Different Types of Roofing and Siding Metal Materials

According to a lot of people, metal roofs are actually dependable and long-lasting. That is why when it comes to roofing and siding materials, metal is commonly chosen by contractors and roofers in Marietta because it would serve them best. It can last long for an estimate of 45-60 years. It is low in maintenance and you can choose different styles and colors if you wish to. However, keep in mind that metal roofs are expensive and costly. But despite this fact, most people would still opt to choose this material due to the fact that they can rely so much from it.

A lot of suppliers would also offer you a variety of roofing and siding materials. They can also offer you discounts that you can grab so it is a very good idea if you search through the internet as to which supplier would be able to give you the lesser cost. Some may even offer you roofing and siding materials that is in accordance to your specifications.


Metal roof is made up of galvanized steel that has been proven to have been through a thorough process in order to keep the material from corroding. It is coated in layers of zinc and that is the reason why rust won’t intrude this material. You can choose to paint the steel in any color that you want for additional effects but make sure that it is harmonious to the type of roofing and siding that you have. Metal roofing would provide very good benefits and it is better for the environment.


Metal roof can also be made up of aluminum. It is widely known to have a variety of chemical metal element and so it is mostly used in different types of items not only in roofing and siding. If you choose aluminum as your roofing material, you have to make sure that it is painted. This material is strong and durable and it can last for 45-50 years.


There are variety of sidings that are available for you to choose from. However, flexbeam siding is inexpensive and would give you better durability and it is long lasting as well. This type if siding is not widely used for residential areas but instead used for constructions with maintenance projects.


This kind of siding is huge and would give a lot of grooves that has a lot of intensity. It is stylish that is the reason why most people would choose this type for any kind of project whether it be residential or commercial project.

If you need more information on Roofing and Siding, visit the Siding Services section of the Sears Home Services website.

4 Reasons Why Your Garden isn’t Growing

Growing a garden is a real treat – from beautiful flowers to incredible fruits and vegetables, working on a garden can only be beneficial. Whether one is just getting into landscaping or has been doing it for years, all gardeners face the same problem at least once – a garden that isn’t growing. If you’re facing that problem this season, here’s where you’re probably going wrong.

1. Not giving attention to lawn mowing

Believe it or not, ballarat lawn mowing has more advantages than you can think of. In our context, it is important because it evens out the surface for the grass to get even amounts of sunlight and water. It keeps pests at bay ultimately helping them grow.

2. Planting your garden in the wrong spot

Each plant has different requirements. Some require more shade while others require ample amounts of sunshine. Others require a lot of moisture while some may not grow unless growing in dry soil. Also, some plants require more space between it and other plants than others. You need to understand the requirements for each and every one of the plants you are planning to plant in order to ensure they grow properly. Understand what kind of garden you have and how much space you have to see what kind of plants you can grow and how many. You can always go to your nearest nursery to ask for information on plants and they will offer you the best advice.

3. Not preparing the soil

Soil is arguably the most important part of growing your garden. If the soil is unsuitable for the plant, then it won’t even begin to grow – the soil gives your plant the nutrients it requires. They don’t do well in soils that are alkaline soils or acidic soils and the quality of the soil needs to be good too. Before planting your garden, make sure that you test the soil’s pH and mineral content. If your soil is unsuitable, don’t worry – you can always work on your soil and normalise it by adding organic matter. This helps add nutrients to sandy soil and improve drainage in clayey soils.  

4. Not giving the appropriate amount of water

The most common mistake made by gardeners is incorrectly watering their plants, causing them to die from dehydration or overwatering. Different crops and plants require different amounts of water and it is very important to understand how much each plant requires before planting it. Underwatering your plants will result in wilting plants due to inability to transfer nutrients. This leaves your plants weak and prone to disease. Overwatering your plants can lead to root rot which is particularly possible if your soil is clayey, resulting in poor drainage. Excess moisture can also lead to humidity and fungal diseases. Rather than giving your plants a little bit of water every day, focus on deep watering your plants at longer intervals. This along with good soil will ensure that your plants get enough water and grow healthy.

