7 Steps for Winterizing Your Properties

Winter is full of festive bustle, and it can get easy to forget necessary property maintenance tasks during this period. Despite checking the systems in the property is a process that is required throughout the year, the real period for proper winterization starts from the middle to the end of November. If you take the most vital steps before winter, you can easily prevent most maintenance issues that may arise.
Regardless of the specific area of the country you live in, you cannot ignore the winterizing period. If you are just starting, United Field Services has prepared comprehensive information on the general steps for starting the winterization. Nonetheless, it is crucial to find an experienced contractor to guide you throughout the process.

What is property winterization?

No house owner, property manager, landlord, or tenant wants to have a burst pipe or broken heater during the winter. Therefore, to avoid such issues, one should start with a proper winterization. Winterization generally indicates preparing all systems of the property to withstand the severe effects of the winter period. Planning in advance will save the owner of the property time and money for the long-term period. 

Winterization can help prevent potential damages that can arise during the winter and turn into severe and costly ones. Especially in the cold areas of the country, vacant properties can be vulnerable to severe issues due to burst or frozen pipes. For protecting all plumbing fixtures in the house, the systems inside and outside of the property should be addressed.

Step 1: Clean out gutters

As the first step, it is important to clean out gutters to prevent ice dams. In case the water flow has issues, it can turn into a massive problem when there is a snowstorm. The most optimal time for cleaning gutters is when the trees around the house have just become bare. This is the best time, provided that leaves and other debris will likely fill the gutters but you won’t have to repeat the process a few weeks later.

This step is not particularly hard, but the process can be hazardous and require climbing and staying on the ladder. Therefore, for safety purposes, it can be a good idea to hire a professional for the gutter cleaning service.

winterize your home

Step 2: Protect the pipes

The next step is protecting the pipes against the severe winter by insulating them. It is crucial to remember that during the freezing weather, you should keep a stream of water running through the taps in order to prevent bursting.

By insulating hot water pipes, you can also possibly save on utility costs. This work is not hard, but it can be tedious and, depending on the circumstances, also dangerous. That is why you would better apply to a plumber for help.

Step 3: Inspect the leaks and cracks

Next and one of the most important steps during home winterization is inspecting the whole property inside and outside for possible leaks or cracks. 

You should seal and install strippings around doors, windows, air conditioning systems, and mail chutes. There are different ways to install strippings, and you should make sure that you have chosen the best way to seal the leak or crack in the property.

home winterization checklist

Step 4: Focus on the chimney

The next part of your house to inspect while preparing for the winter is the fireplace and chimney, as the soot buildup can be dangerous. Therefore, you should remember to clean it thoroughly before you plan to start a fire. While you should also remember to check the chimney for any cracks that need to be sealed. 

Cleaning the chimney can be completed on your own; however, in order to keep away from fire hazards, that would be a good option to find a good contractor.

Step 5: Use a programmable thermostat

One of the good options to consider during winterization is adding a programmable thermostat. With that in place, you can easily customize the heat settings that will help save energy when you don’t need to use it. According to the US Department of Energy, every lowered degree on your thermostat can help you save 1% from the energy bill.

This can also be completed on your own; however, it would be good to have an electrician check that all connections are working properly.

winterize home

Step 6: Winterize your sprinkler system

The Sprinkler system is helping to keep the landscaping lush green and properly maintained; therefore, it is extremely important to remember accurately draining it while preparing for winter. 

If the system is not maintained as needed, the water left in it can freeze and cause serious issues. Especially if you are living in an area where the temperature drops below zero, you would want to make sure that everything is done properly. Even though you can shut down on yourself, you should hire a contractor who can help you understand everything is done correctly.

Step 7: Audit electrical and HVAC system

Plan to check your electrical systems if you are thinking of keeping the heater running. Even though auditing electrical and HVAC systems are important throughout the year, it is especially crucial to make sure everything is working well before winter. 

The most common and easiest way for the HVAC system winterization is simply changing the filter. HVAC specialists can check if your system is performing effectively and also change the filter if there is a necessity.

The more detailed you prepare for home winterization, the less you will be worried about wasted energy and possible damage. These few steps will help you coast through winter as a property owner and keep away from any possible stress throughout the way. It will also help you prepare for the years coming. And if you are not sure that you can complete it all by yourself, make sure to hire a well-experienced and skilled contractor.

Six Crucial Steps for Planning Landscaping Upgrades on a Budget

If you are planning to upgrade the curb appeal of the house, you might want to look for simple landscaping ideas on a budget in the first place. Apart from creating a good impression of the house, it will also boost the house value.

