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April 2013
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August 2013

Outdoor Pond


Note: this is a guest post and consideration was received for its publication. photo: CC-licensed image of a backyard pond by Chang Er

I've always dreamed of having my own backyard paradise with a pond. I imagined emerging from our house onto our craftsman deck and stepping down into an oasis of lush greenery that peeled away to reveal a beautiful babbling pond filled with a rainbow of carp. Instead we got holes in our backyard, my husband's thrown out back, and some disappointment. More than anything my dream of a pond led us to rush into the installation without developing a solid plan or blueprint that suited our yard. After a few failed attempts we did manage to install a lovely little pond but not without a lot of unnecessary work and one giant bruised ego (mine).


I hit the internet for information about building our pond, but I encourage you to take time to get out and look at backyard ponds in action. Not all ponds are created equally. For instance I was at a party last week and incurred a healthy case of pond envy. My friends installed a beautiful koi pond that stretches much farther than ours and sets a beautiful scene for their entire yard. Had I encountered this pond before digging ours, a larger pond budget might have seemed worth it.

Call Before You Dig!

If you live in Texas, call 811 to request a surveyor to mark your property for gas, electric, and water lines. Uncovering a gas line while digging not only slows project progress, it also might cause costly damages. Not novices to home renovation, we did make this call. Unfortunately while I thought I knew our safe areas from previous landscaping projects, it turned out the exact place I wished to place our pond actually contained a sewer line. Not a huge setback, but it did cause us to move our entire project over about five feet diagonally.

Maintain Your Water Level

Invest in a float switch or similar method to keep your water at level on a continuous basis. Unfortunately we left for the weekend shortly after we installed our two beautiful carp. The weather became unpredictably hot, water evaporated, and we came home to two very crowded fish. While we lucked out and did not lose our little buddies, had we been absent a day or two more the heat of reduced water might have killed them.

Hire Someone!

I cannot emphasize how much work it is to dig a pond and then hustle in the necessary stones to landscape it. While we are not strangers to heavy lifting for home renovations, this is an instance where paying the professional is worth the pain and labor saved. After heaving half of our rocks from the driveway tot the pond perimeter, my husband threw out his back and we stalled on the project until we opted to pay some strapping neighborhood teenagers to carry the rest of the stone. 

Investing in a pond creates a beautiful element within your landscaping, and while I roll my eyes every time the subject comes up or a visitor compliments our little pond, I do love to walk out cool mornings and meditate over it with a cup of coffee.

How To Create a Modern Kitchen For Spring in Ohio


Note: this is a guest post and consideration was received for its publication. Photo: a colorful modern kitchen, CC-licensed image by Lee J. Haywood

Where spring is all about color, the modern world seems more set of steel and chrome. Color is minimal and there is more of a focus on metallic colors, machinery and appliances.

How do you go for a modern kitchen while still keeping it in line with the lively and colorful season of spring in Ohio?

Do you make it an explosion of colors or do you restrict it to the minimalistic and metallic order of the modern world?

Here are just a few hints and tips on how to make your kitchen more modern without depriving it of the spring fever.

1.  Add Color Smartly

Hints of color look good when spring rolls around. Having a modern kitchen doesn’t mean you must deprive yourself from colors, but that you use them smartly. Don’t go ahead and paint the entire kitchen yellow. What you can do is buy appliances in color.

A lot of different electronics companies have introduced sleek creations that work well as per their function and also have infused in them a stripe of color here and there. So though they may still appear all steel and chrome, you’ll find some life in them.

2.  Let the Environment Breathe

When you imagine a modern kitchen, you see a room stuffed from wall to wall with appliances. You can always be a little careful when buying appliances so that you consume the minimum of energy while using them.

With everything in today's world running on electricity, trying to be energy efficient and opting for energy saving products is not only wise, but also in vogue. There are plenty of companies manufacturing energy saving appliances. You can also save on appliances that rely on natural gas by opting for a company such as or a similar company if you live outside Ohio.

3.  Create Creative Storage Spaces

This goes especially for those with smaller kitchens. People do tend to horde certain things, whether its grocery items or some sort of a crockery item. Regardless, there is always more to keep and less space to keep it. You don't necessarily have to store it in the already cramped cabinets. Modern kitchens are not only spaces to cook in, but, increasingly, also to entertain so it would do good to add some decorative element.

Why not make this decorative element a part of your storage as well? If you like to collect unique salt and pepper shakers, set up a simple shelf on one of the kitchen walls and show them off. Alternately, you can set up a peg board on a wall and hang your cutlery on it. This will add to the ambience of your kitchen while saving you some space in the drawers and cabinets.

4.  Modernize the Plumbing

No, don’t redo the entire plumbing, but you can use plumbing fixtures to add some mood to your kitchen, similarly as you use appliances for the purpose. Change up your sink and faucets to add a little color or add some unique form of faucet that seems very techy, but is essentially just a means to wash your hands and dishes.

One unique design allows water to flow from a faucet in a waterfall-like fashion, so you know there are plenty of options when it comes to faucets as well.

Whether it's a major change as of getting new floors done or a minor one of just adding a new toaster, making a kitchen more modern is not about how big your budget is, but rather how innovative and out of the box you can think.