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.
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Spring/summer remodeling vs fall/winter
As a home remodel contractor serving the Indianapolis area for quite some time, we get asked a handful of common questions by our prospective clients. Perhaps one of the most common questions we are asked is, "does it make a difference if we complete our project within the spring and summer months, or the fall and winter"? I suspect for some contractors, depending on their specialty, it may matter. For other remodeler's, it may not.
Although interest in remodeling and home improvement slows somewhat during the fall and winter months, I don't believe it's due to weather alone. With fall, most family's see their children back to school for the year. The back to school season is soon followed by Halloween and Thanksgiving in the late fall and Christmas and New Years in the winter. After the New Year, many begin to think about and plan their home improvement and remodeling projects for the upcoming spring and summer months.
So what about seasonal weather?
Does it truly matter if it is warm versus cold, or if we see more rain than snow? In reality, for those of us in Indiana it's a crap shoot. We can have snow in May just as we can experience 70 degree days in February. All kidding aside, weather truly does not matter to the full-service home remodel contractor.
I like to use second story addition porjects as a perfect example. This type of project requires a lot of work to be done both on top of the existing roof as well as during construction of the new roof system. In the summer time, being on a roof is HOT! In many cases, our workers would prefer to do this during the cooler months, for obvious reasons. It's easier to be able to layer clothes based on the conditions than get to the point where there is nothing left to remove! Then again, snow can be a challenge. However, most snow can be swept off roofs, before it melts. In the case of rain and ice, we avoid both for safety reasons, both for our workers and to protect the home.
In our experience, we have had the best luck in removing existing roofs in the colder, winter months where the likelihood of rain is less. However, as mentioned above, rain requires planning. On days where there is a good chance of a rain shower, we avoid demolition altogether. If there is a chance, we always have a tarp ready to protect the home. Removing roofs in sections can also be beneficial in minimizing the exposure of the home to the elements. In any case, being prepared is the key.
In summary, a professional remodeling company that has been around a while has learned to cope with changing weather conditions. The amount of challenges between seasons is the same, just different. Being prepared to deal with the weather amounts to common sense for the most part. With careful planning, all conditions can be dealt with.
Ultimately, the choice of when to remodel your home is on you, the homeowner. It depends on the schedule and lifestyle and your family. The important thing is, it really doesn't matter to us, your remodel contractor, as it does to you and your family.
If you have any home remodeling and improvement questions you would like to have answered, please "Email the expert".
Knowing what to expect during a remodel project will lessen stress
Remodeling your home can be stressful. However, if you know what to expect, it can lessen the impact on you and your family.
First and foremost, developing a comfortable working relationship with your contractor is paramount to a successful outcome. For more information on selecting a contractor, read "6 Mistakes to avoid when selecting a contractor". Be sure your partnership is a good fit!
Mutual respect between both parties from the very beginning is a must. Both homeowner and contractor alike must respect each others time and investment. Hopefully, your contractor will establish expectations from the planning phases, into negotiation and contract signing and all the way through the completion of your project. Trouble during a remodel project is usually a result of a homeowner not fully understanding something or the contractor not setting proper expectations.
Here are a few bullet points to understand and consider, no matter if your just beginning to think of a remodel project or you have already selected a remodel contractor for your next project:
Realize that reputable remodel contractors consider themselves professionals. They keep business hours. In most cases this means Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm and they rarely make exceptions. Contractors have family's and lives, just like homeowners. In most cases, this means they will NOT be tearing apart your house, running their tools, and constructing your walls on a Saturday and Sunday. Remodeling is expensive and is an important decision. If your serious about your intent to renovate, give it the time it deserves, even if that means going into work late or leaving a little early.
Remodel contractor's time is valuable, just as much as homeowner's. Yes, rescheduling appointments due to conflicts, or illness do happen from time to time. We understand you may need to do the same. If your NOT going to be able to keep an appointment, please give us call as soon as possible. Again, we will extend the same courtesy.
Don't beat a contractor up on price. It is acceptable to question costs and negotiate certain items, but for the most part a professional remodeler who has been around a long time, knows what it takes for a project to be built and what it takes to make certain they are still in business when your project needs service. If you find one ridiculously low price out of line with two other quotes, chances are your not comparing apples to apples. If you base your choice on price alone, a professinal remodeler is not the right fit for you.
Expect to pay a fee for design work. This may be a fixed charge or an hourly rate. Design work take time, but it is important to understand how everything will come together before a price is presented. Avoid accepting a price quote for additions and major modifications without a working plan in which to build from.
THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU CAN DO to ensure your happiness concerns is to read and understand every line of your scope of work/roject specifications and contract. This is extremely important as most conflicts during a remodel project occur because either the homeowner to not read and understand what was specified, signed and agreed upon. In some cases, perhaps the contractor failed to clearly describe something but do yourself a favor: If you have a question about a selection, or do not understand what something means, ask. It's that simple. But please do so before you sign the contract!
Try and make as many selections as possible before you sign a contract. Agreed upon selections can be written in the specifications and help eliminate allowances. Likewise, try and keep changes to minimum to avoid change orders, which cost additional time and money.
Discuss such issues such as the use of your bathrooms, any pets that may need to be secured and the safety of any children in the area. As well, understand when to expect work to begin and end every day.
Realize that delays may happen and many of them can be out of the control of the contractor. Some are due to product selections. Making timely choices can help with this. Other delays in the construction schedule may be due to building inspections. For instance, a rough-in inspection of electrical, heating and cooling or plumbing must occur before drywall is installed. In some jurisdictions, inspectors are given up to 48 hours to complete a inspection. The important thing to realize is contractors want to keep you on schedule. Time is money. Not only in extra expenses for your project, but also starting another project.
If you have a question or concern, let your contractor know as soon as possible! Do not let minor issues fester. Rather, address them as soon as they arrive. Mistakes happen, but it is how your contractor reacts that is the important thing. And remember, remodel contractors stay in business by making you happy!
Your house is most likely your single largest investment you will ever make. Sometimes our home needs modified, or routine maintenance at the least. When your home needs attention or you need to add extra space, take a breath and do your homework so you know what to expect. Reducing the stress present in many projects is key to being happy with the end result!
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An excerpt from an article in the Gettum Associate Home Front monthly house and home newsletter. You can FREE articles on household tips, advice and home improvement by signing
Enjoy Summer Produce Year-Round
The best secret to purchasing summertime produce is to shop at local farmers markets, produce stands, or farming coops. Not only are you supporting your local famers, but you’re more likely to find; fresher produce, a wider selection, and more for your money.
Once, you’ve found a good supply, purchase additional fruits and vegetables to freeze for offseason. Here are a few helpful tips on freezing your summer produce.
Use freezer bags or package your produce in plastic food containers. Label it with a permanent marker with contents and date processed. Choose perfectly ripe produce, overripe or under ripe produce does not fare as well in the freezer. Choose vegetables wisely: vegetables that you usually cook are better candidates for freezing.
Berries: Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, loganberries, cranberries and strawberries. Rinse under ice-cold water if choosing berries that have been sprayed. Place berries on a baking sheet, freeze, and then transfer to freezer bag or container.
Cherries: Rinse in ice-cold water and pit the cherries. Place cherries on a baking sheet, freeze then transfer to freezer bag or container.
Melons: Watermelon is the only melon that does not freeze well. Simply peel casaba, Crenshaw, honeydew or cantaloupe, remove the seeds and cut into slices chunks or balls. Place in freezer bag or container.
Peaches: Cut an X into the bottom of each peach. Place in a large pot of boiling water for 30 seconds. Remover, allow to cool slightly and peel off the skin. Slice in half and remove the pit. Cut into slices or cubes. Toss with a tablespoon or two of lemon juice to prevent browning. Place in freezer bag or container.
Freezing Vegetables: While most vegetables require a quick blanch and then a plunge into an ice bath, some vegetable require a longer cooking process before freezing. This includes root vegetables like beets. Timing is very important when blanching; under-blanching actually stimulates enzyme activity, while over blanching causes loss of flavor, color and valuable nutrients. For additional tips on freezing vegetables check out these tips from GardenGuide at http://ow.ly/6jji.
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2012 Indianapolis 500 contest
Guess the winner to win a $25 Target Gift Card
The month of May in Indy is here!
Throughout the rest of the month, we offer this fun contest.
What to do? It's easy.
Go to http://info.gettum.com/indianapolis-500-2012-guess-the-winner/ and enter your winning pick for a chance at a $25 Target Gift Card.
or click below:
This contest is brought to you by Gettum Associates Inc., a design/build remodel contractor located in Greenwood Indiana. Gettum Associates has served the Indianapolis area wit award winning home remodeling services since 1987.
"Don't move, improve"
A garage addition example of the importance of matching home designs when remodeling
Yet again, we harp on the importance of matching your next renovation and remodel project with its existing surroundings. We take it seriously. So should you. For those who have missed the preaching, take note: Anything you add to your home should always match what you have.
When renovating or adding on or anywhere near a historic, period home it is even more important! Building with inappropriate materials or a contradicting style can kill the overall look and feel of an otherwise important home!
Here is a great example:
Below, is a picture of an existing garage on a historic period home in the Indianapolis area. Note the slate tile roofing, prominent dormer on the roof, the overhead garage door at the end, and the exterior trim detail.
