Hard Landscaping is a good idea
A while ago; I decided that I wanted to have more time as well as space in my life for what is most important to me. There are only 24 hours a day; and I want to spend most of my hours to do what I think is important.
One thing that I do not like is anything horticulture to do with the court, lawn, flower beds or grass. Make no mistake, I love them when they are all beautiful, green and attractive. The problem is cultivating and maintaining them. It’s not like I have not done it before. But it’s out of my love of beauty and order; not passion in hard work. Yes, I know how that sounds.
I know that some people love gardening; well, I am not ashamed that I do not like it. But I like what I’m sure they are not interested in (making cheese, Stand Up Comedy, reading detective novels; or a play on the pedal; steel guitar). We are all different; that’s what makes us.
I’m not even a fan of gardening
I have fake plants all in flower boxes in front of my house. These are
high quality artificial plants. Even if you are within inches close; you have no idea that they are not real. But for them, no call for hard work is required to get the beauty.
- Weeding is a no-no.
- No plant dies.
- No plant diseases or pests.
- Watering is not aloud.
- Maintenance isn’t needed.
Since I have an interest in sprucing up a field of flowers with works of art; I followed these tips to come up with what my lawn currently looks like.
Personally, I use high-quality fake plants. If it is bad in the store, it will be bad looking in a planter. The French make the best fake evergreens in the world. And if you have the means; buy them. My favorite is Trousselier at 73 Boulevard Haussmann in Paris. Nonetheless, I take some time to plan and organize my flower box; before I go shopping for fake plants. However, I want the system to look as natural as possible. I purchase only the high end artificial greens with realistic-looking imperfections. Not every plant will have a natural shade of green. But nature is not perfect. Such should be the artificial plants.
I’m just trying to keep them dust-free as possible
But if they persist on growing weary; I’m going to replace them. The bill for my artificial flowers, green lawn and came to about 3500 £; with the wrong bay about £ 82.95. At the other end of the scale, sweet pea artificial stem costs £ 2.20. Most of the “green” take about five years; while the grass does not need to be replaced within 15 years. Garden counterfeiters are here to save money. Not to mention, never worrying about the hosepipe ban; or a week grind lawn.
But my lovely new lawn is far away from Astroturf. In fact, the only reason one notices its uniqueness is because its greener on the other side of the fence. The dog may like it or not. But she is always glad to pee on it. How I like it when sometimes in bed at night; I slide down, turn on the kitchen light and admire. In the morning, waiting for the kettle to boil; I smile at the view.
In my party events
My friends took off shoes, even without questions. They gasped in amazement at the lush softness. It was not even like plastic. In fact, it is very similar to real grass. However, I am guilty of the ecosystem. The grass is not as rich with biodiversity as real grass. But I care about beauty and saving time. There is a way to strike them both. Mathew Frith, Deputy General Director of the London Wildlife Trust made me feel more guilty when he said; “I understand why people want a low-maintenance lawn. They are free to do what they want. But there are far-reaching consequences.” It is not that bad; really, it isn’t. It’s just hard to please everyone; including yourself.
Scientists warn that in the future; with such drought in the southeast being the norm; real lawns taking a huge amount of water needed to maintain them is considered a sign of moral insensitivity. So yeah, there are two sides of the coin. I just might be showing the world how to conserve water.
Over all, it has served me that one lay down of artificial turf goes for just £ 10 per square meter. But as with most things; you get what you pay for and cheap grass is more like a short haircut carpet. Whether fake or not; the quality of plastic grass varies just like the real stuff. Selecting the “grass” in a specialized online store, on the other hand; can be confusing. There is, of course, the demand for it; Meadow company, saw its profits this year double. As customers are trying to get the lawn changes. Confused what to choose, I chose Knightsbridge, Belgravia and Mayfair; they all cost £ 29,99 per square meter.
Make no mistake, though, these are high quality artificial plants. Even if you are within inches close; you have no idea that they are not real. But unlike real plants, no call for hard work is required to get the beauty. Well, now you know how I save time and get to have all the time for watching cartoons. Along with making cheese; and still have a beautiful lawn. If saving the environment is important, I save many gallons of water by not having to water my grass; so yes, there’s that.
Considerations for Water Conservation
It is important to consider water conservation when planning to landscape a garden. Regions that prioritize water conservation require that you plant some landscaping plants that do not need irrigation. This is because most of the landscaping plants require watering. Especially for a period of one year after planting. The following low-water landscaping plan uses plants that can survive in Zones 3-9. Hence effective in most areas.
