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Category Archives: Gardening

Hunter Sprinklers

While the spray heads are largely designed the same way, the key difference is in the rotators. The Hunter sprinkler PGP rotator sprinkler head is designed in an innovative way that allows it to prevent materials from getting into the rotor, so that the sprinkler head isn’t easily damaged.

When considering sprinklers, keep it mind that Hunter has a whole line or irrigation products. They are a quality brand because they have built their reputation on performance and durability, not just on price point. That is why they have been a leader in the irrigation industry for many years.

When looking at the different options, you’ll notice that they have both residential and commercial rotors. Also, there are different options available for spacing considerations. The range consists of rotors that can be spaced as closing as 15 feet apart, all the way up to 90 feet.

What are some of the uses for the different models they have? There are models designed specifically for the following applications: residential, commercial, institutional, athletic fields, areas where high vandalism occurs, low pressure areas, and there are also riser-mounted sprinklers available.

As we discussed earlier, this company has really made a name for themselves because of their rotators. These innovative rotators have been designed with maximum water efficiency in mind, and are considered essential in the turf and landscape industry.

The great thing about these rotators is that they can fit on top of both conventional spray head bodies as well as shrub adapters. You now can control the application rate, the arc and even adjust the radius of the water spray.

If you’ve had pressure issues with you current sprinkler, consider updating your older model with one of these newer models with a rotating head.

Fountains Through All Ages

The Eastern world is not to be left out in the spectacle of fountains. The Moorish forces that conquered Spain around the 14th century were known to have installed pools and fountains with lively-colored tilework in gardens such as those in Cordoba and Toledo, as well as in Granada. Indians on the other hand built gardens of great splendor with fountains as prominent features. Prime examples are the world-renowned Taj Mahal and the Shalimar Gardens. Chinese palaces, temples and houses also had great gardens with pools and fountains of varying sizes. Beijing’s Imperial City features artificial lakes and other impressive waterworks. Kyoto is also famous for its gardens with carefully crafted pools and waterfalls designed by Zen monks.

Monasteries in middle-age Europe featured large gardens that fountains and wells. designed to enhance meditation in addition to several rows of herbs, fruits, flowers, and vegetables. Palaces and villas in renaissance Italy were very reminiscent of the grandeur of ancient Rome. 15th century palaces were decorated with gardens such as those of Palmieri, La Pietra, and Medici. The villas in Bagnaia, Caprarola, Rome, and Tivoli also featured fountains that were elegantly elaborate. As the baroque period approaches, designs became more grandiose and complex. Spouting fountains and waterfalls were used extensively to enhance serpentine lines. French chateaus in the Loire valley also had extensive gardens and parks with great fountains for everyone to enjoy. By the 17th century, the prime of French design and architecture, fountains and gardens became endlessly grand embellishing the grand estates such as those in Versailles.

The rise of romanticism in the 18th century led to the unleashing of passion which was well translated into architecture, including fountain designs. Exotic and picturesque fountains and ponds served as punctuation marks to the profound statements showed through architecture in this period. Some years after, a prominent landmark, the Central Park in New York spouted.

Beautiful Ornamental Grasses

Pampas Grass or Cortalderia selloana. This is a fast growing exotic ornamental grass. Usually evergreen in warmer climates. Normal variety grows to about 10ft high and 20ft wide. Should be planted in groups. Has showy spike flower plumes and razor edged leaves (ouch)! Dwarf variety available at your local nursery. Likes full sun and very drought tolerant. Grows best at about 6500 ft. elevation.

Fountain Grass or Pennisetum spp. Most grow about 3ft. tall and about 5ft. wide. Purple fountain grass or Pennisetum alopecuroides is a favorite among southwestern New Mexicans. Nice feathery plumes in the fall. They all like full sun, and good fertilized type of soil. Attractive natural purple color great for any type of landscaping. This type of grass loves the lower elevations of the southwest.

See photos of Ornamental grasses

Blue Fescue or Festuca caesia. Nice mounding exotic pale blue grass with ornamental flowers. Can be used as a ground cover. Loves colder climates but will tolerate drought conditions. Likes full sun and or shade. This ornamental grass grows to about 1ft. tall and wide and stays green year round. Ask your local nursery for more advice. Do not confuse with Fescue lawn grass.

Horsetail grass, Indian grass, Horsetail grass, Feather grass, Mexican feather grass, and Sedge grass. These ornamental grasses are excellent as low water plants. Many stay green year round. Call your local nursery for more advice.

All about Fire Pit Tables

Pit tables comes in many different shapes and styles. Most of the pits are made of metal and comes in all colors, so matching it to your patio furniture is extremely easy. Although metal is the most frequently chosen material, fire pit tables can be made of wood, stone, copper and stainless steel.

