30 Oct

Landscaping with Ornamental Japanese Blood Grass

Ornamental grasses add a nice texture, unique formation and stunning colors to landscapes. Take the example of Japanese Blood Grass. Known for its fiery red color, this beautiful grass offers great ornamental value especially in the fall.

Imprata cylindrica’Rubra’ or Japanese Blood Grass grows up to 2 feet and forms tight clumps of green and red leaves this making a good choice for filling landscapes. 

Japanese Blood Grass can be planted along pathways where it grows as a low-maintenance ornamental grass.
Japanese Blood Grass can be grown in large containers and used as accent plant. When grown in containers, it is easier to control its otherwise aggressive growth.
The contrasting colors of Japanese Blood Grass make it a nice border plant. The colors depend on light conditions. Bright sunny exposure result in sharp and deep red color.
Japanese Blood Grass makes a nice accent plant.
Japanese Blood Grass can be grown as ornamental plant along ponds and pools.
There are so many ways you can use Japanese Blood Grass in your garden and landscape.
18 Aug

Interlocking Brick Designs for Backyards and Patios

I recently paved my backyard with interlocking bricks. Yes, I do not have my not-so-lush lawn now but the backyard looks neat and still gives me plenty of room to plant my favorites in the bordering raised beds. As I have observed and experienced, interlocking brick designs dramatically improve the landscape. They are durable and easily withstand long spells of freeze and thaw.

As opposed to concrete or brick and mortar floors, interlocking bricks can be installed in various patterns and offer a variety of material (clay, concrete, stone etc.) texture and color.

If you are considering interlocking bricks in your patio or backyard, this is a useful article on cost, material, pros and cons of installing interlocking bricks. If you want to do it yourself, follow this link for step-by-step DIY instructions on installing an interlocking brick pattern in your backyard or patio.

Examples of Interlocking Brick Design

Browse these beautiful examples of interlocking brick designs for your inspiration.

31 May

Design Ideas for Kids Friendly Backyards

Why the big boys have all the fun. These practical and kids friendly backyards show a lot of potential for turning your backyard into a fun house for the little ones. No, you do not have to compromise on your favorite plants, landscape design or barbecue spot. There are plenty of opportunities for integrating a small swing, a little fun house, a sandbox and a dedicated area for kids to play.

Browse these simple and practical examples of kids friendly backyards for your inspiration.

24 May

15 Ideas for Beautiful Fence Wall Designs

Fences serve many purposes. They can be used to: define borders of your property, keep invading animals away, and serve as privacy screen, architectural element or an extension of your landscape design.

Today we are exploring some interesting experiments with fencing wall designs. These experimental designs reflect potential of using various materials, styles and sizes to turn otherwise ordinary fences  into beautiful design elements.

1. Beautiful use of steel blades to form a nicely patterned, secure and durable fencing wall.

 

2. Very unusual and creative use of acrylic bars to form a nice fence. It does not provide privacy but it surely looks neat and attractive.

 

3. A practical use of bamboos to form a defensive fencing wall that serves it purpose and still looks elegant.

 

4. Use of steel wires and wood to create a beautiful living fence. You can grow your favourite plants along this beautiful and low-cost fence.

 

5. Another creative idea for putting a low-cost yet elegant fence that can be modified to adjust to different heights.

 

6. When security is a concerns, use a taller and sturdy fence wall like this one. It also features a lockable entrance.

 

7. A modern and practical kids-friendly fence wall with a chalkboard.

 

8. A plain yet fence wall design idea for modern urban homes.

 

9. A nice fence design made of birch tree sticks, and recycled metal wires and panels.

 

10. Creative use of steel bars to design an architectural element out of a practical fence.

 

11. Panels of steel sheet also give a simple and rustic design element to fencing wall that nicely integrates with the landscape.

 

12. Another use of metal sheets to design a unique and lovely fence wall that supplements the landscape.

 

13. Consider this ‘peekaboo’ fence that breaks up the monotony and unfriendly looks of a long, boring wooden fence.

 

14. Practical use of metal posts fencing that serves it purpose well and yet confirms with visual continuity between the private property and the open landscape beyond.

15. Even a traditional wooden fence can be made beautiful with sensible use of plantation.

22 May

Top Tips for Gardening in a Small Backyard / Patio

Gardening in a small backyard or patio can be challenging – what plants should you select for all-seasons interest, how should you arrange your plants for best display, and how should you integrate your favorite plants with your day-to-day family activities – this article answers all of these questions.

