Building Patio Furniture with Landscape Design in Mind

Building Patio Furniture with Landscape Design in Mind

Working outdoors keeps you invigorated and lively. I love the feeling of being in harmony with the elements of nature. The planning of the landscape, planting and seeing your idea grow and bear fruit literally is something that has to be experienced first-hand to get the true feel.

One sunny morning, I was looking forward to spending my day off at my garden designing the patio furniture, when all of a sudden I found I couldn’t come up with a single good idea. The inspiration exhaustion spooked me beyond anything, so I took a ride with my motorcycle, wearing my wonderful motorcycle boots to see my friend, a designer, to get help with some fresh ideas and advice on how to go on with the project.

There are several homeowners who spend quite a lot of time and money on landscape designing to end up enjoying the view only from their windows. With properly placed patio furniture, you can enjoy the efforts you put in for your landscaping and relax in the evening in leisure.

Patio furniture is made of different materials like metal, wood, wicker, bamboo, concrete, wrought iron, plastic or aluminum and available in Italian, French, contemporary, modern, custom and painted versions.

Here are some key pointers that will help you out in your landscape designing and patio furniture placement

  • The patio should blend with your home and become part of it. Installing outdoor furniture makes it easy for you to relax in your yard and enjoy your garden with your family and friends. To achieve this, you need to choose furniture that blends with your home and also fits in the garden backdrop.
  • Furniture size is an important consideration as too large furniture can spoil the whole effect. Avoid overcrowding your small yard with large dining pieces. Consider dining and bar only when you have sufficient space, and if you entertain regularly. Hammocks and lounge chairs, if you have a pool should however be accommodated.
  • Comfortable placement is the most important part you should not forget. However beautiful and elegant the furniture is, if it is not comfortable to use, you’ll not be able to sit back and enjoy what you’ve painstakingly selected. Use additions like cushions, swiveling chairs and gliding chaise lounge to make it more comfy and relaxing for you.
  • Style of the furniture should be in line with that of your yard and house. This will make it well suited for your yard and house. For older and colonial style homes, wrought iron furniture is a good choice. Modern homes however incorporate various styles and blends, making it necessary for choosing unique structures or aesthetically blending pieces.
  • Color schema of the house and your landscape should be carried on to the furniture too. Depending on the earthy tones or bright colors you have for your house, you should pick appropriate patio furniture. If you like only wooden furniture, but have a brightly colored backdrop, you can add color splashes by using bright colored cushions or pillows on the wooden chairs.

The colors you opt for should blend with the existing landscape design and the color of your home. This will make the whole effect more appealing and pleasant to enjoy.

Guide To Styling Your Yard With Patio Furniture

Guide To Styling Your Yard With Patio Furniture

Are you tired of walking in the yard and yawning out of boredom? Do you feel that it costs too much money to create a more beautiful yard with patio furniture? If so, don’t wring your hands in frustration because this guide will help you decorate your yard in amazing ways. Many home decorators and even some professional interior designers visit inexpensive places such as flea markets, garage sales and discount chain stores to purchase inexpensive patio furniture and for those talented in woodworking and carpentry, they build their own patio furniture.

Use Poinsettias To Complement Red And White Patio Furniture

If you have red painted wicker outdoor patio furniture with white garden collectibles and tables, complement the wicker furniture by planting poinsettias in the yard. Other good flowers that you can plant with the poinsettias are conifers, pinecones and Spanish moss. Poinsettias have a beautiful red and green color and are great for late fall or earl;y winter months. Two to three large poinsettias are adequate enough since you don’t want to overpower the garden’s other neat features.

Consider Current Trends But Maintain Your Own Style

It looks like blue and green are popular colors for patio furniture but if you prefer pastel colors since it’s springtime and pastels are your favorite colors overall, you can combine a teal green with a light pink or light yellow. You can have a blue painted oak chair with a yellow and white patterned oak table. Neutral tones are also in style now for patio furniture and if you’re decorating a classic Victorian style garden, neutral toned collectibles that have a dainty appearance would look nice with a white patio sofa.

I Want The Rustic Look For My Patio. How Do I Pull It Off?

Start by installing tough stones in the patio to create a stone floor since stones complement rustic patio furniture. You can also install log columns on top of the newly built stone floor for a rich rustic look. As for choosing the best patio furniture for a rustic themed patio, Andironack chairs are ideal because they’re wooden and you can complement the chairs with wooden tables. Rugs or mats with floral designs make for good rustic patio design and add bold colored potted flowers for a slight modern touch.

Use Wrought Iron Furniture

Wrought iron furniture has a graceful and sturdy appearance and it is nice to have if you want the patio to have an Old World European look to it. Incorporate wrought iron chairs, tables and plant shelves and for extra flair, glue rhinestones and pearls on the wrought iron patio furniture. Another idea is to add some bold colored cushions to the furniture and remember that this furniture tends to rust so it’s important to wash it and apply wax to restore the beauty.

Add Patio Kitchen

Why not add an outdoor kitchen to your patio and entertain guests with good food and conversation? Install a nice stainless steel grill in the yard and then install other patio appliances such as a cupboard for storing dried and canned foods, wine refrigerator, a sink, and some bar stools along with an island where people can sit and eat together.

Don’t Forget About Privacy Protection

When designing your patio you should choose the kind of fence or gate that is tall enough to hide your items and then you would make sure that you use locks that are secure enough for the gate you install for the patio. Wooden or metal gates especially look nice with patios and if you prefer doors, most home improvement stores have patio doors you can buy.

Huge Tree Stump As Homemade Patio Table

If you cut down a tree recently and there is a huge stump in the middle of the yard, make it a patio table. Sand the tree stump then apply stain to the tree stump before painting it any color you want. When the tree stump is finished place a colorful tablecloth over the tree stump and then add a glass vase filled with flowers. You can also add some small chairs or bean bags around the stump and make it a kids’ table.

Stencil Designs Also Look Nice On Patio Floor

If you have a concrete or brick patio, add some pizzazz by stenciling words, phrases or designs throughout the patio floor. Here is how you would stencil patio concrete. Start by scrubbing the patio floor to eliminate particles and dirt then block off the sections where you’ll stencil the patio floor with tape and plastic sheets so the rest of the patio floor isn’t affected. Once you do this put the concrete primer on the surface and then heat the surface with a heat gun for effective stenciling. Add your stencils to the surface and then paint inside the stencil shapes. Let dry for a few hours.

Save Money On Patio Furniture By Purchasing Used or Refurbished Items

Sometimes the best patio furniture to buy comes from flea markets and thrift stores because the furniture at these stores have existed for decades and older furniture is usually of higher quality than new furniture since older furniture tends to be built with stronger materials. Don’t be afraid to negotiate for a fair price if you think the seller’s starting price is not appropriate. Also consider your budget when buying patio furniture at flea markets or thrift stores.

