Ideas for Decorating with Plants

At the mention of interior design, the first things that often come to mind are furniture, wall art, paint colors, and other material components. However, plants are an important décor element that have the power to refresh the look and feel of any indoor space, while making your home eco-friendlier. Keep the following tips in mind when decorating your home with plants.

 

Consider Your Space

Before you make a trip to the nursery, think about which spaces in your home are best suited for plants. It’s also important to research the needs of the plant varieties you’re considering. By knowing how much shade and direct sunlight they need, you’ll be able to identify the best home for each plant type and the care they need to grow.

 

Go Vertical

Empty vertical wall spaces provide the perfect opportunity to incorporate hanging plants. Whether you use planters or install shelving, hanging plants attract the eye and bring an organic, living element to what was previously a blank canvas. Hanging herb gardens are a wonderful addition to the kitchen, allowing you to keep fresh ingredients and flavors out in the open air and within reach at all times.

 

Floor Plants

Floor plants are typically large and require plenty of space. Due to their size, they are often used to balance the proportion of rooms containing large furniture items like couches, desks, and tables. Common floor plants include the fishtail palm, olive trees, the rubber plant, fiddle leaf fig, and bird of paradise.

 

Low Maintenance Plants

For those who don’t consider themselves to be green thumbs, cacti and succulents are the way to go. Most succulents come from hot climates with little humidity and have thick tissue that stores water for long periods. Accordingly, they are lower maintenance than most other plants and require little watering.

 

Decorate with Terrariums

Another creative, relatively low-maintenance option for indoor gardeners is a terrarium. Terrariums are contained indoor gardens, usually in a glass container that can be left either sealed or open. Closed terrariums are self-nourishing, creating their own water cycle. Plants that grow in humid conditions are best suited for this environment. Open terrariums provide a good home for plants that need less water, like cacti and succulents. Terrariums make for eye-catching décor, with styles ranging from minimalistic to intricate.

 

For more information on home design and the latest trends, check out our tips on how to upgrade your bedroom, home office, and kitchen, as well as the 2021 paint color trends and principles of timeless home design.

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10 Tips for Sustainable Gardening

Spring is calling and the flowers are in bloom. It’s the time of the year that many homeowners start spending more time in the garden. Having a healthy garden is one of the best ways to create a sustainable home and reduce your household’s carbon footprint. Here are some eco-friendly tips that will help to make your garden even more sustainable.

 

1. Compost Your Waste

Composting, which puts your natural waste to good use, is the cornerstone of any sustainable garden. All grass clippings, dead leaves, plants, flowers, and the like are rich in nutrients. By composting, you provide your garden with a natural fertilizer, free of contaminants. Not only will this provide nourishment, but it will also help to produce healthier and tastier food.

 

2. Mulching

If having a sustainable garden is your goal, it’s important to treat your soil with care. Mulching enriches the soil and ensures it’s as healthy as can be. Mulch conserves the moisture in your soil, ensuring it won’t dry out. It also reduces weed growth and naturally moderates the temperature of the soil. Mulching can cover either bare soil or freshly planted food and flowers.

 

3. Garden Design

It’s natural to want to accentuate the beauty of your garden when designing it, but the sustainable gardener will prioritize giving plants what they need. Take into consideration which plants need direct access to sunlight, which need the most space in the garden, and any special requirements a plant may need to inhabit optimal growing conditions.

 

4. Use Natural Weed Killers

One of the pillars of organic gardening is to reduce the use of chemicals whenever and wherever possible. Homemade recipes involving vinegar and corn gluten meal are effective substitutes for harmful, chemical-based weed killers. Whichever method you choose, it’s important to weed by hand often.

 

5. Use Water Efficiently

Substantial watering is critical to keeping your garden healthy, but overwatering is a common practice and leads to an unsustainable garden. Research the amount of water your plants and flowers need to make sure you aren’t overwatering. If you live in a rainy climate, rain barrels are a useful tool as their function is to catch and conserve the water from your downspouts.

 

6. Animal Manure

For a more sustainable garden and even healthier soil, consider adding animal manure. Chicken, sheep, and cow manure are all popular choices. Rich in nutrients, it can be used both as a fertilizer and as a soil conditioner. Make sure the manure you purchase is free of pathogens and ask about the recommended window of time from application to harvest before you begin using it.

 

7. Go Local

Planting natively is a fast ticket to sustainable gardening. Native plants are innately acclimated to local climate conditions, making them easier to grow and maintain. Native plants often require less water to grow due to their familiarity with the soil and rainfall in your region, which cuts down on your garden’s total water intake.

 

8. Collect Dried Seeds

Believe it or not, you can save your seeds and sow them next year. Wait until the seed is fully ripe before you collect it. It’s important to gather seeds when the weather is dry and to store them in a dry place. To produce healthy plants in the future, the seed must be completely dry.

 

9. Control Garden Slugs

Slugs are known to wreak havoc on gardens, eating through leaves and fruit, leaving a trail of destruction. There are many ways of controlling slugs in your gardens, but some may do more harm than good. If you choose to use slug bait, go organic. Many slug baits contain chemicals that are highly toxic to other animals.

