When the skies are clear and the weather is warm, yard beautification comes to our thoughts. Well of course, who wouldn’t want to have an attractive lawn at home? A good lawn is an inexpensive way of making the whole exterior that creates the first impression when someone pulls up to your house. So here are some ideas on how to have the perfect lawn designs especially for new homeowners.
Choose a Design for the Landscape
There are some elements in every landscape design that should be put into consideration, where most people forget to think of, prior to designing their landscape. Sketch out your ideas before doing anything else.
There are few things more discouraging than spending time and money on one area of the yard and then realizing that when you want to make some changes you need to pull out the plants causing to destroy them. When that could have been avoided with a little future planning. Also, remember that the outside of your home should reflect your personal style as much as the interior of your home.
Vines and Climbers
One way to beautify your yard is by planting lovely rambling vines. This way, you can add colors, fragrance, texture, and a new dimension to your vertical spaces with the easy-to-grow vines.
There’s nothing more romantic than the beautiful trumpet vine. For this adds summertime burst of red, yellow, or orange to your structure. Perhaps this is a perfect plan for attracting hummingbirds, consequently bringing color to your hot and dry spots. Another kind of vine to take into consideration is the Clematis. It offers blossom of pink, purple, red, and white. It is recommended to grow this type of versatile vine on a fence, trellis, or a container. And, for a more laissez-faire gardening style, let them ramble and scramble over your shrubs and perennials. Furthermore, you can brighten up a plain patio wall with the sun-seeking climber, like bougainvillea. Where its twining vertical vines will give balance to the bushiness.
Hanging pots filled with colorful flowers and greenery is a beautiful addition to your deck and porch. You won’t need a lot of space to display them. At the same time, it can give your garden an elegant and adorable eye-level look, without the fuss of digging, weeding and rabbit fighting.
Growing in hanging baskets has several advantages over in-ground gardening too. One of this is solving the problem of poor soil. The tight plantings do not only offer solid balls of color, but it also eliminates weeds. You can hang old canvas or over-the-door shoe organizer on a fence or a wall and fill the compartments with the plants of your choice. As well as attach clay pots to a pallet with nails and stainless-steel cable ties for a living art display, and plant in your favorite herb. Then, voila! Perfection.
Frame and Archway
Make a grand entrance by putting a frame or an archway over your front walk to dress up your front yard and making it a memorable one. For we all know that graceful frames and garden arches will bring beauty and function to landscapes of all sizes. Choose an arbor that fits with the style and scale of your home to give you the most impact garden. Another suggestion is forming a curve trellis on your lawn for a stunning floral display.
While arbors are traditionally painted white, or may it be left with their natural wood color, you can add extra eye-appeal by painting it with bold and bright colors to match your home or other garden decor items. Add a sense of surprise by incorporating arbor into a hedge, or use a mix of materials, such as wood, metal, or stone. You can also clothe a sturdy frame and create a landscape masterpiece by putting some drapes on weeping conifers.
Adding DIY steps and stairs to your garden or yard is a great way to enhance your outdoor landscape. On the other hand, steps and stairs on the garden offer effortless access to go from one level to another. Hence, they lead the eye through the garden and give it structure. You can also DIY steps and stairs to make it not look flat. Some homeowners make use of old timbers and make something like railroad steps or hillside sidewalk. Broken concretes can also be of use. Just let your imagination work on it.
Stone walkways are the fastest and the easiest casual paths. It is inexpensive and easy to make. You would only need a very little digging and simply set them into the grass. And since there is the distance between the stones, you won’t worry about leveling them with one another. Meanwhile, you can use different kinds of stepping stone paths like concrete patio blocks, washed gravels, crushed shells, or crushed stones. These materials would last and would only need occasional weeding to make it look at their best.
Designing a walkway gives you the opportunity to express your creativity in the garden. For a beautiful visual impact, flowers lined in the walkway is a must have in your lawn. The maintenance is simple and yet you will have a welcoming garden that will last until frost. You can have a multi row of flowers, a flowerbed and even boxwood filled with flowers. Also try creating a little mystery by putting some interesting colorful, fragrant flowers on the path that would invite you to gently brush up against them.
Who says you can’t have your kitchen in your garden? The idea of bringing edible and ornamental gardening together certainly isn’t a new concept. Because, yes!? It is possible and can be done beautifully. One of the easiest ways to dazzle the eye in this setting is to throw flowering ornamentals into the mix where color plays an important role. Choose a mixed kind of plants and go for the option that offers a wide range of textures and colors. Like for example the blue-green cabbage, purple basil, and golden sage.
When it comes to kitchen gardens, a stylish enclosure is a finishing touch for an intimate setting. You can turn your own kitchen garden into an outdoor sanctuary. Just keep in mind that whatever edging and pathway materials you choose is sure to complement your house and the rest of the garden.
We never get enough of outdoor living spaces or sitting areas. So, it should be no surprise that there’s a bench or a chair in plain view, in most of our gardens. A totally adorable and perfect place for an afternoon read and an ideal place to settle back with a glass of wine while watching the colors of the garden change, as the sun sets. Consequently, provides an outdoor escape.
One way to perk up a patio is to relocate pots of lush flowers, upgrade the chair and top it with a couple coats of a brightly colored paint. Concrete will do too, or you can use stones or pavers. You can also build it near trees or tall flowers to give the area some sort of privacy. After all, garden sitting area should provide a sweet retreat at the end of the day. So, let your imagination run wild for you to come up with a magical-like garden set-up.
Add Some Shape
Try to play with different shapes around your lawn and you will be pleasantly surprised by the change in pace. One suggestion when you have a rectangular lawn is to add contrast, by simply putting some concrete spheres. You can make the yard a hip piece of contemporary art by adding square stone pavers on the gravel. Anyway, the concrete spheres are simple to roll away when you mow. It can also be placed easily afterward to reduce the amount of trimming. Landscapers often add edging around the usual lawn gardens by installing some curves rather than perfectly straight lines. Thus, adding an appeal and character to the usual straight and boring green lawn. The edging is permanent, so it enhances the landscape all year long and it’s an easy way to go from boring to beautiful.
You can always DIY a lot of things. Especially when decorating your home. But did you know that you could make use of the soda bottles, wine crates or barrels, old tires, or old pallets to grow your flowers or vegetables? Buying is not always the solution for us to get something. Enhance your creativity skills by making use of your old stuff at home so you won’t anymore buy raised beds or planters from a gardening store. Another inexpensive but contemporary way to recycle your planter is by painting them in a bold color. You can also make use of some crates. Just stack them artfully. You can paint them too if you like to add some colors.
Use Gravel to Accentuate
Sure, you could spend several days and money putting in a walkway made of cobbles or bluestone, but a simple gravel trail won’t hurt your back or your budget.
Gravel is relatively cheap, durable, and low-maintenance. You can make use of gravels in a spot where plants don’t thrive, in a spot where there’s heavy foot traffic, in areas where drainage is a problem, or even in areas where an architectural modern look is needed. Gravel paths are very easy to construct because they aren’t set very deep. You just need to dig down a few inches to make room for the pebbles. Plus, gravel paths can take on many shapes of your choice without worrying about cutting the stones.
Ask for Cuttings from Friends
Seedlings or bulbs can be expensive, so before heading to the nursery to buy plants, why not ask from friends maybe they have several types of cuttings that you can use to propagate your plants. You don’t need to be a pro to do this. There are only three steps to follow: First is to cut off a section of stem, second is to remove the lower leaves, and then finally pot up your cutting. You would just need some sharp knife or pruning shears, containers for potting up the cuttings, potting mix, perlite, or sand, and a rooting hormone and then your good to go. Just keep in mind that the best time to take cuttings is in the morning because the plant usually has the most moisture at this early time. Also, keep cuttings cool and moist until you’ve potted them up and avoid exposing them to direct the sun.