Conclusion

Patio furniture is great for the yard and you can choose from large or small pieces depending on the size of your yard. There are interior design apps you can download to your phone that assist you in getting ideas for a newly designed patio. There are also home decorating magazines that you can look through for inspiration. Periodically clean and apply wax to the patio furniture to keep it looking nice and you can repaint it if you want new colors for a different theme. Finally, be uninhibited with your patio design.

Decorating Your Garden With Plants

Decorating Your Garden With Plants

Your backyard garden is only grass and dirt without beautiful and colorful plants and there are numerous methods of decorating your yard with plants and other kinds of garden décor. You don’t have to run out and buy expensive plants or garden accessories because you can actually decorate the yard with inexpensive items.

For example, it doesn’t cost a lot of money to purchase packs of flower seeds and once you plant packets of them, you’ll have a wide harvest of bold colored flowers for the yard. If you purchase seeds in winter or other season, when it’s not recommended to plant them outside, you can grow them indoors using LED grow lights. We highly recommend LED grow lights from http://plantozoid.com to get the best model in the market for the lowest price.

Consider Planting Trees

If your backyard is large enough, you can plant one or two trees not only for decorative purposes but also as a way of providing shade from the sun as well as being a source of edible crops such as lemons or oranges. Some good trees to plant are sycamore trees, red maple trees, weeping willows, conifers, red bud trees and trees that give out citrus fruits to add color to your yard.

Grow Colorful And Edible Plants

You can have your yard look beautiful and serve a purpose for the household by growing colorful and edible plants. You can grow artichokes and use the artichokes in salads, pasta dishes, soups and casseroles. Grow eggplants and use them in soups or you can fry eggplant slices and serve them with a spicy marinara sauce. Tomatoes look attractive and they add a Mediterranean flair to the backyard. You can preserve the tomatoes or create jars of homemade sauce.

Get Trendy With Your Landscaping

Sometimes it’s a good idea to incorporate some modern landscaping ideas into your backyard when decorating with plants. One of those ideas is to bring a more eco-friendly approach to the design and you can do this by growing plants with seeds you used already, using compost as fertilizer for plants, and using recycled items for decorating the yard. Another good trend is the focus on plants that are native to the region you live in.

Fragrant Plants Are Great For The Yard

Another thing you can do is grow some fragrant plants since they add a sweet smell to your yard. Thyme is one great fragrant plant and catnip would also make your yard smell nice, which will attract any cats you have so keep this in mind when planting catnip. Other fragrant plants you can grow include lavender, sage, tansy and ground ivy.

Good Flowers To Plant During Warmer Months

If it’s almost springtime, give your backyard a makeover with a few colorful flowers that are compatible with the season. These flowers include phlox, roses, orchids, tulips, sunflowers, water lilies, daisies, daffodils, and snowdrops. Mix and match some of these and you’ll have a crop of beautiful flowers to enjoy at your next backyard party. In conclusion, decorating the yard with plants add pizzazz to the home and it saves you money on buying flowers from the home improvement stores. Finally, when you have plants in the yard you contribute to healthier eating if you grow fruits and vegetables.

Decorating Your Fishing Pond

Decorating Your Fishing Pond

My backyard was looking stale and after tossing out a few ideas during conversations with myself, I realized that I could utilize my husband’s resources since he is a fisherman.

He is going out fishing everyday and with the fishing equipment that he got, there is absolutely no way that our fish pond will remain empty. I talked with him about installing a fish pond and he loved the idea. We then went to work on our pond and some of the fish we used for the pond included fantail, koi and orandas. Here is how you can create a beautiful fish pond for your yard.

Building The Fish Pond

There are several ways to build your new beautiful fish pond. Before you decorate the fish pond you’ll have to build it and here are the steps. You would start by figuring out the size of your pond and then and start digging in that area. Make sure that you leave adequate room around the pond area for some plants and other decorative items. After you do this you want to lay a sand bed down so that when you put the liner in the hole, it makes for a smooth surface. Then add liner that is at least more than nine inches. Then add water to the pond and finally you can start the decoration process.

Decorating The Fish Pond

One of the most inexpensive ways to decorate the backyard fish pond is to add some large and medium sized stones around the pond and if you want to add some pizzazz to the stones, spray paint them in neutral tones that complement the green grass and some of your other plants that are in the yard. If your pond is in an area that can get solar power quickly, solar lights would work and colorful light bulbs also look neat with a fish pond.

Another idea is to use flowers such as sunflowers, violets, tulips, impatiens or water lilies as décor for the pond. For our yard we used bamboo plants since they created a forest-like atmosphere for the fish pond. You may also decide to plant herbs all around the pond since they are good for using in meals and the herbs add flair.

If there are young children who play in the yard a lot you should install a gate around the pond to prevent hazards near or in it. We have teenagers so we felt it would not be necessary to install barriers. Ponds can be a good teaching tool for children and teens because you can talk to them about our environment and the importance of cultivating it.

Conclusion

My husband and I enjoy our fish pond and he has a sense of pride in knowing that he used his resources from employment to bring a variety of types of fish to the pond. We even gave some of the fish names and the teens take turns in keeping the yard and fish pond well maintained when we have to leave town. I find the pond to be a stress reliever and I sometimes redesign it every few months, which is always fun.

Wild Plants Add Beauty to Your Garden

Wild Plants Add Beauty to Your Garden

Majority of plants you can find in gardens are ‘domesticated’ plants – as I fondly call them. These garden plants have been cultured and ‘tamed’ through the years for the purpose of growing in our gardens and landscapes. They are the ones you’d find in your local garden supply store or nurseries. They look great and awesome, especially when carefully tended and designed.

But if you are tired of the all-too-usual garden plants and want to give your garden or landscape a refresh, why not try wild plants?

Wildflowers and native plants add character and variation to your garden. Most any landscape or garden is enhanced by planting these rare, wild floras. Aside from their unique ornamental qualities, wildflowers are easy to maintain and are tough. Once they have been planted on the right site, they require very little care and even creating a sustainable micro-environment within your garden. If you have a chance you can try riding your off-road truck and check a nearby wildlife reserve to see the beauty of these wild plants in nature. Of course, it’s best if your truck has an LED light bar, like the ones found on this site.

A friend of mine, a garden designer as well, once took me to the middle of a local forest reserve to show me some wild plants that can actually be grown for garden use. It was already dusk when we arrived at the site, good thing his 4×4 off-road truck is equipped with powerful 40-inch LED light bar. I was amazed by the unique shrubberies, greens and wildflowers that grew in this pristine natural garden. I almost got tempted to collect mature wild plants but I know it’s unethical and illegal, especially for threatened or rare species. We had to contend with collecting wildflower seeds and grow them.

Growing wildflowers from harvested seeds require careful attention. It takes a long time to germinate from seed and to mature. Some of these wild plant species often require pre-treatment before they are able to survive in a different environmental conditions. Good thing, there are nurseries and specialty shops that now offer wildflower seeds that are easy to grow. If you are an amateur in gardening, you can opt for mature wild plant species – however, expect them to be pricey.

