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Category Archives: Home and Garden

Build A Liner Pond

The liner pond gurus such as the “Liner messiah” with his own magazine and catalog, recruits unsuspecting followers with a “Build a Liner Pond Day”, and shows how easy it is to get something for next to nothing. Here is what these liner pond guys do:

o Lay out the pond with a garden hose

o Remove the sod and dig the hole

o Drop in our guaranteed liner

o Fill with water

o Drop in our pump

o Run our pipe

o Throw a piece of our liner on the pile of discarded dirt

o Stick in our filter

o Cover pile of dirt with loose rock

o Turn on our pump

o Throw in your fish

o Collect your money and split.

Does this sound a bit harsh on the pond liner industry? Well, here is “the rest of the story. “I am going to add a few more items that the liner pond guys omitted:

o Ground squirrels

o Gophers

o Mice

o Rats

o Chipmunks

o Moose

o Sharp rocks

o Heavy rocks

o Falling rocks

o Sharp objects

o Tree roots

o Plant & weed roots

o Leaky drain seal

o Leaky skimmer seal

o Kids with sharp or pointed objects

Did the liner pond guy offer you a discount if any of the above occurred in your pond? Here is what you would have had to do if any of them happened in your newly-built liner pond (and I know the Liner Guy did not give you this list):

o Take out the fish

o Turn off the pump

o Take out the loose rock (hope you did not use too many)

o Pump out the pond

o Take out the pump

o Take out the liner

o Spread out the liner on the lawn

o Clean off the dirt and algae

o Inspect every square inch of the liner for holes.

(Sure, there are short cuts, but if you assume you have fixed the problem after patching a hole, put everything back and then discover there was more than one hole, you might be a tad irritated. Remember this rule of thumb: one pinhole and you can lose five gallons of water every 24 hours!)

o Patch the hole or holes

o Repeat the whole process over again, only in reverse.

Hey, sound familiar? It should, with the exception of laying out the garden hose and digging a hole, you have just built another water feature!

If it had been done the professional way to begin with, all this time to tear it apart and put it back together could have been used to design and build another permanent project with steel and concrete.

Front Yard Landscaping

When choosing and setting out plants in the front yard or any landscaping for that matter, you need to consider more than just how things will look. You should also consider other factors such as sun or shade, duration of sun or shade, soil type, purpose, the elements, and what specific plants will require or do in the future. There are also a few other considerations such as how close to plant to the home and its foundation.

When setting out plants in the front yard, place small shrubs and bushes 4 to 6 feet away from the home. If set closer than this, they could be deprived of sunlight or rain because of a wide overhang from the roof. They could also get fried from intense heat reflecting off of the wall. Placed away from the home in a wider staggered row rather than a narrow row, they also add a 3d effect to the landscape that makes the home seem more substantial.

Another consideration that most folks don’t think of is the long term effects of planting around the foundation of the home.

Keep in mind the space that plants and their roots will occupy at maturity. Roots are a powerful force that can find their way through rock. They also don’t seem to have much trouble with foundations.

Most plants, of course, require water. Watering, and especially flooding plants and beds around foundations creates a potential for a damaged foundation. This doesn’t always happen but it does happen. If you’re going to have plants close to the home, spot watering individual plants, a drip system, or even a low profile spray is safer than flooding the entire area.

Lime leach from concrete is a problem that I see quite often. It’s such a common problem because it takes a long time to show up. Over time, lime leaches out of the concrete into the soil causing the soil to become alkaline. If the ph of the soil gets too high, plants will start to look sick and yellow. Usually, keeping the beds tilled with a lot of organic matter will buffer and prevent this problem. Adding sulfur and organics to beds that are already affected will help turn the problem around.

Poolside Landscape

The space chosen as the area to build and design a pool is very important and thus, should be chosen carefully keeping in mind the right proportions and the overall area of the house. This spacing and designing again may vary depending on the look and styles such as formal, radical, classical or simple. The materials chosen to use as the border of the pool should be water friendly. The plants and herbs chosen to decorate a poolside landscape are usually the sort that do not grow tall or spread themselves too much. Leaves falling from these branches may make the water dirty and make the cleaning process more difficult. In case of big plants and trees, it is advisable to place them at a considerable distance from the pool water, to keep the water unaffected from leaves or droppings of the birds. Also, the roots of some plants may affect the foundation of the pool border and destroy it.

