Greening Your Home and Garden

The TV show “The World’s Greenest Homes” recently started me thinking about how can everyone make a contribution to reducing the carbon footprint.

The TV series mainly showed major renovations or new homes in which the owners made significant attempts to “go green”. Most folks are not in the position – they already have a home, and most likely a hefty mortgage that may preclude incorporating the changes and ideas promoted by the TV show.

However, the need for greening your home and garden is an imperative for all – and so the impact of even simple, small steps can have a real impact.

Just imagine if all homes in the USA converted their light bulbs from incandescent to compact fluorescent ones – not only are they energy-smart, using about 70% less energy, they last up to ten times longer.

Such a small step could have huge impact because of the sheer volume! And, then there is the ripple effect – less energy used – less fossil fuels consumed – less carbon emissions from power stations – and, BINGO! – cleaner air.

And, the cost is not really greater than the usual light bulb replacement – so your pocketbook is saved.

Now imagine if everyone also made a serious attempt at recycling – green materials to the compost heap, keeping electronics out of the trash bin, glass and plastics into recycle bins….. yes, it is a bit of a pain…. but it is not a total change of lifestyle that’s required, but more an understanding of what, you the homeowner, can do to help….. and, IT IS NOT NEGLIGIBLE.

It was suggested that if everyone in say the UK just changed 5 household products from their usual brands to eco-friendly ones the difference would be huge.

Other steps like low flow shower heads, dual flush loos, repairing leaky faucets, installing more ceiling fans, using a water filter to purify tap water instead of buying bottled water….. none of these will run your budget into the red or be beyond the average household capacity.

If you are ever in a position to undertake a major home renovation or build a new house – do watch that TV show – yes, there is a lot of info on the internet, but the TV series will show things in context and also many different applications and ideas that can be adapted. Just Google to find the TV show.

For that matter, you can even get ideas from it for smaller budgets.

The good news is that whatever you do choose it will make a contribution to a cleaner planet and, especially in regard to energy efficiency choices you will significantly reduce your utility bills and the consumption of fossil fuels.

The Eco Friendly Home should not just be a dream or an ideal. It ought to be a goal for all householders – even if only on a small scale.

See part two of this article called “The Eco Friendly Garden”

Make Your Home and Garden Your Own

There are lots of articles and even “how to” videos around regarding home and garden design tips. A recurring theme is to tie the patio décor with the colors and textures of the inside of the house. Of course, you will not put a second expensive living room couch outdoors… perhaps get a rattan piece in a similar color and design for the patio. Theme lanterns that project a pattern can reflect interior décor. You get the idea.

But, what do you do with a yard that is not necessarily flat or does not fit the traditional shape and size dimensions that are in the magazines???

Give it some character. Of course, tie it to the home interior with colors, woods, and materials as much as is practical. However, creating a terrace -or a series of them- can take a nightmare yard and turn it into something exclusively yours.

Elevating and leveling areas with various materials such as wood decking, concrete, or paver stones will give your patio area a character all its own. A series of steps up to a seating area with comfortable patio furniture surrounding a fire pit is one idea. Embedding lighting on the path and steps will keep everyone safe.

A structurally sound terrace can hold an outdoor spa and a privacy wall with weather protection can hold a big screen TV and outdoor stereo system. If your spa area is already above the level of the patio or entry you can add a level in between to dry off and ease the trek back to the patio.

Your outdoor cooking area can be on its own level with your barbeque, preparation tables, and built in refrigerator grouped together for cooking ease.

Garden fountains are another way to give your outdoor environs some character. There is something calming and serene about flowing water. These are available in lots of sizes and configurations and can be installed easily. Fountains have been common garden pieces for centuries and will add a level or 2 to basic patio or garden décor.

Garden statues and sculptures are another way to set your outdoor environment apart from the others. These can be historical replicas, religious, or any style that fits with your overall plan. Outdoor lighting can add dramatic effect to both fountains and outdoor sculptures and keep folks from walking into them in the dark.

Not all of us stay in our homes forever like many of our parents did. With current economic factors a move for a job change or educational opportunity is always a possibility. Or over time the home outgrows you as the kids grow up and move away. Keeping your patio and garden area design consistent with the overall home aura will help increase its value. Too eclectic a design can take it the other way. If your prospective buyer does not share your taste, the cost of your former pride and joy removal will be included in their offer. So, make it your own-but stay with the style and feel of the rest of your property.

So, make your space your own. Have it mirror your taste and attitudes. Use ideas like terraces and lawn pieces to make your yard and patio an area that is cozy, comfortable, and the best place for family and friends to gather for summertime fun.

Pest Control Breakthrough in the Never Ending Battle around Home and Garden

Since I am not only an avid gardener, but also much concerned about the environment, I’m always looking for safe methods to grow plants including pest control in home and garden.

Think about pest control and how it works: We spray chemicals on plants or pests and the bugs die or stop reproducing because the chemicals are toxic to them. Unfortunately, many of these products are also toxic to humans and animals. Reading warning labels on pest control products makes you wonder why anybody would want to risk using them. Exposure to the fumes of these products can result in headaches, feelings of nausea and other discomfort Pesticide use can also results in chronic illness such as allergies, in miscarriages, sterility, cancer and even death.