When planning to transplant wild plant species to your garden, you have to remember that not all wild plants can be grown in your garden. There are a number of things that you have to consider – the soil, water and light conditions of the landscape, as well as the season. Some wild floras are adapted to certain soil or lighting conditions. And if they are not suited with the conditions of your garden, you’d only end up frustrated.

Lastly, before you even consider planting wild plants, it is best to read about the characteristics of the wildflower. For starters, you can go with wildflowers that are suited to different ecological niche – the likes of desert marigold and marsh marigold, are perfect species. They can add color and life to your garden landscape!

Great Gardening Tools

Great Gardening Tools

If you really think about it, gardening is a lot like farming. You have to pick out a nice patch of earth to begin with, then decide what it is you want to grow based on the climate and weather conditions where you are. There’s a lot of digging, tilling, planting, mulching, watering and more, so there are a lot of different tools you may find yourself using, even in a small garden. I’ve worked with gardens of all sizes, so I’ve seen what makes great gardening tools as well as which contraptions you could probably just forget about and avoid.

Speaking of great gardening tools, I feel there are three specific items that no gardener should be without, regardless of the size of the garden in question. Back in the day, there used to be something called The Claw which was a bunch of curved spikes attached to a handle. You would stab it into the earth, twist, and get aerated, loose soil without breaking a sweat (or your back). A quick search for “claw garden tool” will get you dozens of results featuring similar items. I don’t know if the original Claw has been bought out or just gone out of business, but these devices all work the same, and they do work.

Great Gardening ToolsIf you’ve never heard of the Ho-Mi before, that’s a cool tool of Korean origin which is a lot like a handheld scythe. The wide, fat blade is ideal for chopping through stems and turning up dirt, making it an effective tool for removing weeds, right down to the roots. While the claw mentioned above is perfect for quick jobs that require no fine work the Ho-Mi is better suited to the fine work than turning up an entire garden bed. A tool like this may not be easy to find, but it’s not very expensive either since it’s just a blade on a handle.

Not everything about your garden focuses on the earth beneath it. In some cases, you’ll need to clear a canopy from above the space you want to use so sunlight can regularly get to it and the things planted there can grow. If you hate climbing ladders or have a fear of heights, you’re in luck – there’s no need to leave the ground with a pole saw to extend your reach. Take a quick look at Pole Saw Report and you’ll see for yourself that these lengthy saws are perfect for chopping off branches without putting the user in any kind of danger.

This last item is especially useful if you’re just getting into gardening, or you’re trying planting in a new location and you’re not sure what types of plants will do well given the soil, rainfall and other factors, like temperature. The EasyBloom plant sensor can be stuck in any garden bed and it will collect all kinds of data about its surroundings, including all of the points mentioned above. You can then visit the EasyBloom website with the gathered data and get excellent recommendations for what to plant, given your specific circumstances. This will quickly become the best friend of many novice gardeners.

10 Fruit Trees and Vegetables You Can Grow in Your Garden

I’ve done countless home garden designs for different people. One of the most common questions I’ve been asked is whether they can grow vegetables and fruit-bearing trees in their backyard garden.

I’m surprised that many people don’t realize that they can actually grow fruit trees right in their homes. Imagine picking fresh apples, pears and papaya from your garden, and turning them into a healthy smoothie using your smoothie maker (click this link for more info on smoothie makers). Such a delightful and healthy breakfast treat will certainly make your mornings something to look forward to.

Many think that growing fruit trees and vegetable would require special soil, fertilizer or chemicals to grow. While this may be true on some plant varieties, there are actually vegetables and fruits that you can easily grow at your home garden:

  1. Radishes

Radish is a vegetable that can be grown at any time of the year. To grow radish, simply sow the seeds and water them regularly. Your gorgeous radish will be ready for harvest within month’s time.

  1. Apple Tree

Contrary to what you might think, you can actually grow apple right in your backyard. However, you may have to wait at least two years before the tree start producing fruits.

  1. Green onions

If you want a fast-growing vegetable, green onions are the best picks. Unlike normal onions that usually take 6 months to grow, green onions can be harvested after three to four weeks.

  1. Cucumber

Cucumbers have an amazing taste, and are refreshing and cool. Aside from that, many do not know that the cucumber seeds are actually easy to grow. Cucumbers make perfect salads or side dish.

  1. Zucchini

The home garden offers a perfect place to grow zucchini. This vegetable grows fast and can be harvested within 70 days. There are over a thousand of recipes where you can use zucchini.

  1. Turnips

Turnips are not delicate plants. They can be grown in your home garden. Usually, turnips can be harvested within 60 days of sowing. Turnip leaves can also be used as ingredients in different stew, salad, and soup recipes.

  1. Peas

Peas are easy to grow on home gardens. After sowing, the peas can germinate within ten days. Pods are ready for harvest in just 60 days.

  1. Peach Tree

If you want a fruit tree that will bear in just a short time, then you can plant a peach tree. Peaches can grow quickly, often reaching 15 feet within a year. It will also be able to bear fruit after one year.

  1. Coconut Tree

Coconut can grow rapidly. It is best in areas that have warm and hot climate. In most Asian countries, coconut trees can be seen lined up near homes.

  1. Pear Tree

Pear trees are fast growing. They can grow a considerable height within a short period and are also able to produce fruit within a year.

Common Fish Species for Your Water Garden

In one of my posts, I’ve written about how I made a pond in my garden. I’ve talked about the different considerations when making a backyard water garden. Things like: How large the pond will be? What kind of plants to use for decoration? What water features to install? What pond supplies will be needed? And other basic questions that comes with planning a fish pond.

Common Fish Species for Your Water GardenBut aside from these basic considerations, another very important aspect of your fish pond is the type of fish you’ll put in it. Perhaps, if you’re planning to make a large fish pond that would allow fishing, you will likely need fish species such as carp, bass or bluegill.

You can try fishing in your own backyard pond using a spinning rod and spinning reel (check out SpinningReelPro.com if you want to know more about different spinning reels). Meanwhile, if you just want a small fish pond, you can choose a decorative koi or goldfish.

Remember that your Goldfish or Koi will the most important part of your fish pond. It is best to know a little about these fish species. Here we take a look at some of the common fish species for your backyard pond:

  1. Decorative Koi – These koi species are the most popular for people who want a small fish pond in their gardens or inside their homes. They are known for having very interesting color varieties and random patterns. Koi add tranquility and relaxation to a water garden. Their smooth movements create soothing sounds. Aside from beautifying your pond, kois also prevent it from getting stagnant.
  2. Decorative Butterfly Koi – This fish species are almost identical with decorative koi, except that they have longer fins that come in varying sizes. They move very graciously in water and are a fun to watch.
  3. Premium Koi – If you want your pond to have only select colors, Premium Koi is the best fish pond species to get. Premium Kois are a top grade koi fish. You can choose which colors of Koi to purchase.
  4. Comet Goldfish – The vibrant reddish-orange color of this fish species is the reason why Comet Goldfish is named as such. This type of goldfish is fun to watch and very personable. They also blend well with other fish species.
  5. Fantail Sarassa Goldfish – Compared with comet goldfish, Fantail Sarassa Goldfish has robust, short bodies. Its tails are fan-shaped, thus the name. This fish species have brilliant red color with white patches. They swim slowly and gracefully in the waters.

