Home and Garden Balcony Spaces

Now is the time to consider what would work for next year for those who are considering creating a garden room on that balcony or rooftop area of your home, apartment or condo. Your balcony backyard is becoming more and more popular and with a little attention, can become a focal point of your home and wonderful area for entertaining.

Because balconies are usually quite small, space is a major design consideration. The main design principle is to keep the design as simple as possible. The last thing you want is a cluttered, busy look.

One major consideration for those narrow or small areas is to use a square or rectangular container or garden planters that follow the angles and edges of balconies. They will also save space. Hanging baskets, espaliered, and climbing plants will bring the walls to life. The plants themselves can be grown in your containers, easily moved around with the seasons. A trellis attached to the wall is a great place to grow climbing plants and still leave enough room for a small table, bench or a couple of chairs.

Rooftop gardens and some balconies are often blasted by wind and sun, so select plants that are suitable for these conditions. Some suggestions may be Cacti, Kalanchoe, Ivy and many ornamental grasses for they are somewhat drought resistant. Others that may need a little more care are Roses, Citrus, Daisies, Geraniums of course, Bamboo and Conifers. Surprisingly the biggest killer of balcony plants is often overwatering. The urge is great to add water every time you check on the progress of your garden. Beware of being too kind!

Garden pots and planters filled with clipped shapes or standards create a truly elegant effect and may be used as dominant features for your rooftop garden. You can create an exquisite look in a small space by using several pots of clipped shrubs. Boxwood can be clipped into spheres, squares or any shape you desire. Keep in mind that it is less expensive to purchase large unclipped boxwood and then create your own design.

Containers filled with your shrubs make great portable hedges or screens. They are ideal for separating the space from the rest of the area in order to create a separate garden room.

Think carefully about the style and function of your balcony, or rooftop space. Do you want it formal or informal? With a formal look, you can create a modern minimalist style with a few containers filled with select garden plants. In either case, be sure to use heavy, wide pots and planters in windy areas to prevent the pots from being blown over.

If you have a large area, or one that is elongated, consider using repeat plantings to give a clean, uncluttered appearance. Several large containers or planters can be more eye-catching than a collection of small pots.

Use your imagination and just get started. From season to season you will learn what works best in your space and how to make the garden room part of your home.

Modern Outdoor Lighting – Choosing the Right Ones For Your Home and Garden

Through the right sort of modern outdoor lighting you can not only enhance the look of your home and the surrounding landscape, but it will make this area much safer. But it isn’t only these reasons why people choose to install lighting in their garden.

Today we do so as it allows us to utilize this space a great deal more. Not only can a couple use this space as a haven for a romantic interlude. Plus families can use this space late into the night when they have barbecues or just friends round for dinner.

When it comes to getting modern outdoor lighting as you will soon discover there are many different styles, sizes and colors to choose from. So you may find it difficult to determine what suits your requirements the best. Below we take a look at some of the things that you should be taking into consideration when choosing exterior lighting for your home and garden.

1. Budget -This is the most important factor when it comes to choosing lighting for your garden. How much you can afford to spend will determine the number of lights you install along with the quality of them. A good idea if you want to make sure that you get the best quality possible but don’t have the funds available immediately is to buy lights as and when you can. Of course the other thing you could do is search online at auction sites.

2. Installation – You have the choice when it come to installing modern outdoor lighting to either do the work yourself or to arrange for a professional to carry out the work. If you want to do the work yourself then you may want to consider using lights that are powered by solar energy rather than electricity. The reason for opting for this type is that there are no wires that will need to be connected it is simply a case of placing the lights where you wish them to be. However, you may find that this type of lighting does not emit the same amount of light; it will depend on how much the batteries within them have been charged.

However if you are looking for decorative garden lighting to enhance particular features as well as a security measure you are far better opting for the kind that are powered by electricity. Again you can install this type yourself however if not at all comfortable with working with electricity then employ the services of a qualified technician to carry out the work instead.

