3 Common Backyard Renovation Mistakes

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Australians like refurbishing, and they like hanging out outdoors. So it would make good sense that they ‘d be killer at outside restorations, right?

insurance,rennovation,backyardA great deal of renovators in fact engulf all their funds throughout the primary construct of the house, hoping they can simply “wing it” when it comes time to do the garden. If you’re serious about renovating the backyard there may also be several other issues at hand as well such as the requirement to obtain owner builder insurance in Victoria for projects over $16,000 or potentially incur a $10,000 fine

Sadly, for many people, this does not normally happen. You cannot simply head out there and include some brick edging any longer. There’s a lot more to it with outside kitchen areas, swimming pools, cabanas and pavilions making it almost impossible for one individual alone to complete it

With that in mind, here are three common mistakes backyard renovators make

1. Take a piecemeal method

You might believe separating the parts of your yard restoration will conserve your time, dollars and peace of mind– however the opposite is often the better option.

By separating all the parts and attempting to project manage it yourself, you will probably blow out your budget if you’re not experienced.

It is normally more cost effective to get trustworthy individuals (to assist you) and rely upon their suggestions

2. Ignore saleability

The yard is not just crucial for liveability– with a lot of Australians utilising the yard practically as much as their home– however it is likewise for saleability.

The swimming pool is typically utilised as the hero shot of a property.

In the summer season, the outside space is the entertainment center of the house. If you consider it as part of your home you’ll typically get as excellent an outcome as you ‘d get with your house, or much better.

3. Failure to get approvals

In New South Wales, you require consent from council to construct a maintaining wall higher than 600mm from ground level.

However, there is a great deal of landscaping work you can do under complying development, which suggests going through a private certifier instead of going through the council.

Under complying development your alternatives consist of swimming pools, decks and pavilions; however as mentioned before you may need to also apply for insurance for owner builders for large projects.

If you don’t make a development application with your council or through a private certifier, you could be required to eliminate the work and/or have to pay a fine.

Simply looking at records you can see millions of situations where individuals have installed a swimming pool since the swimming pool installers told them too, then it remains in the incorrect position and it’s far too late.

10 Essential things to consider when Planning a Landscape Project

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Planning a landscaping project can be a stressful and overwhelming experience if you don’t know where to start. Luckily I’ve thrown together my top ten tips for things you should consider and check before going ahead with a landscaping project.

Where do I begin?

Examine your relevant Customer Affairs website and ensure you know legal obligations of the landscaping contractor you engage.

It’s important to consider 2 or 3 designers or landscapers in your city. Have a chat at first on the phone and check out their sites to obtain a concept of their work and follow up with your preferred landscaper

Have a Realistic Budget in Mind!

A lovely landscape can be expensive and takes some time, it’s just on TV that it takes place over a weekend for a low cost! Start with your wish list and work back from there. If you include everything you want in advance, a designer can build a comprehensive plan and then break the project down into workable phases. However, be reasonable as the more building and construction needed, the pricier the task will be. Items like retaining walls, dry stone walls and pools cannot be attained within a $10,000 budget plan and if a landscaper recommends they can do it for this – be doubtful, you do get exactly what you pay for!

Engage a Landscape Designer

The style of your garden is as essential as the style of your house, for that reason it is necessary you think about the expert guidance of a certified and competent designer who can thoroughly consider your requirements for your garden and the site conditions to develop an effective outside area that will improve your way of life and add worth to your house.

A landscape designer will help you to determine what you require and consider how you use your outdoors area. This is essential since every garden is unique due to factors such as the weather, the relationship between the outdoor area and inside view, and the needs of the people using the area. What works for your neighbours or pals might not always work for you. Having a landscape designer establish a landscape plan for you will eventually conserve you cash and result in the final outcome being much more effective.

Plants to think about

A landscape designer can put together a plant list specific to your garden. For more ideas, walk around your neighbourhood –this will offer you a sensible concept of which plants are succeeding in the area under comparable weather and soil conditions and will likewise offer you details about size and upkeep.

Use Registered Building Practitioners

Legally all landscapers carrying out structural works (paving, decking, pergolas, swimming pools) over $5,000 ought to be a Registered Building Professional. Just like any tradesperson or expert you are thinking about taking part in a job with, ask to see a copy of their registration as evidence prior to them undertaking the work. Furthermore, onlyRegistered Building Practitioners can offer domestic building insurance.

Landscape Contracts

Constantly have an agreement in place – would you construct a home without one? Well this is the same concept. An expert landscaper will have an agreement that plainly sets out exactly what work they will be doing, just how much it will cost and the payment phases.


The deposit must be no more than 10% for projects costing as much as $20,000 and 5% for jobs over $20,000. This is the law. Payments after the deposit can be for bigger amounts, and should align to works or materials that are commensurate with what has been undertaken. For instance it is not uncommon for a landscaper to invoice for a big percentage of the task expense when all the products are provided to site.

