Stopping Birds from Flying Into Windows


Window Pain

Ever since I was little, I’ve been fascinated with birds. We would always have multiple bird feeders in our backyard and I would spend what were probably hours just looking at all the different birds that would come. When my wife and I moved into our new home with large glass windows, we soon began hearing what could be best described as thuds throughout each day.

Continue reading “Stopping Birds from Flying Into Windows” »

Winterizing Your Garage

winterize-garageWhether you utilize it as a man cave or workshop, or just detest stepping into a cold vehicle in the winter, a winter-proof and warm garage is an excellent idea. And by introducing a buffer between you and the outdoors, you can also be able to keep the home slightly warmer, too. Here are some tips on how to accomplish it.

Continue reading “Winterizing Your Garage” »

Building a Privacy Fence

parts-of-privacy-fenceHaving a privacy fence serves many purposes but for most homeowners there are three. First, obviously the privacy issue; keeping prying eyes out just lends a sense of security. Secondly, this is one of the best ways to keep your pets in and wandering pets out. Finally, to deter strangers, primarily criminals, from entering your property.

To complete this project you will need:

  • 8′ X 4″X4″ pressure treated posts (spaced 8′ apart)
  • 1 – 50 pound bag of fast-setting concrete mix per post
  • 6′ cedar pickets (approximately 25 between each two posts)
  • 8′ X 2″ X 4″ pressure treated studs (2 between each 2 posts)
  • 3-penny galvanized nails or coarse-thread drywall screws (for attaching the pickets)
  • 10-penny galvanized nails for attaching the 2″ X 4″ nailers
  • 1 roll of mason’s string line
  • Hammer (and cordless drill if you are using drywall screws)
  • 4′ level
  • Shovel
  • Plumb bob
  • Circular saw

It’s a good idea to make sure you have the proper tools when building a fence. Sure, you can always borrow from various neighbors or even rent them, but have a good basic set of tools for the job makes things a lot easier. Garage Tool Advisor has some great recommendations to help you get started.

Lay Out and Set the Posts

fence-postsFirst determine where the corner posts will be. For each one dig a hole 28″ deep and 1′ wide. Pour a bag of concrete in each hole and add and mix the water according to the instructions on the bag. Set the post in the center of the hole, wiggling it into the concrete all the way to the bottom. Use your level to ensure the post is plumb in both directions and brace if needed.

Once the concrete has set completely run your string line from the center of the top of one corner post to the next. It’s recommended to only work between 2 corners at a time. Now you will set the in-between posts making sure they are 8′ on center. Of course, the last one may fall short since yards are rarely in 8′ increments. Run another string line from each corner post on the sides approximately 1′ off the ground on the side the pickets will be on.

By referencing both string lines it’s easy to pinpoint the location of each post. Dig your holes measuring down into the hole from the top string to be sure the hole is deep enough; the ground varies and it might be more or less than a 28″ hole. Set the posts as before but do one at a time as the concrete dries quickly.

Install the 2″ X 4″ Boards and Pickets

use-a-nail-gunOnce the concrete has set remove the top string and nail 2″ X 4″s flat across the top of the posts. Unless you have an extremely small backyard, you will want the help of some of the best pneumatic tools for the job. An air compressor and nail gun will literally save you hours of time and effort. Start the first one halfway across the top of the corner post so the boards will split the tops of adjacent post for nailing purposes.

Next attach the 2″ X 4″ nailers vertically between posts on the side the pickets will go. Use the lower string line for a reference for nailing the bottom of the nailer. Toe-nail them into the posts or optionally buy galvanized stud hangers and use those. These boards will need to be cut to fit between the posts.

Next nail up a picket onto the nailers on each corner post keeping the bottoms about 1″ off the ground. Each picket should take 4 nails. Attach a string line from the posts to the top of the 2 corner pickets. Be sure it is taut because you will use it as a top reference for the in-between pickets.

Now attach the rest of the pickets. Note that you might have to cut the final one narrower. Once this is done, follow the above steps to finish the section up to the next corner post. After working all the sections your project is complete.

