Category: Gardening and Landscaping

Backyard Water Feature Projects

A backyard water garden provides a peaceful oasis for you and also for the wildlife it beckons, but occasionally even tiny ponds are labor-intensive. In case you’ve got a little backyard, you may not have the ability to fit a full pond. Try some small water feature projects to add movement without taking up a great deal of room.

Rain Chains

Rain chains divert water more beautifully than utilitarian downspouts while making falling and plinking sounds that are easy on the ear. As rain falls on rooftops, it is collected in gutters, where it conducts toward rain chains you install at the corners of your residence. Some rain chains are built of large chain connections, while other styles feature a string of cupped collection vessels in varied shapes, like flowers. You can boost this water feature by placing decorative urns or basins at the base of rain chains to collect water.

Fountains and Bubblers

Small fountains and bubblers mimic the sounds of larger waterfalls. These projects can be any size, from a tiny tabletop feature to a massive freestanding or wall layout. Ready-made, wall-mounted fountains decorate a fence or boost a patio. If you wish to design your own project, you can transform a large watering can or a glazed terracotta pot into a little bubbler. All you require for an instant water feature is a recirculating pump that’s small enough to fit within your water-filled container along with a nearby electrical outlet.

Pondless Waterfalls

Pondless waterfalls disappear into underground catch basins where hidden recirculating pumps move collected water into the peak of the waterfall. These projects require less maintenance and are easier to install than traditional waterfalls. They are also safer for children and pets because there is no freestanding water to present a potential drowning hazard. You will need to excavate a hole into which you put a tiny molded pond or an aquatic lining to your catch basin. After putting your recirculating pump into the catch basin, then you simply backfill using pea gravel until it is at soil level. After drawing the rubber tubing in the submersed pump into the top of stacked rocks or other waterfall construction, you can tuck it behind the fall or mix it with trailing leaf.


You have to put rain chains far enough under eaves to store the water and chains off your residence. Wall-mounted fountains require strong support walls and decent hardware to support the burden of a water-filled fountain. You’ll have simpler work digging a catch basin to get your pondless waterfall if you choose an area away from tree roots. Placing your own water feature at a shady place slows evaporation, which means you won’t need to refill it too frequently. You can prevent the additional expense of installing an electrical receptacle if you construct your water feature near an existing outlet or use a solar-powered Water pump.

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Pine Straw Landscaping Ideas

Large pine trees shed some needles a year — enough to cover the forest floor using a heavy layer. In some areas, the needles are accumulated, cleaned and baled to bundles of pine straw. On a little farm, nearly all of the operation is finished by hand using a pitchfork. Bigger operations use a tractor to produce the bales. Pine straw used in the landscape creates several advantages, including being a commodity of a renewable resource.


Pine straw offers clean, attractive mulch for flower beds, vegetable gardens and other areas of the landscape. The straw modulates the soil temperatures by keeping the soil cool during the summer and warm during the winter. In addition, it enhances the texture of the soil by loosening heavy dirt. This variety of mulch slowly breaks down, adding nutrients to the soil. Pine straw inhibits the growth of invasive weeds when spread in a layer 3 inches thick.


Pine straw adds attractiveness to the lawn with its intriguing, long-lasting color and texture. Spread out the straw to the drip line of trees to make a no-mow zone which makes the trees stick out. Line walkways and other non-paved regions of travel to provide the landscape a woodland park look. Placing the pine straw in the line of traveling stops the visitor by kicking up mud in the landscape.

Vegetable Gardening

Pine straw functions as a weed deterrent from the vegetable garden. Apply it to the soil in a 4- to 6-inch layer. Spread it down the aisles between the rows, keeping the straw 1 to 2 inches away from the plant’s most important stem. This kind of mulch stops grass invasions to the garden. To produce a specified border around the vegetable garden, expand the pine straw 12 inches from the outer edge of the lawn.

Erosion Control

Pine straw supplies a unique advantage to your sloped area in the landscape. The needles interlock with one another to make a mat that does not wash away as wood or bark chips do. The capability to preserve moisture in the soil helps hold the soil in place during rainstorms. The needles are heavy enough that they do not ignore even if dry, so they stay put to anchor the dirt under them.

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Alternatives to Pavers

Pavers aren’t your only option for creating trails in your garden or elsewhere. You can use other materials to make paths and walkways. Some alternatives to pavers have advantages, like being made from recycled materials or providing better drainage than pavers. By investigating options to pavers, you can expand your landscaping options.


Gravel allows better drainage than solid paving stones, and it is one of the cheapest paver options. If you would like to maintain the gravel from changing when you walk it, opt for unsorted, sharp-edged gravel that’s tagged “1/4-inch minus.” Pieces of that gravel type fit snugly together. Edging installed as well as a gravel path keeps the gravel set, and tamping the finished path produces a walkway more secure than it’d be not tamped.

