An outdoor entertainment area is ideal in warm climates like South Africa. Before the winter comes, find some HOMEMAKERS inspiration to get your outdoor entertainment area ready for the colder months. A lovely outdoor space is great all year round and can bring months of joy to you and your family.
Outdoor entertainment areas are about functionality and space. When the time comes for you to design, build and decorate your own outdoor space, you will have endless options to choose from. Here are a few tips to get your outdoor entertainment area guest-ready!
Plant a selection of herbs and plants close to or in and around your entertainment area. This makes it easy to grab a few fresh herbs and use their flowers and leaves for seasoning and cocktails. Want to jazz up those lamb sosaties? Grab a few sprigs of rosemary. Need a little extra zing for your dressing? A ripe lemon from your lemon tree will do the trick.
Make it Functional
Having a functional space where you cook food and entertain people is essential. Create a space where people can do more than just stand around a braai. Start with well-crafted, outdoor furniture. Later you can include a games area and if it suits your lifestyle, a TV or an audio-visual system to watch the game too!
Ventilation and Lighting
A great outdoor entertainment area will require an outdoor kitchen or built-in braai. This requires good ventilation and lighting. You will need a good chimney installed to ensure the majority of smoke stays out of the way. An extraction fan to assist in ventilation, especially with an indoor, built-in type of setup is crucial.
Lighting is really important. Invest in eco-friendly, overhead lighting where you can prepare food and drinks for your guests confidently!
Create the ultimate outdoor area by finding the most suitable experts right here on HOMEMAKERS.Read More
Home spas are a luxury through and through. From steam baths to head-to-toe shower jets and your own massage room, this type of luxury is something to invest.Read More
Sustainable elements and organic materials form a large part of 2020’s design trends. We are continuously reminded to leave a smaller carbon footprint and for good reason.Read More
In dry climates, water shortages are making the large suburban lawn a luxury less and less people can afford. With South Africa experiencing a drought, maintaining a lush lawn is becoming increasingly unsustainable in terms of water consumption and the resulting costs.
Having green grass in your garden all-year-round can be hard to achieve. However, this is not a concern with synthetic grass. It is the answer if you want to keep your surroundings green and you do not have the time or resources to work hard in your lawn as well.
There is a wide array of varieties to choose from and the prices are cheaper in th long run in comparison to natural lawn.
No maintenance required and low cost
Unlike your real lawn turf, this one does not need water or sunlight to thrive. Just make sure that it is installed properly so that it will last long and look sleek. With synthetic grass, you will enjoy massive, on-going savings not only in water, but in mowing, feeding, and edging, not to speak of labor intensive practices such as de-thatching and aerating. We all know that green lawns require hard work, so if you are too busy for it you might as well opt for synthetic grass.
Does Not Smother And Die
With your synthetic grass, you can place your inflatable pools, trampolines, and other items in your lawn without making the area under them turn brown. Once you remove the weight, this type of grass will bounce back to its original shape and its color will never fade. It can handle traffic without getting damaged. This also means that you can enjoy more of your time outdoors.
Pet And Kid Friendly And Safe
Let your kids enjoy playing in your lawn. The only thing that you need to do to secure the place is to check for anything sharp that might have fallen on your lawn. With fake grass, the chance of getting the sand into your kids’ eyes is slim. Don’t worry if your pets relieve themselves on it as well since you can clean it the way you clean the real grass.
Relaxing And Refreshing
Love your garden and lawn more as they stay green for the entire year. Your flowering plants will look more appealing and your garden will become more desirable to visit.
Holds The Soil Down
Installing synthetic grass will reduce getting dust and sand all over your property. When heavy rain falls, you don’t need to contend with mud. Install brick pavers as well so that you can have clean walkway.
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The December holidays are creeping ever closer and the Summer rains are finally finding their afternoon storm routine. This is an ideal time to get stuck into your garden and re-evaluate just how water-wise your garden really is. Here are four redesign ideas to make sure your garden is both beautiful and water-wise.
