Hope for the best, plan for the worst. Digging requires a lot more careful planning than most people realize. There are a number of things our machines could hit. Because we can’t see what is under the soil until after we’ve dug it up, it’s important to do as much research on the property as possible before grabbing the drills. This way we can do our best to prevent anything from happening, and be more equipped to handle anything that doesn’t exactly go according to plan.


The first step of any task is usually the hardest, but it’s also the most important if you want the rest of the process to go according to plan. Before we can dig and set the holes for you, we’ll need to know where the holes need to be. While we do offer this service, you may find the experience more rewarding if you’re the DIY type.

You will need:

  • Gloves
  • Measuring tape
  • Mason string
  • Spirit level
  • Mallet
  • stakes

Once you have established your property line and marked any obstructions or utilities, you need to determine how large your fence needs to be. Begin this process by measuring the perimeter of your yard in feet and divide this number by the size of your fence panels (this should either be 6’ or 8’). The number you get should tell you the amount of panels you will need. From there, we need to mark the corners and ends by placing stakes into the ground.

Now its time to create batter boards. These make for a more accurate measurement and leave you with a better sense of your fences parameters. You can easily make one by connecting two stakes to a cross piece. To establish a corner, connect or place two batter boards at a 90 degree angle (or the desired angle of your fence). Place your batter boards a few feet away from the corners (the same amount for each corner). For the best results, make sure your cross pieces are level and set evenly in the ground using your spirit level.

Once all the batter boards have been set, you can make a boarder for your fence by connecting mason string to the centre of each batter board. In order to maintain the best structural integrity, make sure to square off your corners. Mark the string from one corner a 3’ and the other at 4’. Once you do this, measure the distance between the two. You will know that corner is squared off when that distance equals 5’. If not, continue to adjust the string.
marking the postholes

Now that you’ve marked and squared your corners, you can begin marking the location of each fence post. Starting from outside of the corner, measure the recommended distance size (this is generally the size of your panels but your supplier will inform you of the proper distance) and mark with by placing a stake on the inside perimeter, against the mason string.

racked vs. stepped fence“But what if my yard isn’t level?” you might ask. Good question. If you are building a panel fence begin from the highest point and work downwards. Make sure to measure horizontally with a level, rather than along the slope in order to give off that stepped look. The panels should generally be ½’- 1’ off the ground.

Component Fence

That is a fence with individual pickets, it is okay to follow the slope since the fence will follow the layout of your yard.

And there you have it, simple as that! If you’re unsure of what to do we will be glad to assist you! We can also provide the posts upon request!

For additional information, check out what these DIY professionals and outdoor living experts have to say at Fence Authority!
http://blog.fenceauthority.com/posts/how-to-measure-your-yard-for-a-fence

 

 


One question we get a lot is:

“Will the equipment damage my property?”

The answer quite simply is no.

When people take on DIY projects, they often picture the final product in their mind, without fully considering all the mess or complications they may run into along the way. Fortunately, that’s what we’re here for. As homeowners ourselves, we know just how big of a job this is so we understand the concern. Rest assured, your home will be treated with the utmost respect, as if it belonged to any one of our employees.


Gardening

Working in a garden is one of many ways to unwind through nature. As an added benefit, it can be a shared family experience that contributes to their well being. Not only does it teach kids of the natural growth cycle first hand, it provides that sense of satisfaction that comes from taking care of something and accomplishing a task on your own. Gardening is a great way to learn and improve important life skills while raising environmental awareness.

gardenIf you are looking to grow flowers with your kids, Sunflowers are a great option to start with. They sprout quickly and have a long lifespan – not to mention they make a yummy snack once they start dropping seeds. If it’s a vegetable garden you’re interested in starting with your kids, you may want to begin with radishes. They can grow in all kids of weather so you can plan your family time around you – not the sun.

Check out these tips for a better gardening experience with your family! Happy gardening!

  • Give them their own garden beds – this provides a sense of ownership
  • Give them real tools (under your supervision) – this shows your kids you are acknowledging the importance of their work.
  • Start from the seeds – starting from the very beginning gives them a better understanding of the growth cycle.
  • Build a scarecrow – if your kid(s) start getting bored, finding another gardening related activity can help jumpstart their interest
  • Do the behind the scenes work – it’s okay to cheat a little or use shortcuts. The gardening process is a long one so you may need to water the crops or check for bugs when your child isn’t able to. The important thing is that they feel that sense of ownership.

