Irrigation and Landscape Design

In designing your backyard landscape, you should think about the irrigation system that will be used to water your plants and trees. Will you be using hoses above the ground or will you want below ground water sprinklers installed. You have to also take into consideration the water bill and in that respect you should learn when and how to water.

Mow your grass at a higher length so that it is longer. There is some controversy about whether this is helpful in saving water but it is better for the health of the grass as longer grass has stronger roots and is then more drought resistant. The grass should be mowed to a length of three inches. Aerate your lawn regularly as this will help the water get through the compacted soil and it also provides air to the roots of the grass. How often you should aerate your lawn depends on the type of grass you have and whether or not you remove lawn clippings. Dry spots are an indication that your lawn needs aeration.

Do not use as much fertilizer, as fertilizers help the lawn to grow and there is more usage of water with higher growth. Apply only the minimum amount of fertilizer needed. You can also apply fertilizer in small doses more frequently. Use a fertilizer dispenser to distribute the fertilizer evenly and you will not waste any of the fertilizer. Avoid the chemicals used in toxic fertilizer injection methods as they may be blown into neighbor’s yards or children may play in the wet grass and be subjected to it. If you add about a two or three inches deep layer of mulch: wood chips, almond hulls, decorative rock, etc. you will reduce the amount of water you use and reduce the number of weed in your lawn.

You can save water by reshaping your backyard landscape. If you shrink the size of your lawn, you will save water since the lawn takes more water than plants or shrubs. If your irrigation system is close to the house of near fences, reduce the size of the lawn in those places as the irrigation water spraying the house or fence can cause problems. You can use low growing plants with drip irrigation between the fence and the house.

If you would like to have a small garden area with plants that use a lot of water, then set it in a shady area where the wind will not get at it. High water plants will use less water when planted in a shady area and where they are protected from high winds. Because of the emphasis on water conservation, many water providers in dry areas of the country are giving coupons, rebates and discounts to purchasers of irrigation equipment. Some will even provide the equipment free of charge to their local customers. You should ask you water provider about these discounts, etc. before you purchase any irrigation equipment and ask about freebies also.

Home Office Feng Shui: Decor and Live Plants

Continuing with the third installment in our five part series on Feng Shui tips for your home office space, this week we’re talking about adding live plants and overall decor.

Practicing Feng Shui can be a great way to keep a happy balance in your office space. The key elements of water, fire, wood, and earth can help you find a calm balance and lead to more energy and productivity.

Part Three – Decor and Live Plants

Focus on Function

If an object is not serving a purpose for your work or for Feng Shui, then you don’t need it cluttering up your space. If an object is not representing a key element or is not balancing a key element, then removing it will clear space and make you feel more positive about everything that does have a purpose in the room.

Keep Walls Consistent

Any decoration or object going onto a wall should be placed at eye level. Walls need to be kept organized and consistent or they are violating good Feng Shui practices.

Display Nature Paintings

Paintings that show scenes of nature, like gardens, landscapes, and other outdoor scenarios, are not only a beautiful addition to any home but they use earth tones. Using earth tones will keep you consistently tuned into the environment.

Hang Up Family Photos

You can make your space more comfortable by surrounding yourself with images of your friends and family. Familiar faces and the memories triggered by them might make your office space more inviting. When choosing a frame, try to use a variety of both metal and wood so you can represent two elements.

Have a Small Fountain

Not only will a fountain fully represent the water element, but the sound of running water will act to sooth your senses. Also, a water fountain is said to attract and trap Chi.

Adding Crystals

There are certain crystals that are thought to increase the power of Feng Shui. Some of these crystals include: malachite, quartz, and amethyst. It is important to do some research on not only which crystals to use, but where they should be placed.

No Sharp Corners

It is believed that objects with sharp corners obstruct the pathway of Chi. Sharp corners are also a potential safety hazard. Certain items of furniture, like your work desk, may have sharp corners. As long as these are not pointing directly at you, they will still allow for the Chi to flow around you.

Bamboo for Luck

Not only is bamboo considered to be incredibly lucky, but it also serves to represent the key element of wood. Be sure to shop around and find the right bamboo plant for you and your space.

