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Tuesday, April 21, 2020


Title:
Landscaping Tips: Concrete Pond Construction

Word Count:
354

Summary:
Good concrete pond construction means not taking shortcuts.


Keywords:
landscaping,garden pond,fish pond,water garden,construction


Article Body:
Good concrete pond construction means not taking shortcuts. Improper methods can lead to more money spent on maintenance, repairs, or replacement than on the cost of the initial construction. Since good concrete pond construction equates to having one that lasts a lifetime or longer, follow these rules of thumb to get it right – the first time!

Keep in mind that for suitable concrete pond construction, you need to pour the concrete to a thickness of four to six inches. After deciding on the dimensions and outlining the area, all soil (and rocks!) should then be dug out. Forms then need to be built and placed where concrete is to be poured, along with the proper placement of cut-to-fit reinforcement bars (rebar).

For digging out the area for concrete pond construction, you will need shovels, picks, a crowbar, and, of course, a wheelbarrow. Some other necessary items include a carpenter’s level, string, stakes, sheets of plastic, and a long two-by-four.

Pouring the cement in concrete pond construction should be done in one day, unless the pond is very large, and then it must be poured in sections. Pour cement in the bottom of the pool first, then the sides. If shelves have been dug out, pour cement there, next. Finally, pour cement for the top of the pond and for any coping that may be involved.

After you have completed these first steps of your concrete pond construction project, you need to let the cement cure for several days under plastic. Treating with muriatic acid at this stage helps prevent high pH levels in water later, which benefits fish and plants. After the acid treatment, apply several coats of paint made for pools or masonry sealant, allowing each coat to dry thoroughly.

Concrete pond construction can be a true learning experience. It’s best to start with a smaller pond, then if you meet with success, you can then move on to a larger project. But once you get the hang of concrete pond construction, there’s no limit to where you can go from there. So learn, build, and then build some more!


Title:
Landscaping Tips: What Mulch to Use for Trees

Word Count:
421

Summary:
One question that comes up this time of year a lot is what is the proper mulch to use for trees. It’s easy to grasp the basic premise of mulch, but when people go to their local nursery they see many different kinds.


Keywords:
landscaping tips,mulch,tree care,planting trees,shrubs


Article Body:
One question that comes up this time of year a lot is what is the proper mulch to use for trees. It’s easy to grasp the basic premise of mulch, but when people go to their local nursery they see many different kinds. How do you know which one to use? The short answer: wood chips.

The very best mulch to use for trees is something that is going to decompose gradually. Mulch made from wood chips fits the bill perfectly, since it rots slowly, and as an added bonus, this mulch is quite low in nutrients so will not encourage weed growth. Composted wood chips are the preferred material; these can be used as durable, low-maintenance mulch, which weathers to a silver-gray color.

The bad news is that most wood chip mulch is sold as fresh material, not in a composted or aged state. These chips also decompose slowly, but as they do decompose, microorganisms develop in the mulch and use nutrients from the soil that might otherwise be available for plant growth. Composted material will not support these microorganisms, which is why it is the preferred material. One solution to this dilemma is to buy un-composted wood chips ahead of time and compost them yourself. Put them in a backyard composter along with some leaves, twigs and bark. Make sure to keep it well aerated and turned to prevent bad smelling mulch.

Go Organic

Organic mulches are advantageous also for their soil-enhancing characteristics, as opposed to inorganic mulch materials like crushed rock, gravel, tarps, and landscape fabrics. As organic mulches decompose over time, they slowly discharge tiny quantities of nutrients and to the soil. Therefore your layer of mulch should be renewed as needed to maintain a 2- to 4-inch depth.

For individual trees, your mulched area should cover from 3 to 6 feet out from the tree’s base. It is best to clear the mulch away 1 to 2 inches from the base of plants to help prevent damage to the tree trunk from insects, excess moisture, and diseases. In fact, this is the classic mistake that many people make with mulching trees.

You shouldn’t have a pile of wood chips around your tree that resembles the thing Richard Dreyfuss made in his kitchen in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Rather, it should look more like a flattened donut. This also holds true for mulching shrubs, by the way.

Follow these simple tips and your tree should do well and require less watering and fertilizer than an unmulched tree.


Title:
Landscaping With Rocks Will Spotlight Your Yard

Word Count:
557

Summary:
Taking a drive around town will reveal yards that look the same. Sure some may have beautifully manicured lawns and others may not but the overall look is the same, green grass, trees and flowers. If you’re longing to make your yard stand out from the acres of sameness adding some decorative rocks and stones will do the trick.

The addition of landscaping rocks will give your yard a style and character that most homeowners would love to have but don’t know where to start. T...


Keywords:
landcsape brick, landscaping yards, crushed stone patio,pavers and retaining walls


Article Body:
Taking a drive around town will reveal yards that look the same. Sure some may have beautifully manicured lawns and others may not but the overall look is the same, green grass, trees and flowers. If you’re longing to make your yard stand out from the acres of sameness adding some decorative rocks and stones will do the trick.

The addition of landscaping rocks will give your yard a style and character that most homeowners would love to have but don’t know where to start. The first step to adding some personality to your landscaping is to remove some of the grass. If you aren’t using your front lawn there’s no point in maintaining it and this will make your landscape unique.

Use a shovel or if you have access to one, use a tiller to break up the ground. Pull the rocks out of your way –these are not the kind of rocks we’ll be using for this landscaping project :)

While you’re digging, decide whether or not you have the proper drainage for your plants and flowers, if not, now would be a good time to add the appropriate irrigation system.

One addition that you can add to your front yard landscaping is to add a walkway. Having your guests use the driveway or worse, the grass, to get to your door is not the effect you’re after so think about adding a walkway. This addition will keep guests from tracking in dirt and other debris in to your home too.

One popular effect for a stone walkway is to stagger rocks all along the walk to your door. Make certain that when you do the final install your rocks are secure and they don’t move when they are walked on. To keep the rocks in place remove four to five inches of soil beneath each rock that you lay. Add a thin layer of gravel beneath the stone. This will keep your rocks and stones in place to ensure safety and stability.

When planning the walkway try to add interest by adding curves to your design. This will give your work a more distinctive yet informal look. Add smaller trees and shrubs top provide structure for your new walkway. And add some color with some easy to care for perennials. Perennials work well with a rock landscape because they are easy to care for yet they add beauty and color to the project.

Once the main plantings are in, you can start to add some smaller greens and flowers. You can add some greens in between the rocks in your walkway to fill in the gaps. Some people suggest that instead of using mulch to maintain the manicured look use river rock between the flowers. Both would work well it’s just a matter of taste and budget.

Now for the finishing touch –add some climbing vines that will wrap up and around your railing and front porch. Hanging plants can be hung from the roof of you porch or you can create a trellis for the vines and the planters. This will give it the finished look of a Tuscan garden. Decorative rocks are the final touch for this easy to do project and you’ll have a front yard that neighbors will envy for years.


Title:
Landscaping, An American Pass Time

Word Count:
319

Summary:
Landscaping has been a favorite American pass time for hundreds of years. Recently through the added exposure of popular TV shows, the interest in sprucing up one’s landscaping has become greater than ever. Today, many shows are introducing everyone to new and fun ways to enjoy landscaping. There are even dedicated television channels, such as the Home and Garden channel, that explore all things beautiful to improve one’s living space and take it from just functional to luxur...


Keywords:
landscaping,gardening,landscape


Article Body:
Landscaping has been a favorite American pass time for hundreds of years. Recently through the added exposure of popular TV shows, the interest in sprucing up one’s landscaping has become greater than ever. Today, many shows are introducing everyone to new and fun ways to enjoy landscaping. There are even dedicated television channels, such as the Home and Garden channel, that explore all things beautiful to improve one’s living space and take it from just functional to luxurious through improved landscaping.

Landscaping is a pass time no longer limited to just seniors or those that enjoy a relaxing activity. Today, all across our great country, families are finding landscaping to be a great activity that everyone from Grandma and Grandpa down to the youngest children can enjoy together. Landscaping is a family activity that everyone can get on board with.

Landscaping, although relaxing, can also be a good source for exercise. With an ever increasing spot light on weight loss, adding landscaping to your routine can increase calorie burn.

Landscaping’s appeal has so many facets. Those looking to improve the look of home they want to sell as well as those looking to improve the look of their current home and neighborhood are finding landscaping to be a viable option. It is simply amazing to see what a difference a little landscaping can do to add curb appeal to a home or neighborhood. Many communities are improving their aesthetic appeal with professional landscaping.

To be an expert in landscaping, one must understand that it is not as easy as it seems. You need to do appropriate research, design and implementation in order for any landscaper to appreciate the outcome. This of it the way an artist looks at an empty canvas. The beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Take that into landscaping and you’ll see results that you never thought you could achieve.


Title:
Lawn and Garden - Simple Tips For Success

Word Count:
675

Summary:
Discover the simple and fast way to create a beautiful lawn and garden with professional gardener tips


Keywords:
lawn, garden, fence, landscape


Article Body:
The lawn or the garden in a residential place or even in a commercial place produces either good or bad ambiance. A beautiful lawn or garden can provide relaxation to the people, especially when it comes with a craftily made landscape. A lovely and healthy garden can resist the destruction from injurious weeds, pests and illnesses, and is truly beneficial to the surroundings. There is no such thing as lasting fast-fix lawn or garden problems using the pesticides. Creating a delightful and well-fit lawn or garden must be planned, done and maintained with utmost care and dedication.

There are things or factors to be considered in making a wonderful lawn or garden. There is a need to develop a fertile soil having the suitable acidity balance, nutrients and appropriate texture. Utilize the type of grass that suits the growing conditions, and weather or atmosphere in your place. If for an instance, your place is rainy in most days of the year, it will be beneficial to plant the type of grass that needs lots of water. Also, you have to take note that a thicker lawn will help to outdo the weeds. Healthy lawn with longer grasses, approximately three inches, can give the weeds difficult time to root and grow as well as only a little pest turmoil. Longer grass has tough roots and can hold the water better. Water your lawn or garden in the morning, probably from six to nine AM and preferably in short time duration so the soil will be able to absorb the water. Proper thickness of thatch grown in the grass must be observed so as not to hinder the water and nutrients to reach the roots of the grass. Never over use inorganic fertilizer because it can produce very thick layers of thatch, and be aware of the types of grasses that are prone to thatch growth. Pesticides must be used according to the instructions label.

After mowing the lawn, let some of the grass trimmings remain for they will be absorbed as nutrients to the soil. Also allow your lawn to breathe by taking out small amounts of soil once a year.  This will aerate the roots of the grass.

When using the lawnmower be sure that the container of gasoline does not have any leak. Such containers can also exude hydrocarbons, which are hazardous to the environment. You have to use the proper containers. Fuel the equipment in a concrete or asphalt area and utilize a funnel in order to avoid spillage or splashing of gasoline to the lawn and to the equipment itself. Find a well-ventilated area where you can perform the fueling in order to diffuse the vapors. Keep the gasoline in a properly sealed container and in a cool and dry area. Do not place it under direct sunlight and do not place it on top of a cabinet or in the trunk of a vehicle to avoid falling and spillage. Make sure that the gasoline will not spill on the ground or close to the wells. Dispose of it properly and if necessary ask for some assistance from the disposal unit of your town. Responsibility as to the environment must always be given attention while trying to maintain a lawn or garden.

Fencing your lawn or garden is also an important part of the picture. It does not only prevent strangers from entering your yard but it also adds an accent to your overall landscape. There are many different types of fences that you could choose from such as chain link fences, split rail fence or a white picket fence.

Another good idea to liven up your yard is to develop some garden fountain or a small pond. The sound of falling water is very calming and gives a serene feeling that’s why ponds and mini water falls are getting popular nowadays.

Keeping the lawn or garden beautiful and healthy is an enjoyable and relaxing task, and the end product is worth all the efforts, time, and money spent to it.


Title:
Low Cost Home Landscaping Tips

Word Count:
704

Summary:
Installing and maintaining landscaping around your home can be a costly undertaking. By heeding a few of these money-saving tips, you can hold down your costs and create a beautiful landscape that you can afford to maintain.


Keywords:
landscaping, home landscaping


Article Body:
Installing and maintaining landscaping around your home can be a costly undertaking. Even the perfect landscape can end up a source of vexation instead of pleasure -- if it costs you more than you can afford to install and keep up.

With these few helpful tips, you can save money on your landscaping without sacrificing quality or beauty.

Plan Before You Spend

Plan before you make any purchases. Without a plan, you may buy things you don't really need, and that can waste money.

Begin with a rough sketch of your landscape design. Next find out exactly what you need to make it possible. If you need advice, there are a number of websites where you can get ideas for creating your project. Specialty stores and some home improvement warehouses have experts on hand who can give you pointers.

Once you've done your homework, and know exactly what you need, you can start spending, without fear of money wasters intruding.

Purchase In Phases

Your written plan should include a timetable for when you will install each portion of your landscape. Most people can't afford to make all the changes at once. Planning your landscape project in phases lets you buy what you need as you go, and as the money becomes available. This phased financing lets you avoid the interest and fees associated with home improvement loans or putting your purchases on credit cards.

Don't Sacrifice Quality

It's good to remember that cheaper is not always better. If there is very little difference in quality, then buying the cheaper item is naturally the best course. However, local stores are often staffed with seasoned experts who will share their wisdom for free if you ask questions while making a purchase. Specialty stores can give you accurate information on installing a water feature, for example. If you are inexperienced in landscaping, you can save money in the long run by spending a little extra for better service, experienced help and advice.

Check Plants Carefully

If you're making your purchases at a "big box" store, be sure to carefully inspect plants for diseases and insect problems. These stores seldom give their plants the kind of care that a nursery would. If the plant you buy is diseased, you'll have to buy it all over again when it dies, and that's money down the drain. Furthermore, the disease or pest can spread to your other landscaping. Many nurseries offer warranties and guarantees free of charge on their plants.

Buy When Prices Are Low

If you plan your landscaping ahead, you can determine when each phase needs to be accomplished. You can buy lumber during the winter when it is cheaper, and store it until you are ready to use it. Buy trees, shrubs, perennials, mulch, and soil late in the season when the prices go down. In most places, you can wait until October to make your maintenance purchases and still have time to winterize your landscape. Keep an eye out for plant sales at local nurseries. You can find really good quality plants at low prices this way.

Pursue Other Resources

Explore alternative resources. Stores are not the only places to get what you need. You can order through catalogs or online. Membership in a garden and seed club can yield very good prices on many items, as well as useful advice.

Try arranging a plant exchange in your neighborhood. Some cities offer low-price or free mulch and compost, and you can check construction or demolition sites for free stones and bricks.

Neighborhood Cost Sharing

Approach your neighbors about sharing costs. If you pool your resources, you can get some good deals on items bought in bulk, and everyone benefits. In the same vein, you can share the rental fees for machinery such as chippers, tillers, and aerators. If everyone chips in a few dollars, you can work out a schedule that lets each neighbor use the equipment before it is due back. This is a great way to reduce the costs of your landscaping.

By heeding a few of these money-saving tips, you can hold down your costs and create a beautiful landscape that you can afford to maintain.


Title:
Make A Good First Impression: Landscape Your Driveway

Word Count:
506

Summary:
As the entrance to your home, the driveway should not be neglected. It can either be a scar on the other landscaping around the home or it can add depth to the entire look of your home


Keywords:
landscaping


Article Body:
Is your driveway landscaped? It should be.

This includes the driveway itself, as well as the design elements on both sides. All sorts of materials from softscape options to hardscape are available to make your driveway attractive.

Make A Good Entrance

As the entrance to your home, the driveway should not be neglected. It can either be a scar on the other landscaping around the home or it can add depth to the entire look of your home. You don’t need to spend a lot of money on it either. You can be creative and choose attractive features, and have a very low cost landscape that is welcoming.

Make sure that you take everything into account before choosing your elements. For example, if you are looking for minimal work, do not plant a flower bush at the end of your driveway where the plants can be ruined by those in your neighborhood. Instead, use an attractive fence or a rock garden.

Another important aspect is the footpath to the home. Do not use any design elements that will be in the way of the normal foot traffic. You don’t want to visitors going out of their way, or worse, trampling your plants to reach your door.

Hardscape Choice

You have many options -- common ones include walls and fences, which can add distinction and accent your driveway. A small fence can add character and color to the landscape. Use hanging baskets or lanterns on the fence for more charm.

A large rock can be especially interesting, particularly when it has multiple colors. You can plant grasses and small flowers in the cracks of stones to create even more decorative looks. 

Softscape Choices

On a limited budget, just landscaping along the sides of the driveway is an excellent option. It will cost little, yet add lots of beauty to your landscape design.

As for softscape options appropriate to driveway areas, many things will work, such as a flower bed or groundcover along the driveway. This will create a border that is interesting and separates the lawn from the actual driveway.

Ornamental trees and shrubs can do the same thing along the edge of the driveway. Shrubs can be cut to become topiary, which will add even more design elements to the look of the driveway landscape.

Another thing to consider is the curved driveway. If your driveway has a curve in it, a great idea is to add a focal point -- something to make a statement. For example, you can have a beautiful tree, a flower bed, or a rock garden there. Whatever it is it should be beautiful because the curve will focus attention at that point of your driveway. You can use water gardens, a wishing well, as well as many other types of elements to enhance this area and have it look amazing.

Doing these landscaping operations can completely transform the entrance to your home. In a simple, affordable way, you can add character and depth to your landscape design around your driveway.


Title:
Mower Maintenance for a Perfect Lawn

Word Count:
543

Summary:
Taking care of your lawn does not have to be that hard with the right lawn mower.  Be sure to consider your landscape when purchasing your first lawn mower.


Keywords:
lawn mower, lawn care, mowers


Article Body:
Growing and maintaining a lush green lawn takes care and the right equipment.  The right lawn mover for your landscape and proper maintenance of your equipment will ensure a nice even lawn.  A good lawn mower should cut the grass and not tear or rip it out.

The first thing to consider when purchasing a lawn mover is your landscape.  Is your lawn on a slope or flat ground?  What type of mower can get the job done with the least amount of effort?  Another factor is how easy the mower is to maintain for peak performance.

If you have to cut grass on a slope, the best type of lawn mower is one with high wheels.  This will make it easier to push up a hill, or to move back down the hill with.  The second type of lawn mower is a cordless or electric mulching lawn mower.  The mulching mower is less messy and mulches your lawn.  The third type of lawn mower is a reel lawn mower.  Reel lawnmowers are environmental friendly, not contributing to pollution and are easy to use.

