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What Do I Plant Around My Pond?

What Do I Plant Around My Pond?

You’ve decided you want to add some color and definition around your pond. You also know that creating a vegetative buffer around your precious water resource is vital on many levels. Attracting a variety of waterfowl and other wildlife is desirable also. There are so many advantages to having vegetation, but the question do you plant?

Selecting plants is a lot more difficult when a body of water is involved. There are additional considerations that have to be taken. Erosion control has to be of utmost importance.

Nutrient and pollutant filtering should also be of a high priority, considering it is one of the major causes of poor water quality and algae growth. Plants native to your area should always take precedence. Woody plants and shrubs too close to the bank can destabilize the compaction of the slope and speed up the erosion process; but, if they are planted far enough away from the slope, they can be highly beneficial. They can soak up a lot of the nutrients and filter contaminates before they ever reach the bank, and can also slow down the speed at which water runoff travels and suspends particles. Canopy interception of rainfall can also be helpful.

In the upland areas around the edge of a pond, you should select plants that can survive and adapt to occasional mild flooding during storm events. If the soil around the pond is particularly acidic, sandy, or of a compacted clay or rock, this might limit your options. Some suggestions of hardy plant types that fair well in a variety of applications that I’ve chosen are Red Maple, Bald Cypress, Black Willow, Elderberry, Black Cherry, Silky Dogwood, and Buttonbush. If you know for certain that the area never gets flooded, you can probably choose just about any tree or shrub that would typically thrive in that soil condition.

As you get closer to the water, you have to select plants that are more accustomed to flooding. They should be able to withstand some exposure, and also be able to survive mowing. You would preferably want something with minimal maintenance. A couple of my picks would be Switchgrass, various varieties of turf type grasses, and a variety of sedges.

One of the most critical vegetative areas in the overall pond’s ecosystem starts in the shallow water and extends up into the bank. Choosing native plants for this area is highly recommended. An exotic species can completely overcrowd all other plants quickly, reducing the bio-diversity, and leading to numerous problems. These native wetland plants protect the shoreline, which is highly susceptible to erosion, and keep bottom sediments from re-suspending into the water, keeping it clear. They also provide habitats for a variety of insects that keep mosquitoes at bay. This buffer is also the last check on nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorous before they become available in the open water.

Plants located around the pond need to be highly adaptive to constant changes in the water level. Here are a few I recommend based on their hardiness and ability to provide food for waterfowl: Pickerelweed, Arrow Arum, Wild Rice, Broomsedge, Soft-stem Bulrush, Common Three Square, Lizard’s Tail, Marsh Hibiscus, and Rice Cutgrass.

There are many plants that are suited for a variety of water related environments. If you are unsure which is appropriate for your area, you can contact your State’s Department of Conservation and Recreation or Natural Reserve. Additionally, you can always contact your lake and pond management professional who is typically an expert in native pond plants.…

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The Great Thing About Having an Outdoor Fire Pit

The Great Thing About Having an Outdoor Fire Pit

Regardless of where you live in the world or what type of climate you are accustomed to, the thought of winter brings certain pictures to your mind. Steaming cups of hot chocolate, winter ski slopes, friends and family gathered in front of a crackling fire are just a few of the images we draw from during this season. The wonderful thing about winter is all the sights and colors associated with this time of year. More than that are the sounds that winter produces. The crack of branches as they fall under the weight of the ice, the crunch of the snow when shoppers in furry boots walk from one store to another and of coarse, the crackle of a fire. Whether the fire is from a nice warm fireplace in the den, a campfire surrounded by sledders trying to keep warm or an outdoor fire pit adding ambiance to an outdoor assembly of co-workers, fire not only gives out physical heat, but also gives a feeling that everything is alright with the world.

Once unheard of, the backyard yard fire pit is fast becoming a place to entertain. Bonding with friends and family while enjoying the warmth of the fire pit has become a place where memories are made. The great thing about having a fire pit is that it can enlarge your entertainment area. Having your party both in the house as well as the backyard patio, lends itself to a variety of entertainment possibilities. Some guests can gather around the fire pit while the steaks are cooking, while others congregate inside catching up on the latest office news or playing the Wii.

Speaking of steaks, another great thing about having an outdoor fire pit is the way attachments allow you to cook almost anything. A simple metal grate will create a cooking surface much like the barbecue stored in garage. Place your favorite choice of meat on the grate over a low fire. Add sides like vegetables or fruits if you like. In fact, the fire pit can even boil water. Cooking outside always makes food taste better. There is something about the smell of meat cooking outside that revs up the appetite and invites the neighbors to look over the fence to see what’s’ cooking.

Probably the best great thing about having a fire pit is the way it makes you feel. Watching the colors of a blazing fire in the cool darkness of the evening, makes you feel like a kid again. As friends gather around the dancing flames, huddled together in the warmth of the fire and allow the crackling flames to lull their inhibitions, camaraderie is peaked. Memories of ghost stories created on a whim as dark shadows skirt around the edges of the fire, will again send shivers down your spine. On the other hand, looking at the wide eyes of your children as they listen to the scary stories created minute by minute renew these memories for the next generation. All because of an outdoor fire pit.…

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Estimating Your Landscape Design Cost – Discover The Hidden Costs Of Landscaping

Estimating Your Landscape Design Cost – Discover The Hidden Costs Of Landscaping

Living in a stressful society, where you are all the time surrounded by horns, traffic jams, disturbing noises, demanding jobs you have to find the best way in providing yourself a piece of heaven. People are starting to pay more and more for all this ways of relaxing from a spa to a nice vacation. But most of the luckiest ones can have this piece of heaven at their fingertips whenever they need it such as a beautiful garden which confers the best moments of comfort.

Estimating your landscape design cost can be a little difficult but if you have already set your budget you just have to be careful to stay within it. Landscape design can be different from project to project, in function of its details. There are some free design plans that you can opt for or if you want to cut a conspicuous figure about it you can turn to a designer who can create the plan for you. To create an outdoor space you need a professional design in order to render the perfect garden. You can choose from a wide pallet of options and you can select the designer you need, but first you have to understand that turning to the services of a designer can cost more than your budget was planned. So, please take into consideration that this is an essential part of budget organization.

There are many elements that can determine the actual price of the landscape design, but three elements are essential. The first one is your property’s overall size which has the biggest influence on your landscape design cost. Design packages are adjusted with every type of property, big or small.

Second of all, you have the area that needs to be landscaped. A complete design for the entire garden will cost a lot more than a plan for your house front. Another determiner of your costs is the characteristics and the options you desire. Many design services give a wide pallet of packages so it is not hard to calculate the estimated value of your project.

Estimating your landscape design cost will not include the materials or the cost of work to install your design. These enter in the installation cost. Whether you want to renovate your garden, or plant a set of trees you might need the touch of a professional design which will give an overall beauty to your house.…

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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.…