Tips to keep teak furniture looking its best

To survive rain, wind and sun outdoor furniture has to be tough--and no material is as prized for its rugged beauty and legendary durability as teak.

Made to last for decades with absolutely no maintenance, upkeep is more a matter of personal preference than a requirement. While some people prefer the golden color of new teak, others prefer the distinguished silver-grey that teak becomes as it weathers.

Regardless of your preference, just a few steps will make sure your teak furniture stays in tip-top shape for decades. Here are a few tips from Jeremy Smith, president of Wood Classics, a U. S.-based teak furniture manufacturer:

• Make sure you have a top quality product to begin with. Pay attention to the wood quality and construction techniques used in the furniture, as this can affect furniture's longevity.

• When looking at teak products, make sure they are really teak, not "teak-like" or "as good as teak."

• Consider the grade of teak being used. First European Quality (FEQ) is the top grade without knots, cracks or pits.

• If you prefer the natural look of weathered teak, you can look forward to virtually no maintenance. If your furniture is left outside, you will want to clean off mildew, sap and pollen annually with Olympic® Deck Wash.

• If you prefer the original rich honey color of teak, there are several steps you can take to preserve this golden color. After thoroughly washing the teak you can treat it with specialized teak cleaners and restoration products. However, using these products is time-intensive. We usually recommend that our customers either allow the teak to age naturally, clean it with a deck wash or hire a professional teak maintenance service to apply the more specialized products.

• If you're using the furniture indoors, consider finishing it to protect it from stains by sealing or varnishing it. Don't use teak oil, varnishes or sealers on furniture if you're using it outside, since this may cause it to turn black with mildew.

Backpack blowers

Backpack blowers are more commonly used by professionals and are mostly powered by 2-stroke gasoline engines. The harness, which has a blower fit into it, is worn on the operator's back. The engine and fan are also placed on the backpack frame with a hand-held hose and spout to direct the airflow. Backpack blowers are powerful, convenient and have larger, more efficient fuel tanks and air filters and therefore, longer duty cycles.

Backpack blowers with more than 40cc engines are the best with a typical blowing power of 400 cfm (cubic feet per minute) of volume at 190 mph (meter per hour). If you live in a quiet neighborhood, these units are the best choice, because they are specially assembled to control unwanted noise. Also, keep in mind that harness quality and comfort differ from one model to the other.

Performance backpack blowers generally have blowing power of more than 450 cfm of volume at 195 mph, and are named because of their high performance. Though they may be noisier than other blowers, they are fast, fuel efficient, and have a quick throttle response. Most professionals and commercial users prefer this type of units, which also has optional accessories like breathable nylon back pads and padded, adjustable harnesses.

The largest and heaviest backpack blower units available are Big-bore Backpacks, with engine powers starting at 50cc. They are also fast and may decrease cleaning time in half. Since these blowers are very powerful, they are typically used for larger areas, and tough jobs like wet matted leaves. They are most suitable for commercial uses.

How to keep your soil healthy and fertile

How to Keep Your Soil Healthy and Fertile

A successful landscape is one that lasts a long time. But

if you’re wondering what the secret is for a landscape’s

longevity then the answer lies on the soil. If your soil is

good, then you are almost always assured of growing healthy

plants.

However, not every soil in the world is built for growing

good plants. More often than not, there are several things

you have to do first before you can even plant anything on

particular plot of land. Here are some tips on how you can

have a soil that is healthy and fertile.

1. Mix your soil with compost

- mixing your soil with compost makes it better in

retaining air and water than ordinary soil can. Also, the

compost introduces more nutrients to the soil which will

help a lot in growing plants.

Creating compost can take a while, though. Active

composting, wherein you take a systematic approach in

creating compost, takes about a month.

Meanwhile, passive composting, the method where you let

nature take its course in composting the organic materials,

takes much longer.

2. Putting mulch on your soil

- mulch is any type of organic material that you put on top

of your soil. It can range from cut grass to bark. Putting

mulch on the soil can help the soil retain water better and

prevent it from eroding easily.

3. Take it easy on the fertilizer

- just because fertilizers help put nutrients on your soil

doesn’t mean you have to overdo it. In fact, too much

fertilizer can have adverse effects on your soil and the

environment in general.

Best landscaping practices

Best Landscaping Practices

In order to make a great landscape, there are certain

tried-and-tested practices that you can follow. Not only do

these practices help you create a beautiful landscape, they

also ensure that you do not waste any money and that you

are not harming the environment in any way.

Here are some of the best landscaping practices that you

can do in your own home garden.

1. Design your landscape in a way where water is retained

well. This doesn’t only go for water that comes from your

sprinklers but also storm runoffs.

By having this kind of set-up, you do not spend a lot on

watering your plants and you also help keep your

community’s water supply at bay.

2. Use fertilizers responsibly. Some people become

trigger-happy when it comes to using fertilizers on their

landscapes.

While putting in too much fertilizer can be detrimental to

the environment, using organic fertilizers or choosing

plants that are well-accustomed to the local environment

will help in curbing the problem.

3. Take it easy on pesticides and weed killers - just like

fertilizers, pesticides and weed killers can do more harm

than good if used irresponsibly.

4. Schedule watering of the plants. Watering the plants

early in the morning help in retaining the water much

longer than doing it at noon for example.

While considering the time for watering the plants may seem

like a small thing, it translates to something big when the

water supply is put into the equation.

Landscaping-around-trees

Landscaping Around Trees

Most homes have a few trees in the yard. Since they provide shade when it is too hot outside, it is only right that you landscape around the trees to make part of the beautiful scenery.

So how do you do that? The first thing you have to do is get in touch with arborist, a horticulturist or a forester. This is because planting around trees the wrong way can damaged the roots and kill the tree. Once they have established a protected root zone, you will be able to plant flowers and shrubs without any problems.

Instead of planting these on the ground, you can use planted boxes which does a great job of reducing mower damage. If you do decide to use these, be sure to maintain the soil at the original level and that the installation edging materials do not cut the tree roots.

The water requirement for plants and trees are also different. For instance, grass and plants have to be watered daily or three times a week. While the tree on the other hand only needs one application.

To prevent this from happening, you should also construct an irrigation system that is able to cater to the needs of both. You can make this happen by putting the water lines in one corridor outside the protected root zone.

But if it has to go through, make sure bore a hole only two feet below grade. Again, the improper way of doing this will compromise the tree’s stability and health.

But what if you suspect that something is wrong with tree? For that, you will have to inspect the base of the tree.

All trees have a natural root flare located at the base. If there is no flare and there is an excess fill, this has to be removed in order to save the life of the tree. Some of the work can be done by hand while the rest is done with a machine.

