Enhancing Outdoor Style With Garden Furniture

When it comes to choosing the right furnishing for garden, it is also important to consider your style and taste. Keep in mind that the garden is considered an extension of the living room. It should reflect who you are, and should be beautiful, and long lasting.

Garden furniture or more commonly known as outdoor or patio fixtures is the type of furniture type that is specially designed for outdoor usage. They are made by materials that are designed to withstand harsh weather elements, normally waterproof, and can be left outside all year-round. Garden furniture allows homeowners and guests to enjoy the view of a beautiful backyard and transforms the garden into a cozy dining place or a convenient spot for stimulating conversations.

An exquisitely designed garden with blooming flowers is made even more beautiful with attractive and comfortable furniture. This is why those who really spend time in making their backyard a relaxing place to stay carefully choose the right furniture pieces that will match their garden’s mood and theme. Outdoor furnishings may be purchased per piece depending on the style of the garden, but on normal occasions, outdoor fixtures are purchased as a patio set composed of one table, four to five chairs, and a parasol. Varying in color and painted with beautiful designs, outdoor parasols are uniquely designed umbrellas that are meant to provide great protection from heavy rain or too much sun exposure. In a typical garden set-up, a parasol is placed at the center of round outdoor tables.

Since they are primarily designed to stay outside under the pressure of harsh elements, the durability of garden furniture depends largely on the materials used in making them. The most common materials do make some of the outdoor furnishings sold in the market today are treated wood, plastic, metal, and glass. To save on money and to be sure that you are getting your money’s worth, it is highly advised that a good inspection of the furniture material is made. Plastic as a material is naturally waterproof. Plastic furniture can withstand heavy rains and sun exposure. Plastic furnishings that come in bright colors can add a playful vibe to any outdoor setting. On the other hand, furniture made from treated wood has undergone extra coatings to enhance its ability to endure the outdoor elements. Wooden furniture is a popular addition to plush green gardens with rich brown trees as it complements the setting’s earthy theme. If the setting requires a touch of elegance and class, garden furniture made of glass is the perfect backyard accessory. Glass furniture designed with aluminum shines brightly under the sun and can also withstand heavy rains.

5 Must Have Bathroom Accessories

Ask people “what stood out” after they have been into somebody’s bathroom and they will always say the bathroom accessories set. Those fancy accessories that set the room off so well always remain in people’s minds.

If you can match your designer accessories to the bathroom tiling and the paint, you will almost certainly turn your bathroom into one of the best dressed and most memorable rooms in the house.

Types of accessories that can set the bathroom off: –

– Shower Curtains – If there is no glass door on the front of your shower then a curtain can be the most important accessory that your bathroom can have. It is important that the right colour material and pattern is chosen for this important accessory and keep in mind whilst choosing the curtain that you will need to get towels and bath mats to match.

– Bath Mats – A nice mat is a must for all bathrooms and probably the most common of all bathroom accessories. The mat helps to capture water off of the body on the way out of the shower and helps to protect against slipping. The choice of the mat is very important and needs to be carefully chosen to match other accessories such as curtains and towels etc.

– Soap Holder/Dispensers and Toothbrush Holders – These accessories are only small but certainly help to set the room off and gives the bathroom a modern look if so desired. You can match the soap holder/dispenser to the toothbrush holders to create a matching attractive bathroom theme.

– Rubbish Bin/Receptacle – This is an important addition to any bathroom. There are many different options available so be sure to find one that suits the overall bathroom theme.

– Mirrors – Arguably the most important of all accessories in a bathroom apart from a shower curtain if a screen isn’t present. Mirrors can be designed to make a statement. Most mirrors are plain and designed to match only the vanity but they can be more than that. They can become the main focal point of the bathroom. There is a large range available and come in many shapes and sizes.

The bathroom is one of the most used and admired rooms in the house, so why not make the effort, accessorise it and make a statement. Create a bathroom that all of your friends and family will admire and talk about!