These are just five of the most common fish species for your home water garden. There are many other fish species for you to choose from. Feel free to personalize your fish pond!

Planning to Repaint Your Outdoor Furniture? Read This

Give your outdoor furniture a refreshing new look with a repainting project.

When doing a painting project, there are a number of things to consider. Add temperamental weather and all the other elements and your list is multiplied.

Here we’ll try to answer common questions about how to paint outdoor furniture.

  1. What supplies do you need to prepare the furniture?

Basically, the supplies will depend on the material and state of the furniture (e.g. painted wood, old plastic, new wood, painted metal). If repainting an old wood or metal surface, you will need steel wool, sandpaper, scraper, wire brush, or a stripper. You may also need a cloth for cleaning up the dust residue after sanding. It would help simplify your repainting project if you use an air compressor. This site has some nice reviews on different air compressors.

colorfull patio furniture

  1. What is best type of paint for outdoor furniture?

All paint products are labeled accordingly so you can see if they would adhere to the surface of the furniture. Check the label of the specific paint product to ensure proper adhesion to the surface. If you have plastic patio furniture, you can use paint products specifically designed for hard-to-bond surfaces. Usually, general purpose paints would do well with most surfaces with plastic as exception.

For rattan or wicker, spray paints are usually the best way to go as they easily get into the crevices. Aerosol paints are good for Muskoka chairs.

  1. What is the best way to prevent rusting?

Most paint products designed for metals add rust protection into the paint. Double check of the paint label says “rust inhibiting” or “rust proofing”.

Apart from rusting, another consideration is exposure to UV rays. Some paint formulations now include protection from UV light. These paint products protect the furniture finish allowing it to resist harsh weather conditions.

  1. What is the best finish for outdoor furniture?

Paint companies will usually offer a variety of finishes. Some of the options include gloss, metallic, satin, hammered, metallic, and more. As long as you apply the paint properly, you will achieve the finish you desire. You can also mix and match different furniture pieces to create a totally unique patio set.

  1. How many coatings should you apply?

Usually, paint companies recommend two coats. Check the instructions for better results. An important thing to consider when painting: the thinner the coat, the better. Thinner coats allow paint to dry faster and result in a harder finish.

  1. How to choose the right brush?

The type of brush you’ll use will depend on the paint product. Refer to the paint can as it will specify what type of brush is best to use. Take note that latex paints and oil-based paints will generally require different bristles.

Last tip; make sure to protect other surfaces especially if you’re working in your patio. Use drop cloths and masking tape to cover surrounding area.

Gardening with Kids: Age-Appropriate Activities

Gardening with Kids: Age-Appropriate Activities

Working in the garden with your kids is a great joy, and I’m sure all of the parents out there will agree with me. Teaching your children the ropes of gardening since they are young will nurture the love for nature and perhaps even for physical labor. The best thing, however, is that gardening can be educational for a child.

However, you shouldn’t rush to instill your beloved offspring with your passion as being too active may have a completely opposite effect. We, adults, tend to forget that children feel differently, so the things we consider fun and light may be very different for them. In this regard, gardening should be treated as any other hobby. Just think about it, you don’t send your 5 year old child to a violin lesson several hours long, right? Moderation is one of the most important things you will need to keep in mind if you want to teach your children enjoy gardening. Otherwise, they will come to resent it, as they would music or any other lesson they see as too hard.

The tools you will use together are another important issue. For example, everyone understands that a high-quality violin will sound better than a mediocre one, and it’s the same for gardening tools. However, it’s not only the matter of quality when it comes to “children friendly” gardening.

To follow with our previous musical example, just click here to see what violins for kids look like. They are different, right? In essence, these instruments are the same, but their size, weight, and even color play a very important part in keeping the child interested. The first two factors are obvious as kids are smaller and simply won’t be able to play a heavy adult instrument. However, the design matters as well, especially for younger children. I advise you to look for colorful kiddy gardening kits with all kinds of cool prints. Your little ones should see these things as toys, instead of work tools.

It’s not only the “equipment” children use that must be age-appropriate. The things you will do together also have to be tailored to the child’s needs. Here are some suggestions of fun gardening activities for children of different ages:

  • 1-3 years.
    Children so young definitely won’t be able to do any “work”, but they will enjoy exploring soil and plants. You can treat a walk through your garden as an educational expedition, teaching your kid about different surfaces, colors, plants, etc.
  • 3-5 years.
    This is the age of true explorers. At this time, you can expand the scope of your “expedition” to cover names of specific plants, insects, etc. It’s also a good time to teach the child the basics of watering and planting flowers.
  • 5-7 years.
    This is a good age for planting and picking various plants. Let your kids see how the flowers/berries/veggies they planted grow and explain the processes behind the changes they can see.
  • 7-9 years.
    This is the perfect age for building fortresses in hedges and growing special secret gardens inspired by fairy tales.
  • 9-12 years.
    At this age, children get interested in farming as they like to grow things on their own. Be a guide and an advisor and allow your kids to experiment with different plants.

Silent little benefactors

Silent little benefactors

Lives are one of the most beautiful creations of nature. It is so unique and so different that it puzzles us all. The existence of lives has always raised the query in the scientific minds on how do they exist. They are so unique and amazing that it even puzzles the scientists of the highest order to just arrive to hypothesis and not any conclusive proofs.

Around us there are so many lives that exist that we care the least to even acknowledge. We must not forget and we must desperately start doing so as the opposite case is turning out to be truer that there are many more creatures on this planet other than the human beings. And most of them are microscopic in nature or they are rather too small to perceive with naked eyes. But nevertheless they are present and they exist freely on this planet and they have the full right to do so. They may be small enough to get the help of precise optical instruments to find them yet in they are own world they are big and bold enough to take care for themselves without our unwanted intervention.

There are many such creatures that we may find in our back yards and in our lovely gardens which may not suite the likes of our and we may not hesitate for the second time before just dumping them in the hole of death and thus extinction, but before doing so we must think for at least one more time before any such rash decision is being taken as they may be helpful for us.

Lady bugs are not the sweet little creature that all admire but little all know that they feed on aphids, scale insects, mealy bugs, whiteflies, mites, and the eggs of other insects. So they in their own way in the pursuit of finding food for it help us by defending our lovely gardens from unwanted organisms.

Honey bees may freak the soul out of a few of us but one thing that we must remember that every life has its own purpose. Everyone is sent on this planet with a task to accomplish, and do the honey bees are here for. They are great pollinators. As pollinating agents they can work miracles and help in the growth of your gardens.

Hover flies though may have a similar appearance like that of a wasp or a bee due to its patterns on their skin yet they are often rejected without an audience. They are helpful for us as they eat up all those who are not health for our gardens.

