A Pet Owner’s Guide to Home and Garden Ideas

Plenty of homeowners are often at a loss as to how to decorate their homes and gardens when they have pets around. There are just so many things that can go wrong when you have animals in the area and these are things that you have to factor in when thinking of your home and garden design. To keep a pet safe to roam inside your home and your garden, you need to think about them when conceptualizing your home and garden design. It will be good also to do some research on ways to keep your place pet friendly, and maintain a balance between what is safe and what is beautiful.

Most pet owners try to come up with various home and garden ideas to keep their places safe for the pets. While you can find so many from different sources, you still need to be careful especially with those that are yet to be tested. There are people who think that animals can tell what plants are harmful and will therefore not eat them but this is a myth. You will be better off making sure that all plants you place in the vicinity of your pets are safe for them. Some pets would chew on the plants because they are not aware of the potential danger that doing this will lead to.

Fish ponds are also included in home and garden ideas for pet owners. The common pets that we have are cats and dogs but there are some of us who also have fish and animals who live in ponds that we may have in the garden. You have to incorporate the safety of our watery friends when thinking of home and garden ideas. This also includes thinking what types of plants are best to place inside a fish pond.

Take Japanese gardens, for example, where normally there would be a Koi pond. Koi can be very expensive and sometimes there are animals and plants that do not agree with them. Your home and garden ideas should consider this. Think about what plants and animals are compatible with each other.

Using Fences and Safety in Water

Pet-friendly home and garden ideas often incorporate the construction of fences. These are usually created to keep them away from the water areas. It is a precaution to keep them from drowning or any accidents occurring. The fences are also great for keeping your little children out of dangerous water areas.

There are plenty of home and garden ideas which you can find to care for your pets. Remember that safety always comes before aesthetics and this should be your main concern when creating home and garden ideas.

Ergonomic Tools for Home and Garden

The need for ergonomic tools is important to identify when using hand tools in the home and garden. Especially if the tools are used for extended periods of time. Finding the right tool for the task at hand will save unwanted discomfort in the future.

Examples of causes of carpal tunnel and hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS) are chain saws, power tools, hand weeding, painting, pruning, improperly fitting gloves, screw divers, pressing tool into palm and using spray guns, etc.

To avoid painful carpal tunnel, the use of ergonomic tools allows hands to be in a more neutral position reducing the stress on wrists, arms and fingers. Many ergonomic hand tools have a bent handle which prevents excess bending and pressure.

Cushioned handles will add comfort, reducing strain and in general protect your hands.

Also, available are gloves designed to improve fit and hand function. This helps to eliminate pressure on the hand while wearing gloves.

Operating hand held power tools at the lowest speed necessary for performing the task and wearing anti-vibration gloves will help prevent HAVS. Power tools you may use in the home and garden are drills, saws, staplers and sanders.

Have you painted your home and garden spaces with a hand held brush to discover you keep shifting the paintbrush around to keep a comfortable grip? Paint brushes are available which are designed to reduce stress and discomfort to forearm and wist. The brushes are able to be held with the right or left hand holding positions with ease. The ergonomic brush handles are slightly curved to fit your grip with finger grooves at the base of the brush for comfort.

Ergonomic positioning is equally important as well holding the tool as recommended by the manufacturer. Adjusting straps on equipment will reduce strain on your body for any hand held equipment.

Wheelbarrows have been designed to reduce up to 45% of the impact on your body by keeping loads level as compared to conventional wheelbarrow. The weight is distributed on the front wheel reducing the load on the handles and strain on the operator especially when dealing with sloping areas.

It is necessary to find the tools that will reduce strain, add comfort, protect your hands and well as maximizing leverage.

There are a variety of companies that produce the tools, gloves and wheelbarrows designed to fit the user to the function with safety and comfort incorporated into the design.

23 Tips to Save You Money in the Home and Garden

Benjamin Franklin once said “a penny saved is a penny earned” and to help you save more than a few pennies around the home and garden, below are a number of money saving tips – many of which require minimal effort on your part.

