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Modern Day Gardening: Climate Change Is Beginning to Strike Your Backyard

“Our seasons are becoming more undefined and extreme weather is bringing new challenges to gardeners,” Deborah Scott Anderson notes on her blog.

No, Debbie is not one of those weather experts who update us from our tellies about the unforeseeable outdoor conditions. She is, as personally defined, a gardening enthusiast with particular interest in the overall pattern of the weather, we have come to know as climate.

Her view is one of the many observed effects of climate change, albeit in a very remote area as her backyard. There goes that term, Climate Change!

 

What’s the Fuss?

We’ve all heard about Climate Change, thanks to the ever-running news and media hype, heated arguments in the political and scientific arena (again covered by broadcast outlets), and it’s even taught at universities down to grade schools. We have literally gone through all kinds of education about this field.

But, how far do we know about this meteorological event? Why is it causing such a stir, with minority others who outrightly deny its occurrence? Most of all, what do we care?

Imagine this.

 greenhouse traps heats Modern Day Gardening: Climate Change Is Beginning to Strike Your Backyard

We use a greenhouse to grow a variety of plants because it’s protective wall traps in the heat. When the atmosphere outside is freezing cold, this garden structure keeps the enclosed area in warmer or more favourable temperature for seeds to sprout in.

Now, imagine this.

 greenhouse effect on earth Modern Day Gardening: Climate Change Is Beginning to Strike Your Backyard

The earth we live in is covered by thick and unseen gases high up in the atmosphere. These  gases include carbon dioxide and methane. As the sun warms up our planet, some of the sun’s heat radiates back to space, but some get trapped by the gases and stays around to help keep our earth warm. This occurrence is known to us as a greenhouse effect. And yes, our earth is one big, big greenhouse.

But the thing is, the earth has been that way since the beginning of time. This “sun radiates heat to earth and earth gives off heat then bounces back” is a phenomenon our great ancestors may never have heard of, but happens anyway even before them. It’s what kept our planet from too much cold. Remember, our earth was once covered in ice, wasn’t it?

Fast forward to our time.

So why are scientists and environmental organisations raising alarms against climate change? And what does it have to do with Debbie’s concern for gardeners?

 

Birth of “Climate Change”

Nature, in its natural order and cycle, is a good thing. But, put in human interventions into the equation and the result is more of trouble than whatever benefits men say there is.

Take the greenhouse effect. A majority of climate scientists now believe that the heat and carbon dioxide emissions brought about by Industrial Revolution have made the natural gases in our atmosphere thicker and warmer than it should be.

That said, just think how much more heat was added in by the steam engines, power plants, car engines, and other gas-based appliances used at home and outdoors. From the onset of industrial systems in the 17th century until this ever-modernising day, much has happened.

Experts and concerned organisations believe that as our earth gets hotter, the climate also changes, but at a worrying rate. It’s a no-good kind of climate change.

Whilst the natural change in climate that the earth has been seeing for thousand of years before keeps the earth at a heat-and-cold balance, this man-made climate change made our weather more erratic. In UK, for example, the weather has become even more unpredictable.

 

Gardeners Seeing the Effects on the Ground

effect of climate change on gardens Modern Day Gardening: Climate Change Is Beginning to Strike Your Backyard

For such a nation that is big on garden enthusiasts, UK’s sudden shift in weather  behaviour and the climate can be hurting to the gardens. The planting seasons has shown significant move that it heavily impacts what we plant. Water slowly becomes an issue in the garden, at times there is too much rain and then the next few days, drought. Gardeners would have to deal with more flooding and extreme droughts. Plus, new weather conditions is almost tantamount to new weeds, new pests like locusts that aren’t around an area before, and new strings of plant diseases.

Many of our existing plants and animals are simply not made to adapt quickly at such sudden changes. Garden favourites may soon become rare as some of them will not thrive in drier conditions, whilst spring bulbs develop problems due to wet winters.

That’s climate change effect on a daily and seasonal basis. And if things get worse, they would have the same fate as the cottonweed, small bur parsley, and other extinct species.

Ok, that might seem an overly concluded, sci-fi generated gardening future. But for Debbie, this is not only a possible future but a rather personal battle. “I began to notice how the plants in my garden were being affected by increasingly unpredictable weather patterns,” she notes.

And that goes true to all other gardeners as seen in a 2013 Gardening in a Changing Climate Survey by the Royal Horticultural Society and the University of Reading. Of the 1000 plus British gardeners, 41% are fairly, and 36% very, concerned about climate change and are already taking action to adapt to it.

Four-fifths of them had started paying more attention to the weather in recent years while 65% said they were being more careful to protect their plants from weather extremes, especially the cold.

Here are some of their observed changes in their backyards:

  • More than 70% thought flowering times were later
  • More than 60% thought flowering times were earlier
  • 30% experienced a longer season
  • More than 20% experienced a shorter season
  • More than 30% experienced two or more flowering events
  • More than 10% experienced no flowering events

Many of them are worried about the future, but the survey also reveals optimism among gardeners and their abilities to cope with the topsy-turvy climate.

 

Major moves against climate change

Gardeners are not the only one affected by these changes. So are the animals, the very place we live in, our health, basically, every one of us. And its consequences go as extreme as rise in sea levels and shortages of water.

UK was the very first country in the world to take note of this by setting targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to at least 80% by 2050. In other parts of the globe, countries take on integrated approach by including climate-related action plans into their national planning and poverty reduction programs.

Big plans, yes. And bigger challenges, too. Remember where global trends are getting into? More energy is used in day-to-day operations of big industries and lifestyles, especially among developing countries, move to more car-buying and use of appliances. Governments have yet to address the balance between economic growth and climate risks.

But, whilst higher authorities and major industry players struggle to make stern decisions, any concerned individual will find it much easier to take immediate actions.

 

Climate Change reduction in your own backyard

As the Union of Concerned Scientists precisely puts it, gardening practices alone won’t solve global warming, but gardeners can point the way to climate-friendly farm policies that will have a bigger impact. That means gardeners do have a unique power to save the world.

Here are 24 simple gardening practices that will make a big difference:

 

tree planting Modern Day Gardening: Climate Change Is Beginning to Strike Your Backyard

1. Plant “plants of the future”

A single tree absorbs about 10 to 24 pounds of carbon dioxide—the biggest component of global warming—annually. Planting a great number of this renewable resource can substantially alleviate the impact of climate change. A word of caution, though. As said, climate may shift even more in the years to come. So it pays to ask experts or consider what long-living plants like trees can thrive in your place for about 20 years or longer.  

