Get Ready for the Cold Season
Fall means vibrant red, orange, and yellow foliage, lots of pumpkins, and refreshingly cool temps. But, it also means winter isn't far away. Here are a few projects-from looking after your exterior to maintaining your heating system-that can help your home brace for the cold and save you some cash.
See a project you could use some help with? We've got the step-by-step instructions, shopping lists, tools lists, and other helpful information you need to get the job done right.
Prep Your Landscape and Start Composting
"Grass roots keep growing until the ground gets down to around 40 degrees," says TOH landscape contractor Roger Cook, "so this is a good time to feed them." Apply a high-phosphorus (12-25-12) mix to lawns in fall to encourage roots, so turf greens up earlier in spring. It's also a good time to seed a new lawn, start a compost pile, and trim shrubs and trees.
See Roger's entire Fall Groundwork Checklist for more seasonal landscaping
Blog Posts by This Old House Magazine
- This Old House Magazine | Work + Money – Thu, Oct 7, 2010 10:22 PM EDT
Get Ready for the Cold SeasonRead More »from Top 3 Easy Fall Prep Projects for a Warm and Cozy Home
If the bath of your dreams seems out of reach, you've typically got two choices: Cut corners or compromise. Or, you could follow Susan and Mark Nitchman's lead and get creative-and a little dirty. For this couple, affording a spa-like retreat for their 1876 Queen Anne in St. Charles, Missouri, started with bidding their contractor farewell once the drywall and subfloor were in.Read More »from Vintage Bath on a Budget
Susan and Mark resolved to do the finish work themselves to stay under the $6,000 cap they'd set for completing their master bath addition filled with high-end fixtures and finishes, such as a claw-foot tub, marble tile floors, a generous glassed-in shower, and a furniture-style vanity. And because there were no existing materials to preserve, they also knew they'd have to be resourceful-shopping garage sales, building all the cabinetry, even making their own trim. Keep reading to see more of their tips and the products they used.
butterfly gardenHave nature put on a show just for you this spring! Plant nectar-rich flowers and you'll attract not only butterflies, but beautiful birds and beneficial insects too. We've shown you which plants attract which butterflies, and plants for backyard birds, but Wind & Weather makes planting a wildlife-friendly habitat garden foolproof by offering the ideal plants in a handy bundle. The bi-color Butterfly Bush shown here is included. Pick up the Butterfly Collection, which also includes Foxglove Candy Mountain and Coneflower Pink Double Delight, ($44.95) at windandweather.com -From The Hardware Aisle @thisoldhouse.comRead More »from Wind & Weather's foolproof butterfly garden
- This Old House Magazine | Work + Money – Tue, May 4, 2010 9:26 PM EDT
Who doesn't enjoy the sight of a brightly colored bird, or a passing butterfly? These natural visitors add appeal to our landscapes, help control pests, and seed and pollinate our gardens. But we're in danger of losing them through our own actions. According to the National Audubon Society, the 20 birds on the Common Birds in Decline list have lost at least half of their populations in just four decades due to residential and industrial development.Read More »from Invite Birds and Butterflies to Your Yard This Summer
It's not too late to coax fine flying friends into our yards, though. This summer-with skyrocketing fuel prices putting the squeeze on your vacation plans-instead of going to visit nature, why not bring nature to you? Encourage birds and butterflies to come to your place and stay awhile with these easy habitat gardening tips. And, don't forget to keep your birdhouses and feeders out in the cold season, when native and migrating birds need your help most.
Reduce Your Lawn
According to the National Wildlife Federation, about 20 million U.S.
- This Old House Magazine | Work + Money – Tue, May 4, 2010 9:16 PM EDT
You tried sweating it out in the sauna and "Om" isn't exactly hitting home. No wonder! You're working too hard at relaxing! Put all that effort into creating a place to sit quietly and contemplate the sounds of nature: birds chirping, breezes blowing, brooks babbling. What-no backyard brook? Not a problem. Just build yourself the next best thing, with a softly trickling garden fountain.
In a mere weekend, you can fountain-ize most any leftover garden ornament, turning it into an enduring monument to tranquility. Revive a defunct birdbath, declare your own ode to a Grecian urn, or drill holes in a stack of rocks you found on-site, as This Old House technical editor Mark Powers did for a friend one hot afternoon. See How to Build a Fountain to get started on yours.