After deciding on the type of lawn mower to purchase, review the maintenance schedule.  A good maintenance program will allow your mower to last for years to come and give your grass a better cut.  Every spring, the different parts of the lawnmower should be cleaned or repaired.  Spark plugs should be cleaned or replaced for good firing and nuts and bolts should be checked and tightened where necessary. 

The underside decking should be cleaned throughout the season to remove build up of grass and dirt.  Cleaning the grass and dirt will also help in preventing the spread of diseases in grass.  In order to clean the deck of the lawnmower, you should first empty the gas tank and make sure that the spark plug is not connected.  You can then stand the mower up on its side and spray the mower with water.  You can then scrub off the rest of the dirt and grass that is stuck on the mower.  Make sure to dry the mower after you have finished rinsing it off, to make sure that none of the parts rust. 

Your maintenance should also include checking the oil and air filters.  The air filters should be cleaned or replaced on a regular basis.  Before removing the filter to replace, make sure that you know whether it is paper or foam.  The oil in your lawn mower lubricates the engine.  Be sure you read the operating instructions on the type and amount of oil your mower uses.

Another important part of maintenance is sharpening the blades every one or two months, depending on use.  Sharp blades ensure a clean cut rather than ripping out the grass.  This can be easily done by removing the blade from the mower and sharpening it with a file. 

When mowing season is over, there are certain steps to properly store your lawn mower for the winter.  It is advisable to remove the oil and gas, and clean the exterior.

With consistent and proper care of your lawnmower, you will be able to keep your lawn looking great through the seasons and years, and your mower will last for years too.


Title:
Mulch is Mother Natures Blanket

Word Count:
719

Summary:
Know the reason for mulch, what kinds there are, how much and where to put it.One of the most important part of gardening is mulching. It keeps down weeds by blocking the light that allows weeds to germinate. Mulch will slow down the evaporation of moisture from the soil, which also will keep the soil from drying out and creating a crusty soil.

Earthworms love organic mulch, they eat the organic matter and produce castings. When they move around in the soil the tunnels they make aerates the soil and improves the texture. Other organisms do the same. All the work they do makes a nutrient-rich substance that our plants need.

This process is actually decomposition, which adds valuable organic humus to the soil.

Simple steps to mulching:

1. Distribute the mulch material to a depth of at least 3 to 5 inches. The more coarse the material, the more you add.

2. Place the mulch between and around the plants, but allow the immediate area around the base of the stems of annuals and perennials to be free of it.

3. Moisten the mulch.

When mulching trees and shrubs, keep the mulch approximately 5 - 10 inches from the base of the tree. Over time mulch on trunks, even with organic matter too close to the trunk of the plant, will cause many problems down the road.

The wood mulch keeps the soil cool and maintains an even soil temperature. If bark chips and sawdust are used they may delete nitrogen from the soil when they decompose, so add some nitrogen to the soil first before and then after laying down such mulches.

Look at organic wastes like shredded tree barks or light pruning, seasoned sawdust, wood shavings, peanut shells, cocoa bean hulls, rice husks, ground corn cobs, grass clippings, unused vegetable waste and seaweed.

Black Plastic Sheets
If organic methods are not your style then take a look at black plastic sheets that are used for mulching the soil. It affords excellent weed control and moisture conservation, if done properly.

Lay the plastic mulch on top of the soil or beds beforehand, then cut x-shaped slits in the plastic and then just fold back underneath the flaps to plant. When performing this method make sure not to completely fill the hole in the plastic with the plant even when mature.

Place holes or slits on the sides around the plastic to allow the passage of water and air for the benefit of the roots. The extra slits are crucial when using plastic to allow excess moisture to drain and prevent water-logging, which can happen on wet days.

Compost
When we speak of mulching we often mean using a layer of organic material on the surface of the soil, from dried lawn clippings to strips of newspapers. As time goes by this organic material decomposes because of the various agents present in the soil and will yield the all-important humus matter.

If you plan on using animal manure, which is a nutrient-rich mulch, it should be combined with other material like lawn clippings or straw. Make sure this mixture is well rotted and then it will provide much needed nitrogen to the soil.

Compost mixed with a rough mulch (called living mulch) is an excellent pick for mulching your soil or beds. Compost is the best form of mulch.

Mulch-mowing Method
Mulch-mowing is a simple method of using fallen leaves. A good sharp mulch blade on a lawn mower will be the best mulcher you can find. It will cut the grass blades and leaves into tiny pieces and at the same time, using the shredded leaves, produce a rougher textured mulch to cover the soil.

Use this method every week to get the maximum benefit of the mulch on the ground. This will keep the chore easier to handle every week and provide a fresh supply of mulch to start decomposing and forming new organic matter to feed the soil and keep moisture.

With mulch-mowing it keeps fewer leaves on the street that clog the drain system and from causing other hazards for the community.

Whatever you do, mulch is a critical part of gardening and lawn maintenance. You never know when there will be a lack of rain or too much of it, a freeze comes along, lack of nutrients needed for the plant. If you mulch properly then you are prepared for the unexpected. Back to the basics.


Keywords:
mulch, mulching, compost, mulches, mulch-mowing


Article Body:
One of the most important part of gardening is mulching. It keeps down weeds by blocking the light that allows weeds to germinate. Mulch will slow down the evaporation of moisture from the soil, which also will keep the soil from drying out and creating a crusty soil.

Earthworms love organic mulch, they eat the organic matter and produce castings. When they move around in the soil the tunnels they make aerates the soil and improves the texture. Other organisms do the same. All the work they do makes a nutrient-rich substance that our plants need.

This process is actually decomposition, which adds valuable organic humus to the soil.

Simple steps to mulching:

1. Distribute the mulch material to a depth of at least 3 to 5 inches. The more coarse the material, the more you add.

2. Place the mulch between and around the plants, but allow the immediate area around the base of the stems of annuals and perennials to be free of it.

3. Moisten the mulch.

When mulching trees and shrubs, keep the mulch approximately 5 - 10 inches from the base of the tree. Over time mulch on trunks, even with organic matter too close to the trunk of the plant, will cause many problems down the road.

The wood mulch keeps the soil cool and maintains an even soil temperature. If bark chips and sawdust are used they may delete nitrogen from the soil when they decompose, so add some nitrogen to the soil first before and then after laying down such mulches.

Look at organic wastes like shredded tree barks or light pruning, seasoned sawdust, wood shavings, peanut shells, cocoa bean hulls, rice husks, ground corn cobs, grass clippings, unused vegetable waste and seaweed.

Black Plastic Sheets
If organic methods are not your style then take a look at black plastic sheets that are used for mulching the soil. It affords excellent weed control and moisture conservation, if done properly.

Lay the plastic mulch on top of the soil or beds beforehand, then cut x-shaped slits in the plastic and then just fold back underneath the flaps to plant. When performing this method make sure not to completely fill the hole in the plastic with the plant even when mature.

Place holes or slits on the sides around the plastic to allow the passage of water and air for the benefit of the roots. The extra slits are crucial when using plastic to allow excess moisture to drain and prevent water-logging, which can happen on wet days.

Compost
When we speak of mulching we often mean using a layer of organic material on the surface of the soil, from dried lawn clippings to strips of newspapers. As time goes by this organic material decomposes because of the various agents present in the soil and will yield the all-important humus matter.

If you plan on using animal manure, which is a nutrient-rich mulch, it should be combined with other material like lawn clippings or straw. Make sure this mixture is well rotted and then it will provide much needed nitrogen to the soil.

Compost mixed with a rough mulch (called living mulch) is an excellent pick for mulching your soil or beds. Compost is the best form of mulch.

Mulch-mowing Method
Mulch-mowing is a simple method of using fallen leaves. A good sharp mulch blade on a lawn mower will be the best mulcher you can find. It will cut the grass blades and leaves into tiny pieces and at the same time, using the shredded leaves, produce a rougher textured mulch to cover the soil.

Use this method every week to get the maximum benefit of the mulch on the ground. This will keep the chore easier to handle every week and provide a fresh supply of mulch to start decomposing and forming new organic matter to feed the soil and keep moisture.

With mulch-mowing it keeps fewer leaves on the street that clog the drain system and from causing other hazards for the community.

Whatever you do, mulch is a critical part of gardening and lawn maintenance. You never know when there will be a lack of rain or too much of it, a freeze comes along, lack of nutrients needed for the plant. If you mulch properly then you are prepared for the unexpected. Back to the basics.


Title:
New Outdoor Furnishings Help Americans Create A Relaxing Oasis

Word Count:
650

Summary:
Americans are increasingly looking to outdoor spaces around their homes for a tranquil retreat.


Keywords:
New Outdoor Furnishings Help Americans Create A Relaxing Oasis


Article Body:
Americans are increasingly looking to outdoor spaces around their homes for a tranquil retreat. In research conducted by the American Home Furnishings Alliance, 42 percent of the homeowners think of their outdoor space as "an outdoor room." When asked to list the most important attributes for that space, 86 percent said it should be "relaxing." Sixty percent said it should be a place for family and friends to "hang out" and 57 percent wanted "a sanctuary."

The most sought-after sanctuary may be the modular gazebo, now more affordable than ever. Top features include removable screens and elegant canopies, plus windows that can be opened and closed.

A more mobile option is a generously scaled sun lounger that offers a commodious retreat for one or an intimate oasis for two, when draped with privacy sheers or shaded with a canopy. When the cozy corner of a covered porch is not available for that nostalgic emblem of tranquility-the porch swing-there are portable porch swing stands to turn any spot in the garden into a place for peaceful repose.

A soothing palette of spa blues and earthy greens and visual references to Asian symbols of serenity abound. The new Kyoto collection from Century Leisure "echoes our longing for an oasis of peace and beauty," states its designer, Richard Frinier. "The look is pure elegance, pure tranquility, pure harmony."

"Outdoor living is exploding at all price levels," says residential architect Cheryl O'Brien. Even in urban areas where there is precious little outdoor space, Americans want more than a few potted plants. These consumers will find stylish and functional designs suited for a compact little place in the sun. Two-seater café sets, diminutive drop-leaf tables and even a mid-height bar with bar stools that elevate a person's sight line just above the typical balcony rail are especially designed for urban outdoor living.

Other trends include:

Fire and Ice. Portable propane fireplaces created for the outdoor living space are extending the season for outdoor entertaining and relaxation. Some have slate or marble tops, as well as faux stone materials. Coordinated seating gives backyard enthusiasts the ability to create comfortable conversation groups around the firepit.

If the warmth of a fire doesn't draw guests to gather round, perhaps an outdoor bar or a table with an ice bucket full of cool beverages in the center will.

Cushion Innovations. High-tech cushions retain their plump looks and continue to provide excellent support. New filling blends add softness without sacrificing water resistance. One manufacturer has even added padded cushions to low maintenance sling seating using a unique polyester fiber with enhanced moisture shedding.

Innovation in outdoor fabrics also includes a new breathable polyurethane that looks and feels like leather. It's anti-fungal and resists mildew, stains, scratches and fading. Other new fabrics bring the aesthetic of silk and linen to outdoor furnishings.

Comfort Underfoot. The maker of a premier line of hand-woven rope hammocks has added a designer line of exclusive outdoor rugs to bring the softness of cotton to the porch or patio floor. Other manufacturers offer braided textures, machine-woven patterns and vibrant colors to match umbrellas and cushions. All boast mold and mildew resistance, easy cleaning and fade resistance.

Protection Overhead. Lounge chairs, swings and hammocks all come with protective awnings or canopies. As for the umbrella, new designs rotate and pivot to block harmful rays throughout the day.

New Life for Recycled Products. There may be more than meets the eye in new outdoor furnishings. Several companies take plastic bottles destined for landfills and recycle them into an amazingly strong and durable polymer that can be crafted to look and feel like wood. These poly-resin products won't mildew, crack, splinter, rust or fade. Nearly as durable but without a hint of modern plastics are furnishings made from recycled antique farm implements collected from Thailand. Teakwood yokes, plows, sugarcane grinders and wagons are all finding a second life as rugged outdoor furnishings.


Title:
Online Florists

Word Count:
273

Summary:
Flowers say you care. A gift of flowers brings about feelings of love, joy and contentment. Whether the occasion is a birthday, anniversary, or a gesture to tell someone you love them or are thinking about them --flowers are the way to do it. Flowers can really say it all in a very special way.


Keywords:
Online Florists, Online FTD Florists, Best Florists Online, Cheap Online Florists


Article Body:
Flowers say you care. A gift of flowers brings about feelings of love, joy and contentment. Whether the occasion is a birthday, anniversary, or a gesture to tell someone you love them or are thinking about them --flowers are the way to do it. Flowers can really say it all in a very special way.

Today, with Internet technology, sending someone flowers is as easy as sitting in your bedroom in your pajamas and surfing through various florists online to choose a gift. There are thousands of online florists and virtually millions of arrangements to choose from. You can surf as many virtual flower shops you want, look through several designs, varieties and price tags before deciding on a purchase. It’s so much easier than going to a flower shop.

Most online florists also stock additional gifts, in addition to flowers to add a little something extra to your delivery. These may include exotic plants, artificial flower bouquets, chocolates and cuddly toys. Virtual floral vendors cater to a very large customer base and have many gift ideas for every occasion.

Online florists facilitate fresh flower deliveries across national and international borders. Most online stores have links to several florists in big cities and towns. When you shop for gifts online you may be in New Orleans, but you can send flowers to your mother who is vacationing in Jamaica.

When shopping for flowers online, a few things should be kept in mind. Look for florists who will have a good delivery record, have testimonials of satisfied customers and will give a guarantee of refund, if the delivered goods do not meet expectations.


Title:
Organic Landscaping Techniques

Word Count:
713

Summary:
Many people are becoming more interested in using landscape tactics that do not harm the earth. In addition to being great for the environment, organic landscaping can also provide benefits for your wallet and for your health. One of the most alarming things to many people is the fact that some pesticides and fertilizers can harm their children. When you have children or grandchildren, it seems kind of a waste if they cannot play on the lawn because there is fertilizer all ov...


Keywords:



Article Body:
Many people are becoming more interested in using landscape tactics that do not harm the earth. In addition to being great for the environment, organic landscaping can also provide benefits for your wallet and for your health. One of the most alarming things to many people is the fact that some pesticides and fertilizers can harm their children. When you have children or grandchildren, it seems kind of a waste if they cannot play on the lawn because there is fertilizer all over it. Likewise, the improper use of pesticides, or sometimes even the proper use of these chemicals, can result in sickness. Another benefit of organic gardening can also be felt in the wallet. If you make use of the resources that you have at hand, you can actually save money with do-it-yourself organic landscaping, rather than paying money for chemicals to unnaturally enhance your plants.

One of the best ways to practice organic landscape is to make use of native plants. It is much easier to naturally promote the health of your landscape when the plants you use thrive in your area. Bringing in exotic plants or non-native plants from areas with very different conditions only results in frustration and the possible reliance on chemicals to help you take care of them. If you want to keep a landscape that works with the natural setting, native plants, or plants from areas with similar conditions, can help you accomplish this.

The lawn is most often the most visible part of a landscape. It seems as though many people thing it is necessary to use a great deal of chemicals to keep pests from ruining the lawn or to help the lawn grow well. The truth, however, is that by actively caring for the soil in your lawn as well as the grass, you can create a healthier lawn. This can be done in a number of ways that do not involve chemicals that can be harmful to the environment and to your health.

One of these ways is the use of organic fertilizer. There are compositions of fertilizer made entirely of organic materials. These fertilizers do cost more up front, but as they are used regularly reduce long run costs. The decrease the need for chemicals that can become expensive (and if applied wrong can actually damage you lawn more than help it), and they do not need to be applied as often. So, the cost often evens out eventually, as you have to apply the synthetic fertilizer much more often.

Another way to take care of the lawn is to use practices that promote healthy soil and better grass roots. One of these practices is aeration. Aeration relieves soil compaction by punching holes in the ground. This helps by making the soil easier to go through. This means that the roots have more room to go deeper, and organisms, like earthworms, that actually help the health of your grass, have more room to move about and make their homes. This results in naturally healthy grass that withstands pests better and keeps weeds out on its own.

Top dressing and over seeding are other organic practices that improve the health of the lawn. Top dressing is the act of taking composted organic matter and mixing it half and half with sand. A thin layer is then spread over the lawn. This actually improves the lawn rooting, creating healthier, hardier grass, without fertilizer. Over seeding is a method that makes use of more than the recommended amount of grass seed — about one and a half times more than the recommended amount. Over seeding promotes quicker germination and results in a thicker lawn that fights weeds.

Fertilizer, organic or otherwise, is not even necessary if you practice common sense in using organic gardening techniques. You can even create your own compost and mulch by using grass clippings from the lawn mower and leftovers from the garden. Raked leaves and pine needles and weeds can also be used. By leaving them to decompose, you are creating nutrient-rich organic matter than can be used to, in turn, improve the health of all the plants in your landscape, not just grass. Organic gardening can be a very rewarding and money saving effort when you do it yourself.


Title:
Outdoor landscape lighting

Word Count:
414

Summary:
Landscape lighting is an action that brilliantly amends the tangible and noticeable features of various landscapes and architectures. Landscape outdoor lighting is infact; a beautification process that smartens up side walks, stairways, structures, buildings, fences, flora and fauna, lighting and weather conditions. Outdoor landscape lighting instills ambience and value. Outdoor landscape lighting increases charm, security, usability, worth, magnificence and a protected passage for commuters. This job requires a creative mind with good observational skills. Our team has an outstanding experience and we offer the best services to our valued patrons. We cater to the whole of America and enjoy a large base. We can mark our presence in your area as well. If you ever need us, we are a call away.


Keywords:
 landscape lighting


Article Body:
With a team of experts we offer outstanding services for outdoor landscape lighting that life-up the landscapes. This system is a typical low-voltage one that works with three simple ingredients: fixtures, low voltage electrical cable and a transformer. The installation part is quiet undemanding for those who have a little experience in handling electric wirings. These are done in an architectural fashion with high quality and skill. Professional contractors do it with an impressive degree of expertise.


Area lights – These may be flood lamps and pother lightings that are used to illuminate a large area. These can be used creatively to generate dramatic results. You can use them well for parks, play areas etc. We take it as a challenge and help you with the best of the best.

Pathway lights- These are especially designed to furnish visibility to commuters moving on the pathways. They are amongst the chief part of outdoor landscape lighting. Thus they need to be well done. For this purpose, our team has a creative and specialized experience on this front.

House lighting-As a home lighting instrument you can attract visitors with these fancy things. They can be put up on the gate, front lawn, building exterior and give an impression of an atrium. Landscape lighting leaves the visitors spellbound. This is one of the most sought after landscape lighting offerings. Designs of trees, fountains, etc can be highlighted on your property and enhance its outlook.


