Top Five Home and Garden Stores in Austin, TX

Beautiful homes and gardens are made with plants, flowers, seasonal home décor, outdoor furnishings, and unique landscaping features, all of which can be found at these specialized stores. Home and Garden retailers sell essential items needed to tend the garden and complete projects around the house. We scoured review sites like Yelp to narrow down the best home and garden stores in the Austin area.

The Natural Gardener

Described as a candy store for gardeners, The Natural Gardener has been voted Best Nursery by the Best of Austin poll numerous times. It features a full nursery, butterfly garden, old country store, test gardens, and mini farm. It really is an experience, rather than just a home and garden store. They do have quite the variety of seeds, plants, tools, outdoor furniture, and décor. In keeping with their sustainable mission, they also sell composting supplies and rain barrels. The knowledgeable staff is also prepared to give you advice, along with the on-duty botanist to solve all your gardening woes.

Best Feature: The Natural Gardener is known for organic gardening and sustainability. All of their seeds are non-GMO, plus the fertilizers are all-natural, along with soil amendments and non-toxic bug repellants.

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Breed & Co.

While they do have a selection of seasonal plants and gardening supplies, especially in the warmer months, Breed & Co. is a little heavier on the “home” of home and garden stores. They do also have a wide array of hardware offered in conjunction with Ace Hardware, so this really is a one stop shop. With two locations, the original Breed & Co. is located adjacent to the University of Texas and has been an Austin institution for over 40 years. You can find many plants, vegetables, herbs, and flowers here, plus an assortment of houseplants. You will definitely find all the garden and home accessories you need to add the perfect touch to top off you project.

Best Feature: It’s a local version of a big box store, so you know you’re options aren’t limited. Their partnership with Ace Hardware proves Breed & Co. is committed to helping their customers find all they need at a local establishment.

Zinger Hardware and General Merchant

If variety is the spice of life, Zinger Hardware makes things a whole lot spicier. This retailer offers products for the home, garden, tool shed, and all your gift giving needs. You’ll find everything you need to make time spent outdoors more enjoyable. They have a great selection of accessories to help with house and garden design, plus the tools needed to get the job done. Reviewers love the experience of browsing through the store and finding things they didn’t know they couldn’t live without.

Best Feature: Zinger Hardware is committed to finding every day solutions. They have a great blog on their website that offers tips and ideas for their local community.

Miguel’s Gallery & Garden

Miguel’s keeps the local flair in mind. All of their plants are based on hardiness to survive the Texas climate. They mainly sell heat and freeze resistant, low water, low maintenance plants. These include succulents, cacti, and agaves, plus more. They also sell home and garden décor, specifically influenced by local culture. This includes outdoor pottery offered at a reasonable price. The inventory really is what sets this store apart from others.

Best Feature: Miguel’s captures the beauty of it all. They appreciate hand-crafted art influenced by Mexico and the rest of the world. They have the largest selection of Asian and Mexican pots in the area, which many reviewers raved about.

East Austin Succulents

Another retailer who focuses on the low maintenance plants that thrive in central Texas, East Austin Succulents is a newer addition to Austin. They offer custom arrangements for special events, or you can stop in for individual plants, containers, and other garden needs.  They sell rare species from around the globe so you can bring a little more culture to your home. They also have pets that roam the grounds and make your visit that much more enjoyable.

Best Feature: You can bring your own container and they’ll pot your succulents for you. This is great for those people who don’t have a green thumb or an eye for design.

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Should you clean your own gutters?

gutter cleaning

Gutter cleaning is not a complicated task and it can be done by an amateur provided that the gutter is not very high. You should only clean your own gutters if your roof is not very high and your house does not have multiple stories. Gutter cleaning should be done several times a year, especially before the rainy season.

Cleaning your own gutter helps you save some money that you can use for more technical tasks like gutter maintenance and replacement. To clean your gutters on your own you need to know ladder safety and have access to the necessary tools.

Importance of cleaning gutters

  • Clogged gutters cause water to overflow and compromise the state of your house. The overflowing water might find its way on the wall; this affects the state of the paint and even weakens the wall and might lead to cracks on the wall.
  • Stagnant water in the gutters leads to ice damming when the water freezes. This causes stress on the gutters forcing it against the wood leading to more leakages and breakages.
  • Rotten debris is a breeding ground for mosquitos and ants. Debris is the major cause of clogged gutters.
  • When the debris gets wet it becomes heavy and causes the gutters to become loose. They might fall off in this case, which calls for an expensive replacement.

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What you need

Your priority when cleaning gutters apart from getting them clean should be your safety, because most of the time you will be on a ladder or on your roof. You should learn ladder safety before contemplating cleaning your gutter on your own. Most accidents that happen at home are caused by ladders.

Apart from ladder safety you need gloves to protect your hands. You need safety goggles to protect your eyes from debris that flies as you clean. You will also need a dust mask to protect yourself from dust. Lastly, you will need a garden trowel for scooping out debris from the gutter.

How to clean

There are different ways of cleaning gutters, provided you remove all the solid particles and clear all the water outlets that drain water from the gutters. Scoop all the debris and other particles from the gutter, then scrub it and rinse it with clean water. Open all the outlets and clean them as well. As you clean, you should be keen to mark leaks so that you can fill them later.

