Tips To Choosing The Right Flowers For Your Garden

gg3There are few home projects that compare to the benefits gardening provides. Not only does it create a natural beauty in your yard, but it’s also a great hobby, exercise and creative outlet. Though some are concerned about upkeep, you can burn between 300 and 400 calories for every hour spent moderately gardening, making it a worthwhile investment for your home and your body.

One of the biggest errors beginners make is choosing the wrong plant. This can leave homeowners discouraged and yards neglected. We’re here to make this easier with a few tips on how you can choose the right flowers and plants for your beautiful garden.

Annuals
From growth to bloom, annuals live for just one season. Annuals are beneficial to any garden and any person who likes to get creative from year to year. These types of plants are typically cheaper than their perennial counterparts and will bloom all season long, so you have ample time to admire them. Some annuals are self-seeding, so you may end up with a few of the same flowers the following year. This is an important detail to remember if you intend on planting new annual flowers every year.

Here are some beautiful annuals to add color to your flower bed.

Begonia
Cosmos
Geranium
Helenium
Marigold
Milkweed
Petunia
Snapdragon
Strawflower
Sunflower
Zinnia

Biennials
Similarly, biennial flowers follow the same cycle but last for two years. The first year, the plant grows and stems, but will not bloom. In the second year, the flower will bloom for the season, then die. Many biennials are self-seeding, but this depends on the flower. Blooming and growth typically depend on the climate as well. Climates with drastically changing seasons can treat biennials as annuals, as extremes can shorten the lifecycle.

Generally, it will take two years to see the flower in bloom. Biennials tend to be less common than other flower types in household gardens. However, your patience is worth it, as biennial flowers are stunning. Here are a few to consider planting.

Black-Eyed Susan
California Poppy
Canterbury Bells
Foxglove
Poppy
Stock
Sweet William
Wallflower

Perennials
For homeowners, perennials are particularly useful as they grow year after year. They have an expected lifespan of at least three years, but can stay alive for longer depending on care and weather conditions. Some perennials can be green ground covering plants, which is great to disperse between flowers for variations. Though they might last long in your garden, they tend to be a bit more expensive and do not bloom as long. Though, the upfront cost is offset by not having to replant your flowers every spring and should be considered in your landscaping budget.

Perennials are a great and colorful investment to your yard. They add variation and splendor to the garden year after year. Here are a few to consider adding.

Alstroemeria
Bleeding Heart
Coneflower
Butterfly Bush
Hibiscus
Hydrangea
Iris
Lavender
Tulips
Speedwell

Garden Factors to Consider
Now that you know the different lifespans of flowers you can plant, you must make sure the conditions are right for them to grow properly. A great garden has a mix of types and seasonalities, like planting annual and perennials. Flowers, like most plants, need specific conditions and factors to thrive depending on species. If you’re uncertain about what flowers will work best in your garden, contact a pro.

Sunlight
Any plant needs some amount of sunlight to grow. It’s important to be aware of how much sunlight your flowers need. There are five common sunlight classifications for flowers.

Full-Shade: No direct sunlight here. This space will likely be on the north side of your home, under dense trees or shadowed by a neighbor’s home.
Partial-Shade: Sunlight will reach the area for part of the day, either in the morning or afternoon.
Light-Shade: Sunlight reaches the ground after passing through leaves of trees and bushes.
Partial-Sun: Similar to partial-shade, however, these plants in this category can handle the midday sun.
Full-Sun: These plants can withstand the midday sun and need at least seven hours of sunlight to thrive.

Many times, homeowners will write off a low sun area in their yard just because they don’t understand that there are some flowers that grow in shade. In fact, flowers such as forget-me-nots, coral bells, impatiens and primroses are beautiful choices that do well in shady spots. These plants will either stop growing or die in the midday summer sun. Always check the light requirements needed before planting.

When to Plant Flowers
Flowers can be very temperamental if planted in the wrong season. Depending on the climate you live in or how long it takes for the flower to grow and bloom, figuring out when to plant your garden can seem like a puzzle that is impossible to put together. Many flowers can’t survive moderate frosts, so be aware of your area’s predicted frost date to get an idea of when you can start planting.

If you have an idea on what flowers you’d like to plant, check this handy planting guide to end some of the frustration. If you’re in a warmer climate, you’ll want to start planting your garden around February, so the flowers will be blooming in early spring. Colder climates will need to wait a few months until about late April to expect blooms in mid-to-late summer.

