Top 5 Tips for Small Gardens



We know your pain. You’ve moved into a new home and you’re eagerly anticipating making it feel like your own. You can’t wait to get out into the garden and start making changes and planting new flowers and shrubs. But you get out there and find that your green space is smaller than you remembered it, or it doesn’t quite have the room you expected for all your grand garden plans! Fear not – we are here to give you our top 5 tips for getting the most out of small gardens. From useful lawn care advice to planting tips, we’ve got it covered.

Make the Lawn Beautiful

The lawn is the absolute centrepiece of any garden. It is what you notice first and if it isn’t cared for, it will drag down the look of the whole space. No matter whether you have acres or a few feet, if you make your lawn beautiful it will make your garden more inviting and a more enjoyable place to spend time in. You can achieve a lush lawn in a number of ways, but it boils down to DIY or hiring a professional. Both have their benefits, but if you want to have the most stunning lawn and consistent treatments throughout the year, we would recommend leaving it to an expert. However, if you want to get your green fingers on your lawn, there are plenty of DIY guides out there. Make sure you regularly rake, mow and water your garden for the nicest lawn that will have your neighbours green with envy!

Keep it Simple

Try not to overpower or over-plant your garden if you are struggling on space. Sticking to a few statement plants or trees will not only make your garden look more stylish and chic, but it will give the impression of space and openness. Make a few trees or plants the central focus of your garden and then create symmetry around this. If you have a lot of plants it can quickly appear cramped and make your small space even smaller. Having fewer plants also means you can take a little less time tending to the garden and more time enjoying it.

Use Height to Your Advantage

Climbing plants, multi-layered planters, garages and walls are the friends of small gardens. Anything that you can do to extend your garden upwards is a good thing. This gives you considerably more space to be creative. Having plants growing upwards will also give you more privacy from neighbours if you are living in close quarters with other flats or homes. There are many structures available that allow you to plant fruit, vegetables or flowers in a multi-storey way. Hanging baskets are also an easy option when adding plants to your garden at different height levels. Take advantage of all these options and don’t be restricted to the single level landscape of your small garden.

Furniture with Multiple Uses

If you have room to add some seating to your garden, ensure it has multiple purposes that can be used throughout the year. If you don’t do this, you are missing out on a huge space-saving aspect of your garden. There are benches available which double-up as storage boxes, for you to pack away gardening equipment or other garden accessories. If you are getting chairs for the garden, make sure they are stack-able or fold away to become smaller. It is also better to buy garden furniture which can be left out all year round, as you may not have the storage room to put them away during winter months.

Trick the Eye

One way to make your garden appear bigger than it is, is to use elements which accentuate and enlarge your garden. Think reflective surfaces, shiny plant pots and light colours throughout. If you are having some paving or gravel, make sure it is beige or a similar shade to open up the space and make it feel lighter. Mirrors in the garden not only make it feel more stylish and add an element of interior design, they also make you think there is more space than there really is. As much light and reflection you can bring to your back garden, the better. It’s all about the illusion!

 

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Easy Coffee Table Decoration Ideas to Complete Your Room

 

You want to jazz up your living room to make it more appealing and are looking for ways to add interest to this area. What you decide to do must reflect your unique preferences and personality. One great addition to top this piece of furniture is some type of coffee table arrangement. This will provide a focal point as family and guests enter the room. The arrangement on this table could consist of:

Books

Coffee table books are the perfect way to dress up this area. These books could feature interests such as photography, architecture, or art. Or they could reflect the season and display volumes of Christmas, Hannukah, or even Veteran’s Day editions. The great aspect of books is that they can be easily switched out with the changing seasons and your changing hobbies. Guests will be able to browse through these volumes while relaxing in your living room. Stack them up to provide even more of a focal point or spread them out to give everyone a view of your interests at any one particular moment in time. They will help provide color, texture, and a visual hot spot to this room. If it is a very casual room, you can even add magazines on the same or other complementing topics.

Artwork

Your coffee table can be a wonderful showplace for unique and/or authentic pieces of art. They can be sculptures of animals or people, colorful paperweights, or even a collection of other interesting pieces. This artwork can be the creations of local artisans, famous sculptures, or even your four-year-old pre-schooler. Arrange the artwork so that conversation can still effortlessly take place, and the television can still be viewed. If there are small children in the home, be sure that the sculptures and other artwork are unbreakable.

