How to Maintain Metal Surfaces in Your Yard

Since the early times, people have praised metal for properties they couldn’t get from natural materials. But actually, metal is much closer to nature than many people think. The iron ore comes from the depths of the earth, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that metal feels in our gardens like at home. Still, as a man-made material, metal is more susceptible to elements than other materials used in landscaping. Its arch-nemesis is rust – so homeowners need to intervene from time to time to keep metal features like fences, furniture, posts, taps, gates, rails, and grates in a mint condition.

How to Maintain Metal Surfaces in Your Yard

Coating vs. painting

Rainfall and unsteady temperature always conspire to chip away the metal coating. Once the protective layer is damaged, rust is never far behind. One way to avoid it is to choose the most suitable metal for the intended use. Products with baked-on enamel or powder-coated surfaces will last long, without any special maintenance. On the other hand, varnished metal or surfaces protected with regular paint are prone to peeling, flaking, and chipping. Metals with superior coatings are expensive, but their longevity definitely justifies the initial cost.

Debris attracts moisture

With its intricate details, metal patio furniture is particularly exposed to a risk of decay. However, a few simple routines can make it last many years. The first defence against rust is cleanliness. At least twice a year, let’s say in spring and autumn, give your patio set a good scrub. Stir some liquid detergent in a bucket of warm water and use a sponge to remove dust and debris that attract moisture. Use an old toothbrush to reach hidden areas. When you are done, rinse away the detergent with a garden hose and leave the pieces to air-dry in the sun.

Physical protection

As mentioned above, it is the coating that safeguards metal from rusting. Careless handling can make two metal surfaces clink and cause chipping on one or both pieces. Whenever you need to move metal furniture, lift the pieces from the ground instead of dragging them. When the time comes to pack your outdoor furniture inside, make sure you protect the pieces with old towels or bed sheets to prevent them from scraping against each other.

How to Maintain Metal Surfaces in Your Yard

Quick and effective solution

Still, even if you take all precautions, no one can guarantee that rust won’t develop over time. Although seemingly a small problem at first, it can get more serious if left unattended. Once you spot a small patch of rust, clean the area as described above and stop the corrosion in its tracks by using a quality rust converter. These products interact with iron oxide, converting it into an adherent black layer that is moisture-resistant and provides an excellent surface for latex and enamel paints.

Highly damaged surfaces

In cases of more extensive damage and negligence, you may need to refinish the metal – a task that demands more time and effort. Before you can start refinishing, you need to get to the bare metal surface. Using a wire brush or a special wire wheel drill attachment, scrape away the old coating. Take care not to damage crevices and folds that may be a part of the design. After you have removed the coating, wipe down the dust with a damp cloth and let everything dry before you apply the primer and metal paint.

The majority of homeowners regularly tend to their lawns and shrubs, trimming and clipping to add appeal to their gardens, but only a few pay the same attention to metal elements in their yards. With rust, prevention is the best protection, but when the surface layer is already damaged, quality anti-corrosion products can save the day.

 

 

 

6 Tips on How to Make Your Garden Stand Out

Everyone enjoys having their own piece of heaven, a place where they can relax, think, create… For most, nature is the inspiring one and this is why we all strive to have a garden, regardless of the size of the plot given, it could be a balcony, a rooftop or a proper backyard. The goal is to create an eye-catcher for the people passing by and a favorite place for your friends to hang out.

Start with a clean-up

Just the same as you do with your house, make your garden look as if everything is there because you intended it to be. Begin by removing all furniture, old clutter, trimming the bushes and the trees and of course mowing the lawn if you have one and clean paving stones.  If you enjoy having what in the words of Jane Austin is described as ‘a prettyish kind of a little wilderness’ you can keep your garden, or parts of it looking untouched. Please be careful with these, you still want it to look safe and inviting without having to worry if you will step on something or if something will fall from a tree.

Choose the flowers

Choose the flowers

The main role in your garden is played by the color-pattern. You can have a theme and combine purple and yellow, orange and red, blue, white and purple etc. or have all colors intertwining. You can have this done by planting flowers. You can plant them in the pots or in the ground directly. It is a good idea to choose perennials as when the season comes, they surprise you with a blossom. If you are not too keen on growing flowers, you can simply buy plants in bloom in little containers every season and put them in your colorful pots. Now all you need to do is to remember to water them.

