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An Introduction To Eco Friendly Gardening

Being environmentally aware is something that can take a lot of time and energy. This is in part because you need to adopt such practices in every part of your life if they are to make a difference. It’s no use being eco-friendly in the workplace, and not in the home. One area where it is particularly easy - and rewarding - to focus on being green is in the garden. There are great joys to keeping a garden, whether you are doing so just for the fun of it, or to grow a supply of fruit and veg for personal use. It can be even more enjoyable if you are approaching your garden in a green manner, which is what we are going to look at here. This blog post will provide you with an introduction to eco-friendly gardening: something which you should find is both straightforward and enormously pleasurable.



Your Plant Choice

One of the first things you will need to think about is what plants you are going to grow. That will depend on a lot of factors. You will, for instance, be keen to grow plants which are either useful in some way, or which you happen to find pretty. Then there are the plants which you just have a good feeling about, and you don’t know why. If you want to be eco-friendly in the garden, your choices of plant will be significantly restricted. That being said, you should still be able to grow plenty, but you will have to be careful about what plants you do go for. So what does it mean to choose eco-friendly plants?

Arguably, the most important thing is that you don’t buy seeds or plants which have travelled too far to get to you. It might be enjoyable to have an exotic plant in your garden, but it is hardly the greenest approach to developing a garden. Instead, focus on attaining plants which are native to your local area. As well as being better for the planet (as it has not had to travel a long way), this will also mean that you have a garden of plants which are bound to do enormously well where you are. They will have the perfect climate, suitable soil, and will undergo less stress. As a result, you’ll have healthier, happier plants - and a healthier planet. You have other benefits to enjoy here. When you fill out your garden with native plants, you will be encouraging the local wildlife much more profusely. Before you know it, you will have a space full of buzzing insects. Not only is this an excellent support for the local ecosystem, it’s also hugely rewarding, and can make your garden feel that little bit more special to spend time in.

The Bees & The Birds

While we’re on the subject of creepy-crawlies, this is another excellent approach you can take towards creating a garden in a green way. You should aim to introduce and encourage as much life as you can in your garden. All good gardeners know that it is desirable to have plenty of insects visiting your garden, and hopefully setting up their home there. For one, you will find your garden has more pollinators, which enables the future fertilization of the plants, and leads to the production of seeds. Producing your own seeds is enormously satisfying, and it’s another hugely influential way to help protect the planet, as it is much less wasteful than having to buy seeds regularly.

As we have seen already, having plenty of native plants will ensure that your garden receives an influx of pollinators. These come in many shapes and sizes, but the most important for eco purposes are the bees. These fuzzy little creatures are central to a healthy ecosystem, and they need encouraging in this time of natural upheaval. The more bees you can bring into your garden, the more you are doing for the planet.

For the gardener who is keen to be kind to nature, there is another critical reason to encourage insects in the garden. You want to protect your plants from the kinds of insect that will eat them - especially any vegetable crops you might have - and it goes without saying that you should aim to avoid using any killing agent to get rid of them. Introducing a wide variety of insects into the garden ensures that those nuisance ones get eaten - in the natural way - and so leave your plants alone. Certain insects are particularly useful: ladybirds, for instance, eat aphids - which would otherwise destroy most of your plants over a summer period. So introducing insects is also a great, natural way to keep your garden pest-free - and remember, all you are doing here is encouraging a natural food chain process.

Birds are a useful friend to have, too. They will eat slugs, snails, caterpillars, and many other pests besides. Having bird feeders and water tables, along with the introduction of native plants, will ensure that your garden soon has some birds coming to visit.

The Most Precious Resource

Whatever the size of your garden, there is one substance you will find yourself using plenty as you tend to it: water. All of your plants will need water, albeit to varying degrees, and if you are hoping to be truly eco-friendly, you will probably be keen to find a way to conserve as much water as you can. So how can you expect to marry this noble green goal with the desire to keep healthy plants? A lot of this will depend on where you live in the world, and specifically what your local climate is like. Even the type of soil you have will determine how much water specific plants are going to need. Obviously, if you live somewhere where it rains a lot, then you are not going to have to worry too much - and chances are, those native plants you have introduced into your garden tend to do well in lots of rain. But if you are in a dry or just a moderate area, you will have to think very early on about water: how to store it, how to use it sparingly, and how to make sure your plants have enough of it.

