6 Important Things To Consider When Building Your Dream Home

Building your dream home is one of the most important moments in your life. Besides being a significant moment, it is also one of the biggest investments in your life, and you want everything to be perfect. Building a dream home takes a lot of planning and smart decisions, and it is important to get on the right track early on. That’s why we made a list of 6 important things to consider when building your dream home. Read on to find what they are.

Future Plans

Many factors go into consideration when building your dream home. The most important factor is you of course, and your lifestyle. Do you have any plans for the future? Where will you be in five years? Are you planning any significant changes in your family life? These are some of the questions you should ask yourself before deciding what kind of house you want to build. It may not be a good time to build a house if your career is subject to change – like relocation. If you are planning a family, you have to take into consideration that you will need more rooms for a family home. This means building a larger house or building with plans to make additions easily to it. Future plans are a big part of house building, so take them into consideration.

Financial Situation

Finances are often dictating our lives and decisions, including building your future home. There are several routes you can take. You can make your home from your savings; get a loan from a bank or a mortgage. Remember that many banks give out loans easier if you are married, as they see a safer situation with two incomes and two credit scores. Calculate all possibilities and see what you can afford. If possible, try not to come to close to your budget, as it often happens that building a home can create unexpected costs. For unplanned expenses, make sure you set aside money to act as insurance.

Hiring the Right People

Building a home is a long process, sometimes even a year or more long. To make sure everything is going as smoothly as possible, pay attention to who you are hiring. Architects, builders, designer – everyone is an important piece of the puzzle, and they have to click perfectly for everything to work. Interview as many of them as you need until you find the perfect fit. You will be working closely every single day for the foreseeable future, and you need to be on the same page and communicate easily. Ask for referrals and to see their previous work – even try to get in contact with their previous clients to get their opinion. Take your time with this decision.

Plan Before You Start

Every decision in the building process should be planned before the start. Plan out as much as you can and decide on as many parts as you can before all the work starts. Once the foundation and frame of your house are in place, it all goes faster from that point. If you are prepared and already made the necessary decisions in advance, you won’t have any problems. Some things to consider before starting the build are deciding on the colour/pattern of all the tiles, the colour of walls, moulding, floors, colour schemes, decorating theme etc.

Land and House Type

There are many options to choose from when deciding to build your home, from where you would like to build to how it’s going to be built. Some options include building on an empty plot, tearing down and rebuilding a new home, etc. House can range from custom homes to prefabricated homes and semi-designed homes. Do your research to find the best fit for you. If you need any help, professionals like new home builders or building company can help you in making the right decision.

Furniture Placement

Before the building process starts, you will make a plan of your house with the architect. Even at this stage, you should do a consultation with a designer to choose the most important furniture and elements. Furniture layout is important if you are building from scratch. Can the furniture you want to fit in the living room? Do you have enough space for all the cabinets? Maybe you can change the plan of your house to fit everything, but there is a bigger possibility that you will need to pick out new furniture. If you plan everything simultaneously, you won’t encounter big hiccups.

Conclusion

When building a home from scratch, something unexpected always can happen. Plan as much as possible before you start, and make sure you have a good team on your side. The right architect and builder will make everything work as smoothly and professionally as possible. Listen to your gut, and make the decisions that are right for you.

Gardening Mistakes to Avoid

Gardening is an amazing and fun way to provide produce for your family. But when you don’t know what to look out for it can be quite frustrating. For those who don’t want to be frustrated and grow their gardens with nothing but love, here are some mistakes you must avoid.

Don’t Plant too Early

Different types of seeds will have their own optimum temperature at which they will sprout. For example, if you plant a seed that sprouts at warm temperatures in earth spring, it will either not sprout or freeze over and die. Another possibility is that your seeds go dormant, which means that you can store them and replant them later because they can be in that state for a very long time. The most important thing is to determine when your seeds need to be planted. Once you have done that, get a soil thermometer so you know what temperature the soil is at that period. Never plant them if it is too cold nor too warm.

Don’t Plant too Late

Just like you shouldn’t plant your seeds too early you shouldn’t plant them too late either. Every plant that you are growing in your garden will have its maturation point which is the number between its planting and first harvest. If you do things too late in the season they will freeze over before the plants mature. But if you have a garden that has a steady temperature or you can cover them by floating covers, your plants can either freeze or get burned.

