Archive for

Landscaping – A Lovely Art

In a country as beautiful and warm as South Africa, who needs an attractive interior if one can have a striking exterior? In a recent poll, it was determined that the landscape architect profession would have a larger than average growth within the next ten years, while architecture would only have an average growth. This proves that more and more people want to spend on beautiful gardens and as the world becomes more “green,” why not join the movement and benefit in the meantime.

Start with the front yard and show the world that style tips can come from Mother Nature. Colourful flowers with bold, bright hues can make visitors feel at home. It always helps to let a professional take a look at your space before you start designing, because even though a cheaper option might look more appealing at first, the ultimate result could not be exactly what you planned on. Design on paper what you have in mind then let a designer give you advice. This will ultimately save money, because you won’t change your garden every year.

Divide the project into phases or areas in the landscape, because this allows you to start imagining the whole picture and you can make changes before it is too late. Look at online catalogues and guides to expand your knowledge on plants and to determine fair prices. One should also visit botanical gardens and arboretums to get a visual idea and demolition sites can be a perfect source of stones.

When designing ones landscape, one should get to know the terrain, natural elevations, natural trees and grass already growing on the ground, because these can effect your plans and will ultimately determine if there is harmony in the landscape. The size of the yard is also extremely important to consider when thinking about elements like walkways, stonewalls or big trees. For example, pathways and steps will work perfectly in a large yard, while large trees and dense shrubs will overpower small gardens. The landscape should enhance the building to make it warm and welcoming.

It is good to keep grass at a certain height and cut it regularly to keep it healthy. Keep grass, plant and shrubs nourished by watering it frequently and use fertilizer to nourish the ground and keep insects away. “Scattering” colour by placing petunias and impatiens as a blanket on the lawn, which will help grow flowers. You should avoid throwing away old wood and yard debris, because (and this will help cut costs) things like wood can be dressed up, painted or bleached to create artistic effects within the garden. Using different shapes and natural colours of stones will also add life to a garden, especially when arranged in a way that would be aesthetically pleasing and compliment already existing decor and design.

After all these thought processes, one should ultimately consider ones own style and what one wants to look at and experience every day. Options are limitless, with patio’s, water features, structures and even garden lighting to consider. Ultimately, excitement and creativity should be the most important elements.

Edible Landscaping

I’ve been seeing a lot about edible gardening and landscaping this spring, and I thought I’d do a little more research on how we can take advantage of this in our own gardens.

Many people feel a strong connection to their flower garden, carefully selecting and planting annuals each year and nurturing their perennials. The same passion can be found in people cultivating their vegetable patch in the back yard. But there’s no reason why you have to choose between a beautiful landscape and a fruitful one. There are many varieties of fruit trees, berry bushes, herbs, and vegetables that are as aesthetically pleasing as they are delicious.

Edible landscaping is the practical integration of food plants within an ornamental or decorative setting. The same design principles are used, while substituting food bearing shrubs and trees for otherwise unproductive plant material. Edible landscaping is a mixture of beauty and utility. This is not to say that every element in your landscape should be edible, but those that are can be a healthy and economical bonus.

Almost any climate can play host to a lush edible landscape. Only the most shady and soggy soil areas are not suitable. The sunniest spaces with the best soil should be reserved for fruit trees and annual vegetables, while rocky areas with poor soil are prime for culinary herbs.

Combining edible elements with ornamental specimens can be particularly eye-catching. A colorful border of seasonal lettuce can be paired with dwarf nasturtiums, peppers coordinate well with dwarf marigolds, and strawberries and curly parsley compliment currants. Also try bordering your specimen trees with culinary herbs or plant them along your walking path or driveway. The key is to design your edible landscaping just like you would your aesthetic plants.

Edible landscaping isn’t just for the home. Many restaurants take advantage of rooftop gardens, specially growing herbs and vegetables that are then used in culinary dishes.

And don’t forget: your edible plants need proper watering, mulching, feeding, and pruning, just like your ornamental landscaping. Start small with what is simple and right for you. Choose dwarf trees and select fruit varieties that spread their bounty over several months. Just a few great edible selections to consider:

Edible ornamental berry bushes Highbush Blueberry, Clove Currant, Nanking Cherry, Elderberry, Oregon Grapeholly

Edible ornamental fruit trees Juneberry, Cornelian Cherry, Medlar, Paw Paw, Asian Pear

Vegetables Sugar snap peas, lettuces, marrow, root vegetables (carrots, radishes, onions, leeks), runner beans

Herbs Mint, sage, rosemary, basil, thyme

Keep in mind, whatever edible plants you choose, they need to end up on the table. The main goal with edible landscaping is to produce food. If you don’t use everything you grow, neighbors, friends, and family will be sure to take the rest off your hands!

Solar Landscape Lights – Efficiency

With so many advantages available to a homeowner who wants to select solar lighting as an option, a lot of flexibility is at his disposal while planning the design to lighten up his home and the garden. There are solar landscape lights that are easily available in a range of designs from different manufacturers which are contemporary and sleek. In earlier times, conventional and bulky lights were used to decorate and illuminate the landscaped area of the yard. There are numerous fixtures these days which offer a variety of colors and such fixtures provide a wide range of display and installation options. Homeowners have a great range of choices with solar landscape lights many are easily accessible through retail dealers and many of them advertise online as well.

Investing in solar landscape lights is a good idea as they are almost free of recurring cost and are comparatively free of repair and maintenance hassles, you can be very innovative when planning the locations of these solar landscape lights. There is a huge saving in electricity cost and it helps to protect the environment as well.

Your garden is not a big city roadside so therefore do not go overboard with too much of the solar landscape lights as it will disturb the tranquility and serenity of your landscaped garden in the evening. What you need is reasonably sufficient and soothing light for reasons of safety but you need not use very high power lights here in the evening and the night. High power glowing light beams create the wrong mood and atmosphere since you would like to allow the natural moonlight and the soft light of the stars to be there as well.

There are plenty of solar landscape lights that can be fixed to the ground to create a moonlit night type of feel for the lanes and walkways inside your landscaped garden. Smaller and less intensive solar landscape lights kept at a distance of a few feet gives a great ambience on the driveway. If there are designated pathways in your garden you can light up those routes with soft solar landscape lights for a safe and leisurely walk in the garden. This creates a very soothing and a pleasant atmosphere in your garden.

You should try and keep the fixtures of your lights hidden unless they are attractive and have cosmetic designs on them that can add beauty and look good in the greenery. The design should be planned on the light and not the fixtures. Landscape lights that run on solar energy are a very good option as they are not bulky and are small in size and can be positioned and fixed at the ground level. These lights can be positioned to provide light in areas of choice and necessity, for more intense illumination to be beamed at any desired direction you choose, and the solar light fixture blends and merges easily with the surrounding plants in your garden. A few of the solar landscape lights carefully chosen with identical colors and soothing and pleasant lights help  you to creatively display a  sense of taste and creative styling to the house and the landscaped garden. You can install the solar lighting fixtures on your trees and plants or on a musical water fountain or on a piece of art like on stone statues thus glorifying the landscape.