Hello From Nova Scotia – MacKinnon-Cann Inn-Where Home and Garden Television Meets the Travel Channe

I had spent a wonderfully rejuvenating night wrapped up in the soft high-thread-count sheets and comforters of my temporary home at the MacKinnon-Cann Inn in Yarmouth. After an exciting drive down the Evangeline Trail yesterday that included a very informative tour of the Bear River First Nation Heritage and Cultural Centre, followed up by an early-evening walking tour to admire Yarmouth’s Victorian heritage areas, I had definitely needed a good rest. But a new day had broken and I was ready for more adventures.

First on the plan was of course breakfast, so I got myself ready and walked downstairs into the tastefully decorated dining area of the MacKinnon-Cann Inn. Neil Hisgen, one of the co-owners, was working in the kitchen to prepare breakfast and occasionally dropped by to see how the guests were doing. I caught him for about ten minutes to find out more about this property and his own personal background.

Neil is originally from Racine, Wisconsin, and hails from a family with six children. He spent six years in the navy following which he briefly returned home, only to move to Fort Lauderdale in Florida where he started his hospitality career. He started working at the front desk at the Marriott Hotel and for the next 18 years worked in various hotels and restaurants, gaining experience at the front desk and in the kitchen. He capped his employed career after 15 years with a general manager’s position of a major hotel.

Neil met his business and life partner Michael Tavares at the end of 1997. Neil had made a good return on the sale of his first house and decided to invest it in a bed and breakfast. At the time Michael owned a 200-acre property on a peninsula near Yarmouth which they used as a vacation home. Michael had invited him to spend about a month at his farm near Yarmouth and Neil loved it. Being from the mid-west, he had always enjoyed the change of the seasons.

Neil and Michael were thinking about what they wanted to do and decided they were ready for a change, so they went ahead and opened a bed and breakfast in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia where there was a beautiful Victorian residential district waiting for them with many restoration opportunities. At this point Neil unfortunately had to go back in the kitchen to continue working, but Michael, his co-owner, joined me at my table to give me a more in-depth overview of their projects and his own life story.

Michael is originally from Boston and grew up in the southern part of the city. During college he majored in education, but after school he went into real estate and started his own brokerage firm. He was always fascinated by old buildings and illustrates this with a story from his childhood: at 12 or 13 years of age there was an old farm house nearby, and Michael always wondered who had owned it and lived there. So he talked to his mother about it and she took him to the land registry office to do a title search, obtaining a record of all previous owners of the property.

With these documents in hand he approached the current owners and gave them the historic ownership records of the property. They absolutely loved it, and from that point forward Michael was hooked on the mystique of historic properties. In his words, he loves to “peel back the layers of time” and started to buy and restore his own historic buildings. Over several years he completed eight restoration projects in the south end of Boston.

After Boston he moved to Key West and became a tropical landscape architect. He spent five or six years living and working in Key West, completing many garden design projects for the local gay community. In the 1980s he finally bought a 200 acre farm as a vacation property in Nova Scotia together with several friends. This was when his love affair with Yarmouth began. Michael moved his permanent residence from Key West to Fort Lauderdale where he met Neil in 1997 at a fundraising event. They lived together for a year and Neil helped Michael in his landscaping business. In the summer of 1998 Michael invited Neil to his property in Nova Scotia because he wanted Neil to share this part of his life. So for the last eight years Neil and Michael have been residing in Nova Scotia. Their first Yarmouth property was a run-down Victorian brick mansion which they lovingly restored in 1999 and turned into the present Charles C. Richards House, a historic bed and breakfast with three guest bedrooms decorated in the 1930’s Art Deco Period. Each room at the Charles C. Richards House features a private bath, cable TV with DVD players and period furnishings.

The MacKinnon-Cann Inn where I was staying was built in 1887 and is an example of the Italianate Victorian style. The house was built as a duplex for two female cousins, and to this day the inn features two staircases side by side. Michael and Neil rescued the property in 2000 and took it from a condemned state to the stunning mansion that it is today. All seven guest rooms are uniquely decorated in a style reflecting a different 20th century decade, from the 1900s to the 1960s. The main floor features five lavish parlours and Michael pointed out the beautiful patterned wood floor that was installed at great expense throughout the dining area. Neil is a talented glass artist, and many stained glass windows throughout the MacKinnon-Cann Inn and the Charles C. Richards House feature Neil’s artwork.

