the competition.



Want to learn more about low maintenance landscaping? Check out our Guide

An alternative lawn option is irish moss, no mowing required
Irish Moss



Irish Moss for Wet Environments

In moister climates, Irish moss provides a soft, weed resistant ground cover. This moss-like plant has long been used as an accent between pavers and in Japanese-inspired gardens, but in the right environment it makes an excellent lawn. A delight underfoot, Irish moss is a rich green that sprouts white, star-shaped flowers from time to time. At one to two inches tall it never needs mowing.


for a low traffic area, consider an herbal lawn
Corsican mint

Herbal Lawns

For light traffic lawns, there are a number of herbs that will create a sensory delight when walked on. Creeping thyme, Corsican mint, chamomile, and oregano, to name a few, are all low, creeping plants that will provide a good ground cover. Rather than being mowed, these lawns can be harvested for seasoning, teas, and sachets. However, herbs are less drought tolerant, requiring regular watering to maintain plant health.

Initial expense of these alternatives includes purchase of plants and the work to remove the lawn and install the new plants; however, once they have grown in they can be savored for many years with a minimum of effort and expense.

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Tight Budget Home Repairs

You may be under a lot of stress to find the money needed to repair your home. Right now a lot of people are struggling with a hurt economy, and are looking for ways that they can save money. The problem for those who own homes is that they don’t want them to fall apart. Homes need regular maintenance and it is important that this is done on a yearly basis. The following are some tips for tight budget home repairs.

There are several ways that you can get budget home repairs

The first thing you will need to do is survey your home. Walk around and take a look at the items that you think are the most important that need maintenance. Once you have your list of major repairs, you can make a list of minor repairs that may be needed around the house. The minor repairs are usually things that you can do yourself. For example if it is time for certain rooms inside to be fixed, and outside the home to be painted, you can focus on those. Any project that you can do yourself should be put as a family project. After you have both of your lists you can start figuring out how much money you will need in order to repair each item.

This would be a good time to visit your local home improvement store. You can price certain items that you need for each project.

For your larger projects you will need to find out how much it will cost to pay someone to get it done. Since the economy is struggling right now many people are just happy to get work. You will be able to negotiate a pretty reasonable price with most contractors both inside and outside of your home. Be sure to take the time to check the references of anyone doing contract work on your home. Remember that going with the cheaper option is not always the best idea.

If you realize that the repairs your home needs are a bit out of your reach you can save for the repairs. One thing you don’t want to do is finance any home repairs. There is a way to get the job done, just by waiting a few extra weeks to save up the money. You may also be able to learn a new skill and make the repairs yourself. The key is to explore all of the options that you have. Don’t just assume that finance your repairs is the only way to go.

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