Garden Ideas To Make Your Neighbors Go Green With Envy

Garden Ideas To Make Your Neighbors Go Green With Envy

Have you ever gazed in envy at your neighbor’s lawn? If they have an immaculate display of color and wildlife that puts your humble garden into shame by comparison, you are probably jealous of the hard work they have obviously put into their creation. Sighing wearily, you resign yourself to the fact that they are clearly better gardeners than you, and you return indoors to make yourself a drink. If only you had what they had! Well, guess what? You can. It’s relatively easy to make a good-looking garden (so stop procrastinating), and with a little bit of work, you can make your neighbors go green with envy for a change. To get you started, take a look at the ideas below and transform your garden area into something special. 1. Keep on top of your garden Before we look at ways to improve your outdoor space, you are never going to have a good-looking garden if you don’t stay on top of it. From mowing your overgrown lawn to trimming back your shrubs, you can make your garden look halfway presentable if you take the time to manage it. If you’re somebody who doesn’t have the time (or the inclination) to spend a lot of time working outdoors, consider these low-maintenance garden ideas to save yourself the bother. You can still have a beautiful garden, and if you follow some of the advice in the article, you will have a garden that looks incredible in the time it takes your neighbor to put on his gardening gloves.  2. Give your garden character Have you mowed your lawn, trimmed back your hedges, and everything looks fine? Well, fine and boring! Every garden needs something that gives it character, those small touches that make it stand out from all the other gardens on the block. So, what can you do? For starters, add the unique feature here and there. These can be themed, so whether you want to create a zen-paradise or a fantasy wonderland, you can buy statues online, as well as wall-art, ceramics, and other types of garden ornaments that can boost your garden space. Continuing the idea of a theme, you might also purchase a pergola for that renaissance feel, or fashion your topiary into something Edward Scissorhands would be proud of. When you have given your garden it’s own look and feel; it will stand out from the generic lawns on display around your neighborhood, and give you a sense of pride as you watch your neighbor drops his garden shears in wonder. 3. Make a splash Water features are another way to give your garden character and a sense of style. Fountains are very popular, with a wonderful aesthetic look, and are a perfect complement to anybody looking to create a relaxing nook within their garden space. Another common water feature is the garden pond. You will need to take care if you have small children (pond mesh is a must), but it can form a perfect addition to your garden. Boost the aesthetics with underwater fountain lights, and surround the pond area with flowers (in your favorite color themes), embedded rocks, lilies, lanterns and other decor that takes your fancy. To make your pond area complete, add the requisite fish, and sit back as other wildlife take refuge in your garden, from pond skaters to mayflies. Then, to truly make your neighbors envious, consider a swimming pool. You don’t necessarily need a large garden area, either, as they can be built to size, and are perfect for anybody with an eye on keeping fit, or as a way to entertain friends and family. Top it off with a water slide and your neighbors will be lining up around the block to take their turn. Paid entry is entirely optional! 4. Build a patio A patio is a great way to extend your living space and it can make for an attractive addition in its own right. Consider the kind of look you are going for and design your space accordingly. You might go for a modern feel, for example, with polished concrete underfoot and glass-topped tables and woven chairs for your dining and social needs. Your patio can also extend your garden space, with potted plants, hanging baskets on the walls, a vintage-style workbench for practical and aesthetic means, and a storage area to hold your tools. On the other hand, you could create your own private haven; that place where you can shut yourself off from the outside world and the prying eyes of your neighbors. With climbing plant-covered trellises or easy-grown hedges to protect your privacy you can enjoy a summer cocktail on an indulgent hammock. 5. Light up your garden You can put a lot of work into making your garden look presentable in the daytime, but what about at night? During those warm summer nights, you want to be able to sit outside in your garden to survey the fruits of your hard work. For this reason garden lighting is a must, and it can also add another aesthetic as part of your garden design. You can purchase lighting online or at your local garden store, from lamps to hang onto your trees and walls to brightly colored solar lights that can make a useful (and attractive) addition along your garden path. If money is an issue, you can put your credit card away and create your own lighting. There are some fantastic DIY garden light ideas here, simple creations you can make yourself, from hanging basket lamps to solar lanterns. Whatever lighting you choose, arrange them according to your taste, and use them to highlight the other features that are populating your garden area. 6. Plan a garden party A guaranteed way to make your neighbors jealous, especially if they didn’t receive an invite! Still, it is always worth extending an invitation over to them, if only to let them have a closer look at the fabulous garden you...
Springing Into Summer: Imaginative Ideas For Your Garden

