Category Archives: Outdoor Decor

Travel Destinations to Escape the Cold

During a winter snowstorm, nothing sounds better than escaping to the warm sands of a remote island. Many tourists do, in fact, escape the cold. With many exotic locations to choose from, it can be difficult to decide which island destination is best.

Forbes.com has released its list of 11 top island resorts for those seeking an escape from the cold in 2017. The list includes destinations in Fiji, the Maldives, the Bahamas, New Zealand, Florida, and more. One particularly exotic recommendation is Vanuatu’s Ratua Private Island. The island can only host 35 guests, but those guests are treated to oceanfront villas and fresh local food. Price was clearly not a factor in the Forbes rankings.

Mexican destinations are notably absent from the Forbes list. Isla Mujeres near Cancun, for example, is a warm and exotic island destination that is also fairly affordable. It features stunning turquoise water, beautiful beaches, and excellent snorkeling.

Travelers seeking to escape cold weather probably do not, for the most part, care whether they are on an island, as long as they are somewhere warm with a beach. Costa Rica, for example, is an excellent destination for tourists who want to lounge on a warm beach while enjoying fresh local food. In Central and South America, there are many mainland alternatives to the Forbes island list.

While the Forbes list is not perfect, though, it does provide some excellent destination ideas. There are some beautiful island locations in the world, and spending a few days in an over-the-water hut in the Maldives or on a private island would constitute an amazing winter vacation.

 

New Tips on Making Your Patio Herb Garden a Success

If you’re interested in creating a potted herb garden on your outdoor patio this spring, there are tons of benefits to doing this. But if you’ve never planted a garden before or don’t necessarily have a green thumb, you might be looking for some tips, so here they are!

 

  1. Plant seeds instead of small plants.

 

You may be tempted to purchase small herb plants at your local nursery or grocery store. But these rarely do well when they are later replanted into bigger pots. Instead, start your herbs from seeds. It’s quite easy, and the seeds will grow bigger and hardier plants for your herb garden.

 

  1. Choose your herbs carefully.

 

Herb seeds that are organic and will do well cost money, so don’t buy just any. Focus on those that you plan on using. Do you often cook Italian food? Basil and oregano would be great. Do you love Mexican food? Try some cilantro and chives.

 

  1. Pick your pots with the future in mind.

 

Tiny herb pots simply won’t do for large patio gardens, and if you plan on harvesting your herbs often, you’ll want your plants to be rather large. This means that you’ll need to look for large potters instead of tiny ones.

 

Don’t forget that if you’re going to have a patio herb garden, the hard work doesn’t just come from finding your containers and planting the seeds. As your seedlings grow into full-sized plants, you’ll need to make sure that they get adequate sunlight, water and fertilizer. You’ll also need to clip them so that they grow outward instead of only upward. By doing this and following the tips above, you should have a wonderful patio garden to benefit from in no time!

 

Great Jobs That Allow You to Be Outdoors All the Time

Many people love being outside all day, and they lament their indoor jobs that keep them in stuffy offices. Instead, they’d love to spend their days working while enjoying the great out-of-doors.

 

If you are one of these people and you would like to find a job where you can spend more time outside, there is a way. The following list provides the best jobs that will allow you to escape from the office and spend your time outdoors while still earning yourself a paycheck.

 

  1. Landscapers

 

The job of landscapers is to beautify outdoor areas in front of and around homes and businesses. Naturally, you’ll be spending lots of hours outdoors in this way, but you’ll also need to learn about various types of trees and plants as well as soils and grasses.

 

  1. Park Rangers

 

It is the job of park rangers to keep state and national parks healthy and safe for visitors. This is a great way to enjoy nature while earning a paycheck.

 

  1. Archaeologists

 

Archaeologists unearth parts of history from the earth, and they work all around the world. If you are a field archaeologist, you’ll be outside excavating sites. But keep in mind that some archaeologists work primarily in the lab.

 

There are few jobs that can be called absolutely perfect, and of course, finding the perfect job for you is all about preference. With that in mind, even if you find a job that allows you to be outside most of the time, there will be times when you will likely need to work at a desk or in an office building. But if you choose from the list above, the good news is that you can at least feel confident that that outdoor itch of yours will finally be scratched.

 

Making Over Your Backyard in Simple Steps

Do you have a backyard that you would like to make over? Spending time in your backyard with your family can make for great together moments, but many families who have backyards don’t use them to their full advantage. With careful selection and planning, you can create the backyard of your dreams, and you can even do it on a budget. Here are the tips and tools that you will need.

 

First, assess your backyard area. How large is it? Do you have grass, a patio, a deck or a pool? Do you have a focal point, such as a fire pit or a large outdoor picnic table? All of these are pertinent questions that you should begin with.

 

For backyards that are mostly made of grass and may have a patio or deck in them, your next goal should be to consider putting up fencing if you don’t already have it or if you don’t already have a natural barrier, such as out buildings or a tree line. Fences can help keep your backyard more private, and it can make it more likely that you and your family will spend time there.

 

It’s now time to furnish your backyard. You’ll want a large table and chairs where you can have meals or picnics. You might also consider creating a fireplace or fire pit for warmth and coziness. If you have children, consider putting in a play area, and finally, don’t forget about a garden for vegetables or flowers if you have enough room.

