Photography as a Lifestyle

Photography as a LifestylePhotography is my life. I have always loved to capture life’s precious moments as I would grip my camera and focus on the details that would leave me in total awe. In case you didn’t know, I have many hobbies. Actually, I like to call them passions since I think about them daily. I remember the adventures I had one summer with a friend of mine—Frank. Frank and I have been buds since junior high. When we entered adulthood, we continued to converse through the miracles of social networking. Frank and I decided to spend some time together enjoying many summer activities.

I wanted to remember these times since Frank and I rarely hung out. I had the idea of taking pictures of our real life events. These were photos I wanted to remember when I’d come across them again in the future. I had the idea of having a picnic and inviting our friends to the event. Frank looked forward to it. As a photography enthusiast, I knew exactly how to take quality pictures. Even when in doubt, I always bring my camera. When a photographer wants to take lifestyle photos, he or she must be prepared at all times. There are several toys that I like, including camera, tripod, and SD card readers. I make sure I have my bag to carry what I need; it is very convenient.

A tip I can give when it comes to taking pictures of everyday life is to be creative. Don’t worry if the action or object you want to take a picture of looks odd to some people. Uniqueness is a great quality to have and it stands out from ordinary photos. No matter how trivial we thought the action or object was at first glance, I would take the snapshot. I took pictures at the picnic we had with our friends. We were eating subs, fresh watermelon, and other goodies and I was telling jokes to the point that Frank had a “laugh attack.” This allowed me to capture moments that built into a true, interesting story to tell friends. [Read more…]

Smooth Ride on Mini S

Smooth Ride on Mini SEverybody and their mothers know I am a car fanatic. It has been this way since I was a kid.  I like comparing wide body versus stock. The same goes with automobile manufacturers comparing Ford and Chevy; it does not matter to me. I keep up with the trends, especially what is coming out this year. Matter of fact, I had the great opportunity to meet up with an old friend of mine who had just purchased the 2014 Mini Cooper S. I don’t like or dislike Coopers, and I had not driven the 2014 automobile until a few weeks ago. I know “advancement in technology” makes our life better, but I was a tad skeptical with this new release. Luckily for me, that skepticism instantly diminished once I hopped in the driver’s seat.

The 2014 Mini Cooper S has a four-cylinder engine and six-speed auto transmission with a maximum speed of 145 miles per hour. The Cooper’s length is 151.1 inches, which is an increase of 4.3 inches. The moment I sat in the almost 2,800-pound vehicle, I felt an instant rush as I changed gears. I took it out for a spin as my friend satnext to me and the drive was smoother than peanut butter. The paddle shifters allowed the experience to be better than expected, especially for shifters that were crafted from plastic. [Read more…]

Big Blue’s Plans for the Next 5 Years

Big Blue’s Plans for the Next 5 YearsI’m what they call a “techie,” an individual who loves to learn and play with new gadgets. Desktops, laptops, iPhones, and other pieces of technology are always updating faster than the speed of light. As time passes, things evolve, and for the most part it is for the better. A new IBM project is surfacing and I am stoked to talk about what I’ve learned so far.

Over $3 billion dollars is being invested over the next five years. IBM’s goal is to make smaller, more packed processors and other tech parts. IBM wants to continue progress in the world of computing and help with development in the next half-decade. A smaller, yet more efficient processor is just what I need for my notebook.

Big Blue, the nickname referring to IBM, wants to create nanometer-sized transistors with more compartmentalized features. The second wish IBM wants to make come true is to find alternatives to the current silicon chip with more durable materials. Introduction of new technologies to manufacturing is IBM’s concern and the company has already planned teams in areas such as Switzerland and New York for new staff to start the work. The research conducted by these teams will be analyzing ways to advance today’s technology. [Read more…]

