Art in the Garden

What does your garden say about you? Is it whimsical and carefree or prim and proper? One easy way to give your garden a bit of personality is to dress it up with garden art and structures.
The first thing most of us think of when we hear garden or yard art is plastic pink flamingos and brightly painted ceramic gnomes. But garden art can be much more than just kitsch.

Garden décor should reflect the style and personality of the garden, the gardener, and the surrounding architecture (i.e. your home). If you live in a Tudor and tend a traditional English garden then accessorize with classic garden structures like arbors and outdoor furniture with a more formal feel. If you live in a country cottage with a bright and rambling wild flower garden, get a little funkier with your décor by accessorizing with ornaments made from recycled materials and colorful statuary. No matter where you live or what your style may be, there a few basics that we all should think about when decorating our gardens.

Scale is important. Small decorations get lost in big landscapes and when placed en masse create a cluttered effect. Larger embellishments such as garden structures like gates and obelisks tend to stand out in big gardens. Vice versa, smaller gardens can be overwhelmed by large pieces and often just need one or two well placed objects to liven them up.

Garden art and accessories are meant to accent or draw attention to a specific area. They lead the eye from point to point and provide a visual bridge through every season, so put the same amount of effort into planning your garden décor as you do into planning your garden.

What you choose to dress up your garden with doesn’t just have to reflect your style, it can reflect your interests too. If you’re an avid birder, accent your garden with bird feeders, bird houses, and bird baths to keep your feathered friends happy. If you love to entertain, create an outdoor dining area with attractive and weather resistant furniture.

No matter what your “garden style”, keep in mind that gardening isn’t just a way to turn plain into pretty. It feeds the soul, nourishes our love for beauty and our urge to create. Our gardens are our own pieces of paradise, our own works of art that are reflections of ourselves.

Garden Art at The Grower’s Exchange: Our garden decor items are carefully crafted by artists who take immense pride in the items that they produce and who make a living wage. Taking pride in their art means our artists stand behind their work and want you to receive the utmost joy from their creations.

Using quality materials, our artisans create garden art that is solidly constructed and meant to give years of service in your garden, yard or home.

Finding the Right Home Improvement Hardware

When it comes to converting your present residence into your dream house, there is a lot to be done before you can get started on the renovation work itself. It doesn’t matter if you are just changing the door knobs or the kitchen cabinets; the point is that you should find the right hardware for the purpose.

What Is the Right Hardware?

Form the user point of view, the right hardware is something

o That should meet the required purpose.
o Should be at least decent in its appearance.
o Should be long lasting.
o Should meet the quality standards for construction material in your area.
o Should be worth the money that you are paying for it.

Where to Find It

o The easiest place is the hardware near you. This has its advantages and disadvantages. The biggest advantage is that you can get hold of the guy quickly if the item is defective. But the price is going to be much higher.

o Through mail order from the manufacturers. Through this means, you will surely get the best quality from that company that you trust. But deliveries take a long time and the shipping and handling charges are over and above the price.

o By placing an order through the internet sites of renowned hardware dealers. This way you will also get the lowest competitive price for anything. The other advantage is that in most of the cases the delivery is fast and there is no shipping and handling charges involved, as most of the companies offer free deliveries to their online customers.

When you have located the hardware that is right for you it is best that you also get professional help if the home improvement involves bigger changes required. This will facilitate you in getting the job done much faster and with the professional neatness which you probably will not be able to achieve, unless you are good at getting them.

Home Improvement Hardware – Some Essentials

Every day there must be a hundred things you notice and you would like to tweak or improve in your house. If you ever bothered to make a list of those must-do or would-like-to-do projects you would have noticed that the things you needed could be found in the hardware, the electronics shop, the pet shop, the garden supplies shop, the automotive shop and some others. It used to be that you needed to make a round of neighborhood stores to get what you needed for your home. Now, that is no longer the case.

