Summer's just around the corner, and if you're a home owner, chances are good your thoughts are on your backyard. Maybe you've spent all winter salivating over episodes of "Yard Crashers," "Landscapers' Challenge" and "The Vanilla Ice Project," or your Pinterest and Houzz accounts are bulging with ideas. If you're ready to convert your much-neglected plot of land into a backyard oasis, we say it's time to get to it.
You can take your backyard design in many different directions, and it's easy to get carried away and bust the budget. Keep it real and stay organized by creating a list of the features you'd most like your backyard to have, then prioritize and set a budget. Here are some of the more popular features to help you get started:
A New Patio
A patio is often the starting point of a backyard renovation. How large you make it depends on what it will be used for: Will you be entertaining a lot of guests, or is it just for you and your spouse to enjoy while you sip iced tea and read the newspaper? Your options for patio pavers are brick, concrete, stone and even rubber; don't be afraid to get creative with its shape and the placement of any bricks. Fixr.com places the average cost of a 12-by-16-foot patio around $2,000. If installation is done well, your patio could retain its original look for 20 years or more.
Is your backyard better suited for a deck? Nothing says "summer" more than enjoying an Indianapolis evening under the stars, and a deck increases the value of your home, too. You can plan the shape and size of your deck to fit with your existing landscaping and yard size. Choose a lumber type, color and width that fits your style and design preference. Experts estimate a new deck will cost you $15-$35 a square foot, depending on the type of wood you choose.
Spa or Hot Tub
A spa or hot tub brings an element of luxury to any backyard. You can integrate it with your landscaping or install it on your deck. CostEvaluation.com puts a new outdoor hot tub at about $2,000 to $6,000 installed. Make sure you budget for a hot tub cover as well; this is a must for families with small children and areas with four-season climates. You can get hot tub covers at HotTubWorks.com starting at under $300, delivered.
From fountains to waterfalls to a koi pond, water effects take your backyard to the next level. Add ambient lighting around these features to create a dreamy mood at night. If you want to go with a koi pond, bear in mind that experts recommend the water be three to four feet deep for the fish to thrive. According to howmuchisit.org, the cost of a professionally installed koi pond starts at $10,000 and goes up from there, depending upon how elaborate you get. The filtration system alone is around $3,000.
Of course, these are just some of the features to consider when creating your ideal backyard. Now get going, so you can kick back with a cold drink and enjoy the backyard of your dreams.
Looking to get the backyard living space of your dreams?
If your in the Indianapolis, Indiana area, consult with Gettum Associates, Inc., an award-winning design and remodel contractor based in Greenwood, Indiana. Gettum Associates carefully designs each project with your needs in mind and completes the construction of your deck, porch or patio to blend seamlessly with your existing to make it look as though it was always there. Click below for more information:
About the author:
Ray is a landscaper, mechanic and fix-it guy who enjoys sharing DIY tips and money-saving tricks.
Help I have water in my crawlspace
I have a problem with water in my crawl space. I am wondering if I could just convert it to a full am basement to fix the water and my small space problem?
Thank you for your question. Honestly, from a cost perspective, you will be better off addressing the water issues in your crawlspace. At the very least, you will need to install a sump pump in your crawlspace to deal with the water issues. A local, reputable plumber should be able to accomplish this. It is the least costly way to control the problems you are having.
That being said, you can certainly convert a crawlspace to a basement but it may not be cost effective. Not only is digging a basement below a crawlspace a labor intensive proposition, but you also have to provide a stairway somewhere in the existing home to get down to the space which will cost additional money. However, if your family needs the additional space, and a room addition either out the first floor, or up above with a new second story addition does not make sense, then yes, a basement may be the solution. Just beware that this can be more costly than the previously proposed solutions.
If your serious about either suggestion, give Gettum Associates a call at 317-888-5681 or visit our website at www.Gettum.com and we will be happy to help. Thanks again for your question.
Spruce up your backyard this spring
It’s that time of year again. We get the opportunity to trade in our winter coats for springtime shorts and venture out into our backyards. After being stuck indoors for months, we tend to look at the outdoors with a new perspective.
