Prep your lawn for summer
(NC) Healthy lawns provide kids and pets with a safe, soft place to rest or play. Did you know your lawn also plays a significant role in cooling the environment around your home? These are just some things to think about as you get back to the garden.
When caring for your green space, remember that just like all living things, plants need food. Turf fed three to four times a year develops a deep root system that can resist heat, drought and wear. It also develops thick green top growth to naturally resist weeds, disease and insects.
Look for a fertilizer with higher nitrogen and potassium, the first and last numbers on the bag. These are the nutrients that help promote a stronger root structure, disease resistance and hardiness that will help your lawn during the dog days of summer.
Nutrients provide grass with the ability to withstand drought in hotter summer temperatures, and to survive the winter and bounce back in spring. You can find more helpful information about the right way to fertilize online at greenerworld.ca.
5 rooms you can brighten with a skylight
(NC) Adding a skylight can enhance any space, making it lighter, brighter, fresher and more cheerful. A skylight can also improve our experience indoors, where we spend 90 per cent of our time but the air quality is three to five times worse than outdoors.
In addition to the health benefits of more natural light, skylights reduce the need for artificial light and can lower electricity costs delivering twice the amount of light as vertical windows allowing for daylight to penetrate the center of the home. Here are five rooms that would be even better with one of these light solutions.
Bathroom. By adding a venting skylight, you can allow in an abundance of natural daylight while also letting the steam out after a hot bath or shower. Plus, did you know that the best lighting for make-up application is natural light? A skylight can let you enjoy privacy, an unobstructed view and a sophisticated design touch in your bathroom.
Kitchen. Programmable skylights from Velux will let in natural light and they give you the control to properly air out your home and keep your kitchen fresh during and after cooking. By opening your skylight, gases like hot air, cooking odours and toxins escape through the roof.
Living room. Make this popular space feel bigger with a skylight — you can even combine multiple units to create an architectural statement. Add a solar-powered blind to reduce the glare on your television and other screens.
Home office. Incorporate more natural light into your home office or studio to increase productivity, minimize mistakes and improve your mood. Working in natural light will also lessen eyestrain, which can help reduce headaches.
Attic/loft conversion. By converting your attic into a functional loft, you can add more usable square footage, increasing the value of your home. Keep the space bright, airy and open by including a skylight in your new design, leaving you with views of the sky and not your neighbour's roof, exterior side wall or bathroom. This will allow you to transform your dark attic space into a practical bright space flooded with natural light.
More Inspiration online at moredaylight.ca/5rooms
Bring the outdoors in with nature-inspired elements
(NC) Minimalistic features evoke nature and add a dash of comfort, warmth and texture into your home, while creating a calming ambience for guests to enjoy. Create a relaxing and zen home oasis by bringing touches of the outdoors in.
Sharon Grech, colour and design expert for Benjamin Moore, shares some of her favourite tips for adding nature-inspired décor to your living space.
Natural materials. Focus on the raw beauty of organic materials by playing with different combinations of texture and wood finishes. Start by incorporating artisan-crafted furniture and accents made with natural materials to instantly add an earthy feel. Rattan and wicker chairs or stools and sisal rugs incorporate a tactile element and pair nicely with earthy décor accents, such as clay, terracotta and global-inspired fabrics.
Enhance with light. Bring the outdoor warmth inside by choosing colours with pale and mid-tone hues of green, yellow and blue. “These colours work best to complement a botanical-inspired story inside your home,” says Grech. Opt for colourful neutrals such as Fernwood Green 2145-40, Crystalline AF-485 or Soleil AF-330. Finish also has an impact on both the light in your space and the colour itself, so she recommends using an eggshell or matte finish for your wall.
Botanical trend. We often forget about the beauty of plants. A simple way to transport nature inside is to add live plants or fresh flowers. Not only will this improve your mood and air quality, but your space will also feel more serene. Try combining printed cushions with wall art and prints in your favourite floral patterns.
Find more information and colour inspiration at www.benjaminmoore.ca.
Shopping for home insurance? Start here.
(NC) If you're in the process of insuring your new home or car and are hunting for a great deal, be aware of fraudsters. Insurance provider Aviva Canada estimates that fraud could be costing Canadians up to $2 billion a year. Learn more about the warning signs of common insurance scams to avoid becoming a victim.
If a deal seems too good to be true, it likely is. Call the insurer listed on the policy to ensure that the premium you've been quoted is correct and that they have a record of your application.
Don't pay in cash. Before handing over any money, make sure you're dealing with a reputable, licensed insurance agent. A reputable insurer or broker will usually ask for a cheque or credit card to cover your premium.
Make sure you receive valid documentation. Insurers will always provide you with documents, like an insurance card or a copy of your policy, once your policy is properly set up.
Be wary of where meetings take place. Insurance brokers and insurers will have branded websites and/or offices. Meetings in coffee shops or at your home are suspect.
No fees should be exchanged for a friend's referral. A licensed insurance professional will not ask for or take any referral fees.
A car dealership should not arrange for you to get cheap insurance. This is a banned business practice.
Find more information online at avivacanada.com/fightfraud.
Are there fire hazards in your home?
(NC) Besides a few well-known dangers, people often overlook potential fire risks in their homes. It takes just a few minutes to ensure you're taking the proper safety precautions with everyday household items. Your insurance company can be a great source of information to safeguard your home, such as these simple tips from insurer, Aviva Canada.
When using electrical cords and extension cords:
- Check before you use. Always check cords for damage before using them. If damaged, they can spark and cause a fire.
- Invest in a high-quality power bar. If you're using multiple small appliances and devices, choose a power bar that can handle the load. Also, never plug a power bar into another power bar.
- Don't run cords under carpets or rugs. Doing this could cause damage to the cord and spark a fire in the rug.
- Use the right cords outdoors. Make sure all extension cords used outdoors are weatherproof and suitable for how you intend to use them.
- Look for the ULC certification. Ensure that the extension cords you use is certified by the Underwriters Laboratories of Canada.
When using a clothes dryer:
- Empty the lint trap before each load.
- Ensure the dryer vent is clear from any obstructions.
- Vacuum the exhaust hose every few months.
- Only use the dryer when someone is home.
Find more tips on home and fire safety online at avivacanada.com/blog.