Helping You Define Your Lifestyle

Low Maintenance Gardening for Large Spaces

Having a large outdoor area is a real luxury in so many ways, but it can also be a huge commitment. Recent research found that the average gardening enthusiast spends the equivalent of 53 minutes per week weeding their outdoor space, so just imagine how much time you could rack up pulling weeds if your garden is decidedly larger than average. Sometimes, downsizing can seem like an attractive option, but why give up space when a few low maintenance tactics could help you to make better use of your time? Time and time again, scientific research reinforces the benefits of gardening and spending time outdoors has on our wellbeing, so why not introduce a few simple gardening swaps to ensure that along with staying on top of things, you get to enjoy plenty of downtime too. 

Prioritise your layout

The fewer time consuming garden features you have in your garden, the less you’ll need to tend to them. This means deciding which things are a priority in your space and ditching anything that isn’t. Do you really need flower beds or a water feature? What about those herb pots and your vegetable garden? Your garden doesn’t need to be bereft of interest but you should think long and hard about which features are really providing value for you, which you enjoy the most and which are draining your time. Pots in particular can add hours onto your gardening to-do list as they require additional watering. If you’d really like to hang on to them, think about moving plants in larger pots that can hold more water. Along with streamlining your garden features, think about their placement too. Areas that are more time intensive and require lots of watering or digging may be better placed close to the house to help reduce time spent wandering to and from your property.

Be clever with the basics

Reduce the time you spend doing the essentials and you’ll find it easier to maintain the feature areas you have prioritised within your space. If you can afford to have someone to come in and mow the lawn for you regularly you can reclaim mowing time to be spent on other tasks. Or, why not invest in a top of the range robot lawnmower to get the job done for you? If you’re not too keen on dipping into the world of artificial intelligence, you could opt for a sit-on or wider mower to get the job done more quickly. A reliable diesel generator is another piece of kit that often proves a smart buy by providing reliable power at the bottom of your garden. Adding a dedicated watering system rather than pacing up and down with your watering can be a real time saver too.

If you’d like to reduce that 53 minutes per week spent weeding, you need to get your strategy on track. Your first step is to take action against weeds in early spring before they go to seed. Treat weeded areas with residual weed killer to stop them returning and think about covering soiled areas where weeds may sprout. Mulch and gravel are two simple  options for keeping weeds at bay.

Create a wild area or paved space

Keeping your entire garden pruned and pristine can be exhausting, so why not try leaving at least some of the space to do its own thing? Let the grass grow and the weeds flower and enjoy the wildlife that flourishes as a result. Keeping a meadow area in your garden can save you lots of task time and bring beautiful butterflies and bees in to pollinate your other plants. It needn’t look too messy either. Mow a path through the space to keep it looking curated and purposeful, and sit back to appreciate nature at its best.

If you can’t face the unruliness of a mini meadow, think about paving over some of your lawn instead. Paved areas can provide useful areas for outdoor socialising along with adding structure to landscaped spaces. And best of all, they don’t need mowing!

Stick with hardy plants

If you want a low maintenance garden, it’s time to ditch the needy and delicate plants in favour of more hardy and self-sustaining varieties. For all year round colour, explore the world of evergreen plants along with easy to manage shrubs. Think too about choosing plants that can get by with little water along with minimal attention. Rosemary is a great example, it thrives in the hot and dry Mediterranean environment and can therefore do its own thing fairly comfortably. Plus, it adds texture, colour and scent to your outdoor space. Plant along these lines and you’ll have plenty to enjoy in your garden all year round, without the need for too much effort.

What’s your biggest bugbear about having a large space to garden? Do you hate weeding or would you like to hire in some help to deal with the chore of mowing your lawn?

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Could You Be the Next Crime Victim?

Being a victim of crime is something no one wants to be a part of.

That said are you doing everything within your power to lower the chances of being the next victim? If you are not, you could be setting yourself up for trouble.

With that in mind, what steps can you take to steer clear of being a crime victim?