Around the Home:

1. Switch off and unplug your appliances. Too many of us are guilty of leaving our appliances on standby when they’re not in use, yet this is a waste of energy and money. Switching our appliances off and unplugging them has the potential to save up to £30 per year.

Along with switching off, it’s important to make sure you don’t overcharge your appliances – something 49% of us are guilty of according to one energy provider.

2. Keep your fridge and freezer at their optimum temperatures, to ensure the motors do not have to work harder than necessary. The ideal temperature for your fridge is between 3°C and 5°C, whilst for your freezer the temperature should be -18°C.

3. Turn it down. By turning the thermometer for your heating down by just 1°C you have the potential to save roughly £85 – £90 annually on your utility bills, and you’re unlikely to notice the difference in temperature. Turning the water temperature down on your boiler will also help you save money throughout the year.

4. li> Repair broken appliances. It’s all too easy nowadays when an appliance breaks, whether it’s a vacuum cleaner or washing machine, to throw it away and purchase a new one. But you could be wasting money unnecessarily.

Instead, by taking the time to purchase the required spare part and fix the appliance yourself, you can save money and increase your DIY knowledge.

5. 66% of the British population drink tea every day, but many of us when brewing up are wasting money by filling the kettle up with more water than is needed. This unnecessarily requires your kettle to use more energy than required.

Re-boiling the water in your kettle can also impact on the taste of the cuppa, and increase the build up of limescale minerals, which reduce the performance of the appliance. Limit the energy you use each time you make a cup of tea by only using the water you require.

6. Switch to LED bulbs. The initial cost may be slightly more expensive, but the overall savings can be beneficial, with it being suggested that by changing 10 light fittings with 60W bulbs, to 6W LED bulbs will save you close to £240 a year. As an added benefit, LED bulbs come with an estimated life of 20,000 hours.

7. It may sound obvious, but whenever you’re using your washing machine or dishwasher, make sure you do so when there is a full load. This will work out cheaper than running two half loads, as less energy is being used.

8. When doing your laundry, save money by washing on an economy wash which uses less energy, and using tumble dryer balls when drying. The latter helps to generate more space between clothes as they tumble ensuring hot air gets to where it needs to go and reducing the drying time.

9. Cook various vegetables at once, instead of having them cook on different hob rings, use a steamer or segmented pans. The latter enables you to cook various vegetables at once on one ring – saving you energy and money. Steaming your food is also a healthier option as it keeps all the nutrients in!

10. Become wise to your water usage. Did you know, for example, leaving your taps running is quite literally water down the drain? It’s estimated that leaving the tap running as we clean our teeth results in 6 litres of water each minute being wasted. Meanwhile, 5500 litres of water is wasted each year due to a dripping tap, which equates to £18 per year of wasted money.

11. Cut out the drafts from your house, by using draft excluders, letterbox covers and keyhole covers. Each of these simple devices will help keep cold weather out of your home, reducing the chances of you needing your heating on – therefore saving you money.

12. Keep your fridge and freezer well stocked. An almost empty fridge or freezer will see the appliance cooling air, making it work harder. If your fridge or freezer is looking a bit empty, but you don’t plan to go food shopping just yet, fill the space by:

I) using scrunched up newspaper to fill gaps in the freezer.
II) using bottles of water in the fridge.

13. Use your tumble dryer less. Just because the sun isn’t out, it doesn’t mean your clothes won’t dry outside. If the weather is dry, hang the washing out. By limiting the amount of time you use your tumble dryer, you can save anywhere between £30 and £100 each year.

In the Garden:

14. Plant Perennials – these are a great way to save money in the garden as once they’re planted they’ll continue to grow each year. Some perennials which can help your garden become your own little slice of paradise include gaillardia, peonies, daffodils and chrysanthemums.

15. Grow your own fruit and vegetables – the British weather although you may not think it, is great for growing your own fruit and vegetables. Growing your own fruit and vegetables can also help you save money and live a healthier lifestyle.

Some of the easiest fruit and veg to grow in your garden include broad beans, blueberries, asparagus, strawberries and potatoes.

