Effective Ways of Relaxing On The Patio

Guest post by Hubert Dwight

If you often spend sleepless nights rehashing the events of the day or worrying about your future, relaxation techniques could assist you get the sleep you require.patio heater

Learning to shut the mind to all of the day’s stresses can allow both your mind as well as your body to rest and  recharge.

Good relaxation techniques can help combat stress during the daytime so it does not keep you awake during the night.

I often find sitting out on a patio,. or verandah when you can be away from the TV news and other distractions is an aid to relaxing

With this in mind, here are some suggestions on how you can relax on your patio at night.


Reading is a great way you can use to leave all the thoughts of the day behind you. and enter a different world.

While relaxing on your patio at night, it’s ideal that you choose something light and enjoy it in  peace.

Reading however will only work if you are among those people who enjoy reading.

Listening to Soft Music

If you’re not into reading, listening to soft music is another excellent strategy of passing time while you’re relaxing at your patio at night. Soft and relaxing music will relax your mind as well as your body. Choose soft music with no lyrics and songs that have a regular slow rhythm.

The reason for this is that song lyrics can easily stick in your mind and hence keep you awake longer that you usually stay up. Also, you can choose the sounds of nature to help you relax at your patio at night.

Taking Deep Breaths and Thinking of Good Things

While relaxing at your patio, take a few deep breaths. Taking a few slow deep breaths will assist you in releasing stress in your body.

When a person is stressed, he or she often tends to breathe in short, rapid breaths.

Getting into this habit can sort out your breathing and easily return you to a calm of state.

Thinking of good things while relaxing is also a sure way that you can use to lower your immediate stress.

For instance, you can think of how happy it is to be loved by your family or even about a great vacation you went with your friends or loved ones.

Do a little light gardening

If you have pot plants on your patio, a little evening gardening could be a great way to relax.

Simply pruning a bonsai tree or tending to your potted plants will certainly help distract you from your problems and most people find watching things grow is a good way to generate positive thoughts.

Making Sure You Are Comfortable

Of course it’s essential that you have a comfortable warm patio to relax on, otherwise the chill may way see you heading back indoors, away from your sanctuary on your patio.

Having comfortable patio furniture, with a table for nibbles and drinks is good.

Some screening to keep cold winds away is also worthwhile

There are plenty of heating options out there that can help to make your patio a haven for relaxation.

Whether you choose an outdoor heater powered by gas or electric, make it an energy efficient one to avoid having bills so high that you’ll be more stressed out than ever.


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The House a Cow Built!

Cow excavated HouseThis is certainly an unusual house, and a key construction worker was a cow.

Basically dirt was piled up and a concrete floor was poured.

Hay bales were then stacked on the floor and more concrete poured around and over the bales.

The final step was to allow a cow to eat its way through the bales until the final surface were revealed.

I think the floor would have needed a lot of cleaning before you could lay a carpet.

Want to find out more? then check out Dornob

For more Unusual House Photos, Wins, and Fails, have a look at: What the………………….?



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Construction – Holes In Timber Frames

Hole in timber frameThe house frame has all been completed, and inspected . . . . and then some idiot plumber drills holes in the frame like this!

Right through the bottom plate, and the top plate, of both storeys of the house!

Holes are often drilled in:

  • Studs*
  • Plates*
  • Beams /Joists

* see Basic Timber Frame  for an explanation of these terms.

If it’s not the plumber drilling through the frame it might be the electrician or air conditioning installer.

So what is allowable?

Holes in Studs, and Plates, of Wall Frames

  • Only on wide face of Stud.
  • Maximum size of hole 25mm dia
  • Must be in centre of Stud.
  • No closer than 3 x width of stud from any trench cut into stud.

Holes in Solid Beams

Horizontal holes no more than 25mm dia

  • Maximum of 3 in a 1.8m length of span.
  • Each hole must be at least equivalent to the beam depth from the adjacent hole.

Horizontal holes no more than 50mm dia

  • Minimum spacing of 1.8m along span.
  • Maximum dia no more than 1/4 beam depth. (for a 150mm deep beam maximum diameter will be 37mm)
  • Must be located in middle third of beam depth.

Vertical Holes

  • Maximum diameter 1/4 of width of beam
  • Must be in centre of beam
  • Minimum spacing 6 x width


  1. When considering spacing, a knot in the wood is considered the same as a hole.
  2. For holes in Manufactured Timber Joists you should check with the manufacturer’s Website.

Further Reading

Australian Standard AS1684 Timber Framing (See www.timber.net.au)

The Australian House Building Manual by Allan Staines, published by Pinedale Press.


