Backyard Canopy Ideas

Nowadays, we want to maximize the use of space in and outside the house. Thus, we come up with gardens, gazebos and other structures separate from the main house so as to create more living spaces. What better way to do so than with a backyard canopy?

Differentiation and Similarities

First off, let’s define what a canopy is in relation to an awning. On one hand, an awning is a cover attached to the exterior walls of the house, be it on the doorstep or the windows. On the other hand, a canopy has additional columns to support its freestanding nature.

Except for this major difference, an awning and a canopy serve the same basic purpose of providing for shelter and protection against the sun, rain and even snow. Both can also be made from various materials like canvas, vinyl and aluminum with stainless steel for support. With that being said, how can the backyard canopy contribute to the creation of outdoor living spaces? Well, it’s pretty simple when you come to think of it.

Decor Ideas

There are so many decor ideas for a canopy in the backyard that you will think to yourself that you could have done it sooner. First, you can place garden furniture like rattan chairs with cushions and tables for a Southern look. Add in a few plants in the corners, hanging lights on the beams and maybe a tea table to complete the look.

Your family and friends can pass the day and the night away under the shade of the canopy while still enjoying the outdoors. Think of it as a room with no walls that allows for the outdoors going into the indoors sans the inconvenience of bird droppings, falling leaves and other unidentified flying objects in your food and beverages.

Second, you can instantly create a magical play area for the kids with the installation of the backyard canopy. Some of your children’s toys can be transferred to this area, which may then be complemented with a sandbox, a doll house and other accouterments of a child’s imagination.

At the very least, your children will have a place to play outdoors without being overexposed to the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. You should know by now of the dangers of skin cancer and heat stroke.

Third, you may even use it for gardening purposes. Let’s say that you want to display your shade-loving plants in a more formal setting. You will then fill the space with potted plants in different types of containers from terracotta to ceramic as a showcase for your efforts. If you want, you can even make the canopy into a temporary shelter for your gardening tools. Of course, in winter, you may have to store them properly.

The important thing about creating living spaces with a backyard canopy is that you decorate according to your heart’s desires. Suggestions about functional furniture and furnishings, decorative garden beds and flowering trellises are just that – suggestions. You can take them to heart or you can take the best ideas to your own advantage.

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Small Backyard Ideas No Grass

If you are trying your hand at landscaping a small backyard and are getting stuck on how to fit all of your ideas into your small space, try creating different levels. Adding levels will create an illusion of more space and actually add dimension to an otherwise bland area.

What do I mean by adding levels?

Try to create different levels, or rooms so to say, that provide a variety of functions. If you already have an existing ground level patio, add some steps up to a deck for entertaining. On the other side could be some raised planters. You could even use an overhead trellis or arbor for hanging plants and vines.

All these different levels can be used to the max to bring plants and flowers to your small backyard space. The patio can have a water feature filled with exotic water plants. The deck could have pots and planters filled with flowers and small trees. Raised beds can have vegetables and flowering plants.

By creating levels when landscaping a small backyard, you create more space or the illusion of more space. You need to be careful to not overdo it or your small backyard will look cluttered and could even make it look smaller than it was. Keep your plans simple. Adding 3 levels is probably a good start. A ground level, and 2 additional levels on either side is usually enough to get the desired look of a bigger backyard area. Keeping some grass will make your yard seem bigger and will also look neat if well manicured.

Whatever you decide to do when landscaping a small backyard, keeping it simple and well proportioned is the key. For more ideas and designs please visit my site, Landscaping a Small Backyard.

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Backyard Nature Products

Do you need a Clean Start?

There are a lot of things we eat and use as well as medications we take that leaves poisons in our body. These tend to build up in the organs and can cause improper body functioning. Because of this, you should learn how to cleanse your system of the contaminants left behind. One way to do this is through natural holistic remedies.

Many herbs can be found outside in the backyard. There are a lot of common spices we use to cook with that are sometimes used in natural concoctions. When some of these aromatics are put together, it can help rid yourself of poisons that are known to cause some cancers and other illnesses.

