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The Secrets to Illuminating Your Landscape

The Secrets to Illuminating Your Landscape

Adding lighting to your yard is one of the best ways to maximize the usage of your property and learning the secrets to illuminating your landscape properly can be a great way to guarantee your project comes out looking great.  

Lighting is an important and often overlooked part of landscaping and when added correctly, your lighting can bring an entirely new aspect out of your décor.  Accent lighting can be the perfect addition to illuminate walkways, paths, and stairs. You can also use accent lighting that is built into your planters and water fountains like the Radiance Lighted Outdoor Fountain, to add a subtle trail of light to your landscape.  

Radiance Lighted Outdoor Fountain

Radiance Lighted Outdoor Fountain

Spotlighting can be used to accentuate certain décor or home.  Spotlights can be placed to face your home to give your house a stately appeal and this type of lighting can be a great way to spruce your nighttime décor up without breaking the bank. No matter what type of décor your yard currently has, there is a lighting system that is suited to your needs and style.  Below are some additional tips to remember when making your choices

Safety First

There are many reasons to illuminate your landscape but perhaps none is more important than safety. A well-lit yard is inviting to your visitors and the proper lighting can transform an unused patio into the new family hang out. You should try to place your lighting in an area in which it is serving both a decorative and safety purpose. Accent lighting is one of the most subtle but effective ways to add safety lighting to your home.

Accent lighting can be added to your stairways to provide you with the most visibility possible without taking away from your overall décor. A well-lit yard is also a great deterrent to would-be intruders. These unsavory individuals are known to look for homes with little security and lighting as their targets and having a well-lit yard can help to sway any thieves from entering your property.

Revelation Garden Fountain With Light

Revelation Garden Fountain With Light

Options

There are endless lighting options available to you today and narrowing down your selection can seem like it will be a hefty task. To help you with your selection you should venture out around the neighborhoods to see who already has lighting in their yard and how it is used. You want to note any setups you prefer. A quick internet search will also give you a plethora of choices to decide from.

There are a wide variety of styles and bulb types to consider.  Different types of lighting systems will look and operate differently. Some systems give you the option to replace worn out bulbs while others are designed to be discarded once the bulbs are worn out. Low energy bulbs such as LEDs are the best option for homeowners as they provide excellent lighting with little energy use.

LEDs

LEDs or Light Emitting Diodes are one of the most energy-efficient forms of lighting available today. These mini two-lead semiconductor lighting sources utilize a special plate that allows electrons to release energy in the form of light protons when electricity is applied. LEDs were originally developed in the early 1960s and today we use LEDs in a myriad of everyday items such as your TV remote.

LEDs have some significant advantages over incandescent lights in that they have lower energy consumption, smaller size, longer lifetime, improved durability, and faster switching times. This has led manufacturers to start using LEDs in all types of lighting systems including aviation lighting, headlights, home lighting, camera flashes, and even traffic signals.  

Go Green

You should consider going green with your yard lighting.  Solar powered yard lights have become very popular as they save the homeowner money and they are extremely easy to install.  Solar yard lighting has no cords to be run and most operate off of a light sensor, so you don’t need to worry about setting any timers.  

Another huge advantage of green-powered lighting is that you can add as much of it as you like without increasing your monthly lighting bill. This means you can really make your backyard a well-lit comfortable conversation hub within your property. Don't be shy about creating an indoor appeal with your lighting effects.

Tiering Rainforest Fountain

Tiering Rainforest Fountain

Timers

You may find that there is no green option for the lighting system that you desire.  When this is the case you should consider adding a timer to your system. Set your timer to automatically go on at dusk hours and off in the morning ad the sun is rising.  Many systems today offer light sensors built in. These are a smart addition as they will automatically turn on your lights when the sensors read below a certain level of sunlight.

You May Need a Professional

Not all lighting systems are easy to install and if you have decided on a more complicated system that requires wiring into your homes electrical, you should consider hiring a professional to complete your installation. There are lighting specific contractors that can help to answer any questions you may have about the cost of installing a lighting system in your home.

You should never attempt to wire a lighting system into your home unless you have the experience to do so. When working with electricity special precautions must be made to avoid serious injury or damaging your home.  

