Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Benefits Of Artificial Grass

Artificial grass, known by its more common name as Astroturf, is an increasingly popular choice of surface for many homes, schools, sport centers, and businesses. It's taken a while for Astroturf to transcend its reputation as a badly colored, coarse, and kitschy replacement for natural grass, but the product has improved significantly over the years. Astroturf isn't going to be replacing everyone's lawns in the near future, nor should it, but it does have many practical applications.

When natural grass simply becomes too expensive in terms of money or time, it might be wise to consider a synthetic substitute. Astroturf is especially viable if the area is subject to heavy use and maintaining a consistent surface with a natural lawn has become difficult. If that's the case, consider how artificial turf might improve the area in question.

Synthetic turf removes the normal upkeep requirements of a natural turf surface, including mowing, reseeding, spraying pesticide and herbicides, etc. Over time, products and services needed to maintain normal turf can become quite expensive, especially taking into consideration the machines and fuel necessary for large areas of grass.

Despite the initial feelings of athletes and their fans that Astroturf was an unacceptable replacement for natural grass, synthetic turf has become used most frequently in athletic centers where growing natural grass is unfeasible. This stigma arose from very early Astroturf, which was coarse, abrasive, and much harder than a natural surface. The athletes and others felt that such artificial surfaces made them more prone to injury, considering the amount of contact that they have with the ground.

However, newer artificial turf doesn't have these problems. In fact, many brands of artificial grass are specifically designed to work for sport, and especially designed to minimize skin abrasion from sliding during normal athletic activities. These systems are usually called 'filled' turf, which means that sand or some other soft material is installed in the fibers to provide a less harsh impact.

There are a number of popular applications for both home and business use. These smaller scale implementations of Astroturf include achieving an ideal, always well-maintained looking garden area, putting greens, play areas for children, and kenneling areas for dogs or other animals. The possibilities are really only limited by imagination.

Newer artificial turf is both permeable and weed-proof, giving the best of both worlds for non-natural product. In terms of pet care, the artificial grass can be cleaned like normal grass, but then rinsed off for easy cleaning. The water will just flow through the surface and into the ground. The Astroturf is installed over several layers of protective material, however, so you shouldn't find weeds growing up through the top.

There are a variety of colors and lengths to take into consideration for a purchase of artificial grass. None will look as real as natural grass, but the synthetic substitutes still look presentable, and with the amount of choices it's almost inexcusable if someone can't find a color they're fond of. Despite it's durability, however, Astroturf won't last forever. Find a dealer and a brand that will give a solid warrantee to maximize the product's lifetime.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Ecofriendly Design & Construction: Improving Home Design

The way that buildings are designed and constructed has much to do with how much water and energy they use. Thus, utilizing ecofriendly design & construction can minimize a house's effect on the environment and can make it eco-friendly. Designing homes to be sustainable can significantly help the environment. Proper architectural drawings are needed.

The way that a building is shaded can significantly affect its energy usage. If a house is faced north, it can have maximum shading during summer and more sunlight during winter. Also, utilizing shades over windows can help keep heat and glare from coming into a home. This can reduce the energy used for heating and cooling a house, as the home will have a more stable temperature. Drafting can help reduce temperatures during summer.

If you use solar panels for your home's energy source you can significantly reduce your impact on the environment. Solar power does not create harmful emissions and it is entirely sustainable. There are ways to utilize both solar power and other forms of energy so that a home has power throughout the year.

New heat-trapping windows can prevent heat from getting into or out of a building. These windows use a new type of glazing that, like shading, can reduce the heat of a house during summer and increase it during winter. When sealed, the windows can reduce energy costs because the home stays at a more stable temperature so that the air conditioning and heater do not need to be used as much.

Eco-friendly homes always make use out of water-efficient appliances. While somewhat faulty in the past (as they did not provide the same quality of experience that less water-efficient appliances did), they are now very effective. Now water-efficient shower heads have a great amount of pressure and low flush toilets work the first time (they do not need to be flushed more than once).

