9 Tips For Keeping Your Garden in Tip-Top Condition

9 Tips For Keeping Your Garden in Tip-Top Condition

It seems like we can spend a long time working on our garden, and then, when it’s all finished, we only have a small amount of time to enjoy the fruits of our labor before things are beginning to look, well, a little less perfect than they did when everything was fresh and new. But good news: you don’t have to settle for a garden that you’re less than happy with. It’s all about taking those small steps and making sure it’s kept in tip-top condition. We take a look at nine useful tips below. Do Your Homework Everything will stay in excellent condition for longer if they were right for your garden in the first place. During the planning stages make sure you’re reading as much as you can about plants, fertilizers, and correct placement for the various aspects of your garden – it’ll serve you well in the long run. Like most things in life, knowledge is power! If you’re putting things in the ground that really shouldn’t be there, then you can’t have too many complaints if they later turn out to give you more problems than they were worth. Make It Part Of Your Routine Your garden isn’t going to look after itself. That’s your job! To prevent things from getting too out of hand, you just have to do one simple thing – make it part of your routine. It’s much easier to spend ten minutes each day making sure that your garden has everything it needs rather than waiting until things are too far gone before you do get up out of the hammock and do something about it. If it’s a dry season, that small amount of time you put into watering the plants will make all the difference. Get Rid of Those Weeds It’s not just about making sure that the things you’ve already got are thriving. It’s about keeping the things that you don’t want part of your garden out. Take weeds, for example. They’re harmless enough, and often begin so small that you don’t notice much of a difference. But after time, they’ll become all-consuming; your garden will look slightly off, but you won’t be able to tell exactly what’s wrong. It’s those pesky weeds! Get rid of them before they have much of a chance to grow – it’ll save you from having a big clean-up job later on down the line. Review and Update Regularly Your garden isn’t static. You’ve got living, growing things. So just through the course of its life, it’s going to change. But is it moving in a direction that’s beneficial to the overall health of your garden? You’ll only know if you’re keeping an eye on how things are progressing. Maintaining a garden is all about making subtle adjustments that’ll help the garden to flourish. Pay close attention, and update as and when you deem necessary. Keep Out Unwanted Wildlife You’re not the only living thing that has an interest in your garden. The wildlife that surrounds your house does, too. That wildlife doesn’t see an expertly curated garden; they see enough meals to last them for months on end, and you better believe they’re going to seize any opportunities that they’re given. You can help protect your vulnerable plants (plus any vegetables you may be growing) by adding deer fencing to your garden. It’s a subtle addition that could make all the difference when it comes to the health of your outdoor space. An Eye on the Kids And hey, you know as well as we do that your kids sometimes act more like animals than they do humans! As such, it might be worthwhile having a little chat with them about the need to be careful when they’re playing in the garden, lest they start stomping around everywhere and crush all of your plants. Of course, kids will be kids, so maybe think about having a designated play area in which they can play. Plus, it’s much easier to get away with spending long hours tending to your garden if you’re able to keep a watchful eye on your little ones at the same time. Get Rid of Debris A lot of debris can find its way into your garden, especially during the fall and winter months. There are all those leaves for starters, but they’re not the biggest concern – on windy days, you can end up with plenty of trash and other items that have no place in your beautiful garden. If you see something, pick it up (this is also useful advice for when you’re out in public, too!) – it’s much easier to tidy as you go rather than wait until the fine weather is back. That trash will only have nestled itself into a tight corner somewhere, out of sight. Nip Any Problems in the Bud There are some problems that can emerge from a garden. Perhaps the biggest threat to your garden – not to mention your home – are falling branches. These can crush whole beds of plants and vegetables, and also cause significant damage to the structure of your home. Every now and again, it’s good practice to survey the branches around your home and make sure that they’re alive and well, and not susceptible to breaking away, especially during a thunderstorm. Keep Your Furniture Indoors Don’t forget that you’re not just enjoying your garden from afar; you’re going to be spending time in it, too. As such, it’s a good idea to invest in high-quality outdoor furniture, and then take steps to protect and preserve that furniture. Bring it indoors completely during fall and winter, and make sure that you’ve got a proper cover for it during the summer. Getting your garden to the standard you want it to be is not easy, but keeping it at that level is easy, if you follow the steps we’ve outlined above. This contributed post may contain affiliate...
Planning A Garden Party

