Plan Your Kitchen with Kitchen Planning Software

As technology advances in such a way that even the less ‘savvy’ can use many of the simpler software programs on the market, so has it helped many students, builders, decorators, and prospective homeowners master the use of simple kitchen design software.

It’s not really that difficult to use some of the home design software out there, especially if you start off with the simpler (to use) and cheaper versions. If all you need is to create a simple kitchen layout, easy-to-use software will suffice.

So whether you want a simple makeover, to build a new kitchen, or to transform your bathroom, you can use a basic design software program to conceptualise your ideas.

Savvy or Not, it’s Easy to Use Kitchen Design Software

For those who already use design software, using the basic programs is definitely not for you but if you are a novice using such programs for the first time, it’s best to dedicate some time to familiarise yourself with it. If you give yourself an hour (or thereabouts) to study the interface and see what it offers, using it will become a ‘breeze’ from then on.

All this this means is that you don’t have to be that savvy to use a kitchen (and bath) design software. You only have an edge if you’ve previously learned how to use CAD software. In that case, you are better off using a more professional CAD program for building designs, like AutoCAD, Autodesk or Chief Architect.

Comprehensive Library of Cabinet Designs, Fittings, and Finishes

With basic kitchen design software, you’ll find loads of design concepts in its library. You’ll also find a vast range of fittings, furnishings, cabinetry, flooring, and many other features you can play around with, until you get your desired concept.

From slate counter-tops to solid hardwood floors; contemporary kitchen designs to the warmer country style, whatever you can conceive in terms of designs and finishes can be found in the software’s library of designs and finishes.

At the click of a button; you’ll be able to fit in any of the under-listed (and more!) into your kitchen design concept:
  • Base and top cabinets
  • Sinks
  • Taps
  • Tiling and flooring
  • Splash backs
  • Counter-tops
  • Handles/knobs
  • Glass
  • Textures
You’ll even find things like kitchen pedal bins, light fittings, wall and floor finishes, door/drawer styles, and a whole lot more.

As a First Time User of a Kitchen Planner, What You Need to Know

If you are using kitchen design software for the first time, there are a few things to know and do.

Software programs don’t do ALL the work; you’ll first have to play your part, then the software does the rest to bring your idea to life. It will always depend on what you ‘feed’ in to it. It’s an important role you have to play to ensure you get accurate end results. You can then leave the rest of the task to the software.

Step 1

You must ensure to take accurate floor measurements of your kitchen and note it roughly on a sheet of paper. As long as the measurements are as accurate as is possible and you note the precise positions of doors, windows, water supply, electricity switches, sockets, etc… on the sketch (including their measurements), you have ‘crossed the first hurdle’.

Step 2

Once your measurements are done, feed in the shape and dimensions of the space into the program. It will in turn generate an accurate floor plan. At this point, you are almost done.

Step 3

This is where your creativity comes to play. It’s time to have fun with moving things around on the interface, and create a great fit of all you require in your design. Place cabinets, shelves, appliances, breakfast counter, dining area, furniture, etc…, wherever you may wish, changing at will and at a click of a button, until you are satisfied.

The last step is the most exciting part of using kitchen planner software. You can spend hours just having fun . . . placing objects, colouring, adding stylish features, changing cabinet doors and drawer faces, even adding d├ęcor items like a bowl of flowers, fruit baskets, countertop appliances. Just try it, you’ll love it!

Enjoy a Virtual Tour of Your Kitchen

When you finally develop a concept you are pleased with (whether simple or complicated), the kitchen planner will generate your design concept in 3D. It will generate and give you a virtual tour of your very own creation. Now you’ll see your kitchen as it will look.

You can move within your designed space from one end of the room to another, and if anything seems out of place, you can edit it quickly at the click of a button.

You can even get a view of your kitchen and see how it will look like with the infusion of both natural and artificial lighting (day and night).

So, if you decide to build a new kitchen or choose to remodel an existing one, it is strongly recommended that you borrow a leaf from the professional kitchen planners at home improvement stores and use a simple kitchen design software program to achieve what you desire for your kitchen style.

Who Should You Hire for Your Landscape Works?

