Showing posts with label Outdoor Decor. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Outdoor Decor. Show all posts

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Live Outdoors this Winter

For the majority of us, our gardens are strictly off-limits during the colder months. Aside from the odd mission to refill the bird feeder, most people retreat indoors for the duration of the winter and only venture out again with the arrival of spring.

However, on those crisp, clean winter mornings, it seems such a shame to let the outside space of our homes go to waste. On winter days when there’s not a cloud in the sky, I’m desperate to escape the house, shake off the stuffiness of the central heating and spend some time outside.

This guide has been created to help you make the most of your outside space this winter.

Decking and Patio 

When it comes to spending time outdoors in the winter, your decking or patio is the perfect place to relax. However, if you’re planning on spending a lot of time using your outdoor space, it’s maybe worth constructing a small structure to protect you from the elements. If you build a simple structure with vertical beams, this can be modified between winter and summer: in winter, a cover can be stretched across the beams to act as a roof, which can be removed in the summer for a light, airy space.

That said, you don’t even need to have a covered area to enjoying being outside during the colder months. Take a look at this fantastic example from houzz.com, of a simple outdoor living space, which uses a gorgeous free standing fire at the focal point.

Furniture 

The only type of furniture that’s going to survive the duration of a winter outdoors is made from metal and even that has a chance of rusting. What’s more, when I want to sit back with a cup of something warm and enjoy the freshness of winter, I want comfortable furnishings that are going to help me to relax.


That’s why I would advise using indoor furniture and arranging your living space each time you want to use it. I like to keep things simple when it comes to outdoor furniture, so I love the selection of modern furniture at Vita Interiors. The clean, simple lines of pieces like this oak coffee table are perfect for the outdoors and will add a touch of elegance to the proceedings when you’re entertaining guests.



(This oak coffee table, available to buy online from Vita Interiors is a great piece to add to your outside space if you’re entertaining guests.)

Heat 

Ask your friends if they want to come and sit in the garden with you this winter, and I’m sure you’ll receive a resounding ‘no’. On the other hand, invite them to relax around a crackling log fire, drinking hot coco and toasting marshmallows, and I’m sure you’ll be flooded with positive RVSPs.

There are lots of options when it comes a fireplace for your outside space. If you want to go all-out, you can construct a freestanding fireplace from brick or stone that will give the living area a sense of permanence. This is also a great place to cook and can be used all year round.

If your budget can’t stretch to a permanent structure, another option is a clay or metal chimenea. These are a fantastic addition to a deck or patio area and are designed to generate intense heat, so they’re perfect for outdoor winter living spaces. 

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

How to Compliment a Garden Centerpiece

The centerpiece of your garden is the place where your eye is first drawn when you look at it. It’s the focus, like the main object in a painting. A centerpiece can be anything; a fountain, a statue, a rock formation, a seating area, or a flower bed, as long as it draws the viewer’s attention. To make sure that your chosen centerpiece actually functions to fulfill the role that you’ve selected for it, you need to set up some subtle (and some less-subtle) clues that will direct the attention of your viewer toward it.

Visibility

The first and most important bit about your centerpiece is that it should be highly visible. That means that when designing and putting together the surrounding landscaping you should focus on removing extraneous items that might draw attention away from the item, and situating the centerpiece in a very visible spot, perhaps on a raised platform, a berm, or simply in an open space. It should not need to share the spotlight with anything else.

It does not need to be in the objective center of the garden, as the word may imply. Rather your centerpiece is the object of that subjectively determines the center of the viewer.


Image Source: http://farm3.staticflickr.com


Direction of Attention

Attention can be grabbed in a variety of ways that don’t actually involve the item you’re drawing done anything particularly conspicuous. The trick is to make everything else in the garden point to the object. If your garden has a walkway then that walkway goes directly to your centerpiece. If there is a formation of bushes or trees then the line of symmetry will be dictated by the centerpiece. If the sun is rising or setting it better travelling right over your centerpiece. Alright that might be pushing it, but you get the idea. All roads lead to Rome, where Rome is the focus of your garden and roads are everything else located in the garden.

