Award-Winning Outdoor Space Inspiration

(Family Features) Renovating your home’s outdoor spaces not only enhances the aesthetic but can also provide a host of recreational benefits. Taking a look at award-winning projects can help many homeowners draw inspiration while also identifying capable, reputable contractors to take on the project. For example, selected by a panel of industry experts based on functionality, aesthetics, craftsmanship, innovation and degree of difficulty, these 2021 National Association of the Remodeling Industry National Contractor of the Year (CotY) Award Winners showcase a variety of ideas for upgrading your outdoor spaces. Find the complete list at nari.org/cotywinners. Residential Landscape Design/Outdoor Living Under …

Ornamental grasses and designing with texture

Written by Peter Grimaldi, Vice President of Gardens & Facilities at Cheekwood Ornamental grasses are commonly emphasized in garden design for winter interest, and the summer months present an important opportunity to appreciate and manage our perennial grasses as spring blooms fade and our gardens settle into various shades of green. Imagine your garden in black and white for a moment or, better yet, take a series of black and white photographs over the course of the growing season. The thoughtful use of plants with variation in size and texture creates a visual framework for your garden that helps organize …

Attract More Birds To Your Backyard

Basic tips for feeding wild birds (Family Features) With all the constraints people lived through in 2020, many turned to their own backyards – nature, in particular – for hope, solace, wonder and even entertainment. Despite the worldwide crisis, nature’s normalcy remained intact; flowers continued to bloom, bees continued to pollinate and birds continued to fly and forage food. Feeding birds can be enjoyable for any age group and provide stress relief for all who partake. A University of Exeter study, focused on nature’s impact on humans in suburban and urban areas, found lower levels of depression, anxiety and stress …

The Giga Lounger-new outdoor equipment of Giga series

The world’s first one-key automatic inflatable loungerInflate Complete in 60s Exclusive and innovative design with an integrated AirVorTech electric air pump, which can automatically inflate the air lounger with a simple touch. Very easy to operate by yourself, even kids can handle. It is easier to inflate than traditional air bed, takes only 60s. Relax and enjoy whenever you want. 3 Steps, One Touch Step 1: Fold the vent to adjust the hardness of the lounger according to your preference. Step 2: The top buckle is designed to strongly seal the air outlet. Step 3: Start the AirVorTech electric air pump with one-click, and inflate quickly in …

When is the right time to start a garden?

I get asked this question often. Or more often, I hear from friends who are sure they already have the answer: “Isn’t it too late to start a garden?” All the big box store commercials would have us believe that we have a short little window of 4 to 6 weeks when it’s the ‘perfect time’ to start a garden and if we didn’t get our timing just right, then we might as well wait until next year. It was a Nashville summer in 2011. With three small kids in tow, desperate for something new to do at home that …

Native Plants for Your Garden Shanna Jones, Plant Collections Mgr Cheekwood

What constitutes a native plant? The general opinion of what defines a native plant summarizes that it is indigenous or naturally occurring in a specific location over a long period of time. However, there is the the human element to consider. Human intervention has influenced what trees and flowers we grow for shade and aesthetic enjoyment as well as what crops we grow for nourishment. We humans, over time, not only transferred plants from one region to another, but we learned how to transfer pollen and, therefore genetics, creating hybrids. And so, the quote I frequently go to for an …

Spruce Up for Spring: Fresh ideas for home upgrades

(Family Features) Spring means it’s time to start sprucing up your home and garden with a little TLC inside and out. If you’re unsure where to begin, consider these tips: Make function a priority. While aesthetic changes may boost value and please the eye, be sure to consider upgrades that make living easier, like organization units that give you more space or upgrades that create additional living space. Keep budget in mind. Make a list of the projects you’d like to complete and estimate how much each will cost. Use the list to determine what you can afford to complete …

The Inspired Gardener

Troy B. Marden Troy B. Marden Travel www.troybmarden.com Everywhere I go, my designer’s eye is looking at the details. Be it the architecture of a building, the layout of an interior space, or the combinations of plants in a well-cared-for garden, I am constantly searching for inspiration to file away in one corner of my mind or another for a future project. Thankfully, today’s world of digital photography and always having a phone at my fingertips helps with that filing—and with my inspiration. For decades, a great deal of my design inspiration has come from English gardens like Great Dixter, …

She Sheds

Spring is here, and we’re all starting to emerge from the dark of winter and a yearlong pandemic hibernation. As the weather warms up and we start making tentative steps to emerge from pandemic lockdown, creating a backyard oasis and retreat is on everyone’s mind. The She Shed is quickly becoming a favorite space to experiment and make design choices unique to the space and the owner. A response to Man caves, She Sheds are exploding in popularity. While Man caves seem to have been around forever, women are realizing the benefits of a personal retreat and have developed in …

Decorative Concrete

Concrete is a widely used construction material. Decorative concrete is the use of concrete with added touches of unique patterns, finishes, and/or coloring for the purpose of visual appeal and design. Decorative concrete includes everything from colored concrete to stamped or stained concrete, stenciling, and exposed aggregate, and it’s the hottest trend used in patios, floors, countertops, pool decks, garden paths, garage floors, and more. No longer plain, grey and boring, concrete is now thought of as a beautiful decorative element adding beauty and stain resistance to a home. As a material, concrete offers skid resistance, improved indoor air quality, …