Category: Uncategorized

Bus Shelters

Choosing the style of shelter

Schoolbus Safety dictates that children have a safe location available to wait for their bus. Seeing into and out of a bus shelter easily is vital to the feeling of personal safety for bus passengers. The direction of the prevailing winds should be considered, as should the amount of glass needed. Our view is that if having glass is not essential, specify solid wood. A small cantilever shelter will seat four people and shelter another four standing under the overhang. Consideration should be taken not to block the sightline of road junctions or private driveways and enough space should be left on the pavement for a double buggy to pass unobstructed. Apart from these factors, it is a matter of personal choice.

Finding a location

Where an existing bus shelter is being replaced this is usually the best place for a new one.

If a bus shelter is being proposed at a location where one has not been before consultation should take place with adjacent residents. If reasonable objections are raised these need to be taken into account

Positioning the shelter

No part of the shelter should be closer to the road than 2 feet, this reduces the risk of high-sided vehicles or extended wing mirrors clipping the shelter

A minimum of 48 inches should be left as clear access on the pavement for wheelchairs

Good visibility at the arrivals end is highly desirable; the bus driver needs to be able to see into the shelter on the approach to the shelter without having to slow down. Bus passengers will also need a sightline to see the oncoming bus.

Local building codes must be considered for the suitability of any proposed bus shelter site.

Featured Image Credit: Philip Halling CC BY-SA 3.0 AUCreative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The most common Home and Contents Insurance Claims

Damage caused by natural disasters is among the most common home and contents insurance claims American households make every year.

The economic costs of 394 natural catastrophe events in 2018 came to $225 billion with insurance covering just $90 billion of the overall total, according to an Aon report titled “ Weather, Climate & Catastrophe Insight

Recent devastating wildfires in California serve as a reminder to homeowners of the damage natural catastrophes can cause, with reports suggesting that many of those affected may be underinsured.

But it doesn’t always take a natural disaster to cause serious damage to your home or contents.

Large televisions tipping over, windows breaking, and faulty plumbing are among the most common accident-related claims.

Many people could not afford to replace their home and contents in the event of damage or loss and as a result, insurance was an important consideration for homeowners and renters.

It is equally important to choose the appropriate home and contents insurance for your circumstances.

It goes without saying that if you live close to the coast or Forrest, that flood and fire should be in your policy

However, understanding what additional events the policy covers is also important as you don’t always know what exactly will happen in the future.

Related Articles

How To File a Homeowners Insurance Claim

Homeowners Insurance Guide: A Beginner’s Overview

How the Home Insurance Claim Process Works

10 of the Weirdest Insurance Claims in the U.S.A

Strange Classic Car Insurance Claims




Ladew Topiary Gardens Review

Ladew Topiary Gardens – Monkton, Maryland

I had seen images of some of the more popular creations of Ladew Topiary Gardens in my garden books already—the iconic fox chase across a lawn rendered totally in yew hedges is perhaps the most famous. Sometimes the whimsy conjured by these sculpted hedges can be a little too sugary-sweet for my taste, with oversized cartoonish characters looming over gardens like parade floats. And while plenty of animal-shaped topiary can indeed be found at Ladew, there is, however, true artistic craftsmanship evident throughout the twenty-two acres of former farmland that is simply undeniable. I challenge anyone to not be totally enamored by this magical place nestled in the unlikely farm country just outside of Baltimore, Maryland.

My amazement began almost immediately as I passed under a covered walkway hung with wisteria and made my way into the Terrace Garden. I was so taken with this three-level garden where walls made of hedges enclosed each terrace, some of which were shaped to appear hung with garlands or with cut-out windows framing a pastoral vista. There were endless details to discover, like the stunning geometry of sharp-cut squares topped with triangular accents in varying sizes. Through two such mighty pyramids of brilliant green hedges is the first dramatic view down the central axis of the garden. Another one of the most arresting views is from The Great Bowl looking back up at the bright white silhouette of the main house across row after row of lush greenery in regimented shapes.

The place goes full fairytale when you step into The Great Bowl, a giant, circular clearing at the center of the garden where an oval fountain appears almost mirage-like at the center. The giant expanse of tidy clipped grass is surrounded by tall hedges on almost all sides giving the space a feeling of protective serenity. The most notable of these is an expanse of bulbous yew hedges topped with elegant swans riding undulating waves of green. A more structured set of bushes on the far side of the “bowl” frame a dramatic view down a hedge-lined hallway that continues the main axis of the garden layout. I often praise gardens for their use of natural, organic layouts, but this world of total artifice is endless fun to explore.

The sculpture garden features the most playful selection of topiary figures, but somehow the overall arrangement keeps their effect from veering fully into kitsch territory (not that I mind kitsch, necessarily). Silly though they might seem, a hand forming a peace sign or a peacock in full courtship mode perch atop tiered pedestals, and the effect playfully mimics a proper museum gallery. The stately bust of a unicorn was my favorite of the works in this section. Short rows of boxwood frame each bed of larger hedges and create a focal point for a jaunty sculpture surrounded by azalea bushes.

I was especially taken with the Iris Garden on my most recent visit, perhaps because I was lucky enough to catch a majority of the irises in full bloom. I appreciated that the topiary features in this garden were kept to a minimum, tucked off to one side or as a simple focal feature in a larger picture. Here, the flowers guide you onward down a gentle slope, clusters of deep purple irises seemed to hover a few feet off the ground along a small channel of water edged with Japanese maples in sultry shades of deep red. There was a whole garden filled with varieties of peony in bright white and pale yellow, their fluffy petals contrasting the upright irises nearby.

