How To Build A Little Lake In Your Backyard, DIY Pond In Your Garden

March 23 2020 - DIY

If you own a house with a garden, you might like to have an artificial small lake that you may enjoy embellishing with aquatic plants, water lilies and colorful fish.

It could be wonderful having a small corner of the world only for you, a corner where you can spend your free time observing nature, relaxing and enjoying the simplest things, like colors, silence sound and soul’s quiet.

To build a little pond is not complicate, it is not too expensive, you can make it with your own hands and, above all, it is not even very tiring.

It is only necessary to have a little patience, an adequate space available in your garden, a little free time and a lot of goodwill and you will be proud of what you have done.

POND DIY, STEP BY STEP PROJECT

1. Choose the location where to make your garden pond

First, you need to find the right place where your pond will be built, taking into account the space that the pond will occupy and the space we want around it. Needless to say, we must take into account the existence of underground pipes, as well as trees and their roots.

2. Draw the perimeter of the pond.

Once the ideal place for excavation has been found, we need to draw the perimeter’s shape of the pond. An irregular shape should be certainly the most pleasant, most natural and allows you to hide any imperfections. To draw the perimeter, you can use a rope attached to small pegs spaced at 20-30 inches each other. Considering that usually, the pond walls are not vertical, it would be preferable to draw two perimeters, one internal and the other for the external edge (even if not of the same shape) of the pond. About this last point, in order to ensure better growth of the green, it would be convenient to project a different depth of the pond with a step-down or a slope of the bottom.

3. Proceed to the excavation of the pond

The excavation of the pond is, perhaps, the most challenging part of the pond construction project (and also the most tiring one). Put great attention on choosing the right tools to be used. We need a rake to prepare the ground on which to draw the pond, a hoe and a shovel to remove the soil.

Once the excavation is completed, it will be necessary to duly wet and compact the soil and then put on it at least 2-3 inches of sand which must be also well compacted to create a sort of mattress on which will be possible and easier to put in place the tub. The tub could be

rigid prefabricated plastic tub or

waterproof plastic sheet

In the first case, we will be bound to the shape of the prefabricated tank and therefore we have to find the one that is the most adaptable to our terrain. We also have to take into account a greater difficulty, along with the excavation, to follow the shape of the prefabricated tank and we must abound in the quantity of sand in order to adapt the bottom to the tank as much as possible. If we opt for this solution, we expect a higher cost compared to the waterproof sheet.

If you choose the waterproof sheet, everything is a little bit easier and cheaper. It will be advisable to spread first a sheet of textile fiber such as jute and then lay over it the plasticized sheet, making it protrude at least 10 inches from the edge of the pond. You will cut the exceeded part of the sheet, after having fixed it to the ground with nails or with putting rocks and gravel on it.

pond built with waterproof sheet

5. Fill the DIY pond with water

At this point we can proceed with the filling, slowly pouring the water into our garden pond. When the pond is full, we can move on to finish the edges of the pond by placing stones or bricks together with gravel on the edge to give a more natural look to our pond.

6. Filtering the pond water

If we have had experience with managing a home aquarium, we will have an advantage because we will already know what a pond needs to function well. The magic word is balance. Balance means having the chemical values ​​of the water within the normal limits, having an amount and quality of plants and the number and type of fish appropriate to the size of our pond.

Let’s say that a pond of this kind should be able to achieve a situation of biological balance almost autonomously. If we have worked well, our maintenance intervention should be limited to simply add water to compensate for evaporation and a possible light cleaning for the algae that can form as a result of sunlight. The biological balance, in fact, after a more or less long initial phase, should be achieved thanks to the oxygenation activity carried out by the plants which in turn derive nourishment from the nitrite and nitrate deriving from the physiological functions of the fish.

Often, especially for beginners, the installation of a filter system is recommended.

As for a swimming pool, also for our pond to ensure that the water is always clean (which is not always synonymous with an ideal condition for fish, but often only serves to meet our aesthetic needs) in the case of a an artificial garden pond may require a mechanical, chemical or biological filtering system or a combined one.

The filtering system is obtained with a pump that sucks water from the pond and pours it back into the pond after passing it through a series of filters that remove the impurities. Obviously the power of this pump must be commensurate with the size of the pond. The pump can also be used to create water games with various waterfalls and gurglings that will give our pond a lush appearance and at the same time contribute to oxygenate the water.

