A year ago, I moved from my home in Lahore and settled in Toronto. Aside from the cultural changes that I had to embrace, one major challenge as a gardener was to start my gardening hobby afresh in a very different climate. It is a big change – from a 600 sq. feet rooftop garden to a small 36 sq. feet balcony garden space.
Not only I have a limited room for growing plants but also I cannot grow some of my favorite plants here. Toronto has continental climate – warm and humid in summer, and very cold in winter. I did not add much to my small balcony garden yet, but I have started planning it. Here are a few ideas for my balcony garden.
Examples of Beautiful Balcony Gardens
Today’s post features some beautiful examples of urban landscape designs by a landscape designer Alex Hanazaki. The landscape designs of Alex are a beautiful mix of complementing textures, colors, and forms – all blended perfectly with modern urban settings. The use of ornamental grasses in his landscape designs is an example of how simple yet beautiful a landscape design can be developed in urban lands.
The following is a selection of lovely urban landscape designs developed by Alex Hanazaki. (All image are taken from Alex Hanazaki website http://www.alexhanazaki.com.br/)
There is nothing like a secluded, lush green lawn in your home for summer retreats. However having a grassy green and manicured lawn is not as easy job – it requires good preparation and a lot of patience especially when you are growing it from scratch. Today, we are featuring a few tips for creating a lush green lawn from scratch.
1. Check the soil
First and the foremost step is to check the pH of soil. Ideally, it should be near 6.5. If the value is lower than 6.5, add lime to the soil before hoeing it.
If you soil is too sandy, add well-rotted garden compost and manures to the soil (check out our tips for improving sandy soil). If you soil has poor drainage, add gypsum and organic matter to improve it.
2. Prepare the Soil
Hoe your soil extensively to make sure that it loose and properly tilled. If you want to install an automatic sprinkler system, this is the right time. Rake the soil tediously to remove rubble, weeds, stones and lumps of soil.
3. Spread Seeds
Once the soil is ready, spread seeds equally and evenly all across your lawn area. It is recommended that you divide the whole quantity (ask your seed supplier for correct quantity of seeds for your lawn area) into two parts. Add sand to each part; it helps spread seeds evenly. Spread the first lot of seeds in one direction, and then the second lot at the right angles to it. Once seeds have been spread, rake them lightly before watering the area. Depending on your budget, you can also lay ‘ready-made’ turf. It established quickly and does not have bare patches.
4. Dampen the Soil
For best results and successful germination, keep the soil moist all the time. If you are staring in warmer months, do not allow the soil to go dry.
5. Pamper Your Lawn
Once seeds have germinated and started covering the ground, spot bare patches and seeds them again until the entire areas has been covered. Occasionally fertilize the soil as poor soil would have more weeds and less healthy grass.
Do not mow your lawn vigorously before the grass has established and the entire area of your lawn is covered properly. Keep regular maintenance and enjoy a lush green lawn for years to come.
Soil, being the basic component of your garden, determines quality, health and volume of growth you can have in your garden. Hence before you start experimenting with anything else to make your garden lush and thriving, it is a good idea to spend some time and effort to improve your garden soil. The following are a few tips to improve sandy garden soil.
A sandy, light and granule soil is good for growing a wide range of plants. However, too sandy soil can make your gardening experience a tough job. It drains off moisture very quickly and forms a crusty surface preventing essential moisture from getting down to the roots. If you are living in coastal areas or near mountain range, you probably have a higher proportion of sand in the soil.
Improving sandy soil is not very difficult but it does require a lot of organic portion added to it. You can add well rotted compost and manures to correct the sandy soil. If you are preparing ground for plantation, the best way is to dig the organic matter into the soil several weeks before plantation.
If you already have an established garden with sandy soil, add gradual layers of organic matter as mulch. As a layer breaks down and becomes part of the soil, add a new layer and allow it to break down and become part of the soil. This continuous process may take some time to form a perfect soil however the results are satisfactory – lush and thriving garden.