Discover Desert Landscaping Plants

Even if you have a state of the art irrigation system to supply water around the clock, there will be times of drought and water rationing. Not to mention the initial cost and maintenance costs. It is much simpler for your desert landscape to simply use plants that will thrive even in the hot sun all day. So take some time with your landscaping plan to ensure that you have everything appropriate to the climate.

Another benefit to using desert landscaping friendly plants is, that not only will these plants do well even in the hot sun; they will also be able to flourish in the low quality soil common to these climate zones. You will not need to add fertilizers and soil conditioners, which further will cut down on your maintenance time and expense.

To start you off, here are two plants that are useful in desert landscaping:

Longwood Blue Bluebeard

This is a deciduous shrub; it will grow back every spring. It will always return to its healthy and contented state each year, which makes it ideal for desert landscaping. Longwood Blue Bluebeard is a medium-sized shrub, growing to anywhere between 3 and 4 feet high with a width of around 2 feet. This is a handsome plant for use in desert landscaping’ not only is it attractive, with its striking blue flower clusters and silver foliage, it is also quite fragrant.

Autumn Joy

Autumn Joy is a perennial that you can employ well in desert landscaping. With this plant you will get abundant leaves in ornate whorls. These leaves can be many different colors, so Autumn Joy can be bought to go with your landscaping design. This plant is ideal for desert landscaping since it grows easily in rock gardens. This lovely desert plant also has unique attention-grabbing flowers distinct from any I have ever seen. The small flowers grow in clusters and can be different colors and shades, but most commonly are yellow, orange and red and pink. Also, be aware that if you plant these in your garden you will have butterflies around as they are attracted to the flowers, so be prepared to have your visitors ignore your lovely landscape and ooh and ahh over the butterflies!

Many Uses Of Landscape Edging

  • Around trees – Using landscape edging around your trees can help keep the grass, ground covers, or other vines and plants from invading the space designated just for your trees. These plants can sometimes steal the water your trees need, before that water is able to soak deeply enough into the ground to be beneficial to the trees. So putting landscape edging around your trees is an excellent way to make the yard look much more professionally finished, but it also helps your trees to grow strong and healthy. Try putting your landscape edging several feet away from the trunks of the trees, then fill the interior area with a nice looking mulch or bark to give it a finishing touch. This bark and mulch will also help protect your trees from drying out too quickly in the summer, or being damaged by cold in the winter.
  • Around your yard – Using landscape edging around the border of a simple grass yard helps it looks more valuable and attractive, without adding the additional maintenance and water needs that comes with putting in plants, flowers, bushes or trees. An added bonus of putting landscape edging around your grass yard, is that the grass will not be able to invade your walkways as easily, and keeping the edges trimmed is also much easier when you have edging in place too.
  • Around flower beds – Landscape edging is an excellent way to section off various areas of your yard and garden for specific plants or flowers. If you like having showy annual flowers along your walkway for instance, putting some decorative landscape edging on the outside of those is a quick and easy way to dress things up a bit.

Make Landscape Look Good

Know your soil type. Some plants thrive in soil with more acidity, and others prefer a little more alkali. Additionally, sandy soil and clay soil, as well as the presence of a loamy soil, can make a difference in what types of plants will thrive in a landscape. You should have your soil evaluated in order to determine what types of vegetation should be planted on your property. When you purchase plants that will succeed in the soil conditions present in your yard, then you make a wiser money decision, and you end up with a more attractive landscape. If there are plants that you would like to use in your soil, but the soil is not quite ideal, it is possible to improve the soil to proper conditions. You need only add mulch or peat, or to add crushed limestone or clamshells, depending upon what you hope to accomplish. As long as there is not a great difference in what you have and what you hope to achieve, it is possible to make soil adjustments to be more accommodating.

Understand how much space each of the plants need. There are some plants that require more room for their root systems than others. If you choose one plant that tends to grow everywhere, and you do not have adequate space, you will find that your other plants may be crowded out or that they may choke and die. Also, make sure you understand the spacing requirements for between plants. Many shrubs and small trees need to be planted at least three to four feet apart to have enough room to grow.

