The Greatest Shrubs to Plant for Privacy

A privacy screen composed of grouped a hedge can be a welcome addition to your home landscape, blocking unsightly views and helping reduce noise. Viburnums, oleanders, lilacs and certain hibiscus shrubs are excellent choices.


The genus Viburnum incorporates several species of blooming shrubs which grow well planted in a circle or as a hedge for privacy. Viburnums typically produce dense, foliage-covered divisions and clusters of white blossoms in late spring, followed by small red or purple fruits attractive to birds. A couple of the very best choices are the wayfaring tree viburnum (V. lantana) and blackhaw viburnum (V. prunifolium). Both species are quick growers that reach about 15 feet, can develop colorful foliage in autumn and are exceptionally tough and tolerant of most soil types and environments. Viburnums are generally hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zone 3 through 9, depending on cultivar.


Oleanders (Nerium oleander) are broadleaf evergreen shrubs which grow in an upright, rounded form. They achieve a mature height of about 8 feet and spread to about 5 feet, making them a great option for a privacy hedge. Oleander bushes are covered with shiny green leaves and develop fragrant white, pink or red flowers in summer. Pink varieties include “Barbara Bush,” “Apple Blossom” and “Lady Kate,” while reds include “General Pershing and “Scarlet Beauty.” “Mary Constance” offers white blossoms. Oleanders are tolerant of dry conditions and poor soils, thrive in full sun but will also do well in light shade, and are resistant to common diseases and insects. All parts of oleandar plants are poisonous and should not be ingested. Oleanders are frost-sensitive and suitable for outdoor culture in USDA hardiness zone 8 through 10.

Shrub Hibiscus

Hibiscus shrubs (Hibiscus syriacus) make up a huge group of plants which are sometimes known as rose-of-sharon or Chinese hibiscus. They are deciduous, flowering shrubs which can achieve heights of 8 to 10 feet and are generally multi-stemmed, with spreading branches. When planted in a row or circle, they develop into a compact privacy screen covered in summer with large, showy blooms. Good cultivars include “Blue Bird,” with blooms at a true-blue shade, “Diana,” bearing large white flowers, and “Minerva,” displaying pink to lavender blooms with a red eye. Hibiscus shrubs prefer full sun, but will tolerate some shade, are tolerant of soils and thrive in extreme heat. They’re hardy and grow well in USDA zones 5 through 12.


Lilacs (Syringa vulgaris) are deciduous shrubs which normally grow up to 15 feet tall and 6 to 12 feet wide at maturity. Lilacs are helpful for privacy when planted in a category or a row. The frequent variety has lavender-colored, pyramidal groupings of miniature spring blooms, called panicles, that make a powerful, sweet and distinctive fragrance that attracts birds. They prefer full sun, but tolerate some shade for component of the day, perform best in slightly acidic, well-drained soil and don’t tolerate soggy places. Several cultivars of the frequent lilac are available, creating blossoms in pink, white, purple or magenta. Lilacs are generally hardy and grow well in USDA zones 3 through 12.

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How to Set a Water Softener to Regenerate

A water softener can remove hard mineral deposits in a home’s water source, particularly if the water comes from a well. Not only does the delicate water feel better on the skin, but soft water retains mineral deposits from building up in water heaters, washing machines and other household appliances, thus extending their usable life. You can set a water softener to regenerate at a specific time which best fits your family’s schedule.

Remove the lid and refill your water softener’s salt hopper with softener salt, then shut the lid to keep debris out of the salt hopper.

Have a sample of the difficult water before moving through the softening process to determine how much sodium your softener will require for each recharge cycle. If the test shows results in parts per million (PPM), then divide the PPM worth by 17.1 to determine the grains per gallon (GPG). Establish your water softener’s hardness dial (sometimes referred to as a brine control) to match the GPG figure determined by the water test.

Pull out the timer knob and set the present time on the water softener’s timer dial. Then place the time on the 24-hour regeneration dial when water is used in your family.

