Dress Up Your Garden with Arbors and Arches

Garden ArborLandscapers are always hunting for great ways to improve their garden appeal the best way possible. One of the things that they mostly consider is the addition of garden arbors and arches. They create a special impact when they are installed in the right spot on your garden.

There are several ways to build garden arches or arbors – it just depends on your ingenuity on what materials you think would look great on your garden. You really don’t need a professional landscaper to create an impressive arch – your creativity is more than enough.

Garden Arbor01Perfect Location, Materials and Design

To ensure a stunning appeal on your garden, build an arch as an entrance leading to your actual garden. It is not costly and laborious as you think it is, start and see for yourself.

  • Small-spaced Gardens – arbors are not only for large and wide gardens, most landscapers recommend it to small gardens. An opening frame adds character and strong element on the garden. Also, vertical planting is really wise in small areas, so you can grow varieties of foliage on its structure.
  • Quality Materials – before starting on building your arbor, decide on what look you want to portray – soft, elegant, strong or wild. These arches usually give an impression on what personality you have as it reflects on your choice of materials.
  • Plant Species – yes, these structures are not just to add glamour but for functional purpose as trellis for your growing plants. You can choose whether you want a plant with vibrant flowers or just simple lush foliage all over your trellis.

Types of Garden Arbors and Arches

To successfully create an impact with your arbors and arches, there are some things to consider. It is important that you don’t simply construct an arbor without any detailed plan.

  • Lattice Arbor – there are several stores offering inexpensive arbors ready to install in your garden. You can either purchase an arched lattice arbor or the common box-style arbor. Either way, it will still add character as long as you have the right plants growing on them.
  • Crawling Vines Arbor – all arbors can be a great trellis for your climbing vines. When choosing the arbor, ensure that it is sturdy and appropriate for your growing plants. Consider the color of your vines and its properties, like bigger vines need larger arbors and vibrant flowering vines are perfect for simple metal arbors so not to overdo them.
  • Conversation Nook Arbors – to make it more appealing for guests to stay in your lovely garden, this style is just awesome. It is created with two benches facing each other. This is designed to entice people to relax while taking advantage of a good view.
  • Shade Arbor – this is also known as pergola. Though this is mostly seen connected after a patio, it can also be placed in your garden. The topmost area is not covered and you will only see beams supported by sturdy poles. This can create shade once plants start to crawl and wrap the beams with their leaves.
  • DIY Garden Arbor – this is perfect for individuals who want to display their creative side. PVC pipe is mostly used in this kind of arbor. You can choose the design you want, cut them and connect them using PVC connectors. This needs proper tools and skills to appropriately cut and combine the pieces together.
  • Plant Arbors – yes, it is possible to make your garden plants as your arbors and arches. Usually, a combination of shrubs or trees with growing vines will complete the look. If you want to achieve this look, it is important that the plants are trained at a young age. It is important that they follow a certain design that you want them to look, either through trimming them or binding them with cords.

To create a distinct garden appeal, arches or arbors are great elements to achieve it. Though the degree of skills depends on your arbor style, there are still garden arches that are easy to install so no need to create one. Always remember that the first step towards a good arbor design is an imaginative mind, don’t just simply decide and purchase, keep in mind to input your own style.

Ways to Landscape Your Garden on a Budget

Landscaping your garden doesn’t have to be costly like the ones you see on magazines and TV. There are several ways to create an appealing garden without breaking your bank. Your ingenuity and patience can save you hundreds of bucks.

When setting up your garden, it is important to make use of what you already have. Landscaping is all about creativity and you don’t need anyone else to make your own dream garden. After all, it is more fulfilling to see your own hard work paying off after everything is done.

Plan and Decide

Landscaping is a tedious job and you don’t want to have to repeat over and over again as that will just worsen the scenario. Before starting your venture, it is very important to create a layout. Sticking with a plan will avoid any hassles during work and will save you time, effort and money. In creating a plan, be illustrative so you will have an idea on what it would like in the end.