Michael explained that he is very active in Nova Scotia’s heritage community and mentioned that he is a member of two historic organizations: he serves on the Board of Directors of the Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia whose mission it is to preserve and protect the heritage properties in the province. Both the MacKinnon-Cann Inn and the Charles C. Richards House are provincially registered heritage properties. Michael is also a member of the Provincial Heritage Owners Association of Nova Scotia which encompasses 265 provincial heritage properties. Both inns have won several awards, including the 2005 Restoration Award from the Yarmouth County Historical Society and the L.B. Jenson Award as a contribution to the development and economic health of the Yarmouth Heritage Community.

In addition to the two inns, Michael is also currently renovating the property right next door to the MacKinnon-Cann Inn, another Victorian heritage property which he is thinking of turning into a restaurant that will serve the tourists and local community of Yarmouth. The fourth recently renovated property owned by Michael and Neil is a blue-coloured Victorian heritage property located right between the MacKinnon-Cann Inn and the Charles C. Richards House. In essence, Michael and Neil have single-handedly transformed an entire street block, rescued four historic properties and turned them into stunning examples of architectural revival.

As an astute tourism marketer, Michael Tavares is also the President of the Nova Scotia Association of Unique Country Inns, a collective marketing and branding group that promotes upscale heritage tourism in unique historic properties. Michael is generally responsible for the inn’s marketing while Neil’s responsibilities focus more on hospitality and innkeeping.

Michael’s restoration mindset is based on a commitment to the preservation of buildings and a respect for the historical integrity of the property. He approaches his projects with a certain humility which he says many renovators today are missing since they are only looking for the highest return on investment. He is a strong believer that the cultural renaissance and economic revival of a town begins with heritage restoration and then trickles down to Main Street.

At the same time he also recognizes the need for protecting his investments, and as a member of the local Yarmouth Town Planning Council he has a chance to participate in shaping the future of this town. Michael and Neil have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars and countless thousands of hours in their heritage properties and business ventures. Their efforts make a significant contribution to the economic well-being of the town.

The beginning was not easy since Michael was an outsider with new ideas in a town with long-standing traditions and established power structures. He was the new kid on the block. In addition, it took some time to gain acceptance, particularly as a gay couple in a rather conservative community. Conflict arose originally since Michael was also very outspoken and questioned the old ways of doing things.

However, his commitment to the community became evident in his renovation projects. Michael would call together all the contractors for each project, such as electricians, plumbers, carpet layers, etc. and told them that he would deal exclusively with them as local merchants instead of choosing a big box home renovation store as his main supplier. This commitment to local merchants has earned him a lot of respect and goodwill in the surrounding community, and today many people call him for his opinion before a debate of important issues that will affect the town.

After I completed my delicious fruit salad and omelet breakfast, Michael took me on a tour of all four properties. We started off with the smaller Victorian house currently under renovation where the entire first floor has currently been stripped down to the bare walls. As with his other projects, Michael is going to do the vast majority of the project himself and will call in specialized contractors only where needed. He is one of those people who have that special gift of spotting a diamond in the rough and taking it from a derelict hovel in danger of collapsing to a stunningly updated and stylish historic jewel with all modern conveniences.

We then went over to the recently restored blue Victorian mansion that was renovated by the previous owners according to Michael’s recommendations since Michael and Neil were going to purchase the property. We capped the visit off with the Charles C. Richards House, a stunning Victorian brick mansion with gorgeous architectural details, built for a wealthy local businessman. It was started in 1893 and took two years to finish and was the first brick house of this class to be built in Yarmouth. Most of the special building materials, i.e. the brownstone, granite and brick, were imported from the United States and make this house unique. Michael told me that it took him a whole season to strip the many layers of paint on the ornately carved porch and 32 weeks to repaint it, using eleven different colours.

