Small Backyard Designs

If you thought that landscaping and designing was only meant for long sprawling backyards, then you are wrong. Small backyards can be just as beautifully or perhaps even more beautifully designed to create a pleasant space for you and your family. If you have a small backyard which you want to renovate and transform into a useful and pleasant space attached to your home sweet home, then here are few useful tips on small backyard designs, which might help you. Just take your pick and transform your backyard area into a useful space for you and your family.

Finalizing the Backyard Design
Before you set out to pick a theme for your backyard it is very important to first tell you about the things that you will need to do before picking out a theme. Most of the time, since backyards are not frequently used for any specific purpose, everyday trash or junk from the house is dumped into the backyard. First of all, you need to get rid of piles of trash or junk that lie in your backyard. Having done that, if at all there are plants in the backyard, you need to decide whether it will go with the theme that you pick for your backyard.

If the plants and vegetation seem too shabby or unattended to, then it is always better to get rid of it and start from scratch. After cleaning out your backyard, you need to think of three important factors which will be instrumental in picking the design – the purpose for which you want to use your backyard, the style or theme which you want to incorporate and third and the most important point is the budget that you plan to go with.

Backyard Ideas for Small Spaces
There’s so much you can do to turn an ordinary spread of space into something you’ll be proud of upon transformation. A small backyard is not only easy to tend to, but ideal for the upcoming suggestions to spruce it up.
Let’s take a look at what you can do with your drab backyard area.

Backyards are an advantageous spot, being a quiet place away from the hustle and bustle of city streets. Set up your backyard to take on the look of a meditative center, outside your home, where the air is fresh and the silence is welcoming. You can mow your lawn first and get rid of grass that’s gone wide, leaving behind a workable area. Set up yoga mats, an exercise ball, or even a couple of easy-to-move around exercise gear, that you can use whenever you feel the need to work up a sweat, or practice yoga/meditate.

You get these in all kinds of sizes to fit into your backyard. Based on the dimensions of your backyard, get an inflatable pool that is just the right size, so that it doesn’t take up too much space or get in anyone’s way. Kids these days should be encouraged to get out there and soak up some sun, as well as do something active than just while away hours in front of the television. They can always invite friends over, or the family could do something fun in the backyard for a change.

Backyard spaces can easily accommodate a mini kitchen, for those who prefer cooking in open-air spaces. You can always bring out your pots and pans when required, and keep food stored in the pantry before and after you cook. You could set up a barbecue station in your backyard, complete with picnic chairs and a table. Arrange everything in a way that suits your taste, where the tables should be a little far off from the barbecue grill to avoid fumes and the heat. It can be quite the setting to cook outdoors, instead of being holed up inside the house. Experiment with different sorts of seating arrangements from stone-made ensembles and folding chairs, to wicker-made furniture and wood finished sets.

In our fast-paced lives that need a desperate brake pedal to halt us every now and then, leisure not only takes the backseat, but the trunk. Lawn chairs, swings, and large bean bags can be set up in your backyard, where you can while away your Sunday reading, catching up with loved ones, sharing a drink with your partner, getting some shuteye, or sprawling out for a nice tan. On days when the sun’s too harsh, put up a wide umbrella big enough to cover the seating spot, to shade you/others from the light. This would come in handy on rainy days too.

Not a lot of people are keen to grow fruits/vegetables, being either lazy or not adventurous enough to try something new. With organic food being expensive, and health experts stressing on how obesity is going to kill us all one day, fresh produce is definitely the way to go. Take the time to do up your backyard and plant a variety of fruits/vegetables depending on the season. Watch how they grow and take form, as this is sure to push you to continue. Gardening is a beautiful, healthful, and relaxing way to spend your weekend, or a tiring day after work. Slip on those work gloves and get digging, because once you watch the seeds take form into flowering beauties, you’ll never look back. Backyards can really take on a wondrous makeover with flowers and plant life. Look for ways on how to expand and fill up your backyard with nature’s goodness.

These designs are sure to have you thinking up ways on how to change that space into something extraordinary, even if simple and pretty. Look up ways on how to do it up, and approach the idea with enthusiasm and creativity.

Tips on How to Maintain a Lawn

hqdefaultMaintaining a lawn is hard work. It is an ongoing process, and to get a healthy lawn, you need to devote a good amount of time to its maintenance. You can create a beautiful lawn with great effort, and to keep it that way, you need to take care of it by regularly weeding it, mowing it, using the right mix of fertilizers and a host of other methods.

