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Beautiful and Low Maintenance Backyard? 8 Ideas to Get You Started

If you love spending time outdoors or you enjoy throwing parties in your backyard, that doesn’t mean that you want to spend a ton of time keeping up your landscaping. If that sounds like you, selecting low maintenance landscaping is the perfect compromise. You get to enjoy time in your yard that looks fantastic and you are spared from having to spend numerous hours each week on upkeep and maintenance. If you are considering a landscaping project, remember this. Everybody’s personal definition of low maintenance can be very different, so it’s really important that you find a landscape designer who listens to you and understands what you consider low maintenance. That’s the only way they will be able to design a landscape that’s right for you and your lifestyle. Of course, that doesn’t mean that you can’t have some ideas of what you want, or what would work for you prior to meeting with designers. Here are 8 simple ideas that can be used to create a cozy, vibrant outdoor space you and your family will enjoy. 1. Mulch Vs. Stone Mulch may be the number one choice for plants, but it can be messy. If you have a pool or hot tub, you could find the mulch being dragged or blown into it. A low maintenance solution is to have areas near the pool or hot tub covered using stone, or larger sized decorative gravels, with areas of mulch and plants far behind that barrier. Larger stones have a unique look and will not stick to bather’s feet or easily blow away. 2. Landscape Plants Choosing the right type of plants is key. You want to select a variety of low maintenance plants, that don’t need lots of looking after or tending to. Look for plants that are not disease or pest prone, are drought tolerant, don’t need trimming, and are generally hardy species. You might want to include some of the following low maintenance plants: Ornamental Grasses – Sedge Grass, Fountain Grass Ground Cover – Coneflowers, Creeping Juniper, Periwinkle, Pachysandra, Liriope Shrubs – Burning Bush, Butterfly Bush, Boxwood, Spirea, Weigela, Siberian Cypress 3. Low Maintenance Structures A structure, such as a pergola, makes a wonderful, attractive addition to your landscaping, but you should consider your materials carefully. Pressure treated wood may be cheaper than a composite, but lumber needs to be regularly sanded, and stained, which is time-consuming. Composite needs much maintenance than lumber. Spills can be easily wiped up, and it can be made to look as good as new with the odd pressure washing. It’s also more durable than wood and doesn’t crack or splinter as wood does. 4. Gas Vs Wood Fire Choosing a fire is a case of personal preference. Real wood fires have a unique smell, and sound, but a gas fire is much easier to use. Gas fires can be turned on or off with a simple button, and you don’t need to wait for the fire to burn out. Gas fires are quick to cool when turned off. There’s no need to store wood or dispose of hot ash, and a […]

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5 Ideas to Design Your Patio on a Budget

When your home comes with a spacious backyard, it would be a shame not to make the most of it and create a chic patio setting. However, putting together something that stands out can get quite expensive. Fortunately, there are ways to do it while sticking to a fixed budget. In this article, we will discuss our top five favorite ideas. 5 Affordable Patio Designs Ample Seating Area Placing a couple of chairs and a table on the patio is a good place to start, but when you have a big family or want to hold parties in the garden, it’s not that easy anymore. Why not design a seating area with ample room for all your loved ones? Putting out a sofa is the obvious solution here, but a new piece of furniture of this type can be quite expensive. Fortunately, if you have an old one lying around, this is the perfect time to reupholster it. If the item is high-quality, with good structure and sentimental value, restoring it is a given. Of course, you will have to compare the cost of this operation to that of purchasing a sofa, but more often than not DIY projects amount to considerably less. Reupholstering an old sofa is not a difficult process. All you need is a lot of patience, as well as the proper tools for the job. Start by carefully cutting away the old fabric on the cushions, then follow with an accurate measurement of how much textile material you will need. Attach it to the bones of the couch with a staple gun, keeping it smooth, and that’s about it. Fire Bowl for Chilly Nights Just because the weather in your area tends to get chilly at night doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy a pleasant evening out on the patio with your friends and family. When warm socks and sweaters just don’t cut it anymore and a fire pit seems too campy for your taste, it’s time to get creative and make your own fire bowl for the garden. The project requires concrete and two bowls of varying dimensions depending on the desired size in its initial phase. Mix the cement formula, then take the larger bowl and oil it for easier release. Pour the concrete in, then create the inner dent using the smaller bowl which has been previously oiled on the exterior. Let everything dry for as long as it is specified, then fill with the fuel of your choice. It can be wood, gel, coal, or whatever else you might fancy. The concrete will do a great job of containing the flames and distributing warmth to the surrounding area. Outdoors Bar & BBQ While we’re on the topic of get-togethers held in the backyard, how amazing would it be to have a bar and barbeque station out there? It might sound like quite the extravagant venture, but all you need really is a shelf unit and a counter of sorts. For the former, an old and repainted bookcase will do the trick, while the latter is an inexpensive find. Adding an affordable ice […]