Also see: Simple & Beautiful Deck Design Projects

What plants should you grow in your small backyard/ patio?

Plants come in many sizes, colors, and textures. And they all have their specific requirements. Because you cannot make major changes to your backyard or patio, you should select plants that can easily integrate in your existing settings – soil type, space, sunlight, and effects of changing seasons.

Small and enclosed spaces tend develop their own microclimate with higher level of moisture and retained heat. Therefore it is important to select plants that are hardy and require less maintenance.

Plants in enclosed backyard or patios are more likely to transfer insects and diseases to other plants. Therefore, it is recommended that you keep a vigilant eye on insects and immediately isolate infected plants.

When buying a plant for your small backyard or patio, carefully consider its growing habits and the room that it would require in coming years. Some plants have columnar growth and do not spread much, some remain solitary but produce heavy foliage, some plants develop clumps and require more space than others, some plants do not attain much height, some shed their leaves in fall, and some are evergreen. Make sure that you plant them in the right place in your backyard or patio. Plants with columnar growth can be used to form a background for plants that attain medium to low height.

Usually low-growing shrubs and bushes make nice plants for small backyards. There are a plenty of flowering shrubs that do not need regular pruning and produce attractive foliage and flowers. Small empty spaces can be cultivated with ground covers.

Mix and match plants for all-season interest. Combine annuals, perennials, small trees, and flowering shrubs. Visit your local garden center and you will find many species with foliage that change colors throughout the year. You can also find interesting accent plants that add architectural interest to your garden.

Top Plants for Growing in a Small Backyard or Patio

  1. Cycas revoluta for interesting and evergreen foliage.
  2. Plumeria, when you need a small tree with lovely and fragrant flowers.
  3. Angel’s Trumpet for stunning and fragrant flowers.
  4. Agaves and Euphorbias for year-round interest.
  5. Bamboos for evergreen foliage.
  6. Canna for nice and colorful foliage.
  7. Mandevilla for nice trailing branches and attractive flowers.
  8. Boxwood for evergreen and hardy foliage.

Top Examples of Small Space Backyard / Patio Gardens

03 May

Gardening by the Poolside – Practical Tips

Gardening by the side of an outdoor pool not only adds life and serenity to the environment but also gives you many option to introduce privacy, shade, and seasonal interest to the landscape. Today’s posts gives some handy tips on gardening by the poolside.

  1. Select low-maintenance, evergreen plants. They do not shed a lot of leaves. Deciduous plants shed a lot of leaves that clog filters.
  2. When space is not an issue, grow plants at least 4 to 5 feet from the pool to keep debris and soil from contaminating the pool.
  3. Pools create a micro environment – moist and humid. Carefully consider plants that can easily adjust to this type of climate.
  4. Mix and match small trees, shrubs, ground covers, and seasonal bloomers to design a balanced landscape by the poolside.
  5. Small trees are best for creating some shady spots where as shrubs and bushes can be planted for introducing interesting foliage and texture.
  6. Use bushes or small trees to create privacy screens.
  7. Creepers and ground covers are helpful in filling empty spaces and keeping debris and soil from washing away with rainwater.
  8. Some succulents make nice accent plants and can be easily incorporated in your landscape design. Most of them are low on maintenance and last long.
  9. Use ornamental grasses. There are many ornamental grasses that can grow to short and medium height and add delicate, feathery texture to the landscape. See examples of landscaping with ornamental grasses.
  10. Use pergolas, and trellises, oversized planters to introduce artistic element and structural depth to the environment. See examples of modern trellis designs.

Besides a long list of plants to grow by the poolside, here is a list of some unusual and interesting plants that you should consider:

Shrubs & Bushes to grow along the poolside

  • Kalanchoe beharensis – hardy and evergreen bush known for its distinct looks and unusual foliage
  • Loropetalum chinense – evergreen shrub with fringe-like flowers that appear in spring and summer.
  • Pelargonium trifidum – low-growing shrub with sprawling branches and brittle stems. The leaves are succulent and aromatic. When provided with proper support of a tree or fence, the plant can grow up to 1 meter.
  • Alluaudia procera – a really striking succulent shrub grown for its ornamental value.
  • Breynia disticha – makes an excellent plant for borders where it grows as a small shrub (up to 4 feet) and produces beautiful foliage of green, white and pink colors.