Use native plants in your landscape design. One of the most effective things you can do to ensure a good-looking yard is to make use of native plants. Find out what plants grow best in your area, and what plants are indigenous to the region. This way you will already be ahead, in that you know that the plants you choose are adapted to the climate. You will not have to struggle against natural inclinations to keep your landscape looking beautiful. If you due use non-native plants, assure yourself that they come from a place that shares a climate similar to the one in which you live.

Plan your landscape around different blooming times. Different plants bloom at various times throughout the year. If all of the plants in your landscape are at their most attractive all at the same time, then your yard will look beautiful for a few weeks each year, but quite possible ugly the rest of the year. One way to help avoid this is to choose attractive bushes and shrubs that look good green, but also have some sort flower. However, it is a good idea to stagger plants among each other. Plant tulips and crocus among later-blooming plants so that in early spring the bulbs bloom, and then when those flowers’ time is up, the next plants will be in bloom. In this way the cycle of your landscape is in keeping with the seasons, and looks attractive all year round.

Use wood chips around shrubs, bushes and trees. Wood chips can help the ground around shrubs, bushes, and trees look more attractive. Not only do the chips cover the ground (often looking better than dirt), but they also help keep in moisture, repel weeds, and provide natural food as they break down. Likewise, attractive groundcover like chicks and hens placed around trees and shrubs can make the area more interesting and pleasing to the eye.

Solar Landscaping Lights

The biggest advantage to using solar lights over more traditional electrical lights is ease of installation. You don’t have to hire an electrician to hook everything up. Simply place the lights wherever you want to and let the sun charge them for you. By the time night rolls around your yard will be aglow in light. It really is that simple.

Another advantage to having solar lighting is portability. You can easily move them from one area to the other, and even bring them inside during harsh weather. You can quickly and conveniently move the lighting to reflect any changes to your landscape design. This is virtually impossible with electrical lights as you would have to rerun all the wires.

You will also save money by using solar lighting. The cost of the lights themselves is comparable to the electrical fixtures, but you don’t have to buy extra supplies like wires or conduit to install them. Plus if you are not handy with electrical work, you would be forced to hire a professional with electrical lights. This is not the case with the solar variety. Simply stick them in the ground and you are done.

If you are pondering adding outdoor lighting to your landscape but have been put off by the expense and hassle, you should look into solar lights. There is no need for running wires to them or even replacing batteries. The sun’s rays will take care of charging them every day and they will run all night long. They can really add a new look to your yard, especially if you do any entertaining at night. They provide a safe means for your guests to walk around marvelling at the hard work you’ve put in. And with the additional savings over electrical lights it is a win-win situation.

Perennial Plant

Perennial flowers bloom year after year and are found in most every yard. They are more affordable than shrubs or trees and can be grown easily in multiples whether in whole garden beds, as accents to trees and shrubs, in combination with annuals and even in pots or window boxes. Moreover the perennial plants grow a little larger in size every year and can often be divided and added to other empty spaces of your flowerbed.

Theoretically speaking trees and shrubs are also perennial as they live for more than 3 years. However, horticulturalists tend to categorize the perennials into 2 distinct varieties – herbaceous perennials and woody perennials. Woody perennials include shrubs, vines and trees that endure the winter and resume growth with the arrival of spring. Herbaceous perennials die back in the fall but its roots remain active so as to survive the winter and resume growth, once again, in the spring.

So, what are the benefits of perennial plants over the annual plants? Most annual plants require a lot of maintenance including purchasing the seeds, planting them, nurturing them in the growing season, adding lots of supplemental water and fertilizers frequently and finally once the growing season is gone, your annual plant will die out. Instead of spending lots of time and effort on annual plants, it would be so much easier to opt to planting a few perennial plants in your yard which would not only make you garden look more attractive but also require less effort. Perennial plants bloom for seasons to come and require a minimum tending in way of fertilizing and watering. The fact that the roots of the perennials goes deep within the ground makes them much easier to maintain.

