Using a laser level

Using a laser level

Grading your driveway at your new home with a laser level will give you a quality job. You may have one or know someone who will lend you one. Lasers are very delicate so be careful with them. You can also rent them if you want to do it yourself. Go to a local rental place and ask them if you can rent a laser.

A transit level takes two people to operate, one to look through the level and the other to hold the measuring stick. The transit level works well, it is just a little slower. Transit levels are much cheaper to buy and rent. Set your transit level up in a spot where you can see your whole work site. But not in a place that needs to be graded. Check your transit often to make sure it is still level.

If I remember correctly I could see the measuring stick about 150 feet away. How far away you can see it, depends on the size of the numbers on the measuring stick. I also taped a measuring tape to a board for checking the grades. The numbers on the measuring stick that comes with a transit level are nice and big for seeing at a long distance.

A laser level can be used by one person. The laser level sits off by itself out of the way. It needs to sit where you can see your whole site. When you get it set up you don't want to have to move it again. All you need is a two inch board, there is a device that comes with the laser level that fastens to your board. You walk around with the stick checking the grade. There is an electronic eye that sends a signal to the device on the stick. When the bottom of the stick is on grade the device will beep.

Carry a can of orange paint with you so you can mark that spot as grade. You can even dig a few spots down to grade. Once you have a few spots to grade it is just a matter of working the area between your level spots. It will take a bit of work but it’s easy to do. A laser level will work for inclines as well. You can build a crown on your driveway to. Build and check your high points and then do the sides.

Once you are compacted and graded up nicely you are ready for the finished product. Spend a bit of extra time on the grading if you are putting brick down, because you will see every bump if you don’t. With asphalt and concrete you can come and go a little because you can adjust the thickness of the material you are installing. If you are within a 1/2 an inch of grade for asphalt or concrete you will be ok. If you are out a 1/2 of inch of grade with brick it will be very noticeable.

If you can’t get your hands on a laser level or a transit level, a string line will work just fine. Drive small wooden stakes every 16 feet along both sides of the driveway across from each other. Put a mark on the stake 4” higher than the height of the base grade. Put a loop in the string and hook it to the stake at the 4” mark, pull it tight so it won’t slide down the stake. Take the other end of the string to the next stake and hold it tight. Do not let the string sag in the middle.

Get a helper to hang a line level on the string. All you have to do is raise or lower one end of the string until the line is level. Now you can go along the string and measure to see if you have 4” everywhere from the string down to the base grade. This also works across the driveway. Check the grade across the driveway exactly the same as you did along the driveway.

If it were me and I was building a driveway for asphalt, concrete or brick, I would put the base down and drive on it for awhile. Driving on it will settle it as fast as anything. Don't drive in the same track all the time either. Make an effort to drive on all parts of the driveway. Your top will last longer and your wheel tracks won't show as bad.

Every new home I worked at I used my TD 8 dresser dozer for spreading the crush or screenings as these little machines can do a nice job. They have tilt and angle blade for putting material anywhere you want. I use the same machine to bring the driveway within a 1/2 an inch of grade.

If you can hire someone that has a laser level mounted on the blade of the bull dozer, it would be worth the price they charge. Once you are graded and compacted you are ready for whatever it is you want for a top. The driveway should look good for the new home. Do a really nice job on the grading and your top will go on smoothly.

There are rental shops everywhere. They would rent anything from a bull dozer to a laser level. Mini excavators work well too for grading a driveway. They have a little blade on them for moving material. The blade on a mini excavator will cut little bits at a time until you have your driveway to grade.

New Trends in Home Interior Designs

One of the most interesting new trends that I have seen for 2013 is based upon the need for more privacy in the home.

As more and more Americans are buying homes in subdivision type communities there is a need to shelter the interior of the home from neighbors who may be as close as 10 feet away. This is especially true of the master bathroom.

While there are products on the market such as glass block that can distort the view while still allowing light into the room they seem dated in today's home. They also distort light in such a way that if you live in a warmer climate such as Arizona it is not energy efficient as they add tremendous heat to the room.

Xer designers mash up sacred simplicity with Funky Shui

Home Interior Designs


Get fab, get funky? That’s the sensibility of Xer sisters Jennifer and Kitty O’Neil, whose book Decorating with Funky Shui shows how to infuse abodes with personal style.

“Your home should be a reflection of you, not a Pottery Barn showroom. Simple living is simply boring,” says Jennifer, who has hung 14 framed vintage Hawaiian hula records around the top of her “Blue Hawaii” kitchen.

Funky shui rests on four elements: a "playful center" or conversation piece, bright color, delightful lighting, and "abundance through abundance," as in personal collections of anything from guitars to Angel Gifts.

East meets mess? Feng shui pushed clean and austere, but consumers seem ready to mash it up with personalization and style.

Consumers craving creative expression on the home front get a shot of inspiration from their peers. RESOURCES Decorating with Funky Shui: How to Lighten Up, Loosen Up, and Have Fun Decorating Your Home by Jennifer O’Neil and Kitty O’Neil, Andrews McMeel Publishing 2004

Anderson Windows has created a new product that they call "switchable glass". These double paned windows trap a thin layer of particles between the panes thus creating a milky white opaque look. The look is achieved via a light switch in your home. When you hit the switch a low voltage current is applied to the window causing the particles to align with one another and in turn creating the opaque appearance.