Cell Phone Reception in Rural Areas

Years ago, if you lived in a remote, or rural area, the idea of owning a functioning cell phone was nearly impossible.  However, these days, due to a combination of increased traffic in those areas and new technology, it is not only a possibility, but a reality.  Yet there are still limitations, so you must be informed so you can choose the right phone and get the best service.  There are things every buyer must know before buying a cell phone, especially if they live in out of the way places.  These tips will help you make an educated decision and get the best service possible.

rural-cell-phone-serviceThe first thing consumers should know is that even though you may have one of the best cell phone providers that is NOT a guarantee that you will get the best coverage.  Quality cell phone coverage hinges on how many cell phone towers there are and how many are close to where you live/work.  If you live in a rural community, such as a mountain town, there is a good chance that towers may be limited or out of range.  So you may have spotty or irregular service, regardless of who you purchased service from.

Therefore, before you sign a cell phone contract (or purchase a pre-paid one), learn who can provide you with consistent service.  One way to do this is to go on the internet and view a map of the company’s coverage area.  If the map shows your town has little or no cell towers, odds are it is not a good fit, no matter what the brand name.

Another way to guarantee the best possible coverage is to make sure your provider is not the only provider in the area.  When there is one major provider, there is a good chance that signal strength will be weak because of the high number of users.  This is doubly important if you use internet service through your phone.  So you should research and find out from fellow consumers how satisfied they are with their service.  In a case like this you may be better off going with a smaller company if they have a cell tower close to you.

cell-phone-booster-ruralFinally, although it is expensive, a cell phone booster may be your best option.  If you are high on a mountainside or in the middle of a remote island this may be the answer to all your problems.  Simply put, a cell phone booster is a device that picks up the signal of the nearest cell tower and amplifies it, so your phone receives a strong signal.  These units are made up of an antennae and a sending unit.  There are also mobile boosters that plug into your car lighter so you have coverage while moving.

As a consumer you need to know all the facts before making a purchase.  If you follow these guidelines odds are you will choose a phone that actually works for you.  No more frustrations over dropped calls or no internet service.  Now, you can concentrate on enjoying your phone and getting exactly what you’re paying for: quality service.

Building a Secure Storage Shed in Your Backyard

Building your storage shed for your garage and outdoor storage brings order into your home and helps you place tools where they need to be without cluttering your home. A shed also protects your items from water elements and thieves. Building begins after you have selected an appropriate site where you intend to place your shed. You also need to obey local bylaws and ensure your project complies with zoning ordinances and building codes. Advance planning will help you choose a proper site whether for small or a medium sized shed.

You need to understand your needs before embarking on the project. The purpose of your shed is the first determining factor to consider. Ask yourself, is the shed meant for storage, workspace or anything similar? Keep in mind that although the shed will be secure, it shouldn’t be used as a space to store valuables such as memorabilia or firearms which some people actually do. You should always keep those kinds of items locked up inside the house in secure safe (more information here). You also would then need to worry about the humidity which could easily be taken care of inside the house with a top rated safe dehumidifier. Then find out if you need a building permit. Other physical and environmental factors might affect the location of your shed. These include soil, slope, moisture, or property lines. If you are specific on appearance, you might prefer that your shed architecture match your home’s appearance. Your neighbors’ or association’s rules might also influence the dimensions and placement of your shed.


  1. Foundation
    shed-foundationThe first action to take is to clear the site and ensure it is flat and level. Cinder blocks help to offer further support to the foundation. 4×4 posts which have been treated are used to support the deck floors. It’s advisable to cut the posts using a compound minter saw, with the ends cut at a 45-degree angle. In this way, the structure can be easily dragged along if you may need to remove them in the future.

  2. Creating the deck
    Pressure treated 2x6s which have been set vertically should be used. Ensure the pieces are laid side by side before installing the 4 foot end pieces. This will ensure the joints are evenly spaced at 16 inches. Lumbar pieces tend to bend so ensure you install them crown side-up. Using a joint screw gun, install the 5/4 inch decking, while securing the decking boards tightly to the joints. If you have a long driver extension, you’ll find it easier to install the decks along with a screw gun without having to go through the trouble of bending or kneeling.

