Archive for October, 2009

Garden Water Features

Friday, October 30th, 2009

When it comes to garden water features, the possibilities are almost endless. There are stand alone models in just about every shape and size, wall mounted models that are ideal for fences, and even gardening ideas that center around the water feature itself. Depending on the size of the area you have designated, you may even want to consider a pond as a garden water feature.

Prices also vary greatly for garden water features, from under a hundred dollars, up into the thousands, depending on how elaborate you want to be, and what your budget is like. There are water features that are complete units, all you have to do is place it where you want, plug it in and turn it on. One gardening idea for water features is to use solar panels for the pump’s power source.

Some solar powered garden water features are very reasonably priced. For example, the Solar Powered Frog Fountain is a great idea for any location. It is made from green ceramic, and the water flows out of the frog’s mouth and into the bowl. It recycles the same water, over and over, and has a low voltage pump and filter system. It is powered by a small solar panel, with ten feet of cable included, so you can put this fountain in a secluded location, and have the panel positioned in bright sunlight. It works with direct sun, but doesn’t store energy so it will stop as the sun goes down. This shallow fountain is small, about 14″ long, 6″ wide and about 6-8″ high, allowing it to fit in with many gardening ideas. This unit is extremely reasonable, at just under $80. Considering the money you will save on electricity and given the portability of the unit, this is an extremely good deal.

One of the nicest things about using solar powered garden water features is that there is no installation, other than finding a well lit area for the solar panel. Everything is self contained, and the only other thing you need to do really is to find a place in your garden, fill it up, and you are ready to go. Most of these products are small enough to move, yet the right size for most of your needs.

Now if money is not an option, and you would really like to find some garden water features that really make your backyard snap, there are many other cool ideas as well. If your gardening ideas include an oriental theme, then the Buddha Pyramid Fountain is an ideal choice. It’s big, measuring 28″ long, 28″ wide, and a whopping 56″tall and although it’s look of real stone may appear quite heavy, it is actually made from high tensile fiberglass. High tensile fiberglass is much stronger and more durable than regular fiberglass, and will stand up to the tests of time. This fantastic center piece is ideal for any oriental setting, and sells for under $600.

So whether you are interested in something like the garden water features described, or even some cherub peeing on a frogs head, you will be able to find it. A good place to start is at one of your local lawn and garden retailers, that way you’ll be able to see a variety of products in one location. 😉

Garden Water Feature

Garden Water Feature

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Add Character With Garden Ornaments

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

In century’s passed gardens were a way of life. Families grew a vegetable garden to get them through the rough winters. Food was grown and preserved so that families could eat during the winter. Occasionally, a flower garden was grown nearby by to bring color and life into an otherwise drab and dreary existence. In those days money was scarce and everything had a purpose. The thought of spending money on garden ornaments was unheard of.

Today, garden ornaments are a given. Recognized as an extension of the contemporary family personality, they can be seen in every size, shape and color. Large or small, made to complement every conceivable theme, they give gardens that little wow factor that turns the beautiful garden into a quiet, peaceful paradise. The careful placement of a single garden ornament can bring life into that small, neglected section of the backyard. Perhaps you just need a little something to bring attention to those bushes already placed with purpose in just the right place.

As an extension of the home, contemporary gardens are used to increase extra living space. For those who enjoy entertaining, the backyard space needs to be just as inviting as the interior of the home. Warm summer evenings bring out the desire for Bar-B Que with friends. As preparations are made for the menu, tableware and theme for the party, a quick look around the yard may cause you to notice a bare spot in need of excitement. These types of events not only call for yard furniture but they also need a few conversation pieces that are pleasing to the eye and bring out the hidden nature in your personality. This may be something as simple as a single yard ornament. A fawn laying quietly under a bush, chimes tinkling from a tree or an elegant water fountain standing stately in the center of the garden may be the statement you want to make. Just as the interior of your house says “this is me”, so should the spaces in your “home outside your home’.

