March 9, 2007

Designing Your Flower Garden

Flower GardenSpring is the perfect time of year for setting up a new garden space. Everything is alive, growing and happy, so it’s no wonder you’d want your yard to get in on the action.

To set up a basic bed for flowers, all you need to do is remove the sod and plant small plants or seeds in the soil. Getting rid of the sod can be a lot of work. An easy way to get rid of sod, which unfortunately takes a long time, is to cover the area you want to make into a bed with five to seven layers of newspaper. Cover the paper with mulch and allow it to sit undisturbed for at least six months. A year is ideal.

When you remove the mulch, the newspaper and the sod will be gone. Then all you have to do is plant, put the mulch back around the plants, and enjoy.

What Should You Plant

Assuming you already have a flower garden spot prepared, what should you plant? The answer depends on whether your area gets sun, shade, or a mixture, and what part of the country you live in. There are beautiful plants, such as impatiens, hostas, ferns and vinca, that thrive in shade, just as there are a multitude of flowering plants that glory in the sun, including all sorts of wildflowers, coreopsis, lilies and more.

To find the best plants for your yard, go to a local garden center and find the plants designed for the amount of light your garden spot gets. The plants you can buy locally will be well-suited to the environment where you live.

When designing your new garden space, remember that nature loves odd numbers. Buy three, five, seven or more of the same kind of plant or flower, and your garden design will look much more natural. Also, don’t line your plants up in rows. Nature doesn’t subscribe to straight lines. Go for a walk by a stream or in a field of wildflowers to see how nature designs, then go for a similar look in your yard.

Your garden can be formal or informal, stick with one color in all its shades or offer a multitude of bright, pastel or muted colors. The decisions all rely on your personal taste. Once you have picked the [flowers] and planted them according to the directions on the tags, then you can have fun filling the garden with cute accessories.

Using Garden Accessories

When a garden is new it can look a little bare because the plants are small and not fully established. You shouldn’t over plant your garden space if you are using perennial plants (those that come back year after year) because they will grow larger each year and eventually fill in the space provided.

Instead, fill the empty space with cute birdbaths, birdfeeders or birdhouses. Add decorative stepping stones or sculptures, gazing balls, even plant stands that will allow you to add height by placing a potted plant in your garden. If there is a tree in your garden space, you can hang a birdfeeder or wind chime for an extra touch of whimsy.

And when the color fades from your flowers, add a multi-colored fabric pinwheel that will leave a rainbow in your garden all year long. - The Ultimate Garden Center

Filed under Flower Bed Design by landscapeliving.
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June 27, 2006

Starting Your Own Vegetable Garden

Vegetable gardening is a rewarding hobby. You get to nurture the plants from seedlings into giant, productive plants that produce delicious and healthy food for your family. What could be better than that? If you’ve always wanted to start a garden but were intimidated by the amount of work it would take, let me tell you, vegetable gardening does not have to be difficult. In fact, you don’t even have to break ground if you don’t want to. If you don’t have a big back yard or simply don’t want to give up space to a garden, there are many vegetables (and herbs!) that can be grown quite successfully in containers, including tomatoes, peppers, staked beans and cucumbers, even lettuce and radishes. Use a good potting mix that drains well, add compost and fertilizer if you like, mix well and add to your pots. Plant seedlings as instructed on plant tags, or seeds as the seed packets indicate. Lettuce, radishes, beans and cucumbers can all be grown from seed, while tomatoes and peppers do better in most areas started from seedlings.

Collect your containers together on your back porch or balcony, add a wind chime, a gazing ball or some other garden accessory, and place some plants on shelves or plant stands for a variety of heights. There you have it: a garden in a corner.  If you’d like to have a vegetable garden in the ground, prepare to soil by removing the sod. You’ll want to get rid of as many weeds as possible so you don’t have to pull them up later. Mix in compost and fertilizer, then plant your plants and seeds as in containers.

A little planning is helpful when designing a large vegetable garden. Think about which way the sun will shine into your garden and how the shadows of some plants will fall on the other plants. Planting lettuce in the shade of your tomato plants may give you a longer season because the shade will keep the delicate plants cooler. From season to season you’ll want to rotate your crops. Many popular home garden vegetables, including tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and Irish potatoes, are members of the nightshade family. These plants are susceptible to the same diseases and insects, and also use similar nutrients in the soil. To keep your garden healthy, don’t plant nightshades one after the other in the same spot year after year. To finish off your garden, add a decorative rain gauge. Many of the problems people have with gardening are associated with water, either too much or too little. Having a rain gauge where your plants are will let you know if they are getting enough water or if you need to intervene. For a natural bug control method in your garden, try attracting a toad. Toads eat thousands of insects and will eliminate the need for using pesticides, which is better for you and the environment. Purchase a toad house, put it in a shady spot, give the toad a water source such as a shallow dish that is refilled daily. Toads breathe through their skin, so give them a pesticide and pollutant free environment with lots of bugs and they will thrive. So will your plants, which means lots of great homegrown food for you and your family.




Filed under Garden Design by landscapeliving.
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