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Garden

Are you working to create an idyllic garden space that you and your family can cherish? Then try gardening. It can introduce you to some fantastic strategies to cut out noise pollution and unpleasant views. Some people gravitate towards landscaping ideas to create a lovely outdoor space. Others prefer tailored gardens with complimenting furniture, pavements, flower beds, and even spacious decks.

The size of your garden is a defining factor in determining practical ideas to transform your garden. We advise you to begin by closing your eyes and envisioning your dream garden. Once you’ve conjured up the vision, take a look at your current garden and absorb all the details. Explore the direction, outlook, and aesthetic appeal to devise a strategy focusing on restoration, improvement, and beautification.

Keep reading to explore some fabulously smart ideas to reshape and transform your garden.

Shape Things Up

Is your garden littered with clutter, unpruned trees, and lots of potential hazards? Or is it moderately shapely with a healthy population of flower beds, flowering trees, and fruit-bearing plants? If your garden is strong and healthy, you can get started on the transformation. However, if the bushes and hedges are unkempt, you must focus on shaping up all the vegetation. Eliminate all the accidental hazards, trim down the lawn edges, and clear up the clutter. Now, you can proceed towards planning the landscape or adding new flower beds.

Planning & Pruning Trees

Trees dominate the aesthetic appeal of a garden, and they are super functional. It is always a starting point for designing a garden. If you live in Austin, then summers are very harsh there. You cannot avoid the hot beaming sun ruining your day-time. However, trees not only block the sun’s awful glare. They also block out noise and visual pollution and serve as an anchor for hanging decorative fixtures.

We advise you to hire competent professionals with vast experience in pruning and decorative tree service in Austin TX. Experts can help you create a thriving habitat by planting trees in a myriad of shapes and sizes. You can add trees and wines to your balcony, or perhaps, plant some picturesque cherry and apricot trees in your backyard.

In recent years, planting multi-stem trees has emerged as a powerful trend to create a masterful gardening showpiece. You can design elegant and charming canopies connected with layered under-plants and beautiful structural accents. If you have a front courtyard garden, a wild and deconstructed natural environment will work wonders at elevating the curb appeal.

Designing Paving

Paving is the ultimate trick to reshape your garden’s aesthetic appeal and pull the entire architecture with a firm seal. The style and color of the paving create a powerful architectural direction that dominates the space. Some homeowners prefer the French countryside appeal with grey and white stones arranged in random patterns.

The English countryside is another prevalent influence that involves mixed patterns of gold stones. Many homeowners prefer sleek and modern cosmetic arrangements with silver or matte black paving. Inspiration is abundant when it comes to creating a stunning effect with cobbles, stones, and setts. Which stone attracts you the most?

Do you prefer the charm of limestone mixed with cobbles? Or perhaps, you like elegant ceramics or a Bali-like ambiance? Find the combination that works for you, and you can embark on an incredible paving project for your garden.

Planning Flower Beds & Planting

A garden design is incomplete without beautiful flowering plants, vegetation, and evergreen shrubs. If you’re not a seasoned gardener, you will have to enlist the help of a trained professional. The first step is to envision the scents and flowers you wish to see in your garden.

Experts generally recommend creating an arrangement with at least six different types of flowering plants. It is ideal to arrange them in repetitive patterns to create a well-coordinated and balance aesthetic presentation. You can place the smaller plants in the front, with taller shrubs falling behind.

If you don’t have much space for deep flower beds, you can work with climbers and containers. Climbing plants, such as clematis, are a great strategy to give your garden a vibrant color and infusion of charm. If you want to set up an elaborate outdoor seating area, star jasmine is a must-have. It is an easily manageable plant that exudes the most incredible scent.

Outdoor Arrangement

If you’re a family of big entertainers, an outdoor arrangement will undoubtedly elevate the charm of your dinner parties. How much space do you have to set-up an outdoor seating area? If you have a large, expansive garden, you can set up a nice deck with elaborate furniture.

In recent years, fire pits and cozy seating arrangements with floor cushions and bamboo furniture are all the rage. Architectural gazettes are brimming with decks featuring Moroccan floor seating arrangements and cozy fire pits. You can always place lounging chairs around it.