Rise from Ashes or How I Became Independent

Rise from Ashes or How I Became IndependentI came a long way. Never could I imagine rising from the ashes and stepping onto the platform of doing what I love—doing what I was born to do. I dreamed of being able to write and photograph life’s precious moments ever since I could remember. I have always liked the idea of doing something I could never get bored with while still being my own boss and helping other people. I started at the bottom as I tried to learn how to improve my writing as well as getting people to buy my writings. It wasn’t all roses as I have had to jump hurdles, so to speak.d

When I first started freelance work, I had no idea how to navigate. I asked myself questions such as: “How should I start?” and “Will I manage?” – I was, like walking back and forth, questioning my actions. The very first tip I would give to those who are just starting out is to start freelance work on the side. I was smart enough to start out slow and doing simple writing assignments before I went any deeper.

I had set up my freelancer profile at a responsible and credible website. On the page, I put my picture up as well as a description about my freelance copywriting and photography. I was ecstatic when I found my first client.

She liked a piece I had written on promising technology news. New innovations are always making their debut, and she wanted me to touch on a new phone app and include a few pictures. It was a challenge that at first I thought was very simple, but once I presented the finished product, she thought the work was “good.” What does that mean exactly? Her voice sounded more disappointed than pleased. When she went on my freelancer website, she gave me 2.5 out of 5 stars.

As a novice, I didn’t know how to take criticism. The next few clients after her gave me up to 3 out of 5 stars. People started to not want to recommend me to their co-workers and other businesses. My appetite for improving my ratings and building great relationships between my customers and myself grew as I continued to analyze what I was doing wrong. [Read more…]

The Awesomeness Of Having A Hobby

The Awesomeness Of Having A HobbyHaving a hobby is important. I enjoy many different hobbies and am always looking for something new to try. While I enjoy copywriting and photography, I need something that will help to unplug and unwind after a hard day. For those who have a hard time deciding if a hobby is worth it, the awesomeness of having a hobby.

Hobbies can be a great outlet for stress. Recently I decided to take a boxing class. The activity helps me release the stress. I can beat up on the boxing bag without having to worry. It also helps by focusing on a non-work- related task, clearing your mind, taking it off of anything that might be making you feel uptight. Once the focus if off of what I’m working on, work wise, I can feel the worry of the day fade away into the background.

Hobbies are awesome not just because they can give you the opportunity to pound away your stress at the end of a long day but because they can encourage you to take that break. It is so easy to get wrapped up in work. With the way that business are today, more and more people are being on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  By having a hobby, something that you can just do out of pure enjoyment, you will have that opportunity to step away from your work. For those that feel like breaks are a waste of time, with a hobby, your break now has a new meaning of purpose. You are being productive even if it isn’t business related.

Hobbies allow you to learn something new, giving you a break from the traditional routine. When I wanted to learn something new I decided to take up smoking meat. It is a challenge to make sure that meat is not only smoked to perfection but also to make sure it’s tasty to boot. I enjoyed researching and learning the new method of cooking. I asked questions, researched procedures, learned all about the different ways to smoke the meat. It was a lot of fun, but a great way to learn a new challenge.

When taking part in a new hobby you also get to interact with others. It might seem like hobbies are a solitary pursuit, however is not further from the truth. You engage with others who like to perform the same hobby. You get to learn from each other, bond over the fun. You get to expose yourself to a whole new world. Your hobby could be totally solitary, like drawing or writing. You can go online to learn more about the hobby, and meet others who can help you grow in your hobby.

Hobbies also help you stay in the present. It’s easy to get caught up in the flow of your hobby. You stay in the moment, you don’t worry about the past or the future. You are there in the moment, even if you spend hours on the project. It fills your focus. It keeps you from worrying about all the things that have to be done, all the things that should be done, all the things you never got around to doing. You get to live in that moment until you are finished.

While it might seem like all you want to do is get rid of the stress, there is an important type of stress that you do need in your life. Eustress is a positive type of stress that hobbies actually promote. It’s that feeling of excitement you get when you work on a project. By working on a hobby you access that kind of stress. You get that feeling of excitement and joy every time you sit down to work on it, especially if you only do the work because it is something you want to do, not something you have to do.

