Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Solar Powered Landscape Lighting: The First Step to a Perfect Summer Evening

Summer is for evening parties and what can be better venue than your backyard lawn for hosting a cozy gathering with your friends? Proper lighting plays a key role in the success of such parties.


Now the question is: what do you mean by the term, proper lighting? Here are four main points to consider:

  • The light should adequately illuminate the place, so that your guests can sit or move around comfortably. This is the functional side of your landscape lighting scheme.
  • On the aesthetic side, the lighting should be such that it rightly accentuates the beauty of the landscape.
  • More importantly, the lighting should be power efficient.
  • The wireless lighting offers a fuss-free way of installation, and that make them more suitable for outdoor use.  

Solar powered landscape lighting is one that helps you meet with all these criteria in one.

  • Solar powered landscape lights offer you the most energy efficient solution. They are virtually free, as they need nothing but clean energy from the sun to run.
  • With solar powered landscape lighting, you are not only cut benefit on the personal plain by saving on energy bills, at the same time you are making valuable contribution in conserving precious environmental resources.
  • It may sound unbelievable, but you will need as little as twenty seconds to install a solar powered light in your outdoor space. Spare fifteen minutes more and you are done with the task of illuminating the entire outdoor space for enjoyment after sundown.
  • With no wiring required, solar powered landscape lighting can be installed even by an inexperienced homeowner. Your task almost ends with locating the proper place of installation of light; after that all you need to do is just plant them in the ground, without needing any cumbersome wiring.
  • In case you need some alteration with your original scheme, it is easy to just pick the lighting fixtures up and replace them.
  • You don’t have to compromise on the aesthetic side too; these solar powered lights are available in variety of styles starting from decorative lanterns to accent lights.

What makes a basic solar light?

  • In a solar powered landscape light, the source of illumination is an LED lamp that is expected to withstand 10,000 hours of usage.
  • The solar panels are made of photo cells that charge up the battery from solar power.  
  • The solar panels need to receive enough sunlight during the day, so that you can get illumination throughout the evening. The rechargeable batteries provide about 8 hours of light at a stretch.
  • These lights come with built-in light sensors that work for automatic turning on and off of the lamp.  

Ideas for creative use of solar powered landscape lights

You have worked hard to give the desired shape to create your dream landscape; now is the time of finishing touch. Add the final polish with a stylish lighting scheme.

  • First locate the places in your garden that requires lighting and use different types of lights for different areas.
  • If you happen to have a pond in your plot, use floating lantern style lamps for an unusual look.
  • In the sitting areas or in the places where foods are served, place the table top solar powered lanterns.
  • It is equally important to lit up driveways and pathways; use pole lamps or pedestal style lanterns here.  Pole lamps are also ideal for illuminating the patios and decks.
  • The solar powered accent lights are also available to decorate the rock sculptures or other architectural attractions in the garden.
  • Use footlights in the corners of edging and fences for a dramatic ambience. For the same effect, you can hide the source of light behind the bushes to bring about a silhouetted view. 

In the end here are some useful facts about solar powered landscape light that may help in your selection.

  • Solar lights come both with ornamented outdoor fixtures, and without them. Select the type according to your plan of using them.
  • Your local garden store can be a great source of solar powered landscape lighting options. If you want to spark off the imagination a little more, surf the internet; the online stores are the ideal place for finding out the products that you are looking for.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Sprinkler Systems - Keep Your Garden Green!

The growth of vegetables, plants, shrubs and flowers in your garden depends upon the amount of water you supply. And hand watering or moving a lawn sprinkler attached to the hose to supply water to your garden is not an easy task. That is why , plan a layout of proper watering system which can supply desired level of water and also save your time and your money as well.

Installing drip irrigation systems can offer your garden a sufficient level of watering by way of dripping at the root level of plants. The main thing you should consider for selecting a watering system is the requirement of your watering schedule keeping in mind what kind of plants or lawn you wish to grow.

Planning a Lawn Sprinkler System

Planning a watering system for your garden depends upon the climate, the sort of soil. Besides this, it is very essential to keep in mind that the watering system you plan for your garden need to have right sort of pressure and flow of water.

While planning a watering system, first of all measure your yard and estimate how much pipe you will require to buy. Secondly, you should consider which types of sprinkler supplies like valves or sprinkler heads you will need .

Measuring your yard can give you fair idea where your sprinkler systems will go to get the maximum water coverage. Moreover, it will work very well for you if you place the valve boxes at the right place so that your valves can serve each zone satisfactory level of water.

Why Sprinkler Systems are suggested?

There are reasons for recommending lawn sprinkler systems for your garden. This system performs moving water through hose from one place to the other. You see that hand watering and shifting watering pipe from one place to other is painstaking task. Moreover, such water supply by hand watering or by using oscillator is often time consuming and also waste water. This can give your garden either under-water supply or over-water supply. Therefore , installing suitable lawn sprinkler system can give your garden a proper level of water supply which determines its growth.

Choosing suitable tools for your watering task is very important because right level of watering is essential to the growth of your garden lawn.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Landscaping Around a Patio

patio cover kits

If you want your garden to look good, you have to do a little landscaping. The same goes when you landscape around a cast aluminum patio so there is always something new to show to your guests.

Both hard and soft materials will be used. The soft ones are namely the plants, the shrubs and the trees. They can be placed on the exterior perimeter of the patio while you use hard materials such as brick, concrete, rock, stone and tiles inside.

So you have an idea what plants to buy later on, it is best to check the condition of the soil since this will determine what type of flowers will survive these conditions.

As a rule of thumb for landscaping around a patio, start working on the insides of the patio then make your way outwards.

