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.

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!

Teak Table

The truth is: Not only are teak tables practical for your outdoor space, they also accent the larger pieces and tie everything together. A seating area without a teak table can sometimes look haphazard or not quite complete without the addition of these accent pieces. By investing just a little more, you can create a look that is truly elegant and perfect for entertaining.

Maybe you already have a few pieces of teak furniture and you know first hand how beautiful and durable furniture made from this wood can be, or maybe you are just browsing for that perfect table. In either case, there are several reasons why you should give more than just a passing thought to purchasing a teak table.

Teak is a hard strong durable yellowish-brown wood which is both resistant to the elements and requires little maintenance. This material is unique in that it can withstand the elements year after year with virtually no maintenance. With teak, there is no sanding, no sealing, no staining, and no finishing. The wood of the teak tree is also naturally resistant to insects, warping and splintering, which makes it an ideal wood for creating furniture. That means that even after decades of use, your teak table will remain beautiful and smooth with little help from you.

And there is so much to choose from. Teak tables come in a wide variety of styles which include teak dining tables, teak patio tables, teak coffee tables and much, much more. Just think of how easy outdoor entertaining could be with the addition of a couple of these pieces.

If you already have teak furniture in your garden or outdoor space, you can easily find a teak table created specifically to serve as accent pieces to your existing teak furniture. Do you have a Normandy teak bench? Did you know that you can purchase an end table which will exactly match your bench, right down to the intricate hand carved design? You can also choose from Chippendale, Nantucket and Adirondack designs, just to name a few.

Although teak furniture can be slightly more expensive than furniture made with other materials, the price is well worth it. The quality, durability and beauty that are the trademarks of teak make these pieces far superior to the competition.

Outdoor Chaise Lounge Chair

Long the pleasure of resort vacations, chaise lounge chairs are now popping up on patios and pool sides allowing people to relax in luxury without leaving home. Crafted from teak wood, the best wood for outdoor furniture, they will defy the trials of Mother Nature and allow you to relax worry free from season to season. Simply let them weather to a delightful silver gray or maintain the natural golden brown hue by treating them with a teak protector annually. Either way, you’ll have an, oh so, comfortable seat to settle into and kick up your feet for awhile.

And if you want to turn the comfort level up a few notches add a plush cushion. At two and a half to three and a half inches thick and available in over 40 colors and patterns of Sunbrella fabric, you’ll be able to match your motif whether you like Caribbean blue or watermelon pink. And the best part is these cushions will last almost as long as your furniture. They won’t soak up rain or an errant spray from the hose and the sun won’t rob them of their bright hues. You can leave them out all season with their teak counterparts.

So if you want to indulge in comfort with your next patio furniture purchase, an outdoor chaise lounge chair is the perfect choice. It’s time to get rid of that rusty, fold up, plastic lounge chair with the back that won’t stay up anymore and invest in something with timeless beauty and style. Whether you want some posh poolside relaxing or a lazy spot to enjoy your morning coffee just outside your door an outdoor chaise lounge chair is right for you. Lay them flat and catch a sun kissed nap or put the back up to read while you sip a cold drink. No matter how you position them; up, down or in between, you, your family and your friends will be able to soak up the rays of endless summer comfort.

It is just that easy to get away from it all. Everyone needs a retreat, a place to go and unwind. Close your eyes and imagine yours. Create it close by. Make it an easy destination to reach. Open your door to the paradise that is your backyard escape. Lush green foliage and vibrant blooms bring color and interest to the teak landscape. Two chairs a bench and a coffee table create an intimate conversation area while three outdoor chaise lounges wait to refresh swimmers alongside the pool. A teak bar and chairs beckon to guests with cold refreshments. You have set the stage for magical memories to be made and an extraordinary summer to be had while you sink into your outdoor chaise lounge chair and relax in luxury.

Metal Gazebo Roof

You may want a double roof gazebo. A double roof will offer extra ventilation for your gazebo. It is really more of an aesthetic addition. From inside of the gazebo, it gives it more of a cathedral ceiling type of a look. When viewing the gazebo from the outside, the double roof offers a break in the roofline.

You may opt for what is called a regular, square, hip roof. It is called this because all four sides are pitched inward and all sides are equal. The peak of the roof is located exactly in the center of the building and this results in all four roof sides as having an equal slope.

You may want to construct a metal gazebo roof. The advantage of a metal roof is durability and they are lightweight. You can make metal to imitate the appearance of just about any other type of roofing. A metal roof gazebo will have a life expectancy of over thirty years. The downside is the cost. Metal roof gazebo will cost from $100-$600 per 100 square feet and the installation will cost more than a shingle roof as well.

A metal gazebo roof may be made of painted aluminum or steel. These are two of the most popular choices. Aluminum and steel are strong and they can be formed to look like a tile or slate roof. These can be very expensive.

The speed of installation is another factor to consider when you are thinking of a metal roof gazebo. You can often find a metal roof gazebo kit that will have everything you need in order to set up and enjoy your new gazebo in the shortest amount of time.

A metal roof gazebo will give you years of worry free use. You won’t find holes, cracks or loose shingles when you choose a metal roof gazebo. The ease of maintenance and years of wear and tear can definitely tip the balance in favor of the more expensive metal roof gazebo, as it will be much easier to care for and last much longer.