Many perennials are faster growers thus filling up your yard or garden spaces. Plus, many perennial plants often can continue blooming when old blooms are clipped or pinched off. Whether you are looking for creepers, ground covering plants or bordering plants there are a host of perennial plants to suit all your needs.

A garden border with perennials like coral bells can be a good idea and it would add a dash of color to your woodland garden. A good example of ground covering perennial plants is the evergreen Creeping Phlox. They can create a stunning look when planted by the walkways or on hillsides. Planting evergreen perennials adds color and texture to the garden year round and some will grow in full shade to partially shaded areas.

Perennial creepers that can alter the look of any cottage garden are the ground cover roses. These woody perennials can instantly brighten up your garden and flower from spring to fall.

Winter Gardening

  • Plant Artichokes: Buying artichokes at the market can be expensive so planting these perennials can be a smart decision. Planted now, they can begin producing in summer. Don’t be surprised, however, if the first crop is disappointing or non-existent. It may take two growing cycles for the plants to mature to the point of growing sizable artichokes.
  • Get Creative With Your Garden: Summer isn’t the only time to plant vegetables. Winter gardening can be very rewarding. Think outside the box and plant vegetables that don’t get the most attention. These include such cool weather vegetables as asparagus, beets, Brussel sprouts, cabbage and celery.
  • Ignore Roses: Trim off flowers and then let your roses “harden” for winter. No need to fertilize.
  • Buy (Or Rent) A Living Christmas Tree: Many families make it a tradition to purchase living Christmas trees and then plant them in their yard once the holidays are over. When purchasing a living tree to later plant, research the type of tree that would best fit your yard. Pine trees are messy, have large root systems and can grow to 40 feet or higher. They also need a significant amount of water. Pine trees that do well in the region are Afghan pine, Aleppo pine, Coast redwood and Deodar cedar. Do not keep a live tree indoors more than two weeks or it will begin to drop its needles. For another environmentally healthy alternative to purchasing a cut Christmas tree, in some parts of southern California, live Christmas trees are available for rent from The Living Christmas Company.
  • Move Container Plants: Place container plants next to south or west-facing walls so they will absorb reflected daytime heat and stay shielded from wind. Move cacti, succulents and potted trees under cover for protection from cold and rain.
  • Attend To Fruit Trees: Spray horticulture oils or lime-sulfur onto deciduous fruit trees. This will control diseases such as leaf curl caused by insects. Leaf curl can reduce the amount of fruit that is produced so spraying now will help summer production. You can also prune deciduous fruit trees this month.
  • Keep Lawns Healthy In Winter: Fill in bare spots with seeds, followed by soil amendment and plenty of water. Rake leaves from lawns. Mow as needed.

Astro Turf

There are a number of artificial turf products available in the market and the turf used for landscaping is the most common out of all. Waking up to greenery is something that many wish for and this is made possible by using artificial turf for your landscaping. Using fake grass gives you a lively feeling and creates coordination that is most appealing between your home and the environment. By installing artificial grass you would be enjoying the company of your family and experiencing togetherness instead of wasting a lot of time in maintaining your natural lawn. You now can also arrange a lot of recreational activities and enjoy quality time with your friends. The fact that these products come to you with an eight years warranty makes it even more interesting. This means that you would not need to spend a fortune treating and maintaining the natural grass. You also need not be concerned about the rains or any kind of adverse weather conditions affecting your artificial turf. These days you get to see Astroturf being used in a number of sports grounds as well.

These days we also see turf manufacturers recycling products to create artificial grass. Since the grass is designed for tough use you do not need to worry about damage. There is no need of using fertilizers or employing caretakers for the garden as the maintenance required is minimal. You also save on water since there is no need of watering the lawn. With all these advantages, the artificial turf is being transformed into the most sought after landscaping product around.