 

California Residents Find Creative Ways to Have a Green Lawn

California’s drought is so bad that residents that want a green lawn resort to lawn painting and fake grass.

 

In certain areas in California, a historic drought has been going on for years. What was once vibrant green landscape now resembles brown hay. In America, there is a high value placed on having a lush, green lawn. The problem with this is, that in climates that are historically prone to drought, such as central California, homeowners are forced to find unconventional ways to turn their lawn green.

 

 

According to Buzzfeed News, more and more California homeowners are getting creative when it comes to having a green lawn. Lawn painting is becoming very popular in California as homeowners get tired of seeing a constant reminder of what California’s drought as done to their lawn, not to mention plunging property values when they go to sell their properties due to having a lawn that looks dead. According to the Huffington Post, the industry has become so competitive that business owners are reluctant to release information about their growth to reporters. Although painting lawns is a very popular method to have a green lawn, this is only a temporary fix to what is a longstanding problem.

 

 

Other home and business owners are looking towards a more long-lasting solution for an evergreen lawn in the form of fake grass. In Massachusetts, which is also experiencing a drought, artificial turf companies report seeing a 200 percent or more increase in sales, especially in coastal towns where the drought has been severe. In California, homeowners and business owners can receive rebates for ripping out their lawns and installing fake grass. In 2005, California’s governor, Jerry Brown, encouraged home and business owners to remove 50 million square feet of lawn. Residents were offered up to $3.75 per square feet to replace their lawns with artificial grass.

 

 

A long-lasting solution to this problem probably entails installing drought resistant landscaping, such as native plants and artificial turf, in areas that are prone to drought.

 

Give Your Garden the Modern Touch

Creating a home environment that you are happy with is a process that never seems to end. After all, there are always new gadgets, decorations and design ideas coming out, and you don’t want to get lost in the past.

 

With that being said, it is definitely difficult to get lost in the past. Who can find time to always stay up to date with the latest and most modern fashions for the home? Furthermore, many of us may stay up to date with designs for the inside of our homes, but the outdoors is left alone.

 

Fortunately, getting creative and modernizing your outdoor area is not difficult. With a few tips and tricks, you can have a sleek, fashionable outdoor living area that you would be proud to host a party in.

 

Modernizing Your Outdoor Area in a Few Quick Steps

 

  1. Make things look bigger.

 

Gardens in many people’s homes are a set size, so you can’t make them bigger, but you can make them appear larger, and that’s the trick. Start by adding mirrors onto fences or walls just as you would add them indoors.

 

  1. Add modern decking for a great price.

 

Redoing your deck may not be in the financial cards for you, but an inexpensive trick is to use composite decking. This can be installed on almost any type of surface, and it’s great for patios as well. You can choose from faux wood or stone or many other fashionable materials. It’s great because it is particularly designed to be outdoors, so it won’t rot, fade or warp.

 

  1. Try a garden room with an extended roof.

 

If you have a little more money to play around with or you’re planning on getting a new roof anyway, consider extending your natural roof out a little bit more to cover some patio area. You won’t need to add walls or full insulation here. Simply create faux walls as you might in a sun room, breakfast nook or green house. Keep in mind that this tip is best for areas of the United States that don’t have heavy winters.

OUTDOOR DECOR: A CHECKLIST FOR THE 99%

A recent New York Times article by Tim McKeough offered a checklist of ideas on how to improve your outdoor décor. The article, for good or ill, seems aimed at the 1%. Since most of us aren’t part of the 1%, it might be helpful to look for more cost-effective ways to make your outdoor space look great without breaking the bank. Here are six other options Tim hasn’t highlighted.

First, Choose the Furniture

Outdoor furniture can be downright expensive. Tim encourages you to think about custom, built-in benches that are a mere $5,000. Here’s a better idea: try furniture made from resin. Resin is low-maintenance and weather resistant so whether you’re in New York, Arizona, or Seattle, the weather doesn’t matter! Most of these options run $500 – $2,000. Now you’ve got money to buy the rest of the things you need.

Then Get Some Planters

Tim’s recommendation is a set of planters that ranges from “$50-600.” Ouch! Try www.designsponge.com instead. For less than $100 / planter you can get everything you need and still have cash to buy plants!

Don’t Forget Watering

Sure, automatic systems are really nice but $1,000 is a lot to keep plants alive. It’s likely you live in a neighborhood so for the times you’re gone, offer to pay Johnny Doe $15 to water your plants every-other-day. Now you can buy something nice on vacation!

Lighting Is Key

Ambient lighting is cool – especially during a hot summer night. The nice part about outdoor lighting is that you don’t need an electrician but it can still cost you over $1,000. Go to your local hardware store and buy a string of lights, get some mason jars, drill holes in the lids for the lights, hang. Now go buy a nice steak!

Define Space With A Rug

Rugs outside are really challenging because one bad storm and you’re done. Instead of buying something new, go to an estate sale and find a rug with character already worn into it. People will love your style and frugality!

Make Sure There’s Shade

You can go as high as $5,000 for a custom pergola but for most of us, that’s out of the ballpark. Shop around, try craigslist.com, or overstock.com – all will get you the shade you need at a price that won’t burn.