Come Rain Or Shine: A Garden For All Weather

Come Rain Or Shine: A Garden For All Weather

We all want the dream garden. Even so, it can be hard to use the outside space in the way we would like. Even if you have things looking the way you want, it can be hard to make the most of your garden! You won’t want to spend time outside when the weather is extreme, right? Whether hot or cold is the problem, the ideal weather conditions are hard to come by. But, why should the space go unused for most of the year? If you want to get the most of your garden, learn how to use it in all weathers.  Here are a few additions that will make your garden work come rain or shine. Photo by Bibhukalyan Acharya from Pexels Decking If your garden is mostly grass, you will not want to use the garden if it has been raining. There is little worse than going slipping and sliding over a muddy lawn, and you can’t have your outdoor furniture sinking into it. By putting in an area of decking, you can use the garden, whatever the weather. Keep it maintained by using one of the many deck staining companies around and keep it looking its best. Heater Do you often neglect your garden because it is cold outside? Investing in a garden heater is a fantastic way to get the most of the space through cold months! Knowing you can stay warm in a cold garden will leave you no excuses not to go outside. Take your pick from the many heaters on offer. From wood burners to patio heaters, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Pick one and stay toasty during cold weather! Make sure to spend plenty of time outside so you can get the most of your new buy. Swimming Pool When it’s scorching hot outside, the idea of jumping in a cold swimming pool is always appealing. If you live in an area that often experiences warm weather, it might be worth getting a pool installed. That way, you’ll be able to cool down without going inside. If you have a family to consider, a swimming pool can be a lot of fun. The children will spend much more time outside if you have one! Make the most of your pool by throwing a pool party! Bear in mind that there is some maintenance involved in keeping a pool running right. Do a little research before you (literally!) jump in. Hot tub If it is often cold where you are, a hot tub could serve you better. There is something special about soaking in that warm water when there’s frost all around. Again, hot tubs also offer the perfect party opportunity. Hot tub party, anyone? If you are not keen on the idea of getting a tub installed, you could opt for a portable or an inflatable one instead. That way, you won’t have to worry about installation. This contributed post may contain affiliate...
Creating a More Guest Friendly Garden Bursting With Character

Creating a More Guest Friendly Garden Bursting With Character

Being a host is something you enjoy doing, but you never want to do anything by half measures. Your garden will always be your pride and joy; it is also one of the best places to entertain your guests. Your backyard doesn’t have to be plain and simple like most of your neighbors. It can be as luscious and extravagant as you like, as long as it is welcoming to your prospective guests. There is something enjoyable about getting stuck into a new garden project, so consider the following ways to create a more guest friendly garden that is bursting with character. Perfect Patios There is nothing quite like sitting outside when the sun is shining with a freshly made jug of cold sangria. However you are going to need the perfect place to sit and put all of your furniture. Look into creative backyard renovations such as a brand new patio and you will have the ideal addition to your outdoor space. A new patio will bring a touch of class and elegance to your garden and it will be sure to impress your guests. Fabulous Furniture Your garden wouldn’t be complete without some fabulous furniture to make your guests feel comfortable. Whether you opt for a corner sofa with comfortable cushions or a chic and sophisticated swing that creates a real statement in the back garden. Head to a local garden furniture supplier near you and grab some inspiration from there. Choose furniture that is going to suit your personality and unique needs so that you feel content with your choices. Beautiful Blooms No garden is complete without beautiful blooms to brighten up the atmosphere. Choose a colour scheme that fits in with the rest of your choices. From terrific springtime tulips to cool autumnal chrysanthemums, there are so many different fabulous flowers to choose from. Not this plant. Awesome Activities If you are inviting guests over, they might be bringing their children with them. This means that you’re going to need some sort of garden games to keep them entertained and happy during their stay. Outdoors games can come in many different shapes, sizes and styles so find something that suits the dynamic of your friendship group. It could be that a game of giant jenga is appealing or a classy chess board that doubles as a coffee table is more your thing. Choose outdoor activities that are going to keep both the kids and the adults entertained during your glorious garden party. Bland and boring garden set ups are a thing of the past, so revitalise your outdoor space with a little bit of fun and frivolity. Whether you are investing in a perfect patio or seeking out beautiful blooms to suit the time of year, there will always be a away to create a more characterful backyard. If being a host is your thing, then this is your perfect opportunity to go above and beyond. Make your garden welcoming and pleasing to everybody who steps through your gorgeous...
Beneficial Garden Insects

