Hydroponic Basics, Hydroponics

Garden Design Trends



 

Garden Design Trends

We’re at the start of a new year and with it comes a new set of trends for your lawn and garden. Trends are influenced through innovation and efficiency. Experts are always experimenting and implementing lawn and garden ideas that better sustain structure while providing a cosmetically perfect landscape.

Effective Drainage Solutions is Essential

Drainage systems will forever be the trend that continues even after 2022 and into 2023. Effective landscape drainage keeps the appropriate amount of moisture in your garden while draining all the excess water away. French Drain systems are the nuts and bolts to most drainage systems in gardens, lawns, and patios.

Another option to improving drainage efficiency is trench drains. Trench drains usually rest at the edge of pathways, patios, and even gardens. Landscape professionals use them in combination with French Drain systems as well. If you’re aiming for landscape cosmetics, consider digging a trench drain made of large river rock or gravel rock (spalls). These trenches provide a natural look that blends into the culture of the landscape while ensuring no standing water can damage your garden.

Using Greenery

You can never go wrong with installing something green in your garden beds. Evergreen shrubs and small trees will color your garden throughout the year.

  • Mondo Grass – These plants are usually installed as a border on the edge of garden beds or a ground cover to absorb a deluge of water. Mondo Grass is great for rain gardens and pathways. They do require maintenance due to their rapidly spreading roots. Be prepared to remove them from areas where you don’t need them.

  • Boxwoods – Like the grasses, boxwoods can serve as borders as well. Landscapers will plant them in proximity of each other. Overtime, their small branches will connect to neighboring shrubs which eventually create one large hedge. Or you can spread them out. Introduce boxwoods to annuals and perennials to keep color in the gardens all year.

Hop Poles in a Garden

Hop trellis designs are common among those that farm their own food or food for the masses, but you can use hop poles like any trellis you buy from home improvement retailers. Twine any vine around garden wire to influence the plants to grow in spaces between neighboring hop poles. As vines (blooming vine, fruit, or vegetable) grow, allow them to hang. The natural, hanging garden expresses an exotic design to decks, pergolas, and trellis.

Stone Pathways: Constructed and Loose

Pathways all depend on your budget. Constructed stone pathways, such as the kind you see with specialized brick or spalls, are long lasting. Pressure wash constructed pathways every year to keep grime from deteriorating the surface of constructed pathways. Loose stone or rock pathways are more cost efficient. They require less labor but requires the same amount of precision to make a leveled pathway. Loose stone pathways wash away overtime and need to be replenished with fresh stone or pebbles every six months or so.

Prepare the Gardens for Next Season

As you plan to install plants for the next season, prepare your garden beds. You can do this with various methods.

  • Extract Leaves – If you live in an area where an abundant of trees are, prepare to manage the leaves that fall. Throughout the Fall and Winter, extract these leaves to keep your garden bed clear. Extracting leaves can deter bothersome insects like ticks and mosquitos.

  • Mulch Leaves – Leaves in shaded areas can fight off weeds. Mulch them up with lawn mower and spread them around the garden beds.

  • Soil Testing – Have your soil tested. Minerals from rain and other plants can cause different reactions to the soil bringing forth fungi and bacteria that disrupts the pH balance of the soil. In addition, do the same for your lawn.

Implementing the Trends

For enthusiasts and homeowners, consult landscape professionals for constructing brick and spall pathways. Get the advice of your local nursery to see what plants go well with hop poles. Also, vine harvesting farmers are familiar with hop poles and how to use them in any garden.

Take advantage of native plants. See what green plants are versatile in your local area. Local plants fend off harsh weather conditions and survive flood waters better. And of course, don’t forget an effective drainage system. You don’t want your garden beds to saturated with water. Hopefully now you have a better idea of current garden design trends so you can have yours looking like it should be on the cover of better homes and garden!

