What to Avoid When Landscaping

Overcrowding. Things need room to grow. This means that you have to take note of the planting instructions that come with plants (annuals and perennials alike) so that you aren’t choking them once they start to bloom. An overcrowded garden isn’t a pleasant garden to look at or work in. Properly space all the plants. It’s okay to have spaces in the spring when plants are small, they will grow and look wonderful come summer.

Don’t have your garden bloom all at once. Sure, it’ll look nice for a month or so, but then what? Choose things that bloom at different times of the year so that you always have something making that landscaping beautiful. Mixing evergreens with annuals for example will give you a great looking space no matter the season.

Bad curb appeal. Even if no one else can see it, you can and don’t you want your green space to look nice? Take the time to plant things properly and plan the garden out so that you have optimal enjoyment of your space throughout the year. If you need to tweak the plans mid-planting that’s okay too.

Don’t use too many ornamental touches. Nature is beautiful without it getting clogged up with a million decorative gnomes. Less is more and if you love everything you own you can switch them up throughout the season to have a different look all the time. Don’t spoil the view or take away from your hard work with gaudy accents.

Don’t crowd your garden with too much colour. Choose two colours and go with that. You can always change your mind with annuals the next year and go with two different colours. This makes it all look ‘meant to be’ and uncluttered.

Cost Of Landscape Lighting

The main problem with hardware store lights, are the alligator clips that make the electrical connection. These are bad ideas, because they always fail after a year or two. The problem is that they allow moisture to corrode the alligator teeth, and eventually corrode the cable. In this situation I would cut out the alligator clips strip the cable and make waterproof connections using silicone filled wire caps. This is the only reliable way to connect outdoor lighting.

But still there is the problem with the cheap fixtures themselves. Hardware store lights are the low end of the lighting manufactures lines. They are built cheaply and sold at a low price. That is why there are so many houses using them. The cost to install landscape lighting like this is usually $100 a light. These lights come with a 1 year warranty on the fixture and no warranty on the bulb but it will last about 1 year.

In comparison to high quality solid fixtures which would cost about $200 a light installed correctly. These lights come with a 5 year warranty on the fixture and no warranty on the bulb but it will last about 1 year. The fixture will last more like 15 years.

One step better is Kichler potted LED lights which cost 300.00 a light installed but come with a 15 year warranty on the light fixture and the bulb inside. They are expected to last about 30 years.

So the least expensive landscape lighting system to install is the most expensive to maintain over time, and the most expensive to install is the least expensive to maintain over time. This study doesn’t put a dollar amount on the headaches and times that your landscape lighting was not working correctly and waiting for service. Halogen Light bulbs go out randomly, not all at once. But, the costs listed were assuming that all halogen bulbs were changed 1 time per year. LED bulbs were changed 1 time every 5 years and the Kichler light never had to be changed.

The study also shows that LED bulbs cost more to install but save a lot of money in service. LED bulbs are guaranteed to last 5 years in comparison to halogen bulbs 1 year, and LED bulbs use 4 to 5 times less electricity tan halogen bulbs do. I switched my house from halogen to LED and went from using 466 watts to 66 watts, saving about $12 dollars a month on my electric bill.

Tips for Spring Foraging

  • Identify the plant correctly. Always be 100% sure of the plant’s identification before you harvest and consume. Many plants have poisonous look-alikes so it is imperative you can ID with certainty. Pay attention to the old adage “when in doubt, throw it out”. There are a number of great plant ID books on the market that cover most geographical areas. You may also find foraging classes in your area which can be a fun way to learn about local plants.
  • Practice sustainable harvesting for any plants you harvest. Never take more than you need and be sure to leave enough for the plants to survive and prosper. Keep in mind that unless you are eradicating an invasive species, foraging should never negatively impact the survival of the plant population. Take time to learn what plants are invasive in your area and also what plants are endangered and should never be harvested.
  • Forage in areas you know are clean and have not been treated with chemicals. Be wary of foraging along roadsides and under power lines.
  • Harvest underground storage organs; bulbs, tubers, rhizomes, etc. with additional consideration as harvesting can kill the plant. Early spring and late fall are the best times to harvest underground storage organs as the plant’s energy is conserved below ground. In late spring and summer, the plant will redirect energy to above ground growth and production of flowers and seed. A few examples of bountiful roots to forage in spring are chicory, dandelion, and burdock.
  • Seek out leafy greens as they are the stars of spring foraging. This fresh food is available long before our gardens start producing. In most areas, there are quite a few leafy greens to choose from. Dandelion, chickweed, lamb’s quarter, garlic mustard, and violet are all commonly foraged greens. Do some research to find which greens are best eaten raw and which taste best steamed or sautéed.

