Archive for the ‘Garden’ Category

Maintaining a Greener Garden

Green gardening may sound ridiculous, but it’s actually about something really important. In fact, the health of our own planet is perhaps the most important thing in the world (quite literally). Green gardening is a trend that has fortunately been becoming more and more popular in the past decade and gardeners all around the world have started adopting eco-friendly techniques of boosting the ‘green’ in their plants. Here are some ideas for creating a greener garden.

Do it Without Chemicals

image 1 (2)Although it’s the opinion of many gardeners that growing a chemical-free garden is impossible, growing healthy, strong plants, without having to resort to environment-damaging substances is very much a trend. One of the best ways to get you started is relying on your own hands. True gardeners aren’t afraid of getting their hands dirty – in fact, if you are squeamish about using your hands to remove slugs and snails, well, then, gardening might not be a thing for you.

Naturally, another way to grow a strong, chemical-free garden is to use strong plants. Start from the soil; load it up with a lot of organic matter and compost in the inception of your garden and it will grow strong and healthy – no pesticide is as good at killing pests as strong plants are.

Perhaps the main benefit you’ll get from a chemical-free garden is keeping the insects that are beneficial to your garden alive!

Choose the Right Seeds

Although the more expensive route of seedlings tends to be easier, many of these are treated with neonicotinoids, pesticides that contribute to the decline of bee population.

Instead, buy your seeds and seedlings from a trusted nursery. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t buy hybridized seeds, as they won’t produce viable seeds – think open pollinated or heirloom seeds, instead.

Companion Planting

Gardening

Gardening

The main idea behind companion planting is planting certain plants together, which can benefit from one another. One of the key factors behind having a strong, environmentally friendly garden is planning your plants just right – in this way, you reduce the risk of various pests and diseases. Additionally, in this way, your vegetables will taste sweeter and you will be able to plant more plants in a smaller area, which is great, seeing as how you will get more room – something almost every gardener is having trouble with.

Reuse Materials at Hand

Green gardening doesn’t necessarily entail spending a ton of money – if you choose to reuse items that you already have in your home and yard, you will get a chance to save up a lot. For example, use worn out clothes and rags for cleaning, use piles of leaves that you have swept up for composting, use newspapers to make biodegradable pots – this way, not only do you save up on money, but also contribute to keeping the newspapers out of landfills.

As garden maintenance Sydney suggests, make sure you’ve pruned your trees and use the sticks and twigs as plant stakes within your garden. Reusing materials is not only money-efficient, but also eco-friendly!

Energy Efficient Tools

image 3Regardless of how much effort you’ve put into coming up with a green garden, if you’re not using energy efficient tools, you are still adding up to pollution.

For example, use an electric lawn mower, instead of a gas-powered one. Using electric tools in general is a better choice.

Finally, use hand tools – this is the greenest way to go, when it comes to gardening tools.

Maintaining a green garden doesn’t have to be ridiculously difficult. If you follow that outlined guidelines carefully, you are more than likely to enjoy a green, eco-friendly garden throughout the spring and summer.

 

Bring Life Into Used Outdoor Furniture

image 8The furniture you might have on your patio or garden could be hard to take care of, because the weather and time will gnaw on it. You can prevent it from being destroyed completely but it will be important to take the right precautions, otherwise you might have to throw them away. Bear in mind that while some furniture is meant to be outside all year round, some you will need to take inside, when the weather gets cold.

Keep Your Furniture Clean

One of the most important things to do is clean your furniture, whether you have it inside or outside, it will need to be cleaned regularly. Not only can you protect it from any harm, but you can notice early signs of deterioration and take the necessary steps to make it stop. The more you pay attention to your furniture, the longer it will last, and you will not have to spend a lot of money on it.

Wicker Furniture

Problem with wicker furniture is that it will often lose its color or start to look like it is centuries old. This will be due to some of the oils evaporating from the material. In order to transform your wicker gone wild, you will either have to get some store bought oils, make them on your own, or repurpose the pieces. Luckily, wicker furniture is versatile and will allow for easy repurposing. Then again, recolouring can help add a protective layer so that it can last longer.

