Effective ways to simplify yard maintenance

Effective ways to simplify yard maintenancecredit

Modern-day lifestyles give us scant time and energy to carry out the smaller tasks in life. Your yard is one of these things that many people are just no longer able to spend time maintaining, and leaving your yard to fall apart will only add extra stress and unhappiness to your life, all while degrading your property value at the same time.

Maintaining your garden should be more manageable now as we have all the latest technology and gadgets that can simplify tasks and save time offering you the opportunity to relax without all the hard work.

Here are some practical solutions to effectively reduce your yard maintenance.

Collection of zinc watering cans

Simple irrigation

Installing an automatic irrigation timer can offer you one less task that can take quite a bit of time. Timed irrigation is easy to install unless you opt for the really advanced systems, but your basic timers only require you to install sprinklers at specific points in your yard that will cover areas where you want to give extra attention and promote growth.

Next is installing the timer to the taps and sprinkler system, which is simple if you follow the instructions. Once installed, you won’t need to water your garden by hand again; it will be done automatically when you set it; you can enjoy a greener garden with no effort.

Mound of mulch and wheelbarrow

Use mulch

Mulch is an organic and inexpensive way to keep the soil moist for longer and offer a great form of protection from the growth of weeds. Covering your beds & borders is a fantastic way to keep your plants well insulated during the winter months, which can also reduce garden maintenance.

Mulch is composed of leaves, bark and sticks. You can make your own mulch at home by simply collecting all your fallen leaves, pruned material and bark and processing it through a wood chipper. If you don’t have a wood chipper, you can go over your mulch pile with a lawnmower to break up all the large pieces.

Garden path made from stone

Create pathways

Creating up pathways to specific points in your garden, like taps or ponds, can reduce the amount of lawn to cut, and keeping your paths a little lower than the level of your grass will allow you to cut your grass without needing to lift your mower.

Adding furniture is a great way to reduce the amount of work and give you an area to enjoy and relax in your garden.

Setting up barriers such as mini fences on your garden beds can help reduce grass from growing over the edge, and this can also require less maintenance when you need to freshen up your garden beds. Placing large pot plants that suit your garden space can create areas of interest and also means less weeding and mowing.

Keeping your garden beautiful may feel like it can take hours every day to maintain. But with a few changes and additions to your yard, you will create a tidier space that is easy to maintain. Correct pruning and mowing at the right times will keep your plants alive for longer and easier to maintain.


Auction alert: Decades Of Glass – 18th-21st Century

Jan Gabrhel for Chlum u Trebone - Four Garnet glass vases

This week, we’re bringing to your attention to the Decades Of Glass – 18th-21st Century sale at Opus Auctions in Sunningdale, Berkshire taking place on 28th October 2021, from 11am. There are a total of 247 lots, however, we’ve concentrated on some of the mid 20th century examples. There’s something for everyone going under the hammer; estimates range from £20 – £40 to £8,000 – £10,000 (the latter being the Stanislav Libensky vase featured at the bottom of this post).

When buying with Opus Auctioneers a premium of 22% + VAT of the hammer price is applied to your invoice. If you choose to use an online bidding service there will be an additional charge for using this service. Please consult the relevant bidding system for additional charges as these may vary. We recommend EasyLive Auctions £3 flat fee bidding service.

Whitefriars - an aqua colour coffin vase

Lot 142: Whitefriars – an aqua colour coffin vase
9686, 12.5cm high
Estimate: £60 – £80

Isle of Wight - a tortoiseshell glass stoppered squat vase

Lot 165: Isle of Wight – a tortoiseshell glass stoppered squat vase
Hand engraved Michael Harris Isle of Wight to underside of base, 14cm high approx (2)
Estimate: £100 – £150

Mandruzzato Sommerso glass bowl

Lot 188: A large Mandruzzato Sommerso glass bowl
Facetted square section, the colours of bright Emerald green and olive glass, Italian, Mid Century, 20.5cm max diam x 13cm high
Estimate: £60 – £80

Holmegaard - 12 Canada shape glasses

Lot 195: Holmegaard – 12 Canada shape glasses
Smoke colour, in two sizes, the larger size in original box, 16cm and 13.5cm approx (13)
Estimate: £130 – £150

Per Lutkin /Christer Holmgren for Holmegaard green glass vase

Lot 201: Per Lutkin /Christer Holmgren for Holmegaard
A Majgrøn / May Green glass bottle vase, engraved Holmgaard and C 17795, Denmark, Mid Century, 16cm high approx
Estimate: £50 – £70

