When spring arrives, we all find ourselves working in our yards and enhancing our landscaping. If you’re like most homeowners, you’d love to save a little cash while improving your yard. There are many ways to cut expenses when landscaping your home. We’ve provided a few ideas to get you started:
- Inspiration before Perspiration – You could hire a landscape designer to plot your lot, but if you are reading this, there is a good chance that you are ready to save some money as a do-it-yourselfer. There is a vast array of books, magazines, and websites to draw ideas from for your landscape design. Don’t forget to check out Pinterest and your friends’ and neighbors’ yards, too. Most people are proud of their yards and are willing to give you permission to snap a few photos. Some communities have house tours that include showing off the best gardens. Good ideas can also be found in public parks and botanical gardens.
- Test your Soil – Know what you are dealing by testing a few soil samples. This information will help to pinpoint the correct additives that are needed to improve your soil and correct the PH balance. Different plants have different needs. Consider choosing plants that are suitable for the soil that you already have and save on additives, all together.
- Go Native – Choose plans species that grow naturally in your region. This reduces the expense and worry of special treatment. It also insures a degree of success that will build confidence for the beginner. Once your plantings are established, you can always experiment by adding new and even exotic species gradually as you become an expert gardener.
- Divide and Conquer – Many plants, like iris, need to be dug up and divided every few years. Plan your landscape for expansion of these types of plants. Many perennials, like hostas and daisies, spread every year and can be divided and replanted. Plants that reseed themselves like pinks and bachelor’s buttons will self-propagate year after year even though they are annuals. Start small and give your plants room to expand year after year.
- Share – Once your plants are established and you have become competent at dividing and replanting, and collecting and saving seeds, it’s time to branch out. Trading with friends, relatives, neighbors and co-workers is a time honored tradition and an inexpensive way to establish new plants in your landscape. If you need more sources, check out garden clubs, community gardens and online want ads.
Our outside space can be utilized in so many ways, a playground, an entertainment center, a garden showcase. By keeping organized, one can reap the most benefits with less time on upkeep and more time for enjoyment. Here are some tips to help you keep your backyard organized:
- Clean – At the end of the season, gather items together by usage, like gardening tools, the kids’ toys, grilling equipment. Cover what needs to be protected from the elements and stow away the rest. Treat your clean garden tools and mower blades to a coat of oil or lubricant to keep them from rusting.
- Stow it – Designate one area of your garage or basement just for storing outdoor items. If you are maxing out your garage storage or just tired of toting items up and down the basement stairs, consider investing in a shed or purchasing a storage shed of shed blueprints and building your own. Organizing here is easily accomplished with shelves, pegboards, hooks, and storage containers. Use see through containers or labels to save time when locating and retrieving items.
- Down Under – Additional storage space may be found and used under porches and decks. You may want to install some lattice work to help keep it out of sight.
- Reel it in – To keep hoses from becoming unsightly, dangerous tangles invest in a hose reel. Not only does it keep it in its place, it helps drain the water out of it for winter storage.
- Pave it – If you have a beaten path in your lawn because it is traversed so often, like the route to the trash cans or pool, consider setting some pavers or stepping stones. It will save time and money from constant reseeding or sodding and as a bonus, keep you on track.
Are you planning on building a detached garage? Great! Detached garages have much to offer in terms of parking, storage, and other uses not to mention they will add value to your home. But before you begin the building process, there are a few things you should consider about the overall structure of your desired garage. The list below will help you with the planning process for your new garage.
- Consider zoning – Take some time to check with your building department regarding zoning laws in your area. Some cities, counties and communities have size limitations for accessory structures such as a detached garage. Additionally, there may be height restrictions or special requirements for the types of materials that can be used to finish the exterior of your garage (i.e. the exterior finish must match your existing home.) Finally, inquire about the location of the garage. Sometimes there are regulations regarding the placement of the garage in relation to the home and other structures on the property.
- Size – Consider the overall size of the garage you need. For a 1-car garage, you can estimate approximately 14’x20’. A two-car garage is approximately 20’x20’. These dimensions are just enough room for the cars. It you wish to add a workbench or storage closet or plan to have room for the lawn mower and family bikes too, you’ll need to plan for larger overall dimensions. Finally, you should consider the vehicles you own. If you drive an pickup truck or an oversized SUV, you will probably want a little extra “wiggle room” inside for your larger vehicles.
- Style – Take some time to consider the style of your home. You’ll want your new garage to blend with your home so choose a garage that features the same architectural styling as your home. Additionally, choose the same or similar exterior materials for your garage that were used to finish your home allowing it to look as if it was originally built with your house.
- Lot orientation – Think about your lot, the current structures on your property and how your driveway is positioned. Consider the orientation of your new garage on your lot. Will it fit beside or behind your home and still meet zoning requirements? Will you be able to access your garage from your current driveway or will you need to pour more concrete or extend the driveway?
With careful consideration of the overall structure of your new garage, it will be easy to choose a garage floor plan that will satisfy your needs, meet local requirements and compliment your home.
If you are looking for garage plans for your RV, we have an extensive collection ranging in size and style, with features to accommodate a broad range of needs. Below are just a few with variations for your consideration.
007G-0008 – Check it out! Basic but attractive, this RV garage plan houses one RV and has space at the back for a workbench and storage closet.
028G-0052 – But wait, won’t your other cars get jealous? Here’s a plan with space for two cars and a drive-thru RV bay. No need to back that baby up. Plus upstairs you’ll find a loft to suit your storage needs.
010G-0011 – Need more? Here is a gem. This RV garage plan has an attached two-car garage, workshop, storage space, half-bath, and a loft that is suitable for a future apartment. It even has a covered porch in front. Separate entrances present alternate choices for access.
Need a little or need a lot, our collection of RV Garage plans has something that will work for you.
Every region has its own special foods that you don’t find everywhere else in the nation. In my area, we have a coffee cake with its own legend of being created accidentally and of course a rivalry as to which bakery actually sold it first. These cookies are an adaptation of it. Even if you are not familiar with the rich buttery gooey goodness of that cake, give these cookies a taste, and meet me in St. Louis sometime to try their inspiration.
St. Louis Gooey Butter Cookies
½ cup butter
¼ tsp vanilla
1 pkg cream cheese(8 oz)
1 box butter recipe cake mix
Beat the butter, vanilla, egg and cream cheese. Once it is light and fluffy, pour in the dry cake mix and mix it well. Chill for thirty minutes. Roll into balls about teaspoon size and coat with powdered sugar. Place on lightly greased cookie sheets and bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.