Furniture

The style of your furniture may vary. Give your old furniture a new glow by painting them or looking up some of the new makeover ideas. You can even use this trick and make your furniture fluorescent. Make sure the size of your furniture fits the size of your garden. Also, in the untamed, wild-looking parts of your garden, you may want to have furniture that reassembles old park benches.

Garden art

Use garden art

You can buy these items in a store, or even better you can use your old clutter and transform it into beautiful garden pieces. Used car tires can be beautiful flower pots, an old wagon wheel, a bicycle or a lantern can make it seem like there is a story behind your garden. Even practical things like colorful hose reels can add to the beauty of your sanctuary. By adding pebbles, you can make your flower beds a little more interesting and make it a little harder for weed to grow.

Light it up

As a final touch, you may want to add some lights for when the night falls. There’s nothing prettier than pretty Christmas lights. Use them on your gazebo, a rose bush or simply hang them from the branches of the trees around your garden and you will spark a fairy tale. Find suitable lanterns or torches. You can even make your own lanterns if you feel creative.

Don’t clutter up

There is no such thing as good clutter. Don’t make your garden look too busy as it won’t allow you to relax. Organize your flowers into clusters. Don’t get every piece of furniture you may want to have as it might not fit the space. Same goes for garden art. If you discover you enjoy making garden art, don’t keep it all give some away, it will make a unique present. If you lack space for all the plants you would like to have in your garden, you can use suspended flowerpots, that way you will make room on the floor, and gain a sense of greater space.

A beautiful garden can help you endure the lack of time you have in your every-day life. It doesn’t matter if you don’t get to take your child to a park if your own backyard can give a sense of an outdoor heaven.

How to Keep Pests Away From Your Garden

garden

Springtime marks the beginning of another gardening season. You are out and about planting, pruning and making sure that every inch of your garden looks just perfect. You are just admiring your flower garden, when a cat runs right through the flowers and rips them to shreds. And cats are not the only animals that can ruin your garden. Many types of animals come out during the spring, so here are some ways in which you can defend yourself.

Mole repellents

All the tips here are going to be humane, telling you simply how to keep the animals away, rather than kill or harm them. The best way to get rid of moles is to simply plant the right things in your garden. Plants like daffodils, marigolds and alliums have contents that are natural mole repellents, and will surely keep those pesky moles out if planted around the perimeter of your yard.

Keeping your plants safe

Plant-eating animals are mostly small and not really easy to catch, so you have to protect your plants in a different way. A popular remedy is chopping up and boiling some hot peppers, then pouring the water into a spray bottle and spraying it over your plants. This is safe for your plants and will keep any bugs off. Still, this is not a good solution when it comes to edible plants – imagine putting fresh mint in your lemonade and tasting a hot pepper! For an alternative, you can use turmeric. Grate it and infuse it with some water, then repeat the spraying tactic on all of your plants!  If spider mites are your problem, a mixture of flour, water and buttermilk sprayed on your trees once a week will keep the mites at bay!

Recycling food scraps

Organic scraps are not only good for compost, but also great for many other things. You can bury banana peels two inches in the ground next to the plants that are attacked by ants or aphids to make sure your plants will be safe. And if your problem is more of the slimier kind, use crushed eggshells to form a fence against any snails and slugs that want to enter the forbidden territory.

How to repel bigger animals

If you have a problem with raccoons, remember that they do not go well with dogs. If you don’t have a dog of your own, fake it by placing some dog hair around your yard and kiss the raccoon problem goodbye.  For cats or squirrels, flour mustard and cayenne pepper is your solution. Place the mixture around the perimeter of your yard, or mix it with water to make a spray.  Another option that requires much less effort is using high tech defence. Having an ultrasonic pest repellent, like the one from Bird Control Australia, will make your life a lot easier. You won’t notice it, but potential intruders of the animal kind definitely will! It can keep away insects or any animals, depending on how you set it up.

You are now ready to continue with your daily gardening activities without worrying about any pests, big or small, ruining all your hard work. Try and be as humane as possible with all of the animals, because there are always ways to simply drive them away without exterminating them – and placing various poisons around your garden can also be dangerous if you have kids or pets, not to mention make all of your produce less enjoyable. After all, a few birds chirping around your garden might just be that special touch that is missing for a real fairytale garden!

