Is your backyard safe for child’s play?

The backyard is perhaps the biggest drawcard to bring young couples with children away from their trendy inner-city apartments to a family home in the suburbs. There is nothing more comforting than hearing your child playing happily in the yard, knowing they are safe and secure in a home environment. But how safe are the little ones really?

Quite frankly, the average backyard can be a dangerous place for a young child if the proper precautions are not taken before play gets underway. No one is suggesting that little Johnnie or Jane be kept indoors until they are old enough to drive, but that doesn’t mean a parent shouldn’t be a little wary and check for hidden dangers first.

Here are a few things to look out for before letting your children loose in the backyard.

Potential Fall Hazards

Where could my child possibly fall from in a backyard? You’d be surprised. School incident reports are full of examples where children have sustained injuries, sometimes quite serious, after falling from a seemingly inconsequential height in the playground. Children’s bones are still developing and quite brittle. Therefore it doesn’t take much of a fall to cause a serious break, concussion or other head injury. Look for potential climbing hazards such as low tree branches and climbable fences, and take steps to make them inaccessible to youngsters. Parents still concerned about climbing and fall hazards, and are looking for ways to eliminate the risks, could check out websites such as www.safeatheightsqld.com.au for more information.

Drowning and Water Hazards

It takes only a few seconds for a child to slip away from adult supervision, find a water source and drown. Backyard swimming pools are the most common source of drowning for children, even though regulations in all jurisdictions require pools to be fully enclosed with child-proof fences. The dangers arise because people feel complacent with the fence and forget children can display incredibly ingenuity when they want to do something. If you have a pool, make sure there is nothing lying around in the yard a child could use as a step to open the gate or scale the fence. And it doesn’t have to be a full size pool to be a hazard, especially if the child is particularly young. Wading pools and buckets of water left around the yard also pose a potential drowning hazard to toddlers and babies.

Keep Fire at Bay

Fire pits are becoming a trendy accessory in suburban backyards, an ideal meeting place to gather around to share drinks and food with friends. But they can also be a hazard for the unwary and the very young. Never the leave the pit burning and unattended when young children are about. Children are attracted to the flames and it doesn’t take much for them to fall in. Even when the pit is not in use make sure it is securely covered so little ones can’t climb up and fall in. While the distance of the fall might not be great, it is easy to hit their heads on the edge of the pit and do themselves a serious injury.

The backyard is a great place for children to play, explore and learn about nature. But it is our responsibility as adults to run our eyes over the yard first to check for any dangers that may be lurking in the undergrowth. Do a check beforehand and make sure the children play it safe.

Top Tips for Building your New Home

Most of us have our own version of a ‘dream home’ and it’s this vision that drives many people to build rather than buy a new house. Building allows us to tailor our home to meet our needs and desires and gives us the opportunity to create something unique. However, there are many pitfalls to building and often, the shiny dream can turn into a nightmare. Here are a few top tips for any aspiring home builder to help make your vision and dream a reality.

Get the Right Builder

Unless you’re a carpenter or a seriously experienced and capable DIY’er, you’re going to need a qualified builder. Choosing the right builder is one of the most important decisions you’ll make throughout the whole building process. The key thing to look for when recruiting a builder is experience backed by reputation. You also need to know that your builder is comfortable with your design, particularly if you are doing anything outside of the ordinary. Narrow your search down to builders who specialise solely in building homes.

Get the Right Land

Heard the old expression “location, location, location”? It’s the cardinal rule when it comes to owning a property, whether you’re buying or building. The most important factor in choosing land is typography and hydrology – that is – the contours of the land and how water flows over and through them. These two factors will determine how water collects (or pools) and then drains away. Low-lying areas are prone to flooding while sloped blocks are only suitable to certain styles of homes and usually cost more to build due to reduced access for trades and delivery of building materials. Flat blocks are by the far the easiest to work with and therefore building on them is generally faster and will cost considerably less.

Get the Right Design

While the concept of building your own home from scratch might be incredibly exciting, the reality is it’s also incredibly difficult. Unless you’ve built before, chances are, you won’t know where to start. Sometimes, too much choice can be a bad thing and what looks good on paper, doesn’t necessarily work on the ground. Many people who’ve built before will tell you it’s one of the most stressful things you can do and often, it takes building several home before you finally figure out what really works. Most of us don’t have the time or money for this, so why not simplify the whole process and choose a home builder (e.g. www.coralhomes.com.au) who has loads of experience and house designs that have proven to be functional and affordable?

