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Privacy Fences

The most obvious — and fastest — way of creating privacy is to put up a fence.

Fences help keep your neighbors from seeing into your yard. They also provide a sense of enclosure and safety, making them a perfect option if you have children: Fences keep kids in and strangers — or animals, such as dogs — out.

If you choose to build a fence to add privacy to your landscape, select a material and style that complements your home.

Here’s a hint: If you want to create a private space in your yard, look around before you build a fence. You might be able to use existing structures to create privacy. For example, tuck a small patio or deck next to your garage or home. Screening just one or two sides may be all you need.

Wooden Privacy Fence

Wooden Privacy Fence

 

Hedges

If a fence is too stark, grow a hedge. There are shrub varieties perfect for using as hedges for every region.

For a natural look, mix it up a little and combine a variety of shrubs. Don’t be afraid to mix in a small tree or two for extra height, color, and texture. By planting species with different sizes, shapes, and colors, you can layer the plants into a beautiful mosaic.

For a more formal look, prune or shear shrubs regularly. Note: The best time to prune your hedge depends on what type of shrub you’re growing.

Here’s a hint: If you shear your shrubs, keep them looking good for years by ensuring the bottom of the shrub is wider than the top.

Hedge Privacy Fence

Hedge Privacy Fence

 

Top Trees & Shrubs for Hedges

Boxwood (Buxus sempervirens), Zones 6-8

Columnar juniper (Juniperus scopulorum ‘Skyrocket’), Zones 4-7

Columnar white pine (Pinus strobus ‘Fastigiata’), Zones 3-9

English laurel (Prunus laurocerasus), Zones 6-9

Pittosporum tobira, Zones 9-10

Privet (Ligustrum vulgare), Zones 5-8

Yaupon holly (Ilex vomitoria), Zones 8-10

Yew (Taxus x media), Zones 5-7

Top Trees and Hedges for a Privacy Fence

Top Trees and Hedges for a Privacy Fence

 

Berms

Berms are basically miniature hills in the landscape. They add height to plantings, which can be an effective way to create privacy. A berm is also good for highlighting smaller plants, as it can bring them to eye level.

Because of their sloping sides, berms drain better than flat beds, so they’re well-suited for rock garden plants and any species that prefer dry soil.

Plant trees and shrubs on berms to form a useful physical and sound curtain between the street and yard. Include rocks and stones to give the mound stability.

Here’s a hint: If you make a berm, a ratio of one foot of height to every four feet of width is usually suitable to keep mulch from running down the slope.

Berms as a Privacy Fence

 

Pergolas

While a pergola probably won’t block out your entire yard, it’s a great solution for adding privacy to a smaller space.

A vine-covered pergola creates a private, shady nook underneath — perfect for a secluded bench or patio. A pergola also adds year-round structure to the landscape.

You can create different levels of privacy with pergolas, too. A simple vine-covered pergola provides a little privacy; running lattice panels between the pergola columns will add even more. Hanging sheets of outdoor-friendly fabric to act as curtains will give you even more seclusion.

Pergolas as a Privacy Fence

Pergolas as a Privacy Fence

 

Lattice Screens

If you just have a spot or two you want to block from view (or where you want the view blocked from), try setting up a few inexpensive lattice panels and planting a small garden bed around them.

Tidy vines will give the lattice panels extra interest — and help them feel integrated into the landscape.

Lattice as a Privacy Fence

Lattice as a Privacy Fence

 

Top Vines

Be sure you have the right vine for the right spot. Big vines can easily crush a lattice panel, arbor, or even small pergola as they grow.

Small vines, on the other hand, may not grow large enough to adequately cover a large arbor or pergola.

Top Small Vines

Black-eyed Susan vine (Thunbergia alata), Zone 10, but usually grown as an annual

Cardinal vine (Ipomoea x multifida), annual

Clematis, Zones 3-10, depending on type

Hyacinth bean (Lablab purpureus), Zone 10, but usually grown as an annual

Morning glory (Ipomoea tricolor), annual

Top Large Vines

American bittersweet Celastrus scandens), Zones 3-8

Chocolate vine (Akebia quinata), Zones 5-9

Climbing hydrangea (Hydrangea petiolaris), Zones 4-9

Hardy kiwi (Actinidia arguta), Zones 3-8

Trumpet vine (Campsis radicans), Zones 4-9

Wisteria, Zones 5-9

Wisteria as a Privacy Fence

Wisteria as a Privacy Fence

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Wow, it’s been almost a year since I’ve posted in this blog. Tons of things have happened, too numerous to mention. I have relocated back to Salt Lake City, Utah and hopefully I will be able to keep up with this blog with the most recent updates and hints for your home, yard and family. I’ve missed posting fun things for you and I’m looking forward to jumping in again!

