Even those of us who truly enjoy gardening have to admit that having a perfect garden requires time. Late summer and fall is the right time to wind things up and do the final preparations for the cold season.
This is the time when we all get a break from constant mowing, watering, and weeding. However, nobody would like to find their garden a mess when the spring comes so there are a couple of things you can do and ensure this does not happen.
Aerate and fertilize the ground
Aeration is something that your lawn will enjoy as it has been walked on for months. It can be as simpleas poking random holes in the ground and that is sufficient if you are not experiencing any major issues with your lawn. The most convenient tool for doing this is the garden fork. Prior to aeration, rake your lawn to make sure you remove leaves and thatch. Once the poking is done use the fertilizer of your choice and spread some sand.
Remove withered plants
Go through your garden and remove any dead plants, most of these are annuals but if you see that one of your perennials is dead with no chance of springing back up, you can dig it out as well. Add this organic material to your compost bin.
Pruning and weeding
What you need to do now is take care of the remaining plants. First of all, take out anything you do not want in your garden. Not digging weed up will either result in it spreading or it will end up not surviving the cold and you will have to deal with it in spring.
Once you get rid of the weed, move onto perennials as they can also threaten to take over your garden by spreading. You sure like them but you like them at the spot you have selected for them. Collect the weeds and the pruning clippings and off to the compost pile with them.
Replant and protect bulbs, rhizones, corms and tubers
If you have noticed over their blooming season that some of your perennials are struggling for water and sunlight, replant them to an appropriate location. Also, if you have noticed that certain patches are overcrowded, you can make a selection by removing or replanting some of them.
Target those perennials sensitive to cold and leave them in your cellar to keep them safe during winter. Please be gentle when handling the plants which are still alive.
Pamper your tools
Your gardening tools will be out of work for some time. Once you are done using them, make sure you wash and dry them carefully. Once that is done you can remove any traces of rust and sharpen those that need to be sharp.
Just before you put them away for winter, make sure you oil them up with machine oil to protect the metal. Every Australian garden tools supplier advises that basic gardening tools can be long lasting if you take good care of them. Do not get rid of any piece of your equipment just because it is not sharp or it is a bit crooked until you try fixing it first.
Fertilize your garden
Once you have decided who is staying and who is leaving, fertilize the soil. After fertilizing the raised beds, cover them up to make sure the rain does not wash out the fertilizer.
Also, seek professional advice on which cover crop is best used in your region and plant it. These are usually legumes and they can help add nitrogen to the soil so they are your natural fertilizer.
Protect and cover
Protect the young perennials by adding a coat of mulch to help keep the ground around them warmer. If you use solid-fuel heaters you can even use ash to keep the certain plants warm.
Cover up your pond or any other body of water you have in your garden unless you have an actual river in your backyard. The cover will protect the water from debris piling up. Birdbaths are best emptied and covered up as if you are from an area with fierce winters, you can expect for any water left in it to freeze and break the bath.
One last piece of advice is to try and find evergreens which can fit your garden, particularly the ones that bloom. You do not want your garden to be a gloomy prospect so make sure there is some color in it all year round.
There are millions of people in the world who live with some degree of sight loss either from birth, or caused by an injury or old age. All of those people want both their indoor and outdoor spaces to be completely safe and secure so that they can be independent in them.
When it comes to outdoor spaces, visually impaired individuals need a space that’s free of clutter, well-lit and well-marked. Designing such a space doesn’t have to be difficult and expensive. It only needs some careful planning and a few useful tips that will allow their inhabitants to live and move more comfortably outside. Here’s how you can do it for your outdoor space.
Use Color as a Guide
Many legally blind people can see up to a certain point, and they can see bright colors and changes in lighting. These can help them as guides through their outdoor space.
The use of bright contrasting colors is especially helpful to partially-sighted people to differentiate between different areas and spaces. For instance, garden paths can be made out of red or orange pavers to provide a good contrast with green lawns.