If you are building a new patio or renovating an existing one, you may be in a dilemma as to who to seek for professional services.

If you are not really sure of your own expertise, and doubt you'll get a perfect job done, then you should consider calling in any of these three specialists.
  • Landscape designers
  • Landscape architects
  • Landscape contractors
Landscape architects and landscape designers generally provide the same kind of services. They conceptualise a task and develop their design ideas that is expected to be unique, breath-taking one-of-a-kind designs, no matter the size of the landscaping project. At least that's what most of their paying clients expect. They handle both residential and commercial projects.

Landscape contractors on the other hand, though some of them are capable of designing anything that has to do with gardens and landscapes, they are more into the building and construction aspects of outdoor rooms and other structural features. It is they that bring to reality the landscape designers creative designs, and give their clients physical real life structures for them to see, feel and use.

These landscaping experts, who fall under a blanket name, landscape designers, can provide their professional services from the design stage, and in most cases, through to completion.

What to Expect From a Landscape Designer

Professional landscape designers and landscape architects will design the patio, draw up its plans and supervise the patio construction works from beginning to end. If and when they are retained for services, they should:
  • Examine the plot and determine the best location for the patio.
  • Prepare a design concept and produce preliminary and working drawings.
  • Draw up the cost estimates and bid specifications.
  • Arrange for the contractor and subcontractors.
  • Ensure quality materials are used for the project.
  • Ensure construction works goes on properly and that high standards and good quality of works is attained.
  • Make sure that all works are executed on schedule.
  • Make a final inspection of the completed work before 'handing over’

Finding a Landscape Architect

One of the best ways to choose a professional landscape designer to handle your patio design and construction works is to have one that's referred by a satisfied customer. Or one that you've seen his or her work and what you've seen makes you confident of his unique creations. After all your reasons for hiring an expert’s advice and service is because you expect the best.

Other ways to find accredited landscape designers is through associations such as the American Society for Landscape Architects (ASLA) or the American Institute of Architects (AIA). Other sources are any of the landscape contractors associations that can be found in many localities. You can check from these sources on-line.

Hiring Landscape Contractor to Build Your Patio

Landscape contractors are generally experts in outdoor rooms and garden construction, and the role they play is to supervise subcontractors and coordinate construction works associated with patio building. If the patio building project is large, the landscape contractor is responsible for the hiring of the subcontractors such as the carpenters, plumbers, electricians and tile setters.

The landscape contractor is also responsible for the materials purchase, and if the project is large enough, can save his client some money by purchasing at low wholesale prices.

However, if the patio building task is a less complex one, a landscape contractor may come in with a jack-of-all-trades experience and do the job single-highhandedly, without the help of subcontractors.

After all minor and major decisions have been concluded, the landscape architect and/or landscape contractor will present a firm quote for the patio project. Clients are responsible for getting the complete legal written contract agreements that will be signed by both client and landscaper. The contract should include the following:
  • Scaled drawings and 3D presentations
  • Detailed Specifications
  • Type of materials to be used
  • Quantity of materials
  • Project schedule and duration
  • Clean-up agreement (and clearing debris from site)
  • Payment agreement and schedule 

Avoid Unnecessary Expenses

You will be able to avoid unnecessary costs if you can stick to the working plans presented by your landscape designer once your patio building project commences. Any change to the confirmed (by you) patio designs after this stage has proven to be expensive and is therefore good to note.

And whatever you do, ensure that the contracts signed are airtight, and if you don’t clearly understand the contract terms used, it's good to ask a lawyer to review such. You may save money in the long term.

Whatever the size of your outdoors, and whatever the final designs of your patio will be, employing the services of the landscaping professionals is a safe bet. This way, your garden and patio design will turn out a masterpiece.

Home Maintenance Tasks Women Can Do

Yes! Even when it comes to DIY home maintenance works, many of today’s women can achieve anything they put their minds to, as long as it doesn’t involve hauling heavy tools or materials around the home for repair purposes.

Women have been known to carry out kitchens and bathroom remodelling works, including repairing furniture, attending to plumbing problems, house painting, fixing ironmongery, and even installing a new doorbell.
If you are a single independent woman, a single mother, or a woman living alone, this is a call to unfold more of yourself as you may have hidden qualities that you never knew you posessed  You may have latent qualities of a great household maintenance person including being good at home improvement works around your home.

