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10 Backyard DIY Projects You Could Start Today

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Science shows us that creative projects and outlets help us manage our stress. Finding the time to create something unique and useful in your backyard is the perfect stress-relieving DIY project for you to tackle today!

We have put together a fantastic list of the top 10 best DIY projects for your backyard. From zen gardens to entertainment stations these projects are guaranteed to put a smile on your face. Let’s take a look!

1. Edible Gardens

You can turn your backyard into your private grocery store with the addition of an edible garden. Start small by adding a raised garden bed in an area of your backyard that receives ample sunlight.

When choosing what to grow you will want to have a variety of herbs and vegetables, however, if you are new to gardening start with easy to grow crops such as cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, etc. as these will be easier to manage.

Plan your garden out before starting to help you decide how many crops you will be planting and what varieties. Be sure to invest in good soil so your plants grow strong and big, and don’t forget to purchase some good gardening gloves as well!

2. Outdoor Bar

An outdoor bar is a fun way to create an entertainment station for your friends and family. For this DIY project, you can either buy a bar stand that is already put together or you can give building a custom bar a try. This service area will be the perfect spot to host parties and backyard BBQs.

Consider things like seating and ice and beverage storage when creating the space. Adding the appropriate outdoor lighting will help the area feel more inviting for you and your guests.

3. Gazebo

A Gazebo is a beautiful structure that will add beauty as well as functionality to your backyard. You can use your Gazebo to host outdoor dinners or turn it in do an outdoor studio. If your yard gets a lot of sun a Gazebo is the perfect structure to get relief from the heat.

Another option to the traditional Gazebo is an open-air Gazebo. This style of shade structure allows for some sun and rain to come through making it a good option for those who wish to keep plants growing inside of the structure.

4. Zen Garden

Creating a zen garden in your backyard is a beautiful way to create a meditative and relaxing space. The components of a zen garden are meant to inspire tranquility and appreciation for the beauty of nature. Before you get started on your garden you will need the following items:

  • white gravel
  • Metal rake
  • Wooden zen rake
  • Variety of rocks in all shapes and sizes
  • Landscaping plants
  • Gloves
  • Shovel
  • String and string level

These items are essential to building your zen paradise. Once your garden is built you can use it to find relaxation and meditate. The act of raking the garden is meant to bring peace or zen to your state of mind which makes this DIY project beautiful and helpful!

5. Backyard Fountain

A backyard fountain is a great way to upgrade the aesthetic of your space. The sound of the flowing water is relaxing and will attract birds to your yard for great wildlife viewing. Before you start, consider the size and shape of the fountain.

Depending on the size of your yard it might be a good option to do an above ground DIY option for your fountain by creating a fountain that flows into a galvanized tub or a DIY fountain box. These above-ground options are simple and inexpensive to create and easy to maintain.

6. Privacy Fence

A privacy fence can make your backyard feel like a secluded oasis if done correctly. When planning a privacy fence consider things like material, color, and size. There are a variety of options to choose from when installing your fence that are already pre-stained and ready to install.

If you are feeling extra creative you could try making your fence by buying the raw materials and then customizing the color and shape to your liking. No matter which route you choose the adding privacy will be a great luxury.

7. Update Lighting

The right lighting in your backyard can turn it into a paradise retreat. Consider using a variety of light sources in your backyard to layer the lighting.

For example, along the pathways in your yard use ground stake lights to illuminate the path. In areas where you entertain consider hanging string lighting above the area to create depth and add soft lighting. Outdoor candles are another great source of mood lighting that can also be beneficial for managing those summer pests like mosquitos.

8. Landscaping

Updating the landscaping in your backyard is an essential DIY project for anyone looking to give their yard a facelift. You can start by clearing out any built-up brush or leaves that have accumulated in the yard. Then diligently weed all flower and garden beds.

Once you have weeded and cleaned up the space then you can decide on planting ornamental plants like rose bushes or vibrant lavender. Consider edging your flower beds and framing them with stone or wooden frames for a polished look.

9. Patio

If your yard doesn’t have a patio already then consider installing one. A patio can be used as a relaxing outdoor area, outdoor dining room, area for potted plants, etc. the options are endless!

Consider the material you would like to use for the base such as concrete or wooden decking. Once your patio is finished you can begin to decorate with outdoor furniture and ornate plants to create an aesthetic in the area. To add shade to the area a retractable canopy is another simple DIY project that can turn your patio into an outdoor sanctuary.

10. Sheds

Gone are the days of the old paint-chipped sheds that were eyesores to our backyards! If your shed is looking a little worse for wear it is time to give it a makeover.