Beneficial Garden Insects

Insects can be helpful as well as harmful. Helpful insects control the populations of harmful insects while harmful insects destroy gardens, property, and infest your home. Aphids, potato bugs, whiteflies, slugs, caterpillars, and grasshoppers can invade your property and cause the aforementioned damage. Gardens provide a complex and diverse ecosystem of insects and beneficial insects can prevent an overflow of pests. This article will help detail the helpful bugs you might find and the harmful bugs they prey on. Ladybug Of all the beneficial garden insects, ladybugs are among the most well-known. Their shells range from the iconic red, yellow and orange, always complete with black spots. Ladybugs eat aphids, whiteflies, and Colorado potato beetles. Aphids and whiteflies will bite into the stem of a plant and drink the sap, leaving open wounds that don’t heal and can eventually lead to the death of the plant. Another great reason to have ladybugs around is their larvae don’t nibble on plants when they hatch. If you are growing dill, dandelions, fennels, or fern-leaf yellows, they provide ladybugs with a source of pollen and nectar and will cause them to flock to your garden and protect the plants inside. Praying Mantis The ultimate predator of nuisance insects, the praying mantis makes for a super bug in your garden and yard. Young mantises eat soft-bodied insects like aphids, leafhoppers, mosquitoes, and caterpillars. As they reach adulthood, they will eat larger insects such as grasshoppers, crickets, beetles, and even flies. Praying mantises require good ground cover consistent with their coloring, so keeping your grass and even small bushes thriving will help your mantis population to thrive. The females lay their eggs on branches and twigs off the ground, yet hidden from birds. Make sure during the spring not to disturb these if you want to increase the number mantises aiding your garden. Green Lacewing Green Lacewings are bugs with a lace pattern on their wings. Lacewings eat almost any soft-bodied insects and their eggs including pests like aphids, whiteflies, leafhoppers, and mealybugs. Nicknamed the “aphid lion” or “aphid wolf”, they make short work of aphid colonies and can consume up to 200 aphids in one week. Once they run out of other food sources, they will cannibalize other lacewing larvae, controlling their own population. Bumblebees Bees are known for their sting, which is why most people are afraid when they discover bees in their garden. Bees are also known for their work ethic and avid pollination of all plants. They help provide greater yields of flowers, fruits and vegetables including tomatoes, cucumbers, strawberries and cherries. While their sting is known to be painful, what may be less well-known is their gentle nature. Since a bee’s sting usually kills them, they tend to be more easy-going and they don’t actively seek to sting humans. If you don’t bother them, bees can increase the production of your garden and also practice their own method of pest control by monopolizing nectar and pollen sources. A pest control company in Olathe says that “Bumblebees are essential to any garden.” Ground Beetles Ground beetles are nocturnal insects with over two thousand different species. They eat almost every species of harmful insects that grow on the ground. Some of the harmful bugs they eat are slugs, snails, caterpillars, cabbage maggots, and cutworms. Compost piles, which attract all sorts of bugs, are also great hiding places for the ground beetle. Ground beetles are beneficial to your garden soil because they help eat the compost and create microbe environments necessary to help the compost deteriorate. They put their eggs in the ground during the late summer months and when the larvae hatch during the springtime, they come up hungry for pests. The tunnels they make also help aerate the soil, making it easier for the roots of plants to grow downwards. Minute Pirate Bugs Minute pirate bugs are tiny insects, ranging from 1/12 to 1/5 an inch long. They eat soft-bodied insects like aphids, spider mites, thrips, caterpillars, as well as their eggs. Minute pirate bugs can consume over 30 spider mites in a day. Some species are so beneficial they are raised commercially and sold to growers as a form of biological and pesticide-free pest control. The bugs themselves don’t bother crops or flowers, even in larval stages. The eggs are tiny and laid inside plant tissues. When they hatch, they do minimal damage to the leaves and quickly seek out prey. They can bite humans, and although they’re not poisonous, they can leave an itchy welt that can take 2-3 days to go down. When their primary food source (other insects) disappears, they drink nectar and eat pollen, harmlessly living off plant life. This image is created by user B. Schoenmakers at waarneming.nl, a source of nature observations in the Netherlands. [CC BY 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)] Braconid Wasps Braconid wasps typically attach their larvae (roughly fifty to four hundred eggs at a time) on the tomato hornworms as parasite eggs, a major pest in tomato gardens. When the larvae start to pupate, they chew their way out of their host, killing the harmful hornworms in the process. In addition to hornworms, the braconid wasps also consume aphids, flies, beetles, codling moths, garden webworms and many different caterpillars. These wasps are perfect to have protect your tomato garden as the risk of them stinging is low. Whitefly Parasites Whiteflies suck plant’s sap of both outdoor and indoor plants. Some whiteflies are also capable transmit disease. When whiteflies emerges, they are quick to begin laying eggs within 1 to 2 days. Their egg production increase at higher temperatures at least 70 degrees and high humidity makes the most favorable conditions for the pest. Whitefly parasites are attracted to whiteflies by the smell of the honeydew they expel. The whitefly parasite enjoys humidity, strong light, and temperature above 62 degrees which makes the parasite perfect for working in warm, humid and well lit greenhouses.  Managing greenhouses and indoor infestations of whiteflies becomes a...
Pet-Proofing Your Backyard For Summer

