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Category Archives: Home and Garden

Landscaping Firm

1. Ask for referrals

The best way to find a good landscaping firm is to ask friends, neighbors and family members. One can get more information in an hour talking with his neighbor or others who have had experience in hiring a landscaping firm than a whole day trying to search the Internet for information. Although the Internet is a good way to look for prospective landscaping firms, it would not be able answer many of the most important questions that one might have.

2. Check the services that are offered by the firm

Different landscape firms offer different services. Check if the landscaping firm has all the services that you will be needing to complete your project. It makes no sense to hire a landscaping firm only to find out later that it cannot complete the project because it is does not offer a specific service that is needed.

3. Contact the Firm

Try contacting them by telephone and ask some basic questions. One would also want to set up a personal meeting with the landscapers. An initial assessment of the firm’s customer service should be made by the inquiring party. Small things usually reflect the general attitude of a firm toward its clients.

Outdoor Kitchen

Outdoor kitchen can be used not only as the main attraction at your parties, an outdoor kitchen can be used on a daily basis, with the whole family enjoying a meal n the open air, you may find yourself disappointed of restaurants when you start eating “out” a few times a week. Suddenly an evening in a closed space will seem like less fun compared to the outdoor kitchen experience waiting just a few steps from your living room.

The growing popularity of the outdoor kitchen in the last years has created many different products to choose when designing your outdoor kitchen, some people prefer to design a small and practical outdoor kitchen and save some costs, others go for the luxury additions when creating their outdoor kitchen design.

Today you can find outdoor kitchens in region of the world that have relatively short summers, people living in these areas try and enjoy the summer to its fullest, and install a kitchen that is built around the grill, this way they can have a barbecue without running in and out of the house and use a small kitchen in their backyard.

Weather conditions in your area will be very important when thinking of an outdoor kitchen design, in some cases extreme weather will call for unique solutions and custom made outdoor kitchens, these can be very expensive and take a lot of energy to put together, you may need to consider the conditions of your living area before going ahead with the plan to build an outdoor kitchen.

Naturally there are huge advantages to the outdoor experience, spending quality time with your family and friends and enjoying the outdoors, an outdoor kitchen can create the prefect setting for all these things on a regular, everyday basis. The work you will need to put into your outdoor kitchen is also something to consider before checking out the appliances, if you plan to do this by yourself you should be aware of the fact that building an outdoor kitchen may take a lot of time, so free a couple of your weekends and carefully plan and design your outdoor kitchen. If you plan to have a third party perform the construction of the outdoor kitchen make sure you know exactly what you want and start the negotiations from your ideal point, don’t forget that contractors sometime have their own preferences, but they are not the ones living in the house, so remember to make it absolutely clear that you are calling the shots on this outdoor kitchen design.

Fountains Through All Ages

The Eastern world is not to be left out in the spectacle of fountains. The Moorish forces that conquered Spain around the 14th century were known to have installed pools and fountains with lively-colored tilework in gardens such as those in Cordoba and Toledo, as well as in Granada. Indians on the other hand built gardens of great splendor with fountains as prominent features. Prime examples are the world-renowned Taj Mahal and the Shalimar Gardens. Chinese palaces, temples and houses also had great gardens with pools and fountains of varying sizes. Beijing’s Imperial City features artificial lakes and other impressive waterworks. Kyoto is also famous for its gardens with carefully crafted pools and waterfalls designed by Zen monks.

Monasteries in middle-age Europe featured large gardens that fountains and wells. designed to enhance meditation in addition to several rows of herbs, fruits, flowers, and vegetables. Palaces and villas in renaissance Italy were very reminiscent of the grandeur of ancient Rome. 15th century palaces were decorated with gardens such as those of Palmieri, La Pietra, and Medici. The villas in Bagnaia, Caprarola, Rome, and Tivoli also featured fountains that were elegantly elaborate. As the baroque period approaches, designs became more grandiose and complex. Spouting fountains and waterfalls were used extensively to enhance serpentine lines. French chateaus in the Loire valley also had extensive gardens and parks with great fountains for everyone to enjoy. By the 17th century, the prime of French design and architecture, fountains and gardens became endlessly grand embellishing the grand estates such as those in Versailles.