Existing house and garage:
The homeowner wanted a detached garage to the rear of the home.
To not only replicate the look and feel of the existing home, but also the materials used originally.
We feel the completed project accomplished the objective: to create a great garage and storage space that served the purpose, yet match the original as close as possible.
The wall heights of the new garage matched the existing garage. The windows were an upgraded, yet similar replication. The brick blended seamlessly, as did the slate tiles. The dormer styling completed the blend. And accurate trim detail set the project off!
Completed project pictures:
The moral is, as is always the case, it's best to blend new with old. For this project, the objective was to create more garage space. But for this home, it was important to maintain the character of the existing home. However, even the newest of homes benefit from improvements matching the original styling and feel.
Additions and renovations can meet their intended goals without looking as thought they "just landed". It's important. Not just from a stylistic view, but from a realistic, resale point of view. Keep this in mind when considering your next remodel, renovation or home improvement project. Not only do you want your home to be consistent in it's detail, but so do potential buyers, should you ever want or need to sell your home. Curb appeal adds value. Inaccurate room additions or other modifications to your home will detract from it's value. Do your homework and find out what makes sense for your home!
For more on curb appeal, get the FREE "Indianapolis Curb Appeal Guide."
To learn more about blending in your dreams with your existing, consult with a reputable, Indianapolis-area design and remodel contractor, like Gettum Associates Inc. It is possible to make your house your dream home!
For a smooth kitchen remodel, hire a professional Indianapolis remodeler
A kitchen remodel or renovation can go a long way to updating the look and potentially increase it's value. So it is no wonder that a kitchen remodel is one of the most popular home improvement and remodel projects homeowner's choose to explore. There are many good contractors in the Indianapolis area, so how do you know who to hire? The answer to that is a hard one. And most often, it boils down to who you feel comfortable with. Having a good relationship with your contractor is important, however, there are a few things you can look for that may help narrow down your choices.
The good news is there are many great Indianapolis area remodel contractors that are capable of renovating your kitchen. Heck, you may even have a relative that is capable of installing cabinets. In most cases, if your replacing cabinets of identical dimensions and in the same layout, cabinet replacement can be a breeze. But, what happens if you want to change the layout? What happens if you want to change the location of your kitchen sink or your oven and range? Is your choice of cabinet installer capable of making those changes also? On a more drastic level, what do you do if you want to remove a wall in your kitchen to open up space into another area of your house, such as the family room? You do not want to hire just anyone to complete this work. In such as case, your best bet is to hire a reputable, full-service remodel contractor.
When it comes to major modifications, which are more and more common, your remodel contractor should be able to handle and coordinate all the trades necessary. This means scheduling and overseeing the work of licenses plumbers and electricians, as well as painter's, flooring installers, and countertop companies. Make sure the contractor your looking to hire will include all this in his price and that you, the homeowner, are not responsible for overseeing or hiring these separate trades.
Another benefit of a reputable, professional remodel contractor is they most likely have access to a wide variety of cabinet brands, in many different price points and have several color, wood, and accessory options. Some, like Gettum Associates, may be dealers of one or more cabinet brands. For example, Gettum Associates offers both Diamond Cabinetry and Candlelight Cabinetry but also has access to almost every name-brand cabinet manufacturer. So, if your set on one type of cabinet you can feel confident a reputable remodeler will be able to purchase it for you.
The availability of several countertop options is another feature to consider when comparing contractors to complete your next kitchen remodel. New countertops can add the finishing touch to any kitchen remodel or renovation project. It seems that material options are almost limitless. Even plastic laminate countertops, which have been considered to be a budget selection now can look great, closely resembling stone and solid surface options, but in a budget-friendly material and construction. Of course, if your all about trends in home design, a well-known, full service remodeler will have samples of natural stone, such as granite as well as man-made stone products. A local remodeler who has been around for a while will have an established relationship with several reputable countertop companies and provide several quality choices.
While it is true that a skilled carpenter can install cabinetry, only a full-service, professional remodeler can package all the services into one. Rather than have multiple companies and people to contact, hiring a professional remodeler gives you only one place to point the finger should a problem arise. In many cases, having a contractor be responsible for all phases of a kitchen remodel can save time and money. And that is never a bad thing!
Need ideas for your screen porch? Search for pictures for visual examples
For those looking to enjoy the outdoors and their backyard without getting scorched by the summer sun, a screed porch might be a perfect option. A screened in porch provides a shady place to read, listen to music or even watch TV in the summer without being stuck indoors. If you have considered having a screen porch built on to your indianapolis area home, chances are you have wondered what it will look like on the back of your house.