Color and Symmetry

Whether your centerpiece matches its surroundings as far as color is concerned are of relatively little significance; however making sure that all of the other things in your garden match each other is imperative. Nothing should look in any way obtrusive, asymmetrical, or attention-grabbing except your centerpiece. That doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be interesting. On the contrary, often the most intricate artistic details are to be found not in the centerpiece, but rather its surroundings. The care put into these reflects positively on the focus, even when it’s not consciously absorbed. For the more watchful, these details are a delight to enjoy, but not until after the main event has had its moment, as is its place.

The Background

Like a single red flower upstaging an entire meadow of white, you can use the colors in your garden to direct focus. Your centerpiece may have many colors, but if you make it unique by giving it a color that the rest of the garden does not have, then it will stand out more.

For example, if your centerpiece is a red sandstone boulder covered in patches of blue lichen and green moss, you have a lot of colors to work with. You could match it with a decorative bird feeder, your flowers, or even a fluffy cat, without sacrificing the dominance of your centerpiece as long as you give it a monopoly on one of those colors.

So keep in mind, the centerpiece of your garden is the focal point, the axis of symmetry, and the most visible part of your garden. Everything else in it serves to help draw your attention to it. It’s a lot like fashion and make-up; it should draw attention to the wearer, not itself. In the same way the complementing décor should not draw much attention to itself, instead providing a frame that serves to accentuate the focus.

Author Bio: Ernie Allison is a bird watcher with a love of life and nature. He is passionate about wildlife conservation and writing. He writes both for pleasure and profit, currently for Bird Feeders.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Five Tips for Your Outdoor Home Improvements




Maintaining your home and making improvements are crucial ways to maintain your investment and the enjoyment you get out of your home. Certain improvements can increase the value of your home, save you money on your homeowner's insurance, or qualify you for tax breaks.

Keep Up On Repairs

No one likes major projects, like residing or roofing your home, but it is important to stay on top of these repairs. Keep track of your warranties, and the expected life of important home features such as your roof, as keeping these items in good repair, can save you thousands of dollars down the road.

Look For Tax Rebates

Some outdoor home improvements, such as solar panels, have government incentive programs. Before you start a major project, especially if it is a project that will conserve or produce energy in your home, look for these incentive programs to see if you qualify for any tax rebates.

Consider Cost Versus Added Value

Many outdoor home improvements will add resale value to your home, such as landscaping, or installing a tile roof rather than a shingle roof. Do your research to compare how much the improvement will cost, against how much value it will add to your home. For example, installing a swimming pool will add value to your home, but you will most likely pay more to install it, than you will gain in resale value. The personal enjoyment of owning your own pool may be well worth the money lost, but it is important to understand all the factors before you start construction.

Improve Your Home Security

Getting a home security system does more than just improve your peace of mind. It can also significantly lower your homeowners insurance. Home automation systems can help you control lights, door locks, and alarms automatically through your computer or smart phone to make it look like someone is home at any time. Some services also offer alarms, cameras, glass break sensors, smart thermostats, and motion detectors. These features protect your home when you're away, and convince your insurance company that you are less of a financial risk to them.

Consider How Long You Intend To Stay

Some improvements, such as adding solar panels, can save you money in the long run, but only if you intend to stay in your home for a long period. Many solar panels will pay for themselves in electric bill savings within ten years, but if you plan to move in two, it may not be worth the investment. If you'll be looking for a new home soon, you may want to hold off on installing that deck in the backyard, so you will have the funds to install one in your new home.

Outdoor improvements are a great way to maintain your investment in your home, and get some new enjoyment out of an old space. Just be sure to do your research to get the best value for your time and money.


“Brooke Chaplan is a writer and freelancer living New Mexico. She enjoys blogging about home, family, and fitness articles. Learn more about improving a home through automation at Kansas City home automation. Contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.”

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Matching Your Garden Design to Your House Architecture

Gardens are natural embellishments that can make a home so much more charming, relaxing, and homey. There’s no hard and fast rule about the kind of garden that you should maintain to enhance your house. But if you want not just another residence, but a lovely, welcoming home, take time to know which garden style you should have to matching the features of your house.

Is your house design inspired by the Victorian era?


Victorian_house
Image Source: flickr.com


There are several types of 19th century Victorian architecture, but the most popular is the Queen Anne with its “painted lady” look. It’s also made distinctive by its tall and narrow windows, pitched gable roof, and patterned shingles. Columns, turrets, porches, ornate wooden brackets, and decorative woodwork add more character to buildings of this style.

If your home is inspired by this ornate design, your garden has to have a complementary look.