The new "switchable glass"windows don't necessarily have to be an opaque white. If you prefer to look at a piece of art they also have windows that will simulate the look of a painting, such as Monet's waterlilies. In fact, it can pretty much simulate anything you want, from fine art to the internet.

Got Small Kids? - You Will Need Table Pads

Table Pads
Children are wonderful, you have to be an absolute Scrooge to not like kids but they are also notorious for new and innovative ways to mar, mangle an ultimately destroy household items and furniture. The two main things to remember when little ones are going to be having the run of your home, whether your own brood or visitors, is to cover it up or put it away.

Child proof locks on cabinets, fragile items out of reach of the longest arms of the little darlings is only the tip of the iceberg. If it is breakable and you value it then you have to look for ways to protect it. Moreover if you have small ones that are new to walking or are just pulling up it is important that you make sure they are safe as well. What is dull and uninteresting to you will be new and exciting for them. They will be pulling up and climbing on things to get a better view or just because they can.

Meals at the dining room table can be fraught with anxiety but you can eliminate much of it by placing edge guards on the corners of the table and using custom table pad. When you purchase a table there is a lot that you considered. If you spend hundreds on a table of good quality wood you don’t want to risk scratches, burn marks and water rings. Protective coverings need to be sturdy but this does not mean that you need to sacrifice style and beauty.

A great custom table pad should be able to protect the furniture from spills, dents, moisture and heat. You can find table pads for any style of table but if you have a hard to find shape you can get one made to order. A custom made pad will fit any table better since it is designed for that tables’ specific dimensions. Generally there are pad locks that keep the pad tight to the surface, no slipping is very important.

It is not just people that are detrimental to fine furnishings. Direct sunlight can fade anything. have you ever moved a piece of furniture only to notice that the carpet or flooring underneath the object looks more like it did when it was new than the rest of the exposed areas. This is the effect of direct sunlight. There are several ways to combat this issue on your wood tables and that is to purchase custom table pads. It is cheaper than replacing windows with ones that cut down the UV glare, and easier than opening and closing the blinds several times a day.

Another option is to move the furniture so that it is not in the sun but that only helps one issue. The expense of table pads will be offset by the years that you get to enjoy your furniture without fear.  Learn more about table pads and the benefits of owning them here.

How To Use Your Brand New Dining Room Table Without Fear

Dining Room Table
You spend a great deal of time picking out your home furnishings, especially the dining room table. Then there are the elegant wood coffee and end tables that are just gorgeous. If you want to keep them looking like new there are a few things that you can do to make sure the surfaces do not get marred, scratched or dented. Table pads are making a comeback, keep reading to find out why.

Many of the people reading this article may have never heard of table pads. There was a time when people who struggled hard to purchase nice things would cover them to make them last longer. We all hear the jokes about the plastic slip covers on couches and chairs, this was the same era that table pads became a very popular item.

We know that purchasing a formal dining set is a big deal and probably one that we won’t make more than a couple of times in our lives. They represent a huge investment and you will want to protect that investment as much as you would an automobile. Well maintained furniture can last a lifetime, just look at how much fine furniture from different eras has been passed down through generations. One of the best ways to protect your dining room table is with custom table pads.

Dining room table pads are protective top covers for a table that are moisture resistant, heat resistant and scuff resistant. Sure  most manufacturers of fine dining room furniture use some sort of protecting oils on the wood, these are only designed to handle small spills anything major could really destroy your table. A fallen candle or hot wax could ruin it or cause you to need costly repairs.

You have spent a lot making your home look grand, spending a few dollars more to make sure it stays that way is a no-brainer. Through the years there will be overturned glasses and gravy boats, silverware can leave scratches on a surface without you even trying. Watermarks from sweating drinks and the table could even diminish the texture of the wood over the long run. Refurbishing a great piece of furniture can cause a real pain in the wallet, and it is especially bothersome when it is a new piece.

Dining table pads can be bought in standard sizes or you can have yours custom made. There are soft pads that are easy to fold and store or try out the sturdier cardboard backed pads. The ones with the hard board has hinges, the top covering can be leatherette, velvet, vinyl, waterproofed weave or cotton. To choose the best options for your home speak with a professional.  You can also get single plate table pads that work similarly to a placemat. The only thing you need to worry about is choosing colors that will match the existing décor. Investing in a table pad or two is a small price to pay if you consider how long that table is bound to last if you protect it.

Information about Driveway and Landscape materials!

Please note! All of the driveway and landscape materials on this page can be purchased and trucked to your location for resale or for your own use.

We also have a good selection of compost products, such as potting soils, garden soils and topsoil. These items can be purchased bulk or bag, all bags are sealed and shipped by pallet.

I have taken many pictures of driveway and landscape materials. I wrote a description of each picture on what each item can be used for around a new home. Some materials can be used for the same application, it is a matter of preference. It may be hard to tell the difference between some of the driveway and landscape materials but at least it will give you an idea. I will tell you what each application would require to do a good job. There are so many different kinds of materials I will not likely put them all on here. What is on here will give you an idea of what to expect from your contractors.

Red bark mulch is used mainly for decoration. If you have steep side hills that are hard to mow you can place about 3-4 inches of the bark mulch for looks. Weeds and grass will grow up through the bark mulch if you don't lay something on the ground first. You can buy a landscape fabric that works well. I have used old carpet, I have also used lots of news paper. Use anything that the bark mulch will stick to and completely cover the ground under the mulch. Bark mulch is used in flower beds to brighten them up. Use it around your trees, it makes it easier to mow the grass when you don't have to get to close to your trees.