Our low voltage technology exclusively designed to brighten your property comprises of a exceptional and secure outdoor lighting option. Thus, our outdoor landscape lighting furnishes a flattering appearance blended with technological, creative, elegant and natural outlook. Limestone and granite are the most preferable ingredients that give the final glow there. Various other options we have especially for our valued customers come in various architectured forms.


Up Lighting | Down Lighting | Back Lighting | Shadowing | Grazing | Highlight or Focal Point | Cross Lighting | Path Lighting |Silhouette Lighting | Wall Washing | Mirror Lighting | Safety Lighting | Underwater Lighting


We also offer superior grade all-inclusive services with a renewable service contract blended with every installation thus giving complete assurance. Our relationship with our trusted customers extends beyond a lifetime and we make no way for loopholes of any kind. We offer prompt back-up services too. We offer a new lamp, totally free of cost if your lamp happens to burn out. Your system is also completely tested for voltage, fixture and system integrity, lens cleaning, etc for terrific efficiency and visual positioning.


Title:
Outdoor Lighting Tips For Your Home

Word Count:
534

Summary:
The perfect lighting outside your house is great at enhancing the beauty of it; however, choosing the wrong outdoor lighting can spoil the whole environment. Knowing what kind of lighting will suit your house and garden is important.


Keywords:
outdoor lighting, outdoor lighting fixtures, solar outdoor lighting, lighting, light, lighting outdoors, decorative outdoor lighting


Article Body:
The perfect lighting outside your house is great at enhancing the beauty of it; however, choosing the wrong outdoor lighting can spoil the whole environment. Knowing what kind of lighting will suit your house and garden is important. Your dream to stroll down the garden in the evening with the lights creating the perfect ambience and the wind slowly blowing on your face can come true; you just have to know what, and how, to get the right outdoor lighting for your place.

Outdoor lighting is also helpful for security reasons. When the days get shorter, especially in winter, outdoor lighting can lengthen the day and dramatically change the environment of your outdoor living spaces. With proper planning you can also create your outside space for entertaining your guests.

Types of Outdoor Lighting

Outdoor lighting can be divided into four categories:

Security lighting: This lighting is used for lighting up the vulnerable areas of your property. It is advisable though to keep it away from the living areas so it's not distracting, as the lights used are bright, and often motion activated. You can also have a manual on/off switch for your lighting so that you can override automatic illumination.

Task lighting: This type of lighting is for specific purposes such as outdoor grilling or walking safely up and down steps and along paths. Task lighting should be kept between your eyes and the object that needs to be lighted. See to it that it does not glare, as an overly bright light will blind rather than guide.

Accent lighting: This can create a dramatic effect, or highlight an unusual feature. For example, uplighting can illuminate an interesting piece of statuary. Silhouetting can be achieved by keeping the light between the object and your fence or wall. General or ambient lighting can display overall lighting so that people feel comfortable and look good.

Moonlighting or starlight - You can also imitate moonlight or starlight for creating magical lighting. Moonlighting can be produced by putting outdoor lights in trees. The lights should be pointing downward to create a dappled effect, as if the area were lit by a full moon. And what could be more beautiful than natures own gift to us - stars in the night! This can be imitated by suspending tiny lights in the branches of a tree to create a sparkling night time canopy, or by using flickering candles, sprinkled here and there throughout the space.

Tips to remember:

No matter what type of lighting you want, remember not to over-do it, as less is more when it comes to lighting. Don't use lights where they're not necessary, and you can also be subtle by using a low watt bulb. Also be careful not to send light "upward". Never use lights in straight lines up and down paths like the airport runway effect which is a very common error.

Avoid using yellow lights as they are unflattering to both people and plants. Instead use blue-white bulbs or purchase daylight-blue filters for your fixtures. The lights should be kept where they are easily accessible for changing light bulbs. After setting up your outdoor lighting, get outside after dark and light up the night!


Title:
Patio Bar Chairs for Comfortable Outdoor and Poolside Seating

Word Count:
266

Summary:
For any pool owner, whether it be commercial or residential, furnishing the pool area with the right patio furniture can be essential. Pool areas need to be comfortable, as well as casual, and practical to make it a great pool going experience. An essential element to any pool area is patio bar furniture, consisting of patio bar tables and patio bar chairs. This type of bar setting for a pool has a number of great advantages.


Keywords:
patio bar chairs, patio bar tables, patio furniture, grosfillex resin patio furniture,


Article Body:
For any pool owner, whether it be commercial or residential, furnishing the pool area with the right patio furniture can be essential. Pool areas need to be comfortable, as well as casual, and practical to make it a great pool going experience. An essential element to any pool area is patio bar furniture, consisting of patio bar tables and patio bar chairs. This type of bar setting for a pool has a number of great advantages.

Casual seating. Patio bar chairs provide casual seating for guests who are between swims, or just there to relax poolside. Patio bar furniture can be purchased in water proof material so as to not leave dry guests soaking wet. Patio bar furniture is also perfect for pool parties. Patio bar furniture takes up less room than patio dining furniture so the pool area can accommodate a larger number of guests.

Commercial patio setting. Patio bar furniture is an excellent idea for a commercial patio setting. Whether it is a restaurant or hotel, if it is an area where there is a bar and frequent entertainment, patio bar furniture is a great way to accommodate guests comfortably.

Patio bar chairs sit higher than traditional dining chairs. Some are only raised slightly higher, while other sit at 36 inches. Aluminum patio bar chairs are perfect for pool side because they are made with rust-proof and fade resistant components. Aluminum patio furniture is also available to meet any type of budget.

Make your outdoor bar patio or poolside area a great place for relaxing and entertaining. Patio bar chairs save space without sacrificing comfort.


Title:
Patio Umbrellas and Beach Umbrellas. Practical and Appealing.

Word Count:
370

Summary:
The warmer months of spring and summer are well on their way and the cry of the outdoors is calling. There are many ways to enjoy seating outdoors. No matter the setting, a patio umbrella is a perfect choice and an essential element. A quality patio umbrella improves enjoyment and safety in a patio or beach setting.


Keywords:
patio umbrellas, beach umbrellas, umbrella fabrics, palm tree umbrella, aluminum crank patio umbrella


Article Body:
The warmer months of spring and summer are well on their way and the cry of the outdoors is calling. There are many ways to enjoy seating outdoors. No matter the setting, a patio umbrella is a perfect choice and an essential element. A quality patio umbrella improves enjoyment and safety in a patio or beach setting.

Home Patio. For a home patio or outdoor seating area, a patio umbrella is an excellent addition to the overall design of the patio. When a patio umbrella is added to a patio furniture set, such as an aluminum cushion patio furniture set, it creates an intimate ambiance. Most patio furniture tables are equipped with an umbrella hole ready for the addition of a complimentary patio umbrella.

Beach Patio. An umbrella is a necessity for beach goers. Beach umbrellas are designed with beach safety and durability in mind. Beach umbrellas are manufactured with UV repelling fibers in the fabric to protect from the suns rays. Beach umbrellas are also constructed with aerodynamic engineering technology to provide ultimate wind resistance. A quality beach umbrella can resist the strongest of wind gusts that come off the coast. Beach umbrella fabric is also resistant to fading and harsh salt water air. These resistance qualities keep the beach umbrella for ripping or tattering and keep the umbrella looking beautiful.

Patio umbrellas are available for any type of outdoor setting at any level of design. Whether it is casual patio or a luxury resort, there are patio umbrellas and beach umbrellas for any budget. Patio umbrellas can be purchased in either aluminum, fiberglass or wooden components. They can be free standing or be added to an existing patio furniture set. Most patio and beach umbrellas come with replaceable parts so they are easy to maintain with prolonged outdoor use. Umbrella fabrics can always be ordered to coordinate with any decor.

Patio Umbrellas are a beautiful and elegant way to enhance a patio or beach setting. They are also especially practical to protect from any outdoor elements which might otherwise ruin a patio gathering. If you want your guests to enjoy their visit outdoors, a patio umbrella is an accessory that should be included in any patio furniture collection.


Title:
Pictures Of Landscaping - Using Other Peoples Ideas To Design Your Landscape.

Word Count:
339

Summary:
Most of us look to other peoples landscaping pictures for gathering ideas for our own landscape  projects. However, most do it yourselfers search hopelessly and endlessly for an exact picture or design of their own yard. Here’s what you should really be looking for.


Keywords:
Pictures of landscaping,landscaping pictures,landscape design photos


Article Body:
One of the most common searches on my site is for pictures of landscaping. So I know that a lot of folks rely on photos of other peoples designs to get ideas. But at the same time, while I do have a large picture directory of other peoples projects on my site, the most common questions I receive are still related to specific shapes and design ideas.

It would seem that with as many pictures of landscaping there are to look at online, just about everyone could find a close match to their own property that could be copied. It would seem so.....if every yard was square or rectangular.  However, the fact is that most yards aren’t square or rectangular. So even with the endless landscaping ideas and examples out there, it’s still highly unlikely that you’ll find an exact match to the shape of your property.

Don’t tell anyone... but even as a professional, I still use pictures of other peoples landscaping as an educational tool and to get new ideas. However, unlike most people, I don’t search for an exact idea to copy. I look for unique, creative, and new ideas and pieces of the puzzle.

Now here’s a piece of advice and the point to this entire article.

When looking at pictures of landscaping, pay attention to the details, ideas, and principles  that are universal to most designs. Look for the things that are common and repeated often by different designers. These are the elements that look good because they are generally based on basic principles of art. These are the things that will probably incorporate well into your own design project regardless of shape.

Other peoples landscaping pictures are a great design tool to help you get your project done. However, instead of hopelessly searching for your exact layout, borrow several ideas from several different designs. You’ll save yourself a lot of frustration and have a much better chance of creating something unique to your own property.


Get the best around the pool landscaping

It is a great idea to get your pool looking its best by making use of around the pool landscaping. This kind of pool landscaping can turn your boring old backyard into the backyard of the stars. You can have a Hollywood looking backyard in n o time if you play your cards right.

A good pool landscaping design will make your pool the focal attraction and bring out so much more in your yard. If your yard is large you can consider adding gorgeous brick walkways to your yard around the pool. This kind of pool landscaping can lead to other parts of the yard as well. You can have a larger grouping of brick  on which you can place your patio furniture, a table and chairs can look fabulous.

Breaking up the brick in the pool landscaping will some patches of greenery is a good touch. These bits of green will breathe life into the whole picture and take out the hard stone look. Brick is a good choice of stone because it is a softer looking stone. The red brick color is warm and inviting it will not leave your yard looking cold and unwelcoming. The green plants will only add to the beauty of the brick as a pool landscaping tool.

You can throw in some landscaping stones around the plants and the edges of the patio. Light colored Stones will add so much to the entire pool landscaping design. Choose small and sharp stones and you have just added a whole other layer of texture tot the landscape and this on its own will make your yard look fabulous.

You can also think about putting in some colorful flowers. If you spend a lot of time by the pool at night add some night blooming flowers as well. This way you will be surrounded by some fabulous blooms and scents all day (and night) long. Combined all of these ideas will make your pool landscaping design the best ever seen.

Start looking into the way to go about this kind of pool landscaping today. Some of it you may be able to do on your own while other aspects you may need some professional help with. Your pool landscaping is going to impress all of your friends when you are done so get started today and it will be done in no time.
Pool Landscaping 101

There are three things to think about when you are planning pool landscaping. It has to offer privacy and safety for those who are there as well as beautify the surroundings.

This can be done by putting plants around the swimming pool because it helps make the pool blend in with the environment. If the plants are tall enough, these are able to block “peeping Toms” from watching whoever is at the pool.

When choosing plants, it is best to select those that require low maintenance so that you don’t have to fish the leaves or petals that are blown into the water. One good option is to use a broadleaf evergreen such as a holly.

Since you want people to relax when they are by the pool, you can also use tropical looking plants like the aspidistra, aucuba, banana tree, caladiums, elephant ears, cyperus, Fatsia japonica and palms.

You must never make the mistake of putting plants with thorns near the pool. It could also injure someone or tear off the fabric of their clothes, swimsuits or towels.

Instead of planting flowers in the grass, you can also do so by putting them in containers. The advantage of doing is that you can move these indoors when it is too cold especially during the winter and then bring them back the following spring.

You should avoid planting fruit trees by the pool because they could dirty the surrounding area and also attract bees. Surely, you do not want any of your guests to get stung.  Another reason is that their roots will soon damage the tiles o f your swimming pool.

Homeowners should also avoid evergreens like oaks and pines because they don’t only drop leaves but also acorns, leaves and needles. 

But don’t all trees shed their leaves? They all do but there are those that drop their leaves for a short period of time like the forsythia and maples.

Safety for those in the pool can be done by putting up a fence. If the metal bars are an eye sore, grow vines around them. If you have guests that will be swimming in the evening, make sure there are lights around the perimeter and in the water.

Another safety that you can be around the pool is a patio because it has a non-slip surface for which people can walk on even if they have just come out of the pool. You can also create the same effect by using bricks as long as the surface is rough.

So guests do not enter the house with their feet still wet, it will be a good idea to have a closed gazebo nearby so they can change and at the same time relax in the shade. Those who want to sunbathe can sit on a lounge chair or on an Adirondack chair.

Reading about this should already teach you a few do’s and don’ts with regards to pool landscaping. For those who want more information, it is best to read some books, do some research online, talk to someone at the local nursery and get advice from a professional.

All of this input will ensure that your swimming pool will look good all year round so your guests may drop by anytime and take a plunge.
Title:
Preparing To Build Wooden Fences In The Landscape The Easy Way

Word Count:
705

Summary:
While chain link fences are use in some landscapes, most people prefer to make use of wooden fences when building an attractive landscape. This is because wood is a rather versatile material that can be made to look a variety of ways. Installing your own wood fence requires time and energy, but it is often worth it as you can have privacy without detracting from the look of your landscape. Even if you do not build a very tall fence, a wood fence around your yard can prevent u...


Keywords:



Article Body:
While chain link fences are use in some landscapes, most people prefer to make use of wooden fences when building an attractive landscape. This is because wood is a rather versatile material that can be made to look a variety of ways. Installing your own wood fence requires time and energy, but it is often worth it as you can have privacy without detracting from the look of your landscape. Even if you do not build a very tall fence, a wood fence around your yard can prevent unwanted animals (like dogs) from getting into your yard. But before you begin, there are a few things to know about preparing to build wooden fences.

It is important to know the basic elements of the wooden fence before you get started. These are the elements that almost every fence consists of, and are almost universally necessary to build an attractive and effective fence. You will need posts. These are vertical elements that are placed in the ground. They rise above the ground, of course, and properly set posts are essential for keeping all of the other components in place. Some posts extend above the top of the fence for decorative purposes and others are only as high as the fence itself. Another important element of support is the rail. Rails act as spanners, connect the posts. They run parallel to the ground and serve as the horizontal support elements. Almost every fence style makes use of top and bottom rails, and some also utilize middle rails. Finally, panels are required for the successful fence. Sometimes the panels are referred to as boards. There are open fence styles that make no use of panels, but panels of latticework or even just straight boards are the main elements that provide privacy.

Next, you should prepare to install your wood fence. If you would like your installation to go smoothly, you should plan and prepare so that everything is in order before you begin. It is virtually impossible to complete a landscape project without any hiccups, but with a little advance planning you should be able to take care of things in a relatively smooth manner. The first thing you need to do is check with your local zoning or building board to find out the height or design restrictions. Additionally, chances are that you will need a building permit before you begin. You also want to make sure that the fence you build will be within the borders of your own property. If you need to have a survey beforehand to satisfy the neighbors, do so, as this can save you legal fees down the road if the neighbor decides to sue. Another thing of paramount importance is to find out from the local utility companies where the underground gas, electric, and power lines are located. Additionally, check with the phone and cable companies regarding possible underground lines they may have. It can be dangerous to damage such lines, and if you do so, you are responsible for the costs associated with repairing the damage.

Be sure that you have a plan for your fence, based upon the preparation discussed above. Know where you are going to place your posts beforehand, and have an idea of how high you want your fences. You should also have an idea of how deep your postholes will be. If you have properly planned your fence, then you will be able to complete it that much faster. Also, make sure you have all of the necessary tools on hand. These tools include a posthole auger, a shovel and a wheelbarrow (to mix concrete), a hammer and a punch, a power saw, a level, mason’s line, and a carpenter’s square. Many of these tools need not be purchased; it is possible to rent them for a reasonable price (especially the posthole auger, which many people do not own).

Once you have everything in place, you are ready to build a fence. Follow the plan carefully, and try to stick to your budget. When you have everything properly prepared beforehand, you will be surprised to realize how fast the work goes, and how good your fence looks as part of your landscape.


Title:
Promote Your Lawn’s Health

Word Count:
533

Summary:
You don’t have to use chemicals to have a beautiful lawn. In fact, your lawn will be much healthier if you ban the use of chemicals. In addition, chemicals can poison soil and contaminate water.


Keywords:
lawn health, chemicals,


Article Body:
You don’t have to use chemicals to have a beautiful lawn. In fact, your lawn will be much healthier if you ban the use of chemicals. In addition, chemicals can poison soil and contaminate water. Use the following tips to get your lawn off drugs.

Remove weeds by hand. It’s the best type of weed control. Eighty percent of all weeds are annuals. If you remove them before they go to seed, you will be rid of them. If some weeds in your lawn are perennials, dig out the entire root system to ensure they can’t grow back.

Tolerate beneficial weeds, such as clover. Clover is a nitrogen magic plant that will enhance the health and beauty of your lawn.

Test your lawn’s soil, using a soil test kit. This will tell you how much organic matter is in the soil, the ph balance and what nutrients to obtain a perfect soil balance.

If your lawn has bare spots, reseed with a mixture of grass varieties. Most diseases that infiltrate your lawn are very selective. By using a mixture of grasses, you will ensure that your lawn will not be totally wiped out by disease.

Aerate to prevent the soil from becoming compacted. You will also break through heavy thatch. This allows nutrients and organic matter to reach your lawn’s root system. The best aerators in the world are earthworms.

If the thatch layer is more than a half inch thick, it’s time to de-thatch. Thatch prevents air, nutrients and water from getting to the soil and promotes a wide variety of problems. If you aerate and rake your lawn briskly, most of the thatch will be removed. Some thatch is beneficial to your lawn because it promotes decomposition of grass clippings and organic matter.

Grass should always be two to three inches high. Only cut one third of the height at one time to prevent grass from going into shock. It’s imperative that the mower blade is always sharp to prevent grass damage. Tall grass grows longer roots, shades the soil and prevents weed infiltration.

Always use natural fertilizers. They release nutrients into the soil and allow it to retain them longer. Organic fertilizer decomposes thatch and grass clippings quickly. Sheep manure is one of the best natural fertilizers available.

