Tips to Designing a Perfect Garden

Designing a perfect garden can be a difficult task. However, with planning and some help you can successfully design the garden you wish for. The garden designing procedure should be completely functional and according to the preferences and taste of the owner. But, it obviously doesn’t mean having plant racks of a single species of plant. It would simply spoil the overall design. Factors like available space and sunlight should be considered when designing a garden.

Here are some interesting tips to help you design the perfect garden:

Garden Furniture

Adding furniture to your garden will make it eye-catching, weather permitting of course, and will provide you with more welcome space. It is important to choose the right style. It can enhance the style of your garden and blend with the surroundings and become a focal point. There is a vast range available to suit most areas in your garden. 

Hedges & Fences

Other than being used to mark your property boundary, hedges and fences can also be used to backdrop plants and water features. Classic and quirky shapes along with appealing colors can serve as a focal point and create interest. You can also be innovative and use it as a wildlife habitat or for nesting birds.

Varied Planting

Varieties of beautiful and appealing plants will show off flare in the garden and look amazing. Planting them in borders could further enhance the look of your garden. Experiment with different combinations of plants and enjoy the results.

Pathways

Paths made of beautiful stone or other kind of paving look gorgeous. Use different shapes, straight lines or clean curves. All add beauty to the overall look.

Trees

It is not wrong to say that trees are the backbone of a garden. A mighty oak or deciduous, there are many types for your garden. Even if your garden is a small courtyard, a tree can enhance its look.

Water Feature

Be it a still pond or a bubbling fountain, adding a water feature to your garden will create an appealing focal point, providing amazing reflections. If you want to attract more wildlife, water is the most important addition to your garden. However, if space is limited, consider smaller water features and aquatic plants.

Walls

The choices of material for a wall are almost endless. Choose wall material depending on your preference and budget. There are many types of attractive material available, like stone, concrete, brick, etc. Like hedges, they can be used for more than just boundaries. Walls can be used to backdrop plants or delineate areas. Vertical green walls are a popular choice among homeowners.

Lastly, make sure that you are making the best use of the space available. This would ensure that you will not have to slide things around the garden because everything will be in their appropriate places.

These are some helpful tips to help you in designing the perfect garden. Follow these to the letter and you will be able to create the garden you want.

Advantages of Garden Edging

Gardens add beauty to any home. Whether it’s small or large, it provides you with an aesthetic advantage. However, if your garden has a variety of plants, flowers and bushes, it’s important to add something that will look functional as well as eye-catching. That’s where garden edging or lawn edging comes into the picture. Garden edging is used to separate your plant beds from the grass of your lawn and it also creates attractiveness. However, edging your gardens has many other benefits.

Why Garden Edging?

It does much more than just providing aesthetic benefits. Yes, a properly edged lawn gives a clean, tidy look to your landscape, but, there are many more compelling reasons why you should get permanent edging around your lawn. The advantages associated with garden edging are discussed below.

  • Makes maintenance easier and quicker.
  • Reduces the need for frequent weeding and keeps the mulch within the plant beds, thus, reducing the need for repeated mulching.
  • Increases attractiveness and you will have a more defined pathway thus, visitors will know where to walk.
  • With properly placed edging, grass will not grow out of its place. A common problem in most gardens is that grass and even plants, grow out of the way. Garden edging will eliminate this problem.
  • Edgings will mark the areas where plants and grasses should not meet. Therefore, you can take care of your garden with ease.
  • Brings artistic value to your garden, improving the overall look as well as value of your garden.

Some agree that garden edging is not vital to plant health. However, the benefits state otherwise. Edging keeps out weeds from your plants, stopping the spreading of diseases. With properly placed edgings, you won’t have to worry about spraying herbicide often, increasing overall plant health.

Types of Garden Edging

When you visit your local gardening store, you will notice that there are various types of edging. These different types of edging fit all budgets and landscape designs. Here are some popular garden edges that are commonly used:

  • Railroad Ties
  • Metal
  • Plastic
  • Brick
  • Pavers
  • Wire Fencing
  • Aluminum
  • Concrete
  • Landscape Timbers

Choose the Right Garden Edging

Once you have decided that garden edging is the ideal solution for your gardening needs, you have to decide which option is the ideal one for you. Here are a few things you should consider while choosing the right garden edging.

