3 comments on “The Landscaping Dilemma”

The Landscaping Dilemma

A new home, especially a newly constructed home, often comes with a blank canvas for a yard. Our new home has the front simply landscaped but the backyard barely even has grass in it. Well, to be fair, the builders planted a fast growing rye grass to cover up the soil;kind of. We are plagued with low spots that tend to flood with the melting snow and the rain. Of course, the clay soil here in the Fox Valley isn’t the best for drainage.

So what is the landscaping dilemma? My husband and I have always had beautiful yards. We are the type A personality of a weed- free yard, lush, green yard planted with beautiful flowers that have always attracted visitors and people walking by to make comments. Now, with the blank canvas of a yard, we have been visiting greenhouses and landscape companies looking at plants and trees, changing our minds, and redrawing plans over and over again.We actually planted a few trees, knowing that we really wanted a maple, apple trees, and a small crab tree for both the beauty and as a pollinator. If anyone watched us measure, remeasure, and measure again before we planted, it would have made for a great YouTube video! But the trees are in and will soon be leafing out.  One of our big problems is that our backyard backs up to an open field and the winds blow strongly across the yard. Therefore, we need a bit of a windblock. So after many trips to the landscape yards; including Vandeheys, Shade Today, Home Depot, Steins, Lowes, Shopko, and Wolfraths, I finally did for my husband exactly what I would do for clients. I moved the plants around and laid them out so that we could visualize a basic plan. I know that I want all year color so we will combine evergreens with a small red twigged dogwood. We want a variety of evergreens to bring in different colors and textures. We finally settled on three varieties and sizes of evergreens. But now, we face more problems.

We love so many different plants. We really want a yard that requires little work as we loved the condo living lifestyle that we just left. We now have to work on controlling our impulse buying. We don’t usually have a problem with impulse buying, only when it relates to landscaping. We have promised ourselves that once we get our berms built and plant the evergreens, we will progress slowly. Of course trees and evergreens are nice but we both are individually studying different plans for a perennial garden. We look lovingly at rhododendrons every day and covet hydrangea trees, rosebushes, and the newer hibiscus trees. When things progress, we will post pictures. Of course, we are buying smaller plants in order to buy more plants and to keep it affordable.

Our big landscaping dilemma really boils down to keeping it affordable, narrowing down our selections, and determining the best spot for each plant. Of course, we also need to decide whether to kill the rye grass, regrade the yard, and replant new grass. Controlling my impatience for spring, green, and a beautiful yard also adds to the landscaping dilemma.

What is your biggest landscaping dilemma?


1 comment on “Kentucky Derby Comes to the Fox Valley”

Kentucky Derby Comes to the Fox Valley

On Saturday, May 7th, the Kentucky Derby takes place in the Fox Valley. Well, that is not exactly true, it is a Kentucky Derby Party hosted by the Appleton Area Newcomers Club.

While moving to a new area makes it difficult to meet people and make new friends, the Appleton Area Newcomers Club makes life easier as everyone shares a similar experience.The Kentucky Derby Party will certainly make it easy to start conversations with new acquaintances. Of course, everyone will want to know if you made your own hat or bought a ready to wear hat. And then tongues are sure to loosen over the homemade mint juleps. The party is sure to heat up as the bets are placed and the horses dance to the starting gate. And they are off!

As the competition around the track heats up, new friendships will be forged. Like the Kentucky Derby, life is short, and making new friends quickly in your new hometown is so much easier with the Newcomers Club. The choice of activities can fill your calendar on an almost daily basis and relieve the loneliness that newcomers often feel.

We are very excited about the Fox Valley Kentucky Derby but are worried that our hat will stand up to the scrutiny of the creative ladies in attendance. Should we make a wide brimmed hat or a fascinator? Do we use netting and feathers, or flowers and bows? We are open to all of your suggestions.

0 comments on “7 Tips for Creating a Cozy Room”

7 Tips for Creating a Cozy Room

Today’s lifestyle is all about comfort. Create warm welcoming spaces that beckon you to relax and slow down, even if it is only for a few minutes or a couple of hours. Whether building a new home or redecorating your space, follow these 7 tips to create a warm cozy room.

  1. Be a minimalist. Keep your room, floor, counters, and walls free of clutter. Remember, less is more, is easier on the senses. Decorating with several signature pieces or accessories to rest your eyes on is better then a crowded room in which your eyes don’t know where to land.
  2.  Decorate with plush and cozy furniture. Comfortable furniture calls you to sit down and relax. A bed made with pillows and a fluffy comforter says, “Come and lay on me.” Cozy and plush doesn’t necessarily mean overly large furniture, just make sure it is comfortable and fits you well.
  3. Allowing natural sunlight in the room during the day invites you to sit and relax in the sunbeam. Nothing is more relaxing than sitting with a cup of coffee or tea and feeling the natural warmth of the sunshine. Avoid using harsh lights during the evenings, instead opt for dimmed mood lighting to create a warm ambiance. Lamps and chandeliers in the bedroom or great room offer softer light than recessed lights. Recessed lights are best for work spaces such as the kitchen.
  4. Most clients continue to request wood floors but are also choosing to add carpeting in the bedrooms and great rooms. Decorating with a plush area rug on top of wood floors anchors the furniture in a bedroom or great room while enticeing you to sink your feet into it much as you would do with warm sand on a beach.
  5. Water features bring the outside in and create a dreamy feeling in a home.  Adding a small fountain or a water wall to your room can help to ease the tensions of the outside world.
  6. Paint your walls a more neutral color such as beige, soothing whites, pale grays, or a calming blue. Keeping the walls neutral but adding brighter accessories also allows you to change your decor more frequently.
  7. Bring the outside in. Decorate your room with green plants and natural elements such as acorns, pine cones, wood, or rattan accessories. Don’t overdo it but a few well placed items help to create a more relaxing environment.

We live such busy lifes’ overwrought with technology and noise that creating a cozy retreat  in our homes encourages rest and relaxation.What tips do you have for creating a cozy space in your home?