Archive for the 'Backyard' Category
By Deb Villeneuve
Translation by Deb of an original article by Marie France Roger
It seems as though, no matter how “environmentally friendly” you are during the year, something seems to come over us during the holiday season that tends to diminish push all of these good intentions to the side.
The following are 10 of Marie France’s suggestions that will help you to remain “green” while enjoying this festive time of the year!
1. By re-using wrapping paper or gift bags you are extending the life of these items and helping to reduce the amount of waste that finds itself in landfill.
2. Instead of exchanging store bought gifts with your closest friends, why not agree to exchange clothes or accessories with each other. That electric blue pashmina that you just can’t seem to match with anything could be the perfect accent for your friend’s new winter coat!
3. How about vintage? What better a way to express your appreciation for someone than to spend time looking for a perfect, one of a kind find for a truly unique gift!
4. If you want to give a party but don’t want the hassle of washing all of those dishes, forget the disposable items and rent instead. You probably don’t have 48 champagne flutes and will only use them rarely so buying stemware could be prohibitively expensive and plastic just won’t do. You can probably find a local supplier who rents party ware such as dishes and stemware at a relatively reasonable rate (usually from $.50 to $2. for a wine glass) the cost of which often includes delivery, pick-up and washing (so you won’t even need to go to the trouble yourself)!
5. If you do opt for throw away dishes, look for those that are recyclable and/or bio-degradable.
6. Start a new tradition and plant a tree with your family! (in colder climates you may need to dig the hole before the ground freezes!)
7. Scavenge branches, flower pods, and other foliage that you have gathered locally to make-up the large part of your centerpiece, adding a few special touches to give it sparkle
8. Lower the thermostat and warm up by the fire, a cozy way to celebrate the season and even to recycle some of the abundance of the season’s endless supply of junk mail!
9. Look for sustainable materials (such as bamboo) when purchasing new items, either for yourself or to give as gifts, and try to go for longevity with quality items that will not need to be so frequently replaced. L.E.D.s consume a fraction of the electricity required by traditional bulbs and come in an exciting variety of colors that will brighten your holidays for many seasons to come, why not take advantage of after Christmas sales to stock up for next year?
10. Recycle your tree instead of throwing it away. Most areas have a composting program and will pick up the trees according to a schedule so find out when to put your tree out to give it a second life in the spring!
Please feel free to share your holiday suggestions and have a wonderful holiday season.
By Deb Villeneuve
Translation and editing by Deb of an original article by Marie-France Roger
Despite the time of the year, you may be discovering that you have accumulated many things during the summer months and are now in need of a place to put all of the recreational and pool equipment, garden accessories & furniture, gardening tools & supplies and all of the other necessities of summer living that will not be in use until next year.
We propose a few storage solutions that can help!
Will it blend in with its surroundings?
The perfect solution for storing all of the small and medium sized summer accessories that are so useful in season, a beautiful garden shed that matches your home is not the same as the old style, generic metal shed that was once so popular.
The main thing to consider is the style, which should complement the architectural style of your home. The finishing materials, horizontal or vertical siding for example, window trim and shape are also important as is the roof pitch. The roof pitch is the angle of the slope of your home’s roof. Although it is recommended to match the pitch of a garage to that of the home, you may want to come as close to it as possible when matching a shed to maintain harmony and the feeling that it was made to be a part of your yard.
This is Drummond House Plans‘ most popular shed
Use this link to discover all of the styles and sizes of our shed plans, starting at just $149.!
Whether it’s a castle for your little princess or a fort for the boys, from Craftsman to Victorian and everything in between, we have the playhouse plan that will bring a sparkle to your child’s eye!
Just click on this link if you would like to see our entire collection of playhouse plans
Please let us know if you have any questions or comments, we would be happy to assist you in choosing the perfect plan for your needs
By Deb Villeneuve
Filed under: Accessories,Backyard,Botanicals,color,Contemporary House Plans,Country Style Homes,Curb Appeal,Declutter,Do it yourself,Garden pots,Horticulture,Inspiration,Landscape Design,Modern decor,Natural products,Playhouse Plans,practical tips,Shed Plans,terrace
translation by Deb of an original article by Jenn Larocque
A green fence!
You like the look and feel of nature…how about a green fence cloaked in ivy or a cedar hedge or other kind of shrub like lilac. You can even opt for imitation if the idea of having year round greenery along the property line, that requires little or no maintenance, appeals to you.
An urban fence
If your outdoor furniture tends towards clean, modern lines then this may be the style for you. In keeping with a modern or Asian inspired style of home, this panel type fence which uses either tempered glass or plastic, allows light through while ensuring privacy. For a special touch, why not add footlights from the base of the trees or other focal points in your yard…
The ever popular trend towards contemporary in architecture and interior design inspires the wood panel enclosure which complements this style of home. Drummond House Plans offers a complete collection of contemporary designs.
Here is another place for a unique wood fence that enhances the look of an urban or contemporary design. The suspended lights above the table are a wonderful touch that does not break the bank!