Plant a New Garden
Planting a new garden is a massive undertaking. The first step is to figure out how large you want to make the garden bed. The bed should be about 20 x 25, if you have the space for it. This will give you the maximum space for
Now that you’ve figured out how large your garden will be, you have to think about location. Your garden will need ample sunlight— at least five hours a day. When you plant your garden, try to free up the space around it of weeds, bushes and trees. Your flowers or produce will have a better chance of thriving. If you have a densely vegetated yard, you may need some extra help such as hiring a professional or a backhoe rental from Sunbelt Rentals. With a backhoe, you’ll have to dig a rut around your expected garden placement. The rut should dip below the nearest root system. Using a backhoe for this process will make things go much smoother and faster.
Once your rut is dug, place a heavy material, something roots can’t break through, into the rut. Fill it back in with the freshly dug soil. You should dig about two feet into the ground to ensure that your garden has plenty of vitamin-rich soil to feed.
Plant New Grass
If you’re not looking to go as aggressive as digging up your backyard and planting a brand-new garden, laying down new grass may give you a fresh perspective on your yard.
Before you start planting, test your soil for available nutrients and ph levels. Take samples from several different parts of your yard. Make sure the soil you remove is more than eight inches deep into the ground. There are plenty of local organizations that can test this sample you’ve produced. Contact your lawn care service for more information.
A simple roto-tiller will aid in preparing your lawn to be seeded with new grass. Set the tiller for a six-inch dig and run it over the portion of the yard where you want grass. If your lawn is new, this tilling should suffice. If not, you’ll want to obtain a verticutter. The verticutter creates perfect planting rows out of freshly dug and sifted soil.
The verticutter can also help you plant your new grass seed. The general recommendation is to throw your seed and verticut at least one time. Then, lay some more grass seed and use a hoe to displace this added seed. This process will give you a better coverage of grass. Once your seed is ready, water the ground immediately. Continue to water for one week after the grass starts to break through your yard.
Courtney is a yoga teacher and naturopath who writes for a variety of health and exercise blogs from her home in Maine.
Are you considering a deck, porch or pergola?
Consider Gettum Associates, award-winning Indianapolis area home remodel contractors for your next backyard and outdoor project.
Replacement of a tile shower corrects a problem and offers a chance to add luxurious upgrades
A bargersville Indiana homeowner calls with a problem with his shower floor. In his words, the shower was "spongy". When weight was placed on the shower floor, bubbles and water came up through the tile floor. For some reason, water had pentrated below the shower floor tile and was trapped in the shower pan liner below.
Existing shower stall pictures:
Shower demo pics
To be sure to solve the problems correctly, the entire shower tile walls and floor were removed. While the shower could have been reconstructed, the blank slate offered a chance to add a few amenities. Namely, the shower floor was equipped with a Nu-Heat shower floor warming system with thermostat. The warming system not only feels nice on the feet, but evaporates water quicker.
Along with a floor warming system, a new glas block window unit was placed high up the exterior shower wall. Within the shower, a large niche and accessory shelves were added to added for maximum storage for shampoo and soap bottles.
Glass block shower window installation pictures
Completed shower pictures
New heavy clear glass swinging shower door with decorative handle
New shower features two shower faucets and accessory shelves
New decorative tile border features natural stone and glass mosaic tiles
New natural stone mosaic tile with dark stone tile accents
In summary, the original shower installation had many faults which could have caused more damage had it been left without correction. The removal and replacement of the shower allowed the homeowner to upgrade and improve upon the overall design and function of the shower. The new installation should provide an enjoyable and leak-free shower for many years to come.
Are you looking to upgrade your shower?
If your considering an upgrade to your master bathroom shower, or have a leaky existing shower, you can request a free, no obligation bathroom remodel consultation from Gettum Associates, an Indianapolis area home remodel contractor located in Greenwood, Indiana. Gettum Associates has provided award-winning design and remodel services throughout central Indiana since 1987. To learn more, click below:
The Nasty Effects of a Poor Clean-Up: When Flood Water Damages a Basement
Water and fire damage are terrible for any homeowner to have to deal with. The only way to properly clean such damage is by calling in the professionals. Restoration experts strip the room or home from the damage caused by water or smoke, leaving the area as if nothing happened.