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Gardening, Gardening How to

12 Ways to Prepare Your Garden for Winter

12 Ways to Prepare Your Garden for Winter

The cold conditions associated winter months can devastate your garden plants. Shrubs and perennials can suffer and diseases may spread to annihilate your garden. Besides, you cannot give your best to the garden due to the chills and rains common during winter. Only by preparing adequately can you get your garden through winter so that it blossoms and looks better during spring. Here are 12 ways to prepare your garden for winter.

1. Leave Your Plants Alone

Leave the vegetables and flowers in your garden in place to die back on their own just like it happens in nature.  The leaves and stems of the dead plants cover the soil. As plants decompose, nutrients will return to the soil and their root systems. The improved soil fertility makes the garden ready for spring. Do this only if you do not care about aesthetics during the off season.

2. Clean Paving and Paths 

There will be lots of dry leaves and debris once the trees are bare. Get rid of them while everything is still crisp and dry. Also, clean your pavement thoroughly with hot water and scrub with stiff brush before the frost sets in. This will reduce slipperiness of the paving and make it safer during the wet months. A good alternative to scrubbing is to give your pavement and paths a blast of pressurized water.

3. Tend To Your Trees and Shrubs 

Prune any misshapen limbs and branches on your shrubs to improve their shape. You can also give your hedges trim if necessary just before the frost arrives. Get rid of diseased, dead, and destroyed branches to your trees. This prevents stems from rubbing against one another and forming deformities or wounds. You can look for trees with brightly colored barks to give your garden a facelift during the winter months.

4. Take Care of Your Borders

If you have herbaceous perennials in your border, cut them back as close to the ground as possible as they start to die down. Also get rid annuals that have completed their growth cycle. Clean your borders by getting rid of any dead leaves, foliage and weeds.

Clip the edges of your lawn and used items from your perennials. However, spare anything with beautiful and attractive seed heads. The latter will look breathtaking in frosted state. Also spare deciduous grasses. You can leave them till February since their dead leaves protect the crown of such grasses.

Empty your compost bins of their rotten contents. Spread the contents over the fresh soil to make it ready for the spring. The compost will also make the soil more attractive during the deficient winter months. In all you do, ensure you broaden your borders by using an edging iron.

5. Repairs Structures In The Garden 

You probably will not be able to do any repairs on your garden structures during the colder months. Therefore, do it before the frost sets in. Cutting down your structural shrubs, trees and borders will give you access to your garden structures. Perform the maintenance required on your fencing, farmhouse, ponds, water features, and greenhouse. Pay more attention on any pest infestations or decaying timber. Initiate appropriate corrective measures immediately.

6. Clean Your Pond And Other Water Features 

Use a net to temporarily cover your pond and other water features during the fall. This will prevent the pond or water feature from clogging up with foliage.  In case you have not cleaned such establishment for a while and it begins to look murky, late autumn is the best time to tidy it as many creatures begin to go dormant. If fish resides in the pond, ensure the water surface does not freeze over completely. A good way to ensure this does not happen is to place a floating object such as a pneumatic ball.

7. Cushion Your Plants 

Tender species such as palms, agapanthus, or cannas are more susceptible to the negative effects of frost. Move the pots and containers planted with these species into your greenhouse or conservatory for the winter months. If the tender species are planted on the ground, wrap horizontal fleece around their trunks. Spread a thick mulch of tree bark around the base of the delicate plants to cushion them from frost.

Lift bare-foot the deciduous shrubs, trees and roses and replant them just before mid-March.  Similarly, lift by root balling the rest of your garden plants especially the coniferous and evergreens. You need to do these appropriately if your plants are to survive the harsh winter months.

8. Prepare Your Lawn

Use a scarifying rake to remove moss and thatch from your lawn. This will allow it to breathe and grow freely. Having large moss on your green space is evidence of poor drainage. If that’s the case, improve the drainage with lawn spike aerator. Without an aerator, a standard garden fork will also do a decent job. Combining aeration with a commercial autumn lawn feed and moss killer products will completely eliminate moss infestation.

9. Grow Spring-Flowering Bulbs

Grow your favorite spring-flowering bulbs just before it freezes. These plants require well-drained and well-fed soil. Therefore, dig in huge quantities of sharp sand and a little of bone meal for slow release of nutrients to feed the bulbs over extended periods.