When choosing an area for the patio, make sure that this will be done on a flat area of land. Once you have found it, you must first build forms to be able to add height to the patio perimeter. This is important to achieve the foundational support you will need later on. This work should be completed evenly up to the doorway.

To prevent any incidents of tripping, you should smoothen the edges and make sure that there are no nails sticking out from the sides of the patio.

Once the forms have been completed for the patio, this is the time that you can add curves by using a bender board made from plastic so it can be moved very easily. To keep these in place, you will have to add stakes every 12 to 18 inches.

When it is ready, this is time that you put the stones in. These should be placed one by one so everything will fit nicely into place.

Once the patio is complete, adding flowers, gnomes, or shrubs to make it all look more colorful and eye catching. You may choose to use one color or mix this among several. The important thing is that it looks good.

Those who don’t want to plant flowers around the patio can still add color by using potted plants. You can buy these pots in different colors and designs from the store.  The advantage of using this is that you can move them to different locations and during the winter, they can be placed indoors then brought out again during the spring.

Either way, you can choose plants that bloom during different times of the year so there is always something that stands out all season long. Don’t forget to consider the amount of sun that is required for each of them.

You should also get plants of different heights so there is a smooth transition from the patio all the way up to the house. If you're on a tight budget, it would be adviseable to buy the smaller ones as they are less expensive. It will just some time before they mature unlike the older plants that are almost ready to bloom.

For those who want to decorate, you should look into adding patio cover kits.

Landscaping around the patio is no different than fixing one section of the house. Once you have a plan, it will be very easy to implement. If you are not happy, don’t be afraid to make some changes so it will look better than it did before.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Cedar Fence Massachusetts - How To Choice The Right Fence

There are a lot of different types of wood fence that you may see in the Boston area. For example, you'll see a lot of cedar privacy fencing in suburban yards. However, in the city proper you'll see smaller yards, more distinctive architecture and different types of fencing to mesh with these conditions. In Boston, you'll see a little less fencing than you will in many other cities. Why? Well, while Boston has the fifth highest population density among major U.S. cities, it also is small in terms of land mass ? third smallest, in fact! However, the classic and timeless look which only a wood fence can achieve lends itself perfectly to this, a city with so much history that it's there to be found around every corner.

If you want to put up wood fence on your property, you'll have to decide on a fence design which suits your home and your property. In suburban Boston, you can put up really any kind of fence you want; though the stockade picket fence is the most popular. Also common in suburban areas is 6' cedar privacy fencing. Both of these fences are more commonly seen with newer construction. Older colonial homes, on the other hand, are better suited by more traditional fencing ? as are newer homes which emulate their look.

In Boston, fence decisions are dependent on the opinions of the owner. The brownstones seen in many neighborhoods often have low picket fences to delineate property lines while keeping the feeling of a tight knit community (a trademark of many Boston neighborhoods) intact. In backyard Boston wood fencing, though, you'll see both the low picket fencing common to the front of homes as well as tall basketweave privacy fences which can create a private space even in the most densely populated of urban areas.

Based on homeowners who have located Boston wood fence contractors to build their fencing, we can give you a good idea of how much you'll pay to have a wood fence built. In the Boston area, the cost for most wood fence installation by contractors we work with is somewhere between $1,000 and $4,000, with $2,500 being the average cost with materials and labor. most jobs took about two weeks of the month been the slowest and seven days being the fastest. As you'd imagine, a big job tends to be more pricy.

So what does all of this mean to you as a homeowner in the Grater Boston area? It's pretty good news, as it happens. Boston wood fencing prices are consistent across the board in this area, so if you find a good contractor to build you fence and know what to ask for; you'll get a good value for your money ? and a good wood fence. And what should you ask for? Wood which can stand up to the hot, humid summer and cold, wet winters of New England, with all of its Nor'easters and offshore storms. Cedar is the best wood to use; its natural oils repel moisture, making it a good choice for the tough weather of the Boston area.

If you want a cedar fence to stay looking its best and protected from weather damage, you should treat it every five to ten years; a small price to pay for a wood fence which looks great and will last. If you don't use cedar, pressure treated lumber is the next best option. Be certain to sustain it if you want it to last for a long time however. Lastly, always do your research into any wood fence contractor you're thinking of using and evaluate their track record. It could take a little bit of effort. However, you'll find it well worth it to get offense that will last a long time.

Ready to save a ton on cedar fencing in Massachusetts? Watch my new video review revealing exactly how I saved $1442.17 on a cedar fence with the best-rated Boston fence company.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Low Maintenance Japanese Landscape Design

Beautiful Japanese Landscape Design

For a Japanese landscape design, you will find a list of specific items to consider. Now, some Japanese gardens are simplistic while others include everything that would be found in a traditional Japanese landscape design. Therefore, the first thing you would need to do before shopping for the various types of Japanese garden supplies and materials is to determine the completed look you want.

Plan a strolling garden with beautiful paths taking you past tiny waterfalls and small ponds filled with koi fish. There are so many stonework Japanese art pieces to arrange along the paths to complete the look and feel of an authentic Japanese garden.

A Wooden or Stonework Japanese Garden Bridge

Plantings in the Tea Garden are not showy, for nothing should detract from the calming aspect of the garden. Add a small Japanese garden bridge to create a transition from one part of the garden to another. Each plant, water feature, and stepping stone should be chosen to make the area harmonious and serene.

The Japanese garden bridge is typically constructed from wood or stone with a design that fits with the Japanese style. In Japan, these bridges are used to connect a shore with an island or in some cases, even to connect one island with another island. Of course, in a smaller residential Japanese landscape design, the Japanese garden bridge goes along with a strolling garden, again to go over a pond or stream.

In a traditional dry Japanese garden everything has a meaning and has been specifically placed. There will commonly be a bed of carefully raked sand with several stones strategically arranged.