·         The grass must be immaculately trimmed, the hedges well-groomed, and the flower beds neat and free of dried leaves and petals – almost like a painting.

·         Remember that Victorian homes are meant to grab attention and admired. So make your flower beds bold with an assortment of vividly colored flowers.

Or do you have a prairie-style home?


Prairie_house
Image Source: flickr.com


Prairie-style houses are generally identified with their low horizontal silhouettes, having broad, low-pitched roofs and one to two-story structures. Everything about these homes is huge – the overhanging eaves and square porch supports. This design also has an inclination to use natural materials like wood and stones. Windows typically provide the accents with geometric or floral designs.

If your home fits this description, follow the features of the prairie gardens popularized by Dutch designer Piet Oudolf, and your own greenery and outdoor area will be perfect.

·     This style makes use of melodramatic swathes of ornamental grasses together with perennials. Prairie gardens are best for large gardens, but with control and creativity, you can use the same concept in your small space.

·      Alongside the Indian grass, grow wildflowers like false blue indigo, meadow blazing star, butterfly weed, and black-eyed Susan, for instance.


What if you've got a very chic contemporary structure?


Contemporary_home
Image Source: flickr.com


Contemporary house architecture is largely inspired by the temple construction scheme called “zenshuyo,” which is actually characterized by orderliness, simplicity, and lightness, except for its decorative curved roof. This is why a modern home usually takes the minimalist approach of having clean, simple lines and open spaces. It’s stripped of all things unnecessary and focuses on the essentials.

Your challenge in creating a garden for your contemporary living style is making everything appear relaxing and effortless.

·         Remember that everything in your garden must be made to calm the mind and relax the body, creating a spiritual ambiance. You can think about your own outdoor area as your homage to nature.

·         Make sure you have the basic elements found in a Zen garden – rocks, water, sand, and bamboo. Limit your plants to evergreen trees or shrubs. This landscape type often doesn’t require a lot of flowering plants, but if you wish to have them, choose from azaleas, hydrangeas, wisterias, and water-lovers like lotuses and water lilies.


Gardens turn a residential structure into a welcoming home. If you’re planning to create or refurbish yours, look at the architectural features of your house, and take your cue from there. Let the style flow from your front lawn to the backyard.

About the Author - Raquel Merc has mainly contributed about travel and lifestyle. But she’s also started writing a variety of articles on home management and parenting since becoming a mother in 2010. Among her recent works, feature ideas and insights on food and home, including articles for Simply Sheds.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Summer Time Fun: How to Prepare Your Yard for Warm Weather

Now that the weather has started to warm up, it's time to start thinking about how to prepare your yard for the summer. You may think that you know everything you need to do; however, there are some things you may not be aware of. Learn as much as you can about taking care of your yard. To make it will look beautiful throughout the entire summer.

Garden Greens

Find out what types of plants are not only going to work well with your climate, but also which ones will grow well together. Plants like certain conditions better than others do and when you can put your plants next to others that work well together, you are certain to have a combination of amazing plants. Put some compost in your pile. You can even start on your own compost pile in your backyard, just throw some eggshells or even potato peels down into your soil. This will give your plants the nutrients that they need to thrive. If you are trying to increase the amount of earthworms in your garden, you can use your coffee grounds to attract them. The worms are excellent for your soil.

Tree Time

Now is the best time to prune your trees back. If you can do it before the leaves come on, they will be easier to dispose of. Trimming your larger trees isn't generally something that you want to do on your own. Pay someone to come out and do the job for you to avoid any injury. Find a tree service in Atlanta to come do the hard work for you when you don't have the experience. The result Will be healthy and beautiful trees.

Go Unconventional

Consider getting some chickens to roam your yard, as it is a great way to make sure you never have to buy eggs again. Another benefit of having chickens is that they produce fertilizer to give you an amazing garden. Even using the chickens as a meat source can be something to think about. Find out if your yard and budget can support a coop.



Having a beautiful yard isn't something that has to cost a lot of money. If you are on a budget, you can still use these techniques, so don't be afraid to get out in your yard and spend some time gardening. Before you know it, your yard will look amazing just in time for summer. As you continue to garden, you will start to learn new things to help you in your future gardening endeavors. You will have the opportunity to find out what works and what doesn't. Make this a hobby you find enjoying for your yard, your health and your wallet.