So if you want to landscape around trees, it is best to lay a 2 to 4 inch later of organic mulch at the base of the tree and then extend this outward to the protected root zone. Examples of these include wood chips and shredded bark. They must not be piled up against the tree trunk because this keeps the bark wet that leads to the growth of bacteria and fungi.

You must not also use landscaping fabrics or sheet plastic underneath mulch because they prevent oxygen and water going to the roots of the trees.

It is advised to prone out dead, low and rubbing branches. You must never pull on the healthy ones because this will reduce the tree’s ability to withstand heavy winds.

Irrigation must be done in the absence of precipitation. This should be done regularly during the fall until the ground freezes with periods that allows the soil to dry.

If you follow the tips mentioned, you will soon have a nice yard that surrounds a tree. Of course landscaping around trees is just one way to make your yard look good. But as this case has shown, planting flowers or shrubs into the ground and watering them is not as easy as it looks because you also have to pay attention the needs of the tree so both will be able to live.

Backyard landscaping idea

A wonderful backyard landscaping idea

A good backyard landscaping idea is one that everyone can make use of. There are many different backyard landscaping ideas and most of them are pretty good but to find the one that is right for you and that is just what your yard needs may take some reading. This article will help you to find the perfect backyard landscaping idea for your home.

A good backyard landscaping idea is to use evergreens. The use of these fabulous trees will do o much for any yard. They will add a stately nature to the feel of your home while keeping it welcoming and warm. Many people like to use deciduous trees in the yard and this is always a good idea but it is the evergreens that will give the yard the structure and the stability that it needs for a good backyard landscaping idea and design.

You need to look for a backyard landscaping idea like the one above that will benefit you all year round. Deciduous trees will not be gorgeous in all seasons, most perhaps, but not all. Evergreens on the other hand are always fantastic and they look as beautiful in the winter as they do in the summer and this is why they make for such a great backyard landscaping idea. The key to any great landscaping design is to find a backyard landscaping idea like this that will keep your yard interesting no matter what time of the year it is.

Another good backyard landscaping idea is to use hardscape. This is the use of things like rocks, fences and walls. These can make your yard look very interesting during all of the seasons. You can have climbing plants on it in the summer and spring and pretty trees around it that will look great in the winter. When looking for a good backyard landscaping idea you need to look for other options besides just plants. There is much more to landscaping than just plants and trees.

Walls and fences can frame your property beautifully and using them is such a great backyard landscaping idea because they will just accent all of your other wonderful backyard landscaping ideas. They will frame your yard as a picture frame frames a gorgeous painting. Look at this kind of backyard landscaping idea as well in your search for the one.

Landscaping tip

The landscaping tip of all time

There is many a landscaping tip out there to satisfy even the most desperate of landscapers or would be landscapers and you can find hundreds of them online. But in all of my years as a landscape artist I have come to the conclusion that while there are many different landscaping tips only a few are universal and there is a good chance that only one landscaping tip will do you any good. The landscaping tip that you need the most will be different than the one I needed because each project is different, so take your time and learn about as many landscaping tips as you can before you start your project.

The landscaping tip that everyone can learn from is to always make your yard one that will look great at any time of the year. This can be tricky because in the middle of winter many things do not look so hot. This is why it is so important to learn about the kinds of plants and trees that will still bring beauty to your home in the depth or winter and in the summer heat.

To find the plants that will make this landscaping tip work will require you to do a little more work. You will have to find out what plants will thrive in your climate all year round. Of course some will do better during certain months but you need to always have something going on that is attractive in your yard. The best place for you to find out the best plants for this landscaping tip is your local garden center. They are the experts and they should be able to answer all of your questions about what your choices in plants and trees should be. If this does not work for you then take a trip to the library and check out some books on local flowers and trees. These can be gold when you are trying to choose just the right things for your yard.

Another good landscaping tip is to layer all of your planting beds. This will bring a sense of unity and balance to your entire yard. To get this particular landscaping tip working at its best you should also use repetition in this design. Have these layers repeated throughout the yard and it will look that much better to those walking by.

A mini landscaping lesson

Landscaping has often been likened to the painting of a picture. Your art-work teacher has doubtless told you that a good picture should have a point of chief interest, and the rest of the points simply go to make more beautiful the central idea, or to form a fine setting for it. So in landscaping there must be in the gardener's mind a picture of what he desires the whole to be when he completes his landscaping project.

Should you include lots of bare open lawn in your landscaping theme? A large extent of open lusious green lawn space is always beautiful. It is restful.

This type of open landscaping adds a feeling of space to even small grounds. If you cover your lawn space with many trees, with little flower beds here and there, the general effect is choppy and fussy. A bit like an over-dressed person. Not the most visual appealing result from your landscaping efforts.

When landscaping, a single tree or a small group is not a bad arrangement on the lawn. Do not centre the tree or trees. Let them drop a bit into the background. Make a pleasing side feature of them. In choosing trees for your landscaping project, keep in mind a number of things. You should not choose an overpowering tree. The tree should have a good shape, with something interesting about its bark, leaves, flowers or fruit.

For the beauty of landscaping, the catalpa is quite lovely by itself. Its leaves are broad, its flowers attractive, the seed pods which cling to the tree until way into the winter, add a bit of picturesqueness. The bright berries of the ash, the brilliant foliage of the sugar maple, the blossoms of the tulip tree, the bark of the white birch, and the leaves of the copper beech all these are beauty points to consider when planning your overall landscaping arrangement.

Landscaping may follow along very formal lines or along informal lines. The first would have straight paths, straight rows in stiff beds, everything, as the name tells, perfectly formal. The other method is, of course, the exact opposite. You should consider the advantages and danger points in each.

In conclusion, plan for open lawn spaces in your overall landscaping design and keep a visually appealing tree to blend in the background. Think balance and you will come up with a beautiful landscaping design for your yard.

Landscaping with rocks will spotlight your yard

Taking a drive around town will reveal yards that look the same. Sure some may have beautifully manicured lawns and others may not but the overall look is the same, green grass, trees and flowers. If you’re longing to make your yard stand out from the acres of sameness adding some decorative rocks and stones will do the trick.

The addition of landscaping rocks will give your yard a style and character that most homeowners would love to have but don’t know where to start. The first step to adding some personality to your landscaping is to remove some of the grass. If you aren’t using your front lawn there’s no point in maintaining it and this will make your landscape unique.

Use a shovel or if you have access to one, use a tiller to break up the ground. Pull the rocks out of your way – these are not the kind of rocks we’ll be using for this landscaping project :)

While you’re digging, decide whether or not you have the proper drainage for your plants and flowers, if not, now would be a good time to add the appropriate irrigation system.

One addition that you can add to your front yard landscaping is to add a walkway. Having your guests use the driveway or worse, the grass, to get to your door is not the effect you’re after so think about adding a walkway. This addition will keep guests from tracking in dirt and other debris in to your home too.

