Helena Home Gallery

Create your own relaxing outdoor oasis this summer

(ARA) — Its summer time again and the living is easy — at least its supposed to be. But when mosquitos invade your yard, its tough to enjoy fun in the sun.

Lasting summer memories often begin with a pleasant environment in your own backyard. But the first step is keeping the mosquitoes at bay. TV home and garden expert Shirley Bovshow, in partnership with OFF! Clip-On Mosquito Repellent, wants to help make your backyard an ideal place to relax or entertain guests by creating your own personal outdoor oasis this summer.

Bovshow suggests these tips to help you make the most of your outdoor time and space this summer:

Define your space: Use potted plants to identify space and create intimate areas in your patio or yard. Certain plants are perfect for screening an unappealing view, dividing large spaces into smaller ones and directing foot traffic.

Make it private: Hang inexpensive, colorful or patterned rugs between simple wood posts for a fast and cheerful screen.

Repel unwanted guests: Keep mosquitoes from spoiling your time outdoors. OFF! Clip-On Mosquito Repellent provides head-to-toe protection without spraying anything on your skin and lasts for up to 12 hours. It features a quiet, battery-powered fan that circulates repellent and can clip to a belt, purse or chair. More information about helping to keep away mosquitoes can be found at www.off.com.

Be creative: Create a festive focal point with your pool at night by adding floating candles and glass orbs. If you are not swimming, these festive additions will make your pool look magical at night.

Keep it cozy: Create an impromptu side table with a large flower pot capped with a round paver or flagstone. You can add built-in seating by capping your raised vegetable garden beds with stone, wood or tile at a finished height of 14 to 16 inches and add cushions for entertaining guests.

Light up the night: Solar-powered path lights gather energy during the day and can be used as soft, ambient lighting at night. Gather and stick them into potted plants in your patio near sitting areas. Solar lights are safer than candles and require no electricity.

Add flair in unexpected places: Repurpose wine corks, sea shells and marbles as mulch or as a finishing touch to container gardens.

Whether youre creating a backyard oasis to amaze guests or looking to build a beautiful retreat for your own enjoyment, keeping pesky mosquitoes from taking a bite out of your summer time is priceless.

For me, enjoying time outdoors is an essential element to a relaxing and memorable summer, says Bovshow. With OFF! Clip-On, I can spend time outside enjoying my favorite activities without pesky interferences from bug bites and without having to spray anything on my skin.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

Simple updates and regular cleaning keeps homes healthy for people and pets

(ARA) — Family pets cherish the home environment — its where they curl up on the living room floor, wait patiently for a treat in the kitchen, and patrol the halls making sure loved ones are safe and sound. Although pets are undeniably loveable, the animal dander and other allergens that accompany these furry friends can jeopardize the well-being of those in the home.

If pets are an integral part of your family, take note of a few tips to keep your pet and home environment healthy.

Many of the same volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and irritants found in home air affect the health of your pet as much as they affect your family. Adding an air purifier will reduce the amount of pollutants and irritants circulating through the home, allowing people and pets alike to breathe a little easier (and cleaner). Air purification systems like the Idyllis line from Lowes also have added benefits for pet-loving households — they dilute odors that may result from a wet pet, accidents around the home, or other pet smells.

Family pets bring great joy to a household, says Clint Davis, senior vice president of merchandising for Lowes. You can optimize the quality of life for everyone living under one roof by routinely cleaning your home and adding an Idylis air purification system that will reduce the amount of pet dander and other allergens that circulate from your pet.

Many of the most popular pets have the potential to aggravate allergies. Even if you arent allergic, animal dander (hair or skin flakes) can be a bother. Pet dander can remain on floors, walls and ceilings months or years after the animal has left the house. Frequently vacuuming the home will eliminate some of the dander and allergens left behind. The Electrolux 12-Amp Versatility Bagless Upright vacuum cleaner has HEPA filtration that helps to keep the air in your house clean and a hand-held wand that can be used for picking up pet hair.

If allergies are an issue in your home, there are steps you can take to curb the problem. Regular baths and grooming for your pets will go a long way in keeping family members healthy and allergen-free. While youre washing your pet, start to think about cleaning other parts of the home pets may inhabit. Throw your pets bed and toys in the laundry once a week to keep away fleas and dust mites and to cut down on dander.

Pay attention to your floors, where dirt can get ground in or collect in corners. Scrub the carpet with a carpet shampoo to remove any pet stains and wipe down wood floors with Method Wood for Good Floor Cleaner to eliminate bacteria, add shine and cover paw and claw marks. After you are done cleaning, be sure to seal and store cleaning products and potentially harmful household and garden products that your pets nose might find appealing. For more ideas on maintaining a healthy home with pets, visit Lowes.com/HealthyHome.

Taking a few extra steps to clean up after your pet will keep your furry friends where they love to be — at the heart of the family.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

EDITORS NOTE:

About Lowe’s

With fiscal year 2009 sales of $47.2 billion, Lowe’s Companies, Inc. is a FORTUNE 50 company that serves approximately 15 million customers a week at more than 1,700 home improvement stores in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Founded in 1946 and based in Mooresville, N.C. Lowe’s is the second-largest home improvement retailer in the world. For more information, visit Lowes.com.


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