How many times have you paused to admire beautiful gardens nearby? The trees and shrubs complete the picture of a perfect home. In well-managed gardens, you will notice how the trees and shrubs look like a work of art. Breathtakingly beautiful, this is because they are well maintained and pruned.
Pruning is all about removing unwanted parts of the tree to improve its growth. When removing dead or overgrown branches and parts of the trees or shrubs that may have been affected by a disease a more favorable growing environment is being cultivated. Pruning trees and shrubs improves growth and beauty, and increases the tree’s lifespan. However, doing it at the wrong time can have negative consequences.
The pruning process requires some time and effort. Here are some helpful tips you can use when deciding when you should prune trees and shrubs:
Pruning trees before Spring
Generally, early spring is a great time for pruning. Winter is a horrific time for trees and shrubs, as they are exposed to harsh weather elements, and some trees may not survive. Inspect your garden after winter to identify trees that need to be pruned in early spring. The main indicators to decide which trees will be pruned are the presence of dead or broken branches or trees that show signs of early bloom. Pruning trees just before the flowers bloom removes the parts of the trees that can hinder its bloom, if this happens, you may not witness the tree in all its beauty that year.
Trees that have shed their leaves
Some trees shed all their leaves in autumn. When all the leaves have fallen off, and the branches are exposed, it is time to do some pruning. It would be best if you made quick plans to prune before the winter season starts. The exposed branches make it easy to see which are crossed or dying. Also, if you need the tree to have a particular shape, you can prune branches to achieve the appearance you desire.
If you live in an area prone to strong windy seasons, it will be best to prune trees in your garden before the winds begin. In this case, your goal is to prune thick branches that can be broken during strong winds. Broken branches can fall on your home or car cause other damage.
Trees with stunted growth
If some of your favorite trees in the garden show signs of stunted growth, you should prune some of the branches. These are probably trees that thrive on regrowth after cutting off branches that may be preventing the tree from thriving.
It is also necessary to identify your reason for pruning. Do you want the tree to grow bigger or control its size or shape? Your decision will help you plan the pruning process accordingly.
Pruning at any moment may not lead to your desired results. In fact, you may make the situation worse, and your tree or shrub may not survive. Alternatively, pruning at the perfect time will create a favorable growing environment for your tree or shrub to flourish. Following just a few simple rules or guidelines, can help immensely when trying to produce a thriving garden.
Would you like to be the proud owner of a luscious garden? You may have noticed you have neglected your outside space for a while, and some flowerbeds may have perished this past year. In any case there are many simple and steps you can take to spruce up your outside garden and space.
Make a design plan
All successful projects start with solid planning. Creating your perfect garden can be a bit tricky, and knowing where to begin can be confusing, mostly because there are simply so many options to choose from. Do you desire a perfectly maintained lawn, or maybe a rose bush or two? Or a terrace with an outdoor kitchen to hang out with friends? Put your thoughts on paper before you drive to the nearest garden center, as you may end up coming home with a bag full of unnecessary supplies.
Know your greens
After the planning phase, make sure you know how to take care of potential flowers and/or plants. Are flowers your thing? Or do you want to add some trees or other large plants? Maybe you favor an easy open space to play baseball with the kid too? Make decisions about the growing objects in your garden, since these will stay for quite a while. You will also need to do research on maintenance; otherwise, your spring garden will soon become quite lifeless.
Know how to position flowers and plants
Not all plants can grow next to each other; same goes for flowers. All green specimens have their own preferences and thus they can have a negative impact on some other green brethren placed nearby. If you want your garden to flourish; spend some time reading about the specifics of a plant and determining its proximity to the other plants and flowers. That way you’ll be sure to create a lasting piece of natural art.
Create comfy places to sit down and relax
The best way to enjoy a spring garden is literally to sit in it and relax. Create a welcoming space by including seating, some chairs or maybe a hammock. Spending time out in nature has many benefits including providing a sense of tranquility, and giving you time to enjoy your beautiful creation.
Ways to divide an outside space
If you are planning on creating several sectors, like a flowerbed next to a lawn or terrace; try to divide the sectors with your own unique edging. Edging made of natural stone usually works best, as it integrates well with the green environment. It will also make it easier to maintain the garden, as the separate plants and flowers will not likely pollinate each other and create chaos after a while.