Monday, 13 May 2013

5 Curb Appeal Ideas to Turn You Into the Neighborhood Rockstar

The outside of your house can say a lot about your home and what type of person you are. First impressions are of great importance whether you're attempting to sell your property or are simply looking to impress your visitors as well as yourself. By keeping your outdoor space looking its very best, it will make others want to see what's on the inside and will show that you care about appearances. Not keeping up with your outdoor space may not give off the best first impression and not show who you truly are. These 5 curb appeal ideas are sure to turn you into the neighborhood rock star all at an affordable rate.



1. The Front Door –
The front door of your home should be warm and inviting for visitors. It should be the focal point and stand out among the rest of your outdoor space while still blending with the rest of your fixtures. First, clean off your door to remove any dirt and then paint it an eye-popping color such as a vibrant red. Hand a wreath on the door for a welcoming look.

2. Outdoor Lighting –
If you currently have lighting around the outside doors of your home, clean them off and check to ensure that the bulbs are working. You'll want your home to look nice at night too. Next, install lovely landscape lighting around your trees or walking path. Opt for solar panel lights that are not required to be plugged in to work.

3. Potted Plants and Flowers –
If you are not good at planting, instead opt for potted plants and flowers that can be placed on your front porch or steps to give it some colorful appeal. Create an arrangement of various plants and flowers for your own little pre-potted garden that is easy to maintain and to move around.

4. Mailbox Makeover –
Your mailbox should express who you are as a family and your personality.There are many different types of mailboxes out there, so be sure to select one that compliments your home. This could be a black mailbox, white mailbox or stainless steel mailbox complete with your homes number and last name. You can even dress up your mailbox by planting flowers around it or by painting the wooden post to match your home’s exterior.

5. Mulching –
Simply re-mulching around your landscaping can change up the entire look of your outdoor space. Mulching should be done around twice a year. Choose a mulch that makes your flowers and plants pop such as red mulch, brown or black mulch.

Author Bio: Hayley is a freelance blogger. She recommends the high quality painters inMorristown NJ for superior house painting.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Applying Stucco on Exterior Walls


Stucco is popular building material used to cover unattractive materials such as clay brick, concrete, adobe, and cinder block. It is applied wet and it hardens into a very dense, rough surface. One of the best things about applying stucco on building or home exterior makes the structure stronger, more durable. Stucco also helps improve any building withstand extreme weather conditions.



Stucco consists of cement, sand, lime, and water which make this material waterproof and fire-resistant. It keeps mold and mildew from building up so the building can last longer than others. And if you decide to use stucco for your house or building, you don’t have to worry about the expenses as they are cost-efficient and requires very little maintenance. Follow these steps so you can apply stucco on your own:

Step 1:  Prep the Wall


Check for any damages on the walls such as cracks or holes and make the necessary repairs. You should also remove anything that can come in between the stucco material and the surface of the wall like dirt. Power-washing is the best way to do this so you can be sure no grime or mold is left. Sandblasting is advised for walls that have been neglected for a long time. For concrete, brick, or cinder block walls, you need to apply a coat of concrete bonding agent before applying the stucco. For wooden walls, you should install roofing felt with a metal netting prior to the application of stucco.

Step 2: Applying the Primary Coat of Stucco


Direct contact with stucco is harmful as it can burn and destroy your skin. This means you need to wear protective gear such as gloves and goggles. It is essential to apply stucco on a moist surface so you need to spray some water on the wall first. Position two strips of thick wood laths on the top and bottom parts of the wall so you can get an equal amount of thickness as you level the surface.



Using a trowel, apply the first coat beginning from the bottom of the wall. Make sure the coat is applied evenly over the entire are maintaining the thickness of 3/8 inches. Use ample pressure on the trowel so you can reach the spaces on the uneven parts of the wall. Once done, let it set for a few minutes and begin the leveling process while the stucco is still wet with the help of either metal or wood straightedge. Place the straightedge on the wood lath then move it up and down to remove any residue. When you're done leveling the stucco, remove the laths carefully.

Step 3: Let the stucco dry completely


Drag a mason's float over the wall in circular motions to minimize any risks of cracking or shrinkage when the stucco dries up. Let it sit to dry completely for two days. As you are waiting for it to dry, you should regularly spray water on it to maintain its moisture. Once it dries up fully, apply the final coat of stucco by following the same instructions in step 2. However, the final coat should be as thin as 1/8 inch. It can take 6-7 weeks for the stucco to be entirely cured. This is the only time when you can paint over it.