Purchase Only What Your Landscape Needs

As much as possible, avoid buying items that are not necessary for your landscaping venture. Always check the plan and purchase only the necessities -shrubs, perennials, mulch and tools. Also, checkout some bargain stores from which you can purchase plants on affordable prices.

Don’t be Afraid to Play

Though you have a plan to follow, you can still revise it as long as it doesn’t go far beyond simple details. It is your garden, thus it has to show your real self and personalities so don’t be afraid to add your personal touch. Play with the colors, add textures and choose contrasting dimensions. And to add interest, your pavement might probably need a concrete plan.

Add Some Collectibles

An interesting garden needs to have some character into it, simple bargain collectibles like baskets, trellis, birdhouses and gardening tools can make the entire garden unique and distinct.

Pots! Pots! Pots!

Potted plants are pleasing to eyes so they can create a different atmosphere in your garden if you know how to use them. You can have various colored pots for distinction and to keep pretty items on hand. If you want to have uniformed colored pots, then start painting them with your favorite color.

Add Furniture

To complete a garden setting, you can add some chairs, tables and benches where you can take some time to sit while enjoying the scenery. This is the perfect spot to meet with your friends or to read a book. With these items on your garden, you will probably be staying around more often.

Take Advantage of Nurseries

When purchasing plants, you will get a good deal if you purchase them from nurseries. These local nurseries have all the plants you need at a much cheaper price.

To create a breathtaking landscape, you don’t need to hire a pro to perform the entire job for you. You can actually do it alone. There are unlimited budget landscaping ideas that you can match with your personality and lifestyle. It is also important to be patient while performing the tasks because this will help you to keep control of thing. Landscaping is definitely the right venue to showcase your talent and creativity.

Tips for a Relaxing Backyard

Updating the landscaping in your backyard can be a fun and enjoyable experience. While each person has different goals and ideas in mind, most people really want the end result to be a cozy backyard where they can sit back and relax. Even if you enjoy the actual planting, weeding, gardening and other activities associated with this type of project, you will want to make sure your yard is an oasis that you and your family will love.garden

When attempting to create a relaxing backyard for your home,you will have your preferences on what you would want in your yard. The following list of key tips for landscaping your backyard to make it your own personal paradise.

Privacy

Most people love having a little privacy so they can really let their hair down. There are many ways to make your yard private even if you have neighbors very close by. Using natural items like trees and bushes along the border is a great start. Adding a fence with thick vines can also help keep prying eyes out of your property.

Wildlife

While not everyone loves wildlife, it can be relaxing for most people. Adding in bird feeders and other items which will attract the type of animals you enjoy is a great way to bring a natural serenity in your backyard.

Water

You can add a pool, a small pond, a fountain or even just a bird bath for a great looking and very relaxing addition to your yard. Many people who add fountains or small ponds will stock them with fish which can be an excellent addition to any yard.

Comfort

Relaxing in the backyard should be done in comfort. Putting up a hammock is a great idea, and having a section available for patio furniture so you can relax with friends or family is another excellent option.

Music

Sometimes there is nothing better than sitting back in a natural backyard listening to soothing music. Incorporating speakers as part of your landscape is a fun idea which many people don’t even consider. There are many waterproof speakers with different designs available so think about adding this modern option to your serene backyard.

There are many other factors that can influence how relaxed you will feel in your yard once it is done. Each person is a little different so make sure to plan out your project ahead of time so you get it right. Consider the types of plants and animals you want in your yard. Though having wildlife in your backyard can be a great way to bond with nature, the noises they make may disrupt the peaceful environment you wish to have.

Also, evaluate how much you enjoy the actual work in your yard and choose options that will meet your desires. If you love working in the yard, you can choose plants which take a little extra time. If you would rather not spend any more time than necessary to keep your yard looking beautiful, there are plants intended for that purpose as well.

How to Use Bark Mulch to Dramatically Improve Your Landscape

mulch1If you are thinking about ways to enhance the exterior of your home, then you should consider using bark mulch to improve the appearance of your landscape.

Once you have cut the lawn, trimmed the hedges and planted the flowers, do not forget to complete your project by covering exposed soil with mulch.

