Category Archives: Garden

Design Your Landscape and Garden

Landscape and garden design are umbrella terms for a variety of disciplines that focus on the practical, aesthetic and horticultural aspects of an outdoor area of land, generally attached to a property. Whilst having shared purposes, the two activities can be defined separately – landscaping focuses on the relationship of the garden with its surroundings, the integration of nature with man-made elements such as pathways or the home architecture itself, and the practical side of garden maintenance and upkeep. Garden design is traditionally concerned with the choice and distribution of various plants, flowers and shrubbery around the lawn area, but depending on the desired garden, can involve the planning and design of water features, patios, decking and garden boundaries.

When landscape or garden planning, there are key elements to be considered in each case:

Landscape Planning

Practical considerations such as climate, topography, soil and irrigation, planning permission and construction.
View the landscape in terms of things that need to be retained, modified or replaced – with attention given to how original natural features can act as ‘borrowed scenery’ for a garden.
The overall ‘genius loci’ – this term refers to the ambience or atmosphere of the garden area.
Garden Planning

What will the garden space be used for – i.e. raising vegetation, sports, relaxation.
If you are growing plants or vegetables, they need to have a cohesive growth cycle and bloom-time, to enhance the aesthetic or practical function of the garden.
What man-made elements need to be introduced? This can cover water features, raised flower beds, greenhouses, decking, paved or gravel pathways.
Planning your Garden

Starting at the front of the property, it is important to remember that your front lawn provides the first impression of a property to any visitor. While a back garden is more secluded and normally has a number of utilitarian functions (clotheslines or tool sheds, for example), the front garden connects your home to the wider surroundings, and provides a platform for aesthetic display through flower and shrubbery arrangement. Decisions must also be made about human access from the street – will you need driveways or pathways? Do areas need to be covered by gravel, paved slabs, or tarmac?

Generally the backyard is planned more with your personal recreation in mind. If you plan on entertaining guests in the garden, you might want to think about dining areas, seating, lighting and heating, and cooking structure like outdoor kitchens and barbecues. Having children can have a big influence on garden design – areas for sports such as basketball or soccer need to be devised, and the safety and positioning of elements such as ponds or pools should be a consideration.

If you are a green-fingered gardener keen on raising flowers or vegetables, it’s important to outline their arrangement before planting, to ensure maximum aesthetic value or harvest yield. You will also need to decide how to house your vegetation, whether in raised flower beds, rock gardens or greenhouses. Using the Landscape and Garden solution for ConceptDraw PRO gives you full creative control of all these factors before you even have to pick up your tools and get your hands dirty.

A Landscape and Garden Solution

You don’t need to be a professional landscaper to design a garden, and you don’t need to a technical drawing expert to use the Landscape and Garden solution for ConceptDraw PRO. The hard work has been done for you – the solution collects various libraries full of professionally designed stencils and graphics, leaving you free to concentrate on the creative aspects of your garden plan. These libraries include graphic design elements such as bushes and trees, flower and grass, ponds and fountains, garden furniture and accessories, and paths, plots and patios. Using them in combination with the handy templates included with the solution is the quickest and simplest method of starting to plan your garden design.
All this makes the solution ideal for those with any form of residential garden, and a head full of landscape ideas. Knowing that a well-designed front and back yard can really boost the resell value of your property means that proper planning and design is imperative, before you start digging holes and ripping up trees around your house. With ConceptDraw PRO you can find exactly what works for you, and works for the garden – The Landscape and Garden solution allows you to experiment with your design, and find out what it is possible to achieve with the natural space you have available.

Garden Sheds May Be Used For More Than Just Storage

Many individuals consider their garden shed as just a repository, but have you ever considered unconventional uses for your garden shed? Garden sheds are popular for maintaining garden tools, lawnmowers, and equipment. But they really are versatile, and individuals are starting to notice them as useful for other purposes too.

In this day and age, people are out to get the utmost value from a shed, and are discovering its capability as a workshop, storage house, or even a greenhouse. Modern sheds are more than simply sheds, and are available in different sizes, and made from many different materials that make them extremely adaptable. A big plus is that it is not required to go out trying to find a shed at local suppliers. Its quite easy to utilize your home computer and check online for the best offers for garden sheds.

Besides merely using your garden shed for storage you might set it up as a greenhouse possibly. This is a remarkable opportunity that the latest types of small outdoor buildings enable you to do. A number of people choose to make their shed into a small workshop, instead of use their garage as an example. This way, your tools and projects can be set out in an ordered approach, and be kept safe between work sessions. So, as you can see, garden sheds and storage to go hand-in-hand but you will discover numerous other uses for them as well. Before committing to buy one though, it’s best to bear in mind what kind of shed you should go for.