It is hard to believe this garden was created through the passion, determination, and physical labor of one man who took his amateur love of horticulture to the extreme. A man of money who bought the farm because of its proximity to a hunting lodge, Ladew hired local farmers to help clear the land that would be the stage for the grand gardens he envisioned, inspired by his travels to Italy and France. Over his lifetime, Ladew created the master garden design himself and after bringing it to life, he eventually opened up his masterpiece to the public. We are all that much luckier that this garden treasure wasn’t kept hidden away only to be seen by visiting celebrities and foreign royalty.

Final Rating: This is one of those gardens where the unexpectedness of the location really adds to the charm of the whole experience. Who would expect to find a first-class topiary garden wedged in between Maryland farms? This remarkable place has all the pomp of a classical formal garden, balanced out with a humorous sensibility that makes it approachable. It is worth a visit, and worth setting aside a full day to explore, since there are over twenty different themed garden rooms and sections, each interwoven into a master design. The upkeep is impeccable, allowing you to fully explore and appreciate all of the intricacy and ingenuity on display in every corner of the astounding Ladew Topiary Gardens. FIVE BLOOM RATING

Topiary Resources

Designing and Maintaining Commercial Topiaries
Green Animals Topiary Garden | Newport Mansions
Five of the World’s Most Fascinating Topiary Gardens
The Best Public Topiary Gardens | Architectural Digest
Strange & Wonderful Topiary Gardens – Old House Journal

Image by BobSpicer from Pixabay

Working Safely: 8 Tips for Working Solo

There’s a lot to love about living alone,  there are also quite a few challenges that come with having just one pair of hands available. As an amateur, there’s going to be a lot you can’t—or shouldn’t—do alone when it comes to home improvement projects. And then there are these eight things that you can tackle solo.

Make a String Bucket Elevator

Working in an attic or up on the roof could mean lots of trips up and down ladders with heavy equipment. Take a tip from treehouse living and rig up a big bucket on a string to help you take everything up at once. eHow →

Make DIY Cabinet Jacks

Yes, even installing kitchen cabinets can turn into a solo job with the right tools. These handmade jacks hoist cabinets up into place for one-man installation. This is Carpentry →

How to Snap Chalk Lines Solo

Marking straight lines for laying tile or a similar project doesn’t need to be a team task. Here one way you can work a chalk line solo. YouTube →

How to Test a Circuit Breaker by Yourself

The best tips are the ones that make you go “duh.” From Family Handyman:

Find circuit breakers by plugging a loud radio into the outlet you’re working on. You’ll know you have the right circuit breaker when the music dies.

How to Handle Extension Ladders

With the risk of injury, it’s best to have a spotter when you’re working with a tall ladder. But if you’re going to do it alone, make sure you’re well-versed in the proper technique for using extension ladders safely. WikiHow →

How to Make a Furniture Dolly

It can be simple or sturdy, but a wheeled dolly will make fast work of moving furniture or other heavy materials. All you need is a solid frame and four wheels. The easiest DIY dolly? A Skateboard.

How to Build Levers and Pulleys

Taking it back to grade school with this one. Simple machines are easy to build and can help you lift and move several times more weight than you could handle alone.→

How to Carry Plywood by Yourself

You don’t necessarily need a buddy to carry a 4′ by 8′ sheet of plywood, all you need is some rope and this clever trick. Porch →

For the Pros

Too often, workers are forced to work alone, creating an unsafe work environment that leads to injury. If you become injured on the job and lose your income, you may qualify for legal funding

Focus on several things when aging in place

Many homeowners plan to stay in their homes over the long term, and some may plan to live independently at home rather than moving into a retirement community, if possible.

Living at home as you age does require advance planning, however. All homeowners wishing to continue living in their home past retirement should plan early for aging in place.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, aging in place is defined as the ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably regardless of age, income, or ability level.

While the goal of remaining in one’s own home is shared by many, it isn’t always feasible due to declining health and changes in finances.

Top Four areas to focus on:

Safety updates:

One of the most significant obstacles to remaining in one’s own home is safety. Updates to consider may include a walk-in shower, safety rails, stair lifts, widening doorways, installing non-slip flooring or adding ramps, if a wheelchair is necessary.

Obtaining provisions:

Getting the necessities like healthy food and medications to your home can be an issue over time. Luckily, grocery stores and food-delivery services are growing in popularity, and medical delivery services seem to be developing as well. Certain non-profits offer food delivery services too.

Preparing for emergencies:

While emergencies may be stressful to envision, it’s best to be ready for them before they occur. Living alone can make it difficult to get aid promptly following an accident, but technological innovations can help. Home surveillance cameras and medical alert systems can be a fast and easy way to summon assistance. Establishing a contact, perhaps a family member or friend, to check in on you regularly also could help without the technological investment.

It is important to have access to quality health care and some mode of transportation, too.

Budgeting for expenses:

Making changes to your home and any continuous maintenance or repair work can get expensive, so you will need to examine your financial situation and retirement savings to see what is feasible.

It would also be wise to seek advice from a trusted financial counselor as early as possible.

On a final note, if you are considering any of these changes to your home and need to hire a remodeler, financial counselor, home security company, or any other business or charity, remember it is always important to research the company thoroughly first.

Aging in Place Useful Links

Ultimate Guides

Design Resources

Aging in Place Ideas

Americans with Disabilities Act Resources

General Information

Other Resources