Black bark mulch To the right is black bark mulch. It is exactly the same kind of wood as the red bark mulch. It is up to the individual which color you prefer. There may be different applications where the dark would look better than the red and the other way around. Which color you use will depend on the other colors around the new home. The color dye used is environmentally friendly and does not wash off in the rain. Don't be afraid to use lots of mulch. The deeper the mulch is, the less chance of weeds and grass will have of coming up through.

The regular bark mulch is the natural color of the bark. The bark is mostly spruce and some balsam fir. I think if trees are going to be cut someone might as well make use of the by product. What a great idea, using something once so ugly and turning it into something beautiful. It is hard to imagine where the bark came from that is around your flower beds. It may have came from another country. You may have the bark that came from the lumber that you built your new home with. Where ever it came from enjoy it! I encourage everyone to use driveway and landscape materials to take advantage of our natural resources. You may have heard that bark mulch draws ants? That statement is not true! Ants are usually drawn to something sweet, and sometimes they just come for no reason.

Oversize drainrock comes from pitrun gravel. Pitrun gravel is the natural material in the ground. Contractors use screening plants to screen the bigger rocks from the finer material. The pitrun gravel goes up a belt and drops onto a vibrating screen. Different size screens render different sizes of driveway and landscape material. Oversize rock is used for french drains. They are great for building a road across a swamp, keep backing out on the rock and driving them into the mud. Water will drain quickly through oversize drainrock.

Driveway and landscape materials come in many different sizes. I said before it is a matter of preference which product you use for your application. The inch and a quarter clear drainrock is used for septic systems. The drainrock is placed in the trenches about 10 deep and then the pipe is laid on the rock. After the pipe is in place, it is completely covered so the fine material doesn't get in the drain holes of the pipe. This rock is used around basement walls to cover up the PVC pipe. The drain rock makes an easy path for water to drain through.

When you are deciding which driveway and landscape material to use around your new home it wouldn't hurt to know what is available in your area. This three quarter crush material to the right is used on driveways. This material should go down about 6 inches deep. Makes a great base for asphalt. This material comes from pitrun that has gone through a rock crusher. The sharp corners hold the finer material from moving. This material is better used on steep driveways, there is less chance it will wash out from heavy rains.

Three quarter minus to the left is used for driveways that are flat. This material makes a great base for asphalt. I use this material for garage and basement floors. It is really easy to level off and goes down hard and smooth. Your driveway and landscape material needs to be chosen properly to get the best results from your projects. This material comes from pitrun gravel. Pitrun is screened and this is the result. The rocks are rounded not sharp like crushed material. The fine material helps hold everything together and packs down good.

Screened sand Screened sand is a well used driveway and landscape material. This material is used for mixing morter for the chimney in your new home. Sand is used for burying electrical cables around the new home. You can mix sand with potting soils if they are a little too sticky. Walkways are common users of sand. Put an inch of sand down before you place your bricks. The sand allows the bricks to settle into place.

Pitrun gravel is a natural resource. This driveway and landscape material has many uses. This material can be made into dozens of other materials by screening and crushing it. Pitrun gravel is often used on driveways in its natural form. Some people don't mind the bigger rocks. The price of the pitrun is what they like. Pitrun is a great material for backfilling a new home. The water will drain through pitrun quite easily and quickly. This is a good material to use if you want a dry basement wall. Pitrun can be used for nothing more than fill. If you have a big hole to fill in, this is the cheapest way to go.

How to Build a Fish Pond

Has it been a dream of yours to have a fish pond? If you have built a New Home in the country it is very possible that your dream may be able to come true. If you have lived there for twenty years it is still possible.

There is really only one thing that will stop you from fulfilling your dream, no water. You need a steady flow of water from a spring or an overflow to keep the water fresh in the pond.

Fish need fresh water coming into the pond to provide oxygen. Some people have set a sump pump up to do the same thing; you need a close source of electricity for this method. Install the sump pump at the edge of the fish pond, hook a hose about 4 feet long to the pump and secure it to a wooden stake.

Point the hose outward into the pond so that the water shoots upward and falls into the water, this creates oxygen for the fish. You may have a low supply of fresh water coming into the fish pond that won’t create enough oxygen to keep fish alive.

So if you can manage this hurtle you can probably build a fish pond. How do you know if you have enough water for a pond? If you have an area out back that is wet or soft year around then you have what it takes.

A good spring will produce water even in the driest months of summer. There are two ways to approach this! You can build the fish pond at the source of water or you can build it in a dry area and pipe the water to it. The spring area must be higher than the level of the water in the fish pond. If you are uncertain of this, get a transit or a laser level and check the grade.

The spring water must run down hill and at a pretty good rate so that it creates enough oxygen. Building the pond at the source will create enough oxygen for the fish. Why else do you need a steady flow of water? The hot sun evaporates water from the pond and will actually dry it up.

The water needs to be a certain temperature for fish to live. I build my ponds at least 12 feet deep, the deeper the better. A deep pond will keep the water cool on the bottom, you can put an object in the bottom to provide shade if you have something suitable.

Make sure it is environmentally friendly so it does not poison the water and the fish. Build a pond in amongst the trees or plant some willows for shade.

Interior Design Schools: A Career In Design

Decorator or Designer? The number one difference between a "decorator" and a "designer" is education. Before you engage in a career in design it is good to know the difference. In many states all you have to do to be a decorator is hang a sign on your door that states that's what you are. As a decorator you cannot move walls, add windows, design cabinetry or work in commercial design.

