Category Archives: Business

Your Life Purpose

The second coaching session, after the intake session with my clients, is the Your Life Purpose session. During this session we spend about an hour to an hour and a half together. This session is very gratifying for both the client and me because it offers perspective to the client while I am invited to share personal and private moments. For me it is fundamental that the client knows what his or her Life Purpose is and how it can be used. Only by knowing your Life Purpose you will be in a position to make better decisions, take time outs, understand how issues arise and discover how to resolve them. Life Purpose is what makes us wake up in the morning. What we love doing the most and what we naturally do best.

Many of my clients announce that they do not need to do the Life Purpose exercise because they already know theirs, but after talking with them what I have discovered is that they have a Mission Statement or long-held dreams but not necessarily a Life Purpose. Often people draft a Mission Statement during a training programme. Many times the Mission Statement reflects their team’s, or organisation’s, Mission Statement. Sometimes the Mission Statement is merely a personal plan for the next two to four years.

You need to know your Life Purpose before you can draft your Mission Statement. The way I explain Mission Statements and Life Purpose is as follows:

Life Purpose is your destination; this destination does not change through time, it adds value to your life and the lives of those you meet along the way. Mission Statements are plans or short term goals made with the intention to grow and move forward.

Let me explain this with the example I use with my clients. Say your Life Purpose is to travel to Rome and experience Rome as the Romans do. Then, if that is your goal, you need to ask yourself some questions:

1 How will I get there?
2 When will I go?
3 What must I pack?
4 What will I do when I get there?

Questions like these are typical of your Mission Statement. They illustrate your short and medium term goals, your plans, the lessons you need to learn, the stopovers and activities you will make in order to reach your destination – in this case Rome. But in this example your mission is concerned not just with how you go and what you will do when you get there. It also ensures that you go to Rome in a way that lets you enjoy every stage of the planning and the trip itself as well as the experience of being in Rome and enjoying Rome ‘like the Romans do’ when you arrive.

As soon as you have achieved your short and medium term goals you need to revise them and, based on the results, adjust your plan. You need to know where you want to go. This knowledge is going to help you stay focused (your Life Purpose). OK, sometimes you will need to take a detour or make an unscheduled stop. This is fine, but only if you consciously make this decision.

When you know your Life Purpose this will:

o Create self awareness and allow you to be more passionate about you.
o Inspire you to keep on track and take the necessary steps you need to reach your goals.
o Support you in developing strong relationships.
o Give you energy, peace, and fulfillment.

But it also is:

o An incredible decision making tool.
o Fun and helps you grow and stay focused.
o The state in which you want to live.

You can ‘find out’ what your Life Purpose is by doing the exercise below. Completing it will be fun and will give you a sense of wellbeing and perspective. At the end of the exercise you will know more about what drives you, where you want to go and how to get there. You can do it alone or ask someone you trust to guide you through the steps.

Before you start take some time to clear your mind of negative beliefs, emotions and energy (for more information you can refer to the article: A Compilation of Clearing Techniques, E Schalkx 2009)
Good Life Purpose examples are:

* I am a better man when I communicate through music and share it with my surroundings.
* When I am in silence I create space for things to happen.
* My Life Purpose is to be a safe and whole being so I can allow flow pass through me and let harmony guide my peace, balance and needs so I can keep it within me and let it reflect to others.
* When I stop and look around I create dances.
* Through silence I give back.
* Through my music I can touch, share and grow.
* My Life Purpose is to be proud to use my empathy and trustworthiness, happy to be a proud partner, friend and family member and to be good to my clients.
* From out of love I give myself and others the space to grow.
* Sharing what I know to help others to grow.

Now you have your Life Purpose, what now?

Incorporating your Life Purpose into your daily life is not easy but with practice and intention you will notice the added value it creates for you and your surroundings. Your Life Purpose is a way of being and enhances the quality of every area of your life while helping you to create the perfect environments in which to work and play.

I recommend that my clients write down their Life Purpose and pin it up in different places. Places you will see it all the time: in your agenda, on the computer, on your fridge. I tell them to add a drawing or symbol, as this makes it easier to remember. Learn your Life Purpose by heart.

