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Landscaping Software for the Organic Garden

Garden design software has come a long way from early models that asked gardeners to drag and drop a few colorful blobs resembling flowers onto a cartoon-like landscape. Contemporary landscape software programs help organic gardeners save time, money, and natural resources before breaking ground.

Buy Computer Compatible Landscape Software

The first step in narrowing the choices of landscape software is to recognize that new versions of software may not run on old computers. Gardeners using Windows 95 or Windows 98, for example, may not have the computing capacity to run a program that displays high-resolution photos with millions of colors per plant, versus the 256 colors in many old software programs. Windows XP or Vista is required for most new landscaping service software.

Garden Plant Database

Organic gardeners should look for landscape software that features at least 3000 or more of the most common garden plants. Even if gardeners have a preconceived plant list in mind, a large plant database allows for unanticipated plan changes due to moving or plant failures.

Although garden design software systems allow gardeners to search for plants based on basic care requirements like sun exposure, drought tolerance, and growing zone, some programs offer even greater search capacities. Gardeners may consider landscape software that finds deer resistant plants or plants for seaside gardens. Garden software programs may even help the gardener put together a themed garden, such as one that attracts butterflies or a fragrant garden.

Garden Planning Tools

A useful tool in garden software programs is a feature that shows the gardener what the landscape will look like in 5, 10, or 20 years. New gardeners, especially, get excited about placing juvenile trees and plants too close together, which leads to costly plant removal or even structural damage when the specimens mature.

A variety of demo gardens in a landscape design program takes the guesswork out of flowerbed design. Most garden software features tools that let the gardener keep track of project costs, which is important when hardscape elements like patios, walls, or fences are included in the makeover.

Vegetable Garden Software

The majority of existing landscape design programs focus on the ornamental landscape, but software programmers are beginning to offer software for the vegetable gardener. One example is the web-based, which lets subscribers download their vegetable plans by row, individual plant, or by blocks for square-foot gardeners.

Vegetable garden software includes elements like a harvest estimator, which helps growers stagger their harvest for preserving or farmer’s market sales. The software also saves prior garden plans, to help with crop rotation planning.

Web-based garden software like has the advantage of allowing subscribers to receive upgraded versions whenever updates become available. The web-based format may also allow users to interact with each other, sharing comments and garden photos with other members.

The Kitchen Remodeling Process

The kitchen is a very functional part of our home. Thus, it is also one of the most renovated areas in everyone’s house. In Chicago and suburb places of other places around the globe, kitchen renovation is a common project for most households. It usually involves repairing some utilities or damaged areas, remodeling or redesigning the whole part. Chicago remodeling projects for the kitchen needs a good plan or it would be a disaster not only for your kitchen but your wallet as well.


Setting The Budget

First thing to do is to set a budget for the whole Chicago remodeling project for the kitchen. It is always advisable to set a budget first before planning the design, layout, and other aspects of the project. By setting a budget, you can then plan everything according to how much you can spend or willing to spend. Your budget will be your guide all throughout the planning and construction stage.

The Need For A Professional Chicago Home Builder

If your Chicago remodeling project involves some complexity such as installation of gas lines or plumbing, you may need some professional help from a Chicago home builder. You may think that you can do such installations by yourself to save some bucks but you have to look at the bigger picture. To avoid potential hazards to your home, let the skilled professionals help you.

The Real Transformation

After the major constructions are done in your Chicago home remodeling project, it’s time for some real transformation. Installation of cabinets, stone countertops, or flooring may no longer need professional help from a Chicago home builder. DIY installations will do. However, make sure that you really know how to do it if you don’t want your newly-remodeled kitchen to collapse in a few weeks or so.

Finishing The Project with Fun

After everything has been constructed and installed, its time for the finishing job. Painting the walls and cabinets can be done by yourself and other members of the household which can really be a fun activity for everyone.

Time To Use The New Kitchen

After the Chicago kitchen remodeling project has been successfully done, the next thing you have to do is to put the kitchen in function. Cooking will be so much fun and inspiring with the new design.

Planning For A Kitchen Remodeling Project

Kitchen remodeling projects are not too easy but could not be difficult also if it is well-planned. When you have a concrete plan, it will be easier to put everything into their proper places.

Project Man: Surviving Marriage During Home Remodeling and Other Projects

I am married to a self confessed Project Man. My husband loves to work on our house and cars. I’ve had many friends over the years tell me they wished their husband were more like mine, but we all want what we don’t have, don’t we? Let me tell you, it’s been interesting.

It all started when we bought our house 15 years ago. This house needed a LOT of work. My husband didn’t like the texture on the ceiling, or the walls, and he wanted to knock out a wall between two bedrooms and put in an arch; making it the master bedroom. He wanted to tear out the entire kitchen and bathrooms and start over. Well, we sure did. A running joke for years now has been that he told some friends it would take about 10 days to get it all fixed up. Well, here we are 15 years later and he still hasn’t stopped.

Back to the beginning. We bought our house and moved in during the summer. Summers in Austin, Texas can be brutally hot. We had no central air, and only one old window unit that we put in the bedroom we were living in. We literally had plastic taped on the door to seal us off from the rest of the dust and mess. He had me (and his two teenage children when they came for a visit) scraping the ceiling, the walls, pulling up carpet, tearing down sheetrock, scraping up old asbestos tile with face masks, all in over 100 degree heat. It took months before our house was livable. Even then, there would be new projects, such as when we remodeled the kitchen and had our refrigerator on our front porch for 2 months. Or when we remodeled the bathroom and had to take showers next door for a week. Good thing we are close to the neighbors. Not to mention when we put in our hardwood floors and had a huge container that took up our whole driveway to store all of our furniture in for a month.

