Koi Pond and Waterfall Builders

What is your budget? How much can you spend on the entire project? You could spend $3,000 on a water feature and find out you still need an additional $1,000-1,500 for plants and amenities, such as a deck, gazebo, walkways, fish or landscape lighting in the pond, waterfall and lawn. Other possible extras are a biological filter, auto-fill for pond, skimmer, back-flushable bio-filter, and more.

How big is a water feature? If you are building your own, then structurally size is not that big an issue! I would charge the same price for a 3-foot high waterfall as I would for a 5-foot; the same for a 3 by 5-foot pond as a 4 by 6. There is only a $200 difference in cost between the 1,000 and 2,000 square feet of concrete shell surface. Your main concern about size should be space, not cost. How much of your yard can you sacrifice? Even if the space between your house and the property line fence is limited, a water feature can be incorporated.

Small ponds 1½ to 3 feet deep can facilitate a sump pump located within the pond. Even though a sump pump is inexpensive, it consumes much more energy than an above-ground pump. A pond any deeper than 3 feet requires an exterior pump for better accessibility and maintenance, and at a higher cost. But they pay for themselves in a short period of time with the energy savings. Also, larger ponds require greater filtration, more cleaning and maintenance.

The size of the waterfalls will determine the size of the pump needed. The higher the waterfalls, the bigger the pump needed to supply the water and the greater the cost for electricity. Height creates head pressure which requires more energy and is the major factor in operating cost.

How much entertaining will you do? Will you need a deck? If so, how big? You might consider placing a pond next to an existing deck. Many people do just the opposite, they build a pond and then construct a deck beside it. In this case, you can take advantage of an existing deck and construct an open stairway (stair bridge) to span the pond. This affords unique access to the opposite side.

Will you have adequate room for table and chairs? Do you want a spa? Or a fire pit or barbecue? Enough lawn for games? Where do you spend most of your outdoor leisure time? That is the area for your waterfall! The waterfall will bring you the most enjoyment, therefore it should be located closest to the area where you plan to spend most of your time out of doors.

Do you want to see or hear the waterfall from indoors? Consider adding an exterior patio or French doors to your house to access your water feature area. Do you wish to have fish and other aquatic creatures? Long term, a properly maintained nitrogen cycle costs less than maintaining a pond that uses chlorine and other chemicals. Fish, plants and proper bacteria are needed for healthy pond and nitrogen cycle. Once properly established, a healthy fish pond is virtually maintenance free.

Are you willing to remove or replace certain trees or bushes to enhance the waterfall and pond? Some trees have very aggressive root systems that can literally move concrete as they grow, causing cracking and upheaval. Certain trees can contribute a great deal of debris to the water feature that fouls the water and may cause premature failure of the filter system.

What type of rock do you want? A commonly used rock is cobble stone. However, because of the round shapes, water rolls over the surfaces and creates a minimum of sound or visual effect. In contrast, irregular, angular, sharp-edged granite or similar rock creates turbulent conditions similar to white water as it flows over the edges. The greater the “white water” the more sound is produced. Also, a side benefit is the aeration of water which benefits fish and discourages the production of algae. However, do not attempt to match the color of rock with the decor of the house, brick and other features of your home. Stay natural – contrast is good!

What about electrical supply for the pump and equipment? In 20 years I have never seen the electrical costs for supplying power to the equipment site exceed $1,200, and the average is less than $400.

What about a water supply for an automatic water leveling system? Water is very accessible in any household and getting it to the water feature site is a minor expense. Simply tap into an outside water faucet.

There are hundreds of questions that arise in the course of a water feature project. It is best that most of these questions are answered prior to commencement of construction, it could save you hundreds of dollars by avoiding mistakes.