Minerals and vitamins are also important. If you find a cleansing compound that offers additional vitamins and minerals with antioxidants, these are recommended over ones that do not include these essential ingredients. Sometimes toxins can deplete the levels of important vitamins from your system. Adding them back into the diet helps maintain good health.

Some wonder why they should use a cleansing agent. The answer is simple; all of the processed foods, medications both prescription and over-the-counter varieties as well as soaps and shampoos contain chemicals that are not native to the body system. A cleanser helps the organs dispose of these chemicals that build up in the cells.

Using natural products can help eliminate the buildup of toxins but it will not rid you of what is already there. Instead you need something to rid yourself of all of the buildup. These generally come in a powder form and is added to water to make a drink. It is the most efficient way of removing poisons from the major body systems.

No matter where the contaminants in your body came from, they are there and need to be eradicated. Natural cleaners are the best way to shed them and begin feeling better. It could be the best thing you have done for yourself in a long time.

The above statements have not been evaluated by The Food and Drug Administration; nor are they intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Thanks for reading! is dedicated to promoting natural, age-old as well as modern products and techniques to help people heal.

Learn how to cleanse your system with natural products at my website. Go to Shop… The Urban Shaman Store… and search for Clean Start… this will get you on track to better health.

Carm Anthony “The Urban Shaman”

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Backyard Ideas For Small Yards

Tips on Landscaping Your Small Yards

Know all about small yard landscaping

There are many people who live in suburban areas with yards that are very small or some other people might not even have yards, such as those who live in trailers or in a condo or apartment. Though you have little space outside, be it a tiny yard or a balcony, you still want that curb appeal or that beautiful outside sanctuary to relax in on those hot summer days.

The tiny landscape

This is ideal for someone who has a small back yard or someone who just has a small sitting welcoming area in front of their townhouse. This type of small yard is obviously not really a yard, but there is enough space to do some small amount of landscaping. In such an area, you could plant some shrubs, but the best types of shrubs for such a project are the dwarf shrubs. These can range from rug junipers to small bonsai evergreens.

Ornamental grasses also work very well for such a landscape. Grasses require low maintenance and keep coming back every spring. The only thing that grasses require is to be cut back in the late fall or early spring to make room for the new shoots. Other plants that would work well for the small yard are as follows:

1. Perennials can be a wonderful addition and can beautify your garden at different times of the growing season. Some of these perennials are as follows:

a. Hostas are wonderful foliage perennial. Some hostas have beautiful blossoms as well. Hostas come in a large variety from very large and elegant plants to smaller varieties. Some hostas can have solid blue or green color leaves whereas others are variegated with yellow or white and green leaves.

b. Lilies are a wonderful plant for areas with full sun. There are different varieties of lilies with the most common being the day lily. The day lily also comes in many different hybrids. The most common hybrid of day lily is the Stella Dora variety and this is a small variety that will not over take the small yard and when it blooms, it puts out a yellow flower. Tiger lilies are also nice perennials for your small garden.

c. Bulb flowers can give your yard that beautiful spring color. These flowers include all varieties of narcissi including the common daffodil and jonquil. Other spring bulb flowers include tulips, hyacinths, crocuses, snowdrops, and annenomies. These flowers are bulb flowers because their root system is a bulb. The bulbs for these flowers are planted in the fall, depending on your location, usually in October.

2. Annuals are another great addition to your tiny garden. Annuals need to be planted every year. The best thing about annuals is the color they produce. There are many annuals for both full sun and full shade. Some of the annuals that are commonly available are:

a. Coleus are an explosion of color. If you are the type who likes color, coleus is the right thing for you. There are thousands of varieties of coleus with a wide range of color. Coleus do flower, but the flowers are not very impressive and should be clipped. Doing this is will allow the coleus to grow tall and fill your backyard wall or fence with color.