A poolside landscape can be adorned with plants with glossy leaves, and fixtures of bright colors complementing the blue color of the water to extend a glamorous look to the landscape. Too many flower plants are not recommended to decorate the poolside landscape, as they can attract birds and insects making it dirty and troublesome to clean.

Apart from plants, statues, fountains, wooden benches, swings also provide an exotic look to the landscape. Nevertheless, proper positioning and suitability with space and landscape can be considered to maintain the beauty of it. Various books, online courses, and professional outdoor designers can be found, to help carry out the job.

About Solar Lighting

Solar lights create a focused ambient to your garden, patio or garden. They come in various different type that can be used to beautify your yard and give it a warm, cozy feeling. They provide lighting effects for pathways, ponds, gardens and patios. Solar Lights create areas of interest all year long.

They are easily installed and do not require any external wiring. They are totally free-standing. All you do is fit the components together, press the spike into the ground or screw onto a wall mounting or place in a strategic place to give the affect you desire.

They charge during the day to generate a reserve life of 8 hours to light your home’s outdoor area. They are constructed of various different materials,including copper, plastic or stainless steel. They are sold in individual pieces or sold in sets of varying numbers. These types of lights add a touch of class to your space while providing cost efficient safety and accenting to the home.

Solar lights can add that final touch to that landscaping project you just completed. Solar lighting can be used to outline your entire property without having someone come in and lay wiring. They can be moved around until you get your desired affect.

Mailbox Beautification

One way to start is to simply surround your mailbox with flowers. Just keep a few things in mind. First, you need tall, upright varieties that won’t get dwarfed by the mailbox. But don’t get so carried away that you block your letter carrier’s access. Black-eyed Susans, threadleaf coreopsis, purple cornflowers and other daisy family members will form a colorful cluster. Additional distinctive alternatives would be dwarf or medium hybrid sunflowers, hollyhocks, or hardy hibiscus. Decide whether you want your flower bed to stick out or blend in with the surroundings. To make it more prominent, mulch heavily and install a border of metal edging, stones, or tiles.

Traditional climbing varieties can make a very successful mailbox mask but will need a better foothold than the standard four-foot post. Install a trellis behind the post firmly supported by metal stakes, and train your climatis or wisteria around the post and trellis.

Ornamental grass can be planted into the late summer or fall for an exotic visual touch. You’ll need to maintain your grassy oasis to keep it from becoming a thicket–ornamental grasses grow slowly but steadily. Some showy varieties include Flame grass, which turns blazing orange-red or purple in the fall, and the giant varieties such as the 12-foot ravenna grass with its two- foot-long flower stalks.

Ponds and Waterfalls

Who wouldn’t like to have a water garden on their property, or a flower and vegetable garden, or even a wonderful orchard with oranges, apples, plums, peaches, lemons and avocado? Maybe a corral with a horse or two. So much for thinking about a garden with most ocean front property. You’re lucky if you have enough land to be able to walk between the houses!

We can now see why water gardens with waterfalls and ponds are becoming so popular. If you can’t take your home to the water, just bring the water to your home!

Why is it so peaceful, yet still invigorating at the beach? Is it the sight or sound of the ocean waves, the smell of the salt water? You may be surprised to discover that the actual feelings of peace, relaxation, stress, and anxiety release has little to do with the sight or sounds or smell of the ocean. Extensive research has shown that moving water puts additional negative ions into the air. Breathing this supercharged air has an extremely positive effect on our body. The ocean creates the greatest quantity of negative ions of all moving water.

Therefore, it has the most beneficial effects on our moods while drawing the largest crowds. For the same reason, waterfalls create such pleasant and relaxing environments. You have probably noticed how wonderful the air smells and feels just prior to, during and after a rain storm – again negative ions.

For a fraction of the cost of ocean or lake front living, almost every homeowner can reap the benefits of a waterfall and pond in their back yard. Ranging from an atmosphere of intimacy to one of grandeur, it’s whatever the budget can endure. Virtually everyone can own a portion of the best that nature has to offer. There are as many different varieties, shapes and sizes of waterfalls as there are rocks. Consequently, with a pond design of your choice, no two ever look the same and they provide a natural individuality for each homeowner.

