Tips to Create a Butterfly Garden

Butterflies are undoubtedly one of the most intriguing insects known to us. Each time these graceful flies flutter their wings, we get to enjoy an array of eye-catching, vibrant colors. If you share the same passion of watching butterflies around, nothing could be more satisfying than creating a butterfly garden in the home vicinity. The key trick is to incorporate flowers and plants that the butterflies are attracted to.

Guide to Create a Butterfly Garden

In case, you know nothing about starting a flower garden, relying on a butterfly garden kit is a good approach. You can follow the instructions mentioned in the kit. The purpose of maintaining a butterfly garden is to attract lovely butterflies in your yard, which can be achieved by providing shelter and food. Several species of flower and non-flowering plants provide both the requirements. The following points highlight some do-it-yourself steps concerning how to make a butterfly garden.

Step #1: Know the Objectives
Butterflies feed on the sweet nectar of flowers, so including them in your garden is a prerequisite. Though several flowers produce nectar for attracting pollinating agents, these graceful insects prefer feeding on specific groups of plants. One more thing is, the female butterflies lay their eggs in specific host plants, which the newly hatched caterpillars can feed on as they grow. Hence, you should plant these host plants too in your garden.

Step #2: Plan Garden Layout
The second step is deciding the actual garden layout. For this, select the garden site and finalize the area size. As butterflies are cold blooded and require basking in the sun, you should preferably start a butterfly garden in sunlit areas. Based on how large the area is, you can make flower beds, keep room for ground covers, maintain trellis to separate garden sections and plant hedges.

Step #3: Select Garden Plants
The third step involves choosing plant cultivars. This is a crucial task, and the functionality of your garden largely depends on what types of plants you choose. You will find a long list of butterfly garden flowers, which are native to your region. If interested, make a brief research about the commonly found butterflies and their preferred plants. Examples of flowers that attract butterflies include asclepias, azaleas, buddleias, daylilies, coneflower, lilacs, butterfly bush, milkweed, etc.

Step #4: Grow Chosen Plants
After careful selection of butterfly garden plants, check for their availability in your local nursery center. You can purchase viable seeds, healthy saplings and starter plants for introducing in your garden. Follow the gardening basics suggested for each variety to grow healthy plants. It is best to grow varieties of plants, which differ in their blooming period. The logic is to maintain colorful flowers throughout the year, so that you can enjoy watching butterflies all the year round.

Step #5: Make Some Puddles
Making puddles is optional, and you can skip this step according to your convenience. In natural habitats, male butterflies are often found gathering in small puddles. You can create the same natural effect by placing a few plastic buckets at the edges of your garden. Fill them with sand and gravel, and pour plain water or sweet liquid over the gravel. This will surely help in luring butterflies to your yard.

Step #6: Maintain the Garden
While maintaining a butterfly garden, stringent care should be taken for providing a suitable environment for butterflies. You can place some basking rocks in the rim of your garden. Anything that can deter these flies should be avoided. Like for instance, minimize the use of chemical pesticides and insecticides. Rather opt for cultural ways to control unwanted pests and diseases. Last but not the least, arrange for garden components to minimize wind effects.

Setting up a butterfly garden is really an interesting hobby. You can spend some relaxing time watching these colorful, winged insects. Also, by maintaining a butterfly garden, you are indirectly helping these colorful flies by providing habitats, which are reduced significantly due to human intervention.

Stone Pathway Design Ideas

A garden pathway, a narrow path that can be straight or winding, leads one to the porch of the house. You can design a garden pathway to form two or more branches that serve to lead the visitors to interesting landscaping elements in the garden, such as a pristine fountain or a beautiful sculpture. The basic purpose of having a pathway built in the garden, is to offer people a place to walk on, should they wish to enjoy the beauty of the garden or spend some serene moments in the midst of nature. Moreover, in the rainy season, when the garden soil is too soft to walk on, having a pathway can make things a lot easier. But why choose stone for building your pathway, you may ask. While you can use materials such as bricks and concrete, using stone can add an earthy feel to your pathway and make it look natural, like nothing else can.