Not Correcting Your Soil

Not a lot of people have been blessed with having loam soil in their yard. Loam soil is a well-balanced mix of silt, sand, clay and other organic matter. That is why you will need to know what your soil type is. The next thing you will need to do is ask yourself how to improve it. If you have soil that is heavy in clay you will need to balance it out and add sand and organic matter.

Don’t Plant Your Plants Too Close To Each Other

As you can probably see for yourself seeds are much smaller than transplants. So that makes it really easy to plant them too close to each other. When you plant your seeds too close to each other they will have poor air circulation, suffer from nutrient deficiency as well as have to compete for sunlight and moisture. The best option if you don’t want to risk anything is to have vertical gardens. They are much easier to maintain and if you combine it with a hydroponic farming kit you will create the best version of a garden.

Never Let the Weeds Get Out of Control

One of the worst beginner mistakes you can make is letting your weeds go out of control. It doesn’t have to be intentional, all you need to do is not have a plan of attack up and ready. Let’s face it no one wants their garden full of weeds.

Don’t Choose the Wrong Plants

The faster you accept that some plants will simply not grow in your area the easier it will be. Different types of plants will thrive in different zones. If you live in a drought-prone area, plants that require a lot of moisture won’t be able to survive. Another thing to think about is how long the seasons are where you live. Luckily, we live in such an advanced world that nearly every type of vegetables and fruits are developed so they thrive under almost every condition.

Improper Watering

Another very common mistake that we often see, is overwatering or underwatering their plants. Even though most people tend to over water their plants because they are scared that they will dry out, some will have the opposite fear. Plants need to have a lot of oxygen so if you have soil that is not draining well because you are overwatering it will suffocate the plants. But if you are underwater in them, they will dry out. The best way to check if they are watered property is to dig down a bit to check if it is wet enough or if you are flooding them. 

Don’t Add Too Many Chemicals

Especially if you are growing your own produce you want your soil to be healthy and fertile. But in the process of making them healthy people can add to much pesticides, fungicides as well as other chemicals. If you are looking for protecting them maybe try using natural ways. They are just as good and they won’t kill your plants.

Gardening is something that will take time and experience in order to become something extravagant. It is not hard, but as a garden owner, you need to be aware that plants can be quite unpredictable and uncooperative.

How to Bring The Workplace Atmosphere Into Your Home Office

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Working from home is like a breath of fresh air compared to the traditional offices. Not many people have the opportunity to work remotely, but those who do aren’t always as efficient as they are at their workplace. This is natural considering that at home we have so many distractions and chores we want and need to do that we sometimes get carried away.

Focusing on your work while you take care of your children or cook your lunch isn’t easy. To prevent disasters from happening, you should try to bring the workplace atmosphere into your home office. That will boost your effectiveness, improve your focus and workflow. Sounds impossible?

Designated only work zone

Do you have a separate work area? Just because you have the freedom of organising your working hours and space however you like, that doesn’t mean that you should completely neglect some formal aspects.  They exist for a reason! So, the next time you think you can cook lunch and be on an important call at the same time, think twice! Working from home requires the same efficiency as a regular workplace, but needs better focus.

Depending on the type of work you do, you can choose different spaces as your workspace. It would be ideal if you had a spare room to use as your office. That’s how you’ll separate your private and business persona. In case you deal with a lot of paperwork with no place to store the files inside your house, consider using a basement or an attic as a storage room.

By creating a separate only work zone, you bring a sprinkle of your workplace atmosphere to your home. It’s the place where all the formal work-related things are done, while the personal issues are kept outside of that zone.

Block out the distractions

Working from home allows us more freedom than working from the office. You aren’t under the constant pressure of being caught by the supervisor if you decide to take a break and scroll through social media. However, at the home office, you’re your own supervisor and boss. 

You’re probably aware that multitasking is not the ideal method of work. Even though multitasking seems like a great option of finishing two or more tasks at the same time, you’re not paying enough attention to either of those tasks. This results in less quality and more mistakes. That’s why you need to stop scrolling through social media, texting or playing games while working.

