If you’re like other do it yourself landscapers, you have probably experienced struggling with a concept or two. You might have also felt the need to start from scratch after you’re done over-thinking your initial design idea. But here’s the thing. Once you have established a framework of necessary design elements, things are bound to flow smoother.

First things first, have a vision for your design. This is one way of saying you should know exactly what you want. If you want to know where you should begin working, you must have a firm grasp of the design you want. You can have someone create a blueprint of your concept for you or you can simply sketch out your concept on a piece of paper. Whatever you do, make sure you have a vision, and you know what your garden should look like when you’re done working on it.

How do you start your landscape or garden design?

Most do-it-yourselfers start with a few structures. Lay down plans for pathways, driveways, access routes, or covered walk areas. Never mind the materials you are going to need, for now. Just make sure there is ample space for these fixtures before you plan the location of ponds, waterfalls, rock gardens and of course trees. This type of planning will help you establish a framework.

Of course, this framework won’t always be applicable all the time. If your garden is small, you have to make do with one structure. You may not need any pathways. However, a simple plan like this will help you determine which structures you can realistically fit inside your garden space.

Paths and walkways can serve as dividers. On one side, you can have your cooking area for parties and barbecues. On the other side of the pathway, you can have your plants and rocks. A designated space for people to walk on or run to when there’s rain is necessary. Structures are a great way to break up a vast expanse of lawn, meadow, or bed area.

Walkways also lead the guests deeper into your garden. Your pathway can lead to a specific place like a gazebo, or it can be a continuous loop around your garden. Walkways can be made of refined (brick, flagstone, etc.) or primitive (gravel, mulch, etc.). Maybe you want a walkway that goes from the back door to the pool area. Or from the pool area to the mini-picnic grove. Pay attention to the lines that your pathways create. Curves and winding paths can create the illusion of a bigger garden space. This is a technique made especially for small gardens and landscapes.

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If your backyard looks incomplete, a water feature might just be the thing you need to install in order to bring a touch of elegance to your lawn.  You have a lot of choices as far as water feature design is concerned. You can go for a pond, a waterfall or a fountain. Flowing or still water with fishes in it has a relaxing effect. Water features turns your ordinary backyard landscape into a thing of beauty.

To bring this natural beauty right into your own yard, a bit of planning is needed. You have to think of the additional maintenance efforts you need to put in for the upkeep of a water feature. It’s worth the hassle, as some garden owners know. Maintaining your garden and the water feature is not as labor intensive as you may expect. By following a few simple guidelines, you can enjoy your garden’s artistic peace.

No matter what water feature you add to your garden, you have to regularly monitor the quality of water you are using. This is the only real hassle that comes with maintaining a water feature. Water can become murky quite fast, especially if your water feature is exposed to pollution, dust and constant foot traffic. Make sure you set up your water feature on a spot that is relatively detached from the main trail if your garden is huge. It’s better if you have a good drainage system in your backyard so that you don’t have to deal with puddles of water when you clean your backyard.

Water fountains are considerably easier to deal with than a still water pond.  Fountains must be regularly cleaned, but not as frequently as a still water pond. Many new pond owners have problem with algae early on.  The simplest solution to this problem is to install fishes or floating plants. This will prevent the bottom of your pond from getting exposed to direct sunlight too frequently. Also, you must regularly check the acidity or alkalinity of your pond water. Use tablets that remove a significant amount of chlorine, particularly if you’re raising fishes.

Ensure you don’t have an excessive amount of chlorine in your water, especially if you have fish.  You may want to install a pump and/or a filter along with regularly checking the pH level of water (should be between six and eight). Having a pond installed needs training, so it’s better to ask a professional for advice on drainage, water maintenance and the positioning of rocks around the pond. You don’t want to end up with a pond full of muddy water.

Water lends serenity to everything, and your backyard is no exception. It’s best to invest a bit more time to establishing a water pond or fountain if you really want your landscape to look more beautiful. A garden is an ecosystem where living things, including you, coexist. Let your water feature be a welcome addition to the environment where fauna and flora thrive.

