BBQ, fireworks, family, and fun -- what's not to love about the Fourth of July? No, it's not a trick question. Just wanted to remind everyone that fun for us does not necessarily equate to fun for our pets. While dogs adore spending time with their families and sniffing (or eating) smokey BBQ fresh off the grill, fireworks can be dangerous and downright scary for them. Here are some simple tips to keep your pets safe from fireworks this Fourth of July.
The cold is brutal on plants, animals, and many other things that are stuck outside during the winter. Sadly, your patio furniture is no exception. While spring is on the horizon, there are still a few more weeks of frosty temperatures to contend with. If you haven’t already taken measures to protect your patio furniture, it’s not too late.
Wood Patio Furniture
Apply a water seal to your wood furniture to prevent moisture from damaging it. During the winter, moisture can seep into the wood and freeze, causing swelling and cracks in your furniture. Additionally, moisture can dampen the furniture to the point where it eventually rots. Even if you cover your wood furniture when it's cold, seal it to keep it from absorbing moisture from the air.
Metal Outdoor Furniture
Unlike other types of patio furniture, metal can rust and weaken in snow and freezing rain. The best option for metal furniture is to cover it, and put it in your garage or storage shed to protect it from cold and wet weather.
Plastic Patio Furniture
Plastic furniture will not rot or rust, but it will certainly crack if it’s constantly exposed to brutally cold temperatures. Additionally, moisture from snow and rain can cause mold and mildew to grow. The best way to prevent cracking, brittleness, and mold growth is to bring your plastic outdoor furniture inside when it’s wet and cold outside.
During the winter, bring the outdoor cushions inside when you’re not using them. You can store them in a bin or in plastic covers until you are ready to use them again. To prevent the growth of mold and mildew, make sure your cushions are dry before you pack them away.
Don’t let the cold weather rob you of perfectly good patio furniture. Protecting it is as your as simple as sealing, covering, or bringing it inside out of the cold.
For the best in concrete services in Huntsville and surrounding areas, contact B.J. Stewart Concrete today!
Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you shouldn’t sit on your patio and enjoy the splendors of the great outdoors. Of course, if you’re going to sit outside in the dead of winter, you need a way to stay warm. One of the most practical ways to do this is with an outdoor fire pit. Fire pits are great for patio-warming, but if you’re not careful, they can be dangerous. One careless move, and your backyard, along with your house, and possibly your neighbor’s home can go up in smoke. The wonderful firefighters in Huntsville are busy enough this time of year. Don’t add putting out a careless fire to their list of things to do. Whether your fire pit is portable or built-in, use it safely with these tips.
Sometimes despite your best efforts, stuff happens. Keep a container of water nearby just in case.
If you live in Huntsville or surrounding areas, and want a patio you can be proud of, contact B.J. Stewart Concrete today!
With Halloween right around the bend, allowing kids to celebrate the occasion without compromising their safety is on the minds of parents, grandparents and guardians everywhere. If you're going to let your kiddos dress up in their scariest (or cutest) costumes and bang on random doors yelling, “trick-or-treat,” keep these quick safety tips in mind.
Plan a route in advance. Decide where you’re going before the big day and tell trusted friends or family members about your planned route before you head out.
Dress kids in practical shoes. Princess shoes are adorable, but they are not very practical for walking up and down the sidewalk; neither are the stylish boots that match those Wonder Woman and Batman costumes (long story). Tennis shoes that fit comfortably are the best option for trick-or-treating.
Walk with flashlights so drivers can easily see you. Take a few extra batteries for the flashlights just in case you need them. You may also consider using reflective materials on kids’ costumes to make them more visible to oncoming cars.
Take a fully charged cell phone. You never know when you might need to call for help. It’s better to have a phone and not need it than to need it and not have it.
Stay in well-lit areas. If the house or street is not well lit, keep it moving. Also, don’t allow your kids to go around the back of anyone’s house. The quest for a handful of candy is not worth the risk of encountering a maniac hiding in someone’s backyard.
Check your children's candy before you allow them to eat it. While most people are well-intentioned when they pass out goodies on Halloween, there are a few nuts who do horrible things to the candy they pass out.
We’re sure your kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews are counting down the days until they can sport their favorite costumes and gather all the candy their trick-or-treat bags can hold. Increase your youngsters’ chances of having a safe Halloween by keeping the above tips in mind.