7. Life on the pond, plants

Now is the time to put the plants on the pond. Here you can give vent to your imagination, the important thing is to keep in mind the climatic conditions and the type of pond we want to create. Last but not least it must be carefully considered which types of fish we want to put in the pond. Plants have not only an aesthetic function, but they also provide the water with the correct oxygenation necessary for life. We could therefore also choose submerged plants which, although they are not beautiful to the eye, are often the most effective for this purpose. For the pleasure of the eyes we will then have a great variety of ornamental plants such as the water lilies I fior di Loto and many other floating plants with iridescent flowers.

8. Life in the pond, The fish

The most exciting moment in the realization of a garden pond is undoubtedly when we will insert the fish. However, in order to do this it is advisable that the pond has reached its correct biological balance which is normally obtained in a few weeks, so we must have a little patience and then we will be rewarded by a luxuriant pond with a beautiful fauna composed of happy and colorful fish. Unlike plants, fish have almost only an aesthetic function, however, they actively contribute with their life cycle to the functioning of the ecosystem of our pond and therefore when we choose them we must consider their compatibility with the environment in which we will place them.

 

Sustainable House, How To Save Energy

February 19 2017 - HOUSE

Sustainable House, Environment and Energy Saving

Nowadays we are in a time very special and we might even say dangerous, there are serious environmental problems. We have reached a point of damaging our planet and its ecosystem that going back may possibly not be much as possible.
Here is the reason why we want to return to talk about the house seen as a sustainable home in order to encourage and promote a culture to consider that a house should have a limited impact on the environment, both in terms of the materials used for the construction and also for the restructuring’s methods themselves. The house’s eco-compatibility towards the environment is its capability to consume the same amount of energy that the house itself produces. In another post we have already discussed about this important issue when we talked of the ‘zero-cost-house‘.
Up to here is the theory, in reality the practice does not always correspond to the expectations.
But here we want to emphasize the need and importance that all of us should acquire an environmental awareness, the awareness that the planet is not our own property and that we have to deliver it to the next generations in acceptable conditions, at least as we have received it from those that came before us.

Compared to a few years ago presently there is more sensitivity to problems related to energy consumption, trying to contain the need to heat or cool our homes with even the relative cost reduction (energy saving and money saving).
So now we are increasingly using equipment and products that improve the insulation thereby reducing the energy required to heat or cool our homes.

In the Centres DIY, like The Home Depot, Lowe’s, Menards, Rona Inc., Sears etc. there is the availability of products and equipment to deal with these kinds of problems related to substantially reduce energy consumption and moreover to improve the energetic efficiency.

In these places you can find there a whole range of the latest generation of aircon, presented in a variety of models suitable for every need and, also, for every budget. But also fans for ceiling and fans for wall, electric water heaters low consumption, lamps, showers of any type with consumption of water reducers, up to small solar panels plants to heat the water.
In conclusion, in those DIY Centers you can find all products, equipment and measures to achieve energy savings while minimizing the impact on the environment of your house.

Energy saving, a concept so important to all of us that it has become a must for manufacturers and users, it is pursued by a thousand technical details that we want to try here below to summarize the adoption or replacement of appliances of a better energy class

  • the insulation of walls (thermal insulation of external walls), floors and attic, as well as the insulation of hot water pipes to prevent heat loss and waste of energy
  • the adoption of double glazing and a new generation of windows
  • the use of solar panels for the production of hot water
  • the adoption of environmentally friendly fuels like pellets

the simple list that we reported here above needs one additional factor, which is a major factor, perhaps the most important of all. That is the acquisition of a sensitive attitude, the consciousness and environmentally awareness.
Although it is obvious, let us emphasize that the best form of energy savings is always to turn off the system when not in use and when it is not necessary.


And finally remembering that our efforts to reduce energy consumption must not be thwarted by taking the wrong direction, in fact it is not rational nor helpful getting heat by using the electricity because it would mean to use a noble energy to get an energy of 2nd level, which is simply silly.

 

Bathtub With Easy Acces for Aged People, Accessible Walk-in Tubs

September 20 2016 - DIY, TOOLS

The Progress brings some indisputable advantages and an improvement of the life’s standard quality.

