The most efficient time of day to water is late evening and early morning (between 10 p.m. and midnight or 8 and 9 a.m.). It generally is less windy, cooler and more humid at this time, resulting in less evaporation and more efficient use of water. Water pressure is generally better and this results in optimal distribution patterns. Contrary to popular belief, watering at night does not encourage disease development.
Most inexpensive landscape ideas always seem to include little lights – and for a very good reason. You can do so much with outdoor lights these days, and since most of the outdoor lights you find today are LEDs, you can add so much “glow” without putting a huge increase in the electric bill. This is a great way to decorate your front or backyard area and add a level of class and fun. Even better, outdoor lights can remain festive no matter the time of year or approaching season. They just always look great and are party ready for any occasion!
I recommend "tall fescue". Be sure to check the label and make sure it is pure tall fescue. Some outfits that sell seed mix in some annual ryegrass and call it "nursury grass - it will care for the tall fescue which takes longer to germinate." I don't agree with that. Note that tall fescue seed is significantly more expensive than annual ryegrass ...
Another contemporary gardening trend of 2017 emphasizes the popular idea of sustainability and local growing.  Using the latest in simple vegetable gardening ideas, you can transform an outdoor space from not only beautiful, but functional and flourishing as well.  There are several unique options to incorporate produce into your outdoor design scheme that do not require traditional large areas of soil dedicated to fruits and vegetables. Large garden plant pots are great options for people working with small backyards or narrow areas.  Pots or specially made containers can even be placed on a deck or patio and incorporated as a cool decoration or pop of color.
Purple fountain grass looks great in containers. Its vertical shape creates an exclamation point in the border. Then, its purplish-red leaves and fall plumes combine well with the red coleus below. This grass and the coleus are not winter hardy in most areas, but new plants bought in spring are inexpensive and grow quickly, so you can enjoy this pairing from early spring until late in the fall. You’ll have its beautiful memories to get you through any harsh winters, and the anticipation of it growing again will have you excited to be back in your garden at the first opportunity in the spring.

Get out the wire patterns and get ready to make some amazing shapes because once you have boxwood in your container garden you will want to give them their own unique identities. Boxwood’s willingness to be clipped, shaped, and trained makes it the perfect candidate for a classic topiary. There are guides for learning tips and tricks to achieve the perfect topiary design. We’ve got images of the amazing topiary skills of Pearl Fryar—and you may one day wish to emulate his creative skills—so get clipping, and with skill and patience you’ll soon have your boxwood topiaries in tip-top shape.

Planting in layers is an integral part of putting together this stunning container. Though the handmade bowl that makes up the centerpiece of this gorgeous arrangement may look delicate, it’s made of concrete and recycled materials. Its wide shape accommodates many of the same flowers and plants used in the other two 'Romantic Containers,' just in a more whimsical container display that looks like a flourishing flower arrangement. If you select flowers like dianthus, you will certainly be starting this Romantic Tabletop Container with the right colors, tones, and shapes. Its impact will be elegant, and entirely beautiful. Settle in at the table for an evening drink, or a casual conversation, and let the romance blossom.

Daffodils are container-friendly options for spring plantings, and they are quite literally they are some of the most-prized bulbs in the South. They naturally increase from year to year, so they can fill a container naturally. They also require minimal care. But most of all, they’re simply gorgeous—they’re available in colors including white, salmon, pink, orange, apricot, and red. Pair them with other spring bloomers with similar condition requirements such as grape hyacinth. The grape hyacinth will grow to between six inches and a foot tall, leaving the daffodils to soar above.
Three years ago, our landscape architect estimated it would cost $25,000 to $30,000 to pay somebody else to implement his plan. By doing most of the work ourselves, we've spent a little over $3,500 on building materials, plants, shrubs, compost, soil, gravel, equipment rental, and the water system.  We haven't tracked our work hours, but our family of four has enjoyed the time outdoors and being together, even if it meant a lot of sweat equity. 
Use unique containers like vintage wooden boxes and buckets is a great way to bring harmony and symmetry to any container gardens. Since these are not designed with planting in mind, to make them function well be sure to drill drainage holes in each before planting. For a new take on the living and eating local approach, this variety of planters is filled with a mix of simple to grow and harvest edibles, like lettuce, and decoratives, like marigolds and geraniums. How better to bring the useful and the beautiful together in one simple, enjoyable idea—container gardening?
You should do both during the cooler parts of the spring and fall. In southern states, you can do it in the Spring between February and April. in the Fall, you would look at doing it between October and November. In the northern states, the Spring seeding would be handled from April to early June, while the fall seeding might occur between September and early October.
Your garden will seem wild, and it will certainly be full of life, when you have some 'Tiger' fern (a selection of Boston fern) in your container garden. Pair it with your tulips, Lavender Blue' and 'Purple Wing' Plentifall pansies, acorus, heuchera, and variegated ivy. These simply shaped concrete pots enhance any outdoor environment. Their angled geometry pairs well with the color and movement sprouting out of their tops. Let the plants grow and flow—the containers keep them just where you want them, creating a great harmony of color, and, as they drape over the edges, you’ll see where Plentifall pansies got their name.