One popular effect for a stone walkway is to stagger rocks all along the walk to your door. Make certain that when you do the final install your rocks are secure and they don’t move when they are walked on. To keep the rocks in place remove four to five inches of soil beneath each rock that you lay. Add a thin layer of gravel beneath the stone. This will keep your rocks and stones in place to ensure safety and stability.

When planning the walkway try to add interest by adding curves to your design. This will give your work a more distinctive yet informal look. Add smaller trees and shrubs top provide structure for your new walkway. And add some color with some easy to care for perennials. Perennials work well with a rock landscape because they are easy to care for yet they add beauty and color to the project.

Once the main plantings are in, you can start to add some smaller greens and flowers. You can add some greens in between the rocks in your walkway to fill in the gaps. Some people suggest that instead of using mulch to maintain the manicured look use river rock between the flowers. Both would work well it’s just a matter of taste and budget.

Now for the finishing touch – add some climbing vines that will wrap up and around your railing and front porch. Hanging plants can be hung from the roof of you porch or you can create a trellis for the vines and the planters. This will give it the finished look of a Tuscan garden. Decorative rocks are the final touch for this easy to do project and you’ll have a front yard that neighbors will envy for years.

Landscaping plant

Looking for just the right landscaping plant?

Finding the perfect landscaping plant is not such an easy job. There are so many different plants for you to choose from and each will have its own special ways that make is a great find for your yard. You can choose any kind of landscaping plant that will compliment your particular yard, just make sure that the landscaping plant that you choose can live in your climate. Not all landscaping plants can thrive in all areas so talk to your local plant specialist. The place where you usually get your plants may be able to help you with your selection of landscaping plant.

There are many different kinds of landscaping plants for you to choose from and some of the best ones are the ones that you would normally never think of. For example if you want to have a gorgeous border you can use sage plants. This is the perfect landscaping plant for any home especially yours. You can do so much with this great landscaping plant. Not only can you make wonderful borders with it you can also add them to pretty herb gardens.

What makes herb gardens to fun is that they are not only pretty to look at they are also practical. You can use all of the herbs that you grow as a landscaping plant in your cooking. Cooking with herbs is such a wonderful bonus to having a gorgeous landscaping plant.

When you are looking for a landscaping plant you will also need to take into consideration what time of year it happens to be. You cannot usually go into a gardening store looking for a landscaping plant in the middle of winter and find a summer bloom. Your shopping will have to be at least a little seasonal. Your landscaping plant, some of them anyway, will have to be purchased at certain times of the year.

You can find a landscaping plant that is annual or one that is perennial. An annual landscaping plant will need to be bought and purchased anew each year where as a perennial landscaping plant will grow back each year on its own. Some perennial plants like tulips for instance will double in number each year if left alone. When there gets to be too many in one spot of this kind of landscaping plant you can simply dig down and split some of them up and plant them elsewhere.

Home landscaping

Is home landscaping different than other landscaping?

home landscaping is no different than any other kind of landscaping. It is natural for people to want their home to look as fab as it possibly can, who does not want the kind of yard that the whole neighborhood is envious of? And he beauty of home landscaping is that it does not have to be hard and much of it can be done by you. All it will take a it a little elbow grease and some time to spare and you can design your own home landscaping design quickly and easily.

There are even products on the market that will help you to find the best home landscaping idea out there. You can choose to use home landscaping software for one. These programs can be a great help to you as you are trying to figure out what will suit your home and yard the best. With these types of programs you will get to see a few different layouts and options are always good when trying to narrow down your choices.

If home landscaping software programs are not for you, then you can try doing a search online for some wonderful home landscaping ideas. The internet is full of great sites that you can use to get everything done the right way. It is important to do plenty of research before you start your own home landscaping so that you keep the number of mistakes made down to a minimum. If you do make a boo-boo, don’t worry about it, any thing can be fixed.

Before you start your home landscaping you will need to also look into any gas lines and electrical lines that may be running through your yard. This is very important if you are planning to be doing a lot of digging. You cannot afford to hit any of these things, not only can it cost you a bundle to fix, it can also be very dangerous. Hitting an electrical line with a metal shovel could put an end to all of your work, your life too.

You will also need to find out about zoning restrictions that could affect your home landscaping. In some places you cannot have trees too high and even some fences are not allowed. Find out these kinds of things before you start your home landscaping work and you could save a lot of time and money.

Mower maintenance for a perfect lawn

Growing and maintaining a lush green lawn takes care and the right equipment. The right lawn mover for your landscape and proper maintenance of your equipment will ensure a nice even lawn. A good lawn mower should cut the grass and not tear or rip it out.

The first thing to consider when purchasing a lawn mover is your landscape. Is your lawn on a slope or flat ground? What type of mower can get the job done with the least amount of effort? Another factor is how easy the mower is to maintain for peak performance.

If you have to cut grass on a slope, the best type of lawn mower is one with high wheels. This will make it easier to push up a hill, or to move back down the hill with. The second type of lawn mower is a cordless or electric mulching lawn mower. The mulching mower is less messy and mulches your lawn. The third type of lawn mower is a reel lawn mower. Reel lawnmowers are environmental friendly, not contributing to pollution and are easy to use.

After deciding on the type of lawn mower to purchase, review the maintenance schedule. A good maintenance program will allow your mower to last for years to come and give your grass a better cut. Every spring, the different parts of the lawnmower should be cleaned or repaired. Spark plugs should be cleaned or replaced for good firing and nuts and bolts should be checked and tightened where necessary.

The underside decking should be cleaned throughout the season to remove build up of grass and dirt. Cleaning the grass and dirt will also help in preventing the spread of diseases in grass. In order to clean the deck of the lawnmower, you should first empty the gas tank and make sure that the spark plug is not connected. You can then stand the mower up on its side and spray the mower with water. You can then scrub off the rest of the dirt and grass that is stuck on the mower. Make sure to dry the mower after you have finished rinsing it off, to make sure that none of the parts rust.

Your maintenance should also include checking the oil and air filters. The air filters should be cleaned or replaced on a regular basis. Before removing the filter to replace, make sure that you know whether it is paper or foam. The oil in your lawn mower lubricates the engine. Be sure you read the operating instructions on the type and amount of oil your mower uses.

Another important part of maintenance is sharpening the blades every one or two months, depending on use. Sharp blades ensure a clean cut rather than ripping out the grass. This can be easily done by removing the blade from the mower and sharpening it with a file.

When mowing season is over, there are certain steps to properly store your lawn mower for the winter. It is advisable to remove the oil and gas, and clean the exterior.

With consistent and proper care of your lawnmower, you will be able to keep your lawn looking great through the seasons and years, and your mower will last for years too.

Giving your home a step-up in curb appeal

The next time you pull up to your home and think it's looking a bit run-down, think of what it might look like to a discriminating homebuyer. In today's competitive real estate market, curb appeal is among the most important challenges homeowners face. If the siding on your home is in need of repair, drive-by homebuyers will just keep on moving.