The same goes with dragon flies and they are thought to be our enemy and the enemy of our garden and its beautiful possessions, but they are very much beneficial to us all. They eat up the larvae of mosquitoes and other such insects that may cause harm to us directly by causing diseases and spreading illness.

Thus though it may seem that these insects and many more are harmful to us but they actually help us in silence.

My Favorite Gardening Machinery

The frequent gardening activities made me curious about the modern machinery which can make the practice faster and easier. Spending a lot of time working in my garden does not mean all has to be hard work. I like to take the tedium out of tending my garden by using innovative machines. Let me share some of my favorite ones.

  1. Garden tiller cultivator

If you want to raise a vegetable garden or take care about various beds around the house, turning these spaces over by hand may be quite tiresome. That’s why I’ve decided to buy a garden tiller cultivator to make the job faster and easier. Although it is not big in size, it quickly pulverizes my beds showing a great level of efficiency. I can thoroughly till a 5×5 patch of packed soil in less than 10 minutes, and the cultivator shows no signs of overheating. I’d say it is a good machine for those with small to medium gardens.

  1. Self-propelled push-style lawn mower

The one I have is powered by a petrol engine producing 2.7 hp. It offers a three-stage height adjustor, a soft grip handle, and a polyester bag for cuttings. Until recently it was enough to take care of my medium sized front and rear lawns, but now, when I plan to expand my lawn areas, I am actually thinking of investing into something more efficient and powerful like a garden or even a lawn tractor. If you don’t know the difference between those two, try to check at GARDENTRACTORREPORT for more details on the issue.

  1. Walk-behind lawn rake

This is a perfect machine for processing lawn areas which have been neglected for several years, for example. The one I have can plough through the thatch, choking weed, and moss in no time. If the lawn is in a really bad condition, I’d recommend starting with the tines at their highest level and go layer by layer until you finally reach the ground level. The model I’ve got is equipped with a collection bag so the lawn looks neat and clean when I finish raking.

  1. Chipper shredderChipper shredder

I usually use this one in the spring and in the autumn. I chip all the small branches that came down in my garden over the winter and use them later as mulch. Every fall when the yard is full of leaves I run them through the shredder before throwing into the compost heap. The shredded leaves tend to compost faster, besides they take less space which means the heap does not have to be enormous in size. In addition, I can regulate the size of a chip from 50mm to 2”.

  1. Walk-behind garden vacuum

Although I have a tiny electrically powered portable garden vacuum which I use for minor cleaning tasks, I still prefer my bigger walk-behind model as it can cope with cleaning litter on bigger areas perfectly. I often use it to clean the sidewalk and my driveway from different debris. It is also good in cleaning the bottom of my drainage ditch from leaves and pine needles. I deliberately chose the model with the medium-sized collection bag so it is not too heavy to push and carry when it fills up.

How To Maintain Your Garden Like A Pro

tulips-21690_640Having a garden full of thriving plants can be a real source of pleasure, regardless of whether you’re more into doing the gardening, or simply enjoying the fruits of your labor. But maintaining it so that it looks like somebody’s taking care of it can prove to be demanding, especially if you don’t have any actual knowledge about the plants themselves. Fortunately for all of you beginners, there are plenty of things you can do to make sure the time you’ve spent gardening isn’t wasted. Here are a couple of them that should help you get started.

  1. When buying plants, ask about the type of soil they need for optimal growth

Getting the right soil for your plant means getting half of the job done. If you don’t know anything about plants and flowers, ask your local florist to recommend the best type of soil for each plant. This will make it much easier for the plants to adjust to their new environment, but also keep them healthy in the long run.

  1. Make your own compost

There are plenty of fertilizers available on the market, but nothing beats organic compost. It’s also easy to make and use. The only thing you need to do is throw all your biological waste on one spot in the garden, and let it sit. When the compost is done, you’ll have to spread it around your plants to provide them with the necessary nutrients.

  1. Water your garden by using a sump pump

If you have a large garden, you can save the money you’d otherwise spend on hosing it by using the water drained with a sump pump. For those who’re not familiar with this, a sump pump is a device used to drain water from your basement or crawlspace, and a nice sump pump is a really convenient thing to have!

  1. Make sure each plant has enough space

If you don’t do this, your plants won’t grow as they would otherwise. Since the size of the plants is an important factor in the appearance of a garden, you’ll naturally want to allow them to grow to their full extent.

  1. Keep the slugs away with beer

This is a very useful trick for resolving one of the most common gardening issues. The only thing you need to do is place a contained full of bear somewhere in the garden, and let the surrounding soil drink it up. This will attract the slugs, and make it easy for you to dispose of them.

  1. Water your plants early in the morning

By doing this, you’ll save money and make your plants healthier at the same time. Watering early in the morning is charged less than watering in the afternoon, but it also makes the plants look livelier. This is because when you water your plants during the afternoon, the drops quickly evaporate, leaving the garden looking as limp as it was before. Simply changing your watering routine will fix this problem and make your plants much healthier.

Weirdly Beautiful Gardens

Weirdly Beautiful Gardens

Gardening is one of the most recognized hobbies in the world. Be it any part of the world you go, you will find someone or the other who will find their solace in the labor of putting the plants and herbs together in their own places, making their garden a work of art. So here is a list of all those gardens from the different parts of the earth which may strike a chord in you and make you think about the perception of the few in this planet on the whole idea of the word Beautiful.

Poison Gardens, Northumberland, England

The Duchess of Northumberland personally looks after the project of The Poison Garden at Alnwick Garden. The garden is so deadly that you can only enter after a qualified person accompanies you.

In the Poison Garden there are more than hundreds of plants of varying degrees of deadliness that are grown and many of these plants had to be given a special license to be included in the display.

Las Pozas, Xilitla, Mexico

Edward James- the poet and artist created the gardens of Las Pozas. He bought a coffee plantation during 1940s to craft the Garden of Eden, where you will find yourself in the days where big catapults and epic cross bows ruled. Edward built 36 bizarre concrete sculptures. The names were like the House with a Whale like Roof and Staircase to Heaven. The names had the meaning of the structure hidden in it.

In the heart of Las Pozas- a Mexican Jungle, the “Surrealist Xanadu” combines man-made structures with waterfalls, native plants, exotic flowers, and pools to create a magically peaceful garden.

Rock Garden of Chandigarh in India

Nek Chand, who was a public servant, created his masterpiece from second hand industrial and home wastes in the year 1957, which he gathered from different demolition and dumping sites across the city of Chandigarh.

The phrase “one man’s trash is some other man’s treasure”, is well put here. But a city’s scrap and left over was converted into everyone’s treasure in the case of the Rock Garden, which is spread over 40 acres of land today. This is indeed a marvel in itself.

