Landscape, Lawn & Garden Advice Vol. 1A Reading Garden for your BackyardA Reading garden is a great addition to any home. They are popular for good reason.I’ve gathered some good advice and tips for building your own reading garden in your ownpersonal landscape for your own enjoyment (and maybe some friends as well). A clearing is onenecessity. Seating is another; I suggest some nice comfy chairs or hammocks. Some shadingwill help to keep the heat of you in the summer, but make sure you have ample lighting to avoidstraining your eyes. Some beautiful vegetation of any sort to enhance your mood, whether youprefer cacti, shrubs, or flowers, it is a personal choice. Some nice hues and aromas will alsomake the experience more enjoyable.You should begin by clearing the area you plan to use. Some pretty and clean grass is a goodplace to begin. You should consider several things before choosing the types of plants youchoose to surround yourself with. You may want plants that will require less maintaining so thatyou can spend your time with your favorite books, magazines or kindle. Some plants will requiremore of your time leaving you with less time to read. Some tall shrubs and hedges could providesome isolation and lessen the number of potential distractions. Some vines on lattice could alsodo the trick. Or a combination of any of those. Stones are a nice touch as well. Another thing toconsider is a water feature. Nothing stimulates thought like water does. If you had a fountain orsome flowing water it could provide white noise to drown out the sounds of the town orneighbors.A good shade tree is a bonus but if you don’t have one or don’t have room to plant one try alattice or trellis with vines and ivy.At last you will get to read your book in peace and tranquility in your Reading Gardensurrounded by beauty!Visit http://landscapingideas.houston-forum.com for more great landscaping and garden tips!Can a Low Maintenance Yard Still Look Good?Many people find themselves wanting a nice looking yard but dread the hard work that is usuallyassociated with such a yard. Don’t lose hope. Some of the most beautiful yards have been designed withlow maintenance in mind and achieved the goal. I’ve put together a few low maintenance plant secretsto keep in mind when you are planning and implementing your low maintenance yard.The bigger the plant and the longer to takes to grow the less work it will take to maintain it. Trees aretypically the lowest maintenance plants available to a landscaper. Conifers like Pine trees are the leastwork of all trees. Annual plants will require the most work as they need to be planted anew each yearand also require either germinating seeds yourself or buying new plants each year. Vegetables areusually high work plants as well.
Some plants are more susceptible to disease than others. Diseased plants this will require work to keepthe garden nice looking and to prevent the spread of disease. Depending on your area and climate youshould consider plants by their drought tolerance and their ability to withstand wet weather. Plantsnative to your region will be the best choice to meet these requirements.Before you ever plant anything make sure the yard is prepared for the long term. Making sure your soilis healthy before planting can save you a lot of work down the road. The best time to improve soil isbefore you ever plant. Also prior to planting ensure your drainage is not going to be a problem.Implement any drainage techniques that may be necessary to make sure you’ll have little work in thefuture.Make sure any plants you use aren’t going to be invasive or grow at an extreme pace. Tis will requireconstant pruning to keep in control. Plants that grow easily in the wild from seed should also beavoided.If it is colors and flowers that you desire to make your yard or garden look good there are options to cutdown on your labor. Use trees and shrubs that flower to avoid the hassle of dealing with flowers in abed. Any tree that doesn’t shed its leaves in fall will make your life easier.Zero maintenance is not really an achievable goal, but with careful planning ahead of time, a very lowmaintenance yard that is still good looking is obtainable. Visithttp://landscapingideas.houston-forum.com for more great information about landscaping, yards, andgardens!Garden Hose Repair TipsMany yard hoses are trashed every day across the country because they are leaking water or thetip connector becomes damage making it difficult to attach nozzles and sprinklers. There aresome cheap methods available for fixing your yard hose that you may not be familiar with. thiscan be a lifesaver as new hoses can be quite expensive, especially if it is of significant length.Hose Tip CouplingReplacement hose tip screw connectors are available for a couple of bucks. Replacing the tip israther simple. Merely cut off the damaged tip of the hose and attach the new tip. Like brand newonly an inch shorter which is better than a bank account being shorter. both male and female tipsare available giving you more options for utilizing the garden hose.Hose MenderA torn garden hose or one that is leaky from holes can also be fixed very easily by purchasing ahose mender. These are very affordable and can be as cheap as a dollar. But there are some moreexpensive ones available that are built of a little higher quality and of differing materials.
