Introduction to Lawn Mower Spark Plugs

If you own a lawn mower, you likely know that you have spark plugs in the engine. These spark plugs need to be changed occasionally as routine maintenance!

However, if you find yourself asking what a spark plug actually is, don’t worry, you aren’t alone. A lot of people know very little about their vehicles. The good news is that, since you are reading this, you are seeking to learn more.

What Is a Spark Plug? What Does It Do?

As you may know, your engine moves the wheels by igniting fuel in cylinders. The pistons in these cylinders are moved by the burning fuel and turn a crankshaft. This rotational movement is transferred to your wheels to move the vehicle. To ignite the fuel, your engine needs a spark. Every time a piston goes through its cycle, the spark plug sets off a small electrical spark to light the fuel/air mixture and continue the process. Although small and humble, spark plugs are really important. Without them, your engine wouldn’t start, and you wouldn’t get anywhere.

Types of Spark Plugs

There are several types of spark plugs. These are primarily differentiated by the type of metal used in the electrode. There are copper/nickel, platinum, double platinum, iridium and double iridium spark plugs. When you want to buy new spark plugs for your lawn mower, you need to be careful to get the right type. The simplest way to check this is by looking in your vehicle’s owner’s manual. Your manufacturer included details on the spark plugs you need in there. Another option is to use a VIN lookup free tool at your favorite auto parts store. This will help you find the right spark plugs for your make and model.

Changing Spark Plugs

Although it may seem intimidating, changing spark plugs is a relatively easy process. You’ll be back to mowing your lawn in no-time! It is a great starting point for anyone who is interested in working on vehicles. All you need to do is disconnect the wire, remove the spark plug, gap your new spark plug, then install and connect the new one. The most complicated part of this process is gapping. Fortunately, this is also easy if you take the time to learn what you are doing. Gapping is changing the distance (or gap) between the two electrodes to match the voltage and amperage of the engine. You may wonder what happens when plugs aren’t gapped properly? It could damage your engine and cause misfires. With a feeler tool and a little patience, all you need to do is slowly adjust the electrode to be the same distance apart as those on your old spark plug. Again, with a little patience, this is hard to mess up. The feeler gauge does most of your work for you.

Get Started

Now that you know a little bit about spark plugs, you are ready to change them in your vehicle. This is a quick and easy process. Just head to your favorite auto parts store to find the right plugs and pick up some tools. You could be a DIY mechanic in no time.

Create Interesting Garden Designs Using Composite Decking

When you are faced with a blank canvas outside your home, the potential for garden greatness can be both exciting and overwhelming. A quick google search will show you hundreds of gardens that look like they’ve been created by professional landscapers!

 

So, the quest for a beautiful new garden, why not consider the different ways composite decking can be used to extend your living space and transform it? Composite decking is an incredibly beautiful, versatile, and low-maintenance option, so however you incorporate it into your garden design it will look great and require very little attention. This blog explores some of the different designs made available to you when you choose high quality composite decking.

Option 1: Colour Combination

Combining different shades of composite decking to create a unique deck design offers aesthetic and practical benefits. Composite decking looks and feels amazing while requiring very little maintenance, meaning you can get creative as you like with your deck design knowing that it will cause you no hassle in the future.

Different shades of composite decking can be combined to create an almost infinite array of designs. Use contrasting colours to create shapes in your decking or lay your different coloured boards successively to create an interesting striped effect– you can really get creative when you have more than one decking colour to work with.

One design that has become very popular is a picture frame design. This is where one decking shade makes up the majority of the deck and a second, complementary colour, is used around the perimeter to create a striking frame effect.

The beauty of choosing composite decking rather than traditional wooden decking to create any multi-coloured design, is that the boards will never need staining or sealing to keep them looking beautiful. If you made the same designs using timber decking, you would have to buy stains of different colours and apply them annually – maintenance that is both time consuming and costly.

Option 2: Mix Materials

While composite decking looks stunning on its own, it can also be combined with other materials to create an outdoor living area with textural depth. For a more traditional look, choose materials and colours that are closely related and complement one another. For a more contemporary look, choose noticeably different materials in contrasting colours.

One material that is often found in combination with composite decking is porcelain paving. High-quality, vitrified porcelain paving offers the combined aesthetic and practical benefits of two high-quality flooring materials. These materials work well together because neither requires much maintenance and both look great for years after installation.

