Wooden fences are widely used because of the quaint ambiance they create. The probable reason for this is because wood is quite versatile. This material that can be designed in various ways, with your imagination as the only limit. However, installing a wooden fence is not as easy as installing modular steel or plastic ones. This is because wood can soak in water, can expand or shrink, and can decay. What’s important is that you understand how your wooden fence blends with your landscape, and how to maintain the beauty of this piece.

One more use of a wooden fence is to keep animals away. Even if you do not build a very tall fence, a small fence can be a deterrent to animals that roam (like stray dogs or cats). Before you begin, here are some guidelines to choosing and installing your own wooden fence.

First of all, you will need to set up posts, which are essential for keeping the other materials of your fence in place. Some posts are made more aesthetically pleasing by the addition of decorative tops. Some posts extend above the top of the fence for more aesthetic value. The key is to never let the decorations of your posts clash with the design of your rails.

Rails are spanners that connect the posts. They are horizontally placed and are sometimes anchored in place by smaller posts. Some fence styles emphasize the use of top rails and bottom rails.

Panels are the boards that make up the “meat” of your fence. Some fences are open and no panels are used, but panels that adopt the look of lattice boards are too quaint and beautiful to pass up. Even straight boards can comprise your panels, if you want more privacy.

When you’ve checked out the materials and you have an idea on the design you want for your fence, it’s time to ask the local engineers about height and design restrictions. You may be required to apply for a construction permit. Some villages and suburban areas also have additional restrictions, especially if you belong to a village where the administrators require a certain height limit or style.

Another reason why you have to check with authorities is that there may be utility companies that have installed wires underground. The last thing you want is complaints from neighbors about broken phone lines or cable lines. Underground gas, electric, and power lines may be located right under the place where your fence will stand. Make sure that you have a plan for your fence. Measure everything from the size of your lawn to the thickness of your panels and posts. You must also be able to describe how deep your post holes will be.

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With proper care and the right equipment, you can have that gorgeous lawn of your dreams. With equipment, we mean the tools and gadgets you use directly to maintain the beauty of your lawn. Choosing the right lawn mower for your landscape isn’t difficult, but there are a few tips you can follow to make sure you get the best one…

Take note of cutting quality. A good lawn mower should cut the grass and not tear or rip it out. A good way to ensure this is to find out if a mower is especially designed for flats or slopes. There are some mowers that are great for flat areas but not for sloping gardens. You may need to change settings if the mower can work anywhere.

If your lawn is on a slope, the best kind of land mower you should purchase is one with high wheels. The high wheels make the mower easier to move up and down the slope. You can also consider a cordless or electric mulching lawn mower. These mower types are designed to avoid too much mess when you’re maintaining or mulching your lawn. There’s another type of land mower that will not contribute to air pollution, and this is called the reel lawn mower.

After you’ve selected the best lawn mower for your garden, read the manual and ask the service man for specialized instructions on how to maintain your lawn mower. Some home owners use the same land mower that their parents or grandparents used. The secret to this kind of longevity is maintenance and servicing. Choose a brand that’s fairly common so that you don’t have to search far and wide for spare parts if you need to fix something in your mower. Spark plugs should be cleaned or replaced for good firing and nuts and bolts should be checked and tightened where necessary.

The underside decking should be checked and cleaned all through the mowing season to eliminate grass and dirt that have accumulated. This is not only for the maintenance of your mower. This is also to prevent grass diseases, pests and what-not from spreading across your lawn.

Start cleaning the deck of the lawnmower by emptying the gas tank and making sure that the spark plug is not connected.  Tilt the mower and spray liberally with water. Use a hose to clean off the rest of the dirt and grass that got stuck. You should not use the mower right after you’ve cleaned it. Instead, make sure to dry the mower after you have finished rinsing it off.

While cleaning the land mower should be done regularly, fixes and maintenance can be done twice a year, or quarterly. It depends on how much you work your mower. Check the oil and air filters. Make sure the parts are not rusted. Filters may be foam or paper, so you’d better check with the technician if you want to change filters. It’s like caring for a car, in a way.

Another crucial thing that you have to remember is the blade of the mower. Sharp blades will cut the grass, while a dull blade will simply uproot your plants. File your blades yourself, or have a professional do it for you.

When you’re done mowing for the season is over, properly store your lawn mower for the winter by removing the oil and gas. You can also wipe down the exterior before storage.

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Why do people use mulch for their gardens? Some benefits to using mulch are weed control, better development of plants and better water absorption.

