Getting in Touch with Nature at Your Own Home 

Being able to spend some time in the open and enjoy nature is one of the most special feelings in the world. But if you do that in the comfort of your own home, it’s even better! If you’re one of those lucky people who live in a home that’s surrounded by a front and back yard, you simply have to make the most of it. Therefore, here are some of the best ways to get in touch with nature at your own home. 

Spice up your porch

Some people have a problem spending quality time in their front yard because they feel that everyone who passes by is able to see them. But if you design and build a great porch, you could be spending all your free time here – alone or with other people. You and your family could start having your meals there, or you could have a cup of coffee with your friends. Ultimately, you can even take a nap here or enjoy your books, but the most important thing is that you’ll be spending more time in the open than ever. 

Fix your deck

If you’re not a fan of letting random passers-by see you in your private moments, you can always introduce a totally different idea. Making the most of your backyard and giving your deck a brand new life is always a great choice. You don’t have to hide in your living room all summer long but instead, enjoy the outside area. From boosting your motivation to helping you discover a new hangout place, you’ll certainly get in touch with the nature around you. Instead of being stuck in dark, gloomy, improperly illuminated and poorly ventilated spaces, you’ll be surrounded by trees, fresh air, and lots of sunshine, which is great for your health, both mental and physical.

Regulate the exposure

Speaking of sunshine, you have to remember that not just any amount will do, no matter how amazing and healthy this is. Too much sunshine might harm you, especially if you’re living in a hot region with lots of sunny days on a yearly level. That’s why people living in places like Australia, for instance, might look into those handy shade sails that don’t just make your home more visually appealing but also help you connect to nature in a more meaningful way. Being able to spend time protected against too much sunshine will help you fall in love with your outdoor space again and again, and that’s always great.

Add more plants

In case you can’t or don’t want to spend time outside, you can always do the same in the comfort of your own home. Instead of going out, you could bring nature in, and turn your home into an oasis you can enjoy every day of the week. You just need to find some of the most durable house plants and incorporate them into every corner of your home. These will purify your indoor air, give your home a more natural look, boost your motivation, help you wake up in the morning, and turn into the focal points of your indoor space. You could also combine these with some eco-friendly décor, and take the green potential of your home to a much higher level.

As you can see, getting in touch with nature at your own home isn’t as hard or challenging as people generally think. It’s all about finding the right ideas and figuring out a way to make them work in your own space. And if you manage to do so, you too could start enjoying nature straight away!

Move Your Garden for Following Winter!

Being a fan of flowers and plants is a great thing, and that’s a hobby that can make you happy all year long. Still, lots of gardeners have a problem once the winter comes – most of their delicate plants and flowers don’t react well to low temperatures, and that’s why they have to do something about it. Reacting on time and moving your plants before it’s too cold is the only way to save them and avoid a disaster. If you too are thinking about doing that as well, here are a few tips that might help you.

Start on time

As mentioned before, moving your plants on time is the only way to keep them safe, but when is the right time to do so. Different people have different schedules, but if you want to listen to the experts, you have to know that they suggest doing so before the outdoor temperature drops below 45° F. Since temperature varies from one place to the next, you should keep track of the temperature at your home every single day and react as soon as it drops below 45° F. But, if you prefer having tropical plants, you might consider moving them even before, just to make sure they survive the cold weather.

Find the right place inside your home

Winter garden

Moving your plants in your home is a simple and easy task, but it needs to be done carefully and delicately. What’s even more important is to find the right spot for your plants. What most people do is move them into their bedrooms and living rooms, because these are the biggest rooms in their homes. However, bigger isn’t always better, and that means your living room might not be good enough for your plants. You need space that has lots of light, which is particularly vital in the winter, as well as the proper level of humidity that should help your plants live through the cold days. This means you may have to move your plants to your hallway, your dining room, your study, or even your kitchen, so keep an open mind.

Think outside the box

Speaking of areas where you can move your plants, you should take outdoor areas into consideration as well. These may not seem like the perfect choice at first, but actually, make a lot of sense in the long run. Places like decks, patios, and porches might look much better and more visually appealing if they’re full of plants and flowers, so you need to remember that too. You should also consider looking into those amazing sheds that can be quite versatile as well. Since they come in different shapes and sizes, you’ll soon realize why the best solution are sheds that aren’t just protective, but also durable, so your plants and flowers will be protected all winter long.

Keep taking care of your plants

Garden of Morning Calm

Taking care of your plants in the winter is the only way for you to save them, but if you move them in, you’ll have to adjust your maintenance schedule. Luckily, there are a few methods that should prove to be just enough, so be sure to explore these first. Start by adjusting your watering routine and water your plants less frequently. However, you should try to improve the humidity in your home because that’s more important than watering. Finally, adjust your indoor temperature and make sure your living space is full of natural sunlight too.