You can also opt for outdoor furniture in different colors and textures to prevent bumping into it. If you have a green thumb, make sure all of your gardening tools are painted in bright colors that will make locating and identifying them much easier
Good organization and tidiness is the key safety element for people with complete blindness or visual impairments. If everything is nicely organized it’s easier to remember where everything is located.
You must always know where all your sharp gardening tools are, and you can even consider creating a database of your garden inventory. If you love to take care of your plants, you can create neat little labels for them in Braille or use vivid colors to make signs.
This way, each individual plant will get exactly the right care. Also, always know exactly where your fire extinguishers and telephones are when you’re outside.
In order to eliminate as many hazards as possible, make sure that your front yard and your garden are well maintained to avoid any inconvenience. Your outdoor paths should be wide and perfectly flat. As soon as you notice some bumps or broken pavers or bricks, have them removed and replaced. Additionally, try to keep your greenery well maintained, and avoid letting your plants overgrow and cause obstructions in the path or on the stairs. It’s way easier to move around without all these obstacles blocking your way.
Another thing you should consider is removing all cables and watering hoses from pathways. They can be hard to spot if you leave them on the ground, and you can easily trip or slip on them.
Lastly, you can secure the slippery surfaces with non-slip rubber matting and be sure that no matter the weather, the outdoor living space will be hazard-free.
Get Smart with Lighting
Visually impaired people greatly benefit from good lighting, so make sure to incorporate it in your outdoor spaces. If nothing else, at least illuminate your pathway and the entrance.
Also, pay extra attention to your stairs. Make sure to install LED lighted handrails and lights on each step. The best solution for your stairs are linear lights that are easy to install and offer great illumination.
Also, use better lighting near your outdoor furniture to make it easier to spot and avoid it.
The Importance of Handrails
Every set of stairs in your outdoor space should have sturdy handrails. You can even use linear lights and gently illuminate the handrail so you can spot it more easily.
Another great way to ensure outdoor safety is to put up rope handrails along your garden paths or use them to make barriers. Ropes look amazing in any garden, plus they can give you an additional sense of security.
If you implement these safety tips into your outdoor space, you or your visually impaired family members can enjoy it without any worries.
About the Author
Catherine is a passionate home design consultant from Melbourne. She loves making homes beautiful and buildings sustainable, but she also like sharing her advice and knowledge with people. That is why she is also a regular contributor to the Smoothdecorator blog. Besides all this, she loves reading and enjoys a superhero movie from time to time.
For most people home décor is not something they plan to change whenever a new style becomes trendy. But when decorating their home, the up-and-coming fashion will certainly be something they follow and respect. The catch though is that when you decorate after a while, you really don’t have to change everything to make your home trendy and fashionable, but just a few things here and there to refresh the look.
Therefore, check out these timeless décors which will keep your home always in style and admired.
1. Art is forever
Sure, many homes buy artworks just for decoration or because they are trendy at that moment, but if you want to save your budget from overspending on future décor, the simplest thing you can do is to make your art personal.
If you personalize the art in your home you will gain more than saved money - you will add emotional and personal value to those pieces and thus make it timeless. What you can do is upgrade it a little or refresh it, for example by changing frames on paintings or changing their places.
2. Natural materials
This year’s trends in interior design are all about organic environment, meaning that natural materials have become a highly desired commodity. Truth be told, they were always in, since the furniture, flooring and fixtures made of natural materials are considered to be of the highest quality. Marble, wood, leather, ceramic or terrazzo are all natural and will keep your house interior in good and long-lasting shape.
Their price may be a bit higher, but the quality is unprecedented and will also give a special charm to your home. The most interesting fact about these materials is that their worn out state or a few marks on the surface only add to their exclusivity
3. Built-in shelves
When you plan for storage space, think about built-in shelves. They are incorporated in the overall design and can easily adjust to any change. That’s why they’re the perfect and lasting solution for storing your books or other belongings, without having to buy new shelves.
