Top Tips To Get The Best Out Of Your Garden

posted by on 2023.09.20, under Partnered Post

Unless you have a huge interest in gardening, plants, and everything in between, your garden may become a wasted space. Sure you might spend some time sitting outside on a warm day, or let your children play out, but have you ever thought of designing your garden to make an outside space you can spend more time in? You don’t need to be green-fingered to make the most out of your outside space. Here are some of the top tips to help you get the best out of your garden. 

Image source – Pixabay – cco license

Artificial grass versus real grass

One of the first things to think about would be whether you want to consider artificial grass or real grass. Perhaps you already have a lawned area but are not sure what to do with it. The truth is, that a lawn can be high maintenance. You need to regularly cut it, and then let’s not forget how pets and children can ruin it. Artificial grass is an easy option. It always looks good and can be easily maintained. Real grass is great if you have the time and will always make your garden look picture-perfect. However, if you want to get more out of your garden you will have to consider what is more practical for you and your family. 

Create zones in your garden

No matter how big or small your garden is, you can always create usable zones to help you get more out of it. You may want an area where your children can play. Perhaps have a trampoline, football net, or even a swing set. If you are not too good at building those things then hiring someone who can help with playset installation could be the way forward. You might also want an area to grow vegetables and fruit, perhaps a place to sit where you know you get the afternoon or morning sun. Figure out the areas in your garden and how best you can use them. This will help you to design those specific areas with that function in mind. 

Keep things tidy and organized

It is no good creating a beautiful garden space, but then you have kids’ toys lying around or nowhere to store your garden furniture, cushions, or appliances like the lawnmower. This is when you need to think about keeping things tidy. You might want to look at a new shed to store everything in or even a storage box where you can keep things tidy and dry. Having a place where you can put things away at the end of the day, especially during the summer months when you will be using the garden more often, will help you to maintain the garden and keep on top of it. 

Low-maintenance plants and flowers

Are you green-fingered? If so then you may not be bothered by what you plant because you know you will keep things in check. But if you are not an avid gardener then do some research into low-maintenance plants for your garden. There will be plants that won’t require you to water them or trim them regularly, as well as flowers that you can plant for the summer and then get rid of during the winter months. A gardener could help you choose the right sort of plants for you, or seek advice from your local garden center. You could even consider artificial plants and flowers which will look great all year round. 

Patio and decked area

Another thing that you could consider would be a patio or decked area. This would help you to enjoy being outside a lot more. You can use this area to have some garden furniture such as a table and chairs, or a sofa and sun loungers. Sitting outside in the morning for a nice cup of tea or enjoying your food al fresco, having the option to do those things will encourage you to get out in your garden much more. 

An outside kitchen 

If you love a BBQ or like to cook then an outside kitchen could be a great option to consider. You could look at having an area just for your BBQ or even have hookups for an outdoor fridge and gas hobs. Some even have a pizza oven built. There are so many ways you can utilize an outdoor kitchen and it can be the perfect way to get the best out of your garden. 

Let’s hope these tips help you to get the best out of your garden. 

How To Make Your Home Dog-Friendly 

posted by on 2023.09.20, under Partnered Post

How To Make Your Home Dog-Friendly 

Getting a dog is certainly exciting, and it’s something that a lot of people are keen to do. Dogs give you constant companionship and unconditional love, so they’re great if you live alone and want some company, but they’re also the perfect pet for families, especially if you like spending time outdoors or you want your children to learn some responsibility. No matter what your reason for getting a dog, it can often be the best thing a person can do. 

Of course, there’s a lot to think about and just bringing a dog into your home without any planning or making important changes could be a disaster for you, the dog, and even your home. That’s why it’s best to take your time over the whole situation and ensure that you have everything in place before they arrive – in that way, you can just enjoy being with them and learning about who they are, and everything else is already dealt with. With that in mind, keep reading to find out a few of the things you’ll need to think about before your new dog arrives. 

Photo by Samson Katt

Your Flooring 

Your flooring might not even make the list of important things to think about when you’re assessing your home, but it’s actually one of the most important things you can consider, and if you do need to make changes (which you might), then it’s also potentially one of the more expensive and disruptive things you’ll need to do, which is why thinking about this well in advance is a good idea. 