Water only when your lawn requires it and then water deeply. If you water frequently and lightly, your lawn will have shallow roots, which makes it more susceptible to disease and insects. If water runs off easily, it’s a sign that you need to aerate.

Do not remove grass clippings. Not only does your lawn require less raking, but the clippings act as natural fertilizer when they aren’t coated with chemicals. Assure grass clippings are not clumped to promote the decomposition process.

Do not use herbicides or pesticides. Chemicals kill birds, insects and earthworms that are beneficial to your lawn’s health. If you practice natural lawn care, you will discourage pests.

Invite beneficial micro organisms and earthworms to your lawn, as well as dragonflies, ladybugs, spiders, toads and frogs. These creatures are the secret to having a healthy and drug free lawn.


Title:
Repowering Your Jacobsen Greens King IV Mower

Word Count:
615

Summary:
Even quality landscaping and golf course mowers can use a power boost over time. This article describes how a repower kit can improve the performance in a good mower, specifically in a Jacobsen Greens King IV mower.


Keywords:
Jacobsen, Greens King IV, repowering, small engine vehicle


Article Body:
Small engine vehicles have been revitalized and revamped over the last several years. Golf carts and hauling vehicles once innovative in the 1980s were still able to be improved upon in the areas of design, steering mechanism, vehicle weight and basic functionality.  Mowers, however, have remained constant in their design and mechanics for quite some time.  The single biggest area of improvement for golf course and large area mowers is in the engine. Recent small engine mechanics innovation has allowed designers to create more powerful, easier to maintain, and more efficient engines for these pieces of equipment. Though older model mowers may have quality engines that are still getting the job done, many landscapers or greens keepers may find that the engine does not provide the power or efficiency that a newer vehicle could.  Buying a new mower in order to get the power of a modern small engine is not necessary if you consider repowering the vehicle instead.

What Is Repowering?
Repowering a small engine refers to installing a newer rebuilt engine into an existing vehicle in order to improve its performance and save on buying a brand new vehicle or motor.  By repowering, a landscapers or golf course maintenance crew gets more than just swapping out an old engine for the same rebuilt model engine. Rather, a repower kit swaps out an old engine for a newer, better engine model built with the latest technology.  Repowering results in a better small engine in a vehicle for the fraction of the price of buying a new one.

I Already Have A Quality Engine
If you are a smart consumer, you have already bought a large mower from a reputable brand that stands by its products.  So, you may wonder why you would ever want to consider repowering.  Consider the Jacobsen Greens King IV. Jacobsen has an incredible reputation for being a leading turf maintenance mowers and equipment manufacturer for over 100 years. The company‘s Greens King IV has been one of their best selling vehicles for over a quarter of a century. These mowers, however, will last longer and perform better if their engines are updated to newer models.

The need to innovate and improve performance is well understood by Jacobsen. The company’s newer model Greens King IV has a 16 or 18 horse power Briggs & Stratton Vanguard gas engines.  Older models have a 14 or 16 horse power Kohler engines.  Improving the engine is important to the long-term life of the mower and to achieve better performance. This is why so many are choosing to repower their landscaping mowers – to give their well-maintained older models more power and extend their life. 

Jacobsen Greens King IV is a popular landscaping mower and hauling vehicle manufacturer. As such, there are a variety of repower kits available.  There are Briggs & Stratton Vanguard small engines or Kohler small engine rebuild kits available, depending on what engine is currently installed in the GV IV.  Diesel models are also great candidates for repower kits.  Those landscapers with other mowers brands, something other than a Jacobsen, can easily find a repower kit compatible with their model too.

Where Do I Find A Repower Kit?
Small engine repower or rebuild kits are available from several certified dealers online.  When looking for a kit, make sure the one you purchase comes with a warranty that you would expect from the original factory dealer. They are available.  This will give you piece of mind and assurance that the quality of your machine will remain intact. After all, repowering a small engine is a step toward improving the value of your mower and extending its life.

~Ben Anton, 2008


Title:
Robotic Lawn Mowers Keep Burglars Away

Word Count:
468

Summary:
Minimizing strangers around your house is just as important as locking your doors.  Burglars look for clues to empty houses, an unkempt yard is one of them.  Lawn care services often don’t know their hired help as well as they should.   Ideally you need to make strangers think you are home when you aren’t, but how?


Keywords:
robotic lawn mower, home security, automatic lawnmower, home safety, lawn care, landscaper, Robomower, Lawnbott,


Article Body:
Most motor home owners are concerned about what they are coming home to, or rather what they might not be coming home to, after a long trip.  We notify the neighbors, plug-in the timers on the lights and set the alarm system as we walk out the door.  Our biggest concern was not our landscaper, but the people he hired to help.

Let’s face it, most landscapers are not going to do a thorough criminal background check on their help.   It was probably the weakest link in our home protection scheme, after all it is obvious when nobody’s home.  A few times seeing the RV and occupants missing is an invitation to the less scrupulous.

We saw an advertisement for a robotic lawn mower on the internet and figured we’d give it a try.  It worked out better than we expected.  In fact, it worked out so well I decided to start selling them. Like 80% of robotic lawn mower owners, we gave it a name, Moe.

We have the best neighbors anyone can ask for, okay the nosiest neighbors any can stand to live near.  Now not only do they watch the house while we are gone, they watch Moe while we are home.

It has been more than six months since we set Moe loose in the yard and I still get almost daily reports of where it went and what it bumped into and the, “I thought for sure it was going to..”  If Nielsen started rating Moe it’d probably rank above the Braves games in our neighborhood.  Woe be the neighbor who missed a Moe outing!

Moe doesn’t trim hedges and doesn’t weed eat or edge, but it does a very good job keeping the yard cut.  When we are going to be gone for any length of time we have a neighbor kid come over and weed eat.  The hedges only need to be taken care of twice a year, so we do that ourselves. 

We hadn’t missed the money we were paying the lawn service, but we noticed it when we stopped.  It was like a nice little tax-free pay raise.  It was so pleasurable that next year we are going to stop paying the mortgage.

We also hadn’t noticed until recently, it is kind of nice when some one else is taking care of the yard, but there is a bit of stress as well.  When strangers are in and around the house- whether we are home or not- just makes both of us a little bit nervous.

This way we have the best of both worlds, the yard is professionally being taking care of and you can hardly call Moe a stranger. 

Now if we can only get our neighbors to get one!


Title:
Seasonal Safeguards For Your Home.

Word Count:
483

Summary:
Fall and winter are good times of the year for checking that the house will get through a tough winter. The foliage is dying down, and it is easier to see if there are any shrubs hanging onto your house. Brick and siding lasts longer without clinging vines or roots.


Keywords:
gardening, landscaping, home improvement, exterior design, detroit real estate, michigan real estate


Article Body:
Fall and winter are good times of the year for checking that the house will get through a tough winter. The foliage is dying down, and it is easier to see if there are any shrubs hanging onto your house. Brick and siding lasts longer without clinging vines or roots.

While you are out in the yard, the hosepipe can be drained and wound up. It is unlikely you will water the garden any more, so the hose can be stored away. The water should be turned off at the exterior faucet and then just run off until it drains dry. Clean your garden furniture and store it somewhere safe and dry.

If you have planted any young trees and this will be their first winter, you may wish to protect the roots with mulch.

If you have drainage ditches, these should be cleaned out ready to accommodate extra rainfall.

Several other jobs come to mind in the fall, as it gets colder and we think of our fireplaces. Call in a chimney sweep early, as once a cold spell hits, everyone calls at the same time. In some areas, cords of wood have been harder to locate this year, even with internet access. A drive around your local rural areas may turn up wood from a hobby farmer who just hangs out a sign.

With more open fires in the home, check your fire and smoke alarm batteries are still working.

If you leave your Christmas lights up all year, check the cords are still flexible and that the plugs do not warm up when they are switched on.

Start replacing the fly screens with storm windows if you use them. The weather stripping may need replacing around the doors after drying out all summer. We keep our windows closed more often in the winter, so ensure that your range hood filters are efficient.

Ensure that your home hasn't settled and that the ground around the house still slopes away from it. Water constantly draining into the basement or foundation of your home is bad news. You could end up with wet rot, which could lead to dry rot, and then you will be in big trouble!

It is advisable to check your whole house for water seepage or dampness. Main areas for leaks are the roof, the down pipes from the gutter, cracks in the rendering surrounding your house and the plumbing works inside.

Some people like to cover the exterior of their air-conditioning units to minimize drafts; if your home is older, you may want to think about wrapping any exterior pipes to protect them from freezing.

If the carpets missed a spring shampoo, make sure they get a fall one. The dust is more noticeable in winter as we are tend to be more shut in.

Finally, give the windows a clean while you can still open them freely.


Title:
Small Engine Vehicles: Should You Overhaul?

Word Count:
529

Summary:
This article provides guidance as to when a small engine overhaul is needed versus simple repair.


Keywords:
small engine vehicle, small engine overhaul, small engine repower, golf cart small engine


Article Body:
Spring and summer are the seasons of the small engine vehicle.  It is during these months that the lawn mowers, landscaping equipment, and golf carts get their heaviest use. It is also during this time of year that they get the most attention. These vehicles can last for many seasons over many years when properly cared for.  These engines need proper attention on a regular basis so that their performance can be maintained or fixed quickly before they evolve into bigger and more serious issues.  There will be times when issues with the engine cannot be fixed by simple maintenance or small fixes. When this happens, a complete overhaul or replacement of the engine may be necessary. 

It is important that the owner of one of these small engine vehicles check all other possibilities before overhauling or replacing the motor all together.  Odd sounds in the engine or less than ideal performance can be fixed with oil or other fluid changes, carburetor fixes, or a thorough cleaning. 

The following are signs that your engine needs serious help, and may require overhauling or reporting.

Noise
Excessive noise when the mower or cart is running is the first sign that something is wrong.  Knocking or banging can be caused by a worn out engine or a piece that has worn out or is about to.  Don’t jump the gun, however. Noises happen. Investigate the engine through regular maintenance to see if these noises are new, understandable or fixable before going down the replacement or overhaul route.  Unusual sounds may be fixed quickly. Persistent noises are signs of repair or replacement.

Mechanical
According to Samuel M. Goldwasser of Sci.Electronics.Repair FAQ, broken, damaged, or bent engine parts are a strong indicator that an overhaul is needed. These types of problems may cause your mower or cart to fail to start. If the engine is able to turn over and start, damaged parts may cause vehicle shaking or vibration.  Some damaged engine parts may be possible to replace separately. Major pieces, however, may require a complete engine overhaul.

Compression Changes
Low compression is caused by low oil levels or strain on rings, valves or gaskets and will result in the inability to start or keep a vehicle started. Like an automobile, failure to remain started is a clear indicate that there are problems related to the starter system and/or engine cylinders.  Low compression, according to Goldwasser, may not require a complete overhaul, however, but may require replacement of the rings or cylinder head.

Overhauling a mower or cart is something that some people are comfortable doing on their own.  For those that feel boring holes into cylinders and carburetors is a daunting task, repowering your small engine with a small engine replacement kit may be a better alternative to overhauling your small engine vehicle yourself. These kits are rebuilt, higher powered small engines that come with all the necessary replacement parts and clear instructions for installing it. Either will save you money in comparison with replacing the entire piece of equipment, but one may be easier and more efficient than the other. 

~ Ben Anton, 2008


Some Considerations in Laying Out a Landscaping Design

Landscaping design may be compared with landscape architecture because the process is similar as well as the rules. While the latter focuses on the structure and the engineering of the project, the former considers those as well plus the artistic look and feel of the project.

But in determining the factors one might consider in pursuing with a plan, both the design and architecture process should take into account the type of soil in the property, the climate or weather that the place is seeming to have, the drainage system and other factors that constitutes for the plants to grow in the area.

Plotting the Project
Everybody, when starting out a landscape project, has an idea in mind. This idea has to be put on paper or on the computer using a designing software. This can only be done after thorough inspection of the place where it is to be implemented. Consider everything first before coming up with the simplest ideas so that minor changes would only be needed as the project push through.

But even if you're not a professional, designing could be done considering some of the following.

Year-Round Consideration
The four seasons is important to be considered when choosing the materials to be placed in a landscape design. During the spring through the summer, it is good to have flowering trees. Shrubs would also be fine during the said seasons. Fall foliage, on the other hand, is what one should think about first during autumn. And you need an excellent structure in the winter.

To achieve the abovementioned, thorough research is needed about the ornaments that you plan to include when implementing the design.

Incorporating Some Hardscapes
The design is not limited to plants and ornaments, structures like fences, walls, even decks, arbors and patios provide not only beauty but also serve as framing structures for the project.

Water Features
Installing one may look complicated, but with some research or just by asking around, you'll be surprised to know that this is easy to do. Aside from being pleasing to the eyes, the sounds that will come from such is soothing and will add to a calming effect of your landscape. You may start first with a simple pond and after successfully accomplishing such, you may opt for waterfalls and the likes.

This could even be the highlight of your project. Know the trends regarding water features and choose what best suits your landscape design.

Flower Types
Consider the space for the project before choosing the type of flowers that you'd want to see in it. Match such ornaments according to colors and sizes. But first, you have to know well about the lighting conditions of the place and the type of soil in it so that you'll never go wrong with the purchase that you'll eventually make regarding the plants, especially the flowers that you'd want to see as part of the landscape.

Low Maintenance
One should also look into placing elements in the design that would be easy to maintain. What is a very pretty landscape when the owner would always be tired cleaning it up. It is for your own advantage that you should look into this and decide on the materials according to this idea.

Landscaping design is easy once you are prepared with researched information about the place and equipped with the right materials to initiate the project.
Title:
Some Great Ideas for Spring Patio Furniture

Word Count:
350

Summary:
As days grow longer and warmer, more and more time is spent out on the patio. A comfortable patio environment will make sitting outdoors more enjoyable for all seasons. Here are some ways to set up a patio and a few ideas to make a patio charming and beautiful. And whether on a budget or shopping higher end there are endless possibilities.


Keywords:
patio furniture, patio chairs, patio table, chaise lounge, hammock, outdoor grill, patio umbrella


Article Body:
As days grow longer and warmer, more and more time is spent out on the patio. A comfortable patio environment will make sitting outdoors more enjoyable for all seasons. Here are some ways to set up a patio and a few ideas to make a patio charming and beautiful. And whether on a budget or shopping higher end there are endless possibilities.

Choosing patio furniture depends on the size of the patio area. For smaller areas, café tables are a great idea. Bar tables and patio bar chairs are another great way to save space and have a comfortable patio. Add a few potted plants and other favorite outdoor design elements like wind chimes and birdhouses for a perfectly quaint patio.

For larger patio settings there are many great options. In a covered patio choose a few chairs of differing styles, including comfortable chairs as well as a couple chaise lounges for lying down and relaxing. Another great idea is a hammock. They can be hung from the corner of the patio and covered with blankets and pillows to make it a truly comfortable outdoor seating.

For an outdoor patio without cover there are many great choices for patio umbrellas that will coordinate with any outdoor patio theme. Chaise lounges on an uncovered patio are great too for soaking up some sun. An outdoor grill can be incorporated into the outdoor patio and will provide hours of outdoor entertaining.

There are many types of patio furniture to choose from. It depends mostly on personal preference and how the furniture will be used. If the patio furniture will be used frequently some great ideas are resin or aluminum patio furniture. For less durable but still elegant options, wicker patio furniture is a great option. Aluminum cushion patio furniture works well with frequently use and still is extremely comfortable.

However and with whatever you purchase in patio furniture, choose what you want, and put some of your own personality into it. With a little design savvy and a few personal touches, your patio will be an area you never want to leave.


Title:
Some Of The Most Common Landscape Design Features

Word Count:
699

Summary:
If you want to build an attractive landscape, but do not where to begin, there are plenty of common landscape design ideas and features available for you to gain inspiration. You can use the ideas yourself or add a little twist to make the landscape design all your own. There are any number of conventional landscape ideas that can help you get started on your own projects and provide inspiration for future projects.

Some of the most common landscape design features are dec...


Keywords:



Article Body:
If you want to build an attractive landscape, but do not where to begin, there are plenty of common landscape design ideas and features available for you to gain inspiration. You can use the ideas yourself or add a little twist to make the landscape design all your own. There are any number of conventional landscape ideas that can help you get started on your own projects and provide inspiration for future projects.

Some of the most common landscape design features are decks and patios. These can either be professionally installed or you can build one yourself. Patios and decks provide a great deal of enjoyment on many levels as part of the use of space in the landscape design. You can use decks and patios for family gatherings or for entertaining. They can also be used to great effect as places to just sit and relax and enjoy. While a basic square shape is the most common of these landscape features, it is also possible to get them in different shapes, depending on your preferences and your needs. However, if you care for your landscape yourself, the square is very convenient for other activities, such as mowing and trimming the lawn.

Rock gardens are features that are rising in popularity as well. These landscape features can provide a great deal of attractiveness, but make use of fewer plants. Landscapes that include rock gardens need less water and less attention. Additionally, the plants that often go with rock gardens are usually hardier and need a little less care. These are easy to care for, and can save money. Additionally, it is possible to build your own rock garden in the landscape, saving you even more money.

English cottage gardens are known for their lack of formality. There is no rigidity in their designs, and because they are more or less allowed to “just grow” require less maintenance than some other types of gardens. These are common gardens because they evoke a sense of charm. They are most common in backyard landscaping, for those who want to enjoy the garden and show an informal sense of elegance while entertaining. In the United States, of course, the lawn remains the most dominant landscape feature, especially in the front. But an English cottage garden can be very fine due its riot of flowering plants. Most landscape features of this sort include rose bushes, perennials and vines. Sometimes they are even allowed to go across pathways. Because perennials are so used, they grow back every year, without much effort.

An increasing trend in landscape design is incorporating elements of the Japanese garden. Of course, in Western circles, many of the times this is interpreted to mean showy flowers. These showy flowers grab attention, and many times landscapes will center around these plants. They can be difficult to take care of, as they are often non-native. They can also be expensive. However, some people are turning their backyard landscapes into gardens that are more in keeping with traditional Japanese garden principles of simplicity including more foliage and design structures. These types of gardens are less expensive and can be equally attractive.

And, of course, the most common landscape feature is the lawn. This is because the lawn allows a platform for family activities. Additionally, overall, it is also fairly easy to care for. It need only be mowed by machines that are relatively easy use, and it can be fertilized and watered fairly inexpensively, if one does so properly and with common sense. Different people do a variety of things with their lawns, and it has become increasing popular to add a small flowerbed in the middle of the lawn for decoration. Having trees on the lawn is also another popular way to adorn the lawn and make it more inviting and attractive.