Jaroslav Svoboda - a glass cylinder vase

Lot 213: Jaroslav Svoboda – a glass cylinder vase
Colourless applied with with amber and blue pad spots, two original paper labels, c1972, PN 7233/32, 33 cm approx
Estimate: £200 – £300

Bohumil Elias - a bulb form glass vase

Lot 216: Bohumil Elias – a bulb form glass vase
Decorated with vertical iridescent stripes of silver grey, unmarked, old collections labels affixed to base, 18cm high
Estimate: £150 – £250

Vladimir Jelinek - a Unica amber glass 'pebble'

Lot 228: Vladimir Jelinek – a Unica amber glass ‘pebble’
With bubble inclusions and a lightly textured surface, 24cm max
Estimate: £650 – £750

Pavel Hlava for Exbor, an angular Galaxy vase

Lot 236: Pavel Hlava for Exbor, an angular Galaxy vase
Mid 20th Century, acid cut Exbor mark to base, 14cm high
Estimate: £180 – £220

Jan Gabrhel for Chlum u Trebone - Four Garnet glass vases

Lot 240: Jan Gabrhel for Chlum u Trebone – Four Garnet glass vases
Each graduating from red to yellow glass, 34.5cm high and smaller (4)
Estimate: £100 – £150

Stanislav Libensky - a 1001 Nights enamelled glass vase

Lot 247: Stanislav Libensky – a 1001 Nights enamelled glass vase
Decorated at the Specialised School of Glassmaking, the acid etched design brightly enamelled in polychrome colours with fabulous beasts in and on trees, Novy Bor, c1946, 23.2cm high ** See
Petrova & Olivier; Bohemian Glass
D. Klein, Masters of Czech glass: 1945-1965, exhibition catalogue Dan Klein Limited, London, 1983, cat. 38 for notes on this artist and this group of glasswares and the Victoria & Albert Museum accession number C.104-1984 for an example from this group of designs.
Estimate: £8,000 – £10,000

Have you been dreaming of your dream home for a dream price? Here’s how to make it a reality

Have you been dreaming of your dream home for a dream price? Here’s how to make it a realitycredit

Because a home is the starting point of love, ambition and dreams, finding and living in the ideal home is critical to establishing a successful life. Building your dream home, on the other hand, isn’t a simple task. Construction of your dream home, or the construction of a house you want to rent out for a profit in the future, may be quite expensive, which is why so many people don’t even consider this as a viable alternative.

It’s considerably more convenient to look at all of the available properties. A fortress designed specifically for you and your requirements and ambitions, however, doesn’t imply that you must pay more than is absolutely necessary.

So here it is; a list of strategies for staying within your financial means without sacrificing your aspirations or earning capacity.

Icon of a construction workercredit

Borrow a builder

When it comes to realising your dream home aspirations, hiring a custom home builder is your best bet because they’ll be able to keep expenses as low as possible while still providing the quality you need. They’ll have established ties with contractors, suppliers and perhaps even architects in the field. They’ll be able to advise you on the most cost-effective materials to utilise. They’ll be aware of situations in which they can employ an alternative and those in which no sacrifices should be made. They’ll have gained valuable money management knowledge and will be able to help you achieve your goals.

Icon of a building plotcredit

Look at lots of lots

When it comes to building your ideal home, the greatest outlay will probably be the purchase of a suitable plot of land. Saying that, lots are often affordable. It’s undeveloped land, and no one is planning to develop it further. However, you can save money by purchasing a somewhat larger parcel of land that you could fit a couple of houses on and combining your efforts with a family member, friend or business partner to save money. This will make the land you purchase significantly more economical, as well as significantly more affordable. Just make sure you get along with the individual you’ll be sharing a house with in the near future.

Icon of affordable landcredit

Pick a problem lot

Lots are graded and many of them are classified as unsuitable for construction, resulting in them selling for much, much less than they were originally worth. These are the properties that are located on hillsides, are narrow or are regarded as being in-fill properties. However, as we all know, life is about doing the best you can with the cards you’re dealt; it’s about compromise and being wise. Request an inspection of one of these unappealing lots by an experienced contractor and see what magic they think they can work to transform this unpromising location into your dream home.

Icon of house built with brickscredit

More about materials

If you know what you’re looking for in building supplies, you can save a lot of money on your purchases. Metal roofs may be more expensive to install, but they’re less expensive to buy and will last for a longer period of time. Glass is also relatively inexpensive, and it has a modern, contemporary appearance. So, choose from the many reasonably priced and aesthetically pleasing materials available.

