How to construct a Waist-High Planter

A waist-high flower planter can deliver huge impact on a deck, deck or front porch. By constructing your planter from a lightweight hypertufa mixture, the large planter will be easy to move, even when filled with potting soil and plants. Hypertufa was developed by European gardens to mimic porous and lightweight volcanic tufa stone. A large, waist-high wicker laundry basket produces an effective mold to the planter and can leave a basket weave design pattern on the finished planter. Start looking for an inexpensive used wicker laundry basket in a thrift shop because the basket will not endure the procedure.

Wear rubber gloves and mixture 10 pounds of Portland cement, 15 lbs of vermiculite and 15 lbs of peat moss in a wheelbarrow with a trowel.

Add 1 cup of water and then stir it in the cement mixture with the trowel. Repeat, adding water 1 cup at a time prior to the hypertufa mixture is the texture of cooked oatmeal.

Grab a handful of this hypertufa mixture and apply it to the inside of a wicker laundry basket. Duplicate, to cover the inside bottom and walls of the basket with a 2-inch layer of this hypertufa mixture.

Push your finger through the bottom layer of hypertufa to make three drainage holes in the planter.

Permit the hypertufa mixture to dry and cure for 48 hours in a covered area, like a shed or garage. Cut the wicker laundry basket in the hypertufa mixture with wire snips. The waist-high planter is ready for filling with permeable soil and plants.

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When to Start Attracting Orioles to Your Yard

Although the Baltimore oriole, best known of these species, generally stays east of the Rocky Mountains, the West hosts two kinds of this vibrant birds: Bullock’s oriole and the hooded oriole. Yearly, they come back to this region, starting in March, to build nests and raise families, after wintering in Mexico and Central America. All these songbirds may be elusive, and the chance to see one does not last long, as they migrate south again in August.

Migratory Habits of Orioles

Bullock’s oriole, named for a pioneering ornithologist, is plentiful in most of the U.S. western countries during breeding time from early spring until August. Nesting in the canopies of tall deciduous trees, the birds come to the ground searching for their food favorites, grasshoppers and caterpillars. During migration and winter, Bullock’s orioles may collect in small flocks, but other times, they usually forage alone. The hooded oriole, which takes its title from the male’s orange hood, downstairs in open areas with scattered trees, particularly palms. Once exclusive to this desert Southwest, hooded orioles, in recent years, have been expanding northward in California for breeding. Generally, they arrive during March and migrate to Mexico in August.

Oriole Attractants

Orange, the shade and the fruit, lures the birds. Since orioles prefer exactly the same nectar formulation as hummingbirds, hang an orange ribbon from the feeder so that it is easily seen. Orioles’ invoices are often too large for your own washing vents in hummingbird feeders, but specialized feeders for orioles are commercially available. Place cut orange halves on a branch or flat bird feeder. Orioles also like grape jelly, which is set from a dish or cup. Don’t conceal a feeder under the eave; put it in the open where birds flying overhead may spot it. Hang it near a water feature, if you have one. Orioles are attracted to the sight and sound of moving water. Maintaining up your feeders for two weeks after you see the final of this first group of guests helps you to attract any migrating stragglers.

Coaxing the Birds to Nest Nearby

If you aspire to encourage the orioles to perform more than pass through, put out pieces of yarn and string which they might use in nest construction. Orioles take pride in their own pendulous, basketlike nests, which they lay about the ends of slender tree branches. The female selects the nest site and weaves the nest, but the male can help out with securing it in position. Generally, the female then lays four to five eggs. The pendulous shape of this nest retains eggs and baby birds comparatively protected from climbing predators. If you do not draw in nesters the very first year, keep striving. Occasionally several seasons are required to locate a next.

Plants for Orioles

Bullock’s orioles primarily inhabit cottonwoods, willows and oaks. If your landscape involves these trees, your chances of drawing these birds are most likely good. Apart palm trees, the hooded oriole is partial to this dogwood because of its tiny fruits. Planting nectar-producing, flowering shrubs and vines, such as honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum), bleeding heart (Dicentra spectabilis), hummingbird bush (Dicliptera sericea) and trumpet vine (Campsis radicans), also offers orioles a treat in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8 through 10.