First Step

Research Schools and Design Programs.

If you are planning on becoming an "interior designer" the first step is to find a school that offers at least a two-year degree in interior design. Some states require the school to be a FIDER (Foundation for Interior Design Education and Research) accredited school.

If you plan on becoming a commercial designer, someone who specializes in a area of design deemed "commercial" such as the design of office buildings, shopping malls, hotels, restaurants etc. then you will most likely need a four to five year degree.

If you would like to design residential homes you can get away with just a two year degree but I urge you not to plan on starting your own business fresh out of school. You will need at least a few years of experience with a firm before you risk the liability of going out on your own.

Second Step

Talk with faculty members. Ask them questions regarding job placement, scholarship offerings, the teaching philosophy of the program, the average percentage of graduates that actually pursue careers in the design industry and what types of jobs they have landed i.e. does the school (or program) lean more toward residential jobs or commercial.

Third Step

Once you've determined the school and the program I would suggest getting involved in the local student chapter of ASID (American Society of Interior Designers) or IIDA (International Interior Design Association). By doing this you can become involved in the industry and network with future employers.

Research all of the options before making a decision. It is not a field for everyone and does require physical stamina. You will be required to lift heavy objects. These are things that you need to be aware of before investing your money in a school.

Area Rugs For Makeover

If you are thinking about making over a room, why not try adding an area rug? If you have hardwood floors or tile, this is a great way to add color to your room.

Area rugs also add warmth and can define a space. You can also use them on carpets as well as hardwood and tile.

First consider what you want your rug to do. Will it be a focal point for the room or will you use it under a grouping of furniture ? Maybe you just want to add color to your room.

Here are some tips on color. Don't try to match the colors perfectly with the walls or other furniture. The area rug should blend with the other colors in your room.

Pick shades of colors that blend with your walls, furniture and accessories. Be careful of picking competing patterns. If your room has neutral colors and wood floors, pick a rug with rich colors to warm up the room.

Oriental area rugs are made from silk or wool. They are quite expensive but are also the most durable. If you have children and pets olefin is known to be the most stain resistant. Nylon is also very easy to care for and durable.

Cotton and wool rugs are softer but aren't as durable or kid friendly and of course jute is prickly. You will have to keep these rugs out of sunlight as well.

Area rugs come in different shapes. Choose a rectangular shape for defining a space such as the living room. Irregular rugs are used as a focal point in a room.

Area rugs come in many standard sizes. The smaller rugs work well in hallways or entryways or to define spaces such as the fireplace.

If using an area rug in the dining room make sure that the rug is big enough to accommodate the dining room furniture.

Do your shopping and look for bargains and you may be able to pick up a great looking area rug for a good price. You will find some ideas on shopping directory area rugs los angeles. They have a good price for luxury, handmade rugs and carpets

Tips on caring for leather sofa

Having a leather furniture is great because it has a classic and elegant models and will make your room comfortable. However, there's always dirt because of water spills, sweat, dust and mold that makes your sofa appearance dull. And for that we need to do a weekly clean to make sure its sustainability.

 For weekly maintenance, here is what you should do:

  • Use moisturizers and sofa cleansers usually they came in "2 in 1 package" such as leather care, leather cleaner and conditioner.
  • Spray a soft cloth to drugs, clean it up with wash cloth and allow up to 2-3 minutes.
  • Wipe with dry wash cloth gently. if there is a mold, you can clean it with sponge with liquid soap.Rinse with a slightly damp cloth and immediately wipe with dry fiber cloth.
  • You can apply a moisturizer after that and allow it to dry for 2-3 minutes, then wipe gently with
  • soft clean cloth.

Sometimes even with the regular maintenance, over time a layer of skin will peel and crack. If this happens you can buy liquid leather repair kit which has special heat in their kit. This way they can repair your sofa in a minutes.

Dos and don'ts for your sofa

  • Avoid cleaning the leather sofa chair using chemical cleaners because it will make the color and the surface changed    
  • Avoid using cleaning agents that are too hard because it will make the surface of the skin becomes irritated and abrasion occur.
  • Avoid placing the sofa in areas exposed to direct sunlight, such as in front of the window. Sunlight will make skin color will fade quickly and will make your sofa dry and cracked
  • Avoid high humidity because it will accelerate the growth of mold and can damage the leather.
  • The most rapid dirty or damaged on the sofa is part of the hand and the back of the head. Use cloth cover on the arms and backrest, which can be removed and washed.

How to Choose Tile

Tile is one of the most versatile product available on the market today. There is an astronomical variety of colors, patterns, sizes, shapes and textures to choose from. The most common types of tile consist of glazed, and non-glazed ceramic tiles, porcelain tiles, and natural stone tiles. When considering adding tile to your home there are a few characteristics of tile to consider before choosing the color and style. For more assistant in choosing your tile for your home project you can call best tile San Francisco

Slip Resistance

This is important when considering where you are going to place the tile. Will it be a kitchen or bath where you will need asurface that has more slip resistance as opossed to the bedroom?

Size and color of the grout joints

This will tremendously effect the overall look of the tile and the room.

The thickness of the tile, size of the tile and the suitability of the substructure.

The thickness of tile is very important when you are not tiling your entire house. If you have a very thick tile butt up against a flat carpet then your going to have an awkward transition and probably a dangerous tripping situation. And it certainly won't look attractive!