A pathway may not always be structural and formal looking. A pathway made up of slabs of stone randomly laid, has a natural appeal to it. It is indeed delightful to see such pathways end up in porches of picturesque cottages, winding through bushes of pretty flowers along the way. While conceptualizing the design for your garden pathway, you can consider using different stones for different parts of the pathway. And if you’re left wondering where to get the stones from, then you’ll be glad to know that you’d easily get them at a stone yard nearby. So, just have a look at the different stone pathway ideas illustrated below and choose one that you feel can change the way your garden looks, forever.

Garden Pathway Design Ideas in Stone

Here we shall have a look at different stone pathway designs and how you can tweak each of them a little to make them fit into your scheme of things. In other words, you can just use the basic elements of a stone pathway design and incorporate them with different elements, to come up with something entirely new for your garden! First of all, we shall look into two types of layouts that you can have. Then we shall find out what are the available options when it comes to the types of stones to be used, and when and how to use them. Sounds interesting? Keep reading…

Stone Pathway Layout Ideas
Layout refers to the general appearance of the pathway and to some extent, its shape. While a pathway can be straight, meandering or one that literally zigzags through the garden, choosing the correct layout is important to make sure the pathway complements the garden and, more importantly, the look of the porch it leads to.

Structured Stone Pathway
A structured stone pathway can be straight or curved but is built such that it has a definite structure, and is much more than just another pathway meandering through the garden! Also termed as formal pathways, structured pathways look different from most conventional pathways due to the fact that they look artificial, as opposed to most pathways that are designed to appear as close to nature as possible. A structured pathway has slabs of stone or concrete, cemented together with no gaps between them. You’ll find these pathways in formal gardens that are perfectly symmetrical, and these are designed keeping the rules of geometry in mind.

Stepping Stone Pathway
If you want to go minimalistic with your garden pathway, then stepping stone pathways are the way to go. Stepping stone pathways are innovative and at the same time, are not too expensive to build. This makes them a popular choice for those who wish to add other objects of interest to the garden landscaping, instead of spending more on the walkway. You can have many interesting variations to the humble stepping stone pathway by using different stones in many colors, along the length of the path. You can arrange the stones to form a curved or meandering path or give it any other shape of your choice. A stepping stone pathway is easy to lay and takes very less time and effort to build. In fact, you can build one yourself in no time!

What we just saw were the two extreme styles of garden pathway layout. Most houses have garden pathways that are custom-made with inputs from the people who live in them. Now, we shall see what are the different stones available that you can use for building your garden path.

Innovative Design Ideas for Stone Pathways
There are several options out there when it comes to choosing the stone for your pathway. Depending on what look you want, you may use gravel, cobblestone, flagstone or pebbles. Here’s a list of some ideas to design your pathway in stone, that you are sure to find useful.

Flagstone Pathway
Flagstone is the name used for any stone that has a flat surface. These stones are commonly used for designing patios, walkways, garden pathways, and porch floors. It is a flat stone that is around 2-3 inches thick and has an irregular shape. Flagstones are available in a range of colors, and you can use them beautifully to create a garden pathway. What’s more, once the stones are laid and the walkway is almost done, you can add to the aesthetic appeal by planting exotic grass or small flowering plants in the spaces between the flagstone slabs. Even constructing a stepping stone pattern pathway using flagstones, is a great idea. Just throw in small gravels around the flagstones, preferably in a contrasting color, to add to the effect! Here’s an image for your reference.

Cobblestone Pathway
A cobblestone pathway can bring in a vintage flavor to your garden path, as it was the preferred stone for pavements and walkways in the Victorian era. You can either seal the stones to the path using mortar, or simply lay them close to one another for a beautiful effect. An interesting idea is to use these stones on the stretch of the pathway next to a pool, a landscape waterfall or a fountain. The main advantage of using cobblestones is that they are resistant to corrosion.