The rich color of this mulch is a backdrop that will make your lawn, trees, shrubs and flowers stand out.

After laying down the mulch, you will be able to see the difference immediately. It is one of the most inexpensive ways to improve a landscape quickly.

In many ways, mulch is like icing on the cake. Without mulch, even a well-maintained landscape is incomplete. No matter how rich soil looks, mulch looks much better than exposed soil. By covering exposed soil with mulch, you can instantly enhance your landscape because soil looks dull and mulch has an appealing color.

Whether you are in the process of selling your home or plan on living there the rest of your life, laying down mulch will help increase the curb appeal of your home. Even from far away, mulch not only helps highlight a landscape, it also helps highlight an entire home.

Before and after pictures of landscapes with and without mulch confirm how much of a dramatic difference mulch can make. Most homeowners who use mulch are surprised by how different their yards look after laying down the mulch.

By covering patches of exposed soil with mulch, homeowners can transform their entire garden in just a few minutes.

Most homeowners cover every open area of their yard with exposed soil but do not use mulch to cover their flowerbeds.

mulch2

When decorating with bark mulch, you want to spread it evenly over any areas of exposed soil and all your flowerbeds. By taking the time to cover your flowerbeds with mulch, you will be on your way to enhancing the natural beauty of your growing flowers.

In addition, you will be taking steps to protect their roots, keep them well hydrated and help them last longer. This is why so many homeowners lay mulch down on their flowerbeds.

What homeowners like most about using mulch is that it does not cost a lot of money. If you are looking for an affordable way to make your landscape stand out, then you should definitely purchase mulch to cover your exposed soil. Mulch is used by many homeowners to help make pathways and borders stand out as well. By evenly spreading mulch in strategic places, you can transform your landscape quickly.

If you are looking for ways to start enhancing your landscape, then there is no better time than the present to make plans to lay down mulch throughout your garden.

Before spring arrives, you should start thinking about ways you can use mulch to enhance your entire landscape now.

Most professionals begin laying mulch down in the spring once the temperature has warmed up a bit, so you will soon be able to transform your landscape.

Using Bark Mulch

Although there are many different types of mulch to choose from, bark mulch is extremely popular. The rich color of this mulch makes it so popular. Also, this mulch does not change after being exposed to the sun.

In addition to making your landscape and lawn look beautiful, bark mulch also helps keep soil hydrated and protects the roots of your plants, shrubs, trees and flowers. Mulch also helps cover and reduce the number of weeds in your garden.

When laying down mulch, you can use it to improve the appearance of your front, back and side yards. There are no limitations when it comes to where you can use mulch.

If you are making plans to spruce up your landscape, then you should definitely think about all the benefits of using bark mulch.

In addition to enhancing your landscape, mulch will help keep weeds at bay, keep your soil well hydrated and protect your shrubs, flowers and plants. It is one of the fastest and most inexpensive ways to improve the appearance of your landscape.

Adding Color to Your Landscaping Project

When planning your landscaping most people include things like trees, bushes and grass but that can sometimes result in a very green landscape.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but many people want to spice it up a little bit with some color. The most common way people do this is by adding flowers to different areas of their landscape, but this comes with some concerns.

Many flowers only bloom for a few weeks or months per year which can put you back right where you started.

Adding Flowers for Color

colorful-flower

Of course flowers are an excellent addition to most landscaping jobs, but it is important to do it right to ensure they bloom evenly throughout the year. In most areas of the country there are hundreds of different species of flowers to choose from that will thrive.

You can choose a variety of different species of flowers which bloom at different times of the year. This will not only provide you with color throughout the year but will also give your landscaping a constantly changing look and feel.

Using Trees for Color

treeThere are some trees which have leaves which are red, purple and other colors which can add an excellent splash of color to your landscaping. Many people love the fact that they not only give you additional coloring, but also that the color is up off of the ground which can give your garden a look of additional depth.

You can even get flowering trees which will have a normal green leaf through much of the year but at particular times they will bloom with brilliant flowers. This may be something to consider when planning out your design.

