When people think about garden benches, they immediately believe that the only place they can be put is in the garden. Well, that just is not the case and even though the garden is still a great spot for one, there are still a number of lovely areas that they can go. Plus, not only would one add a wonderful seating option for you, your family, and guests, but it would also enhance the appearance of any space that it is put in.

Really, any place throughout your outdoor area would be a wonderful spot to put one, but if you are stumped on where you could place a few, gorgeous garden benches, then here are some awesome ideas for you. One idea is in your backyard deck or patio area. It would be not only be a nice way to complement the other furniture that you have, but you could also use it as the main source for your outdoor seating since they are so comfortable. Plus, they have a spacious seating area that would be perfect for a few people, so then during those summer barbecues or get-togethers, you do not have to worry about having quality seating for all of your guests. For even more luxury you can purchase a cushion for the ones that you get and one of the best available options are cushions made from Sunbrella fabric, which is water repellent, mildew resistant, and colorfast. Another idea on where you could place one is on the front porch as a nice spot where you, or a friend, can sit and take in the sights and the sounds of the neighborhood after a long day at the office, or a long relaxing walk. A third spot is just right in the backyard on the lawn, for a comfy place to rest during or after those intense lawn games with the family. You could even put one in your home as a rustic decorative twist, like in an entryway or basement area. Basically, they work well in any setting.

Wherever you decide to put one, you are not only adding a lot of comfort to the space, but also a lot of beauty since garden benches are extremely appealing to the eye with their different designs and finishes. Some can have very plain designs that you would see sitting in the park with just straight wood finishes while others can look very elaborate and feature different flamboyant colors. There are a lot of different options available and when you go to purchase yours, it is important to keep in a few things in mind when trying to find one. Like, what it is made out of because you do not want it to be constructed out of cheap materials since they will not be very durable and stable and will have to be replaced sooner rather than later. Some top quality materials include woods like alder, cedar, pine, shorea, and teak along with metal that includes stainless steel and yet another option is stone or brick. Each is very durable and will ensure that what your purchase will last for many, many years wherever you decide to put it. For an easy way to see all of the available options, check out the internet and all of the online stores. Not only is it an easy way to browse, but you will probably end up finding the best possible prices.

So, the next time that someone starts talking about garden benches and how they can only be placed in the garden, set them straight and let them know they would work well anywhere. And, not only do they offer a comfortable place to sit, but they also add to the appearance of the space that they are in. By purchasing one of these fine outdoor furnishings for your deck, patio, lawn, or porch, you cannot go wrong.

If you have a passion for gardening and you have never tried organic gardening then why not try it. It requires a lot of work, but it can be done. Some people start it as a hobby and let it grow from there.

Some people just seem to have trouble gardening, while others can grow anything. Where do you fit in? It requires a certain amount of skill to grow a good garden. You have to make sure the plants get the right amount of sun and water. You have to know the type of soil you have and how to treat it. Once you start your organic gardening, you should see it through to the finish.

Many people are successful gardeners are encouraged by friends or family to try their hand at organic gardening.

Organic gardening requires you to use natural ingredients for your fertilizing and pesticides. This means you should use compost for the fertilizer. You can make your own compost or buy what you need from the local gardening supply store.

Compost consists of grass clippings, dry leaves, twigs, hay and household organic waste. You let the ingredients compost for several months and you should have an excellent organic fertilizer.

Organic gardening means that you are using no pesticides. This requires you to pick the insects off with your fingers. This can be a painstaking process but made much easier if you have a greenhouse. You could purchase an organic pesticide as well.

Organic gardening is time consuming, so you will have to be diligent in its operation. However, the rewards are wonderful. Eating organic vegetables is very healthy for you.

Even though organic gardening is a lot of work, it is very rewarding. Your friends and family will be proud of your accomplishment and so should you.

By: tommyd

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The rose, being the most popular garden and cut plant, has over 20,000 cultivars in the Northern Hemisphere alone. This number originates from a conservative figure of only 150-200 species of wild roses. Fossil specimens found in both Colorado and Oregon show that roses have been growing for more than 30 million years to date. More fossil specimens were found in North Africa and are said to be at least 4,000 years old. Variant wise, only five of the massive figures above cut as the most popular: the Hybrid Tea, Floribunda, Grandiflora, Climber, and Miniature roses.

Hybrid Tea roses were first cultivated in 1867 by a French nurseryman named Jean-Baptiste Guillot. He achieved the first Hybrid Tea by budding an old Chinese garden tea rose and a European rose. While it is not as fragrant as the other variants, it is safe to say that this rose is the most popular of all because of its wide selection of colors and its long stem that makes it ideal as a cut blossom.