Walk Towards the Light

Now that you have a better understanding of how to illuminate your yard properly, you are ready to go out and find the perfect lighting system to fit your needs. Don't be afraid to ask a professional for help if you need it.  

Be sure to follow the tips in this guide to ensure you get the most out of your plans to brighten up your yard and before you know it you and your guest will be enjoying countless nights in your well-lit personal sanctuary.

  • Catherine Sibi
How to Create the Perfect Outdoor Living Space

How to Create the Perfect Outdoor Living Space

Learning how to transform your yard into the perfect outdoor living space is an essential part of maximizing your homes potential. An outdoor room can be the perfect addition to your home and you may be surprised to see how often your family gravitates to this area, even in the colder winter months.  

An outdoor room is the perfect location to entertain guests and the addition of one to your home can make an elegant statement to your visitors. There are endless ways to set up your new outdoor living space but there are some essentials that can help you to create the perfect flow between your yard and your outdoor room. Below are some of 2017's most popular outdoor room additions to consider when creating your own relaxation sanctuary.

Williamsburg Orabelle Garden Planter

Williamsburg Orabelle Garden Planter

Lush Greenery with Stylish Planters

Your outdoor living space should be filled with lush greenery as it will help to portray a more seamless blend between your home and yard. Don’t be afraid to experiment with new plant and planter combinations. You can even start with a simple tabletop planter with your favorite plant. Planters can help you to accent the colors of the plants they represent or they themselves can be used as focal points.  

Place a couple uniquely colored planters throughout your yard and outdoor room and be sure that they are visible from the point of entry into your outdoor living space.This will create an illusion of uniformity and further work to create that seamless blend between home and yard that all perfect outdoor living spaces capture.

Vibrant Colors

Use vibrant colors to create a livelier atmosphere. Flowers are the perfect addition to any outdoor living space as they add both visual appeal and a pleasant odor. You may also use your planters to help increase the visual impact of your flowers by choosing planters and flowers that match.

Natural bright colors are the best choices when considering outdoor living spaces. Nature is full of bright colors and by sticking to natural tones you will continue with the smooth transition you are seeking to create between your home and yard.

Water Fountains

Water fountains are one of the best ways to transform your outdoor living space into a relaxation zone.  Scientific studies have shown that the sight of water automatically creates soothing vibes in the majority of people and the sound of flowing water has a similar effect. Adding a fountain to your outdoor room is the perfect way to make a bold statement and because there are so many styles of water fountains available, you can get the perfect style to suit your needs depending on if you want to have your fountain be a centerpiece or a simply a cool addition.

Arroyo Large Fountain

Arroyo Large Fountain

A large cast stone water feature can add a luxurious and sophisticated attribute to your décor and even if you are working with smaller space requirements, a mini tiered water fountain can serve as a conversation starter as well as the neighborhood bird bath. Corner and hanging water fountains give you the ability to convert an unused area into prime living space.

Nature

One of the best ways to give your outdoor room life is to invite in some of your neighbors, in particular, the neighborhood birds. A bird bath can transform your outdoor living space into a bird watchers dream and once you know what types of birds prefer your birdbath, you can coordinate your planters and vegetation accordingly.  

You can lure particular butterflies and other types of bright colored animals and insects into your yard by the types of plants you include in your décor. You should also consider your tiny insect neighbors when deciding what plants to have in your outdoor room. Try to avoid placing plants that your local bug population eats near your seating areas.

Statues and Art Work

Statues will give your outdoor room a classical appeal and a few well-placed characters can really give your yard more life. Large statues that are well placed can help to create feelings of boldness and even the world-famous traditional "garden gnome" adds a lot to a yard with no statues.

Gnome Home Planter Cast Stone Garden Statue

Gnome Home Planter Cast Stone Garden Statue

Artwork is one of the best ways to give your outdoor room life and character. You can use well-placed art to help bring your décor together and nothing is better conversation starter than a piece of unique artwork. Sculptures can be perfect for both modern and contemporary decors, just be sure to use a theme that flows throughout your entire outdoor living space.  

Fireplace

Adding a fireplace to your outdoor living space can be one of the best investments you make.  Your guest will enjoy the toasty heat provided during the colder months and in areas where it gets really chilly, you will be surprised how much the addition of an outdoor fireplace helps to keep your yard enjoyable year around.

