Patio Backyard

The art of managing outdoor space

Designing a patio – or a garden, is much like designing a living room or a park. It’s all about space, and how you use it. To start with, you have empty space with nothing in it. Then you add plants, statues and other decorative items to fill that space and make it feel like a homey, comfortable space.. but wait! You don’t want to actually fill it with stuff. Then it would look cluttered, which is not what you want. What you want is a balance between empty space and decorative items. The real issue, then, is how do you achieve that balance?

Use Clustering to make the most of your outdoor space

The first mistake most people make when decorating a patio, backyard or garden is to take their planters, fountains, statues, etc. and spread them out evenly to try to cover as much space as possible. This is especially tempting for those on a tight budget, since they may not be able to afford as many accessories and accents as they would like. Spreading things out evenly, though, creates a boring space which doesn’t give the eye anything in particular to focus on. It is much more pleasing to group your plants and decor items into clusters, so that several items can be seen at once, in a friendly grouping, with empty space between providing variety. This way, your visitors’ eyes can move easily and comfortably from one cluster to another – each cluster is distinct in character and the empty space between emphasizes their unique natures.

Try to think of each plant, statue, plaque or other accent as having its own personality, and place them together in groups that allow them to relate to each other in pleasing and complementary ways; place two low flowering plants on either side of a larger fern, or place a small statue between a palm and a vine – the possibilities are endless and are only limited by your creativity and imagination!

Take your visitors on a journey

Think about what a visitor will see as they enter and move through your patio, garden or backyard. What will catch their eye first? Once they’ve enjoyed looking at that, what will they look at next? Where will their attention be drawn, and where will that carry their feet? Professional designers set up their spaces much like a story; the intent is to guide their visitors’ attentions – and their bodies – through the space so that everything is seen and everything is enjoyed in an interesting and pleasing order.

Try to create special accent zones to show off your most treasured items by placing them right in the visitor’s path, or by placing them at eye level, or by surrounding them with unique accessories that set the entire cluster apart from the others. If you take a little time to consider what people will see and where they will go as they make their way through your garden space, you’ll find that creating a relaxing and pleasant garden or backyard is just a matter of common sense!

Don’t neglect the vertical space

It’s easy to think about your outdoor areas in terms of their ground or floor space – the area where you can place a plant stand, set a statue or fountain, or leave a path for friends to walk – but you must also remember the space above the ground! In some ways, vertical space is even more important than ground space!

Walls or fences can be beautified with the simple addition of a garden plaque, a wall fountain or a planter on a shelf. If you want a more functional wall item, try a garden thermometer. Training a vine or some ivy up a trellis is a great way to use some vertical space and create a sense of intimacy and privacy as well.

Then, of course, there are the hanging items.. hanging plants are a great way of lifting the eye up to a new vantage point and adding a vertical element to your green space. Windchimes are a special prize, because they are not only a delight to the eye, but a treasure for the ears as well. Suncatchers also add a unique beauty with their ability to catch the sunlight and turn it into yet another decorative accent. When placing hanging decor, think ‘outside of the box’… hanging items can be part of the clusters you create with your plants and statuary or they can hang by themselves, defining turning points along the garden path or providing embellishment to the open space between clusters.

There are so many ways to use vertical decor I can only mention a few of them here: Hang them from eaves and overhangs to adorn borders, suspend them from awnings and overhead beams for a more enclosed and intimate effect, and if you have a tree or two in your garden how about hanging a plant from a branch or placing a planter in the crook of a bough? Now you’re using clustering and vertical space at the same time by using a plant to hold a plant!

Winged visitors – your mobile decorations!

Birds are beautiful to look at and lovely to listen to, but most important to your garden or patio design, they move around on their own! Attract birds to your outdoor space and you’ll have a constant variety of design as they flit from branch to branch or light and preen on a fountain or statue. Birds are nature’s own decor and attracting them to your garden or backyard is easy.. just give them something to eat, a place to bathe and somewhere to build a nest! Birdbaths and bird feeders are excellent as statue items and ensure a steady supply of feathered friends as well. Bird houses are especially nice because they can be used for vertical space decoration as well as providing a comfortable place for sparrows and starlings to nest or just to hang out for awhile! What’s a garden or patio without the beauty and song of birds?

Dare to dream

These three tips are just the beginning of the process. They’re intended to get you started thinking like a professional designer and considering the unlimited possibilities that your unused outdoor spaces present. Don’t let your space lie dormant.. bring it to life with your own creativity, your own flair and with affordable garden decor and accessories from Springtime Gardens!!

