So you want to build a pond in your garden? There is a right way and a wrong way to go about it. First, you have to pick the area in your yard that will be a good fit. In order to do that, you have to know where all of the underground utility pipes are located. Whether it is water, electrical or cable, you don’t want to hit any of them when you start digging. You utility companies will be happy to come out and mark the locations to prevent any mishaps.
Next, you want to decide how large you want the pond and make sure it is not near a lot of trees. The leaves will clog it up and make a lot of extra work for you. An average pond is two to three feet deep. Unless you plan to put Koi in it, it will need to be three to four feet deep. Even if you decide against the Koi, it is always best to make sure you have running water to keep the mosquito population down. A simple pond pump will help ensure that the water is always moving.
You can easily find reading on how moving water makes a pond environment much healthier for plants and fish. To find ways to keep your water in motion see more info on pond pumps and water systems.
Now comes the time to go get your supplies. You can buy either a preformed or flexible liner for your pond. A flexible one allows you to determine the shape and size and are relatively easy to work with. You can build your pond with common garden tools; there is really no need to have heavy machinery, unless it is going to be a very large pond. You will also need sand to spread around before you put down your liner. This prevents tears from happening due to rocks and roots. Just spread it evenly and as thick as you can to be safe.
Make sure you get the rocks you need to line around the outside and to build a waterfall should you decide you want one. Most hardware stores will deliver them, so you shouldn’t need a truck. Don’t forget your water plants and decorative plants for around the pond either.
Not everyone has a yard or the space to build a pond. However, do not be discouraged, because you can still have a water garden by using a sealed decorative container. Just put rocks on the bottom and choose what water plants you would like to have. Once again, you will have to do something to prevent mosquitoes, even if it is only a small water garden. They will breed in any standing water. Either the water has to move, or you need goldfish to kill the larvae.
A pond can bring a lot of joy to you and your family. They are very calming and soothing to sit next to after a hard day at work. Especially those with the gentle sounds of water flowing over rocks. You’ll be surprised at how good it is for relaxation and even meditation.
Lattice fencing has been a go-to tool for gardeners forever. Its classic crisscross or grid structure has remained unaltered since its inception for one reason: it works! And as we all know, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Indeed, the lattice is the one "fixing" things – it provides privacy fencing for yards, serves as a blank canvas for clinging vines and ivy, helps climbing vegetables to reach new heights, keeps out unwanted critters, and functions as the main building material for decorative arbors, trellises, screens, pergolas and more!
Let’s learn a bit more about lattice by delving into two of its main purposes: vertical gardening and natural pest control.
One of the wonderful things about the overlapping strips in latticework is the structural support they provide for climbing vines and vertically-growing plants and vegetables.
In the world of trellis climbers, you can’t go wrong with selections such as tomatoes, cucumbers, melons, peas and pole beans.
Once the frost threat passes for your region, lay out your garden in front of your lattice incorporating each plant’s specific spatial needs – this info can be found on the transplant’s nursery container.
After placing each transplant in its specified hole, cover with soil (mixed with compost for nourishment) and water liberally. From here, attach each of the climbers to the lattice by looping a soft piece of twine around the main stem of each plant and tie the loose ends to the lattice.
As the plant grows, the twine will guide the stems to grow vertically against the lattice. As soon as the vegetables ripen, harvest them and enjoy a homegrown bite of your hard work!
Natural Pest Control
Another fantastic use for lattice is as a tool for border control for those annoying animals that threaten to move into your home, completely uninvited. Just take a look around at all of the crawl-space homes surrounded with lattice under-fencing and you will understand the widespread infestation issues that lattice solves in such a lovely manner!
But more to the point is how to keep hungry critters like rabbits and deer from feasting on the fruits (and vegetables!) of your labor: installing lattice fencing is a great way to keep their grubby little paws off your peas and carrots and little hooves away from your rose bushes.
Although a picket fence works well as an exterior border surrounding your entire yard, if it is not at least 6 feet tall it may not thwart all deer, as some can clear that height in a single leap. Rather than installing a completely new fence, consider adding a level of lattice at the top of your existing fence.
