Don’t Have a Green Thumb? Try Growing Succulents

Understand the Different Options for Treating the Water in Your Home

If you have well water, you probably want to treat it in some way before you drink it. Treatment could be as simple as filtering out the sand and particulate matter, or you may want to run your water through a water softener if it has a high mineral content. Even if you use city water, you may still want to use a water softener or filter so you know the water is safe for your household. To do this, you can buy a water softener, water conditioner, or filter. Here are the differences between these options. Water Filters Make Drinking Water Safe There are many types of water filters, from an inexpensive carbon filter you put at the end of your faucet to a more costly reverse-osmosis system that’s installed under your sink. The purpose of a filter is to get rid of harmful substances in the water and improve its taste and odor. Filters remove heavy metals, chemicals, and microbes. They are generally attached to a kitchen faucet so the water you use to drink and cook with is safe to consume. However, if you have a well, you may want a whole-house filter to remove silt before it enters your home and damages the plumbing. Water filters may remove some minerals, but they do not make water soft. You need a different appliance for that. Water Softeners Protect from Mineral Buildup If your water has a high mineral content, it is considered to be hard water. Hard water is damaging to your home. It causes scale to build up on appliances that use water. Scale can... read more

Ideas For Using Upcycled Art In Your Yard

A bare yard is rarely the most attractive. Perhaps you have a lawn and fence, but you’d like to augment the design with yard art. The buzz these days is all about upcycling or reusing old materials in new ways. Utilize recycled art pieces to beautify your yard. Decorative Metal Art Any yard can be enhanced with recycled metal art. There are so many styles to choose from that your design options are almost unlimited. For example, Better Homes and Gardens describes a picket fence that’s been embellished with metal stars. The embellishments add a touch of whimsy. You could even change them according to the seasons. If you like whimsical items, look for the pieces that are clearly made of recycled metal. Artists construct these items, usually animal figures, out of all manner of upcycled metal, such as shovels, gears, horse shoes and springs. You can use these to create a tableau in your yard. Wheelbarrow Mini-Scape If you have a rustic or cottage style house, a planted wheelbarrow can be a charming addition to your yard. For this project, use an old wheelbarrow. Bore holes into the bottom, and add a layer of gravel. Fill the well with potting soil, and add your favorite plants. A wheelbarrow planter is ideal for a mini-scape. Look for miniature plants and garden items. Use these to transform the soil into a mini-garden. Pail Container Garden Another do-it-yourself project is constructing a container garden out of metal pails. Choose a selection of metal pails in different sizes. For standard planting, drill the bottoms, add a layer of gravel, and fill them... read more

How To Effectively Eradicate Mice From Your New Home

If you recently purchased a new-to-you home that is infested with mice, then you need to know how to effectively eradicate them from your property. Since mice sometimes carry diseases and are very destructive to your home and belongings, removing them is an urgent issue. Thankfully, there are many things you can do to get rid of the pesky rodents and then keep new ones from inhabiting your new property in the future, such as:  Sealing All of Your Food In Rodent-Proof Containers The reason your home became infested with mice in the first place is because the rodents discovered that the area contained food they could eat. One of the most important aspects of rodent control is always to eliminate their easy access to food and water. In your home, this means you need to seal all of your food inside of containers that mice cannot penetrate. For example, you should store cereals, rice, and pasta products inside of glass or metal containers. You can also store things like flours and grains in your refrigerator where they will be unavailable to the mice. Keeping All of Your Trash in Sealed Metal Containers When you have mice in your home you cannot use open trash containers. All of your trash needs to be deposited inside of a metal trash can with a tight-fitting lid. Even if you use a tall trash can, the mice will climb their way to the top and enter open trash cans. You also need to keep all of your outdoor trash contained in metal or plastic trash containers with lids.  Sealing All Cracks and... read more

