What gardener doesn’t dream of having a garden shed? Whether it is a simple place to store gardening tools and supplies or a peaceful retreat where you can pass your afternoons elbow-deep in potting soil, there is a right garden shed for every gardener.

Before you rush out and order what you think will be the best garden shed for you, take some time to consider your current and future needs. Start by making a list of all the things you want to store in your shed and what jobs you want to be able to do there. After you have your list you will have a better idea what size of shed you need. Remember to leave yourself some room to grow. Consider not only the square footage inside your shed, but the size of the door or opening. It would be terrible to finish construction on your new shed just to realize that your wheelbarrow won’t fit through the door!

Garden sheds can be relatively inexpensive or quite extravagant. You can purchase pre-assembled tool storage units that resemble armoires for your garden, or go a more expensive and spacious route by purchasing a do-it-yourself shed construction kit (that can also be assembled by a professional from a home-improvement store). Or why not go all out and hire a contractor to build you the custom garden shed of your dreams, complete with running water and electricity?

Where Should You Place Your Shed

After you know what type of shed you want, consider where to place it. Do you want it to be the center of attention in your yard, or would you like it to blend in with the landscape? Most garden sheds are not temperature controlled, so it will be to your advantage to put your shed in an area of your yard that is shaded in the heat of the day. Having at least one window is important for ventilation and will help to keep your shed cool, which should definitely be taken into consideration if you plan to keep seedlings or bulbs in your shed.

Be mindful that the exterior of your garden shed matches or at least compliments the design of your home. To achieve this you can use matching paint or vinyl siding colors, and also try to mimic your home’s architectural elements. Another way to make your shed feels like a natural part of your yard is to landscaped around it, just like you would around your home. Flower beds and window boxes are a nice touch. Before you begin building your garden shed, remember to check local zoning and permit requirements and also check with your homeowner’s association.

The interior of your shed is probably the most important part because it is where you will be spending your time. Organization in your shed is critical. Make sure you have room to move around, especially if you plan to put a potting bench in your shed. You want to enjoy the time spent splitting bulbs and transplanting perennials, not spend that time wishing you had more elbow room.

Organizing Your Tools

It is best to store large item like lawn mowers, wheelbarrows, and tillers at the back of your shed so you don’t have to navigate around them, but make sure you leave yourself a path to get them in and out easily. Keep the things you use the most in easy reach, and put things that you use less often on high selves or in storage under the counter. A peg board works well to take advantage of the vertical space in your shed, and is a great place to store smaller tools like trowels and hand rakes. A hanging rack will keep your shovels, rakes, and broom out of your way but within easy reach. It is a good idea to have a lockable storage area for things like pesticides, gasoline, and sharp instruments, because your [garden shed]will probably be an attractive destination for children and pets.

Whether your ideal garden shed turns out to be a small resting place for spare pots, or a miniaturized version of your home complete with running water and French doors, pre-planning and careful consideration of your needs will ensure that you enjoy the time you spend in it just as much as the time you spend in the garden itself.

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If you have decided that a greenhouse is something you will need to ensure the survival of your outdoor plants over the winter months, then you will need certain essential greenhouse supplies as well. As portable and small efficient greenhouses are becoming more popular, more novice gardeners are able to set up their own greenhouses to keep certain outdoor plants from dying over the cold winter months. Unfortunately, along with the luxury of greenhouse gardening is the need for extra essential greenhouse supplies to make sure these plants will actually survive once inside the greenhouse.

Ventilation

The beauty of plants and flowers is that they are living, breathing plants that take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen into the environment. The downfall of this is that while they are housed in a greenhouse, they will need a way to breath in order to survive the winter months indoors. Unfortunately, many small greenhouses will not come equipped with proper ventilation systems, so either natural or power generated ventilation systems need to be installed. Natural systems simply be ridge or side vents installed in the greenhouse, while power generated systems are similar to a humidifier used in a home.

Grow Lights

Depending on the climate zone in which you will use a greenhouse, grow lights may be a necessity in the cold winter months. Grow lights are essential greenhouse supplies for almost every greenhouse simply because even the sunniest greenhouses will have shady spots that aren’t receiving adequate sunlight. Most grow lights are overhanging or even freestanding, looking similar to a tall lamp, and need electricity to run, which means running electricity into the greenhouse for a portion of the coldest winter months. This can be as simple as using an extension cord if the greenhouse is close enough to the house.

Heater

Essential [greenhouse]supplies such as a heater will depend on the climate zone and the type of plants that are being kept warm. Most coldframe greenhouses, those without the assistance of a heater, will only keep plants approximately 5-10 degrees above the outside temperature. Since most plants that are housed inside will need to remain at least 50-65 degrees Fahrenheit, if the temperature in your region drops below freezing, a heater is an essential greenhouse supply. While purchasing a separate space heater will work in keeping the temperature above 40-50 degrees, many gardeners also make a connection from their home heaters through tubing that would be similar to ventilation tubes in the home. Of course this will only work if the greenhouse is close enough to the home for such a tube.

Watering System

If you only have a few plants set up in a small greenhouse, then the easiest watering system will be manually watering the plants every few days. Of course if you have several greenhouse plants, then one of many essential greenhouse supplies will be investing in a misting system or a drip irrigation system that can automatically supply water to your greenhouse plants throughout the winter. Drip irrigation and misting systems work best because they give plants a gradual drink of water without soaking them. Because the heat and humidity levels are different in greenhouses, long slow drinks of water usually work better than a little bit every few days.