The other plus is that they make your home look bigger and spacious, since they are out of the way, but also classy and cozy. For that extra added value, play with the symmetry or use a different color for their background.
4. Great lighting never goes out of fashion
One of the most important parts of any décor is lighting, and the best thing about it is that it never falls out of trend. Natural daylight is irreplaceable and the more you can invite into your home the better. Tall windows and a mirror positioned to reflect the light can do the trick.
Today, there are many great solutions on vertical blinds online and in stores which can dim sunlight and still let it brighten up the room. But if you don’t have too much sunlight, use lighter warm colors on walls and furniture which will brighten up the space.
5. Good old soaking tub
The one thing that seems to never go out of style is a bathtub. They have class, luxury and commodity that will last you a lifetime.
Freestanding tubs are a bonus, since they always breathe elegance into a bathroom. What attests to their popularity is the fact that they even make them for small bathrooms and with shower heads, all because people don’t want to stop soaking and enjoying the relaxation they provide. And if you choose those made of quality materials and by a renowned manufacturer, you’ll enjoy these benefits for a long time
When it comes to interior design, it’s all about that year’s trends and fashion. But even that big of an industry can’t deny the charm and magic of some vintage and everlasting pieces.
The best thing about that is that you don’t have to compromise the first time you decorate your apartment, or think about pieces of your home becoming obsolete. With just a few little adjustments they will not only fit right in with the new design, but also give it that extra spice to make it unique, original and only yours.
When you’re trying to make cozy and fully functional surroundings for people with low vision, there are some practices you should always keep in mind. These practices are considered as the universal design – the design that can be beneficial to all of the potential users of the space.
The main goal behind the principles of the universal design is to make everything accessible to people that have low vision. Setting a place for blind or visually impaired people doesn’t have to be impossibly hard. You just need to understand the basic needs of the potential space users and you need some time to plan out everything. Some of the things you can think about are smart use of lighting, contrast, colors, and space in general.
We’ve scoured the web and we have managed to gather some of the best suggestions you should keep in mind when thinking about readapting your space to fit the needs of visually impaired people. Hopefully, this article will point you in the right direction when it comes to home renovations needed for people with low or no vision, so without further ado, let’s jump in.
One of the biggest problems for the visually impaired people is moving around the place. It gets easier as they get used to space, but there are some things you can think about right from the start. First of all, you need a clear traffic area – a part of the house used for navigating. With clearly defined traffic area that has no obstacles along the way, it’s way easier for people with low vision to move around.
Rugs can be quite a nuisance for the visually impaired, as they practically represent an obstacle on their way. Make sure your rugs are taped down and immobilized, or even better, get rid of it. Another thing you should consider is removing all the electrical cords from pathways and hallways. You can tape them down, or lead them over the ceiling to avoid making any kind of obstacles for visually impaired people. Don’t wax the floors, use products that don’t make your floor glare and keep the chairs pushed under the desks and tables.
Take care of lighting
Visually impaired people, especially elderly people whose eyesight is not totally lost need a lot of lighting in order to function properly. Think about that when you’re designing your house interior. Keep in mind that any kind glare in any combination should be avoided, as it makes life more difficult for the visually impaired.
Use adjustable blinds and curtains so you can adjust the natural light more easily. Place the mirrors around the house in such a way so that they don’t reflect or create glares. Use the general light, but also use a number of smaller lamps around the house to make sure there are enough light sources. Also, use lighting near furniture so it’s easier to spot for people with vision loss.
If you’re living in a house, then there are some great things you can do to adapt it for people with vision loss. These modifications can prove to be beneficial to everyone, as you can both upgrade your household and help any household member that has impaired vision.
Think about changing your windows for bigger ones, and try to let as much light in as you possibly can. Another great thing is renovating your roof. As the roof is one of the most important parts of the house, you can add roof windows to let more light in, and while you’re at it, make sure it’s been painted properly to extend its lifetime. As the experts from ASAP Roof Painters in Sydney have noted – well-painted roof with enough roof windows can significantly elevate the value of your property.
