The Practicality of Having a Raised Flower Bed

The Practicality of Having a Raised Flower Bed

The raised flower bed can be aesthetically pleasing in virtually any environment. Nearly anything can be planted within it giving the area a great deal of functionality. Whether you are planting trees, bushes, or flowers, these beds can be versatile for your specific landscaping ideas. While raised flower beds can be very attractive, have you ever stopped to think of the practicality they provide aside from just aesthetics? There is more to one of these constructs than what you may be realizing.

1. Cleanliness – A raised flowerbed has less chance of collecting tidbits of garbage that could blow into your yard. While these bits of trash may collect to the side of the bed, you have less trash to physically pluck out of your flowers and bushes unless someone places an object and forgets to remove the trash. Businesses that have raised flower beds outside of their establishment could actually see an increase of random trash – until a trash can is placed nearby.

2. Easier to Weed – Instead of being hunched over your flowers on all fours, you could sit on the edge of your raised garden and pluck intruding weeds. This is aside from the fact that a raised bed is less likely to accumulate weeds due to the lack of ability that the seeds have to invade the soil. While it’s not impossible to have a few unwanted guests taking up root in your garden, the odds are significantly reduced that they will.

3. Animal Invasion – It’s not often you’ll see a dog jump into a three-foot-high raised flower bed to relieve him or herself. Raised beds help to prevent the invading animal kingdom from destroying your hard work. Female dogs have a way of killing plant life with urine and keeping her away from the gardens can help them live longer. While cats are still able to reach even the tallest of beds, there are many ways you can thwart their efforts as well.

4. Children – A raised flower bed has less of a chance of being trampled by children. Flowers that are ground-level are subjected to all kinds of violence from various elements. Playing children can demolish a beautiful bed of marigolds if they are able to walk through them. Although they may be innocent of malicious behavior, children are well known to not pay attention to what they are doing. While it may be an accident to ride a bike through the garden as they learn how to ride, the risks are still high.

The Practicality of Having a Raised Flower Bed

5. Flooding – It is quite easy for a ground-level flower bed to experience flooding whether it is from nature or human design. Raised flower gardens can be designed to spill off extra water when there is too much. Although flowers require some water, they can still drown and die.

There are many ways to design a flower garden for your home. When developing your plans of how to organize your yard, keep in mind the surrounding elements. While building for aesthetics is the primary goal, you should have a plan for being practical as well. Otherwise, you could be spending a great deal of time repairing your garden from the ravages of life. In what ways do you protect your garden from being subjected to damage?

This is a guest post by Liz Nelson from WhiteFence.com. She is a freelance writer and blogger from Houston. Questions and comments can be sent to liznelson17 @ gmail.com.

Tips For Designing A Backyard Fire Pit

Tips For Designing A Backyard Fire Pit

The light breeze over the vacillating fence posts: good company, wine flowing freely, the sun setting just over the horizon.

For those with a backyard fire pit, this can be an everyday experience. There is comfort, relaxation, and simplicity in an outdoor fire – Not to mention a certain primal beauty. Below are a few tips for those looking to create a lasting outdoor space to complement their home design.

Types Of Fire Pits

There is an assortment of different shapes, styles, fuel, and materials to consider in store-bought fire pits: from wood burning, propane, or natural gas systems to chimineas, porcelain, cast iron, and steel. There are even brands of portable fire pits.

Depending upon the look that appeals to you, the price level, and the location, with so many choices, you can find a perfect complement to match your objectives for yard and garden improvements and the architectural elements of your home.

Determine the location of your fire pit and entertaining area. The pit itself is usually around four or five feet across which means the rest of the area should be an additional six feet on all sides. Place your fire pit where there is enough room to safely accommodate both the apparatus, seating, and design elements.

Understanding the prevailing winds in your yard is another factor to consider, as a continual breeze in one direction may impact the effectiveness of your fire pit, making half your company warmer than necessary while the rest huddle for warmth. A windbreak may be necessary for strong crosswinds. Placing your fire pit on one side or the other of your home may allow for a break in wind patterns.