The rise of romanticism in the 18th century led to the unleashing of passion which was well translated into architecture, including fountain designs. Exotic and picturesque fountains and ponds served as punctuation marks to the profound statements showed through architecture in this period. Some years after, a prominent landmark, the Central Park in New York spouted.

In contemporary times, the magnificence of fountains has been integrated into homes of the common people. A lot of gardens, especially in the sunny states such as California, have falls and fountains as their focal points. Even condominiums and small apartments have incorporated the natural ambience provided by fountains with miniature versions of the outdoor waterworks. Malls and office buildings now also have indoor fountains installed which helps bring about a sense of calmness in such a bustling setting, serving the same purpose as those of the oases in the ancient times.

Landscape and Outdoor Lighting

Outdoor lighting is most effective when used sparingly and in specific spots. Your garden is the transition space between the outside world and your own home. The right lighting can make your garden into another room of your house as well as providing an attractive outlook from inside. And your garden can look surprisingly different at night-time. Just a few lights in appropriate places will create interesting pools of light and shadow. Directional lighting will highlight features that may go unnoticed during the day, like the bark of a silver birch or a eucalypt, or a tinkling fountain. Even sheets of falling rain and swirling shrouds of mist can become dramatic features of your landscape with the right lighting.

Do check that your directional lighting shines onto the feature you intend it to and not into your neighbour’s bedroom window. And consider that a tree you want to highlight may be home to birds and other wild-life. You can minimize disruption to their habitat by using an automatic time-clock on your lighting.

For driveways, paths and steps, use lights that are directed to your feet to create pools of light to guide you. A light that is too high will shine into your face and leave the path and steps in shadow. A lamp next to your front door may look attractive, but a pool of light directed onto the door knocker, the keyhole and the step will provide a safer and warmer welcome for you and your visitors.

Choose colour temperatures to suit what you are trying to light and the mood you are trying to create. The colour temperature of a light is measured in Kelvins (K). The higher the colour temperature, the cooler the light will look. For example, metal halide lamps have a high, cool colour temperature that makes the greens and blues of the foliage in your garden look fresh and bright. Lamps with low, warm colour temperatures bring out the warmth of reds and oranges, like candlelight. An example of cool and warm colour temperature lighting complementing each other in your garden design would be to create a cool, fresh garden with warm pools of light around the paved areas where people gather and sit or linger over a candle-lit dinner.

The Colour Rendering Index(CRI) indicates how a light reacts under different parts of the colour spectrum. This applies particularly to metal halide and fluorescent lights, affecting the appearance of flowers and shrubs and also skin tones. And low-pressure sodium lights give out a huge amount of light but suppress both greens and reds, so that everything looks yellow and grey. Which brings us back to that traffic intersection.

Polywood Pool Furniture

Similar to any other high-end outdoor furniture polywood pool furniture is combined with mortise and tenon joinery, and stainless steel hardware. It is a marvelous blend of style and modern environmental awareness that is not bound to any time limit. And since recycled plastic is used for polywood pool furniture the sun, summer or winter, snow or salt – in fact nothing has any adverse affect on it. One of it key selling points is polywood does not absorb moisture, there is no fear of its getting rotten, spotted or discolored. Also, it cannot be infested by the molds.

The foremost feature of polywood pool furniture as a whole is its indestructibleness. As mentioned above, it is manufactured from recycled plastic lumber; so, it is environmental friendly. The shades of the color are infused all over the furniture, thus the unpredictable weather does not have any impact on the longevity or strength of the adirondack chair. The polywood pool furniture is made with perpetual UV stabilized colors. It is water resistant and you can choose various designs and colors as per your style.

The polywood pool furniture that includes polywood adirondack chairs is almost maintenance free. Its compressed surface makes it very easy to clean and it does not require any painting as it is molded into the solid material. These adirondack chairs are manufactured mostly with hardware polywood. It makes it heavier than wood, thus, allows it to endure strong winds. Also polywood pool furniture has consistent colors that remain intact forever. As far as cleaning is concerned, you just need to hose it off.

Whatever your mood or style polywood adirondack chairs are available in a number of shapes and sizes, from classic to shellback. These chairs may be used beside the swimming pool or any other location.

