Tips for a Beautiful Yard

The snow and ice are gone for another year, but they likely wreaked havoc on your yard. What’s left behind, if it’s still alive, probably needs a little TLC to get it back in prime condition for the upcoming summer months.

Here are a few tips for giving your yard the gentle facelift it needs:

  • Remove debris. Check your yard for fallen branches, clumps of dry leaves, and mulch that escaped its beds. All of this debris can prevent the grass underneath from getting light and sun. Take a light rake to your yard and landscaping beds, and dispose of it as necessary.
  • Inspect your yard for damage. Check for puddles of water, dangling branches, and damaged landscaping due to the cold and winds of winter. Take note of what you can repair, or what may be delegated to a professional landscaper.
  • Edge your yard. The clean, crisp line between your sidewalks, landscaping beds, and your lawn does wonders for your yard’s aesthetics. It can be made with an edger, a spade, concrete, rocks or stones. Landscape edging makes your yard look uniform, organized and finished.
  • Weeding and pruning. Most landscaping beds are taken over by weeds during the winter months. Why weeds grow faster than anything we purposefully plant remains a landscaping mystery. Take the time and remove these weeds at their root. Prune those overgrown shrubs and trees, too.
  • Mulching and planting. Your final effort in making your yard more beautiful is with the new life you plant, and the mulch that protects it. Consider the size and color you want to add to your landscaping beds, how big the plants will get, and if they will get the sun or shade they require.

Rivers Insurance Group is committed to helping you make your yard beautiful this spring. By taking a few necessary steps, you can make your yard beautiful again, so it’s ready for you to enjoy this season.

Hard Water Hazards

Hard water affects more than 85 percent of people in the United States. (http://homewater101.com/look-hard-water-across-us). It’s a common problem, especially for those who live in the Midwest through the West coast.

Hard water forms when it moves through rock and soil, holding onto small amounts of minerals, such as calcium and magnesium. The higher the concentration of calcium and magnesium, the harder the water will be.

Hard water is not harmful to our health, but it can be a nuisance and aggravation in the following ways:

  • It reduces the foaming abilities of soaps and detergents, causing clothes to look dingy or discolored
  • It leaves a film on your bathroom tiles, tubs and sinks
  • It produces mineral deposits on your shower doors and dishes
  • It causes buildup in your pipes, decreasing water flow
  • It can harm water heaters, appliances and dishwashers, causing them to need to be replaced 50% sooner (http://homewater101.com/look-hard-water-across-us)
  • It can make your hair and skin feel sticky or dull

If you suspect you have hard water, you can contact your city hall or township to find out, you can or have your water tested.

If you do have hard water, there are a number of ways to combat it. Packaged water softeners, non-precipitating softeners, and mechanical water softening systems are all viable options to tackling the hard water problem in your home. 

Rivers Insurance Group recommends you consult an expert water-softening system manufacturer for the solution that is best for you. Be sure to check the Better Business Bureau, Angie’s List, Home Advisor, or any local referral service for reputable companies in your area.

Your Spring Cleaning Checklist

Now that the temperatures have climbed and the breeze has lost its chill, you can finally open the windows and let the fresh air in.

But when that first gust of wind blows in dirt from the sills, and the bright beautiful sunlight reveals a layer of dust on your baseboards, you’ll know it’s time for spring cleaning.

Spring cleaning is a necessary evil and a chore that most of us dread doing. If you’re looking for a simplified checklist that covers the main chores of the season, we have compiled a list for you:

  1. Wash your baseboards. Working one room at a time, sweep the top layer of dust off of your baseboards with your sweeper attachment. Then wipe them down with a wet soapy cloth. Take a few extra minutes and muscles to move furniture away from the walls so you have access to the entire room.
  2. Sweep behind all of the furniture, and under it. While you’ve got the furniture pulled away from the walls to do the baseboards, run a vacuum over the carpet or flooring that the furniture usually covers.
  3. Clean your window treatments and blinds. You can clean your curtains and drapes with sweeper attachments, or depending on the fabric, you can run them through the washer. Wipe down your blinds with a wet cloth.
  4. Wash your windows. Not all of us can say, “I don’t do windows.”  If you can’t either, wash the sills and glass, inside and outside.
  5. Wash your light fixtures. You’ll be surprised how much dirt and dust collects on light fixtures and fan blades over the course of a year. Sweep them off, then gently wash them.
  6. Clean your furniture. Wash down your kitchen table and chairs, and sweep the crumbs off your couches. Don’t forget to remove the cushions to reveal lost treasures. You may find a set of keys, spare change or a missing TV remote.

While spring cleaning is a lot of work, it definitely has its benefits. There’s complete satisfaction in a job well done, you’ll know where everything is, and your home will be fresh and clean – at least for now.