Proper Safety Measures

The first step in the process of designing an outdoor fire pit is to mitigate any potential fire hazards in your garden and yard. For landscaping efforts and set-up around the fire pit trench, it’s good to plan ahead.

  1. Clear the grass which runs around your fire pit; dig a 2-inch deep perimeter around the device which extends approximately 4 feet from the edge of the fire area.
  2. Place landscaping fabric at the bottom of the dug hole. Landscaping fabric is used as a barrier against weeds and other such garden invaders; it allows the soil beneath it to breathe, letting in air, water, and nutrients from above. Simply secure the fabric with staples or stakes at approximately 4-foot intervals into the ground.
  3. From here, the home owner can choose to fill the 2-inch deep dig area with gravel, brick, concrete pavers, or flagstone. Arrange the fill over the landscape fabric in whatever design or style you think adds the best flavor and visual panache to the area.
  4. If choosing pavers or flagstone as fill items, pour in an inch of sand and then sweep the sand into the cracks in order to help with stabilization. Spray water in order to lock the sand in place and then apply pressure to pack it in completely.
  5. Now, for the chair placement: it’s important to create a barrier for your guests from the actual flame. Use common sense, but a placement of seating 2 to 2-½ feet from the outer edge of your fire appliance is smart and safe.
  6. To enhance the beauty of your fire pit, try adding color and texture with flowering plants at the perimeter of the area. Lavender or rosemary creates visual splendor and adds fragrance that elevates your fire pit to a sophisticated setting for gathering to eat, drink wine, and chat the night away.

Coordinating With Patio Decor

Adding a fire pit to an existing (or soon-to-be-built) patio can be a great way to incorporate beauty and comfort into your yard or nearby spaces. Visit your city or municipal building department to check building codes to find out if you need a permit. Determine if there are restrictions limiting the placement of a fire pit on your property.

Landscape designers often consider the design principles of feng shui when planning a backyard. The balance of objects in the space is highly important. For example, to create optimal feng shui, a water fountain or other water element should be placed across the yard from a fire pit. Water balances fire, and injects complementary elements into your backyard design.

To tie the design of your fire pit into the look of your patio, use the same brick as the home’s foundation. Try stucco in a color similar to the siding or trim. If your property has a rustic vibe, flagstone – discussed as one of the layering options above – can be used to create a country look to your back area.

Seating shouldn’t go completely around the fire pit protrusion. Instead, install a bench about halfway around and additional chair seating in the nearby vicinity. A “half-pit” design is an interesting option, which is created by placing a water fountain or wall behind the seating. This adds a distinct flavor to the area and creates a truly elegant space.

The key element in planning your backyard fire pit is to design a space that is as comfortable as possible. Consider the size of your fire element, traffic flow, and plans for repeated use. Incorporate the principles of feng shui and your personal taste in natural elements to create a visually appealing retreat.

A fire pit should fit your space and look as if it were meant to be there. A backyard fire is about comfort, friendship, relaxation, family, and good times. In the end, your new area is really what you make of it. Long after the design process has come and gone, you will be sitting out with friends and family, quite simply enjoying the night.

About the writer

Bryce Hammonsis an award-winning screenwriter and avid freelance writer covering a wide range of topics from education to technology and home improvements. Bryce writes for a variety of websites, including Catalogs.com.

Getting you Started with Helpful Landscape Design Tips

Getting you Started with Helpful Landscape Design Tips

Creating a new look for your garden can be overwhelming especially when you consider yourself to be a newcomer in this field.  There are a lot of generous individuals who are willing to share their expertise in this field.  You can just go online and search for landscape design tips to help get you started.

As with all endeavors, everything starts out with a plan.  Before bringing out that shovel and turning some dirt, start first by gathering your ideas.  Stroll around public gardens, browse magazines and check out pictures of gardens on the Internet so that you will have an idea of what look would you want for your garden.  You can ask the people taking care of these gardens for landscape design tips that can help you out with your plan.  When you have formulated a plan, you can now move on to the next phase and see what kind of greenery you will place in your garden.

