Gardening For Arid Landscapes – The Beauty of Xeriscaping

In many parts of the world, current climate conditions make it more and more difficult to support a traditional landscaping plan involving huge, thirsty lawns. Many homeowners have discovered that it’s much easier (and more affordable!) to adjust their gardening and landscaping efforts to minimize water usage rather than fight a losing battle to keep grass alive.

* Low-Moisture Ground Cover

“Xeriscaping” is the common term for landscaping choices made to minimize water usage. This type of landscaping doesn’t necessarily involve the elimination of greenery and plant life, either. Depending on the particular region a homeowner is in, there are many alternatives to non-native grass that can provide attractive and effective ground cover. With the right choices, a homeowner can easily maintain a verdant patch of greenery using just a small fraction of the water needed by a traditional lawn. Low-moisture alternatives for ground cover include vines, herbs, and native grasses.

* Avoiding Thirsty Plants

As noted above, a xeriscape can include plenty of vibrant greenery. Xeriscaping is distinct from “natural” gardening (which concentrates exclusively on native plants) and “zero-scaping.” (which involves minimal planting) The chief concern with each plant choice in xeriscaping is water usage. Plants should be selected with an eye not towards their average water requirements, but their water requirements in the particular region being landscaped. In many cases, plants which may be difficult to cultivate in other areas will thrive when placed in a climate particularly suited to their needs.

* Rocks and Gravel

Although xeriscaping and zero-scaping are different approaches to gardening, the homeowner who wants to minimize water use shouldn’t neglect the possibilities of using non-living landscaping elements. Reducing the total square footage devoted to planting can dramatically reduce water consumption, even when plants are selected for minimal thirstiness. Using gravel beds and attractive rock formations can add visual interest and aesthetic appeal to a garden while also cutting down on its water needs.

* Maintenance

Although the goal of xeriscaping is to reduce water usage, this does not necessarily imply a maintenance-free garden. Hardy xeriscape-appropriate plants still need care and upkeep. While it takes less water to keep a xeriscape healthy, it often requires stricter adherence to a regular watering schedule. Further, homeowners have to keep in mind that xeriscaped gardens and lawns will often have comparatively unusual requirements for soil nutrition. Keeping a xeriscape healthy and happy may require a homeowner to maintain an exotic soil pH, fertilize with uncommon materials, or perform maintenance tasks (e.g. aeration) more frequently than with a conventional landscaping arrangement. For many homeowners, this minor bother is well worth the trouble when it pays off in the form of a distinctive, eco-friendly garden that catches the eye and keeps irrigation costs down.

Although xeriscaping isn’t for everybody, homeowners who choose to investigate it typically find it highly rewarding. It involves a more rational, reasonable approach to cultivating the residential environment. Employing xeriscaping principles is often the first step on the road to a home that’s more ecologically conscious and sustainable.

Starting A Home Improvement Project? Read These Tips First!

So, you think you want to renovate your home. Nice choice! Proper home improvement takes a commitment to hard work. You need to do some research and educate yourself about home improvement before getting started. You should read these tips to learn a few basic things about home improvement.

When renovating a kitchen or bathroom, avoid using linoleum. The foremost reason for this is that linoleum has dropped out of vogue and can make your new renovation seem dated. Tile has a much better appearance, can be used in any situation where you might choose linoleum, and can even have radiant heat grids installed underneath for the extra touch of heated floors.

Consider converting unused rooms in your house. Before you spend too much money adding an extra room or two to your home, seriously look at what you have to work with. Are you getting much use out of that exercise room or office? Even storage spaces like attics can be transformed into something useful, like a bedroom.

Stay true to the property and the neighborhood when you take on major renovations. If you live on a street of suburb ranch style homes, then putting in a colonial mansion is not going to get you the desired result you’re after. It will be out of place and not something anyone else will be willing to pay for later.

To avoid costly mistakes when painting a room, make a small investment in the paint samples that many retailers offer. You can get 8 ounce sample sizes in any available color. For a small cost, you can apply paint to a big enough area to really get a feel for how the paint will look, much more accurately than with paint chips alone.