Here are six main steps that will help you start your landscaping project. It is important to mention that one of the most crucial steps is to understand if the work you undertake can be completed on your own or you would need professional help. If the work needs a , it is essential to find a professional and experienced team of lawn care service providers that will help you to navigate through the process.

Step 1: Make the List of Current Inventory


It is better to create an inventory of what you already have available in your front and back yards as a first step. Before starting thinking of the new ideas for your landscaping, it is crucial to understand what you should get rid of that you currently have and what you can keep from available inventory.

Removing something from your yard will provide you with an additional space to fulfill your fresh ideas. It can even be surprising to find out how many unnecessary items are in your yards. While on the other hand, there might already be some items in the yards that will complete the overall look you want to achieve.

Step 2: Choose the Type of Landscaping


There are a few landscaping types based on the features that are installed in the yard. When it comes to choosing your lawn and landscaping, it is really pleasant to be unique in your choices. Here are the general landscaping types that you need to go through when you plan landscaping upgrades.

  • Hardscaping: This option makes the area look more interesting and practical. It generally includes patios, paths, decks, walls and fences, etc. The cost of hardscaping largely depends on the structure you choose to integrate. The good part is that the maintenance of this type of landscaping is really easy.

  • Softscaping: Hardscapes and softscapes usually go hand in hand and look nice when you add them together. This will help you complete a unique and appealing look for the front or back yard. Softscaping includes living elements like flower plants, trees, shrubs, bushes, and others. The cost of softscaping averages between 10 USD to 15 USD per square foot.

Choose the Type of Landscaping
  • Xeriscaping: This type of landscaping is used to reduce or eliminate the irrigation need and is especially beneficial for areas that have water supply shortage. This option continually gains high popularity throughout the world. Well installed landscaping typically ranges from 1.50 USD to 2.50 USD per square foot and can range even to 10 USD per square foot or even more.

  • Natural grass: There are generally two possible ways to get beautiful landscaping with natural grass, which are sods and seeds. This option is quite cheap to install and maintain, however it may seem boring and incomplete by only having natural grass.

Step 3: Set a Realistic Budget


After deciding on the general type of landscaping you are going to install, it is important to set up a budget. You may need to consult with a professional company to understand the budget needed for the work. Based on the landscaping type and the general scope of the project, the cost will range from 8,000 USD to 15,000 USD. The budget may also vary depending on the area you want to upgrade. 

Generally, the front yard is small in size and does not require different expensive features. Consequently, the budget for a front yard tends to be less expensive. The cost to landscape a front yard is between 4,000 USD and 6,000 USD. Similarly, just an ordinary backyard also will not cost too much and can be upgraded with a small budget. Landscaping a backyard costs between 8,000 USD and 10,000 USD. A fully equipped garden usually has more features and the planning requires professional support. The cost to landscape and create a garden averages 8,000 USD and 20,000 USD.

Step 4: Add Unique Features to the Landscape


One of the good ideas to brighten up your landscaping and be unique is adding some interesting and affordable elements. One of such elements can be a birdbath, especially if you want to have a water feature in your yard. There is a wide diversity of options that will complement the front yard and the cost will run between 30 USD and 50 USD.

Decorating the yard with some decoration charms can seem very simple, but will help you inexpensively boost your curb appeal. No matter what your budget, adding a nice wind chime, rain chain or garden stake to your front yard landscaping is always a good idea.

 Add Unique Features to the Landscape

Step 5: Landscape with Lighting


It is important to remember about the lighting of your front or back yard as well, which can cost cheap and, at the same time, improve the general picture. There are so many options for outdoor lights nowadays, including LED options, which will also not increase the electric bill. This will help you create a festive mood despite the weather outside. 

Using outdoor string lights will help you in the way of transforming your area. This will provide a beautiful option of dining outside under the beautiful string lights. This can cost between 15 USD and 50 USD. 

Step 6: Know When to Call Landscaping Professionals


It is also crucial to understand whether the project you have undertaken is a DIY project, or you need to apply to professionals. DIY projects sometimes can even lead to costly mistakes, which will result in a more expensive intervention. Many landscaping professionals market themselves as budget-friendly and are happy to help you not break the bank.

Call a landscaping professional if you’re interested in knowing all your options and possibly further design ideas. You may find that working with a professional landscaper makes your landscaping project stress-free and leaves you with a result you couldn’t have made yourself.

