Get your home and garden ready for Spring
The beginning of spring is the perfect time to get your home ready for summer in preparation for barbecues, gardening and long evenings outside. The weather is warming up and it’s time to open the windows, dust off the outdoor furniture and enjoy the warmth and sunshine.
Here’s a list of tasks to prep your house for the warmer weather ahead and save you time and money. Clean windows and screens Spring is the time to clean fly screens and windows.
For windows, fill a spray bottle with window cleaner, use newspaper or a squeegee to leave them streak free. Carefully remove the screens and use a hose and mild detergent, but don’t pressure wash them — the force of the spray can damage them.
Get summer tools ready Lawn mowers and whipper-snippers are key to keeping your yard looking neat through the summer. Make sure your equipment is ready to tackle these tasks with springtime tune-ups.
For fuel mowers and edgers, clean the equipment and replace the oil and spark plugs, and get all new oil, fuel and air filters. Lubricate the moving|parts and sharpen the mower blade.
Check the whipper snipper’s trimmer string to see if it needs replacing. If you’re not comfortable doing either of these yourself, you can have them handled by a professional.
Power tools may be the workhorses of your lawn, but hand tools are just as important. Wash off any remaining dirt from your shovels, hoes, rakes, pruners and shears. Wipe them down with a lubricant, too.
Lubricate hinges of pruners and shears, and carefully clean blades with rubbing alcohol. Sharpen blades if needed. Clean gutters and downpipes While you’re assessing the outside of your home, check on your gutters and downpipes.
Autumn and winter can be tough on them. Cleaning gutters can be a tough job, so consider hiring a pro, especially if your house is more than one story tall. If you’re comfortable tackling it yourself, be safe and work with a partner.
If you’re doing it yourself, you’ll need a sturdy ladder, gloves, a trowel, safety glasses and a hose. Use the trowel to scoop the gunk out of the gutters. Once you’ve gotten as much out as you can, hose out the gutters and let the water run out through the downpipe. Use the hose to force out clogs.
Tidy up your yard Spring is the perfect time to prep lawns and garden beds by giving them a good feed in readiness for summer. Bindis are on their way and now is the perfect time to spray for these little nasties.
A good ‘weed and feed’ solution is available from all major retail outlets. Give your gardens a little boost by digging through a quality fertiliser with the garden soil. Your gardens will thank you later, with a generous bounty of new foliage and blooms.
It’s also a great time to give your outdoor furniture a good wipe over and remember to refill the gas bottle for those summer barbecues.
Features in your garden
Spring is the perfect time to give your outdoor space a makeover. Zen gardens have a very long tradition in the East, but anyone who wishes to enjoy such a serene place can make one in their backyard. These are characterised by succulents, simple water features and smooth stones or sand.
Make sure to provide your mindful garden with a small bench from where you can enjoy its smells, sounds and sights. The ever-popular water feature never loses momentum because of how soothing the sound of water is and everyone loves to look and touch it.
If you don’t have space for a rock waterfall, you can opt for a small reflecting pool instead to achieve a similar effect. Being green has been a huge trend over the past few years with more and more people looking for a way to boost eco-friendliness in their outdoor spaces.
The easiest way to achieve that is to think outside of the box and start repurposing and reusing. For instance, if you have an old pair of ripped rubber boots, try turning them into some cute planters.
A rusty old watering can with a couple of drainage holes can become a planter in only a few minutes. There’s nothing more ecofriendly than producing your own organic food right in your backyard.
Since an increasing number of people are trying to eat more vegetables and organic, locally-grown produce, growing edible plants seems like a logical next move. Salad, tomatoes, cucumbers, green onions and peppers are super easy to grow, even for beginner gardeners.
Some of these edible plants can be grown in pots as well. Tomatoes, peppers, zucchini and all sorts of herbs are suitable for container gardening. If you have a big backyard or garden that you love to hang out in, why not spend even more time there by moving your daily meals to your garden?
It’s becoming more and more practised, especially by people who spend a lot of time indoors and crave some fresh air. Invest in an outdoor dining set and don’t hesitate to put it away from your house.
It might mean more walking with your full plate, but the experience is much more authentic. Don’t forget to provide a shelter for your dining set, so you don’t get surprised by sudden rain or be bothered by strong sun.