For tools, tips, and other reseources, visit Earth Easy Solutions to learn how you can make the most out of your garden, crops, and experience!
http://eartheasy.com/grow_gardening_children.htm

 

Patio Decoration

Your backyard is an extension of your home, so it’s only natural that you’d want your yard to look and feel like your home too. If you lack the time for a quick escape to get back in touch with nature, a backyard can be a great compromise.

ff4236f246ea26e164a3717c2a82b372When planning your new patio décor, map it out the same way you would a living room – What is it’s purpose? What would you do in it? Is there room to eat, play or relax? Remember, just because it’s outdoors doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice functionality. Weather proof furniture can look just as cozy and feel just as comfy. If you’re still concerned, you can find lightweight, easily detachable pieces that can be stored indoors during harsh conditions.

It is also important to consider colour scheme. Will it match one of your indoor rooms, or the outdoor scenery? If the scenery in your yard is lacking, plants, lamps, and other knick-knacks can help make the colour pop and bring your patio to life. Speaking of lamps, it’s great to have some light for those late night reading sessions – or maybe you’re a morning person and would prefer a nice shady spot to read?

If you are worried about expenses, have no fear! Flea markets are a great source of affordable, and unique pieces for your yard. If need be, slap on a fresh coat of paint, or tighten a few screws. Your wallet will thank you and so will your patio.

There’s a lot to consider when decorating your deck or patio. Fortunately, Home Polish makes it easy!

https://www.homepolish.com/?p=laurenconradc

 


Removing A Fence?

From termites and wood rot, to loose soil and wind damage, there could be any number of reasons why it may be time to remove your fence. If it’s any of the reasons we listed, chances are the fence isn’t even doing its job and is only being help up by the stronger posts. Now, you may be saying to yourself, “sure, it looks less presentable, but it still defines the property boundaries”. While this is true, the real issue is the safety hazard the damaged fence poses. Removing your fence may not be a difficult job, but it can be time consuming. Here are some steps to make this process faster and less strenuous.

Removing fence board

Before you start: If you did not build the fence, you need to confirm it is actually part of your property before you can take it down. If your fence is connected to a neighbours, make sure you stay on your side of the property. It’s also important to consider safety. Look for any loose nails or pieces of wood when you are done. The process would go a lot smoother with a partner. Lastly, think about keeping spare nails and wood for a future project – maybe the pieces in good condition can be put to use for your new fence? if you need to get rid of the materials, research where you can take them, as some locations have more restrictions than others.

Now that we have that covered, lets begin removing that fence!

Removing the fence panels

 First, you need to decide if you are taking down the entire fence or just the panels. If your posts are in good condition, you have the option of leaving them in place for your new fence.

If you choose to remove all the panels, you can take an electric saw to saw off the ends on either side of the posts.

Alternatively, you may want to replace select boards instead of the entire thing. You can generally tell which ones need to go, but if you are unsure, give it a light push and see if/ how much it moves. Panels that only sway slightly may just need the bolts tightened or the soil surrounding it to be more compact. Keep in mind it may be the boards on either side that are the source of the problem.

Just to be safe, tap the boards that don’t move. A hollow sound is indication of termite damage or wood rot, in which case it will still need to go. Discolouration, warping, and splintering are other signs to look out for. You can remove individual boards by hammering the board away from your property until the nails begin to stick out. From there you can simply pull them out until the boards come loose.

Removing the fence posts

fulcrum (tipping point)

Fulcrum and lever

If your posts are also damaged, they will need to be removed as well. Unsupported posts can simply be wiggled out until the ground is loose enough to pull the post straight out. Posts set in concrete footings provide a little more of a challenge but is still do-able. While you do have the option of leaving them in the ground, they will have to be removed if you want to build a new fence in its place. There are several ways to do this but here is the easiest and most affordable one I’ve come across so far:

1) Stack two 2×4’s together and nail them to your fence post. For best results use different lengths and place the longer board on top.

2) Create a fulcrum (tipping point) by stacking your bag of leftover concrete (or something of similar weight) next to the fence post.

3) You should use an additional 2×4 as a crowbar or lever by placing one end on top of the fulcrum, and the other end underneath the 2×4’s nailed to the fence post.

4) Pull down until the fence post is loose.

You may remember, this is a big job and it might not always go according to plan. Be prepared to work around any issues that may occur! Need more Simple Solutions? Have no fear, we’ve got you covered!