The Floribundas can easily be distinguished from Hybrid Teas because of their dense clusters and big, simultaneous blossoms sitting on its truss. It was first cultivated in 1909, crossing a Polyantha and a Hybrid Tea. This variant is generally easier to maintain than its parents, making it ideal for parks and similar spaces.

The Grandiflora was first cultivated in the mid 1900s, crossing a Hybrid Tea and a Floribunda. Its stem is slightly shorter than a hybrid tea’s and its blossom’s size is midway its parents’. The Queen Elizabeth, the first Grandiflora, is still considered as one of the best variants of this rose class.

All Old and Modern roses have their “climbing” counterparts. The canes of the Climbers’ shrubs are naturally more flexible and much longer than its bush form. Its form on Old Garden roses can generally be attributed to the natural growth habit while in Modern Garden roses, it’s actually an end result of mutating continuously. Most Climbing roses grow anywhere between 8-20 feet in height and needs to be “trained” to grow upwards by tying to structures. Miniature roses, similar to Climbers, are simply smaller versions of Old Garden Roses. This class of roses are usually twiggy in form with repeat-ing shrubs that grow anywhere between 6 to 36 inches in height. Its color range is similar to the Hybrid Tea’s and is usually marketed as houseplants.


There are several images that automatically come to mind when we think about weddings. We might think of a church decorated with flowers and layers of tulle, the aisle strewn with petals. We might think about bridesmaids in pretty identical dresses and sweet-looking flower girls looking thrilled to be at the center of attention for the few minutes they will be walking down the aisle. But the most prominent image that we associate with weddings is the bride in a white ball-gown dress, her hair covered by a long translucent veil, cradling a beautiful bouquet of flowers in her hands.

The tradition of carrying a bridal bouquet is almost as old as weddings themselves. Flowers symbolize fertility, but very little research is done on the origin of the bridal bouquet and the tradition of throwing the bouquet and passing on the fertility to another woman in the wedding. Nevertheless, the wedding bouquet is a time-honored tradition that is observed in different ways.

Bridal bouquets can be either a single, long-stemmed flower tied with a colorful ribbon, a large bunch of many different flowers, or something in between. Most brides say that choosing the flowers to go with the bouquet is a difficult decision to make. However, there is no such thing as the “right” or “wrong” bouquet. The only right bridal bouquet is whatever you want it to be. If you’ve always wanted a bridal bouquet of dazzling tropical Philippine flowers enhanced by glittering Swarovski crystals, then you should definitely go for it. A single red rose wrapped in lace would be just as stunning.

If you’re having difficulty deciding, here’s a tip: think of a way you can connect the flowers to your wedding gown and the bridesmaids’ dresses. If your wedding dress is ivory white while your bridesmaids are wearing peach, a coral rose bouquet will make the colors stand out.

For a colorful bridal bouquet, remember that colors that are shades of each other will give your bouquet a more subtle look. If you’re wearing a simple dress, try a bouquet with contrasting colors as the flowers will stand out more than your dress.

Another area for variety is the bouquet’s shape. The most popular arrangement is the round one, but you can always add a unique twist to it by giving it a downward point of greenery and lace. You can also place beads or crystals and allow them to trail over the bottom edge to make your bridal bouquet sparkle.

There is an incredibly array of options for brides when it comes to choosing the flowers, styles, and arrangement of the bridal bouquet. With florists offering a dizzying array of options for weddings, you’d be hard-pressed to find the right bridal bouquet to complement your dress on your wedding day.

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Many fine gardens evolve gradually through the loving attention of their owners with little or no outside help. But when it comes to creating a new garden, or taking over an existing one that has fallen on hard times or that does not suit your taste or needs, it is well worth seeking advice from a professional garden designer.

The issues involved can be surprisingly complex, from drainage and construction through to siting trees and planting a border. How to deal with slopes and levels? How to forge a harmonious relationship between house, garden and surrounding landscape? What materials to use? How large to make a patio or pergola, how to site a water feature, pond or lake? How and where to incorporate outdoor lighting? Might planning permission be needed for any of this, and what order of costs might be involved?

Some of these questions might be answered by a knowledgeable gardener, others by a landscaper or builder, but for professional advice covering the whole process of planning and making a garden it is best to consult a qualified garden designer. Of course, before engaging any professional advisor you should first check their credentials and satisfy yourself that they are someone you can trust to interpret your brief in a sympathetic manner. The Society of Garden Designers, now celebrating its 25th year, is the only professional body in the UK devoted solely to garden design. Registered members have had their work individually assessed and must adhere to a code of professional practice. In the United States the equivalent body is the APLD (Association of Professional Landscape Designers).

A professional garden designer will listen carefully to your wishes before making any detailed proposals; time spent discussing practical needs and your likes and dislikes will help achieve a result that both you and the designer can be excited by. The hoped-for reaction from a client when they see that first presentation plan is “I never imagined anything quite like that, but it's exactly what I want”.