Thankfully, many houses are similar enough that there are plenty of examples of what it may look like on the back of yours. Technology now allows access to hundreds of thousands of pictures that can help visualize the end result of such a project. Take your pick, there are many choices when it comes to finding pictures of screen porches, or pictures of any kind for that matter.
Stick with what you are comfortable with. If you typically use Google to search the web, you can use Google to search for picture examples of screen porches. However, to make it easier, instead of typing in your search into the normal search box, click the "images" tab then input your search. For example, the image above and to the right shows the key word search "Greenwood Indiana screen porch pictures". You can click on that screen shot to get a larger version!
Besides typical search engines, such as Google, Yahoo and Bing, there are specialized image sites. Some examples are Flickr, photobucket, SmugMug, and the newer Pinterest. On each site you will be able to search for the pictures your looking for. Honestly though, you can pull up some great pictures by using your favorite search engine. If your looking for area-specific pictures, be sure to include your city in the search query. For example, if your in the Greenwood, Indiana area, a suburb of Indianapolis, you could type in "Pictures of screen porches in Greenwood Indiana" and find some results that way.
In summary, many of us have trouble visualizing the end result of a remodeling project. By using the internet to seek out pictures of your specific project, you can most likely find a suitable example. Don't be afraid to experiment. You can even search for specific features such as porches with Eze Breeze porch panels, or porches with skylights or any other thing you can think of.
If you would like to see pictures of porches and other remodel projects, specific to the Indianapolis area, check out the before and after remodeling picture galleries on the Gettum Associate website at http://www.gettum.com/Indianapolis-remodeling-picture-galleries.htm
Can I do a room addition if I am on a well and septic system?
Indianapolis remodel questions and answers
Yes, it is entirely possible to complete a room addition to your home if you have a well and septic system. While there are many differences between city sewer/water systems and septic field/well water systems, in both cases there are underground lines and other components to consider. However, with careful planning, these obstacles can be overcome.
Local building and health department codes will dictate how close a structure can be to a septic system. The last thing you want is your room addition to be placed over a septic tank. For good reason, local code officials will say "no". But, lines can be extended and tanks can be relocated to avoid new room additions. Also, keep in mind that adding space to your existing home may required you to increase the capacity of a septic system. Again, local building and health department codes will dictate what needs to be done.
Although you can investigate requirements on your own, it is recommended to hire an experienced remodel and renovation contractor in the Indianapolis area to research what will need to be done prior to starting construction. And many of these details will need to be explored before applying and submitting for permits. DO NOT allow a contractor to begin work without proper permits as you will possibly face fines and a stop work order. Planning for such issues with well and septic systems should begin early on in the design phases of your project and before you sign a contract. A reputable Design/Build remodel contractor will be your best bet!
If you are on a city sewer and water system, the above will apply the same in many ways. However, most of these utilities generally are installed from the road and up through the front of the house making it less likely you will have to deal with these issues. However, even additions to the front of the home can be planned to address water and sewer lines. Again, an experienced, reputable contractor will know what will need to be done to comply with local building codes.
Im summary, room additions can be constructed even if your home utilizes a well and or septic system. Proper planning before you get too far in the planning phase can go along way to be sure you are satisfied with your overall remodeling experience and will keep costs in line with your budget. For any questions, consult your local building or health department. If your in the Greenwood or Indianapolis Indiana area, give Gettum Associates a call. We are happy to help answer any questions you may have.
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Reusing existing granite countertops in your kitchen and bath
Question: Can I reuse my existing granite countertops for my next kitchen or bath remodel?
More Indianapolis homeowner's are choosing to stay in their homes and renovate or remodel what they have. Kitchen and bathroom remodel projects are among the most popular improvements. In some cases, homeowner's already have upgraded their countertops in the past, but now choose to replace the cabinetry beneath.I have heard many owner's voice there concern of whether they put the cart before the horse, so to speak, and if they made the wrong choice initially. The good news is with a little care and time, your beautiful natural granite countertops CAN be reused!
However, there are a couple of caveats:
You will want to keep your existing cabinetry layout.
You will want to keep your existing sink location
You will want to hire a professional company. Granite can be heavy and bulky, let a professional do the work for you and preferably the same company that installed the countertops originally. They will know the best way to go about a successful removal and reinstallation.
You will need to accept the fact that no company can guarantee your countertop will not be damaged or break during the attempt. In fact, most companies will have you sign a waiver disclaiming this risk.
That being said, you can save A LOT of money by reusing your existing granite countertops. If you have installed granite countertops to your kitchen in the past, consult with a reputable Indianapolis granite countertop supplier, such as Marble Uniques, about your project.
Do you have other questions about remodeling and renovating your Indianapolis home? Do you need advice on how to select a contractor? Check out our free information guides by clicking below:
(Photos courtesy of Marble Uniques, Inc. )