How to build a retaining wall

 

If your garden has a slope to it, or you want to add architectural interest with raised garden beds, you’ll have to build a retaining wall. There are a few different styles to suit any garden and they’re all DIY so you can have the wall you love for less!

Make a plan

Before you get started, you’ll need to design your wall. If it’s over a metre high, you should check with your local council first. You may have to have an engineer design and certify the wall.

Once you’ve got a design, you can work out all the materials you’ll need.

Timber

Timber

Timber walls are a very DIY-friendly option. Treated pine sleepers are popular as they are easy to work with and good value for money. Hardwood sleepers are another option. To build your wall, dig holes and insert vertical supports using thicker sleepers, at least 75mm thick. Space the supports every 1.2m for 2.4m long sleepers, and 1.5m for 3m long sleepers. The horizontal sleepers can be 50mm thick. Place them against the vertical supports, make sure they’re level then bolt the two together. To finish off you can paint or stain the wall to match your garden or outdoor area.

concrete

Concrete blocks

A great DIY option for a masonry wall are interlocking blocks that don’t need any mortar. As a bonus the blocks come prefinished so once you lay the wall there’s no more work needed to make them look good, saving you time and money. Dig a footing then lay roadbase in the trench and compact it, making sure it’s level. All you do then is simply lay out the blocks, locking them together as you go. It’s that easy.

natural

Go natural

To create a natural feature in your garden that’s less formal than timber or blocks, use a natural rock such as sandstone or granite. Building the wall is like doing a vertical jigsaw puzzle as you try to find bits of rock that lock together. Mortar the first rocks down then lay a bed of mortar between the rocks as you build it up. Finish off by filling the joints at the front of the rocks with more mortar, wiping with a sponge for a smooth finish.

Drainage

Water can build up significant pressure behind a retaining wall so it’s important you provide for drainage behind it. Lay a slotted ag drain at the base of the wall and fill above it with a free-draining material such as gravel. Encase the whole lot in geotextile fabric which allows water through but prevents soil from washing in and clogging up your drain.

Source: Better Homes and Gardens

Top 7 spring gardening jobs

Green thumb season is upon us

With green thumb season upon us, it can be overwhelming knowing what to plant and where. Turns out that 75 per cent of Aussies are maintaining their gardens without professional help.

“Spring is a colourful time of the year in the garden with plenty of beautiful perennials and annuals in full bloom,” says Katy.

“For those living in the cooler southern states, petunias, snapdragons and geraniums can add a beautiful pop of colour and have your garden looking it’s best. While in warmer states like Queensland and Western Australia, try adding annuals like marigolds and zinnias to create colourful impact. The best vegetables to plant in spring are tomatoes, chillies, capsicums, cucumbers, salad greens, beetroot, peas and beans.”

Planting in the garden

Katy’s top 7 spring gardening jobs

1. Soil preparation is key to helping plants thrive throughout the year. For best results, improve your soil before planting with composts and manures, especially vegetable gardens. It’s also important to maintain a regular watering regime with a fortnightly application of a suitable vegetable fertilizer and seaweed extract to ensure strong, healthy growth

2. Protect tender seedlings from strong winds and late season frosts, plus use canes and trellis for support as plants grow throughout spring. Check regularly for pests and diseases, use relevant products to control nasties before they cause any damage to your plants

Plant in dirt

3. Keep weeds at bay, either pull them out by hand or use a spray that targets the weeds, but not your vegetables.

4. Plant fruit trees now into rich soils, water regularly and protect them from strong winds

5. Flower beds also love soil improvers and rich composts to help them thrive. Check your irrigation system is in good working order and apply water-saving mulches to garden beds

Planting

6. Choose from a wide range of cottage plants to create a beautiful flowering display that lasts for many months. Lavenders are looking at their best right now, geraniums are a great hardy plant that thrives as the weather warms up

7. Most flowering plants benefit from a light prune after flowering, remove old, dead flower heads to encourage new growth.

Source: BHG

How to create a pour painting

Set aside your paintbrushes and get ready for a new way to make art!

With just plastic cups, you can create fluid abstract pieces that are one of a kind.