Make Your Universal Design Bathroom Stylish

A universal design bathroom is ideal for your home no matter the current needs of your family. Applying universal design principles to your bathroom ensures it will remain accessible for as many people as possible for a long time. Additionally, it’s even more practical because the open design allows for easier cleanup and proper drainage. What’s more, a universal design bathroom can be just as attractive as it is practical. Open Floor Plan Open floor plans are very popular in modern design, and they are a classic universal design principle as well. An open floor plan can work with any style of bathroom, though. Obviously the clean lines appeal to modern style. However, the minimalism also blends well with Asian-inspired bathrooms. It’s also possible to tile and paint the bathroom so it fits in with beach, country or other traditional styles. You simply need to ensure there’s enough room for wheelchair or walker access, as appropriate. Likewise, there shouldn’t be any rims or other items on the floor that someone can trip over. Floating Sink A wall-mounted sink is along those same lines. As Home and Garden TV points out, a wall-mounted sink allows for easy wheelchair access because there aren’t any pedestals or cabinets underneath. Yet the installation also seems to float in the middle of the wall, which is very fetching for a modern bathroom. Cool black or gray countertops further this look, while you can warm it up with honey or buttery tones in your countertop. Wall-mounted sinks often feature vessels, and you can further customize the profile with a porcelain, glass or stone vessel. Walk-In... read more

The Trouble Underground: Protecting Your Home From Subterranean Termites

If termites are a problem in your area, there are certain things you can do to make sure that your home does not suffer extensive damage. Prevention is an important part of termite control, and little things can make a big difference when it comes to your house’s structural safety.  Install Barriers One of the simplest ways to protect your home is to install termite barriers around your foundation. Contrary to popular belief, termites don’t live in your house; they live in the ground and come into your home for food. Termites dig through the ground and enter your home through the foundation. For existing homes, the best barrier treatment is chemical. The ground around your house is treated to make it hostile toward burrowing termites. Chemical barriers can be quite effective, but you can add an extra layer of protection with a physical barrier of mesh stainless steel surrounding your foundation. Physical barriers are easier to install in newly built homes during initial construction.  Control Tree Roots Termites feed on wood and cellulose, including tree roots. Termites can use tree roots that brush up against your foundation as a highway through chemical or physical barriers. If you have trees growing close to your house, have them inspected for termite activity frequently, or remove trees if you are very concerned about an active termite colony in the area.  Store Wood Smartly Subterranean termites surface to look for food. You can keep them from munching on your home by keeping wood away from the outside walls of your house that will lead termites to your home. For example, don’t stack... read more

4 Design Ideas For A Sloping Backyard

If your backyard has a sloping pitch and you are at a loss as to how to landscape it, then this guide will help you out. It might seem like a difficult problem to handle, but it can actually create lots of interesting design ideas that a normal, flat yard wouldn’t be able to accommodate. Front Your Retaining Wall With Decorative Rocks If your current retaining wall is made of old, pressure treated wood, or bland cinder blocks, then spice it up by adding a decorative facade. You can either have fieldstone brought in and laid out, or you could choose a precast stone façade to go over the current wall. The advantage to a precast façade is that they go up much quicker than a fieldstone façade. With individual fieldstones, the stonemason will need to fit each stone and then mortar them together. The precast stone façade can be placed in complete sections right up against your current retaining wall. Choose Plants That Prevent Soil Erosion You should also choose plants that will hold the earth tightly with their roots and prevent soil erosion. For ground cover you should look at autumn sage or common yarrow. The sage has a beautiful fragrance and the yarrow produces beautiful tiny white flowers. Gravel And Flagstone Pavers For A Seating Area If you have an area that does not have an extreme pitch then you can set up a seating area.  It’s best to create a foundation that will allow water to drain through. This will prevent water from pooling up in the low corner. For this reason you should avoid... read more

3 Reasons To Use Dorm Room Furniture In Your Office

When you think about purchasing furniture for your office, you might think about leather executive chairs and big, stately, impressive desks. However, for some offices, buying dorm room furniture can actually be a good idea. Yes, purchasing furniture from the “back to school” section might seem a little silly, but these are a few reasons why this furniture can be a great choice for your office. 1. Save Space If you have ever tried to fit a big corner desk and a huge executive chair in a small office, you might realize just how important size really is when it comes to buying office furniture. Dorm room furniture is the perfect solution — it’s made for young adults, so it should be large enough for your average person, but it’s made on a smaller scale to fit into a small dorm room. This smaller size can also work well in a smaller office. A lot of dorm room pieces are also made to be as functional as possible in a smaller space, such as tables that have storage underneath or vertical shelves that take up minimal floor space yet offer maximum storage space. It’s a great way to prevent your office from becoming overwhelmed with too much furniture and to prevent clutter. 2. Save Money Furniture manufacturers know that a lot of college students are on a ramen noodle type of budget. This means that they don’t jack up the prices on the furniture like some high-end furniture manufacturers do when selling pieces to office buildings. Plus, many mass market retail stores offer great sales on dorm room furniture... read more

