Sunday, June 29, 2008

Decorating your Workplace with Tropical Office Furniture

If you love the tang of salt in the air, the soft whisper of nearby waves, and the crunch of sand between your toes, what better way could there be to create a workspace that you truly enjoy using than by decorating with tropical office furniture. Tropical surroundings inspire creativity and create a relaxed and productive atmosphere for your home office or place of business. Innovative pieces of office furniture "tropical" - such as lovely computer armoires and printer cabinets - give your workplace an elegant look with the practical benefit of helping you to keep organized. Here is a guide to choosing Hawaiian computer armoires, Bali file cabinets, and other types of office furniture, tropical style.

Materials Used in Office Furniture - Tropical Vegetation and Construction Techniques

Three terms used to describe materials that are commonly found in office furniture "tropical" style are wicker, rattan, and bamboo. Wicker actually refers to a kind of furniture building technique where strands of grasses or vines are woven together. This technique creates durable and lightweight computer armoires and other office furniture that is also environmentally friendly. Rattan is a tropical tree that grows around other trees in a jungle. Bamboo, on the other hand, is a kind of thick-skinned grass with a hollow center.

Both rattan and bamboo can be used for the structural elements of office furniture "tropical" style, whereas rattan is generally used for wicker style construction. Wicker is commonly used as decoration on the sides of tropical style computer armoires, the sides of writing desks, or the padded backs of chairs.

Selecting High Quality Office Furniture, Tropical Style

When selecting tropical computer armoires and other office furniture, tropical realities are very important. The hollow nature of bamboo means that high-quality bamboo furniture is usually wrapped to prevent splitting over time. Rattan also tends to be more flexible and durable, meaning that it is more commonly used in today's office furniture. Tropical rattan may have knobby joints, and is often wrapped for a smooth appearance.

The thickness of the individual strands of rattan will influence both the price and quality of your office furniture. Tropical rattan has an ideal diameter of about one and a half inches. High-quality rattan computer armoires and other office furniture should have a smooth and even finish, free of blotches and spotting. The most secure method of securing rattan used in tropical office furniture is glue, followed by screws. Staples and nails tend to come loose over time.

By understanding the materials used in computer armoires and other office furniture, tropical style, you should be well equipped to add the flair of the islands to your own workplace.

About The Author
Lee Rubenstein, owner of the #1 ranked Tropical Furniture website, will help you surround yourself with a tropical setting at your workplace. To view these tropical office furniture pieces please visit

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Sunday, June 15, 2008

How and Why To Use Row Covers

Row covers are a matter of choice for gardeners. Some love them. Others hate them. If larger and more earlier yields of veggies is a goal then row covers are an excellent choice.

Row covers come in a wide variety of materials and can be used as tunnels supported by hoops or as floating covers which just lie gently on the growing plants.

The lightweight covers are used for keeping insect pests away from your plants while the heavier ones are used for frost protection in both the spring and fall.

Whether used with hoops or free floating the edges of the covers need to be weighted down to prevent them from blowing away in the wind and to prevent insect pests from getting under the covers. Weigh the edges down with rocks, bricks, or anything handy. A row of soil placed on top of the edges is an excellent and simple method.

Although studies show that most plants do best with hooped covers there are three plants that require hoops. Tomatoes, peppers and squash grow large and fast. These plants do best with hooped covers because the constant rubbing of the cover on the plants can damage the growing points and break the large leaves.

Added benefits of using row covers include:

Earlier and larger yields. Plants produce 1 to 3 weeks earlier than without row covers.

Frost protection of 4 to 7 degrees. Especially in the fall when the soil is much warmer than it is in the spring. Just one layer of row cover gives the added protection of moving the garden by one USDA growing zone.

Pest protection as long as the edges remain weighted down or buried.

Moisture Retention. The soil doesn't dry out as fast under the row covers as the temperature isn't as high as without the cover, and water under the row cover condenses and returns to the plants and soil.

Wind damage. Plants under row covers suffer less from high winds.

For more information on gardening with row covers visit:

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About The Author
Marilyn Pokorney
Freelance writer of science, nature, animals and the environment.
Also loves crafts, gardening, and reading.
Email: Current address on website

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Sunday, June 08, 2008

How To Choose a Storage Shed

If you own a house, at some point the need for extra storage space soon becomes evident. Arguably the most common solution is to purchase a storage shed. There are hundreds of styles and options available, but taking the time review these 5 key steps will enable you to make a smarter decision.