 

10. Replace Your Gas Mower

How else can you reduce your garden’s carbon footprint? Replace your gas mower with a more sustainable alternative. Electric mowers and push mowers are functional and more eco-friendly replacements. For added sustainability, consider replacing your other gas-powered equipment, such as trimmers and leaf blowers.

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Buying with Gardening in Mind

Every home buyer has a list of must-have amenities that they’re just not willing to compromise on. For some, it could be an open floor plan or maybe a certain number of bedrooms. For others, that priority is a place to garden.

A garden provides a place where one can nurture the earth, feel connected to other living things, and have a positive impact on the environment. If you’re a home buyer who requires space to garden, here are a few things to consider:

 

The Hardiness Zone

When searching for a home, location is always high on the list of priorities, and for gardeners, it’s no different. If having a garden is important to you, the first thing you should do is check the hardiness zone to determine what you can realistically grow at any home you are considering buying.

Hardiness Zones are used by gardeners and growers around the United States to determine which plants will grow best in their region. The USDA uses the average annual minimum water temperature in the area to establish the zones, making it a great place to start when looking for your next garden.

Hardiness Zones don’t change by street like neighborhoods do but knowing where you are in the zones map can be a helpful guide to what to expect, especially if you’re moving to a completely new region.

 

Outdoor Space

Your Windermere agent will be able to use a combination of property metrics, photos, and land surveys to help narrow down your search to homes with adequate outdoor space for a garden.

Ask your agent about lot size versus the home size to make sure there is enough land to build and sustain a garden. Prior to visiting homes in person, check the exterior photos to get an idea of the area.

 

Local Wildlife

Local wildlife organizations have resources about the animals that might appear in your backyard. Knowing this will not only help you protect your veggies, herbs, and other plantings, but also aid in creating a wildlife-friendly sanctuary. The National Wildlife Foundation offers suggestions on how to do this and offers tips on how to attract songbirds and butterflies to your garden.

 

Infrastructure Requirements

Depending on the size of your garden, you may need to set up appropriate infrastructure for easier care, like a sprinkler system, raised beds, or outbuildings. If the land is uneven, consider installing raised beds that will help flatten the growing surface for your veggies and fickle flowers. A greenhouse can help you control humidity and light levels but be sure to consider the construction costs alongside your home loan amount.

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7 Ideas for Creating a Beautiful Yard

Spring is in the air and homeowners everywhere are preparing for a season of tending to their yards. Whether you’re looking to tackle a complete makeover, boost your home’s curb appeal, or simply make a few DIY upgrades, these ideas will help you make the most of your home’s landscaping.

 

1. Remodel Your Patio

The best patios are durable and long-lasting. If your patio requires repair, a remodel can play a significant role in creating the beautiful backyard you envision. Think about how your patio will be used before choosing materials. For example, if you plan on using it as a dining area, an uneven material like cobblestone may not be the best choice. Design your new patio pattern, including gaps between pavers for loose materials, before getting started.

 

2. Upgrade Your Deck

Decks can often be the focal point of a backyard. A few upgrades can easily transform the look and feel of the space. If you are building a new deck, take your local climate into account when deciding on materials. To upgrade your existing deck, create a seating area using chairs or a bench and decorate the area with plants to make it feel more welcoming. Pergolas and patio umbrellas will help to keep the area shady and cool while adding some color to the space. If you are rebuilding, consider building in seating during construction.

 

3. Start a Vegetable Garden

Gardens don’t just pop up in your backyard overnight, they take time to grow. Start by building your garden beds, aligning them north to south for maximum sunlight. Choose an area of your backyard where your veggies will have direct access to sunlight, without being blocked by shade from trees and shrubs. Research your local climate to determine which vegetables you should grow and what kind of yield you can expect. To protect your garden from weeds, insert a barrier in the bottom of the beds.

 

4. Edge Your Walkways

Nothing catches the eye in the garden like clean, crisp edging. Edging comes in a variety of materials, from plastic to more durable options like aluminum or steel. Before you install the edging, use a lawn edger or spade to make the cuts and shape the pattern. Tap the edging it into the ground with a mallet to solidify it into the ground and to protect it from animals.

 

5. Add Landscape Lighting

A beautiful backyard deserves to be enjoyed around the clock. Landscaping lighting can extend those days spent in the yard well into the nighttime. There is an array of landscaping lighting options to choose from, including spotlights, floodlights, in-ground lighting, outdoor post lights, and more. Choose the one that best highlights the features of your yard.

 

6. Install a Fire Pit

Fire pits help to tie a backyard together. The style of your fire pit should match other features in your backyard to bring cohesiveness to the space. Traditional fire pits are usually accompanied by circular seating, while more modern options like fire troughs provide a centerpiece to take in surrounding views. Wood fire pits provide a classic, crackling environment, gas pits burn cleaner than wood and come with an on-off switch, while gel-powered fire pits create a smaller frame and are typically used for accent lighting.

 

7. Add Garden Containers

Garden containers of all shapes and sizes can be very useful in the yard, especially for homeowners with limited garden space. By adding pots, wooden boxes, or bowls to your yard, you’ll provide a flexible home for a variety of plant life. Just make sure each container has proper drainage holes. If not, you’ll need to make the holes yourself, or you can opt for self-watering pots.

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