Get Climate Smart

You wouldn’t build an Alpine-inspired A-frame home in a sub-tropical climate, nor a cool bungalow-style in regions that hit sub-zero temperatures. Being climate smart is about working with your environment, not against it. You will not only future-proof yourself against ever-increasing energy prices, but you’ll also end up with a more comfortable home.

The most critical design aspect of energy efficient building is the orientation of your home. This is all about working with the seasons and where the sun will be positioned during summer and winter. In the warmer months you want to be protected from the heat, while in winter you want to capture and enjoy the sun’s warmth. Other major considerations are insulation, cross ventilation (where you put your doors and windows) and the building materials and colours to be used.

Building your own home is a challenging but rewarding experience. Follow these simple tips to avoid the most common pitfalls and make sure you end up with the best possible home for you and your family.

DIY: Quick Ways to Temporarily Fix a Leak

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It’s a Wednesday morning and before your alarm wreaks havoc through your ears, you hear a dripping sound coming from the bathroom instead. Half awake, you get up and find a small puddle of water building up; one of the pipes are leaking. Before the pipe bursts and transforms into a water spraying monster, you need to solve the issue. Fast. But what about work in 40 minutes? And how are you going to get the kids ready for school? Is there a quick, temporary way to fix this common household dilemma? Read on and find out!

The Simple Wrapping Method

For leaks that are tiny and harmless, a simple wrapping or taping method can fix the dripping area. Handy Hint: Always have a waterproof tape or a water pipe sealing tape in your DIY cupboard. This will temporarily – but effectively – fix small leaks. Commonly found in kitchen or bathroom sinks, make sure to tape the pipe with caution and care. Wrapping the pipe aggressively can cause other trickles to occur around the lining.

The Plumping Epoxy or Plastering Method

A common way of handling a small leakage is by plastering the damaged area using a plumbing putty epoxy. This product is designed to coat leaking areas and is versatile on a number of different bonds including PVC and fiberglass. What’s the best thing about it? A plumbing epoxy works on both dry and wet surfaces, setting on the applied area in three minutes. To do this, grab enough epoxy for the wet area and scrunch the product like a clay to loosen its form; safely spread the epoxy using your fingertips.

C-Clamp and Rubber Tape Method

The C-Clamp and rubber tape method is one of the most useful ways to repair thin to medium sized pipes. To do this safely, begin by towelling the wet area/s with a cloth. You can take a resilient form of rubber such as a thick rubber band big enough to wrap around the entirety of the seepage. As you tightly wrap the rubber, use an electrical or waterproof tape to hold everything in place. The final step involves a C-clamp that goes around the damaged patch to create pressure with the tape. For other simple DIY plumbing advice, visit the Capital Plumbing website to watch some of their informative plumbing videos, including information on how to prevent leaks from occurring in the first place.

The Bucket and Garden Hose Method

This procedure is suitable for pipes with constant leakage, and can be used as a second form of security for wrapping and epoxy procedures. First, find a container that can fit under the pipe and drill a hole at the top of the sides, big enough to fit your tube. Place this tube inside the drilled holes and use tape and hot glue gun to fasten the two objects together. After you’ve created your device, place this under the dripping area and put the hose outside or in a drain.

Now that you have all this information signed, sealed, and delivered, do you have any other DIY tips around the home? Share in the comments box below!

4 best ways to maintain the pool & garden with help from your kids

Maintaining a garden and pool doesn’t have to be a parent-only task – it can also be used as an opportunity to teach your children about how important it is to keep things clean and healthy! Here are 4 ways to get your kids in on the act when maintaining your backyard.

Teach your kids the signs of an unhealthy pool

Teaching your kids the signs of a healthy pool is not only beneficial knowledge to have, but can help prevent your pool from reaching the unhygienic and un-swimmable stage! The three fundamentals of identifying pool cleanliness are: how is the water clarity -does it look a bit murky? Is the floor cleaning system running as it should? Are my pool readers returning good stats, or are they irregular? Getting your kids to look out for these warning signs say, every day when they come home from school can save you lots of trouble in the future. Cleaning the pool can be hard work – so if your kids do identify the signs of an unhealthy pool, you can get a pool and garden specialist similar to Australian company Premium Pools & Gardens to do all the heavy lifting.

