Monthly Archives: April 2016

Small Garden Design Ideas For Any SettingA well crafted small garden design could be desirable to people for a number of reasons. First, the outdoor space suitable for being turned into a garden could be rather small. Alternatively there could be plenty of outdoor space, but the person may not want to make a large garden. Also if the garden space is set in an urban setting there may only be a balcony or small patio available for a garden installation.

Those are all good reasons to desire a small garden space, but designing one for those applications can be tricky. It takes forethought and careful planning to make a garden of this type really work.

Here are a few small garden design ideas that anyone can use to get the most out of any space.

First, a person needs to consider what the purpose of the garden is: Decorative, functional, or a hybrid.

A decorative garden is one that focuses on plants that will have the largest visual impact per square foot without any consideration for edible, or in some other way functional plant. A functional garden on the other hand focuses on maximizing the yield per square foot of plants that can be eaten or used in some other productive manner (i.e. Aloe Vera for burns). Finally, a hybrid garden focuses on a cross between these two different concepts. It tries to produce a high yield of useful plants, while at the same time creating visual interest within the garden space.

The most common garden type that people choose in this regard is a hybrid approach. For the purposes of this article, it is this style that will be the focus of the following small garden design ideas.

The first concept that any person designing a small garden needs to understand is that raised beds always make for a more vigorous crop. Raised beds can be constructed in virtually any shape imaginable so they are the perfect container for any small garden. For example an urban gardener who only has a condo balcony to work with could build raised bed planters in the corners of the balcony and a long narrow one straight down the front parallel to the railing. This design creates a lot of growing space without taking away much of floor space on the balcony.

Another very useful idea to keep in mind when building a small garden is that it can be constructed horizontally as well as vertically. For example a wall or fence can easily be turned into a living wall by adding hanging planters or vining plants like grapes, hardy kiwi, or honeysuckle to it.

Whatever style of garden is being constructed one thing that is important to keep in mind is that in order to create a strong visual appeal, it is better to stagger plants of different heights and colors around one another. This creates texture and dimension to a garden space that can make it seem larger than it really is.

Building a garden is a tremendous amount of fun. By taking the small garden design ideas listed above and making them their own, a person will be able to build a visually interesting and useful garden that will impress all of their friends and family.

Types and Benefits of Garden FencingWhen mulling over garden fencing ideas it is important to consider a simple question. Why do you feel you need it? Is the garden fencing for security, privacy of your house, is it a garden accessory or purely for decorative purposes or indeed shelter. This a key question as the garden fencing you decide on will also determine the type of material and work involved plus of course cost. It is always advisable to talk with the experts in your local fencing supplier or garden centre and also to spend time driving around looking at fencing that appeals to you and would from your perspective tick all the boxes if in your garden. It always helps to arrive at an informed decision.

Whether you want to give your garden a more decorative look or you simply want a protective barrier then fencing is without question a very worthwhile addition to your garden. Garden fencing plays many roles. It defines the boundary of your property, can act as a partition to keep neighbours or unwelcome guests out and children and animals in. Where possible garden fencing should be aesthetically pleasing and attempt to match the architecture of the house and surroundings. Be aware also if there are any bye laws in place that have height restrictions on perimeter Fencing.

With so many fencing options to choose from it can be difficult to know what will work best in your garden. As already alluded to the style of your garden and your primary reason for garden fencing in the first place will quickly help you identify the perfect fence to satisfy your needs. The cost of timber plus the high upkeep of wooden or timber fencing has led to some innovative materials for fencing such as vinyl or plastic fencing making a reappearance.

Let's briefly look at some of the fencing options available always bearing in mind, however, that your budget will have a major role to play in the type chosen:

    • Bamboo fencing can give your garden an exotic look as well as providing privacy. It is, however, not very long lasting and can rot after one season depending on the rainfall.
    • Plastic fencing which comes in different colours and designs. Perhaps its greatest appeal is its durability and minimum maintenance as it is rot and rust resistant and rarely discolours.
    • Wire Fencing can be unsightly; however, it fulfils its purpose of defining a given boundary. It can be decorated with flower climbers and twirling plants and over time can be made to look pretty. It lets in lots of air and light but is not very private.
    • Chain Link Fencing made of galvanised or steel coated wires. Easy to install and minimum maintenance. Cheap to install, lets in lots of air and light but provides little by way of privacy.
    • Wrought Iron fencing has more architectural appeal and character. It also of course has its advantages in severe weather conditions.

    • Wooden fencing can give an old world type style to a garden. They provide privacy but require maintenance. They definitely will add to your garden and there is a huge variety of wooden fencing on the market.
  • Stone Fencing is in reality more of a wall than fencing but it is an option. It can be costly to construct and once erected is unlikely to be moved again so may limit your options.

