The most essential gardening tools for a beautiful backyard (part 1)

Did you know that 35 percent of U.S. households grow food either at home or in a community garden? Now more than ever, people are getting into gardening and yard work.

Creating a beautiful backyard and garden takes effort, but having the right tools for the job makes it easier.

If you’re not sure where to start, we’ve compiled a list of useful gardening tools and their uses. So keep reading to discover which essential gardening tools you need to create your backyard oasis.

Trowel

A trowel is a handheld tool similar to a small shovel. It has a sharp pointed tip and a scoop blade.

You use trowels to break up the soil, scoop soil, dig small holes, and add fertilizer.  Because of its versatility, a quality trowel should top your garden tools list.

A good trowel should have a sharp enough edge to cut through grass, tough soil, and roots. It should also have a sturdy handle that’s easy to grip and comfortable to hold.

Leaf Rake or Leaf Blower

If you live in an area with deciduous trees in or around your yard, you need to invest in a quality rake or leaf blower.

Leaf rakes rake up dead leaves and small debris like twigs. A good leaf rake should have tines to collect leaves and grass clippings. It needs to be sturdy as well so you can sweep up twigs and small debris.

If you hate cleaning debris out of your rake, you might want to invest in a leaf blower instead. A leaf blower might save you time and effort, but it can create noise pollution. Before buying a leaf blower, make sure your city doesn’t have any noise limit laws.

Did you know that dead leaves can benefit the garden? Moving leaves from your yard to your garden creates food for earthworms. Earthworm castings help improve the quality of your garden soil.

Mohegan Unveils Casino Development Concept for Hellinikon

Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment, in partnership with GEK TERNA, unveiled INSPIRE Athens, its concept for the first Integrated Resort and Casino in Greece. The resort consists of a luxury hotel, entertainment venues, convention center, shopping, dining, casino, and a comprehensive mix of premium amenities, Mohegan says in a press release.

The development will help launch a new era of tourism growth and economic prosperity for all of Greece and the entire region. The building’s iconic design was created by Steelman Partners, an international architectural firm that specialized in IRC design. The concept form draws inspiration from the architectural history of Greece, especially from Athenian buildings and sculptures including the Caryatids and the Acropolis.

“We understood that INSPIRE Athens was meant to symbolize more than an integrated resort,” said Mario Kontomerkos, Mohegan Gaming, and Entertainment’s Chairman and CEO.

“It is our hope that INSPIRE Athens would be the catalyst that sparks the entire development of the Hellinikon area into the coveted Athenian Riviera, forever redefining the modern identity of Greece.”

Mario Kontomerkos, Mohegan Gaming, and Entertainment’s Chairman and CEO added, “Our overarching design was meant to be iconic in nature, yet characterize Athens’s historic architecture and rich culture while adopting a new stylistic narrative that inspires the region’s future.”

Much of the resort was designed to capitalize on the Greek affinity for the outdoors where virtually all the resort’s restaurants, bars, lounges, and nightclubs offer both indoor and outdoor experiences. The collection of food, beverage, and retail outlets includes internationally-recognized brands as well as domestic favorites that accentuate traditional Greek dining, drinking, and shopping.

INSPIRE Athens intends to be southern Europe’s center for A-list music concerts, theatrical performances, major sporting events, and other arts and cultural activities on a weekly basis. Officiating the announcement of the IRC was Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment’s Chairman and CEO, Mario Kontomerkos: “We hope we’ll have the opportunity to turn our vision into a reality and further elevate Greece as a must-visit travel destination with this landmark hospitality destination.”

He also mentioned his direct ties to the region as a Greek-American and his ambition for contributing both locally and nationally to the country by aligning with key travel, tourism, and workforce development goals. The INSPIRE Athens development is estimated to create more than 7.000 jobs in the region during and after construction, including direct, indirect, and induced.

The completion of the Integrated Resort and Casino is expected to increase tourism in the Attica region by at least 10 percent and contribute millions of euros every year to both the government and the people of Greece in taxes, infrastructure improvement, and public services.

Store garden tools properly during the winter months

There’s a chill in the air and your gardening activities are likely slowing down. It’s time to get those small engine tools properly stored for the winter so you’ll be able to hit the ground running next spring.

It’s always a good idea to change the oil and filter in your gas-powered tools before storing it for an extended period of time. Here’s a little tip – run the piece of equipment for a bit first. This will warm the engine and you’ll get better oil flow when you drain it. Additional, the warm oil will much more easily remove any dirt suspended in the oil. Don’t forget to change the oil filter meanwhile. Check the owner’s manual to ensure you use the recommended amount, quality and viscosity of the oil.

