Save Your Back With Raised Bed Gardening – And Other Benefits

Raised bed gardening offers many advantages over traditional "in the ground" gardening. This simple technique will improve the health and productivity of your garden while bringing the soil up to a comfortable working level. Raised container gardens are perfect for people with limited space, or who have a hard time bending over and kneeling on the ground for traditional gardening.

Improved plant growing conditions, larger harvests, accessibility, and improved garden pest protection are just some of the advantages of this gardening method. Raised bed gardens also are more efficient in fertilization and water conservation. Gardening in raised beds simply means that you grow your plants above the level of the ground. Plants cover the bed areas; gardeners work from the paths.

When creating your container beds, make them only as wide as can be easily worked from either side. Typically, the beds are constructed 3 to 4 feet wide and elevated between 8 inches and 2 feet. Taller raised beds allow gardening without much bending. While you're building, why not add benches on the sides for even more convenience! Spaces between beds may be left in sod, mulched or even paved with stone or brick. In a vegetable garden, leave enough room for a wheelbarrow.

Wood, brick, rocks, or cement blocks are all popular materials for making a raised bed. Wood is the most common choice, because it is easy to work with and it is inexpensive. The best wood choices are durable materials such as cedar, cypress or redwood. With tall beds made of wood will need support so that your bed will hold up the weight of the soil. You can also use rebar placed into the ground around the edges of the bed to support the wood. My cedar raised beds have attracted a decade, and are still in use.

With this gardening method you can basically start from scratch and create the soil environment that best suits the plants you would like to grow. Soil building is an important part of any garden and it's much easier to control that aspect of gardening with raised beds. The bed is a clearly defined area where the gardener can concentrate on soil improvement techniques; for example, adding compost or fertilizers. Poor soil can be adjusted or replaced completely in a raised bed, so you can eliminate soil borne diseases and improve the ability to hold an appropriate amount of moisture. You can fill the bed with your own mix of soil if the natural soil in your area is not that good for gardening.

Soil preparation is the key to successful intensive gardening. It's important to realize that soil compact can reduce crop yields up to 50 percent. By eliminating walking on the soil, water and air can more easily penetrate the soil. The basic idea of ​​a container garden is that instead of battling against poor soil conditions, you build above ground, where you can have absolute control over the soil texture and ingredients.

Soil in raised …

Planning Your Interior Decoration

As our homes are an important part of the world around us, most of us try to have beautiful and exotic items in our homes to make it more enjoyable to live in. There are various factors to keep in mind while planning your interior decoration as homes are not just made of a roof and four walls. When you talk of home décor, it encompasses several things such as designs, materials and themes.

While planning your home decor project, you can choose a specific theme for every room or one theme for the entire home. You can beautify a house in such a way that each room is decorated with styles of different countries that you have visited. You can bring the authentic look by including art and furniture from each of those countries visited.

Before embarking on the home improvement project, you have to be clear of your needs. You must also take into account your personal likes and dislikes while planning for a home decoration. You can decide from a range of themes such as Victorian to more contemporary themes that suit both the urban and modern lifestyle.

One of the modern home décor ideas is the use of bamboo which is becoming popular nowadays. As bamboo is both beautiful and eco-friendly, it has many advantages that has made it the desired choice for home interior decoration. With the use of bamboo you can convert your home into a paradise of peace and harmony. You can also choose this material because of its sheer versatility. This material can be used in almost anything starting from floorings to even curtains! You must remember that non-toxic glue must be used for sealing the sheets while decorating your home interior.

Bamboo curtains can also be bought cheaply from all over the world and can match with the flooring with convenience. Bamboo flooring can also enhance the ambience of the place, but you must make sure to keep the space clutter free. You should choose slightly muted colors for this theme. In case you are interested in adding more color to the space, you can opt from a range of cushions and rugs that make excellent floor decor additions.

You can also add a nice painting of a color that matches the home décor accessories and a couple of flowers to add some freshness to the room.…

3 Must Have Essential Oils to Calm Your Pet

The reason I love animals so much is that they give off an attitude of happiness, innocence and unconditional love to their people.  Our pets are just as happy being a part of our household as we are of having them with us.

