Save Water in Your Yard and Garden

We’ve all become more mindful of watering our lawns and garden because water is a precious commodity that we can’t take for granted. These simple ways to conserve water and create a lush green lawn and landscape without going over budget on your water bill are no nonsense routines to follow. They come from Rain Bird, the leading manufacturer of irrigation products and services. You might be as surprised as we were to learn just how easy it is to minimize the amount of water you use and create a thriving green lawn and landscape.
Don’t overwater.
Instead of watering for one long session, it’s better to water a few times for a shorter time period and take a break in between to allow the water to soak in. That lessens oversoaking and minimizes wasteful runoff.
Be an early bird.
The best time to water is between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m when the sun is low, winds are calm and temperatures are cool.
Be direct.
For specific trees, beds or containers apply water directly to the root to reduce wasting water through runoff or evaporation.
Watch the weather.
Adjust your watering routine to changes in the weather. When it rains take a pass and let Mother Nature provide the water.
If it doesn’t grow, don’t water it.
Place sprinklers where the water soaks in lawns and flower beds, not a driveway or sidewalk.

Visit us at for more advice about your home and garden.

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Life Expectancy of Home Appliances

Just how long can you expect the appliances in your home to last? That question often doesn’t come up until the food in your freezer feels soft or you’re standing in a shower without hot water. We tend to take these things for granted until they stop functioning and we call the service folks to repair or replace them. When our refrigerator/freezer stopped working we looked into the question to get a handle on just how long we can expect all our appliances to keep working.

The National Association of Home Builders and the Bank of America Home Equity did a study about the life expectancies of the components of a home and offer these findings. The caveat: it all depends on the quality of the installation, how they are maintained and very importantly the climate conditions where the house is located and how often things are used. Here are the life expectancies in years for major home appliances.

  • Electric range 13 years
  • Gas range 15 years
  • Refrigerator 13 years
  • Dishwasher 9 years
  • Microwave oven 9 years
  • Compactor 6 years
  • Garbage disposer 12 years
  • Clothes washer 10 years
  • Clothes dryer 13 years
  • Electric water heater 11 years
  • Gas water heater 10 years
  • Electric furnace 15 years
  • Gas furnace 18 years
  • Oil furnace 20 years
  • Heat pump 18 years
  • Visit us at and compare the cost of home projects whether you do it yourself or hire a contractor.

    Gene and Katie Hamilton

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Home To Do’s in JUNE

Gene and Katie Hamilton

Gene and Katie Hamilton

This is a busy time of year with graduations, family events and change of season chores, but use this list of 10 items – basically cleaning, maintaining and inspecting – to get off to a good summer of enjoying your home.

Some of these items are quickies, like giving the well-used garbage cans a good washing so it’s clean and odorless or replacing an Air Conditioner filter so the unit works efficiently. Others take a little time, like power washing the siding and cleaning out the garage. All the chores will keep your home and all its systems running smooth and efficiently throughout the season.


* Replace air conditioner filter
* Clean out and organize the basement
* Wash bedspreads and blankets
* Clean garbage cans
* Inspect electrical cords and plugs for signs of wear
* Check the color of the flame on gas water heater and range
* Inspect exterior exposed pipes for leaks and corrosion
* Clean dirty or mildew-covered siding and deck with a power washer
* Inspect and tune up garage door and opener mechanism and rubber seal gasket on bottom of the door
* Maintain lawn and garden beds by watering, mowing and weeding

Visit us at to find the cost of hundreds of home improvement jobs and compare doing it yourself with hiring a pro.

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Landscape Advisor

The property around a home, whether it’s a small bungalow or a sprawling estate, requires regular maintenance to ensure its appearance and upkeep. Routine work is needed for any landscapes whether it’s a modest garden or a lavish landscape. These articles will help you consider improvements and enhancements to make the most of property and beautify the landscape surrounding it.

Make your lawn the best it can be with suggestions from the lawn professionals. Grass Growing Advice from the Pros

Learn about the ins and outs of installing an irrigation system to guarantee a consistently well watered lawn Adding an Irrigation System

Take a tour around your home and property and appraise what needs to be done before the growing season. Spring House and Yard Tune Up

Play it safe working around the yard and garden when you’re using outdoor power equipment.Safely Using Outdoor Power Equipment

Use this information to find the cost of landscaping and gardening jobs so you can decide to do it yourself or hire a contractor. Spring Maintenance Chores and DIY Costs

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Fly Old Glory with a Flagpole in Your Yard

To see Old Glory waving in the wind always brings a sense of pride. If you’re considering adding a flagpole to your yard, a good choice is a telescoping pole with aluminum sections that slide up and down and snap in place.