Brian Dalton owns and maintains the Springtime Gardens website, and spends countless happy hours decorating and maintaining his own patios and container gardens.

Springtime Gardens [] – Affordable Garden and Patio Decor

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Stone Backyard

Rock garden fountains not only give a visual flair, but also the gentle sound of trickling water. When coming up with your stone backyard fountain, keep these tips in mind to get an appealing outcome. Nearly all stone backyard water fountains give a point of interest and aesthetic style to any living space or back garden. Rock is a naturally shaped mineral that comes in a number of shapes and unique models. Weather conditions and exactly how the stone is recovered also result in the individual design. These water fountains give you the harmony of water with the body and foundation of rock or stone.

Most rock garden water fountains use a carved out interior for the pump filters water up and down the water fountain. These types of water fountains are normally made out of one piece of rock or a number of pieces of rocks put together. Some of these large one-piece rocks are hand-carved and chipped purposely to create a traditional style. Some individuals want to use polished granite or smooth stones for their rock garden water fountain. The polished rock catches water as it trickles and flows down to the base. A cut-out rock bowl or rock surface creates a pool for the water at the foundation.

When preparing to design or style a stone garden fountain you have to decide on a theme. If you’re unsure visit your back garden and look around, begin to use your imagination or creativity by getting an idea of your backyard. Here are a handful of samples of theme gardens frequently encircled with an old-fashioned rose garden, hollyhocks and daisies. One more concept is Japanese Zen garden water fountain. Just for this sort of fountain, you’ll need simplified rock patterns. Water could be a constant flow over the base, providing a thin coating of water that brings together a Zen-like charm. Plants like Japanese maples, Hostas or orchids may encompass a Japanese-inspired rock garden fountain.

Once you have identified the types of materials and concept of your rock garden fountain, you must determine the positioning of the fountain. If the fountain is positioned on the outdoor patio side table it will encourage a relaxation atmosphere. Now, for the corner water fountains, you are able to provide it with a spectacular physical appearance with the help of light to highlight the fountain as well as your veranda. If you would like a classy look for your stone garden fountain you may use marble or mosaic floor tile. The place is essential, you need to figure out which area of your yard your fountain will look its best.

Rock garden fountains are a great way to give your yard the earthy ambiance. Several of these forms of water fountains are used in areas where light needs to be utilized, including the yard. Lighting could be purposefully put near the fountain to shine light on the rock so it stands out in the daytime and through the night. You can add other accessories with your yard including garden statues, seats and birdhouses. They can be displayed round the water fountain, offering an outdoor point of interest.

Garden Fountains harmonize water and so are designed to fulfill both your practical and visual purposes. Depending on your taste or available space, Fountains are a popular design choice for gardens of all sizes.

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Backyard Sun Shade

Shade sails are tensioned fabric structures, commonly named “Shade Sails” for their sail-like shapes and shade providing function. The tensioned fabric that can be twisted, overlapped and angled into a virtually limitless array of soaring forms, plus they are somewhat translucent and provide approximately 80% shade while blocking 90% of harmful UV rays. One small shade sail may provide a subtle architectural accent over a household entry or window. A series of large and overlapping sails may expand over an open area in a commercial structure.

It is the best protection against the dangerous UV rays from the sun. Ultraviolet radiation and the Solar UVR levels are usually not related to temperature, and there could be high UVR levels even on cool days. Therefore they are a great protection for all times. Available in a variety of colors and are made of a high-density, UV-resistant polyethylene knit fabric. Tensioning is achieved with stainless-steel cable sewn into the perimeter of each sail and attached to existing structures or free-standing supports. when installed, the shade sails are taut and can resist virtually any wind condition.

Shade Sails effectively protect an area from the sun without making it feel closed in, backyards, decks, barbecues and patios, or any other place where you want to relax from the sun and heat. Their simple, clean forms are compatible with a variety of architectural approaches. This fresh solution makes a striking attention-grabbing statement wherever it is used.

In addition to the artistic design, custom shade sails can be customized to meet all your sun shade protection needs.

For best results make sure to use a professional shade sail installer, I recommend SoCal Shade Sails, they provide sun protection products for years and can really create great designs. If you want to install it on your own, check out some of the ready made shade sails, ready to deliver and easy to install.