Cleaning gutters is not complicated; what makes it difficult is your safety. Your safety comes before anything; if you are not confident with your ladder safety techniques, you should leave the task to experts.

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Apart from cleaning, gutters should be checked regularly for maintenance purposes so as to abate any damages that are not noticed during cleaning. Whether you should hire a professional or do it yourself solely depends on you, but the major factor to consider is the height of the gutter. If your gutters are placed very high there is no need to risk the task; leave it to professionals.

References

http://www.bobvila.com/articles/19-quick-tip-cleaning-your-gutters/#.Vxf7htIrLIU

http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2010/10/05/clean-gutters-clean-wallet/

 

 

How Naturally Freshen the Air in your Home

fresh airIf your house has been shut up all winter, it might be starting to feel a bit stale. Commercial air fresheners often contain toxic chemicals and are really the last thing you want to be spraying inside you home. The good news is that there are several natural ways to freshen the air in your home, without risking your health.

Pick up an essential oil diffuser

Essential oils not only smell great, they also boast a lot of health benefits. You can use essential oils to keep your home smelling fresh by using a diffuser like this one: http://www.amazon.com/Essential-EVELTEK-Aromatherapy-Humidifier-Waterless/dp/B01CDXUZVU/ref=zg_bs_16250381_4. Just fill the base with water, and add a few drops of your favorite essential oil, and enjoy the soothing effects. Some favorites include lavender for a calming effect, or orange for a just-cleaned feel.

Treat your garbage disposal

Stinky smells are often lurking in the kitchen sink. An easy way to freshen up your garbage disposal and keep your kitchen smelling great is to put lemon or lime peels into the disposal and run it normally. This helps rid your sink of odor, and clean the disposal. You can also throw a handful of ice into the disposal to help diminish food buildup and bad smells.

Deodorize carpets

Carpet can hang onto bad smells and prevent your home from smelling fresh, even if you’ve just cleaned it! Commercial carpet cleaners are hiding all sorts of harsh chemicals, but you can easily create your own natural solution. Baking Soda and Borax are idea to use as a base for your carpet cleaner, and you can follow a specific recipe here: http://www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com/2013/11/make-your-own-natural-carpet-freshener.html.

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Adopt some houseplants

Not only do they add to the overall atmosphere of your house, but indoor plants are also great air purifiers. Some of the best include spider plants, peace lilies, and bamboo. Some are lower maintenance than others, so read up on different types before you decide.

Create some potpourri on your stovetop

An easy way to make your home smell great is to create your own potpourri mixture right on your stovetop. Add some water to a pot, throw in some lemon or lime slices and any of your favorite herbs. Then let the water come to a light boil and reduce the heat. It’s inexpensive and effective.

Tend to your closet and dresser

Closets without a lot of air circulation can start to smell closed up. Especially as you pack away clothes to transition between seasons, it is important to give those unused items some freshening up. Place a dryer sheet in dresser drawers or on closet shelves to draw out bad smells and freshen your clothes and other items.

How to Make Your Own Raised Bed Garden

WHY RAISED BED GARDENS ARE USEFUL

raised bed garden guide

Having a garden can be a great outdoor activity, but if you are growing your plants at the same level as your regular grass and soil you will have a greater risk of weeds in the garden. Raised bed gardens are a great way to help prevent weeds from infiltrating your garden and to ensure that you have the most control possible over how your plants are grown. You can choose the type of soil to use in the garden beds, how large the beds are, and how plants will be arranged in the raised beds.
Creating a raised bed garden is actually a lot simpler than you might think. You can finish this project in around an hour once you have all the materials you need at your house.

WHAT YOU NEED FOR THE PROJECT
These are the supplies you should get for an average sized raised bed garden. You can adjust the sizes of the wood pieces to fit your specific needs.

  • (2) 2×12 boards, 8 foot long
  • (2) 2×12 boards, 4 foot long
  • Cordless drill
  • 3 inch screws (or longer)
  • Flat-nosed shovel
  • Soil mix of your choice (as many as needed to fill the area)

STEPS TO CREATING YOUR RAISED BED

  1. Once you have all of your materials together, start the building process with these steps:
    Measure out an area of your yard where your raised bed will sit. Use your shovel to remove any grass and other plants from this area until you have exposed dirt the same size as your raised bed will be.
  2. Place your wooden boards in the rough shape of the rectangular garden bed. One at a time, place the boards together at the corners and screw together. The boards should be aligned into a perfect rectangle with the short boards opposite of each other and the long boards opposite of each other as well. When you screw the boards together at the corners, your raised bed should already be standing on its own and ready to place.
  3. Move the wooden garden bed to the exposed area of the yard and align it within the dirt there.
  4. Open up your soil mix bags and empty them into the raised bed until you have completely filled it. If you want to make sure the level stays at the right height when you’re planting, water the raised bed a few times and drain to let it settle before you plant. If the levels lower during settling, add more soil. If they maintain the same size, you can begin planting immediately.
  5. Add whatever plants you want to your raised bed garden! You can plant all sorts of vegetables and flowers in a raised bed and it may even improve their growth due to the healthy growing soil in the box.

SOURCES

How to Build a Super Easy Raised Bed


https://www.almanac.com/blog/gardening-blog/raised-bed-gardening-cheap-and-productive