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August 15th, 2014 at 12:00 pm

When creating a centerpiece for your home dining room sticking with traditional classics like flowers and fruit is a safe bet. However, a centerpiece can also represent your design tastes, personality and creativity. Look beyond your garden and find inspiration in your own style, interior design and other elements of nature.

Start by examining your room. Is there a certain design theme (nautical, safari, modern, rustic, etc.)? Look for ways to incorporate your current theme into your centerpiece. Take for example the Nantucket dining room featured on Houzz.com. The designer further incorporated beach style into the centerpiece by using rope knots.

Beach Style Dining Room by Nantucket Interior Designers & Decorators Christopher’s Home Furnishings of Nantucket, Inc.

Unique centerpieces can also showcase or add a pop of color. If you’d like to enhance certain colors already featured in the room, create a centerpiece in those same colors. If your room is more neutral toned, add a bright color to your table. (more…)

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August 14th, 2014 at 3:29 pm

joshua-tree-national-park-74399_1280

By now it’s no longer news to anyone living in Southern California that residents are in the middle of an extreme drought. New restrictions have been enforced and government and community leaders are urging residents to conserve whenever possible. Although the need to comply with new restrictions is paramount, don’t miss out on the potential savings opportunities available to you for your conservation efforts!

Our current drought is one of the worst in California’s history and we are currently depleting our reserves. Conservation is the key to getting through the drought and recovering quickly. In an effort to encourage conservation participation local and state authorities are offering rebates and incentives for residents that meet certain criteria.

To see if you qualify for rebates or incentives, start first with your appliances. High-efficiency washers, toilets, rotating nozzles, weather-based irrigation controllers and soil sensors may all qualify. If your home uses turf grass, now is the time to replace it! Turf removal rebates start at $2.00 per square foot from SoCal Water$mart, but other local authorities, such as The San Diego Water Authority offer additional rebates. If you’re going to replace your turf be sure to apply for all qualifying rebate programs. (more…)

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August 14th, 2014 at 1:00 pm

espalier

Although the details of the first garden may forever remain unknown, it’s safe to assume that gardening has been around for hundreds of years. For many, gardening is seen as an art form and an expression of self and home. Gardens can be made to be beautiful, filled with flowers and trees to provide shade on a sunny afternoon, but a garden can also be a source of food and in the past, maybe even survival. Traditionally, gardens were fenced off in some way to provide a barrier of protection against animals. The practice of fencing off a garden led to the art of espalier.

Espalier is the training and pruning of a plant (typically a tree) to grow flat against a barrier such as a wall or fence. This art form can be used in your home garden as an architectural accent. Use it to dress up stone walls or a fence. Try using fruit bearing trees such as apples or pears to add a pop of color to your perimeter.

Some garden centers sell plants that have already been trained, but if you’re looking to train a plant start by planning out your pattern. Common themes include traditional designs that have the plants growing horizontally, vertically or crisscrossed. Once you’ve planned your pattern determine a suitable location and what type of plant you’d like to use. Depending on your pattern, additional equipment may be required such as posts or wires. Consider talking to a local professional at your garden center for additional information and advice on your specific property. Remember, training can take months to years, so be patient and continue to prune as needed!

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August 8th, 2014 at 9:00 am

grassAs temperatures start to rise during the summer, so does water consumption. Across the U.S. people water their lawns and run sprinklers in an effort to keep their lawns alive and green. In Southern California this fact is no different; however the continued drought has urged many residents to seek out ways to more effectively conserve water. New regulations prohibit excessive lawn watering – considered excessive if there is runoff onto nearby sidewalks and streets. Understanding your lawn and how much water it needs can go a long way in helping you to conserve water.

A recent article by Brightnest encourages homeowners to first find out what kind of soil is in your area. The type of soil will determine how much water you need, typically between 0.5-1.5 inches. The next thing you’ll want to do is figure out how long it takes to distribute the amount of water your lawn needs. Brightness recommends setting out jars marked with your needed water level throughout your yard. Once the jars reach their mark, stop watering. You can remove the jars as soon as you become accustomed to how much time you should spend watering your lawn. If you use an irrigation system, set out jars and run your system for 15 minutes and adjust your time based on the jar measurements.

Other efficient lawn watering tips include watering your lawn in the morning or later in the evening, never between 10 am and 6 pm. If you use sprinklers, set them on a timer during ideal watering times. Be sure to look at your irrigation system and ensure that you are not watering non-grassy surfaces such as driveways or walkways. Keep your grass mowed to a height of 2.5-3 inches to shade the roots and soil and prevent water loss from evaporation.

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July 29th, 2014 at 8:30 am

Water/RecycleIt’s no secret that California has been experiencing a record breaking drought. In fact San Diego County and parts of Orange County are currently classified as D3 on the drought scale and parts of Orange, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties are classified as D4. According to The National Drought Mitigation Center a D4 is considered the highest drought level possible.

In an effort to conserve water and prevent excessive waste the Governor asked California residents to reduce their water use by 20%; however, that goal remains unmet. To further conservation efforts The State Water Resources Control Board drafted emergency regulations. The new regulations prohibit the following water-related activities.

  • Overwatering of lawns (any watering that produces runoff onto sidewalks or streets)
  • Washing sidewalks or driveways
  • Using a hose to wash a vehicle without a shut-off nozzle
  • Using drinking water in a fountain or decorative water feature unless the water is recirculated

These regulations come with a fine of up to $500 per day and tickets will be distributed by law enforcement personnel. (more…)

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