Tips For Water Garden Maintenance

If there was one thing that could enhance the look of a property’s exterior, it would be the presence of a water garden. Water gardens can be designed in a multitude of fashions. In pond is not enough. It must be properly maintained. For some, this may seem like a ponderous (pardon the pun) task. But it really isn’t. While water garden maintenance does require effort, it is not overly complicated.

So, let’s look at a few common steps for proper water garden maintenance.

Reducing the presence of algae is critical. As far as ecosystems go, algae are quite helpful. However, algae can seriously detract from the look of a pond when they become overpopulated. So, reducing the presence of algae is of paramount importance. One way to go about this involves using algaecides. Unfortunately, some algaecides can be dangerous to fish and only offer a short term solution. This is why it may be best to utilize ultraviolet sterilizers ( for green water algae) and/or proper filtration to help remove the nutrients that algae feed on and create a balanced ecosystem that is not conducive to their growth.

Be prudent when populating a water garden with aquatic life. If it is overloaded with fish and other wildlife, the look can be hampered. Also, the higher the volume of aquatic life in a water garden, the more algae will grow due to organic waste created by them. So, maintaining prudent levels of fish and other animals will have the ancillary effect of reducing algae and keeping the water clear and healthy.

Maintaining proper water levels is also paramount. Proper water levels are needed in order for the water pump(s) to work properly. If there is not enough water in the pond, the pump cannot properly oxygenate the water garden. This is a critical point because low oxygen levels will cause fatalities in the fish.

Removing any obstructions to sunshine will maintain the health of the water garden’s plants. If the plants die from lack of sunshine, the water garden becomes little more than a tub of water. This is why it is of significant importance that plants receive adequate sunshine. To maintain plant life, four to six hours of sunshine is needed for most plants. Any obstructions in the way of the sun’s rays must be removed. This includes trimming tree branches, bushes, etc. Again, this is where filtration and nutrient control becomes important, because while the “good” plants need light to grow, so does algae. However a healthy population of “good” plants with good filtration will help with algae control, even in direct sunlight.

Make sure filters are maintained properly and replaced when necessary. Dirty water does not do a water garden good. That is why installing a proper filter is a must. Of course, one needs to keep a watchful eye on the filter(s) to make sure it/they operate properly. If not, then the filter must be replaced as soon as possible. Pond filters will remove organic debris and in some cases chemical pollutants such as ammonia and nitrite, which can be toxic to fish.

Add treatments when needed. The various items that comprise water garden treatments are vast. When the need arises for adding specific treatments (chlorine removers, colorants, foam removers, beneficial bacteria, etc) then they must be added. It will keep your water garden healthy.

Of course, there are many other ways to keep a water garden in great shape. Really, there is no limit to proper maintenance and the tips provided herein will keep you on the right track.

10 Ways to Modernize Your Home

Why is it such a big deal to be “modern”? What value do modern kitchen cabinets or other contemporary updates add to your home, especially when you’ve always enjoyed traditional décor? Two words: resale value!

You may like a traditional look, and there’s nothing wrong with that, as long as “traditional” doesn’t translate to your potential buyers as “outdated”. Here are 10 ways to ensure it doesn’t, by modernizing your home for a better resale value:

1. Improve Exteriors – Curb appeal is important. Keep it clutter-free and avoid overgrown shrubbery or plain rows of evergreen bushes. Mix it up with rich foliage in attractive groups of threes and fives, rather than the more traditional pairings. Add perennial flowers for color and mulch to give everything a finished look. (Black mulch is a more modern touch than traditional brown shades.)

2. Paint – The traditional pre-sale procedure is to blast everything in neutrals so a buyer will not be turned off by your personal taste and will feel the freedom to put his or her own personality into the home. Neutral paints are still popular, but there’s something to be said for showing potential buyers the home’s potential with a little pop – try an accent wall in high traffic areas like the living room, dining room or kitchen in a bold, eye-catching color. With improvements in today’s paints, covering a dark red or blue wall is much easier to do than it used to be if they want to change it!

3. Update the kitchen – It’s one of the first rooms potential buyers look at. Concentrate on the flooring, countertops, sink, lighting and cabinetry. Kitchens should have a clean feel, so replace any flooring that is buckling or cracking. Granite and marble countertops are a modern touch and will make any cook feel like a professional. Replace the sink if it’s a shallow, single basin. Two basin, stainless steel sinks will immediately improve kitchen value. Remember to enhance the lighting scheme with contemporary fixtures and high wattage bulbs – even at night, the kitchen should have a light, airy feel.

Finally, the number one way to improve the look of your kitchen is with modern kitchen cabinets. Potential buyers can go any way they want with styling and accessories, but the cabinets themselves are the framework for the space and should look contemporary, timeless and durable.

Keep in mind, kitchens are gathering places. Custom cabinets, fresh paint and new, energy-efficient appliances are obvious places to start and the first thing potential buyers will notice, but they will find your kitchen more inviting if there is an island, breakfast bar and cozy stools for the busy modern family to enjoy a quick meal together. If you have a small, uninviting kitchen, consider opening or enlarging this space before making expansive additions to the house elsewhere.