If you want to pay undivided attention to the work you do, minimise the distractions. Turn off all the devices you don’t use for your job. You don’t need your mobile phone? Turn it off or the place is somewhere out of reach. Close the office door if possible. Ask your household or family not to bug you while you’re in the office. That’s the only way you’ll be able to undisturbed do your job.

Remove the clutter

Many workplaces have a special rule where no clutter is allowed on the desk. Whether we like it or not, it’s a useful hack for keeping your work environment clean and distraction-free. Besides your desktop computer or a laptop, what are other necessities you need to have on your desk?

Having too many papers, devices, glasses, etc on your desk may make it hard for you to find exactly what you need. Even the important files and documents can prevent you from doing your tasks on time. For a better organisation, try keeping all the necessities such as chargers, batteries, headphones, pencils and similar in a separate drawer or a bag. Everything should have its designated space.

Even though people who claim to thrive in the messier environment exist, some rules need to be followed; even if you’re working from home. For better productivity, increased creativity and workflow, keep your home office neat and tidy.

Light is essential

Did you know that the light has a great influence on the way you work and how you feel? Most people are moody and unproductive when the clouds are grey and there is no sunshine. On the other hand, natural light usually lifts your mood, makes you less cranky, tired and increases your effectiveness.

That’s why most companies invest in large windows to let more natural light inside. In addition to that, more windows usually mean more fresh air, clearer thinking and better mood. If you’re not able to install large windows in your home office, make sure that there are other sufficient sources of light.

Invest in LED light bulbs that are eco-friendly and pleasant to the eyes. With enough artificial light source, you’ll be able to create that formal and professional atmosphere in your home office. Strong light helps you focus on important things and do work effectively.

Don’t neglect the time management

Working from home gives you the freedom to organise your work however you’d like. You can start your day late or finish earlier if you do all your tasks on time. However, you need to find a balance between overworking and taking too many breaks during the day. How can you do so?

The first thing in the morning or by the end of your workday you need to do is create a to-do list for the following day. That’s one of the best time management techniques for remote workers. Keep in mind that the optimal number of tasks depends on your organisation and time management. So, for a greater sense of accomplishment, opt for fewer tasks than and celebrate little victories.

If you’ve ever worked in the traditional office, you probably know that most employees organise their time around the lunch break. Don’t forget to include 1 big and a couple of smaller breaks during your working hours.

Personalise your space

Is working from home making you feel anxious and disconnected from the job? Try personalising your home office. Many companies allow their employees to bring up to three personal items to their workplace. Why don’t you do the same?

Having a formal, clutter-free office is great, but if you feel no connection to your home office, your whole mood or productivity will go down the drain. Personalising your office means making it more comfortable for you and your clients if they come to visit. Try painting the walls, add comfortable furniture or even fancy welcoming mats.

To complete the office atmosphere, add durable personalised door mats that will make anyone who crosses the threshold feel welcome. Personalised mats contribute to the more professional look of your home office. They create an amazing first impression and tell a unique story of the business you do. Besides that, doormats keep your office and the house clean, so make sure they are placed at every entrance and high-traffic area.

Add finishing touches and décor

Some people thrive in completely neat offices, while others find inspiration in the things around them. If you’re the type of the person who dislikes naked walls, empty window sills and boring rooms without decoration, consider adding décor and cute finishing touches that will improve your efficiency and imagination.

Search for fun home office ideas that will inspire you to decorate and design the workplace of your dreams. The style of your office doesn’t have to match the style of the rest of the house. It’s your work oasis where you feel comfortable and motivated to do your tasks.

Adding plants, paintings and bookshelves is always a good idea. You keep it simple, yet powerful enough to positively influence your workflow. These and similar types of décor are professional and formal enough to spark up the work atmosphere, yet inspiring and moving enough to keep your creative juices flowing.

Conclusion

At first, glance, working from home may seem easier than heading to the office. However, you need to adapt your house or flat to work conditions. When you’re at home, getting distracted can happen quite easily. So, if you want to finish all the tasks, you need to minimise the distractions and focus solely on the work. If you organise your home office well, make it comfortable yet professional, without a doubt you’ll be more productive, creative and effective working from home.

10 Questions You Should Always Ask Before Renovating Your Backyard

When you’re finally ready to tackle the backyard makeover that’s been on the back-burner for years, it’s understandable to feel a mix of excitement and feeling overwhelmed.