Look at your Life Purpose every time you need to get ready for a difficult situation. It will help you get grounded and do things with intention.

Remember that you can use your Life Purpose as a managing or problem-solving tool. When you talk to your child and or partner, talk out from your Life Purpose. You will notice that most difficult conversations will be more manageable.

When you have ‘lost it’ or feel a bit down ask yourself: I am living my Life Purpose

For example, in my Life Purpose there are three very important keywords – balance, harmony, flow. When I am having an argument with my teenage daughter or experience a difficult coaching session I ask myself one to three questions.

o Am I in harmony?
o Am I in balance with the person or situation?
o Am I allowing flow pass through me?

Usually, asking one of these questions helps me to be aware of what may be wrong in the situation and to find a solution. I feel better allowing things to happen in a harmonious way.

Example of Life Purpose:

John the orchestra director

Early in 2006 I was hired by an orchestra director I’ll call John who was feeling a bit lost.

“I have everything I can dream of,” John said, pacing the floor up and down my office. “I have enough money, a job I love, a hobby that pays me well and takes me places, a wife and a child I adore.”

I noticed he said this with great sadness in his blue eyes.

I found myself thinking how odd this sadness was for someone who was telling me how lucky he was. I had not finished my thoughts when John added that his life was not as full of laughter and music as it used to be and it was having serious repercussions at home. His wife had just told him that things had to change if they did not want to head for a divorce.

“I don’t want to lose her,” he said, flopping down into a chair and putting his head into his hands.

We talked for a while and then he decided he wanted to start his first coaching session with me there and then. We went for a walk in the woods near my office. It was March and the first buds of spring were just beginning to appear on the branches. The daffodils were in full bloom and we stopped to admire them for a few moments. When we came back John began his Life Purpose session.

The result of his Life Purpose session was this:

I am a better man when I communicate through music and share it with my surroundings.

We talked about the impact his change in lifestyle had on his family and how he could use his Life Purpose to be the man he wanted to be. When John had created his Life Purpose he was a different person to the one he had been when he had arrived. He left in a rush as he could not wait to get home. About two o’ clock in the morning I got a telephone call from a very excited man. He told me that when he got home he shared his Life Purpose with his wife and after a while she encouraged him to play the piano – this was the first time he had played the piano at home since he had found out his child was deaf, about three years earlier. To their surprise their child came down and sat beside John. The child put his hands on the piano and after a little while he started playing the same notes Daddy was playing.

John realised that by not making music at home because he felt guilty of the handicap of his child he had robbed them all of precious times.

Edmée’s Life Purpose

Is to be a safe and whole being so I can allow flow to pass through me and let harmony guide my peace, balance and needs so I can keep it within me and let it reflect to others.

I am a visual thinker, and therefore my thoughts go faster than my words or the thoughts of other people. I see this as an advantage as I have a great helicopter view. I am a very creative and fast thinker, so when I am coaching, in a meeting or any other kind of conversation I can see the issues, visualise a solution in my mind and communicate it in a split second. For my audience this can sometimes be difficult to witness, even disorienting. However, the truth is that I solve issues quickly. I see things clearly and my clients can feel slow in comparison.

Can you imagine how much miscommunication and frustration can be created when people are not attuned with each other?

When talking to others I try (though, of course, I forget many times) to have my Life Purpose present, especially the words: balance, harmony and flow? When I feel frustration, irritation or simply lack of concentration I always ask myself: am I in harmony? Am I in balance? Am I letting flow pass through me?

I can tell you that when I ask one of these questions I usually find the harmony and balance I require and like magic, things begin to happen at the appropriate moments.

Of course people still find me a bit chaotic and are baffled by my thought processes. The difference is that now I have a tool to manage the frustration and chaos.

For information on living life for yourself click here.

Compliance Training Factors

Compliance training is an indispensable tool for organizations of any nature or size. Compliance training involves imparting skills and knowledge needed for the organization to be compliant with regulations. These regulations are set out by respective regulatory authorities, and organizations have to compulsorily abide by them if they have to stay in business or if they have to produce products or services that are of acceptably high standards.