You simply pour paint over your canvases and tilt to let it flow into gorgeous, creative swirls and shapes. The possibilities and colour combos are endless, and the results just beautiful. It’s time for you to pour it on!

Pour painting
Chris L Jones

Why stop at one flow artwork when you can have three? This modern take on a traditional triptych – three carved panels that tell a story – uses canvases and pouring paint to create a flowing abstract design for a splash of bold colour on your walls.

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Pour painting triptych
Chris L Jones

Gather your supplies

  • Pouring paints in 4 shades of blue
  • Small canvas

You’ll also need

  • Box
  • Plastic cups
  • Disposable gloves

Here’s how

Step 1

Prepare a paint box with 4 upturned cups. Pour paint into a plastic cup. Fill to one-third with light blue, then add the next colour, pouring it down the inside of the cup. The paint will marble.

Step 2

Step 2 How to make a pour painting
Chris L Jones

Wearing gloves, place canvas face down on cup, carefully flip canvas.

Step 3

How to make a pour painting Step 3
Chris L Jones

Lay canvas flat on work surface and hold cup in place and wait as paint runs down inside of cup.

Step 4

How to make a pour painting step 4
Chris L Jones

Hold canvas over paint box and tilt it from side to side so paint flows.

Step 5

How to make pour painting Step 5
Chris L Jones

Pour more paint onto canvas from bottle and tilt canvas. Sit canvas on cups in paint box.

Step 6

How to make a pour painting step 6
Chris L Jones

Use your finger to rub paint along canvas edges. Leave to dry.

Make your own pouring paint

How to make a pour painting
Chris L Jones

You can make your own pouring paint by adding a medium to acrylic paint.

Soft body or craft acrylics are better suited than heavy body acrylics.

Floetrol, from hardware stores, is a paint conditioner that extends the wet edge and keeps paint flowing.

Add it in a 1:1 ratio to paint in a cup, then slowly stir with a wooden craft stick until completely blended.

Adjust the ratios as need to achieve a pouring consistency.

Other inspirational ideas

Pour painting coasters
Chris L Jones

Coasters

While you’re on a paint pouring roll, turn your attention to homewares. Use the same tilting method on coasters as you did on canvases, making sure the edges are covered.

Pour painting platter
Chris L Jones

Platters

Don’t stop at coasters, you can use the flow art technique on other homewares – cheese boards, serving trays, placemats – but just be mindful as the paint isn’t food safe.

Make a triptych

Pour painting triptych
Chris L Jones

You can make a much larger artwork using three canvases to create a triptych.

Sit three canvases side by side on upturned cups on a covered work surface.

As well as gloves, it’s a good idea to wear a paper painting suit as this method can get a little messy!

How to make a pour painting
Chris L Jones

Squirt white onto the canvases and rub it along the sides.

Pour over blues from cups, then use a hairdryer on a full blast on the cold setting to push the paint around the canvases.

 

Source: BHG

8 home pieces that will define interior design in 2020

Design cycles

Interior design, like fashion, comes and goes in cycles. While it might be on a slightly bigger scale, It sofas, lights and even mirrors really are a thing. We’re seeing it happen in front of our eyes, right now.

Not sure what we’re talking about? A quick scroll through Instagram will reveal a certain aesthetic — one where curvy neon mirrors, low-key boucle sofas and understated marble plinths reign supreme. And just like all trends these pieces are having a moment. Some are new, and others design legends of the past — but all have one thing in common: they’re everywhere.

Below, we’ve rounded up just a few of the pieces we’ve (and the rest of social media) come to love in 2020, so you can ensure you’ve got your furniture lingo all down pat. No one wants to be the last one to the party, right?

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Image credit: 1st Dibs

1. B&B Italia’s ‘Camaleonda’ sofa

Designed in 1971 by Mario Bellini, B&B Italia’s famous Camaleonda sofa has become something of a design staple thanks to its intriguing bulbous shape and chunky curves. Due to a surge in popularity, the sofa has been reissued by B&B Italia with a new, even more comfortable filling. One for the true design fans, a Camaleonda is a serious bucket list buy.

