Monthly Archives: October 2013

Get Back To Nature With Container Gardening

Do you want to grow your own garden, but can’t find the time? Are you tired of living within four walls, unable to enjoy nature? If so, you need to learn about container gardening.
indoor herb garden
Container gardening is growing plants in anything but the ground. You can use pots, boxes, jars, bottles, and so much more. Virtually any container can be used in container gardening. Whether you want to grow your own herbs or add some color to your home with container flower gardens or balance out your concrete world with some greenery, container gardening has something for everyone.

Why Container Gardening Is Great

Growing container gardens is a great and simple way to add a touch of nature to your lifestyle. Most of us spend the majority of our lives indoors, and although we may long to commune with nature, it’s often difficult to find the time. By including container gardens within and outside your home, you will feel less restricted in your ability to enjoy nature.

Another reason to container-garden is its simplicity. If you have a green thumb, but don’t want the hassle of caring for a large garden, then having a container garden can work for you. You can control the amount of gardening you do, and maintenance is very easy.

Container gardening is fun. You can get your creative juices flowing by growing your own container gardens. Turn an old mason jar into a floral garden for your window seat. Spruce up your patio with large flowerpots full of luscious greenery. Customize your spice rack with your own herb garden. The possibilities are endless.

Great Container Gardening Ideas

For The Outdoors: Create container gardens to add to your home’s landscaping. One idea is to fill two large flowerpots with plants and flowers of your choice, then place them on either side of the steps or walkway leading to your front door. Another option is to use decorative wooden boxes as flowerbed containers.

Home Decor: One creative way to use container gardening within your home is to create a wall garden. Secure hanging baskets to a wall of your home and arrange them in a way that appeals to you. These baskets are waterproof, so you don’t have to worry about water damage. Fill the baskets with plants and flowers. Include plants that drape slightly over the baskets to add to the effect.

Mini Vegetable and Herb Gardens: If you want to grow some of your own vegetables, but you don’t want to maintain a large garden, create a mini vegetable garden using a large planter and a few plants. Just be sure they have enough room to grow. Baby tomatoes and peppers are great for container gardens. You can also grow herbs inside your kitchen. Build small shelves above your kitchen sink and plant your herbs inside mason jars. Once the plants grow, you will have your own cute herbal display.

 

 

How to Build a Fire Pit

FirepitThere’s nothing better than spending a cool autumn evening relaxing outdoors around an open fire. You might be a bit intimidated at the thought of building your own open fire pit, but it’s really not as hard as you might think!

Two Types of Fire Pits

Essentially, there are two types of fire pits available to you. You can either buy a pre-made fire-pit at Lowe’s or Home Depot, or you can assemble your own with the use of simple, readily-available materials.

Pre-made fire-pits are convenient and long-lasting, and they are available in stone or metal designs. Typically installed by a professional, they have a sense of permanency but can be somewhat expensive. They can range in price anywhere from $1500 to $10,000!

Assembled or homemade fire-pits are much simpler, far less expensive constructions. Here’s what you will need to create your own:

  • Typically installed by a professional, they have a sense of permanency but can be somewhat expensive. Stone can either be sourced from your lawn or garden or purchased at one of any number of places that sell home improvement supplies. Whatever the source, make sure it’s a stone that can handle the high temperatures of the pit fire.
  • Wood for fuel. See below for a list of good fuel choices.

See?  Very simple indeed!

How to Build a Fire Pit

Now that you’ve got your materials, you can follow these steps to build your fire-pit:

  • Identify the area where you’ll dig the pit, and clear away any debris you might find. Rake the debris to the side, and make sure to remove it from the area. Pay special attention to twigs or leaves as these are flammable.
  • Dig a circular pit. Measurements may vary according to your design and wishes, but depth is an important consideration. If it’s too shallow, the fire-pit may allow flames to escape too easily. If it’s too deep, heat won’t radiate well. Try to take these considerations in mind when digging the pit.
  • Line the pit. The liner can be made of smaller stone and rock, but paving brick or even sand can be used. Just be sure that the liner material doesn’t contain any harmful chemical treatments that would release toxins when exposed to the high temperatures of your fire.
  • Construct the wall by ringing the pit with some of the larger stones, placing these closely together where possible. The height of the wall is up to you, but be mindful of safety concerns as you build. If it’s too high, an unreinforced stone wall could crumble unexpectedly. If it’s too low, a wall might let flames escape and, among other things, really ruin your party!
  • Add some firewood. Hardwoods are best. Ash, white oak, beech, red oak, dogwood, and apple make excellent fuel for your fire-pit, but hardwood is dense and may be difficult to light. Softwoods, like spruce and fir, are easier to light but give less heat and burn more quickly. You might try using a combination of the two.
  • Draw up some chairs, bring over some friends, and break out a good bottle of your favorite wine. The last step in building your open fire-pit? Enjoy!

Keep in mind that these steps are just the basics.  Before you take on this project as a “do it yourself” endeavor, fully research how to install the fire pit correctly and safely.  If you decide you need some help, call us at 610-222-0590.  We’ll be happy to lend a hand!

Pruning Trees and Shrubs

Blue Tree LandscapingPruning trees and shrubs are not only good for the appearance of your home and yard, but it can benefit the safety of your family and also keep up with the health of your plants. There are a lot of reasons to prune and trim your trees.

There is also a lot that goes into the process. Should you do it yourself or get a company to help? Should you trim a little or prune a whole lot?

The Benefits of Pruning

You can shape your trees and shrubs by trimming down the branches that are too long or gangly. That’s the obvious benefit of pruning, but you can also use it to help shape the way your tree grows. This can be a little tricky, but if you pay attention to the way your tree naturally grows, you can encourage your tree or shrub to grow the way you want.

Besides shaping, pruning can be really important for the safety of your family. If you neglect dead or broken branches, they could easily fall on someone or something and cause injury or damage.

Additionally, branches can sometimes block the view when pulling out of a driveway, which is dangerous. The best way to avoid these issues from happening is to take preventative measures by trimming and pruning before these branches become a problem.

Finally, pruning can encourage healthy growth in your trees. When you trim off the dead and diseased branches, the tree has room to regrow healthy branches without the disease continuing to spread. It also opens up the healthy branches and leaves to get sunlight more easily. The best way to keep your trees healthy is to make sure they stay trimmed.

The Basic Strategy for Pruning

1. Cut off all of the dead, diseased, broken, and rotten branches. This will ensure the health of your tree and make it look so much better in a small amount of time. This also opens up your tree or shrub, so you may be happy with the result after just this first step.

2. If you want to train your tree’s growth, you have to trim the branches and encourage growth where you want it. In order to make this work, you have to work with the natural growth patterns.

3. Now just make some corrective trims and step back to admire your work. If you cut off a lot of branches, it may be a long time before you will want to prune again.

Should You Prune Yourself or Hire a Professional?

Pruning is difficult and a little dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. It also requires equipment and tools. If you don’t have these tools, or if you don’t know how to use them confidently, then you shouldn’t try to do this yourself. You don’t want to fall off a ladder while holding a saw.

Besides, you don’t need to prune very often if it’s done well, so you’ll only have to pay for it about once a year. So if you don’t already have the skills and tools for pruning, it’s a good idea to either safely learn or splurge and hire a professional.