Monday, 23 July 2018

Things to do: August Checklist for Your Home


Transitioning from summers to the starting of school, August may seem like a sudden shift. Make these last days a little more interesting and busy by including a few home projects, cleaning up and savouring simple life pleasures. Here are a few things you can do to create the best August plan.

1. Cleaning and storing summer gear. Now that the beach days are behind you, take out time to clean the shovels, buckets, and boogie boards to ensure they are clean and fresh for next year. Dispose off broken or cracked toys, and look out for sales or discounts for replacing items if required.

2. Clear the way for easy weeknight dinners. A packed kitchen (and pantry and fridge) makes meal preparation harder. Get rid of the clutter for creating a clean counter and get rid of stale, expired, and unwanted foods from the fridge, pantry, and freezer. Donate unexpired and unwanted foods in their original packaging to the food pantry.

3. Give away your backyard harvest for everyone to enjoy. Did you grow tomatoes or any other summer food? Pick them and pack them in a basket to share them with your friends and family. You can also locate a food pantry that accepts excess garden produce.

4. Clean floors and carpets. Garden dirt and sand in the summer can take its toll on the floor. Mop floors and vacuum, and make sure you clean the carpeting and area rugs professionally.

5. Organize and clean the garage. In case you have not cleaned your garage in some time, it is possible that this project might take a good amount of your time, so make sure you plan accordingly. It is best to think ahead and search for places where you can take things (hazardous waste, donations, things for auctioning) before you start. And in case you require assistance, think of hiring somebody to help you with the process. Before buying new organizers and shelving, clear all the clutter. Decluttering will give you a better idea of what you require. 

6. Complete outdoor projects. Use the long August days for finishing any outdoor projects that you started during the summers - from adding a brand-new deck to cleaning gutters.

7. Organize your closet before making any new purchases; spend a little time evaluating what you own already. 

8. Plant some herbs and veggies.  August does not have to be the time when you only have to harvest crops. There are so many things you can plant. You can plant cool season, fast-maturing crops. Search for the best plants as per your region. You can also ask a landscaping expert to help you out. 

Being proactive can help you in making the most of August. It is best to ask a professional landscaping expert for advice if you wish to revamp your outdoors and get them ready for the coming months. One of the best ways to find a good expert is to search the internet or ask friends and family for suggestions. 

Friday, 22 June 2018

To-Dos: Your June Home Checklist


Summer officially starts on June 20th, but why wait till then to get into the spirit of summer? Get a head start by prepping your garden and house, setting the right drip-dry spot for pool towels, changing the kitchen, etc.

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1. The irrigation system: Faulty irrigation hose or sprinklers that go unnoticed can cause a lot of problems for your garden and lawn. Make sure you check every component once a week, particularly during the summer.

2. Screen doors: Get screen doors to make sure you enjoy the summer breeze. Inspect screens carefully, and patch holes as required.

3. Empty stagnant water on a regular basis: The best way for keeping mosquitoes down is by checking your house for any standing water and clearing it. Even a bucket of water can create a mosquito nursery, so make sure you do not leave buckets upright.

4. Reorganize your kitchen: Changing seasons are a good time to re-consider how you’ve arranged things in the kitchen. If you use a lot of small appliances in the warmer weather (such as a blender to make smoothies), make sure you move them to a more convenient location, as you are likely to make use of them a lot. Create stations dedicated to specific purposes. In case you have kids on summer vacation, make a counter stocked with self-help snacks. You can also create a cold coffee bar or a station dedicated to smoothie-making.

5. Summer crafts: A station dedicated to arts and crafts can offer a creative outlet and screen-free entertainment— and it is not only for children! You can always inspire and re-energize yourself by indulging in one of your hobbies.

6. Lighten the décor: Make sure you take away all the heavy rugs, put cooling linen sheets and crisp percale on the beds, and buy lighter hued accents for the coming months. Light white curtains will certainly look cool during summers, but in case the weather is expected to get very hot, you can leave heavy curtains in place. Close the shades when it’s extremely sunny to keep the house cool.