Backyard gardens instill the idea of a peaceful awakening for your inner being. For some this means a quite sitting place under a rose arbor. For others it may be little walking stones that take your through paths of subtle wonder. Garden ornaments can enhance these places of the heart. From the whimsey of gnomes and water sprites hiding under the ferns to small rabbits or ducks chasing each other along garden trails, the garden environment is up to you. Perhaps you prefer fairies and children running through the flowers or frogs and sea creatures along the path to the koi pool, the sky’s the limit for what type of outdoor environment you may want to create.

The playful use of garden ornaments can be used to recognize any season of the year. As the snow mounds up around the little creations in your garden, they will come “alive” when they are given that seasonal touch. When winter turns to spring, don’t forget to check on your little outside critters. Clean them off and place them in a new area of the garden so they won’t get bored with their surroundings. 😉

Garden Ornament

Garden Ornament

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How Do I Plan My Garden Design?

Sunday, October 25th, 2009

You can find good garden design ideas in many different places, from small gardens, to large garden landscaping ideas. The first thing you have to consider when planning a good design is location. For vegetable gardening designs you will need an area that has at least 6-8 hours of full sunshine. Flower gardens may require a more shaded area, depending on the plant’s needs.

The next thing you have to take into consideration when choosing a garden design is space that you have available, which may limit your garden landscaping ideas. What type of garden is also something to think about, working vegetable gardens can take up more space than a flower bed. The space you have, and lighting available can limit your vegetable and other plant choices. Climate is also another factor, because this really determines what types of plants you can choose. If you try to put in plants that are more exotic, they may not hold up well to different climate conditions.

Planning your garden idea takes a lot of thought. Many people may have problems sitting down and actually drawing out their garden landscaping idea, while others can whip one out in a relatively short period of time. If you have an idea in your head, but have trouble putting down on paper, a good idea is to go online. There are many different garden design ideas to choose from, and some even come with complete instructions and plans already made up for you. Some of these can be downloaded for free, other sites my charge a small fee, depending on how detailed the designs and plans are.

These days, you can find just about any garden design, or garden landscaping idea you can think of. Even if you live in an apartment, with a large flat roof, there is a garden design available. You would actually be surprised how many roof gardens are out there, especially in big cities. With all the concerns over climate change, pollution, and energy conservation, many building owners are utilizing their roof tops and turning them into green living areas.

One garden design idea for people who live in areas where water is scarce, or there is rationing going on, is to consider a rock garden as a colorful alternative. If you live in temperate climates, using cacti and other succulents can greatly reduce the need for watering. A really good all around succulent is the Aloe Vera plant. This sturdy plant grows thick tapering leaves, filled with a jelly like substance. This is a really good plant to have in areas where there is a high risk of sun burning, since the Aloe Vera plant has been used for centuries as a soothing relief of minor burns.

So whether you are looking for a small garden design, or some giant garden landscaping idea, there are many to choose from. The internet is a great place to start your search, since there are thousands of different ideas and plans to choose from. Be careful picking sites that charge you, chances are if you do a little foot work, you can find the same thing for free. 😉

Ultimate Garden Design

Ultimate Garden Design

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Stay In The Shade With Outdoor Umbrellas

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

You look at your garden and you smile to yourself. You feel like you have the best garden in the world. You’ve been toiling in it for days, weeks and months, and now you can finally see the results of your hard labor. You just couldn’t wait to see your family enjoying your garden.

But it’s somehow hard to enjoy your garden if the sun is shining too brightly. You wouldn’t want to be under the scorching heat of the sun, exposed to its harmful UV rays. Well, the good news is that you can still enjoy your garden even on a hot day. You just need a garden umbrella.

Outdoor umbrellas are a nice and practical way to enjoy your garden even when it’s very sunny. With this garden item, you can now stay outdoors while still feeling cool under its shade. Having a garden umbrella will not only make your garden look more attractive but it will also protect you from being sunburned.

