How to Maintain a Beautiful Yard if You Live in the City

Landscaping is the idea of making a piece of natural land look its best, and this is broadly split into two concepts: greenery (planting trees, shrubs, and flowers) and hardscaping, or adding water features like swimming pools, a wooden deck, a garden shed, and the like. Both routes can make your front and back yard (regardless of their size) look great, and you may be wondering: how to beautify a yard in the city? After all, if you live within city limits, your front and back yard will probably not be the expansive lawns of a rural home, but you can still get some landscaping done all the same. When you look up “how to beautify a yard in the city”, you will find all kinds of ideas that can suit a yard of any size or in any climate, and there is no shortage of references out there, both in print and online. You may soon go from asking “how to beautify a yard in the city?” to having a lawn that is the envy of the entire neighborhood.

Get Ideas Down

Investing in landscaping is going to be a bit costly, and even if your intended landscaping ideas are on the modest side, it is a good idea to write down your ideas and get your hands on some references before any of the hard work is done. In many ways, landscaping is similar to interior remodeling, and when you look up “how to beautify a yard in the city”, this process may feel similar to something like “how to remodel my kitchen.”

The budget is a good place to start; you don’t want to bankrupt yourself doing this and end up not having grocery money. The Department of Homeland Security suggests that you have at least 72 hours’ worth of food for each family member, and during these difficult times of COVID-19, your budget might be a bit tight. But will this slow down your home improvement ideas? Draw up a budget, check your bank accounts, and see what the numbers say. Even if you can only afford a minor landscaping job, this can be a good investment, since a landscaped yard can impress home buyers when you put your property up for sale later on. Studies say that investing a modest 5% of your property’s value in landscaping can yield a ROI (return on investment) as high as 150%, similar to how interior remodeling can boost your property’s value. Spending some money now can pay off later, and a landscaped yard may prompt some home buyers to make offers pretty quickly.

Assuming your budget is all set, there is another step to take before hiring landscapers to remake your property: getting some references. If you are new to this, you are no doubt wondering how to beautify a yard in the city, given the limited size of your yard and the close proximity of your neighbors. But as mentioned earlier, there are plenty of references, since you are far from the first person to wonder how to beautify a yard in the city (or anywhere else). Check out some magazines on the topic, and find websites such as Pinterest, where other homeowners like to show off their own home remodeling and landscaping to give other guests ideas. You can take note of any styles or ideas you like, and combine and rearrange them to suit your own tastes and budget. This is also a fine way to note current trends in landscaping, to impress guests and make your property look trendy. Once you have drawn up a precise image of what your landscaped property will look like and how much it will cost, it is time to quit wondering how to beautify a yard in the city and get the real work done. You’re ready for a transformed and beautiful yard.

Install a Water Feature

When it comes to front or backyard landscaping, you will want to factor in the weather, mainly for plants and water features. If you live in a dry region such as Arizona, the water might evaporate too fast, and in cold states like Maine and Montana, it might not be worth the constant threat of freezing. Otherwise, if your area’s climate permits it, try adding some nice water features to the yard. Looking up “how to beautify a yard in the city” is bound to include images of koi ponds, fountains of all sizes, and even a swimming pool. Not everyone can afford a pool in their yard, but if you can, and the weather is often suitable for swimming, give it some serious thought. This form of hardscaping gives you a 24/7 place for cardio, since swimming is a great workout for burning calories (and it works out all muscle groups). And it’s plain old fun, too. A backyard pool will definitely catch the eye of home buyers.

The same may be true of a few fountains and birdbaths, which can elegantly complement a garden. Birds are an important part of a healthy garden, along with bees and spiders, and they will want a birdbath where they can cool off and get clean.

Consult With a Pro

When you are wondering how to beautify a yard in the city, you can turn to professional help as well as Pinterest and magazines. You don’t have to design the backyard all by yourself if you can’t or don’t want to; a residential landscaper can be a great reference too, and these experts will know what sort of plants, hardscaping features, and patios/decks work well with your yard’s size, your budget, and the local climate. This helps you avoid installing a patio that ends up sinking, or planting plants that suffer from the weather. After all, interior remodeling jobs often involve consulting architects and interior design experts, so you can do the same if you are not sure what a properly (and practically) remodeled yard should look like.

