Friday, April 26, 2013

Natural Stone Landscaping

If you want to add a little something to your property, landscaping has probably crossed your mind. Even better, you may already be working on improvements. Landscaping can add value to your home and can also boost curb appeal if you are trying to sell. Landscaping can also just be for you and your family. If you love to spend time outdoors, you want your lawn to be as nice as it can be. You can do a lot, depending on where you live and how much space you have. Natural stone landscaping is one way to go and has many applications that you can use to upgrade your home.

Natural stone landscaping is something that is not quite as common as it was years ago. This is because concrete, cement, and false stone has become more popular and is much easier to use in some cases. You can do a lot with it, making it popular with many homeowners who want modern landscaping in their lawns and on their properties. However, natural stone has a unique and authentic look that you cannot get with anything else. If you seek to use natural materials only, this is the way to go.

One type of natural stone landscaping is to make a path through your yard. This might be something you do from your backdoor out to the road or your parking area, or something that you have meandering around your garden or whatever else you have done. You can find stones that are flat for this use, but make sure they are thick enough to take a beating. You can find large ones, or small, irregular ones that you can piece together into a path. This look was common for a long time and is gaining in popularity once again.

You can also do great water features using natural stone landscaping. You can move and stack them any way that you wish with any type of rock that you find. This can be more tricky than a patch because these are typically heavier rocks. However, if you have enough help, you should be able to do this without hiring someone professional to do it for you. Make sure you plan things out well and also account for the weight of larger rocks and slabs when you do this. For some things, you may need a building permit depending on where you live. Find out before you start - you can get loads more great backyard landscaping advice here.

You can also use smaller pieces of rock and stone for natural stone landscaping. You can use polished stones or unfinished stones to go around mulched areas or to have in your driveway. These can also be used for a path, though they may move around too much when you mow and cause a problem. They can be added to area where you have to use concrete, like driveways and walkways, as long as they are used correctly. They can add traction or they can be a hazard, so think carefully about your application.

Monday, April 22, 2013

How to Create a Low-Maintenance, High-Yield Garden

Every year, hundreds of thousands of people try to grow their own gardens. It is a lucrative industry that yields its participants the satisfaction of having their own impressive garden, which provides food and a source of beauty for their homes and yards. However, many people are under the illusion that having and maintaining a garden requires a lot of effort. However, you can have your own high-yield garden by maximizing the resources available to you, meaning you put in minimal effort while gaining an abundance of produce. By following these simple tips, you can balance and optimize your garden.

Choose plants that do well in the type of soil you already have. For many climates, this is a simple choice of selecting a hardy crop and planting it in your backyard after tilling it somewhat and removing the top layer of turf grass. Though many more avid or professional gardeners cringe at this idea, it has worked for many people for years, especially those who simply want a basic garden without putting in all the effort of pH samples, crop rotations, and composting. Keep in mind that, though this method may not optimize your total yield potential, for the amount of overall effort applied, the results are great.

Plant crops, vegetables, and flowers that do not require abundant watering. This can be as simple as reading the seed packet or informational spike found in the sapling you buy from the store. For many plants that require very little water, simply relying on the natural precipitation in an area not affected by drought can be enough to keep your plants happy and hydrated. If, however, you live in a naturally dry climate or cannot rely on the rain (due to the shade of a building, location of your garden, etc.) watering your plants with a hose every few days should suffice.

Grow plants according to their natural growing season - it might seem obvious but this is one piece of backyard landscaping advice that I regularly see being ignored by novices.. This is a simple 'trick' that is almost common sense. Plants will do best when exposed to the environment (climate, sunlight, et cetera) they would naturally encounter in the wild. By being in-tune with your plants' calendars, you can ensure that you will have more success in your garden.

Select plants native to your area, if applicable. This is particularly helpful if you are looking for decorative flowers. Decorative, native flowers thrive because they already are prepared to live in your environment, as opposed to imported flowers which may have trouble adapting. This can also help to bring in local wildlife, insects, and birds to your yard, as they are more likely to interact with native plants than foreign ones.

