Top 10 tips to create a beautiful garden

You’ve looked at the blank canvas in the backyard long enough but how do you transform it into the garden of your dreams?

Creating a garden may seem overwhelming but it is easier than you think.

Here are our ‘Top 10′ tips and tricks to get you started, including:

  • Deciding on a style
  • Fashion or function?
  • Getting ‘arty’

light-bulb-icon@2x.png Our ‘Top 10’

Creating your own garden from scratch is exciting, if not a little daunting.


Time spent planning and thinking about how you and your family want to use this space will ensure you end up a garden that meets your needs.

1. Choose a style
What kind of garden would you like?


  • Visit some ‘Open Gardens’ or drive around your neighbourhood for inspiration
  • Decide on a style you like and suits your home
    A garden can add valuable $$ to your selling price if it compliments your home
  • What sort of atmosphere do you want to create – a Bali-inspired resort garden around the pool or an English country garden for afternoon tea?
2. Function over fashion While a beautiful garden is glorious, the space you have is valuable and it should meet the needs of you and your family.It should be functional but it can also be fashionable, depending on how you ‘style’ the essentials.


Make sure you have:


  • Room for a clothes line
  • Lawn for the kids
  • A relaxed seating and dining area
  • A vegie or herb garden
  • Privacy
  • The time to care for it – some gardens require more maintenance than others.
    Decide how much time you have available or want to spend on the garden.
3. Draw a ‘napkin sketch’ You don’t have to be an architect to draw up a rough plan.


It will help you picture the final layout of your garden.


  • Start by drawing up your yard
  • Make a list of the critical features (functional elements), and position these first
  • Use garden beds and paths to link the elements. Make sure these are wide enough to achieve the look you want
  • List the plants or ideas you have for each bed (this could be knee-high white flower hedge with purple flowers to 1m high behind)
  • Mark North on your plan. This will be critical when it comes to choosing the right plants
4. A picture’s worth a thousand words Take photos of the plants you like and the look you wish to achieve, then visit a local nursery or garden centre with your plan.


The staff should be able to advise you if the plants you like will fit in the position and area you have chosen – or they may suggest something similar that would work better.

5. Mass plant Individual plants may look appealing but they don’t have the impact of a large group.


Mass planting (planting in groups of three or five – ALWAYS an odd number!) is a great way for new gardeners to create maximum impact with only a few different plants. It’s also currently in vogue in stylish gardens.

6. Maximise foliage
Flowers are lovely but between flowering seasons it’s the variations in foliage that keep your garden looking stunning.


Look for different colours, shapes and styles of leaves. Try colour co-ordinating plants in groups or swathes to create a picture that will shine all year round.

7. Seasonal interest Flowers are just one way of celebrating the seasons. They are colourful and often fragrant but there are other ways to introduce seasonal interest..


  • Try to think of the colours you already have in your garden, and choose flower colours to suit.
  • Other plants produce fruits, berries, coloured foliage or vibrant stems.

Make a point of looking at other gardens throughout the year, and adapt some of the ideas you’ve seen for your own garden, to capture the best of each season.

8. Getting ‘arty’ Sculptures, collectables and old wares add personality to your garden. They can be used as a focal point or as a gap filler between seasons.


Don’t forget laser-cut metal or timber screens and wall panels and the like to add a touch of glamour to otherwise blank and unappealing walls or fences.

9. Water features Whether it’s a bowl of water, a pond or a fountain, water adds life, movement and interest to the garden.  The gentle sound of a fountain can be soothing and will help blank out external noise.


  • Spend some time looking for the right water feature for your garden
  • Many now available at garden centres are lightweight and come with a lowvoltage submersible pump included. They are easy to install and create a lovely atmosphere in the garden
10. Pre-planting checklist
  • Using your napkin plan as a guide, mark out the entire garden using a spot marker (paint spray)
  • Check that everything you want will fit, the garden flows well and you have enough room for plants
  • Watch the sun travel across your garden during the day, so you can maximise its impact in the garden.
  • All the ‘hard landscaping’ like paths and paved surfaces should be completed first, before moving to the garden beds. This will minimise potential damage to your new plants
  • When ready, dig up the garden beds and improve the soil before you begin planting

Source:Scotts Garden



9 Creative home renovation tips for a family with a tight budget

Home renovation is a popular hobby for homeowners.