The color of coleus can range from purples to greens to bright pinks and reds. Some coleus can grow up to four feet tall whereas others are dwarf size, which are perfect for window flower boxes. Most coleus require full to part shade.

b. Impatiens are also great annuals. Like with coleus, there is also a large variety of impatiens. Most impatiens require full to part shade, but the new guinea impatiens requires full sun. Other impatiens are double impatiens, which has flowers that look somewhat like small roses. Impatiens have green heart-shaped leaves with flowers that can be red, white, pink or purple.

c. Begonias are also great annuals. Most begonias require full to part sun, but the mighty rex begonia requires full shade. The rex begonia is the largest variety of the begonias. Rex begonias almost look like coleus and have a flower that is similar to the coleus. Rex begonias have very large colorful leaves.

Other begonias include ice begonias which have a frosted purple leaf and a rose like flower that can be either pink or white. There are many begonias that come in all different shapes and sizes.

d. Calidiums are actually a perennial in the warmer climates, but in the colder climates they can be either grown as annuals or you can take the bulb out in the fall as the calidium dies and have the bulb dry and keep in a cool dark dry place. This, however, does not work very well. Calidiums are readily available at practically any garden center. Calidiums are like hostas, but their leaves are a different shape and usually have red, white and green leaves.

There are many more annuals available. However, the tiny landscaping might need more than just a few plants. Think about adding a few decorative stones and other objects to accent the plants that you have in your garden.

Clearly, if you live in a trailer in a trailer park, there are limits to what you are allowed to do, but you can always plant a little garden area in that you are allowed by the trailer park. For those of you who live in a townhouse and have a small back yard, think about making a small flagstone path and adding a few small boulders to accent the flowers.

Container gardening

Container gardening is not necessarily landscaping, but for those of you who live in an apartment or condo and do not have a yard per say. For your condo or apartment, your balcony is your landscape.

A balcony can be beautifully set up with flower boxes on the railing and some pots in esthetically pleasing places on the balcony. This also depends on the size of your balcony as well. Some balconies are large whereas others are small. For container gardening, you need the following:

1. Flower pots to plant your flowers in. Don’t choose the junky plastic flower pots for your container garden. Be creative. Find some nice clay flower pots that give a beautiful terra cotta color. You can also use antique tins for planting flowers in them. If you do choose to use old tins with images of antique products, you should drill some drain holes at the bottom of the tin to allow for water to drain and not drown the plants.

2. Houseplants can be a great addition to your container garden because they can be brought inside in the winter time. You can also bring in your favorite coleus specimens inside the house, but during the winter, coleus should be near a window which gets ample sunlight.

With a little creativity, you can do anything with your small yard or outside area. Furthermore, many home and garden centers also have books and computer software available for those who have no experience in landscape design and you can get plenty of pointers from expert designers by reading their books and following their tips. You can also get some home and garden magazines that show plenty of pictures and layouts for nice looking gardens that you can design.

Did you find this article informative? If yes, you can subscribe to Shivraj Ghorpade’s blog [] through RSS feed or through Email by just typing your email address. You will receive many such informative articles in your email box.

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Backyard Fruit Trees

Not many types of plants can astound people like backyard fruit trees. In the spring, the bare branches from winter become magical sticks that flourish and then in the summer, the branches are filled with delicious fruits. The real magic is that fruit trees don’t need spells or incantations to have healthy trees. Keeping the trees in good shape depends on following a simple regimen of care throughout the year.

Cross-pollination, the most effective

Most fruit trees produce good fruit without any help, but can provide more fruits and better quality by cross-pollination. The pollen reaches the stigma of other flowers (of the same tree or another), increasing its resistance to the environment and leading to the development of more flavored and scented flowers and fruits. In general, cross-pollination is best achieved by insects. It’s recommended for cherry, apricot, peach, plum and others.

An airy crown will lead to equal fruits

Fruits such as the apple, cherry, pear and plum can grow thin and short branches started directly from the branches. In general, on these branches are formed real bunches of flowers and then fruits. Usually they occur when the central part of the crown is too shaded, and that will eventually lead also to the deterioration of the floral formations. Therefore, it’s indicated pruning the thick branches that are very high or sporadic to allow light and sun to access all areas of the tree.

Unfruitful branches, true parasites

Unfruitful branches are often parasitic and consume the resources of bearing fruit. Therefore, it is advisable to cut them from the moment they occur, as they grow and harden very quickly. Another solution would be grafting them (if they are already very high). In general, the most productive branches grow horizontally or at an angle up to 45°.