Poured Concrete

Poured concrete provides a constant pathway, but it can be tricky to remove if you change your mind about using concrete. You can stamp and/or color concrete to allow it to resemble flagstone. Utilizing certain sorts of pavers, however, may be less costly than using poured concrete.


Your footpaths may be works of art that utilize a recycled material like broken shingles or old bits of pavers. Placing those pieces to wet concrete to create a mosaic design may add beauty to your walkway and seating area. Mosaics may be labor-intensive to install, however they accent particular areas of a garden or lawn. Get the most out of a mosaic pattern with it in a place where people already can look downward, like a seating area or near the start or end of a pathway.


The easiest way to create a path is to wear down the website, which leads to a circular route. This kind of bare-earth walkway occurs naturally along a route that receives a great deal of traffic. Tamp a future course’s ground with a hand tamper to form a flat surface. You might want to weed the path regularly to stop it from being overgrown. Install competition at least 6 inches deep into the ground on each side of the trail to keep grass runners from spreading to your earthen pathway.

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DIY Rustic Landscape

Rustic landscaping gives a more natural appearance, almost as if you reside in the midst of nowhere. The pastoral style varies somewhat, depending on where you live, but just in terms of the kinds of plants and materials you select. To get a rustic appearance that seems realistic and fits, choose plants that are indigenous to your area. These plants will grow better on your own climate and will not look out of place.

Plant a variety of evergreen trees and shrubs to create a more natural appearance. Group the shrubs and trees in odd-numbered stands so you have staggered heights. Space the trees out to permit their adult size.

Add a couple of flowering trees for shade during spring and summer. Include a couple of trees which provide vibrant autumn colors. You wouldn’t expect to just discover evergreens when going on a nature walk in your area, so that this adds a more realistic mixture to the yard. Use trees indigenous to your area, and space them out so they will not be crowded once they grow to full size.

Add natural stones similar to those discovered in your town, putting a few groupings of stones together and utilizing varying sizes to make it more natural. To make it a more realistic rustic style, stick to what you’d typically find in natural areas near your house. By way of instance, if there is lots of sandstone in your area, use that, rather than granite or river stone, which might seem unnatural.

Mix other indigenous plants into the area, including small plants and grasses. Set them among the stones or in groupings with them.

Add features, like old stumps, cracked pots full of flowers, rusted watering cans or raw wood bird houses. You may also add a stone fireplace in addition to natural wood seats.

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How to Landscape with a Hedge Fence

A hedge fence defines boundaries and keeps unwanted traffic out of a yard whilst still providing the soft-scape advantages of plants. The fence is produced by planting shrubs and trees close to each other so their branches and foliage develop together and appear as a single unit. Evergreen plants deliver year-round green coverage in a hedge fence, or family fence, but a lot of deciduous shrubs can offer dense coverage even when stripped of their leaves in sunlight. Based on the hedge plants you utilize, the family fence might even have the ability to keep animals and intruders from passing through.

Incorporating a Hedge Fence

Create a wind screen and privacy hedge fence to define the borders of your back yard by utilizing tall, columnar conifers. Such conifers incorporate Canadian hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) and pyramidal arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis “Pyramidalis”). Space the hemlock plants about 2 feet apart and the arborvitae 3 to 5 feet apart.

Plant a 1- to- 3-foot tall hedge between your yard and walkways, patios or driveway to guide visitors to the hard-scapes and deter unwanted foot traffic to your yard. 1 option for this type of hedge is Japanese holly “Dwarf Pagoda” (Ilex crenata “Dwarf Pagoda”), that grows to a maximum of only 30 inches tall and doesn’t have the sharp barbs commonly related to hollies. Another option is wall germander (Teucrium chamaedrys), which grows 1 to 3 feet tall and includes corrugated leaf with pink-to-dark purple flowers that bloom from summer into autumn.

Plant a 4- to- 6-foot tall hedge screen between your front yard and the sidewalk. Utilize a frequent hedge plant such as American boxwood (Buxus sempervirens), Amur River privet (Ligustrum amurense) or English yew (Taxus baccata), each of which fills in fast with dense foliage. These shrubs are capable of growing 10 feet tall and taller so require regular pruning to keep a lower height. They fill in fast, however, providing an entire drop in only a couple of years.

Coordinate with your brand-new neighbor about planting a hedge fence to separate your own properties. If you both can agree on a drop species, then you can share price, pruning and maintenance obligations while both benefiting from the plants.