Remodelling can help increase the value of a home while also providing a newer, more pleasant aesthetic to an aging home. This makes it more appealing to continue living in an older home.

In an attempt to save money, here are nine creative home renovation tips for a tight budget.

1. Update any room with a fresh coat of paint

One of the most tried and true budget home renovations is a fresh coat of paint. This is an easy way to help to transform the feeling and ambiance of any room in the house without spending a fortune on extra furniture or add-ons. Paint is fairly inexpensive and is simple to apply. This ensures that money isn’t wasted hiring professionals to conduct renovations. A different colour paint can help change any room without breaking the bank.

2. Install crown molding

Crown molding isn’t the most intuitive home renovation idea as not many homes utilise this design. Crown molding is essentially angled trim that lines where the ceiling and walls meet. This is a great way to add value to a home and increase the overall aesthetic appeal. The process is relatively simple and only requires some carefully cut angles and the patience of installation. There are also non-wood, crown molding options that are even more affordable.

3. Refinish kitchen cabinets

The kitchen is a popular area in the house to renovate. However, new cabinets and appliances can be quite expensive. Fortunately, there is another, more affordable remodeling trick. By sanding down the cabinets and applying a new finish, homeowners can achieve the look and feel of a completely new set without the purchase.

4. Install a stair runner

Stairs can be another costly renovation. However, adding a cheap stair runner can help give the space a different feel without a complete remodel. These runners can be purchased in a variety of designs to match any colour of paint or atmosphere of the home. Homeowners should be able to find the right size for their home quite easily.

5. Rearrange your furniture

While furniture contributes a lot to the overall feel of a room, it also tends to cost a lot of money. Most of the time, a tight budget won’t allow for the purchase of a new couch or dresser. For this reason, it is important to utilise the power of rearrangement. A room can feel completely different even with the same furniture when it has been moved around to different spots. You can do this with furniture from other rooms as well. This essentially costs nothing, yet can bring the feel of a complete remodel.

6. Replace cheaper household accessories

When considering a remodel, our attention typically turns towards the bigger ticket items. However, even swapping out smaller household accessories can help to shake things up. For example, pillows are littered throughout most homes on couches, beds, and chairs. Changing the smaller accessories throughout your home is a great way to renovate with a tight budget.

7. Hang up homemade art or photos

Many homeowners scratch their heads when considering what to do with a large area of empty wall. Instead of investing in expensive mirrors or other accessories, consider hanging some of your own work. This could come in the form of a personal painting or photograph. It’s a great way to make your rooms feel more personalised while also saving money in the long run.

8. Add minimalist storage ideas

Storage is an issue in most households. Not only do you have too many things to store, but storing them in a nice way is important as well. This is when investing in some minimalistic storage is a good idea. Small cubby holes and hanging racks are a few great ideas to make storing clothing and other smaller things a breeze. These storage devices can be added to closets and empty spaces throughout the house.

9. Install some new lighting

Lighting is another factor that contributes a lot to the ambiance of a room. Lucky for you, lighting is also a very affordable factor to change. You can opt for a brighter or dimmer setting depending on how you want the room to feel.

Colour is another option when it comes to changing the lighting in a room. Small colour accents can help give a room a cooler or warmer feel depending on the shade.

Wrap up

Renovating your home can be a great way to stay satisfied without having to spend money on moving. However, remodeling can cost money that a lot of homeowners simply don’t have. These nine creative home renovation tips will help you accomplish these goals on a budget.


Source: LetsBeMates

How to style your coffee table like an interior designer

We’ve all seen those picture-perfect coffee tables or desks while scrolling through social media and wondered how to get your stack of books and plants looking just ‘so’. Neale Whitaker has the scoop on how to style your desk or coffee table like a professional.