You’ll soon see, after you are considering purchasing a garden shed that there are three primary sorts of material used in their making. Namely, wood, metal, and plastic, and most are produced largely from one or the other. Most individuals are familiar with the standard wood structures that you notice in the garden. These types of storage units appear nice, however they require continual maintenance to keep them looking good and also to keep them waterproofed.

The next type of shed for your garden is a metal one. You can’t deny the strength and resilience of sheds created from metal. These metal structures within your garden don’t come across as nice as the wooden ones, although they’ll last longer. Although, because there is the likelihood of corrosion, a little upkeep might be required.

Finally, there is the modern plastic kind of storage shed. Plastic garden storage sheds are becoming awfully trendy these days, and individuals are starting to recognize the numerous features of plastic garden sheds and storage. Nearly all are of quality construction, manufactured from heavily molded plastic like polyethylene or PVC. They need nearly no maintenance and are particularly durable. The very best thing is that they cost significantly less than metal or wood storage units.

Backyard Bog Gardens How to Build your Own

The benefits of a water-based garden are numerous from attracting wildlife, to providing an environment for different types of plants that you might otherwise not be able to accommodate, however, you may wish to build a pond in your garden and the presence of small children or animals does not permit it.

Bog gardens are an excellent alternative in this respect, as flooding deep enough to pose a threat of drowning would not sustain many of its staple cultivars. You could opt to fill in an existing leaky pond and plant it up, but if you are creating a bog garden from scratch, you should aim for an area that gets full sun, although some pockets of shade are acceptable. The size is entirely up to you of course, but you should dig down at least about 45cms to allow plants to form good root systems. If youve decided to convert a section of lawn for your bogs location, then you can save on lining materials by recycling the existing turf.

Simply cut sections using a spade and lay them butted up, grass side down into the bottom of the hole. If this is not the case then you can either use standard butyl or plastic liner as you might in a pond, or, if you dont mind getting your hands dirty (which as a gardener I assume you dont), then you could line in a more traditional manner with wet clay. If you are using pond liner, pierce it at every metre with a pitchfork to allow for drainage and weigh the edges down with bricks to prevent it shifting underfoot, but whatever the material, your liner should fall at least a few centimetres below the rim of the bog so that excess water can escape over the top. Dont trim it though until youve partially filled with soil, as the weight of the soil will pull it down in the hole. Put a layer of gravel in the bottom and then you can back-fill with your excavated soil after removing any weeds and large stones. If your soil is poor you can add a little organic matter to give your plants a good start.

Finally, you come to the key ingredient of the bog – water. Ideally a bog should be filled with rainwater to ensure a minimum of detracting chemicals, so, if youve a rain barrel or a friend with one, now is the time to use it. If this is too impractical then regular tap water will suffice, however, it will be most effective if given a few days to stand and evaporate its chemical element.

With your lining, base soil and water established, you ought to allow a day or so for the soil to settle and then crack straight on with the planting phase. Below youll find a small group of our favourite suitable candidates for this purpose.

Floral and Hardys Five Favourite Bog Plants:

Astilbe

Astilbe is a clump-forming herbaceous perennial with feathery flowers of pink, white or red in summer. Its young foliage has a bronzy appearance turning dark green through summer and autumn, while those flower heads will turn brown and remain attractive later in the year.

Darmera peltata

The Umbrella Plant is a vigorous perennial that forms large clumps of rounded green, and then pink, foliage that will show in summer and autumn respectively. They also produce clusters of pink, star-shaped flowers in the spring.

Gunnera manicata

The Giant Rhubarb is a large, bold, herbaceous perennial sporting huge green leaves for most of the year, and red russet blooms throughout summer alongside its Christmas hued fruits. A spectacular, architectural plant, but suited only to the larger garden as it can reach a height of 2.5metres in a single season and a spread, over time, of 4 metres!

Ligularia dentata Desdemona

Desdemona will bloom with daisy-like, bright sunny orange flowers with lance shaped petals springing from a deep red inflorescence. Its foliage will appear bronze, purple and green from spring to autumn and its colours should tower around a metre above the waterline of your bog.

Zantedeschia aethiopica

The Arum Lily can be a deciduous or semi-green perennial forming emerald-green, lance-like leaves around a hooded white flower with funnel appearance. These will bloom in early summer are followed by orange fruit in the autumn.

