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Retaining Walls: What They Do, and Why You Might Need One

Retaining Walls: What They Do, and Why You Might Need One

In the course of home ownership, many people may find they need to add a retaining wall to their properties. These are more than just a cosmetic improvement; they serve an important function in house landscaping by minimizing soil erosion. The following is a look at the major functions of a retaining wall, clues that you might need to add one to your property, and design options to compliment your house landscaping.

Retaining Wall Functions

Especially in wet areas of the country, it’s important to consider drainage techniques in your yard and lawn care. Retaining walls, for example, can be designed to direct rainwater away from the home. they can also:

Increase usability. A retaining wall can create a flat area by holding back the soil on a slope. If the land slopes around your house, they can make your whole yard much easier to use.

Hold slopes in place. Slopes are great for views but challenging for your home’s stability. These walls battle gravity by keeping the soil on a slope in place.

Boost built-in seating. One of the unanticipated services landscaping retaining walls can provide is additional seating. The top of the wall is a nice place to sit and chat.

Signs You Might Need a Retaining Wall

Soil fault lines are uphill from your property. During earthquakes, land often slides away from fault lines. Does a fault line run above your property? If so, a landscaping contractor might recommend adding one of these walls for increased stability.

Downhill erosion is impacting your property. Are you battling mountains of soil and debris deposited on your property via erosion? If so, a wall can help redirect or absorb rainwater and slow the rate of erosion.

A sliding hill is threatening your home’s foundation. On the downhill slide of a slope, erosion can wear away and weaken a home’s foundation. In contrast, the uphill side of a foundation may be compacted by erosion. In both cases, a retaining wall can help provide helpful services; landscaping architects can design walls to stabilize homes on sloped properties.

Design Options

A retaining wall is a practical and functional landscape feature, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be beautiful, as well. Common materials for these walls include:

Natural stone. Natural stone is the most expensive (and, many say, the most attractive) option.

Interlocking blocks or poured concrete. Interlocking blocks or poured concrete retaining walls are less expensive than their natural stone counterparts. A modern-style home design pairs well with these types of walls.

Timber walls. Because timber walls often do not last as long as other options, timber is usually the least expensive choice.

Whichever material you choose, it’s smart to incorporate drainage in your design – otherwise, your wall could eventually crack or buckle. This may be a way to help you choose among service providers; Landscaping companies that can’t design one with built-in drainage should be removed from your list of potential contractors.

Retaining walls create flat planting areas while providing slope stabilization. When considering adding one, don’t automatically assume that the job can be done by the same outfit that provides your lawn care; landscaping gurus know that building a one requires engineering prowess.…

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Composting in Your Landscape

Composting in Your Landscape

Composting landscape and kitchen scraps is beneficial for reducing garbage waste and practicing recycling throughout your landscape maintenance routine. You do not need a green thumb to begin composting. Here are a few basic principles to get you started with composting: materials you can compost, ratio and composition of kitchen and yard waste, pile configuration, maintenance, and composting cycle.

What can you compost? Most materials may be composted. There are a few things you should avoid composting: cut grass where chemical herbicides have been applied, weeds (they may re-seed and continue returning to your landscape), synthetic chemicals, pet waste, inorganic materials (pressure treated lumber, plastics, metals, glass, etc.), plants with diseases, coal ash, paper with color ink (newspapers, magazines, etc.), as well as anything consisting of dairy, meat, bones, fish and fats.

Getting started. One rule to remember is: stick to the carbon-to-nitrogen ratio (C:N) of 25-30:1. Materials with high carbon (dry material, a.k.a. brown waste) concentration include: ashes (25:1), cardboard (350:1), fruit waste (35:1), pine needles (80:1), sawdust (325:1), wood chips (400:1), etc. High nitrogen (wet material, a.k.a. green waste) concentration include: alfalfa (12:1), clover (23:1), coffee grounds (20:1), food waste (20:1), garden waste (30:1), grass clippings (20:1) (herbicide free), hay (25:1), manures (15:1), seaweed (19:1), etc. If your compost is too carbon-rich you may add grass clippings or manure to lower the ratio. Adding paper or dry leaves will raise C:N levels if it is too low. Make sure the materials added are shredded or diced to a manageable size.

Pile configuration. Pick a sunny spot in your landscape for the compost pile. You should choose an area with plenty of room to pile additional scraps and adequate space for turning compost barrels or piles. Make sure the area has some screening or consider purchasing a small indoor compost bin for your basement or garage (i.e. Planet Natural Indoor Composter). Your compost bin dimensions should also be at least 3 x 3 x 3.