Practical shade sails are a great solution as they can protect you and improve the aesthetics of your backyard with their interesting designs.
Thanks to the low-maintenance garden trend, people don’t have to spend hours upon hours in their gardens.
This trend is based on the bed head garden – a method of informal planting that focuses on minimum care and local plants that don’t require extra work to look good.
Technology is another addition to gardens – an outdoor stereo system you can control from your phone, smart LED light bulbs or even an outdoor theatre can be installed.
Interior design – keep it minimal
Interior design has largely been moving in the minimalist direction for a while now and minimalism is certainly still going to be in fashion in 2019.
Sustainability is filtering down to styling and pieces alike with sustainable fabrics and alternatives such as animal-free leather and wormfree silk gaining popularity.
Making a shift towards products that are either recycled, or able to be recycled, is a responsibility as much as it is a preference. Don’t be surprised to see a shift back towards black for homes and interiors.
Matte black is popping up across exteriors and interiors alike, and also across a lot of homewares. Black is exciting because it creates a lot of drama and allows bold statements without being so trendy that you’ll want to change everything in 12 months.
To complement the black, browns, beiges, golds and warm neutrals will see a resurgence. Wallpaper and window dressings will continue to be very on-trend, with bold styles featuring heavily and pattern and texture.
From faux leathers to embossed baroque styles, homes and businesses are increasingly choosing wallpaper to make a statement.
Window treatments are also enjoying a lasting comeback, with everything from layered drapes to crisp clean shades expected to continue to remain popular into 2019.
Keeping it cool
If your air conditioner unit is not working as well as it did last season or maybe you are just meticulous with keeping your equipment in tip top shape you will need the services of an air-conditioning expert.
So when should you get your air conditioner serviced? There are a few things to keep in mind before you decide to pick up the phone and call a specialist. Getting the right company out will help ensure the technician looking at your air conditioner knows common problems and faults with your particular brand.
If you are unsure who the best company to use is, contact the manufacturer of your air conditioner and ask for the Authorised Service Provider in your local area. There are two main types of air conditioning units used in Australia; refrigerated and evaporative.
These types of air conditioning units are very different in design and operation. Refrigerated air-conditioning offers heating and cooling cycles (reverse cycle), de-humidifies on cooling cycle, costs more to install and run but operates better in extreme temperatures than evaporative systems.
It also requires regular filter cleans 3-6 monthly and in depth servicing every 12 to 24 months depending on the type and age of the refrigerated unit.
As a minimum every 12 – 18 months you should get a ducted unit serviced and every two years for a hi-wall system Evaporative air-conditioning offers cooling only, works very well in dry climates but is affected badly by humidity yet is cheaper to install and run.
Evaporative units should be cleaned six monthly with water usage, water dumping, water bleed, pump operation and fan operation checked thoroughly every year prior to summer.
Keeping a record of your servicing schedule will help ensure you know what is being repaired on your air conditioning unit. This is particularly handy when you have similar issues arising on a regular basis.
A good air conditioning repair company should be able to look deeper at the issue and find the root cause. The air conditioning industry is extremely seasonal.
When the day’s temperature is above 35°C or the nights are 10°C or less, any good air conditioning company will be extremely busy. The best time to arrange a general health check service on your air conditioner is not at this time!
Waiting until spring or autumn will ensure your air conditioning service technician has the time to properly check over everything and you will not be waiting for weeks.
There are many things you can do to increase the time between service visits, without a certificate in refrigeration and air conditioning, to ensure your air conditioning unit is kept in good condition between services.
• Keep your return air filter clean
• Keep your outdoor unit clear of dust, dirt and debris including leaf matter
• Check your zone/room switches are working (ducted refrigerated systems)
• Check water is draining from your unit (indoor unit on cooling and outdoor unit on heating)
• Check pads are not deteriorating
• Clean the basin within the unit
• Check the fan and pump operate
• Cover the unit in winter to prevent pre-mature damage to components.
Styling your bedrooms – it’s all about personal taste
Take a mixture of own personal style and a favourite bedroom space and put these ideas together to create your own dream bedroom.
Tips to design your own personal space include building a moodboard and add to it your inspirational images – photos, brochures or tearsheets from magazines to use as a base.
Layer samples of fabrics, paint swatches, colour and textures, flooring samples and images of items you already own or those you plan to purchase.
