Monday, March 19, 2018

Spring - Revive Your Outdoor Home

Spring is the best time for renewing our outdoor space. Whether that is with new seating, tables, décor, waterscapes, flowers, gardens or even a new dog house!

If you have furniture, uncover it, rinse it off and check the condition. Need new seating? Even a small patio can be inviting with a bistro table and chairs. A large deck or landscape area may be perfect for a sectional fit for entertaining. Don't forget your four legged companion needs a comfy safe place outside as well.

Cooler nights and warmer days are the perfect time to make the plans for a really enjoyable outdoor summer. Once the key furniture pieces are in place think about the accents, décor and color. I personally love waterscapes, whether a fountain or a small pond. Check out the Pinterest site - Pet and Outdoor Life - for many how-to's and DIY home water projects.
Enhance your project with décor and accessories

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Winter holidays are a great time to display your personal style outdoors. Do you have a large porch, yard, or outdoor space - or is your space simply a foot or two by your front door. Honestly it doesn't matter - you can add basic items and create a magnificent holiday entrance.

Pine trees, cedar, holly bushes or any shrubbery can become a festive site. Begin with some LED, battery operated, or Solar string lights - you can go all out on your porch, shrubs and trees. Only a front door to work with, surround the door frame with lights. Warm white lights create a very welcoming sight, as well as enhancing a festive mood. Netted lights are easy and beautiful over shrubs. Wrap string lights around the base stems of trees, picket fences or porch posts. No yard, no problem -potted greenery looks festive with branches wrapped in string lights. A wreath on the door adds a warm welcome - make your own, purchase one, add lights, artificial or real greenery, bow, ribbon, - make it yours.

Low budget doesn't mean you need to skip the glitz and glam. Gather your empty pots, barrels, buckets and lets think about our options. Live in the country - take a hike and gather sticks, pine boughs, holly branches, really anything you find. Do you have a few large holiday ornaments, maybe silver, red, green, gold - or your favorite color, and some festive ribbon laying around.

Now you are ready to assemble - choose your bucket(s), pail(s), plant container(s) - arrange what you found in the woods. Oops - don't live in the country, option is to go to where Christmas trees are sold - Lowe's, Home Depot, free standing tree lot - often they will let you take stray branches! What a bargain. 3rd option - purchase artificial branches and greenery from a hobby or craft store.
You want to arrange them in your container then accent with a few ornaments, bows, fake or real holly - whatever you like. If you have little ones at home you could even make the arrangement playful with small wrapped packages, Santa's, reindeer and such. Want a natural look - simply leave out the ornaments and bows. Want snow - you can purchase some spray on flocking!

These basic steps can turn your entrance or your backyard entertaining area into a wonderful homecoming for any family and guests.  Enjoy the holidays - we would love to see your creations.

Post them on twitter or Facebook

Friday, November 3, 2017

Green Your Oasis

Plants, flowers and lighting can work together to build an outdoor environment. Go as simple or elaborate as your style and budget allow. Yes, you can make it work without a green thumb. The key uncontrollable is the climate where you live. Every area of the U.S. is listed on a garden 'zone' map. The map is based on growing seasons, rainfall, and hi-lo temperatures. Once you determine which zone you live in, you can research the best plants for your zone.

Think about your space - do you have a spot or more for in ground planting, perhaps potted plants suit your oasis best. A great and manageable plot for gardening is a raised bed - hint, you can buy ready made forms in wood or resin materials.

Lets go back to your gardening/growing zone - which plants grow best, are you looking for annuals for a dash of color for a season, or perennials - permanent plants that either flower, bear fruit, or berries year after year. Annuals are a great option to change your décor with the seasons and an easy option for patios and decks. Perennials usually prefer solid ground and do better when not disturbed. In ground also offers the option to plant something much larger which can be surrounded by smaller plants or potted varieties.  The choices are extensive - again, you will need to do a little research. In many zones you can cover up your garden plot, raised bed, and even potted plants during colder times.  Greenhouses are also a handy addition to store delicate seedlings in spring or house your plants in the worst months of the year.

Terra cotta pots offer an endless array of options for garden planting, flowers, color, stacking, arranging - go for it. Let your ideas flow. Beautiful paints and sealers can be used to excite the outside of your pots - match your pillow colors, your favorite colors, or a touch of artistic creation in
a design.

Ok, I'm listening, you really don't want to get your hands in the dirt, worry about watering, wind and weather. You can still green up your space with artificial trees, plants and flowers. Yes, you can change out the flowers and plants to coincide with the seasons. Winter holidays with poinsettia's, pine and holly. Spring with tulips, Fall with mums - and so many options for Summer, you choose. Be sure and change out when the natural colors begin fading from sun exposure, but artificial options will last quite a while. Reminder - the better quality, the more natural appearance. Have fun!

Lighting for your space will allow you to enjoy night time outside. There are many options for solar lights, LED lights, solar lit décor and fountains, hanging strings and lanterns. To determine what is the best option for your space - 1) what is the size of the area to be lit 2) a deck, a yard, a pathway... 3) hanging strings, fixed in ground lights, fence/deck post lights 4) do you prefer electric or solar 5) how much light would you like. Once you have narrowed down your choices, do your research on what is available, ease of installation, and power source.  You have almost completed your outdoor oasis. Put your choices together and have fun making it a reality.

Although winter is upon us - this is a great time to decorate your existing landscape for the holidays and start planning for spring greening!

Backyard Birding

Winter is a great time to attract birds to your patio, deck or yard. Winged friends have to look harder for food when grass and seeds are not plentiful. It doesn't take much to attract regional birds - it is as simple as a dish with seed or a large feeder with a variety of attributes.

What are your options with a 'dish':
 - use a planter base
 - kitchen bowl, cat or dog dish, what ever bowl you have handy
 - pie plate works great
 - piece of board, add dowels around the edge to keep seeds from spilling, attach dowels with glue or small nails, add some eye hooks, attach cord or small chain and hang.

Where to place the dish:
 - make a macrame net and hang from a tree or chain from your porch
 - use 3-5 pieces of heavy twine or rope, lay the strands out in a star pattern, set the dish in the center, then tie the strands together above the dish. Attach an 'O' or 'D' ring and hang from a tree or pole.
 - place the dish on a tree stump, or small patio table

Use a similar dish, plate or bowl to make a small bird bath (freezing temps could create cracks in the dish). A larger dish with a solar heating element would be great.

Most of our geographic regions have seed loving 'friends' such as squirrels. If you don't want to share your bird seeds with the four legged wildlife you will need to add a 'cage' around the feeder dish. What you can use is a plastic or wire chicken coop type material and mold a cage around your dish. Most birds will fit through the netting while rodents and squirrels are kept away. You could purchase a pole with hooks to hang your feed and water dishes, as well as suet cakes. These poles are available at most outdoor supply or birding locations. Not familiar with suet cakes - they are bird seeds molded with fats to create a cube, birds love this in the wintertime.

Do you have something else in mind? Maybe a ' non-do-it-yourself' feeder, we have you covered. There are so many choices available. Look at your available space to hang a feeder, is there room for a larger capacity feeder or a simpler smaller one. There are feeders for one type of seed or up to three types. We've included some pictures so you can get ideas.

There are so many options. Making a feeder and watching the birds is a great time for the entire family. Pinterest is a great place for more ideas on home made feeders, making your own suet cakes and many other options.
Wild bird seed is available at many grocery stores, pet supply stores, home improvement stores and outdoor suppliers such as Tractor Supply, and of course on-line.

We would love to see what you choose for your outdoor space, share it with us.