Firstly, assess the design of your garden; is it formal or casual and comfortable? Also, consider the design of the edging you have selected. Secondly, consider your budget. Edging like paving stone, are beautiful but come at high prices. Your garden can also look great with less expensive material like stones from the drive or vinyl.

Thirdly, ensure that it can endure the climate of your city. Stones especially can endure all kinds of climates. Fourthly, consider the advantages and disadvantages of each type. And finally, consider the amount of maintenance the particular edging will require. Narrow edging will require more maintenance as compared to thicker edges.

Make sure you select the right garden edging to enjoy the various benefits they offer.

7 Ways to Smart Fertilisation

Fertilisation is the most important factor making your lawn fertile and green. But the question is, are you doing it the right way? Are you applying the right fertilizer in correct amounts?  The thing to remember is that fertilisation is no easy task. The following 7 tips will help you to achieve smart and easy fertilisation.

Your Lawn Doesn’t Need Phosphorus

Yes, phosphorus is an essential nutrient required for growth, but well cultivated lawns rarely need additional phosphorus. You can replenish them naturally by leaving lawn clippings to decompose after mowing.  The use of phosphorus-free products and even organic fertilisers are good enough for the growth of your lawn.

Soil Testing before Fertilisation

The easiest way to get a better idea on the condition of your lawn is by sending a sample of the soil for testing. For a good sample, from four or five areas of your lawn mix about a pint of soil by digging till its roots. To obtain comprehensive results send this sample to the Agricultural Department, it won’t cost a lot or you can even use testing kits that are available on the internet. Anyhow, when you get the results, you will know the exact values of nutrients, pH content and organic matter in your soil and then fertilise it accordingly.

Fertilise At the Right Time of the Year For Best Results

Make sure that you fertilise your lawn at the right time of the year. If your soil test indicates the need for fertilisation, it means the grass is in the perfect condition. If your lawn has cool season grasses, you will fertilise them in autumn after the summer heat ends. However, for warm season grasses, fertilise them after you cut them at least three times.

Avoid High Nitrogen Fertilisers

If tests indicate that your lawn needs nitrogen, don’t just go adding it excessively. More than two-thirds of high nitrogen products will vaporize or run off without having any effects on the grass. Hence, it’s just a waste of money.

Keep the Weather in Mind

Before you fertilise, check out the weather forecasts. Fertilising your lawn in drought will do no good. If slight rain is expected, that’s the ideal time to fertilise because water is also necessary for photosynthesis.

Compost Can Be Applied Anytime

Unlike fertilisers, compost can be applied to lawns at anytime.

Mow Properly

Finally, all of your best fertilisers and hard work will go to waste if you do not mow your lawn right. Mow properly and evenly without overlapping or leaving any spaces. Don’t trim during the rainy season. However if you need to mow in the dry weather make sure that you just trim from the top.

Follow these smart tips to garden fertilization and waters as your lawn gets healthier and greener!

How to start your own organic garden

Organic gardening is gaining popularity. More people avoid consuming food and vegetables containing chemicals and synthetics. Organic gardening is great for the health of your family as it greatly reduces the amount of pesticides you consume and helps to protect the environment from overloading of toxic chemicals. Yes, organic gardening can get a bit expensive if you are hiring someone to install and maintain your garden, but with these tips you can start one on your own. So, let’s roll up your sleeves and get started.

Prepare the Soil Properly

Healthy soil helps strengthen plants. To get best results from your new organic garden, you will have to ensure that the soil is properly conditioned. The plants need food just like you. So make sure that the vegetables are getting sufficient nutrients. The best way to measure the quality of your soil is by getting it tested. Use a Ph testing kit or it would be even better if you send a sample of the soil to your local agricultural office. You can then tailor your gardening program according to the results.

Ensure that your soil has plenty of humus (organic matter). Use manure from livestock that have been humanely raised. Do not use manure from animals that have consumed meat.

Composting

All gardens can benefit from composting. The best compost in your garden will form the correct ratio of carbon-rich and nitrogen organic waste when mixed with soil, air and water. Following proper techniques, you can even make the best compost in your organic garden.

