Creating the perfect garden for entertaining

Garden Lights

Creating a great outdoor space for entertainment can be a little daunting especially when you don’t know where to start, but with a little planning and creativity you can create your own garden wonderland that the whole family and friends can enjoy all year round.

Garden specialists Oeco Garden Rooms have many years of experience creating bespoke gardens for their clients throughout the UK and abroad and give us their top tips on creating the perfect garden for entertaining.

Peonies

Garden Layout is key

Having the right garden layout is key to creating an entertaining space not only during the summer months when the flowers are in bloom but also the winter too; this is where you will see the bare bones of the garden and if the layout is not right it can look bland and untidy very quickly.

Hedges and raised flower beds are great ways of adding structure to the layout of the garden, creating designated areas for different activities that can be repurposed for different times of the year.

Adding seasonal flowers to your garden

There is a plethora of choice when it comes to summer flowers, but some of the more popular types are Gloriosa Daisy and Peonies. Gloriosa Daisy (also known as Black Eyed Susan) has a bright yellow and orange petals with a deep brown centre. It can grow up to 3.5 ft and can survive cool temperatures well. Gloriosa daisy can attract butterflies, bees and even hummingbirds into the garden.

With its beauty and fragrance, peonies are a great summer flower. They can live for over 100 years with very little maintenance as it can survive in a cool weather climate. The secret of having a long life and blossoming peony is in its preparation so read up carefully before planting.

Adding seasonal colours such as red and white in the winter months will make the garden more inviting; flowers such as Hellebores are a great choice because they flower between late winter and early spring adding colour at a time where the majority of plants and shrubs have died off.

Fir trees are a great choice for any garden. They are evergreen and require very little maintenance, but they can grow tall so make sure that you plant a miniature species.

Fire Pit

Decorating the garden

Colourful garden furniture is all the rage at the moment and can enhance the natural beauty of any garden. Using folding furniture means that you can easily move it or store it away if the weather turns for the worst.

Fairy lights and lanterns are a great way of creating light in an outdoor space and can be hung on trees, draped over bushes or hung from outdoor structures like sheds, garden rooms and decking. Solar lights are also a popular choice and can be used to light up walkways and patio areas.

For those on a budget, there are plenty of DIY decorations you can make including tying ribbons to tree branches, hanging bunting around the garden or even painting the garden fence or shed a vibrant colour to make it stand out.

Build a Fire Pit

Many people give the garden a miss at night when the temperature starts to fall, but adding a heat source is an easy and cheap way of providing heat in the garden all year round. Patio heaters and chimera’s are popular choices, but building your own fire pit is a cheap and easy way for family and friends to gather around and enjoy when entertaining.

 

Impact of Deforestation on Environment and Animals

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downloadDeforestation has been a huge problem which is increasing with time and creating several environmental issues. It has become a huge controversy with environmentalists. It can be defined as large scale removal of forests for the purpose of converting them to non-forest areas for agriculture, industrial activities, urbanization and other such reasons, without sufficient reforestation. Millions of animal and plant species are in danger of being extinct as a result of deforestation. Not only this, but also it affects environment to a great extent by increasing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Even though, it may have economic benefits, but its negative impact has greatly outweighed the positive impact. One huge problem with deforestation is that it destroys natural habitats of animals living in forests. Due to this, a species ‘natural habitat’ is destroyed, which makes it difficult for that particular species to adapt-resulting in their extinction.

Further, the result of deforestation is great decrease in biodiversity. One such species which has become extinct is Orangutans. The greatest threat to the survival of this species is rapid loss of their natural habitat in Borneo and Sumatra.

Large areas of rainforest in Borneo and Sumatra have been cut down for obtaining large amount of timber and the land over there has been cleared and replanted with cash crops and palm oil plantations. Due to palm oil plantations, especially made by clearing away rainforests causes about 600 million tons of carbon leakage into the air. Besides this herbicides and pesticides are spread in the air because of this practice.

Plantation owners and their co-related workers often kill Orangutans when these animals trespass into human areas in search of food, as they consider them as a threat to their valuable crop plantation. Besides this, these species has also been target of illegal hunting and baby orangutans are often hunted by hunters, who consider these animals as highly prized commodity and sell them into the illegal pet trade, after the mother Orangutan is killed.

Orangutans mostly spend their time living on top of tree branches and often swing from one tree to another tree to get their food and other needs. Even though, they have strong legs, they seldom come down to ground to avoid being pray to different predators namely snakes, leopards and tigers. They have hook-shaped fingers and toes, which help them to easily, hang and swing on tree branches.

The future survival of these species in the forest largely depends on human intervention, as soon these species are likely to become extinct without our help or support. In order to save these species, Rimba Raya – a biodiversity reserve has been founded to promote the conservation of endangered Orangutan species. The saddest part is that this endangered species is one among the three remaining species of apes.