If you notice the spark plugs are worn or burned, now is a great time to replace them. Gap the plugs based on manufacturers’ recommendations using a gap tool. Be careful not to over-tighten when replacing the plug. Using a torque wrench and correct torque to reinstall the plug will help avoid the possibility of stripping the threads in the engine block.

After changing the oil and filter, take the time to clean the engine. Most small engines are air-cooled and have cooling fins on the engine block. Keeping those fins clean will help prevent overheating the engine. It also is a good time to inspect the air and fuel filters and replace them if necessary.

It’s never a good idea to store a piece of equipment with gasoline in it. Old, stale gas can evaporate over time and leave a buildup in the carburetor. This buildup will make the engine more difficult, or impossible, to start next spring. The easiest way to empty the tank is to simply run the engine dry. The tank will be ready for fresh gas next year.

Another way is to fill the tank with fresh gas having a gasoline stabilizer added to it. You must use fresh gas as the stabilizer only stops deterioration; it can’t reverse it. Mix the stabilizer with at least a gallon of fresh gas rather than trying to decide how much to add to a small tank. Storing an engine with stabilized gasoline in the tank will prevent the problem of seals drying out.

Taking that little extra time to properly maintain and prepare a small engine in the fall will help get your spring gardening activities off to a great start.

The best architectural masterpieces by Frank Lloyd Wright

2019 is an important year for those who admire the late architect Frank Lloyd Wright: this year marks 60 years since his death, and 60 years since his greatest masterpiece, the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, opened in New York City, the United States. The Guggenheim Museum was one of eight of his buildings to be awarded Unesco World Heritage status.

Here are the most striking creations of Frank Lloyd Wright.

The Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, New York City, the United States

Though the curving Guggenheim is a world away from the blocky, Cubism-inspired designs of properties like the Fallingwater house in Pennsylvania, it still has a variety of Frank Lloyd Wright trademarks. The inclusion of a large glass dome and the use of exposed concrete, for example. The museum was built inorder to house the art collection owned by Solomon R Guggenheim, and it opened 6 months after Wright’s death. He originally wanted the exterior of the building to be bright red, which he believed was the “color of creation”.

Jiyu Gakuen Girls’ School, Tokyo, Japan

Jiyu Gakuen Girls’ School, open to the public, was commissioned by Yoshikazu Hani, who wanted to build a school that felt like a home. Wright achieved this by adding ornate patterned window frames, a beautiful courtyard, and various other decorative touches, including the beautiful pendant lamps in the dining room. Look closely and you will also find out that the former school’s unusual dimensions as Wright designed this as a “child-sized” building.

Unity Temple, Chicago, USA

Designed as a replacement for Chicago’s Oak Park Unity Church, the Unity Temple is another of the buildings given Unesco World Heritage status this summer. The temple was a major game-changer in the field of ecclesiastic architecture – a cube that was made from bare concrete, topped with an enormous slab – and also one of the first of Wright’s buildings made with exposed concrete, which became his signature style. He compensated for the lack of windows and fortress-like appearance by installing skylights made with green, yellow, and brown glass, designed to remind worshippers of the natural world.

Behnisch Architekten completes the Adidas World of Sports Arena in Germany

Behnisch Architekten has completed the new office and reception building Adidas World of Sports Arena, marking the main entrance of Adidas’ headquarters campus in Herzogenaurach, Germany. With a sculptural shape emphasizing the group’s passion for sports, the Adidas Arena welcomes visitors to the headquarters with a strong visual identity, which is illustrated in its expressive, functional architecture.

In a balanced interplay between landscape, transparency, and a modern concept, Behnisch Architekten has set up a striking landmark within the Adidas World of Sports campus, which is formed by an abstract volume housing three workspace floors as well as hovers above a modeled landscape. This sculpted hill accommodates the entrance area of the building, part of which is publicly accessible, leading to a vast atrium suitable for many events.

Within the bright atrium, a dramatic floating staircase forms the heart of the building to take employees up to the three-story workspace section. With a total floor area of 52,000m2, the Arena building provides about 2,000 employees with modern and sustainable workspace organized on organic, flexible principles. The 3 levels are connected, both horizontally and vertically, through the main street, resembling a marketplace suspended in mid-air. On each floor, the main street is adjoined by 6 kitchen hubs that represent 6 key cities characterized by distinctive colors, materials, and types of furnishing in order to form individual addresses within the building. Work areas differentiate with areas for formal or informal meetings and recreational zones, organized as variegated clusters around lightwells of various sizes optimized in order to supply ample natural light.