If you want to achieve a natural outdoor living space, composite decking can complement the existing features of your garden such as a lawn. Adding a deck around the perimeter of your lawn can make the space more usable. You can add outdoor seating or a barbeque to your decked area, and avoid running the risk of damaging the lawn or muddying your shoes.

Composite decking also offers a natural wood finish that cannot be achieved by plastic decking

Speak to an outdoor living expert if you are interested in implementing any of these designs into your garden space.

How Winter Prep Makes For a Glamorous Summer Garden

Start planning your garden now if you want to have a flourishing beautiful garden come summer. Here’s how!

Surveying your garden over the winter months can be depressing. Everything looks dreary and bedraggled, there’s no colour to speak of, your favourite plants have died back and your carefully nurtured lawn probably looks boggy and dishevelled. But don’t be disheartened. As long as you are prepared to brave the cold and wet, the winter months are actually the ideal time to start your garden makeover so everything looks stunning come the summer. A little hard work now will reap huge rewards a few months down the line.

Here are some pro tips from professional landscape supplier Suregreen for what you can do in your garden over the winter to guarantee a stunning outdoor space once the weather starts to warm up.

Plan Your New Look Layout

While your garden might look empty over the winter, the lack of vegetation actually makes it the ideal time to redesign the layout. Being able to see the whole space without plants obscuring the view makes it much easier to visualise a brand new look and plot where you want to create new planting areas, features, seating options and so on.

Create New Spaces

Once you have drawn up where you would like everything to go, it is time to get your hands dirty and dig in. While you can’t do much from a planting perspective before late February / early March, what you can do is make sure all your flower beds and containers are in place and well prepped with a good mix of compost and top soil, ready for the start of spring.

This is definitely the time to build new raised beds. Stonework and brick can be used to construct mini walls to create an area you can then fill with compost. But an easier option is to buy railway sleepers. These robust timber slabs make a great looking feature in any garden and compared to brick or stone have the advantage of being much easier to move and rearrange.

Look to Your Verticals

Gardeners are very good working at ground level and achieving beautiful results, but the very best gardens function in 3D. Think also about how you could use empty wall or fence spaces to add to the overall effect of your garden vertically. Adding mesh to garden fencing gives you the option to trail climbing and creeping plants further down the line to give everything an extra lush, verdant feel, while wall containers and hanging baskets can be used to create stunning aerial displays.

Get Creative with Your Features and Accessories

The very best gardens are often those with a very obvious touch of the owner’s personality about them. One great way to personalise your outdoor spaces is to take the time to make your own planters, ornaments and features. If you are a crafty sort of person, this can be a wonderful outlet for your creative side. Use the winter months to get collecting all the materials you might need – old wooden crates and tyres for containers, woodcuts to make signs and models, cool looking stones to build a rockery, whatever takes your fancy. Your imagination really is the only limit.

Everything You Never Knew About Aerating Your Lawn

A green lawn is a beautiful thing, but as you likely already know by now, it takes way more work than you expect to keep it green!

Photos Via: Style Blueprint

Even if you are watering 1.5 inches every week (in the mornings, so your lawn doesn’t become a mildewed swamp), mowing to the exact height of 2.5 inches (with razor-sharp mowing blades, you might add) and sprinkling nitrogen-rich fertilizer every fall, you still probably aren’t doing enough to guarantee a healthy lawn.

That’s because you aren’t aerating, or ensuring that air is getting to your grass’s crown and roots. If this is the first you’re hearing about lawn aeration, read on for all the info you need to know about this mandatory chore.

What Aeration Does

Grass is a plant, and plants don’t have lungs — so why would your lawn need better access to air? The truth is that even though plants don’t have lungs, they do take in nutrients from the air. Most notably, grass (and all plants) use carbon dioxide and produce oxygen through photosynthesis; in fact, a 25-square-foot lawn creates enough oxygen to support one person for an entire day, and a 50-square-foot lawn can support a family of four. Thus, it is critical that lawns have sufficient exposure to air, so they can take in enough CO2 to grow healthily and emit the oxygen you need to breathe.