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Backyard Safari Adventures

Kids love being outdoors – that is a fact. So while they are outside enjoying the fresh air why not help them learn about their environment with an awesome gift from the backyard safari range. The range made by Summit has everything your young entomologist will need to collect, study and identify the insects in your backyard. Make sure they look the part with a backyard safari cargo vest which is the most essential piece of field gear for your backyard safari kid. Features include six D-rings and two shoulder epaulets for clipping on essential gear such as the backyard safari field tools (telescoping magnet, angling mirror, field tongs, excavating pick and brush, and a high-audible field safety whistle – all on quick release carabiners). The cargo vest features a large zipper pocket for storing another field essential – your trusty binoculars and a clear-view chest pocket for storing field guides.

An excellent tool to help the young field scientist gain confidence with identifying the insects or specimens they catch is the handheld ‘Talking Bug ID’. The talking bug ID helps you to identify over 70 different bugs. The extra-large magnifying glass makes it easy to view insects. There is an interactive bug identification system: it will ask “Yes” and “No” questions to help determine which bug has been found. A useful feature is a warning alert for when a bug is potentially dangerous. The Bug ID has a built in bug trivia game mode called “What bug is it?” With this cool discovery science toy your child can be an explorer, adventurer and a scientist!

Once your child has found a bug they want to study in more detail there is great range of nets and bug vacuums for capture and then different habitats, pods or net enclosures for containing them safely for study. Please encourage your backyard safari kid to treat the insects they study and capture with respect and look after them for a short while before releasing them back into the wild!

Don’t forget to choose a good book on insects to act as an identification tool – The Insect Book: A Basic Guide to the Collection and Care of Common Insects for Young Children by Connie Zakowski recommended for 9 to 12 year olds or Simon & Schuster Children’s Guide to Insects and Spiders by Jinny Johnson recommended for 4 to 8 year olds.

Don’t forget your Backyard Safari camp lantern for attracting the moths on those night-time adventure safaris!

Give the gift of education and the thrill of discovery with a Backyard Safari product, an awesome discovery science toy available from the Discovery Science Toys [] Store.

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Backyard Shed Designs

Today the concept of shed has change. It is not just a structure that is never painted. You can find a lot of backyard shed designs that are modern in style. The purpose of shed is to store tools and equipment. There are a lot of homeowners who are making it look like a cottage in their property. You can implement something that can accentuate your homes. There are different styles available online. Some even have electricity in them. You can actually select from backyard shed designs in magazines or books.

There are some that actually comes with materials that you need which is good. If you want to save a lot of money, you can do your own shopping of materials so you can compare things. The plan also comes with list of equipment that you need for construction. You can select a design that can suit your preference. If you want a low maintenance design then select metal shed. If you live in colder area, there are backyard shed designs that goes with insulation. They can actually resist rusts and other weather condition.

Choose the one with vinyl siding so that there is no need to paint. There are so sheds now that can coordinate with the look of your home. The internet is where you can find free plans. There are some that are free and you can download in your computer. It is best if you can customize the plans based on your needs. In terms of design, you have a lot of choices.

Are you looking for free shed plans []? Visit [] today!

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Greenhouse Backyard

Build your own backyard greenhouse and save a ton of money. There are no special skills needed. Basic knowledge is all that is required to build your own greenhouse. Once you have chosen a location, style, and size you need to choose a cost effective structure and location. If money is not an option then you can use any of the materials below to build your backyard greenhouse. However if cost is getting in the way of building your own greenhouse it does not have to.

The structure of your backyard greenhouse can be made from any of the following:

  • Galvanized iron
  • Aluminum
  • Wood
  • PVC pipe

Galvanized iron and aluminum are your more expensive options. For a business these are better options than wood or PVC.

Wood and PVC pipe are much cheaper options. They are also easier to work with. For the avid home gardener or hobby gardener these should suit your needs just fine.

When deciding on your frame structure you also have to keep in mind what you are going to enclose your frame with. You can choose to cover your backyard greenhouse in any of these options:

  • Glass
  • Polycarbonates (Plastic sheets)
  • Plexiglass
  • Fiberglass reinforced panels
  • Polyethylene Film

Glass, polycarbonates, and, plexiglass are the more expensive options. Glass is also heavy so you need to go with a better frame structure to support the weight of the glass.

Fiberglass reinforced panels and polyethylene film are much cheaper options. Both can be used as enclosures for wood or PVC.