The Arena’s façade incorporates a particularly developed shading system and sun control adapted to the orientation of each elevation, optimizing the interplay between maximum light transmittance. Thanks to its extensive use of recyclable materials and implementation of up-to-date energy-efficiency standards, the Arena has been submitted for LEED gold certification.

Frank Lloyd Wright and his 10 most striking creations

Frank Lloyd Wright is arguably the most well-known and revered architect of America in the 20th century. He believed there was a right way to design in the world, a natural architecture which served both functionality and beauty without sacrificing anything. He saw in offices, houses, and temples, the potential not only for art, but also for artistry – the ability to build dignified structures with a respect for the environments.

Frank Lloyd Wright and his most most striking creations

Wright conceived of over 1,000 designs and also executed around half of them over his 70-year career. He had a sweeping vision, spanning places of worship; museums, schools, and office spaces; private homes and hotels. In 1936, he started designing “Usonian” as an affordable-housing solution in the United States, a number of which still stand up to now. In the same year, eight of his buildings earned UNESCO status for pivotal role in the development of modern architecture.

Underpinning the designs of Wright was his belief that Nature, with a capital “N”, was sacred. His philosophy of “organic architecture” proposed that built environment had better accommodate the natural world in a greater whole. He drew inspiration from Japanese art and architecture, especially its emphasis on spirituality, harmony, and geometric simplicity, which praised the Japanese understanding of structure as “miraculous.” That is evident in differating degrees across his oeuvre. In 1957, Wright described the goal of an architect in missionary terms: “to help people understand how to make the world a better one for living in, life more beautiful, and to give rhyme, reason, and meaning to life”, or in other words, a perfect unity of materiality, philosophy, and the natural world.

There are the most striking creations of Frank Lloyd Wright to understand the celebrated architect.

  • The Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, New York City, the US
  • Jiyu Gakuen Girls’ School, Tokyo, Japan
  • Unity Temple, Chicago, the US
  • King Kamehameha Golf Course Clubhouse, Hawaii, the US
  • The Dwight D Martin House, Buffalo, the US
  • Taliesin, Wisconsin, the US
  • Fallingwater, Pennsylvania, the US
  • Johnson Wax Headquarters, Wisconsin, the US
  • Ennis House, Los Angeles, the US
  • Yodokō Guest House, Ashiya, Japan

The most iconic buildings of modern architecture

A new breed of buildings emerged as icons of the modernist movement of the 1900s when architects used innovative technologies in construction in order to create stunning structures.

The Farnsworth House

Designed by architect Mies Van De Rohe, the Farnsworth house is among the most widely recognized structures of the International Style of modern architecture. It was designed exclusively for Dr. Edith Farnsworth in the late 1940s. Built almost in steel and glass, this house emphasizes the modernist tenets of lightness, transparency, and structural expression. This only one-bedroom retreat stands out for its open-plan layout as well as its closeness to nature.

The Glass House

The Glass House by Philip Johnson was another iconic work of the International Style of modern architecture. This house located in a green suburb of Illinois, emphasizing the isolation of the individual from urban society. The work of Philip Johnson stands out for its minimalist structure, and elements of proportion, geometry, and transparency.

Seagram Building

The Seagram Building by Mies Van De Rohe epitomizes the tenets of modernism with its elegant steel and glass framework. This building’s design projects the utilitarian narrative of conventional skyscraper construction. The Seagram Building was also the first-of-its-kind to be complemented by a plaza, revolutionizing the importance of public spaces in urban cities.

Villa Savoye

Villa Savoye, designed by Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier, is a modernist response to the 1900s’ industrial machine age. The Villa Savoye is located in Poissy, a small town in France outside the city of Paris. This stunning structure is an adaptation of the principles of mechanized design. This home is a simulation of spatial efficiency and minimalist aesthetics.

Eames House

Designed by Charles and Ray Eames with the help of architect Eero Saarinen, Eames House is a modern marvel from the 1940s. It became known as Case Study House number 8 under the 1945 Case Study House Program of Arts and Architecture Magazine. This house stands out for its incredible glass and steel framework showcasing semblances of color.

The architect added to Everton Stadium team

London-based architect firm Pattern is going to take over from Sheppard Robson as the delivery architect on the £500m Bramley Moore Dock stadium of Everton FC.

Pattern will work alongside Dan Meis, the US-based primary architect, who was appointed to the project in 2017. Recently, the firm Pattern revealed CGI plans for the Everton stadium on the semi-derelict UNESCO world heritage site in North Liverpool.

