Ways To Increase Curb Appeal

The Lawn

Customers and neighbors will notice quite a few things at once when they firs gaze upon a place, and one of those things is the lawn. A well-manicured lawn tells people who a home is taken care of and a business is professional. Hiring a landscaping professional to complete this job on a weekly basis is a popular option. For owners that would prefer to save money, simply mowing the grass and weed eating around the edges of the property will do the trick.

The Exterior

When the outside of the building has chipped, peeling paint or broken siding, it can easily deter potential customers and give neighbors a negative impression. Instead, exterior painting can make homes look nice instead of unkempt, and can make businesses seem professional and give potential clients the impression that products are high quality. Depending on how large the building is, exterior painting can be quite the task to take on. Professional exterior painting companies can typically get the job done quicker at an affordable cost.

Flowers and Fountains

Flowers and fountains are not a necessity, but they do increase curb appeal. Hiring a landscaping company can save people from having to do the back-breaking work themselves, and the result will be gorgeous. Plant flowers around the perimeter of buildings, and a nice fountain or arrangements of flowers in circular areas for a traditional look. Different colored flowers in the shape of a circle, a rustic barrel tipped over to give the illusion of flowers spilling out and different types of grass, such as striped grass, are all popular options that will help make a residential or commercial building more aesthetically appealing than ever before.

Fix Concrete

Cracked and uneven concrete not only makes a home more of an eyesore and a business less appealing, it also poses a hazard to neighbors and customers. Children may trip over small cracks, and uneven areas may not be seen clearly in winter weather, causing people to slip and fall. This will not only irritate people and turn away business, it can result in a lawsuit that will wind up costing owners more money than it would take to simply repair the concrete. Many companies that specialize in exterior work, such as painting, are also able to complete minor concrete repairs.

Curb appeal can make or break a business. It can help customers find a business they are looking for when customer service representative describes it as “the white building with the pink and yellow flowers out front”, put clients at ease (making them more likely to spend money) and can simply make a business more well-known for being beautiful (instead of being well-known for the mail man who fell and broke his leg on the uneven sidewalk.)

Residential units can benefit just as much from owning a home that appears beautiful on the outside and inside. When neighbors see a home that is beautiful on the outside, or a home owner that is trying to make it beautiful, they are more likely to stop by and welcome them to the neighborhood. Pretty things put people at ease and are inviting, while things that are not aesthetically appealing tend to have the opposite effect.

Benefits of Hydroponics

You can call the unique method as a relaxing and rewarding hobby. There are no weeds to worry about compared to the traditional backyard planting. The absence of wild plants means that you do not have to buy anti-weed chemicals or engage in strenuous manual labor. Besides, gardeners need not worry about cultivating or using tons of compost for nourishment.

According to numerous agriculturists and nutrition experts, produce from hydroponics is full of flavor and wholesome nowadays. Thanks to modern techniques and improved nutrients. Commercial veggies may look good in supermarket shelves but hydroponic greens are softer and taste better. In fact, research shows that “hydroponically” grown veggies can contain almost 50 percent more vitamins than ordinary crops. These include Vitamins A, C, E and B complexes.

Another advantage is that hydroponic plants are more consistent. If you choose conventional gardening, there are many factors to contend with. Some of these are weather conditions, pests and soil quality. With hydroponics, plant growers have more control over the crops. You can look forward to more yield with a shorter growing rotation. All that should be done is to become familiar with the process. It is possible to anticipate three times as much yield from hydroponics as against soil growing.

Perhaps, this approach resolves the problem of water scarcity and contributes to conservation. Hydroponics makes use of one half up to one-third amount of water compared to the long-established procedure in planting. The water can be recycled along with less utilization of fertilizers. You can call hydroponics environmental-friendly gardening. All mildews, microorganisms and soil contamination are eliminated.

In hydroponics, stimulants are infused in the water and dispersed directly to the roots for most favorable results. The plants stay fresh since these can receive nutrients until the final growing phase. Many people say the technique is too costly and unreasonable. The truth is upfront investment cost for hydroponics is more affordable than normal farming procedures. This can be the ideal option for conventional farming particularly in very dry regions, mountainous areas and remote locations. You can easily cultivate crops even if there is snow since you do not have to use garden soil.

Benefits of Planting a Garden

Tomatoes are packed and full of beneficial nutrients and antioxidants and are a rich source of vitamins A and C and folic acid. The tomatoes are associated with the benefits of the cure for cancer combating the formation of free radicals, diabetes and heart diseases. Also, they have folic acids that help with depression. Whether you refer to a tomato as a fruit or a vegetable, a tomato is a nutrient food that most people should be eating.