To start sand the shed down to remove any rough edges or flaking paint. Then access any areas that need repair such as broken boards, holes in the roof, broken doors, etc. Next, you will need to choose a color of paint or stain for your shed and get painting!

Simple Backyard DIY projects

These simple DIY projects are affordable and easy to do! You can change the whole vibe of your yard with any one of these unique projects today.

Surrey604 is an online magazine and media outlet based in Surrey, BC. Through writing, video, photography, and social media, we secure an intimate reach to the public. We promote local events and causes.

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Food & Drink

7 Amazing Berries to Grow in Your Backyard This Year

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Are you looking for something a bit different to grow this year?

Growing berries in your garden add a splash of color, and they’re a tasty treat for all the family. But if you’ve never branched out into berries before, you might not know where to start.

Don’t worry! Read on to discover the 7 best berries to grow in your backyard this year.

1. Acai

Due to acai health benefits, and the fact they’re pretty rare they can be an expensive choice. But they’re the best berries to grown indoors or in containers. The dwarf acai berry palm will grow 20-30ft tall if planted in the ground. If grown in a planter, the size reduces to around 10-12ft.

It will take around 3 years, sometimes longer, to mature and produce berries. This isn’t a low maintenance option though and can take time, space, and patience. You’ll need a large container for it, or you’ll need to keep replanting as it grows.

A subtropical, warm climate is best for acai palms to grow in, so they might not be the best choice for colder areas. Though, you can use a greenhouse for them if you have one large enough.

2. Strawberries

A real family favorite, you can plant your strawberries in spring, summer, or fall. Fall is the best time though, as your plant’s root systems will grow and strengthen in the cooler months. You’ll be ready for a bushy growth come spring full of vitality.

If you plant in spring, you’ll have to disbud these young plants as they’ll grow flowers. Otherwise, they can pinch back runner and you won’t get as healthy growth the next season.

To get a longer lasting harvest season, plant two types of strawberries. One early, and one late fruiting. Your local agricultural center will be able to recommend varieties for your area.

3. Blackberries

If you’re looking for something tasty and functional, blackberries are a great choice. Their big, floppy, rambling nature makes them great hedging plants. And it’s fun for all the family to pick from them when they fruit. It’s a quick, easy way to hide an ugly fence or section off an area.

Of everything on our list, blackberries are the easiest berries to grow. They can survive in cold, harsher climes due to their hardiness. They also function as climbers. So, train them over arches, pergolas, and trellises to create a decorative feature. Get creative!

They even work for backyards where you’re short on space. You can get varieties that don’t have thorns and are compact, designed to grow in containers. Here are a few extra tips to get you started:

  • Blackberries are self-fertile so you don’t have to worry about getting loads of plants to get a good crop.
  • Plant in the sun; the more sun the more berries unless you’re in a hotter climate then they do need some shade midday.
  • Provide regular watering during their first growing season to get their root system extensive and deep.
  • Put down a 3-inch organic mulch layer each year but keep the mulch 2 inches from the crown to stop any rotting.

4. Raspberries

Don’t plant brambles, better known as raspberries, until early spring or late fall. Give them room to grow and don’t put them anywhere you want something ‘pretty’ to be. You can control the spread by planting in raised beds or digging them out on a regular basis.

Provide mulch for your raspberries and it’s a good side to use a fungicide as a preventative. This will help prolong the life of your raspberry patch.

To keep them tidy and well maintained, cut them back after each fruiting season. You can also prune out some of the older, brown stalks in winter (or very early in spring). It might not be the most attractive option, but the berries are great on yogurt and for pies and jams.

5. Blueberries

Another great option for container growers is blueberries. They’re a treat to eat and to look at. In spring, you’ll get delightful, scented flowers, and in autumn they turn fiery in color. And in the summer, you get that beautiful crop of delicious berries.

They need an acid (ericaceous) soil to grow in, but you can get this at your local garden center. They’re low maintenance but you’ll have to wait about 3 years for any fruit. In the meantime, at least they’ll make a beautiful patio decoration.

If space is at a total premium, there is a very compact variety of blueberry called “Top Hat”. But whatever your variety, water them with rainwater. Lime in tap water can reduce the acidity of your soil as time goes on.

6. Currants

For a pretty looking berry bush, the current bush may be a good choice. It’s got dainty, lobed leaves much like fancier maples. They branch out and have an airy appearance, with tiny berries that come in red, white, pink, and black shades.

They’re also a great option to fit into more formal, strict landscapes. You can train them into standard shapes. Current bushes even work as stand-alone ornamental plants on patios or porches.