Buy here

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Image credit: Anson Smart

2. Ettore Sottsass ‘Ultrafragola’ mirror

This mirror is so famous it has its own Instagram filter — but there’s a bigger story behind the neon waves. First designed in the 80s by the Italian master of Memphis, Ettore Sottsass, the mirror didn’t gain popularity until much later in the new millennium. Now, in the age of Instagram, it’s having a revival thanks to its photogenic frame. You can read up more on the mirror here.

Buy here

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Image credit: Tigmi Trading

3. Any Pierre Jeanneret chair

After being commissioned in the 1950s by the Indian government to provide furniture for officials in Chandigarh, Swiss architect Pierre Jeanneret happened to produce what is now one of the most well-known designs of the 20th century. With a boxy, wooden frame and rattan inserts, Jeanneret’s ‘Easy’ and ‘Kangaroo’ chairs are essentially everywhere right now — it appears a new build isn’t complete with a piece of Jeanneret’s genius. It’s near impossible to get your hands on an original without spending a small fortune, but Tigmi Trading in Byron Bay stock pieces from Project Chandigarh, the best way to get an authentic piece of Jeanneret’s icon.

Buy here

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Image credit: Ligne Roset

4. Almost anything by Pierre Paulin

Legendary French designer Pierre Paulin is having a serious moment for a number of his chairs, including the ‘Pacha’ for Gubi, the ‘Groovy’ for Artifort and the ‘Pumpkin’ for Ligne Roset. With their smooth lines (often in boucle cream finishes) and slightly chubby silhouette, Paulin’s signature 60s and 70s style works perfectly in a contemporary palette.

Buy here

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Image credit: Just Adele

5. Just Adele marble plinths and tables

There are plenty of marble tables out there, but none have taken off quite as rapidly as those from Melbourne-based Just Adele. Founded by Adele Cotruzzola, the brand’s simple and no fuss recycled stone tables are guaranteed to add personality to every room. Seen on every corner of the internet, Cotruzzola’s clean designs have certainly solidified their place in the hearts of interior design fans.

Buy here

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Image credit: MatchesFashion.com

6. Anissa Kermiche vases

Anissa Kermiche might be best known for her jewellery, but it’s her objects and vases which are sweeping the world, one ceramic female form at a time. From her cheeky nudie vases to candlesticks in the shapes of womanly figurines, Kermiche’s designs make for a pretty alternative to traditional vessels.

Buy here

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Image credit: Knoll

7. Knoll ‘Wassily’ lounge chair

One of the oldest designs to make a comeback in the 2020s, Knoll’s Wassily chair is almost 100 years young — and was originally a staple of the revolutionary Bauhaus movement. Designed by Marcel Breuer in 1925,  the piece was originally inspired by a bicycle and has since become a design icon thanks to its simple form and comfortable figure. It’s a favourite among many bloggers, who are no doubt drawn to the shape for its simple and versatile aesthetic.

Buy here

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Image credit: Lex Pott

8. Lex Pott ‘Twist’ candle

Who would have thought a candle could gain such traction. As it turns out, Lex Pott’s signature twist candle is proving viral candles are most certainly a thing. The Dutch designer’s curvy, colourful twists can be perfectly placed on almost any surface — and are best left as objects. Candles as the new lamps? Maybe so.

Source: Vogue

Perth experts’ top tips on getting property ready for winter sale

A red-hot winter appeal

IF you’ve decided to sell your home during winter, you’ll want it looking red-hot to entice potential buyers.

From lighting candles for extra atmosphere to giving the garden a little TLC, it’s easy to enhance presentation.

We asked the experts to share their top tips for getting a property prepped during the season of storms and squalls.

The sales specialist

The Agency selling agent Davide Palermo said there are often fewer properties on the market at this time of year and less competition could result in a great sale price but a winter listing does come with a few challenges.

“With natural daylight fading, it can be difficult to hold home opens after 6pm,” he said.

“Make sure the front entrance and driveway lights are well lit and consider installing extra lighting if these areas are naturally dark.

“Inside, all the rooms should have high wattage globes and think about adding floor lamps where necessary.”

Storms can quickly result in ceiling damage and make a property look like a bad investment.

“Take some time to clear out gutters and downpipes and add some touch-up paint to water-stained areas,” Mr Palermo said.

