Organic Landscaping Techniques
Many people are becoming more interested in using landscape tactics that do not harm the earth. In addition to being great for the environment, organic landscaping can also provide benefits for your wallet and for your health. One of the most alarming things to many people is the fact that some pesticides and fertilizers can harm their children. When you have children or grandchildren, it seems kind of a waste if they cannot play on the lawn because there is fertilizer all over it. Likewise, the improper use of pesticides, or sometimes even the proper use of these chemicals, can result in sickness. Another benefit of organic gardening can also be felt in the wallet. If you make use of the resources that you have at hand, you can actually save money with do-it-yourself organic landscaping, rather than paying money for chemicals to unnaturally enhance your plants.
One of the best ways to practice organic landscape is to make use of native plants. It is much easier to naturally promote the health of your landscape when the plants you use thrive in your area. Bringing in exotic plants or non-native plants from areas with very different conditions only results in frustration and the possible reliance on chemicals to help you take care of them. If you want to keep a landscape that works with the natural setting, native plants, or plants from areas with similar conditions, can help you accomplish this.
The lawn is most often the most visible part of a landscape. It seems as though many people thing it is necessary to use a great deal of chemicals to keep pests from ruining the lawn or to help the lawn grow well. The truth, however, is that by actively caring for the soil in your lawn as well as the grass, you can create a healthier lawn. This can be done in a number of ways that do not involve chemicals that can be harmful to the environment and to your health.
One of these ways is the use of organic fertilizer. There are compositions of fertilizer made entirely of organic materials. These fertilizers do cost more up front, but as they are used regularly reduce long run costs. The decrease the need for chemicals that can become expensive (and if applied wrong can actually damage you lawn more than help it), and they do not need to be applied as often. So, the cost often evens out eventually, as you have to apply the synthetic fertilizer much more often.
Another way to take care of the lawn is to use practices that promote healthy soil and better grass roots. One of these practices is aeration. Aeration relieves soil compaction by punching holes in the ground. This helps by making the soil easier to go through. This means that the roots have more room to go deeper, and organisms, like earthworms, that actually help the health of your grass, have more room to move about and make their homes. This results in naturally healthy grass that withstands pests better and keeps weeds out on its own.
Top dressing and over seeding are other organic practices that improve the health of the lawn. Top dressing is the act of taking composted organic matter and mixing it half and half with sand. A thin layer is then spread over the lawn. This actually improves the lawn rooting, creating healthier, hardier grass, without fertilizer. Over seeding is a method that makes use of more than the recommended amount of grass seed
Synthetic Grass An Increasingly Popular Alternative For The Yard
As Australia's severe drought has turned many green, lush gardens and yards into brown, lifeless dustbowls, an increasing number of Australian homeowners are turning to synthetic turf as a viable solution. Similarly, more home builders, landscapers, and sports and commercial facilities are actively investigating and promoting synthetic surfaces, causing a dramatic surge in synthetic turf demand here in Australia.
There are many benefits to installing synthetic grass versus natural grass, here are just a few:
The Benefits of Synthetic Grass versus Natural Grass
With increasing Stage 3, Stage 4 and Stage 5 water restrictions in place across most of the country, water conservation is now at a critical point, and many homeowners are finding that they are simply not allowed to water their lawns. While rainwater tanks can certainly alleviate the problem in the short term, they really only work if there is adequate rainfall to fill them up. Grey water systems can also address some of the problem, but the fact is that the chemicals and soaps in grey water collected from some of these systems can, if not treated properly, actually damage a lawn. Finally, for commercial applications, including football ovals, golf courses, retirement communities, property developments and sporting facilities, the cost and effort to transport water via a pipe system or truck can be prohibitive (and, as has been seen in the news, can anger a town's residents by using this precious resource for a non-vital purpose) .
Synthetic grass, on the other hand, requires no watering, thus helping Australians to conserve water. A synthetic lawn remains green, lush and soft regardless of climate changes, temperature or other environmental conditions, making it a logical and viable alternative for both home and business applications.
The hot and dry climates unique to Australia make natural grass very difficult (and costly) to maintain. Homeowners, councils, and property management companies spend large amounts of money on water, fertilizers, pesticides, chemicals, mowing and general labour to keep their natural grass in good condition.