Choose the Right Type of Plants

Choose the right type of plants and plant them in a good spot keeping in mind the light, moisture, drainage and soil quality. Remember, the happier and healthier your plants are, the more resilient they will be. If you are planting your own, make sure that you get seedlings raised without the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. It would be best suited if you buy them from the farmers’ market and they might even have other varieties suitable to your area.

Plant the Crops in Wide Beds

Plants that you will be harvesting such as, vegetables or flowers, should be grouped tightly in beds and planted in places you don’t walk on. This reduces water waste and weeding, it will also help you in targeting nutrients and compost. Sufficient space between each row helps repel fungal attacks and increases air circulation.

Watering

The best time to water the plants is in the morning. Mornings are cooler, without strong winds. This means the amount of water that is lost due to evaporation is reduced to a great extent. Remember, you just want to water the roots, not the greenery. Experts recommend that one or two applications a week on plants encourages deeper rooting, giving you stronger plants.

Control Weeding

Pulling weeds by hand is hard work. You can further reduce the number of weeds by applying mulch and it also helps in protecting the soil.

Harvest

After weeks of hard work and labor, don’t forget to harvest the fruits. The more you harvest, the more the plants will produce.

Following these tips and putting in a little effort will ensure that you grow a beautiful organic garden. You will be able to enjoy food and vegetables that are natural and free from any sorts of chemicals and synthetics.

A Guide to Water Features for Your Garden

One of the newest trends in gardening is water gardening. An aquatic element, such as a pond or waterfall, can transform your garden and become an astounding point of attraction. Also, the use of lighting, plants and fish is becoming increasingly popular and will enhance the overall look of your garden. There are several options available. However, make sure you choose the right spot for your water garden, as it cannot be relocated once it has been established.

Here’s a quick and easy guide to help you in your water gardening endeavors.

Plan Ahead

The best way to start is by having a precise plan. Things like location of your water feature and equipment you need should be determined when planning your water garden.

Budget

Determine the amount of money you are ready to spend on this project. Building a water garden is a major investment that adds great value to your home. Proper planning prevents mistakes and cost overruns.

Size of the Feature

There is no limit to the size of your water garden. Choose the correct dimensions that will suit your landscape. However, if your garden is large you have more opportunities to innovate.

Where Should It Be Located?

After you have selected the water feature you are interested in, you must decide the perfect location for it. It is preferable to choose a place that gets plenty of sunlight and where it can be easily observed from your home.

Plant & Fish Selection

Fish alone are a beautiful attraction. Choosing the right plants further adds to the beauty and will keep the water free from debris. You can add goldfish and also mosquito fish to the water. When it comes to plants, there are many options you can choose from. You can get plants that will submerge in water or the ones that will float. Getting plants for your garden will not only increase the attractiveness of your garden but will provide oxygen and keep your water garden healthy.

Streams & Fountains

Fountains can be kept freestanding in a selected area in your garden or can be constructed within your water feature. Fountains supply oxygen to your plants and fish, they also act as a sound barrier, enabling you to enjoy and relax the feel of nature. Streams are usually used as a connection, usually between a waterfall and a pond. It will require a pump to move the water back to the waterfall and things like erosion and the development of silt should be considered before thinking of a stream.

Lighting

Incorporating lighting will greatly enhance the way your water garden looks at night and complements the features and focal points beautifully.

Algae & Perennial Management

After the completion of your water garden, perennial management and algae management should be taken care of throughout the year. Algae formation is a huge problem, but can be avoided by controlling the amount of nutrients introduced in the water garden and by the reduction of feeding and fertilizing. Also, remember to replace the water after a period of time.

Water gardening does not take more time than normal gardening, but there is no denying that it can make your garden look much beautiful than it is now.

Organic Gardening with a busy schedule

As Autumn gets closer, none of us can wait to get active in the garden, eagerly checking if the soil is perfect and warm enough. But then things start shifting into high gear and you get busy. Does that mean you give up your gardening plans?

Not at all!

Just follow these really simple and time saving ideas that are guaranteed to bring positive results from day 1:

Make a Plan
A well-laid plan always helps, as it will save you time when deciding how to spread different plants in the garden.