Dress Up Your Driveway
The unattractive driveway is one of the concerns we have in our front yards. Don’t fret because you can hide your not-so-pleasant-looking driveway by carefully sculpting the landscape and choosing the right plants and materials. With only a few steps, that less-than-picture-perfect portion of your home can be transformed into a gardener’s paradise. You can create a slightly raised island of lawn in the center of the drive for starters. Then, put a low boxwood hedge toward the back of the island with flowers, and perennials rising above the hedge in the front.
A lovely driveway deserves to be seen after hours, which is where landscape lights come into play. The lights play many roles. From adding to the home’s attractiveness to illuminating steps and sidewalks, and for safety purposes especially at night.
Grow Blooming Shrubs
If you would ask anyone what is the easiest way to transform the look of your home landscape? They will for sure tell you: Blooms. Because flowering shrubs are the most versatile and easy to grow inhabitants of the garden. They provide color and structure in a compact form adaptable to almost any purpose or location, from groundcovers and hedge plants to eye-catching focal points. They also perfume the air with their own signature fragrance, announcing their glorious re-emergence.
The most popular bloom is the Rhododendron. It would look great in woodland gardens or as a single bush in smaller urban landscapes. This is available in wide spectrum of colors with a preference for a partial shade. Nanking Cherry, on the other hand, is also one of the favorites. It is hardy and fast growing. And it also produces fragrant white flowers.
If you are a novice gardener but being a beginner in making a ground garden seems overwhelming, perhaps you got the suggestion to try container gardening. However, if all those pots and containers still seem too big for you, you can go mini by trying your hand at creating mini-herb gardens.
Regardless of you decide to just have a small garden because your backyard space is small, a limited container garden, or you really have no space for a garden, it isn’t difficult and it can be a load of fun in growing herbs in very small containers. They’re very easy to maintain and there truly is nothing better than watching your dwarf garden grow and thrive. You can create a subtle indoor hanging garden or create a wall garden; either way, an herb garden won’t only provide you with good smelling herbs and spice up your foods, but will also brighten up your outdoors. Imagine the wonderful smells that will be wafting from your little plants as you come out from the house.
And there’s nothing like using freshly picked herbs in the kitchen. They make any dish so delectable, savory, and often times more beautifully presented. Most culinary herbs are easy to grow indoors and make it easy to pick from your own mini herb garden all-year round. You can plant them in individual mini-containers, or in one container easy to move around. Most herbs are easily germinated from seed and are very affordable as starting seeds and plants from your local plant store or nursery.
Common Plants That Can Start You on Your Mini Herb Garden
- Basil. The most common sweet and fragrant leafy herb you’ll find in any chef’s kitchen. This herb is commonly used in sauces, pesto, salads and other Italian dishes. It easily grows and produces in the summer and fall; needs maximum sunlight.
- Chives. A member of the onion family, this herb is best used with potatoes, salads, and with fish.
- Dill. Used in many Asian and Mediterranean dishes. This herb has aromatic fern-like scrumptious tops.
- Mint. A fresh and clean herb best used in drinks, salads, and sweet dishes.
- Oregano. This herb is often used with Italian dishes, tomato sauces, and mixed with vegetables. It is easy to grow and contains many health benefits.
- Parsley. This herb is usually used uncooked and as a garnish and contains a very mild flavor.
- Rosemary. An herb with a woody and fragrant smell, it is best used on potatoes, bread, and vegetables.
- Sage. It has a slightly peppery flavor often used for meats or in Italian dishes.
- Thyme. This is a basic ingredient in numerous cuisines and is an essential and aromatic herb to grow.
A Few Growing Tips
Most herbs prefer sunny locations but do check online and research how much sun a specific herb needs. Some herbs either prefer being outside or on a south facing window. Make sure the bottom of your pot or planting area has a drainage hole, as herbs prefer well drained soil. Some of your mini-containers may be unique or DIY projects so never ever forget the drainage holes. Make sure that each herb has a depth 7-9 inches for root growth. Consider keeping invasive herbs such as mint, lemon balm and peppermint growing separately so as not to overcrowd the others.
Creating Your Mini Herb Garden in Easy Steps
Instead of buying ready-made mini-containers, why not have fun by creating your own DIY mini herb containers by using recyclable plastic containers that people would usually just throw away. You’ll have fun with making the containers while doing the environment a favor by recycling plastic trash. What you need:
- Starter herbs or seeds from the local farmers’ market. Make sure you don’t buy too much.
- Just get enough for the containers you’ll be making.
- Potting soil.
- Small plastic containers of any kind, any sort, and any size.
- Big plastic container that acts as a plate.
- String or yarn.
- (Optional) Wooden sticks from chopstick or popsicle stick (to make the herbs grow straight up or as name labels).
- (Optional) A piece of cardboard about 3x 2cm in size for each herb.
- (Optional) Used coffee grounds.
- Double-sided tape or hot glue.
- Used ice pick, wall-awl, or anything you can use to make holes in plastic.
- (Optional) Water-based pen.
Make a hole. Make holes at the bottom of the container using your sharp object for draining water from the soil. Make just two to four small holes, or at least enough for draining so water won’t build up in the container.
Wrapping with string. There are two ways to wrap the string around the container.
- First, you can use double-sided tape because it’s easy, and you don’t need to be worried about making a mistake, such as burning yourself using a glue gun.
Attach the tape on the whole outside of the container. Wrap string on the taped container. When you start wrapping string, make room at the very edge of the container to untie the string.
- Second, when using glue, simply apply glue on the side of the containers and begin wrapping string around outside of the containers. All steps are pretty much the same.
Putting in the soil for planting. Mix some soil with the used coffee grounds at the ration of nine to one. The coffee grounds have a fertilizer effect on the herbs.
Taking the herbs to plant. Take the herbs out of the existing container and remove the soil from the herbs gently because it might damage the roots. If you’re planting with seeds, read the instructions on how many seeds are needed for a small container. Usually one or two is enough. Simply plant the seeds into the soil. Remember that annual herbs are especially easy to start from seed while most perennial herbs take longer to germinate and grow so it is easier to start from plants.
Transplanting. Plant the herbs into the container and cover with the mixed soil used in step 4. Then, gently press the soil to release any air pocket.
Making the name label (optional). Although this step is optional, a mini herb garden will always look better when the planted herbs are labeled. Other people also won’t keep bothering you for the names of the herbs. Take your cardboard piece (3.5x2cm) and write down the name of the herb on it with water-based pen. Then, take your stick is at least double the length of the container. Attach the double-sided tape on one side of it, and wrap the string or yarn or whatever you like to have on the tape. Make sure to make enough room to attach the name label at the end of the stick. Now you can attach the label on the top of the stick and poke the name label in front of the herb.
Make a plate for your herbs. Get a longer or bigger container to make a plate. If it is a used salad or fruit plastic container, so you need to cut the lid and make two plates. Then, do the same thing you did in step 3. Attach the double-sided tape on the each side of the container and wrap the string or yarn on it or use a glue gun if you prefer. Place the individual herb containers on the plate.
Enjoy your mini herb garden. Watch your mini herb garden grow and thrive. If you enjoyed yourself, you can create more mini herbs using other containers and still following all the steps above. If you plan to place your mini herbs on the ledge of a south facing window, never let leaves touch the cold windows during winter. Water your herbs to keep soil moist but not soggy, and drain saucers after watering. Use a water dropper or small watering container to water. Fertilize every two weeks with a half-strength solution of an all-purpose fertilizer. Pinch back branching plants, such as basil, to keep the herb shrubby rather than leggy.
