Monthly Archives: June 2014

Achieving a Balanced Landscape Design: The Basics of Hardscapes and Softscapes

vacation house

Landscaping is one serious business. After all, who doesn’t want to have a home situated against a backdrop of beauty?

Garden design experts from Oakleigh Manor integrate both hardscape and softscape designs to create not just an appealing landscape, but a balanced one as well. Here are some basic information regarding softscapes and hardscapes.

vacation house


Hardscapes refer to elements of landscape design that are of a heavier nature like gates, driveways, patios, rocks and stones. Softscapes, on the other hand, refer to other essential elements of landscaping such as soil, plants, flowers, trees and colour aesthetics. The right blends of softscape and hardscape elements are essential to create a proper eye-catching landscape design. Otherwise, poor conceptualisation will result in a pile of soil, plants and rock, but no garden to be proud of.

Equally Important

The elements of softscape and hardscape go together as one and cannot exist without the other. More often than not, they are compared to wallpaper and wall, as both need the other to have a purpose. For example, gardens that are inundated with paved pathways and stone figurines are no beauty unless they can be contrasted or softened with appropriately placed greenery. On a similar scale, a garden that features only plants and trees may look like a jungle or forest depending on the foliage as opposed to a place where one can relax and enjoy the surroundings.


Note that all hardscape elements are not intended solely for aesthetic expression. Practicality of function goes hand in hand when selecting what type of hardscape elements are going to be incorporated in your garden. The installation of paved walkways and stone benches, for instance, helps minimise soil erosion, while fences provide security and privacy to the homeowner. On the other hand, planting trees and shrubs for softscape is a necessity to maintain the natural balance of the environment.

Vehicle Theft: Best Devices to Deter Thieves

Woman unlocking car with car fob

According to FBI statistics, a car is stolen every 40 seconds. This is why it is important to invest in anti-theft devices to make your car less appealing to thieves. A vehicle equipped with the right anti-theft device could save you from a lot of trouble.

Vehicle shop Car Audio One lists some of the best anti-theft devices that can protect vehicles:

Steering-Wheel Lock

This is one of the most popular anti-theft devices for cars and trucks. It locks the steering wheel and completely immobilizes it. These locks are also highly visible, which can be a strong deterrent to potential thieves. Popular brands have solid steel hooks to provide better vehicle security.

Woman unlocking car with car fob

Suwatchai Pluemruetai | 123RF


Car alarms are effective in grabbing attention. Quality car alarms have many electronic sensors to take action in case of unauthorized entries and perimeter violations. When a threat is detected, a siren will activate to alert the car owner. Be sure that it is attached to a backup battery, as car thieves may know how to unplug the source.

Kill Switch

This safety system turns off parts of the engine’s electrical system. This effective car device can cut the flow of electricity or fuel to prevent the car from starting. Just make sure to attach it in a spot no one would expect, so thieves can’t locate and disable it. You also need to check your warranty before installing this device, as some prohibit the installation of such devices.

Wheel Locks

These are similar to the steel ‘boots’ used by most police departments, making the car impossible to move. This effective visual deterrent can frustrate thieves looking for a quick getaway. Wheel locks, however, may not be the best option if you drive your vehicle every day.

Apart from these car theft devices, you also need to be careful where you park your vehicle. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration advises car owners to be cautious when parking and exiting the vehicle. It is also advisable not to leave any valuable possessions such as laptops, wallets, and other gadgets in the car.

Remote Data Center Facilities for More Efficient Operations

data center

A remote data center allows users to access data wherever they want in a secure, separate location. The remote data center concept was borne out of a need to safeguard data in the event of a disaster, a breach of security or a failure of current systems or servers.

In the past, the designing a remote data center was a radical proposition. But, with today’s technology, it has become the standard procedure to safeguard important data. Here are some of its compelling benefits:

Increased Data Security

As the saying goes, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” The same is true with your precious data. With remote access, you’re able to provide more security for the data center against unwanted intrusions. If for some reason the area you live in or where you operate your business is prone to natural disasters such as earthquakes or floods, putting your data on a remote server or center gives you more peace of mind and stability. With this, customers have more confidence in your back-up plans and disaster-preparedness. The cost of putting up one is nothing compared to the specter of losing important data that took years to collect.

data center

Improvement of Operational Efficiency

By providing remote access to your staff, your technicians and IT support personnel obtain the capability to fix problems in the comfort of their computer screens. There’s little need for them to travel to an onsite facility. The idea behind remote access is to do more but with less. The result is improved efficiency and lesser downtime.

Improved Cooling Efficiency

One of the major issues that affect server rooms is cooling inefficiency due to staff walking around, opening doors, and other activities. If you choose to have a remote data center, the server rooms are kept closed to maximize cooling. This results in better power efficiency and lower energy costs.

Even with all of these benefits, many companies have not fully utilized the advantages it offers. The reason is the gradual adoption of remote server access tools. To realize its benefits fully while mitigating security risks, companies need to formulate a strategy and a dedicated software system to harness remote access management.