Creating a beautiful landscape is a matter of enjoyment for many people. However, many of them find it difficult to know where to begin, and know what is possible. But it you are hesitant about where to begin or what to do, trying a tried and true landscape feature can help you succeed in your endeavors to beautify the home environment.


Title:
Some Practical Ideas For Designing You Own Landscape

Word Count:
556

Summary:
Designing your own landscape, can be both exciting and challenging.  If you are considering such a project, here are some practical ideas and suggestions.
Planning the Project
  Planning your landscape design is the first and most important step.  Take the time to gather the information you will need to make your decisions on the elements you wish to include in your landscape design.  Will you want a deck, patio, foot paths, walkways, a pond?  What type of plants, trees, flowers, and ground c


Keywords:
landscape, landscape design, landscaping ideas


Article Body:
Designing your own landscape, can be both exciting and challenging.  If you are considering such a project, here are some practical ideas and suggestions.

Planning the Project

  Planning your landscape design is the first and most important step.  Take the time to gather the information you will need to make your decisions on the elements you wish to include in your landscape design.  Will you want a deck, patio, foot paths, walkways, a pond?  What type of plants, trees, flowers, and ground cover will you want to use?  You should research  books, articles, and landscape design magazines  to help you make these decisions. This will pay off in the end by saving you money, time, and frustration, enabeling you end up with a beautifully finished project to be proud of.

The Design

  The landscape design is your next step.  You will need to make a layout of the area to be landscaped, as close to scale as possible, and with accurate measurements.  Many landscape design planning guides that will give you step-by-step instructions are available on the internet for free, and books or eBooks are abundant.  Once your landscape design layout is done you can began to place your elements on the layout pad. This should be your first or preliminary plan and as you progess, changes can be transfered to your secondary or updated plans. Changing your mind often is just fine.  After all this is just on paper at this point and you have not spent any money or performed any labor yet.  Experimenting with a few plans is necessary before you come up the final landscape design. A well planned landscape will never look the same in different seasons.  Plan your landscape design to change with the seasons.   You should attempt to design your landscape as maintenance free as possible. 
 
Landscape Design Software

  If it is hard for you to visualize your finished landscape design by just looking at your layout, there is some very good landscape design software available. Much of the landscape design software was originally developed for professional landscapers, but since has been modified for the beginner who wants to do-it-themselves.  There are many do-it-yourslef landscape design software programs available today.  Landscape design software lets you see a virtual picture of the landscape design and enables you to move items around and see the changes you make come to life.  Some software allows you to import a photo of your home or building and designs the landscape around the photo. Most landscape design software programs offer advise on using and placing the many different elements available today in your landscape design.  A well designed landscape will always change with time, abd some of the landscape design software available will allow you to view your landscape as it matures.  You can see what it will look like 5 or 10 years from now when the trees have grown and the plants matured.

Gardens

Many people like to incorparate a garden in their landscape design.  Gardens can be tucked away in the corner of an area, or be the focal point of the entire landscape design.  Gardens can even be stragecly placed among the plants, flowers and trees so they blend in with the entire landscape design. If you like to garden, dont overlook all the garden design possiblities when planning your landscape design.


Steps to Go Through Before Residential Landscaping

Whatever the project may be, if it is a big time one or a simple residential landscaping, design is the most important factor that one must consider to be able to lay out a plan and eventually act upon.

Residential Landscaping
In whatever we decide to do in life, there are things to ponder about before coming up with a plan. The same thing is true if you'd like a lawn makeover, there are factors to go through and ideas to think about before actually starting the process.

Why Do You Want to Do It?
If the idea is to give your yard some kind of a renovation through landscaping, then the possibilities as to what you'd like the outcome to be are endless. You call the shots according to what you like at the moment that you want it to be done.

But on the other hand, you have to give the landscaping design a more posh look if you decide to sell the property. This is also a way to be safe, not every potential buyer would want an unfamiliar style, but with being simple and classy, one could never go wrong. It would also be to your advantage because it will add more value to what you're selling and more people will be enticed to look at it and consider a deal.

What Do You Want to Be Done?
For people who'd like to do their own landscaping, the American Nursery and Landscape Association or ANLA says that it is important for the property's salability if you choose to maintain large, old trees in it. Those mature trees are said to be of great impact to those who are looking into the land.

In designing for your own landscape, remember the basic elements which are color, form, line, scale and texture.

Look at the project through an artist's eye. Choose plants that look good when placed together or side by side in terms of their colors. Imagine what other people, especially the would-be buyer of the property would feel upon seeing the colors that you chose for the project.

Form is looking at the plants to be placed in the project in terms of the shape and branching patterns. Such factors should blend in with what one has planned for the whole landscape.

Line is the according to the arrangement of the materials to be used in the design, how you plot them accordingly as well as looking into their borders.

Scale or the size of the plants that you want to use in the landscape design also determines the texture. The placing of each plant depending on its sizes would give one an idea about the texture because this factor is a visual matter.

Who Do You Like to Do It?
You could seek out professional help if you think that you cannot do it yourself. But with vast resources on landscape design, you might want to try browsing through first and challenge yourself if you can do it before shelling out your penny for someone else's services.

First, you need to observe other people's backyards. You might also want to ask how they have done it. Or if you see someone else doing such, all you have to do is watch the process and get inspiration from it.

You can also find a wealth of information from landscaping books and magazines, television and, of course, the Web.

Are You Up with the Plan?
Upon having the plan ready for your residential landscaping, you just have to ask yourself if you're up for it. Consider everything, the budget, the materials, your purpose on doing such and the property itself, before plunging in and starting out the process.
Title:
Synthetic Grass: An Increasingly Popular Alternative for the Yard

Word Count:
878

Summary:
As Australia’s severe drought has turned many green, lush gardens and yards into brown, lifeless dustbowls, an increasing number of Australian homeowners are turning to synthetic turf as a viable solution. Similarly, more home builders, landscapers, and sports and commercial facilities are actively investigating and promoting synthetic surfaces, causing a dramatic surge in synthetic turf demand here in Australia.


Keywords:
landscaping services,paving, decking, retaining walls, designer lawns,synthetic & artificial grass,gardens and landscape design


Article Body:
As Australia’s severe drought has turned many green, lush gardens and yards into brown, lifeless dustbowls, an increasing number of Australian homeowners are turning to synthetic turf as a viable solution. Similarly, more home builders, landscapers, and sports and commercial facilities are actively investigating and promoting synthetic surfaces, causing a dramatic surge in synthetic turf demand here in Australia.

There are many benefits to installing synthetic grass versus natural grass, here are just a few:

The Benefits of Synthetic Grass versus Natural Grass

Watering
With increasing Stage 3, Stage 4 and Stage 5 water restrictions in place across most of the country, water conservation is now at a critical point, and many homeowners are finding that they are simply not allowed to water their lawns. While rainwater tanks can certainly alleviate the problem in the short term, they really only work if there is adequate rainfall to fill them up. Grey water systems can also address some of the problem, but the fact is that the chemicals and soaps in grey water collected from some of these systems can, if not treated properly, actually damage a lawn. Finally, for commercial applications, including football ovals, golf courses, retirement communities, property developments and sporting facilities, the cost and effort to transport water via a pipe system or truck can be prohibitive (and, as has been seen in the news, can anger a town’s residents by using this precious resource for a non-vital purpose) .

Synthetic grass, on the other hand, requires no watering, thus helping Australians to conserve water. A synthetic lawn remains green, lush and soft regardless of climate changes, temperature or other environmental conditions, making it a logical and viable alternative for both home and business applications.

Maintenance
The hot and dry climates unique to Australia make natural grass very difficult (and costly) to maintain. Homeowners, councils, and property management companies spend large amounts of money on water, fertilizers, pesticides, chemicals, mowing and general labour to keep their natural grass in good condition.

Synthetic grass, however, requires none of these costly items. Maintaining a synthetic lawn is as simple as raking the leaves when needed, and an occasional topdressing of sand or rubber. In addition, many synthetic turf manufacturers will apply a special UV coating to protect the lawn against the harsh ultraviolet rays of the sun – ensuring that the synthetic grass will not fade or weaken with age.

Environment
As mentioned above, maintaining a natural grass lawn requires regular use of fertilizers, chemicals and pesticides. Apart from the inherent danger of exposure to children, pets and native animals in the neighbourhood, these products invariably migrate into the soil, groundwater, and eventually into lakes, streams or even the ocean. This can have significant long-term effects on the planet’s plants, animals, the air we breathe and the food we eat.

Synthetic Grass, on the other hand, requires no chemicals or pesticides for maintenance, and provides a safe, healthy environment for families and the public.

Safety
Natural grass lawns and sports fields are rarely perfectly flat. With regular use, a grass lawn will develop dips, mounds, bumps, holes and other inconsistencies that can cause tripping, twisted ankles or other major injuries.

A properly-installed synthetic lawn, however, is most commonly built on top of flat, level ground (usually excavated and grated), which contains one or two layers of compacted, crushed base and a layer of foam padding. The lawn is then in-filled with a combination of either rolled sand or crushed rubber, and then raked or brushed to ensure a consistent, flat, soft surface. When done right, a synthetic lawn or sports field is much safe than natural grass, hence the reason why more major sports organisations and schools in the U.S. and Australia are replacing their sod and natural grass with synthetic surfaces.

Appearance
Technology has vastly improved synthetic turf in the past decade. Gone are the days of neon-green Astroturf or knee-burning plastic-fibre carpets. Today, synthetic turf comes in different fibre lengths, colours and weaves, and is manufactured to exactly replicate the look and feel of natural rye, bermuda, bluegrass, centipede or virtually any type of natural grass available. The new generation of synthetic turf also feels incredibly soft to the touch, which is a welcome addition for children and pets.

Cost
It is commonly believed that natural grass is much cheaper than synthetic grass – as grass seed or turf transplants are relatively inexpensive. So at $50 to $100 per square metre (installed), the bulky up-front investment for purchase and installation of synthetic turf may seem expensive. But in reality, the costs over the long term are actually lower than that of natural grass. When factoring in the 5- to 10-year cost of grass seed, water, fertilizers, lawnfeed and pesticides, as well as the labour and time to mow, trim, aerate, fill, mulch and maintain a natural grass lawn, it becomes clear that a synthetic lawn can pay for itself within a few years, depending on the size of the area and the quoted cost.

For the average homeowner, however, the most popular benefit of owning a synthetic lawn is “Time”. Less time maintaining a lawn means more time enjoying it. More time for backyard cricket with the kids. More time for backyard footy. Or just simply "more time in the backyard".


The Challenge of Landscaping Small Yards

Landscaping projects, no matter how big or small, requires thorough research and advanced planning. This is also true in landscaping small yards. One should be meticulous in doing such because of the limited space requires just the exact and perfect fitting ornaments so that the project would look good despite its size.

Modification
Landscaping is all about changing the land's appearance, modifying such for personal satisfaction or to upgrade the land's value in the market. The change could vary from simply changing the plants in it or arranging the structures in the area to hauling up, digging further and constructing materials that could really drastically change the landscape.

Perfect Fit
In doing the modifications for small yards, one must first assess the size or the part of the land to be used. Based on the calculated size, you may proceed with research first and then you can plan.

In researching, the same rule applies as to those projects with big landscapes. You must first know about the place well enough, its weather conditions, the type of soil in it and the plants that would grow in the place.

Information as abovementioned could be gathered in landscaping books and magazines. The Web has also vast information and pictures for such projects that you may want to see first to have an idea of the different styles that you may opt to replicate or combine one or two styles. You may also create your own if you are knowledgeable in the process. And asking around will also a lot, especially when you get to talk with people whose landscaping are excellent. You would really get an idea of what to do and also what not to do in the process so that you'd have minimal errors once you sit down on your project.

When you have a small yard, planning should be simple yet very detailed. The type of plants that you may opt to use should be placed accordingly. Be mindful of the color and the sizes of the plants, as well as the positioning of each because you can actually make the land appear larger than it is through the use of such ornaments.

Structuring Each Element
When you plan on landscaping for a small yard, you need to have a structure for everything. You need to know how much space would each ornament consume because in the process, you need to maximize everything. You need to utilize each free space to make the land appear larger than it really is and so that no one could actually fault the place as to having to much at such its small size.

You may still have other materials in the area like some fence or a water element such as a small pond or simple fountain maybe, this just depends on the placing of each material. All these could be laid out in the plan, but you can still do minor changes once you're already into the process and is actually seeing what the blueprint looks like in reality.

Landscaping small yards may be quite a challenge. But when one is equipped with the right knowledge and the proper materials, mistakes would be minimal. The advantage of having a small yard is that it is easy to maintain so you are free to choose from a wide variety of ornaments as long as you're sure that those would survive in the place's conditions.
The Different Types of Soil

The soil is an essential part of any garden. It is where
the plants are cultivated, and if the soil is of a good
quality, the plants that grow there are evidently good as
well.

While one can’t find the perfect soil for the perfect
garden all of the time, combining different types of soils
can produce the same effect. Below is a list of the common
soil types and what they do.

1. Sand

- this type of soil is known for its lack of ability to
hold water. This can be good in a way since this quality
helps prevent the roots of plants from getting soaked in
water for a very long time.

The only downside is that one has to water the plants more
often than other soil types.

2. Clay

- gets very sticky when wet. While this type of soil can
hold nutrients very well, it is unable to let in air and
water very well which could be detrimental to plants.

3. Silt

- is somewhat of a cross between clay and sand. This type
of soil holds a lot of nutrients like clay and doesn’t
retain water well just like sand.

4. Loam

- is the most ideal type of soil because almost every type
of plants will grow on this. It is because loam is
formulated using a good balance of sand, clay and silt.

Just like silt and clay, it holds nutrients well. As for
water retention, it is midway between sand and clay since
loam can hold water pretty well without draining it as
easily as sand would.Title:
The Basic Principles Of Landscape Design

Word Count:
1605

Summary:
These are the same principles of landscape design that professionals use written so do-it-yourselfers can use and understand them.


Keywords:
landscaping,landscape design,principles of landscape design,landscaping ideas


Article Body:
Whether you plan on "borrowing ideas" or plan on creating your own landscaping design, you should have at the very least a basic understanding of the principles of landscape design.

This doesn't mean that you have to apply every principle to every part of your plan. But just having an understanding of these principles will help you generate ideas and increase your creativity.

Great landscaping lies in the eyes of the its creator. So, while the principles of landscape design are great guidelines to follow, don't feel like they're the "have to rules" of landscaping. Abstract and creativity are allowed.

Unity should be one of your main goals in your design. It may be better understood and applied as consistency and repetition. Repetition creates unity  by repeating alike elements like plants, plant groups, or decor throughout the landscape. Consistency creates unity in the sense that some or all of the different elements of the landscape fit together to create a whole.

Unity can be achieved by the consistency of character of elements in the design. By character, I mean the height, size, texture, color schemes, etc. of different elements.

A good example would be in the use of accent boulders. If you've ever seen a landscape design that had one large white round boulder here and another large red square granite boulder there and so on, then you've seen that unity wasn't created by this specific element.

This is just one example but the principle applies to all other elements such as groups of plants and materials.

A simple way to create unity in your landscape is by creating themes. And one of the simplest ways to create themes is by using a little garden decor or garden statues. Creating a theme garden is easier when it's related to something you're interested in or have a passion for.

If you're into butterflies for instance, you could create a theme using plants that attract butterflies as well as using statues, ornaments, and other decor that are related to butterflies.

Unity should be expressed through at least one element in your landscape and preferably more. Using elements to express a main idea through consistent style and a specific theme is what creates harmony.

Simplicity is actually one of the principles in design and art. It’s one of the best guidelines you can follow as a beginner or do it yourselfer. Just keep things simple to begin with. You can do more later.

Simplicity in planting, for instance, would be to pick two or three colors and repeat them throughout the garden or landscape. Keeping decor to a minimum and within a specific theme as well as keeping hardscapes such as boulders consistent is also practicing simplicity.

Balance in design is just as the word implies. Equality. There are basically two types of balance in landscape design. Symmetrical and Asymmetrical.

Symmetrical balance is where there are more or less equally spaced matching elements of the garden design. With a garden equally divided, both sides could share the same shape, form, plant height, plant groupings, colors, bed shapes, theme, etc.

You may remember creating something like this when you were a kid in art class at school. Where you take a piece of paper, splash paint on it, fold it in half, unfold it, and then it magically creates an interesting symmetrical design. So symmetrical balance or design is somewhat of a mirror image or reflection.

Asymmetrical balance on the other hand is one of the principles of landscape design that's a little more complex. While textures, forms, colors, etc. may remain constant to create some unity, shapes and hardscapes may be more random. This form of balance often has separate or different themes with each having an equal but different type of attraction.

A good example of this would be where bed shapes or paths differ on both sides of the dividing line. One side could be curvy with a sense of flow while the other side is straight, direct, and hard.

This can also create a neat contrast. Flowing lines are pleasing to the eye but the bold contrast of a curve with a straight line can be very interesting.

Asymmetrical balance isn't necessarily limited to just the shape of your garden.

An example might be where one side of the garden is mostly large shade trees while the other side is predominately a lower growing flower garden or even a mix of both examples. This is only limited to your imagination.

Contrast and harmony can also be achieved using plants. Fine foliage verses coarser foliage, round leaves verses spiked leaves as well as color compliments and contrasts.

Plant height, color, and texture may be varied from one area to the next but each area should stay consistent within its own theme.

You'll hear me talk about "themes" a lot. Many successful do it yourself designs follow a basic theme to achieve most of the principles of landscape design described on this page. The proper use of plants and garden decor or a mix of both is a simple way to achieve themes.

Color adds the dimension of real life and interest to the landscape. Bright colors like reds, yellows and oranges seem to advance toward you and can actually make an object seem closer to you. Cool colors like greens, blues, and pastels seem to move away from you and can make an object seem farther from you.

Grays, blacks, and whites are considered neutral colors and are best used in the background with bright colors in the foreground. However, to increase depth in a landscape, you can use dark and coarse textured plants in the foreground and use fine textured and light colored plants in the background.

Colors can also be used to direct your attention to a specific area of the garden. A bright display among cooler colors would naturally catch the eye.

Natural transition can be applied to avoid radical or abrupt changes in your landscape design. Transition is basically gradual change. It can best be illustrated in terms of plant height or color but can also be applied to all elements in the landscape including but not limited to textures, foliage shape or size, and the size and shape of different elements.

In other words transition can be achieved by the gradual, ascending or descending, arrangement of different elements with varying textures, forms, colors, or sizes.

An example of a good transition would be a stair step effect from large trees to medium trees to shrubs to bedding plants. This example is where a little knowledge of proper plant selection would come in handy.