Flowers

For a truly classic appeal, consider a fresh flower arrangement for this table. If you use the room often, you may want to display this colorful foliage all of the time and switch the arrangement out as needed. If your needs are more seasonal, just order the arrangements ahead of time, being very specific about the colors and flowers used, and just place it on this table for family, guests, and friends to enjoy during special parties and gatherings. Be sure to describe the shape and size of this table so the arrangements can fit on the tabletop perfectly. Melbourne Flower Delivery can ensure that you are provided the freshest and most unique arrangements available. You will be so happy with the visual elements and the delicate scents these flowers bring to this room.

As you can see, decorating this table does not have to be a huge challenge. What you decide on can be easily switched out during the different seasons and holidays. Shake it up and try all three suggestions at some time during the year.

Bedroom Essentials for a Good Night’s Sleep

A good night’s sleep is essential to your overall wellness as well as your functionality throughout the course of the day. It can help you to give your best performance at your job during the day, and it can help you to keep your family happy. The following are some essential elements that you need in your bedroom to ensure that you get a good night’s sleep:

1. A Comfortable Bed

The single most important item that you need to ensure that you get a good night’s sleep is the right bed. Your rest is only as good as the furniture on which you lie lay your head. You may want to purchase something like a sleigh bed. French provincial sleigh beds, for example, are great options because they are sturdy enough to brace your back, cozy enough to comfort you and elegant enough to make a fashion statement.

2. The Perfect Temperature

The temperature has to be right for you to get a good night’s sleep, as well. You may not go into the right sleep stage if your body is too hot or too cold. Not getting to the right sleep stage could ultimately make you wake up feeling horrible. Make sure you set the thermostat to something that is perfect for you before you try to rest.

3. Silence or Calming Sounds

The sounds that surround you are just as important as the temperatures are. Be sure to turn off your television and either make it dead silent where you’re at or put something pleasant in your ears like the sound of calm waters, soft raindrops or spiritual music.

4. Sweet Aromas

Another thing that you may want to use to help you fall asleep is a soothing scent. Many candles have scents that can calm you down. People use them in aromatherapy sometimes. Lavender and chamomile are two examples of something that could calm you. You could either light a candle or use an oil burner. The smell will hit your senses through the nose and send messages to your brain to relax. The next thing you know, you may be having a nice dream.

Finally, you’ll want to keep your room as dark as possible if you intend to get a good night’s sleep. Light wakes you up and makes you lively, whereas darkness always puts you down. Turn off all appliances and block out any light from other rooms that comes into your bedroom. For example, you’ll want to turn the bathroom light off if your bedroom is near it, and it causes your mind to wander and not settle down for the evening.

If you have those five things in place, then you should have no problem getting to sleep like you want to. Try them out first before you try any other strategies and notate the results that you get with those methods. You may be surprised to find that you are getting a lot more sleep than you used to.

How to find the perfect Windows for your Home?

Just as you’d take plenty of time when choosing new furniture or décor, selecting the ideal windows for your home is an important decision that requires plenty of consideration. With so many styles, finishes and openings to choose from, it’s essential that you choose glazing that will enhance the exterior of your house whilst ensuring your home remains insulated and secure.

Whilst the cheapest way of fitting windows to a new house is to use white PVCu windows, hardwood, composite and aluminium windows offer a lot for design options and a wealth of stunning finishes. With all this in mind, the team at Martindale Windows Northampton have taken a look through the world of windows to give you a deep insight into what each style of window will provide along with the pro’s, con’s and sots of each.

PVCu Windows

PVCu (plastic) windows have dominated the windows market since their original introduction in the 1990s as a they offer the simplest of all window solutions. Whilst his solution is no longer deemed to be environmentally friendly, at an average cost of between £4000 and £15000 per property, they do offer a relatively cost-effective solution and require little maintenance. However, they can look cheap and reduce the value of period homes and can be difficult to repair if broken.

Composite Windows

Formed around a timber window frame with a weather-proof capping, composite windows are generally used on houses that have harsher climates as they are extremely durable. Available with triple glazing and in range of modern designs, composite windows provide a very low maintenance solution that offers extraordinary insulation. However, at around £10,000 to £25,000 per home, composite windows are one of the most costlier solutions.