7. Refresh your bathroom: If your shower curtain looks shabby or your bath towels are stained, it is time to change them! Give a makeover to your bathroom by swapping out your old bath linens for fluffy, fresh towels, and more. You can use a fancy laundry basket and containers to keep toiletries neatly.

8. Schedule an outdoor project: It does not matter if you wish to get a new patio or wish to replace the deck, book a professional landscaping expert for the project. Their schedules tend to fill up very fast during the summer.

With just a little trimming, you can make summers more fun and beautiful.

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Checklist for your Home for the month of May!

This is a great time for getting those outdoor spaces set for entertainment. From getting your outdoor cooking kits out to getting your house painted, here are a few things for your to-do list to help you savor the season:

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1. Stain or paint the exterior of your house. Long days and milder weather conditions make May the right time to schedule painting. In case your house has wood-shingled exterior, make sure you replace any broken shingles and apply a fresh coat if needed.

2. Check the outer lighting. Ensure that the outdoor lights are working properly, including landscape lighting, porch lights, and security lights. Change bulbs and schedule repairs as required.

3. Get ready to grill. Start out by deep cleaning your grill before the season starts. This will ensure that there are no flare-ups. Clean the interior and grates using a grill brush and wash the outside using soapy, warm water. Clean it and organize the grill tools (spatula, tongs, and skewers) and pick up propane or charcoal if required.

4. Inspect bath and kitchen fixtures. If you keep a close eye on these spaces, you can help prevent expensive water repairs and damage later on. Caulk or regrout around tile and counters as required. In case you come across leaks, get them repaired.

5. Inspect safety devices. Test carbon monoxide and smoke detectors; replace batteries as needed. Inspect the expiry date on the fire extinguisher and get it replaced too, if required.

6. Get touch up paint for the walls. First, use a vacuum to dust and clean the walls. Make sure you pay particular attention to baseboards and corners. For a deep clean, wipe your walls with soapy, warm water after you have completed dusting. Wash using clean water. Do some touch ups with paint if required on the walls.

7.  Revive the bedrooms. Flip over the mattresses on all beds. Dust lamps, nightstands, headboard, décor and blinds. Swap warm, winter duvets for lighter bedding for the hotter months to come.

8.  Add a soothing porch. Your porch can become a place to hang out and relax by adding a porch swing, glider or rocking chairs. If there is too much sun then using white curtains would help provide shade.

9.  Prepare your picnic supplies. Get ready for unplanned picnics by going through the dining supplies you have assigned for the outdoors and keeping a basket of essentials packed and within reach. There is no need to make the kit extensive but make sure it has the basics - a cutting board, cheese knife, bottle opener, some outdoor dishes, and a blanket should be enough for any picnic.

Keep your yard and house in good order, and you will be ready to make the most of the summers ahead. You can also use the services of a professional landscaping expert to add to the beauty of your yard!

Monday, 23 April 2018

To-Dos: Spring Home Checklist

March 20 is marked as the first official day of spring. So even if the plants are leafless or if there is snow, you can stay reassured that nice weather is just around the corner. Bring in the new season with spring cleaning, flowers and some dirt in your fingernails!

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Entryway

With the changing weather, start putting away woolen hats and mittens and make some room for those spring boots. Make sure you replace or clean the doormat, pack the hangers or hooks, and put your umbrella holder out. A clean tray of boot lined with stones will help drain water from wet footwear.

Remove winter layers

Are duvets making you uncomfortably warm? Swap the thick bedding for coverlets and quilts that are lighter in weight. Also change deep-pile rugs for natural-fiber or flat-weave versions.

Clean up the patio furniture

Winters can leave the outdoor furniture grimy, so make sure you give it a proper scrubbing before you start to use it for the season. Launder all the washable cushion covers and replace the torn and worn-out pieces.

Sharpen your garden and lawn tools

Sharp tools help to get the job done. Take your clippers and lawn mowers in for tune-up and get them sharpened before you start work inside your garden.