Whether you are roasting marshmallows with the kids or enjoying cool refreshments with your friends, a fireplace is an awesome way to get the most out of your time together. Fireplaces are awesome because they provide supplemental light as well as heat to your outdoor room.

Veniz Bio-Ethanol Fireplace

Veniz Bio-Ethanol Fireplace

Ethanol

Thanks to advances in technology ethanol fireplaces are now more affordable than ever. Ethanol fireplaces burn clean so they don’t require you to run ventilation and they come in a huge variety of designs ranging from classical to futuristic modern. Ethanol fireplaces are odorless so you and your guest don't have to worry about smoke and because of they don't require ventilation systems or chimneys to operate, they are often designed to be portable.  

Setting Up the Perfect Outdoor Living Space

An outdoor room is an extension of your home and by following the tips in this guide you can create the perfect outdoor room for you and your loved ones to enjoy. You will spend countless nights enjoying your new outdoor room and you may find it to be one of the most comfortable rooms in your house. Get the most out of your home and yard by creating this perfect transition space where both areas can meet and blend with elegance.

  • Catherine Sibi
The Right Way to Bring Your Outdoor Plants Inside for Winter

The Right Way to Bring Your Outdoor Plants Inside for Winter

Winter is upon us and your leafy friends outside are starting to get chilly.  You are going to need to bring your outdoor potted plants as they could be harmed by freezing temperatures.  While it may seem like you can just grab your plants and bring them right on in your home, there are also additional steps you should follow when transitioning outdoor plants indoors to avoid later complications such as insects and stressed plants.  Follow these steps to bring your outdoor plants inside for the winter. 

Inspection

You should never bring an outside plant into your home without conducting a thorough inspection for pests.  Pests such as mites can infect all of your indoor plants in less than a month and any gardener that has dealt with these plant-vampires will tell you that they are nasty little critters to get rid.  Potted plants can make the perfect home for all types of insects and it can be in your best interests to run you plant under a gentle stream of water prior to bringing it inside.

Hampshire Poly Window Box - Set of 3 in Lead

Hampshire Poly Window Box - Set of 3 in Lead

Repotting

Your outdoor plants have been getting summer and fall sun for months and they are undoubtedly much bigger than when you put them out.  Repotting these plants can help them to continue to grow healthy indoors by providing for additional root space.  Never repot too small.  Your new pot needs to be at least 2" bigger than your old pot.   

Avoid going to big as well because this will limit your options for next season as well increase your water consumption. Remember now that these plants are inside they are going to be running off of your water bill as well.  Water is wasted with a pot that is too large because the roots are not able to reach the water before it dries up.  

Avoid Shock

Your plants are going to feel stress from the change in sunlight they are receiving once they move indoors.  This can lead to stunted growth and even death.  The best way to avoid this problem is to precondition your houseplants before they go inside.  When a plant is stressed, disease and pests are more likely to strike with added effectiveness.  To avoid stress you need to plan ahead and remember that your plants are just like you in that a drastic change in their lifestyle will affect how they develop.

Cedros Planter in Playa Blanca - Set of 3

Cedros Planter in Playa Blanca - Set of 3

Sunlight Reduction Method

Start by moving your outdoor plants into a window that faces southward for 3 weeks. Your plants will be able to feel the difference as the window will refract much of the rays the plant is used to receiving.  This will also allow your plant to adjust to the new lighting scenario.  Then move the plants to an eastward facing window.  This gradual decrease in sun exposure can help your outdoor plants to cope with the changes of living indoors.  The Garden Anywhere Bench Set is perfect for this. A unique planter system, it  holds three rectangular fiber cement planters on a sturdy metal stand, offering endless versatility and mobility. 

Humidifier

Adding a humidifier to your dry indoor air can be one of the best ways for plants and humans to stay hydrated during the winter months.  Plants are constantly feeling the air for tiny water molecules.  Indoor plants and be used to much lower humidity levels than their outdoor counterparts and you will need to help adjust your outdoor plants, so they can transition without problems.

If you do not have a humidifier you can always just mist your plants twice a day.  Misting once in the morning and once in the afternoon helps keep your plants from feeling stress from the transition and also helps to keep the leaves of your plants healthy.