Garden Supplies Are Where Your Joy Of Gardening Begins!

You finally managed to buy that dream house you always wanted, a house with a nice garden and lawn but if you are looking forward to create a wonderful outdoor space and to develop your gardening skills, then there are some things you definitely need: garden supplies. Besides the basic garden tolls, such as shovels, hoes, pruners and spading forks, which definitely have to be on your shopping list, garden supplies have the main role of protecting you and your plants. So, which are the most important garden supplies that should not miss from a gardeners equipment?

First of all, your hands will be the ones which will do the job in your lawn and garden. Therefore, they need to be protected with the help of some garden gloves. After all, who wants to get blisters or even injuries from gardening? So, you should select a pair of durable, resistant and comfortable gloves that you should wear when gardening or when using lawn tools. Moreover, your gardening gloves should be made of a soft synthetic fabric, such as Lycra spandex and they should definitely be washable, since they will get dirty quite fast. And when you are shopping for garden gloves, you should also stop by the garden aprons section and get one, since it will prove to be very useful when gardening.

A garden tools organizer, also called garden tools holder is the one thing you need in case you are trying to keep your garden tools in order. You can find both light holders and heavy duty garden tools holders, holders on rolls, with removable canvas satchels and other such appealing features. What else do you need? We all know that we need seeds and pesticides in order to obtain the flower garden we desire. But which are the best pesticides out there? For example, a good choice is represented by the neem oil, the oil that can function as an excellent bio-pesticide and that can efficiently keep all the insects away from your garden.

All the above garden supplies are strictly essential and functional, they are the items you definitely need in order to proceed with your lawn care and gardening activities. But there are other ranges of garden supplies that have more decorative purposes and that can basically enhance the look of your lawn and garden. Which are these ornamental garden supplies? Well, from flower pots to concrete planters and garden urns, from torches and candles to outdoor tableware and from fountains to hanging flower baskets, you can find anything you desire in order to enhance the look of your lawn garden.

A nice looking garden is not simply limited to beautiful plants and colored flowers. If you are truly creative and in search of the perfect style for your outdoor space, including your lawn, garden and patio, then you can use decorative elements to create a welcoming ambient, a space where you can spend quiet and peaceful moments in the middle of the nature. You can create a perfect light and atmosphere using outdoor candles, you can coordinate the nuances of your flowers with the decorative garden planters or you can combine the rustic wood of the flower pots with your wooden garden shed. With the help of the right garden supplies, you will manage to create that outdoor space that you always wanted. Whether youre gardening as a hobbyist, or professionally, garden supplies sourced correctly will make your success that much closer. Enjoy your gardening sessions and admire your results!

LED Garden Lighting Can Be The Best Source For Garden Lighting

LED garden lights are increasingly in popularity with time. These stylish lights have many benefits over other kinds of garden lights in many ways. Light emitting diode (LED) have served the basic decoration needs of the garden in the most cost effective way. They can add beauty to the garden dcor in many ways. With LED appliances, people may decorate their trees, shrubs, paths down to the lawn, and many other areas. LED garden lightings can immensely spruce up your garden dcor, and are also safe to use.

Led appliances are either in round or pointed shapes. These low voltage devices are wrapped with a diffuse plastic lens. The good thing about LED lightings is that it is not affected by harsh weathers and traffic. These lights came into existence in 1970, and scientists are still bringing innovations in these lightings, as the demand continues to grow.

When comparison is made between LED backyard appliances with bulbs and fluorescent lamps, it has been discovered that they LED lightings are more energy efficient. Normal bulbs throw more heat to the environment whereas LED lights hardly emit heat. Moreover, LED lights are free from mercury, and are a safer lighting source. If you have kids in your home, then LED garden lightings must be your first choice, because as they are cool to touch, children would not be harmed when playing in the garden.

Another main benefit for using LED garden lights is that they consume very little energy, and hence dramatically reduce electricity bills. LED garden lighting is now available in many different designs, shapes, and colors. AS LED backyard lighting are structured in long ropes, these versatile lights can be shaped in many forms. Suppose you are throwing a children’s party in your garden, with LED garden lights, you can give shapes of flowers, butterflies, and animals that will greatly attract and amuse the children.

In case of a formal party, you can consider hanging them on the walls, trees, or shrubs, simply any way you want. However, these not only offer contemporary designs, but also in fact allow cutting many costs in the end. LED garden illuminations have a longer life span compared to other bulbs and lamps. These reliable lightings have really helped to embellish a garden with differently shaped colorful lights.