Mulches can stabilize soil temperature and help with the development of ornamentals. If you choose to use mulches, choose the kind that’s not easily washed away during watering. Make sure the mulch is rather loose so that nutrients and water can be absorbed quickly.

But what if you have trees in your garden? Is there a kind of mulch that works great on trees? If you’re looking for a proper mulch treatment for your trees, you can use wood chips. This type of mulch decomposes gradually, which makes sure that all the nutrients are taken in by the tree not in one go, but over time. Composted wood chips are great because they are durable and nutrient-rich.

Unfortunately, most of the wood chip mulches you will find in stores are not sold fresh but in a composted or aged state. These chips are easy to use, but you don’t have much control as far as age of the mulch and decomposition speed is concerned. Slower decomposition will lead to the flocking of soil microorganisms that might otherwise not be available for plant growth.

What you can do is to buy un-composted wood chips ahead of time and compost them yourself. Put them in a backyard composter along with some leaves, twigs and bark. Make sure to keep the whole thing well aired and turned to prevent bad smelling mulch.

The ideal mulching layer should be around 2- to 4-inches. Organic mulches decompose over time, which means they discharge tiny quantities of nutrients gradually for the plant to use. Coverage can be from 3 to 6 feet out from the base of the tree. It is recommended to keep the 1-2 inch area on the tree’s base free of mulch to prevent insects and excess moisture from accumulating.

Mulch shrubs in the same manner as trees. Observe the spacing between trees and shrubs, and vary the amount of mulch you use accordingly so that they don’t end up competing for the same nutrients that the mulch provides. These simple tips will help you maintain a tree garden easily.

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The overall design of your lawn or garden will enhance your home. At the very least, it will leave a lasting first impression to people who are just passing by, your neighbors or your guests. Landscaping can also be a means to increase the value of your property. If you’re planning on selling your property in the future, it’s worthwhile to invest on landscaping and garden design.

Nowadays, it’s possible for average homeowners to transform their backyard into breathtaking landscapes. You can make your garden look like a work of art at a reasonable price. You may want to hire a designer if your concept of what an ideal garden should look like is too complicated. However, for simple projects like a rock garden or a garden pond, you can do it yourself.

Fortunately for you, decorative rocks and mulches are now available in gardening shops. There are so many varieties to choose from and I can guarantee that you’ll have fun mixing and matching garden accessories.

Use decorative landscaping stones to beautify your walkways and your mini picnic grounds. Use them to separate the plants in your garden. You can even use rocks to create layers. Once you have the basics done, you can upgrade by adding in a gazebo or a bridge.

Mulches can reduce soil temperature and help with the growth of your plants. If you choose to use mulches, you need to find out which variants are not easily washed away. Choose a mulch type that’s quite loose so that water can seep into it quick. It’s advisable to apply mulch during the latter part of spring. One to two inches deep is the ideal depth for applying fine mulch, but for coarser variants, try three to four inches deep.

One benefit to using mulch is that you can easily control weeds naturally, without using herbicides that could damage your plants. There are a lot of pre-emergent herbicides to choose from if you want to try controlling unwanted weeds for up to four months without hampering the growth of bulbs, established flowers, shrubs and trees.

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How can you effectively use landscaping fabrics? I know some of you think that landscape fabric is the end-all to your landscaping worries, but what is the logic behind these fabrics? Are they really the key to no-maintenance lawns?

The first thing you need to know is that when you start working on a lawn, you must keep maintaining it. There’s no such thing as no-maintenance lawns. However, a landscape fabric can definitely make your landscaping easier if it has several useful features.

Some landscaping fabrics have a feature called a weed barrier. Not all fabric designs have this feature, but some companies create fabrics that can act as weed barriers. Weeds can grow anywhere, and mostly in areas that you cannot maintain well, like crevices of rocks and other fixtures in your garden. Sometimes, to be able to prevent a weed from reappearing you will need to re-design your garden or re-arrange the heavy rocks you have installed. A landscaping fabric with a weed barrier can save you a lot of trouble.

If you prefer to use decorative rocks for ground cover and path work, you will need to have a separator for the soil and the groundcover. For this purpose, a good quality landscape fabric is ideal. This is to make sure your lawn will not have mud rocks after a sudden rain storm. Some people make-do with newspapers and cardboard boxes, and even old carpets.

If you don’t want to use fabrics, you can simply create a living soil planting area that you can mulch and tend to. But for larger spots, you can use decorative rock. You can use landscaping fabric under mulched living beds and rock beds.