Locating Japanese Garden Supplies

After you have thoughtfully considered your Japanese garden design and how you would like it to reflect you, make a list of the items necessary to bring it to reality. Many items can be found online with free delivery.

You can be as creative as you like with your design. True to Japanese tradition, it must be simple but at the same time include many features such as the dry garden with the sand base and stones, a pond or other water feature with a waterfall and a Japanese bridge. Japanese Lanterns lining the paths would also be a nice addition.

Find additional information on Japanese landscaping visit Making A Japanese Garden

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Redesigning your outdoor living spaces.

With a pressure to provide excellence, and the requirement of maintaining a high level of quality you can be sure that the aim of landscapers Sydney company, Envision Landscapes, will satisfy your desire for a high quality finish

Envision Landscapes will be on the job from start to finish for all clients.

With such a large number of landscapers, Sydney landscaping company Envision, is This is certainly the case, however when it comes to making the decision on which company to employ, usually the choice is made when the client feels comfortable and positive about the people that will be completing the project.

Some of things people think about when dicding which company to use is dependant on several factors. Beginning with how close the landscape designer is to the client’s project and the scope of work offered.

With a enthusiasm to extend the company name all through Sydney, to the proprietor of Envision landscapers, Sydney, landscape design is viewed as a vocation to be pursued to its greatest

Back and front garden projects are the main type of project that Envision works with, transformtions are the main specialty of their landscape design team. Sydney residents that have used the service that Envision offers, are delighted with the resulting makeovers.

For yards that lack any design, designs can start from a simple low maintenance mixture of paths, garden beds and lawn, to leisure areas, water features, illumination, the choices are endless.

The contemporary fashions are being insisted upon by an increasing number of home owners. As this becomes more and more popular, the landscapers Sydney industry is putting out supplies like treated pine timber walls, diminutive clay size paving and an assortment of other materials. Supplies such as natural stone, large format concrete pavers, block retaining walls and wall cladding are becoming increasingly popular. When you look at paving suppliers you will notice this too. Understanding this fashion is what allows Envision Landscapers, Sydney to be at the vanguard of contemporary design trends.

Get more on landscaping go to Backyard Landscape Design

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Use Landscape Design Software To Implement You Outdoor Landscaping Ideas

Creative Outdoor Landscaping Ideas

A little creativity can produce beautiful outdoor landscaping ideas to make your home stand out from the rest. You can enlist the help of a professional landscape architect or design it yourself, either way the effort will increase the curb appeal and value of your home.

Using a home computer to pre-plan landscaping ideas with landscape design software is one way to help the do-it-yourself type. With this software inter-changing different layouts can be easily done until finding the best one to suit the individual needs.

If you prefer not to use landscaping software try searching online. The internet is a good resource to search for outdoor landscaping ideas. Using the internet can give you some insight and perspective on other completed projects to use on your own project.

There are likely thousands of different landscaping ideas that you will find to be useful for your yard and well within your budget and there are a lot of sites that focus specifically on home landscaping. These sites will also give you some great ideas as well as practical information. It is important to do extensive research before you begin your project to minimize the mistakes so that the job will not have to be done over again.

What is your Landscape Budget?

Being patient and purchasing smaller trees and shrubs and allowing them to mature over the years can be a huge money saving idea. Try to Cut back on expensive water features, rock and tile. "Less is more" is a great saying and can be a great way to not overspend on unnecessary items.

Before you start your home landscaping project, look into hiring a company to help locate any underground utilities such as gas lines or electric lines that may be running through your project area. This is very important if you plan to do a lot of excavation. It may be much more expensive to repair a broken plumbing or electrical line than properly planning ahead to avoid this situation. It also could become dangerous to hit a live electrical line unexpectedly with a backhoe or shovel.

If hiring a professional they have to check on local city ordinances to see what exactly is allowed. If your are doing it yourself you will have to check on zoning laws before beginning your project. A lot of heartache and inconvenience can be avoided by doing a little research ahead of time with the proper authorities.

Step out of the box, so to speak, and research unusual and unique outdoor landscaping ideas. Take advantage of the online resources available. You may discover new and innovative patio materials and plants. This will increase the value and look of your most valuable asset - your home.

Get more landscaping ideas visit Landscape Designs For The Southwest

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Landscaping Ideas: Make Your Neighbors Go ‘Wow’!

A patch of greenery right within the boundary of your own property can be your retreat at the end of hard day’s work. It can be the place where you can recharge your emotions; it can be a place for rejuvenation of your senses! The color in it can brighten up your inside, literally….here are few ideas to get you started in the creation of your very own wellness resort.

Decide on the style

  • When it comes to brightening your own patch of green, first decide on a definite style… an English landscape, a Zen garden, a Swiss style cottage landscape, etc.
  • Take cues from several styles and forms to create something unique of your own. But in this case, you should be careful about the right balance and co-ordination between the different elements.

Co-ordination of five elements of design

Whenever you blend more than one element to create something new, you become a designer. Same is true of landscape designing where you can experiment with five major design elements:

  • Color
  • Line
  • Form
  • Texture
  • Scale

When you are designing the landscape, it is imperative that you give due consideration to all these five elements.

Treat your backyard as a canvas

  • Imagine yourself to be a painter and treat the small patch of land lying in your backyard as a canvas. The only difference is that instead of filling it up with colors by using paints and brushes, you are filling up your land by growing plants in the different corners of it.
  • The perspective of an artist will help you in your experimentation with the form and texture of the selected plants.