Don’t Forget About the Non-Living Items

Something many people forget as an option to give your landscape additional color are those non-living items such as chairs, walkways or other things. When properly placed you can create distinctive focal points in your garden and help add flair to the entire area. Some popular ideas for this include things like:
bird-feeder

  • bird feeders
  • bird baths
  • brick walking paths
  • tree swings
  • patio furniture

There are, of course, many other options to choose from as well. When looking at your options, don’t be afraid of getting creative with what you use for your garden design.

Remember that when planning the design of your yard that the most important thing is that you’re happy with the end result. Even though landscaping as a whole can be expensive, most of the individual items used aren’t typically going to cost you too much so you can give them a try, and if you don’t like the way they look you can just remove and replace them with something new.

Landscaping should never be something that is done once and forgotten.

Continuous updates and improvements are part of the joy of landscaping and it will also keep your home and your yard looking new and exciting year after year.

The contrast between some things which last for many years like the trees and other items that might be changed based on the season give landscaping the sense of excitement that most people love.

Warm Winter Affecting Your Landscape?

Many states in the U.S. are experiencing warm winters.

States notoriously known for harsh and brutal winters, like Minneapolis, didn’t have temperatures dip below zero until mid-January. While residents may be relieved of the delayed cold temperatures, many gardeners and landscape professionals are worried about their landscape surviving the drastic temperature fluctuations.

How it Affects Your Lawn

In winter, lawns are dormant meaning they are alive, but not actively growing like they do in spring or summer months. When a warm winter strikes, your lawn continues to grow, but may tire and weaken due to the lack of real rest. The stress can be too much for your lawn since it will not be receiving the nutrients it needs. And, without the proper lawn care help, your lawn may turn brown leaving dead spots, or spreading lawn diseases.

Lawn Care Tips

When your lawn is experiencing a warm winter it’s best to water lightly and practice other lawn care guidelines.

  • Apply at least ½ inch of water, about once a week especially if your warm winter is seeing 50- 70 degree temperatures.
  • Make sure to check your local forecast to avoid watering your lawn before temperatures drop to freezing.
  • Do not mow your lawn unless you notice the grass is starting grow.
  • If you must mow, try keeping your lawn less than 3 inches in height.
  • If your lawn gets too tall during winter months it can flop over, trapping moisture and spreading fungal diseases to your lawn.

You should also avoid foot traffic on your lawn as much as possible; this goes for all seasons. If and when temperatures gradually return to their normal winter temperatures the grass should ‘harden up’ and be fine until spring time.

Take note to see if there are any spots in your lawn that hold a lot of water and/or freeze during the cold winter temperatures and make sure to develop a better drainage system for the next winter.

This will save your landscape from bare spots and other unsightly lawn diseases no matter what season you are in.

Winter Lawn

[Image Source: LawnCare.Net]

How it affects Your Plants

Plants respond to two things: temperature and light.

When the temperature rises and plants get more sunshine than they are use to in winter they can’t help but think it’s spring time and start to bloom or grow. The ones that bloom or start to bloom may be in trouble when the cold winter temperatures return.

It’s difficult to know exactly how to prepare your plants for this kind of uncertainty because of all the factors involved. For instance, you must consider: type of plants you have, how suddenly the cold temperatures return, how cold it gets, and your environment.

Nonetheless there are a couple of things you can do to make sure your landscape remains lush and pleasant looking.

Plant Tips

  • Laying a layer of mulch or leaves is a big and easy way to help your plants survive winter.
  • Mulching helps keep your plants warm and keeps moisture in the ground.
  • Adding about 1 inch to 2 inches of mulch should be enough to provide enough warmth for your plants. Mulch will act as a blanket and keep them warm for the duration of winter.
  • If your landscape hasn’t seen very much rain or snow make sure to water your plants during the warm period. They’ll have a better chance of bouncing back when spring time comes.
  • If you bring outdoor potted plants indoors, make sure to water and give them access to a window that gets adequate amounts of sunlight.

How it Affects Your Bushes/Shrubs

Shrubs or bushes have a different story when it comes to a warm winter. They typically set their bulbs in the spring so the plant itself should remain unharmed.