The following are some of the special features of the low-water landscaping plan:
- Drought-resistant plants: Select and plant available drought-resistant trees and shrubs for landscaping.
- Layered gardens: This is as characteristic border landscaping design where the short plants are planted at the front as well as the tall plants, such as the Russian olives are planted at the back. It’s important to note that the short plants should be planted underneath the window to avoid obstruction.
- Color enhancement: You should mix plants that produce plenty of colors. For example, combine the spring flowers of the ceanothus with the silver-colored artemisa as well as the blue-toned junipers. Additionally, you can enhance color punctuation using seasonal flowers; such as the long-season yellow potentilla and the early-summer spiraea.
The Low-Water Landscaping plan
Nonetheless, the low-water landscape plan can also be used in the cold-winter/dry-summer climates. These climates are characterized by very hot summers and very cold winters. The winters are also characterized by erratic temperatures that can undermine the hardiness of the plants; and destroy the entire project.
These cold-winter/dry-summer climates offer the following challenges:
- Very low precipitation: Low rainfall or lack of it necessitates irrigation and this can undermine water conservation efforts.
- Very low humidity: These regions are very dry.
- Poor soil cover: These regions are characterized by generally poor soils with very low humus content. Additionally, the soils are stony, sandy, and/or highly alkaline.
- Undependable snow cover: The dry climate forces snow to evaporate before absorption.
Arid regions also require the low-water landscaping plan because of water scarcity. The Xeriscape movement was created to combat water scarcity in landscaping. Xeriscape is made up of; xeric-refers to plants from a dry habitat or the place itself and landscape. In other words, Xeriscape refers to a system of landscaping in dry habitats; or a dry landscape. Xeriscape emphasizes water conservation using horticulture resulting in lush and pleasant flower gardens.
Although xeriscapes are not easily discernible; they ensure low water usage. They can be casual cottage gardens or formal gardens. Xeriscaping involves applying various techniques to effectively address the low-water challenges associated with arid areas. Some of these techniques include; implementing efficient irrigation techniques, planting perennial drought-resistant plants; as well as improving poor soils. Additionally, xeriscaping involves grouping plants based on their water needs. They also need mulching to conserve soil moisture.
All the above low-water climates require drought resistant plants. Drought resistant plants are suited to the low-water regions due to various adaptations.
Drought-resistant plants have one or more of the listed adaptations:
- Small and narrow leaves: Drought-resistant plants have small and narrow leaves to ensure that the exposed surface area is relatively small. Consequently, the surface area exposed to dry winds and sunlight is relatively small; reducing the amount of moisture lost by each leaf.
- Light-colored, gray and hairy leaves: In order to reduce the amount of water lost through the leaves to sunlight, the leaves of drought-resistant plants are adapted to reflect sunlight and shade their surfaces. In this light, the leaves are silver, fuzzy, and hairy.
- Adapted roots: Drought-resistant plants use their roots as underground water storage reservoirs. In order to achieve this, they have huge, deep and well-established roots.
- Blubbery leaves and stems: In addition to their roots, drought-resistant plants also use their leaves and stems as water storage reservoirs. These plants have plump and succulent leaves and stems for strong water.
Why Gardens are Important in Our Lives
Miniature or tiny gardens are maybe the most difficult gardens to design and plant in landscaping. This is because one can easily identify the mistakes made in tiny gardens. The small space involved ensures that a quick scrutiny of the garden covers the entire space. It identifies all the mistakes in it. Considering the micro-environment involved in a miniature garden; designing and planting these gardens can be considered as micro-gardening.
Although it is critical to get it right in any garden; miniature gardens are dead giveaways. Many landscaping projects involve planting large gardens that are easy to plan, design, and plant. Large gardens ensure that the landscaper can hide some things by diverting the focus of attention to other areas. Additionally, many landscapers are used to designing and planting large gardens. Hence lack enough experience on how to design and plant miniature gardens.
A while back, I was invited to plant a miniature garden measuring about 10 x 6.5 ft. Professionally, I had little experience on how to design such a tiny garden before. Although I completed the task, my approach was riddled with mistakes. I learnt quite a lot from the project. The following ideas reflect my experiences; and the lessons learnt. The following ideas might prove useful to you when planting miniature home gardens.