Creative homeowners are also constructing lowered fire pits with built-in seating areas, plumped up with mattresses and cushions. If you’re comfortable with elbow grease and DIY, you can explore numerous budget-friendly strategies. For a small garden space, consider setting up a rustic wooden table and low benches for seating. You can hang up some lighting fixtures, fairy lights, and lanterns to transform the ambiance.

Conclusion

Gardening is an endeavor that requires skill, research, and expertise more than practical planning skills. If you have a vision for your dream garden, it is wise to gain the expertise required to maintain a healthy garden. The initial design is easy to achieve, but maintaining its health and longevity is tricky and requires constant care. Keep in mind; a garden is a long-term commitment that requires love, maintenance, and attention.

A retaining wall is a structure that retains any material, usually earth, and prevents it from sliding or eroding away. Its main purpose is to resist the pressure of the material it is holding back. Due to its broad use, we have prepared some facts that you should know about retaining walls.

Retaining wall types

Here are some of the often used types of retaining walls.

Gravity walls are multifunctional – for example on hillside properties and they are usually made of concrete and stone. They depend on its mass to resist material pressure from behind. However, their main disadvantage is that they are easily damaged in earthquakes.

Brick retaining walls has multiple purposes – such as on hillside properties, however, they are not as strong as concrete gravity walls, and water pressure behind them can cause their failure.

Sheet pile retaining walls come in different materials such as steel, vinyl or wood planks. The process of their making is done by driving a part of them into the ground up to the required depth.

You can use anchored retaining walls when you expect high loads since they have additional strength using cables to stay anchored in the soil behind.

Retaining wall use


A retaining wall is a multipurpose construction. One of their benefits is to protect shorelines and create space for storm drains. You can see these walls as support to roads and bridges, as well as in residential properties to add definition to the landscape by making distinct flat areas in your backyard, offering an appealing look. Thus, we can see that their purpose is both functional and decorative. They are used as the support for keeping soil in place and preventing erosion. Furthermore, they’re very effective at preventing flooding.

Retaining walls material

Some of the most common materials used for retaining walls are stone, brick, timber and concrete. If your budget is not tight, we would recommend you a stone, whose strength and rustic look are worth some extra money. Brick and timber, on the other hand, are cost-effective choices. However, you should be careful in the case of brick walls, since they require a strong structural footing. Also, you should have in mind that, although timber is cheaper, it has a reduced lifespan.

What are the costs involved?

As we have already mentioned, the cost heavily depends on the type of the material. However, that’s not all. Dimensions and the labor required are also some of the important elements. You can keep costs down if you decide to build the wall on your own. However, if you’re not up for a challenge, don’t shy from contacting the experts. The construction process is quite not for everyone, particularly in case of higher walls. Aside from this, soil conditions can affect the cost as well, so it is hard to predict a quota before the work begins.

Water can weaken the wall


The accumulated water is a huge danger to retaining walls. Especially since it increases the pressure on the wall and the risk of failure becomes significantly higher. Thus you have to take the importance of proper retaining wall drainage seriously. This may include drainage sheets that protect the foundation. Another possibility is to drill the weep holes which will allow the water to escape, instead of staying accumulated behind the wall. Also, a suitable method is installing a drainage pipe behind the wall, either near the footing or higher. It’s important to use granular and not cohesive clay soil as backfill because that way, water can reach the holes or pipes, instead of just accumulating.

Retaining wall decoration ideas

There are many interesting ways in which retaining walls in residential areas can be decorated in order to contribute to the visual appeal of the landscape. For example, there is nothing more beautiful than introducing a touch of nature to it. You can plant climbers like beautiful climbing roses or a Virginia creeper whose crimson autumn leaves will make your retaining wall look magical. Another possibility is installing the night lights. Owing to them the retaining wall will look more sophisticated, at the same time being both functional and decorative. Keep in mind that you need to think about the security of your home as well. And if you love colorful decorations, you may even consider installing color-changing lights to get the impression of being in a fairy tale.

As you can see, retaining walls can completely transform your backyard. Since serious construction work is in question here, you can consider a lot of things, starting from the types of the walls, the materials, the cost, etc. However, you can also be creative and decorate it according to your own desire.

 

 

Designing a beautiful outdoor space is just as important as creating an appealing interior design. The best proof of that is that landscaping can add significant value to a property that is listed on the market. In fact, it is the curb appeal that contributes to 28% of the house’s overall value, because the home buyers are immediately astonished by the first impression. However, not all landscape and outdoor construction projects are the same when it comes to value, appearance, and functionality. In this article, we’ll share some valuable insights into the outdoor projects with the biggest potential, so that you have a clear image of all the things your front and backyard can benefit from.

