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Home Improvement – Don’t Forget the Landscaping

WHEN you buy a new house or decide to improve your old one, you are, of course, concerned with every foot of ground that goes with it, for modern living and modern gardening can make every inch of your property usable and desirable.

New methods of soil improvement, grading, fencing and terracing make even sloping, hilly lots, hitherto undesirable, now attractive and choice. Modern chemistry has brought new nutrients to the soil and has provided weapons against the traditional enemies of the garden: disease and insects. Hardier bulbs and seeds make gardens more successful as well as wonderfully vivid. Fabulous hybrids have lengthened the list of flowering trees and shrubs, creating specimens for every color and design scheme, every type of house and garden.

New gardening equipment and materials speed the time-consuming garden tasks. New ways of living bring us into the outdoors, and barbecue meals and comfortable lawn furnishings make a small suburban back yard as luxuriously enjoyable as was previously possible only on a large estate.

Architecturally, today’s house is much more a part of the outdoors than was yesterday’s. Large picture windows, glass walls, glassed-in sun-porches and terraces all combine to make the garden a part of the house. Consequently, the view becomes that much more important.

A beautiful garden, a luxuriant turf and healthy blossoming trees all add as much to the interior of your home as your draperies or wallpaper. The effort and time you spend on your lawns and gardens will repay you in every way, indoors as well as out.

When you plan your grounds you will be governed by many of the principles you employ in decorating your home. Proportion, texture, color, line, harmony, function – these are terms that apply to landscaping as well as decorating. And if you have large grounds you will benefit from careful planning just as much as does the owner of a quarter of an acre.

Garden books are filled with formal plans for perfect gardens and grounds, but you will want to consider not the perfect garden in itself, but the one plan that will be perfect for your particular family. Analyze your family, its needs and habits; then design your grounds to best satisfy its prejudices, desires and demands.

The thing to do is hold a family council and talk over what you want to do. Of course, you will be governed by questions of cost and available space. Draw a plan of your property in fairly large scale, about 1/4 inch to the foot.

Now make a list of the things the family wants, such as a barbecue, tool house, drying yard, rock garden, fences, playhouse, badminton court, better lounging facilities.

Unless you are fortunate and have spacious grounds, you probably won’t be able to work everything into your program – but with planning, you can do things gradually. You can plan your garden so that it never looks bare and yet is always roomy enough for the additions you intend to make in the future. And some projects will serve more than one function.

For example, if you need a driveway and have young children, a blacktop that can be used for hopscotch and bicycle riding will serve a double purpose, and easily justify its cost. Or a fence that cuts off an unpleasant view can also act as a windbreak and a handsome background for a lounging area.

A retaining wall can double as a rock garden when planted with hardy dwarf shrubs and other rock-garden species.

Landscaping, if properly planned and properly executed will add to the comfort, improve the appearance and increase the value of your home.

Traditional to Trendy – Indian Home Decor

In recent years, ethnic home decor has become increasingly popular when deciding on a theme for decorating. Among the first of the choices in cultural decor, is Indian home decor.

Indian home decor has become one of the most highly sought after themes, due to the versatility of design, rich color schemes, and the broad spectrum of elements in decor. There are different styles of Indian decor branching from the different regions of India, such as, Western Indian, Eastern Indian and even British Indian decor. British Indian decor usually consists of finely carved ivory, hand-crafted wood furniture, and fine art, balanced tastefully with heavy Victorian style drapery, and Victorian furniture, for a classical, yet ethnic appearance.

Many exporters of ethnic home decor can be located online, and there are many dealers from India. They can provide custom-design wooden furniture from an exotic variety of woods, such as, Shisham, Teak, Mango, and Acacia. Choosing the wood, and design will allow you to personalize your home, as well as give that “special touch” to your Indian home decor. Some accent pieces to consider adding are hand-carved chests, nesting-tables, and folding screens. Certain regions of India carve detailed floral designs into their pieces, and other regions carve elaborate pictures of people, and landscapes, as if to tell a story. These accents will give a wonderful depth to your cultural decor.

