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John F. O'Hara

John F. O'Hara
731 W Skippack Pike  Blue Bell  PA 19422
Phone:  610-277-4060
Office:  215-643-3200
Cell:  267-481-1786
Fax:  267-354-6973

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6 Landscape Design Trends to Bloom in 2016

February 3, 2016 1:33 am

Landscape design has reversed course over the seasons, as the indoors further move outward and the outdoors become an extension of household living. The trend, ever evolving, shows no signs of slowing down this year, either.

“The latest trends reflect the desire to bring the indoors out—to create comfortable landscapes that are both functional and beautiful,” says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP), which recently released its annual forecast. “At the same time, we’re seeing a shift toward sustainable landscapes that reflect a renewed sense of mindfulness for the Earth and its ecosystems.”

The NALP forecast predicts the following trends will take root in landscapes in 2016.

1. Edible Landscapes – Fresh herbs, fruits and vegetables will add texture and color variety to landscapes in 2016, while also providing an endless supply of delicious ingredients.

2. Freshwater Features – Rain barrels, rain gardens and stone retaining walls will add dimension to lush landscapes this year, serving an important purpose of collecting, cleaning or stopping water. Other non-plant features, including sculptures or pottery, will also become focal points.

3. Fully-Customized Outdoor Living Spaces – Beyond the deck or patio, hardscapes will transform into full-service kitchens (think brick ovens and grills), living and dining rooms featuring fireplaces and fire pits, and canopy bedrooms. Themed spaces, such as yoga gardens or bocce fields, will help personalize these outdoor retreats.

4. Lighted, Tech-ed Out Landscapes – Naturally derivative of outdoor living, landscapes this year will see dramatic, boldly-colored lighting, twinkling accent lighting, backyard Wi-Fi and television installations.

5. Native Gardens – Landscapes this year will adopt the concept of “naturescaping”— selecting and growing native plants to attract birds, insects and wildlife. Naturescaping encourages the use of low-maintenance perennial native plants and innately manages water runoff.

6. Soothing Hues – Expect soft, nature-inspired pink and blue hues to bloom in gardens this year with heritage rose bushes, Catherine Woodbury daylilies, Angelique tulips, blue lace delphinium, French hydrangea and others.

Source: NALP

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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20 Ways to Spring Clean the Natural Way

February 2, 2016 1:33 am

(Family Features)—Spring cleaning on the agenda? Don’t break out the bleach—reach for vinegar, a non-toxic cleaning solution, instead. It’s less expensive than commercial products, and has much more use value.

“Cleaning with vinegar has always been an effective way to banish dirt and grime in kitchens, bathrooms, the garage and the outdoors,” says Mike Smith, executive vice president of sales and marketing at Mizkan Americas.

Vinegar is so versatile, in fact, that it can be used for virtually every job around the home. For example:

1. Clean off the blades of a well-worn can opener with an old toothbrush soaked with vinegar to help remove dirt and grease.
 
2. Clean your refrigerator’s ice and water dispenser by running vinegar through the system. Flush the vinegar out by running water through the system for 30-60 seconds.
 
3. Rid your dishwasher of mineral buildup by pouring half a cup of vinegar into the reservoir and running an empty cycle. You can also use vinegar in the dishwasher instead of glass cleaner to keep your glassware sparkling.
 
4. Renew sponges and dishrags by placing them in just enough water to cover them, then adding one-fourth cup of vinegar and letting them soak overnight.
 
5. Remove dark stains on an aluminum pot by boiling two cups of vinegar. For stained and smelly plastic food containers and lunchboxes, wipe them with a cloth dampened with vinegar.
 
6. To clean a grease-splattered oven door window, saturate it with vinegar. Keep the door open for 10-15 minutes before wiping with a sponge.
 
7. Deodorize the garbage disposal by pouring in half a cup of baking soda and half a cup of vinegar. Let sit for five minutes, and run hot water down the disposal.
 
8. Avoid using toxic chemicals where you store food. Wipe up spills in the fridge with vinegar.
 
9. Rid faucets of lime deposits by tying a plastic bag containing one-third to one-half cup of vinegar around it and leaving it there for two to three hours. Wipe down with a sponge and scrub any remaining deposits with an old toothbrush. The same approach can be used to remove buildup on a showerhead.
 
10. The fizzing combo of vinegar and baking soda can unclog and remove odor from a tub drain. Pour half a cup of baking soda in the drain, followed with two cups of hot vinegar. Immediately plug the drain with a rag to keep the bubbles contained for 10 minutes. Rinse by pouring a kettle of boiling hot water down the drain.
 
11. Spray shower doors with vinegar after you’ve squee-geed the glass—or before you turn on the water—to help release hard water deposits.
 
12. Clean shower door tracks by filling them with vinegar and letting it sit for a few hours. Pour hot water into the tracks and scrub away any remaining film with a toothbrush.
 
13. To make the toilet bowl sparkle, pour in a cup or more of vinegar and let it sit for several hours or overnight. Scrub well with the toilet brush and flush.
 
14. Remove old bathtub decals with vinegar heated in the microwave.
 
15. Remove coffee and tea stains on clothing by flushing the area with vinegar, rinsing and repeating. For wine stains, saturate the spot with vinegar and allow it to stand for several minutes. Wash as normal.
 
16. Restore yellowed clothing by soaking garments overnight in a solution of 12 parts warm water and one part vinegar. Wash them the following morning.
 
17. Soak new garments in a few cups of vinegar for 10-15 minutes before washing to stop dyes from running in the wash.
 
18. If frequent ironing has left your iron plate dirty, make a paste from one part vinegar and one part salt to scrub it clean.
 
19. Forgot you left wet laundry in the machine? Pour a few cups of vinegar in the machine and wash the clothes in hot water. Run a normal cycle with detergent to rinse the clothes.
 
20. Prevent lint from clinging to clothes by adding half a cup of vinegar to the wash cycle.

Source: Mizkan Americas

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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