Outdoor umbrellas are very useful because they allow you to stay in your garden without having to absorb the harmful rays of the sun. We all know that the sun’s rays can cause sunburn and even skin cancer. But you don’t want to deprive yourself or your family from enjoying the outdoors just because of the sun, so buying an outdoor umbrella is helpful.

When buying your outdoor umbrella, make sure that you remember these tips:

1. Choose one that’s made of high quality materials so you can be assured that it will last long. Make sure that its fabric is durable and will withstand any weather conditions.

2. Choose a stylish design that will complement your other garden items. Outdoor umbrellas are sold in a variety of shapes and colors, so buy one that reflects your style and character. Also make sure that you choose one that has a fade-resistant fabric so you will be assured that its color will stay bright for a long time.

3. Measure the area where you want to place your umbrella and choose one that will exactly fit the space. It’s usually wise to buy an umbrella that’s one size bigger because you have to consider the sun’s shifting position.

4. Make sure that your garden umbrella can be safely secured onto the ground to avoid any accidents. You don’t want your umbrella falling down while you and your family are sitting under its shade.

5. Choose an umbrella that can provide you with at least UPF 50 so you are totally protected from the sun’s UV rays while enjoying your time outside your house.  Make sure that it is also water-resistant just in case you use it for the rainy days.

6. Consider the ease of operating the umbrella. Some are equipped with auto crank, auto-tilt or pulley functions. And if you plan to move your umbrella around, make sure that it has a portable design.

Now that you’ve bought your umbrella, just make sure that you care for it and maintain it well so that it will last for years. With your outdoor umbrella, your garden can now be a perfect place where you can spend quiet moments after a busy day at work or a place where you can bond with your family while enjoying nature. Not to mention a place where Fifi the dog can relax as well after a day of running around and playing in the garden. Phew! It’s hard work being a dog! 😉

Garden Umbrella

Garden Umbrella

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Garden Patio Furniture

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

It isn’t hard to find garden patio furniture. Garden furniture comes in so many styles, with different products and materials used. You can choose from many different types of wood furniture, steel frames as well as lesser grade materials like wicker and plastic resin. There are chase lounges, tables and chairs and even swings to pick from.

The first place to start is by determining what the weather is like in your area. If you live in a temperate climate, then there are many choices of garden patio furniture. There are many different products made from wood, and teak is a popular choice. It’s natural color blends in well with most outdoor settings, and can be stained to match your décor. Wicker, wrought iron and rattan are also good choices where temperatures are relatively the same all year round. If you live in areas where you have all the seasons, then you will want to find furniture that holds up to weather well. Steel, treated wood and plastic resin furniture are all good ideas.

Then you will want to consider what your indoor furniture is like, since you will want to carry this style outside with you. If you have couches and chairs indoors, you may want to consider this style of garden patio furniture. You will also want to take into consideration the space you have outside. Wooden furniture, and some types of wicker, rattan, or steel take up a lot of space, and are heavy to move around. In this case, you may want to consider smaller garden furniture pieces, ones that will fit well with your spaces, and are easy to move.

Because many people are on a tight budget, you may want to consider less expensive garden patio furniture, and there are may plastic models that are durable, small, and will handle all kinds of weather. They are easy to clean and maintain, and can be moved quite easily. They come in a variety of colors, to fit in with any outdoor setting. The nice part is that many of these are stacking furniture, which makes them easy to store in the garage.

Before you go out and blow your budget buying garden furniture at one of the many websites available, just go down to your local lawn and garden center, or even one of the mass marketing retailers. One of the advantages of doing this is you can see a variety of different products in one place. You can see what wicker or wrought iron looks like, as well as many others. If you have any questions, they can be answered right away, and you can ask as many questions as it takes to satisfy you before you buy.