Water spinach is another one that has essential nutrients like vitamins A and C as well as a high concentration of beta-carotene. Due to its healing and detoxifying properties, it helps in providing relief in case of skin itching or insect bites. Just add salt to water spinach and grind it into powder. Dab it on the sore spot and wrap it for immediate relief. Another property of this plant or should I say vegetable is that it acts as a sedative for people who have insomnia or sleeping difficulties. Water spinach also is effective in treating ulcers, menstrual pains, toothache, launched urination, nosebleed etc.

Aloe vera, there so many benefits in aloe vera that this plant is a must have in our garden. It’s excellent in skin conditions like burns, eczema, and is also a quick pain reliever. It has numerous nutrients, one of which is vitamin B12. Aloe Vera can also be used as a body cleanser (blend the crystal inside with the pineapple). I don’t want to forget to mention that it’s great for digestion. Vital to the growth process and healthy function of our body. The benefits are so many that I encourage you to keep it close. Even in a pot in your kitchen you can grow a beautiful Aloe Vera plant.

Watermelon seeds are good sources of magnesium with 100 grams of seeds providing 139 percent of the recommended daily requirement. Magnesium is vital for normal heart functioning, contain lycopene which is good for your face and also helps in improving male fertility. It is also effective in recovering health after illness and sharpening your memory. It can even be used as a tea for treating diabetes, boiling a handful of watermelon seeds in 1-liter water for 45 minutes while keeping the pot covered.

Ginger, this is another terrific plant full of benefits for our good health, usually called the traveler medicine because it helps with most indigestion problems, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea. It will also help with menstrual cramps, bloating and much more. Keep this one in your garden.

Sage, one of the must have good for digestion, ulcers, sore throat, improving memory and one more thing; that I know keep most women at the edge. It is known to have properties to reduces menopausal sweats. Sage is also good for menstrual irregularity. So let say goodbye to those menstrual cramps and night sweats with a sage tea.

Maintenance Tips To Keep Aquaponics Working

Feed your fish every day: Fish make an essential part of an aquaponics system. It is important to ensure they are fully nourished at all times. Ensure you feed them at least once every day, although two meals are highly recommended; one in the morning and the other before sun set. It is always great to be physically present when feeding your fish because you can carry out health checks and look for unusual behaviors. However, you may consider getting an automatic feeder to help you when you are not available.

Check the condition of your aquaponics system

  • Temperature: Check whether the temperature of the fish tank is within the ideal temperature range for your fish. Adjust when necessary to ensure your aquaponics system offers the ideal environment for the species that you are rearing.
  • Insects: Check for insects every week to ensure any insect problem is corrected before getting out of control. It is also good to remember that most insects tend to reside in stem sections and underneath plant leaves. With this tip in mind, it’ll be easier for you to look for insects in your system.
  • pH level: It determines the health of your fish, reproduction rate of bacteria in the system and the ability of your plants to absorb nutrients. Therefore, the pH level of any aquaponics plays a very significant role in determining whether your aquaponics will work. Check the pH level weekly. The ideal pH for most systems is usually 6.8-7.0 and some systems can steadily maintain it. However, the pH level for most system tend to decrease naturally. Always increase the pH level when it falls below 6.5 by adding hydrated potash or lime.
  • Ammonia and nitrate levels: Check the ammonia levels weekly so as to notice any problem that may turn disastrous. For instance, a sudden rise in ammonia level is indicator that the system may be having a dead fish. The levels should not exceed 0.5 ppm. On the other hand, the nitrates levels should be checked monthly and they shouldn’t exceed 150 ppm. Levels beyond this are an indicator that the plants in the system are fewer to take in the nitrogen released by nitrifying bacteria. You can solve this by adding more plants or harvesting some fish.

It is the dream of every beginner to be well-oriented about aquaponics and get the best yields. Consequently, it is essential to bear the above maintenance tips in mind before starting your aquaponics journey. In addition, be sure to feed your fish regularly and monitor the condition of the system from time to time to ensure all your efforts are rewarded accordingly. With the proper aquaponics maintenance, you will be assured of harvesting your vegetables, fish and fruits anytime of the year.

Ways to Conserve Water in Garden

  • Using Magic Soil, also called Potting Soil is one of the best ways to plants your bulbs this summer season. Magic Soil or the so called Potting Soil has a unique quality of absorbing maximum amount of water when it is being watered. It then stores this water and releases it only when the plant needs it. This way, it helps in the healthy growth of the plants and makes sure that they are not deprived of water in the summer season
  • Using decorative terracotta pots will be a huge mistake you would be making this season. Since terracotta is porous in nature, the pots tend to lose water keeping the plant deprived of it.
  • Use of ceramic pots instead will be a great option for growing flower bulbs in the summer season. Ceramic is not porous in nature and is also opaque in nature. Therefore, it will not allow the plant to lose unnecessary water and also it being opaque will not allow sunlight to pass through it keeping the plant cool in this hot season.
  • The direct scorching heat of the sun can be fatal for the plants. Therefore placing them in shade is a good option. Along with that, grouping them together is also one of the ways to protect them from direct sunlight. The leaves of each plant will shade the others, helping them remain cool this summer.
  • Use of large plastic containers is also not such a bad idea for conserving water. Plastic also is not porous in nature. Therefore, it will prevent loss of water helping the plants conserve water and grow healthy.