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When I first started on my big lawn, I had no idea mowing and lawn maintenance would require a lot of patience and perseverance on my part. But, sacrifices and a lot of trial and error need to be done to hone a piece of land into a thing that you can look at for hours and not get tired. A well-maintained lawn should not be expensive if you know what you’re doing.

Here are ten things you should know about lawn mowing. These tips will come in handy when you’re trying to maintaining a beautiful lawn.

1. Always carry wire cutters when you’re mowing, and while you’re preparing for mowing. Rusty old wires can stick out of the ground if your property used to be surrounded by barbed wire or any type of metal fence. Having a wire cutter handy will help you keep your rhythm. At the very least, you can deal with the few wires that are still lying around after the maintenance crew worked on the prep work.

2. Recycle what you can. If you’re working on a lawn that used to be tended by someone else, there may be some scraps around that can still be used. For starters, look at the big boulders and rocks around. Some of those can be used as borders for your zen garden. Small plastic bins should also be saved just in case you might need temporary soil bins while you’re sodding your yard. Discarding litter when you’re mowing seems like the natural thing to do, but if you have to purchase the same type of scraps in the future, it’s better to keep them in your garden.

3. When you’re mowing, always remember to push the choke lever on the mower when it keeps coughing and sputtering to a stop.

4. Beware of your mower’s safety features – Modern mowers possess a handle lever that shuts mowers down when there’s trouble. Mowers also come with what is called a Plastic Do-Hickie. This is a feature that shows a sign saying you shouldn’t shove your hand or feet inside a running lawn mower.

5. Always bring a canteen of water with you when you stay outside to mow your lawn. Heat stoke is common among those who have to work outdoors for extended periods of time. If the weather is at eighty-degrees, you should wear protective gear and have access to a constant supply of potable water just in case you feel thirsty.

6.  Budget –Tractor mowers are a must in places where lawns are too massive. Mowing with a push mower during spring is acceptable if you have a small lawn, but if your property is huge, you want a tractor mower to maintain your property.

7. Maintain your mower.  General maintenance is needed if  grass built up underneath your mower. You will learn about this soon enough when your mower keeps clanking while it’s doing its job.

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For anything worthwhile, you must have the best tools. I know how difficult it is to scrounge up some money for aesthetic purposes, but the thing is, if you scrimp on tools, you might end up losing everything that you’ve invested on. Avid do-it-yourself landscapers understand that the right tools are important. Having a well cared for yard means you should be extra meticulous about upkeep and maintenance. Don’t scrimp on the branded tools or you’ll end up losing money on repairs later on. Which tools are best for your lawn? Here are some of the most common tools used for basic landscaping needs.

Rakes, Shovels, Trowels and Hand Cultivator

Shovels, rakes, trowels, and hand cultivators are the most essential of tools you need to have when you’re into serious landscaping. Every homeowner should have these. Every landscaping objective can be met with these.

Shovels are for removing sod and turning the soil. You also need to dig the holes necessary for fixtures like trees and hard scapes.  Rakes are needed to smoothen out the planting beds and to prepare the soil for sodding without accumulating too much dirt. Trowels and hand cultivators permit more detailed work that bigger equipment will not allow.

Pruners and shears are used to transform the appearance of bushy plants and trees. They keep plants from going beyond your area. And, most of all, they can spell the difference between a perfectly manicured lawn and bushy overgrowth. Having a neat lawn is as important as having a healthy one. Appearance matters when it comes to landscaping. If you have topiaries, your pruners will be your best tools for trimming and beautifying. Topiaries look great only if the shape is maintained for a long period. You may also need some loppers for trimming thicker branches.

Lawnmower is one of the most essential tools. No home should be without it. Grass keeps growing whether or not you water it so you need to trim it to a reasonable level. You can trim your lawn with a mower according to the seasons. For summer, you can set the blades higher to allow for taller grass. Tall grasses keep the heat from drying out your oil. For the winter season, you can mow the lawn short. Weed wackers are also needed if you want to keep the soil free from unwanted plants. Weed wackers can keep edges that can’t be cut by a mower nice and neat. Automatic sprinklers also need to be installed.

