How to Feng Shui Your Home

How to Feng Shui Your HomeHow to Feng Shui Your Home

“Home is the place where it feels right to walk around without shoes” ~ Anonymous

Your home is not just a structure of walls, but also a place of relaxation and reprieve from everyday life. It is believed that the elements of your home greatly affect your daily life and Feng Shui can help direct this.

What is Feng Shui? Feng Shui is a Chinese art and science that is about the balancing of energy to promote health and fortune for the people inhabiting an area. The practice of Feng Shui dates back to over three thousand years and was developed based on the idea that land and nature is filled with Chi or energy and how this energy occupies a space is what brings in a good harvest. Feng (pronounced Fung) represents wind, where Shui (pronounced Shway) stands for the element of water. The belief is that the harmonious balance between gentle winds and clear water, leads to health and fortune. The main method used in analyzing the Feng Shui of an area is through Ba–Gua (literal translation “8 areas”). Ba-Gua, incorporates properties like a compass and assigns the interacting elements such as wood, fire, earth, water, and metal.

Feng Shui is more of a functional decorative aspect that focuses on harmonizing the energy in your home, rather than just planning around aesthetics.

How to Feng Shui Your Home

To begin establishing a positive Feng Shui in your home, here are some simple starter tips.

The front entrance to your home. The main entrance into your home is considered the mouth of the Chi, because this is mainly where the Chi enters and spreads through the rest of your home. Walkways leading up to your front door should be clear of debris, and vegetation should be trimmed and not blocking the path. Your front door and walkway should be open and clear of clutter, as you do not want to inhibit the path of good energy flow.

Less is more. It is important in your home to establish clarity by removing clutter. Everything from debris, to excess items you do not need should be removed. By simplifying your space, you help remove excess baggage that could also be weighing your life down.

Get to fixing. Entry ways such as doors, serve as a path for Chi to circulate and come through spaces, so fix any broken hinges, paint cracked edges, and oil squeaky parts. Windows also serve as the eyes of your home’s Chi, so keep your glass clean, and replace if broken. Elements of your home’s internals such as plumbing, electrical units, and ventilation represent your own internal health so make sure drains are cleared, electrical elements are in working order, and your vents are cleaned out.

Your Stove and Oven. It is believed that the Chi that surrounds the cook is translated to the food that is prepared, which engenders much attention to the stove and oven area. While you are cooking, if your back is to the door or entrance of the kitchen, you should have a mirror placed right behind the stove on the wall. This aids in establishing balance around the cooking area. Another tip in bringing in prosperity is to utilize all of your burners, by rotating between the uses of each one.

Visibility and Light. One of the most important elements to establishing clarity and positive Chi is through the lighting of your home. Natural and artificial lighting can help light the path for good energy flow between objects in your home, through halls, and into rooms. It is also good to use an array of colors from the light spectrum for variety, and each color represents and different element brought into your home, similarly to how colors affect your chi when selecting paint and furniture.

Being one with your space. How you feel, act and experience elements in your life affect the energy of your space. Have you ever experienced trauma or a positive experience in a particular location? Going back to that particular place has the power to bring back feelings and memories. Making efforts to fill your space with love, happiness, and light, will aid in how the energy of a space interacts back with you. Candles, flowers, positive imagery, or even just singing a song or dancing, can eliminated lingering negative energy and fill it with new and positive ones.

How to Feng Shui Your HomeHow to Feng Shui Your Home

Although Feng Shui addresses the energy elements of your house, you can use the same principles to your aesthetic design. Certain elements brought into your home can add positive energy while creating a beautiful addition to your home décor. Bamboo, in Feng Shui, classifies as a wood element, which also acts as a Feng Shui cure. This means that even though certain areas may have a disruptive Chi, having a Bamboo plant or elements are considered lucky. Bamboo, adds a beautiful exotic aesthetic to your décor, and can help balance the energy to your home or backyard garden. The other design element you can include is water. The element of water is the source of all growth and life, in health and more. By introducing a water fountain into an area, you are attracting a constant flow of positive elements and energy into your life. Water fountains, along with bamboo add a natural and exotic look to your home décor, while also providing a relaxing dynamic.