Regardless of where you are, the most important thing you can do is to find some way to catch rainwater. Not only will this be especially eco-friendly, but it will also be particularly good water for your plants, especially the native ones. There are thousands of ways to catch rainwater, but the simplest is to go out and buy a water butt or some small water tanks and set them up in your garden. It makes sense if you place them under guttering, or create a system whereby the rainwater will travel from the roof to the butt. You can also make a surprising difference by ensuring you always leave your watering can out overnight. Over time, it will collect rain, and even though it will only be a small amount, it is bound to make a difference. Even just saving a small amount of water is worth your while.

Pay attention to what the individual needs of your plants are: some will require more water than others, so you can make sure that you are not over-watering something which is relatively drought-resistant. Finally, bear in mind that, for most plants, a thorough watering twice a week is better than a light sprinkling every day. The root complexes of most plants will develop more strongly this way. But more to the point, if you water your garden to this kind of schedule, you can keep an eye on exactly how much water you are using.

Water is genuinely precious for this planet, so conserve is however you can. As you can see, it is entirely possible to do so and still have a healthy, thriving garden.

The Miracle Of Compost

Some people are faintly disgusted by the idea of compost - or, in some cases, not so faintly. But any good gardener knows its value, and once you get a compost going, it is actually something of a joy. The benefits of having compost in the garden are clear. You don’t have to buy it, you are keeping it local (and therefore more eco-friendly), and you are making use of waste in a natural, efficient way.


What gets in the way of most attempts at compost working is a lack of understanding about what should and should not go in the compost bin. Place in there any food scraps you create while preparing a meal, such as fruit and veg and so on, but avoid cooked foods or any meats. Also aim to include plenty of ‘browns’ - cardboard, egg boxes - and any trimmings from the garden too, especially leaf mulch. Over a period of about nine months, micro-organisms in the bin will break it all down to sweet-smelling compost. This is one of the best green things you can do in your garden, and it’s a joy to behold.

Gardening with a green attitude can really make a difference: to yourself, to your garden, but mostly to the planet. It’s easy, straightforward, and you can start at any time - so what’s your excuse?








Home Improvement Hacks To Incorporate Right Now

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Modern homeowners are spoilt for choice these days when it comes to improving their properties and making their homes better. There are a lot of issues you need to keep in mind when you assess how to approach your home. You have a lot of things you need to keep in mind, and there are plenty of hacks that you can use to make the home better.

There are a lot of reasons people might have for home improvement work, and often this can be for the purpose of adding value to the home and making it more of an investment. There are loads of different ideas you have to keep in mind that are going to help you to improve your home and change the way it comes across to people. These hacks will allow you to make the most of the property, as well as adding value in the process.

Modernise

The biggest Twat of making a difference when renovating your home is to make sure you modernise it. There are a lot of things that can make a difference to the property, but updating it will no doubt have the biggest impact. This means you need to make sure you change the decor, as well as looking at places like Tap Warehouse to get all the latest fixtures and fittings. There are a lot of ways of doing this, and choosing a hardwood interior is going to be one of the best.

Make the Garden Shine

There are not many parts of your property that can have a greater impact on the future than your garden. This is really important to get right because it can have such a massive effect on the way the home is perceived, and the visual aesthetic as well. Come up with ideas that are going to allow you to improve and enhance the garden as best you can. Make it as neat, tidy, and presentable as possible, and do what you can to boost your outside space.

Budget Properly

Budgeting for your home improvements is so important because the costs can mount up if you are not careful. The best approach to take is to sit down and work out the costs of making changes as best you can. There are so many different things that you will need to pay for, but, if you can budget effectively for the future, you will be well-placed when trying to fund changes and improvements in your home.

Go Green

There are a lot of things that you need to know about when it comes to improving your property. Going green is one of the best approaches to take if you want to improve the home and make it better. This is an excellent way of making the home more efficient, as well as helping the environment and making your property more appealing at the same time.

There are a lot of things you need to make sure you sort out as much as you can. If you are sensible about it, you can really make the most of these changes. This is going to help you improve the home and increase the value of the property as a result. You need to make sure you are sensible about the changes you make, as well as looking at what can have the best long-term effects.