The berries themselves (redcurrants, blackcurrants, and whitecurrants) are some of the best berries to grow for jams and jellies. They also work in cooking sauces and for decorating desserts. They also take well to freezing, so you can enjoy them all year round.

7. Gooseberries

If you’re thinking of getting currents, consider getting gooseberries alongside them. Gooseberries grow particularly well when you plant them near current bushes.

For better tasting berries, position them away from the harsh afternoon sun. But make sure they can get plenty of cooler, morning sunlight.

Give them regular sprinklings of potash (or a berry fertilizer) around the base. This encourages prolific fruiting and flowers throughout the season.

Pick half the crop in midsummer to get bigger berries. The unripened berries you can use in wines, sauces, and pies. The berries left behind are quick to grow in size and will be sweeter.

Don’t Miss Out on the Best Berries to Grow in Your Backyard

So there you have it! Now you know the best berries to grow to give your garden that extra wow factor.

You can use the berries in jams, jellies, pies, wines, and sauces all made in your own kitchen. They’ll also add a pop of color to the garden and be an interactive treat for friends, family, and all your guests.

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Lifestyle

Helping Mother Earth by Using a Glass Water Bottle

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For a very long time, spirits and wine have always used glass as the only storage option. The main reason is to maintain the purity of the taste since plastic tends to affect the purity of liquid.

Today, people are shifting from the use of plastic bottles to glass bottles when it comes to water packaging too. The reason is a glass water bottle is easy to clean, 100 percent recyclable, and does not add residual tastes to water.

When talking about recyclability, up to 80 percent of recovered glass is usually made into new glass products. That’s a great benefit to Mother Earth.

Learn more about the benefits of glass bottles:

1. Easy to clean

The cleanliness of a water bottle is essential and important for your health, especially when you use it every day at the gym or during running exercises.

Unlike plastic bottles, glass bottles are easy to clean in the dishwasher, and you can easily see when they are clean.

They are also safe to use compared to plastics. Back in 1999, the FDA warned about bisphenol A, or BPA, a chemical that is usually used in plastics.

2. 100 percent recyclable

Bottles and jars made from glass are usually 100 percent recyclable. The good thing is that they can be recycled several times without losing their quality.

In 2011, the U.S. recycled more than 3 million tons of glass. This helps to reduce the dependence on raw materials used in making new glass. For every ton of recycled glass, over a ton of natural resources are saved.

Recycling glass containers also produces less carbon dioxide than most materials.

Additionally, fiberglass and container industries get their materials at reasonable costs due to recycled glass.

3. Glass does not affect the soil

Unlike some materials that are degradable, glass won’t degrade and can stay in the soil in its original state for a longer time. It is estimated that glass can take more than one million years to decompose.

This means it won’t affect the composition and properties of the soil in any way. Moreover, glass is made naturally from different materials.

For example, when glass breaks in your garden, the plants will still grow healthily. While glass has no benefits to the plants or soil, it doesn’t cause any harm.

4. Reduced energy use

Also, for every 10 percent cullet used in the manufacturing process, the cost of energy drops by 2 to 3 percent.

With these figures, manufacturers can enjoy reduced cost of production and dependence on natural resources.

The use of recycled glass is beneficial to the environment than new glass when in comes to saving energy. Recycling one glass helps to conserve enough energy to power a 100-watt bulb for about four hours.

The bottom line

Glass is safe for use and doesn’t leach chemicals or other materials when holding sports drinks or water.

There are also downsides such as it’s breakable and usually heavier than plastic and metal bottles. But if you keep it safe, a glass water bottle can be a handy tool to always carry around.

Most importantly, it’s environmentally friendly. You will be supporting the worldwide environmental efforts by getting one.

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Lifestyle

How to Survive on a Low-Income Without Going Broke

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Are you living paycheck to paycheck? Are you worried you will get behind and fall into debt? Don’t worry, with some money management and budgeting you can keep your head above water and stay on track.

Keep reading to learn some great low-income living tips.

Create a Budget

When living on a low income, one of the first things you need to do is create a budget for yourself. This can be an unenjoyable task for most people but it is an essential step for you to do in order to live within your means and not go into debt.

Start by determining what your total monthly income is and then your essential bills and utility expenses. After subtracting your expenses from your income you will see how much you have leftover at the end of the month. From this difference, you can decide how much you have to spend on groceries and entertainment each week.

This is also a great opportunity for you to take a deep look at where your money goes and how you can budget things better. Do you have cable? It might be time to cut the cord. Do you like to get a coffee every morning on the way to work? It’s time to start brewing your own at home.

