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Showing posts from 2016

Harvesting Rainwater for your Gardens and Yards

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We have all heard about the prolonged drought in California. While some places experience low stream flows, others suffer seasonal dryness.

Even if you live in a state that is safe from elevated drought levels, your city or state may require you to restrict use of water as a precautionary measure. One major method of preservation of natural resources is rainwater harvesting.

Benefits rainwater harvesting

There is no wealth to match the bounty of the rain god. After an inch of rainfall, you gain almost 900 gallons of water from your barn or house if the structure is 30 x 50 feet.

Rainwater is healthier as it has no trace of any of the chemicals that you normally find in tap water. You can collect it very easily and use it to water your indoor plants, and garden, and do anything else that is beyond the essential needs.

One of the simplest ways to harvest rainwater is to install a water diverter on the current downspout of the gutters, and keep there a container for water storage beneath the …

Killing Weeds in your Garden : 11 Natural Ways

Weeds are inevitable nuisance almost in every garden. They play havoc with your plants starving them of the nutrients and water that you supply. Weed killing chemicals are harsh and expensive; there are, however, eleven natural ways listed below through which you can effectively get rid of the weeds – saving thus your time and money!

1. Starve them of sunlight

Plants require sunlight to produce their own food and this process is known as photosynthesis. You can get rid of weeds in just a matter of a few days by covering them with newspapers and literally starving them of the essential sunlight.

2. Use boiling water

Boiling water tends to kill weeds by burning them. Use the water leftover from cooking to get rid of all the garden weeds.

3. Use alcohol

Spraying weeds with 4 cups of water mixed with 5 tablespoons of alcohol will poison to death the weeds. However, take care not to spray the mixture on other plants.

4. Salt

The same salt used on sidewalks and driveways during the win…

Landscaping with Gravel: Great Ideas for you

Gravel is durable enough to cover terraces, paths, and driveways. It helps create a softer mood and a feel more organic than those of pavers or bricks do. Gravel works very well in every climate. In regions that are arid, it makes a great ground cover for garden areas that resist irrigation and planting.

3 Ways you can use gravel

To blur the boundaries


You can let your plants spill onto the gravel to soften the edges of the path. A perfect plant to use is 'Tom Thumb.' It spreads its delicate branches on the path. The branches turn red during fall.

To combine with larger stones

Mix rocks with gravel to add an interesting look. This technique may also solve the drainage problem. Gravel path, bordered on the right with maidenhair ferns and 'Libelle' hydrangea, and straddled with a bunch of flat, large stones creates a bridge over a runoff channel.

To add a rock border

When the adjacent planting beds and the gravel path are new, the transformation from plain soil to gravel can ma…

Great Ideas for Drought-tolerant Landscaping

There are so many ways you can ditch thirsty turf grass in favor of easy-care, beautiful gardens. Here are a few ideas for drought-tolerant landscaping you may find exciting.

A Zen retreat

Create tranquility in a yard that remains beautiful year round. Line the drive with asparagus ferns. Use dogwoods and Japanese maples to provide shade, softness, and color. The planting beds can be covered with tumbled glass in different shades of green and blue.

A birding paradise

Lay a sheet of decomposed granite. Plant pink-blooming Cistus, purple Ceanothus, and orange Leucospermum. Shrubs can offer privacy from the street, while shorter ground covers and perennial plants can make the space feel lusher. You can use toyon and ribes to provide berries for the birds.

Desert front yard

Replace your lawn with grasses that are drought-tolerant; add young trees beside your front door.

A yard full of succulents

You can use a variety of succulents to add color and texture to your yard. Use different varieties of …

Hiring a Landscaping Expert: 7 Questions you must ask

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It can be stressful to design your outdoor space yourself; however, selecting a landscaping expert who would do that for you need not be so hard. Here are seven essential questions you need to ask before you embark on the project. You get convincing answers, and you are done with it.
1. What can we achieve with this vacant space?
This question should lead to the following: the landscaping expert visits first your site; examines its complexity; notes where the sun falls; studies soil quality, existing features and the boundaries; proposes an attractive design that satisfies your needs and dreams.
2. How do you go about a project proposal?
Different landscaping experts have different styles of work. Some experts click snapshots of the entire site, and take a day or two before coming up with a design on paper; some others propose a rough concept on the spot and initiate a discussion with you.
A few others interview you first, understand your ideas and requirements, inspect the…

Yard Maintenance through seasons : Useful Tips for you

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Yard maintenance tips given below for your benefit span all four seasons. You can read through separate sections for winter, spring, summer and fall, and get ideas to make your yard blossom the entire year!

Winter

Winter can be harsh on your plants; here are a few ways for you to reduce the extent of ruination.

Fertilizing

Early winter or late fall are the best times for fertilizing the soil. Give the lawn a good feeding of fertilizers to enrich the soil, and make up the depletion caused during hot summer months the previous year. Once you hit the winter months, the fertilizer will persist in the soil and offer nutrition to the roots of the lawn during the entire season.

Mowing

As winter approaches, make sure you lower gradually the cutting base of the lawn mower, every time you are on your lawn mowing routine. Lawn grass can face winter well, if you can cut it shorter and shorter in stages, and not in one go.