Japanese Garden Furniture

Asian-style decor has become quite popular among Westerner’s in recent years. Japanese gardens are influenced by Buddhist, Shinto and Taoist philosophies with the thought that such influences will bring spirituality to the garden. It is with this hope that Japanese-style gardens have pieces such as garden benches, fountains and shoji screens. A Japanese-style garden is a place to meditate, relax and enjoy nature.

Japanese garden benches come in several styles. There are stone benches that have curves rather than straight lines. Rolls, swirls and carved dragon faces are some of what decorate these backless stone benches. Place by a pond with bamboo surrounding it and you will feel as if you have just stepped into a true Japanese garden. Opposite of these rounded benches with dragons carved on the side are simple teak benches, also backless. The teak slats are so close together that it almost looks like a single piece of wood. Stained a honey color, these benches are subtle and invite one to sit and enjoy the garden.

For a garden with lots of space you might consider an outdoor dining set. A slatted teak table, a perfect square in amber tones, compliments 4 teak chairs with a black stain. This set has clean lines and is very contemporary, yet the amber teak hints of Japan. Place a shoji screen at one corner, a fountain nearby and a statue of Buddha to set the scene for many serene dinners outdoors.

The sound of water is often present in Japanese gardens. Water represents serenity and purity and is therefore often used in gardens whether it is a pond, a small stream or a fountain. Whether it is the sound of flowing water, trickling water or the sound of water falling into water is a matter of preference. Consider a Japanese-style fountain. There are many styles to choose from. One popular style is a stone fountain that has a column with a lantern at the top. Water spouts out just below the lantern and lands in a large stone bowl. There are several patinas to choose from and each one is made to look aged and weathered. The soft lighting with the sound of water trickling into the stone bowl will make evenings outside a serene and relaxing experience.

Whether you choose a single piece of Japanese inspired outdoor furniture, or many pieces, your garden will most definitely be enhanced by it, and will become a much more enjoyable area to be in for you and your family, as well as an guests you have in your home.

Garden Shed Plans – Roof Designs For Garden Sheds

If you’re looking at garden shed plans, you’ll be faced with many things you need to decide on. One of them is the design you’d want to adorn your outdoor area. Shed designs are often characterized by their roofs. To help you decide on which design would be best for you, here are the basic features and benefits of the commonly used roofs in garden sheds, including lean-to, saltbox, gable, and hipped roofs.

Lean-to or shed roofs is just one roof surface that is built sloping down the whole shed structure – whether it is attached to the house or standing alone. It costs the least and the easiest to build among all other roof types, so it’s one of the most popular. This simple design is often chosen for storage sheds and workshop annexes.

Saltbox roofs are distinguished by their flat front and long pitched roof that slopes down to the rear of the house. This design originated in England when people needed additional rooms at the back of the house. They’re called saltbox, because they’re shaped like the wooden boxes used to hold salt during those days. Today, these roofs are usually made of EPDM (ethylene-propylene-diene monomer) rubber, known for its excellent thermal insulation and water resistance, or PVC, which is fire-resistant and promotes energy efficiency.

The gable roof, meanwhile, is also a common option in garden shed plans since it’s also easy to construct. Two same-sized roof surfaces pitched at identical angles and placed back to back will already give you this design. This triangular roof provides roomy ceiling, good ventilation, and a way for water or snow to easily slide down the ground. However, the gable design isn’t recommended for regions experiencing too much wind as this roof can be easily damaged by severe winds.

Compared to the gable, the hipped roof has not just two but four equal sides sloping down to cover the entire shed. This roofing may require more work than the gable type, but your shed’s walls will be easier to build because they all just need to be of the same height. Aside from this, the hipped roof can protect your shed not just from the sun, rain, and snow, but also the wind, which is a major problem of the gable design. But you need to keep in mind that this design will give you less ceiling space.

These are just some of the common roof designs you can choose from when you’re planning to build a garden shed. This information is a good starting point in selecting which style would be best for the outdoor structure you want.

Building a Night Garden

The week before last I was lucky enough to attend Custom Houses Grand Designs convention, wherein over a thousand different exhibitors displayed a range of new products, techniques and disciplines, applicable not only to interior design and decoration but also (on a smaller scale) to horticulture and outdoor decoration.

In this regard, the overall focus largely fell to the advertisement of commercial ventures such outdoor furniture (which will be covered in our next segment) or ecological building alternatives, but there was one exhibit that struck me as particularly unique – that of a night based garden.

