Floral Garden and Landscape Toupees

English Ivy is a wonderful groundcover and makes a home look lovely, lived in, and comfy. There is a problem, however. Ivy can kill trees and other plants. It can also cause extensive damage to foundations, siding, and chimneys. An alternative is what I call “Landscape Toupees.”

Some people might call fake flowers and foliage an abomination. I call it creative and colorful. They are economical and save time as well. You don’t need to fertilize or water, and they can be reused.

You usually only see silk and plastic trees and flowers for inside usage, and it is true that they will not last quite as long outside as they do inside. But, these delightful faux flowers and artificial vines look beautiful and will probably get you through several seasons.

My Landscape Toupees allow me to sculpt and cover problem areas in an instant. We have down spouts that look cold and ugly, but with plastic ivy strung around them, they take on a great look. One window in our living room looks out onto a downspout. Now, it looks out onto an ivy covered architectural feature that has color and charm.

You can also use fake vines to hide cables and wires. Some vines have small attachments so you can loop them on hooks, or a staple gun can give you fast placement, which reminds me of hair plugs.

We bought some decorative and expensive grass last year that is taking a while to flourish. I purchased some darts of grass leaves and threw them into brown clumps of grass for shocks of healthy green. As the grass matures and takes hold, I will migrate the darts elsewhere. Since people don’t expect plastic in gardens, they take them at face value. They expect them to be real, and so they are real.

Landscape Toupees are a great decorative tool for your yard and garden. You don’t need to be ashamed of using fake foliage. Use it as you need it, and improve the outside of your home quickly, and economically.

Great Wall of Decor and Art – Simple Ideas and Tips

Many people take wall art and decor for granted, probably because they do not know the things that these wonderful pieces of decorative ornaments can do for their homes. Some people may not be aware that an exquisite wall art can transform a dull room into something that exudes elegance and style. The truth is, hanging something in your home is one of the best ways of brightening up and giving life to any space in your house.

There are many great ideas and tips on how to decorate creatively with wall art. To help you get started, here are some of them:

1. Know your options
Wall art comes in a wide variety of kinds, styles and materials. Some of your options include photographs, paintings, and sculptures.

- Sculptures — two-dimensional sculptures are great to use as wall decors. When choosing a sculpture, it is smart to have one that is complementary to the design and function of the room. For example, it would make sense to put a musical notes wall decor sculpture in the music room and not in the kitchen.

- Pictures — photos of loved ones, family members, trips you have gone to, occasions you celebrate or landscapes and scenery. It is a great idea if you can have these photos enlarged and framed. Make sure that the design of the frame complements the overall design of the room and that the subject of the photo fits the room where you plan to hang it.

- Paintings — the three main factors to consider when choosing paintings are the size, color, and subject. Make sure that these three elements match the function and theme of the room where you want to place it.

2. Plan how you will hang your wall decor
There are several ways on how you can effectively hang your pieces of wall decor in such a way that they will not appear cluttered or chaotic. For one, you have the option of placing the artwork on top of the focal point of the room.

For example, for the music room, you can place the musical notes wall decor above the piano, a sports wall art on top of the sports trophy case or a family portrait above the bed. Just make sure that you secure the wall art properly so that you do not wake up one day with a bump on your head. Aside from that, you can also achieve a modern gallery look by placing paintings or sculptures on an empty hallway, lobby or along the stairway.

3. Make your own wall art
If you want to experiment or express your creativity, you can make your own wall art by making a two-dimensional clay sculpture or a painting. This not only enables you to have personalized wall décor but also allows you to save money.

Wall art and decorations are great to have in your home. Make sure that you invest on these decorative pieces properly by knowing your options, hanging them correctly and considering making your own.

The Delicate Balance Between Gardening and Landscaping

While many believe that a landscaper is nothing more than someone who comes in and mows, trims and weed eats the grass, then neatly blows everything away so no one will ever know it was there, is misinformed. People who do nothing but this are people who mow, trim and weed eat your lawn and blow the remains away.

A landscaper is someone who works with the lay of the land and the flowers of your choice to bring about a desired affect. While there is a good deal of “yard work” that is done within the realm of landscaping, there is also a great deal of gardening and hardscaping that is done as well.

