Tina McManus' Blog
For many homeowners who keep a garden, insects are either a minor annoyance or a full on blight. Beetles, flies, caterpillars and other insects can quickly devour the leaves of your plants, leaving them stunted and unable to produce fruits and vegetables at the end of the season.
In our haste to be rid of these bugs, many people turn to pesticides. However, most pesticides aren’t discriminate in the insects they deter from your garden. As a result, they can also often discourage insects that are beneficial to your garden.
In this article, we’re going to list six insects that are beneficial for your garden and give you some tips on how to encourage them to feel at home in your garden.
1. Damsel Bugs
Damsel bugs look like a cross between a mantis and a grasshopper. They prey on many insects that can harm your garden, including caterpillars and aphids.
Ladybug, lady bird, lady beetle... These polka dotted insects have many names. They also have many uses for your garden. They ward off aphids and whiteflies, and let’s face it, they’re fun to look at as well. To attract ladybugs to your garden, plant some dill; these insects are attracted to the herb.
3. Soldier beetles
Named for their color which resembled the red coats of the early British army, soldier beetles are very beneficial to have in your garden. They eat the eggs and larvae of other insects, including beetles and moths, that can easily take over the leaves in your garden.
To find out if your plants have eggs or larvae on them, look on the underside of the leaves. Insects often lay their eggs on large leaves like those of squash and cucumber plants.
4. Braconid wasps
We know what you’re thinking, “Why would I ever want wasps in my garden?” Well, these particular wasps happen to be parasites that lay their eggs on other insects that feast on your garden.
You also don’t have to worry about being stung, since these wasps aren’t stingers. Plus, all of the eggs they lay on the insects that eat your garden will come in handy for keeping your garden pest-free later on.
There are about 25,000 known species of bees worldwide. Many of them are among the best pollinators for your flower or vegetable garden.
To attract beneficial bees to your garden, incorporate native plants and avoid pesticides. Bees have a good sense of color, so the wider variety of colorful flowers you have, the more likely you are to attract these pollinators.
Technically speaking, worms aren’t considered insects. However, they’re on this list because of the benefit they provide to your garden. This includes recycling organic waste in your garden, and improving soil composition. They loosen them soil to allow oxygen and useful bacteria to enter the plant roots.
That feeling of rest and happiness you feel when you pull up at the front of your house after a long stressful day is indescribable. Now you can rest, shower, unwind or do nothing. If you live in a detached single family home, chances are you would have your driveway and would solely be responsible for its upkeep.
When building or remodeling a house, one of the overlooked features is the driveway. Your driveway is a part of your home and should reflect that warm, welcoming feeling of your home. Because your drive is the first thing people notice when coming into your home, it’s advisable you select the right type of driveway material for your home.
Suggested driveway materials best suitable for your house are...
Asphalt is a common and highly practical driveway material that’s inexpensive compared to stone and concrete, its two primary solid-surface opponents.
Asphalt is very high-maintenance, especially in harsh climates. Professionals recommend sealing asphalt driveways within a year of fitting and resealing every three to five years. Resealing can be quite expensive: The cost to reseal on the average is about $400, the price is lesser for shorter driveways and more costly for longer ones. You may also need seasonal maintenance depending on driveway usage, quality, and stability. Asphalt driveways are stable, of excellent quality, easy to plow during the winter season and with a higher traction quotient.
Gravel is the cheapest and most sturdy of the other common driveway materials. It cost less than $300 to install and doesn’t require much time; Gravel driveways will last for a long time if given proper care.
The gravel driveway is very affordable and can cost about $0.50 per square foot, it’s durable, and with the right maintenance, it will last a lifetime.
Pavers are the most expensive of the other driveway materials. It’s also considered the most attractive. Pavers blend well with different exterior and design elements, such as fountain fall, driveway islands, and stone walkways.
Pavers improve your home appeal and give your home entrance a great look. It is durable, clean, stable and affordable to maintain.
At first glance, concrete and asphalt have similar characteristics, but concrete is relatively durable and require less maintenance cost. A concrete driveway can last 100% more than the asphalt driveway depending on the climate and use.
The concrete driveway is stable with surfaces not prone to mud, it doesn’t require much to maintain especially during the winter season, and it has a long life span.
Having a beautiful and adequately maintained driveway will not only provide your home with that alluring curb appeal, but it will also boost the resale value of your property in the market if you decide to sell.
When selecting an area rug, several factors will go into determining the size, shape, material, and even the thickness you want. Just like buying a home, it is all about location, location, location. Ask yourself these questions:
- Where will you use the rug?
- How much traffic does that room get?
- Must it hold up to wet shoes and outdoor debris?
- Will there be food in the room?
- Are pets likely to sleep on the rug?
- Will your children play on the rug?
- Do you like to sit or lie down on the rug?
If your rug is in a formal living room, a hand-tufted silk or wool rug might work, but if the carpet graces your family room, where the kids and pets will play on it, nylon or viscose are more durable fabrics. Also, some family members might find the wool in a rug scratchy on bare legs and arms.
High traffic areas such as an entry or hallway, or a busy family room might benefit from sisal or jute if no one wants to sit on them. Moreover, either sisal or jute under a table where crumbs can filter between the spaces in the weave is probably not useful.