  3. Building the walls
    The deck being complete helps you to work the surface for building the walls using a level ground. Lay out the pieces in order to form the sides alongside each of the 8 foot walls.

  4. Adding the roofing
    shed-framingThe roof rafters are best when secured with cleats which have been made of OSB. Attach the rafters after raising them. In order to increase support of the corrugated roofing sheets, tie together the 1×6 strips. Self-nailing nails are best used for nailing the roofing sheets.

  5. Windows and siding
    In order for your shed to be secured, you will need to add the windows and siding. Cut holes and then use a reciprocating saw to cut between the studs. A vinyl siding gives it a complete look and you will need to follow the manufacture’s instruction.

  6. Additional features
    Once the shed is complete, you may want to add things such as storage cubbies or a potting bench. You may choose to decorate the door with wood for the outer frame. Most people would use contrasting colors to paint the doors for the storage compartment. The front entrance has a ramp, which makes it easier for you to access the shed with large items like wheelbarrows or mowers without being inconvenienced.

Therefore, whether you choose to create your own shade or hire a professional, you can still have a secure storage or working place in your backyard.

Backyard Camping For Kids

backyard-campingI loved going camping with my family when I was younger. Family camping is a lot of fun, but it can also be stressful when young kids are involved. One way to keep things under control is to set up a backyard camping night that you and the kids can enjoy. In order to make the most of the time, it’s important to consider factors like the setup of the camp, the food that everyone will enjoy, and even putting together some games and activities that the whole family can participate in.

Setting Up the Campsite

To make the event as much fun as possible, choose a portion of the backyard that will serve as the campsite. Use the same basic approach that you would use for setting up at a campground. In other words, you would choose to place the tent under a shaded area so it would have a little extra protection from the rain. That shade would also help to keep the temperature inside the tent more pleasant during the heat of the day.

You can even set up a fire pit that will be used for cooking. If you don’t want to dig a hole or ruin the grass, you can always have the kids collect some rocks to make a foundation for a Hibachi grill or some similar device. The kids will enjoy helping to get ready to roast wieners or cook other foods on an open fire.

Since you probably don’t have a creek or lake to use for swimming, there is always the option of setting up a wading pool as part of the campsite. Place some comfortable lounges or chairs on the site as well. That will allow the kids to splash away to their heart’s content, then dry out in the sun.

Packing the Food

popcornThe backyard camping expedition should not make it necessary to keep running in and out of the house. This means packing food and drink for the evening. Prepare an ice chest and make sure it has plenty of ice to keep the sodas and bottles of water cold. For the food, make trail mix, take along some popcorn, and simple things that you can use to make sandwiches. Don’t forget the hot dogs and the buns for the main meal. Round out the list with some potato chips and maybe something sweet.


Part of camping is getting away from it all. Since you and your kids are so used to electronic devices, decide to do without them for the evening. That means no cell phones and no electronic games. To keep everyone occupied, haul out some board games and keep a few decks of cards on hand. If anyone in the home happens to be musical, a guitar or similar instrument could also be part of the backyard camping scene (if you have friendly neighbors). Even if no one in the family is that great of a singer, you can have a lot of fun learning some traditional songs and spending time together.

Sitting Around the Campfire

smores-in-backyardIf you live out in the country, you probably don’t need any advise regarding this. Those in the suburbs can make use of a fire pit or bowl on their patio. Make some s’mores or just sit back in some chairs and relax and talk as a family. Alternatively, you can create a campfire by using two or three flashlights that you stand upright in the stones collected earlier. For more of a fire effect, gather some branches and place them around the flashlights. You won’t have to worry about embers or anyone getting burned.

Lights Out

At bedtime, everyone gets to make one run into the house for bathroom time and brushing their teeth. After that, it’s back to the tent site and into the sleeping bags. If you’re braving it with a baby, the best baby sleeping bag for something like this would be the Baby Dee Dee Sleep Nest which is great for those chilly nights. Sleep bags for toddlers are also available. This site has some pretty good reviews. Expect the kids to spend a little time talking and laughing before they finally settle down to sleep. Make sure to turn out the flashlights before you call it a night.