Water damage can result in more than just warped furniture and a musty smell in the basement. Large amounts of water in the basement can affect everything from the carpeting to the drywall and. It doesn’t stop there. The following issues can occur when a basement or room is not properly cleaned after a ruptured pipe, sewage backup, or plumbing leak.
Anytime water collects in a moist area like a basement, the biggest threat is the growth of mold that can occur in what seems like no time at all. Basements themselves are damp underground spaces that already have issues staying dry.
A dehumidifier can only do so much after water damage from a flooded basement occurs. Professional restoration experts use their industrial-quality products and dryers to extract the water and dry the area affected by a flood.
Breathing in mold is extremely harmful to pets and humans; therefore, it’s crucial to have these areas professionally cleaned as soon as possible following water damage. Letting water stand in these areas brings moisture to the air that is sopped up by the baseboards, drywall, furniture, and carpeting. Because this water is trapped, it allows for mold spores to produce and multiply at an uncontrollable rate. The only way to remove this mold properly is by contacting restoration experts that can handle the water damage as well as strip the mold from the area.
When basements are not properly dried after a flood, unwanted houseguests move in and take over. Camel crickets, also known as Rhaphidophoridae, are small creatures that appear like a hybrid of a cricket, spider, and bee. Thankfully they are completely harmless to pets and humans. These critters live in damp areas, rotten logs, stones, and under boards. This is why they call basements home after a flood or other water damage.
Dead man’s fingers or Xylaria polymorpha is a common fungus that can take root in basements after significant water damage. Unfinished basements are more susceptible to this fungus growth because the fungus usually takes root on old wood or wood-like materials. These buggers take the shape of fingers protruding out of the ground, hence the interesting name “dead man’s fingers.” These growths should be removed from the water-damaged area. If conditions persist and the fungal growth comes back, contact a restoration expert to properly clean out the area and ensure that the room is dry. Drier conditions make it difficult for the fungus to survive.
To learn more, read these basement flooding cleanups and take control of any leaks or unclean flooded rooms in your home.
For FREE information, advice and useful tips on home remodeling and renovation in the Indianapolis area by Gettum Associates click below:
A Remodeler's Guide to Flooring
Whether you're building a brand-new home or remodeling your kitchen for an updated look, new flooring is essential. Do you want a rustic and naturally luxurious hardwood floor that matches an organic interior-design theme? Are you focused on a flooring installation that tolerates the high amounts of traffic and camouflages dirt from your family? With so many extensive flooring options, from sheet vinyl to natural stone tile, selecting the right floor that meets your aesthetic and functional needs can feel overwhelming.
Use the following flooring guide to help you select an attractive, durable floor befitting for your home and lifestyle. Just like your talented and exceptional interior designer with that concept artist degree at Academy of Art who recommended the most beautiful, upscale decor, we'll serve as your knowledgeable and experienced flooring professional who can help you get started on selecting a premier floor.
Hardwood exudes elegance and luxury. A deep, rich cherry hardwood creates a dramatic, organic atmosphere. Choose country maple to lighten a space and reverberate sunshine. If hardwood meets your aesthetic vision, then you'll choose between two constructions:
- Engineered: Consists of hardwood, plywood or HDF and a top layer of hardwood veneer that is glued on the surface, according to BuildDirect.com. Engineered hardwood has maximum stability, versatility and moisture and heat prevention.
- Solid: Solid hardwood is characterized by its thick top wear layer that can be repeatedly sanded and refinished. HoskingHardwood.com also explains that solid hardwood's interlocking tongue and groove milling provides structural strength.
Vinyl floors can mimic the look of hardwood, stone and ceramic tile. Sheet vinyl is the most affordable and is easy to install. Vinyl tile also has a four-layer construction which includes:
- Urethane wear layer: Withstands scratches and scuffs
- Protective clear film: Protects from tears and gouging
- Printed design: Contains colors and patterns
- Structural backing: Provides strength and durability
Laminate flooring has come a long way, with convincing grain and textures to mimic wood or stone tiles. It's an affordable and flexible material that can be installed in any space. If you're a young family maintaining a fact-paced household, laminate floors are an excellent choice because:
- They are low maintenance
- There is a wide selection of colors, styles and patterns
- They are resistance to impact, scratching, fading and stains
- There are many trim and molding options
Laminate floors can be installed with a floating technique. The planks aren't glued, nailed or stapled down, rather secured by the tongue-and-groove interlocking system.
