What Are Bamboo Shades?

Wood is a popular choice for window coverings, and a large percentage of homes in the U.S. have real wood blinds installed. But wood isn’t limited to blinds—it can also be used for shades.

Bamboo shades are one of the only types of real wood shades available, and that’s because bamboo can be woven into a material that can be rolled, which is essential for the operation of standard shades. As you might expect, bamboo shades trace their origins back to Asia, where bamboo was and still is used for a variety of purposes, including furniture, building materials, fences, bridges, and tools.

One of the first things you might notice about bamboo shades—particularly the ones sold by Blindster—is their attractive pricing. Bamboo shades are highly affordable and can fit into almost any budget. That makes them ideal for homeowners looking to outfit multiple rooms or even entire homes. They can also be cut to fit a wide range of window shapes and sizes, giving them even more versatility.

How Are Bamboo Shades Made?

Bamboo shades are made using bamboo and a variety of other materials, including natural grasses and reeds. Those materials are all woven together to create shades that protect privacy and block the sun’s harsh UV rays. Small natural gaps in in the weaving process mean that standard bamboo shades are ideal for diffusing natural light, creating a soft glow in any room where they’re installed.

The bamboo shades we sell are built on hand-fed looms. That gives them a more consistent quality, and it means that quality control from shade to shade remains high regardless of order size or customization options.

What Are Options Are Available for Bamboo Shades?

Homeowners who want even more light control and privacy can opt for privacy and blackout liners, which dramatically transform the function of bamboo shades. In fact, with the right liners, bamboo shades can be as effective as even the thickest roller shades when it comes to blocking out light and protecting privacy, while still retaining the unique look and charm that you can only get with natural materials.

The options don’t end with liners. Blindster is proud to offer bamboo shades with a variety of lift cord options and mechanisms, including standard operation, cordless, top down bottom up, and continuous loop lift cord. Edge binding is another popular option, as it smooths out the occasionally rough edges of the natural materials used in bamboo shades with the addition of high-quality cloth, giving them a more uniform appearance and feel.

We also offer a variety of colors, patterns, and textures, with our Deluxe Bamboo Woven Wood Shades Group A being available to purchase in more than 10 colors and our Deluxe Bamboo Woven Wood Shades Group B being offered in 16 distinct looks. If you can’t find the ideal match for your home and décor among those choices, be sure to check out our Super Value, Premium, and Cordless varieties as well for even more options.

What Makes Bamboo Shades Unique?

One of the top selling points of bamboo shades is the materials used in their construction and manufacture. Like real wood blinds, bamboo shades are made from real materials, making them eco-friendly, as they’re created from renewable resources.

Another interesting point about bamboo shades is that every shade is unique in its own way. That’s because no two pieces of wood are alike, and natural wood stains, textures, and patterns will vary from shade to shade. That makes them immediately eye-catching and unique in homes with a wide variety of furniture, color, and décor styles.

One of the best parts about bamboo shades is their versatility. They’re equally at home in formal settings as they are in bohemian-style homes where the focus is primarily on creating a unique look and aesthetic. There’s simply no limit to the places where bamboo shades can truly shine, as their natural beauty makes them both elegant and casual.

Order Your Bamboo Shades Today

Be sure to check out our wide selection of bamboo shades. Our bamboo shades have hundreds of reviews from satisfied customers who love the way they look in their homes, and if you need more information or have any questions before ordering, don’t hesitate to contact our sales representatives.

Don’t forget to order free samples to get the ideal color match for your home, and check out our measuring instructions for bamboo shades to make sure you get the perfect fit for your windows.

5 Major Advantages of Fauxwood Shutters vs Real Wood Shutters

Homeowners who want a unique look in their homes have grown to love indoor shutters. Although most people associate shutters with the exterior of homes, they look great when installed indoors, and they provide all of the privacy, insulation, and light control that you expect with standard blinds and shades.

At Blindster, we’re proud to offer high-quality Fauxwood Plantation Shutters. They’re designed for homeowners with a do-it-yourself attitude and approach to décor, and they look just like real wood both at a distance and up close. They’re available with 2 ½ or 3 ½ louvers, and they’re GREENGUARD® Indoor Air Quality Certified, which means their materials and manufacturing process are safe for all homes.