Paving Stone Pathway
If you have ever come across a driveway built of small rectangular stones that look like bricks, then you must be able to identify them with the stones used to build the garden path shown here. The curved path looks beautiful because of the many flowers that add a splash of color. Between the pathway and the plants growing along it, is a narrow patch strewn with gravel and small stones. You can plant flowers of different hues along the path, such as multicolored tulips, lavender, violets, petunia, begonia, sage, and many more. Just keep in mind that more colorful the result, the more attractive your garden will appear to be.

Gravel Pathway
It may not sound to be a great idea at first, but a gravel pathway can look beautiful if planned and executed with care. You may not want to build the entire pathway with gravel, but a small stretch can work wonders. Place this stretch of gravel close to a water body, such as a fountain. A great way to bring this about, would be to use gravel on the part of the pathway that leads to the landscape fountain or waterfall (as shown in the image alongside). Gravel is found strewn near brooks and waterfalls, and using gravel will take the natural appeal of the landscape water element a notch higher. This will create an illusion of it being a natural part of the landscape and not something put up there, by man! Sounds cool? Why not give it a try?

Natural Stone Pathway
Natural stone is any stone that is formed in nature. Stones such as granite, marble, limestone, etc are found in nature, and are used in their natural form in construction. In the picture given alongside, you see a natural stone pathway made of slabs of a blackish stone. Colorful flowers growing alongside, add a touch of color to the otherwise monotonous pathway. You can choose a particular stone depending on the color scheme you would like for the pathway, as well as the color of the flooring and the walls of the porch.

Pebble Mosaic Pathway
This is an interesting way to style your pathway and requires you to use a bit of creativity. Pebbles are nothing but small oval-shaped stones with a smooth texture. Use them to form unique and interesting patterns and it can turn out to be spectacular. Once you have the pattern ready with you, place the pebbles accordingly, and use mortar to fix them to the ground. Pebbles in different colors can truly bring life to a beautiful design, and this is one idea that is ideal for contemporary-styled gardens and porches.

If you wish to draw the attention of the visitors to a particular stretch of the pathway, then make sure to highlight it using stones of a different color, or of a different type altogether. Installing objects of interests, such as a bench or works of art in stone, along the pathway can add to the visual appeal. Even installing a bird bath, somewhere close to the pathway, can make things interesting and invite birds to make your garden their home.

While designing a pathway, it is a good idea that you include flowers and flowering plants in the picture. Note that when it comes to flowers, there are innumerable options. You can either choose to plant the flowers on both sides of the path, or in between the laid out stones to fill in the gaps. Also, the theme of the walkway, and even that of the garden as a whole, is determined to a great extent by the type of flowers you choose. Using walkway lighting to illuminate your pathway is also a great idea. Proper lighting can add a surreal glow to your garden path.

Tips to Pool Deck Design

Today, pool decks are given nearly as much attention as the interior designing of the home. Decorative swimming pool decks create a piece of paradise in the backyard and are fantastic ways to extend the living space of the house. Properly designed pool decks can become one’s favorite part of the house.

Elements of a Good Pool Deck Design

Proper pool deck designs will make the most of the new space created and enhance the beauty of the house and backyard. There are various factors that have to be considered while designing a pool deck design. The different factors are:

Material: There are four different types of materials available for building the pool deck. There is the concrete type which is very popular due to the variety of options available at a reasonable price. Then, there are brick decks which go very well with brick homes. In higher-end pool construction projects, stone decks are well sought after. Ceramic tile decking are also popular as they can be manufactured to mimic a variety of other materials. Wooden decks are also very popular.

Type of the pool: The design of the pool deck relies mostly on the shape and type of the pool. In-ground and above-ground pools require different design plans for the deck. For in-ground pools, tile, or concrete decks are suited, while in the case of above-ground pools wooden decks are appropriate.

Space available: Since pool decks are permanent installations, their placement has to be chosen very carefully. All kinds of hindrances in the swimming pool area such as trees, fences, and sheds have to be noted. For a pool deck, it is necessary to have enough space between the pool and any other obstacle in the yard. Moreover, the design should be such that the deck blends with the rest of the environment.

Safety Measures: To ensure safety and eliminate accidental drowning, safety fences can be installed. Railings are also good options as they add to the elegant look of the deck.

