Planting a conventional turfgrass lawn is not a water-wise solution in the arid West. Nor is paving a big area always practical, since that much hardscape creates a lot of heat and glare, says Nate Downey of Santa Fe Permaculture. But if you lace paving stones with ribbons of native buffalo grass (Buchloe dactyloides), you'll achieve an eye-calming "soft patio" effect, as Downey calls it, that needs much less water than a traditional bluegrass or fescue lawn.
Despite their name, window boxes needn’t be hung only below windows. This charming barn gets even more character from being accented by window box plantings. Using whites and silvers for neutrals, the homeowner then accents with bold and bright pops of color, including selections from each of the primaries: red, yellow, and blue. In fact, set against the white and silver is a great deal of yellow. As she explains it, 'When I was studying graphic design in college, on the first day of class, my professor asked us to write down our least favorite color,' she recalls. 'I wrote, ‘yellow.’ So he made me use only that color for the entire semester. Now I love yellow, because I found out all the incredible things it can do to jolt the eye and bring light to shadow. Yellow works well with just about any other color. It makes you happy.'
Forgiving succulents are both heat and drought tolerant, so they'll look great all summer long. There are many novel ways to plant succulent containers, particularly since they are so resilient. Terra cotta pots work particularly well since they transfer moisture well and help succulents retain water. They also share a desert color palette with succulents, making the two appear as if they were always intended to go together. You may group a variety of succulents together, or create a container for your garden filled with a single type. Whatever your choice, water carefully and selectively, and these resilient plants will reward you with a beautiful container garden.
Build a border: Landscape timbers, railroad ties and short retaining walls for flower beds or raised bed gardening are easy do it yourself landscaping projects that have long-lasting impact. Draw up a simple landscape design plan for the area you plan to border and make a list of materials you’ll need – the border itself, fill dirt/topsoil, plant life and tools. Building borders make take a little elbow grease, but your creation will be worth years of enjoyment!
As much as we love pansies and violas, they’re vertically challenged. This means that if you want to give them a sense of height or elevation you will have to do this yourself with your choice of container or through the design of your container garden. Give them a lift by perching pots on benches and tables or placing them on your steps. Then leave your pansies and violas to do their true duty, which is to be beautiful and brighten their space through bold color and soft blossoms. Grouping them will create even more interest, so don’t let a single container be left on its own. Go big, go bold, and go colorful.

Attractive landscaping deserves to be seen after hours, which is where landscape lights come into play. The lights play many roles, from adding to the home's attractiveness to illuminating steps and sidewalks for safety to showcasing points of interest in the landscape. Placing lights alongside paths and walkways is one of their most common uses, although that doesn't mean they have to be set in straight lines at prescribed intervals. You can place them on alternate sides of a sidewalk to break up a line.
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A "how to" film on raising chickens with nature from hatching to the plate! A cinematic quality production that is highly entertaining and informative! It's all you need to know for raising your own chickens. From hatching your chicks to feeding your chickens, to building your chicken housing to butchering your chickens to putting them to work in your garden, to cooking chicken and eggs.
Overfertilization can contribute to thatch buildup and increased mowing requirements. Avoid underfertilization of bluegrass and ryegrass. These species can become unhealthy if not fertilized properly. Turf that does not respond to nitrogen fertilizer may be lacking in other nutrients, such as phosphorus or iron. Get the soil tested to determine which nutrient(s) are deficient.

Flowers don’t have to grow at ground level. Get face-to-face with your containers by literally putting them up on a pedestal! These columned containers consist of coco-fiber baskets atop steel posts. Eventually the plantings will grow over the containers and obscure them completely, leaving the plants to float over the steel pedestals. For this garden, sleek geometric poles provide an elegant contrast to the wild excitement of the plants, but you may choose a style of pedestal that complements whatever design aesthetic you prefer for your personal style. Simply top it with a suitable container, and enjoy the visual variation your container garden creates.