11 Affordable Landscaping Ideas to Increase Property Value

Transforming the property with affordable landscaping is one of the major secrets to increasing house value. Landscaping itself sounds like a complicated task, however, the following steps will boost the property price largely. Especially, there are specific changes that can increase the overall value. United Field Services Inc. will provide a guaranteed guide for increasing property value with the help of landscaping ideas on a budget.

1. An affordable landscaping idea is building a fence

Having a fence can play a huge role in increasing property value, however, it greatly depends on its condition. There are different options that will not require a big budget but can significantly improve the property’s appearance. 

One of the cheapest types of fences is wooden ones. There are other benefits other than affordability; according to specialists wood is also environment friendly. There is always an option to color it, which will make it look more presentable. 

A fence can make an unforgettable first impression of the house. The main reason why fences are preferred by people is due to the privacy it secures. Therefore, this can provide you a really good result, without costing too much.

2. A landscape walkway is a game-changer

Something as simple as a walkway can arouse curiosity in people. It is another easy way to increase the property value. Additionally, you can build it with contrasting rocks (big and small) or red bricks. This method will result in a high-end look and create a natural atmosphere.

Giving special attention to the walkway can be both stylish and helpful for the visitors. They won’t have to walk on the grass or soil. Plus, this step will set high expectations for the property’s worth.

3. Nurturing & trimming the lawn is a low-maintenance landscaping option

Nurturing and trimming the lawn sounds like a small backyard landscaping idea, but simply being clean and neat is already a big step towards increasing the property value. Having freshly nice cut grass in the garden is the best way to gain somebody’s respect. 

Lawn care shows how much the owner cares about the property, which sets expectations for others as well. Thus, taking good care of the backyard is a small, yet very noticeable step. Experts have conducted a survey, based on which 63% of the respondents preferred to live in an area that has good green spaces.

affordable lawn care

4. Bushes/plants are easy & affordable

Another low-cost landscaping idea is cutting bushes and plants around the yard. Only a few details can boost property prices largely because small elements can elevate the overall look of the house. Consequently, this is a better option than changing big parts of the property.

Moreover, plants are very affordable. Therefore, it is a good option to place a few in the garden to make it look more organized. In this way, the house will have a fresh look and attract people’s attention.

5. Different Kinds of Trees for high house worth

Planting trees or other seeds is yet another simple landscaping idea, which is one of the best ways to increase the property value. It demonstrates diligence because taking care of the garden or having sowings is really hard work. People automatically will sympathize with the house if it is nicely nurtured.

However, you should first consider that the value of a specific type of tree depends on different variables. Based on the listed factors in the formula by the Council of Tree & Landscape Appraisers, you can estimate the value certain trees will bring to your house.

6. Mini statues/small fountains create a nice atmosphere

Adding mini statues or small fountains is by far one of the fastest steps for changing house worth. It is as easy as ordering a small affordable statue and placing it somewhere in the yard. This can transform the look and price of the house.

Some people don’t consider statues the best item to have in the yard, therefore, a more creative approach can be considered a small fountain. In reality, a tiny fountain can cost around 100 USD, but increase the property value up to 10 times. That is the main reason this step is highly recommended by many experts.

landscaping ideas on a budget

7. Lighting & decorations transform the house

A correctly planned lighting system and decorations are some of the most important factors considered while thinking of the property value. Research shows that paying enough attention to this aspect can increase the value by 20%.

Besides the overall visual appeal, this option is also very beneficial. Considering LED lights is an energy-efficient choice, which is an important factor to remember while purchasing a property. Therefore, the house will both look wonderful and leave others impressed. 

8. Affordable patio & deck flooring change everything

People also pay attention to what is beneath their feet. The comfort of the ground is an unspoken yet crucial element. Flooring can have some unique solutions. There are some affordable patio & deck floor options.

Besides, it’s a perfect fit for a backyard. Also, it can be designed in black and white stone flooring.  Meanwhile, a deck floor isn’t made specifically for yards, but it is a good option due to its supporting system. Both will increase property value remarkably.

9. Unique outdoor areas boost home price 

Adding a unique outdoor area is one of the most creative ways to increase the house value. People love spending some quality time outside, which is why this area is a very important element. In this case, there are different ideas you can realize that will work effectively:

  • For instance, an outdoor bar can make anyone want to live in that house. It doesn’t require a lot of expenses, but it surely will grow the house’s worth. All this area needs are high affordable chairs and a bar counter.