While the weather can’t be controlled, it is also important for the home to feel cosy, so turn on the heating well in advance of home opens.

Any inspections should be planned after checking the weather forecast.

The styling queen

The impact of COVID-19 has really highlighted the importance of digital marketing when it comes to selling a house, according to Perth Style Co director Sara James.

She said staging is key to creating a strong campaign through brilliant visuals that increase inquiry rates — and result in quicker sales in certain market segments.

Plus, it can add value to a property at a time when buyers are cautious and have high expectations.

“Leaving homes or rooms vacant can sometimes be a really costly mistake, particularly in the higher end of the market,” she said.

“It is important that the furniture and finishes match the price point of the home.

“Spending less than one per cent of its value on staging and pre-sale marketing can end up a really smart return on investment for a fast and successful sale.”

Ms James encourages winter sellers to embrace a rich deep colour palette featuring hues such as charcoal grey, forest green, rust reds and inky tones.

She also suggests introducing luxurious layers in the form of fabric blends such as knits, felts, velvets and furs, adding lamps for understated elegance as well as lighting candles to achieve the ultimate ambience.

 

Luxe layers and lamps are key in this bedroom staged by Perth Style Co.
Luxe layers and lamps are key in this bedroom staged by Perth Style Co. Credit: Finesse Photography

The gardening expert

When it comes to the outdoors, gardening expert Sabrina Hahn said it’s not hard to neaten your home’s surrounds as long as work isn’t left till the last minute.

“You will need to plan getting the garden into shape a good six weeks before putting the house on the market as it takes that long for plants to bed in and uptake the fertiliser,” she said.

Also, don’t put in annuals on freshly laid black mulch.

“It looks cheap and sparse, and the mulch becomes highly water repellent,” she said.

“Most annuals need lots of care and liquid fertilising every two weeks to look good.”

Also, be sure to rip out any plants that are half-dead or diseased, otherwise the rest of the garden will look tired and neglected.

 

Source: PerthNow

Make a coffee table terrarium

Traditional Terrariums

Traditional terrariums are mini landscapes grown in glass bowls and jars or under a dome. They are a fantastic way to add plants to your interior spaces especially if space is limited but you can also take them a step further. For a fantastic feature piece, you can turn a glass-topped coffee table into a terrarium with a few adjustments and clever selection of plants. And don’t stop there, if you have a fish tank that’s been sitting empty, take it from aquarium to terrarium in a few easy steps.

Gather your supplies

• Fired clay balls

• Sphagnum moss

• Horticultural charcoal

• Potting mix

• Moss

• Plants

Coffee table with a pond shell inside
Photography Brent Wilson

STEP 1 Build a grow box from marine plywood to fit inside the table legs. Reinforce the legs for the extra weight and line the box with a PVC pond liner to waterproof it. Or, you can use a pond shell in the base with ply cladding, then stain or paint it.

Clay balls and sphagnum moss in a terrarium
Photography Brent Wilson

STEP 2 Create a base layer of fired clay balls. Soak sphagnum moss in a bucket of water then, working with a handful at a time, squeeze out excess moisture and spread a layer about 20-30mm deep over clay balls.

Horticultural charcoal in a terrarium
Photography Brent Wilson

STEP 3 Pour a thin layer of horticultural charcoal over the sphagnum moss and spread it out evenly.

Plant up a terrarium
Photography Brent Wilson

STEP 4 Scoop potting mix over the charcoal layer to about 150mm deep. Make planting holes, remove each plant from pot and place in hole. Backfill with potting mix and firm down.

Spray-mist terrarium plants
Photography Brent Wilson

STEP 5 Spray the plants with water to moisten the mix and help create humidity in the terrarium. Replace the glass top and you’re done!

Coffee table terrarium
Photography Brent Wilson
Fish tank terrarium mounted on a wall
Photography Brent Wilson

Budget kitchen makeover: 9 ways you can improve your kitchen without breaking the bank

 

Limited budget?

If you’re on a limited budget, but still hankering after a more modern space, here are some clever ideas for quick, easy and affordable updates.