The Garden Anywhere Bench Set

The Garden Anywhere Bench Set

Avoid Over-Watering

Your plants are going to be adjusting to receiving less sunlight than before and because of this, they are going to turn down all of their consumption including water.  Use your index finger and run it across the top of your plant's soil to see if it is dry.  Overwatering your plants, specially cactus and succulents, can stunt its growth and it is possible to drown your roots.  

An automatic feeder can help to reduce your workload and keep you enjoying your new indoor companions without worrying about keeping them hydrated.  Automatic feeders come in a wide variety of styles including one pot designs.

Spring Feedings

Feed your plants approximately one month prior to the date you plan to take them back outside.  This will help them kick into high gear when they get into the sun.  You should only use half strength fertilizer as you can give your plants nutrient burn if you give them a full-strength dose.

How to Bring Your Outdoor Plants Inside For the Winter

Now that you understand how to transition your plants indoor properly, you should never have any problems in the future making sure your favorite plant stays healthy all year around.  Follow the tips in this guide and you are guaranteed to have the healthiest plants in the neighborhood.

  • Catherine Sibi
How to Set-up Your Garden Like Ancient Japanese Royalty

How to Set-up Your Garden Like Ancient Japanese Royalty

Learning how to set your garden up like ancient Japanese royalty is not only fun but it is one of the best ways to transform your yard space into a Zen masterpiece. Japanese gardens are unique in their features and design and for centuries they have served as a safe meditation zone for the country’s elite.

Every aspect of the Japanese garden design is set up to inspire and capture thought leading conversations.  Perhaps this is why the traditional Japanese garden layout has spread so successfully and today you can find Japanese gardens throughout the globe.

Ryokan Modern Garden Bench

Ryokan Modern Garden Bench

Main Characteristics

Japanese gardens are not the same but most have a few keep concepts that help capture the essence of the original designer’s intentions.  Depending on the size of your garden or home, you may choose to forego some of the elements to fit your personal tastes and current décor.  Transform your yard into a Japanese masterpiece by following the tips below.

Teahouse

A teahouse is usually a small pagoda or gazebo type structure specifically designed for drinking tea and deep conversation.  Your Teahouse should be an outdoor room that has the feel of being surrounded by nature.  Place your teahouse where you feel the view is the best as it is where most of your garden time will be spent.

Water Basins

The tradition of water basins in Japanese gardens goes back thousands of years from when guests would wash their hands in the basin before entering your garden.  The basins should be located in close proximity to your teahouse and it should be surrounded by a stone arrangement that complements its features while maintaining a natural appeal.

Walkways

Walkways are one of the most recognizable features of a traditional Japanese garden. While walkways can be constructed of wood, you may find a stone pathway to provide you with a little more meditative inspiration.  Use the spacing of your stones to control the pace in which your visitor tackles their thoughts.  A well-spaced stone walkway is surer to have your visitors pondering every step.

Boulders

Japanese gardens are also known for their large boulder arrangements.  These are usually a couple stones or boulders partially buried with plants arranged around its basin.  You should use smaller shrubs and plants to give your boulder the feel of a miniature mountain. This is another reason small trees are perfect for Japanese gardens and the right arrangement can make any boulder look like a baby mt.Fuji.

The Feel of Water

The feel of water can be easily captured if you are lucky enough to have a small stream running through your garden.  You can also get a similar feel through the use of well-placed dark gravel.  Simply dig a small "stream" bed and then fill it with your dark gravel.  This will give a flowing effect when observed by any visitors. You can also add an outdoor water feature like Bjorn Small Water Fountainsure to be an eye-catcher despite its relatively small size. Ferns can be the perfect addition to your gravel steam to give it the extra detail that is sure to be appreciated by any guests who happen to wander into your garden space. 

Bjorn Small Water Fountain

Bjorn Small Water Fountain

Popular Japanese Garden Plants

It is common to see Japanese influenced gardens feature some form of evergreens.  In ancient Japanese culture the evergreen represented permanence and because of this, they were used sparingly in the decor.  Below are some popular Japanese evergreens to consider:

  • Cedar
  • Coastal redwood
  • Himalayan Redwood
  • Japanese Black Pine

Flowers

Japanese gardens are known for the beautiful flowers and their sweet aroma.  There are several colorful Japanese flowers to choose fit your décor needs.  Flowers are the best way to add color to any garden and below are some of the more popular flowers found in traditional Japanese inspired yards.