There are other ideas or containers you can try out for a mini herb garden:
Used tool boxes. If you run across some old or vintage tool boxes, ask for them or buy them to create slightly larger and unique mini herb gardens. Drill a few holes in the bottom for proper drainage, fill up the tool box with good organic potting soil and then transplant or seed plant some sage, rosemary, basil, oregano, and dill, all properly spaced from each other. You can add a small aloe plant and cactus on either end just to spruce up the garden a bit. Or instead of these, you can add some toy furniture or other stuff from your kid’s old toy chest.
Making a Mini Herb Fairy Garden
- Select a container with a drainage hole. For a fairy garden, it is recommended to get stronger ready-made terra cotta or hard plastic containers.
- High-quality potting soil.
- Herb plants such as boxwood, lithodora, Irish moss, and living-rock plants, although you can select your own herbs to plant and combine.
Plan the design . Create a magical miniature fairy container garden that will enthrall anyone who sees it. In common make-believe landscapes, a pint-sized bush is a large tree, twigs and leaves turn into furniture, and tiny woodland sprites become products of the imagination. Arrange the plants so you can create the effect of a little forest, a mossy lawn and other scaled-down features of Mother Nature. Then start imagining the fairies that visit late at night when the world is asleep. Start out by using sticks to “sketch” out the design in the potting soil. Decide where the tree will go and the best places for the other plants, the bench and any other decorative items. For more realism, you can also use miniatures available in hobby stores. Just make sure the scale is the same as your plants.
Planting or transplanting. Just follow the steps and instructions from above pertaining to planting and transplanting. With fairy gardens, it’s better to work straightaway with plants rather than waiting for seeds to germinate so you can properly layout the fairy miniature garden.
You can add stones, other miniatures, and even décor. You can use small pebbles on the soil to make a path. Create furniture out of natural materials, such as a piece of bark, four sticks and a leaf for a bench. Create a mini “bird’s nest” (or get a miniature one available at craft supply stores) and sticks to create a fairy chair. You can also construct a little bench by stacking a larger rock on top of two smaller rocks. Anyone looking at your miniature garden will love imagining and creating the various furnishings and decor.
Note: If you want to include a fairy house in your fairy garden, consider making each wall from different materials. Vertical twigs placed closely together can be used for one side, while small stacked rocks can be used for another wall. Three walls are all your need since leaving the fairy house open in front allows you to decorate the inside. Twigs or bark work nicely for a roof. Inside the house you can add stone “tiles” or a leaf “carpet” or a bark “hardwood” floor. Flower petals or scraps of fabric can be placed on top of flat rock “beds.” You can even build a play area at the back of the house for fairy children. You can even create a mini swing using twigs and yarn. Or you can simply purchase a set of house miniatures and arrange them inside the fairy house. Just make sure the scale is the same.
Mason Jar Garden
If you have unused mason jars lying around or you can buy some cheap, make some as herb containers as a DIY project. Make a wall herb garden where you can hang the mason jar mini herb garden. Without holes for drainage you have to be careful not to overwater your plants; you could also place a few stones in the bottom of the jar so that the water sits there and not in the soil.
If you’re one of those persons who believes that gardening is only for those with so-called “green thumbs,” then you need to think again. Gardening, planting, and caring for plants in your front or backyard has nothing to do with having a “green thumb” or let alone farming. Home gardening – and even growing your own vegetable garden at home – is a lot different from farming acres and acres of crops.
Today, more and more people are discovering the joys of home gardening. Whether growing a simple front garden or a small vegetable garden, more than 20 percent of households in the U.S. and Canada are discovering the home gardening band wagon. This number is actually rising annually and has something to do partly with the move to grow pesticide-free vegetables and avoiding commercially grown crop food, while contributing to the environment’s benefit.
Another push towards gardening is the significant health benefits it offers. The more plants surrounding a home, the more purified the air is, especially when indoor plants are concerned. Gardening also reduces stress and improves mental health because tending those plants seems to have a relaxing and positive effect on the mind. It also counts as moderate-intensive exercise so it benefits the body as well.
But first, start with a small garden. It’s better to be successful with a small garden than to be frustrated by a big one. After all, you’re not planting crop plants on several acres. We’re talking about starting small in your backyard or in the front yard because the most common error for beginners is planting too much too soon.
- Plant in a location with plenty of sun – whether you’re planting ornamental flowers or vegetables, these plants – unlike indoor plants – need at least 6 hours of sunlight per day.
- Check your soil – plants’ roots need to penetrate underground, so soft soil or nice loamy soil is best if you have this around your home. You can enrich your soil with compost for added nutrients. Make sure of proper drainage to ensure that water will not collect on the top soil for long nor will drain away quickly.
- Space the plants properly – plants need proper sunlight. Don’t plant tall ones beside short plants as they will compete for sunlight. Give proper spacing to the plants for proper distribution of sunlight, water, and soil nutrition. Read the seed packet guidance or do research online for specific spacing distance.
But wait, do prepare minimum essential equipment. We say minimum because you don’t need to go out to a gardening store and start buying a lot of gardening equipment. Since you’re starting small, start with only the required essential minimal gardening tools and add things as you need them later. Start with some containers for potting soil, a few pots, a watering can, a small trowel, shovel, hoe, and digging fork.
Here then, is a list of gardening plants to begin your garden, whether as a home garden or if you want to grow your own vegetable garden.
Epimedium Barrenwort ‘Sulphureum’
Epimedium are rhizomatous perennials with evergreen or deciduous, ternate or innately divided leaves, with open sprays of small, bowl-shaped flowers, often with prominent spurs. They thrive well in mid to late spring. Sulphureum is a deciduous perennial that grows up to 35cm in height. It forms a clump of red-tinted, light green leaves. Primrose-yellow flowers 2cm in width are carried in open sprays.
Wallflower ‘Bowles’s Mauve’
This flower is well-loved by bees, and with the proper care, Bowles Mauve will literally flower all-year. This highly coveted award-winning plant is not hard to comprehend when you first see it why it is a wide favorite with gardeners. This flowering plant grows well when provided with a free-draining, fertile site, in full-sun, even if this is a hardy species that creates intense floral appearances. This plant is ideal as a perennial pot plant or in a mid-border location, where its evergreen leaves will provide constant structure and shape. It will benefit from the once-a-week watering during the growing season and as it is not susceptible to any major pest and diseases, and needs little intervention or care. With maturity it will bush-out, producing hundreds of stout flowering stems that should be pruned to foliage-level after flowering to prevent developing seeds.
Alpine Wood Fern
A tough, hardy fern that is native to the Himalayas. At spring time, this wood fern produces bright green, shuttlecock-like fronds on upright, hairy stems that grow to a height of around 90cm. Less attractive in appearance than many other ferns, it still makes a dramatic statement in a woodland garden or under deciduous trees. Once well planted, it will even grow in dry shade. When planting this fern, incorporate a lot of well rotted leaf mould and composted pine needles of garden compost into the planting hole. Cut back dead fronds during the winter.
Siberian Squill ‘Spring Beauty’
Siberian Scilla or Spring Beauty are perennial bulbs with narrow basal leaves and erect stems bearing stems with star-shaped, flat or bell-shaped flowers which are often blue. The Spring Beauty is a bulb that grows up to a height of 15cm, and forms a basal rosette of few narrowly oblong leaves, with lax stems of up to 5 pendent vivid deep blue flowers during the spring.