The gardening part can be anything from planting flowers, trees and shrubs to pruning and replacing dead or no longer wanted plants. It can also encompass sprinkler and other types of watering systems, designing gardens out in the yard or container gardens on your patios and decks. All of these things will need to flow into an overall landscape design and can be addressed and needed and/or wanted.

People forget that your landscape might also include arbors and pergolas to driveways, irrigation issues, laying of new patios, building onto your home in the form of a deck or sunroom and numerous other ideas that can be incorporated into your overall outdoor design. These hardscape items encompass a wonderful part of you home and outdoor decor.

So the next time you think about doing something different with your yard from putting in water features such as a pond or fountain to filling in a swimming pool and turning it into an organic garden; building retaining walls to keep your yard in or another yard out to weeding and making sure your plants are healthy and happy, thank of your local landscaping company. You may be surprised at what they can do and do well!

Decorating And Hanging Your Home Interior’s Artwork

How to hang art can be baffling to most so here are some steps to help you hang your art if you are finding yourself in that baffled situation. The first step to hanging your art is figuring out where you want to put it. What room or space are you going to decorate? You want to consider scale, color, and the number of pieces or art you are hanging on a particular wall.

The next step is to select your art. Find something that goes with the location you’ve picked out. You have two choices here you can go with your own custom look or you can choose something you like that’s already laid out for you. Don’t think you have to just do artwork either you can use other decor such as mirrors, plaques, sconces, shelves, wall planters, architectural plaques, or wallies. You can even to more then just one which is highly recommended. You don’t want to just throw some framed art work in the middle of your living room wall and call it good you can add sconces to it for some additional flavor or a shelf to bring out the artwork better.

Framed art sets the mood and style of a room. Smaller pictures can be used anywhere and work great as fillers on bookcases, hallways, or a tabletop. Mirrors are another form of wall decor and a source of motion. Mirrors can stand alone or be clustered together in different shapes and sizes. Using the same mirror in multiples will create a dramatic effect. Mirrors also can bring in sunlight to a room in the daytime and reflect candlelight at nighttime which in turn can create a little romance.

Sconces and shelves add a whole new set of decorating options to your print or mirror. Once you start to add these you start decorating in three dimensions! Planters and shelves will add depth to any flat surfaces of pictures and mirrors. It is great to add these when you decorate a wall with no furniture nearby.

Another thing you will need to think about when picking out your art is colors. To heat things up you will want warm, red-based colors, they can make a room seem more cozy and intimate. These colors can stimulate passion, energy, and appetites. For this color I would try abstract art in tangerine, floral art splashed with some red or landscape art in some yellow. If instead you want to cool things down go with some blue-based colors they tend to lend rooms an air of serenity and calmness. They can even give the illusion of expanded space so these colors are great for smaller rooms.

Now you want to hang the artwork you’ve picked out. Contrary to popular belief, hanging artwork isn’t just pounding a nail in the wall and making sure things are level. Hanging prints in a vertical line suggest formality and adds some feeling of height in a room on the other hand prints hung in a horizontal line tend to have a calming effect and can give a narrow room the illusion of some width. Prints have a greater impact if those with dark mats are hung on light walls and prints with lighter mats are hung on dark walls. When hanging a print on a papered wall you will want to cut a “V” slit in the wallpaper and lift it up to insert the nail. You can always glue the paper back in place if you ever want to remove the print. You will want to keep your prints from becoming crooked by placing self-adhesive rubber discs on the back of each corner. This helps tremendously with slipping and sliding.

Remember your home is an expression of who you are, and your walls are your gallery. You will want them to reflect your memories, your interests, and your personality. I love to fill my walls with the faces I love.

If your looking for “rhythm” to add to your room? Creating a certain rhythm depends on the shape, size, and spacing of the objects. When all of the objects are the same size and equally placed, then the rhythm is more placid. If larger objects are placed by tall, vertical rectangles, then the rhythm would be staccato, setting an emphatic tone.

You want to also find “balance” which is deeply important. If you don’t have a balanced arrangement then the arrangement may look top-heavy, bottom-heavy, or as if its side was falling off. You want a symmetrical arrangement where each half of the arrangement mirrors the image of the other half.