Planting a lawn

Many people look at planting the lawn as designing a flat square green surface, but it doesn’t have to be that way. The best lawns are central access points to other features. A swath of grass should connect pathways and bush and flower areas. It should also be integral to creating harmony between different shapes and colors, and lead the eye to a focal point, such as a fountain or a flowerbed. For a formal look, you can go with the symmetrical design. This is also a good choice for easy maintenance because it makes mowing a breeze. Gentle curves bring slightly more maintenance, but they have a more organic feel.

Creating natural shade

Before we move on to various outdoor installations which can provide you with shade, it is vital to mention that natural shade is the best one you can get. A mature tree can add from $1,000 to $10,000 to a property while creating a fairytale-like ambiance in the back and front yard. The choice of the tree depends on the local climate and the amount of sunlight and rain the outdoor space is receiving. Another way to create cover from the sun is to add a vine arch or a pergola.

A roof over your head

Outdoor entertaining has always been popular, but sometimes it is impossible due to harsh sun or mild rain, that is unless you have some type of roof over your head. This shelter can come in the form of a wooden pergola, a simple shade sail, or an awning. This setting can be installed on the back side of your house, or it can stand alone as a backyard focal point.

Something to stand on

A seamless connection between the interior and the exterior is one of the biggest trends right now, and for that, you won’t be able to stand on your lawn. Wooden decks are believed to bring the most significant return on investment, but if you are looking for endurance and high-end appearance, you can also go with limestone paving patio slabs, which are durable, roughly-finished, textured, and compliment every outdoor space. Some other popular options are concrete, gravel, and bricks.

Indoor features

As mentioned, indoors and outdoors can coexist in a happy marriage. What better proof could you ask for than the existence of outdoor kitchens and dining areas? All the things that will make the exterior feel almost like the interior are welcome, as long as they are in coherence with natural surroundings. Excellent additions, for example, would be a stone oven, fire pit, wooden dining table, etc.

A place to sit

Since you already have a place to prepare food and hide from the sun, you should also have a seating arrangement worthy of these updates. Outdoor furniture should have the feel of the indoor comfort but with the added endurance and weather-resistance provided by materials like plastic, aluminum, steel, wrought iron, wicker, eucalyptus, and teak. 

The final stamp

Finally, every backyard should be a reflection of the homeowner. Depending on the landscape designer and the homeowners, the personal stamp can come in the form of mystical pathways made of stone, brick, or planks, a central fountain, a natural lake, a swimming pool, an outdoor spa pool, a vegetable garden, string lights, lanterns, solar torches, or anything else that results in an outdoor space you’ve always wanted to have.

A home is not only what’s inside the interior walls. A home starts with the entrance to the front yard and ends with the furthest point of the backyard. This is why investing time and money in landscaping and hardscaping makes sense, regardless of whether you want to live in that house for years or you want to sell it.

Christmas is just around the corner, and it’s high time to prepare your home for the upcoming festivities. Since your front yard is the first thing everyone will notice when they come to visit, it can serve you as the ideal spot to show off your décor skills and inspire everyone to get into the Christmas spirit. In order to help you make your front yard absolutely festive in no time, we have singled out our top garden decoration tips for you to try out. Let’s spread the holiday cheer.

Fairytale vibes with Christmas lights

First things first, Christmas lights represent a great and easy way to add a magical touch to your outdoor décor. You can start by illuminating the walkway to the front door with multicoloured floodlights. Additionally, if you want to achieve the wow effect, you can hang solar-powered led Christmas lights on your trees which accumulate power during the day to create a romantic holiday atmosphere in the evening. On top of that, if you want your home to become the talk of the town, you can invest in remote-controlled laser lights which could enhance the look of your entire outdoor decor arrangement with a soothing ambient flare.

Have fun with front door ornaments

This Christmas you should try to express your creative side with front door ornaments. For example, instead of simply hanging your usual decoration, you can opt for a special faux wreath, add tiny pines to it and sprinkle it with fake snow for a beautiful statement piece. Alternatively, you can take a different route and design a nice garland by combining Holly, Spruce, Eucalyptus, various foliage and tie it all together with a red and green ribbon. Another easy way to style up your front entrance and brighten up everyone’s day is to switch your boring welcoming matt with one that has a funny Christmassy motif on it. Don’t forget to add a personal touch to the decor by hanging a classy banner over the door frame with your family’s name on it.