Attaching a length of lattice to the upper railing of your fence not only provides the additional height to keep the deer at bay but it also adds texture and interest to your fence and can soften the entire look of your yard if you allow vines or ivy to grow on the lattice. Plus, you are repurposing what you already have which is a great way to save some green for the planet and your wallet!
When it comes to rabbits, here’s a quick tutorial on installing a lattice border around your garden:
- Wire rabbit fencing, with openings no larger than an inch: Ensure you have enough wire for the length of your entire garden area that is at least four feet wide
- Decorative lattice, in the same length as the wire fencing and at least three and a half feet wide
- Garden trowel
To build your border:
- Use the garden trowel to dig a narrow channel around the perimeter of your garden, approximately 12 inches deep
- Bury the wire rabbit fencing in the trench – there should be 12 inches below the surface and three feet above ground
- Fill in the trench halfway, leaving six inches of space from the surface
- Enclose the wire rabbit fencing with the lattice, burying the lattice approximately six inches deep
- Replace the remaining soil and firmly pack the ground around the new fencing
With this type of border, you have form and function. The decorative lattice masks the presence of the wire rabbit fencing, at least partially, and cursory garden admirers may not even notice it, depending on the style of lattice you choose. By burying the fence in the ground, you discourage burrowing and digging and at three feet tall, even Bugs Bunny will have difficulty breaching your barrier!
What other garden projects do you plan to complete with lattice?
Termites are the last insect most homeowners ever want to see on their property. Their voracious appetite for wood can do untold damage to even the newest and best-built homes in any neighborhood.
Making sure they don’t do this to you takes persistence and anticipation. Waiting for signs of termites before you initiate a treatment program is the wrong way to handle it. If you don’t already have termites, don’t think of it as a treatment program. Think of it as a prevention program, or else it may become a treatment program.
You must deal with professionals on termites. An infestation requires skills, tools, and chemicals that homeowners do not have. Finding a reputable exterminator is as easy as dropping in on www.pestcontrol.us and placing a phone call. From that initial contact, your situation will be handled by people who are well-trained in termite issues. Don’t select some no-name startup local company, staffed by freshly-minted technicians who might not be able to find termites in their own homes. To get the best results, work with the best people. This is your home we’re talking about!
Calling a professional isn’t exactly how-to instruction. But there is a significant DIY component to the process of termite-proofing your home. We’re getting there…
First, you must limit the availability of cellulose. That can best be handled at the time of construction, of course, but even with renovation you can look for places where wood is within six inches of soil. Consider lattice work, structural members, and decorative items. And note that pressure treated wood is not immune to termite damage.
Second, don’t store wood on the ground. Whether it’s firewood or scrap lumber, placing it on the ground is making it a vector for termites. When you grab a 2×4 block for a household repair, it may already be infested with termites. Bringing in an extra armload of firewood to get you through the night will also bring in a squadron of these destructive pests. Mulch, in excess, can stay moist enough to provide a home for termites that’s just inches from your home. If you like to replace mulch annually, rake away last year’s accumulation (and any previous years’!) and use a modest layer that covers the soil just enough to get the look you want. Don’t let mulch mound up in a thick, damp layer. That is Club Med for termites.
Finally, manage moisture. Termites are soft-bodied insects that cannot survive very long in a dry environment. By taking away the moisture that keeps them alive, you will force them to relocate elsewhere. That applies to inside your home and out. Check for damp areas around your foundation. Ensure that gutter downspouts can easily drain away from the home. Get a dehumidifier for summer use, and make sure you keep it emptied as needed.
The battle against termites never ends, but with vigilance on your part and skilled work by professionals on theirs, you can stay ahead of the monsters that would eat your home.
Starting and keeping a garden is a great way to spend your time for those of you with a green thumb. I just recently took up the hobby, and was shocked at just how expensive it was to start a relatively large garden in my back yard. Undeterred by the cost, I opened my wallet, pulled out the no fee credit cards and began buying seeds, mulch, and the tools I needed to keep my garden looking great.