If you’re excited to get planting, but live in a colder climate, you have the option of starting some seeds indoors and transfering outdoors when the warm weather arrives. You can create your own seed starter kit with materials you have at home like toilet paper and egg cartons, to make for easy outdoor transfers. When in doubt, check the packaging of the seeds or store bought starter plants.

Growing Size
This is an important step in the garden planning process. Not all flowers are small. Know what dimensions will work best in your garden plot. Then, research the dimensions of your intended flowers when they hit full maturity. If you want a mixed garden, know if the flower will continue to spread and plant as to not overtake the other plants. Some flowers, like sunflowers, grow very tall and could visually look disproportionate with your garden.

When to Water
A crucial element to any flower growth is water. In addition to sunlight, your garden will need water to be healthy. Water quantity requirements may vary by flower species and the amount of light it receives. Generally, you’ll want to pick a time to regularly water, either late in the evening or early in the morning. Keep all water distributed evenly, directed at the ground and not at the leaves of the plant, as this can create mold or burn marks from the midday sun. Choosing a quality soil to plant your flowers in will not only add nutrients to the flower, but likely will stay moist throughout the day.

Native Plants
Your garden is more than just a beautiful yard adornment; it’s an important part of your local ecology, and should be considered when planning a garden. When you’re planning the foliage you’d like to include in your flower bed, be sure include native plants. These plants have significant value to wildlife and are likely to thrive in your current climate. Plants that do well on the East Coast may easily die on the West Coast.

There are many benefits to the gardener as well. Native plants typically require lower maintenance and reduces the risk of invasive plants taking over your foliage. These plants also attract interesting wildlife such as butterflies and hummingbirds for you to enjoy. See what plants are native to your area by searching your state and region.

Easy Tips To Care For Indoor Houseplants

gg1It’s impressive how a little greenery can brighten up an interior space. In addition to adding color and texture to your favorite room, indoor plants can also spruce up your air quality and enhance your mental well-being.

Not all of us can have a garden, or even a window ledge to grow plants on, but everyone can own an indoor plant. Even if you’re the type of person that could kill a fake plant, these plants won’t require too much maintenance from you allowing you to cultivate your inner green thumb. Here are a few plant ideas to include in your home décor.

1. Succulents
Succulents are a perfect option for forgetful gardeners because they store water in their thick and fleshy leaves, which means they will still thrive if you forget to water them. Available in a vast array of colors and textures, succulents are extremely adaptive and can survive any number of dreadful conditions you may expose them to. Just make sure they’re exposed to bright light and give them water once every other month in the winter. They practically take care of themselves! Plant them together, or plant them individually, they do well as room décor. Succulents are the cutest little plants that will add brightness to any space!

2. Lucky Bamboo
Ancient traditions believe that Lucky Bamboo, also known as Dracaena Sanderiana, brings health, love, happiness and wealth. A perfect way to add some Feng Shui into your home or office.

There are just a few simple guidelines for growing Lucky Bamboo. First, avoid direct sunlight as Lucky Bamboo needs very little light to thrive. Second, the Lucky Bamboo roots must be moist at all times. Lucky Bamboo prefers a few inches of fresh or filtered water. Place the Lucky Bamboo in a clear glass vase with stones for an elegant minimalist look.

3. Money Tree
While actual money will not grow on this tree, the money tree, also known as the Pachira plant, has many stories leading up to its nickname. Legend has it that a poor Taiwanese farmer found the Pachira plant growing in his field and immediately saw its beauty. He decided to grow and sell these plants, quickly becoming one of the wealthiest farmers in Taiwan. Legend also has it that this elated farmer called his prize plant the “good fortune tree” or the “good luck money tree.” However, the real story begins in the 1980’s when a man by the name of Liu popularized the potted Pachira plants by braiding the plants stems together and the trend quickly spread from Taiwan to the rest of the world. Today, the money tree still symbolizes good wishes for success and prosperity, making it a perfect gift for special occasions such as a housewarming party or a business grand opening.

To properly maintain your money tree, place the plant where it will be exposed to indirect sunlight. You can even rotate the plant every week to keep the leaves growing evenly. Water the plant thoroughly about once a week. If you’re anything like me and tend to forget when the last time you watered the plants was, take a look at the leaves. If the plant’s leaves are droopy and yellow, you’re giving the plant too much water. If the leaves are wrinkly and curled up, you’re not giving it enough water.

