Landscaping around a home is usually designed to be both pleasing to the eye and a relaxing space to be surrounded by but, could it be more than that? Can it be designed in such a way that it also helps with the home’s energy costs? How is that possible you may ask? Well, this is done by landscape shading. Landscape shading is where trees and shrubs are positioned in specific locations so that they provide shade to areas of the home that see the most sun. This is a method that has been shown to reduce a home’s indoor temperatures by as much as 9 degrees.
To make a success of landscape shading it needs to be planned out extremely well. Its important that trees are planted in just the right place so that they cast shade on the home at the time it is required most. Another factor to have in mind is the type of trees you use. You will get more shade the denser the tree. You will also want to consider if you wish to benefit from the sun’s warmth on the home during the winter months, if so, make sure you select deciduous trees which will provide full shade during summer but lose their leaves during winter.
You may also want to think about the rate that trees grow, if you are looking for quick results, why not choose vines instead? You can grow them to wrap around a fence or trellis positioned in the area you would like shade. Shrubs are a good option for areas like pathways or driveways.
So, as we can see, the smart use of landscape design can not only look beautiful but can also work for you by helping to cut down on the home’s energy costs.
The home should be a safe place of relaxation but, sad to say, many injuries are reported each year from accidents that take place within the home. Tip-over accidents are one danger present in a home, with children being most at risk. Let’s look at some of the causes of this and ways to prevent it.
Most new furniture items come with safe assembly guidelines and must adhere to strict safety standards, however, if the consumer does not follow these guidelines, the item they purchase could become very unsafe. For example, if you purchase a bookshelf or dresser, etc. it should be fixed to a wall using straps or L brackets. This will ensure that the item cannot tip over easily and cause injury.
In general, if a child sees something it wants, it will go to great lengths to obtain it. This might involve climbing on furniture items to do so. While it’s good to keep items you don’t want a child to have out of reach, it’s also a good idea to keep them out of sight to eliminate the temptation.
When shopping around for furniture, choose pieces that are sturdy with a wider base, this will minimize their risk of tipping. Store heavy items in lower drawers and shelving which will also increase their sturdiness.
One household item that can easily tip over is the television. If it’s not attached to a wall, keep the television on a low-lying stand or unit and make sure all electrical cables are well out of the way of children.
These are just some of the safety measures you can take to keep your home safe.
Mike McFadden, Certified Master Home Inspector in Orlando, FL