2 Choose weather-fit plants

Get the feel of your own environment and pick the kind of plants suited to the condition. As a rule, native plants grow best in a given area and reduce the threat of pests and diseases than non-native ones. Also, check out the updated hardiness zone maps and see the new climate norms. NOAA, for example, has released interactive climate-related planting zone maps to guide gardeners in their choice of crops.

3. Add natural windbreaks

Backyard trees, shrubs, and hedges. These large plants serve as windbreaks against stormy weather and out-of-the-ordinary wind. Plus, they may survive even during drought or under torrential rain.

 

fertile soil Modern Day Gardening: Climate Change Is Beginning to Strike Your Backyard

4. Enrich your soil

Soil itself has the power to sequester carbon dioxide. And if treated well enough, its potential will all the more be maximised. You can make your soil climate-friendly by adding in organic matter, nutrients, and mulch.

5. Keep your soil productive

Some period of time makes it hard for plants to grow and thrive, leaving the soil bare. Make sure that you keep your garden soil active by using cover crops like grains or legumes to make up for the absence of other consumable plants. They help reduce the need to use fertilisers to invigorate the soil come the planting season.

 

water conservation Modern Day Gardening: Climate Change Is Beginning to Strike Your Backyard

6. Get smart with water

During dry weather, water could run short at any time. So it helps to set-up your own water reservoir in the backyard. Save rainwater for use in the garden. Invest in large water containers and collect still useable water from your washer or shower.

7. Let your plants stay watered

Consider drip irrigation than the normal sprinklers. This way, you get to control the amount of water that gets into your plant and avoid water flow on your garden soil. Use soaker hoses to water down your plants right directly through to their roots.

 

garden lawn Modern Day Gardening: Climate Change Is Beginning to Strike Your Backyard

8. Maintain what is presently growing

If you’re gardening on slopes, let the existing plants grow naturally and clear the vegetation only to a minimum work. This will help avoid the impact of flooding and erosion. The thing is, natural terrains are home to established plants and they are better able to adapt to the weather.

9. Keep your lawns undisturbed

A lawn is usually made of thousands of individual grass that absorb carbon dioxide in the air and throughout its seasonal cycle deposits carbon into the soil. If left undisturbed, the humble lawn contributes to sequestration of carbon for longer periods. So go easy on your mowers and avoid paving over large areas of the garden.

 

raking the lawn Modern Day Gardening: Climate Change Is Beginning to Strike Your Backyard

10. Go for low heat-emitting garden supplies

Carbon dioxide is emitted even in our garden tools, equipment, and even peat-based mixes and pesticides. When possible, try to use the ever-reliable hand tools like rake, spade, hand clippers, and organic garden solutions.

11. Get energy-efficient outdoors

Out in your household, you can still apply energy-efficiency and lessen carbon footprint by replacing outdoor light bulbs with LED bulbs or invest in solar-powered garden products.

 

raised bed garden Modern Day Gardening: Climate Change Is Beginning to Strike Your Backyard

12. Take advantage of season extenders

Hot or cold or a mix of both, you can still enjoy a good harvest all season long with the help of some season extenders. These include a hoop house on raised garden bed, cold frames, garden fabric, high tunnels, row covers, and yes, greenhouse structures.

13. Go container gardening

Sudden changes of weather in a single day may cause confusion to your growing plants. If possible, plant your perennials or some of your vegetables in containers. Come extreme rain or sun, you can move your plants in an instant you seem fit to do so.

14. Recycle garden wastes

Garden wastes like grass cuttings, hedge trimmings, and dried wood better be put to good waste than simply getting dumped in the garbage and adding to carbon pollution. Recycle them as organic fertilizers or compost heap, which again, and better nutrient source for your soil and plants.

 

urban gardening Modern Day Gardening: Climate Change Is Beginning to Strike Your Backyard

15. Create a wildlife garden

Gardens that mimic the wildlife environment allows the natural system to work with less struggle against changes in the weather or climate. Allow local plants to grow naturally, and if possible, create more water features around your garden to help the garden animals, too.

16. Green urban spaces

Even urban gardeners can up the game. The RHS recommend greening up the city by planting climbers and wall shrubs, encouraging wildlife by planting more variety of plants, using permeable paving, and of course, planting trees.

17. Keep a record of your garden pattern

Climate change is a global problem. You can help big organisations in finding solutions to this problem on a wider scale by contributing your knowledge about its effect. Some of these societies gather data from citizens about any new trends and changes they notice in their very own gardens and in how they garden.

 

More tips for gardening in dry regions

dry land with plant Modern Day Gardening: Climate Change Is Beginning to Strike Your Backyard

18. If your place is drier, pick drought-tolerant plants such as catmint, coneflower, liquorice plant, and don’t forget succulents.

19. Aside from picking plants that can survive the heat spell, make sure to enrich the soil with more compost. This will help retain moisture on the ground so you lessen the need to water your plants.

20. Water down during early morning or late afternoon. These cool hours of the day will reduce evaporation of water, giving more time for your roots to sip in the moisture.

 

More tips for gardening in wet regions

wet land Modern Day Gardening: Climate Change Is Beginning to Strike Your Backyard

21. For wet areas, moisture-loving plants like pickerel weed, elephant’s’ ear, and irises will thrive well.

22. Amend your water-loving plants with vermiculite to help lock in the moisture and anchor the roots of younger plants.

23. Should flooding occurs, collect any debris to prevent drain blocks and lingering of contaminants. Best not to consume any near harvest plants to avoid sickness. Also, wait till the soil is workable so as not to worsen any problem on the ground.

24. To counter the effects of floods, grow plants in raised beds.

 

For a backyard gardener like Debbie, climate change raises a lot of concern and sensitivity as the vegetables they eat and the flowers they love to see depend largely on the climate. We can take on the same consciousness as any other gardener by being mindful of our environment. Work with it, not against it.

 

 

Resources:

http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/

http://www.ipcc.ch/

https://www.rhs.org.uk/

http://www.myclimatechangegarden.com/

http://www.explainthatstuff.com/globalwarmingforkids.html

http://www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/basics/weather_climatewarming.shtml

http://www.organicauthority.com/

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These garden animals keep disappearing and what you can do now to save them—before it’s too late

If you have always been keen in protecting and welcoming wildlife into your own garden, besides setting up attractive outdoor furniture pieces and other garden implements,  keep up the good deed! If not, this could be the best, and probably the high time, for you to give a serious thought about these living creatures.

