Home and Garden Improvements! Top Tips to a Fabulous Home and Garden

Having the best furniture and the most elegant curtains, classic china and silver ware, most comfortable beds and luxurious bathrooms. This sounds like the perfect home, inside. What does the outside look like? The outside of your house is just as important as the inside. It isn’t just the first thing people see but it’s also a place that you make as homely as the inside is.

The simplest thing you can do is have a nice garden (which you have to maintain too) and a few plants here and there. That again is the simplest, most extravagant which we all would love is a pool and a BBQ area and swings and a fountain and a jacuzzi and a bar and a trampoline even! But that way extravagant and no need to mention expensive. So what are some simpler things we could all get done? Here’s the list.

To keep your lawn nice and green, you can aerate it, you know you need to do this if you have instant pools in the garden every time it rains. Aerating the grass will compress the soil so water can reach the roots. Also feed your grass, it doesn’t take care of itself. If you cut back on fertilizer late in the summer you’ll prevent perennials from wasting energy on leaf production. Applying high-phosphate mix to the lawn in autumn will encourage the roots to turf green early in spring.

Keeping the grass at it’s best is the best thing you can do to keep the outside looking nice and clean, after that the designing is up to you. You can hire a contractor to do simple things outside your home like some landscaping around the plants, or have a nice little patio mad at the back of the house, some roofing and you have a little picnic area. All you need is the BBQ grill and some furniture.

Also make sure furniture you buy is meant for the outside as weather may ruin indoor meant furniture. Keep all the furniture clean and waxed with cleaners again meant for outside furniture. If you’re getting one of those inflatable pools then have the area checked for safety. It would be horrible if you put the pool up then it comes down while you’re in it!

Driftwood As Home and Garden Decorations

Mother Nature’s Artwork

I admit it. I live in Hawaii and I am constantly scanning for new driftwood. I will be walking along the beach or driving near the shoreline, and come upon a must-have piece of stylized wood. My husband now knows that he better stop when I mention driftwood. No person could have created it, but the ocean waves and tides did. I feel like it is a gift just waiting to be discovered and appreciated.

My townhouse has a tiny front yard in which I plant colorful flowers, ferns, and aloe. When we first moved in, it didn’t look complete until one day while I was walking along the North Shore near where we live, I spotted some incredible pieces of driftwood. Lucky I had my husband and grandson with me. Maybe it was not so lucky for them, but we each brought home a couple of these priceless treasures.

Some of the pieces of driftwood I spot are much too large to drag home, so instead I fill my yearning by photographing them. I have noticed that several other photographers share their lucky captures with the cyberspace community in the form of wallpaper.

Other uses of driftwood include floral decorations, driftwood furniture, lamps, mirrors, picture frames, or just by placing a unique driftwood art piece on a shelf. Another favorite use is in aquariums, although I understand it takes some cleaning and curing to make sure it does not dirty the fish tank.

I admire artists who take driftwood and then use their insight to create their own masterpiece. Some who are talented in wood burning burn the image of a fish, starfish or tropical flower right into the wood. I have even seen an image of a lady burned into one that was beautiful.

I have tried to use some driftwood I found that still had some creatures inside. I have found that it is best to wash it off and then dry it for several days in the sun before using it in a floral decoration or putting it on your bookshelf. It may have termites so be sure you check it carefully.

Once in a while I felt a little guilty in taking nature’s gifts home, so I wondered if there were laws regarding the use of driftwood found on the beach. I could not find any rules that prohibit the use of driftwood. I suppose the driftwood belongs to who ever owns the beach you are on, so if you don’t know, it is better to look elsewhere.

I’m sure some people use driftwood only for making fires, and that is wonderful for those pieces that have not weathered long enough and been transformed into artwork by the waves. But for now, I will continue my hobby of scanning for driftwood.

How to Incorporate Sandstone Into Your Home and Garden

Sandstone is a type of sedimentary rock which is composed of small grains of rock, sand and other minerals. Sandstone can be cut, sculpted and polished to create a number of products which are sure to add a touch of class and style to any living space. This article takes a look at several of the most popular sandstone products currently available on the market.

Columns

Sandstone columns can be placed on either side of the porch to provide a grand entrance to your home. They can also be used inside of the home to help to break up a large open space. Not only do columns look good, but they can also serve a structural purpose, as they can be used to support ceilings and roofs. Columns can be tailor made to your exact specifications. They come in a variety of styles, from plain and simple, to ornamental and decorative.

Water Features

Sandstone water features will improve the aesthetics of your home. A three tiered water fountain can be placed in the center of a large circular driveway, or in a garden, to create a glamorous centerpiece. Fountains also look particularly good placed at the end of an enclosed or walled swimming pool. If you have limited space in your garden, you can try incorporating a wall-hanging water fountain. Sandstone bird baths look great, and they will also attract more wildlife into your garden.