Landscaping fabric can prevent weed outgrowth, but there will always be seeds and dirt that can accumulate on the fabric. This means you will still need to maintain your lawn periodically, and this means cleaning the spots covered by fabric.

Landscaping fabric can be used under bark and mulch covered beds. In the long run, this will make it even easier for you to replace a section of your lawn. You won’t need to use a blower to get rid of dirt. You can maintain whole sections yearly without having to deal with too much dirt.

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Spring will always be a favorite season. If you can get rid of the chores involved in spring cleaning quickly, you will find pleasure in starting your very own garden made up of spring flower bulbs. Planting spring flower bulbs will make you feel the very essence of spring, which is all about rebirth, renewal, and rejuvenation.

During spring, you can choose from a beautiful assortment of flowers. You can start looking for bulbs when the snow is just melting, as there are many types of bulbs that bloom in early spring.

If you simply cannot choose, you can go for the more popular ones like crocus, tulip, narcissus, and hyacinth. These bulbs require planting before the onset of winter, around late September or early October. Planting them at these times will help them develop a stronger root system before winter sets in.

Plant your spring flower bulbs in an area with good drainage. Bulbs will rot if waterlogged for a long time. They should also receive sufficient sunshine, approximately 6-7 hours daily. Bulbs can be planted in any soil type as long as the soil is loose and workable. Adding peat moss or compost to your lawn should do the trick if you want to fertilize the spot where you will be planting the bulbs.

Follow the package directions for each bulb type. Instructions for hole depth may vary from bulb type to bulb type, but most bulbs will require a depth of six to eight inches. However, you should loosen the soil for an additional four inches. Plant the bulbs with the base at the bottom and the pointy end facing up. Pack the dirt firmly around the bulb and water deeply.

Spring flower bulbs need the minimum amount of care. Once established, you can water them occasionally and cover them with mulch to protect from frost.

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Moss is an aesthetic tool that can turn your garden into a dreamy place that belongs to a fairytale scene. Mosses and lichens may turn even the most simple garden design into something that feels aged and established. The trouble with garden moss however is that sometimes it’s difficult to establish. Mosses need a certain environment to flourish, and if you’re not careful, you may be wasting your money on a good moss cover by not being able to maintain it well.

There are a few ways to accelerate the growth of moss on garden rocks and concrete walls. This method, however, will not work if you plan on placing moss on resin statues and artificial landscape rocks.

You will need porcelain clay for this trick. This type of clay is easily obtainable from local hobby stores. Stir in a clump of porcelain clay (approximately the size of an average fist) into 3 cups of water. Keep stirring until a thin paste is formed.

Blend the clay mixture with a cup of fish emulsion (undiluted) and a cup of fresh, shredded moss. Fish emulsion will provide the nutrients that the moss needs to grow.

Paint your rocks and concrete walls with the mixture. Make sure the surfaces are slightly moist but not too wet that the mixture slides off a few seconds after application. Use a paint brush to do this.

Always remember that moss grows into cracks and crevices and usually in patches. It will take patience on your part to appreciate the gradual creeping of the moss across your walls and rocks.

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Have you ever imagined a lawn where there’s a shining fountain, a pond with “inner” lights and an attractive statue spouting sparkling water? If you have always dreamed of seeing these things on your lawn, it’s time to start thinking of ways to light up a garden fountain. With the smart use of lights, you can highlight anything on your lawn, particularly gorgeous fountain and the fish pond. Water looks great under light because of the ripples caused by a passing breeze and the dreamy effect this ambiance lends to your whole garden.

Garden fountain lights can be installed inside the water or outside the fountain. To be able to do this on your own, you must have a working knowledge of GFI outlets as well as the basics of lighting and electricity flow.

The keyword for choosing a lighting design to use is drama. Garden fountain lights can be angled in such a way that a dramatic effect is reached. Play with colors and hues so that you can emphasize the material used for your fountain or highlight a particularly awesome design (like carvings).

If you’re worried about manually turning on your lights, you can get a system that allows you to sit back and quit worrying about the lights in your garden. A lot of garden fountain lights have timers installed. You can program the timers so that the lights turn on when night time comes, and shut down at daybreak. Timers can help you save on electricity bills. If you’re not using solar energy to power your garden lights, you may realize soon enough that a beautiful garden is not cheap.

Start planning for garden fountain lights by trying out different effects with a strong flashlight or a spotlight on an extension cord. Plan a tasteful garden lighting system, if you don’t want to turn your garden into a circus.  A garden fountain is elegant only when the lighting is tasteful and uniquely placed.

