Our homes are our castles, and creating a space where we are happy and comfortable is so important. Homemaking and Horticulture features tips and advice about homes, gardens, entertaining, family life and much more. My name is Stacey, I'm a passionate blogger from the West Midlands in the UK and love everything home related.
Having a carpet laid within the home brings a comfortable and warm feel from floor to feet. Looking after your floor can be relatively easy and can bring benefits like increasing the value of the property to live in their dream home, whatever your intentions, here are a few ways you can maintain your carpets in your home.Regular cleaning helps to extend the life expectancy of your carpet and within home improvement, will improve the look of the room, but stretched, torn or faded and damaged carpets may mean it needs to be replaced. Having professional maintenance can dramatically extend the life of your carpet, but every carpet that sees regular use will have to be replaced one day or another. Some of the signs can be obvious, but there are others that may go unnoticed or the issues are subtle.
So, What Are Average Carpet Cleaning Prices?
The cost falls somewhere between £25 and £75 per room for carpet cleaning services or an average of £51 per room. With larger whole house cleaning projects costing up to and over £550 a year. To determine when you should replace your own carpet, read the following top signs that reveal irreversible wear and tear and help in making that decision.
Stains In Carpet
Sometimes covering up carpet stains with furniture and rugs when carpet cleaning fails to remove them is a quick fix. However, if your house is starting to become a minefield, it is time for a carpet replacement. Most standard priced carpets come with a certain level of stain-resistant finishing, but over time, the treatment may fade and eventually leave the carpet unprotected. Businesses like Carpet One can help homemakers decide what their next best choice is for the ultimate floor.
Wear And Tear
It is important to regularly vacuum your carpet thoroughly, particularly in the areas that receive a lot of traffic. This is usually to prolong the life of and enhance the appearance of your carpet. However, incorrectly vacuuming can sometimes damage your carpet and pull the threads out leaving gaps and holes in your floor. Sometimes this can be fixed if you have the right tools and skills. Polyester carpet fibres are not the toughest and are subject to matting and losing their form. Nylon carpets, however, are typically more resilient than polyester and responds well to carpet vacuuming, even when pinned down.
The Condition Of The Carpet Padding Or Underlay
Carpet padding is like the soft, spongy pillow under the case. The carpet is nothing but a base layer of fabric and the underlay is the underlay padding. Its purpose is to help support the carpet, working as a foundation and making it comfortable to walk, crawl and lay down upon. Some additional features that come with it, is that it buffers sounds and keeps a room quieter and may even improve insulation. Unfortunately, what damage a carpet takes, the padding also takes it, like a carpet absorbing many spills, so will the padding. The signs of old padding include unevenness, hard spots, wrinkles in the carpet and a crinkling sound when someone walks over the area.
Summer is just around the corner, but if last year is anything to go by then, it's going to be a hot one. While your garden can often thrive with a bit of sunlight and warmth, too much and it can be more harmful than good. So you need to be prepared just in case this happens again this year. Several easy tricks can keep your plants cool, productive, and also lessen your water usage. Gardening is fun and a great hobby but it isn't always easy when you have to rely on things like the weather, and hot weather can be especially tough on your plants. However, with some of these tips, you can still have a healthy and productive garden.
There's no way of truly knowing what the summer will bring and how the weather's going to be, so you need to be prepared for any weather, and it could be windy. Wind gushing through your garden can not only damage plants but can also cause soil moisture to evaporate. Install or grow windbreaks in your garden, they don't need to be solid and stop all the wind, and they can be quickly made from pallet fencing. You can even have living windbreaks, by getting some tall annual crops or shorter perennials that won't shade your garden too much like berry bushes or dwarf fruit trees depending on how much space you have. Place these perpendicular to the direction of the wind.
Invest In Or Make Some Shade Cloth
Shade cloth can be beneficial for keeping those cool-season plants like peas and spinach producing longer. It can also be used over new plants that are adjusting to conditions or seeds like lettuce that prefer cold soils to grow.
Your watering schedule will be unique to your garden, but you should make sure that you keep the soil moist. Waiting for your plants to start wilting before you realize it's time to water can harm their health and will reduce what your plants harvest. As well as staying on top of watering your plants consistently, you should also try to water at the best times of the day which are usually early morning and evening. Less water evaporates at this time because it has a chance to soak into the soil before the sun comes out.