Compliance training is needed because organizations would not normally have the expertise or availability of resources to train employees on every aspect of compliance on their own. Compliance being what it is -vast and at times confusing and obtuse -it is always a good idea to have a designated professional who will do this for the organization.

Factors to consider
There are many factors that organizations have to take into consideration while giving compliance training.
The first point it needs to take into consideration is whether the compliance training has to be done in-house or by an independent consultant who has specialized in this field. Many issues of regulatory compliance need to be implemented for the entire duration for which the organization is in business. Considering the extent and duration for which compliance is required; the organization can take a call on what kind of compliance training it needs to have in place.

In house or consultants?
If the issue of compliance is of such a nature that it requires expert guidance on a day-to-day aspect; it is ideal for such organizations to have a compliance expert in-house, who will impart compliance training to the relevant staff from time to time. In most cases; especially in some high-specialty areas, compliance is required at every step and stage. Take the case of laboratory practice. An organization that is in the business of a medical or chemical or pharmaceutical product has to continuously ensure that that there is compliance with rigidly prescribed steps and processes and procedures at every point of the manufacturing process. In these cases; the organization would do better if it had an expert on its rolls, who would offer compliance training to the staff whenever it is needed.

Why are consultants needed?
Although a majority of organizations, at least of the type mentioned above need a permanent compliance expert who will give compliance training to employees all the time; there are some businesses in which some aspects of compliance can be one-off. Some regulations need to be put in place at one stroke and have to be enforced throughout.

There are instances when some compliance regulations need expert compliance training to put processes in place; after which the expert hand may not be required to guide the organization. An important compliance of this kind that comes to mind is ISO regulations. ISO regulations are needed in organizations that want to put specialized and specific processes in place. For this, expert advice and training is needed.

However, once the process is put in place, employees can implement the processes themselves. In situations such as this, a consultant expert who will study the organization’s business flow and help it put a process in place will be handy.

The organization is the best judge
When it comes to the factors that organizations looking for compliance training need to take into consideration; it all depends on the kind of organization it is. This will essentially decide what kind of training it needs.

For information on broker dealer compliance services click here.

What to Expect From a Mold Remediation Company

Don’t Be Afraid by the Men in the White Suits!

As with any other hazardous material, like removing of lead-based paint or asbestos for example, mold remediation workers will fully suit up for action. They will have N- 95 masks, white suits, booties, and goggles. Truly looking like men from outer space. This does not necessarily mean that the mold remediation company will be removing toxic mold, but all precautions are taken. This is the standard operating procedure for any job where they are dealing with hazardous materials.

When dealing with Black Mold or any other color the remediation will follow a similar process to what is outlined below. Here is what you should expect:

Step One: We Need Access

We will have equipment, plastic, and tape everywhere. So please keep the animals somewhere else and move cars from the driveway or garage, and clear a wide access from the outside all the way to the mold area. The mold remediation company will park a vehicle as near as possible to doorway, lay down plastic sheeting, and run hoses through the house to the mold area. If the mold area is accessible from the outside (such as a crawlspace), it is so much the better. A quality mold remediation company will take care to keep your house clean while they do the work.

Step Two: Kill Mold with Biocide

The first step of this process is to isolate all infected area from the remaining rooms of the home. This is usually done with plastic sheeting and tape to make a barrier. The next step is to spray the mold area with biocide. Biocide is an EPA-approved liquid which kills mold. Please Note that bleach is not approved by the EPA for killing mold. Typically, this first step should take less time than the second step. After the workers leave, the biocide goes to work, killing the mold spores. The mold remediation company should spray well beyond the moldy area to ensure that no more mold grows. For example, if only a limited area of an attic exhibits mold, the mold remediation company will probably still spray down the entire attic. This is more desirable, and you should confirm with the company this is standard procedure.