A wheelbarrow will be your best friend if you want to transfer plants, soil or rocks from one part of the garden to another. A wheel barrow can keep you motivated to work on your garden. If you get tired of moving things by hand for a whole afternoon, you’re less likely to cherish the time you spend on your garden. You can easily haul out dirt and bring in plants to a new garden with a wheelbarrow.

Specialty tools. Other tools you will need depend on whether or not you have the corresponding features. If you have water fixtures, pump replacements and filters should be in abundance inside your workshop. You should also have little skimmers that allow removal of debris from ponds.

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Drought is never a good thing, whether for people or for lawns. When the temperature outside hits the 40 degrees Celsius, you know your lawn is in trouble. If you do not install some precautionary measures, you might end up losing your investment to the heat of the summer season. The truth is, a temporary heat spell is not too difficult to handle. Here are more recommendations for you to take care of your lawn.

Help your lawn survive using these tips:

1. Modify the blade height on your mower. Raised blades means taller grass. While you want your lawn to look clean and manicured, taller grass provides more protection from direct sunlight. Taller grass also grow deeper roots. This means more water in the soil for your small ecosystem to consume. If you have an abundance of these grasses on your lawn, it will be more weather-hardy when the air temperature gets any hotter.

2. Don’t be too free with bagging the clippings just yet. If you want an excuse to be lazy when it comes to cleaning the clippings, this is it. Grass clippings can provide more moisture, not to mention nutrients, to your lawn soil. This creates a barrier between the soil and the hot atmosphere.

3. Aeration twice a year will keep the soil maintained. You can keep out thatch from taking root and the roots of your usual plants can grow deeper in aerated soil.

4. Make sure the blades on your lawn mower are sharp. Dull blades can put stress on your grass. Stressed grasses need extra TLC in terms of water and nutrients, which is more difficult during summertime when the water evaporates as soon as you apply it.

5. Avoid too much evaporation of water by watering your plants during the early morning when the sun is less nasty. Water evaporates quickly in the heat, which means good news for those doing their laundry outside, but bad news for you if you water your lawn when it’s too hot.

6. Soaker hoses can be used to water your lawn. A drip type irrigation system can do wonders in terms of water management. It is more efficient during summertime. A hose is left to drip water on the ground throughout the day. The amount is just enough to keep replenishing water, but not enough to create a flood. This way, the water is soaked up by the roots, and not left on the leaves to dry up.

7. Fertilizing your lawn makes it more susceptible to heat. Fertilizers in the soil means you will need to water more.

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Water features are what we usually buy to make gardens more interesting. Ponds, mini-lakes, Jacuzzis, fountains and other water attractions in your lawn break the monotony of the landscape and make your garden more enchanting. If you’re thinking of installing some water features in your lawn, here are some tips…


Garden fountains are some of the most charming ways to turn your backyard into a picturesque landscape. This is because most home improvement shops have instant garden fountains available for set up. Do-it-yourself garden fountains are easy to install, there’s a manual for you to use and you can ask your friends to help out. You can choose from a wide variety of designs, from stand-alone fountains to hanging fountains you can mount on your backyard wall.

Choose a good position for your fountain, preferably at the center of your garden where everyone can see it. Install the fountain, fill it with water and plug it in. You can place decorative rocks around the fountain, and even lights. Have fun with it.


Ponds in your garden will require some digging and maintenance. If you’re competent and handy with tools, you can do it yourself. You can find garden pond kits but having your own set of tools will be helpful. One thing you must remember when installing a pond is that you have to pay attention to the dirt and grime that accumulates in your pond. You must check weekly if the water has become murky with the dirt and old leaves that have accumulated.

You can have a raised pond, or an in-ground pond. You need to locate the pond somewhere in your garden that won’t disturb the natural flow of things. For instance, you own an expanse of lawn where you plant your greens. You want your pond to be way beyond the reach of your automatic mower and perimeter wire. Use a pond liner to ensure that no underground grime seeps through. You can simply use a pond filtration system if you don’t feel like cleaning your pond every so often.