Make use of rocks

  • Not only in the forms of sculptures, can rocks in their natural forms do wonders for a landscape. Just place a huge rock in the shady corner of your garden; it will serve the purpose of a seating area without interfering with its natural look and feel.
  • Use the stones of different sizes to create the edging for your flower beds.
  • If you happen to have a pool inside the garden, border it with rocks with different size and shapes.
  • To add some fun elements, use stone structures of unusual shapes.

Brighten up the space with a series of landscape accessories

  • Before adopting just any style of landscaping, make sure of the purposes you are going to use the space. Add accessories to keep with the spirit. As for example, you can consider keeping a hot tub if the space is meant for private family relaxation.
  • If you are planning to use your garden for frequent outdoor parties, you can consider erecting a pole lamp and adorning it with creepers like ivy.
  • In addition to that you can place a buffet table fitted with mirror; it will enhance the drama by reflecting the lighting in the evening.
  • Comfortable lounge chairs and a coffee table are the must have accessories for enjoying a peaceful summer weekend in your backyard.

Always let your ideas grow and evolve; mix and match different styles, elements and concepts. Be bold in your experimentations and soon you will be full of innovative landscaping ideas of your own that inspire other landscape enthusiasts in their creation.

Get more ideas for decorating your outdoor space visit Outdoor Landscaping Ideas

Monday, September 22, 2008

Types of Desert Landscaping Plants

Desert Landscaping Plants Are Easy to Grow

The folks in the Southwest part of our country get to enjoy the beauty and ease of gardening with desert landscaping plants. They need little water, are hardy and also easy to transplant. They come in many interesting types, some with beautiful blossoms and others with unique shapes.

The various varieties of the cacti, with their sharp thorns, have been used as a fence to ward off predatory animals and other uninvited guests. They can also be used to protect a vegetable from animals that enjoy stealing your prized tomatoes. The short and stout "Barrel Cactus" would be very uninviting.

While creating a look using desert landscaping plants, you might find that you have some areas of the property or perhaps a side of the home with lots of shade. Obviously, this would require you to use landscape shade plants, those that will handle the hot and dry climate but also do well growing in shade. Again, the possibilities are tremendous, giving you great coverage and beautiful blooms during the year.

Regarding some of the desert landscaping plants and landscape shade plants, we wanted to provide you with some excellent options that you might consider. Those listed below are just a few samples of the hundreds of possibilities.

Agave Americana: The interesting form and the plant's high tolerance to heat, drought, cold, sun, and even poor soils makes this an ideal all-around plant. The Agave Americana will grow anywhere from one to six feet tall, developing into unique styles of leafs and beautiful colors.

Opuntia phaecantha variety discata, This is a very hardy plant that can survive in cold weather and will produce a beautiful deep yellow flower in the spring and summer months. It does tend to crawl along the ground and root as it goes. It has very sharp long spines that can be dangerous if planted around children.

The Agave or "century plant," so named due to the flower stalk that is said to only bloom every one hundred years. In reality, the flower stalk appears at the end of its life, which can be as long as twenty to thirty five years. It has been used for ropes with the fiber, some for tequila, and baked and eaten.

Landscape Shade Plants for the Desert

Astilbes: These plants have wonderful, plume like flowers of red, pink, and white that will bloom for a long time. As a perennial, the flower will grow back year after year while growing perfectly in a shaded area.

Hostas are another shade variety that blends in well with desert landscaping plants. They are perennials that come in several types, some with solid green or variegated leaves. They produce flowers white, pink or purple flowers and can grow in full or partial shade.

Liriope Spicata: Another excellent shade plant, this one appears like grass, which is why it is more often referred to as border grass. The flowers are spiked in shape and while in bloom the color changes from white to purple then in the fall, a dark berry grows.

Often labeled a day lily the Foxglove is extremely versatile and grows equally as well in the sun as it does it the shade. The flowers produced by this plant are striking and vary in color depending on the species. It is however a poisonous plant and should not be exposed to children and pets.

Get more ideas on landscaping visit Outdoor Landscaping Ideas

Friday, September 19, 2008

Firepit Building Basics 101

Fire Pit Table

Balmy spring temperature may entice people to say so long to the crackling fireplace inside the home. However, now you can simply move that fire from inside to your outdoor space, by adding a firepit to your yard area. A number of reasons may be implied for adding a firepit in your backyard such as, adding warmth, cooking, or simply just to relax. And with the many types of pits that are available today, you can rest assured that you will be able to find the perfect design for your outdoor space that will provide every possible function that you might need. But before you run out and purchase a firepit for your yard, there are a few factors that you will want to consider.

Safety First

Just like that hearth that graces your family room, your outdoor firepit will have safety concerns as well. However, if you follow a few basic guidelines, you will be able to enjoy your outdoor fire without worrying about possible risks that might be lurking. First, it is important to consider the location of your pit. These units are not appropriate for use on decks or outside apartment buildings. You should always make sure that you have enough distance between your house and firepit to make burning fires completely safe. The retailer that you purchase your pit from should be able to advise you as to the recommended requirements here. It is also important to check with your local municipality in regards to building codes that might apply to your firepit.


What is your reason for a natural gas firepit in your backyard? Are you looking for a way to keep warm so that you can enjoy the great outdoors well into the fall season? Are you interested in doing some cooking over an open fire? Perhaps ambiance in your outdoor space is your primary interest in adding a firepit. It is important to determine what function this pit will fill so that you know what type of fire pit will work the best for you. You should also consider how many people will generally be using this space. If you are looking for an atmosphere that is conducive to socializing outdoors, a larger pit might be more appropriate. On the other hand, intimate, romantic setting might just call for a pit large enough for a small fire that will work for marshmallow roasting.