Faux wood alternatives to real wood window treatments are becoming more and more popular, but some of our customers have questions and concerns about our fauxwood shutters. If you’re wondering whether fauxwood shutters are right for your home, check out the following five advantages they have over real wood shutters, and if you’re still not convinced, don’t hesitate to contact our sales professionals for more information.

They’re easier to install

Real wood shutters look beautiful, but they can be heavy. And the heavier a window treatment is, the more difficult it can be to install. Because our fauxwood shutters are made with a composite material and lightweight, hollow-bodied construction process, they’re easy to lift and mount. That means almost any homeowner or do-it-yourselfer can install fauxwood shutters with ease, regardless of their size or the height at which they need to be mounted.

They’re more durable

They’re more durable

Real wood shutters are often heavily treated with special chemicals and finishes to protect them from everything they’ll be exposed to during a typical lifetime of use, but no amount of special preparations or processes can get around the fact that real wood doesn’t always hold up over time. Fauxwood shutters aren’t just stronger than real wood shutters, but they’re also more durable due to their composite materials. Built with a reinforced interior designed to resist warping, fauxwood shutters are designed to last for many years.

They’re waterproof

Water is wood’s worst enemy. Even treated wood is subject to warping, expanding, cracking, fading, and even rotting when it’s exposed to water. But fauxwood has none of those issues. The composite materials used in our fauxwood shutters make them completely waterproof. Whether you’re cleaning them with water, they’re exposed to rain or spills, or they’re installed in a humid environment, you won’t have to worry about wood causing damage to your shutters.

They’re scratch-resistant

Real wood is also vulnerable to scratches. Older real wood blinds and shutters commonly show many signs of wear and tear after just a few years post-installation, especially in the form of hairline and deeper scratches. This can be a problem for homeowners with children and small pets, as scratches are common in those types of households. But fauxwood shutters are naturally resistant to scratches, which means they’re continue to look new for much longer than real wood shutters.

They’re fade-resistant

They’re fade-resistant

Wood fades over time, especially when it’s constantly exposed to bright sunlight. There are many treatments and sealants that can be used to slow the fading process inherent in real wood blinds and shutters, but it’s almost impossible to stop completely due to the natural elements in wood. Fauxwood shutters, on the other hand, are far more resistant to fading due to their composite materials. In addition, our fauxwood shutters are also treated with UV inhibitors, which further decreases their tendency to fade—another factor that prolongs their lifespan and beauty.

 

Window Covering Color Trends for 2018

If you’re in the market for new window coverings, one of the biggest decisions you’ll need to make is the color of your new blinds or shades. Popular colors for home décor can change from year to year, but buying a specific color in 2018 doesn’t mean the appearance of your window treatments will be out of date next year. However, it may make it easier to find matching furniture, decorative pieces, and paint, as colors tend to become fashionable at the same time.

At Blindster, we’re proud to offer a huge selection of colors and patterns on our blinds and shades. Many of our products are available in dozens of colors, making it easy for you to get window treatments that perfectly complement your home’s color scheme and satisfy your tastes and style choices.

Whether you’re outfitting a new home with window coverings or replacing your existing blinds and shades, check out the top color trends for 2018 and the best window treatments available in those colors:

Sage

Sage

This greyish-green color is neutral enough to match almost any décor style, but bold and bright enough to make a statement in any room. We offer several window coverings with sage color options, including our Premium Soft Fold Roman Shades Group B, Privacy Aluminum Blinds, and our Premium Light Filtering Fabric Roller Shades Group A.

Marigold

Marigold

A throwback color that is reminiscent of popular colors in the 1960s and 1970s, marigold is emerging as a popular color in kitchens, living rooms, and bedrooms. We offer two types of window coverings with this color—our Premium Plain Fold Roman Shades Group C and our Premium Soft Fold Roman Shades Group C.

Blush

Blush

A variation on standard pink, blush is a color that’s becoming popular with millennials due to its neutrality and similarity to more common tones like peach and salmon. You can get the look with our Premium Woven Wood Fabric Roller Shades, our Premium Motorized Light Filtering Double Cellular Shades, and our standard Premium Light Filtering Double Cellular Shades.