Installing a waterfall requires patience. First of all, you need to make sure you can afford the water bills. If you’re using a pump that simply uses the same amount of water every day, you need to change the water frequently to prevent it from getting murky. Consult a professional landscaper when it comes to installing the waterfall. It’s best if you have a wall in your garden which can serve as a backdrop to your waterfalls, but you can simply install the waterfalls after you’ve established your garden pond.

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Nitrogen is one of the most important minerals that plants need to grow. Nitrogen is best used with potassium and phosphorus, but on its own, it can be used to make your crops behave and look a certain way. First of all, it has something to do with chlorophyll production. The better your soil’s nitrogen balance is, the greener your plants’ leaves will look. If you want your lawn to be healthy, you should know the basics of nitrogen fertilizer application.

First of all, is your lawn lacking in nitrogen? There are some signs that your plants may be deficient in nitrogen if you observe them closely. If leaves turn yellow despite watering, your soil’s natural nitrogen reserves may be insufficient to meet the minimum requirement that your plants need. If grasses do not grow fast or become susceptible to diseases, the soil’s nitrogen deposits may be depleted.

Here are some tips for you if you are planning on applying nitrogen on your own…

There are three popular types of nitrogen fertilizers used widely for maintaining gardens. First is Isobutyledenedinurea (IBDU), which is a slow release fertilizer. It can be used to nourish your grass over a long period of time. This is one of the most expensive types of nitrogen fertilizer. Secondly, there is sulfur-coated urea.

The sulfur coating decomposes easily, but there are certain subtypes to this. The rate of uptake by the plant depends on how fast the sulfur coating dissolves. Sulfur-coated urea is temperature dependent, which means the nitrogen will be released faster when the temperature is warm, and when the lawn is wet. Pure urea is the least expensive nitrogen fertilizer that you can use on your plant. It can be used instantly, which means the nutrient is immediately available to your plants when you apply.

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When the end of summer comes, homeowners are left with the task of cleaning up the leaves that have accumulated in their backyard. Collecting leaves can be done the hard way or the easy way. The simplest way of collecting leaves in one place is with a garden rake. But we all know that this will take a lot of time and effort. If you are not keen on spending the night with a sore back, there is an easy way to collect leaves, and this is with the help of a leaf blower.

The concept behind this equipment is easy to understand. This equipment is made up of a high-speed fan is surrounded by a cover. Tubes protrude from the side of the fan to create a steady stream of air that you can point to the ground to move the leaves around. The air current speed can reach up to around 200 miles per hour.

Tips on How to Choose a Good Leaf Blower

Before you purchase your leaf blower, ask yourself if you really need it. If you have a small yard, you may not need a garden blower. If you have a large yard, then you may need a garden leaf blower to help with the backbreaking task of collecting leaves. You also need to consider your exposure to fallen leaves. If you do not have trees around, you probably will not get much leaf littered around when fall season comes.

There are inexpensive models of garden leaf blowers, and there are those that are more expensive than others. What is the difference? Most of the time, the expensive ones are more lightweight and easier to store than others. There may also be differences when it comes to the blowing power of the engine. Different models put out different speeds. A high blowing speed will let you finish in half the time it would take if you were using a low speed model. Most garden leaf blowers will have a rating of 350 to 600 cubic feet of air per minute (CFM).

Leaf blowers include both small one-hand models and powerful backpack types. The harness type might look tempting because you can walk around freely, but it could actually be more dangerous for your back and arms. However, it is the best choice if your yard is big. You can also choose by vibration speed. A low vibration model that has ergonomic handles and harnesses is recommended. With this, you can work more efficiently with less strain on your body.

There are some models that can collect leaves and there are those that can’t. With a quality garden leaf blower with all-in-one features, you can do much more than just move leaves around. You can also use the blower to collect rubbish, grass clippings, hedge clippings, and empty tin cans. If you can find one, get a model that can act as a vacuum so that you can collect the leaves into a trash bag as you go. This is a great way to save time and effort when it comes to disposal of the leaves.