Except for fruits and vegetables home Improvement hardware stores include practically everything you could possibly need for shaping up and straightening up your home. It is actually easier nowadays to complete a home improvement project than it was, say 50 years ago. For your automobile accessories alone they will have shades, floor mats, trash cans, bug deflectors,mirrors, repair kits and many others. They also offer all sorts of fluids and lubricants for your car, including; motor oils, grease lubricants, anti-freeze fluids and hydraulic fluids. It would be a good idea for you to visit a home improvement hardware site. You might just find among the products they are offering some novelty you didn’t know was being made, or some new accessory for your car.

Under housewares, home improvement hardware stores usually feature items for cooking and baking, such as; chaffing dishes and fondues, measuring spoons, pressure cookware, kitchen utensils and casserole dishes, among many others.

Some home improvement hardware stores also deal in office equipment and school supplies. In this category you might find school supplies, paper, ink, filing cabinets, adhesives, computer accessories, markers, staplers, packing supplies and many more.

You will probably also find in the best home improvement hardware stores pet supplies. This not only includes dog and cat food, but also dog kennels and carriers, anti-flea medicines, leashes and such like.

For your gardening needs these hardware stores will have home fountains, gardening gloves, gardening spades, hoses, grass-cutters and many other items that you need but probably won’t remember until you see them there.

In fact, instead of giving yourself a headache by trying to think about what you could possibly do to improve your home, you could pay a long visit to a home beautification website and take the time to examine the hundreds of solutions that they can offer your for the hundreds of ideas you have for repairing and beautifying your home. After browsing through their product catalogues, you will have found new ideas for home improvement that never occurred to you before.

The best home improvement stores on the web usually have a very interactive customer support module on their home page to entertain any of your questions and give you some suggestions, as well as clarify details about their products. To keep yourself updated on the newest home improvement features, pay them a regular visit. Many of these home improvement hardware stores will offer you discounts if you are a regular customer.

Garden Tips in the Garden

Hi everyone

What a week I have had this week with all the rain, that even the gardens are sighing and saying enough is enough, we want the sun.

Anyway, where should I start I wonder? At the beginning would be good I hear you say. Well, you know how one small thing can start a chain reaction, that is exactly what happened on Monday morning.

I went to one of the amenity sites, where we are contracted to keep the grass and hedgerows cut back for visibility for people going in and out of the site.

I started cutting the grass as usual with a John Deere F1145 four wheel drive ride on machine, running alongside a ditch when suddenly I felt the ground move and the front of the mower started to sink.

No problem I thought, just stick it in reverse and out it should come, theoretically. Boy was I wrong! When I tried to reverse the back wheels started to sink and slide into the ditch. OK I thought, still no problem, go on site and get the big 20-ton loading shovel to pull me out. I was thinking this is a good start I think I would rather be back home in the garden

The loading shovel came round, we hooked the chain on the mower and started to pull me out, out it came without any problems, great I thought until I looked at the loading shovel, it had started to sink and lean over sideways.

The driver said not to worry as he would get the 360 degrees 20 ton excavator hooked onto the loading shovel and pull it out. Thank heavens I thought, but to my horror the loading shovel slid down deeper and leaning over more, to such a point that it was in danger of completely turning over, I just looked away in disbelief and shook my head.

After several minutes of deliberation it was decided the only form of action was to call in a crane to lift it out. Some hours later this massive 100- ton road crane turned up. Guess what? No it did not get stuck, turn over or anything else like that, but the major road the site is one had to be closed for an hour while the recovery took place. This was because the only safe way to pick the loading shovel up was by the crane standing full width of the road. The good news is the loading shovel came out with only some minor scratches, the road was reopened and everything was hunky dory again, apart from me now waiting for a very large bill to turn up. That is certainly what I call a chain reaction and that Monday morning feeling – blasted rain! I hope your Monday was not quite so eventful.

Have you been able to get in your garden this week in between the deluges?

A good garden tip is to check your plant containers to make sure they are getting enough water, I know this sounds really silly with all the rain we have been having, but often containers are close to the house and especially hanging baskets, and are sheltered by the walls and eaves.