If you want to create a dog-friendly home, you’ll need flooring that’s easy to clean but that’s also durable, as it’s going to take a lot of wear and tear; think of a dog’s feet – their claws and paws make direct contact with the floor all the time, and that can cause damage if you don’t choose the right surface. 

Some of the best surfaces to invest in when you have a dog are hardwood, laminate, and tile. Although these might seem as though they would be hard for your dog to walk on – they might be slippery, for example – they’ll soon get used to the floors in your home, and those floors are going to last much longer than carpet, for example. Plus, they’ll be a lot easier to clean, which is important if you consider anything from outside can be tracked inside on your dog’s feet and cause a mess. 

Don’t Use White

Many people like using white in their interior design ideas. It’s chic and elegant, and it’s neutral too, and since we’re often told that neutral colors are best, it makes sense that so many people would have white in their homes that they can use as an ideal base for anything else they want to add. 

That might be the case if you don’t have a dog, but if you do and you want your home to be more dog-friendly, using white is probably not such a great idea. In fact, white can be a real nightmare with a dog around because their fur and muddy paws will quickly turn it from white into something grubby and mucky, whether it’s your flooring, your furniture, your curtains, or even your walls, to some extent. 

Instead of white, try something more dog-friendly that still looks great. Some options to think about could be grays, browns, greens, or perhaps even patterns that don’t show the dirt so much. You can also invest in slipcovers for your sofas and chairs because not only are they easy to clean when you need to, but you can also pick a variety of colors and patterns and change the look of your living room when the mood strikes – it’s dog-friendly and gives you the opportunity to make your room look just how you want it. 

Get A Good Vacuum 

One thing that can’t be avoided when you have a dog is mess; not only will their feet be dirty (sometimes more than others, depending on where they’ve been and what the weather’s like), but they’ll shed their fur all over the place as well. Unless you want your home to be furry and potentially grimy all the time, you’ll need to do a lot of cleaning, and that means investing in a high-quality vacuum cleaner so it can do the job well. 

It might be tempting to buy a cheap vacuum because it’s going to be picking up so much dog fur and that’s its main role, but if you buy cheap, it will likely get clogged up quickly, and might even stop working altogether because the motor can’t cope with the work you’re asking it to do. It’s far better to invest in a more expensive (and well-rated) machine and keep it for years rather than keep buying cheaper ones – in the end, it will only cost you more if you go for this option. 

When you’re looking for the right vacuum, look for ones that have a special attachment for cleaning up after pets, and specifically getting fur and dander off your furniture and floors. Plus, you’ll also want to buy one with a HEPA filter (that stands for high-efficiency particulate air) which will remove tiny allergens from the air, improving your health and maybe even your dog’s health too. 

Once you have your vacuum, you’ll need to use it on a regular basis, otherwise the mess will build up and the chore will become a much harder one that’s easier to put off, making things worse. 

Install A Doggy Door

A doggy door is a great addition to your home as it means your dog can come and go as they like (of course, they’ll need a secure outside space to go to – they can’t just be allowed to wander the streets). This means you can get on with your own work or even leave the dog for short periods of time, and because they can go out when they need to, your home won’t have any problems. If a dog is left inside for too long, they might need to go to the toilet, for example, or they might get bored and start chewing things and making a mess; a doggy door can stop this from happening. 

Even if you think you can’t have a doggy door because you don’t have what might be thought of as a traditional door to your yard, it’s not a problem; you can have a special dog door sliding door installed by professionals. Whatever your home setup is and whatever door you have, you can still make sure your dog has as much access to the garden as they’ll need. 

Once your doggy door is installed, it’s wise to put a mat outside or some pet-safe artificial grass, for example. This makes a much more comfortable ‘landing’ area for your dog, and when they come back inside, some of the dirt from their feet will be wiped away. Some people even train their dogs to wipe their feet, so that’s another possible option – if you have the time to do it! 

Keep Important Things Out Of Reach 

Dogs are curious creatures by nature, and they’ll happily explore whatever they can get their paws on and noses into – although this keeps their brains stimulated and even gives them some physical exercise, it can also lead them into trouble, especially if they decide they want to chew or rip up things that are important to you. Not only would this be upsetting, but it could be dangerous for your dog too. 