Springing Into Summer: Imaginative Ideas For Your Garden

The winter that will not end.  At least we can think of summer and start making plans. Not sure where to start? Our grass areas can suffer, your flower beds may have been overtaken by weeds and even patios, brick work and fence panels can all look a little rugged and rough. However, if you are fortunate to have some outside space in your home, then you may like the idea of investing a little time and effort into it to make it a more usable space. Somewhere where you can enjoy your morning coffee. A place to sit and eat your lunch or enjoy a good book.  Create an outside kitchen Many people like the idea of cooking outside and so you may want to consider an outside kitchen to make this easier.. It can be part of an amazing entertaining space or you simply might just like the idea of cooking your food outside. You could add a general grill area like a BBQ, or you could add other aspects to it like gas generated hobs for sauces or a pizza oven. Some even add a sink and food prep area to really make it an authentic kitchen and cooking experience. Have an area dedicated to al fresco dining Cooking outside is one thing, but many people love to eat outside. There is just something so lovely and relaxing about enjoying a nice meal with the sun out, a nice cool breeze and a cold beverage to enjoy with it. So if you haven’t really got a good space for this why not create one? A new decked area or a patio can make the world of difference.  Take care of your flower beds Your flowers and the beds may have took a bit of beating thanks to all the brutal weather that winter can bring with it. Perhaps some of the flowers are no longer around or you suddenly have a huge surge of weeds that need getting rid of. Take some time to organise your flower beds and maybe even take a trip to the local garden center to invest in some new plants for them.  Creating a colourful garden can be  a very therapeutic process. Add a water feature If you garden allows for it, why not create a little water feature. A nice pond perhaps, a little fountain or something a little different maybe. The sound of water running is actually extremely relaxing. A pond can also have some fish in it and even some pond flowers. However, you may even come across Weed Razers pond weeds so you might want to also bear that in mind. It can be a fantastic addition to a garden and give it another dimension. Making it a lovely unique space that you enjoy spending time in. Give your lawn some love Just like your flower beds may have struggled in winter, so can your lawn and grassed areas. Giving your lawn some TLC can make one of the biggest differences to your garden due to the sheer surface area it can cover. Cutting it down to size, trimming the edges and given your lawn some grass seed and plant food can make all the difference to this area of your garden.  Think about your fencing panels Your fence panels are what boxes your garden in and sometimes they can be a last thought when it comes to a garden makeover. But actually the fence panels can make a garden appear shabby and unloved if they are needing some treatment and attention themselves. Fence panels can look brand new simply by being repainted. You could choose a different colour to add a new look to your garden, or stick with the same one and just give it a refresh.  Could the exterior of your home need sprucing? Sometimes you have to look beyond the garden to make the area look fantastic, and the exterior of your home could be letting you and your garden down. Does your brickwork need repointing? Do your gutters need clearing? Could your windows and doors do with a clean? Getting some of these chores done can make a big difference to your garden area. You could also add some pots of plants and flowers around the doors or on the patio, and even add some window boxes to give your home that cottage look. What about storage to keep things tidy? Finally, during the spring and summer you may find that you tend to pull out more chairs and even toys for children to pay with, leaving them out can make your garden appear untidy. This is when a new storage option like a garden box or a shed can make the world of difference. Not only is the perfect lace for chairs and garden toys, but you can also store your garden tools and keep things neat and tidy. Painting it to match the fence panels and even adding some flowers could make it very pleasing on the eye. This contributed post may contain affiliated...
Bringing The Garden Indoors