Take Care Of Your Trees

Trees are easy to take for granted, since they are huge, solid, and never move. In fact, sometimes you might not even think of them as alive. But trees need proper care too, and having a few of them in your front and back yard is a great idea for many reasons. For one thing, looking up “how to beautify a yard in the city” may show you some lovely trees, from blossom trees to evergreens to oak trees, and these trees can help shade a garden from strong summer sunlight and even bear fruit, if they are the right species. A tree is a natural air filter, like shrubs, and it can reduce CO2 and dust in the air and act as a windbreak (which helps block freezing winds from hitting your house during winter). These trees can also shade your home in summer and cool it down.

Tree pruning is a topic to take seriously, as a tree may need some twigs or small branches clipped off to make the whole plant healthier. Be sure to consult gardening experts and arborists, so you know what problems to look out for in your trees and how to handle them. Also, you may consider having bark dust or mulch placed around your tree, to help block weed growth and prevent the soil from drying out too fast. If your tree is sturdy enough, you can even add fun features like a rope swing set or a treehouse, too. Some treehouses can be downright impressive.

Invest In Regular Lawn Maintenance

When you have some shrubs, trees, and flowers planted, these plants will need some regular care, and the same is true of the grass, too. A neglected yard will soon become unhealthy and look bad, but taking care of it is no trouble at all. Regular lawn maintenance like mowing is easy to figure out, and if you live in the city, it’s probably best to get a push lawnmower rather than spend a lot on a riding lawnmower. Also, be sure to look up how and when to prune your shrubs, rose gardens, and trees to keep those plants healthy and looking their best. You have probably seen people in TV and movies standing there in their yard, trimming the shrubs with those shears to make a smooth surface of greenery. You can do that too, and you should also be sure to pull weeds from your garden. If you’re wondering how to beautify a yard in the city even after the landscaping work is done, here is the answer. A gorgeous yard must be maintained regularly, but the effort is worth it.

Think About the View

This is a simple but helpful topic to explore: sliding patio doors. You will enjoy getting a full view of that gorgeous lawn of yours if you own a set of sliding glass doors, as opposed to a wooden door, and that sliding door should be in good shape. Be sure to regularly clean the glass and perform maintenance to keep the door sliding smoothly, and if you don’t have such a door, you may consider hiring experts who can install one. As for home security, be sure to have a light or two that will illuminate your back porch and have a lock on that door, so no one can easily break into your home via the glass door. Glass doors look great, but they aren’t the most secure door type, necessarily. Having a fence for your backyard can also reduce the odds of forced entry.

Consider Hardscaping

This topic was mentioned earlier, and now it is time to discuss it in more detail. Hardscaping refers to most landscaping types that don’t involve plants, and hardscaping can both make your yard look nice, and make it more functional, too. Having paving stones put down, for example, is a great way to complete your garden, and you can make a trail of them that leads from your back door to the garden, and all the way through it. Or, you can put down stepping stones directly on the grass to make a trail with ease, and you can just as easily pick up and relocate those stones. Such stones can be round, square, or any other shape.

Meanwhile, consider having your fence fixed or replaced, or have one installed if there is none. When it comes to how to beautify a yard in the city, a painted fence will look wonderful, and double as a line of security. A tall, sturdy fence will block unwanted strangers, stray dogs, and some forms of wildlife, and you must make sure there are no holes in the fence itself. Some fences are chain-link, since they are inexpensive and you can see through them. If you want added privacy, invest in a wooden fence, which blocks strangers from looking into the yard. Just be sure to install a gate if need be, such as adding a gate near your garage so you can walk from the driveway to your yard. Consider having a lock on that gate, too. One note: a wooden fence has support beams on one side, often forming a shallow Z shape, and it’s important that this side is facing inwards, not outwards. Those support beams would make for good climbing surfaces otherwise, and you don’t want that.

Pest Control

It can’t be helped; some wild animals will sneak into your yard and try to eat things or break things, and you must know what to do in response. For example, imagine your new vegetable patch getting raided regularly by rabbits and raccoons, or squirrels attacking the bird feeder. Worse yet, gophers can tunnel right under a fence and ransack your vegetable garden. It may be messy or even illegal to try and kill these animals, but you can invest in other methods of pest control. A good line of defense is to set up chicken wire fencing around your garden, supported by wooden rod and braces, to block raccoons and rabbits from reaching your vegetables at all. You might even put a roof on the fence to block them completely, with a hatch so you can access your own garden. As for gophers, you can install underground wire meshes that block these tunneling rodents, or set up sound-emitting speakers down there that scare them away.

As for weeds, as mentioned earlier, you can simply pull them out of your garden when they appear. This will be a never-ending necessity, but it’s worth it to keep your garden in good shape. Pulling weeds can become a weekly activity for your garden’s sake.