But sometimes an animal comes into our life that is a bit “out there!”

For instance, the dog that has an irrational fear of rain and won’t for the life of him go outside to potty during a rain shower.  Or the cat who hides for hours when a friend comes over.  Or, how about the dog with attachment issues that destroys the house while you’re at work?  Any of these sound familiar?

My cat’s, Sammie and Max, love to hang out on our screened-in patio.  But whenever the garbage truck comes rolling in, they flee for their lives!

It might sound crazy to us, but whatever your animal’s fears or wacky behaviors may be, they are completely legitimate in their minds.

Using essential oils on your animals can really take the edge off of their anxiety, big time!

Because of an animal’s heightened senses, they respond very well to essential oils.  In the wild, animals eat specific plants to heal themselves.  In captivity (our homes), the plant kingdom is not readily available.  Using essential oils on your pet gives them access to the vast healing properties of nature.

The three best essential oils to calm your pets are:

Lavender

Roman Chamomile

Peace & Calming® (a blend from Young Living)

These essential oils can be used to support your animal with; fear of rain and thunderstorms, separation anxiety, hyperactivity, trauma/abuse, depression, Illness, trips to the vet’s office, grief/loss of another family pet and any other situation that causes great stress for your animal, such as garbage trucks!

When you apply essential oils to animals, always remember less is more as animals are very sensitive to essential oils.

Also, with animals, it’s best to dilute essential oils with a carrier oil such as organic olive oil.  I recommend one part essential oil to 1 part carrier oil for all animals EXCEPT cats. The dilution ratio for cats is 1 part essential oil to 10 parts carrier oil.

Use caution with cats!

Any of the essential oils listed in this article are safe for dogs and horses, however; cats are a different story! Cats are extremely sensitive to essential oils containing phenols, such as oregano and thyme. Cats can not effectively metabolize phenols because they lack an enzyme in their liver to digest the phenols. Avoid Peace & Calming® essential oil blend on your cat, as it does contain phenols. Lavender and Roman Chamomile essential oils ARE safe for cats.

How to apply essential oils on dogs, horses and cats:

For calming dogs:

Mix 1 drop Lavender, Roman Chamomile or Peace & Calming® essential oil with 1 drop carrier oil.  Rub this mixture on your dogs pads, ears or comb through their fur.  Apply any time you sense your …

Ideas For Interior Decorating Are Plentiful Online

There are so many ideas for interior decorating that it could be a bit overwhelming deciding which ones to implement. A good way to organize all the ideas is to use the Internet to find advice on what will work best in your home based on its style, room size, number of occupants and interests.

Putting ideas for interior decorating on paper helps to configure a budget and identify what you need to purchase and the quantities. It also enables you to determine what the focal point and mood will be in a particular room and design the remaining space with those in mind. It also gives you the opportunity to change the purpose of a room. For instance, you may decide to redesign an underutilized formal dining room into a much needed home office.

Ideas for interior decorating are developed once a room's use is determined. For example, a room you use everyday, such as the family room, would get greater attention and a larger portion of your budget than a guest bedroom, which is used infrequently. That's not to say you want to neglect these rooms. Rather, look at them as experimental opportunities and get creative with colors, design and furnishings.

Among the ideas are those that define how you want a particular room to look. The answer will help determine whether wallpaper instead of paint is the best option, or if furniture needs to be replaced or just rearranged. Having a vision helps to remove clutter from a room or other items that do not define the room's purpose.

When it comes to challenging areas of a home, the best place to turn is the Internet to gather ideas. Advice can be had for tough redesign areas, like a dark, narrow hallway, a small closet, or a bathroom with limited space.

There are many inexpensive ideas for interior decorating on a budget. For example, you can bring some color into a room without repainting by adding colorful accents. You can change the focal point of a room and rearrange the furniture accordingly to achie a new look or you can add points of interest to decorate a room.

For those who have never designed a room before, there are many resources with decorating ideas that cover the basics. These include an introduction to design principles, how to create a room, how to rearrange a room, how to choose the color and theme of a room, how to select window treatments, how to incorporate artwork, photos and accessories, and how to choose the best lighting.