If you’re looking for a display with “impact” then you want to start with your largest frames being in the center, as the focal point. From there you want to surround the larger frames with smaller frames giving a balanced grouping. You can add visual interest by hanging frames at varying heights.

If you want to create a visual drama you can hang your frames following and upward angle like a staircase. Use larger frames as an anchor, and then complement them with some smaller frames. Make sure spacing between the frames is equal to create a balanced look.

You want to hang your art at eye level where it can be easily seen, which means it can be either at standing or sitting level your choice. In general, you want the artwork to be hung so that the center point of the picture or grouping is at about eye level for the average person.

Never just hammer a nail into a wall, choose the appropriate hanging device based on the composition of your walls and the weight of your art. Always hang your art on two hooks and two wall hangers for more level, even support. For heavier pieces use D hooks. Place the hooks, lay your frame face down and pull the hanging wire in the back toward the top of the frame in two spots the same distance from the top. Remember the further apart they are the closer the art will be to the wall. Measure the distance between these two spots, as well as the distance between one of them and the top of the frame. Transfer these dimensions to the wall starting with your center mark first. Install the wall hangers at the two hanging spots you have chosen. Begin hanging with the center piece, using it as a reference point for all the others you may have.

I hope this information has been helpful!

Improving the Landscape of Your Outdoor Space With the Right Decoration and Furniture

Home furnishing no longer limits itself to making your indoor home area stylish. Most home owners nowadays try to beautify their outdoor spaces by placing the right decorations and furniture. If you thought that furnishing is only applicable for indoor spaces, you might get surprised with the wide array of furniture set that are designed to be placed outside your home.

Aside from furniture choices, other decorations can also improve your outdoor space at home. Some are designed for outdoor aesthetics at night, while others improve the view during the day.

So what are the different ways in which you can improve the outside view of your home?

Lighting

Although unappreciated during the day, having the right outdoor lighting can have many benefits. First is that it can beautify and give emphasis on some areas of your home at night, depending on where they are placed. You can place outdoor lights along your walk way, on your patio or even around your home.

Aside from aesthetic purposes, outdoor lighting can also improve safety and security for your home. By having ample lighting outside your house, you can easily spot if anyone suspicious is lurking around. This can alert you for possible intruders that seek to harm you and your family.

Outdoor furniture

When you talk about outdoor furniture, the most common image that may come into your mind would be purchasing plastic benches, chairs and tables to fill up the area around your home. However, you should ask yourself if plastic is really worth it?

Although most plastic outdoor furniture can be inexpensive, they can offer little comfort. It is important that you should be comfortable with your outdoor furniture, especially if you are the type who spends a lot of time lounging around outside. Getting wooden outdoor furniture may be a good choice to make. Not only do they offer a comfortable feel, they also add to the natural feeling when you stay outdoors.

However, you should not only limit your choices to wood. There are outdoor sofas that are made with from other materials, but can offer the same comfort and feel. One kind of sofa that can be a great addition to your outdoor furnishing would be an outdoor sectional sofa set. This can be a great choice if you often have friends come over. Because this kind of furniture set can be rearranged to different positions that can be accommodating, it can allow your outdoor area to be the perfect receiving place for your guests.

Other than sofas and chairs, you can also add a table to your outdoor home environment. This can be a great addition to any one’s patio deck. If you want to spend a lot of time relaxing outdoors, you need something that can offer you a chance to lay back and relax. Installing a hammock in your outdoor ground may be just what you need.

Whichever type of furniture you need, it is important that you keep in mind that apart from being stylish it is important to get one that is durable and can offer the utmost comfort.

The Art of John Brady – An Irish Artist Producing Abstract and Landscape Art

The first 25 years of John Brady’s contribution to the art world was in the capacity of a Graphic Designer. In the early days of computers, as an Apple/Mac technology enthusiast, John, designed anything creative that came his way: marketing pieces for local businesses, corporate identity branding, logo designs– he was even commissioned to design the emblem for Bill Gates’ commemoration of Microsoft’s 10-year anniversary in Ireland. A remarkable achievement in itself, however his crowning glory and his more ever-lasting legacy takes place in the next 25 years of his life. As an artist! And not only that, but an educator of art, as his website reveals.

