How to Keep Pests Away From Your Garden

garden

Springtime marks the beginning of another gardening season. You are out and about planting, pruning and making sure that every inch of your garden looks just perfect. You are just admiring your flower garden, when a cat runs right through the flowers and rips them to shreds. And cats are not the only animals that can ruin your garden. Many types of animals come out during the spring, so here are some ways in which you can defend yourself.

Mole repellents

All the tips here are going to be humane, telling you simply how to keep the animals away, rather than kill or harm them. The best way to get rid of moles is to simply plant the right things in your garden. Plants like daffodils, marigolds and alliums have contents that are natural mole repellents, and will surely keep those pesky moles out if planted around the perimeter of your yard.

Keeping your plants safe

Plant-eating animals are mostly small and not really easy to catch, so you have to protect your plants in a different way. A popular remedy is chopping up and boiling some hot peppers, then pouring the water into a spray bottle and spraying it over your plants. This is safe for your plants and will keep any bugs off. Still, this is not a good solution when it comes to edible plants – imagine putting fresh mint in your lemonade and tasting a hot pepper! For an alternative, you can use turmeric. Grate it and infuse it with some water, then repeat the spraying tactic on all of your plants!  If spider mites are your problem, a mixture of flour, water and buttermilk sprayed on your trees once a week will keep the mites at bay!

Recycling food scraps

Organic scraps are not only good for compost, but also great for many other things. You can bury banana peels two inches in the ground next to the plants that are attacked by ants or aphids to make sure your plants will be safe. And if your problem is more of the slimier kind, use crushed eggshells to form a fence against any snails and slugs that want to enter the forbidden territory.

How to repel bigger animals

If you have a problem with raccoons, remember that they do not go well with dogs. If you don’t have a dog of your own, fake it by placing some dog hair around your yard and kiss the raccoon problem goodbye.  For cats or squirrels, flour mustard and cayenne pepper is your solution. Place the mixture around the perimeter of your yard, or mix it with water to make a spray.  Another option that requires much less effort is using high tech defence. Having an ultrasonic pest repellent, like the one from Bird Control Australia, will make your life a lot easier. You won’t notice it, but potential intruders of the animal kind definitely will! It can keep away insects or any animals, depending on how you set it up.

You are now ready to continue with your daily gardening activities without worrying about any pests, big or small, ruining all your hard work. Try and be as humane as possible with all of the animals, because there are always ways to simply drive them away without exterminating them – and placing various poisons around your garden can also be dangerous if you have kids or pets, not to mention make all of your produce less enjoyable. After all, a few birds chirping around your garden might just be that special touch that is missing for a real fairytale garden!

 

Blooming Gardens: 4 Of The Best Flowers To Plant This Spring

Blooming Gardens 4 Of The Best Flowers To Plant This Spring

When the spring season arrives, you begin to see the green leaves sprout on the trees and colorful flowers growing from the ground. Flowers need warmth and light to grow, which is why they tend to do a bit better in the spring with the longer days. There is often more water in the form of rain in the spring, which is another component that flowers need to grow. There are a few flowers that grow best during this time of the year compared to others, adding brightness to the lawn.

Pansy

This is a dainty flower with large petals. The center of the flower is usually yellow or light in color. Many of the pansies that you see are pink, purple or red. This flower grows best in the cool mornings of the spring season. The leaves are slightly curved along the edges, making it easier for them to capture raindrops and water that is given to them during the day. Plant the pansies in an area of the yard that sees a bit of shade as they don’t do well with the full sun beating down on them.

Iris

The iris is a flower that can grow to a tall size. They are best placed near a porch where they can climb up a trellis or a column of the porch. There are a few colors to choose from, but you usually see purple, light pink and white. The flowers blend easily together to create new colors. Most flowers will tend to get their full blooms toward the end of the spring season. The strong petals work well with an irrigation system, like those offered by Hydrotech Irrigation Co, in the yard. They need to be in an area that sees a good bit of the sun during the day.

Daffodil

Nothing will put you in a cheerful mood like a bright flower. The daffodil looks almost like a lion if you look at it from a distance. There are several sizes and shapes of the flower, such as those that have a trumpet design to those that look like a mane on a lion. Don’t water the flower too often, and keep it in the full sun.

Tulips

If there is a flower to use as a symbol of spring, it’s the tulip. You can plant the tulip along a sidewalk, around a tree or anywhere else in the yard to give a bright look to the house. There are numerous colors available, giving you a variety of ways to accent the home with the delicate flower.

Flowers in the spring often cheer up anyone after the dreary winter months. It’s best to plant the flowers at the end of winter so that the flowers have time to grow in the warm weather that arrives in the spring. Take care to add just the right amount of water to the soil as the flowers grow.

Hardscaping or Landscaping: What is Best for You & Your Yard?

Hardscaping or Landscaping What is Best for You and Your Yard

There are several factors to consider when you’re trying to enhance the curb appeal of your home or you’re trying to get the most beneficial use of your exterior space. When you begin exploring outdoor living and curb appeal, the terms hardscaping and landscaping will pop up. There isn’t necessarily a right or wrong choice between these two outdoor design ideas, but there may be one that is more conducive to your lifestyle.

Outdoor Design and Entertaining

If you frequently entertain, hardscaping may be the best choice for you. Patios and outdoor kitchens are often considered as hardscaping features. Walkways that lead to your front door, the pool or other special areas are typical hardscaping design features. An outdoor fireplace is often the favorite gathering place for guests.

Gardening as a Hobby

If you enjoy planting flowers, trees, and shrubs, you would probably prefer landscaping over hardscaping. If gardening is a hobby that you find relaxing, pleasantly challenging and an outlet for your creative side, then designing a landscape that allows you to change the appearance of your landscape design each year would probably please you more than a more permanent exterior design that is created using stone, wood or concrete.