Wood Will Fade Out

image 3Your wooden furniture will no doubt lose its vibrant colour and will start to look like it is fading away. Once again, it will be due to the oils inside the wood slowly evaporating and because the sun is drawing the colour out. However, if you apply a wooden seal and add protective coatings of paint and varnish, you can make your furniture glow with glee once again. These will be simple weekend projects you can do on a budget as well.

Remove Rust

Rusty metal pieces on a furniture look like they have been dug up from a junkyard, and in order to get rid of it, you will have to get chemical. Be sure to stay away from industrial rust removers, unless necessary, as they might ruin the rest of your furniture, or leave a bad odour. You can use homemade ingredients which will be able to combat rust just as effectively, and help protect your set.

Time for a New Set

Eventually, time and weather will eat up your furniture and try as you might, there will be nothing else you can do but to replace your outdoor furniture. Though, now you can apply your gathered knowledge on how to protect it from the elements, and what to do when it starts losing its colour or looks like rust will take over. Bear in mind that simple caretaking can go a long way, and that your furniture will survive longer, even if being left outside.

There are cheap and easy ways to take care of your furniture, whether you leave them outside all year round or if you bring them in. But, you can do only as much, because over time, they will be worn out and their integrity will wane. Refreshing the look of your furniture might work a few times, but after some time, you will have to admit defeat, and find a new purpose for your old furniture. In the end though, you can replace your worn-out pieces with new ones, to have a complete set.

 

Ways To Make Your Yard More Green

image 1 (1)A yard or garden owner which has eco-friendly aspirations – values the soil, conserves materials, preserves existing plants, and treats water as a resource. You make your yard more green by minimizing both output of waste and input of resources. Having a sustainable landscape will reduce your expenses and the amount of yard maintenance, and is also good for the environment. These are some of the most common eco-friendly modifications and additions to your yard.

No-Mow Lawns?

Consider placing no-mow lawns. Mowing the lawn can be really boring, especially on a really hot day with high humidity. No-mow lawns (like low-level groundcovers (sweet alyssum, thyme and lavender) and hardscaping solutions (rock and desert scenes) will reduce maintaining efforts, insect diversity, and limit weed growth.

Fuel Emissions

Green lawn care equipment can really have a positive effect on your environment. Push the gas-powered lawn mower aside, and go electric or use manual tools. There are all sorts of battery-powered tools, such as trimmers, blowers, edgers, and mowers, snow blowers, leaf vacuums and chain saws, that will not pollute the environment. If you use gasoline tools, avoid spilling fuel when you refill the gas engine. Mow the lawn less frequently, because by keeping your grass 3 inches long keeps the soil cool and moisture.

Rainwater For Natural Irrigation

image 1Harvest and store rainwater for irrigation. Catch its flow from the downspouts and store it in drums or barrels for future use. You need an electric pump to create a water pressure for lawn irrigation, or place the barrels high and make an irrigation system that will take the advantage of gravity. Water your yard responsibly. Let the grass go into dormancy during summer heats. Water it occasionally, but make sure it is deep soaking, in order not to promote shallow root growth and reduce insect problems.

Mulch & Compost

Mulch while you mow (with a mulching blade added to your mower), bag clippings for disposal or create a compost. Composting is done for recycling organic material that is then spread into the soil for natural nutritional purposes. Also, instead of using toxic pesticides, try biopesticides. They are made from natural occurring elements and are environmentally friendly. If the grass was treated with herbicides, do not use clippings as mulch.

Shade Sails

Shade sails are a widely accepted as an eco-friendly alternative to concrete shade structures. They are also used for building farm sheds, animal sheds and car ports. Made of specially manufacture tension fabrics, they prevent harmful UV radiation, and keep the shaded cool. They do not have a negative impact on the environment, and are ideal for dry and hot climate. Depending on size and design, shade sail prices range from £25 to 300£, making them a very affordable and practical protector from sun’s heat.

