Archive for the ‘Gardening’ Category

The ambiance of your home is highly dependent on your lawn. Why? It’s the first thing that people see. More so if you have a commercial place where potential customers go to browse your products. If your lawn can impress people, you won’t have to worry about putting them in a good mood when they reach your doorway. Your landscape creates the ambiance and can tell a lot about your personality.

Use your beautiful lawn or garden as a place for relaxing when you’re not working. A lovely and healthy garden can make you feel right when you’re stressed. What you need to do is find out more about gardening and landscaping so that you won’t have to hire professionals to maintain and build your landscape for you. A garden is really the best gift you can give your home and yourself.

A delightful garden must be built from the ground up with careful planning. Here are some tips to doing just that…

1. Fertile Soil

One of the main factors to having a great garden is your soil quality. Developing fertile soil is no easy task, especially if you live in a naturally arid environment. But it can be done. You just have to make sure that you keep the acidity-alkalinity balance, and supply enough nutrients to grow a truly lush garden where vegetation and beneficial animals can coexist.

Your soil must also be the appropriate texture for the plants you will be using. One thing you have to focus on is your soil’s compatibility with the grass species and variety you will be using. Those who live in dry, hot climate should get the summer-hardy plants that don’t require too much water to flourish. If you live in cold climate, use winter-hardy plants that can handle cold weather.

2. Grass Type

The types of grass that suit the growing conditions in your place of residence are the same ones that your lawn shop will be selling at a low price. You see, rare plants in a vicinity are those that are imported. While these plants can become a status symbol among land owners, they can be quite expensive to maintain. To be safe and practical, use the plants that are known to be endemic to your location so you won’t need to look for special fertilizers. For rainy places, use grasses that can tolerate floods and long periods of wetness. A resilient plant can out-compete the weeds so if you choose your grasses right, you might not even need to buy herbicides to control invasive plants.

3. Watering Schedules

When you know what types of grasses and plants you have in your garden, you can create a good watering schedule. Longer grass has tough roots and can hold the water better, so you need to water these only twice or thrice a week. Frequent watering will make roots shorter, and thus render the plants helpless when there’s a drought. Medium length roots will need to be watered every other day. If you have to choose the time of day to water your plants, choose early morning. Watering the plants during this time will ensure that the sun is still not powerful enough to make the water evaporate.

If you want a Japanese garden, you must plan all design aspects according to the principles of zen. You must also understand the concept behind the design of an authentic Japanese garden. Your goal is to create a landscape that reflects symmetry combined with the beauty of simplicity. It’s a place where you can relax, dwell in the serenity that order gives.

Organization is one of the main focuses of a Japanese garden design. This means you have to base the design on the shape of your landscape, and what you desire to see in your garden. Go for the most basic design and allow for improvisation in the future. Don’t put into play more than one focal point. In fact, it’s better if you start with a well-trimmed, clean landscape with the most basic elements.

Do you want your whole garden to be designed in the oriental way, or do you simply want a Zen area where you can meditate?

A garden that incorporates Japanese traditional design can be the best addition to an existing garden. It could also be the basic theme for your whole garden. If you have an existing garden, it may be a good idea to clear an area  to incorporate a Japanese garden style. The trick to building a Japanese garden inside an already established garden design has a lot to do with integration. You can frame the Japanese garden with bushes and determine the elements that need to remain.

What style of Japanese garden are you most interested in?

There are many types of gardens that incorporate the Japanese principle of orderliness. It can be a tea garden, courtyard garden, stroll garden, pond and island garden. Admittedly, a lot of westerners are interested in the Zen rock garden or a combination of two or more garden types.  For very small lots, you should just stick to one style. A larger landscape demands a more complicated design to interest your visitors.

Does your garden have natural slopes and valleys? Are there any streams, a small natural pond or well-established trees that provide shade? One aspect you need to consider is the natural landscape. Drainage plans, plant types, the positioning of rocks and lights are dependent on the natural landscape. It is recommended that you don’t go beyond the limits of your natural geography. This means leave the natural streams, falls, slopes and valleys alone. Simply designing around these elements is the easy and less expensive way to go anyway.

Which elements and features can’t you compromise? Let’s be honest. We all have something we want to incorporate in a garden no matter what. If you must have that feature in your Japanese garden, you must be prepared to let go of other features to avoid overloading your garden in terms of design.

Any Japanese garden you see has a theme. The gardens themselves tell a story. Usually, there is a historical basis for each garden, but yours can simply be “a place where I can meditate and have my tea in peace”. It doesn’t hurt to incorporate miniature Japanese house designs, a small enclosed gazebo with tatami mats, and small plants or bonsai to complete the landscape.