French Kiss in Akaroa, New Zealand

It is another weird yet beautiful garden with a recline pit stuffed with pillows. Here the visitors could have a unique vision from under the waterline. This garden is inspired from the French settlement history in Akaroa city. People from all corners of the world come to visit these garden or rather museums. These are beautiful in they own ways and thus attract so many people from across the globe.

There are more such places in the world which may be weird in the general perception but from the artist’s point of view they are as unique and beautiful as any magnificent creature of the nature is, in this world.

A tour in these gardens will definitely prove that beauty is just a state of mind.

Garden and home security

Garden and home securityBy now most of you know that I probably spend more time in my garden than anything else. Well, there’s also those long hours I spend in my shed preparing new pot plants and bulbs, and still more hours in the workshop measuring out wood strips for a new patio set or garden fence. I’m even building smaller things like garden gnomes and green frogs which are ideal to amuse small children with. Then there are new designs for safe, ankle deep garden ponds.

A sense of security

Children usually get bored fairly quickly while their parents are pottering about in the garden. After all, they are rather small and cannot be left out of sight while their parents utilize the only bit of time they’ve had all week to potter around in the garden. Not me, I have plenty of time, so much so that I’m even teaching your kids (well, you, so that you can pass these lessons on to them) how to do a spot of gardening.

All this, and more, gives me a real sense of purpose and security. Or does it? Lately, we’ve been talking a lot more about how we can protect ourselves better, particularly in the case of our garden and home environment where I am usually in three different places – the outside garden, the shed and the workshop – throughout the whole day. Fortunately, our estate is not that large, so all three work areas are fairly close to each other.

Reducing risks

So, if anything should go wrong, particularly if our home is being broken into, even in broad daylight, I might just be able to make a quick canter to our compact-sized gun safe in the tool shed and grab my fire arm. You may have noticed that I merely said ‘might’ because, quite frankly, no matter how well trained you are in the handling of weapons, there is always the risk that the intruder could very well outsmart you.

But I’ve also been told by law enforcement and security experts that all risks are greatly reduced when you do have a good gun safe in your home. Right now, I’m also thinking about investing in a new, larger safe to accommodate my grandfather’s air gun which desperately needs a home. Also, it’s going to be a handy storage vent for some of my most valuable gardening implements which cannot be replaced these days.

Thank goodness for green fingers

But I’ll still be keeping my pistol in the smaller safe which is discreetly stored away on a high shelf which only I can reach, standing on my own two feet, of course. No child even knows that there’s a gun in the house. All this talk about gun safety and keeping the home safe and all has left me feeling a little green. But, thank goodness, my green fingers are calling out once more.

How to Take Garden Photography Like a Pro?

How to Take Garden Photography Like a Pro?

Every patio and garden has a story to tell. Garden lovers know this.

Whether you want to frame a photo as art, share over the internet, or just to immortalize the beauty of your garden, it all begins with understanding the unique story of your lovely outdoor space.

Here let me share with you some tips on how to take garden photography like a pro.

  1. garden photographerHighlight interesting small details

Create a context to the story of your garden by capturing an establishing shot. Then focus on interesting details that you find meaningful. Zoom in further for some close up shots to add more depth to your story.

  1. Choose your shots well

There are a lot of inspiring subjects that you can find in your garden. Aside from the colorful flowers and greeneries, other great subjects include fences, hardscape, pathways, and borders. Capture horizontal and vertical shots. Aerial shots using a quadcopter (visit QuadCopterGuru for reviews) are also very interesting!

  1. Perfect day for a perfect shoot

If you’re lucky to have an overcast weather during your shoot, you are sure to capture stunning shots of your garden. Natural lighting is perfect for garden photography and the best time is either at dusk or dawn. Turn off your camera flash – it doesn’t only look good on pictures but also disturbs the flowers.

  1. Natural lighting

Make the most of the natural lighting. When taking zoom-in shots, use aluminum foil to focus natural lighting which adds more depth to the shadow side of your subject. Low, reflective light from the foil highlights the details and contours of the flower. It results in a very subtle, warm touch.

  1. Be flexible

Some of the best shots may require you to bend, squat, lie on the ground, or contort your body. Be ready for some back-breaking poses to find interesting angles. It would help to take with you a large trash bag to keep you safe from ground dirt.

  1. Spontaneity and authenticity

Garden photography requires little to no staging at all. Take shots as is. Elements such as wind motion, birds, bugs, and butterflies add beauty to the story. No need to over decorate or add further details. But of course be sure to hide unnecessary stuff, such as garden hose or tools.

  1. Use stabilization accessories

A tripod can help keep your hands steady and help you get great shots. If you want to take aerial shots, the WLToys V262 quadcopter is nice to have.

Finally, take as many photos so you can have more options to choose from. It is also best to take notes of your shots. Some would love to know more about the plants in your garden. Hopefully, these tips help you capture successful garden photographs that communicate a sense of intimacy and beauty.

Things a Wood Router Can Do

Things a Wood Router Can Do

My love for patio furniture got me interested in woodwork that quickly turned into another passion. I’m delighted that there are so many woodwork tools available on the market today. All these nifty machines make creating various complex and beautiful wooden pieces an easy task.

My most favorite tool is a wood router. If you are interested in this craft and still don’t have this particular piece of equipment, you are definitely missing out. I suggest you go here and check out the reviews of the best wood routers to choose one for yourself.

These machines are really amazing and extremely versatile. You’ll understand my fascination with them when you see how many tasks they can perform.

  • Making perfectly smooth edges.
    Cutting a piece of wood to create a smooth and even edge is extremely difficult, especially if the piece you want is narrow. If you use a router, you will get a perfect result every time. It doesn’t matter whether the edge you need is straight or curved, a high-quality router will do the perfect cut you need and replicate it as many times as necessary.
  • Decorative molding.
    My most favorite feature to play with is shaping all kinds of beautiful and intricate moldings. If you are a real master of the craft (or just a very stubborn guy, like I am), you will be able to use your router to create elaborate beaded patterns that look amazing on baseboards and doors. Of course, mastering this particular skill will take a while, but if you have the tool at hand, you will be able to succeed with some practice. There are quite a few online video lessons on this subject you can learn from.
  • Cutting dadoes.
    Do you want to make cabinets? If the answer is yes, you will definitely need a router to make dadoes (slots or trenches used to invisibly support shelves in cabinets). You can cut a dado in a piece of wood by using the straight bit of your router. Note that not all wood routers come equipped with this particular detail. Therefore, you will need to keep this in mind when shopping for the tool. A router makes cutting dadoes extremely easy. I can assure you from personal experience that it won’t be as easy to cut them with other tools. Dadoes aren’t exactly necessary for affixing shelves, but they provide the strongest fixation.
  • Carving out rabbets.
    Rabbets are grooves cut into the edge of a piece of wood. They are mostly used to create jabs on doors or casement windows as well as on the sides of bookcases. Combining them with dados creates strong joints. Wood routers can carve rabbets of varied width to meet your exact needs.