A luxurious Christmas tree

Planting a fir tree in your front yard is a great idea since you can use it as a nice decor piece for many years to come. In order to make the tree more visible, you should go for fabulous electric candles that can shine in different patterns and colours. What’s best, they are usually controlled via an App. Furthermore, when one fir is not enough, you can find a couple of gorgeous pots and plant a few trees inside for an evergreen front yard look. As far as Christmas tree ornaments are concerned, feel free to experiment and hang small plush toys, candy, pinecones or even framed family photographs. Lastly, if you are bored of your regular star tree topper, go for an unexpected item like the Harry Potter sorting hat, or something geeky like a Death Star replica.

Create your very own Christmas theme

Last but not least, it’s time to transform your front yard into an enchanting scene with Christmas theme ideas. If you’re more into a traditional style, you can build a couple of snowmen, place plaques on them with heartfelt messages and cover the space around them with large gift boxes. However, if you want to express your humoristic side, you can place sitting rattan reindeer next to Santa’s sleigh and hang an “Out of Order” sign on it for a funny sketch. Finally, you can even get a light-up polar bear set to complete your Christmas theme and warm up everyone’s hearts with this magical decor idea.

As you can see, it doesn’t take much effort to create a winter wonderland in your front yard for the upcoming holidays. All you need to do is to follow your decor checklist, don’t be afraid to express your creative side and add your personal touch to the design. We wish you a Merry Christmas!

It’s that time of the year when your family starts gathering, looking forward to family time, cosy home atmosphere and delicious feasts. Yes, Thanksgiving is here and you should welcome it in style! Aside from giving your interior space that charming, comfy vibe, you should also style up your exterior. Thanksgiving-inspired outdoor décor will put all of your guests in a great, festive mood the moment they arrive.

Choose the colours of the season

Although Thanksgiving is a fall holiday, its colours are certainly warm and inviting. Nature’s fall palette will help you cosy up your exterior and create a truly welcoming atmosphere. When choosing your decorations for Thanksgiving, you should go with a fiery palette of burnt orange, rich brown, vibrant russet red and golden yellow. You can complement such a warm colour scheme with contrasting hues such as eggplant purple, navy blue, charcoal grey and black. Such a palette will help you combine traditional fall hues with unexpected shades, which will give your outdoor areas authentic appeal.

Bring out the festive lighting

Stunning lighting solutions will help you create a festive ambience of comfort and cosiness. They will also help you accentuate your Thanksgiving décor and your home’s beautiful features. You can place fall-inspired lanterns around your front door that will soon become an enchanting focal point of your home’s exterior. If you have a porch, you can also place lanterns and candles for a whimsical effect. As for your back entrance, you can create a garland using leaves and fall flowers and then pair it with string lights. Placing this arrangement around your door will make your entrance appealing and inviting. You can experiment with other lighting fixtures, as well, and use them to emphasise certain features. You can even find solar-powered pumpkins that you can scatter around your front yard and garden, creating a truly inspiring Thanksgiving setting.  

Turn your front door into a Thanksgiving focal point

As the focal point of your home’s exterior, the front door will be the most conspicuous detail of your Thanksgiving arrangements. There are so many creative ideas that you can try out. Placing a lush wreath made of leaves, flowers, tiny pumpkins and pinecones will make your front door stand out immediately. You can also line it using a mesmerising garland or place an arbour made of grapevines over the door. Of course, don’t forget to welcome your guests with a Thanksgiving-inspired mat that will feature your chosen colour scheme.

Create stunning décor arrangements

Placing decorative Thanksgiving arrangements in your front yard, back garden or on the porch will truly capture the festive spirit of this holiday. Gather pumpkins of all colours and sizes and stack them together. You can also fill wicker baskets with fall flowers, leaves and pumpkins and place them around your yard. Lining your garden path and front-door pathway with tiny pumpkins is also a beautiful option that will create a lovely trail. You can also use hale bales for a porch arrangement, combining them with festive lighting, fall foliage, wicker baskets, etc.

