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.


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, 13 September 2012

Five Sure-fire Ways to Recycle Your Old Furniture

We have all heard the cry to help Mother Nature recover by recycling. We do our own little ways to pitch in. I personally segregate my trash, use recyclable grocery bags, and sometimes walk instead of using a vehicle.

But did you know that you can do more than that? How many times have you done your spring cleaning where you simply throw out the things that you will not use anymore? How many furniture have you sentenced to death by just leaving it out for the trash collector to pick up?

Source : Localbuzzmagazine.com

The next time you want to throw out a piece of furniture that you think is not worth having anymore, hold your horses.Let’s see if we can still recycle that. To get you started, here are some easy tips to recycle furniture:

           Ask yourself if the furniture can still be saved. An old bookcase can be revamped and made into a patio table or even a side table. A worn-out sofa can be upholstered to look brand new again.

The trick in revamping your furniture is to have an eye for detail. This can even be a mini-project that you can start with your friends or your family. With the right attitude and tools, your old fixtures will be taking a whole different form in no time.

      You can also sell these used pieces of furniture. Make sure that you price it wisely. Overpriced used furniture may not attract a lot of prospective buyers. Also, be reasonable when a potential buyer haggles with you.

Scrapping is another good way to recycle. If your furniture is made of steel, iron or aluminium, these parts can be sold separately. So instead of having these materials polluting the surroundings, it can be sold where it will be given a new lease on being another object.

You can also donate your furniture in thrift shops. This is a philanthropic move, because by donating, you do not earn money. You simply let go of your furniture and find a better home for it.

Source : Naturemoms.com

Another good move is to hand it down. If you have a friend who just moved out of his parent’s house or a young couple who just got married, you can offer to give them your old furniture.This is a win-win situation. They get to have “new” furniture without shelling out extra money, and you can still get to “visit” your old furniture and know that it will be in great hands.

When recycling anything, remember that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Avoid just dumping your furniture as these may still be used—if not as a whole, then probably as something else by recycling its parts.

Pierre Angela Cruz is a Marketing Consultant for Open Brook, an excellent source of information and reviews about patio and outdoor furniture. She also writes for Amerisleep, a distributor of memory foam mattress

The Different Types of Flooring for your Home

Right flooring combined with elegant wall colour and gorgeous curtains can make a lot of difference to your home. If you are thinking of renovating your house to give it a new touch, give special attention to the flooring part as it always plays a huge role in uplifting the overall look of a home. Nowadays, many options are there in the market. Each and every type of flooring has its own unique appeal and individual benefits. You just need to know which type suits your style better. So, have a look at the current available options -

Hardwood Floor -

Style, aesthetic look, easily repairable, low maintenance, and durability - all these come in mind while talking about hardwood flooring. These are the main aspects that make this flooring an all-time favorite choice. If you want to give a traditional look to your home, go for it. But frankly speaking, this would be an ideal choice for your bedroom and living room rather than your bathroom or kitchen.

Vinyl Floor -

Vinyl sheet is an economic choice that brings several affordable options along with it. This durable, water resistant and easy going flooring option comes with attractive textures that can mimic other flooring types like natural stones, wood and tiles.

Bamboo Floor -

Bamboo flooring is an ultimate way to make your home environment friendly. Easy installation, great look, sustainable nature, versatile color options and moisture resistant power of bamboo will satisfy your taste. Apart from the hardness of bamboo, it is the moisture resistant power that makes it an ultimate flooring choice for your bathroom and kitchen. It is a great long lasting flooring option that requires very less maintenance.

Laminate Floor -

Laminate flooring is cheaper than the hardwood flooring. Though the life span of laminate flooring is not similar to hardwood as hardwood flooring lasts quite longer than laminate flooring, still it is considered as one of the most popular options nowadays. Laminate floor does not fade easily and has scratch resistance power too.

Linoleum Floor -

This is another remarkable choice if you want to go for an economic yet attractive flooring option. Linseed oil is the main ingredient of the material and is completely natural. This flooring is also very tough by nature, environment-friendly and easy to maintain.

Ceramic Tiles –

Ceramic tile flooring is very attractive, fire resistant and needs less maintenance. Due to the waterproof and durable nature and resistance power of the tiles, they are also used as counter tops. Lots of people say that ceramic tiles help to increase the resale value of a home. In case of any damage, a single piece of tile can be removed, replaced and re-installed easily.

Carpets -

If you go for carpets, you will have advantages in terms of your safety and health as well. Apart from easy cleaning and maintenance benefits, you will be able to add style and beauty to your home through carpets. The chances of slipping and falling will also reduce if you use carpet flooring.

Marble Floors -

It is the look of marble flooring that lures the attention of many homeowners. Gorgeous elegant marble flooring adds greater value to your home. Besides, it is stain and dust resistant and suitable for people who are allergic to dust or have trouble with carpets.

So, the above discussion can help you to know the different flooring options. You can choose the one that best matches your priorities.