1. What is the primary function of the shed? In most cases, storage space is the key requirement, so figure out how much space is needed. A small 4' x 8' lean-to style provides sufficient space for small tools, but larger items do require more space. I strongly recommend choosing the largest size that you can afford, which still blends in with your landscape. Remember that most municipalities require building permits for any building over 100 sq. ft.

2. Is the shed going to play a prominent role in your day to day activities? If so, make sure that you choose a style and options that give you good access and provide adequate lighting. Windows and skylights provide plenty of natural light, but it is common to run electricity to the shed. For easy access, make sure that the doors are at least 34" wide, as most lawn mowers will easily pass through.

3. How important is the look of the shed to my property. Remember that anything you erect will either add or impair on your property value. Metal and vinyl are the least expensive options, but these tend to look ordinary. Wood and pre-finished sidings normally add character and value, but are usually more expensive.

4. Consider the grade and accessibility of the location. A level site is the starting point for all shed construction The greater the grade, the more work needs to be done. Typically a grade of 6" or less over the dimension of the shed can be compensated for by using patio stones, especially for smaller units. In areas faced with frost upheaval or poor drainage, it is recommend that at least 6" of topsoil be removed and filled with screening stone (1/2" or smaller gravel is also acceptable).

5. Be considerate to your neighbors! Don't put up something that belongs in a junkyard beside your neighbor's manicured backyard. Most municipalities require that storage sheds be 2 ft from the fence or property line, so be sure to check ahead of time to avoid any aggravation. Talk to your neighbors about your intentions – 99% of the time they will appreciate your concern and be very supportive of your project.

The internet is an excellent source for information on the hundreds of suppliers and styles available. If ordering online be sure to read the warranty and returns information carefully as often goods of this nature cannot be returned. Just because a company has a fancy website it does not mean it stands behind its product – try searching for articles or information on the particular company. Most companies offer either pre-cut or pre-fabricated kits delivered to your residence. If choosing a fully installed product, deal with a local company with a fixed location (avoid the ones that set-up at seasonal locations), and again be prudent with your research. I strongly recommend avoiding companies that require more than a 30% deposit – you'll end up waiting longer than you should. A storage shed is an important purchase – a little research will go a long way in helping making the right decision.

About The Author
Vic Maia is currently the owner and operator of Garden Shed & Gazebos. English Garden is a family-owned business that has been designing and building Garden Sheds, Gazebos, Cabanas and Bunkies for over 30 years. We are dedicated to providing personalized customer service.

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Friday, June 06, 2008

Corporate Travel Online

The rapid migration of business online has revolutionized corporate traveling as well. By taking their travel bookings online, corporations in the U.S. are not only saving thousands of dollars every year but also speeding up the process of making travel arrangements and eliminating the tedium of expense reporting at the end of each trip.

Controlling the ballooning cost of corporate travel is today one of the biggest challenges for business. Because online bookings cut their own operating costs and overheads, airlines, hotels and corporate travel management firms are in a position to offer customers reduced fares/tariffs and charge lower commissions. And if you book air, hotel and car rentals through the same source, you generally pay a single service charge instead of three. The cutthroat competition in the online travel business also means that large corporations constantly sending employees on tours are in a good position to bargain for lower fares and tariffs from travel suppliers.

Companies that have taken their travel arrangements online therefore benefit hugely from a substantial drop in their travel and entertainment expenses, which are the biggest drain on their resources after salaries. It doesn’t matter if a company has just a few employees and managers traveling in a month or hundreds traveling every week. Organizing corporate travel online has advantages in either case.

It’s no surprise then that the trend is catching on fast. According to one estimate, the U.S. online travel market will touch $91 billion by 2009. Jupiter Research estimates that by 2009 a third of all travel bookings in the United States – both corporate and leisure - will be made online. At present about a quarter of travel bookings in the U.S. are made online.

Online corporate travel bookings also give companies and individual business travelers a greater element of control. Not only do they get a wider choice that makes it easier to shop around, they are better informed about their options and itineraries. Accounts departments can closely track expenses through this route. Many online corporate travel management firms also offer expense-reporting services to make that process smoother. When the savings and convenience of online bookings become apparent, companies also find it easier to enforce a corporate travel policy.

We at The Travel Team, Inc. have earned our reputation by making low-cost corporate travel possible for our clients. For more information on our online corporate travel services, visit

About The Author
Dan Noyes is a well known author in the field of travel management. His articles are well recognized in various internet portals over the internet.