Here’s why.

In an unprecedented State of the Nature report gathered from 25 wildlife organisations in the UK, nature lost 60% of the 3,148 wildlife species studied across the European countries over the past 50 years. It’s health check identified 155 of these species as most threatened and vulnerable.

The assessment was released in 2013, but the population trend of these closely monitored species continue to struggle against endangerment, or worse, extinction.

And the sad part doesn’t end there.

You might think of this wildlife as creatures remote to deep woods and distant waters. But in the Nature report, most of the species included in the study – and found vulnerable to threats – are common animals and plants that used to thrive in and cheer up our gardens and farmlands. If we don’t act now, our gardens will soon lose precious lives and the ambience that make it a comfortable outdoor seating and sanctuary.

So, what are these priority species we need to watch over? And how?

BIRDS

Birds make any place a chance for discovery, they make a garden seem wild, they are a little bit of wilderness coming into a city park, and for a bird watcher every walk is filled with anticipation. What feathered jewel might drop out of the sky next? — David Allen Sibley, , Ornithologist/Author

The sobering truth is: The bird species is threatened with global extinction. In UK alone, 44 million breeding birds were lost in the region since the late 1960s.

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker

Dendrocopos minor

shutterstock 291638765 These garden animals keep disappearing and what you can do now to save them—before it’s too late

Of the three common species of woodpeckers, the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker is the smallest and becoming less and less familiar sight in the gardens. Its plumage lacks the heavily streaked and patched feathers of the Greater Spotted Woodpecker. It has a gentler “kek” call and lighter drumming on wood than its “black and white” woodpecker counterpart but possess the same undulating flight when in the open.

They are seen foraging for insects and larvae usually on treetops and small branches. If you earnestly want to see them, the best time would be spring, when there are not too many leaves around.

An International threat and marked decline in the UK, the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker have undergone a 73% decline in the last 25 years, due to loss of orchards and deciduous trees.

Northern Lapwing

Vanellus vanellus

shutterstock 209016421 These garden animals keep disappearing and what you can do now to save them—before it’s too late

It has a distinct “peewit” call from which it’s popular name was derived from, whilst its proper name “lapwing” suggests a fluttering flight.

They frequent on farmlands and feed on insects and worms, but during the breeding season, they prefer wet natural grasslands and eat root crops.

An International threat and marked decline in the UK, they are decreasing at a moderately rapid rate and is now on Red List. They suffer as a result of intense land use, drainage of wetlands, and collection of their eggs by humans.

Song Thrush

Turdus philomelos

shutterstock 142745797 These garden animals keep disappearing and what you can do now to save them—before it’s too late

Who can resist the delight of this bird’s singing and repeating of song phrases? All year round you can hear their loud songs and see them when bushes and trees abound in the gardens, parks, and woods.

They especially love to feed on earthworm, but when the summer makes the ground too hard to catch a worm, they shift to a snail diet by tapping and breaking the shells on stones. They may also compete with people for fruits.

Song thrush is moderately declining in the UK and gain an international concern for the plight of common garden birds. The decline is attributed to unsustainable agricultural practice, cutting of hedgerows, even competition with blackbirds.

What You Can Do at Home

Leave a food and watch them come

Feeding birds make a great pastime for any bird enthusiast, the family, and even kids. So the next time you needed an easy but great bird garden idea, this activity suits just right.

And to help you get a good view of your visiting birds’ colours and listen to their sweet singing, put up bird feeders right on your balcony or in the backyard.

shutterstock 106036373 These garden animals keep disappearing and what you can do now to save them—before it’s too late

A few guides:

1. Try different food options from sunflower seeds, thistle, shelled and cracked corn, peanuts, rapeseed, canary seed, raw oats, and a mixture of them. Add some food bars, cooked rice, live food and other insect food. This will help attract a variety of birds at different seasons.

2. Prepare quality hanging mesh or plastic feeders to keep their food clean and out of rodents and other pets’ reach. Keep your feeder clean to avoid diseases from transmitting among the birds. Try moving the location of your feeders after a year, too. Keep a good amount of feeds

3. Keep a good amount of feeds all year round but make sure to remove and refill them with new food especially after a season has passed.

Freshen them up with a bird bath

Fresh water can be scarce for our flying friends, especially during the summer. What a relief it would be if they could find clean water to drink and splash in right in your backyard.

shutterstock 58153381 These garden animals keep disappearing and what you can do now to save them—before it’s too late

To help them cool off and maintain their beautiful feathers:

1. Make a bird bath out of shallow bowl, large plant tray, salvaged sink, and other colourful DIY bird bath. That is if you haven’t a ready-made one.

2. Get a good view of your bird bath, one that is noticeable all around but near a bush or tree to dart in when predators come.

3. Still for their safety, secure your bird bath with bricks or large stones. Add some pebbles and stones inside the bath to give the birds a good grip or avoid slipping into the water.

4. Fill in with tap or rainwater. During hot weather, keep the water new and in winter, ice-free.

 

BUTTERFLY and MOTH

Butterflies conjure up images of the sunshine, the warmth and colour of flowery meadows, and summer gardens teaming with life. – Butterfly-conservation

Fact File: The state of the UK’s butterflies (2011) concluded that 72% of species had decreased over the previous ten years, including common “garden” butterflies that had declined by 24%.

Marsh Fritillary

Euphydryas aurinia

shutterstock 106268867 These garden animals keep disappearing and what you can do now to save them—before it’s too late

Most colourful and brightly patterned wing of the fritillary species, the Marsh Fritillary once captivated Britain with their warmth and tiny beauty. They come in varied chequered patterns of orange, brown, and yellow, giving a vivid feel of the blossoming months. 

You can find them breeding among damp grasslands and woodland clearings, mostly in colonies of several groups close to one another.

Now classified as an International threat and marked decline in the UK, their numbers severely fell over the twentieth century. In RSPB’ reserve in Cumbria, their population dropped from 200 to only three in 2000.