Another advantage to local retailers when buying garden patio furniture is that many have their own websites. If you find something online, instead of the local store, it can be shipped to the local outlet for free. This can save you a lot of money on shipping charges. If you find something wrong with the merchandise when you get it home, you can bring it back right away, something that many people frustrate over when it comes to shopping websites. So instead of wasting your money, save some instead by looking at local stores first. 😉

Garden Patio Furniture

Garden Patio Furniture

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Tips on Organic Vegetable Gardening

Sunday, October 18th, 2009

It isn’t hard to explore the possibilities of organic vegetable gardening, and there can be many benefits. One of the benefits is being able to use your own hands to grow food that you and your family will enjoy. You will spend quite a bit of money not purchasing produce from stores, and you won’t have to worry about what kinds of pesticides and other contaminants are in your food.

You can do organic vegetable gardening just about anywhere. There are even hanging planters that you can hang and have a variety of tomatoes and other vegetables growing in. Organic gardening can be as simple as having an herb garden in your window, or as elaborate as a big plot of land, with many varieties.

If you are just a beginner at organic vegetable gardening, you should probably start off small. There are many different kinds of planter boxes available, and the nice thing about planter boxes is they are portable. If the weather starts turning bad, they are much easier to cover with plastic, and you can even move them into the garage if necessary.

Start with some sterile organic soil from any quality nursery or garden supply store. If you are not sure about the soil, here is a simple way to make sure it is safe. Take a shallow tray or pan and put a layer of the questionable soil down, then put it in the oven at 180 degrees for thirty minutes. You can spray the soil a little to create steam to cut down the time a little if you want. You can always tell the family they really are going to have to eat dirt that night and see what they say.

When picking what seeds to use when organic vegetable gardening, start out with something that is simple and easy to grow, but something that everyone will eat. Tomatoes and peas are good simple ideas, but you will have to make some kind of trellis in your planter box for best results. Another good colorful idea that many people use is to plant groups of different vegetables together. One planter may have different kinds of squash growing, which can be quite an attraction in the Fall.

Ever wonder what to do with all those table scraps that end up getting your pet fat? Why not start a compost bin. Then all those scraps can be turned into rich organic fertilizer for organic vegetable gardening. You can find many complete units, tips on making the perfect composter, and plenty of DIY kits. The nice part about using compost is that you can put all those grass clippings and dead leaves somewhere other than over the fence.

A really nice way to water your organic vegetable gardening is with a rain barrel. Instead of your gutters draining water wastefully on the ground, modify them to fill a water barrel. You can use recycled plastic drums, or any other sturdy, non toxic container. All you need to do is cut the vertical runner for your gutter, measuring the height of the container. Leave enough room so that you can easily remove the water container. This is ideal for areas where water is rationed at certain times of the year, and you can find rain barrels cheaply. 😉

Organic Vegetable Garden

Organic Vegetable Garden

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Brighten Up Your Home With Flower Boxes

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

Whether you think that your home needs more inner or outer color, why not take a look at what window flower boxes can do for you? Window planters allow you to have a garden without needing to have any land at all, and when you are ready to exercise your green thumb, you will find that you are looking at something that can make a huge difference to the way that your home appears. Getting started with some basic flower boxes is quite easy and growing your own window box garden can be something that anyone can try.

Flowers and plants are a lovely way to give your home and your air a bit of a fresh pick me up. Keeping green plants around is a good way to make sure that the air that you breathe is recycled thoroughly and you will also find that you are looking at something that can give your home a colorful look. Many people feel as though their homes are far too plain and boring, and a cascade of flowers is a great way to fight that. Flower boxes will allow you to make sure that you are in a place that is bursting with color and life.

When you go to choose flower boxes, you are going to find that there are many different designs that are available to you. Some are plain terra cotta window planters that can be affixed to your window sill, while there are definitely others that are much more beautifully elaborate. Take some time and make sure that you consider what your options are going to be and what you can do to get flower boxes that suit your needs. This is something that can make all the difference when you are thinking about designing the look of your home, so consider all the options. Some planters are made of wrought iron, while others are meant to be entirely obscured by hanging foliage.