Color: Depending on the type of look one desires, the color and style will vary. Darker wood gives the pool deck a luxuriant and elegant look, whereas light woods give a more casual appeal.

Pool Deck Design Ideas

The designs for in-ground and above-ground pool decks are different. In case of in-ground pools, stamped concrete decks are great if one’s looking for a unique and aesthetic feel. Using a seamless texture called heavy stone, a vanishing edge can be given to the pool. The above-ground design ideas are different because they eliminate the need to climb into the pool using lone ladders. For circular above-ground pools, circular decks encircling the pool can be built. Oval pools can have oval decks completely encircling them.

The shape of the pool deck will depend on the shape of the pool. These decks can turn out into great entertainment centers for family and friends. Then, there are deluxe or higher versions of these decks, which include an extended portion of the deck which allows extra room for setting up tables, chairs, and lounges. If one does not wish to have the entire pool encircled by the deck, then, there is the ‘easy-to-do-extension’ version, which involves the construction of a side deck. The above-ground pool, will have the deck attached to itself at one corner alone. The material used for above-ground decks are usually wood. Moreover, the deck can be designed in such a manner that the entire pool is enclosed in a canopy-like-structure for adding to the decorative look.

It is advisable to get professional assistance to design the deck, as they know how to make the most of the available space around the pool. Tables, chairs, lounges, recliners, etc., can be placed on the deck to make the deck even more appealing.

Types of Flowering Bushes and Shrubs

Flowering bushes and shrubs help add color, structure, and elegance to flower gardens and landscapes. It helps attract birds because of the sweet berries. The best part is that you can prune it in whichever shape and size you want to look even more beautiful. Making great anchors for any small planting bed and hide otherwise unsightly areas like compost piles and air conditioner units. If you wish to add style and elegance to your yard, we have a list of fragrant flowering plants that will make your yard blossom year-round.

Important Planting Tips
Choose the right plant for the right place, that’s what makes any landscape stand out.
While adding certain plants, you need to be sure about what type of soil it requires (acidic or alkaline), fertilizer, watering requirements, and soil drainage.
What Are Your Choices?

You can design your backyard, front yard, or lawn, and bring life to the plain area with flowering plants. Before you step into a nursery and make your selection, go through the following list.

Frost Proof Gardenia
Cold hardy, gorgeous; spring to summer blooms; zone: 7―10

Endless Summer Hydrangea
6 months of continuous bloom, blue flowers in acidic soil, bright pink flowers in alkaline; Growing zones: 4―9

Autumn Embers Encore Azalea
Scarlet flowers blooming in spring; Growing zones: 6―10

Dwarf English Boxwood
Evergreen, compact hedge; Growing zones: 5―8

Annabelle Hydrangea
Huge white flowering bushes; Growing zones: 3―10

Conversation Piece Azalea
Spring and fall pink bushes; Growing zones: 6―9

Autumn Royalty Encore Azalea
Purple flowers in spring, summer and fall; Growing zones: 6―10

Dwarf Radicans Gardenia
Fragrant, small white blooms; Growing zones: 7―10

Fire Power Nandina
Compact winter shrub with red leaves; Growing zones: 6―10

Autumn Debutante Encore Azalea
Huge pink shrubs in spring, fall and summer; Growing zones: 6―10

Yellow Rhododendron
Huge, evergreen yellow blooms; Growing zones: 5―9

Heavenly Bamboo Nandina
Semi-evergreen landscaping bushes; Growing zones: 6―10

August Beauty Gardenia
Evergreen bushes and shrubs; Growing zones: 7―9

Red Rhododendron
Red bushes in spring; Growing zones: 3―9

Limelight Hydrangea
Lime green flowers in summer, deep pink in fall; Growing zones: 3―8

Coral Bells Azalea
Pink bushes in spring; Growing zones: 6―9

Harbor Belle Nandina
Evergreen landscaping shrubs, pink foliage in fall, dark green/burgundy in spring, white flowers with red berry clusters in fall; Growing zones: 6―9