4. Snake Plant
Finally, we end with a plant that can really thrive on neglect. Generations of gardeners have called the snake plant, also known as Sansevieria Trifasciata, a favorite. It can grow in any room in the house, even areas with low light and dry conditions. The snake plant is a great choice for the bedroom because it converts CO2 into oxygen at night, in comparison to other plants that complete this process during the day when you’re away at work. They feature stiff, sword-like leaves making it a natural choice for a more contemporary space.

As long as you water it now and again, about every two-three weeks, this plant will look stunning. Be sure to not over-water this plant.

Tips For Hanging Flower Pot Plant

gg2Does your yard need a makeover? Spending a huge amount of money on professional gardening and landscaping services every time you want a change in your garden design isn’t necessary. You‘ll only need some inspiration to turn almost any type of container into a funny and cheerful garden pot.

The more creative you are, the more you‘ll start to see things that can be used as pots. Here are a few DIY ideas for hanging flower pots that are very easy to make and will look amazing wherever placed.

1. Metal Mesh Planters
To form this pot, you‘ll need a palm scoop, metal mesh wire and some coconut fiber liner, which will be used to cover the mesh. You should first shape a cone funnel from the mesh, then cover it with the coconut fiber and place the palm scoop. Fix the pot to the wall with the help of a screw and fill it with imitation flowers or put a small planter with lively greenery.

2. Fishbowl Hanging Pots
If you want to make sure that your hanging garden isn’t dangerous, we suggest using plastic fishbowls to make these gorgeous and creative plant holders. Fix a jack on the one side of every bowl. Tip them a bit to make caring for the garden easier. Then, attach a cord to each bowl. Once filled with soil and plants, you can hang the bowls separately or tie a couple of them together. In both cases, your garden design will truly benefit from the transparent pots.

3. Wooden Peg Pot Planter
This time, your first step should be choosing the pots you‘ll be hanging. Knowing their exact size is essential for the arrangement to be steady. To ensure that the pots are properly fixed, make the wooden frame precisely for their size. Pick some ropes and attach them to each of the sides of the wooden planter. The only thing remaining is to put the potted plants and hang the planter in an area of your garden or inside your home where their elegance will be most remarked.

4. Ice Cream Cone Pots
Both outdoor and indoor areas which get enough sunlight and fresh air are perfect for this sweet garden idea. Should you have any unused waffle cones, a bit of modeling clay and some jute rope, the task will be very simple for you. You have to simply fill the cones with clay and leave them until solid. The rope is best to be fixed on an edge which will make hanging effortless. Put some fertile soil in the ready ice cream pots and plant your favorite tiny flowers there. The limited space of the cones predetermines the size of the plants you can grow in this small, but very cute hanging garden.

5. Tire Planters
There is rarely a garage that isn‘t a storage place for old tires of different sizes. This provides another great option for people who want to have DIY planters in their domestic gardens. If you manage to select tires of the right size for the pots, try painting them in your favorite color. Your tire planters will truly contribute to the originality and attractiveness of your garden space.

Don’t forget to match the diameter of the pot and the saucer with tire’s size. If you‘re willing to go the extra mile and cut the tires creatively to give the planters more interesting shapes.

6. The Simplest Hanging Planter
People who want to make hanging pots on their own don‘t need sophisticated tools. To do this, the only thing required is rope (white or colored works well). Cut the string into pieces with equal length, 4“ to 5” should be enough. Keep in mind the bigger pot you‘re going to hang, the more pieces of rope you‘ll need. Tie the strings along from one end through knit basket by twisting each of the two sides together. Leave a few inches of every string free to attach the pot later. After you have placed the pot inside your knit rope basket, don’t forget to add the flowers and plants to complete the backyard look.

Simple Tips For Make Greenhouse

Greenhouses offer you hundreds of tree, shrub, and plant varieties-almost too many choices. And once you have decided what type of plant you want for your landscape, you must pick the healthiest, most robust specimens. With a bit of planning and a basic knowledge of what makes a healthy plant, you’ll soon be making smart plant shopping decisions.

Come Prepared
Take a walk around your garden before you head to the greenhouse. Note any holes in your landscaping, or any places that displease you. If you start your shopping with a clear idea of what plants you need, you won’t find yourself buying low-growing annuals when what your space really requires are taller, woody perennials.

