Kimberly Cuomo's Blog
Deciding to put up a fence on your property may seem like a simple decision, but there are a lot of things to consider before hiring a contractor to get it done.
One question to ponder is whether your neighbors might be offended or annoyed by the sudden appearance of a fence near the edge of their property. The answer to that question would partly depend on your relationship with your neighbor, the size of your lot, and whether the fence is tasteful or an eyesore. The problem with that standard is that "tasteful" is in the eyes of the beholder!
Tall fences can and sometimes do have a way of changing the look and feel of your immediate neighborhood, so the installation of a fence could potentially cause resentment from other property owners. The decision to put up a fence on your property is a personal one, but there's also a lot of value in maintaining friendly neighbor relations. (It can be a delicate balance!)
One Step at a Time
In some places, local ordinances or Homeowner Association rules may impose restrictions on fences and other structures. Many towns and municipalities require that you (or your contractor) obtain a building permit before putting up a fence, so a quick phone call or email to the appropriate local official can shed light on requirements, restrictions, and other assorted rigmarole!
Since the cost of installing a fence can easily run into the thousands, it always pays to get a few estimates and proposals from reputable fence companies. Other decisions include choosing the best height and composition of the fence. Fencing materials range from metal and chain link to vinyl and wood. Composite fencing materials are also an option.
Your choice will depend on a lot of factors, including cost, durability, maintenance aspects, and appearance. Online information, free brochures, and meetings with contractors can help you learn more and make an informed decision.
Once you've moved beyond the potential issues of installing a fence on your property, there are several distinct advantages to fencing in your back yard.
- Enhanced privacy: While "privacy" can mean different things to different people, a tall fence offers an immediate solution to a variety of privacy-related problems.
- Pet containment: If you don't always have the time or energy to take your dog(s) for a walk in the neighborhood, it's a major convenience to be able to let them out in a contained area to relieve themselves and get a little fresh air. It can also be a good way to keep them safe and out of trouble!
- Wildlife barrier: Although there are often gaps at the bottom of fences that prevent fences from being completely wildlife-proof, a properly installed fence can drastically reduce the chances of wildlife sneaking their way into your back yard. Whether you want to protect your vegetable garden or pets from wild animals, a solid fence can be the barrier that you need.
- Increased security: While fences are not always an impervious barrier to burglars, trespassers, and other intruders, it does provide some protection from those potential threats.
Make your new house an even more welcoming place to come home to by designing a fragrant flower garden. Fill your garden with these beautiful blooms and reap the aromatic rewards.
If you aren’t exactly known for your green thumb don’t think you can’t have a beautiful flower garden too! Most of these blooms are also incredibly easy to grow and require little maintenance over time.
Sweet alyssum - Not only is the sweet alyssum beautifully fragrant, it’s also a pretty hardy plant that can tolerate both heat and drought. It is also a self-sowing plant so it will come back year after year with minimal effort on your behalf. While it grows low to the ground it’s potent sweet scent won’t go unnoticed.
Rose - The rose needs no introduction. While this bloom precedes its fragrant reputation it, unfortunately, has one misconception - that they are difficult to grow. If you have an area in your garden that receives around 6 hours of sunlight you should find little difficulty getting this coveted blossoms to grow.
Phlox - Phlox grow in small bundles of flowers, much like the sweet alyssum. There are actually three varieties to be aware of when choosing your seeds. There are border phlox, mounding phlox and woodland varieties. No matter the variety this bloom boasts a sweet almost honey-like smell you will adore.
Butterfly bush - This shrub grows long draping cone-shaped bundles of flowers. It comes in shades of white, pink and purple. If you are looking to attract butterflies opt for a lavender-pink variety. It should be noted that this bush is considered an invasive species and can be problematic in areas with more mild climates.
Flowering crabapple - Crabapples comes in many varieties and can fit any garden’s aesthetic needs. You can find traditional round shaped trees as well as ones with draping branches much like a weeping willow. For the most fragrant blooms, you’ll want the single blossom variety.
Peony - Peonies are a stunning, showy bloom much like the rose. The lovely, fresh scent peonies throw off is well worth the 2-3 year wait for a newly planted bush to establish itself. And good news - they don’t require much fussing over throughout that time. Aside from adequate sun and plenty of root space to soak up nutrients this bush is pretty low maintenance.
These six blooms will be sure to up the aroma ante in your flower garden. Not only can they be grouped up together but they can also be grouped with other stunning blooms whose fragrance is lacking for a well-rounded showstopper of a garden. Peonies can be put in the same garden design as roses to complement one another's showy blooms. While sweet alyssum and phlox can be added to just about any design due to their low-spreading nature.
Keeping a vegetable or flower garden is one of the most rewarding things you can do during the warm months. It’s an excuse to get outside, grow delicious food, save money on groceries, and learn about the art of gardening.
One of the keys to a healthy garden is to maintain your soil quality. There are a number of ways you can achieve this, from buying fertilizer, to mixing in lime, manure and other additives. One way to improve your garden soil quality while also reducing household waste is to start composting.
In this article, we present a guide to garden composting that will help you grow healthier plants and find a new purpose for the waste that would otherwise end up in a landfill.
What is composting?
Composting is a lot like recycling. It’s nature’s way of reusing minerals and nutrients from organic matter by putting them back into the soil.
Most of us are averse to rotting fruit and vegetables, but they’re packed with the nutrients that your garden needs to flourish.
Benefits of composting
Aside from increasing the nutrients in your soil, composting can help in a number of other ways. It will help the soil retain moisture, meaning you’ll have to water less, it can help you save money on fertilizer, and it will yield healthier plants and fruit that have a higher nutritional value.
Better yet, aside from the cost of buying or building a composting bin, it’s a free resource.
Most homeowners who compost their organic waste do so by buying or building a composting bin. These range from simple wooden boxes to barrels built on a spit for rotating.
Generally, compost bins are either wooden (unstained) or plastic. Metal will generally rust, and you don’t want to mix rust into your garden.
The key to good composting is being able to move the composting matter around so that it can receive oxygen. However, you’ll also want to be able to keep it moist to encourage decomposition.
If you decide to start off with just a simple wooden box for your compost, make sure you have easy access to a shovel to mix the compost around.
In terms of location, you probably don’t want your bin to be too close to your home. Decomposition doesn’t smell great, and you won’t want the odors floating through your windows on a hot summer day.
What to compost
The number of things you can toss into your compost bin is surprisingly large. However, here’s a short list of some common compostable items:
Fruits and vegetables, coffee grinds, leaves and grass clippings, breads, and cereals.
There are more advanced composting methods that can break down things like newspaper, paper bags, and egg cartons, but it’s best to start with organic materials.
Maintaining your compost bin
There are a few key steps to maintaining a healthy compost bin. First, make sure you have a variety of materials in it. Putting only one type of organic matter in your compost bin will make it hard to break down. A mixture of leaves, clippings, and fruits and vegetables will yield better results than just grass clippings.
Next, make sure you keep it moist by watering the compost heap once a week, or whenever it seems like it’s drying out.
Finally, rotate or mix the composting material around with a shovel. This will help matter break down faster and more evenly.