Improve Front Yard, Increase Curb Appeal

I, myself, didn’t think that improving your front yard can do a lot to the image of your house. Either you are selling your house or just want to upgrade your front yard,continue reading the article that I stumbled upon and I want to share to you, guys.

A good first impression can make a world of difference when you’re selling your home. By upgrading your curb appeal, you have a chance to influence how potential buyers feel about your home before they even step inside. While it’s important to balance the money you spend on improvements with a realistic idea of what you can recoup, many improvements to your landscaping can cost little, compared to the benefits of increased home value and a faster sale.

Below is a list of some simple ways to improve your curb appeal when selling your home.

Get a fresh perspective

Before you can choose which projects to start with, it helps to see your landscape with fresh eyes and a broad, overall view. We get so used to our landscaping that it can be hard to pinpoint what others might see. There are two simple tricks to seeing your landscape with a new viewpoint. With both of these techniques, the goal is to forget what you think you know about your landscape and to instead see what is actually there.

The first is an old artist’s trick. Stand back from your landscape, far enough away that you can see all of it at once. Then squint your eyes until they blur, and try to clear your mind.

There may be areas that, when viewed with blurred eyes, appear dark and overgrown. Some areas might feel messy because there are too many small plantings, statues, or pots. Or, you may have an area that is bright and clean, but a little too bare. All of these insights can give you a general idea of which projects to tackle first.

The second technique you can use to see your landscape with fresh eyes is to take some black and white photographs of your landscaping. Taking color away can make a familiar space seem new, so you can see it with objective eyes. Nowadays, most digital cameras have a black and white setting, so this is easy to do even if you’re not a techno-whiz.

Define the borders and add mulch

Clean edges fool the eye into seeing the entire landscape as neat and well-maintained. If lawn has crept into your garden beds and created an uneven line, then defining the border can improve the look of the whole landscape.

Start by laying out a garden hose, or using spray chalk to outline the new border. Don’t make the beginner’s mistake of creating a wavy, “drunken snake” of a line; instead go for broad, sweeping curves that are in scale with the size of your home. Then, use a mattock or pulaski to chip away at the grass until you have a clean, attractive line.

Once you’ve established a neat border, a layer of wood chip mulch adds a refined look. Not only does it help keep weeds down during the selling process, but the bright color is attractive, smooths out an uneven soil surface, and generally gives the landscaping a professional finish.

Prune overwhelming shrubs

While pruning can be tough to tackle if you don’t know what you’re doing, there are a few simple pruning techniques that can make a fast difference.

Just remember that you don’t want to prune anything severely if you can help it, or attack anything with the hedging shears unless the plant is quite clearly meant to be a hedge. That kind of pruning makes it obvious that the maintenance got out of control, which is not the signal you want to send to potential buyers!

Instead, focus on subtler ways of pruning. One technique that makes shrubs look neat with little effort is to “skirt” them. Skirting is when you prune around the base of a shrub, removing any branches that are within 6 inches of the ground. This gives a more open appearance, and works wonders on Rhododendrons and other shrubs that can look moundy and overwhelming when sprawling on the ground.

Another good pruning task is to gently prune any plant that is touching the house. Plants that lean on the house can cause chipped paint as well as mold and ant infestations. If your buyer has a home inspection done, it’s a problem that will be noted in the report. Pruning plants 8 inches to 1 foot away from the house will give the landscaping a more open appearance, as well as give you room to power wash the house or touch up paint as needed.

The only shrubs that should be pruned heavily are those that are flopping over a walkway, blocking the view from the street to the front door, or keeping light from streaming into a window. Even then, it’s better to thin plants gracefully or consider even removing them, rather than going in for The Big Chop.

Add color with paint and pots

If a focal area isn’t drawing the eye as it should (think front door, patio and seating areas), a bold shot of color can be just what’s needed. While the obvious solution is to use container plantings, there are a few important points to remember.