This reserve forms a natural barrier between palm oil’s industry constant bulldozing and Tanjung National Park, which has one of the last remaining populations of wild Orangutan species on Earth. A good thing about this reserve is that it is home to 300 species of birds, 122 species of mammals and 180 kinds of plants & trees. This biodiversity reserve takes appropriate measures to protect all these species and has taken special pledge to help protect Bornean Orangutan species.

Besides this, the government of Sumatra and Borneo have taken certain steps to ensure survival of these species by declaring large areas in rainforest as a forest reserve, where land clearing and logging for palm oil or other cash crops plantation is prohibited.

Further, there is some wildlife protection laws established to protect these species from being extinct. Several rehabilitation centres and sanctuaries have also been introduced to treat and care for sick, orphaned or injured orangutans. These rehabilitated species are then released back into the tropical rainforest, so as to re-populate back the forests.

Thus, it can be said that deforestation should be carried out with certain limitations to ensure that it does not cause a negative impact on environment and animal species.

Window Treatment Design Ideas to Keep Out the Summer Heat

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imagesIn the summer months, as the temperature climbs to extreme heats, it is often tempting to blast the air conditioning. Unfortunately, not everyone has air conditioning, and even if you do, using it too often can become a huge, unaffordable expense. No one wants to be in a home that feels as hot as the outside air does. Another way to keep your home cool during the summer months is to use window treatments to block out the warmth. Here are a few effective ways to use window treatment design ideas to keep out the summer heat all season long.

Instead of wasting money on your energy bill each month, Contacting a company such as Colorado Roof Toppers can help you with your window treatments strategically so that they are practical as well as design forward. One helpful idea is to hang long, heavy window curtains. Heavy window curtains have been used for centuries to trap heat away but also as décor. While heavy materials may make you think or warmth and heat, in reality, heavy curtains work best to trap heat that comes through your windows so that it doesn’t reach your living spaces. Closing these heavy curtains during the daytime will keep the hot sunlight out, trapping it between the curtain and the window so it is not able to impact the internal temperature of your home. Keep these curtains design forward by choosing a great color or pattern that will compliment the rest of the decor in your home.

Another idea is to purchase blackout shades. These shades are significantly more effective at keeping out light than regular, slatted window blinds. Blackout shades are neutral and discrete. They will also block out all sunlight, keeping your rooms cool. Plus, they are awesome when you want to take a mid-day nap, since you can have instant darkness!

You can also install exterior window blinds. These are typically made from a variety of materials including vinyl, wood, steel, or aluminum. They will attach to the top of the window and the channels will guide them so you can raise or lower the blinds as needed. When closed all the way, the slats fit together to block all light. When slightly closed, they allow some sunlight through without overheating your home.

Window awnings are another effective way to keep cool in the summertime, plus they add a great, unique effect to the exterior of your home. They will also provide shade on the inside and the outside of your home so they are multi-purposed! Awnings can reduce heat gain in your house by anywhere from 65-77% with proven results!

There is also a new way of preventing heat from coming into your home called Smart Windows. This still allows you to get the sunlight you desire, but without the heat. These windows are made by a nanocrystal glass that allows users to adjust how much sunlight or outside heat they want. This invention can decrease the amount of electricity used, ultimately reducing the use of air conditioning!

Clearly there are endless options available to homeowners who want to utilize windows treatments to block out heat and keep their homes cool during the warm, summer months. Window treatments like blinds, curtains, and architectural louvers are sure to present an effective as well as cost efficient way to keep cool in the summer in an eco-friendly and affordable manner without wasting energy necessary to crank up the air conditioning. Not only do these window treatment options work, but they are also design savvy, so they will look great with the decor of the rest of your home, on both the inside and the outside.

 

3 Easy Steps to Become More Eco Conscious

You hear it all the time “go green”, but what are you really supposed to do? When it comes to the planet and the environment, we all know we want to do our part to make a difference, and be more conscious. However, without having the money to drop everything ad buy a hybrid car, or install solar panels on your home, you might be asking yourself “what can I do to be more environmentally conscious – today!” In this article, we’ll take a look at several things you can do quickly, that won’t cost you extra money; and will have a positive effect on the planet by lessening your personal impact. Take a look!

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Around the House – step 1

By far, one of the easiest ways to lessen your impact on the Earth, is to start in your home. There are some simple things you can do today that will lessen your impact without costing you a dime. In fact, most of them will actually save you money. These are things like switching to cloth rags and hand towels from paper towels. Re-using plastic bags, and bringing them back to the grocery store to recycle them. Turn off the water when you’re brushing your teeth, and always check packaging materials to see if they’re recyclable before throwing them in the garbage. It’s easy to figure out how much energy and how many resources you’re wasting when you just take the time to look – and you’re just hanging out around the house anyhow!