Rejuvenating your outside space will not only beautify your views, but also expand your useful square footage, and connect you with nature.
Meeting your new neighbors might not be at the top of your to-do list on any given day, but it is something you will likely need to do at some point. Instead of creating an uncomfortable situation for them and yourself, here are some easy suggestions to consider implementing for this social experience.
1) Offer a Friendly Greeting
A simple smile with a hello is often all that is necessary to meet people. Trying to juggle the chore of moving and all of the other issues that come with this task is enough of a challenge; offering a quick greeting can set up another meeting later.
2) Ask to Help
Instead of asking, “Is there some way I can help?” be specific with your request. If you can see that they have some heavy furniture to move, telling them that you can help with those items will often be greeted with gratitude.
3) Host a Welcome Party
Have a party at your place at a time that would generally work for most people. A casual get-together on a weekend afternoon for a couple of hours can put folks at ease while offering the chance at a good time. You might not get everyone there, but it is an opportunity to see a few new faces.
4) Drop Off a Gift
If you aren’t in the mood to meet someone new, offering a gift with a kind note works just as well as a smile and a hello.
5) Go Online
If you are anxious about meeting your neighbors in person, there may be on-line resources that would help. Many neighborhoods have a group page on websites like Nextdoor or Facebook. On these apps you can share news, events, and buy and sell items.
6) Let the pets break the ice
Strangers are more likely to initiate a conversion with someone out walking there dog, especially if they are a pet owner themselves. If you see a neighbor walking their pet or a pet in their yard with the owner you can use this as an opportunity to chat.
You could also start taking walks in your neighborhood, spend more time in your yard or common area, or begin a conversation by asking where the best place to eat in the community happens to be. That will make this process much more natural and you might even make a new friend.
No matter where you live, you are likely to be surrounded by neighbors. The goal is to ensure your street lives in harmony without drama or complaints. This will lead to an overall more positive and pleasant neighborhood.
Here are five surprisingly simple tips for being a good neighbor and homeowner:
- Know what you are getting into before you buy
You can avoid a lot of potential problems by knowing your neighborhood and neighbors before purchasing a home. When out shopping for homes, spend a little time on the street or in the general area. Feel free to introduce yourself to anyone you spot, and ask them about the neighborhood. Asking questions like whether they feel the neighborhood is safe, what they like or dislike about the neighborhood, and about the homeowners association, if there is one.
- Keep the noise down
The expectation isn’t to maintain total silence, but instead to ensure a reasonable noise level, respectful of the time of day or night. For example, if you have kids don’t let them run around the house screaming until the crack of dawn. If you are throwing a house party, don’t keep the music blaring late into the night. The general guideline is to avoid unnecessary noise between 9pm and 9am.
- Maintain your home’s frontage
It’s important to take care of your front yard. Keep the grass trimmed, the hedges and/or plants tidy, and the driveway clear of clutter. The value of homes is influenced by the quality of the street and neighborhood. You don’t want to be the one dragging down the appeal of your area. General maintenance should be enough to keep it looking good.
- Welcome new neighbors
If someone new moves next door or opposite you on your street, whether they’ve purchased the property or are leasing, it’s a great idea to welcome them into their new home. Help the new family feel welcome by introducing yourself and letting them know you’re there to help them settle in if needed. It’s a much-appreciated gesture that won’t go unnoticed.
- Lead by example, be a good neighbor yourself
In addition to being conscious of your noise levels and properly maintaining your home, you should also mind your pets. If you have a dog, pick up after it, and depending on your dog’s level of training, you may need to keep it on a leash while walking it. Also be considerate when parking. Make sure you don’t block your neighbor’s driveway or take up more space than needed, when parking on the street.
If you follow these points of common courtesy and etiquette, you will be a good neighbor and homeowner. You will help contribute to a happier, more welcoming street that people will enjoy living on.
Want to know how to improve your personal space with the latest design trends? Interior design has become a large influence on our lives. After all, who would even dare to invite friends over for a dinner party when the venue is not up to par. If you want your house to be the life of the party, read on for the latest design trends for the upcoming year.