I admired the wonderful details and stylish d├ęcor of the various rooms, including the flower-filled conservatory. Michael and Neil posed for me in front of the intricately carved wooden staircase that leads to the upstairs bedroom and this was the fitting ending for my introduction to architectural preservation and heritage tourism in Yarmouth. I thanked them both for their welcoming hospitality and got ready for my next item on the itinerary: an exploration of Yarmouth history at the Yarmouth County Historical Museum, located right across the street from the Charles C. Richards House.

Checklist for Hiring a Garden Maintenance Contractor

Gardens should be a cause of joy for most homeowners. Every time a homeowner looks at his garden, he should feel refreshed. If his nerves are frayed, looking at his garden should calm him down and soothe his worries away. But that’s just not possible if your garden is in total disarray. Indeed, even if you try your best to spruce up your lawn, sometimes your efforts prove to be futile. If that happens very often, maybe it’s high time that you seek the help of experts. Believe it or not, there are a lot of gardening firms operating in your area, and most, if not all, of them can provide you with efficient and affordable garden maintenance services. You just need to be very diligent in looking them up in phone and online directories.

What You Should Look for in a Garden Maintenance Contractor

But so as not to scare you, let me just tell you that most of these maintenance contractors operating in your area, or anywhere else for that matter, know what they are doing and are well knowledgeable about the things that need to be undertaken in order to successfully carry out lawn maintenance and achieve the results you are gunning for. The fact that it is your garden and you will be paying the contractor’s fee is enough reason for you to draw up a checklist of the things you want the service provider to do. This checklist will also help you assess whether the provider can offer all-around service or merely a specific specialization.

Here is a list of some of the services that your contractor must be able to provide your garden with:

1) Lawn and Grass Care – This refers to lawn maintenance on the whole and encompasses cutting of the grass, applying lawn treatments, lawn scarifying or mechanically “raking” the lawn so that even thatches are removed, dressing up the top of your lawn, lawn core aeration and the replacement and removal of the existing turf or grass.

2) Maintenance of Hedges and Flower Beds – This does not simply revolve around planting flower beds and hedges and making sure they are free from bugs and pests. This includes weeding and weed prevention, trimming of hedges, pruning and of course, plating.

3) Work on Different Areas of Your Garden – This clearly shows that a garden maintenance provider is not solely to service the plants and flowers in your garden. Instead, they are also responsible for pressure washing paths, patios and driveways where there may be plants and hedges planted, removing rubbish and dried leaves that are scattered about, ensuring that the sprinkler and irrigation system are functioning well and maintaining fences and shed.

These are some of the services that a lawn maintenance provider must be able to render. Finally, you must make certain that you will be charged a reasonable amount for all those services.

Water Fountains For a Beautiful Home and Garden

Water fountains have been in existence for many centuries. As a matter of fact, they have been already popular in the ancient times. The Roman influence on them is strong even today. As the ancient Roman population was more than a million people, the engineers constructed 11 aqueducts to give a stream of fresh water to everyone in the city.

Once the decline of the Roman empire was underway, many of these aqueducts got cut, however the Middle Ages has seen a restoration of many aqueducts and the creation of various public fountains. Ever since then garden types have been very popular all over the world.

These days water fountains have various uses, ranging from drinking fresh water to being beautiful pieces of engineering art. You can find many different designs that can greatly enhance any garden they are placed in. You can find jet fountains in front of various governmental and commercial buildings, and in many parks. They can be either single or multi tiered whereby the design perfectly blends in with the ambient.

There are also floating fountains that are very popular in ponds and pools. A wall type with a dim light installed on it is flowing nicely like a satin curtain. The one with the lion head is one of the most common types that come to mind. The choices are endless and whether you want it indoors or outdoors, you can find the perfect one for your needs.

The Feng Shui fountain is popular indoors when you like meditate or you want to enhance the health and wealth of anyone being in the room. If you are into Feng Shui, this is a must. However avoid keeping it in the bedroom as the water element and sleeping quarters don’t mix well.