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Retractable Awnings – The Perfect Marriage of Style and Functionality

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Retractable roofing system

If you have a hi-tech home and are looking at shading options, you can sample the future today with retractable folding arm awnings that are tailored to suit any outdoor area. Technology has given us many benefits, with composites that are stronger and lighter than traditional materials, and regarding awnings, it is now possible to span a considerable area without the need for ugly support posts, using an ingenious folding arm principle, where the arms fold inwards as the awning is retracted, making for a sleek and tidy operation.

Smart Technology

Motorised solutions and weather sensors make this the perfect addition for the smart home, and the awning controls can be incorporated into your smart home system and when the sun moves around, the awning will automatically provide the right shading. You can control your shading with a smartphone app, and the range of add-on sensors (sun, wind and rain) take the strain out of adjustment. The days of ropes and pulleys are behind us, and with a bespoke design that can either be attached to the building or as a stand alone unit, the awning will blend in perfectly with the surrounding décor.

Say Goodbye to Posts and Beams

Having a covering that encompasses the entire terrace used to require a few unsightly poles or pillars, and even the sleekest of awnings had a look of permanency about them and were quite restrictive, whereas modern awnings are supported by an ingenious folding arm mechanism that is invisible when the awning is fully closed. For open areas, you can choose a stylish side-post cantilevered unit that is very stable and looks like the terrace was built around it, rather than the other way around. Once you have located a company that tailors folding arm awnings in Melbourne, then it’s simply a matter of selecting a colour and style, and with the supplier’s wealth of hands-on experience in shading character properties, you can be sure the design will tick all the boxes.

Protect your Home

Having a tailor made retractable awning fitted will protect your furniture from the harmful effects of the UV rays, and with full remote control, you can forget having to get up every ten minutes to adjust the shading, and the smooth and silent motor (which is guaranteed for 6 years) will always ensure the ideal amount of shading and natural light, no matter the time of day. Without adequate shading, the sunlight will penetrate your patio doors and will likely cause carpets and furniture to fade, yet a retractable awning in place ensures that your interior is always shaded and protected from harmful UV rays.

Fabric Choices

As you would expect, there is an impressive range of solid colours and striped patterns, and by selecting something that looks like it belongs, your shading will also be an integral component in the overall look of the terrace. The highest quality imported fabric means the endless hours of strong sunlight will not affect the surface in any way, and this is guaranteed! Ideally, your chosen supplier would visit you at home, where you can both discuss the many options, which would include a retractable roofing system and several different brands of folding arm units, and there’s no rush to make your mind up regarding the fine details, which will give you time to visit their showroom, where you can experience the units in a real life outdoor setting.

A Prime Investment

Adding a retractable awning will certainly increase the value of your property, and should you ever decide to sell up and move on, you would likely get a good return on your investment, as the awning would last for many years. A fully retractable awning is classed much the same as a permanent roof and would therefore add significantly to the property value, and with a long product warranty, you can enjoy the benefits for many years to come.

Large Expanses

A single awning can cover an area 9m x 3m, with 3 specially formulated folding arms that recede into a customised cabinet, thus protecting the fabric while the awning is not in use. If your terrace is longer than this, why not have a pair of identical units side by side? That way, the entire area can be covered and there won’t be any posts or pillars for support, leaving the terrace with an unobstructed view, and with all the components corrosion resistant, you can expect to enjoy many years of trouble free use.

Online Suppliers

If you would like to explore the possibilities of having a folding arm awning fitted, an online search will bring up a list of local suppliers, and with a little browsing, you should be able to narrow down your search, and maybe ask several companies to quote for the project. Each would want to visit you at home and discuss the many options, and by setting aside one evening for each, you will soon have a good idea of what is available and more importantly, which supplier to choose.

Once you have agreed to everything, contracts are signed and within a few days, the surveyor will pay you a visit and take the very precise measurements needed for fabrication, which will be carried out at their factory. You would then be given an installation date and the units would be fitted by a team of technicians, who would invite the client to inspect the finished unit.

Interest Free Credit

If you’ve decided it is high time to sort out the outdoor shading, but finances are not as good as they might be, most suppliers would offer their clients interest free finance, which spreads the cost over a few months, and this avoids having to wait until next year in order to have your terrace shading.

If you take the time to look into the latest generation of folding arm awnings, you might be pleasantly surprised at the many options available, and you and your family can enjoy those long summer days relaxing on the terrace in complete comfort.

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4 Reasons Why Microfiber Cloths are Better for Cleaning

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Microfiber cloths for cleaning, Is microfiber cloth good for dusting

There are many products that claim to do a better job than the original, like exercise machines that promise to burn more calories or shoes that claim to be better for your posture. Indeed, many have fallen for these promises and ended up disappointed. 