Choosing well-crafted furniture is fashionable again, as opposed to stockpiling Ikea items just because they’re cheap. Go out and find a local atelier or a neighborhood carpenter, so you can have a craftsman design your own unique piece. It will surely give your interior a personal touch.
Metal makes a comeback
Metal is back from…well, it never really left. Iron, copper, stainless steel and aluminum are all popular in 2019. It doesn’t matter whether you prefer a classical or modern interior; a touch of metal will guarantee to provide you with an edge that will make your interior shine.
Nature as a guiding force
With the trend of valuing natural items, going back to our roots seems plausible. Which is why natural elements like wood and plants is so popular. People want to feel like they can breathe in your home, so crank up that photosynthesis and invest in some green additions or at least a wooden table. You won’t regret it.
Flowers are timeless
Flowers never fall out of fashion. The petals might fall out in due time though, so remember to refresh your flower arrangements from time to time.
Concrete is still happening
Concrete seems like a boring and cold material, but it sure has its benefits. It’s extremely resistant to all sorts of moisture damage and it has an overall sleek look and feel. If you want to create a downtown atmosphere that is reminiscent of a Brooklyn loft, invest in some concrete accents. Success guaranteed.
Vintage accents to counter Minimalism
Last but not least; don’t forget the value of nostalgia. If you want a pleasant atmosphere in your house, invest in some classic items. And to create that authentic feel, don’t forget the vintage pieces like a collector’s Hermes scarf on the coat rack. These historical gems will make any lifeless place come to life in the blink of an eye.
Designers aren’t just going bold with color: geometric patterns, abstract prints and nature-inspired motifs like florals, which were emerging trends last year, will continue to be popular in 2019.
A Resort in Your Backyard
Homeowners want luxury hotel amenities in their backyards. They want all the amenities and the look of a luxury hotel and even go a bit further with outdoor home theaters, poolside televisions and pizza ovens from Italy. Another popular feature is artificial turf because it always looks perfect. It can be used in shady areas and does not require water and chemicals to keep it healthy.
Everyone loves that cozy winter feeling. It’s a great time to snuggle up on the couch while watching the snow fall outside or while watching your favorite Christmas movie on TV. Preferably while eating some nice nourishing food. If you want your house to feel warm and welcoming this winter. Below are some very easy tips and tricks to achieve this feeling without much effort. Here is a list of 8 ways to make your house look like Santa’s haven on the North Pole, but be warned you might get so comfortable that you will not want to leave your house anymore this season.
1. Change your Lighting
Lighting can change any space in an instant. If you want your living room to look more comfy for example, consider changing some lamps and strategically positioning them to create a nice effect. An inexpensive option is to simply buy a new set of bulbs with a lower wattage than your current ones.
2. Buy some New Colorful Cushions
Everyone loves changing their interior from time to time and one of the most efficient ways to do this, is by investing in some new textiles. Go to your local store and look around for warm colors. Think in terms of red, orange, emerald green, and golden accessories. These can make an otherwise chilly atmosphere multiple degrees warmer in a heartbeat.
3. Splash a new Coat of Paint on your Wall
If you have some spare time, you might like to change the color of your wall to something warmer. Especially if your walls are all white, this can make a huge difference. If you’re not sure which color will suit you, pick up a few paint samples and compare these to your interior.
4. Adding Tablecloths can make any Kitchen Welcoming
It might seem a bit old-fashioned and something that your grandmother would invest in. But this can actually brighten up your kitchen or dining room. Nowadays there are vast arrays of designs and materials available, ranging from minimal to modern to colorful. It will definitely make your table more inviting and your house as well.
5. Behold the Magic of Fire
There is almost nothing nicer than coming home to warm fire in the fireplace on a cold winter day. If you have the luxury of having one that is a big plus. If your house doesn’t have a chimney you can still get the same benefits from a gas fireplace.
6. Invest in some Paintings
If you really want to create that warm Christmas feeling, try going to an art market and art gallery and look for some winter paintings. Maybe a still life of some fruit or a wintery landscape? It might sound cheesy but once it’s on your wall, you will definitely feel like cozying up with some friends and family.
7. Buy solid Wood Furniture and Accessories
For that authentic winter cottage feel, invest in some wooden accessories. Maybe a new table or bench, or smaller options like bowls, vases, and shelves. Wood has the capacity to transform the ambiance of a space, plus it also looks authentic and you can personalize wood to a great extent.