Simply cut out the section of your garden hose that is damaged. Make sure you get all of thedamaged area by a few inches to prevent future leakage. Now you are left with two sections ofhose. connect the two sections to the hose mender and your hose will work as good as the dayyou bought it. another option would be to put a coupler tip on the ends of the two garden hosesections resulting in two shorter hoses.These are two quick repairs that cost only a few minutes and a few dollars but will extend the lifeof your garden hoses while looking out for your wallet.Visit http://landscapingideas.houston-forum.com for more great landscaping and garden tips!Garden Pond A Great Feature For AnyLandscapeIf the landscape you are working with is a large one choosing the right addition can be a difficultdecision. There are many options to choose from. What is the right option for your garden? Onegarden idea to consider is a garden pond. A garden pond can add appeal to any landscape orbackyard.Garden Pond InstillationInstillation of garden ponds to a landscape is much easier than it may appear; after all it’s justadding water to a hole in the ground, right? You’ll need a liner to keep the water from soakinginto the soil, and they are sold at local garden centers and hardware stores. There are many pondfeatures and additions you can add to the pond that will make it more interesting. You will havemore options for the plants you can use in your garden once you add a pond.Fish for a Garden PondTo add animal life to your pond such as fish or tadpoles you’ll need a pump to keep the waterfresh by adding air to it. My favorite are Koi. They are pretty but can get expensive. There aremany other varieties of fish to choose from so just find some that you find interesting and cansurvive outdoors in the weather in your area. Fish can be quite enjoyable pets.There are some predators that you should keep an eye out for. Raccoons and possums can bequite a nuisance, even in a fenced area. Your pet cat might also be a threat. One way to protectthe fish is by making the garden pond wider and deeper so that the fish have a place to flee andhide from garden predators.
There are many things you can do to a pond to make it more interesting. Having flowing andcascading water can be very relaxing and enjoyable, but this will require more hardware andwork. There are many pond features and additions available on the internet. Another idea is lilypads to provide shade for the fish.Just make sure you enjoy your Garden Pond.Visit http://landscapingideas.houston-forum.com for more great landscaping and garden tips!Getting Moss To GrowMoss is the perfect method to obtain a unique look and fee to your yard or landscape. Oneproblem is that it can be difficult to get moss to grow. When it finally appears it may be agesbefore it is mature enough to appreciate.Below is a method that will speed up the growth of a healthy moss for your stones and cementfeatures.Mix well an eight inch diameter wad of porcelain clay into about three cups of water until youget a paste like consistency. Many stores like Hobby Lobby or Michael’s carry porcelain clay oryou can order it over the internet.Next mix your clay paste and a single cup of liquid fish fertilizer, sometimes called fishemulsion, and a single cup of diced moss. Fish emulsion is easily obtained from garden centersand can also be gotten over the internet. It is similar to fish meal but it is liquid.After everything is thoroughly stirred and mixed use a application brush to apply it to thesurfaces which you wish the moss to grow. Use a spray bottle to apply moisture to the surfacesbut careful not to apply so much moisture that your mixture is washed away.Moss likes the shady areas of your garden and also nooks and crannies, In nature it is often foundon the north side of trees and may like the same in your yard.This is one of the best methods I have come across to get moss to grow. It doesn’t work everytime, but if you give the right conditions it will grow most every time. It could take up to amonth to see results.Visit http://landscapingideas.houston-forum.com for more great landscaping and garden tips!Is a Deck Right For your Landscape?Occasionally it is nice to take a stroll through your landscape or garden while avoiding thetrampling of your grass. A method to do this is by making a space at the edge of the yard ormaybe a trail or walkway in the garden itself. The old style to reach this goal was by poring a bigslab of concrete. Lately it is much more common for garden owners to build a deck in theirlandscape.You can build a deck over the ground or over an slab of concrete if it is already there. Manypeople build their own deck due to how easy it is. An average deck is similar to peer and beam