Finally, the best reason to start a hobby is because it can have great physical benefits. Some hobbies are physically challenging, like bike riding. You get out there and you’re using your muscles to move yourself around the area. You release endorphins along with the eustress and it can be a real rush. But even if your hobby is something of a more sedentary nature, you will still have some physical health benefits. Engaging in a hobby can help to lower your blood pressure and total cortisol. It can help you keep your weight down and have a better body mass index. You will also be less susceptible to depression. It is a benefit not just to your body but also to your mind.

Hobbies are great. They get you away from work and allow you to do something that you enjoy doing. Granted a lot of people can make money from what they do for a hobby. Some people draw, take photographs, or write all of which can translate into an easy way to make a living. However, a true hobby has to be something that you do not just because it is a good way to make a little extra cash. It should be something you enjoy doing or it’s not a real hobby.

Look around and see what is out there. You might not know what you want to do, that’s why you should try things out. Is there something you’ve always wanted to learn? If so do some research, find out what it entails and try it out. For example, you love the look of beadwork but you know little about it. Get some books, go online and learn more. Buy a few beads, a weaver, and some thread and try it out. If you really enjoy doing it then you can expand your horizons and delve into the hobby more. The same can be said for any hobby that you may consider undertaking. The point is to find something that you can see yourself doing when you need a break from the hustle and bustle of life.

Why Learning Piano Is Beneficial

Why Learning Piano Is BeneficialMy neighbor was saying the other day as to how difficult his son found learning piano. He said that piano is certainly one of the most difficult instruments to learn. Being a piano enthusiast I didn’t agree with this opinion. It is considered as a straightforward instrument that teaches you all that is to know about basic music notes in a very effective manner. The visually pleasing array of white and black from the lowest to the highest tone speaks for itself the beauty and functionality of the instrument.

While I know that perfecting the play requires long hours of practice, it still remains my favorite. All great composers in music have piano as their key instrument. While it is easy to play initially, mastering it needs lots of practice and patience.

To play rhythmically and with perfect melody and harmony, you need to use your hands separately and at the same time. Using both hands is not a skill that is achieved easily. I know of only one other music instrument that is on par with piano on the complication scale.  But in case of drums, the player need not worry on the melody or harmony. A violin, guitar or bass deals with only one rhythm at a time. So in piano you need daily practice to maintain dexterity of fingers.

While the initial grades involve only easy notes that use one finger only at a time, when you need to have melody and harmony simultaneously in the higher grades, the playing becomes difficult. Playing harmonies is necessary

Beginners have an easier time, usually playing melodies of the one-finger-at-a-time variety. Playing the melody at the same time as the harmony, though, is harder. Irrespective of the purpose of playing the piano, it is vital to learn the skill of playing harmonies. This alone gives the music an expert and alluring touch and makes it stand out from the rest.

Though learning piano may seem difficult, it also has various health benefits. I’ve been playing piano from my school days and love playing it. Recently I got a digital piano, which is certainly a big and effective improvement on the acoustic piano.

Not only is playing piano a challenging task, it also comes with immense health benefits like:

  • Improves self esteem
  • Enhances self-discipline
  • Is a great medium for expressing your thoughts and emotions.
  • Improves your learning ability at school
  • Makes you take intelligent decisions and act smarter
  • Provides you with leisure and skills that stay for your lifetime

The most important benefit that makes piano the best ever instrument is its role in improving split concentration. I’d experienced this when I was young and learnt to play my first Chopin piece. This required using each hand in a separate manner with the placement differing in them albeit with precise coordination. This coordination skill is instrumental in developing the split concentration ability, which is not achieved that easily otherwise.

Since the new era of digital pianos have caused a great stir among the players, click for digital piano reviews here, it is easier and technical now than ever before, enabling easy mastering of the notes as you go to an advanced level.