Life gets longer and longer and  we have to deal with this factor because every day we are going to face new issues connected to the elongation of the age and, consequently, facing with new needs of our seniors.

A longer life, obviously, as we already said,  is to be considered in itself as a positive aspect of the human progress, provided that it must be duly accompanied by an adequate lifestyle as well as the adoption of instruments and precautions that allow the maintenance of an acceptable level of life quality.

What we said above is quite obvious, but now we are going to analyze in depth the daily reality.
We can say, for example, that in the bathroom often the elderly are facing with those small problems that can demean the soul of an old person unable, sometimes, to overcome small obstacles having a sense of frustration.
In fact one of the elements that create more embarrassment in our elderly, and gives to them the feeling of having to be always dependent on someone, do not have anymore their usual independence as well as the understandable regrets regarding their beloved ones for any inconvenience caused, that is the bathtub. Which it is not a bad word, just a tool! So why do not make this tool something usefull, nice and… easy to use also for them?


Personal hygiene, of course, it’s important at any age, nevertheless, in advanced age, it becomes critical in order to maintain a good health which in turn is a valid card to deal with the diseases related to the third age.
In this context, talking about bathroom equipment, the transformation of a ‘normal’ bathtub in a bathtub with a door for the elderly becomes not only an accessory but a very useful tool which allows the elderly to be able to comfortably wash themselves taking care so independently of its personal hygiene. A simple thing that makes a big difference.
In addition to the convenience of the mentioned factors, it must be added the safety aspect that nowadays is an ever-present topic in every moment of our lives.
It is a well-known fact that one of the most frequent incidents for people of a certain age it is the femur’s fracture, which normally does not have serious consequences in a young man, but that assumes severe gravity and often constitutes a downturn in quality of life for an aged person.
All efforts aimed at preventing falls and accidents must, therefore, be seen as an intelligent behavior.
Concerning the personal hygiene, in the bathroom with regard to the cleaning accessories, the choice usually implies two basic accessories,
1 the box Shower
2 the bath tub
As for the shower, we have already got to treat the subject in another article, so here our attention is focused on the bathtub.

BATHTUB WITH LATERAL DOOR, CHANGE THE BATH

Although from the hygienic point of view the shower is definitely preferable, the bathtub has historically given a place in our bathroom that makes up the memory to the ancient Romans and ultimately has a special charm.
Also, we would add that the relaxing effect you may experience taking a warm bath in the tub it is not certainly comparable to a healthy but fast and simple shower.
For a person with mobility limitations, like an elder or invalid person can be, the disadvantage of using the bathtub is represented by the obstacle constituted by the edge of tub that is to be climbed over.


Just that it is the problem that has tried to solve with the creation of these new types of tanks that have a small door on the side of the tank, watertight, which allows the elderly person to fit comfortably in the tub, close it and then open the taps for filling and, finally, taking their desired bath.
This kind of tanks usually is also equipped with a seat that allows the person to take care of themselves in full comfort, in complete autonomy and privacy.
On the market there are several types of tank specific for elderly or disabled (in fact, in some ways, there are more than few similarities for the two categories) that are adaptable to every need and every type of environment and, not least, for every pocket!
There is also the possibility to amend the existing tub by built a small door on the side of the tub. This solution is not always the most advantageous as it depends on the available type of bath and also the necessary masonry works. Also when work began, it is not unfrequent to face with unexpected problems due to the wall materials and deteriorated pipelines over time.

walkin bathtub
Many specialized companies offer bathtubs of all types and sizes and guarantee the replacement of the tub with a shower or replacement of a bathtub with easy access with no need to replace pipes, hydraulic system intervenes or carry out masonry work .
Said that, often the installation of these tanks requires very little time or even, in the most simple cases, the execution of work in a single day.

 

Cinder Blocks Concrete Blocks, How to Use Cinder Blocks

February 24 2016 - HOW TO

We like when it comes to gardening and here there are few ideas to make even more exciting our hobby.
Recently is becoming more popular and fashionable the habit of using common materials, like concrete blocks, cinder blocks, bricks, logs of wood, iron rods and so far to assemble furniture products and handcraft of any kind.
Among others the cinder blocks are very simple to find, cheap and easy to use to make very creative and original diy works for your garden as well for your house giving a certain touch of personality.