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How to Kill Mold in a Backyard

Persistent moisture and warm conditions on your backyard frequently lead to the development of mildew and other varieties of mold. Not only does mould growth ruin the aesthetic beauty of the backyard landscape, but its spores also present as a health threat to you and your loved ones. If you become aware of mould and mildew growing in your backyard, a quick cleaning can effectively kill this problem. Mold and mildew frequently show up in three places on your backyard: on exterior construction surfaces, like a drop wall or on your patio; on furniture, like a chair in your deck or even a bench in your flower garden ; and on fabric surfaces, like outdoor cushions.

Outdoor Structural Surface

Pull on a pair of rubber gloves to protect your skin from the cleaning solution you’re going to use, as well as a dust mask to protect your lungs from the mould’s dander.

Combine a gallon of chlorine bleach with 1/3 cup of standard dish detergent and 3 quarts of water. Mix the solution using a plastic or wooden spoon.

Dip a sponge in the way and scrub the mould. The detergent helps you loosen the mould while the bleach kills mould spores to prevent the problem from growing back.

Rinse the cleaned surface with fresh water from a garden hose.

Outdoor Furniture

Wear rubber gloves to protect your skin from the cleaning solution you’re going to use, as well as a dust mask to prevent mold spores from entering your respiratory system.

Mix 1/2 cup of vinegar with a cup of bleach, 1/4 cup baking soda and a gallon of water.

Dip a sponge in the cleaning solution and scrub your outdoor furniture. The vinegar and baking soda loosens dirt and grime while the bleach kills the mould and mildew.

Wash your outdoor furniture with a garden hose after cleaning to remove all of the cleaning solution.

Outdoor Fabric

Pull a dust mask and rubber gloves to protect yourself both from the cleaning solution and the mould’s spores.

Mix 3/4 cup of bleach using a gallon of water, dip a sponge in the solution and wipe down the cloth surface.

Throw the cloth into a washing machine as a substitute for wiping it down with bleach. Put it in the machine using a standard measurement of the favorite laundry detergent, and 3/4 cup of bleach and also run it via a standard washing cycle.

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Painting Over Old Painted Pine Boards on Walls

Completing a pine wall with paint may give your room a completely different feel. Natural knotty pine is rustic and a little bit state — but when the rest of your decor doesn’t mesh with this, you don’t need to scrap your personality and start buying primitives. You may create above the pine, even if it’s been previously painted. Your biggest decision aside from color is whether or not you would like to get the knots to show through the paint. A few handy tricks can disguise the knots so well that only you will know that pine resides under the newly painted finish.

Wash the walls with a powerful cleaner, such as trisodium phosphate. Wipe the walls down to remove all traces of cleaner and let the wood dry.

Determine what type of paint is currently on the walls so you know what type of paint to work with. Rub a rag soaked with denatured alcohol in an inconspicuous spot. If a paint comes off on the rag, then the paint is latex. If no paint comes off, then the walls are covered in oil-based paint. It is possible to apply latex primer and paint over oil paint, but you can’t use oil primer and paint over latex paint. In this case, you’ll need to use latex.

Sand the walls to rough up the surface of the paint to prepare the timber to get latex- or oil-based primer.

Wipe away dust using a tack cloth.

Turn around the ground, windows, doors and baseboards to protect them from primer and paint. Remove curtain rods and switchplates using a screwdriver. Place plastic or canvas dropcloths on the ground to protect it from drips and spills.

Scrape wood filler from the container using the corner of the putty knife, and apply it in a thin layer to some cracks or bigger knots that you want to hide on the walls. Smooth the wood filler with the long, flat edge of the putty knife, scraping away any surplus that’s left on the timber. Let the wood filler dry in accordance with the manufacturer’s directions. If you want the knots to demonstrate through the painted finish, then do not use wood filler.

Sand the spots that have wood filler to ensure the surface is smooth. Wipe away any dust with a tack cloth.

Employ a primer coat to the walls, and allow it to dry in accordance with the manufacturer’s directions. Apply a second coat to guarantee the pine boards are adequately primed. If you’re using oil-based primer, then you might need to let the primer heal for an elongated period of time — check the manufacturer’s info for paint-drying particulars.

Paint the walls with the latex- or oil-based colour of choice. Let the first coat dry in accordance with the manufacturer’s directions and apply a second coat. Once the walls are almost dry, then remove the painter’s tape — this ensures you do not pull off any paint when you remove the tape.

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Plants for Edging a Fence

Nothing brightens up a dull fence over a bright, active border next to it. Plant a variety of plants to maximize interest and provide all-year-round shade. You may just access fence edges from one side, so shrubs, perennials, ground cover plants, bulbs and other low-maintenance plants are good choices for U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8 through 10.