Remember that flower boxes can be perfect for any home or apartment. In homes, they can bring you a breath of a garden no matter how high up you are, and if you are in an apartment, you will find that you are in a great place to move forward and to have your own garden. Are you a city dweller who has longed for a little bit of earth to tend? Have you lived in a city your whole life and wondered what having fresh flowers on hand would be like? Window planters are going to be your best chance to find out right now!

Take some time and consider what kind of role flower boxes can play in your life. Take some time and make sure that you consider what your options are going to be and what window planters will best suit your home. No matter the size or shape of your window, there are going to be window planters to match them, so find the ones that are perfect for you. 😉

 Flower Boxes

Flower Boxes

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Outdoor Patio Fireplaces

Saturday, October 10th, 2009

There are many different types and styles of outdoor patio fireplaces available, it really is a matter of what really strikes your fancy, your budget, and what kind of fuel source you want to use. You have a choice of wood burning, gas or electric. While an outdoor fireplace doesn’t produce quite the output of heat as say, a mushroom type outdoor heater, what it makes up for is in appeal. What better way to spend an evening with the kids than outside making s’mores in your own back yard?

Here are some tips for buying outdoor patio fireplaces. One is size. If you buy a patio fireplace find one with a large firebox, because you won’t have to cut small pieces of wood to fit in it. The point is that you should be able to choose between a small cozy fire that has romantic notions, or a family blaze. You don’t have to always have a large fire, but it’s nice to have that option. You will also want to find one with some kind of smoke chimney, outdoor fire pits don’t have such good air flow, and tend to smolder more than an elevated fireplaces.

Make sure that you choose outdoor patio fireplaces that are well made and have a heavy gauge metal. If you use thinner gauge products, they won’t last as long and will have to be replaced more frequently than a good solid model. Make sure that you buy one with an ash catcher, one that is easily removed for emptying. With an ash catcher, not only will it save you the hassle of cleaning your patio, but the risk of a loose ember catching your lawn on fire is greatly reduced. Now, while there are many different materials used in patio fireplaces, probably the most safe and easiest to use is cast aluminum.

Cast aluminum is probably the best choice for beginners to use. It is much easier to maintain, doesn’t rust and is lighter than most other units, and it won’t warp in the heat like some other ones do. Because they are much lighter and easier to move around, they can be moved into a garage or storage area in the winter to ensure many years of use. It radiates the heat just as good if not better than some of the other materials used to make patio fireplaces.

If you plan to buy raised outdoor patio fireplaces, know that they tend to be even lighter than other models, so you will want to find one with a sturdy weighted bottom, to reduce the chances it will tip over. You should buy a lid for it, so ash doesn’t get blown around, or get all nasty when it rains. If you are getting a wood burning fireplace, hard wood is popular, Pinon wood can smell like a fresh pine forest, generates pretty decent amounts of heat, and the smell will also keep pesky insects away from you. You can add pine cones to add to the aroma, but just keep in mind that pine cones have a tendency to crackle and explode. 😉

Outdoor Patio Fireplace

Outdoor Patio Fireplace

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Garden Bird Baths Make Excellent Gardening Gifts

Thursday, October 8th, 2009

The native wildlife can be very pretty, and if you are lucky enough to have a garden you will get to see some of the creatures that pop in and out. If you particularly enjoy watching birds there are several ways to attract more of them into the garden for you to sit and enjoy.

Wild birds can have a hard job finding food especially in the colder months, so you may want to consider hanging some bird feeders in the garden. Be careful to site them in a place that cats cannot easily get to. There are a number of pretty feeders that can be erected on a long narrow pole, and by staking it into the ground safely away from trees and fences you can make it much harder for cats to get to.

Secondly, consider having a birdbath in the garden. These come in a wide variety of designs and require very little maintenance as they will fill with rain water, and the birds love them. They perform beautifully and are a delight to watch as they seem to really enjoy their washing, and almost dance with joy as they fluff their feathers in the cool water.