The artificial turf manufacturers make it very easy for installation as well. The manufacturers meticulously make the required measurements and design the putting greens in liaison to your surroundings. Choosing experts in the field of fake grass will ensure your putting greens are perfect. These days it is very easy to find Astroturf manufacturers who are experts and also provide you with the products at competitive rates.

Start A Bonsai Tree

Bonsai Tree Seeds

As I mentioned before, these are just ordinary tree seeds marketed to bonsai growers. Growing bonsai from seeds is the longest route to having your own bonsai. We believe that it is also the most rewarding, because you get to see every step of the way. When growing a bonsai from seed, you need to consider what species you want to grow. If you choose an outdoor tree, then you need to consider “stratification time.” If the species you pick requires a winter period to be dormant, then the seed will need this in order to sprout. This process, where we typically place the seed in soil or sphagnum moss in the fridge to simulate winter, is called stratifying the seed. You can also plant the seeds outdoors during the fall and let them be, but you will have a much lower success rate this way. After this process, the seed can be planted in soil for growth. Allow the recommended time for seed to sprout, watering as needed without going overboard. Water when the top of the soil looks dry, and use a humidity dome if possible. Once your seed sprouts, we recommend that you spray it with some antifungal spray to increase survival odds. Continue to water and transplant to a larger container after you see your first set of “true leaves.” Let your bonsai grow as normal, following our basic guide for your species, until it becomes a pre-bonsai.

Pre-bonsai

You can grow your seeds into pre-bonsai, or skip that step and purchase a tree at this stage. This is where training and pruning techniques will come into effect. At this stage, you will need to look at your trees natural progression and decide what style you want to train your bonsai. Use our guide, with pictures, to see what guide best suits the way your tree is already growing. From here, your will need to trim the leaves and branches to achieve the desired style. You may also need to learn how to wire a bonsai. All this information can be found in our bonsai styling guide. The key is to remember that your bonsai is not complete when you get to the step with a pair of scissors. This process might take more than one growing season to achieve correctly, and without harming the plant. Some trees take heavy pruning well, but others need to be pruned in steps. After this long process, your will have a full bonsai tree.

Bonsai

This is how most people come across a bonsai tree. At this stage, the tree is almost fully trained and already has a basic bonsai style. We will still need to trim this tree as new growth appears to maintain its shape. Pruning back large growth will force new smaller branches and leaves to grow in close to the tree. This can help improve the tapered appearance of your tree over time. The key to this stage of your bonsai’s existence is to keep it alive and maintain its appearance. If your tree becomes very old, it could be considered a specimen bonsai. Specimen bonsai are frequently bought and sold for large amounts of money.

Keep Correct Moisture In Worm Bin

MEASURE MOISTURE IN SEVERAL PLACES.

Compared with commercial systems, home vermicompost containers are not uniform in their content. Home bins will feature shredded cardboard and paper, peat moss, coffee grounds, corn cobs, apple cores, banana peels and whatever food waste that household is producing at the time. I’ve even seen a fellow worm nut toss old t-shirts in his worm beds, presumably for insulation.

If you use some sort of a probe to measure moisture, this presents the challenge of inconsistent readings. Sinking the probe into an area full of watermelon chunks is sure to give you a higher-than-expected result. Likewise, insufficiently watered peat moss may wrongly give you the impression that it’s time to water the bin. Take the average of numerous readings to get a more accurate result.

BE AWARE OF THE MOISTURE CONTENT OF THE FOOD

BREAKING: Watermelons have a lot of water! While you’re picking yourself off the floor, let me take the time to admit I’m often guilty of feeding my worms according to the “a little here and a little there” without much regard to what exactly I’m feeding them. Vermicomposting is not cosmic stuff, and a consistently-fed indoor bin is likely to maintain appropriate moisture levels with very little effort on your part. But it’s always advisable to (research water content of various organic foods) to consider your worm food choices and how they might affect worm bin moisture.