Cherry Wine

Cherry Wine

Pinkish red, this color is ideal for homeowners looking to make a statement in rooms. It’s bright enough to immediately draw the attention of the eyes, but not bright enough to be overwhelming or to dominate a room’s appearance. Some of our wine-colored window coverings include our Premium Soft Fold Roman Shades Group A, our 2” Distressed Wood Blinds, and our Premium Light Filtering Double Cellular Shades.

Lime

A bold departure from the standard greens and yellows seen in many homes, lime is increasing in popularity in both paint choices and décor. You can bring a variation into your home with our Premium Soft Fold Roman Shades Group A, while similar colors can be found in our Fabric Vertical Blinds, our 1” Aluminum Blinds, and our 2” Privacy Wood Blinds.

Sand

Neutral, comforting, and easy to complement, sand is a great choice for any room in your home. Many of our products are available in this color, including our Premium Blackout Solar Shades, our Deluxe Light Filtering Double Cellular Shades, and our 2” Premium Light Filtering Sheer Shades.

coconut

Coconut

A popular variation on white and off-white color schemes, coconut is proving to be a solid choice with homeowners across the country in 2018. Both our Premium Solar Shades Exotic Collection and our Premium Motorized Solar Shades Exotic Collection are available in this color, and a huge variety of our products are available in similar shades, such as our 2” Premium Cordless Wood Blinds, our 2” Deluxe Light Filtering Sheer Shades, and our 2” Super Value Faux Wood Blinds.

Why Choose Blindster over Big Box Retail Stores?

Online shopping is dramatically changing the retail experience in a wide variety of markets and industries. Everything from digital entertainment and furniture to clothing and even groceries are now commonly purchased online and shipped directly to customers’ homes.

But some people are hesitant to purchase certain items online, including window coverings. While it’s true that blinds and shades can be purchased at many big box home improvement retail stores and specialty shops, shopping online for window treatments offers several important advantages over the traditional shopping experience.

6 Reasons to Buy Window Treatments Online

If you’ve never bought blinds or shades online before, one purchase from us will likely change the way you shop for window treatments forever. Over the years, we’ve watched many home owners who were initially hesitant about buying their window coverings over the internet become loyal customers who can’t imagine purchasing their blinds and shades anywhere else.

We’re proud to make customers for life when people order from us, and it often happens because of these six reasons:

Lower prices

– Big box retail stores often can’t compete with us on prices. That’s because we focus specifically on blinds and shades and don’t need large showrooms to house our products. All of our products are available to be browsed online rather than in person in warehouse-like storefronts, and we pass the savings from those key differences on to our customers. In addition, we also work closely with the manufacturers of a variety of blinds and shades to make sure we get the best prices, which is yet another advantage that our customers enjoy.

Getting relevant information is quick and easy

– When you buy blinds and shades in a store, it can be difficult to determine their exact dimensions and installation options. It’s also difficult to determine their quality or value and whether other customers are happy with them. Attempts to find reviews can be fruitless, and that can create anxiety for many home owners—especially if they’re looking to purchase many window coverings at once. But when you buy your blinds or shades from Blindster, all the information you need is right on the product page, including precise measurement options and maximum lengths and widths, customer reviews, and even the types of materials used in the manufacturing process.

Customization is a breeze

– Many of our customers want some degree of customization when they order blinds or shades from us. Whether it’s choosing specific colors and patterns, specific dimensions to fit certain windows in their homes, or requiring specific options like blackout liners and top down bottom up operation, getting those requirements takes seconds during the checkout process when you buy through Blindster. But in a big box retail store, you have to contend with many obstacles, including limited customization, out of stock products, and prolonged waiting periods to get what you want—if they’re even capable of fulfilling your request at all.

More likely to get a perfect fit

– What good are window treatments that let in too much light? That’s a reality for countless homeowners who bought their blinds and shades at big box retail stores—including those who requested specific lengths and widths. Window coverings that are installed straight out of a box almost never fit correctly, resulting in huge light leaks or impossible installations due to simply being too big for a given window. In addition, big box retail stores don’t always custom cut blinds and shades correctly, which means providing them with precise measurements may still result in poor fits. At Blindster, we provide detailed measuring instructions for our products to help home owners get perfect fits, and we make sure they’re cut to extreme precision when orders are placed.

