Tips & Advice
What are local building materials?
Local building materials are more accurately locally sourced materials, ideally renewable resources, or ones that are plentiful. The appeal of these is that they cost less to process and transport, and, in many cases, are naturally suited to the conditions of the area.
What are the most common building materials?
Concrete, cement, engineered wood, organic wood, glass, asphalt (roof shingles) and stone are ubiquitous in building. There are materials you don’t see that are very important, like drywall, insulation, reinforcing rebar, foundational steel, and plywood sheeting.
What is an organic building material?
An organic building material occurs naturally on earth. This term encompasses everything from rock and wood to clay and stone to straw and natural paints and waxes.
What is the best material to use when building a house?
The best material to use when building a house depends on which part of the house you’re building and what the climate and land conditions are, and what your budget is. Most builders use concrete for foundations, slabs, and walls. Wood is used universally to build at least some of the visible components of most houses in developed countries. With the modern push toward more environmentally friendly homes, many people are turning to alternative building materials like clay, straw insulation, plant-based rigid foam, and recycled glass, metal or wood/plant-based composites.
What are the traditional building materials?
The traditional building materials are wood, clay, stone, brick, and sand (used to make cement). A whole range of manmade materials are now considered to be traditional in the sense that they are used in most structures over recent centuries: metal, concrete, plaster, and glass are in this category.
What is the best way to get rid of weeds?
There are many ways to get rid of weeds – the most extreme methods being yanking them out at the roots and spraying them with weed killer. People who don’t like to use chemical weed killers often use vinegar instead.
Some who don’t like to spray anything potentially harmful to their plants might use more targeted solutions, like burning them (just one pass with a weed scorcher will suffice; do not attempt to start a fire). Keep in mind the burning method is not recommended in dry and/or windy areas of the country. Other methods include scalding weeds with boiling water, or suffocating weed-overtaken areas with thick layers of paper weighed down by mulch, so the weeds can’t reach sunlight.
How deep should mulch be applied?
Apply about a 3-inch deep mulch layer the first time--keeping in mind that the depth might be less if you use a fine mulch. If replacing the mulch in planting beds, the mulch layer should be 2-3 inches deep if you apply it annually, or 3-5 inches if the mulch hasn’t been applied in two years or more.
What is the best type of landscaping for hot climates?
For hot climates, the best landscaping requires little water. Cacti and succulents are very popular. So is the “Mediterranean-style” garden, which features sun-tolerant flowering plants, shrubs, and ornamental grasses.
Many perennials can thrive in a hot, dry summer--for example, a rainbow of flowering Echinacea varieties, dwarf rhododendrons, acacia, hydrangea, and many kinds of roses. But for upkeep purposes and sustainability, it’s recommended that homeowners in very hot, dry climates design gardens with a nice balance of hardscaping and drought-resistant plants.
How often should plants be watered?
Outdoor plants should be watered every day in the summer, or whenever the temperature hovers more than 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Certain potted plants even need watering twice a day. In cooler seasons, watering frequency depends on how much rain the plants are getting. If they’re not getting 1 1/2-2 inches per week, make up the difference by watering them.
Indoor plants should always be watered a few times a week, although the exact schedule depends on how much sunlight the plant gets, the type of plant, and the conditions in your house (e.g. air conditioning).
How often should fruit trees be fertilized?
Fruit trees require fertilizing on different schedules depending on the fruit. Peaches, for example, should be fertilized once around bud-break, and once more in early summer. Citrus trees, on the other hand, might need to be fertilized every month or two when they’re in active growth season, with young citrus trees still needing to be fertilized every three months in the autumn and winter.
Apple trees only begin to require fertilization when they are old enough to bear fruit. Once this happens, the trees should be fertilized one season a year--with the ideal time being early spring before bud-break. Cherries are on roughly the same annual schedule as apples.