We are talking about some concrete cement cinder blocks, usually of a rectangular shape, that you can find in every warehouse of building materials for a few dollars.
With a little of phantasy you are certainly able to create indoor furnitures that you can paint and use to decore some beautiful corners of your house.

But probably the best way to get the best from this material is to build outdoor furnitures

Here some ideas how to use cinder blocks

OUTDOOR USE OF CINDER BLOCKS

  • make a concrete garden bench
  • make a vertical planters
  • make steps
  • make a barbecue
  • make raised garden bed

but let us say that there is not limit to the phantasy!
We have here mentioned only diy works for the outdoor cinder blocks usage, but in the future we plan talking also about ideas for inside house to be made with cinder blocks.

As you can imagine (and as we said already) all these things are cheap to be made and you do not need specific tools to build them. Off course you may want to have stronger objects and you can use concrete to fix the cinder blocks one each other, this is feasible, but is not always necessary.
The price of each block is around 1 $, maybe even less, and therefore we think that is something that we may afford it!

 

How to Make Gardening Tools Shed, Build House for Gardening Tools

January 21 2016 - DIY

If you have a small garden and if you are gardening lover it can be useful to have a space outside the house where you can store your garden tools. In fact it will be very helpful to always have at hand our garden tools as well as, at the same time, keep them protected from the weather.
The solution it could be to build a wooden house for garden tools.
Obviously, in the malls, workroom, like Home Depot, Lowe’s, Menards, Ace Hardware, are easily available several mounting kit to build small houses for tools, sometimes at moderate prices and above all, easy to assemble.
However, how can you compare buying a product ready to mount to something you have to project and put together with only our own hands?

house for tools
We, as DIY lovers, know very well that the pleasure of building and do it by yourself is the little bit that make the great difference. In addition to the great satisfaction, you can adapt the house to your real needs and your taste and, possibly, build it with better quality of materials so it will be more strong than the wooden houses for tools generally offered by market.
Maybe (not allways) it could come to cost a little more, but definetly it will be another matter entirely!

TYPES OF HOUSES IN WOOD TOOL

We can divide into two categories the types of shed for garden tools

  1. individual houses (means, single selfstanding houses)
  2. houses leaning against a wall

About the typology mentioned sub 1) we talked about that on another post because, essentially, it is a normal cabin or house only with dimensions a little smaller.
As far as the houses huddled, first of all we assume to have a portion of wall without windows or a boundary wall that can be a support for our wooden structure (and thus serves as a fourth side).
Undoubtedly, in this case we will have the advantage of using a solid structure that will confer an anchor just as solid and safe also for our wood house.

HOW TO MAKE THE HOUSE FOR GARDEN TOOLS

Imagine you want to build a shed for tools of medium size (approx 12 ft x 15 ft)

  • Materials and tools needed to build a small house for garden tools:
    — 6 poles square section of 4 1/2 X 5 1/8 inches and 10 feet height (one pole for each corner and two poles for the jambs of the door)
    — beaded of 5” of width, 10 feet Length and 1 1/2 inch thick.
    –5 Joists 2”x3”, length 12 feet
    –nails (various lenght 2” , 2 1/2” and 3”)
    –nails by 1 1/2 inch wide headed for canadian tiles
    –Canadian tiles

Before you begin, you should at least give a good coat of primer to the entire material of wood, like beads, joists and posts.

Once all the wood is dried, in order to start the house’s construction we must take account of the kind of terrain the base is made.
It means that we have to consider if the house rests directly on the ground or if there is a concrete slab. In relation to what we use the proper metal fittings to attach the four poles to the ground.
These accessories in practice are metal brackets with a point-shaped metal stick to be inserted into the ground (if the base is ground) or provided with four holes to be screwed down to the concrete basement (if this is the case).
We have to fix the poles to one another with provisional joists so as to maintain the horizontal and vertical alignment while we start to nail the beads, starting from the side and from below, starting from the wall.
When we have nailed all the beads of the two sides, we will make the cut oblique sloping roof, using a simple circular saw (this work could also be done before installation, just make sure to take carefull good measures to give the right angle).
Now we can nailing the beads of the front of our house in wood tool, taking care to cut them in order to leave the opening of the door.
The roof will be made up of beads which rest on the 11” joists lined for lengthwise and duly screwed up on poles.
One last step will be the roof finishing: we must place the Canadian tiles.
The laying of the Canadian tiles, which indeed are very practical, inexpensive and long-lasting, is a job that needs to be done carefully to make the roof effective.
The laying of the Canadian starts from the right edge of the lower roof and then progressing horizontally strip by strip.
The first row must be laid on the contrary, with the flaps upwards, while the following files will be laid normally.

house for gardening tools

The door can be built with the same technique we saw before, by approaching 5 beads arranged vertically held together in the inner part of the door by a frame formed by four beads to form the cornice and placed diagonally to strengthen the door.