A Brief Outlook On Field Archery

A Brief Outlook On Field ArcheryWhile I was practicing target shooting at the archery range, a fellow shooter approached me and starting talking about how he had become addicted to the sport. He wanted to know more about the field archery form, which is gaining popularity now. While field archery is similar to target archery, it involves practicing the archery in a wooden setting. The outdoor atmosphere adds to the allure, making it quite sought after sport in Europe and America.

Archery is basically an ancient skill that involves practicing or getting skilled at propelling arrows using a bow. In ancient times, archery has been used in combat and hunting, but now it is mostly used as a recreational activity or as competitive sport. Other than the target and field archery types there is the para archery, which is practiced by athletes who have some form of disability.

In field archery it is easy to train, if you’re good at target archery as the technique is the same except for the background or setting. The same equipment like compound, longbow, crossbow and recurve bow is used here.

Field archery is of two major categories namely unmarked or marked types. In the marked type, you have fixed distances marked as targets, while in the unmarked type the shooting is done at no particular fixed distance. The distance shot at can range from 5 meters to 60 meters depending on the equipment and range category the archer is shooting from.

Field archery is identical to golf as you can walk from target to target around a fixed course. The challenging part of field archery is shooting at downhill or uphill distances or across slopes. The different natural light conditions also make the archery interesting.

Target faces are set at fixed distances in field archery regardless of the particular round or level you are shooting from. The faces are set at 20 cm with 12 faces and three being high and four set across. The next level is at 40 cm with 4 faces, two on top and two across bottom, while the next two at 60 cm and at 80 cm are placed as single faces.

Archery is mostly popular because the variety of shooting styles you get here.  The endless variations in equipment and the different targets and courses make the sport an interesting and challenging one. I use great recurve bow for my shooting.  Whatever be the variations used, the intent or purpose is to hit at the specific target you aim on. Unless you get this right, the sport will fail to grab your attention and you’ll soon lose interest. Practice will help you improve your technique and aim in a great way.

While a rifle gun for instance makes it easy to aim, for archery you need strength and skilled coordination to hit your target successfully.  This is why archery has a wide range of equipment you can choose from. The bows, stabilizer and sights improve the mechanical advantage so a fair competition is ensured always.

Life Lessons That Golf Teaches Us

Life Lessons That Golf Teaches UsWhen I met up with my friend in our usual nook at the local café, he was looking all geared up for some meaty argument. We usually argue about anything that takes our fancy and find that it brightens up the atmosphere and, we also get some useful information out of it. The topic this time was about golf and how it was only fit for the rich and famous. I opposed vehemently saying that while this was the case a decade back, there have been many changes in the sport.

First and foremost, the game is much more relaxed than what it was before. I told him that the strict dress code has been done away with. You can turn up on the course wearing casual attire too. With that issue solved amicably, we moved on to our next. And the next contention that my friend had was that joining the golf clubs is quite an expensive affair with only the elite being able to do so. But the situation has changed entirely now. Almost all towns have a pay and play option in their clubs that is open to all. And all you need to play the game is available either for hire or purchase. Golf has certainly become an inexpensive sport and I informed him that taking golf lessons given by a professional was cheaper now too. This was certainly news to him.

Golf clubs give the right atmosphere to meet up with friends or new faces and form relationships. Everyone in the family can join in the game. Further the sport unlike a football, baseball or basketball involves a stationary ball, which makes it easy for learning the basics.

Though basics are easy to grasp, to play the game expertly you need to understand how to swing and have the mental focus to put the lessons to use appropriately. Calculating the score and handicaps you have further keeps you stimulated and active.  So it is not a lazy sport as many claim it to be.

As with any other game, practice is necessary for playing a perfect game of golf. But what I’ve learnt playing the game is that when you practice an erroneous move it will become a permanent defective move that you cannot come out of. The stretch and swing postures should be perfected before you start practicing the moves. And to do this, you need to be highly disciplined and patient.

Golf instructors mainly focus on three aspects namely the grip, setup and alignment. These positions are static and do not involve any moves. This makes them easy to practice even while at home when you are watching the TV.