Garden-fresh peas are the ultimate veggies during spring time. They are so sweet on a salad plate or when mixed with other veggies that it’s hard to pass them up for any vegetable garden. This cool-season crop thrives in cool, moist weather and can be planted in early spring as soon as the soil can be worked. Snow peas are best eaten fresh because some peas convert as much as 40 percent of their sugar to starch in just a few hours in the refrigerator. Snow peas, and their close relative snap peas, are eaten whole so there is no time-consuming shelling required. Snow peas are easy to grow from seed.
Daffodil ‘Jetfire’ Narcissus
Daffodils have solitary flowers, with relaxed perianth segments and usually a long corona. Jetfire is generally a bulbous perennial flowering plant that can grow up to 20cm in height. It can have narrow, bright green leaves and flowers 7cm in width, with bright yellow, slightly relaxed perianth segments and a bright orange trumpet.
Tulip ‘Spring Green’
This is an elegant tulip with broad, white, and slightly feathered petals each with a bright green central band. This flowering plant is perfect for a sunny, well-drained garden where it will brighten up the spring or planted in pots on the patio for decorative purposes. It looks particularly lovely teamed with silver foliaged plants or with other tulips, especially with dark plum colored varieties like the ‘Black Hero.’ During the months of September to December, plant bulbs grow to 15-20cm deep and 10-15cm apart in fertile and well-drained soil. You need to allow 7-9 bulbs per 30cm sq. After the bulbs flowering, do dead-head maintenance and apply a balanced liquid fertilizer each week for the first month. Once the foliage has died down naturally lift the bulbs and store indoors for the next season.
Dog’s Tooth Violet Pagoda Bulbs
Each stem of this plant will carry up to 10 nodding, sulphur-yellow flowers with a brown central ring and deep yellow anthers. The foliage can be equally showy as it can contain bronze-mottled or fainter white marbling on the deep green, glossy leaves. In early spring this combination makes a very colorful display in woodlands and meadows, so imagine what a beauty it is in your home garden. This is a vigorous plant which will form clumps and spread. Plant bulbs should be planted 15 – 20cm deep and 15cm apart in naturalistic drifts where they can be left undisturbed for several years. Avoid planting bulbs under shrubs or trees that will soak up all the soil moisture in the spring and summer.
Tufted Pansy ‘Alba’ (Viola Cornuta)
Tufted pansy are like chameleons and can adjust or adapt to be annuals, biennials or deciduous or evergreen perennials. They have very simple or innately lobed leaves and 5-petalled flowers of characteristic shape. Tufted pansy are spreading evergreen perennials that grow up to a height of 15cm, with light green, lance-shaped leaves and pure white, long-spurred flowers that are 3cm in width.
Spurge (Euphorbia Polychroma)
The spurge has dark green, lance-shaped leaves, and topped with a froth of bright, acid yellow spring flowers that form a distinctive star shape. This perennial, early flowering euphorbia has a natural mounded shape and a short flowering season. It does look quite lovely as part of a green and yellow planting scheme or with dark red flowers and bronze-tinted grasses. During the fall the foliage turns a lovely shade of bronze. During this season, cut back the faded flower stems and avoid new ones. When working with spurges always wear gloves since the milky sap is poisonous and a potential skin irritant. Remove unwanted seedlings each spring as part of routine border maintenance.
Everyone is probably familiar with Popeye the Sailor’s favorite vegetable that makes him healthy and strong. It is definitely scrumptious in a fresh salad and lovely in the garden; this vegetable is a top must-grow plant for the edible landscape and is easy to grow in any backyard vegetable garden. Plant ribbons of spinach through a perennial border, or use it as a tidy hedge around a plot of early-season vegetables. Plant a late summer crop for harvest in fall. Try the Olympia spinach variety that is easy to grow from seed.
Magnolia ‘Leonard Messel’
Magnolias have always been beautiful, rounded, small tree or large shrub that flowers on bare branches. In mid spring, it is smothered in rose pink, star-shaped flowers with long, narrow petals that emerge from darker pink buds. The leaves are mid green and the tree is deciduous. This plant is an elegant choice for even a small garden, and can easily tolerate chalky soils. The shrub does require minimal pruning. Remove any broken, diseased or crossing branches in midsummer. The best time to plant is in March or April, adding plenty of peat to the planting hole, in a sheltered spot. Mulch the plants in spring with manure and leaf mould, especially if the soil is dry.
Beans are one of the easiest vegetables to grow, and a wonderful addition to the must-grow vegetable list for any backyard small garden. Perfect for a first-time gardener or any small veggie garden that even a child can tend. Beans quickly germinate and produce copious amounts of tasty treats. They are available in a variety of shapes, colors, and sizes. Some plants produce colorful flowers, pods, and seeds. From snap beans to edamame, you can experiment with varieties and try to grow them all. The Provider bean variety is known for its fast growth. Beans are easy to grow from seed.
Aster ‘Little Carlow’
This flowering plant has sprays of small lavender-blue daisies that blooms in late summer and autumn, particularly in the early evening. It needs a lot of sun and good soil and will grow up to a height of 4 feet.
This is the tomato’s perfect partner; basil is one of the easiest herbs to grow, making it one of the great must-grow plants even in a small garden. The herb can be added to sauces, soups, and salads for a spicy, tangy flavor. The many varieties, from lime basil to Thai basil, have flavors ranging from citrusy to spicy with a touch of anise. Try to grow a few varieties and explore the different tastes. Basil grows equally well in the garden and in containers, and its clean, long-lasting foliage makes it a great plant for any backyard landscape. Try the ‘Genovese’ variety if you love spicy flavors. Basil is easy to grow from seed or transplants.
Michalmas Daisy ‘Mönch’
The longest flowering aster variety of all, with good foliage and large violet-blue daisies on slightly lax stems. It needs a lot of sun and good soil. It grows to a height of about 3 feet.
If you’re planning to break into gardening as a beginner but you seem intimidated by all that soil in your front and backyard, why not go for container gardening. It’s an even smaller version than gardening on the ground with a small garden and you’ll have plenty of fun with the containers and moving around of the plants.
Having a container garden is the lighthearted version of gardening. Container gardening requires less energy, space, and time than ground planting. It’s a load of fun and lighter on your budget, unless you want to start spending more on exotic and expensive planters, pots, and other materials, including unconventional vessels and antique decors. All you need to remember with containers is that it needs to hold soil while providing adequate drainage without losing the soil.
If you are unsure about how to go about or start a container garden, feel free to research as much as you can on the Internet, because gone are the days when you had to buy gardening magazines just to study up on gardening. The actual fun in container gardening is playing around with so many different types of containers with so many different plants. And since containers are portable, you can move them around and play with proper placement. No matter where or what your house is, container gardens can add liveliness and color patterns to an ordinary and drab surroundings such as a blank wall or fence while providing high points to landscaping.
Container gardening doesn’t overwhelm, unlike ground planting or having a greenhouse. What could overwhelm a beginner are the hundreds upon hundreds of choices of plants, pots, containers, and not to mention choosing among glazed, terra-cotta, fiberglass, metal, and plastic ones at that. Choosing may not be easy but never intimidating. Choosing becomes fun when you are able to plan out by knowing what kind of outdoor you have at home, what your goals are in arranging the container garden, and your budget, of course.
Create a Vignette
Image Source: http://www.birdsandblooms.com/gardening/small-space-gardening/
A vignette is simply arranging the container garden so that the plants form a sort of story or statement. Some examples include:
- The common triangle formation. No, this isn’t the famous triangle formation in basketball or football. Containers can be grouped into vignettes the same way plants can. For instance, a triangle arrangement of containers will produce fast and pleasing results. For design terms, a triangle consists of a dominant central element flanked by components of smaller stature. This form is a staple of all art forms for good reason because it always works.