What Is Your Home In Need Of This Year?

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At this time of the year, it’s always good to think about the next twelve months and about what the year might bring. It’s easy to think about this superficially and then just hope for the best but really, if you want to get anything with the year you have in front of you, then you have to be strategic about where you’re going. Most of the time, people will think that this applies to their health or their career. Because these are two of the biggest areas of life that others tend to want to focus on. However, intentions and goals can be applied to any area of your life - even your home. So if you’re someone that has always wanted to work on their home, now could be the perfect time to do it.

To make this happen, you need to have an idea of what it is that you want to achieve. And you have to be specific. Simply saying that you’d like to have a nice home or you want to decorate isn’t always enough. most of the time, you need to be able to identify exactly what it is that you want to work on for it to actually happen, and this is why you need to be intentional and strategic. So, to get your list underway, let us take a look at some of the things that your home could be in need of this year.



A Kitchen Refresh

To start with, it might be that you need to do a bit of a kitchen refresh. If you haven’t updated your home in a while, and your kitchen is quite old, this is always a good area to work on. It’s one of the most in-demand and popular parts of a home for people, especially when buyers are looking at your home. So, get to work by picking out and putting in place a new kitchen design that you love.


A New Bathroom Suite

As a step on from that, it could be the case that you also want to think about putting a new bathroom suite in. Just like the kitchen, a new bathroom can really help you to update the look of your home. If you haven’t added in a new suite for some time now, then this is what you’re going to want to work on next.

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A Refreshed Exterior

If you’re thinking on a much bigger scale, maybe you’d like to give the whole house a refresh by focusing on the outside. Because your home’s exterior tends to set the tone for the entire place. If you know that the outside of your property has seen better days, a simple tidy up could make a huge difference. Not only that, you might find that painting the outside or refreshing the render can make it look like a brand new house.


New Windows & Doors

To go alongside that, it might be that you would like to get some new windows and doors in place too. Do you think that you need a window replacement for your home to be better insulated? Or maybe you just want to go with a new look with the windows and doors? Then this could be the time that you plan that out, get cost estimates, and let the work get underway.


Landscaping

From here, you then also might want to consider the kind of landscaping that you have in place and whether or not you want to make any changes. Do you have your yard landscaped at all? Are there set areas? Might you like an outdoor dining space? Really think about what might make your outside area look and feel even better, and then go from there.


Layout Changes

Heading back inside again, there may be a few issues around the house that you want to work on. It could be that you have always wanted rooms to be in different positions. Or that you would love to make room for a little en suite. When this is the case, it could be the year that you choose to alter the floor plan. For this, you’re going to want to find skilled contractors that can help you.


Storage

This one can often seem quite boring, but it’s something that can be really important for you if you want your home to be at its best. If you always seem to have things lying around, then it’s definitely essential for you to work in smart storage ideas to be able to tackle that. This can be something that you hire professionals for, or that you look to do yourself.


An Extension

Something on a much bigger scale that you could be considering, is an extension. And this is something that can often feel like a really big job to take on. Because it is. But if it’s something that you’ve been considering for a while, then it may be something that you should start working on this year. If you know that you need more space, or that you want to add on more facilities, this can often save you from having to move house.


A Conversion

At the same time, you might even want to convert an unused space. Maybe the biggest transformation for you this year is going to be turning your garage into a living space or making your basement into somewhere that can be used for another purpose.



Updated Decor

However, it really could be quite simple in the sense that you just need to go through the entire home and refresh the decor that you have. If you know that you haven’t updated your home in years, then this could be something that’s bothering you. It is going to affect not only how the home looks, but how you feel in it too. So really start to plan out the decorative changes you want to make throughout the house. Updating the decor can make a big difference to the value of your home too.


~E xx

How Wood Can Lift Any Room

Wood. It’s one of the most versatile and beautiful materials that you can use in your home for all kinds of purposes. People use wood for high-quality cladding, furniture, and flooring. The great thing about wood is that it’s so versatile and yet still has the ability to create drama, especially when paired with modern materials. Wood can be either refined or rustic depending on your style (I have a particular liking for more rustic wood), and has a place is practically any room, from the dining room to the living room to the kitchen.