Hardwood Windows

As a solution that is extremely durable and more aesthetically pleasing than PVCu windows, hardwood windows are often used for traditional homes and can be tailored to your style with a range of different stains. Whilst slightly more expensive than PVCu windows at between £8000 and £22,000, hardwood windows provide a much more natural look and great longevity.

Metal/Fibreglass Windows

Made from either steel, aluminium or fibreglass, this particular type of window is often used on more contemporary homes to give a sleek and sophisticated style. Whilst metal/fibreglass windows offer a very low maintenance solution and are more stylish than PVCu windows, they’re not as thermally efficient as wooden windows and as slightly more costly than PVCu windows at around £8000 – £20,000 per home.

Window Style: Casement, Tilt or Sash?

Although you may now know the type of windows that you’d like to go for, before fitting your next set of windows it’s also important to consider the style of windows opening that you’d like to go for. With 3 options to consider, there’s a range of benefits from each type.

Open-out Casement system

As a traditionally British option that has been very popular across the UK for a number of years, open-out casements are available in a variety of styles and finishes. Whilst large casements tend to be the cheapest, but you can also select a slightly more expensive small glazed (Georgian style) solution that is often used in country style houses. This particular style is usually made in modular, standard sizes, keeping costs at a minimum.

Tilt and Turn system

This particular design provides a more continental-style window opening that opens inwards and looks best on modern homes. The ‘tilt’ option provides ventilation with security but are typically made to order, meaning that the overall cost can be quite a lot more.

Sash window system

As the mainstay of Georgian and Victorian housing, the sash window is still widely used on traditional-style new builds. Because the sash window is normally made to specification, sizes can typically be non-standard and so can carry quite varying costs depending on the size of your home.

Conclusion

With such a wealth of different options available, finding the right windows for your home is mainly down to the budget you have and the style of property your looking to improve. For a typical town home, we’d opt for either composite or PVCu windows with an open out or tilt and turn finish, whereas if you’re looking to fit-out a traditional rural home we’d recommend either hardwood or composite windows as they offer a much larger selection of stunning colours and glazing finishes.

 

 

 

My Next Mattress

MattressThe recent BBC programme called ‘The Truth About Sleep’ showed the UK to be one of the most sleep deprived nations in the world.  Current research into sleep is quickly painting a picture of sleep being a critical component of a healthy lifestyle, showing lack of sleep to be linked to all sorts of illnesses, including Alzheimer’s and diabetes.  Clearly, our lack of respect for sleep has become a major issue for cultures such as our own and alongside our efforts with nutrition, fitness and stress management, we need to manage our sleep if we are to increase our chances of a healthy and happy life.

A fundamental component of getting a good night’s sleep is creating a comfortable and relaxing environment.  This includes such aspects as temperature, lighting and training the brain to automatically associate bed with sleep.  It also includes ensuring optimal comfort and suitability of your mattress.

So how do you choose the right mattress when buying online when you can’t even lie on it for a couple of minute to try it out?  The first thing to bear in mind is that we spend one third of our life asleep.  When we sleep, our bodies get the chance to regenerate and rebalance by releasing hormones in different patterns.  When our sleep is disturbed or our muscles aren’t relaxed, maybe because we are moving around to get comfortable or we keep waking up, these important patterns are disrupted and our bodies and brains can’t complete their important regenerative processes.

Furthermore, as many people are aware through personal experience, sleeping in poor positions can cause all sorts of aches and pains, notably backache, if our bodies are not well supported during sleep.  This in turn means less good quality sleep time and also, less good quality awake time.  So it really is worth considering the choice of a new mattress carefully and see it not just a necessary purchase, but as the opportunity to improve your health and your day-to-day life as well.

Understanding that peaceful sleep is the key to accessing these enormous benefits sheds some light on the traditional view that an orthopaedic or hard mattress is good for everyone.  While the idea behind this holds some truth, the point is that different mattresses provide the appropriate support for different weights and shapes of people.  What feels like a soft and unsupportive mattress for a heavy man may well be the perfect solution for a lighter woman.  So you need to match your mattress to your body size, weight and shape.

The aim is that the parts of the body that are jutting out e.g. the shoulders and hips for someone lying on their side, can sink sufficiently into the mattress to allow the other parts of the body, such as the waist and thighs, to be adequately supported.  This allows the spine to lie straight (assuming the correct pillow height, position and firmness).

