Basics of Home and Garden Decor

In our age of instant information, what is on television is a good barometer of what people are thinking about. With several programs scattered throughout both cable and satellite TV regarding domicile improvement and overall decor, it is obvious that home and garden decorating is on a lot of minds.

Sometimes, just making small changes can make a big difference. And you don’t have to have tremendous construction or gardening skills to update your environment. And it can be within budget.

Many folks decorate so that the home and the garden complement each other. Using color, fabric, and decor that can travel outdoors is one step in this direction. Of course, leather outdoor furniture is not an option, but an outdoor friendly fabric the same color will get you there.

If it has been a while, a fresh coat of paint indoors or out can freshen the outlook of your home. Outdoor wood items such as gates, fences, and decks can often use a good stripping and re-staining. Consider using a color close to woodwork in the house.

Trees, plants, and flowers add a lot of character to your home. These are often a reflection of the owner’s personality and should generate lots of color and warmth. If the plants chosen are not winter friendly, put them in a container that can be moved under cover for the cold months.

A timer controlled watering system is a great addition to your garden area. If it gets a bit toasty in your summertime, you know your plants are hydrated. You can adjust it seasonally to keep the plants and your water bill healthy.

Plant containers add a bit of character. Whiskey barrels and terra cota pots are a couple of suggestions. Keep the watering requirements of the plants in mind as you decide what to put them in.

Concrete walkways, a fire pit, a fountain, a built in barbeque, these are just a few of the things that will shape your garden area. Add some embedded lighting for night time use, maybe an outdoor stereo system as well. Solar outdoor lights come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors and can be used virtually anywhere in your garden area. Lighting always adds a warm ambience.

Home and garden decor ideas come from all over. TV programs, magazines, internet, and even seeing a home in your area that is landscaped to your liking. Your home is your castle and there is no real right or wrong when it comes to home and garden d├ęcor. But please keep the front yard within the HOA cc and r’s if you have one.

Depending on how massive a project you plan, it may be necessary and a great idea to consult with a landscaper or patio construction specialist before starting in. Sometimes these pros can get you started in the right direction, saving you time and money and you can finish it up yourself. One of the great things about owning a house is the pride of getting home and garden decor done to your own design and goals.

When done, you will have a custom tailored environment that reflects your taste and is a great place to entertain and relax.

Online Shopping For Your Home and Garden

Shopping for your home and garden decorating needs can be time consuming and frustrating. Going from store to store, seeing many of the same products and trying to remember their prices can be downright discouraging. Even if you look through the sales ads before you leave doesn’t guarantee you will find what you are looking for. You see just the right statue or bird house, but when you get to the store, they have sold out of it or didn’t get that particular item at that location. You have now wasted your time and are ready to forget about buying anything at all.

Online shopping, on the other hand, is much easier and satisfying. The old saying “time is money” really applies in this situation. You have saved the time you would spend looking through the papers and driving all over town. You have saved more money by not using up your gas. In today’s economy, this is a big deal.

Purchasing from an online store has many advantages. You don’t have to leave your home. You don’t have to deal with inclement weather. Your purchases are safe and secure. You don’t have to carry it to your car. Most stores accept many different types of payment for your convenience. The choice of stores is fantastic and not limited to your local grocery or gardening stores. The amount of products to choose from is amazing. You can look for something as simple as a wind chime, garden sign or stake to more elaborate items like statues and fountains. Whatever you are looking for, you will find it online.

Most online stores will charge for shipping, but the amount is usually small. Plus, it is delivered right to your door. You probably would have spent more in gas driving around from store to store. Waiting for an item to go on sale? Trying to get to that store before the item is sold out can be difficult. Some online stores will let you register your email with them. You can let them know what item you are looking for and they can let you know when you can get a great deal. Almost every online store runs some type of sale or special all the time.

Garden decorations are generally available only during the spring and summer at your local stores. They are always available online. You can shop anytime, day or night, 7 days a week. Your purchase will be confirmed by email almost immediately, unlike online auctions, where you have to wait to see if your bid won.

Save yourself time and money. Look for your garden decorations online and bring your home and garden up to date quickly and easily. Your friends will want to know where you found such fantastic items. Refer them to your favorite site. The online store will be happy to serve them just as efficiently as they did your purchase. Have fun shopping online. Soon it will be the only way to find exactly what you are looking for.

Feng Shui Tips – How to Create Balance Between Home and Garden

When I teach people the practical application of Feng Shui I always stress the importance of creating a balanced environment where everything works together in perfect harmony. If you have created a balanced and harmonious environment you are half way to creating one that is filled with positive Feng Shui. Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot more to creating positive Feng Shui than creating balance but this should always be your starting point. And creating a balanced environment is easy if you understand the principles of yin and yang.

Yin and yang are the opposite forces that make up the universe. Yin is dark, quiet, restful, still, curved and natural whilst yang is bright, light, loud, active, angular and manmade. Yin is the time between when the sun dips it head below the horizon to when it wakens at the start of a brand new day whilst yang follows the sun as it moves through the sky between dawn and dusk. Yin is autumn and winter when plants give of their fruit before sleeping and regenerating themselves and yang is spring and summer when plants start to grow before showing their full glory. When looking at the environment in the context of your home and garden, houses being manmade structures represent yang energy. It is therefore important that gardens are kept relatively yin to bring about that sense of harmony and oneness.

