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General Article

Garden Design – Planning – Aesthetics Are Important!

Garden Design – Planning – Aesthetics Are Important!

This article considers some of the elements crucial for an effective aesthetic design of your landscape.

Color

Cooler colors such as blue, purple, deep red and pastels recede thereby making your yard seem larger. On the other hand, hot colors such as bright pink, orange, yellow and white jump at you and make distances seem shorter. A trick you can use to make your yard seem larger is to plant the hot colors at the entry and cool ones at the far end of the yard. You can also do the opposite to make large spaces seem smaller. Plant hot, bright colors on the far side of the yard where they will jump out at you. One thing you should try to do is use colors from the same palate. So use bright orange and yellow flowers at the back of the yard and softer pastels near the entryway.

Pink Flamingos?

As mentioned before, manmade objects carry a great deal of weight in gardens because our eyes immediately pick them out of the all the hustle and bustle. For example ever notice how a pot or a stone wall will leap out at you in the middle of a teeming garden? So when it comes to decoration with manmade objects, less is plenty. Gargoyles, fountains and birdbaths are fine but try to space them out with shrubs or kinks in the path so they don’t dominate the entire scene. While deciding what goes where, try placing them down and then leave your yard for awhile. Come back later to see if they jump out at you, if they do then you have way too many items.

Hardscape

Your fences, decks, patio, walkways, trellises, walls and any other hardscapes of your yard design are just as important as the plants. Remember that you will have to see these elements essentially naked in the off season when all the foliage has dropped off the plants so soften them with some perennials that can serve to camouflage the hard edges. A deck may look fine in the summer surrounded by blooming flowers and shrubbery but completely hard edged and lonely during the winter months with no foliage to soften it.

Another consideration regarding your hardscape is of course cost. The individual physical components such as bricks, benches, fences, lumber and statues can be quite a bit more costly than plants. However, the value they provide in transforming a ho hum garden into a wow one always makes them worth the investment. Still not convinced? Your choice of low quality, cheap materials now will come back to haunt you later when you realize maintenance and labor will cost you far more in the long run than any meager savings you may have gotten in the beginning.

Rhythm

A more subtle design consideration is rhythm. This refers to using gradual transitions to create a smooth pacing in your yard. For example, placing 20 foot tall palm trees next to a small flower bed, which is next to a small birdbath is disjointed and just plain sloppy. Choose combinations of elements that work together in size, texture and color. A great example is the combination of the bright hues of sword-leaved irises, vertical ornamental grasses and decorative columns. The striking colors and vertical theme serve to work together to create a rhythmic flow.…

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General Article

Garden Design Courses

Garden Design Courses

Everyone is fond of nature. Gardening is one of the beautiful arts through which one can make the residence or office premises nature friendly. Right from our childhood, we would have enjoyed watching flowers and walking in lawns. Garden design courses help us in designing what we stared at in our childhood. A garden design course is nothing but as its name suggests a course dedicated exclusively for teaching the techniques, methods and styles of gardening.

There are many, professional, educational, institutions that offer these courses to students residing worldwide. The course is available at affordable cost. The most amusing part about the course is most tutors offer the course on a distance mode. This makes the students learn about garden designing just by sitting at their homes. In order to learn this course, a person needs a computer with an internet.

The garden design training institutes assign experience tutors who are professional garden designers themselves to each and every student. These courses issue a certificate titled, “Diploma in garden design”, to students who successfully complete their course. The normal course duration in any school is nine months. However, it lies upon the interest and grasping capability of the student to either complete the course early or late.

One thing that would delight a student about this course is the course does not have an examination. It is enough for a student to interact with the tutor and complete the assignments properly. This will make a student eligible for the course completion certificate.

These courses teach a practical approach to gardening and help people start their own garden design business. A person thus becomes employable on completion of the course. These courses cover the complete aspects involved in designing a garden. They teach a person everything right from the scratch. A person does not require any prior experience or educational qualification to enroll in this course.

Most of the schools offer a complete set of course materials to the student on payment of their fees. However, there is no predefined order according to which a student has to study. Student can choose any module they want and start studying from that. The only requirement is the student has to complete all modules to become eligible for a certificate. Right from choosing the area to picking up the right mix of plants and water, these courses offer exhaustive training in all the modules related to gardening.

Many of the schools offer to train for landscape design too. Landscape design is nothing but a broader form of garden design since landscapes are in general constructed at public places rather than at residences. The course package usually comes with software that will help the student to perform drawings.