Attaining Permits

Your landscape specialists must understand and attain all suitable building permits that you might need. If you are uncertain, call your regional council and they will advise you on which licenses are needed.

Insurance coverages

All landscapers must possess builders public liability insurance – inspect that they do. Likewise landscape designers must bring expert indemnity insurance coverage.

If your job is larger than $16,000 and you are utilizing a Registered Building Professional, they ought to offer you domestic structure insurance coverage. Domestic structure insurance coverage ensures the structural elements of the task for up to 6 years – similar to service warranty insurance coverage when developing a home. Unregistered landscapers cannot use domestic structure insurance coverage and you should alternately seek a quote from owner builder insurance brokers to make sure you’re protected.

Maintaining the Landscape

You’ve invested a great deal of cash in having a landscape built however what about the aftercare upkeep? Not everybody is an enthusiastic garden enthusiast like our members, so to safeguard your financial investment you might have to consider a routine garden upkeep program as part of you spending plan.

Gardens are living things for that reason they grow, plants pass away and plants can end up being rowdy if not pruned. An expert landscaper has an extensive understanding in cultivation and plant care. They can establish an upkeep program that matches both your budget plan and your garden to keep your landscape looking as excellent as it did when it was built which will develop with time.

4 Tips to Maintain your Swimming Pool throughout the Winter Season

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As the season changes and it begins to get colder many pool owners are no longer swimming and starting to put on their swimming pool covers. However, looking after your swimming pool does not end when you put the cover on. It is essential to continue looking after your swimming pool and pool surrounds throughout the off-season (autumn, winter, and early spring) to make sure it is ready to go once the weather warms up again

  1. Include a Mid-Winter Algaecide

Utilize an algaecide or algaestat (preventative) and especially one that remains in the water for a considerable length of time.

On the last day of operation, include this to the water and run the pump for 24 Hr to totally circulate. Then close-down the circulation system for the cold season.

With the right algaecide, algae can be avoided for upto 90 days which is a huge portion of the off season. By keeping the green stuff away as long as possible, swimming pool launch is a lot simpler.

  1. Examine Your Security Cover to Make Sure It’s Always Correctly Fitted

Having pristine, clear water in the Spring makes the life of a swimming pool owner significantly easier. One crucial element in doing so is having an appropriately fitted security cover. Some experts claim winter season covers simply do not do the job.

Follow your common winter season chemical program and about a month prior to using the pool utilize several litres of liquid shock and after that a few litres of algaecide one week prior to your opening. If you follow these guidelines you should not have to do much extra work besides quickly vacuuming the bottom.


  1. Keep Your Swimming Pool Cover Clean All Winter Season Long

Yard swimming pool owners must have a loop-lock type cover for their swimming pool. A filthy securely covered swimming pool beats a gleaming exposed swimming pool every time. There’sno better insurance coverage for keeping young children and wildlife from the swimming pool than a cover that securely locks to the pool pavers.

The cover can easily be hosed off routinely to remove the leaves, branches and other particles.

If possible, keep the water level where it is expected to be and the pumps running. If you remain in a place where keeping water in the lines just isn’t really a choice then drain the pipes and winterize the pipelines.


  1. Take note of The Weather conditions

To ensure a clean, clear swimming pool in the spring, take note of the weather conditions, if the autumn has been more moderate and warmer then it is a great idea to inspect the swimming pool and include more chlorine and algaecide simply ahead of the cooler season.

In locations where heavy rains have occurred during autumn and mesh covers are in use; much of the winterizing chemicals applied around Easter might have been flushed out. Boosting the chemicals if you’re in an area that’s prone to freezing can ensure the water makes it through to the warmer months without an extreme algae problem.


The Mediterranean Diet: What Is It? Pt 2

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If you read The Mediterranean Diet: What Is It? Pt 1 and enjoyed it, keep reading part 2 to explore more of the remarkable diet plan.

A conventional Mediterranean diet has been revealed to have significant health advantages. But how can you follow it if you live nowhere near a Greek island?

We’re always being told a conventional Mediterranean-style diet is an incredibly healthy way to eat.

Recent studies have actually revealed this consuming pattern can minimize your risk of dementia and reverse signs of anxiety and stress.

Along with its tested advantages in preventing cardiac arrest and promoting a longer life generally, it has particularly been shown to assist to ward off diabetes as well as bowel and prostate cancers.

But embracing a really Mediterranean approach to eating, specifically one which stems from the island of Crete in Greece is not as easy as lots of cookbooks would have us believe.

While a lot of dishes are promoted as Mediterranean, they aren’t necessarily the ones research study has shown to be so good for us, says Catherine Itsiopoulos, a conference speaker from La Trobe University in Melbourne. In fact in most cases they’re not, she states.

