Many of us dream of starting our own business, but few of us actually start the process. It’s costly, it takes a lot of time to build up a base of customers, and the paperwork can be overwhelming. But if you do get your own business up and running, the benefits are undeniable – you can set your own hours, your earning potential is virtually unlimited, you can make your own decisions and tailor your business to your lifestyle.
The advantages of owning your own business are obvious:
Being your own boss
Flexible hours to meet your family’s needs
Making money for yourself and not your employer
Choosing your customers and establishing your own clientele
Becoming a respected member of the business community
Learning from Mr. B’s Experience
At Mr. B’s, we’re excited about helping those who are interested in starting their own businesses or becoming independent contractors. We’re looking for individuals with a strong work ethic, drive, determination and a desire to succeed! Owner Brian Bush wants to take the business skills he’s learned over the years and pass them on to the next generation of entrepreneurs, giving them the opportunity to set themselves up as small business owners in their own right. He will train, finance and market entrepreneurs like you so that you’re sure to reach targeted business goals.
A Rare Opportunity for Starting Your Own Business
Does this sound good to you? It should! This is an opportunity that seldom comes along. You can learn from someone who has built his own companies from the ground up without having to pay for an expensive education, you’ll get paid on the job, and while you’re earning and learning, you’ll be working toward taking on a segment of Mr. B’s current businesses as your own.
We’ll take you through every phase of establishing your own business, including making sure you file the proper federal, state and local paperwork, assisting you with getting the right insurance, creating a marketing plan, establishing a customer list and finding the right financing options. You’ll become your own boss, scheduling your clients and running a turn-key fertilizing and weed control company.
There’s never been a better time to start your own business. If you’re serious about starting your own business and willing to learn, contact Brian Bush at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Please let us know what experience you have, including any certifications or licenses. No phone calls, please.
Most homeowners look forward to the first signs of spring so they can get outside and start their gardens. At the very least, most will want to plant some flowers around the entrance to their home for a pop of welcome color after the drab shades of winter. Some people have a naturally green thumb while other unfortunate, would-be gardeners can’t seem to get anything to thrive once it’s planted. For those hopeless gardeners we’ve put together a list of easy care flowers that are almost impossible to kill, even if neglected a bit. If you don’t think you have what it takes to be a gardener, try these hardy plants!
Cosmos are Easy Care Flowers that Bloom for Months
At the top of the chart are Cosmos. These delicate looking flowers are famous for being practically care free while blooming all summer long. Delicate, fern-like leaves and bright petals can cover your garden in color. Cosmos thrive in hot, dry weather and come in a wide variety of colors including white, pink, purple, gold and candy stripe. There are several varieties of Cosmos, ranging in height from four inches to over three feet, making them easy to stagger for a natural, meadow-like garden appearance.
Easy Care Vinca are Small but Mighty
There are several strains of Vinca depending upon the leaves and height, but they are all hardy, ever-blooming summer flowers. The glossy, smooth leaves make an attractive ground cover, and the flat, five-petaled flowers resemble stars in shades of pink, purple, coral, red and white. The centers of the stars are usually a bright, contrasting color. They do well in almost any climate, including hot, dry, humid, cold and poor soil.
Sunflowers Aren’t Just for Seeds
The typical image of a sunflower is the six-foot-tall variety with enormous seed heads, but you can now grow sunflowers in a wide range of sizes and far more colors than the traditional, bright yellow. You’ll find gold, peach, burgundy and even bi-colored blooms that will grow anywhere from 10” to eight feet tall. Dwarf sunflowers are great for along fences while the larger varieties will attract songbirds who love the seeds.
4. Zinnias Offer Easy Care Flowers in a Multitude of Shapes and Colors
Zinnias are one of the easiest flowers to grow and they thrive whether planted in borders, flower beds or even containers. They attract hummingbirds and butterflies and are beautiful as cut flowers because they last for at least a week after cutting. An added bonus is that when you cut them, even more flowers will bloom. They love the heat and sunshine of summer and bloom repeatedly throughout the summer and well into fall. You can grow zinnias in colors ranging from soft pinks to deep reds, oranges and creams. Some blooms have seemingly endless mounds of petals while others are flat with distinct centers of gold or cream.