A firepit can be a great addition to an outdoor space, particularly when evening temperatures begin to drop. You can continue to enjoy the brisk, fresh outdoors, while keeping warm and cozy.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Lawn Care Tips for Everybody

Lawns often vary in size, shape, and form for most homes. Some lawns are beautifully ornate with lush gardens, and pruned to look like art. Other lawns are thick with weeds, grass, and often give off a sense of an old style farm to passers by. There of course are thousands of other types of lawns that typically fall in between the categories of impeccably groomed, and garden of weeds. For all lawn owners, no matter what type, there are several helpful tips to maintain your lawn, because no matter the look of the lawn, it will hopefully be one that’s healthy.

The first thing lawn owners should do is create an ideal lawn type they are striving to achieve. It’s often said that we can’t know where we are going unless we have a destination to begin with. Many lawn owners make the mistake of winging it, or going with whatever inspires them that day. This can lead to unforeseen obstacles, as well as changes of heart in the overall design or landscape of the lawn. To create a visualization of the ideal lawn should take time, and sincere thought. Once you have a vision for your lawn, write it down, review it for plausibility, and start to plan for what you will need. By visualizing your idea lawn a clear set of steps to achieve such a lawn will start to arise.

No matter what type of lawn you are interested in having, be sure to invest in water for your lawn. This could mean investing in sprinkler systems, or hoses, or even just a hand held water pourer. The idea with investing in water for the lawn is that your lawn will only be as healthy as the amount of water you put into it. Lawns need water to grow, and maintain color. Without water your lawn will face struggles in staying vibrant.

As with any enduring task we humans put ourselves up to, we must make it fun. Create incentive for you to get in the lawn and work on it. Make lawn care fun, by getting a workout from it, or getting a suntan, or just spending time with family while tending to the lawn. The more fun the lawn care is, the more likely you will be to continue it over the years.

Get help when your lawn is growing to proportions you can’t attend to. Most lawns, when put on the right track will be able to grow consistently, and thus have greater needs for ones time. This is when help can take your average lawn and make it exceptional. Lawn care doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. For a more reasonable rate negotiate a long term contract with your gardener, for bi weekly visits. The longer commitment should lower the rate you have to pay per visit.

Get more ideas for landscaping visit Outdoor Landscaping Ideas

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Roof gardens blooming in hot cities.

During the hot summer months a busy city can become unbearably hot. The concrete and tarmac just seem to bounce back the suns rays and the air temperature can be considerably hotter than in the countryside. You see people start to flock to the parks and fountains, the ice creams come out along with the frisbees and generally the whole pace of life starts to slow down.

So if you live in the city but want somewhere private to cool down what are the options?

Well you could build your own roof garden as a starter. The following comes from artificial lawn blog which rather neatly summarises it as follows.

Although there are examples from the earlier part of the 20th century, it was not until the 1960’s that the use of roof gardens began to literally grow upwards. As well as having an amenity value, a roof garden offers substantial environmental benefits - for instance:

  1. It can lower the temperature above a building, often substantially. Basically a city can raise the atmospheric temperature by reflecting sunlight - a phenomenon sometimes referred to as 'the urban heat island effect'. Having a green roof helps counteract this.

  2. Insulation - a roof garden can help keep a building cool in summer and warm in winter, so fuel bills are reduced.

  3. Wildlife - even on high rise apartment blocks a green garden can provide a stopover for tired birds and attract insects with plants.

So you can see that not only can you keep cool but you can also help the environment and wildlife.

The article goes on to describe 2 ways to prepare a roof garden

The “Heavyweight” Route
This involves layers of waterproof membrane, constructing drainage channels if needed and then laying natural turf over the top. Of course, you could venture into hydroponics to try and minimise the weight and there are special soil mixtures available to help but basically you are looking at a lot of weight , a lot of installation work and possibly even strengthening the roof.


The "Lightweight" Route
Use planter pots, tubs and bedding to carry your plants and lay synthetic grass. This way you will have less maintenance and the whole project will be easier to construct. Not only that, but all the worries about how you compost grass cuttings 10 stories up won't even cross your mind!

So next time you are in the City wondering how to keep cool, look up and see the roof gardens above your head!

Find more ideas on landscaping and gardens visit Outdoor Landscaping Ideas

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Bermuda Grass: Turf for Your Lawn

A suitable lawn grass favored for its texture and color is the Bermuda grass. This is also known as Dog’s Tooth Grass. The genus Cynodon (Greek word for dog-tooth) contains the nine species of grasses native to the warm temperate to tropical regions that constitute the Bermuda grasses. This only requires moderate lawn grass care, maintenance and mowing. This is a sun loving grass of the warm seasons and is usually planted from grass seed though propagation can be made possible by rhizomes, offsets and seeds.

Bermuda grass is a perennial grass. Though native to Europe this grass has now become cosmopolitan in warm regions. This grows in the tropical, sub tropical and transition zones. In southern United States and India this grass is largely being grown now. This grass is found on golf courses, sports arenas, sports fields, reclamation areas, parks, coastal areas and pastures apart from lawns.

There are now being introduced special Bermuda varieties that are tolerant to colder climes to a greater extent and species of the grass that are more drought resistant. Thus the grass planting area is moving further northwards and the grass is becoming more prevalent in the transition zone also.

An advantageous aspect of using the Bermuda grass is that once planted the grass can provide complete lawn coverage in a year’s time. This is a most persistent and aggressive grass species. Even its germination from seed is very quick. It can grow in a variety of soils too. It has also got a fair salt spray tolerance level thus making it suitable for coastal regions also.

An excellent way to transform your lawn is to use Princess 77 Bermuda grass that is among the latest seeded Bermuda grasses available. This produces a dense, green turf while costing far less than using the sodded varieties. For establishing a Bermuda grass lawn it is important to first eliminate all existing grass and weeds by the application of a nonselective herbicide. The Bermuda turf can be mowed low for a green type look. It can also be maintained at greater heights for a denser fairway look.

