Home and Garden

Let this be your guide for cooking, entertaining, gardening and landscaping, health and fitness and design trends for Florida living. Here you’ll get great insight from chefs and hostesses, recreational leaders, golf pros, tennis pros and other professionals who know everything there is to know about living the Florida Lifestyle!

Pluses and Minuses of Community Gardens, Part II

In Part I of our series on the pluses and minuses of community gardens, we discussed the positive reasons to participate in such an endeavor. The good far outweighs the bad, as referenced in a recent study by researchers at Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future.

But, since nothing’s perfect, here are few potential negatives to guard against.
Don’t be exclusive
You know that “clique” thing that many of us endured in grade school? When we may not have been part of the “in” crowd at times? Oh, the perils, right?

But, like any group — formal or not — community gardeners […]

Pluses and Minuses of Community Gardens, Part I

If community gardens are so popular across the United States, why wouldn’t your community want one?

The short answer is, yes, you probably would. Benefits do seem to outweigh negatives. But in what appears to be an unblinking examination of the popular national trend, three researchers from the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future unearthed — pardon the pun — a few cautions for those of us gung-ho about digging in the dirt.

The cautions come in the form of things to consider — items we might not be aware of in our haste and enthusiasm to start a community […]

Six Reasons You Should Have a Summer Kitchen

One perk of living in the Sunshine State is that you can enjoy outdoor living year-round. Only the chilliest winter day (we do occasionally have one) may make you hesitate at the front or back door. Otherwise, it’s nearly always a good idea to jump in the pool, settle on the porch in time for sunset, or garden up a storm in the backyard.

May we add cooking to the list? In Florida, summer kitchens, aka outdoor kitchens, might be a pleasant surprise to those of you moving here from colder climates. But they’re a must-have staple for many new-home […]

Practice Calm: Feng Shui Tips for Busy People

So many of today’s lifestyles are go-go-go, packed with social, familial and work obligations. Those of us who aren’t yet retirees often juggle competing priorities and important people. Add the complications of managing a household, plus tending to home projects and maintenance, and it’s enough to make some folks curl up in a ball.. or, to binge-watch on-demand movies.

We at ICI Homes are right there with you. But we’re sharing a positive rebuttal to all that stress and all those constant demands. It’s called Feng Shui tips for busy people. Or, how to practice calm.
What’s Feng Shui?
You already might […]

New Home? Don’t Make These Landscaping Mistakes

If you’re a new homeowner, you may or may not know your way around a lawnmower or sprinkler system. You also may not want to. But if you do, and you’re willing to admit you’re “green” about how to tackle lawn and gardening chores, don’t begin spraying, cutting and trimming without following a few basic guidelines. Here’s our common-sense tips to avoid big landscaping mistakes at your new home.
Read the directions!
Never eradicated dandelions? Crabgrass? It’s tempting to blast away all repugnant greenery with that gallon sprayer of weed killer, but you could kill your new sod while you’re at […]

Update Your Interiors With These Thrifty Tactics

If you’ve lived in your home for a while, you probably have a few interior-design tweaks you’d like to make. Maybe the closet off the garage isn’t large enough for jackets, backpacks AND athletic gear. Maybe you’re done scrubbing those white kitchen cabinets you thought would be simple to clean. We all run across design elements we liked when we moved in, but ultimately don’t fit our household. Changing them, however, doesn’t have to be expensive and time-consuming. Think quick and cheap! Read on for some thrifty tactics to update your interiors.
Paint ideas
For the cost of one gallon of […]

Must Have Garden Tools This Season

If you’re a resident Florida gardener or hope to become one, you already know a major perk of Florida living is year-round gardening. The Sunshine State’s sunshine, coupled with sup-tropical and tropical climates, means the growing season literally never ends. Gardening fever is especially catching in spring, however. To get you ready, here’s a selection of this season’s must-have garden tools.
For Digging in the Dirt
Unless you work sizable acreage and need a tractor and tiller, handheld tools will do a fine job. Use trowels (they look like mini-hand spades) to dig, plant and move dirt or potting soil. Garden […]

Shopping List After Moving In Your New Home

So you’ve moved into a new home and conquered all those cardboard moving boxes. Some of what came out of them may not look all that great against a fresh backdrop. Or, you’re over that 25-year-old stainless steel cutlery and not putting in a new kitchen drawer. If you’re like most of us, moving can prompt both urgent and spur-of-the-moment purchases once you’re settled in your new abode. Here are items that frequently top those post-moving-day shopping lists.
Furniture
Your family will never part with that comfortable leather couch and Aunt Janie’s heirloom china cabinet goes wherever you go. You even […]

Outdoor Entertaining With Lighting

If you’re building a new custom Florida home, one of your first considerations should be how to enjoy the Sunshine State’s superb climate. If you’re a current resident, we shouldn’t need to convince you. If you’re heading our way from another climate, our advice is to get outdoors! Living and entertaining outside is a way of life here, and comfortable, versatile outdoor spaces are as important as interior ones. Decorative lighting is one of the best techniques to enhance your exterior living space. Read on for our tips on lighting up your outdoor life.
Take Indoor Lighting, Outdoors
All forms of […]

How to Pick Plants that Help

If you’re a gardener, you likely know some plants can contribute more than scenery to our homes and lives. If you’re not a gardener, look closer at the lovely landscaping surrounding your gardening friends’ homes. While you admire their handiwork for its beauty, they might be nurturing specific plants for practical reasons. Some plants are natural air-cleansing and bug-repelling powerhouses, while others such as fragrant, flavorful herbs, are all-purpose workhorses. Plants fight pollution by absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. Below, discover how to incorporate especially healthy, helpful plants inside and outside your new Florida home.
Helpful Indoor Plants

Spider plants, […]