Lisa Bradley - Re/Max Vision



Posted by Lisa Bradley on 4/28/2020


 Photo by jamie410 via Pixabay

A fire pit can elevate your yard into a truly enchanting entertainment area, liven up your space and even help enhance your curb appeal. While some home projects are not ideal for the DIY approach, you can make a striking firepit on your own in about a weekend. You'll need to gather some supplies, determine the size and shape of your fire pit and get ready to work your muscles as you create a new focal point for your yard. 

Create a Fast & Easy Firepit

Fire pits are surprisingly fast and easy to create. If you can layer stones and follow basic directions, you can create an enduring accent you'll enjoy for years to come. 

Materials: 

A fire pit needs a gravel base and surround, stones or concrete bricks for the sides and firepit stones for the interior. You'll also need some basic tools for leveling the ground and finishing the space, including a shovel, rake and a can of spray paint. While you can head right to the DIY big box store, contact your local landscape supply stores as well. You'll need both stone and gravel in bulk and you'll pay far less for it from a landscape provider.

Choose natural stone if you enjoy working things out and want to take the time to work with raw materials that may differ in size and shape. Opt for uniform pavers, bricks or poured stones if you like an overall look and want the pieces to be easy to stack. 

Create a Firepit

  • Determine the size and shape pit you want to make -- larger pits make bigger entertainment spaces, but require more rock. You'll need space for the pit and for seating around it, so take these needs into consideration as you determine where the pit should go and how big it should be. 
  • Use spray paint to mark off a shape for the pit. It can be square, circular or just an appealing organic shape. 
  • Dig about an inch down, remove all grass and sod and create a level surface on the ground. 
  • Begin stacking your chosen stones around the edges, within the leveled off area. You will not need to mortar between the stones, but should attempt to stack them evenly, without a lot of gaps. Stack one layer at a time, then move on to the next. 
  • Fill the base with the amount of fire pit stones recommended by the manufacturer -- this can vary and will be printed on the container. 
  • Spread gravel around the outside edges of the pit to create a seating area and to prevent grass from returning. 
  • Light it up and enjoy!

 

Once complete, a fire pit will be a lasting, low maintenance focal point for your yard for years to come. Use in the summer for grilling and roasting marshmallows, then fire it up for warmth on cooler nights -- either way, you'll love enjoying not only a gorgeous accent, but a piece you've made yourself. 

 




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Lisa Bradley on 1/21/2020

Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

Water efficiency is good for both the environment and your wallet. Changing habits, such as turning off the tap while brushing your teeth saves about 3,000 gallons a year. This is great, but if you want to take it a step further to conserve water, here are four DIY ways to bring better water efficiency to your bathroom.

Replace Your Old Toilet with a New One

Many homes still have outdated bathrooms, including toilets. Even if in good condition, these toilets are definitely not water efficient. Experts suggest they use 4X more water than modern toilets do. Considering toilets account for about 30% of overall household water use, this is substantial. Replacing a toilet is a great way to reduce use. When purchasing a model, be sure to look for the WaterSense label because toilets with this certification use far less water than other models. Low-flow models use about 1.6 gallons as opposed to 4 to 6 gallons—a significant difference.

Upgrade Your Old Toilet

If you aren’t ready to invest and/or install a new toilet, but want to scale back on your water use, you can upgrade your old one. A few modifications can do the trick.

  • Install an adjustable flapper and save up to three gallons per flush.
  • Hang a tank bag in your tank so it can displace water. It’s less water savings than replacing a toilet, but every bit helps. (Sometimes people place bricks in their tanks, but these deteriorate and can create clogs, so it’s not recommended.)
  • Install a fill cycle diverter to eliminate excess water going down the trail and save about a half-gallon of water per fill.

Every bit of water saved puts money back in your pocket and helps with conservation of this precious natural resource.

Faucets & Shower Heads

Faucets account for over 15% of indoor water use in a household. If you don’t currently have faucets and showerheads with the WaterSense label, consider replacing them. According to the EPA, consumers can reduce water flow by as much as 30% by making this change.

Fix Leaks

Identifying any leaks in your bathroom can save about 10% on a water bill every month.

  • Inspect the toilet flapper and valve seal. (Consumer Reports suggests pouring food coloring into the toilet tank and seeing if it appears in the bowl 15 minutes later to help determine leaks.)
  • Check to see if faucet washers and gaskets are intact, if they are compromised, they’ll need replacing to stop leaks.
  • Look at showerheads to see if they are dripping water—if there is a gap in the connection, they may need to be taped up or replaced.

Many homeowners can DIY leaks, but keep in mind sometimes attempting to fix pipes or tackle any of the more complicated aspects of plumbing can open up a can of worms and lead to further problems. In these instances, it might be time to call a plumber for inspection and/or to get an estimate.

Homeowners making an effort to conserve water can also potentially improve their resale value if they eventually decide to sell. Many of today’s buyers actively seek out homes containing green or efficient features. Conserving water is a great place to start!




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Lisa Bradley on 7/26/2016

When you're a homeowner, it's tempting to save money any way you can. Oftentimes people take repairs into their own hands when they don't have the knowledge or experience to complete the job safely. What begins as a way to save money can quickly turn into a disaster--as you spend lengthy periods of time on a project and find yourself going over your initial budget. It isn't always easy to know which projects you can attempt yourself and which ones are better left to the pros. And, of course, it will depend on your comfort and skill level when it comes to various household repairs. So, if you're a plumber, disregard our plumbing advice and dive in to your DIY plumbing projects since you have the know-how. But if you're an average homeowner looking to make some renovations and repairs, read on to find out which ones you should attempt and which ones are better left to the pros.

1. Electrical work

So you've got a few faulty outlets in the new home you bought. It doesn't seem worth calling in an electrician just for those few minor issues. However, due to the dangers and complications that can arise from electric work, it's a good idea to hold off and call in the experts. Aside from shocking yourself (which can be deadly), you could also create fire hazards or damage circuitry, resulting in much higher repair costs than you initially had. Another benefit of calling in al electrician, other than having the project done correctly, is that they will be able to diagnose your home circuitry to let you know what other problems might arise in the foreseeable future. So, when it comes to power issues, always call in the pros.

2. Hazardous materials

Many people will tell you not to worry about asbestos or lead paint unless you have children. However, these are both dangerous materials than can create several chronic health problems in adults as well. If you're concerned for the safety of yourself and your family, call in contractors who will remove the lead or asbestos. What can go wrong if you try to do it yourself? Lead chips and dust will fly through the air when attempting to remove lead paint. Breathing in these fumes is dangerous initially and down the road when the dust settles into the corners of your home. Asbestos, especially in blown-in insulation can be particularly dangerous. Aside from ensuring your safety, a contractor will also be able to assess the situation and determine whether your hazardous materials need to be removed or can just be "repaired" or covered up. Simple repair jobs on asbestos or lead-containing objects can save you some serious time and money.

3. Roofing and siding

There's a reason even building contractors bring in third party companies to install roofs and siding. These are both labor-intensive and time-intensive jobs that require specialized skills and tools that only dedicated companies can accomplish correctly. Roofing and siding are both dangerous jobs that carry the risk of falling off of roofs and ladders, as well as injuring your back lifting heavy shingles. The pros have the tools and experience to avoid these injuries. When you hire the professionals to do your roofing or siding, you can rest assured that the job is done correctly and will last much longer than if you made it a DIY project as well.