houses, and even someone with novice carpenter skills could build it. All the pieces and woodyou for construction need can be found at your local hardware stores. There are even books thathave deck plans in them to help you. Many prefer not to pain their decks because they like theway it looks. These books should be available at your hardware store but if they are not then youshould check on the internet.It is preferable to use screws as opposed to hammer and nails. It makes your job much easier.Also if it’s built with screws it will last much longer and be sturdier.The higher your deck is elevated from the ground the more difficult assembly will become, andyou will have to build sturdy railings called deck Balustrade to prevent falls that could causeserious injury. The balusters have to be close enough together to prevent people from beingable to slide through. It is very difficult to build balustrade for a deck that will be sturdy enoughand you may have local regulations that need to be met. So unless you just got to have it, it isrecommended to build your deck at ground level.Visit http://landscapingideas.houston-forum.com for more great landscaping and garden tips!Money Saving Landscaping AdviceLandscaping your home is often times a very expensive project. It can turn from paradise to anightmare if the price of planning, installing, and maintaining gets out of reach. I’m giving someadvice to help you be frugal with your garden and landscapes and at the same time keeping alldesirable and pretty aspects you want from your landscape.Before Purchasing know what your end result will beHave goals instead of rushing in to decisions that might hurt you financially. If you have knowgoals you will spend cash on items that you never really wanted and that don’t add to yourprojects.Start by making a drawing of how you envision your yard or landscape to be. It doesn’t have tobe pretty, it just needs to make sense to you. Determine what it will take to reach your goals. Theinternet is a good place to look if you need help making plans and setting goals as there are pagesdedicated just to this. Your local garden centers and Big Box DIY stores like Home Depot orLowes may have employees that can give you help in the areas you need it.when you have determined what you need to accomplish your goals, it is time to make thepurchases you need to reach your goals without waste on impulse purchases.Don’t buy everything at onceThe goals you’ve laid out will be more achievable by having a time frame for each aspect of yourproject. Rarely can somebody do it all at once. Having a time table allows you to purchase your
necessities as the project moves along, and finances allow. By doing this you can avoid theusury system that has high rates and fees that can end up doubling or tripling the final cost ofyour dream landscape.Visit http://landscapingideas.houston-forum.com for more great landscaping and garden tips!You don’t have to downgrade your dreamsYou usually get what you pay for and cheaping out may cost you in the end. Sometimes a lowerpriced item may maintain the quality of higher priced iems at which point cheaper would be OK.Garden center employees will gladly help when it comes to choosing the best bang for yourbuck. These stores will offer more precise advice about detailed things you may need to know.Being a landscape rookie, it may save you money down the road to buy more expensive productsand service at the outset instead of replacing things every couple years because they were madepoorly.Overlook all living things before you purchaseSometimes when buying plants they can be sickly or have rot or aphid problems. Some placesdon’t take care of their plants as well as other places. Say the plants you buy don’t live long afteryou acquire them then you’ll just have to buy more and that is wasteful. Also the plant may becontagious and do harm to the rest of your plants. Some places have a warranty but many do notso ask the employees if you are unsure before making a costly mistake.Some Seasons offer DiscountsWith thought out goals it is easier to make up your mind as to when each section of your plancan be implemented. Wood is often less expensive in the cold months, and can be held onto untilyou are ready for it. Wait for sales near the end of summer before buying trees, bushes, bulbs,groundcover, and dirt late. Many times, Fall is the best time to buy things and still have time toprepare for winter. Make sure to pay attention to sales in your area. I’ve come across some greatbargains.Check alternate paths of obtaining your needsCheck other avenues. There are more places to buy plants and mulch and such. The internet andmail order are viable options. Here you can get good prices and needed tips.Some localities trade plants and seeds. Many municipalities offer free compost from leave andorganic waste they have collected, many building tear downs are a great place to find bricks.Split landscaping prices with friendsAsk your friends about splitting the bill. You may be able to get a bulk or wholesale discount ifyou make purchases together. Leasing prices on a machine could also be split. Just make dure tosplit everything evenly as to not upset any of the parties involved. Everybody like to save cash sowhy not do it together.