Weed Control
Check your lawn at regular intervals to see if it has been invaded by weeds. You may find that weeds start to grow in spots that are barren or if the turf is thinning. If you find any such spots, scatter grass seeds over them, and regularly water them. If the turf has thinned out, spray fertilizers over the area for the grass to grow right back up. Grass also thins out in areas that witness heavy foot traffic. Weeds may also sprout in areas of the lawn that are close to the driveways and patios. Pull out these weeds as soon as you spot them. It’s better and cheaper to nip weed growth in the bud, rather than letting the problem go unnoticed. If not checked, weeds can grow rapidly and pulling them out would not be a feasible way to get rid of them. You may have to make use of herbicides which may turn out to be costly. If at all you have to use them, make sure you read the instructions carefully before applying them. Always water your lawn deeply and fertilize it with nitrogen to prevent growth of weeds like dollar spots and crabgrass. If you spot dandelions and want to clear them from your lawn, spray vinegar on them instead of herbicides.

Maintaining pH Level of Soil
The soil’s pH level is crucial for a healthy lawn. Get the pH level tested, either by purchasing a pH tester or by professionals. The ideal pH level should be between 6 and 7. If it’s lower than 7, the soil is acidic. If the reading is higher, the soil is alkaline. Lime is generally sprinkled over the turf to raise pH levels (in the form of calcitic or dolomitic lime), and granulated sulfur is added to reduce the pH level. Very high or very low pH levels mean that the grass and plants are not receiving adequate nutrients from the soil in the form of nitrogen, magnesium, sulfur, phosphorus, etc., and this may result in an unhealthy lawn.

Mowing is one of the most important aspects for a neat looking, beautiful lawn. Mowing the grasses at the proper height and frequency ensures a healthy lawn. Mow the lawn regularly and also trim the growth around trees, gardens, bushes, patios, driveways, and the edges of the yard. Alter the pattern of mowing every week. This ascertains that the lawn does not acquire a set design of indentations and grooves and also prevents soil compaction. The most important guideline to follow while mowing is to cut 1/3rd of the length of the grass. The ideal height of the grass should be maintained between 2½ to 3½ inches. Taller glass blades act as a deterrent to the growth of weeds. Let the grass grow slightly taller, especially in summer, it helps to retain moisture and saves you from watering very frequently. Cut the grass with the lawn mower blades set at a high level. Sharpen the lawn mower blades once every three months. Wait for two days to mow the lawn if it has been treated with fertilizers. Use the mower during the evening hours, to make certain that the newly mowed grass gets a few hours of reprieve from direct sunlight. Also, avoid mowing early in the morning. The dew that forms on the grasses is actually beneficial for it. Mowing will rob the grass from the revitalizing effects of the humidity present in the dew.

Fertilization is necessary for a healthy lawn. Nitrogen is the nutrient that’s vital for the optimal growth of grass, gives it its dark green color, and also keeps weeds at bay. If your lawn has cool season grasses, the ideal time to fertilize would be during the fall, and again during spring. For warm season grasses, it’s best to fertilize in late spring and late summer. Fertilization strengthens the root system and enhances new growth. Fertilize your lawn twice a year. Ensure that you use the right kind and amount of fertilizer for your lawn depending on the type of grass that grows. Other than nitrogen, lawns require phosphorus and potassium. Phosphorus aids in seed development and root growth, and potassium builds resistance to diseases. The best way to know how much fertilizer you need is to calculate the area of your lawn in square feet. The fertilizer bag will contain all instructions regarding the concentration of nutrients present, and how much and when to use it. Go through them carefully before you begin fertilizing. Fertilizing a lawn should always be followed by watering it. Do not fertilize a dry lawn.

Watering is essential to replenish the soil. Usually most grasses can remain without water for a week, but any later than that, and you will begin to notice signs of drying, when the grass starts turning yellow. Be resourceful and channel the waste water and bath water from your home and water the lawn with it. If the surface of the lawn is very hard and dry, prick it using a garden fork before watering it, which will help retain the water. Water in the cooler part of the day, either mornings or evenings, so less water is lost due to heat and evaporation. Irrigate deeply, and not too frequently. You can also add soluble nutrients to the water, which will not only nourish the grass, but also kill harmful moss and weeds.