The size is important in the sense that you want to maintain proper scale within your space. For example, you may want a smaller tile on the floor of your shower for better slip resistance and larger ones on the wall and the floor of the rest of your bathroom.

The suitability of the construction is important when considering where you want to place your tile. For example, if you would like to tile your stairs they will need to be reinforced so that they are strong enough to withstand the weight.

The same goes for if you would like to tile the second story of your home. Chances are that you will need to have the entire floor reinforced to withstand the additional weight. This is a very expensive option so before you have your heart set on it contact a subcontractor to come out and take a look and quote you a price.

Culvert Installation!

The driveway culvert is usually the first new home project that needs to be done. It can be moved quite easily if you find out it won’t work where you put it. Plastic and concrete pipes are available and approved for highway use. I prefer to use plastic because they are lighter than concrete and cheaper. They are not only cheaper they are easier to install. You can buy them pretty well any length you want. One piece means no joints to come apart.

Before you backfill and compact your culvert consider this! Have you ever noticed asphalt driveways with a bump directly over the ditch area of the driveway? Or a low spot in the same area? Two things you need to know before you go any further.

A lot of people never compact the material they place around the culvert. As sure as I am alive if you don't compact the material it will settle in after. When it settles, so does your asphalt and or paving stones. Do you have any idea how hard it is to fix something like this? Very difficult! If you have laid asphalt you can't fix it so it looks original. You need to cut the asphalt out and patch it.Who wants a patch on their new asphalt driveway?

Do you want to know what causes your culvert to rise? Of course this only happens in places that freezes. The frost goes down under the culvert and pushes it up. Stop the frost before it gets to the culvert by placing a sheet of 2 inch blue styrofoam directly over the pipe. Use 4X8 sheets and center them over the pipe. Cut 1 foot wide strips off a sheet and place it over the joints.

The material under the styrofoam must be compacted so it doesn't settle and crack the styrofoam. Make sure the styrofoam is secured and use a fine screened gravel for backfilling. If this procedure is done properly the frost will never get to the culvert.

!8 I have bought plastic pipes as long as 36 feet. The concrete culverts are 8 feet long; most driveways require three pipes 8 feet long. Most driveway culverts are 18” in diameter. If there is a heavier flow of water in the ditch you will be asked to install a larger one.

Anyone building a new home needs to contact the local government for their approval of the pipe. The pipe has to be big enough to handle the water, otherwise it will over flow and wash your driveway out. In the winter time it could freeze up and get plugged off, and then the water will run down the side of the road and cause problems with ice build up.

In rural areas it is the responsibility of the new home owner to organize and pay for the installation of their own driveway culvert. You must install the culvert you have been asked to install, if you don’t and it over flows you will be responsible for digging it up and replacing it with the proper size. Or the Department of Highways will fix the problem themselves and send you the bill.

If your driveway is going to be installed at the top of a hill chances are you won’t need a pipe because water will run both ways. Talk to the Highways people about this to see if they agree with you. They may say you can get away without a one. If you don’t need one, all you have to do is dig the topsoil out of the ditch and fill it in with gravel.

Important! The department of highways will also make sure you don’t install a culvert where it will cause traffic problems. You should have at least 300 feet of vision both ways so you don’t have to worry about pulling out in front of another vehicle. It is important that you choose a good spot to put your driveway; we don’t want anyone getting hurt or killed.

Plastic culverts need to be placed on a smooth, compacted surface. This will keep the inside of the culvert nice and flat on the bottom so water runs freely. Your culvert is now ready to be installed and backfilled with fine granular material. Bring the gravel up no more than half way on the pipe and level it off.

Make sure you crowd the material down in around the pipe with your shovel and then run a plate compactor over the material. Bring the material to the top of the pipe and compact it again. Make sure you don’t leave any valleys in the gravel because it won’t compact as good. Now you can completely back fill the pipe and smooth it off for one last compaction.

Important! Keep an eye open for big sharp rocks, don't let any sit directly over the pipe. The weight of the traffic can push the sharp rock through a plastic pipe.

Heavy machines can crush a plastic pipe if both sides of the pipe are not compacted properly. The water would still run through the pipe but not as fast. I have found that it is cheaper to do thing’s right the first time. If I can, I usually try to get a minimum of 12 inches of gravel over the pipe. This will depend on how deep the ditch is and how steep your driveway is.

A deep ditch will allow you to put plenty of material over the pipe. But a steep driveway won’t allow it! You tend to dig down to try to make a level spot at the foot of your driveway. This causes you to uncover the culvert. On some steep driveways I have used a 12 inch pipe because it will allow you to leave another 6 inches of material over the pipe. I did this knowing for a fact that the 12 inch culvert would handle the water in the ditch. Most importantly check with the local government to see if they approve of your idea.

The smaller 12 inch concrete pipes are sometimes used around new homes. You may have a small trickle of water you want to get from one spot to another. Or you may have a foot path on your building lot that has a wet spot. Simply dig a small ditch and lay the pipe in.

Building a Roadway or Driveway to a Dream Home

Building a roadway for your new home that has a few trees, and likely has a lot of topsoil is the easiest kind to build. When culvert installation is completed and you are able to get on your lot you can begin removing the top soil. Pile the top soil in a place that is out of the way so you can use it later. Topsoil is very expensive so save as much as you can.

Do not disturb any more ground than you have to. The more you disturb the more you will have to clean up later. Use an excavator to load the dump truck with topsoil and haul it to another part of your lot. I found it easy to follow the driveway by making a track with the excavator.

