12 practices for safe gardening
Many people take up gardening after they retire, and with good reason. In addition to being an enjoyable hobby, it provides a number of physical and mental health benefits. Here are a few tips to help you safely garden.
1. Warm up before you get started by stretching your neck, back, shoulders, and other muscles.
2. Adopt a comfortable posture. Keep your back straight, work within arm’s reach and use knee pads.
3. Alternate between tasks to avoid tendinitis and other injuries caused by repetitive movements.
4. Use the right tools. Move around dirt and cumbersome equipment in a wheelbarrow.
5. Make sure to keep a water bottle nearby, so you remember to stay hydrated.
6. Take breaks whenever you feel tired. On hot summer days, sit in the shade or retreat to an air-conditioned space.
7. Handle pesticides with care and follow the directions. Or, better yet, learn how to control pests without using these dangerous products.
8. Avoid gardening between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. when the sun is strongest.
9. Wear a light-colored, long-sleeve shirt and pants and a breathable, wide-brimmed hat.
10. Apply sunscreen to any exposed skin, and wear sunglasses that protect against UVA and UVB rays.
11. Keep the rows of your garden clear and put tools away when you’re done with them to avoid tripping and falling.
12. Opt for telescopic gardening tools rather than using a stepladder. Only climb a ladder if someone else holds it steady.
Pick up the tools and plants you need at a garden center near you.
5 popular walkway materials
Are you thinking of creating a walkway to add elegance to your property? Here are five materials to consider.
1. Interlocking pavers. Available in a variety of designs, interlocking pavers provide a contemporary look. They’re durable and require little maintenance unless the surface is particularly porous.
2. Natural stone. Natural stone is robust and gives your yard a rustic look. Remember that the stone slabs must be carefully installed to ensure they lie flat and don’t create a tripping hazard.
3. Mulch. Wood chips and bark are ideal for creating an organic-looking walkway. However, you must reapply the mulch yearly to maintain a neat look.
4. Crushed materials. Crushed stone, concrete, and brick are some of the most popular options. Make sure the size or shape of the aggregate isn’t too bulky, making it uncomfortable to walk on.
5. Wood planks. A wooden walkway with closely spaced planks is esthetically pleasing. It’s also ideal for wheelchair accessibility.
Before installing your walkway, you must carefully prepare the surface. Remove a layer of turf, raise the middle slightly to facilitate rainwater runoff, and apply the required underlay, like geotextile fabric, rock dust, or sand.
For professional results, hire a local landscaping company to complete your walkway.
Embellish your yard with striking conifers
Do you want to add plants to your yard to make it more attractive? Flowers are an obvious choice, but conifers can add striking contrast. Whether you choose standard size, bushy or dwarf, here are some of the advantages of planting evergreens:
• They shelter your home from cold winds, reducing your heating costs
• They attract pretty birds to nest or take refuge
• Many species can be pruned into elegant shapes like cubes, spheres, and cones
• Unlike deciduous trees, which lose their foliage in winter, conifers retain their beautiful color and volume all year
• Planting several conifers together can increase privacy in your yard and block out sound
• Many types of conifers are edible and have medicinal properties
Cedars, spruces, false cypresses, junipers, and pines — visit your local nursery to find the ideal conifers to enhance your landscaping.
Tantalizing tales of yesteryears: Unraveling a lifetime through Words
There’s a familiar refrain that often echoes around family gatherings: “If only we’d asked Dad about that…”. There’s an inevitable longing for the tales untold and the sagas left unwritten. It is your mission, noble patriarch or matriarch, to gift future generations with the essence of your journey. A grand novel or an Academy Award-winning screenplay isn’t necessary, a simple account from the heart will do. Or perhaps, you might even venture into a heartfelt video memoir. After all, your chronicles don’t have to unfold in a sweeping epic but can gently unveil themselves as bite-sized anecdotes.
Let’s plunge into the realm of yesteryears with these thoughtful themes that may ignite your memory and creativity:
- Familial Tapestry: Embark on a nostalgic journey through the lanes of your childhood, your kin, the elders who bestowed wisdom, and the siblings who partook in your earliest adventures. Paint the colors of your lineage, the laughter that rang through your house, the frightful instances that brought you closer. Remember those traditions that evolved over time? Yes, they’re important too!
- Professional Chronicles: Unearth the gems from your career journey. Relive those moments of triumph, and grapple once again with the challenges that led to growth. Unfurl your aspirations and lessons learned along the way.
- Chronicles of the Heart: Travel back to the time when Cupid struck for the first time. What stirred within you? Recall your relationships, the lessons they imparted, and the mirror they held up to your own self.
- Voyages and Ventures: Travel isn’t always about exotic vacations, sometimes, it’s about unexpected detours or even life-changing relocations. Recall those road trips, no matter how brief, each journey has a story.
- Wisdom Well Earned: Unravel your philosophy and life lessons – the ones learned through joyous victories and the ones that came wearing the cloak of challenges. What advice would you bequeath to the young ones today?
4 signs you need to replace your soffit and fascia
Your home’s soffits and fascia boards protect your attic and roof from water infiltration and keep pests out. Here are four signs it’s time to have yours repaired or replaced.
1. The paint is peeling or flaking. Once the paint on your soffits and fascia begins to deteriorate, it creates an opening for moisture to permeate the boards. This can result in water damage to the roof, interior walls, and siding.
2. The gutters are loose. The soffit and fascia boards act as the support system for your gutters. Consequently, if you notice your gutters are wobbly and unsteady, the fascia or soffits likely require repair.
3. Pests are hanging around your home. Your soffits and fascia boards are designed to keep rodents, bugs, and other small critters from entering your home. Therefore, bite marks, nesting materials, or droppings in your attic often indicate that your soffits and fascia must be repaired.
4. There’s little to no ventilation. Soffits provide ventilation and prevent condensation in your attic. If you notice that your home seems stuffy, your soffits are probably blocked or damaged.
Contact a local roofing contractor to inspect your soffits and fascia and make any necessary repairs.
Why you should let your tulips wither
Blooming tulips are a telltale sign that spring has sprung! Although it can be tempting to cut the entire plant back once the blooms fade, it can affect the following year’s performance.
Tulips use their stems and foliage to gather energy for the bulb as they die off. Cutting them back too early robs the bulb of the energy it needs for the next growing season.
Instead, once the blooms wilt, clip off only the flower head. It keeps the tulip from creating a seed head but allows the greenery to remain. After a week or two, the remaining foliage will die back and slowly turn brown. This is a sign that cutting the tulip down to the ground is safe.
Allowing your tulips to wither slowly goes a long way to keeping them healthy and robust for the following spring.
Guidelines for creating a visual impact in your garden
Want to make your flowerbeds the talk of the town? Here are a few tips to make the outside of your home visually stunning.
• Pick a focal point. Draw the eye and create a lasting impression. You can use a small fountain, statue, or bench as a focal point or simply a cluster of eye-catching flowers or shrubs.
• Vary the height of your plants. Combine plants of varying sizes to add dimension to your flowerbed. For example, tall, ornamental grasses near the back of your border will give your garden visual balance and texture.
• Define boundaries. Create distinct borders to demarcate the perimeter of your garden. For example, great features are poured concrete, wooden trellises, and hedges.
• Make paths. Paths and walkways can drastically alter the look of your garden and invite people in. You can use woodchips, pallets, decorative stone, or poured concrete to attain the desired visual effect. Mulch around the paths to give your flowerbeds a clean, crisp look.
Finally, make sure you plant a wide variety of flowers, shrubs, bulbs, and other plants that complement each other for the most striking appeal.
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