Home and Garden Balcony Spaces

Now is the time to consider what would work for next year for those who are considering creating a garden room on that balcony or rooftop area of your home, apartment or condo. Your balcony backyard is becoming more and more popular and with a little attention, can become a focal point of your home and wonderful area for entertaining.

Because balconies are usually quite small, space is a major design consideration. The main design principle is to keep the design as simple as possible. The last thing you want is a cluttered, busy look.

One major consideration for those narrow or small areas is to use a square or rectangular container or garden planters that follow the angles and edges of balconies. They will also save space. Hanging baskets, espaliered, and climbing plants will bring the walls to life. The plants themselves can be grown in your containers, easily moved around with the seasons. A trellis attached to the wall is a great place to grow climbing plants and still leave enough room for a small table, bench or a couple of chairs.

Rooftop gardens and some balconies are often blasted by wind and sun, so select plants that are suitable for these conditions. Some suggestions may be Cacti, Kalanchoe, Ivy and many ornamental grasses for they are somewhat drought resistant. Others that may need a little more care are Roses, Citrus, Daisies, Geraniums of course, Bamboo and Conifers. Surprisingly the biggest killer of balcony plants is often overwatering. The urge is great to add water every time you check on the progress of your garden. Beware of being too kind!

Garden pots and planters filled with clipped shapes or standards create a truly elegant effect and may be used as dominant features for your rooftop garden. You can create an exquisite look in a small space by using several pots of clipped shrubs. Boxwood can be clipped into spheres, squares or any shape you desire. Keep in mind that it is less expensive to purchase large unclipped boxwood and then create your own design.

Containers filled with your shrubs make great portable hedges or screens. They are ideal for separating the space from the rest of the area in order to create a separate garden room.

Think carefully about the style and function of your balcony, or rooftop space. Do you want it formal or informal? With a formal look, you can create a modern minimalist style with a few containers filled with select garden plants. In either case, be sure to use heavy, wide pots and planters in windy areas to prevent the pots from being blown over.

If you have a large area, or one that is elongated, consider using repeat plantings to give a clean, uncluttered appearance. Several large containers or planters can be more eye-catching than a collection of small pots.

Use your imagination and just get started. From season to season you will learn what works best in your space and how to make the garden room part of your home.

Design Your Home and Garden With a Solar Water Fountain

Are you in the midst of designing or redesigning your home to be more environmentally friendly? If so and you’re trying to add in, either an indoor or outdoor peaceful water fountain, then you’ll want to go with a solar water fountain for you home/business. What is a solar fountain? It is as its name suggests – a solar water fountain that runs on the energy the sun produces instead of electricity or batteries, often seen in older water fountains.

You can find solar water fountains in many design varieties. One type includes the tabletop water fountain, which can be placed in your home or office. These fountain types come with a detachable solar panel that you place 15 feet away from the fountain. It allows the sunlight in and powers the solar water fountain even though it’s not nearby the window. The solar fountains will put humidity back into your air, which is vitally important during those long winter months when the air tends to dry out.

Types Of Solar Fountain Designs

Not every garden fountain manufacturer designs solar fountains. However, the companies that do produce these solar water fountains design all kinds of shapes so that a person can find the one that they would really like to accentuate their home and garden with.

Periodic Maintenance On Your Solar Fountain

For instance, you can purchase a tabletop design that can sit atop an end table, shelf or table. Water will circulate continuously so there is no need to hook it up to a water source. This keeps you from consuming a lot of water. However, you will need to check it often to ensure that the fountain is not near empty. Evaporation will tend to occur over time so check it at least once a week. If you don’t check it, the fountain’s motor could be damaged beyond repair.

Other Types Of Solar Fountain

There are many kinds of solar water fountain designs out on the market. Besides the tabletop solar fountain design, you can choose a wall-mounted fountain, which can be hung on your home/office walls. Why are fountains like these so nice? They are nice because they don’t use the space you may need for your shelves or tables. Instead, they are a wall ornament.

Wall ornament solar water fountains have backs to them that sit right flush to the wall. The bottom of the fountain is a water trough. As the water circulates through the fountain, it will fall to this area, only to get circulated back again and again. Many wall ornament fountains will be uniquely designed.

Some designs include flower and vines; some others have geometric shapes. Solar water fountains can be made from copper, stone and wood, among many, many more materials. Keep in mind that the floor units are often larger and must sit on the floor (or on level ground if it is an outdoor solar water fountain). If you have an indoor solar fountain, be sure to place it on a pedestal.