The impetus of the design lay in the philosophy that due to the hectic lifestyle required to support a grand outdoor space, many of us dont get the choice to enjoy our garden during the daytime-ironic no? So, The 24 Hour Garden, as it was so aptly named, was built with not only its lit aesthetic in mind, but also the applications it might promise after hours, particularly those of hosting and catering.

It seemed a topic not oft discussed in conventional garden design, so I wanted to set aside some column inches to suggest how one might go about building your own space whose usefulness is complete, regardless of whether the clock reads lunchtime or late-o-clock.

Lighting

Despite the night garden being traditionally a dimmed place, lighting is an essential component to make the space both useable in the summer months, and visually accessible in the winter, however, like the palette you choose for your planting, lighting is, at best, a subtle art, meaning that although it is a characteristic of the day time there is no need for yours to be reminiscent of blazing sunshine. Indeed, as any photographer will tell you, the nightscape provides lighting opportunities not available when sunlight is abundant – hence the attraction of black and white celluloid where the light becomes a means of punctuation rather than the prose itself. The beauty of modern lighting is the variety of different forms it comes in: stairway lighting, underwater illumination, overhead down-lighters or vertical up-lighters, not to mention those concealed within the plants themselves. This latter is a popular option as it helps negate the tone of artificiality that the plastics and metals of a lighting system evoke. The underwater light is also a marvellous addition to the night garden which, while not particularly functional, gives an access to view any wildlife inhabiting your ponds you might not otherwise be privy to.

However, the likely motivation for building or adapting a night garden is so you have the means and the place to entertain and to relax afterhours and to this end I would also recommend, either recessed walkover floor lighting, or focal point spot lighting rather than harsh floodlighting as is so often seen in gardens. Floor lighting is a softer option and will not threaten any trip hazard in the twilight, particularly with the use of frosted lenses, while spotlighting will lend a glamorous red-carpet feel to not only the garden but to any tree canopies above it too.

Things that You Need to Consider When Buying Gardens Sheds.

It is natural to get anxious when you start noticing your things such as lawn equipment and holiday decorations piled up in the house or your garage because you lack enough room for storage. The best solution is to purchase a garden shed, but remember there are various things you need to consider before carrying out any purchase. They include the following.

1. The volume of the shed.
It might be ideal to get the largest garden shed available because you can never run out of things to store. However, your backyards size and the amount you are willing to part with are the true determinants of the size of the garden shed you can obtain.

2. Garden shed designs.
Whichever material kit you purchase, you will have to select from a variety of designs. Having your taste in mind and the design of your building will help in the choice you make.

3. The placement.
The best spot is the one closest to your house especially if you want to use it as your workshop. Other factors that come to play include the suns position and a dry, free drainage area with easy door entry. You can place the shed under a tree or next to a taller building, away from direct sunlight and remember to leave room for the easy opening and shutting of the sheds door.

4.Building codes.
Typically, garden sheds do not require building permits if the floor area is below 10 meters square and not exceeding the sheds height boundary. If you happen to exceed these limitations, you will be required to register for a building permit.

5. Understructure and flooring.
After identifying the placement location for your garden shed, the next thing is to contemplate where its going to be set. There are various selections of the base such as concrete slab, pavers placed on top of a leveled sand bed or concrete blocks and wooden struts placed on top of flattened gravel or steel foundation. It is important that your garden shed is fastened to a firm, even foundation to avert the frame from bending and warping. Also, the higher it is from the ground, the more secure it is from rain water.

6. Preservation.
Ensure the shed you purchase is long lasting. You can impede soil dampness from rising into the shed via the floor by fixing vapor barriers beneath your foundation and polythene sheeting is the perfect material for this.

7. Materials.
It all comes down to your personal preferences and what you intend to use the garden shed for. Theres a variety of garden sheds made from different materials such as timber, metal and plastic. You just have to select the one that best suits your requirements.

8. Price and quality.
The best quality sheds are often costly therefore if you are ready to part with whatever amount of cash in order to acquire the best quality shed then go for it.

9.Landscape.
Your surrounding is important when selecting your ideal garden shed. Garden sheds are not simply functional items. Aside from their utility, the outdoor appearance of garden sheds influences the general appearance of your home. Therefore, the design of the shed should complement your home.

10. The garden shed use.
What you plan to use the garden shed for is also important to selecting your preferred garden shed. Some sheds have dual doors ideal for storing bulky items such as lawn mowers. Also consider the height if you are planning to incorporate shelves on the interior.

Garden sheds are great for creating extra space to store all your equipment and facilities. But before you purchase one think of all the above factors so that you select a garden shed that meets your entire requirements.