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Landscaping Your Property

Landscaping your property will help organize the various portions of your land into usable sections. If designed right, your improved landscape will aid in draining excessive water and prevent flooding, as well as aid in the continued maintenance of your property. In this article we’ll give you the basics of some common practices we use at Be Happy Property Services for creating beautiful and easy to maintain landscapes.

Landscaping designs should include ease of access

Some problems you don’t want to run into after you’ve completed a new landscaping project might include the lack of ability to get to certain parts of your new landscape. Garden beds typically need new soil every so often so its good to design the location of your beds for easily accessing with a wheelbarrow. Having tall, elevated beds might be a good solution for a property positioned on a steep hill, but make sure you have a usable pathway that easily navigates to your garden beds. You don’t want to be stuck with carrying shovel loads of dirt or gravel long distances because you can’t get a wheelbarrow where you need it. Fruit bearing trees often require a cleanup effort once a year to remove the fallen fruit from the ground and/or trees. Again, make sure you can access the trees you plant before finalizing any designs. If you take ease of access into account, you’re back and frustration levels will thank you once your landscape is complete.

Make sure you’re compliant with municipal codes

Landscaping often includes redesigning your property to an extent that makes environmental changes around you. For instance if you install a gutter system that distributes your rainwater to your garden beds, make sure you’re compliant with municipal codes that govern where your run-off can flow to, what needs to be done to filter the run-off and how much run-off the properties around you can afford. It’s best to have a solid understanding of your legal boundaries before setting your heart onto your perfect design. If you’re incorporating a burn pit or fire bit, make sure and check with your local fire department to ensure you’re not installing the pit too close to any combustible items such as trees/foliage, decking or building structures. The legal requirements for your landscaping endeavors may surprise you, so check on them before you invest too much into a landscaping design.

Consider decorations to accent your landscape

Yard art and decorative objects can really help the appeal to your property. It’s important to keep a theme in focus, and not get too carried away with decorations that contradict each other in terms of style. If you’ve stuck to specific geometries for your garden and tree beds, keep that geometric theme when shopping for landscaping decorations. There are a plethora of different wind-mills, water sprinklers and lanterns (to name a few) that exist just for this purpose. Stay focused with your planned style and don’t deviate. The ambiance of your finished landscape will leave you thankful for your shopping stubbornness.

Which plants where? How many?

There are too many variations in plant and flower species to make gardening a simple task. Some plants require more light than others, more or less water than others, as well as humidity, season length, soil depth and foot-traffic allowance. Designate different garden beds for different locations of your landscape so that each bed will maintain a consistent environment. For instance, place one garden bed in a shady corner for a cooler, more humid environment. Then shop wisely for plants and flowers that will thrive in these conditions: less light and more moisture. Alternatively, place a garden bed in a sunny area of your property so you can afford plants that require more sunlight and a drier soil system. For high foot-traffic areas, be sure to plant species that can handle the large amounts of traffic. You don’t want to spend money on flowers or plants that will end up dying a week later because they can’t handle the environment in which you planted them. For a decent guide on what flowers to plant where, and in what densities, visit garden.org. There, you’ll find a large collection of information regarding just about any plant or flower you could include in your landscaping project.

Don’t get overwhelmed with landscaping

Planning a new landscaping project and actually completing it can be a substantial amount of work. If you need help in either planning your project, or completing its construction, rest assured that Be Happy Property Services is here to help at any step of the process. The staff at Be Happy PS is skilled in the knowledge of design principals that actually work, as well as how to successfully turn those designs into reality. Be Happy PS staff also has plenty of experience to help you through the permitting process and staying compliant with municipal guide-lines. To read more about our landscaping services click here to view our landscaping and excavating page. You can also click here to request a free quote for for your up and coming project.

Excavation | Does and Dont’s

Excavation can help to drastically restructure your commercial or residential property. It can also drastically restructure your wallet if you’re not careful. Here are some things to both look for and avoid when excavating your property.