Beautifully drawn plans are all very well, but can they be put into practice? A garden designer will have thought through the practical implications of his proposals, including cost. He will be able to provide detailed working drawings and to source materials and plants, giving you a much wider choice than could be found at your local garden centre or builder's merchant. He will be able to find or recommend contractors to carry out the work, with costs and specifications agreed beforehand.

There is no denying that creating a garden can be expensive: expect to spend about the same on a new garden as on a complete new kitchen. Having detailed plans puts you in control and reduces the risk of unforeseen extra costs. A well designed garden makes good use of space that might have been wasted, making a small plot seem bigger and a large uninteresting space more intimate. The benefits of a new garden go on improving over time - planting typically takes three to five years to mature, for a larger garden ten years or more. Research shows that patients who have access to a garden, even if they can only look at it from a hospital bed, recover more quickly than those who do not, confirming what gardeners have known all along: gardens are good for you.

So, you've got your flower garden set up. You've planted the flowers, some perennials here, a few annuals there. You've added a gazing ball, a bench, and some other accent pieces to help make your garden unique. But you're still missing one thing. You're missing the edging around the garden.

The edging around your garden is almost as important as the flowers. Just like a frame on a picture, proper edging will enhance the appearance of the garden. Edging will set your garden apart from the rest of the lawn. Proper edging will bring out the beauty of your garden, and turn it into a work of art.

Several different types of edging are available for your garden. You need to decide which one best fits your garden. A low brick or rock wall, held together with mortar is a popular type of garden edging. It creates a solid, permanent edge to define your garden. But you may or may not have the money to do this, or you may want a less permanent edging.

Lining up bricks or rocks without mortar is another popular method of edging your garden. If you choose bricks, you can line them up, stack them in a low wall, or set them diagonally, leaning against each other. You can use rocks in the same way, simply lined up or stacked along the edge of the garden. Obviously, the rocks will need to be small enough to move, but large enough to have an impact. Many times, you'll find rocks while you're digging up the garden, or doing other landscaping projects. Or you can find them in a friends yard, or a vacant lot. If you get them someplace other than your own yard, just make sure you have permission to take the rocks.

Your local home improvement or garden store will have a wide array of edging products. They have plastic edging that can be placed vertically into the ground to provide a simple border. There are miniature fences, landscaping timbers, artificial rock borders, and more. Browse around, and see what will look good around your garden. If you choose any of these edges, be sure that they are of good quality, and will last for several seasons. You don't want to be replacing your edging every year!

Border plants are also a good option. You'll probably want perennials, like alpine phlox. You'll want a low growing plant that you can divide and plant again each spring, so that you won't have to buy new plants and replant every year, as you would with annuals. Check the amount of sun that the garden will be getting, and choose plants that will tolerate your climate, and the amount of sun received.

Comfrey is a good choice for an edging plant for a large garden. The thick growth will prevent grass from creeping in on your garden. The leaves can also be used for mulch when they fall. The flowers will add some visual interest to the garden as well. Small gardens will be overwhelmed by the comfrey, so it would only be suitable for large gardens.

Strawberries or herbs are also a good choice for edging a garden. If you plant herbs, you can also use them in cooking. Just snip off whatever you need, and you'll have fresh herbs for your meal.

Whether you choose plants, rocks, bricks, or edging from the store, the proper edging will provide a suitable frame, to enhance and show off the masterpiece that is your flower garden.

Garden sheds are the most popular garden building and they aren’t just a place to store the lawnmower and tools. These days there is a growing trend in alternative uses for the garden shed, such as: playhouses, home offices and workshops. They come in a variety of sizes, prices, and construction material, and are available from online and offline stores.

The different styles and types of garden sheds are based on the roof structures: the most common is the Gable which forms a triangular roof. The Salt Box has a short front gable roof and a gently sloping rear roof. The Hip roof or Cottage Style roof has four sides all angled or sloped, and the Gambrel roof looks similar to a barn.

Garden sheds mainly come in three different types of material. The most common material is wood and they are generally the cheapest to buy. However, wooden garden sheds do need some regular maintenance to keep them weatherproofed. Metal garden sheds tend to be used when long-term strength is needed, as they are sturdy, tough and durable. Again they need to be maintained to protect them from rust. Many garden sheds are also available in a variety of plastic materials and are made from heavy moulded plastics, such as: PVC and polyethylene, and need very little maintenance. There are many different brands and makes, but remember not all sheds are created equal.

Once you’ve decided what material you want for your garden shed, you need to choose the size and style you want. Garden sheds can be made into a centre-piece for the garden, and for the discerning homeowner, some garden sheds come with finials, eaves and verandas. If money is a bit tight but you want the shed to be a centre-piece, choose a shed where extras can be added at a later date, such as: louvre windows, skylight roof sheets and double doors. Garden sheds can also be subdued so they blend in with the architecture of your home and landscape.