  • Another example can be an outdoor barbecue (BBQ) stand or a play area with table tennis. All are inexpensive and helpful ideas.

The point is to have a separate place for spending time outdoors. This is what people love the most, which is why this step is effective.

simple landscaping ideas

10. Color-oriented focal points attract visitors

A focal point is an area that can lead the visitor’s viewing point. Thus, according to professionals a pop of color on the wall or throughout the garden will grab attention and be a remarkable detail to remember. For instance, if you hang a vivid painting or another piece of art on the wall, it can interest people.

A balance between a classical look and some burst of color can be very complimentary to the eye. Therefore, this can increase the property’s worth due to its pleasant style.

11. Floral decorations help to transform the house

A floral wall is a very aesthetically pleasing element to have. It can dress up the house and make it look much more interesting than a plain, naked wall. Therefore, this will impress and fascinate people, which can impact the price of the house notably.

Flowers are a very affordable landscaping idea. It surely will make it look like there is more to it than just decorations. Besides, it will shift the standards of what a house should look like. Overall, there are different affordable options that will guarantee the best results in boosting the house’s worth. Do not hesitate, instead contact us, and we will give valuable advice and ideas that will be the most effective. We are here to help raise the property’s value with plenty of diverse solutions.

home renovation

Lawn Care and Maintenance Guide For Beginners

Maintaining a lawn is not an easy task, especially for beginners. To help you with that we have the best lawn care tips from experts to help you get your best lawn ever. These lawn care basics will guide you on how to start and where to go from there.

1. The Lawn Care Starts From Soil

Soil Testing

First, learn about the qualities of your soil. Take soil samples from your garden to test soil for essential factors such as soil pH in a lab. Include samples for spots with problems. From the lab, you can receive specific recommendations for your lawn care plan. If there are any issues, fix according to lab recommendations. 

Soil Aeration

Air pockets of soil that enable nutrients and water to reach the roots of the grass, over time get reduced. To solve this, aerate the lawn. It will help the lawn to get nutrients and water it demands to grow strong all year long. Spring is a perfect time to organize aeration.

Fertilization

The soil test results will prescribe how much fertilizers your lawn needs (usually per 1,000 square feet), based on its organic matter, structure, and other factors. Also, consider the nutritional needs of the grass that you plant. It is recommended to fertilize the lawn in its growing season every 6 weeks. Feed the lawn with compost or manure. Choose organic options over chemical fertilizers. Consult with a specialist.

2. Grass Selection

There are extensive options for grass selection, that vary in their tolerance of ranges of soil pH, fertility, moisture, and temperatures. They may also be different in their resistance to stresses caused by different factors such as wear, mowing, and insects and diseases. Experts recommend selecting region-appropriate lawn grasses.
As a result, it will require less maintenance time and resources.

3. Watering The Lawn

Plan watering frequency and timing according to the grass type and water needs. In general, the water evaporates less in the morning, so watering in the morning is recommended by experts. If the lawn is newly seeded, water more to support its establishment process.

4. Mowing

Different Grasses have a different optimal height that you should consider planning to mow. When the grass reaches its optimal high start mowing the lawn. Mowing tall grasses will cause difficulties, shock roots, and dull the blades of the mower. When it reaches one-third or more of the suggested mowing height, cut it.

Lawn Care Tips for Each Season 

Care Tips For Spring

  • Don’t mow wet grass. It will increase the chance of spreading grass diseases.
  • Fertilize. In the spring apply fertilizer as your grass begins its most active growth.
  • Aerate in a day when the soil is damp but not soaked.
  • Apply a pre-emergent herbicide to prevent weeds from taking root in the lawn.

Care Tips For Early Summer

  • Watch out for grubs. When using insecticides follow all label directions
  • In early summer grass is starting to grow fast, and there will be a need for cutting more than once a week. But mow 1/3 of the grass blade.
  • Weeds that are left after an herbicide application, remove with a garden fork.

Care Tips For Summer

  • Frequent sprinkles of water boost shallow root growth, so deep and infrequent watering is preferable.
  • Regularly clean up any leaves, branches, and debris.

Care Tips For Fall

  • During the fall season keep your lawn free of leaves and other debris.
  • Fertilize the lawn. The grass will store the nutrients in its roots in the dormant period in winter and use them for growth when springs come.

The lawn is considered one of the key important factors for the curb appeal of a property. Well maintained lawn can affect the property value and make it easier to sell. If you need help with lawn care services, contact us, and we will help to organize the lawn care process timely and smoothly

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