Large Heath

Coenonympha tullia

shutterstock 126322592 These garden animals keep disappearing and what you can do now to save them—before it’s too late

The Large Heath has eye spots on the underside which varies among different subspecies; some have rows of it, others don’t. They are said to be a special kind of butterfly as they confine themselves to boggy areas. And at rest, adult butterflies have a habit of closing their wings.

Cotton grass forms an important part of their diet.

The huge loss of habitat and large-scale drainage works contributed to their decline and  uplist to an International threat status.

V-moth

Macaria wauaria

vmoth These garden animals keep disappearing and what you can do now to save them—before it’s too late

V-moth is a large moth that favours vegetation and allotments where fruits abound. Their soft brown wings span 25-30mm and show darker brown streaks.

Their population have declined to a staggering 99% due to loss of habitat and the use of pesticides on growing fruits.

What You Can Do at Home

Grow flowers especially for them

True, butterflies love hanging around beautiful flowers, but they visit only a few ones regularly. These include heavily pollen- and nectar-laden blooms like marigold, zinnia, Blue porter weed, and butterfly bush. If you’re up for a great show of these lovely creatures, then dig in some of these butterfly favourites and enjoy a much more beautiful flower garden.

shutterstock 453919234 These garden animals keep disappearing and what you can do now to save them—before it’s too late

To get the best of butterfly sightings:

1. Choose the best flowers for these pollinators in every season of the year. And make sure to plant them in a great range. These flowers will also effectively attract other pollinators like bees.

2. Butterflies love to bask in the warmth of the sun so position your flowering plants where they can get full sun.

3. Keep your plants healthy, especially during the summer months, by taking a well-rounded gardening practice.

Give them a sugary treat

Aside from nectar, butterflies love to nibble on other sweet boosters like our all-time favourite bananas. Bananas make a healthy treat notably during autumn when most flowers bloom shyly.

shutterstock 377968615 These garden animals keep disappearing and what you can do now to save them—before it’s too late

RSPB have this simple banana feast prepared:

1. Take an old banana or choose a fresher one. Massage the whole fruit gently with your fingers until the inside becomes mushy. Then use a knife to cut into three or small cuts across the sides.

2. Leave your banana meal in a sunny area near your flowering plants or vegetation. Then watch the butterflies feast on it.

 

 

MAMMALS

Study shows: The state of Britain’s mammals (2011) highlighted the decline of hedgehogs and the ongoing loss of red squirrels.

West European Hedgehog

Erinaceus europaeus

shutterstock 418100494 These garden animals keep disappearing and what you can do now to save them—before it’s too late

A rounded and hairy garden mammal, hedgehog spend most of their day nestling on leaves and grasses and foraging in the night. They possess good hearing and sense of smell, are fast runners, climbers, and they swim, too. When these unsuspecting creatures are attacked, they roll into a tight ball and expose their spines.

Hedgehog feeds on slugs, snails, earthworms, beetles, and birds’ eggs.

But their defence is no good against humans’ use of lawnmower and garden chemicals, the construction of new roads and buildings, and even bonfires. Of the 36 million hedgehogs in the region, only a million remain in 2013.

Red Squirrel

Sciurus vulgaris

shutterstock 151795121 These garden animals keep disappearing and what you can do now to save them—before it’s too late

Chestnut coat, cream underside, and very familiar fluffy tail, Red Squirrels never fails to adore. They are much smaller than the non-native Grey Squirrels. They build their nests out of sticks and moss high up in tree branches.

Foraging make up most of their activity, and they especially like to seeds, flowers, leaves, and fruits, but can also take a diet of insects, fungi, and birds’ eggs.

Once the free-roaming native of UK, Red Squirrels have continuously been pushed out of their territories by the larger and tougher grey squirrels. The spread of disease also played a painful role in their decline.

What You Can Do at Home

Prepare them a banquet

Encourage the charming terrestrial mammals into your garden by augmenting their food source. Hedgehog and red squirrels have quite a big appetite and feeding them can be easy as their choice of food might just be around your kitchen store.

shutterstock 418100479 These garden animals keep disappearing and what you can do now to save them—before it’s too late

Guide to preparing food:

1. Save a wood or plastic box with removable lids and find a safe place to serves as their feeding station.

2. For hedgehogs, stuff your box with sunflower hearts, chopped nuts, cooked potatoes, minced meat, and a good amount of water.

3. For squirrels, feed them with healthy food like fruits and vegetables and a few nuts and seeds treat.

4. Keep their feeding station clean by removing any leftovers and refilling the dish daily.

 

Make your garden a nature by-way

Make your backyards a bit more inviting and easy to enter in and navigate for the garden mammals. RSPB calls it nature highways and byways, a great family activity that will be a sure hit to the wildlife.

shutterstock 212726812 These garden animals keep disappearing and what you can do now to save them—before it’s too late

Here’s how to create a simple garden for wildlife :

1. Check your fences and see where it’s suitable to create a small gaps or hole. Then grow some long grasses or other garden plants right next to the hole.

2. Some mammals like to roam discretely among tall grasses and lawn, so if you could manage to rest your lawnmower for a while, let the grasses grow into a natural meadow.

3. Cloak your fences, pergolas, and walls with climbing plants to allow some climbing terrestrials to climb in.

4. Plant hedges, shrubs, and trees. They are perfect for sheltering and a great source of food for wildlife creatures.

 

If you want to take your wildlife advocacy to the next level, you can always find a wildlife organisation to support a similar cause, volunteer at your local nature reserve, or take part in contributing knowledge about nature’s issues through popular surveys.

The wildlife, even the ones as close to our backyard, is in trouble because of “many and varied” elements. But hope is strong in light of the various individual volunteers and organisations who come together to show genuine concern for the wildlife creatures.

You can be part of that hope, too, no matter how little.

 

Resources:

Bird Life International http://www.birdlife.org/

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds http://www.rspb.org.uk/

UK Butterflies http://www.ukbutterflies.co.uk/index.php

Butterfly-Conservation http://butterfly-conservation.org/

Joint Nature Conservation Committee http://jncc.defra.gov.uk/

Wildscreen Arkive http://www.arkive.org/

Country File Magazine http://www.countryfile.com/

 

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Essential Home Office Set Up and Organising Hacks That Will Boost Your Productivity

 

Struggling to make ‘work from home’ effective for you?

Here we’ll give you essential guides on how to turn your home office into a more productive place to work in.

First, you might want to ask:  

What seems to hinder my productivity in a home office set-up?