Most garden sheds are bought as a flat-pack and can be put together in such a way you do not need to be a professional carpenter to assemble them, although limited carpentry skills are recommended. If putting your shed together is something you don’t want to do, for whatever reason, an option is to have your shed erected by professionals, so you do not have to struggle with the heavy and bulky sections that come with the shed.

If you can not find the garden shed of your dreams, you could always design one yourself or buy designs from you local timber yard, bookstore, or the internet, and build it yourself. Basically there are fours steps to building your garden shed: foundation and floor; frame; siding; roof. The foundation/floor is the solid base for your garden shed and can consist of treated skid timbers, patio stones, concrete base, or pressure treated joist with a plywood floor. The frame is the skeleton of the structure and supports the walls and roof. The siding can be optional and is the covering of a finished wall made from plywood, pine, cedar, or vinyl. The roof is the cover and can be made from asphalt shingles, cedar shingles, aluminium, or metal, etc. At the end of your project you will have had the satisfaction of having built your own shed and saving money at the same time.

Once you have a garden shed, you will wonder how you ever managed without it. They are no longer the domain of spiders and cobwebs, and the uses of garden sheds are limited only by your imagination.

What should you do if you have a lifeless tree on your property? Consider your options. Although trees lose most of their aesthetic appeal when they die, they provide a beneficial afterlife. Dead trees are a source of food, shelter and home sites for wildlife. They may also be used for firewood, garden projects or building material. When you discover a dead tree, decide if it should be removed and what you want to do with the remaining materials.

Creating a Wildlife Tree - By leaving a portion of a lifeless tree standing (at least 15 feet is recommended), you can encourage a natural wildlife habitat, maintain safety and create a spectacular observatory for you and your children. As wood softens, insects residing in trees become accessible to birds. Woodpeckers excavate food and inadvertently create nesting sites for other birds and small woodland creatures. If you want to decorate your standing observatory, plant vines that will climb and cover the trunk, such as Virginia creeper or Climbing hydrangea vine. Accessorize by hanging flower baskets or feeders. You may also rest logs horizontally on the ground along a walkway, in a garden or near a pond. Make a narrow bed around the edges and plant wildflowers to attract butterflies, hummingbirds and beneficial insects. These and other plant species will eagerly take root on and around your nutrient-rich log.

Preserving a Piece of History - A very creative way to discard a lifeless tree is to use the wood for building projects. That's exactly what George Mohrmann encourages with his company, Sawmill-On-Wheels. He feels that many people are looking for a productive way to use downed logs or preserve memories of their personal history with a particular tree. Sawmill-On-Wheels and similar companies throughout the northeast turn what was once considered cumbersome waste, downed logs, into valuable hardwood and softwood that can be used in a variety of projects and they do it right on your property! "A fully hydraulic, completely transportable saw allows me to produce just the type and size of wood needed for a particular project and often in sizes that are hard to find elsewhere," says Mohrmann. Some of the work he has seen includes tree houses, fireplace mantles, giant beams, furniture, benches, carvings and matching old wood for restoration projects. How would you preserve your piece of history?

The removal of a tree does not mark the end its usefulness or your enjoyment of its beauty. In fact, it can be a very rewarding experience. You will preserve precious memories and form new ones by creating a unique afterlife for your old friends. For a complimentary consultation of your landscape, evaluation of a particular tree or hazard inspection, consult your arborist.


Are you looking for a way to really complete the look of your backyard garden? Like, you have beautiful flowers in place, even a winding path, yet it still seems to be missing something? If that is the case, a great way to cap off its appearance is with garden finials. These fixtures have a fabulous appearance and would actually be a great addition to any outdoor area in need of an extra special decorative touch.

What makes garden finials so appealing to the eye is their fantastic design that will generally feature a long spear like shape with comes to a sleek, pointed tip. There are also many variations made on this simple design though, giving your different options for finding just the right one for your space. Like, you can get one that has a spear shape sitting atop a wide sphere, others that have a Fleur Di Lis type shape, and some that even feature inter looping scrollwork. So, don’t feel like you don’t have a lot of choices, because you do.

One thing that even makes garden finials even more pleasing to the eye is the fabulous looking copper material they can be crafted from. Copper is very vibrant and shiny and create ones that simply glimmer with beauty. The copper material options can also be paired up with other materials as well, producing ones that have a very unique appearance. Like, the copper can be paired up with stained glass with the sphere of the finial being made from copper while its point is made out of the stained glass. Just imagine how beautiful that would look sitting in your garden. You could even put one on top of your roof if you like on its points to give your home a very attractive, finished appearance.

Not quite feeling garden finials, but still want a way to add a decorative touch to your garden or outdoor space. Well, you are in luck because there are many other fantastic outdoor accessories to choose from that are ideal for doing just that.