Synthetic grass, however, requires none of these costly items. Maintaining a synthetic lawn is as simple as raking the leaves when needed, and an occasional topdressing of sand or rubber. In addition, many synthetic turf manufacturers will apply a special UV coating to protect the lawn against the harsh ultraviolet rays of the sun - ensuring that the synthetic grass will not fade or weaken with age.
As mentioned above, maintaining a natural grass lawn requires regular use of fertilizers, chemicals and pesticides. Apart from the inherent danger of exposure to children, pets and native animals in the neighbourhood, these products invariably migrate into the soil, groundwater, and eventually into lakes, streams or even the ocean. This can have significant long-term effects on the planet's plants, animals, the air we breathe and the food we eat.
Synthetic Grass, on the other hand, requires no chemicals or pesticides for maintenance, and provides a safe, healthy environment for families and the public.
Natural grass lawns and sports fields are rarely perfectly flat. With regular use, a grass lawn will develop dips, mounds, bumps, holes and other inconsistencies that can cause tripping, twisted ankles or other major injuries.
A properly-installed synthetic lawn, however, is most commonly built on top of flat, level ground (usually excavated and grated), which contains one or two layers of compacted, crushed base and a layer of foam padding. The lawn is then in-filled with a combination of either rolled sand or crushed rubber, and then raked or brushed to ensure a consistent, flat, soft surface. When done right, a synthetic lawn or sports field is much safe than natural grass, hence the reason why more major sports organisations and schools in the U.S. and Australia are replacing their sod and natural grass with synthetic surfaces.
Technology has vastly improved synthetic turf in the past decade. Gone are the days of neon-green Astroturf or knee-burning plastic-fibre carpets. Today, synthetic turf comes in different fibre lengths, colours and weaves, and is manufactured to exactly replicate the look and feel of natural rye, bermuda, bluegrass, centipede or virtually any type of natural grass available. The new generation of synthetic turf also feels incredibly soft to the touch, which is a welcome addition for children and pets.
It is commonly believed that natural grass is much cheaper than synthetic grass - as grass seed or turf transplants are relatively inexpensive. So at $50 to $100 per square metre (installed), the bulky up-front investment for purchase and installation of synthetic turf may seem expensive. But in reality, the costs over the long term are actually lower than that of natural grass. When factoring in the 5- to 10-year cost of grass seed, water, fertilizers, lawnfeed and pesticides, as well as the labour and time to mow, trim, aerate, fill, mulch and maintain a natural grass lawn, it becomes clear that a synthetic lawn can pay for itself within a few years, depending on the size of the area and the quoted cost.
For the average homeowner, however, the most popular benefit of owning a synthetic lawn is "Time". Less time maintaining a lawn means more time enjoying it. More time for backyard cricket with the kids. More time for backyard footy. Or just simply "more time in the backyard".
Aluminum Sling Patio Furniture Comfortable Seating For Outdoor Settings
When shopping for patio furniture, people want something that will be comfortable for themselves as well as their guests. There are a number of great options in patio furniture it can be hard to choose. Aluminum sling patio furniture is a lesser known patio furniture, but nevertheless is a great choice for elegance and comfort in a patio setting.
Aluminum seating provides practical inexpensive outdoor seating with elegance. Aluminum sling patio furniture is actually one of the less expensive types of patio furniture available. The lower cost however does not sacrifice quality. The components of aluminum strap patio furniture are heavy-duty, and resistant to all types of elements including scratch and dent, stains, and intense sunlight.
Aluminum patio furniture is just as elegant as higher end types of patio furniture. Aluminum in this type of furniture can be crafted to give a more traditional furniture style like that of wrought iron. It can also be crafted in a more contemporary streamline design. As opposed to bulky wrought iron furniture however, aluminum sling patio furniture can be easily stacked for storage.
Aluminum sling patio furniture is available in a variety of styles. All traditional patio furniture elements are available including patio dining tables and chairs, patio bar chairs, and chaise lounges. However, aluminum sling patio furniture has some unique chair styles including rocking chairs, swinging benches, and recliners. All these great options will ensure a comfortable outdoor patio setting.
All these wonderful features make aluminum sling patio furniture an excellent choice for any outdoor seating. It is versatile, practical, and economical. And if comfort and elegance are top priorities for patio furniture, aluminum sling patio furniture is the way to go.