It’s my favorite time of year, I love the Holidays! Each year I offer the Father Christmas Collection from The Hen House by Ditz Designs. These life like Santa’s stand 57″ and will be a wonderful addition to your home during this special time of year. Your children, friends and family will LOVE the new addition to your family.

Holiday Cheer III

Holiday Cheer III Father Christmas

Bountiful Woodsman

Bountiful Woodsman

Christmas Cordial

Christmas Cordial

Christmas Sage

Christmas Sage

Christmas Shepherd

Christmas Shepherd

Christmas Trails V

Christmas Trails V

Cranberry Cringle III

Cranberry Cringle IIi

Christmas Poinsettia

Christmas Poinsettia

Glacial Greetings

Glacial Greeetings

Golden Noel

Golden Noel

Please email me at sales@decorvillage.com if you are interested in purchasing any of these beautiful Santas. 2 to 3 weeks for delivery so order now. Happy Holidays!

Family Fall Fun

Family Fall Fun

Ten easy ideas for close-to-home activities that celebrate the outdoors and autumn.

Fall Scene

You don’t need to go to complicated lengths. Think close-by, casual, enjoyable. Think family fall fun.

Ten To-Dos this Fall

1. Take a hike.

Family Hiking

Wherever you live, nature is putting on a seasonal show. Sometimes sensational, sometimes subtle, there are changes afoot in the environment. Get out with binoculars and take the kids for a walk in a nearby park, or just an amble through the woods or open spaces on public property. Concentrate on all your senses and take in the changes that spell fall. If there’s a writer in your group, make a journal of your trip. Consider picking up seeds, pods, leaves, rocks, fossils, and any interesting (and safe) “found” objects for making into art projects later — whether it’s stringing a fall necklace or making a bouquet of fallen leaves.

2. Help with the harvest.

Fall Harvest

Fall is the season of bountiful harvest. So get your sweatshirt on and get out there and pick produce. Squash, pears, apples — picking whatever’s in season in your area and ready to be off the tree or vine is a blast. Lots of orchards and small farms let the public participate in their harvest. Is there a cider mill nearby? A trip to the apple orchard is a fall favorite. After picking and/or touring the orchard, you can usually sample cider for a true taste of fall. Take your bushel baskets home and get creative. Make a pie or fritters. Have your own fall party and bob for apples, or get out the double boiler and get gooey with caramel apples.

3. Find a fall festival.

Fall Festival

Though most pumpkin-patch merriment dies down after Halloween, there are all kinds of festivals going on in November. It’s a big month for outdoor arts-and-crafts shows in anticipation of Christmas, but the fall theme is still alive. Check the Juried Online Arts Festivals site or Festivals.com for lists of festivals. You can also key in “November festivals” on a search engine and see the interesting things — from reggae shows to chowder fests — that pop up around the country. Try narrowing your search to your area for something doable in a day trip.

5. Make a scarecrow.

Scare Crow

Where there are leaves on the ground, there are scarecrows to be made. Even if you don’t have any crows to scare away, you can have as much fun with raked leaves, old jeans, a flannel shirt, and straw hat as you can with fresh snow, carrot, coals, and stocking cap. Do it in your own back yard or at an accommodating park. If you’re unsure how to make a scarecrow, use your search engine to find information.

6. Go on a hayride.

Hayride

Even if the pumpkins have been trucked away from farms outside your city limits, you might still find hayrides in those fields. Whether you’re pulled by a tractor or a horse, it’s big autumn fun to sit on a hay bale as you go. When your bale mates are your kids, it’s an unforgettable experience.

7. Go fly a kite.

kite flying

Spring’s not the only time windy weather says, “Get out the kites.” With some colorful kites in the trunk and a good eye for a field without many trees and power lines to get tangled up in, you’re all set for an invigorating autumn day. Pack the video camera and reel out the string.

8. Hit the horse stables.

9. Take in an airshow.

Air Show

Watch the papers or call the nearest air base or aviation museum to find out when high-flyers might be in formation in the skies near you. With stunts and crispness in the air and your family in comfy lawn chairs on terra firma, you’ll all be flying high.