Using downloadable e-books or looking at online photos of room styles helps formulate ideas for interior decorating for your home. The best sites are those that offer information on how balance furniture and accessories in a room, how to make the look of the home flow from room to room, and how to design a room to display your interests without going overboard. …

Chives Are A Wonderful Addition To Your Herb Garden Or Container Garden

Garlic, leeks, and shallots have a little cousin, the chive. It is the smallest and non-odorize member of the onion family. The leaves sprout from a bulb that is planted in the herb garden or in a container garden. Chives are a wonderful way to spruce up omelet's or soups, even stews, chicken, or fish and its fat free, a healthy addition to your diet. A sunny windowsill can also be used to grow the chive herb. An added bonus, if you grow chives in your "in ground" herb garden, you are in the fresh air and are getting a little exercise. Can not hurt, huh?

The chive has been a native of Asia and Europe for over 5000 years. They grow much like grass, in clumps. They send up graceful hollow leaves that will flower into lovely purple puffballs. If you allow the chive in your herb garden to flower the flavor of the chive becomes harsher.

It is not hard to grow the chive in your herb garden or container garden. It needs six hours of sun, well drained soil, moisture, fertilizer and pinching back. The pinching back will make the plant bushy and lush. Always use a high quality potting soil when growing your herb in container gardens. If planting the chive in an "in ground" herb garden, add some organic mix. A seaweed based fertilizer is best for feeding. You can use your old coffee grounds to mulch around the base of the chive in your herb garden. When it's time to harvest the herb cut from the base to encourage more growth.

It is recommended that you harvest the chives before it flowers. If your chive does flower you can eat the chive flower but they are intense and should be dropped apart before use. They have a spicy, peppery taste.

As your herb garden or container garden ages, you will want to pull the plant up and divide the roots and then replant. The chive prefers a cool atmosphere so if you live in a hot area it is best to grow the chive in pots inside.

If you have an abundance of chives, make an herb salt by mixing one cup of sea salt with one cup of snipped chives. Bake in an oven for 45-60 minutes, seal tightly in a jar and place in a dark cabinet. This is a great way to spice up any culinary dish.

To dry the chase harvest snip into inch inch pieces, lay in thin layers on trays. Take them outside to a sunny spot and allow drying for 8 to 10 hours. An alternative method is to snip the chives, spread on a cookie sheet and dry them in a 110 degree oven with the door propped open for 4 to 6 hours.

Fresh chives can be store in the refrigerator for up to one week in a plastic bag. Do not wash or snip until ready to use.

Here is a recipe for an …

Home Water Filtration for Shower and Drinking Purpose

Home water filtration is one of the best ways for having your own sturdy supply of pure water without spending cash for bottled water. Even though, bottled spring water, for example, tastes and smells good and fresh, you do have to remember delivery dates, carry the bottles, and pay the bills. For majority of the populace, it just does not make sense when you can open the tap in the kitchen and find all the water you warn for.

Definitely, if that faucet water was as clean and pure as bottled spring water, then it would not make any sense for buying the water. However, tap water is a dicey proposition worldwide and even the best municipal water takes care that water is chlorine and chemicals free. If you browse through analysis information provided by your municipality or water district, then you might be shocked about what kind of chemicals and particles are tolerable in your consuming water.

Majority of the home water filtration systems involve reverse osmosis as the units are minute enough to install benefit a kitchen sink and because this is an extremely competent process. Do look into diverse varieties of units, abruptheless, because the more filters, the more stages the water goes through. The significance of this is that every stage eliminates majority of the impurities found in tap water.

If you believe that purchasing bottled water is a hassle, think about the handiness of revolving your tap water into great water with the installation of home water filtration system. You may be shocked by how good it smells and tastes, for this is one of the characteristics of the reverse osmosis method. For sure, you will be consuming safe and clean water free from all the harmful chemicals and bacteria.

For more information on home water filtration system, please visit, http://www.aquasana.us …

Turn On The Kitchen Lights

An entertainment area, a comfort zone, a place full of activities … the kitchen is a very versatile space found in today's modern homes. The kitchen is the place to bond with your toddler making cookies and gingerbread men. It is a place where family members meet together after a full day of activities in school and work. Food and stories are shared within the confines of the kitchen. Everyone loves this place. Make it something more than just a place full of aroma and clanging utensils. Make it your special space.