Like you could get a weathervane to put atop your roof or garden shed, garden stakes that come in all sorts of themed shapes from fairies to flowers, and you can even get rain cups to use in place of your rain gutters. And, the outdoor accessory options don’t stop there and some others include wind chimes, country bells, bird baths, outdoor clocks, sundials, outdoor wall art, and thermometers.

To easily check out all the different outdoor accessories, including garden finials, that you could purchase for your space, simply go online and do some shopping. Browsing the different products and comparing prices is a breeze, plus, when you do purchase something that you like, it will be shipped right to your door. Nothing has ever been so convenient.

In the end, if you want to nicely finish off the look of that garden of yours, or just add a decorative touch to your outdoor space, turn to garden finials to get the job done. They have a beautiful appearance that is sure to please.

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It is only by becoming acquainted with the flowering period of our plants that you can be sure that those you bring together for the purpose of constructing a contrast or color harmony will be in bloom at the same time. They should start blooming at approximately the same time and but periods of bloom should, as far as possible, coincide in length. The effect will be measured in duration by the period of the flower that lasts the shortest time.

By judicious selection of flowering plants, it is possible to contrive that there shall be few failures in this area. Succession is the very keynote of good gardening, for you cannot afford to shorten the period during which flowers are possible, nor can you tolerate empty spaces in your borders, unless you plan on filling them with a water wall fountain, patio statuary, or outdoor waterfalls.

By consulting a seedsman's list you can select your plants and dispose of them so that as the spring blooming plants start to fail, others will succeed them for the summer months, and still others will take their place in autumn. This system of succession, when well arranged, will give you flowers from February to mid-November, thus covering the maximum period during which you are likely to be able to enjoy your garden.

It demands having a method to your choice of flowers, especially when the borders are laid out for a broad color effect, implying that each separate color group must contain plants of which some will always be in flower. In other words, the distribution of early, middle, and late-flowering plants must be over the whole space and in intimate association. Hardy plants alone come within the purview of the garden designer. The effects you can obtain from annuals and bedding out plants belong to the routine of garden management. But the same principles apply with regard to color, habit, period, and succession.

Art should be as much in evidence in the minor details of the garden as in the more important and more obvious ones (garden statuary, large fountains, outdoor water features). Carelessness in small matters may go a long way to undo the results of thought and skill devoted to the main features. Along with understanding the rules of guidance to which you should adhere when planning a garden, you must also understand the "how" and the "why" of these principles.

Although the construction of a garden plan on paper is a necessary preliminary to the practical operations on the site, it will only carry you a certain way toward the desired result. Much of the detail will have to be filled in on the ground. It is in the finishing touches that he may add distinction to the picture, and you should, therefore, study your work as it proceeds, looking for opportunities for minor embellishments and effects in detail.

This does not mean you should look for an over elaborated result, but you should be open to possibilities and not neglect any of the opportunities that may present themselves for an artistic style for your garden. In addition to beds and borders, there are other places where you can introduce charming effects such as large statuary, a wall water fountain, garden waterfalls, or ivy plants. A Virginia creeper, for example, planted at the foot of a clump of small firs can produce one of the most gorgeous pieces of color in a garden, with country residence in the foreground.

In only a short time, you will see that it will clamber up amongst the green foliage and festoon it with graceful sprays. In summer, the foliage will be light green against dark green, but when the leaves start to turn red in autumn, it will be indescribably beautiful. You can obtain a similar effect in a Scottish garden, in which a flame nasturtium (Tropaeolum speciosum) had taken possession of a large straggling elder tree, and wreathed it about with masses of scarlet. Even if the colors you create are by accident, you will take note of them and try to replicate them in other parts of the garden.

By: Allison Ryan

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The lawn and garden industry nets approximately $36 billion a year, and with the trend towards home grown vegetables and organic gardening, this number is only going to increase. Gardens do, however, take time and work, and most households have busy, hectic schedules. The Plant Institute of America claims that "one third of all plants die within their first year of purchase". These new products promise to make the gardener's life easier by cutting down on regular chores like watering, or by identifying common problems. Are they worth it? You be the judge.

Garden Environmental Sensors

These products promise to take the guess work out of gardening. A sensor placed in the ground near your plants proceeds to analyze the soil and growing conditions, and providing results such as the amount of moisture in the soil, sunlight, temperature, humidity and drainage. Hook up the sensor to your computer using a USB port and receive a list of recommendations to enhance your garden and create ideal growing conditions. Many of these products such as EasyBloom, have huge product databases that you can search by various plant characteristics, such as desired bloom, color, season, plant height, and drought tolerance.

With the press of a button, the home gardener can receive the type of growing advice they might expect from their local botanist for the mere cost of $60. A more complex version, the Botanicalls runs for $100 and will send text alerts to your phone whenever your plants are in distress or getting thirsty.