However, aeration provides another crucial function: loosening compacted soil. Over time, the dirt around your lawn’s roots becomes tightly compressed, due to constant use (i.e. you and your family walking on the lawn) or things falling onto it, like tree litter and snow. When this happens, your grass’s roots have a harder time growing through the soil, and water, air and other nutrients are less likely to get absorbed. Thus, it is imperative that you aerate your lawn to ensure your grass has space and access to vital components for health.

What Aeration Is

By now you might accept that aeration is important, but that doesn’t get you any closer to performing it properly on your own lawn. First, you need to understand what the process of aeration entails. At its most basic, aeration is poking holes into your lawn. This will give the soil space to expand, which in turn relieves pressure around the roots. Additionally, the holes allow moisture and air to flow into the soil, improving the grass’s health.

You don’t want the holes to be too big; this will damage your lawn and leave unsightly patches of bare dirt. However, you also don’t want the holes to be too small, or else the effort won’t successfully help your lawn. Also, just a few holes won’t do. Experts say that aeration holes should be between 2 and 3 inches deep, .5 to .75 inches in diameter and 2 to 3 inches apart. It is typical to aerate once per year during the active growing season, which falls in late spring and early summer for most lawns. Still, you want the soil to be plenty moist when you aerate, or your job of punching holes and pulling out plugs will be much more difficult.

What Aeration Needs

Larger lawns generally require more expert care because they have a greater chance of developing unsightly problems. When it comes to aeration, larger lawns usually necessitate the use of large and expensive machines, like core aerators, which can seriously damage your lawn if used improperly. Thus, if you do have a larger patch of grass — and if you are uncomfortable using bulky, noisy machinery — you might want to hire professionals to aerate your lawn for you. Since this task only occurs once per year, it isn’t too costly, and it could save you big on repairs to your lawn in the long term.

If you have a small lawn, you can probably aerate yourself using smaller and more manageable tools. Manual aeration tools include things like pitchforks and shoe spikes; these allow you to walk around your lawn and drive holes where you see fit. You can also rent machinery from your local hardware store, but you should real the manual before operation to prevent harm to your lawn or you.

Aeration is one of those tasks that most homeowners don’t talk about, which means you might not have learned about it before you gained a lawn of your own. Fortunately, it isn’t too late to start aerating your lawn and ensuring the lushest, greenest grass in the neighborhood.

How to Care for Stamped Concrete Pool Deck

Do you have stamped concrete around your home? Here is the right way to care for it to keep it looking its best for years to come!


Photo: CustomCrete Inc.

If you chose to go for stamped concrete out of all the pool deck options, what an excellent choice! Not only does stamped concrete give off the look and feel of traditional elegance, it also provides traction and is an easy update that increases your home’s value. This keeps your pool deck from being a slipping hazard. Like other pool decking options, stamped concrete requires maintenance to keep it in excellent condition. Here’s a guide on how to care for your stamped concrete pool deck.

Keep it Clean

Occasionally sweep and wash off debris build-up. Stamped concrete doesn’t need to be constantly cleaned but it helps to avoid stains by spending some time off to give it a light scrubbing. Use a push broom and some mild detergent to scrub off dirt and stains. Rinse off the soap residue with a garden hose or pressure washes to keep it clean and pristine. Give your pool a break for a day to allow the deck to dry after cleaning.


Photo: CustomCrete Inc.

Remember to Reseal

A stamped concrete pool deck is a great pool deck upgrade, but it also needs regular maintenance. It requires resealing every 2-3 years. The sealant provides a barrier that protects it against damage and maintains its color. You can either do this yourself or have it done by a professional. Either way, neglecting to reseal will turn your pool deck against you. If you don’t want to cash out on costly restorations, keep that in mind!

Minor damages still call for repairs

If you’re thinking of passing up on repairing services for chipping and small cracks, now is the time to change your mind. You might think that these are just as minor as skin scratches but these can cause major problems when left unattended. Save yourself from costly major repairs by getting the minor ones done early.


Photo: Houzz

Ditch the harsh cleansers

There’s a reason why only gentle detergents are advised for cleaning stamped concrete. If you don’t want to see patchiness on the color of your pool deck, avoid acid-based cleansers. If you live in an area where it snows, avoid de-icing salts at all costs when trying to clear out snow. The compounds of de-icing salts can destabilize the surface of the stamped concrete.