To make a kitchen more inviting, it needs not just good quality cabinets, adequate working area, highly functional accessories and appliances but also well designed lighting scheme.

To make the lighting scheme work, you need three basic lighting forms. These are ambient lighting, task lighting and accent lighting.

Ambient lighting provides for the general illumination of the room. Natural daylight and high overhead manufactured lighting such as ceiling, recessed, track or mounted fixtures are some sources of ambient lighting. Larger kitchens may require one or more ceiling fixtures positioned in the center of the room. Additional perimeter squares or rectangles of lights placed near the walls should be installed for added illumination. These can be in the form of recessed downlight or track lighting. On the other hand, small kitchens may require only either two or three ceiling mounted fixtures or downlight placed near the walls. Designers suggest that a good ambient lighting needs to have a variation of fixtures. Do not limit yourself to a single ceiling mounted fixture, which often creates shadows. Ambient lighting can be served well by fluorescent lamps. These can be in the form of recessed downlight or ceiling mounted fixtures. Incandescent bulbs will also do. These can be used in ceiling mounted fixtures including chandeliers and recessed downlight. Ambient lighting can also be achieved by installing indirect lighting. This can create glare free light. Most indirect lightings are installed underneath wall cabinets or on top of kitchen cabinets. Indirect lighting offers an interesting and eye catching form of light from reflected source. Strip light is an example of indirect lighting that is often installed on top of cabinets. This adds to the general lighting of the room.

In order to perform your work more accurately in the kitchen, you need to have adequate lighting or task light in the key work areas. These work areas include the counter, range, sink, island and table. Countertops are areas where food preparation is often done. These are often illuminated with shallow fluorescent fixtures that are attached to the cabinet's underside. Experts also suggest using low voltage fluorescent mini lights. The task light should reach two-thirds of the counter. It is also important that the available lighting will not shine people's eyes. You can avoid this by choosing shielded lights, or bulbs with mesh diffusers. These will reduce the glare. Designers suggest decorative pendant lights over a table or an island. An alternative option is a …

New York Interior Design Programs

There are many New York interior design programs available for the aspiring design student. If the individual wishes to be on campus then one school that offers an Associates Degree in Interior Design is Berkeley College, which is located in midtown Manhattan.

Berkeley College is a top New York interior design school that provides a real world education that interior design professionals demand. The class sizes are small and students get hands on training. Students receive free lifetime career assistance as well. Internships are offered and there is a large network of employee connections through the school.

The New York interior design school campuses of Berkeley College are located in White Plains. Berkeley is a recognized leader in preparing students for their professional careers in interior design, 96% of graduates secure jobs in their areas.

Other schools in the New York interior design program offer online training. One of those schools is Westwood College where you can obtain a Bachelor Degree in Interior Design. An online program is designed for the student who feels that they just do not have the time to attend classes for whatever reason but still have the desire to obtain a well-respected degree in interior design.

Another New York interior design school that offers an online degree is The Art Institute Online where the student can achieve a Bachelor of Science in Interior Design. This school is a division of The Art Institute of Pittsburgh.

Whether you attend a New York interior design school in person or online you will be prepared to enter the exciting and creative world of Interior Design with the knowledge to succeed. Before an Interior Designer receives his or her license, they must meet some very strict guidelines. The Designer must have a combination of six years of school and work experience before taking the licensing exam. Once the Interior Designer has completed the six-year requirement, they must pass a test administrated by the National Council for Interior Design Qualification.

Interior Designers wishing to do commercial design work must have a bachelor's degree in interior design from an accredited school. All Interior Design students including New York interior design students will learn how to use computer aided design (CAD) software. Securing an internship free is a good way to get practical knowledge and experience. Internships can often lead to full time positions.