A lock and a handle will complete the work. Now we have our work done, a beautiful small house for gardening tools.

If desired, even at a later time, you can make a window, simply by cutting with circular saw the hole of the window and then reinforce with a frame. It is also possible to use the workbeads cut, reinforced with a cross oblique, as a small window sash .

 

Halloween Ideas,Halloween DIY Costumes

October 13 2015 - DIY

Halloween comes soon, the festival of witches, orc, the fear’s feast is a north european tradition, a druid recurrence that now became mostly an occasion to be together in joy and celebrate the beginning of the autumn season.

Halloween Ideas

It ‘s not so much for the party itself’,  maybe it is just because the everyday grey life is a little bit boring, or maybe it’s for the everyday’s problems but this is an occasion to forget the boss or the collegues or the teacher and enjoy the horride nothing, the terrifying night of Halloween.
You can do so many things for Halloween, like preparing a party at home, like prepare the pumpkins carved and engraved to put in front of the house or on the windowsill with a candle or a light inside.
But in case you do not have enough space (nor the desire) to organise an Halloween party in your home, you can go out with friends to a Halloween party in someone else’s home or find a place to spend Halloween in houses haunted by ghosts or spooky and scary shows.
If you decide to go to the disco, you can indulge in makeup and dress up as a witch, vampire, devil, etc., but if you go to a party at a friend’s house, you have to study something really funny and unusual to amaze and entertain all your friends.

To have an idea of what you can do in order to be at the center of the scene, you can create something nice, not too laborious but highly effective: we are talking about a greit Charon’s boat!
Everybody knows who is Caron, he’s the devil that carries damned souls to the Hell! (Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri)
And therefore we can build a boat of cardboard, a seven feet long and 2 feet wide boat. It must be divided into two or (better) three segments, one for each friend (otherwise it is difficult to bring it by car).
To say this easy, it is like if we build a cardboard boat and then we cut it into three pieces. Each piece has a hole in the middle where can stand one of us, properly dressed and made up as walking dead.
Once we arrive at the friend’s house we will walk in single file to reforming the whole boat and proceed surrounded by their companions duly dressed as witches and devils in a sort of macabre and fun parade to make our triumphal entry into the house of friends with laughs and general entertainment.

How To Build a Caronte Boat

We start by preparing the shape of the boat with strong iron wire and we must make the shape of the boat in three pieces, as already said.
In practice, with the iron wire we must build the boat’s structure, then we take a tape off (to understand it is what is used to close the packages during the removals) and we fill the space between the contour lines of wire to create the walls and the bridge of the boat upon which you can roll out the paper mache.
The papier-mâché is substantially newspaper wet in water and glued with PVA glue (or in any case any glue based on vinyl acetate) which is left to soak for about half an hour and then lies on the plane formed by the adhesive tape.
This is the first layer, then allows to dry and after overlaps a second layer up to give some consistency.

We must of course remember that the boat is to be transported and therefore it is better do not make it too many layers to prevent it to be too heavy to wear and carry.
At the end we will end up with two kind of prisms, one for the front and the other for the stern of the boat and a sort of cube for the middle part.
Doing in that way the three pieces are hollow and not heavy and, if desired, to give greater consistency, they can be also filled with polystyrene balls. After that the boat must be painted and decorated as you like, but dark and horride.

When we will be at the Halloween party‘s place, we may put together the three parts of the boat with a tape. In the central segment we can put a pole polistyrene to better imitate a boat giving a touch of verisimilitude to the Caron’s Boat narrated by Dante.