Garden Planning

The first step to planting your vegetable garden or flower garden should be to make a master garden plan for your property. Without it, you are randomly ‘shooting in the dark’ and are very likely to have regrets about some of your choices. Worse, you may have to remove or replant some of your most expensive trees or shrubs. A garden plan, for all it seems a chore, is the way to not have to do this. This is how a garden for beginners should be initiated. So, why not take these first weeks of the new year, and plan the whole garden out?

Step One: Draw It All To Scale

First and most important, draw your lot and house outline to scale on graph paper. This seems like a lot of trouble to go to, maybe even a silly place to begin, but you can’t plant where a building already is. And remember that over the course of the next several years you will probably spend several thousand dollars on your landscape. Is it worth getting it right, in a written garden plan, the first time?

This plan is your baseline, always open to modification. But it is more than worth having an original garden plan on paper so you can see where you were heading and what you were thinking at the beginning and where you want to go next.
Make several copies-graph paper is hard to erase. Also, you will likely want to try several different arrangements or ideas. To have these several different ideas in front of you all at one time, to chose pieces from, makes it easy.

Step Two: Begin the Plan with Lists

Once you have the outline of your property and house, make a list of indoor/outdoor activities you will use your home and outdoors for. Remember any children in the house will grow and as they do, their needs will change. Same is true for the adults.

Next, make a list of areas those activities will use, i.e. a patio for cooking outside, a porch for sitting in the rainstorm, a lawn for wiffle ball, a vegetable garden area, bird feeders, etc. Remember to include any trash receptacles, clothes lines, compost heaps, rain barrels, etc. This may sound like a lot of extra trouble, but they have to be accounted for.

Now, make a list of all the different trees, shrubs, flowers and vegetables you wish you could grow. Never mind that you can’t possibly get them all on your property! For now you get to dream all you want-on paper!

Step Three: Place the Places and Plants

Next, keeping those activities and places in mind, draw the places on your drawn-to-scale garden plan. Some of them have to be in certain places, others can be moved around. Again, don’t be afraid to do some wild things at this stage. Remember, it doesn’t cost anything so far! This allows you to brainstorm without getting too bogged down in details. Alternately, draw them to scale, cut them out and re-arrange them as often as you wish. When you get what you want, then draw them on your graph paper plan.

With the places drawn in and the activities in mind, now add the different plants you want to plant. Begin with trees and shrubs, the big, permanent ‘bones’, the structure of the landscape. Keep in mind the leaf size, texture and color and any bloom color, as well as the size of the tree or shrub itself. These give the overall look and mark the major points of the design. They are also the most costly to put in and to move if you change your mind. Also, remember to draw them to their mature size, even though they will not start out that big when you plant them. Again, you can use cutouts to re-arrange the plantings until you get what you want, and then draw them on.

After you get this skeleton done, add the perennials to flesh out the look. Finally add in beds for annuals, for the changing variety of colors and textures they bring to the plan.

And there you have it! A long-term garden plan that will guide you for years to come. There is more that this to do—checking drainage, soil structure, how the neighbors plantings affect yours. But now, you have a place to begin with your own lawn and garden plan. Now, go to it!

Making and Using Compost

Compost is the best form of organic matter to add to your soil and can keep your soil stocked with all the micro nutrients your plants will need. Compost is a mix of organic materials such as clippings, kitchen scraps, and garden waste decayed into a dark, crumbly mass. It increases the overall health of your garden by suppressing disease organisms in the soil. You will see compost marketed in tidy little bags at most garden centers, but why buy it when it is so simple to make right at home?

Good compost is made up of three parts “browns” to one part “greens.” Some of the common browns are: straw, hay, leaves, cornstalks, sawdust, shredded newspaper, dry brown weeds, and dry grass clippings. Some greens are: fresh grass clippings, fresh manure, alfalfa hay, crushed eggshells, cabbage or broccoli leaves, fresh weeds, green garden trimmings, and coffee grounds.