Your house or cabin normally provides a homey and relaxing feeling. Just look at the couch, TV set, games board, and oh, the bedroom. It’s where you take a good rest in or spend leisure time with the family in the first place. And that familiar comfort makes it a bit challenging for you as a home-based worker to push the ‘work mode’ button on.

And unlike standard offices, there are no company rules to regulate your work behaviour. So you can’t help butembrace the freedom! But that’s another long story.

A lot of adjustments need to be done first on the physical aspect of your built-in home office.

So how do you begin? Read on to find out.    

Take the distractions away

You might not realise it, but your office sheds could be infested with distractions. TV remote control, video games, gadgets, you name it. Having them around violates a basic job rule: Don’t mix work with personal life.

And if you’re committing this mistake, follow these super simple steps to untangle.

  1. Survey your office space today.
  2. Get the feel of each item. If you sense it invites you for an hour off your tasks or it has nothing to do with your work, label it down as a distraction.
  3. Resolve to keep those diversions away.
  4. Dedicate the place as your work area, from hereon. Personal effects end there, and work begins here.

Now you get a clear work and home boundary. All that’s left are the essential work stuff. Good.

But then, everything seems to be in a mess.

Declutter now (and see how your mind clears up)

Remember: Your goal is to set everything in tune to your working mood. And mood, as well as productivity, is highly affected by how things are arranged.

Ok, you or other people adapt and thrive in chaos. But a mess is still a mess. It affects you in more ways than you realise. Perhaps in the time it takes for you to find a notepad or cord?

So consider these guides:

  1. Get inspiration. Look through various professional office spaces or home office garden which suit your needs.
  2. Assess the clutter in your own office pod. You can even take its photo and save it for the end of your home office project.
  3. Draw out (physically or mentally, as you please) your ideal office plan. Desk position is one critical element.
  4. Resolve to achieve your plan. Start moving things around.

If you need more hand on how to simplify the task, we are more than happy to give you more tips.

Organise like a pro

From sorting out some great office spaces, you’ll find one element in common among them. Neatness. Why? It’s what make their owners, career men, work efficiently.

Best to follow their lead. Here’s how.

Make the most of your desk drawers

  • Your desk is precisely where you spend the hours working so keep it clean at all times.
  • Keep your most essential office items at the most frequently accessed part of your desk, such as the topmost drawer.
  • Use mesh containers to sub-categorise smaller items like office supplies.
  • Reserve the mid or lowest drawer or part of the desk for important files or receipts.

Create a system of filing

  • Reducing clutter is as easy (and cheap) as using file cabinets, storage boxes, wall hangers and baskets and bookshelves. Options abound. Think pallets.
  • Avoid paper piles on your desk no matter how orderly you pile them up. Either stock them nicely in a file folder rack or store them inside drawers. Even better, go paperless.

Mark tasks with boards and calendars

  • Depending on how you work, choose a whiteboard or corkboard to give you a clean slate for paper notes or illustrations. Plus, it will serve as a visual map of all your tasks.
  • If you need to keep track of dates, do so with properly placed calendars. Desk calendars are good, wall and pocket calendar too. But if you’re tech savvy enough, use google calendar, if only to lessen the stuff in your room.

Untangle those wire cords

  • Wires haphazardly lying on the floor or desk are not only unsightly but dangerous.
  • If your equipment or gadgets are located near the outlets, great. That will make the organising less stressful.
  • If not, use wire organizers like plastic or metal caps, winders and cord covers to keep them neat however long they may be.

Aim for more space

  • Leave a good amount of elbow room, literally, for you to move around.
  • Use the floor area for much-needed facilities only.
  • Install built-in desks or hidden storages, if possible.

Key takeaway: Don’t overdo.

Organising is about simplifying things and processes within your room so you won’t have to get caught up in a maze of clutter.

And who knows? Perhaps a little disarray could do just the trick to spark an idea.

At this point, you’ve succeeded to clear and minimise down. Now it’s time to bring in the things that will step-up your productivity.  

Help yourself with the essential tools and facilities

Facilities should aid you in your line of work so pick your office belongings wisely. But normally, you could make use of the following:

1. Desks and chairs are staples. They come in a wide selection of designs and styles to choose from or custom-made in stores.

Just a pointer: Take note how ergonomically-bent they are. This way, you physically benefit from good seating position, and you enjoy the best of comfort whilst you work for long hours.

Another pointer: Refer to your office plan for the most preferable desk position. With access to natural light or a good view of the garden would be best.   

2. Computers and telecommunication system. What work from home doesn’t need a computer, anyway. Have them in updated software or apps, good power supply, and reliable internet connection.

3. Good lighting. If natural light is inaccessible, invest in powerful but energy-efficient lamps, light tubes, or if you’re willing, go as far as a skylight.

4. Air Conditioner to cool you up (or warm down). Keep a balanced room temperature or as your working mood needs.

And you’re good to go.

But it’s your personal space and there’s a wide room for creativity. So you could always incorporate some personal touches – wallpapers, framed arts, indoor plants, the possibilities are endless.

Bottom line? Everything should feed your working mood.

No 9-5 routine will regulate your work, but a home office should enhance your job, not the other way around.  

Here’s a great garden office shed for you to do business and get productive in.

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Seven Essential Tools Someone Who Doesn’t Have a Garden Will Never Understand

No matter how big or small your garden is, these tools will prove to be useful and will be a staple in the toolkit of a gardener. Not only are they important, but they are essential to the growth and success of your garden.

These are not the fancy ones that have all the luxurious features. We’re talking here of the bedrock of all the tools. The ones you can get at your local hardware or gardening store to get you started on your gardening journey, those proven to be the most effective and basic of them all.

Here are the seven essential gardening tools you need to make your garden success.

 

21 Seven Essential Tools Someone Who Doesn’t Have a Garden Will Never Understand

Spade

A spade (or a shovel) is a primary tool for digging. If you say digging, you might as well say a spade. Ever since it was conceptualised during the Neolithic period using an animal shoulder blade, the humble spade has helped in the removal, digging, and fixing of dirt not only in our gardens, but in all sorts of soil working that involves moving dirt.

It may have developed and changed over the years, but gardeners in general used it for digging, removing, or lifting dirt. If you are planting and you need a hole, you can count on the old reliable spade to help you punch those holes in the earth. The spade can also break up soil, clumps of dirt and even slice off sod. It will always serve well in the garden.