 

Blooming Gardens: 4 Of The Best Flowers To Plant This Spring

Blooming Gardens 4 Of The Best Flowers To Plant This Spring

When the spring season arrives, you begin to see the green leaves sprout on the trees and colorful flowers growing from the ground. Flowers need warmth and light to grow, which is why they tend to do a bit better in the spring with the longer days. There is often more water in the form of rain in the spring, which is another component that flowers need to grow. There are a few flowers that grow best during this time of the year compared to others, adding brightness to the lawn.

Pansy

This is a dainty flower with large petals. The center of the flower is usually yellow or light in color. Many of the pansies that you see are pink, purple or red. This flower grows best in the cool mornings of the spring season. The leaves are slightly curved along the edges, making it easier for them to capture raindrops and water that is given to them during the day. Plant the pansies in an area of the yard that sees a bit of shade as they don’t do well with the full sun beating down on them.

Iris

The iris is a flower that can grow to a tall size. They are best placed near a porch where they can climb up a trellis or a column of the porch. There are a few colors to choose from, but you usually see purple, light pink and white. The flowers blend easily together to create new colors. Most flowers will tend to get their full blooms toward the end of the spring season. The strong petals work well with an irrigation system, like those offered by Hydrotech Irrigation Co, in the yard. They need to be in an area that sees a good bit of the sun during the day.

Daffodil

Nothing will put you in a cheerful mood like a bright flower. The daffodil looks almost like a lion if you look at it from a distance. There are several sizes and shapes of the flower, such as those that have a trumpet design to those that look like a mane on a lion. Don’t water the flower too often, and keep it in the full sun.

Tulips

If there is a flower to use as a symbol of spring, it’s the tulip. You can plant the tulip along a sidewalk, around a tree or anywhere else in the yard to give a bright look to the house. There are numerous colors available, giving you a variety of ways to accent the home with the delicate flower.

Flowers in the spring often cheer up anyone after the dreary winter months. It’s best to plant the flowers at the end of winter so that the flowers have time to grow in the warm weather that arrives in the spring. Take care to add just the right amount of water to the soil as the flowers grow.

Hardscaping or Landscaping: What is Best for You & Your Yard?

Hardscaping or Landscaping What is Best for You and Your Yard

There are several factors to consider when you’re trying to enhance the curb appeal of your home or you’re trying to get the most beneficial use of your exterior space. When you begin exploring outdoor living and curb appeal, the terms hardscaping and landscaping will pop up. There isn’t necessarily a right or wrong choice between these two outdoor design ideas, but there may be one that is more conducive to your lifestyle.

Outdoor Design and Entertaining

If you frequently entertain, hardscaping may be the best choice for you. Patios and outdoor kitchens are often considered as hardscaping features. Walkways that lead to your front door, the pool or other special areas are typical hardscaping design features. An outdoor fireplace is often the favorite gathering place for guests.

Gardening as a Hobby

If you enjoy planting flowers, trees, and shrubs, you would probably prefer landscaping over hardscaping. If gardening is a hobby that you find relaxing, pleasantly challenging and an outlet for your creative side, then designing a landscape that allows you to change the appearance of your landscape design each year would probably please you more than a more permanent exterior design that is created using stone, wood or concrete.

Consider the Maintenance

If you like spending your weekend working in the yard or don’t mind the frustration that comes with keeping lawn equipment in good working condition, a lush green lawn might be just the thing for you. If you have the physical ability and don’t mind planting, pruning, weeding and watering plants, then a living landscape design would probably please you. On the other hand, if you like a gorgeous landscape but aren’t crazy about spending all of your leisure time working to keep it beautiful, you can turn to professionals such as Bremerton Landscaping to do the maintenance for you.

Why Choose?

