Friday, 27 June 2014

How to Desert Landscape Your Yard

If you live in a dry, arid region, you would want to save on water and grow plants that contribute to your garden or lawn. This is where desert landscaping comes in. It can be a challenge for gardeners to use resources carefully and choose the right kind of plants suitable for arid conditions. There are many varieties of trees and plants that require more water in an average growing season. However, desert landscaping is simple if you have a plan in mind to showcase your designing skills to get the best result.

You can create a beautiful oasis, by planting drought-resistant plants throughout your landscape. This adds color and texture to the landscape. The myriad flowers and plants will liven up your outdoor space. To emulate a natural desert feel to your garden, choose plants that have desert colors like brilliant reds and deep oranges. A good example of such plants include: cacti, oleander, joshua trees, palm trees and pampas grass. Add a personal touch by choosing suitable hardscaping features and outdoor accessories that will portray a desert theme.

To help you desert landscape your yard, follow these simple tricks and techniques listed below for best results.
  • Think about the look you want to create and also the area availability. You can use plants or choose other elements like rocks and boulders to create a desert effect. Your landscape will look good with or without plants.
  • If you have decided to incorporate plants, then choose varieties that can survive and thrive in arid and dry conditions. Drought tolerant ones are your best bet. With the high demands set by the climatic conditions of your region, these type of plants are the only ones which can live upto your expectations. Good examples of drought tolerant plants include Baja fairy ducter and Desert spoon. The former has red, tassle like flowers that bloom during summer. It lasts through fall by providing a fern like foliage that gives off vibrancy and texture to your desert landscape. The latter accentuates the landscape by providing a strong architectural shape and grows up to 3 feet in height. It produces spiky clumps of green and blue foliage. As its name suggests, its spoon based shape and tiny, curved teeth borders along the foliage margins and makes for a commanding landscape presence.
  • Whatever plants you have decided to use, make sure to place them in areas where they need the right amount of sunshine and water and contribute to the aesthetic layout of your yard. You can put smaller plants close to doors and walkways and larger plants close to your house.
  • To enhance the appearance of softscaping features like flowers and plants, you can pair them up with hardscaping features like rocks and boulders. They will enhance the appearance of plants and flowers and will also create a centrepiece for your overall landscape. Meandering rocks can be used to create a pathway or border through your garden. A rock garden can also be installed for plants to grow. Boulders of various shapes and sizes can be placed in strategic spots in your yard for natural looking formations that will create a wonderful effect for the viewer’s eye. You can also spread gravel to make walkways and pathways that will connect areas of your home together. To create a feeling of walking over desert, lay crushed pebbles or granite. Crunchy, highly textured and yet soft underfoot, granite and pebbles look attractive in both small and wide paths.
  • You can install a drip-hose system for plants that need to be watered regularly. Take care to wear a proper (word missing) with long sleeves and gardening gloves when working with desert plants. This protects you from getting nasty cuts on your hands and arms from plants like the cactus.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

How to Paint Landscaping Rocks

Add a touch of earthy charm to your garden or yard by installing painted landscaping rocks. What makes them different? Well, every rock has a different color and varies in size and shape. This adds to the visual appeal of the flowers and plants that grow in your outdoor area. There is nothing like personalizing your landscape design to make it more special. This can be done by simple painting your landscaping rocks. Your garden will look dressed up with year-round brilliance. It is not very time-consuming and can be a fun and inexpensive family activity on weekends. You can use tones of different shapes, sizes and textures from places you visit and your garden to create imaginative forms, cheerful looking rock borders, whimsical creatures or anything that strikes your fancy. Pain them with bright, vibrant acrylic colors that will last for many years.

To get started, all you need is some creative flair, patience and a few simple supplies.
  • Take a bucket of water and add 1/4 cup of laundry detergent. To make sure the soap is completely dissolved, swish the water around with your hand. Take the rocks to be painted and scrape or brush off moss or accumulated dirt on the surface. Then wash them in the soapy solution with a sponge or scrubbing brush until they are squeaky clean. Rinse them well with clean water.
  • Leave the rocks out in a sunny area to dry completely before you apply paint. For quick drying and best results, clean your rocks the night before or early in the morning to let them dry in the hot afternoon sun.
  • Spread some old newspapers over the area where you will be painting. This prevents spills and paint spots on surfaces.
  • To match the patterns and colors of your plants and flowers in the garden, choose suitable colors for your rocks. You definitely want colors that are bright and vibrant. Let your imagination do its work. You can also paint words on them like “Peace” or “Dream” with an earthy hue in the background. Ask your friends to sign their names on rocks you paint to create a colorful “Friendship” garden.
  • Protect your face and eyes with goggles and a mask before applying an acrylic finisher. You need to spray clear sealant on your landscaping rocks. This is done to protect the artwork from the environment and harsh elements. Take care to coat the entire painted surface several times. Allow the paint to dry between every fresh coat.
  • Make sure you leave the rocks to dry completely at least for 10 hours or overnight depending on the climate. Humid conditions take longer than drier conditions.
  • When you’re done, clean up the work area. You can store the leftover sealant and paints in a dry, safe place, away from children and pets. Clean your paint brushes, dispose of the used detergent solution and the used newspaper.