Step Three: Remove the Mold

Typically the next day, the mold remediation company returns. Again, clear access is needed. They begin the task of removing the dead mold from its food source. This is usually part of your house. There are several different methods that can be used for this section. One crude and time consuming method is sanding, scraping and using a wire brush. Others include media blasting this would include baking soda, dry ice, sand, and other types of media.

Step Four: Clean the area

Here is where a lot of the clean-up begins. Once all the dead mold is removed from the substrate the area will need to vacuum with a HEPA (High Efficiency particular air) filter attachment. This will allow all the mold spores that were released when the mold was dying to be captured and disposed of alone with the Mycotoxins and allergens associated.

Step Five: Spray Sealer to prevent Mold from Returning

The second to last step in the process is to treat the previously affected area with a sealer to prevent new or re occurring mold growth. The remediation company should spray an area greater than the affected area to insure it is covered. If an attic or crawlspace is involved the whole area should be treated. This is a very important step in the process.

Step Six: Final Clean up

This is where the all the plastic comes down and tape is removed. These should be cautiously taken down as to not disturb were the mold spores may have landed. Once the all the plastic and tape is removed the area will need to be HEPA vacuumed again and a spore count analysis taken to verify that the home has normal levels of mold.

For information on mold removal Monmouth County click here.

Effective Termite Control: Identifying Solutions

Termite control in Phoenix is an important aspect of residential pest control. Perhaps, there is nothing more destructive to a structure that is made mostly of wood than a colony of termites. The problem is quite prevalent. Because of the destructive effects of a termite infestation on a property, one of the primary services offered by professional pest control companies is termite control.

Preliminary inspections by trained personnel

A termite infestation is usually subterranean so that the earliest signs are invisible from the property owners. Most of the time, when there are visible signs already, the infestation has already overtaken a huge part of the house, albeit unbeknownst to the owner.

Professionals with expertise on pest control usually perform an inspection in order to locate the highly active areas. The first step, which is the most important step, is determining where the termites are. Termite tunnel are recognizable when they are on the surface. If there is a rumor of termites, it is best to confirm their presence by looking for mud tubes. Usually, some insects can be found there. Another means of ascertaining the presence of termites is to look for hollow spots on exposed wood. Take care not to mistake ant swarms for termite swarms. Termites and ants both survive as insect colonies, but the insects look quite different from one another. For example, individual ants are either red or black in color, while termites are cream white in color.

Termite intervention options for residential infestations

There are many ways to deal with a termite infestation. Here are some of the methods employed by pest control experts:

Active reduction of termite food sources by the homeowners.

Wood treatments.

Use of termite baits. Bait stations are effective at dealing with the whole colony, eventually and resolve the entire termite manifestation.

Application of termiticides on the soil and on structures that are prone to termite infestation.

Liquid insecticides are quite effective at addressing huge problem areas and resolve severe damage.

Pesticides and termiticides must have prior approval from the authorities prior to use. There are chemical treatments that are effective at dealing with termites while posing minimum risk to humans and the environment. Regulations dictate that only trained personnel must handle chemical applications in residential areas. One of the benefits of hiring a licensed pest control firm to deal with a termite infestation is that they know all about the right application of chemical treatments.

Effective preventive measures

In order to prevent future infestations, here are some of the measures that may be implemented.

Reducing moist areas in the house. This method may entail removal of sources of moisture, repairing leaks on roofs, and addressing chronic plumbing issues. These methods are known to prevent spread of current infestation as well as future ones.

Construction of physical structures such as sand barriers and steel meshes to prevent the invasion of termites.

Why You Need to Hire an Exterminator for Termites

The worst that can happen to your home is termite infestation. You can choose between getting your house destroyed literally and exterminating them once and for all. When these pests zeroed in on eating you out of your house, is it really necessary to hire a professional exterminator to get rid of your termite problem for you? Yes, because it’s their job, and their good at it! Thinking of doing it yourself? We’ll you can try, but chances of you treating termite infestation from its roots and preventing them from breeding again is most unlikely. Besides you’ll need chemicals in doing this job and it’s very risky for your health especially if you don’t have any experience in dealing with them. Also, some chemicals can only be used by people licensed to handle them.