Embrace and give positive energy to your environment through love and joy, and it will reflect the same energy back to you. Remember that Feng Shui is about balance and harmony.

15 Unique Outdoor Accessories to Liven up your Backyard

Unique furniture and accent pieces can liven up your backyard and make it feel like a fresh new space, without any expensive remodeling or drastic permanent changes. Choosing an extraordinary piece can help not only set the tone and create a visual focal point for your backyard, but also give your landscape a new face lift.  Here are 15 outdoor furnishings that exhibit both function and contemporary art.

The ILLU

Designed by the French company Bleu Nature, this eco-friendly outdoor shelter is made completely out of organic materials and uses no glues or environmentally harmful varnishes. The wood comes from natural French forest oak trees. Because there is no finish applied to the wood, it naturally reacts to the environment it’s in and weathers over time to acquire a unique color.

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Basalt Slab Benches

These basalt slab benches are some of the most unique pieces of outdoor furniture available. Each bench is hand carved from the original slabs of basalt, which is a volcanic rock that takes over a million years to oxidize. The sides of the benches retain their original rough texture, while the top is polished to a mirrored perfection.

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The Tree Swing

An intricately designed tree swing, such as this one found in the Fuori Salone website, can be the perfect way to add a touch of playfulness to your backyard. The elegant leaf design for the seat of this particular swing is perfect to complement a nature themed back yard, or bring a touch of nature to any modern décor.

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The Hammock

If you want to give an air of tranquility to your backyard, consider adding a simple and inviting hammock, like this one from Unique Simplicities Inc. It gives people in the house a reason to go out to the yard in the springtime and soak in the warm sun while reading a good book or sipping a cool drink.

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Outdoor Wicker Furniture

Nothing says “laid back” like outdoor wicker furniture. These pieces by Merane come with Subrella cushions that provide even more comfort and relaxation. The addition of wicker furniture to your backyard is a great way to add texture to your landscape while also giving it a breezy and lively look.

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Traditional Japanese Stone Basin

Stone Forest produces a variety of Japanese stone basins like the ones below. They are beautifully crafted and the sound of water flowing against the hard stone, combined with the basins’ serene aesthetic can create a soothing backyard atmosphere.

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Granite Fire Pit

Stone Foresthas a granite fire pit which is made completely out of natural stone and compliments any backyard with its medieval aesthetic. The combination of rough surface textures and a polish edge is what makes this granite fire pit eye catching and decoratively sound.

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Modern Outdoor Chairs

The Disk Armchair, made by Karim Rashid, looks especially perfect when placed poolside, but with its stylish modern look and feel, it can liven and streamline the look of any backyard. The Disk Chair’s strong fiberglass material keeps its shape, and also makes it possible for the chair to be manufactured in a wide variety of vibrant colors.

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Rustic Fireplace

This rustic, outdoor fireplace created by Sly Designers is a modernist accessory that can complement the backyard of a country log home or any contemporary styled house. The design creates the illusion of a tree trunk, but the portable fireplace is actually made out of steel. This piece is perfect for outdoor camping, or providing a central location for guests to gather around and relax.

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Granite Fountain

This granite fountain from Stone Forest is a perfect touch to polish or add the finishing touch to the look of your backyard or garden. Like their fire pits, their granite fountains are made of natural stone, and they are carved from a single block of granite. Placed as the centerpiece of a backyard, this fountain design is impressively elegant.

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Patio Lamps

A unique patio lamp can make a backyard feel cozy and stylish at night. With the right lighting, a backyard can make for the perfect place to host an evening cocktail party or any other kind of celebration. Well placed lighting can also aid in highlighting your landscapes best features.  Look for water resistant properties when selecting a lighting system and a design that fits your desired theme.

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Suspended Fire Pit

A suspended fire pit provides a new variation on the traditional backyard fire pit. This design from Stone Forest combines natural stone with iron, to give the fire pit a very modern look and feel. To create the pit, the stone block was cleaved in half to provide a base from which the iron vessel could be suspended. This accessory works with both wood and gas.