Creating a budget is the best way for you to see how your money is being spent and to keep you from going over and accruing debt.

Start an Emergency Fund

One of the biggest traps to fall in when you have a low income is not having an emergency fund. This fund will help you out when times are tough and avoid putting expenses on a credit card or taking out a loan.

It might seem difficult to save money when you are already having trouble making ends meet, but it is possible once you create and stick to your budget. Once you cut your budget down to only your priorities you can save money fast by placing all of your extra money into your savings account.

Another great way to build your emergency fund is by funneling any windfalls you might receive directly into savings. If you’ve earned a bonus at work, received birthday money from your grandma, or started a side hustle, all that should be sent straight to savings. Once you have saved up at least $1000 you can start using any extra earnings at the end of the month to pay down debt you’ve accrued.

Prioritize Your Spending

If you have a low income one of the first things you should do after reviewing your budget is cut down on excess spending. If you track your spending for one month you will see where these extra frivolities cost you a lot in the grand scheme of things.

Do you smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol? These habits are not only bad for your health but they wreak havoc on your wallet. It is in your best interest to cut back or quit these addictions altogether.

Do you pay a subscription fee for music, cable, or a monthly club? These types of monthly fees should be canceled. You can still enjoy your music by using the free version of the service, switch to streaming instead of cable, and cancel the subscription boxes.

Start Cooking at Home

One of the biggest expenses each month will be your food budget. If you aren’t a strong cook then it’s time to read some cookbooks and follow the recipes. Learning to cook can save you a ton of money, especially if you have children, and it can be a fun and rewarding experience.

Start out by trying some simple meals and then as you get comfortable grow your skill and expand on your weekly meals. You can then pack your leftovers for lunch at work the next day and avoid spending money on fast food restaurants. Once you start preparing your own meals regularly you will begin to notice a big impact on your monthly budget.

Get a Roommate

If you’ve cut back in many ways but are still struggling to make ends meet then it’s time to take a look at your living situation. If you live in an area where the rent is higher than you can afford you might want to consider getting a roommate.

Renting an apartment together can be cheaper for you than moving into a room that is sublet by someone else. Often times the other person will sublet the room at a higher rate then if they were to split the rent in half. However, this might be a great option if you are already in an apartment that you enjoy.

If getting a roommate isn’t an option then you might want to consider if its time to move to an area that is more within your cost of living range. While it might be fun and exciting to live in the city, it’s probably time to move out to the suburbs so you can get your finances back on track.

Change Your Future

Once you have been living on a low-income budget for a while you will realize that it can be exhausting and unsustainable for a long period of time. If you have been working at a job that is low-paying then its time to take inventory of your life and decide if this is where you want to stay or is it time to move on.

If you have been living on a low-income budget while you are going to secondary school then you know there is a light at the end of the tunnel. If you were unfortunately unable to go to college then now is the time to determine if you should now or learn a trade to help raise you up out from living paycheck to paycheck.

Learn More Low-Income Living Tips to Live a Comfortable Life!

These are just some of the low-income living tips you can start using today. Start by creating a budget, cut back on all unnecessary expenses, and save an emergency fund. Keep your priorities in mind when spending money, start cooking at home, and get a roommate if you are having trouble making your rent payments.

Remember to keep your head up because this situation is only temporary if you take the proper steps to achieve more in the future. If you’d like more financial tips or information be sure to visit our website daily!

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Lifestyle

5 Helpful Tips for Raising a Puppy for the First Time

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Who doesn’t love a puppy? Even if it’s just watching puppies on video, they capture our attention and tug at our heartstrings. Raising a puppy comes with some challenges that you don’t often see in the videos, though.

Perhaps the most trying aspects of raising puppies are teaching them not to pee and poop indoors and stopping them from chewing everything in sight. There’s more, too.

So, put your shoes and slippers out of reach, and follow along with us as we offer some helpful tips for raising a puppy, especially if you’re a first-time dog owner.

Our Best Advice for Raising a Puppy

Of course, there are a lot more great tips on raising puppies for first-time dog owners, but we couldn’t fit them all in here. We encourage you to follow the links we’ve included to other sources—from experienced dog parents to veterinarians.

1. Understand What to Expect During Your Puppy’s First Year

First-time dog owners might bring new puppies home without fully understanding what to expect of such a young animal. Still, knowing each stage of development is both helpful to you and responsible pet parenting overall.

Most puppies find their “forever homes” at seven to eight weeks. Have patience and understanding as your new dog explores not only your home but its world generally. Prepare by reading ahead of time.