Transition is one of the principles of landscape design that can be used to "create illusions" in the landscape. For example a transition from taller to shorter plants can give a sense of depth and distance (like in a painting), making the garden seem larger than it really is. A transition from shorter to taller plants could be used to frame a focal point to make it stand out and seem closer than it really is.

Line is of the more structural principles of landscape design. It can mostly be related to the way beds, walkways, and entryways move and flow.

Straight lines are forceful and direct while curvy lines have a more natural, gentle, flowing effect.

Proportion simply refers to the size of elements in relation to each other. Of all the principles of landscape design, this one is quite obvious but still requires a little thought and planning. Most of the elements in landscape design can be intentionally planned to meet the proper proportions.

For instance if you are creating a small courtyard garden, an enormous seven foot garden statue placed in the center would be way out of proportion and a little tacky to say the least. Or a small four foot waterfall and pond placed in the center of a large open yard would get lost in the expanse.

Don't misunderstand this to mean that if you have a large yard you can't have smaller features or garden decor. Proportion is relative and elements can be scaled to fit by creating different rooms in the garden. The goal is to create a pleasing relationship among the three dimensions of length, breadth, and depth or height.

A small water feature can be proportionate if placed in a corner or on the edge of a large area and becomes a focal point of the larger area while creating its own distinct atmosphere. An entire room, sitting area, or theme can be created around it. Other rooms and themes can be created as well. See small gardens for ideas on creating rooms and creating illusions.

Also, special consideration and study should be given to proper plant selection to avoid using plants that are out of proportion.

Repetition is directly related to unity. Its good to have a variety of elements and forms in the garden but repeating these elements gives variety expression.

 Unity is achieved by repeating objects or elements that are alike. Too many unrelated objects can make the garden look cluttered and unplanned.

There's a fine line here. It's possible that too much of one element can make a garden or landscape feel uninteresting, boring and monotonous.

However, unity can still be created by using several different elements repeatedly. This in turn keeps the garden interesting.


Title:
The Endearing Language of Flowers

Word Count:
420

Summary:
The language of flowers is a language of love, endearment, and respect. The truly popularity of flowers lies in their ability to bring joy, and good cheer.


Keywords:
flower, send flower, flower delivery, valentine day flower, flower shop


Article Body:
The fascination with flowers have captivated, and charmed people world wide.  They represent a form of life that has endured evolution, and continues to flourish.  With a diversity of colors, forms, scents, and uses, flowers have been revered by generations of admirers, and enthusiasts alike. Throughout history flowers have been the perfect form of expression, when words were hard to find. The language of flowers is a language of love, endearment, and respect. The truly popularity of flowers lies in their ability to bring joy, and good cheer.

The first flowering plants found were tiny herb-like flower fossils dating back 120 million years. An innumerable number of images of preserved flowers and flower parts have been found in fossils located all over the world. According to scientists, there are over 270,000 species of flowers that have been documented and are living in the twenty-first century. Scientists continue to marvel over the amazing diversity of species, and the species that have not changed much during evolution. Many flowers have coevolved with their pollination animals.

The flower is the reproductive organ of a plant.  It is the job of the flower to produce seeds through fertilization, and pollination.  Pollination requires animals (bees, hummingbirds, etc.), wind, or water to transfer male pollen to the female ovule. After a flower is fertilized, it develops into a fruit containing seeds.  These seeds are the next generation, and serve as the means by which species of plants are dispersed across a field.  Cross breeding can occur, and this leads to the enormous diversities seen. 

The alluring nature of flowers has made them subjects of folklore, and poetry.  Their medicinal use has been embraced by the east for centuries.  A flower’s fragrance is its personality, a beautiful bouquet of scents that permeate even the worst form of pollution. Flowers have been associated with religious symbolism, the lily signifying purity for example.  The diversity of shapes and colors makes them the perfect decoration, and the perfect gift.  The likelihood of two people having the same color, shape arrangement is very remote. Edible flowers have been used in the culinary field for flavor and garnish for many years.

It is clear that flowers do have a very endearing language.  A language that is universal, without borders.  A language that contains no negativity, nor prejudice.  An unconditional way of expressing a feeling so deep, that words could never convey the true meaning. Regardless of the situation, the sight of a flower will always solicit a smile, and a sense of warmth.


Title:
The Truth About MTD Snow Blowers

Word Count:
469

Summary:
Ask anyone who lives in areas that receive snow, and they will tell you that it's shoveling snow more than the cold temperatures that they would list as the worst part of the season. Fortunately, there are options out there which will make your time outside shorter, and more importantly, less stressful on your back.


Keywords:
snow blowers, mtd snow blowers, parts


Article Body:
Ask anyone who lives in areas that receive snow, and they will tell you that it's shoveling snow more than the cold temperatures that they would list as the worst part of the season. Fortunately, there are options out there which will make your time outside shorter, and more importantly, less stressful on your back.

Snow blowers provide a great solution for those who hate shoveling snow! One of the more popular snow blowers is an MTD Snow Blower due to the ease of use, durability and of course, power.  Take care of your snow blower, and it will last you a lifetime.

Keeping your snow blower in optimum shape is easy with a MTD Snow Blower parts and accessories.  These snow blowers are prized for their ease of use and their electric push button starters.  They are durable and many people find them to be the sturdiest snow blowers on the market.  MTD has been an established company for over forty years, and has built a strong reputation of sturdy and resilient machinery and accessories.

Throw the Snow, Not Your Back

Shoveling snow can be a stressful experience for your back, which combined with cold and  low temperatures, can cause a double dose of back pain.  Using a good snow blower is a great way to save your health and clear excess snow from your yard. 

The MTD Snow blower has earned the reputation of being able to handle even the toughest jobs.  By using your MTD snow blower you can take the pressure off your back and let the machine handle the work for you.  . Whether you need to remove snow and get your car out in time for work or just clear a walkway from your front door to the sidewalk your MTD snow blower can handle the work for you.   Many of the blowers will clear widths of up to 24” or two feet, the perfect size for a walkway in one shot. 

When you find the MTD snow blower that you want to purchase, make sure that you save all of your pertinent documentation and warranty information.  If you ever need to order MTD snow blower parts, the documentation will have the appropriate phone numbers for you to call.  Not only are MTD snow blowers a popular choice due to their outstanding performance capabilities, they are also a favorite because they are readily available at many home and garden supply stores for a price that homeowners can afford.

No one likes to shovel snow, so why make it more of a chore than it needs to be.  You'll enjoy plowing and clearing your driveway so much, that you'll probably end up doing your neighbours sidewalks as well, earning a big thank you and probably a beverage when they come out of hibernation from their homes!


Title:
The  history  of  the  gnome.

Word Count:
487

Summary:
Greeted  by a garden gnome people often grimace in horror and mutter some displeasure  while  thinking  how  anyone  could anyone  have  one  of  those  in  their  back  garden.  But  we’re  also  told ( from  people  in  the  know) that there  are  approaching  four  million  of  them  in  southern  Germany  and  if  you  know  where  to  look  there’s  quite  a  few  in  the  US  aswell.


Keywords:
gnomes


Article Body:
Greeted  by a garden gnome people often grimace in horror and mutter some displeasure  while  thinking  how  anyone  could anyone  have  one  of  those  in  their  back  garden.  But  we’re  also  told ( from  people  in  the  know) that there  are  approaching  four  million  of  them  in  southern  Germany  and  if  you  know  where  to  look  there’s  quite  a  few  in  the  US  aswell.

Well  it  doesn’t  surprise  me  about  the  Germans, since  the  first  gnomes  graced  us  with  their  appearance  about  160  years  ago.  The  first  logged  appearance  was  in  the  UK  about  1840  in  Lamport  Hall.  According  to  local  myths  gnomes  are  very  lucky.  It  is  documented  in  the  1870’s  that  manufacture  began  on  a  large  scale.  Apparantly  they  are  meant  to  help  around  the  house  and  garden, and  in  more  isolated  areas  were  meant  to  guard  over  produce  and  livestock.

Eventually,  the  European  gnome  creators  became  experts  and  masters  of  their  work.  During  it’s  most  popular  period  a  gnome  factory  in  Griebel,  Germany  produced  over  300  different  characters.
In  1989,  after  the  collapse  of  the  iron  curtain,  savvy  businessmen  entered  the  market in the  Czech Republic  and  started  to produce  cheap  imitations  of  the  original  characters.  At  first  they  were  stopped  from  entering  Germany  by  a  law  customs  officers  confiscate  those  gnomes  who  were  infringing  copyright laws.
Unfortunately,  it  is  all  now  all  quite  slack  on  the  German  border.  The  grandson  of  the  founder,  Reinhard  Griebel,  now  has  just  one  workshop  and  the  gnome  museum.

The  first  gnomes  were  always  characterised  as  gardeners  carrying  out  daily  country  tasks,  but  this  grew  to  fishermen,  sportsmen,  musicians  and  many  more.  Then  they  started  to  model  ones  from  people  still  living  out  of  clay  or  stoneware. 

In  North  Devon,  in  the  southwest  of  England, there  is  a  gnome   reserve.  There  are  over  one  thousand  pixies  and  gnomes  in  the  four  acre  reserve.  Gnome  fishing  equipment  and  hats  are  given  out  so  the  gnomes  feel  at  ease.

They  are  others  that  have  a  very  different  opinion  about  them.  FreeTheGnomes.com  provides  Garden  Gnome  Liberation  information  and  urges  people  to  take  action.  They  proclaim  that  “ Thousands  of  gnomes  are  enslaved  across  America.  For  too  long  we  have  let  are  neighbours  usurp  the  rights  of  these  gentle  woodland  creatures.  Join  the  boycott.  Organise  a picket  demonstration.  Write  to  congress.  Free  a  gnome.  We’ll  show  you  how.”

Some  groups  have  even  crossed  to  the  wrong  side  of  the  law.  In  April  2000  the  Garden  Gnome  Liberation  Front  in  a  nighttime  raid  on  a  Paris  convention  stole  20  gnomes.

By  the  way,  if  you’re  thinking  of  selling  your  home,  a  study  made  in  2003  concluded  that  a  gnome  in  your  front  garden  would  lower  the  price  of  your  house  by  about  £400.


For  more  info:


For  more  info:  A house is not a home without a gnome.


Title:
Things You Should Consider When Buying Your First Garden Leaf Blower

Word Count:
613

Summary:
A basic guide on things to consider when buying a garden leaf blower, no matter what the size of your garden.


Keywords:
leaf blower, garden leaf blower, blow leaf


Article Body:
Want to save yourself some time?

Collecting leaves with the aid of a garden leaf blower is considerably less time-consuming and less back breaking work when compared to using a garden rake or other such tools. The general idea of a leaf blower is pretty straightforward. A high-speed fan is surrounded by a cover. Tubes are then connected to the side of the fan to focus the air current (up to around 200 miles per hour in some units) in the direction you want to move the leaves.

What do I need to consider?

First of all consider the size of your garden and your exposure to fallen leaves. Do you have a large yard? If you have only a small garden and no trees or bushes then you will not need a garden leaf blower, but if you have a large garden and wish to have it looking clean at all times then a garden leaf blower would be a wise investment and a great time saver for you.You will want to bear these factors in mind when you consider the features of the different models.

Garden leaf blowers come in all shapes and sizes depending on their use.

 Leaf blowers include both small one-hand models and powerful, professional types which can be carried in a harness on your back.Consider one with a harness particularly if you suffer from back or neck problems, as the harness will take a good deal of the load off your shoulders and arms.

Consider too, the blowing speed and air volume the different models put out, as a high blowing speed would cut down the time needed for the blowing operation. Most  garden leaf blowers will have a rating of 350 to 600 cubic feet of air per minute (CFM).


A low vibration level would also be preferable with ergonomic handles and harnesses to help you to work more efficiently with less strain on the hands, arms and shoulders.

 Handheld garden leaf blowers can be generally divided into two groups: those that can collect leaves and those that can't. With a garden leaf blower you can do much more than just move leaves. It can also be used to collect rubbish, grass clippings, hedge clippings, and empty tin cans.


Your choice of garden leaf blower should have an efficient system to minimise vibrations in the parts of the machine that you or the user comes in contact with.

 Make a note of the weight of each type of garden leaf blower too, as some blowers can weigh as much as 25lb or 12kg. You'd have to be doing an awful lot of blowing to be needing the 25lb model!

Consider too, a model with the ability to vacuum all you leaves into a bag rather than blowing them all away. Another great time saver when it comes to disposing of the leaves. An extra mulching feature is available on some leaf blower/vacuums. Mulched lawn debris can be used in compost piles or bagged for disposal. Most  of these convert easily from blowing to vacuuming mode.

 Making your choice between an electric or gas-powered unit isn't always easy! Gas blowers are more powerful, but electric ones are quieter.The engine should be powerful and easy to start if you choose a gasoline model. Do you live in a busy neighborhood where  a quieter operation would be appreciated? Or is your yard massive with lots of trees, making a powerful unit the only real option?

Choose a model within your price range with the best selection of features. You can expect to pay anywhere between $100 and $500 for a decent garden leaf blower, depending upon the specifications you choose.


Tips on Choosing Plants for Landscaping

Choosing the right plants for your landscaping project is
one of the most important aspects of landscaping. First of
all, the plants are the ones which people will see
immediately so their impression of your lawn will depend
much on how you choose your plants.

Below is a list of some tips on choosing the right kind of
plants for your lawn.

1. Know thy plants

- being familiar with the plants that you are planning to
grow in your lawn is important because it will immediately
tell you whether or not they will grow in your area.

Aside from that, it also tells you how large it will grow
(which is important when you have a small lawn) and how
much care you would give to it.

2. Choose your color combination

- ugly lawns are those with terrible color combinations.
You should therefore be mindful of the plants or the
flowers’ colors before you even buy them. Otherwise, you’d
be in for a disaster.

3. How well can you maintain them?

- this is another important consideration when choosing a
plant for your lawn. There are plants that need extra care
and attention while others can grow with little
maintenance.

If you’re the busy type, you might want to opt for the
low-maintenance plants. On the other hand, if you have
extra time or are considering getting the services of a
gardener, then opt for those that require a little more
effort from you. What’s important is that you have a plant
that you can maintain.Title:
Tips for feeding your lawn nitrogen

Word Count:
302

Summary:
Discover why nitrogen is vital for a healthy lawn as well as helpful tips for applying nitrogen fertilizers.


Keywords:
nitrogen,lawn,grass,apply,fertilizer,feeding your lawn,lawn nitrogen


Article Body:
Nitrogen is vital to your lawn and is one of the most popular fertilizers. You need nitrogen because chlorophyll depends on it as do other proteins and amino acids.  These in turn are what makes your lawn green and causes it to grow well.

Some things to look for to see if your grass has a nitrogen deficiency are; if it turns yellow despite watering, the grass doesn't grow quickly, diseases are present in your lawn, or if the grass turf starts getting thinner.

Depending on the time of year, your budget, and the climate there are three basic types of nitrogen used in fertilizers that are popular to apply.

1.  You will find isobutyledenedinurea (IBDU) which decomposes slowly and will feed your grass over a longer period of time.  It will often take a couple of weeks to decompose enough for you to see it's effects on your lawn.

This is the most expensive form of nitrogen fertilizer because of the way it is manufactures and it's uniformity.  It's uniformity also makes it very easy to apply.

2.  There is also sulfur-coated urea.  It depends on how thick the sulfur coating is to determine how quickly it will dissolve and feed your plants.

S.C.U. will release quicker when the temperature is hotter, the lawn is wetter, or if the grass is healthier.

3.  The last one I am going to mention is urea, a fairly inexpensive nitrogen. It is the cheapest nitrogen to produce as well as the fastest acting.

You can often see results over night, it is that fast.  But it gets depleted quickly and if you over apply it you can easily burn your yard up and kill your grass.

So the next time you go shopping for fertilizers with nitrogen check the labels and ask lots of questions.


Title:
Tips for Preparing a Planting Bed

Word Count:
1535

Summary:
Think you have to hire professionals to make your yard beautiful?  This article shows you everything you need to know to create planting beds for landscaping that will make your home stand out from the neighbors'.


Keywords:
flowerbed,landscaping,planting a flowerbed,garden bed


Article Body:
If you are preparing beds for landscaping around your house this article should simplify the process for you. I say that because of everything that is written about this subject, some of it is accurate, some of it is just plain wrong, and much of it is much more complicated than it needs to be. I like to think of myself as Simple Simon. I find the easiest, yet most effective way to do things, and they work.

Let’s assume that the area where you are planning your bed is now planted in grass. How do you get rid of the grass? Chemicals or no chemicals? Chemicals are easy, so we’ll look at the chemical method first.

My favorite chemical for killing grass and weeds is RoundUp, and used properly it is effective. Rule number one: Read the label on the package, and mix the chemical exactly as recommended by the manufacturer. Rule number two: Assume that every plant that the RoundUp touches is going to die. It is a non-selective herbicide.

The first thing you need to do is mark out where your planting bed is going to be. Spend some time on this step. If you are landscaping around your house, give careful consideration to what is going to be planted in the bed, and then decide how large each plant is going to be when fully mature.

You can keep plants trimmed to a certain size, but be realistic when you make these estimates. Trust me when I tell you, this is the number one mistake made by Do-it-Yourself landscapers. People are just afraid to make those beds large enough.

Typically, a bed should never be narrower than 42”, and corner beds should be 12’ in diameter. Islands. If you make those little tiny island beds that I see everywhere I am going to come over to your house and snap you with a wet towel! The island bed in your front yard should be 20’ to 40’ long, and a minimum of 12’ in diameter on at least one end.

The easiest way to mark out your planting beds is to buy a can of marking paint at the hardware store. Unlike most spray paint, this only works when the can is inverted, and it is designed specifically for painting lines on the ground. They even have cans that spray chalk instead of paint. I’ve always used the paint, it holds up better if it gets wet.

Once you have the outline of the bed established and marked, mix up some RoundUp and spray all the grass and weeds inside the bed area. Do not put RoundUp in a sprayer that you intend to use for other purposes. You need a sprayer that is dedicated for the use of herbicides. When applying the spray, be very careful not to let the spray drift onto the grass and other plants that you do not want to kill.

To minimize spray drift, adjust the spray nozzle so the spray pattern is narrow and the droplets are larger. A wide, fine spray pattern is sure to drift outside of the intended area. Also keep the pressure in the sprayer quite low. Pump it just enough to deliver the spray. High pressure causes the spray to atomize and drift. Apply just enough spray to wet the foliage. If you have liquid dripping off the blades of grass, you are applying too much. More is not better.

Once sprayed, be careful not to step in the area that has been sprayed. Many people have had golden footprints across their lawn because they forgot and walked through what had been sprayed.

