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15 Ways to Brighten Up Your Garden on a Budget

15 Ways to Brighten Up Your Garden on a Budget

Is your garden lacking color, depth, and excitement? If you are looking to transform your backyard into a personalized space that will impress on a budget, try one or many of these simple projects.

1. Pallet Herb Garden

Pallets can be found all over and are literally thrown away by businesses everyday. A great way to recycle old pallets is to attach terra cotta pots to them and make them into a rustic pallet herb garden. Be sure to research whether the type of herbs you want to grow require a lot of sun or prefer shade and plan accordingly. Creativity is your best friend, design your pallet garden any way you see fit.

Herb Garden in a pallet

    2. Bird Bath/Garden Planter

    Take the simplicity of painted terra cotta pots, add all the excitement of a bird bath, and what you’re left with is a beautiful bird bath planter.  If you want your feathered friends to return to your garden time and time again make sure you are regularly cleaning the bird bath.

    Tutorial: http://www.homestoriesatoz.com/outdoor/diy-garden-planter-birds-bath.html

    Clay pots stacked with birdbath

      3. DIY Pallet Bench Garden Project

      Scrap lumber is more useful than you think. Use either 2x4s or deconstructed pallets to make this simple yet wonderfully colorful bench. Simplicity rules, and anyone who walks by won’t help but notice your artsy homemade garden bench.

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      Garden Bench Multi-Colored

        4. Flowerpot Wind Chime

        If wind chimes are you style, you can avoid buying a new one and make your own. Follow these simple instructions to make an amazing flowerpot wind chime.

        Tutorial: http://houseofjoyfulnoise.com/terracotta-flower-pot-wind-chime-tutorial/

        Wind Chime

          5. Chandelier Planter

          What’s that old clunky looking chandelier in your garage up to? Short answer: nothing! So why not turn it into a gorgeous chandelier planter? Use clay pots in place of the light fixtures and be sure to attach the pots with a strong adhesive. These planters will look great anywhere including your garden, porch, or even inside your home if you so desire.

          Tutorial: http://diyshowoff.com/2013/06/11/chandelier-planter-tutorial-2/2/

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          Chandelier

            6. Hummingbird Feeder

            Hummingbirds are one of the most fascinating species of birds. They are colorful, animated creatures that are as exciting to watch as they are beautiful. I’ve owned many of these feeders and by far the best design and most naturally appealing to hummingbirds seems to be the hummerbar style feeder. This design uses a large tube with plastic flowers as access points to hummingbirds favorite food: nectar! The hummerbar style hummingbird feeders start at about $20, so whether you decide to buy one or make your own, it won’t break the bank.

            Hummingbird hummerbar feeder

              7. Recycled Chair Garden Planter

              My next door neighbor once saw me throwing out a wooden chair that had the bottom broken out of it. He gave me this same idea and my homemade chair planter quickly became my favorite things on my front porch.

              Pot Chair

                8. Clay Pot Rain Chain

                With summer on the brain, rain is probably the last thing on your mind. Attaching small clay pots to your rain chains makes them stand out as unique and creative.

                rainpots

                  9. Recycled Wood Pallet Garden Path

                  Yet another use for wood pallets is to take them apart and use the lumber to create a path. Consider staining the boards first, or even using this idea to create a small bridge for your garden or back yard.

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                  Recycled Wooden Path

                    10. Clay Pot Lighthouses

                    This idea for your garden is simple enough, but it may require some artistic abilities. Glue terra cotta pots together and once they dry paint them like a lighthouse. Whether you live on coast or anywhere else this project brings a little bit of ocean air to your garden.

                    Tutorial: http://www.ehow.com/how_4882573_make-clay-pot-lighthouse.html

                    Clay Pot Lighthouse

                      11. Seashell Encrusted Clay Pot

                      Following suit with the light house clay pots, these seashell clay pots are awesome. Simply choose a clay pot, gather or buy some interesting sea shells, and attach them with a high power adhesive. Try planting succulents or tropical plants in these customized clay pots.

                      Seashell Pot

                        12. Stump Planters

                        Stumps or old abandoned logs are everywhere. As long as they aren’t rotten they will make great planters. Try filing them with summery flowers or even aromatic herbs!

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                        Tutorial: http://www.listotic.com/creative-garden-container-ideas/9/

                        Stump Planters

                          13. Decorative Mushrooms Made With Terra Cotta Pots

                          Bordering the line of folk-art, mushroom themed clay pots are frankly the most fun portion of this list. Try using bright colored paint combinations and use the pots as the mushroom stem, drain trays as the mushroom caps. Garden gnomes unite!

                          Clay Pot Mushrooms

                            14. Succulent Wreath

                            Succulents are one of the easiest types of plants to take care of. Start by creating a ring of moss (Spanish moss is my favorite), and add in succulents. Although traditional wreaths are only for the holidays, these succulent wreaths are pretty timeless.