Jove Arthur loves to read different articles related to the home improvement and construction industry. He is professionally affiliated with Door Emporium, one of the leading wood entry door manufacturers in the market, as online sales manager. 

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

5 Ways to Liven Up the Look of Your Backyard


Redecorating or remodeling your living room, bedroom, or bath? There are hundreds of guides out there. Want to give the front yard some love? Again, lots of guides for that improvement since it impacts curb appeal. People want to make sure it always looks good. But try to find ideas to liven up the back of the house and many experts go strangely quiet. What's a person to do if they're trying to improve the outside area where the family actually wants to hang out?

Luckily, we came up with a few great ways for you to turn your backyard into that oasis that you've always dreamed of. Read on for five ways to get a fantastic-looking backyard without emptying your savings account.

Use the environment.  

No, this doesn't mean that you should have your guests sitting on large stones, but some backyards are more than willing to help you dress them up. For example, instead of building a covered porch or out-building, consider tying an attractive sheet or drapes between trees to serve as a roof and creating a "room" beneath it with a few select pieces of outdoor furniture.

Never underestimate the power of paint.

Maybe you really want a good-looking outdoor dining set but don't have the budget to pay for it. One fun DIY option is to look for cheap (and probably slightly battered) chairs and a table at garage sales, and then spruce them up with a new paint job. This way, you can choose whether you want them to blend in with the surroundings or make a statement with bold, funky colors.

Add some natural "wall" art.


Indoors, we make our wall space more interesting by hanging pictures and paintings, so who's to say we can't do the same thing well, something similar, anyway when we're outdoors? People with fences surrounding their yard can add some life and color to this "wall" by hanging brightly-colored potted flowers in an artistic arrangement. Take the color up a notch by choosing planters in a rainbow of hues or painting them yourself as a weekend project.


Trashy seating.

For cheap and easy last-minute party seating, you can use sturdy plastic storage containers and even old (small) garbage cans by flipping them over and covering them with small blankets. Choose interesting fabrics and bright colors. Your guests will probably think they were using some kind of hip new outdoor seating that you paid way too much for.

Let there be kitsch!

When decorating the outdoors, it's okay to go big and bold. That means you can feel secure in your decision to buy that cheap, gaudy chandelier and hang it from a tree, or even go with a "man-cave" theme and finally put up that fluorescent beer sign you've been hiding since college. You have to be a little larger than life if you want to stand out against the backdrop of nature all around you, so bring on the garden gnomes and knick-knacks you wouldn't be caught dead putting up inside your actual house

Generally speaking, outdoor design should be about adding color, life, and functionality. You want this to be a space that feels a little bit like a vacation from everyday life while still being close enough to normalcy that home is just a few steps away.

About  the Author: Stephanie writes about landscaping and exterior design. She reviews sites like KaneBros.com to help people get ideas for their yards. When she's not working she catches butterflies with her 2 daughters. 

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Revitalizing your Outdoor Living Space

Let’s face it: sometimes our backyards can be a bit overwhelming. Too many times we have stepped out to greet the morning, cup of coffee in hand, only to be met by the shambles of our “outdoor living room.” You know the scene: worn out garden furniture, cracked, weed-sprung patio bricks, and flowers that just won’t bloom. Fortunately, fixing up and remodeling the garden space is a fairly simple and enjoyable process if performed correctly; and, having been the go-to gal for many of my friends, I have a few tips to help get the backyard in pristine condition—optimal for outdoor relaxation.

wikimedia


The first thing you need to do is be sure you work within your means. I am not merely referring to “means” in a budgetary sense—though this is important—but also in terms of your abilities and workable space. Do not make plans to construct a concrete fire pit or barbeque structure if your outdoor area barely has enough room for patio furniture. If you are incapable of building such a fire pit on your own, it is also a good reason to avoid this task—unless you have the ability to hire this job out—which can prove be a very expensive venture. Know what you can do, and enter this remodel with a firm plan; the last thing you want to do is tear up your patio—making it even more undesirable—only to realize you are not able to finish what you started. The concept of measuring twice and cutting once definitely applies here.

The three key areas I find most addressable, and most often result in a successful remodel, are as follows:


  • Revamp the plant life in the area, making it more presentable, manageable, and pleasing to the eye.