Iron Gazebo

Most people consider a wedding gazebo when they look for a place to hold the wedding, but if you look well enough you may find a nice variety of iron gazebo to buy and place in your backyard, this iron can be used later as a normal gazebo, you can have your breakfast in and use as a garden feature, keep your gardening tools there, or hold a party and use the gazebo to hold special lights or place tables to serve the food on.

An iron gazebo will stay at your garden for a long time, and if you maintain and take care of it correctly there is no reason it wouldn’t last forever, one nice advantage that the iron has over all others is that it can easily changed and painted with other colors that will keep it looking fresh and new, applying paint to iron is fairly easy and can be done in a very short time, if you will want to change you garden you will probably have to through a garden party or barbeque and have a few of your stronger friends help you move the iron gazebo to a different location at your backyard.

The question of moving of the iron gazebo is no that complicated since most of these gazebos can be taken apart and reassembled, the more advanced versions are made of big parts so even taken them apart and reassembling is simple and easy. This will make it even simple to move it from part to part of your lawn or garden.

If you are looking for an iron gazebo for the sole purpose of a wedding or an event you should also look for prices of other gazebo and think about getting a different, cheaper gazebo and spend some money on its decoration and design if you can buy it. Renting a gazebo for a wedding is another matter, you will just need to do some research for the companies that rent those out, and make sure you get a good deal, and that the company is reliable and can be trust to deliver and assemble in time.

Landscaping With Rocks

When landscaping with rocks, make sure to draw a plan of how you want everything to look when finished, taking into account anything that may already by in the yard and around the house. Rocks should not be simply placed on top of the earth, but rather should be buried about halfway into the ground so as to provide a natural aesthetic. When they are partially concealed in the earth, the rocks will appear to go with whatever environment they are in, instead of being awkwardly strewn all over the place. Rocks should not be placed individually and should be assembled in groups of three to five, depending on size and shape. This will also aid in giving the final look of the overall landscaping an organic feel.

A few cautions before one begins landscaping with rocks, however. For starters, rocks are extremely coarse and should be handled while wearing heavy-duty gloves. They are also dense and therefore heavier than they look, and should only be carried short distances. If the rocks are farther away from their intended destinations, use a wheelbarrow or garden way cart to prevent strain. Always plan to gather more rocks than you think you need, as rocks tend to seem larger when laying about individually than when piled in a group.

There are many interesting ways that you can landscape with rocks. You can make your own rock walls, and paths, and embedding stones into the ground is an extremely useful way of keeping grass and weeds from growing in unwanted places, such as around decks, grills, or outdoor hot tubs. Rock walls make an excellent alternative to white picket fences that may seem out of place depending on your surrounding environment and neighborhood. In addition, a rock wall never needs to be painted, washed, or replaced, and will only get better with time as the rocks age and weather. Rock walkways provide an attractive substitute for expensive and unsightly pavement, and will go with the rest of the landscaping. In addition, lining a slate walkway or marble patio with an assortment of rocks is the perfect way to keep the surrounding vegetation from encroaching.

The key to landscaping with rocks is making sure that one balances the size, shape, and color of the rocks with the surrounding vegetation. Just keep in mind that in the winter, the trees and rocks will be the only visible part of the landscape until the flower and plants come out again in the spring. It is important, therefore, to make sure that one does not overpopulate one area with rocks and leave the landscape looking uneven. Landscaping with rocks could be just the thing your home and garden need to create the relaxing and natural atmosphere you are looking for.

Landscaping With Boulders

Plan a garden area around your boulder

Now that you have your focal point in place, think about adding a garden area to create interest. Make this garden area as big or small as you wish but be sure to put bends and curves into the layout design to continue the theme of ‘non cookie cutter look’! Start by clearing the grass from the area when your garden area will be. Then edge the curving perimeter with smaller rocks (10 to 12 inches in diameter) or black plastic landscape border.

Now you’re ready for flowers for a fresh look

Now it’s time to add perennial flowers and decorative grasses to the area around your boulder. Depending on the size of your garden area, plan to add perennial flowers or decorative grasses every 3 – 4 cubic feet. If you plant them any closer, they will look crowded as the plants mature. If you plant them any further apart, the plants will look very sparse for years to come. You want just enough space between plantings to highlight each one as being unique. For perennial flowers, plant in clumps of 3 for a robust look and bright splash of color. For the final touch, add landscaping bark or river rock between plants to cut down on weeds and retain moisture in the soil.

