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Decorative Accessories in the Garden

Garden figures are in great demand nowadays. Even stiff and reserved Englishmen and Germans decorate their gardens with them.

It’s believed that garden gnomes protect plants and they by all means make a garden look better. Most people maintain their gardens in good conditions but if you dream of a cosy and unusual garden where you could spend weekends then garden figures will be the best solution. Putting them in right order demands creativity. And if you’re creative enough you can turn your garden into an exclusive work of art.

Figures in form of ducks, gnomes, mushrooms, frogs, angels and fish can be easily mounted on a garden stone and will nicely decorate a rockery as well as a pond. Don’t forget about proportions. Big sculptures are for broad lands while tiny figures will look perfect in small cosy gardens. Garden accessories must attract your attention to the best parts of the garden. According to feng shui a classical garden must have some free space in the middle: a pond or a lawn.

Rockeries are the best place for garden gnomes. These garden figures are loved by children. Those who have small children can put figures of fairy-tale characters on the playgrounds or near them. But don’t jam up space. It goes without saying that you must be positively creative to turn your garden into something unique, something that would fill you with joy and inner peace. If you have old stumps and stubs in your garden try to use them as decorative elements as well.

A crocodile appears in many ancient myths as a symbol of the Earth’s support. This nocturne divine creature will be a perfect solution in exterior and landscape designing. A crocodile figure will add originality to the landscape bringing shades of South-African nature. Don’t you feel a gentle breathing of a hot African wind?

If a figure of an extravagant animal is not your cup of tea make use of garden signs. You can write a quote from your favorite book or just a catchy phrase on them. Animate your garden and let it speak to you.

Doll House Kits for Every Budget and Skill Level

I have to admit, I am very impressed, at what the miniature dollhouse industry has to offer. They have successfully replicated the natural (full-sized) world in miniature with doll house kits that fit almost every budget and skill level. In fact, I believe that if you will take a few moments to look at what they have accomplished that you too will be impressed at what you learn.

Dollhouses are not just for little girls or women. They have grown in popularity in just about every adult demographic. By taking a closer look it is easy to understand the growing appeal.

Doll house kits are available in just about any architectural style imaginable and they are easy to customize and accessorize. In fact, if you are particularly skilled at crafts you may want to forgo a kit and purchase blueprints which enable you to customize as big as you can dream.

For beginners there are also quick-build kits that, according to the advertisements, can be built within an hour. I am not so confident in the one hour time limit if you are a beginner but one of these kits may be an excellent place for you to start if this is your first dollhouse project.

Inside your kit you will find instructions, drawings, and the pieces for assembly. Manufacturers like to use the term “easy” when describing their instructions. However, that’s not always the case. Expect that there will be a few hitches in the construction process. Most pieces are precut although some will need to be punched out. The good news is that you won’t need to do any cutting yourself unless you are building from a blueprint or making some of your own changes.

Wooden construction materials seldom come pre-sanded so there will be some light sanding involved prior to painting. Painting, by the way, is optional but a good idea for adding authenticity to your project.

Some manufacturers also give you a choice on the wood that will come with your kit. Choices include milled plywood, MDF, and smooth plywood. Prices vary based on the material you choose. Assembly then is made with nails and glue that may or may not be included with your kit.

Once you have assembled your doll house kit you can then easily expand. Additional expansion kits are also available. For example you can add a conservatory or a wing onto your existing structure.

It should be pointed out that the term “doll house kits” is used interchangeably to include both dollhouses and accessories. For example there are accessory kits for bathrooms, living rooms, kitchens, porches, libraries, and dining rooms that coordinate with your architectural style. There are even outdoor kits that add to the “curb appeal” of your project.

When selecting your doll house project you will need to determine the scale that will be used that will remain consistent with the structure, accessories, and furnishings. The normal scale is 1 inch per life-sized foot. There is also a popular ½ scale which is scaled to ½ inch per life-sized foot. Neither of these scales are compatible with Barbie-sized dolls. For that you will need a 1/6 scale to accommodate the most popular dolls for play. I frequently make mention of this fact in my articles because it is the one place that people most often make mistakes on their dollhouse purchases.

Now, there is a good chance that you will need help. If you find yourself in that predicament you will be happy to know that many local hobby stores offer advice, construction support, specialized instruction, and even classes on electrification, interior finishing, decoration, and landscaping. Another excellent source for help is to check in on one of the dollhouse forums on the web. Hobbyists are generally more than glad to share their expertise.

The sky is the limit. Your hobby can be as little or as big as you want. Thanks to a very customer friendly industry there are doll house kits to satisfy your level of interest, expertise, and even your budget.

Colorful Landscaping Ideas – Using More Than Just Flowers in Your Landscape Design

When designing a garden or landscape, it’s important to maintain a balanced color palette. Just as you wouldn’t want an entire house decorated in blue and yellow, nor would you want an entire garden of only blue and yellow flowers. For this reason, we try to design our gardens and landscapes with a variety of colors that complement each other. The most obvious sources of color in a yard come from plants and flowers; however, color in your garden can come from many other sources. When planning your garden design, don’t underestimate how other materials can impact the overall look of your landscape.

First and foremost, consider the type of garden edging or landscape border that you’ll use in and around your planting beds. The possible material choices are endless. A few of the more common borders used are pavers, black plastic edging, landscape timbers, and brick or stone edgers. Because edging varies so much in color and texture, your choice will have a big impact on the overall look of your landscape. You might also want to consider mixing a couple different types of edging materials to achieve an eclectic look with even more color.

Mulch or groundcover is another easy way to add color and dimension to your garden. Materials range from bark and wood chips to gravel and stone, with many other alternatives in between. Colors of these materials vary widely; it’s possible to find groundcover in almost any hue of the rainbow, as well as many colors that aren’t in the rainbow!

When planning your landscape design, don’t forget to include garden structures such as trellises, arbors, furniture, and more. Garden structures not only add color to your yard, but they also serve as an architectural element that can be used as a focal point in the garden, creating visual interest.

Trellises are probably one of the least expensive garden structures that can still provide a big visual punch. A garden trellis serves as a support structure for climbing plants and flowers, allowing them to grow upward instead of outward, and literally bringing your garden to new heights. Arbors and pergolas are the next step up in size and expense, but they also add a lot more height to your yard and can also provide shade, a place to sit and rest, or even a gated entrance into a back or side yard. Arbors, pergolas, and trellises are all available in a wide variety of materials and colors. If you want to color match the structure to your home, then you’ll probably want to choose wood that can be painted. For something that doesn’t require as much ongoing maintenance, consider a durable PVC vinyl that won’t require painting or staining. Just make sure the plastic has been treated with a UV inhibitor so the color doesn’t fade or change as exposed to sunlight.

Colorful outdoor furniture can compliment your design and improve the functionality of your outdoor space. Consider a well-placed bench in the middle of your garden, or even a pair of chairs and a table, nestled in a bed of daisies in the spring. Smaller pieces of outdoor furniture can be a good investment because they can easily be moved around and rearranged as desired. Like arbors, pergolas, and trellises, garden furniture also comes in a variety of materials and color choices. If you’re really picky about the specific color you want, opt for wood that can be painted. Otherwise, a rust free metal like aluminum or a UV protected vinyl will offer lower maintenance options that are still available in many hues.

As you create your landscape design, remember that plants and flowers are not the only way to add color and visual interest to your yard. By thinking outside the box and incorporating other garden elements like some of those we’ve discussed, you can create a garden that’s not only colorful, but also as individual and unique as you are.