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Contemporary Stone Bench

Benches, especially ones with gaudy or baroque designs, can sometimes make a smaller backyard feel cluttered. A sleek, minimalistic stone bench can provide an elegant solution to visually adding space. Stone Forest’s benches are cut from large travertine slabs, and built in a unique minimalist style design.

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Slate Planter

These slate stone planters, from Stone Forest, are not your standard backyard flower pots. Each one is carved by hand, ensuring a unique product every time. Depending on the composition of each stone block, they obtain various effects over time such as color variations, veining and other aesthetic irregularities that set these slate planters apart from any others you could find.

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The Spring Free Trampoline

Like the swing, the trampoline can add an immediate air of playfulness and fun to any backyard space. This Safe Trampoline from Springfree uses patented special technologies to make it the safest possible trampoline on the market. The risk to jumpers is virtually none. Great if you have young kids, or are entertaining guests.

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Check out http://www.trendir.com for additional outdoor furniture ideas and unique architectual designs.

11 Hottest Celebrity Pools

The backyard swimming pool began its rise in popularity after World War II. Prior to this, Ancient Romans and Greeks constructed grand scale artificial pools for athletic training. Since then, celebrities have gone to lavish lengths to build some of the most luxurious and stunning swimming pools around. Here are what we think are the 11 hottest celeb pools.

1. Sylvester Stallone

Adorned with a grand bronze statue of “Rocky Balboa” at one end, marks that there is only one person this pool could belong to. The Greek motif gives the actor’s stunning Miami pool a historical Olympian feel.

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2. Lance Armstrong

The exquisite landscape and swimming pool are definitely the highlights of Lance Armstrong’s home in Austin. With its cozy fireplace, stone cabana and Gothic-style lanterns, the pool area has a charming and resort feel that is stylish and relaxed.

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3. Cher

Designed by Cher’s longtime friend Ron Wilson, Cher’s Renaissance inspired residence in Malibu has a stunning, infinity-edge pool, that transcends into a vast ocean view. This is the sanctuary where the singer-actress says she spends all of her time in summer.

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4. John Travolta and Kelly Preston

Actor John Travolta calls his house in Florida a “mid-century-style home”, and says that coming up with the design was one of the most challenging tasks he’s ever taken on. The pool and cabana have a sleek and modern feel streamlines seamlessly with the architecture of the house.

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5. Rob Lowe

Actor Rob Lowe’s southern California home is pure eye candy. The pool is especially marvelous and sporty. The rest of the house is built towards a neo-classical-style that stems from Lowe’s love of late 18th-century English manors.

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6. Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher

Hollywood’s high profile couple worked together with designer Brad Dunning to come up with the stylish design of their Beverly Hills nest. The swimming pool has a very classical, functional, and sophisticated appeal, all to set alongside and compliment a spacious deck and garden.

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7. Ryan Seacrest

The home of the dubbed “hardest working man in Hollywood” and also the host of American Idol, boasts a flourishing garden overlooking a spectacular view. The simplicity in the pool’s design emanates a sleek look; all while exuding a relaxing and Zen environment.

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8. Ralph and Ricky Lauren

Legendary clothing designer, Ralph Lauren, has an eye for more than just fashion. He and his wife, Ricky chose a lush and green landscaping plan to encompass their immense pool to their home in Jamaica.

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9. Jayne Mansfield

Late actress Jayne Mansfield demanded “a heart-shaped house with a heart-shaped pool” before she would agree to wed Mickey Hargitay. Not only did was her wish granted but she also has the prestige of owning one of the most unique celebrity swimming pools in Beverly Hills.

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10. Diane Keaton

Actress Diane Keaton’s Spanish Colonial Revival house in Bel-Air has very unique swimming pool. She went with the concept to use the bright, earthy colors inspired by the colors of a few California tile tables at a swap meet. Diane then tore apart the tiles and assembled them in a mosaic fashion as her pool tiles.