 

Halloween Pumpkins, How To Make Halloween Decorations

October 8 2015 - HOW TO

The Fall season is approaching and with it Halloween holiday is coming and, as every year, the bigots and the conformists people criticize it for its supposed blasphemous nature, nevertheless everybody still maintain a deep curiosity and, ultimately, even a certain form of attraction toward this ancient Celtic festival.


Halloween is an occurrence that finds its roots deeply inside the American culture and that it has changed its nature which once was mostly religious, to adapt it to modern times.
Now Halloween Holidays is primarily an occasion to celebrate together and for the children to have fun.  It must be said that actually also the adults enjoy Halloween and, as a consequence, the business world which is always attentive to earning’s opportunities, organizes parties, dinners and evening dancings all characterized by a recurring macabre, horrifying and scary leit motiv.

On the other hand, the continuing economic crisis, together with the daily concerns push people more and more to find every opportunity to get a little distraction.
Halloween comes, by the way, at the right moment, enough after the summer holidays and a couple of months before the winter holidays season. An ideal time for a bit of horrible and terrifying relax!

Pumpkin Halloween

That said, altough we are now in advance, even if it is pretty early, we want to be ready and therefore for these reasons we are going to see what we have to do and how we can prepare properly the Halloween decorations for our home for the festival of Halloween.
In other posts we talk about how to make Halloween pumpkin and how to get ready and how to dress up for a Halloween party, talking about DIY  Halloween costumes and original Halloween ideas to impress our friernds.
Instead now we want to see a little how to organize ourselves with terrifying ideas to decorate our house for Halloween party, a set of ways to surprise our guests and friends, perhaps with a garden with scary pumpkins, ugly birds, graves, ghosts and so on.

We want to be ready to welcome kids which, like ours do, will go around houses looking for ‘trick or treat’. Therefore we want to have our gardens duly terrifying, adorned with monsters, bats, pumpkins and witches.

Halloween Home Decorations

The classic, but we would also say the most classic decorations is, as we all know, the Halloween pumpkin, which must be strictly hand-carved (please avoid the horrible cheap plastic pumpkins marketed in department stores), duly lighted with burning candle (for this we would consider acceptable the use of the electric light bulb for obvious safety reasons). In addition to this, a beautiful skeletyhon or ghost (how can be beautiful a ghost?), perhaps hanging from a tree in our garden, it certainly will make a good terrifying impression. What also about a nice row of eerie red candles marking the driveway up to the front door?!
Everything is right for us, the balloons fluttering in ghostly form are also effective and highly effective, same as the rubber black bats or a skeleton duly tied with a rope to the roof looking like an hanged add a frightening effect. A ghostly and eerie song among with bats’ screeching, wind’s whistle and a roar of a thunder will complete the horrid panorama. A real Halloween environment!
Moreover, if you are looking for something really terrifying and highly effective for your Halloween party, here’s an idea to make the garden pretty scary.
Get yourself a wooden box, one of those used for fruit. Properly cut it the sides in an half in a way to look like a coffin and then place it in the garden pretending to be a coffin partially buried from which a skeleton emerges
In doing so you should not spoil too much your grandmother’s roses otherwise it might be the last feast that you are allowed to organize in your home.

Halloween Party Ideas

An outline essential, in addition to the soft red lights, should be a background of terrifying music, accompanied by squeals and whistles of bats and, of course, the noise of some squeaky door shaken by the wind.
Maybe we fell a bit on the trivial, but in fact the Halloween party is trivial too, in any case everything must be terrible, frightening, but never dangerous because at the bottom it is, and must always be, only a feast.

 

How To Use Pallets, Ideas To Build Objects With Pallets

September 22 2015 - DIY, HOW TO

We have often seen outside department stores those sort of wodden crates that are usually trown away. Why not use them to make them live a new life again? We are talking about pallets

The Pallet As A Creative Material

Among the most frequently used materials by DIY lovers we can certainly count the pallets, the same things that are commonly used by shippers to handle efficiently and keep stored merchandises.
The principle of protecting the environment and therefore the recycling of materials is one of the prerogatives that usually inspire handymen, however, it is very important to know the characteristics of the materials that we are going to recycle in order to prevent to operate with contaminated materials that may then be potentially dangerous both in the processing steps as well as in the future for their potential gradual release.
In fact the pallets are by their nature ideal materials to be reused because of their easy availability and for their negligible cost. By their very nature that lends itself, once disassembled, to be reused to made furniture or household objects, for the garden, for the kids game, but it’s also true that very often they could be hazardous materials ’cause they can contain harmful substances that have been absorbed by the wood during treatment with hazardous materials or even to be in contact with toxic substances.
In fact, the primary use of pallets, as said, generally is referred to be a support in warehouses and stores for easy mobility of the goods or its storage.