Free samples help you choose the right color and pattern

– Seeing blinds and shades in person won’t help much if you can’t replicate their colors and patterns in your home. The lighting in big box stores is often significantly different than the lighting in an average home, and window treatments can look dramatically different in each environment. But before you make a purchase from Blindster, you can order free samples to get a better idea of how a particular window covering will look in each room of your home. We highly recommend taking advantage of this offer, as it’s an easy step that will help ensure that you love your new blinds and shades.

Better guarantees and warranties

– When you buy window coverings from most big box retail stores, you get their standard return policy and that’s about it. At some stores, you may have only a few weeks to make a return. And with your busy lifestyle, you may simply not have enough time to get out your new blinds and shades and ensure that they match your décor, that they’re cut to fit your windows, or that they’re able to be installed where you want to hang them. At Blindster, we offer a 60-day satisfaction guarantee. If you don’t like your purchase, contact us within 60 days of receiving it and we’ll work to help you find a suitable replacement or issue you a refund. In addition, we also offer a 10-year accident protection plan for damaged products, free of charge.

In addition, you can’t go wrong with the ease and convenience of shopping online. You don’t have to worry about wasting your gas to drive across town and fighting for a parking space, and you don’t have to concern yourself with making room in your vehicle for huge boxes of blinds and shades. Instead, you can complete the entire shopping process from the comfort of your home while knowing that beautiful new window treatments will be shipped directly to your door.

Window Treatments for Close-Together Windows

Mini Aluminum Blinds

Choosing the right window treatments for your home or business can be tricky. With so many options, styles, patterns, and colors to choose from, it can be difficult to make the right decisions—especially if you’re buying window treatments for multiple rooms. However, the wealth of information available from retailers like Blindster can make it easier to find the perfect solutions, as you can quickly and easily compare products while finding the blinds or shades that have the features and options you need.

The process can be a little more complicated when you’re in the market for window treatments for unusual or unique windows and window arrangements, particularly rooms with multiple small windows that are very close together. And while this type of design may seem like it limits your options, there’s still plenty of ways to control outside lighting and protect privacy while also creating an attractive look in that room of your home or business.

Don’t sweat finding the right blinds or shades if you need to cover multiple windows in a small space. Check out Blindster’s guide and get the right look for your tastes, your décor, and your home.

Inside Mounts

Mounting blinds or shades inside window frames is a great solution for close-together windows that have their own separate frames. It helps maintain a sleek, uniform appearance without the potential for overlapping that can occur with outside mounts. Be sure to take precise measurements before placing your order, and take your time during the installation process to get the most consistent look across all windows once the blinds or shades are installed.

Top Picks for This Look

If you’re thinking about mounting your window treatments inside the frames of your close-together windows, you can’t go wrong with these product types:

One Large Shade

For windows that share a single frame, an extra large or over sized window treatment can create the illusion that the room has one giant and luxurious picture window. Having a single shade also makes it easy to quickly control light and privacy in the room, as you only must raise or lower a single lift mechanism rather than multiple window treatments.

Top Picks for This Look

Homeowners looking for simplicity and use of ease will appreciate the convenience of covering multiple close-together windows with a single large shade. We recommend the following styles due to their customization and ability to be cut to extra-large widths:

Top Down Bottom Up Shades

Top down bottom up shades are among the most versatile window treatments on the market. They raise from the bottom like traditional shades, but they can also be pulled down from the top. That means you can enjoy ample sunlight while still protecting your family’s privacy and eliminating harsh glare.

Cellular Shades

Top Picks for This Look 

Stylistically, one of the biggest advantages of top down bottom up shades is their unique look—especially when they’re installed close together. That makes them a perfect fit for multiple close-together windows, as they can be raised and lowered to different heights, creating an interesting visual display.

Easy Cleaning

It’s a fact of life: like everything else in your home, your blinds and shades are going to collect dirt and dust. Window treatments are especially likely to become dirty if you frequently open your doors and windows, or if you have pets and small children. At Blindster, we know that many homeowners appreciate window treatments that are easily cleaned more than many other options, as not having to worry about staining or fading makes the cleaning process much faster and simpler.

