As you think ahead to spring and summer, you may want to consider an alternative means of providing your family with shade on sunny afternoons. Patio umbrellas, awnings, and shade canopies are some of the more traditional shading options, but shade sails bring a more sophisticated and custom look to outdoor areas. Shade sails offer homeowners an updated and versatile means of shading outdoor living spaces. They are readily available in standard shapes and sizes, but custom shade sails can be made to meet custom needs. Rectangles, squares, and triangles in a variety of appealing colors give homeowners the creative freedom to design the look of their outdoor spaces and create as much or as little shade as desired. A unique architectural and artistic effect can be achieved with careful planning and placement of two or more shade sails. Because of their versatility, shade sails are an appealing shade solution in an endless variety of situations. Not only can they protect patios, decks, and porches, they can also provide shade for entry ways, children’s play areas, swimming pools, outdoor restaurants and cafes, and more. Shade sails are easy to install and can be attached to homes, trees, or patio columns. They can also be a completely free standing structure supported by wood posts or steel columns embedded in concrete footings. Shade sails can be left up year round or used seasonally; they are easy to take down and store.
Yes, it’s the middle of winter, but that first spring mow will be here before you know it. Is your mower ready for the job? Most homeowners wait until the last minute to tune up the mower and make sure its components are functioning properly, but that’s usually when problems are found. Problems mean delays, and the grass can get out of hand quickly. Here are some tips for getting your mower ready for the first use this spring. Keep in mind that where you live will determine when you follow these guidelines. If you live in a warmer climate, you’ll need to prepare your mower sooner; if you’re still planning to be knee-deep in snow for a while, keep this list handy for when you can see the grass again.
- Clean the engine housing. This should be an easy job if you already cleaned it at the end of last season and then covered your mower with a protective lawn mower cover to keep the dirt and dust out.
- Check the condition of the blade. Sharpen or replace as necessary.
- Change the oil.
- Replace the old spark plug.
- Refer to your owner’s manual for other recommended pre-season maintenance tasks related specifically to your lawn mower’s make and model.
- Fill up the gas tank.
- Fire up the mower to test that it still starts easily and runs smoothly.
- Cover the mower with a protective lawn mower cover until it’s time for the first official mow.
To the average automobile owner, car covers may seem like an unnecessary luxury used mostly by car collectors or by the enthusiastic young adult who just invested in his first set of wheels. But, practical reasons abound for using car covers, and any automobile owner can benefit from using them on a regular basis. One of the more obvious reasons for using car covers is to protect a vehicle from environmental damage. Depending on where you live, your car takes a multitude of abuses just by sitting on a driveway, along a street, or in a parking lot. Wind-blown sand, sea salt, tree sap, bird droppings, dirt, dust, falling twigs or other debris, and weather conditions like rain, ice, and snow can take an expensive toll on a car’s exterior. Additionally, car covers protect your car’s interior from sunlight. Interior temperatures are reduced to a more comfortable level on hot, sunny days when a car cover is in use, and interior fabrics and materials are protected from damage by the sun’s harmful UV rays. Materials like vinyl, plastics, upholstered fabrics, and leather that are exposed regularly and over extended periods of time to UV rays can become discolored, weakened, and cracked. Environmental conditions quickly age a vehicle’s interior and exterior, and car covers are one easy way to dramatically slow down that process. Car covers are also useful for deterring theft because they keep expensive interior components out of view. And, car covers can prevent the innocent, but curious, passerby from peeking into car windows and leaving fingerprints on your car’s exterior. Thicker car covers can even prevent minor dings caused by careless neighbors in the parking lot.
Why are custom car covers important? Customizing a vehicle can be as easy as directing a dealer to upgrade the available features during the purchase of that vehicle. Insisting on the most current technological innovations and the newest convenience features are the more common ways that a vehicle can be customized by the buyer. Customization can mean much more, though. With the right tools and a little know-how, vehicle owners can do the job themselves. Lift kits, special tires, performance parts, enhanced sound systems, and body alterations that give the vehicle a unique look are among some of the customizations that handy vehicle owners can accomplish themselves.
Regular hand washing and waxing will keep the exterior sparkling, but nothing protects more effectively than a proper vehicle cover. A custom vehicle requires a custom cover. Standard car covers, truck covers, motorcycle covers, and ATV covers are fine for standard vehicles. Custom vehicles need custom covers, though, because only a “purr-fect” fit can ensure effective protection from dirt, weather, and other potentially damaging environmental conditions.
Properly caring for custom cars, trucks, motorcycles, ATVs, and other vehicles becomes an important consideration for vehicle owners who wish to preserve the hard work they have put into their creation. Regular hand washing and waxing will keep the exterior sparkling, but nothing protects more effectively than a proper vehicle cover. A custom vehicle requires a custom cover. Standard car covers, truck covers, motorcycle covers, and ATV covers are fine for standard vehicles. Custom vehicles need custom covers, though, because only a proper fit can ensure effective protection from dirt, weather, and other potentially damaging environmental conditions.
Those who prefer to express their individuality and creativity with their vehicles know how rewarding the creative process can be. Not only does customizing a car, truck, motorcycle, or ATV make that vehicle a one-of-a-kind creation. Additionally, vehicle owners who put the time, effort, and expense into customization often enjoy recognition from friends and colleagues who admire the results. More importantly, though, vehicle owners come away with a feeling of satisfaction and pride knowing that they have created a unique and functional work of art.
With bitter cold temperatures dominating much of the country’s weather reports, the last thing you want is to be unprepared should your power get knocked out by snowy, icy, or windy weather conditions. Here are some tips for preparing for a winter emergency:
- Keep plenty of clean, warm blankets on hand for each member of the family, including pets.
- Stock up on firewood in case the fireplace becomes your only source of heat during a power outage.
- Pack a box or bin with bottles of water and pre-packaged food that requires no heating or refrigeration.
- Make sure your generator is filled with fuel, and have extra on hand. Also, protect your generator with a generator cover when it’s not in use so you can rely on it to work properly when you need it most.
If you do experience a power outage this winter, hopefully it will be of short duration. Ensuring that you and your family are prepared for this situation before it happens is the best way make the experience as comfortable as possible.