  • Install, replace, or expand a brick patio. Grass has its place in a backyard, and I love it as much as anyone, but for social settings and outdoor living it is nice to have quality footing.



  • A central social setting. This can be a fire pit, ring of chairs or benches, or just a patio table.


  • A great bit to keep in mind: decorative planters are your best friend in the outdoor living room. They are not only aesthetically pleasing and representative of your taste, but they are movable and easy to maintain. You can rotate them in and out based on the season and your arsenal of plant life, allowing you to avoid the issues of vacant or sparse plant beds. They also allow for easy redecorating if you are in need of a change or more space for company. Planters will also save you if your thumb is not as green as you’d like it to be, as planter plants are much easier to maintain than the stuff in the ground.

    A brick patio is not only ideal for supporting patio furniture and planters—as well as giving good footing for your guests—but they also add a lot of visual pleasure to the scene. The added pattern of varying shapes and colors you find in a brick patio will impress friends and family, while giving a unique appearance to your outdoor living space—making it much more a place of your own. As daunting as the task of installing or replacing a brick patio might sound, it is actually a fairly simple enterprise. Step by step instructions are just one Google search away, and aside from the bricks, you will need little more than a few bags of sand, a shovel, and few boards to help smooth out the sand prior to laying brick. Make sure to purchase a variety of brick colors—in the pattern of your choice—and alternate the bricks you lay to create the desired aesthetics. You’ll be surprised at how fast you can knock this out in a single weekend.

    The whole purpose of an enjoyable outdoor living space is to entertain; whether it is friends, family, or just yourself, you want this to be a space you can relax in. I find that implementing a solid social area within your outdoor area gives direction and flow to environment. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways, and it all depends on what you want the social purpose of the space to be. Are you planning on hosting entire dinner parties, or merely a simple cocktail party? Is this a location of large gathering where folks can move about and mingle, or is a more intimate setting something you are aiming for? Cast-iron bowl style fireplaces are great for that evening retreat for you and your close friends, and like the decorative planters; they can easily be moved about or removed entirely depending on the situation. I also find that larger, more solid furniture that gives an air of permanence not only looks best, but also tends to be more comfortable.

    Once again, I cannot stress the importance of planning ahead. Truly take the time to think about the purpose of your outdoor living room, and how you hope to use it. Shop around, and don’t be afraid to draw ideas from what others have done with their own gardens and yards. Most importantly, remember this is your space first, and that if you are not comfortable in it on your own, you will never enjoy it with the presence of company.

    Mackenzie Kupfer has been a lover of all things green since the age of six when she began gardening with her Nana. She is currently an online publisher for the outdoor garden decor site avantgardendecor.com. In her free time, Mackenzie enjoys attending garden shows, hiking, and collecting porcelain tea sets.

    Tuesday, 25 September 2012

    How to Make Your Own Garden Fountain


    A garden adds vibrance to any home. It relaxes the eye and breathes an aesthetic feel to the surroundings. Not only does it provide foliage to butterflies and little insects hopping and flying about, it also cleans the air in the immediate vicinity.

    Gardens can be a place to unwind and relax, or to enjoy a good conversation with good company. However, if you really want to make your garden zen, it would be best to add an outdoor furniture or installation, like a fountain.  It’s even better if you make it yourself.

    Making Your Own Garden Fountain

    It has been believed that the trickling of water soothes our senses. Having a fountain  in your garden can also add a more soothing feel to the already relaxing hues of greens and pastel colors.

    Making your own garden fountain may seem daunting, but with these steps, you will surely find it easier.

    1. Check for available power source. Look for a spot near a socket where you can put up your fountain. It has to be stable enough for all the pots you’ll be stacking on top of each other. A clay pot, usually found in local department stores or garden shops, would be your first installation. It has to be big enough to hold water and to secure the other objects in place.

    Since you have the prerogative of how you want your fountain to look like, you can either leave the big pot on the ground or dig a slightly bigger hole to hold the basin in. This is where the water pump and the water will go.

    1. Place the water pump in the middle of the basin, connecting the tubes accordingly to where they should go. Cover the basin with chicken wire or mesh to keep debris away. This is important to make sure you don’t clog your pump.