Top Picks for Easy Cleaning

The best shades for easy cleaning either have minimal grooves and folds or are manufactured using synthetic materials that won’t be easily damaged by water and gentle cleaning products. Window treatments that are easily cleaned using standard household items is especially important when they’re covering rows of close-together windows, as they may occupy a large space in your home and may be hard to reach.

Wrapping It All Up

When searching for the perfect window treatments for your close-together windows, be sure to pay attention to the features and options you want. For many homeowners, this part of the process can make or break otherwise ideal solutions.

In addition, you should always verify that your measurements are precise and that you’ve tested your chosen color or pattern by ordering free samples through our website. Samples are a quick and easy way to confirm that your need blinds or shades will match your home’s décor and the color you saw on your screen when you viewed them.

Finally, don’t hesitate to contact our sales representatives if you have questions about a specific product or need help finding a solution for your window covering needs. We know that no windows are alike, and each home has unique configurations and accessibility. It’s our goal to help you make the right decision and find window treatments that will enhance your home and your life.

Vertical vs. Horizontal Blinds

What’s the Difference?

There are two main types of blinds used in homes and offices: vertical blinds and horizontal blinds. Horizontal blinds are much more commonly used out of the two types, as they represent the traditional 1”-2” slat blinds that are most often seen on small to medium-sized windows. Vertical blinds use much larger slats that hang from a head rail that’s often mounted to a track, allowing them to be opened and closed with a wand or pulley system. Many homeowners and business owners use vertical blinds to cover large windows or sliding glass doors.Horizontal Blinds

It’s important to remember that there are distinct differences between vertical and horizontal blinds, and both have advantages and drawbacks. Knowing those differences before you make a purchase can help you ensure that you get the right window treatments for your windows and your home.

 

How Are Vertical Blinds and Horizontal Blinds Similar?

There are two primary ways that vertical blinds and horizontal blinds are similar:

  • Light protection – Blinds are designed to block out light, and whether they’re oriented vertically or horizontally, they’re highly effective at accomplishing that task. In fact, both vertical and horizontal blinds can provide near-blackout levels of light protection, making them ideal for rooms like bedrooms, home offices, nurseries, home theaters, and more.
  • Similar materials – Both vertical and horizontal blinds are made with similar materials. Blindster’s vertical blinds include PVC and faux wood, giving them a lightweight construction that makes installation easy—even for the largest orders.

What Are the Benefits of Vertical Blinds and Horizontal Blinds?

No matter what type of blinds you choose, you’ll get all the benefits of high-quality window coverings. However, both types of blinds are better at different things, so choosing the right type for your needs is an essential step:

Vertical blinds
Vertical Blinds

 

  • They’re ideal for sliding doors and wide windows. While traditional horizontal blinds can be custom made to fit sliding doors and wide windows, they simply aren’t practical in many instances. Vertical blinds are much better fits, as they’re easily opened and closed and can cover even the widest windows and doors.
  • They’re easy to clean. In addition to not collecting as much dust as horizontal blinds, vertical blinds are easier to clean because they’re made from two materials that are highly resistant to moisture: PVC and faux wood. That means more cleaning products can be used without worrying about colors fading or staining.
  • They block more light. Vertical blinds have much larger slats and are much wider than horizontal blinds, which means that a single vertical blind can block more sunlight than even the largest custom horizontal blinds.

 

Horizontal blinds

  • They provide more privacy. One drawback to vertical blinds is their tendency to sway from side to side or become off-kilter, resulting in gaps in coverage. Horizontal blinds are much less likely to expose the interior of your home or business.
  • They’re ideal for tall and narrow windows. Just as vertical blinds are perfect for wide windows and sliding glass doors, horizontal blinds are more practical for tall and narrow windows due to their design and construction.
  • They don’t touch the floor. If you’re worried about dirt or dust collecting at the bottom of your window coverings, horizontal blinds may be the best option, as they typically rest on window sills instead of the floor.
  • They make less noise. The operation of vertical blinds can be noisy, especially if their tracks aren’t regularly greased or maintained. Horizontal blinds typically make much less noise.
  • They can last many years without replacement. Because vertical blinds rely on a track with many moving parts, they can be more likely to wear out and need maintenance or replacing.