Cuts are made only in the right season

Fruit trees can be cut in any season, but with a very clear purpose only. Winter cuttings are made to strengthen the structure of the tree and growing extra force. Cutting in late spring, after the formation of the fruit is done to correct dwarf trees without reducing the amount of fruit produced. Cutting during flowering is useful to easily see which are the branches that produce fruit and which ones are useless. Cuttings taken in summer will encourage the development of fruit spurs.

Harvesting can undo all the work of the year

In terms of picking the best flavor and nutritional value of the ripe fruit, this is immediately after the harvest. For the fruit after harvest to last longer, it’s recommended to be picked before it’s fully ripe, when it still preserves its shades of green color. Also for extra freshness and strength is indicated to collect all the fruits with the stem (especially for cherries, cherry or apple). Resistance of stems is another sign of ripeness. If a fruit is large and ripe, a simple swing of the stem will lead to its fall. Also, another clue is the texture of the shell, its softness and hardness fleshy layer.

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Best Backyard Trees

Experience and aspiring chicken owners are seeking backyard chicken coop plans. A good reason for this is the cost advantage of building your own chicken coop versus purchasing a pre-made chicken house. A new chicken coop can cost over $1000. If you haven’t planned to spend that much, building your own coop is a viable alternative. There are many plans you can choose depending on your needs.

The number of chickens you plan to raise will determine the size of your coop. If you have a small backyard and only plan to raise 5-7 chickens, a small coop should be sufficient. You can also build medium and large coops also. A general rule for coop size is to allow 10 square feet for each chicken.

Your neighborhood and township ordinances can influence the best backyard chicken coop plans for you. If you live in a rural area, you probably don’t have to worry about this. However, if you live an suburban area, you neighbors may not be receptive to a large, bright orange coop. To maintain good relations with your neighbors, a low key, neutral color design may be best for you.

You may need to determine of you want a movable chicken structure. These are like chicken houses on wheels. These coops allow you to move your chicken house to different parts of the yard. Maybe you have a tree that blocks the sun in the summer. In this case, you would move it to another part of the yard that allows sufficient sunlight.

These are three of many considerations you need to account for when trying to find the best backyard chicken coop plans for you. A good set of plans make the building process a lot easier and avoid setbacks that will cost you hours of your time.

How would you like to spend $500-$1000 for your backyard chicken coop? The good news is that you can build your very own for a fraction of that price. You can visit Easy Chicken Pen Plans your backyard chicken coop plans. These plans only require common tools you may already have at your house and materials that can be obtained at your local hardware store. Visit Easy Chicken Pen Plans.

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Backyard Screen

Garden screening can offer householders a variety of beneficial features. They are able to give you a degree of personal privacy as well as obstruct from view unsightly encompassing areas. They could furthermore increase attractiveness together with shade for your back garden or yard. Nevertheless, there are various considerations to take into account prior to deciding upon your backyard screening ideas.

Before Choosing Screening Ideas

Before you are able to select ideas, you should be conscious of any kind of Homeowner’s Association guidelines or restrictions. Be mindful of your next door neighbor also. They might not necessarily understand ones own creative preferences. In addition, you have to take into account such things as your financial budget, the ultimate physical appearance, and also the practicality associated with the various garden screening ideas you are considering. When you have properly considered all these elements, it will be possible to select the correct garden screening to suit your needs.

Brushwood Screening Ideas

Brushwood screening ideas are usually extremely unique. These kind of plant life are indigenous to Australia and so are constructed into eco-friendly screening fences. These types of fencing ideas are employed extensively around Australia but have only not too long ago made their way to the US. Brushwood screening additionally will provide you with extra advantages such as reducing noises and also letting you steer clear of chemical substances that numerous fencing products are produced from.

Tree Screening Ideas

Carefully positioned trees can also guarantee ample screening. You should use tall and regal trees should you require an added level of privacy or even if you are attempting to obstruct a more substantial object. However, should your screening needs not be as substantial, you may use dwarf trees as an alternative. Trees are equally gorgeous and eco-friendly. Nevertheless, you will need to think about the potential maintenance needed should you select this kind of screening.