That's one reason many homeowners are opting for long-lasting, low-maintenance siding. One popular brand, WeatherBoards™ FiberCement Siding by CertainTeed, offers the visual appeal of natural wood with the lasting durability of a modern material. In fact, WeatherBoards features the most authentic wood grain in the industry, which allows homeowners to enjoy the appearance of wood without all the upkeep.

A blend of Portland cement, sand, wood fiber and specialty additives, this fiber cement siding has a less porous surface than others. In other words, it holds paint well. So you will spend more time admiring your house and less time worrying about maintaining it. This siding also comes in a broad selection of pre-finished colors and stains.

Selecting siding that works well with your home may seem overwhelming with so many shapes, styles and trims on the market today. Be sure to look for brands that continually earn recognition for appeal and performance. WeatherBoards in particular consistently outperforms wood and other old-world materials with its overall durability and natural style. It also comes with a Class 1(A) fire rating, is resis-tant to wood-boring insects and UV rays, and features a 50-year warranty.

What is landscape architecture

Many times I have been asked what is the difference between a landscape architect and a landscape designer. Hopefully the following will answer this question.

The American Society of Landscape Architects, ASLA, provides the following:

"Landscape architecture encompasses the analysis, planning, design, management, and stewardship of the natural and built environments. Landscape architectural projects include design of public parks, site planning for commercial and residential properties, land reclamation, urban and community design, and historic preservation. Examples of landscape architecture include Central Park in New York City, TRW’s headquarters outside Cleveland, the “Emerald Necklace” of green spaces and parks in Boston, Sursum Cordan Affordable Housing in Washington, D. C., preservation of Yosemite Park and Niagara Falls, and the landfill reclamation of Fresh Kills in New York. Landscape architects have advanced education, professional training, specialized skills, and are licensed in 47 states."

What is the difference between a Landscape Designer and a Landscape Architect?

The national professional association is the American Society of Landscape Architects, based in Washington. ASLA full members have graduated from an accredited landscape architecture program, have 7 years of education and/or professional experience and are state licensed. In Michigan, as well as all other States, a three (3) day LARE examination administered by the Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards is required to be passed for state licensure.

Landscape designers do not have these professional credentials. Many state and local governments require designs to be stamped with a state registered Landscape Architect's seal.

What can I expect the landscape architectural design process to be?

Various architects may have different approaches, yet all are aimed at the same result. Make sure you're comfortable with the steps that the Landscape Architect defines. A typical process includes:

· Pre-planning - As the client, you discuss your desires with the architect and provide background, priorities, and any basic design guidelines. You'll work together and define the overall scope and timeline. The result will be a proposed budget and statement of work. The landscape architect will then prepare a contract for you to sign.

· Project Planning - Further preliminary details are developed with you about the site and its function and usage. The site is analyzed and the Landscape Architect creates a list of development priorities, which you'll approve.

· Preliminary Design - A review of the site, usage requirements, and environmental conditions are undertaken to create preliminary drawings. The Landscape Architect will show you design and presentation drawings showing the overall site concept. Initial construction cost estimates are provided, which you review and approve.

· Final design - Further detail is added to the concept. Material is selected and initial construction documentation is created. Where necessary, cost estimates are revised.

· Documentation - Additional detailed specifications and drawings are developed and provided to you for approval. The Landscape Architect may give you construction documents to assist you in soliciting bids from contractors and may help you review bids.

· Installation - Depending on your contract, the Landscape Architect may play an active role in representing you in your interaction with the contractor and provide on-site supervision. At the close of the project, the Landscape Architect will make a final inspection.

How do I find a good landscape contractor?

If you're going to need referrals to contractors and other service providers as part of your project, ask the Landscape Architect about these people. They will typically have an array of competent people in the industry for you to contact.

What's included in the landscape architecture contract?

Any reputable Landscape Architect will provide a written contract before beginning a project. This agreement will specify in detail the exact work to be done, the work schedule, the amount and payment terms of the landscape architect's fees, and the responsibilities of each party to the contract.

As a registered landscape architect in the State of Michigan and principle architect with Sexton Ennett Design, LC, a landscape architectural firm in southeast Michigan, I am particularly aware of the professional responsibilities related to landscape design. See: http://www. sexton-ennett. com

If there are nay questions please feel free to contact the ASLA or me.

Landscaping diy

Landscaping DIY: Learning the Basics

Landscaping DIY style can be successful only if one has learned about the basic principles regarding landscaping in general. Whether you are borrowing a certain landscaping idea that you found in a magazine or on the Internet, knowing about the basic landscaping principles would be able to help you understand what you would be doing later on. Knowing about these principles can even help you improve your own creativity as you try to develop your own landscaping ideas.

One of the basic principles of landscaping is aiming to achieve some form of unity in design. Unity, as a principle, should be considered as one of your main goals in landscaping design. Unity can either be applied in the form of consistency and repetition. Repetition creates unity in landscaping design by repeating similar elements such as plants, plant groups, or other types of decor throughout the landscape.

Consistency creates unity by enabling some or all of the various elements of a planned landscape to fit together and be considered as part of a whole. It can be achieved through the consistency of character of the different elements such as height, size, texture, color schemes, etc.

Another important principle essential for landscape design is balance. Balance is a sense of equality in the overall design. There are basically two types of balance being employed in landscape design. Symmetrical balance is characterized by the equal spacing of the matching elements in the garden design. A garden design strikes up a symmetrical balance when the elements share all or part of the same shape, form, groupings, colors, theme, etc.

Achieving asymmetrical balance in garden design can be a little more complex. While element characteristics such as textures, forms, colors may remain constant to create some unity, some shapes and design may be more random. In achieving this form of balance, it is often essential to makes use of separate or different themes in the landscape design but with each one having an equal yet different type of attraction.

Another principle to consider in landscape design is natural transition. This principle can be used to avoid radical or hasty changes in your landscape design. Transition is basically gradual change. It can best be shown in terms of plant height or color. Natural transition can also be applied to all the other elements in the landscape such as textures, shape and size of the different landscape elements.

The transition can be achieved in the natural means by gradual, ascending or descending, arrangement of different elements. A good example of achieving natural transition would be employing a stair step effect from large trees going to medium trees then to shrubs and then finally to bedding plants.

Simplicity is another basic landscaping principle that can be one of the best guidelines you can follow when just beginning landscaping DIY. The aim to just keep things simple can provide certain advantages to begin with. One is that you can achieve more by doing less. Improvements can be done later.

Picking two or three basic colors to use for the landscape and then repeat them throughout the garden design is a means of keeping things simple. Keeping the use of decor to a minimum and limited to a specific theme is also a means of achieving simplicity in garden design.