Controls On Pallets

Given what has been said so far, it is now understandable how it is important to check in advance the quality of the pallet we are going to use. It is important to know in what conditions were used before.
In most instances we may find the pallets in a warehouse or had as a gift from some acquaintance which operates in a shipping company or from a friend that owns a warehouse or a store.
Another criterion to be taken in order to have pallets free from toxic substances, could be to exclude those coming from the USA (in fact as the American standards require the use of very powerful chemicals to eliminate parasites or other pathogens, which is fine for goods but not for our health!).
In any case abbreviations placed on pallets are universally recognized and it is good to know them:
-MB indicates for example that the pallet is treated with methyl bromide, while
-HT indicates that the pallet was treated with heat as a method of sterilization.

Another question we should be asking is: what was the purpose for which the pallet has been used before? and how it was used previously? In any case it would be better to avoid those pallets used for shipping products and materials toxic or otherwise polluting.
Even if you cannot consider this as a safe system, you can try washing the pallet with detergents and disinfectants, rinsing well with running water. Obviously given the wood porosity, there is not guarantee but, at least some toxic residue is taken away.

Ideas For Using Pallets

To use pallets in a creative way requires only a bit of imagination and fantasy and there is no limit to that.
You can range from the construction of the headboard of a bed for your family’s country cottage or for the children’s bedroom, achievable simply putting two pallets vertically to the head of the bed, the construction of a garden or vertical planter or even build a cabinet itself.


Other ideas can be the realization of a shelf for books or dishes, but also a sofa, armchairs, a coffee table, a towel rack for the bathroom, a magazine rack and much, much more. Everything we have here mentioned can be made with simple wood pallets, few nails, a little goodwill and a lot of fun!

 

How to Make Raised Bed Garden, Build DIY Raised Bed Gardens

August 6 2015 - HOUSE, HOW TO

If you are not too familiar with the green art of growing plants but, notwithstanding that, you are an outdoor activity lover, you may consider interesting this post to learn how to start your green experience by growing plants in raised beds, which make it a little bit easier.
Have you tried many times to plant a seeding basil in a corner of your garden and see it grow for one or two weeks and then, suddenly, dry up and die?
Well this is definitely  not nice to see and, above all, it is frustrating, really frustrating!
Many can be the reasons of the failure of your effort, among others:

  • too much water
  • too little water
  • poor drainage
  • various pests like slugs and snails

Many of these problems can be avoid by growing your little vegetable garden raised.

Moreover, you can build your own raised garden by yourselves and this is just the beginning of your having fun.
You can follow our directions to build a 4 by 8 foot raised garden bed.

how to make raised bed garden

Advantages of Raised Garden Bed

  • Drainage- An appropriate drainage is an important aspect of growing and one of the reasons to use (or build) a raised garden bed to obtain a good performance in terms of drainage, avoiding one of the most common errors, i.e. the mold growth.
  • Pest protection- Usually the raised garden bed stands about 7 to 10 inches from the ground level and this fact by itself is sufficient to ensure good maintenance of crops, an appreciable drainage and some protection from pests.

raised bed garden

Directions for Building Raised Garden Beds

The dimensions of the raised garden bed depend on what you need, but let us say that for beginning gardeners (as we are) it is better do not exceed the size that we are proposing in this post.