Spaced-out pavers or stepping stones offer an affordable alternative to hardscape. The shape, material, and arrangement of the pavers will also help define the character of your backyard, whether you're going for a more playful or structured feel. To ensure long-term low maintenance, choose pavers made from sturdier, non-porous materials; set them on a sturdy foundation such as compacted sand to protect against sinking; and install pavers level to the land for easier mowing.
It is both beautiful and simple to use impatiens to accent porches and entryways, and as filler flowers, they subtly enhance any garden container. Here, a skirt of coral impatiens surrounds a dwarf Alberta spruce. The dwarf spruce is also well suited for container gardening— ‘Tiny Tower’, for example, grows to a full height of between only 4-6 feet tall. These beautiful, small trees also have soft, bright green needles when they are young, and color to a gorgeous silver-green as they mature. You may need to gently prune this spruce into shape, which will help to promote slow growth and a full, dense form. You’ll love the results.
On the other hand, an easy-maintenance ground cover is a great and cost-effective alternative to grass. Thyme, bishop’s weed, and lamium spread quickly over room-sized sections of a front and back lawn, and remain hearty through temperature and drought swings. Simply plant around 10 creeping ground cover plants (more if you want faster coverage or you’re dealing with an area larger than a bedroom) for between $5 and $10 each. They should quickly germinate and take over portions of your yard with beautiful leaves and flowers.

Using plantings is a simple but sophisticated way to enliven your outdoor table. For hot, dry climates, drought-tolerant plants are the perfect way to go. This shallow bowl of mixed succulents makes a great centerpiece, creating a mixture of tones, shapes, and textures. When considering plantings for this type of arrangement, echeverias, sedums, and other similar plantings work well. Look for types that will create visual interest as they grow, and consider containers that can create long, shallow, and low spaces for these great green wonders to develop. You’ll love how harmonious these succulents are together. They are great low-maintenance plants that will last until frost.
Consider for a moment that if you have a lot of mushrooms in your lawn, this is most likely a sign that you have really excellent soil! Further, the mushrooms you see are the fruiting bodies of a much bigger fungus organism under the soil. Most fungus organisms help your grass be healthier - so I'm usually glad to see a few mushrooms in my lawn now and then. The mushrooms are usually gone as soon as things dry out a bit.
Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.
As any seasoned landscaper or gardener can tell you, a home’s landscape is more than just a few haphazardly placed trees and shrubs. It requires careful thought, planning, and research – not to mention hard work. Not only can well-designed landscaping increase the pleasure you derive from your dwelling, it can boost curb appeal if you need to sell your home.

Bigger is not always better, and a judicious use of these tiny succulents is a case in point why. Rather than overwhelm small spaces with large plantings, here is a great lesson in how to use containers to fill bare spots in your garden. This concrete planter, tucked into a planting of dianthus, is filled with tiny textured succulents, pulling you in for a closer look. This creates a contemplative moment of intimacy and pause, a time for simple reflection, and a sense of communion with these delicate plants. These tiny plants are like a whisper in the garden, quietly asserting what it is they have to say.
If you travel or aren’t available to water your garden easily, the self-watering square planter is a great solution for you. The double-wall design and sub-irrigation systems (encourages root growth) are functional, and the shape and clean lines are fresh and modern so you can group all of them together to make an interesting collection. The water reservoir holds up to 6-1/2 gallons. Approximately 8-gallon soil capacity holds even larger plants!
You don’t need to hire an architect or professional landscaper to get some interesting layout designs. With a little research and the help from photos like this one, you can easily see some ideas and recreate them to fit your own specifications. Cut out shapes in planters and sidewalk areas can offer an interesting yard focal point or even add to an already existing design. Use your imagination and cut shapes out to fit into your lawn via garden beds or even gravel and rocks.
Cluster containers in one space for high impact. Look at the group as a whole composition, and plant it as a cohesive unit with complementary and repeated colors. If you don’t feel confident with how you choose colors, think of your plants like you might think of a artist’s color wheel—or use the idea of a color chart, or the colors from the paint chips at a home improvement store, to get ideas for how you might like shades and tones to go together. Then, select your plants and your containers to create the feeling you love in the space that makes you feel comfortable.
Here it comes—a beautiful container in the sun, that is. This high-drama, low-maintenance container spotlights 'Variegated Spreading Salmon' SunPatiens, but leaves room for a foxtail asparagus fern and a 6-inch pot of 'Neon' pothos. Everything is set in a glazed-ceramic container, its bright green finish complementing the natural colors of the plantings. This is a beautiful example of the keeping it simple container-garden aesthetic. Let the SunPatiens—a strain that resulted from a cross between a New Guinea hybrids and a wild species—be the bright, central focus of this arrangement. Then, let everything else simply help them shine.  