Do your own landscaping design

Know what I love about getting the garden all cleaned up, it stays that way for much longer than when you get your home all cleaned up.

More and more people are turning to landscaping their gardens, not just planting a tree here and a shrub there but looking at their garden as they would look at the inside of their home. More thought as to the overall look and appeal and how plants can compliment each other.

The results are very rewarding. There is so much help too if you are not confident in the planning, your nursery, wonderful landscaping books, TV and radio shows and the Internet are all there waiting to guide you.

Be careful with books, make sure the book is for your area and the plants suggested for a design are suitable for your part of the world.

It's fun to get a graph pad and do your own design, give it a try and you could surprise yourself.

One word of advice, if you purchase plants from the big chain stores and they have been in air - conditioning or inside a building even with the shade cloth inside/outside style of shop, never take the plant home and put it in the garden straight away.

Take about three weeks acclimatizing the plant. Keep the plant inside or on an enclosed patio and gradually over the three week period, increase the outside time and decrease the inside time. Doing it this way you have a better chance of the plant surviving and growing into a beautiful specimen for you.

You can quite often pick up some bargains in the plant department, doing the acclimatizing can save you money.

Gardens like everything else has trends. These trends usually follow the interior decor trends. This is a good thing as the outside and the inside will compliment each other.

If your home is cottage style, then a garden along the cottage lines would look great and you would have the flowers to decorate your home to add to the look. A modern minimilistic interior then a minimal no fuss landscaped garden.

Landsscaping and gardening can improve your stress levels too. Feeling a bit stressed about something, take yourself out into your garden and potter, tip prune, pull out a few weeds, water a few plants, separate a few clumping plants and pot up for later Give yourself at least a half hour and feel the stress go.

Works for me, hope it does for you too.

Landscaping and gardening, wonderful!!!!

Carmel Baird

CTBaird Copyright © 2006

Copyright © 2006 by CTBaird All Rights Reserved

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Commercial outdoor lighting

Luminous billboards, shop signs and twinkling lights create a fairy tale ambience, luring bargain hunters and casual observers to malls, eating places, gaming centers and commercial establishments. Las Vegas would be a desert town if it did not have glitzy, leering neons in all shapes and designs shining in the night sky. Or imagine a scenario where there is a single commercial outdoor light for a cluster of salons and stores. Outdoor lighting evolved over the years and in process lost its bearing. The abundance of electricity gave place to haphazard placement and usage leading to energy wastage and pollution. It is a health hazard as too much exposure causes eye problems and momentary blindness leading to automobile accidents. Poorly lighted or skewed fixtures have similar effect as in glares or rotating beams inconveniencing neighbors and residents.

Whatever the after effects of too much or too little, commercial outdoor lighting enhances the location and is best possible advertisement for product and premises. Excessive use multiplies the electricity bill of the establishment. The answer to this is an environmentally efficient commercial outdoor lighting fixture powered by solar energy. This is economical and environment friendly as only fixtures responsive to this lighting system are used. Another way to save on electricity bills is usage solar energy or new LED or light-emitting-diode technology to create brighter lights. LED technology is efficient and can be used effectively in commercial areas.

With urban areas expanding and rebuilding, commercial outdoor lighting is much in demand. Streets, schools, colleges, shopping and financial establishments, cultural and sports centers all require appropriate lighting arrangements. One need not invest in old designs but select contemporary and modern designs that are durable and water-resistant. Other contemporary designs in commercial outdoor lighting include bronze fixtures mounted on matching fiberglass poles ideal for parking lots or recreational areas. Another popular design is cobra head fixture perfect for parking lots, highways or city streets.

The history of the gnome

: Greeted by a garden gnome people often grimace in horror and mutter some displeasure while thinking how anyone could anyone have one of those in their back garden. But we’re also told ( from people in the know) that there are approaching four million of them in southern Germany and if you know where to look there’s quite a few in the US aswell. Well it doesn’t surprise me about the Germans, since the first gnomes graced us with their appearance about 160 years ago. The first logged appearance was in the UK about 1840 in Lamport Hall. According to local myths gnomes are very lucky. It is documented in the 1870’s that manufacture began on a large scale. Apparantly they are meant to help around the house and garden, and in more isolated areas were meant to guard over produce and livestock. Eventually, the European gnome creators became experts and masters of their work. During it’s most popular period a gnome factory in Griebel, Germany produced over 300 different characters. In 1989, after the collapse of the iron curtain, savvy businessmen entered the market in the Czech Republic and started to produce cheap imitations of the original characters. At first they were stopped from entering Germany by a law customs officers confiscate those gnomes who were infringing copyright laws. Unfortunately, it is all now all quite slack on the German border. The grandson of the founder, Reinhard Griebel, now has just one workshop and the gnome museum. The first gnomes were always characterised as gardeners carrying out daily country tasks, but this grew to fishermen, sportsmen, musicians and many more. Then they started to model ones from people still living out of clay or stoneware. In North Devon, in the southwest of England, there is a gnome reserve. There are over one thousand pixies and gnomes in the four acre reserve. Gnome fishing equipment and hats are given out so the gnomes feel at ease. They are others that have a very different opinion about them. FreeTheGnomes. com provides Garden Gnome Liberation information and urges people to take action. They proclaim that “ Thousands of gnomes are enslaved across America. For too long we have let are neighbours usurp the rights of these gentle woodland creatures. Join the boycott. Organise a picket demonstration. Write to congress. Free a gnome. We’ll show you how.” Some groups have even crossed to the wrong side of the law. In April 2000 the Garden Gnome Liberation Front in a nighttime raid on a Paris convention stole 20 gnomes. By the way, if you’re thinking of selling your home, a study made in 2003 concluded that a gnome in your front garden would lower the price of your house by about Ј400. For more info: For more info: A house is not a home without a gnome.

Landscaping tips what mulch to use for trees

One question that comes up this time of year a lot is what is the proper mulch to use for trees. It’s easy to grasp the basic premise of mulch, but when people go to their local nursery they see many different kinds. How do you know which one to use? The short answer: wood chips.

The very best mulch to use for trees is something that is going to decompose gradually. Mulch made from wood chips fits the bill perfectly, since it rots slowly, and as an added bonus, this mulch is quite low in nutrients so will not encourage weed growth. Composted wood chips are the preferred material; these can be used as durable, low-maintenance mulch, which weathers to a silver-gray color.

The bad news is that most wood chip mulch is sold as fresh material, not in a composted or aged state. These chips also decompose slowly, but as they do decompose, microorganisms develop in the mulch and use nutrients from the soil that might otherwise be available for plant growth. Composted material will not support these microorganisms, which is why it is the preferred material. One solution to this dilemma is to buy un-composted wood chips ahead of time and compost them yourself. Put them in a backyard composter along with some leaves, twigs and bark. Make sure to keep it well aerated and turned to prevent bad smelling mulch.