Learn how to recognise some water-wise plants
Small or needle-like leaves: These minimise the chance of evaporation by having a smaller surface area e.g. acacias, rosemary, origanum and thyme.
Grey leaves: Lighter leaves reflect the sun, keeping plants cooler and reducing water loss e.g. lavender, artemesia and giant honey flower.
Hairy or waxy leaves: Hairs help reduce water loss while a waxy coating helps to prevent moisture loss e.g. helichrysum, beach salvia and indian hawthorn.
Succulent leaves: Thick, fleshy leaves store water for when it is needed e.g. aloes, echevarias and vygies.
Group similar plants in zones
Group plants with similar water requirements in one area. This allows you to strategically water your garden according to the plants needs rather than watering everything all the time.
Place high water use plants, such as annuals, in shaded areas under trees or in containers to reduce water use. Plant hardy ground cover under shrubs and use it to cover up open space that is prone to evaporation. Have the majority of your garden be a low or no water use zone using indigenous plants, shrubbery and trees that can survive on rainwater and limited watering.
Replace natural lawn with artificial lawn and permeable paving
Natural lawn is a major contributing factor to water wastage. Installing artificial lawn or permeable paving saves water and time on maintenance. It doesn’t require watering or mowing while staying beautiful and lush all year round.
Another benefit to artificial lawn and paving is being able to redirect run off water into areas of your garden that need it the most, using otherwise wasted water to your advantage. A combination of the two creates beautiful, neatly edged feature areas that are perfect for seating areas and courtyards.
Use greywater in your garden
As South Africa is a water scarce country it is also important to consider ways of reusing household water instead of clean, potable water in your garden. A simple solution is greywater, which is water collected from hand basins, showers, baths, washing machines and kitchen sinks. Plants such as rosemary and drought-tolerant plants such as agapanthus, aloe and strelitzia tend to deal better with the use of greywater thanks to its added nutrients and pest repellent qualities, depending on source.
Before using any household water, particularly laundry and kitchen sink water, it is important to ensure there are no hazardous substances present. This includes non-biodegradable detergents, grease, blood, pesticides or oils which are unsafe for you, your garden and your pets.
The best source of greywater comes from your hand basin, shower and bath as it is considered to be the least contaminated. Using environmentally friendly soaps, detergents and cleaning products will improve the quality of your greywater, making it better for your garden.
The most cost effective way to collect and irrigate with greywater is through a bucket system, such as placing a bucket in your shower to collect excess and used water. A stocking can be placed over the bucket to filter out any lint, hair or particles that you do not want in your garden.
An array of commercial systems are also available that collect the water directly from external plumbing and pump it into a hosepipe irrigation system, ready for distribution in your garden.
Storing greywater for more than 24 hours is discouraged as it is likely to lead to unhealthy microorganism growth. It is also recommended that you flush your garden with rainwater or municipal water once a month to remove any greywater residue.
Find out how to collect and use rainwater in your garden here.Read More
Coming to the fore as a top design trend this year, concrete is a versatile and sophisticated product
to use in your home decor. The joy of concrete’s versatility lies in the fact that it is no longer only
welcome in industrial spaces. It creates beautiful texture and acts as a neutral grounding for any
This trend is set to be sticking around for years to come. Be brave and give it a try with these simple
Vases and planters
Whether you get crafty and make them yourself or buy them, vases and planters are a subtle way to
incorporate concrete in your home. Add a pop of colour or metallic with paint or highlight your style
with different geometric shapes. Concrete planters that incorporate wood in framework or fine
detail also provide a beautiful contrast. The natural strength and durability of concrete makes it ideal
for indoor and outdoor use.
A single Edison bulb set in a square or geometric concrete base is a perfect combination of industrial
and vintage. This style of lamp is also easy to make yourself. There is a range of concrete
incorporating styles to choose from. Go for a concrete base, concrete detailing or concrete lamp
shades, it’s up to you. Lamps that combine concrete, metal and wood add an eclectic, sophisticated
and modern touch to any room.