Bringing The Garden Indoors

Why not consider injecting some life into your home this summer by bringing the garden indoors? Not only is it extremely fashionable to have lots of deep green foliage and colourful plants around the house, there’s a number of health benefits associated with bringing the garden indoors. With spring approaching, a lot of people will be focused on getting their garden ready for summer parties by planting beautiful flowers and tending to their lawn and looking for garden statues for sale, yet with so many benefits to bringing the garden indoors it might be worth considering making this an equal priority. 1. THEY IMPROVE AIR QUALITY We often forget how important the quality of the air we breathe each day is to our health. There are many old wives tales about the remedial effect of some “fresh air” on our physical and emotional health but this is now being recognized within the scientific community. Plants are a great solution for air pollution because they absorb carbon dioxide and emit the oxygen that is so vital to our survival, let alone our health and wellbeing. They cleanse the air from toxic chemical such as benzene and formaldehyde that are often found in paint and cigarettes. Plants also raise the air’s humidity by releasing moisture vapour which can be beneficial to people with respiratory problems or who often suffer from sore throats. 2. THEY CAN HELP YOU SLEEP BETTER Indoor plants such as jasmine, lavender, and aloe vera can increase the quality of your sleep as they are known to have a soothing effect on the body which can lower heart rate and anxiety. However, in reality, using aromatherapy oils such as lavender and jasmine as a blended massage oil or in a vaporizer might have a more potent affect in terms of helping you get a good night’s sleep. 3. THEY INCREASE HAPPINESS LEVELS Studies have found that patients in hospitals that are surrounded by flowers or have a view of a garden are quicker to recover than those that are not in the presence of plants. In a more day-to-day sense, plants contribute to a general feeling of wellbeing and optimism. The vibrant colours, fresh scents and psychological association with celebration combine to offer a truly uplifting experience. 4. STRESS REDUCTION Several studies have found that putting plants near your workspace (i.e. on your desk) lowers stress and fatigue; specifically, they help lower heart rate and blood pressure in a natural and holistic way. Many would agree that this is a much safer way to reduce anxiety and stress than to take medicine to do the same task. 5. THEY PRODUCE HEALTHY FRUIT AND VEGETABLES When it comes to thinking about indoor plants, we forget that there are several plants such as tomatoes, avocados, carrots, lemons and mandarin oranges that can be grown indoors. This is a great way to boost self-esteem, eat fresh and naturally grown produce, save money on vegetables and brighten up your home. Need ideas where to start?  Check out my 5 Houseplants You Won’t Kill This contributed post may contain affiliate...
Ever Wanted a Swimming Pool in Your Back Garden?

Ever Wanted a Swimming Pool in Your Back Garden?