Go Organic

Organic mulches are advantageous also for their soil-enhancing characteristics, as opposed to inorganic mulch materials like crushed rock, gravel, tarps, and landscape fabrics. As organic mulches decompose over time, they slowly discharge tiny quantities of nutrients and to the soil. Therefore your layer of mulch should be renewed as needed to maintain a 2- to 4-inch depth.

For individual trees, your mulched area should cover from 3 to 6 feet out from the tree’s base. It is best to clear the mulch away 1 to 2 inches from the base of plants to help prevent damage to the tree trunk from insects, excess moisture, and diseases. In fact, this is the classic mistake that many people make with mulching trees.

You shouldn’t have a pile of wood chips around your tree that resembles the thing Richard Dreyfuss made in his kitchen in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Rather, it should look more like a flattened donut. This also holds true for mulching shrubs, by the way.

Follow these simple tips and your tree should do well and require less watering and fertilizer than an unmulched tree.

The different types of soil

The Different Types of Soil

The soil is an essential part of any garden. It is where

the plants are cultivated, and if the soil is of a good

quality, the plants that grow there are evidently good as

well.

While one can’t find the perfect soil for the perfect

garden all of the time, combining different types of soils

can produce the same effect. Below is a list of the common

soil types and what they do.

1. Sand

- this type of soil is known for its lack of ability to

hold water. This can be good in a way since this quality

helps prevent the roots of plants from getting soaked in

water for a very long time.

The only downside is that one has to water the plants more

often than other soil types.

2. Clay

- gets very sticky when wet. While this type of soil can

hold nutrients very well, it is unable to let in air and

water very well which could be detrimental to plants.

3. Silt

- is somewhat of a cross between clay and sand. This type

of soil holds a lot of nutrients like clay and doesn’t

retain water well just like sand.

4. Loam

- is the most ideal type of soil because almost every type

of plants will grow on this. It is because loam is

formulated using a good balance of sand, clay and silt.

Just like silt and clay, it holds nutrients well. As for

water retention, it is midway between sand and clay since

loam can hold water pretty well without draining it as

easily as sand would.

Growing hibiscus

Before growing Hibiscus, a fair amount of planning is required. Do you want to grow them in your garden, use them for landscaping or hedging or keep them pots that can be kept indoors or out? What size and type of plant do you want?

Potted culturing has to be confined to the smaller varieties. For outdoors, the size is dependent on the use. Large types are ideal for landscaping. Those used as hedges can be medium in size. If you want the Hibiscus to blend with other plants in the garden, smaller ones are ideal. For bonsai, use old, compact plants with small leaves.

Check with nurseries or other growers in your area to ascertain which species is best suited for you. You cannot be sure of the color of the flowers unless a plant you purchase is in bloom. There are plants that give common but romantic five petal singles or ones with double layers.

First time gardeners should purchase the right gardening tools, accessories, and perhaps a book on the subject of "growing Hibiscus".

When growing Hibiscus, choose a sunny spot. The plant is tolerant to many conditions, but thrives in sandy soil with some organic content and slight acidity. Planting materials can be obtained from a nursery.

The propagation is through cuttings, hybrid-grafting and, in the case of certain species, through germinated seeds. Germinated seeds might not have all the characteristics of the mother plant.

The plant has to be watered until it establishes. Moisture retention is important, and mulching helps this. Water the potted plants from the top and not at the base. Proper fertilizing is important, but remember that excessive nitrogen will promote vegetative growth and may not help the flowering. Pesticides, insecticides and fungicides may have to be used depending on the need. It is best to opt for organic products including fertilizers. Make sure that you follow the label instructions.

Hibiscus growing is highly relaxing and satisfying.

Easy landscaping and curb appeal for florida homes

The idea that an appealing outside is your best offense for intriguing potential buyers is based on the simple concept that first impressions really count. The great thing about learning some key elements of landscaping is that you can apply them to a home that you are just settling into, as well as one you are about to sell. For those who are selling or buying real estate in Tampa Bay Florida, some extra curb appeal advice will go a long way.

Florida is popular for nature-lovers. Instead of trying to keep up with garden hobbyists, present a clean, green impression, rather than a mini-arboretum. The decluttered impression that you want for the inside, should apply to the outside. Imagine a buyer coming to view your Tampa Bay Florida real estate house and all they can think is either, "how will I keep up with all those tropical flower beds?" or "how long will it take me to undo all of this?" Not that you should tear down all your hard work from a spectacular garden; just be sure to have it freshly pruned, trimmed and weeded for buyers, so they don't feel like they have to have a green thumb if they want to buy your home.

Select your plants according to how much sun and water they need. Then, focus on buying smaller selections (or larger if your budget allows) of some of Florida's award-winning specimens like the East Indian Holly Fern, which is wonderful for mass ground cover, and the Dwarf Golden Dewdrop for a beautiful border shrub with its yellow-gold leaves. Make up for size with color, with the purple-blooming Princess Flower, or the Yellow Elder, that will grow quickly (up to eight or ten feet tall). The plants you pick should attract the eyes to the house with their complimentary shades. For example, forest green trim on a house is complimented by shrubs with yellow leaves, and homes with neutral features can always use a few splashes of dramatic color in their landscaping.

Take a picture of the front of your house with you as you visit nurseries and garden shops. Garden professionals can suggest which colors and varieties will work best for your particular home. They should also be able to tell you what kind of mulch, pebble or lava stones you should use for each. The colors of these can also add a lovely contrast of color.

Plant a few annuals near the mailbox and an odd number of shrubs or hedges in front of the house to create depth. Make your house inviting with colors that compliment, but don't complicate. If your house is basic in design, plant a few romantic Magnolias or exotic Calathea to break up the lines. Likewise, a house with a modern exterior can be dressed down for the conservative eye with neatly trimmed Serissa Foetida hedges and simple splashes of annuals.

If you want something even more simple, try buying big, decorative pots and filling them with a few shades of hardy flowers. This takes care of catching the eyes of the buyer, yet implies the perfect level of impermanence for the more fickle-natured. You can offer to leave the pots, or take them with you if the buyer doesn't want them. This can be a quick fix for those who are trying to move, sell and maintain a family and full-time job at the same time. There are plenty of ways to get elaborate with landscaping, but if you need to keep things easy, focus on complimentary colors, hearty specimens and as neat of an exterior as possible, so buyers and visitors will see your house as a breath of fresh, tropical air

Make a good first impression landscape your driveway

Is your driveway landscaped? It should be.

This includes the driveway itself, as well as the design elements on both sides. All sorts of materials from softscape options to hardscape are available to make your driveway attractive.

Make A Good Entrance

As the entrance to your home, the driveway should not be neglected. It can either be a scar on the other landscaping around the home or it can add depth to the entire look of your home. You don’t need to spend a lot of money on it either. You can be creative and choose attractive features, and have a very low cost landscape that is welcoming.

