Monthly Archives: July 2016

Design Trends: From Open-Plan to “Broken Plan”

One of the key defining features of many new homes and renovations from the past decade or so would have to be that of the Open-Plan Design. Eliminating walls between kitchen, dining and living areas to create the illusion of more space has been the trend for several years now. Entertaining and living in such an open way has never felt so integrated and seamless.

However, there are some subtle signs that the Open Plan may not be the ideal for much longer. There are a few flaws in its design, after all. For instance, trying to cool or heat a vast living area with air conditioning can be a costly and time-consuming exercise. Watching the sport on television, with appliances like the dishwasher whirring in the background, can be tedious. And, people with children will relate: there is no room to escape the noise, mess and toys!

We are gradually moving away from closed up rooms, with many older-style houses consisting of lots of smaller rooms which can be sealed with internal doors. With heating and cooling options less accessible to many families, this style was a great way to keep warmth in; to separate adults’ formal sitting rooms for entertaining, and to create separate zones within the home. The last fifteen years or so has seen a huge change to such styles, and it has been all about knocking out walls to create one, huge open living expanse.

Along with the rise of technological use, there is a notable shift away from Open-Plan living and towards creating smaller nooks throughout the home for peace and privacy. Mary Duggan, a UK-based Architect and Judge for the RIBA House of the Year award, has recently spoken on the matter:

‘The world of the open-plan family room has changed quite significantly.

‘We’re getting asked more for snugs, rooms with TV’s or a space where people can go and watch something independently, rather than an open plan space.

‘That was the trend but I think it’s waning. The idea of having a much more ‘broken plan’ seems to be the way our buildings are playing out now.”

Looking forward, when planning a renovation or a new build, consider the way technological use has dramatically advanced and will likely continue to be a staple in peoples homes. Home design should consequently reflect this, and be inclusive of smaller nooks, studies or ‘snugs’ designed for using devices such as iPads and tablets. The ‘Broken Plan’ home is the new black!

For further consideration, building inclusions could feature fixtures within these areas such as built-in charger stations, benches and built-in desks to accommodate such devices. Also, consider that many devices will now want to be synced to the nearby television or speaker, and that many high-tech gadgets will now have features which allow the occupant to remotely pull down the blinds, dim the lights etc. It is simply the way of the future, and it makes sense for our home design to reflect such advancements.

How Does Your Garden Glow

6 Ways to Decorate Your Garden to Make It Remarkable

For many people, gardening is a way of life. Fresh organic vegetables and spices can be added to every meal. Gardening can be a therapeutic way to relax and spend time with your family and decorating your garden can certainly make nature take notice. Even if you cannot make your garden grow, you can make it look like a backyard paradise.

1. Decorations That Serve A Purpose: One simple way to improve the appearance of your garden is by adding decorations that serve a purpose. A birdbath is a great addition to any garden, having a place that will attract birds and butterflies will liven up your garden and the base of the birdbath can act as trellis for vines to grow.

2. Attracting Beautiful Birds: A beautifully decorated birdhouse may also attract birds to your garden area. You can hang them from a tree or put them on a pedestal.

3. Wind Chimes Provide Audible Delight: Adding a wind chime can add a melodic tune to the air even if the birds are not singing. There are plenty of designs to add visual décor to your garden. A wind chime can create a more relaxing aura and provide hours of musical delight.

4. Lighting Your Garden: Adding lights can allow your garden to shine at night. Small tree lights will add a beautiful lighted affect, I would suggest using Christmas lights throughout your garden, or you can find solar lights that stake right into the ground.

5. Fencing or Walk Ways: Putting a fence around you garden is a good idea to keep unwanted visitors out. However, if you want a more inviting garden, it would be proper to add a path. Stepping-stones are a great decorative item that allows visitor to follow the path without damaging your prize tomatoes. You could also outline a walking path by adding some stones as guidelines.

6. Adding Elegant Decorations: Of course there are some more elaborate decorations you can include, that add greatness to any garden. A gazebo can make your garden the center of attention in your yard. A fountain can be installed to provide a symbol of elegance. A waterway or waterfall can allow a more nature-oriented experience.

From statues and figurines to waterfalls and gazebos, every garden has to be original. Maybe you are focused more on productivity than decoration. Perhaps you cannot grow anything but weeds and crab grass. Whatever the result, use these helpful hints to make your garden look terrific.

Gardening Guide: Tools

Spending free time in the garden is becoming more and more fashionable. As people’s lives creep into increasingly stressful territory – it is of paramount importance that they have somewhere to relax and recuperate. If you combine this with the added satisfaction gained from watching something grow and develop, you will begin to understand why gardening is taking off as a modern and practical pastime.