Because of this, you’ll need to take a good look around before your dog arrives and do a risk assessment about everything in your home. These will be things you never thought of as dangerous or as being at risk of damage before, so you’ll need to look objectively at your possessions and make sure you take everything into account. 

Make sure that you move important (and potentially dangerous) things so that they’ll be out of reach of your dog – put them in cupboards and cabinets (with the addition of childproof locks to make sure no dog can get inside), or install shelving so you can store things at a higher level. 

On the same note, you should always keep your dog’s toys, blankets, and other things they might want to play with in a place they can easily reach them. If they can get to their toys, they’ll usually decide to play with them, and they won’t go looking for anything else, meaning your home stays much safer, so your dog stays much happier. 

Use Non-Toxic Cleaners 

Cleaning is a crucial part of living anywhere, and as we’ve seen, if you have a dog, it’s probably more important than ever to do on a regular basis. However, if you’re using any kind of chemical cleaner to make your home look and smell good, it’s time to have a re-think if you also have a dog – those cleaners can be dangerous to them. 

When you’re shopping, make sure you read the labels properly, and only buy cleaning products that have been certified as being safe for dogs – they’ll usually also be environmentally friendly products, which makes them even better anyway. If you can’t find anything or those products are out of your budget, why not make your own? You can combine normal household ingredients, like vinegar and baking soda, and create a natural cleaning solution that really works and won’t cause your dog any harm. 

Potential Dangers of Owning a Dog That You Have To Know

posted by on 2023.09.18, under Get the Look, Partnered Post

Adding a pet dog to your family can be a wonderful experience, but it’s not a decision that you should take lightly. Most people neglect the responsibilities involved when taking care of a dog, and this can lead to a poor quality of life for them.

But aside from this, you should also be aware of the potential dangers of dog ownership. While owning a dog can be a rewarding experience, you shouldn’t neglect these potential issues. Instead, learning about them and navigating around them can greatly enhance your dog’s life.

Source: (CC0)

Dog allergies

There are a surprising number of people who are allergic to dogs. Whether it’s exposure to their coat, saliva, or even their urine, it can trigger allergic reactions that range from mildly annoying to severe and damaging. Some common signs of dog allergies include sneezing or a runny nose, facial pain, or watery eyes. In more severe cases, you may experience a tight chest, coughing, or even a skin rash.

The idea of pet ownership with an allergy can be daunting, but there are ways to get around this. For example, vacuuming regularly and ensuring good pet hygiene can solve a lot of potential allergy issues. Good ventilation in the home is also important as it can remove a lot of the allergens that affect you. While drastic, you could also change carpet flooring with hardwood or laminate flooring because it’s less likely to trap allergens.

Dog bites

Dog bites aren’t uncommon even if you’ve owned a dog for a long time. Dog bites can occur when they’re playing too rough, if they’re prone to aggressive behavior, or if they’re feeling threatened. This is more common among dogs that have yet to get used to their new owners, so it’s important to know what to do after a dog bite. This is especially true if your dog doesn’t get along with other dogs in the neighborhood.

When your dog is around children, it’s important to educate your kids on responsible pet ownership and play. Most dogs will grow to love their family, and they’ll avoid doing anything that could potentially hurt their loved ones. It’s also good to train your dog to be calm and collected around strangers so that they don’t attack people which could potentially lead to mandatory training, fines, or even legal consequences.

Home and property damage

Dogs tend to be well-behaved when they’re trained, but if they’re not, then you might see home and property damage before you know it. Dogs can often chew through furniture, ruin your belongings, and break fragile items like glass and vases. If your dog isn’t properly trained or suffer from a condition like anxiety, then your home belongings may be in danger of being damaged.

To avoid this, make sure you train your dog to avoid playing rough with your furniture. However, you should also consider what decorations and items you put on display. If you put something expensive in reach of your dog, then it’s just asking to be knocked over and damaged.

The Basics You Need To Start Sewing

posted by on 2023.08.29, under Partnered Post

Whether you’re looking to make your own pieces of decor, save a little money with your own clothing alterations, or simply want a creative hobby, sewing can be an excellent craft to get into. It doesn’t have to be all that difficult, either. Here, we’re going to look at the basic tools that you need to get started, and their purposes.

