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How to Build a Disappearing Feature

Water features bring a garden to life, adding peaceful sounds of water flowing and a pretty focal point. The sound of flowing water has been shown to reduce stress hormone levels. There are many different varieties of water features to chose from. Ponds create an oasis, teeming with fish and floating plants. Smaller scale features like waterfalls and fountains are beautiful, moving, decorations that create music with their flowing water. A disappearing water feature will add a touch of elegance and tranquility to a garden. Disappearing features are magical; you cannot see where they start and end. The basin full of water sits in the ground usually under a bed of pebbles and stones. The water flows through the the planter and spills over, splashing on the rocks, and cycled back again. It looks beautiful and is a great D.I.Y project. You’ll quickly find yourself retreating to your new fountain after a long day, letting the flowing water captivate your senses, and melt the stress away. What you’ll need: smartpond® 300-GPH Fountain Pump smartpond® 3/4-in Corrugated Tubing Tall planter (ideally this would have a textured sides and a hole in the base) Small planter (this diameter should fit snugly into the top of the taller planter) Basin (we used a cement mixing tray) Grate (we used an area wall grate) Shovel Step 1: Place the Basin The best part of disappearing water features are the mystery. All of the work occurs beneath the pebbles and inside the planter. You want to dig a hole in the ground large enough for the basin to sit in. The grate will sit in the middle of the basin with the main planter on top of it. Step 2: Add the Grate and the Pump The pump can be placed discretely in the basin. Connect the tubing and run it through the bottom of the large planter and into the smaller planter. The smaller planter should be nearly the diameter of the big planter, so the water spills over the outer edge of the large planter. Step 3: Hide the Basin You can use pebbles and rocks to cover the basin and surround the planter. You can add plants or any other decorations for extra decor. Step 4: Add Water You want to add enough water so the smaller planter at the top is filled with water and overflows onto the pebbles below, with water also filling the basin. You will need to periodically add water, especially in the summer, as it will evaporate. Pumps can be damaged if they run dry. Disappearing water features are fun and do not need to take up a lot of space. They can be a standalone feature or compliment a pond or waterfall. Water features make great DIY decorations for less than half the price it would be at a store. You can use those extra savings to splurge on beautiful planters and other decorations! The disappearing water feature will impress the neighbors and start great conversations. It’s a must for any garden!
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DIY Bird Feeder

Birds bring a yard to life, a blend of nature and beauty with their various personalities, colors, and sounds. They also enjoy munching on bugs, worms, even spiders, and help with pollination. You can watch them for hours, allowing your mind to still, as they flit from one tree to the next, communicating with one another. They induce a state of peace and relaxation, as watching them forces you to live in the moment. It can help ease stress and make your problems seem less monumental, observing how large and intricate the world truly is, while breathing fresh air. An easy way to attract birds and the occasional squirrel into your yard and garden is by adding bird feeders. They’re easy to maintain and easily double as decor. Birdfeeders can be as easy or complex as you would like. They can be made out of almost anything. It can be more cost effective to make a DIY seed, and you can make as little or as much as you need without worrying about it staying fresh. It’s great if you can use organic bird seed. Some pesticides and insecticides can be harmful to birds. Only use unsalted nuts and no sugar added dried fruits. Birds begin nesting in the late winter or early spring and into summer. You can add yarn, fabric strips, or straw into the feeder and they will delightfully use it to make their homes. Birds have a difficult time seeing windows and can be seriously injured if they fly into one. It’s recommended that you keep your birdfeeders at least 30 feet from any windows. Easy DIY Birdseed •sunflower seeds (less mess if you used shelled) •cracked corn •millet (preferable white) •shelled peanuts •dried fruit Plastic Bottle Bird Feeder •plastic bottle •two large wooden spoons •string or a wire Take a big plastic soda bottle and cut two holes across from each other. The holes should be around the size a quarter. Place the end of the spoon through one of the holes and have it come out the other. The bill of the spool will be where the birds stand to eat the seed. Cut two more holes for the other spoon, leaving a few inches in between and allowing the spoons to cross so two birds can feed at once. A string or wire can be used to hang the bottle. If using a string, a hole may need to be cut through the neck of the bottle. Fill the bottle up with seed and watch as the wild birds feast! Hanging Orange Bird Feeder This birdfeeder has a shorter shelf life because real oranges are used, but it looks really pretty hanging from trees. It’s really simple to make, all you need are oranges and string. Cut the orange in half and scoop out the fruit. Poke matching holes on both side of the rind. Tie the yarn to each hole and leave enough string so it can hang from the tree. The orange should make a bowl to hold the birdseed. Tie it at the top, fill it with birdseed, and hang whenever you want! Tea Cup Bird Feeder •teacup with saucer •strong glue •string, chain, or a wooden post Teacups are an underutilized decoration that add a great whimsical, Alice in Wonderland, vibe. There are a few different ways you can make this birdfeeder. You can glue the teacup to the saucer at the bottom, so it is resting upright, or you can have the teacup laying on it’s handle facing upwards. Wait for the glue to dry properly. If the teacup handle is facing upwards, you can easily tie a string to it so it can hang. If it’s glued at the bottom, you can crisscross two pieces of string underneath the saucer and tie them together at the top. If you have a spare post laying around, the saucer can also be glued to the post, which looks really cool if you have more than one! Mason Jar Mason jars can be easily turned into a birdfeeder with the help of a chick feeder. This chick feeder can be ordered online or found at your local tractor and feed store. If it’s fit for a jar, you can simply screw the mason jar on, turn it upside down and have an instant bird feeder. You can add string to hang it or glue it to a post or fence. Toilet Paper Roll or Pinecone A really kid friendly bird feeder involves peanut butter and either a toilet paper roll or a pinecone. Have the kids lightly smear peanut butter over a toilet paper roll or a pinecone and then roll it in a bowl of birdseed. The seed will stick to it very well and the peanut butter is an added treat for the birds. Use string or yarn to hang them, and you’re finished. It’s really easy and doesn’t need a lot of time or preparation. Bird feeders are great fun and can me made by upcycling many everyday household items. You’ll feel like you gained a bunch of new pets as you begin recognizing frequent patrons. Birds often are migratory, so don’t be alarmed if your favorites desert you for a few months. They’ll most likely be back at the same time next year. Bird feeders help in the wintertime as food becomes more scarce as snow falls and trees become more barren. Down the road you can even add a birdbath in case your little friends get thirsty!
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Live Well

