When trying to save money on your household bills you may come to a point when you feel like you cannot save anymore. Look again and think about trying to save on your water bill. There are many little tricks that you can do to help you save when you feel like there is no room for improvement. Try these helpful hints and come back in a month or two and let me know if your water bill has dropped.
In The Kitchen
- When cleaning fruits and veggies save your water and use to water your houseplants.
- Run the dishwasher only when it is completely full.
- Let your frozen foods defrost in the fridge overnight instead of using the running cold water method.
- When washing the dishes fill your first sink half full with hot soapy water and your second sink half full with hot rinse water. Do not stand there and leave the water running full blast the whole time you are washing dishes. This uses more water than you think.
- Keep a pitcher filled with water in your refrigerator for drinking water instead of running the tap every time you need a drink.
- Use the least amount of water when boiling something in the kitchen. Drain and reserve this water and use it to water your houseplants or outdoor potted plants.
- The garbage disposal in the kitchen can use a ton of water. Use it sparingly or better yet start composting!
In the Bathroom
- Take shorter showers…shortening them even by a few minutes can help you save on your water bill.
- Check your toilet for leaks by adding food coloring to the toilet tank. If a leak is present you should see it in the bowl within 30 minutes. Fixing these leaks is fairly simple; just ask your local hardware store for help.
- Don’t let your water run down the drain while waiting for the water to get hot. Put the stopper in immediately and adjust the hot water after it starts filling up a bit. Filling the bath up only 1/3 of the way will make a big difference when trying to save on your water bill.
- Partially fill the sink instead of letting the water run while shaving or washing your face.
- Cut down on the number of times that you flush the toilet. Use the trash can for toilet paper that is used for blowing your nose or wiping up spills instead of flushing them.
In the Laundry Room
- Consider buying a water-conserving front loading washing machine.
- Make sure you adjust the water level to the amount of clothes you have in the washing machine or better yet only wash clothes when you have a full load.
- Try re-using your towels when bathing. Keep a different color for each member of your household and have them hang it to dry in between uses.
- Keep your hot water heater on a little cooler setting. This may not save you in the water department but can drastically cut down on your energy bill.
- Collect rainwater to water your plants. Use a barrel or bucket under your downspout or gutter.
- Water your grass in the evening to cut down on evaporation from the hot sun.
- Use soaker hoses to water your flower gardens and plants. This gets the water directly on the spot where needed.
- Put mulch around your plants to help hold the moisture in and cut down on the number of times your plants will need watering.
- When the heat is high and your kids MUST play in water outside to keep cool. Try only filling there wading pool halfway and turning the hose down on low with the sprinkler to help save on your water bill.
Garden care depends on what type of garden you have, or are planning to plant. Below we have listed a few of the most popular flowers and types of gardens so you know what you can expect and how to maintain your garden of choice throughout the year.
Border garden: border gardens are usually placed on the ground, alongside a part of the house or a pool. For example, the front of your house may have a border garden. Border gardens tend to have perennial plants placed with the taller ones at the back and the smaller ones at the front. Many people will also use ground covers (plants that grow along the ground) to fill in the spots. Border gardens can brighten up your house and also create a three-dimensional garden feel for your visitors. Ground covers are a great addition to border gardens because they can grow quickly and complete your garden in no time. Many people will opt for roses in their border gardens in a variety of different colors.
- Rock gardens:
- rock gardens are another popular choice for your front or backyard. Most rock gardens will either have rocks surrounding the garden with plants inside, or rocks spread throughout the garden. Either way, the combination of beautiful shrubs, dark rocks, and blossoming flowers can add a delicate touch to any garden. When it comes to rock gardens, you need a lot more soil as your flowers must grow around the rocks. Make sure you spread your flowers out evenly around the rocks and give them plenty of room to grow. Perennials are best for rock gardens as they come back every year.
- Potted/Container Gardens:
- another popular choice is potted plant gardens. Many people will plant mini gardens in large pots or container around the house. Potted plant gardens look great inside and outside and can brighten up your deck or patio area. Potted plants are fairly easy to maintain. You will need to water them every day during the summer with a watering can and add some fertilizer to the mix twice a month. Potted plants can be annuals or perennials and look best when you choose various colored flowers. You can plant several smaller plants in one pot or opt for a large plant per pot. Try to match your potted plant designs to the color of the flowers, the decor of the furniture, and the table place-mats.
Whether you are testing out your green thumb or have been in the hobby business of gardening for many years, it’s important that you are using the right tools to prune, dig, water and weed. If you are not, there is a good chance you are wasting a lot of time and effort and your garden is not up to the standard you had hoped for.
Never fear. Below we’ve listed the top five must-have garden tools for any bright and beautiful garden.
- Pruning shears:
- Pruning is an important part of the gardening process used for light shrub and rose to prune as well as cutting back perennials and deadheading. Pruning shears provide a clean cut that will not pinch the stems and are designed for plants. There are several different types of pruning shears out there including lopping pruners and hand pruners. Choose pruning shears that are designed for your flower bed and shrubbery. Lopping pruners are usually best for thicker branches while hand pruners work best with smaller plants and bushes.
- A digging spade:
- Unless you have a dog that loves to dig exactly where you command him to, then you are going to need a digging spade. Digging spades can actually make digging fun as they take the place of using your fingers. Make sure you choose a digging spade with a varnished hardwood handle for a more comfortable grip. Digging spades are best used for loosening up hard dirt in your garden. Another option is a garden fork which can lift out those extra tough soil spots.
