Mass Plants For Better Homes and Gardens

For a coffee table or for a narrow shelf, choose a small gem that asks and deserves to be looked at closely. Just as an attractive ashtray or a colorful pillow can be a tasteful, decorative accent, so can small plants. They can pick up room colors, provide interesting contrast of form, and add attention-getting detail. But just as it would be wrong to expect a small accessory to carry a big decorative role in the home, so it would be a mistake to hope for big impact from a single small plant.

But a grouping of plants, many small, or one or two big plants, can carry important roles in a decorating scheme. The mass effect of a handsome grouping of plants has universal appeal. Any one plant in the group may be beautiful in its own right, though possible to overlook if alone. But put several plants together in the right setting and you can’t possibly ignore their presence.

Of course, there’s more than one way to group plants. A well-chosen pair is often just what you need to give a room that special touch. An assortment of many flowering varieties gives the same pleasure as looking into a florist’s shop window. An all-foliage cluster, such as the one on the opposite page, is equally appealing.

Ideally, the area that you select for a dramatic display of plants should receive a good amount of natural light. If the day light’s inadequate, however, give preference to the setting that you have chosen and then consider what steps can be taken to reinforce natural light with artificial light. You can do this with ceiling spots, recessed light fixtures, or fluorescent tube lighting.

It is also feasible, if your plant group is not too large, to install it on a mobile cart, taking it by day to a window location, then returning it after sundown to the room placement that you prefer.

Since plants grown indoors vary considerably in amounts of light required to promote good growth, you’ll be wise to choose for a dramatic grouping – varieties that have similar light needs. If the available natural light is low, choose plants from the group that can easily tolerate low light. If, on the other hand, your best location offers medium to strong light, select all of your plants for that kind of light.

To help you select from the right group, turn to the section entitled ‘A Portfolio’ of Recommended House Plants/ in which plants are grouped according to the kind of light they need.

Another important resource is your florist or greenhouse man.Besides supplying you with facts concerning light needs,he can give you a great deal of added information on plant cultural requirements (soil, water,humidity, etc.). From years of experience in the field, he will know which plants are cinch-to-grow types, and which are not.

After checking on compatibility of cultural needs, you’ll want to seek contrasts of color,texture, and form within your group. Some of the greens vary from the palest chartreuse to almost black tones. Some plants have shiny foliage; others have a furry or velvety finish. There are also plants with big, pointed shaped leaves as well as rounded and pierced ones to choose from.

Get variety in size, too. Combine some tall and some short plants. Place taller ones toward the back; the shorter ones, forward. For a start, consider these combinations: a pot or two of small yellow chrysanthemums made to look still more flowery when backed by a good-sized dieffenbachia; or delicate ferns that take on the appearance of green lace if backed by the solid foliage of big-leaved philodendrons or rubber plants.

Better Homes and Gardens Home Designer Software

The magazine staff and editors of Better Homes and Gardens have come with a design solution for the intrepid homeowner wanting to realize his/her dream house. The Better Homes and Gardens Home Designer Suite 8.0 is the latest edition of that effort that started years back and has become popular among American novice designers and even professional architects and home builders.

Getting to see your dream house with uncanny 3D realism on your PC has never been as easy with a software application tool that can make just about anyone a home designer. You just need to make sure your desktop or laptop PC is powerful enough to render 3D modeling. Not to worry, the software package comes with the recommended PC configuration you need.

Indulge your Imagination

The Better Homes and Gardens Home Designer Suite 8.0 gives reign to your innate design skills the better for you to visualize your dream home on the PC. But even people without artistic talent can to it.

  • Automatic Designing Tools. The Suite has 5,000 competent and easy to use building blocks and tools to simplify getting your design looking real. For starters, you design your lot and backyard terrain with the Automatic Build Terrain and Terrain Perimeter tool that can be aided with a GPS terrain elevation data. Add pools and other landscaping details like fences and driveways from its landscaping library. Generate house roofs, ceiling beams, floor patterns, dormers, stairs, framing and house foundation automatically.
  • Design Templates. There are over 1,500 sample house floor plans as well as a Design Inspiration Gallery with photos by house designs categorized by type that can inspire you with your own unique design ideas. It has a library of home-style templates you can start with or create own customized house designs. There’s also the House Wizard that can automatically generate a house design for you based on information you supply.
  • Design Libraries. There are over 6000 design elements like furniture and electric fixtures, windows and doors, wall paper and floor designs and appliance, just to mention some, in its built-in library that you can just drag and drop on your design work area, or you can design your own. There’s even a Plant Encyclopedia on the side containing 1,500 popular plant species you can learn about that’s suitable in your country as indoor plant ornament in your design.
  • Online Advice. You can get free online design expertise from the Design Planning Center of Better Homes and Gardens as well as download additional design elements from the Home Designer website.
  • 3D Rendering and Virtual Tours. Once you’re done with hour house and interior designing, remodeling, landscaping, and floor planning, go into 3D simulation of light and shadows and a virtual walk-through of your dream house.
  • Project Cost Estimating. Once you’re happy with the look of your new house complete with interiors and landscaping, the Suite will estimate the cost of making your design happen, generating a spreadsheet where you also get material estimates on how much lumber and concrete is needed which creates the basis for the costing.

Need to find a Home Inspector or Appraiser? Bypass your Agent and Locate one on your own

You looked around, talked to friends or acquaintances for recommendations, and found your real estate agent. You should do the same to locate your Appraiser and Home Inspector. It’s really not that hard or time consuming. You can usually find the right one in a matter of an hour or so of research and phone calls.

No matter how honest a real estate agent or broker is, few of them want to see a potential sale go south because of a low appraisal value or a home inspection report full of listed defects. One of the ways is for an agent to recommend an appraiser that will almost guarantee the sale price or a home inspector that isn’t very picky or does a very quick inspection. There are many, many good appraisers and home inspectors out there. However, for those that have an “in” with an agent that recommends them, they may be more than reluctant to give a bad report. No one wants to shoot the goose that lays the golden egg so to speak. An appraiser or inspector will feel a bit of loyalty towards that agent that recommended them, and may not have your interests fully in mind.

One of the ways to avoid this apparent conflict of interest is to find one on your own. There are many sources to locate a good appraiser or inspector. You can start by looking up 3 or more and calling and talking to them. Several sources include the internet, phone book, friends, etc. If you ask your agent for some, make sure it’s a long list and not just a hand picked few.

Have a list of questions handy. Ask about their experience, national or local professional affiliations, etc. Ask for references and/or copies of their work. Find one you feel comfortable with and that you feel you can trust. It’s hard to determine over the phone someone to trust, but if you do your homework and ask the right questions it will greatly increase your odds.

Another issue will be timing. Don’t wait until the last minute to try to find someone. That will reduce your chances of finding the right person, and you’ll end up hiring the first one that can just meet your schedule.

Try not to shop for the lowest bidder! This is probably one of the largest and longest investments you will ever make so this isn’t the time to become thrifty. Find someone in the middle of the road. Those that are low end of the spectrum tend to be either part-timers or very inexperienced. Those on the high end tend to be the more experienced inspectors or appraisers that don’t really want your work unless you are willing to pay through the nose for it and can meet their schedule.

Finding a home inspector or appraiser on your own will help to avoid any conflict of interest with your agent and will almost guarantee that you will have someone working in your own best interest.

Here are a few sources to locate a qualified home inspector.

In Wisconsin

Wisconsin Home Inspector Directory [HTTP://wisconsin-home-inspectors.com]

Wisconsin Appraiser Directory

National sites

NACHI Home Inspector Directory

Home Inspection USA Directory