Planning A Garden Party

It seems like only yesterday that the chill of winter had sunk its teeth into our beloved gardens, rendering them cold and barren. However, spring is well and truly here and as we settle into June most of us have already put in the hard work and elbow grease of getting our gardens spring ready and are now getting ready to enjoy the explosions of warmth, color and scent that come with the summer. The summer is the perfect time to reap the fruits of your labors (literally if you’re growing food in your garden) and spend some relaxing and emotionally nourishing time alone with your own little slice of nature’s bounty. But then, you ponder, it’d be selfish to keep such a wonderful garden all to myself. As summer draws near, now is the perfect time to invite family, friends and neighbors over for a garden party. What could be more enjoyable than the prospect of great food, refreshing drinks, fun and laughter in the company of your nearest and dearest? It’s a wonderful idea, but one which can quickly sour if the event is not planned to perfection.  The prospect of hosting a garden party may be a little intimidating if you’ve never hosted one before, but while there are certainly potential pitfalls, they can be easily managed. With a little preparation and imagination, you could throw a party that not only wows your guests but provides the perfect showcase for your beautiful garden… It’s all about the planning It’s an age old adage that’s applicable to more or less everything… “failing to prepare is preparing to fail”. Impromptu events can be a lot of fun but by and large, the more time you have to prepare, the more enjoyable and manageable the occasion. Thus, you should establish a guest list and get your invites out well in advance of your proposed date. You can either design your own from scratch or use one of these lovely templates. It might also be a good idea to create a Facebook group so that you can manage your guests effectively. Some hostesses like to add a sense of fun and theatricality to proceedings by choosing a theme. Blogs, magazines and of course Pinterest are great resources for planning a theme that will give your party its own look and feel and help it to stand out in people’s minds. Prep today so that you can enjoy tomorrow Planning will make all the difference between making your party an enjoyable summer event and a stressful nightmare that you’d rather forget. Two days before your event it’s a good idea to send a message to your Facebook event group, enabling you to create a final guest list. This will allow you to purchase just the right amount of food while allowing you to manage your guests effectively. You don’t want anyone going hungry or having to ration food among your guests but you don’t want to be up to your elbows in festering leftovers for the next week and a half either.  When it comes to catering, this is a perfect opportunity to wow your guests with a selection of seasonal canapes which will delight your guests’ taste buds. If you can source as many ingredients as possible from your own garden this can provide the perfect talking point for guests. Our British friend Jamie Oliver has some impressive yet delightfully easy recipes for these. Of course, you don’t have to stress yourself out by having to become a master of the culinary arts in a matter of days. Keeping things simple but making sure they’re done right is always a useful approach. It will also ensure that your nibbles cater to  a broad range of palettes and ensure that fussy eaters are well catered for. If you’re nervous about the prospect of catering for a large group of people, do not despair. Bring and share parties are a way of easing some of the pressure placed on busy hostesses, allowing them to pay more attention to the little details which will give your event personality and pizzaz. If you choose to do this, however, just make sure that you communicate with your guests beforehand to make sure everyone knows who’s bringing what. You don’t want to spend weeks wading in potato salad. Cater for everyone If you’re firing up the barbecue (and why wouldn’t you on a summer’s day) just remember that a lot of people today eschew meat and animal products for health and ethical reasons. Likewise some of your guests may suffer from dairy or gluten intolerance or celiac disease. Make sure that your guests let you know of their dietary restrictions well in advance so that you can ensure that everyone has a full plate without offending their sensibilities or condemning them to an evening of crippling stomach pain.   Transforming your garden Anyone can lay on some nibbles and drinks in a well maintained garden.  A sense of theatricality and adventure can make a huge difference in making your event stand out in the minds of guests. Transforming your garden needn’t even be a huge undertaking. Often, a few design flourishes are all that it takes to transform your garden. Using LED rope lights is a great way of adding sparkle and dazzle to your garden while also marking out different zones for guests or even drawing special attention to your horticultural masterpieces. You can also create a magical area while cordoning off no-go areas or lending a sense of dazzle to dull or drab areas with LED curtain lights. When the sun retreats and the garden goes cold, burning some dried logs in a  fire pit will add a touch of romance along with a sense of visual wonderment! But give your guests a space to cool off! If your guests will be in the sun all day, it might be a good idea to give them a place to cool off under some shade...
Creating Privacy for Overlooked Gardens

