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How Not to Get Sued by Your Neighbors

July 12th, 2010

good neighbor cedar fenceBuilding a fence is such a simple, common thing to do that many homeowners are appalled when they break ground only to find they’ve opened a Pandora’s box of legal disputes, property quarrels and neighborly vitriol. People pay a lot for homes these days and can become aggressive about defending them.

Fortunately, when armed with the necessary information, homeowners can easily head off most disputes at the pass by keeping the neighbors in mind when planning a new fence build. Common situations that tend to incite disputes with neighbors include: Read the rest of this entry »

Is Your Cedar Fence Functional?

June 28th, 2010

solid style cedar fenceHomeowners cite many different reasons for building a fence. Some want their yards to feel more secure, while others just want to block the neighbors out. Still others need an enclosure for containing children and small pets. So you put up a fence, dust off your hands and figure, “problem solved.” Right?

Maybe not. Without the proper resources to help them decide which type of fence will best meet their needs, homeowners can sometimes end up choosing the wrong type of fence for the job. Here’s a look at common fence dysfunctions and how to address them:

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Home Improvement Projects That Pay Off

June 15th, 2010

multi-tiered cedar deckHome improvement spending is on the rise, and consumers are expected to fork over more than $121 billion this year on home remodeling and construction projects, FoxBusiness reports. But the question more homeowners need to ask when preparing to shell out for home upgrades is: Will I get my money back on this investment?

When it comes to the bottom line–increasing the value of your home–not all home improvement projects pay off. Sure, your new Italian marble floors might be attractive to buyers, but they won’t necessarily inspire people to drop more money on your house. So what home improvement projects are worth it?

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If Your Deck’s A-Rockin’, Call an Expert

June 9th, 2010

Rick's deck safety expertIs your cedar deck in danger of collapsing? An estimated 20 million wood decks in the United States are, reports KOIN TV news. The news station recently interviewed Rick’s store manager C.T. Warren, who provided his deck construction expertise and offered deck safety tips for homeowners in a broadcast that aired Monday, June 7.

Deck collapses have injured 900 people in the last 15 years, killing 20, the report stated. Reporter Mike Donahue cautioned homeowners, “Don’t live with a deck that moves.”

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Thinking About a Hot Tub? Keep These Things in Mind

May 30th, 2010

cedar deck with hot tubThere are few better ways to enjoy your outdoor living space than soaking in a relaxing hot tub. Indeed, many homeowners can’t resist the allure of installing a hot tub onto a new cedar or composite deck – as of 2008, there were nearly 6 million hot tubs in existence nationwide.

If you’re thinking about placing a hot tub on an existing deck, or if you’re planning to build a new deck, keep these hot tub placement tips in mind as you design your space: Read the rest of this entry »

Got a Plant Habit? Try These Deck Gardening Tips

May 21st, 2010

deck container gardenAn increasing number of homeowners are combining two of this summer’s hottest home and garden trends — outdoor living spaces and fresh-food gardening — to create thriving deck gardens full of fresh vegetables.

If you’ve sacrificed most of your yard to build the deck you’ve always wanted, or if you’d like to try growing vegetables without kneeling in the dirt, consider the advantages of using some of your deck space for a container garden. Read the rest of this entry »

Dress Your Backyard for Less (Time, That Is)

May 20th, 2010

vinyl pergola with patioNobody wants a naked backyard. But homeowners are increasingly complaining they just don’t have the time to put into maintaining a lush landscape.

That explains why you can’t throw a stone online without hitting the term low-maintenance landscaping.

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Three Ways to Salvage a Sloped Yard

April 29th, 2010

retaining wallThere are many reasons to dislike a sloped yard. It’s hard to play on a slope. Landscaping choices are limited. And few things in life are as difficult as mowing a sloped lawn. Luckily, there are several ways to flatten or otherwise improve a sloped yard.

The first thing to do is to figure out if your slope is steep enough to require significant improvements. Generally, you need to improve the land—by adding a retaining wall, for example—if you have more than a 4% grade, or about a foot in height difference. Regrading, or leveling, may be enough in other cases.

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How to Build a Split Rail Fence

April 27th, 2010

split rail fenceYou consider yourself a handy person. You change your own tires and build your own bookshelves. But now you want to build your own fence, and you’re unsure whether your skills are up to snuff. Fortunately, there’s a type of fence that is extremely easy to construct, requires only a few tools and supplies, and looks great: the split rail fence.

Split rail fences have been around for a long time. Traditionally used to on ranches to hold horses and cattle, they were popular during the 1800s due to how easy and affordable they are to build. Most pioneer split rail fences were nothing more than logs of equal size split lengthwise and stacked in an interlocking, zig-zag fashion. They were easy to set up, sturdy, and easy to tear down.

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3 Things to Keep Away from Your Vinyl Fence (at All Costs)

April 27th, 2010

picture frame vinyl fenceVinyl fences are so well-known for their strength and durability, jaws tend to drop when serious damage occurs. Still, it happens. The good news is, if you do accidentally damage your vinyl fence, repair is usually possible. But the majority of vinyl fencing disasters can be prevented by keeping these three things away from your fence at all costs:

1. Lawnmowers and weed-whackers. Yes, many a mow-happy homeowner has veered a little too closely to clip those last few inches of grass and discovered lawnmowers can leave black marks on vinyl fencing. And you don’t even want to know what kind of damage a weed-whacker can do. Be extra cautious anytime you’re using power-assisted garden tools around your fence. (If you do slip up and leave tire marks, try removing them with lacquer thinner.)

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