Door Colour Meanings

  • White:
    White is a classic colour for doors, and it is safe to name one of the most popular door colour choices. This is probably because the colour represents purity and virtue. White exudes cleanliness and would usually be associated with someone who is tidy and organised.
  • Red:
    Having a red coloured door is obviously a very bold choice, and the hue reflects on someone with a confident personality, who is not afraid to stand out. Red is an invigorating colour, and connotes that someone has a passionate, loving personality.
  • Green:
    If you choose to paint your door green, there are several solid connotations with this colour. Green reflects on the personality of someone who cares about their home and community, and someone who has very traditional values.
  • Purple:
    Purple is becoming an increasingly popular colour for front doors. It signifies someone who is open minded and comfortable with taking risks, as it is a very eye-catching choice. Purple or violet shades also symbolise love, nurturing and compassion.
  • Yellow:
    Yellow is a very happy, serene colour choice, particularly for your front door. It is surely one that would stand out in this vibrant hue, and offers a friendly, optimistic welcome to your home. Yellow is a symbol of clarity, creativity and positivity.
  • Blue:
    Blue often represents sky, water and abundance. It reflects that you, as a person, have an easy going, flowing personality, and that people are very attracted to your personality and like being around you. Blue represents imagination, dreams, and fluidity.
  • Black:
    Black is a timeless, classic colour choice. It connotes that you are someone who would be considered consistent and quite conservative. Black represents something of substance and stability, and having a black door reflects that meaning onto your home.
  • Brown:
    Whether your door has been painted or wood stained brown, it offers a very organic and natural feel to your home. The colour is associated with warmth and stability, and suggests that the owner is one who is reliable and grounded.

Stone Foundation Repair

Stone cracks in foundation could be due to a number of reasons. As in most cracks, the prime cause is of leakage of water. If it is a mortared stone wall, then a leakage crack can be identified as a single thin crack localized around a particular region of the wall, especially where the stones join together. Trees that spring their heavy underground roots through the soil may also cause mechanical weathering of stone foundations. Stone also crumbles under vibrations which may be caused due to vehicles running aboveground.

To repair minor cracks in mortared stone walls, first a little of the mortar is chiseled out (about ½ inch) around the crack. Fresh mortar is mixed in a bucket. The proportion is one part cement, one part lime and six parts of builder’s sand. This mixture is mixed with the correct proportion of water so as just to allow the components to stick together. The thicker the mortar, the better it will stick to the groove. Readymade mortar is also available in hardware stores. Then with the help of a pointing trowel, the wet mortar is embedded in the crack. It is not easy to keep the mortar in the crack and it is a repeated process. Once the mortar is dried, the crack is repaired.

Stone foundations are very vulnerable to leakage problems. If the construction was shoddy, then there remain gaps between the stones where the mortar was filled, which become an entry point for leaking water. If the problem is large enough, then contractors excavate a bit of ground around the foundation and create provision for the water to run off, repairing the faulty part with mortar. This is called as external excavation.

In another process, the affected floor tiles are removed and a drain tile is fitted. So that the problem of water seepage does not recur, appropriate drainage suction pumps such as a sump pump or floor drain is installed. The floor is then replaced. This is called as the internal breakout technique.

Algae Control for Ponds

Maintain the Ecosystem by Adding Floating Plants

To achieve a fine balance naturally, cover at least half of the water surface with floating plants like water lettuce, azolla, water hyacinth or duckweed. Apart from these, you can even add lotus or lilies. These plants multiply quickly and work as shade for the life beneath. The submerged plant like hornwort keeps the water cool and blocks excessive sunlight and keeps the algal growth at a bare minimum. Adding plants is a necessity because they compete with algae for dissolved nutrients.

Love Fishes? Do NOT cram them in one pond

Who doesn’t love to see fish roaming around in crystal clear water? But, ensure that you do not add them in excess in one pond. More fishes would mean more waste (through excreta and food) which would result in the fast algae bloom.

Keep Debris at Bay

For algae control, regularly clean the water surface with a pond vacuum, net or with AquaClear Pellets. Because when these dead leaves, debris, and sludge break down, they result in the growth of algae.

Decorate a Large Family Room

Dividing the room into different use areas is a great way to break up the space. Obviously a fireplace is a great focal point. Keep seating in front of it perpendicular (i.e. sofas facing each other with ottoman or coffee table in between) or L-shaped. Don’t forget to put a small table at each end of the couch/love seat with table lamps and space for a drink and a book.

Next, create a gaming area either for board games or cards. A square or round table with 2 – 4 chairs and a pendant light/chandelier is all you need. Add a floor lamp nearby for more ambient lighting. If not for games, how about adding a bistro set for light dining or morning coffee?

I would take advantage of windows and their light by building or improvising a window seat. Use a large bench or settee or even a loveseat right under the window. Add a long cushion (you could even recover a body pillow!) and some coordinating throw pillows, and your reading spot is ready! Keep an end table and lamp close by for additional reading pleasure.