Termite exterminators have vast experience, comprehensive trainings and undergone extensive studies, so they are well-verse in the nature of termites and the best way of treating them. Inexperienced people sometime can’t tell the difference between pests. Most often they mistake ants for termites or the other way around. Professional exterminators are adept in distinguishing the difference and can easily identify the particular type of termite festering in your home from the other 500 species. It is essential to know these things so appropriate control measures can be done.

There are many advantages in hiring professional exterminators. First off, professionals can detect even the most obscure telltale signs that usually indicate termite infestation. By hiring the professionals, even these infested areas can easily be fixed. For an untrained eye, the damage of infestation is already severe before they are aware of the problem. Exterminating termites is simply a matter of knowing what to look for.

Termite prevention and extermination goes hand in hand. While a house gets termite infestation treatment, it also needs to have prevention, or rather, protective treatment afterward. Professional exterminators have all the necessary tools, equipments and chemicals in order get rid of termites, which ordinary folks do not have access to or know-how. Whichever part of the house, inside or even in the garden, professionals have the knowledge and experience. They will know which products are the most appropriate to use in certain locations.

Professional exterminators can also help you even when you haven’t experienced termite. When thinking of building a new house, you can ask professionals termite protection advises and have them treat the ground that you are building on. They can also provide termite inspection when you’re thinking of purchasing a new house. In that way, you won’t run the risk of buying termite infested properties.

These are just some of the major things that makes hiring professional exterminators the best thing for you to do when faced with sever termite infestation. The cost of hiring them is nowhere near the threat of losing your house to these pests. It is natural to do everything in your power to save one of your most prized properties.

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How to Choose a Reputable Locksmith Company

Do Your Due Diligence

Have you ever been locked out of your car or home? Either you can’t find your car keys or you locked yourself out of your home. First thoughts are typically to turn to family and friends for help or a set of spare keys, but this may not work out. Next steps are to contact a locksmith in your area. However, before sealing the deal with the locksmith business, you need to consider the reliability and honesty of the company. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, has uncovered that some locksmith companies may advertise in your local telephone book, but may not be local at all. Worst, these ‘technicians’ may not have qualified professional training at all and can cause further damage to your property.

Check Locksmith Locality

This has been noted and reported by the FTC in the past: A company not located in your area has a name for its business that is similar to the name of other local locksmiths in the area. This company advertises in the yellow pages and online directories using a local address and phone number. However, in actuality, there is no store front and the local number is transferred to a place far from your local town. Then, you may not be given a quote for the locksmith service or given a false quote. When the locksmith arrives, he may want more money and you feel pressured and stuck. If the locksmith only accepts cash, that is also a sign that the business is not an authentic local locksmith.

Sometimes you can detect these falsely “local locksmiths” as they may have multiple listings – sometimes over 30 listings in a single phone number. All these listings are under different names, but the phone numbers are all directed to a single central call center. There, operators, who may not be trained individuals, are sent to your location.

How to Best Choose a Locksmith Company

There are reliable and honest local locksmith companies out there. The best piece of advice is to do your research and due diligence before you find yourself locked out or in an emergency locksmith situation. Perhaps you are thinking about increasing your home security by installing deadbolt locks, changing locks and door keys, or even installing a home alarm system. This is an excellent time to sit down in front of the computer and research different companies. Be sure to read reviews, check that they have a local address and phone number, and compare quotes over the phone. Additionally, reach out to co-workers, family members, and friends for any personal recommendations they may have.

Once you’ve found a reputable locksmith, keep the company’s contact information in a safe place such as your wallet, phone, or address book. This can save you time, anxiety, and money in the future.

