By Tim Smith
Many homeowners are quickly discovering the benefits of conservation and the danger of harmful chemicals in their yards and homes. Xeriscaping is becoming a quick answer to many of these issues. The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines Xeriscaping as “a landscaping method developed especially for arid and semiarid climates that utilizes water-conserving techniques.” But don’t worry, Xeriscaping doesn’t have to be plain and boring, it can actually create a really beautiful modern appearance to the outside of your home. There are a few basic elements to this innovative design that we want to share with all of you!
Improving the soil
Amending the soil is one of the first steps in xeriscaping. Poor soil quality leads to Read more
Water features are highly sought after landscaping design features, but they do provide a couple of challenges. First, it can be difficult to know what will and will not work in your own garden. Second, designing and installing a water feature can be a lot of work, especially if the project involves digging up and moving significant amounts of soil. This post will guide you toward the right water feature choice for your property, time frame, and budget. We also provide some handy safety and maintenance tips as well.
Planning and Designing Water Features
There are plenty of options when it comes to water features, so it is essential to have a proper plan before you get started. An up-front investment of design time will pay off later, as you avoid costly missteps. Here are a couple basic design considerations to take into account as you plan your water feature.
Moving Water vs. Standing Water
You should decide how you want the water to flow in your feature. A waterfall or burbling basin Read more
Even though we’re well into the Fall season, we’re still not in the clear from pesky mosquitos and ticks. Pests that usually die in the cold continue to spend the unseasonably warm autumn days breeding and waiting to feast. Still, we’re not about to let pesky bugs ruin the rest of the year’s backyard dinners and special events.
The worry of contracting diseases transmitted by mosquito and tick bites have become of increasing concern for humans and animals alike. Illnesses such as the West Nile virus, Lyme disease, and heartworm are unfortunately becoming more common in our longer summers and shorter winters. The West Nile virus is spread when a mosquito bites an infected bird and then bites a person. Although many people are bitten by mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus, most are unaware that they have been exposed. Few people develop severe disease or even notice any symptoms at all. Mosquitoes carry the highest amounts of the virus in the early fall, and the risk of disease only decreases when the weather becomes colder and mosquitoes begin to die off. Read more
Whether you’ve just moved into your first home or have finally settled into your last, it’s never a bad time to add a little panache to your backyard. Even the most immaculately decorated interior is incomplete without an equally beautiful counterpoint outside; however, re-thinking your landscaping need not be a Herculean task, nor an expensive one. Here are but a few ways of giving your backyard a facelift in ways that can fit any schedule or budget:
Deck out your landscape
Adding on a wooden deck may seem like a daunting task to the uninitiated, but anyone with patience and basic shop class carpentry skills can most likely hammer together a simple backyard patio. If you still really don’t feel up to the challenge, a deck is one of the most inexpensive fix-up jobs that contractors will do. However you approach it, a deck extends both the practical space of your home and Read more
When it comes to sustainable design, a rooftop garden can provide the ideal real estate for adding more green to your home. Instead of a traditional garden that requires a plot of land, a luxury that urban and apartment dwellers don’t have access to, the roof can be an ideal place to grow a garden. Designing a rooftop garden can be a collective effort that brings a community together, as the cityscape is reclaimed for a beautiful purpose.
What makes a rooftop garden so unique? Not only does a rooftop garden get plenty of sunlight, rain, and nourishment from nature, but it can also serve as an outdoor gathering space for your neighbors. A rooftop garden has the added benefit of reducing energy waste by creating a layer of green insulation that can be added to each season. From apartment buildings to commercial structures, rooftop gardens are leading the way to re-purposing valuable outdoor spaces. Read more
Incorporating water features into an outdoor space can be a refreshing way to liven up your backyard. And even if you are not quite ready to put in a pool, there are still plenty of other options.
For some people, home renovations are exciting and fun, even though they can take a lot of time and money. For other people, any home construction project is reason enough to run out the door screaming. All the noise, time, inconvenience and money can just seem like too much to handle. This is true no matter what the renovation in question – something small indoors like taking down a wall, or something much bigger outside, like installing water features. But outdoor landscaping can have a big impact on your home, your quality of life, and your ability to sell your house for a good price whenever it is that you finally put it on the market. And though these projects can take a lot of time, involve a fair amount of money, and make a big ruckus, they don’t need to be feared or escaped. Read more
Tired of spending so much money at the market? Try creating an edible landscape—before long, you’ll find yourself eating better for less! Plus, many edible plants are aesthetically pleasing, adding more than just fresh produce to your garden.