You don’t have to choose between hardscaping and landscaping. You can include elements of both in your exterior design. Hardscaping requires little maintenance and can increase the value of your home. You can add walkways, retaining walls, water features and other non-living elements to your yard to increase its beauty and functionality. Plants and flowers can be mingled in with the hardscape elements in your exterior design. Vines can be grown on a wooden trellis and stone containers or concrete planters can be placed on the patio and filled with flowers that bloom profusely throughout the summer or ornamental grasses that adds texture and movement to your outdoor living space. You could even get help from a professional, such as one from Nature’s Design Landscaping, who is experienced in both types that you can have both hardscaping and landscaping come together in a complimentary way.

When you figure in maintenance cost, labor expenses, replacement cost, such as replacing shrubs or trees that die, and how well a feature fits your lifestyle there’s a good chance that you’ll find that a including a few features from each option is the best way to go. If you enjoy the solitude of a private garden space, you might still appreciate having an attractive stone walkway leading to that garden area. If you decide an expansive patio entertaining area is a feature you want, you can add a few potted plants to the patio to add a bit of nature to your entertaining space.

Tips on Improving Your Backyard

One of the most important parts of the home is the backyard. The backyard is a place for your family to come together, have fun, and commune. It shouldn’t be a part of your home that you avoid because it has nothing to offer. If your backyard is nothing more than an empty patch of grass, you’re not using it to its full potential, and that is why Tru-Link Fence put together a slideshow that lists 10 backyard ideas that can bring life back to your property. You can view the slideshow below. 

10 Ways To Improve Your Backyard created by Tru-Link Fence

Author bio: Dean White is Owner and Operator of Tru-Link Fence, one of the largest fence companies in northern Illinois. He has more than 30 years of experience in the fence industry. 

 

Concrete Backyard Design and Decor Ideas

Concrete Backyard Design and Decor Ideas

Living in a house with a backyard opens various interesting options making your home even more inviting and comfortable. Concrete patios and backyard designs provide you with a great place to relax after a long day, entertaining playground for your kids, as well as a perfect spot for some intimate parties and barbecues. Designing and decorating your backyard can truly transform the look of your home so if you find yourself interested in this kind of project, keep on reading.

1. Benefits of concrete

If you’re stuck with ideas when it comes to redesigning your backyard/patio, one of the most recommended options is to use the concrete. There are, of course, several reasons as to why concrete is considered to be one of the best options for this project. In general, concrete is highly durable, yet very easily maintained. What’s more, you can adapt your concrete outdoor design to any style you prefer, and shape it according to your own taste and ideas.

2. Touch of personality

You may think that concrete looks plain and boring, but thanks to various decorative concrete options you can still get a pretty unique look of your backyard. In general, stamping and staining are two widely used decorative approaches. For example, if you want to have freshly poured concrete, stamping technique allows you to transform the appearance of your backyard with any texture you want. It can even mimic other natural materials, such as stone and wood. On the other hand, if you already have concrete in your backyard, you can always make it more interesting with a staining technique that comes with warm earthy tones. In the end, using decorative concrete is cost-effective since it will create a high-end, luxurious appearance of your outdoor area without going over your budget.

3. Play with shapes

The best thing about using concrete in your backyard is the freedom to choose the shape and form of your patio. Of course, you can cover your entire backyard with concrete, but you can also use various molds and play with their position in order to create something truly special. You can focus on patio area only, or spice up the garden space as well. If you’d like to use some really nice and unusual molds for concrete pouring, you can easily make one yourself. In general, using styrofoam blue board to shape the molds the way you see fit is definitely one of the most fun, personal and rewarding ways to refresh and redesign your backyard.

4. Add nature to the mixture

One of the mentioned benefits of concrete backyard is its low maintenance. This doesn’t only mean that concrete is just easy to clean, but also you won’t have to deal with dirt and grass in your yard. Still, removing all the traces of nature from your backyard won’t do you any good either. In order to experience true bliss every time you step outside, you can leave enough room for your garden that will be surrounded with interesting paving blocks. Alternatively, you can leave grass openings in your concrete layout for pops of decorative flowers, bushes, and plants. If you don’t mind tending the grass from time to time, you can create a nice balance in your backyard with concrete patio, lovely garden path and grassy area that will occupy the rest of your yard.

5. The heart of your backyard

In order to make your backyard/patio livelier and unique, don’t forget the fire feature. Together with some matching outdoor furniture, this barbecue area will undoubtedly add the final touch to your efforts. There are also many cool ideas online when it comes to building your own backyard, so feel free to check those out.