Call before you dig!

As always, call your main utility suppliers and request to have a technician come out and mark your property for no dig spots. Most properties are littered with underground infrastructures that supply power, water and gas various hook-ups on the property. Call and have these infrastructures clearly marked prior to turning any earth. Skipping this step will most certainly lead to a busted or broken utility line on your property, and you’ll be left to foot the bill for repairs. Besides being ridiculously dangerous, busting open a utility line will cost thousands of dollars in man hours to repair. Money aside, you don’t want to electrocute yourself, flood your property with endless amounts of leaking water, or suffocate your neighborhood with a natural gas leak. All of these things are very bad news and ought to be avoided. Call before you dig! In Anchorage, simply dial 811 in your phone and the municipality will take it from there.

Excavation depths to avoid

While digging holes in your property, be sure not to dig a hole too deep or too steep. While the ground may support a 10 foot trench one day, a decent night of rain will drastically change the composition and behavior of your properties soil. You may wake up to buried equipment, or worse, you may get buried yourself while you work. Excavation trenches deeper than 5 feet are required a protective system to prevent cave-ins or collapsing of walls. Depths of 20 feet or more require that the protective system be de-signed by a registered professional engineer or be based on tabulated data prepared and/or approved by a registered professional engineer. Before excavating your property, know how deep you plan to dig and implement protective systems accordingly.

Protective Systems

There are several protective systems that can be used to ensure your safely while excavating your property. Lets take a look at a few:
  1. Sloping involves cutting back the trench wall at an angle inclined away from the excavation.
  2. Shoring requires installing aluminum hydraulic or other types of supports to prevent soil movement and cave-ins.
  3. Shielding protects workers by using trench boxes or other types of supports to prevent soil cave-ins.
Be careful when designing your protective system. There are many factors to consider in your design, including soil classification, depth of cut, water content of soil, changes due to weather or climate, surcharge loads (eg., spoil, other materials to be used in the trench) and other operations in the vicinity.

Competent Excavator

OSHA standards require an evaluation of an excavation hole every day prior to allowing any workers to enter the area. This evaluation must be done by a competent person to ensure the elimination of excavation hazards. If you don’t feel comfortable taking on this role, there are local professionals who can help you get the job done correctly and safely. Be Happy Property Services offers a large array of professional excavation services. With a safety first mindset, Be Happy PS will give you true peace of mind while they labor over the dangerous aspects of your property’s project. Sit back and let the professionals take care of your digging needs quickly and efficiently. To find out more about Be Happy’s excavation services, or to schedule a property assessment, please click here to send us an email, or click here to simply give us a call. Happy digging!

Resources

Visit the OSHA website to find more information about excavation and best practices to keep you and your wallet safe.

Handyman | Choose Wisely

Handyman services are a common way to spruce up the appearance and function of your home or commercial property. Here are some things to look for, as well as some things to avoid, when hiring a handyman.

Experienced Handyman

When you’re browsing Google or your local Yellow Pages for a potential handyman to hire, make sure you can easily find indications that they have experience to get the job done right. Their website or social page should have a plethora of job-site images from past jobs they have completed. Additionally, check their Google Page for reviews to gain a thorough idea of how satisfied their past customers have been. An experienced handyman should have plenty of positive reviews, and few bad ones.

Licensed and Insured

The last thing you want is to hire someone to make some invasive changes to your home or commercial property only to find that their work was improperly performed. This leaves you with a bigger and more expensive problem to get fixed. If your handyman is licensed and insured, the odds of them being capable to handle the job are drastically increased. Additionally, if they mess something up that requires more time and money to fix, their insurance policy should remove the majority, if not all, of the burden from your wallet. Look for terms “Licensed and Insured” in their advertising, or simply ask them if they have a professional license with a valid insurance policy.