Going to the grocery store is not cheap, therefore, imagine if your garden was not only beautiful but it also helped you save money at the market. It might sound something like a fantasy but it’s actually a reality with an edible landscape. When choosing what plants to grow, select options that look great but instead of simply growing leaves and twigs, also grow lemons, oranges, or rhubarb! While it’s easy to assume edible plants take more effort and money to grow, the truth is that some of the most durable and low maintenance plants are delicious too!
The Versatility of Rhubarb
Rhubarb is one of the many edible plants that is easy to grow and does not attract pests. Unlike lettuce and spinach, these plants will last for years without any added effort on your part—providing multiple years of food. Rhubarb is less popular than other lettuce related plants but there are a number of recipes one can add it to such as wine, jams, and pies. For great rhubarb recipe ideas visit Rosalina Creasy’s site. A professional at growing edible landscapes, Rosalina suggests, “(Rhubarb) needs at least 2 months of winter cold and is not productive in areas with very hot summers…. choose an area with afternoon shade for coolness.” This being said, most edible landscape requires at least 6 hours of sun per day, although this is not a set standard so always look into the specifics for each plant. Read more
A garden is not complete without paths and walkways. These decorative areas offer a beautiful focal point, while also saving wear and tear on your garden! When properly planned and installed, pathways are affordable and full of benefits.
Have you ever been in someone’s yard and wondered how to get from where you currently stand, to another location without stomping over any bushes or getting your sneakers muddied up in the wet grass? Without paths and walkways, a garden is incomplete—leaving visitors unsure how to get around. While this is bad news for your plants and grasses that are sure to get stepped on, this also means that your yard is lacking that extra pop of style that a pathway will add.
Reasons to use Garden Walkways
Although commonly forgotten, there are a number of reasons to use paths and walkwaysthroughout your landscaping. For starters, if garden visitors have no place to walk, they will tromp over your flowers, and stomp through your bushes. On the other hand, with a walkway conveniently accessible, your plants receive less unnecessary strain. Another reason to create a pathway is to add an air of mystique. Pathways lead somewhere, and invite the visitor to explore. Opportune indeed, walkways are also an easy way to add detail and style to your garden. Unlike plants or grass, many paths require little to no maintenance on your part—you don’t have to water or fertilize concrete! To some the thought of pouring concrete is enough to forget the idea of a pathway altogether, but there are many other ways to create walkways, most of which can be done with your own hands, based off of your own creativity, and at extremely affordable prices. Read more
Invite a world of flying flowers into your garden. Butterflies in the garden are a lovely accessory and a fail-proof friend; learn how to attract butterflies to any space—big or small.
Butterflies in the garden provide an amazing touch– they are beautiful, harmless, and oh so magical. It is simply amazing how they start off as a long, fuzzy caterpillar, and then climb up into their cocoon and become a lovely winged spread of unique colors. If you have children, there’s no better chance to share the natural wonders of the world—one of which just has to be the butterfly. Yet even someone as fantasy-driven as I knows that you can’t just ‘add’ any wild, free-spirited, life into your garden without his or her permission! If you want butterflies, or rather flying flowers, in your garden you will have to create an environment that is welcoming to them.
Buy a Butterfly Kit
Attracting butterflies to your garden has never been easier! Okay, so to some this might qualify as the cheater’s way to collect butterflies but it’s a great (and very easy) way to assume a large butterfly collection. Kits are for sale online, in fact as a child I had one myself and it was great fun! As soon as the kit arrives, you and your loved ones will watch the caterpillars from the wee-stages as they morph into something else entirely—simply by sprouting wings. Once your butterflies are in full-wing action, let them free in your garden. So long as you have some optimal food options for them, the majority will likely stick around. Read more
Backyard mosquito control is not hard work, it’s consistent work—learning what attracts bugs to your property will properly prepare you to ward them off!
While enjoying your outdoor patio, sitting out with friends and family on your Oxford Garden benches and chairs, the last thing you want is to be pestered by a slew of bugs—namely flies, nits, and worst of all—mosquitoes! In order to successfully manage backyard mosquito controlthere are a number of precautions you can exercise. Keeping out mosquitoes is quite similar to keeping out many other bugs, therefore by simply making a couple of adjustments to your property you can live a life relatively free of insects!
Not only do bug bites feel itchy and look icky, they can also be dangerous to our health. Bugs don’t have much preference when it comes to dinner, they might feast on diseased road kill just before coming after your arm! Since mosquitoes are known to spread West Nile virus and even Hepatitis, backyard pest control is a must. Of course, depending on where you live, the problems can be much worse—although the solutions remain the same! While you can look to chemical pest control methods, such as DEET, there are ways to organically keep your yard pest free. Read more