Although choosing native plants can be beneficial, be careful not to choose plants that are a food source for your local animals. This can ruin all of your hard work, particularly if you do not want to use pesticides or erect fences in your yard or garden to keep out wild animals.

Gardening can be immensely rewarding, even without putting in a professional level of effort. By simply utilizing your natural resources, you can ensure that your garden will be productive and have a high yield, even without spending hundreds of dollars on fertilizers, pesticides, and excess water.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

How I Got Rid of My Outdoor Concrete Stain

I made the very bad decision last summer to water two of my plants out on the front porch, not thinking about the possible effects of doing so. Sure enough, when picked up the plants, I had a big rust stain on my porch. I was pretty upset about it, because I did not know what would get it out. I went to a local hardware store and asked what to use to get rid of an outdoor concrete stain, and I got about half a dozen different answers. It was not a pleasant journey, to say the least!

The first thing that was recommended to me was some type of a cleaning solution that actually stunk to high heavens. The man who sold it to me swore that it would clean any outdoor concrete stain, and now I'm starting to think he was just having a good laugh! It spread the stain around a bit, and made it less dark, but it certainly did not get rid of it, and again, the smell made it completely not worth the money that I spent. So then I was on to the next product.

I went to another store where a sales lady swore by this chemical solution that came in what looked like an old-style gasoline can, which I thought was a bad omen from the outset. She told me to wear long rubber gloves and goggles when I used it, and not to let it sit for too long, again, not good signs. I put it on the porch, and it may have just been me, but it looked like it started to smoke a little bit, and I swear that it ate away some of the concrete on that area of the porch. The outdoor concrete stain, however, was still there, and bold as ever!

I was over at my grandmother's house one day, talking about the outdoor concrete stain, and she happened to overhear me. She called me into the dining room and said she had a really simple solution to my problem, and that was using vinegar. “It'll take it right out!” I thanked her for the advice but kind raised my eyebrows to my aunt as I was leaving. She smiled, and we left the room. Well, guess what— the vinegar worked, and finally, I had my old porch back. Needless to say, my grandmother had a bouquet of flowers sent to her as well!

An outdoor concrete stain can be a hard thing to get rid of, and believe me, I have tried just about every trick in the book. I will say, however, that using vinegar did the trick for me, and that was on a rust stain. I would imagine that if using vinegar can get out rust, it will likely be able to get rid of any type of stain.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

How to Plan the Ideal Garden

People of all ages, incomes, professions, and locations enjoy gardening. It has a wonderful calming and stress-relieving effect, is good for the environment, and creates a beautiful area in your yard, improving your property value and brightening your neighborhood and home. However, a successful garden does not happen accidentally. In order to utilize your space to its maximum potential, you will need to have a plan. By following these simple tips, you can create and employ a wonderful and effective plan for gardening, resulting in a happy new space on your property.

Consider what sort of plants you want in your garden before you begin planning where to put it. If you want trees, for example, you'll need a bright and sunny area with a lot of space. Therefore, you'll need to pick an area of your yard most like that area. If you want vegetables--depending on what you want-- you'll need a little less light. Depending on the amount of vegetables you want, or the type of flowers you want, you may need different amounts of space. Learn about what you want to plant before you begin committing parts of your yard to your garden, to best meet the plants needs with your work ability, space, and sunlight amounts.

Be sure to have tools for gardening. You'll need, at the very least, a shovel, but you would do well to also acquire a pitchfork, for turning over soil and mixing in compost and other supplements. A pitchfork can also be used at the end of the season to break up and crush all the roots and remaining plant pieces, which will decay and supply nutrients to your soil. Additionally, a hoe and trowel (small gardening shovel) may be helpful if you want to work out weeds, and plant your saplings of seeds with greater precision.

Put your garden in a place with a lot of sunlight. This will be most beneficial for your plants, regardless of what their light needs are. Typically, the more sunlight your plants have, the better off they will be and the more they will thrive. By picking the most well-lit part of your property, you can safely know that your plants will get enough sunlight to grow healthily. Be sure, when looking for the most well-lit part of your yard, to watch the spot throughout the day, to ensure that it is well-lit for more than just a few hours in the morning. Ideally, you should find a spot that stays lit for almost all of the day.