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11. Alan Ladd

Actor Alan Ladd’s home is the sheer definition of classic California during the 1940s. His pool’s simple and elegant design perfectly melds with the warm air of a lazy SoCal summer.

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Lights! Camera! Paint That Theme!

Whether you are in the process of beginning a new landscaping project, or are just amidst adding the finishing touches, one of the most important details is maintaining consistencies in your theme. The relationship between textures, colors, styles and shapes are what give your landscape a unifying aesthetic. How your setting should appeal to you visually is the same pleasing senses you receive from a well balanced photograph or postcard. When mapping and designing your area with key components, a helpful technique to aid you in balancing your placement is to take snapshots with your camera. Constricting your landscape view to a frame, allows your eyes to see how the key elements in your area flow and interact with each other.

A common question when it comes to designing any area is, does one have to stick to one theme? A theme is generally defined as “a unifying or dominant idea, or motif.” With this, you can have varying elements that all correlate with each other in establishing a theme. Designing your backyard is similar to painting, you can use different textures and colors, but the end result is one established picture.

Below we will show you how to create an Asian inspired landscape.

Establishing your place of Zen

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The essence in an Asian themed landscape is creating a place where the visual dynamics allow your energy to be in a place of peace and relaxation. Unlike typical landscapes, Asian gardens can be viewed as a composition or series of smaller landscapes, with sections in which you can move through, experience and view.

One of the first things to consider when planning this type of landscape is the size of your area. Although Asian gardens have varying elements, this does not mean you need a large space, but just a carefully planned out one. One inexpensive and effective way of establishing the tone to your Asian garden is by using bamboo as part of your landscape. You can plant bamboo to be a part of your vegetation or use it for fencing, area borders, or even using bamboo poles as wall or structure accents.

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Once you establish a tone, the rest is up to you, the painter of your landscape, to brush in the details. With Asian gardens, details generally mean to reflect the physical elements such as water, wind, earth (stone) and fire. It is a good idea to section off parts of your landscape that will reflect your desired element. You can use bamboo borders to separate different foliage, elements and areas. For example, to one side of your yard you can have a rock garden encompassed by sand, to compliment a nearby Buddha statue as the main visual focal point. As you move through areas and dimensions of your yard, it is important again to remember that creating that free, open space is what will set the relaxing Zen feeling. Another relaxing element is water. Placing a water fountain will not only visually stimulate the senses, but also add the sound dynamic to your landscape.

Simple details such as stone statues, bamboo accents, water fountains, and rock gardens can help establish a welcoming flow of energy to your back yard.

In designing any landscape, it’s important to maintain a common interest between your elements and have a unifying theme. Most importantly though is to have fun, after all this area will be the place you escape to from your every day life, so enjoy the creative process and let your imagination take you to where you want to be.

Effective Lighting Solutions for your Backyard

Having a beautifully landscaped backyard is one thing, but equally important is having your space effectively lit. While backyards provide several benefits, such as engendering family gatherings, providing entertainment for you and your loved ones, or simply being your space of escape and more; a backyard lighting system will paint the finishing details to your landscape. Just like how landscaping contributes to the aesthetic and value to your home, lighting can enhance and highlight desired features while creating that perfect ambiance for your guests. Keep reading for benefits and tips on how you can enjoy your backyard night or day with key lighting concepts and more.

Various Backyard Lighting Benefits

Aesthetics: Well positioned backyard lighting can enhance any landscape. A backyard lighting system helps magnify the different textures, while complimenting varying features and shapes of your structures, shrubs and trees. The addition of lighting will expand beautify the spatial views. By varying lighting hues and intensity you can establish mood and ambience for an evening of entertaining, parties, romance, etc.

Safety: Another primary function of backyard lighting is to illuminate possible hazard areas. These may include steps, low branches, water features, barriers, abrupt changes in path directions, elevation changes, and more.

Security: Your backyard surrounds your home. Typically, people have many valuable items in their yards, for example fancy statues and figurines, elegant water fountains, bamboo tiki bar stocked with pricey liquor and stem-ware, expensive pool toys, and etc. Backyard lighting can protect your valuables from unanticipated accidents or potential intruders. A well lit home and garden can help deter crime, while providing a clearer view at night on who is coming and going from your property.