In a house, insulation serves a purpose similar to heat-trapping windows. It keeps a house warm in the winter and cool in the summer by keeping outdoor weather from seeping into the house. Without insulation a home is prone to the elements, which can significantly drive up energy costs for heating and cooling. Thus, insulation is a great investment for an eco-friendly development.

Xeriscaping is a type of landscaping that should be used for every new, eco-friendly garden. It utilizes plants that are appropriate for the region. This means that they work well with their natural surroundings. Also, plants used for xeriscaping are often plants that do not need much water. Traditional lawns are rarely part of xeriscaped gardens, as they are very "thirsty." If a home must have a lawn, native grasses that require less water should be chosen above non-native grasses.

Lastly, rainwater harvesting should be utilized. This process involves capturing water in a tank; the water can then be used for gardening. This water is perfectly safe for gardening because gardens do not need fresh, clean water like humans do. By using this technique, a significant amount of water can be saved. Rainwater tanks are a great investment because once you have one, the water that is collected is convenient to use and does not cost you anything.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Deep Watering Root Mulching Controls Soil Moisture

Landscape vine stems and trunks are long and high, and the leaves are far away from the roots that send them moisture. For lush, green growth water regularly, thoroughly, and deep, moistening the entire area around the roots. It may take several hours to dribble water from a soaker hose to saturate the soil around a large vine, less for smaller plants - but they require watering more often.

You can help keep soil cool and moist by mulching the root area with a fairly thick (two inches or more) layer of any available light, porous, moisture-holding material like buckwheat hulls, chopped sugar cane, salt hay or straw, horticultural peat. Well-rotted dehydrated manure is not only a good mulch but also leaches nourishment down into the soil. Compost or leaf mold is also topnotch, and will eventually work down into the soil and help lighten or condition it.

Except when they are in flower, most vines benefit from overhead misting or watering in early morning. A strong hose spray will clean the leaves of dust and soot, increase humidity, and dislodge resident insects. Don't spray or mist in hot sun, in late afternoon where nights are cool, or during protracted periods of damp, dark weather.

Try not to let any vine, newly planted or not, go into winter with dry soil around the roots. This is particularly vital with evergreens; but any vine, shrub or tree is better prepared for winter if the roots are moist when the ground freezes.


Most vines will thrive in what is generally described as "any good garden soil." But this may not mean the soil as it stands around your house. Good garden soil is neither too sandy nor too clay like; it contains a good proportion of humus material like leaf mold, peat, or compost to lighten its texture and increase its ability to hold moisture; yet it is sufficiently porous so that water drains through at a reasonably fast rate. In clay-like soils, drainage is improved by the addition of coarse, sharp sand, or even fine gravel. But don't forget about the spider mites on house plants because they can destroy your plants.

Some vines will not survive in soil that shows an acid reaction in an accurate test; others require acid soil; still others will tolerate a limited range of acidity to alkalinity. Commercial kits are available for testing your soil. Or ask your County Agricultural Agent how to submit samples to your State Agricultural Service. If you send along the names of varieties you want to grow, the analysis will come back with a recommendation of how to adapt your soil to their specific needs.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Your Garden and You

Most people don't understand how much water a plat really needs. A lot of the time, watering a plant too much can kill it, so use this tip to check if your plant needs watering. Put your finger into the soil up to the first joint, and if it comes out dry, you need to water the plant.

Foliage plants usually require more nitrogen than flowering plants, which require K2O. Slow release fertilizers can be mixed with the compost, while certain plants, like cacti and orchids, need special fertilizer. Feed plants during their most active growth period.

Make sure to check the label to see what kind of environment your plant comes from. Some plants, like the spider plants need semi-shade, and can be put near a window that does not get a lot of sun, while others can only grow if they are in the sun at all times, and the environment is the most important part of plant growth.

Some houseplants can survive in cool or warm temperatures, but drastic changes in temperature may not be good for them. One thing that most plants cannot survive is gas heating. If you have a plant that thrives in warm conditions, don't put it near an air conditioner during the summer.