Welcome Thanksgiving into your outdoor haven

If you have an outdoor space where you can gather with your family, make sure to cosy it up and give it a Thanksgiving-inspired look. Introduce your fall colour palette into your outdoor area and use it for soft materials, garden planters and decorations. If you have a seating area with a coffee table, place a Thanksgiving centrepiece made of seasonal fruit and vegetables, leaves, flowers, etc. You can also place tiny pumpkins in glass containers and put them on the outdoor tables. Scattering leaves around your outdoor sanctuary will also create a Thanksgiving vibe. Finally, if possible, create a beautiful fire pit where you can gather around with your family and sip your hot beverages. This will be the perfect way to spend the Thanksgiving evening.

Thanksgiving is the holiday that you should spend with your loved ones. Using these ideas will not only help you set the tone for this occasion, but also make your friends and family feel welcome and cosy.

“Boys and girls of every age,

Wouldn’t you like to see something strange?”

Fall is finally upon us, which means that it’s finally time to, once again, show our creativity and delight of fright and decorate our homes and yards in a way that will send chills down your neighbor’s spines.

It’s finally the time of ghoulish light, wacky witches and smoking cauldrons. The time to get a bit innovative and a bit freaky, without anyone having the right to judge you. And while some people start their Halloween decoration efforts as soon as the last days of September roll around, others wait to get closer to All Hallows’ Eve to showcase their ghostlike charms. So, if you still haven’t decorated your outdoor area, here are some interesting ideas.

“I am the one hiding under your bed, teeth ground sharp and eyes glowing red”

image credit: https://wallpapercave.com/w/bgaz9wp

This idea is quite simple, wherever you have a dark corner or a poorly-lit cranny you can make eye-shaped cutouts made of cardboard and place them in the dark spot. Glue some glow stick behind them and have a bunch of ghoulish eyes welcome everyone who approaches your home. This works particularly well in areas under your porch and stairs.

“Ghosts and goblins and witches roaming the streets, in moonlight”

For the next idea, you’ll need some gauze, wire or wire hanger, a ball, some sort of glue or Mod Podge. Now, keep in mind that, depending on the circle of creatures you wish to create, the ingredients may vary. So, for example, for a ghost circle, you should place the ball on a wire construction to give your ghost a person-like shape. Next, cover the construction with a gauze you previously soaked in Mod Podge or another decoupage solution. Once dried, remove your “ghost” from the construction and repeat the process until you’re happy with the amount. Arrange them in a circle and add glow sticks inside, or fairy lights below them t make the scene more dramatic. If you want to create a circle of witches, the process is the same, just replace the gauze with trash bags and make a few witch hats.

“Bowls of candy and goodies delicious and waiting…”

Next, let’s turn to your front door ornaments. Of course, a Halloween-inspired wreath is a must, but you should also consider filling your porch with: a fun witch doormat; carved Jack-o’-lanterns; a sleeping scarecrow guarding the candy bowl – you can make this one by using some old jeans, a checkered flannel shirt, a balloon (for the face), a straw hat and some hay to fill out the suit and give it shape.

“I’m a master of fright, and a demon of light, and I’ll scare you right out of your pants”

image credit: http://www.npnurseries.com/5-halloween-outdoor-decorations-on-a-budget/scary-outdoor-halloween-decorations/

Of course, Halloween decorations are simply not complete without a good jump scare. Therefore, come up with a way to implement an interactive piece of decor in your design. It can be anything from motion-sensored laughing Jack-o’-lantern, witch or scarecrow to the classic pop-up zombie hand in the candy bowl. Some of the more elaborate and more demanding ideas include a drone-powered Grim Reaper, but this idea might be too much for some people. Whichever you opt for, make sure you give your neighbours and visitors a good scare.

“Our man Jack is King of the Pumpkin patch, everyone hail to the Pumpkin King now!”

image credit:https://www.pinterest.com/pin/166773992428956119

Finally, every Halloween decoration simply has to include a pumpkin patch. It doesn’t have to be particularly big, but it should be well-organized. So, get your hands on a dozen or so pumpkins – 13 to make things super spooky – of various sizes, shapes and colour and arrange them according to your liking. Next, add a bale of hay and some faux ravens. Top everything off with a few con stovers, a couple of sunflowers and faux cobwebs to give it that spooky glow. Additionally, you can even make a Pumpkin King – the process is very similar to the scarecrow one, just use a carved pumpkin for the head – to guard the entire patch.