These I appreciate are just some of the options available.Ultimately the type you choose will be determined by the purpose of the fencing, personal preference and budget.

Successful Wildlife Habitat With OrganicYou can create your own successful and healthy wildlife habitat, which provides water, shelter, food, and room for wildlife families to grow with organic and sustainable conservation and preservation practices. Your own healthy wildlife habitat benefits can be immediate and long-term. How can you begin creating your own healthy wildlife habitat?

Are you using chemical fertilizers and pesticides in your yard? Do you have invasive species taking over? Is your yard lacking signs of wildlife such as birds, mammals, butterflies, or bees? Do you have dead plants everywhere? Is your soil compacted and unhealthy? Do you wish your garden looked like your neighbor's - full of blooms and wildlife? There must be a better way. Perhaps your garden needs some life - wildlife that is.

Water

All wildlife needs water to drink and bathe in whether it is a small bowl or pan of water with pebbles, a pond, stream, creek, puddles, or a clean bird bath or fountain.

The sound of water will draw wildlife whether it is gurgling or dripping. The hummingbirds flock to my gurgling fountain in the front yard and enjoy drinking the water and bathing in the top of it. I witnessed a brown Towhee taking a bird bath in my dog's water bowl on the deck one afternoon! It doesn't take much to make them happy. One hot summer afternoon, I saw a young buck drink all of the water in my front yard bird bath.

Food

If you grow native plants, perennials, and annuals in your yard, you are offering a smorgasbord of food for different forms of wildlife including butterflies, birds, insects, and mammals. It is important to plant a diverse plant population to meet the needs of all wildlife for maximum benefits.

Food sources include nuts, berries, flowers, nectar, sap, foliage, pollen, and seeds. Since we have deer frequenting our neighborhood, I need to be careful to buy the right plants or else they prune them quickly; it might be just the right food for them.

Native plants foster a healthy balanced local environment, minimize maintenance, maximize resources including water, and are culturally appropriate to the local environment. Avoid invasive non-native plants.

Providing food in a clean feeder is an essential supplement especially during the winter months.

You can create your own soil through composting or worm composting (Vermiculture) and replenish the soil in your garden. This provides an abundance of healthy plants and a balanced ecosystem.

Shelter

Shrubs, brush, meadows, weeds, woodpiles, dead trees, trees, rock piles, woodlands, evergreens, are friendly sources of shelter from weather, humans and predators. You can preserve shelters for wildlife with this in mind. For instance, birds can perch and rest on dead tree branches and see their surroundings and any predators.

Room for Wildlife Families to Grow

Shelter areas are significant places for wildlife families including bird houses, shrubs for nests, container plants and small trees, shrubs to protect their young, butterfly plants.

Organic Sustainability

By nurturing an organic garden with native plants, you provide a safe haven for your local wildlife that is free of chemical residues, herbicides, and pesticides. You can nourish nature without diminishing it.

Using organic soils, plants, and fertilizers will preserve a natural environment and promote optimal health at all levels in the ecosystem from the insects to the largest mammals including the vegetables and fruit we grow and consume. Through organic gardening, the water table is clean throughout the soil levels.

The pollinators who survive in your organic wildlife habitat will not transfer chemical pesticides throughout their travels. Beneficial insects will maintain plant integrity with an organic environment and a healthier ecosystem becomes stronger.

It is possible for you to create your own successful and healthy wildlife habitat in your yard by providing water, shelter, food, and room for wildlife families to grow through organic and sustainable conservation and preservation practices.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/9173921

Evergreen Plants Make The Best Foundation PlantingFoundation plantings make for the basis of landscape design, not only in looks but also in purpose. Good planning results in foundation plantings that compliment, balance, take up excess water keeping it off of the foundation, screen, and block the home from sun and wind. The curb appeal that good foundation planting provides increases the home's value and desirability when selling. In some neighborhoods, they are required by covenant bylaws to not only exist around the home, but to look kept and beautiful. If you're installing, adding to, or completely redoing your foundation and are looking for plant choices that are going to be absolutely low maintenance, look no further.

Here are some suggestions for you that will require little work and provide beauty, all while adding function and purpose.

Evergreen plants are absolutely vital in a beautiful foundation design. They are functional and are beautiful year round. They also offer native songbirds and other animals respite, all while they do what foundation plantings should be doing and being absolutely simple to maintain. Not all evergreens are suitable. Here are some of our favorite low maintenance evergreens for foundation plantings:

    • Junipers come in many sizes and shapes and textures. Many cultivars have been specifically developed to be well suited to foundation plantings. For example, Irish Juniper is a medium sized juniper at maturity, but its slender profile makes it a great anchor planting, or a plant used to balance the shape of the home and the landscape. It would also make a good screen, and in the fall when Junipers develop their blue waxy berries, they become cover and forage for many types of bird species. Once established, Irish Juniper needs no extra watering and minimal yearly pruning.