Make sure you also choose cases for your lights that will blend with your garden’s design. While chromium steel or white casings work to protect your lights and allow you to be creative with angles, they can be terribly conspicuous during the daytime.

Setting Up

The first thing you need to know is to never direct the lights to the water. An indirect lighting or subdued lighting around the water area can give a dramatic effect, but shining the lights directly to the water will produce an annoying glare. You want people to appreciate the beauty of your garden, not be blinded by the glare of your lights.

In-pond lights require the water to be reasonably clean. Murky water doesn’t look good especially with lights. Moreover, the debris in your water may obstruct too much light. Also, make sure there are dark areas in your pond if you have fishes. Watching fishes swimming in lighted water may be fun for humans, but prolonged exposure to light may damage the circadian rhythm or the sight of some fishes. Allowing dark areas will permit the fish to rest or back away from the light.

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Even if the rule of thumb for watering your lawn is an inch to one inch and a half per week, you should know that the type of soil in your lawn, the amount of sunshine, and the climate all play a role. The important thing is that you water in a correct manner. Deep watering means infrequently running the sprinklers but spewing out a good amount so that the grasses will have deeper roots.

For the usual depth of an inch to one inch and a half per week, you can do it in 2 splits or once a week. It is recommended that you don’t sprinkle water just a little each day, or else you will have shallow roots. Drought is often the result of sparse watering or sprinkling too little water frequently.

For sandy soil, the best way is to water your lawn two times a week because sandy soil drains faster. If this happens, the water will soak through the sandy soil fast and settle deeper than the roots can reach. If your lawn soil is made up of heavy clay, you must water thrice a week because water is not absorbed by clay soils well.

It’s difficult to measure the exact amount of water your lawn receives particularly when you’re using automatic sprinkler systems. One way to measure how much water your lawn is getting is to place a few plastic tubs around the lawn. Using these tubs, you will know how much water your sprinklers put out in an hour. Let the sprinklers stay for a few hours to measure how much water your lawn is getting and then you can modify your watering time accordingly. One more advantage of doing this is that you will be able to find out if watering is even all over the yard. It would be a bad thing if there were spots your sprinklers don’t reach.

The early morning is the best time to water. During this time, the sun is not at its peak and all the water can be soaked up by the soil with minimum evaporation. Watering at night may lead to grass diseases because the soil stays wet longer during the night.

If it’s summer, or the weather is particularly hot, increase your mowing height so that your lawn’s soil and the roots of your grasses are less stressed. It is also advisable to leave grass clippings on the yard. The remaining moisture in the clippings will benefit your lawn.

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Hibiscus plants can be used for landscaping, for hedging or for indoor use as pot plants. The thing is, hibiscus plants are so versatile, they can fit right in with whatever design concept you have. The trick is to choose a variety that has the right dimensions and characteristics.

Hibiscus as pot plants should be smaller. For outdoor use, get the larger varieties, as small ones will get eaten up by the landscape in terms of aesthetic appeal. Hibiscus hedges must be the medium sized varieties, with more foliage appeal for better coverage. Whichever hibiscus species you choose, make sure it will blend with other plants in your garden. If you’re using them for bonsai, use the matured plants with small leaves.

Talk to nursery owners to further discuss the type of hibiscus you want. The first thing you should ask about is the color and the breed of the plant. There are certain species that came from parents with different characteristics. Some are even bred specifically for a purpose (winter hardy, bright red flowers, lush foliage etc.). Ask the grower about these things before you purchase. If you’re particular about the aesthetic value of the flowers, you can opt for four or five petal varieties.

Before you buy your gardening tools, get a book on Hibiscus and begin getting to know your plant’s characteristics. Also, make sure you have abundant sun to keep the flowers thriving. The plant is weather-hardy but they look their best when sunlight is abundant. Moderately sandy soil is perfect for hibiscus growing, if there is some organic content and slight acidity.

If you want to breed your hibiscus plants, like when you want your pot plants to show the characteristics of your garden plants, you can propagate via cuttings. Hybrid grafting is the easiest way, but there are some hibiscus species that propagate via seed culture. However, germinated seeds may not have the traits of the parent plant because the pollen may have come from another variety.

Seedling establishment is critical to hibiscus growth. You must maintain a good watering routine and mulch the plants every once in a while until they have been established. For potted plants, watering must be done on top of the plant, and not the base. Fertilizers will promote flowering and foliage, but be warned that having too much nitrogen in your fertilizers may improve foliage growth not flowering. Pesticides, insecticides and fungicides may have to be used depending on the need. It is best to choose organic products including fertilizers.

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