How to Create a Multilevel Garden

How to Create a Multilevel Garden

Gardening on a hill can be quite a challenge, but if you can create multiple levels out of the hill it will be a lot easier. This is a very simple process in theory but it will take a lot of effort in practice. Though you could do this yourself, you might be better off asking a landscape designer like Allen Outdoor Solutions to help you work out where best to put each layer and how to create a flowing garden. You should certainly have a clear plan of what you are going to do before you start working so that you don’t waste your efforts digging! The first thing to do is start planning what you are going to do with your garden. A simple drawing is probably enough to get an idea of what you plan to do.  Think about how you would like to move through the space and then where to put steps and paths through the plants and up and down the garden. Once you have decided on your plan can you move on to the actual work. This will take a few days to complete so you should either put a few weekends aside plan for a week of work. Once you have the structure of your garden complete, you can move on to planting and adding the finishing touches to your space. Planning Your Space Before you start, try using string to mark out where you are going to create each layer. This will help you to determine how deep each layer will be: too thick and you will struggle to reach the back of the bed but too thin and your garden will look chaotic. It might be a good idea to vary the layers  slightly to create some movement in the layout. If you already have some ideas about which plants you want to use in your garden, you should make sure that your levels are deep enough to accommodate them. So, if you have a tree you would like to plant, make sure that you allow enough room for the roots to grow without interfering with the retaining walls you plan to build. Think about creating a level where you can sit and enjoy the sunshine. Plan out this level so that you have enough space for some outdoor seating if possible and consider adding either some paving or gravel to make sure that you can use this space even when the ground is wet.   Use Retaining Walls to Create Levels Whether you start at the top and work down or start at the bottom of the garden and work up is entirely up to you. However, starting at the top does have the advantage that you won’t be climbing over the work you have just done to get there. Either way, you will have to work with the slope as you remove excess soil or add topsoil and fertiliser to each layer. Start by clearing the garden as it is at the moment. Get rid of any old plants that might have built up over years of neglect but do keep hold of any plants that you still like by digging up the roots carefully and transferring them to pots temporarily. This way they won’t get damaged by accident and can be put back when you are ready. Next, you should dig the footings for your wall. This is what will support the wall you build to retain the soil so it needs to be a good depth. Once you have the right depth, pour in your concrete to create a solid base. This needs to be left for 12 hours to set before you can start building your wall on top. Once footings are in place and fully set, you can start building your wall. You can use any type of stone, just make sure that you use the right consistency of mortar so that it holds together strongly. You can also go for any style, whether you prefer clean straight lines or a more rustic feel – either will look lovely in your garden. Add a Water Feature All gardens should have some water whether it is a small feature or a running stream. Water is one of the most calming sounds on earth and it is great for attracting animals to your garden too. With a multilevel garden, you have the perfect opportunity to add waterfalls pouring from each level and down the garden. Plan your water feature before you start digging and building retaining walls, but if you already have done this then don’t worry – it’s not too late! Essentially, you are looking to construct a large staircase with a pool at either end and a pump to send the water back up the hill. This means that even if you have already put the layers in, you can still make your stream and waterfalls quite easily. There are all sorts of styles of water feature that you could go for. One of the easiest ways to change the way that the water flows is by using different sized rocks. Large rocks will naturally mean a longer waterfall, where smaller rocks and gravel will create more of a babbling brook effect. Use flat and squared stones to create a more defined architectural look of a pool. This can look fabulous in a modern or minimalist garden style though it can take a lot more maintenance. Clever Planting How you plant your levels will make a big difference to the way it looks. More dense planting will disguise and soften the layers whereas thinner and more decisive planting will define each layer individually. What you choose to do is really down to your own personal taste and how you like to garden. If you are a fan of neat lines and order then it will be clear that softening the layers won’t be for you. Think about the height each plant will grow to...
How to Apply Fertilizer to Potted Plants