Dan Meis wrote in a recent post on his website, “About £100m of our whole construction budget will be used for preparing the site in such a way that we can build the Bramley Moore Dock stadium without damaging the historic fabric of the dock,  meaning that the remainder of our budget must be spent with extreme efficiency. Luckily, the magic of Goodison isn’t about cheese shops and fancy clubs but rather historic stands, tight, steep, and right on top of the pitch. It’s a notoriously intimidating ground for opposing players and that is also what we intend to bring to Bramley Moore.”

“We consider it a labor of love and we have a great responsibility to live up to the unparalleled history of Everton club and her generations of passionate fans.”

Pattern is presently working on Qatar’s FIFA World Cup 2022 stadium. The firm has also previously delivered stadiums for the Pan-American Games in 2019. More locally, the firm worked on The City of Manchester Stadium in 2002, and follow-up proposals for its extension under its more widely known name, the Etihad Stadium.

The stadium of Everton FC is set to host up to 52,000 spectators and will be clad with steel, brick, and glass. It is set to include four stands, the largest of which has a capacity of 13,000 spectators. Lower tiers in the North and South stands offer the potential for safe standing.

Bramley Moore Dock stadium is expected to take 3 years to complete when it has gained the planning permission at Liverpool City Council meeting later this year.

Top 6 Patio Furniture Design Trends of 2019 (Part 2)

3. Mixing Indoor and Outdoor

The trend of mixing indoor and outdoor furniture started to develop in 2018 and continues to be a huge part of the patio furniture design trends of 2019. The idea of mixing between indoor and outdoor isn’t a totally new concept. In ancient Rome, there were many middle and upper-class families that had houses with indoor/outdoor courtyards and large gardens inside.

We have seen a drastic change from 1980’s old, flimsy, plastic patio furniture to sleek, contemporary, and versatile patio furniture. Current patio furniture appears with various kinds of materials, designs, and styles to well fit in with any outdoor living space. Especially in the outdoor dining spaces, patio kitchens and bars have become more and more popular, meaning that choosing the right furniture for a seating area is very important.

5. Fire Pits

An excellent way to bring your patio to the next level is using fire pits although the thought of having a fire pit on your patio seems a little intimidating. Luckily, when it comes to patio fire pits, there are plenty of options.

Fire pits can act as a focal point for your patio, making your patio feel larger, and working as a gathering point for you and your guests. Whether it is a warm summer evening or a cold winter night, the patio fire pit makes it a good idea to be outside at any time of the year.

6. Colorful

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One of the top patio furniture trends of 2019 is having a colorful one. Besides the fact that adding color to patio furniture is so popular in the present, having unique pieces to show off is also a great way to spice up your patio. There are a lot of ways to add color so it’s easy to find something that perfectly fits your space.

An easy way to add color is to add some fun pillows to your patio set up. You can buy some fun standard throw pillows which won’t last quite as long, but won’t break the bank!

Top 6 Patio Furniture Design Trends of 2019 (Part 1)

Patio furniture doesn’t go in and out of style as quickly as other home decor items. There are some aspects of patio furniture design which always remain popular such as high-quality materials and comfy cushions.

Patio furniture trends tend to not only follow interior design trends but also allow for the special circumstance that the furniture is used for an outdoor space. In terms of an indoor patio or screened-in patio, you don’t need to worry too much about wet weather, like snow or rain. Meanwhile, an outdoor patio that stays exposed to the elements will require different considerations in terms of its furniture. These are some top patio furniture trends for 2019:

  1. Mixed Materials

This is a trend that started to become popular in 2018 and in 2019, mixed material patio furniture remains shining. You’ll see a variety of wicker, teak, aluminum, and cast iron patio furniture, all of which look great. What makes your outdoor living space stand out must be unique patio furniture pieces utilizing a mix of materials.

Why is mixed materials trend becoming more popular? Because it is a great way to find high-quality patio furniture items while also stand out from the crowd. Having the same boring beige plastic patio furniture might cost less, but it’s not cool or fun.

2. Dual-Purpose Patio Furniture

Dual-purpose furniture has become more and more popular when being used as an effective way to deal with a lack of space. You can see dual purpose patio furniture that is utilized on balconies and smaller patios, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use them for larger ones.

A common purpose of using dual-purpose patio furniture is for storing cushions under bad weather. However, it can also be used in many other space-saving capacities. Dual-purpose patio furniture goes well with the general design theme of 2019 that is simple and functional. Although extravagant patio furniture pieces look amazing and cool, you should consider how often you will use it to its full potential.