Moving your plants in before the winter might take some time and energy, but if you do everything right, you’ll be able to continue enjoying your plants in the spring as well – and that’s something all homeowners want!

 

What to Consider When You Hire a Pest Control Professional

Dealing with pests is one job that isn’t much fun. Most times, it’s best you hire a professional to help out than handling it by yourself. And if the infestation worsens or the control products needed are only available to authorized personnel, then you don’t have many options.

Here are some things to consider when hiring a pest control officer.

1. The company

The first thing you want to consider when hiring a pest control professional is the type of company. According to Brisbane Bennetts Services Pest Control, you’ll need to find out if the company is insured and bonded, to stay protected against liability. To go about this, visit their website and ask lots of questions.

From your research and findings, you’ll be able to determine if they are knowledgeable and professional enough to control the pest situation for you.

2. The technician

The technician you hire is perhaps the most important consideration to keep in mind. Even after selecting a pest control company you feel is right for you, you still have to confirm if the technician is perfect for the situation.

Before allowing any technician into your home, ask for their license, certification, and identification, and make sure they are all current. Every state mandate that pest control technicians be certified, so there’s no excuse for not having these requirements. The growing number of providers increases the chance that many are not certified, as only technicians who haven’t participated in the annual training have outdated licenses.

3. How knowledgeable the sales representative or technician is

If you just discovered pests in your home, you’ll have lots of control questions to ask. And what better people than technicians and sales representatives to answer them? It’s okay to not know everything since there are so many aspects of pest control. However, a basic understanding of what needs to be done and how the control process will occur is crucial information every technician and sales representative must know.

4. Professional appearance

An aspect of quality that every service company must have is the right appearance. Indeed, most people decide on who they hire based on what they can see and deduce from the technician. Their overall appearance, truck, and equipment must be clean and professional.

5. Price

A low-priced service is perhaps not the best deal, and neither is an expensive one. The ideal price is somewhere in the middle, and the best way to find it is to compare it with the price of other companies. In your search for the right pest control professional to pick, don’t compromise quality for the price.

6. References

What other people have to say about a business or service greatly affects the number of customers they’ll have. Therefore, before you go about ringing a pest control company, ask your neighbors and friends for referrals. You can also check your state’s pest control association. If you don’t seem to find anything, then ask the provider directly for referrals.

7. Contract details

Like in any other service business, ensure you discuss contract details at the onset. You should not assume that the frequency of care is known to the technician or sales representative. Make sure you read carefully through the contract and ask the right questions before you go on to sign it.

8. Chemicals

Chemicals for elimination are usually the most used. However, the technician should be open to discussing their adverse effects and whether non-chemical options are available. In either case, the container should be clean and have a professional appearance. A Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) should be provided upon request for every chemical used.

9. Service

Before going on to carry out any service, ensure that you discuss with the technician, and they are fully aware of what the problem is. After this discussion, the technician should inspect your property to determine the best plan of action.

10. Documentation

The technician should be able to provide you with a report after the process has been completed. Also, any follow-up action and customer advice should be included to ensure your house and property remains pest-free.

11. Guarantee

A sign of a good pest control company is in its ability to give its customers a guarantee for its services. You should read this guarantee carefully to know when you can invoke it, what it covers, what you need to do to keep it, and how long it lasts for.

In conclusion

If pests or rodents have recently infected your home, then seeking professional help is a smart decision to make. With their advanced equipment and expertise, you should be assured of a complete and proper inspection of your property and the control of pests in it.

Ensure your checklist all the things to consider we have included in this article against your potential pest control professionals.

How to Design an Eco-Friendly Backyard Kitchen

Are you looking to create an amazing backyard kitchen but worrying about the environmental impacts? Maybe you’ve heard horror stories about the carbon footprint created by an outdoor garden. For example, this article compares a family BBQ to a 90-mile car journey!

In our post, we’re looking at a backyard kitchen, and how you can make one that is both fun and eco-friendly.

Collect Water

You can’t use rainwater for everything in your outdoor kitchen, but it is environmentally friendly to collect water and use it where possible.

For instance, if you’ve chosen an outdoor pavilion as the setting for your backyard kitchen, you could use the rainwater to wash this down or clean the floor if it gets muddy.

This water shouldn’t be used for cooking. However, you can also use it to help with the next tip.