Professionalism

There’s a large difference between the handyman who fixes things and the handyman who aims to please. Nobody wants strangers in their home or commercial space cussing up a storm or smelling the place up with bad hygiene. A professional should show up with a smile, present themselves in a clean and tolerable manor, and make sure that you are happy before they part ways. Small things like vacuuming up the sheetrock dust after drilling some holes carry decent weight with your overall satisfaction. Make sure your choice is a professional before inviting them into your private space.

Look No Further

Having a hard time locating a professional with all of the above attributes? Be Happy PS has you covered. We offer an array of handyman services and promise to leave your property at least as clean as we found it. Our professionals are clean and presentable and will not foul up your property with an unpleasant appearance or inappropriate language. Contact us today for a quote, or click here to learn more about the various handyman services we offer.

Stop Tiptoeing Around Your Lawn Care: Spring Planting Basics

Lawn Care: Know what you’re planting

It may seem obvious, but many people miss out on this one. Alaska has a unique climate, and a whole host of soil irregularities if you’re planting into the ground instead of pots. Make sure whatever you’re planting is hardy enough for the conditions; certain perennial flowers like tulips, pansies, and columbine do particularly well. Your lawn care efforts will prevail with a nice flower garden.

Locate a nursery near you

Lawn care planting is tough in Alaska, but there are no shortage of local nurseries. These folks know their flora, and it’s always a good idea to have a professional opinion close at hand. Local, nursery-grown plants are often healthier than alternatives, so check out your options when buying. Some popular nurseries in the area are Dimond GreenhousesTryck Nursery, and Far North Garden Supply.

Fertilize, Fertilize, Fertilize

Alaska’s biggest obstacle to lawn care and gardening is the soil; permafrost and rocks don’t make for a green garden. Laying fertilizer in your garden beds will ensure your plants get the nutrients they need. Compare brands to see which fertilizer is right for your garden; most specialize in one certain mineral deficiency, and your plants will do better if you know what your soil is lacking.

Lawn Care & Planting Professionals

Be Happy Property Services offers an array of professional lawn care and planting services. We have experience in maintaining impressive landscapes for both commercial and residential properties. From regular lawn maintenance to full scale excavation and landscape creations, Be Happy PS has the tools and experience to make your property shine. If you’ve been feeling overwhelmed by your lawn and garden, or would like to give your curb appeal a new face-lift, contact Be Happy PS today. Click here to read more about our landscaping services.

Pet Odors: 3 Tips to Neutralize

1. Pet Odors: Baking Soda and Vinegar

When it comes to pet odors, this one’s a classic. If your odor problem isn’t a big stink, this light odor solution might be your best bet. After cleaning the affected area, sprinkle the spot with baking soda and leave it overnight (make sure your furry friends are contained; you don’t want your pets to eat it). In the morning, sweep or vacuum the baking soda and rinse the area with a strong vinegar wash (1-2 cups of white distilled vinegar to a gallon of water).

2. Hydrogen Peroxide, Baking Soda, and Liquid Soap

If baking soda and vinegar isn’t cutting it, this is a good next step (and still low-budget!). Strap on some rubber or latex gloves, and carefully mix a quart of hydrogen peroxide with a quarter-cup of baking soda and a teaspoon of liquid soap. You’ll want to mix this right before you use it, and don’t store this one in a closed container. Pour or spray this mixture onto the affected area*, and blot the excess liquid after waiting 24 hours. The rest will air dry. *Before using this method, you might want to test it on a hidden area of your carpet to make sure it doesn’t affect the color.

3. Professional Cleaning

You’ve tried every homemade solution you can find. You’ve bought commercial products that just aren’t working. You’re at your wit’s end trying to treat that spot in the carpet that Fido keeps coming back to. It might be time to throw in the towel and get professional help. It can’t hurt to ask around. Call your local carpet cleaning or property service companies, and see what they offer in odor removal.

Pet Odors too Strong to Eliminate?

