Easy Plants to Grow Outdoors

Spring is finally here,herb garden so it’s time to start thinking about your outdoor garden. If you’re new to gardening, these easy-to-grow plants will help you get on track. You’ll be growing more difficult plants in no time!

  1. Herbs, especially basil – Fresh basil is always good to have on hand. Plant basil in a sunny spot with well-enriched soil.
  2. Tomatoes – Use a starter plant and plant it next to the basil to help repel pests that tend to cause problems with tomatoes. Start with a smaller type of tomato, like cherry tomatoes, planted in full sun with a stake to support the stalks while they grow.
  3. Cucumbers – Give them full sun and regular water, with a cage or other support system for climbing and you’ll have plenty of cucumbers in no time!
  4. Zinnias – A hardy annual plant that can tolerate a variety of conditions, including hot summer temperatures. Plant them in full sun with good drainage.
  5. Carrots – Plant carrots in deep soil that drains well with full sun. Depending on your soil, you may get smaller sized carrots, but they’ll still be tasty!
  6. Sunflowers – This beautiful flower adds some color and personality to your outdoor space. Sunflowers are tough plants that can withstand heat and drought-like conditions in some cases.

There are many other easy-to-grow plants that you might want to try, depending on what you like to eat or what type of flowers prefer.

For more help gardening, revisit our Gardening Tips and Tricks blog post. Good luck and enjoy!

How to Hire a Contractor

Renovating Remodeling a Kitchen on a Budgetyour home takes lots of time and money, and to get the job done right, you’ll need a quality contractor. We’ve all heard stories about nightmare contractors – Don’t let that happen to you by using these tips for hiring a reliable contractor.

  1. Get recommendations – Ask your family and friends if they’ve worked with a contractor that they did a good job for them.
  2. Know what you want – Have specific plans in mind so you can get accurate estimates when you talk with potential contractors.
  3. Interview contractors – Find out about their experience, expertise, background and the subcontractors they work with; see if they can answer all your questions about your project and make you feel at ease.
  4. Check outside sources – Check your local Better Business Bureau, online review sites, etc. to see if there are any red flags in their past work or with past clients. Ask for copies of their licenses and the licenses of any subcontractors they plan on using.
  5. Ask for references – Talk to former clients if you can and see how their experience with the contractor went, including quality of work, and their ability to stick to a timeline and budget.
  6. Set a payment schedule – Pay only a fraction of the costs up front (usually around 10%) and set a schedule of payments throughout the duration of the project. The final amount of money should not be paid until the project is complete.
  7. Draw up a contract – Detailed contracts are there for your protection in case of disputes. Include the payment schedule, deadlines, specifics about materials and products, and any other important details.
  8. Protect your assets – Verify insurance information for the contractor, secure lien releases from all subcontractors and suppliers, and keep copies of receipts for all materials.

Have you hired a contractor before? What tips would you add to this list? Let us know in the comments!