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Spring and summer means more afternoons spent lazing around the house, particularly in the den or patio. Because you want to spend your days relaxing on your patio more enjoyable, isn’t it time to get the best and most comfortable patio furniture?

Sitting outdoor is more enjoyable if you can sit on patio bar chairs with your friends. You can also install a bar table with a drinks machine or a space for a cooler to complete the picture. Throw in a grill and you have an instant barbecue party with your family and guests.

Warm days are perfect for patio parties, that’s why you need to create a charming and comfortable patio environment that will make sitting outdoors more enjoyable. Here are some tips for setting up a patio that will charm you and your family…

How to Choose Spring Patio Furniture

Choose according to the size of your patio. Not all homes have spacious patios. Some patios are so small that only café-style tables will fit. Choose 4-seater cafe tables for your small patio, and a bar with stools for a more spacious one.

Choose furniture and accessories that will help you connect with nature. Add a few wood chimes if your locality is prone to strong winds. Choose hanging plants particularly herbs with exotic fragrances if your place is balmy and humid. Adding birdhouses with love birds or a parrot will make for a perfectly quaint patio.

If you love entertaining, get a couple of chaise lounges for lying down and relaxing. You can even install a hammock made of lightweight rattan. Hammocks are great because they’re more portable than love seats. They can be hung from the corners of the patio and covered with blankets and pillows. When you don’t feel like taking a nap, you can take it down to make way for more comfortable seating.

An outdoor patio without cover is also easy to set up. Get some patio umbrellas and turn your patio into a picnic spot. If your garden has a nice landscape, it’s a good idea to choose a patio theme that blends well with the garden.

There are different types of patio furniture to choose from, but it’s best to stick with weather-hardy furniture. Your patio is more exposed to the elements than your indoor furniture so it’s better to choose materials that can survive rains and heat. You also don’t want materials that could fade in color anytime. If you have to choose between colored and earth colors, choose earth colors.

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What is your main worry when you leave home for a vacation? Most home owners are anxious about leaving for a trip because of the many cases of robberies in the state. Who knows, burglars might have known about your living and are planning to ransack your home as soon as you leave. Therefore, we take precautions. We call our close friends, notify the neighbors and set the alarms.

Although I have no doubt that you hire only the most trustworthy landscapers to maintain your garden while you’re away, the same level of trust might not be extended to their helpers. Let’s face it, some landscapers are just eager to have an extra pair of hands to help out when the orders pour in, so it’s not surprising if some landscapers don’t do a thorough criminal background check on their hired help.

What can you do to make sure your garden and lawns are well maintained while you’re away? Instead of hiring a landscaping company or a gardener, why not get a robotic land mower?

Your nice looking yard will probably look like a marshland if you let the undergrowth and weeds have their way. Leave home without worrying about how messy your yard would look when you return by getting your own robotic land mower. One more thing is that, when burglars sense that your lawn is being maintained, they feel apprehensive about approaching your home because they can never be sure that no one is really there. In a sense, a robotic land mower can keep burglars away by giving the impression that someone is around mowing the lawn daily.

Robotic lawn mowers are auto charging, which means they go back to the charger when battery is low, and then move out again during the scheduled time. They require rechargeable batteries to work so you don’t have to worry about supplying fuel for the mower to work. Change the blades a few times a year, or have them sharpened every once in a while. Most robotic mowers can work in any weather because of the water-resistant feature.

So, how do you install a robotic land mower? You can install this by first planning where to place your perimeter wire. This wire needs to be buried about two inches deep so that the mower doesn’t trip on it but can still sense it. This wire will transmit signals to the mower so that the robotic mower will not go beyond the perimeter.

The best thing about owning a robotic mower is that you can set up a good routine for mowing. If you don’t want your lawn maintained daily, you can set it every other day. To be safe, you can turn it on during the night so that there no distractions while your mower is working.

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