July 30, 2007

Backyard Streams and Fountains

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Backyard Streams Fountains

Backyard streams and fountains can add an element of interest to your landscape unlike any other features. The sound of running water adds a sense of peace and serenity while the flowing water encourages wildlife to flock to your landscape.

A backyard pond may be just the place to add a fountain. The recirculation of the water adds oxygen to the pond and encourages a natural balance of bacteria and flora, preventing your pond from becoming a haven for mosquitoes and other undesirable insects. The build up of algae that occurs in a still pond does not become a problem with the constant movement of the water.

Building Your Backyard Stream

Building a stream in your backyard can make the pond and fountain appear much more natural. If you are lucky enough to have an existing brook which passes through your property, you may simply choose to divert the flow of that stream and incorporate it into your overall landscape scheme. To do this, you must create a stream bed, lining the bed with gravel and stones, and then open the stream where it joins the natural stream, allowing it to flow back into the natural stream at a later point. You’ll then want to fill in the natural stream bed with stone, dirt, or gravel. This is a simple way to create a stream, but most people are not lucky enough to own property that contains an existing natural stream of flowing water.

You can create your stream by building two ponds. One or both of the ponds can have water fountains or waterfalls included in the design. Then, you must create a pathway for the water to recirculate between the two ponds. This can be accomplished through embedding piping into your landscape soil to bring the water by way of a pump from the lower lying pond to the upper pond for the water to flow down the course again.

The streams and fountains you create in your landscape can be quite simple or very detailed and complex. Carefully place of the stones and gravel which create your plastic-lined stream bed so that the stream bed does not contain obstructions to the natural gravity-driven flow of water from the upper pond to the lower body of water. If large stones are used, they must be placed so they tilt downward toward the lower stream to prevent impeding the water’s flow.

Fountains add Personality to your Landscape

When considering a fountain for a pond, you may want to choose a dancing fountain that shoots water into the air in patterns. Pumps to create this type of fountain are not prohibitively expensive and the results can be extremely dramatic. You may want a simpler fountain which allows the water to flow through a traditional multi-tiered fountain structure which you purchase. You may want a very natural [fountain] created by stones that creates a fountain effect reminiscent of a waterfall. The style you choose should reflect your personality and your overall landscape.

No matter how you choose to design your backyard streams and fountains, you’ll find your backyard becomes a place to provide a bath to birds, drinking water to wildlife indigenous to your area, and a place of peace and serenity. You’ll love sitting and watching the water flow and hearing the babble of the stream.

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Filed under Back yard Landscaping by landscapeliving.
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June 25, 2007

Decorating Your Front Porch for Summer

Front Porch Summer

Decorating your front porch for summer can add to the joy of the bursting forth of nature during this season as well as add to the curb appeal of your home. Each time you arrive home or sit on your front porch in pleasant weather, you will be delighted with your efforts. It does not have to be expensive to decorate your front porch for summer, nor does it have to be a labor-intensive project.

Bring out the Potted Plants

If you live in a region that experiences freezing weather in winter, you have probably had to over-winter some of your specimen potted plants indoors. One of the first steps in decorating your front porch for summer is to bring out these potted plants.

Check the soil and repot if the plants have been in the same soil for over one year. Plants use the nutrients in the potting soil and the soil becomes “dead”, leaving little or nothing to sustain the plants. Replant, using later pots if the plants are root bound or nearly root bound. This will give them a fresh start and a fresh look as well.

Arrange the plants in attractive groupings. They can be placed along each side of the steps to the front porch or along the front edge of the porch. They can be placed on each side of seating groupings. A pair of matching large specimen plants looks great when placed on either side of the front door.

Decorate the Front Door

Bring summer to your front door by adding an attractive wreath that incorporates artificial summer flowers. A grapevine wreath can be crafted or purchased for a small sum. Silk flowers are inexpensive and will last for years, even in bright sunlight. Choose dogwood blossoms, magnolias, or any of your favorite summer flowers to add to the wreath. Add a beautiful, large bow and you have a great door decoration for your summer entryway which will add to the impact of your front porch decorations.

Hanging Baskets

Another great way to decorate the front porch for summer is to add a selection of greenery or flowering plants in hanging planters or baskets, hung at even spaces along the front porch. Ivy, hoyas, asparagus ferns, Boston ferns, or any of your favorite green plants make great choices. For flowering plants, choose petunias, sweet pea, or any of your favorite flowering plants that drape well.

Cypress vine is a great choice if you wish to attract humming birds to your front porch. Planted in hanging baskets or in planters with a trellis or other support for the vine to climb and you will have humming birds coming right to your [front porch]

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May 3, 2007

Simple Japanese Style Landscaping Ideas

Japanese Style LandscapingIf you want your garden to provide a sense of peace and tranquility, adding some simple Japanese style landscaping ideas will make your goal easy to accomplish. Whether you have a small patio garden or a huge landscape, you can incorporate Japanese style elements into your garden.

In general, Japanese style gardens do not contains a huge variety of plants or a rainbow of color. They are not perfectly symmetrical, nor lavish. They are, however, elegant and timeless and bring a welcomed break from the hustle and bustle of daily life in the modern world. They are places for meditation, contemplation, and thought. This style of garden is enclosed or screened from the outside world through the use of plants, fences, or berms.

Scale And Perspective

Look at the space you wish to use for your Japanese style garden. Scale and perspective are the main techniques used to create a sense of size, space and distance in the garden. You can achieve this through illusion, adding a false sense of perspective, by planting gradually smaller trees or plants farther from the focal point of the garden. If you have water features in your garden, choose the largest for the foreground. Water fountains or a water fall can be a very affordable way to add a peaceful sound to your Japanese style garden.

Add Japanese lanterns and pagodas to your garden, but be sure they are in proportion to the plants and other elements surrounding them.

Rocks in a Japanese style garden take on special meaning. They aren't simply rocks or boulders but can be the backbone of your garden, around which other elements will fall into place. They represent islands, mountains, and holy places. A boulder can be partially buried to add mass, height, and a feeling of stability to the Japanese garden. Small stones can be used as the borders for pathways or to create the bottoms of water features. They can be used as stepping stones to actually create a path or to cross a small stream. If used to define a pathway, allow the path to wander rather than going in a straight line.

Sentinel Stone

Another use of stone in the [Japanese] style garden is the sentinel stone. This standing stone is used to symbolize warriors, deities, heroes and guardians. It is usually found at the entrance to a Japanese garden or at a major focal point where its presence will enhance the garden's atmosphere. This type of stone can even be used in an otherwise flat Japanese landscape.

Choose a few Japanese style elements to include in your garden landscape to provide a peaceful place to sit and relax. An austere garden can easily be converted into a Japanese style garden with very low cost and a huge payoff in enjoyment.

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