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Tuesday, June 03, 2008

How To Choose Contemporary Rattan Weather Proof Garden Furniture

In today's market place there is such a wide range of contemporary garden furniture available. Here's some advice for helping you choose the right furniture for your garden or patio area.

If you've decided that you want to be the cutting edge of garden furniture design then there are 4 options available in style and materials used for the contemporary look rattan garden furniture.

Hot out this year is the plastic rattan finish which is both appealing to the eye and fully weatherproof. There is no need to pack away this furniture as winter closes in, it can simply be left outside all year round. It give a very modern look and feel to your patio area whilst giving a quite a high level of comfort. Rattan furniture is available is around 30 different colour shades, but it's worth while check on the actual guarantee on the fading of the rattan due to the UV rays of the sun. German manufactured plastic rattan has the highest non fading guarantees usually of around 5 years, whereas some of the plastic rattan manufactured in the Far East is only guaranteed for around 1 year. This is an important point worth check when making a purchase.

Most plastic rattan will have an alloy frame underneath, which is again fully weatherproof and very light weight. If you intent to store the furniture set during the winter months, remember to check whether the chairs are stackable as this will save you a considerable amount of space.

Other smaller points worth checking are that the feet have rubber or plastic mounts on to stop your timber patio deck being market. If the table has a glass top this should be made of toughened glass and also needs to be removable so that it can be cleaned easily if food or drinks are spilled.

If you intend leaving the garden furniture set outside during the winter but want to prolong the life of the set, find out whether covers are available either from you retailer or a specialist garden furniture cover retailer.

Plastic rattan is set to be one of the biggest contemporary garden furniture products of this season, available in Many different colours and designs. Remember that you should first works out exactly what sized set you want before making a purchase. Two things should be taken into consideration, firstly the size of your family and likely number of guests you will be entertaining and secondly the area you will be filling with your furniture set. You should allow ample room around your garden furniture both for people to freely move around and for accessories such as parasols and patio heaters to be placed.

Also consider whether or not you will want a parasol for the centre of the table and check that the table has the necessary sized whole.

Once you've taken all these factors into consideration and done your homework you are in a great position to buy your ultimate dream rattan contemporary garden furniture set, getting it right first time.

About The Author
Angus Charlton is managing director of Arboreta Garden Furniture Store ( ). He is a keen gardener who has developed a garden furniture business that resources from sustainable rainforests and contributes to the art of Feng Shui for gardens.

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Monday, June 02, 2008

How To Start Your Garden From Seeds The Right Way

Green house gardeners are typically of two minds when it involves planting. One group of gardeners prefers to use seedlings to start their gardens, while another group would rather feel the sense of accomplishment from planting seeds. It all depends on what you personally prefer.

Sometimes transplanting seedlings can introduce problems such as disease or insect infestation to an existing garden. That is why planting from seed is a good alternative for green house gardens.

At first, it may seem difficult to plant from seeds. It really isn't as long as you read and follow the directions carefully on the packet. And when the seedlings start to grow, it is important to protect them.

A good growing tray is a great accessory to have in your green house or garden and it is ideal for your plant seeds. Be sure to pick the best growing tray you can find. Your local garden nursery or center can recommend the best type to use.

Now that you have a good tray and seeds, you're ready to fill it with a high quality seed mixture. Although it may be tempting to use regular potting soil, don't. A "seed starting mix" is recommended and has been specially prepared for growing new seeds. (Sterile, no diseases or garden pests, etc.)

The next step is to plant your seeds in the starter mix after the growing trays have been prepared. Remember, seeds should be planted at least twice their own depth. If the seeds are very small, it might be a better idea to lightly cover the seeds with the planting mix. They may not sprout if they are buried too deep in the soil.

Don't forget to label your seed plantings in the tray. You can use a nursery label or a waterproof marker. It is not advisable to use the package the seeds came in since it will quickly get ruined from the moisture.

When watering your baby plants, be sure to use a misting sprayer since a watering can or hose could damage or uncover the seeds. To prevent evaporation of the moisture, your growing tray should be covered. Plus, covering the tray will also promote germination.

Heat is another great source for speeding up the germination process. Studies have shown that heat increases germination and many successful green house gardeners use this technique.

About The Author
Copyright 2006 David Ray. This article may be reprinted if the resource box is left intact and the links live. Visit to learn more. David Ray is a full-time father, teacher, web developer, among other things. Visit his website at

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