Landscaping With Lawn Tractor

Lawn Tractors = Small Tractors

If you need a tractor for different kinds of farmwork for less than 2 acres, then a farm tractor is the best choice for you. You can greatly reduce your manual labor, due to the many attachments that are available for lawn tractors. You will find that this can help you keep your garden in tip-top condition in much less time. In most cases, a lawn tractor up to a maximum of 7-10 HP will also have a ZTR (zero turning radius) feature to help you when working in a smaller field.

The Versatility of Lawn Tractors

Versatility is a major benefit of lawn tractors. Some of the jobs that can be completed by lawn tractors include hole digging, lawn rolling, tilling, mowing, and many other jobs. The power take off spindle makes these jobs easily possible. That is why lawn tractors are a gardener’s best friend.

Purchasing A Lawn Tractor

Choosing and purchasing a lawn tractor is much like buying an automobile. The optional accessories increase the prices of both a car and a lawn tractor. That is why you want to choose your lawn tractor and accessories wisely to ensure that you will use the ones that you are purchasing. You also want to ensure that you can try the lawn tractor in the showroom to ensure that you can attach and remove the accessories with very little effort. Test-drive the lawn tractor to make sure you can get in and out of it easily as well.

Price of Lawn Tractors

There is a large price range in lawn tractors. A smaller lawn tractor can start at $900 and go up to $6000. The Bolen 762F76 is a basic model and it is available for just under $900, while the John Deer Spin-Steer SST-16 is approximately $3300. A Poulan Pro PK1845H42ST is about $1400. These costs are for the tractor without any accessories. Accessories can make the cost greatly increase. A canopy starts at $110 and a collection bag for grass is around $300. A cart can run you anywhere from $110 to $220, depending upon the size. Now you see how the costs can quickly add up. If you are planning to use the lawn tractor for mowing 1/2 to 1 acre, then you may want to choose a stand behind lawnmower for around $350, instead of a lawn tractor.

Safely Using A Lawn Tractor

Lawn tractors are designed with a low center of gravity and that is why there is very little possibility of the lawn tractors tipping over. It is important to use the following safety precautions, regardless of the little possibility of them turning over.

  • It is important that you watch your speed, especially when you are on an incline. A small rock can cause your lawn tractor to have problems and possibly injure you.
  • While getting off of the lawn tractor, ensure that it is turned off and all attachments touch the ground, if at all possible.

Outdoor Wood Benches

Outdoor wood benches vary in size, they could be small two seat benches, and go much larger. Then there are also benches that wrap around the tree, so that you don’t have to keep moving your chairs about and packing them away when you are done using them. The wood that is used varies from oak, shorea wood, white cedar, pine, or maple depending on the texture you are seeking. There is also the rustic look for outdoor wood benches. This look consists of the railings being made from white cedar or other choice woods. This look is very attractive in any garden setting. Shapes and sizes are very important, you do not want to over power the garden with too much wood, so try to go with outdoor wood benches that fit your style and motif of your garden.

Some outdoor wood benches have attached planters on each side of the bench. This type of bench goes great in any garden because it becomes the garden. In each of the planters you can plant various types of flowers that equally match the others in your garden giving even more beauty to it for many years to come. When choosing outdoor wood benches you should have an idea of how many you want to put in your garden or on your patio. Too many benches will take away the beauty of the flowers and other items that make your garden beautiful. If your garden can accommodate it, then maybe placing a few outdoor wood benches here and there will add beauty to your garden. You are really the only one who can make the decision on how many you need and what will give your garden that special look.

Once you have decided on that, the next step is to choose the style of your outdoor wood benches. Gliders are a great choice for outdoor wood benches. You can sit for hours gliding back and fourth basking in the beauty of your garden. Your guests will also love to sit and enjoy the garden as well in a glider or basically any type of outdoor garden bench you choose. All these benches are very unique. They are resistant to water, weather and warping, which allows the outdoor wood benches to withstand any weather season after season. Any one of these benches would make a perfect gift for any garden.

