Category: Gardening and Landscaping

The very best Drought-Tolerant Ground Cover

The ideal ground covers are low maintenance, stop erosion, cool the soil and also beautify the landscape. Some ground covers are fast to establish and many have extensive root systems that help prevent sediment. Ground covers with dense foliage shade the soil and preserve soil moisture, while flowering ground covers brighten the landscape. Many ground covers also are drought tolerant, once established. Choose the right drought-tolerant ground cover to suit your climate, landscape and aesthetics.

Fast-Growing Ground Covers

Fast-growing, drought-tolerant ground covers are helpful for covering large regions. Coyote brush (Baccharis pilularis), also called dwarf chaparral broom, and wild lilac (Ceanothus spp.) Are examples of drought-tolerant ground covers that fill in fast. Coyote brush and wild lilac grow well in U.S. Department of Agricultural plant hardiness zones 8 through 10. While coyote bush prefers sun to filtered shade, wild lilac thrives in sun to part shade. Plant coyote bush 2 to 3 feet apart and wild lilac 3 to 5 feet apart for good reporting. Other fast-growing, drought-tolerant ground covers include cotoneaster and Mexican daisy (Erigeron karvinskianus). Ground covers that develop rapidly often tend to be invasive. Prune excess growth to keep ground covers neat and contained.

Erosion-Controlling Ground Covers

Drought-tolerant ground covers that control erosion, especially on hillsides, have deep or extensive root systems. Creeping cotoneaster (Cotoneaster adpressus) and Aaron’s beard (Hypericum calycinum), also called “creeping St. Johnswort,” grow well on slopes. Creeping cotoneaster is a ground-hugging shrub for USDA plant hardiness zones 4 through 10. It likes sun to partial shade, while Aaron’s beard will grow in sun or shade. Aaron’s beard is an evergreen shrub in USDA plant hardiness zones 6 through 10. Plant creeping cotoneaster at least 3 feet apart and Aaron’s beard 18 inches apart. Other ground covers that are good for slopes are coyote brush, manazanita (Arctostaphylos), wild lilac, sageleaf rockrose (Cistus salviifolius), ice plant, creeping juniper (Juniperus horizontalis), lantana and mahonia.

Flowering Ground Covers

A flowering, drought-tolerant ground cover is past practical — it also adds pizzazz to your landscape. Lantana and Mexican daisy (Erigeron karvinskianus) are all examples of long-flowering ground covers. Lantana is a shrubby vine, growing 1 to 2 feet high and up to 8 feet, depending on range. Lantana and Mexican daisy grow well in sunny locations in USDA plant hardiness zones 9 through 10. Flower colors for lantana are purple, purple, purple, purple or orange, depending on number. Mexican daisy bears pinkish-white blossoms. Other drought-tolerant, long-flowering ground covers are cape bud (Arctotheca calendula) and Scaevola “Mauve Clusters.”

Evergreen Ground Covers

Low growing junipers, mahonias and germander (Teucrium chamaedrys) are low-maintenance, drought-tolerant ground covers. Juniperus horizontalis grows in USDA plant hardiness zones 4 through 10. Mahonias normally have shiny leaves with spiny margins, growing with a neat habit in USDA plant hardiness zones 5 through 9. Germander is an evergreen, shrubby plant that produces a dark green carpet. It grows well in USDA hardiness zones 6 through 10. Junipers, mahonia and germander grow well in sun or partial shade. Other ground cover plants with botanical leaf include coyote brush, wild lilac, sageleaf rockrose, cotoneaster, Mexican daisy, Aarons’ beard and rosemary (Rosemarinus officinalis).

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How to Install Drainage in a Cinder Block Retaining Wall

A retaining wall prevents erosion, keeping a hill in area behind a house, or it may serve as a basement wall, depending on the property’s construction. Among the problems of constructing a retaining wall is ensuring that water drains away from it, otherwise the resultant moisture can damage the wall over time or leak into your home. Among the best methods to ensure adequate drainage is to set up a French drain behind the wall.

Examine the Land

Before you construct a cinder block retaining wall, then you must analyze the territory when it rains to view how the rainwater flows. This can help you to develop a water drainage drawing to ensure that water doesn’t slip behind the retaining wall, as well as ensuring a place for the water behind the wall to go after you put in the drain. For instance, after installing the drainage, then you may need to integrate runoff ditches to ensure the water goes where you want it to.

Excavate Behind the Wall

A cinder block retaining wall holds back a great deal of pressure. When it rains, the water in the hill behind the wall has to be drained away from the wall to keep the wall from being compromised. Before establishing the foundation for the cinder block wall, then ensure you have at least 1 to 2 feet of functioning room behind the wall that lets you put in a drain atop a gravel foundation.