Another way to think about this is that it is all about surface area and pressure, so the more contact there is between the body and the mattress, the less pressure there will be on each part of the body.   Apart from also straining your back, this is why a mattress which is too hard for your weight and size is a bad idea because your body will have less contact and so be under greater strain.  Worst of all, though, is to keep using an old mattress which has become saggy, as this will cause a dip in the spine and the potential for all sorts of subsequent problems. You want the mattress to be doing the work, not your body.

So the first thing to do is catergorise the weight and dimensions of the people who will be using the mattress and find a selection that offer the appropriate firmness.  Of course, if two people of very different sizes will be sharing the mattress, there may be the need for different solutions.  This can be achieved in a number of different ways, including having two single mattresses joined or considering a memory foam mattress which will adapt to each individual separately.  Here are some guidelines.

 

Soft

Suits those who don’t naturally put a lot of pressure on their spine by how they sleep, like those who sleep on their side (with good pillows) or change position a lot during the night.

Medium

For those who sleep on their back as this position needs a little more support from the mattress.

Firm

As this type of mattress offers more support, it is suited to heavier people, back pain sufferers and front sleepers.

 

There are several types of mattress with different characteristics to help meet your specific needs.  These each have their own pros and cons and so it is worth considering your scenario and budget to get the best match.

Spring mattresses are the traditional mattress type.  Firmness is mainly down to the number of springs and so the heavier you are, the more important this factor will become.  Sprung mattresses can come as  pocket sprung or open sprung.  Pocket sprung have, as the name suggests, each spring in a separate pocket which allows for them to respond independently each part of your body, so improving contact and support.  Pocket sprung are thus better for two people mattresses, as they offer a more individual solution for each person and also help to avoid rolling into the centre of the bed.  The downsides of pocket sprung are that they can be more expensive and are heavier to turn.  Finally, it’s important to ensure that you aren’t allergic to whatever material has been used to fill the mattress, as particularly pocket sprung ones can use natural fibres like lambswool.

If you are looking for a good night’s sleep on a lower budget, then open spring mattresses are generally cheaper.  Continuous coil mattresses are made from a single looped wire, so the springs move as one, meaning that they don’t adjust specifically to each different part of your body and also do not protect you against the movement of anyone else lying on the mattress. Being less robust, they don’t tend to last as long, making sleep less comfortable and causing people to roll into the centre.   On the upside, open coil mattresses are generally quite light and so are easier to turn.  Many people choose this type of mattress for beds in children’s rooms as they tend  to have a short lifespan for other reasons, or in rooms which will be less frequently used, like guest rooms.

Another style of mattress to consider is memory foam.  Made of a manmade fabric called polyurethane, its main benefit is that it learns your body shape.  Memory foam mattresses are also generally cheaper and more durable than pocket sprung mattresses and offer a great solution when two people of different sizes are sharing the bed.  They are also excellent for people who suffer from back problems as they really help align the spine by retaining a set posture.  Getting on to a memory foam mattress does, however, feel somewhat different since your body sinks into the material as it moulds around your shape.  They also retain more heat than sprung mattresses.

Less commonly found, latex mattresses are a more expensive, but very durable alternative.  They are made from the sap that comes from rubber trees and they mould round your body in a tailored, supportive shape with a springy feel to them.  They are best for people who prefer a firmer mattress as, even more than memory foam, they can feel a bit solid and can develop lumps and bumps over time.  Latex allows the air to circulate well and this characteristic can be enhanced with a slatted base.

Finally, it’s important to make sure that the bed base is suitable for the type of mattress that you have chosen. Sprung mattresses sit best on upholstered or divan bases, as the springs in each component work together to produce improved support.  On the other hand, memory foam and latex mattresses are better on wooden slats as these let out some of the heat and don’t complicate the formation of the tailored shaping with the movement caused by the springs in the base.

Choosing the right mattress is all about matching its characteristics with your needs.

This article was written by My Next Mattress.