Plant a Water Saving

  • Plant Your Vegetables Early: Plant cool weather, short season vegetables in March. That way, crops will be ready to pick before the summer heat when vegetables require more water. Cool weather vegetables include beets, broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, garlic, leeks, onions, peas and turnips. You can also plant carrots and radishes, which do well year round.
  • Plant Vegetables That Need Less Water: If summer vegetables are still desired, plant vegetables that do not require a lot of water. These include corn, mustard greens, spinach, certain types of tomatoes, some zucchini, chard, arugula, jalapenos, pole and snap beans and eggplant.
  • Prepare Your Soil: Soil is the key to a garden’s success. Mix compost into garden soil so the soil retains moisture better. Make sure the compost is designed for garden planting and for soil type (sandy or clay). Add a layer of mulch to the top of the soil to keep water from evaporating.
  • Place Plants Close Together: When possible, place plants close together so you are watering less square footage. The plants can then better “share” water.
  • Water Thoroughly, Less Often: Water only as needed in spring. There is still a chance of rain before summer. When rain is no longer in the forecast, however, give plants a good soak early in the morning no more than twice a week. This watering schedule forces plant roots to look for water deeper in the soil, which helps keep plants hydrated longer.
  • Replace Hard-to-Water Areas With Ground Cover: Some yards contain areas that are awkward to water, so often, water sprays onto patios, fences and walls. To avoid wasting water, replace these hard to water areas with drought-tolerant plants, rocks or wood mulch.
  • Fertilize trees and shrubs: Feed trees and shrubs with nitrogen fertilizer. Plants usually need to be fertilized twice a year–once in March at the beginning of the spring growing period and again in September. Feed avocado, citrus trees, fruit trees and roses with a well-balanced fertilizer. For fruit trees and roses, wait until the first sign of new leaves before fertilizing.
  • Mow lawn to the right height: cool season grass blades (bluegrass, ryegrasses, fescues) should be kept about two inches high. Mow regularly to keep weeds at bay and to promote thicker lawns. When the weather warms considerably in the summer, increase grass blade height to three inches. Warm season grass (Bermuda, St. Augustine and zoysia) should be cut at a steady two-inch level throughout spring and summer.

Get Rid of Bugs in Organic Garden

One easy way to get rid of bugs is by first identifying what type they are. Some bugs are extremely easy to get rid of if you know what they hate. For example, if you are dealing with insects such as grasshoppers, all you have to do is to spread some powdered flour over the leaves of the plants. Why does this work? When the grasshoppers ingest the flour, it causes all sorts of problems with their digestive system. Hence, they eventually die after their digestive system fails. A simple search on a search engine will tell you the best natural remedy against specific insects.

Another easy way to get rid of bugs is by introducing natural predators to you garden. For example, it may help a great deal if you have birds in your garden. To give them an incentive to stay in your garden, you can set up a small platform where the birds can relax. You might also want to provide some food here and then. Birds aren’t the only natural predators. It may also help to have small lizards in your garden. In southeastern countries such as Cambodia, it is normal to have geckos and lizards around the building. They do an extremely important job of eating all the pesky mosquitoes and flies.

Overall, the best way of getting rid of bugs in organic gardens is by preventing them from entering in the first place. For example, it may help to set up a small cage around your plants. It may also help to clear out any dead logs around your garden. Dead logs and damp rocks can attract all sorts of insects so it is in your best interest to get rid of them as soon as possible. Garden preparation is a very important step to creating a successful organic garden.

Orchids in Ancient Greece

Beautiful and delicate Orchids are seen everywhere in the history of the world. You can find them in traditional Chinese medicine, Darwin’s explorations, and in Ancient Greece. The Greek’s believed that Orchids could influence fertilization, depending on the size of flowers you ate. This theory came from classic mythology, which they based most of their beliefs.

The story was about a child named Orchis, the son of a nymph and a satyr. He was torn apart by wild beasts after attempting to rape a priestess. The story says that he metamorphosed into an Orchid after his death. This became the basis of how Ancient Greeks looked at fertility and sexual reproduction.