See Structural Frame for more posts


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Outdoor Heating- What Are The Best And Most Cost-Effective Options?

Guest post by Hubert Dwight

An outdoor space is the best place to relax and to spend quality time with your family and friends, however this pleasure is usually limited to some extent during colder seasons and some cooler summer evenings.

To enjoy your patio at any time whether it is day or night perhaps you need to invest in a patio heater.

Many people feel that a patio heater would be outside of their budget, but there are many affordable outdoor heating options available on today’s market.

So, if you’re asking what options you have for outdoor heating, then let us compare some of the best choices available.

Natural Gas Heaters (Mains Gas)

Natural gas heating has been a cost effective way to add warmth to outdoor venues if your property already has. mains gas .

The installation charges are high compared with bottled gas as you will need a plumber to install pipes to heater locations but the running costs are substantially lower.

They are available in a range of options including table top and free standing models.

Larger heaters are capable of warming up an area of more than 3m in diameter.

An advantage over bottled gas is you don’t have to worry about refilling because there is a constant supply of fuel.

Most heaters are a point source so the temperature will drop considerable as you move away from the source.

LPG Heaters (Bottled Gas)

As the name suggests, this outdoor heating option uses bottled LPG, but in many ways is similar to Natural Gas.

Using gas bottles mean they are completely mobile so you can move them to different locations as needed.

These heaters have a low initial cost as you can set them up by yourself without needing a plumber for installation.

Running costs are however higher than natural gas and there is the inconvenience of having to regular exchange gas bottles, as they run out.

Radiant Electrical Heating

heat stripThis heating option is good for outdoor use mainly because the radiant heat warms you, not the air around you so minimal energy is lost into the atmosphere.

With  long heating units rather than a point source it more evenly heats an area.

It is a convenient as you don’t really need to worry about filling propane or gas, as well as being low maintenance.

Low profile heat strip units (like the Heat Strip Classic units in this photo) can be mounted unobtrusively high on a wall, on a pergola, or on the roof of an al-fresco area, where is will be above the reach of young children.

If you are looking for a safe low-profile options, these are well worth considering.


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Alternative Heating!

You might think that living in a hot country like Australia you don’t have to think about heating.

Have another think or on a cold night this sort of ‘Fan Heater’ might be the only way you can heat your room.

Alternative Heating

This photo is from There I fixed it – Red Neck Repairs one of my favourite waste of time websites.


For more Unusual House Photos, Wins, and Fails, have a look at: What the………………….?



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Solar Power – Inverters

What Are Inverters?

Basically an inverter is a device which converts the electricity from your solar panels to a form that can be used by normal domestic appliances, and lights.

The electricity generated by the solar panels is Direct Current (DC) but the typical home runs on Alternating Current (AC)*.

*It is possible to run a home on DC electricity without an inverter but you will need to buy special appliances, such as those designed for caravan use. The wiring requirements are also quite different!

Types of Inverter Applications

There are three types of inverter applications which all require different types of inverters, which are:

Stand Alone Inverters

These are used for houses that are not connected to the local power grid. The solar panels charge a bank of batteries by Direct Current. When an appliance is switched on the inverter converts the DC electricity from the batteries into AC power.

This is a relatively simple form of inverter, and the system as a whole has the following characteristics:

  • No power bills.
  • Unaffected by power cuts.
  • Initially expensive due to the cost of a large bank of batteries.
  • You may need an auxiliary power supply such as a generator for long periods with little sunlight.

Grid Tie Inverters

The most common form of inverter these days. The solar panels feed Direct Current into the inverter which converts the electricity into AC power. The power is then used by any appliances that are on, with excess electricity being ‘pushed’  into the grid. (You will be credited for this electricity) If electricity demand greater than the solar panels can provide power is taken from the Grid.

  • Reduced power bills.
  • A power cut will result in complete loss of power.
  • Lowest cost solar power system.

Dual Inverters

Also called Battery Backup Inverters. The solar panels charge a bank of batteries by Direct Current with the batteries providing power to the house in a similar manner to the standalone system. When the batteries are fully charged any excess  power is ‘pushed’  into the grid. (You will be credited for this electricity)

This is the most complex and expensive type of inverter, The system as a whole has the following characteristics:

  • Reduced power bills.
  • Unaffected by power cuts for several hours (depending on battery capacity).
  • Mid range cost. Although the inverter is expensive there are typically far fewer batteries than a stand alone system.


See Solar Electricity for more posts


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