8. Put Food on the Table
Something that will always radiate warmth and comfort is food. It’s no coincidence that someone invented the phrase ‘comfort food’. A plate of cookies or a bowl of tasty winter fruit and your home will look comfy and welcoming. And any visitors will most certainly agree.
Hоmеоwnerѕ living in a rеgiоn with freezing wintеrѕ may run into the issue of frоzеn wаtеr рiреѕ. Fоrtunаtеlу, there is no need tо раniс if уоu соmе home onе dау tо find thеm frоzеn. If уоu have pipes thаt аrе еxроѕеd to thе соld, сhаnсеѕ аrе they will frееzе if nоt рrореrlу рrоtесtеd. Yоu can use insulation tape to minimize frozen pipes.
There аrе a numbеr of ways that уоu can еаѕilу thaw your frozen pipes. Before уоu do anything, уоu should ѕhut оff the water linе so that the рiре will not bе undеr toо muсh pressure when thаwing; this can рrеvеnt сrасking аnd thе pipe bursting. If уоu аrе unѕurе of what you are dоing, you should еnliѕt the ѕеrviсеѕ of a professional рlumbеr, especially if you can’t access the frozen pipes.
Thе fоllоwing are 5 methods to thaw уоur frozen water рiре:
- A high роwеr hair drуеr iѕ thе mоѕt common and ѕаfеѕt mеthоd оf unfreezing frоzеn wаtеr рiреѕ. Yоu juѕt hаvе tо mоvе thе hаir dryer bасk аnd fоrth оvеr the frozen section tо thаw thе рiре. The faucet ѕhоuld be ореn tо аllоw thе water to ѕtаrt dripping. Also, a heat lаmр iѕ another popular сhоiсе for thawing рiреѕ. Thеѕе lаmрѕ produce a lоt of hеаt so make sure аnу еxроѕеd wаll area iѕ рrоtесtеd using a mеtаl ѕhееt such аѕ a bаking ѕhееt.
- Yоu can uѕе an electric роrtаblе ѕрасе hеаtеr tо thaw your water pipes. A роrtаblе heater iѕ еffесtivе if уоu саn fit it in thе space nеаr the рiре since the аmоunt оf heat рrоduсеd iѕ not that powerful. However, it does take a whilе tо thaw a frоzеn pipe. The bеѕt place tо use a ѕрасе hеаtеr to thaw pipes iѕ in рlасеѕ thаt аrе enclosed such as undеr a kitchen sink. Yоu juѕt hаvе tо fit thе space hеаtеr in thе еnсlоѕеd ѕрасе аnd turn it on. It heats thе area and the pipe which then thaws thе рiре. Yоu ѕhоuld nеvеr leave hоmе while thе space hеаtеr is running unattended. Also make sure the space heater is not somewhere where it could get wet once the water starts to flow.
- A dеviсе called a “pipe thawing mасhinе” uses twо сlаmрѕ that уоu аttасh tо the frоzеn pipe. Whеn thе mасhinе iѕ in uѕе it hеаtѕ thе рiре area bеtwееn thе two clamps. Yоu саn usually rent this machine from a рlumbing ѕuррliеr or thеу саn also be рurсhаѕеd.
- Water Pipe Hеаt Tape саn bе used tо thаw water рiреѕ. All уоu hаvе to dо iѕ wrар the рiре with thе tаре аnd plug thе end intо аn оutlеt and thе tаре will hеаt and thаw thе frоzеn wаtеr рiре. This iѕ аlѕо great to use beforehand to prevent the рiреѕ from frееzing.
- Uѕing a hеаt gun iѕ аn еffесtivе way to unfreeze thе wаtеr pipes. You juѕt have to аim the heat gun оn thе frozen ѕесtiоn of thе рiре аnd mоvе it bасk аnd forth ѕо that heat ѕрrеаdѕ over thе frоzеn ѕесtiоn. Thiѕ mеthоd may take a bit longer to thаw thе рiре.
There are some ways to avoid or lower the chances of your pipes freezing. Like making sure your home is properly insulated, and installing a smart thermostat, so you can monitor and control your homes temperature remotely. Hopefully frozen pipes are something you will never have to encounter as a home owner. But if you do, you are now much better prepared.
