3 Ways To Make The Most Of Your Garden This Year

For most people, the size of the garden is a huge selling point if they are planning to buy a property. It’s not just the idea that if you have a garden, children have a place to play. A little bit – or a lot – of land that you own is something to be proud of, and you want to be able to maximize on the space you have and not let it go to waste. There are so many ways you can use a garden and stripping the whole thing back to basics and starting from scratch is the smart thing to do. It’s your piece of private outdoor space to do what you want with and that begins from the ground up. Doing up the garden can be as fun as doing up any room in the house, but are you ready for the challenge?

Landscape, Japanese Garden, Ornamental Garden

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Some people decide to fully landscape their garden into one that is low maintenance. This generally is for those who have no real interest in gardening but still want to use the outside space for children, barbecues and generally having the outdoor area to entertain friends. This can be anything from laying patterned gravel like this to tarmacking the entire area so it’s got a slight bounce – great for children to play. Low maintenance gardens are great for people who don’t have time for the upkeep of planting flowers or vegetables and generally want to be able to tidy the space up quickly.

There are those who want a fully green garden packed with seasonal flowers, lawn and a vegetable patch to grow peppers and onions. Generally, these gardens are very high maintenance and require a few hours work every week to maintain their colour. Sprinklers in the summer and watering cans for the hanging plants are a feature and the pride in the outdoor setting is obvious. A fully bloomed garden is beautiful and smells amazing in the summer months, and it’s also a very peaceful place to sit and just be. There are some amazing ways you can maximize on the space you have in your garden, whether it’s a tiny little patio area or half a football field attached to the rear of your home and with these three fab ideas, you can use the garden in the way you have always dreamed:

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[Photo courtesy of Leonid Dzhepko/wikimedia.org]

Planting is one of the most popular activities in a garden. You could choose to landscape your garden with a lawn and edge the entire thing with border flowers that relate to the season. If your garden space is a little smaller than you would like but you have big dreams for it, don’t grow around, grow UP! Adding fencing and bamboo can see some beautiful climbing ivy and other plants through the year growing upward in your garden. You can also plant squash and variations of beans and cucumber if a vegetable garden is something that interests you. Making a tepee of climbing plants for your garden can give it a green glow all year round. Don’t forget to invest in the right equipment though, you’ll need mowers and tools for your garden to keep it in tip top shape.

The grill man

[Photo courtesy of Kaboompics // Karolina/pexels.com]

Entertaining friends at home is always a pleasure, but being able to spill out into the garden is even better. If you have gone for a low maintenance garden, you’re likely to be lacking much in the way of greenery and colour outside. Adding solar lights, bunting and fake bushes like these ones can add some beauty to an otherwise plain garden. Build your own brick barbecue and think about having inflatable hot tubs on standby to get out when guests are over. Drinks on a chilly New Year’s Even can be so much better when you’re relaxing in the warm bubbles of your new hot tub and eating tasty burgers from the new barbecue! Maximizing your garden for entertainment is a way to make the space you have somewhere you want to be. There’s no use having extra land if you can’t use it to make yourself happy and entertaining guests in a unique way is the best. Invite them over and remind them to bring their swimwear!

One of the most popular ways to maximize the garden space is to build on it. Not just plant and flower boxes, but conservatories. When you have a lot of land in the back of the house, you have the opportunity to attach what ends up being an entirely new room onto the house. This not only adds value to the house as a whole, but it gives you that extra dining room/play room/craft space you’ve always imagined you could have. A conservatory is a fantastic idea if you live in an area that is heavy with rain. You can then use the rest of the outside space for entertaining and planting beautiful flowers. You can read more about installing a conservatory here.

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[Photo courtesy of Literatirus/wikimedia.org]

Your garden is your own private haven to do with what you will. Add in a pond and some fish for a little touch of wildlife and hang bird feeders from the trees. You can even buy some fantastic garden furniture like this to make your outdoor area feel homelier than just a blank canvas to look at. Taking the time to make the most of your garden comes down to how busy you are and how much you care about the flush of colour that your garden has.

There are so many people who don’t have the time to maintain a garden but if you have the time, turn the garden from boring to brilliant. Make it an extension of your home and furnish, decorate and breathe life into it. You want to create a place you and your friends want to be; and your garden is that space as long as you take the time to make the most of the area you have.

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Let Machines Do the Work! Clever Automation Ideas for Your Home

There are many simple tasks around the home that could be taken care of by modern technology.  You could free up your life to do more enjoyable things and save yourself a lot of time and hassle.  Options like gate automation can make your life so much easier and really improve the functionality of your home.

Automated Timing Switches

Timing switches can be a great way to automate a variety of different devices and gadgets around the home.  You can buy these switches and plug your electrical items straight into them.  You will then be able to program in a schedule of times when you want these appliances to turn on and off.