When it comes to home improvement, be sure that you are not causing your home to awkwardly stand out from the rest of the neighborhood. This will ensure you will be able to resell it and also, that you will not receive scorn from your neighbors. Be creative, but try to lean toward conservative with colors. With additions, keep your the total size of your home somewhat near that of your neighbors.

Before you undertake any major home improvement project, it is in your best interest to create a well-laid plan. Getting the preparation out of the way will allow you to place your focus on the work in progress when the time comes. Pull ideas from magazines, others homes and anything that you really like.

A common occurrence in many homes is a leaky shower head. This is caused by a defective or damaged O-ring inside of the head. To stop the leak, simply apply tape to the head, and twist the head off with a pipe wrench. Find an O-ring that fits your head and place it in. Place pipe sealer around the pipe threads and screw the head back on, with a final tightening from the pipe wrench. Then test the head for any further leaks.

Everyone loves a nice bathroom. You can do this by getting a new sink or toilet and getting nice new cabinets. Updating your bathroom is one of the best ways to improve your home and it will also increase the net price on your house selling it on the market.

Is it cheaper to do it yourself or pay someone else? If you decide to completely re-do your bathroom, but know nothing about plumbing, it might be beneficial to pay a plumber to come in. Also, you can check out the self help books at your local building supply. Don’t be afraid to ask. A simple project shouldn’t cost more because of inexperience.

Always make sure that a company you hire is a legitimate one. A company that does not list a business address and conducts business primarily by phone is probably small and possibly not reputable. Try to go with companies that have a strong reputation.

Landscaping can easily add value to your home by creating curb appeal. Shrubs and hedges are generally affordable and easy to maintain. Trees, on the other hand, are not recommended for many reasons. Foremost, immature trees do little to enhance the attractiveness of a yard, while mature trees are often very expensive.

If you didn’t know what to do in order to make home improvements, you do now. How excellent! If you have more questions, keep re-reading the tips to ensure the basics sink in.

Gardening Can Be a Very Relaxing and Beneficial Hobby

Gardening is a hobby that allows you to get in touch with the earth that we all came from. Gardening can also help a lot of people to get in touch with themselves, as they go through the cycle of growing plants, flowers and vegetables and spend a lot of time outdoors by themselves. Gardening need not be an expensive hobby, as it requires few basic things, besides a plot of land you can call your own. However, down the line, as gardeners become more enthusiastic, they may find themselves spending a fair bit of money getting in the latest gadgets and machinery, trying to grow exotic flowers and other things that do need you to spend some money.

Gardening is an enjoyable outdoor activity, and is one of the most popular form of leisure exercise, as it does take out the monotony of exercise regimes, while giving you all the benefits of a good workout. Ensure that you do all the required chores yourself. So bending down to do the weeding, turning over a garden bed, with a shovel in your hand, lugging compost, wheelbarrows and mowing with the lawnmower can be good substitutes for exercise. You of course, do cheat a bit if you go in for a mechanized lawnmower, or other means to take out the physical activity needed for gardening. An hour of gardening can burn up three hundred calories and help you to keep your wight in check.

Children find gardening a very thrilling hands-on experience. They look at the plants, flowers and vegetables that are created, with a sense of wonder. Involve your children in your gardening efforts, and you will find their involvement and excitement, something that reduces your own stress. Give them a small plot of their own, and you will find the enthusiasm that they have for this, will add to your enjoyment of gardening.

A garden can help you to create a very peaceful place around your home. This can more than help you to relax, as when you are sitting around enjoying the greenery and calmness, you have the additional satisfaction that you have done this yourself. If you find such garden chores repetitive and monotonous, alternate activities to different days. Plants are very forgiving and will rarely accuse you of neglect. Gardening is a hobby that can unite everyone, regardless of age and sex. It is a hobby that is practiced quite often by neighbors and other social acquaintances. So this gives you a topic for discussion when you meet. Much better than discussing the economy, politics, world events or other things which are more than likely to get your blood pressure up.

Garden spaces can be ideal spots for gatherings with friends and families. They will also give a different perspective to your home. Planning a garden can be one activity that can take up a fair bit of time. You tend to forget all other matters when you are doing this, and this is definitely one way to relax. Talk to experts or get some hints from other enthusiasts. The Internet can be a vast source of inspiration, that can help you to get on with your gardening and help you to take advantage of this relaxing hobby.