Nikko Blue Hydrangea
Dark blue bushes; Growing zones: 6―9

Yuletide Camellia
Fall to winter gorgeous red flowers; Growing zones: 7―9

White Rhododendron
White flowering bushes with citrus fragrance; Growing zones: 3-8

Lavender Rhododendron
Huge lavender flowers in spring; Growing zones: 7―9

Mine No Yuki Camellia
Evergreen, white flowering shrubs in fall; Growing zones: 7―9

Shi-Shi Gashira Camellia
Red-pink flowering bushes from fall to winter; Growing zones: 7―9

Blushing Bride Hydrangea
White flowering shrubs; Growing zones: 5―9

Pieris Mountain Fire
Evergreen, white flowering shrubs; Growing zones: 6―9

Double Pink Knockout Rose
Long, gorgeous double-tone roses; Growing zones: 5―10

Fragrant Tea Olive
Evergreen shrub for all seasons; Growing zones: 7―9

Sunny Knockout Rose
Bright, yellow bushes year-round; Growing zones: 5―10

Snowball Bush
Huge balls of white flowers; Growing zones: 4―9

White Out Rose
9 months of snowy white flowers; Growing zones: 5―10

Autumn Angel Encore Azalea
Gorgeous white flowers 3 times a year; Growing zones: 6―10

Kramers Supreme CamelliaJanuary to April red flowers; Growing zones: 7―10

Debutante Camellia
Huge pink flowers from January to March; Growing zones: 7―9

Black Knight Butterfly Bush
Gorgeous purple blooms; Growing zones: 5―9

Vanhoutte Spirea
Bluish foliage and huge white flowers in Spring; Growing zones: 3―8

Lynwood Gold Forsythia
Sunny yellow flowers that bloom in frigid northern springs; Growing zones: 4―8

Yuletide Camellia
Fall to Winter red flowers; Growing zones: 7―9

Little Richard Abelia
Spring to Fall color variation and flowers; Growing zones: 6―9

Ruby Loropetalum
Ruby red leaves and pink flowers; Growing zones: 7―11

April Snow Camellia
White fragrant double blooms all spring; Growing zones: 6―9

Lavender Rose of Sharon Hibiscus
Lavender flowers throughout Summer; Growing zones: 5―9

Oakleaf Hydrangea
Oak leaf shape with huge flowers and fall color; Growing zones: 6―9

Forever and Ever White Out Hydrangea
Huge white flowers throughout Summer; Growing zones: 4―9

Variegated Weigela
Bright foliage, pink flowers, arching braches; Growing zones: 5―9

Pink Rose of Sharon Hibiscus
Summer blooming shrub with pretty pinks; Growing zones: 5―9

Goldmound Spirea
Seasonal color changes, red flowers; Growing zones: 4―9

Pink Delight Butterfly Bush
Long spray of pink flowers throughout Summer; Growing zones: 5―9

White Profusion Butterfly Bush
White flowering bushes with sweet scent, great to attract butterflies and beneficial insects; Growing zones: 5―9

Mary Flemming Rhododendron
Yellow flowers with mist of pink on edges; Growing zones: 5―9

White Rose of Sharon Hibiscus
Huge white flowers that are disease resistant; Growing zones: 5―9

Little Princess Spirea
Blue-green foliage with cluster of pink flowers; Growing zones: 4―8

Flowering Almond
Ruffled pink flowers, easy to grow; Growing zones: 4―8

Yellow Twig Dogwood
Bright yellow stems after leaves fall; Growing zones: 3―7

Variegate Pittosporum
Evergreen, citrus scented flowers; Growing zones: 7―11

Red Rose of Sharon Hibiscus
Red flowers that bloom for weeks on end; Growing zones: 5―9

Miss Kim Lilac
Pink to purple to light blue flowers with other fall colors; Growing zones: 3―8

Dwarf Forsythia
Similar to Lynwood Gold Forsythia, just more compact; Growing zones: 4―8

You can’t go wrong while selecting attractive, gorgeous, sweet-smelling flowering bushes and shrubs for landscaping. Be sure to get as much information as you can about pruning, and the care and maintenance. A healthy garden will only thrive when you work for it.