Make Your Home and Garden Your Own

There are lots of articles and even “how to” videos around regarding home and garden design tips. A recurring theme is to tie the patio décor with the colors and textures of the inside of the house. Of course, you will not put a second expensive living room couch outdoors… perhaps get a rattan piece in a similar color and design for the patio. Theme lanterns that project a pattern can reflect interior décor. You get the idea.

But, what do you do with a yard that is not necessarily flat or does not fit the traditional shape and size dimensions that are in the magazines???

Give it some character. Of course, tie it to the home interior with colors, woods, and materials as much as is practical. However, creating a terrace -or a series of them- can take a nightmare yard and turn it into something exclusively yours.

Elevating and leveling areas with various materials such as wood decking, concrete, or paver stones will give your patio area a character all its own. A series of steps up to a seating area with comfortable patio furniture surrounding a fire pit is one idea. Embedding lighting on the path and steps will keep everyone safe.

A structurally sound terrace can hold an outdoor spa and a privacy wall with weather protection can hold a big screen TV and outdoor stereo system. If your spa area is already above the level of the patio or entry you can add a level in between to dry off and ease the trek back to the patio.

Your outdoor cooking area can be on its own level with your barbeque, preparation tables, and built in refrigerator grouped together for cooking ease.

Garden fountains are another way to give your outdoor environs some character. There is something calming and serene about flowing water. These are available in lots of sizes and configurations and can be installed easily. Fountains have been common garden pieces for centuries and will add a level or 2 to basic patio or garden décor.

Garden statues and sculptures are another way to set your outdoor environment apart from the others. These can be historical replicas, religious, or any style that fits with your overall plan. Outdoor lighting can add dramatic effect to both fountains and outdoor sculptures and keep folks from walking into them in the dark.

Not all of us stay in our homes forever like many of our parents did. With current economic factors a move for a job change or educational opportunity is always a possibility. Or over time the home outgrows you as the kids grow up and move away. Keeping your patio and garden area design consistent with the overall home aura will help increase its value. Too eclectic a design can take it the other way. If your prospective buyer does not share your taste, the cost of your former pride and joy removal will be included in their offer. So, make it your own-but stay with the style and feel of the rest of your property.

So, make your space your own. Have it mirror your taste and attitudes. Use ideas like terraces and lawn pieces to make your yard and patio an area that is cozy, comfortable, and the best place for family and friends to gather for summertime fun.

Fountains – Home and Garden Decor to Enhance Any Space

Fountains are no doubt one of the best additions to any garden. The sound of rushing water perfectly complements the green foliage, and the intricate stone designs make it a great focal point. But garden fountains are more than a lawn ornament–they also represent a source of sustenance for your plants. Whether you have a small patio or a sprawling backyard, a well-placed fountain can certainly liven up your outdoor space.

HISTORY OF FOUNTAINS

As with most ornamental pieces, fountains started out strictly functional. They were first used in the Middle East, where the weather was hot and the water provided relief from the heat. Most of them were simple, surrounded by trees and built in royal courtyards. The Romans also experimented with outdoor water features, building their gardens adjacent to public baths. They were mostly used for bathing rituals, which were a vital part of their culture.
Ornamental garden fountains first appeared in ancient Mesopotamia, but it was only in the late medieval period that they were used in domestic settings. Garden fountains were used in Spain before the 15th century and in Italy some years later. It took yet another century for home fountains to reach American shores, and by the early 20th century fountains were a common fixture not only in home gardens but also in offices, hotel lobbies and shopping malls.

FOUNTAIN DESIGNS

Fountains come in several styles, but only a few are suitable for the typical home garden. Some of the most common are wall, pond, and tabletop.
Wall fountains have a basin-like base and a relatively low spray. They are so called because they are attached to a water source coming from the wall. As such, they don’t take up a lot of space and are perfect for small home gardens.
If you have a larger space, you may want to consider a pond fountain. These can be literally as big as a pond, but there are smaller versions available for garden and even indoor use. Pond fountains are usually wired and programmed with lighting and spray patterns.
Some gardens are simply too small to accommodate water features. If this is your case, you can go for a smaller tabletop fountain. As their name suggests, tabletop fountains are placed on top of tables, usually as centerpieces. They are usually electrically powered and fairly simple to set up.

MATERIALS

Concrete and ceramic are considered the best materials for garden fountains. You can choose from all sorts of shapes, from simple rectangular blocks to intricate stone sculptures. Many are given a sandstone or soapstone finish, which gives them a more interesting texture. Marble is also very attractive, but it’s a lot more expensive and is not practical for medium to large fountains.
Wood, copper and porcelain make great tabletop fountains. Needless to say, they won’t hold up well in full size, but a well-made (and well-placed) miniature would have just the same effect. To add interest, try adding interesting lights or bonsai features.
If it’s just the look you’re after, try fiberglass. Fiberglass fountains have become more popular in recent years because of their weather resistance and flexibility in design. They can be made to look like wood, stone, marble and glass–while maintaining constant structural integrity. So if you’ve always wanted a wood fixture but don’t want the maintenance fuss, fiberglass fountains are the perfect solution.