Let’s be clear: renovating your backyard is far from a small undertaking. Before you embark on this journey (yes, it is a journey), it’s critical that you think through your project carefully. To get started, here are 10 questions you should always ask before renovating your backyard.

1. What’s My Reason for Renovating My Backyard?

Before you start your renovation, make sure that you have a firm grasp on why you’re renovating your backyard in the first place. Which part of the yard do you believe could use an update?

Maybe you’re interested in creating a space that will allow you to do more outdoor entertaining—an area featuring a pool table outside or an outdoor kitchen. Or, perhaps you’re more focused on making over your deck. You might simply want to upgrade your landscaping to boost your home’s curb appeal. Knowing what project you want to tackle is an essential first step before you commence your backyard project.

2. Which Materials Would I Like to Use?

After determining what aspect of your backyard to focus on for your renovation, you’ll need to determine the appropriate materials for your chosen space.

If you’re creating a brand-new deck, you’ll need to decide between wood and composite deck boards. Various materials—ranging from natural wood to stone, concrete and aluminum—can give the space different looks, so choose those that fit with your style and desired decor. If you’d like to give your back entryway a vintage farmhouse vibe, be sure to incorporate distressed wood, brass hardware and things like rustic wall sconces into your plans.

3. What Budget Am I Comfortable With?

This is another incredibly important question to ask, as it will ultimately dictate how extensive your project will be. Be sure to establish a budget that will be adequate for transforming your backyard into a family-friendly space that you’ll love occupying with loved ones in the years ahead.

4. How Much Maintenance Am I Prepared to Do?

This is another important question, as various projects require varying levels of hands-on maintenance long term. If you’re doing getting new trees, consider their proximity to your home and whether you’re comfortable cutting off limbs later down the road; many prefer to leave things like tree pruning services to the experts. If you don’t think you’ll be able to keep up with the maintenance duties associated with a given backyard project, like a new pool, then you may not want to do that project. After all, failure to perform these duties will most likely lead to the need for more repairs and more expensive projects down the road. A lower-maintenance backyard project would probably be a better option for you.

5. What Structural Factors Should I Consider?

Ask yourself if any above-ground structures will impact your backyard renovation project. For instance, in your exterior landscape, you’ll need to consider the proximity of your target renovation area to surrounding structures or buildings. In addition, pay attention to utilities and overhead wires in the area. Also consider if you will have limitations when it comes to space below the ground in your yard.

6. What Soil Factors Should I Take into Consideration?

Soil factors are also important to consider as you begin your backyard renovation. For instance, what are your soil’s drainage characteristics and pH levels? Also consider your soil’s toxicity, texture, and compaction level. Be sure to also look for any evidence of the recent disturbance of the soil layer there, as well as the site’s erosion level.

7. What Are My Yard’s Sunlight Levels?

This question is also important to ask, as it may have an impact on where you build your backyard garden or set up your deck. Your yard may feature full sun, filtered light, partial sun, full shade, or partial shade depending on its position and your climate.

8. When Should I Do My Renovation?

Consider the best times to start your backyard renovation depending on the type of landscaping project you’ll be tackling and where you live. If you’ll be doing a project that involves concrete, note that concrete is sensitive to temperature. Ideally, you want to complete this project in temperatures over 50 degrees Fahrenheit. If you’re laying pavers and bricks, you can do this in any season if you’re able to dig a few inches down.

9. How Long Will My Renovation Take?

If you have a target completion time in mind for your backyard renovation, start going over all of the steps you’ll need to complete—for example, acquiring permits—before you finalize your project. This will tell you whether your ideal timeline is realistic.

10. Who Should Complete My Renovation?

If you are an experienced DIYer, then completing the backyard renovation yourself may be a viable option for you. Otherwise, start seeking out bids from contractors. Be sure to verify that your chosen contractor has strong online ratings and positive references before hiring him or her to create your backyard oasis for you.

Start Renovating with Confidence

As you navigate the process of preparing for your backyard renovation, it’s important that you have a solid plan from start to finish. This is critical whether you plan to hire a contractor to handle your project, or you intend to complete it yourself.