  • Japanese Irises
  • Japanese Tree Peonies
  • Japanese Maples
  • Azaleas

Mill Valley Garden Planter

Mill Valley Garden Planter

How to Set-up Your Garden Like Ancient Japanese Royalty

Japan is a country that is rich in culture and history and a proper Japanese garden should reflect the intricacy and simplicity that is combined perfectly in this style of garden.  A Japanese garden is meant to provide you with the perfect place to meditate on deeper issues and leave the day to day behind.  

The teahouse adds the perfect functionality and you and your guest are sure to enjoy the added tranquility you get sipping on your favorite tea while being immersed in your traditional Japanese garden.  Remember to follow the tips in this guide and watch your yard transform into feudal Japan before your eyes.

  • Catherine Sibi
Hammock Care - A Comprehensive Guide

Hammock Care - A Comprehensive Guide

Learning the proper techniques and strategies of hammock care is important to any hammock owners looking to get the maximum life from their beloved relaxation device. The level of care you give your hammock will play a direct role in how long your item holds up and a properly maintained hammock is sure to last you years. Follow these basic steps to get the most out of your hammock.

Handle and Store with Care

Hammocks are usually made of durable cotton and while this material can last years it can also degrade quickly if it is not handled and stored properly.  Always handle your hammock by the handles to avoid tangling and other unwanted tears.  

When you are ready to store your hammock start by removing it from where it is being hanged and place it on a clean floor.  Next, take both tie loops and bring them in towards the center of the hammock. Now pull them slightly past each other while keeping them parallel.  Now cross the tie lines and pull the tie loops back towards their original ends. This will guarantee that you don't end up with an entangled hammock when you pull your hammock out next season.  

Bliss Oversized Brazilian Hammock In A Bag

Bliss Oversized Brazilian Hammock In A Bag

Always Use Ropes

One of the biggest mistakes untrained hammock users make is that they try to hang their hammock directly by its loops rather than first attaching a rope to the loops. This is a big mistake as the wear and tear on the loops can be significant. This will also cause your hammock to tear along the loop edges quicker than if properly used.  

A hammock knot is a perfect way to attach a hanging rope to your hammock and then to a suitable hanging hook. Be sure to check your hanging hooks and rope prior to sitting in your hammock as these items can also degrade in time and if they break you run a serious risk of injury.

1st Use

Prior to using your hammock you should hang it up and place it tightly together and sit on it like a swing. Gently bounce on the hammock to take any slack up and to test your tie knots.  Hammock users that skip this step in the hammock break-in process end up with a bulge forming in the middle of their unit. This can affect comfort and lower the lifespan of your hammock.

Pawleys Island Presidential Size Original Cotton Rope Hammock

Pawleys Island Presidential Size Original Cotton Rope Hammock

Avoid Broken Threads

Unfortunately, many hammocks meet their untimely demise because their owner hopped on with a sharp object in their possession. Items such as belt buckles can tear threads of your hammock lowering its comfort level and life expectancy significantly. Always check your person prior to using your hammock to avoid this problem.

If you notice a broken thread be sure to reweave the thread back into your hammock. This process can be time-consuming but it will allow your hammock to retain its load capacity. If you notice numerous tears you may have to weave all of the threads back through and attach them with reef knots.

Washing

Never wash your hammock in the washing machine. Hammocks can lose much of their integrity when machine washed and tangles can occur. Prior to washing your hammock you must take smaller pieces of rope or zip ties and fasten all the hanging strings together.  A failure to do this can result in torn strings and a dangerous hammock.

Leave your hammock to soak in warm water with shampoo and a little salt.  Do this for around 20 minutes before hanging your hammock to sundry. Do not use a dryer as the heating while tumbling action can cause threads to shrink and become brittle. This can make your hammock weak and it could break while you are using it which can result in serious injury.