You can also use the spade to shape the garden and even scoop up large quantities of dirt into a pail or a wheelbarrow.

 

31 Seven Essential Tools Someone Who Doesn’t Have a Garden Will Never Understand

Gardening Fork

While we’re still searching for the answer to which came first, the gardening fork or the kitchen fork, the latter is indubitably one of the oldest companions of the gardener.

This three or four pronged implement is used primarily like a spade in breaking, loosening, and turning up soil so that one could begin the planting. It can also be used to rake off any unwanted materials in the soil.

They are slightly different from pitchforks as these are shorter and usually the tines are flatter, thicker and more closely spaced–which is optimized for gardening.

Some gardening forks are longer, and some are shorter and easier to manipulate by hand. There are also flatter and broader tines on gardening forks which are used for lighter work like removing weeds along the plants and lifting root crops from the ground.

 

41 Seven Essential Tools Someone Who Doesn’t Have a Garden Will Never Understand

Garden Rake

Probably one of the most recognisable garden tools is the rake. You can consider this as the moviestar among the essential tools in the garden. It has been used as one of the main devices for slapstick comedy.

Before its Hollywood success, it is believed to have been used in China during 1100 BC to be used in harvesting and removing plant refuse.

Its simple design is always handy in collecting fallen foliage, hay, and dead grass. It could also be used for loosening the soil, weeding, and leveling to prepare the soil.

Rakes usually have metal, plastic or wooden teeth and the material depend on how one would use it. The heavier the labor, the sturdier should be material.

 

51 Seven Essential Tools Someone Who Doesn’t Have a Garden Will Never Understand

Trowel

Trowels are mini spades. They may come in small packages, but they are useful in the garden. The plus of being small is that they can be easily used by any beginner who does not mind his or her knees for some time.

Like their taller and bigger counterparts, these are thought to be from the Neolithic period where animal shoulder blades were used.

Gardening trowels have also evolved in design. Each one made specifically according to its function and where it will be used. Construction and archeological trowels are flatter and gardening trowels are more pointed and cupped. These are used for breaking up earth, digging holes, weeding and planting vegetables even small bushes and trees.

 

61 Seven Essential Tools Someone Who Doesn’t Have a Garden Will Never Understand

Hoe

A hoe is a simple instrument used to shape the soil, remove weeds by agitating the surface of the soil or by cutting the roots, level the ground, and even harvest crops.

The many types of hoe show varying purposes and multiple functions. There are hoes used to scrape the ground, some to draw lines on the ground, tilling them in the process. Some are designed to cut the roots of weeds, and some are made to make trails or water trenches.

These gardening implement have been instrumental and an important part of the development of other gardening material. It is the inspiration to pick, adze and the plow.

 

71 Seven Essential Tools Someone Who Doesn’t Have a Garden Will Never Understand

Pruning Shears

Also called secateurs are a pair of scissors designed to cut plants. The main difference between pruning shears and the office scissors is that shears are made from sturdier materials so that they can prune and cut branches and shrubs that can be pretty thick sometimes.

It should be noted that while some office scissors are made of sturdy materials, these should still be confined in the office or household as pruning shears are especially designed to decrease the risk of injury to the user.

Pruning shears have been around the gardening world for a long time, especially in the ornamental and fruit gardening category as pruning is essential to the success of these gardening endeavors.

 

81 Seven Essential Tools Someone Who Doesn’t Have a Garden Will Never Understand

Watering System

Whether it be a spray bottle, watering can or sprinklers, a watering system is like an old friend, it needs no further introduction nor dispute that it is essential to the garden success and growth.

Before complicated irrigation systems emerged, the watering can (or more popularly known back then as watering pots) was the main can. It even went through a redesign by John Haws. His design is the current one being used and it has become the standard.


Nowadays, there are so many things that a gardener can choose from to use to maintain and improve the garden. But the basics still remain.

Gardening means plants growing and the tools help in maintenance. No matter the size or the design of your garden, these essential tools will always be around to help in the garden.

What do you think about these tools? Do you have any other tool in mind that should be part of this list? Let us know in the comments below!

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50 Inspiring DIY Pallet Ideas

Having a furniture made out of pallet is a sure conversation-starter and instantly adds value and appeal to your home.

There are many ads online that sell cheap pallets or even give them away for free. There is truth in the saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”.

It just needs a little creativity and elbow grease to turn something seemingly useless to a home’s pride and joy. The options are virtually limitless. How about making a DIY box for the best gas bbq you have at home? Or recreating your worn-out patio furniture sets or metal garden furniture sets using or a few pieces of pallets? All it takes is a little creativity to turn scrap pallets into useful home pieces.

Here are the 50 ideas on how you can make your own DIY pallet project. The ideas on the list are from bloggers around the web–which means that you can also do it on your own.

One note though, there are pallets that you can use because they have been heat-treated. Those are safe to use. Do not use the ones that have an “MB” stamp on them because they have been treated with methyl bromide which is primarily a pesticide. Check out all the other stamps and understand how they will affect the safety of your pallet project. DIY Ready has a handy infographic about this topic at their site.

Here’s a video from Savvas Papasavva on how you can dismantle a pallet.

Start small if you are a beginner and then challenge your way up. So, if you have a couple or several pallets lying around, take a look at these and have yourself a try at these projects in the coming weekend.

You can browse through these projects by category:

Living room |  Bedroom |  Kitchen | Garden

 

Living Room Ideas

1 50 Inspiring DIY Pallet Ideas

1. DIY Sofa with Storage

Take your DIY to the next level with this sofa with storage. Filippa Malmegård from the ScrapHacker teaches us step by step how to make this sterling project.

Here’s a video for another type of bookshelf from the Youtube channel Building on a Budget, a channel dedicated to teaching us to build from pallets. And no, that’s not slightly slender Channing Tatum, he just kinda looks like him.

2 50 Inspiring DIY Pallet Ideas

2. Pallet Bookshelf

Store your books in a stylish and artistic bookshelf made from pallets. Ana White shows how to do it step by step in her website.

Here’s a video for another type of bookshelf from the Youtube channel Building on a Budget, a channel dedicated to teaching us to build from pallets. And no, that’s not slightly slender Channing Tatum, he just kinda looks like him.

3 50 Inspiring DIY Pallet Ideas

3. Warm Wooden Wall from Pallets

Transform any room with a little effort and creativity. Joan, from The Scavenger Chic, shows us how she changed the look of her room with pallets and her creativity.