Creating Privacy for Overlooked Gardens

When looking for a new home, outside space is often high on the list of priorities. Nothing’s worse than not being able to get out in nature when the sun’s shining.  It can be all the more devastating when you have an overlooked garden that you don’t use. It might have been half of the reason you bought that house, but you feel as though there are eyes on you every time you step outside. Before you know it, that back door stays shut all year round, and the lawn you paid so much for goes to waste. It’s a terrible truth, but a reality that many of us face, particularly in built-up areas. Whether your neighbors are nosy or not, the mere fact that they could see everything may be enough to put you off. But, instead of wasting the space, it might be time to get your thinking cap on and consider the ways you can increase privacy. In truth, this isn’t always easy.  But, it’s a step worth taking if it means you and your family can get outside once and for all. And, to help you get started, we’re going to look at a few fantastic options for increasing your feelings of privacy. Install sturdy barricades On a communal street, installing sturdy barricades can feel a little like drawing battle lines. As such, many of us make do with revealing iron fences or wooden options littered with holes. After all, you can’t pop out for a chat with the neighbor if you install a sturdy and robust alternative. But, if you find you avoid going outside because of privacy breaches and the need to chat, take action. This is your garden, after all, and it’s essential you feel comfortable using the space. That means setting whichever barriers work best for you. The most obvious option here would be a high and stable fence which is free of holes. And, companies like Fort Worth could have you covered on that front. Obviously, you don’t want something which blocks the light or becomes an eyesore. But, opting for a fence just that bit too tall for you neighbor to see over could do the trick here.  If a fence doesn’t appeal to you, you can use of hedges instead. In many ways these are a fantastic way to use greenery for privacy. What’s more, hedges appear much less standoffish, so this could be the way to go if you don’t want to offend neighbors. Bear in mind that, as well as settling on this option, you’ll need to decide on a hedge type.  Choose the right plants Plants are also crucial when it comes to privacy. After all, a bare lawn will always feel more exposed than a garden full of flowers. So, get out those gardening gloves and start planting. Obviously, we’re not talking about planting trees around your garden boundaries. While these would be best at keeping you private, they would also block all your light.  Instead, turn to some more subtle options for providing natural screens. Perhaps the main plant that comes to mind here is bamboo. This fast-growing plant is tall, pretty, and (best of all) creates privacy. What’s more, bamboo is a very low-maintenance plant. The only thing to look out for here is that it can spread fast and soon get out of control if the wrong varieties are planted. There are other fast-growing creeper plants which could serve you just as well. Something like climbing roses can grow to two to four metres tall and will look fantastic on your fence. What’s more, they have a long flowering season, and flower in clusters. The only downside here is that they become sparse in the winter months.  Detect hidden areas  Most yards at least have hidden corners where no one can see what’s going on. And, if this is the case for you, you could always make use of these areas. Why not set up a patio here which ensures you can at least have some private time outside? You could even increase that feeling of being hidden with a lower-level in your garden, or by installing an overhead roof. While this won’t help with the rest of your garden, it will at least give you some respite.  As you can see, there’s no need to suffer on in silence. There are endless numbers of tips and tricks to improving your garden privacy. And, the vast majority of them don’t even need that much garden know-how.    This contributed post may contain affiliate...
How to Help Your Lawn Look Its Best This Summer

How to Help Your Lawn Look Its Best This Summer

If you would like to impress your guests this summer and make your garden look amazing then now is the time to focus on your lawn. This greenery is a great space for kids and pets to run around, but  – if not looked after – it can turn into a depressive green and brown patch. To make the most out of your garden space this summer, you should look after your lawn to look its best. Below you’ll find a few tips on getting started. Get Rid of Weeds Before you start organizing your garden and tidying up your yard, it is important to look out for the signs of damage. In the winter when the ground had little or no chance to dry out, moss might have started to grow in your lawn, and it is hard to kill. Before you get in the routine of mowing your lawn, rake the area and try to get rid of any buildup or debris.  Give it Air In the winter, the soil under your lawn may become packed and hard, making it hard for the new seeds to germinate. Using a rake or a machine,  give your soil some texture and space. You might use a lawn aerator to make your job easier. This will help you cover the patches faster and your seeds germinate better.  Strong Seeds The variety of grass you are using determines your success. Choose the type that is good for your soil type and use. Hard wearing grass can be a great option for you if you regularly hold garden parties or have a dog and kids who love playing in the garden. One of the best varieties you can choose is Sir Walter Buffalo that can withstand drought and extreme heat, as well as frost. Look After Your Borders Your borders matter, and they can define your garden’s shape. Before you start cutting your grass, you will have to make sure that your grass is not grown over your patio or your paving slabs, so you can prevent that unorganized and messy look. If you have flower beds on the side of the garden, you might want to get some bedding borders  to keep the lawn at bay. Feed It Throughout the summer you will have to feed your lawn to stay healthy. Instead of using synthetic fertilizers, you can get feeding water that can be mixed in your watering can. Rainwater is always better than hard tap water, so if you have the facilities to collect it, use it to water your lawn and plants as well this summer. While the grass is usually greener on the other side of the fence, this year you can change the game. Look after your lawn and it can help you enjoy your garden more in the summer. This contributed post may contain affiliate...
DIY Backyard Gardening Ideas for Kids 