Growing plants like watermelons, cucumbers, gourds, squashes, sweet potatoes under taller plants like corn, sorghum, and sunflowers can help you make the most of your space and keep the soil fresh. The vining plants (watermelons, cucumbers, etc.) will shade the soil, block weeds, and hold moisture once they're mature enough.
Build A Shade Trellis
Create a trellis for climbing plants like cucumbers or runner beans and then plant cold weather loving crops in the shade that they create. Trellises like these are often set up, so they're slanted to provide maximum shade.
Use Intensive Planting
Intensive planting is where plants are grown in beds, and not rows; they are often planted hexagonally. Planting in this way maximizes space. Mature plants may touch the leaves, but there will still be plenty of room for their roots. These plants then shade the soil reducing moisture loss and blocking weeds. Planting intensively works best with healthy soils because you'll need it for growing more plants with less space.
Transplant At The Right Times
If you are transplanting crops into your garden then it is best to avoid the heat and sun as much as possible, for your sake and for the plants. Transplant either in the early morning, late evening or on a cloudy day for the best results as the plants will suffer less transplant shock if you do it that way.
Again, if you're transplanting, dig your hole a little bit deeper and create a basin around each plant which extends outwards a little beyond the edges of its crown. This will funnel rainwater towards the roots. If you are planting seeds dig your trench slightly more in-depth than you would normally so that Rainwater can run down into it even after you've covered your seeds. If you're feeling productive, install some rain barrels in your gutters too!
Choose Crops Wisely
The summer is a good time to start direct seeding crops that can handle the heat. Go for plants like watermelon, okra, roselle, lima beans, and southern peas.
Manage Your Soil And Crops Well
Whenever you are gardening, you should always be thinking about keeping your soil and your plants healthy. Doing maintenance work like crop rotation, cover cropping, and applying compost will keep your soil and plants healthy. Well-nourished, disease-free plants will tolerate the stress of hot weather much better than those already struggling.
Invest In A Patio Roof
If you don't already have a patio, then they are great for the garden and especially in the summer. There are also many benefits of getting a patio roof as it helps to extend your living space or can create an additional space altogether. In the winter you can close it off to reduce the cold getting into the home, and in the summer you can open up this space to help reduce solar gain in the house. If you have or are thinking of having sliding glass doors or bi-folding doors installed, then you will need to think about how to prevent solar gain in your home. Solar gain happens once the sun directly hits the glass doors on your home, making the temperature in your home to rise. Having a patio roof can prevent this by allowing you to tilt the slats or keep them wholly shut, reflecting the sunlight away from your home.
Investing in your garden can really change your summer, make it somewhere nice for you and the whole family to enjoy being in. It doesn’t have to be expensive but if you do need to get yourself a fast loan so you can get it all done before the summer begins, you won’t regret it.
Hygge is one of those trends that hasn’t gone away, and that is a really good thing. The Danish concept of living a happy life through the things we already have and comfort is a key lifestyle that so many of us are trying to grasp. We all work hard, we all try to make a happy home, and often the ambiance and the atmosphere can be a key influence to getting that happier balance. Hygge isn’t just for winter, as it is normally associated with, so here are some of the ways that you can incorporate the concept all year round.
Who doesn’t love a candle? But while they can aesthetically pleasing, smell amazing, they can also create such a lovely atmosphere. Especially at night, when all you want to do is relax, lighting a candle can be the ideal way to help you set the scene. The flickering low light, the calming scent that you may get from it, they both add to the Hygge element. Further to that, if you do focus on the scent as well, calming ones like lavender can be another way that can help you relax. It doesn’t matter if it is still light outside, lighting the candles and closing up the blinds or curtains can just set the tone for a relaxing evening ahead.
The next thing you might want to think about is the fireplace. Many living rooms have a fire place of some description, and a lot of people may have invested in some sort of fire, stove or log burner. This is the ultimate visual of Hygge. A roaring fire that isn’t just warm but also inviting and comforting with the sound and the flicker of the light it gives off. Lighting it up with logs or woodlets pellets is a great way to get it going, and it can certainly help to make a room feel like it is comforting and inviting. It might be that you think in the summer months a fire becomes redundant, but even so at the end of the day, the temperature can drop and get cooler, so a fire can be the ultimate way of adding warmth without switching on the central heating.