Make you own compost. There are two big benefits to composting. First, those scraps from the vegetables and other foods you spent your hard-earned money on don’t go to waste, allowing you to make the most of your purchases. More importantly, however, compost is free nutrient rich soil for your garden. It’s easy, too.
A very simple way to create a compost area is to choose an area of your yard that’s away from everything else and section it off with chicken wire. Once you’ve built your bin, simply toss your scraps, veggie peelings, egg shells, and more into the bin and let it decompose. Compost soil takes about a year to be ready for gardening, but once it’s ready, you’ll have some of the freshest free soil around.
Cut back on mulch. Have you laid mulch and then had pesky weeds pop up anyway? If you answered “yes,” there’s a good chance that you also purchased more mulch to lay over the invading weeds. There’s a simpler solution, however.
Next time you go to lay mulch, take some of those old newspapers out of your recycling bin and lay them flat over the area where you’re going to lay the mulch. With this biodegradable layer between the weeds and the mulch, you’ll see fewer of their little heads popping through the wood chips, and you’ll save money since you’ll have to reapply your mulch less often.
Buy self-seeding plants. Another really great way to save money on your garden going forwards is by not having to by new plants every year. Many plants – like Foxgloves, Oriental Poppies, etc. – are self-seeders. This means that as they deteriorate in the colder months, they will release seeds that will germinate when the weather gets warm again.
This is a great way to save money on your garden because it removes some of the monetary burden of purchasing all-new flowers at the start of each warm season.
Start small. One way to facilitate the lushness of your garden is to buy larger, adult plants instead of growing from seeds. Many gardening stores sell larger plants because they are more expensive to the buyer, however. To save some money this year, but smaller, starter plants or grow your garden from seeds. Seeds and smaller plants cost less because they’ve cost the growers and distributors less to grow and maintain.
For some, growing a garden can be challenging, but if you’re willing to try, going this route will save you money upfront and could very well produce just as beautiful a garden as larger plants.
Become a plant food chef. Another expense that can be very important to your garden (and its health) is purchasing plant food. Plants, like all other organisms, need certain things to thrive—water, light, nutrients, and more. And one of the ways we give plants nutrients is with expensive plant foods.
You can, however, save money on plant food by making your own. Here’s how: take compost and place it into a large container of water for a week. When the week’s up, the water should be murky and brown. That means it’s ready. Now, use this mixture to water your plants—it will work as well as store-bought foods, but will lack the chemicals found in them.
The biggest tip I can give you is to keep it small and simple until you get the hang of it. Gardening is supposed to be relaxing, not complicated. If you want complicated, try understanding section 529 college savings plans. That’s complicated. Gardening should be the opposite of that, and once you get the hang of it, it is.
May is a great time to start enjoying the warmer weather and longer days by getting out in the garden. By taking the time to smell the roses and stroll around the allotment plot or garden you can help to combat stress levels and restore the Zen to your busy life. Discovering the plant life and wildlife using your senses will bring you closer nature. While you appreciate these little natural miracles why not give a thought to how we can help the environment at home.
While you are (hopefully) having fun in the sun you could have a go at a few recycling and repurposing activities. Here are a few tips that can help you turn your rubbish into something beautiful or functional.
1. Turn rubbish into a planter. A chipped cup and saucer, a teapot with a broken lid, a lonely wellington boot, all can be filled with compost and turned from something unloved into something beautiful. It’s true that flowers can work wonders to cheer up a dull space, all you have to do is to drill some holes in the bottom of the receptacle, fill it with compost and plant flowers or seeds. Summer bedding plants are in available at garden centers right now and can be used to add an instant impact.
2. Build a bug hotel. These can be made from all sorts of weather durable scraps of building material and garden material. The easiest bug hotel can be made from broken garden canes which are too small for anything else. All you have to do is chop them up into similar lengths and tie them together with twine and leave it in a quiet corner of the garden. Bugs, insects and even bees will crawl in to this safe place during bad weather and frosts.
