Category Archives: home

How To Take Your Garden To The Next Level

Having a garden is one thing, but transforming it into an idyllic piece of land is another. You need to take pride in your outdoor space, especially if you love to host parties and events. Having a garden that’s so-so, lacking in color and vibrancy, as well as full of weeds and dying plants isn’t going to cut it. Instead, you need to find ways to make it stand out and improve its attractiveness.

Learn about the impact landscape architecture has on an area like this one, and how paying attention to this concept will elevate the charm of your space. Take your garden to another level by investing time and money into making it look nice. Pay attention to the details and see what other people are doing to get a feel for what you like before you get started.

Plants & Greenery

Take care of your landscaping and hire a professional to help make your vision a reality. Include a lot of unique and attractive plants and trees, and add elements of surprise like a fountain or sculpture. Make people forget where they are when they enter your garden and create a lush environment to enjoy. A green scene has a way of putting you in a good mood and makes you appreciate nature and all its beauty.


While natural lighting is ideal, it’s not going to get you through all hours of the day. If you have a roof of some kind, then hanging lights from it can be a wonderful and quirky way to make a statement while providing a means of seeing during nighttime. If you want to create a funky yet elegant design, then installing a unique Sputnik Chandelier can create such an atmosphere; such futuristic lighting can create a truly remarkable environment for all to enjoy. When lighting your space, think big and bold. After all, you want to design something out of the world and truly unique, and lanterns and fairy lights are nothing when compared to daring alternatives.


Make sure there’s plenty of seating in your garden. Think large, comfortable couches, benches or crates flipped upside down and covered with a boho cushion. This is your chance to shop around for modern solutions that offer a striking element to your garden. Think of how seat cushions can add a pop of color to the space too.

Bar & Refreshment Area

Build a bar and offer drinks and snacks in your garden and patio area. This way you don’t have to go inside when someone’s hungry or thirsty. Build the bar that’s facing the entertainment area, and where everyone will be sat socializing; stock it with many refreshments to limit trips inside. This is another area you should take time to decorate. Consider adding lighting under the countertop and reflective mirrors behind the bar. Have plenty of modern stools placed along the bar too.


Add greenery and modern décor to your garden and watch how quickly it transforms into a masterpiece. Make sure you attend to the details and take your time. Use this project as a way to improve your design and decorating skills. When it’s all done be sure to enjoy it and appreciate all your hard work.

3 Ways to Add Value to Your Home

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Buying a house is a huge investment both financially and emotionally. Choosing where to live is no easy decision, you must consider a number of factors and mark each one against your lifestyle. You want your chosen neighborhood to have good transport links to be accessible for work, have an abundance of amenities, good schools, public spaces, and so the list continues. Once you have narrowed down your options, and selected areas on which to focus your search, you can then begin to look for a property that satisfies your needs.

It can be easy to be put off properties by their current condition, but to find a home that you can add real value to, you need to look beyond the cosmetic condition. As long as the property is structurally sound, and ticks your accommodation requirements, you have an opportunity to grow your investment while putting your own design style on it. Here are the top 3 ways to add value to your home.
The Kitchen
Kitchens are no longer just a functional necessity for the home. Kitchens are now multi-use spaces that families spend a lot of time in. If the property you are considering has a kitchen that needs attention, do not despair! While you are viewing it, try and establish whether the walls of the room are loadbearing; if they are not, they can easily be removed to make the room bigger. When it comes to the design for your new kitchen, choose durable flooring that will be easy to maintain, and adequate storage solutions so that counters can be kept clutter free to maximize the feeling of space.
The Bathroom
Bathrooms are the one room in the house that can provide a solitary sanctuary from the stresses of everyday life. Updating your bathroom will allow you to create an environment that you can relax and unwind in. While the bathroom furniture you select needs to be functional, this does not have to be at the expense of style. While trends come and go, a safe yet stylish option would be to incorporate contemporary bathroom products into your design. For example, the Duravit collection of bathroom furniture will give a contemporary update to your bathroom with its earthenware pieces. Even the smallest of bathrooms can be given a luxurious upgrade, just remember to choose furniture that retains visibility of the floor space to create the illusion of space.
The Curb Appeal
People often concentrate on the interiors of their home to add value, but is important to pay attention to the curb appeal of your property. Your outside space provides the backdrop to your home, and is an opportunity for you to show your design flair too. If gardening isn’t your thing, choose low maintenance options for the garden’s design. Remember, that you look out of your windows into this space, so you want it to be optimized for your enjoyment from inside, just as much as when you are outside.
You will hopefully have many happy years in your new home, and while cosmetic updates do cost money to fulfill, by choosing wisely this money will be returned to you when you come to sell the house. You don’t have to do all the updates at once, make a list of what you would like to change, and prioritize the rooms as you see fit.