Humidity also plays a role in the care of your plants. Some plants require relatively humid conditions, while some do not. A simple way to adjust the humidity for a plant is to "double-boiler" your plant, or put the pot inside a bigger pot, and fill the gap with compost or stones to keep in the moisture.

Re-potting is sometimes helpful for optimum growth, but some plants will not take well to being disturbed, while some plants are so small, they won't need to be moved. One way to check if your plant needs re-potting is to turn it upside down. If all you see is roots, re-pot! if not, chances are your plant will be okay where it is.

Monday, June 28, 2010

How To Find A Good Landscaping Designer

There are no free landscaping design services unless you do it yourself or getting someone that you know to do the job who doesn't mind if you don't pay them, you are going to need to hire a landscaping design company to design and create the yard of your dreams. There are many advantages to hiring a landscaping design company, besides of course that you will have to pay them, but as long as you choose the right landscaping design company, then it will be well worth every penny spent.

Of all the different landscaping companies out there that you have to choose from, there are a few in particular that are really worth considering, such as the following.

The Landscaping Company

This is a fantastic company that you can check out and which you will definitely want to consider if you are looking for a fantastic, top of the line landscaping design company. They have been in the industry for over a decade now and so you can certainly trust in the knowledge and expertise that they have to offer.

Over this time they have been creatively building beautiful and functional landscapes for residential and commercial properties all around North America, and with an emphasis on fine detail and lasting strength, their friendly experts will increase the appeal and functionality of your yard, leaving you with just the results that you were hoping for.

Grunder Landscaping

Another company that you can go through for expert landscaping design services is the Grunder Landscaping Company. They also have a great deal of experience to offer, and they will never come in and bombard your design ideas, although they will certainly have their own input to offer and want to ensure that you get the best results.

Their mission is to enhance the beauty and value of every client's property while exceeding their expectations and keeping it affordable.

These are just two of the best examples when it comes to the different landscaping companies that you can turn to for this, so the best idea is going to be for you to take some time and check out the other options that are out there. You want to find a company that you are going to be comfortable with and that is going to be affordable, because landscaping services can get to be quite expensive, depending on which company you opt for.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Tips For Planting A Small Vegetable Garden

The decision to grow your own small vegetable garden will reap many benefits other than the vegetables. There will be a lot of money saved at the market and the things grown at home taste much better than those bought at a market. This is also a wonderful way to teach children the process of how food items are grown and the importance of using the environment for life resources.

When you grow your own vegetables there are no unknown pesticides and preservatives in them. This means healthier food items for you and your family. There is not a need to have acres of land available, many items can be grown in small plots. All that is needed to begin growing vegetables is an area that gets plenty of sunshine, accessibility to water and soil.

The main idea is to begin with a small plot to grow items you like to eat. An area that is plowed about four feet wide and four feet long is sufficient for a beginner new to gardening. Starting off with a smaller piece of land will give you time to become familiar and comfortable with caring for the plants.

Start with choosing an area of the yard to plant. Dig the area the size determined, the depth needs to be approximately four inches. Remember to only plant what you will enjoy eating. Choosing the seeds will be overwhelming if you are not prepared before going to get supplies. Planting four to five varieties of seeds is going to fit better in the area.

Tomatoes are always a good choice for those just starting out in gardening. The tomato plants produce a great harvest and are easy to maintain. They will need to be staked once they begin to grow. Tomatoes not staked will lie on the ground and begin to rot on the ground side.

Most plots can be reused. After harvesting, rework the ground and plant other seeds through the same ground area. To get the most out of a small plot, if you have planted seeds that are quick in producing product, in the same section plant seeds that require more time for full growth.

There is no greater feeling than digging in the earth to plant your vegetable garden. The results will produce an excellent tasting vegetable and save tremendous amounts on the grocery bill. Getting the family involved in the planting process will encourage children to eat more vegetables as they will be anxious to sample what they have grown themselves.