Basic Care of Bonsai Ginseng

  • Watering – A ficus ginseng bonsai must be watered when the soil becomes dry. Occasionally, it can tolerate under or over watering, but if you can, avoid this as it can lead to problems. The water must be at room temperature. You can also spray the tree daily to maintain the proper humidity, but don’t exaggerate with this. Also, if you keep you bonsai in a warm place, it should be watered more often. On the other hand, if you place it in a cooler place, then you can water it once a day or every other day, depending on how much moisture it retains.
  • Repotting – This is a significant process in the care of bonsai ginseng. The miniature tree must be repotted each spring so the tree has time to recover before the growing period begins. When doing so, you must use a special bonsai soil mixture that can be found in the specialty shops or online. Root-pruning is also a good option for a ficus ginseng.
  • Positioning – You must keep in mind that this particular species is an indoor bonsai. As a result, it cannot endure frost or cold temperatures. In the summer, you can keep it outside, but only if temperatures go beyond 15°C. Keep it under plenty of light both outdoors and indoors. The ficus ginseng bonsai doesn’t like shady positions. Also, try to maintain the temperature constant.
  • Pruning – If you want to take proper care of a bonsai ginseng and maintain its shape, then you will have to prune it regularly. Once 6 to 8 leaves have developed, you can prune up to 2 leaves and over time this procedure will reduce the leaf size and encourage the foliage to thicken evenly on the bonsai. You can also thicken the trunk, but only after 1 or 2 years. At the time, the bonsai will be solid and healthy enough to endure the strong cuts and develop new shoots.
  • Fertilizing – During the summer, you must fertilize the ficus ginseng bonsai every two weeks or on a weekly basis. In the winter, fertilize it every 2 – 4 weeks. Best to use organic fertilizer pellets or liquid fertilizer.

It Only Takes One Seed

Many offer excuses for not planting a single seed whether it is a flower, herb, or veggie because they don’t have the room, time, or the ambition to farm for their livelihood. False fronts always deny the teller of inspiration that can alter lives and bring individuals closer together by understanding why we are here and what our mission in life is. If you don’t have an acre of land, then a flowerpot or even empty coffee can will do. Flowers may not be our forte but a fresh herb added to your famous pot roast recipe will bring you untold pleasure not only from words but from being privvy to others finding pure enjoyment in what you have accomplished in your kitchen. No time – in less time then answering a single email, or stepping away from a commercial on tv, you could begin the process of bringing life to a piece of heaven right in your kitchen or den. As to no ambition to be a farmer – maybe that is not your dream in life but you have to attest to the fact that every time you pick up a fork, or place a flower in your lapel – somewhere a farmer has added to your life’s beauty and taste sensations. Food, flowers, herbs, even a cactus plant gives you moments of inspiration or meditation. You cannot keep that smile hidden behind your frown on the day when you see that first shoot breaking its way through the soil right there on your kitchen window sill. Try as you might, yelling at it just doesn’t come to mind as you marvel at what nature has so conveniently placed in your hands to nurture and develop.

Gardening on a single scale or a whole delightful garden is up to the individual, but no matter the size, the choice of plant, or even the reason that you received a free packet of seeds from your corner deli as a spring promotion – you were meant to be given the gift of being part of the life of this earth’s very core – life – and the beauty of being part of this part of creation on this planet that we call home. Living alone, or with a whole family of sizes and ages, everyone can enjoy a single seed planted where it can bring “spice” to your life, a “rosy” outlook to your day or even a “lettuce” get together moment. It will be what you make of it but you have to plant that seed.

Gardening and growing things is so basic in our human genes that we can try and cover it up with mountains of concerns, but when you see that flower or taste that fresh salad at your favorite restaurant, or even sprinkle oregano on your pizza delight – you have reached into your gene of realizing that everything in life is not manufactured, additives included, or colored from a laboratory tube; it is true, unadulterated pleasure to be part of this basic life component. You don’t have to start by ordering a ton of wheat seeds, but maybe a bedding plant with “monkey faces” better known as pansies from your local Wal-mart. The really weird outcome of starting on this venture is that it multiplies and some day you might just find yourself embracing that seed catalog that is placed in your mailbox. You can hug the mailperson who put it there while you go skipping back to your house to go through your recipes to see what spices you can grow fresh, or what new veggie you can add to your menu with all its “good for you” components.