Moss is incredibly hard to handle once it gets a foothold in anyone’s lawn.  If you have spotted a patch of it growing in a lawn you need to act as soon as possible to limit the damage it can do.

Some people don’t realize that once moss gets started, it won’t let the grass grow in the area it is occupying.  Grass is pretty resilient stuff, but there is no doubt that moss is even more so.  The question is what do you do about it?

One good thing to remember for starters is that moss occurs in lawns that don’t receive the ideal conditions they need to look good all year round.  This means that if something is missing from a lawn – for example moisture or the right nutrients in the soil – you will be more likely to see moss growing as a result.

There are various products around that can kill moss but there is a lot you can do to make sure you get rid of it in other ways as well.  The first thing is to keep the lawns you tend to in as good a condition as possible.  For example it will help to rake them over regularly because all lawns have dead grass lying in them – particularly if you don’t take adequate care of them.  Dead grass can lead to a lawn getting what is known as thatch – and this in turn can lead to moss.  Make sure you rake the grass regularly to get rid of all this dead material.

If you think about what moss loves (I’ll reveal the answer in just a moment) you will realize that you need to deprive it of these conditions.  For example it loves damp and moist conditions, so if you let a lawn get waterlogged it will take full advantage of it.  The solution to this is to aerate it regularly; you can buy special shoes that you strap on and walk around the lawn with.  These have spikes in the bottom so they are a nice and easy way of aerating it effectively.

Keeping lawns nice and short is another good thing to do.  Obviously you will them to look nice and neat anyway to appeal to the customer, but it will make it easier to keep an eye on the condition of the lawn when you are cutting it.

Of course there is also the option of using a proper treatment to get rid of moss.  There is nothing wrong with using these but the best course of action is to try the above techniques at the same time.  If you make the conditions harder for the moss to exist in as well as using the chemical treatment, you stand the best possible chance of success.

You now have the knowledge you need to rid every lawn of moss and prevent it from easily returning too.  This is an ongoing job but you’ll get great results if you keep at it.  Good luck!

Weed eaters are an important addition to every range of garden tools.  You may also know them as weed whackers.  But the most important thing to remember is that they are ideal for helping you to remove weeds that can damage a lawn and make it look unsightly.

There are three basic types of weed eater available, and the one you buy will depend on how often you are going to use it and how big your garden is.  The basic type is an electric model.  This has a plug on the end and is plugged into an extension lead running outside from inside the house.  It works well and will keep going as long as you need it to, but if you have a long garden you won’t find it ideal as you are limited by the length of the attached cord and the extension lead.

Secondly you have a battery powered weed eater.  As the name suggests this gets rid of the need for an extension cord, and you don’t have to worry about tripping over wires either.  On the disadvantages side you need to think about how long the charge will last for before it needs to be recharged.  You also need to remember to put it back on charge before you actually need to use it.

The third choice you have is a gas powered weed wacker.  These are arguably the best ones of all and if you happen to run your own lawn care business you really can’t consider using anything else.  You’ll need to have a supply of oil and gas to keep it running, so the main requirement here is to keep it suitably topped up at all times.  You also need to think about the additional maintenance and upkeep that it will require, due to it being more heavy duty in nature.

Gas powered models have the same advantage that chargeable battery ones have though.  You can take them wherever they need to go without worrying about running out of extension lead.

When you are thinking about which one to buy you should consider your budget as well.  The electric powered models will generally be the cheapest ones you can get, with the gas powered ones at the more expensive end of the scale.  But you need to consider what your actual needs are as well.  For example you won’t be able to run a lawn care business with an electric weed whacker because it is inconvenient to have to ask to plug it in the whole time.  You will also get more use and typically a longer life out of a gas powered model.  As you can see you do get what you pay for.

So whenever you are thinking of buying a new weed eater you should consider what circumstances you will be using it in.  This should help you decide which model you are better off buying to get the most out of it.

When you are landscaping peoples’ gardens for them you will eventually come across the need to provide an area for a playhouse.  Kids love these and to have one of their own is likely to be a dream come true.

But putting them together can be a nightmare.  While you can buy ready made kits with all the parts you need, you can also get hold of various sets of plans.  These playhouse plans tell you what you need to buy to put the playhouse together, and they also provide detailed instructions on how to construct it once you have the parts.  As such it is very important that you have the right set of plans before you begin.  If you have a plan that isn’t well put together you will struggle to make the best of it.

The plans need to provide a suitable playhouse for the kids in the family.  If there is just one child then a huge playhouse is not really necessary.  But if several children are going to be using it on a regular basis then you need to find something larger.

Size is not the only thing you need to bear in mind when you are looking at plans though.  For instance you should think about the number of rooms the playhouse consists of as well.  A playhouse can be anything from one room on one level, to a multi-level construction that has several spaces inside it to play in.