Maintenance and preservation. Most of your time will be spent turning the compost pile. If you want a lower maintenance pile, consider adding worms to your compost. Vermicompost is “the process by which earthworms digest organic matter.” Starting your own vermicompost consists of a bin, bedding, earthworms, and worm food. Most earthworm bins are smaller scale compared to compost piles, but you can add the same type of kitchen waste to your collection. Mixing your compost weekly will maintain even decomposition. Compost also needs a balanced mixture of moisture. Testing the compost consistency is the best way to determine whether any additional material needs to be added. Take a handful of compost and squeeze it; there shouldn’t be any water dripping out of your hands or crumbling of compost material. The best consistency to look for is the compost taking the form of your fist. Good compost should also smell earthy and look like soil.

Compost cycle: from table to outdoors and back again. Once your compost pile is started you can add your nutrient rich mixture to new plantings, mulching areas, and upkeep for more compost.

Regulations regarding composting. Contact your local city government regarding any regulations for compost piles. Most restrictions will consist of compost height, obstruction of drainage areas, and pest control. You may also check any homeowner association guidelines.…

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Choosing the Right Landscaping Plants to Accentuate

Choosing the Right Landscaping Plants to Accentuate

If you already have a landscaping idea in mind for your front yard and even for your backyard, the next thing that you have to do is buy the right tools and materials needed to make your visualization into a reality. Most landscapes will often make use of various plants in order to beautify the surroundings, but we often have a hard time choosing the right plants to suit our tastes and preferences.

As most of us are not gardeners, we will tend to purchase live plants because of their aesthetic value. However, we often forget about the other considerations that need to be thought about before getting any type of plant at all. For example, there are certain plants that will only grow at a certain season and, if you decide to include them in your landscaping project, it is sure to destroy the perfect image you had in mind. Plants also grow in many different ways and knowing how they behave in terms of that will help you decide if you need them and in where they will best be placed. Some plants are also very sensitive and need lots of sunshine and water in order to survive. If you do not keep this in mind, you can end up paying so much for something that will only last you a few months.

Although landscaping is not such a difficult project to do, choosing the right plants in the first place is and it should be done with utmost care. First, you will have to consider the characteristics of the plant and see whether they are suitable to be grown in your area or not. If not, then you will have to choose another type of plant instead. Garden centers and nurseries can usually help you during this part of your landscaping project but you must remember to do your homework first at home. Do your research at home. If you have other questions in mind, the people at the garden center should be experts enough to answer them.

Next, you will also have to consider how tall the chosen plants can possibly grow and if they will fit the landscaping idea that you have in mind. The colors of the foliage and the flowers are also necessary considerations to remember if you want your front yard landscape to look good. Other considerations to remember about choosing plants for your landscaping project is seeing if they are insect resistant or not, what type of soil they can survive in, how much water and sun they need and many others.

Choosing the right plants for your landscaping project will not only help you create a yard that leaves a good impression but it will also help you save money. If you fail to keep these things in mind, you can be wasting resources because your plants are not able to survive, did not grow the way you wanted it to or they just did not fit your visualization.…

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Gardening and Winter Weather

Gardening and Winter Weather

Rainfall and snowfall are likely to play an enormous part as part of your garden landscape choices. For instance you will need to prepare for the garden landscaping design carefully. You need to head out to the library and take away some guides about the issue. These types of garden landscaping publications can help you to understand just about all of the most basic factors of garden landscape design so that you will not wreck your garden permanently.

Your own garden landscaping has to be carried out with close consideration being paid to bad weather and snow in addition to correct water flow. Should you realize that your own garden will get too muddy during the cold months or perhaps you have got significant puddles throughout then you almost certainly do not really have the appropriate drainage taking place. This really is a thing that you might think about having a specialist into look after. Should you nevertheless want to complete the remainder of your own garden landscaping your self then this really is okay however a few issues are usually much better left for the experts.

You have to have the garden landscaping carried out so that the rainwater whenever it comes, would actually water the plant life. It will be possible to utilize all the water which falls in to your garden in order to supply the plants as well as the shrubs should you build your garden the proper way. Figuring out the overall rain fall amounts and periods of the year you can then have the ability to make up water amounts once they decrease with alternative watering. This will be significant during periods such as summer season when it gets warm and there is very little rainfall.