Hooker’s manzanita (Arctostaphylos hooker) is an evergreen tree which grows to a maximum of 4 feet. It tolerates drought well, and its pretty pink-white spring blooms are attractive to butterflies. Grevillea (Grevillea lavandulace) is taller, growing up to 6 feet high and 6 feet wide. It’s evergreen, has showy red flowers that attract hummingbirds from autumn through spring, and enjoys full sun to part shade. This tree tolerates poor soil, heat and drought.


Perennials last for many years. Naked eriogonum (Eriogonum nudum) bears yellow, white and pink blossoms though July and August. It’s evergreen, with gray-green leaves, and grows up to 3 feet tall. Plant it in a sunny, mixed border, to give an airy effect. Sea thrift (Armeria maritima ssp. Californica) bears pink blossoms in spring. It tolerates drought well and rises to 6 inches wide and up to 1 foot across. This plant enjoys full sun. California fuchsia (Epilobium californicum) includes scarlet flowers through the summer and autumn that are attractive to bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. It tolerates part shade.

Ground Cover

Plant ground cover plants to minimize time spent weeding. Ceanothus (Ceanothus gloriosus) rises up to 18 inches tall and 16 feet wide. It’s dark green leaves and pretty light blue blooms that attract hummingbirds, butterflies and bees. It tolerates coastal winds well. Carmel Sur Manzanita (Arctostaphylos edmundsii “Carmel Sur”) includes light pink flowers through spring and winter, and its dense evergreen growth makes it an excellent ground cover plant. It grows rapidly and tolerates most soil types.


Bulbs are helpful in a mixed border since they require little upkeep, and many die down during part of the year, freeing up space for other plants. Firecracker blossom (Dichelostemma ida-maia) is a hummingbird magnet. Keep this plant dry over the summer and it will reward you with crimson, pendant, tubular blossoms in May to July. It grows best in full sun. Golden stars (Bloomeria crocea) is a sweet little deciduous plant with pretty, yellow, star-shaped blooms in spring. It grows quickly up to 1 foot higher.

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Climbing Plants for Courtyards

The walls which surround a courtyard act as supports for climbing plants. Several distinct plants use tendrils to climb up walls, although other plants grow upwards when trained on a trellis. Showy varieties of these plants add a decorative element to your courtyard. One of the best guides when choosing climbing plants is to pick one that matches the lighting conditions. Observe the sun pattern in the area where you want to place the climbing plant.

Flowers for Full Sun

Sunny sites deliver small cooling shade and must tolerate heat buildup. Blue passion flowers (Passiflora caerulea) grow best in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 6 through 9 with 3- to 4-inch-wide flowers throughout the summer on high-speed 10- to 15-foot-long stems. The blossoms comprise of white outer petals and narrow blue inner petals with rings of white and purple across the middle. The blossoms are followed by oval orange-yellow edible fruit. American wisteria (Wisteria frutescens), a North American native, creates clusters of pale lilac blooms throughout the summer in USDA zones 6 through 9. The fast-growing woody stems reach more than 30 feet along with the plant works well for south-facing walls.

Partial Sun Vines

Partially sunny sites still get about six hours of direct sunlight with a couple hours of cooling shade. “Ramona” clematis (Clematis x “Ramona”) grow large purple summer blooms covering woody vines with deciduous leathery green leaves. This fast-growing vine reaches 10 to 20 feet long in USDA zones 4 through 9. “Theta” narrowleaf Asiatic jessamine (Trachelospermum asiaticum “Theta”), which grows in USDA zones 8 through 10, creates dark green, needle-like leaves using silvery-green markings in the center. This 20-foot-long evergreen vine grows fragrant white blooms all summer.

Partial Shade Vines

Plants that grow in partially shady conditions require protection from hot afternoon sun that could hurt the plants. “Ritak” sausage vines (Holboellia latifolia “Ritak”) form clusters of purple spring flowers using a cinnamon odor and big lavender fruits follow the flowers. Dark evergreen leaves cover the 15-foot-long stems in USDA zones 6 through 10. This vine demands support to climb erect. “Tangerine Beauty” cross vine (Bignonia capreolata “Tangerine Beauty”) grows in USDA zones 6 through 9 using peach-pink, trumpet-shaped flowers with orange throats growing on 30- to 50-foot-long woody stems. This vine attracts hummingbirds into the courtyard.