How to Make Cleaning your House Easier When you are a Parent


Let’s face it. The duties of being a parent are never-ending.  

Our day-to-day consists of getting everyone ready for school, paying the bills, checking items off our to-do list, having dinner ready for all at night, and ensuring that everyone is ready for bed to start preparing for the next day.  

Our days spent as parents can often be described as cyclical since they tend to occur in the same fashion each and every day.  

Think about your day as a parent.  Besides the cycle just mentioned, what other variables can get thrown at you during the day?  

Some deal with work, socialization, and other outside factors as well.  

However, there is one common that all parents also handle, which is making certain that the house stays organized and clean on a daily basis.  It can be hard to make time for this to happen!  With all the other commitments and obligations we have as parents, sometimes, this step can fall through the cracks, but it doesn’t have to be that way.  

There are ways to keep up with your day-to-day and also keep up with the upkeep of housework, too.   

How can you make it happen?  Here are a few tips on how to make it easier on yourself when you clean your home.

  • Think small.  If you stop and think that you have the entire house to clean, it can be overwhelming.  Start small, and break it up into floors or sections.  Instead of saying that you need to clean the entire house, start by saying that today you are going to focus on only the bathrooms in your home.  Making it sound smaller or more of a simple to-do task also makes it feel more manageable and doable.
  • Involve the kids.  Who says that parents should be the only ones that are required to clean?  Everyone in your family lives in the house, so why not have everyone in the family help to keep that house clean?  Have a weekly chore list assigned to each child in the home (Pinterest has some nice ones you can print out).  Giving tasks such as cleaning their room, sweeping and vacuuming the common areas and washing, drying and putting away the dishes are great chores that kids can help do.  It also helps to relieve some of those items that you have to do on your to-do list!
  • Set a cleaning schedule.  Take out the work of thinking about what needs to be cleaned each and every day, and set a schedule so you automatically know what to clean based on whatever day of the week it is.  Have Monday be laundry day, Tuesday is the day to clean up the living room, Wednesday can be bathroom day…and on and on.  Leave a bit of extra time in case there happen to be areas that need some extra attention or a surprising mess that needs to be quickly cleaned, but overall, planning your days to clean certain areas will also help with your time management skills.
  • Invest in good cleaning products.  While cleaning products may be expensive to buy, it is also good to have products that aid in the efficiency of how you are able to use them.  This goes for detergents, brooms, vacuum cleaners, and even your own iRobot robotic cleaner if you can afford it (Parenting Pod has a good summary of the different models available). Looking for a steamcleaner? You can find more information on
  • Remove items that don’t belong in rooms.  In homes with children, toys are more than likely scattered from room to room.  Start removing items in each room that don’t belong there.  Once you have those items in hand, immediately take them to the space or room where they should be.  By doing this, it instantly helps to clear up clutter and make the room appear less-crowded and more manageable.  Most messes start with a foundation of clutter, so by lessening that from the beginning, the cleaning factor may also feel less daunting as well.

As a parent, cleaning is one of the chores that tops our list.  While it can be hard at times to be motivated to stay on top of cleaning up the house and all the messes that show up on a daily basis, it doesn’t have to be.  

Try the suggestions listed above to see if they can help you make that cleaning a tad bit easier.  Before you know it, your home may have such a great cleaning routine going on that the upkeep that goes along with it may take minimal time out of your daily schedule!


Look at These Six Things Before You Buy a Home

Buying a home is a big step. There is a lot that goes into it, and with so many things going on at once, some items might get overlooked. However before you make your purchase, it’s important that you go over some key details to ensure you know what you are getting into. To help you out, here are 6 things you’ll want to look at and consider before you sign any papers.


The Location

There’s a saying in the business world – “Location, location, location.” Essentially this means that no matter what your business is, the location is the most important factor. This is also true for your home. The location of the home will play a large role in not only the price, but how much you enjoy it. How far are you from the local stores? What school district are you in? Are there fun things to do nearby? What’s the weather like in this area? These are all important things to consider before you buy your home. You don’t want to make a purchase, only to discover it’s a long drive to get groceries, or that your area is prone to get bad hurricanes.