PAY ATTENTION TO THE WEATHER

This is a no-brainier for outside bins exposed to the elements, but for indoor systems, ambient humidity still plays a large part in maintaining proper water levels. (Ask me how I killed a bin of worms in a very dry winter recently). If you’re like me, and your spouse or roommates demand you keep your buddies out of sight, you’ll probably store your bin in the basement if you have one which, during periods of rainfall, will be pretty damp. This is a good thing! But if you have a dehumidifier working around the clock, keep an eye on how the desired humidity levels are affecting your worm bin.

HARVEST CASTINGS AND ADD BEDDING

By now you’re aware of the value of vermicast or worm castings. The nutrient level and availability of those nutrients far surpasses that of conventional compost. A lesser known characteristic, however, is how well worm poop retains water, able to hold 2 to 3 times it’s own weight in moisture. This is wonderful in your garden or flower pots, not so much in a worm bin. It is very easy in a plastic bin to find moisture levels that can turn your bin from a healthy, pleasant smelling aerobic environment into a malodorous nightmare for your house and your worms.

You may also choose to add more bedding (peat moss, shredded paper, coco coir) instead of – or in addition to – your worm castings harvest.

Creating Beautiful Garden Landscapes

Plan the garden properly

The landscape of the garden must be planned in such a manner that it looks beautiful now while also having the future in mind. You will find it is best to plant your precious collection of plants in such a manner that there is enough space when in future you require a mower, or the stump grinder, to enter for building projects for your porch or the patio..

If this planning is not done now, then in future you may have to throw away your precious plants in order to have space for allowing movement of such equipment.

Have a focal point

The focal point of your garden must be such that it attracts people and engages their attention when roaming in your garden. It should be different than others but not out-of-place. You can have an antique garden bench as the focal point but don’t use an object which is not related to the garden. A water body or an oak tree can be a great focal point which will give the garden landscape a new dimension.

Curves must be checked

It is good to have curved pathways or flower beds in a garden, but you must not overdo them. It must be kept simple so that the geometric design that you have incorporated in the landscaping stands out. If you use those shapes too often it will become common and no one will notice them.

Have movement in the garden

A garden landscape that does not have movement is like a painting. Paintings are good on the walls but in a garden, you must have movement so that you can bring life and create interest in your garden.

You may be wondering how to have movement. It is quite easy to have such movement in your garden by adding swaying ornamental grass or flowers which attract birds and butterflies and this will help to have the desired movement in your garden.

Highlight your house

The landscaping design that you have in your garden must match with the house that you have. If you have a house that does not have much architectural designs, then you can benefit by having the edges softened by the garden that you have.

You must keep in mind while matching your garden with the house is that you must not overdo it. It must not be such that your house is completely hidden by the garden trees that you have. The best of garden landscaping is that which will help to highlight the smallest of architectural features that your house has.

Think completely differently

When you are designing the landscaping of your garden you must think completely differently from the one that you now have. For example, if you have overgrown shrubbery don’t think that you have to keep it like that. By removing it you may be astonished to find a sunny sport which can be ideal for a rose bed. So, don’t plan your landscaping according to the present situation but think differently and you will find new possibilities to have an even better landscape.

Choose plants according to locations

When you select a plant base for a particular spot in your garden, consider the growth rate and the final size it will be. If you do not base your plant selection on these considerations, then the money you spend will not lead to overall beautification but, in the end, you will have to spend more money for adjustments.

If you think that having a cheap plant which grows fast you are gaining much you are thinking wrongly. The money you will spend later for pruning and other maintenance will eat up your initial savings. So, have a purposeful selection of garden trees and place them properly.

Let the garden show the way

The design of the garden should lead visitors to your house. You don’t want visitors losing their way so the garden must show the way to the house. The curved pathway or the big pots that you place need to say, “Hi, this is the way that you need to go.”

Limited number of species

If you have a garden don’t feel pressured to have every plant species that is available. Select those species which will help you to have a garden which is easier to maintain and gives it a uniform look. Select the species according to seasons so that you can have flowers in your garden all throughout the year and also add to the biodiversity that you have in your garden.