Dust baseboards and high corners

Using a duster or vacuum attachment of your choice, get rid of cobwebs and dust from those low and high spots that are often missed at the time of routine cleaning.

Garden planning

It’s now time to get your garden ready for spring! Make a plan and list down ideas of plantings, and any designs you have for variations of the hardscape, such as putting up a fence or creating a brand-new path. Pick seedlings from the local nursery. Check out botanical gardens where you can find native plants. You can also hire a landscaping expert for best results.

Spring blooms

Spring flowers including daffodils are inexpensive and plentiful this month, so make sure you get good bargains. And in case you have flowers growing in your garden, why don’t you cut some and enjoy their beauty indoors?

Planting trees

Fall and spring are the best times for planting trees as cooler temperatures and wet weather make it very easy for root systems to establish. Make sure you contact a good nursery to understand which species can work best in your climate and also get detailed instructions for planting.

Inspect the exterior of your house for winter damage. After the passing of winter storms, inspect the outside area carefully. This is the right time to repair any damage caused by ice. Ice dams tend to form when the home’s edges are colder than the higher regions. One of the best ways of preventing them is by upgrading ventilation and insulation within the attic.

Once you check out all the points given in this check-list you can sit back and enjoy a pleasant spring-time outdoors. 

Friday, 23 March 2018

Turning your Yard into an English Garden


If the English gardens with their fragrant lushness and dainty heirloom china inspire you then certainly if you could create that feel in your garden, it would be amazing, wouldn’t it! Symmetrical gravel walkways, open lawn space, manicured short hedges, and planting ofvegetables and herbs for cooking will make your garden come alive.

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Here are a few tips that can help you bring the English countryside to your garden or backyard.

1. Shape

Shape is an important factor in an English-style garden. While a conventional style is a square, rolling paths and curved shapes are more in style these days. You may also surround your garden with neatly trimmed low rise shrubs and put a curved or circular gravel path through it. And do add a birdbath at the center to offer a focal point.

2. Flowers

Perennials such as hydrangea, hibiscus, bee balm, and phlox, and annuals such as pansies and marigolds are known to be classic. However, do not forget to add roses! Roses are extremely important in an English-inspired garden. You can plant different varieties along an archway or trellis, or create borders or rows with the blooms.

3. Herbs and Vegetables

Both vegetables and herbs add usefulness and variety. You can build a section particularly for herbs, and then a section for veggies, or mix them among your flowers.

4. Shrubs

Shrubs at different heights can be used to shape different areas of your garden, or shape a lawn space to play croquet. You can even use flowering plants or those with evergreen varieties. Have fun while being creative!

5. Furnishing

You must also consider how you would like to furnish your garden: a chaise lounge to read, bench along fragrant flowers, a gazebo, or even a small fountain. Although there are several design elements that are deemed ‘classic’, you are restricted only by your imagination!

6. Grass

Decide on the amount of mowing you are comfortable with, and that will decide the amount of grass you grow in your English garden.

Make sure you don’t allow pests to germinate and run wild on your grass. Also, don’t allow weeds to run wild. Either use a professional service or pull them out on your own so they don’t take water and food away from good vegetation.

These design features will not just give a great look to your yard, but will also transform it into an English Country one. You need just a little patience, and the confidence that if you put in the required effort, you will soon have the most stunning yard.  However, make sure you have a proper design in mind. If not, it is best to hire a professional landscaping expert.

Friday, 23 February 2018

How to Organize a Backyard Wedding?

Hosting a wedding in a backyard is not just a brilliant way of saving money over a venue, but can also help create sentimental and beautiful memories. However, backyard weddings do require extra planning, particularly if you do the planning on your own.


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Plan

There will be hundreds of plans to make but it is important for you to answer some questions first. Will the venue have enough space for your guests? Will you host both the reception and the ceremony, and do you have enough room to assign area for both? Are there enough bathrooms for everyone? What kind of dinner do you wish to hold?

Create a Theme

When it comes to choosing a backyard theme, do not go for a modern one. Best is to choose rustic, garden, or bohemian themes. However, since it is your big day, make sure you choose a décor that you love.