Ready to Find the Perfect Vertical or Horizontal Blinds for Your Home?

If you’re in the market for new blinds, make sure you know the right type for the windows in your home. After you’ve made your decision, be sure to check out Blindster’s selection of blinds. We offer many varieties of high-quality vertical blinds and horizontal blinds, and products in both categories can be customized and outfitted with additional options to create the perfect fit for every room in your home.

Summer Vacation Home Safety and Sanity Checklist

A summer vacation to the beach, the mountains, or a faraway destination can be a welcome break from the stress and routine of daily life, but being away from home for a prolonged time can put your property at risk. Modern homes are highly complex structures with plenty of potential disasters lurking in plain sight. It’s bad enough when those disasters happen while you’re at home, but they can be catastrophic when you’re away for days or even weeks.

To keep your home safe, secure, and free from both minor and major headaches while you’re soaking up the sun with your family and friends, check out Blindster’s summer vacation home safety and sanity checklist:

 

  • Don’t let your home “go dark” while you’re away.

    Don’t let your home go dark while you’re away.

    A home that has been unoccupied for days is enticing to would-be thieves and burglars. In addition to a home security system, other ways you can protect your property and your belongings is by making it look like nothing is out of the ordinary in your family’s daily routine. That means taking steps like stopping the newspaper and mail, parking vehicles in the driveway or garage, putting lights on timers, and making sure your lawn gets mowed regularly.

  • Use the “coin in a cup” trick to check for food-spoiling power outages.

    Use the coin in a cup trick to check for food-spoiling power outages.

    Whether it’s due to lightning storms or power surges, losing electricity in the summer for minutes or hours can be common in some neighborhoods. Unfortunately, you won’t know exactly how long your power was out if you come home to clocks blinking 12:00. One easy trick to find out is to freeze a cup full of water and place a coin or other small object on top of the ice. If you return home and notice the power went out, check where the coin is located inside the cup. If it’s frozen towards the bottom of the cup, it means your power may have been out long enough for food inside your refrigerator to spoil.

  • Avoid water and central air disasters before you leave.

    Avoid water and central air disasters before you leave.

    Make sure your thermostat is set to a reasonable temperature before you leave. Obviously, there’s no benefit to making sure your furniture enjoys a cool 70-degree temperature, but you also shouldn’t turn your central air off or leave the temperature set too high. To avoid the risk of major leaks, turn off the water supply to your dishwasher, washing machines, and sinks—especially ones that are prone to leaks and drips. You can also set your water heater to vacation mode to save energy and reduce the risk of unit failure while you’re away.

  • Take out all trash and empty your refrigerator of perishable food.

    Take out all trash and empty your refrigerator of perishable food.

    There’s nothing worse than coming home from a relaxing vacation and being greeted with the smell of spoiled food as soon as you step foot inside your front door. Be sure to empty all trash cans and to throw away any perishable food from your cupboard, pantry, and refrigerator before you leave home. You should also clean pet water and food dishes, litter boxes, and other items they need.

  • Call your family, neighbors, and credit card company.

    Call your family neighbors and credit card company.

    Before you leave, make sure some of your family or friends know about your trip—especially if you need someone to stop by and feed your pets, water your plants, or just keep an eye on your home. You also may want to tell a trusted neighbor that you’ll be gone, as they’ll be in a great position to let you know if anything looks amiss at the homestead. Finally, make sure your credit and debit card companies know that you’ll be traveling. Many card companies have fraud protection that will lock access to cards and accounts when suspicious activity is detected—including usage in cities far from home.

 

Fall Lawn Care Tips

Football is back on TV, supermarkets are selling Halloween costumes and decorations, and coffee shops are touting the return of pumpkin spice. Yes, there’s no denying that summer is winding down and fall is nearly here. While the return of cooler weather can be a boon for outdoor activities and reducing your energy bills, it also gives you a chance to prepare your lawn for the spring.

If you were unsatisfied with the appearance of your lawn this summer, you can probably trace it back to the things you did (or didn’t do) last fall. Don’t make the same mistake twice. With a few weeks to go before fall officially arrives, you have plenty of time to take all the steps necessary to have a healthy lawn this fall, winter, and into next spring and summer.

