Hot at the Home and Garden Store: Top New Products!

If you think everything at your local home and garden store is the same as it’s always been, think again! The speed of technological and scientific innovation hasn’t left the home supply industry in the dust. The whirlwind of new modernity has swept it up, and there are all sorts of hot new items that might surprise you.

Bathroom Products

In the bathroom, companies are putting all sorts of things into old products to make them more efficient, effective, and entertaining. You’ve probably seen waterproof radios; some hang from your shower arm while others are designed to stick to the tile with suction cups. While these are effective at broadcasting sound, they take up space in the shower and can be a bit of an eyesore. One company has come up with an ingeniously simple way to integrate sound seamlessly into morning showers by putting a wireless speaker inside the shower fan. The music plays over the noise of the fan and is positioned to broadcast downward, an acoustically superior positioning, without taking up any space.

Another new product prevents a toilet backup from turning into an overflow emergency. This new toilet has a sensor near the rim of the bowl that prevents additional flushing when the water level gets high enough. Next time you’re at the home and garden store, check out the smart toilet.

Painting Products

The paint department might not have invented any new colors lately, but the list of things that you can do with the old ones is growing. A recently developed product uses a two-part epoxy coating for a paint that gives a high gloss finish you can write on. You’ll be able to make designs or write notes with a dry erase marker and wipe the walls clean just as easily. If you have young children in the house, rather than try in vain to stop them from drawing on the walls, let their imaginations run wild! And it’s not just for kids. In an office space or kitchen, use it to write to-do lists, important dates, or other items.

Outside Products

The home and garden store has cool new gadgets to improve the safety and efficiency of the outside of your home as well. One of the most common ways that fire ‘jumps’ is from cinders being carried into the air by the rising heat from the fire. When those cinders land, they can ignite fires on the roofs of nearby homes. Newly developed, flame-resistant and fiberglass-based roof shingles drastically reduce the likelihood of fire spreading. If there is a fire, you can hose it down with the spigot-free water tap. Instead of an obtrusive spout sticking out of the side of the house, these new systems have a shelter for the hose to twist into; and they also reduce water leakage by lessening the length of pipe subject to water pressure.

Check out these brand new products next time you’re in your neighborhood home and garden store.

Best Value Home Design Software – Better Homes and Gardens Picture Painter Home & Landscape

There is more than just a few home design software available in the market today. Although a majority of these programs are able to deliver excellent functionality, there are some that just don’t deliver value for money. While so home design applications retail for less than $50, there are those that have quite a hefty price tag, sometimes even in the 500-dollar region. It then becomes a question of needs rather than wants. In order for a user to ensure that he is purchasing a piece of software that will be worth his money, he will first need to identify what it is he wants from the said program.

Painting the Picture

Now down to only $49 (formerly at $69), Better Homes and Gardens Picture Painter Home & Landscape is definitely one of the best value home design software out there. This program takes a unique approach in home design in that it makes use of an actual picture as the basis of each project – thus the name, Picture Painter. What this one of a kind software does is it takes an actual image of the existing house (which is either scanned or uploaded by the user to the computer) and integrates it into the program to allow the users to tinker with its design. Instead of starting from scratch, Picture Painter allows users to literally repaint their homes to see what it would look like in different colors. And of course, there are a lot more features on board that will allow users to play with their homes’ designs in their quest to find the perfect look and feel for their future dream house.

Never Wonder Again

One of the reasons why a lot of folks have their qualms about redesigning their homes is because of the fear that it might not look good once the remodeling phase is completed. With the help of Picture Painter, users will no longer have to wonder and speculate ever again as this program will show them exactly how their new house will look like once the changes have taken place. Aside from changing the home’s color, users can also change the textures of their exteriors. Moreover, landscaping changes can also be visually represented on Picture Painter to ensure that users get exactly what they want. This way, a lot of time, money, and effort is saved.

Great for Interiors Too

While Picture Painter focuses on how one’s home’s exterior will look like, it also offers a wide array of features for any changes one might wish to make inside the house. For starters, users can choose from over 6,000 branded furniture and fixtures and literally drag them into whichever room they’d like. Among these renowned brands are Huntwood, Kraftmaid, Armstrong, Mohawk, LG Electronice, Whirlpool, DuPont Corian, Sherwin-Williams, and a whole lot more.

What’s even better is that the whole process is quite simple and very user-friendly – it’s just like editing a picture. In fact, the manufacturer even promises that no design experience whatsoever is needed to excel in this wonderfully-designed program.

Especially when the affordable price is included in the equation, Picture Painter definitely proves to be one of the best value home design programs in the market today.

Home Vegetable Gardening – Two Tools You Should Not Be Without

Like most home vegetable gardeners, I started with simply planting seeds of the vegetables I wanted to grow, adding some water, pulled weeds, and waited it out. Over time I realized that although this simple method works to grow great vegetables, I was doing me and my garden a great disservice.

By not paying attention to the soil’s pH level and the amount of moisture in the soil I was limiting the production of certain plants that could have benefited by making some adjustments. Just like a really good NFL head coach who makes game time adjustments, you too as a home vegetable gardener need to make adjustments in your soil as the season moves along.

There are two tools you should get to know that will help you make these adjustments based on the vegetables that you grow. They are the pH tester and the moisture tester. Each tool can be found at a local home or garden center in your area or purchased online. Simple ones cost as low as five or six dollars while more advanced models can go as high as one hundred dollars. How advanced you want to get is up to you, but most home vegetable gardeners usually go with the low cost varieties since they do an adequate job for the tasks at hand.

Soil pH Tester
Let’s start with the soil pH tester. The pH level is the measure of how acidic or alkaline your soil levels are. If you remember from your high school chemistry class, the scale goes from zero to fourteen, where anything under seven is considered acidic and anything over seven is alkaline with seven being neutral which is water.

Certain plants like the soil more neutral. Cauliflower for instance grows best when the soil pH level is in the 6.5 to 7.5 range, where as carrots like the soil a bit more acidic in the 5.5 to 6.5 range. So what happens when the pH level of your soil is not in the ideal range? If it is too acidic or too alkaline then you may not produce anything, or your harvest is very limited. By using a soil pH testing kit you can get an accurate reading of your soil’s level and then make adjustments based on what the test tells you (most kits come with recommendation charts for your soil so you can adjust the level accordingly). For the cost of less than seven bucks at some home and garden centers it is well worth the price.

Soil Moisture Tester
Testing your soil for its moisture level means you are looking for a reading of how much water is in your soil and around the roots of your plants. This can become extremely important so as you do not overwater your plants. A couple of things happen if when you overwater.

First, too much water can wash away valuable nutrients in the soil such as nitrogen. Ever see your vegetable plant leaves turn yellow? A common cause of this is lack of nitrogen in the soil. Nitrogen washes away easily and when you water too much you are removing a nutrient your vegetables need to grow.

Second, too much water can cause the roots of plants to develop what is called root rot. This is caused by overwatering creating a condition around the roots where they are unable to obtain the air they need. When this happens the roots will begin to rot and will kill the plant. If your land has excellent drainage you may never run into this problem but I would recommend investing in this inexpensive tool and measure your soil’s moisture level just to be sure.

With these two valuable tools you will now be armed with the information you need to ensure a healthy and prosperous harvest. Combined these two tools can cost you less than fifteen dollars (depending on where you buy them from of course). Do yourself and your vegetable garden a favor, use the tools.