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Landscape Decorating – Another Great Way to Add an Amazing View From Your Kitchen Window

We have already covered how to create a magnificent floral view from your kitchen garden window with a planter box, trellis, and vines. Here is another very attractive and even simpler way of creating a visually enticing view from inside.

We have all seen or even have in our patios a decorative and very functional pergola patio cover. Decorative for the numerous designs we can consider, and functional from the much needed shade they provide. As we will also sometimes see, miniature sized pergolas are often constructed and mounted directly over one or several windows of a home or garage.

With that in mind, why not mount a mini-pergola over your kitchen garden window to display hanging baskets on both sides? With slim top slats spaced enough to provide sunlight, you can still receive filtered light through the top slanted portion of the window. Note, you never want to mount hanging baskets over the top of the window for one reason. Every time you water, the dirty runoff will cascade down over your window, keeping it from every truly being clean.

The design is simple since the weight of the hanging baskets it will bear is minimal, and you will not be placing anything on the top of the pergola itself. Traditional patio pergolas are supported with 4in. X 4in. or larger posts. Our mini-pergola will not require this, and proportional to its smaller size, will use individually smaller wood framing members than our standard patio pergola.

Here are the supplies you will need:

  • 2 plant hanging corbel style brackets: These must be flat surfaced on two sides for mounting on the surface of the house just off both sides of the garden window, and for securing the wood pergola members on top. Be sure to use exterior brackets, or spray interior type brackets you want to use with a weather resistant finish. They should also have two screw holes on each flat surface. Two for mounting the brackets to the surface of the house, and two for mounting the mini pergola on top of the brackets.
  • Mounting hardware for the brackets appropriate for the surface of your house (e.g. concrete anchors for stucco surfaces)
  • Two smaller round or square hanging baskets
  • Wood slats proportional in size to the dimensions of the garden window: Use your own judgment, but slimmer slats than what you see on larger pergolas do work better and appear more pleasing to the eye.
  • Wood screws

Step 1: Measure the width of your garden window. Then, measure the diameter of your round hanging basket, or the square length of your square basket, whichever you decide to use. The goal here is to leave enough clearance for basket sway in the event of stronger than normal wind conditions. Your best bet is to take the measurements of your hanging basket and add about 8 inches of clearance from the rim of the basket to the edge of the garden window to allow for wind swing. Mark a spot directly above the center point of the basket on the house surface where you will mount the brackets. It should be at a height that allows for clearance of the mini pergola above the top frame of the window. Because the mini pergola needs to be level with the top of the window, make sure your points for mounting the brackets assure that. One suggestion is to have someone help you hold a 2in x 4in. or other long straight piece of wood connecting the points on each side. Use a level to make sure everything is indeed level before going ahead with the next step.

Step 2: Installing your pergola. Whichever size wood members you decide to use, you will need to pre drill two of them at the point where they will be secured to the top of the plant hanging brackets. They can extend beyond the width of the two brackets, but make sure they are centered before marking your place for drilling in to the wood. Prior to installing your wood framing for the pergola, it might be a good idea to seal, paint, or stain the wood to protect it from the elements. You can attach your two wood slats to the top of the brackets using the appropriate sized machine screws with washers and nuts.

Step 3: Now, once you have installed the first two wood slats, you will want to secure two to three shorter crossing slats that will hold the entire framework together to the underside of your first two longer slats that run along the top. Position them evenly where you think they should be attached, and mark your spot on the longer wood slats where you will need to drill to attach them together. Once marked, drill your holes, use a pencil to mark where to drill on the crossing slats by holding them underneath the already drilled longer slats, and attach all together with the appropriate sized machine screws. You can now easily attach any remaining longer slats to fill in the gaps between the first two longer slats that were already installed. Just position them in place, mark the spot on the top of the crossing slats where to drill, and once both connecting pieces are drilled, attach them with machine screws and washers and nuts. As an alternative, you can also attach all of the wood members with the appropriate sized wood screws. Your work is done. Find some nice plants and enjoy your new mini pergola!

Boca Raton Brick Paver Walkways – Colors and Patterns Galore!

Where Does Your Garden Path Lead

Walkways and pathways in Boca Raton feature both in the front and back yards of many homes in the area. Walkways obviously have a purpose and will lead the walker to someplace; whether for a pleasant meander through the back garden via the patio and swimming pool, or from the driveway to the front door. Brick paver walkways may be built to provide follow through and consistency of design to compliment the home and other outdoor fixed or brick structures, or quite simply because the homeowner feels like installing a garden path during their landscaping exercise. A good landscaping company will not lead you up the garden path, but they certainly can guide you in the right direction.

The Three Basic Patterns

The same aspects of quality and elegance cannot be achieved by using asphalt or concrete and there is virtually no limit on the variation of patterns, colors, and laying techniques which may be used to create decorative and functional brick paver walkways. In the Boca Raton area, there are three basic patterns of brick laying for paths, driveways, patios, pool surrounds, etcetera, and from these basic three patterns it is possible to create small works of art. The cleverest, simplest and oldest designs are also often the most elegant. After-all the Romans were laying brick paver pathways the length and breadth of Europe, the Middle East and the British Isles, over 2,000 years ago.

Design and Pattern Alternatives Can Be Dizzying

Although the best brick paver designs are the classic designs there are still books with hundreds of pages filled with designs, you will find historic pattern styles such as those used during the colonial period in the USA; these include running bond, stacked, herringbone, basket weave, whirling, Spanish, diamond, and more. Your landscaper can obviously be of great help when it comes to making choices regarding design and color; don’t for a moment believe that brick pavers only arrive on your doorstep in a “brick” color. Colors and styles range from brick red, to grey, rose and purples and in antique, colonial, European and more styles.

Patterns are not only achieved by the placement of the bricks, they are also achieved by the use of alternative color and style of brick paver. They are chosen not only because they look good, and are functional they are also used to “lead” the visitor or home owner to a focal point in a garden. In the front yard the focal point could be as simple as the front door, in the back yard this could be something more, such as rose garden, swimming pool, patio, place of sanctuary or peace, water feature or even a piece of sculpture.

Various Boca Raton brick paver designs suit varying degrees of traffic, for example a herringbone pattern is ideal for vehicular traffic as loads are more evenly distributed. As far as other than vehicular purposes, virtually any other pattern may be used. The only thing to bear in mind is that the more elaborate the pattern; cuts and labor are more intensive so it will obviously be more expensive, but it will also be much more exclusive. Are you ready to let a professional landscaping company, lead you up the garden path?

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.