Trellis Screening Ideas

Trellis screening enables you to build a living wall. You are able to cultivate vine plant as well as blossoms around the trellis, resulting in a stunning effect that will change with the seasons. The fundamental disadvantage to trellis screens, nevertheless, is that you simply must wait until the vine grows enough for satisfactory screening.

Hedge Screening Ideas

Hedges may also function as an excellent idea. Hedges are available in a multitude of varieties. To get year-round privacy, select Oriental holly or maybe evergreen hedges. Should you just need just a little additional level of privacy throughout the summertime when you’re almost certainly to spend time outdoors, contemplate lilac bushes. These kind of shrubs will give you elegance and bless your backyard with their own lovely, aromatic aroma. Obviously, the drawback is usually that the hedge is not likely to offer you sufficient screening when it’s initially planted.

Bamboo Screening Ideas

Bamboo additionally acts as probably the most unique garden screening ideas. Bamboo gives you gorgeous green vegetation and will also offer you with a reasonable quantity of screening immediately. They are able to be cultivated from virtually any height. Having said that, you can pay a lot more for taller bamboo. You need to check carefully the particular specifics of just about all bamboo simply because they do develop in different ways. They will differ in height from dwarf to extremely tall plus some will certainly develop a lot more vertical as opposed to others.

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Solar Lights For Backyard

Outdoor lighting options for your backyard beginning with solar lighting that are battery operated, emit a soft glow for many hours and rely on the power of the sun. Usually no wiring is required, and they are automatically turned on at dusk with up to 10 hours of light when dark. The bright-white LED lights offer nighttime security and long-lasting, energy-efficient use.

Illuminate your yard or garden areas with stainless steel solar lights for durability or use the decorative plastics that are inexpensive or a nice copper or aluminum style to bring elegance and character that blends easily with your backyard decor.

Light your path or create a spectacular light show around a decorative piece in your garden to start with and add as many clusters or lines of lights to bring new life and form to your backyard living area. The stake solar lights can be grouped in one area to bring attention to a special place or plant in your garden. At the same time set the mood with additional solar path lighting, umbrella lights, fence post lights or strings of lights placed in a favorite tree or a cedar box planter. Placing the solar lights along a path is the most common use of the stake solar lights, but you can bring it up a notch by using them along driveways, in shrubs, over trellises, in front of fenced areas and near any problem area. Any combination of lights will add character and ambiance to a patio area, deck space or backyard garden.

To bring your outdoor living together your table umbrella can be lit as well with subdued lights to accent your table and to clearly mark your main area of entertainment. When setting the mood, keep the bright lights to a minimum and use them for the darkest areas for safety reasons. Keep the bugs away that may be attracted to your decorative lights with bug repellant spray or citronella candles if needed.

Outdoor solar lights feature a water-resistant design and can be reused year after year with just a little bit of maintenance. Normally if you have severe cold winters, a good rule of thumb to follow is to remove them from your backyard areas, clean them, remove batteries and store in a dry place until spring arrives. This should guarantee many hours and days of beautiful glowing lights to enjoy while you sit and relax at night enjoying the stars and a cool beverage this summer.

Many outdoor lighting options are available for you garden area and patio living space. [] has a wonderful selection for you to choose from. Visit the Outdoor lighting section of our website to see the stake solar path lighting, fence post lights and the beautiful cooper features.

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American Backyards

Hey folks, it’s time to fire up that grill! One of the most common activities in American recreation is grilling that nice, big, juicy steak in the backyard. Here is my favorite steak recipe, along with a great grilled side to accompany it:

Griff’s American Grilled Black Pepper & Garlic Steak


4 lbs. (approximate) thick cut rib eye steak (four steaks)

2&2/3 cups Italian dressing (cheap is good!)

8 tbsp. butter

4 large cloves minced garlic

2 tbsp. freshly ground black pepper (or more, if you love black pepper!)