Influencer3 50 Inspiring DIY Pallet Ideas

 

 

“The best part about pallet wood is not necessarily that you can get the wood for free, though that doesn’t hurt, I just love the rustic nature of the wood.” — ­­ Joan, Scavenger Chic

 

 

 

 

 

4 50 Inspiring DIY Pallet Ideas

4. Pallet Furniture Set

Get serious with this pallet furniture set idea from JennaBurger.com. It is a very easy project you can finish in as little as 3-4 hours. You save money and get new furniture too!

5 50 Inspiring DIY Pallet Ideas

5. Photo Frames

Hang your family portraits creatively with this step-by-step pallet photo frame tutorial by Southern Revivals. This unique and creative way will surely make your photographs memorable. You can get Mod Podge from Amazon.com.

6 50 Inspiring DIY Pallet Ideas

6. Coffee table

Need a coffee table? Check out these instructions on how to build your own from The Wonder Forest.

7 50 Inspiring DIY Pallet Ideas

7. Shoe Rack

Watch this video from How to Fix It Workshop and see how you can make your shoe rack even with the simplest of tools.

8 50 Inspiring DIY Pallet Ideas

8. Pallet Art

Make the living room come alive with interesting artwork that even the kids can enjoy with this project. This project from Sand and Sisal will inspire you. Though their project did not work out at first, they were resilient, which is why they were able to create this awesome piece of artwork.

9 50 Inspiring DIY Pallet Ideas

9. Bar and Stool

Make your family gatherings more fun and exciting with this DIY pallet project. Watch this video from HowToSpecialist to start planning your pallet bar stools.

10 50 Inspiring DIY Pallet Ideas

10. Even a Matchbox Guitar

When I saw this project, it put a smile on my face. It seems like there are endless ways to reuse and recycle pallets. @Dianne from Hometalk.com shows us the process to make this environmentally friendly instrument.

Influencer5 50 Inspiring DIY Pallet Ideas

 

 

 

“I am a huge advocate of upcycling and creative reuse. DIY pallet projects are perfect for recycling something unwanted and turning it into something beautiful and useful.” — Dinah Wulf, DIYInspired.com 

 

 

 

 

Bedroom Ideas

11 50 Inspiring DIY Pallet Ideas

11. Laundry Basket

Make the most out of your pallets and build for yourself a laundry basket. Ana White has your back once again with this project.

12 50 Inspiring DIY Pallet Ideas

12. Coat Rack

Who knew coat hangers could be so beautiful. All thanks to pallets and @RuudvandeLooij from Instructables.

13 50 Inspiring DIY Pallet Ideas

13. Pallet Wood Open Sign

Whether you’re running a bistro or just want this in your room, pallets will open up your imagination for more. Joan from Scavenger Chic once again shows us how she did it.

14 50 Inspiring DIY Pallet Ideas

14. Pet Bed

Even your pets can appreciate your pallet DIY prowess. Here’s a simple and straightforward instructional video from YouTube channel modernrootsorg on how to make a pallet bed for your pet (or pets, no matter how many they are, we just love pets, don’t we?)

15 50 Inspiring DIY Pallet Ideas

15. Modern Pallet Bed

Not only can you make a bed from pallets, you can also put your spin on it. WikiHow shows us how simple it is to make one.

16 50 Inspiring DIY Pallet Ideas

16. Reading Nook for Kids

Encourage your child’s interest in reading by making them a nook where they can freely explore the limits of their imagination. Kojo-Designs has the tutorial on how to make this beautiful addition to your home.

Influencer2 50 Inspiring DIY Pallet Ideas

 

 

“I love palette furniture. Actually, I think that I love it for the same reason that I am so intrigued by Anthropologie’s window displaysthe idea of taking something that no one wants and turning it into something useful and/or beautiful resonates with me.” ­­ Kirstin, Kojo­Designs

 

 

 

 

17 50 Inspiring DIY Pallet Ideas

17. Headboard

The Thinking Closet also built a massive headboard. You can’t help but fall head over heels with pallets.

18 50 Inspiring DIY Pallet Ideas

18. Headboard with Lights

Check out these headboards made with pallets from PalletFurniturePlans.com. See how the lights add to the ambiance of the room and how it can also add it to yours.

19 50 Inspiring DIY Pallet Ideas

19. Serving Tray

Don’t we all need a tray to serve food to our loved ones? Here’s a very simple tutorial on how to make one. Kelly Rowe from Live Laugh Rowe shows us how to do it.

20 50 Inspiring DIY Pallet Ideas

20. Rustic Mirror Frame

Simplicity always goes a long way. Watch the video to get ideas on from YouTube channel F. Branco on how to start and make a pallet mirror frame.

21 50 Inspiring DIY Pallet Ideas

21. Creative Shelf

Try this easy to make odd-shaped shelf to fit your style or even just inspire you. This one is also from another Instructables member, @Eco-Rustic, a company that specialises in reclaiming old wood.

 

 

Kitchen Ideas

22 50 Inspiring DIY Pallet Ideas

22. Dining Table

Make dinners all the more interesting with this project you can finish over the weekend. The ScrapHacker is at it again with this DIY table. You can be sure to host a wonderful gala with this one.

23 50 Inspiring DIY Pallet Ideas

23. Vertical Blinds

Match these with your kitchen window and you have a subtle yet striking appeal. @Humbledtartdept, a member from Instructables teaches us step by step how to make vertical pallet blinds.

24 50 Inspiring DIY Pallet Ideas

24. Pallet and Mason Glass Jars Light Fixture

Add flavour to your evening tryst with this rustic and cool light fixture. Get inspired by twenty8divine.com (formerly BinkysNest.com) and get yourself a rustic and ambient chandelier without the cost!

25 50 Inspiring DIY Pallet Ideas

25. Wooden Utensil Box

Why buy a container when you can make one? Get started with this simple and easy pallet project. The girls over at The Frugal Girls made this instructions and tutorial over at their site for your reference.

26 50 Inspiring DIY Pallet Ideas

26. Wine Rack

If you like your wine, then you’ll love them all the more with this sleek and beautiful pallet wine rack from Virginia Sweet Pea.com.

27 50 Inspiring DIY Pallet Ideas

27. Spoon and Pallet Rack

Hang your kitchen stuff with this handy and easy to make kitchen rack. Shayna of The Woodgrain Cottage built this and showed us how to do it and a couple more reminders on safety and what to and not to do when making this project.