To get your lawn as well prepared as possible for the next 9 months, check out Blindster’s tips below:

Aerate the soil

Aerate the soil

Most grasses are highly responsive to oxygen, water, and fertilizer during the fall, but it won’t do much good if those nutrients can’t reach the roots. A self-propelled aerator can be rented from many hardware stores and rental outlets, and it offers a quick way to aerate even the largest lawns. However, for huge jobs and lawns that are several acres in size, you may be better off hiring a landscaping service unless you want to dedicate several weekends to this project.

Fertilize your lawn

Fertilize your lawn

Just as aerating should be done in the fall, so too should fertilizing. In fact, many lawn care experts say that once-a-year fertilizing done in the fall is sufficient for most lawns and will lead to optimal growth. But don’t be too eager to begin fertilizing as soon as the calendar hits late September. Wait until the season is in full swing and temperatures have started to drop before you break out the fertilizer. Using a walk-behind drop spreader, make sure you hit every inch of your lawn to avoid patchy growth or brown spots in the spring.

Address bare spots

Address bare spots

If the high temperatures and dry weather that’s common during summer did a number on your lawn, fall is the perfect time to repair the damage. Check your grass for any bare or brown spots and use a lawn repair mixture—which will contain grass seed, mulch, and fertilizer—and prepare the soil by loosening it with a rake or aerator. Then, spread the mixture over any areas of your lawn that need extra attention and water it right away. Continue to water those areas at least three to four times per week for the next month for the best results.

Start raking right away

Start raking right away

For optimal lawn growth and health, your grass and roots need constant exposure to oxygen and sunlight. Being buried under a big pile of leaves certainly isn’t conducive to a healthy lawn, so be sure to stay on top of raking once the leaves begin to fall. Waiting too long not only deprives your grass of the nutrients it needs, but it can also expose it to disease. Morning dew and rainfall can accumulate on dead leaves, causing an even heavier weight on your grass and increasing its risk of developing funguses that can harm its growth.

Get serious about weeds

Get serious about weeds

Weeds can be a year-long problem for homeowners, but they’re at their most vulnerable during the fall. Like all plants, weeds go into survival mode during the fall when temperatures drop and days become shorter. That means they can hog even more of the nutrients that your grass needs. Manually pull weeds or use a safe and environmentally friendly herbicide to get rid of them before spring and you’ll have less of a headache to deal with when your lawn is in full bloom.

Back-to-School Safety Tips

School is already back in session throughout many parts of the country, and classes will resume in other states over the next few weeks. As summer ends, it’s important to remember that changing schedules and daily routines can also lead to some safety concerns if you and your children aren’t prepared.

Staying safe involves every aspect of you and your children’s day. From the time you wake up and leave the house, to when your kids are at school, to the time you pick them up, following common sense safety guidelines will help every member of your family have a happy, healthy, and safe school year.

To help your family avoid serious accidents or injuries this year, do your best to follow these tips:

Refresh yourself and your children on bus safety

Refresh yourself and your children on bus safety.

School districts throughout the country are focusing heavily on bus safety in recent years. You can protect yourself and other children by making sure you always come to a complete stop near buses when they’re loading and unloading students. It’s also important to make sure your children know how to safely enter and exit their bus, including when it’s safe to cross the street. Finally, teach your children how to behave on a school bus, including being quiet, keeping aisles clear, and learning how to operate emergency exits.

Make sure your family avoids distractions

Make sure your family avoids distractions.

Distracted driving is an epidemic, but it’s becoming clear that distracted walking can also put people in significant danger. Set a good example for your children by never driving while texting. If you have children who are of driving age, be sure to emphasize how dangerous texting and driving can be. Finally, set limits on cell phone usage for your children when they’re walking to or from school, especially if they use headphones. Being distracted while walking near traffic can lead to serious accidents.

Be cautious when driving through school zones

Be cautious when driving through school zones.

