I always dreamed of having a Japanese garden where I could reflect, contemplate and have some serenity. I asked a landscape designer if I could have a Japanese garden in my small patio. She then showed me how to create a great Japanese garden in small space such as in a patio, balcony, rooftop or even indoors.
Creating your small Japanese garden
The Japanese view their home and garden to be one. They want to bring nature as close as they can to their homes. Most of us spend at least five months of the year inside our homes. It would be great to enjoy nature from inside our homes.
This is one of the practical benefits of having a Japanese garden in a small space very close to our home such as in a patio.
What you will need:
Here is what you need to do to create a Japanese garden in your patio.
#1. Enclosed Your Small Space
#2. Include the Element of Water
#3. Add in Stone Elements
#4. Add in Your Plants
Since most of your plants will be in pots or containers, soil mites may breed on them. They are very small creatures and you can easily miss seeing them. Nothing to worry though because they are not dangerous and will not cause any harm to your plants
With all the basic elements of water, stones and plants in place, you can now design the landscape of your patio Japanese garden based on your taste. It is important to note that a Japanese garden must at all times re-create nature.
Japanese gardens have become popular these days because they can be created in small spaces.
Some landscape designers would even argue that a small space is where you can create the best Japanese gardens. This is so because gardens in Japan’s residential districts are often smaller in comparison to that in the US.
Did you like the Japanese garden ideas I presented? Do you also have a Japanese garden in a small space? Share with us some of your ideas in the comments section.
About the Author:
Founder & Main Editor of AGreenHand
While living every day with severe hearing and vision loss, or learning how to cope with your new loss and be self-sufficient in your own home, adapting your living environment to accommodate your daily needs becomes paramount.
Among other rooms in the house that have varying hazard levels, the bathroom stands out as one of the most dangerous home environments for those with vision loss.
The bathroom regularly has slippery floors, handles, walls and other surfaces that a deafblind person might have a difficult time noticing. Moreover, standard bathroom amenities need to be replaced with adequate pieces that will help the deafblind individual stay safe and use the bathroom easily on a daily basis.
Here are the five essential bathroom adaptations for deafblind people.
Clean and Simple
The easiest and most affordable adaptation is regularly making sure your bathroom is clean and clutter-free in order to avoid the risk of slips and falls. One of your worst enemies is clutter, and it can accumulate quite fast if you’re not careful.
The first thing you need to do is to declutter your living environment, including the bathroom, and leave plenty of room for easy and safe maneuvering. Be sure to memorize where your bathroom necessities are and always put them back in their place after use. Remember, organization is key.
Start with the Flooring
When looking to introduce adaptations to your bathroom, you should turn your attention to the floors first. The floor can be the most dangerous part of your bathroom, so you want to make sure you introduce non-slip flooring, as well as non-slip mats in the shower and bath.
Another great way to increase the overall safety of your bathroom is to put non-slip fabrics on the edges of your bathroom amenities as well in order to be able to grab every surface without the fear of it being wet or slippery. Make sure you cover the vanity, and the bathtub.
Choose the right Amenities
Speaking of amenities, they need to be able to accommodate your specific needs. This means that you should choose sturdy and durable white baths that contrast the surrounding design, making them easier to locate and use. Likewise, you want to outline the vanity in a distinctive color in order to avoid slips and falls.
If you have storage space or electric appliances, such as the washing machine, in your bathroom, make sure you highlight all of the important areas in hues you can easily discern. You can even put markers on handles and buttons in order to be able to use your appliances with ease.
Colors and Contrasts
In order to transform your bathroom into a safe, warm, and friendly environment, you will need to use colors and contrasts to your advantage. It’s important to divide your bathroom into sections and give every detail its own distinctive color, or even group several different things under one hue.
This will allow you to use the power of contrasts to your advantage, and navigate your bathroom safely. In order to make contrasts work, you want to make sure the bathroom is adequately illuminated at all times.
Install Safety Features
Finally, if your loss is recent and you're still coping and learning to get around on your own, you may feel safer installing safety fixtures. Be sure to install handrails in the bath, the shower, and around the toilet and the sink. You also want to mount a durable seat in your bathtub in order to minimize the risk of injury.
Depending on the severity of your condition, you might also want to cover the rails and other safety fixtures with easily distinguishable color markers as well in order to avoid missing them by accident.
Living with vision and hearing loss doesn’t have to be an arduous task; in fact, by following these essential tips, you will have no problem transforming your bathroom into a safe, and serene oasis you can enjoy for decades to come.
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.
Everyone enjoys a good homemade meal, but before you can dig in, you have to prepare it first. Cooking can be a hard task, especially if you have vision or hearing loss. However, if you only make a few adjustments to your kitchen and get a few aids, you’ll be preparing delicious meals in no time.
Here’s what you can do to create a functional kitchen for people with vision and hearing loss.
If you want to make cooking and navigating your kitchen even easier, you might consider removing all sharp edges and opt for rounded tables and countertops. These will cause less painful bumps and fewer spills caused by bumping into something.
Also, pay attention to how you orient your pot and pan handles on the stove, since knocking them can cause severe burns. Additionally, make sure you don’t have any wires and cables over the floor because they can be serious trip hazards.
Smooth and shiny surfaces for countertops, flooring and appliances easily reflect light and create glare. Additionally, glass cabinet doors and clear glasses can also cause glare, but more importantly, they are completely invisible which makes them a hazard unless you mark them clearly.