Thatch is nothing but a layer of dead stems, roots, and grass clippings that gradually accumulates over a period of time between the grass and soil. It builds up in lawns especially if they have warm season grasses, and if grass has not been cut for long. The process of removing the thatch from a lawn is called dethatching. This allows the roots to grow better, and absorb more oxygen and water needed for survival. Though excess thatch is harmful for a lawn, a small layer of thatch can actually be useful. It holds back the moisture and also provides some shade from direct sunlight. To dethatch, use special dethatching blades that can be attached to the lawn mower. Or use a mower that’s designed just to dethatch.

One of the most eco-friendly approaches to maintain a healthy lawn, aeration of the lawn is done by pricking holes in the lawn and is mostly used to break down compacted soil. Sometimes, also referred to as core aeration, this process also aids in dethatching. Loosening up the compacted soil allows it to breathe by providing it with more oxygen. Nutrients, fertilizers, and water can easily seep deeper into the soil, reaching directly to the roots. Ideally, water the lawn a day prior to aerating it, and aerate when the soil is still soft, but not too mushy.

Mulch is a protective layer placed over the surface of the lawn to keep the grass greener and aiding in water retention. The best materials used for lawn mulch would be straws of wheat and barley. The fallen leaves that you rake can be used as mulch too. Since straw and leaves are biodegradable and organic, on decomposition, they nourish the grass and prevent soil erosion. You can use a mulch lawn mower to cut the grass. These specific kinds of mowers cut the top of the grass into small pieces, and these clippings should then be left in the turf to act as mulch.

Little wonder then, that tending a lawn involves so many efforts and a great deal of your time. But be sure, all the hard work pays off. A lawn not only makes for a beautiful landscape, but the plants and trees can act as a noise barrier, and provide more oxygen and effectively reduce pollution.

Landscaping Ideas That Lend a Relaxing Effect to Your Front Yard

Front yards are very important, because first impressions are formed by what people see, even when they are only passing by. This is determined by the location, size, and other design aspects of the house and what the owner wishes to emphasize. There are many different things that are available to the designer, color, along with size and shape of plants and trees, as well as texture of leaves. One can use contrast or other effects that use several different plants and trees.

Front Yard Focal Points
This is usually created by color or plant size or both to bring the eye to an entrance way or other area of a house or yard. It can be beautifully created by two shrubs of one or different colors and then in the center a shrub of a third possibly brighter color.

Front Yard Step
What Else Is Important
The aspects of landscape design can be mixed and used together to create an impressive front yard. Large shrubs, all with the same color, size, and texture can be used as a backdrop for a small colorful garden, that is otherwise surrounded by colorful rocks that have either a complementary or contrasting color scheme.
The main color differences are warm colors (red, orange, and yellow), used to attract attention either to something, an address for example, or away from a plain-colored wall.
There are also cool colors (blues, and purples), that are relaxing and good for meditation gardens.

In a front yard, colors can be used along with “line” to draw attention to a path leading up to the front door along a path or driveway. This color rendering can be achieved by planting flowering plants with bright hues, along the path lining.

Straight or “hard” lines direct the eye along a path and emphasize length; this might be good for making a small house or yard look bigger. Curved lines, as in a round or semi-circular garden soften long straight hard lines of buildings. This is one way of creating a balanced landscape composition.

Plant Form and Texture
There are several plant forms or textures (of leaves and branching trends). There is the columnar (an extreme would be the Lombardy Poplar, with its branches pointing to the sky), weeping trees (trees like the weeping willow, and Japanese Maple tree), that give a luxurious feel and can be very impressive in a yard or garden, and spreading trees, shrubs. Relative size of plants and trees should be kept gradual except in special cases, where special effects are desired. In this case, extremely tall trees or plants (like the elephant ear) would be placed close to ferns or other plants with small leaves, thus producing a striking contrast.

Border Definition
Usually created by fences, walls or other borders such as with a rock wall or border, border definition is necessary around garden areas to give a finished look. In a front yard it is nice to have a small garden next to the house, to bring color and contrast to a brick wall or to a color that is not so pleasing to the eye. In this case, using a border of small bricks or a small fence is nice.
mowed lawns are a recent custom in our society. Other yard plans are definitely optional and looking just like the neighbors is not a necessity. One beautiful plan is a desert look. This look takes plants and trees that would be found in a warm dry climate and brings them together to cover a full front yard. This gives a yard a full, unique, and well-cared for look if done right. Use rocks, metal jars, sculptures, various plant varieties and other such resources according to the theme you’ve decided.