 

So, let your creativity run wild and get down to decorating. And remember, your Halloween decorations are done right if you manage to frighten or jump-scare at least one person.

Your garden can be your retreat spot after a long day of work, but, to make it into the sanctuary you can really enjoy, you will have to add a number of features to make it stand out. Garden pathways might seem like a waste at first, though, they can bring the whole garden together and give it the look you always wanted it to have.

Image source: ognature.com

Go with Simple Gravel

Perhaps the simplest of materials to use for a garden pathway will be gravel. If you look into how you can use it to spruce up your garden, it will be a feature that you will greatly appreciate. Do not think that cheap material cannot add class to your well-organized garden as you will be able to create marvellous designs, once you get the hang of it.

Image source: kibin.biz

Make Use of the Old

You do not have to assume that your next garden pathway will be pricey, especially if you want to get creative. Keep in mind that you can recycle old wooden pallets and give them a new purpose. Furthermore, they will give your garden a unique look that not many will have. On the other hand, it is a great DIY project which will give your garden, even more, value. Nevertheless, understand that natural materials like wood will start to decompose after a while so a change will be in order.

Image source: humideas.com

Get Creative with Your Pathway

Most of the people will usually go with stone or stone-like material to have for their pathway, in the long run, it can be an easier solution maintenance-wise. However, using wooden logs  can be tricky at first, though, when you plan it out, you can end up with a magnificent pathway that will tie the whole ambient together nicely. Be sure to get good tools when working on this design as you will have to do a lot of digging.

Image source: sunset.com

Stick to the Good Ol’ Look

Depending on your garden’s landscape, the polished stone look can be the best solution for your pathway. Be wary that there are many concrete and stone materials to choose from, and depending on their strength, maintenance can be a nightmare. Using designs which come in many colours and shapes, you can create a truly exceptional pathway which will give your garden the boost it needs to look amazing. Once set, your pathways will be built to last with minimal effort to keep them in good condition.

Image source: greendesigns.eu

Make a Brick Pathway

Bricks can be used in more ways than one when it comes to design. Even though it will take a bit of time and expertise to make the perfect design your garden deserves, a brick pathway can look amazing. Be sure to plan ahead, in order to avoid having to take the brick out every time you are not happy with its look.

Garden upkeep might be tricky for most people to deal with, and unless you are ready to sacrifice some of your time, you cannot really expect to have a place where you can relax. Pathways can be used to create unique designs and to take your landscaping to the next step as well. Always make a plan before you start creating your pathways, to avoid unnecessary digging and reorganization.

When we choose to garden, we are usually thinking about the joy of working outside, the pride of growing our very own food and flowers, and the delicious reward of fresh fruits and vegetables picked and eaten the same day. There is really nothing like it!

What most of us gardeners don’t consider is that our gardening efforts can help our environment too! Done right, an eco-friendly garden can go a long way to reducing your environmental footprint. As you may have noticed, there is a greater push towards making your home (including your garden) more energy efficient. Millennials especially are heavily focused on green initiatives. If you are looking to make your life greener, here are seven tips for creating a garden that rewards your home, kitchen, and our planet!

Start with Planting Trees

Often overlooked as a viable option to incorporate in your garden, planting trees creates natural wildlife habitat, helps keep our air clean, and provides shade and wind protection (reducing heating and cooling costs). In addition, when birds live nearby, they can be helpful by eating harmful garden pests. Planting fruits trees can also add more variety to your harvest!

Get Composting!

Prepping your garden for a bounty of produce can start long before you begin planting by starting a compost pile. Compost creates nutrient-rich soil and keeps food and other natural waste from going to a landfill. Just make sure that the waste you add to your garden is organic and will safely decompose. Never add any meat or dairy to your compost pile. Stick to things like coffee grounds, eggshells, leaves, grass clippings (as long as they are chemical free) and left-over fruit and vegetable waste.

Plan Your Yard with Mother Nature in Mind

Work hard to keep your grassy areas small.Use rock gardens, native shrubs, and ornamental grasses such as bamboo to limit both your use of water and your need for mowing (which usually takes either gas or electricity to power). Also, plan the space for your vegetable garden where the ground is flat so water doesn’t drain away before it can be absorbed. Finally, plant any heavily sloped areas with natural grasses so that their roots can prevent soil erosion year around.