That’s since cookbooks have the tendency to focus on joyful foods and desserts from the area, says the head of School of Allied Health and Teacher of Nutrition at La Trobe University, who is a professional on the Mediterranean diet.

“When people think of the Mediterranean diet, they always think of the souvlaki and the yiros and all the other meat dishes,” she states.

However the diet plan, made famous by the ground-breaking health research studies dating back to the 1960s, was a peasant-style diet that was made up of fresh food and mostly vegetarian dishes, she states.

The 10 rules

Professor Itsiopoulos, Associate Professor and Keynote Speaker at the University of Melbourne, has actually established “10 rules” of the Mediterranean diet which can assist you get a handle on exactly what it involves.

The rules are:

  1. Use extra virgin olive oil as the main included fat (go for around 60 mls/ day).
  2. Eat vegetables with every meal (consisting of 100g of leafy greens and 100g of tomatoes, and 200g of other vegetables/day).
  3. Include a minimum of 2 vegetarian meals (250g serve) weekly.
  4. Eat at least 2 portions of fish (150-200g serves) weekly and include oily fish: for example Atlantic and Australian salmon, blue-eye trevalla, blue mackerel, gemfish, canned sardines, and canned salmon. Canned tuna is not as high in the crucial fish oil omega-3, however still a good choice to include in your fish serves.
  5. Consume smaller portions of meat (beef, lamb, pork and chicken) and less frequently (no greater than once or twice a week).
  6. Eat fresh fruit every day and dried fruit and nuts as snacks or dessert.
  7. Consume yoghurt every day (about 200g) and cheese in small amounts (about 30 to 40 grams daily).
  8. Eat wholegrain breads and cereals with meals (aim for 3-4 slices of bread each day).
  9. Take in wine in small amounts (one drink a day, which is about 100 mls), always with meals and do not get drunk. Attempt and have a couple of alcohol-free days a week.
  10. Have sugary foods or sweet drinks for unique events only.

She says these rules can also be applied to other type of foods and prepared meals. Along with researching the diet, she has actually written a cookbook based upon the meals she has used in her research study.

A healthy alternative

Professor Itsiopoulos confesses the eating style is quite different to what most Australians eat. But her experience in introducing the diet plan to amateurs has been positive.

One study included feeding traditional dishes, prepared by her team, to Australians who had type 2 Diabetes. Some took pleasure in the experience so much that they wanted the recipes at the end of the research study. “We had middle-aged people of Anglo-Celtic origin who’d never eaten eggplant in their life and they ate this dish and said it was their favourite,” she says.

Surprisingly, while the people in the study were not limited in the volume of food they ate– they were told to consume till they were full– they didn’t gain weight. They also reported “a very positive change in wellbeing, in mood and in the levels of energy they had”

That concludes our segment on the ‘Mediterranean Diet’, remember to take what you read on social media and in cookbooks with a grain of salt as they are trying to sell something to you and what they say might not help you lose weight. Be sure to stick to the 10 commandments and you’ll see the weight drop!

The Mediterranean Diet: What Is It? Pt 1

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The Mediterranean diet plan is stated to be among the most healthy worldwide. It promotes the use of fresh food such as fruit and vegetables while minimising red meat. It includes a lot of fish, along with poultry. It uses oil instead of butter, and herbs and spices instead of salt. It motivates exercise, together with long meals with family and friends.

The diet of Mediterranean’s, on the other hand, is exactly what is eaten by individuals who live around the Mediterranean Sea.

There are plenty of similarities, naturally – the Mediterranean diet plan was started by taking a look at what individuals ate around the Mediterranean Sea. It needs to be kept in mind that it is generally concentrated on the northern and eastern parts of the Mediterranean. You will not discover numerous foods on it from Algeria (the scientists who first publicised it, Ancel and Margaret Keys, focused on foods from Greece, Crete and southern Italy).

There are definitely differences between the diet plan and the Mediterranean diet and it’s not something you would immediately notice unless you spent some time in the Mediterranean, and there are plenty of places to stay with an airbnb service that will provide authentic meals to you.

For example, the Mediterranean diet specifically recommends fatty fish, such as salmon, and the use of canola oil. However salmon is a cold-water fish, native to the Northern Atlantic and Northern Pacific – neither which are near the Mediterranean Sea. And canola oil comes mainly from Canada (the “can” in “canola” is for “Canada”). It is also produced in China, India and northern Europe. To puts it simply, nowhere near the Mediterranean Sea.

Meanwhile, the Mediterranean diet includes a lot of lamb and goat meat. You’ll find no mention of either one in recommendations to the Mediterranean diet. And in northern Italy they use much more butter than olive oil.