To ensure your garden is predominantly yin it should be kept as natural as possible, it should be a garden which works with the environment as opposed to one which seeks to create an environment. Flowers, bushes and trees should always be kept as natural as possible and allowed to flourish without being aggressively pruned, colours should be kept predominantly muted with brightness kept to a minimum and any pathways or terraces should be kept curved and flowing. Any structures, such as raised beds, sheds or pagodas should ideally be made out of natural materials and covered with plants that are encouraged to grow over and around them. To help your home blend with the garden the sharp corners of the house should be disguised and covered with trailing plants or bushes so that the whole sense you get when you look at your home and garden is one where they look as though they belong together. The lines between where the house ends and the garden begins should be blurred and indistinct.

Sadly a lot of gardens that you see in the UK nowadays don’t seem to adhere to these principles, meaning that any Feng Shui cures or enhancements that people make have to work twice as hard to have the hoped for effects. In an attempt to create more time for ourselves we strive to create attractive gardens that are low maintenance but quite often these gardens look unnatural and take a huge amount of our personal energy to keep them looking good. Many gardens today are landscaped to include ponds, patios and pathways, there is an abundance of pots and garden ornaments and the predominant fashion seems to be for lots of shingle and concrete and large decked areas. But what they lack is greenery and balance. These gardens look like an extension of the house, attractive, modern, well cared for but ultimately artificial. With neat, sharp lines and heavy use of manmade materials such as concrete and brick gardens like the house are full of yang energy.

An environment that is predominantly yang will cause energy to move too fast in a jerky, disjointed motion. If your environment is too yang you may find yourself living life moving from one crisis to another, constantly living on the back foot and trying to find an extra hour in each day. If this describes your life, rather than immediately reaching for a Feng Shui enhancement or cure first of all assess your environment to check that your home and outside space adequately reflect the principles of yin and yang. And if your garden is full of neat lines and an abundance of concrete let nature start to take over. Creating the perfect balance between yin and yang is the first step in your journey to filling your environment with positive Feng Shui.

Top 10 Home and Garden Books For Every Gardener and Designer

My husband and I have been gardening together for over thirty years. He has a degree in horticulture and I have a degree in library science. So, when we combine our love of books and gardening, we end up with a vast gardening resource library.

I want to share my favorites and think they will become your favorites as well. Below I’ve listed my top 10 favorite home and garden books that I believe beginners and professional designers alike should consider purchasing for your own home reference library.

Top 10 Home and Garden Books For Every Beginner and Designer

1. The Well Tended Perennial Garden: Planting and Pruning Techniques by Tracy DiSabato-Aust is a classic. Tracy is well known in the gardening world for her 20 plus years experience in maintaining gardens and in this book she tells you exactly how to prune perennials. Also, In the very first chapter, she speaks of designing a garden with its maintenance in mind. Her advice is to ask yourself “Who’s going to maintain this garden, me or a professional crew?” Great question!

2. Landscaping With Perennials by Emily Brown is another favorite of ours. Advice on garden layouts for slopes, shade, bogs, parking strips, creating cutting gardens, island beds, or a fairytale woodland garden is all here. Included are line drawings, photographs, plant lists and more. A real delight to read.

3. Gardening With Color by Mary Keen. A garden designer and consultant herself, Mary has filled this book with gorgeous full page photos. Excellent advice on designing with the six color categories for gardens including: blues, reds, greens, grays and white, and yellows makes this book another great choice for your library.

4. Armitage’s Garden Annuals: A Color Encyclopedia by Allan Armitage helps the gardener select proven specimen annuals that are interesting, important, and often overlooked. Armitage is a horticulturalist, teacher, and respected expert in his field and this plant reference guide is a perfect companion to his earlier Manual of Annuals, Biennials, and Half-Hard Perennials. Attractive and easy to use with inspiring pictures.

5. Designing the New Kitchen Garden: An American Potager Handbook by Jennifer R. Bartley was published in 2006 but I’m just now finding out about it. This lovely book describes how to create a garden that is not only beautiful and well laid out, but is also productive. Who wouldn’t want a kitchen garden, or potoager, as part of their landscape? If you love growing your own fresh fruits and veggies, learn how to do it in style!

6. All New Square Foot Gardener by Mel Bartholomew is my new favorite gardening book. This method has been around for 25 years so you know it works. I was skeptical at first. How can you “grow more in less space” like he says in 4’x4′ square boxes? Pictures with detailed instruction explains how to build these raised beds for your garden or deck. Great for everyone as well as kids and wheelchair bound gardeners. Learn more at www.squarefootgardening.com

7. The Complete Compost Gardening Guide by Barbara Pleasant and Deborah Martin helps gardeners to not become compost failures. Unique, easy to implement techniques using heaps, bins, or enclosed composters make composting easier to create and tend.

8. Plant Propagation: The Fully Illustrated Plant-by-Plant Manual of Practical Techniques by Alan Toogood. The title says it all. Learn how to get free plants and save yourself a ton of money…maybe even start a business. Very good pictures with directions. You’ll learn a lot from this book.

9. Gardening With Grass by Michael King and Piet Oudolf shows how to use ornamental grasses to transform a ho-hum garden into a stunning garden. They even list perennials, by color and height, that grow well with particular variety of grasses. Planting grasses are highly recommended to extend your summer garden into fall.

10. The Way We Garden Now by Katherine Whiteside is a nice book if you are feeling overwhelmed by your garden. This book lets you pick-and-choose from ten easy, manageable projects like adding edibles, planting bulbs, dealing with hedges, putting up deer fencing and even container gardening. Fun and engaging to read.

Any one of the books listed above will give you a great deal of insight on how to have an awe inspiring garden that will make your garden a paradise for you and your family. That’s why the are my top 10 books on home and garden that every gardener and designer should consider having on their bookshelf.

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