For added drama, create a walkway

Create a walkway of flat stones out to your new boulder focal point and garden area. Remove the grass from the area when your path will be, remembering to create a winding path in keeping with the ‘non cookie cutter look’. Then add 3 inches of sand to make leveling your flat stones easier. Viola! Your front yard has new interest and drama.

For even more drama, if your garden area it large

If you have room for a large garden area surrounding your boulder, consider planting a tree (of the smaller variety) close to your boulder. Mountain ash, dwarf crab, dwarf river birch or Japanese Maple are all excellent choices depending on your climate. This is sure to become a favorite family photo site. You might even add a bench or garden gate for an extra special one-of-a-kind look to your landscape.

About Summer Pool Openings

Basically the first thing you want to do is drain the water off of your pool cover. Good luck getting it off if you don’t. Once that is done, you’ll want to remove it and let it dry. No one wants to put a pool cover away wet! Hang it over a swingset or some chairs or simply lay it out on the driveway or on the grass, whatever works best for you.

Now you are left with some water in the pool and likely some leaves and other debris too. Get all of that out and refill the pool to its proper depth. This will allow you to use the vacuum later on. Before the water rises too high, get those pipes and fittings back in, you don’t want the water pouring out of those holes!

Reconnect your pump and filter, which should still be clean since you would have put it away clean in the fall, right? Once all is well with the water level, it’s time to wipe down the walls, vacuum up all the left over debris and make the water great to swim in. This usually involves a dose of shock, a highly concentrated chlorine product that will eliminate all the bugs and bacteria and leave your water sparkling and clean.

Now is a great time to get your water tested and to put the right chemicals in to get a balanced and healthy water. pH is an important thing, if it’s off by just a little bit it can mean an uncomfortable swim for your family. If in doubt, or the job just seems way to much to do alone there are companies that specialize in opening and closing pools so you don’t have the added work and fuss.

Care and Landscaping Real Turf

Watering of Lawn: You should water the lawn just enough so that the evaporation loss is replenished and the grass gets its due share. The rule of 25 gives the value of water loss through evaporation.

When watering the lawn. Take a dish and keep it in the area where watering is being done and allow about 25 mm height of water to get stored in the dish. After watering is complete, place the dish in the same where it was filled up and allow the water to evaporate. Note the time required for water to evaporate. You should water the lawn after this time interval.

The watering should be heavy and infrequent rather than frequent and shallow. When you water the lawn shallow, the root system starts looking for water and the root system does not penetrate deep in the ground. At the same time there should be no water logging in any area. The water logging would destroy the grass in that area.

Over-watering will not kill the grass but water logging will definitely do it. In fact over-watering is good. Infrequent over-watering coupled with generous use of nitrogen rich fertilizers will help in developing spongy grass on which you will feel elated when walking.

Watering of lawns should be done in the morning so that the water has time to penetrate to the ground. Water evaporation is highest during noontime. Watering at this time, would only allow higher evaporation. You do not want water to evaporate, you want it to reach the ground and penetrate the surface, so water in the morning or evening when evaporation rate is minimal.

Mowing The Lawns Second Real Turf Care

Mowing the lawns carefully and timely is the second care that you will give to the lawns. The rule for the real turf care is rule of third. When mowing the lawns, do not cut the grass more than the third of the existing blade length. A marine crew cut is not the best way to develop green grass. In fact, you are killing the grass if you give it a marine crew cut.

The root system does not develop properly when you give it a close shave and the growth of grass is reduced. Hence, the grass should never be cut close to ground. Depending on the type of grass the blade length could be between 20 to 40 mm. For example, the buffalo grass should be allowed to grow 30 to 40 mm in summer and winter before cutting. Follow the rule of third and the minimum blade length will be maintained.

When you cut the grass, you may leave the cut grass instead of removing it so that the grass gets its food from the cut grass. Care should be taken to see that thatching of soil should not occur; otherwise, grass growth could be restricted.

With two simple rules, you can get good-looking lawns.