And for women in general, trying your hands out on home repair tasks is an area where you can discover yourself.

Some Household Repairs Women Can Do

You may find you don’t need to call in the home repairs guy that’ll probably charge you a ‘bomb’ for a couple of hour’s task. Once you have the right collection of tools, including a few simple power tools, you’ll be able to carry out repairs like:
  • Fixing a falling curtain rail (using a small power tool to drive screws back in)
  • Re-hinge kitchen/bathroom cabinet doors that’s about to get un-hinged
  • Remove old unsightly tile grout and re-apply new grout filler
  • Fix a loose tile
  • Unblock your clogged drain
  • Fix a broken chair or table leg
  • Paint a whole room
  • Tighten screws or lubricate squeaky hinges
  • Fix a leaky faucet
  • Use a plumbing snake to unclog blocked toilets
  • Re-finish your wood floor
  • Re-finish wood furniture
Plus many more. And if you are really stuck and don’t know how to go about a certain task, then do some research on the internet, in places like YouTube. The web is today's library and contains up-to-the-minute advice on best home improvement ideas, tutorials, and tips, plus information on how to accomplish ANY task around the home.

. . . But You Need the Right Home Repair Tools

Have you seen the wonderful tool-kits for home improvement tasks designed strictly for women? There is really no difference in the tool content except that they come in lovely feminine colours.

Additionally, you can get a beautiful easy to carry tool organiser (tool box) or similar container to keep all your home improvement tools in. Also, you can easily make (or buy) a workman's "apron" with functional pockets to hold smaller tools in a convenient place whilst doing your maintenance tasks around the home.

Functionality is the most important benefit of any tool, so it is good to ensure you purchase the right kinds of tool-kits and power tools. In the event that you need a particular tool but don’t have it, get creative and use what you have to get what you want.

For instance, if you need to replace the garbage disposal unit of your kitchen sink, though it may seem a bit of a challenge to hold it under the sink and tighten it down from the top at the same time, you can get ingenious by using the jack from your car to jack the disposal in place while working on it from above. Voila!

DIY . . . But Get Help If It’s Beyond Your Skills

If you absolutely must, get help, rather than mess things up further, especially for more complicated tasks.

However, if you wish to acquire home repairs, maintenance, or re-modelling skills, you can learn from:
  • 'Habitat for Humanity' - You can volunteer to take part in projects within your locality. You will be with other volunteers who are also learning how to acquire home building and maintenance skills. In your home, you will use such skills constructively.
  • Home Improvement Stores - You can get a few lessons at some local centres and home improvement stores if you are lucky to have some within your locality. They will gladly tutor and direct you on how you can do certain things for yourself, including tasks such as painting, tiling, etc…   
  • BeJane - This is a great site that teaches women how to do home projects. They have experts and awesome tips and you will learn a lot about home improvement and general household repairs from them.  
  • Talented handymen on HGTV - There are TV shows about the best home improvement tips, new ideas and effective methods used. You can learn as much as is possible from watching professional designers re-do homes and carry out home improvement tasks. They always have the best home improvement ideas for making any DIY repairs or decorating jobs around the home easier.
Alternatively, get a go-to-book on home improvement tasks. Keep such books in an area of the home where you will quickly find and easily refer to if the need for some home repair works suddenly arises.

Many home improvement stores can teach you:
  • How to use a hammer, saw and lathe
  • How to operate and use simple power tools such as hand drills, sanders and jigsaws
  • How to sand and stain wood
  • How to paint interior walls easily
Some local DIY centres or Home Depot stores hold the best home improvement 'how-to- do-it-yourself' classes, and they have detailed tutorials that will guide you through every step.

You can also have online chats with home improvement department staff online. They are always helpful and will clearly explain what you need to know and do. Not only that, you will be advised on tools and other things you’ll need to purchase to get your repair jobs around the home done.

It takes willingness, perseverance and bit of courage to begin. If you need to learn about home maintenance works you can do yourself, persevere through all the learning steps. This way, will certainly enjoy your DIY handiwork.