Full Shade Plants

Shade-loving plants burn and wither when subjected to a lot of direct sunlight. These plants need the coolness of colour to survive and grow well on north-facing courtyard walls. Red Wall Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia “Troki”) grows best in USDA zones 3 through 8 using tendrils to climb up the wall and reaching 30 feet tall. This deciduous vine produces dark green leaves, which turn fire-engine red in the fall, along with small clusters of blue berries. “Taiping Shan” evergreen climbing hydrangeas (Hydrangea integrifolia “Taiping Shan”) creates glossy evergreen leaves along a 30- to 40-foot-long stem with early summertime white lacecaps made up of tiny blooms in USDA zones 7 through 10. This hydrangea blooms well in the colour.

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Aluminum Pan Roof Repair

A modern aluminum pan roof can offer several years of maintenance-free provider, but older roofing can eventually show signs of leaking or corrosion. In addition, exposure to years of direct sunlight can fade or damage painted finishes and lead to unsightly flaking or peeling. Fortunately, any of these problems can be repaired by an experienced do-it-yourselfer equipped with everyday tools.

Loose Seams

When installed correctly, a metallic pan roof is held together by galvanized fasteners folded tightly into leak-resistant neoprene washers. If the screws or nails become loose, water will seep through the space to the surface beneath. In many cases, you can resolve this issue simply by tightening the screws or banging the nails back to place. If the fasteners or the adjacent roof show any signs of corrosion, replace them with new galvanized fasteners and neoprene rubber washers, and then apply a clear sealer over the screw or nail head.

Leaky Flashing

Your aluminum pan roof can be damaged by wind uptake, expanding winter ice conditions along with the nesting of wild animals. Any of these situations can cause the roof panels to pull away in the flashing, which channels rainwater to the surfaces beneath. Scrape out any debris or dirt in the affected area before applying a generous coating of roof cement or a urethane adhesive/sealant. In most circumstances, the urethane will dry and cure more quickly. Apply weight to the newly sealed region for about 24 hours or as directed by the manufacturer’s instructions.

Metal Corrosion

If the roof has been installed using old-fashioned lead washers or non-galvanized nails or screws, those fasteners will corrode over time and that corrosion could spread beyond the hole. If that’s the case, you should plan on replacing the original fasteners to stop widespread corrosion. Use a stiff wire brush to remove all the visible corrosion, and fill some soft spots or tiny holes in the aluminum with a epoxy patching compound.

Failed Coating

Contemporary aluminum pan roofs incorporate a factory applied finish, however that protective coating will surely fail before the aluminum itself because of sunlight exposure and also the repeated expansion caused by heat and cold cycles. Signals of failure include fading, chalking, flaking and peeling. You can repair the issue using a new coat of elastomeric paint in a cool roof color. These coatings are far less prone to premature failure in temperature variations, and in addition, they reduce summertime heat transmission into the living room beneath.

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Bronze Flatware Cleaning

Copper, zinc and tin include the bulk of authentic bronze flatware, causing a dusky gold finish that’s occasionally enriched with a chemical or lacquer. Improper cleaning or a lack of cleaning can scratch the delicate surface and alter the appearance of the metal. Regular dusting, light polishing with a fabric to enhance shine, and washing with a mild dish detergent is generally sufficient when caring for bronze. Lacquered bronze, including fresh flatware, rarely requires polishing; however, unlacquered bronze, including several antiques, will develop a green patina that you are going to have to remove.

Caring for Display Items

Although you wo not have to wash lasagna debris off ornamental bronze flatware, allowing dirt and dust to build up does just as much harm as leaving behind specks of marinara. Wipe down bronze utensils with a soft flannel cloth to remove dust, and regularly dust the screen area, preferably once a week. Take a little extra time every month when dusting and utilize a flannel cloth to gently polish the metal. Don’t use a lot of elbow grease or see to the flatware like silver; only buff gently in circular motions as though you were applying lotion to your baby’s skin. If the dirt accumulation is extensive due to lack of dusting, place the utensils in around 12 cups of warm water mixed with 1 tbsp of salt. Don’t allow the flatware soak; rather, utilize the saltwater alongside a soft sponge to wash each piece. The salt dislodges dirt and gently buffs away sticky dirt. Rinse each piece thoroughly once you are completed, and dry them gently with a lint-free fabric.