1. Stick to the existing kitchen layout

This will reduce your costs considerably – moving cupboards, plumbing, walls, electrics and so on starts to get into big money. And the more you can do yourself, the more you’ll save.

2. Re-use your appliances

If your appliances are still okay, then re-use them, and before you throw the kitchen sink away, give it a good going over with a gentle abrasive cleaner, then spend the money you save on a new tap!

Budget kitchen renovation

3. Paint

The simplest way to begin a budget reno is paint. Instantly lighten up a gloomy, tired space by giving the walls, ceiling, door and window frames a couple of coats of a bright, neutral colour or white.

If you’re painting over timber panelling, you’ll need to apply a stain and tannin blocker first – your local hardware store can advise on this, as well as on the most suitable paint for kitchen areas.

Budget kitchen renovation

4. Upcycle existing furniture

And while you’ve got your paintbrush out, you can spruce up an op-shop table and a few mismatched chairs into a dining suite – they all match if they’re the same colour!

5. Cabinet makeover

The next thing to consider is the kitchen cabinets. If they’re structurally sound but just dated or a hideous shade, you can paint or replace the doors, drawer fronts and hardware for a fraction of the money that it would cost to replace the entire cabinetry.

Whether your cabinets are timber or laminate, there is a paint product to suit. Most kitchen cabinets are a standard size, so that replacement doors can be fitted to existing units. If you feel daunted by the idea of painting all the cabinet doors yourself, check out the cost of having them painted by a kitchen spray-painting service – this might even be less than replacing the doors, and the finish is hard-wearing and professional.

Budget kitchen renovation

6. Remove cupboard doors

Another quick fix is to remove the doors completely from existing over-bench cabinets or replacing them with simple, open shelving for an airy, modern look. You can even paint or line the back of the shelves with colourful paper to add colour and interest.

7. A new benchtop

If your benchtop and splashback have seen better days, you have several options. You can replace them, of course – there are thousands of low-cost alternatives to choose from and many are perfect for DIY. You can also resurface them, using the range of clever products now available at your local Bunnings Warehouse.

8. Paint a tiled splashback

Give a tiled splashback a whole new look with tile paint and transform your benchtop with a resurfacing kit that offers a variety of ‘stone lookalike’ finishes.

9. Renew powerpoints & light fittings

Finally, spend a little on new power-point covers, light switches, window coverings and light fittings.

You can spend a fortune on a new kitchen, but maybe you don’t need to!

Source: HomeBeautiful

Interior designers share their easy tips for turning your childhood bedroom into a grown-up space

Childhood bedrooms

More people are moving back into their childhood bedrooms than ever, staying with their parents indefinitely.

But you might not have updated your room since you were a teen, with posters of One Direction on your wall, a bubblegum pink comforter on your bed, and trophies from regional championships still proudly sitting on your dresser, making it feel uncomfortable for your adult self.

Luckily, transforming your space into an adult haven doesn’t have to be time-consuming or expensive.

You don’t need to keep everything that’s in your childhood bedroom

Your childhood bedroom is likely filled with things you haven’t used in a decade, so the first order of business when redoing the space should be to purge it of anything you don’t need or won’t use regularly.

“If their rooms look anything like mine did as a senior in high school, then I would get rid of it all,” Ashley Moore, the founder and principal designer of Moore House Interiors, jokingly told Insider.

Teenager bedroom with postersKaren Moskowitz/Getty ImagesIt’s important to get rid of immature items.

“In all seriousness, I think the first thing would be to get rid of anything that didn’t have significant meaning,” she said of purging. “Put away old photos and high-school memorabilia and box up your pictures and awards.”

But Moore also said that it’s OK to mourn the fact that you’ve outgrown your childish belongings.

“I think it’s important to take time to remember that person who lived in that room, and celebrate them,” she said. “Then, pack up the stuff and either throw it out or store it in the closet.

“Create a space that reflects the adult that you’ve grown into,” she said.

But if you want to keep some of your childhood memorabilia in the space, there are ways to display them that look mature

There might be important photos, collages, or awards you want to keep in your space even as an adult, and there are plenty of ways to do that.

“If you’re hesitant to throw those childhood keepsakes away, use shadow boxes and frame them in a tasteful way,” Moore suggested.