                            succulentwreath

                              15. Clay Pot Planter Wall

                              Construct a basic wooden frame and use either chicken wire or large screen material as the backing. Attach some clay pots and go wild! Use as many as you think are suitable and fill them with the bright plants of your choice.

                              Pot Wall

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                                Robert Parmer

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                                Last Updated on July 4, 2019

                                25 Killer Sites For Free Online Education

                                25 Killer Sites For Free Online Education

                                Whether you’re five or ninety five, the internet has a lot to offer. Particularly when the topic is education, the resources on the internet are endless.

                                Best of all, many high quality sites are completely free. From history to coding, excellent free online education awaits on the following 25 sites.

                                1. Coursera

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                                  Coursera is a website that partners with universities and organizations around the world. This brings a wide variety of topics and perspectives to one searchable database.

                                  Coursera is a powerful tool for free online education, and includes courses from many top universities, museums and trusts. This gives the site an extremely wide range of in-depth courses.

                                  Coursera is extremely useful if you’re looking to study many different topics, or want courses from different schools and groups.

                                  2. Khan Academy

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                                    Partnering with many post secondary schools, Khan Academy offers a useable, well organized interface. Also curating many courses from around the web, Khan Academy offers impressive depth on many different subjects.

                                    Among the more well known educational sites, Khan Academy is also incredibly useable, which may make it easier to keep learning goals.

                                    3. Open Culture Online Courses

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                                      If you are struggling to find exactly the material you are looking for, try Open Culture’s listing of free online education courses. The page highlights 1000 lectures, videos and podcasts from universities around the world. The site features a lot of material found only on universities private sites, all in easy to browse categories. This means you can find hundreds of university courses, without having to visit and search each university’s own site.

                                      Open Culture’s list features courses from England, Australia, Wales and many state universities around the United States. A very helpful resource for finding many courses in one area of study.

                                      4. Udemy 

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                                        Udemy’s free courses are similar in concept to Coursera’s but additionally allows users to build custom courses from lessons.

                                        Working with many top professors and schools, the site mixes the customizable platform of other sites with a heavy emphasis on top quality content. This is another site however, that mixes free and paid content.

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                                        5. Academic Earth

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                                          Another site with courses from many different schools is Academic Earth. Much like the three sites above, Academic Earth brings together top notch courses from many different sources, and focuses on offering a wide variety of subjects.

                                          Academic Earth lists courses by subject and school, so it might be easier to find what you’re looking for.

                                          6. edX

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                                            Another great option for free online education is edX. Also bringing together courses from many different schools, the site has impressive, quality information for everyone. edX covers a great range of topics.

                                            7. Alison

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                                              Unlike the previous sites on this lists, Alison is a free education site offering certification in some areas. Alison offers courses mainly in business, technology, and health, but also includes language learning courses.

                                              It’s a great option if users need certification for their learning as Alison also offers school curriculum courses.

                                              8. iTunesU Free Courses

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                                                A very convenient place for free online education is iTunesU, because it integrates seamlessly with your iPod, or any app-ready Apple mobile device. On iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch, users download the iTunesU app.

                                                Desktop users can access  iTunesU on the upper right hand corner of the iTunes Store. iTunesU is also convenient because the store is categorized much like iTunes.

                                                Users can search learning materials in many different ways, including genre and topic. However, courses are often a mix of free podcasts or videos, and paid content.

                                                ITunesU does include courses on a pretty wide scope of topics, but does not integrate with Android, Google or Windows mobile devices.

                                                9. Stanford Online

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                                                  Your hub for all the online offerings from Stanford University, Stanford Online offers self-paced and session based courses. While Coursera features some courses from Stanford, many classes are only available via other hosts. Some courses require iTunes, but most are completed in your web browser.

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                                                  Stanford Online is a great site for high quality courses, though the topics are somewhat limited compared to sites partnered with more than one school.

                                                  10. Harvard Extension

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                                                    Like Stanford Online, Harvard Extension features free online education courses from Harvard only. This is another excellent source for top notch course material, though the course variety is less rich than multi-school sites.

                                                    Additionally, Harvard Extension allows you to search for courses by professional certificate. This makes it much easier if your online education goal includes certification.

                                                    11. Open Yale Courses

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                                                      Open Yale Courses echoes Harvard Extension and Stanford Online, in that it offers only courses from Yale. While the site is similarly limited to topics taught at the school, Open Yale Courses offers a lot of videos of actual campus lectures. The availability of videos makes the site a great option if you’re looking for quality courses, but learn better by watching than by reading.

                                                      12. UC Berkeley Class Central

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                                                        Much like the other schools on this list, UC Berkeley has a variety of free online education options. The school has slightly fewer courses than the schools above, but includes some supplementary lectures, webcasts and RSS Feeds, making it easy to keep up with the topics you choose.