Don’t Think It Can’t Happen to You

In your quest to steer clear of ending up a victim, your first step should be to understand that it can happen to anyone.

That said you want to avoid having the notion that you are immune to it. Even when you think you’ve taken all the right steps to avoid crime, it can still surprise you.

Among some of the crimes and how you can avoid them:

1. Identity theft – One of the more troublesome crimes, identity theft can strike at any time. With that being the case, you want to have an identity protection plan backing you up. Whether you look into LifeLock identity protection service or another brand, protect yourself. Such coverage will alert you to any red flags as you look to protect your finances. The most notable is someone without authority has tried to access your finances. Remember, one successful identity theft caper can have dire consequences for your finances.

2. Property theft – No matter the items involved, property theft is another crime you want to be aware of. With that in mind, you should make sure all your property has protection at all times. An example of this would be your vehicle. Are you someone who leaves their vehicle unlocked all or most of the times? If so, you are asking for trouble. Even if you lock your car or truck on a regular basis, do not leave valuables in it. Items like laptops, phones and significant money should never be in your vehicle. If you need to leave something of value in your vehicle for only a brief period of time, lock it in the trunk. At least this way it is out of the public view should someone come upon your vehicle.

3. Home invasion – Another crime to stay on top of would be a homeinvasion. In such a scenario, a criminal would break into your home whether you are there or not at the time. If you are, things could be even worse. To best protect your home, having a security system in place is a good start. If you do not have one now, go online and see which companies offer the best systems. You can check with friends to see which home security systems they recommend. Even with a security system in place, use some commonsense too. This means not leaving doors unlocked to start with. If you are going to be away for any extended period of time, be sure to have your mail/newspapers picked up. Also make sure your grass is trimmed and any snow is shoveled. Never give off signs that your home is sitting there without you around.

In your efforts to avoid being a crime victim, will you come out on top?

 

 

 

Office Rules To Boost Productivity

If you run an office then you will know only too well how the pace and quality of work seems to ebb and flow from day to day. Naturally you want the team to be firing on all cylinders as often as possible, so it is up to you to ensure that you have created an environment in which your staff can do just that. There are a great many office desk hacks which you can find online at places like https://www.businessbacker.com/ that will talk about how to get the best out of your staff.  We are going to look a little wider than that today and focus on rules which you should implement in the office, to ensure maximum productivity at all times.

Smart Planning

The first place to start is to look at the layout of the office, and think about whether or not it makes practical sense. For example if the printer is a heavily used item, but it is situated a 2 minute walk from most desks, think about how many minutes of work time you will be losing each day. Consider how the operation works in your office, and then move furniture and equipment around accordingly.

Cleaning Rule

It has been scientifically proven that physical clutter on desks and floors, leads to people being far less focussed and with low levels of concentration and organization. With this in mind there should certainly be a no clutter rule in the office, which everyone must follow.

Breaks

Aside from the usual breaks such as lunchtime and any short breaks in the afternoon, you should look to randomly give your staff 5 minutes here and there each day. It can be really easy for staff to get bogged down in their work, chained to the office desk all day, and they need respite. Pick random times when things are quite quiet, and call a 5 minute break where the staff must go out for fresh air. This may sound counter-productive but the renewed energy that your staff will have from a short, impromptu break, will reinvigorate them and help them to work better.

Exercise

More and more news is coming out that details the huge number of physical problems that office workers have, as a result of their job. To counter this, and to help increase their productivity and reduce sick days, you should encourage exercise in the work place. This doesn’t need to be something large, there are simple yoga techniques which can be done right from the office chair.

Penalties

Once you have put these rules in place, it is important that you have a penalty system for those who don’t follow them. This will be something aside from the disciplinary process, and it will have a bit more of a fun element to it. For example if someone receives 3 strikes for having clutter at their desk, they will be given some chores to do, or they will have to buy a cake for the office or perhaps even pick up someone else’s work. This penalty system will bring people together, and make your staff more focussed on the rules, and ultimately more productive.