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FALL 2013




NCCOAST HOME SERVICES GUIDE


Generators are not something people think about on a daily basis, however, in the wake of the powerful storms that have battered the country in recent years, more and more people have realized just how valuable generators can be. Portable generators as well as stationary standby generators have become must-have items for many homeowners.

Portable Generators

Many portable generators provide temporary power by using a fossil-based fuel, typically unleaded gasoline, and tend to range in power from 500 watts to 17.5 kW. The more expensive and larger the unit, the more amperage it will be able to supply. In a portable generator, the motor is typically housed on a metal frame with wheels to move the generator where it is needed. Once fired up, the generator converts the power produced by the motor into electrical current that can supply many of the devices in a home by way of extension cords plugged into the generator. A portable generator will only run as long as it has fuel. Homeowners need to frequently fill up the fuel tank if they plan to run the generator around the clock. Gassing up generators can be difficult should a power outage also knock out power to the fuel pumps at gas stations. Propane and natural gas generators are also available, although they may be more expensive than gasoline-powered units.

Contents

Investing in a Generator

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Investing in a Generator Landscaping with Natural Stone 12 Cost Effective Fencing 16 Landscape Planning

Standby System Generators

Standby generators can be expensive, but many people find the cost of a standby generator is well worth it to maintain power in the event of an outage or emergency. Hospitals and retail businesses often have standby generators installed on their buildings to automatically switch over to this power source should the electrical grid go down. Homeowners are looking to these devices to offer standby power as well. While a portable generator may cost a few hundred dollars, standby generators can cost from a few thousand dollars to as much as $15,000 for larger units that can power much of a household. Standby generators also require installation by a professional electrician, adding to their overall cost. A standby generator is like a heavy-duty car engine, complete with a radiator, gas tank and an alternator that generates power. The entire setup is contained in a weather-proof box, which is connected to the main fuse box of the home by a cable. When power is lost from the electric wires outside of a home, the generator senses it and starts up, all the while blocking any power from the electric lines from the power station to prevent a feedback of power. The standby generator is only hooked up to specific fuses in the fuse box to run certain outlets or appliances in the home. A standby generator will not supply power to all of the outlets in a home.

Published by: NCCOAST Communications 201 N. 17th Street Morehead City, NC 28557 Phone: 252.240.1811 800.525.1403 Fax: 1.877.247.1856 Email: editor@nccoast.com

Director of Sales:

Jamie Bailey (252.241.9485) sales@nccoast.com

Sales:

Anne Gillikin (252.725.9114) Carrie Simonson (252.503.0658) Ashly Willis (252.723-3350)

Creative Director: Kim LaChance

Layout/Design: Kyle Dixon

Graphic Design: Mimi Guthrie Erin Pallotti

Copyright 2013 by NCCOAST Reproduction of any portion of this publication is strictly prohibited without prior written consent from the publisher.

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Landscaping with Natural Stone By Jeff White The Natural Stone Yard

I, like many people, have spent many hours around my house in an attempt to “dress up� my property by trying different colors and textures, flowers and plants etc. Although I think you rarely go wrong with flowers, one of the things that gave me the most trouble was trying to pick a flower bed material. When we first built our house we had a very limited budget, so pine straw became the material of choice. But after a short period of time of dealing with rabbits nesting and cats using the area as a litter box, I decided to change to something a bit more substantial, pine bark nuggets. I realized after about a year that they lose their fluffy, colorful structure and are a tasty treat for termites, so I decided to try mulch. Again, I was disappointed with the lack of body and color after several months of heat and rain and finally gave in to the slightly more expensive option of decorative aggregate as a surface for all of our flower beds, Tennessee River Rock to be exact. The option of using a hardy material that never loses its color or structure eluded me for a couple of years, but thank goodness I finally came to my senses! Even more impressive is how all of the colors pop out during rain! Do not under estimate the ability for weeds to grow through rock as I did, I installed landscape fabric in most areas of the flowerbed but left some areas that I thought would be weed free without it. Big mistake! It is just as necessary to use landscape fabric for natural stone areas as it is for mulch or pine straw. Another bonus to using stone aggregate is the availability of many different colors and textures from white to brown to pink and from tiny pea gravel up to 3 or 4 inch stones. If you live in an area that is subject to heavy rain water runoff or flooding, guess what? Stone aggregate stays where you put it! There are many North Carolina products available, which are lower on the price tier than Tennessee, Pennsylvania or Delaware products, but if you have ever priced bag aggregate, you will be pleasantly surprised at bulk pricing if you find a supplier that carries the color and size aggregate that will work for your application. 