Looking a little closer to home, you’ll want to get a read on your potential neighbors if you can. Do they take care of their property? Do they have young kids? Are there any complaints within the neighborhood? Imagine moving you and your family in, only to discover the house next door is a home for a college fraternity. Problems with your neighbors could put a damper on the fun you experience from buying a home, so find out what you can before you move in.



Moving in closer, we have the landscape surrounding your home. What sort of privacy do you have in your yard? Is there a lot of work that needs to be done? Do certain areas flood after a heavy rainstorm? Changing the landscape of a yard is usually expensive, and you’ll want to think about this before you make any decisions. While you can certainly change things after you buy the home, it’s better if you don’t have to do too much work in order to get your yard the way you want it.


Major Appliances

Moving inside the home, you’ll want to examine any major appliances and hardware that are coming with the home. Things like the furnace, washer and dryer, central air conditioning, and dish washer are all expensive pieces, and you need to know what kind of shape they are in. The cost of your home is likely impacted by the inclusion of these pieces, but if they are in bad shape or need repairs, you don’t want to pay extra for them. Examine each carefully and make sure they work, and even consider having an expert come into the home and inspect them for you. Here is a list of the appliances you should check before including them in the sale of the home.



After the appliances, you’ll want to check on the floors within the home. Are they in good shape? Are you going to need to replace the carpeting? Do you notice any signs of water damage? Replacing the floor of a room can be costly, especially if it’s a larger room, so the less you have to do the better. Don’t be afraid to get down close and really examine the floors if need be to ensure they are in good shape.


The Roof

Finally, after looking down at the floors, look up towards the ceilings and the roof. If the roof is in bad shape, you could be in for some costly repairs. Take a look on the outside and see if you notice any damage. On the inside, you’ll want to look for signs of water damage within the ceilings – or signs that water damage was covered up. You can hire an expert to come in and examine the roof for you, or you can try to do it yourself. Either way, just be sure the roof is in good condition before you buy anything.


Doing Your Due Diligence

When buying a home, you need to check over every nook and cranny. There are some parts of the home you’ll want to give extra attention to however, as they could lead to costly jobs down the road. If you’re set on a home, consider hiring local professionals to examine it one last time before you complete the sale.


For instance, if you’re looking at homes for sale in Woodinville, WA, you could work with your local realtor, or check online listings, for professionals in that area. Experts in the area will know best what to look for in those types of homes, and will be able to give you a solid assessment. No matter how you go about it, as long as you are thorough, and examine the items mentioned above, you should find yourself pleased with your new home.

How to Start an Emergency Preparedness Kit

In Louisiana, the main weather event we have to be prepared for every year is hurricane season.  This lasts from June to November.  But, due to the nature of the weather we have been having all across the nation, I thought it would be a good idea to write about how to put together an emergency preparedness kit that will help you in a variety of situations.  I should note that this is based on my experiences from the last time we had a severe tropical storm that cut our power out for several days.  The list I am writing will help get you started but it’s highly open to customization.  For another option, you can purchase ready made kits from companies such as My Patriot Supply.

  • Bottled water, at least 2 gallons.  Add more if you will need it to make formula for infants.
  • Canned food that will be in date for the next 2-3 years
  • A manual can opener
  • Matches or lighter
  • A radio for hearing weather updates.  A weather radio is recommended since sometimes signals for broadcast radio stations can go down in strong winds.  A weather radio will ensure you can hear what’s going on at all times since it doesn’t use those broadcast stations.
  • Flashlights
  • A lantern
  • Candles, although I don’t recommend them if you will have toddlers around
  • Supplies for an infant–choose items that will keep for several months in the kit.  You can usually get formula with an expiration date of at least 6 months ahead.  Purchase diapers perhaps a size bigger than the one your child wears.  Wipes will keep for a long time and I would add plenty, because chances are they will be used by more than just the baby in your household.
  • On that note, if you have children, add something for them to do that does not require power.  I can tell you that my child is definitely one of this digital age, and he’ll get bored quickly.  A coloring book, a board game, cards, and small art set are all good ideas to add to your kit.  Try to put something in that your kids haven’t seen yet or in a while so it will be new to them.
  • Batteries for the things that need them, such as flashlights, lanterns, kids games, etc.
  • A first aid kit
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Pet food if you have the need

Be sure to check your kit at the beginning of each season to make sure your supplies inside are still good and to see if anything needs to be added or replaced based on the needs of your family.  Getting kits from a survival supplier such as My Patriot Supply will ensure the items in your kit are exactly right to have you and your family prepared for your emergency situation.