This is the difficult part, and the part that many people do not get, so pay close attention. The only way that the RoundUp can possibly work is if you leave it alone. Did you get that? Once you apply the RoundUp, don’t do another thing with that bed for 72 hours. That’s three very long days. I know you’re anxious, but this is the price you pay for not planning ahead.


RoundUp is a systemic herbicide, which means that it has to be absorbed by the plant, then translocated throughout the plant. It takes three days for that to happen. If you go digging and chopping, you might just as well skip the spraying step. Go build a compost bin while you’re waiting.

After three days the weeds and grass are going to look as healthy and happy as ever. Don’t let ’em fool ya. They’re as dead as dead can be. Providing the RoundUp didn’t get washed off by rain within the first 24 hours of the waiting period. Now you can dig and chop to your heart’s content.

However, the only digging that I do is to go around the edge of the bed and strip the sod back about 15”. Just peel off about 1” and flip it into the center of the bed. This makes it easier to edge and mulch the bed if you get the sod out of the way. Now for the non- chemical method.

Mark out the outline of the bed as described above. Strip the sod back 15”, just like above. Since you aren’t using any herbicides I would dig down about 1-1/2” when removing the sod from the edges. Take the sod you stripped back and lay it in the center of the bed upside down and pack it down firmly. Now take newspaper or brown paper grocery bags and cover the entire bed area. Use 9 layers of newspaper. No matter what method you used, chemical or non chemical, you are now ready to fill the planting bed with topsoil.

Put 8 to 12” of good rich topsoil in the bed. Make sure the soil is higher in the back, closest to the wall, so the water drains away from the building. If you are creating an island planting make the center of the bed the highest point. Make sure the topsoil you buy is well drained and rich in organic matter. Buying topsoil is a tricky game, you’ve got to be careful and shop around. Topsoil is one item that you do not want to order over the phone, sight unseen.

This is what you are looking for when buying topsoil: 

Topsoil that is rich in organic matter will be very dark in color. If the soil is light in color it is probably just fill sand. The other thing you’ve got to watch for is how well drained the soil is. Topsoil that has a clay base is poorly drained and sticky, and your plants will not be happy at all. They might even die if they are too wet. Once a clay based topsoil dries out it gets very hard.

Today most topsoil is run through a screener to remove the clumps, rocks, roots, and sticks. There is nothing wrong with buying unscreened topsoil, especially if you’ve visually inspected it and have found it to be of good quality. Actually, really good topsoil shouldn’t have to be screened, but there is little of that quality topsoil to be had.

When you visit the yard where the soil is stockpiled, scoop up a handful of the topsoil and run it through your fingers. If it seems to be grainy, it is probably good soil. But if it appears to be tiny round balls that can be smashed between your fingers, it is probably a clay based soil that will trap water during rainy seasons, and get as hard as a rock when it’s hot and dry.

Pay attention to how the soil is screened. Some machines just shake the soil over a set of screens to separate the debris, and others actually shred the soil. If the soil needs to be shredded, you don’t want it. Look closely at the pile that the raw soil is coming from. If the soil in the raw pile is as hard as a rock, that’s what the screened soil is going be once you get it in your beds. If it appears to be fairly loose, it’s probably good soil.

Put 6-8” of topsoil in your beds. You are now ready to plant. Did you notice that I didn’t get into rototilling and all kinds of extra work? Nor did I suggest that you add bone meal or any of those other goodies that the garden centers sell. I skipped the part about checking the pH too. pH is important, but I’ve found that good topsoil almost always has a suitable pH.

I’ve got a confession to make. In almost 30 years of growing, planting, landscaping and the like, I’ve never tested the pH of the soil on any project that I was working on. Is that smart? I don’t know, but I’ve been successful in my efforts, and I have landscaped several hundred homes and grown tens of thousands of plants.

It’s something to think about. What I’m really trying to say is don’t get caught up in too many details, and be careful who you take advice from at those garden stores. Many of those sales people were flipping burgers last week.


Title:
Tips To Keep Teak Furniture Looking Its Best

Word Count:
332

Summary:
To survive rain, wind and sun outdoor furniture has to be tough--and no material is as prized for its rugged beauty and legendary durability as teak.


Keywords:
Tips To Keep Teak Furniture Looking Its Best


Article Body:
To survive rain, wind and sun outdoor furniture has to be tough--and no material is as prized for its rugged beauty and legendary durability as teak.

Made to last for decades with absolutely no maintenance, upkeep is more a matter of personal preference than a requirement. While some people prefer the golden color of new teak, others prefer the distinguished silver-grey that teak becomes as it weathers.

Regardless of your preference, just a few steps will make sure your teak furniture stays in tip-top shape for decades. Here are a few tips from Jeremy Smith, president of Wood Classics, a U.S.-based teak furniture manufacturer:

• Make sure you have a top quality product to begin with. Pay attention to the wood quality and construction techniques used in the furniture, as this can affect furniture's longevity.

• When looking at teak products, make sure they are really teak, not "teak-like" or "as good as teak."

• Consider the grade of teak being used. First European Quality (FEQ) is the top grade without knots, cracks or pits.

• If you prefer the natural look of weathered teak, you can look forward to virtually no maintenance. If your furniture is left outside, you will want to clean off mildew, sap and pollen annually with Olympic® Deck Wash.

• If you prefer the original rich honey color of teak, there are several steps you can take to preserve this golden color. After thoroughly washing the teak you can treat it with specialized teak cleaners and restoration products. However, using these products is time-intensive. We usually recommend that our customers either allow the teak to age naturally, clean it with a deck wash or hire a professional teak maintenance service to apply the more specialized products.

• If you're using the furniture indoors, consider finishing it to protect it from stains by sealing or varnishing it. Don't use teak oil, varnishes or sealers on furniture if you're using it outside, since this may cause it to turn black with mildew.


Title:
Tools Every Do-It-Yourself Landscaper Needs

Word Count:
492

Summary:
There is no doubt that choosing to do your own landscaping is the best way to go for many people. Not only do you save a lot of money by not hiring professionals to do the work, you also will get to enjoy a lot of time outside. Landscaping is good exercise and a great way to spend an afternoon.

Any do-it-yourself landscapers will require a variety of tools, from basic to high tech, in order to get the job done right. Here are some of the tools that are essential for doing ...


Keywords:
landscaping, lawns


Article Body:
There is no doubt that choosing to do your own landscaping is the best way to go for many people. Not only do you save a lot of money by not hiring professionals to do the work, you also will get to enjoy a lot of time outside. Landscaping is good exercise and a great way to spend an afternoon.

Any do-it-yourself landscapers will require a variety of tools, from basic to high tech, in order to get the job done right. Here are some of the tools that are essential for doing your own landscaping.

Software: Yes, believe it or not, a good landscaping program can be essential when you are designing the layout of your lawn and garden. I use the Master Landscape & Home Design by Punch! Software. I bought this program for my wife back in 2003, and we have used it a lot ever since. The 3D Photoview technology allows us to put in digital pictures of our home and garden and then implement any changes on the screen before we put them into effect in our yard. The PlantFinder allows us to find plants that are the most appropriate to the soil and climate conditions where we live, and it even has a calculator to help us estimate the costs of the plants from different stores. This is about as high tech as I get when it comes to landscaping, though.

Lawn mower: You might not realize it, but mowing the lawn is an essential part of any landscape. A lawn mower is therefore a critical part of doing your landscaping yourself. Buying a lawn mower can be a tricky business- you can get models with everything included but the kitchen sink. The fact is, a second hand lawn mower that works can be just as good as a brand new model straight from the catalogues. If you have a large area to mow, you will probably want to invest in a riding lawn mower to save time and aching muscles.

Weed Whacker: There are points on your lawn that your mower just won’t reach, around fences and right beside patios, around any fruit trees or berry canes. For these, you will need a good weed whacker. The best models come with several attachments, appropriate to chopping down a variety of weeds- especially if you have slacked off and allowed some of the hardier varieties to grow up. These can be death for the average string-and-coil whacker, and you will need some good plastic to stand up to them.

There are several other tools that every landscaper needs, most of them relatively low tech in comparison to those above. A variety of shovels, rakes, and pruning instruments are all essential, as are a good pair of gloves. All of these tools will be dependent on what you have planted in your landscaping, and more complicated designs may even require some basic knowledge of electricity, carpentry, and hydroponics.


Tropical Plants for Your Landscaped Backyard

A tropical landscaping job for your backyard may take some effort to achieve. This is especially true in areas where a tropical setting for a back yard may not always be possible. But it does not necessarily mean that it can't be accomplished. Trying to emulate a tropical setting can be doable in landscape design by learning about some helpful tips.

Trying to create a wonderful tropical landscape can take some time to plan. Then comes the time to choose the plants that you wish to add up in your planned tropical landscape design. There are actually a number of tropical plants that you can use to create that appropriate setting that you wish to display in your backyard.

When you say "tropical" when it comes to plants, palm trees usually come to mind. Palm trees can easily give your backyard that tropical feel. When choosing the right palm tree for your tropical landscaping plans, there are usually some important things to consider. You have to know which palm trees would grow well in your area. For this, you must try to learn about a certain palm tree's ability to withstand cold, their sunlight requirements as well as their height especially when there are space limitations to consider.

There are two kinds of palm trees. There is the palmate which is characterized by leaves having lobes that fan out from a common point. Palmate leaves usually resemble an opened hand with fingers jutting out from a common center. Then there are pinnate palm trees whose leaves are characterized by leaflets branching out along both sides of a main stalk, much like resembling a feather.

Different palm trees can be chosen according to how they can withstand cold, plant size and height as well as for their sunlight requirements. If you are looking for smaller versions of palm trees for your backyard, you may want to check out Lady Palm trees. These tropical palms usually grow to a height of four to eight feet. Lady palm trees usually do well in places that afford some filtered light or shade rather than being exposed to sunlight directly. Lady palm trees are also able to withstand temperatures for up to 22 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you wish to have majestic palm trees in your home, then you might want to have Queen palm trees that can grow as high up as 50 feet. This type of palm tree has pinnate leaves and can withstand cold for up to 20 degrees Fahrenheit. A big disadvantage though is that Queen palm trees require healthy amounts of direct sunlight to grow and may not be a good choice if you have a shady backyard.

Aside from palm trees, there are also other plants that can help give your backyard that tropical look. Bamboo, for example may help give your backyard not only a tropical look but also some Oriental feel. It would be good to know that there are some species of bamboo that are able to withstand freezing temperatures. Some species are hardy enough to withstand temperatures of up to -20 degrees Fahrenheit. Such bamboo species would really help transform your backyard into your very own tropical landscaping paradise.

And mind you, the use of plants is just but one of the many ways that you can employ to make a tropical enclave out of your own backyard. Research and careful planning would make it all possible.
Title:
Ultimate Deck And Patio Retreat For Easy Living

Word Count:
536

Summary:
You can create a stress-free outdoor space that is comfortable, convenient and low-maintenance. It's easier than you may think.


Keywords:
Ultimate Deck And Patio Retreat For Easy Living


Article Body:
You can create a stress-free outdoor space that is comfortable, convenient and low-maintenance. It's easier than you may think. TV home improvement expert Ron Hazelton, a regular correspondent on "Good Morning America" and host of his own syndicated series, "Ron Hazelton's HouseCalls," has several easy ideas to create a relaxing, luxurious get-away, right in your own backyard.

Set the Stage

Start with a focal point, such as a patio or deck, saving labor and time with a low-maintenance composite that looks like the real thing.

Made with recycled plastic and reclaimed wood, it protects against splinters, moisture and insect damage.

Decking and railing manufacturers such as Trex Co. (www.trex.com) offer rich textures, colors and railing designs. Choose from realistic wood grain, smooth, or a rainforest-look surface, with the ability to curve the decking into unique shapes. For a lower-cost makeover, replace the wooden deck planks and railings with composite material, provided the deck's support is structurally sound. Now the stage is set.

Entertain in Your Hot Tub

Make your backyard one of the most comfortable and relaxing places in your home with the addition of some alfresco entertainment. Need to unwind? Try a therapeutic spa with a wave lounger that will massage your body in a wavelike motion from head to toe. Prefer the relaxation that only comes by watching your favorite show? For what many consider the ultimate luxury, ThermoSpas All Weather Entertainment Center features a no-glare, waterproof TV, a built-in stereo with surround sound, a radio/CD/DVD player, a bar top and stools, a minifridge or wine cooler and a cigar humidor (www.thermospas.com).

Effortless Awnings

Motorized retractable awnings provide an elegant solution for enhancing backyard enjoyment and offer a number of benefits. In addition to coming in a wide variety of sizes and colors, awnings, like those from SunSetter powered by Somfy motors, can make any deck or patio cooler and more comfortable while increasing a home's energy efficiency. Awnings provide a protected outdoor living space that's comfortable and affordable. The awnings can reduce the temperature of decks or patios by up to 20 degrees, protect from harmful UV rays and expand your outdoor living area, all at the push of a button. (www.sunsetter.com--www.somfysystems.com.)

Stress-Free Garden Hose

Your gardening and outdoor chores keep you active enough-why deal with the hassle of a tangled, heavy garden hose? One example of a device that makes this job much easier relies on water power, rather than electricity or batteries. ReelSmart, from Hydro Industries (www.hydro- industries.com), is a water-powered, auto-rewind hose reel that automatically rewinds your garden hose with the flip of a lever. The company offers different models, including an outdoor sink and hose reel combo for watering, potting plants, BBQ food prep, and pet and car cleaning. There is a number of auto-rewind hose reel styles that will keep your garden hose organized and protected from the sun.

Now you can enjoy the splinter-free, easy-care style of a beautiful composite deck, the relaxing jets of a soothing spa that truly entertains, the sun protection and ease of a motorized awning, and the simplicity of an auto-rewind hose reel. For more information, visit the Web sites.


Title:
Unifying and Separating Landscaping Planting Beds

Word Count:
278

Summary:
Using neutral colored landscaping plants to create unity or separation in landscape and garden planting schemes.


Keywords:
landscaping plants,planting,garden plants,plant selection


Article Body:
There are thousands of plant combinations, companion plantings, and color combinations that will work well in landscaping and garden planting schemes.

And form a beginner or do it yourselfer standpoint, simplicity and repitition in planting is a good starting point that can be added to later. I usually say to pick a color scheme of two or three colors and repeat it throughout the garden.

For more curious, experimental, or advanced home landscapers there may be a feel for planting in masses or even random, assorted, and wildflower and ornamental grass beds.

In any instance, there's always a chance that even the best of planting intentions can disrupt harmony, balance, and unity in the garden instead of creating it.
Periodically adding a neutral colored plant throughout your landscape can help unify planting beds that differ in color, texture, and even height.

Silver or gray plants such as Lambs Ears, Artemesia, Dusty Miller, Santolina, Sage, Horehound, and others are considered neutral colored.

Using white flowers as a neutral also works very well. Anything white is a natural focal point and especially in the garden. In a mass of green foliage, orange flowers, mixed flowers, etc., white always draws our eyes to it. Using it throughout the garden will create a sense of unity.
Use white sparingly. Too much of it tends to feel cluttered.

Unifying a garden that's out of sorts is really quite simple. As well as moving and matching existing elements, try adding a neutral color plant to the different planting areas.

Separating or "buffering" beds from each other can be as simple as adding a neutral or group of neutrals between colors or beds.


Title:
Water Features Can Transform Your Backyard

Word Count:
393

Summary:
Do you find your backyard less than breathtaking? Consider adding a water feature for a dramatic landscape.


Keywords:
lawn care, landscaping, landscape design, water features, fountains, ponds, waterfalls


Article Body:
How do you take a boring backyard and transform it into something special? Add a water feature. Water features can transform the ordinary into something incredible as well as hide road noise creating a peaceful and tranquil environment. So all you have to decide is what kind of feature you want. Here are some of the options.

Fountains
Garden fountains are one of the easiest water features to add to your yard. Most home improvement stores and garden centers will carry do it yourself kits. Choose from a large variety including stand alone fountains and those that hang on your wall. All you have to do to install it is position the fountain, fill it with water and plug in the fountains pump. If you want to get creative, you could even make your own fountain out of new or old pots, a little bit of plastic tubing and a small water pump.

Ponds
Ponds involve a little more work but are still easy to do in the hands of a competent do it yourselfer. Once again, kits are readily available from your home improvement or garden center. To put in a pond you will have to first dig a hole in a suitable location. Ponds are normally only a few feet deep but it is still a lot of work to dig out all of that soil. Next you will either line the hole with a flexible pond liner or insert a formed hard plastic liner. Then add rocks and a pond filtration system. After treating the water, you can then add plant life and even fish if you so desire.

Waterfalls
If you want more than a basic pond, you could try installing a waterfall. This installation is a little more complicated and you might want to consult a professional landscaper. It does take some experience to plan out the flow of water on a waterfall.

Waterfalls are also an excellent feature to add to an existing swimming pools landscaping. They will make an ordinary pool a sight to behold.
With all of the options, it can be hard to decide what type of water feature to add to your yard. Go over your options and choose the type that best fits your budget and your do it yourself experience level.


Title:
Water Pond Safety

Word Count:
437

Summary:
Who would have thought that a small water garden could be anything but safe? However, a couple of measures of precaution can help ensure that your magical water garden stays safe for everyone, including your goldfish!


Keywords:
water gardens, ponds, safety


Article Body:
Who would have thought that a small water garden could be anything but safe? However, a couple of measures of precaution can help ensure that your magical water garden stays safe for everyone, including your goldfish! Remember, that if your water garden is deep enough for goldfish or koi, then its more than deep enough to be dangerous for toddlers.

Here are a couple of things to consider:

Depth of Your Pond:
The ponds edges provide you an opportunity to increase safety around the water pond. Put a shelf or ledge around the sides of your pond that is at least 1 foot deep to provide an easier escape for a child that has fallen in. You may also want to consider placing boulders around the side, which will provide some added leverage for the child to pull themselves out.

Watch Your Children:
Just like you wouldnt let your children swim without a lifeguard or adult supervision, never leave young children unattended around your water garden pond. While the fish will provide enough curiosity, remember that same curiosity may tempt them to get too close to the edge to get a closer look, raising the risk of them falling in, hitting their heads on the edge of the pond, or even drown. A child can drown in less than 6inches of water.

Reduce The Slippage Factor
Just like your local pool takes preventative action (such as enforcing a no running rule), you can also take action to ensure pond safety. Consider using a slip resistant material to ensure that smooth edges around your water pond are not a hazzard. You may also want to look at creating railings along walk ways. Ask your local building authority on suggestions on how to lower the risk of someone slipping on the edge of your water garden.