Tips for Emergency Locksmith Situations

Of course, if you are dealing with an emergency locksmith situation such as being locked out of your car, home, or office, you don’t have the same luxury of sitting in front of the computer and thoroughly checking the legitimacy of the locksmith companies. Here are some tips for such scenarios:

  • If you’re locked out of your car and have a roadside assistance service call them before a locksmith. Many times, these lock out services are included in the membership or even though the car dealership or insurance company depending on when you bought the car.
  • If a company answers the phone with a generic phrase like “locksmith services,” rather than a company-specific name, be on your guard. Ask for the legal name of the business. If the customer representative does not give an answer, call another locksmith.
  • Get an estimate for all work and replacement parts from the locksmith before work begins.
    • Ask about additional fees before you agree to have the technician come to your location. Companies may charge extra for responding to a call in the middle of the night or for driving long distance. Ask if there is a charge for mileage, or a minimum fee for a service call.
    • Never sign a blank form authorizing work.
    • If the price decided on over the phone does not correspond to the price of the work when the technician arrives, do not allow any work to be done.
  • Ask if the locksmith is insured. If your property is damaged during the work, it’s important for the locksmith to have insurance to cover your losses.
  • It is important to note that 9 states require locksmiths to be licensed: Alabama, California, Illinois, Louisiana, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas. The technicians in these states should be able to provide their license number.

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Grow Your Commercial Trucking Business – 3 Ingenious Tips

The trucking industry is involved in the distribution of goods worldwide. The trucking business is the most common method used in the transportation of goods, from the manufacturer to the retailer. In fact, according to statistics of US Labor Department, about 70% of everything that you enjoy in your home, school, or job is hauled by a truck.

A trucking business can start with just one truck to thousands of trucks owned by one company. How, then, does one grow this kind of business from a single truck to thousands of trucks used to transport all kinds of goods throughout the world?

Accordingly, three things are necessary in running a successful trucking company: finding freight, moving trucks from one location to another, and handling all the nitty-gritty details so that the first two requirements occur successfully. These requirements sound easy but unbelievably, even big companies fail because the what-seemed-to-be-little-details went wrong. What are the things that you need to do if you want to grow your commercial trucking company?

1. If you want to grow your commercial trucking business, you have to create a trucking business plan that defines the specific things that you want to undertake about your business. This is important when you are starting a trucking business and much more if you want to expand your operations. If you already have one, consider updating your current business plan to accommodate the company’s new goals.

2. Consider different financing options available to trucking companies. For any business to keep running, continuous cash flow is required. Trucking companies actually require more money compared with other traditional businesses. They need money for the salary of their drivers, for fuel and repairs, and for many other operating expenses.

If you have limited funding, to make an upfront purchase of additional trucks, some start-up companies resort to leasing to own a truck. The disadvantage of doing this is that the control of the truck remains with the carrier where you leased the units. The trucks remain under the name of the carrier until you made your last payment.

Another financing option that bigger companies opt is the freight bill factoring. Normally, trucking company owners are faced with the challenge of waiting for two months before they are paid for their freight bills. This is often the cause of the company’s limited cash flow, which can cause the business to close down if no financing options are available. If the trucking company has plenty of receivables, you can use freight bill factoring so that you get immediate money for your bills suck as paying your drivers and fueling your units.

3. Find loads to haul should also be your goal if you want to expand your business. This process can oftentimes be frustrating if you are relatively new to the industry. One way to find freight is by checking freight boards on the Internet. This is an easy and efficient way to find hauling jobs since you can strategize where you want to carry the haul and come back with another freight in the trailer. Finding freight brokers is a more traditional approach to search for freight. These brokers have many connections throughout the transportation industry that can help you get your business moving.

Expanding your trucking business takes careful planning, a lot of money, and plenty of freight to haul. With these tips as a guide, you can start your business expansion and grow your number of trucks from one to more than a thousand.

For information on Commercial Truck AC Repair click here.

Bring Your Plants Indoors This Winter and Enjoy Pretty Plant Stands With Gorgeous Green Displays

Many people bring their plants indoors for winter, in the conservatory, kitchen or dining room. As well as protecting your plants, you can display them in decorative plant stands and holders to brighten your day and enhance your living space throughout the dull, grey winter.

Exotic Tastes

In recent years, it’s become the norm for us to have a mixture of traditional trees and shrubs with exotic plants such as tree ferns, bananas and bamboos in our gardens. It may be rewarding to grow something in the UK that you’d normally see in the Mediterranean countryside or barren desert but these plants will take a lot of care in the winter months.