Waterfalls can cascade into koi ponds, a stream, swimming pool, spa or simply spill through a rock-covered grate into a subterranean catch basin, from where it gets pumped and recirculated. This type of backyard pond design is great for someone with small children, since it eliminates the need for a hazardous pond. It’s also perfect for someone with a very small yard or for those looking for little or no maintenance.

The soil removed in excavating a pond can be utilized to create a mound or berm to provide elevation for a cascade. A waterfall can pass through terraced retaining walls on its way down to a pond at ground level. By passing through rather than over the top, it will give the impression that the waterfall always existed and the retaining wall was constructed later on either side.

A backyard pond not only provides allure and charm to your property, it is as though you own a part of the Discovery Channel. The pond’s occupants provide a never-ending and forever changing source of entertainment and education. From the antics of a pair of acrobatic turtles to the male crayfish, claws clashing and gnashing over the prize of a fair lady, each day becomes a new chapter in the life of your pond. Are you the type that might say, “I don’t ever want to own fish!” and then eventually end up with several, even giving them all names? I’ve seen this happen over and over again, because pond owners become personally attached to the inhabitants of their water garden pond as if they were family members or pets.

At night a well-designed backyard pond becomes a whole new adventure, especially if you have built-in lighting. The cascading, splashing water against the lights create an amazing symphony of light and sound. Dancing light reflected on the surrounding rocks, plants, fence or house becomes hypnotic and mesmerizing. Most people only experience this atmosphere at expensive hotels or resorts. Now you can own the same experience in your own back yard..

Outdoor Wood Benches

Outdoor wood benches vary in size, they could be small two seat benches, and go much larger. Then there are also benches that wrap around the tree, so that you don’t have to keep moving your chairs about and packing them away when you are done using them. The wood that is used varies from oak, shorea wood, white cedar, pine, or maple depending on the texture you are seeking. There is also the rustic look for outdoor wood benches. This look consists of the railings being made from white cedar or other choice woods. This look is very attractive in any garden setting. Shapes and sizes are very important, you do not want to over power the garden with too much wood, so try to go with outdoor wood benches that fit your style and motif of your garden.

Some outdoor wood benches have attached planters on each side of the bench. This type of bench goes great in any garden because it becomes the garden. In each of the planters you can plant various types of flowers that equally match the others in your garden giving even more beauty to it for many years to come. When choosing outdoor wood benches you should have an idea of how many you want to put in your garden or on your patio. Too many benches will take away the beauty of the flowers and other items that make your garden beautiful. If your garden can accommodate it, then maybe placing a few outdoor wood benches here and there will add beauty to your garden. You are really the only one who can make the decision on how many you need and what will give your garden that special look.

Once you have decided on that, the next step is to choose the style of your outdoor wood benches. Gliders are a great choice for outdoor wood benches. You can sit for hours gliding back and fourth basking in the beauty of your garden. Your guests will also love to sit and enjoy the garden as well in a glider or basically any type of outdoor garden bench you choose. All these benches are very unique. They are resistant to water, weather and warping, which allows the outdoor wood benches to withstand any weather season after season. Any one of these benches would make a perfect gift for any garden.

Info of Patio Fireplaces

An impressive patio fireplace I once observed was made from a white rock that matched the patio theme. The same rock made the walls of the patio where benches lined the outer edges. The fireplace itself was square with an opening on the inside and outside of the fire area so that warmth could be enjoyed on either side.

The fireplace is rather large and does indeed have a grill insert for accommodating patio cookouts. It also has a tuner that could hold a pig for a roast. But when I asked the homeowners how much it all cost them, they just shook their heads. I didn’t want to know.

I’ve seen brick outdoor fireplaces that matched the brick patio. I’ve also seen brick fireplaces to accompany the wooden deck. The wood was treated with a fire retardant and it really did look rather distinct. The structure for that particular fireplace was built to the ground so that a solid base existed. But, there was also a patio area on ground level and the fireplace had two different openings.

These are really nice structures that add class to any patio or deck. They may take awhile to build and they might cost a little money. But, it’s worth it to have the added comfort and style you want.