Trees are a great addition to your garden.  Aside from providing shade, it will give your garden structure and is there for a long-term basis.  Flowering plants make the great ground cover and add a splash of color to an otherwise monotone sea of green. Make sure that when you are designing your garden, it must match your lifestyle.  Some people can go overboard with the gardens that they create that they forgot that this part of the house needs a lot of tender loving care to maintain its look.  If you are the busy type and can only attend to it during the weekends, then go for plants that require less attention so that your efforts in planting them will not go to waste.

Most of the landscape design tips shared by people are simple and easy to understand.  So creating your dream garden can be achieved because of these practical tips.

How To Have The Most Efficient Sprinkler System Possible

How To Have The Most Efficient Sprinkler System Possible

Whether you already have an underground sprinkler system installed or are planning to have one installed at some point, this article will help you get the most out of your Automatic Sprinkler System.

Efficiency is important with every sprinkler system because they use so much water. There are good and bad ways to set up a sprinkler system, and then there are the very best ways to set up one up. We will try to go over all things you must be careful of when using an automatic watering system, and some tips and tricks to conserving water and getting the most out of your underground sprinkler system.

First, never mix and match sprinklers within the same station or zone. This means that you should not have two or three pop-up sprinklers in the same zone that is being watered by a pulsating sprinkler head. Each zone needs to be assigned one specific type of sprinkler without any exceptions. Keep this in mind, especially if you are beginning to design the layout of your underground sprinkler system. Plan it in such a way that makes it easy to differentiate the zones with the Gear Drive sprinkler heads from the zones with the stationary sprinkler heads.

Choosing which type of sprinkler should occupy a particular zone should not be random.

Large Zones

Large zones should be using either gear-driven sprinkler heads or impact sprinkler heads. Gear-driven and impact sprinklers are more heavy-duty than your common stationary sprinkler head or even your spring-loaded pop-up sprinkler head. Gear Drive Sprinklers are good for larger zones because they can spray water up to 40 feet in part or full-circle patterns. Some common Gear Drive Sprinkler heads are Voyager, Voyager II, Saturn, and Saturn III.

If you have an extremely large lawn, you may want to consider using an Impact sprinkler that either sits on a spiked base or a tripod stand. Impact sprinklers come in many shapes and sizes, but the brass impulse, impact sprinklers are most common. They are extremely sturdy and since they are above the surface of the ground all of the time, they are weatherproof and do not break or wear easily.

Medium Sized Zones

For medium-sized zones, the traditional spring-loaded pop-up sprinkler heads do just fine. Take advantage of the full, half, and quarter pattern spray sprinkler heads. While many spring-loaded pop-up sprinkler heads are adjustable, you will end up saving yourself money by only buying the patterns that you need.

One way to organize the sprinkler head placement for a medium-sized zone measuring roughly 40 feet by 80 feet is to have a spring-loaded pop-up sprinkler head in the front right and left corners, and one in the back middle. 3 appropriate sprinkler heads are enough for a zone of that size. No need for a fourth and certainly not a fifth.

Smaller Zones

For smaller zones consider using either a Drip Irrigation system or mushroom bubblers. Mushroom bubblers are certainly easier to set up and install than a full-blown drip irrigation system, however, a drip irrigation system is more efficient because you are able to water specific plants individually rather than soaking an entire flowerbed. It is advised to use Orbit sprinkler parts and a drip irrigation system wherever possible mainly because you can lose a lot of water to overspray with regular sprinkler heads.

How To Decorate Your Home Garden

How To Decorate Your Home Garden

Decorating your home garden can seem like a daunting task. But, instead of considering it a chore, view your garden and things you put in it as extensions of your own personal style. By following these creative and easy ideas, you can ensure you have a home garden that you want to show off to your family and friends.

  • Use river rocks and boulders to make your own rock garden.