I normally dig down about a foot so I can put gravel back in. How much you dig out depends on the material in the ground. If it is good material you won’t have to take as much out. Maybe all you will need to do is take the topsoil off and level it up. The important thing is that the base of your roadway is solid. Don’t worry about mixing a little mud in with the topsoil it will all work together.

Grading the driveway will be one of the last new home projects to do. Once all of the heavy equipment is finished and out you can start bringing in the screened or crushed gravel for the top. The finished height of the driveway should be slightly higher than the lawn, 3-4 inches if possible. If you plan on finishing your roadway with asphalt or any other surfaces bring the gravel back up to the original ground. The water won't run across a roadway that is higher than the lawn. The snow will blow across better too.

For now get the roadway passable, so you can get to work on the new home basement. After I get the topsoil off I put a good layer of gravel on just in case it rains. The gravel keeps the mud down! It depends on your finances what kind of material you use for the roadway. If you are feeling rich you may want to buy screened or crushed gravel for the full depth. The crushed gravel lies together nicer and makes a better base. The crushed gravel is also more expensive.

If you are trying to save money, bring the pit run up about 6” and leave the rest for the screened or crushed gravel. This material will make a great base for whatever you put on top, such as asphalt, brick or concrete. Important! I do not recommend that you put rocky gravel under asphalt or brick driveways! Once the material is in place you need to compact it thoroughly so it will never settle later.

Don’t compact the material if it is too dry, you need to water it down a little so it will stick together. You can over compact too, if you over compact it will start to crack so be careful. Once you are compacted you can spend some time and check it for grade.

Make sure the base of your roadway is a foot wider than your finished product. If your asphalt or concrete top is going to be 10 feet wide, make your base 11 feet wide. Doing this makes sure you have lots of room for the top. Making it wide is extra important if you are laying brick. You need the sides as good as the center so the outside brick doesn’t settle. Keep your base a consistent width, and follow the path exactly.

Important! Never use material that won't pack down if you are leaving the top gravel. Screened clear rock will not pack because it is usually round, and continually rolls. The best material to pack is crushed gravel. The sharp edges hold the fine material in place Fine screened sand will not pack either! If your top doesn't pack down well, the snow plow will push it all over the place. That's pretty well it! Not as complicated as you thought, right! 

Hiring the right Residential General Contractor isn't easy!

You are ready to hire a residential general contractor! You have looked at property, dickered on the price, got an estimate on the cost of getting the property in shape for a new home and you are the proud owner of a building lot. At this point you probably already have several copies of your building plan. If you don’t, you need to get them right away. You are now ready to begin construction on the nicest new home on the block. I am not sure what kind of a lot you bought. Is it a swamp? Is it all rock? Is it one of those side hill lots? Maybe it is the nicest and flattest lot, covered in maple trees that you have ever seen. It really doesn’t matter what it is, because we can make it work. Keep this attitude all the way through the construction period and you will do just fine.

You need three quotes from a residential general contractor. Bring in three contractors at different times and show them a copy of your building plan. They will probably want to keep the plan until they do up a quote for you. You want one contractor to do the whole job. The contractor will quote on all the excavating work, septic system, well, and of course the construction of the new home. Once all of these projects are completed you can hire a landscaper to finish or have the same contractor include the landscaping in his quote. Some residential general contractors may not want to be involved in the landscaping project. If this is the case get three more quotes for the landscaping.

When you are showing each contractor your plan and your lot, take notes of your conversation. Each contractor will have something different to add to the conversation. These notes will come in handy when it comes time to choose the right contractor. Pay close attention to what he says. Ask him questions with regards to the lot. Does the contractor sound professional? Does he look professional? When you decide on a residential general contractor, you must ask for recent referrals from previous customers. A confident contractor will give you the addresses of some of the homes he has built. When you buy a car do you take it for a test drive? A house is 10 times more important so make a point to look at the new homes he has built. In fact, make a point to talk to the home owners and get their opinions about the contractor.

Make sure the residential general contractor you hire has insurance before he starts construction. The risk of something going wrong is not worth it. You could lose your shirt should something happen. Ask your contractor about his warranties. What are the procedures if you have problems with the new home? Time can be an issue with some contractors and they may not be able to start when you want them to. Worse still, they may not start when they said they would. Building a new home takes a lot of careful planning, with so many things to consider. You definitely don’t want to be bothered hiring several contractors to do different phases of the construction. Hire one residential general contractor and let him worry about scheduling.

Painting Ideas

Here are a few tips to help you develop a color palette for your home. The 60/30/10 Rule

This basic concept will help you develop a more balanced space in regards to color.

60% of your room should be of one dominant color, 30% should consist of another secondary color and 10% should be of an accent color.

To help you visualize what this looks like in a room, consider that the walls are the dominate feature, they should consist of 60% of your color palette.

The upholstery in your room is typically the next most prominent feature in the room so this should consist of 30% of your color palette.

Finally, the accessories, artwork, florals etc. are the jewelry of your room. They consist of 10% of your color palette.

Now this doesn't mean that you only have 3 colors in your room! It's simply a tip to help you find a type of scale for the color palette in your room.

To help you figure out what colors you like, look to your existing fabrics. Do you have bright colored pillows on your sofa as a focal point in your room? Or maybe it's black and white photography?

If you're not happy with your existing space, check the colors in your closet. The color of the majority of your clothes will sometimes tell you what colors you naturally are drawn too. Pull ideas from nature. After all, Mother Nature is the queen colorist!

