Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Backyard dreams, create a man made paradise

With the steady increase of gas prices, lack of vacation time, extended travel delays, and pushy travel agents, dream vacations are becoming a thing of the past. Gone are the days of packing up and going on a family oriented road trip, or promptly flying to a secluded island. Many families
and homeowners are looking at ways to turn their own properties into mini paradises, where your travel time is spent on foot from your living room to backyard. With so many DIY television shows, and garden websites available, there seems to be an endless supply of quality resources to derive inspiration from. These resources are giving homeowners the confidence to go ahead and take on a project such as a backyard makeover, or front yard landscape re-build, and both the visual and emotional results are staggering.

Imagine having your very own backyard paradise, walking out of your doorway and being able to truly relax in the comfort of your own home. Quiet often the dream yards you see on television, can be achieved at a fraction of the cost that a couple of extended vacations would, with the added bonus that your backyard addition or upgrade is available to you 365 days a year.

Very popular ideas for landscape upgrades and additions are: zen-like gardens with a water feature focal point (garden fountains or waterfalls), garden ponds are very soothing and affordable, these ponds can be purchased preformed for easy installation, or in liner form, which you can customize to meet your own specifications.

Whatever the case may be it is steadily becoming apparent that these backyard additions add to your quality of life, and in some cases also increase your property value exponentially! Something to think about before planning your next vacation!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

My Website Pick:

I was doing some research on plants and gardening, trying to get some ideas for the upcoming season, and I came across GardenVisit. I enjoy seeing what other people have done with their gardens to gain inspiration, this was easy to find here. gives you a list of landmark gardens in nearly every country! Because I wanted to stay local (that way I know I'm looking at flowers that will survive in this climate), I looked at Canadian gardens. In Ontario alone, 12 gardens were listed, including a map that shows their exact location! Now not only can I look at pictures to get ideas, but I can visit the gardens in person.

I then moved through the rest of the website to get an idea of what other information was available to me, I found a category called "Trip Planner". Just as I had pondered about going to visit these gardens, this website helped me to plan an entire garden viewing trip. Talk about an easy way to plan a vacation!

This website provides all the information needed to inspire an avid gardener. Any garden enthusiast will appreciate the number of professional gardens listed in such a large area. Gardener’s world wide that visit this website will be able to find a garden they can visit and get ideas and inspiration from!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Reducing Noise Pollution in Your Garden

Your backyard should offer a tranquil atmosphere. Unfortunately, for those of us that live in urban areas, this is not always possible. Noise is a nuisance that limits garden enjoying in the city, especially due to the sirens, traffic, lawnmowers, power trimmers, leaf blowers, and construction present in a busy residential area.

However, there are things you can do to limit your noise exposure. Solid walls and dense foliage can help break up and block out noise. Berms, mounds of dirt planted with shrubs and perennials, are not only good for deflecting noise, but also offer a certain degree of privacy.

If you want your neighbours to respect your peaceful tranquility, you should also try to limit the noise that you produce, that can potentially distract your neighbours. Try reverting back to the tools of earlier days: reel mowers, handsaws, hand shears, and garden rakes. Not only will this reduce your noise footprint, but it will also afford you some much-needed exercise! To reduce the noise caused by maintenance further, why not create a maintenance-friendly and energy-efficient garden? Replace the lawn with pavement or ground cover, and replace the hedge with a fence or plantings of dwarf shrubs.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Rail planters convert your patio into a garden paradise

A patio can be a relaxing environment for you, your family, and your friends. However, sometimes it can be difficult to decorate your patio, due to its limited space restrictions.

One great way to add an accent to your patio deck, is to grow plants around it. However, you can’t just grow plants in an open space. What you need is a rail planter.

Rail planters are specially designed to provide you with a growing surface on top of your rails. Many are designed to fit over both 4” and 6” railings.

For the complete effect, use the rail planters to surround your deck with vibrantly colored blooming bulbs, herbs, plants, and ornamental grass. Complete the effect with a series of cascading vines which lead up to the planters.

Stylish rain barrels that help save the environment

We all know that you should save water. And having a rain barrel in your backyard is a great way to save water. However, have you noticed that all the rain barrels that you get from the city are eyesores? City-issued rain barrels can cause irreparable damage to your property value!

What you’re looking for is a well-designed and nicely colored rain barrel that will enhance your backyard, instead of diminishing it. One rain barrel which I love is the Cascata rain barrel. Its smooth contours make for a stylish choice, and its earth-tone complexion renders it color-neutral; it’s able to blend into any backyard landscape. This rain barrel goes great with both brick and stucco, offering both style and elegance.

The Cascata holds 60 gallons of water- enough to water your garden and your lawn! It comes with a tap at its base, which allows you to fill watering buckets. And it also comes with fittings that allow you to hook several together in series, for those extra-large lawns. The Cascata also has a sister, the Agua, which is more compact, and holds 50 gallons of water. Both the Cascata and the Aqua are Made in Canada.

This spring, invest in rain barrels: invest in the environment, while increasing your property value!

Finally there is a general book on water storage. It is estimated that on the average water system, Oasis Design's book will pay for itself a hundred times over in errors avoided and maintenance savings.

My Ideal Garden: Landscape Design and Home Garden Ideas - Created by professional designers, My Ideal Garden is your online guide to pictures and advice that will help turn your landscape design idea or flower garden plan into reality.