Archive for the ‘Garden’ Category

Landscape design ideas

landscape design

One garden does not fit all. A trip to any home and garden show bears that out – and adds to the confusion. So, let some things be your guide:

• Invest in landscaping software or downloads. Inexpensive, it will help intelligently plot a design in form and color. Some even let show the future by aging the plan.

• Green, water-saving designs are commonplace now. The continent is divided into Horticultural Zones which recommend the plants best suited to the geographical area. Selecting the next zone south offers more drought-tolerant choices.

• Consider non-organic materials, including wood, river stone, gravel, crushed granite, water, flag stone, and sand. Non-organic materials add color and texture to complement or offset a display.

• Make the design move with “grasses.” This is a broad class of plants with a range of colors, textures, and heights. Some bear flowers and all move with breezes.

• Curves can get too busy. Keep curves to a minimum in small places, and let the plants crowd over the paths to create curves. Lay subtle curves in large space paths that echo the shape of nearby floral beds.

• Find a point of focal entrance. Determine the most photogenic item in the garden: a gnarled oak or weeping willow, a wishing well or fountain, a small bridge or koi pond, a gazebo or small patio, a bench or large planter. Select plantings and color to direct eye to this point of interest without crowding or smothering it.

• Build a meditation garden in a small place. Set it in the corner of a house or behind some tall growth. Meditation does not invite distraction, so keep aroma, bold colors and harsh textures at a minimum. Include a stone lamp or soft-ringing chime and a comfortable chair.

• Plant fragrant herbs near windows and doors or in clusters among flower beds. Most herbs have color and flowers at different times of the year.

• Plant with season and maturity in mind. Assemble plants and trees that will provide color throughout the seasons.. Pick plants for their growth, color, and size three years down the road. A 1 gallon planter now will likely be a 5 gallon plant next year.

Anything done, in terms of shape, color, or design must feature the house. Landscaping is not meant to distract or cover up, but good landscaping can frame and accent the house. Make it a presentation!

Article is written by Rebecca from texaspatiobuilder.com. Summer is coming, please do not forget about pool safety!

Landscape for Life: How to Eat the Backyard

Eat Your Backyard VegetablesMany homeowners today choose to incorporate attractive fruits and vegetables into their backyard landscaping. These plants help homeowners save on groceries during the growing season and provide a satisfying connection to our food chain that’s lacking in the grocery shopping experience. They also provide a sense of security for those concerned about rising food costs and the uncertainty of the times we live in. Consider the following seven edibles when planning your backyard garden.

  • Strawberries: Blossoms are small white or pink flowers with yellow centers set amid deep green clusters of leaves. Berries range in color from milky white to deep red. A good overbearing variety like the Seascape Strawberry will produce blossoms and fruit so long as temperatures remain within the ideal range. Set in flower boxes, raised beds or use to line pathways.
  • Kiwi: The leafy green foliage of the kiwi vine provides a beautiful natural shade when trellised along the south-facing side of your home. At first glance, the casual observer might mistake the plant for a common climbing ivy. Small white flowers with yellow centers produce green fruits the size of a closed fist in the fall harvest season.
  • Tomato: The tomato is a staple at the dinner table. It is delicious on sandwiches, chunked in sauces, salads and soups, or just eaten by itself with a pinch of table salt. In the garden, tomato plants are prolific producers that bear fruit throughout the season. For the backyard gardener, tomatoes may work best when placed in attractive hanging planters.
  • Ornamental Kale: Lacy purple and green ornamental kale is used by professional landscapers for its beauty. However, the plant is also an edible green and is quite tasty whether eaten raw or sauteed with butter until tender. Plant in front of taller plants to create a stepped effect in single-tier raised beds.
  • Painted Lady Runner Bean: Of all the runner beans the Painted Lady variety probably has the most beautiful red and white fan-shaped blossoms. The bean can be trellised or trained up a pole to create a leafy column. Given space this plant can grow to an impressive 6 feet tall.
  • Dragon Tongue Bush Bean: The Dragon Tongue bush bean is another bean variety that is as beautiful as it is tasty. At maturity, it stands 18 to 24 inches in height. Its dainty blossoms are a pale purple color and the mature pods a striking swirl of purple and green. This variety would look lovely planted next to some ornamental kale.
  • Most Varieties of Fruit / Nut Trees: Many home builders include plant Flowering Pear, Crabapple and other purely decorative varieties in their landscaping. However, their fruit-bearing counterparts are often just as beautiful and many begin bearing fruit in as few as 3 years. Dwarf varieties work well in smaller spaces and still produce ample fruit for personal consumption. When planting, consider the spread of the mature tree and how its placement will affect the rest of the garden.

The biggest trick to creating a beautiful and edible outdoor garden is to consider the space needed by the mature plants. Do not try to squeeze too much into a tiny space. Spacing instructions should be printed on your seed packets or included with your seedlings.

Sam Weston has become very familiar with New Jersey home builders through D.R. Horton new home development. He also is well-known for helping teenagers find direction in there lives to building hope in their future.

Luxury Metal Railings: The Modern Way to Protect and Beautify Your Home Garden

Today, homeowners take gardening seriously. It is habitual for a home gardener to spend long hours tending to flowers, fruits or vegetables in their garden. Taking into account, the time and effort put into bringing the crops to perfection; a gardener’s natural response to treacherous intruders that spoil their harvest is “revenge.” Although many homeowners install garden fencing and a gate to protect their investment, gardening experts prove the strategy inadequate. On the contrary, many building experts say the disadvantage lies in the material a homeowner uses to fence the garden.