There are many other sources for great landscaping design ideas in many different places. The Internet has a lot of information and there are even whole courses and websites for landscaping ideas. Another source for ideas on landscaping yards is the local library or possibly local college courses that might cover landscape ideas. This article is just the beginning of many sources that are available for learning more about landscaping your front yard.

Use space intelligently to create an aesthetically compelling expression, that goes with the architecture of your house. Think out-of-the-box, listen to the artistic spirit within you, to begin your composition!

Stunning Backyard Landscaping Ideas

Backyard landscaping does not have to be a lot of hard work. There are many ideas for a low maintenance backyard. There are options that can give privacy to a portion of the yard while you enjoy some cozy moments with friends and family. The backyard can have many uses and you can use different landscaping ideas to create a low maintenance, multipurpose yard. In this article, we have listed some tips on creating a versatile, relaxing, and absolutely stunning landscape for your backyard.
Unique Backyard Landscape Design Ideas
Your neighborhood codes may dictate certain formal prerequisites for front yard landscaping. As a result, all the houses in a neighborhood look more or less the same. However, no such codes exist for landscaping backyard, meaning, you can implement some unique and personal landscaping ideas to your backyard. It can be your haven for unwinding after a busy day at work or your holiday home, in your own backyard.

There is really no dearth of good backyard landscaping ideas that can appeal to people of different personal tastes.
If you are an animal or bird lover, then you can create a backyard that can attract many species of birds and wildlife. Plant plenty of tall trees, bushes in your backyard. Place bird feeds at strategic locations in a backyard. Build a small pond from where birds can drink water and play. Have a grassy patch in your backyard to attract wild animals such as hares, rabbits, deer, etc. However, if you choose to have animals in your backyard, it wouldn’t be a very wise idea to grow flowerbeds or vegetables patches in your backyard.
Build a small pond from where birds can drink water and play. Have a grassy patch in your backyard to attract wild animals such as hares, rabbits, deer, etc. However, if you choose to have animals in your backyard, it wouldn’t be a very wise idea to grow flowerbeds or vegetables patches in your backyard.
You can transform your backyard to resemble a Caribbean retreat. Turn your backyard into a resort by placing some bamboo umbrella shades, beach recliners, and sand. You can choose to have builder’s sand or sharp sand, or even river sand if you can manage. You can also build a hammock and plant some tall trees around to shield your Caribbean oasis from prying eyes in the neighborhood.
Rock garden is yet another interesting option for you to design your backyard. You can use nice, colorful stones and pebbles of different sizes to decorate your garden. A stone based fountain can be quite an addition to a rock garden. Xerophytes such as cactus look apt in a rock garden. You can plant tall, evergreen trees at the perimeter of your backyard to break the monotonous look of rocks and add some greenery. Placing rocks around the plants can also add up to the beauty of your backyard garden.
This is a popular landscaping idea for backyard, albeit a little pricey one. A swimming pool in a backyard provides a great ambiance for summer parties. You can have deck or pool parties around a swimming pool. Besides, you may also have a couple of small ponds where you can breed colorful varieties of fish and plant water lilies. Adding lights in and around the pond would make it an eye-catching masterpiece in the night. You can also create a fish pond!
If you intend to go for a very neat and clean look, then an English-style backyard landscape can be ideal for you. Plant some bushes and shrubs around the edge of the yard and maintain a monotonous look of a lawn. Prune the hedges in a pyramid shape or the classic round one.
While pruning, maintain a bottom heavy shape, so that sunlight can reach the new growth. You can add a fun element to your backyard by pruning the hedges in unusual shape such as elephant, dinosaurs, etc. However, you will need regular maintenance to keep up the look.
If you do not have too much of space in your backyard to implement any of the above themes, you can opt for a simple landscape with numerous deck planters.
Place attractive pots or planters around the deck and grow colorful flowers. While going for huge planters, cover the bottom half of the planter with plastic bottles or tins, to avoid using so much of potting soil.
If privacy is a concern then solve it with backyard landscaping as an alternative to fencing. Some possibilities are taller formal or informal hedges and vine filled lattice work. However, fencing would be a good idea to give swimming pool area a great deal of privacy and thus some safety for those using it. It is also a great idea to set off sections in order to use for different purposes, such as a section for sports and games that is fenced off for safety and protection of the garden areas. Another section might be a circular section for meditation that is walled off with latticework and filled with cool colored flowers that promote peaceful thoughts. A nice bench to provide a sitting area for reading is also a good idea.
Thus, you can implement any landscaping idea for backyard as per your budget and personal taste. While there is always an option of hiring a professional, you can refer to some self-help books on landscaping and create your own backyard landscape.

