The quickest, easiest and most cost effective way to freshen up the exterior of your home is with paint. You can easily modify the entire look of your home just by applying a different colour or if you don't want to make any drastic changes you can add a couple new coats of the same colour. It will brighten up the exterior and make it look new again regardless of what colour you decide upon.

Steps for a Long Lasting Painted Finish

No matter what you are painting there are three steps that you must follow to achieve a great looking and long lasting finish. Prep, prime and paint!

Step one: Prep!

Its important to prep the surface that you are planning on painting. Skip this step and be prepared for a chunky, rough and flaky appearance that will need to be redone very soon. Paint doesn't stick very well to dirt or dust which means you will need to repaint much sooner plus it means the next time you paint will be harder and messier.

The most important aspect about this step is to make sure the surface is super clean. Scrub dirt and grease with a gentle cleaner and brush away dust with a soft bristle brush. Certain exterior materials can be cleaned with a power washer but just be careful of brittle finishes like stucco. Once the surface is clean make sure to fill any cracks or holes with paintable caulk or sealant.  

You will also want to mask off anything that you do not want to get paint on. Window and door frames should be masked with painters tape and the ground or flower bed should be covered with a drop sheet.

Step two: Prime!

Primer is specially designed to adhere to bare or previously painted surfaces so that the final coats of paint will last for many years to come. Choose a primer that is specific to what you are painting. If you are painting brick or stucco use a masonry primer but if you are painting metal siding consider using a primer meant for metal. Always research that the type of primer you are using is suitable for the job.

Nasty stains may need to be sealed prior to priming so that they do not bleed through. There are a number of different products that you can use but Killz is a very popular choice for stains.  

Once you have completed at least one coat of primer let it dry the recommended time as specified on the can. Four hours is typical but always give it longer if you are unsure.

Step three: Paint!

Now that all of the hard work is complete you can actually paint with your chosen colour. Its recommended to paint at least two or more coats to achieve a solid and even finished product. Brighter and intense colours like red and yellow will require even more coats.

Make sure to use a roller appropriate for the texture. Smooth and simple vinyl siding will require a thinner roller whereas stucco needs a thick and fluffy roller to get in all the nooks and crannies. Always cut in corners and around frames with a paint brush for a crisp and clean paint line.

AuthorCamille Pacori

While a lush and vibrant lawn looks absolutely stunning it can take quite bit of work and time to keep it looking that way. Between mowing the grass, pulling weeds and constantly moving the water sprinkler to cover the entire lawn you may consider this your full time job. It not only takes time away from you enjoying your weekend but it can also have an effect on your pocket book. The cost can add up quite fast between the fertilizer, weed killer and gallons upon gallons of water needed to keep the grass fed and looking great.

There are some beautiful, inexpensive and low maintenance alternatives that might just be the thing for you.

Moss or Clover Groundcover

Moss is a great alternative to grass as its insect resistant, rarely needs to be watered and doesn't require fertilizer. Its pretty much a self sustaining plant that doesn't need much attention to flourish. You might need to trim it up the edges a bit but it will never need to be mowed since it only grows so high. The only thing to consider is that moss does really well in shady and moist areas like under trees and in-between walkways that are covered from multiple sides. Direct sunlight will dry it out and probably kill it.

Low Spreading Bushes

Low spreading bushes are short, not overly woody bushes that will eventually over many years cover an entire yard. While you cant really walk over these bushes like you could grass they do provide a lush and succulent green ground cover. While these bushes do require water they are not nearly as time consuming as maintaining a lawn. Annual or semi-annual pruning and occasional weeding is required.

Pebble or Stone Lawn Alternative

Using stone as a substitute for grass is probably one of the most maintenance free and inexpensive options available. It doesn't require any water, no trimming necessary and weeds will not flourish. The only thing you may need to do it rake or pick up any loose pebbles that have strayed from the "lawn".

Wood Chips

Wood chips are also extremely maintenance free and give a more woodsy outdoorsy kind of appearance. They might need to be replaced every couple years as they can start to break down and look weathered and worn especially if they are walked on often.

Happy Landscaping!

AuthorCamille Pacori

Multiple terrace levels and alternating different layers of materials not only add interest to your outdoor space but its a great alternative for either a subtle or extremely sloped yard. It creates flat grass sections that are better suited for patio seating and leveled garden spaces that allow plants to strive.

Terraced Garden

Four levels of a flower garden is created with slate or flagstone for an organic and fluid appearance. A stone pathway curves up along to each level of the garden for easy and quick access throughout the yard without affecting the overall design of the space.

Alternating Garden with Grass

Change each level of terrace between garden and grass for a visually interesting yard that never gets boring. This particular terrace looks great on a large slope yard since each level is greatly defined and does not blend in with each other.

Gentle Sloped Terrace

A large impact can be achieved by landscaping a gentle slope with equal levels of concrete and grass. Small well manicured bush planters placed along the concrete walls add height without distracting you away from the interest of the layered terrace.

Faux Terrace Backyard

Landscaping a multileveled terrace can be quite expensive since hundreds, maybe even thousands of cubic meters of soil must be moved. Building a stone, wood or metal retaining wall for each level can also increase the budget necessary to achieve a stable and well draining yard that will withstand years of weather.

You can cut down the overall cost quite a bit by creating a faux terrace by installing low lying stones, pavers or wood planks at equal or varying distances up a gentle slope. These stones don't even need to cover the entire length of the yard but can be placed to line up with other details like planters, trees and architectural elements.

Happy Gardening!

AuthorCamille Pacori

Whether you are treated to breakfast in bed Sunday mornings or like to read a couple emails just before going to bed its always a good idea to have a solid and sturdy surface to perform these tasks on. You can splurge on an elaborate and carefully designed roll away table or keep things simple with a small lap tray. You will being doing more than just saving yourself the headache of a spilled glass of orange juice or an overheated laptop that was smothered by fluffy blankets.

Rollaway Bedroom Table

A slim rectangular table placed on casters can be pulled up overtop of your legs while laying in bed which is perfect for enjoying a cup of tea while reading a book. You can then tuck the table away by rolling it down by the foot of the bed . Its possible to even roll it against a wall to act as a temporary table or shelf.

Bedside Mattress table

This simple and ingenuous table has multiple prongs which can be slid underneath the mattress anywhere along the length of the bed. It can also be moved to other beds or even some sofas.

Simple Tray

A high rimmed tray is a perfect and inexpensive solution for enjoying a delicious breakfast in bed. Any spills or drips would be caught within the tray and its light enough to place it directly on your lap.  

Breakfast Tray

Breakfast trays are specifically designed for breakfast in bed as the short legs rest on either side of you which keeps the tray off your lap. They are usually designed with handles so that carrying it to and from the bed is as simple as toast.

Happy Relaxing!

AuthorCamille Pacori