Ultimately you will have a visual diary to follow and the moodboard will act as a reference when you’re making decisions on everything from your colour scheme to the finishing touches needed to bring your whole scheme together.
First you should create a strong colour base. Start with larger items such as your chosen wall colour or use the existing character of the room to inform the palette.
Consider the tones of your flooring as this is something that is fixed. Perhaps it’s a statement armchair or upholstered bedhead is driving your inspiration? Pick up these colours and tones as you choose bed linen and other accessories.
Bring in accents from objects and your inspirational references to drive the colour palette beyond the monotone – perhaps pick up details of colour in a fabric pattern that may work well on a larger scale – as a solid block in an armchair or artwork.
Surround yourself with layers of beautiful textures and calming hues in your choice of bedlinen. Buy the best quality sheets you can afford, then layer with blankets, bedspreads, coverlets and throws that bring in different textures, graduations of your colours and a mixture of patterns and plains in the fabrics.
Make careful choices in your lighting, bedhead and side tables to match your scheme. Match the tones – warm woods with gold-based metals, cool colours with silver and glass.
Introduce a porcelain wall light or fabric lampshade in either crisp white, sombre black or one of the colours of your palette. Make a statement with patterned wallpaper or an oversized chunky throw.
Don’t forget to add a little wow factor by splurging a little to add that extra layer of luxe. At the end of the process stand back and look at the end result and don’t be afraid to remove, rather than add, elements to the whole.
Try not to be swayed by impulse purchases and snap decisions along the way that take you in a different direction. Take a photo and compare it alongside your original inspiration to see where the similarities lie, or highlight what’s not working.
Be firm in your original idea and keep coming back to it.
Vertical gardens the perfect answer
Springtime in the garden is an unreal time – it’s the perfect opportunity to transform your yard or install a vertical garden on your drab well or balcony. Vertical gardens are the perfect way to garden if you don’t have a lot of space.
The only natural ingredient that you need is sunlight. The best walls for vertical gardens are north facing, with plenty of sunlight. However, with the right plants and nurturing, vertical gardens can thrive on any wall..
After finding a wall, work out how to attach some pots. You can buy ready-made vertical garden frames from most garden outlets. Or, get creative. Use wire and some nails to attach pots that aren’t currently in use.
Consider putting your vertical garden on a rack that can be moved, as the seasons change. This will let you avoid the extreme heat in summer or frosts in winter.
Fill your pots with beautiful soil, think: rich and welldraining and get planting. The classic vertical garden is herbs, like parsley, mint, coriander and rocket. Branch out from the classic with some flowers or strawberries.
MAKE IT FUN
Something for kids and parents that’s fun and nutritious at the same time is a tepee garden. The tepee frame can be six long, straight sticks about 1.5m long, left over from the winter fruit tree pruning.
You can buy purpose-created sticks from garden stores, made from bamboo or tea trees. Secure the tepee frame by pushing the sticks gently into the garden bed and securely tying the top of the sticks to each other with some string.
Secure the sticks in a tepee shape by looping string around each stick. Each piece of string should loop around the sticks, joining them to each other, at about 30 cm intervals, along each stick. The largest looped string will be at the bottom.
Near the base of each stick, plant bean seeds or even snow peas. Just make sure that you haven’t selected a ‘dwarf’ variety as these may not climb high enough to cover your tepee. It’s a great is garden feature and doubles up as a place for children to play and a source of delicious, fresh produce to eat.
Try growing a row of flowers beside each row of vegetables to improve pollination and supply with cut flowers. The best cut flowers for growing between vegetables are annuals, grown by seed.
Coroco- catering for all your styling needs
Coroco is celebrating 14 years in business in Narrandera this month, which is Small Business Month when we celebrate the contributions small businesses make to our communities. The family store operated by Derek and Denise Makeham not only operates in Narrandera but has a strong clientele throughout the region.
They service a wide area with recent deliveries to Young, Rankins Springs and Coleambally. Lounges are their biggest sellers in spring, with homeowners keen to give their living rooms a fresh new look.
Coroco has a brand new range of Dormitex mattresses, an all Australian made mattress with a 10 year warranty. Massage and lift beds are also selling well, so if you want some additional comfort this spring and summer call in and visit the friendly team at Coroco in East Street Narrandera.