For anyone lacking the imagination to know what kind of art to buy, or where to hang it once you’ve bought it, Dublin-born artist John Brady has created a website that might be entitled, ‘ How to Become an Art Connoisseur.’ The site shows photographs of his art displayed in every room in his villa. Using every available inch of wall space, paintings are hung in every niche, every hallway, every nook and cranny. His entire residence has become a showcase for his art. As if that weren’t enough, John includes on his website, a step-by-step video showing how he paints one of his favorite subjects, a field of poppies. Starting with a white canvas, and using nothing but palette knives, John applies paint directly from the tubes. Wielding his knives like a slight of hand magician, with a few deft strokes a sky emerges, a few more dabs of color and a field of poppy plants appear. Then, the coup de grace as John twirls in the barest essentials of crimson red poppy leaves petal by petal. Never one to overwork his canvasses, what details John omits from his poppy fields landscape, the viewer’s imagination fills in. John Brady’s works are so predominant and energizing that instead of people buying them as paintings to match their decor – the paintings are the decor! And rooms are decorated and centered around the artwork. In fact, some paintings are dynamic enough to set the theme for an entire residence. Many of his works appear to divide the canvas diagonally one section in contrasting opposition to the other. Ethereally, his paintings have the essence of the yin and the yang, the spiritual versus the material. Symbolically, one section plays against the other as if they were the tectonic plates of the earth’s crust advancing towards each other, volatile with the potential of massive amounts of energy. It is this maneuver of spatial energies that give his art the power.

Vibrant landscapes, vivid florals, brilliant abstract studies of nature– all with such dynamic movement, they’re about to explode off the canvas. ” When I finish a piece,” says John, ” I know that it will brighten the most mundane wall.” He is a deeply spiritual being and seeks to enlighten people with his art. As he explains, ” I feel dramatic colour can lift your senses and energize your mind, and stimulating the senses is what I try to achieve.”

In the true spirit of the disciplined Italian masters Caravaggio, Raphael, Michelangelo and daVinci; and the freedom of expression of the Impressionists Monet, Constable and Van Gogh– who were all “teachers” of this fine student– very few artists have the ability to excite the senses to this extent with just the power of the paint and brush. John Brady is one of them.

You can visit Johns website at http://www.johnbradyart.com

Weathervanes As Decor and Art

Weathervanes have been valued throughout history. They rest admirably atop churches, barns, homes, schools, libraries, court houses, and government buildings. We are all familiar with the ever popular rooster perched handsomely on barn cupolas or the gallant horse adorning the tops of stables across America. The Federal Eagle has been popular since the 1800′s. Artisans have crafted beautiful weathervanes using themes that capture the spirit from antiquity up until today.

In our modern day and age the weathervane is being recognized as décor and functional art. It does not matter if the weathervane sculpture is contemporary, traditional, country, or classic, there is a place for the piece in the world of design. It is still popular to mount weathervanes on cupolas and rooftops but the possibilities for display have introduced weathervane sculpture to a whole new realm of aesthetics.
Weathervanes can be displayed indoors in a number of different ways. Floor stands are available in basic cast iron or ornamental brass. These display bases are often used to feature a weathervane in living rooms, dens, offices or libraries. The presentation is simply stunning. Indoor wall mounts are an attractive way to showcase the work on a central wall or beam. Tabletop weathervanes are great for desks and tables. They make great gifts too! If you are interested in interior decorating, consider the time honored weathervane in your design.

The options for outdoor display are wonderful. It is possible to mount your weathervane on the deck or on a garden pole. Eave mounts offer the possibility of placing your weathervane on the side of a building. The results are stunning and will capture the attention of your friends and neighbors.
In addition to a generous variety of mounting options, the weathervane is now available in several finishes. The traditional polished copper is still a favorite but it is not the only choice. Some of the most popular finishes include antique, blue verde, chestnut, and bronze. There is a patina for just about everybody.