Consider the Maintenance

If you like spending your weekend working in the yard or don’t mind the frustration that comes with keeping lawn equipment in good working condition, a lush green lawn might be just the thing for you. If you have the physical ability and don’t mind planting, pruning, weeding and watering plants, then a living landscape design would probably please you. On the other hand, if you like a gorgeous landscape but aren’t crazy about spending all of your leisure time working to keep it beautiful, you can turn to professionals such as Bremerton Landscaping to do the maintenance for you.

Why Choose?

You don’t have to choose between hardscaping and landscaping. You can include elements of both in your exterior design. Hardscaping requires little maintenance and can increase the value of your home. You can add walkways, retaining walls, water features and other non-living elements to your yard to increase its beauty and functionality. Plants and flowers can be mingled in with the hardscape elements in your exterior design. Vines can be grown on a wooden trellis and stone containers or concrete planters can be placed on the patio and filled with flowers that bloom profusely throughout the summer or ornamental grasses that adds texture and movement to your outdoor living space. You could even get help from a professional, such as one from Nature’s Design Landscaping, who is experienced in both types that you can have both hardscaping and landscaping come together in a complimentary way.

When you figure in maintenance cost, labor expenses, replacement cost, such as replacing shrubs or trees that die, and how well a feature fits your lifestyle there’s a good chance that you’ll find that a including a few features from each option is the best way to go. If you enjoy the solitude of a private garden space, you might still appreciate having an attractive stone walkway leading to that garden area. If you decide an expansive patio entertaining area is a feature you want, you can add a few potted plants to the patio to add a bit of nature to your entertaining space.

Tips on Improving Your Backyard

One of the most important parts of the home is the backyard. The backyard is a place for your family to come together, have fun, and commune. It shouldn’t be a part of your home that you avoid because it has nothing to offer. If your backyard is nothing more than an empty patch of grass, you’re not using it to its full potential, and that is why Tru-Link Fence put together a slideshow that lists 10 backyard ideas that can bring life back to your property. You can view the slideshow below. 

10 Ways To Improve Your Backyard created by Tru-Link Fence

Author bio: Dean White is Owner and Operator of Tru-Link Fence, one of the largest fence companies in northern Illinois. He has more than 30 years of experience in the fence industry. 

 

Concrete Backyard Design and Decor Ideas

Concrete Backyard Design and Decor Ideas

Living in a house with a backyard opens various interesting options making your home even more inviting and comfortable. Concrete patios and backyard designs provide you with a great place to relax after a long day, entertaining playground for your kids, as well as a perfect spot for some intimate parties and barbecues. Designing and decorating your backyard can truly transform the look of your home so if you find yourself interested in this kind of project, keep on reading.

1. Benefits of concrete

If you’re stuck with ideas when it comes to redesigning your backyard/patio, one of the most recommended options is to use the concrete. There are, of course, several reasons as to why concrete is considered to be one of the best options for this project. In general, concrete is highly durable, yet very easily maintained. What’s more, you can adapt your concrete outdoor design to any style you prefer, and shape it according to your own taste and ideas.

2. Touch of personality

You may think that concrete looks plain and boring, but thanks to various decorative concrete options you can still get a pretty unique look of your backyard. In general, stamping and staining are two widely used decorative approaches. For example, if you want to have freshly poured concrete, stamping technique allows you to transform the appearance of your backyard with any texture you want. It can even mimic other natural materials, such as stone and wood. On the other hand, if you already have concrete in your backyard, you can always make it more interesting with a staining technique that comes with warm earthy tones. In the end, using decorative concrete is cost-effective since it will create a high-end, luxurious appearance of your outdoor area without going over your budget.

3. Play with shapes

The best thing about using concrete in your backyard is the freedom to choose the shape and form of your patio. Of course, you can cover your entire backyard with concrete, but you can also use various molds and play with their position in order to create something truly special. You can focus on patio area only, or spice up the garden space as well. If you’d like to use some really nice and unusual molds for concrete pouring, you can easily make one yourself. In general, using styrofoam blue board to shape the molds the way you see fit is definitely one of the most fun, personal and rewarding ways to refresh and redesign your backyard.

4. Add nature to the mixture

One of the mentioned benefits of concrete backyard is its low maintenance. This doesn’t only mean that concrete is just easy to clean, but also you won’t have to deal with dirt and grass in your yard. Still, removing all the traces of nature from your backyard won’t do you any good either. In order to experience true bliss every time you step outside, you can leave enough room for your garden that will be surrounded with interesting paving blocks. Alternatively, you can leave grass openings in your concrete layout for pops of decorative flowers, bushes, and plants. If you don’t mind tending the grass from time to time, you can create a nice balance in your backyard with concrete patio, lovely garden path and grassy area that will occupy the rest of your yard.

5. The heart of your backyard

In order to make your backyard/patio livelier and unique, don’t forget the fire feature. Together with some matching outdoor furniture, this barbecue area will undoubtedly add the final touch to your efforts. There are also many cool ideas online when it comes to building your own backyard, so feel free to check those out.

There are things that you could do yourself when tackling the redesign of your backyard, but sometimes you will need a professional help to accomplish the wanted backyard style. Make sure to be realistic and practical in this project so that your backyard will end up with a clear-cut, modern and creative concrete design.

Guest Post By:

Chloe TaylorChloe is an art historian, recreational ballet dancer and a contributor at smoothdecorator.com. She is passionate about photography, dance and music. Her biggest dream is to travel the whole world with her husband and take stunning photographs of beautiful places. She also enjoys learning and writing about home design, since she is crazy about aesthetics. You can find Chloe on FB, Twitter, and G+.