Also the denseness of the leaves can deflect the rain water from the potting medium, allowing it to dry out which can be detrimental to the flowering ability of your plants. Hanging baskets can be soaked in a container, or in your garden barrow for half an hour or so till they have absorbed enough water.

Another handy tip is to carry a pair of scissors with you, whether you are popping to the washing line or just admiring the garden. My wife always has a pair to hand to snip off dead heads and yellowing leaves, especially in the green house.

Scissors are often easier to use than secateurs unless it is woody, and great on small-headed annual plants in containers, and is quicker than nipping out.

Do not forget to nip out those side shoots on your tomato plants. Keep an eye on all you greenhouse plants for insect infestations and have your soapy water spray ready to go.

The cucumber plants are growing quickly at the moment and need regular tying up to a sturdy support, we have been doing this every couple of days.

The squashes likewise are putting on a good growth spurt but allow these to trail around your greenhouse, as the squashes are very heavy and if staked upright are likely to snap the plant. Another good garden tip is to turn flowerpots upside down and slightly support the main stem so that the young squashes start growing off the ground until they are half the size of harvesting.

Have a good look at the roses, as this cool damp weather creates the ideal climate for mildew, rust and black spot on the foliage. The new growth is most susceptible to mildew whereas the older leaves are where black spot and rust could be a problem. Trim away affected shoots and leaves for burning, and collect any leaves that have fallen due to the heavy rainfall recently.

Your lawns should be in tiptop condition at the moment thanks to the rain, just keep them tidy by trimming regularly and strimming the edges.

I hope you found a dry spell to be able to treat those clover areas and if you did it should be taking effect now. Like always in the gardens if you find something is wrong or needs attention strike while the irons hot it is always easier and quicker.

Keeping Poultry at Home in the Garden

Have you ever considered keeping chickens either for eggs or as pets? Possibly not, though there are many good reasons to do so as they make surprisingly good pets and ones that actually give a little back in the form of fresh eggs on your breakfast table.

Raising chickens can be reasonably in-expensive and very satisfying providing you follow a few basic guidelines. Have the kids been pestering you for a pet? Then chickens may well just be the answer. Most hobbyist chicken farmers will tell you that they love it and wouldn’t go back to not keeping chickens.

Here are my top 7 tips for getting the most out of your chickens and the best ways to ensure their long life and fruitful egg production. Depending on the amount of chickens you intend to keep really can make a difference to how you keep your chickens, this guide covers keeping 3 to 4 chickens in an average sized back garden keeping to a minimal budget:

1) The Chicken’s Home or Coop: If you are already considering keeping chickens then you probably already have an idea of what your chicken coop should look like, some people imagine a picturesque hen house complete with weather vain, chicken run and a loyal family pet dog standing guard over your new brood. This can be a reality for less cost than you might imagine.

Make sure your chicken coop is Sturdy and weather proof, chickens like nothing more than being kept warm and dry.

2) The Chicken Run: Any self respecting urban chicken farmer will have a chicken run, we have all seen the film so there are no excuses. Your chickens are lively creatures and enjoy a bit of space to roam around, scratch, peck and generally to be a chicken in. It is quite safe to let them roam around your garden, you will enjoy throwing some grain on the lawn and watching them potter about. Though, if you are a keen gardener, chickens really do love the taste of flower petals, I get the impression that the more colourful the tastier they seem to the chicken.

3) Your Chicken’s Welfare: To keep them warm and give them somewhere to sleep, place a good amount of straw or hay on the bottom of the coop, you can get this at any pet shop or superstore. They will make their own nests with it and it will keep them warm and dry. Make sure they have a constant supply of food and water, your eggs will dry up if they are not kept well fed. Chickens, like any animal, may (very rarely) get ill, do not let them suffer take them to a vet.

4) Food and Water: We use a large pet water drip feeder, the sort you might use for a rabbit or hamster. The chickens naturally peck on the shiny ball at the end and soon learn that they can get water from it.

5) Eggs: Your chickens lay eggs regularly, when they are laying well you can expect at least one egg per day from each laying chicken. Their welfare is of great importance to their laying, an un-happy chick will not lay eggs.