Pet-Proofing Your Backyard For Summer

Summer is almost here, and if you’re making grand plans to spend time in your backyard, you need to start getting it in ship-shape. There are always plenty of jobs that can be done in your backyard, but one of the most important is pet-proofing it. Whether you have cats, dogs, chickens or anything else, your pets’ safety when outside is important. Need some help getting started? Here are some tips for pet-proofing your backyard for summer. Secure the premises The first thing you need to do to make your garden safe for pets is to check that all of your fencing is intact. This means going around and checking every panel to see if there are any damaged or loose panels, identifying gaps and putting everything right. You should also check the security of your gates and other doors in your backyard as the slightest weakness could open a door with an excited pooch coming at it! Even small gaps should be covered up – you never know what animals will try to get in from the other side. Clear up any hazards Your backyard has the potential to hold all kinds of hazards to your pets. From debris and equipment that can easily cause injury to pots and items that are easily knocked over, make sure you clear up and clear out anything that could be a hazard. Remember to do spot checks around your outdoor space, especially after entertaining – a stray glass bottle could easily lead to an injury for your pets. Treat the lawn Pets are inquisitive, especially in the garden where there are all kinds of new smells and other life to explore. But all of this exploration means that your pets could be at risk of picking up fleas, ticks and more – causing misery for both them and you. Stopa Landscaping & Tick Control can help keep your backyard pest-free, making you feel better when your pets go out to play. This should be a regular part of your backyard maintenance, so don’t leave this job off your to-do list. Choose your plants carefully While artificial hazards can cause several problems for your pests, there are some natural dangers that you also need to be wary of. Not all plants are pet-friendly, and curious cats and rummaging rabbits can soon find themselves getting sick if they encounter the wrong kind of plant. Many of the plants you might think are harmless might not be, so take the opportunity to educate yourself. Familiarize yourself with the best and worst flowers to plant for a pet-friendly garden and keep your animals safe when they’re outside. Your pets deserve to enjoy themselves as much as you do, so it’s important to create a safe outdoor environment for them. Pets can be unpredictable and curious, so even the most well-behaved of pets can find themselves getting into trouble in the backyard! Don’t take any chances, get your garden pet-proofed for the summer so that the whole family can enjoy some fun in the...
Everything You Need to Know About Succulents

Everything You Need to Know About Succulents

Cut flowers and potted flowers tend to have reigned supreme for years when it comes to flowers for property interiors. But succulents are rapidly growing in popularity and increasing numbers of us are beginning to add them to the list of plants that we want to incorporate into our homes. So, let’s take a moment to get to know them a little better! What Are Succulents? While many of us will be able to identify succulents apart from other plants in a crowd, relatively few of us actually know all too much about them. Put simply, succulents are plants that store water in their leaves. These leaves are generally thick and fleshy. Some genus of succulents have thicker and fleshier leaves than others. Sourcing Succulents There’s a seemingly endless variety of succulents on the market, so choosing the best for you can seem like a bit of a task. No matter what type of succulent you settle on, make sure to get them from a reliable supplier like Succulent Depot. This will ensure that you receive a high quality plant that isn’t damaged and stands the best chances of surviving and flourishing! Popular Succulents Some succulents tend to experience particular popularity. These include: Aloe vera – aloe vera has plenty of medicinal properties, but makes a great houseplant too! Its thick, pointed leaves tend to take on a green or greyish colour and some varieties have white spots. Roseum (Sedum spurium) – this pretty succulent has leaves that grow to look like a green, thick, rose. They only grow to about four to six inches tall, so are great for windowsills. Haworthia zebrina Zebra Plant (Haworthia) – you can easily see where a zebra plant gets its name. It’s green with white zebra stripes! It has particularly shallow roots, so can grow well in small pots. Jade Plant (Crassula ovata) – the Jade Plant is quite similar to a bonsai tree in the way that it grows and in its needs. It has a thick trunk and actually looks like a little tree. Its thick, shiny leaves grow in oval shapes. Some have a red colour at the tip of the leaf! Common Mistakes There are common mistakes that many people make when they start taking care of succulents. They’re easy mistakes to make, so be aware of them and then you can actively avoid them, keeping your succulents in the best condition possible! Insufficient Watering People tend to associate succulents with house cacti, as they’re generally small, green, potted, non-flowering plants. Like cacti, they also thrive in deserts. So, people tend to fall into the trap of thinking that they rarely have to water their succulents. But it’s important to remember that in the deserts where succulents naturally thrive, when it rains, it pours. Sure, succulents can survive long droughts, but they do need water to store in their leaves and make use of over time. When it comes to watering your succulents, it’s a good idea to try to imitate the rainfall in their natural habitat. Give them occasional soakings until the water starts to drain from the bottom of the pot. This will ensure that their soil is sufficiently wet. Then, leave them until the soil is completely dry until soaking again. Placing them in a poorly lit area Seeing as succulents naturally thrive in the desert, it makes sense that they like to be in brightly lit areas where they are exposed to the sun. They’re used to being exposed to the boiling hot sun for twelve hours a day! Sure, you might think that aesthetically they look great in a particular spot in your home, but if that spot happens to be in the shade, you really should rethink. Try to place them in the sunniest window your home has. South-facing windows tend to be best! Using the wrong potting soil Standard potting soil isn’t the best for succulents. Again, bear in mind their natural habitat. They’ve evolved to anchor themselves into desert sands, so all-round soil really isn’t going to cut it. Your succulents should come in soil that is appropriate for them. Sure, there’s a lot more to know about succulents. But hopefully, the above information has helped to familiarize you with the basics and should help you to take good care of any that you invest...
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