4. Frame it – Put up wood trim and cornicing for an upgraded, contemporary look. Accentuate newly painted walls with ceiling trim and armchair railing. Replace old light switches and outlets, as updating to more modern switches, plates and fixtures implies that the home has newer electrical wiring.

5. Dress up the floors – Hardwood flooring is always fashionable and can be updated to a contemporary look with throw rugs. Woods floors are more versatile than carpet. If you have covered hardwood floors, check their condition by pulling up a small piece of your existing carpet in a discrete location, like the corner of a closet. Refinishing floors is an inexpensive update, especially if you do it yourself. If you don’t have hardwoods under your carpet, at a minimum have them cleaned, and ideally look into inexpensive laminate wood floors. (Laminate floors also give kitchens a more modern look than vinyl tile or ceramic squares.)

6. Update the bathroom – Next to the kitchen, it’s the most common place potential buyers look for improvements. You can still keep a traditional look (read claw tubs and pedestal sinks) with modern convenience. Consider timer fans, heated floors and updated lighting. Like new light switches and outlets will give the impression of updated wiring, so too will updated bathroom fixtures give the impression of newer plumbing. Replace or paint outdated cabinets for a clean, fresh feel and don’t forget to update their hardware. Sometimes it’s the little things that impact buyers the most.

7. Make room for media – A den used to be an optional room, but today’s families desire space for computers and game consoles. Even if you do your computer work from a laptop in your bedroom and don’t own an X-box, create a space where a potential buyer can picture an office or media room. Make sure the space isn’t in a secluded area of the home. Modern parents want to keep the family computer in a visible place.

8. Improve storage – Modern home owners have more need for storage than ever. Counter space and table tops are needed for TV remotes, cell phones and charging stations for the many electronic gadgets. This means the traditional items you’d expect to keep out in the open need to be tucked away. Look at ways to improve closets and cabinets with organizers or permanent shelving to maximize empty space.

9. Improve energy efficiency – If your home is in a hot, humid climate, install ceiling fans, especially in second floor bedrooms. This is an inexpensive investment that will increase the home’s energy efficiency and improve its perceived value. In addition, add insulation, make sure you have fresh caulk to seal leaks, and upgrade to energy-efficient windows, doors, and skylights. If you invest in these changes, make sure to highlight them to buyers. Efforts to improve energy efficiency are not easily perceived during a walk-through.

10. Stage It – Lastly, when you’ve made all your updates, throw on the finishing touches with modern accessories that will brighten up your home. Candles (unscented for the kitchen), mirrors, rugs, and throw pillows are easy ways to renew the energy of a room. Highlight your beautiful custom cabinets in the kitchen with bowls of fresh fruit and shiny appliances, even if you don’t use them on a daily basis (like a new blender or bread maker). Finally, don’t forget to show off all your changes with bright light bulbs.

Higher Preference for Wooden Garden Furniture

One of the most popular types of garden furniture is wooden garden furniture. Wood is a very popular choice of material for furniture as it is durable, classic and easily shaped. There are many kinds of wood that can be used in wooden garden furniture. Out of the many types of wood, teak is the most popular type used in wooden garden furniture.

Wide selection

No matter what type of wood is used for garden furniture, there are many choices of wooden lawn furniture. The selection can range from tables and chairs to sun decks and picnic tables. There are 2-seaters to 4-seaters wooden lawn furniture chairs and sofas that can fit small to large gardens. There are single unique pieces or full sets of 4-12 pieces of various designs, shapes and grain.

Traditional and contemporary designs are available with all types of wooden lawn furniture for the consumers’ selection. All are of quality standard to enjoy the comfort and beauty of such furniture.

Special Designs

Wooden lawn furniture can be customized or bought off the shelf. The number of pieces can be made to order. Specific measurements and sizes can be requested. Some wooden furniture sets can be simple yet stunning in design to give an elegant look. Some are foldable pieces which allow for easy storage and relocation. Hence, there are wooden furniture that can be placed indoors, on the patio and sunroom besides out in the garden.

There can be a complete set of table and chairs plus a lazy Susan as if it is a dining set but to be placed in the garden. Wooden recliner chairs are popular in the garden today especially if there is a swimming pool.

Wood Preference

Wooden furniture is very popular as there are many types of wood. Most wooden garden furniture uses hardwood such as teak, oak and pine as these exude warmth and strength while displaying a natural beauty.

Skilled craftsmanship can turn a plain hardwood to almost any wooden lawn furniture desired. Most hardwood does not need too much maintenance to keep its aesthetics; just a simple wipe with a damp clean cloth usually suffice.

As natural products, wood tends to react to the environment especially when it is harsh weather conditions. The natural oils in the wood tend to dry up and cracks can form. But as more wood is used for wooden lawn furniture, more trees must be replanted to enjoy further wood products in the future.