Gardening Can Be A Profitable Hobby

Many people are getting into gardening these days, partly because it is a great outdoor and family activity, and partly because it is convenient to have fresh produce in the backyard. Nearly anyone can grow a few veggies whether they have a garden space available or not. It only takes a small area to create a garden plot; just 10′ x 12′ would supply the needs of a small family. Even those people who rent an apartment or live in a condo can try container gardening to grow a few salad vegetables.

With today’s rising food costs, it makes sense to purchase a few packets of seeds and a few potted plants to get a garden started. It is not necessary to have a lot of garden equipment to be successful at growing a small garden. Just a hoe, grub rake, a small spade and a water hose are enough once the garden space is prepared.

If you are starting from scratch by digging up a small area of the lawn, there will be some energy and muscle required. The sod should be completely removed, deep enough to make sure all the grass roots are gone. These roots regenerate quickly even if they are covered by dirt, so make sure there are none left. Then add enough garden soil and peat moss to refill the hole, using about four times as much garden soil as peat moss. If composted manure is available, use some of that for fertilizer. You can also use commercial fertilizer if no compost is available.

It is exciting to finally plant your garden, but it is important to plan before you plant. Make sure you purchase seeds and plants that will grow well in your climate, and carefully follow the directions on the seed packets and potted plants. Tomatoes are a healthy fruit (although most people think of them as a vegetable), and they grow in nearly any climate. Most do not need a long growing season, they can easily be grown in a container and they yield a lot of produce. Tomatoes are tasty in salads, sandwiches or just sliced with a sprinkle of salt.

Do not forget the other salad veggies that are easy to grow. They include several types of lettuce, carrots, radish and onions. Beets are also easy to grow and you can add the small leaves to a salad, cook the root as a vegetable or pickle them for later use. All of these vegetables can also be grown in containers, so even if you do not have garden space you can still grow the ingredients for a great salad.

Green and yellow beans are very easy to grow, either in a garden or in a container as a pole bean. They are healthy as well as tasty, and any excess you have can easily be frozen or canned.

Unless you are someone who is away from home most of the time, growing your own vegetables during the warm months makes a lot of sense, is fun and also economical.

Finding Your Green Thumb

It is a myth that some people are born with a green thumb while others are just inept when it comes to gardening. Like any other work out there, gardening is a labor of love and a few simple hints and tips can help you create beautiful landscapes.

An understanding of the different types of plants that you need to populate your garden is important.

Every garden, no matter how big or large needs to start with a ground cover such as grass or lawn. Lawn has been genetically enhanced and changed to prosper in all different types of conditions. Be sure to ask your local garden expert which type of lawn is the most compatible with the area in which you live.

Trees are also form a important part of your garden landscape and are often the focal point of a garden. If there are no existent large trees in your garden opt for fast growing trees that will begin to offer shade in a matter of months rather than years.

Hybrid and Tulip Polars are a fast favorite in this category. The Weeping Willow is another speedy growth tree but requires a large amount of water as well as care to ensure it grows at the desired speed. Another fast favorite is the jolly Green Giant with a noticeable growth of about 3 to 5 feet a year with the added benefit of being the most budget conscious.

There are a number of other fast growing trees that you can add to your garden. Take into consideration your climate, soil type as well as water consumption so when asking your nursery specialist about these trees be sure to be specific about the conditions.

Next you will need to plant some shrubs to add some depth to your landscape. You can choose shrubs that are ideal for shaping and pruning to your requirements or opt for flowering shrubs. All year flowering shrubs are your best bet.

These include Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow which flowers all year round and adds a wonderful aroma to your garden. Star Jasmine also has a wonderful scent and flowers all year round. If you find that your flowering shrubs have not bloomed in a while, simply take some pruning shears to the branches and distress the roots.

Distressing the roots of a flowering plant simply means loosening the soil around the roots. It is important not to harm the roots in the process but to ensure that oxygen, water and nutrients can easily reach the root system.

Last but not least are the smaller plants that you add to your garden. These are normally perennially flowering or succulents. These smaller plants can require more care than any of the other plants you have acquired for your garden.

It is better to buy seedlings or mature shrubs to plant in your garden. Once you become more at home with growing and caring for your greenery you can begin purchasing seeds to grow plants from scratch.