If your pocket book can’t quite handle the structure of the fireplace on the patio or the deck, there is an alternative you might like. There are ventless gel fireplaces that are made for the patio. An iron stand holds the chimney in its place so that you can enjoy the fire wherever you place it. A whole assortment of patio products are offered for an outdoor fireplace experience you’ll just love.

Creating Beautiful Garden Landscapes

Have a focal point

The focal point of your garden must be such that it attracts people and engages their attention when roaming in your garden. It should be different than others but not out-of-place. You can have an antique garden bench as the focal point but don’t use an object which is not related to the garden. A water body or an oak tree can be a great focal point which will give the garden landscape a new dimension.

Curves must be checked

It is good to have curved pathways or flower beds in a garden, but you must not overdo them. It must be kept simple so that the geometric design that you have incorporated in the landscaping stands out. If you use those shapes too often it will become common and no one will notice them.

Have movement in the garden

A garden landscape that does not have movement is like a painting. Paintings are good on the walls but in a garden, you must have movement so that you can bring life and create interest in your garden.

You may be wondering how to have movement. It is quite easy to have such movement in your garden by adding swaying ornamental grass or flowers which attract birds and butterflies and this will help to have the desired movement in your garden.

Highlight your house

The landscaping design that you have in your garden must match with the house that you have. If you have a house that does not have much architectural designs, then you can benefit by having the edges softened by the garden that you have.

You must keep in mind while matching your garden with the house is that you must not overdo it. It must not be such that your house is completely hidden by the garden trees that you have. The best of garden landscaping is that which will help to highlight the smallest of architectural features that your house has.

Think completely differently

When you are designing the landscaping of your garden you must think completely differently from the one that you now have. For example, if you have overgrown shrubbery don’t think that you have to keep it like that. By removing it you may be astonished to find a sunny sport which can be ideal for a rose bed. So, don’t plan your landscaping according to the present situation but think differently and you will find new possibilities to have an even better landscape.

Choose plants according to locations

When you select a plant base for a particular spot in your garden, consider the growth rate and the final size it will be. If you do not base your plant selection on these considerations, then the money you spend will not lead to overall beautification but, in the end, you will have to spend more money for adjustments.

If you think that having a cheap plant which grows fast you are gaining much you are thinking wrongly. The money you will spend later for pruning and other maintenance will eat up your initial savings. So, have a purposeful selection of garden trees and place them properly.

Let the garden show the way

The design of the garden should lead visitors to your house. You don’t want visitors losing their way so the garden must show the way to the house. The curved pathway or the big pots that you place need to say, “Hi, this is the way that you need to go.”

Limited number of species

If you have a garden don’t feel pressured to have every plant species that is available. Select those species which will help you to have a garden which is easier to maintain and gives it a uniform look. Select the species according to seasons so that you can have flowers in your garden all throughout the year and also add to the biodiversity that you have in your garden.

Inexpensive Landscaping

Buy Inexpensive Materials

You don’t always have to purchase expensive materials to beautify your yard. You can start inexpensively buy purchasing a few seeds and making yourself a few flower beds around the yard. Flowers are a great addition to any inexpensive landscaping project. This will probably take some time and nourishment and require a little elbow grease but at least it won’t break the bank. Besides when you start to see those beautiful flowers breaking through the dirt, all your hard work cultivating those plants will be worth it.

Outdoor Path Lights

There is nothing like outdoor path lighting to brighten up a walkway as well as add a touch of flare to your landscaping. These days, outdoor path lighting can be a relatively inexpensive way to add accents to your landscaping project. Some lighting requires wiring so that you can turn them on from the inside of the house or set them on a timer. Of you want to do it the inexpensive way you should consider purchasing the solar powered outdoor lights which do not require wiring at all.

Hint: The lights will also work well to illuminate your flower bed. They are a must for an inexpensive landscaping budget.

Cut Your Grass Carefully

If you’re on a budget and you just can’t afford to buy one thing in order to fix up your front or back yard, don’t worry, you can still beautify your yard without purchasing extras. Mow your lawn carefully and it will make all the difference in the world. It’s no secret that a nicely cut lawn will make a major difference in the appearance of you home. Make sure that when you cut your grass, you cut it evenly and at just the right speed. You don’t want to walk/ride too fast for risk of an uneven cut and you don’t want to walk/ride too slow for risk of divots in your lawn. It takes some practice to find the right speed but once you do make sure that you continue to use that speed.