A wood router is actually capable of many other things as your manual will definitely say. I recommend studying the manual very carefully as this is your best helper for mastering this machine. In fact, you should always have it on hand when you start working with a router. This way, you will have the correct instructions right before your eyes.

How to Make Golf Course-Worthy Lawn at Home

How to Make Golf Course-Worthy Lawn at Home

I’ve seen a few golf courses in my life and have always been fascinated by the sheer beauty of lawns there. The expanse of green grass so soft and perfect, it seems one can rest on it as comfortably as if it were a bed, looks absolutely incredible.

I guess it was this beauty that sparked my passion for golf. Very soon I got myself a set of quality golf equipment and set out to explore all the courses I could reach. I must admit that even now at least half of my pleasure comes from enjoying the walks across those marvelous landscapes.

perfect golf lawnI’d like to make a personal note here that navigating large courses and choosing clubs became much easier for me once I got myself a golf FPS watch. This device turned out to be a great help for me. If you have never heard about such a type of watch, I sincerely advise you to check out reviews on Golfoid.

However, I’d like to get back to the incredible golf course lawns. The first thing I wanted to do after seeing my first course is to have a lawn “just like that” at home. Alas, I quickly realized that it’s not going to be an easy achievement. Even despite the fact that I consider myself to be something of a gardening aficionado, the quality of golf course lawns turned out to be too high to match. I’d say that comparing the results of my efforts to these immaculate green perfections was like comparing a common machine to a commercial-grade one.

Of course, I wasn’t deterred by my first failings. I immersed myself in research and talked to every golf groundskeeper I could find asking for advice. In the end, I managed to compile a list of tips that actually did help me make my home lawn into the emerald perfection I was so obsessed with. Today I’ll share them with you.

  • Use the right mower.
    From my experience I can say that a reel mower is the best for producing a golf course-worthy lawn at home. It cuts the grass cleanly and evenly leaving you with a truly well-manicured lawn.
  • Don’t mow your grass too short!
    To achieve the best look, you will need to mow your lawn at the height of about 2 inches. This height is perfect because it promotes deeper routing. Cut your grass too short, and its rooting system will be underdeveloped. This puts a stress on the soil and makes it susceptible to disease. Cut down about 1/3 of the length of the blade when you mow your lawn.
  • Choose the right kind of grass.
    This is the crucial factor that will “make or break” your lawn. There is no one universal best type of grass, so you will need to try a few options or consult a professional. Remember, your soil determines which grass is best for this purpose, so take your time to do the necessary research and find the perfect option for your land.
  • Don’t water the lawn too much.
    Over-watering is as bad as under-watering. To achieve the best results, water your lawn infrequently but deeply, this will promote the development of the rooting system, which will result in healthy luscious grass.

Get Fit with Gardening

Get Fit with Gardening

A few days ago I talked to one of my friends complaining how he can never make time for a gym as his schedule is so busy and got thinking. My job keeps my physically fit and I enjoy an occasional workout, but I know that many people aren’t as lucky. Life indeed gets pretty busy nowadays, and it’s easy to lose yourself to the routine of work and chores.

However, when I was pounding my great punching bag yesterday I started to think how we do quite a few physically strenuous things throughout the day. I mean, I feel the same kind of elation after a day spent working around my workshop fiddling with furniture parts as I do after a day at a gym.

But I realize not many people today get an opportunity to combine their workouts with actual work as there aren’t many opportunities to have a fitness training session in an office. This got me thinking on how we can turn some other common activities in healthy physical exercises.

Of course, the first thing that came to mind was gardening. As I’m very invested in it myself, I realize how much work must be invested in maintaining a beautiful garden. Even if you don’t have lots of fancy flower beds that need to be weeded, you will get a good workout from ordinary “garden maintenance” if you plan your “exercises” right.

I did a bit of research on the matter and found out that many people have thought about this before and some health and fitness specialists even developed gardening exercises. I learned quite a few useful things from them and I’d like to share some of them with you.

  • Start with a warm up.
    To turn gardening into a fitness workout you need to approach it as such. Therefore, the first thing to do is to warm up and stretch your muscles properly. This will not only set you in the “gym” mood but also make sure you are much less sore afterward.
  • Keep your posture straight.
    Quite a few gardening activities require you to bend and crouch, but you should always control your posture and keep your back as straight as possible. It will get easier with practice. Personally I see it like a yoga session where I have to arrange my body in various fancy positions and keep my spine stretched out at the same time.
  • Mix in some exercises into your work.
    To do this you may need equipment, but you most likely have it already. Do you have a bench? Step-aerobics is one of the healthiest exercises you can find and it will get you quick rather fast. Look up some videos of professional step training and try some of those moves when enjoying the view of your well-maintained garden. Do the same for other types of exercises and device a gardening workout that will be a mix between the actual gardening activities and fitness training.
  • Do some actual gardening.
    Gardening is a form of exercise by default, so all you need to do is to prep your body and start mowing, digging, lifting, raking, weeding (try doing this while squatting to work your bottom muscles and while standing on hands and knees to work the back and abdominal muscles). Do this regularly and you will get a beautiful garden and a much fitter body.

How to Bring Your Garden into Your Living Room

How to Bring Your Garden into Your Living RoomEver wondered how refreshing it would be to bring your garden into your living room – well you can, though not in a physical sense but close to it. This is achieved by having the wall facing your garden replaced with a patio glass door.

What are patio glass doors? You may ask. Well, these are building structures borne of the idea to combine the functionalities of a door and a glass window. They not only give an extensive attractive view of the outside but also let in a lot of natural light while providing a passage to the outside. Patio doors are mainly located on the exterior walls of a building and hence can be a creative way to bring the garden into your living room.

Patio glass doors consist of glass panels which are fixed onto frames (which can be made of wood, steel, aluminium or even fiberglass) and are attached to the wall either by hinges or sliding rollers. The frames and glass panels are energy efficient, also you may want to use wide so as to have maximum view of your garden.

The main types of patio doors available in today’s market include;

Folding patio doors

These doors are designed in an accordion style whereby; the framed glass panels are hinged together then attached to an overhead or bottom roller track so that the glass panel system folds and unfolds when it slides back and forth.

Gliding/Sliding patio doors

These are the most popular design of patio doors. They consist of two or more glass panels fitted into frames and attached to rollers (usually embedded along wall) for the purpose of gliding back and forth, parallel to the wall. The main reason of their popularity is that they give a sophisticated look to a building .

As long as the glass panels a wide enough then you will have an attractive view of your garden while in the sitting room, a nice way to kill two birds with one stone; just like having jiu jitsu equipment like this that can be worn while swimming and still be used for martial arts training

Hinged/ Swinging patio doors

They are made up of extensive glass panels fixed onto holding frames; the frames are then hinged onto either side of the doorway walls so as to swing inwards or outwards when opening.

So if you have an impressive front yard garden you can now use it as a decoration to the general outlook of your house mainly the living room by use of patio glass doors to incorporate the natural beauty of the garden into the living room space.