28 50 Inspiring DIY Pallet Ideas

28. Pallet and Mason Jar Vase

Don’t just make stuff from pallets, try a variety of materials with your DIY pallet project. Meredith from unOriginalmom.com teaches us how.

29 50 Inspiring DIY Pallet Ideas

29. DIY Clock

Spice up your home and keep track of time with this amazing pallet clock. This project is from All Things Heart & Home and Robin did this project on her own.

30 50 Inspiring DIY Pallet Ideas

30. Pallet Kitchen Garbage

This simple yet practical use of pallets will get you started and inspired to do more. This project was done by Lauren from The Thinking Closet, a blog site about family, creativity, and everything about crafts.

Influencer4 50 Inspiring DIY Pallet Ideas

 

 

“What is it about reclaimed pallet boards pieced together that our eyes love so much? Making order out of chaos? The Japanese principle of Shizen: nature with purpose and intention.” ­­ Lauren, The Thinking Closet

 

 

 

 

Garden Ideas

31 50 Inspiring DIY Pallet Ideas

31. Pallet Chair

Augment the look of your garden with this awesome and themed garden chair from Funky Junk Interiors. Check out their website for other DIY ideas you can do. You can also see more than a few projects from them on this list so watch out for that.

32 50 Inspiring DIY Pallet Ideas

32. Vertical Pallet Planter

Setup your garden plants in a unique and interesting way. Here’s a Youtube video of how to do it by Janie Pendelton.

33 50 Inspiring DIY Pallet Ideas

33. Rocking Chair

@wholman teaches us how to rock with this DIY rocking chair over at Instructables. It was featured in their project 20k House, a project in the US that makes houses under $20k.

34 50 Inspiring DIY Pallet Ideas

34. Outdoor Sofa

Maybe sometime in the past, you’ve thought of getting a stylish sofa but haven’t had the budget to get one, but now you can build one thanks to the folks over at The Ironstone Nest.

35 50 Inspiring DIY Pallet Ideas

35. Herb Plot

Grow your vegetables, herbs, and other small plants in this container. @barton34, an Instructables member, teaches us how to do it on the link.

36 50 Inspiring DIY Pallet Ideas

36. Garden Loungers

Try this easy pallet project out so that when summer comes, you’ll be ready to party! Instructables member @shoestringpavilion shows us how to make garden lounges the easy way.

37 50 Inspiring DIY Pallet Ideas

37. Easy Pallet Garden Walkway

Walk tall with this garden walkway idea. This is another practical idea from Funky Junk Interiors.

38 50 Inspiring DIY Pallet Ideas

38. Easy Pallet Bike Rack

Need a bike rack? Pallets got your back. Instructables member @maudlin shows us how to store your bikes pallet style the easy way.

39 50 Inspiring DIY Pallet Ideas

39. Potting Bench

A Piece of Rainbow teaches us how to make these potting benches from pallets. They will save you money and the environment!

40 50 Inspiring DIY Pallet Ideas

40. DIY Patio Day Bed

Need to snooze for a bit? Make your daybed and let your pallet dreams happen. Head on over to Lovely Greens to find out how you can make this lovely daybed for your house.

41 50 Inspiring DIY Pallet Ideas

41. Garden Tool Shelf

Try this simple but practical garden tool shelf project in your home and garden shed. This is another project from Funky Junk Interiors.

42 50 Inspiring DIY Pallet Ideas

42. Fence

Use the pallets as they are and put up a tall fence. It will virtually cost you nothing—especially if you get your pallets for free. Hometalk member Siff S. shows us how it will look after you’re finished with your fence.

43 50 Inspiring DIY Pallet Ideas

43. Vegetables and Herb Planter

If you don’t have a garden, you can use pallets to start out. @guyavraham from 1001pallets.com shows how simple it is to get started on your vegetable and herb planter.

44 50 Inspiring DIY Pallet Ideas

44. Sandbox for Children

Impress your kids by making a sandbox that they will always remember. Ana White teaches us again how to make this sandbox with all the details.

45 50 Inspiring DIY Pallet Ideas

45. Playhouse

Let your kids experience and see the beauty of DIY with this project. A Subtle Revelry shows how easy and simple it is to make this wonderful playhouse.

46 50 Inspiring DIY Pallet Ideas

46. Kids’ Playground

Make this your ultimate goal this year and make your kids happy every day for the rest of their childhood. If you are up to the task, you can ask Elizabeth, the Frugal Mom Eh!, on how they conceptualised and built this mammoth of a project.

Influencer1 50 Inspiring DIY Pallet Ideas 

 

 

“One day while driving by a local factory, I saw a pile of shipping crates and pallets waiting to be disposed of and the light bulb came on. That pile of pallets looked to me like a mostly assembled, modular playscape just waiting for a home.” ­­Elizabeth, Frugal Mom Eh

 

 

 

 

47 50 Inspiring DIY Pallet Ideas

47. Swing Chair

You made a swing bed, setup a swing chair too! Instructables member @millsy2254 teaches us the directions to make your own.

48 50 Inspiring DIY Pallet Ideas

48. Picnic Table

You can leave this piece of furniture and not worry about it because it is so cheap and easy to make. Ana White is solid when it comes to ideas on what to make from pallets.

49 50 Inspiring DIY Pallet Ideas

49. Garden Lamps

Light up your garden with these unique DIY lamps. Ian Anderson posted this on Handy Crowd and intended it for the winter, but there’s no problem if it stays in your garden all year long. Say hello again to pallet and mason jar partnership!

50 50 Inspiring DIY Pallet Ideas

50. Swing Bed

Relax in the most comfortable way with this project. This is my personal favourite, which is why I saved it for last. A big up to the girls over at The Merry Thought for making this project.

 

Pallets are not just a piece of wood.

To anyone with a creative mind and the will to put in time, pallets could mean the greatest resource for your DIY needs and projects. As you have seen, you don’t need a lot of tools to start your pallet project. You can start simple and then when you get up to speed, you can start exploring the bounds of your creativity and DIY skill.

What do you think of the list? Do you have any other ideas that would make a great and inspiring project? Let us know in the comments below!

 

Other useful resources:

How to build a pig enclosure from pallets – This wonderful guide provides a step-by-step process of building a pig pen from used pallets.