So an objective in taking a healthful dip into these foods was to discover that delighted intersection where the Mediterranean diet plan satisfies the actual Mediterranean diet plan. To see where the healthy benefits of the diet are in fact taken pleasure in by the individuals for whom it is called.

What is so fantastic about Mediterranean cooking is combined in one chunky dip: olives, feta cheese, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, fresh rosemary and crushed chilli. It’s just like going to a Mediterranean specialty grocery and purchasing everything on the shelves.

Date wraps are like a somewhat healthier and classier variation of maybe the best starters worldwide, dates covered in bacon. The rich flavour of the treated meat plays perfectly off the sweet taste of the dates, and the saltiness suggests you can go wild with the Parmesan cheese which is a fundamental part of the bacon variation.

In Andalusia – the southern location of Spain that surrounds the Mediterranean Sea – they cook it in an amazingly excellent way. First, they saute the asparagus spears in olive oil, and then they go a step further by baking the asparagus with a topping made from blanched almonds, garlic and bread crumbs that are sautéed in olive oil – auspiciously – then all ground together. This delicacy is something that can only be found in southern Spain, so if you are eager to try it out, look for an airbnb host in Andalusia to try some authentic Spanish food.

These are just some examples but it shows how there is a link between the diet plan and the diet of the Mediterranean’s, we will discuss more of this in part to of The Mediterranean Diet: What Is It?

Environmentally Friendly Way to Drink Wine

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A carafe of wine from a tap is probably an uninviting prospect for lots of wine enthusiasts. But there is a growing love towards draught wine and it’s even starting to be used in major establishments where its advocates are sticklers for quality.

Melbourne wine bar Harry & Frankie was among the pioneers, putting yarra valley wine in red and white on tap ever since it opened first opened three years ago. “When we first started doing it, people really did turn their noses up at it,” says co-founder and sommelier Tom Hogan. ““But the regulars love it because they realise that it’s actually good quality.”

Dave Mackintosh of Arfion in the Yarra Valley helps Tom with the choice of yarra valley winery wines. They are specially produced in 300-litre batches and decanted into 30-litre plastic kegs for circulation to Tom’s three wine bars. By cutting out packaging, transport and circulation expenses, Tom states he can offer a much higher-quality item at a much more reasonable price than what the current market offers. Wines on tap at Harry & Frankie sell for $8 a glass and Tom thinks a bottled wine from the Yarra Valley of comparable quality would cost around $14 a glass in many places.

Naturally, the cost savings on transportation and product packaging provide environmental advantages. This was the primary motivation for 3 Blue Ducks to make wine a practically purely draught affair at its Byron Bay place at The Farm. “Sustainability was a factor in all the decisions that we made,” states 3 Blue Ducks’ Jeff Bennett. “Our whole bar is pretty much draught. We have no bottles of beer. We have only tonic water that we buy in a bottle, the rest of the soft drinks we make on site. Our milk comes in bulk and is distributed in bladders.”

As a result, Three Blue Ducks approximates it prevents the wastage of 20,000 bottles a month. However Jeff states it was difficult to find wineries that were on board with the concept when it launched in March 2015. “I had people laughing at me,” Jeff says. The tables have definitely turned, nevertheless. The venue now has Barossa’s Torbreck supplying bulk wine to the location. “That was a real watershed. Now if I ring a winery and tell them who else we’ve had on tap, it opens doors. People are a lot more open-minded.”

Three Blue Ducks’ tap wines max out at $14 a glass and have, on occasions, been offered for as little as $7 a glass. “You’d have to go to an RSL club to get that otherwise. Ours was from Brash Higgins, a really well-regarded and awarded winery,” Jeff says.

Another of the restaurant’s suppliers is Mudgee’s Lowe Wines, whose creator David Lowe helps places with the technical set-up of their draught wine systems, as well as providing them with bulk wine. “We make sure they use the right gas at the right pressure and that the wine is fresh enough,” David states. “We’ll do testing on the wine as soon as we deliver it, and we take a sample every now and then to see if it hasn’t been used in two or three weeks whether it’s still fresh.”

Likewise on board is Melbourne start-up Stomping Ground Brewery in Collingwood. Co-founder Man Greenstone states the team was motivated to put its yarra valley wine on draught as well after going to Coopers Hall, a bar in the United States beer mecca of Portland, which has no less than 30 taps dedicated for wine. “In a beer town, they’ve completely devoted themselves to great wine, but all on tap. They were changing attitudes over there and we liked the idea of leading the way in terms of doing things better here,” Man states.

Harry & Frankie’s Tom is passionate about getting the word out that when sourced and served correctly, tap wine can be greatly superior to lots of bottled offerings. “The products that we sell on tap show varietal character and they show regional character,” he states. “They’re made with love and they’re made with care, but they’re purchased and served in such a way that we can reduce costs.”