This brings in another important facet worth thinking about before you decide on any one specific design.  Cost will be important for many people and you may have a budget to stick to.  But bear in mind too that kids have active imaginations so even if they happen to keep on talking about a castle you don’t have to build them one.  Instead you have to provide a solid well built structure that they can turn into anything they want.  This is why sticking to one or maybe two rooms is often better than trying to build something really elaborate.  It gives them a greater degree of freedom.

A good set of plans will include all the dimensions you need to be able to translate those plans to the size of garden you have.  You’ll need to have enough room round it not only to build it but for the kids to play in it happily.  Remember too that people will want to walk around it to reach other areas of the garden, so think about this as well.

Once you have chosen the best plan you should know exactly what timber you will need to buy to construct the playhouse itself.  This should be easy to ascertain from the plans, which is another reason for comparing different plans before you decide on one in particular.

Kids will love a solid playhouse in the garden.  And with good construction it should last many years as well.

If you are thinking about fertilizing a customer’s lawn and you’re not sure which fertilizer to use, it’s worth finding out some basic facts about the stuff to help you along the way.

For starters not all fertilizers are the same.  It’s important to take a good look at the packaging before you decide what to buy, rather than going on price.  While the same three basic ingredients are used in all fertilizers, not all of them will appear in every bag you buy.  This is why it’s important to make sure you know what you are buying and using each time.

Lawns need many more elements than just three things if they are to survive and flourish.  But with that said you won’t need to provide all of them yourself as the lawn will get much of what it needs directly from the soil underneath it.

Fertilizer is used to provide potassium, nitrogen and phosphorus more than anything else.  But as we have already discovered you won’t find these three ingredients in every single bag on sale today.  If you want a good all round fertilizer it is important to check the contents to ensure these three ingredients are all inside the bag.  If you find something that only has one or two of them it might be cheaper, but it won’t necessarily bring the results you really want.

Of course every lawn will be different.  For instance one lawn might be perfectly okay with its phosphorus levels, but it could be lacking in nitrogen.  If this is the case you will find that you won’t need an all round complete solution, as a fertilizer with phosphorus included will suffice for its needs.

How do you check what you need for any particular lawn?  The answer is simple – you’ll need a kit that enables you to check the content of the soil under the lawn.  This will tell you what it already has in abundance and more importantly what it needs from now on.  You can then buy the appropriate fertilizer for that customer’s lawn.

As you can see, as a lawn care specialist it pays to have a few bags of different fertilizers in your truck for these kinds of occasions.  You can build up to this stage as you get more experience and more customers.  Make sure you have some soil testing kits in your truck too.  This way, you can test the soil on the spot and treat it at the same time as well if you have the right mix of fertilizer the lawn needs.

Fertilizer can’t always be applied straightaway though.  A lot could depend on the weather.  For instance if you are in the middle of a heat wave it would be better to wait for it to subside before applying the fertilizer.  But it should be well watered in whenever you apply it, to make sure it does its job perfectly.  Always read the instructions and go from there.

Have you ever noticed how some people seem to be able to bring out the best in orchids?  They are not the easiest plants to grow or maintain, and yet some people always get the results they want.

There is a lot to think about when you have an orchid and you are trying to get the best from it.  For instance it is possible to get flowers on it quite consistently and yet this doesn’t happen for many people who have one.

The big secret – perhaps the most important one as far as the orchids themselves are concerned – is to focus on the amount of water you are giving it.  While the orchid looks much like any other plant you might be surprised to know that it has more in common with the cactus than anything else.  Some people joke that if you know someone who forgets to water their plants, you should give them a cactus because they can go without water for quite some time.

Orchids are the same in this respect.  They are not quite on the same scale as cacti, but they certainly don’t need regular watering to the same degree as the rest of your house plants probably will.  Check the soil every now and then to ensure it isn’t dry, and water as necessary to keep it moist.  You should never flood it with water though as this can greatly shorten the orchid’s life.  You can also preserve the flowers more readily if you take care when you water the plant.  If the flowers become wet they will suffer because of it.

Some people find that as with any plants, orchids grow better when they find the best place in the house to sit in.  In this case the bathroom is a good venue to try.  Ideally you should put the orchid somewhere where it won’t get soaked for the reasons given above.  The damp conditions will benefit the orchid though, which is why this room is a good bet to try.

One of the biggest secrets involved with orchids however is to identify exactly what kind of orchid you own.  All plants come in different varieties and what works brilliantly for one may fail miserably for another.  Just as people are different and some love the sun while others shy away from it, you will notice that your orchid might behave slightly differently from what you would expect as the norm.

