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Strategies for Integrating Livestock and Crop Farming

December 5, 2023
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Imagine a farm where cows graze peacefully next to fields of golden wheat. This isn’t just a picturesque scene; it’s a snapshot of an integrated farming system. Integrating livestock and crop farming is like creating a symphony where each element supports and enhances the other. It’s not just about growing crops and raising animals side by side; it’s about creating a sustainable ecosystem that benefits both. Think of it as nature’s circle of life, applied to farming.

Benefits of Integration

When we delve into the world of integrated farming, we uncover a treasure trove of benefits. It’s like piecing together a puzzle where each piece is crucial to the overall picture. We’re going to explore these pieces, uncovering how they fit together to create a more sustainable, profitable, and environmentally friendly farming system.

Environmental Benefits

Let’s start by picturing a field. In a traditional setup, this field would need fertilizers, right? Now, enter integrated farming. Here, animal waste is not just waste; it’s a natural fertilizer. This means less reliance on chemical fertilizers, which is a win for our environment.

But there’s more. It’s not just about waste becoming a resource; it’s about creating a cycle. In nature, everything is reused, and integrated farming mimics this. Crops use animal waste; animals feed on crop residues. It’s a perfect cycle of nutrient recycling. By adopting this approach, we reduce the environmental footprint of farming, making it a friend of the earth rather than a foe.

Economic Advantages

Now, let’s talk money, because let’s face it, farming is a business too. Integrating livestock and crops can be like having multiple income streams under one roof. It’s like diversifying your investment portfolio, but in farming.

Think about it. A farmer who grows wheat and also raises sheep can sell both grain and wool. That’s two sources of income from the same land. Plus, there’s the savings. Sharing resources between crops and livestock means less spending on fertilizers and feed. It’s like killing two birds with one stone – you reduce costs and increase profits.

Let’s consider Griffin Maddox, a farmer who adopted integrated farming. He used to spend a hefty sum on chemical fertilizers. Now, he uses manure from his cattle. His soil is healthier, and so is his bank balance. Plus, the straw from his wheat feeds his cattle. It’s a cycle that keeps on giving.

Types of Integration

When we talk about integrating livestock and crop farming, we’re not just throwing seeds and animals together and hoping for the best. It’s a strategic, thoughtful process with various approaches. Each method brings its unique benefits to the table, creating a diverse and resilient agricultural system. Let’s explore some of these innovative methods.

Agroforestry

Imagine a forest where trees and crops live in harmony, with livestock wandering beneath the canopy. This isn’t a fairy tale; it’s agroforestry. It’s like a natural ecosystem, but with a productive twist. Agroforestry combines trees, crops, and livestock in a way that benefits each component.

Here’s an example: picture a walnut orchard. Between the rows of walnut trees, farmers grow grains or vegetables, and chickens roam freely, pecking at pests and weeds. This isn’t just efficient land use; it’s a symbiotic relationship. The trees provide shade and wind protection for the crops and livestock, while the animals manage pests and fertilize the soil.

Silvopasture

Now, let’s take a walk through a silvopasture. It’s like agroforestry but focuses more on the relationship between trees and livestock. In silvopasture, trees are strategically planted in pastures, or livestock are introduced into wooded areas.

The benefits are multifaceted. The trees provide shelter for the livestock, protecting them from extreme weather. This leads to happier, healthier animals, and as any farmer will tell you, healthier animals mean better yields. Plus, the trees benefit too. The livestock manage the underbrush, reducing the need for manual labor, and their manure enriches the soil, promoting healthier tree growth.

Crop Rotation with Livestock

Now, let’s talk about crop rotation with livestock, a practice as old as agriculture itself but with a modern twist. In this system, fields are rotated between crops and livestock grazing. This isn’t just about giving the land a break; it’s about using each element to rejuvenate the other.

When livestock graze on a field after a crop has been harvested, they help break down crop residues, returning nutrients to the soil. This natural fertilization improves soil health, leading to better crop yields in the next cycle. It’s a win-win: the soil gets healthier, and the livestock get fed.

In each of these methods, the key is balance. It’s about finding the right mix of crops, trees, and livestock to create a system where each element supports the others. This isn’t just farming; it’s creating a self-sustaining ecosystem, a small-scale model of how nature operates at its best.