Themes and styles are impressive and cover just about every subject. The palette includes locomotives, golfers, dogs, wine, flying pigs, unicorns, fairies, angels, flags, ships, airplanes, birds and even a wine weathervane. Clubs and restaurants are ideal for weathervane art. It is common to see the golfer, the blue heron, the whale, or the eagle displayed in a public setting. Most of the designs are available in sizes that accommodate smaller buildings such as garden houses, gazebos, and decks.

Whether you are an interior decorator, a landscape architect, or a do it your self designer, there is a weathervane that is perfect for your décor.

Garden and Landscaping Design Tips

When you think designing our garden or landscape, the most important consideration is how you and your family use your outdoor area. Plants, trees, a lawn area – these are all part of the total landscape. But beyond that, there are other issues. Outdoor lighting will help you enjoy your garden in the evenings. Irrigation lines are the best way to get water to those thirsty plants. If you like privacy, fencing is essential. If you want shade, retractable awnings are a must. If you love entertaining, consider an outdoor kitchen barbeque area. If you are lucky enough to afford the cost of a pool and spa, make sure you incorporate these features into your design. And of course, you also must consider outdoor furniture placement.

Plants, Trees and Lawns

When you think of a garden landscape, you first picture lots of green, with wonderful splashes of color. But as water costs rise, that big lawn may be something you want to rethink. Many people are replacing lawns with more water-efficient areas, such as succulent gardens. This also applies to plants, whether they are in containers or planted in the ground. Besides their water needs, the types of plants you choose also depends on how much sun or shade you have naturally in your garden. When you design your layout, think about how the colors will go with each other, and try to incorporate different textures too. Consider your soil too. If you have very dense clay soil, you may want to avoid delicate plants or at least use a tiller to amend the soil before planting.

Irrigation

You certainly don’t want to spend all your time in the garden with a watering can, so irrigation is a must. Figure out where the lines can run from your original water source when you plan your landscape. When you layout your garden design, think in terms of irrigation zones, too, so you can water certain areas that need more water more frequently.

Outdoor Lighting

Once the sun goes down, you really need outdoor lighting. For most of us, lighting should blend in nicely with the overall landscape. There are different options. LED lighting is cost effective in the long run. Solar lighting is becoming more popular as energy costs go up. Lighting can also be used to illuminate specific parts of your garden, such as unusual trees, or an interesting collection of plants.

Fencing

They say good fences make for good neighbors. This is certainly true. Fencing is especially important if you have a pool or water area. Even if you don’t have children, your neighbors may, so you want to keep everyone safe. Wood fencing is often the least expensive option for privacy and security. Composite fencing can be less prone to termite and weather damage. Fences can also be decorative, for example wrought iron fencing can truly enhance a garden landscape.

Retractable Awnings

We’re all aware of the dangers of too much sun, so if you love the outdoors, you will want retractable awnings or some type of shaded area. The retractable awnings are great because they can roll back in when you don’t want shade, such as in the early morning or the evening. Electric awnings are easy to operate too. Just push a button for instant shade.

Outdoor Kitchen Barbeque

For the chef in the family, why stop at a barbeque, when you can have a whole outdoor kitchen center. These centers are built in, providing not only a BBQ grill, but counter space, running water and other features to make cooking a breeze.

Pool and Spa

If you can afford the cost of a pool and spa – or if you already have one – they can not only be something to entertain the family, they can also be a beautiful part of the landscape. One thing to consider in designing a pool is that unconventional shapes can make it more difficult to use a pool cover. When you figure the cost of a pool, don’t forget maintenance. You will need to keep the pool clean, you will have to maintain chemical levels correctly, and you will also need to redo the surface of the pool over time. A spa can be less work, although cleanliness is still essential for good health.

Outdoor Furniture

Finally, you need furniture to enjoy the outdoors. Before buying any outdoor furniture, consider how you and your family use the space. If you entertain a lot, you’ll need multiple seating areas, perhaps a larger table and chair set. You’ll want to place table and chairs close to the cooking area. You may also want to look into lounge chairs, gliders, outdoor swings or other types of seating.

There are many things to think about when designing a garden landscape. But when it all comes together, the result is a garden you and your family will enjoy for a long time.

For more information on garden and landscaping tips see your local home improvement or garden store.