A coffee table needs to straddle being useful, functional and decorative. The coffee table I have in my living room doubles up as the dining table if we’re eating while watching TV, as well as being the place I like to put my feet up on. It should look beautiful, but also function as a working piece of furniture.

Soft-top tables

Some people use a soft-top table or a bench seat for their coffee table. If you do have one of those beautiful leather or fabric ottomans, you can still style them exactly as you need to by adding a hard surface to rest your items on. A large tray on top of the furniture will make it more practical to style.

Size matters

Coffee tables should be generous to be functional, small ones don’t really work. Even if you’re in a small space, don’t skimp on the coffee table. You want something you feel comfortable putting your feet up on, with enough room for a wine glass, TV remote and your decorative items. Think of it as a working piece of furniture. Some people have coffee tables that are purely works of art.

What to include

I put beautiful books on there, so if we have guests coming around I’ll usually put my favourite or most recently-acquired coffee table books, but not too many. It’ll also inevitably have a couple of scented candles. The wine glasses and ice bucket will probably go there, too.


Source: Lifestyle

6 tips for renovating on a small budget

Renovating a home on a small budget doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming. If you don’t mind doing some DIY and shopping around, you can make your home look more expensive than it really is, without breaking the bank.

Here are our six top tips for giving your home the wow factor with a small budget.

1. Start with the cheap fixes

There are lots of cheap fixes you can make within a home without handing over wads of your hard earned cash. But always look for ways you can get the most bang for your buck. Here are four budget-friendly ideas:

  • Repaint a room with a fresh coat of paint in a modern colour. This is a low cost way to deliver maximum impact to a room or rooms.

woman painting - renovating on a budget

  • Timber flooring looks great but costs a bomb to have sanded and varnished, so look at cheaper options such as durable floor paint to give floors a revamp.
  • Swap out old or outdated light fixtures for modern lighting to give rooms a lift. Places like Bunnings and IKEA have lots of affordable options.
  • Replace cheap looking thin skirtings and architraves with wider profile versions.

2. Focus on the kitchen and bathroom

Concentrate on adding value to rooms such as the kitchen and bathroom as these are rooms that will give you financial rewards come sale day. You can make lots of positive tweaks and changes to a kitchen and bathroom, even on a tight budget. These include replacing handles on cabinets, repairing tiles, swapping out taps  and adding a splashback, drawer organisers and extra storage shelves.

bathroom - renovating on a budgetIf your kitchen or bathroom has ugly laminated cupboards it can make the space look dingy and outdated. Spruce them up with laminate paint (such as White Knight Laminate Paint from Bunnings) by simply applying undercoat and painting right over the top of them.

Another tip is to swap out old fixtures and fittings with replacements that look high end but don’t cost the earth. For example, a bathtub that costs $300 rather than one that costs $3,000; or locally sourced classic white subway tiles rather than imported hand painted designer tiles.

3. Shop around for bargains

Online auctions and stores are your friends when it comes to doing up a house on a budget. While it may take a bit more time to source what you need, you could save hundreds of dollars on fixtures and fittings by buying discontinued goods or second hand materials.

4. Include smart home features

If you’re renovating to sell, then including smart home features can make your home more appealing to a buyer. At $79.99 IKEA’s smart lighting system doesn’t cost an arm and a leg and, despite simple features, you can still play with different lighting moods, modify brightness and set schedules.

5. Add an outdoor entertaining area

entertaining area - renovating on a budgetA space for outdoor entertaining is high on the wish list of many buyers and this can often make or break the sale of a house. If you already have a patio this can easily be converted into an outdoor area with affordable furniture, lighting and space for a BBQ. If you don’t have a patio then consider adding a deck off the lounge for indoor outdoor flow. This doesn’t have to be an expensive exercise or need council approval if it’s small enough.

6. Use DIY where possible

If you’re handy with a paint brush or able to execute a simple tiling job, then do these jobs yourself to save money. Always use professionals for electrical, plumbing and structural work, get at least three quotes and check recommendations. Doing your homework can mean paying a lot less for tradie labour.