Be sure to answer these 10 questions honestly and fully before starting your backyard oasis or garden project to ensure you’re on the right path in the weeks and months ahead.

Author Bio: Katie Tejada is a writer, editor, and former HR professional. She enjoys writing about events, travel, decorating trends, and innovations for the home, but also covers developments in HR, business, recruiting, real estate, and finance.

Image Sources

Image 1: https://unsplash.com/photos/ZxDX8D9HHNM

Image 2: https://unsplash.com/photos/hsm-jZyTNeo

Image 3: https://unsplash.com/photos/TcBSi3qHn80

How Seniors Can Get Exercise During COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted almost everyone’s lives in some way. If you’re a senior, you might feel especially affected by the pandemic, because you could be considered “at risk” for contracting the illness or experiencing more severe symptoms. Seniors have been hit incredibly hard by the pandemic, which is why it’s extremely important to follow safety guidelines like wearing masks, social distancing, and staying at home as much as possible.

Because of those rules, you might not be able to get to your local gym or fitness center. Many of them have shut down across the country, anyway.

But it’s incredibly important for seniors to stay active, especially during these times of uncertainty. If you find yourself stuck at home or unable to get out as much as you might like, there are still ways to exercise every day. Developing a regular ‘workout’ routine will help you to get through these long days, and stay strong and healthy in the midst of this pandemic.

Why Exercising Is Important for Seniors

Regular exercise is important for everyone, but it should be a consistent part of your routine if you’re older. Studies have shown that regular exercise, along with a healthy diet, can help to reduce the risk of certain chronic illnesses, including:

*Heart disease

*Cancer

*Stroke

*Diabetes

In addition to lowering your chances of developing certain diseases, exercise can also help you feel good every single day. It boosts your immune system, can give you more energy, and will even allow you to sleep better at night.

Additionally, exercise can help to lower blood pressure and increase bone density, both of which tend to be issues for people over the age of 65.

Without regular exercise, your health may start to suffer. When that happens as an older individual, it often becomes harder to take care of yourself properly. You may end up relying on family members or friends to help you, or you may have to look into an assisted living facility. While regular exercise certainly isn’t a “cure-all” or a guarantee that nothing will happen, it is a great way to take your health into your own hands.

Exercises You Can Do at Home

Thanks to advancements in technology, it’s easy to exercise from home on your own. If you do have a gym you regularly go to, look into any information they might be sharing online. Many gyms are offering tips or pre-planned workouts you can do on your own. Others are hosting Zoom classes that you could join virtually with all the friends you’re used to seeing.

If you want to try something on your own, check out YouTube for free workout videos that are made for all fitness levels and ages. Some of the most popular fitness channels include:

*Fitness Blender

*Yoga with Adriene

*Walk at Home by Leslie Sansone

*POPSUGAR Fitness

All of these channels have a variety of videos you can look through to find workouts that fit your needs.

There are also no rules in place that say you can’t get outside to exercise. Doing yoga in the park or simply taking a walk around your neighborhood helps to reduce stress levels while you’re still social distancing.

If you’re finding it hard to stay motivated when it comes to staying fit on your own, you may want to consider gifting yourself a fitness tracker you can wear. These trackers log your daily steps, heart rate, calories burned, and much more depending on your preferences. They are great for keeping your motivation up when you have to play the role of your own coach or trainer.

What to Do if You Have Limited Mobility

Over 18 million people in the U.S. and Canada have to deal with mobility issues for a variety of reasons. Seniors often struggle with mobility issues due to muscle loss that comes with aging, or conditions like arthritis.

But, that doesn’t mean you can’t find ways to exercise and stay healthy. In fact, regular exercise could help improve your mobility while strengthening your muscles and bones. The same is true for seniors who may be recovering from a medical procedure or surgery. If you can’t see yourself putting on your running shoes any time soon, there are still safe ways to exercise and get your heart rate up, including:

*Walking while talking on the phone

*Ankle or heel stretches

*Walking up and down the stairs

This pandemic has been hard on everyone. But, if you’re a senior trying to stay safe and healthy, one of the best things you can do is to stay home and social distance. Thankfully, that doesn’t mean you need to ignore your health and fitness. Keep some of these ideas in mind to make exercise a part of your everyday routine, and develop healthy habits that will last long after the pandemic has passed.