Here are some ways that you can use wood to lift practically any room;

Use Dark Wooden Furniture To Create Elegance

The rich, deep tones of dark-stained woods can create a sense of luxury and elegance. Consider buying a statement chair made from a dark hardwood, like maple, and pairing it with luxe fabric cushions, for a beautiful ensemble. Dark wooden statement furniture works particularly well placed in the corners of rooms, creating a moody ambience.

Use Quality Exposed Skirting

If you want to create an impression the moment that people walk into a room, then focus in the skirting. Skirting travels around the entire perimeter of the room, helping to frame everything within. What’s more, skirting is made from wood, so it’s an ideal opportunity to show off the wooden elements in your home. Products like George Hill timber can help to improve the look of a room and help you develop a wood-focused theme. Instead of just painting the skirting white, look for ways to bring out the natural wood colours: stains and varnishes are a great idea, especially if you opt for a hardwood.


Seek Out Minimalist Wood Designs

Not all wooden furniture is traditional, big and bulky. Some designers have taken pains to mould wood into more modernist and minimalist shapes. Many apartments in upmarket city districts use elegant, small-footprint wooden furniture made from organic oak, like dining tables, which doesn’t have the usual bulk of most run-of-the-mill furniture options.


Wooden Cabinetry

If you’re looking to make over your study or office, consider wooden cabinetry along the wall. Wooden cabinetry is something that is found in almost all high-end homes in areas designed for work. It adds a sense of style and sophistication to a home office, making it feel like a place to work. Wine-coloured woods are particularly suitable in this regard. Cabinets along a wall make it clear that this is a room for work. They’re also useful for storing books, stationery and files.


Bespoke Journey Pieces

The great thing about wood is that it is a material that’s relatively easy to work with. Designers can, therefore, create stunning bespoke pieces to complement any room and make it unique. Some country estates, for instance, have created headboards above the bed made from wood that is custom-carved and works its way all the way up to the ceiling. Others have invested in bespoke, artisan pieces of furniture that are unique to that particular property.

So how will you use wood - one of the most versatile materials - to boost your interiors?


~E xx

How to Achieve a Light & Minimalist Home Aesthetic

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A lot of people want their homes to feel lighter and more open, but it’s not always easy to work out how to make that happen. With more and more people turning to minimalism, it’s worth thinking about how you can get this right and achieve that coveted minimalist aesthetic. It is all about letting in the light and not letting your material possessions get in the way of things. If you’re ready to make some changes to your home and push things in a positive direction, you’re in the right place. I’ll walk you through all of the changes, big and small, that you can implement in your home to make it lighter, more attractive and more minimalist than it is right now. Read on below to find out more;


Declutter First

The very first thing you should do is take the time to properly and completely declutter your home. This will allow you to get rid of any of the things in your home space that you really don’t need and don’t want anymore. You can’t really achieve a minimalist aesthetic in your home if it’s full of clutter. So do what you can to get rid of the things that you don’t feel add anything to the space. It’s a big task and getting rid of things you’ve had for a long time can be tough, but it’ll be worth it.


Rethink the Window Dressings

One thing that will have a big impact on how light your home feels is what you have on your windows. If you have a lot of window dressings that are bulky, thick and generally over the top, you will find that they block light from entering the room through the window, even when the curtains are not closed. You should consider a switch to blinds or thinner window dressings in order to help as much light as possible flow into the home via the windows.


Choose a Simple and Unified Colour Scheme

Having a colour scheme that’s simple and unified makes a huge difference. Of course, if you’re trying to make the space feel lighter, you’ll need to choose light colours for the colour scheme. A lot of people looking for that minimalist feel simply choose white as the main colour and then choose one or two other colours for the highlights and accents in the room. These provide that pop of color that are even more effective due to the otherwise white surroundings.


Install Sliding Doors

Sliding doors are great for homes that need that extra light. So if you want to break down the barriers between your indoor and outdoor spaces, this is the solution you’ve been looking for. There are plenty of types of sliding doors out there that you can browse and explore. They all share common features though; they offer a lot of glass through which light can pass into the home and they’re great for connecting your home to the garden. Install them or rent a place that has some as soon as you get the chance to.