If you want a more sophisticated look, some of the tables also comes in granite. This is sure to add a to the look of quality of your patio furniture. They are safe and the table stays cool to the touch, avoiding serious burns.

A fire pit table is great for family functions because older friends and relatives may have a difficult time standing or sitting on the ground. It can provide a warm atmosphere on a cool night. Depending on the style of table that you choose, the prices will vary. A standard metal table starts at around one hundred dollars and can reach thousands of dollars.

You can find fire pit tables in catalogs and home improvement stores across the country. They are also available on line. By doing a simple Google search, you will find millions of links for shops that sell fire pits of all kinds and types. Many people are using the on line option because vendors are in fierce competition and offer incredible discounts.

The pit tables add an air of elegance to any outdoor patio. They are easy to use and easy to clean. You will want to host parties and small get-togethers just to show it off. Although those tables are durable, you need to take into consideration the climate in which it will be kept. If you live in an area that has consistently warm weather, a metal copper or stainless steel fire pit table is perfect for you.

If you live in an area that the temperature falls below the freezing level, you may want to consider granite or stone for your fire table. These materials can withstand any temperatures, whether it is hot or cold. A fire pit table can add beauty and elegance to your home. It will be the envy of all your friends and family.

Making Landscape Painting

One thing you have to remember about a landscape painting is that it doesn’t have to show exactly everything you see. If you don’t want to paint every tree you see, then don’t. If you want to put a bird in the sky, then put a bird in the sky. If you don’t like the color of some flowers, then feel free to change the color to one you approve of. If you don’t like to include the people you see in the landscape, then take them out. If you want to change the color of the sky from a grey evening to a dark evening, then change away. Use your imagination and do as you will. It is all up to you. Your goal with the landscape painting is to dramatically capture the feel of the landscape, not to show everything in it. If a landscape painting was supposed to be an exact duplicate it would be called a photograph, not a painting.

A great landscape painting will enhance your artist capabilities. It can also help you make some extra pocket change being how popular these paintings are. Anyone would want a beautiful landscape painting to compliment there home or office. With all of these tips and tricks in mind, you should be on your way to creating a masterful landscape painting. Perhaps one day you can be a world renowned landscape artist!

Easy To Grow Veggies

Tomatoes

Very popularly grown veggie in any sized garden, it can be grown inside hanging baskets and even other containers. You need to place them at a place where is lots of sun light and make sure they have some support for its stalks.

• You need a container of about 5-gallon
• Drill holes of about ¼ inches at the bottom of your container
• Place a layer of gravel of about 2-3 inches
• Then add ¾ bagged soil for potting to start with
• Add seeds of tomato according to the directions given in the package and place the pot in a sunny area.
• When you see the baby tomatoes growing add some fresh soil to the container, this will support its growing stem
• Do plant some marigold flower with the tomato plant to keep the bugs away
• Make sure it gets plenty of full sun light for 8 hours daily

Carrots

Again very easy to grow are carrots in your home garden and they need a good amount of sunlight as well like many other plants.

• Carrots should be planned to plant at least 3-5 weeks ahead the date of last spring
• Ideally they need full sunlight; however it can tolerate moderate extent of shade
• Carrots seeds should be planted in rows which should be around 3-4 inches apart from each other
• Ensure there are not stones in the soil you plan to plant carrots
• Mulch gently so the soil stays moist, blocks the sunlight reaching the roots as well as speeds germination
• When the plants are 1 inches in height snip with scissors and not by pulling which can damage the roots
• Water it once an inch every week
• Fertilize after 5-6 weeks of sowing
• Ensure it gets plenty of sunlight

Between Koi Pond with Pondless Waterfall

Homeowners are requesting that landscape architects design complete outdoor rooms, such as kitchens and bars, for entertaining. Water features such as koi ponds, waterfalls, and fountains continue to be popular (with no signs of slowing), according to a new survey of leading members of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA).”

The American Nurseryman Association reports that “water features are the fastest growing trend in landscaping since 1990 (2007 should break all records.)”

Regionally, in-ground pools will add about 5 percent to the value of a home in the Northeast, about 6 percent in the Midwest, and 7.5 percent in the Southeast and West. In the Southwest, a swimming pool will add nearly 11 percent to the home’s value.

If you add a $35,000 pool to a $300,000 house, you will just barely recover your initial expense. However, you still have the high maintenance cost and you have just limited the future buyers of your home to people who want a pool. Therefore, you have actually reduced the equity in your home. On the other hand, everyone loves a beautiful water feature, young and old! Therefore, increased equity!