As you can see you do not have to have a lot of money. Enjoy gardening all year round when you build your own backyard greenhouse.

Are you considering a backyard greenhouse? Build your own greenhouse. Building your own greenhouse is cost efficient and easy to do. You can be on your way to building your own greenhouse in no time. I did it and so can you!!

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Backyard Zen Garden

The type of garden you create and garden ornaments you choose can reflect your taste and personality. For example, a whimsical wind chime can denote a fun, playful spirit while a Zen garden can demonstrate a more peaceful, meditative personality. Let your garden be a reflection of what you are. Your theme may be bold and full of color or calm and serene. Candles, lanterns and solar lighting add beauty and are essential for evening enjoyment and entertaining. A fun dynamic to your garden could be to change the seasonal theme by adding garden ornaments that focus on the time of year. Your garden could even reflect your likes and dislikes. If you like butterflies, then certain plants and housing are needed to attract them. To ward off certain predators like The Great Blue Heron from eating fish from your pond, you might give some owl garden ornaments a try.

Space is another important factor. You need to add the proper amount of garden ornaments depending upon how much area you have to work with. Use space wisely and plan ahead if necessary. Look through magazines, on the web or in a book to get ideas to help you create that prefect hideaway. Too much of anything is not a good thing, especially when it comes to garden ornaments. The ornaments should adorn and compliment your garden, not overpower it. For example, take a neglected portion of your yard and think about what might look good there. Perhaps a statue to pay tribute to a dear one, or a bird bath for your feathered friends would be a perfect addition. If the area is large enough you may want to add a swing or garden bench for relaxing with a cool drink on a hot summer day. A wooden fence makes a perfect place to display a collection of birdhouses or a soothing wall fountain. Plants and wind chimes hanging from a Sheppard’s hook can add a nice touch to almost anywhere it can be pushed in the ground.

Keep your garden a fun space for you and friends to visit. Make it a favorite place to enjoy peace and quiet. Whichever garden ornaments you choose for your backyard haven…it will give you a great feeling in knowing that you created it!

As a 61 year old grandmother of 5, I enjoy nothing more than spending a beautiful day with my family outdoors! My husband and I have recently purchased an 1800’s log home nestled on 20 acres of Civil War battlefield. It is here that I was inspired to pass along my years of knowledge and skill in the area of garden ornamentation. My passion for gardening has developed over decades and I am excited to now share this craft with others! Please visit [] to learn more about garden ornamentation!

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Backyard Playhouse Kits

The idea of a playhouse interests you. You think it could be the ideal addition to your children’s playroom or to the backyard. Maybe you remember spending hours enjoying your own childhood playhouse or perhaps you’ve seen your own kid having a blast in a neighbor’s mini-home. Whatever the situation, you’re thinking about buying one for your child and now you need to decide on the best option. You may have noticed a number of wooden playhouse kits on the market. Should you consider one of these instead of buying a plastic or resin option?

In most cases, the answer is a resounding “no”. Wooden playhouse kits can be an awesome purchase for the right person, but most parents will quickly find themselves wishing they had purchased an easy-to-assemble plastic alternative, instead.

A wood playhouse might look great and you might think of it as a way to give your child something special and unique. Your heart might be in the right place, but once you open the box and find yourself staring at all of the wooden pieces, screws, nails, brackets and other pieces of the puzzle, you’ll wish you had avoided the world of wooden playhouse kits altogether.

Now, if you’re a handy person who loves a prolonged do-it-yourself project, wooden playhouse kits might be perfect for your child. However, most parents aren’t interested in spending hours on their knees wielding hammers and tightening screws as they work their way through instruction guides filled with horribly drawn diagrams and assembly directions that are impossible to decipher.

Additionally, these playhouse kits don’t provide a large margin of error to the poor mom or dad who finds himself or herself playing mini-contractor. If you make a significant error when building one of these playhouses, you may accidentally damage or break an essential piece. That can create serious problems as you move forward with the project! You may end up with a half-built playhouse taking up a significant chunk of your garage as you wait for a replacement part to arrive via the world’s slowest moving steamship!

Are these criticisms of wooden playhouse kits exaggerated? Only slightly. Some folks don’t struggle that much with assembly and some units may not be mind-boggling in their complexity. However, in most cases, wood playhouse kits are one of those seemingly great ideas that invariably produce more hassle than they’re possibly worth. Most parents will be far happier spending their money on a simply plastic or resin alternative. Only those who are comfortable with tools and who actually enjoy the building process should consider wood playhouse kits.

