28 Jul

How to Make the Most of a Small Lawn

They say good things come in small packages, and that’s definitely true for lawns. For one thing, they’re easier to maintain than large lawns, and it only requires a little of creativity to work around the challenges a small space presents. Here’s how to make the most of a small lawn if that’s what you have…

Also see: Top Tips for Landscaping a Small Lawn

Work out your priorities: First of all, decide what you to do with the space. Have you always fancied trying to grow your own vegetables, or are you harboring ambitions to be a green-fingered Mother Nature type that can cultivate even the most exotic species of flower? Whatever the case, be clear about your requirements, and don’t be afraid to sketch it out to help solidify your ideas in your mind. This will help you to plan out the space to ensure it ticks the right boxes.

Look at where the sun is: Next up, you’ll need to spend a little bit of time looking at the amount of sunlight your yard receives. It will depend on the way your property faces and the time of year, but just be mindful that you’ll need to make every square inch count if you don’t have much space to begin with. So, put sun-loving plants where the rays linger for the longest portion of the day, and plan something creative with parts of your lawn that are shadier.

Buy once, buy well: If you’re planning on sectioning off a portion of your small lawn for a patio, for example, (a great idea if you know you’d like to spend significant amounts of time dining or relaxing outside), don’t be tempted to buy cheap paving stones. Instead, buy them once and buy them well – good quality paving stones will last for years if you look after them well, and considering you only have a small area to cover, you’ll find that even the best quality paving stones are very affordable. The same is true for decking, or any other material you want to use to maximize your outdoor space.

Invest in the right tools: On a similar note, make sure you’re investing in the right tools to look after your lawn. For example, a small lawn won’t need a large, cumbersome power mower. Instead, you can probably just use a reel-action push mower, which is much lighter and will probably be easier to store away too. Likewise, if you like to use lawn feed, look for one that’s designed for small areas so that you don’t overwhelm the area you have.

Lawn-Boy Lawn Mower - Best choice for a small lawn

Lawn-Boy 177-32 Lawn Mower is simple yet gives surprising mowing experience. Probably the best available option for a small lawn. You can buy it online.

Grow vertically: A small lawn means you’re unlikely to have enough space to plant everything in the ground. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t have all the flower beds and herb gardens you’re hoping for. The solution is to simply grow vertically – fill your space with climbing plants to add interest and texture to your small lawn, and consider planting blooms in pots that are hung from your fences or walls – you’ll get an awful lot of color and greenery into your yard by doing this.

Use of vertical space in a small lawn

 

Use mirrors: Yes, really! Mirrors aren’t just for indoor use. When you place them outside in your small lawn, you’ll find that you make the lawn look bigger by reflecting it. Tuck mirrors behind a trellis or on a fence at the far end of the lawn to cleverly create the illusion of size, and just be careful to take note of where you’re placing it… you won’t want to reflect ugly drain pipes for example. It’s also worth hanging a mirror relatively low to the ground if you don’t want to interrupt a bird in flight. And remember to hang a mirror out of the sun – you don’t want to risk a fire in your yard, or your neighbor’s!

Using mirrors in a small garden

 

Select your flowers carefully: Finally, give some careful consideration to the plants you want to put in your lawn. Flowering shrubs are low maintenance, but it’s worth paying attention to what time of year they’ll flower and for how long so that one plant is beginning to flower as the other one is reaching the end of its season. Also, you can create depth and interest by adding plants of varying heights to help make your narrow lawn borders look a little thicker.

Also see: Best Flowering Shrubs to Grow in Your Lawn

24 Jul

Gazebo Design Ideas for Gardens and Landscapes

Planning to build a gazebo is your garden? Browse these beautiful gazebo design ideas for building a perfect outdoor living space.

Also see:

Gazebo in backyard
Wooden Gazebo Design Idea
Modern Gazebo - outdoor living
Poolside Gazebo Design Idea
Large Gazebo
Custom Design Gazebo
Small Gazebo Design
Gazebo Design Idea
Gazebo / Cabana
Gazebo / Log Cabin
Gazebo in Garden
Gazebo in Japanese Garden
Lovely Gazebo
Gazebo in Landscape Design
05 Jul

A Beautiful Example of Contemporary Garden Design

Bricks, concrete blocks, pebbles, rocks and stones are material for contemporary landscapes and gardens. These contemporary materials are used to design gardens and landscapes that are low on maintenance yet high in water efficiency. The whole idea is to cover the ground with ‘hardscape’ elements to reduce evaporation and retain moisture. The hardscape is filled with drought-resistant or water-efficient plants. Hardscape elements also minimize the need to control weeds and use pesticides by naturally controlling weeds and preventing pests.

See more information and resources on water-efficient garden designs and a list of water-efficient plants.

Recommended Reading: The Ultimate Guide to Designing Beautiful Xeriscapes

Also browse these beautiful examples of contemporary garden design by Folia Horticulture + Design.