There are also certain specific routines that each golfer has for his shots that are unique and what makes them good at the game. The new range finders also help in making the game easier to play. When you get your own shot routine you can focus, relax and put all your effort in to the shot.

My friend was convinced finally that golf was indeed a game for everyone. As a parting shot I believe that golf teaches the player to persist till the complete round, which is what we need to do in life too. If we keep moving forward and try our best it helps us improve our life and fare better.

Tips On Taking Professional Fashion Photography

Tips On Taking Professional Fashion PhotographyI’d been invited to photograph a fashion show in our neighborhood, a charity event sponsored by the local businesspeople. The show was a great success and so were my shots. The shots were talked about a lot when they were published. I however maintained that the success was mainly due to the excellent designs done by the fashion designer of the show, a friend of mine.

When I quizzed about the exquisite designs, she said that it was all possible because of her serger.  I was amazed at how she had styled the dresses. My shots made them look more appealing and elegant attracting rare reviews. She wanted to know about how I’d taken the shots, as she was interested in photography herself. She also wanted to look at my portfolio.

The true fact about taking an excellent shot is that even if you’re 100% technically accurate about the settings and other details, your image may still lack the essence that makes it different from an ordinary shot. Here are some tips on how to create realistic and beautiful shots.

Plan ahead

This is very important and a basic step in any venture you do. In photography, you need to over prepare. I mostly start the shots only after I’ve a solid outline on the appearance I want to bring in the shot. By reading books on the makeup, hair, posing, styling, lighting and editing, you can get great many ideas on the story of concept you need for the photo-shoot. There is bound to be something or other that you find attractive in the research you do from which you can have your pick.

Control should be yours

While it is allowed to take advice or suggestions from the fashion crew, the final decision should be yours. Letting another person take over the reins can take away the unique touch you want to create. If you need to get a smooth and efficient execution of the concept you’ve created, you should have absolute control over it.

Get the right angle

You need to experiment with different angles. Move and adjust till you are satisfied with the shot. Since the shot will not come to you, you should move about and find the right angle.

Directing the shot

While some models do not need much of a direction, there are some you have to concentrate on more. Directing is necessary, if you want to create the perfect shot.

Make your own rules

Rules are basically made for breaking. And this I’ve found rightly applies to fashion photography. While I’ve been taught the general lighting rules, which I diligently applied to the shots during my initial days, I soon found that dramatic lighting and stark contrast works more to my satisfaction. So this is what I suggest – break as much rules as you can, you’ll be surprised at the difference it brings to your shots.

The fashion designer was delighted by my advice and vowed to use them during her next show, which she wanted to create right from the designs using her stylish sewing machine to the photographs. Seeing her creations I knew she could do it and wished her luck.

New And Exciting Ways To Get Fit

New And Exciting Ways To Get FitAs in any other field, the fitness industry too has seen quite a lot of changes in 2014. During one of my photography sessions of a newly opened gym, I got to talk to the owner about the new equipment and methods that have been introduced. He told me about a great many new additions and methods which are not only new and exciting to try out, but are also very effective.

From Cross Fit to using trampolines there are several popular workouts that have emerged as a result of the sophisticated technological advancements present today. These new forms of workouts make your sessions interesting and chase away the boredom.

Movement for fitness

Moving athletically and without any restriction has become the most chanted buzzword in fitness now. The more effectively you move the more are your chances of losing fat, building muscle and improving cardio and flexibility. Though all types of exercises deal with movements, people have not practiced the right way to move. Sitting for long hours in front of a computer can lead to bad posture, muscle imbalance and therefore bad form, when doing the exercises.  This makes the workouts ineffective and worse, you can even injure yourself by the wrong moves. The movement focused workouts are already being used with success in the adventure races and mud runs. The basic level of such workouts include tree climbing, carrying logs and bear crawls, which help in building stamina, mobility and strength.