Construct the Wall

Construct the wall to a flat base. Throughout construction, the local construction authority will occasionally inspect the wall to ensure it complies with local building codes. When the wall is totally built, you can lay in the needed drains and gravel. At either end of this wall, create a path for the water to flow into a drainage ditch or pipe, to transfer it away from the wall and house.

Gravel and Drain

Compact the bottom of the pit behind the retaining wall to have it flat. Pour 1- to 2-inch washed drainage stone into the hole and the foundation of this wall approximately 4 to 6 inches deep. Put a drainpipe with perforations that operate along its top over the gravel, using the solid side facing the bottom of the drainage ditch. The perforations in the top allow the water to seep into the pipe, which carries it off to both sides. After installing the perforated pipe, cover it and fill the hole using 3/4-inch washed gravel to within 6 inches of the surface of the wall. Insert dirt above the gravel for the rest 6 inches, and compact it lightly.

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Sift During 8 Stylish Sandboxes

When it comes to garden playtime, children do not need a whole lot of bells and whistles. Take sandboxes, such as — tots are perfectly happy with a couple primary boards nailed to a square and stuffed using the powdery stuff. You, on the other hand, might like something a little more refined to elevate the appearance of your picture. Have a look at these inventive sandbox suggestions to create a kid-friendly play zone with grown-up allure.

Globus Builder

This arrangement appears simple but packs in quite a bit of function. The benches on each side keep little tushes out of the sand and offer a place for parents to perch also, and the roof shelters children from a lot of sun.

Together with the cover on, this sandbox looks like a detail. However, the cover’s role goes beyond beauty — it also protects the sand from cats or other animals who may treat it as a litter box, and shields it from fall leaves and spring rains.

Exteriorscapes llc

This sandbox is wrapped beneath a arrangement that looks like a child’s own beach cabana. Removable grates on top of the box make it easy to sift out debris and keep out critters.

Agnes Blum

Coupled with sand, a boat-shaped wooden box becomes a playspace which kindles the imagination on multiple levels.

Stout Design-Build

Here’s 1 approach to guarantee a soft landing! Kids can zoom down the slip into a pit of sand that is ready and waiting for playtime.


Though its design is streamlined, this sunken sandbox is oriented along the walkway so thoughtfully that it becomes an essential component of the hardscaping.

Garden design perth

An accomplishment of green design as well as visual appeal, this trio of industrial-size water drums includes a sandy place for teeny-tinies to relish.

This free-form sand pit appears to flow like water along the stones that surround it.

Sandbox Safety
After your sand-filled setup is ready for playtime, follow these ideas to keep little ones safe:

• Replace sand at least one time every year. Old sand may harbor bacteria that lingers throughout the off season.
• Be mindful of the sand you decide on. Some varieties contain crystalline silica, a carcinogenic compound, so look for manufacturers which are marked “silica free.” River or shore sand is generally fine, and businesses like Safe Sand offer great options too.
• Have your sandbox fitted with a pay to ward off pets and wildlife and keep sand warm during rainy days. If sand does get wet, let it dry completely before you replace the cover.
• Aerate sand occasionally using a trowel or rake to test for garbage and other debris.
• Always supervise sandbox playtime, particularly for younger children who may be tempted to taste the contents.

Read thousands of smart kids’ spaces

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How to Begin a Home Vineyard

If you love wine, the notion of sitting on your backyard, staring out in rows of vines while sipping homemade Cabernet may sound like paradise. And you don’t require a Napa-sized estate to do it. It’s possible to grow a case of wine everywhere you’ve got space for 45 vines — whether it’s in a suburban front yard or a bigger plot of land on a hillside. Individuals with smaller plots are pooling harvests to get enough juice to jar.

While having your own vineyard and creating wine sounds like fun, it’s also work. Pete Richmond, founder of Silverado Farming in Napa, helps vineyards grow and manage their websites to create the best possible wine and grapes. He does everything, from picking the website, creating it, picking grapes, and assessing water and soil requirements. When it’s a large or little website, the best thing you can do first is educate yourself, he says. Here’s what to consider before diving in:

BraytonHughes Design Studios

1. Choose your goal. “The most important thing to consider is your target,” says Richmond. “Are you really going to be landscaping? Doing home wine production? Selling fruit into a winery?” Knowing what your end result should be will help you narrow down the process.

It’s important to keep in mind that creating a successful harvest of grapes takes a while. Most grapes won’t yield fruit until the next year after planting. “They will have fruit before then,” says Richmond,”but it’s normally cut off so that the vines can grow quicker. Most vines will reach full production from the fifth season.” He averages a vine can yield one pound of fruit in the next year, 1.5 pounds in the fourth, and two to three pounds annually afterwards — and it takes about 45 pounds of fruit to make one instance of wine. Consequently, in the event that you planted 45 vines, you’d have enough to make a case of wine after the next year of planting!