Saving Money on Getting New Carpet

Installing carpeting throughout an entire home is costly, but there are ways for you to save in upgrading your flooring. How exactly do you go about doing this? What is the best way to install quality-carpeting, not compromise on the look you want, and save? Consider these tips.

Shop “bulk”
You can purchase the carpeting from a “bulk” or mass-retailer. Warehouses which sell to commercial companies , may also sell to homeowners as well. Not only is carpeting cheaper, you can also find commercial-grade, and industrial-grade (berber-type finish), which is durable, and will last for years to come.

Consider having the company you buy the carpet from do the installation work as well. There are often deals which include “free installation” with whole-home purchase, or discounts on flooring if you buy for an entire home. So, rather than hire two companies (one to buy carpeting from and another installation company), do it all with one specialist. Check out to get an idea of how much carpet fitting costs.

Shop online
Believe it or not, you can order carpeting online. And, you can compare several mass-retailers which offer free shipping, online deals, and installation. So, you will find various qualities, material-finishes, colours, and varieties, all for an affordable price. And, you can have it shipped and installed same (or next-day) with most of these companies.

Comparison shop
There’s no way around it. With any consumer purchase, you have to shop to save. And, the same goes with your home’s flooring. So, before you buy new carpeting, compare, get a few quotes, and consider all specialists.

You have options when it comes to new flooring for your home. Make sure you know all of them before you buy. When purchasing and installing new carpeting for your entire home, these are a few simple tips to save, and ensure you get the quality you desire.

How to Make Your Backyard a Place You Actually Want to Spend Time In

You’re wasting your backyard if you don’t want to spend time in it. Your backyard should be a place where you go to relax or to have fun. But for many people, their backyards are simply part of their property, and they don’t spend any time in them because they’re not fixed up. If this sounds like your home, here are a few ideas on how to fix up your yard, and turn it into a place in which you actually want to spend time.


Do Some Landscaping

First up, think about if your backyard needs some landscaping. Consider adding in some bushes, trees, a garden, or grass. You want your backyard to look alive, and adding colorful flowers or healthy plants is a great way to achieve this. You can do smaller projects on your own, but for larger work consider hiring a professional landscaper.


Add a Patio

Next, you’re going to want a place to sit within your backyard. Lawns are often uneven, so installing a patio is the best way to go. A patio gives you a flat space for things like chairs, tables, benches, and more. When done right, a patio is an excellent addition to any yard, and makes it more likely that you’ll spend time out there.


Set Up a Fire Pit or Fireplace

On chilly nights there’s nothing better than gathering around a fire. You can’t just set fire to whatever is nearby though. Digging a fire pit within the yard is one option, or you can purchase a fireplace for outdoors. Either option gives you a way to warm up on cold nights, and something to gather around. Now you can spend time outside at night as well as during the day.


Install A Water Feature

Another great add to any patio or backyard space is a water feature. One option is to install a pond, with a built-in fountain or waterfall. Ponds look great in almost any yard, and if you add a fountain or waterfall, the relaxing sounds add to the atmosphere. Another option is to use a pond-less waterfall. These are typically smaller in size, but still provide you with the relaxing sound of falling water. In fact, according to Paradise Ponds, a Colorado Springs based landscaping company, pond-less waterfalls are one of the hottest trends. Consider any of these options if you want a water feature in your yard.


Play Some Music

If you don’t want to listen to just water running, then add in some of your favorite music. With a portable Bluetooth speaker you can connect directly to your favorite device, and play whatever music you’d like. Speakers come in all shapes and sizes – some even look like rocks to blend in – so you’re sure to find something that works for your needs and budget.


Make it Comfortable

All of these additions to your backyard go to waste if you are unable to enjoy them. For that, you need some comfortable seating in the area. This could be as simple as adding some comfy chairs around a table, or you could install a swinging chair, or even a hammock. Lounge chairs are also another option if you want the ability to lay down. Whatever you choose, just make sure it’s comfortable so that you are likely to spend even more time outside.