Then later, once we have earned enough experience, we will certainly have the opportunity, if we decide to replicate this experiment, to improve the size to large and more elaborated raised garden beds to grow numbers of plants or flowers.
For DIY lovers it is possible to build their raised garden bed by using re-purposed or recycled materials, like pallets which are among the most popular materials recently preferred (look here for some ideas in this regard).
Raised garden beds, sometimes called also garden box, can be also used, as we said before, for growing vegetables or flower plantations. In addition, if you provide a kind of coverage, by using a light plastic roof, you will get the advantage of avoid the washing effect of the rain that makes the soil increasingly poor of nutrients substances.
Another advantage of using raised bed gardens is that you do not see anymore soil falling out apart and it is easier to work on this kind of gardens for people with back problems or older gardeners because it reduces back strain.
Before step up with the building instructions, it is to say that raised bed gardens are not to be confused with garden planters which are elevated containers, often with bottom plastic folded to avoid to waste water or sometimes with semi-permeable tissue (tissue non-tissue) to permit drainage.
Raised bed gardens have not bottoms as they are open on the ground. The result is that permits to the plant roots to grow deep into the ground looking for available nutrients.

raised beds

How to Build a Raised Bed Garden

Once you have decided the size and the shape of your garden and also what kind of plants, vegetables or flowers you want to plant on it, you can begin drawing directly on the ground the perimeter of your garden.
You will place some wooden stakes (height about 20 inches) at the corners of the geometric design that represents your garden. Then you will need to connect a string between the stakes, stretched about 7-10 inches from the ground to have a guide to follow when you have to build the sides, in order to maintain the same height (alternatively you can use a mason’s level).
At this point we just have to nail down four aces to form the polygon (not always, in fact, it is a rectangle) that we had drawn earlier.

It is understandable that this work is easy and we do not need a master degree to proceed, but not always the easiest things are the first things you consider as the present times often push us toward the most complicate way of living.

 

How Improve Garden Drainage, Backyard Drainage

April 28 2015 - DIY, HOW TO

With the end of the cold season we start to think of any outdoor project. One of the jobs to be done outdoors, in the yard or in the garden, can be the improvement of the drainage of the garden.

Backyard Drainage

Garden Drainage

We all love our garden, our own little green world in the backyard, with flowers and plants, a place where we enjoy spending some of our free-time in absolute relax, maybe reading our preferred book or listening some favorite good music.
The simple maintenance that this little treasure requires, includes the need to keep the ground dry, avoiding stagnation of rain water and the formation of excessive moisture. These factors that can make the garden less enjoyable, in a the long run may also compromise the healthiness of the basement or other premises and underground rooms, like cellars and taverns.
So let’s see how to improve the drainage system in the garden or how to drain the courtyard.
In fact it is not unusual to ear people complaining about problems related to the existence of moisture and condensation in the basement or even more for the presence of water on the floor or walls that are wet to the touch and show the bloom of mold in the corners, all of these problems drive from one side to the unavailability and little access to the rooms, and on the other may even create irreversible damage to the entire structure of the building.
If the composition of the soil is predominantly clay and therefore with poor permeability, there is the strong possibility that any waters present in the subsoil tent to flow laterally toward the lower slope and, if the water goes towards the wall of the house, then we are really going to heading a big problem. A problem that can be solved with the drainage of the garden or the courtyard.

Garden Drainage

Drainage Of The Garden

In this case, you can still achieve a good result with a relative small effort if you proceed with the construction of a kind of drainage channel along the entire perimeter of the house to force the water in a desired direction avoiding its dispersion. Once properly channeled the water can be driven far away from the building and even brought out of your property’.
This technique is known as ‘French drainage’ or French drain.
Let’s see what it is.
French Drainage
As we said, this drainage system consists in building a kind of underground gutter that goes around the perimeter of the entire building.
The channel should have a width of about 4 to 5 inches and it should be placed at a depth approximately 12 to 20 inches.
Once the canal is built, we will cover it with special perforated tiles or with a galvanized net over which we will pour a quantity of clean gravel to a depth of 2-3 inches and finally covered everything with other soil up to the surface.
The water flows out of the ground and is filtered through the perforated tiles (or through the net) and ends up in the gutter where it is forced to follow the slight slope that we have given, to the destination that we have predetermined.
In essence we can say that this drainage system works as with a normal surface drainage system, it means a plastic duct with a cover grid. The difference only consists in placing it a foot underground. Alternatively you can use a PVC pipe with the top perforated with lots of holes in order to collect the water and channel it.

How Drain Garden
After having discussed about garden drainage, we feel we should recommend another useful advice, infact it should be better always check first that the rainwater from the roof, usually piped down, it is not dispersed close to the foundations of the perimeter wall of the house, creating additional sources of moisture and condensation. If is the case, you may follow the same system above mentioned to drive also this water far away from the house and from the garden.

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