Try introducing blues that mimic water or browns and oranges that you would find in the desert. When utilizing nature as a guide, keep in mind that the colors should graduate from the floor up, from darkest to lighest, just as it does in nature. The ground is darker with rock, dirt and grass and lightens as it reaches up towards the sky.

Another color tip is to utilize the concepts of the color wheel when trying to choose a color scheme.

The color wheel can help you to narrow down the choices into 2 main color palettes. The Complementary Color Scheme & The Analogous Color Scheme

 The Complementary Color Scheme

This scheme utilizes colors that are across the color wheel from each other. For example, purple and orange or blue and yellow.

This scheme can come across as complex and sophisticated so it lends itself to more formal settings such as the dining room or the master bedroom.

 The Analogous Color Scheme

The analogous color scheme is based on colors that are very close to one another on the color wheel, such as yellow and green or brown and black. It can also include tonal schemes that consists of different shades of the same color.

This scheme comes across as restful and comfortable. It lends itself well to bedrooms and family rooms, places where you want to kick back and relax.

 Add Touches of Black

Touches of black act like the jewelry in the room. They help to enhance and clarify the other colors in the room. You don't need to add a lot of black just add a small black frame, or box on a table, it could even be found in the base of a table lamp. Try it out and I think that you'll be pleasantly surprised.

For more info about painting roofing and interior design, you can contact Painter Cincinnati, a Professional Residential and Commercial Painting Contractors in Cincinnati & Dayton Ohio.

How to Build a Lawn that Grows!

Do not build your new home lawn until the outside of the house is completely finished! The last thing you want is to have people tramping around the house killing the new grass that is just starting to peek up through the topsoil.

When the contractors have left, it is time to call in the landscapers or do it yourself. Before you call any landscaping company you may want to have a design done of your new home surroundings. You will do this for two reasons! First, you yourself will want to know what your landscaping will look like before the landscapers start. The time to make changes with the design is on paper, not during construction. Making changes during construction is costly and leaves an opening for a contractor to soak you for the extra work they have to do that is not in the contract.

The second important reason you need a landscape design is so you can get firm quotes from three landscaping contractors. The contractor will come to your new home and look the site over carefully with you to make sure he understands what you want. Together you will look at the landscape design and talk about every diagram and plant that is on the design. Some landscaping companies offer design work free as long as they get the job.

I know for a fact that it is not always wise to except the lowest bidder’s price. I also know it is extremely important that you look at other homes the bidders have worked on and get references from each of them. I must say that once you hire a landscaper you are stuck with them unless they fail to follow the plan.

I am going to give you some helpful hints on building a lawn. The soil you use will determine the quality and thickness of your grass. Pay close attention to the grass over the septic system, it is always greener and thicker because it pulls nutrients from the ground. The septic system basically provides a fertilizer for the grass as any animal manure would do for a hay field.

The soil for the base needs to be earthy and maybe even a little bit of clay mixed in with it would be good. The reason is because this type of soil holds moisture far longer than a granular material. Do not use pit run gravel or sandy material for a base because the water will drain through it quickly. It may be ok in a wet season but as soon as things dry up so does your grass. Your grass needs a lot of water to maintain its green color and to stay healthy, poor grass will bring weeds.

Shape your lawn all the way around your new home before you start any flower beds or walkways. You must have the lawn graded for proper water drainage. If you are going to have an in ground pool or tennis court and even a walk way you must shape your ground first. All these things will need to be elevated higher than the lawn so water runs away from them. If you build your tennis court in a hole you will be walking on water, if you build your walk way in a low lying area water will drain onto it.

So again I recommend you finish all the construction work outside your new home before you build a lawn. If you are building a tennis court, walk way or in ground swimming pool you will have a lot of machine traffic going back and forth that will destroy your lawn.

Your soil base is heavy clay like material to hold moisture, do not use too much clay because it becomes very hard and will crack. When grading around the home or walk ways stay down about 3-4 inches, this will allow room for a blended soil that you will plant or hydro seed in. Again the base is to hold moisture and the screened blended topsoil is too plant your grass in. I warn you not too mess around with topsoil that is not mixed with manure or screened. Blended soils generate great looking lawn grass and screened soil spreads out so easy and looks 100% better.

Do not tramp your soil or pack it down after it is seeded, your earth needs to breathe to give oxygen to the grass through the roots. If you use proper soils and leave the soil loose your lawn will start to grow in a few days. You can seed the lawn by hand and use a leaf rake to mix it in with the soil, you can use a Brillion seeder that buries the seed for you and rolls it out flat or you can hydro-seed it.

Hydro-seed is grass seed, paper, and a green coloring. The coloring is so you can see what you have seeded; the newspaper is to protect the seed until it germinates. All this material is added to water in a big tank which is pumped through a hose onto your lawn.

If you plant early in the spring when there is a lot of moisture in the ground you really only need to seed by hand. Grass is very slow growing if at all in dry weather. If your lawn doesn’t grow the way you wanted, usually it is because it is too dry. Do not cut your new grass too soon; let it grow to provide shade and moisture for the slower seeds. Your new lawn will get thicker and greener by the day, in about 2-3 weeks you may be able to fire up that brand new Kubota lawn mower

Do not plant a lawn after the first week of September because it will likely die either from too much rain or winter kill. The best time to plant is May, June, July in parts that have winters and the rest of you need to build a good base and take your chances. Never water your lawn through the day because the sun dries it up faster than it will soak in. Always water your lawn in the evening; this will give it a chance to soak into the soil. The roots will turn and extend to the water source, if you are watering through the day the root will be burned up once the sun dries up the water. This is also a waste of water, use water conservatively and smartly.