How to Apply Fertilizer to Potted Plants

Plants need sufficient nutrients regardless of where you grow them. Many homeowners prefer growing them on the ground while others prefer using containers or pots. In the case of the latter, certain things should be taken into consideration. Here’s our guide on how to apply fertilizer to potted plants this spring.  Use Potting Media at the Start  The three primary elements that any plant needs to grow well are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. What’s special about potted plants compared to those grown on the ground is that they require more soil nutrients. Likewise, these container plants do not have a huge source of soil to utilize in the first place.  We highly recommend a commercial potting media as a start. This product typically contains sufficient fertilizer to feed the newly grown plant with the three nutrients for nearly a month. After this time, you have to rely on either liquid or dry fertilizer products.  Using a Liquid Fertilizer Regardless of type, you can assess the nutrient ratio of a fertilizer by looking at the three numbers indicated on the package label. These three numbers refer to the respective percentage of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium in the fertilizer.  First, the liquid fertilizer comes in either powder form or as liquid concentrates. If it’s in powder form, you’d have to dissolve it using water before you apply it to the soil in the pot. Since it’s in liquid form just like water, a commercial liquid fertilizer will have a dye for quick recognition.   If you intend to grow herbaceous perennials such as the fragrant dianthus and the heuchera plant in pots, you should use a 20-20-20 commercial liquid fertilizer specifically made for houseplants. A 10-8-8 nutrient ratio or any similar amount is also good for these herbaceous plants.    Here is a video of using a liquid fertilizer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eras70iKlC0  Choosing a Dry Fertilizer     On the other hand, a dry fertilizer comes in two forms: as a granular fertilizer or as a slow-release fertilizer. Furthermore, the slow-release variant can be made up of either pellets or beads. As its name implies, a slow-release dry fertilizer can feed the soil with nutrients to last up to nine months.   In order to use slow-release beads or pellets, you must scatter one teaspoon of the product for every gallon of soil. However, slow-release fertilizer alone won’t lead to robust plant growth. You should still use liquid fertilizer or granular fertilizer every two or three weeks. Treat the slow-release fertilizer as a backup solution in case you forget to feed your potted plants for some time.  Consequently, a granular fertilizer is the popular choice for growing potted plants. It reaches the part of the soil where the root systems are with the help of water. Basically, you have to use half a teaspoon of the fertilizer for every gallon of potting mix. Water the potted plants as soon as you apply fertilizer.   Preventing Salt Accumulation  Compared to a liquid fertilizer, a dry granular fertilizer won’t be immediately leached from the soil. The problem here is that salt from the fertilizer can accumulate. A white crust can appear on the surface of your potting soil. Eventually, your potted plants could have wilting foliage or burnt roots due to the excessive amount of fertilizer but this can be prevented by watering plants deeply so that water runs out the bottom of the containers. Try using a 10-10-10 granular fertilizing during the seasons of spring and summer. As for the winter season, fertilizing your potted plants should be done just twice or thrice. This frequency is enough since the plants won’t be actively growing at this time.  Using fertilizer for your potted plants in spring isn’t difficult. Always use potting mix for new plants to help them grow well. Afterward, use a combination of slow-release fertilizer with either liquid fertilizer or granular fertilizer.  We hope that you learned a lot from our quick guide. If you have any queries, do send us a comment.       ...
Three Ways to Clean Up Your Garden

Three Ways to Clean Up Your Garden

We all want our homes to look just as beautiful on the outside as they do on the inside. Maybe you’re planning on selling your home and want to improve the value. Perhaps you’ve just moved into a new place and need to get the yard up to your standards. You might have been in your home for a while, but have decided you want to get outside and enjoy your garden more- either way, giving it a tidy up is worthwhile. It will create a good impression to guests or buyers, or will create a pleasant environment to spend time if you want a nice garden for yourself. Here are some of the things that can bring down the look of a garden and easy ways to clean them up this spring.  Diseased Trees or Too Many Trees There’s nothing lovelier than the sight of a mature tree, even more so if it’s covered in blossom or fruit! If you’ve grown it yourself then it’s even more special and chances are you’re really proud of how it’s grown over the years. However, if your trees are blocking the light to your house, or perhaps they have developed rot or a fungal disease then you may want to consider removal or trimming by an expert. Companies like treequote.com can tackle this for you, since removing trees (especially large ones) can be a huge job. Next time you plant trees, be aware of how big they could grow and plant them in a better location. Using proper treatment early on and proper pruning can help to avoid diseases that will lead to the demise of your trees. Clutter Over time, gardens can accumulate clutter and it leaves them looking  unappealing. Perhaps yours are littered with pots that were once home to lots of colourful blooms but are now dead and dull? Maybe garden tools have been left lying about the place, or materials from unfinished or unstarted jobs? Simply having a tidy up can make a world of difference. Put anything that’s still functional into a shed or garage, and throw away anything that’s broken or past its best. If there’s a lot to remove, it might be easier to hire a skip. Broken bird tables or houses, bicycles, wheelbarrows and more can all be moved and put into the right place. Once the garden is tidy, it’s much easier to get rid of weeds and sort out things like flower beds and lawns. Weathered Fences, Gates and Garage Doors Sometimes it’s not the garden itself that contributes to an unappealing looking home, but things like weathered fences and garage doors. These need repainting every few years, so if it’s been a while since yours were done perhaps it could be a weekend project for this summer. Choose a wood paint with good reviews and is guaranteed for a certain number of years. This can smarten up the look of the garden and your home in general. This post may contain affiliate...
Choosing The Perfect Water Feature For Your Garden

