Improving Your Yard’s Appearance With a Swing Set

Focusing a large portion of your home improvement budget and time on improving the inside of your home make sense, but sometimes focusing on the outside, the yards, deck, siding and roof, make a ton of difference as well.  This is especially apparent when you are trying to sell your home.  Taking a few minutes to think about ways to improve the look of your backyard could go a long way to making your days spent back there more enjoyable, or potentially improving the price of your home when you decided to sell.  In this article we are going to talk about one addition that can add to the functionality of your backyard, an added advantage for kids and if done correctly can add to the aesthetic quality of your home.   What I’m talking about is backyard swingsets and playsets.

Swing Sets and Playsets in the Backyard

Swingsets and playsets are great fun for kids, but can also be useful for adding character to a backyard.  Many yards can seem drab and boring because they are nothing more than some grass and fences.  Adding some unique value to these places is crucial for sprucing up the place.  Swingsets can get that accomplished while also adding a fun place for your kids to spend there time (and get them out of your hair in the same instance.)

Wooden Playset
A Wooden Playset like this can add great character to a backyard.

When trying to decide what playset to go for, there are a few considerations.  Firstly, you want to make sure you have enough room.  Getting a playset set up and placed in your backyard doesn’t take a ton of time or room, but having too little of either is a recipe for disaster.  Make sure you have at least a 30×30 area of installation to take place, and a 15×15 area for the playset to live.

The Installation Part

As for the installation, there are playset delivery/installation companies that can take care of all the hard work for you.  The other times you may want to choose a smaller sized playset if you are planning on doing all the work yourself.  Personally I would choose to hire a professional because it’s just a lot of work and will get you more frustrated then necessary.  These guys do this work almost exclusively and it’s not that expensive.  The job will get done quicker and more efficiently, plus you can just sit back and watch.

How Does it Look?

As for the decor and look of the playset, you really should go for a wooden one.  They are heavier and could cost a bit more then plastic or metal ones, but they end up looking really good.   Cedar ones end up have a nice scent as well, as cedar wood is usually used in many home applications because it is strong and smells good.

So go for a wooden playset that is large enough to be useful but small enough that it doesn’t take up the entire yard.  You will find that a good selection will make the different in the long run.  Hire a professional to install it and save yourself a hernia and a headache.  Lastly, choose a wooden playset that will look rustic and add charm and character to your backyard.  (One last note, make sure the kids have a little bit of a say too, they will be the ones playing in it after all).


Picking the Right Washer and Dryer

Updated 3/2017: Added new section on Energy Star and additional reference links.

Picking the right washer and dryer is a difficult choice.  You have to realize how many different options and choices there are, as well as whatever price range you want to go after.  It would be impossible to choose the right one without doing was solid research.  There are a few different buckets that washer/dryers fall into, and we will talk about those today.

Front Load Washers

Firstly, you have your front loaded washers, these are like the ones you see in the laundromat.  They have some benefits and some drawbacks, which we will talk about below:


Water Conservation

The main benefit is water conservation.  If you live in a place with strict water usage laws or you simply want to be more conscientious of your water usage/carbon footprint, this may be what you want to do.  Front load washers can be found at most all home appliance megastores like Sears, Home Depot, Lowe’s, etc.


Do to the specifics of the design (which are a bit complex and we won’t get into here) the front load washer tends to last a lot longer than the top load variety.  You will notice that the gears and mechanisms of top-load washing machines tend to wear out quicker.

Front loaders can also handle more weight and higher laundry load capacities (this is why you see them in laundromats, where people ritually abuse the capabilities of the machine in order to get the most for their quarters, and I don’t blame them).


The drawback to front load washer is price.  They are almost always more expensive then the top loads.  Some people also tend to dislike the fact that they have to bend down to load the laundry in.  It is kind of a hassle (this is why I always choose the top dryer in the laundromat, no bending over).

Stackable Washing Machines

Stacked Washer Dryer in a Cabinet
Finding a “stacked” or “stackable” washer/dryer combo can help save space and fit lots of different design elements.

The stackable washer and dryer is an interesting use of the machines.  It is perfect for smaller homes, for use in closets or tucked away in a corner.  It doesn’t perfectly replace a full-out washer dryer since it’s always a bit underpowered.  Well, let’s not get ahead of ourselves, here’s the nitty gritty:


The main benefit is space.  Washer/dryer combos are bulky by nature.  If you have the extra space, then go for it, because a deluxe non-stackable combo will be more power, more staying power, and will be able to handle bigger loads.  However if you only have a small laundry room (and don’t mind doing more/smaller loads) then it’s a good fit.


As I mentioned before, you are going to be sacrificing both power, load capacity and durability.  Definitely not the choice if you are washing clothes are 10 kids, but if you only do laundry once a week, and don’t mind doing 2 or 3 loads instead of 1 or 2, it may be a good choice.

Because of the unique combination it’s also a tad big more expensive then getting separate washer/dryers of the same power.  Although the different is usually not noticeable when shopping around because the separate units are more powerful, hence more expensive.

I would recommend doing your research before making a decision.  The above article is a good primer, but I would check more thoroughly before making a final buying decision.  We’ve referenced some sites below in the “References” section that could make a good source for research.

Note On Energy Star

A special update on EnergyStar rated appliances.  With increased popularity of energy conservation, as well as the increased cost of energy, be sure to look for appliances that are energy star rated.  They will be more efficient and save lots of money in the long run.  Over several years energy bills can add up tremendously.


The above was just a taste of the research you can do to track down the best washer for your need.  It all depends on many factors, space considerations, price points and budget, load capacity and durability.  Take all those into account and you should be able to find a decent choice.



Having a Good Plumber On-Call Is Essential

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