Irrigation & Watering Systems

Watering the garden is probably my biggest challenge. I begin the season with the best of intentions, but by mid summer, if I've missed a few days the hot weather takes its toll on my plants. The weaker strains inevitably die and the others remain in a limp, "just kill me and get it over with", sort of state. My neighbor, however, who I teased for installing a watering system, has gorgeous blooms on thriving plants right through to late fall.

There are a myriad of drip irrigation and watering systems available on the market to automate this task. Some are as simple as planting round clay containers next your plants, attached to larger water-filled vessels. Others involve small lines hooked up to your hose and running to your gardens or hanging plants. Whether manual or automated, the function of these systems are basically the same – they both deliver water to your plants, gradually, via an underground delivery system so as to avoid as little evaporation as possible.

Running from about $50 to 150 a digital timer will start watering exactly when you specify. For about $600 a digital monitor will connect wirelessly with nearby weather stations or garden sensors and measure temperature, solar radiation, wind speeds and humidity. Take it one step further and connect to an alarm that will alert you when it's time to cover your delicate plants or when soil is getting dry.

Auto Mowers

The Robomower from LawnBott eliminates the need to ever push or ride a mower again. After installing a perimeter wire around your yard (to keep your mower within your property), assemble your Robomower, pour a cool drink and watch it tirelessly mow up to 4,000 square feet of lawn. The unit is not totally maintenance free, as it will occasionally get stuck in ruts or holes, or require some simple programming. They make the climb up steep hills, run for four hours at a time and the solar-electric hybrid version uses the energy of a lightbulb.

If you're sick of pushing a mower and paying for the gas to run it, the Robomower has models ranging from $1,000 to $3,500.

About The Author:
Discover the great investment opportunities available in the Wilmington NC real estate market. Search the latest property listings to find Hampstead homes, waterfront real estate, vacant lots, condos and more at BuddyBlake.com.


Heavenly Bamboo, or Nandina is a beautiful landscape shrub with large, lacy leaves that resemble bamboo. Except the leaves on this beautiful evergreen shrub put on a color display almost all year around. New growth is reddish pink which eventually turns to pastel green. In fall, the leaves change to bronze and can even turn bright red in winter.

Nandina can be grown as a low screen in the landscape. It is a slow grower, but well worth the wait. The plant sends out tall stalks from the base on which the delicate leaves unfurl. It will eventually reach heights of 6 to 8 feet tall. Single plants usually measure two feet across, but they slowly form clumps, spreading by underground runners. But Nandina is not considered invasive.

Heavenly Bamboo plants are fairly drought tolerant and can survive on little extra water once they are established in the ground. They can also tolerate regular garden watering too. Another valuable trait is that Nandina can be grown from sun to shade. In areas with very hot summers it will grow best with part shade.

In spring or early summer Nandina blooms with creamy white flowers at the ends of their branches. The flowers bracts measure from 6 to 12 inches, with large whitish flowers with bright yellow centers. If the flowers are pollinated they will produce clusters of bright red berries in the fall.

Heavenly Bamboo isn't a true bamboo at all, but is a member of the barberry family. It is native to China and Japan. It grows best in USDA Zones 7 - 9 or Sunset Zones 4 - 24 with stem damage occurring about 5 degrees. When grown in alkaline soils, Nandina can develop chlorosis, or iron deficiency. This disease shows up as light green or white veins and pale, sickly leaves but it can be easily cured with an iron mixture from your local nursery.

In pots Nandina shrubs require large, deep containers. Try starting them in 12-16 inch pots or larger. Nandina would make a striking focal point on a patio, with the ever-changing leaf color giving it the appearance of an exotic bronze sculpture. Or grow one into a difficult-to-plant dry shade corner of the garden. Either way you are sure to be enchanted by the beauty of Heavenly Bamboo. Good luck and happy gardening!

By: Laura Zinkan

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There are a lot of great garden design software packages on the market today. They can help you design and visualize your garden. To add to this, you can also create such things as your house, deck, patio, fence and ground cover. Most of the garden design software is actually quite easy to use and you will not need to have any architectural or landscaping experience in order to use it.

Advantages of 3D Graphics

Most of this software is available with 3D graphics so that you can walk around your property in photo realistic 3D. This will allow you to experience your garden design even before you actually create them. Some software will even allow you to see what the different types of lighting will do to your garden; it is like you are really there.

Once you are sure that you have something that you would like, you can show your friends and family what your ideas are. This will also come in handy if you are hiring anyone to do this work for you because you can show them exactly what you want with accurate dimensions, scale and placement that are relative to your house and landscaping.

Use the Helpful Wizard

While all of this may sound as though it is difficult to do, most garden design software comes with a wizard that can help you get started. The wizard will help you to quickly add houses, decks, ponds and everything else that you will need in order to complete your garden.