Make sure that you take everything into account before choosing your elements. For example, if you are looking for minimal work, do not plant a flower bush at the end of your driveway where the plants can be ruined by those in your neighborhood. Instead, use an attractive fence or a rock garden.

Another important aspect is the footpath to the home. Do not use any design elements that will be in the way of the normal foot traffic. You don’t want to visitors going out of their way, or worse, trampling your plants to reach your door.

Hardscape Choice

You have many options -- common ones include walls and fences, which can add distinction and accent your driveway. A small fence can add character and color to the landscape. Use hanging baskets or lanterns on the fence for more charm.

A large rock can be especially interesting, particularly when it has multiple colors. You can plant grasses and small flowers in the cracks of stones to create even more decorative looks.

Softscape Choices

On a limited budget, just landscaping along the sides of the driveway is an excellent option. It will cost little, yet add lots of beauty to your landscape design.

As for softscape options appropriate to driveway areas, many things will work, such as a flower bed or groundcover along the driveway. This will create a border that is interesting and separates the lawn from the actual driveway.

Ornamental trees and shrubs can do the same thing along the edge of the driveway. Shrubs can be cut to become topiary, which will add even more design elements to the look of the driveway landscape.

Another thing to consider is the curved driveway. If your driveway has a curve in it, a great idea is to add a focal point -- something to make a statement. For example, you can have a beautiful tree, a flower bed, or a rock garden there. Whatever it is it should be beautiful because the curve will focus attention at that point of your driveway. You can use water gardens, a wishing well, as well as many other types of elements to enhance this area and have it look amazing.

Doing these landscaping operations can completely transform the entrance to your home. In a simple, affordable way, you can add character and depth to your landscape design around your driveway.

Robotic lawn mowers keep burglars away

Most motor home owners are concerned about what they are coming home to, or rather what they might not be coming home to, after a long trip. We notify the neighbors, plug-in the timers on the lights and set the alarm system as we walk out the door. Our biggest concern was not our landscaper, but the people he hired to help.

Let’s face it, most landscapers are not going to do a thorough criminal background check on their help. It was probably the weakest link in our home protection scheme, after all it is obvious when nobody’s home. A few times seeing the RV and occupants missing is an invitation to the less scrupulous.

We saw an advertisement for a robotic lawn mower on the internet and figured we’d give it a try. It worked out better than we expected. In fact, it worked out so well I decided to start selling them. Like 80% of robotic lawn mower owners, we gave it a name, Moe.

We have the best neighbors anyone can ask for, okay the nosiest neighbors any can stand to live near. Now not only do they watch the house while we are gone, they watch Moe while we are home.

It has been more than six months since we set Moe loose in the yard and I still get almost daily reports of where it went and what it bumped into and the, “I thought for sure it was going to..” If Nielsen started rating Moe it’d probably rank above the Braves games in our neighborhood. Woe be the neighbor who missed a Moe outing!

Moe doesn’t trim hedges and doesn’t weed eat or edge, but it does a very good job keeping the yard cut. When we are going to be gone for any length of time we have a neighbor kid come over and weed eat. The hedges only need to be taken care of twice a year, so we do that ourselves.

We hadn’t missed the money we were paying the lawn service, but we noticed it when we stopped. It was like a nice little tax-free pay raise. It was so pleasurable that next year we are going to stop paying the mortgage.

We also hadn’t noticed until recently, it is kind of nice when some one else is taking care of the yard, but there is a bit of stress as well. When strangers are in and around the house - whether we are home or not - just makes both of us a little bit nervous.

This way we have the best of both worlds, the yard is professionally being taking care of and you can hardly call Moe a stranger.

Now if we can only get our neighbors to get one!

With more options to choose from homeowners can decide on a roof color that complements their siding or other exterior accessories

Things are looking up for homeowners who want to customize their curb appeal. Thanks to vibrant new colors now available in asphalt roofing, there are more choices than ever to boost a home's image. And that's good news since design experts say that 40 percent of a home's exterior is the roof.

In recent years, asphalt has become the preferred roofing material over the more traditional wood or slate. Much of this is due to its higher fire resistance, durability and new shingle styles with authentic, classic appeal. Asphalt shingles can replicate the look of wood shakes, and some, such as Centennial Slate™ by CertainTeed, even simulate the natural beauty and color variations of blended slate at a fraction of the cost.

The new color palettes go a long way to enhance designer or architectural roofing and complement the bolder curb appeal that is becoming so popular. The array of roofing on the market allows homeowners to coordinate roofing with siding, accessories such as shutters and trim, and even fencing for appealing and distinctive looks.

Such advancements in building materials provide homeowners the same freedom to customize a home exterior and reflect individual preferences through interior design. In other words, don't get stuck in the brown and beige rut. Go for the bold new generation of asphalt roof styles and make your neighbors green with envy.

History of gardening

History of Gardening

Gardening is an integral part of the history of landscape

architecture. Without the knowledge of gardening, plants

would easily die out and there will be nothing for people

to admire in lawns and parks everywhere in the world.

This article takes a peek at the history of gardening

beginning from the ancient times to today’s society.

People have appreciated having vast lawns and gardens in

their households for a long time. Even in ancient Egyptian

tombs, there are illustrations that show ponds surrounded

by different types of trees which are evidences of how

gardening flourished even at that time.

Then there’s the fabled Hanging Gardens of Babylon which is

one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. It was said

to have been built by the Persian king Darius the Great for

his wife.

The civilizations that came after Egypt and Persia

continued with this tradition of having a vast expanse of

gardens. These include the Ancient Greeks and Romans.

But gardening isn’t an entirely Western activity. Even the

ancient Chinese and Japanese have built landscapes in their

temples.

Their designs are usually aimed at replicating natural

landscapes such as mountains and rivers.

The Middle Ages brought about a revival of gardening

practices in Europe. By the 16th to the 18th centuries, the

development of such gardens was at an all time high.

And while gardening of the past was solely in the domain of

houses and temples, it played an important role in urban

planning by the time the 20th century came.

It has since then played a part in the creation not only of

houses but also of buildings throughout the world.

Defining the enduring elegance of teak

It's only natural that homeowners should look for natural materials when choosing furniture for the garden, and durable, beautiful teak is an increasingly popular choice.

It's not just teak's good looks that have made it a favorite choice for outdoor furniture and accessories. Teak is one of the most durable woods known to man. The life span of furniture made from other types of wood such as cedar, redwood and pine pales in comparison to the 75 to 100 years that teak has been reported to last.

Additionally, these types of wood need to be treated with a preservative if you want them to last a few seasons. With high-quality teak furniture, there's no need to worry about varnishing or sanding the furniture to make it look good and hold up. It only needs to be washed annually to remove sap, pollen and mildew.

