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Riding Mowers and Tractors Right for You?

A lawn tractor is basically a riding lawn mower that has its engine located on the front unlike other riding mowers that have their engine in the back or middle. These tractors can make wider turns as compared to zero turn radius riding mowers, and have a relatively powerful engine, that makes it easy to navigate through and over various landscapes.

 

Depending on the size of your land, you will have to choose your tractor, as the effectiveness of the mower will rely on whether its size is proportional to that of the yard, among other features. These tractors come in different size and shapes, with a powerful engine, designed for maximum efficiency, therefore no matter what the task is they will accomplish it with finesse as this is exactly what they are intended for.

For this reason, there is a range of riding mowers tractor to suit your needs, for instance, a one to one and a half acres property can be cost effectively taken care of with a lawn mower with a 15 HP engine and a cutting deck of 42 inches, but for a landscape larger than that, say about 2 acres, a lawn tractor with a much more potent engine and cutting width of 46 inches would be the best option. Then there are tractors equipped with even higher powered engine for lands up to 3 acres or more.

Other than the basic aspect of being able to get a proper sized and powered mower, for efficient and quick mowing, these tractors can carry out many more jobs than simply cutting your grass, such as basic gardening tasks; like bagging, mulching, and rolling. They can also carry out heavy duty and ground engaging tasks like, tilling, splitting wood and towing weighty loads.

Furthermore, you can rest assured you’ll get your money’s worth not just because you’ll have a neat and tidy lawn in the spring, summer, and fall, but in the winter too. Though you may not need to cut grass in this barren land season, you definitely need to shovel snow and spread sand or salt to be able to get in and out of your house easily. This is where riding mowers tractors come in handy without a green patch in sight. Basically just as you can attach other accessories for garden maintenance onto your tractor you an connect a snow blower or plow blade on a higher powered engine for a clear driveway, other than this you can use a tilt trailer for spreading gravel or sand on slippery walkways.

Read more: Garden design for elevating indoor living experience.

Lastly these tractors are manufactured with safety of the operator in mind; they are also made of materials that provide strength as well as durability to the unit.

Lawn Maintenance Tips for the Summer Months

Finally, the wait is almost over! Summer is just around the corner and though a lot of preparation had been done on supposed vacations and camping escapades, it is also one of the best time of the year where one can simply lounge on the yard. One can arrange barbecue parties or play dates with kids. But to others it can also be a time of the year where grasses can easily wilt and damage the overall aura of the lawn. But nothing is impossible when you put your heart and mind to it. One can easily maintain the whole yard and lawn grass by simply making use of efficient machinery as well as in utilizing gardening and lawn mowing tips given by experts.

 

Hydrate the Earth and What Comes with It

Unrelenting heat from the sun and dry weather condition can ultimately affect the appearance and health of your plants and lawn. Just as the body need water to quench its thirst, expert gardening tips also show that consistent watering of lawns and plants plays a crucial role in maintaining the hydration and aeration system of plants especially grasses. For some households that has rain collection basin, saturating plants and grasses’ needs for rainwater can be easily satiated with stocked accumulation on rainwater. Proper watering is also important. Instead of the usual one and a half inches of water during normal seasons, increasing it to address extensive summer heat will eventually provide your plants and grasses the hydration effect they need. Experts advise watering one’s lawn during cooler times like early morning to prevent evaporation.

Height Matters

Amidst the summer heat, lawn maintenance tips is still important. As a rule, mowing in broad daylight is definitely a no-no as it will cause the grass to smolder. However, if the need is immediate, adjusting the height of your lawn mower a little higher than it used to be is important to provide a degree of protection to the roots. Overexposure of grasses’ roots to the extreme summer heat usually causes it to dehydrate faster resulting in a much burnt or desiccated appearance normally seen in lawns that are not properly taken care of during summer. If you are somewhere in California or Arizona where summer heat can be intense, adjusting your mower’s height a little more in at least four inches will effectively shield the roots. One can buy lawn mower for basic yard requirements that has the capacity to be easily adjusted to required height. Great brands like the Black & Decker CM1936 or MM875 will prove to be a great ally in this mowing initiative.

Less is More

For one who has decided to buy riding lawn mower, mowing can be such a breeze even on a daily basis. However advantageous the idea is, summer season usually entail less mowing escapades with your favorite Weed Eater One. Less mowing allows the grass to sprout and make more room for the roots to be shaded from sun overexposure. Aside from the usual height and frequency, it is also important for you to safeguard your health as overexposure to summer heat can cause heat stroke, sun burns or dehydration.

Summer is, indeed, a fun experience as it entails less maintenance responsibilities to your lawn. Instead of the usual tinkering you do in your yard, that particular time can now be allotted for more lofty initiatives like being a beach bum for a day, perhaps.