Best Practices

In the world of integrated farming, success isn’t just about what you do; it’s about how you do it. The best practices in integrating livestock and crop farming are like the secret ingredients in a master chef’s recipe – they make all the difference. Let’s explore these key practices that can help transform a good farm into a great one.

Proper Grazing Management

First up is grazing management, the art of managing where and when your livestock graze. It’s not as simple as letting animals loose in a pasture. Controlled grazing is like a dance, carefully choreographed to ensure the land isn’t overused.

Rotational grazing is a star player here. Imagine your pasture divided into sections, like slices of a pie. Livestock graze in one slice at a time, allowing the others to rest and regenerate. This method not only keeps your pasture healthy but also ensures your animals always have fresh grass to munch on.

Here are a few tips:

  • Regularly move livestock to fresh sections to prevent overgrazing.
  • Monitor pasture growth and adjust grazing patterns accordingly.
  • Consider the specific needs of your animals and the carrying capacity of your land.

Soil Health Maintenance

Next, let’s dig into soil health, the foundation of any successful farm. In an integrated system, maintaining soil quality is like conducting an orchestra – every element needs to work in harmony.

Cover cropping is a key strategy here. Planting cover crops like clover or rye in the off-season protects your soil from erosion, suppresses weeds, and adds organic matter. When these crops are plowed back into the soil, they become natural fertilizers, enriching the soil for the next crop cycle.

Organic matter is another hero in this story. Incorporating things like composted manure improves soil structure, water retention, and nutrient content. It’s like giving your soil a multivitamin.

Monitoring and Record-Keeping

Finally, we turn to monitoring and record-keeping, the unsung heroes of integrated farming. Keeping detailed records is like mapping a treasure hunt; it helps you track where you’ve been and guides you to where you need to go.

Accurate records of things like grazing patterns, crop yields, and soil health indicators are invaluable. They help you understand the impact of your practices and make informed decisions.

Here’s how to excel in this area:

  • Keep detailed records of all farming activities, including planting, harvesting, and grazing schedules.
  • Regularly test your soil and record the results.
  • Use your records to analyze trends and identify areas for improvement.

Challenges and Solutions

While integrating livestock and crop farming is a path to sustainability, it’s not without its hurdles. Understanding and addressing these challenges is crucial for a thriving integrated system. Let’s delve into some common issues and explore practical solutions.

Disease Management

In any farming system where animals and crops coexist, disease management is a top concern. Diseases can spread quickly among livestock, and some can even affect crops. The key here is prevention and prompt action.

First, familiarize yourself with common livestock diseases. These can range from foot-and-mouth disease to avian influenza. Regular health checks and maintaining good hygiene in the farm environment are essential first steps.

For prevention and control:

  • Vaccinate your animals regularly.
  • Implement quarantine measures for new or sick animals.
  • Ensure proper nutrition to boost animal immunity.
  • Keep a close eye on animal health and behavior for early signs of disease.

Market Access

Next, let’s talk about the marketplace. Selling products from an integrated farm can be challenging, particularly in markets dominated by specialized products. But with challenges come opportunities.

Local marketing networks can be a boon for integrated farms. These networks often cater to consumers who value locally sourced, sustainable products. Additionally, consider value-added products like organic dairy items, artisan cheeses, or specialty grains. These can fetch a higher price and attract a niche market.

Another strategy is to embrace digital marketing. Create a strong online presence to connect with customers who are interested in sustainable and locally produced food.

Conclusion

Throughout this journey, we’ve explored the multifaceted world of integrating livestock and crop farming. From the environmental and economic benefits to best practices and solutions to common challenges, it’s clear that this approach offers a path to more sustainable and profitable farming.

Integrated farming is not just about coexistence; it’s about synergy. It’s about creating a system where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. For farmers looking to make their operations more sustainable, efficient, and aligned with nature, integration offers a promising avenue.

So, to all the farmers and agricultural enthusiasts out there, consider the potential of integrated farming. It’s an opportunity to be part of a sustainable future, one where we work hand-in-hand with nature to nourish our communities and our planet.