Garden Boxes – The Perfect Project for the Novice

garden-boxesGarden boxes (whether raised, window, or other) are a beautiful addition to any yard, patio, or balcony. Building your own garden box is a great project for both novices and seasoned DIYers. Here is a partial list to help you choose which type would be best for you.

Different Types of Window and Garden Boxes

  • Flower boxes – These are garden type boxes situated on windows or patios to bring a splash of color to your outdoor spaces.
  • Raised garden boxes – Either they are placed on a part of land that is set aside for this technique. Or they can be grown on cement. Either way they provide an abundance of fruits and vegetables for family meals.
  • A collection of garden boxes arranged in rows with spaces between for watering. Each raised box is filled with a different assortment of plantings. They can even be timed to mature differently.

Building Your Garden Box

  1. Start your project by first deciding where your garden boxes will be located. There should be ample consideration about what fruits and vegetables to plant and what amounts of sunlight they require.
  2. Decide next how many garden boxes you will want to build.
  3. A trip to your local Home Depot or Lowes is next to secure the lumber and make sure other items are handy such as nails and hammer and a saw. Personally I use my trusty Rolair JC10 which I believe to be the best air compressor for homeowners.
  4. Measure carefully the length that you wish them to be and saw even lengths. Stack them as you finish laying them out where they will be when finished.
  5. Hammer (or use a compressor) the forms together making them totally stable and ready for filling. This is when you decide if you want a bottom to the garden box or if its on land you can leave it open.
  6. Now place each form or box where it will stay. Fill with good black soil mixed with humus and fertilizer. Fill all of the boxes.
  7. Make a trip to the nursery either for seedlings or packets of your choice of fruits or vegetables. Sometimes you can find unusual seedlings to try and its nice to pick up a few.
  8. Do plant your containers fully before moving on to the next one. As you plant them do mark what you planted and its even a good idea to attach the empty seed packet to the box.
  9. When all of the boxes are planted and marked water each carefully so as not to bruise the delicate seedlings. It usually take a couple weeks to germinate seeds and see some growth but be patient. Soon they will be small sprouts and then healthy tomatoes or corn or beans.

Flowering Garden Boxes

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAIf you wish to have beautiful flowers in boxes start with a plan. Its best to group the same plants together such as zinnias or flax or daisies. A full garden box of tulips is more stunning to see than one or two blooms. Its a good idea to use moss in a basket with black potting soil as it helps to retain water on a warm day.

Ivy leaf red geraniums do well cascading from window boxes and bringing color to a neutral landscape. Petunias and marigolds are excellent additions to your garden as they help to keep pests away from your crops. It is a nice thing to add garden boxes of bright flowers on each corner of your planned garden. It makes a good showing when people wander through looking at your crops. Plus, having fresh cut flowers to add to the table makes it all worthwhile.

Just remember that garden boxes are a great way to get a garden in any sized space without digging up the yard. While you can build them the old fashioned way but I HIGHLY recommend investing in a good air compressor under $200 for small projects like this.

How to Install an In-Ground Pool Liner

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAInstalling an in-ground pool liners is far easier than it might appear at first glance. While it might take some work to do it successfully, anybody should be able to do it if they follow a few simple steps.

Continue reading “How to Install an In-Ground Pool Liner” »

Efficiency and Durability of Paslode Nail Guns

paslode-nail-gunIf you are a homeowner, renting a new house and need to make some repairs, getting ready to sell your home, or even if you are a realtor looking to do the actual work to increase the value of a home, you need to be looking for essential tools for these types of tasks and a nail gun would be a great tool to have. This is considered an essential tool simply because it makes remodeling work or construction on a home or jobsite, easier to do. And this is also regardless of whether the job is very basic or more complex.

Continue reading “Efficiency and Durability of Paslode Nail Guns” »

Protecting Your Adirondack Chair

adirondack-chairAdirondack chair covers help to protect valuable outdoor furniture. As authentic Adirondack chairs can be a lofty investment, it is wise to purchase a high-quality cover. However, even standard chair covers will increase the life of any type of Adirondack chair and prevent yearly replacement due to the harsh effects of the great outdoors.

Continue reading “Protecting Your Adirondack Chair” »