Source – CC0 License

A good machine

Choosing your first sewing machine can take a little forethought. You might not want to opt for the most expensive option straightaway, but the super-cheap ones might be fairly limited in what they can do for you, as well. There are guides that can help you choose based on price range, whether you want it to be portable, and how good they are for things like quilting and embroidering. Your first sewing machine is not likely to be your last one if you end up really getting into it.

Decent fabric scissors

A lot of people who first get into sewing will wrongly assume that any pair of scissors is going to do the trick. Not so. If you don’t get yourself a real pair of quality fabric scissors that have a super sharp edge, then you’re rarely going to be cutting straight. This is nearly as important as the machine.

The right workspace

You might initially start out on the kitchen table, but that’s going to be fairly limited, as you not only want the space to be able to sew your fabric, but you’re going to find that you need storage space for all the supplies and tools that you need to grab on a regular basis, which can make sewing cabinets a lot more reliable. In time, you might want to also look at setting up a cutting table and ironing table.

The supplies

There are a host of other supplies that you’re going to want to keep close at hand. This can include pins to help you keep your fabric in place, bobbins to keep you in a good supply of thread, measuring tape, spare sewing machine needles, and more. A good desktop sewing supply organizer can be vital for helping to keep it all together in one space, too. You want to make sure your most-used tools are visible and accessible.

The right lessons

Aside from all of the material goods, you’re going to want to know what, exactly, you’re supposed to be doing. Whether you look at one of the many craft blogs out there, or you opt for YouTube videos, there are all kinds of sewing tutorials that can teach you everything from how to operating a sewing machine to the more advanced techniques, so take your pick.

Sewing is a hobby that will give as much as you’re willing to put into it. If you’re willing to invest in an elaborate setup, you can do a lot more varied work with a sewing machine. That said, you probably should start small and make sure that you like it, first and foremost.

4 Ways To Save Money When Redecorating Your Lounge

posted by on 2023.08.28, under Partnered Post

Photo by Sidekix Media on Unsplash

Your lounge is one of the most important rooms within your home. It’s often the primary social space, a place where you’ll come together as a family to binge-watch the latest Netflix movies, enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning, or even entertain your friends over some drinks. 

As such, it’s crucial that this space is as warm and welcoming as possible, which could mean it’s overdue a makeover! If budget-friendly decorating is your priority, you’ll be pleased to hear that there are many inexpensive ways in which you can decorate your lounge – and here are just four examples to get you started!

Upcycle your furniture.

It goes without saying that DIY Projects are a great way to save money, and one of the best ways to improve your living room through DIY is by upcycling your current furniture instead of buying something new. For example, if your coffee table is looking old and tired, you can refresh this fixture with a fresh coat of paint or varnish. This way, you’re rejuvenating the space without having to spend hundreds of dollars on new furniture. 

Create your own throws and pillows.

As mentioned above, it’s important that your lounge is a warm, welcoming, and cozy space – and the easiest way to achieve this goal is by decorating with an abundance of throws, blankets, and pillows. You can save money when it comes to sourcing these accessories by learning more about the art of quilting and creating your own! 

Of course, this will require you to buy some tools, such as fabric glue sticks and fabric, but this is much cheaper than buying quilts, throws, pillows, and more from a store. Furthermore, it also means that all of your items are entirely unique and designed to your own tastes! 

Shop Second Hand.

Shopping second-hand, such as by visiting thrift stores, or frequenting online selling platforms, such as Facebook Marketplace, is a relatively obvious way to ensure your redecorating endevors remain budget-friendly. Despite this, many people are reluctant to explore this option as they think that second-hand items will be of poor quality. However, this is often not the case – and provided you’re willing to put the effort in and search for them, you’ll likely find a great deal of hidden treasures within your local thrift store. Remember, if you come across some items that you love but need a bit of care, you can also upcycle this too! For example, a comfortable yet outdated sofa can easily be reupholstered so that it better matches your aesthetic! 

Create your own wall art.

Creating your own wall art can also help you save money when transforming your living room. Not only is this a cost-effective way to ensure you do not leave your walls bare and empty-looking, but it’s also a lot of fun! For example, you could buy a series of canvases and paints that match the style of your living room and have each family member paint their own canvas.