A Guide To Silk Palm Trees
The best way to create a truly magical, tropical, and exotic setting is by adding beautiful palm trees to it. Unique in their beauty, palm trees can transform any place, multiplying its beauty and exoticness within seconds. However, to plant tropical palm trees and take care of them can be cumbersome. Hence, life-looking, exact replicas of palms are available in silk which can be bought, assembled, and kept indefinitely without any hassles or pain.
Research shows that silk palm trees are among the most popular silk trees. As such, they come in plenty of sizes, shapes, and types. Multitudes of companies exist that are dedicated to producing silk bamboo trees.
Some companies that produce excellent-quality, beautiful silk palm trees include Silk Tree House, Inc, Indoor Tropical Foliage, Silk Trees, Silk Plants Plus, Silk Plant Design Center, Kinkade Studios, Earthflora, Valentine Floral Creations, Autumn Foliages, Brands on Sale, Andreas, Inc, Your Silk Garden, Silk Worx by Lori, Silk Reflections, Silk Plant Jungle, Seasonal Impact, Oasis Illusions, Hillcrest Mill, BotanicusEtc, Amazon Foliages, and Northwest Supply, among others. Shipping normally includes an additional fee, but companies such as BotanicusEtc, among others, ship their trees for free.
Different silk palms like areca palm, cycus palm, parlor silk palm, bamboo silk palm, kentia palm, real wood date palm, phoenix palm, Buddha palm, and many, many more are all available at the aforementioned companies, ranging in size from small to giant.
Northwest Supply, Office Scapes Direct, Amazon Foliages, Seasonal Impact, Brands on Sale, Kinkade Studios, and Save on Crafts are some companies that provide discounts and hence, offer quality trees with huge savings.
All trees come in non-decorative baskets or containers, but some even include a decorative container or pot without charging any extra fee.
Companies usually provide a hundred percent guarantee, but some like Hillcrest Mill, BotanicusEtc, and Office Scapes Direct offer a full refund if trees fail to match up to the expectations and returned within a specified time period.
Small Engine Vehicles Should You Overhaul
Spring and summer are the seasons of the small engine vehicle. It is during these months that the lawn mowers, landscaping equipment, and golf carts get their heaviest use. It is also during this time of year that they get the most attention. These vehicles can last for many seasons over many years when properly cared for. These engines need proper attention on a regular basis so that their performance can be maintained or fixed quickly before they evolve into bigger and more serious issues. There will be times when issues with the engine cannot be fixed by simple maintenance or small fixes. When this happens, a complete overhaul or replacement of the engine may be necessary.
It is important that the owner of one of these small engine vehicles check all other possibilities before overhauling or replacing the motor all together. Odd sounds in the engine or less than ideal performance can be fixed with oil or other fluid changes, carburetor fixes, or a thorough cleaning.
The following are signs that your engine needs serious help, and may require overhauling or reporting.
Excessive noise when the mower or cart is running is the first sign that something is wrong. Knocking or banging can be caused by a worn out engine or a piece that has worn out or is about to. Don't jump the gun, however. Noises happen. Investigate the engine through regular maintenance to see if these noises are new, understandable or fixable before going down the replacement or overhaul route. Unusual sounds may be fixed quickly. Persistent noises are signs of repair or replacement.
According to Samuel M. Goldwasser of Sci.Electronics.Repair FAQ, broken, damaged, or bent engine parts are a strong indicator that an overhaul is needed. These types of problems may cause your mower or cart to fail to start. If the engine is able to turn over and start, damaged parts may cause vehicle shaking or vibration. Some damaged engine parts may be possible to replace separately. Major pieces, however, may require a complete engine overhaul.
Low compression is caused by low oil levels or strain on rings, valves or gaskets and will result in the inability to start or keep a vehicle started. Like an automobile, failure to remain started is a clear indicate that there are problems related to the starter system and/or engine cylinders. Low compression, according to Goldwasser, may not require a complete overhaul, however, but may require replacement of the rings or cylinder head.
Overhauling a mower or cart is something that some people are comfortable doing on their own. For those that feel boring holes into cylinders and carburetors is a daunting task, repowering your small engine with a small engine replacement kit may be a better alternative to overhauling your small engine vehicle yourself. These kits are rebuilt, higher powered small engines that come with all the necessary replacement parts and clear instructions for installing it. Either will save you money in comparison with replacing the entire piece of equipment, but one may be easier and more efficient than the other.
Make A Good First Impression Landscape Your Driveway
Is your driveway landscaped? It should be.