First and foremost, you must choose the materials required very carefully. In my experience, one should never use more than three different landscaping materials on one site. In my case, I usually use; gravel, paving, and granite cobbles. However, following my experience when designing the miniature garden; two materials are enough to ensure that the tiny garden is less blurred.
Additionally, when choosing landscape materials for a tiny garden; you should either compliment or contrast with the environment. You should be extra careful when using dark-colored materials in miniature gardens that are not well lit. This is because they can make the garden appear dark and smaller. You should also avoid using big materials and use small ones instead. Small materials project the area on a bigger scale than it actually is.
Use Fewer Plants
In landscaping projects, the recommended ratio of the planted area to the empty space is usually 1 to 3. This means that the planted area represents a third of the entire space. The planted space can contain plants or other vertical features. You should be careful when designing a miniature garden to avoid planting too many plants. The reason is because this can render an uncomfortable ambiance. Unless you are planting edible things; you should be very careful on the number of plants used.
In other words, you should go easy on the planting. Especially if the miniature garden is purely for beauty. However, you can use many plants if they are small; and if you render enough distinctive contrast between the plants.
Important Tips When Designing Miniature Gardens
When designing and planting miniature gardens, you should employ the following tips:
- Try to keep the garden simple.
- Ensure that all the plants in the garden are healthy and attractive throughout the year.
- Ensure that everything in the garden is in the right place.
- Make sure that everything in the garden earns its place.
In conclusion, I would like you to reflect ion the smallest garden you have ever planted; as well as identify the challenges you experienced. After doing this, I would like to challenge you to identify a small space. Try to design and plant a miniature garden; while applying the ideas and tips mentioned above. Good luck!
It is very important to plan your landscape before starting to implement any landscaping activities on the site. Just like in any other project, planning in doing some landscape is a crucial part of the landscaping project.
Planning your landscape is important because of several reasons including:
- Budget adherence: Planning your landscape will help you to adhere to the set budget. Hence to avoid resource shortages or wastage. You should consider the available resources before engaging in any landscaping activities. After assessing the available budget; you should make informed decisions regarding the allocation of resources to the different tasks and materials required at each phase of the landscaping project.
- Selecting appropriate landscaping materials: A typical landscaping project requires a vast array of materials to furnish different landscaping needs. Some of the materials required include hard landscaping materials such as cobblestones, plants and trees. Planning the landscape ensures that you identify and acquire all the right materials required for the landscaping project.
- Focus on the wish list: A landscaping project is a complex set of interrelated activities as well as tasks that combine to achieve the desired landscape. If you are not careful; you can ignore, forget, or miss some of the desired landscape changes. It is important to include the landscape wish list in the planning phase; to ensure that each wish is accounted for and allocated the necessary resources. Planning the landscape ensures that all wishes are met in a timely and cost effective manner.
Now that you are acquainted with the main reasons why it is important to plan your landscape, it is equally important to know the process of planning the landscape.
The following steps should be followed when planning a landscape:
- Create a scale model of the current landscape: This is an accurate two-dimensional representation of the current landscape illustrating the specific measurements of the entire space. This model will assist in the planning of the entire landscaping project.
- Make a wish list: Using the accurate drawing of the current landscape, you should then create a wish list indicating all the desired changes to the current landscape. This wish list will act as the guide for the entire project.
- Draw a rough landscaping plan: Using the accurate drawing of the current landscape, you should then design a rough plan of the intended landscape. The intended landscape should include all the changes outlined in the wish list.
- Determine the budget: One of the most important steps when planning the landscape is to determine the amount of resources required for the entire project. When planning the landscape, you should estimate the budget for the entire project.
- Review the rough landscaping plan: After determining the budget, you should then review the projected plan to assess the budget-project fit. You should then add all potential structures such as; the deck, patio, fence, and pathways to the plan.
- Identify the shades and hardiness zones: You should then indicate the sunny regions, partial and full-shades for each region and the hardiness regions. This will assist when planning the planting and building.
- Add the plants: The next step is to add the plants to the plan as guided by the identified shades and hardiness zones.
- Check the cost of materials: The next step is to check the costs of all the required materials including the hard landscaping materials, trees, and other plants.
- Acquire landscaping permits: You should then contact the local authorities and acquire appropriate landscaping permits.