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Cost Effective Fencing Options Fencing serves many purposes. Some homeowners erect a fence for privacy, while others do so to contain pets and children. Because fencing can be expensive, some homeowners look for ways to cut costs, which can be relatively easy, especially for those homeowners willing to consider various materials when erecting their fence. Traditional fences are available in materials ranging from wood to vinyl to metal. Homeowners have other options at their disposal if they prefer a more natural fence. Different shrubs, trees or grasses can be planted to create a barrier between properties or within the property. When choosing a fencing material, consider that even a less expensive material may prove more expensive in the long run if it needs significant maintenance or has to be replaced in just a few years. Therefore, the most costeffective fencing material may not necessarily be the least expensive one at the store. Here are some materials homeowners can consider.

Found material:

Repurposed wood or metal can be crafted into a rustic, one-of-a-kind fence. Materials can be found that are no cost, requiring only the cost of labor. Should you build it yourself, this can be next to nothing.

Chain link:

Chain link fencing is one of the most economical types of boundary fencing. The fencing comes in a variety of diamond sizes and is fixed to galvanized pipes spaced across the perimeter of the property. Although it is some of the least expensive fencing, it does not offer much privacy on its own. But if you are looking at fencing simply as a barrier, chain link could be the way to go.

Picket fencing:

A wooden picket fence is another inexpensive fencing material. The pickets can be purchased in 12

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various heights, and this fence may be used as garden border fencing or to mark a property line between homes. Spacing the pickets widely apart may cut down on the number that need to be purchased, further keeping the cost down.

Bamboo:

Bamboo is a rapidly growing grass that produces a hard wood-like material that is used in many building applications. Bamboo wood can be used to build a fence, but the natural plant also can be planted to form a living fence for privacy.

Stockade fencing:

A stockade fence is one of the more basic wood fencing options. Wooden slats are placed alongside one another to form an effective and affordable privacy fence. Stockade fencing can be stained or painted to preserve it.

Vinyl fencing:

Although vinyl fencing is one of the more expensive fencing materials at the outset (it costs about twice the price of a wood fence), it does pay for itself rather quickly thanks to minimal maintenance. Unlike some other materials, vinyl will not rot or discolor. You also won’t have to purchase stain, paint and expensive cleaners for a vinyl fence. There are many different fencing materials that can coordinate with a variety of budgets.


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Landscape Planning Major Mistakes Homeowners Make In Landscaping It may be new construction or the renovation of the landscape in an existing home, but owners often find that they are dissatisfied with the decisions they make along the way. Here are a few of the most common mistakes seen by the staff at Carolina Home and Garden on Hwy 24, providing a great guide for what to avoid when developing your landscape. The following mistakes we see far too often:

Plant Selection Mistakes

•Shade plants located in full sun and sun plants located in the shade. •Some plants require well drained soil while others need moist soil •No regard for the growth habit of plants that end in plant removal •No regard for the care and maintenance that a certain plant will require

Theme, flow and compatibility

•Mixing themes such as tropical gardens with English gardens

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•Mixing soft, curving beds with those that have corners and straight lines •Using plants or hardscapes that have stark differences Planning •No consideration for space requirements •No consideration for grade or drainage •No consideration for the quality of the existing soil •No consideration for future requirements of the homeowner •No consideration for future irrigation, lighting, decks, patios, etc. All of these errors can be avoided with a professionally prepared plan. Most homeowners do their landscaping in sections at different intervals because of budget constraints. Without a plan, however, the finished product is a “hodge podge” that can lead to frustration. When in doubt, a consultation with a landscape professional can provide great insight into landscape planning.


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Home Services Guide