- A rake:
- leaves are bound to fall in the summer and they will not make an exception when it comes to your garden. Garden rakes are pretty standard at any hardware or grocery store and come in various styles and materials including plastic, steel, and wood. Fall leave cleanup is inevitable so why not make it fun by choosing a brightly colored rake in a flirty red or purple?
- A watering hose:
- finally, you are going to most certainly need a high-quality garden hose. The best garden hoses are those with at least four to six ply thickness. Try a watering wand extension to project the perfect volume of water onto your garden.
- Additional must-have gardening tools include a weeder, garden knife, hedge shears, and a wheelbarrow to help with the excess dirt, weeds and fallen leaves.
- Happy Gardening.
Finally, once you have the accessories, the garden, and the furniture matching and in position, you need to ensure that your fence and lawn are up to par. There is nothing worse than having a beautiful backyard garden hidden behind weeds and overgrown grass. Make a habit out of mowing the lawn once every week (or every two weeks). You can also consider coating your deck or fence with a fresh set of paint or wood varnish which can make your backyard garden really sparkle.
As soon as summer is over, you need to start preparing for another long and cold winter. This
means packing the kids back up to school, returning to a regular routine and putting the garden
to sleep for the winter. Your garden has enjoyed a long and bountiful spring and summer but
now that fall has rolled around, it’s time to put your garden to bed.
Most people think that spring and summer are garden seasons but, as gardeners know, fall is
just as important. Fall is the time to take extra special care to ensure your plants last for the
winter. Below is a checklist to ensure that you get everything done before the first snow falls.
· First of all, you need to take extra care with all your winter crops. If you have leeks, kale,
parsnip, Brussels sprouts or anything other winter crop, put an extra amount of mulch
around them. This will comfort and protect them through the colder months.
· Next, gather up all the leaves that have fallen in the last couple of weeks. Go through
your garden and pick up any dead vegetation and additional dead leaves and add them
to your compost bin. Take special care not to pick up any seeds in the process. They
should be left in your garden.
· Don’t forget about the weeds. Fall season is also the time to get rid of any access weeds
that have crawled into your garden. Many people will also get rid of any vines that have
taken over their garden as well, but others like to keep the vine for a more Christmas
· You need to take extra special care of your soil during the colder climate. Till the soil to
start with and then add some compost to give it more nutrients. For those who are
thinking about expanding their garden, the fall season is also the time to till more ground
and prepare it for planting and harvesting in the spring. It is a lot easier to till the soil now
than after the frost. Furthermore, this will prepare your ground for garden season in the
· Finally, don’t forget about your garden tools. They need to be cleaned and free of dirt
which can stick to the tools causing problems next year. Linseed oil can help keep your
wooden handle tools in good shape. Make sure you dry your tools after washing and
scrubbing them as the extra water can cause rust.
How to Choose and Maintain Annuals
Annuals are a popular choice when it comes to a backyard garden or outdoor area. This is
because they are easy to plant, straightforward to maintain and only last one season. For those
who like to switch it up every season, planting a few annuals in the spring will ensure a bright
and colorful summer.
Visiting the Nursery
Annuals can be planted anywhere and come in a variety of colors and types. All annuals will
have a tag that will help you determine the condition of growth best suited for your annual.
Annuals are great in flower beds, in potted plants, in rock gardens and anywhere else inside or
outside the house. Furthermore, they are fairly inexpensive and can be purchased from any
Annuals will come in small plastic containers, usually in a set of four to six. It’s best to choose
annuals that are little baby plants that have not bloomed yet. Check the tags to see when they
will bloom, what they need and what you can expect when you take your new little babies home
from the nursery.
Sometimes the best way to learn how to do something right is to learn how to do something
wrong. That’s why we have outlined four mistakes that gardeners make so you know what to
avoid in your own garden care endeavors.
· Till, Soil and Go: many people will work their butts off for one weekend in the spring,
bringing in soil, clearing away overgrowth and purchasing a nursery full of bright
beautiful plants. However, once the initial ground work has been laid and the flowers are
in place, they walk away. Gardening is not a weekend task; it is a fall, spring and
summer job that requires constant attention. You will need to keep your garden
maintained long after the planting has occurred. This may include watering, fertilizing,
tilling the soil, pruning back the large leaves and taking the necessary actions for
insects, pests and weeds.
· Too much Love: many people will also love their plants to death. Too much of a good
thing can always cause issues. Many people will devote too much time to watering and
fertilizing their plants which can cause them to become too wet. Too much wetness can
lead to growth problems, drowning, as well as fungal infections and diseases. Most
plants need to be watered twice or three times a week. When the days are really hot
during the summer, you may need to water them every day but that does not mean
dumping a bathtub full of water on them.
· The wrong plants for the wrong atmosphere: another big issue surrounding garden care
is to purchase and place plants in surroundings they are not suited for. Check to see if
your plants need sun or shade, water requirements, soil, fertilizer, etc. All of this
information should be located on the labels that come with the plants.
· Shopping blindfolded: it’s important that you do the required research when it comes to
garden care. Do not just go into a shop and pick the prettiest plants on the aisles. Most
plants that are in full bloom in the store are past their blossoming prime. Ask for
assistance, read the labels and consider your garden surroundings and environment for
successful plant growth. You can check online for the best plants for your garden
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