Marinate the steak in the Italian dressing for at least 1/2 hour. In a small pan, melt the butter and add the garlic, heating slowly until the garlic is golden brown. Place steaks on hot grill (preferably a charcoal grill), sprinkling half of the pepper on steaks. When the first side is done, turn the steaks over and sprinkle the rest of pepper on steaks. With a spoon, pour the butter and garlic mixture over the top of steaks while they are still on grill.

Griff’s American Grilled Potato & Pepper Pouches


3 cups unpeeled, sliced potatoes

2/3 cup green bell pepper (with membrane & seeds removed), diced

2/3 red bell pepper (with membrane & seeds removed), diced

2/3 orange bell pepper (with membrane & seeds removed), diced

2/3 cup onion, cut in long, diced

2 tbsp. jalapeno pepper (with membrane & seeds removed), finely chopped

2 large cloves minced garlic

1 tsp. Lawry’s® seasoned pepper (or just black pepper)

1/2 tsp. salt

4 tbsp. butter


Combine everything except the butter in a large mixing bowl–really mix everything well. Cut 4 18″ x 12″ sheets of aluminum foil. Lay the foil flat (dull side up) and put 1/4 of the mixture on each sheet in a mound that is at the center of one end of the foil. Make sure there is space between the mound and all of the edges of the foil. Put 1 tablespoon of butter on the top of each mound. Fold the other end of the foil over the top of the mound and fold the side edges up over the top so that when you are done you have four neat pouches. Put the pouches (butter on top) on a very hot grill for about ten minutes, then flip over and grill another 10 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Take off grill and allow to stand a few minutes, then empty each pouch on four dinner plates.

Copyright © 2007 Lee Griffith. All rights reserved.

Lee Griffith, a.k.a. “Griff” is the author of several blogs. Griff describes himself as a “former kitchen klutz” who now has a passion for cooking and developing great recipes. Griff would like to send you a FREE E-BOOK with 32 great chili recipes, along with a free recipe every week via email.

To receive, simply click on []

Check out “Griff’s Recipe Report” at []

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Backyard Adventure

These days, it is a common thing to find parents that want to build a playground at the backyard of their homes just to ensure that their kids get the maximum supervision needed during playtime. This is because most parents fear that their kids may end up sustaining injuries from the playground if they are not properly watched over.

To some people, this fear may be deemed as unnecessary and groundless. However, the reality is that parents have a genuine fear that makes them decide to build a backyard playground for their kids.

Recent stats have shown that there are over two hundred thousand (200,000) reported incidents of accidents sustained in the playgrounds. This number is not negligible and therefore calls for concern.

In spite of this, some other people prefer their kids to use a regular playground when they want to play. This also is not a bad idea even though it has its own cons too. Building a backyard playground for your children is a very good investment. There are many things that are prevented and your kid gets to have that dream backyard adventure that they really want to do. In having your own playground in your backyard, your children get to have a playground that is custom built for them. In other words, each child is taken into consideration when the building is done. This means that things like the handrails, flooring, and equipments are tailor made to suit each and every child as best as possible.

However, creating a means for a backyard adventure for your children can be costly and time consuming as you have to take your time to research, and consult with building experts and friends before you can finally have that blissful backyard adventure that you desire.

On the other hand, a regular playground does not involve all the stress of research, consulting, planning and extra costs. All your kids have to do is go there and have fun. It doesn’t take up extra space that could be useful for something else and your kids will get a chance at interacting with other children; therefore building their social skills.

Unfortunately, regular playgrounds with all its good sides, also have the negative aspects and the major one is the frequency of accidents that occur in these playgrounds. This is because the equipments are built using a one-size-fits-all model. So, pre-school children who play using equipments built for school age children runs at a risk of injuring themselves.

For instance, a school age child might be able to jump four feet to the ground. Imagine however, that a toddler has to do that. What would happen? So, before making your decisions of whether you want to enjoy a backyard adventure or a regular playground, weigh the pros and cons and well so as to make a well informed decision.

For more information visit All About Playgrounds | backyard playgrounds []. You can also request more information to find out how to build a safe backyard playgrounds for your kids at backyard adventures [].

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