Tips in Choosing the Best Lawn Grass

Ever wonder why some best lawn grass seems to be greener than others or why others simply look under nourished? For some reasons, having healthy green lawns does not come straight out of a bag. Unless, you want those rubberized or synthetic ones that can be easily set up by your neighborhood contractor. But if you want the organic ones where you can expertly maneuver your riding lawn mower every Saturday morning, careful consideration must be done to ensure that one gets the kind of grass that will create a much greener allure to the whole garden as well as require less maintenance.

 

If your grass quality does not look so promising right now, there might be various reasons behind it. But if the cause behind the malady is the wrong type of grass being planted, it is time to replace them. And with all the kinds of grasses available out there, careful assessment must be done to guarantee the best results.

Purpose

According to the oldest and most trusted gardening tips, your first reason is to plan out what your intention is in having a lawn. A beautiful lawn not only augments the aesthetic value of a home’s landscape, it also provides ample space for outdoor activities, helps control erosion problems, filters pollutants from invading homes directly and provides oxygen to the Earth’s ecosystem. It is therefore important to look at your grass as an extension of your home. Will it be to showcase your garden variety blooms? Will it be for aesthetically enhancing view of your home? Will kids and pets be using it? Or would it be a combination of both?

Just like any home improvement endeavor, planning and organizing your gardening must be made, as each situation requires different species of grass. A heavy foot traffic area where children and pets play and have fun needs sturdier grass that can withstand the heavy wear and tear. When no children are around, checking out your soil quality, terrain and climate will truly make a difference.

Climate and Soil

Every lawn mowing expert will tell you that where you live and where you plan to put your lawn will matter a lot to your choice of grass. Whether you live in the North or in the tropics or in transition zones will help determine your grass requirements. Sun exposure, proximity to shorelines and elevation will also further help one ascertain the grass specie that will thrive in his area of concern. Cool season grasses will simply lay dormant until they become dried, bald and nonexistent in heated zones. No matter what type of lawn mowers you use or herbicides or any maintenance allotted, if you planted the wrong type of grass, you will definitely end up with a not-so-nice lawn.

Warm season grass is a better choice, as they can easily thrive in places where even soil quality is not ideal. However, putting them in winter-filled zones is definitely a no-no. Different climate, different type of grasses and while soil can be a concern, there are a variety of ways to remedy such a situation. Your expert landscaper can easily recognize such problems and might require for some soil dumping.

See more: Gardening Checklist for the Summer Season.

Maintenance and Care

Your choice of maintenance and care will also affect your choice of grass as well. There are certain species that require plenty of watering and upkeep and at times, fertilizer for it to grow. Some even require specially designed gardening equipment like a lawn mower with a specified height or mulching power or perhaps a manually operated one so as to preserve its look. Your best bet is to go for the low maintenance variety which may not be as grand as those upscale manicured lawns but will be perfectly aligned to your purpose, one that you can easily work on even with just a simple gardening toolkit.

An Overview Of Electric Chain Saws

The chainsaw is a tool that can come in handy in countless situations, and these days they are affordable enough that practically any homeowner can afford one. If you are thinking about purchasing your first chainsaw, then you have a few important decisions to make. Probably the most difficult of these is whether you would prefer electric chain saws or those that are gas powered. The following will go over a few of the most important differences between electric chainsaws or gas powered. These two models to hopefully help you find out if electric chain saws is the best for you.

 

The improvement Of Electric Chain Saws

Electric saws have become stigmatized over the years for being less powerful than gas models. This is because for the first few years after they were initially developed, this was true. However, over the years they have seen many improvements and becoming more powerful is certainly one of them. When it comes to everyday cutting jobs they are more than powerful enough to get the job done.

The Benefits Of These Chain Saws

  • You will find that there are many benefits to owning electric chain saws.
  • For one thing, because they are so small they are much lighter than gas powered models so you can use them for a longer period of time before getting tired.
  • Another great thing about them is that they typically require less maintenance work to keep them in good working order.
  • Gas chainsaws contain a much more complicated setup and as such there are many additional chain saw parts that can become damaged.

The Convenience Of Electric Chain Saws

  • Convenience is also another factor that leads so many people to choose electric chains saws over the alternative.
  • You can just plug them in and they are ready to go, unlike gas saws that require a mixture of gas and oil to get started.
  • One of the drawbacks, however, is that many people do not like the fact that they have cords which put a limit on how far you can take them.
  • For people with a small piece of property this is never really an issue, but there are times that you may want to use the saw where an electrical outlet is not handy.
  • The good news is that you can purchase a cordless electric chain saw which eliminated this popular complaint.