Picking the Best Specimens
Once you know that you need 10 pansy plants, for example, it is time to get down and dirty, making sure that each one passes muster. Avoid purchasing plants with roots that have coiled around the bottom and sides of their containers. These plants’ roots have a hard time growing normally once they are planted in the ground. Look at the drainage holes on the bottom of the pot. A dense mass of roots indicates that the plant is root-bound.

The Lure of Blooms
It might seem like a good idea to buy the plant with the most flowers on it, but these plants usually have more trouble adapting to your garden. Their energy is going toward flowering rather than developing strong roots. A better choice is a sturdy plant with many buds. You will enjoy a longer blooming time if you choose a plant that has not yet flowered, or is just beginning to flower.

If you are ever in doubt about a plant’s growing habits in your area, or what to look for when selecting a particular type of plant, don’t hesitate to ask the greenhouse staff for advice. They spend every day among the plants, and they know them better than anyone else.

Top 6 Ideas For Creating An Inviting Courtyard

The majority of homeowners buy a house for the purpose of having their own space, including a private backyard. Designing a courtyard doesn’t have to be complicated. It does, however, need to be carefully planned before starting any of the makeover work.

A backyard can be whatever you want to make of it. I believe that creating a relaxing space to enjoy nature, BBQ with the family or read a good book, is well worth the time, energy and money it takes to design a lovely courtyard. See six ideas for creating an inviting courtyard and turn your patio into the secret garden you’ve always dreamed of.

1. The Right Location
Location is everything when you’re building the perfect backyard. Where the sun hits, the direction the wind blows and the view are all aspects to highly consider when planning out your courtyard. Depending on the size of your backyard, there may be several different spots where your courtyard could go. For example, next to the house versus the rear part of your yard.

Existing landscape should also be evaluated, including if there’s any sloping, and the soil should be properly analyzed. Sun, wind and rain are all weather conditions out of your control, but what is in your control is picking the best spot possible for your patio.

2. Furniture that’s Comfortable & Fashionable
One big decorating mistake many homeowners make inside their home is picking out furniture that looks amazing, but is hard to sit on. Whatever you do, don’t make this mistake in your courtyard, a place you’ll be spending lots of time sitting.

Even if you’re tight on budget, it doesn’t mean you have to give in to purchasing furniture that’s uncomfortable and painful to sit on. Even if you do like the iron wrought look, at least get some soft cushions to place on top of the hard bars. Cushions and pillows are also a way to add a pop of color and style to your patio. If you’re someone who likes to put their feet up, this piece too can be comfortable for under your feet.

3. Fancy Floors
Courtyards are known for their beauty and elegance. Installing fancy floors is necessary in any courtyard. They’re the first thing you see and touch when entering the area. Material, pattern and color should all be thought through carefully. It’s especially important to consider the climate you live in and how this may affect the wear and tear of your floors.

Brick pavers, cement, slates, bluestone and natural stone are all possible options. Before choosing your floors, account for the size and shape of your courtyard, to gauge how much it’s going to cost you. Don’t be afraid to add pebbles, grass dividers and play around with different shapes.

4. Eye-Catching Décor & Vegetation
The more flowers and plants you have in the surrounding area, the better. Greenery has a way of creating a calm and relaxing environment with little effort. Potted plants, unique trees and pops of color are just a few examples of how to execute this idea. Adding beautiful clay artwork, bright pillows, a vine wall, a swing or a pond will do the trick.

If you don’t have a green thumb, consider hiring a landscape designer to guide you and a beautiful landscape for you. Landscaping isn’t just for the front yard anymore. Stone pathways are a great way to lead you and your guests to your courtyard. When spread throughout the yard, they help create sections for the vegetables, flowers, fountains, sheds or bushes.

5. Luxurious Lighting
Creating an inviting courtyard means you’re going to need special lighting that brings it to life at night. The best part of a courtyard is being able to set the mood and enjoy it on a warm summer night relaxing in your own backyard.

String lights, or lanterns, are always an excellent choice for extra lighting. You don’t need to get carried away with it, you just need something that’s easy on the eyes and allows you to move around in the dark. Spotlighting and small lights along the walkway or patio will work too. If you’re someone who likes to sit around a warm fire with friends and family, then make this part of your lighting schema. Lighting is key to making the space warm and welcoming.

