Category Archives: Home Improvement

Tuscan Garden Design

If you’re looking for a beautiful, old world garden style, then you should look into designing a Tuscan garden design. There are several different things that you can do with a Tuscan garden design, but there are a few things that you should keep in mind if you’re planning on a Tuscan garden design. First of all, if you’re aiming for a Tuscan garden design, then you’ll definitely want to aim for a Mediterranean feel.

This is easy to do if you’re planning to design your own garden, and there are just a few important tips that you should try to follow if you want a Tuscan garden design. One thing that is very helpful is if you can design or add a wall fountain to the garden. The wall fountain (as opposed to a free-standing fountain) adds an air of older elegance, and definitely gives the impression that you’re in a Mediterranean garden.

Iron wrought benches can also help you achieve a Tuscan garden design, as well as a lot of terra cotta planters. In fact, one of the cheapest and easiest ways to get a Tuscan garden design is to use terra cotta plant containers instead of containers made out of other materials. If the shape is like older vases, then that is even better.

Garden design landscaping can also go a long way toward helping you make a Tuscan garden design. One important thing to remember is that a lot of Tuscan gardens have flagstone pathways leading in between patches of different flowers. If at all possible, you should try to design your garden so that you can put in pathways.

The final, and most important part of any Tuscan garden design is that you use the right types of plants. By using plants, herbs and flowers that grow primarily in the Mediterranean, you can make your garden appear to be a real Tuscan garden.

When You Have to Design Your Own Garden

When we read the news and various magazines, when we go on vacations and even simply walk around the city – we always get exposed to the fact that some takes care of all these gardens.

Every garden has got its own characteristics and design. Some are designed for practical uses; others seem to be there for beauty. But what is common to all the good looking gardens out there is – that some is responsible for them.

By responsibility, I mean that somebody planned them and somebody is doing maintenance on almost a daily basis.

What Is Gardening
Gardening involves many aspects, including esthetic design, botany, mixing and blending colors, and of course knowing how to keep this whole masterpiece together.

A good gardener knows how to design the right garden, prepare the maintenance plan and he also needs to fit into the strict monetary budget that we have.

What Garden Do We Want
Like any other service, gardening services can be approached using two main views:

The first is to choose what exactly we need, what kind of a garden we want, the design, the colors and even the types of flowers – and then bid for the best price and service.

The second one is to let the gardening services suggest the plan by themselves.

While the first is much easier to perform, most of the people usually don’t really know exactly what they want from the garden. So knowing that, you need to at least have some general direction in your mind.

This general direction includes the size of the garden (important technical issue) and the main scenario – what we want it to feel, what we need to use it for etc. For a gardener it will be hard to plan when you have no idea of what you want. So you’ve got to have some basic frame in mind.

How to Choose Gardening a Service
So, now that we understand the various issues involved in gardening, arises the question – how to select a gardening service.

First, before checking out the possible companies out there – always prepare your budget. The budget should usually be the amount of money that you’re willing to spend.

Second, always look for feedbacks and recommendations – and with gardening they are easy to find. Check the gardens that you know in the area and start with the services that you like the most.

Third, when you choose the company that fits your budget and needs – always have a written document that summarizes what you’ve agreed upon. Words of mouth mean nothing in this kind of business, so always write everything down.

Design Your Garden With Permaculture Principles

It seems there are two big reasons people are reluctant to do more with their yards: money and time. But you can save a lot of both if you take a little time to consider how your yard fits into the environment around it and you can let Mother Nature do some of your gardening for you.

The fancy word for thinking about and organizing intelligent ecological design is permaculture, coined in the late 1970s. It was first intended as an alternative to destructive industrial agriculture, but its principles make absolute sense for the home gardener as well.

The first and most important step (yet also free) is to observe the effect of the elements and how they interact on your property. So get out a pencil and paper, and draw a bird’s-eye view of your lot and buildings. You can get a great overhead photo of your property from Google Earth. Trace the outline of your roof and all other surfaces and buildings where water runs onto your property, and use it as your master. You can then use tracing paper to draw the water flows to see where you have a natural water harvesting opportunity.

You can also observe and plot sun/shade patterns. Did you know that the sun doesn’t really rise in the east and set in the west? Okay, yes, technically it does, but it differs dramatically from summer to winter, moving far to the north in the summer, and south in the winter. How does that actually affect your yard? Track the sun patterns at the fall and summer solstice on the diagram you made earlier. Knowing where the shade is thrown is important for choosing the placement of garden plots, trees and plants. How do the buildings on and around your property provide shade? What about your trees or your neighbor’s trees? Maybe you don’t have much shade. That may dictate how you design your new space, and most importantly, what you plant.

Here in the desert, we’ve got to make the most of our water. Soil built with plenty of compost and other organic materials actually retains water best. You can also design your garden in a way to maximize retention as well: every drop that flows down a storm drain is a drop that could have raised the water table on your own property. The best way is to build a system of berms and swales, either on contour, or as is the case on most urban lots, as a path system with sunken beds. You’ll eventually use less municipal water and create a cooling effect with more moisture around your home. Think about using barrels or cisterns to collect rainwater and help with day-to-day watering. Arizona rainwater harvesting expert Brad Lancaster has a great website filled with resources.