Keep Pests Away

Imagine you’ve done some of the suggestions above – such as adding in a relaxing waterfall on your patio, along with some comfortable lounge chairs. You’re outside enjoying your new space, when suddenly mosquitoes start to bite. This will quickly put an end to your relaxing time. When you’re working on your yard, take steps to keep pests away from the area. Candles can sometimes help, as can a fan. Also remove any sources of standing water nearby. For larger pests – such as mice – think about installing a fake owl to scare them away. If you want to know more, here are some suggestions for keeping pets away from your yard.


Give Yourself Some Privacy

Finally, if you’re going to be spending more time outside, either by yourself or with company, you’ll want some privacy. Unless you have a lot of space between you and your neighbors, you’ll likely want to put something up to block their view. One option is to install a fence, or you could plant some large bushes or trees. No one likes the feeling that someone is watching them, so give yourself the privacy you deserve while building up your backyard.


Don’t Let Your Yard go to Waste

If you’re lucky enough to have a yard at your home, you don’t want it to go to waste. By following a few of the simple suggestions mentioned above, you can turn your yard into a place you love to spend time. There are plenty of ways to transform a backyard, and once you get started, you’ll love the difference they make.

5 Creative Building Projects for Your Backyard

Once you’ve been settled in your own Sweet Southern Home for a while, the conversation on remodeling will probably present itself. Of course, whatever changes you make to the house, you’ll want to keep it as cheap as you can, but you can also take on building projects to freshen up your property that make less drastic changes. That, of course, would be projects for the backyard. It’s a space separate from the actual home so there’s no need to knock down any walls, but you’ll still get the satisfaction of building on and changing the place you call home.

Fire Pit

Everyone loves sitting around fires. It’s a classic camping activity that many bring to their backyard. It’s a social place and something everyone can be entertained and kept warm by. While many homeowners will just stick a metal fire pit in the backyard, if you want to turn heads, you can go the full nine years and build one into the land.

This is a good project because there’s a lot of ways you can take it. You could just make a circle of bricks sticking out of a hole in the ground, or you could get way more creative. Either way, as long as you’ve sealed it off from being catch fire to anything around it, then the hard work is done, making this one of the easier projects, while also being very creative.


Horseshoe Pit

For every backyard gathering, there’s always a great outdoor game. Horseshoes can be fun for anyone no matter how old you are so this is a great feature of any backyard. There’s a few different approaches, but whatever you decide it’ll be fun for everyone.

Most people just go with the simple two stakes in the ground, but this outdoor game building guide will show you the ropes to making one that takes the game to a new level. The backboards make finding the horseshoes easier and the whole setup is very pleasing to the eye. There’s plenty of other ideas for game areas you can build in that guide too, so you don’t have to stop at horseshoes.


If you have horses, or plan on owning them, then you want a barn. But, even if you have no interest in them, a barn is a great addition to a backyard that provides a ton of space and a great work area in general. Think of it as your huge shed, a barn is gives you a great amount of covered space to store whatever you want, and everyone can use some more storage.

You can take the traditional route and build a wooden barn. You could also go for the more durable route and build a horse barn. Building a barn in general is a huge task to take on, but luckily if you’re trying to build a metal barn you can get some help in that process. Elephant Structures is a company that will give you everything you need to build a metal barn. They’ll work with you to get all the features you want, and create a solid blueprint for it. They work with solid materials, and if you want they’ll install it for you, but since this is about building projects, they’ve got custom kits that can be delivered right to your home.


If you’ve got kids, then treehouses are great gifts for them. It gives them a place space and a sense of adventure. It’s also a great aesthetic feature to have a suspended structure like that. While everyone is socializing during your backyard gatherings, it would hard for that not to be a talking point.

This is also a great collaborative project, because not everyone can get up in a tree and start building a little house by themselves. Get a crew together, make your blueprint, and have a blast on this project.

A Deck

For number 5, it’s a pretty classic no-brainer. Building a deck gives a very level sitting area for any outdoor furniture you want. You can put stick the grill on there, table and chairs, whatever you want, it’s basically another open-air room.

This is great for any house that has the space because it sections off your backyard, making it a more complex space. That’s especially great for entertaining because you’ve got many areas that people can wander through that are all used for different purposes. It turns your backyard into the hot spot for the neighborhood parties automatically.

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