Who says comfort food is for winter? An ideal way to embrace Hygge is through the things that you eat, and finding something that not only puts a smile on your face because of the taste, but gives you that satisfying feeling in your belly. Comfort food isn’t always pies and soups, it can be lovely pasta dishes, tray bakes of meat and vegetables that you serve with salad. It is the things that put a smile on your face.
A change of pace
Finally, it is also about your actions and what you do. Evenings might be the ideal time for all members of the family to put down their phones and engage in conversation. Play board games or cards or socialise with the family. There are so many things that you can do together to promote happiness that doesn’t involve technology.
It doesn’t matter how much money you have in savings, you have to make sure that your money is working for you. While letting it sit still in an ISA is fine for a bit, if you have substantial amounts doing nothing, you are losing out on opportunities to grow your funds. When you have enough money in an emergency fund to cover you for a couple of months should you need and you have a savings account for some rainy day money, you should turn your attention to other options. You might consider any of these options.
Start an Investment Portfolio
Investing is the best way to make your money work harder but there are plenty of options open to you. Property is often a good investment and if you invest in a development, you won’t need to worry about collecting rent or sorting out any problems. Have a look at Montague Property to see what sort of returns you could see. But investment really covers any purchase that you expect to mature in value over time. Under this definition, you could invest in anything from artwork to wine, stocks and shares to building up your own side hustle. Just make sure that you do your research carefully and know what to expect before you part with any cash.
Make Home Improvements
If you own your property then investing in your home is a really good idea. Making home improvements isn’t just about bringing beauty and style to your space, it is also about adding value over time. For first time buyers, taking on a fixer-upper is a good idea as it will be cheaper and you can make changes over time. When you do make improvements, you should think about how you want to live in your house and what will make the most difference to your lifestyle. But do consider which improvements will add value. Loft conversions are a brilliant way to utilize space for your family now and boost the value should you choose to sell later on.
Invest in Yourself
It is essential that you understand that not all investments come with added cash value. Some investments are worthwhile because they bring you greater opportunities later on or simply because they make you happy. This is what investing in yourself is all about. Choosing to go travelling or going to evening classes is a brilliant way to spend your spare cash. Both experiences will broaden your understanding of the world and give you a chance to explore a different side of yourself. Following your dreams and your passions is a wonderful way to make the most of your life and discover more about yourself.
Making your savings work a little harder is the best way to make the most of what you have. While seeing a figure gradually increase in your bank account is fine, putting that money to work is your chance to make it something more. And, let’s face it, this is a much more interesting option.
Owning a dog is a huge responsibility, it’s completely down to you to keep them happy and healthy. If you aren’t prepared to look after them properly and deal with any health issues that they might have, you shouldn’t really be getting a dog in the first place. One of the biggest health problems that people have with their dogs is weight gain. When a dog is overweight, it can lead to a lot more serious health problems in the future, like arthritis, for example, because the extra weight is putting a lot of stress on their joints. There are a lot of different reasons that a dog will gain weight, some more serious than others. If your dog has gained a lot of weight recently, these are the things that you need to watch out for.
Just like people, the most common reason that dogs gain weight is because of a bad diet. This is a tricky issue because people often assume that all of the food is pretty much the same and as long as you aren’t feeding them too much of it, their diet is healthy. But in reality, that’s not true at all. Some of the most popular brands of food are actually filled with all sorts of unhealthy things, they’re essentially junk food for dogs. So many people end up with dogs that are overweight because they’re feeding them these foods which are marketed as being good for your dog. It’s best to speak with your vet and find a dog food that is healthy and made with natural ingredients. Swapping out your dog's food can make a big difference to their weight very quickly if the food you were giving them before is bad. Treats are another dietary issue with dogs. When you’re training your dog, you'll often use treats as a reward, which is fine. But it’s important that you limit the number of treats that they have so they don’t start gaining weight, or use smaller sized treats like doggy safe chocolate buttons.