Use This Old House's step-by-step project planner to map out a late spring, summer and early fall's worth of fun and functional do-it-yourself home improvements. Here's what's on the agenda:Read More »from A Full Summer of DIY Weekend Projects
1. How to Install Rain Gutters
2. Plant a Tree
3. Build a Raised Vegetable Garden
4. Create a Brightly Colored, Weather-Proof Planter
5. How to Put in a Picket Fence
6. How to Hang (and Fill) a Window Box
7. How to Build a Sitting Wall
8. How to Create a Backyard Pond
9. How to Install Drip Irrigation
10. How to Put in Programmable Sprinklers
11. How to Build a Toolbox
12. How to Epoxy-Coat a Garage Floor
13. How to Build an Adirondack Chair
14. How to Build a Grilling Station
15. How to Lay a Bluestone Patio
16. How to Install a Ceiling Fan
17. How to Refinish Your Entry Door
18. How to Hang Interior Shutters
19. How to Swap Porch Lattice and Rotted, Weather-Beaten Floorboards
20. How to...GO ON VACATION?
21. How to Build a Garden Fountain
22. How to Lay a Brick Path
Thousands of kids go to emergency rooms every year as a result of preventable, accidental injuries. Here's how you can lower your youngster's chances of being one of them
In a world made by the point-of-view of grown-ups, there are inadvertent hazards to small children all over the place. Home is no exception. According to Safe Kids USA (an organization that educates parents, policy makers, and the general public in creating safe environments for children) a child dies every 101 minutes as a result of an unintentional injury, making it the leading cause of accidental death and permanent disability for America's kids.
Best we try, we can't have both eyes fixed on little busy bodies all the time, but there are things that can be done reduce risk throughout the home. (That said, making the upgrades and adding some of the safety devices we'll mention aren't meant as a substitute for good old-fashioned supervision.) Simple things like closing the door to exercise rooms and putting an
- This Old House Magazine | Work + Money – Mon, Mar 15, 2010 9:31 PM EDT
I don't know a single person who enjoys cleaning the bathroom. In fact, just about everyone I know puts off cleaning the bathroom until it absolutely has to happen (i.e. it just gets too gross and/or company's coming). So, when the good folks over at 3M and Scotch-Brite sent over their new line of bathroom cleaning tools, and issued a "Bathroom Challenge," I accepted. Here's what went down.
Most of the Scotch-Brite bathroom-cleaning tools feature clever customized shapes and ergonomic handles to take the pain out of reaching and scrubbing. Speaking of which, the 3M patented non-scratch "web" scrubber gets the job done fast by increasing cleaning surface when compared to, say, those hard plastic, stiff-bristled brushes we all have in our cleaning arsenal.
How great is this stuff? My 7-year-old started cleaning and wouldn't stop. And, I didn't mind because the reusable tools meant she wasn't finishing an entire roll of paper towels in the process. Meanwhile, the stuff workedRead More »from Spring cleaning the bathroom with Scotch-Brite...and (GASP!) my kid
- This Old House Magazine | Work + Money – Mon, Mar 15, 2010 9:29 PM EDT
Like the idea of not pushing a heavy mower around your yard, but put-off by the 4-digit price tags on standard riding mowers? Husqvarna presents the compact WeedeaterOne for small- to mid-sized lots. The durable, easy-to-operate model makes a mulching cut that helps retain nitrogen for a healthier lawn. The $699 rider doesn't skimp on quality either; it features a Briggs & Stratton 875 Series Engine with Eco-Q Technology, so the engine runs clean and quiet, emitting 75% less exhaust emissions than other models. BONUS: ReadyStart Starting System eliminates the need for choking and priming.
Own one of these awesomobiles? Tell us what you think of it here.
__Tabitha Sukhai, "The Hardware Aisle"Read More »from Find! Husqvarna's WeedeaterOne, the affordable (and cute!) personal riding mower
A plunger is the first tool to reach for when a sink gets clogged up. But to get the most out of your efforts, try these tricks of the plumbing trade: First, stuff a wet rag into the sink overflow hole so that all of the plunger power goes directly to the clog. Also, remove the pop-up drain plug and, if possible, fill the basin about halfway with water. Then coat the lip of the plunger with petroleum jelly to form an airtight seal against the bottom of the sink.
Pump the plunger up and down several times, making sure you don't break the seal with the sink. Then quickly yank the plunger off. Repeat this four or five times, or until the clog is cleared. If the obstruction remains, remove the trap below the sink and snake out the drain line with a cable auger.Read More »from Skillbuilder: Power Plunging Tips