Another benefit of choosing electric saws is that there are some that are as inexpensive as $80 or so, but keep in mind that they are not that powerful. These cheaper models are best if you only need them for pruning the trees and bushes in your yard. Electric chain saws need to be sharpened just like any other type, so if you choose this type of saw make sure that you buy the best electric chainsaw sharpeners as well to go along with it.

Interesting Facts about Fire Pits & Outdoor Fireplaces

Fire pits are permanent or portable open vessels that contains a fire, for bonfires, barbecues, and outdoor heat.  Fire pits are available in a variety of sizes and designs to suit any patio or backyard and can be made of copper or other metals, stone, as well as the Chimeneas which are made out of terracotta or pottery with an opening on one side. These are kind of Ventless Fireplace in nature .

 

Fire pits are ideal for simple decorating styles and rustic themes but can also be modern and minimalist.  Some fire pits are as plain as a simple copper bowl on a wrought iron stand, and others are more decorative and can double as a table when a lid is placed over the bowl.

Gas fire pits are also available.  These are much like standard fire pits, but are fueled by either natural gas or propane rather than wood.

A Fire Pits that is also a Grill

Fire Sense Fireplace – Fire Pits and Chimineas Grilltech Space Fire Pit 800 The finest in British design and quality can be found in our Grilltech Space Fire Pit 800. Constructed of pressed steel and stainless steel, this sturdy and attractive fire pit is built to last a lifetime. This unique fire pit features a patented leaf shape adjustable height swing out grill. The adjustable ventilation system enables the user to craft the perfect size fire for any occasion. A removable ash trap makes clean up a snap.

You can built your outdoor grill oven easily in your backyard. Here is our Ready to Build a DIY Pizza Oven post for your help .

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Another

Fire pits make it possible to have outdoor gatherings year round! The Bronze Leaf Design Fire Pit is an attractive focal point for your backyard. A great outdoor heating source, as the side cut outs allow the fire pit to give off more heat. Comes with a mesh spark arrestor to help keep the fire contained. Made of bronze so it is weather resistant, perfect for the outdoors.

Chimineas

Chimineas are another type of outdoor fireplace, and can be used during cooler seasons as a source of warmth. The original rustic looking Chimineas are clay and with one of these you can roast marshmallows, tell campfire stores, and enjoy a gather of friends right in your own backyard. There is also the aluminum, cast iron or even copper chiminea style outdoor fire pit for that old potbelly stove look. Clay chimineas will not last as long as aluminum or cast iron.

There are also gas fired Chimineas for areas where open log fires are not permitted.

The Blue Rooster Company Etruscan Chiminea Outdoor Fireplace

The Etruscan Style Chiminea is the perfect little foot warmer on a chilly day. The simple, classic design of the Etruscan chiminea blends with any outdoor decor. This compact little chiminea handles up to 12″ fire logs and has an adjustable door on the bottom to adjust airflow. The mouth screen provides safety while allowing easy access for adding wood and roasting marshmallows. The Blue Rooster recommends the Charcoal color because of its lasting qualities in a high heat wood burning fireplace application. Gold Accent and Antique Green will darken from pigment changes in high heat colored paints. Due to the nature of wood burning fireplaces we do not warranty paint life. The Etruscan includes a hand tool for handling the mouth screen. Perfect for a small patio or backyard garden or bring it indoors for a unique candle holder!

Hope you will like these outdoor fireplaces!

Ready to Build a DIY Pizza Oven?

 

Are You Planning to Build a DIY Pizza Oven?

I recall that not so many years ago if you wanted a wood fired pizza oven you had to know someone who knew someone who knew an Italian girl whose elderly grandfather could build it for you.

Now, pizza ovens are everywhere! From the massive commercial wood fired pizza ovens in restaurants, to the homely looking outdoor kitchen style pizza oven, to the smaller DIY variety that you can order over the Internet and have delivered to your door.

If you can’t afford one, don’t despair – you can hire one! And if you don’t have room for one because you already have a giant BBQ , then you can do the next best thing – buy a ceramic pizza tile and cook pizzas in your BBQ!

3 things you should know about Pizza Ovens

1. They can take up a lot of room.
2. You’ll probably hardly ever use it.
3. They’re utterly fabulous so ignore 1 & 2 and buy one anyway.

Why Don’t I Have a Pizza Oven?

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I haven’t taken the plunge yet. Instead, I visualize various pizza ovens in various positions in my small outdoor area and think about all the things I COULD cook in it. And I continue, for now, using my ceramic pizza tile in the BBQ.