Swimming pools require constant attention and maintenance. Unlike ponds, pool owners cannot rely on the nitrogen cycle to lend a hand at keeping the water healthy. This can only be accomplished by due diligence and a myriad of chemicals. Unlike a pond, the enjoyment of a pool comes from its use; and for most regions of the country, the climate dictates a very short period of time for pool use. Unless you heat your pool, then your dumping more money in your pool.

A pond requires minimal attention compared to swimming pool. Once a properly constructed pond is established with the right proportion of fish, plants and biological elements, a pond will take care of itself, the rest is enjoyment, year round. You do not need to use a pond as you do a pool, it only need to exist for you to enjoy.

What do I do about the safety of my small children or grandchildren? How big should it be? Is this something I can do on my own or do I need professional help building a pond?

Unlike a swimming pool, ponds can be child proofed, with very little expense. A swimming pool, however, requires special self-closing gates with special latches. Another required code requirement is 95-decibel alarms on all exit doors leading to the back yard.

And for your added peace of mind, you can install an unsightly, removable, lightweight fence that cost hundreds of dollars. Then you can continually agonize over whether you, or someone else, forgot to close the fence gate.

A pond, however, can be filled with large boulders, which can be removed later when the children are grown. Or you can construct a pondless waterfall to begin with. Now you still can enjoy the sight and sound of cascading water without the concerns for safety.

An added advantage of a pondless waterfall is that a pondless waterfall costs less to construct and maintain. A pondless waterfall can be added to your front yard, meet all building code requirements, increase curb appeal, and thereby increase the equity and the resale value of your home.

The “size of the water feature” is a relative term. There are many factors that need to be considered. Far more than can be be discussed in the space I have allotted for this article. I will cover it in my next article. A few questions to ask yourself: How big is your yard? Where do you spend the majority of your time? What is your budget? How is the size, shape and topography of your yard related to certain limitations regarding the building codes? Will the existing water table affect your water feature? Does your property currently have adequate drainage? Do you have underground utilities? If so, where are they located? What are the local building codes regarding pond depth? Do you need a building permit, or a licensed contractor?…just to name a few of the topics covered.

Whether you need a professional contractor is another article. What type of access do you have to your property? Do you want large boulders? If so, is there proper clearance for a crane or Bobcat? How do you find a qualified contractor? How do you go about qualifying them? Are they properly licensed? Insured? Bonded? Workmen’s compensation? Liability insurance? Hospitalization? References? Background checks and much, much more. Do your homework and proper research prior to commencement, it could save you thousands of dollars.

What is the single most important first step in building a water feature? What about equipment? Should I get koi fish and a turtle? Where should I place my pond and waterfall? All these questions can be addressed with two words: Plan & Design!

First, decide where you spend most of your leisure activity….family room, living room, patio etc. Your waterfall and pond should be in close proximity to that location. Not in the far corner of your property. Sound and visualization are two of the major benefits of a waterfall and pond. These decisions are part of the planning process. Once you decide on these issues, the design process begins.

The best way to approach this phase is to consider a digital design. There are companies that can produce an incredible digitally designed, virtual photo of your backyard, by simply providing them with a digital photo of the area you want the water feature located. You may opt to digitally design your own. There are digital design programs that are simple to master on your own for less than a hundred dollars. Just search the web by typing in digitally designed ponds or waterfalls.

The type of equipment you should use is dependent upon the size of your pond. Your budget is another factor. If you have a small budget, you’re looking at designing a small pond. In addition, look at the available options for construction materials.

You can buy a rubber liner kit and install it yourself, or have a rubber-liner-kit-installer-guy install it for you. Bottom line, either way, is there is no guarantee against bucked-toothed critters such as mice, rats, ground squirrels, gophers and ground hogs, from burrowing underneath your expensive rubber liner and chewing a hole in it. Concrete (3500psi) and rebar is the best construction method, and if done correctly, will last for generations. Concrete ponds cost only 10 to 20% more to build than liner ponds.

Your pond will require less maintenance if you allow the nitrogen cycle to do all the work. This means you need to do your part by providing the elements needed for the nitrogen cycle to operate. The fish provide the waste which produces nitrates and ammonia. Certain essential bacteria break down the nitrates and ammonia into safe byproducts used by the plants and other organisms.

Once this process is started, with the aid of a biological filter and possibly an ultraviolet light, future maintenance is minimal and routine. An above ground, high efficiency pump produces more water flow at half the energy and less initial cost than a sump pump used with liner ponds. The savings in electrical costs alone could easily pay for the additional cost of professional concrete construction in less three years.