- A single pot can dominate. A container grouping will look very nice if the tallest element is placed at the back of the group composition with the other pots on either side. Plant the tall container with something appropriately commanding so it will truly dominate the grouping.
- Experiment as much as you want. To expand on the classic triangle grouping, simply add more subordinate pots. While there are no rules set in stone for this, concerning how many to use is entirely up to you. It is easier to arrange uneven numbers into a pattern. Try mixing and matching by having a basic triangular vignette in the middle, add irregular triangles of pots of different sizes, a plant stand with small pots, and a garden décor such as a metal sculpture or terra cotta dwarfs.
Add Focal Points
Image Source: https://themicrogardener.com/6-easy-diy-container-garden-projects/
This is the exact opposite of the triangular design. Instead of a trio or a group of containers, have a single container stand out instead.
- Provide something to look at. The purpose of a focal point is to attract attention. If you are burdened with an area where nothing is really attracting, a container will quickly fill that gap. Because they can be planted and replanted with colorful, eye-catching plants, containers have the advantage over ground-planted combinations that will remain permanent.
Image Source: https://gardentherapy.ca/successful-container-gardens/
- Create coherence in mixed plantings. The opposite of having nothing to look at is having too much to look at. Often in a mixed combination of ground plants, there may be so much going on that one isn’t sure where to look first. Adding a focal point provides a sense of order to such almost chaotic scenes.
Break Up Wall Space
Image Source: http://www.sonomamag.com/container-gardens/
Tired of looking at a blank wall space or wall fence at the side or back of your house? This is where container gardens come in.
- Massed containers bring a bland background to life. The rigid, repetitive pattern of a brick wall or high-walled fence can be tiring to the eye. But when flushed with lush masses of foliage and colorful flowers, the lines of mortar become the perfect blurred background for the massed container plants. The terra-cotta pots will echo the warm color of the brick. The clusters of bright red flowers will contrast with the darker orange and the greens of the foliage, bringing the whole thing to life.
- Fine texture stands out against a plain wall. A plain, unadorned wall with its monotony and mass will dominate an area any time with its blandness. You can take advantage of any bland wall feature by using it as a backdrop for fine-textured foliage that can often get lost on a large scale. For instance, large pots of small trees with fine foliage can be evenly spaced along a perfectly plain wall. A border of wispy ornamental grass reinforces the container plantings so that, together, they hold their own against the bulk of the wall.
- Saturated colors work with a light backdrop. Without any container plants, an ordinary and unadorned white wall will dominate an area with glaring brightness. But as the background for a dense, complex arrangement of containers with forms and colors, it is perfect.
Try Mostly Foliage Instead of Flowers
Image Source: https://bonnieplants.com/container-gardening/
When putting together a large container with three or four plants in it, try to zero in on the leaves first. Flowers are nice, but they come and go, so when there are no flowers, the plants look ordinary. If you can assemble a container combination that looks good with just all-foliage, you won’t have a need for the flowers. You can instead plant flowers individually in separate containers and place them somewhere else in the garden. Plants with interesting foliage can bring structure, texture, or color to the container. The best foliage plants will have all three qualities. Start by placing the most eye-catching plant in the lead. After you have planted the leader plant, get other plants and place them beside it to see if they have a contrasting beauty, pretty much like seeing if outfits match when worn together.
When mixing and matching plants, also keep the textures in mind. Choosing a blend of glossy, matte, or fuzzy leaves will give the grouping an added level of interest, as will combining fine, broad, rounded, or jagged foliage. Try to use contrasting texture to create dramatic container plantings. You can even try hefty, bold leaves, but the key to all this is to choose a variety of textures. Too much of one texture, such as large, chunky leaves, is like colorful pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that don’t quite go together until you find the connecting pieces in the form of fine-textured plants.
Image Source: https://www.thespruce.com/container-gardening-4127755
Here is an example of a proven combination planted in a single medium to large plant container:
- Plant an ‘Excalibur’ caladium (Caladium bicolor‘Excalibur’) at the center of a container because of its large and smooth leaf foliage.
- Plant a ‘Fairy’ Rex begonia (Begonia‘Fairy’) at either the left or right side. It is smaller than the caladium but it has beautiful decorative leaves that look nice below the caladium.
- Plant a ‘Mint Frost’ heuchera (Heuchera‘Mint Frost’) at the bottom of the caladium, either on the left or right side, depending on where the begonia is.
- Plant a Creeping wire vine (Muehlenbeckia axillaris) below the caladium and begonia so its stem and leaves will droop out of the container.
Image Source: http://urbangardencasual.com/2009/12/23/container-gardens-and-rainstorms/
When designing a container garden, try planting a beautiful shrub or tree in a large unusual or artistic container and place it in a prominent spot in the container garden as a focal point. Plant a low growing plant or shrub on its base to create a more alluring effect or just have the tree alone for a more dramatic appeal.
Group container plants according to their height to create a garden-like. Place the tall plants and trees in the back and short and low growing plants in front. You can vary plant height with plant stands, or put empty pots and empty buckets upside down to use as makeshift bases or pedestals. Create more interest by increasing the number of pots. Always place large and heavy pots directly on the ground rather than on bases or pedestals. These may easily topple over and their size and weight will make the pot break easily. You can use pedestal pots or pedestal stands to draw attention to the interesting foliage plants or delicate flowers that might otherwise be overlooked in a grouping. If you are using ugly pots and plants stands because they are very much usable, you can disguise these by placing containers in front of them. This will also create the illusion that the plants are larger than they actually are.
Image Source: https://www.pinterest.com/explore/container-gardening/
Other Important Tips to Consider When Designing a Container Garden
Image Source: http://savvygardening.com/a-container-garden-cheat-sheet/
After all is said and done, take a look around your home and see how much space is available for container gardening. In devising your container garden plans, make sure not to overfill the available spaces with too much containers. It’s better to plant and maintain just three or four containers with beautiful plants rather than having too much in too little a space.
Decide how much time you are willing or able to spend to caring for your plants. Whatever you decide at this point will help you design a suitable layout for your container garden.
Grow only the plants that you can or what your family has decided to eat, if it’s a vegetable container garden. Do your research and start planting with simple plants and work your way up to more complicated ones or combinations.
Water as often as needed or as instructed for that type of plant to keep soil damp. Outdoor plants, even in containers, need to be watered almost daily, unlike indoor plant varieties.
Outdoor container garden plants need full sunlight, so these plants thrive better than in the shade. Container gardens need at least 6 hours of sunlight a day to thrive.
All outdoor container gardens will always have a resting period in the winter. This is also your resting period from your garden. However, even in winter, take time to check on the plants from time to time. Don’t water the plants or else they may die of frostbite. However, just before the end of winter or during the start of spring, fertilize the plants every two weeks because this is the growing season.
Use fresh and enriched soil at the start of planting. Give plants some breathing room. If plants are crowded in a large container, compensate for lack of root space with frequent light liquid fertilizer feedings.
Provide good drainage so as to remove excess water. Never allow excess water to collect in any container plant. You want the soil to be damp, not flooded. For this, make sure the containers have at least one small hole at the bottom for excess water to drain out. Make sure the holes are big enough for soil to run through or else you’ll have soil erosion.
Avoid areas that are frequently hit by strong winds especially for native tropical plants. Plants might get damaged or the container may topple over and break, especially for terra cotta and glass pots and containers.
Mist leafy plants during dry low-humidity weather. To be successful, container garden designs can be made in advance and held to a manageable size.