Microfiber cloths are in a league of their own, however, because they really ARE better than rags and other cleaning implements. Don’t believe it? Here are a few reasons why you should buy microfiber cleaning cloths and towels for your home. 

They are Better for Dry Dusting

The physical structure of microfiber cloths is what makes them different and more effective: the tiny fibers of this synthetic fabric are split into even thinner, tinier “hooks,” which pick up and hold on to the dirt and grime. Other materials like cotton or cotton blends simply don’t have this property, and that’s why you end up just scattering dust or transferring it onto another surface. 

Another benefit of microfiber is that it leaves no residues that often end up attracting more dust. You can even use the same cloth as a surface polisher; just flip over the cloth and buff the surface for a lint-free shine. 

They Do a Better Job Removing Grime

Sometimes, you really have to use a wet cloth to get out some stubborn grime, like grease stains or soap spots. The good thing about microfiber is that you don’t need to use special cleaners to do the job — most of the time, a little bit of water will do. If you need more environment-friendly cleaning power, white vinegar will do just fine. Simply moisten one end of your microfiber cloth, scrub the grime away, then use the other end to dry and shine the surface your cleaned. 

Microfiber also has another edge over other materials: where other cloths leave lint behind, whether you use them wet or dry, microfiber doesn’t have this problem; it cleans without any lint and streaks. If you’ve ever experienced cleaning something that ended up looking dirtier than before, because of all the streaks and smudges, you’ll certainly appreciate a high-quality microfiber cloth. It’s especially wonderful to use on glass and mirrored surfaces!  


‘Calibri’,’sans-serif’; mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri;”>It’s Better for the Environment

Because there is no need for chemicals and other harsh cleaners, microfiber cloths are safer for the environment. Even the washing process of microfiber is a lot more ecologically friendly — no need for bleach and fabric softeners, just some mild detergent. 

What’s more, high quality microfiber doesn’t degrade as easily. As long as you follow the proper care instructions, one piece of microfiber cloth can last for about 300 to 500 washings! This means you also reduce the waste you generate while cleaning. Less waste also means less expenses, so it really is a win-win situation. 

It’s Better for Your Health

Apart from the reduced exposure to harmful chemicals, microfiber cleaning cloths can also protect you from physical strain. Why? It’s a lot lighter than cotton even if it absorbs so much more moisture. This saves you from neck, wrist, and back injuries that may be caused by carrying heavy, water-soaked mops. 

Microfiber has also been scientifically proven to be able to remove 93 percent of viruses and up to 98 percent of bacteria from surfaces. And because it dries much faster than cotton, it’s a lot harder for bacteria to grow in the cloth; this also drastically reduces that chances of cross-contamination. 

Finally, using microfiber cloths and cleaning implements like dusters and mops cuts down your cleaning time. You therefore have more time to rest or do other things like your hobbies, which is definitely better for your overall health. 

Over the years, many revolutionary products have come and gone. They may actually do as they promise, but they could be complicated to use or a bit too expensive for many people to access. Microfiber cloths, however, have truly changed our lives for the better. Although not as technological when compared to smartphones and computers, microfiber cloths have definitely made our lives easier, healthier, and more comfortable.

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How to Create a Beautiful Garden in a Small Space

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Garden ideas for small spaces, Garden design ideas

There are many benefits to having a garden in your home. The most obvious one of course is that it is a visually pleasing addition to any living space. Tending to a garden has also been scientifically proven to be beneficial to one’s physical and psychological health. What’s more, if you grow crops and herbs, you’ll be able to cut down your grocery expenses as well.

Contrary to what many people might think, a beautiful garden doesn’t need too much space. There are also a lot of plants that thrive even with minimal care, so you don’t have to worry if you don’t have possess the proverbial green thumb. Here are some tips on how you can maximize your yard space and cultivate a small yet charming garden of your very own.

Create Levels

You may not have a lot of horizontal floor space, but you can certainly create more by building upwards. Try planting on layered boxes (think of bleacher benches) or building archways, plant towers, or trellises where plants can craw. You can also consider installing a frame on a wall where you can hang aerial plants. Dividing your garden into sections may also create the illusion of a bigger area. Create the divisions using stones, grass, or even a line of small plants.

You can also try what is called “square foot gardening” for some variety. This simply entails dividing the growing area into individual patches, usually one square foot each, where you plant different kinds of vegetables, herbs, and other plants that don’t take up much space.

Add a Water Fountain

Installing an outdoor water fountain can instantly beautify your small garden. However, just like gardens themselves, outdoor water fountains are often thought of as something that requires a lot of space. This is simply not true, as there are many space-saving models available in the market. Look for tall, tower-type floor fountains or a pedestal model where you can arrange a small collection of plants underneath. If your yard is flush against a wall, an outdoor wall fountain is an ideal choice. Surround it with hanging plants and watch them thrive with the additional moisture!