Posters from your youth can also look chic in your bedroom depending on how you display them.

“It’s all about the context it’s living in,” Kevin Seitz and Rob van Wyen, the designers at Studio Seitz, said of posters. “Investing in a frame can transform it from a poster into a piece of art.”

So, upgrade the poster from being displayed with tape to having a place of honour with a frame.

Your bedding can make a big difference

“If you can only spring for one big update, I recommend starting with your bedding,” Moore said, as the bed is typically the focal point of a bedroom.

Many children opt for brightly coloured bedspreads or comforters, and although colour isn’t inherently childish, a more neutral tone will elevate your bedroom.

“When creating a more grown-up space, choose bedding that is neutral in theme, and play with an array of colours to keep the space fun and vibrant,” Moore said.

Bed pillows striped comforter nightstandShutterstockIt’s important not to use too much colour in a bedroom.

Seitz and van Wyen agreed, noting that you don’t want to overwhelm the space with too much colour. “Balance is everything – sometimes you want neutral bedspreads with more colourful throw pillows or at other times the opposite,” they said.

“Choose what works with your given space. Personality doesn’t have to stop at the bed.”

All of the designers also noted that layering bedding signifies you’re in an adult space, even if your bed is twin-sized.

“Beautiful textured linens can transform any bed, regardless of the size,” Seitz and van Wyen said. “Even bringing textiles to a headboard behind the smallest of beds can bring more sophistication and depth to a seemingly small piece.”

“Layering bedding is the key to giving it a more mature feel,” Moore agreed. “We love using both solids and patterns! A patterned quilt layered with a solid duvet is always our go-to.”

Simple lighting changes can also help a space look more grown-up

Harsh lighting or lamps that haven’t been thoughtfully chosen for a space won’t do you any favours. You want your bedroom to look cohesive, and lighting can play a big role in that.

“We always like to use layered lighting,” Seitz and van Wyen told Insider.

Bedroom light chandelierAndreas von Einsiedel/Getty ImagesLighting makes a big difference in a space.

“Recessed and dimmable lighting, along with floor and pendant lights, allows you to transform your space with your mood or fit with your given task,” they said. “You can dim the recessed lighting and allow the pendant to shine or have a more intimate moment to read a book under your floor light.”

You can also make your lighting more decorative, as Moore pointed out.

“To give a space that adult feel, I recommend adding a chandelier or decorative hanging lights to add a little personality into a room,” Moore said.

The most important thing to remember is that your bedroom should be somewhere you feel comfortable and relaxed, so make design choices that reflect your adult personality.

Source: BusinessInsider

 

How to clean your patio and garden furniture

Easy ways to spruce up your deck and garden furniture…

You know the drill: the first sign of sunshine, and everybody’s outside to make the most of it.

If you’re super organised, your garden furniture was washed down, prepped for winter and tucked cosily away in the garage or shed, and your patio is free of moss or mildew. If, on the other hand, this is a bit of garden maintenance you just didn’t get round to, you could have a serious clean up on your hands before you can sit outside in the sunshine.

How to clean your decking or patio

Decking

Don’t allow leaves and debris to build up because moisture can become trapped and can promote mould growth and rot, even on wood that’s been treated. Use a stiff broom or a leaf blower to keep them clear. For a deep clean, use a decking cleaner solution. Decking made of hardwood – teak, walnut, mahogany or oak – do not need usually need preserving. Wipe over with teak oil twice a year to help preserve their colour. Softer woods – such as pine and cedar do need preserving. Apply a wood preservative, followed by a varnish.

To restore painted and varnished wood, rub down with fine sandpaper, then reapply the coating.

Paving slabs

Scrub using a stiff brush and a patio cleaner, we recommend HG Patio Cleaner. Alternatively, use a pressure washer that has a patio cleaning attachment.

Tip: if you are planning to blitz the slabs with a pressure washer, take care not to remove the pointing between paving stones.

Now spruce up your garden furniture…

Cane

If you’ve left this outdoors all winter, you could be looking at buying a new set. The advice is never to leave cane outside, as it’s just not robust enough.