There are things that you could do yourself when tackling the redesign of your backyard, but sometimes you will need a professional help to accomplish the wanted backyard style. Make sure to be realistic and practical in this project so that your backyard will end up with a clear-cut, modern and creative concrete design.

Guest Post By:

Chloe TaylorChloe is an art historian, recreational ballet dancer and a contributor at smoothdecorator.com. She is passionate about photography, dance and music. Her biggest dream is to travel the whole world with her husband and take stunning photographs of beautiful places. She also enjoys learning and writing about home design, since she is crazy about aesthetics. You can find Chloe on FB, Twitter, and G+.

Beautify Your Winter Wonderland With These 5 Plants

Beautify Your Winter Wonderland With These 5 Plants

Winter is a beautiful and enchanting time of year. With pure white snowfalls and the smell of chimney smoke in the air, it is a time for wonder and awe. While there are many upsides to winter, there are also quite a few drawbacks. One in particular is the frigid temperatures. If your green-thumb is forced to hibernate all winter long, consider some cold hardy plants to spruce up your winter landscape. It will be able to lift the spirits of everyone who walks by right in time for the holidays. Take a look at these five excellent examples of plants that have no problem with a little chill.

Winterberry Holly

Starting off with the most obvious of selections, the Winterberry Holly Bush has become a staple of Christmas. It has beautiful glossy green leaves adorned with the trademark red berries it is known for. This plant should be planted in the spring in order for the roots to take hold and survive the winter. Over the warmer months white flowers will add a decorative touch and will turn to berries when the air grows colder. Once planted this bush will last all year round making sure you never have to worry about a bare yard again.

holly

Winter Glow Pigsqueak

You may want something a bit more subtle than red berries in your yard. If this is the case, consider the Winter Glow Pigsqueak. This shrub has gorgeous bright green leaves that look amazing in contrast with the snow. The only time it may change color is during the fall where it could take on a bronze tone. Aside from the color, this plant is also perfect for the winter because it requires very little upkeep. It grows best in the shade so just make sure you have some trees in your yard as well.

Jacaranda

Some people can never get enough flowers. After the first frost hits, it is often time to say goodbye to the soft petals and sweet fragrances. There is, however, a few types of flowers that may be able to bring some color to your home. Jacaranda trees are able to overlook the winter frost and bloom as if it were springtime. The blueish-purple flowers form in clusters making it truly eye catching. Moon Valley Nursery offers a few different varieties of this tree to make sure you can find the perfect fit for your home.

Winter Jasmine

While the plant itself will last all year round, the flowers will open up in late January. Winter Jasmine gives the bleak winter scenery a pop of bright yellow. It is a climbing plant which make it excellent for decorating a fence or trellis. Being an immensely resilient plant, it will survive through heat and frost, as well as dry or wet soil. Though it will not take much work on your part to keep this plant happy, it will always make it a point to keep a smile on your face.

jasmin

Lemon Tree

Adding a few more trees to your yard is never a bad idea. They provide shade and picturesque scenery that can always be appreciated. Purchasing a lemon tree has these same advantages and more. If you live in a warmer climate you can have lemons any time you want. Even in cooler weather you will be able to look at your perfect landscape and wait for spring for your fruit. Either way, this is a tree that will always have a way to give back.

Winter does not always mean you have to put away your gardening gloves. Though cold hardy plants usually do not require all that much maintenance, plants always grow better with proper attention. For advice about seasonal plants as well as a wide selection of their own, enlist the help of a professional in your area.

An Introduction to Home Garden Landscaping

So, you’ve realized that your garden can be turned into a thing of beauty and you’ve got time and money to invest? Congratulations and welcome to the club of amateur garden landscapers. We don’t meet once a month to discuss new ideas, nor do we ever stop making changes to our design. There is always room for improvement, as they say, but before you can improve you have to start with something. What do you need to take into consideration?

An Introduction to Home Garden Landscaping

Space

Obviously. Don’t be discouraged by how small or intimidated by how big your garden is. There are many solutions and options to choose from. Finding a suitable one, to begin with, depends on many factors, especially finances.