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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Identifying And Germinating Seeds In Time

Many of the plants and shrubs too can be easily grown from their seeds. Plants like Berries and other fruits can be easily grown from their seeds. You can never match the fun and the pleasure that can be obtained from plucking and eating the berries that have grown in your gardens. One must be aware of the fact some seeds germinate faster and also grow faster and some take a longer time.

These days apart from the original seeds one can also fine seeds that are genetically altered or hybrid in nature. These seeds and plants thereafter grow very fast and also bear fruits much faster than if you had tried the original seed. You can sow the seeds in small seed boxes or even pots that are filled with the composts required for the nutrition of the plants.

Tips for growing seeds The following are some tips that you can follow in order that your seeds germinate and grow well:

You must be very careful to drain the boxes of the container in which you are placing the seeds for germination. This can be done by putting a layer of rocks on the bottom of the container.

After sowing the seeds you need to cover them to a required level with compost. The compost needs to be very fine. Then after that you need to place the container in a place that is not exposed to heat. It is best if you keep it in a cool place and preferably in an unheated seed house also called a green house.

Remember to water the pots well especially in the early stages or there are dangers of the new plant drying up. Also the soil could dry up and prevent the seeds from germinating.

In order to speed up germination you need to place the seeds in a tin. Make tiny holes on the lid of the tin to let the air pass in to it. Then layer it up with compost and soil. After this you need to bury the tin in the ground for the winter. This is one way of stratification that quickens the germination.

Always stratify the seeds in the whole if the winter before you sow them. This process needs to be followed in the case of seeds of fleshy berries and fruits. This is because these seeds have a hard outer covering that needs to be softened. Once you have carefully followed the above mentioned steps then your plants will grow. Once your plants have grown considerably then they can be transplanted to another box or pot that is bigger and gives enough room and space for the plant to grow.

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Sunday, March 7, 2010

Garden Edging For Your Backyard

No backyard landscaping is complete without some edging. It is possible to get any type of an edging you dream of, it just takes planning and taste. A variety of materials are available to you in this hunt for the perfect edge. From the rather simple gathering of rocks to make a border on the sides of your garden to the entirely meticulous work that masons do with stone and brick, the pick is all yours. As usual, this is an extension of your home and it should reflect your character as well as taste.

The garden edging is in simple terms a frame just like the one an artist makes for a painting. The best painting might have its impression ruin by the wrong frame. Whether strictly on the edges or also as a sub-divider, the edge gives the shape to your garden.

Plants are great when it comes to authentic appeal. But they cost you time since they take long to grow and meticulous tending to eventually amount to a solid border. But there are other ways of achieving a superb edge. Plastic and metal edges last long and are relatively much cheaper to maintain than plants or wood.

You can also try plants for the edge. Although it takes quite a few years of tending to, a solid edge is eventually possible. When making a choice of plants to use for the edge, consider those that grow fast but also close to the ground.

If you are not interested in the plant edge or lining up rocks to give your garden that out in-the-open-look, worry not. There are many other ways of taking care of your edge needs. A wall built low should probably appeal to you or you can just go for the easily installed and easily maintained edges made of metal or plastic.

Miniature fences are available at by hardware stockists and these can give you a pretty close enough picture of the real thing. The best of these edges are probably the natural stone or brick edges. A stone edge gives you unrivalled durability but might come at a price. To reduce the cost of installation, you could try doing it as a DIY assignment.
If you can't just engage a professional and you'll have it done. One thing you will be certain about your concrete edging is that it checks root growth rather wonderfully- sort of keeps the garden in the garden. Weeds also have nowhere to pass in their well known ambition to invade a thriving garden. It physically bars these elements. Other than that, your garden is protected from erosion and when you put your home out for sale, the great look coaxes the dollar in any buyer without you having to stress on it.

Now that it is clear that you are keen on putting in a lot of time and money in a project like this. You should also be concerned about design. One thing that goes together with a garden edging is garden paths and it should be all right to plan the two together.