Use Your Garden to Produce

backyard-img-2

 

You can produce fruit and vegetables from your garden. This has lots of benefits, one of which is the fact that it is more eco-friendly. You can ensure that pesticides aren’t used on your produce.

Also, you can avoid the environmental impacts of food having to be shipped from other places. If you buy food from the supermarket, it could even come from abroad. The shipping impact can be huge. Many companies aren’t worried about the environmental impact, they just worry about the bottom line and if they are making a profit.

If you can grow the same produce at home you can do your bit in protest to the shipping, which can be Co2 heavy. Sadly, relying on the supermarkets and their providers to be eco-friendly is not an option.

Also, you will then have the opportunity to share. This is another way to be environmentally friendly. Why don’t you and your friends all grow something different and share with one another? This way you have variety and you’re staying eco-friendly.

Another great thing about creating products in your garden is the chance to experiment. You can find out what grows in your local area and then grow fruit, veg, and herbs which can be a part of your cooking experiments. The fact that the veggies or herbs can be right next to your cooking space in your backyard kitchen can make using this product even more convenient.

Natural Gas Grills and Solar Cooking

You may have heard that a charcoal BBQ or smoker, or even an electric grill is pretty bad for the environment. This is 100% correct. This study shows that both propane and charcoal BBQs emit CO2 comparable to car journeys.

Of course, some people argue that you can’t beat the flavor of smoked or grilled food, and you shouldn’t always deprive yourself. However, there are some great alternatives out there.

For example, a natural gas grill is the most environmentally friendly way to have a traditional BBQ.

However, you can go for a method even more eco-friendly.

Many people are turning to solar cooking. This technology embraces the sun’s rays to cook your food in an outdoor space, often over a long period of time. A parabolic cooker can get all the way up to 400 degrees F (204 degrees C) so you can bake or “fry” food.

Solar Power Wherever Possible

As well as solar cooking, you can embrace solar power for the other aspects of your backyard kitchen. Why not install some solar lights around it? This can be a great way to avoid using electricity which can be bad for your carbon footprint.

There are more solar lights available than ever before and you can get string lights among other designs. You shouldn’t be stuck for choice when looking for solar lighting.

In addition, you can install solar generators that can be used to power appliances. You may have thought blenders and food processors were for indoor kitchens, but with a generator providing power outside you could even make a smoothie in your backyard using just solar power to run your blender.

Make Compost from Your Kitchen

You can complete the eco-friendly circle by making your own compost. Your backyard kitchen can incorporate a compost bin and any leftovers and waste which is suitable for composting can be put into the bin.

Include a compost starter and over time you will end up with compost that you can use for your plants, flowers, or vegetable patch. Obviously, you should keep this away from food prep areas as it can be smelly and a little unpleasant.

Repurpose Materials

When building your outdoor kitchen you should be aware of the environmental impact of this, too. If the actual building of the kitchen is not eco-friendly then the benefits of your outdoor kitchen may have been outweighed.

A surprising amount of materials can be salvaged. Chairs can be upcycled, wood can be taken from salvage yards to create tables. There are many ways you can build your outdoor kitchen without having to use materials that are a drain on the environment. Steer clear of plastics, especially single-use plastics.

Repurposing can be a fun project as well as being good for the environment.

Conclusion

Have you enjoyed our guide to creating an eco-friendly backyard garden? Are you inspired to do your own outdoor cooking? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

It’s Time for Some Garden Care – Tips to Enhance Its Beauty

Beautiful gardens soothe our senses. Lush greenery is like a refreshment for the soul. And for those who love gardening and maintaining their own piece of lush green gardens, this process is like therapy. It takes weeks, sometimes months, to grow a seed into a plant and then take care of it so it can blossom into a thing of beauty.

Just like the rewarding bit of gardening, there is the constant worry to take care of plants and secure them for weatherly and other external factors. If you live in an area where weather changes are massive, your plants have to be taken care of in a way that they can sustain the weather. There are many other situations that can steal the beauty of your garden if you are not vigilant.

So, for the vigilant gardener who is constantly on their toes, we have some garden care tips and tricks today. Go for a walk around the neighborhood and good gardens will catch your eye almost instantly. Here is where you start taking inspiration and apply things to your garden that you may have overlooked earlier.

1. Weeds:

Where there is a garden, there will be weeds. You have to keep an eye out for these little intruders, as they can destroy your plants in days. The first and the foremost tip for staying secure from weeds is to plant your seeds densely to remove the least space for weeds to grow.

Since weeds steal the food and water of your normal plants, they need to be eliminated as soon as you spot one. However, that’s not enough during seasons like spring when pollens are flying around in large quantity. In this case, you can use a product which is similar to bed bug spray but is to be applied to plants and plant beds. It is a spray-on formula which is easy to use and gets the job done in minutes.