Be Critical of Your Furniture Choices

If you have a lot of furniture items in your home already, you might want to think about streamlining and only retaining the ones that really add something to your home and that you love. Being critical of your furniture choices and getting rid of items that don’t fit into the new aesthetic you’re trying to achieve is essential. When you’re looking to take a minimalist approach, you can’t really afford to keep hold of everything because it is simply not realistic to.


Emphasize Clean Lines and Surfaces

One of the things that’s important to both clean lines and plenty of reflected light is clean lines. They emphasize your space and make rooms feel more open. You should do what you can to make sure you’re able to keep surfaces tidy and organized. You don’t want every surface in your home to be filled with items and possessions that are not really adding anything to the space at all. Place a big focus on clean lines and clean surfaces if you possibly can.

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Don’t Fear Empty Spaces

Anyone who really wants to embrace a minimalist approach to their home has to come to the realization that there is nothing to fear in empty spaces. If you’re going to get this right, you need to make the most of emptiness and not give in to the temptation to fill it. Sometimes, you just need to let those empty spaces exist and enjoy what they bring to the home. Not everything has to be used as a space to display your possessions.


Use Simple Objects to Devastating Effect

When you do use possessions and objects in your home, you should use them to a devastating effect! A large part of this is about using them sparingly so that the things you do choose to display have more of an impact and are more noticeable. Think about the color, meaning and size of objects and how they relate to the space in which you’re placing them. All of these things matter when you’re looking to perfect a minimalist home design.


Discard Any Duplicates You Might Have

One final thing you can do is get rid of anything that you feel does the same thing as another item you possess. Discarding duplicates is not necessarily just about getting rid of items that are exactly the same as each other. It’s also about getting rid of things that fulfill the same role. If you have one item acting as a focal point in a room, do you really need another one that’s kind of doing the same thing?

When you put these ideas into practice, you will create a minimalist, stylish and light home that you enjoy spending time in. It doesn’t take too much effort to get this right, and you don’t even have to get it all done in one go. Instead, you can implement these ideas over time and work towards the outcome you’re looking for.





~E xx

How To Prepare For A Big Renovation

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With the new year truly underway, some of us may be busy making plans for the future. Some of those plans could involve a change to our living environment whether that is a move to a new home or a big renovation to our home to customise it to our taste and needs. When it comes to home renovation projects, they’re certainly pretty exciting and can definitely be a lot of fun, but they can also be quite stressful - especially if you’re going to be making massive changes to your house, or even if you still have to live in the house whilst the renovations are going on.

The good news is, it really doesn’t have to be that way if you take some time to plan ahead a little and implement some simple things that can really make the whole thing a good bit easier to manage so that you’ll be focused on the great results you’ll get once the renovation is complete and not be worrying about any stress that’s being caused during the actual renovation. In this post, we’re going to share with you some tips on how to prepare for a big renovation project so that you can be better prepared and not be so stressed out by things:


Declutter:

If you’re going to be carrying out a big renovation, then the last thing you’re going to want is loads of clutter getting in your way that you have to work around. Not only is this annoying and stressful, but it’s actually more difficult to work in messy conditions, plus there’s always the risk of things getting broken or damaged during the renovation process. So, a good thing to do here is to make sure you declutter your house as much as possible before the renovations begin so that you’ll be starting with a new energy once the renovation is complete;

Put things in storage:

If you have bigger items such as furniture that you’re not intending to get rid of, then you should consider looking into places that offer local self storage so that you can keep your things safe until you’re able to use them again.

Shop around:

Renovations are going to require the work of different professionals, so before you get carried away and go with the first person you meet, then you really need to spend some time on shopping around and speaking to different companies to see what they offer and if they’re able to fully understand the vision you have for your renovation.

Get everyone on the same page before you start:

There’s not much worse than having a vision in mind for what your home should look like after the renovation only to have your partner totally veto the idea and neither of you can agree on what you want the place to look like. So, before you start planning the renovation, you need to make sure that everyone is on the same page and that a compromise can be reached.

Have a deadline and budget:

Renovations are expensive and can last forever if you let them, so it’s important to make sure you have a deadline and budget set for your renovation project that you actually stick to otherwise it can quickly get away from you, and before you know it, you’re completely out of your depth.

How would you prepare for a big renovation project in your house?

~E xx