There are two basic types of composting: Hot (fast) composting or Slow (cold) composting, bins, boxes, or tumblers are just containers for making either hot or cold compost. Whether you choose hot or cold composting will depend on how much work you want to do and how quickly you want to have a finished product.

Hot composting, often called active composting, takes more effort than cold but you will be rewarded with faster results. Your “hot” pile will also generate enough heat to kill many diseases and weeds. Start the process on a warm day since the organisms work best in the heat on a well-drained site. Your pile or bin size should be 3-4 feet x 3-4 feet x 3-4 feet. Stockpile your ingredients next to your pile so you can assemble as much as possible at once. Chop all materials using either a shredder or by simply mowing over small piles. By breaking up your materials you encourage faster decomposition. Start with about a 6″ layer of “browns” followed by about a 2″ layer of “greens” and continue this pattern using all your available materials. For active composting it is a good idea to throw in a handful of an activator such as alfalfa meal, blood meal, fresh manure, or humus rich soil per layer. These substances will speed up the decomposition by boosting nitrogen and microorganisms. Water the layers until the materials are evenly moist. Now cover your pile with a lid or an old tarp. Every week to 10 days turn your pile mixing the layers as you turn until the materials are partially broken down and no longer hot. It should be ready to use in three to six weeks.

No-fuss cold composting is just as good for the garden, it just takes longer. There is no fussing with layers and ingredients or turning the pile. You can make cold compost anywhere, in a pile or a bin. You supply basically the same ingredients such as leaves, kitchen scraps, and grass clippings and four to five months you should have some great compost.

Bins, boxes, or tumblers are simply containers for making hot or cold compost. Several approaches to the bin if you would like to build your own are the wire mesh and wood, all wooden, three-sided cement blocks, or the simple and inexpensive three-sided straw bale bin. The bin should be at least 3′ x 4′ to allow for enough volume for proper decomposition. A metal or plastic garbage can is easily modified as a cold composter. Simply poke aeration holes in the sides and bottom and set the can or three bricks to allow for air passage underneath. The stationary plastic bin and plastic tumbler type are expensive to purchase and don’t usually hold enough for hot composting but are often animal proof and can be more attractive in your yard. If you feel super ambitious you can construct a triple section bin. Instead of turning your compost you simply move it along from compartment to compartment thus keeping a steady production of compost going. A very simple, effective method if you don’t mind digging is the pit or trench method. Dig a trench right in the garden about a foot deep piling the soil beside the trench. Now just add your composting material covering each layer with an inch or soil of the removed soil.. When the trench is full you start another one. This method encourages earthworms and in a few months even the most stubborn clay will be crumbly and easy to dig. It is an excellent way to improve the soil for a new bed.

Compost is a wonderful soil improving additive, topdressing, or mulch. You can use it anywhere in the garden. Finished compost should be used within a few months, but even the oldest compost improves the soil. So get busy digging, building, turning and piling and very soon your garden will thank you.



Cambell, Stu. Mulch It! Pownal, VT: Storey Books, Inc. 2001
Rodale’s All-New Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening. Emmaus, PA: Rodale Press, 1992.

Landscaping: Not Just Pretty Flowers Anymore


My front and back yards are a landscaper’s dream. My front lawn is a north-facing patch of dirt dominated by a mulberry tree, while the back is another brown patch dominated by my two dogs. I essentially have blank slates for a creative green thumb to transform into something beautiful and practical.

In fact, landscaping may be my best long-term investment for reducing my home’s heating and cooling costs, protecting me and my family from crime and, if I lived in the East Mountain’s or near a near an open space or forest, from fire.

I’ve got several goals in mind for my yard, not the least of which is water efficiency. There are other considerations, as well: allergy reduction, attracting wildlife like hummingbirds and butterflies, and crime prevention.

Most of us know that certain plants wreak havoc with histamine levels each year, so controlling pollen is a goal for some. As a rule, anything with a pretty flower is pollinated by insects and not by the wind and is friendly to the nose. Most nurseries carry a chart that lists the pollen count of plants so homeowners can pick varieties less likely to aggravate allergies.