Accessible Design Home Modifications For Seniors and People With Disabilities

One out of every two people in the United States has some type of disability that limits their daily living. The disability could be from a stroke, a fall, or another age-related difficulty. With approximately 70 million people in this age category, it presents a large segment of the population.

For most seniors, staying at home as they age (aging-in-place) is a big priority. More than 90 percent of persons surveyed age 65 and older would prefer to stay in their current residence as long as possible.

Accessible Home Modifications allow people to stay at home longer instead of moving to a care facility. People that stay in their own home have increased self-esteem, see friends and family members more often, and are generally happier. A caregiver may be needed but this is a thriving industry and help is just a phone call away.

What Can Be Done to Make a Home Accessible and Barrier-Free?

Make the Bathroom Safer

Most accidents in the home happen in the bathroom. Making sure the bathroom is safe and accessible is probably the first place to examine.

Grab Bars should be placed inside the shower and directly outside the shower entrance. They can also be placed next to the toilet.

Raise your toilet with a Toilevator toilet spacer. This device goes underneath the base of the toilet and raises it up 3.5 inches. This is safer and cleaner than using a toilet elevator on top of the seat.

Add Non-Slip Shower Strips to the floor of the shower or bathtub. These are inexpensive and easy to install and prevent slipping while standing in the shower.

Living Room and Bedroom

A lot of time is spent in the living room and bedroom standing and sitting. Make sure carpets and rugs are flat to avoid tripping over them.

Provide ample lighting, especially near stairways, to avoid tripping or walking into things.

Devices such as Couch Canes, Super Poles, and Bed Canes make it easier and more stable for standing and sitting. They also take the pressure off the knees.

Furniture Risers (sofa risers) can be placed under the legs of sofas, chairs, or beds to lift them up a few inches making it easier to stand or sit.

The Kitchen

Accidents in the kitchen many times stem from reaching up high in cabinets.

Use a Step Stool With a Handle for stability and to make it easier to reach items.

A Portable Reacher can grasp items high up in a cabinet.

Outside the Home

Make sure walkways are free of cracks and stairs are lighted for night. Mark them with colored tape or paint so it is easier to see the steps or changes in elevation.

Handrails along walkways or near steps and doorways give something to hold onto in problem areas.

There are numerous solutions for making a home safer and more accessible. Many of them can be done simply by looking around and making minor adjustments. Others are bigger jobs that require a contractor, such as adding a stairlift.

Check for contractors that are CAPS (Certified Aging in Place Specialists) certified to ensure they are qualified to do the work.

Home and Garden Products With the Specialty Merchandise Corporation

The specialty merchandise corporation has some very interesting products for their clients and this article provides an insight to some of the sales opportunities that might arise for the participant if they are able to take advantage of the opportunities that have been presented. The list of products is not fully representative on the opportunities that are available on the specialty merchandise corporation website. However it gives an overview of the frameworks that the participants will need to negotiate in order to be successful in the venture:

• The Diner Bird House: This is one of the top sellers on the specialty merchandise corporation site. The merchant buys it 70% off and resells at its marked-up price. This is a product that has both practical and decorative attributes that will ensure that it does well in the homes where it is placed.

• The Childhood Garden Sculpture: The SMC has been able to come up with this novelty item that has many fans. There are nostalgic elements to the product that make it irresistible for clients. Since the retail price is a lot higher than what a member pays for, it is not even necessary to sell many items in order to get significant returns.

• Loving Frogs on a Swing: This is one of the items that might be considered to be niche even for the SMC. However it seems to be doing very well. There are people that love decorative frogs. The SMC Corp will offer the product again for 70% off of what a client can sell the set for. That is a handsome profit if the client can tap into the niche market of people who would buy the product.

• The Garden Tote with Tools: This is a practical element for people that have green fingers. In fact it is presented in a format that is very different from what would be available from the local gardening centers. These are products that just sell without too much emphasis from the partner.

• The Humming Bird with Weather Vane and a Gazing Ball: This is an absolute treat at prices that might be laughed out of the local home and garden supercenter. The marketing of this product is not a problem because it is likely to attract dedicated customers from all perspectives.

It is quite clear that the system that is used for the home and garden department of the SMC is very profitable. It allows the partners to make significant profits if they are happy to go through the investment process and market the product. The tastes and preferences of the potential consumers will be of the utmost importance in getting people to accept this product.