Every dog owner knows that walks are important, but sometimes, people don’t realize just how much exercise their dog needs. It varies between breeds so some dogs will be ok with one walk each day, while others will need a lot more exercise. It’s important that you consider this when buying a dog so you can make sure that you’ve got enough time to exercise them as much as they need. If you buy a very large dog that needs walking a lot but you don’t have time to do that, they’re going to develop problems with their weight.
If your dog hasn’t been spayed, they may start gaining weight because they’re pregnant. If your dog has recently escaped, been out of your sight at the dog park (even for a short while) or could have been around a male dog while at doggy daycare, on a walk or when they were looked after by friends then this could be something to consider. It's worth having your pets neutered, not only does this prevent certain kinds of cancer but also prevents unwanted litters. There are far too many dogs already that end up at shelters and being put to sleep where no one wants them. This could quite easily end up being the fate of one of your dog's pups later down the line.
Sometimes, weight gain can be a sign of diseases like Diabetes or Thyroid disease in dogs. If you’ve noticed that they’re gaining weight and you’re feeding them good food, exercising them regularly, and they’ve been spayed, you should get them to the vet straight away because something might be wrong. When you take your dog to get their annual booster vaccinations your vet will pop them on the scale, if they notice a serious weight fluctuation from the previous year they can give you the advice you need or refer your pooch for tests.
Weight gain in dogs can be very dangerous so it’s important that you’re vigilant and you always take action as soon as they start to gain weight, before it becomes a bigger problem.
We’ve all heard that 'variety is the spice of life'. It’s one of those sayings we use to push us into new experiences- but this saying from William Cowper’s 1785 poem can also apply to your garden. A blank expanse of unbroken lawn is never going to set your green fingers tingling. It’s never going to inspire you to spend more time outside. In fact, if you don’t inject a little variety, you may not even open those back doors from one month until the next. By comparison, adding something extra could see you looking for excuses to head out. It’ll undoubtedly become the spice of your outside life. But, how exactly can you add variety to a garden which is pretty basic?
A varied colour palette
Your outside colour palette needs to be your priority here. Nothing can transform an uninspiring outdoor space faster than a touch of the rainbow. Your best bet here would, of course, be to implement a few flower beds around the edges of your bare lawn. By then planting a whole array of coloured plants, you can brighten this space no end. If you don’t fancy work like that, you could always start smaller with potted plants. By focusing on different coloured pots, and funky flowers, even this could add the variety you need. Bear in mind, too, that mixing colours up can often have the best impact here. If you stick with groups of colours, for instance, you may struggle to liven things up in quite the same way. Don’t be afraid to have fun, and try mixing things in ways you would’ve never dreamt of before. The results might just surprise you.
A textured lawn
As much as we all want plenty of greenery in our gardens, too much grass could harm the use your garden sees. That’s because it limits the options you have for this space. But, by getting stuck in with a variety of textures, you could open up the possibilities of your garden. Incorporating paving slabs, for example, could see you making use of garden tables like those offered by Alice's Garden. Adding a pond could well finish off your whole outside space. Note, too, that the more textures you incorporate, the better. Why not play around with paving slabs, water, and pebbles to break up your grass? As easy as that, your simplistic garden could become a haven for exploration.
A wide range of wildlife
Speaking of exploration, variety in the wildlife you attract to your garden is the ideal finishing touch. We spoke not too long about about how to turn your garden into a nature haven. By putting as many of those pointers in place as possible, you could invite all manner of wildlife into your space. Then, you can bet that every trip into your garden comes complete with a discovery. Over time, that alone could see you, and the wildlife around you, making far more regular use of that garden.
Pets really are part of the family, and they need taking care of just like anyone else. In fact, possibly a little more care, as it's not like they're able to just tell you if they have an upset tummy or are feeling a bit low. Good habits should start with them at a young age and then they will understand their routine and not expect anything different.
Feed Them A Healthy Diet
The first contribution towards raising a healthy pet should be their diet. You could speak with your vet to find out the sorts of portions and foods that would be best for your fur ball, as they will also be able to let you know what signs of healthiness to look for.They will also be able to advise you with regard to what brand of food would be best for your pet. Orijen cat and dog foods, for example, are produced based on what they would eat in the wild and contain only natural ingredients. This is a great start for them not matter what age they are as Orijen make food for kittens and puppies as well as adult animals.