Keep Potted Plants

Any plant, even flowers, is representative of the key element of wood. Putting a small plant on the windowsill, or a larger plant in the corner of a room, can brighten up your whole space. Bringing any plant or flower into your home office will help to balance out the elements and will naturally boost your mood.

Learn Plant Care

All of the positive effects of having plant life in your office will disappear if you can’t keep your plants alive. Dead or suffering plants increase the negative energy in a room and can also make you feel frustrated or down. If you are going to have plants in your space, make sure to learn a little about plant care or choosing the hardiest plants.

You’ve Got Your Iron Gazebo But What Now? Some Decor and Landscaping Tips

It’s wonderful to have a sheltered, shady spot outdoors to enjoy a meal or just sit back and relax on a hot summer day. An iron gazebo can be a charming landscaping feature too. As a focal point they are extremely attractive and will add height to an otherwise flat looking garden. If you’ve just purchased or had an iron gazebo installed, you may need a bit of help personalising it and making it feel like part of your home.

Formal or Informal

Iron gazebos offer lots of decorating potential. To start you off, the most important decision to make is whether you’d like a formal or informal setting. This will ultimately be determined by what you’re going to use it for; elegant dinner parties or naps after you finishing mowing the lawn. Once you have a picture in mind, it will help you make other decisions about your plants and furniture. Wrought iron gazebos naturally lend themselves to formal, more elegant gardens. Although, in an informal setting with wild planting, they’re a great choice as they offer such strong structural support.

Plants

Hard-landscaping of any sort can often look bare until the plants go in. Here are some great climbing plants to make your gazebo blend seamlessly into the landscape: Climbing Roses, Evergreen Clematis, Wisteria, Vines, Ivy, or Jasmines. An iron gazebo looks great with traditional climbing roses or vines. Be sure to think about whether the plants will be North/South facing or against a wall, this could affect your decision. Consider when they flower and what they’ll be like seasonally. Finally find out whether the plants you choose are known to attract insects so you can rule them out. Though, perhaps you might like the idea of attracting butterflies.

Shelter

The more protection you have from the elements, the more you’ll be able to use your outdoor space, extending its use until well into the autumn. The addition of side covers will offer a lot more shelter from strong winds or rain. Curtains on the gazebo may not offer as much protection but will look amazing. They also offer you more flexibility than a completely closed structure with glass.

Traditionally a gazebo has a full roof, however many structures these days can be purchased as a frame thus giving you more options. At this point, if you don’t have a roof, you may want to consider some sort of roof cover or roof canopy. These can be purchased separately, once again, it depends on how you’d like to use the space.

Entranceway

A grand entrance is always important. Highlight the walkway to your iron gazebo so there’s a clear path to your outdoor room, using stepping stones or lighting. Decorate the doorway with hanging baskets, lanterns, a mat, planters to highlight it for a welcoming entrance.

Lighting

Assuming you’ve decided where to put your iron gazebo, you’ve probably thought about your power supply. This will determine the type of lighting you can go for (if any). If you’ve got an electricity supply to your structure then the sky’s the limit when it comes to lighting, it also gives you option to make full use of your gazebo at night, for parties, entertaining and dining. If not, don’t worry, there are lots of great outdoor light solutions these days, from battery operated candles that look just like the real thing – to solar power.

Inside

The interior of your iron gazebo of course depends on the space you’ve got, your existing furniture, and what you will primarily use the space for. Whether you’re fully enclosed or not will also limit your options. You can really enjoy this part; create a formal, elegant dining area under the stars or a relaxed, chill zone with low level seating, bean bags and outdoor rugs.

For an Event

You may have purchased your iron gazebo for an event. It’s always better to bring in benches, placed around the inside of your structure; they’ll provide a lot more seating. You can then put small tables in between; this will mean you’ll have plenty of room in the middle to get in and out. If you’ve got space you could include a centre-table or a feature hanging. The best materials to use when decorating gazebo for an event are light fabrics such as tulle, the rest of the d├ęcor will depend on your theme.

You’ve certainly got plenty think about after reading this post-gazebo-purchase guide. However you decide to use you iron gazebo – make sure you use it often.