Concrete shelves may seem a bit out of the ordinary but they look beautiful and are sturdy enough to hold you favourite trinkets. Whether you opt for floating shelves, detailed metal brackets or use the concrete for brackets to compliment your wooden shelf, concrete’s neutral colour and sturdy nature makes for an eye-catching shelving alternative to wood.
The variety of concrete side tables is endless. Solid cubes, cylinders or box shapes that provide extra storage are popular options for concrete side tables in the bedroom, lounge or outdoors. You may also want to consider going for a mixture of materials such as concrete tops and wooden or steel legs. Side tables are a great way to introduce concrete furniture into your home.Read More
Since being discovered in KwaZulu-Natal in 2017, the Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer Beetle (PSHB) has now spread to eight out of nine provinces. South Africa is known for its natural beauty, with Johannesburg and Durban placing 8th and 7th in the most tree covered cities in the world. With the ability to kill hundreds of tree species, the PSHB infestation is a serious national and international environmental issue.
Here are a few things you should know about PSHB to better protect our trees.
What is PSHB?
PSHB is a 2mm long, weevil related, ambrosia beetle that carries a number of fungi, in particular the tree-killing fungi called Fusarium euwallacea. Originating in Southeast Asia, it is suspected that the beetles were brought to South Africa through infected trade goods.
There are four species in the Shot Hole Borer species. Introduction of another Shot Hole Borer species could lead to greater damage as the species could interbreed and adapt to the new environment. The different species are only identifiable through specialised study of DNA.
As the name suggests, PSHB bores into the bark of trees. As it bores, the fungus it carries infects the bark and starts to grow in the bored tunnels. The fungus feeds any potential beetle larvae at the same time causing disease and possible death in susceptible trees.
As our trees have not grown with the beetle and fungus, they have not built effective resistance, making them more susceptible to irreversible damage.
Depending on the infestation, trees are identified as either being a reproductive or non-reproductive host. Reproductive hosts face the highest threat as the beetle will complete its life cycle of infesting, egg laying and larvae development in these trees. Due to fungal growth, these trees are most likely to die from the fungal disease.
Non-reproductive hosts are trees that have been attacked but the beetle has left or died before laying eggs. These trees are still infected with the fungus but will not spread it to other trees.
This isn’t the first tree Infestation
In the early 2000’s California and Israel both experienced a Shot Hole Borer Beetle infestation.
In California, two out of the four species now co-occur, species interbreeding leads to a greater threat has the mixed species is more adaptable to the environment and able to infest more tree species. The infestation has affected over 200 tree species in California according to current surveys. This has resulted in the damage and death of hundred of trees.
As experienced in other cases, avocado trees are particularly susceptible to PHSB. Agriculture will be hardest hit by the beetle, which has already been found in avo, lemon, guava and peach trees as well as grapevines in gardens in Sandton and Knysna.
Commercial farming has also been affected with pecan tree orchards in the Northern Cape and Limpopo being infested.
The exact impact is still unknown as there is uncertainty as to what extent our trees will be affected. The risk the infestation poses could be detrimental to our urban and native forests, where it is easily spread.
Reports of infestation have also come from George, Sedgefield, Bloemfontein, Ekurhuleni, Jankempdorp, Hartbeesfontein, Pietermaritzburg, Somerset West and Durban.
How to spot it on your tree
Currently the most commonly killed trees include English oak, Chinese maple, Japanese maple, boxelder and sweetgum.
The symptoms of attack vary depending in the tree species but include branch dieback, when your tree starts loosing leaves and dying from the edge of its branches inwards. A second symptom is the development of shotgun-like scars, lesions and oozing resin, particularly around PSHB entrance holes. Lastly, the inoculated fungus produces streaking and staining in the tree’s bark.
See the symptoms here.
How to stop it
Trees infested with PSHB are currently untreatable. The only way to stop further spread is to cut down reproductive host trees and dispose of them properly so the PSHB can not infest other trees.
Recommended disposal includes:
- Chipping the wood to 2cm or finer and composting the chips by keeping them wet.
- Keep the wood in the infested area and burn it. Be aware that some bugs may fly away during the burning process so it is vital to not move it to an infested area.