We not only spray and fumigate in home and garden, we also apply bug killing toxins on our pets and expose them and ourselves non stop to a variety of chemicals to kill fleas, ticks and more.

Over the years, I have had some success with such Earth friendly things as vinegar, diatomaceous earth, garlic, cayenne pepper and Saver Soap in my never ending battle with bugs that invade home and garden. My quest also led me to pure essential oils which repel or kill bugs, yet are actually healthful to people and their pets.

Experimentation lead to the discovery that if the oils are used undiluted, they repel the pests, but if the oils are mixed with water, they often become “insecticides”. In other words, if you like to repel insects from entering your home, you can do that by putting a few drops of the appropriate oil on your fingers or some other applicator and then brush or spray the oil along the line of demarcation such as a windowsill, a door jamb, or other point of entry.

To kill or disable pests, mix a few drops of a specific oil with water in a spray bottle, shake frequently and aim at the pests. For example, to discourage aphids and ants from roses and other plants, generously spray infested plants with the mix. While the pests will leave or fall off, there is no harm done to the plant itself. (Best not to do that in mid day when temperatures go above 100 degrees F.)

You can keep ticks, chiggers and fleas off yourself and your pets when in the outdoors by using the appropriate oils. Either spray on exposed areas or rub on cuffs around neck, wrists and ankles. Avoid using oils near the eyes. Should you get oils in the eyes, dilute with vegetable oil – NOT with water. If an oil should be too strong for the user, experiencing a slight discomfort, apply a little vegetable oil to dilute. For your pets, you can put recommended oils around the neck, legs and along the back, but keep oils from around the eyes and other tender areas.

If an oil should be too strong for the user, apply a little vegetable oil on the area to dilute.

The following oils have been used successfully in the elimination of pests from home and garden:

ANTS: Peppermint, Spearmint

APHIDS: Cedarwood, Hyssop, Peppermint, Spearmint

BEETLES: Peppermint, Thyme

CATERPILLARS: Spearmint, Peppermint

CHIGGERS: Lavender, Lemongrass, Sage, Thyme

CUTWORM: Thyme, Sage

FLEAS: Peppermint, Lemongrass, Spearmint, Lavender

FLIES: Lavender, Peppermint, Rosemary, Sage

GNATS: Patchouli, Spearmint

LICE: Cedarwood, Peppermint, Spearmint

MOSQUITOES: Lavender, Lemongrass

MOTHS: Cedarwood, Hyssop, Lavender, Peppermint, Spearmint

PLANT LICE : Peppermint, Spearmint

SLUGS: Cedarwood, Hyssop, Pine

SNAILS: Cedarwood: Pine, Patchouli

SPIDERS: Peppermint, Spearmint

TICKS: Lavender, Lemongrass, Sage, Thyme

WEEVILS: Cedarwood, Patchouli, Sandalwood

I like to add these cautions about essential oils: Not all essential oils on the market are safe. Many are diluted with harmful chemicals. Many essential oils are ineffective due to the way they are processed. Please make sure that you use safe, pure, properly distilled oils.

Copyright (c) 2007 Elisabeth Mcgill

Home and Garden Drop Shipping and Online Shopping

Drop shipping is a modern type of online shopping that is fast becoming popular across advanced nations. It is the process by which an online seller will sell goods to buyer without actually handling the goods. The seller will contact the supplier of the products and these will then be shipped to the buyer by the supplier.

Drop shipping home and garden products is catching on. It is a popular method by which small businesses and online stores manage to do business with their customers. A trader will either open a shop and stock items for display only, a customer will visit the premises, view the items available for sale by inspecting the display items. If they like the products, then they will purchase them and the goods are delivered by the supplier to the given address. Other traders use online websites where they advertise various products on the website. Once an interested buyer makes a purchase of any items online, the trader will send a request to their supplier for a delivery to the customer’s address.

There are a growing number of people who love shopping for products online. Such products may include household goods, gadgets and increasingly home and garden equipment, especially larger items which can be difficult to get home. For homeowners looking to purchase home and garden equipment such as lawnmowers, gardening tools, fertilizer or seeds, there are many wholesale suppliers that can dropship these products to their doorstep if they purchase them online. There are several benefits to this type of shopping. It is a convenient way for home and garden enthusiasts to have their favourite gardening tools and materials delivered to their doorstep. It is much better than having to move around with a heavy load of watering cans, wheelbarrows and similar items strewn in the car or a taxi. This method of shopping also introduces newer products to home and garden lovers which they would otherwise not have been aware of.

The list of products available to buyers of home and garden products is extremely large. Customers can now buy almost anything online, from a ride-on lawnmower to a pack of seeds. The best place to visit would be online sites that undertake dropshipping. Once on the website, a customer should look at the products available and search for their preferred items. Prices for the various items are displayed. It is important to ensure that the prices are defined as inclusive of delivery so that there are no later charges. Buyers should also ensure that they provide a correct address so that the delivery is made promptly. Mistakes in a residential address may result in non-delivery of items or other unfortunate incidences.

Traders looking to enter the dropshipping business can contact the various companies that offer this service. It is an easy and convenient way of setting up a business. Many manufacturers are happy to enter into agreements with traders as they receive extra business which means extra profits. There are some agreements that will be entered and some fees paid. There is also a list of manufacturers and wholesalers who offer various products. A trader can then choose from a list which suppliers and manufacturers they would wish to work with.