Usually there is also a large selection of plants and tress available in this wizard for you to choose from. These are in the form of highly detailed 3D models instead of as a regular picture. This makes them look very lifelike, even if you view them close-up. You can mix and match different foliage and experiment with various placements before coming to a final decision – all with just a click of your mouse.

Regardless of what type of garden design software program you choose to use, it should offer free technical support and a 30 day money back guarantee. The really good garden design software programs will have a complete user's guide integrated in the program but it is still very useful to be able to email or call technical support toll free.

In the quest to get healthy, more and more people are turning to organic food. Free of chemical additives and pesticides, organic produce offers only pure and natural nutrients. But for those people who do not have ready access to organic produce at their local markets, or do not wish to pay the high prices associated with organic produce, starting their own organic garden allows them access at any time to fresh, wholesome produce at a fraction of the price it would cost to buy at the store. For those interested in beginning such a garden, an organic garden center can give you all the tools and education you need to start off right.

An organic garden is defined by produce that is grown without the addition of chemicals and pesticides normally used to ward off bugs and weeds, as well as stimulate growth in a traditional growing environment. In order to truly grow organically it is necessary to fully commit to using only products that are 100% certified organic. And in order to get those products you are best to visit an organic garden center.

As its name suggests, an organic garden center offers products for sale that are only certified organic. From soil to fertilizer, the organic garden center will ensure that you have all that you need to grow a delicious and beautiful organic garden. Best of all, most centers have knowledgeable employees on hand who are just as committed to organic gardening. They can be enormously helpful in showing you how to begin, as well as pointing out those products that will work best in your particular space.

Begin with the proper fertilizer and choose those sees that you want to plant in your garden. The organic garden center should be able to help you find those products that will thrive in your particular climate, as well as in the type of sun that your garden receives on a daily basis.

Be sure to do your research regarding the type of maintenance that your seeds will require. The organic garden center can also offer literature and other information about helping your garden grow successfully. Taking the time beforehand to determine what factors will most contribute to your success will help you realize your gardening dreams.

There is no doubt that garden ornaments are quite popular, and have been growing in popularity over the last few years. And, these are not simply the lawn and garden ornaments that our parents and grandparents had in their yards. More modern lawn and garden ornaments are very beautiful, even classy; you don’t have to go for the cheesy garden gnome look, if you don’t want to. Instead, you can choose to decorate your garden with glass, crystal, and simply beautiful ornaments. If you like butterflies, fairies, frogs, gazing balls, decorative thermometers, or just about anything else you’ll find that there are great ornaments that will dress your lawn and garden up a bit more and make it a place that you will love to be as well as a place that your friends and neighbors admire.

It doesn’t matter whether you are looking for garden ornaments UK, or in the United States, because anywhere you go you’ll find that there are plenty of lawn ornaments to go around! If you want something a bit bigger you’ll find that there are also water garden ornaments that are just as beautiful as the smaller ornaments. You can choose from small waterfalls, fountains, birdbaths, ponds, and more. Water features such as this can act as a great focal point for the lawn or garden, and make a great addition to a lawn or garden that already is decorated nicely with garden ornaments. Garden ornaments are a fun way to dress up the outside of your home as beautifully as you decorate the inside of your home.

Grand Illusions was created by Nick Ronald and David Roberts in December 1987, initially with just one small store in St Margaret's, Twickenham. The mission was to promote gifts, cards and accessories of good design and taste at an affordable price - still very much the core business ethic to this day.

Shortly afterwards, they discovered and developed a paint range that was to transform their lives. In those days, painted furniture was something of a rarity, and a twenty two drawer chest painted in one of the new paints caught the eye of 'Homes & Gardens' magazine - the small feature resulted in over a thousand telephone calls and the seeds of the highly acclaimed furniture collection were sewn.

This also led to the publication of three Grand Illusions books on decorating techniques and design inspiration, published in five countries by Ebury Press and accompanied by guest appearances on BBC2's Home Front and various local BBC radio stations.

They published their first mail-order catalogue in 1990 which was immediately voted as one of the top 200 catalogues in a new worldwide review and several issues later, they were awarded the contract to operate 'Country Living by Post' on behalf of the magazine, in addition to their own unique programme.

Today, the company's activities are currently concentrated on their two stores in St Margarets and Shaftesbury, with mail-order, paint studio, trade-sales and distribution also located in Dorset. The team regularly exhibit at quality retail and trade fairs like Country Living, Top Drawer and the RHS Flower Shows at Chelsea, Hampton Court and Tatton Park. Their products are now available at quality retail outlets across the UK and some stores in Japan, USA and Germany.

The publication of this web-site sees the return to mainstream mail-order for the accessory collection, which is just one of the exciting developments planned for the near future - so watch this space.