For a lot of people that want to get into the hobby, it can seem a too daunting and mysterious world to dive into with reckless abandon. In the following guide, I intend to introduce you to the art and put your mind at ease. It is not some thing that comes easily, and reaching a comfortable level of proficiency and competency can often be a case of trowel and error. That said – Gardening is truly a hobby for all age groups. Whether you are a wee sapling or a mighty oak, this could end up being a pastime for life.

Before you embark on your marvellously magnificent gardening adventure, you are going to need some equally magnificent garden supplies. Regardless of whether the garden centre you are purchasing from is a massive chain store or a rustic little hardware supplier out in the sticks– there are certain things you will need to bear in mind. Firstly, you will need to indulge in a little introspection or self reflection and decide what type of gardener you want be. Are you going to be a hardy, self reliant, utilitarian vegetable gardener? Working on the land to reap the bounties that lie within? Or are you going to be a true floral artist, creatively weaving the land into a rich tapestry of vibrant colours and perennial pleasures?

The chances are, if you are reading this beginners article – you probably haven’t decided and will want to sample both sides of the grand gardening aspect before settling down to a style that suits you.

They say that a workman is only as good as his tools and the following is a list of the important implements you will need to start out. I am taking the assumption that you are starting with a bare patch of ground. A daunting strip of naked nature without trees, shrubs, hedges, herbaceous plants, wildlife or any of the other things you may already have in a garden that could require special equipment to maintain.

Garden Fork- Don’t forket this one as you will have a difficult time cultivating a ground breaking garden without any means of breaking ground.

Garden Spade- This is a real ace up your sleeve and is handy for turning over ground as will as being absolutely necessary if you want to plant larger plants.

Hand Trowel- for when a spade could be considered over-kill, this little tool is perfect for planting bulbs, bedding and smaller plants.

Hoe- useful for swiftly terminating weeds- and use it before they get to big or you will need to get the trowel involved.

Rake- this is more of a want than a need, but very handy for priming seedbeds and tidying up troublesome leaves.

Now any of you that have had a brief look around for any of these vitally important garden supplies will be aware that they range pretty dramatically in price and quality. Steer clear of tools that are overly cheap. If a deal seems too good to be true- it usually is and it is likely that these tools may not be of suitable quality.

On the flip side of the coin however, there is not really any need to buy the most expensive gardening tools either- unless your garden is particularly large or consisting of heavy clay soil. When purchasing, it is important to check the handles are screwed on properly and that they are sturdy and robust- let your metal be well tempered and your shafts be un-warped.

You should take a fair consideration of weight as well. If your tools are light, this may help considerably as ploughing a straight furrow can be a strenuous task. At the same time, if your gardening supplies are too lightweight, they could be flimsy or weak.

Getting into the exciting world of gardening doesn’t need to cost a fortune, and remember- more money saved on tools can be spent on exciting new plants for your garden!

Spores Mushrooms

When the fruit body of a mushroom grows to its full height, it starts to produce spores. These spores fall out of the shroom cap when they are fully matured. Eventually, the spores start to germinate when they get in touch with a fitting nutrient solution. An agar medium in a petri dish is generally utilized for spore germination in mushroom cultivation.

To provide the favourable environmental conditions, the temperature and air humidity are regulated. In mushroom cultivation the mycelium (vegetative part of a fungus) is placed inside a growing room or a propagator.

Quite interestingly, you will find positive (+) and negative (−) polarized spores. They will initiate germination autonomously. The moment such stages are formed; the mushroom will absorb water from its mycelium and expand usually by inflating preformed cells that took several days to form in the primordia ( an organ or tissue in its earliest recognizable stage of development )

Subsequently, rhizomorph mycelium strains are chosen and utilized for further cultivation. Similarly, there are even more ephemeral mushrooms, like Parasola plicatilis, that appears overnight and usually vanish by late afternoon on a sultry day after rainfall. The primordia that is formed at moist ground, under the thatch and wet logs after heavy rainfall grows mushrooms to full size in a few hours. These fully grown mushrooms vanish after releasing the spores.

However, it is important to note that not all mushrooms expand overnight. Some mushrooms grow very slowly and add tissue to their fruit bodies by growing from the edges of the colony For example, Pleurotus nebrodensis grows slowly. And because of this and to some extent due to human collection, it has now become endangered.

Even though mushroom fruiting bodies do not live long, the underlying mycelium generally last for a longer period. A colony of Armillaria solidipes in Malheur National Forest in the United States is believed to be 2,400 years old and spreads to an estimated area of 2,200 acres (8.9 km2). Most of the fungus is underground and in decaying wood or dying tree roots in the form of white mycelia combined with black shoelace-like rhizomorphs that bridge colonized separated woody substrates.

Depending on the type of mushroom you would like to grow, you can select the spores accordingly. These spores can be placed outside or inside your house according to your convenience. And as per your choice, you need to know the suitable climatic conditions required to cultivate the mushroom. If you follow the necessary basic steps, cultivating mushrooms at home can be a very interesting hobby.