Moreover, the use of mulch stops weeds from growing, and if the weeds still keep growing, use a weeding trowel to uproot them and clear the mess.

2. Lawn maintenance:

Firstly, you have to monitor the temperature around your lawn to enhance the growth of all plant species. For example, temperatures around 26 degrees Celsius are good for plants, but anytime it shoots above 30 degrees, plants will suffer.

In case it gets this hot, don’t cut your grass to short and leave it to grow around 5 centimeters. This will prevent the soil from getting dry and affecting the grass. The best time to water your grass is from 4 to 8 in the morning. You can do this manually or buy a computer based trigger system that turns the sprinklers on.

When watering manually or putting sprinklers, remember the formula is to use 10 to 15 liters of water per square mile, and anything less or more will destroy the grass. One of the major reasons for plant deaths is over watering! Timely maintenance and monitoring is the key to lawn maintenance.

3. Flower beds:

Every gardener loves flowers. They look pretty to the eyes and their view in full bloom in unmatched. When watering your flower beds, keep the soil evenly moist and not too overdone. Water them only 1 to 2 times each week, and that’s it.

In the case of watering plants, it is better to water them in the morning or evening because the chance of evaporation is lesser than day time. Avoid putting water on the leaves and above the plant as it can lead to mold formation, which looks disgusting in a pretty garden. Water gently to avoid damaging the leaves and sensitive flowers.

If you are going away from the house for a long time or travel frequently, you can try an irrigation system. Irrigation system regulates the amount of water in the soil and maintains it. The soil can get more or less water from this, depending upon the need.

Other tips:

  • Sugars left in your plant compost invite annoying little bugs and flies. Don’t spill tea or coffee in the lawn, because it can result in a fly attack!
  • Your plants are alive. When you are off for a vacation, they need the same amount of care. When you go, make sure someone is looking after the plants, or you can deploy a computer based system that waters the plants
  • Plants take time to adapt their leaf structure based on each surrounding, so make sure you don’t move them a lot and let them settle into a good spot
  • You can create a mini garden indoors! Design experts suggest little hanging planters or succulent plants that require lesser water, not much mud and still grow beautifully. Make sure you read up on mini gardens before taking the project
  • Keep pruning your plants to stop them from being leggy. Because once the foliage on their lower branches falls, it is impossible to grow it back
  • Add lights to enhance the beauty of your lawn or garden! The lights falling on leaves and flowers enhance their beauty
  • Add fun little elements to your lawn or garden, like little ceramic birds or wooden gazebos to compliment the greenery. Make sure you choose a size that suits your space
  • Stay safe using potting mix

Last word:

Wherever you live, garden care is required according to the climate and other factors. It is like a hobby of a lifetime that turns into a daily duty if you are dedicated. That’s why people with stress or chronic depression are often asked to invest their time in gardening because it is a fruitful project (pun intended).

With the right gardening tools and the right amount of care, gardening blesses you with organic produce, good looking flowers and amazing greenery. So, if you have started or are starting soon, it is time to make your little spot the eye candy of the neighborhood! Let us know if you have any more questions regarding bug prevention or monitoring the weather, we will respond to comments.

Author Bio:

About Michelle Joe: Michelle Joe is a blogger by choice. She loves to discover the world around her. She likes to share her discoveries, experiences, and express herself through her blogs. You can find her on twitter: @michellejoe524

The Environmental Impact Of Decreasing Bee Populations

As a species, human beings are beginning to wake up to the importance of insects to our planet and our ecosystem. And most importantly, people are gradually leaning that bees, in particular, are vital to the human race and our world. But why are bee populations decreasing?

Reports of bees dying off are becoming more and more frequent, and a lot more alarming in recent years. Bees are an important part of global food production, so for them to die out would be a huge problem. This is why pest control experts like Catch-it in East London, when carrying out stinging insect pest control, will typically just relocate bees’ nests, and not exterminate them.

Distribution maps of bees are showing major decrease in the range of bees covering the planet, and in some places they are completely extinct. There are more and more reports of widespread die-offs, with honeybee hives being abandoned after colony-collapse disorder. But why are the bees dying, and what will the consequences be?

A diet without any bee related, insect-pollinated food would be short on a lot of nutrients, and make life pretty boring. And there are some reasons for why this may become an issue in the future.

Worldwide, there is less land available to support the bees. Farmland is being stripped of everything but the crops that will make the cash, so there is no flowery food for bees. In many developed countries there’s just nowhere left for bees to go.