Monday, 10 September 2012

5 Rules to Decorate Your House before Selling It

Most homeowners begin to sense that the time may be drawing close to put their home on the market. It may be too small, it may be too large or it may be in the wrong place. Whatever the reason the decision to sell a property is a very fundamental one in people's lives should be handled with the maximum of professionalism, so that the sellers can enjoy the highest possible price for the property.

That should mean investing what is required to make the property look as good as possible before it goes on the market. The money invested in this re-decoration project should be recovered many times over in the final selling price. The reason is that when most people come to look over a property with a view to buying, first impressions can be very important.

That's why it's important to invest money in getting the property in as good a shape as can be done within a reasonable budget. 

There are five simple rules to decorate your house before selling it. If they are followed more or less to the letter then the chances of receiving a higher price will greatly increase.

Rule one- Bland is better

it may sound strange but most people who buy a property, will immediately want to place their territorial claim on it. That means taking the house, even if it has just been decorated, and the smell of paint is still in the air, and redecorating it. For the seller should remember that this is likely to happen and not put out too much in making fashion statements. Clean and crisp will do the job.

Rule Two-Don't be cheap when it comes to materials

being in mind that many couples and especially if they are first-time buyers will be working on a very stretched budget. If they see a property that is ready to move into then they are liable to look more favorably upon it. They would rather pay the cost of redecorating the house to the mortgage for the next 25 years than pay out some cash today. That means decorating using good materials that will last.

Rule Three-Don't forget to add some personal touches

Even though you may like that rug or the set of curtains in the baby's room, you know the baby is now in their teens, leaving them behind. when you're putting the house up for sale. Prospective buyers may hate the rug and the curtains but at least it will give the impression that this is a house that has been lived in.

Rule Four-How to decorate the house that you are no longer living in

there is an unhealthy scenario where someone is trying to sell a property which is no longer occupied. Once all the furniture and fittings have been removed, near is no way that the house can look at its best. Some people have gone as far as picking up used furniture and appliances to continue the impression that the house is still a home. It may be a pain in the neck but can have a major effect on the selling of the property and how long it stays on the market.

Rule Five- If you manage sell your property before redecorating

This is a dream scenario, but it can happen. If you're happy with the price then you can sit down with the buyers and offered to pay part of their redecoration costs or even help them to undertake the work. Leaving a buyer in the best possible terms has many advantages that can be reaped over the years. 

Author's Bio : Chris has been writing about interior design for over 4 years. Chris has published numerous articles on various decorating blogs. Aside from blogging,Chris specializes in french provincial furniture and decoration.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Quick Tips on Staging a Home

It has been said that a home's value is what a buyer is willing to pay for it, and this is especially true in today's turbulent real estate market. Home sellers often think of their homes in term of location, age and square footage, but potentially buyers often base their decisions more on the feeling they get from a home; preparing and staging a home can lead to more bids and a higher sale price. Here are a few tips.

Clean everything

The psychological effect of cleanliness is well established. Make sure every facet of your house looks as great as possible. Carpets should be stain-free and vacuumed, and tables should be clear. Try to remove any scuffs on tile, and pay extra attention to the exterior. Potential buyers see the outside of a home before stepping inside, so make sure it is spotless.

A little paint can go a long way

Homeowners often design their homes exactly how they like it, but most buyers are looking for a fairly neutral home they can convert into their ideal living space. If a home has red walls, for example, it may be wise to paint them a neutral beige color. Kids rooms often have wacky paint colors, but buyers might be less inclined to make a bid if they know they will have to repaint a room.

Remove clutter and personal items

Clutter has several effects on potential buyers; it makes rooms look smaller and might give the impression that the home is poorly maintained. One of the biggest effects of staging is the fact that is shows that the seller cares about details and has likely maintained the house well. Personal items can severely detract from a home's look, so they are best removed before interested parties stop by.

Smell matters

Studies have consistently shown that smell is one of the strongest senses, and humans remember smells far longer than sights and sounds. A home's smell will persist in the minds of potential buyers long after they have left. Take steps to remove bad odors and replace them with subtle, pleasant smells.

Ask for advice

It can be hard to step back and make a neutral evaluation of our homes after living in them for so long. Have a friend or neighbor view the home after the staging has been completed and ask them to share their opinion. There are often simple fixes that are easy to overlook.

Staging is not always free, but real estate agents all agree that the costs are worthwhile. Buyers pay more for staged homes, and sellers might be able to start a bidding war between multiple interested parties. Make sure you take the staging process seriously.

About AuthorAndy Hall is an online marketing manager for Cornerstone Homes. He writes about home builders in Calgary, interior design, and home improvements.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Creating a Cocktail Station for Your Home

A house is not a home without the relationships and friendships that are created and nurtured within its walls. There will always be parties thrown, achievements and events to be celebrated, and even just those regular days when you'd want to have friends and family over for dinner and drinks. For these times, it's much better to have a cocktail station readily available to avoid frequent trips to the kitchen, keep the drinks flowing, and keep the mess of cocktail mixing to a minimum.