With summer fast approaching a great way to relax, exercise, and socialize is to consider building your very own swimming pool in your garden; however, it can be a tricky endeavor that requires some careful consideration. No doubt, at this time of year you’ll be thinking about getting your garden in shape and the thought of having such major work done in your back garden is prohibitive; indeed, it’s much nicer to focus on planting colourful combinations than bringing in diggers to excavate a massive hole in the middle of your lawn. Then there’s the trade-off to consider, as the pool is likely to take a huge chunk of your garden lawn out of the equation, yet the importance of your lawn is essential to the social ordinance of your garden; it’s where you’re likely to host barbecues and garden parties, play hide and seek, and all sorts of other fun summertime activities that might now be supplanted by swimming in the pool. If you’re set on having a pool in your garden in time for the summer, here are eight simple steps to turning your dream into a reality. 1. DESIGN Design the pool that you wish to build.  The first factor is size, which will most likely be constrained by the size of your yard.  The next factor to consider is depth.  If you are having children use the pool then it is recommended to keep it under 1.2 metres.  What colour do you want the pool to be?  What type of lighting would you like?  What shape would you like the pool to be?  Generally speaking, the more complex the design the higher the cost. 2. GET PERMISSION In order to build a swimming pool you might need to gain planning permission.  Bear in mind that, in some areas, additional taxes must be paid on pools, and if the pool isn’t registered, it could be viewed as tax evasion. 3. EXCAVATE THE AREA You can either employ a contractor to take care of everything or hire construction equipment yourself, as essentially, all you are doing at this stage is digging a big hole.  It is, however, important to have been granted permission before beginning to dig, as there may be hidden wires or pipes that you don’t know about. 4. CONSIDER THE MATERIAL TO USE There are three main options to choose from when it comes to picking out a material; concrete, fiberglass, or vinyl. 5. GRADE THE GROUND AND FRAME THE WALLS The next step is to even out the ground, as this will make building the walls and laying the floor much easier.  With the hole dug out, and the land now flat, the walls can be built with wood and metal rebar. 6. PLUMBING & ELECTRICITY You’ll want to get an experienced plumber to take care of this specialist task, as the supply and filtration system must meet the code for your area.  It’s important to hire a plumber experienced in swimming pools, as an inexperienced plumber can ruin your pool, and cause a lot of unnecessary expense down the line.   You’ll want to hire an electrician to install the lights, as bad wiring plus water is not a good combination; it’s advisable that you find out how to prevent electrocution in a swimming pool before going any further. 7. POUR THE FLOOR, BUILD THE WALLS AND TILE If you’re using cement as your material of choice, your next step is to pour the floor.  With the floor in place you can build the walls, and once the walls are built, all that’s left is to tile them… but remember to add a moisture barrier to stop the water from leaching out. 8. FILL THE POOL The last, and most rewarding step, is of course to fill the pool with fresh water that is treated with an agent such as chlorine or salt to keep the water healthy.   Now that you have a step-by-step guide to building your pool, it might be worth considering how to protect your modesty whilst swimming particularly if your garden is overlooked.  Installing privacy panels in the form of wooden trellises with creeping plants is a great solution for this.  Another consideration prior to using your pool is to consider getting a company such as ABC Pest Control in to ensure the area around the pool is free of pests and safe for your family to use. Presuming you’re now set on the idea of installing this pool, let’s take a look at the best way to keep yourself entertained whilst in the pool and two of the most effective swimming strokes to get you swimming fit for summer. In terms of entertainment, swimming doesn’t have to be as monotonous as it once was due to the invention of waterproof MP3 players.  While pools are great when you have your family splashing about, swimming laps on your own, can be a pretty boring way to exercise.  Today, however you can take your tunes in the pool with you which is a pretty revolutionary concept. Different Strokes for Different Folks BACKSTROKE This stroke is a great starting off stroke, as it allows you to breathe normally throughout and is particularly buoyant.  The backstroke can improve your posture by extending your back and shoulder muscles, and is good to counteract the focus on chest contraction in the breaststroke – which could cause people to hunch over a little if overdone.  In fact, doing backstroke can be a great way to manage back pain. You’ll want your body to be as flat as possible with your hips up rather than sunken down into the water; the main challenge is that you’ll be looking up at the ceiling the whole time meaning you’ll need to identify markers that let you know your coming up to the wall. FREESTYLE This stroke is also known as front crawl.  It’s good for stretching your whole body and you’ll get a particularly good upper...
What Will Make The Most Difference To Your Yard Today?

What Will Make The Most Difference To Your Yard Today?

If you’re someone that tends to look out into your yard and sigh, then you may find that you tend to get frustrated with the state of your outside space. And it happens. Because our yards always seem to take a lot of work and maintenance to look and feel great all of the time. But when you’re busy it’s not always easy to prioritize your yard maintenance – particularly when you’re just trying to stay on top of your interiors. So, instead, find a few things to make a difference right away. If you don’t want to wait forever or put too much time and money into your yard, but you want instant results, here are five things that can make a difference in your yard today.   Decluttering & Clearing First of all, a good old-fashioned clearout always works wonders. Technically, this is going to be one of the things that does take up some time and energy, depending on how your yard looks today, but you willnfind that it’s really one of the most effective of all. When you’ve managed to clear away all of the clutter and you’ve cleaned things up so that your yard looks much more presentable and tidy, you will feel so much better when you look out onto it.   Caring For Your Lawn Maybe your lawn is looking a little worse for wear? Winter can be tough on lawn health, so you often need to revive it in spring. But you may not have the first idea of how to do it yourself. So bring in a lawn care service, such as Atkins, to do it for you. By leaving this to the experts and then learning to carry out a bit of ongoing maintenance to keep it that way, your lawn will sparkle.   Sprucing Your Boundaries Think about your boundaries and bringing them back to life. When you have a broken fence, untidy hedges, or just no real clear boundary at all, your garden will always look a little messy. By really working on keeping neat and tidy edges, the rest will be pulled together too.   Planting For Spring Next, you’re going to want to think about how you can bring your yard alive for the rest of spring and into summer. There are lots of different things that you can sow and grow in March, as Thompson & Morgan talk through. By doing this now, your yard will start to blossom over the coming months. Dressing The Deck Finally, be sure to give your decking and outdoor dining area a little love too. This is where you will probably spend the most time, so you’ll want to really dress it up. Bring in some new seating or accessories such as lights or a fire pit for summer and you’ll be really excited to actually get out into your yard and use it, not just look at it. This contributed post may contain affiliated...
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