Investing in landscaping will take some work, but it can be done, and with the assistance of some experts, your front and back yard will become beautiful spaces that are fun and relaxing to spend time in during fair weather.

How to Stock Up for a Safe and Healthy Quarantine

Are you prepared for an extended quarantine? Many people might think so, but you may not have thought of exactly how to prepare your home for an emergency in quarantine. Quarantine will help you reduce your risk of COVID-19, but quarantine preparation means thinking every scenario you might need to be ready for at home. When making quarantine grocery trips, you need to make sure to stock up on the essentials to meet the needs of every family member at your home on a long term basis. Here’s what you need to have on hand for an extended quarantine.

1. Hygiene Products

While most people are stocking up on canned goods and non-perishable foods, they sometimes forget about the necessity of basic hygiene products. Not only will hygiene products keep you clean, but they will also help retain a sense of normalcy for your household when they are still able to use their favorite shampoo and conditioner. Consider creating a list of your hygiene products that you use in a typical month and try to double up. An important part of an effective quarantine is reducing the need for unnecessary grocery trips. When thinking about how to prepare your home for an emergency, it is important to ensure that you have the items that you use daily, such as deodorant, hand soap, shampoo and conditioner, and toothpaste.

It is important to maintain the oral health of your family during quarantine. The last thing you want is to take trips to the dentist to fill cavities during a pandemic. Although dentists offices are taking measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19, any trip into the public is taking a risk. On top of that, many people struggle to afford dentist trips if they are unemployed or uninsured. Therefore, you should always make sure you have toothpaste, back up toothbrushes, and dental floss during quarantine. In addition, if anyone in your family has specific oral needs like a water pick or medicated mouthwash, make sure you are stocking up.

2. Maintenance Tools

Desperate times call for desperate measures. In a pandemic, you really want to be reducing your interaction with people outside your immediate family in every situation possible. This might mean turning toward DIY fixes instead of calling a plumber or other maintenance services. By doing this, you are reducing both you and your family’s risks of contracting COVID-19 greatly. In the times of a worldwide pandemic, every interaction counts. This might mean doing a little bit of research on how to make simple fixes around the house. One thing that may help is making a list of common problems in the house and looking up what you need to fix them. Then, you can have supplies on hand in case you might need them.

Plumbing problems are common occurrences that can sometimes be fixed yourself. Clogged drains happen often, particularly in large families that share bathrooms. Consider buying drain cleaner that can help erode build-up of hair and shampoo. Also, it might be helpful to keep a drain snake on hand. To prevent clogged drains, you can buy hair catches that can be placed over the drank to prevent hair from becoming clogged. These things might be helpful to have on hand, as well as simple tools like screwdrivers and wrenches that can help fix a leaky sink. Even if you’re not very experienced, it can be better to do research and try to attempt a fix rather than immediately calling a plumber.

If possible, consider investing in a generator. When thinking about how to prepare your home for an emergency, a generator can be considered priceless. In many worst-case-scenario situations, generators can save families from experiencing extreme cold or extreme heat by keeping the air conditioning units running. In addition, they can keep fridge freezers running and prevent you from losing hundreds of dollars of food. During the pandemic, many members of maintenance staffs have been furloughed in an attempt to lessen the spread of a pandemic, therefore cutting the workforce. During outages, consider that a smaller staff is working to put the power back on for the same amount of people. You might be dealing with outages for an extremely long time, making a generator invaluable. If possible, buying a generator is a very good idea during a pandemic.

If your home has a furnace or boiler, make sure you are stocked up on heating oil. Heating oil delivery companies may be working with a reduced staff, so it may be helpful to take matters into your hands. Consider housing an extended supply of oil in your garage or shed if possible. Heating oil doesn’t ignite, so it is safe to have a small reserve of oil in your home. When thinking about how to prepare your home in an emergency, heat is a vital essential in colder months. If possible, try to have enough oil to heat your home so that you won’t need a delivery in a few months. That way, you are again reducing your interactions with work staff that may have been exposed to the virus.

Although it is useful to reduce your interaction with maintenance crews, sometimes it is absolutely necessary. If you must have maintenance staff in your home, speak on the phone with them beforehand about your concerns about keeping a safe distance. Develop a plan with them about how to interact safely to reduce your interactions as much as possible. Ask if they could wear masks if they are not already doing so, and request as little staff as possible in your home. Try to keep a six foot distance when possible, and sanitize and disinfect all surfaces of your home after they leave. Remember that the virus can live on metal surfaces the longest. Disinfectants will help clean the surface and reduce viral particles as much as possible, so make sure to have them on hand. If you follow these precautions, your chances of becoming infected with the virus will be lessened greatly.

