Improving Your Yard’s Appearance With a Swing Set

Focusing a large portion of your home improvement budget and time on improving the inside of your home make sense, but sometimes focusing on the outside, the yards, deck, siding and roof, make a ton of difference as well.  This is especially apparent when you are trying to sell your home.  Taking a few minutes to think about ways to improve the look of your backyard could go a long way to making your days spent back there more enjoyable, or potentially improving the price of your home when you decided to sell.  In this article we are going to talk about one addition that can add to the functionality of your backyard, an added advantage for kids and if done correctly can add to the aesthetic quality of your home.   What I’m talking about is backyard swingsets and playsets.

Swing Sets and Playsets in the Backyard

Swingsets and playsets are great fun for kids, but can also be useful for adding character to a backyard.  Many yards can seem drab and boring because they are nothing more than some grass and fences.  Adding some unique value to these places is crucial for sprucing up the place.  Swingsets can get that accomplished while also adding a fun place for your kids to spend there time (and get them out of your hair in the same instance.)

Wooden Playset
A Wooden Playset like this can add great character to a backyard.

When trying to decide what playset to go for, there are a few considerations.  Firstly, you want to make sure you have enough room.  Getting a playset set up and placed in your backyard doesn’t take a ton of time or room, but having too little of either is a recipe for disaster.  Make sure you have at least a 30×30 area of installation to take place, and a 15×15 area for the playset to live.

The Installation Part

As for the installation, there are playset delivery/installation companies that can take care of all the hard work for you.  The other times you may want to choose a smaller sized playset if you are planning on doing all the work yourself.  Personally I would choose to hire a professional because it’s just a lot of work and will get you more frustrated then necessary.  These guys do this work almost exclusively and it’s not that expensive.  The job will get done quicker and more efficiently, plus you can just sit back and watch.

How Does it Look?

As for the decor and look of the playset, you really should go for a wooden one.  They are heavier and could cost a bit more then plastic or metal ones, but they end up looking really good.   Cedar ones end up have a nice scent as well, as cedar wood is usually used in many home applications because it is strong and smells good.

So go for a wooden playset that is large enough to be useful but small enough that it doesn’t take up the entire yard.  You will find that a good selection will make the different in the long run.  Hire a professional to install it and save yourself a hernia and a headache.  Lastly, choose a wooden playset that will look rustic and add charm and character to your backyard.  (One last note, make sure the kids have a little bit of a say too, they will be the ones playing in it after all).


Picking the Right Washer and Dryer

Picking the right washer and dryer is a difficult choice.  You have to realize how many different options and choices there are, as well as whatever price range you want to go after.  It would be impossible to choose the right one without doing was solid research.  There are a few different buckets that washer/dryers fall into, and we will talk about those today.

Front Load Washers

Firstly, you have your front loaded washers, these are like the ones you see in the laundromat.  They have some benefits and some drawbacks, which we will talk about below:


Water Conservation

The main benefit is water conservation.  If you live in a place with strict water usage laws or you simply want to be more conscientious of your water usage/carbon footprint, this may be what you want to do.  Front load washers can be found at most all home appliance megastores like Sears, Home Depot, Lowe’s, etc.


Do to the specifics of the design (which are a bit complex and we won’t get into here) the front load washer tends to last a lot longer than the top load variety.  You will notice that the gears and mechanisms of top-load washing machines tend to wear out quicker.

Front loaders can also handle more weight and higher laundry load capacities (this is why you see them in laundromats, where people ritually abuse the capabilities of the machine in order to get the most for their quarters, and I don’t blame them).


The drawback to front load washer is price.  They are almost always more expensive then the top loads.  Some people also tend to dislike the fact that they have to bend down to load the laundry in.  It is kind of a hassle (this is why I always choose the top dryer in the laundromat, no bending over).

Stackable Washing Machines

The stackable washer and dryer is an interesting use of the machines.  It is perfect for smaller homes, for use in closets or tucked away in a corner.  It doesn’t perfectly replace a full-out washer dryer since it’s always a bit underpowered.  Well, let’s not get ahead of ourselves, here’s the nitty gritty:


The main benefit is space.  Washer/dryer combos are bulky by nature.  If you have the extra space, then go for it, because a deluxe non-stackable combo will be more power, more staying power, and will be able to handle bigger loads.  However if you only have a small laundry room (and don’t mind doing more/smaller loads) then it’s a good fit.


As I mentioned before, you are going to be sacrificing both power, load capacity and durability.  Definitely not the choice if you are washing clothes are 10 kids, but if you only do laundry once a week, and don’t mind doing 2 or 3 loads instead of 1 or 2, it may be a good choice.

Because of the unique combination it’s also a tad big more expensive then getting separate washer/dryers of the same power.  Although the different is usually not noticeable when shopping around because the separate units are more powerful, hence more expensive.

I would recommend doing your research before making a decision.  The above article is a good primer, but I would check more thoroughly before making a final buying decision.  For stackable units there is a good site dedicated to them, it’s called, appropriately,  Stackable Washers and Dryers.  I used them when doing some research for my mom last, and they had a bunch of in depth articles.  Good stuff.


The above was just a taste of the research you can do to track down the best washer for your need.  It all depends on many factors, space considerations, price points and budget, load capacity and durability.  Take all those into account and you should be able to find a decent choice.



Having a Good Plumber On-Call Is Essential

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The plumber was very experienced and helped us out a lot in our situation, which was a strange and stressful one, for sure.  Eventually the broken pipes were fixed and the water was restored, and we could get back to our lives.

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Laundry Tips for the New Homeowner

If you’ve been living in an apartment for years, you likely haven’t had access to your own, personal laundry room.  It’s one of the many advantages of having your own home is being able to pick your very own appliances, arrange the laundry room the way you want, and not have to deal with have other people dirty laundry lying around yours!

I’ve used laundromats and apartment building shared-laundry rooms for many, many years, and while I have nothing against them, it’s really nice to be able to use your own room, whenever you want, not have to pay quarters each time you want to use a laundry machine or dryer.  Not to mention having to deal with faulty machines, nosy neighbors, shitty dryers that don’t get your clothes dry (even after nearly an hour!).  All these problems are very common and I’ve experienced them all.  The fun part is you can avoid them by setting up your own laundry room.

Using natural laundry detergent is something I like to do.  Other natural methods for removing clothing stains can be found all across the Internet.  I personally liked a few methods for removing ink stains from clothing using natural items milk, cornstarch and vinegar.  You wouldn’t think so many options are available that don’t included crazy weird chemicals, but you would be wrong.

Besides the obvious methods of getting stains removed (i.e. washing clothes in a washing machine, pre-treating, etc), I was surprised to find that there were many different ways to go about treating clothes.  Also I was interested in the fact that hot water washes are only really necessary in certain instances, and that pre-treating with cold water is the best way to go.

All in all being a new homeowners with a new laundry room is a difficult task, but it can be made easier by think things through thoroughly and doing proper research.  Feng shui is definitely an important consideration when designing any room, laundry room included.  Do your research on your washing machines and your dryers to make sure they are up-to-snuff.  Get some natural laundry detergents and set up a pre-wash area to get an effective wash as posslible.  Finally make sure to decorate your area with some enjoyable design patterns so you can enjoy your time and not dread having to do laundry.


One last note, it pays to make weekly cleaning visits to the laundry room.  Even though its the place we go when we want to clean things, it can sometimes can very dusty and dirty.  Make a weekly swoop with a duster or mop and also wipe down the machines (don’t forget to get behind them too!).  This will keep the room nice and tidy and avoid unnecessary build-up of gross dust and dirt.