6) Do They Make Good Pets?: In a word, yes. Considering the size of their brain they seem remarkably intelligent and definitely have their own character. I used to work in the poultry industry and my opinion of these feather brained creatures has drastically changed from a dumb thoughtless animal to ones with their own personality and quirks.

7) Myths and Misconceptions: Your family pet you call a chicken is not actually a chicken, it is a hen. More commonly a brown hen, a chicken is what you see in the supermarket and roast on a Sunday. One of your chickens (I will continue to call them chickens as i prefer it) would not taste very nice roasted, besides the amount of edible meat on one would not make it very worthwhile unless you were particularly desperate.

If you do get tempted to eat your family pets then you would need to boil it after plucking, gutting and washing it. Do not be too surprised to receive little thanks from the family after serving up their beloved Beatrice on a platter for Sunday lunch though.

All in all I find chickens make a great addition to the family and are a great pet, they provide a means to show your children the need to look after them and teach them a bit of responsibility whilst having an amusing pet and one that rewards you for your care. I would highly recommend having chickens as pets. Keep them warm, dry, fed and happy and they will give you endless entertainment and a nutritious and healthy source of breakfast.

Home Improvement Hardware – Get the Best Hardware For Every Part of Your Home

While some plan for home improvement to add value to their house, others simply pursue a more luxurious and comforting lifestyle. Home improvement projects may need different levels of investment depending upon their scales. For instance, you don’t need too much capital and expertise to change a certain aspect of your interior design, however, adding new rooms and dramatically redesigning existing parts of the house require more resources. You need to be aware of different functions of home improvement hardware to be able to pull off a good home improvement plan. Here are some basics about different hardware:

Get Hardware for Your Bathrooms:

Bathroom hardware is a specialized type of hardware that is used in construction of bathrooms. Bathroom hardware that will be required during a remodeling project may include showers, tubs, faucets, towel holders, mirrors, cabinets and similar fixtures. If you plan to sell your home for a great price, bathroom home improvements may just be the key to your achieving this goal. Not only will a bathroom remodeling plan increase value of your home, but it will also add luxury and comfort in your family’s life.

Door Hardware is Always Part of a Good Plan:

Door Hardware is mainly used to give a more attractive look to your home’s doors. Many home owners, while paying attention to rooms, often fail to recognize the importance of doors and windows. Door hardware that can help boost up your plan includes door knockers, hinges, hooks, handles, locks, fasteners and number plates.

Furniture, Windows and Cabinet Hardware – Get Beauty and Utility:

Furniture and cabinets are components of DIY that enhance the functionality of a house. If you are planning to improve your home’s functionalities without compromising on style, you have to get the best furniture hardware. Furniture hardware that is commonly used in home improvement plans is frames, furniture legs and arms.

Similarly cabinets in any room can be a great improvement as they increase your home’s capacity to store things. Home improvement cabinet hardware includes latches, fasteners, locks, handles, pulls and cabinet frames. Cabinets do not have to be built strictly on functional lines as they can also give a great touch to your interior décor. Just like cabinet hardware, window hardware also includes hinges, latches, locks, frames, handles and other equipment needed for window installation.

Security Hardware – Essential for Your Family’s Safety:

In today’s world home security has become a major issue for home owners. If you don’t have plans of enhancing your home security in your improvement plans, then you should start thinking on these lines. Security hardware includes, fire alarm, smoke detectors, motion detecting sensors, window security system and security alarm system.

Plumbing Hardware – Be Careful While Buying!

Plumbing hardware is very essential for your home as it facilitates the water supply system and sanitation system in your home. Plumbing hardware mainly includes pipes and tubes through which water will be flowing in and out of your home, so you have to be extra careful that the hardware you purchase is able to withstand corrosion and other adverse effects of varying temperatures.

Curtain Hardware – Plastic And Metal Are Two Great Options!

Curtain hardware is mainly available in plastic and metal, so it’s totally up to you to decide which option is better for your home. Curtain hardware relates to hanging of curtains and includes hooks, rings and finials.

Find out more about home improvement hardware at Indy Total Construction.