3. Non-Perishable Foods

Having a stockpile of non-perishable foods is absolutely necessary in the times of a pandemic. Perishable foods are unreliable due to reduced work forces in food production companies around the world. Meat and dairy shortages is just one example of the reduction in food availability due to the pandemic. When making grocery trips, try to buy as much non-perishable food items as possible. Some grocery stores put limits on the number of certain food items you can buy in one trip. If you must, you can shop at multiple grocery stores to get what you need. Part of how to prepare your home for an emergency in a pandemic is being prepared to stay inside for an extended period of time.

When thinking about how to prepare your home for an emergency, food should be near the top of your priority list. The Department of Homeland Security recommends that you have enough food to last each family member at least 72 hours. This, of course, is a bare minimum. If you can, try to stockpile enough food to last your family at least two weeks. In a quarantine, it is essential to try to leave the house as little as possible. Therefore, you should buy foods that can help make your trips less frequent. Specialty produce and fresh meat should be limited, replaced with canned and dry goods. Oats, rice, and popcorn are great options because they can last for years. Another good option is to freeze meats, as they will last much longer. However, remember that if your freezer becomes unavailable, you need to cook them before they go bad.

Many people don’t prioritize stockpiling water during quarantine, but that is something that is absolutely necessary. Unopened, commercially bottled water is the most reliable source during a crisis. The CDC recommends keeping a gallon a day for each family member and pet if possible, and to try to work your way up to a two week supply. If commercially bottled tap water isn’t possible to obtain, you can consider bottling your own tap water. However, you must replace water you’ve bottled yourself every six months. Some people even keep bleach that can help disinfect water, although you must be sure to buy the correct products to safely disinfect it. If you’re thinking about how to prepare your home for an emergency, keeping plenty of water on hand is a must.

One of the most important things to consider when stockpiling non-perishable goods is nutrition. You do not want to waste space in your pantry with foods that are of little nutritional value. Consider your core food groups and try to come up with a non-perishable food for each one. Peanut butter, nuts, and canned meat are excellent sources of protein. Powdered milk will last a very long time compared to traditional refrigerated milk. Dried fruit and power bars are also very nutritious options. Also, consider keeping sports drinks to help replace electrolytes if anyone gets sick.

4. First-Aid

First aid is a vital part of quarantine preparation when thinking about how to prepare your home for an emergency. You should create a first aid kit prepared for a variety of events and injuries. It should include bandages, band-aids, antibiotic ointment, scissors, tweezers, and gauze to treat minor injuries. In addition to preparing a first aid kit, you should be prepared to do some research on the best ways to treat minor injuries to avoid causing infections or making minor injuries worse instead of better. There are plenty of online resources to learn basic first aid for minor burns, scrapes, and sprains.

In addition to minor injury preparation, you should be prepared to treat minor illnesses. In particular, you should keep anti-inflammatory pain medication on hand as well as cough medicine and decongestants. It is also recommended to keep medications on hand to treat minor stomach illnesses as well as electrolytes. A thermometer is an essential as well, as anyone who comes down with a fever should be attempted to be kept separate from the rest of the family. Fever-reducers are a vital part of your first-aid kit as well. Consider keeping vitamins as well to keep your family’s immune systems running in top shape!

When making a first aid kit, consider the individual needs of each family member. If you are living with an elderly family member, keep whatever is needed to provide correct elderly care. This might consist of hearing aid batteries or items to care for and clean dentures. If you live with someone with asthma, always make sure to keep a spare inhaler somewhere that all family members are able to locate. If someone in your family has a severe allergy, ensure that you keep antihistamines and an Epi-pen if they use one. Knowing all necessary items to keep your family safe is an extremely important part of how to prepare your home for an emergency.

Of course, when thinking about health, mental health is a significant component. If any member of your family takes medication for their mental health, make sure that they have continued access to it. In times of isolation, you should always have something to keep your mind occupied. Consider keeping board games, books, and toys on hand for children. Mental health should not be dismissed when thinking about how to prepare your home for an emergency.

It is undoubtedly difficult to prepare for quarantine, but it is something that is necessary for the health of everyone around the world. It is important to keep a level head when thinking about how to prepare your home for an emergency in quarantine. One of the most significant things that will help your preparation is to always remember the individual needs of the people in your family. This will help you be ready for any emergency situation!