10. Pack a picnic.

Fall Picnic

Who says it has to be summer to open a picnic basket full of fried chicken, potato salad, and iced tea on a quilt in a scenic spot not too far from home? If there’s a chill in the air, trade the lemon- ade for Thermoses of hot chocolate. Throw in something pumpkin — bread or muffins are always a hit — to celebrate the season. Bundle up in sweatshirts and lie on your back watching clouds float across the autumn sky. What pictures do you and the kids see up there?

Fall is such a wonderful time of year. I love the changing of the colors and the aroma coming from the kitchen. Imagine your Thanksgiving table decorated with one of these beautiful centerpieces. I wish you and your family many wonderful memories of the holidays. Treasure the times you have together and create a legacy in your own home that will last a lifetime and maybe longer.

Running in the Leaves

Running in the Leaves

Create a table runner using camel-color wool flannel or felt, cutting to size with a pair of pinking shears. Lay coordinating ribbons along the center of the runner and secure with double-stick tape or a dab of fabric glue, if necessary. Set a compote or cake stand in the center and scatter leaves, mini pumpkins, and pears down the runner.

How Beautiful

How Beautiful

What better way to celebrate the Thanksgiving harvest feast than by creating a centerpiece using gorgeous green vegetables. To make the asparagus and green bean wrapped candles, stretch two sturdy rubber bands around a white pillar candle, then insert vegetable stalks underneath the band. Cover the bands with a circle of satin ribbon and decorate the platter with a few white mums and coffee berry sprigs.

Individual Arrangements

Indiviual Arrangements

Another view of the previous centerpiece shows the place settings, white tablecloth, and pewter cups filled with tiny white mums. Your guests will be enthralled!

Pedestal Centerpiece

Pedestal Centerpiece

Though this sample may be too tall for a dining table, this arrangement will be the talk of your guests. Place it in an entryway or on a sideboard, or make a shorter version for a centerpiece. The top of a white pumpkin was hollowed out, then fit with a vase filled with soaked floral foam. Stems of leaves and berry branches are inserted into the foam that holds everything in place.

Candle Circle

Candle Circle

A collection of amber glass sparked the idea for this centerpiece. For a long-lasting decoration, look for a silk candle ring or tiny wreath. Otherwise, bits of fresh greens, acorns, leaves, and berries can be either wired to a form or simply set as a base for the glass hurricane.

Harvest Candle Rings

Harvest Candle Rings

Purchase or make small grapevine rings to use as a base, or bend a piece of coat hanger into a circle. Next, wire on small stems of berries, leaves, and flowers using thin wire wound tightly around the base. Use fresh flowers for a one-use decoration. Or find pretty silk blooms for a longer-lasting design.

Bed of Leaves

Bed of Leaves

One beautiful pumpkin resting on a bed of leaves is simple and sincere. Scale this idea up or down as space allows: a tall pumpkin would look lovely with just a handful of leaves at the base.

In a Nutshell

In a Nutshell

Compose a striking display with a collection of silver compotes. Choose dishes of varying heights and fill with grocery store nuts, small pinecones, or other woodsy finds.

Go Simply

Go Simply

Here’s a no-fuss table arrangement that’s simple and appropriate for many occasions. Rocks and bits of moss nestle around small candles in tiny flowerpots. And best of all — no flowers to keep fresh!

Ups and Downs

Ups and Downs

With one pillar candle elevated, others remain on the tabletop near glass votive holders, creating a glow of light for a Thanksgiving dinner. Airy stems fill twin pots embellished with tangerines and nuts for color.

Fruit Garnish

Fruit Garnish

Orange slices set the tone for this cheerful arrangement of roses, gerbera daisies, stock, chrysanthemums, and tulips. Lemons, limes, and oranges are popular embellishments in clear vases. Cut the fruit in slices or wedges, or leave it whole. — Photographer and floral designer Xaviera M. Pepe

All White

All White

Pillar candles, white pumpkins and cream-colored gourds fill the top of a round butcherblock cutting board. Sprigs of wheat act as filler on the right side of the arrangement. Vary the look with golden yellow candles mixed with mini pumpkins and oak leaf sprigs on a tray.