5. Daffodils – An Easy Spring Flower
Daffodils have been linked to springtime for generations, and with good reason. Once the bulbs have been planted, Daffodils will rise again every spring in a profusion of cup-shaped flowers surrounded by a ring of brilliant petals. Although known for its bright yellow color, you can also get them cream, peach, gold and combos that have one color for the cup and another for the flat petals. These bloom in the spring, but the flowers last for weeks. Just plant daffodil bulbs in the fall and they’ll quickly spread every spring.
6. Phlox are Butterfly Magnets
This cheerful flower used to bloom profusely, but only for a few weeks in the spring. Recent hybrids and newer strains, however, can bloom clear through the first frost. The flowers bloom in compact clusters that resemble the flowers on Vinca, but are smaller and grouped tightly together over long, spiky leaves. Phlox flowers attract butterflies and hummingbirds but deer tend to stay away, making Phlox ideal for suburban gardens.
Marigolds Grow Almost Anywhere
Marigolds love bright, sunny spots and they are hardy enough to withstand even the hottest temperatures. They bloom profusely from late spring to fall. Traditional marigolds can grow anywhere from three to five feet tall, but you can also get dwarf varieties for containers and window boxes. The fern-like leaves are a deep green and the blossom colors include yellow, red and gold.
Pansies are Dainty Delights
Pansies look delicate and frail, but they stand up to sunlight and grow well as long as they are watered during stretches of drought. Gardeners love the “face” on each pansy bloom that combines an overall petal color with vivid streaks of a deeper color forming a blaze in the center of the flower. Pansies come in an astonishing palette of colors, including burgundy, reds, purples, yellows, creams, golds and peaches. Pinching off spent blooms will force even more blooms. These do best in the spring and fall, reviving quickly after any hot spell. Pansies don’t grow very tall – a foot at the most, but usually more like 6 to 8 inches.
9. Impatiens Come in Two Varieties
Impatiens are most often seen in containers and hanging baskets, but they are excellent in shady areas of your garden as well. They can easily wilt in the heat of the day, so keep them well watered. If you keep them shaded, they will proliferate and spread with mounds of amazing color. The leaves are softly rounded in a cheerful green in most varieties, although New Guinea Impatiens feature darker leaves with sharper edges. Impatiens come in a spectrum of warm shades ranging from a bright, pure white to cherry red with tints of pink, salmon, fuchsia and orange. For shady borders, nothing beats Impatiens for constant color.
10. Grandma’s Begonias are Making A Come-Back
It’s almost impossible to kill a begonia, which is what has made this plant a favorite with gardeners for generations. Your grandmother probably planted “wax begonias” in her first garden. Back then, most begonias had waxy, spade-shaped leaves and flowers clusters in either red or a orangey flowers. Today you’ll find begonias with leaves of purple, citrus green or deep green that are round, spaded or rough around the edges. Flowers come in reds, oranges, golds and peaches as well as bi-colors. They are still as durable and reliable as ever, being disease and drought resistant.
Snapdragons Add Height to Your Garden
Snapdragons are easy to grow in even rocky soil, blooming into tall spikes of color that are perfect for bouquets. Their complex flowers grow in clusters along the top half of each spike, blazing in bright shades of yellow, red, pink and orange as well as variegated versions with multiple colors. You’ll find Snapdragons that grow anywhere from twelve inches to four feet in height depending upon the type. The intermediate height (one to two feet tall) are the hardiest and come in the deepest colors. Snapdragons are proficient bloomers in the summer and into early fall.
12. Morning Glories are Easy Care Flowers for Fences and Trellises
These charming, old-fashioned flowers sprout quickly from seed and flourish even in poor soil. To encourage sprouting, most gardeners soak the seeds in lukewarm water overnight before planting. Once they’re in the ground, just stand back and watch them grow. These are a twining vine, so plant them along a fence or trellis. The spade shaped foliage is usually a soft green. Gardeners prize morning glories for their easy growth and the vibrant blues and purples of the trumpet-shaped flowers. You can also find Morning Glories in pinks, purples and striking striped varieties.
If you aren’t sure what flowers you want to plant or need help with landscaping your home or garden, Mr. B’s Lawn Care can guide you with professional landscaping services.
Garage floors take a real beating from most homeowners. The concrete cracks over time and quickly becomes stained by oils, gasoline and more from cars and trucks. Most homeowners don’t think much about the appearance of their garage flooring until it’s time to sell their home, and then they’re dismayed to realize just how bad the concrete flooring looks. By then it may be too late to clean and patch the worn concrete. That’s why more homeowners every year are coating their concrete garage floors with a durable, poly coating that protects and beautifies.
