Everyone loves summertime, until they get their utility bills. Thanks to the warm temperatures and continual sunshine, we all use more electricity during the summer. If you have kids, then your electrical appliances get used even more, causing your bills to shoot up even more. You don’t have to sacrifice your vacation to pay for your air conditioner though! You can still save money and reduce the amount of electricity you use without turning into a sweaty, dehydrated wreck.
The main reason why electricity bills skyrocket during the summer are self-explanatory – you need the air conditioner to stay comfortable, and more people tend to be in your home once your kids get off school. A fast way to save energy during the summer is to make sure everyone turns off the lights and other appliances when not in use. If a person is watching TV in the family room, their bedroom light and fan don’t need to be on.
You don’t have to sweat out summer without an AC to reduce its footprint on your bills. Set your thermostat at a comfortable temperature for when you are in the house. If your house is empty for an hour or so, turn the air three to five degrees warmer while you’re gone, so you can save money and not come home to an uncomfortably hot home. If you leave for overnight or longer, why not turn the air completely off? There is no reason why you should cool an empty home.
You don’t have to become a Luddite to escape scorching summer utility bills. With a few easy tricks you can save tons of money better spent on your vacation!
A stunning garden is part of what make a house a home, and adds a sense of comfortable luxury to any building. When planning a garden you need to take into consideration the lifespan and lifecycle of the plant, the shape and colors of the plants, and how this all fits together to reflect the style of your home.
Choosing the kind of plants you want in your garden is one of the most fun parts about being a gardener. Everyone, no matter what their skill level or climate zone, has a wide variety of beautiful flowers, shrubs and trees that can thrive in your garden. If you have your heart set on a certain kind of plant, certainly plant it, but make sure you know how to care for it based on the weather you experience. (Because of the Chicagoland area’s cold winter, it’s best to keep tropical plants potted indoors.) If you want to fill your garden with beautiful flowers, that can thrive in your home, you’re in luck, there are numerus flowering plants that any gardener- even if their green thumb has yet to come in- can cultivate in the Chicagoland area.
Perennial flowers are gardeners’ favorite for a reason. Plants like daylilies, ferns, and lungwort have beautiful blooms throughout the year, spread easily- perfect if you have a lot of yard space needing to get covered- and survive frost. If your garden gets frequently invaded by deer, perennial flowers like yarrow, hyacinths, hostas, and lily of the valley won’t get eaten.
For burst of seasonal color, you can’t go wrong with filling in with annuals. These seasonal plants can be planted from seeds or from prepropagated plants. The seeds and starter flowers can be found at any home and garden store, grow quickly, and produce more seeds at the end of their growing season. If you choose to plant wildflowers, they will generally self-seed for another year of beautiful blooms.
Designing and creating a beautiful garden is easy, and gives you a lush space to enjoy your home.
Nothing says summer quite like sitting outside with family and friends listing to burgers sizzling on the grill. Just about everyone enjoys the food and fun that comes with grilling. Make your backyard the perfect summer retreat by transforming a frequently neglected space into a hot place to host all of your summer social events; your family will love having a beautiful oasis in their own back yard, and your friends will love having an awesome place to hang out this summer.
Just like the rest of your home, your patio should reflect your lifestyle and taste. To plan a patio that you will love for years to come, everything from the furniture you place on your patio, to the plants you choose to cultivate should point back to the styles and ideas you love. If you want your patio to transport you to a tropical paradise, pick light colored wood furniture, brightly colored cushions at all ends of the color spectrum, and have a lot of lush plants in patterned pots surrounding your space. If you like nautical styles, choose wrought iron furniture mixed with dark wood pieces, classic navy or read and white striped cushions, and coastal plants like allium, bleeding heart, and poppies. For a more refined look, stick with wrought iron furniture, cream cushions, and plants like gardenia and fuchsia.
Because your patio furniture doesn’t have the benefit of a roof to protect it, you need to shop carefully. You typically won’t have to worry about outdoor wear and tear on grills- they are designed for cooking outside, after all- careful shopping is still recommended. Wood furniture should have a coat of water resistant primer over all parts of the piece- not just on the most exposed sides. If wrought iron furniture is painted, you will need to watch out for chipping after repeated exposure to the elements, and should be treated to delay this. While cotton cushions are comfy, for outdoor use, synthetic fibers tend to last longer, and don’t mold.
When you finish designing your patio, you will have another room in your home, perfect for spending warm summer nights in.
Author: The Sublime Team