So now you’re ready to start digging, but what’s the best type of bed? Surprisingly, sunken beds have some advantages in the desert that are worth considering. They’re cooler, hold water better, and give plants a little extra shade. Raised beds allow you more control over the content of your soil, but they may also limit the depth of your garden, and they dry out faster. Most plants have roots that grow down, so if your raised bed is not at least two to three feet high, your plants will grow through your wonderfully amended soil and only to hit our Arizona clay. If you must use a raised bed, be sure to also turn the soil under the bed before you build it. If you’re concerned about the content of your soil, or want to know what it might be lacking, you can get a soil test at one of the agencies listed at the your local extension office

Garden Room Design Tips

Garden rooms make great additions to the garden and they also provide you or your family with that extra space that can be used for a number of reasons. You can make a garden hideout for your children so they have some place to play when out in the garden or you can choose to have a garden room that is a gym, studio or small office where you can get your work done. Whatever your needs for the room, you definitely will want to achieve the best in terms of putting it together. A few tips can prove helpful in ensuring that you design a functional room in your garden without necessarily making the garden look overdone or overcrowded.

Tip 1 – Think about room space and positioning

How you wish to use the room should be what guides your space and positioning considerations. Remember that the room can be placed anywhere in the garden, even if it is not that close to your main house or on the patio. You can actually hide it from view or choose a sunny spot so that you have enough light coming into the garden room. If you are looking to enjoy more privacy while using the room, then choose the location carefully.

Tip 2 – Choose the appropriate structure

When it comes to garden rooms, the structure options are numerous. You can choose anything from tented spaces, glass boxes, mobile shepherd huts or fully constructed and insulated rooms. Again, your usage should help you determine what kind of structure is best for your garden. The size available in the garden can also be used in determining whether a mobile structure or a semi-permanent one is best. There are so many ready built solutions for garden rooms you can choose from but you can always have something unique built from scratch to match your personal preferences. But whatever you structure you choose, remember to bring weather into consideration so you have a structure that remains functional during the seasons you need to use it the most.

Tip 3 – Blend the room with the garden

Your aim when designing a garden room is to create a visual flow that is seamless between the room and the garden. Choose construction materials that compliment garden design and items that you could have in the garden. Unpainted wood, for instance easily matches the outdoor settings, especially if you have trees and other shrubs. You can also make other choices to add definition to your structure without making it look overdone in any way.

Apart from blending, you can also add decorations to the room. Vivid bright colors and patterns can be very good outside, but you should choose the palette carefully. Go for refined and relaxed colors, but be as bold and exciting as you wish to be. You can also make other additional choices like fairy lights, lanterns or cushions to lift up the mood in your garden room. There is just so much you can do to bring your garden room to life.

Tips to Create Your Own Japanese Garden

Everyone who’s seen a Japanese garden would like to emulate the feeling of calm and relaxation it brings into their own homes. After all of these gardens are created to invoke meditation and reflection, and are meant to be havens of Zen.

If you’re looking for a place to unwind in the comfort of your own home, it is a perfectly good idea to create a Japanese garden in your backyard. Here are some tips to help you design your own garden:

1. Consider creating a rock garden

Designed to portray a scene of mountains and rivers, a rock garden makes use of different sizes of rocks and sand. Sand gravel is meticulously arranged to symbolize water, while rocks layered on sand symbolize mountains.

2. Make use of moss

As moss thrives in Japan’s humid and rainy climate, it doesn’t need much rain to flourish. This easily makes it a key component of Japanese gardens.

3. Invoke zen

The main purpose of a Japanese garden is to invite calmness and meditation. Whether that means creating a pond, a rock or a moss garden, the goal is for you to recreate the elements of tranquility in your own home.

4. Use natural colors

While some of these gardens feature pink blossoming flowers and red bridges, these design elements actually come Chinese culture. In order to stay true to the Japanese garden design philosophy, make use of different shades of green and brown as your primary palette. This means you should be selective when it comes to your plants. Flowers shouldn’t be too colorful as to be distracting. Their role in the garden is to highlight the green that acts as the balancing color of the garden.

5. Keep it minimal

These gardens are a testament to simplicity and purpose. For this reason, it is important to keep your design simple and small. The best way to go about is to incorporate natural materials that are functional. These can range from bamboo tubes to small stone pathways. Similarly, you shouldn’t be incorporating a wide variety of plants into your garden. It is best to stick with two or three to keep lines clean. Apart from that, it’s also going to be much easier to maintain.

6. Learn more about the design philosophy

If you are building a Japanese garden from scratch, you need to first understand the ancient foundations. This helps you understand the true philosophy behind the materials chosen and the harmony of all the garden elements. This doesn’t mean you can’t improvise or create a unique haven of Zen in your home. It only means having a good foundation by which to root your design.

At the end of the day, the rules are not set on stone as to how you should build your own Japanese-style garden in your home. It is up to you to match your aesthetics with the ancient Japanese garden design philosophy to create one in your home that invokes peace, tranquility and calm.