Zen, in more ways than one!
The peaceful atmosphere of this serene environment is enhanced by the noise blocking capacity of this stonework fence that blends in perfectly with its surroundings
A ‘natural’ fence may be an option
If your yard opens out to a natural space, why not keep it simple with a rustic style of pine or barn wood enclosure that is perfect for framing the property without the feeling of restraint that a higher fence imprts. This kind of fence is perfect for a ranch or farm style home.
Decorative pots as fencing
To ‘dress’ a traditional fence all you need are some large size containers with a variety of interesting plants in different colors. By placing these flower (natural or artificial) pots along the length of your fence you will enhance the look and can change it so fit the season if desired.
A statement in black!
Black is a neutral color with luxurious connotation. Black fits well with natural elements, has a calming effect and a contemporary feel so experiment with it to create your unique environment.
Don’t limit yourself to traditional lattice, go deco!
Instead of the ever popular lattice work that is so common, why not use original wood panels as fencing and decoration to separate spaces or as structures on which your clematis can climb.
And why not add a personal touch…
What if, instead of that boring wood fence, you were to add color by painting the lats, a change that costs little but is sure to have an enormous impact!
By Deb Villeneuve
Filed under: Backyard,Casual floorplans,De-Clutter,Drummond House Plans,Empty nesters,Ensuite,Ensuite bathroom,Garage,Garage Plans with Apartment,Home plans,House Plan of the Week,Informal dining,Informal Living,Kitchen islands,Lifestyle property,Narrow lot house plans,Open concept,Organization,patio,Plan of the Week,Style,terrace
To update plan 3954 giving it a contemporary feel, the designer has developed a version that would be quite at home on a narrow lot or even in urban surroundings.
The extensive use of stone combined with siding in natural wood tones enhance the understated elegance of this home which will blend beautifully in rural or mountainous surroundings.
Inside, the first floor offers a large garage complete with workshop and storage, an 8 ½’ high ceiling and a second garage door on the rear wall with access to the back yard.
The upper floor offers an open floor plan and a surprisingly large kitchen, with island/dining/living area bathed in natural light and 8½’ high ceilings. The patio door opens onto a 16’ x 12’ terrace to which an outside staircase and a roof could easily be added.
The large, 15’ x 11’ master bedroom has ample closet space and a private bathroom with a separate shower and toilette/laundry area, functional features that enhance the urban feeling of this home.
By Deb Villeneuve
Filed under: Accessibility,Aging in place,Alcove,Backyard,Bonus room,Cathedral ceiling,Craftsman,Craftsman House Plans,Drummond House Plans,Ensuite,Ensuite bathroom,Foyer,Garage,Gas fireplace,Guest bathroom,Home plans,House,House plans,Informal dining,Informal Living,Kitchen islands,Master Suite,Master suite on main,New house plan,Panoramic View,Plan of the Week,Three-bedroom house plans
Inspired by numerous requests for the addition of a garage to our popular chalet, plan 2957, Drummond House Plans suggests this beautiful cottage with a revamped floor plan that moves the kitchen closer to an added garage.
From the outside, the addition of a garage gives plan 2957-V2 an appealing look to the front of the home while maintaining the same attractive features in back.
Significant changes have been brought to the inside appointment of the home from the relocation of the kitchen to the exceptional master suite with its private bathroom, double closets and view of the back through two glass doors.
The activities area with its ample fenestration and cathedral ceiling in the living room along with a fireplace in the living/dining rooms are features that are sure to please. The large kitchen island and a separate laundry area on the main level as well as a powder room just off of the main entrance also enhance the livability of this home.
Upstairs, two comfortable bedrooms and a separate bathroom with a shower and a hallway that opens onto a mezzanine and a bonus space that can be converted to a 4th bedroom if required.
By Vivian Martin
An English landscape is characterized by sweeping vistas across rolling lawns, distant groves of trees, natural ponds and lakes, discreetly placed Greek and Roman “ruins,” and a sense of pastoral peacefulness. It’s a parklike setting that represents the landscape of the English Isles and much of North America.This is not the English cottage garden look, with its masses of uncontained annuals and perennials, nor is it the French-style garden set in a strict geometric pattern. In fact, the first English gardens were designed in the early 1700s as a reaction to the formality of the latter. The goal was a natural landscape, albeit one that was prettied up and romanticized to conceal the mundane and unattractive parts.
While the gardens designed by Lancelot (Capability) Brown define the basic elements of an English garden, the style itself has grown and changed over the past 300 years. It’s been modified to include influences from China and Gothic Revival architecture, as well as the sweeping flower beds popularized by Gertrude Jekyll.
Although most of us don’t have grand estates, some basics of the style can be applied even to the smallest garden.
Follow this slideshow for a visual garden tour!
By Vivian Martin
Anyone who has walked into a room painted in a dull or garish palette knows the power of color. Color intuitively influences our emotions, whether we’re in a soothing spa environment or an electrifying casino. In a garden landscape, color plays an equally powerful role.