Plant a hedge using barbed plants to keep unwanted traffic out of your yard. Barbed plant possibilities contain flowering quince (Chaenomeles spp.) , red barberry (Berberis thunbergii atropurpurea) and scarlet firethorn (Pyracantha coccinea). This type of hedge can be used as a border along a wooded area to keep wildlife out or to surround your house as protection against burglary.

Include deer-resistant varieties in the hedge fence should you stay in an area where foraging deer are a frequent problem. Doing so will stop you from having to contend with deer eating the hedge’s foliage and making gaps in your fence. Lavender (Lavandula spp.) and rosemary (Rosmarinus spp.) Function well for low hedge borders while forsythia (Forsythia spp.) , heavenly bamboo (Nandina domestica) and juniper (Juniperus spp.) Are leading choices for taller hedge plantings.

Plant a hedge fence of flowering shrubs should you want to add more color than the hues of green typical of most plants. Densely planted shrubs such as azalea and rhododendron (Rhododendron spp.) , limelight hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata), roses (Rosa spp.) And common lilac (Syringa vulgaris) include color and fragrance to your living fence.

Planting and Training a Hedge Fence

Dig a trench to your hedge fence plants in a location that offers enough room to accommodate the adult size of the selected plants. Dig the trench as deep as the plant root balls and twice as broad as the first planters.

Plant the plants in the trench, using the nearest possible spacing for the selected plant variety or varieties so the hedge grows dense without gaps. The plant spacing usually is 8 to 24 inches for small to large shrubs and up to 6 feet for large, coniferous trees. It can take as much as 10 years for a hedge fence to develop to maximum height, but the sides of crops fill in fast with close spacing. An alternate is to space the hedge plants a bit further apart through planting and enable them to grow in their normal form once you prune to encourage dense growth. You could save hundreds of hours spent trimming perfect boxed hedges should you embrace the organic form of the plant species.

Hard-prune the hedge plants in early spring till they’re in bloom. If they are blooming in early spring, then wait till after the blooming time to hard-prune them. Pinch the tips of the plants to induce branching close to the ground, removing as much as one-third of the total branch length. Severe pruning annually in spring and fall, during that about one-half of this new growth is removed, encourages plants to fill in fast. Also remove about one-third of this older growing stems annually to support new growth so the hedge remains dense and youthful; remove another one-third of the plant divisions each year for 2 more years to rekindle whole plants.

Shape the plants in order that the hedge fence tapers at the surface, allowing sunlight to reach the bottom and top of this hedge plants evenly. That shaping technique removes the potential for a top and thin growth at ground level.

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Get to a Composting Kick (Hello, Free Fertilizer!)

Let us begin by stating the obvious: Composting can appear daunting. So far as garden tasks proceed, it will get a bad rap. It’s related to yucky smells, out-of-control heaps, rats, gardens full of mushy soil and bits of eggshells. However, in reality, it’s the very best natural ingredient with which to amend your soil. It is high in nutrient content than any store-bought fertilizer, bagged soil or synthetic product. Best of all, it’s totally free, made right from your garden and kitchen waste. Normally, 30 percent of household garbage sent to the landfill is green waste. Home composting helps you lessen the effect on the surroundings.

Matt Kilburn

The term “composting” describes the aerobic decomposition of nitrogen-richgreen waste and carbon-rich organic matter (like leaves). The key is to get the ideal balance of green waste into organic matter.

Depending upon the size and variety of bin method you use, the parameters will vary slightly, however as a rule of thumb that you want to add a handful of organic matter for every couple of waste. Note your composter’s specific requirements, however.

Matt Kilburn

Generally, these products may be used with a conventional composting method:

Green material (nitrogen loaded):
Kitchen scraps (fruit and vegetable) Coffee grounds and tea leavesPlant trimmings: leaves, foliage and flowersGrass clippings: fresh mulch from mowing (yards without pesticides) Organic material (carbon rich):
Leaves: dry fall leaves (oak leaves decompose gradually; use those sparingly)Newsprint, cardboard and brown paper, shredded or cut into little bits (use sparingly)Dry grass clippingsStraw — an Superb source of carbon

Matt Kilburn

Composting is a great way to get the entire family involved with garden activities. Everybody can participate and feel good about making a difference. And it’s a great tool for kids to learn the essentials of recycling things into the earth.

Easy measures for composting using a standard system or bin:
Choose a flat, partially sunny spot with good drainage that is convenient to get to.Create a 12-inch foundation layer in your bin using straw, leaves or woody brush material to advertise air circulation.Alternate layers of organic and green materials.Whenever you add a food scrap coating, top it off with an organic material layer.Every two weeks blend the contents at the bin. This aerates the stuff and receives the bin heated up again for decomposing matter.The pile will shrink over time. Continue to add layers until the bin is almost full.Harvest the mulch each six months. The bottom and centre should be completely decomposed and full of healthy, moist areas for worms.If your soil gets large chunks, you are able to sift it through a mesh screen.