Icon of a recycling centrecredit

Look for junk in the trunk

Salvaged wooden flooring, reclaimed bricks, second-hand doors and rescued fire surrounds are all excellent options for adding character to your home without having to spend a significant amount in the process of doing so. After all, it will be the little things like these that will make your home more aesthetically beautiful. Now is the time to hit the reclamation yards, recycling centres and skips to see what kind of hidden gems you can unearth.


6 benefits of owning a convertible sofa

6 benefits of owning a convertible sofacredit

Many home-owners believe that items of furniture are made with practicality in mind, with stylistic attention coming in a far second. But this isn’t always true. A convertible sofa is a piece of furniture that looks modern and gives a good balance of functionality and style in a living space. Compared to buying a typical sofa, owning convertible sofas with chaise has many additional benefits.

In this post, we’ll highlight a few of these benefits to help you with your buying process.

They can preserve much needed space

Convertible sofas have a way with space. They are very useful when it comes to accommodating guests in a property with limited space. For instance, if you don’t have a room entirely dedicated to guests in your home, the next best option is to invest in a convertible sofa because this can give your guest/s a comfortable night’s rest.

In addition, the spare space that convertible sofas create can be used to do other creative things, like a play area for your little one or creating a home office.

Superior comfort

Many households use air mattresses as an alternative when it comes to making a space for their guests to sleep. Air mattresses are certainly not the most comfortable thing to lay your head on. Sleeper sofas today are manufactured using memory foam. This makes them just as comfortable as a standard bed.

Discrete design

The discrete nature of a convertible sofa design ensures that it doesn’t dominate your living space. Overnight guests will be pleasantly surprised when you expand the normal-looking sofa into a comfortable sleeping space.


One of the best things about a convertible sofa bed is that it can be utilised in various ways. In the event of you needing to accommodate surprise guests, you have a place for them to sit comfortably during the day and, later on, turn the same sofa into a bed in the evening.

Even if your space is limited, the convertible sofa bed can adjust effortlessly into the available space. You can opt for a corner or designer sofa that can transform itself halfway and convert into a bunk bed or recliner.

Easy to use

Most convertible sofa beds are simple to use and manoeuvre. Transforming them from a sofa into a bed is quick and easy. Because of how they’re designed, they can be used in different types of rooms. Moving them from one room to another is hassle-free.

Built-in storage

Built-in storage is another fantastic attribute that comes with convertible sofa beds. Some models have pull-out drawers that are fully integrated, giving you the option to store household items within the body of the bed rather than putting them in a different storage facility. Additionally, you may have extra blankets and pillows that are not in use lying out and about. The built-in storage that comes with convertible sofas can accommodate them easily.

Last words

When searching for a durable convertible sofa bed, rather go for top-rated brands because you are reassured that they will last long. You’re able to select the best brand by reading reviews online or asking a friend who already owns one.

These sources can guide you make an informed decision that also fits your requirements and budget. Owning a sofa bed is a great idea but ensure you choose a trusted brand as opening and closing it often can take its toll on it.


Get their look: Baby-friendly living room


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A post shared by susana ☽ interior + motherhood (@susana.alheli)

If you have very young children, you needn’t have a boring, sterile home; this baby-friendly living room is light, practical and attractive. It just goes to show that children’s toys and furniture doesn’t have to be made of plastic in bright, primary colours. You can have a neutral, Scandi-inspired interior.

If you have toddlers, of course, it’s essential to keep living spaces safe. There are many precautions that need to be taken to create baby-friendly living areas. Move trailing wires from electrical items such as table lamps and AV equipment up off the floor and cover open electrical sockets. Keep the doors of low level cupboards secure, especially if they store cleaning products or medication. Also, don’t display glass, pottery or other breakable accessories on surfaces that can be reached by little hands. Finally, install baby gates at the top and/or bottom of stairs to prevent serious falls and tumbles.