03 May

Best Specimen Plants to Grow in Your Garden

Specimen plants are usually grown in gardens and landscapes to create focal points. These plants are often characterized by unusual form, bold colors, attractive flowers, or lovely foliage. Best specimen plants have year-round foliage, compact growth and low maintenance needs. When grown indoor, small specimen plants can be used to brighten up small spaces by creating focal points or create dramatic effects by placing these plants at strategic spots. When grown outdoors, large specimen plants can be used to fill spaces or create permanent displays.

Some of the best specimen plants that are always at the top of my list include:

Colocasia esculenta – A nice specimen plant grown for its large, attractive foliage.

Taro, Best Specimen Plants

Pennisetum setaceum – Commonly known as ‘purple fountain grass’ is a beautiful specimen plant for growing outdoors.

Pennisetum Setaceum 'Rubrum'

Pennisetum Setaceum ‘Rubrum’, Image by Matt Lavin

Miscanthus sinensis is a bold, upright and attractive grass.

Miscanthus Sinensis Grass

Miscanthus Sinensis, Image via Wikipedia

Acer palmatum or ‘Japanese Maple’ is a small tree with interesting and colorful foliage.

 

Dioscorea elephantipes is a beautiful specimen plan known for its unusual form.

Best Specimen Plant - Dioscorea elephantipes

Pachypodium lamerei or the ‘Madagascar Palm’ is another beautiful specimen plant for growing outdoors.

unusual plant pachypodium lamerei

 

12 Apr

9 Examples of a Beautiful Sunroom Garden

A sunroom also known as a solarium is an extension of a house that provides protection from weather yet allows good exposure to the sun and the landscape outside. Mostly popular in colder climates, a sunroom serves multiple purposes:

  • As a warm place on sunny days, you can use your sunroom as a patio for enjoying breakfasts
  • During freezing months in winter, you can bring plants from your garden inside the sunroom and protect them from frost and freezing
  • You can also use a sunroom to grow plants that cannot be grown outside in the garden during the winter season
Sunroom or Solarium Garden

 

With introduction of many durable, cheaper and better materials, it is not expensive to build a solarium or sunroom. Modern materials are cheaper as compared to traditional sunrooms made of glass and aluminum. Sunrooms made with modern materials and techniques also address issues of leakage and climate control. You can easily provide ventilation, control moisture level, and temperature and maintain an ideal climate for growing almost all types of indoor and outdoor plants traditionally grown outside in the garden.

Useful Link: How to Build a Successful Sunroom by Steve Maxwell

Examples of Beautiful and Practical Sunroom Gardens

This design by Dominick Tringali Architects that shows how practical a beautiful a sunroom garden can be. 
A solarium can be a tropical garden too. Photo by CKA PARIS 
Sunroom can be used to grow almost any type of plant in colder climates – Photo by Reliance Design Build
You can even make a zen garden in your solarium – Photo by Flavin Architects
A solarium can be as useful as a living room – Photo by Conservatory Craftsmen
Call it a patio, a living room or an indoor garden – Photo by B. Jane Gardens 
Grow your favorite plants all year round in a solarium garden – Photo by Jonathan Miller Architecture & Design
A lovely solarium garden. Photo by Elsie Interiors 
A solarium can be built to practically utilize unused outdoor space – Photo by Tych & Walker Architects
27 May

How to Use Large Planters in Landscape Design

I have several hundred plants in my rooftop succulent garden – grown in planters of all sizes, shapes and materials. I am very choosy about form and function of planters. I select planters that not only provide sufficient room and the right growing conditions to the plant but also complement the shape and size of the plant.

I have planters made from plastic, stone, terracotta, porcelain, wood, and concrete. The size varies from 2 inches (for seedlings in my rooftop succulent garden) to 150 gallons (for palms and other large plants in my landscape garden).

I like large planters (Buy planters online) because of their utility and versatility. They can be used for multiple purposes. I have used large planters to grow large plants (like palms and some large specimens of Euphorbia and Dracaena), to grow mixed plants in a planter, or some times just to add interesting forms in the landscape design. In fact, large planters are excellent for creating a center of attention in your garden. I have also used large planters with (narrow base) in tight spots. They do not take much space on the ground and give you a nice pedestal to grow your favorite plants.

There are numerous ways to use large planters in your landscape design. Browse the following examples and see you can use these creative ideas and spice up your landscape design.

How to Use Large Planters in Landscape Design

Large planters can be used in tight spaces.House By The Pond

Large terracotta planters are very versatile. They come in many shapes, sizes and colors and can be used to create focal points in your garden.
Mediterranean Patio
Large planters with annuals and evergreens placed at the front door create a nice welcoming effect and enhance the curb appeal.
My Houzz: Iris Dankner
You can group large planters with ornamental plants in both indoor and outdoor settings.
My Houzz: McGeachy Residence
There are so many ways you can use large planters to create dramatic effects. Be creative.
Contemporary Landscape
A beautiful example of mixed plants in a large planter.
Huniford Design Studio, Getaway to the 2013 Holiday House Hamptons
Convincing?
50s remodel
Big planters create big effects.
Cottage Perennial
Another example of large planters being used in tight spaces.
Large Planters in Tight Spaces
Can you reproduce this effect in your landscape design?
Large Planters
15 Apr

How to Make Your Garden Magical this Spring-Summer Season

The season of barbecues and garden parties is almost among us, and what better way to see in the warmer season than a garden revamp after the cold and unforgiving winter season. Here, we’ll give you a few tips and pointers to help you make your garden a haven of peace and tranquillity that you’ll want to share with others.