New York interior design students must learn other skills within design to be successful professionals. Artically inclined is a good skill to have along with strong people skills. It is recommended that New York interior designers take some business courses as well since many designers are self-employed. Interior Design is an ever-changing profession and today's designer must stay up to date with all the trends. …

Garden Care And Maintenance – Growing Plants To Create A Natural Effect

A sense of order and decorum is the feeling that most people wish their garden to give to them. Yet it is also desirable that the plants appear to have been there for ever; that they seem to belong. While the hard landscaping should create clear shapes and strong lines, it is the job of the plants to soften these lines and blur their angularity. In order for the plants to add a natural dimension to the composition, it's important to choose them judiciously and then to grow them in a certain manner.

Designing with plants for a natural effect

The most effective, natural plant associations are derived from species that possess as many visual features in common with each other as possible. Individuals that stand out from the mass in say shape, size or foliage color should have at least one characteristic that they share with the rest of the plants. Small leaved or fine textured plants for instance, go well with each other, but look incongruous with plants that have giant or course textured leaves. Just think how dreadful Cypress trees look with palms, or how out of place rose bushhes seem next to Philodendrons.

Design and nature join hands in the sense that plants of similar growth habit and visual characteristics, almost invariably grow wild in similar or parallel habitats. For example, Pistachios from Central Asia, Grevilleas from South West Australia and Leucophyllum from Texas, all have the small, fine textured foliage typical of plants that grow in dry climates. While on the other hand, large leaves and course texture are the most obvious features of plants from tropical regions.

Pruning trees

Some exaggeration notwithstanding, the most insulting complement a gardener can receive is to be congratulated on his / her pruning. The aim should be that the pruning is as inconspicuous as possible. In order to achieve this and thereby keep the natural feel of the tree, it is important to:

* Avoid pruning cuts which shorten branches. Instead, limbs should be cut back to their base, whether that be another branch or the trunk itself.

* Avoid cuts which disrupt the direction in which the branch is growing. Let's say a thin branch is attached to a thicker one at an angle of 60 degrees. If the thicker branch is removed, then the direction has been altered together with an ugly pruning wound that will always be conspicuous. The tree will for ever appear "pruned" and not seem as though it belongs naturally to the landscape.

* Do not plant trees too close to paths and entrances, in order avoiding inviting in the future the thought of undesirable pruning just described.

Caring for shrubs and bushes

Shrubs that have a strong and clearly defined shape like junipers, Yucca and other sculptural plants, should only be pruned in a way that does not alter their natural growth habit. Most bushes though require some clipping and pruning in order to encourage compact growth and to avoid an …

How to Find the Perfect Tuscan Kitchen Curtains

Fostering a sense of warmth and comfort, that is the raison d'être of Tuscan kitchen curtains. Of course, they do take immunity pride in their traditional proclivity of adding to the glam quotient of the room that they grace. And privacy? Sure, they do not disappoint in that regard too. Is not it remarkable how few yards of fabric can transform the stolid environs completely? It's almost as if the stoic calm of the kitchen has been banished into oblivion.

Greet These Choice With Glee

There's quite a dizzying array of choices that greets you during your relentless search for curtains for Tuscan kitchens. But there's a common thread that runs through all of them- that of adding dolphs of sunshine to a lackluster personal space. A sprinkle of Italian magic can do wonders to your otherwise insipid outing at the dining table. Created with passion, the concoction of rich textures, soul-stirring Mediterranean colors and very unique shapes and designs leaves onlookers in raptures.

While floral prints like roses and sunflowers have an ageless appeal, red cherries and apple orchard prints are the stuff that pastoral dreams are made of. Sheer print curtains etched with Tuscan hills promise absolute bucolic bliss.

For those that dare to be different, anything that's run-of-the-mill will not do. For them, the magnificence of bold stripes and checks in a plethora of vibrant colors seems too good to be true.

But for creating that quintessential Tuscan feel, the gingham and grapevine print is your best bet. It's sure to set the grapevine buzzing. Exceptionally attractive tier curtains with matching valances are another show-stopper. They certainly match your addiction for eye candy.

Create Your Own Style

If thinking creatively is an innate part of your DNA, then weaving magic at home with very banal items like fabric, paint, tape measure, brushes, scissors and a sewing machine does not sound preposterous. Just get hold of these items and give a free rein to your imagination.

Just like the Tuscan style, its sure be an ethereal work of art. …