Those who prefer the look of teak in its original golden brown state rather than the silvery grey that outdoor teak becomes as it ages will need to clean their furniture more rigorously with specialized teak cleaners.

Others may consider oiling, varnishing or sealing their teak furniture if they plan to use it indoors.

It's important to note that there are differences in quality within the family of teak wood. Here are some tips from Jeremy Smith, president of Wood Classics, a New York-based manufacturer of fine teak furnishings:

• Make sure that the furniture you are looking at is genuine teak, not those promoted as "teak-like" or "as good as teak."

• Consider the grade of teak and the construction methods used to produce the product. Is your furniture free of sap, pits, and open knots? Are screw holes recessed and pegged to prevent rust and staining? If so, you have a quality product.

• Next, consider style, which has expanded significantly from the traditional Adirondack style many people associate with teak. You can now get teak couches and chairs and loveseats that recline. Teak furniture can also be customized with matching pillows.

Can robotic lawnmowers save the world or at least you money

It is common knowledge that gas powered lawn mowers are serious environmental polluters. It is estimated that 1 hour of lawn mower use equals driving an SUV 100 miles. I have read that lawnmowers contribute up to 5% of the nation’s pollution. Even more alarming comparisons and statistics can be found on the internet.

Even if you are not an environmentalist, the price of gas will definitely make you a conservationist. Gas prices continue to climb. Personally, going to the gas station with my little gas can is not a trip of leisure, it has always been a chore.

Changing the oil, air filter, and regular maintenance is not what I consider an enjoyable event. John Deere charged me $129 one year to do all that, so it became a semi-annual day of bonding between me and ol’ JD.

We hired a lawn service for a year. He did a good job but his helpers made us uneasy. They seemed friendly whether they could speak English or not. One of the problems we had was we travel a good deal and we just didn’t feel comfortable having strangers running around our yard knowing we were gone. There are enough elements of risk out there without inviting it to our home.

One day on the internet I came across an article for automatic lawnmowers. We ordered it with a healthy serving of skepticism since our robotic vacuum cleaner needed to be replaced more often that our landscaper’s hired hands.

It has exceeded out expectations. So much so we decided to start selling them. They have proven to be very low maintenance and highly reliable. They do a pretty good job cutting the yard.

Technology has advanced where batteries can now power lawn mowers to do an effective job. They can mow, go back to the charger by them selves, and go back out again on a schedule without any help all season.

My wife and I can now travel freely without the worry of a self-inflicted burglary. We no longer have invited strangers running around our yard, yet we have a nicely cut lawn.

Maintenance? Once a year I change the blades. For those who live in the north the robotic lawn mower needs to be housed in the garage for the winter. Since it is all electric it doesn’t burn any gas or oil. That means no pollutants so we can all breathe easier.

Robotic lawn mowers are also very quiet. They are so quiet that they can be run at night while every one is asleep.

It costs about $7.00 a year in electricity to mow my yard. I used to spend more than that in one trip to fill up the gas container.

The biggest problem that we have is with our neighbors. My goodness they love to come out and watch it work. For me the excitement has long gone and I consider it no more of a novelty than the dishwasher. But for some reason our little robotic lawn mower continues to be the neighborhood star attraction day after day.

Robotic lawn mowers aren’t going to put John Deere or the local landscaper out of business anytime soon, but one day the do-it-yourselfers are going to be the ones that will be the neighborhood oddity.

Beat the heat - 7 tips to help your lawn survive a drought

With temperatures rising and rain fall decreasing, summer time is putting a serious strain on your lawn. If you are not careful, your lawn could end up dead. No rain and water restrictions can really take a shot at your ability to take care of your lawn. However, there are some tried and true tips that are sure to beat the summer heat.

When your lawn is suffering from a drought, these tips will help you survive:

1. Raise the blades on your mower. Taller grass provides more protection from sun and grows deeper roots, which makes it more resilient.

2. Resist the temptation to bag your lawn and use a mulching mower instead. The clippings will provide a barrier that keeps moisture in your lawn longer.

3. Aerate your lawn twice a year (fall and spring) to keep out thatch and help the roots grow deeper.

4. Sharpen your lawnmower blade. Dull blades put your grass under lots of undue stress. Stressed grass needs more water.

5. Water early in the morning and when it is not windy to avoid unnecessary evaporation of your rationed water.

6. Use a drip type irrigation system like a soaker hose. It put water in the ground, where it is needed, more efficiently.

7. Do not fertilize in the summer. Experts will tell you that fertilized lawns are more sensitive to heat and require more water.

Green is definitely a color to envy in the heart of the summer. Do yourself a favor and follow these tips to keep a green lawn that makes your neighbors squirm with envy.

Landscaping photos, capturing every step of the process

Landscaping Photos, Capturing Every Step

In landscaping design, once you've decided to venture into one, even if you are not a professional, you'll be amazed as to how many the possibilities are about what you can do.

Observing is the Key

It may be true at times that you won't know how the process was done by simply looking at the outcome. But by keen observation, you would have an idea as to what to do with your own project and by asking around, you would know how they were done. Sometimes you'll be amazed to know that such complex structures were not that complex to do.

Observing other landscapes is good. But for you to have many other options and ideas, browse through gardening magazines and books. Sometimes, you don't even have to read thoroughly on the articles about the process, you just have to look at photos to gather more ideas and add up to what you already have.

The Web is the right resource to go to when it comes to landscaping photos. Browse through sites of the professional landscapers to see their ideas. But the blog posts and personal sites of simple people who would just like to share what they made and how they made it with regards landscaping would also be worth seeing.

Through research, you'd have an idea as to what to do and what to avoid if you are planning on making your own.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

This phrase is true for landscape enthusiasts, when presented with different pictures as to how other people have done their project, one could come up with their own ideas, maybe inspired from what they have seen or a combination of two or more styles.

When you look at the photos, you'll be aware as to what colors of plants look good when they are side by side or what other structures could be built in the space provided. In this case, the research that you have to do would be minimal. Of course, you still have to be knowledgeable about the place conditions, the weather, the kinds of plants that grow in it, the soil properties. These all contribute to the success of the project.

Document it Through Photos

Pictures are really of a great help with people who wants to venture into landscaping or are pondering about what they could do with their land, even the professionals would find a great deal of help with pictures.

This is why when you are already doing your own landscaping, it is important to document each step, especially the outcome, by taking pictures. You never know how these photos could eventually help others who, in the future, may look for such and would find your pictures very useful just like how such pictures were able to help you when you were starting on your own project.

Make it a hobby to keep landscaping photos even though you are not a professional. It may serve others in the long run, but it would also remind you as to how you've transformed simplicity into an art form.

And keeping such isn't only for memorabilia's sake but also to avoid mistakes in the future regarding such activity and to learn from the process.

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