Matt Kilburn

Choosing a bin. Composters come in many shapes and dimensions. They may be purchased at most garden stores and nurseries as well as city disposal channels.

This particular bin permits you to place compostable materials from very best and harvest compost from the ground.

Matt Kilburn

This rotating bin is the easiest one to handle. The only disadvantage is that the soil needs to be harvested all at once.

Matt Kilburn

This system is geared toward serious compost aficionados. When it’s up and running, you are able to process huge amounts of compost with staggered accessibility — meaning you always have a steady source of compost ready to go.

An active compost pile (one which you continually add green waste to) requires additional time to decompose. This system permits you to quit adding green waste to a single pile so it can finish composting. When it’s finished, use it in your garden and begin refilling the bin while another pile finishes. The next bin inside this system is left empty to allow for simple mixing.

Matt Kilburn

A worm bin is just another option which works particularly well in small spaces. Worm composting, or vermicomposting, is quite much like standard composting but works on a smaller scale and is based primarily on worms for decomposition. The worms used in these compost systems are called red wigglers; they may often be purchased along with a bin (or you can get them from a friend’s system).

Worm bins may generate great liquid and solid fertilizer for your plants. Most commonly, people purchase especially designed worm composting bins which are comparatively shallow and wide.

What’s been your experience with composting? Do you love it, or would you rather leave the scraps behind? Share your thoughts and composting hints below.

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12 Ways to Homework the Veranda for Summer

Springtime’s the best season to get your veranda prepared for greatest enjoyment in summertime. Verandas, which were essential in the American South, spread north throughout the Victorian Period. Individuals recognized the need for spending time outside and communing with nature, and shadowed places were supplied by verandas for that. In the event that you are fortunate to have one, select and select from this check list (depending up on your veranda’s state) to take advantage of yours this year.

Carla Aston | Decorator

Prune your landscaping. This helps show off the excellent railings and aspects of your veranda and helps shield them, also. I discovered the hard way that my veranda railings were being caused by my pink roses to rot. Some pruning may have saved me lots of cash in fixes.

Michelle Jacoby, Shifting Spaces

Examine the status of the ground. In The Event you are in a spot that had lots of snowstorms this winter, your veranda may require an excellent sanding or at least a fresh coat of paint or protective finish on the ground.

Soorikian Architecture

Paint the ceiling blue. Historically, porch ceilings in the South were painted blue. I heard the cause was that the bugs would be fooled by it into believing so that they’d tease away the ceiling was the heavens and maybe not nest there. Seemingly this is an urban legend, and lots of theories that are distinct persevere. No matter the cause, itis an enchanting detail which has spread throughout the united states. Check out Sherwin Williams “Haint Blue” paint to get this appear.

Frederick + Frederick Architects

Your porch swing. A swing is among the very satisfying components it is possible to add to your veranda. Give it an excellent wipe-down in the event you previously have one and clean your upholstery. You might need some clean toss pillows to switch the seem up and allow it to be more inviting.

Frederick + Frederick Architects

So that it is willing to fly, have your flag cleaned. from the helping my grandpa take out the flag every day there was pleasant weather, and folding it up correctly each evening.

By the way, do you realize that side verandas in Charleston that appear like these emerged in reaction to to some tax law? Land taxes were configured using road frontage measurements, s O all the historical houses there have what we had normally think of as along side it facing the road, down the sides with the magnificent double verandas, perpendicular to the road.


Install hooks for hanging crops. No Thing adds allure and curb attractiveness like a couple of well-put geraniums.

Anita Diaz for Significantly Above Rubies

Decide on a carpet. There are several outside alternatives out there these times that’ll not be destroyed by rain.


Make a gentle wind. Does your veranda heat up a a touch too also significantly in the summertime? Consider including a ceiling fanto develop a wind when there’s not one.

Mitchell Building Team

Make the entry to your own front do-or welcoming. Consider painting the door an emphasis colour, creating your residence amounts clear and flanking the do-or with crops.

Smith & Vansant Architects Computer

Breathe lifestyle in your furniture using a brand new coat of paint. If your classic wrought iron, wicker and wood bits are feeling somewhat rancid, shake points up and paint them a lively colour.

Alix Bragg Interior Planning

Play together with your furniture arrangement. Software your space to offer areas for reading, seeing and eating alfresco.

Birdseye Style

Light it up. You Will draw out the hours you may take pleasure in the veranda. A mixture of candle-light, sconces, flooring and dining table lamps and over-head mild provides the proper light to studying outside at twilight from dinner, to get a number of tasks.

where do you turn to get your veranda prepared for warm months? Please reveal around in the remarks section.

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