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.

Enhance Your Home Exteriors With Feasible Fence Ideas

A fence around your house, whether just as an addition to your landscape design, or as a privacy screen in your front yard or backyard, is very common. The fence keeps intruders at bay and also renders a presentable look to your home. There’s something about that white picket fence in the glorious sunshine that makes everyone want one, isn’t there? So what are the best options as far as fences are concerned? What’s feasible and for what? This Buzzle article will aim at giving you some help regarding those very points.

Popular Fence Ideas

As stated before, fences are a perfect way to beautify your yard, and also maintain a level of safety and security for your loved ones. Mentioned below are some of the most popular privacy fence ideas that are used by a majority of people to border their homes and gardens. You can check them out, make a note of what you think will suit your needs, your budget and also the weather in the area that you live in.

Sturdy Wood
Wood is one of the most favorite materials used to make fences. Wood fence panels are sturdy and strong, and they help keep away unwanted trespassers. There are a variety of designs that you can choose from to have a lovely fence surrounding your home. You can go for a plain brown wood one, by simply scraping it with sandpaper to give it a smooth finish and just applying a coat of varnish to keep it glistening in the sun. Or you can get a little creative and try out some of the other ideas that you can see in the images given. Paint the whole fence in one particular color, according to what your yard and the exterior of your home looks like. Another thing you can try out is have random designs painted on the wooden fence like the image given here. You can think of some innovative ways to make a wooden fence look sprightly and inviting. It’s the first thing that a visitor will see when he visits and is sure to get a good conversation going, if nothing else. Cedar wood is quite strong, and so, is a favorite among fence makers. With its rustic and country feel and look, your kids will definitely love a cedar fence for your home.

Classic Style
If you’re thinking classic style, then you simply cannot ignore a brick or stone fence as an option. Have a short brick or stone wall surrounding your entire home; front yard, and backyard included, like the image that you see here. Paint it in one single color, or if you wish to make it more attractive, take it up as a project with your kids, and paint different designs using bright and vibrant colors on it. You may also want to combine two ideas and go for something like the stone and wooden one given here. Keep the stone as the base and have a wooden fence built onto the stone wall. A comfortable and neat combination. If privacy is your top priority then after you have built a stone or brick fence around your home, you can have some pretty, flowering hedge plants growing on them. They make for a great privacy screen, plus you get major points for the dash of color that the flowers will add to your fence!

Elegant Metal
For all the appearance conscious, one of the best decorative fence ideas is definitely wrought iron. The best part about metal fences, especially wrought iron is that you can get a local blacksmith to make a design of your choice. Or you can select an ornate design similar to the one shown here from a home improvement store near your home. If you want something simply functional, then the extremely basic one shown here should serve the purpose. Again, for those with privacy on the top of their minds, you can opt for something like the tall one shown here, with a tall hedge plant growing adjacent to it. You can reap the double benefits of this fence. For safety and security, well, the picture with the spikes atop the fence is pretty self-explanatory.

Split Rail
One of the other very popular fence ideas, that many home owners choose is a split rail fence. These can be made in wood, or also in concrete, and look absolutely regal and majestic. As far the design ideas are concerned, you can choose to go for one that has a careless rustic look about it like what you see in the image here. Or, you can have a neat one, by having it built and painted in a single color. While choosing the color, see that it matches the color scheme of your yard. White split rail fences look breathtaking with a background of lush green grass. If you have a huge yard or garden that you can experiment with, then the zigzag design depicted here is also quite appealing. Another idea for a fence purely for boundary’s sake is a low wooden one like the one shown here. It cordons off the area, yet does not look very threatening or unfriendly.

Chain Link
Using this idea is not only safe and secure, it is also very cost effective. Chain link fence installation is quite easy, and is one of the most sought after fence ideas for big grounds and gardens. Plus, there is quite some variety within chain link fences. Just some of them have been shown here. If it’s a commercial property that you want to border and keep safe from trespassers, then go for something similar to the one with the barbed wire above the fence for double insurance. If it’s just your vegetable patch that you want to keep safe from the kids playing ball in the vicinity (or something of the sort), then a very basic and elemental chain link fence with a gate for entry should do the trick. You can pretty it up a bit by painting it in a lively color and hanging a sign that indicates to the people to watch where they’re going. On the same lines, you can go for a grid wire fence, which is just another version of the traditional chain link fence.