Prevent lawn traffic

It is easy to forget and fail to prevent foot traffic on the s…

Outdoor Kitchen: Design Factors you should Consider

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Any outdoor area can be transformed easily into a beautifully landscaped zone. Outdoor kitchens are great examples of what you can call ‘chic outdoor living spaces.’ These open-air cooking areas offer the same kind of functionality as their indoor counterparts. Given below is an overview of design factors you should consider for an outdoor kitchen.

Outdoor appliances

When thinking about cooking areas of the yard, the first factor that probably demands your attention would be the outdoor kitchen appliances. However, there is a lot more that should be considered for creating spaces that are truly livable. Accents and accessories and lighting can help enhance your grilling experience, and they can be used for tailoring your space to your needs.

Grill is the soul of any barbecue or cookout. A great idea is to place it as the center piece, and build the rest of the area around it. Stainless steel makes the best metal for grills, because it has the ability to last longer. Moreover…

10 Ways to enhance your outdoor decor

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A beautiful outdoor space to relax and unwind can be a big asset to your house. Besides facilities of lounging, entertaining, and pampering taste buds, the pleasant setting would be another factor that would add to the market price of your house. 
Listed below are a few home decor ideas that can help transform any outdoor area into a scenic treat. Also, do not feel overwhelmed by the size of the area: you can easily beautify your backyard on a budget.
Choose a palette
It is always a good idea to start by picking out a color palette to incorporate into your new outdoor decor. It would be great for you to lean toward neutral sand tones or bright whites, as they contribute to an overall tranquil feeling. 
Add a tropical touch
If you love the beach, you can add a dash of tropical style to the backyard. There are so many things that you can do. You can pot a tropical plant or integrate a little palm tree decal close to your lounge chair and have tropical print cushions. The ambia…

Keeping Your Garden Green in Colder Regions: Great Ideas for You

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It might always be a little chilly outdoors, but that occasional dose of sunshine should bring out the gardener in you!  With just a little preparation on your part, Mother Nature can transform your garden into an enchanting, flowery tapestry. Isn’t it time you started on those pet garden projects, rather than wait for a perfect day?
Leafing out
Your choice of crops that can survive in colder regions should depend not only on cold tolerance, but also on their growth habit and schedule. Spinach, for instance, is a hardy winter plant that puts out new leaves persistently. You can see it bloom all winter. 
Vegetable and fruit gardening
A large variety of crops can grow in areas known to stay cold year-around. Veggies such as broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, peas, collards, spinach, mustard greens, kale, and several types of lettuce prefer cooler temperatures.
Apart from these, other choices you can consider for your cold weather garden are root vegetables such as beets, turn…

How you can Clean and Refinish a Wooden Deck

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A beautifully refinished wooden deck is a valuable part of your outdoor landscape. It does not just look good; it extends and protects the life of the wood and enhances the resale value of your house as well. Refinishing the deck involves the following basic steps.
Deck inspectionCleaningSanding of the deckStaining and sealingStain application Each step is described below  in some detail for your benefit.
Deck inspection
Deck inspection is the first step in wooden deck refinishing. Look for structural problems like severely split or rotting wood, and mend them first.  If the deck paint or varnish looks old and faded, strip the varnish or paint off the surface of the deck, using a paint stripper. If you wish to repaint it, just sand it.
If you locate a wood stain or clear finish, you should clean it with the help of a wood deck cleaner. Experts recommend oxygen-based wood cleaner for removing graying caused due to ultraviolet sun exposure and mildew stains. It works great in …

Backyard Design Guide for You

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Love to add practical and stylish touches to your outdoors? Listed here are for you great designs involving patios, paths, showers, fire pits, and more.
Space to unwind
Use a sleek stone fireplace and large pavers, and turn a small lawn between garage and house into a "decompression chamber". You will find it ideal for unwinding after a long day of work or during your weekends. If you have a reasonable extent of outside space, you can try out this idea.
Striking steps
Lay, in a mix-and-match pattern, stone steps to create a very strong focal point. Plants with different colors and characters can help you create magical visual interest. To beautify the terraced stoned steps, use flora such as rusty-hued Carex testacea, plum Heuchera, green kniphofia, ‘Karl Foerster’ grass, and the like.
Transforming a driveway
Transform the unused area of a driveway into a beautiful, curved path of concrete pavers. Leave enough space for a lush green garden bed on the side.
Gravel pa…

New Trends in Landscaping: A few Ideas for You to Consider

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Evolving trends in design and architecture keep changing the way homes are built. Your home can be designed the way you want it to be – from the traditional to the avant garde.

The same thing applies to the landscape of your home: it is limited only by your imagination and the abilities of the landscaper. Like architecture, landscaping trends are constantly changing.

Here are a few of the new trends in landscaping you need to know in order to help you create the exterior that is just right for your home and your family.

Lawns are not essential

There was a time when a well-manicured lawn was the foundation of a landscape. Not anymore. Lawns present many problems. They use a huge amount of water which is a major problem in regions, where water shortages are a way of everyday life. They demand the use of chemicals and fertilizers. They require a great deal of maintenance. And, ultimately, you may wonder whether one well-maintained lawn is very different from another?

There is a growing trend …