Usability: The outside landscape is an extension of the inside of your home. Having a well lit area allows you enjoy that space regardless of whether it is day or night.

Entertainment: You can continue to enjoy gatherings in your backyard as dusk rolls in, instead of everyone packing up and heading inside at the first sign of nighttime. Everyone can relax outside in your beautifully landscaped backyard and enjoy themselves under the star-lit sky. Imagine sitting around your bamboo tiki-bar with a colorful array of stringed lights cascading along the roof and counter-top. In addition to that, little lights that gently illuminate along your patio and walkway so guests can see where they are going as they journey and marvel through your landscape. What an extraordinary and gratifying ambiance! Everyone will love getting together in your backyard.

Backyard Lighting Tips

Uncomplicated Systems: When it comes time for you to select your backyard lighting system, you should be careful to select lighting fixtures that are easy to install. You don’t want systems that have complicated electrical cables and connections as you want to compliment your landscape and not have to reinvent everything to do so.

Automated Timers: A good idea is to choose an outdoor lighting system that has an automated timer integrated into them. This way the timers regulate the duration and periods that the lights will be on and off, which makes it easier and convenient. You can even get solar powered lighting systems, which will absorb energy from the sun during the day so that they illuminate at night for your safety and enjoyment. This will also save you money on utilities.

Plan Your System: Be sure to plan out your backyard lighting system. There are so many systems to choose from and unique fixtures you can add to your décor, you should make a plan for your backyard lighting so you don’t overspend or get fixtures that don’t fit well with your decorating scheme.

Some Questions to Ask Yourself: How much do you want to spend on your backyard lighting system? How much backyard space do you have? How much brightness do you want? Do you have any specific features, such as a water fountain or sculpture, you want to enhance? Do you have any paths or areas where people will need to be able to see where they are walking? How will you install your lights? Do you want to hang stringed lights, for example around your patio covering or bamboo tiki bar, or do you want stand alone lights, for example light posts and spot lights?

Cool Landscaping Design Tips and Ideas

Creating a tropical landscape is a rewarding and creative task, but finding and purchasing your ideal landscaping products and tropical décor is only half the battle of creating the ultimate tropical paradise in your home and yard. The other half is the actual work involved in landscaping. There are so many different landscaping ideas and methods you can use with colorful plants, bamboo fencing, a tiki bar, umbrella thatches, tiki statues, and all other bamboo and tropical-themed products. Keep reading to learn more about some cool landscaping tips and ideas for your home and yard that will help you in your planning.

Benefits of Landscaping

In addition to being beautiful and aesthetically pleasing, landscaping your home and yard adds enjoyment and value to your home. Landscaping has proven to be one of the top ways to add monetary value to one’s home. Additionally, depending on the particular landscaping project and the amount of continued maintenance and upkeep, landscaping can even appreciate over time.

Landscaping Tips and Ideas

Plan before you Buy. This may sound tricky, but it’s an important step when landscaping. Simply sketch your ideal landscape design on paper before you start buying, planting, and building your new yard. This will enable you to make smart purchases by knowing exactly what materials you need and where you’re going to put them. Planning your landscaping project can save you time, money, and unnecessary frustration.

Build Boundaries. Walls and fences are generally a necessity for every home and yard. But, you don’t want boring old fencing or concrete cinderblocks as your barriers. Instead, you can create a beautiful landscape and tropical paradise through the use of bamboo poles and bamboo fencing. Additionally, you can use various plants, shrubs, and trees for barriers.

Add Waterworks. Not only does a beautiful water feature add a pleasant ambiance with the sound of trickling water, but water features are also extremely pleasing to the eye, can add value to your home, and are elegant. You can add a beautiful waterfall, fountain feature, or small pond to your tropical décor. If you opt for a pond, you can even buy colorful fish to enhance your water feature. Just be sure to maintain whichever water feature you add to your landscape.

Color is your Friend.