How to Remove Fence Posts from Your Yard

 

 


Installing a fence

It can save you money, provide a sense of accomplishment, and bring your backyard to life! If you’re going the DIY route, make sure you are doing it properly. Consider these steps to ensure that the first time you build your fence will be the only time!


When you think of being out on your deck, what comes to mind? Relaxing with a book in the shade? Sharing a meal with your family? You’d think decks are supposed to be relaxing, and they can be. But if the deck isn’t properly protected, you’ll find it can actually require a lot more maintenance than your interior. Generally speaking, decks need more maintenance than fences or sheds because they are more exposed to direct sunlight, water absorption, and wear from shoes and furniture. If you want to reduce the amount of stress your deck takes, it’s important to keep it safe.

I cannot stress this enough: paint does not protect your deck!

Sure, you can find paints with special protective coatings, but those are usually designed to maintain the colour and consistency of the paint rather than the actual surface the paint is covering.

When my family renovated out deck years ago, we trusted the painter to stain the deck while we were out of town. When we returned, we discovered he had used paint instead of a finish. Being the naïve child I was back then, the solution seemed simple to me – just stain over it. Unfortunately, this wasn’t so simple as the stain is meant to protect the wood itself, not the paint. If the paint were to start peeling off, it would take the stain with it.

Every summer or two the paint would chip away leaving us with two options:

  1. Repaint the deck. This became pointless, as the remaining paint would eventually weaken underneath the new coat, forcing both layers off, as it would have with the stain.
  2. Leave the deck alone. Not only did our deck look run down, but it also became unsafe to walk on without shoes.

When we finally had enough of not being able to use or enjoy our deck, we spend several weekends working on a DIY project:

  • We scrapped off all the paint
  • Re-sanded the wood
  • Replaced any rotten boards (including buying new material, sizing it properly, and reinforcing it)
  • Properly applied a new stain and coat of paint.

before and after deck

To avoid going through the same ordeal, be sure to have your deck stained first. There are two types of stains you can use. “Semi-Transparent” stains need to be replaced every 18 month or so, and allow both the woods’ grain and texture to show through. Alternatively, a “Solid Colour” stain will last you roughly 3-5 years. Though it only shows the texture, it will help make your coat of paint pop. Be sure to also keep an eye out for water-based stains that are 100% acrylic. These not only last longer, but also better protect against sun and mildew. If you just want a general stainer, you can’t go wrong with either option; of course, depending on the added benefits you want (i.e waterproof, sun resistant, mildew- resistant, etc.) the price can rise dramatically. If you’re unsure of what you want, check out the line of Solid Colour stainers, which come in more options at more affordable prices. Keep in mind that even if you purchase a more expensive Solid Colour stainer, they last a lot longer than the Semi-Transparent variety, which could end up saving you more in the long run.

Need more advice? Hear from real customers to help determine which line and brand of stainer or paint are best suited for your project!

http://blog.paintquality.com/exterior-painting/best-brands-of-deck-stain/

 


So you’ve built a new deck and you want to show if off? Now that you have the extra space, maybe its time to bring out the barbeque. Who doesn’t enjoy a good BBQ? Whether you’re celebrating a birthday, or refining your culinary skills, it’s a great- and delicious, way of bringing friends, family, and even some stray neighbours together. Don’t bring those steaks out just yet! If you’re planning a big summer cookout, there are a few things you should consider if you want to protect your deck, your grill, and most importantly, yourself.

When it comes to barbecuing, a lot of people are too concerned with the grill to think about what it’s doing to the ground. Charcoal grills should generally be kept away from the deck at all times, but if you have a gas barbeque, moving it up to the deck will save space, and clear some of that smoke. Be sure to place your grill towards an outer railing to keep the smoke clear of your walls.

BBQ protective matKinds of mats

There are several kinds of makeshift mats you can make with easily accessible materials. These mats are great for catching charcoal ash and grease stains that would otherwise cause damage to your deck, especially if it is untreated. If you’re worried about the wood or the space in between the boards, try placing a thin sheet of metal under your grill. Keep in mind that it won’t burn, but it does get hot fast. Another option is to use a thick board. Alternatively, you can skip the boards and build a sandbox – if you don’t have any cats of course. Being fire resistant, grease absorbent, and easily replicable, this is probably your best bet. If you’d prefer not to go the DIY route, your local hardware store should carry specially designed mats.

Check out the link below to hear what people have to say about their DIY projects!.

http://ths.gardenweb.com/discussions/2596378/how-to-protect-deck-from-barbeque