Two cold tolerant varieties of the Bermuda grass are the Yukon and Rivera. While Yukon has a darker green color the Rivera has a fast growing and damage repair ability, Bermuda grass is fairly resistant to diseases and insects. Some varieties of the grass are, however, more resistant than others. Personal preferences play an important role in the selection of the Bermuda grass type that is to be used for covering the lawn. The cost factor is important too.

Get more on landscaping visit Outdoor Landscaping Ideas

Monday, September 15, 2008

Choosing the Right Lawn Mower

Maybe you live in a apartment, or even better a big city, whatever your excuse may be it’s about time you start to think about landscape maintenance equipment. Keeping a lawn in shape can not only benefit the look of your yard, it can also keep you healthy, and save you money. Lawn mowers are becoming more popular every day as record rates of home ownership occur. Lawn mowers come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and prices. To know what type of lawn mower to get now, will benefit you in the future because it can be a daunting task to pick one from the many styles available.

The push mower will run you about $100 at your local hardware store. Push mowers are the most simple, cost effective way to cut your grass. Push mowers typically won’t provide enough power to cut a large yard in a few hours, but for those with modest needs they can be the perfect start. Also push mowers don’t require gas, motors, or bags. Further push mowers won’t leave you with noise, smoke, and sometimes rocky rides. Push mowers are anything but obsolete, and will work well for those with a small yard.

The electric mower with a bag or without a bag usually costs around $300 depending on size and style. Electric mowers are the most popular lawn mower available. These mowers will cut a lot of grass in just a few minutes. They typically run for several years without problems, and usually hold up their value. Push mowers do require some gasoline, and may have problems with their engines. Further push mowers can be loud, and without a bag can spew grass all over the place.

Lawn tractors run about $700 to $2000 dollars. Lawn mowers don’t have seats, lawn tractors have seats. This shouldn’t be confused with an ATV, and is not meant for the road. But lawn tractors offer big time landscapers a chance to mow as much grass as they need without doing much more then swapping gears, and steering. Lawn tractors come in various sizes and styles, most of them come with four tires, a driver’s seat, and a bag to keep clippings in. Some perform alternative duties such as tilling, weeding, and sowing.

Automatic lawn mowers will cost you between $1700 and $3000 dollars. That’s right, we said automatic. Now for the ultra lazy that want to swap in your lawn tractors for an automatic mower you can. There is nothing to do but switch on, and tell the kids to watch out. These automatic mowers are just becoming popular, and will inevitably lower in price as technology advances.

Learn more about lawn mowers and lawn care at Savvy Lawn Care.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Joy In Making A Japanese Garden

Making A Japanese Garden

The Beauty of Bamboo Landscaping

Bamboo landscaping is actually quite attractive. For one thing, bamboo has long been a popular product used in gardening and landscaping but currently with so many folks concentrating on ecology, bamboo landscaping has skyrocketed.The explanation is that bamboo is more like a grass than a tree. Consequently, when bamboo is trimmed, it grows back fast opposed to forests being cut down and destroyed.

While bamboo can be used in any garden, it is most frequent incorporated in the making of a Japanese garden. For this style of garden, there are very specific elements and materials used. Furthermore, there are different styles that can be built. With the dry garden, sand is used, raked carefully into patterns that reflect the rippling of waves. In the center of the “pond”, a rock is placed, which represents an island.

Moreover, the most incredible styles for making making a Japanese garden are plant life and water. This type of garden would commonly have a small water fountain, which would include a waterfall, pond, or stream. As a part of the body of water you would think about adding a small bridge, a deer chaser, lantern, and various types of plants such as floating lilies.

Then, Japanese garden fences are also a eye pleaser, which are made from bamboo. These fences are utilized to create a sense of privacy. The whole idea of the Japanese garden is balance of peace and harmony. This is the one place where after a hectic work day, you should be able to sit or walk, finding tranquility for the body, mind and spirit.

In Japan and even some of the larger Japanese gardens in this country, a teahouse will be built. Now, in creating Japanese landscaping, the teahouse doesn’t have to be large and complicated, just a small space where you can relax and take in the beautiful nature of the garden. In fact, many home improvement stores and gardening stores actually sell kits for the do-it-yourselfer.

Consequently while there are many types of gardens, it is hard to beat the beauty found with a well thought out Japanese garden. Incorporating bamboo landscaping, Japanese garden fences, lots of trees, plants, and flowers, as well as the other elements mentioned, the appearance would be complete. With the garden being finished, you are sure to be the envy of every other person in your neighborhood and for good reason.

So, to gain a better understanding as to the making of a Japanese garden, you will find several fine resources that can be used for guidance.

Also, the internet is a wealth of information. While scanning, you can look at the various pictures, taking the different elements you like the most and designing a garden based on personal preference, yard size, yard configuration, and budget.

Get more ideas on landscaping and outdoor decorating visit Outdoor Landscaping Ideas

Thursday, September 11, 2008

7 Tips to Keeping Your Koi Fish Pond Healthy and Happy

Did you concider installing a koi fish pond? Bringing these magnificent fish in your backyourd pond is very rewarding and it is not as complicated as you might think. If you take proper care for them koi fish live very long and some can become almost a meter long. Follow these suggestions to make your fish pond properly so your decorative koi fish will live and multiply.