3. Make use of kitchen scraps. Slugs are a gardener’s public enemy number 1, use broken eggshells or anything prickly (holly leaves work well too) scattered around your most precious plants to deter the slimy horrible critters from munching their way through the irresistible fresh new shoots. Other kitchen scraps such a vegetable peelings can be added to the compost where they will provide valuable nutrients and help improve the structure of the soil.
4. Use finished water bottles. Empty water bottles are one of the world’s biggest recycling problems but there are so many uses for them around the garden. In May when frosts can still happen, water bottles filled with water can be used to protect courgette plants. By filling up the bottle with collected rain water and then placing the bottle (or 2 of them) next to your courgette plants you can provide extra warmth during the last frosts. The water in the bottle will warm up during the day in the sun and then cool down slower than the air at night, thus keeping your plants toasty should a frost happen. Used water bottles can also be made into slow release drip feeders which will make efficient use of water as none runs away from its intended destination.
With so many ways to recycle you need never look at your rubbish in the same way again!
This article is a guest post from Dan Whiteside, Dan blogs about DIY and gardening topics at DIY Newbie, where he discusses a variety of issues including plumbing repairs and building projects.
My ancestors were German farmers, but somewhere along the way the green thumb gene got spliced out of me. Despite enjoying an abundance of homegrown green peppers, squash, and tomatoes in my youth, I never seriously shadowed my grandparents nor my mother in the garden.
My youthful experience gardening involved one sad attempt at growing carrots from seedlings, an endeavor so fraught with impatience I harvested little orange worms (they do not deserve to be called carrots) no bigger than a pinky toe. I hung up the trowel and spade after that attempt, and determined that all of my future vegetables would be store bought and enjoy endless refrigeration in a yard-free condominium.
However, each summer as the sun grows warm I miss the fresh taste of garden tomatoes. I also, inexplicably, long to get dirt beneath my nails. I have recently become very aware of sourcing food locally, and it seems to me there is no better local source than my own backyard.
There have been many stumbling blocks to garden domination.
1. Soil. It turns out that soil is very important to the success of your garden. Too dense (like the clay-like mud of our yard) and plants don’t have room to grow or absorb nutrients. Too loose (loamy) and the beds won’t retain sufficient amounts of water leaving your plants thirsty. Talk to your local nursery about the local soil. My guy was very helpful in setting me up with some soil to supplement and loosen up our existing dirt. If you are looking for a cheaper, more green alternative to purchasing soil from a nursery composting is a good option. We got a late start on it this year and therefore went the lazy route, but I am eager to use compost in our garden next year.
2. Space. While I did not end up in the full-service penthouse condominium of my dreams, our yard still presents special challenges. We’ve opted to use square foot gardening techniques to organize our garden. Some plants will take up a single square foot of space, and other plants like the zucchini take up four or more spaces on the grid. Since most of our seedlings started out the same size, using this square foot method helped ensure we buffered each plant with enough room to grow.
Additionally we are experimenting with other space savers like vertical gardening and upside down planters. So far we have had mixed success due in part to poor planning (Who knew the garage cast that large of a shadow in the afternoon while we are work?), but ultimately we look to have an interesting and robust crop coming.
3. Cost. Free vegetables aren’t free. We thunked down a healthy amount of start-up cash to get our garden going. Lumber for raised beds, soil, and even the seeds and plants themselves set us back a little more than we anticipated. However we built the garden for longevity and hope to reduce our costs next year. Additionally. we have taken the garden beyond just the edibles and taken tips from www.texaselectricityproviders.com to improve our landscaping to reduce home energy costs. Ultimately, knowing exactly where our food is coming from carries more value than the few extra dollars invested this year.
I am excited to see if I have reclaimed my heritage come harvest. I hold out hope that if I squint at in the right light (and rub some freshly cut grass on it) my thumb will reflect a healthy green hue.