There are two major types of cocktail stations; portable and built-in. And under these two are even more types and categories, so here's a quick guide to helping you decide what you need for your own cocktail station or bar at home.

Portable Cocktail Stations

This type of home bar is ideal for those who like to hold parties both indoors or out on the patio or backyard. Portable cocktail stations are typically made of stainless steel, wood, or granite - depending on your preference and where you intend to make most use of it. The main advantage of this type of station, apart from portability, is its ease of use and setup. No need to learn DIY tricks or pay for services to have a home bar built into the kitchen island or patio grill. Another advantage is they generally sell cheaper than built-in or drop-in stations.

Some people prefer wooden portable home bars which are foldable or have swing doors because they can double as typical end table fixtures for use inside the home. But when it's time to entertain, they easily open up to have the storage compartments you need for glassware and liquor bottles. Some even have pull-out drawers and brass foot rails, if you want to pull up bar stools. If you plan on using your station mostly outdoors, then it's best to go for stainless, waterproof varieties that can withstand weather conditions and keep your drinks cool even under the sun's sweltering heat.

Built-In and Drop-In Stations

The other option in creating a cocktail station for your home is by having a home bar built into your existing kitchen island or any suitable area. The advantage of built-in or drop-in stations is you can easily connect it to water and electricity supply. With drinks constantly flowing, you'll need water supply to wash a lot of glass and stemware and also to clean up spillages. Having easy access to electricity will also mean your drinks are guaranteed to be kept cool, and you'll have steady supply of ice if you're making frozen Margaritas for the ladies.

Drop-in cocktail stations or sinks function much like their built-in counterparts, except they can be installed with your standard cabinets and don't come with bottle storage. However, you do have the option of buying add-on rails which you can have installed on the cabinet doors. Or you can also simply convert a section of the cabinet below to have bottle racks and to hold stemware.

Setting Up Your Cocktail Station

If you're setting up a self-serve cocktail station for your party, a safe bet is to always have a punch bowl and a signature cocktail mix out on the table. You'd want to provide non-alcoholic drinks too, either for mixing or as options for your guests who don't drink. Absolute must-haves for any cocktail station are different kinds of glassware (wine / Coupette / cocktail glasses, etc.) and ice storage that's separate from the bin used to chill wine, champagne, or beer.

Again, choosing which type of cocktail station to have in your home depends on several factors, such as your budget, location of water or electricity supply lines, preference and style, and intended usage (outdoor or indoor).  Carefully weigh your options and considerations and decide accordingly.

Author's Bio : Lisa Steele reviews home accessories, like the Breuer Cesca chair. She loves furnishing a room for unique purposes.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Saving Space in Your Bedroom

The bedroom is where you start and end your day, generate thoughts and ideas, spend intimate moments, and serves as a place of refuge day in and day out after working long hours. As such, it should be a private, comforting place where you can feel absolutely at ease.

If your bedroom is starting to get cluttered and feel a bit cramped despite daily or regular clean ups, it may be high time for you to look into simple yet effective ways you can de-clutter and free up space in the room. Here are some tips to maximize your bedroom space without breaking the bank.

Rearrange Furniture in Groupings

Your bedroom isn't just the place where you sleep - for most of us, it's also where we work, read, develop our hobbies, and engage in other leisurely activities. By rearranging your furniture according to function, you can have space-efficient nooks for every activity and keep all the things you need in that section. This reduces clutter, frees up floor space, and can make your bedroom look bigger.

Use Storage and Closets with Sliding Doors

A lot of bedrooms come with built-in closets with doors that open outward, which forces you to make sure no other fixtures or furniture pieces occupy the space close to it and block the doors. You may think that little space is insignificant, but it still adds up to limit your usage of room space. If you have built-in closets like these, have them fitted with sliding doors instead. You can take this on as a DIY project or hire someone to do it - either way, it'll still be cheaper and more space-efficient than buying a new closet.

Invest in a Platform Bed

The bed is the central piece of the room, and also takes up the most floor space. Having a raised/platform bed lets you make use of all that space underneath the bed frame that is often left unused. You can buy wood drawers or plastic containers that'll fit right under the bed, and with small wheels underneath so you can easily pull them out and access. This would be a good place to store the items that you can no longer fit into your closet.

Install Wall-Mounted Shelves

Wall-mounted shelves not only free up floor space, they also look more stylish than your typical floor shelves. Here you can put your books, trinkets, and even the small potted plants you keep in your room. This reduces clutter and makes your things more accessible because they're on an open and elevated surface.

Use Hanging Storage and Hooks

That whole space behind your door is a good place to hang shoes, bags, coats, and other items you put on and use before walking out your bedroom. The idea here is to think vertical - make use of the walls and flat surfaces to store items vertically instead of using wide furniture pieces to hold your stuff. Hang light items and accessories like scarves, belts, and even necklaces, instead of keeping them in a drawer and using up even more storage space that could've been used more efficiently. 

Author's Bio : Michelle Lim loves all bedroom products, particularly hastens bedding. Whenever she has free time, she spends it with her two beautiful children.

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.

  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.

           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