American Guardian Protection offers an outstanding, spray-on poly elastomer coating that was originally developed for use on bed liners and heavy equipment, so you know it can stand up to just about anything you can dish out. This innovative product seals concrete floors and adds an extra layer of protection that’s attractive and lasts for years.
There are several benefits to coating your garage floor with liquid bed liner from American Guardian Protection:
It’s durable. The poly elastomer coating will provide years of protection and will won’t stain or crack. You won’t have to worry about repairing crumbling concrete or trying to remove stains.
It’s easy to install. You can paint on American Guardian’s poly flooring with a paint gun or paint brushes and let it cure over the weekend.
It’s attractive. American Guardian Protection now offers their poly coating in black, antique white and sky blue so that you can choose the color that works best in your garage or workshop.
It’s safe. If you install a poly floor by American Guardian Protection, you can choose a formula with grit, which will give the garage flooring a skid-free surface that provides traction and decreases the chances of someone slipping and falling on your floor.
It’s easy care. All you have to do to clean your poly flooring is hose it down occasionally. It’s also waterproof, so you won’t have to worry about water seeping underneath the flooring and damaging the concrete underneath.
Ready to upgrade your concrete garage flooring to a durable, poly flooring? Call American Guardian Protection and ask for more information about how you can use our liquid bed liner to finish your garage flooring and add years of durability, safety and beauty to your garage in one easy application!
The unusually warm weather and sunny skies this winter may have you looking forward to spring, but it’s still too early for most outside chores. Instead, focus on a few indoor chores that can brighten your home and get you ready for summer. The bonus? Your house will look and feel fresher.
Deep clean your kitchen. Pull out and clean behind your appliances, scrub off the counter tops and clean the front of your cabinets to get rid of any residue left by sticky hands. Clean out your pantry and fridge, tossing any expired products and organizing the rest.
Check the batteries in your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. If you don’t have these, now is the time to purchase and install them.
Clean the window coverings. Wash the drapes and curtains or take them to the dry cleaners and clean off your window blinds. If you have windows that are framed by both sheers and heavy draperies, consider using just the sheers during the summer months for a breezy look that will let in more sunshine.
Switch to lighter bedding. If you have the option, switch out your winter bedding for lighter, airier coverings. Replace flannel sheets and duvets for cotton sheets and gauzy throws.
Declutter. Less is more, particularly in rooms with lots of summer foot traffic. Do one room at a time and separate items into “throw out,” “store,” and “yard sale” groups. The bonus? When warmer weather and sunny skies arrive, you’ll have lots of stuff ready for a yard sale.
There’s a crispness in the air and you find yourself reaching for your favorite sweatshirt when you go outside – fall is here! And although it’s a beautiful time of year, you should take heed of the cooler temperatures and start prepping your house for winter now. There are several things you can do to make sure you will enjoy the comforts of home this year without paying a fortune.
Windows and Doors Create Drafts
Your windows and doors often create drafts that lead to using more heat than necessary to chase the chill away. Use weather-stripping around frames and check for drafts throughout the house. Take out the window screens and install storm windows. If you have older, wooden windows make sure they are properly caulked and that there isn’t any wood rot.
Make Sure Your Fireplace is Safe
If you’re lucky enough to have a fireplace, it’s a great way to keep heating bills down and create a cozy atmosphere, but only if the fireplace is working efficiently. Check the firebox and flue, clean out all the old ashes, soot and creosote. If you’re getting cold air down your chimney even when the flue is closed, it could be worn out or warped. Consult with a chimney sweep or repairman about replacing it.
There are filters on your furnace and humidifier that should be replaced regularly. Now is the perfect time to change them out so that you’ll have better air quality when you close the doors and windows. If you use a humidifier, clean it thoroughly. This is also a good time to check the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms.
Make Sure Your Exterior Is Sound
Ice dams can quickly form and pull down your gutters if you don’t clear out any debris such as fallen leaves and twigs. Clean them out thoroughly and flush water through them to check for any leaks. Don’t forget to make sure your downspouts direct water at least five feet from your foundation. Check any openings such as dryer vents to make sure they are covered with mesh or wire so that they aren’t a welcoming place for bird or rodents to take up residence.