I’ve designed my own outdoor kitchen a million times over and only one thing stops me from having it built – the logic that my wonderful outdoor kitchen would be only about 5 metres away from my indoor kitchen! There’s something so ridiculous about that I can’t bring myself to do it.

That, and my ‘alfresco’ area is about the size of the planter box in the photo below!

Ceramic Pizza Stones

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If you can’t afford or don’t have room for a lovely outdoor pizza oven, try using a ceramic pizza stone on your barbecue. Works for me! They’re available through Amazon and usually at stores where barbecues are sold.

Speaking of being a bit creative when you don’t have something – back in my wilder days I recall a friend and I being invited to a barbecue by a couple of fellows we met at a party. They’d just arrived from interstate. Their barbecue – an electric fry pan in the back yard at the end of a very long extension cord!

More than Pizza

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All Photos Credit : David Owen , Flickr Commercial use Allowed

You can make more than Pizza in your wood fired oven. You can roast meat and vegetables, make bread, cook casseroles, and just about anything you can make in an electric or gas oven. Over and above the food, there’s something very attractive and warming about being able to gather around an outdoor oven with friends or family and offer them something special – a home cooked meal. It’s the next best thing to gathering around a camp fire!

I’m pretty sure my spoilt fluffy white pooches would mistake this one for a dog kennel – and not go anywhere near it!

Pizza Toppings

My Favourite Combinations

* fresh tomato & spinach, mushrooms, olives & feta cheese
* roast chicken, shallots, black pepper, sour cream, feta cheese
* cheese & tomato base, olives, anchovies and chili
* pepperoni, mushroom, chili, olives, anchovies
* spinach, a sharp spicy deli meat, blue cheese

Making Pizza Dough


Now don’t expect me to go into quantities – you know, a cup of this etc – because I’m used to making dough by large quantities and I’ve learnt to judge by the look and feel of dough, rather than measuring things out. You can do that to and I will try to mention quantities that are suitable for making just a couple of pizza bases.

Pizza dough is very simple. You’ll need:

Plain flour
Dry yeast
Salt
Sugar
Olive Oil
Warm water

Here’s how to put it all together:

1. Activate the yeast – put a cup or two of luke warm water into a small bowl. Add a teaspoon of salt and one of sugar; and a tablespoon of olive oil. For faster activation, cover your bowl with glad wrap, leaving just a small corner open. After about 10 minutes, you should see the yeast frothing on the surface. That means it worked. If it didn’t, perhaps your water was too cool or too hot – too cool won’t activate the yeast and too hot will kill it.

2. Put your flour into a larger bowl, make a well in the centre and poor in your yeast mixture. Mix into a stiff dough, adding a little more flour if you need to. Knead it well but don’t overdo it or you’ll make the dough tough. You’ll get a feel for this after a while – it’s just a matter of practice.

3. Leave the dough ball in the bowl and rub a little olive oil over the top of it. Cover it with a tea towel and let it rise in a warm place.

4. When it has risen, punch it down. Separate it into sections – 1 for each pizza base you want to make. Roll these sections into round shapes. I’ll try to find you a demo of this! Leave them to rise.

5. Roll your dough balls out to the size you need for your pizza tray. I like to prick some holes in the pastry – professional pizza makers do this using a “roller docker”. (I’ll see if I can find one of those on Amazon for you)

Now you’re good to go. Lay the dough over your tray and start making your pizza.

You can also freeze pizza dough – so if you inadvertantly ended up with 6 dough balls but you only want to make 1 pizza, wrap the extra balls in glad wrap and freeze them for next time.
Here’s the Roller Docker I Promised You!
A roller docker aerates the dough, helping it to cook nicely and preventing air bubbles from forming in your pizza dough and pushing all your toppings off to the side. If you want to be a pro pizza maker at home, a roller docker will help you turn out great looking pizzas.

I’ve moved – and a DIY Pizza Oven is on my list!

My last home had very little room for a pizza oven and at first, it was just me in my home. As much as I wanted one, I knew it would have been a waste. A lot has changed since then – I’ve moved interstate and onto a very large suburban block. I have an ‘other half’ (who I’m hoping can build a pizza oven…) and enough in-laws to keep a pizza oven busy.

A pizza oven is now a reallistic possibility. Once I decide exactly where to put it and what to do with the area surrounding it, it’ll be time to get to work on it. When that happens I’ll take some ‘under construction’ shots as we build the pizza oven and upload them. It’s so close I can smell the pizza!

Pizza Demonstrations

Ball Shaping and Base Rolling

Haha! Found some great demonstrations on U-Tube. The first shows how to shape the balls after your dough has risen. The second shows how to roll the base.

There’s quite a knack to these two things but you don’t need to be too pendantic about it when you’re making pizzas at home. It’s the final taste that counts!