Small trees to grow by the poolside

  • Schotia brachypetala – low-maintenance small tree with attractive evergreen foliage and large clusters of spring flowers.
  • Amherstia nobilis – though hard to find, this low-maintenance tree produces very attractive and unusual flowers.
  • Brownea coccinea – evergreen plant that grows into a small spreading tree and produces nice foliage and flowers.
  • Nymania capensis – Evergreen shrubby tree known for its beautiful, rose-pink and papery seed pods that look like Chinese paper lantern.

Ornamental grasses to grow by the poolside

Accent plants to grow by the poolside:

Examples of Gardening by the Poolside

28 Apr

The Ultimate Guide to Designing Beautiful Xeriscapes

Though the word sounds complicated, Xeriscaping is a simple and practical technique of designing water-efficient landscapes. Xeriscaping involves preparation of soil, selection of plants and design of landscape layout to minimize the use of water.

In a nutshell, an efficient xeriscape is a low-maintenance, high impact and water-wise landscape.

Useful Tips for Designing Efficient Xeriscapes

Following are some basic pointers to designing an effective xeriscape:

Improve Soil

Soil is the first thing you should analyze when planning a xeriscape. Make sure that the soil is able to retain moisture by adding organic matter to the soil. See: Tips to improve sandy soil organically

Select the right plants

Select native plants; they are low on maintenance and do not usually need frequent watering. There is a wide variety of drought-tolerant plants that can be used in xeriscapes. See: 100+ xeriscape plants.

Design effective layouts

Design your xeriscape layout to ensure minimum waste of water. You can use terraced layout, pathways, and slopes to ensure that water can easily flow through your garden and irrigate most parts of the xeriscape.

Use planting techniques

Be creative when planting. Plants with similar requirements can be grouped together to ensure efficient use of water. Plant xerophytes on slopes.

Irrigate efficiently

Irrigate in evening or early morning to reduce evaporation. Contain rainwater for irrigating your xeriscape. Replace sprinkler system with drip irrigation system.

Mulch the bare soil

Use a lot of mulch. Topping up the bare soil with two to four inches of mulch prevents water evaporation, maintains an even, cool soil temperature and prevents the germination of weed seeds. The best time to apply mulch is in late spring after the soil has warmed, but before summer’s heat begins. A late autumn mulching helps avoid the alternate freezing and thawing of soil.

Suitable Plants for Xeriscapes

Selection of plants greatly depends on your climate. I have listed about 100 drought-tolerant plants along with their culture, growth requirements and USD zones here. You can also browse the following list of popular plants that can be used in most xeriscapes.

Perennials

  • Artemisias
  • Asters
  • Columbine
  • Coreopsis
  • Delphinium
  • Echinacea
  • Gaillardia
  • Iris
  • Lavender
  • Pansy
  • Sages
  • Sedums
  • Tulips and crocuses
  • Yucca

Annuals

  • Cosmos
  • Ganzania
  • Marigold
  • Mexican Sunflower
  • Phlox
  • Portulaca
  • Vinca
  • Zinnias

Succulents 

  • Cotyledon
  • Crassula
  • Dudleya
  • Kalanchoe
  • Sedum
  • Aloe
  • Agave
  • Bulbine

Ornamental Grasses

Useful Xeriscape Resources

xeriscape

How to determine cost of your xeriscape project

Do’s and Don’ts of Xeriscaping

[Pocket Guide] Xeriscaping at Home

[Book] Creating the Prairie Xeriscape by Sara Williams

Step-by-Step Guide to Practical Xeriscaping

[Photos] 15 examples of xeriscaping with succulents

[Photos] 9 examples of xeriscaping with cacti

[Free PDF Guide] Basics of Xeriscaping

Examples of Beautiful Xeriscape Design

19 Mar

Fancy a pond in your garden?

Garden ponds make very nice water features in a garden. They not only add aesthetic value but also provide you an opportunity to grow aquatic plants, such as Nymphoides, that you cannot have in your garden otherwise. Besides growing interesting plants, you can also use a garden pond to keep water creatures or attract wild birds.

Today’s post lists a a few useful resources that you can use to design, build and maintain your own garden pond.

Resources:

[DIY Project] How to Build a Garden Pond: Follow these simple steps for building your own garden pond.

[Book] The Water Gardener’s Bible: A Step-by-Step Guide to Building, Planting, Stocking, and Maintaining a Backyard Water Garden

[Tips & Tricks] How to take care of your garden pond: Follow these tips for keeping your garden pond fresh and clean all through the year.