Use the correct spacing when planting the bulbs. Experts say you should plant bulbs at 2-3 times the depth of the variety of the bulb. Spacing should also be 2-3 times the width of the variety of the bulb you plant. Planting a single variety of bulbs in a drift will guarantee you more magical and dramatic effect.

10. Mulch As Much As You Can

If you cannot put a cover crop for any reason, it would be a good idea to mulch as much as possible to protect your plants from frost. Doing this will possibly protect some pests. That’s fine because mulching will also protect the predators of such pests as well as some other organisms vital to the quality of the soil.

The best mulch to use is plant leaves which are readily available during the autumn. Use a standard garden rake to collect the dried leaves from your green space or elsewhere. Leaves from native plants are better suited because they are not moisture-retaining. If you only have moisture-retaining leaves, make leaf-mold or compost them.

11. Pay Attention To Snow 

It is hard to imagine the devastation extended periods of heavy snow can do to the plants in your garden. The best thing you can do to your plants to ensure they survive the cold winter weather is to knock off the snow from their leaves. This simple act can help prevent severe damage and even the possible fatalities that might befall the plants. Remain vigil when snow begins to form.

12. Create winter color and greenery 

Everything may appear white during winter, but your garden does not have to be the same. You garden can still be exciting and interesting and protected at the same time. A good way is to incorporate a few architectural green shrubs such as Phormium tenax. This will add some structure together with your deciduous shrubs such as midwinter fire (Cornus sanguine). It will also enlighten winter border with picturesque stems that are flame-colored.

Additionally, you can fill your garden containers with winter polyanthus, pansies and violas. Fill each pot with a single species. For even better results, partner these plants with perennials, evergreen grasses, bulbs and shrubs.

Conclusion

Your garden does not have to be dormant during winter. You can keep it attractive and alive by using the above ways to prepare your garden for winter. Without proper preparation, the extreme temperatures in winter can devastate your garden forcing you to start a new with the beginning of spring. With proper preparation, your garden will look great and blossom during spring. Now you have 12 Ways to Prepare Your Garden for Winter.

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Gardening, Gardening How to

Fiskars Axe Review



Fiskars Axe Reviews

When splitting wood, it is vital that you get the most out of the axe so that you're using the least amount of energy to split the wood. Its an essential part of wood processing that makes wood splitting simpler and easier. It also allows the wood to season much quickly by enabling air to penetrate all sides of the wood. Few brands are more accomplished than Fiskars when it comes to the production of splitting axes. The following Fiskars axe review is a testament to the quality and performance of two excellent splitting axes and splitting mauls currently in the market.

Fiskars X27 Super Splitting Axe, 36-Inch – The Best Fiskars Splitting Axe Review

 

Make every swing count with this extreme power axe. The Fiskars X27 36" axe is one axe that can allow you to split wood with much deeper chops and more single-swing cuts thanks to its performance-oriented design, features, and specifications. Here are a few of the highlights of the X27.

Nearly Unbreakable Axe

This axe is fitted with a unique fiber composite handle that is both lightweight and stronger than steel making the axe nearly unbreakable. The composite handle is not only durable, but also ergonomically comfortable so that you can use it for longer periods of time with less fatigue. The whole insert-molded head contributes to the resistance of the axe to break due to impact  and other influences. The handle will not break even if you do not use the right technique to swing, unlike other models.

Quality and Performance-Oriented Blade Design

The Fiskars X27 36" axe steel head blade is engineered with a proprietary grinding technology that delivers a sharper edge for better contact and cleaner cuts. Furthermore, the blade includes a low-friction coating that protects it and ensures it stays sharper for longer. The surface also helps the blade to power through wood and prevents the head from being stuck. The sharpness of the edge and the coating are the reasons behind the high efficiency of this garden tool.

Great Power at Impact

The Fiskars X27 36" axe brings together perfect weight distribution with advanced blade geometry, durable handle design, and ultra-sharp edge to deliver incredible power at the impact. That means one swing with minimal effort and the wood will explode apart. It is obvious that some logs are more laborious to split than others, but this splitting axe easily splits the majority of the woods that you will come across.