Photo by Railing Dynamics, Inc.

There’s no reason to deny that a home that features a garden with admirable garden décor improves the exterior realm. With this in mind, it is all-important to install the best garden railings to protect and give merit to your design. These days, it is no longer challenging to find exquisite railings to smarten up and protect your garden. Metal railings are the preferred decorative solutions for many gardeners and homeowners; because these are extremely reliable. When homeowners use metal railings to match with the home’s architectural design; the outcome is admirable. To make certain that your garden décor is creative and embrace your personal style; installing attractive, durable garden rails is a tactical approach to show off your decorating skills. This does not mean a homeowner should overwhelm the garden with tasteless accessories; because this is the gateway to a disastrous masterpiece. Some reliable options are out, and with cautious decision-making; the remodeling technique should give praiseworthy results. A note to garden lovers is that every design requires continuity to create a mesmerizing atmosphere.

A deck space facing a garden, with well-appointed metal balustrades that complement the home’s architecture is a lovely setting to entertain your guests. Homeowners who choose such an approach towards decorating should find it stress-free to tailor the garden decor to suit. The railing systems that fit the garden depends on the garden style. Does your garden space feature a spontaneous, classic or contemporary design? Depending on your answer, be sure to pick decorative solutions that match your garden style; because this determines the merit-worthy aspects of your design. The reputation your garden earns after the remodeling is complete, singularly depends on your choice of materials. Some homeowners think that every remodeling project necessitates for a large investment, but this is false. The money a homeowner invests primarily depends on his or her budget-management skills, when shopping for building solutions. An excellent way to make sure you buy the best quality metal railings for your garden is to do business with a reputable railing works manufacturer. In addition, an experienced consultant is apt in recommending lucrative solutions to improve your garden décor.

I’m Joe Russell, a building solutions specialist and the customer service manager at Railing Dynamics, Inc. I’m an expert when it comes to recommending investment-worthy railing solutions to revamp your commercial or residential space. If my thought-provoking home garden remodeling idea stimulates your mind, and you’d love to discover more exclusive options; check out all the ideas on http://www.rdirail.com/, or go get some ideas specifically for metal railings

Tips for splitting wood

It’s the middle of winter and if you haven’t already gotten a heating oil bill, consider yourself lucky. I’ve gotten 3 already. With each one I just think how much money we spend on keeping ourselves warm in the winter. Now I don’t go overboard either. The house is set to about 64. There’s no Bahama rooms that are set to 70 or higher. I tried to reduce the amount of heat loss in the house by sealing windows, filling cracks, and insulating poorly insulated parts of the house, but there’s only so much you can do. I admit I have an old heater which is inefficient, but replacing that isn’t in the budget right now. I’m always looking for ways to save money, so I needed a way to save on the oil bill. There was a fireplace in the last room of the house. A family room of sorts. Now I had never had a fireplace before this house, so I was excited to use it. Much to my dismay, fire places are terrible for supplementing heat. They only heat a small bit of the room right in front of them. Most of the heat goes up the chimney. I had a good source of wood, so I invested a little in turning the fireplace hearth into a wood burning stove hearth. You can read more about that adventure in another post. Needless to say, wood burning stoves give off alot more heat with less wood. The problem is you have to have a good source of wood. If you have trees that you cut down yourself, then here are some tips when splitting it.

Get a gas powered wood splitter

Gas Powered Log SplitterNow I realize that they are very expensive. Gas powered wood splitters start at $1300 and just go up from there. So if you know someone that has one, perhaps you can talk them into letting you borrow it. Realize that when you borrow something of that magnitude, unless the machine is on it’s last legs, if you break it, you should replace or fix it. Gas powered splitters take the back breaking work out of splitting wood that has knots in it. If you get a good one, 27 ton or higher, it should power right through most knots. Stay away from the 5-ton electric splitters as they’ll give you as many problems as just using an axe.

Stock Pile

Whether you’re splitting by hand or by gas powered splitter, always be sure to have a steady source of wood. It saves alot of time if you don’t have to put down the equipment, get up and walk to your pile of wood, and then bring it back, pick up your equipment and begin again. I have a bucket that I sit on when I split with my gas splitter, and I put 10 or so logs next to the splitter, split them, then get up and replace what I split.

Keep some tools close by

Wood Grains Threaded Together

Threads of strong wood stuck together

There are a few good tools to keep close by when splitting. If you’re splitting by hand, then be sure to have an extra sledge hammer and extra wedges close by. You will get your axe or wedge stuck so deep in a log you won’t be able to free it. No matter what way you’re splitting, be sure to have a post spade and a hatchet on hand. For those who don’t know what a post spade is, it’s a long, about 5-6 foot iron bar with a flat end on the one side. It’s used for prying apart logs that just aren’t quite split. The hatchet is for cutting threads of wood that won’t release from each other. See the picture to the right. Save your back and just use the tools instead of trying to twist and rip the logs apart. After the first one you struggle with, you really won’t want to keep doing that over and over. I had some Oak I was splitting once that I had to cut threads apart every other split because the logs were so large.

Be Persistant

Splitting takes alot of work, and it’s not the fastest process if you’re doing it by yourself. Keep at it though. The warmth the logs provide are great when it’s all done. I also find some sort of satisfaction out of a big pile of split wood that’s usable instead of just giant logs.

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