To attract hummingbirds, we’ve got a huge number of options here in our place. Your local nursery should have a list or be able to suggest varieties appropriate for your yard’s sun level and your own watering preference.

Fighting crime with plants isn’t a new concept, but it is one of the easiest ways to enhance a home. Trim any bushes to below the level of your windows, which will allow neighbors (and police) to see your property and into your house. That way no one can hide behind a bush and break into a window. And keep lower branches of trees trimmed to 6-8 feet from the ground so that someone can’t hide behind it and take you unawares. Rose bushes and pyracantha have lovely thorns, too.

With more and more people moving to forested areas, the need to do as much as possible to protect dwellings from fire danger is growing. The idea of firescaping is to create a defensible zone of at least 30 feet around a home. No stacked wood next to a building, and no coniferous trees within the zone (pines, junipers, cedars, etc.). Within the ‘mid-zone’ (25-30 feet), deciduous trees that drop their leaves in the fall and grasses to hold topsoil create the balance you need. In the summer, their leaves shade your home, while allowing winter light in.

Closer to the house, firescapers can plant smaller groupings of drought resistant plants and shrubs at least 20 feet apart, complemented by walkways and flagstone. The small groups of plants will be isolated from one another with the goal of preventing the spread of fire from the building to vegetation or vegetation to structure. Using gravel, concrete or flagstone in this area removes fuel entirely.

Grass Seeds and Moon Phases


Planting by the phases of the Moon is an ancient gardening practice that relies on the theory that the Moon’s phase and gravitational pull affects the growth and health of plants. Sowing grass seeds according to the tradition of lunar gardening takes a bit of planning, but those who do it believe it may result in a vigorous lawn that sprouts and grows faster than normal.

No matter when you plant your lawn seeds, remember that they must be lightly covered with soil, kept evenly moist, and provided with adequate warmth to promote germination.

Step One

Look on the package for your grass seed and find the average germination times. Most grass seeds are considered “long germinating.” Long-germinating seeds take 8 to 21 days for germination. Consult the reference section of this article for more information about determining germination time.

Step Two

Consult a lunar calendar to familiarize yourself with the moon phases at your time of planting.

Step Three

Prepare the seed bed by removing weeds and other plants that will compete for water and nutrients. Rake the bed smooth to receive the seeds.

Step Four

To plant according to the moon phase, sow short and extra-long germination seeds within seven days of the New Moon. The strong gravitation pull is believed to help these seeds absorb water and break their seed coats quickly. Watch for short germination seeds to sprout faster than usual and for extra-long types to germinate by the next new moon.

Step Five

Plant long germination seeds within seven days of the Full Moon. The increasing gravitational pull at this point in the cycle is believed to prepare the seeds to sprout by the coming New Moon.

More Astrological Influences

You can take your lunar planting another step, and plant grass seeds during certain astrological signs for different results. Planting when the sun is in Virgo, Taurus and Capricorn may help your grass develop a stronger root system. For lush foliage, plant when the sun is in Cancer, Pisces or Scorpio. Keep in mind that grass seeds require warm temperatures to germinate, regardless of astrological influences.

Bathroom Remodeling Ideas: Turning Your Master Bath into a Spa

Almost everyone loves the experience of a nice, large master bath, with plenty of space for a walk-in shower, and a separate Jacuzzi tub. Making your bath into a center of attention will not only provide many hours of pleasure, but will add immeasurably to the value of your home, and adds to the resale potential. Consider some simply tips to adding luxury to your bath without breaking the bank.

The major consideration in any bath remodel is space. Older homes suffer from the master bath being closet size, and give new meaning to the old term “water closet.” Today, we see the master bath in design magazines as a big, luxurious room, with ample space and beautiful design. Therefore, every bathroom remodel should start with considering if there is hidden space that can be incorporated to make the bathroom larger. What is on the other side of the walls adjacent to the bath? Is it possible to add on to the house and expand the bath outward? While moving walls and adding to the structure are expensive, the new look and space will certainly increase appeal and value. While I might not go to such great lengths in planning to sale a house, if I planned to remain in the house and/or resale in five years, I would definitely consider these options.