Our house is beautiful now. The granite countertops look amazing. I love it. We have hardwood floors and tile, a nice large master bedroom and a cute bathroom and large spacious kitchen. He built a deck, then made it into a sun room. Then outside that deck he covered the excess deck and built a bar. Then off to the side of the sun room he put it pavers for another patio. He is an unbelievably hardworking, talented guy and I love him very much. But sometimes we both mention how much easier it would be if we lived in a condo. As it is, our weekends are filled with yard work, building sheds, painting, and usually discussions about new projects to come. There is always something to do, always something to buy at the home improvement store. Recently we had to redo our whole chain link fence because we got an Escape Artist for a dog (another story).

If you are looking for quartz stone countertops in Phoenix, AZ – Please call AZ granite & Remodeling Today at (602) 759-9000.

Look for Certified Remodelers when Considering Kitchen, Bathroom Renovations in Chicago’s Suburbs

Choosing a contractor for renovation of a kitchen or bathroom depends on several factors which include the scope of the project, as well as what certifications your intended builder has.

Chicago’s northwest and western suburbs have a wealth of general remodeling contractors who oversee construction of new kitchens and bathrooms. Choosing the contractor nearest your home is not necessarily the best idea. You need to be comfortable in dealing with the contractor who should be responsive to your needs. Secondly, look for contractors who have earned certifications such as Certified Remodeler, Certified Lead Carpenter, or even better, Certified Kitchen and Bath Remodeler. When you choose a contractor with at least one of these certifications, you can be assured that they are qualified for the job.

Typical gutting of a medium-sized bathroom can run upwards of $10,000, with kitchens running at least $15,000 and more How much you spend depends on upgrades as well as the job’s complexity. If you are looking to only replace part of your kitchen or bathroom such as flooring or cabinetry, consider employing a Mr. Handyman. Many of these individuals are just as qualified but will take on smaller jobs. You can find a qualified contractor in your area by using the search engines at these websites: National Association of the Remodeling Industry/Chicago and National Association of Home Builders and Remodelers

As a writer covering local home remodeling topics, I have dealt with a number of contractors and have always found the ones with certifications to be more knowledgeable. Here is a sampling of suburban Chicago kitchen and bathroom contractors along with their contact information:

Oak Tree Construction Services, Inc.

1807 Sutton Ln., Schaumburg, IL 60194

Phone: 847-843-3030

This company is run by a husband and wife team, Mike and Donna Dew, both of whom have remodeler certifications. Both are heavily involved with the Chicago chapter of NARI. Oak Tree offers complete design, as well as personalized service.

Insignia Bath & Design Group

1435 S. Barrington Rd., Barrington, IL 60010

Phone: 847-381-7950

Here is another company which offers full design and construction service. Customers can see extensive samples of tile samples, cabinetry, lighting, and appliances.

Crimson Design & Construction

200 E. Fifth Avenue, Suite 112
Naperville, IL 60563
(630) 355-9070

For homeowners looking to do more elaborate remodeling work, Crimon Deign & Construction may be your choice. Established by brother Neil and Joel Kristianson in 2005, the company alo builds new homes. Visit Crimson’s website to download kitch and bathroom remodeling questionnaires. Joel Bristianon, who i a licensed architect, uses the form to better establih a design plan to fit customer needs.

Mega Home Improvments
427 S. Harrison, Algonquin, IL 60102

Phone: 847-658-8989

Wondering whether the “big guys” will take your remodeling job? Mega Home Improvements will. Although Mega performs a lot of exterior work, the company has a handyman division that is fully capable of handling bathroom and kitchen remodeling. Certified Remodeler Don Domanus oversees this division and is capable of indicating what types of jobs the company can perform.

Cleaning Service Business Safety Tips

Many workman’s compensation claims, calls to the poison control center and trips to the emergency room causing serious injury and sometimes even death are from cleaning accidents. Even though you have liability insurance, you don’t want to use it. Not to mention, you don’t want to get hurt. Basic cleaning safety tips can help protect you and your customers from cleaning accidents.

1. Store your cleaning supplies away from children and pets and not just under the kitchen sink. Child safety locks can be more of a nuisance than a real deterrent. If you keep your supplies in a locked cabinet either above the washing machine or in the garage, they are safer than under the sink or in an unlocked cupboard.

2. Read manufacturer’s labels for ingredients, directions and warnings for all of your cleaning supplies.

3. Not all ingredients are listed on the label. Call manufacturer’s to get a Material Safety Data Sheet.

4. Store chemicals in original containers, sealed tightly and in a cool dark place. Do not store them in your vehicle.

5. Never, ever mix chemicals especially bleach and ammonia which creates toxic fumes.

6. If working with chemicals, ventilate your cleaning area.

7. Wear gloves when working with chemicals.

8. Use the safest or greenest possible cleaning solution that will do the job.

9. Homemade products are often the safest products as well as the cheapest products. Be sure to label your bottles.

10. Some commercial green products may still have some toxic chemicals, read the labels.

11. Do not hurry so fast when cleaning that you become unsafe.

12. Lift properly by facing what you are lifting, lifting close to your body and squatting versus bending over to pick things up.

13. Squat while cleaning tubs or other low objects and do not bend over tubs to clean.

14. Alternate hands when cleaning to help prevent overuse injuries.

15. Watch out for tripping on cords, wear and tear on cords, and unsafe outlets.

16. Be careful when climbing ladders, steps, and stairwells.

17. Do not climb large ladders unless insured for it.

18. Walk back through a house checking for lights, open back doors, plugged in appliances, etc. before leaving.

Source: Cleaning Services Chicago