6. Design with Purpose
Designing a courtyard without a plan is a big mistake. Do your homework and set a budget and a timeline before you start laying any brick or planting any flowers. Being mindful to create focal points, symmetry and clean lines will help you accomplish this task. A statue or water fountain are popular structures that some homeowners are adding to their gardens and patios.

I’ve selected designing with a purpose as one of my six tips because isn’t that what a backyard is all about? When will you use it, how often will you use it, what effort will it take to take care of it, is it a place for friends to hangout or to have some family fun? These are all questions you need to ask yourself as you plan an inviting and chic courtyard.

How To Starting A Compost Pile

How would you like some used tea bags, melon rinds, and crushed eggshells for dinner? Yum! Your kitchen refuse might not seem appetizing to you, but for millions of microorganisms, it’s a tasty treat. Fungi, insects, bacteria, and earthworms break down waste material in the composting process. They produce humus, a rich fertilizer for your plants that contains nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Spreading the humus around your garden enriches your soil.

From Kitchen Refuse to Black Gold
Building Your Pile
For your first foray into composting, there is no need to get elaborate. The easiest option is to find a spot in your yard that is mostly hidden from view but easily accessible to the kitchen and to start piling. You can create a baling wire or wood cage for your pile if you would like to keep it tidier.

Starting your compost pile is a lot like assembling a dish of lasagna. The key for both is to layer. Your layering ingredients should include green, nitrogen-rich materials, such as garden waste and grass clippings, and brown, carbon-rich materials like fallen leaves and good garden soil. Shovel on a brown layer, then a green layer, and so on. Ideally, there should be about twice as much brown material as green.

What Not to Add

Most kitchen and garden waste makes great composting material, but there are some exceptions:
– Animal fats, oils, and meat. They can get rancid and attract undesirables, like rats.
– Dog and cat droppings in compost can spread disease.
– Diseased plants and weeds that are going to seed. If your compost pile doesn’t get hot enough, you run the risk of not killing the plant diseases and weed seeds.
– Plants treated with weed killers. The weed killers can stick around and damage your garden when the finished compost is applied to it.

Heat and moisture are key ingredients for keeping your pile cooking. If you maintain your pile vigilantly, you could be shoveling out rich humus in around two months.

Tips To Preventing Lawn Fungus

Have you noticed suspicious blotches springing up around your lawn? If so, you might have lawn fungus. When your lawn harbors disease, it is vital that you attack the problem in its early stages. Untreated lawn fungi can spread like wildfire, transforming lush green grass into an ugly mess of bare patches and brown spots. Since lawn fungus can be tough to spot and tricky to get rid of, it is vital for homeowners to learn how to spot them early.

How Can I Recognize a Lawn Fungus?

Many types of fungi do not cause permanent damage to lawns. Around 100 types of lawn fungi are possibly harmful, however, and do require immediate care. Depending on the time of year and type of weather, lawn diseases that could appear include:

– Powdery mildew. Not only can this disease infect lawns, it may spread to outdoor plants. Powdery mildew usually looks like a sprinkling of flour on grass stems and leaves.
– Melting out. At first, this fungus appears as reddish-brown or purplish-black spots on leaves. Gradually, the disease shows up on crowns and roots, killing large areas of grass.
– Red thread. This disease causes reddish brown patches to appear in lawns. As the disease grows, tiny red threads will begin to stick out from your grass leaves.
– Brown patch. Wet brown patches, caused by the fungus Rhizoctonia, can show up irregularly in lawns. Typically, these brown patches are surrounded by grey rings.
– Dollar spot. This disease begins with tan marks on individual grass blades. As the fungus spreads, patches of your lawn will turn yellow and die.

How Can I Prevent Lawn Fungus?

Careful homeowners can stop fungi from ever taking root. First, you should have your soil tested. When your lawn’s soil doesn’t have the right pH or lacks important nutrients, your lawn is more susceptible to disease. Next, make sure your lawn is properly drained. Sitting water turns lawns into breeding grounds for fungi. Not only can drainage help lawns to stay dry, watering lawns early in the morning can allow daylight to burn off any extra moisture. Finally, make sure that your lawn mower’s blades stay razor sharp. Dull blades may create ragged cuts, which can both kill grass and allow fungal spores to flourish. If your lawn does have fungus, consider consulting a lawn care professional for advice on treatment. He or she will most likely recommend a regimen of fungicide and drainage improvement.