For such extensive remodels, you will definitely need an architect to draw plans, and you should carefully choose the contractor to make the changes. Be sure to get a permit for the work, and do your due diligence in checking out the contractor. Always check references and his rating with the Better Business Bureau.

To attain a spa like feel in the bath, consider extensive ceramic tile work. Choose a flooring company that reflects your values. Pick warm colors and use some design techniques to add style. Simply changing the direction of the tile can add a new dimension. Small design details can add much to the look and offer many decorator options. If replacing windows, always consider larger rather than small windows, and make every allowance for natural light. Earth tones are a beautiful way to give your new bath an earthy, natural feel.

Consider adding steam to your shower set up and always think ahead about handicap accessibility. Having a self contained shower that allows for a wheel chair is worth doing. It is always cheaper to do it now rather than later. Replace commodes with comfort height fixtures and replace cabinetry with a new look and material. A master with a modern vanity and counter tops with either undermount sinks or the new vessel sinks will make the bathroom pop. Consider using as much “green” materials as possible and recycle old cabinetry and fixtures by donating them to Goodwill or other charities. The tax receipt helps reduce your investment.

If ceramic tiles are too cold for you, consider the new heating grids that are installed with the tile, providing warmth and making tile a better option. It might also be worth considering the new heated towel bars which heat your towels, and are a nice touch to your new spa-like bath.

Make the shower area as open as possible by incorporating the new clear blocks as a way to retain some privacy, while giving more light to the inside of the shower. Be sure to add a seating area in the shower to sit and enjoy the steam, or simply relax to mediate as you enjoy your new retreat.

While not cheap, adding a spa-like atmosphere to your main bath is both appealing and a good investment. The rule of thumb is that the master is one of two areas where investments will ultimately pay off in a nice return. Be sure to incorporate an interior designer into your planning to help with color, style, and design considerations. Their services are invaluable if you are to get the look you want.

Why Elderberry Shrubs Are Getting More Popular in Gardens and Landscaping


Aside from the fact that elderberries are a versatile fruit, easily used in a number of recipes like jams, pies, and syrups, to name a few, the elderberry shrub is also a beautiful plant to look at. As more people discover the beauty of elderberry shrubs and the fact that the plant is easy to grow and care for, it begins to gain in popularity, appearing in many more gardens and landscaping.

Elderberry shrubs can also grow quite large and very tall, and so do need pruning maintenance from time to time if you wish to keep them contained. There are actually several species of elderberry that can be grown in the various climes of the United States, though the most popular elderberry shrub is the blueberry elder. This plant can grow from a large shrub into a small tree if allowed, and the exquisite foliage and large white blossoms are making it a favorite of many landscapers.

black-berriesAnother reason why the different varieties of elderberry shrubs are popular is that they can be incorporated into gardens easily, adding contrast, color, and texture to the landscape. The different species can be utilized to add either light or dark contrast, and the range of foliage and colors make the elderberry shrub a versatile plant in color contrast amongst other flowers and shrubs.

Before deciding upon an elderberry shrub for your own garden, it would be wise to consult with a professional landscaper, as some species may grow too large for small gardens, while others are actually poisonous. Knowledge of the different types of elderberry shrubs and the type of environment they are best suited for will help you to make an informed decision, and then you’ll be better able to appreciate the remarkable beauty of this popular shrub.

Composting for the Betterment of Our Gardens (And Our World)


Composted soil (otherwise known as humus) is one of the greatest gifts that we can give our gardens. Maintaining compost piles in our backyards can also make us more conscious about living in harmony with the natural world. Lawn clippings, leaves, and kitchen waste like vegetable scraps, coffee grounds and spoiled produce will have a place to go where their nutrients can be returned to the earth for the benefit of the plants that live on it.