Fabrics are a creative option to add color, and texture to your Indian home decor, to really bring your space to life. India has an endless wealth of lush materials to decide from, such as satin, cashmere, and silk. India’s silk is very unique, being of a slightly rougher texture than silks in Asia, which adds a beautiful contrast when next to a sleek satin. Many colorful wall tapestries, pillows, and table-runners can be found with this elegant combination. Sari style window-drapes, bedding, and floor-pillows are also a sheik way to add colorful accents. Due to the materials available in a multitude of hues, such as, burnt sienna, fuchsia, apricot, turquoise, and autumn reds, achieving the color schemes desired in your cultural decor is possible.

Adding subtle additions, such as small bronze sculptures, vases, and wood-carved mirror frames will generate a warm, contemporary environment. Paintings can be imported from India, from locations like Patachitra, and Warli. The high quality silk paintings from these regions of India, are unique masterpieces, which would be a wonderful conversation piece.

Once you have seen many of the beautiful pieces to decorate your space with, you will realize how diverse your options are in obtaining Indian home decor.

Colorful Landscaping Ideas – Using More Than Just Flowers in Your Landscape Design

When designing a garden or landscape, it’s important to maintain a balanced color palette. Just as you wouldn’t want an entire house decorated in blue and yellow, nor would you want an entire garden of only blue and yellow flowers. For this reason, we try to design our gardens and landscapes with a variety of colors that complement each other. The most obvious sources of color in a yard come from plants and flowers; however, color in your garden can come from many other sources. When planning your garden design, don’t underestimate how other materials can impact the overall look of your landscape.

First and foremost, consider the type of garden edging or landscape border that you’ll use in and around your planting beds. The possible material choices are endless. A few of the more common borders used are pavers, black plastic edging, landscape timbers, and brick or stone edgers. Because edging varies so much in color and texture, your choice will have a big impact on the overall look of your landscape. You might also want to consider mixing a couple different types of edging materials to achieve an eclectic look with even more color.

Mulch or groundcover is another easy way to add color and dimension to your garden. Materials range from bark and wood chips to gravel and stone, with many other alternatives in between. Colors of these materials vary widely; it’s possible to find groundcover in almost any hue of the rainbow, as well as many colors that aren’t in the rainbow!

When planning your landscape design, don’t forget to include garden structures such as trellises, arbors, furniture, and more. Garden structures not only add color to your yard, but they also serve as an architectural element that can be used as a focal point in the garden, creating visual interest.

Trellises are probably one of the least expensive garden structures that can still provide a big visual punch. A garden trellis serves as a support structure for climbing plants and flowers, allowing them to grow upward instead of outward, and literally bringing your garden to new heights. Arbors and pergolas are the next step up in size and expense, but they also add a lot more height to your yard and can also provide shade, a place to sit and rest, or even a gated entrance into a back or side yard. Arbors, pergolas, and trellises are all available in a wide variety of materials and colors. If you want to color match the structure to your home, then you’ll probably want to choose wood that can be painted. For something that doesn’t require as much ongoing maintenance, consider a durable PVC vinyl that won’t require painting or staining. Just make sure the plastic has been treated with a UV inhibitor so the color doesn’t fade or change as exposed to sunlight.

Colorful outdoor furniture can compliment your design and improve the functionality of your outdoor space. Consider a well-placed bench in the middle of your garden, or even a pair of chairs and a table, nestled in a bed of daisies in the spring. Smaller pieces of outdoor furniture can be a good investment because they can easily be moved around and rearranged as desired. Like arbors, pergolas, and trellises, garden furniture also comes in a variety of materials and color choices. If you’re really picky about the specific color you want, opt for wood that can be painted. Otherwise, a rust free metal like aluminum or a UV protected vinyl will offer lower maintenance options that are still available in many hues.

As you create your landscape design, remember that plants and flowers are not the only way to add color and visual interest to your yard. By thinking outside the box and incorporating other garden elements like some of those we’ve discussed, you can create a garden that’s not only colorful, but also as individual and unique as you are.