Having fire pits in the backyard of homes is an increasingly popular trend and for good reason. Fire pits make for an interesting feature around the house, and provide countless opportunities for entertaining friends and family. If you have been thinking about adding an interesting feature to your home, consider adding a fire pit.
Here are 10 good reasons to get a fire pit:
1. Attract crowds
One of the best reasons to have a fire pit around the house is they are a good way of attracting a crowd. Whether you have friends or relatives over, or just want to hang out with neighbors, people like gathering around a fire to discuss events or share stories.
2. Utilize unused space
If you have unused space outside of your house, whether it is a large portion of your lawn or a corner of your backyard, you can use a fire pit to utilize that space. Fire pits can be large or small, and they can fit in a variety of spaces.
3. Usable for every occasion
The great benefit of having a fire pit in your backyard is that they can be used year-round. Whether you’re having a family dinner, celebration, or just a gathering of friends, fire pits can liven up the evening. The usage of fire pits is not seasonal; you can gather around the pit during winter nights for warmth while sipping coffee, and you can sit out on starry nights during the summer and cook barbecue or make s’mores.
4. Versatile fuel options
Fire pits can work with a variety of different fuels. You can have a traditional wood fire pit, which is easy to set up and run, but can cause air pollution. You can also have fire pits that run on natural gas or propane, which may be more expensive depending on where you get your wood; but, they don’t create as much pollution.
5. Increase house value
A major advantage of installing a fire pit is that it can increase the value of your home. Buyers will pay more for a house that has additional backyard feature such as a fire pit. Adding an outdoor feature that makes the space more usable will also help a house on the market sell quickly.
6. Creative landscaping
Fire pits can be useful simply for their aesthetic value. They add interest to your patio or backyard, and you can use the opportunity to show off your creative landscaping skills. Fire pits come in all sizes and shapes: round, rectangular, square, and more. There are also a variety of rock designs to choose from.
7. Easy to clean
As compared to indoor fireplaces, outdoor fire pits are much easier to manage and are lower maintenance. For one, you don’t have to worry much about cleaning it if they are gas powered. And even if they burn wood, you can still leave the half-burnt logs where they are, ready to be used next time. And since they are already outdoors, you won’t have to worry much about ash and soot making a mess.
8. Environmentally friendly
Natural gas and propane fire pits are environment friendly. They produce no smoke and are odorless. Besides, a fire in a gas fire pit may burn hotter than wood, giving out a much more constant heat since new logs don’t need to be added to the fire.
9. Fire pits can be used to cook food
If you don’t feel like cooking inside the house, fire pits can provide a nice change in scenery and you can cook food or barbecue on a grill while chatting with friends or neighbors.
10. Easy to start and run
You can get a gas-based fire pit up and running in literally no time at all. All it takes is the flick of a switch, or a flame from a lighter or match, to light the fire. You can control the amount of heat you need, and don’t have to worry about constantly adding firewood.
Do you already have a fire pit? What is your favorite thing about it? Let us know in the comments section below.
Planting a fall garden is an easy, fun, and even a therapeutic way to grow your own vegetables during the autumn season. Usually gardeners plant their vegetables in the spring to harvest in early summer. But in our region of Texas it is possible to start a vegetable garden in the Fall.
The first step is to choose your space, if you aren’t using your spring garden area. Just make sure the place you choose will get eight hours of sunlight and be able to drain well because of the large amount of rainfall we are prone to get. To prepare the garden make sure to remove any remaining plant material from the Spring garden and also pull out any weeds. The next step is to till the soil and add sandy soil and fertilizer before planting.
Here in Harris County we are in Zone 9 of the plant hardiness zone map. Meaning our growing season lasts from late February to early December. Our planting season almost extends year round. Local hardware stores sell many varieties of Fall vegetable plants or you can find seeds online. These are just some of the vegetables that thrive in our growing region: beans, beets, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cucumber, endive, kale, leeks, lettuce, onions, parsley, radishes, squash, tomatoes, and turnips.
Gardeners know that vegetables grown in their own garden often taste delicious compared to store bought vegetables. Tender and full of flavor nothing beats fresh vegetables picked from the garden and immediately consumed.