Determine the average quantity of water used daily in your family using the graph found within your softener’s operation manual. Then set the purifier dial up referring to the number of days between recharges dependent on the use chart.

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How to Calculate Pavers for a Half Circle

Brick, stone or concrete pavers provide an easy do-it-yourself approach to build a patio, terrace or course. Preparing the place is more challenging than laying the pavers. There are many shapes and sizes of pavers to choose from. You want to make sure to receive enough pavers, though, because in case you need to return and purchase more, they might not be in the exact same lot and might be slightly different colors.

Determine the surface area of your pavers. Multiply the length in inches by the width in inches and divide by 144. Irregularly shaped pavers are generally sold by their typical dimensions, which can be used. Check with the supplier to get the precalculated surface area if it’s accessible.

Calculate the area of the half circle. Gauge the horizontal side of this half circle. Divide this measurement by 2 to get the radius. Square the radius. (That is, multiply the radius by the radius.) Multiply this number by 3.14. Divide by 2.

Calculate the number of pavers required by splitting the area of the half circle by the surface area of the person paver. Add 10 percent to account for waste, splitting and cutting.

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How to Landscape Close Sewage Pipes

The last thing anyone wants in their front yard is a little pond of sewage, that is why it is a fantastic idea to decide in advance what types of plants work best about sewage and water pipes whenever you’re planning your landscaping. This helps prevent roots from growing toward and wrapping about pipes, or in some cases trying to develop into the pipes for the water.

Contact the appropriate utility company to locate your sewage pipes in addition to other hidden obstacles such as cable and gas lines. They will mark the places. Avoid digging in areas where wires are marked and dig just shallow holes above pipes.

Decide where to locate natural areas. Generally it is better to have mostly grass over sewage pipes, but because the pipes do operate in the home, that is not possible in all cases. Use spray paint to outline natural areas and step back to look at the plan and make adjustments.

Select flowers, ornamental grasses and low shrubs to plant near sewage pipes. Avoid planting fast trees, which have deep roots and are more likely to cause damage such as roots tangling around the pipes. If you have to have trees, then select slow-growing ones such as a saucer magnolia (Magnolia x soulangiana).

Stagger the plants for a more natural look, setting flowers and tiny plants in between little shrubs, or even zigzagging vegetation in order that it is not in a direct line.

Use rocks and other ornaments such as bird feeders or glass globes to fill in organic areas. These constructions will not result in any harm to the sewage pipes and include a bit of attention to the overall look. When installing bird feeders or other things on a article, locate the post many feet in the sewage pipes, so the digging does not disturb them.

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How Much Water Do Survive Oaks Drink?

The native live oaks of California’s coast and interior grow tall and broad, not just in the country’s oak forests, but in many urban parks and suburban yards. It is likely to eliminate these live oaks with kindness in a dry, warm Mediterranean climate, however. Take your advice from their natural habitat to determine how much water all these evergreen giants must drink.

Live Oaks and Water

Live oak trees are accustomed to sipping, not drinking, water — they’ve adapted to low to moderate rainfall in the warm, dry Mediterranean climate of California’s coastal ranges and valleys. These big, broad-crowned trees grow deep tap roots when young, but as they mature, their roots grow only under the soil’s surface, extending past the drip line of the crowns. Young trees may need irrigation once or twice monthly to become well recognized in dry years, but mature live oaks grow best in well-drained, moist soil. An excessive amount of moisture, whether from too much rain or well-intentioned irrigation, contributes to oak root rot. In addition, it can nourish Phytophthora ramorum, the fungus pathogen associated with Sudden Oak Death, which thrives in cool, foggy coastal weather. Nearby structure, compacted or clay soils and turfgrass lawns may also hurt the extensive root systems of live oaks.