Our color choices can create a garden that is nurturing, romantic, playful, tranquil or exciting.Although you may have heard strict rules from other gardeners, such as “Never plant anything orange,” or “Don’t use blue, purple or red shades in your garden’s bed and borders,” I like to think that any color can fit in a landscape.
Color is highly subjective, and since it’s so personal, you can design, plant and decorate your landscape with your favorites. Let’s follow the rainbow — and lessons from the color wheel — to make color choices that establish a mood, infuse energy or define a theme in an outdoor setting.Perhaps you’ll see new possibilities for your landscape.
Follow this Houzz slideshow for a primer on the use of color in your garden!
By Vivian Martin
Having an outdoor room is like getting to have your cake and eat it too. Furnishing a protected outdoor space — whether that’s a covered terrace, a pavilion, a loggia or a cabana — lets you enjoy the fresh air with all the amenities of home. Whether your idea of the perfect outdoor room includes a place in which to dine with friends or family, a lounge area in which to kick back and take in the view, or a comfy spot for napping, this roundup of dreamy outdoor rooms shows luxurious places for relaxing in spectacular surroundings…
By Vivian Martin
Are you thinking of adding a water feature to your garden this year?
A water feature creates great Feng Shui by establishing a sense of reflection, depth and refreshing vitality in your space.
If a fountain, bird bath or small pond are in your future, you’ll want to place it properly and in the most auspicious location to encourage good Feng Shui.
According to the Feng Shui Garden Bagua Map, the best locations for your water feature are the Life Journey, Family/New Beginnings, or Wealth/Prosperity sectors of your garden.
These three areas are nourished by Water in the Five Elements cycle that drives Chi flow in Feng Shui.
The Water element represents your Life Journey and Career, the sector that’s located in the bottom center of your garden, near its entryway.
Likewise it nourishes the Wood element that’s associated with the Wealth sector in the back left corner as well as the adjacent Family and New Beginnings sector.
It’s just as important to make sure that your water feature flows in the most auspicious direction.
Any fountain or stream that you set up for good Feng Shui should flow inwards, towards the center of your garden. When its flow is directed outwards you will lose out on the benefits of its natural Chi energy.
Good luck with your new fountain!
(Feng Shui advice courtesy of Ann Bingley Gallops of Open Spaces Feng Shui)
By Vivian Martin
Are you wondering how to freshen up your outdoor furniture? Chances are, you have all the ingredients you have right in your home to do so.
The DIY Network shares the following advice:
Basic Recipe for Outdoor Cushions:
1 teaspoon dishwashing detergent
1 quart warm water
1 tablespoon borax
Saturate a sponge and use it to wash the cushions. You can put it in a spray bottle and saturate cushions on both sides, paying particular attention to the crevices and creases. Let the cushion sit for 15 minutes. Spray the solution off with a hose using a strong force of water. Stand each cushions on its edge out of the direct sun to dry. When almost dry, spray with a fabric protector. To remove dust between cleanings, vacuum as needed. Or, if the cushions are small enough, just shake them out.
Canvas Seats and Chair Backs:
If the canvas is removable, you’ve got it made. Most canvas is machine-washable. Just remember to put the canvas back on the furniture while it is still damp to maintain the shape of the canvas.
If the canvas cannot be removed, you’ll need a scrub brush and a bar of Fels-Naptha laundry soap. Run the brush back and forth across the soap, and scrub the canvas. Rinse well and stand cushions up on edge. This method removes bird droppings and many stains.
To clean plain aluminum (the old-style lawn chairs), you’ll need a plastic scrubber or fine steel wool soaked in detergent. Simply scrub the chairs, rinse well and dry.
1 gallon warm water
3 tablespoons automatic dishwashing detergent (contains a bleaching agent that will whiten the plastic)
Use a sponge or soft brush. Leave the solution on 15 minutes, then rinse and dry. Don’t use this on colored furniture.
Colored Plastic or Resin:
Clean colored plastic furniture with an all-purpose cleaner and water. Rinse well because sunlight and weather will hurry in fading process.
To clean aluminum with a baked-on enamel finish, keep in mind that the surface can scratch. You’ll need a sponge soaked in detergent or your favorite all-purpose nonabrasive cleaner. Just scrub, rinse and dry with a soft cloth.
To maintain the shine on plastic, resin and metal furniture, give it a good waxing. Remove the cushions first, if possible, because the wax can stain. Use a soft cloth or the applicator that comes with the wax to apply, then let the wax dry. Finally, buff it off.
Clean plastic webbing with an all-purpose cleaner. Your scrub brush will probably come in handy here as well for any stains. Rinse with plenty of water.
To clean your grill window, spray the inside of the glass with oven cleaner. Wait a few minutes and then scrub it. Rinse well when you are through
Remember, if you clean your patio furniture on a regular basis, you can expect it to give you years of comfort and good looks.
Visit the DIY Network site for many home improvement ideas.