What Is a Wood Chipper Shredder?
Basically, a wood chipper shredder or simply wood chipper is a machine used to reduce small pieces of wood from trees such as tree limbs and branches into smaller woodchips or to create mulch for flower or plant beds. They are usually portable (there are also large industrial sizes available), and mounted on wheels on frames that can be towed behind a car or truck.
Wood chippers are usually made of a hopper with a collar. This collar serves as a partial safety mechanism to keep human body parts away from the chipping blades. Rounding the parts are the chipper mechanism itself, and an optional collection bin for the broken down chips. A tree limb is inserted into the hopper and into the chipping mechanism. The chips exit through a chute and can be directed into any container or onto the ground. The resulting wood chips have various uses such as being spread as a ground cover for flower beds or plant beds.
Why Do You Need a Wood Chipper Shredder?
If your yard, home, or property is surrounded by even small to medium height trees, then you most certainly need a wood chipper shredder. The traditional method of cleaning up almost all year round – with concentrations during the spring and fall – is to gather up the fallen branches, twigs, and other tree limbs and either gather them to be thrown in a dump or burn them. While the former is time consuming and tiresome, the latter will depend on where your property is located and if it is legal to burn garbage out in the open. Also, piling leaves and branches by the road for collection is time-consuming. And over time, any accumulated material including leaves and other small tree materials can kill your lawn or grass. In some locations, local ordinances prohibit leaves and brush in landfills, making it difficult to get rid of accumulated tree debris.
The wood chips that are spewed out from the wood shredder can make for an attractive and effective mulching material for flower beds or selected plant beds. The mulch can also be used to cover muddy spots on trails and walkways. If you have livestock, they make for good bedding. Shredded wood will decompose very quickly within a period of only 2 weeks. The mulch is also ideal for making compost to enrich any garden soil.
What is a Gas Chipper Shredder?
Compared to an electric-powered chipper shredder, gas chipper shredders are the big-boys. Gas chippers are larger and more powerful than their electric counterparts. When you have larger diameter sticks and branches to chip, a gas chipper shredder will definitely do the trick where the electric variants can’t. Gas chippers come in different styles such as walk-behind chipper shredder vacuums, heavy-duty chippers without shredding capability, and heavy-duty chipper shredders. These chipping machines are capable of chipping branches anywhere from 1 ½ inches in diameter all the way up to 7 inches in diameter. Though electric chipper shredders have lower maintenance, they require long extension cords and will only work in small yards. For larger yards and properties, a gas chipper shredder is more suitable.
The Pros and Cons of a Gas Chipper Shredder
Like any tool or equipment, a gas chipper shredder has its pros and cons. Let’s start with the pros or advantages.
Probably the biggest advantage of using a gas chipper shredder is that you don’t have to use your bare hands or doing back and forth motions with a rake, both of which will take longer than expected. Cleaning a garden or property with trees around is no easy job after winter, during summer, and during the fall. This advantage alone is more than enough to convince anyone to invest in a gas chipper shredder. Large tree limbs and branches are especially hard to throw away. Using a gas chipper shredder will speed up the work since more than 80 percent of fallen tree junk can be reduced by a chipper shredder.
Gas chipper shredders always come with a warranty, usually lasting for about two to three years, so you don’t have to worry about maintenance complications or risk of using.
Most gas chipper shredders are durable and made from premium materials such as steel and industrial strength plastic. Just don’t buy chipper shredder brands made in China that are made with substandard materials and tend to have shorter durability and lifespan.
For pricing, again, like any garden equipment, there are affordable models and the more expensive ones. Price range usually covers between $300 and $2,000. But if you have a small garden or property, then you’re fine with an average $500 gas chipper shredder. Compare any priced chipper shredder with a common rake and hiring a team of professionals to clean up that will cost a couple of hundred. In the long term, a gas chipper shredder is the better long term investment.
A gas chipper shredder is better than an electric version for the obvious reasons. An electric chipper shredder needs a very long extension cord for it to function. Of course, an electric chipper shredder needs little maintenance with no mess and oiling and gas. But electric versions aren’t as powerful as the gas chipper shredders. The gas versions can also handle bigger and longer branches and will not burn out quickly compared to electric versions.
Gas chipper shredders normally have a minimum of 2 years of warranty and have been tested to surpass any necessary given safety standards. Some gas models also come with a vacuum kit. Surprisingly, in spite of being gas powered, most models have almost zero carbon emissions (assuming this concept is real or at least viable as an environment protection standard) and is easy to transport because of its small to medium size.
For its work, gas chipper shredders are easy to load up even with armfuls of branches or long straight branches of up to 3 inches in diameter. And all gas chipper shredders are easy to use because they easily start. They are also durable because of the almost all-steel structure.
Actually, there are very little cons or disadvantages.
While some models are affordable, other models can be expensive, so if you need to clear out a large property of fallen tree debris, you will need to invest in a more expensive model. But again, in the long run, the expensive investment will pay off than constantly hiring professionals to clean out your property. However, some medium and large models for large properties may require a tractor or other heavy equipment for power and towing.
Some gas chipper shredders must be fed in manually because they don’t have the vacuum or blower features.
Be careful with some affordable models with only hard plastic funnel and chute parts. Also, because of the size of some gas chipper and shredder models, it may take up a lot of storage space.
The fact that gasoline is needed to power a gas chipper shredder means that you’ll need to spend on fuel. This may be a bit expensive especially during the spring, summer, and fall periods where cleanups are necessary.
Generally, like gas powered garden equipment like lawn mowers, gas chipper shredders are noisy because if its engine.
General Designs of Gas Chipper Shredders
By now, we all know the three basic types of chipper shredders to be electric, gasoline powered, and gasoline walk behind vacuum. But what about the general design features for the chipper shredders? There are four basic design features:
Disk. Disk chippers are the most common design feature in gas chipper shredders. The design is very versatile and can handle almost any tree debris that is thrown into the chipper shredder. The way they work is simple: a flywheel with blades attached to the end is spun up to very high speeds. The shredder power is determined by how heavy the flywheel is. A heaver flywheel means a more powerful chipping and shredding tool.
Screw. Screw chippers are the second most common design feature for gas chipper shredders. It is also one of the most powerful and intense on the market today. They have huge screws that rotate slowly, pulling branches in and obliterating them. Most people will not be able to buy a screw chipper simply because they’re too powerful and tend to be very expensive. You commonly see these types of chippers attached to trucks or in clearing very large areas of tree debris.
Drum. This is the very first and original design type of chipper shredder to come out in the mass market. Today, the drum design is still being used by some gas chipper shredder models. For the greatest effect, they work by rotating a drum or drums with many sharp metal teeth on the outside. These are spun in opposite directions and pull in any debris, making short work of it by grinding it with intense pressure. If you are chipping a lot of material at once, go with a drum chipper design.
Flail. Flail designed chipper shredders are lightweight and are accordingly designed for lighter yard debris. They work by attaching hard plastic strips or metal chains to a drum and spinning the said drum fast. Some lower end models are only made to deal with soft tree waste and leaves, while the higher end models can handle leaves, sticks, shrubbery, and small branches. These are great if you want a cheaper model but don’t have a lot of heavy tree debris to get rid of.
Main Features to Consider When Choosing a Chipper Shredder
Although chipper shredders are easy to use, being gasoline-powered, they are also complicated garden equipment and definitely not easy to maintain, especially for models made for large properties. So, when deciding to purchase a chipper shredder, here are some features to consider in making your choice:
Hoppers. There are some gas chipper shredder models that come with a hopper mounted on its top. This provides convenience because it simply means you can drop the yard waste over the shredder. Just drop all the yard rubble on the hopper and let gravity do the rest. As you check the models using a hopper design, make sure it is durable and can withstand the weight of the yard waste that is normal in your property to be shredding.