Individual Group training

Gone are the days of boot camp and the latest trend in training is individual group sessions that targets hybrid fitness regimens. The drawback in boot camps is they advocate a one size fits everyone method which does not allow clients to reach their fitness objectives. The new method allows individuals to work on their weaknesses, while training with others.

Online fitness training

While getting a personal trainer is a common thing, it involves the trainer to be near you and is also an expensive way to train. To avoid this I use my power racks to get my routine exercise schedule done effectively. The latest alternative to a personal trainer is using a digital trainer. Access to both nutrition and training is easy and the trainers online are certified and approved trainers. You get an effective training form the informative classes and which also include creation of behavioral change. This has resulted in a sustained weight loss and a better perception of one’s body. The expense is also very much reduced, when compared to the cost of hiring a personal trainer. There are also discounts for referral and other promotional offers.

There are several other new forms that are trending now, which are directed at motivating the young and old generation to exercise more and get the benefits. There are some highly entertaining trends like stand up desk exercises, which were devised to prevent the increased risk of mortality in persons who do nothing, but sit for long periods of time daily. Leaving the desk and taking a stroll now and then is suggested to alleviate the risk factor.

My Foray Into Amateur Boxing

My Foray Into Amateur BoxingI recently had the opportunity to experience amateur boxing. No, I’ve not enrolled in boxing classes. I got invited to photograph an amateur boxing championship. One of my friends was taking part in the competition and wanted me to take some mind blowing pictures of him in various boxing moves. I’d a great time taking the shots and got interested in the game in the process.

Boxing is certainly a challenging game. It may look very crude and rough at the outset, but I soon learnt that it is done in a highly methodic way. To take part in a competition, you need great boxing skills. It is not sufficient, if you are in excellent fitness state. You need to be fighting fit which is an entirely different matter.

I’d the opportunity to talk to some of the boxing trainers who enlightened me on how they train for the sport. Boxing in a very tough sport and to train for the boxing competitions, you need to do several intense workout sessions. Here are some of them

  • Should run a minimum of 5 miles without getting exhausted
  • Half an hour jump rope
  • Punch the heavy boxing bag nonstop for 15 minutes
  • Should be able to spar with any other amateur and double the minimum of 3 rounds.

I haven’t included the exercises like pushups or sit-ups that you need to do to as the training is the only way to make you fit for the above sessions. If you’re able to do them than whatever training exercises you do are sufficient.

Amateur boxing is a very demanding sport and the competitive fighting does not depend on just the skillful moves or the better fighter, but on how many direct hits you score. It can at times take on an aggressive form with the one making the more throws, getting the higher score.

You need to have the stamina to do the punching or running that is needed. My friend uses best boxing gloves, click here for reviews to get more powerful throws. To score in a competition, you need a combination of skill, endurance and power.

Amateur boxing needs the following main characteristics to pass muster

  • Endurance is very important in boxing whether you do a defensive or offensive move. If you don’t possess the needed skills, you can get knocked out easily. There are two main endurance types you should have namely, leg and shoulder endurance.
  • Proper defense should be known to keep your opponent at bay. Pay close attention; protect your face and body appropriately to prevent serious injuries.
  • Your punches should be done at fast pace. Even if you’re tired, your hands should deliver fast punches on your opponent, if you intend to score.
  • Next to the speed, power is another important feature you should possess. Power is not just wild swinging, but exercising the proper technique. The punching move you exert should be efficient and effective to knockout your opponent.

While it is okay to think on fighting strategies, your defensive moves and stance should be done automatically. If you don’t know to respond instantaneously, it is hard to make it to the competitive level or win one.

My Brand New Boots

My Brand New BootsThis post is just a quick update about a purchase that I made recently that I am excited enough to write about here. I am not really a fashion person, and I don’t do a lot of shopping, but I have always paid special attention to my shoes. I like having something that is unique and different to wear than other people. Recently, I bought a pair of military-style boots because I thought that they looked amazing. I got the information for them from a website called Combat Boots Pro, which offers really good information on combat, hiking and trekking boots.