Ancient Greeks were the first to pen the name Orchid, which is translated to the Ancient Greek word for testicle. They picked this name because they believed that the psuedobulb that Orchids produce look like a testicle. From the story of Orchis and the name testicle, sprung many beliefs about how Orchids could influence sexual reproduction.

They believed that a male could east large orchid pedals to influence the conception of a boy over a girl. This was a very popular belief that was considered a proven fact in the Ancient Greek Culture. On the other spectrum, they believed that females could eat small Orchid petals to encourage the direct opposite. This theory could never be completely ignored because in most cases the woman would eat small petals at the same time as the male ate large, making It impossible to eliminate.

Other than sexual reproduction, the Ancient Greeks used Orchids to produce many other commodities. The most common product being Vanilla flavoring, produced originally from Vanilla Orchids. Other products that contained Orchids were food, medicine, aphrodisiacs, and perfumes. Over history, Orchids have been used to produce a wide range of products, covering just about anything that you can think of.

Prevent Riding Lawn Accidents

You need to make sure you are very careful if you use a riding lawn mower to cut your grass. Keep your children completely out of the area. They should not be allowed to play in the yard while you are cutting it. They might follow the blades too closely trying to get to a toy. The noise from a riding lawn mower is loud so you may not even hear the child playing until it is too late. Make sure your children are aware of the dangers involved and that they understand why they should never get close to a riding lawn mower.

Try to avoid using that backup lever as much as possible. You should focus on moving it forward and paying attention to what is out in front of you. Look for toys, rocks, sticks, and anything else that may be hidden in your grass. Rocks are very dangerous as they can come into contact with the blades and be thrown into the air.

Some of the manufacturers of riding lawn mowers have found themselves at the center of legal issues because of the injuries or death that has resulted from a riding lawn mower accident. Many parents claim that had they known about such risks to their children they never would have purchased one. However, they are still being made with the dangerous reverse abilities so parents have to do their part to keep their family safe.

Personal Air Cooler

A personal air cooler with evaporative cooling technology can cool room temperatures significantly. They can also save you significantly on your electricity bill over usage of a regular refrigeration air conditioning unit. We all know how steep our air conditioning bills can be, especially in hot summer months. These swamp coolers go above and beyond cooling your air. They can also create cleaner healthier environments with features such as air cleaners built right into the cooler unit.

It’s best to use these devices in areas where there is a low level of humidity as they create humidity. They also use existing hot weather to be converted to cooler temperatures. The cooler blows that cooled air into your room. When searching for an evaporative personal cooler, you will find a multitude of options. There are several considerations to consider when making your choice including the features you want as well as the design of the unit and the amount of floor space it’s meant to cool.

Personal air coolers use either direct or indirect evaporative cooling methods. While some evaporative coolers can cool entire buildings or outdoor areas, a personal cooler generally cools a smaller area such as a single room and contains louvers to allow you to direct the flow of air where you wish. One of the benefits of these is that they are generally lightweight and fairly portable. The smaller units don’t have significant reservoirs but can provide several hours of cooling for you. You can invest in larger systems to cool an entire building that have higher end components and more power. This, still reduces your electricity bill and results in cleaner air.

These units are fairly quiet, take up much less energy than a regular air conditioning unit, create cleaner air and are better for the environment. Many hydro companies are now giving rebates to customers who use more energy efficient appliances so it’s also worth checking with your local hydro company to find out if a rebate system is in place. This can significantly reduce the cost you’ll pay to use this better cooling resource.

Interior Landscaping Plants

Obviously, a landscape designer must consider environmental factors when incorporating interior landscaping plants into the design. Some of the important considerations include sufficient light (artificial or natural), supply of water, drainage, and proper air circulation, among others.