Tips For Choosing And Caring For Wrought Iron Planters

When you’re looking for unique planting containers for your garden and patio area, one of the most elegant options you can consider is wrought iron. The elegant, classic look of wrought iron is available in many different planter styles, so there’s sure to be something to fit most any application. If you’re not familiar with the options or don’t know how to take care of wrought iron, the following information will help. What Kinds Of Wrought Iron Planters Are There? There are many different types of wrought iron planters available on the market. Some of the most common ones include: Stand Alone – Stand-alone wrought iron planters are single, pedestal-mounted planters. They come in many sizes, including large planters that work well in open garden spaces or small pots that fit shelving or other structures. You might even find some wrought iron planters with spiral, tiered designs for planting multiple items. Wall Mount – Wall-mount wrought iron planters secure to your home’s outer wall. They are a great addition to most any structure and come in many different sizes and shapes to fit your needs. Whether you’re planting small flowers in sconce-like planters or ivy and similar plants in longer containers, there are wrought iron planters that will work well. Window Boxes – If you’re looking for something you can attach to a balcony, window or railing, window boxes are a great solution. Wrought iron window boxes are great for things like herb gardens because you can grow them right outside the kitchen window. You can also create flowing greenery with spider plants or something similar off the edge... read more

4 Cool Water Features To Add To Your Home

Adding water features to your property helps create a more tranquil space and allows you to feel more connected to nature. Water features can also make your home more appealing to prospective buyers when it comes time to sell down the road. When looking into water features to add to your home, these four should not be overlooked: Rain Chain A rain chain is a more beautiful alternative to traditional downspouts. Instead of a normal downspout, you install a decorative yet functional rain chain which is usually built of metal (most commonly copper) and directs water from your gutters away from your home through a chain of cups or links. Rain chains are not only attractive to look at, but they cause the water to cascade through the metal in a way that creates a lovely, melodic sound, similar to windchimes. Rain chains come in a variety of styles and finishes to best complement your home’s style. Rock Garden with Waterfall Water flowing gently over rocks is both visually beautiful to look at and soothing to listen to. You can purchase premade rock gardens with a built-in waterfall online or at some large garden centers and home improvement stores. For something more elaborate, you may opt to hire a landscape designer to build a custom rock garden with waterfall specifically to suit your backyard and your personal taste. Hot Tub If you have the inclination to add a water feature to your yard, you should consider adding one that you can immerse yourself in: a hot tub. Soaking in a hot tub is soothing and provides natural relief for... read more

Having Destruction Problems On Your Landscape? Find The Culprit With Security Cameras

Working a full-time job, sleeping eight hours a night, and running a family means that you will not be able to keep an eye on your property at all times. Unfortunately, you may start to experience landscape issues such as the holes being created, grass getting damaged, or plants being eaten. You may not have enough free time on your hands to set up a stakeout to see who or what is causing the problem. But, you can install security cameras that monitor your landscape, which will allow you to catch the culprit in action. See What Wildlife Roams the Yard If you do not have a fence surrounding your property or at least your backyard, you can easily welcome wildlife, especially when you have plants that attract animals such as deer or rabbits. Rabbits love leafy green vegetables, forsythia shrubs, and apples, while deer like maple trees, azaleas, and daylilies. Once you find what wild animal is wreaking havoc on your landscape, you can find and eliminate the cause. Inspect Your Dog’s Behavior If you have a dog that you let outside for an hour or more a day, or If they have a dog door, you have to consider whether they are the ones causing damage to your landscape. Dogs are most likely to cause issues by urinating, which causes grass to die, as well as digging, which leads to overall yard damage. Digging can become a severe problem when it involves digging up flowers, vegetables, and herbs. Their digging habits can also allow them to escape from the property by getting through barriers. A security camera... read more

About me

The first plant I ever killed was an orchid. It was a beautiful magenta, and a birthday present from my brother. Next in line was a series of ill-fated basil plants, followed by a vegetable garden that seemingly died off from too much attention.

Finally, my husband had a brilliant plan: succulents. Succulent plants are hearty, easy to maintain, and thrive off less attention, not more. As long as I had learned my lesson from the vegetable garden, I could have a verdant house!

I have managed to damage a plant or two—knocking over a plant stand with a vacuum isn’t great for a stiff vine—but now I’ve gotten the hang of these botanical wonders! If you have a brown thumb, as do I, learn from my experiences and enjoy having a green home.