Think of this splitting axe as an aluminum baseball bat. The perfect weight distribution provides a maximum power-to-weight ratio that improves swing speed to multiply power. The X27’s head features a unique convex steel blade that is much heavier and larger than other models in its class yet feels lighter than you would expect.

Long and Comfortable Handle

The 36-inch X27 handle enables you to apply more force with every swing than what an equal amount of effort will deliver with a shorter handle axe. This handle length makes the tool an ideal choice for taller individuals. The handle also features a non-slip grip at the end and a vibration-absorbing chamber. That means you will not feel each wood fiber giving away as you chop.

Pros

  • Well made tool for splitting wood effortlessly and with efficiency

  • Strong, durable and nearly unbreakable​​​​

  • Very easy to control and use

  • Comfortable and ergonomic non-slip handle

  • Lightweight but powerful for one-strike splits

Cons

  • The X27 super splitter 36-inch handle is only ideal for taller users​​​​​

  • It may not work well with knottier wood pieces


The Fiskars Iso Core 8lb Maul Review 

 

The Iso Core maul from Fiskars is the axe of choice for hardcore wood splitting. The maul is so named because it features Fiskars patented Iso Core Shock system designed to reduce shock and vibration by two times. The rugged, powerful maul is one of a kind that will help you take on tough wood splitting projects while helping to minimize joint pain and muscle fatigue. Several features provide for the great performance of this splitting maul.

A Dual Purpose Forged Steel Head

Unlike the Fiskars X27 that features only the splitting face, the Iso Core maul is dual purpose. It features forged premium steel head with a splitting face for wood part and a driving face for which you can use to drive wedges. Alternatively, you can strike the driving face with another tool during splitting to help for the wedge. The dual-purpose head makes the tool extremely versatile. The steel head features a rust-resistant coating.

Performance-Driven Head Design

The Iso Core splitting maul features optimized blade geometry that provides better penetration and blasts stubborn logs apart. The whole riveted head is designed to prevent it from sliding down or snapping off even when you have to swing with maximum force. Furthermore, the driving face can be hit with another object to boost log splitting further to ensure even the knottiest logs do not stand a chance.

Performance Handle Design

This survival tool has a dual-layer handle that presents a uniquely engineered amalgamation of insulating materials to dampen any lingering vibration as well as sleeve reinforced with steel to help protect the maul against over strike damage. The Iso Core maul features handle flares designed to keep the tool firmly in your hands when swinging to avoid accidents. An insulation sleeve is designed to capture the initial strike shock before it can reach your hands allowing you to work for long periods without fatigue.

The Fiskars yet-to-be-patented strategic handle texturing presents large dimples in the resting places of your fingers for optimal grip and small dimples where the palm rests to prevent the formation of blisters. Furthermore, the Soft grip handle provides a sculptured profile to fit the natural shape of your hand for better ergonomics.

Pros

  • Patented IsoCore shock system guarantees extra comfort and minimal body strain

  • Dual purpose head provides for versatile operation

  • Inseparable riveted head means the minimal chance of breakage and guaranteed durability

  • Softgrip handle designed to create closer profile to fit your hand ergonomically

  • Handle flares provide for additional security

  • Come with full lifetime warranty reflecting Fiskars’ unwavering confidence with the tool

Cons

  • Not as aesthetically appealing as the more traditional splitting mauls​​​​

  • May not be as balanced as Fiskars X27 Super Splitting axe and a few others in its class

  • The handle (36-inches) may be too long for shorter individuals

Conclusion

It is possible to find a dependable axe that can deliver the best when it comes to wood processing for the fireplace. These tools may not look sophisticated but they feature performance and quality-oriented designs that give them an upper hand when it comes to wood splitting. Both are easy to use and they are gentle on your hands meaning you can use them even for the hardest wood splitting jobs without discomfort or fatigue. Take time and check them out. I guess you will love either or both of them. Thank you for taking the time to read my Fiskars Axe review. Share it with someone who will need it.

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