Sometimes our pets can wreak havoc on our home. While regular cleaning and maintenance of your home is the best solution for keeping your home odor free, sometimes more extreme measures need to be taken. Replacing carpets with solid surface flooring is a great way to get your home smelling fresh again and to keep it that way. Be Happy PS has extensive knowledge and experience with home renovations. If this sounds like something you’d like to learn more about, contact us today for a remodel/renovation quote. Additionally, you can learn more about our residential services by clicking here

Lawn Care for Beginners: 3 Surefire Ways to Better Your Yard

Use your lawn care know-how to improve your curb appeal from the ground up. It may be an acre of suburbia or a concrete doorstep, but your outdoor space is the first impression people receive when they visit your property. Here are a few lawn care steps to make sure that that impression is a good one.

Keep it clean

You’d be amazed how many people skip this one. Sweep the porch, cut the grass, and rake the leaves. Remember, you don’t have to go over your lawn with a fine-toothed comb, but clear the junk that accumulates on anything outdoors. If you’re worried about time, try penciling it in to your weekly schedule; say, an hour every Thursday afternoon. While it takes some effort, you’ll notice the difference a little tidying up can make in your lawn’s appearance.

Make a wishlist

This is another good way to boost curb appeal. Maybe you’ve always wanted a stone path, or a water feature, or a tree in the front yard. Let yourself have it! Start by checking out Better Homes and Gardens or your local garden store for ideas. Make sure to do some research; find out what needs to be done, what it will cost, and if you’ll need professional help. Be realistic with your time and money, but if you a vision for your space, it will almost always look great.

Add a personal touch

What impression of your lawn care do you want to give someone looking at your property? Choose a strategic art piece or bit of outdoor furniture that says something about you and your property. Pick a colorful piece of sculpture that intrigues, possibly a sitting area that makes your outdoor space look inviting. Aim to draw positive attention with something that represents what you want to say about your property and your lawn care practices. Now, get out there and build a better yard!

Home Maintenance for Your Log Cabin in 3 Steps

Alaska has a lot of log homes. Unfortunately, most of these properties don’t have proper home maintenance. By the time owners notice the need for maintenance, the residential repairs required may be too extreme without professional help. Here are some good practices to avoid unnecessary damage to your log home.

Do an annual wash of your home

Spraying down the outside of your log home goes a long way. It cleans your property of dust, pollen, bird droppings, insects, and anything else that wears down your finish over time. An annual wash is also a good time to do a quick inventory of the state of your walls; note any chipping and the condition of your home’s stain. If noticeably deteriorating, this is a good time for home maintenance by applying a coat of stain.

Know what kind of stain you have

Assessing the state of your log home’s stain is a matter of knowing what kind you’ve got on your property. If your stain is oil-based, look at knots and the color of your walls; they’ll turn blonde when the finish is wearing off. If your stain is water-borne latex-based, check the glossiness; once the finish is dull, it’s time to do some home maintenance by applying a clear coat.

Remove failed chinking and caulking

Chinking or caulking is acting as the sealant between your home’s logs. However, both of these materials wear away over time. If the edges of your chinking or caulking are peeling away, mark the spots and remove the failing areas with a knife or razor. If the damage is severe, contact a home maintenance professional for help. This maintenance should be done before any stain maintenance.

Commercial Property Advice: Fix It Now, Before It Gets Worse!

Advice for the commercial property maintenance procrastinator:

Whether it’s renovating your bathroom or mowing the lawn, chances are there’s a project around your property that needs some attention. We can all agree that it’s tempting to delay the inevitable. However, the reality is that small repairs left unchecked can turn into commercial property maintenance nightmares. You’re not eager to tile your roof anytime soon, but immediate action means you won’t have an infestation in your attic or water damage the next time it rains. At the end of the day, maintenance now prevents disasters later. Preventative commercial property maintenance is important, and will save you money in the long-term. And who says you have to do it yourself?

Still unsure if you can do this?

Not everyone is Joe Handyman. If you’re seriously concerned about the state of your property, contact a professional. Be Happy Property Services offers free estimates to potential clients.