Don’t Forget to Prepare Your Deck & Lawn
Although you won’t be hosting any cook-outs this winter, you still need to make sure your deck, sidewalks and yard are properly prepared for the colder temperatures, ice and snow. Trim shrubs and trees that are touching the house or impinging on electrical wires. You don’t want to lose power or have a snow-laden branch fall and damage your house.
This is the ideal time of year to aerate your lawn, reseed it if necessary and apply a final, winterizing fertilizer. These will encourage deeper root growth in the spring so that your grass will flourish. If you don’t have the time to do it yourself, contact Mr. B’s Lawn Service or PennTurf and they can do the work for you.
Wash off your garden tools and store them in a cool, dry space so that they’ll be ready for spring. This includes removing hoses from the outside of the house, wrapping exterior faucets with heat tape and shutting off all irrigation and watering systems.
Sweep your deck and sidewalks to keep debris under control and make sure all railings are secure so that visitors won’t slip and fall. Now is also the time to order Ice B’Gone Magic ice melt from Mr. B’s to have on hand when the first snowfall or ice storm makes your deck and sidewalks treacherous. Keep a large scoop in the bag and place the bag in a large bucket or container to make it easy to use when needed. You can call Mr. B’s Lawn Service at 724-752-5551 to order your Ice B’Gone Magic in convenient, 50-pound bags.
Now settle in with a good book, a cup of cocoa and enjoy the beauty of winter!
In our last post, we discussed what all you needed to do to maintain a beautiful, green carpet of grass. While we discussed grass height and other factors, we didn’t get into enough depth on the topic of watering your lawn. Giving your grass the proper amount of water is crucial to the overall health of your lawn and needs to be carefully monitored and controlled for optimal results.
How Much Water Does Your Lawn Need?
Gauging how often you should water your lawn can seem like a guessing game, particularly when rainfall, temperatures and even the type of grass you have all play a part in determining the frequency of watering. There are some general guidelines, however, to keep in mind:
Your lawn should get 1” to 1-1/2” of water every week.
Water as early in the morning as you can, particularly on hotter days so that the water can soak down and keep the roots cooler.
Avoid watering your lawn in the evening or at night. A damp lawn overnight can lead to problems with fungus or disease
You don’t have to water every day. Watering deeply two or three times a week gives better results because it encourages roots to grow more deeply into the soil
Are you watering enough? Try this test – you should be able to push a screwdriver six inches into the soil. If you can’t do this, your yard is too dry
If you live in a drier climate, water your lawn year round (even if the grass appears to be dead) so that the roots continue to get the moisture they need in order to flourish once spring rolls around
Keep in mind that when temperatures soar, your grass can suffer from heat stress and rapid water evaporation, so add an extra inch to your weekly watering routine
Fescue grass generally needs more water than other types of grass
When the temperature goes up or when there are high winds causing rapid evaporation, consider moving your mower height up slightly so that the grass has more time to soak up the moisture
If temperatures remain high (high 90’s or 100’s) for several days, you may want to cool things off by watering lightly each day. The water doesn’t have to penetrate the soil every day; instead, lighter waterings can cool down the surface of the grass. Keep doing the deep waterings in addition to the light waterings
Determining How Much Water Your Lawn Gets
You may know that you should be watering 1” to 1-1/2” inches each time you water your lawn, but how do you measure the inches? The easiest method is to get a small, shallow can such as a cat food or tuna can and use it as a makeshift rain gauge. Place the empty can on your lawn whenever you’re watering the grass or have the sprinkler running. You should be able to get a half inch of water in about a half hour.
Signs You Need to Water More
If you’re watering your lawn and you have water run-off before you reach the 1” point, you aren’t watering often enough. Once you see run-off, turn off the water and give it some time to really soak into the ground, then start watering again. If this happens every time you water, you may have lawn compaction. This is especially prevalent in areas where the soil has a high clay content. Aerating the soil can help. If none of this releaves the problem, your lawn may be suffering from a lack of nutrients or a disease that can be difficult to eradicate. If your grass continues to look stressed or dried out, you may want to consult with a lawn care service. PennTurf can examine your lawn to determine what fertilizers or other treatments would help keep your lawn looking lush and green.