A playhouse can be a great toy. A wooden playhouse can be absolutely wonderful. Before you opt to build a wooden unit, however, think long and hard about whether you really want to put in the time and effort necessary to complete the project.

To find our more about wooden playhouse kits [] and other childrens wooden playhouses [], be sure to visit our website at

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Keys Backyard Sauna

Anyone who has suffered from a drug or alcohol addiction understands the severe cravings that often times prevent them from maintaining sobriety. Cravings are the body’s way of reminding the person that the drug or alcohol is necessary. But why do people have cravings? Is it a mental phenomenon or is something more to it?

Research has proved that not only are cravings a physical manifestation of addiction, but that there is a method that allows a person to eliminate cravings and move on from a deadly addiction once and for all.

Cravings result when the drug residue that has stored in the fatty tissues of the body release into the system after the person has undergone any type of physical labor. Take for instance a person has abstained from drugs for several weeks. They are working in their backyard and all of a sudden they feel the sudden need to use. This is because the physical exertion has the blood flowing throughout the body, and in turn the body is releasing those drug toxins back into the bloodstream, causing cravings.

There is a method to handle this occurrence so that cravings no longer prevent a person from staying sober. By enrolling in a sauna detoxification program, clients are able to rid their bodies of the toxins that cause cravings, and make it so hard to remain sober. After a full physical and medical examination by a doctor, drug and alcohol addicts are given the opportunity to enroll in several sessions in a dry heat sauna.

Clients undertake 20 – 30 minutes of light aerobic exercise (usually jogging or fast walk outside or on a tread mill). This is followed by repeated 15 – 20 minute intervals of sweating in a well-ventilated dry heat sauna, with rest and cooling off breaks in between sweating periods. Concurrent with the exercise and sweating, a specific regimen of vitamins and minerals are taken to stimulate fatty acid metabolism, thus helping mobilize drug metabolites from fat stores.

This program is designed to assist the addict’s body in breaking down and eliminating stored drug and alcohol metabolites that have adverse health consequences. This method of detoxification, also called the sauna detoxification program, has proved to be highly successful for long term, permanent recovery.

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Backyard Basketball Hoop

Have you ever wanted your own basketball court in your backyard? Imagine sweating five hours straight in your own backyard playing hoops with your friends. When you finish you all then go to the living room and watch your favorite NBA team play while drinking ice cold beer.

No more travelling thirty minutes to your local basketball court and then travel another 30 minutes back home. Furthermore, whenever you want a break from all the stress with your kids or wife, what better way to let go all these stuff by shooting a few hoops in the backyard?

Instant stress relief.

If you want to enjoy play basketball in your own backyard you also must choose the right basketball stand.

Portable vs Fixed (In-ground) basketball stand or hoop.

Portable stand – A portable hoop is an easily assembled hoop that can be placed anywhere in your backyard. The base of the portable stand is usually filled with water or sand. Most of these stands have an adjustable height option or fixed height.

There’s no need to apply permanent concrete to the stand. The disadvantages of having a portable stand are that they are usually less reliable than fixed stand or may collapse/move easily while playing basketball. Usually, the stand is made out of plastic making it much cheaper to purchase but easier to break.

An In-ground basketball stand or hoop – The basketball stand is permanently fixed (cemented) to the ground. They are usually more durable than portable stand and takes up less space than portable hoops. It is also safer to use an in-ground basketball stand when dunking basketballs. The support system is more rigid and therefore the backboard is less prone to falling or collapsing onto the player. However, if you want to move or relocate your basketball stand, you have to break and destroy the concrete support so you can move the pole.

Fixed Height Hoop vs Adjustable Hoop Height

Fixed Height Hoop – A Fixed height hoop is much more durable than adjustable hoop height because it has fewer parts than adjustable hoops. You worry less because the chances of the hoop breaking or falling off are much less than if you choose an adjustable stand.

Adjustable Hoop Height – If you have young kids or want to reach a bit lower so that you can dunk the basketball, this is the best option.

In summary, choosing the right basketball hoop will mostly depend who the player is (if you have younger kids and you also want to play it, an adjustable hoop stand is desirable) and where you want to play it (if you want to play hoops in your uncle’s place, a portable stand is better).

Tu Tran is an Author living in Sydney, Australia. Learn more about success at, a popular website for people finding a purpose in life.

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