[Design Ideas] Pond Design Ideas: Browse the following simple and beautiful pond designs.

26 Jan

Top Tips for Arranging Indoor Plants

Indoor plants can dramatically improve aura and ambiance of your home. They add a touch of liveliness and freshness to indoor living. However, selecting and arranging plants in indoor settings can be a bit challenging. Not all indoor plants have similar requirements nor do they grow in the same pattern. Some indoor plants can survive long spells of drought and neglect while some require continuous care. Some indoor plants will look nice in an open living room and some will look good in smaller spaces. Some indoor plants will live happily in dark corners and some will be continuously looking for bright light. Today, I am not talking about selecting the right indoor plants for your home. My focus today is how to arrange indoor plants in your home.

Good arrangement of indoor plants not only uplifts your interior but also affects positively on the health of your indoor plants.

I will start this post with some quick tips on arranging indoor plants.

Arrange large plants in open areas

Large plants like Ficus lyrata and Philodendrons look good when placed in open living areas. When placed in small rooms, they take up too much space and attention of the onlookers. Use small potted plants in smaller spaces like bedrooms or study rooms.

Choose supplementing colors

Arrange colorful plants wisely. Make sure that their colors supplement color scheme of your interior design. Use contrasting colors when you want to make your home look bright and bold.

Create groups of supplementing plants

Some indoor plants have nice foliage, some have attractive forms, some have variegating colors and some of them have interesting textures. Group them together to create a dramatic effect. Plants that look similar often lose their looks when placed in a group.

Create depth with indoor plants

Instead of lining indoor plants, arrange them in a close group with taller plants in the background and smaller ones in the front. Use tables, stands, windowsills or other furniture to create varying heights.

Use accent plants

If you have one large plant, make it centre of attention. Large ficus, yucca, palm can be used as stand-alone accent plants. Provide them with a nice pot and place them in a prominent place.

Add unusual forms in your indoor arrangements

Many succulent and bonsai plants come in unusual shapes and forms. Get benefit of their eccentric and unusual formation and place them strategically in your indoor settings.

With these few tips, I would like to present some nice examples of indoor plant arrangement.

07 Jan

Top Tips for Redesigning Your Garden

No garden design is ever complete, especially with changing tastes and unpredictable weather. If you are not quite satisfied with your garden, you have probably been noting some of the things that you like or dislike about it.

 

Since you have already put some thought into what your ideal garden should look like, you can learn from your mistakes and redesign it with pride. The following are some handy tips to help you transform the look and feel of your garden:

Choose a style

Before you start re-designing your garden, you should decide on the overall style, form, colours, and theme that you desire. This will help to bring your design together, and provide a great starting point.

Useful Resources: Use Garden Puzzle software to design your garden

Look for inspiration

There are many places where you can get ideas, including gardens like yours. Consider visiting several open garden schemes in your area, so you can pick up new ideas on how to redesign the space or transform your planting in a cost effective way.

Useful Resources: Examples of Beautuiful Landscape and Garden Design

Consider your garden’s function

Be realistic about how you intend to use your garden. If you have children and pets, it is likely that they will spend a good amount of their time tumbling on the lawn, so it will not make a very good showpiece. If you plan on using your garden for entertainment, then some shade or a well designed patio area with the right style of furniture may be a good idea.

Useful Resources:

Tidy up

It is a good idea to spruce up an untidy or cluttered garden by weeding and removing any junk. You should also organise your garden tools and essentials, so you know what you need for your revamped garden design. This will also make it appear more spacious for better planning.

Useful Resources: Tips for keeping you garden fresh and clean all through the year

Develop a plan

Before you start work on your garden, write down your ideas, budget, and make a simple sketch of your garden, so you know exactly where each piece will go, and save time and money. When sketching the plan, start with a focal point, such an eye-catching plant, and re-design around it.

Lastly, take your time. Reflect on the changes, bit by bit, to ensure that you are happy with the final outcome. If you’re not up to doing the actual work yourself, you can always hire a gardener.

Useful Resources: Hire a Garden by Comparing Quotes on MyJobQuote.

MyJobQuote has a huge database of gardeners and other tradesmen so finding someone local won’t be difficult. They then send off your job details to 3 local gardeners who will then get in touch with you with a quote, thus allowing you to compare prices.