Elements

Do you want to use your own tomato for that gazpacho in late August? Would you like to be able to entertain friends by a grill or would you rather allow kids some space to roam freely? Your wishes and plans can be saved on a piece of paper, though many are turning to free software for help.

gardening

Know your space

You need to know which part of the garden gets the most sunshine, where excess water flows as well as which way the wind usually blows. These are all important factors for your final design. Perhaps they will make you realize that your first sketch is not really the best idea.

Start small

Choose a small segment of the garden to work on first. It will be easier for you to focus on, cheaper, and you’ll get an idea about what it takes to cultivate a space. If you can’t come up with an original design, fear not. There are so many wonderful and creative garden landscaping ideas you can use to inspire you. A small improvement might give you great satisfaction.

Basic design principles

You’ll have to learn about colors, sizes, shapes and materials and how they interact. This is quite important if you want to achieve the right effect. It is also good to know when each tree or shrub blossoms, and if they do, what color the petals are.

home garden

Terminology

This may not seem crucial, but in order to make the most of all the help available, particularly on the Internet, you need to be able to understand what people are talking about. Here is a glossary to help you get started.

Experiment if you wish

Not every plant needs to be in a bed. Think flowerpots, for example. If you’re not obsessed with symmetry, you can let your imagination run wild and create a masterpiece. Luckily, you may change any part of your work if you realize that’s not what you had in mind.

First things first

Which part of the garden you need to work on first? Is it the lawn, so that kids can play? The backyard, because it’s small and all you can afford at this moment? Whatever the answer, you need to be aware that converting your garden is usually a long process. Don’t be fooled by those TV shows where dozens of knowledgeable, young and strong people storm out of trucks and pick-ups and transform a lucky homeowner’s garden in a day or two. In your case, it will take time. Much more time. And patience.

If you approach garden landscape design as a never-ending process, you won’t be wrong and you’ll be able to appreciate every phase. Ideally, you should equally enjoy the process and the outcome, and learn from the mistakes you’re bound to make. Hopefully, your loved ones will get on board with your idea(s), which would make it even more special and precious. The time spent planning and implementing the plan will most likely be very exciting, but you shouldn’t let it turn into too much stress. The whole point of having a nicely designed garden is to relax and enjoy it, and we hope that’s exactly what you’re going to do.

 

 

 

Lawn Care: How to Nurture Your Yard This Summer

The hot summer months can cause severe damage to your lawn. The grass can become dry, which can lead to it turning brown and brittle. A few simple steps can help keep your lawn healthy.

Lawn Care How to Nurture Your Yard This Summer

Fertilize
In order to have a healthy lawn, you need to give it the proper nutrients. Before the summer season, take the time to fertilize the lawn, watering it after the fertilizer has been spread. This will provide the necessary nutrients that it will need to grow in the spring and summer and will often make the lawn greener.

Landscaping
If you don’t have the time to care for the lawn, then consider hiring a landscaping company, such as Nature Safe. Most companies will work with your schedule and can come on a regular basis depending on how often the lawn needs manicured. A landscaping company can do everything from mowing to adding mulch around the flowers in order to keep the moisture near the roots so that the flowers and other plants will grow.

Water
When you’re hot, you probably drink cold water. The same concept goes for your lawn. When it’s hot outside, the moisture is quickly taken from the ground. It’s best to water the lawn in the morning or in the evening. This will prevent the sun from draining the water that you just put on the lawn in a short amount of time.

Mowing
Your lawn will need to be mowed in the summer to remove the dead blades of grass on the top layer. Adjust the height of the mower so that it’s not cutting close to the ground as this can end up burning the grass. About half an inch to an inch from the top of the grass is ideal depending on how fast your lawn grows.

Bugs
There are many bugs that like making your lawn their home. Treat the lawn for grubs, beetles and June bugs that tend to lay their eggs in the middle of the summer. An exterminator can come to spray the lawn with products that are safe for both the grass and the family, especially if you spend a lot of time outdoors.

Caring for your lawn in the summer is easy if you follow a few tips. You don’t have to look at brown blades of grass throughout the season as long as the lawn stays watered and manicured. Landscaping companies can help keep your lawn in the healthiest condition possible if you don’t have the time to provide proper care.

 

Copyright © 2017 | Bruzzese Home Improvements | All Right Reserved | Web Design & Development by QualityMust