For example timing switches can be used for electric heaters.  The switches will automatically turn heaters on and off at the programmed times.  This enables you to heat rooms in advance so that they are nice and warm for when you get home.  This will also save you money as the heaters switch off again automatically so you never need to worry about leaving them on wasting energy.

Timing switches can also be used for other tasks like pumps for fish tanks.  You will be able to program when you want the pumps to turn on and off automatically and this saves you a lot of hassle.

Automated Washing Cycles

Many modern washing machines can now offer scheduled programming.  You will be able to load washing machines and then program what time you want them to come on.  This can save a lot of time as you can load the machine the night before and program it to automatically start the next morning.  No more rushing around before work trying to get the washing on!

clean, cleaning, funny

[Photo courtesy of Gratisography/pexels.com]

Automated wash cycles can also save you money as you can program machines to wash at the cheapest tariff point of the day even if you are out and about.

Automated Gates

Gate automation can offer a practical way to secure your home whilst still making it accessible to you and your family.  These gates can also add style to properties and have a certain upmarket appeal.  The great thing about automated gates is that they can be opened remotely.  This means you don’t have to get out of your car and open the gates to access your property.  The gates can either be opened by someone inside the property or you can have a wireless controller in your car that triggers the gates to open for you.

architecture, balcony, blue sky

[Photo courtesy of Daniel Frank/pexels.com]

This offers an incredibly convenient way to secure your property without making access difficult for you or your family. There are many benefits to installing automated gates on your property including:

  • Increased Security – locked gates offer a powerful visible deterrent to opportunistic criminals. Automated gates have specially geared motors that make it very difficult for someone to force them open.  For additional security electromagnetic locks can be installed which power up when the gates are shut.  These exert a very powerful force that makes it incredibly difficult to force gates open.  Automated gates make it much easier for you to control who enters your property.
  • Increased Convenience – automated gates enable you to enter and leave your property with ease. Some remote controller devices can be used up to 20 metres away.  This means you can ensure the gates slide open just as you approach so that you don’t have to stop your car and wait.
  • Long Lasting and Durable – quality automated gates are available in a range of robust materials. Metal gates offer a tough and lasting option.  You can also get wooden electric gates for those that prefer a more traditional, natural finish.  Whatever material you choose with a little careful maintenance your automated gate should last for many years.
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Throwing Shade: Go Low-Tech But Stay Cool

If you know all too well how unbearable it can be once summer hits you’ll already be looking at ways to keep your bills down and your air supply up! Depending on where you live, temperatures can quickly reach 90 Degrees Fahrenheit and it’s much harder to concentrate, sleep and eat when the sun’s at its zenith. One of the best ways to keep cool during the summer months is to stay hydrated. You should also always make sure you carry sunglasses, as even on cloudy days the sun can be powerful, and our eyes are incredibly sensitive.

It may also be worth keeping your curtains open at night, that way the cold air will alleviate the stuffiness in your house once the sun’s gone down. Try to get as much fresh air blowing through your home as possible by opening windows, doors, using fans to circulate and blasting the AC for a few hours so the filters to trap any dirt and debris that may be floating around. You may also have noticed a greater abundance of insects appearing, summer is often where you see the most wasps, bees, flies and beetles. Take precautions by putting up fly screens even if you don’t live in a rural area and check food is never allowed to sit out in the heat, not only will this spoil the flavor and texture but it could make you quite ill. While bees and wasps may look pretty buzzing around your flowerbeds, they have a nasty sting so always know where your tweezers, antiseptic insect bite cream and plasters are!

Brown Woven Umbrella

[Photo courtesy of nastya/pexels.com]

Take Cover

Parasols are great but if you want to make a real difference to the temperature in your home why not buy yourself an awning? The Department of Energy has stated awnings, or shaded covers can reduce heat by 30% simply because the sun rises and the linen cover takes the brunt of the heat while rays bounce off. While awnings aren’t as fashionable as they used to be; they do add a certain charm to your property as well as allowing you to sit outside comfortably. Before buying an awning always check to see if your property is suitable, maintain both the mechanism and fabric to stop cracks or holes appearing and never let children pull or raise awnings themselves as they could get their fingers trapped. Avoid any accidents by using an awning pole, a device similar to a loft pole which attaches to the hook on the underside and lets you pull down the striped sail from a safe distance.

Vacant Swing Near Grey and Green Tree

[Photo courtesy of Unsplash/pexels.com]

Get Planting!

If you’re very lucky, you’ll live somewhere with lots of trees which isn’t just good for your health because trees take in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen, but they also act as a natural barrier and so quite often the temperature in the shade is at least ten degrees cooler than out in the open! However, lots of us believe that as long as there are trees somewhere nearby, we’ll automatically stay much cooler! Sadly, that’s not always the case as depending on where those trees are placed, that’ll decide how much shade you get. If you have no trees close to the house, it may be worth thinking about planting some young saplings now. Choose trees that grow quite quickly like poplars, maples, birches, and willows as well as those that are famed for their leafy, green appearance, so they’ll give you plenty of shade.