Chemicals – Reduce & Avoid

Products such as herbicides, pesticides and chemical fertilizers are toxic and negatively affect the environment – wildlife, air, and water. Before you start using them – test your soil, because perhaps there is no need for using them at all. Chemicals like phosphorous fertilizers and chemical nitrogen can easily run off from the soil into groundwater sources, so do not overfertilize you soil with it. Always put leaves and grass clippings on the soil, for natural ground nutrition. Fertilizers should be applied in spring and fall, with a quick fall fertilizing being most important for building grass’ reserves for spring growth.

When going more green with your yard, always remember the four “R”s – Reduce, Recycle, Reuse and Rebuy. Reduce the output of waste, recycle to save resources, reuse compost and tree and grass clippings (for mulch), and rebuy components and tools that are more beneficial and green than traditional ones.

 

 

Choosing the best material for your patio furniture

Many homeowners like to equip their backyards with furniture which reflects modern design and laid-back outdoor ambient, without paying too much attention to exact patio furniture material. It’s ok if you want your patio set to be greatly comfortable, but if you also expect to use it for a longer period of time, than you must learn about the most suitable materials and their features. Following tips may help you decide which materials are the best choices for your outdoor nook:

Patio furniture made of steel

patio-steelSteel furniture can be great if your main requirement is durability, since steel features very long service life while it is also resistant to damages. From the aspect of stability, steel patio furniture can stand all weather conditions, but, unless you choose pieces made of stainless steel, you’ll need to apply anti-corrosive coats on regular basis. Due to its extreme heaviness, steel may not be good solution for furniture you plan to move frequently as well as if you like to often rearrange patio layout.

Wrought iron

Nearly durable as steel furniture, pieces made of wrought iron are moisture-resistant and especially suitable for rustic and handmade appearance. On the other side, you should know that wrought iron patio sets can be very heavy, not suitable for future adjustments and may require occasional cleaning of powder-coated surfaces.

Plastic patio furniture

If we exclude its susceptibility to breaking, plastic is great patio furniture material, since it is waterproof, light weighted, doesn’t have to be treated with special coatings and it doesn’t require complicated maintaining ventures. Apart from being inexpensive, it’s available in attractive designs, colours and textures, can be recycled, reshaped and moved throughout the yard. However, its durability is very low, so it may happen that you’ll need new furniture set every season.

Wood furniture

chairWooden furniture can come in variety of styles so you can seek for completely natural, intensive or classic look. Wood is very suitable for processing and shaping, so even if you strive to unconventional lines, there is timber designer furniture on the market that offers unique styles for sophisticated and extravagant appearance. The durability pretty much depends on exact wood type, where teak is among the most durable and weather resistant hardwoods with lifespan up to 50 years and natural oils which make it resistant to rot and easy for maintenance. Redwood offers decent durability and warm look, while softwoods like cedar and pine furniture, if properly maintained, can also be used over the years.

Aluminium patio sets

If you prefer metal patio furniture, aluminium which features lighter weight, easy maintenance and resistance to mould, corrosion and water, can be a perfect choice. Patio furniture made of aluminium is stable enough that it won’t change its shape, can remain outside without being damaged or overheated and it’s also very movable. Majority of aluminium patio sets come in contemporary design, what makes them ideal for modern yards. Although it can be a bit expensive, aluminium is excellent alternative for homeowners who don’t like heavy furniture.

Market abounds with variety of differently featured materials, where apart from patio furniture design and style, the comfort of your backyard space is also determined by the material you choose.

How to Turn Your Backyard into another Living Space

How to Turn Your Backyard into Another Living SpaceFor many homeowners, the backyard is simply looked at as an outdoor space. Maybe there’s a garden or a swing set for the kids. However, if you want to add living space to your home without construction, you can easily turn your backyard into another room where you can host parties, have family dinners and relax. Planning, choosing the right materials and keeping your space comfortable is the key to creating an outdoor living space you will love.

Define Your Spaces

The first step in transforming your outdoor space into a great living space is to plan where you want to have different elements. If you have a big backyard, you may want to save some space for living, while dedicating the rest of it to flowers, gardens or a space for kids to play. An easy way to define all of your separate backyard spaces is to choose a product such as American Landscaping Stone to make paths and create the flooring for your outdoor space. Once that is taken care of, you can start decorating.