Ways Care For a Lawn

1) Fertilizers- Do you eat food everyday, same is true with lawn. Apart from direct sunlight and water, fertilizers are great way to feed you lawn with healthy diet to give an extraordinary look

2) Mowing- Very important for a lush look. A Lawn mower is a great tool for this purpose. The real secret of using a lawn mower is the height of the blade that will be used while mowing.

3) Watering- The frequency of watering will greatly affect the final outlook of the lawn surface. Automatic lawn sprinklers are used to automate the process of watering with great results.

4) Aerating the soil- Due to frequent use of lawn by pets, children, etc. the soil that holds the lawn gets compacted beyond limits, that’s why lawn care experts always recommend aeration of lawn soil to help the growth of lawn.

5) Amount of direct sunlight the lawn surface receives- This aspect is not a must but can have some degree of effect. You just have to look for the path of sun travel in your local area. Where does direct sunlight come from in your garden. As the day passes away the degree and intensity of sunlight changes. Does your lawn remain in shade all the times of the day? This can happen if the sunlight is getting obstructed by tall trees or even home building structure.

Sharpening For Yard

Believe me, you don’t need to buy new blades. You needn’t go to a professional blade sharpener. Not everyone likes, or is able, to turn their blades in for professional sharpening once or a few times a year, anyway. You can do the sharpening yourself, right at home with your own hands using a sharpening file.

This could be the fastest sharpening because you’ll be doing it yourself, right there where you are. It could be the cheapest sharpening because you won’t be paying anyone to do it for you. You won’t be spending gas money to go drop them off to a professional and then to pick them up. You won’t have to buy new blades or chains. Isn’t all that worth it?

Why use a sharpening file? Sharpening files are lined with strong cutting ridges that abrade, or smooth, metal or wood. There are many kinds to choose from. Each type is meant to work on a specific type of surface. The coarse grade file is meant to remove a lot of metal, like when you’ve got to reshape a blade edge that has been dinged, nicked badly or banged up. The smooth grade file is meant for edges that need to have a nice smooth finish. This is usually the last step in sharpening. Your choice will depend upon just how sharp you want your blade to be.

To sharpen a lawn mower blade, a bastard file is a good choice. It does a fine job of sharpening lawn mower blades. It’s able to sharpen, as well as put a razor-sharp edge on your blade. If you prefer, there are special rotary blade files that can be used.

If home owners are fortunate, there are trees that enhance the look of their yard and home. Periodic use of a chain saw becomes necessary, in such cases. To sharpen the many cutting teeth of a chain saw, round files are used. They’re also called chain saw files. The teeth on a chain saw come in different sizes. They’re specified in the owner’s manual, so be sure to check and use the right size. Don’t just buy what you find. You could really ruin your chain.

Maybe you don’t have a chain saw. Maybe you’ve got an axe. If you do then you’ll probably know that working with a dull axe will make you frustrated and tired. You’ve got to make it sharp for your own safety and not just for the job you need to do. An axe file or a cross cut file may be used to get your axe in good working condition. If you prefer a razor-sharp edge, a flat file or a smooth grade file could do the trick. Tough working axes don’t need such a sharp edge. But they do need it to be sharpened correctly in order to cleave through the wood. It all depends on just how sharp you need it to be.

Whether you have a lawn mower, a chain saw or an axe for maintaining your yard, you can do the fastest, and cheapest, sharpening job ever by doing it yourself. And it really isn’t hard to do. It just takes a bit of time, patience and practice. You’ll be developing very useful skills that could save you hundreds of dollars and a great deal of time. If you do it right, your blades could last your lifetime. Be careful.

Solar Landscaping Lights

You will also save money by using solar lighting. The cost of the lights themselves is comparable to the electrical fixtures, but you don’t have to buy extra supplies like wires or conduit to install them. Plus if you are not handy with electrical work, you would be forced to hire a professional with electrical lights. This is not the case with the solar variety. Simply stick them in the ground and you are done.

If you are pondering adding outdoor lighting to your landscape but have been put off by the expense and hassle, you should look into solar lights. There is no need for running wires to them or even replacing batteries. The sun’s rays will take care of charging them every day and they will run all night long. They can really add a new look to your yard, especially if you do any entertaining at night. They provide a safe means for your guests to walk around marvelling at the hard work you’ve put in. And with the additional savings over electrical lights it is a win-win situation.

The biggest advantage to using solar lights over more traditional electrical lights is ease of installation. You don’t have to hire an electrician to hook everything up. Simply place the lights wherever you want to and let the sun charge them for you. By the time night rolls around your yard will be aglow in light. It really is that simple.

Another advantage to having solar lighting is portability. You can easily move them from one area to the other, and even bring them inside during harsh weather. You can quickly and conveniently move the lighting to reflect any changes to your landscape design. This is virtually impossible with electrical lights as you would have to rerun all the wires.