Koi don't like shallow ponds

Depth of your pond is important for the health of your koi. You pond should be at least 4 feet deep, however it is best to give your fish six or even 8 feet deep pond. This will ensure that your koi are protected from raccoons, cats and other animals who can empty your pond. Deeper fish pond also helps to keep water cool in summer months

Koi really love a lot of room to swim

Small ponds are not suitable for koi. Remember, with time will grow in size and numbers and they will need a big space. Also there are so many color variations of koi, that with time you will probably want to get other varieties. So it is better to create a big backyard pond from the start than rebuild it later. About ten thousand gallons is suitable for a koi fish pond , bigger would be even better.

Heat the water in colder months

Unlike tropical fish, koi are resistant cold; however you should never let your pond freeze completely. Installing a proper pond heater will always keep an opening in the ice. Also keep in mind, that koi fish only grow when the water is warm, so with a heater your fish will grow faster

Provide your fish shade

When selecting where to place your pond, make sure it is out of direct sun. Also keeping water plants like water lilies in your pond can be very beneficial - not only they add beauty to the overall landscape, but they also provide shade for the fish. However, you should avoid building your koi pond under trees. Cleaning a koi water garden of fallen leaves is can become a hard work.

Keep the birds away

There are many birds of prey that will enjoy eating your koi. Don't give them the opportunity; plan your pond location so it is possible to cover it with a net.

Insectocides can kill your beautiful fish

When designing your pond keep in mind that you should not use any insecticides or herbicides near the water. Even a small amount of common garden poison can make sick and possibly kill your beautiful fish.

Pumps, filtration systems and other fish pond accessories

Several accessories are absolutely essential for good health of your fish. Ideally you should get a water pump, filtration system, pond water aerator and an ultraviolet sterilizer. If the water in your pond is still, your fish might feel unwell. Koi pond filtration systems are expensive, so if money is an issue you can make your own homemade filters.

To get more ideas on landscaping visit Outdoor Landscaping Ideas

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Carefully Landscaping Your Lawn

There are many things to keep in mind while you are landscaping your lawn, and the first is that you want to take care while you are landscaping your lawn. Landscaping can be something that drastically changes the way your lawn looks, and it can also be something that wrecks havoc on your lawn and any progress you might have made before you began the landscaping project. In order to truly care for your lawn while you landscape, you should be sure to follow some advice.

In order to take care while landscaping your lawn, you need to make sure that you are protecting your lawn while you landscape. You can put down tarps and other things that will help you to not cause huge ruts and holes in your yard if you have to drive machinery into your yard and you can be sure to save as much of the original grass as possible while you are landscaping. Try to be sure that nothing too heavy drives on your yard, as it is almost impossible to fill in ruts if they have been made by machinery. A big part of caring for you lawn while landscaping is to be sure that you are taking care of your lawn at all times, not only while landscaping.

Deciding On the Landscaping

Also, be sure that you are only putting things in your yard that your yard can handle. Try not to put too many flowers or trees in your yard if there aren’t the resources for it. Cares for your lawn while landscaping includes making sure that you are only doing the things that your lawn can handle. Don’t try to plant too many new trees at once, because there will not be enough nutrients or water in the soil to support that many new things. It might be difficult, but you have to judge what your lawn can handle, and only do that much.

A good way to make sure that you care for your lawn while landscaping is to be sure to keep it clean while you are working on projects. Be sure to clean up after yourself and take care that you don’t leave tools and other materials lying around in your lawn. Pick up when you are finished, and try not to use chemicals or products in your landscaping that will damage your lawn. It is your lawn, and you must care for it, even while landscaping.

Get more ideas on landscaping go to Outdoor Landscaping Ideas

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Basic Lawn Care

Give a verdant look to your home landscape

Keeping the natural environment intact in your lawn is a pre-requisite to beautiful lawns. Grass is a natural element and adequate sunlight, air and water is what you require to give your lawn plush look.

A patch of green in your home landscape adds to the health and beauty of your neighborhood. A lush landscape around your home will make your home look better and make you feel re-energized at the start of each day. True lawn lovers are never afraid of putting in their efforts to create a beautiful lawn. Maintaining the lawn can be challenging and you need to keep in mind a few details to maintain a healthy lawn.

Grasses exactly suitable for your lawn soil

It is better to choose the plant that adjusts the climate of your region than to create an artificial climate for a foreign plant that is non-compatible to your soil and climatic conditions. Selecting something natural that automatically thrives with a little care and effort in the natural environment is best for your lawn. However, choosing and using fertilizers is crucial to the growth and survival of plants in your lawn. So be very careful to use these wisely on your plants.

Growing the particular grass that is compatible to the physiographic and soil condition of a particular region is best suited for homestead lawns. Trying to grow grass that is not suited to the climate and soil of the region is a wasteful effort and requires artificial climate. Turf grasses are suited for regions to the southern parts of USA whereas Kentucky bluegrass requires huge water and fertilizer is best suited for the northern regions.

Maintain your Lawn

To maintain a healthy and a verdant look, two important lawn care steps to take are to clean your lawn regularly and check your soil and inspect for damage.

Doing a soil test is the best way to understand your soil type and its requirements. You might find a high PH level in your soil in which case you need to balance it with lime. Your soil test will let you know about the mineral adequacy in the soil. Accordingly you need to provide the nutrition supplements to your soil that keeps the grass and other plants growing. If your soil is microbe rich then do not worry about plant growth but if it lacks organic material then you need to supplement your soil with the same.

Aeration and use of compacted sols helps breeding microbes in the soil. This soil is extremely favorable to growth of plants and grass. If your area experiences heavy rainfall then compacted soil will prevent water logging.

However, if your area is dry ensure enough water supplies especially in the morning. Deep watering nourishes the roots and makes your lawn healthy. Over watering should be avoided just like infrequent and shallow watering. Never water the streets and sideways and never water after putting fertilizer to your lawn. Your lawn needs about 1/2" of water in a week to survive and providing any amount in excess to this will be unfavorable to the grass growth.