Once you have identified your plant you can find precise care instructions to help you nurture and develop it.  Treating all orchids exactly the same is one of the reasons why some people habitually end up killing theirs off.  By doing some research before you buy your orchid you can be sure of which one will thrive the most in your home.  You can also ensure you have the exact spot for it that it will appreciate at all times.

What are you waiting for?  Go and take care of your orchid now.

Every garden needs a few choice plants to help it stand out among its neighbors.  One typical plant that will definitely help you achieve this aim is the Carolina jasmine.

This is actually a vine and it has many benefits to it that you will love when you seriously consider adding one to your yard.  For starters it can grow to great heights if it has the right spot to make its home in, so think carefully before you plant it out anywhere.  Twenty feet high is not uncommon if it has the best conditions conducive to it growing steadily.

You can limit the growth of it though if you don’t like the idea of it taking over an area of your garden like this.  The trick is in whether you relegate it to a shady spot or not.  If you do and the roots do not receive much in the way of sun, you will soon see that it can grow and grow and take over the area it has been placed in.

If you would prefer it to stay in a smaller size you can make this happen by choosing a warm sunny spot to plant it in.  While it will still grow it will not reach the great heights it could otherwise.

As such it is important to think about what else is nearby if you are going to plant it and let it take over that area.  For instance if you have a lovely tree of some kind the Carolina jasmine won’t worry too much about growing all over it!  You may not be bothered by this but the tree might, so think carefully before choosing a nice spot for it to grow unencumbered.

But it is perhaps the color you will get from the Carolina jasmine that makes it such a delightful addition to have in any garden.  The colors all seem to have been deepened so they show up more readily, and it is a delightful plant to have in the garden during the winter, as this is when you will see it in full bloom.

Watch out for the deep green leaves as it develops and the bright yellow flowers as a counterpoint to those leaves.  The two colors together make for a plant that really catches the eye.  Indeed many people who don’t initially know what a Carolina jasmine is will never forget it once they have been shown one for the first time.

As such it can be the focal plant you are looking for that will brighten up your garden during the winter.  They don’t survive and thrive in all gardens though – as the name might suggest the Carolina jasmine is a good plant that thrives in the South, whereas other areas will not be able to grow it at all.  Coastal areas around there do well with it, and as you come inland it gets rarer as a result.

If you have a lawn care business you may think you can only appeal to homeowners with lawns in their back yards.  But this isn’t true.

A lot of people are looking for ways to keep their garden looking great all year round without having to keep on top of the grass.  Depending on where the garden is situated it may actually be a lot of work to try and develop a good looking lawn that is easy to keep on top of.  Properties close to the sea will have to withstand the constantly salty sea air for instance.

A good alternative comes in the form of gravel.  Decorative gravel can be used in plenty of ways to create a stunning garden that is low on maintenance and high on visual appeal.  You just need to be able to see the potential in any plot to offer your clients a versatile garden that never needs to see a lawn mower.

For instance you can start off with a basic plot and sketch out flowerbeds and other features in different areas.  You could have an area of decking at the opposite end of the garden, perhaps taking advantage of some trees by hanging a hammock from them.  A patio area near the house is good for barbecues and other family get togethers.  In addition to this you can build in raised beds and flowerbeds in various areas.

The gravel comes in by creating pathways that link each area with the next.  You can opt for formal paths in straight lines and at right angles to each other, or go for a more fluid feel by creating sweeping paths that aren’t the same width all the way along.

Bear in mind access points to various parts of the garden as well when you use gravel in place of grass.  You’ll need to get access to any sheds or other garden structures, and you will need to consider where the flowerbeds are and how easy they are to reach from each point nearby.

If the client does want a small section of lawn left in place – perhaps to create an area for the kids to play safely for example – make sure you create a definite edge between the lawn and the gravel.  If you don’t you could end up with the gravel damaging the lawn mower or the blades.  Make sure the gravel surface is lower than the grass, so you can mow to the edge without causing any problems.  This will also prevent the gravel from finding its way onto the lawn.

As you can see gravel has some definite advantages when it comes to creating a low maintenance garden that looks stunning.  And with lots of different types, sizes and colors of gravel to choose from, there is something just right for every garden to use.

And you can still cater for clients with this kind of garden because they’ll still need regular weeding and planting done at specific times of the year in many cases.

We are so sure you will love our Lawn Care Business Guide that we are offering you a free chapter. With an easy to follow layout and professionally written text, as well as high quality pictures and little known tips and tricks, our Guide is the best lawn care business book on the market.

We are so sure you will love our Lawn Care Business Guide that we are offering you a free chapter. With an easy to follow layout and professionally written text, as well as high quality pictures and little known tips and tricks, our Guide is the best lawn care business book on the market.