However, the flower buds could be killed if they bloomed or opened too much. The cold air takes away valuable moisture and warmth from the buds and dries them out causing them to die, so don’t be too disappointed if you have fewer blooms this spring.

Bushes/Shrub Tips

  • Once the warm winter has occurred it’s hard to prep your shrubs or bushes for the winter weather that will return.
  • Make sure your bushes and shrubs get a good watering in the fall time. They’ll get the needed moisture they may have lost during harsh winter weather.
  • Mulching around them won’t hurt. Remember to leave some breathing room around the stem of the plant.

Warm winters are unpredictable and it’s almost impossible to determine how exactly they will negatively impact your landscape, but with these lawn care and gardening tips you can better help your landscape survive winter and get ready to flourish for the coming spring.

Toxins Which Can Ruin Your Garden and What To Do About It

Back in ancient times victors would salt the earth of the cities they conquered to make it difficult to rehabilitate.

While you probably won’t go conquesting, it is important to know how certain chemical compounds can affect your yard and garden.

A lot of these toxins arrive by water runoff while sometimes homeowners do it to their own plants without even knowing.

Contaminant Sources for Your Yard

Rain

Salt is naturally occurring in the environment and traces of it is commonly found the soil. Rain water runs over formation and picks up minerals, salt among them, and carries them along their path.

As the water evaporates it leaves the minerals behind. Some of these can be good while others affect the pH and composition of the soil.

If this is a problem for your garden or yard, evaluate how water drains through your property.

Try to divert water away or change up soil composition in spots with dead plants. A little bit of sand mixed in with the soil will help water flow through faster. If the water does not stay, it will not evaporate and leave behind chemicals.

Pets

Have you ever noticed dead spots in a lawn or garden where pets urinate?

It is caused from the nitrogen within the urine. This might seem counterintuitive since nitrogen is used in many fertilizers, but in high concentrations it creates a chemical burn.

The best thing to do here is keep pets to an area where it will not be noticed. Also, washing the grass and plants with water after pets do their thing will help to dilute the nitrogen.

Deicers

A common source of contamination for gardens and yards during the winter is chemicals used to remove ice. It is not an easy task to remove ice and a deicer does a good job, but caution is needed.

Deicers can damage concrete, ruin soil, and kill plants.

It ruins concrete and landscaping by allowing water to melt, run into cracks, refreeze, and exert a tremendous force. This pressure will further expand the crack and chip the surface. These effect is known as concrete spalling.

sodium_deicerThe chlorides and sodium in many of the deicers are responsible for the gardening problems. These chemicals are very hard on plants and kill most. Also, when they come into contact with soil they deplete the oxygen and makes it almost impossible for plants to grow.

Try to avoid using these products.

If you do, use potassium acetate or CMA (Calcium Magnesium Acetate). These two are the least poisonous for plants and concrete. Potassium acetate works well down to minus fifteen Fahrenheit.

CMA only works to twenty Fahrenheit and is more expensive but it is best for use near plants or on concrete.

Paint

lead_paintFor older homes built before 1980, lead can be a big problem.

It makes its way into the soil from chipping paint. The area within 6 feet of a house is the danger zone. The dust and paint chips usually land here. Water dripping down the side of the house exacerbates the issue.

There are three solutions for lead:

  1. immobilize the lead
  2. mix the soil
  3. eliminate the source of the problem

To immobilize the lead raise the pH of the soil and add extra organic material on top of the soil (e.g. mulch) to protect plants.

Another task that can help is mixing the top soil with clean soil that is lower down. The last solution, which is the best but most expensive, is to remove the source of the problem. This can be difficult and expensive, but a good short-term solution is to cover it with a high quality primer and an oil-based paint.

Arsenic

Older homes have another problem; arsenic can be found in preservatives for wood. Like the lead in paint, the arsenic can be leached out from rain and makes its way into the soil near the house.

Also similar, unless you can remove the source the only solution is a temporarily cover it up.

The other possible source of arsenic, but more unlikely, is herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers used from back in the 90’s. Rain and water will slowly wash these chemicals away over time. Turning over the soil can help speed up this process.