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Do I need a greenhouse? Deciding is as simple as considering the climate zone in which you live and the number of warm weather plants you have in your landscape. Most people think of a greenhouse as a large transparent structure like those used by lawn and garden stores that would take up the majority of a normal sized backyard. This simply is not the case. There are a variety of do-it-yourself greenhouse kits now available that range from small 6 x 8 coldframe greenhouses to large 20 x 50 structures.

Of course these greenhouse kits range from extremely inexpensive plastic units that are easily collapsible after the winter is over to
greenhousesthat will need to be built and maintained year round. Before you delve into making a major purchase of a greenhouse simply because the winter is coming, it is best to determine whether you truly need a greenhouse at all.

What Climate Zone Do You Live In

One of the most important factors to take into consideration when deciding whether or not to purchase a greenhouse is the climate zone you will be living in. If you live in the northern or northeastern half of the country, then it is likely you may need a
[greenhouse] if you plan on maintaining warm weather plants throughout the winter. These are plants that generally need temperatures above 50-65 degrees in order to survive and usually include almost all vegetable plants.

If you live in an extremely cold weather climate zone where the weather does not reach over 65 degrees until late in the spring or early summer, then you will definitely want to consider at least a small greenhouse in order to get started with your seedlings and container planting. Remember that if you cannot get the plants into the ground until late April or early May, it may be near the end of the season before you see beautiful blooms or vegetables.

For those gardeners that only have a few plants that need to be brought into warmer weather, you may be able to get away with bringing the plants into a cooler, well-lit basement, or simply use greenhouse lighting inside the basement to help the plants survive the winter. Of course, if your basement is heated, then these plants may become too warm and will die in the basement. If this is the case, then you will want to look into a greenhouse.

Setting Up Your Greenhouse

Something important to consider before purchasing a greenhouse kit is whether you can accommodate the lighting, heating, ventilation and watering needs within the greenhouse. Depending on the range of plants you will be housing throughout the winter, some will need more heat, more light, more ventilation and more water than others. Almost all greenhouse kits come with plastic tarps that provide ventilation, but for added ventilation you will need to add ventilation windows that will be considerably more expensive.

A greenhouse known as a coldframe is one that does not need additional heating. A coldframe will remain only 5-10 degrees above the outside temperature and is used in areas where there is only a light frost. If you live in an area where the winter temperatures will fall far below freezing then heating the greenhouse will also need to be taken into consideration.

If you live in an area where there is a considerable amount of sunshine, you may be able to get away without grow lights, but if this is the case you probably don’t need a greenhouse in the first place. Most gardeners who are interested in greenhouse kits will also need to consider grow lights to help plants get adequate sunlight in the winter months.

The items that need to be considered for purchase with a greenhouse are essential in deciding whether it is worth the cost to house your plants over the winter months. For a gardener that has a yard full of warm weather plants they would like to keep for the following year, a greenhouse is essential, but for those gardeners with only one or two tropical plants, it may just be easier to replant come spring.

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July 17, 2008

Lawn Mower Tips For The Best Lawn Care

lawn mowers

There comes a time in every person’s life when he (or she) is faced with the task of choosing a new lawn mower. It may be when you buy your first house or when your old hand-me-down lawn mower breaks down.

Whatever the reason for your shopping, you want to choose the best lawn mower for your circumstances at a reasonable price. But what is the best lawn mower for you and your yard? Here are some things to think about the next time you are in the market for a lawn mower.

How Large Is Your Yard

First, consider the size and makeup of your yard. If you have a large, flat yard, you might consider a riding [lawn mower], which makes quick work of large spaces, but costs a lot of money. If you have a smaller yard, you could go with a reel mower or a rotary mower.

Reel lawn mowers are available as gas powered or push mowers. A push mower means that the person doing the moving is providing all the power for propelling the mower and getting the blades to move. The reel mechanism acts like scissors, with rotating blades moving over a stationary knife.

Using a push mower doesn’t sound like a lot of fun, but it is an excellent workout and these machines are inexpensive, so if you have a very small yard this is a good option.

The gasoline-powered reel lawn mowers use the same cutting mechanism but are powered by a gasoline engine. These lawn mowers are ideal for people with Bermuda grass or bent grass that should be cut lower than two inches.

For grasses of other types and larger yards, the rotary lawn mower is the most popular choice. These lawn mowers come in gas or electric models and are great for cutting yards of all sizes. Rotary lawn mowers have a circular blade that cuts the grass and is protected by the body of the mower. If your grass does not need to be cut shorter than two inches and you like the added power of a rotary cutter, this is the machine for you.

Electric lawn mowers are usually cheaper than gas-powered mowers, but they also tend to have less power and either need to be plugged into an extension cord—which can be both dangerous and inconvenient—or they run off batteries that need to be charged regularly.

In general, push mowers cut the grass more cleanly, but the blades must be sharpened regularly by a professional. Rotary blades tend to bend the grass while cutting, but they are better for cutting long grass and the maintenance is easier

Wide Variety Of Lawn Mower Models .

There are many, many models of both kinds of lawn mowers available on the market today, with all sorts of features that can make your yard work a little easier. A self-propelled lawn mower, for instance, is much easier when you have a hilly yard. These mowers have extra power to pull themselves up slopes and may even have larger wheels to make moving on uneven surfaces easier.

Mulching blades for lawn mowers are very popular right now as people don’t want to throw out their lawn clippings or just leave them lying around on the yard. A mulching lawn mower has multiple blades that cut the clippings very fine, so they are largely invisible on the yard.

You should also look at safety features when considering a new lawn mower. A power mower should have both a blade shut off switch and what’s known as a dead-man’s switch, which automatically shuts off the engine if the lever or switch is not being pressed. That way it will be much more difficult to hurt yourself mowing your lawn (but of course remember eye and ear protection and long clothing just to be safe).

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