Shop for Indoor/Outdoor Furniture

Today’s outdoor furniture is not what you may typically think of as made for the outdoors. Whether you live in a steady climate or one that can vary between seasons, you can find great outdoor furniture for all of your needs. The key to finding the right furniture for your outdoor space is to take into consideration your personal style. Just like you would decorate your living room, you will want to choose colors and patterns that you love.

Because quality outdoor furniture is readily available, these days you can also get high quality decor and accessories for your outdoor spaces as well. If you want a great living space, add a few of these small touches for a design that will really come together.

Add Your Favorite Amenities

Backyard spaces do not have to skimp on the technology. Although some amenities are a big investment, you can get a variety of products made for an outdoor space. You can find things such as fireplaces, televisions and other amenities that will work for an outdoor space without turning it into your living room. You can also find things like stereos and surround sound systems that can be installed without running wires everywhere. That way, no matter what type of party or get together you are having outside, you can enjoy it to the fullest.

 

How to Turn Your Back Yard into a Relaxing Paradise

How to Turn Your Backyard into a Relaxing ParadiseLiving Space

Making your back yard a relaxing paradise to enjoy year round can be less expensive then you imagine. One of the first basic steps to making your back yard into a relaxing paradise starts with making it a livable space. Ideally starting with a covered deck or patio is best, but grass and dirt also have workable solutions. Start with comfortable seating and make it a bit cozier with a couple of smaller tables, these provided a place to set your morning coffee, a favorite book or perhaps a few romantic candles. Personalizing the space will relax you.

Plants

Surround yourself with flowers and plants. If you’re limited on ground space, perhaps a container planting will work best for you. Whether a garden is in ground or above, there are so many additional features to consider. Bird baths, bird houses, wind chimes and windmills, small and large fish ponds or any water feature is always an added bonus. A large water fountain can be a focus point or a simple smaller waterfall can be effective also. Being outside and hearing the sound of water can relax your mind and ease stress. You can easily find all of these and many more ideas at the local Garden Center.

Lighting

Nothing sets a mood better than lighting. Installing a few colored flood lights give a wonderful glow to any environment. Solar lights are inexpensive and virtually no maintenance at all. Placed down low will define a walkway, high light specific areas, as well as outline any boarders or edges. Another option is a simple string of tiny LED lights intertwined and strung among the flowers or herbs can look magical.

Fire Place

With cooler seasons, a unique and cozy way of keeping warm is easy with a fire area. There are above ground self-contained ones, or you can opt for basic in ground type. Watching a fire is mesmerizing. The warmth of the flames relaxes your mind and melts the day away. Depending on what type you choose they also provide an alternative way of cooking.

Hot Tub

Of course the ultimate item for any back yard paradise is a hot tub. Nothing is more relaxing, than being massaged by warm wet water in a tub such as those with BullfrogSpas.com. Relaxing in one can melt even the worst day away. Just imagine, soaking in your own private tub, under the stars, while you relax and enjoy your own secluded back yard paradise.

 

Tips On How To Plan The Layout Of Your Garden

garden toolsPlanning a garden can be a daunting task. Creating a garden plan before time can ensure that you end up satisfied with the finished result. Whether it’s a vegetable, rock, herb or flower garden, read on to find out how to plan a garden layout.

Dimensions

The first important thing to note when you’re considering garden layouts is to compute the magnitude of your garden. By doing this you will be able to find out how much space you have and how you would like to divide that space. For example, do you want a large area of soil to grow trees, vegetables or even plants or do you want to have a separate grass area with a patio space built in? The design of your garden will greatly be determined by your own personal preferences and by its size therefore you need to consider your options carefully and if possible draw up a sketch on paper so that you will know where you would like everything to go and also to know if everything that you want will fit.