There are many types of combat boots. There are boots made for different situations, including patrol desert situations and straight-up fashion among others. This means that there are styles for al types of climates and uses. The other important thing is that they are built to be tough and to last. This is important to me when I am making a purchase that I want to last.

The boots that I chose to buy are called the Atlama OD Jungle Combat Boots. They are really solid, all-around boots. This is good since I plan on wearing them fairly regularly. Some of the things that I particularly like about them are their good price as well as their rugged vulcanized outsoles and their nylon webbing for comfort and drainage vents for moisture control.

I also like how they look. They look tough and they do look a little military, but they don’t make me look like I’m running a boot camp when I wear them or anything like that. Even though their price was really reasonable, these boots are solidly made and I see them as investment. I look forward to wearing these boots for a long time to come.

Back into Bike Riding

Back into Bike RidingI am going to admit that I have a thing for motorcycles. My dad used to restore old bikes in our garage when I was a child. So, I grew up with them around. To me, they are the essence of cool. I love everything about them, from the sound of their engines to their slick style. I love all of the brands and styles, from the American-made classics to choppers to dirt bikes.

Recently, I fixed up my old bike that has been in the shed for a while. It looks great now, and I have been riding a lot and I have really gotten back into it and the lifestyle. I have really stated riding regularly and I have even been socializing with a couple of people that are really into dirt bike (which I am fairly new to). It’s been a lot of fun, and I am glad that I have had the opportunity to take up riding again.

My bike is nice, but my gear is pretty basic overall. Right now I have a good helmet and that’s about it. I’m thinking that for safety (and just because they look amazing) I should invest in a pair of motorcycle boots and maybe even a good jacket. The problem is that there are so many styles of boots and jackets, and buying them is so personal, that it is a lot to consider. For the boots, I found a great site that offers reviews at http://motorcyclebootshero.com/.

I am really excited to be riding again, but I realize that I am not 100% back in the game yet. Part of riding a bike really is about style and attitude. I can’t wait until I get my new stuff so that I can be riding in style.

Swimming Pools and Shamrocks

Swimming Pools and ShamrocksMy brother, Ian, and his family recently bought a new house. They have a beautiful plot of land now. Since they know that I like to garden, they have asked me to help them with it. I have spent part of my summer driving between their property and various local greenhouses and gardening shops to get it finished for them. He has provided a lot of the labor, and we have really enjoyed working together. To be honest, I was a little worried at first. I am more used to indoor plants and container gardening. I have to admit that this has been my biggest project to date, and it has been a lot of work. Having said that, I have really enjoyed it. Now that it is almost finished, and it has turned out really well, I thought that I would write a little update here.

Hardscaping First

Their house already had a small patio space to one side, but it was really too small to use for entertaining. In addition to that, my Ian and his wife decided that they wanted an above ground pool. This meant that there was going to have to be some additional hardscaping. We actually ended up putting in a brand new deck that wraps around their swimming pool. It looks beautiful now that it is finished. As I have been helping Ian out through the whole process, this part of my summer landscaping challenge was really a learning process, even for me. We have all had to do research. Regarding the pool, I found possibly the best place to start was this buying guide.

Plants and Plans

The rest has been more straightforward. In addition to the deck, we also put in a small retaining wall along the back of the property. It is curving and made of stones with moss tucked in for effect, so it is very pleasing to look at, and it has allowed for a border of tall grasses and some flowers for colour.  The growing season and soil are okay in his area, but he is not much of a gardener. Because of this, I tried to always stick to perennials that are hearty and easy to grow with a little bit of burgundy shamrock to honor our roots. His land already had some nice, mature trees and hedges. So, there was nothing to do there other than give some of them a good trim.

My brother says that he couldn’t be happier, and I’ve been told that they are already using the pool spending a good deal of time out in their new garden even though not all the plants are in yet. I hope to finish up this week and I’ve already bought Ian a green man as a present. I am really happy that I was able to help him with the whole thing. It was a great bonding experience for the both of us.