Size and shape
In the case of rugs, size matters and bigger is better. If a rug is too small, it chops up your design. The perfect size can pull everything together into a cozy space. When sizing up your carpet needs, consider the room’s orientation. If the room is a rectangle, but you want your sitting area to be a square with a walkway behind the sofa, opt for a square rug. In breakfast nooks, use a round or octagonal rug under a round or octagonal table. Use square under a pub table too. If your dinette is oblong or oval, a rectangular rug is best.
- In the dining room, choose a rug size with at least two or three feet beyond each side of the table to allow for pulling out chairs. Most formal dining tables need a rug that is eight feet wide or wider to accommodate the larger chairs.
- In your living room, leave at least a one-foot space between the edge of the rug and the walls. Your carpet should be large enough that at least the front feet of your main furniture pieces can rest on the rug.
Pile or thickness
When determining the thickness or pile, consider whether a piece of furniture will fit entirely on the rug or be partially off it. If the pile leaves the front feet higher than the back, seating might feel awkward.
If you need help deciding which rug will best fit in your new home, talk to a design specialist at a local carpet store.
The decision to buy a house may be one of the biggest choices that you make in your lifetime. As such, a potential home purchase should be fully evaluated to ensure you can achieve the best-possible results during the homebuying journey.
Furthermore, it may be beneficial to discuss your homebuying plans with family members, friends and other loved ones. There are many reasons why you may want to share your homebuying plans with loved ones, and these reasons include:
1. You can gain homebuying insights that you might struggle to obtain elsewhere.
Loved ones frequently are happy to share their homebuying insights with you. Thus, if you keep loved ones up to date about your homebuying plans, you may be able to gain comprehensive real estate insights that you won't find anywhere else.
Let's not forget about the past homebuying experiences of loved ones, either. If a loved one had a positive or negative homebuying experience, you may be able to learn lessons from this event that could help you navigate the homebuying journey.
2. You can look at the big picture.
Oftentimes, the temptation to rush through the homebuying process can be overwhelming, particularly for a first-time homebuyer. If you consult with loved ones, however, you can slow down and look at the big picture as you prepare to pursue your dream residence.
Loved ones are unafraid to be honest, especially when it comes to a life-changing decision like buying a house. Therefore, if you reach out to loved ones before you enter the housing market, you can assess your short- and long-term plans and map out your homebuying journey accordingly.
3. You can get the help you need to succeed.
No one should be forced to pursue a house on their own. Lucky for you, loved ones are available who can help you discover your ideal residence in no time at all.
Sharing your homebuying plans with loved ones may enable you to get plenty of support throughout the homebuying journey. Plus, if you ever have concerns or questions as you pursue your dream house, loved ones are ready to assist you in any way possible.
As you prepare to embark on a home search, you may want to consult with a real estate agent too. In fact, a real estate agent will ensure you can enjoy a seamless homebuying experience, regardless of where you want to live.
Typically, a real estate agent will set up home showings, keep you informed about new residences as they become available and help you submit offers on houses. This housing market professional also will negotiate with a seller's agent on your behalf, guaranteeing that you can get the best price on any home, at any time.
Ready to kick off a successful home search? Connect with loved ones – and a real estate agent – and you can get the assistance that you need to find your dream house.
Statistics vary, but according to two credible sources, 44% of Americans own a dog. That means that if you don't own a dog, there's a strong chance one or both of your next door neighbors do!
Why are dogs such a permanent fixture in so many households? Unconditional love is probably the number one reason most people bring a dog into their lives, but enhanced health, home security, and companionship are others.
Health benefits: If you have a dog in your family, you probably already know the power of the "w" word. From a dog's perspective, there are few experiences that outrank the joy of going for a walk with their master! It not only provides a daily bonding experience for both dog and owner, but it's also an opportunity to introduce a moderate amount of exercise into your life -- assuming your doctor approves! While running, athletics, or weight training is not up everyone's alley (or even medically advisable), taking a leisurely stroll in the neighborhood can be a great way to stretch your legs, get some fresh air, and enjoy bonding moments with your four-legged companion! It's also a proven fact that petting or playing with a dog (or cat) can help lower your blood pressure and distract you from the cares and worries of everyday life.
Teaching moments: Not only do most kids love playing with pets, but they can also benefit from learning pet responsibility, kindness, and compassion.
Home security: While it's not an infallible method of burglarproofing your house, having a dog almost always serves as a deterrent. Most dogs are inherently protective of their territory (and loved ones) and will generally bark if they sense an intruder on the property or at the front door. Since one of the last things burglars want to do is call attention to themselves, a barking dog can definitely help keep the bad guys away!
Companionship: Dogs aren't the greatest conversationalists in the world, but they can be a very comforting presence when you're reading a book, watching TV, or relaxing at home. Many also love to join you for a ride in the car, a walk in the neighborhood, or a run in the park.
While dog ownership is not for everyone, more than 40% of us could not imagine life without our canine companion(s)! They do require a lot of attention, patience, and training, but the rewards are usually well worth the effort.
If you're considering getting a dog, you can gather a lot of helpful information about dog breeds, barking tendencies, temperament, shedding, how much exercise different breeds require, and other characteristics from the American Kennel Association. To help ensure a mutually satisfying relationship between you and your dog, it also pays to sign up for a dog obedience class and go online to learn about dog behavior, crate training, and health maintenance.