The upper level of this gorgeous Trex deck is the central entertaining and dining space and includes a beautiful concrete fire table and a custom cedar bench that floats over the deck. Light brown custom cedar screen walls provide privacy along the landscaped terrace and compliment the warm hues of the decking. Clean, modern light fixtures are also present in the deck steps, along the deck perimeter, and throughout the landscape making the space well-defined in the evening as well as the daytime.
Make easy hanging wall planters by using wooden pallets. Since wooden pallets are typically already sectioned out, you can easily just hang a half of a wooden pallet up on a brick or sturdy wall to create your own hanging green house! You can put all sorts of tiny plants or herbs into the boxes and create a live growing space you and your friends will surely enjoy. If you’d rather use the wooden pallet for something other than a growing spot, like maybe a garden shelf, you can just as easily do that too!

Instead of purchasing stepping stones, create beautifully homemade pathways. You need a 40-pound bag of quick-setting cement (less than $8), a shovel or hand-shovel for mixing ($5 to $15), a paint bucket ($3), a ruler ($1), a bag of decorative marbles or shells ($5), and several shallow cardboard boxes. Mix the cement with three pints of water in your paint bucket – you can adjust the amount of cement and water, but the general rule is six pints per every 80-pound bag (check the directions on your bag). Once mixed, pour the cement into a square-shaped cardboard box to create a form. Then, simply place marbles or colored glass in the cement and let it dry for adorable stepping stones with a homemade touch.
Transforming yards into imaginative outdoor living spaces is what Backyard Designs, Inc. does. We approach each project on an individual basis, using space, sound and color to capture the essence of your home. We use Pool Studio 3D design software to create your ideas for your backyard. This helps you envision exactly what your dreams will look like in your very own backyard.
Peppers grow nicely on a balcony or patio. They are a good choice for growing in a window box, as long as the container can hold at least 12” of soil and has holes for good drainage. After you fill your garden container with potting soil, spread the seeds around and then cover them with 1/4″ of soil. When your peppers begin to sprout after a couple of weeks, consider trimming down some of the plants to allow the others to really thrive. Peppers require at least 6-8 hours of sunlight daily. Water them enough so the soil remains moist but not soggy (usually about every 2-3 days depending on how dry your climate is). Most peppers will be ready to harvest in about 2 months.
One last point about watering deeply: If your topsoil is only two inches deep, laying down an inch of water is a bad idea. An inch of water is good for watering 12 inches of soil. Further, an inch of water will effectively carry a lot of soil nutrients down deeper. So if your soil is only two inches deep, this rinses away a lot of your soil nutrients! So deep watering should be done only in conjunction with deep soil.
You can grow your very own mini-orchard on the balcony of your apartment. There are a number of fruits that are well-suited to apartment gardening and grow beautifully outdoors in a pot or window box. For most of these, you’ll need a pot that’s at least 30″ in diameter and has holes for drainage. You’ll need at least 1 foot in depth, plus room for good drainage material, like pebbles or stones. And don’t forget something like a pan underneath to catch any water, especially if there’s another balcony below yours. Apartment gardening means being a good neighbor, as well. Here are some fruits that you can grow:

This woven wicker basket is a natural way to decorate a bare wall in an outdoor space, and it will look just as beautiful whether you set it against brick, timber, or concrete. Pink zinnias and yellow tuberous begonias are the focal points or 'thrillers'. You’ll love the variation between the tighter, round zinnias and the softer, open petals of the begonias. Blue Cape plumbago and golden lantana add an extra hint of drama—think of these as the 'fillers'. Finally, English ivy, with its delicate, well-known shape, cascades over the side—that is the 'spiller', which gives this beautiful hanging container a sense of movement.
There's nothing quite like a brand new deck to turn your backyard into an outdoor living room or a great party venue. It's an easy and affordable way to extend your living space that will last for years and, with a little know-how, you can build yourself. There are a number of decking material options available. As well as the traditional timber decking of blackbutt, jarrah, merbau and treated pine, there are environmentally friendly alternative. Composite decking can be made out of recycled plastic, which is long lasting, easy to install and maintain and is rot and termite resistant.
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).
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Give small gardens a big boost of style by adding an oversize gate or arbor at one end to act as a focal point. It will draw the eye in and make the space seem larger. Here, a large-scale ornamental entry arbor gives this tiny side yard some visual heft. Plus, it supports a crown of climbing roses. White lilies in the center bed mirror the white roses and arbor.

Mullins considered turning the whole backyard into one big patio but added the deck and built-in planters as a way to mix materials and heights. “I wanted to make them feel like it wasn’t just a long, open space,” she says. The deck also brings up the ground plane, reducing the perceived height difference between the floor and the wall. - proth1584


Landscaping involves a lot of choices that you need to make on the fly. When you see that a plant isn’t doing well, or that aphids are eating your favorite flower, you need to make quick decisions on how you are going to handle the problem. When you choose to do your own landscaping you can make those choices and alter the care of your yard and garden almost instantly. Hiring a landscaping company could lead to many missed phone calls and may take longer to fix a problem that needs to be solved immediately.