Use color and contrast smartly
Using the color and contrast to your advantage can help you a lot when you’re visually impaired. Usually, people with vision loss can notice highly contrasted items, so place light objects in front of a dark background and dark ones in front of the lighter color. Make sure that the doorknobs are in contrast with the doors and mark all the steps and sharp edges with a contrasting color so they’re easier to spot.
So, as you can see, making house modifications that can significantly help people with impaired vision is not impossible. It requires quite some planning and it requires a full understanding of the needs that visually impaired people have. The process of adaptation is not that hard once you know everything that needs to be done.
Another really great thing about these house modifications is that they show you care and that support is what helps quite a lot of visually impaired people deal with anxiety and stress that follows the slow or total loss of vision. Hopefully, these guidelines will help you get a better picture of what’s really needed in the home of a visually impaired person.
Moving can get quite expensive, especially if you don't plan the relocation in advance. But moving a couple of times in a short period of time can really take a toll on your wallet.
Luckily, there are some easily applicable tips that you can use to save your money every time you relocate. And the more you move, the more you'll actually save.
Many relocation expenses are unavoidable, but we'll try to cover some of those that are not. So, if you're looking to move on a tight budget, read ahead!
Drop the Unnecessary Stuff
There probably won't be a better time for you to get rid of some extra stuff than when you're about to move. Plan your home ahead, because chances are that not all of your current stuff will fit in your new home, both aesthetically and physically.
Organizing a garage sale might earn you some extra money, and you'll still save on packaging and transportation costs for all the stuff that you don't take with you.
For old electronics, you can call the nearest recycling center and see if they would come to pick up your things. It's pretty straightforward, the less stuff you bring with you, the more money you're going to save.
Professional Movers Vs DIY
Professional movers cost money, that's true, but so does the DIY option. You plan on calling your friends and neighbors to help you pack? Good, but keep in mind that they need to eat and drink, and that costs money too. And so does renting a truck. Instead of assuming that hiring professionals is a more expensive option, plan the costs for both options and go with the cheaper one.
If you do decide to go with the pro-movers, it's important to schedule ahead because they can be quite busy and you don't want to delay or speed up your plans for them.
Whether you hired professionals or not, you'll want to deconstruct your own furniture, as you don't want to be paying the moving company additional fees for using a screwdriver. Instead of bubble wrap, you can use your old clothes to wrap the fragile items. You can use new stuff as well, but in that case, consider that you'll probably be washing quite a few batches of clothes, and that costs money too.
It's important to cushion everything because biggest expenses occur when something breaks. Even if you do go with the pros and their insurance covers it, sometimes money can't replace the value of a damaged item. So, cushion everything and do get good boxes, which is our next step.
Don't Buy Cardboard Boxes
Besides costing money, cardboard boxes don't offer much of a protection to the stuff you pack inside them. And even then, you'd need a whole lot of time just to tape all of them on the bottoms and the sides. As we said, if your expensive items get damaged, the cost of it will ruin your whole relocation process.
Instead, you can now rent moving boxes Sydney area went crazy about. Moving boxes made out of recycled plastic are much sturdier and offer better protection than cardboard, while also being eco-friendly. Once you've moved to your new home, you can call the company you rented the boxes from and they'll pick them up.
Make Inventory of Your Possessions
Losing an item or a whole box of items can be extremely frustrating, especially if you're not sure exactly what you lost.
Luckily, today you don't have to make inventories with a pen and paper system. Simply record while you're packing, or take photographs of every box that you packed.
If you've labeled your boxes already, you can just snap a photograph of the label and be done with it. It won't take more than a couple of minutes for you, and it can mean all the difference.