Backyard PrivacyIf you share a backyard with neighbors, you probably could benefit from some backyard privacy. Thereare many ways to go about obtaining the privacy, but you should be aware of any HOA rules or cityregulations regarding landscaping and construction in your neighborhood as some of the methods mayviolate these rules.The obvious method is building a fence. This could solve many privacy issues but could cause problemsof its own. Some areas will have maximum height limitations for fences that could deprive you of thesolace you are seeking. If there is an existing fence perhaps extending its height is an option. Many fencetypes will limit airflow and circulation therefore increasing the heat by stopping the wind. There arefencing options that allow more circulation but they are usually a little less attractive. If using a woodfence make sure to apply the proper treatments to lessen long term maintenance.Another option is building a tall pergola in the area you need to block to obtain the privacy. This maytake an extra-long pergola or several smaller ones if your property line is lengthy. Pergolas give you afew choices of the type of vegetation you’d like to grow on it. Many varieties of vines exist that could fillyour needs. Morning Glories are pretty but can get out of hand if not constantly kept in check. Grapesgive you an edible option. I have muscadines vines on my pergola that offer fruit and privacy. Hops are agood option for those that like to brew their own beer. One more edible option is kiwis. They take botha male and female to fruit, but the great taste makes it well worth any hassle in my opinion. Havingplants of dual use, food and privacy, would be an environmentally conscious thing to do. If you are in acold climate some vines may die back in winter making your yard once again open to neighbors view.Post and wire is a good way to go, and is very similar to pergolas but maybe less costly. Posts areplanted at certain intervals with taught wires ran between to give vines something to cling to as theygrow upwards towards the sun. Spanish Moss on a Post and Wire can be quite an attractive feature inany landscape. A trellis is one more hardscape option that gives a happy home to vines and climbingplants. Many vines will also require pruning and maintaining every couple of years.A common method used to get privacy in the yard and garden is planting tall bushy shrubs. This also canbe attractive if the proper shrubs are used. Many variety of shrubs exist that suit the pursuit of yardprivacy. If you plant small you can even avoid hurting the neighbor’s feelings. Shrubs and hedges willrequire pruning once or twice a year to maintain the desired look and keep them from getting messy.No matter which method of backyard privacy you choose make sure to not offend the neighbors. Alsobe sure that you are ready for the potential maintenance of the method you choose. Be sure to choosthe option that best suits you and enjoy your privacy.Visit http://landscapingideas.houston-forum.com for more great information about landscaping, yards,and gardens.