Limit Your Water Usage

When it comes to watering your eco-garden, nothing defeats efforts to be environmentally friendly like wasting water. To avoid wasting water where possible, use a drip line or soaker hose that delivers water directly to the roots instead of spraying it in the air where much of it evaporates. Water early in the morning before the sun rises so the water soaks deep into the ground. If your water is on a timer make sure to shut it off on rainy days. Finally, set out buckets to gather rainwater that you can use on sunny days.

Choose Native Plants

Native plants are so important because they not only thrive, they do so with little effort, less water, and few to no pesticides or fertilizers. They save you time, effort, and money! Plus they are much better for the environment and the local ecosystem.

Use Green Equipment and Tools

Much like inefficient watering systems, gas powered tools quickly negate your green gardening efforts. Try using a push mower. If that isn’t practical, choose an electric mower over a gas-powered mower. The same goes for other power tools like tillers. Finally, spend the extra money to buy high-quality shovels and hand tools so that you can use them for decades rather than having to purchase new every year. This helps reduce waste and manufacturing emissions.

Choose and Use Pesticides Carefully

Controlling pests can be one of gardening’s biggest challenges. The problem with most synthetic pesticides is that they kill all the good bugs along with the bad. A healthy flourishing garden needs bees, ladybugs, earthworms, and many other little helpers. If you need a pesticide, look for brands that focus specifically on the pest you have and that degrade quickly. Finally, provide habitat for helpful birds and bats that eat the pesky little insects you’re looking to get rid of.

There are few things on the earth that are as rewarding as growing your own garden. Making sure that your garden is doing more good than harm is well worth the extra effort in planning. Once your eco-garden is established, many of these tips will save you money, time, and effort. Not to mention the pride you get from knowing you are taking care of the planet that takes care of us!

 

For me, every meal tastes better al fresco. If you agree and love preparing and eating food outside, it’s time for you to expand your living space and invest in an outdoor kitchen. It will allow you and your family and friends to spend time outside while making tasty lunches or hosting fun dinner parties. In case you don’t know where to start with your design, here are some outdoor kitchen design tips for every outdoorsy chef.

Carefully plan the location

One of the first rules of building: location, location, location! Probably the most common mistake people make when designing their outdoor kitchen is not looking at the wind pattern in their yard. You don’t want all the smoke and smells to get sucked into your home every time you’re using your outdoor kitchen, so place the grill and smoker accordingly. Also, people often place their outdoor kitchen too far from the inside kitchen, which makes carrying heavy platters and drinks quite inconvenient. Additionally, if you love the view from the inside of the house, don’t block it with the outdoor kitchen. Instead, place it to the side or pick an angle that will not ruin your view.

Choose the right materials

Your outdoor kitchen needs to be a bit sturdier than your indoor kitchen in order to resist the elements, such as winds, rain, snow and extreme heat. So, during the process of designing your outdoor space, opt for materials that are weather-resistant and easy to clean and maintain. Stainless steel is always a good option for countertops because it’s tough and durable, easy to clean and looks very sleek. If you want something more rustic and warmer, you can opt for tiled countertops. Tiles come in all shapes, sizes and colors, and they require minimal maintenance. Also, pay attention to your floors. Tile and marble floors can get very slippery when wet or greased, so you might want to skip them. Concrete, brick and natural stone, on the other hand, are much safer and they will give your space a stylish look.

Opt for high-quality appliances

No matter how well you’re planning to equip your outdoor kitchen (some only opt for a grill, a sink and a small fridge, while others include beer taps, smokers and even warming drawers), you have to make sure your appliances can take both rain and sun. Stainless steel works great, requires little maintenance and is quite popular nowadays. Additionally, hire a licensed electrician to install your appliances and make sure everything is up to code.

Provide storage

Like every kitchen, your outdoor kitchen also needs storage for cooking tools, gadgets, food, and drink. Also, the outdoor storage should be waterproof and well insulated to endure temperature changes. With some storage, you’ll always have things on hand and your countertops will be clutter-free.

Build shelter from the elements

If you don’t want the weather to stop you from enjoying your outdoor kitchen, you should build a shelter that will keep the elements away from your grill. A tall roof, pergola or even some simple umbrellas will allow you to show off your culinary skills ever in the rain or scorching sun. You can also equip your outdoor kitchen with a fan for the summer and a heat lamp or a fire pit for the winter. Additionally, if you live in an area with pesky mosquitoes and a lot of flies, you can equip your kitchen with repellents and bug zappers that will keep them away from your food.