“Water is the driving force of nature”- Leonardo Da Vinci Here at smartpond the theme for 2017 is “Live Well.”  We want to promote well rounded lifestyles balanced by work and play.  Water gardening is a great way to destress and enjoy nature.  There a few things more calming than watching koi swim around a crystal clear pond with the sound of a fountain flowing.  Water is such an important part of our daily lives.     (more…)
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DIY Indoor Winter Crafts

  Indoor crafts can help keep the sanity a when blizzard comes through, and a blanket of howling snow prevents you from leaving the house.  Everyone can get a little stir crazy, kids especially.  Kids can make gifts for grandparents or teachers, it’s a win-win.  You can also trick your kids into decorating your house!  Hopefully in the fall you started hoarding all of the Mason jars you could find!  Mason jars are a DIY staple and make everything better.  They immediately add a delightfully rustic and home-style feel. (more…)
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Decorate Your Pond for Winter

Ponds are often overlooked during holiday decorations in the winter, but can really make a yard come to life!  Ice skating is one of the best parts of winter, and if your pond is big enough, you have a free rink in your backyard with just a little bit of work!  There is something magical about the glistening of an icy pond in a sea of snow!  You can decorate whether you keep your pond running or shut it down until spring.   (more…)
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Craft Ideas for Kids on Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is one of the best seasons for kid friendly, DIY decorations.  Pinecones and leaves are readily abundant and can be used for many different craft projects.  Collecting the leaves and pinecones is nearly as fun as the crafts!  You can easily keep your kids busy and by the end of the season, your house will be filled with memorable decorations to bring a smile, as you head into the holiday season. Many projects can be turned into a fun lesson on the history and thankfulness! (more…)
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DIY Pinecone Centerpiece

Pinecones are often seen as nuisances, as anyone who has ever stepped on one while running through a yard barefoot can attest, but are great ingredients for DIY projects.  Pinecones are perfect for fall decorations because they smell wonderful, and are usually readily available as the leaves change.  Pinecones make beautiful and cost-effective centerpieces for the holiday season.  They can be rustic and classic, giving the table an earthy, but effortlessly elegant feel. (more…)
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3 Spooky Décor Ideas for Around Your Pond

Every year the end of October, everyday household items become opportunities for mischief and fright.  Halloween is arguably one of the most enjoyable holidays to decorate for.  There are endless DIY decorations to give your pond a wonderfully eerie feel.  A spooky pond will give trick-or-treaters extra goosebumps and giggles.  If your decorations are scary enough, the trick-or-treaters will be too frightened to knock on the door, and you’ll have all of the candy to yourself!   (more…)
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How to Repurpose Leaves Into Compost

Composting is a great way to naturally recycle organic materials.  Many cities in the United States have voluntary composting systems.  Unused foods, lawn vegetation, and solid paper products can be disposed of in a covered plastic bin designated for compost, and it will be collected by the city’s waste disposal.  While this isn’t available in every city, it’s easy to compost fall leaves at home. The abundance of leaves during the fall makes for environmentally friendly and nutrient-rich mulch that can be used for gardening! Instead of scooping soggy leaves out of your pond into the trash, add them to the compost; nuisance becomes nutrients! (more…)
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DIY Container Fountain Kit

It would be hard to find a more tranquil sound than a fountain. A garden can be turned into a peaceful sanctuary filled with the calming sounds of running water. Fountains come in all different shapes, sizes, and...price tags.  A pretty self-contained water feature can cost anywhere from a hundred to over a thousand dollars! The smartpond® Container Fountain Kit turns water gardening into an affordable Do It Yourself project with lots of freedom. (more…)
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