Huntsville has beautiful summers, so naturally you want to kick back on your patio and relish the warm weather. However, heading outside without properly shielding your eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can increase your risk of cataracts and glaucoma. If you already suffer with these conditions, too much UV light will only exacerbate them. Next time you’re in the backyard soaking up the sun, grab a pair of sunglasses to protect those peepers.
What Type of Sunglasses Work Best?
The Environmental Protection Agency suggests wearing sunglasses that filter out at least 99 percent of ultraviolet rays. Of course, if you can find a pair that blocks out a 100 percent of the rays, that’s even better.
Some sunglasses are manufactured strictly for fashion purposes and provide very little protection, so don’t be bamboozled by a high price tag. In reality, you could spend $5 on a pair of shades and get better protection than you would from some of the pricier ones. The best way to figure out if sunglasses offer adequate UV protection is to read the manufacturer’s label. If the label reads "99 to 100% UV protection," you’re good to go.
Wraparound sunglasses work best, as they keep UV light from penetrating through the top and sides. In addition, opt for shades that keep 75 to 90 percent of all visible light out. If you try on your sunglasses and you can see your eyes through the lenses, the glasses don’t block out enough visible light.
If you have a patio in your backyard, you certainly deserve to enjoy it. However, while you’re lounging your cares away in the sun, don’t forget to put on a pair sunglasses. This simple piece of eyewear can preserve your vision by reducing your risk of sun-induced cataracts and glaucoma.
If you want a local concrete finisher who is reliable, thorough and always on his game, contact B.J. Stewart Concrete today!
The quickest way to ruin a relaxing day on the patio is to have mosquitos attacking you from every direction. When these pests are on a feeding frenzy, they take no prisoners. If you're outside, you are fair game. Putting certain types of plants around your patio will deter mosquitos so you can actually enjoy your time outdoors.
When you read the back of the ingredient list on insect repellents, you’ll notice most of them contain citronella. This is because mosquitos can’t stand the smell of the oil in this plant. Citronella grass will thrive if you water it regularly and plant it in an area where there is plenty of sunlight. In ideal conditions, citronella can grow 5 to 6 feet tall.
When you surround your patio with lemon balm, you can easily send mosquitos flying the other way. Like citronella grass, lemon balm emits a strong odor that mosquitos dislike. When the scent of this plant is in the air, mosquitos won't come anywhere near you.
If you’re looking for a mosquito repelling plant that can grow hale and hearty in shaded areas, vanilla leaf has got you covered. This perennial herb needs rich soil to thrive. To boost its repelling power, crush the leaves to release the oil and then rub it on your skin.
Basil is not only good for whipping up delicious pesto, this herb can help keep mosquitos off your patio. As long as the soil is rich and it gets full sunlight, basil will flourish. You can also crush the leaves and rub them on your skin to deter insects. There are many varieties of this herb, but cinnamon and lemon basil work best.
This deep purple perennial is revered for its homeopathic properties. But did you know it can also repel mosquitos? Simply plant this herb in a pot and place it on your patio. In addition to sending mosquitos scattering, lavender can be used as an herbal remedy to relieve itching from insect bites.
When you use a combination of basil, citronella, vanilla leaf, lemon balm and lavender, you can lounge on your patio without worrying about being chased in the house by a swarm of mosquitos.
For the best concrete finishing services in Huntsville, AL and the Tennessee Valley, contact B.J. Stewart Concrete today!
When the warm weather hits, the first thing you want to do is gather your friends and family, and break out the charcoal barbeque grill. If you’re not careful, a charcoal grill can cause serious burns to everyone. The flames can also leave the containment of the grill and set your yard and house on fire. Whether this is your first time using a charcoal grill or you’re a self-proclaimed master, certain safety precautions can help make your patio cookout experience a safe one.
Don’t use gasoline to start a charcoal fire. Lighter fluid is the fire-starter of choice for a charcoal, not gasoline. Gasoline is explosive. If you use it to start a charcoal fire, it might result in a giant fireball that could burn off more than your eyebrows.
Keep the grill out of the flow of traffic. Put your charcoal grill in an area where there is low traffic flow. This can help keep friends, family and pets from accidentally bumping into the grill or tipping it over and causing a fire.
Put water on the coals when you’re done. Pouring water on the charcoal can cool the fire and keep it from reigniting. When you pour on the water, watch out for the steam. It can sometimes be hot enough to cause serious burns to the skin.
Keep a fire extinguisher handy. If your grill fire ever gets out of hand, you can reach for the nearby extinguisher and douse the flames before they spread.