Local Building Codes
During the planning stages of building your water pond, you should have contacted your municipal building authority to ensure that your plans abide by the local building codes.  Do you have to build a fence around your water pond (ponds built with a certain depth require fences). How large of an area can your water garden pond be, and what other legal considerations should you make?

Safety is something that normally doesn't immediately pop into your mind when building a water garden pond, however, it should.  Its impossible to ensure that your water garden will be completely safe, however, will that be any consolation for your inaction if something were to happen? Plan ahead and you'll ensure that your water garden is accessible and a joy for friends and family alike.


What is Landscaping?

While a lot of people have already come across the word
landscaping, not a lot of them actually know what the term
stands for. This article is tailored for those who want to
learn about landscaping but don’t know where to begin.

For starters, landscaping is the modification of a
landscape such as a lawn to make it more aesthetically
pleasing or to make it more functional.

A lot of homeowners landscape their homes primarily because
they want to make their surroundings more attractive. But
more than that, a landscaped house usually has a higher
real estate value than one that isn’t.

People who want to have their properties landscaped usually
acquire the services of professionals. Landscaping is a
time and labor-intensive task, so in order to do that in no
time at all, homeowners invest in landscaping services to
turn their vision into reality.

But there are also those who want to take a hands-on
approach to landscaping. Again, this is a task that
requires a lot of time and energy on the part of the
homeowner so the results may not be visible immediately.

A well-landscaped property is one that is well-planned and
the plans should also be well-executed. However, the great
thing about going through all this trouble is that it
brings a great feeling of self-fulfillment to the homeowner
after performing such a difficult task.

Depending on what the homeowner wants, the landscape design
could be simple or complex. Simple ones make for easy
maintenance while complex ones make for a lot of room for
trees and flowers.Title:
What Is Landscape Architecture?

Word Count:
674

Summary:
Many times I have been asked what is the difference between a landscape architect and a landscape designer. Hopefully the following will answer this question.

The American Society of Landscape Architects, ASLA, provides the following:

"Landscape architecture encompasses the analysis, planning, design, management, and stewardship of the natural and built environments. Landscape architectural projects include design of public parks, site planning for commercial and reside...


Keywords:
landscape architecture, ASLA, equestrian, detroit suburbs, Michigan, oldenburg horses


Article Body:
Many times I have been asked what is the difference between a landscape architect and a landscape designer. Hopefully the following will answer this question.

The American Society of Landscape Architects, ASLA, provides the following:

"Landscape architecture encompasses the analysis, planning, design, management, and stewardship of the natural and built environments. Landscape architectural projects include design of public parks, site planning for commercial and residential properties, land reclamation, urban and community design, and historic preservation. Examples of landscape architecture include Central Park in New York City, TRW’s headquarters outside Cleveland, the “Emerald Necklace” of green spaces and parks in Boston, Sursum Cordan Affordable Housing in Washington, D.C., preservation of Yosemite Park and Niagara Falls, and the landfill reclamation of Fresh Kills in New York. Landscape architects have advanced education, professional training, specialized skills, and are licensed in 47 states."

What is the difference between a Landscape Designer and a Landscape Architect?

The national professional association is the American Society of Landscape Architects, based in Washington. ASLA full members have graduated from an accredited landscape architecture program, have 7 years of education and/or professional experience and are state licensed. In Michigan, as well as all other States, a three (3) day LARE examination administered by the Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards is required to be passed for state licensure.

Landscape designers do not have these professional credentials. Many state and local governments require designs to be stamped with a state registered Landscape Architect's seal.

What can I expect the landscape architectural design process to be?
Various architects may have different approaches, yet all are aimed at the same result. Make sure you're comfortable with the steps that the Landscape Architect defines. A typical process includes:

· Pre-planning - As the client, you discuss your desires with the architect and provide background, priorities, and any basic design guidelines. You'll work together and define the overall scope and timeline. The result will be a proposed budget and statement of work. The landscape architect will then prepare a contract for you to sign.

· Project Planning - Further preliminary details are developed with you about the site and its function and usage. The site is analyzed and the Landscape Architect creates a list of development priorities, which you'll approve.

· Preliminary Design - A review of the site, usage requirements, and environmental conditions are undertaken to create preliminary drawings. The Landscape Architect will show you design and presentation drawings showing the overall site concept. Initial construction cost estimates are provided, which you review and approve.

· Final design - Further detail is added to the concept. Material is selected and initial construction documentation is created. Where necessary, cost estimates are revised.

· Documentation - Additional detailed specifications and drawings are developed and provided to you for approval. The Landscape Architect may give you construction documents to assist you in soliciting bids from contractors and may help you review bids.

· Installation - Depending on your contract, the Landscape Architect may play an active role in representing you in your interaction with the contractor and provide on-site supervision. At the close of the project, the Landscape Architect will make a final inspection.

How do I find a good landscape contractor?

If you're going to need referrals to contractors and other service providers as part of your project, ask the Landscape Architect about these people. They will typically have an array of competent people in the industry for you to contact.

What's included in the landscape architecture contract?

Any reputable Landscape Architect will provide a written contract before beginning a project. This agreement will specify in detail the exact work to be done, the work schedule, the amount and payment terms of the landscape architect's fees, and the responsibilities of each party to the contract.

As a registered landscape architect in the State of Michigan and principle architect with Sexton Ennett Design, LC, a landscape architectural firm in southeast Michigan, I am particularly aware of the professional responsibilities related to landscape design. See: http://www.sexton-ennett.com

If there are nay questions please feel free to contact the ASLA or me.


Title:
When to Restore a Tree After a Hurricane

Word Count:
510

Summary:
It may not seem possible, but even after a major storm or hurricane with high winds, many trees can actually be restored. As long as the major limbs are still intact, as well as the trunk and roots, and there is no decaying wood, the tree has a high possibility of surviving.

The strong winds that come with a hurricane often cause all the leaves on a tree to be blown off. This is referred to as defoliation of the canopy. However, this doesn't mean the tree has died. In fact, when a canopy is defoliated it is probably still rather healthy. In this case, all you have to do is wait and be patient. When spring rolls around the next year, new foliage will probably crop up. Another cause of leaf loss occurs when trees are flooded by salt water. Deal with this by irrigating the soil around the tree to get rid of any excess salt.


Keywords:
florida landscaping, orlando lawn care, landscaping orlando, tree service, mulch, sod, commercial


Article Body:
It may not seem possible, but even after a major storm or hurricane with high winds, many trees can actually be restored. As long as the major limbs are still intact, as well as the trunk and roots, and there is no decaying wood, the tree has a high possibility of surviving.

The strong winds that come with a hurricane often cause all the leaves on a tree to be blown off. This is referred to as defoliation of the canopy. However, this doesn't mean the tree has died. In fact, when a canopy is defoliated it is probably still rather healthy. In this case, all you have to do is wait and be patient. When spring rolls around the next year, new foliage will probably crop up. Another cause of leaf loss occurs when trees are flooded by salt water. Deal with this by irrigating the soil around the tree to get rid of any excess salt.

If only small branches are broken or dead, you can usually fix this through some simple pruning. If you prune properly, the tree will have a high chance of recovery.

In trees that are naturally resistant to decay, if only a few major limbs are broken, the tree may be recoverable. A good example of this is live oak. This is a species of tree that is very good at resisting decay. Even with major branch damage, restoration is usually possible. Of course, the younger the tree, the more likely it can be restored.

In decay resistant trees, major canopy damage doesn't always pose a problem either. These trees naturally recover well after storms, even with up to 3/4 of their small branches broken or removed.

Smaller trees that are leaning or have fallen are good candidates for recovery. But keep in mind that this only applies to trees that have been planted recently or have a trunk diameter smaller than 4in. These trees can be put back in place or replanted, depending on the situation. For larger trees that you want to recover, contact the professionals.

A small tree, however, shouldn't be a problem for the homeowner to reestablish without any outside help.

Here’s how to replant a small tree:

Keep the roots moist at all times. Excavate the hole to fit the roots well and get rid of any jagged or torn roots. Make the tree as straight as possible and then back fill with soil from the site. Treat the tree as you would a newly planted one, by watering thoroughly. Three gallons per inch of trunk diameter three times a week should be fine. Lastly, stake the tree and adjust the stakes until the tree becomes stable again and can be removed.

Cleaning up tree damage and recovering trees on your property doesn’t have to be a major undertaking. Of course, the difficulty and duration of the job will depend on the severity of the storm damage, but in most cases a large number of trees are able to be recovered and restored to their former glory.


Title:
Who Knew Home Landscaping For Energy Conservation Had This Effect?

Word Count:
676

Summary:
If you have been thinking about how you would like to cut your home energy costs, you might want to take a second look at your home landscaping. This is an area you may not have even thought of. Did you know energy-efficient home landscaping can reduce your household's energy consumption for heating and cooling by as much as 25 percent.!That's staggering, isn't it? Proper placement of trees, shrubs, vines, grasses, and hedges lets you modify the microclimate around your home ...


Keywords:
landscaping,garden design,gardening,landscaping ideas,landscaping tips,landscaping ideas


Article Body:
If you have been thinking about how you would like to cut your home energy costs, you might want to take a second look at your home landscaping. This is an area you may not have even thought of. Did you know energy-efficient home landscaping can reduce your household's energy consumption for heating and cooling by as much as 25 percent.!That's staggering, isn't it? Proper placement of trees, shrubs, vines, grasses, and hedges lets you modify the microclimate around your home to maximize shade during the summer and reduce wind chill during the winter. Energy-efficient home landscaping is one of the best investments you can make, because aside from its potential to increase the resale value of your property, it can generate enough savings to return your initial investment in less than eight years. It is not surprising then that more homeowners than ever are implementing energy-conserving home landscaping ideas on their property. So where can we begin with this exciting new landscaping adventure? I hope the following information will be of help to you.

Develop a Home Landscaping Plan for Energy Efficiency
There are countless home landscaping strategies for energy conservation, but not all of them may be appropriate for your property and climate zone. Before you plant those evergreens in your backyard, make an assessment of the comfort and energy shortcomings of your current home landscaping. Things like the property's microclimate, house location, and the presence of surrounding structures will influence your energy-efficient home landscaping plan. Microclimate is the climate immediately surrounding your home, and along with the regional climate, it helps determine which plants and trees will thrive and provide the best energy-saving benefit to your home landscaping. Your home's location affects your dwelling's exposure to the sun, wind, and water, consequently shaping your home landscaping needs. Nearby buildings, walls, trees, and bodies of water can produce significant climatic effects that would impact your home landscaping strategies. A thorough analysis of your property's features enables you to devise an energy-efficient home landscaping scheme that addresses your needs and goals.

Landscape to Maximize Shade
Properly planned home landscaping can reduce your air-conditioning costs in the summer by providing shade from the hot morning and afternoon sun. Deciduous trees (trees that shed their leaves in winter) provide shade in the summer when its leaves are in full bloom and warm the home in winter by letting low-angle winter sun filter through its bare branches. Home landscaping that maximizes shade can reduce temperature inside the home by as much as 8 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Would you think of shading your air-conditioner through home landscaping because that increases the unit's efficiency. In addition, shading the ground and pavement with trees, shrubs, and groundcover plants reduces surrounding air temperatures. Other heat-reducing home landscaping ideas include building a trellis for climbing vines to shade a patio and planting a row of shrubs to shade a driveway.

Landscaspe for Wind Protection
Home landscaping to divert the flow of cold winds helps cut down your home heating costs in the winter. Trees, shrubs, bushes, walls, and fences make effective windbreaks for winter-protected home landscaping. You can achieve adequate wind protection through home landscaping by planting evergreen trees and shrubs along the north and northwest areas of your property. Windbreaks can decrease wind speed for a distance as much as 30 times its height, although maximum wind protection occurs at a distance of two to five times the mature height of windbreaks. For optimal wind protection, make sure that the foliage density on the windward side of your property is 60 percent. A well-designed home landscaping provides energy savings year-round. Enjoy the warmth of the winter sun by not planting evergreens too close to the south side of your home. Shrubs, bushes and vines planted close to your house create dead air spaces that insulate your home in both winter and summer.

I hope this article has been of help to you in creating landscaping for energy conservation. Reducing my household energy consumption by a possible 25% has motivated me to start looking around my yard.


Why is Landscaping Important?

If you haven’t thought of landscaping your lawn yet, you
probably might not grasp the reason why others do it to
their own homes.

Well, there are a number of reasons why some homeowners
have their lawns landscaped and we have listed some of them
in this article.

1. Aesthetics

- there are some homeowners who want to improve their
house’s appearance by having their lawns landscaped. After
all, who wants to have a dull-looking yard, much less an
unkempt one?

2. To make the property look unique

- a well-landscaped lawn is one that attracts the
neighbors’ attention. In this aspect, landscaping one’s
lawn is important in giving a particular household an
identity, something that will set them apart from their
neighbors.

3. To increase the property’s value

- while landscaping can have aesthetic benefits on the
lawn, it can also help in increasing the value of the
property. This is especially important for those who wish
to just improve the house and sell it later on.

4. Landscaping can cut energy costs

- it is a well-known fact that shade from trees can
dramatically lower the temperature in a particular area.
This spells a lot of savings in air-conditioning expenses
in households who have trees on their yards.

As you see, there are a lot of reasons why people choose to
landscape their lawns. While those mentioned above are only
a few of them, there are others more that make landscaping
such a good idea in any household.Title:
Wipe Out Those Winter Garden Woes

Word Count:
448

Summary:
Do you look at your garden at this time of the year and wish it were more alive? Well, as those of us who have their homes on the market have found out - there are ways to make your front yard look attractive even in the dead of winter!


Keywords:
gardening, gardening tips, winter garden, home improvement, winter home improvements


Article Body:
Do you look at your garden at this time of the year and wish it were more alive? Well, as those of us who have their homes on the market have found out - there are ways to make your front yard look attractive even in the dead of winter!

One thing you don't want is murky green garden paths. Regularly power- hose your paths and decks so that the slimy green mold can't take hold! Also check for it at the base of your fences and house. If you live in a mild winter area, then you may need to keep cutting the lawn, but lift the mower slightly so that the grass is not cut so short in the winter..

If you are showing your home you will probably want to leave your potted plants in their ceramic containers on show. If this is the case, keep an eye on the weather forecasts and pop some bubble wrap over them if the weather is going to freeze.

One non-gardening way to pretty up a front yard while the plants hibernate, is to invest a few dollars in some inexpensive path lighting. The push-in mushroom lamps look quite effective when turned on, and will give your front yard some definition.

Hopefully, you have already invested in a supply of evergreens, if not, now is the time for you to examine your yard and decide where new trees should be placed. Remember to always include some of the blue fir, and there are bronze, yellow, silver and variegated evergreens to choose from. Many of us forget the brightness of berry evergreens like holly and rowan trees. (Sometimes referred to as mountain ash or Pyrus Americana)

Winter flowers are scarce and are all the more appreciated because of it. Among the choice is pink viburnam as well as winter honeysuckle and winter jasmine - all have blooms (and the last two smell delightful). Bedding plants such as winter pansies and winter heather also add color.

Apart from attractive tree bark, there is also a modern day fad for decorative cabbages in cream and purple, and these are a hardy decoration in the yard.

If you feel you can't wait for your garden to wake up and come alive, then be sure to add some of the early bulbs into your planting plan. If your house is on the market, you can tell your prospective buyers that the new owner will be moving into a view of spring bulbs.

If you are not planning a move yet, then snow drops, daffodils and crocuses all come out in bloom very early and can be your reminder that spring is just around the corner!


Title:
With more options to choose from, homeowners can decide on a roof color that complements their siding or other exterior accessories.

Word Count:
225

Summary:
Things are looking up for homeowners who want to customize their curb appeal. Thanks to vibrant new colors now available in asphalt roofing, there are more choices than ever to boost a home's image.


Keywords:
With more options to choose from, homeowners can decide on a roof color that complements their siding or other exterior accessories.


Article Body:
Things are looking up for homeowners who want to customize their curb appeal. Thanks to vibrant new colors now available in asphalt roofing, there are more choices than ever to boost a home's image. And that's good news since design experts say that 40 percent of a home's exterior is the roof.

In recent years, asphalt has become the preferred roofing material over the more traditional wood or slate. Much of this is due to its higher fire resistance, durability and new shingle styles with authentic, classic appeal. Asphalt shingles can replicate the look of wood shakes, and some, such as Centennial Slate™ by CertainTeed, even simulate the natural beauty and color variations of blended slate at a fraction of the cost.

The new color palettes go a long way to enhance designer or architectural roofing and complement the bolder curb appeal that is becoming so popular. The array of roofing on the market allows homeowners to coordinate roofing with siding, accessories such as shutters and trim, and even fencing for appealing and distinctive looks.

Such advancements in building materials provide homeowners the same freedom to customize a home exterior and reflect individual preferences through interior design. In other words, don't get stuck in the brown and beige rut. Go for the bold new generation of asphalt roof styles and make your neighbors green with envy.


Rain and snow in your yard landscaping

Rain and snow are going to play a huge part in your yard landscaping decisions. For example you will have to plan for your yard landscaping with care. You should go to the library and take out some books on the subject. These yard landscaping books will help you to learn all of the most important points of yard landscaping so that you do not ruin your yard for good.

Your yard landscaping needs to be done with close attention being paid to rain and snow as well as proper drainage. If you find that your yard gets too muddy in the winter or you have large puddles all over then you most likely do not have the right kind of drainage going on. This is something that you may want to consider getting a professional in to take care of. If you still want to do the rest of your yard landscaping yourself then this is fine but some things are better left to the professionals.

You need to have your yard landscaping done in such a way that the rain when it falls, will actually water your plants. You will be able to use all of the water that falls into your yard to feed the plants and the trees if you set up your yard landscaping the right way. Knowing the general rainfall levels and times of the year you will then be able to make up the water levels when they drop with other watering. This is important during times like summer when it gets hot and there is not much rain.

Snow is another thing that is very important to your yard. Snow is just as vital to your entire yard landscaping project as rain is. Snow not only waters your yard as it melts but the snow, although cold, can actually help to keep your soil warmer. This will allow any plants that are sleeping under the snow to stay healthy and alive. Your bulbs will pop up in the spring in perfect form and color making your yard landscaping all the more beautiful

When it rains you need to see just how the rain is transferred all over your yard. This is very important to the entire yard landscaping that you are planning to do. This is simple to do, all you need to do is take a walk around your yard the next time it starts to rain. Watch for where the rain puddles and where it drains to and you are well on your way to perfect yard landscaping. This kind of work is the easy part of the job and is the best way to start. Then you will know what needs to be done to get the right kind of drainage going with you yard landscaping.



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