Tiny Hacks For Keeping Your Small Patio Organised and Cozy

May 12, 2023
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Even without a spacious backyard, you can have a cosy lounge area that exudes comfort and stylishness. By keeping your small patio organised and tidy, you’ll be able to create an illusion of spaciousness while having a functional and chic design. This way, you’ll design a beautiful and intimate outdoor sanctuary where you can spend time with your friends or escape the hustle and bustle of an urban city. 

Design a space-saving sitting zone

You need to design a functional space where you and your friends can really unwind and enjoy spending time together. You can’t expect to have a memorable gathering with your friends without comfortable outdoor furniture. If you really want to enjoy your patio and create an atmosphere of comfort, you should invest in some cosy and multifunctional pieces. You can choose furniture with hidden storage compartments where you can keep your blankets for chilly nights. This way, you’ll have a comfortable yet well-organised lounge area.
Furthermore, you should completely eliminate clutter from your outdoor haven. Get rid of old magazines and unnecessary items to create an organised and tidy space. This way, your patio will seem more spacious and airy and you won’t feel cramped and constrained. 

Use bright colours

A bright colour palette is what will make your patio seem more open and spacious. Nonetheless, if you have patio elements in a darker hue, you can just add bright and colourful throw pillows to liven them up and give your patio a beautiful, cosy look. In addition, you can use a bright, neutral backdrop for your dark-coloured elements to create a stylish contrast. You can even paint that wall of your house in a different hue, but make sure that it fits the general colour scheme of your house. In addition, you can use decorative elements, throw pillows and cosy blankets to introduce different patterns to your lovely patio. Not only will this create a more cheerful look, but it will help you design a personal sanctuary that exudes authenticity and stylishness. 

Get a good lighting

No matter how much time you spend decorating your outdoor haven, adequate lighting is the crucial element that will set the mood and create a magical and intimate atmosphere. If your patio has a pergola, you can add a glamorous chandelier as a stunning focal point that will leave everyone speechless. In addition, such a lush detail will help you create an ambience of luxury and sophistication on your patio. Candles are another great solution that will help you create a romantic and intimate atmosphere. You can place them in mason jars or simply arrange them on your patio table. You can also use small string lights for a dreamy effect. Whether you hide them in trees and bushes or hang them around your pergola, they will certainly give your lounge area a magical look.

Create a vertical garden

No outdoor sanctuary is complete without a beautiful, magical garden. This is a great opportunity for you to express your creativity and give your patio your personal touch. Vertical gardens, where you place small flower pots on your wall, are an ideal solution for small spaces. You can use colourful flowers, vines and herbs and experiment with their arrangement. Creating a mini-sized fairy garden is another practical option that will help you bring natural energy to your personal sanctuary.   

Build a Murphy bar

A fold-down Murphy bar is a perfect solution for your small patio that will provide you with additional storage while not taking up too much space. You can build one yourself and include several shelves where you can keep your glasses and drinks. You can always place small flower pots on the top surface and create a colourful, cheerful look. When building your Murphy bar, make sure to choose weather-resistant materials and paint with a durable finish. 

A small patio doesn’t limit your design options. By keeping your outdoor haven organised and clutter-free, you’ll be able to create an illusion of spaciousness and openness. Afterwards, you should combine different elements to give it a cosy and inviting look.

 

A lot of people want to build a garden room in their yards. The garden rooms are different in designs, shapes, and sizes. They can, therefore, suit any property. It is beneficial to build a garden room on your property.  If you have not decided to build a garden room on your property, just know that a garden room can improve the appearance of your home. It can even add value to your property. Here are the top reasons to build a garden room on your property: 

 

Add Extra Living Space 

Building a garden room can help you get extra recreational space and living space. It is difficult for most homeowners to find enough space in their homes. Why? It is expensive to add an extra room to their homes.  You can, therefore, build a garden room to increase the living space on your property. It costs more money to renovate a house. Therefore, a lot of homeowners prefer to build a garden room. 

It is much cheaper to build a garden room. 

In fact, garden rooms are perfect for creating your personal retreat space. If you want to do home extensions, you will have to add a new room to your property. It takes time to extend your home since it is a complex process. In addition, you may not need planning permissions to build a garden room. If you want to build an annexe, however, you may need planning permissions, especially if it is for living purposes. Garden rooms are popular because of their versatility. You can use your garden room for anything. You can even make sure your garden room has all the amenities you need.  If you want extra space on your property or just a place for hanging out with your friends, you can build a garden room on your property. 