    1. Decide on how tall or how short your fountain is. For a regular pocket garden, it would be best to opt for a size that is space friendly. If you dig a hole to accommodate the water basin, the best thing to do is to cover it up with old wood or anything stable that can hold the weight of the remaining pots. Some choose to use big stones as support, placing the wire mesh around the pump instead.

    1. Now that the important parts are in place—water basin, pump, and support structures—it is time to design it the way you want it. People who prefer elaborate designs stack small pots on a bigger one to let water flow in an artistic spout. Some even use ornamental, plants or bamboo arrangements. Those who go for minimalistic styles just stuff a clay pot with stones and pebbles to create a gentle run-off that produces the right amount of trickle.

    Whichever way you choose to go, the most important thing is to make sure that the water flows out from the top of your fountain, and the tube that collects water is be sitting on the spillover basin. From here, the water goes back to the tube that sends water at the top, and on goes the circulation. You can secure the tubes in place by drilling holes or by twisting wires around them for convenience.

    1. Once you are pleased with how your fountain looks like, you can already let the water flow. Make sure the water level is maintained at about 4 to 5 inches on top of the pump to ensure that the fountain does not dry up after a few couple of days. Regularly clean and check the water basin for any mosquito larvae or other unwanted dirt or pests.

    Once everything is in place, you can already enjoy your fountain and take the stress away right in your own home. With minimal cost and barely any fuzz, you can truly relax in your own place of zen.

    Vincent Sevilla is a Marketing consultant for Openbrook.com, an excellent source of information about patio sofa and outdoor furniture

    Wednesday, 19 September 2012

    How to Set Up Aesthetic Focus in Your Garden

    Making your garden bright and colorful is easy, but making it into art means you have to apply a few art and décor principles. The most important thing to have in your garden is a focus, the place where you look first, and the thing that everything else is meant to complement or contrast with. There are many options for great garden centerpieces, from massive living hedge sculptures, to ponds, 100 year old oaks, to intricate statues. However depending on the size of your yard and the size of your wallet there are a few options that look wonderful and are more accessible than other options. Here are my favorite three.

    Fire Pit

    A nice centrally located fire pit has multiple functions in that it can provide a splash of unexpected color in your garden otherwise green yard while also providing a great place to congregate outside at night while grilling up some sausages. You can opt for the more modern looking fire bowl or the old classic stone fire pit. If they’re done right either one looks absolutely gorgeous. Depending on what type of fire pit you use you can give your home a taste of modern edge or rustic lumberjack.










    Fountain

    A fountain can be a bit more expensive than a fire pit, but if you live in a perpetually hot climate it can help to lower the overall temperature in your yard. Bubbling water is a classic garden feature and will help give your garden an air of calm and relaxation. Additionally if you like animals you can populate the water with some small fish. Depending on your range of income a fountain can be rustic or downright opulent. You can let the water gush out of a moss and algae covered rock formation or you can have it shoot into the air from an elaborate statue depending on your tastes.

    Flower berm

    Probably the most popular option for a centerpiece is a strategically placed flower berm. The trick to turning a flower bed into a centerpiece is location and configuration. A flowerbed placed at the side of your property will have background pieces placed toward the back with flowers and accent pieces in the front. A centerpiece is usually round (ish) and focuses toward its own center which should be raised. As For example you might have some bright flowers near the outside, graduating to some decorative bushes as you move in and capped by a gorgeous tree growing out of the very center and top.


    Drawing Focus to your centerpiece

    All of the previous centerpieces can be classed up by setting up a stone pathway that travels toward your centerpiece in a straight line and then terminates in a ring around it. As you step outside and look the path will help to draw your eye out toward it and make the whole look more concise and orderly. Also avoid putting asymmetrical features (like a single lone tree) near the center as this will draw focus away from the piece.

    Author's Bio: Mackenzie Kupfer has been a lover of all things green since the age of six when she began gardening with her Nana. She is currently an online publisher for the outdoor garden decor site avantgardendecor.com. In her free time, Mackenzie enjoys attending garden shows, hiking, and gardening with her son.

    Thursday, 16 August 2012

    Tips to Turn your Backyard into Neighbor’s Envy


    When decorating a home, the backyard area is often treated as an afterthought. Once money has been laid out for making the inside as comfortable as possible, spending on couches, paint jobs, and lighting, the outdoors spaces often find themselves neglected by owners. But the truth is that with just a little bit of investment your backyard can become one of the best parts of your home, a haven for relaxation alone or a destination for gathering with your friends. Below are a few ways to make the parts outside of your house as inviting as the parts inside.