- Hire a landscaper: After acquiring all the required materials, you can now hire a landscaping contactor to carry out the actual landscaping work.
- Start landscaping: Finally, you are set to start doing the actual landscaping.
Importance of Sustainable Landscapes
In order to create a sustainable landscape; you should identify and implement appropriate eco-friendly landscape techniques. Some of the most effective eco-friendly landscaping techniques include; water conservation techniques; as well as using plants with similar needs. It is important to note that sustainable landscapes are achievable. They are also as aesthetically-pleasing as normal gardens.
Creating Sustainable Landscapes
The first step in creating sustainable landscapes is to familiarize with the current landscape.
In this light, you should consider the following issues:
- Exploit the garden: Use the garden to reduce the amount of resources you use. For example, you can reduce air-conditioning expenses by using the plants to provide shade or to trap wind to cool the house.
- Rainwater flow: Consider harvesting rainwater to use in the garden. Rainwater can be harvested using trenches and diverted into the lawn or even stored in reservoirs for irrigation.
- Size and nature of the lawn: Consider reducing the lawn size to reduce water usage. Alternatively, you can replace it with a different meadow or change the irrigation system.
- Economical maintenance: Determine the amount of resources you use to maintain the garden and consider techniques to reduce them, such as landscape redesign.
- Available materials: Consider the materials on the landscape that can be used to build structures or alternative landscape features.
Achieving Water Conservation
However, the main environmental benefit that is accrued from sustainable landscapes is water conservation. The most eco-friendly landscape requires very little or no irrigation.
Use the following water conservation strategies
When planning your landscape to create a sustainable landscape:
- Reduce the size of the lawn: You should downsize the lawn to reduce water usage.
- Efficient irrigation methods: Adopt drip irrigation or hand watering methods to ensure direct and judicious water delivery to the plants.
- Harvest rainwater: Employ various methods to harvest rainwater. You can dig trenches to trap and guide rainwater to the lawn or trap it in reservoirs for irrigation.
- Adopt a sustainable mindset: Conduct all landscaping activities with the aim of ensuring conservation. This involves applying most or all of the strategies outlined here.
- Implement mulching: Reduce water loss from the soil through evaporation by applying mulch on the soil surface.
- Use of low-water plants: Plant drought-resistant plants that require little or no irrigation and can survive on rain water only.
- Implement hydrozones: Group plants with similar water needs together to avoid water wastage.
Selecting Sustainable Plants
In order to create a sustainable landscape; it is important to use and combine appropriate plants that reduce water usage.
The following tips should be considered when selecting sustainable plants:
- Safety: Choose non-poisonous plants, with sturdy and strong stems.
- Size of the plant: Consider the size of the plant and also avoid too much pruning.
- Life of the plant: Do not replace long-lived trees and shrubs.
- Plant adaptation: Select plants that are well adapted to your regional climate.
- Uses of the plant: In addition for the aesthetic value, choose plants that offer additional benefits such as food, privacy or shade.
- Resistance to pests and diseases: Choose strong and healthy plants that require minimal care.
Sustainable Landscaping Alternatives
In addition to achieving beautiful gardens, implementing sustainable landscaping is cost effective. It also conserves the environment. The following sustainable alternatives will help you to achieve sustainable landscaping:
Alternatives to Harsh Chemicals:
Conventional Harsh Chemicals
|Herbicides||Apply sheet mulching, organic herbicides, and weed blocking techniques. Pulling weeds before seeding and implementing drip irrigation to reduce wetness and inhibit weed growth.|
|Fertilizers||Plant low-nutrient plants, using green manure, organic fertilisers, and composting. Leaf littering, planting cover crops, and adopting chop and drop pruning.|
|Pesticides||Biological pest control techniques, planting pest-resistant plants, and washing them off. Enhancing plant hardiness and pest-resistance and using less-toxic pesticides.|
Alternatives to Power Equipment:
Conventional Power Tools
|Gas blower||Using rakes, brooms, and creating mulch with fallen leaves.|
|Chainsaw||Hand pruning saw, lopping shears|
|Gas lawnmower||Using push or electric mower, sheep, planting alternative lawn e.g. meadow|
|Lawn tractor||Handcarts and wheelbarrows|
|String weed and grass trimmer||Hand shears, scythe, hoe, goat, mulching, and tall plants to suppress weeds|
|Gas hedge trimmer||Hand or electric hedge shears, natural unclipped hedges|
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