Consider Shipping Your Library
If you've got a lot of books, boxes containing them can be among the heaviest to move. Even if you've sold some on your garage sale, you're still likely to have some keepers. Consider shipping them, they will take a little longer to arrive, but it will definitely pay off because they are extremely heavy, but cost only around 10$ per box to ship across the country.
If you're unsure about this, make sure to calculate the gas expenses with and without books, since all the extra weight can increase these expenses substantially.
Enjoy Your New Home
While moving can be quite frustrating, time-consuming and expensive, it usually brings the state of relief when it's all over and you can relax in your new home.
If you've managed to save some money while moving, you can now use it to redecorate your new home and set it up to your liking.
Saving money can be a difficult process, but with some effort and good organizational skills, it definitely pays off once you're all done with it.
Many disabled people can safely and effectively look after themselves, while living independent lives, however, achieving the most effective home security can pose some extra difficulties to those with an impairment.
Burglars and home invaders are not the types of people that are likely to have qualms about victimizing a disabled person. However, with some diligence and planning, anyone, no matter what their disability, can achieve home security to an extremely high level. While everyone’s needs and abilities are different, some general tips have been outlined to stop intruders.
Keep Everything Within Reach
While most disabled people are mobile and self-sufficient, some may still find it difficult to reach key items. If locks and deadbolts are too high, then they need to be moved within easier reach. The same goes for an alarm system control panel. You should also keep a mobile phone within easy reach at all times.
Don't Be Afraid To Ask For Help
You may pride yourself on your independence, but that doesn't mean you can't ask others for help. A family member or friendly neighbor is always a great option to make the most of, especially if they have some basic DIY skills. They will be able to assist with installing a security camera, fixing windows or doors, or any other jobs.
Another benefit of having a good relationship with a neighbor is that you can call on them if there is anything suspicious happening on your property. If they are home they can be around in seconds to help. Most people are happy to do this, especially if it's only a few steps away.
If you truly feel like your home is about to be broken into, or somebody is already inside, then don't hesitate, call the police straight away. People who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing, or those with speech difficulties can text rather than call, however, they generally have to be registered for this service in advance.
Get A Professional Handyman
Your doors and windows are the key access points to your home. This means they should be sturdy and shut and lock securely. Now if you can't find someone to help with maintenance for your doors, windows, and locks, as well as other tasks, then just contact a professional. Make sure they understand any limitations you may have so that they can create the best solution for your situation.
Use A Security System
There are many security systems that are optimized for the disabled. For those with a sight impairment, there are voice activated systems. For those with hearing loss, it is possible to get a strobe light alarm. Regardless of what your disability may be, there is likely to be a system that you can use without issue.
Remember, you want to optimize the visibility of your property. It can be difficult for those with limited mobility to investigate suspicious occurrences. Setting up multiple security cameras can give a panoramic view of your property. The feed from these can be sent straight to a phone or computer. A video doorbell is also available which may help. This means you will know everything going on around your property, and when the doorbell rings you can see who is there no matter where you are in the house.
Consider A Dog
Dogs can have special benefits for disabled people, such as guide dogs for the blind, and service dogs for those with limited mobility. Not only can these dogs transform the life of a disabled person, but they can also provide invaluable home security. The sight or sound of a dog is generally enough to ward off most burglars, not to mention giving advance warning to their owner. If you already own a dog, then that's fantastic, if not, consider the ways they could potentially assist you, as well as improve your home security.
Don't Be A Victim
You want your home to be your castle, where you feel safe at all time. Just as you don't let your disability hold you back in other areas of your life, don't let it hold you back from achieving excellent security. Taking these tips into consideration is the first step on your path to optimizing your home for security, safety, and peace of mind.
About the Author:
Joanna Sommer is the Senior Editor for InformedMag and is passionate about security and tech. She has been working in the home safety and security field for 5 years. Joanna loves to travel and enjoys going to hot yoga and Barre classes. She is dedicated to creating articles that both educate and help people make an informed purchasing decision.