Feng Shui Tips For Your Home and Garden

The entry to a home or the doorway into rooms is where your first view is encountered. Doorways and entrances to anything should feel welcoming. They should be clear and the pathway should allow ease of movement.

The Chi, (or energy flow), should never be made stagnant at this point. Pictures and ornamental decorations in this area of your home should be pleasing and round leafed plants in pots attract prosperity into the home. Another tip to remember is that if you have doorways from front to back that are visible, the flowing of energy should be stopped from escape.

A Feng Shui cure for this problem, can be by placing a plant as suggested to the side of the entry: thus creating an environment to capture the Chi flow. The essence of creating good flow and attracting harmony, involves placement.

Feng Shui recognizes that small problems can have a major effect on your life, and that a well kept home will always have better chi than one where maintenance tasks have been allowed to pile up. The minor problems and inconveniences that plague a poorly maintained home can restrict your freedom of movement, cloud your ability to understand a situation, make it difficult to take advantage of opportunities, and waste your resources.

Think of Chi as an important guest you wish to welcome to your home, and make your formal entry – and the access to it from the street – as inviting as possible.

The principles of Feng Shui can be applied to your garden as well. By applying these principles to your garden you can attract positive energy, wealth and good fortune. Given below are a few tips and ideas on how to Feng Shui your garden.

The most important principles to remember in the garden are curves and proportion. Your house is the Yin energy and your garden is the Yang energy. The Yang aspect in Feng Shui is about light and space. Try to incorporate all the five elements of Feng Shui in your garden as much as possible.

– Use a pond, birdbath or fountain to represent the water element.
– Use a sundial or bronze statue in the garden for metal.
– Use trees and shrubs for wood.
– Use plants or flowers that are red and orange in color to represent fire.
– Use earth to represent the earth element.

Water features such as pools, ponds and fountains are beautiful and encourage beneficial chi. They also symbolize prosperity and create yin (feminine) energy.

You can create more Yang (masculine) energy by using garden lights to add light to the garden’s dark areas. Remember balance and harmony is the key to a Feng Shui Garden.

Child Safety Dangers in the Home and Garden

Although any house cannot be 100% child safe there are some straight forward steps parents can take to lessen the risk of accident or injury to you and your children within the home environment. Here we look at some of the key dangers present within the nursery and garden areas of your home and what steps you can take to minimise the risks.

Nursery
For obvious reasons, the nursery is a room in your home that your child will spend a considerable amount of his or her time in. As a consequence, you will therefore need to be extremely vigilant about any dangers posed which additionally will be required to be assessed and monitored on a regular basis. Take into account the development of your child when monitoring the safety of his or her environment and remember that risks which were not posed a few months ago may well be more relevant as your child develops.

Insure that your babies cot and indeed the mattress adhere to the required safety standards and that the mattress is securely fitted to the base of the cot. Should your child sleep in a bed make sure you have a suitable bed rail in place whilst at the same time ensuring that a secure stair gate is fitted at the top of your stairs. Install a suitable dimming light to provide you with sufficient light to walk safely at night whilst at the same time providing comfort and reassurance to your child. Setup a thermometer in the nursery to provide you with an accurate room temperature ensuring that it doesn’t get too hot or too cold. The optimum temperature for a baby’s nursery should be around 18°C or 65°.

Outside in the garden
A significant proportion of accidents occur outside the home with the garden absorbing a large proportion of these accidents. Always remain vigilant if your child is outside in the garden and never leave them unattended. Ensure that all garden implements, chemicals and tools are securely locked away. Make sure garden sheds and garages doors are securely locked and if you have a gate leading out of your property make sure it has a secure lock which cannot be accessed by your child. If your child has play equipment outside in the garden always make sure he or she has an appropriate base to fall on should they require it. If you have a pond or water feature make sure they are securely covered up and a child cannot come to harm even if he or she should fall onto the covering.

Taking just these few simple steps can help to secure your home and garden from dangers thereby protecting the safety of your children from injury.