You may also decide to make the wall next to the garden into a glass wall instead of a patio door hence an even more comprehensive view of the garden, though this comes with the disadvantage of compromising the security of the house, but if you live in secure neighborhood or a secured private compound then you can take the chance.

Hydroponics and its Benefits

Hydroponics and its benefitsGardening has indeed come a long way. More and more people are looking for new and innovative forms of gardening now. One of the most effective gardening methods is hydroponics farming. Not many of us would be familiar with this term, but this is a revelation in the world of gardening. Let us look into this method and learn why this is so important.

What is hydroponics?

Hydroponics is a great method to grow your plants and vegetables. The word comes from a Latin word, which basically meanings working water. So, water is given a lot of importance in this farming. Why? There is a reason for this. This is because in hydroponics, there is no soil involved. Yes, you heard that right. Plants are grown without soil. There are various nutrients required that promote plant growth. The plants grow just as well without soil. This is a very environment friendly mode of farming with the plants being in the best of health.

How does hydroponics work?

It is a common misconception that plants cannot grow without soil. Like every other living being in the world, if you give the plants what they need in the correct quantity, they will grow unobstructed. In water, the plants grow well and you will get the most genetically healthy variants.

There are specific growing mediums in hydroponics that require a good amount of nutrients. This is perfectly balanced, with aptly adjusted pH conditions. The roots have access to the nutrients in a very soluble form. This is why this form of farming is very well suited to the plants. You will get plants which grow fast, with better growth and more fruitful yield.

For home gardeners, this is a very good idea. Hydroponic plants add another dimension to your home garden. To make your house look even more attractive, you could work on some good patio furniture to compliment your beautiful garden. For this, you can make use of these multipurpose oscillating tools available at OscillatingToolsDepot.Com.

Oscillating tools are useful for a lot of other work at home. Some oscillating tool reviews might prove to be useful for you.

Benefits of hydroponic farming:

This innovative method of gardening comes with a lot of advantages on the plants and the environment.

For starters, hydroponic plants require less space to grow. You will be able to grow the same amount of crops in 50% less space and this is very good for land conservation for other purposes.

Low water usage is also another benefit of hydroponic faming. Only 10 % of the water required in soil farming is used up in this mode of farming. Water is only lost through evaporation. Otherwise, there is no wastage of water.

Reduced use of fertilizers: Since a proper growing medium is created for growing these plants, you do not have to add a lot of fertilizers. This is good for the environment as well as the plants. The use of artificial fertilizers can adversely affect plant life.

In hydroponics, there are fewer chances of plants being affected by diseases. This is because a lot of care and nutrients are required for this farming. So, the plants that are yielded are free from diseases, and have better growth.

Sawdust in the Garden

Sawdust in the GardenSawdust is one of those things people have a hard time finding a use for. It’s like metal shavings or iron filings, potentially good for something but difficult to apply. Well, not anymore. I was recently chatting with a friend of mine who works with wood a lot, in a mill even. I mentioned that I was looking for an alternative to bulky mulch made from wood chips and he suggested I try sawdust the next time I’m trying to cover some ground. Apparently it works just as well as the chunkier mulch for retaining water, but you can’t just sprinkle it on top of the soil like you would with traditional mulch.

Instead, you need to mix it together with the soil, like by dumping both ingredients into a container or pit and then combining them with a rake or a shovel to try and make it homogenous. This is a lot like what a farmer might to do mix some natural fertilizer in with top soil before the planting season, so I know some of my readers will already understand perfectly what I’m trying to explain here. Unlike fertilizers though, you need an awful lot of sawdust in the mixture to get the mulch effects you’re trying to reproduce – like as much dust as you would get if you were to grind all that mulch to grit.

Because sawdust has such a limited scope of use, you won’t usually find it at stores, even gardening or home improvement stores. The odds are good you will need to make your own. That’s easy enough with a good belt sander. Normally machinists and carpenters use devices like this to make wood smooth, but that only works because the sander rips away bits of wood and provides a clean, flat surface. Nobody said you had to stop sanding there though. You could grind down whole planks of wood with a sander in this manner, getting all the sawdust you need.

Once you’ve ground down a few pieces of wood, you’ll have enough sawdust to mix into your soil for whatever it is you’re looking to plant. There are just two things about this process, one good and one bad, which still need to be explained. One, because of the nature of this mulch being mixed in with the dirt rather than stacked on top of it, you have to do this before you start planting; you can’t apply this mulch to existing plants without destroying their roots.

Second, the wood dust can literally be sourced from anywhere. I’m going to actually recommend you don’t waste good money on construction-grade wood to just grind it down into dust. If you have some firewood of your own, or you live near water and can reliably find driftwood, these are both excellent choices. As long as you’re not using pressboard, particleboard, plywood or other chemically treated, unnatural wood, you’re going to be giving your plants exactly the kind of mulch they need.

Soft Water v Hard Water in Your Garden

Soft Water v Hard Water in Your Garden

Water is essential to pretty much all life on this planet. Without water animals would die, plants would die, everything would die, basically. However, there are also different types of water, hard and soft, which are each better for different applications. First, it’s important to understand the difference between them. Soft water is free from mineral content; no salts, metals, debris or other impurities are there. It’s just distilled water. On the other hand, hard water has minerals, like water you would find in a well, or in most cities. Calcium, lime, fluoride and other minerals can be found in most drinking water.

So which of these water types would be better for the plants growing in your garden? Well, there’s a relatively simple answer to this question, so I’ll get right to spilling the beans. Sure enough, most rainwater is soft. It doesn’t hold salts or metals too well once it evaporates from an ocean, lake, pond or other body of water, heads up into the air to form clouds and then falls back to the Earth again. And plants get by just fine on rain. It might seem like soft water is the better option and to be honest, it usually is. Sometimes it’s best to just not mess with the way nature does things.

The minerals contained in hard water are typically not good for plants, with some being downright deleterious. Fluoride is a good example of a hard water mineral which is generally toxic to plants. It causes burning and fraying in the tips and edges of leaves, especially thinner ones. Many chemical fertilizers utilize certain salts, ashes, potash, organic matter and other ingredients to help plants grow stronger, or create more flowers, which leads to more fruit or seeds. Hard water does contain minerals and salts, but not many of these good ones.

Fortunately, if your home does have hard water, there are ways to fix it. You could always get a water softener of some sort. I’d check a place like http://watersoftenerland.com to get more information on those. Culligan is a pretty popular company for water softeners over in the United States, but I can’t really give an opinion on good companies elsewhere in the world. It’s not something I’ve ever had to deal with, myself. I tend to use rain barrels to collect water that falls from the sky and then use that when feeding my plants.

I understand that rain barrels are illegal in some places and just frowned upon in others, so it’s not a solution everyone can use. On the other hand, a water softener is good pretty much anywhere, as long as there’s room enough to install it and funds enough to pay for it. You might want to consider keeping a separate, soft water container for your garden upkeep and hard water for things like drinking water or bathing water. The mineral content is actually pretty good for people, just not so good for most plants.