Cast aluminum

Wipe clean with a solution of washing up liquid. Touch up chipped paint with an enamel metal paint such as Hammerite, rubbing off any loose paint first.

Cast and wrought iron

Rub down with wire wool and repaint if necessary, first with anti-rust primer and then with exterior metal paint.

Resin

For plastic furniture, use a detergent solution and plastic brush to clean. Use a mild bleach solution on any staining. Alternatively, use a pressure washer.

Tip: If there are stains and dirt on chair seats that just won’t budge, cover them with decorative seat cushions and an outdoor rug. Your guests will never know what lurks beneath!

Tubular Metal

Wash down plastic coating with a warm detergent solution. Protect with a light application of wax polish. Store indoors.

Wood

Hardwoods – teak, cedar, mahogany or oak – do not need usually need preserving. Wipe over with teak oil twice a year to help preserve their colour. Softer woods – such as pine, ash, elm and beech – do need preserving. Apply a proprietary wood preservative, followed by a varnish. To restore painted and varnished wood, rub down with fine sandpaper, then reapply the coating.

Tip: If you don’t have a garage or shed to store everything away, look after your outdoor furniture with protective covers to prolong their life and avoid damage from the elements.

 

Source:GoodHouseCleaning

 

Indoor plants: 10 best house plants

From cleaner air to creative decor – there are so many benefits of having indoor plants around your house. However, it can be hard to know which varieties of plants are suitable for indoor conditions plus how to properly care for them.

We’ve rounded up the 10 best indoor plants that will thrive within four walls and asked the experts how you can keep them around forever.

1. Monstera deliciosa or “Swiss cheese plant”

Monstera deliciosa

There’s no doubt you’ve seen the “swiss cheese plant” all over Pinterest as they’re one of the most popular indoor plants going around right now. Their lush green leaves with distinctive holes make a stunning statement in any room and they can grow to fit any space. Monstera plants prefer a warm climate away from direct sunlight and they benefit from regular cleaning with a soft, damp cloth.

“Let the top 4cm of soil dry out between watering as over watering may lead to root rot, signs of this are yellowing or wilting leaves,” Gisele Zanier, founder of Beyond Sunflowers, a plant emporium based in Melbourne told Better Homes and Gardens. “For best results Monsteras should enjoy conditions that are fairly moist so avoid artificial heating and cooling, they will require monthly feeding in spring and summer when planted in containers.”

In its natural habitat, Monsteras like climbing so provide it with some kind of stake or trellis for support.

2. Epipremnum aureum or Devil’s Ivy 

devil's ivy

Devil’s ivy, also known as golden pothos or pothos, is a fast-growing and forgiving vine, suited to any position in the house. Whether they’re potted in hanging baskets or cuttings places in glass vases, these plants are super low maintenance and absolutely stunning. The leaves are waxy, heart shaped and colouring depends on cultivar – Wilcoxii are a mottled white and green, Marble Queen have more of a cream and grayish-green colouring, Neon is a shade of bright, light greeny-yellow and Tricolor have green leaves with yellow, light green and cream dappling. They’re highly drought tolerant and don’t require regular fertilisation. Water Devil’s Ivy deeply once a week and cut back to every other week in winter. Spring and summer is the best time to prune and propagate your plant, placing the cuttings in glass jars of water to encourage rooting.

3. Dracaena Massangeana or Mass Cane

Dracaena Massangeana

This plant is popular amongst beginner green thumbs and it’s often an office staple thanks to its hardy nature. Mass Cane often grows between 1.2 to 1.8 metres tall with stalky stems and long, green leaves featuring light yellow and green stripes running through them. It’s a great option if you’re looking for a large plant. This plant is best placed in indirect bright light but it can tolerate low light. You’ll only need to water it once a week. However it’s important to note that Dracaena ‘Massangeana’ is toxic to dogs and cats so it’s not the best option if you have furry friends around the house.

