Whether you are new to the world of gardening or consider yourself to have a “green thumb”, getting started in the garden in Royal Bay is something everyone can do – and now is the time! Our Sister Company, Excel Homes, asked Colin Hayles, Marketing Director and Purchaser at Calgary’s Golden Acre Home & Garden Center, for some of his best tips for growing plants inside or out, and how to spruce up your yard for the summer.

KITCHEN HERBS.

Growing your own herbs is convenient and easier than you’d think! Use fresh homegrown basil or mint to jazz up your favourite recipes and drinks. Many herbs do amazingly well indoors year-round, and they double as great windowsill decor for your kitchen! Oregano, thyme, dill, and parsley are all great options to put into a windowsill planter or under a grow light on the counter. One of the most popular herbs to grow indoors is basil, but it is notoriously fickle and does not like temperature changes, cold water or frost. Some people prefer to start their basil outdoors during the warm summer months and will bring it inside once the temperature starts to drop in the fall.

POTTED PLANTS & FLOWERS.

There are plenty of low-maintenance flowers and plants that can thrive in both the sun and the shade. We suggest mixing and matching colours to keep your garden looking fresh!

For warm, sunny spots, marigolds, geraniums, zinnias, lavender, dahlias, and osteospermums all grow fantastically well. To most people’s surprise, sunflowers can also grow on your patio if you have the willingness to water twice a day, and have a two-gallon pot.

For cool, shady spots, sturdy plants such as begonias or impatiens can bring a pop of colour and are highly robust.

VEGGIE GARDEN.

If you’ve always wanted to try your hand at growing veggies, leafy greens are a great place to start! Spinach, kale, lettuce, and arugula are all relatively easy to take care of and forgiving when it comes to a bit of frost. Tomatoes are also a great veggie to start out with in your garden – they will grow plentifully with lots of watering and a good soil fertilizer.

Colin recommends investing in a Vegepod, which are raised planters from Australia. This can also be substituted with a homemade planter box if you’re feeling up for a little spring garden project. The benefits of a raised plant bed are that they warm up more quickly in the spring and can allow for a longer growing season.

BACKYARD ESCAPE.

Looking for quick and cost-effective ways to spruce up your backyard? The easiest way to get started is with pre-made planters and/or hanging flower baskets. Many stores will offer pre-made sun and shade varieties, so all you have to do is bring them home and place them wherever your heart desires. If you have the time, you can also plant seeds or bulbs (such as pansies, violas, or chrysanthemums) which will pop up quickly with a little sun and watering. All of these options will add colour to your backyard for an affordable price, and minimal work (score!).

When it comes to gardening, less is more. Especially when you’re just starting out! A windowsill herb garden or a couple of hanging pots can make a world of difference.

Happy gardening from all of us at GableCraft Homes!

With COVID-19 restrictions lifting, so have our moods. We have been looking forward to this summer; one which finally allows us to gather with loved ones while basking in the sunshine! So, if you’re feeling like us and are ready to celebrate long warm days and having guests over, we have some great outdoor entertaining ideas for you!

Summer outdoor dining can be as simple as barbecuing hamburgers and hot dogs, to something a bit more upscale with steaks or salmon. But most of all, alfresco dining should be about experiencing a memorable night with family and friends!

INVITING TABLES SET THE TONE FOR THE PICTURE-PERFECT OUTDOOR DINING EXPERIENCE:

Whether it’s a small get together with your immediate family or an intimate gathering of friends, setting a lovely table can truly set the tone for the evening! You don’t have to buy new outdoor dishes to create the spot for entertaining; just use what you have. Head into your kitchen and grab your favourite plates, table runners, vases and decor to create a festive space to gather. To craft an elegant summer table, consider placing flowers from your garden on your napkins as a place setting.

When the sun goes down, we love to light some candles (or use battery-operated ones if there are little ones running around!) to keep the celebration going. If pesky bugs are a problem, citronella candles can be a great solution.

BBQ DRINKS:

What is an outdoor soiree without a refreshing summer cocktail? With warmer temperatures, it’s important to keep your guests well hydrated. From all-time favourites, such as daiquiris, watermelon punch, or mojitos, we suggest heading over to Pinterest for easy to make summer drinks that can be crafted with or without alcohol.

FUN-FILLED OUTDOOR GAMES:

From traditional classics such as Bocce ball, croquet, or cards to easy DIY’s such as a treasure hunt or horseshoes, it’s great to plan something fun for all age groups. If there are little ones joining the party, bringing out a mini splash pool or slip and slide can guarantee to keep them busy and happy.

Jenga is a classic that we recommend for all age groups!

Let’s talk about your laundry room laundry! Sometimes this space can be neglected when you are planning and decorating your new home. It’s a smaller space when compared to your kitchen and master bedroom but that doesn’t mean it deserves any less attention. Laundry rooms are often viewed as boring spaces, but we are here to show you how to bring life back into this neglected room.

We all do laundry so you might as well make this space fun and enjoyable as well as practical and functional!

Feature Wall

Entering into your laundry room isn’t usually met with a sense of excitement, so our advice to you is to create that feeling in the room. A feature wall is a great way to add a pop of colour or pattern into the room that can fill it with a fresh and new look. That bright new colour might inspire you to enjoy your weekend chores or the abstract wallpaper could bring out a whole new meaning to the words clean freak.

Whatever your choice we are sure that the feature wall will brighten, enhance and redefine your laundry room.

Glass Storage Jars

You may have noticed that many people love to use glass jars in the laundry room. It’s a great way to organize your products and it also eliminates the clutter of cleaning product packaging. This simple storage solution allows you to see how much of everything you have as well. Running low on dryer sheets or scent boosters? Now you can quickly scan your inventory to know what you need to pick up on your next trip to the store!

On top of being functional these jars, glass or plastic (if you are worried about your kids knocking them over), look great! They are aesthetically pleasing and can make your laundry room look like a well-thought-out space.

Plans & Greenery

Bring some life into your space with flowers and greenery. If you have a hard time keeping plants alive or have limited sunlight in your laundry room, feel free to use fake plants or terrariums that are built for that type of environment. Whatever the case, any type of flowers and greenery will brighten up the room. It will make the space feel more inviting and enjoyable to be in.

Simple Storage Solutions

If you are limited on space in your laundry room storage is key. There are a few ways that we recommend you keep yourself organized:

  • Additional shelving: If you have the space try adding shelving to your laundry room. This will you to store additional cleaning supplies and will also keep them out of reach from young children.
  • Baskets: Rather: Than having your dirty clothes all around the house, trying to keep laundry baskets in the laundry room. This way when it comes time to clean, all of your clothes are in one convenient spot!
  • Collapsible Drying Rack: These can be found everywhere from Amazon to in-stores. The collapsible drying racks are great for items that need to be air-dried. The best part is when you are finished with the rack it folds up and can be hidden away until its next use.

Hopefully, you were able to pull a few tips from our list and apply them to your laundry room! Feel free to send us pictures and share with us your advice for new homeowners by following us on our social media pages.