16. Say bye to slugs – slugs can be a nightmare for gardeners, but it is possible to remove them without purchasing slug pellets. Using household products such as beer, coffee grounds and vinegar can remove the threat of slugs from your plants.

17. Stop forking out on fertiliser, but continue to feed your food. There’s no denying that fertiliser is beneficial to plant growth, but it can be expensive. Cut the cost by making your own. This can be done in a few ways:

1) Collect the leaves which cover your lawn each autumn and winter, place them in a bin bag whilst they’re still wet and allow them to rot down. Whilst this will take up to 2 years, it’s a cheaper alternative to purchasing fertiliser.

2) Make your own compost. From food peelings and egg shells, to cardboard and tea bags, all can be added to your own compost bin, which if turned regularly and left to degrade can make excellent fertiliser for your plants without costing you a penny.

18. Use rain water wisely – there’s no hiding away from the weather in the UK, but the rain can be put to good use. By collecting the rain water, you have a continuous source of free water to use throughout your garden and greenhouse.

General:

19. With up to 60% of a home’s energy coming from the boiler, yours could be costing you significant amounts of money. It’s recommended if your existing boiler is at least 15 years old and no longer effective, you should replace it.

Although this will cost you in the short term, in the long term you have the potential to see savings between £190 and £240 a year by switching to a high efficiency condensing boiler.

20. You’d be surprised how much heat is lost through your roof and therefore how much money you’re wasting. But with effective insulation you can help keep your home warmer, your energy consumption down, and your bills lower.

21. Recycle more. You may already be recycling your paper, tin, glass and cardboard waste, but there’s so much more you can recycle. Old cutlery can be turned into coat hooks, CDs can be used in the garden to keep birds off your allotment, and your old vinyl can be turned into wall art, cake stands or fruit bowls.

22. Become internet savvy and take advantage of the multitude of websites available where you can get goods for free or sites where you can swap your unwanted goods for other items.

23. Monitor your energy usage. A simple energy monitor, will help you keep an eye on your current energy usage, how much was used in the past week, month, etc. It’ll also help you find out how much your energy consumption is costing you – enabling you to find ways to cut back, or find those appliances which are using the most energy.

Landscape Ideas Which Give Your Home and Garden a Makeover

A beautiful garden is a work of art. Like all masterpieces a landscape idea needs to have a particular theme and it is important that everything used and done on the site has harmony. A garden includes so many colors and so a well thought plan is what will ensure a beautiful appearance. Landscape garden is a beautiful way to add expression to your creativity and would give the home a personality, a character. Your home and garden must be a reflection of your personality and creative pursuits and interests.

Landscape idea can be based on any theme of your choice. Wagons, small bridges across a small stream, fountains, sculptures, ponds all add a character to the garden and is in itself a wonderful landscape idea. You could stick to a particular theme or combine a few ideas that fit together. There must be beauty and of course practicality in every landscape idea that you choose. The size of the garden, the house and the budget are going to be important factors that would influence the landscape garden decision. Professional help or do it yourself guides would take you a long way in your pursuit for excellence. Professional help would work wonders as you would be able to go ahead with the plans smoothly and the expert would be able to provide a set of ideas and also enlighten you regarding the trends and the latest materials available for landscape garden.

The choice of garden accessories can make a big difference as regards the overall looks and also the budget. Ornamental plants with flowers and colorful leaves, shrubs and trees can add a completely new look to the garden. A landscape garden is indeed a beautiful place where you would love to spend your time. A place for everything and beauty surrounding you at all times, a great landscape idea can actually make life beautiful and worth cherishing.

Over the years a number of materials have been introduced in the market that can give the desired shape to your landscape idea. Stone, marble, granite, wood to numerous man-made materials are available for landscape garden projects to suit every need and budget. The materials used definitely make a big difference. Quality is not one that must be compromised here. However, with a little study and research you would be able to find durable and quality materials that are absolutely budget friendly. A good landscape idea that is executed in a systematic and organized manner can result in a lovely garden that you can truly be proud of. Make it all happen with a step by step landscaping plan in place.