Adjust the lighting
When you have vision loss, every space needs ample and appropriate lighting, especially a kitchen with all those knives and appliances. Increased illumination makes it easier for people with low vision to navigate their kitchen and prepare food.
On the other hand, poor lighting increases the risk of falls, bumps and even more serious accidents. So, your best bet is to invest in good lighting for your kitchen. Fluorescent strip lights with diffusers offer great distribution of light while spotlights direct ample light in all directions.
Also, bringing light closer to the task at hand is a great way to improve visibility. For instance, installing strip lighting under the kitchen cabinets will provide good lighting in the countertop area. You can also install some lighting in your cupboards and on the shelves for easier food identification. If you combine these lighting fixtures with some standard lamps and hanging pendants, you’ll get a well-illuminated space ready for meal prep.
Another way to make food preparation easier for people with vision loss is to create contrasts. Painting doors, cabinets and walls in contrasting colors with respect to the rest of the room will make them stand out more and make the space easier to navigate.
You can opt for neutral colors and go with dark colors against bright colors (black and white contrast, for instance) but combining darker and lighter shades of the same color can also work, it all depends on your vision level and your personal preference. You can also invest in appliances that have contrasting surfaces such as colorful Viking refrigerators that come in icy white, black, gray, red, blue and beige. Additionally, get contrasting cooking utensils, such as chopping boards, bowls and knives, which will also make it much easier to locate and handle them.
When choosing appliances, make sure they have some sort of contrast on controls to make setting the dials and pressing the buttons simpler. You can also use tactile markers, such as bump-ons or Velcro dots, and apply them to the controls.
Adapting the kitchen for hearing loss
People with limited or no hearing can also benefit from some easy kitchen adaptations. The main issue in the kitchen is the fire alarm. However, there are gadgets that will send visual signals instead of audio ones if there is a fire situation in the kitchen.
People who are deafblind can find vibrating pagers that will alert them of any kitchen happenings, from fire alarms to oven timers. All of these easy fixes will make cooking a much easier, safer and less stressful experience for people with hearing loss.
Don’t be afraid to venture into cooking waters. These kitchen safety tips will keep you safe, so all you need is some inspiration and a good appetite.
Finally, you have that dream car you have been waiting and saving for. You, however, need to maintain its value from the start, so act wisely now and don’t wait for when you want to sell it or gift it to start taking care of it.
Maintaining the value of your car shows how responsible you are and what your car truly means to you. Your car doesn’t lose value in one day, but rather over a prolonged period. You will eventually need to sell or trade in your car at some point, and you need its value to be higher for a variety of reasons, including trade in or resale. It will not be the same as when you bought it, but it will command a decent price.
So, let’s look at how we can keep the value high on that car.
Drive Your Car with Care
This may seem obvious, and we tend to think if we watch out during dangerous conditions or do the easy things like making sure we have the best windshield wipers for rain, we will be fine.
But that isn’t enough.
Don’t make it a habit to hard-drive your car; and if you can, don’t hard-drive it at all. It may seem to be fun, but you are accelerating wear and tear.
Car Wash Soap
You should never use household soap when it comes to car cleaning, always ensure you use proper car wash soap. This will help you maintain your car because it is mild and compliments the paint. Ensure you wash your car regularly, make it at least weekly and you will soon get into the routine.
Benefits of washing your car regularly with car wash soap include:
1. The car finish lasts extremely long
2. Your car appearance will always be in tip top shape – if it looks cared for on the outside, then it is likely to be cared for on the inside, and this means a lot to potential buyers.
You should also ensure that you clean up any stains as soon as they happen. Yes, cars are generally designed to resist stains, but it only works well if you clean the stains and spills immediately after they occur.
Keep Your Car in Your Garage
When you look at most houses, people tend to use their garage for everything else but not storing the car. Most people use it as storage and leave their cars in the driveway.
This is never a good idea because when your car is outside, it is exposed to the elements. Sunlight, heat, rain, cold, snowstorms, all these will make the value of your car to decline by putting wear and tear on the exterior. It happens so slowly that you may not notice immediately, but you will notice over time. The garage offers additional protection from debris and wayward items.
When it comes to cars, the mechanical problems always seem to be gradual and progressive. Have your car looked at by a reputable mechanic every so often, even when it seems to be working just fine?
You should also visit the mechanic every time there is anything unusual like noises. This will ensure your car engine always running quiet and smooth, helping to maintain your car’s value. The engine noises are always a cause for alarm and mostly signify huge problems.
Taking your car for regular tune-up will ensure you save a lot because repairing issues when they always begin costs less.
Regular Oil Changes
This is the easiest way to maintain your car value. This can prevent your engine from facing major problems and having an oil change is affordable costing about $40 per change.
Regular oil changes also ensure your car performance is always optimum.
Protect Your Vinyl Surfaces
If you live in places with a lot of heat and sunlight, your car surface will be destroyed and wear out quite quickly. Even though it does not mean your car has engine problems, the appearance makes it not look well maintained. This will have a negative effect on your car value.
You can easily maintain the vinyl surface of your car with protective products. Do this around twice a year, and your car will always look new and well maintained - after all, appearance is everything.
Wax Your Car
This always helps you maintain the color, and as you may know, the paint quality is what a potential buyer will look at first. Dull paint always creates an impression of poor maintenance and mechanical problems.
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.