Pumpkins and Vines

Pumpkins and Vines

Swirl a bittersweet vine around a fat pumpkin for an instant centerpiece. (Place the pumpkin on a platter so moisture won’t ruin a tabletop.) Star anise and dried fruit slices decorate our table, but pinecones, moss, and natural elements are also appropriate.

Simplicity

Simplicity

Glistening red currants create the framework for this asymmetrical bouquet. A pink-hued hydrangea bloom and a few red roses add interest to the angled line of the design.

White Pumpkin Centerpiece

White Pumpkin Centerpiece

Say goodbye to plain orange pumpkins. Creamy-white varieties look elegant adorned with silver glitter and nestled in boxwood atop a silver wine cooler. Use this look for an elegant Thanksgiving or for a seasonal bridal or baby shower.

I found these great centerpieces at Better Homes and Gardens

Body Parts Pizza

Body Parts Pizza

Fans of grossology will find this icky dish irresistible. An assortment of veggies and meats tops a prebaked Italian bread shell.

Candy Corn Crackers

Candy Corn Crackers

These fun snacks are crackers cleverly disguised as candy corn. Cheese nibbles are mounted on crackers with sour cream dip and finished off with olives and meat slices.

Nacho Potato Skins

Nacho Potato Skins

Everyone likes these yummy snacks! To save time you can make the potato shells ahead and fill and bake them just before the party.

Mummy Wraps

Mummy Wraps

Serve these super-simple snack sandwiches hot from the oven. Don’t forget the green catsup.

Veggie-Stuffed Quesadillas

Veggie Stuffed Quesadillas

You can bake enough of these tempting foldovers for a crowd in just 5 minutes.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Spread

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Spread

It spreads like butter and tastes like pumpkin pie. Slather this on split mini bagels or crackers.

Body Bits Dip

Body Bits Dip

This dip is so creepy your guests won’t be able to get enough of it. Serve it in a convenient slow cooker cauldron.

Salsa and Cheese Dip

Salsa and Cheese Dip

Sour cream and bottled salsa combine with a few fresh herbs. Make this early in the day and chill until ready to serve, topped with pistachio nuts.

Blue Cheese Ricotta Dip

Blue Cheese Ricotta Dip

Ten minutes, start to finish, is all you need to prepare this tasty dip. Serve it in a hollowed-out squash or pumpkin.

Crispy Cheese Chips

Crispy Cheese Chips

Eye of newt and wing of bat! Drape wonton triangles over ridges of foil as they bake to make these chips look like they just flew in.

Pretzel Snack Mix

Pretzel Snack Mix

One handful is never enough when it comes to this appealing 7-ingredient mix.

Autumn Trail Mix

Autumn Trail Mix

Ready in less than 30 minutes, this recipe coats mixed nuts and small pretzels in a brown sugar syrup.

Trail Mix

Trail Mix

Try this new version of an old favorite that uses wheat crackers, shoestring potatoes, honey-roasted peanuts, and chocolate-covered raisins.

Oat and Nut Crunch Mix

Oat and Nut Crunch Mix

A little bit salty, a little bit sweet, with almonds and dried cherries for extra texture.

Crazy Mixed-Up Snack Mix

Crazy Mixed up Snack Mix

Snack mixes don’t come any easier than this — 4 ingredients and no baking needed.

White Slime

White slime

Dip fruit or cake wedges into this ghostly concoction that bears a haunting resemblance to dessert fondue.

Mini Ice Cream Dippers with Double-Dip Fondue

Mini Ice Cream Dippers

Freeze ice cream scoops ahead of time with a pretzel stick inserted for a handle. Assemble toppings into individual muffin tins, or into bowls for an ice cream buffet.

Super-Easy S’Mores

Super Easy Smores

You won’t need a bonfire for these fright-night snacks — they heat in the microwave oven.

Crispy Teton Treats

Crispy Teton Treats

Give gooey cereal treats a mountainous new shape by cutting squares diagonally into triangles. They’re even more fun to eat when you dip the peaks into melted chocolate.

Chocolate Nachos

Chocolate nachos

Who would believe a snack with just two main ingredients — tortillas and chocolate — could be so party-perfect?

Jack-o’-Lanterns

Jack o Lanterns

Carve some of these cute treats for little party guests. They’ll love every sweet, sticky bite.

Contact me if you would like any of these receipes!

Click on the image below at Valuable Assets to check out some great Halloween ideas for you and your favorite goblins. Happy Halloween!