Snowfall is one more thing which is extremely important for your garden. Snow is definitely as essential for your whole garden project as rainwater is. Snow not merely waters the garden because it melts but the actual snow, even though freezing, can in fact help with keeping the earth warmer. This will likely permit any kind of vegetation which are asleep below the snow to remain healthy and well. The bulbs will show up early in the year in ideal form and coloration making the garden all the more stunning

Whenever it rains you have to observe precisely how the water is moved throughout your garden. This is essential for the whole garden you are intending make. This really is easy to accomplish, all you have to do is go for a walk around the garden next time it begins to rain. Observe the place that the rainfall puddles are and exactly where it drains to and you really are on the right track to master garden landscaping. This sort of work is the simple portion of the task and is the greatest method to start. You will know very well what has to be carried out to have the appropriate waterflow and drainage going with your garden.…

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How to Add Value to a Property by Having an Immaculate Front Garden

How to Add Value to a Property by Having an Immaculate Front Garden

Front gardens are often overlooked because people are unlikely to view them at as a sitting area – unlike back gardens.

But the reality is that front gardens are seen, walked through and used every day of the year.

A well-designed garden space will not only make your day-to-day living easier but it will add value to a property because it gives a first impression of the property and is a huge selling point to any potential buyer.

The main focus of any front garden design will be the practical requirements for the space.

This might include how many cars you need, where the property is positioned, or an area for the rubbish bins. But equally as important is to consider how the garden will look and feel. Factors include how it will look when viewed from the road, or what materials will best work with the style and age of the house.

It is extremely important to examine what plants will provide structure throughout the year and some colour or interest in each season.

A garden full of weeds is unappealing to any potential buyer – and an effective way to deal with this is to use landscaping fabric.

Driveway and patio weed control fabric is specially designed for use under patios and driveways. Its unique bonded fibre design provides unbeatable drainage performance whilst it’s high strength provides excellent ground stabilisation with high puncture and tear resistance.

Careful planning is crucial if you are to create a functional and attractive front garden.

Both heavy duty and light garden weed membranes will help turn your front garden into a desirable property. Heavy duty weed control fabric can be used under gravel, slate, decking, and garden paths or trails. By contrast, a lightweed suppressing garden membrane can be used under organic mulch, decorative gravel, bark or for simply lining planters in the garden.

Weed control fabric only lets water and nutrients through to your plants, whilst suppressing the growth of nasty unwanted weeds.

Using weed control membranes also helps to keep the ground moist and protects from extreme temperatures, whilst reducing the need for watering of plants.…

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The Usefulness of Leaf Blowers

The Usefulness of Leaf Blowers

Leaf blowers make a number of yard-related jobs easier to accomplish. For instance, a homeowner who is expecting visitors may walk out to find his driveway littered with leaves. Without a blower, he would spend a lot of time and effort sweeping them from his driveway. However, with a blower he has the ability to remove them in an efficient, timely fashion. Alternatively, a small business owner with a lot of beautiful trees around her building would likely find a blower helpful in the task of removing leaves from her front walk. Furthermore, leaf blowers are useful in quickly removing leaves from sidewalks, pathways, and porches.

Leaf blowers can assist in the process of organizing leaves in a yard. For example, a blower is able to move them toward a particular tree to form a neat pile beneath it. In addition, a blower can push loose ones into one pile, making it easier for an owner to place them into a bag. A blower also has the power to scatter them beneath a line of bushes. In short, leaf blowers can help people to organize a gathering of leaves on their property.

In many cases, the people who use these efficient tools for yard work spend less time working in the yard and more time having fun. For example, it may take a family an entire afternoon to clear the leaves from both their front and back yard using traditional lawn maintenance tools, such as rakes. However, if they use a blower to clear them away, the task would likely be much less time consuming. In short, the family would have more time to spend having fun together.

Finally, a home with well-cared-for grounds is an appealing sight in a neighborhood. A leaf blower can play an important part in setting that scene. Potential buyers who are making their way up the front walk of a home that is for sale will notice a driveway and sidewalk that are free of leaves. Also, they may take special notice of a tidy lawn. In short, the overall appearance of a home’s property can make a memorable impression on visitors.…

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Landscaping Tips For Aluminum Pool Fences

Landscaping Tips For Aluminum Pool Fences

Having a pool in the summer is a godsend and a big headache all at the same time. On the one hand there is the cool sensation of floating in the water, the comfort of sitting in the sun knowing that refreshment is only a step away, and frequent opportunities for friends and family to come and enjoy the pool with you. On the other hand there’s cleaning, evaporation, and safety concerns that have to be kept in mind.

If you already have an aluminum pool fence around your pool then you’re well on your way to fun summers and higher property values. If you don’t, you should seriously consider getting one put in (or Do it yourself). An aluminum fence is inexpensive, resistant to moisture and high levels of UV, and designed to last for years and years (making it an incredible long-term investment). Of course, depending on your current landscaping it can also look quite stark and rigid. No worries though because a few smart landscaping movies can make all the difference. I’ll share a few tips with you below.