Gorgeous ideas for small backyards in Your Home

Not everyone moves from the city to the suburbs. Some people are thrilled with life in the downtown district. If you’re one of those city-lovers, you may find that the convenient access to restaurants, shopping, and cafes are great, but that the amount of space you’ve got leaves something to be desired. Even those lucky enough to find spacious homes still often come up short on one amenity: outdoor space.
But don’t worry. Having a tiny backyard doesn’t mean you have to keep it empty and spare. Small backyards make for lovely, intimate gardens. Here are some ideas for getting the most out of your space.
Gorgeous ideas for a small backyard garden
You’ll enjoy your outdoor space a lot more if it’s pleasing to look at and contains all the things you love most in a garden. Consider these popular options to get started.

– Plant up. Don’t think in terms of raised beds and perfect long rows. Look at the space you have to grow toward the sky instead! Tall trellises around the perimeter offer added privacy while allowing your plants plenty of room to grow.
– Plant on a diagonal. Visually widen the space by planting on diagonals instead of straight rows. The eye sees the space as larger than it really is, and as an added bonus, you might get more space to walk between rows.
– Make it edible! Encourage family members and guests to use the garden by planting edible goodies. Strawberries, tomatoes, grapes, and other plants that enjoy climbing are the perfect centerpieces to your small backyard garden.
– Add a tiny fountain. Make the space seem bigger with a fountain that makes the most of the area. A fountain that flows down a wall, or one that tucks into a small corner, are perfect options to bring the lively sound of water flow into your garden.
– Create a dark base. Make all other colors “pop” using gray concrete pavers to create a walkway through your garden. Concrete pavers are simple yet durable, and look great against any color. A small backyard garden can come to vivid life next to that simple backdrop.
– Opt for containers. Container gardening is a great way to have the plants you want in an area where planting them directly in the ground might not be feasible. If your small backyard is made of concrete, for instance, a container garden makes the most of the space and turns it into a haven of green.
– Finish with a pergola bench. Every garden deserves a place where visitors can sit and admire the beauty. Make yours a working part of your green landscape! A pergola bench offers seating area, storage underneath, and a growing area for plants that love to climb.

Your dream home might have the city growing around it, but that doesn’t mean your garden plans have to be scrapped! By using your space wisely, you’ll have a relaxing, green space to call your own without giving up the concrete jungle.

Steps to Install and Maintain a Cobblestone Walkway

The old-fashioned look of cobblestone can make your old home even more charming. Installing cobblestone, or repairing the existing cobblestone, is not as challenging as you might think.
Steps to Install and Repair Cobblestone Walkways
Installing a cobblestone walkway takes a bit of measuring, patience, and an eye for detail.

1. Dig the Space. If you already have a walkway where you want to put the cobblestone, you have to remove the old material before placing the new. Once you’ve done that, dig down to the approprite level, taking into account the depth of your cobblestone pavers. One to two inches should be fine for most walkways.
2. Level it Out. Level out the surface and ensure a slight grade to allow for water drainage. Make sure the bottom is smooth! Any small variations in the surface now can lead to big variations in the finished project later.
3. Lay the Gravel. To futher enhance drainage, lay limestone gravel on the base of your freshly-cleared path. Cover the gravel with a sturdy weed barrier cloth and then top it with sand. Tamp it all down until the surface is level and ready for the cobblestone pavers.
4. Lay the Cobblestone. Working with a rubber mallet and lots of patience, lay the pavers over the sand, making sure they are level with one another. You can always adjust the amount of sand underneath each paver to make them level.
5. Fill in the Holes. Using dry mason’s sand, pack the spaces between the pavers. Be generous with the mason’s sand–this is what prevents your cobblestone from shifting. When you’ve filled it in, spray it generously yet gently with water to set the walkway. Once it dries, apply more mason’s sand if necessary.
6. Maintain It! Watch for weeds, loose pavers, crumbling pavers, and other problems that you should address immediately. If you have a broken or crumbling paver, gently tap it out and replace it with new cobblestone. If the walkway loosens and begins to shift, repair it by working in another application of dry mason’s sand.

When Cobblestone is Not in the Cards
Is cobblestone too expensive for your budget? Consider asphalt that looks just like cobblestone for a much nicer price. Asphalt cobblestone is a flexible yet continuous walkway option that is manufactured to look like the real thing, yet doesn’t have as much potential for the damage and plant growth that can plague even the best-laid cobblestone walkways.