Coast Live Oak

California, or shore, live oak (Quercus agrifolia var. agrifolia or Quercus agrifolia var. Oxyadenia) rises up to 100 feet tall in its native habitat, but in urban areas it rises 20 to 50 feet, frequently spreading as wide as it’s tall. Its brief trunk splits into several crooked divisions. Thick, glossy evergreen leaves keep water, which makes coastal live oaks moderate consumers of water, some of it provided by coastal fog. Provided your place receives 20 to 30 inches of annual precipitation, a coast live oak should not need extra water except in very long time. During droughts, moisten the top 8 to 10 inches of soil once a month with a drip hose.

Canyon Live Oak

Canyon live oak (Quercus chrysolepis) has gnarly limbs and compact size — the tree might grow as a tree no taller than 15 feet, a fantastic size for suburban lots and urban spaces. In its natural habitat as mountain ridges and in canyons along riparian borders, the tree might grow as tall as 60 feet. Its holly-like leaves are hairy when its own yellow acorns take two years to mature. Canyon live oaks need small water beyond that provided by winter rains and foggy days on the coast.

Interior Live Oak

Interior live oaks (Quercus wislizeni, Q. parvula, Q. shrevei) grow in shallow, dry soils and are low water-use trees, indigenous to interior regions with as little as 5 to 10 inches of precipitation per year. Such as the canyon live oak, interior live oaks grow in several varieties, some growing in 35 to 70 feet tall — and almost as wide — along with others growing just up to ten feet. Like other live oaks, they need well-drained soil for survival.

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How to Pave With Pebbles

Using seams, frequently referred to as gravel, may also be a cost-effective means of creating a walkway, driveway or pad. Most homeowners in decent physical health may complete this project on their own, but larger jobs will likely take more time and potentially help. Any specialized tools, like hand tampers, may often be rented from the regional hardware shop, and in most places, the lowest prices on both crushed stone to your base and larger pebbles for the top-most layers is just a nearby quarry as opposed to a house and garden facility.

Make an overview of the area you need to pave with line-marking spray paint. Measure the longest and widest points, and multiply these dimensions to ascertain the square footage of the area.

Eliminate the sod and dirt in the area, digging down 4 inches. Rake the trench smooth, and check various places to ensure the depth is even with a tape measure. Do a final raking and use a hand tamper to compact the soil, creating an even, sturdy base.

Contact your gravel company and request enough crushed stone to create a 2 1/2-inch-thick layer and enough pebbles to produce a 1 1/2-inch surface layer. Utilize the square footage you measured to estimate the quantity you’ll need. Have the stone delivered to your residence, dumping it (in two separate stacks) as close to the area you’re going to be working as possible to limit the amount of manual labor needed.

Put in a stone or brick border all the way round the outside of the area you’re paving. The stones have to stick up at least 1 inch beyond the proposed height of the path or pad. Use a mallet to press the border into the ground. If you are using a metal border, wait till after you install the crushed stone layer to install it.

Fill in the trench with the crushed stone, dumping a full wheelbarrow to the trench and smoothing it out with a rake before dropping more. Utilize a board and degree to check the path or area in various places, making adjustments with the rake as necessary, to make sure that there are no dips in the center of the area that could lead to water set. Compact the path or pad with the hand tamper.

Install metal edging along the outside of the course or pad you’re paving, cutting pieces to size with a hacksaw so that they readily fit together the form of the path or pad. Metal edging is usually set up by pushing it between the edge of the trench along with the fill stone, hammering it with a mallet to press it in the soil. Like the stone or brick, it needs to be at least 1 inch above surface flat to maintain the pebbles in place. If you’ve already installed a stone or brick border, you can skip this.

Cut a sheet of landscaping lining to match the walkway or pad, and lay it across the base of crushed stone, securing sheets with wood or metal stakes directly into the soil. This will prevent weeds or grass from growing up through the pebbles, saving you a reasonable amount of work in the future.

Fill in the path together with the seams of your choice, dumping a wheelbarrow’s worth into the trench and smoothing it out with a rake before adding more. Check that it is level at various points with a board and degree, then use a hand tamp to compact your path or pad once all the pebbles are set.

Maintain your pebble paving by pulling weeds once a month (some stray ones will likely break through the landscaping material) and raking the pebbles smooth.