A contractor will charge $960 to install a 25-foot pole in concrete, which includes the labor and material. You can buy a flagpole kit for $550 and install it yourself. The kit includes a 25-foot pole with installation sleeve and gold ball top, a 3-foot-by-5-foot flag and swivel rings and harness that allows the flag to fly freely. Another cost is $25 for concrete mix and gravel for its foundation.

To install a pole, dig a round hole approximately 28-inches deep by 12-inches round, and place 6-inches of small gravel for drainage in the bottom of the hole. Insert the bolt in the sleeve and fill in the area around it with concrete. Use a carpenter’s level to make sure it is level.

When choosing a flag pole you should know about the wind in your area. Really. The wind load or expected wind at an elevation of 30-feet above the ground is used to determine the appropriate size of a flag pole. Don’t worry you won’t have to figure it out because flag and flag pole retailers use a reference map – it’s the same one for highway and transportation signs.

To compare more improvement and repair job costs, visit us at

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Mosquitoes and How to Use Drainage Solutions to Get Rid of Them

Gene and Katie Hamilton

Here’s advice from Dr. Drainage, civil engineer Ryan Larsen, at NDS, Inc. with suggestions for homeowners to prevent mosquitoes from ruining outdoor spaces. These budget-friendly ideas will spare you the nuisance and discomfort of pesky mosquitoes outside your home.

1. Eliminate standing water wherever it occurs

Keep gutters clear of debris and check for any discarded cans, buckets, pots, overturned children’s toys and anything that can hold water. Cover trash containers. And change water in outdoor pet dishes daily and change water in bird baths several times a week.

2. Place herbs and scented oils around your backyard

Certain plants, herbs and essential oils can naturally repel mosquitoes like the scents of citronella, lemongrass and chrysanthemum are non-toxic and keep mosquitoes at bay. Scented oils and candles placed on your outdoor tables will keep any bugs away from food.

3. Scatter coffee grounds

Yes, coffee grounds are a mosquito repellent when you sprinkle the grounds wherever you discover standing water in your yard. It will kill any mosquitoes before they hatch and prevent them from breeding further.

4. Grow insect-repellent plants

Discourage pesky flies with plants like lemon balm, mint, chrysanthemums, marigolds, basil, garlic, eucalyptus, lavender, rosemary and more.

5. Install a drain in planter boxes

Consider using a drainage solution in planter boxes like a catch basin connected to a drainage pipe. Excess water enters the basin through a raised atrium grate, which prevents leaves, mulch and other debris from entering the system, and connects to a drain pipe where the water can drain to a safe location.

6. Install insect-repelling lights around your yard

Consider installing mosquito repelling lights, such as yellow bug lights or LED lights, in your backyard to deter those irritating bugs away from your barbeque.

7. Spray your yard with an organic treatment

Nontoxic bug control solutions can work wonders and will kill off fleas, ticks and other insects, while not harming the family pet. Choose products labeled natural or organic and pet friendly, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions completely.

8. Install a French drain

A French drain consists of a slightly sloped trench filled with gravel surrounding a perforated pipe. It provides an easy channel for water to flow through, collecting water over the entire length of the drain instead of one particular spot and redirecting the surface and groundwater away from your home.

For more information about how to spot and fix common homeowner drainage problems, visit NDS’s Home Drainage Center.

Ryan Larsen is a civil engineer at NDS, Inc., which manufactures a wide range of stormwater and drainage products. He known as Dr. Drainage, host of NDS’s YouTube video series about how to correctly use drainage and stormwater management products.

Visit to compare the cost of doing a home improvement job or repair yourself with hiring a pro.

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Month of May Home Checklist


Take a look at these 13 items to get your house and garden in good shape. While the weather is getting warmer we’re all drawn outside to get busy cleaning out the weeds and fertilizing the garden beds. In the meantime there’s plenty to do inside the house to get it ready for summer.

So now’s a good time to inspect and clean up your house, both inside and out. But take it one step at a time and you’ll be finished well before Memorial Day at the end of the month. It involves looking for damage from the winter weather and freshening up the interior and uncluttering. Weather permitting, you’ll be able to get out in the yard and get busy.

      • Tune up portable and central air conditioners
      • Clean and tune up ceiling, exhaust and bath fans to maximize air flow
      • Unclutter clothes closet and sort and store seasonal clothes
      • Wash window glass, frames and sill and lean out weep-holes in window sliders
      • Wash and change storm door and window panels to screens
      • Wash window curtains and blinds
      • Clean deck and protect with sealer
      • Inspect driveway and walkways for winter damage
      • Clear outdoor vent of lint build up in clothes dryer
      • Clean and set up outdoor furniture, cushions and lawn equipment
      • Rake lawn and garden beds to remove winter debris
      • Prepare garden beds and plant containers with fertilizer and plantings
      • Fill in bare spots of lawn with grass seed

Visit us at to find the cost of home fixups projects like these and compare doing it yourself with hiring out the job.

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