Call Penn Turf at 724-758-3647 or Mr. B’s Lawn Care at 724-752-5551 to get a quote for lawn treatment, grub control or mowing.
Whether you call it the living room, the family room or the den, there’s always one room where the family gathers to watch television, entertain guests or simply relax and talk to each other. It’s a high traffic area that can quickly seem dated or bland through sheer familiarity. But you don’t have to spend a fortune to freshen up your family’s favorite gathering room. There are simple, DIY projects that will give you plenty of comfort and beauty for less than $100.
Skip Traditional Art Work
Have you had the same painting or oversized mirror hanging over your sofa or mantle for ages? Swap them out for something unconventional. You can find gently worn picture frames at any flea market or second hand store and frame anything from old road maps to vintage board games. For a more contemporary feel, put sleek frames around plywood that you’ve painted with chalkboard paint, then write a favorite quote in chalk. Bonus: You can change the quote to reflect the seasons or your mood.
Even remnants can be used as artwork. Upholstery remnants can be stretched over wood frames for textural interest and a bit of color on your walls. Or ask your local decorating store for remnants of discontinued wallpapers. You can mat these in white or black and frame them for a grouping on a wall.
Souvenirs as Décor
If you pick up snow globes, small statues of landmarks or any other tchotchkes when you’re traveling, try grouping them together on one end of a table. They’ll not only look great; they’ll be great conversation starters when entertaining guests.
Freshen Up a Floor
If you have worn, wood floors that you can’t afford to restore, consider painting them. The same goes for wood floors that are simply too dark for the room. A soft shade of pearl gray or a vivid splash of aqua on the floor can set the tone for the whole room. If you’re not sure what color to choose, look around at the furniture and accessories in the room and pull out one of the accent colors to tie everything together.
If you’re feeling highly creative, take it a step farther and add a pattern. Using painter’s tape to give you crisp lines, paint tonal stripes to add interest and camouflage uneven floor boards. Stencils can also help you mimic the bold colors and patterns of an oriental rug without spending a fortune on the real thing.
Visit the Salvage Yard
Architectural salvage yards are chock full of interesting pieces that you can use to add interest to your living room. Oversized signs, old metal lettering or numbers or vintage tools can all be hung on the walls of your living room for a rustic look that will stand the test of time. Don’t forget to look for items that can be repurposed. An old piano bench can become a side table with storage in the seat for magazines and newspapers. Old ceiling medallions can be spruced up with a fresh coat of paint and arranged on a wall as art. Choose colors that coordinate with your living room’s décor but add visual and textural interest. For maximum impact, take the colors of the room and make them bolder and brighter on the medallions or old picture frames.
Repurpose What You Have
Many older homes now have central heating, but once used radiators to heat individual rooms. The radiators now take up space living rooms everywhere. But you can put a simple wooden cap over your otherwise useless radiator to give you display space and a handy spot to put a potted plant. If there is a radiator along the same wall as your sofa, you can easily transform the radiator by putting a cap over it that’s wide enough to double as a sofa table. Put a lamp and a few books on it and no one but you will know what’s hiding underneath.
Get Creative with the Walls
If you have an older home that’s a maze of small rooms, open up the space by taking down a non-loadbearing wall. Let the two rooms flow together, sharing the additional light and space. If you love the idea of a “great room,” but hate the idea of your kids’ toys infringing on your adult space, use a decorative screen to define each space without having the walls seem to close in on you. If you have an alcove that you’d like to use for storing toys, don’t turn it into a closet; instead, hang drapes near ceiling level. You can pull them closed when company is coming to hide the clutter. Then open them when the kids are playing. The curtains will also absorb some sound and soften the lines of the room for a cozy feel.
Custom Curtains on a Tightwad Budget
Custom curtains that are created using colors pulled from your room’s furniture upholstery or wall colors add up in cost quickly because they are unique to your décor and are labor-intensive. To capture the look of custom drapes, choose good quality curtains in a solid color then customize them. It’s simple to sew wide bands of ribbon or strips of fabric onto the curtains or stencil colors on using fabric paint. Consider special touches like braided trim or beading as well, which you can find at any sewing notions store or craft shop.
These decorating tips can quickly turn a tired living room into a gorgeous gathering place your family will fall in love with. Choose one or two to start with and you’ll soon be ready to tackle the rest of your home in your quest for beautiful, inexpensive home improvements.