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Tools You Need for Landscaping

Whether you want to start your own landscaping business or ensure your property looks top-notch year round, you have to invest in high-quality equipment and tools. Just like in any venture, drafting a plan and estimating your expenses are the first right steps to take to achieve success. When you consider the costs and the benefits of starting a lawn care/landscape business or a project of this kind for your property, the cost of inventory and maintenance need your full attention. Today, we will discuss the tools you need for landscaping and analyze some of the issues that require your full consideration. To Rent or to Buy, This is the Question In the case of hand tools, which we will discuss in a few moments, things are simple: you should buy them either for business or DIY landscape projects. When it comes to power tools, you need to consider the following aspects: If you are building a start-up, you should consider renting the essential power tools you will use more frequently on your or your clients’ properties (until you start making profits in your business). Leasing equipment in the first stages of your project comes with both advantages and disadvantages, and you should consider them with care. However, you can get outstanding deals from tools and equipment renting firms, such as EquipmentRental.org, that can satisfy your needs, provide you with personalized offers and discounts, and be available in your work area for all your requirements. The logic of renting equipment for seasonal work on your property or scheduled work for your clients is this: you do not pay for anything up-front, you always have predictable expenses, and you will be able to have access to state-of-the-art equipment to be ahead of your competitors. If you want to make sure you decide correctly, then you should use business plan templates and start-up costs simulators. They will help you understand better what costs to avoid altogether, what charges to diminish, strong points to invest in, and other hidden, recurrent, or unexpected payments to consider. Now that you have a bigger and clear picture of how to distribute your budget, we should see what tools you need for a landscaping business or a landscaping project. Landscaping Essential Vehicles It is better to start a landscaping business with a truck you already have; if you do not own a proper vehicle for your landscaping start-up, you should introduce the costs of a heavy-duty flatbed truck with locking toolbox and a dumping mechanism. It may push your budget to around $30,000. If you need tools only for your property, you can skip the costs of the vehicle on your budget simulator. Landscaping Essential Security Tools and Equipment You should consider such tools no matter what – either for business or DIY projects; safety is mandatory. Here are your main items to consider: When you check out the reports offered by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, you learn that even limited exposure to sound levels in the 85-to-90-dB range can cause hearing problems and loss; lawn equipment and tools operate at up to 95 dB, […]

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How to: Personal April showers to enjoy more flowers

Landscape architecture by Anna Boeschenstein/groundedllc.com. Architecture by Formwork Photo: Lincoln Barbour As homeowners continue to view their outdoor living space as an extension of their home, more of them are taking what is commonly found indoors outside, including showers. While to most, showering outdoors may seem awkward or unnerving, these additions have proven to be…

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Students in it to win it on NCLC competition day

Teams hustled to complete their hardscape installations on Friday, March 16.Photo: Jill Odom As spring break drew to a close, most college students were having one last hurrah before classes started back, but the students from 61 schools at the National Collegiate Landscape Competition (NCLC) were giving it their all in various green industry tests…

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Before you shove in a shovel, call 811 to avoid trouble

Every nine minutes, an underground utility is damaged because someone didn’t call 811. This statistic is from the Common Ground Alliance (CGA), and if this number sounds alarmingly frequent to you, it is because many are unaware that they need to call 811 before they dig. April is National Safe Digging Month and while the…

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