Fill in the corners with a screen and/or tall plants (can be silk). Don’t forget to uplight them with canister lights for dramatic effect. You may even have room for a writing desk and small bill-paying center. Use your imagination, look at designing magazines and go for it! You’ll be glad you did.

Happy decorating!

Tips For Tree Care And Cutting

They provide us with shade in the harsh summer heat, and offer us flowers, fruits, and an amazing surrounding to hang swings.

However, odds are you most likely don’t put too much effort into how to appropriately watch over your trees. A large portion of us don’t consider it by any means until the point when an especially strong hurricane or storm blows one down, expels, or falls on our homes or vehicles.

Knowing how to tend to your plants is vital and it can enable you to avoid these calamities. A tree, just like any other living life form, has a number of requirements to develop and keep up the balance of its own system. A few things that you do with your plants could be hazardous, and neglecting the necessities of your plants can have negative outcomes.

There are a couple of the essential steps for tree care that you need to take to guarantee that your yard remains in a healthy condition, and it will help in keeping away diseases from happening. This begins with planting them in the right zones.

Every plant species is unique, and it’s crucial for you to know its special needs before planting. You will require enough area to help the extent of its root system, so know these things ahead of time and plan appropriately.

Placing mulch around your tree is an awesome approach to keep your tree in incredible condition. It not just keeps lawnmowers from getting excessively close, which could be damaging to the roots, yet it stops weed development, and the soil around from being excessively tramped down.

By getting plants and shrubs pruned consistently to guarantee that growth and illness don’t occur. A tree cutting services provider will allow you to decide the best schedule for the job. Ensure that, when you prune your plants, likewise, you abstain from cutting any primary branches. Novices have a tendency of cutting branches inappropriately, and this could result in occurrence of various issues later.

As said already, being aware of your plants’ requirements is presumably the most imperative thing you can do to improve its situation. Care will vary depending on different types of species, and this incorporates the best time for pruning.

Decorating the Pathway to Front Door

Pathways are extremely important when it comes to homes. People don’t want to step on the grass in order to get to the door in case there is damp sand that gets stuck to their shoe. It does not need to be anything special but there has to be some kind of guideline.

People love the idea of walking between rose bushes or trees to get to their final destination. To the guest or the homeowner, that greenery can seem like a path to a sanctuary. In many fairy tales, a hidden cottage is found in the middle of a beautiful forest that can only be seen by a special person.

Be careful of creating paths or patterns in perfect geometric shapes. It may seem pleasing to the perfectionist but a person who has to take a turn at a sharp corner may simply cut across the grass because it would be easier that way. If you really want to keep people on the pathway, you can add a few leafy plants along the side of the walkway which will encourage people to remain on it and not cut across the grass.

You need this kind of pleasant atmosphere to lead the person to the front door. A door is a threshold that shows a person where the property of another person starts. An outsider who opens it with permission understands that they are welcome and it is important to make that person feel welcome. To achieve this, a door with sidelights or glass panels works perfectly. This is where you can experiment with perfect geometric shapes. Just like many houses have these same kinds of shapes so should your door.

A good way to work with contrasting coloured doors is by making the frame white which will oppose the colour of the door which is mahogany or chestnut. This will add lovely character to your home and will not make the dark of the wood seem so intimidating.

Area Floor Rugs

If you are like me; your house is painted in neutral colors, your home furnishings are timeless, and your wall accents are very classic pieces. A home that has a neutral theme, like mine, deserves an eccentric accent piece. A patterned rug. Purchasing a patterned rug can be daunting, there are so many options. There is a rug in nearly every pattern you can think of and in various different colors. Placing a patterned rug in any room is a great way to bring an accent piece to your home without taking away from your other carefully chosen home decor pieces. I would suggest that busy patterned rugs be placed in a larger room, so that the patterned rug does not become an eye-sore of sorts.

On the opposite spectrum of patterned rugs we have the natural material rug. These includes but is not limited to, jute, sisal and bamboo rugs. Natural material rugs provide the same functionality as all other area floor rugs, while keeping a classic and casual feel. A perk to decorating with a natural material rug is that they are extremely durable, they keep out more dirt, and they are timeless. The natural material rug is a safe purchase, due to their neutral design they have not gone out of style since they became stylish.

Why stop your decorating in the living room? Bring a decorative flair to every aspect of your home with an outdoor rug. Outdoor rugs are the perfect finishing touch to any patio. Not only are they stylish they are functional as well; they allow for minimal dirt to be tracked back into your home, they are a great way to rid of that slippery surface when you get out of a pool or jacuzzi, and they allow you to kick off your shoes outside without making your feet dirty. Outdoor rugs have come a long way from the classic fake-grass look, they now come in nearly every design you can imagine. Outdoor rugs are a great way to keep a cohesive design throughout your home, you can purchase an outdoor rug that mimics the style or matches the style to the area floor rugs you have indoors.