In Los Gatos, California, Brad and Dana Krouskup have experienced their Pinot Noir harvest for three seasons, and it’s only starting to produce viable fruit. “I was a bit concerned that it might get too hot for Pinot,” says Brad,”but there are so many varieties, we were able to select one that’s a bit more appropriate for this climate.”

2. Do you want a specialist? The Krouskups opted to have a person come in to install and keep their vineyard. The professional vineyard manager usually comes out about once a month to test on the grapes, although it does are inclined to happen a bit more often at this time of year, since the grapes require more maintenance. While hiring a specialist definitely saves time, stress, and eliminates some of the guesswork, it certainly isn’t a necessity.

“Ask yourself this question,” says Richmond,”Can you choose a kitchen remodel yourself, or hire a builder? If you are a do-it-yourself individual, then you can plant a vineyard. The only basic skills you need to possess are muscle, and an adequate idea of how to put in irrigation.”

Los Gatos resident Rocco Falcomato’s vineyard is located on precisely the same hillside as the Krouskups. But, Falcomato decided to plant the vineyard on his own, putting Cabernet into the left and Chardonnay to the appropriate.

With a little plot of Chardonnay only outside his terrace, Falcomato shows how you don’t necessarily require a lot of space so as to plant a few vines. However, this tends to be geared more towards landscaping purposes, since more grapes need to produce enough for winemaking.

Carolyn Chadwick

“If you’re considering it from only a landscaping perspective, then life just got easier,” says Richmond. “You don’t have to be concerned about that which variety to grow in your area.  Disease gets less of an issue since it won’t be forced into wine.  However, I have discovered that most men and women start out saying they’ll only do it for landscaping, and then it becomes something more involved”

3. Understand what you are getting into. This is going to be an investment of time as well as cash. Ensure you recognize that a vineyard requires far more care than many landscaping does. Richmond suggests that you plan on heading out and maintaining each vine at least 15 occasions from January to November. If you multiply that by the number of vines you have (or plan on having), that’ll help you determine just how much of a time commitment that this will be.

Diane Licht Landscape Architect

Which are the most common novice mistakes? “People have a tendency to plant way too much,” says Richmond. “Sometimes people leave fruit on the vines. Leaving fruit on in the first three years will harm the vines long term. Or they’ll under water. That’s important. Vines need approximately four gallons of water per week from May to October.”

A well-planned irrigation process is essential to a successful vine. Ensure that you have enough water on website to water your vines correctly. In case you’ve got 100 vines, then need to provide each vine with four gallons a week, that’s 400 gallons of water that you want to pump onto your website. Making certain vines are insect free is just another necessity. Richmond recommends that vines are sprayed every two months from May 1 to August 1 to eliminate mildew. “They are just like roses because respect,” says Richmond.

4. Do your research. There’s a lot to learn and understand about this wonderful vine. Learn about what it means to shoot cuttings, what makes great soil, and how to graft and prune. Research the different types of grapes, and which ones are best fitted for your website and your climate. There are a lot of hybrids and varieties, therefore there’s room for compromise too. If you are really set on a particular kind of grape, start looking into varieties that might be a bit more appropriate for your website.

Richmond also proposes looking to a college cooperative extension on your county, to see if they have a farm advisor that can help. Most state college systems have wonderful agricultural applications, advisors, and resources to point you in the ideal direction.

5. Pick your grapes. As soon as you’ve done the research, committed to the work, and determined on your plan of actions, it’s time to select a grape. While there’s a lot of back-and-forth concerning the ideal means to do this, Richmond has a fairly simple and practical suggestion:”If you’re aspiring to make wine out of this fruit, I would plant what you like drinking,” he says.  “As a rule of thumb, whites do better in cool weather and reds in warmer climates.  Whites are also easier to grow. Table grapes need lots of warmth, which is why most of them are increased from Fresno to the Mexican border. But other than that, grow what you like.”

Next: Two books to get you started.

Vineyard Simple: How to Build and Maintain Your Own Small Vineyard by Tom Powers – $19.95

If you’ve decided to not hire a professional (or even in the event that you do) Richmond recommends picking up a few beginner guidebooks to get your feet wet. Vineyard Simple couldn’t lay it out considerably clearer. With easy-to-understand diagrams, guidelines, and recommendations, author Tom Powers takes you through the process, step-by-step, until you’ve got a gorgeous harvest.

From Vines to Wines: The Complete Guide to Growing Grapes and Making Your Own Wi – $18.95

You know you’ve discovered a excellent how-to book when it’s being used as a textbook for agricultural schools. Jeff Cox’s From Vines to Wines is regarded as one the most complete guides for beginning winemakers. Cox takes you in the first cutting into the very first jar with illustrated and written directions.

Have you got a home vineyard? Or are you considering planting one? Tell us about it!