Life Expectancy

Cotton as with all fabrics will not last forever so be sure to check the capabilities of your hammock by sitting on it while it is hung with all the threads brought in tight like a swing.  In this manner, you can give a slight bounce to your hammock and even if it rips you have the support of the other strings to keep you from falling. Older hammocks are going to eventually need to get replaced but by following the tips in this guide you can get years of excellent hammock relaxation out of your product with little to no worry.

  • Catherine Sibi
How to Give Your Backyard the Ultimate Makeover

How to Give Your Backyard the Ultimate Makeover

Every homeowner comes to the point where they have finally had enough of the overgrown weeds and unsightly landscaping and learning how to give your backyard the ultimate makeover, can be the perfect way to transform a humdrum landscape into an immaculate relaxation zone.

If you don't like your landscaping, you can bet your neighbors are probably less of a fan than you.  Keeping your yard tidy is an important part of donating to your community and an unsightly yard can lower the property value of homes around it.  Don't be that neighbor who has everyone in the community up in arms about the lack of care they dedicate to their property. 

Baltic Outdoor 3-Seat Sofa

Baltic Outdoor 3-Seat Sofa

Instead, you should shoot to be the perfect version of a model citizen by keeping your yards in pristine condition all year around.  Not only will you benefit from the added enjoyment you will get but you will also be doing your part to keep your property value rising.

There is no reason to pretend that landscaping is fun but it can be more enjoyable if you have a set goal in mind.  The closer you get to your desired décor the prouder you will become of your hard work and dedication.  Below are 6 tips to help you with your backyard makeover.

Set a Schedule

Yard maintenance can creep up on you without warning and before you know it, you could be looking at a small jungle for your front yard.  Avoid this situation by setting aside a few hours every week to keep up on your yard maintenance.  By doing a little every week, you can turn a huge yardscaping project into an easy to accomplish goal.

In the summer months, you are going to need to double up on your yard maintenance as everything will be growing at full speed.  What used to take 2 or 3 weeks to grow will now be growing in a weeks time.  This means you are going to need to keep up with your edging and trimming as well. 

Veniz Bio-Ethanol Fireplace

Veniz Bio-Ethanol Fireplace

Set Aside a Budget

There are some costs that are associated with yard care that you should consider and putting aside a certain amount of your monthly budget to be used toward yard maintenance is a smart way to ensure you can keep your yard looking crisp and clean. 

Set your budget to fit your needs and your availability.  If you are unable to put any yard maintenance time aside, then you need to raise your budget to include professionals.  Most individuals have at least 2 hours a week they can dedicate to keeping their yard looking spiffy.

Remove Weeds and Dead Plants

Start off by removing all of the tall weeds scattered throughout your yard.  This will help to give you a better idea of what your yards true potential is and it will make the next steps much easier on your yard equipment.  Remove all dead and discolored plants from your yard so that there is only lush greenery left.

Weeds can make a yard look ratty and unmaintained.  There is a variety of awesome weed killers available on the market that make weed removal as easy as a squeeze of the trigger.  Many people still prefer the tried and true methods of pulling weed out of the ground by hand.  This way you know the rooting system isn't still alive and waiting to start sprouting again next spring.

Mow Your Grass

Yard maintenance is not complete if you have not mowed your grass.  A freshly mowed yard looks great and shows your neighbors you care about the community in general.  Some mowers can even leave freshly cut lines that add to the overall sharpness of your property.  If you have a large yard, you should consider investing in a riding mower.  This is going to reduce your workload significantly.

Further Yard Maintenance

Edging and trimming is just as important as mowing and it is this extra attention to detail that gives your home that elegant look.  Be sure to edge your sidewalks as this is one of the best ways to increase your curb appeal.

Apex Rock Pondless Garden Fountain

Apex Rock Pondless Garden Fountain

Consider Furniture

There is no shortage of yard furniture available to decorate your garden or yardspace.  A decorative fountain like Apex Rock Pondless Garden Fountain, can be the perfect addition to any home and the energy you get from being around flowing water is invigorating.  Locate furniture that fits your overall yard décor and commit to your styling entirely.  If you are unsure about getting furniture consider a Faux Bois style that will maintain a look that is natural. Garden Benches are often a simple way to add seating to your yard without overdoing it. 

  • Catherine Sibi