Cleaning Functional Flatware

Wash flatware used for dishes after every use with mild, phosphate-free dish soap, warm water and a soft sponge or rag. Always hand-wash bronze flatware; the heat from the dishwasher and abrasiveness of this water and detergents will ruin the pure color of this metallic and mar the surface. Stay away from water stains by rinsing the flatware and drying with a soft fabric. When desired, gently buff the metal with a flannel cloth before storing to polish the surface.

Polishing Bronze

Decorative and functional non-lacquered bronze flatware require polishing on occasion, but regular dusting and proper cleaning minimizes how frequently it wants a fantastic buffing. When polishing becomes necessary, due to an extra darkening of the bronze or the development of a green patina, a mixture of whiting and distilled water works as a cheap yet powerful DIY polish. Create a thin paste with the two components; scoop some up with a flannel cloth and buff the glue into the bronze till it shines. Wash the wax off thoroughly; dry the utensil having a fabric and finish up by dry polishing with a clean flannel fabric. If the patina is particularly excessive, then you might want to resort to your store-bought bronze wax; even in case you are cleaning flatware which you eat with, make sure anything you buy is food safe. Tip: In case polishing doesn’t eliminate the patina, the bronze is likely lacquered.

Keep in Mind

Bronze has a high percent of copper, which is very soft. Avoid abrasive polishes and cloths, as they can scratch the surface. If lacquered bronze develops a green patina, take the flatware to your professional for polishing. Don’t attempt to strip the lacquer by yourself. Extra exposure to moisture damages the metal; for this reason, store bronze flatware at a climate-controlled area and avoid soaking the flatware in water, also when brushing. Store the pieces safely by wrapping them in a soft flannel fabric.

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Plants That Grow Next to an Elm Tree

Elm trees (Ulmus spp.) , usually grown as shade trees, also work as both specimen and trees. Several elms show allelopathy, a procedure where roots, leaves or shoots secrete chemicals that kill or severely retard the growth of plants growing nearby. When selecting companion plants to develop alongside or beneath elms, be sure to know which type of elm you have. Decorative mulch may work best under elms using allelopathic trends. When selecting companion plants to get non-allelopathic elms, pick those are shade-tolerant and shallow-rooted.

Toxic Varieties

In regards to the plant fluids secreted by elms, not all trees in the genus are created equal. University of Georgia categorizes American Elm (Ulmus americana), which grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 9, as generating chemicals in its roots, stems and leaves that have the strongest allelopathic effect. By contrast, Chinese elm (Ulmus parvifolia), which grows in USDA zones 4 or 5 through 9, based on the variety, had just minor allelopathy through substances secreted from roots.

Summer and Spring Companions

When planting under or following non-allelopathic elms, like winged elm (Ulmus alata), which grows in USDA zones 6 through 9, or Siberian elm (Ulmus pumila), which grows in USDA zones 4 through 9, consider small daffodils, like “Tete a Tete” (Narcissus “Tete a Tete”), which develop in USDA zones 3 through 9, that flower before the tree leafs out. Virginia bluebell (Mertensia virginica), a perennial, spring bloomer with blue blooms will even boom under elm trees. Hardy in USDA zones 3 through 8, bluebells defy the toxins secreted from other trees and may succeed under the marginally allelopathic Chinese elm also.

Summer and Fall Planting

Shallow-rooted and comparatively low-growing, lily turf (Liriope muscari), which grows in USDA zones 5 through 10, features spikes of purple flowers in late summer through early autumn. Sometimes, the long, grassy leaves arch in rounded clumps. Lily turf thrives in the same consistently moist soil which most facilitates elms and tolerates the tree’s shade. Traditional hostas, or August lily (Hosta plantaginea), which grows in USDA zones 3 through 9, will also perform nicely alongside or beneath elms. The plants include broad, textured leaves and in late summer create substantial, scented, white blooms atop tall stems.

Planting Under Elms

When planting alongside or beneath elms, dig carefully so you don’t disturb the tree’s roots. Probe gently using a trowel or small spade to find planting holes which lie between roots. Tree roots also use the vast majority of the water and nutrients from the ground around them, so mulch nearby plants with several inches of organic matter to conserve moisture and block weed growth. If you experiment with companion plants beneath or close allelopathic species, like American elm, watch carefully for signs of toxicity like yellow leaves. Remove affected plants promptly.

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