Very small garden ideas, Small garden landscaping ideas

Go for an Edible Garden

If you’re really going for the maximum output in the smallest amount of space, plant vegetables, root crops, and herbs instead of ornamentals. Edibles are low-maintenance (no mowing or frequent clipping required!), require less watering, and, except for a few species that need specific conditions to grow, can thrive in almost any kind of environment. Plus, you’ll get to harvest fresh, healthy, and organic foods.

Tomatoes are easy to grow and bear fruit quite quickly; they’re also pleasant to look at with their various colors. Blueberries, blackberries, parsley, sweet potatoes, and other plants that can tolerate acidic to moderately acidic soil are also good choices if you aren’t quite a skilled gardener. Meanwhile, if you’re gunning for variety, you can plant quick-to-harvest crops like baby carrots, green onions, lettuce, and other leafy greens.

Plant in Containers

Instead of planting directly on the soil, use various containers that you can hang or stack. Planting in containers easily increases the amount of space where you can plant, and adds mobility to your garden so you can rearrange it to add more plants and crops whenever you want. Planting in pots, boxes, and other kinds of containers also allows you to use spaces that won’t be normally accommodating plants, like window sills or walls.

Bring Some Plants Indoors

Sometimes, you really don’t have enough space in your yard. In that case, moving a part of your garden indoors is a good idea. Bust out the planters and pots for succulents, a variety of cactuses, and flowers. For edibles, pick a spot in the house that receives the most sun — window sills are often the most ideal locations for herbs like basil, oregano, rosemary, and thyme. You can even grow dwarf trees like figs, lemons and limes, mulberries, oranges, and olives using bigger pots that drain well.

You may have limited acreage in your yard but remember: your creativity is limitless! Put your imagination in action and your garden will soon flourish.

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Diagnostic Car Tool, What is it? Benefits Of A Car Diagnostic Scanner

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OBD2 scanner bluetooth

All modern cars have some form of computer control system usually referred to as the ECM (Electronic Control Module). The ECM controls the operation of the Powertrain or what you and I would call the engine and transmission.

Although there are some parts of the Powertrain that each vehicle manufacturer has to monitor there are others that are optional or specific to each manufacturer.

So, as with almost anything that has a computer control system, it is inevitable that it will have some form of diagnostic system built in so that when a problem occurs it can be easily pinpointed and fixed. The term used for a vehicles diagnostic system is OBD or On Board Diagnostics.

When a fault is picked up by the OBD, a warning signal on the vehicles dashboard lights up. This is usually referred to as the MIL or Malfunction Indicator Light.

To help us find out what the error is, a diagnostic car tool is required. If you are a competent DIY mechanic or someone who knows about electronics/computer systems then you can buy your own diagnostic car tool as their price has become affordable considering the cost to get a dealer or car mechanic to do it each time the MIL comes on.

Why Do We Need OBD?

Vehicle on board computer systems were originally introduced in the late 1960’s and throughout the 1970’s and 1980’s more vehicle manufacturers started to introduce electronic systems to monitor their engines functions so that they could diagnose problems earlier. In the late 1980’s the California Air Resources Board (CARB) required all new cars to have a form of OBD. This was usually referred to as OBD 1.

In the mid 1990’s, to meet the increasing stringent EPA emission standards and to have a state-wide emissions testing program the CARB issued the OBD-II / OBD2 standard. In 1996 the OBDII/OBD2 standard was made mandatory for all new cars sold in the USA. In 2001 a similar standard was also implemented in Europe known as EOBD. This sophisticated standard provides almost complete engine control and also monitors parts of the chassis, body and accessory devices, as well as the diagnostic control network of the car.

Benefits Of A Car Diagnostic Scanner

Put yourself in this picture…. You’re driving home from a holiday, its pitchblack, you have your family with you and you still have a long journey before you get home. Suddenly the engine warning light or MIL light flashes on, your heart sinks as you think oh no!, what could be the problem and will you be able to get home?

Luckily you had the foresight to buy an OBD2 car diagnostic scanner that has a description of all possible faults built in. After plugging the OBD2 scan tool center into the car, you find out that the problem is not so serious and you can continue your journey.

Of course the problem could have been more serious but as you knew what it was from your scanner you would be able to give the breakdown service an accurate diagnosis of your car’s problem. This would then enable them to make sure they had the necessary tools and parts to attend to your car properly.

So having a good car diagnostic scanner, which you carry with you, allows you to diagnose any problems that occur and to then make an informed decision as to the correct route to take to resolve the issue.

What I mean by this is you either continue your journey safe in the knowledge that the problem is not serious and can be fixed when you get home. If a serious problem has been detected by the OBD2 scan tool center you can call the breakdown service and give them a more accurate description of your problem than just saying “the engine warning light has come on”

P.S. This really did happen to me 🙂

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