Beautiful Bamboo
Who thought a grass could be used as a fence! But it sure can be. Get a bamboo privacy fence installed in your front yard and see how beautiful it looks, from the inside, as well as the outside. It will give your home an Oriental look and feel, and will keep the air cool and clean. There are some interesting options that you can explore as far as bamboo fences are concerned. For instance, if you want to have a true Oriental experience, you can have a traditional Japanese wood and bamboo fence made, like shown in the image. If you want something a little less complicated, then the very fundamental bamboo fence, fastened with metal clasps shown here should be sufficient. Else, you can always opt for something like the lovely crisscross, lattice pattern shown here. Or, if you’re willing to be a little more eccentric (purely for lack of a better word), how about installing a simple bamboo privacy screen and then heaving paint onto the bamboo to give it a cheerful and abstract appearance?

Privacy Hedge
Using a plant hedge is also a great garden fence idea. It serves a lot of purposes. First, it is an environment-friendly option for a fence. Second, it helps to keep the area around your home cool. Third, a thick plant hedge can be quite difficult to penetrate. Thus it provides you with enough privacy. Also, it increases the aesthetic value of your lawn when used as a border. You can use it surround a flower bed that you don’t want children to enter. Or you can simply use it as a partition between your lawn and the pathway. You can even use it to surround a fountain or other water body that might be present in your garden. Having a short, well-trimmed hedge around your house will also add a touch of life to the surrounding. Regular maintenance by watering and pruning is of utmost importance if you want your hedge to be a fence. So take good care of it.

There are many more ideas and styles that you can choose from. For instance, you can use vinyl to recreate most of the ideas mentioned above. Earlier scorned for its easy weathering in the sun, the vinyl fences that are manufactured today, are quite durable and can be built easily even by you. Make a day out of it, and have your friends or family help you out with the installation. These were just some of the most widely used options. Experiment with the different styles and ideas and you’ll find the perfect fence for your home!

How to Clean Window Screens

Window screens work as wonderful filters. They allow fresh air and sunlight in, without letting unwanted visitors like insects, and pollens in your home. To increase the life of your screens, it is advisable to keep cleaning them regularly as dirty screens become weak and get damaged easily. Besides, it is always cheaper to clean them than to replace them.

We give you some essential tips and tricks on how to clean window screens.

Tips to Clean Window Screens

Tip #1 The most obvious thing to do is to go at the glass window and clean the screens. But hold on a bit. Before you head out to cleaning window screens, grab a piece of rag or cleaning pad, pull back the curtains and open the window. Watch out for crud and cobwebs in the frame and tracks of the window. You don’t want your hands or wiping towel to get filthy. With a small-handled brush, sweep out the debris.

Tip #2 Now de-grime the screens by running a vacuum cleaner over it, in dusting-brush attachment. Proceed with a side-to-side and top-to-bottom approach.

Tip #3 Next, the most important and a safer thing to do while cleaning window screens is to remove them from the window.

Tip #4 It is advisable to clean all the screens in an outdoor area where you’ll have plenty of space to work. If space is the matter of concern, you can clean them in the bathtub, or occupy some space in the garage, just make sure there is a drain for the water to be removed.

Tip #5 Always hold the screens from an angle, through its edges.

Tip #6 Make a cleansing solution by mixing 1 cup of ammonia and 1 tbsp. of dish liquid soap in 3 cups of water. Pour this solution into a spray bottle. Spray it on the entire screen. With a scrub brush, gently rub the screen to remove grime and dirt buildup. Run warm water over it, and air-dry. This is the best way to clean window screens.

Tip #7 Don’t forget to spray the cleansing solution on both the sides of the screen.

Tip #8 If you notice any streaks, go for a second round of ‘spraying and drying’ session.

Tip #9 The best time to start cleansing windows is on a cool, cloudy day. At times such, soapy water (or cleaning solution grime) doesn’t dry on the glass screens.

Tip #10 Arrange a tarp in your yard to dry the screens. Make sure the surface is clean, and devoid of pebbles or rocks.

Tip #11 If the stains are stubborn, sponge with a solution of white vinegar (1 tbsp.) and warm water (2 cups). Dunk them in clean water, and wipe with a clean, dry cloth. Let them dry in open air.

Tip #12 Carefully, reinstall the screens after they have dried completely, and are free of soapy streaks.

Make sure to wear your pair of cleaning gloves. Handle the screens and other hardware with care.