You certainly don’t have to turn your whole garden into a rocky landscape; just find a corner where you can place rocks of varying sizes. Space the rocks so you have room to plan flowers and vines between them. It will certainly prove to be an interesting element in your garden.

How To Decorate Your Home Garden
  • Build a small waterfall in your garden.

It’s not as difficult as it sounds. Use flat river rocks for the bed of the waterfall, or make some out of cement. Stack the stones in a natural arrangement and create a closed circuit water supply using a small pump and plastic tubing. When selecting a site for your waterfall, make sure you have easy access to electricity for the pump so it can force water back through the circuit giving you a continuous water supply.

  • Use small pieces of wood to create bird houses to decorate your home garden.

This is a great activity for your entire family since kids will love helping to build and paint the houses in their favorite colors. Add a bird feeder and bath to your garden, and you’ll have created a nice retreat not only for yourself but for your feathered friends, too.

  • Scour thrift stores or second-hand shops for quirky items to use in your garden.

Old weather vanes, vintage mental vent covers, and tarnished garden tools look great in a garden and add a touch of vintage charm. Use the old hoes, rakes, and shovels as a climbing structure for vines. Salvaged window frames also look great hanging on a garden wall or suspended from trees to create an exterior “room.” Give old wooden benches new life with a fresh coat of paint. If they’re in good condition, use them for seating. If not, use the bench for potted plants or to showcase a collection of weathered antique watering cans.

  • Think outside the box when decorating your home garden.

Reflective mirrors add an interesting touch to an outdoor space. Use rebar or another heavy metal wire to create an arched path that leads to your garden. Then, plant vines and climbing plants in a spot where they can grow along the wire, providing a beautiful and welcoming entryway. Utilize curtain tie-backs in your garden to provide direction to vines and other plants. Drawers from old chests and dressers can be repurposed as unique planters for flowers.

Put the same amount of effort into decorating your outdoor spaces as you do inside. You’ll be pleased to have created a relaxing spot outdoors for yourself and your guests. And remember—just have fun. There’s no such thing as a right or wrong way to decorate your garden!

Patric Seeley is a full-time writer and loves to write on home gardens and interior decor. He works for MattressNextDay.co.uk and mostly spends time writing articles on memory foam mattresses, double mattresses, 4ft beds, and silent night mattress.

Tips to People Looking to have a Beautiful Walid Garden

Tips to People Looking to have a Beautiful Walid Garden

Having a small garden in your backyard is a great way to relax, read your favorite books, or spend some quality time with your family. You can use it for gardening, planting flowers or vegetables, or just as a place to reflect and be at peace. Putting a wall around your garden area has many advantages, such as protection from animals, privacy, and preventing erosion in storms. No matter what reasons you have to erect a wall, there are some things you need to keep in mind.

Types of Materials to Use

There are several different materials that you can use to build a perfect wall. The first thing to consider is of course the material. Many people build walls for protection, privacy, or just decorations. Those who are just after privacy or protection use concrete walls. You can also use hedges but you will have to keep them pruned and under control so that they are kept at the desired height. Other types of materials that you can use are tiles, brick walls, or beautiful landscaping rocks.

Beautifully Walled Garden

Using the Tiles

Tiles can be a great option for those who are looking to build walls while keeping aesthetics in mind; tiles will look really good around your flower beds and plant areas. The best part is that they are fairly inexpensive. If you or some of your friends or family members have recently used tiles in their homes for some purpose, you can use the left-over tiles to create a beautiful boundary without spending much. You might also want to try the broken pieces of tile to create a mosaic look, or you can create almost anything you want by gluing the pieces together in a unique pattern. Using tiles in your garden area will bring lots of color to your gardens.

There are many different types of tiles that you can choose from. The most common ones are ceramic, stone, and porcelain tiles. All of these can be used for walling your garden but the most popular is ceramic tile, mainly because they are strong, durable, water-resistant, and offer stability to your walkways.

