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.

05 Jan

Simple and Modern Deck Design Projects

Outdoor decks are a popular and elegant feature of any home. Decks can be gathering places for your friends and family in the warm months of the year. There are many different design styles for decks. Take a look at the photos below to get some inspiration for your own deck!

The team at Imperial Building & Roofing recommends considering multi-tiered decks because they are both aesthetically appealing as well as practical.

29 Dec

8 Simple and Practical Ideas for Water Features and Fountains

Garden designers would agree that water features and fountains make powerful design elements. Water not only adds sound and motion to the landscape but also gives an ethereal touch to the environment. Browse these simple and practical design ideas for water features and fountains to your garden.

Try these simple water features to add music and motion to your garden landscape.

Beautiful Water Features and Fountains

Contemporary Water Feature Landscape by Sydney Landscape Architects & Landscape Designers Dean Herald-Rolling Stone Landscapes

 

A really simple and low-cost water feature that you can build yourself.

Asian Water Feature Landscape by Minneapolis Landscape Architects & Landscape Designers Garden Structures & More

 

You can also use terracotta planters to make an economical yet attractive water feature.

Beach Style Water Features Patio by Ojai Interior Designers & Decorators Kelley & Company Home

 

A delicate water feature when you have plenty of room in your garden.

Mediterranean Landscape by Newport Beach Landscape Architects & Landscape Designers AMS Landscape Design Studios, Inc.

 

Another DIY project that you should try to build this bubbling fountain.

Asian Water Feature Landscape by Mason Landscape Contractors BlueGrass Landscape

 

A beautiful water feature for small space gardens.

Asian Water Features Landscape by Portland Landscape Architects & Landscape Designers beautiful bones and purple stones

 

A delicate mix of greenery and architectural design.

Contemporary Water Feature Landscape by Encinitas Landscape Architects & Landscape Designers debora carl landscape design

 

A creative and impressive design that you can try to build a stream of water in your garden.

Mediterranean Water Feature Landscape by Menlo Park Architects & Building Designers Zak Johnson Architects
22 Dec

Designing Beautiful Landscape Designs with Bamboos

Oft undervalued, Bamboos are valuable plants for using in a landscape design. In fact, they are excellent landscape plants for many reasons:

  • Bamboos grow quickly and they are easy to maintain
  • Bamboos come in hundreds of varieties that suit many purposes; they can be used as fencing plants, as wind breakers, as ground covers, as accent plants, and for controlling soil erosion
  • Bamboos can grow in many different climatic conditions – tropical, cold, swamps, indoors, and in shaded and sunny locations
  • Bamboos are resistant to pests and diseases
  • Bamboos are evergreen and reproduce themselves easily

Depending on climatic conditions and landscape scheme, you can pick and choose many available varieties. Generally, bamboos are divided in two types:

  1. Running bamboos: These species produce rhizomes to develop a vigorous root system. These species have clumping growth and tend to cover large areas quickly and can be invasive.
  2. Rooting bamboos: These bamboo species have vertical growth and produce tall and slender stems.

Browse the following gallery and see how bamboos can be used to develop interesting landscape features.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11 Dec

Unique and Unusual Indoor Gardens

Gardens are usually associated with outdoors and most hobbyist believe that indoor gardening is limited to putting a couple of accent plants in living rooms or table tops. However, with creativity and a little planning, it is possible to grow a complete garden indoors.

Today’s post showcases some unique and unusual ideas for beautiful indoor gardens. You will notice that growing indoor gardens does not has to be an expensive project. You do not really need to build a greenhouse or control your indoor climate. In fact, you can plan and design nice indoor gardens within your existing premises.

Browse these unusual and unique indoor gardens and see how you can make a little oasis in your house.

Ideas for Beautiful Indoor Gardens

Indoor Garden
Beautiful Indoor Garden
Patio Garden
Indoor Garden Bed
Indoor Garden
Indoor Zen Garden
Indoor Garden in Barhroom
Indoor Gardens
Patio Gardens
Traditional Indoor Garden
09 Dec

9 Beautiful Examples of Landscaping with Cacti

Cacti are very useful plant for landscaping. They are hardy, do not require much maintenance and grow in many different climatic conditions. They also come in a variety of shapes and sizes making them nice accent plants in a landscape design.

Browse these beautiful examples of landscaping with cacti and see how unique a landscape design can be.

A beautiful example of cacti being used as living fence.

Cacti can be used to fill empty spaces along pathways.

Cacti can be used as a design element to cover boring walls.

Potted cacti make nice accent plants in small landscaping schemes.

You can also use potted cacti in larger landscape schemes.

A beautiful example of cacti being used as border plants.

Tall cacti can add a vertical angle in tight spaces.

Another use of cacti as border plants.

Most cacti can be grouped together to make a nice rock garden.