    First things first: get cleaning. Yes, even the outside needs to be cleaned. Start by moving anything that is sitting out that would be better suited to an indoor location - for example, toys, gardening tools, fish food. If you don't have a shed to put them in, stick them in your garage or even your basement. Use storage containers to keep everything organized if you have a lot of stuff.








    Once you have cleared the area, mow the lawn. Freshly and evenly cut grass is the most basic and essential element of a nice backyard. How often you need to mow depends on your preferences, as well as how much rain and sun you get. The faster the grass grows, the more you have to cut it.




    Prune and trim any trees or hedges that already there. Don't go too crazy doing this, and feel free to leave things a bit uneven - this is nature after all. But at the same time, keep things looking relatively tidy and don't let any plant get overgrown and dominant over everything else.





    Add some more flowers and plant life if you have the space and time. There are tons of plants that you can choose from, and it is totally up to you to choose them. Head to a local nursery and consult with a salesman about the space and time available to you to work in your garden. Many people like to plant vegetables and herbs so that they can literally eat the fruits of their labor.








    Pick out some new, comfortable furniture. If you want to spend time outside, you are going to need somewhere to sit down! Again, there are a ton of options available for purchase and making this decision largely depends on personal preferences. Just be sure to buy something specifically built for outdoor use so that it will be able to withstand the elements of wind and rain.









    Install lighting to make the space useful at night. There is nothing like relaxing in that backyard with a glass of wine and a book at the end of the day. But how can you do that without some good lighting? Try stringing some white lights around the edges or along the fence, or maybe some tiki torches for a Hawaiian luau vibe. If you have an awning, you can consider a paper awning.






    Author's Bio : Danielle Samuels researches Chicago decorators. She’s extremely excited about the recently finished patio in her backyard!

    Monday, 13 August 2012

    Five Eccentric Yet Awesome Outdoor Furniture

    If you can be different from who you are right now, how different can you be?

    Some would say they would like to be exactly who they are right now, while others will insist how they like themselves but later on suggest some minor changes. Yet, there will still be someone who longs for a change so radical, the concept becomes mundane for others.

    There is nothing wrong with change. Anyway, it is the only constant thing in this world other than the presence of taxes. Change also helps you discover diversified options, varying solutions to a problem or different outcomes for a single decision.

    So instead of sticking with your good old wooden bench on your garden or plastic chairs on your patio, why not shift your style to more eccentric yet awesome pieces of outdoor furniture for your home?

    Maybe this is the change that you needed.

    1.      Out-of-the-bedroom Bed



    If you think that beds only belong to the bedroom, this time, you would think twice.

    This outdoor furniture lets you literally stay out all night without turning you into an insomniac. The cushion is enveloped with a rattan framework to make it more stable and durable on uneven ground.



    2.    
      F  Fantastical Seats


    If you want to exploit the rich forest that surrounds your house, better use these fantastical seats to recreate the fairytale fantasy every child has. Who knows? Maybe Cinderella or Snow White will even drop by.








    3.   
               From vines to a bench


    This imaginative piece is not only an eye-candy outdoor furniture but also a reliable and comfortable one. Originally called the Marlin chairs, these will drive you to the edge of your seats with how it was creatively crafted.





    4.      Batoidea Outdoor Furniture


    Perhaps Peter Donders created this while he was out fishing or maybe just watching National Geographic. But whatever his reasons are, the outdoor furniture pieces that he created are inspired from Batoidea, an order of sting rays and skates.



    The unconventional shape and structure resemble the cartilaginous body of the sting ray, which also makes this piece one-of-a-kind. The whole piece comes with a foot rest for your pleasure.



    5.      Nested seats




    It is not at all intriguing at when it is in its original form. But when you deconstruct the piece, you will be amazed at how useful and practical it is for use.

    This stackable outdoor furniture is perfect when you have a small patio since it consumes space only when needed. One ball is comprised of four seats with back rest and a coffee table. Who would have thought all five can be fit into just one piece?


    If you can add more to the list, go ahead and send us the link through your comments below. Spread the change!

    Author Bio : Pierre Angela Cruz is a Marketing Consultant for Open Brook, an excellent source of information and reviews about patio and outdoor furniture