Additional Tips on Charcoal Grill Safety
- keep children away from the grill
- do not use the grill on a wooden base
- never leave the grill unattended
- do not wear loose fitting clothes while grilling
If you live in Huntsville, AL or surrounding areas and want to add a patio to your backyard, contact B.J. Stewart Concrete today!
Mary, Mary quite contrary, how does your garden grow: With pots and containers on the patio, all lined in a neat little row. Okay . . . we won’t be winning any poetry prizes anytime soon, but you get the point.
Imagine walking out to your backyard and plucking fresh blueberries off a bush or gathering a handful of ripe, juicy strawberries to toss in a smoothie. Better yet, wouldn’t it be delightful to be able to whip up a healthy meal using basil, peppers, tomatoes and other fresh ingredients from your garden.
So what’s stopping you from having fresh produce at your fingertips? Is it limited time or lack of space? Container gardening is a viable solution to both issues. Basically, all you do is grab a few pots or some old containers, and grow your garden right on your patio.
Digging and tilling in a garden can make your back feeling like Quasimodo's. Gardening in pots and containers is a much easier solution to all the strenuous back-work. Simply put potting soil in appropriately sized pots and then plant your seeds or starter plants. Patio gardening methods are also ideal for those of you who have small backyards and prefer to preserve what little space you have for your children, grandchildren or pets to romp through.
Plant Choices Galore
The great thing about gardening in pots and containers is that the choices of fruits, veggies and herbs you can grow are endless. In many cases, you will even have enough of a harvest to share with your friends and family. Check out this list – it is by no means exhaustive:
There’s nothing more freeing than having your favorite fresh fruits and veggies right at your fingertips when you want or need them. As long as the patio gets plenty of sunlight, and you care for the plants properly, you should reap the spoils of your efforts all summer long.
For the best concrete finishing services in Huntsville and surrounding areas, contact B.J. Stewart Concrete today!
The warm weather is finally here and it’s time to kick back on your patio with a glass of old-fashioned, southern sweet tea. There’s just one problem. Your patio is boring and could use a little spice. Sprucing up your patio is as easy as adding furniture, plants and a little light.
Plants galore! Putting a few potted plants on your patio is an easy way to make it feel homier. Combining lush green plants with flowering plants adds vibrancy and color to the space. Some plants such as vanilla leaf and citronella can help ward off mosquitos and make your outdoor time more comfortable.
Furnish it. The right outdoor furniture can help make the patio feel like an extension of your home. If you’re on a skimpy budget, visit a local home improvement store or large-chain retailer to find reasonably priced patio furniture. Use bold-colored pillows and other outdoor accessories to make the space come alive.
Let there be light! If you’re the type of person who enjoys being outside at night, invest in some outdoor lighting. String lights, lanterns, umbrella lights and flood lights work well to brighten up the patio after dark. If conserving energy is your thing, solar lighting is also an option.
Resurface it. If your patio is cracked or in need of a facelift, consider having it resurfaced. A professional concrete finisher can help you determine whether or not your patio can be resurfaced.
For the best concrete finishing service in Huntsville, AL and the Tennessee Valley, contact B.J. Stewart Concrete today!
Whether you are a homeowner looking for someone to pour your dream patio, or a business looking for a concrete finisher to pour a foundation for a building, finding the right contractor is important. A concrete contractors who is serious about his business always has the proper paperwork, uses qualified subcontractors, and has a trail of satisfied customers willing to vouch for him.
Check for proper licensing. Always check with the appropriate authorities to make sure the contractor you hire has a valid business license. If you knowingly hire an unlicensed concrete finisher, you may face fines and penalties from the city, and jeopardize your homeowner’s insurance coverage.
Check for insurance. While you may not be legally obligated to hire a contractor who has insurance, it’s always in your best interest if you do. If an uninsured contractor injures someone or causes damage to a neighbor’s property, you may be held liable. Even if you have your own insurance coverage, it may not be enough to cover damages, lawsuits and other expenses that can result from the contractor’s negligence.
Ask about subcontractors. If you are having specialty work done such as digging or foundation breaking, find out if the contractor will hire a subcontractor to help. If so, get the names of the subcontractors and check them out to make sure they are qualified to do the job.
Do an Internet search. Before you make a final decision, search the Internet to see if the contractor has any complaints against him. While it’s not realistic to expect a business to have a perfect track record, you should run the other way if there are several people complaining about the same contractor.
In addition to the above steps, opt for a concrete contractor with experience. While it’s admirable to give a new person a chance, hiring someone with proven experience is always the best option.
If you want a concrete finisher who puts quality and customer service first, contact B.J. Stewart Concrete today!