First, less is more. Choose just one or two larger pots that have a distinctive color or shape, rather than lots of small pots that can feel cluttered.

Next, go for a simple one- or two-color planting scheme that highlights what is special about your home, like the color of the stone, trim, or surrounding shrubs. This keeps the focus on your home, rather than on the individual plantings.

Lastly, don’t be afraid of paint. If your patio furniture looks tired and worn, it will be hard for potential buyers to envision themselves sitting there. Freshly stained or painted patio furniture can draw the eye and help buyers imagine the great times they’ll have in their new landscape. Choose a color that picks up on some element in the landscaping, and add a few cushions to set the scene.

Ask for help

Most landscape designers offer a one-time consultation service. If you’re having trouble deciding what to focus on, even a short meeting with a professional can help you pinpoint the tasks that will bring the greatest return.

As you can see from these projects, even a small investment in the landscape goes a long way towards increasing your curb appeal and making it more likely that buyers will fall in love with your home.

Tips for Beautiful Landscape Gardening

Like the creation of any other piece of art, the task of creating a beautiful gardening landscape also requires a touch of artistic sense. In the creation of a painting the main points that are followed is a central idea based on which the whole painting, its surroundings and special effects are integrated in to the picture. Similarly in the design of a gardening landscape the gardener must have an idea about how, where and which plants are to be placed so that landscape gardening turns out to be beautiful to all its beholders.

There a number of steps or methods that can be followed in the design of a beautiful landscape gardening, which can be generalized as follows:

First, an overall look at the garden should be done to build up ideas in the minds eye. An open area in a garden is relaxing even for small garden grounds. If the whole of the garden is scattered with tress here and there, small bushes or plants randomly an overall shabby or fussy appearance is rendered to the garden destroying its beauty. On the other hand the arrangement can include a single tree or might be a small group such that a pleasing sight is provided to all those who take a look at it. It is advisable not to centre the tree as its appearance is much more satisfying to the eye when placed in the background.

The selection of the tree to be planted in the garden also requires a lot of thought and selection. Overpowering trees have to be avoided and interesting trees either with a good shape, or tasty fruits or beautiful flowers or distinctive bark or leaves can be selected to be the centre piece of attraction in the garden. The poplar tree is not highly recommended because of its fast shedding effect though there are places where a row or more of such Lombardy poplars are welcome. In contrast the catalpa is more acceptable for its broad leaves, eye-catching flowers, seed pods all of which contribute to a more scenic beauty and grace to the garden. The ash with its bright berries, the sugar maple with its brilliant foliage, the tulip tree and its blossoms, the white birch bark, the copper breach and its leaves are some of the few beauty points that can be taken in to consideration.

The place that is available as the garden ground has a large impact on the decision that can be taken about the type of trees that can be grown there. Moist low grounds are preferable for willows. Trees must be grouped together according to their proportion and synchronization qualities kept in mind.

Evergreens in the house surroundings are not highly recommended as a gloomy effect is created which subsists through out the whole life of the tree and the house appears to have a deserted or abandoned feeling to it. A house should have adequate amount of fresh air and bright sunlight for a bright and cheerful living.

As care is taken in the selection of the tree similarly care also need to be taken in the selection of the shrubs. A cluster of shrubs can be planted which includes early blooming plants, late blooming plants, shrubs with beautiful and bountiful flowers or fruits, colored bark so that the cluster always looks filled and fresh.

Houses can be surrounded by hedges which look more attractive than fences and for such purposes a number of shrubs are widely preferred such as the Osage orange, Japan quince, Japan barberry, Van Houtte’sspirea and buckthorn.

In the selection of the tress and shrubs one another point to be noted is that plantation those are similar to the surroundings should be given greater preference than outside foreign plants as their growth conditions such as soil, climate and manure choices may have variations as compared to the other commonly grown shrubbery.

Landscape gardening can be done either in a formal manner or in an informal manner. The good and bad points of each of the gardening manners can be briefly expressed as follows:

The formal arrangement of a straight line of plants might appear too stiff while informal arrangements have a fussy appearance.