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Price to Replace a Boiler Circulator Pump

A circulator pump moves hot water through the radiators to heat the rooms, back into the boiler to be reheated of the household, in the heating . A circulator is made up of an electric motor coupled to a water pump, with the motor switched on when the thermostat calls for heat and turned away again as soon as the heating requirement was satisfied. Circulator pumps continue for several years but eventually will wear out and require replacement.

Replacement Price

Estimated costs of replacing a boiler circulator pump vary based upon the model and make of pump that your system demands and the quantity of labor involved with the replacement. Replacing a circulator pump can cost as much as $750 as little as $400 or more for the parts and labor in the time of publication. Price of the circulator pump itself drops based on the version your machine requirements.

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How can I Clean Microfiber Couch Seat Covers?

If you’ve ever marveled at the ability of a gecko to walk on walls as a result of tiny sticky fibers in their feet, you’re close to appreciating and understanding the physics of microfibers — and also why your microfiber sofa seat covers need special care. Microfiber literally attracts dirt, but it does not make the cleaning scenario hopeless — far from it. If you wash frequently, you will not find your microfiber seat covers any more challenging to keep clean than the rest of your furniture.

It is Science

Microfiber is a synthetic material made from plastic, like polyester and cotton, which can be woven into grasses which are 100 times thinner than a human hair. Whenever these strands are woven into fabric, microscopic attractive forces called van der Waals forces — following Dutch chemist Johannes Diderik van der Waals — become significant. Each fiber makes a small — nearly negligible — attractive force, but also the sheer amount of these fibers magnifies this power dramatically, turning the fiber into a dirt magnet. This principle is supporting the potency of microfiber cleaning cloths, and it’s why geckos can walk on walls, the suction created by the densely packed, tiny fibers in their feet.

Regular Cleaning

Because they pull dust in the air, your microfiber sofa covers are sure to get dirty, even in the event that you don’t use them. Remove the dirt by vacuuming the cushions regularly. Put a brush attachment on the vacuum, and use a light touch when running it on the cushions. If you press too hard, you’ll probably press the dirt deeper into the fiber. Avoid attempting to brush dirt off microfiber — it’s somewhat like trying to rub glue; you’ll likely succeed only in spreading it about.

Read the Tag

Vacuuming will not take care of all of the dust, and a stain is bound to happen. It is important that you be aware of the ideal approach to handle ground-in dirt and stains. The safest way to clean most fabrics would be to work with a damp cloth, but that is not always true with microfiber. Read the label before using water or a knitted cleaner. Should you see “W” or “S-W” on the label, it’s safe to proceed. “S” means that you should use only solvents, like alcohol or dry cleaning fluid. “X” means that neither solvents nor water are safe — vacuum only.

Alcohol to the Rescue

You can use isopropyl alcohol to clean any microfiber cushion cover that does not have an “X” on its own label, and alcohol is the go-to cleaner for water and other types of stains. Spray the alcohol on the stain, using a spray bottle, and rub the spray with a white sponge; avert colored sponges, since the color might rub off. Give the fabric about 20 minutes to dry; subsequently brush up the flattened fibers with a white-bristle brush. If your cushion covers are water-safe, you can clean them in the washing machine with cold water on a delicate washing cycle. Hang them up to dry — don’t put them in the dryer.

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The way to eliminate Calcium Chloride Residue From Floors

Calcium chloride is a salt, like stone salt — or sodium chloride — and it can come into your home on your own shoes, through pores at a concrete pad or in hard water. The streaks look simple to remove, but they aren’t. Scrubbing them with water and soap may function, but it requires a massive amount of energy on your part. An effective way to handle these salt deposits is to neutralize them with acid.

Winter Water Streaks

Calcium chloride pellets melt snow and ice quickly than rock salt, plus they do not do as much damage to vegetation. Since they’re more capable of colder temperatures than rock salt, slush can collect on your own shoes also in very cold weather, and it’s simple to track calcium chloride-laden water to your home. When the water evaporates, the salt stays on the ground and leaves white stripes. Your garage or basement floor may also demonstrate these stripes when water seeps through from the ground underneath, plus they have a similarly high concentration of calcium chloride.