Raking up accumulated leaves, removing dried and fallen leaves should be your regular task. If there is accumulation of dried leaves and other debris on the lawn grass then this will block the sunlight from reaching the grass and the condition of your grass suffers. Mowing the lawn regularly contributes to the healthy growth of grass. Make your lawn ideal for mowing would require maintaining a constant grass level to enable to mower function properly and avoid scalping which is detrimental to grass growth.

To find more information on landscaping visist Outdoor Landscaping Ideas

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Edible Landscaping: Practical and Delicious!

by Sarah Duke

More and more people are moving away from the idea of simple lawns and looking for innovative landscaping ideas. They want to make their outdoor space into a more natural setting, and this can include useful, even edible plants! A lot of edible plants happen to be quite aesthetically pleasing; some vegetables and herbs also have ornamental varieties. It's great to have your own vegetables - fuel costs are driving up the price of all food products, and produce is no exception.

If you're interested in creating edible landscapes yourself, you'll likely want to opt for perennials, since they will return year after year, saving you a lot of work each spring. After planting them once, these plants will give you food and something pleasing to look at for years to come.

These plants require little in the way of care; just watering, feeding, a bit of weeding, pruning and keeping any insect pests under control will be sufficient. There are plenty of perennial vegetable plants which are great choices. Remember, perennials do die back in the winter, so don't be alarmed when your plants appear to go away in the fall - they'll come back in the spring!

Perhaps you are a little leery of this idea - after all, doesn't a vegetable garden require a lot of care? This is certainly the case for traditional vegetable gardens; however, edible landscapes require only a little bit more work than other landscape plants!

This is all easier than you may think. You can simply replace some elements used in traditional landscaping with edible plants. For example, plant fruit trees rather than non-fruit bearing varieties. Wouldn't you rather have say, plums than acorns? Many vegetables work well as ornamentals and can be planted in place of flowers and other landscape accents.

Edible plants can also be mixed in with others to create your own outdoor look. Herbs in particular look wonderful planted among other, non-edible flowering plants. You can create any look for your garden or yard that you like this way.

Sage and oregano work very well as small shrubs, especially as edging for larger shrubs. Try planting curly parsley among flowers such as lobelia, dianthus and pansies. Strawberries also work well in flower gardens.

Why not plant some leaf lettuce in beds as accents? Leaf lettuce comes in different colors and shapes - combine them for a stunning look, edged with a border of grass.

Edible flowers are also a wonderful idea. There are plants which give in more ways than one. Snap peas, for instance. Besides producing peas, they also give you the gift of beautiful pink, white and purple flowers on attractive vines.

Chives are a joy to behold with their purple flowers (edible and great in salads as well). The red and white flowers of fava beans add interest to any garden. Dill's yellow, pleasant smelling blossoms are an attractive and fragrant addition. Salvia and sage boast blue and purple flowers which are a welcome sight and nasturtium (did you know the flowers are edible?) flowers are colorful.

Requiring little maintenance (and delicious), perennial herbs and vegetables are a fantastic idea in any landscaping. Dandelions, chives, rhubarb, sweet potatoes, ginger, asparagus, sorrel and more are all wonderful to look at and to eat as well.

Everyone likes to make their property and their home look better and one of the ways to do that is to improve your landscaping. For more great landscaping tips, check out the Landscaping Ideas site.

Get more ideas for landscaping visit Outdoor Landscaping Ideas

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Landscaping Ideas to Beautify Your Outdoor Space

by Sarah Duke

No matter the size, if your home has a yard you are certain to get a lot more enjoyment from it if you undertake some interesting landscaping ideas. You can add a water feature or a rock garden, or create a secluded nook shaded by trees and shrubs. You can probably come up with even more own ideas of your to make your yard more pleasant and attractive.

One of the more popular landscaping ideas today is to create a walkthrough garden. Carefully select the perfect flowers to lend color and charm to your outdoor space. A mix of annuals and perennials is ideal because it reduces your labor and cost while still allowing for the more colorful show that annuals provide. Investigate various kinds of shrubs and trees to provide contrast and balance. And place some stepping stones throughout the garden to encourage easy enjoyment of the surroundings.

Another great landscaping idea is to create different sections in your yard, each with a distinct feature, then unify the entire space by repeating certain aspects of each section in other parts of the yard. You don't have to have a large yard to pull this off, either.

If children will be making use of your yard, designate a section of it as a play area for them to enjoy. A wooden play set will look more natural and blend in with the surrounding landscaping features. Adding a tree house lends even more interest to your outdoor space.

A lawn is frequently a big part of any landscaping effort. Choose a variety of grass that's appropriate for your soil conditions and climate so you'll have a luxurious expanse of green to set off your other natural features. Surrounded by trees, shrubs and flowers, a lawn can be an attractive showpiece.

Many people like to include a water feature in their yard. Ponds and waterfalls add a dramatic touch to your outdoor decor, and the sound of water is considered very soothing by many people. There's a huge variety of designs and products from which you can choose. Your only limits are your budget and available space.

River rock landscaping is a perfect solution for problem areas of your yard where it's difficult for many plants to thrive. Maybe it's a spot that's too dry or the soil conditions won't support plant growth. Or perhaps it's an area that doesn't drain well and is always wet and soggy. Putting in a rock garden that includes a few exceptionally hardy plants can be ideal for these problem areas. But it's also an attractive and low maintenance feature for any area of your yard.

There's no doubt that landscaping can provide you with great enjoyment, both in the process and the final result. Do your research, get some professional advice if necessary, make a plan, and get going! That's all it takes to turn your landscaping ideas into reality.

Get more information on landscaping visit Outdoor Landscaping Ideas.