Another problem is that honeybee diseases are spreading. Hives are being shipped all over the world, and stowaway bacteria, fungi and parasites go with them. These diseases lead to colony-collapse disorder.

Intensive farming using fungicides herbicides and pesticides has also affected the bees. At certain doses, particular pesticides can be incredibly harmful to honeybees, even causing death.

A combination of all of these problems are causing a worldwide loss of bees. More and more studies are being done so that we can save the honeybee from going completely extinct. A lot of what is to blame will remain a mystery, but if we can change some of the problems then the honeybee can be saved.

The Effects Of Pesticides On Bees Worldwide

A particular pesticide group called neonicotinoid (NNI) has made its way onto crops worldwide. Whilst these pesticides protect the crops, and are most commonly used on rape seed, the impact of them may be affecting the bees. Pest control should be for pests, and bees are far from it.

When these chemicals are applied to crops, they are absorbed into the plant, making everything including the pollen and nectar poisonous to insects. However scientists have said the NNI have had a great environmental impact on plants and animals.

The loss of bees is potentially damaging to the agriculture because of the role they play in pollinating our plants. The chemical NNI was being used a lot in the 2000s, but the EU banned it from April 2013. Whilst Britain comply with this ruling, they don’t agree with the science behind the problem.

Concern has been mainly focused at the honeybee because their population has declined by around 25% in the last few years. Numerous studies have directly linked bee death to the use of NNI. Loss of habitat and changing land can also be attributed to the bee population decreasing.

Researchers claim that neonicotinoids interfere with a bee’s brain, which limits their ability to learn and remember what food they should be eating. The pesticide has been linked to a sort of bee epilepsy, and breeding activity has also been reduced.

Critics have claimed that a ban on the use of NNI would put crops at risk and harm the economy. Chemical firms think it is unnecessary, and they don’t want to lose out on profits.

In light of the government not being too keen on the ban of these bee-killing pesticides, who knows what legislation may come into play over the next few years. One thing is for sure, bees need to be protected and saved.

Gardeners, Pay Attention – Neglect of Tree Pruning Task May Prove Costly Later On

Tree pruning is a job to which home gardeners rarely give any attention until some mishap occurs or neglect has resulted in serious damage.

With trees the most valuable asset of the garden such indifference is inexcusable. It may involve a considerable expenditure which could easily have been avoided.

Why It Is Important

In order for the relationship between human and trees to coexist smoothly, tree pruning is necessary. It is also a part of taking care of a tree so that the tree will be healthy and achieve its optimum yield.

Basically, you don’t go about pruning your tree just because you feel like you want to do it. Many experts believe there’s a right time to prune a tree.

Such practice includes cutting of dead branches or overgrown branches that cause risks to human lives. It is also a good way to beautify your garden, as you will be able to shape or direct the growth of a tree.

Newly planted trees needed special attention to make them grow into what the gardener visualized when they were set out. This applies particularly to the smaller sizes chosen primarily for their low cost. With the dormant season a good time for pruning, it behooves the gardener to spend at least a few minutes in studying their development.

The most important decision to be made concerns the height of the trunk from the soil level to the lowest limb. As a rule, eight feet is the minimum branching height but, depending on the kind of tree, it could be several feet more. Eventually, all branches below that height must be removed. They are removed over a period of years, beginning with the lowest one.

Read also: 5 Most Popular Ideas To Decorate A Garden Window

Crown Development

Once the desired trunk height has been achieved, the crown development becomes very important.

Unless the ultimate goal is a rather tall tree, the reader may have to be removed after enough branches have formed to provide a good round crown in which the branches radiating from the center are well spaced so that none interferes with any other. The branches also must stand well apart on the trunk to give them strength.

Furthermore, most trees are improved if the side branches are cut back to a third of their length when they measure five to six feet in height. This encourages the development of secondary branches, which not only give the crown increased density but distribute the weight and strain more evenly.

Some trees endure severe topping quite well, among them the buttonwoods, Carolina poplar, some maples and certain willows. Municipal trees in small parks often are treated that way to make them conform to the allotted space, but it robs them of their natural grace. This invariably should be followed by severe thinning of the many shoots that emerge near each cut.

Reveals Faults

Established trees should be put under close scrutiny after the leaves have fallen. At that time the branch skeleton stands out clearly against the sky and reveals faults that have developed.

Some trees are inclined to develop a great many slender branches, among them the sugar maple. Early reduction to half of their number, or even less, increase the spacing and forces the food into the remaining ones, with the result that they gain in girth and provide a better basis for a strong and attractive tree. If this is done while the tree is still relatively young, virtually no disturbance is caused to the balance between roots and top.