This includes the driveway itself, as well as the design elements on both sides. All sorts of materials from softscape options to hardscape are available to make your driveway attractive.
Make A Good Entrance
As the entrance to your home, the driveway should not be neglected. It can either be a scar on the other landscaping around the home or it can add depth to the entire look of your home. You don't need to spend a lot of money on it either. You can be creative and choose attractive features, and have a very low cost landscape that is welcoming.
Make sure that you take everything into account before choosing your elements. For example, if you are looking for minimal work, do not plant a flower bush at the end of your driveway where the plants can be ruined by those in your neighborhood. Instead, use an attractive fence or a rock garden.
Another important aspect is the footpath to the home. Do not use any design elements that will be in the way of the normal foot traffic. You don't want to visitors going out of their way, or worse, trampling your plants to reach your door.
You have many options - common ones include walls and fences, which can add distinction and accent your driveway. A small fence can add character and color to the landscape. Use hanging baskets or lanterns on the fence for more charm.
A large rock can be especially interesting, particularly when it has multiple colors. You can plant grasses and small flowers in the cracks of stones to create even more decorative looks.
On a limited budget, just landscaping along the sides of the driveway is an excellent option. It will cost little, yet add lots of beauty to your landscape design.
As for softscape options appropriate to driveway areas, many things will work, such as a flower bed or groundcover along the driveway. This will create a border that is interesting and separates the lawn from the actual driveway.
Ornamental trees and shrubs can do the same thing along the edge of the driveway. Shrubs can be cut to become topiary, which will add even more design elements to the look of the driveway landscape.
Another thing to consider is the curved driveway. If your driveway has a curve in it, a great idea is to add a focal point - something to make a statement. For example, you can have a beautiful tree, a flower bed, or a rock garden there. Whatever it is it should be beautiful because the curve will focus attention at that point of your driveway. You can use water gardens, a wishing well, as well as many other types of elements to enhance this area and have it look amazing.
Doing these landscaping operations can completely transform the entrance to your home. In a simple, affordable way, you can add character and depth to your landscape design around your driveway.
Landscaping On A Budget
It is possible to have an appealing, unique look to your yard without investing thousands of dollars every year in order to do so. Practicing some basic conservation rules can help you to save money and still make your yard look great.
One great new innovation that is all the rage is the art of xeriscaping. As water becomes ever more valuable a commodity, many homeowners are seeking to conserve their water costs by choosing plants that do not need very much water in order to survive. These plants are available in many different varieties, and they will add a splash of color to your yard while still saving you money. Know which plants tend to use a lot of water- cedar hedges, for example, are the landscaping equivalent of the sports utility vehicle. Don't plant any if you are concerned about your water costs!
Another way to save money on water is to include a material in your planting that has good water retention qualities. Peat moss, for example, is very cheap. When you mix it in with the dirt and bone meal while planting your new flowers or hedges, any water that goes near the area will be soaked up and retained for later use as the plant's needs dictate.
As with many other areas of budget concern, the best way to stay within your means when it comes to landscaping is to do the job yourself. This means everything, from picking your plants to weeding and pruning. With the information age in full swing, though, it is not hard to educate yourself well on all the different tasks specific to your yard.
When it comes to weeds, you are probably going to have to expect a few. If you wage a campaign against your weeds, and this is especially true of your lawn, you are going to end up spending a lot of money and time on various chemicals and treatments, processes which, in the end, may end up doing more harm than good. Be content with some weeds on your lawn, particularly if they have some aesthetic appeal, such as clover.
Don't be afraid to skip the nursery and buy your plants at a box store. A lot of the time, the plants you buy at a big store that carries many varieties of items will cost much less than those at the local nursery. These plants will not have been tended as carefully as the nursery plants, but with some care taken in the planting and tending, they will probably grow to the same levels in terms of appeal as will the plants which cost more but took less time initially in tending. Most do-it-yourself gardeners like to maximize their time outside anyway, so the extra attention these plants may need will help to increase the time spent on your hobby.
One of the best ways to keep a low budget in your landscaping is to limit your green space. Smaller lawns, and less flowers mean less materials needed for the upkeep. Watch what you use as your replacement, though- some types of landscaping rocks (such as lava rock) can be incredibly overpriced. Bark mulch is a fairly inexpensive option, but again, you have to be willing to invest a little extra time into its containment and maintenance.