Ceramic, stone and porcelain tile flooring can create an upscale look. Natural stone is a beautiful and versatile flooring material. From a grand foyer to a luxurious-looking kitchen, the following natural stones will provide an beautiful element to your interior space:
Because of its high durability, smoothness and low maintenance, granite is a premium choice for kitchen floors that experience high traffic and impact. Install marble in formal spaces and hallways for its refined and cultured qualities.
Peter Hill-Pete is a freelance writer who lives in Virginia.
Questions about cleaning granite countertops
I am so tired of using soap and water on my granite, it takes forever to clean and remove the soapy film. I’d love a cleaner that I can "spray and wipe" for dried food spills, etc. I am starting to hate my granite because it is so high maintenance. Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
You can find cleaners specifically designed for granite countertops in home improvement stores, such as Menards, Home Depot or Lowes or consult with the supplier of your countertops for their recommendations.
Also, don't forget to periodically seal your granite and other stone countertops to avoid any potential staining from foods and liquids.
You can get answers to your questions by "E-mailing the Expert"
Installing your New TV
Installing your home entertainment system is often one of the final steps of moving or a renovation project, but the importance of a precise and accurate installation is none-the-less important as is the electrical wiring used to power all your entertainment devices.
In addition to simple, proper installation, there is a certain level of necessary integration that you have to make when installing your TV. Whether you want it mounted on the wall, hidden in a cabinet, or something a bit more discreet, yet pretty like in a custom box or behind a picture or mirror, there are several things that need to be more than noted, but rather applied.
How large is your TV?
TVs can be big and very heavy. The average flat screen, whether it is LCD, LED or plasma is 42 inches to 55 inches. If purchasing a new TV, or just reinstalling the one you already have, you need to consider the dimensions in regards to placement in your room. For installation, you should calculate the viewing distance from the TV to figure out how big of a TV you should get, or perhaps where you should sit. The minimum size of you TV should be 1/3 of the viewing distance; the maximum size should be 2/3 of the viewing distance.
Here's an example to better understand this:
Of course the actual size of TV you get depends on what you can afford and how big of a feature you want the TV to be. After you get your desired TV and figure out where you want your ideal viewing area to be, you can move on to installing the TV. Depending on how handy you are, and what how you want the TV displayed, you may choose to hire someone to do it for you. TV installation should not be taken lightly, as previously stated TVs are big and heavy and can be a hazard if not installed correctly. Here are some guidelines to follow when installing, or having someone install your TV.
Use the correct mounting equipment. If wall-mounting the TV, make sure you use a bracket that is able to hold and properly support your TV
If not wall-mounting the TV, make sure the TV stand is stable and will provide enough support. If purchasing a new stand, make sure it can hold a weight greater than what your TV weighs.
Follow the instructions, simple as that. If installing the TV yourself, follow the directions provided with the TV, TV stand or bracket to ensure correct installation.
Have someone help you. If installing the TV yourself, have a friend, neighbor or relative help you with the install so you ensure your safety and the proper installation.
If hiring someone to install your TV, ask the store where you purchased the TV for recommendations, or friends and neighbors who have had theirs installed by a professional.
Getting your TV installed is much easier than you may think. Once you know what you want and where you want it, you can easily and quickly have your TV installed and ready for viewing you favorite programs in no time.
Cami is a regular blogger for all things TV, home and family related and regularly posts on Cable.tv. In addition to her love of TV and decoration, Cami also enjoys writing about children's entertainment and home improvement projects.
For more information on home improvement and renovation, as well as useful household advice, subscribe to our monthly newsletter, The Gettum Associates Home Front.
Tile floor warming for your shower
While interest for bathroom remodeling has always been high, the past few years the requests for such projects have increased noticeably. As an Indianapolis home remodel contractor, Gettum Associates has recognized a trend in creating larger, walk-in type showers. In many cases, homeowners are removing once popular but seldom used, garden or whirlpool tubs and reconfiguring the space to accomodate a more spacious shower.