Dissolve Calcium Chloride With Acid

Salt deposits has a high pH, which makes it caustic, and calcium chloride particularly has a propensity for pulling water. Consequently, calcium chloride deposits can harm the ground finish, plus they make the ground slippery. A neutral or alkaline detergent cleaner will not have a lot of cleaning effect; you want a low-pH cleaner to neutralize the salt deposits. Vinegar, which contains acetic acid, is acidic enough for the majority of your floors. It requires a stronger vinegar solution to handle efflorescence on concrete basement and garage floors than to remove streaks from inside floors.

Cleaning Interior Floors

As it’s acidic, vinegar can also harm your floor finish, which means you should avoid applying it full-strength; rather, use a solution of about 5 or 4 oz in a gallon of warm water to wash inside, non-concrete floors. Mop this solution liberally on vinyl or tile floors; enable it to sit for a couple of minutes, and mop with clean water. Avoid allowing water to stand on hardwood floors, since they can be damaged from excessive moisture. Wash a rag or microfiber cloth in the vinegar solution and wring it out prior to wiping the streaks. After the streaks are gone, wipe the floor dry with another cloth.

Cleaning Concrete Floors

Calcium chloride bonds more strongly to concrete compared to to other flooring materials, and it requires a stronger acid to loosen its grip. Mix a solution containing 1 part vinegar to 5 parts water or 1 part hydrochloric acid to 20 parts water. Expand the answer generously; wait several moments, and neutralize the acid by mopping with a dilute solution of household ammonia and water. To stop individuals from tracking calcium chloride in your property, place an absorbent mat from the door and encourage visitors and family to remove their shoes when they enter.

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The Meaning of Loam Soil

Most gardeners struggle some type of soil challenge — typically too much sand or too much clay. At the conclusion of a gardener’s upbeat rainbow is a backyard filled with loam, which is that the pot-of-gold blend of soil to sustain plants.

The Loam Equation

Loam is a combo of the three primary types of soil: sand, silt and clay. In the big end of the particle spectrum is sand, which includes inferior water-holding capacity but supplies good aeration for plant roots. Clay soil particles are small, and they pack down easily, shutting the spaces between the particles so air and water can’t penetrate easily. Silt soil particles are medium-sized when compared with clay and mud, plus they share properties with every one of these. In a ideal garden world, loam is the result of almost equal components of each of these components.

The advantages of Loam

Loam combines the best qualities from each of the 3 main soil types. Sand is porous, silt is textured and clay keeps water and adds minerals. Loam is an ideal combination of the three since it holds water, comprises nutrients and allows oxygen to reach plant roots. When garden soil reaches its loamy potential, half of the pore space between soil particles is filled with water and the other half is filled with atmosphere. Since loam allows plant roots to penetrate deeply, it will help prevent soil from eroding.

Loam and Tilth

Tilth is the characteristic of land that explains its texture and water-holding capacity for its suitability to encourage plant growth. Loamy soils have good tilth and therefore are loose and crumbly as opposed to sticky and compacted. You can identify loamy soil by two managing tests. When you squeeze a handful of moist soil, sandy soil breaks apart, clay ground forms a tough bump and loam soil holds together. Should you roll sandy soil between your thumb and forefinger, you can’t form it to a decoration. Clay soil is easy to develop into a decoration, and loamy soil forms a short ribbon that crumbles when it reaches 1 inch long.

Achieving Loam Balance

If your garden soil isn’t loamy, you can better its tilth by adding organic amendments, such as well-aged manure or compost. Organic matter loosens heavy clay soils and enriches sandy soils. Optimally, add organic matter to garden soil in the rate of 30 percent by quantity and work it in by tilling or spading. Organic mulches in flower beds or vegetable gardens can also improve soil tilth. As the mulch decomposes, it breaks down into organic particles that help change sandy or clay soil to loamy soil.

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