Make Your Bed!
You can quickly make beds by simply slicing under the soil using a spade, flip it upside down, and cover the area with the help of 3 to 4 inch wood chips. Wait a few days before planting.

Keep your Tools Close
Reducing the trips to your shed will save you time. So keep your tools at hand.

Cut the Weeds
When weeds such as lamium grow on your mats, don’t go removing them one by one. An easy method to remove weeds is by using a sharp spade, slice under the weeds, and turn them over, thereby burying the leaves.

Use Mulch
Mulch is good for the fertility and health of the soil as it conserves the plants from excessive moisture and greatly reduces weed growth. It also enhances the appearance of the area, therefore efficiently spreading the mulch using a rake or bow around your garden.

Water your Garden Wisely
Don’t just go over-watering the plants, as they need specific amounts at different intervals. Soaker hoses can save you loads of time, as they slowly irrigate a part of your garden with low water pressure. Don’t forget that the tender seedlings you planted still need to be watered by hand.

Use Compost
Compost is extremely fertile for soil, by applying compost you are enriching your soil with much needed nutrients. You can make compost by storing garden waste materials in compost bins, but the bins are expensive. However there is a cheaper way out. Store your waste in a fenced off area of your garden. This way you won’t have to wheel barrow compost back and forth to your garden. Add the compost to each side of the beds and you will definitely enjoy the fruits (and veggies) that you harvest!

Harvest:
Collect your harvest in a basket. The basket acts as a strainer, quickly rinsing off the dirt and debris from the fruits and vegetables.

Keep Taking Small Steps
When you are busy, every minute is valuable. However, take a few minutes in the garden whenever you get the time so that garden chores don’t pile up. For example, cut a few weeds while taking your dog out for some fresh air, or remove dead plants while waiting for the school bus with the kids.

By following these easy tips, you will be able to transform your garden the way you desire. Plan well and work hard. Good luck!

Gardening Tools: What You Need

Don’t go overboard when purchasing tools for your gardening endeavours. There are many different types of tools and gadgets available on the market, all promising ease in use and efficiency when it comes to gardening. Buying these specialised tools can be efficient but can prove expensive too. But, you really just need a few tools in your garden shed.

The various tools have been discussed below.

Hand Trowel

These miniature shovels are perfect for planting small vegetables, herbs, annuals and digging out weeds. If you have the budget, get a trowel that is made from stainless steel, as it is more efficient than a normal one. Trowels are durable and usually have a rubber grip for comfort when using them.

Digging Fork

This tool is essential for lifting and dividing perennials, turning compost and loosening soil. But be careful while you are purchasing this, as you want a digging fork that typically has foot rests and 4 square tines for a comfortable dig. A good quality digging fork will have stainless steel or forged head, along with a hardwood or fiberglass handle.

Rake

A sturdy rake is a must to clean out your beds and rake fallen leaves on your garden lawn. If on a budget, you can consider getting a plastic rake. It’s less expensive and fairly sturdy. Also, if you want no harm to your plants while you rake, bamboo and steel rakes are a good option.

Hand Cultivator

This hand tool is useful and effective when it comes to removing small weeds or roughing the soil up for seeding. Look for one that is made from molded or forged steel, or one that has a steel head that is properly attached to a handle.

Loppers

If you have shrubs and trees in your garden, getting these loppers is necessary. Perfect for removing branches, this tool is ideal for pruning and shaping jobs. Look for one that has sharp blades and a strong connection between them, and either a wood or fiberglass handle attached properly to the blades.

Bypass Pruners

Necessary for all types of jobs in your garden, be it gentle shaping or deadheading and removing spent foliage, this tool can do it all. A good pair of these is usually expensive. However, getting a mid-range brand is also alright as they are of good quality. Look for one that you easily use for sharpening and cleaning.

Spade

Spades are square-headed shovels that have fairly small handles. This tool is perfect for digging plantation holes, removing sod, edging beds, and moving small amounts of soil. Look for a spade that is strong, with a steel head and wooden or fiberglass handle. This is one tool that you should invest in. Every little penny spent would be worth it, as these will last a long time.

These are the various tools needed to fulfill your gardening needs. However, be careful while purchasing and ensure that they are of good quality. This way, you will be able to have a nice garden that looks great!