Colorful Accents for the Outdoors


Now that summer is in full swing, it’s time to enjoy the warm weather and long days of daylight outdoors. Backyard living areas, like gazebos, porches and patios, are great areas for staging impromptu gatherings for family and friends. You can easily turn familiar backyard spaces into playful getaways by creating clever and colorful accents for your outdoor living areas.

To make a simple change for a special occasion, holiday or just for fun, tie a napkin or decorative tea towel right over your chair seat. Center the napkin over the seat, letting it drape over slightly in the front. Pin four 18-inch ribbon ties to the napkin around the back posts. Make sure you turn the raw edges of the ribbon under as you pin. Hand-stitch the ribbon to the underside of the napkin. Tie the two corners to the back posts of the chair next to the seat. The beauty of this look is its simplicity.

Cast a fresh, summery look onto your table with starfish appliqués. Fuse paper-backed iron-on adhesive to starfish fabric; cut out the starfish, then fuse them onto a colorful tablecloth. Use a blanket-stitch to sew around the starfish edges. To add weight to the corners of the tablecloth, drill a hole through a seashell, tie with a ribbon bow and pin it to each corner. Remove the shells before laundering the tablecloth.


Kick back in a hammock slip-covered in style with a bright fabric and ribbon bows. Cut the fabric 1 inch longer and 1 inch wider than the length and width of your hammock. Turn under all the edges of the fabric 1/4 inch, then 1/4 inch again, and topstitch the folds in place. Cut ten 1-yard-long pieces of 1-1/2-inch-wide grosgrain ribbon. Fold each ribbon in half to form a doubled 18-inch-long piece. Sew the folded edges of the ribbons to the short ends of the cover, spacing them evenly. Tie into bows.

Use painted awning stripes to brighten a galvanized tub, the perfect accent for holding flowers or iced beverages for a backyard party. Using painters’ tape, mark off the rim of the container. Lightly sand below the tape, then wipe the area clean with a tack cloth. Paint the sanded portion white. Divide the tub’s circumference into an even number of stripes. Tape off and paint the stripes in a contrasting color. For a coordinated look, stick with one color scheme and carry it into the accessories, such as painted pots, throw pillows and festive tableware.

Gas Versus Electric Weed Eaters


Keeping the lawn in shape or working as a landscaper requires the right set of tools in your arsenal. One of the most useful tools can be your weed eater (also called a string trimmer), but only if you get the right one. You have a lot of choices for weed eaters with one of the most significant being whether it is a gas or electric model.

Both gas and electric models have their good points and their bad points. Here’s a simple comparison of each type that can help you make the right decision for yourself:


A gas operated weed eater runs off of a small motor that is fueled by a mix of non-ethanol petrol and oil. Most gas trimmers run with high cutting power and thicker trimming string than electric trimmers, making them very effective against most of the small brush and weeds you will encounter.

Because gas trimmers run on fuel, they do not restrict your movement at all. However, these weed eaters are generally much heavier than electric trimmers, weighing at least 6 – 10 pounds. If you want something that is heavy duty and built to last for years, a gas trimmer might be a good option for you.


  • More power
  • Longer run time
  • Freedom of movement
  • Sturdy equipment build


  • Heavier
  • More frequent maintenance required
  • Specially mixed fuel is a must


There are two classes of electric weed eaters: battery powered and corded. Corded electric trimmers plug into any household outlet while battery powered trimmers operate from rechargeable, removable battery packs. In general, electric weed eaters don’t have as strong of cutting power as gas models, but they have enough to cut most of the common weeds and non-woody grasses.

Getting an electric trimmer almost guarantees you a lightweight machine, even if you choose a battery operated model. Since there is only a small engine attached to the body of the weed eater and you don’t have to carry around the fuel, electric trimmers are great for those with a smaller build who are not in need of very high cutting power.


  • Very lightweight
  • Batteries charge quickly
  • Strong enough for an average homeowner’s lawn
  • Little to no maintenance required
  • Less expensive to purchase


  • Shorter running time on battery models
  • Less power than most gas trimmers
  • Corded units restrict movement



Based on the above information you can see that gas weed eaters appear to be better for those looking to use the trimmer commercially, anyone who needs very strong cutting power, and for anyone with a huge yard to trim. Electric models on the other hand are perfect for people who want a more lightweight device, anyone with a medium sized or small yard (battery users can buy extra batteries for larger spaces), and for people without the need for strong cutting through brush.

The choice is up to you. Read through some reviews of a few of the top products on the market and see which one might be the best for your specific needs.