Indeed, people expect that interior landscaping plants should be kept attractive and healthy at all times but one must remember that plants are not naturally grown inside houses or buildings so plants that do thrive in these areas have special needs that must be met in order for them to survive.

Fortunately, there have been many developments in interior landscaping that have improved the living conditions of interior landscaping plants. In addition, there has been a wide selection of plants that have evolved from their desert of tropical origins to become suitable interior landscaping plants.

Because light is a critical aspect in choosing plants for an indoor environment, the typical categories of interior landscaping plants are low light, light, medium light, high light, and very high light, which all refers to the plant’s light requirements in order to thrive indoors.

Below are some examples of common interior landscaping plants for your home or office.

Low light plants include the Parlor Palm and the shrub-like Neanthe Bella Palm, which you can grow in large pots and would need constant watering. Low light plants are ideal for indoor areas where there is minimal or no natural light and where a fluorescent light is the primary light source.

An excellent medium light plant is the durable and attractive Laurel Fig and the unique Madagascar Dragon Tree, which is great as an accent in your design. These interior landscaping plants will survive despite poor gardening habits such as forgetting to water the plants.

Examples of high light plants, which have a light requirement of a minimum of 500 foot candles, include the Elephant Foot Tree, Clustered Fishtail Palm, Miniature Date Palm and the European Fan Palm. Very high light plants such as the Queen Palm and the Lady Palm require a minimum lighting of 1000 foot candles.

While most interior landscaping plants can withstand the special conditions of an interior environment, proper caring for them is still essential because they are still vulnerable to insect and pest problems. You should also take care in giving the plant just the right amount of fertilizer because too much will kill the plant. You can easily manage the size of the plant using the appropriate container size. If you purchased the interior landscaping plants from a greenhouse, you can expect it to undergo an acclimation period. It may loose some leaves but will eventually adapt to its new environment.

Contemporary Landscaping

History: Contemporary landscaping began to emerge in northern Europe during the first half of the 20th century, and combined elements of English landscape gardening with influences from modern architecture. New materials such as wood, concrete, metal and glass, and other non-traditional materials found their way into the creation of this new vitality. Contemporary landscaping utilized variations in scale, time, space and texture to create abstract patterns. Newer designs also created innovations in light and space, often told in color, creating new focal points and visual patterns.

There is actually no one kind of contemporary landscaping, since modern houses love to emulate older styles, especially the English Garden look. If this look appeals to you, consider that for one of your contemporary landscaping ideas.

What many people like the most about the English Garden look as a contemporary landscaping idea are the flowers. This look is thus very popular with people that have large yards. This is because people that have large yards are able to accommodate one of the trademark facets of an English Garden, and those are rose bushes

Rose bushes are classically beautiful, and as such they can really add to your contemporary landscaping ideas. For example, if you are the kind of person who loves colorful flowers, purchase several kinds of roses. While roses traditionally come in bushes, they can also come in vines. However, you should make sure they are carefully fed and pruned if you do decide to implement rose bushes into your contemporary landscaping ideas.

Some people prefer to have an herb garden as part of their contemporary landscaping idea. Herb gardens appeal to people because herbs can be used for cooking, as well as for decorative reasons. However, when planning your herb garden be sure that you know what herbs can be planted together, because some herbs end up taking over other herbs.

Another thing that people like to do when it comes to contemporary landscaping is various fauna in patterns. Perhaps you have seen things like this before, and they really are impressive. While you can try to get the fauna to do this yourself, it is not the best idea to do so, because if you hire a professional to do that, you are saving yourself time and possible annoyances!

Contemporary landscaping mixes the elements of man made structures, such as buildings with natural trees and flowers. Such landscaping is common among city people or people that like shrubs, trees and flowers but do not necessarily have the time to take care of them.

If you would like more landscaping ideas, go to your local garden center. There you will find a variety of different plants that you might want to include in your yard. You can also search the internet for more landscaping advice. With the proper research, you are sure to find the right contemporary landscaping ideas!