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Tips for Designing Container Gardens

Here are 10 tips for designing a container garden in your home or yard.

  1. Choose where you're putting your pots. Your plants need to be chosen for shade or full sun.
  2. Select pots that are suitable for your style and the type of plant that you will put in it.
  3. Be prepared to water the plant more often as it will dry out faster than in the ground.
  4. A slow release fertilizer will help the plant continue blooming all season.
  5. Be careful of the weight. When the soil is wet, the plant will be extra heavy. Be sure to place it where it will get good support.
  6. To prevent root rot, be sure there is a hole in the bottom for drainage.
  7. Add pot feet for even more drainage.
  8. Vary your combinations. Use plants with contrasting leaf textures and different growth habits. Vary the heights with the tallest in the middle. Three types always seem to work out nicely.
  9. Take chances. Be daring. All primary colors make a strong statement. Or go monochromatic.
  10. Choose pots for design but know their value before buying. Enjoy all your container plants and creativity.


How to Trim Energy Bills

Are your lights blazing? Is your air conditioner running all the time? Are all your appliances plugged in whether in use or not? Did you know that the average American household spends $1000 per year on electricity, which is half of our energy needs?

The majority of our energy is produced at coal burning plants and they release tons of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere, which trap the sun's heat and contributes to our problems.

If we all cut our energy consumption by 15% we could retire 200 coal-powered plants and we'd save $150-$250 per year. So here are some tips to help you reduce your energy bills:

  • Upgrade your refrigerator if it is more than 10 years old. Newer ones are more energy efficient. Keep it at 36-40 degrees Fahrenheit and the freezer at 0-5 degrees. Look for an Energy Star model. This alone can save you $75-$100 per year.
  • Keep the seal tight on the door. Replace if needed.
  • Use a toaster oven or microwave for single dish heating and reheating.
  • Run your dishwasher only when full. Turn off the dry heat function.
  • Run your washer and dryer only when full.
  • Any appliance with a continuous light is drawing 5-15% of you electricity. Unplug your coffeemaker, microwave and other countertop appliances when not in use.
  • Use just one power strip to recharge cell phones and such. Charge them when you get home and turn off the strip when you go to bed.
  • Plug your TV and other equipment into one power strip and shut off the strip (and the equipment) in one move when going to bed.
  • Use your air conditioner less in warm weather to reduce spikes. Use fans instead. Turn them off when you leave the room.
  • Open windows at night; pull down the blinds in the morning to keep cool air inside during the day.
  • Have your air conditioner serviced regularly.
  • Reduce lights where you can.
  • Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs. They last 13 times longer and use 25% less electricity. Don't forget to replace your garage and outdoor lights.
Know Your Color's Emotional Impact

Color evokes emotions and reactions. Haven't we all had favorites since we were children? You're fortunate if your family likes the same colors you like; if not, there can be problems.

Here are a few clues to the typical emotions that colors bring out in people:

  • Red typically excites. It is dramatic and rich. It carries passion. It stimulates one's appetite. Darker shades give a rich and stately feeling.
  • Orange is cheerful, bold and exciting; it's friendly and informal and popular now. Darker shades are called rust. Goes well with brown and autumn colors.
  • Yellow draws the eye which is why it is chosen for street signs. It is a happy color. Gold tones add an atmosphere of richness.
  • Blue is a favorite among Americans. It reminds us of blue skies and the ocean, brings a feeling of serenity and openness. Powder blue reminds us of babies; navy reminds us of executives and the military. It gives a crisp, clean look.
  • Green reminds us of nature. It is soothing. Hunter feels country and traditional; jade reminds us of jewels and precious stones. It is so versatile, it can be used in any room successfully.
  • Violet makes us think of royalty and wealth. Purple is luxurious. It has been a favorite of mine since junior high school. You can punch up a room with purple but be careful not to use too much.
  • Brown is definitely nature. It is relaxing and very easy to live with. Add a reddish tone for a great room, library or living room.
  • White makes us think of cleanliness, crispness and is a great neutral for the walls and ceiling. Add a tinge of color for an extra twist.
  • Black is authoritarian. It exudes sophistication and also has an Asian and African feeling. You can couple it with any other color of your choosing.
  • Gray is elegance galore. It blends with most colors but is difficult to combine with yellow. Combine with blue and you have a clean, no fuss look. Trim it with white for a really classy look.
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Staging Portfolio Secrets is Just About Here!
The proof is in and the order has been placed with the new printer. We expect to get the first books by mid August if not sooner. You only have a matter of days left to buy it at a great discount. The price is going up the day the books arrive.
We are excited about the material included in this book and know that it will help many to weather the economic storm, promote continuously and capture business like never before. Will it take work? Of course it will. One never builds a business without effort, but we think this system is the absolute best to use, especially in a tough economy. To read more about it, visit this link.

Staging Portfolio Secrets


TESTIMONIAL - "Barbara, Thanks for the info, I really do appreciate it. I will hopefully be sending my portfolio in soon. I am starting one of the re designs on Monday, on a 14 year old girls room, so far everything is going well, thanks to your training. I really don't think I would have the confidence I have now. I truly feel 100% confident knowing that I have the proper tools on which you have taught, and using them in a prospective way. Again, thanks a million. Theresa Creel"

Barbara Jennings is author of 11 decorating books: Decor Secrets Revealed, Rearrange It, Home Staging for Profit, Home Staging for Yourself, Staging Portfolio Secrets, Staging Luxurious Homes, Arrange Your Stuff, Advanced Redesign, Pro Art Consulting, Wall Groupings: The Art of Arranging Art and Photos, The Secret Art of Hanging Art, Great Parties! Great Homes!

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