Most house plants are tropical and many of us keep them outside on plant stands to decorate patios for a beautiful summer garden. However once the weather starts to change, you’ll need to bring them back in. Some tropical plants should be moved indoors as early as when temperatures start reaching 55-60 degrees Fahrenheit.

Tender Loving Care

It’s not just tropical plants that require extra attention. Frost can damage tender plants, summer flowering bulbs, early sowings, cuttings and new plants. This includes things like geraniums, cannas, callas, gingers, aroids, ensetes, tulips and lilies. A little research will pay dividends, so get to know your plants and their lower temperature tolerances.

The level of winter protection required depends on where you live and how exposed your garden is. For example, in a sheltered city garden, you may get away with not protecting tender plants at all. Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to simply move plant pots and plant stands to a sheltered area of your garden.

For plants that require warm environments that are potted or small enough to be dug up, simply move them indoors for the winter. Summer flowering bulbs can be dug up and dry stored in a frost free place. For larger plants and trees that are in-ground, you’ll have no option but to nurse them through the freezing conditions, using horticultural fleece and a heavy mulch covering.

Other Considerations

Digging up your perennials for winterisation can be beneficial for other reasons. When flowering decreases or the plant starts to die out in the centre, it ought to be divided to stop it from dying out. This means you can kill two birds with one stone. It will also give you extra plants to make decorative displays on plant stands for next year.

Some tender perennials such as lavender or rosemary like a period of dormancy in winter. It may be better to keep these in the garage or shed. They won’t enhance your indoor space so there’s no point keeping them in ornate plant stands, pots and holders. They won’t freeze but will stay dormant. Just don’t let the pots dry out.

Some plants will not enjoy rooms with central heating; it will be a shock to their system and dry them out too much. If this is the case, you may find that it would be better to care for them outside.

7 Winter Care Steps

1. Check your plants for small insects like aphids or spider mites and remove them. Hose them down, leave them to dry and thoroughly check they’re ‘clean’ or they’ll infest other houseplants.

2. Only keep healthy plants. If something has been struggling all summer, it is not going to improve indoors and is perhaps not worth the effort.

3. This is a great time for pruning or re-potting. Never prune back more than a third of the plant and prune an equal amount from the roots as you do off the foliage.

4. Where you put them will depend on the space you’ve got, try to choose somewhere with plenty of natural light. If you don’t have much space, you may be better to taking stem cuttings and rooting them.

5. Give your outdoor plants time to acclimatise. The light and humidity changes from outside to inside are dramatically different. Gradually increase the amount of time the plant spends indoors over about 2 weeks. Start by bringing them in at night and bringing them indoors whilst the windows are still open.

6. You may need to boost indoor humidity. During the winter, relative humidity drops to 10-15% indoors. Most houseplants need a relative humidity of 40-60%. Leaf curling or brown leaf tips are signs that your plant is not getting enough humidity. Cluster them together on plant stands, use a room humidifier or move plant stands to high humidity rooms such as the bathroom or kitchen.

7. Most plants need less water and fertiliser in the winter because their growth tends to slow down in response to the lower light and temperature conditions. You only need to water them weekly or when the soil becomes dry to the touch.

To ensure their survival and brighten up your home; give your plants winter refuge and they’ll be ready to burst back into life in spring. In spite of your best efforts, some plants may lose leaves or show other signs of stress. Don’t worry, usually the stress is temporary and the plant will recover.

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Concrete Patio Designs – Your Most Economical Choice Yet Still Appealing

A well-placed concrete patio can become an attractive part of the landscape. Concrete patio designs are the most economical yet still appealing. Because of its durability, it can withstand extreme forces of nature and can be enjoyed by homeowners for several more years. Nowadays, concrete is highly versatile since most outdoor works especially in our backyards can be utilized with the use of concrete which is easily accessible in the market. To maintain it, it simply needs regular cleaning. With the availability of various modes and techniques, concrete at present can be designed in a variety of ways to create a beautiful pattern.