DIY Backyard Gardening Ideas for Kids 

I am happy to share this article on DIY gardening ideas for kids by Tom Graham of the Yard and Garden Guru. Now is the time to start thinking about fun projects to get your little ones excited about gardening for the summer. Tom shares several easy projects to inspire you and your children for the coming months.  Do you have a favorite gardening idea for kids? Let us hear about it below! Gardening Ideas for Kids The growing season is well and indeed upon us, and parents aim to get their kids outside more instead of playing on electronic gadgets all day. The question parents are faced with is how to entice kids outside and come up with gardening ideas for kids to enjoy. DIY is the answer, and now everyone is into gardening, parents can combine the two and come up with some ideas for their kids to make and grow. Try these backyard gardening ideas for kids to get the little ones in your life outdoors this summer.  Tomato Planters  This is super easy for kids to make and once their tomatoes begin growing, they’ll be so proud of their achievement. All it takes is some empty plastic drinking water bottles, some twine, potting soil and some tomato starter plants.   With some supervision, the kids can cut the bottoms off the bottles, and then four holes need to be punched on each side. Four pieces of twine are fed through and fastened together at the top. Once this is done, carefully feed the starter plant through the hole of the bottle, so the leaves hang outside. From here they are filled with potting soil and watered, and now you only have to find a nail to hang them on.  Homemade Sprinkler  You won’t find this on any garden vegetable list of things to buy, but get the children making one, and it sure is handy when you want to water your veggies.   All the kids need is a sturdy plastic bottle, a garden hose that can be connected to the outside faucet, waterproof tape (Tyvek or similar) and a drill. Under supervision get the kids to drill some holes along the top half of the bottle and then tape the hose into the neck of the bottle.  Once that’s done stand back, and you have a sprinkler which is ideal for the garden and won’t waterlog your veggie patch as easy.  Kid–Sized Raised Bed  These are super easy to make, and your kids can have an entire area to themselves. With very few materials they can be growing their own veggies in a matter of no time.  Materials needed are 1 or 2 lengths of wooden decking (not pressure treated), potting soil, compost or manure and some seedlings which are ready to plant.  The simple steps are to cut the decking into 2 long lengths and two shorter lengths. Around 4 feet by 2 feet is more than ideal. All you do then is place it where your kids wish to grow and fill it up with soil. This is a fantastic way to teach children how to start a vegetable garden from scratch.   With some dug in compost your kids can take the seedlings, and dot them around the raised bed, and they are off. With some watering and TLC, they will be proud of anything when their veggies are ripe for harvest.  Kids DIY Milk Carton Herb Gardens  This is one DIY gardening idea for kids while the weather isn’t the best outside. All they need are some safety scissors and old milk cartons which have been washed.  The hardest part is cutting one side off the carton, and from their, all they need to do is fill with potting soil and plant their herbs.   These are a fantastic way of recycling and bringing the garden indoors. Placed in bright windows, you can have fresh herbs for the kitchen thanks to your kid’s DIY project which is scattered around the home.  The good thing about these is it will teach the kids how to tend to things, a little watering and as much sun as they can get and your kids will love their new creations.  There are many ways the kids can get involved with DIY projects in the garden, and as you can see from the sprinkler, not all of them need to be with growing veggies.  They can make or build lots of things which will be helpful in the garden during the growing season. All you need is a little ingenuity and guidance to the little ones.  For the bigger kids, they can tackle full sized gardening projects which will keep them out of mischief over the summer. There are plenty of natural vegetables to grow where kids can take charge.  Larger tomatoes planters are great to stand or hang in sunny locations. Hanging baskets are merely a larger version of the recycled water bottle idea.  No matter what the kids build, they will be learning something very new and something which as they get older can be very, very useful. Now is the time to start planning and get the gardening ideas for kids started for a successful summer garden.  About the Author Tim Graham is a blogger over at YardandGardenGuru.com where he writes about his passions in life yard care, gardening and the outdoors. Outside of this Tim usually finds himself knee-deep in lawn clippings, weeds, and grandchildren. Website: http://yardandgardenguru.com/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/YardandGardenGuru/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/timgraham45 Pinterest: https://pinterest.com/yardandgardeng/...
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