Install good lighting

Good lighting will allow you to prepare food when natural light is scarce and it will provide your outdoor space with a soft ambience that’s perfect for relaxing. You will need overhead lighting for food prep (hang the light from the roof or install a pole yard light) and add some string lights or tiki torches for ambient lighting.

Add comfort

An outdoor kitchen isn’t just a place where you cook food. It also serves to enjoy those delicious meals you make and for entertainment. So, make sure you put out some chairs, tables and decoration that will make your outdoor kitchen the star of your home. Choose durable pieces and weather-resistant fabrics so you can enjoy them all year round.

Once your outdoor kitchen is finished, get ready to break out your spatula, tongs and fork and prepare the perfect BBQ for all your family and friends.

Like clothes and accessories for a human, the different elements that make up a front yard help enhance its appearance. Since this is often the first thing people see when arriving, be it a visitor or the homeowner themselves, it is normal to want to make sure that the front yard looks its best. Luckily, in most cases not much is needed to make this part of the property look good. Here are 5 front yard renovation projects that are budget-friendly and easy to complete.

1) Painting the fence

This job is a perfect weekend DIY project! Fence painting doesn’t require as much skill as other painting projects, unless you are an absolute perfectionist. Of course, not all fence materials can receive paint in their current state. Some will need to be sanded and primed beforehand. However, do know that paint is a great way to add a dash of colour to the front of your home.

White is a classic and timeless colour for fences, as is black. For a more daring look, reds, blues, yellows, greens and other bright shades can be great options, depending on the colour scheme of the rest of the front yard.

2) Installing paver stones

A friendly and welcoming stone path makes for a great way to come home! Paver stones are easy to install, and they add a nice Zen touch to a front yard. These elements come in a variety of shapes, materials, and sizes, adapting to your needs and preferences. The most common stones are travertine, slate, and granite. Concrete and porcelain are other options for paver materials, but they are not as durable as the latter.

 

3) Cleaning the home’s facade

This may seem simple, even trivial, but cleaning the home’s facade can make an enormous difference. Perhaps you bought the house and have never taken the time to remove the accumulated dirt and grime? This means that you may be in for a surprise once you’ve finished with the cleaning process.

For this action, the tools and techniques you employ will depend on the type of cladding material that is installed on your home. A pressure washer will be extremely efficient on plastic-based materials. Other types such as wood paneling need special treatment, and hand-washing may be best to ensure good results. Do proper research regarding the most recommended techniques and go to the effort of doing things properly. In the end, you may realize that your beige facade is actually mustard yellow!

4) Doing minor landscaping

Large-scale landscaping jobs are not accessible to everyone, and thankfully, smaller ones can also have a major impact. Although gardens are usually set up behind a home, flowerbeds and even small herb gardens are a great way to add life to a front yard. It’s all a question of space and personal preferences. Searching for privacy, some will even decide to create an oasis in front of their home, with trees, plants, and flowers. This little corner of heaven can become a nice spot to relax if you set up a few lawn chairs or hang a swing from a tree.

5) Installing or transforming a carport

This last project is the most onerous of those described in this list. If you don’t yet have a carport and are currently parking your car in a yard, with no roof, setting up this structure can be a great option, both for esthetical and practical purposes. In cold and snowy climates, carports can be extremely useful as they protect the car and keep the snow away, ensuring that you save time in the morning. In terms of appearance, are also carports interesting architectural elements, making the home more unique.

If your home is already equipped with a carport but you feel that you aren’t using it to its fullest, consider transforming it into a patio. This area which spills into the front yard can be turned into a wonderful getaway spot or a place to entertain guests under a roof but outdoors at the same time.

Transforming a front yard: endless possibilities

Other, bigger renovation projects are also possible if you have more money and feel that your home’s exterior needs major changes. For example, people often opt to replace the exterior cladding that covers and protects the home. However, as stated in the previous paragraphs, there is often no need to spend a fortune to make a front yard look nice. Simply set aside a weekend, head to the hardware store and let your imagination run wild. Otherwise, if you have no manual skills whatsoever, hire a trustworthy contractor!

Article was written by Léa Noémie Plourde-Archer from Renoquotes.com