To save even more money, ask family and friends to help out with gardening work like weeding, painting fences and planting trees. They shouldn’t mind too much, especially if you shout them pizza and have cold drinks on standby!


Source: HomeSales

How to paint interior walls

The walls of your home colour your world. They are what set the mood for everyday life. So, the way you apply your paint can be just as important as the colour itself. Here are the steps to take when painting interior walls.



2. Clear the area of any furniture to give yourself ample working space.


2. Lay down a drop sheet and clean your walls with sugar soap. You may be tempted to skip this step, however a clean surface is your best insurance against a ruined paint job.

Tip: Now you’re ready to paint! Choose an interior paint that suits your needs. Dulux Wash&Wear® Low Sheen is Australia’s favourite washable paint because of its leading performance that keeps walls looking freshly painted for longer.

3. Mask your trim for cutting-in. Cutting-in is a technique whereby you paint with a brush or application pad, the areas that can’t be reached with a roller.


4. Load your brush by dipping it into the paint roughly half the length of the bristles. Tap the brush on the side of the paint pot to remove the excess. Start brushing a few centimeters from the corner or edge. As you move the brush, you will establish the line of the edge of the paint. Drag the brush in to the edge so that the line on the paint follows the edging.

Tip: One of the most important tips when cutting-in is to not paint too far ahead. You’ll need to maintain a wet edge so your roller can blend into the brushed paint. If your cut-in paint dries you’ll end up with two coats and what’s called ‘picture framing’ where you can see a distinction between the cut-in and rolled sections.



5. Now you’re ready to roll out the wall. To load your roller push it forward on the tray then lift it to see if it spins evenly. If your roller is unbalanced, it’s because the paint isn’t evenly applied, so continue rolling it over the tray with full rotations to spread the paint evenly.


6. Start from where you cut in and roll across the wall. For best results, roll as far into the brushed area as possible.

Tip: Paint in a ‘W’ motion. This will ensure an even distribution across your wall.


7. After you have covered a section of the wall, it’s time to lay-off to get a smooth finish. This is arguably the most important step in rolling a wall and should be done when you’ve painted a section roughly 3-4 meters. Laying-off your wall means giving it a smooth consistent finish and hiding those streaky brush strokes. Simply place your unloaded roller at the top left corner of your wall. Ensure the handle side of your roller is to the right. Then with almost zero pressure roll straight down your wall until you reach the bottom. Remove your roller, return to the top, and slightly overlap where you just rolled so that each panel rubs away the line from the previous lay-off.


8. And you’re done! Simply clean up using Dulux Envirosolutions® Waste Hardener and enjoy your beautiful new walls.




DIY: Magic Closet Lighting

Magic Closet Lighting

I wanted to put a light inside my wife’s clothes closet.

I didn’t want to put in a regular light bulb & socket,as this would require a bulb, which gets warm, a switch which could get left on. I didn’t want to have a warm bulb in tight quarters with flammable clothing. I also only wanted low voltage DC as this is safer and runs very cool.

The lights turn on soon as the doors are opened.

The strip lighting give very good light coverage through the closet.

So this is what I came up with.


Step 1: Attach Strip Lighting

Attach strip lighting on the inside of the closet wall.

Run a complete strip starting from the bottom of one side, over the top and back down the other side.


Step 2: Switch Installation

Switch Installation

Locate and fasten the switch so when the door closes it presses on the switch.


Step 3: Soldering the Wires

Soldering the WiresSoldering the Wires

The Lighting strip has a Positive terminal & a Negative terminal. And so does the DC Adapter.

Make sure you attach properly or you can burn out the LED strip.

Solder the negative wire from the adapter to the negative terminal end of the light strip.

Run a wire pair connected from the switch and solder one wire to the POSITIVE side of the light strip.

Solder and tape the two remaining ends of the wires together to complete the circuit.


Step 4: Completed


When all is done, you should have a very nicely lit closet with the coolness of just opening the door to turn on the light.

Low cost, easy project.