If it's evident that your backyard remodel or update can't be a DIY project, hire a landscape designer or architect to help your outdoor space realize its potential. A skilled professional can guide you through the process of figuring out a style, deciding who will be using the yard, creating zones of activity, choosing materials and plants, and recommending builders and contractors for everything from swimming pools to outdoor structures to installing irrigation.
Julie Moir Messervy's vision for composing landscape of beauty and meaning is furthering the evolution of landscape design and changing the way people create and enjoy their outdoor surroundings. With over three decades of experience, eight books (incuding Home Outside and Outside the Not So Big House with Sarah Susanka), and numerous high-profile lectures, Messervy is an innovative leader in landscape and garden design theory and practice. Her landscape architecture and design firm, JMMDS, is located in Saxtons River, Vermont.

Sit back and imagine this classic cast-metal urn in a dreamy garden or on a light-filled screened porch. The urn itself is styled with classic Victorian lines, giving it a romantic element, but it is the arrangement that truly makes it magical. The key to designing this look is combining contrasting textures. Here, grassy cordyline, puffy pink dianthus, sweeping ‘Ace of Spades’ sweet potato vine, dainty blue lobelia, and spires of pink angelonia all come together in a cascade and crescendo of bright color and loud celebration. Set against the beautiful shape, but simple monochrome tone, of the vase, this creates a show-stopping container for your home garden.
Finding plants with the right combination of beauty and durability for withstanding a harsh climate can be a challenge. Coleus and lantana fit right in with the South’s increasing appetite for hot, cheery, assertive colors that stand up to heat and humidity. With the right types of coleus, you’ll find them to be tough and tidy, and you’ll also get beautiful leaf shapes—something that makes a plant even more enticing for a small container. Pair those shapes with tight clusters of lantana flowers and you get an incredibly intriguing arrangement of visual exhilaration dressed up as a simple gardening idea.

Finding plants with the right combination of beauty and durability for withstanding a harsh climate can be a challenge. Coleus and lantana fit right in with the South’s increasing appetite for hot, cheery, assertive colors that stand up to heat and humidity. With the right types of coleus, you’ll find them to be tough and tidy, and you’ll also get beautiful leaf shapes—something that makes a plant even more enticing for a small container. Pair those shapes with tight clusters of lantana flowers and you get an incredibly intriguing arrangement of visual exhilaration dressed up as a simple gardening idea.


You don't need a huge backyard to have a water garden. In fact, installing a water garden is a great way to handle low or wet spots in your garden. Just dig out the area, add a pond liner and pump, and you're on your way. Even a tiny oasis will attract a wide range of colorful butterflies and birds. In this garden, Water Snowflake, Nymphoides humboldtiana, a small relative of water lily, provides color in tight quarters.