Choosing The Perfect Water Feature For Your Garden

Spring is well and truly upon us and though many are currently enjoying the burst of color and vivacity afforded by the season, we’re also looking forward to the summer. It is, after all, in those warm summer months that our gardens feel more mature, more grown in and at their most visually spectacular. This is the time of year so many seasoned gardeners look forward to, when the fruits of the winters’ labor and planning pay off and we have months of relaxing in beautiful surroundings to look forward to. Yet, while most of us will be content to enjoy our sunny mornings sipping coffee and basking in the sun as the grass of the lawn gently caresses our toes, there are some for whom this is the year when their garden gets a little added wow factor. And what says wow factor better than a water feature? The summer months are the perfect time to spend by the water for added relaxation and pleasure while water features also add a little extra glitz and glamor to the space. It’s simply a matter of choosing the right feature for you… A swimming pool Nothing says opulence and luxury more eloquently than your very own pool. It’s long been considered a symbol of wealth and opulence but if you feel that it’s the best fit for your garden, you should be aware that it’s a big commitment. Swimming pools require regular maintenance and repair, although the advent of vinyl liner swimming pools has made some elements of pool ownership a little more hassle free. Visit Sparklean Pools to learn more about vinyl liner pool repair. Vinyl liners generally need to be replaced every 12-15 years but they are relatively easy to repair and maintain. If your prepared to put in the time and effort, nothing says wow like a sparkling clear swimming pool. A wildlife pond If you’ve never been much of a swimmer but still like the idea of an open expanse of water, perhaps a wildlife pond might be more to your taste. Fill it with fish and relax by your pond as the local bird life comes by every once in a while for a refreshing drink. This is a far more understated look than a fountain while allowing you a better chance to commune with nature. Just be aware that a very specific pH balance is needed to keep your water clear. It doesn’t need to be crystalline in quality but it shouldn’t look like pea soup either. A dash of calcium sulphate in your water may be enough to keep it clear, although if you’re thinking of invest in in carp for your pond be aware that they have a tendency to displace sludge from the bottom of your pond so you’ll likely need a decent filtration system. A bubbling millstone Not so long ago stainless steel water walls were all the rage but if this is too ostentatious for you, how about a humble millstone constantly bubbling with a cone of water. This makes for a modest but beautiful centerpiece which is low maintenance and fairly inexpensive to run. They rarely need to be cleaned out and a pump can last years and years. Water way to have a good time!   This contributed post may contain affiliated...
Tired Of Mowing Your Lawn? There’s a Solution

Tired Of Mowing Your Lawn? There’s a Solution

For many gardeners, mowing the lawn is one of the jobs they hate the most. It’s a very laborious job that can be quite hard going if your lawnmower is heavy to push around. Plus, it needs to be done on a very regular basis, especially during the hot summer months. Once we are at the end of April, it often becomes necessary to mow the lawn once a week to keep on top of the excess growth. It won’t slow down until the end of September – so that’s a lot of hard work throughout the summer! Have you had enough of your lawn? No problem; there are ways you can deal with it, or just remove it from your garden altogether. Read on to find out more!   Hire Help If you would rather keep your lawn in your garden but don’t want to be troubled with all the hard work that comes with mowing it, you can always hire some lawn specialists, like the guys at Super-Natural Landscaping to come and take care of it for you. They might even be able to offer you some advice on any landscaping and changes that you might be able to make that could make it easier to manage. While they are working on your grassy areas, they will be able to feed it to ensure that it’s in great health. Add a Patio Happy to get rid of the lawn altogether? Well, why not simply replace it with a patio? It’s easy to lay a patio – all you need to do is dig up the grass and then lay down some paving slabs or other decorative stones. If you think that that sounds like too much bother, you can always outsource the work to a patio expert or garden landscaper. Patios come with minimal maintenance, and you will find them a lot easier to look after than a lawn. Reduce  Size If think your lawn would be a lot easier to maintain if it were smaller, you can always reduce its size. Simply choose the section of lawn you would like to keep, and then remove the rest. You can replace the lawn with flower beds or vegetable patches. Alternatively, you could replace it with some paving slabs to create a path or small patio. Add Decking Not too keen on the idea of a patio but want to replace your lawn with something? Well, I have the perfect answer – decking! If you are quite a hands-on and practical person, you should find it easy enough to lay down the decking yourself. Alternatively, you could always hire a handyman to come and do the work for you. In fact, most garden stores that sell decking will deliver it with a workman who can fit it in place for you. You don’t have to struggle on with your lawn if you don’t want to – all of the tips above are great solutions for any lazy gardener!   This contributed article may contain affiliate...
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