4. Spathiphyllum or Peace lily

peace lily
Spathiphyllum, commonly known as the Peace Lily, has long been a popular house plant, especially since NASA featured it in its list of best air purifying options. It has glossy, dark green foliage and stunning white flowers, usually growing between 45 to 65 centimetres tall. These tropical plants thrive in bright, indirect light, it can handle low light but that may cause it to bloom poorly. A peace lily will usually only need to be watered and misted once a week in warmer months, less often in winter. They hate soggy or wet soil and they’re prone to root rot so let the plants dry out a bit between waterings. Be sure to wipe down the foliage to prevent dust from building up. Make sure it is kept away from pets or children who may be tempted to chew it, as the plant is poisonous and may cause severe discomfort if ingested.

5. Bromeliad

Bromeliad

Don’t be intimidated by the Bromeliad. Although once regarded as a plant for the advanced gardener, these beautifully coloured rosette-forming perennials make for easy, low maintenance houseplants. When indoors, they need medium to bright light (but not direct sunlight) and do well in shallow pots with fast drainage. You can water the plant by filling the central cup (otherwise known as the tank) of the plant once a week during the warmer months and less during winter. Make sure you flush it on a regular basis to prevent water stagnation. As they are not heavy feeders, you can drop a slow-release fertiliser into the cup of the plant or mix it into the soil, once a season.

6. Sansevieria or Mother-in-law’s Tongue

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Originating from Southern Africa and Asia, another low maintenance houseplant is the Snake Plant, otherwise known as Mother-in-law’s tongue. The name refers to the pointed tips of the leaves, symbolising the sharp tongue of the Mother-in-law. This upright, succulent plant can grow up to two metres and is extremely hardy. It takes a lot to kill it, so this is another great option for those who tend to neglect their plants. It should be placed in bright light with some direct sun for several hours a day. It will tolerate shade, however the plant will take longer to grow. Moderate water is required, with the root ball remaining slightly damp in summer, but dryer in winter to avoid rotting. Don’t overwater, as the plant would prefer to be too dry than too damp.

7. Zanzibar Gem

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This stunning plant not only looks great, it has been hailed as being ‘almost indestructible’ and is perfect for those who tend to neglect their plants, as it is drought resistant. Native to Africa, it has deep, green glossy leaves and is able to survive a long period without water. The reason the Zanzibar Gem is so hardy is due to its ability to store water in its potato-like tuber. To care for your Zanzibar Gem, don’t over-water it or sit it in water. In fact it thrives on neglect and prefers you don’t water it too often. Once a month is enough. It’s best placed in a bright to light shaded area, however it will tolerate a shady spot, but will just take longer to grow. Keep it out of direct sunlight as the plant can burn. You can add a slow-release fertiliser in spring and re-pot if you notice the root starting to bulge.

8. Anthurium Andraeanum

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These popular indoor plants originally from Columbia, feature long, dark-green leathery leaves and produce beautiful, red, pink and white heart-shaped ‘flowers’ that can last for weeks. The ‘flowers’ are actually spathes, which are a leaf-like bract that surrounds a cylindrical spike. In order for the plant to bloom, it requires bright light (but not direct sun). It can grow up to 45cm high and soil needs to be kept evenly moist from spring to autumn and slightly drier in winter. The Anthurium benefits from being fertilised every two weeks in spring and summer with a high-phosphorus liquid fertiliser.

9. Maidenhair Fern

maidenhair fern

If you’re prepared to give a Maidenhair Fern the TLC it needs then it can make a beautiful addition to your home. They have feathery, light green leaves with soft shiny stems and they make a great hanging plant. Not only do they look fragile, Maidenhair Ferns truly are the goldilocks of the plant world when it comes to care instructions. They require not too much light, but not too little, growing well in a warm spot with a bit of humidity. DIY rainforest environment by placing a saucer filled with pebbles beneath the potted plant. Fill the saucer with water to just below the top of the pebbles and s the water evaporates, it creates a humid microclimate around the plant.

10. Ficus Elastica or Rubber Plant

rubber plant

With shiny leaves in shades of dark green and burgundy, the Rubber Plant or Rubber Fig is très on trend when it comes to house plants. It can either stay small in a little pot or be encouraged to grow into a large indoor tree. It’s a hardy, temperature-resilient option that likes bright, indirect light with weekly watering in warmer seasons and in colder seasons it can survive on monthly or fortnightly watering.

 

Source: BetterHomesandGardens