Teach your kids how to check the chlorine

Checking the chlorine is essential to keeping your pools clean, but its importance is often overlooked – which leads to swimming in your pool being quite an unpleasant experience! This is a task you can get your kids to help you with, whilst teaching them about how chlorine works and why it’s important. Check the inline chlorinator and monitor the readings to make sure they’re hitting the necessary levels. If they’re not, get the kids to add some chlorine tablets to the unit.

Hide treats in the patches

Need to give the kids some incentive to help you dig up the potatoes or carrots? Why don’t you sneakily plant some chocolate eggs or other (wrapped) treats near the buried veggies –they’ll be dug up in no time! Plus, if they want to find their reward, they’ll need to pull them up gently otherwise they may lose them in a flurry of soil. Win win.

Give the kids their own gardening space

What better way to give kids incentive to help out in the garden than to give them their own patch to grow whatever they want? There are heaps of plants, flowers and vegetables that are really easy to grow, and perfect for budding green thumbs to foray into the world of gardening. Tomatoes, watermelon, cucumber – all delicious and will sprout up with minimal effort. Your child will absolutely love watching the progress of their own little garden, and may even give yours a helping hand whilst their waiting to taste the fruits (or veggies) of their labour!

Getting kids to help out with maintaining the garden and the pool doesn’t have to be a chore for them – you just have to make it interesting or worth their while. Giving them ownership and making them feel responsible for something improves the incentive for them to continue maintaining the yard. When it comes to the pool, not having to swim in a disgusting volume of water should be incentive enough!

What are some of your favourite ways of getting the kids to help out in the garden and by the pool?

5 Alternative Uses for Your Sunroom

If your home has a sunroom, there are many ways that this space can be used. In fact, sunrooms can serve many purposes, and have the desirable benefit of creating additional space.

One of the prime benefits of a sunroom is that the outdoors can be enjoyed from the comfort of the home’s interior; with a sunroom, enjoyment of the outdoors is not compromised by poor weather conditions or annoying insects. Sunrooms also offer an ideal place for relaxation, enjoyment and creativity. Typically, the brightness of a sunroom helps to create an inviting, pleasant atmosphere and a lovely place to retreat from the pressures of a busy life.

If you are looking to add a sunroom to your property, a specialist building company, such as Additions Building, can assist you with insight, skill and plenty of experience. They can suggest where a sunroom should ideally face to maximise light and explain to you the many ways that the room can be used.

What are some of the best alternative ways to use a sunroom?

Dining area

Some people make effective use of their sunroom as a dining area and, if your room captures the morning sun, a sunroom can be the perfect place to enjoy breakfast. At other times, a sunroom can be a wonderful place for entertaining friends and family and can help to alleviate the problem of overcrowding in the kitchen.

A play room

A light-filled sunroom can be the perfect place for a children’s play room, particularly when it is adjacent to the kitchen or a family room as this enables parents to keep a close eye on their children as they play. Also, when the weather is cold and wet, or excessively hot, children still have the opportunity to be close to the outdoors without having to brave the elements.

#3: A home office

For people who want or need a home office, a sunroom can be the perfect place. During the build of the room (or even after it is built), it is possible to add features such as additional power sockets to make a sunroom entirely functional as a home office. In fact, when used as a home office, a sunroom can provide a light, bright, airy, and very pleasant place to work.

#4: A games room

The additional space available with a sunroom means that this room can be perfect for games and even the inclusion of a pool table. Used as a games room, a sunroom can be the perfect place to take guests to play video games, board games or any other type of game at any time of year.

#5: A craft or hobby room

With so much natural light, a sunroom can make a great place for craft or hobbies. If you paint, sew, write or draw, you will understand the importance of natural light and the way that it does not distort light as is the case with fluorescent light.

The possible uses of a sunroom are endless. Sunrooms offer the benefits of space, natural light and flexible space – which can be used for recreation, storage, relaxation, entertainment or enjoyment. By consulting a building specialist, the possibilities for your own sunroom will become apparent.