Planters

Planters are pots that can be used to hold trees, flowers and bushes. A popular way to incorporate sandstone into your home is to place two identical planters, each containing a pruned bay tree, either side of your entrance porch. They can come in all shapes and sizes, and they can even be custom made to your specifications. Urns are similar to planters, but they can placed onto a freestanding column to create a barrier or focal point.

Letterboxes

A sandstone letterbox will add a beautiful look to your front garden, and it will keep your mail safe and dry. Letterboxes come in a variety of styles, shapes and sizes.

Benches

Sandstone benches will make a stunning addition to any garden. Sandstone benches are timeless, and they are built to withstand almost all weather conditions. Wooden benches can easily deteriorate over time, while sandstone benches will continue to look as good as new for many years to come. Sandstone benches can be customized with ornamental etchings and decorations if required.

Tables

Sandstone tables can be built to match the sandstone benches, or they can be used with garden chairs. They will provide a beautiful area to sit and eat with friends and family. They look particularly good placed in paved barbeque areas.

When you are purchasing sandstone products, always check the quality of the stone. High quality sandstone will not only look much better, but it will also last for much longer. Always check you are purchasing from a reputable and trusted company before placing an order.

Rehoming a Shelter Dog – Preparing Your Home and Garden Before You Bring Your New Dog Home

If you are serious about rehoming an unwanted dog, please read the following before you bring your new dog home. It will save you a lot of money and distress if you take some simple precautions. You have done the right thing by choosing a shelter dog but you have to remember the dog doesn’t know this. If its had a history of abuse or neglect or both you are going to have to prove yourself as a competent pack leader it can trust. This will take time and patience from you but it is well worth the effort.

Choose which rooms your dog will be allowed in and make sure all the family agree on this. It is OK to ban your dog from certain rooms if you are worried about dirty paw prints or any other mess. However, you will have to allow your dog in to at least one area of your home. This will help your dog settle quicker. If you leave it outside alone on its first night, it is more than likely to bark, howl and/or run away.

Make a bed for your dog from old towels or use an old one. Don’t worry about buying it a new, expensive bed at the moment. It may soil its bed or rip up the bedding from stress. Place some toys, treats and other things you think the dog will like near its bed. Normally a dog won’t soil in the area where it sleeps but stressed and unhealthy dogs may do so you might be better off letting it live in the laundry for a while.

Get a water bowl and food bowl ready. When your dog arrives home, give it some food but not a lot.

Be prepared, the dog may scratch at the door and damage it. It might try to get out or it may want to be closer to you. Fix thick cardboard to the door along the edge where it opens. This will have to be replaced and may make a mess at first but it will save the paintwork and you a lot of time and money.

A new dog may go to the toilet inside because it hasn’t been trained properly or because it wants to leave its mark. There is information at regarding toilet training which will be useful. In particular, cleaning up the mess and not making the dog more anxious which may cause it to repeat the behaviour.

Don’t leave the dog inside on its own for very long. You are only asking for trouble. I did this once and came home to find every curtain ripped and shredded. Remember your new dog may not have had much experience being inside a nice home. The best place is to leave it in a room where it can’t do a lot of damage like the laundry or bathroom, but don’t forget to remove all chewable and poisonous objects.

Check the fences then check them again. I know of a dog that jumped on the rubbish bins, the neighbour’s garage and then got itself stuck in a tree when it first arrived home. Don’t ever under-estimate how high or low a dog can get to run away. Remember, it is only running away from stress and loneliness. You have done the right thing by rehoming it but it will need some time to adjust.

If you are worried about the dog digging out, place dog proof wire along the bottom of the fence about 30cm out from the fence and about 30cm up the fence. If you are worried about the dog jumping over the fence, place a piece of string 1/3 of the way down the fence and 30cm out from the fence. This will break the dog’s line of sight and it will think it won’t be able to get over the fence. Remove anything from the fence, shed or garage that the dog can use to jump on and get over the fence. These things can be taken down later on.

Remove anything and everything from the yard where the dog will be staying. Again this is only temporary but you don’t want the dog developing the habit of destroying your property. This would include shoes, boots, mats, pot plants, garden furniture, hoses, garden tools, ornaments and any other feature that can be chewed or ripped up.

You can use strong pepper or citrus smells to keep dogs away from certain areas. This may include gardens or verandahs. Some shelter dogs are used to going to the toilet on concrete because they’ve had little choice to go anywhere else. A light sprinkling of red pepper powder will deter the dog from going near this area but remember to take your dog to the area where you want it to go so it has an alternative.

Make a safe area outside for your dog. Wild dogs are den dwellers so a kennel would be the perfect choice. If not, a dry area with a bed off the ground is just as good. You may want the dog to make the choice, it after all has to sleep in the area and it will choose a place that it feels safest in.

Ask your neighbours to report to you any barking or howling that might have gone on while you are not home. Record the time and see if there’s a pattern. Ask them for help and to keep an eye on your new dog until it has settled in. If any problems occur, get onto a dog trainer straight away. Don’t allow your new dog to become aggressive or destructive. Don’t allow them to get worse because they won’t get better on their own.