Mike Stone’s instructions on laying a flagstone patio, demonstrating shaping, laying and packing the stone. Visit Mike’s website at http://www.stonehaveninc.ca.
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Your pet means the world to you, but wouldn’t it be great not to have to get up in the wee hours to let your precious companion outside? If your pet is used to the great outdoors, a patio pet door may be the key to freedom for your pet and a good night’s sleep for you!
Types of Doors
You’ll find many pet doors on the market, including those that you can install into walls, screens, or wooden or glass doors. The drawback on those doors is that you do need to install them. Though most aren’t difficult to mount, each will leave a hole in your door or wall should you ever choose to get rid of your pet door. Though you can install doors into glass sliding doors, it’s recommended you hire a professional because of the glass cutting and other special installation problems.
Because of these issues, the most popular type of patio pet door is the sliding glass pet door, or panel door. A panel door is a glass panel that slides into place in your own sliding door opening and allows you to continue to use your door without removing the pet door.
Choosing a Door
Even after you decide which kind of door you want to install, you have to consider several issues when choosing exactly which door to buy. Decide if you want the door to be temporary or long-term. If you travel frequently, a temporary door will be easy to remove while you’re away. If you want a long-term door, decide whether you want to keep it installed all year and, if so, what kind of weather-proofing considerations you will need. If you live in location with harsh summers or winters, weather stripping or double-pane glass may be necessary.
You also want to make sure you get a door that fits both your existing door and your pet. If installing a patio panel door, measure how wide your door opens. This will tell you how much room you have to use your door around the pet panel. Most importantly, measure the track height of your patio door to make certain you get a pet panel that fits into your patio door opening.
Whether you install a sliding glass pet panel or traditional pet door, you must measure your pet to make sure it has room to comfortably use the new door. Measure from the floor to the bottom of your pet’s abdomen to ascertain the height of the pet door’s lower edge. Measure to your pet’s height at its shoulder to determine the height of the opening itself.
If you’re handy with tools, you may choose not to purchase a door at all. A do-it-yourself project can be less expensive and more satisfying than buying a manufactured door. However, building a door can be difficult if you don’t have the tools or experience. You might also sacrifice the security or aesthetics of a factory door if you choose a low-cost method.
Installing Your Door
All pet doors come with instructions, but the easiest to install is the manufactured sliding glass door. You can install a sliding glass panel door with your bare hands and a screwdriver. Clean the door track of any debris that could compromise the fit or damage your pet panel. You may also have to remove the lock from your patio door to ensure a good fit. After attaching the sliding glass pet door to your sliding door, loosen any friction knobs at the top of the pet panel. Lift the pet door onto the sliding frame top first, and then fit the bottom. Finish by pushing the door closed and tightening the friction knobs. Be careful through the whole process, as almost all pet door panels contain glass.
Andrea Di Salvo is a professional writer with eight years experience in both fiction and nonfiction writing. She has worked as a marketing copywriter and magazine editor, as well as pursuing fiction writing. She has published several articles, reviews and devotionals, among other works, and her short stories have been published in Grit, Writers’ Journal and the MOTA anthology, Truth. She currently lives in Oregon, where she divides her time between her family and her freelance career. Check out her portfolio and hire her for your freelance writing needs at http://gutching.elance.com .
Many gardeners do not even consider fall gardening because of the winter frosts that might make an early appearance. On the contrary, fall gardening will result in excellent vegetables and will extend crops long after spring planted plants are finished.
Vegetables produced from fall gardening are sometimes sweeter and milder than those grow in the summer and offer a brand new taste to the same old veggies.
What you choose to grow during you fall gardening will depend on your available space and what you like to eat, just like spring plants. Even the crops that enjoy the heat, such as tomatoes, sweet potatoes, okra, and peppers, will produce until frosts hit, which can be pretty late in the year in southern areas. However, there are some plants that will quit towards the end of summer like snap-beans, summer squash, and cucumbers. If these vegetables are planted around the middle of the summer they can be harvested until the first frosts as well. Hardy, tough vegetables will grow until the temperature is as low as 20 degrees, but those that aren’t as strong will only be able to grow through light frosts. Remember that if you have root and tuber plants and the tops are killed by a freeze the edible part can be saved if a large amount of mulch is used.
When fall gardening, make sure and pick the vegetables with the shortest growing season so they can be full grown and harvested before the frost arrives. Most seed packages will be labeled “early season”, or you can find the seeds boasting the fewest days to maturity. You may want to go after your seeds for fall gardening in spring or early summer; they are usually not kept in stock towards the end of summer. If they are stored in a cool and dry location they will keep until you are ready to plant.
In order to know exactly when the best time to start fall gardening, you must know about when the first hard frost will hit your area. One of the best ways to tell this is by a Farmer’s Almanac. They will give you exact dates and are rarely wrong. You will also need to know exactly how long it is going to take your plants to mature.
To get your soil ready for fall gardening you must first remove any leftover spring/summer crops and weeds. Crops leftover from the last season can end up spreading bacteria and disease if left in the garden. Spread a couple of inches of compost or mulch over the garden area to increase the nutrients, however, if spring plants were fertilized heavily it may not need much, if any. Till the top layer of soil, wet it down, and let it set for about 12-24 hours. Once this has been done, you are ready to start planting.
Many gardeners will run from fall gardening so they don’t have to deal with frosts, but if tough, sturdy vegetables are planted they can withstand a few frosts and give you some wonderful tasting produce. Fall gardening gives you the chance to enjoy your vegetable garden for at least a little bit more time.
One great method of decorating your patio while adding green-ness would be to grow a sustainable garden. A sustainable garden is a garden area full of organic plants that one may actually eat. Not only does this make your patio look better, but you can enjoy a healthy meal as an added benefit.
Keep in mind that your “sustainable garden” can be as easy as a handful of plants covering no more than a couple square foot of space. It can also be much more elaborate, with all kinds of vegetables and herbs covering a substantial area.
Where to Put Your Garden
There are mainly two ways to plant your garden.
First, you can plant your garden in the area around your veranda or patio. If so, you’ll want to-use plants that grow rather large, so that their ambience can enhance the look and feel of your patio.
Alternatively, you can choose to put your plants in pots. If you select this route, you can have your plants right on your patio.
This second method makes it easy to plant all types of different plants almost anyplace on your patio or veranda.
Ideally, you’ll need to keep your plants somewhere that gets sun but may also be shielded from the rain. The sustainable crops do not need to be in sunlight all day, but they just must get some sun during the day.
The climate where you live plays a large role in choosing what sorts of plants to grow. If you’re in a climate which has lots of rain and winds, then you’ll want to stick with very tough plants and vegetables like kale or potatoes.
On the other hand, in case you have a light climate, you can choose from a wide array of plants, from mint to tomatoes, onions to lettuce.
Figure out what sort of weather you can get throughout the course of the season and do a little research into what plants flourish in that environment. Try to get organic seeds to increase your plants health benefits. When you can not find an organic seed, try simply extracting the seeds from an organic plant. For example, buy an organic lemon and use the seeds from that lemon.
Organic plants grow healthier, larger and faster than their genetically modified counterparts. They are more sustainable, taste better and also look better on your veranda.
Grow Foods That You Like To Eat
Finally, be sure to grow plants which you’ll truly enjoy eating. Mix things up a bit, perhaps plant some of your favorite fruits, some herbs and some veggies.
Adding a sustainable garden to your patio will enhance the beauty of your backyard, help you go more green, save you a bit of cash while giving you tasty foods to eat.