To save a significant amount of energy, or at least figure that’ll be noticeable on your next bill plant trees on the south and west-facing sides of your property. Everyone knows that south facing gardens tend to get the most sun, so by creating a tree line there you’ll reduce the heat dramatically. Remember, trees are a natural way to cool down your entire home as well as encouraging wildlife into the neighborhood. When planting always check the property boundaries before you start digging and as long as you don’t cross over onto your neighbor’s land you’re fine.

However, we do suggest being courteous as not only do you not want to start a turf war but it means if you block their beautiful view now they could do the same thing to you later on.

bed, bedroom, chair

[Photo courtesy of Pixabay/pexels.com]

Have A Ceiling Fan

It may seem a bit old-fashioned, almost colonial, but high ceiling fans do a fantastic job of keeping the air moving while cooling down rooms you spend the most time in. In fact, the more people you put somewhere small the hotter the overall room temperature gets. This is because we each have our own perfect temperature! Some people feel much colder than others but in a big group heat becomes the dominant force and as it rises things then get fairly uncomfortable quite quickly as people begin to sweat.

Ceiling fans aren’t as ugly as they used to be and now come in a variety of shapes and sizes they’re also quieter than you’d expect. Remember, these fans are designed to keep you from melting so if you’re going out turn the fan off! If you really need your AC on, and let’s face it in mid-summer plenty of us see it as a lifesaver try to look for one that’s as silent as possible. There are also some great quiet ac units out there that won’t make you feel like you’re standing in the middle of an airfield instead of your living room every time you turn on the remote control!

art, brush, color

[Photo courtesy of Tookapic/pexels.com]

White Out!

Do you recall your eighth-grade science lessons and how your teacher told you how snow reflects the heat instead of absorbing it due to it’s lighter color? The same principal applies to our roofs so if you want to lower the temperature below you should mix it up above! It’s often why you’ll find buildings and roofs painted white or yellow in hotter countries so that the encroaching heat doesn’t seep inside. Believe it or not, a report by Climate Change Research suggested that if all buildings and roads in the US were painted white the energy saved could run into millIons of dollars.

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The Reason You’re Losing Time When Cooking

You find a recipe you want to make. The picture is tantalizing, the ingredients are already in your cupboard, and you’re going to cook it better than the chef in the picture ever could. Ah, hubris.

It’s not uncommon to find a recipe that claims to take 30-40 minutes and emerge from the kitchen, sweaty and irritable, more than hour later. You begin to wonder if the problem is the author – do they exist in a different universe where time runs differently? Or could the problem be… you?

One of the major contributors to the slowing-down process is clutter. We have all come to value our kitchen appliances; not just the cooker (although its importance is obvious) – but we love all those little gadgets we have that make cooking fun and seemingly easy. When thought about it… how many of those gadgets do you actually need? How many do you really use?

Therefore it’s necessary to wonder if you’re getting the most out of your kitchen or if perhaps a few tweaks to your behavior could improve on perfection.

Do You Really Need Those Gadgets All At Once?

Blender, Drummer, Kitchen, Utensil, 3D, Mixer, Made

[Photo courtesy of Amigos3D/pixabay.com]

It’s important to be harsh with your kitchen appliances – and no, that doesn’t mean using lifespan-reducing steel wool to clean them. What it does mean is following a simple rule of necessity. Ask yourself if you really need everything that you have in the room.

Many cooks follow a rule of “one in, one out” when it comes to their gadgets. So, if for example, a meal calls for the use of a blender, then you make space for it in the room by moving out the steamer. If you have to use a bowl mixer, then it’s bye-bye blender. They don’t have to go into deep storage – just remove them from the work surfaces into cupboards. With more available space to work in, it’s easier to see what you have done and – importantly – what you need to do.

Your Kitchen Is For Kitchen Things

Keys, Open Locks, Security, Unlock, Secure, Bunch, Pile

[Photo courtesy of stevepb/pixabay.com]

It’s not uncommon to come home from work and, before heading to the kitchen, pick up the mail. Once in the kitchen, you put the mail down on the counter, adding to the pile your keys, bag, and your phone.

Just like that, in one mindless moment, your belongings are spreading through the room without your knowledge. If you don’t clear these items away quickly, they begin to mount up – and will get in the way when you cook.

Create a space outside the kitchen – a cubby, or a shelf – to deposit items in before entering the kitchen. If you need to use your phone for a recipe, then put it back in a pocket when done rather than abandoning it on the counter.

Use Dead Time For Clean Up

Most meals offer you a certain amount of “dead time” while food is simply cooking and there is nothing for you to do to it. Sure, stir the sauce every few minutes or turn the steaks when one side is done – but mostly, it’s hands off for a short while. Use this time to cast an eye over the counters and clear away any mess, spills, or equipment you no longer need. It might sound small and simplistic, but it genuinely is an effective way of preventing things getting on top of you and disrupting the meal!

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