- Cover the chopped wood with sealed plastic sheets and leave in full sun to solarize for a minimum of one month.
*Information from the Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI).Read More
Ants are often used as an example to demonstrate the advantages of teamwork, but to most of us these little insects are nothing more than an irritation in the home. It seems like once they have invaded your home, they are almost impossible to get rid of.
There are mainly three types of ant species found in cities:
Garden Ants are attracted to sweet foods and leave a pheromone trail back to their nests for others to follow.
Pharaoh’s Ants feed on decomposing food and carry harmful germs picked up from their feedings.
Fire ants are found in sunny spaces and sting animals and humans.
All of these ant species can be killed via pesticides and other poisonous products, but these are not only harmful to the environment but can also be poisonous to animals and children. Therefore, it is better to consider options that are more Eco-friendly and poison-free when you decide to start your battle against these busy insects.
Here are a few homemade solutions to keep the ants at bay.
Prevention better than cure
It may be easier said than done but do your best make your home unappealing to ants. Cover food, immediately clean up crumbs and spills, close your bun lid, do a daily counter wipe and seal all ant size access points.
Find ant nests and sprinkle baby powder over the nest and ‘scouts’ that are looking for food. Baby powder does not necessarily kill ants, but they dislike it so much that they will leave. Best of all, it isn’t toxic for kids and animals.
Pour some plain white vinegar in a spray bottle and spray it on counters and on the ground around your house. The smell will evaporate as it dries.
Fill a spray bottle with water and add 10 to 15 drops of mint peppermint oil. Spray it in front of door openings and cracks to prevent ants from entering your home.
Apple cider vinegar
Mix a cup of water with a cup of apple cider vinegar and pour into a spray bottle. Spray the targeted surfaces several times a day with this mixture. Ants guide themselves with their scent and will naturally avoid these areas.
Red chilli powder
Make a red chilli paste by adding a little bit of water to the powder. Find the area where the ants are coming from and put paste in and over the ant holes.
Please note that none of these remedies will actually kill ants, they will only repel and keep them away for a while.Read More
There are few things that go better than a warm summer night and an outdoor space where you can enjoy it. Whether you have a small balcony or large patio, you can easily turn it into a cool outdoor relaxation or entertainment space.
Here are 5 ideas to make the update happen.
With hot summer days, a little shade is always a good idea. There is an assortment of shade options to choose from. Again, it’s about finding something that matches your aesthetic. Options include portable umbrellas, UV shade netting, pergolas, steel roof structures, concrete, solar panels, house roof extensions or thatch to name a few. If you are opting for a more permanent roof structure, it is best to contact a professional who can ensure the roof is structurally sound.
Create a relaxed atmosphere with soft lighting that matches your aesthetic. Fairy or string light around or across roof beams are perfect for a relaxed style. Solar garden lights are energy efficient and ideal for lighting up pathways or focus areas without the need for a power source. Keep the lights on for longer by buying outdoor, water-tight light fixtures.
Bring the garden closer with fragrant and colourful plants. Vertical gardens are best for small spaces while pots and planters on the floor or tables provide portable, calming decorative elements. You can make the greenery more functional by including herbs and vegetables that you can use in the kitchen.
Outdoor furniture makes or breaks your patio. Think about functionality when choosing furniture. Do you want a comfortable space to eat meals? A comfy space to lounge and relax? A space to have sundowners with friends? Your intended function will determine whether you opt for an outdoor dining table, comfy couches, a day bed, hanging chairs or a high table and bar stools.
The amount of rain and sun coming into your patio also needs to be considered so the furniture you buy or DIY will be able last. As a general rule, waterproof, machine washable and UV- resistance are ideal things to look for.
Create interest in your patio area by using different levels. Build raised flower beds that can become the back rest for simple benches, use retaining walls for multiple levels or dig down to create a sunken seating area.
Patios are an excellent space to entertain guests or enjoy the warmer weather on your own. Creating a relaxing space is simple when you consider a few, simple elements that effectively update your patio.Read More