Contrary to popular belief, not all boxwoods are dark green—nor are they shaped into topiary, or complex geometrical forms, even though the easily can be. A popular choice for container gardens, known as variegated American boxwood (‘Elegantissima’), has green leaves accented with a white color. White violas, highlighting and reinforcing the color of the boxwoods, illuminate this garden corner, and in the larger planters are even mixed in with the boxwoods. Everything is tied together with the consistency of the terra cotta pots. These are simple and natural, and reflect the brick pavers.
Red Dragon Rice grows tall, leafy spindles that can add touches of color to a simple container garden setting. Here, a chicken feeder planted with ‘Red Dragon’ rice makes a novel addition to this deck railing. Red dragon rice requires a high degree of moisture, and it does not tolerate cold at all, so consider this plant an annual. And while it is colorful and beautiful, it also should be planted judiciously. Red dragon rice is considered a serious weed in rice-growing areas. However, it is okay to plant it elsewhere.
Dog poop and dog pee are both high in nitrogen. But if you give your lawn too much nitrogen, you'll kill it. Not the whole lawn. Just the spot with too much nitrogen. Usually there will be a load of dog poop and the grass under it will be dead. And the grass immediately around it will be greener, taller, thicker and healthier than all the rest of the lawn. So the stuff immediately under the crap is "too much" and the stuff surrounding the crap is "optimal". Same thing for pee only there won't be a pile of poop in the middle.

There’s a lot more to do on a porch than swing, and since it’s such an important part of a Southern home it should be beautiful. You can add charm to this incredible space with hanging ferns—a quintessential feature for any Southern porch. Cheery containers also add inviting color to this architectural essential. So get the containers filled with ferns, get the porch swing ready for company, set the rockers out, and get ready to enjoy a gorgeous summer evening—your container garden just made every minute spent in this family-friendly space even more beautiful.
Hm. I think there’s a failure in communication here. Frugal Bachelor, I am very sympathetic to the plight of immigrants — legal or otherwise — and agree that, as you said, “they are the shit, they are bad asses who work very hard, and can earn a buck anywhere they go, they are role models for all of us aspiring to be frugal, to save money, and to get rich slowly.”
Set a Time Budget and Stick to it Much like dollars count, your time counts, too, when it comes to do it yourself landscaping. "You have to think about when you'll get to things," says Miller. "You have to realistically look at when you can get things done and if you want to eat up every nice-weather weekend. Don't overcommit and wind up disappointed."
Set a Time Budget and Stick to it Much like dollars count, your time counts, too, when it comes to do it yourself landscaping. "You have to think about when you'll get to things," says Miller. "You have to realistically look at when you can get things done and if you want to eat up every nice-weather weekend. Don't overcommit and wind up disappointed."
the bamboo is a clumping variety called Bambusa eutuldoides viridi-vittata , Asian lemon bamboo. This variety is a clumper and you do not need to contain it, however, do allow an 8'by 10' area for its ultimate growth. Bamboo does require constant maintenance and you will need to do some research for the specific variety you choose. Once planted, it will become a beautiful focal point and add a stunning tropical accent. Photo Credit: Sherwood Cox
Growing herbs on a balcony is an ideal way to enjoy a garden without much time commitment. And, as anyone who has bought herbs at the grocery store lately can attest, knowing how to grow your own herbs can save you a lot of money. It’s actually fairly simple to grow herbs on an apartment balcony, as long as you have the correct combination of sunlight and potting conditions.
I've been having a really hard time with landscaping companies getting back to me and showing when they're supposed to. Such lousy customer service in our area, unfortunately. I sent these guys a query online and within 5 minutes, Aaron called me. He not only squeezed me right in for a blow-out before the storm, but is going to take care of my leaves, etc.

There is a fight for sun. If the grass doesn't shade the weed, the weed will shade the grass. Sun is food. Food is strength and life. Shade is weakness, disease and death. Grass will shade the weeds only if it is tall enough. The shade of tall, dense grass turf will prevent essential light from reaching most weeds and, will aid in the destruction of new baby weed seedlings (such as the notorius dandelion).
Gardeners tend to have lots of landscaping ideas for plants and fewer for their hardscapes (nonplant materials). You can easily add a level of interest to your yard by incorporating a variety of materials. Here, the natural feel of lawn and cut flagstones makes for a delightful contrast against smooth Mexican beach pebbles and gravel. Note how the color of the flagstone mimics that of the beach pebbles and ties the two together; it's an example of using repetition.
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