Get their look

Wooden Trybike
Wooden Trybike
Kids teepee tent
Kids teepee tent
Ava footstool
Ava footstool
LEVO baby rocker
LEVO baby rocker
Fob wall clock
Fob wall clock
Bamboo curved easy fit light shade
Bamboo curved easy fit light shade
Wooden Trybike
Wooden Trybike
Kids teepee tent
Kids teepee tent
Ava footstool
Ava footstool
LEVO baby rocker
LEVO baby rocker
Fob wall clock
Fob wall clock
Bamboo curved easy fit light shade
Bamboo curved easy fit light shade

Designer Desire: Ogwyn Davies

Montage of Ogwyn Davies artworks

Born in Trebanos, Neath Port Talbot, Ogwyn Davies (1925-2015) was a Welsh fine artist, ceramist and school teacher. He attended Swansea School of Art between 1947 & 52 before going on to teach at Tregaron Comprehensive (Ysgol Uchradd) from 1955 to 1985. He was one of the founder members (along with Hywel Harries) of the Cardiganshire Art Society which was established in 1963.

I find farm buildings interest me greatly. Very often, the human association of several generations can be seen in the barns and sheds and a sense of poetry seems ever present. They record so graphically the passing of time as it leaves its marks on the walls. For decades many Welsh walls have become part of the world of protest and my interest in walls and marks have resulted in works reflecting this. The use of the words of our National Anthem came about I think after regular attendance at the Arms Park in Cardiff and hearing choirs of over fifty thousand voices singing the words so movingly [credit]

His most famous work is probably Soar y Mynydd (top left in the montage above) the Grade II listed, Calvinist Methodist chapel in Llanddewi Brefi near Tregaron, Ceredigion. Built in 1822, it’s claimed to be the remotest chapel in all of Wales.

Examples of his work can be found in the permanent collections of National Library of Wales, National Museum Wales, Ceredigion Museum and Aberystwyth University.


Additional image credits:
ArtUK | MOMA Cymru | Mutual Art

3 of the top gaming setups for your new game room

3 of the top gaming setups for your new game room

If you’re an active gamer or just love video games, then the most comfortable room in your home is not your bedroom or your living room: it’s your man cave or she-shed. If you live alone in a 2-bedroom apartment, there still may be an open room to have a complete gaming setup. If you need more room, looking into buying a house with more room may be a perfect solution to getting your gaming room setup and fully functional.

Whether it’s now or in the future, that one gaming room is where you probably feel most alive and is a self-proclaimed sanctuary, but only if you have the right gaming setup – of course. There are so many pieces that go into creating a solid gaming man cave that something with the potential to be a marvellous gaming setup can quickly turn into a hot mess.

The minimal gaming setup includes:

  • Gaming PC
  • Monitor
  • Gaming chair/desk
  • Keyboard
  • Gaming mouse
  • Gaming headphones with microphone
  • LED lights

That exhaustive list may have your head swimming, but the good thing about wading through it is that by the time you’re done, your man cave will look amazing. Need some ideas to get the process kick-started? Here are a few great gaming setups designed for a man cave.

Budget gaming setup

Not everyone gets an entire room for their man cave; if you’re working with a tight space but still want to have a gaming corner to call your own, this setup is for you. Create a desk out of a large floating desk like the Vivo White Electric Height Adjustable Standup and add some floating shelves to help store your equipment. Invest in a good monitor riser and then distribute your equipment to meet your visual needs. A great streaming setup that’s still budget-friendly would include a Corsair Crystal Series 680X with an MSI MEG X570 Unify motherboard and an AD Ryzen 9 3900 X CPU. Tack on a vertical monitor and a standard monitor along with a few streaming cams and stands and you’ll be ready to go.

Sleek setup

Not everyone has the space or the desire to create an extensive gaming setup in their home. Those that have to split their time between work and gaming will find this sleek and modern design to be ideal. Not only can a laptop riser help minimise space, it can help improve ergonomics and keep things tidy.

To build this setup you’ll need a MacBook Air, an extra monitor for better visuals, a keyboard, gaming mouse, iPad and some headphones. Complement the hardware with some great furniture including a VIVO Single Monitor Articulating Desk Mount Stand, desk shelf, laptop stand, desk lamp, laptop tock, a gaming chair and large desk area. Toss in a few minimalist abstract artworks and you’re ready to go.

Black-light gaming setup

There’s something about backlit black-lights that just make gaming so cool. If you want your gaming room to look as cool as you feel when you’re playing, then this setup is for you. Plus, it’s a throwback to desktop PCs which make it nostalgic at the same time. To start, choose a desktop unit encased in tempered glass with AIO radiators and RGB fans that you can see the glow and you won’t need to invest in any fancy lava lamps. We suggest the darkFlash Phantom Black ATX. Then throw in a few monitors including one vertical monitor along with a seek headphone set and mouse pad from innovative brands like Razer. Finally, add some blue and purple LED lighting stands to enhance the visual effect and settle back into your favourite ergonomic chair to play!