Find out what grows best in your climate

The next important tip to think about when you’re considering garden layouts is the type of trees, vegetables and plants which will grow best in your climate. Naturally, this will vary a lot depending on your climate. Your climate and your location can greatly determine the success of your final garden plans. In any case, there is no point in planning a specific type of tree or plant for your garden if the climate is likely to unfavorably affect its growth.

If you are not sure about the kind of trees and plants that would grow best in your location and your climate you can either make inquiries at your local gardening center, take a look around at neighboring gardens to see which trees and plants work best in your local area or perform a little research on the internet.

Consider the sun and the shade in your garden

Additionally, do not forget to think about the amount of sun and shade in your backyard and where it is during the day when you’re planning your backyard layout. Many trees and plants will do well in direct sunlight, while others will only thrive when put in the shade. Again, you can perform a little research on the internet or make enquiries at your local gardening centre to find out more information about the specific types of trees and plants that work best in direct sunlight and those that do well when placed in the shade.

Budget

Always make a rough estimate of the cost of your backyard layout. Once you’ve factored in the price of any building work needed, plants and trees, labour and any other thing that you would wish to add, the costs can soon build-up. Consider doing some of the tasks yourself if you can but take into consideration that building a new backyard can take a lot of determination and hard work.

Lastly, try to have fun and to keep an open mind when you’re building your new backyard layout and do not try to hurry the process. It’s good to do enough research first and take your time getting the work done correctly to get the best results.

Don’t build a backyard that requires more attention and time than you can afford. Starting a small backyard from QC landscaping and expanding it once you’ve gained a grasp of time needed is a good way to go. Create a small scale backyard sketch on paper. Include notes about what colors, kinds and shapes of plants will be where. This will really help you to get a clear image of what the backyard will look like when you have finished.

How to Make Your Backyard the Best part of the House

How to Make Your Backyard the Best part of the HouseImagine coming home from a long day at work and walking into a relaxing paradise where you can unwind. The lighting is perfect, the scenery is perfect and the location is perfect. Now, imagine that paradise is your own backyard. Imagine having that space as your very own, to do with whatever you please, whenever you please. You can make it happen! You can make your backyard not only the best part of the house, but your favorite place to kick up your feet and relax. Here are some tips.

Keep it clean

Make sure the grass is green, healthy and well-trimmed. This can be best achieved using the ExMark Quest. Mowers such as these are comfortable and well-crafted mower you will find; it’s built to provide a professional quality cut while making sure you are as comfortable as you can be. Nobody likes mowing, so you may as well find the most comfortable way to do it for yourself.

Create your perfect patio

Take a look at the layout of your backyard. You can build yourself a deck off of the house or be a little more creative and lay patio blocks somewhere in the yard to give it more of a resort feeling since it’s away from the house. The best part about this is that you can make it look however you want. Attach a walkway, add lighting, get a relaxing patio set and even get a canopy to set up to make it look like a gazebo.

Declutter

One of the best ways to cause feelings of stress is to walk into an area that is cluttered. It can actually cause anxiety in some people. So put your things in the garage or shed, out of sight from where your perfect backyard setting will be.

Try landscaping

In order to keep your lawn green and healthy, feed it the nutrients it craves. Add some mulch and flowers around your patio area. If you decide to add flowers, make sure the colors flow naturally or you run the risk of your backyard looking cluttered. Also look into getting a birdbath or possibly a fountain with running water. Your backyard will look beautiful and the sounds of the water will be soothing, adding to the relaxing aura you’re trying to achieve. If you plan on entertaining, invest in a great looking fire pit. The pretty landscaping will give you the feel you’re going for during the day, and the fire pit will give you that feeling at night.

Create the perfect driveway with a stylish gate

driveway gateWhen visitors arrive at your home, their first impression is created not when they walk in your front door, but the moment they pull up outside your house. A tired and dilapidated old gate can really let your property down. One that doesn’t latch properly or is left swinging on its hinges can also present a safety hazard, and the lack of any gate at all could leave you open to unwelcome intruders of both the human and animal variety.