Tips To Make Your Small Backyard Feel Large

Everyone wants their own outdoor retreat. Unfortunately, many of us don’t know where to begin when looking at a small backyard. They can be easily neglected or never fully utilized.

It’s time to make the most out of your tiny backyard. Just because the space is limited, it doesn’t mean you can’t create the garden of your dreams or the perfect outdoor space. Here are a few backyard ideas to get you started.

Lawn Care
First, take care of your backyard. Just because the yard looks small, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t need care. It’s important to make space available by decluttering your lawn. Clear out any old containers or lawn ornaments that are worn or could be put elsewhere. You can save some of these items if they’re in good condition, but rain, wind and other elements can impact these items, especially if they’re not good quality.

Proper lawn maintenance and care will help keep your lawn looking its best no matter the size. Of course, DIY lawn care is always an option. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you evaluate what care your lawn will need.

Tree Trimming & Pruning

It’s recommended that trees should be trimmed or pruned annually for the safety of your home and for health of the tree. Determine what needs to be pruned and why. Is a branch too close to the home? Is there a dead branch affecting the tree’s health? The average cost of tree trimming is between $170 and $333 from a lawn care pro, but can also be done with hand pruners or loppers depending on the situation.

Weeding

Getting rid of weeds is important to the overall health of your lawn and must be done regularly. Some choose to maintain their lawn by pulling up the weeds and others opt to use a weed killer. If you’d rather trust a pro with this lawn care task, it can cost between $12-$40 an hour.

Lawn Mowing

A task many of us have done in the past, but forget to keep up is a regular mowing schedule. This task simply takes a lawn mower and some time to complete. The average cost of professional mowing services is around $61, but it varies by yard size.

Watering

It’s important that your lawn has the proper amount of water, especially if you intend on planting more flowers, shrubs and bushes. A sprinkler system could be a good investment. The average cost to install a sprinkler system is $2,310, but this depends on the size of the yard and equipment used.

Backyard Fence Ideas

A small backyard does not mean you don’t have to compromise security. Adding or upgrading a fence can still be beneficial to creating the outdoor oasis you desire. The average cost of fence installation is $2,388, but this also depends on the type of fence you want to install. Even if your yard is small, you can still consider a few fence styles that can help create a unique backyard space.

Lattice Fence

Give your small backyard a bit of extra privacy and a bit of a unique style. A lattice fence is a great way to add extra vertical space to your lawn. Let ivy wind its way up the fence, creating a natural decoration. Or, plant flowers at the base of the fence to add some extra décor.

Picket Fence

Create a classic look in your backyard with a picket fence. These timeless fences will add comfort and security to your home. The average material cost of a wood picket fence is between $950 and 1,350 depending on yard size.

If you’re looking for more fencing options, see a full list of options at How to Choose The Right Fence: 9 Types of Fences.

Backyard Landscaping

It’s amazing what a bit of landscaping can do for your backyard. With the right style, plant and material choices, you can make your yard seem bigger and comfortable. Remember, when beginning any landscaping project, call 811 before digging. This will prevent any damage to utility lines around your house.

Incorporating landscaping in your backyard will not only create a great, new space for your family to enjoy, but also increase your home’s value. Create a garden path out of stone or mulch, utilizing diagonal lines to elongate the yard. Water features help customize your yard, but they don’t have to be big. A small pool or bubbler fountain will be just what your yard needs to create peace.

Think about what plants will work best for your yard. Shrubs and bushes add privacy and block noise. Remember to incorporate native plants in your landscaping plans. Planting them in your yard has many benefits, including using less pesticides and water.

When beginning your backyard design plans, consult a landscape designer to determine how to best utilize your unique space and what plants may work best.

Use Flower Pots & Containers Creatively
Your yard may not be big enough to grow a luscious garden, but that shouldn’t prevent you from growing plants and flowers. Flower pots and containers add space and more options for growing. Here are a few plants that grow well in containers:

Flowers:
Begonias
Calendulas
Marigolds
Petunias
Snapdragons
Verbenas
Zinnias

Fruits, Vegetables & Herbs:
Tomatoes
Squash
Green Onion
Parsley
Dill
Chives
Rosemary
Basil
Beets
Peas

Remember, the container is part of the design, so make sure it matches the style of your yard and the plant going inside. Make sure the container is located in an area where the amount of light will meet the plant’s needs.