Water your garden as needed, and don't forget! Particularly if you live in a dry area that does not receive a lot of precipitation, it will be crucial for you to water your plants manually. This can be done with a simple watering can, a hose, or even an automated sprinkler system, depending on the availability of tools, equipment, and hoses near your garden site. If you cannot get a hose near your garden, consider using a rainwater collection vessel, that you can empty water into throughout the day as you need it.

Use sprays and other insecticides and pesticides to keep away insects, rodents, vermin, critters, and wildlife. Look for natural products that will not taint or spoil your vegetables or flowers, and try small amounts at first, gradually increasing the dosage so as to not shock your plants, and to keep the amount you use as low as possible.

Feel free to hire or find help with your garden, particularly if you are elderly, new to gardening, or feel overwhelmed. Gardening should be a fun, relaxing experience, not a stressful one. As a result, if you find yourself stressing, you may be in over your head. Look online or in newspapers for experienced gardeners who can help you to start your garden.

By using the simple steps above, you can ensure the prosperity of your garden, by simply planning out what you have and what you need.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

How to Keep a Garden Journal

Garden journals are like a gardener's almanac. They are often incredibly beneficial for home gardeners, who have varying soil compositions, shade availability, and other variables at play. The more you know about your garden every season, the more information you will have available to help you in selecting suitable plants. By following these simple tips, you can ensure the future productivity of your garden, simply by keeping track of your data.

Record the full name, variety, and seed batch number of every plant in a column of your gardening journal. It would be wise to save the seed packets, informational spikes, or other details about the seeds in a pocket or folder in your gardening journal. If you use hardbound moleskine journals for gardening, there is a pocket available at the back of the book that will do well to hold your information.

Make a note of the date on which you plant the seeds, and where you plant them. If you are growing your plants indoors before relocating them outside, this is worth noting in your journal. Take note of when you relocate the plant saplings, too, to give you an idea of the recommended wait time for relocating your plants. This is especially helpful if you grow them again next season, and forget how long you kept them indoors for.

Make a list of which plants succeed best in the locations where you plant them. If you place a specific type of plant in an area that does not get a lot of sun, consider moving them to a more sunny area next time you plant them. Similarly, note which plants are beside each other, as some plant roots draw a lot of water or nutrients, which can be detrimental to their neighbors.

Make a note of failures in your garden! Hypothesize why they failed-- were they victim to parasites? Was there adequate sunlight? Did they have neighbors? How did they do previous years? Taking note of minor failures can help you adjust and adapt your garden to better accommodate the needs of other plants.

Make a diagram of the bed layouts in your journal. This will help you to see how well your plants do year by year, based on where they are in your garden. This is particularly beneficial if you are considering doing some landscaping or otherwise moving your plants around next season. It will also allow you to see which plants draw the most from the soil per season, which you can use to plant crops that complement the soil later in your garden.

Note which of your plants does the best. This can be indicative of good seeds, good soil, or a good combination of crops and a good supply of nutrients. It will also help you to keep track of how well your garden does in the long-term.

Remember where you plant bulbs in your garden by marking them with an 'X' or other symbol on your chart, and using stakes or flags in your actual garden itself. This will prevent you from accidentally digging them up later.

By keeping a simple garden journal, you can help improve the productivity of your garden by gathering data. By keeping track of your garden, you can have a wonderful and enjoyable experience in gardening.

If you fond these tips useful then maybe you would like to get more great gardening ideas at my blog - - its full of interesting information on how to turn any garden into the perfect space for vegetables,flowers or just relaxing.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Tips for Tomato Success

Investing the time and energy into growing tomatoes in your own garden or patio space can be one of the most rewarding things you can do. Not only will you save money at the grocery store, but you will be eating tomatoes that are superior on many levels. Vine ripened tomatoes are healthier, fresher and more flavorful. Read on for some tips on how to successfully grow your own tomatoes with little effort.

Knowledge is essential to success in everything, including growing tomatoes. Know what varieties of tomatoes are specifically recommended for your location and climate. Check your growing zone and choose the plants accordingly. Do not be fooled into thinking that all tomatoes are the same and will thrive in any locale. There are dozens of tomato varietals, so get to know them before investing in them for your garden.