Adding color to your landscape will do wonders. And, it’s surprisingly very inexpensive. In fact, for as little as $1.00 a plant, you can blanket your yard with petunias, daisies, and other small annuals that will flower throughout the growing season. Color is a highly defining characteristic in tropical landscapes. Attractive colors will surely enhance the tropical theme in your home and yard.

Foliage is Fun. Interesting, eye-catching, and distinctive foliage can add variety and appeal to your yard. You can replace plants that don’t flower, replace flowers that are difficult to maintain, or simply add foliage to your current landscape. Examples of fun foliage include:

Flowering Crabapple Trees

Cutleaf Japanese Maples

Keep your Grass Nourished. Healthy, green, lush grass is always an easy and popular idea for any landscape. To reach optimum nourishment, you can implement regular fertilizer treatments and maintain a watering schedule. You can also keep that unwanted crab grass and those nagging weeds out of your lawn by adding a weed killer to your fertilizer treatment.

Bamboo and Tikis Tropical Décor

At Bamboo and Tikis, we have an extensive selection of top-quality landscaping products and tropical décor. Whether you are looking for bamboo fencing to create an aesthetically pleasing wall around your yard, a unique tiki bar for fun and entertainment, or other tropical landscaping products, Bamboo and Tikis has the products for you. So, get started on adding value and beauty to your yard by turning it into the ultimate tropical paradise. Browse our web site or come on in to our grand showroom in San Diego which offers 65,000 square feet of bamboo and tropical products galore.

Transformations from the Outside In

“Home, the spot of earth supremely blest, A dearer, sweeter spot than all the rest” ~ Robert Montgomery

Throughout our daily bustles, fighting traffic, hours at work, and running errands, coming home is like dropping the heavy baggage and falling into a comforting place of reprieve. Many times, in efforts of revamping the home, people forget about landscaping and think mainly towards renovations or adding a pool. Although it may appear that landscaping only serves an aesthetic purpose, one can get so much more value from planning and cultivating a land area that includes real estate equity, monetary gain and personal benefits as well.

Whenever enhancing a home, the initial thoughts generally gear towards renovating, either a kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, patio, or adding a pool. Working from the inside out, since landscapes aren’t considered as functional as the innards of a house, financially conscious planners will head there first. The truth is though, enhancing your landscape can be more cost effective than renovating, and can yield a higher return. Studies have shown that home owners can actually earn back anywhere from 100-200% of their landscape investment, whereas renovations to the kitchen earn about 75-125%, bathrooms 80-120%, patios/decks 40-70% and pools 20-50%. The common misconception with when homeowners spend large sums of money on a swimming pool is that it will add an aesthetic and functional appeal to a home, but forget about the cost of heating the pool, maintenance, water, and safety for kids and pets.

During our current tough economical times, where real estate isn’t as flourishing as it was, it is of interest to home owners to get the most value out of their property as possible. Often times, a well maintained and attractive backyard suggests to buyers that the home is just as well cared for. Event though you may not be looking to sell, the higher value your home is worth means the more equity you will have.

Another gain from landscaping that includes being earth friendly along with saving money is how certain landscape details can reduce utility fees by 25%. Structures and additions such as trees, thatch kits, umbrella kits, or other bamboo products, can provide shade by absorbing sun rays, or deflect wind during cold wind-chills.

The other side of landscaping is that it doesn’t have to be expensive. By using quality and inexpensive materials such as bamboo, you can create a dynamic aesthetic to your property without breaking the bank. Renovations, although can be helpful and practical if needed, can cost more in the long if additional work to electrical wires, or removing or adding walls, and consulting various specialists for certain tasks.

The truth is when creating your sanctuary of solace; the project is ongoing and may never be complete. This process should be a positive one that grants you satisfaction in seeing the fruition of your work, planning and investment. Similarly to why we take vacations, your home and garden should provide you with that same sense of relaxation.

Items such as garden statues, tiki statues, bamboo fencing and water fountains can provide your backyard with colorful blooms of texture and visual aesthetics to invigorate your senses.