Herb gardens can be therapeutic, fragrant, beautiful and delicious. Planting an herb garden is easy and fun. You can grow it indoors or out. Even starting from seed, you can start to harvest your own fresh herbs within about a month.

Start with small pots, window planter or plant directly in your garden. Planting in small containers can give you a little bit more control over your herbs’ sun and weather exposure. Make sure that the containers you choose allow for plenty of drainage. Most herbs have delicate root systems that can easily rot if they are kept too wet. You can add rocks, moss or sand to the bottom of each container to encourage drainage.

The next step is to prepare the soil for your herb garden. You can just use potting soil, but a little extra effort can go a long way. Ideally, twenty-five percent of your mix should be compost material. Manure, humus and peat make good compost if you do not have your own compost bin. If your soil has a lot of clay, you may need to work in a little sand. Clay soil is usually orange or reddish in appearance. It is hard and does not drain well. If your soil has too much sand, it may drain too much. In this case, add more potting soil or compost.

Once your soil is prepared, you will be ready to plant. Sprouting from seeds will help you avoid soil borne diseases that may be lurking in nursery potted plants. Soak new seeds in water overnight if you have time. Another method is to place the seeds on a wet paper towel inside of a plastic sandwich bag for a few days. Make sure that you keep it sealed. When sprouts are about an inch long, very carefully transport them to their permanent location. If you want, you can plant seeds directly in their containers. Make sure that you cover them with plastic wrap to protect them while they are so little. Soil should be moist when you plant.

When plants are about two inches tall, remove the plastic and let them get some sun. Be careful about temperatures over eighty degrees at this stage. Baby plants can easily get too hot or too dry and die. Bring indoors at night if you are in an area that is still experiencing any colder weather. Most people choose to keep their herb garden inside until plants are more mature. A window sill is a great place to ensure that you are letting your herbs get enough light.

Watering is very important. Since you want your planters to drain well, you will also have to watch for dryness. Ideally, the soil should be moist, not wet. Water your herb garden about daily. Watch for wilting, yellowing, crusting or extra dry soil. If your herb garden is outside, use a hose reel to keep your water hose close at hand for easy watering. Enjoy harvesting your herbs for months to come!

By: Stacy Pessoney

Article Directory: http://www.articledashboard.com

In essence, Weathermatic Smartline controllers let you say goodbye to all of your worries dealing with hoses and faucets. Weathermatic Smartline controllers are a type of sprinkler system control system that lets you program when you want your lawn to be watered, based on weather and environment data. Imagine growing a lush green lawn in front of your house but without slaving away five hours a day in heavy landscaping! The fact of the matter is that many homeowners use too much water in their daily landscaping and garden care needs. This costs them more money and wastes more water in general.

Commercial companies that deal with water actually have high-tech equipment set up to fine tune their irrigation systems to supply only the water that is needed. This is because to these companies, every wasted dollar spent takes out a chunk of profit. You should adopt a similar viewpoint when it comes to water bills and sprinkler systems. Weathermatic Smartline controllers actually take in weather data, site information and sprinkler system information, combine all factors, and then calculate the precise amount of water you need to irrigate your landscape. Now you are saving money rather than spending it on excessive watering. You might say that having such a device is comparable to having a living scientist in your garage!

The goal of Weathermatic Smartline controllers is to save water and help create healthier landscapes. According to statistics, using Weathermatic Smartline controllers, water savings from homeowners or businesses have averages 20-50%. Additionally, run-off (a major problem with traditional irrigation) has been practically eliminated. Another factor that sets Weathermatic Smartline controllers apart from the competition is that they have an extra feature: an SLW Series On-Site Weather Station.

This is a system that monitors readings and controller inputs for plant types and sprinkler types. Using this data, the system can automatically decide the right amount of water each zone of your yard requires. The system can also gather input for soil type and slope, so that it can create run and soak cycles. This can also help prevent wasteful runoff. Lastly, the weather monitor has integrated rain and freeze sensing ability. This will prevent you have to rain in rainy or freezing conditions and adjust the flow of water accordingly. This is also a big help in staying legal with local regulations regarding freezing or rain sensors.

These are all state of the art features of Weathermatic Smartline controllers that help to make maintenance simple and your readings very accurate. With this system you can ensure that your landscape gets exactly the right amount of water it needs, where it needs it (as in what section you want to water) and precisely when it needs it.

Remember that though you only buy Weathermatic Smartline controllers once, you will wind up paying for your water every month. Is it really so expensive to buy this product when you could wasting hundreds of dollars in excessive water bills every year? Weathermatic Smartline controllers could save you a lot of money and time.

About The Author:
Richard Gilliland is VP of GreenMarkIrrigation.com one of the largest online wholesale dealers and distributors for Weathermatic and sprinklers


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