Unless you are growing straight from seeds, you will be choosing plants that are already established. Look for ones that are healthy and have deep green leaves. Inspect them for signs of disease and fungus, which will be very hard to get rid of. Even if the affected areas are only on the leaves, it can harm the tomatoes themselves. Remember that they will be going directly into your food chain, so take precautions. The disease can also spread to other plants and flowers in your garden.

Always keep your plants moist, watering often and deeply. A mere sprinkling on the top will not suffice; give them a good soaking at least once per week or more often in the hotter months. Be careful not to over-water, as this could have an adverse affect on proper growth and nutritional value. You don't want to see standing water on the surface or excessive runoff from beneath the pots.

The quality of your soil is important, since this is where the nutrients for your plants will come from. Try out different organic soil additives to see which one has the best effect on flavor and size of the final tomatoes when picked. Avoid additives with chemicals or a long list of ingredients. Look for labels that certify the product as organic. Read up on what organic actually means and know how to read the labels correctly. Just using the word "natural" does not mean it is organic or certified as being so.

Harvest new crops of tomatoes on a regular basis. This will encourage new growth and keep your garden evolving in healthy ways. Let the tomatoes ripen on the vine but not sit there too long afterwards. Have a tomato harvesting party with friends and family, letting them take some home afterward. Alternately, use the excess tomatoes for making party drinks, salsas and dishes. Simmer them for a huge pot of marinara sauce, and crush cold ones for Bloody Mary cocktails on the deck.

If you liked this post and it has inspired you to start a vegetable garden, then you could try speaking to Barmekin Groundcare. We offer a range of garden services in Aberdeen, including hard landscaping  garden remodeling and tree pruning.

Use these ideas to fully embrace the experience of having your own tomato garden. Incorporating fresh healthy tomatoes into your daily life will be a benefit enjoyed by the whole family.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Gardening 101: Your Guide to Growing Your First Garden

Growing your first garden does not have to be difficult. There are many simple techniques you can incorporate into your first garden to help ensure your success. Continue reading to learn how to prepare your soil, choose your plants, and tend your garden.

Before you begin preparing your garden soil, you should have it tested at your county extension office. After you receive the results from the test, you can easily amend your soil to create perfect soil for your plants. If your soil is too acidic, you simply have to work some peat moss, compost or sawdust into your soil. Low pH soil can affect your crops. To increase your soil's pH level, add fertilizer or lime to your soil and work it in. Lime is powdered limestone; therefore, it is safe to add to your vegetable garden.

One mistake that new gardeners make is beginning with a large garden. Instead of making a large garden, start out small. Find your favorite vegetable and plant a few varieties to see which ones do the best. For example, if you enjoy eating salads, plant a variety of leaf lettuce or tomatoes.

When choosing plants for your garden, opt for ones that are commonly grown in your location. This will help ensure that you do not need to do anything special to the soil. Additionally, plants that grow easy in your location will not need extra watering or fertilization.

You can find information and guidance by talking with your local county extension officer. He can guide you toward plants that are suitable for the growing conditions in your area. You can also talk to friends and family members for advice on plant selection, plant spacing and watering requirements of a variety of plants.

After the first year, you will know which plants produced well and which ones did not. The next year, plant the varieties that did the best. If you had types of vegetables that did not do well, choose different varieties or seek assistance at your local nursery for advice on which varieties work well in your location.

Although you must keep your garden free from weeds, it is not necessary to hoe your garden weekly. Doing so can actually cause more harm than good. Hoeing can disturb your plants roots which can result in lower yields and weaker plants. Instead, limit the number of times you hoe. Wait until your plants are well-established before you hoe. Then, carefully hoe around each plant avoid the area right below the plant. For any weeds that have cropped up right under your plant, simply weed by hand being careful to not damage the plant.

There are many things you can do to ensure that your first garden thrives. Follow the advice from this article, and you will be well on your way to having a bountiful harvest that you and your family can enjoy. Experienced gardeners know that gardening is all about trial and error. Once you find the plants that work best in your location, stick to them and they will abundantly produce for you.