The Workplace – step 2

While it can be a little more difficult to focus your energy on environmental impact at work, where you already have so much to worry about – it’s not as hard as you might think. Take everything you saw in the home section, and take it a step further in the office. How long do you have your computer set to before it sleeps? When you leave your desk to go into a meeting, does it sit for 45 minutes before the monitor turns off? Imagine how much power that’s wasting. Make sure to set your computer to sleep at a reasonable amount of time between when you stop touching it, and when you start work again – maybe 5 or 10 minutes. Do you bring individually packaged lunches that require energy to heat and create lots of disposable waste when you’re done? Consider bringing cold food from home, or even if you want hot food – bring it from home in containers that are not disposable. Who do you have printing your business cards? Are they environmentally responsible? Some printers like PrintingforLess.com are 100% wind powered and only use vegetable soy based inks. These kinds of things make a huge difference when it comes to your business’s impact on the environment.

On the Go – Step 3

Aside from work and home, there’s one other place we find ourselves the majority of the time: on the go. As you travel to and from work, to do errands on the weekends, or even on social trips and vacations – are you conscious of the impact your travel is having on the environment? As we mentioned, we understand that everyone can’t run out and buy a hybrid economy car, but there are other things you can do as well. Consider carpooling to save fuel, and money – that’s a no brainer. However, thing about it even further. When you’re traveling by car, or even plane – are you constantly buying “to-go” food that’s packaged In disposable containers? Consider bringing your own food along that’s in reusable containers. Back to driving, even the way you drive can have a greater or worse impact on the environment. Don’t gun your engine and peel out, just to slam on the breaks later. Instead, accelerate slowly, and stop accelerating when you see a stop ahead – just coast until you get there. All of these things will drastically reduce your impact on the environment when you travel.

Takeaways

Well, we’ve covered the 3 easiest categories you can take to lessen your impact on the environment – your home, your work, and your travel. Now it’s time for you to find the options we’ve missed. How many different ways can you find to lessen your impact on the Earth? Let us know

The Benefits Of Environmental Focussed Cleaning Products

Obviously, eco-friendly topics are very popular today and they have even found themselves in the cleaning industry. One of these is green cleaning aided by tools that identify products and chemicals, making eco-friendly cleaning cost effective. Apart from enjoying a healthy environment, it has been found that green cleaning also saves money and other resources.

Why Green Cleaning Is Crucial

Traditional chemicals used in cleaning products have been found to have the potential of causing serious harm. Most homeowners know what cleaning is all about and how the different chemicals in cleaning items affect our natural environment including human health. Proper selection of the right eco-friendly products is helping to ensure the safety and health of occupants in a home has been safeguarded. 

Impact On Apartment Occupants

It has been found that cleaning products do have a direct impact on the lives of occupants of a specific building. For instance, a number of the conventional products have been contributing to lots of health issues like respiratory, skin and eye irritation including allergic reactions and asthma. In turn, the occupants complain a lot as productivity is affected, including attendance at work or even school. Replacement products with harmful chemicals for green cleaning items is less costly and improves the health of those who live in a building and around it, including increasing the rate of ventilation and fresh air supply.

Cleaning Personnel Are Also Affected

It is obvious cleaning personnel work all the time with cleaning products and if the ones they use have serious concentrations of harmful chemicals then things could be really bad. Such an exposure leads to very chronic illnesses over time such as reproductive problems, neurological issues and even cancer. It is paramount to ascertain the overall harm that cleaning products, chemicals cause so that better strategies of the right items can be developed. In fact, there are lots of safe industrial cleaning supplies in the market. 

Minimize Risks

One way of minimizing the risks is ensuring you have understood the different ways toxins make their way into the body. The different exposure routes include dermal exposure, inhalation and ingestion. The contaminants can also be ingested by people, especially if the chemicals find their way in beverages, foods and drinking water. Injurious cleaning products can also find their way into the areas where you prepare food in the kitchen and even from hands that are not properly cleaned.

Inhalation

Safe cleaning products ensure even the air you breath is fresh and clean. However, this cannot be said for harmful chemicals in cleaning items that might be effective in making your clothes, home surfaces, rags and other things clean. If they are inhaled, they could cause serious breathing issues, asthmatic attacks, allergies and other problems in the lungs, especially because research shows more than 90 percent of our time is spent in a building.

Skin Exposure

Using environmentally friendly cleaning products is the best way of ensuring your skin remains healthy as well as the body. Most of the traditional Degreasers and cleaners contain 2-butoxylethanol or simply the butyl cleaner. If absorbed through the skin, it will damage your body organs, especially the reproductive system.