Things to Remember

First, you need to do some homework. Sit down and draw out a design of your area and what you want to add in. You can include plants or flowers and how do you want to set it up. This drill will help you have the picture in your mind and you will know exactly what you are looking for so that you don’t waste your money on unnecessary stuff.

Look around your home first and see if you can find some building material (e.g. the tiles or rocks). This will help keep you within your budget.

Finally, prepare your area before starting to work. Choose the spot in your yard where you want your garden (if you don’t already have one) and clear it out before putting down your walls. If you are doing garden edging with tiles, make sure your flower beds are raised.

What to Avoid

Do not rush when working on the design of your garden. Remember you will be using it for a long time to come so you need to think about what really makes you happy and choose accordingly.
Also, do not use brick walls without being sure about the permits and all. Some cities do require permits before building walls of any kind in your yards.

How To Make Your Phalaenopsis Orchids Flower Again And Again

How To Make Your Phalaenopsis Orchids Flower Again And Again

Phalaenopsis orchids are among the easiest of all orchids to care for and it is not hard to make them flower again and again. Despite this, there is a lot of people who think they are unable to get the orchids to flower again and therefore throw them away once they are done flowering. This is a mistake, not only because the orchid can be flowering again in a few months but also because the orchids will grow more and more flowers as they get older. A well-cared-for Phalaenopsis orchid will flower almost nonstop and can have tens of flowers at the same time.  An orchid-like this is worth the effort it takes to get one and is a lot more stunning than those you can buy in the store. If you are one of all those who throw their Phalaenopsis orchids away you should stop doing that at once and keep reading below. You will be glad that you did in 6 months. If you already keep your Phalaenopsis orchids you might also want to read on below. Who knows, you might still be able to pick up a tip or two.

Phalaenopsis orchids are easy to care for. They want to be placed in a window with a lot of light without direct sunlight. Direct sunlight can damage leaves.  An East or West window is usually ideal. They can temporarily be moved to a darker spot such as on a table while flowering if you want to be able to enjoy the flowers better.  It should however never be placed where it is too dark and should always be given a brighter spot to recuperate once the flowering is over. If you want your plant to flower year around you will need to leave them in a bright spot year-round.

How To Make Your Phalaenopsis Orchids Flower Again And Again

Light is one of the two most important factors to consider when trying to get a Phalaenopsis orchid to flower indoors. The second important factor is water.  Phalaenopsis do not like to get too wet and does not like to have water standing on its leaves. Standing water can easily cause the leaves to root.  This is due to the clinging to tree branches in the wild. It is in other words not natural for the orchid to have the leaf rosette facing upwards like they do when we keep them as potted plants. For this reason, they should always be watered from beneath. Put a little water on the tray and let the planting medium soak it up.  It is good if the medium is moist but not wet. If they get too dry you will easily see it on the leaves as they will start to get wrinkles if kept to dry.

Phalaenopsis orchids do well in normal indoor temperatures so you do not give any special attention to the temperature.  The orchids only need to be replanted about every 3 years so you do not have to worry about that for a long time yet.  The orchid you bought should do well in the pot it came in for at least another two years and by then you should feel a lot more comfortable in caring for this hardy gem.

These orchids will do well without any extra nutrients but will grow faster and flower more if they are given orchid fertilizer or well diluted regular flower fertilizer about once a month during the growth period. Dilute regular flower fertilizer about 5 times more than the package says if you want to give it to these orchids.

A final tip to get your Phalaenopsis orchids to re-flower is to not remove the entire flower stalk once they have finished flowering. Instead cut the stalk or spike as it called on orchids just above the highest node. Nodes are the little bulbs, bumps on the stalk. It is not uncommon that a new batch of flowers grows out from the stalk or if you are lucky you might end up with a Keiki, a new baby orchid that you will be able to plant in a separate post once it has grown a little bit.

Once you have discovered that Phalaenopsis orchids are easy to care for there are plenty of other easy orchids for you to try such as Mokara and Paphiopedilum orchids.