Lighting

For evening entertainment out on your lawn, decking or patio area, lighting really makes a huge difference to the atmosphere of your outdoor entertaining space. Here are a couple of lighting ideas that are really cheap and easy to add to your garden:

Outdoor String Lights

Wrap them delicately around pergolas, trellises and archways or draped along branches to add soft and warm lighting to any area, instantly making your garden feel more homely and welcoming.

Pathway Lighting

Line your pathway with solar powered floor lighting to create an enchanted feel to your garden with minimal effort. For a really luxurious look, try taller bollard lighting you can get from places like Bulbs2Go.

Pathway Lighting - Bulbs2Go

Planting

Now is the time to be planting root veg and seeds to get a great yield in autumn, but the spring-summer period is a wonderful time to enjoy colourful flowers such as primroses, hyacinths and daffodils.

For continued blooming after bulb plants have finished flowering, line the edges of your garden with hardy annual favourites like sunflowers, marigolds, and nasturtiums. When their flowering periods are over, you can harvest the seeds of sunflowers and the flowers and seed pods of nasturtiums for delicious additions to salads and garnishes.

Furniture

The warmer weather is a great time to get out and enjoy your garden by entertaining friends and family. Invest in good-quality outdoor furniture that will last years and fit in with your taste and home aesthetics. Plastic furniture can look tacky and need replacing more often if you choose lower-grade plastic, but there are fantastic offerings all over the outdoor furniture market with woven plastic fibres that hold their shape and structure as well as look stylish.

Wooden garden furniture needs a lot more care and attention to look its best for longer, but is far more versatile and natural looking with more options for painting and personalisation. Make sure you coat the wood according to manufacturer instructions to keep it looking tip top.

There are so many ways you can help your garden look its best for summer, and all these things will instantly breathe colour and life into your outdoor space.

22 Jan

How to Design a Traditional Japanese Garden

Traditional Japanese gardens are known for their unique style that combines trees, flowers, water, rocks, bridges and architectural elements in a miniature landscape. Inspired from traditional Chinese gardens, Japanese gardens have their own character formed by amalgamation of cultural elements and horticultural techniques.

Water basins, water cascades, rocks and sand, traditional lanterns, and typical cherry, ginkgo, maple, pine, and bamboo trees are basic elements of a traditional Japanese garden. You can also spot small islands, private pavilions, miniature towers and Japanese pagodas, bamboo screens, and traditional gates in a Japanese gardens. A typical Japanese garden grows moss, evergreen trees, and horticultural structures like bonsai and topiary.

Also see: How to Use Bonsai in Your Home Interior

Designing a Japanese garden requires a careful selection of all of these design elements combined in a miniature landscape that uses a lot of vertical and horizontal blank space.

Recommended Books:

13 Ideas for a Traditional Japanese Garden

Browse the following examples of traditional and modern Japanese gardens. I am sure you will find many useful ideas for your next landscape project.

Japanese Garden
30 Dec

20 Modern Pergola Designs for Your Landscape

Modern landscapes use many architectural elements such as pergolas to make landscape designs attractive as well as useful. A pergola is often used to form a shaded passage or an outdoor sitting area in a garden or landscape. The history of pergola can be traced 3000 years back to the Roman gardens. The art of landscape and garden design has evolved in to many different design concepts but the use of pergola has been popular all through these years.

Modern gardens and landscapes use pergolas not only as design elements but as a practical part of the landscape. Modern landscapes use pergolas as important part of outdoor living. Traditionally pergolas have been built using wood , metals and some times bricks and concrete. The introduction of modern building materials such as vinyl, PVC, aluminium and fibreglass.

Modern Pergola Designs

Browse these wonderful examples of modern pergola designs for your landscape projects. You can use these designs and add garden lights, trailing plants, outdoor furniture and other elements to customize these designs to suit your taste and requirements.

Modern Patio and Pergola

Shop Modern Pergolas Online

If you are looking for a modern pergola or pergola accessories, there are plenty of pergolas and accessories you can buy online.
17 Dec

7 Modern Waterfall Designs for Garden Landscape

Waterfalls make excellent design elements in a landscape design. Not only do waterfalls add music to the garden but also give a sense of freshness and openness. Modern landscape designs emphasize on maximum utilization of space and simplicity of design in order to keep cost and use of real estate as low as possible. With introduction of many new materials, it is easier to design modern waterfall designs that are both space and cost-effective.

Also see: Ideas for Water Features and Fountains for your Landscape Design

Following are a few examples of modern waterfall designs that you can try in your landscape design. Notice how the use of space and modern materials can do magic when it comes to designing contemporary waterfalls.

Modern Waterfall Designs

Modern Waterfall on a Pool