The paths in the garden can be straight ones leading to any particular point or can be curving paths with beautiful bends and twists.

The paths can be either covered with gravel, dirt or grass. Grass paths when overgrown spoil the beauty and hence a gravel path is much more preferable. Paths should have suitably placed depressions for storage of water making a natural drainage system.

Climbing trees or creepers up and around the house gives a strong foundation or hold on the house together with a harmonious beauty with the garden. Climbing trees such as the Virginia creeper, clematis, trumpet vine, wisteria, climbing rose and honeysuckle all give satisfaction to the gardener as well as the observer.

Flowers are a natural source of beauty whether it is along the side of the building or along the walk border. Daffodils in the garden give a beautiful touch of exquisiteness in the early spring as do the hyacinths and tulips. Flower gardens are preferable in the side or rear of the house with open sunny lawns in the front. The rear can also be used as plots for vegetable gardening instead of littering grounds. Perfect blend of natural colors are needed to add touch of beauty to the gardens and special efforts need to be taken for that purpose. A small garden full of colors is more attractive than a large empty or overcrowded garden.

Landscape gardening can thus be briefed with a bright open lawn, beautiful flower beds, bountiful vegetation grounds and an overall beauty that attracts and magnifies all those who set eyes upon them. The landscape must be such that they blend grandly with the house and its style. Proper planning and its right execution should be carefully done for the perfect landscape gardening one could ever imagine in the wildest fantasies.

The Indoor Gardening Guide

Tips, Tricks, and Guides for Indoor Gardening

With it getting ever colder outside, indoor gardening is slowly gaining popularity. It is necessary to know what you are doing to properly garden indoors. This guide will serve as an aid for your indoor gardening needs.

Why do indoor gardening in the first place?

Indoor gardening is beneficial for many reasons besides the obvious ease of doing something indoors opposed to outdoors.

  1. While gardening indoors, you alleviate yourself the need for soil. This reduces the risk of disease, and the usage of water.
  2. Space. With indoor hydroponic gardening systems, less space is required in between plants than outdoors. This allows for a better allocation of gardening area.
  3. Time. Indoor gardening allows you do garden year round, as opposed to certain seasons or in certain climates.

Getting Started

In all reality, indoor gardening and indoor organic gardening require different tools for each job. You will come to find that one hydroponic system of plants needs something completely different than another system.

The very basic tools that you will need to get started are:

Grow lights (LED, Florescent)

Watering Pail (not necessary, but helps)

Seed pods (Dependant on your choice of hydroponic system)

Pots and holders for your hydroponic indoor garden

Hydroponic systems?

Hydroponic simply means something that you grow without soil. The majority of your indoor gardening will deal with hydroponic systems. Hydroponic systems can vary from anything : Vegetables under LED lights, Vegetables under Florescent lights, Herbs under a variation of lights depending on the cycle, etc. It is a good idea to educate yourself on a single hydroponic system to start out, as learning about too many can get confusing (although indoor gardening is relatively easy).

Various Tips and Tricks

– You do not need to garden indoors all of the time. Moving indoor gardening plants outdoors during beneficial weather can yield great results.

– Plants tend to grow towards the light. Make sure to turn your plants throughout growth to ensure stability.

– Try to water your plants with the same temperature water every time. This alleviates any damage the plant might receive by varying temperatures.

– If a plant in your indoor gardening hydroponic system seems to be undergrown, check the lighting source. The source could be insufficient or your plant could be at a weird angle, receiving insufficient light.

– Try to avoid rapid changes in temperature as much as possible. This can be very detrimental to your indoor organic garden.

– Make sure to buy pots that can drain water. You don’t want too much water to build up near the plant.

These websites may help you with indoor gardening, indoor organic gardening, and hydroponic systems:

  • Hydroponic Accesories
  • 77Hydro
  • Organic Gardening