BUYING TIPS

One of your top considerations should be water and power consumption. There have been questions on whether ornamental fountains should be restricted, as they are an unnecessary waste of water supply. Even those that are labeled environmentally friendly will still use up water and electricity. Choosing a simple watering system will not only minimize this, but also cut down on your operating costs. Besides, it’s often the sculpture and workmanship–not the water–that grabs people’s attention.

Also consider installation and maintenance costs. Installation shouldn’t be a problem with most store-bought fountains, but keeping them running is another story. Be sure to clean your fountain routinely, and pat attention to the pump intake area to keep it free of debris.
You can buy fountains ready for installation at most garden supply stores. In most cases, all you’ll need is an extension cord and enough space for the fountain and water source. But if you want something that truly suits your personality, consider having it custom-made. Look for a contractor that specializes in outdoor and water features, and have at least a rough design in mind during your consultation.

A Review of Better Homes and Gardens Picture Painter

Most of us have a hard time trying to visualize what our homes and gardens would like with just our imagination. At times, we look at the landscape of others, or the interior design of their homes. Then, we would try to picture it out by drawing it on a piece of paper.

But now, with computers to help us with all of our needs, a picture painter embedded in a software program will greatly help us in all our redecorating and designing projects.

With better homes and gardens picture painter software, you may repaint and remake all various types of surfaces in your virtual home. This is a faster and easier way to get an overall view of your home projects final look. It will save you time and money since you need not redo the projects again and again. In a way, it allows you to view your home plan before pouring in thousands of dollars just to have it changed later on.

Realistic Outcome

Picture painter is really vital when it comes to decision making. By using this, you can easily have a glimpse of what your house or garden will look like. The colors and materials used into the program are the ones that resemble those that are available in the market. You may mix and or click on a color that is already premixed in the program.

Using the program saves you time and money. Rather than going to stores and look for colors that will best match your design, or materials to add ornamental value to your garden, picture painter will do this for you with a simple click on your computer. This will give you a very good idea with what to use, whether the colors or materials compliment each other or not.

Importing pictures

The program is easy to use as it allows for basic enhancing and image editing. You may also change the landscape perspective of your garden with a simple click. Photo editor in this software allows you to change the contrast of your colors, or brighten them according to your satisfaction. An effective adjustment tool is also very helpful in seeing how a new color of paint would look on your wall.

Not happy with the new look? Then simply change to another perspective until you achieve desirable results. This can be done by simply moving the box to any corners and skew it to suit your preferred perspective box.

Other considerations

You have to understand, however, that this program does not give you an entire picture when it comes to major remodeling projects like cabinet systems, adding dividers or floors. This program uses a two dimensional view, therefore it does not show you a third angle of your project.

This application may also add minor furnishes like appliances, pieces of furniture, and other stuff. These will be shown solely in a front image view and on a flat presentation only

Picture painter software is available in the Internet, downloadable for a minimum cost. Visit websites now for a picture painter and start visualizing your dream house with this software today!

Update Your Garden With Modern Teak Garden Furniture

Modern gardens are now furnished with as much care and attention as we would lavish on furnishing a house. When you decide to furnish your garden then you might as well go for the best that is available because it will look better and last longer. If you want the best deals in up to the minute teak garden furniture then it is well worth looking at a dedicated home and garden furniture site. You can take a look around and see whether there is something that will suit your needs and your sense of style.

The more time that we spend in our gardens the more we want them to look good. Nowadays there is some exclusive and beautifully designed garden furniture around – you might even decide that the furniture you choose is too good for the garden and use it in the dining room instead. Some of the modern teak garden furniture that is around at the moment would look just as stylish inside the house as outside of it.

For the ecologically minded its good to know that some of the teak garden furniture you can buy is made from the best quality sustainable teak that will last for years. These beautiful teak garden sets need little maintenance and are designed to serve you well.

Perhaps you would like an oval, double extension solid teak set with carver chairs and two teak footstools, or maybe you would prefer an Hawaiian style set complete with a built in black granite lazy Susan so that people can help themselves.

If you want to relax in the garden then there is nothing quite like a solid teak recliner with removable cushions to while away an afternoon in the sun. Add a solidly structured teak bench where visitors can sit and enjoy what your garden has to offer. Most people spend a good deal of time and money on making their garden a pleasant place to be so it makes sense to add some seating where you can relax and enjoy the fruit of your labours.

Next time you decide to give the outside of your home a facelift then you might want to consider making your garden not only an attractive place to be, but a comfortable one also. It is well worth getting the best garden furniture you can afford as you will be able to enjoy it for many years to come.