Mattress sizes (UK standard)

Single: 90cm x 190cm

Double: 135cm x 190cm

Kingsize: 150cm x 200cm

Super kingsize: 180cm x 200cm

 

Simple Ways To Prepare Your Bedroom For Summer

Simple Ways To Prepare Your Bedroom For Summer

With summer on its way, warmer climes are inevitable, but higher temperatures can encourage restless sleep, making it harder to drift off. If you have not done so already, now is the time to pack away those extra covers and bed socks and prepare your bedroom for the warmer weather! Here are a few simple ways to ensure you are getting a good night’s rest and relaxation during these warmer nights.

Bed

Accessories

To create a cool oasis, remove any chunky and dark accessories from your room like thick rugs, faux-fur throw pillows, and thick thermal curtains. These accessories are perfect for creating snug interiors during the colder months, however for warmer and brighter months, you want a space that reflects an airy and summery feel. Replace wintery items with ones that make you feel like you are in a different country. This could include fresh cut flowers, vibrant succulents in mismatched pots or simply swapping curtains for a soft grey venetian blind.

Bedding

Your 13.5 tog duvet may have kept you snug and warm during those chilly nights, however it is time to swap it out for a lighter summer duvet, ideally a more breathable 4.5 or 7.5 tog. Higher tog duvets will only have you shuffling and moving around all night as the heat will be retained underneath.

To get into the summer mood, brightly coloured bedsheets made from breathable, light fabrics will help you drift off into dreamland before you know it – cobalt blue and white are reminiscent of a Santorini villa, for example.

Your mattress sheet can also be changed to one made from natural fibres and a lower thread count, (a thread count of 300-400 is perfect for summer), or try a smart mattress topper which claim to keep you at optimal body temperature throughout the night.

Sleep Tech

Sometimes, no matter how light your sheets are, or how open your windows may be, there are times where you are simply too hot to sleep. This is where technology comes to the rescue. Sleep monitoring apps like Sleep Cycle can also be helpful to uncover the times you are at your most rested, or not, so you can work out if something is or isn’t helping.

Other than nights getting warmer, you may find your room getting brighter earlier. In this case, sleeping aids may just mean a good quality sleep mask!

Furniture positioning

During the summer months, the sun rises earlier. You could consider improving your interior design by moving your furniture around to create a space where you can sleep without the sun blinding you such as moving your bed to face away from the window. If you like getting ready at a dressing table, position this piece of furniture nearer to the window as the natural light will make all the difference to your daily routine, once you are ready to embrace it.

By planning your Summer bedroom to bring the outside in and keep it light, bright and airy, you should  find that you really enjoy the refreshed space  – but more importantly benefit from a sold, well rested night’s sleep!

 

Why Clean Indoor Air is Essential in All Homes

Everybody loves receiving flowers. They brighten homes, positively impact your mood and generally add a touch of life to any room. But sadly, they always die. There’s nothing you can do about it, other than purchasing plastic plants. And let’s be honest, those just don’t cut it. But, there could be a sinister reason behind the premature death of your flowers – and the key to saving them could be in your air conditioning.

Why Clean Indoor Air is Essential in All Homes

We’ve all heard of the term “canary in a coalmine”, coming from the days of mining where they would bring a small bird into the mine to measure when the air gets too toxic. When the canary dies, the miners knew that it was time to get out of there quickly.

Plants are similar in this way. They’re more sensitive to air quality than humans are. They don’t have the biological systems we do to filter toxins and other pollutants from the good stuff we need – obviously. Thus, if plants are dying quickly, it could be due to the low air quality in your home.

Don’t be alarmed! This doesn’t mean that because your plants don’t live long that your air is toxic. It means that it’s not as fresh as it could be. Simple steps can be taken to make a huge difference to your indoor air quality. This can help you avoid irritating asthma or hay fever symptoms that may aggravate you on occasion.

Chemicals in our home that we use for a huge range of things can have a negative impact on our health. Cleaning and cooking products, aerosols and other factors can make a difference to what we’re breathing in.

We spend a lot of time indoors, and we want to make sure that we’re getting the best kind of air for the best health. Indoor plants can help create cleaner indoor air (as they produce pure oxygen). If you make a great environment for them to thrive in, they’ll help you out too!

Consider what the best options are for your unique home to optimise clean indoor air. These methods don’t have to be expense, so look into it and find the best solution to help you breathe better air.

You may want to consider implementing the method you decide on in your office as well. Anywhere where a lot of people spend time breathing the air needs to be a clean and healthy environment. Making the best choices will help everyone feel, look and work there best.