Plan Your Backyard Renovation

Once you have a visualised version of your backyard in your mind, the next step is to write it down or draw it. It doesn’t have to be to scale (it is better if it is, though) but the drawing does need to have realistic boundary lines so that you can insert the details. Start with drawing the outside lines of the yard, that is, the walls of your fence and wall of your house, assuming that the yard has three fenced walls plus the one wall of the house facing the backyard. Essentially you should have a boxed outline. Then draw in the fixed components, such as any outside buildings, garage, swimming pool, etc. Now you’ll be able to see the parts that are not occupied by any components. These are the parts that you can use for the design of your backyard.

Next, you need to establish how much of this blank space you want to pave, plant grass, or add a garden. Where should the pathway go and which sections should be paved? Once you’ve allocated where the grass will be planted, it leaves you with space that could be paved. Depending on your budget, you need to decide whether you want to pave with standard paving bricks or use beautifully designed flagstones. Paving bricks are more practical and fit into any budget as they are more affordable. Paving bricks are also ideal if any cars may be parking in your backyard. Flagstones are beautiful natural looking paving stones that usually come in medium to large square sizes. They are not suitable for cars to drive on them. You can place strips of grass between the flagstones to create an interesting design. Plus you can add cobblestones as a pathway through the grass and outlining the flagstones for added decoration. You can also allocate a portion of your backyard for a garden with flowers and plants to add some colour. Around this garden you can use cladding to keep it separate and create a focal point.

Once you have the backyard renovation planned, then you can get the gardener, paver and/or landscaper to get started on the backyard renovation.


Helleborus are long-lived and very tough perennials that bloom with big, beautiful flowers in the winter. Also called “Lenten Roses”, they are known for being the first plant to do much of anything in the very early spring or, in some areas, the middle of winter. Yes, often even before spring flowering bulbs. Hellebores are quick to send up thick stalks and bloom when the days start to get longer and the sun barely warms the soil. Blooms will last a long time too – often a couple of months. Cultivars offer blooms from white to almost black, and every color and many pretty patterns in between. Their foliage stays evergreen. They do well in shade and don’t get big. People who have added hellebores to their gardens quickly fall in love with them and are often the beginnings of garden plant collections!

Most garden zones of 5 to 8 and are able to enjoy the full range of available hellebore cultivars. The best types for temperate gardens are the hybrid types, which come in most of the colors and forms that you see. More northern climates are limited to the species ‘helleborus niger’ which are generally white-blooming, but they are still lovely. Hellebores pair lovely in the shade garden with other typical shade plants, like astilbe and hosta.

Helleborus originate from Asia and Europe and have been in cultivation for a long time. Lots of myths and stories originate from these plants, centering on their toxicity. It used to be associated with witchcraft and was sometimes used during ancient Greek times as a cure for insanity. The plant itself is not palatable, but when planted in the garden great care should be taken to make sure kids and pets don’t eat it.

Hellebores aren’t necessarily new. Gardeners who enjoy branching out from the normal selections often have groups of hellebores in their gardens- but they’re not very common in most landscapes. Thankfully, we are carrying the best performing and beautiful hellebore cultivars now priced affordably so they can be planted in a wider range of gardens.

Effects of Winter on Outdoor Furniture

When considering the purchase of your furniture collections, it is in your best interest to weigh the pros and cons of each type of material used in the manufacturing process. Some may work better in wind and rain while others may be meant for sunshine and heat.

All commercial grade furniture is designed for constant use and, to some degree, built to withstand the elements. However, as with other purchases, some materials are more resilient than others. Metal, for example, is arguably the longest-lasting and most durable material used for outdoor furniture. With this being said, it is important to note that proper care and maintenance of your furniture will prolong its lifespan, no matter the material.

On a year round basis, all furniture pieces should be cleaned thoroughly each changing of the season. While there are special cleaning solutions available (i.e. Casual Clean), in most cases a mild detergent and water mixture can effectively be used. For a more detailed cleaning process, contact your commercial grade outdoor furniture representative. He/She should be able to send you step by step instructions.

If your establishment is in an area that experiences harsh winters, packing away your outdoor furnishings is a better option. Before this is done, some additional inspecting should be performed to prevent rusting and unnecessary cracking while in storage. For example, ensuring that water does not find a permanent home in the frames of your chaise lounges and poolside dining furniture. Unless they will be stored in a heated room, water left in the frames will freeze causing irreversible damage.

Rain water during the warmer months can gather inside your furniture. Once this water freezes, it will expand causing the frames to crack. Periodically, especially after major down pours, turning your furniture on its side will help the water drain.

When choosing from all the weather resistant material options keep in mind the climate, both warm and cold. Some furniture is manufactured to be set outside and left alone while others will not survive the winter. Make sure your commercial grade furnishings representative is aware of the climate in your area. This will help to make sure you are being paired up with the right commercial grade outdoor furniture.