Affordable 

If you have elderly family members, you always worry about their safety. Building a garden room can help you keep your elderly family members close to you. They can live in your garden room throughout the year. You do not have to renovate or extend to your home to get extra space. Therefore, it is affordable to build a garden room. In this website you will find a range of garden rooms to suit your requirements. It is now expensive to pay for the care homes for older people. A lot of elderly people cannot afford to pay for care homes. In fact, some elderly people do even want to go to these care homes. The annual average cost of care homes in the past year was around £44,512. It is expensive for most people. The cost is the same as the price of an annexe building. An annex building can provide a permanent living solution on your property. Once you purchase your annexe building, you can position it in your yard. 

The annex building comes with the basics. So, you do not have to spend a lot of money on a care home. Some annexes are built to last. That is why they usually have a 10-year structural guarantee. If you can get an annexe building, your elderly family members can live near you. It can save you money since you do not have to extend your home or even build a new home.

It is Easy and Simple to Install 

It takes time and lots of effort to extend your home. Once you get the planning permissions, you may spend several months extending your home. You will never have some peace in your home for several months.  If you want to build a garden room to increase your living space, you can complete installing your garden room in one week. It, however, takes 4 to 6 weeks to install an annexe, depending on the size of the annexe. If you want to add extra living space to your property, do not extend your home. Build a garden room. It is easy and simple to install. The site surveyors can even handle the job. Once you decide to install a garden room, you just call professionals. The professionals will come to check your garden space. Then, they can help you pick a garden room that suits the available space. 

Multiple Design Options 

If you are a creative person, you get the freedom to design the garden room the way you want. If you want to add underfloor heating to your garden room, you are free to add them. In addition, you can decorate your garden room the way you want. Therefore, you can paint the walls and put wallpaper on the walls. You can do whatever you want with your garden room to make it more beautiful. If you are looking for decoration ideas for your garden room, use the internet to find several case studies and an extensive gallery. 

Suit All Properties 

Many homeowners do not rush to renovate or extend their homes. Why? They are not sure if it will fit with their home design. If you have an old property, you will have more worries. Why? It is difficult to combine the traditional with modern design. It is, however, easy to find a garden building that can suit your property. In fact, most of the garden rooms are versatile. So, they can suit any type of property.  If your garden is small, you can build a small garden room. It is cheap to build a small garden room. You can design your garden room to suit your property. 

Increases Privacy 

If you want to have more privacy, you can build a garden room. You can use your garden room to work. You will spend more time in your garden room without any distractions. If you, however, extend your home, some of your loved ones might disturb you. It is much better to build a separate room on your property, especially if you need privacy. In fact, you can watch movies and listen to loud music in your garden room. You can even bring your friends to hang out in your garden room. You will never disturb anyone while having fun in your garden building. You can even soundproof your garden room to prevent loud noises from escaping your garden room.

 

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 combining indoor and outdoor areas.

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.

 

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!

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.

Soaking in a warm, bubbly hot tub after a long day might just be at the top of the list of little pleasures in life. And, if that hot tub is in the privacy of your home… it certainly takes the winning position! So, if you want to have a cool and relaxing hot tub in your garden, there are some factors you might consider before opting for the model of your dreams.

Consider the size

First things first, consider how many people you want to fit in your hot tub. Do you want to accommodate only you and your significant other, include your kids or even invite your friends over for a soak? When it comes to size, remember that portable models tend to be smaller (usually accommodate only two or three people). However, fixed models can be big enough for up to six adults, and some even have raised sets for children.

Find the right location

The most attractive feature of inflatable hot tubs is that they are suitable for both outdoor and indoor use, but they offer the best relaxing feeling when placed outside so that you can feel the fresh breeze and enjoy the stars while soaking. Luckily, you don’t have to have a huge garden to accommodate your hot tub. Small models can be only 6 feet wide (around 180 cm) and all you need for installation is a portion of flat lawn, deck or patio! Just be sure to take area measurements before picking the hot tub size. Additionally, inflatable hot tubs can be easily stored in the winter. Just drain, deflate, fold and put them in your garage!