School zones are designed to help children get to and from the classroom safely, and that’s why they have significantly reduced speed limits, crossing guards, and flashing lights. When you drive through a school zone, make sure you follow all traffic laws in that area. That includes obeying the speed limit and any commands the crossing guard on duty gives. Remember that the crossing guard decides who gets the right of way—not stop signs or traffic lights. You should also avoid passing other vehicles in school zones, as children may be walking in an area of the road that you can’t see.

Create a safe environment at home for your children

Create a safe environment at home for your children.

If your children are older, you may feel comfortable allowing them to stay by themselves for a few hours before you or your spouse get off work. Make sure they’re well-protected and that they have everything they need in an emergency, including emergency phone numbers, first aid kits, fire extinguishers, and knowledge of your home’s security system or garage entry codes. To further protect your children’s privacy when they’re at home, make sure your windows are covered with thick shades or blinds.

Establish schedules for after school events, such as sports and extracurriculars.

School years can get hectic for families. Between parents having to work long hours and kids having to balance the demands of school, sports, and extracurricular activities, the days, weeks, and months of a given year can seem like a blur. But when kids must stay late for sporting activities, clubs, and other events, they can’t always rely on a bus to get home. That’s why it’s vital to make sure everyone in your family is on the same page when it comes to each child’s schedule and how they’re supposed to get home.

Protect your children with the right clothing

Protect your children with the right clothing.

Giving your kids proper clothing is important, especially as seasons and weather change. If your children walk to school, make sure they have brightly colored clothing and jackets that make them stand out to drivers. They also should have rain boots if they need to walk when it’s raining. Give them flashlights to place in their backpacks in case they need to walk home when the sun begins to set, especially during the winter. In addition to lighting their path, the flashlights will also make it easier for drivers to see them.

6 Tips for Better Home Security and Peace of Mind

As a homeowner, your top priority is making sure your family and your belongings are safe from harm or theft. And while many homeowners simply install automated home security systems and count on these advanced monitoring alarms to keep them and their loved ones safe, it’s important to take extra precautions to get true peace of mind.

To reduce your risk of being a victim, check out Blindster’s top home security tips:

 

Hide, bury, or protect exterior wiring and power lines

1. Hide, bury, or protect exterior wiring and power lines.

Would-be burglars can be savvy, and if they know a home is equipped with a security system, their first order of business may be cutting the power lines to the home or to the alarms. Whether you’re planning on installing a security system or you already have one, make sure the power supply and wiring are either out of sight, buried, or encased in a protective barrier.

Change your locks when you purchase a new home

2. Change your locks when you purchase a new home.

Your first order of business when buying a new home should be changing the locks and getting new keys made for every member of your family. Make sure that all exterior entrances are equipped with new locks. In addition, you also may want to change the locks every few years, especially if you’ve ever needed to give spare keys to housekeepers, handymen, painters, and contractors.

3. Don’t leave spare keys in obvious places.

Almost everyone has been in a situation where they need to drop off a key for a family member or friend, and almost everyone goes to the tried and true “hiding spot” of under the mat, inside the mailbox, or in a planter next to the front door. Unfortunately, burglars are equally familiar with those hiding spots, and many homes have been stripped of their valuables by people who simply helped themselves to a spare key and walked right in. Get more creative if you need to leave a spare key, and never leave it out for more than one day if possible.

4. Use a random garage door entry code.

Many garage doors can be opened with just a four-digit passcode. While that’s enough digits to make it difficult for someone to guess the code, it’s short enough to make entry a breeze if the code uses obvious numbers, including a significant birth year, your home’s street address, or part of your phone number. You also shouldn’t use weak passwords like 0000, 1111, or 1234.

5. Keep family trips quiet on social media until you get back.

It can be hard to resist sharing your family’s travels while you’re on a grand adventure, but live streaming your kids jumping into a pool in Mexico is like putting a big spotlight on your empty home for would-be burglars and thieves. Sharing every detail of your trip on Facebook and Instagram is okay after the trip is over, that is.

Equip your windows with blinds and shades

6. Equip your windows with blinds and shades.

Burglars are much less likely to break into homes if they don’t know what (or who) is inside. Installing blinds and shades on your windows doesn’t just keep the sunlight out of your eyes and protect your family’s privacy—it also helps you avoid becoming a victim of a burglary. For the ultimate home protection and privacy, consider installing routeless blinds or blackout shades.