With a nominal fee, and convenient course structure, garden design training certainly offer a promising career to all students who learn it. If you want to become an expert in gardening, join in a garden design course, today!…

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Home Renovation

4 Ways to Tackle Home Maintenance When You’re Renting

If you’ve ever rented a house, an apartment, or a tiny little tin-can, you would have some experience in this. Landlords and landladies all over the world engage in their curious enterprise of letting people reside in their property, not out of duty for the greater good, but because there’s good money to be made. So home maintenance becomes a means to an end as far as they are concerned.
• There is no reason to feel unduly outraged if, upon finding some damages in your household that you are not responsible for, the owner does not take immediate steps. Since property as an investment necessarily demands constant maintenance, he or she knows very well that leaving the house in a state of disrepair will eventually do more harm than good. Procrastination is usually attributable to three reasons: miscommunication, budget, and market rates.
• The majority of proprietor-tenant communications is conducted through third parties, such as agencies or middlemen. As conveyors of market signals, most of them consider their job done the moment you signed the contract. Failure to maintain your rented property is usually perceived as your failings rather than an inevitability, and for good reasons at that. While most of us would never deliberately sabotage our own dwellings, there are numerous instances – a failure to report water damage immediately, leaving a dripping tap be, and cranking up central heating beyond their designed capacity rather than insulate the house properly – where tenants have inadvertently aggravated the situation. Always report everything, and keep detailed logs of your correspondence so that you are in a position to lodge viable complaints later.
• The second reason why home maintenance is always left to the last possible reason has to do with the owner’s budget. The property ladder is a very convoluted construction: there are often cases where a downturn has hit the owner so hard he or she is left with negative equity even as the tenant is happily afloat. The need to save up for a down payment and pay fixed-rate mortgage means that sometimes landlords simply do not have the liquidity to send in a team of handymen. They aren’t necessarily poor, but until you’ve paid the rent there is simply not a lot in the kitty for them to buy the new refrigerator or washing machine.
• And the last and most subtle reason rental home maintenance go untended is the market rate for rental properties in the market at large. In a boom, property owners are more likely to focus on short-term speculative gains rather than the dribble of money (as they see it) coming from you. Put bluntly, it doesn’t make too much of a difference to them whether you live there or not.
So if you are struggling to mend a broken flat in the face of an unmovable owner, ditch it all at the earliest possible moment. The relationship between a tenant and a property owner should be a mutually beneficial one, and it is your job to convince them that it is to their interest that their biggest asset will not be destroyed in your hands, inadvertently or otherwise.…

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General Article

Japanese Garden Design – A Nice Backyard Landscaping Choice

Japanese Garden Design – A Nice Backyard Landscaping Choice

Have you ever looked out your backdoor and thought to yourself, how can I spice up my backyard? Everyone dreams about turning this area into an enjoyable and relaxing getaway for family and friends, a place where you can barbecue and spend time together. And thoughts about extending the patio fills our head, as you think about how this would give you more entertaining space, extra seating or room for a bigger grill and bar setup.

But if you are the type who would rather keep your backyard to yourself. Because you want a yard that is quaint instead of the ultimate entertaining spot. A yard where you can strategically place some shrubs, a shade tree or plant some of your favorite flowers. Well this is all fine, but where do you begin? Do you just throw in some flowers and shrubs with a stone walkway. Throw that big shade tree in the middle of the yard. No! Landscaping your backyard must be done with careful thought and preparation. One way to go is to use a theme that is geared towards your hobbies, interests or a picture of the perfect area to rest and relax.

Well, the best theme to use for the perfect backyard spot is one that provides peace and relaxation. So create your own sanctuary by using a good Japanese garden design. All the element of a Japanese garden come together in such a way that allows you to getaway from the rest of the world. From the use of plants and stones all the way to the tranquil sounds of a running stream and pond.

Just imagine using a Japanese garden design that creates a wonderful scrolling garden with paths that intertwine, leading you on a journey that thrills the senses. Or design a Japanese garden around the rock garden principles. And as you ponder on how great this would look, you still have an important decision to make. Which one of the five essential Japanese Garden types are going to be right one for you!…

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General Article

Period Landscaping For Your Home’s Heritage

Period Landscaping For Your Home’s Heritage

Nothing is more aesthetically pleasing than to see a home from another era surrounded by lawns and gardens of the time. Many times when a property owner feels that something about the outside of the home just isn’t right, it turns out to be the landscape design. No matter how beautiful, it just doesn’t quite fit with the architectural lines and details of the house.

To buy an older house, make any necessary repairs and restorations and then attempt to research and duplicate the period gardens and landscape designs of the time is an enormous that most of us do not have the time for today.

The fact remains that if you bought a Victorian style house or any other from a time gone by, and find it pleasing, you would also find the the landscape designs of the same era pleasing.