If your cat or dog has a large garden to run around in they will probably get at least some of the exercise they need. However, you should still take them for walks as this will help to stop them from becoming obese and is good for their joints. Although it is not something you see very often, it is possible to train a cat to wear a harness and to go a walk with you. The added bonus with this is that the exercise is good for you too. In humans, exercise helps to lift our mood and to keep weight under control.
Have Them Checked Annually
It is advisable to have your pet checked by your vet at least once a year. It is just the same as you visiting the dentist or optician in that if there are any problems they can be detected and dealt with earlier. Not only is this better for your pet but it could save you a fortune if a minor problem can be stopped from turning into something major.
Have Them Vaccinated
Vaccines are designed to protect your pets from serious illnesses and some of them need to be done every year. They can stop your pet from developing a serious illness that could cause them to suffer a great deal. There are bacteria and viruses that they can pick up from the local park and other areas and vaccines can make sure they have the antibodies to fight these. It's important to be guided by your vet when it comes to vaccines and they will probably give you a schedule of what they need and when. Just as when humans are vaccinated, they might seem a little off colour for a couple of days and if there appears to be anything more serious than that wrong, you should take them back to the vet.
Keep Them Parasite Free
Keeping your pet’s parasite free is not difficult and will make sure they are more comfortable. Fleas and ticks can cause irritations just as they would for a human. Most of us know how much these bites can itch but it is difficult to stop an animal from scratching and making them worse. There are shampoos and sprays that will help keep these things off your pet, but the one thing you really need to watch out for is heartworms. Mosquitos transmit these from animal to animal and if your pet seems to be unwell you should take them to visit your vet to be tested for these. They can be life-threatening if not treated early enough, but a blood test will let the vet know if they are present in your pet.
Have Them Spayed Or Neutered
There are thousands of cats and dogs abandoned every year and the rescue centres are overflowing. It would not be responsible to just keep letting the animals breed when there is a simple way to prevent it. There are now options available such as a vasectomy for male cats and dogs and removal of just the ovaries from the females. This means that all their natural mating instincts are still intact, they are just unable to reproduce. So even if you're really worried about you pets behaviour changing, there's no excuse not to have this done.
Britain has more than fifteen million domestic gardens, many of them teeming with life. Much of the time it is hidden though, and that is a shame as nature can be so beautiful. There are ways to encourage wildlife to show itself, and that can be brilliant to see, especially for children. Just recall how excited you were as a child to see a frog or a hedgehog and you will want your family members to experience the same.
Foods that are meant for birds will attract them much more than scraps of bread or bacon that some people put on their wooden bird tables. Many more people are realising this and food for wild birds has become big business in the UK. They tend to be high-energy foods such as sunflower seeds, which the birds find much more appetising and they are better for them. People who use this specialised food will attract a variety of different species into their garden, and it can be a sight to behold when you realise the birds have learned to pick out their favourites and leave the rest behind.
It doesn't need to be a deep or big pond to attract some wonderful creatures. Frogs, insects, and even flowers will grow quite happily in a small pond. However, if there are toddlers in the family it should be very shallow to protect them from slipping in and hurting themselves. A shallow pond will still attract pond life though and when you see the water lilies with a frog sitting on a leaf, you will be so glad you dug out a small pond in your garden. They're a great way to teach children about nature as well. They can watch the frogspawn turn into tadpoles and eventually into handsome frogs.
Some people get nervous about attracting insects into their garden but it's all about attracting helpful species such as pollinators (bees and butterflies) and insects that keep pests under control naturally. For this to happen you will need the right plants to attract them, and their caterpillars need these to feed on too. Sometimes it is hard to tell which is a moth and which is a butterfly, but the ones that grow in the wild all tend to be a sight to behold.
Squirrels and foxes may pass through your garden, but you have to be lucky to see them. Nets of hanging nuts may attract some squirrels and it can be fun to watch as they fathom out the different ways to reach them. They will also sometimes get into a scrap with birds over their food, as squirrels like similar things. If you have fields nearby, hedgehogs might wander into your garden but they can be in danger from any cats that are local. Allow parts of your garden to become a bit overgrown as that will always encourage wildlife of all types. They like to feel they have somewhere to hide if they get nervous, which just isn’t there in a totally manicured garden.