More: Browse additional photos of landscape layouts

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Garden Tour: Three Grades of Outside Living

It’s a hint of an effective layout and proficient designer when it’s hard to ascertain the landscape starts as well as in which a residence’s architecture ends. For landscape architecture company Secret Gardens of Sydney, a hill-side home on Sydney Harbor demanded the order of a steep grade, stunning architecture, and coastal states to produce a layout that emphasized the spectacular waterfront views and home, and expanded the living space to the surroundings.

To make this apparently effortless space because of his sister and her household, designer Matt Cantwell applied sculptural plants, vital grading, and transitional substances throughout. The outcome: a landscape to to enjoy just as much from within the home out.

Secret Gardens

Gazing out in the very best balcony, it’s clear how the house that is perpendicular is. Landscape Architect Matt Cantwell stresses that because of this, the landscape needed to be navigable, it needed to be designed understanding that usually the the area will be appreciated from within the home, as a perspective. Plants were put to frame crucial views and others that were vague. From this viewpoint, it’s clear that there are three main landing divisions in the landscape — the veranda, pool region as well as the low terrace — linked with a method of stairs and trails.

Secret Gardens

The architecture seems to task out fluidly in the hillside and to the water. The landscape empowers the audience in the water to actually value the layout and grounds the house.

Secret Gardens

There exists a seamless and sleek transition from your living space out to the pool and veranda area. The look of the landscape targets blurring borders between interior and outdoor spaces. See the method by which the ceiling transitions to the over-hang for the veranda and of the parlor cantilevers out. The lap pool that is elevated occupies a complete side of the veranda, re-defining the connection in the landscape with all the water also to the shore. The continuous interaction of hidden borders and stuff is an excellent means to take total advantages of a modest outside space. That is an inherent continuity between all regions spacially and both visually.

Secret Gardens

Along side the pool, Cantwell put a row of Slender Weavers Bamboo for solitude. Its lithe shape and feathery leaves soften and complement the mini Mal geometry of encompassing structures and the pool.

Secret Gardens

Such as the layout, the substances chosen for the hardscape are pared down and thin. The hard-wood decking provides heat and richness to an otherwise great and mono-chromatic palette. The inside heat comes from wooden furnishings, and that was mimicked together with the lumber decking outside, Cantwell is explained by ”. Keeping an unfastened link between both spaces.” attained the changeover from insideout Cantwell notes that the deck actually warms your toes.

Secret Gardens

Reach the jacuzzi and also the pool through the integrated stairs and hidden gate. The stream lined and compact style produces a view that is constant and easy right out to the water.

Secret Gardens

More than anything, created and every-inch of the layout needed to be watchfully determined due to place and the challenging incline. “It’s indeed steep, that from sliding off of the hill, it actually needed plenty of construction merely to forbid the landscape,” Cantwell states. A level couch spaces were created to be appreciated for prolonged intervals since there couldn’t be huge levels of sprawling yard. All from Dedon, the terrace furniture, resembles an oversize living room set which has just been transferred outside.

Secret Gardens

A parlor outside did not simply transfer, he taken stuff from the inside of the house out in to the landscape. Sandstone paved the inside in addition to the veranda. The rock was just sandblasted, rather of shone, to endure the outdoor states that are severer.

Secret Gardens

Highlight views is one technique used to get a handle on views that are internal inside the landscape. Lighting is just another element that is essential, and may certainly be forgotten. Throughout the day, this entrance stairs showcases leaves and the colour of the screen put alongside the pool.

Secret Gardens

Through the night, the trail direct you onto the deck and just subtly suggests in the shape of the bamboo.

Secret Gardens

The plant palette was mainly chosen for colour. A mixture of grays, blues, greens, and silvers dominates the hill-side as you stroll from your pool area all the way down to the low patio.

Secret Gardens

The plant choices wouldn’t show that, even though the landscape lives on the water. Cantwell selected amongst others, for plant life with low water conditions generally not seen about the Sydney shore: agave and yucca. These plant kinds aren’t, for the large part, indigenous to the place, but the soothing and leaves colours perfectly enhance the geometry and architecture of your home and encompassing hardscape.

Secret Gardens

A spectacular effect is created by the unfastened firm of the crops. The smooth motion of the grasses paired with the streamlined rigidity of the yucca and agave play against each features to generate harmony. Straightforward backdrops of hedges enable the mo Re decorative kinds to progress to the foreground.

Secret Gardens

Some of the very spectacular characteristics of the website is the grand level yard place alongside the water. Speaking as some body who grew up close to the shore, I could say that there’s nothing better than feeling the rough feel of yard between your toes after obtaining from the water.

The whole place beside the water was rated as a way to adapt the grass as a unique request produced by the proprietors. Together with the remaining terrain mostly perpendicular, this region was designed together with the intent that games, celebrations as well as other social activities could consider location here.

Photos by Peter Brennan.

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