    • Arborvitae are bred and crafted in the same numbers (if not more) by nursery breeders to suit landscapes and foundation plantings as Junipers. There's literally an arborvitae cultivar for every nook and cranny in the garden! They come in fantastic colors too - from bluish grey to bright yellow chartreuse, and textures from appearing coarse to soft. They are all hardy, virtually work-free once established, and essential in the garden and foundation plantings. One of our favorite is Anna's Magic Ball. Not growing more than 2 feet in height and spread, this tiny little cutie is green with bright yellow tips. It really stands out! Planted below a blue-cast spruce, or among grey and blue broad leaved hosta, Anna's Magic Ball brightens up the foundation beautifully. Techny Gold is an older cultivar that grows up to 15 feet in height and has similar chartreuse foliage as Anna's Magic Ball. All Techny arborvitae have a naturally growing pleasant triangle or pyramid shape and make excellent screens and anchors in the foundation design.
  • Boxwood is a broad leaved evergreen shrub that has been used for hundreds of years (especially in Europe) as a formal hedge. It takes shearing nicely and forms a very dense shape based on how it's sheared. Sprinter Is a tested performer that is healthy and beautiful as well as easy to care for. It's pleasant emerald green color and forgiving nature makes it a staple in the landscape. Once established, it's also carefree. Yearly shearing encourages it to keep shape.

These are all wonderful, easy to care for evergreen shrubs well suited to foundation plantings. There are plenty of choices and mixed with deciduous selections and perennials, they will make the foundation of your low maintenance foundation planting plan that's as beautiful as it is functional.

 

Simple Ways to Attract Hummingbirds to Your GardenA lot of people think that hanging out a quick hummingbird feeder is enough to encourage hummers into their gardens. While hummingbirds will stop by and eat from these feeders, they tend to quickly move on to more welcoming gardens. Creating an ideal garden for hummingbirds offers more than just food. They offer all of the basic essentials for bird life. Hummingbirds come and stay in gardens that are perfectly suited for them. Here's what you need to create an ideal garden for hummingbirds.

Many hummingbirds are a migratory species of bird that spend the winters in South and Central America, and in the spring travel all the way up to North America and even into parts of Canada where they spend the warm season breeding, raising young, and preparing to fly south again. Hummingbirds rely on the nectar found in flowers, which they get plenty of in South America. But, they need the abundant insects found in the spring and summer in the lands of North America and Canada to successfully raise healthy babies. They also spend a lot of time resting- usually about 80% of their lives is spent sitting and resting their tiny bodies. Providing a garden that's full of healthy insect activity with lots of nectar sources and plenty of thin twigs, branches, and other similar places to rest are all going to entice a hummer to stick around. Even more important, providing a safe place to nest will help the hummingbirds stay through the season, and return yearly.

Rely on plants that hummingbirds enjoy to eat from. Tubular red, blue, and purple perennial flowers are highly attractive to hummingbirds. The wild versions of plants usually create the most nectar which will encourage hummingbirds to come back again and again, but this isn't a hard-set rule. Many cultivars provide plenty of nectar for hummingbirds.

Hummingbird plants include:

  • Buddleia (Butterfly Bush)
  • Azalea
  • Honeysuckles
  • Weigela
  • Monarda (Bee Balm)
  • Agastache
  • Hosta
  • Foxglove
  • Yucca
  • Rose of Sharon
  • Viburnum
  • Crape Myrtle
  • Summersweet (Clethra)
  • Hydrangea
  • Mockorange
  • Potentilla
  • Trumpet Vine
  • Salvia
  • Coral Bells (Heuchera)
  • Mints

Consider tying up a thin line if you don't have a clothesline already. Hummingbirds of North America are well adapted to life with people and their homes and are quite fond of perching and resting on clotheslines, wires, extension cords, chicken wire fences, or any thin and stable cables. Trees and shrubs are also very welcome resting spots too.

Offer a moving source of water for hummers to bathe in and drink from. Despite assuming that these small birds get all of the water they need from nectar, they are still observed using birdbaths consistently.

In the garden, try to refrain from using chemical commercial pesticides. They are long acting, so even if you use them in a specific area they often stick around and continue to kill for weeks after the application. Instead, encourage a healthy bug population. If you're over-run by grasshoppers or Japanese beetles for example, there are plenty of specific traps that work to capture these pets and bring their numbers down to a less destructive number. One option is to use a natural organic insecticidal soap for aphid infestations that won't harm hummingbirds if it's ingested in small amounts.

So... go beyond the hummingbird feeder for attracting and keeping those gorgeous winged jewels in your garden.