When you put so much care and attention into the interior or your home and your garden, it’s a shame not to give just as much thought to the thing that defines your boundary: the gate. We all like to have an attractive driveway, and we spend a great deal of money on paving and landscaping to achieve that aim. Adding a stylish gate can complete the look and set off your driveway to best advantage. When considering what sort of gate is appropriate for your driveway, there are a number of points to bear in mind.

First and foremost you’ll want to choose a gate which expresses your style, but is also sympathetic and complementary to the age, size and character of your property. Think about whether you should make a bold statement, or whether something that blends in with your existing wall or fencing would be more in keeping. Period properties always benefit from having authentic features, both aesthetically and in terms of value (take a look at this range of 19th century inspired driveway gates); newer homes may allow you to be more imaginative in your choices.

You should also consider how much time and effort you’re prepared to devote to maintenance. Wooden gates will require regular treatment to keep them weather-proof, but even with the most meticulous care they may still be susceptible to sagging and damage from the elements. Iron gates, on the other hand, require less upkeep and can be a great alternative if you’re looking for something more durable that will stay looking good for longer.

Working with a good quality supplier and fitter is a must. When you’re making an investment in something that should last for many years, it pays to use the best materials. Cutting corners will only reduce the life expectancy of your new gate.

Having a new gate installed can massively change the look and feel of your home. Not only is it an impressive architectural feature, it also ensures that children and pets can play in safety within its bounds. And if you should decide to sell your home, an elegant gate can really boost its kerb appeal and help increase its value. It’s amazing how much impact a gate can have, creating an impressive entrance and announcing your pride in your property.

Why Greenhouses Play A Major Role In Society

greenhouse tomatoesUndoubtedly, greenhouse gardening has taken the art of gardening to the next level. However, not many gardeners have caught on to this trend due to the prohibitive costs involved in setting one up. This is because many wonder whether the benefits accrued would actually match the money invested in building a greenhouse.

Granted, it takes a lot of motivation and courage to build a greenhouse and only those who are passionate or serious about greenhouse gardening will pay the money needed to set one up. With this advanced facility you do not have to worry about trivial gardening issues distracting you from having fun whilst at it. Below we take a look at 5 major roles that greenhouses play in today’s society

1. Help to minimize grocery expenses

Needless to say, tough economic conditions have pushed up grocery prices including flowers, vegetables and fruits. With greenhouse gardening you are assured of a constant supply of vegetables, fruits and flowers in addition to having control of what you plant all year round. More significantly however, planting your own groceries will see you spend considerably less on them. While you may not see the effects immediately, on average, most greenhouse gardeners usually break even after a year or two in the business.

2. Provide consistent gardening opportunities

A greenhouse allows you the luxury of evading and ignoring weather conditions and seasonal changes all year round. You do not have to worry about your gardening efforts being hampered by excessive rain, extreme temperatures or long droughts. Also, planning your garden will no longer be determined by the weather thereby giving you more flexibility to undertake any form of gardening you may wish.

3. Plant protection

The protection offered by a greenhouse means that your plants stand to be shielded from problems such as rough weather and seasonal pest infestations e.g. from mites, caterpillars, beetles and locusts. Since plants are weak, such problems would inevitably lead to destruction of your whole crops. The role of a greenhouse in protecting your plants can therefore not be overemphasized.

4. Provide plants with an optimum growing environment

If you have undertaken gardening for a considerable while, you will no doubt have noticed that plants, whether herbs or vegetables, love humid and warm environments. Greenhouses are synonymous with such conditions that enhance plant growth. This is attributed to the fact that a greenhouse’s main purpose is securing a reasonable amount of water vapour and heat in order to maintain the humidity and warmth within.

5. There is no gardening according to seasons

Most gardeners have at one time or the other been excited to undertake planting only to realize that the current season, with its unfavourable temperatures is not suited to what they wish to plant. This means that they have to wait until the right conditions are present and by that time, the excitement of planting is likely to have died off. But with a greenhouse, you are able to control your garden’s temperature and may opt to plant seasonal plants ahead of time or delay planting. Whatever you decide, you are in total control.

Blogger who researchers and talks about the benefits of greenhouses and how they help society for Gabriel Ash
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