How To Getting Started On A Rooftop Garden

Living in an urban environment is not the same as living in a house and having a garden yard. While it is true that the urban environment doesn’t quite present the same possibilities, there is one option you can consider and that is designing your very own rooftop garden.

All you need is a roof that can support gardening conditions and the environment and you are good to go. It doesn’t take much to get the project going. In fact, it’s a relatively easy endeavor, which mostly requires motivation and a clear vision of what you want to achieve. Following some basic tips from Handy Gardeners Ltd. on how to get started and easily create your very own green retreat in the middle of the city.

Here is what areas of your rooftop garden you have to work on:

Floor
A garden space is not all about the plants and greenery you have there; it is also about having the right flooring to add accent or to simply look good. Concrete pavers are most commonly found on condos, but those contribute to a cold and impersonal look. The way to go, if such is the case with your building, is to install decking over existing pavers. Wood makes an excellent choice, but there are also other recycled decking materials on the market that offer colorful patterns and finishes.

Soil
One of the most important components for roof gardening is soil. Do not go after your usual triple mix, as that will not work. The mixture is easily compacted and because the soil is on the roof, there will be less chance for aeration. What you can do is get some container mix and slow release fertilizer. Add some Vermiculite or Perlite and you have yourself a fantastic soil mixture.

Containers & Pots
While Terra Cotta is certainly the most common option in any gardening attempt, you should opt for something different. The problem with this material is that the pots and containers dry out very fast when there is no shade, which is generally the case with rooftops. The best option is to have insulated, custom-made planters.

Drainage
Water needs to drain out of your containers in some way. For this reason, you must not forget to leave some space open at the bottom of the pots for air to move.

Plants
Effective gardening requires careful selection of plants. If you are after perennials, you are on a good track, but you must ensure that you have deep enough pots to support new growth and that the plants are insulated from the elements. Flowers of all kinds look really beautiful and make an excellent addition to any rooftop garden. Remember that you should add foliage, as it requires little maintenance.

Amazing 6 spring lawn care revival

The grasses that make up your lawn have likely been dormant since the waning days of autumn. Your lawn might have been buried for weeks under snow and ice, and a little lawn care now can help it come alive as the days get longer and warmer. If you follow these tips, you might see your grass come back a little faster than your neighbors’. Here’s how to get started:
1. Clean-up time. While you weren’t paying attention, your lawn was collecting debris, mud, dead grass, and leaves. Now’s the time to clear it all out, and your best tool for the job is just an old-fashioned rake. Scrape the rake down so that you’re really grabbing the old, dead grasses, and make sure you’re not leaving any yard waste from last year behind. It can grow mold in the winter.
2. Use that compost. If you’ve been composting, now is the time to check your bounty. As long as you didn’t fertilize your lawn in the fall, it’s ready for a light fertilization in the spring, and homemade compost makes a perfect fertilizing mulch. Use a push-powered spreader to get an even coat across the surface of the grass.
3. Get those weeds. Broad-leafed weeds, such as dandelions, are often new or in a weakened state after suffering through the winter. Now is when they should be attacked before they start to flower and flourish. If you’d prefer to stay away from herbicides, this is probably a job best handled by arming your kids with trowels and treating them to ice cream for a job well done.
4. Cover the brown and bald spots. Those particular dead patches where grass has a difficult time growing are ripe for attack now. Cover with seed, mulch and keep moist. Also remember that the local bird population has an eye on your grass seed. Try hanging old CDs from nearby branches and bushes; they’re often scared off by the light reflections.
5. Let the air in. Cold and sub-freezing temps can help create compacted soil, which is bad news for lawns. Compacted soil that keeps roots from working deep is a major contributor to moss and weed growth. You can rent a lawn aerator for large compacted areas, or walk the area and drive a pitchfork at least two inches down in various spots to loosen the soil.
6. Rev up the mower. It’s probably been sitting around for four or five months, so it’s a good idea to get your mower tuned up, including that all-important annual blade-sharpening. Another area that many overlook is a good cleaning, especially on the underside of the mower. Any weeds or molds that you picked up on your last mow in the fall could be ready to drop on your vulnerable spring lawn.

Once the new grass gets going and the old lawn begins to turn green again, you’ll be ready to take on the mowing every week. Don’t be afraid to cut the grass a little high: most lawns do fine at 1 1/2 to 2 inches, and a higher lawn tends to naturally crowd out invasive weeds, encouraging a stronger lawn for next winter.