Garden bird baths can be made of various things. Heavy stone ones are a popular choice, and are carved into lots of styles so you can find one that matches your garden theme. The only thing you really need to do is ensure that they are kept fairly clean.  A birdbath is fairly shallow, so use a small stiff hand brush and sweep out the debris regularly, and if there hasn’t been any rain, top up the bath with clean water yourself.

In winter birds still need to be able to get water to drink, so if you can spare the time to make sure that is hasn’t frozen solid and there is still water in your garden bird bath it will be much appreciated by our tiny feathered friends. If it has frozen, take a kettle of warm water out and melt the ice. Clean and fill again with tepid water as this will take longer to freeze.  Don’t use hot water to fill it or leave hot water in it as this could harm the birds.

If you start feeding and watering birds they will come to rely on it and will deliberately come back to your garden as they will see it as a safe haven, so you do need to try and keep up looking after the bird bath as they need a safe, reliable source of food and drink.

If you cannot afford to buy a birdbath, why not try making one from something as simple as an old frying pan?  Don’t use anything deep as the bird must be able to climb out safely. To be extra safe you can always place a rock at the side for them to climb onto first, and again think cat on behalf of your little friends, as although they can usually fly away there is always the possibility that the cat will manage to catch them unawares. 😉

Garden Bird Bath

Garden Bird Bath

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Choosing Your Own Outdoor Garden Lighting

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

A well tended lawn full of flowers and attractively maintained shrubs can transform the appearance of your house into a beautiful, welcoming space that people will admire. Gardens have been a universal symbol of peaceful beauty and a restful haven since ancient times, and gardening is one the nation’s most popular hobbies. There is something deeply satisfying in being able to relax in your own garden.

There are all sorts of different ways to bring out the natural charm of your garden. Outdoor garden lighting can accentuate the beauty of your outdoor space, and gives your garden an enchanting allure during the evening hours. The soft glow of carefully placed garden lighting will frame your house with its illumination and make your garden look especially picturesque at night. Not only that, it can be a security light for your house when it’s dark outside.

There are various types of outdoor garden lighting that are readily available in the market, including high quality varieties that are surprisingly affordable. You can even design your own garden lighting, or consider hiring a garden designer or landscaper to give you options to choose from. You can decide amongst a wide variety of designs and sizes of the lighting that you want to have placed in your garden.

Here are some basic outdoor garden lighting types that you can find at any home improvement store or lighting shop near your area:

• Accent lights. This type of outdoor garden lighting is used to highlight a part or your garden or lawn. If you have a favorite spot in your garden or a piece of sculpture in your outdoor area that you feel is a particular showstopper, you can use an accent light to make it stand out.

• Path lights. You can install an outdoor light to accentuate your pathway or walkway. Lights of this sort generally need to be placed at a high spot, so that a wider area is illuminated for the safety of those who might walk along the path. Most path lights actually come with a post for this purpose, and can make your garden pathway really lovely at night, outlined with glimmering lights that hang from decorative posts.

• Spot lights. This type of outdoor garden lighting is also known as area or flood lights. They cover a wider area of your garden, and can also serve as a security light because of its wide coverage.

• Security lights. This is a safety light that will prevent trespassers or robbers that are roaming in your area from entering your house. The preferred spot for these garden lights is near your front door or entry way. This is a good way to dissuade most people from stepping into your yard uninvited.

• Step lights. This outdoor garden light makes your steps visible during the evening hours when it’s dark outside. This is a form of safety light that will prevent you from tripping on outdoor steps during a dark night. (No matter how beautiful the garden, it can be hard to fully appreciate its charms when you’ve fallen flat on your face!)

Remember to choose lights that complement your garden and outdoor space. The internet is a very helpful tool in finding a great design that matches your particular garden, and if you aren’t certain what you have in mind, you can always find a lot of ideas in websites that focus on gardening. Perhaps the most basic benefit of garden lighting is that your garden’s beauty is able to be appreciated even at night. Now you can tell your friends that they can admire your garden a full 24 hours a day! 😉

Outdoor Garden Lighting

Outdoor Garden Lighting

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