Rather than give up on the idea, try piecing together your new landscape like a puzzle, working piece by piece until ultimately the entire landscape is one beautifully cohesive statement from another time.

Where to begin

Just knowing a few facts about the feelings and beliefs of an era will help you to design your landscape with some proximity to your home’s time period. There are many books on the market filled with the history of gardens and landscape design. One trip to the library can help you make some of your larger landscaping decisions, such as the shape of your lawn and your foundation plantings.

The next step will be to start making decisions about what kind of plantings you will eventually begin to bring into your plan. When you begin to catch the fever, you can even get your hands on hard-to-find period plants that many nurseries are now specializing in, like heirloom seeds or seeds of change.…

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Basement Remodeling

Simple Methods to Locate and Fix Drafty Spots Where Heat Can Escape

We want our homes to be as comfortable as we can. That is the why we want to make sure that our home is cool inside when it is hot outside and warm enough inside when it is cold outdoors.
The cooling and heating system works well when our house is free from any gaps and leaks that may release unwanted energy. No matter how well we maintain our homes gaps, cracks and leaks will result and not necessarily due to the elements. That is why it is important that we always make time for a regular inspection inside and outside our homes. Do not be so relaxed indoors and neglect signs that may tell us that there are gaps in our walls letting the cool breeze inside.
Have a feel on the wall. Walls covered with wall paper can easily hide cracks. Once in a while, touch the walls and feel any cracks beneath it. Do it from side to side bottom to top. This way you can cover a big part of the wall. If you think that there is a crack, work your way from where it starts and end. Mark the part where you feel the gap and you can tear just the part where there is damage. You can also use light to see if there are cracks on your walls.
Another spot where draft might come in is the electrical outlet. Look at gaps where the outlets are. You can place outlet sealer that is easy to attach. Simply place them behind the plate cover over top the receptacle helping create an air tight so that air cannot come through. The holes in the outlet sealers are made in the exact specification of a standard plug.
If you prefer something even much easier, a can of Styrofoam spray may just do the job. Once you found the crack or gap usually in door panels and window sills, simply spray the can over it and clean the excess with acetone.
The location of your attic stairs can also be a source of air infiltration. It can really affect your heating and cooling system. You can take a foam weather strip that you may use on your doors or windows and install it right along the perimeter where the door of the attic stairs folds up against the opening. This will seal a lot of that air infiltration. Also, some people have used foam board or insulation itself and tried to position it over the attic stairs and that can be a mess. Instead, homeowners can opt to use an attic tent that is also easy to install right by following the attached instructions on the pack.
Making minor repairs on the small leaks in and around your home can be menial, but it can save you a lot of money in the future. Doing a regular inspection and maintenance also assures your home stay in top shape and increases its value in the long run.…

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Home Maintenance

Why a Home Inspection

Most people think that the only time to get a home inspection is when they are purchasing a new home. This couldn’t be further from the truth. There are many reasons to get a house inspected, including when you’re selling a home, for a home maintenance report, or a new construction inspection.
It doesn’t matter your reason for hiring a home inspector. Having an inspection performed will provide you with invaluable resources about your current property or property you are considering purchasing. A home inspection will allow you to prioritize repairs and identify safety issues that could potentially affect your family’s health and well-being.
Having a home inspection performed when you’re purchasing a new home will allow you to discover any issues with your new home, and let you sign on the dotted line with confidence. It will also let you make negotiation with the seller if major defects are discovered during the home inspection process potentially saving you thousands of dollars, or from purchasing a money pit.
A seller’s inspection is a great marketing tool for selling your home faster, and potentially selling it for closer to the asking price. The biggest advantage to this type of inspection is allows you to find potential problems with the home and have them repaired before a potential buyer wants to negotiate them in the sale price. Lastly it will help from discouraging potential home buyers when they discover potential problems with the home. The only downside to this type of inspection is you the seller will have to pay for it upfront, however the return on this investment will be invaluable.
One of the best investments you can make in your home is to have a home maintenance inspection performed. Most major issues that occur with a home could be repaired for pennies on the dollar if only they would have been discovered sooner. A home maintenance inspection will also help you to prioritize your general maintenance of you home to help insure your home is up to par.
No matter what type of home inspection you are having performed, it is important to understand that it is not a guarantee that there is nothing wrong with the home or that something won’t break, even the best inspector can’t predict the future. That’s why it is imperative that you hire a certified inspector that is properly trained. The last thing you want to do is hire your inspector based solely on price. Some inspectors report with a hand written report, and some report using computer software. Some inspectors are certified and complete continuing education every year, and some don’t. So whatever you do make sure you are comfortable with the inspector you hire.…