If you follow my advice you could have the yard or landscape you’ve always wanted withoutbreaking the bankVisit http://landscapingideas.houston-forum.com for more great landscaping and garden tips!Should you Grow A Herb Garden?Should you grow an herb garden? Definitely! An herb garden is a nice and easy alternative to atime consuming orchard or labor intensive vegetable garden. Herbs are not quite as fulfilling asvegetables or fruit, but they are a critical part to cooking a great tasting meal. Can you imagineItalian food without Oregano or tacos without cilantro. I can’t.At the outset choosing the herbs to place in your garden will be priority. The large number ofherbs on the market could make choosing the right ones difficult. A sure way to choose theproper herbs to plant is to plant the ones you would normally buy at the for use in your kitchen .Not only will this keep cash in your bank account, it will ensure your herbs are fresh and notwilting and losing flavor like the ones in the store often are. My personal favorites are oregano,cilantro, sweet basil, spearmint, and dill for pickling, although there are many other great herbsto pick from.Its a good idea to plant your herb garden close to your kitchen. This makes harvesting less of achore. Also make sure your plot drains well. Soil that is too moist will not be good for yourherbs. There are several methods to make sure your garden will drain well. Rocks or sandbeneath the soil is one common method.Many garden center herbs can be a little on the expensive side. To cut cost you could germinateyour own seeds, and this can be pretty easy with herbs. Seeds are commonly available at yourlocal garden centers. Several herbs can be very aggressive growers and cause problems fir theslower growing herbs. Plant the aggressive plants in pots to avoid an unwanted situation whereone plant is dominating your garden.Harvesting too much at once from one plant could kill it, so be sure to harvest in moderation,especially if the plant isn’t fully mature. It can take a few months for some herbs to be matureenough for harvesting. You will be happy you waited, because your plants will live a longhealthy life providing you with tasty herbs for a long time.Some herbs will need to be dried prior to their use in your kitchen. One method it to place theherbs on a pizza pan in the oven at about 160 degrees for about an hour. Once the herbs havebeen dried they will be ready for use in your favorite dishes and to be enjoyed by your friendsand family.I don’t usually store herbs, but when I do I prefer glass jars or plastic tupperware as these holdthe flavor longer. Be sure to check your stored herbs on a regular basis to make sure they are not
being ruined by mold or moisture. If the herbs were dried properly then problems from moistureshould not be a problem.Anybody that loves eating and likes plants would be advised to plant their very own herb garden.It doesn’t require very much labor and the end result is well worth it. It was one of the bestdecisions I ever made.Visit http://landscapingideas.houston-forum.com for loads of great landscaping and gardening advice.A common problem for those of us that do our own landscaping is choosing the right much fortrees. Learning what you need to know about mulch is easy, but deciding amongst all that isavailable at the store can still be difficult. It doesn’t have to be. wood chips or bark are usuallythe best choices.When it comes to trees you want something that will last a while and not be completelydecomposed after the first couple of rains. So the best bet is wood, which decomposes at a snailspace and lacks the minerals that aide in the growth of all those pesky invader plants.The bestwood chips will be aged because they have a pleasant hue and require very little upkeep.One problem facing the consumer is that the majority of wood chips available are fresh. Whenthe wood chips rot, they will invite bacteria in that will drain the dirt of it minerals that the treemay need for its healthy growing . Aged chips are not a good environment for these bacteria, thatis the main reason to try your best to purchase aged or composted wood chips. Of course if agedchips are not available to you, one option is purchasing fresh ones and allowing them to age anddecompose a little before you use them as mulch. Just add some other organic compostingmaterial like food scraps and pine needles to aide in the composting. Don’t forget to stir it oftenlike you would any compost pile.A natural mulch will add important nutrients to the tree as they rot, unlike plastic or rockmulches. A natural mulch is a very healthy addition to any landscape. You should add more asneeded to try to keep at least 10 centimeters of mulch at all times.On any given tree you should attempt to lay the mulch from one to two yards from the tree..Leave a small space near the trunk to stop damage from occurring. This is a common error madeby novice landscapers that often kills or damages trees. This is also a common problem when itcomes to mulching bushes. Leaving a small space will prevent water damage and lower the riskof insect infestation of your trees.If you adhere to these principles when mulching your trees they will stay healthy and beautifulfor many years offering you many moments of enjoyment.Visit http://landscapingideas.houston-forum.com for more great landscaping and garden tips!Stay tuned for Landscape, Lawn & Garden Advice Vol. 2