To create a poinsettia tree, follow these instructions: First, cut the larger blooms, leaving about 6 inches of stem. Sear them quickly to stop sap from dripping out. Sap should bubble under the candle flame, and the ends of the stems will turn black. You may also need to sear the points where larger leaves were removed along the stems. Insert each seared stem into a water-filled florist tube. Stems are hollow and will absorb water after being seared. Place the stems into the base of the ivy topiary. Then repeat this process with the medium-size and smaller poinsettia blooms, cutting the stems so they're about 4 inches long. Insert blossoms into the topiary, working your way toward the top. Once it's complete, care is simple—just add water to the tubes every few days, as needed.
This deck-top container garden is a study in variation in similarity, proving just how beautiful the simple repetition of a shape or color can be in creating a relaxing outdoor space. Here, three ceramic containers in a subtle shade of turquoise hold a variety of beautiful plants. In the largest pot, working from back to front and tallest to shortest, densely plant 'Liberty Classic Yellow' snapdragon, 'Bouquet Rose Magic' dianthus, and 'Tickled Pink' veronica. Place 'New Look' dusty miller and 'Lemon Ball' sedum in the front to trail over the edge. Pack a powerful, single-note punch in the two smaller pots by planting 'Supertunia Vista Bubblegum' petunia in the midsize container and more sedum in the smallest.
Sometimes a single container can be all it takes to transform an outdoor space from dull to divine. This container, filled with 'Baby Tut' dwarf papyrus, elephant's ear, 'Blackie' sweet potato vine, and 'Vogue Audrey' mandevilla, is the ideal focal point or space filler in an area that receives full to partial sun. Any variety of these plants will work wonderfully well together: Just focus on color, texture, and shape to create a great arrangement in your preferred container. They will all do well together, and their beauty will beat the heat.

Using simple mulch in old flowerbeds is not only good for your plants, it also provides interesting color and texture to the landscape. The deep, fresh brown of the mulch and even the earthy tones to it can help give your garden a facelift and your plants will definitely thank you for it. Better yet, create a composting bin out of the old wooden pallets in an earlier tutorial and make your very own composting material that can easily be substituted as mulch! This would be a great hobby for someone with a very green thumb or home gardener.


The pitchfork may suggest a little 'American Gothic'—but the beautiful star here is the freestanding flower container. Here, we make a statement with a this large, overflowing planter that can work equally against a blank wall, at the perimeter of a parking court, or on the edge of a terrace. Fill it with 'Diamond Frost' euphorbia, coleus, 'Supertunia Vista Bubblegum' petunia, and geranium. Ours is weathered, and it will only patina further over time. Let it happen. This is part of the beauty of natural materials like wood—and this beauty is only enhanced further by vibrant flowers.
Measure thatch buildup by removing a small piece of turf, including the underlying soil. Try to slow buildup when the thatch layer exceeds 1/2 inch in thickness. The thickness can increase quickly beyond this point, making it difficult to control later. As the thatch layer thickens, it becomes the main rooting medium for the grass. This predisposes the turf to drought stress or winter kill and increases the possibility for insect, disease and weed problems. Also, fertilizers and pesticides applied to a thatchy lawn work less effectively.
I recommend "tall fescue". Be sure to check the label and make sure it is pure tall fescue. Some outfits that sell seed mix in some annual ryegrass and call it "nursury grass - it will care for the tall fescue which takes longer to germinate." I don't agree with that. Note that tall fescue seed is significantly more expensive than annual ryegrass ...
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.

Since opposites attract, this study in contrasts is a great combination of form and function. What was formerly a blank wall becomes a work of art with the addition of a planter. White flowers and black-green foliage are dramatic, echoing the Gothic style of the planter's decorative wrought-iron embellishments. The addition of the planter also creates another visual level for creativity to operate upon. Use this to bring in colors and tones that might otherwise be missing from your garden, or to bring in shapes and textures you’d like to repeat or reinforce. However you proceed, these stark opposites form a harmonious whole, leaving the plants to sing.

Mix gravel with rocks of varying sizes to add interest in large areas. This technique also solved a drainage problem. The gravel path, edged on the right with 'Libelle' hydrangea and a bank of maidenhair ferns, straddles a cluster of large, flat stones that creates a bridge over a seasonal runoff channel. Water runs through a pipe hidden beneath the channel's river rocks to a catchment pond at the far end.
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.

Have kids? Or pets? Don't be afraid to give artificial grass a shot. "People always ask how to make a yard dog-proof and kid-proof, but there's no way because they're going to run around and tear up your grass," says Chris. "But if you give them an artificial grass area to play on, they won't wreak havoc on the rest of your yard." Plus, it requires zero upkeep on the weekends.
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