Branch Chute. Some models of gas chipper shredders also come with a side-mounted branch chute designed to handle larger debris such as tree branches. This feature of the chipper shredder allows the bigger debris to skip past the flails and go directly to the blades instead. One thing you need to see and inspect yourself is that in handling bigger sized debris, the blades should also be bigger, and thus, so also should be the chute. In short, the larger the chute, the larger the branches you can send through, which means the blades or flails should be larger.
Wheels. All gas chipper shredders come with wheels for better mobility. There are large assortments of wheel sizes that come with this equipment. One important thing to consider about your garden is its terrain. If the property is just flat and even then you can go for models with small wheels but if you’re dealing with property that has rough and uneven terrain then you would probably be better off with bigger wheels.
Weight. Another important factor to consider about getting a gas chipper shredder is its weight. If you’re looking to move around most of the time for your garden maintenance and the garden or property terrain is uneven, then it would be better to have a lightweight chipper shredder. On the other side of the coin, lighter models are usually a lot less powerful than its heavier counterparts.
Feed Capacity. The feed capacity of any gas chipper shredder model will tell you how much debris you can feed into the shredder. If you’re dealing with bundles of garden debris fed to the shredder at the same time then it would be wise to go with one with a large feeding capacity as well as one with multiple chutes. This also goes if your shredding will involve a lot of large branches from fallen tree debris. Some models with multiple chutes may have different values for each chute or entry point.
Blades or Flails. Actually, the more number of flails and blades you have in your chipper shredder, the longer the equipment’s lifespan and usage. The increased number of flails and blades also means you don’t have to sharpen them as often. Remember that the blades and flails are the lifeline of any shredder so check these out as well.
Maintenance. Each type of chipper shredder requires a different level of maintenance. The hardest type of chipper shredder to maintain is the gasoline powered chipper shredder for the simple reason that its engine requires gasoline but may not always be in perfect running condition especially during the winter months or when the shredder has had a long hiatus from use. In addition, gasoline powered chipper shredders have more parts compared to other types and generally this takes longer to clean and maintain.
Noise Levels. Just like all shredders of any type or design, the chipper shredder is also a noisy piece of equipment, and the noisiest of them all is the gasoline powered chipper shredder. If you’re sensitive to high noise levels then the electric powered models may be more suitable for you. However, despite the high noise levels, gas chipper shredders can do double or even triple the shredding work of electric models, making gas shredders the better choice when it comes to the work of shredding itself. Perhaps the homeowner can invest in a nice pair of ear muffs or ear plugs to keep the noise levels of the gas shredders down.
Reduction Ratio. The reduction ratio of your shredder is a rough guide to the volume reduction that your chipper shredder can achieve in cutting down and grinding down all types of fallen tree debris. These range from 10:1 to 20:1, so this means that they can cut the volume of any tree debris to 5-10% from the original volume.
Additional Features for Convenience. Some gas chipper shredders come with features that are added for better convenience for the user, such as blades that sharpen themselves, tow bars, electric starters instead of pull starters, and hoppers that can be tilted to one or both sides.
Warranty. Although warranties can sometimes be hard to enforce or make use of, the strength of a chipper shredder’s warranty will show the true quality and honesty of the manufacturer. A stronger and longer warranty should increase your confidence in your purchase. Again, steer clear of cheap foreign brands that even offer up to a year of warranty, especially from brands made in China.
Chipper Shredder Maintenance Tips
Whether you decide to buy the cheaper electric shredders or the heavy duty gas chipper shredders or the heavier gas walk behind vacuum types, like any piece of equipment, chipper shredders need good maintenance to always stay in top running, and shredding, condition.
Buy a powerful model for your needs. Whatever land area you have, don’t scrimp on the budget and buy the chipper shredder that you really need for your property. This also means that the blades and motor are under a lot of stress when they’re in use, and cleanups and shredding even on a quarterly basis will mean pushing the machine beyond its limits. If you can afford a higher powered machine, then do so. You may never max out the ability of the chipper shredder, but you know for a fact that you won’t over-stress it, and this is the number one cause of chipper shredder blowouts around the country.
Shred properly. It’s best to avoid shredding wet clumps of small debris like grass or leaves. Remember and think just how a chipper shredder works. It performs best when the debris is hit multiple times by the blades and flails, allowing it to break up the debris as much as possible. Wet and clumped material acts like one large, amorphous piece of debris that can get stuck or make it through your machine relatively unscathed.
No matter what type of chipper shredder you have, there are a couple of universal rules to caring for them. First, always keep the blades sharp. The duller the blade, the more the motor has to work, shortening the lifespan of the shredder. Most chipper shredders come with blade sharpening tools or extra blades, so do the proper maintenance. When not in use, store the shredder in a cool and dry place like a shed and don’t leave it out in the elements.
- Monitor oil levels. Using the machine when the oil is low can degrade the parts significantly and shorten the lifespan of the engine. Keep a few bottles of extra oil handy at all times.
- After the first 10-20 hours of use, replace the oil completely. Then schedule oil changes for every 100 hours.
- Watch for oil leaks or parts that won’t function properly and take care of them immediately.
- Keep extra air filters on hand, and replace them liberally.
- Get the right type of extension cord. It’s not good for the shredder to have a sudden voltage drop to happen, so using a large gauge cord will help prevent that.
If you own a garden or a lawn especially when the area is large and with trees around, it would be best to have your own chipper shredder. All the above-mentioned suggestions and options are excellent in providing you with efficient debris shredding. Probably the main influencing factor in your choice of shredder will depend on the volume of the yard debris. If you’re looking to deal with a large volume of yard debris, we thus, recommend the one that packs the most power with a hopper that can handle the biggest volume.
Landscape design software is a type of software used specifically by garden designers, landscape designers, and landscape architects. It is used to create 2D or 3D landscape construction plans and creating hardworks, groundworks, softworks, and planting locations.
The two levels available for landscape design software are amateur and professional. The amateur software is designed for simple visualization for garden designs while professional tools allow for stylistic representations of a design to be accurately labeled and given proper dimensions for contractors to interpret and land authorities or government agencies to sight and approve for whatever purpose it is suited for. Many software companies have created their own landscape design software or created a version of their existing engineering software for the sole purpose of landscape designing.
Hardworks is usually defined as any landscaping design that includes concrete, fencing, edging, masonry, metalwork, finishes, paving, stone, structures, and timber. Groundworks is the definition used for landscaping excavations, drainage, irrigation, erosion control, and earthworks. Softworks is defined as landscaping that involves horticultural sundries, soil preparation and conditioning, chemical applications, turf creation, and seeding. Planting locations are basically where certain types of plants will be planted or located in a landscape.
Amateur landscape design software can be used even by non-techie types and can often be downloaded free. Professional landscaped design software needs to be purchased or a free software may be upgraded to a premium version. The professional software may have one or all the following features:
- Video tutorials
- Digital photo import
- 3-D creation
- Plant Encyclopedia and selector
- Plant growth zones
- Images of plants and other landscape-related objects
- Shopping lists (if any)
- Outdoor lighting
- Irrigation features and design
- Outdoor or garden furniture
- Reports, Schedules, Billing
- Photorealistic design presentations
- Ability to generate quotes, invoices, reports, and other general landscaping information
Choosing the Right Landscape Design Software
Most landscape design programs are built with do-it-yourself users in mind. Most software packages allow you to scan a photo of your yard and drag-and-drop plants and other landscape features on a digital version of it. Or with some mobile versions, you can simply take a picture of the area and use 2D drag-and-drop to create the landscape. Other programs allow the user to create an electronic base map and make changes as you choose landscape features and plants and move them around.