Another solution would be to plant an elevated bed with clean soil.

Summary

Pay attention to indications your plants give you. If there are small yellow spot in the grass here and there, it is probably an animal.

If an entire bed of flowers next to the house keeps dieing, check the paint, wood preservatives, and water runoff. A test kit can be found in a local home improvement store for confirmation. Then all there is to do is determine which solution is best to remedy the problem.

Landscape Preparation for Spring

lawnIt may be hard to believe while we’re currently stuck in the throes of winter, but spring is just around the corner and that means a good amount of work getting our lawns and gardens back to their full beauty and strength of seasons past.

For months during winter your lawn, trees, bushes and gardens are covered, stressed, and pressed by snow and ice and can be damaged by deicers like rock salt.

When the snow clears and life finally begins to return, your lawn can appear patchy and many plants seemingly unhealthy, but their all most resilient than we often give them credit for.

While the amount of work needed will vary on the yard and on the severity of the winter, there is a short checklist of lawn care tips for spring that can help anyone kickstart their lawn and garden and prepare it for the rest of the year.

Take a Walk

Before you get down to work in a specific area, make sure you know the whole picture.

Take a walk around the property to get a clear idea of any damage that may have occurred and the work ahead of you. This is also a great time to do some basic clearing of dead or broken materials to clear the way for you later.

Clear Your Gardens

marigold

If you have gardens or flower beds, getting these cleaned out and planted can do a lot to improve the overall look of your yard almost immediately. Marigolds and pansies are two cold-resistant flowers that are very common and can be found at any nursery, perfect for spring planting.

Trim and clear any damaged or overgrown foliage to improve the look of the beds and make room for new, healthy growth. When pruning trees, make sure to cut no closer to the trunk than the branch collar, the raised ring where the trunk and the branch join.

The area around the branch collar is naturally capable of healing itself when a branch is shed, but improper pruning can damage the trees ability to cover the wound exposing the entire tree to the risk of decay.

Along with any waste you create, make sure to clear old mulch, dead leaves, and branches from the flower beds. While these materials can be composted and help improve soil conditions, those operations need to be kept separate. If left unattended, all of this material can build up in the flower beds and smother your plants.

Mow the Lawn

Unless your lawn suffered extreme damage in the winter months, spring fertilization isn’t essential. (For much of the country, application of fertilizer in the fall is most effective.) You lawn will undoubtedly appear patchy and flattened, but it won’t take long to fix that.

plastic-leaf-rakeUsing a plastic leaf rake, you can quickly get the grass upright, and a pass of the mower will improve the look by evening out the grass. While raking make sure not to apply any pressure – rely only on the weight of the rake itself.

Using a metal rake or applying too much pressure can pull up the grass and do major damage to your lawn. Most people have manageable lawns, but if you lack the time or have a giant lawn consider hiring a landscape company to do the basics to free up your time to focus on your garden.

Don’t Over-Water

For many of us, the simple joy of finally being outside can cause a sort of ‘spring-fever’ and actually lead to over-care for our lawns. One such common mistake comes when the water finally gets turned on. Depending on the climate and rainfall, your sprinklers may not even be necessary until much nearer to summer, but often times that spring fever (and the sad look of a post-winter lawn) can lead to an excessive amount of watering.

Check with your local lawn care for watering tips in your area. Grass is a hearty organism, and a good thirst is actually extremely healthy and advantageous in the long run. When grass is thirsty it encourages deep growth in the root system, seeking out more water.

Constant watering in the spring negates the need for such strong roots and will leave your lawn ill-prepared for the summer heat that lies ahead. Nevertheless your sprinklers will need to be turned on, consult your local sprinkler expert for your sprinkler start up.

Lawn care, specifically spring lawn care, can be a lot of work, but it’s extremely satisfying to enjoy a healthy lawn throughout the year, and a healthy lawn, trees and plants can help raise property value – all it takes is dedication, knowledge and some simple landscape tips.

If it seems like too much to handle, though, there are always lawn care professionals who are happy to help you get your yard ready for spring and keep it looking great all year round.