Unusual Halloween Decorations for Your Home and Garden

During the whole month of October each year, many people would be in a tizzy helping with the preparations for a Halloween party in the office while also searching for a fancy costume to wear. ‘Tis no wonder that these busy bees barely had the time and energy to dress up their homes before All Hallows Eve. Finding these novelty holiday decors for Halloween certainly cuts down the guesswork. The following decorations looked most unusual and fashionably grotesque to put in your backyard garden or front lawn and to hang on the walls and windows of your home.

The Right Kind of Weird Decorations for Younger Kids

Sharing and listening to scary stories about ghostly apparitions and haunted houses always make any campfire gathering fun and exciting. However, imagining the monsters under the bed doesn’t compare to terrorizing young children with the sight of severed limbs scattered on your lawn and wet blood splattered on your front door and windows. Older kids and adults may appreciate the awesomeness of your hyper-realistic props and makeup, but smaller kids are too young to realize at first that everything’s fake. The blood and gore weren’t real and nobody had had been chopped up and left to rot somewhere.

Age-appropriate decorations normally include bat and skull decals, glow-in-the-dark skeletons, and a crashing witch décor on the front door. String up some party lights of grinning ghosts or glowing skulls under the eaves and on window frames. Line up several three-inch skulls covered in purple, orange or black glitter on the window sill. But, the best Halloween decors for little children are those animated figures that light up and make spooky sounds. Popular items include the laughing witch that spins around crazily after dancing the boogie across the floor. She stands more than twelve inches tall dressed in a blue frock with gold stars and moons and holds a flashing skull in one hand.

Give Your Visitors a Fun and Frightening Welcome

If you’re familiar with dioramas, then you’ll immediately see why it’s more fun to decorate the front lawn than any other part of the property, including the landscaped yard at the back. Use your front lawn as a staging area for a climactic scene with the rise of the undead just like in the movies. Find a groundbreaking life-sized skeleton that you can stake into the ground. There’s even one that includes batteries for its light-up brain. Stop strangers and neighboring folks from trampling all over your lawn by staking a fence of skull-tipped spikes than stand almost two feet from the ground and connected to one another with a hanging chain that’s almost four feet long.

Most garden sets for Halloween have stakes or sticks with a skull decoration on top. This time the voodoo skull has long straggly hair hanging at the back while a short plait of hair sticks out of its chin. The skull’s grinning visage is decorated with a small skeleton sitting atop its head. The stick is less than two and a half feet long and can be used as yard decoration or as a prop for your Voodoo Priest costume. As a final touch, post some giant animated figures near the entrance to your home or on the edges of your lawn to give passing strangers a frightful surprise. So far, the best item among them is the movement-activated screaming skeleton with red flashing eyes that’s a little more than a meter tall with an umbrella base.

Planters Accent Your Home and Garden

The right planter in the right setting brings style, function and beauty to any indoor room or outdoor location. Planters can be used as a unique focal point or a graceful accent in any garden, patio, porch or room. The secret is finding the perfect planter – one that reflects the owner’s personality and surroundings while maintaining lasting durability. 

Planters come in a large variety of shapes, sizes, designs, materials and price points, which makes some planters a better choice than others. In today’s market, the unlimited assortment can also create unlimited indecision. Knowing a few useful tips can simplify the decision-making process and help consumers purchase plantersthat will bring years of pleasure. 

Considerations Before Purchasing A Planter   

o Location (shade, sun, extreme weather)                                                                                        

o Maneuverability                                                                                                             

o Size, Shape, Style, Color, Finish, Texture                                                            

o Drainage Hole and/or Self-Watering Options                                                                     

o Durability & Longevity                                                                                                     

o Artistic/Decorative Impact                                                                                               

o Reflect Personality of Owner/Home/Surroundings                                                                                                  

o Materials (Learn the advantages and disadvantages of planter materials such as clay, terracotta, concrete, metal, wood, resin, fiberglass, etc.)                                                                                                                

o Storage Concerns

A great way to get started is to purchase a matching set of various sized planters ranging from three, five or seven in total. Five containers used in a corner of a patio will help define your entertainment space. This grouped planter display can provide privacy and help tie in your overall outdoor living area. Don’t be afraid of using bright and vivid containers such as oranges, iridescent blues and reds. These colors can help liven up outdoor spaces.

Combining plants is a fun part of container gardening. Try mixing and matching different plants such as annuals, tropicals, perennials, trees, shrubs, vines and vegetables. Before planting, arrange the new plants in or around your container while they are still in their small pots to see how they fit best. A good rule of thumb is to plant the tallest upright foliage plant in the center. Next, plant the shorter and more compact flowering plant to the side of the center, near the edge of the planter. Leave enough space between these plants to allow for growth. Finally, place plants with trailing or semi-trailing growth habits around the planters’ outer edges leaving enough space for adequate spreading and trailing.

A word of caution: Also remove new plants from their nursery pots with care. Never remove them by pulling on their tender stems. Gently loosen or untangle the bottom inch of each plant’s roots before carefully spreading them out in your planter. This helps give young plants a better start. Additional potting mix can be added to ensure the soil covers the roots of each plant. When your planting is finished, the soil should be at least an inch below the rim of the container.

Gardening with planters is a great way for beginning and experienced gardeners to dig into the botanical world. And best of all, you can take your planter garden with you when you move.