Making Your Yard Beautiful and Functional

During the holidays we tend to focus on decorating, but now is a good time to begin thinking about more extensive home improvement projects. Starting now gives you plenty of time to daydream, research and plan. When spring rolls around you will want to get out and use your yard as much as possible so focus on developing the outdoors as much as improving the indoors. Yard improvement projects should be affordable, beautiful and customizable. Here are a few more considerations.

Entertainment

One of the best ways to enjoy a backyard is to entertain. People gather over food, so install an outdoor kitchen complete with a barbecue, dining table and bar. People also like to gather around a fire, but go beyond the traditional firepit by installing a custom fireball California feature sure to be a distinctive conversation piece. For interesting juxtaposition, place the fire feature near a pool, water fountain or pond.

Fun

You want to use your yard for your own pleasure and recreation rather than join the latest fad. Before installing anything, consider how you and your family use the yard and what you like to do. In hot climates, backyard pools seem like a great idea but if you don’t like to swim they are a waste of space. The same is true for any item you can add to your yard. Treehouses are trendy but will not get much use of you are afraid of heights. Flower gardens can be lovely but they require constant attention; if you hate weeding they may not be for you.

Sustainability

A wide expanse of lush lawn can keep the yard and house cooler during the hot summer months but it may use too much water if your area is subject to drought. Planting trees is always a good idea no matter where you live. Well-placed trees can save you money cooling the house during summer and heating it during winter. Trees also provide oxygen, combat pollution and reduce erosion while adding to the value and beauty of your property.…

Easy Ways to Save on Your Energy Bill

One of the worst things for a home owner is to waste money around the home, especially if it could be prevented. If you’re a homeowner who’s tired of seeing your energy bill increase every month, it may be time to assess your energy usage around the home and look for ways to cut costs. Luckily, there are several small things you can do around the home that doesn’t require much work but could result in major savings.

Automate Your Thermostat

Are you still manually setting your thermostat each day out of habit? If you are, you may find that sometimes you forget to change the settings, resulting in your home being inefficiently heated or cooled. It’s time to invest in a programmable thermostat, which takes the guesswork out of managing your home’s heating and cooling settings. You can set it up to automatically work only when you’re home which can result in major energy savings.

Check Your Windows

Take a look at your windows and think about when they were last replaced. If it’s been several years since they’ve been evaluated or replaced, you could be losing energy simply by having poorly-insulated windows throughout your home. To save money on your bills and prevent energy loss, hire window contractors lake county il to install a better solution that will last.

Replace Bulbs

Think about the light bulbs you’re using throughout your home. Are you using energy-efficient solutions that are designed to last or still using the same traditional bulbs you’ve been using for years? If you’re still using traditional bulbs you could be wasting money just by having the lights on in your home. While your initial investment in newer bulbs can be costly, it can quickly pay off in more efficient usage resulting in lower electricity bills each month.

Follow these helpful tips and you should begin to see major energy savings throughout your home.…