Get the right jets

The next thing you should consider is the jets. It usually depends on the size of the tub and the manufacturer, so choose wisely. Most models come with bubble jets placed around the hot tub base that give a mild yet relaxing massage. The number of these little bubble air jets ranges from 100 to 200 and they provide a great hot tub experience. The more power your hot tub motor has, the stronger the jets can get. But, keep in mind that powerful motors consume more energy. Some users report a huge surge in their electricity bill when using the tub, so if you want to keep your utility bills as low as possible, opt for a less powerful motor. However, the motor that powers the air bubbles also inflates the tub, so if you want faster setup, get a better motor.

Heating options

Once you fill your tub with water, it can take anywhere from 12 hours to a whole day to reach a warm temperature. The time it takes to heat up depends on the weather outside, the amount of water, the size of the tub and the model. So, if you don’t want to turn your hot tub on one day in advance, make sure to get one with a better heater.

Get protection

Aside from these top four main concerns, there are other things you can consider. For instance, getting an inflatable hot tub with a cover will help you keep leaves, bugs and pets out and maintain water hygiene. If you chosen model comes without a cover, know that you’ll have to buy one separately which will push up the price. Also, some models have an additional filtration system that helps prevent (or minimize) the calcium deposit in your hot tub. However, even if you opt for a model with a feature like that, you still need to maintain the proper water chemistry to keep your tub running smoothly.

These are most elementary inflatable hot tub features you should keep an eye on when buying your own model. Make sure to buy one that fits your needs and your garden the best (even though it means spending more money) and you’ll enjoy a private spa pampering treatment whenever you want without even leaving your backyard!

Improving your backyard is one of the best ways to give your property a significant boost in resale value and at the same time, create your own personal oasis. While this is not necessarily an expensive project, it can definitely be a great addition to the overall appeal of your home and give it a much greater resale price. Still, it requires a lot of work, effort and maintenance and here are some tips on this topic

Lawn maintenance

Everyone wants a magnificent garden for themselves and they always seek for beautiful gardening ideas to spruce up their yards. However, the very basis for any good-looking yard is a well-maintained lawn. Unfortunately, a lot of people have no idea what exactly a well-maintained lawn entails. For starters, you need to get proper mowing gear and mow the lawn as often as necessary. This depends on the season, seeing how in summer you should do this at least three times a week, while in the autumn even once or twice per week may suffice. Aside from this, you also need to water the lawn on a regular basis and even feed it with some fertilizer if you deem necessary but keep it organic. All of this isn’t a lot of work, but it does require you to be diligent.
lawn maintenance

Construct a shed

In the introduction, we mentioned that you will have to purchase a lawn mower for your lawn, but you will also need a few more basic tools like a rake, a hoe and a hose. Still, in order to keep all of these tools in good shape, you need to have a place where you can safely store them, which is why it might be a good idea to construct a shed. Seeing how this means adding an additional structure to your property, such a project would also add to the resale value of your property. Furthermore, it should also add to the overall visual appeal of your backyard instead of simply serving its function.
garden shed

Take care of your plants

One of the most important things you need to know about the maintenance of your plants is that this process starts long before you actually start planting. The right selection of companion plants and knowing which plants don’t go together well can make your job a lot easier. For instance, while onions go with beets and carrots, they should never be planted alongside beans and peas. There are similar combinations for flowers as well, should you decide to make a flower-garden. Furthermore, by learning how to prepare a great homemade compost, you can make your garden a lot more lavish, while at the same time getting rid of most of your food leftovers.

Caring for your patio furniture

Finally, one of the most difficult issues in every yard is caring about the outdoor furniture. Sure, during the colder part of the year, it would be best to store all the fabrics and cushions inside while you can cover the rest of your outdoor furniture in order to protect it from the elements. So, say you have a beautiful bench with iron details, it needs special maintenance and a good protection from the rain and harsh sun
patio furniture

When it comes to washing the cushions, what you need is a mild soap solution which you will apply as gently as possible. Keep in mind, however, that there are some cushion types that are mildew-resistant, which can make your life significantly easier. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean that they are 100 percent mildew-proof. One last thing, when it comes to the rest of your furniture, the maintenance mostly depends on the material, seeing how plastic, metal and wood all require different approaches.