How To Make Your Own Moss Landscape Rock And Garden Statues
Moss can make some garden elements and even entire shady gardens look and feel aged and established. The trouble with garden moss though, is that sometimes it may not even grow at all on its own. And if it does, it could take a very long time to become established.
Here's a way you can accelerate and establish a beautiful green moss cover over your garden rocks and concrete features. This method doesn't work well on resin statues and artificial landscape rocks.
First stir a fist size clump of porcelain clay into 3 cups of water to form a thin paste. You can usually get porcelain clay from local hobby shops.
Then combine the clay mixture with one cup of undiluted fish emulsion and one cup of fresh, shredded moss. Fish emulsion is a plant fertilizer made from whole fish. It's usually available at retail nurseries and garden centers.
Mix everything together and paint it on your rocks and concrete objects with a paint brush. Keep things in the garden slightly moist by misting and taking care not to wash the mixture off.
Remember that moss grows naturally in patches, likes the North side of objects, and takes readily to cracks and crevices.
Use this formula in shady gardens and in moist locations and you can most probably have moss on your garden statues and landscape rocks in a few weeks.
Who Knew Home Landscaping For Energy Conservation Had This Effect
If you have been thinking about how you would like to cut your home energy costs, you might want to take a second look at your home landscaping. This is an area you may not have even thought of. Did you know energy-efficient home landscaping can reduce your household's energy consumption for heating and cooling by as much as 25 percent.!That's staggering, isn't it? Proper placement of trees, shrubs, vines, grasses, and hedges lets you modify the microclimate around your home to maximize shade during the summer and reduce wind chill during the winter. Energy-efficient home landscaping is one of the best investments you can make, because aside from its potential to increase the resale value of your property, it can generate enough savings to return your initial investment in less than eight years. It is not surprising then that more homeowners than ever are implementing energy-conserving home landscaping ideas on their property. So where can we begin with this exciting new landscaping adventure? I hope the following information will be of help to you.
Develop a Home Landscaping Plan for Energy Efficiency
There are countless home landscaping strategies for energy conservation, but not all of them may be appropriate for your property and climate zone. Before you plant those evergreens in your backyard, make an assessment of the comfort and energy shortcomings of your current home landscaping. Things like the property's microclimate, house location, and the presence of surrounding structures will influence your energy-efficient home landscaping plan. Microclimate is the climate immediately surrounding your home, and along with the regional climate, it helps determine which plants and trees will thrive and provide the best energy-saving benefit to your home landscaping. Your home's location affects your dwelling's exposure to the sun, wind, and water, consequently shaping your home landscaping needs. Nearby buildings, walls, trees, and bodies of water can produce significant climatic effects that would impact your home landscaping strategies. A thorough analysis of your property's features enables you to devise an energy-efficient home landscaping scheme that addresses your needs and goals.
Landscape to Maximize Shade
Properly planned home landscaping can reduce your air-conditioning costs in the summer by providing shade from the hot morning and afternoon sun. Deciduous trees (trees that shed their leaves in winter) provide shade in the summer when its leaves are in full bloom and warm the home in winter by letting low-angle winter sun filter through its bare branches. Home landscaping that maximizes shade can reduce temperature inside the home by as much as 8 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Would you think of shading your air-conditioner through home landscaping because that increases the unit's efficiency. In addition, shading the ground and pavement with trees, shrubs, and groundcover plants reduces surrounding air temperatures. Other heat-reducing home landscaping ideas include building a trellis for climbing vines to shade a patio and planting a row of shrubs to shade a driveway.
Landscaspe for Wind Protection
Home landscaping to divert the flow of cold winds helps cut down your home heating costs in the winter. Trees, shrubs, bushes, walls, and fences make effective windbreaks for winter-protected home landscaping. You can achieve adequate wind protection through home landscaping by planting evergreen trees and shrubs along the north and northwest areas of your property. Windbreaks can decrease wind speed for a distance as much as 30 times its height, although maximum wind protection occurs at a distance of two to five times the mature height of windbreaks. For optimal wind protection, make sure that the foliage density on the windward side of your property is 60 percent. A well-designed home landscaping provides energy savings year-round. Enjoy the warmth of the winter sun by not planting evergreens too close to the south side of your home. Shrubs, bushes and vines planted close to your house create dead air spaces that insulate your home in both winter and summer.
I hope this article has been of help to you in creating landscaping for energy conservation. Reducing my household energy consumption by a possible 25% has motivated me to start looking around my yard.
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