Thursday, May 4, 2017

Throwing The Perfect Fourth of July Party

A creative outtake on celebrating America's day of Independence with family and friends in the comfort of your backyard.

The Fourth of July is a perfect time to gather a group of friends and celebrate all of the freedoms we have, as well as the beauty of the United States of America: Land of the free, Home of the brave! July is usually a month we can count on for hot days, with plenty of sunshine, and a beautiful array of summer colors; but let's discuss  the colors of this day by highlighting them in a wonderful outdoor dinner party.  The key element for your dinner party is first establishing a budget. Remember to visit your favorite search engine before hitting the stores to stay up to date on sales, promotions, and available coupons to your local stores!  Here are some easy face lifts for your outdoor get-together that won't break the bank:
  1. Replace your current accent pillows on your outdoor love seats and sofas  with a fun red, white, and blue color combo. Even without changing your larger cushions, you can add just a navy, or red accent cushion to coordinate with theme and still correlate with your already established color scheme.
  2. Add  white lanterns to your conversation set end tables. The white can be reused for any occasion and can simply match theme by adding a colorful candle, or flowers inside.
  3. White again! Drape your outdoor dining table with a white tablecloth, so that you can have a table decoration you can use again, but it will also allow you to highlight the fun colors of this occasion.
  4. Find gold chargers/place mats for your outdoor dining table.  Gold is a neutral metallic that will serve for multipurpose hosting events, while it accents our favorite part of fourth of July: fireworks and sparklers!
  5. Use a burlap table runner to add a fun, rustic, look to your party. Burlap is another great neutral, as well as an affordable fabric that allows other decorations, that may be placed with it, to pop.
  6. Find your favorite red, white, and (or) blue flowers to line down the center of your burlap table runner.
    1. Hydrangeas are a great July flower and are also inexpensive while creating a full look to any vase or container; they also come in blue and white, but can easily be dyed red by adding red food coloring to a water-filled vase 48 hours prior.
  7. Fun accents
    1. Buy striped straws to add to your guests' glasses for an inexpensive touch of theme.
    2. If you have kids joining your party, research a fun DIY Fourth of July project and set up a separate table for them to mingle and enjoy the holiday.
    3. Buy disposable napkins that coordinate with your themed colors
    4. A berry salad would make a perfect appetizer and grasp the red, white and blue color scheme.
    5. Drape your fence or deck with Chinese paper lanterns  to add both color and light to your party without outshining your local firework show
    6. Lay out a large picnic blanket for people to relax on and share conversation while viewing fireworks

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An Outlook on Outdoor Expenses

It is true that your money and your time  follows your heart. And it seems that the absence of sun in the winter, really does make the heart grow fonder for when spring time hits.

Between watering your landscape/gardens, maintaining aesthetics, and planting new blooms, keeping up with our outdoor wants and needs can be both time consuming and expensive! Given that there is around 41 million acres of lawn to maintain in the United States alone, it is estimated that the average American spends about 2 hours per day keeping up with their outdoor tasks.  That's 14 hours per week! Those hours do not include our active hours and leisure time in the outdoors, so it can be assumed that more than 20 hours of our week is spent outside.

Money aside, we can still say that our yards are a major investment for us based on time alone. But speaking of money, just how much does the average American spend on outdoor grooming and upkeep? In the year 2015 alone, the people of the United States cohesively spent roughly $30 billion on lawn care. That's a lot of green! On a normal summer day, the average lawn needs 125 gallons of water to be factored into your monthly water bill. It is also estimated that the average homeowner spends between $100 and $500 dollars to fertilize their lawns per year. Other factors to consider include tools such as: lawnmowers, leaf blowers, and trimmers (or a lawn service company) to keep those yards maintained and groomed. So before we can even get to accessories such as flowers, gardening, and landscape, we are opening our wallets pretty far just to preserve our grass. And what is the average dollar amount spent on planting and gardening per household? A booming $350 dollars; but a separate wave of plant spending is factored in for Mother's Day. Seems as though Mother's Day can also be used to celebrate Mother Earth!

Whether it be that we feel as though our gardens/yards are an expression of ourselves, we enjoying hosting, or we feel that we are increasing home value by creating beautiful greenery, it is safe to say that our country and its inhabitants truly values the investment of home lawn care.  America the beautiful, indeed!

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