Buying a house is one of the most exciting things you'll do in your adult life; it's a rite of passage in many ways and is the start of a brand new chapter. If you're looking to buy your new home this year, it's important that you consider some of the factors which could affect the speed of which you can buy your home and move in. It's easy to get carried away and start planning the rooms, buying furniture and imagining your new life, but it can be a bit of a lengthy process. Today we will be looking at some of the things which can cause a delay for you with buying your home.
One of the most extreme things which can cause you to have to wait to move into a new home is known as probate. Probate is a process which occurs when someone dies and their home is to be sold on their behalf. It is a process done by lawyers such as GB Abogados and it can take a few weeks to get all of their affairs in order and be ready to sell up. This can delay your buying process by a few weeks or so but it shouldn’t be too much of an issue unless there is a problem with the legal stuff.
When you initially apply for a mortgage you will need to go through several different processes and this will ensure that the home you are buying is safe and that it is worth what the seller claims. Your lender will carry out a home buyer’s report on the house before you sign any documents and this will include checking that the home is worth what it says it is worth, and also making sure that the house is safe inside and out. If any big issues are found and the house is considered to be a danger, this will delay your home buying process because the seller will be told to fix these issues before they can sell the house. Depending on the size of the home this can take a few weeks or months so it can be a pain for you. Once the work is completed and the house has been checked over once again this is when you will be allowed to start signing paperwork and making those final preparations.
One of the things you will always see on adverts for houses for sale is something like 'no vendor chain' and the reason why this is a big plus for you is that you don’t have to wait for a whole chain of people to sell their old home and buy a new one before you can move into yours. However this will sometimes be the case and you will have to wait for someone else to complete their own sale in order for you to move into your home. For example if you are buying house from someone who is buying a house from someone else; you’ll have to wait for the third person to sell and move so that the seller of your new home can move out, so that you can move in. It can be a long and complex thing to deal with and it can be a bit of a nightmare if there are many people involved in the chain.
There are some home improvements that people do just to make their life easier, and others because they want to increase the value of their property. There are some large home improvements that can give a very good return on the cost involved, but there are also simpler jobs that will help the value of your home reach its full potential.
Replace Single Glazed Windows
Double glazed windows are considered essential by most buyers and will certainly make your home easier to sell. Try to keep them to a similar style to the existing windows as that was the sort that was deemed to be the best when the property was built. You need to be careful if you are in a conservation area or your house is a listed building, as then some types of windows, such as plastic ones, are not allowed.
If you have a conservatory you will be aware of how hot they can get in the summer and how quickly they can lose heat in the winter. The heat rises and disappears through the roof, but you can reduce this problem considerably by using roof insulation. This is a specialist job, but the experts at Rundle and Dorey will be glad to help. The conservatory then becomes a room that can be used all year round which is great if you are intending to sell or stay in your home.
Give The Kitchen A Makeover
It is said that it is the kitchen that sells a house which is why it is the location of so many home improvements. If the prospective buyers love your kitchen then most other rooms do not matter so much. Giving your kitchen a makeover can involve just some decoration, new window dressings and a general clean and declutter to make it look bigger. It can however, mean having to replace cupboards and white goods, depending on how old the existing ones are. Many kitchens can be given a new lease of life for very little money, but if you do need to spend more, it will be worth the investment.
Bringing Bathrooms Up To Scratch
Bathrooms need to look clean and hygienic, but if they have a wow factor that is even better. Paint the walls in neutral colours and make sure they have good lighting. At least one bathroom should have a shower, as this is considered to be essential by most buyers. If toilets or sinks are badly chipped you should replace them. The tiles could have the grout scraped out and some new grouting put in to make them look as good as new. The flooring should be something that is easily cleaned, such as vinyl and tiles. If a bathroom does not have a window that opens, ensure there is an extractor fan installed.Most of these things you could do yourself without too much outlay, and with some creativity with the colours of the accessories, your bathrooms could add some real value to your home.Whether you are thinking of staying or selling, you want your home to be attractive as well as comfortable, and these suggestions will help to achieve that.