Decorating With Landscapes – The Most Popular Artwork on Earth

Landscapes are the most universal subject and the best selling genre for art around the world. The term landscape in Chinese comes from shan shui and consists of the characters for mountain and water. In the West, American landscapes have evolved significantly over the past few centuries.

The earliest landscapes in colonial America were either backgrounds in portraits or rural images painted for Europeans interested in the New World. By the 1820s, the vast landscape of America had come to represent the boundless promise of America, the opportunity for prosperity and the presence of God in nature. As America became more settled, artists also depicted homey scenes of farms and rolling hills.

More recently, images of landscapes have been the focus of a number of studies (Ulrich, Simons and Honeyman, 1979,1986, 1987) that have demonstrated that nature scenes reduce negative emotions such as fear, anger and sadness. Views of nature also produce positive physiological effects such as reducing muscle tension and blood pressure. Studies that track brain activity suggest that more alpha frequency brain activity (wakeful relaxation) occurs during nature exposures.

Research in hospitals has shown that landscape and nature images reduce the need for pain medication and increase recovery rates for patients. Other studies of individuals in confined settings such as students, prisoners and those in high stress work environments indicate the same positive effects from views of nature, whether these are actual views through windows or artistic images of nature.

The symbolic meaning of landscapes is related to the natural elements present in the scene depicted. The earth is symbolic of physical matter and the body. The earth is feminine, as in Mother Earth and Mother Nature. The colors associated with the earth are brown, green and other earth tones such as rust, sienna and umber.

The sun is the most basic symbol in landscape art and is the simplest-usually depicted as a circle. The sun is the source of warmth and represents the psyche. The sun is symbolic of spiritual illumination or wholeness. The colors associated with the sun are yellow and gold. The sun is the masculine principle and is related to time.

The moon is usually represented as less than full and is symbolic of the hidden aspects of life. The moon also has sinister connotations and is related to the unconscious dream world. The colors associated with the moon are yellow and silver.

Water is also a significant element in landscape art. Water has always been symbolic of the highest good in life and the source of life. Agricultural people have worshipped water in the form of rivers, clouds, mist and rain. In the West, water is symbolized by the colors blue, teal and aqua. In the East, the colors black and navy blue symbolize water.

Other specific elements associated with landscapes are mountains (symbols of strength and inspiration), rocks (symbols of safety, protection and refuge) and trees (symbols of strength and courage).

When it comes to decorating your home or office, the ongoing popularity and proliferation of landscape art gives you virtually unlimited choices for decorating your home with the most popular art on earth.

Power Tools And Landscaping

When you consider a large project or one involving heavy duty landscaping work, power tools can make a big difference or will be necessary for success. Think about what you need to build and the time available. If you only have a weekend, do your planning first and hire the power tools for just the 2-3 days. Projects involving garden arbors, bench seating and pergolas for example. If you already have some basic power tools yourself just hire those extras you need. Form the ideas, draft the designs then plan the build – it can be simpler than you think!

You can also find designs for many large garden features online, even for smaller items like wooden planters and window boxes. With a few pieces of timber you can build simple designs or you can assemble pre-cut kits that come with all the necessary parts ready to go. As curb appeal is very important, there are lots of choices for making your home and entrance a lot more attractive. Consider adding decorative cornices or gingerbread molds around the front door or porch area. Power tools suited to this detailed cutting makes it much easier.

You can totally transform your garden with power tools and different landscaping ideas as well. Decking may appear a tough job, but if you start with a small decking squares and the right tools and some landscape materials like gravel, river pebbles and maybe a small water feature, it becomes much simpler to create that stunning transformation. You could design a dry creek bed with sand, pebbles, local rocks and then add a small wooden foot bridge with a few power tools to ease the task. Add in a few landscaping plants and a desolate corner is totally changed!

So as you can see, there are lots of options and ideas that even for a beginner. With some imagination and creativity, and help from power tools, some local landscaping material and flowering plants and shrubs, you can soon transform your backyard and home with such projects. If your aim is to improve curb appeal, it still doesn’t necessarily mean a large financial outlay if planned properly – and you can do the job in a way that suits your desires and your budget!