As you can see, with these several simple tips, you can keep your backyard in top shape. Still, remember that there is always a price to be paid for beauty. This being said, if you want to add a pool or plant several shrubs, you will add more work to your weekly maintenance schedule. The best thing about this is the fact that most people find gardening to be quite relaxing and therefore observe it more as a hobby than an actual chore.

Autumn is actually a great time for the growth of lawn. In the condition of remaining summer warmth and higher rainfall, it will be a perfect chance for your lawns to be well again after experiencing the extreme hot of the summer. Previous brown lawns start to grow again and turn into its original green. Therefore, this time is really appropriate for you to prepare and keep your lawn from the extreme weather of the next season-winter.
If you intend to do this in the coming autumn, let consider our following tips. They will be certainly useful for you.

autumn

              Via: shutterstock.com

Watering

Paying attention to the irritation is one of the most important things when preparing your lawns for the coming autumn. Unlike in the summer, your lawn doesn’t need too much water in autumn time. Despite that, you should also not stop watering suddenly. It will be best to keep the irritation at a minimum level during the winter in case your area doesn’t get a minimum rainfall of 1 inch a week.

Mowing

mowing

Via: shutterstock.com

It is also crucial for you to mow your lawn frequently during the autumn. This will surely keep your lawn in good shape. Nonetheless, remember to adjust your blade height in order not to cut your lawn too short.
Then, in the late autumn, you should mow off the cool-season grasses at 2½ inches and about 1½ to 2 inches for the warm-season ones. It is also quite vital to remain your lawn in autumn.

Seed your lawn

Conventionally, the temperature of soil in autumn will reach around 550F. In fact, autumn and winter are a great time for turf roots thrive; it is really a good time to seed.
The inexpensive seed often has weed seeds, such as hollow husk annual rye-grass seed, which usually dies when the first frost comes. As a result, purchase the high price one will be a great choice because of its good resistance to drought, insects, and disease. After planting your seed, water it properly every day to help it grow.
The usual time for grass seed to grow is about 10-20 days.

Fertilize before the first frost

fertilize

Via: shutterstock.com

Fertilize the lawn is at the top of important things you should do in the autumn; however, avoid using the old fertilizer. You should use the type of mineral one which contains a high amount of phosphorous and potassium instead of the organic one.
There are two elements, which play important roles in your autumn lawn growth:
Phosphorus (P): stimulates the development of grass as well as increases its hardiness in the winter that helps your grass suffer from a stressful environment. With the support of phosphorus, it will minimize the chances of getting disease for the grass.
Potassium (K): reduces the process of transpiring from the blades; therefore, your grass does not need too much water if it gets enough potassium. This element can make the blades stronger helping to recover your grass after suffering from heavy foot. It also helps grass bear the very cold time in the winter.
Supply your lawns with needed nutrients will help them cope well with the frosty condition of winter and remain their green. They can also strongly fight against the usual fungal diseases.

Aerate

Aerate your lawns during the fall is another important thing. There are many kinds of aerator on the market, which include plug and punch varieties. No matter which one will you choose, just use it. The process of aerating can certainly help the lawn roots absorb enough water and air as well as fertilizer.

Keep leaves controlled

It is certain that the leaves from the trees around and in your yard shed down frequently during the autumn. They will fall and remain on the grassed unless you control. You may think that there’s no need to worry about this; however, this is a potential factor killing your grass. In which, mildew and foster mold growth can lead to many lawn diseases. Consequently, rake the fall leaves and keep them away from your grass.

Weed control

weed control

Via: shutterstock.com

It’s time for you to fight against broadleaf weeds such as dandelions if they nearly cover your lawn. Just like other plants, weed can absorb energy strongly throughout the fall. They take up anything coming their way, even weed killers. Let using herbicide now; then weeds will definitely not come back in the upcoming spring.
Before using, read the package label carefully. It’s suggested by most of the herbicide manufacturers that you should apply weed killer in the period of early to mid of autumn. This is the time when the temperature in the daytime remains above 600F.
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Author Bio: Richard Clayton is an owner of a gardening blog. He loves gardening and lawn care. He can spend all of his free time taking care of his garden and discuss gardening experiences with his friends, who have the same hobby as he. His website (My Greenery Life) is a playground for people, where they can discuss everything about lawn care, DIY gardening and critter control topics.