Hire Professionals to Prep your Yard

To make sure the backyard stands out on the big day, make sure you hire a landscaping expert at least eight weeks in advance, to turn the space into an amazing backdrop. The professionals will know exactly which plants and landscape design to use to give you the wedding of your dreams.

Tents

There is always a chance for an unpredictable weather change including, destructive breezes and scorchers. So to make sure the wedding goes on smoothly, hiring a tent is a good option. Do not consider it an eyesore – tents provide a great opportunity to use lighting and decorations.

Floors are the Best

Most of your women guests will be in heels. So, spare them and your grass, by renting a wood floor for dancing, and perhaps also a pathway down the aisle.

Rent Equipment

One of the best decisions you will make is to go through a rental company to hire tables. Proper arrangements are worth the peace of mind. Hiring rental companies will ensure that they set up and take down so you can relax on your big day.

Temperature Control

Mother Nature cannot be controlled, but it is easy to get an idea of how the weather will be like. Make sure you rent coolers or heaters as may be required, to keep guests in comfort with the passing of the day.

Generator

Our homes are not equipped to accommodate the electrical needs of an event such as a wedding. There will be extra lighting, caterers, grills, music, and a lot more that will all tax your grid, and you will not want to be the reason for a blackout in the neighborhood. It would be a good idea to rent a power back up.

Space for Kids

If you plan to invite kids to the wedding, you can create an area just for them. Backyards can include some games, tables, and maybe even a pillow and blanket pile for naps.

Having a wedding in your backyard is a great idea. It will make a stunning venue for a wedding, so embrace the natural beauty that it holds. Try not to cover up the flaws. Let its naturalness create a fairy tale backdrop. 

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Making your Yard Bewitching with String Lights

Shining string lights can always create an inescapable charm even in the most ordinary spaces. They make the heart skip a beat by adding wonders to any festive ambience, especially that of your garden landscape!

Despite the pressure from the neighborhood, you alone can dictate the visual direction of your holiday display. You have all the creative freedom to decorate your garden whatever way you like. Here are a few tips on how to hang string lights for any festivity.

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Bulbs

Before you begin, make sure there is a plan in place. Analyze the locations where you can put the lights on. They will most likely be along the gutters or eaves and even the windows. Utilize this plan to evaluate the number and length of strands you will require.

While there are no standard lengths in strands, there are bulb size standards. Look for C9 or C7 size bulbs to string together 6 to 8 inches apart. When there is a longer distance between bulbs, it allows more light to cover a wider area, creating more warmth.

Trees

You can make use of net lights or you can wrap regular lights around the branches and trunks. To analyze the length of strings required, divide the trunk’s height by the specified spacing between every light strip; approximately three inches would be appropriate. Multiply the number you get by the circumference of the trunk. You must also perform the same calculation for any big branches you wish to wrap.

Variety of looks

The classic look

For a classic look, make sure that the lights are white and concentrated towards three spaces: in windows, along eaves or gutters, and on larger bushes and trees. String the lights together symmetrically. Moreover, if you wish to win the admiration of the whole neighborhood, put the lights sideways on the ridgeline of the roof.

Delightful look

If you wish to decorate the whole house, you need to go in for a combination of the right lights. A multicolored strand across the gutter and string icicle lights under it would be a great idea. It would be best to hang the C9 bulbs along the gutters and rooflines, and C7s for the window perimeters. It is important to have some symmetry even when you are going all out to achieve the delightful look.

Minimalistic look

Purchase real pine wreath and place it symmetrically on the main door. Then put an E17 warm-white bulb a few feet away from the door and focus it at the pine wreath. This look is best for those who like to acknowledge the seasonal joy, humility and gratefulness for everything without going all out.

Outdoor string lighting can be a very easy project, but it does require some planning. You need the right product, the correct design and the right tools to ensure that everything looks beautiful. It would be best if you can hire a professional landscaper to add festive cheer to the exterior of your house.