Many gardeners invest in fertilizers, and mulches like peat moss, to help nourish what they are trying to grow. Because the humus that results from composting is made of so many different kinds of broken-down materials, it provides a full and balanced diet for plants – complete with all the trace minerals that they require, and in proper proportions. Composted material can even remedy the pH balance in our garden soil, or promote the growth of plants in ground that would normally be too acidic or alkaline for them.

Along with the nutrients it provides, compost, when mixed into the existing soil, will help our gardens to retain water much better. Humus is a porous substance, it soaks up and holds moisture like a sponge. Gardens with high humus content will need to be watered less frequently. If we’re obliged to leave them untended for as long as a week (when taking a vacation away from home, for example) we can be assured that we won’t return to baked ground and withered plants.

The growing life of our gardens also needs oxygen for their roots, and to help them assimilate the nutrients that are in the soil. Because humus is porous there is more space between its granules than is the case with average dirt. This allows for better aeration. Also, new budding plants have an easier time breaking through this kind of topsoil rather than a harder and more compact surface. Finally, the absorption that humus affords helps to curtail erosion. Topsoil is displaced by water when that water is not absorbed. In the case of composted gardens, moisture readily sinks into the soil without carrying it away.

Composts utilize so much of our kitchen and yard waste that would otherwise needlessly go into landfills. In return, they produce a rich and dark kind of soil so nourishing for our growing plants that it is often referred to as “gardener’s gold”. Composts are simple and easy to maintain; in fact, they require no more effort than what’s needed to take out the garbage. In return for this simple commitment on our parts, they teach us to live in harmony with the natural cycle of life so that we make use of what we no longer need and waste as little as possible.

Create a Butterfly Garden and Help the Environment


Butterflies are beautiful and they are crucial to environmental health too. They transport pollen from plant to plant and enhance pollination. Butterflies need flowers that provide nectar from mid to the end of summer. The plants should be in full sun, where butterflies like to feed. Chemical insecticides should not be used, as they kill butterflies. Butterflies also enjoy a spot to sip a bit of water, so a few rocks in a shallow pool or bowl of water will give them a place to rest and gain hydration.

I find butterflies entrancing. They are so beautiful and their floating about a garden helps me slow down and enjoy the moment of beauty. One summer I started keeping a nature journal about what kind of butterflies I spotted and where they were. I find in the deep of winter it is very enjoyable to take out the butterfly journal and remember the magic of seeing a butterfly swoop about colorful flowers. I always find it so joyful to see a butterfly and think that no matter how advanced our world becomes, these creature live among us, floating along from garden to garden giving a gift of joy to who ever spots them.

It is easy to attract butterflies. All you really need is a butterfly bush. This lone plant, with its rapid growth and profuse flowers will attract swarms of butterflies. A purple flower is found on the classic butterfly bush. However, now the species comes in many colors so you may have a full palette of bushes. However for a wonderfully lush butterfly garden it is so much more fun to also plant many colorful flowers to attract a variety of butterflies!

Each butterfly starts as a caterpillar so a good place to start your garden is by growing plants that provide food for caterpillars. The baby caterpillars feed where they are born so these plants will be quite chewed up; you may want to put them in a somewhat nonvisible part of the garden.

Caterpillars will find sustenance on the following plants:

  • cloverscaterpillar-butterfly
  • dill
  • hollyhock
  • sunflowers
  • thistle
  • apple
  • elm
  • willow

Then, when butterflies arrive, make sure you have plants and flowers abloom. Plants that provide food for butterflies include: lilacs, burning bush and azaleas.

Flowers that feed butterflies are: Butterflyweed, Queen Anne’s lace, daylily, cosmos, zinnia, purple coneflower, bee balm, daffodil, phlox, black eyed Susan, columbine, Shasta daisy, sweet pea, English lavender, violets, chrysanthemum, lupine, mint, Indian blanket, and passion flower.

Bougainvillea vines also provide flowers that feed butterflies and are very beautiful!

If you enjoy butterflies you may want to visit public Butterfly Gardens. In Washington, DC, The Smithsonian Butterfly Garden is located at the Ninth St. side of the Natl. Museum of Natural History Building.