Have an idea of what you want to accomplish. Spend some time just visualizing what you’d like to see while you relax by the pool and then make a basic sketch.

Decorative urns, terra cotta pots, and fence planters are a great idea. Placing these strategically around the inside of the pool fence can give the entire area a more charming and lush appearance.

If possible, try to plant your shrubs or flowers around the outside of the pool fence (in the ground), but keep in mind that location is everything. Keep the wind in mind and you will have less debris (leaves, etc) flying into your pool later.

A little mindfulness and some creativity are all you really need to bring a pool fence to life and make it an elegant and appealing addition to your refreshing pool party.…

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How Curb Appeal Can Get Your House Sold

How Curb Appeal Can Get Your House Sold

Putting your home on the market can be overwhelming but here are a couple quick starter projects that nearly anyone can do to help sell their house. What you need to do first is take a stroll around the outside of your residence, and try to visualize it from the point of view of someone seeing it for the first time. Consider that first impressions just happen one time!

Cleaning your gutters and downspouts, and making certain they are all in excellent condition is an excellent place to begin. Organic matter that can be seen from the ground should be removed. Swap out those gutters and downspouts that are rusty or broken. A fresh coat of paint can make everything look like new; apply some to your front entrance, garage door, and trim. Any other spots that are in clear need of a touch up must get painted too.

Your next endeavor should be washing your siding and windows. A simple accessory added to your garden hose will make this project a snap. You might also purchase a power washer. To increase efficiency, start at the highest point of your home and work your way down towards the ground. Replace any broken or banged up windows with new ones. Since you have that power washer hooked up, this would also be an excellent time to wash down your deck and front walk. For those whose properties are painted, though it’s a large project, consider repainting your whole residence. This job does require some expertise, so, if you are not an expert, it may be best not to attempt it on your own.

The next area that may possibly require some upgrades is your landscaping. Landscaping that is old, outdated or withering ought to be dug up, and replaced. Blossoming plants can do a lot for the exterior setting of your house. Then, break out your gardening tools. Make sure that all bushes and trees surrounding your house are nicely trimmed. Using some inexpensive mulch is an excellent way to tie your landscaping together.

The last task is to neaten and organize your outdoor living area. You need your outside living area to be just as pleasant and interesting as your indoor living space. Eliminate all mess from these spaces. Make sure you have some inviting lighting. Make your space unique with cozy furniture and attractive accessories. Select a design that you can keep constant all-around the whole circumference of your home.…

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Building Your Own Patio

Building Your Own Patio

Planning and designing a patio for your garden area allows you to make the space uniquely yours, and express your personality while offering comfort and charm. The size and position of your garden and your planned patio area are important. Some prefer a patio closer to the home, while others plan a patio area based on the sunlight or views offered. Either way, the idea is to transform your garden area into an outside room or space that you will enjoy spending time in. There are a few guidelines that can help you achieve this, but there are no hard and fast rules for designing your patio area.

Proportional design is critical to creating a patio space that is in harmony with your existing home and garden. In addition, the size of the patio will also be influenced by its function. If you plan on setting furniture on your new patio, consider the type you will use. It is even a good idea to select the pieces that you will purchase to make sure the size of the patio will accommodate the size of the furniture. For the basic table and chairs, a space of about 3m x 3m should be adequate. However, with the addition of barbeque grills or sun loungers, the size of the patio will need to increase.

Shape is another factor of your design to consider. A traditional rectangular patio is fine, but there are several other shapes, such as curved edges and geometric patterns that will give your patio and a more unique look. Marking your planned design with string line or hose pipe will help you visualize the finished effect. Get a second opinion before actually starting any of the actual work because changing the shape or size once you have started can be a real pain to do.

After settling on the size and shape for your new patio, it will be time to consider color – an attribute that is often neglected by homeowners when designing their patio. Some people like the patio to blend in with the exterior wall color of their home, while others prefer a more contrasting effect. Contrast within the materials of the patio itself is another option. For example, you can create a pattern on the floor with the use of contrasting colors of stone. This can be an incredibly effective use of color that creates a striking visual. If using contrasting colors, be careful to use colors that still coordinate well together.

The overall design of the patio will be greatly influenced by the choice of materials used along the perimeter. A popular choice that creates a professional and finished appearance is the incorporation of a small stone or brick wall around the edge of the patio. The design and planning stage is the critical point to bring all of these elements together – such as choosing the type of material to use, the height of the wall, and the finishing technique, which can range from including planting beds on the top or making use of a coped stone to smooth off the edges.…