We also recommend an examination at your veterinary clinic before going home, especially if you have other pets.

2. Prepare Your Home and Get Essential Puppy Supplies

Once your puppy arrives at home, you will be too busy to keep running to the store for supplies you didn’t realize were necessary. A simple online search will help you identify the essentials to have on hand for the new arrival.

Foresee any puppy risks. Puppies will chew on electrical cords or other dangerous things before you know it!

3. Begin House Training Right Away

Two things to remember if you want your puppy to start peeing and pooping outside:

  • Make it uncomfortable to eliminate in the house.
  • Take the puppy out frequently.
  • Give praise for eliminating.

This process should start at around 12 weeks old and last from four to six months (expect the occasional accident after that). For more information, read this article.

4. Start Socializing Your Puppy Early On

An important puppy socialization measure is teaching it not to bite. Many puppies bite instinctively (“nipping” or “mouthing”), especially as their teeth are coming in. However, you need to redirect this instinct.

If you don’t want your adult dog to bite people with its sharp teeth and strong jaw, you must discourage the mouthing when it occurs. Pull your hand back sharply and say, “ouch!” You must do this until the puppy understands that biting is not OK.

5. Learn How to Train a Puppy to Go for a Walk

For a first-time dog owner, walking a puppy might seem simple — until trying it, that is. Puppies don’t know how to control all their energy or deal with people and other dogs they see. They don’t even understand the leash.

It’s all new! Watch this video to learn how to get your dog ready for its first walk on a leash.

Start Thinking About How to Raise a Dog

Here, we’re referring to raising an adult dog. Once your puppy has reached their second year, it’s time to start transitioning into adulthood.

Of course, everything you teach and do when raising a puppy you’re really doing for the adult dog as well. As with human babies, the first year establishes lifelong patterns and behaviors.

Be sure to keep visiting our site for more helpful pet tips and other fascinating and useful information!

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Lifestyle

Get Growing With Hydroponic Gardening

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Within the last few years, hydroponics has become a popular way to garden fast and efficiently. And thanks to its low barrier of entry, you can start a hydroponic garden with ease.

All you need for your brand new garden is the right system, atmosphere, and soil. Ready to learn more about how you can start gardening today? Keep reading.

1. Pick Your System

Your first step in growing your gorgeous new greenery is to pick what type of system you want.

Traditional gardening may require a bit less research, but the results aren’t as strong. Finding the right hydroponic systems will take a bit more time, but it’ll be worth it.

Before you go about picking your system, let’s go over the two primary hydroponic systems.

Media-based systems use flowing water and allow the plants to sway freely.

Comparatively, water-based is exactly what you may think. It’s the closest thing you’ll find to the plant-in-pot gardening method. It may also use flowing water, but it depends on what you’re trying to grow.

Both systems have their own unique sets of benefits.

Determine the best system for your needs by considering the following few factors.

  • First, what are you trying to grow? There are certain systems that are better suited for certain plants and vegetables. Lettuce, for instance, tends to grow better in a media-based environment.
  • Next, where are you growing? If you’re going to grow in a greenhouse, you’ll need a different system than if you’re growing on your deck or for your walkway.
  • Finally, what are your resources? This includes atmosphere, growing area, and types of soil.

2. Finding the Right Environment

The great thing about hydroponic gardening is that you can do it pretty much anywhere. Setting up your system is rarely very invasive, so even if you just want to grow some basil on your windowsill, you can. That said, you’ll still want to follow the basics of traditional gardening.

Make sure that your plants have plenty of access to direct sunlight. Water is only part of the equation, after all. You can’t expect your plants to grow in a dimly-lit area.

You’ll also want to make sure you’re regularly maintaining your hydroponic system. This entails a few different things depending on which method you’re using.

If you’re using the drip method, for instance, make sure the pumps are working as intended. The same can be said of similar methods, such as the ebb and flow method or even the wick system.

The latter system is great for those with a tight budget and little space. All you need to do is purchase a wick and let it drip onto your plants.

3. Building or Buying?

As you can see, hydroponic gardening is surprisingly simple. Now, you may be asking yourself whether to buy a system or build one of your own.

If you buy a system, you’ll know exactly what you’re getting. No need to do the extra research about best materials. Just set your plants, water, and watch them grow.

But building a system can be fun and make the project feel more personal. You can also build a system specifically for whatever type of plant you’re planning to grow.

Now, what are you waiting for? It’s time to start growing! Whether you’re looking for better air quality or want to create your own garden, hydroponics make growing easy.

And be sure to keep checking our site for more great articles on anything and everything you need to know.

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