Larger showers can sometimes seem like an unnecessary luxury, however in many cases they serve a need for many busy families. A larger shower can accommodate more than the standard one shower head and space for one person at a time. In many of the newer walk in tile showers, there is enough space to add a second shower head or faucet. The ability of a shower space to allow more than one person to bathe and get ready in the morning can help with a family where both parents work full-time jobs and have children to get ready in the morning.
Along with greater space for efficiency, larger showers now come equipped with many options. Not only are the design options infinite with special tiles, borders, trims etc, many showers utilize corner shelves, bench seats and niches for convenience. Another convenience that could be conceived as a luxury is that of in-floor, heated shower floor tile. Heated tile floors have been around for a long time, but the idea to install beneath a shower floor is a welcomed trend! Gone are the days of stepping onto a cold shower the first thing in the morning!
There are many manufacturers and brands of heated floor systems and most offer a solution for heated shower floors. One brand that Gettum Associates has experience with is the Nu-Heat, heated floor system. Nu-heat, like other brands, offers a heated shower floor system. Nu-heat utilizes a mesh mat with heated wires that connect to an electrical supply and a thermostat. The thermostats sets the temperature to your liking, eliminating the shockingly cold feeling on your feet when you step into your shower to wake-up/shower in the morning. Not only is the warmth welcome to your body, but it also helps dry up water and moisture on the shower floor when you are done. A win-win for you and your shower!
To find out more about creating a functional, larger shower for your next bathroom remodel consult Gettum Associates, an award-winning Indianapolis area home remodel contractor located in Greenwood, Indiana.
As the gray tones of winter are replaced by the rejuvenating green of spring, your lawn will need your help resuscitating it back from its dormancy. Blades of jade green grass won't flourish without considerable sweat from your brow, however. Slip on your gardening gloves over your green thumbs and ready your lawn for the spring season.
Soil & Seed
Growing a new grass lawn— or even barren patches— require much physical labor and time. Before sowing seeds, you'll need to tend to the soil, now compacted from winter's chill and rendered unsuitable for engendering new growth. Equip either a spade or rototiller to loosen the soil in preparation for planting. According to HGTV.com, experts recommend using the combo of sand, compost, loam and original topsoil for nutrient enrichment. Use a roller to press down the soil and grade the spot with a rake. Testing the pH of soil is an oft neglected step when planting new seeds. HGTV suggests testing soil with do-it-yourself kits or utilizing your state's designated agricultural university.
If you want to save money, you may not want to roll out the green sod carpet and opt for hydroseeding instead. In comparison to seeding by hand, this process ensures even distribution of seeds. The seeds are usually combined in a slurry of mulch, fertilizer, wood fibers and other additives.
The lawn mower is instrumental to your lawn's health. After winter inactivity, refill the gas tank, replace the oil and make any other reparations. To ensure it slices grass blades in complete uniformity, hone your mower's blades to razor sharpness. See, mowing the lawn is analogous to shaving. A sharpened blade will slice through stubble with ease compared to a dull blade ripping or pulling hair and lacerating skin. When it comes to mowing the lawn, less is more— as far as cutting goes. Set the blades higher for taller grass. Higher, denser grass also prevents crabgrass germination by blocking it from its ultraviolet energy source. TLC suggests that warm weather grasses should consistently measure 1.5 to 2.5 inches tall. Cool weather grasses should be kept at 2.5 to 3.5 inches. One method to ensure 180 degree grass cuts is to use a manual push reel mower. These motorless mowers manicure the grass, rather than shred it. So which mower should you purchase? Mowers Direct recommends Husqvarna mowers as some of the best lawn mowers on the market.
Aeration is the practice of extricating plugs of sod to loosen soil. This process allows air, fertilizer and water to seep down directly into the grass root system— all integral to your lawn's health, according to HomeOwnerNet.com. There are two primary ways to accomplish aeration. Depending on the size of your lawn, either use a manual core aerator for smaller lawns (or specified problem spots) or a power aerator for any expansive stretches of land. You can rent commercial coring aerators at most tool rental stores.
P.S. Your lawn is not the only thing that requires attention this spring! Routine spring maintenance for your home uncover problem areas and help maintain the value of your home. For more information on spring home maintenace, click below:
About the author
Barry is a writer and saxophonist who lives in Virginia.