                                                        13. MIT OpenCourseWare

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                                                          Similarly, MIT offers a variety of free courses. The school has a comparable number of courses to the schools above, plus includes very in-depth course materials on the subjects available. MIT also offers free RSS feeds, a convenient way to continue learning.

                                                          14. Carnegie Mellon Open Learning Initiative

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                                                            Carnegie Mellon’s free online education site is comparable with the other school’s on this list, however, Open Learning Initiative also covers a smaller range of topics. But for the topics that are covered impressive, in-depth material is available.

                                                            15. Codecademy

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                                                              Codecademy is a website dedicated specifically to teaching coding. Where other coding sites follow an example/practice session workflow, Codecademy includes a live practice window. This means you can practice coding while still viewing the lesson material.

                                                              The courses at Codecademy are well written and easy to follow and the website is organized very nicely. Codecademy features a centralized dashboard where you can monitor your progress, plus organizes lessons into complete modules. This lets you learn an entire language without needing to pick the next course manually.

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                                                              16. Code

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                                                                Code is another website focused on coding and app writing. A site with high quality courses, Code also features learning options for kids.

                                                                In addition to kid friendly courses, Code offers free online education classes on a wide variety of technology topics. These classes include app writing, robotics and Javascript.

                                                                Most of the courses are also geared in a such a way that they can be useful in a classroom setting. This makes Code a great resource for harder to find coding topics, as well as various learning settings.

                                                                17. University of London Podcasts

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                                                                  The podcast page on the University of London website is another great source for free education. While the courses are limited to podcasts, the site features podcasts from it’s own campus, as well as eleven universities in and around London. This gives learners a wide base of topics and lectures, but still ensures in-depth material.

                                                                  18. University of Oxford Podcasts

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                                                                    Similar to the University of London, the University of Oxford features many different podcasts. Most are public lecture series or lectures from visiting professors, with several different recordings available.

                                                                    The advantage to this particular site is that podcasts are organized into series, making it easy to subscribe to multiple lectures on one topic. Another good site for thoroughly in-depth lectures.

                                                                    19. BBC Podcasts

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                                                                      For the more casual learner, the BBC offers a wide variety of podcasts on many different topics. Most podcasts are updated weekly, and focus on everything from finance, to sports, to current events.

                                                                      Through the World Service line of podcasts, there are also many in different languages. The focus of these podcasts are less in-depth and theory based, which may be more accessible to the average person.

                                                                      20. TED-Ed

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                                                                        Another great destination for more general learning is TED-Ed. From the same people that brought you the all encompassing, motivational web series, comes a site chocked full of educational videos. Most include impressive animation, and all are ten minutes long or less.

                                                                        Not only is TED-Ed an excellent site for the curious, it also includes supplemental materials and quizzes on the videos. This makes the site extremely useful in formal education settings, as well as in entertaining ways to brush up on new discoveries and topics.

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                                                                        21. LessonPaths

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                                                                          LessonPaths is another great tool for those looking for a more usable and convenient way to access learning material. On this site, users create link playlists of their favorite learning materials from other sites. Users then rank these collections, making it easy to find many different high quality, accessible sources on a given topic.

                                                                          22. Memrise

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                                                                            Another impressive free online education site offering ease of use and convenience is Memrise. Available both on desktop and as an app, Memrise is a particularly powerful tool if you are studying a language. The site encompasses many other topics as well, though some of the course material is user generated content.

                                                                            Part of what makes Memrise special is their integration of games into the learning materials, mixing learning with entertainment.

                                                                            23. National Geographic Kids

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                                                                              The kids site for National Geographic is another site that makes free online education applicable for younger users. For those looking for kid friendly education, a large variety of games, puzzles, videos and photos keeps kids interested on this site.

                                                                              National Geographic Kids doesn’t organize learning into courses, making materials available by topic and medium instead. This makes National Geographic Kids a good option for those looking for a more casual learning environment.

                                                                              24. Fun Brain

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                                                                                Fun Brain is another good option for kids who want to learn online, but focuses on games and fun puzzles. Particularly focused on math and reading, Fun Brain’s game based approach can be valuable if the child in question struggles to pay attention.

                                                                                Fun Brain offers rewards and challenges as well, and is another site aimed at a casual learning experience for kids K-8.

                                                                                25. Whyville

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                                                                                  Similar to the sites for kids free online education is Whyville a destination for preteen online learning. The site includes a variety of social features, with a focus on learning materials geared for young teens.

                                                                                  Whyville also mixes in educational games, to make the site a well rounded option for kids too old for simple games, but too young for heavy reading based material.

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                                                                                  Featured photo credit: Dai KE via unsplash.com

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