There are various popular designs that you can choose suitable for your own style like having a smooth finish, concrete scoring, staining, imprinting or using a stamped concrete.

Smooth Finish
You can opt for a smooth finish by softening it with sandblast or some acid etching. A combination of both creates a beautiful patio floor.

Another way to create a customize look is through imprinting. Bricks, tiles, stones or even wood are some of the usual imprinting picks. The most permanent ways to add color to your concrete is to add color to the mixture before pouring it. You have various color choices but soft and natural color will look best in concrete decorative patio. Light to medium gray, beige and soft peach are fantastic color choices. A color of your choice added to the mixture will make the concrete mixture smudge free, permanent and ever lasting.

Concrete staining is another technique to make your concrete or wood surface appear brand new, nice-looking and giving an aged look similar to a natural stone. Staining protects your concrete from the harshness of nature. Coats of stain should be periodically applied otherwise rain, sunlight and other natural elements will lighten its color.

Creating a pattern of squares is another attractive concrete patio design. This is achieved by concrete scoring. Squares can be created in various shapes and sizes. Begin your concrete design by using 18 to 24 inches of square patterns. To prevent the concrete from rupturing, the construction joints are merged together into the scoring design. This design process blends well in large span of landscape like patios and swimming pool decks.

Stamped Concrete
Another option for a concrete decorative patio is to use stamped concrete. Almost all find this attractive because patterns are easily accessible. It involves pouring slab concrete to your patio and impressing designs and texture before it is dried up.

These days most people use concrete to upgrade their property, what is ideal about this material is that different shapes, color and texture can be crafted. This is very resilient and easy to maintain if treatment is properly applied. An excellent concrete patio design really looks great and adds a lot of value to every homeowner’s property. This idea gives character to your home and is much more fun to add. Again, the limit of your concrete patio designs is only your ingenuity.

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How Can Sprinkler System Maintenance Protect Your Property and Your Irrigation System Year-Round?

Taking care of your commercial sprinkler throughout the year will ensure optimal performance and system longevity. Learn how irrigation system repair and maintenance experts can help you move from season to season with minimal sprinkler issues.

Installing a commercial sprinkler system is a major investment. In order to protect that investment, and to safeguard the physical health of your property, you need to make sure that you stay on top of any necessary sprinklers repair or maintenance throughout the year. Your sprinkler contractor will be able to provide irrigation or sprinkler system repair as needed to keep everything in working order, as well as guiding you through the necessary seasonal maintenance routines. If you have a sprinkler system, making sure you know what you need to do even in the off-season will help you keep your system in optimal shape indefinitely.

In terms of keeping your sprinkler system or commercial irrigation healthy, you need to know what to do if something either starts to go wrong, or if something simply isn’t working the way you want it to. You know your property and your needs better than anyone else. If your system isn’t providing the support necessary to keep your lawns and landscaping well watered, you need to contact your irrigation or sprinkler contractors for help. With your input, they can make adjustments including:

* Water efficiency optimization
* Poor drainage resolution
* Nozzle upgrades
* Water flow improvement
* Part replacement

By getting a necessary sprinkler head repair or water supply adjustment when you need it, you’re laying the groundwork for a healthy property well into the future. And, by taking care of any mechanical or system issues as they arrive, you’re setting the stage for a well-functioning irrigation system that will last you for years.

In addition to addressing any concerns with performance or parts as they come up, you also need to protect your irrigation investment by knowing how to treat your system even when you’re not using it. It’s much easier to take steps to winterize your system rather than getting irrigation systems repair work after the fact. An irrigation system expert will be able to guide you through the necessary winterization steps, and can even provide information as to when you should totally shut off your system in order to avoid potentially hazardous freezes. By keeping in touch with your irrigation or sprinkler system pro, and by following their advice regarding off-season treatment, you’ll be able to maintain the overall health and longevity of your irrigation system much longer than if you just left it to its own devices.

Having a sprinkler or irrigation system involves more than just getting it installed. Make sure you protect both your property and your investment by staying on top of all necessary sprinkler repair work, system adjustments, and off-season maintenance.

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