Where will the basement wall be situated?

There are many things to consider before you pour the basement wall. You should know where the sun will rise and set around your new home. You may want to sit on your deck in the afternoon and sun yourself. Or you may want the sun shining in your kitchen window at 7 am. It is nice to sit on your deck in the evening and watch the sun set. Take a few minutes to decide where to place the basement-wall. This will allow you to have full benefits from the sun.

If you are going to have flower beds around the new home it is important to know if the sun will be shining directly on them. Some plants don’t need a lot of sun and some do. You may want to work on your flower beds without too much sun shining down on you. You also have to consider how your driveway will approach the new home. Will the angle of the house allow you easy access to the two car garage?

If you don’t prepare the basement properly you will have water problems. Steep side hills can be very difficult to deal with. Don’t build your new home to close to the foot of a slope. Dig the basement away from side hills as far as you can. You need enough room to slope the ground away from the wall without digging into the side hill.

Once you disturb a side hill it will be difficult to maintain. You will have to spend a lot of money to deal with the problems that will occur. Retaining walls are expensive if one is needed. I have built several retaining walls for people and they are hard work. I will say it again; look your lot over carefully before you make any decisions. A residential general contractor will help you with your lot preparation. The equipment operators will give good advice as well. Surely someone can help you make the right decisions.

Some people can look at a building lot and say the new home needs to go here. Very few people have that gift. You need a creative mind to picture the new home already sitting on the lot. I can create a picture in my mind and build it. Doesn’t matter what it is! I can tell you exactly where the water will come in on the lot and leave. I can do this before a new home is ever built. So if you are absolutely sure where you want the basement wall, you can start to dig.

Interior design tips: Which leathers and fabrics to use in your home

We all want to give our home that luxe look. And, one of the ways to achieve a truly high-end feel is to choose the right materials. But, it’s not only about the look, feel or colour of a fabric. You need to think about the function of a room and who will be using it.

While in a guest bedroom, you can get away with selecting more delicate materials, in a living room shared with a boisterous toddler or family pet, you’ll need to look for something more hard wearing.

Here’s our guide to some of the leathers and fabrics chosen by interior designers.


Naturally, in any home, the type of furniture you choose is pivotal to achieving an overall look. One material that will stand the test of time, both in terms of trends and robustness, is leather. Leather sofas and chairs add a touch of sophistication and luxury to the living, dining or bedroom. But, there are many different types of leather to choose from depending on the style and function of a piece of furniture:

Aniline leather

The most natural looking leather furniture made with aniline leather will have the unique surface characteristics of the hide still visible. It creates a softer, more delicate look than other types of leather, but can stain and fade more easily, meaning it’s probably not suitable if you have young children or if you want to position your sofa or chair in direct sunlight.

Semi aniline and pigmented leather

More durable than aniline but still retaining a natural appearance, semi aniline leather has a light surface coating to make it easier to clean. A two-tone colour effect is usually added to give it a more natural look. Pigmented leather is given a polymer coating to make it more resistant to scratches and stains, making it ideal for those with a young family.


Leather with the surface worn away to produce a velvet-like feel, suede can give a room a softer, more elegant look. It’s a material that gives texture and warmth to a room, but it can be difficult to clean, so could be best used in finishing touches such as headboards, cushions or for an accent chair.
In the right style, leather pieces can be a worthwhile investment for any room as, if looked after, they can last a lifetime.


There are countless fabrics to choose from, all of which can add a different look and ambiance to a room. Popular materials for the home include cotton, linen, silk, velvet and wool. Choosing the right fabric can give your home a feel of elegance, romance, warmth or space:

Silk and rayon

While it can stain easily, there are many advantages to using silk in your home. A natural material, it is highly absorbent so it can easily be dyed, meaning you can find silk soft furnishings in a wide range of stunning hues. It’s also hypoallergenic and durable, making it a good choice for bed linens. If you wish to get the look of silk without worrying about how to clean it, you could always choose to add it in accessories like accent cushions or pillows. Or, you could opt for rayon, which is described by designers as “art silk”. With a bright, shiny texture similar to that of silk, it is less likely to stain and easier to clean.


A beautiful natural fibre found in lots of different blends and fabrics, Cotton is comfortable and breathable, making it a good choice for a range of uses, including bedding and table cloths. Resistant to fading and signs of wear and tear, cotton blends also look beautiful when used as sofa or chair fabrics, or in lampshades or cushions.


Opulent and dramatic, velvets can bring a lavish look to your home. From small ottomans to long sofas, velvet can be used to upholster all sorts of seating, looking particularly attractive when used to cover traditional Chesterfield-style sofas. Or, you could choose to use velvet to cover headboards or full bed frames. It also gives an expensive feel to a room when used in window dressings or can add colour to a space through use on cushions or throws.


Used in everything from carpets to sofas, wool and wool blends are traditional, quality fabrics that are not only beautiful, but are tactile and hardwearing. You could choose to add a wool rug to define spaces in your living or dining room, or to add interest with a woollen footstool or crocheted accessories.
Choosing the right fabrics can bring texture, warmth and interest to your home.
Copyright © 2012 Modern Home Design Ideas by Honoriag.