Also, look for a program that guides you through a survey of the area to be landscaped and allows the user to define and map the site. Most programs usually have some sort of video tutorial to instruct in this process and any other features. Some software may also have a sort of growth feature that enables you to see what plants look like as they mature, and a shadow caster that will show where trees and other structures will fall any time of the day throughout the year. This is necessary for landscaping because growth and shadow affect the placement of gardens, decks, and even swimming pools. Three-dimensional viewing gives you a realistic view of the landscape and will even give you a virtual tour.
A cost-estimating added feature can help you plan and track costs at every stage. A sprinkler system installation feature simplifies projects of this nature by formulating a workable plan, complete with flow rates, and even a shopping list of pipes and emitters.
Other software features that may be included are plant encyclopedias with photos, botanical names, and plant care guides; a search feature that helps you identify plants suitable for certain seasons or a region’s weather or climate; demonstrations of common gardening and building tasks; and even landscaping troubleshooting guides. Newer software packages coming out are often better and more updated compared to old versions that get updated. Usually, before purchasing any landscaping software or even before downloading a free version, it’s best to read the reviews for that software beforehand.
Online Landscape Design Software
You can also search the Internet for an ever-growing number of online gardening resources instead of downloading or purchasing. You can use the landscaping design app directly from the website to plan out your landscaping details. These same websites may also offer everything you need, from expert advice to garden-planning options. You can also order plants and landscaping products to be delivered directly to your doorstep, or get the information you need within minutes.
You’ll find all kinds of free landscape design program apps that allow you to sketch out flowerbeds and landscape plans. Plan-a-Garden landscaping online apps may include a library of trees, shrubs, and structures that can be arranged on a computer screen and then saved for future reference or just printed out.
Benefits of Using a Landscaping Design Software
Easy to use. As the popularity of DIY landscaping projects has increased over the past years, more gardening, outdoor, and landscaping outfits have started producing easy-to-use products geared toward amateurs, first-timers, and DIY project makers. This includes basic landscape design software. All you need is rudimentary computer knowledge to operate these user-friendly systems. Naturally, professional landscape design software may only be used by professionals lest it causes considerable confusion on the part of the newbie or amateur.
Affordable. Many homeowners wrongly assume that landscape design software is expensive. While this may apply to recognized high-end programs designed for high-end landscaping professionals, there are numerous alternatives available at a lower price. With so many options to choose from, you should have no trouble finding one within your budget.
Brings out your creativity. Landscape design software encourages you to be creative. Whether you’ve always wanted a backyard water feature or a nice front garden complete with artificial turf, ornamental trees, and shrubs, these programs allow you to create the landscape of your dreams. If you’re not sure what you want, the software can help you to explore new ideas. For example, if you’re inspired by an attractive garden design you saw on a magazine cover, you can try it out with the software to see if it can work in your backyard or garden.
Planning. Implementing a new landscape design is an investment in the beauty and value within the outside confines of your property. By carefully planning your landscaping you can be sure to get an excellent return on investment once the project is completed. Landscape design software allows you to apply your ideas to see what will work and what won’t before you do any actual landscaping. Many programs also have a growth projection feature that shows you what your property will look like in the future.
Software speed over hand drawing. If you compared designers in the past who were fast at hand drawing with those who were fast at design software, a hand drawing that took 10 hours by hand might only take an hour with software. That may even be too conservative, given the speed of software. For example, drawing a tree symbol like an evergreen might take 30 seconds to draw by hand but it would only take five seconds to find and drop in the design with software. Labeling drawings by hand are very time-consuming, and so is measuring an area by hand or counting plant symbols manually versus having the software doing it. The time savings are even more significant here. Having the software give you a plant list fast compared to writing it out by hand is another example. The software automation is the factor that really saves you time.
Saving time will save you money. Of course, time equals money. So thus, by saving time, you become more profitable. With a landscape design software, you will spend less time designing and estimating each project, plus your designs will have a better-perceived value and therefore the contractor is able to charge more for them. For the homeowner, no more waiting endlessly for the hand was drawn or inaccurate quotes or landscaping plans that can go awry later because there was no planning for the future.
Ready made graphics. Most software programs for design landscapes come with ready-made graphics that look like a variety of plants. These images often include flowers, shrubs, trees, and even vegetables. Additionally, some programs also include information on common garden pests as well as how different plant diseases may look. There can even be tips on how to prevent plant diseases, and how to treat them. This can save you time and money as you more effectively take care of your own garden needs.
Ready made designs. Other features that come with landscape design programs include already laid out garden design templates. This is useful if you don’t know where to begin then you can get ideas by looking at prepared garden templates suggested in the software. Likewise, some software provides easy to follow suggestions on how to properly plant the garden or build some small landscape features. There are plenty of ideas present that you can either use straight from the software or even those you can modify a little bit to better fit your own original ideas of what you would like.
Scanning Your Own Garden Photos
One of the best features available with landscape design software is the fact that you can scan digital photos into it so you can work with those. Rather than relying on graphic images of something that looks sort of cartoonish to what your garden looks like or its situation, you can use a picture from a digital camera so that you can create a design based on what your yard realistically looks like, and then you can see what it could look like with a little difference in the landscape. There is also software that can also take you through the different seasons to see what your garden will look like during the different seasons after the supposed landscaping change. You can see what your yard will look like when the plants change colors and have that seasonal change of leaf, or how it would look in early spring, just prior to blooming. This can help you plan to move in plants that have different blooming times, and plants that still look attractive even after they are done blooming.
Other Advantages of Designing Your Own Garden
While designing your own garden even with software can be fun and can help you understand what you want, if your design seems elaborate and lofty even for the landscaping team of Emperor Caligula, instead, have a professional design your landscaping for your or at least evaluate your design so you can save a lot of stress and money.
Proper Sunlight. professionals using landscape design software and have been building and designing gardens for years, will know where plants should be planted in order to really thrive and grow. Certain plants will burn up in the afternoon sun, while others will fail to grow should there not be enough sun. Another consideration is after watering plants how much water will simply evaporate due to the sun’s heat.
Irrigation. Garden design programs aren’t that yet to calculate proper irrigation, so the human mind and hand will still be needed just for this aspect. You’ll need a keen eye and experience to design a garden so every plant receives the right amount of water. However, when designing and mapping out an irrigation system based on sound human ideas and experience, nothing beats the speed of software doing this compared to the human drawing hand doing things manually.
Soil. depending on where you live and what the overall weather is like in your state or region, your soil can vastly vary. Some plants have deep roots, and they won’t grow very well if you are near an escarpment where it can be rocky. Other plants may not have deep roots and be ripped out during the first wind storm as your lawn might be too sandy and loose. A landscape design software with complete data from an encyclopedia or direct access to Internet sources can sort out soil problems for gardens and landscaping, and what plants need to be properly planted to what soil.
Future Proof Your Landscape with Software
A garden you design might look amazing the first couple years, but later down the road, it could cause you problems. A tree, for example, might block your view, or cause structural damage to your house, for instance, with deep roots that can damage pipes or fallen limbs that can damage your shingles or the rain gutters. Certain plants might cause pest problems, such as flowerbeds that are planted too close to your home, or certain flowers near your driveway that attract a lot of bees, finally ending with a beehive suddenly appearing in your driveway. A landscape design software ensures that every plant and tree placing, every stone, every landscape, every water source, is properly placed and arranged so it doesn’t cause any trouble or problems for the house or the homeowner in the future.