Tips for Implementing a Zen Garden

 

zen garden tips

Have you ever looked at your garden and thought oh no it’s getting out of hand again!  Gardening can be a pleasure, but it can also be so time-consuming.  But there is one particular style of gardening that looks amazing.  And it fairly easy to keep in check.  The solution is a Zen garden.  A Zen garden is designed to be a calming retreat from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.  Are you wondering how can you create a Zen garden in your back yard?  Check out our gardening tips and read our Zen garden tips below:

Design and Aims

First,  you need to consider the design of your garden before you implement our Zen garden tips.  Ensure that it fits into a Zen theme.  Check out the designs at  architectureartdesigns.com.  Straight lines work well as they are easy to maintain, and they give you the desired calming sensation. That means squares or rectangular beds are they best choice.

It’s also a good idea to ensure that the different sections of the garden are clearly delineated. You might do this by keeping the borders trimmed and clear of overgrown grass. Or you may chose to edge the areas with stones, wooden sleepers or short fencing.

Another aspect that you need to consider about the design, is balance. While it is often easier to go for an overall linear effect in the design you will want to balance these aspects out. To do this use more curvy lines and circular features, which create a sense of flow.

Lastly, you also need to consider space and placement in a garden of this sort. One of the key principles of a Zen-style garden is that you are looking to create a sense of expansion and space. That means it’s vital to not overfill a garden of this type, and only include some choice elements that add particular value to your outside space.

Beds

Beds in a Zen garden are unlike traditional flower beds. This is because it’s not the goal to fill them chock full with riots of color and texture. Instead, the idea is to create order and peace by regularly spacing smaller plants and shrubs out.

That is why succulents, in particular, make an excellent choice for this style of garden. They are usually Alpine plants, so they don’t take a huge amount of looking after to be successful, and can grow pretty much anywhere.

They also grow in pleasingly repetitive and symmetrical shapes. Which helps to create that sense of order that you are looking for. In addition, while there is some variation in colour in succulent breeds, rarely will you find ones in bright or intense colour. So this muted plated suits such a garden very well.

Lawn

Now deciding what to do with your lawn is also essential when creating a Zen-style garden. For some folks, going down the more traditional route, they may chose to remove the law altogether and replace it with a rock and sand garden. The idea of this being that it not only will it look very simple, but you can also rake it into different shapes and flow for that Zen feel.

 

zen garden tips

However if you have a family that still wants to use the garden for BBQs and gatherings, it is possible that this might be a step too far. But don’t stress, because you can still rock a modern Zen type garden with a lawn. Just follow the steps below.

First, it needs to be seriously manicured to work well in this style of garden. That means keeping it mowed and the edges sheared.  Or if you prefer, use a service like the one at collegefundlandscaping.com to help you with maintenance.

 

zen garden tips

 

It also needs to be in great condition, crabgrass, patches, and weeds are a big no-no for a Zen-style lawn. Which should be green, of an even height and texture.

Lastly, it can also work very will in this setting to divide the lawn up. Either into two halves with a stepping stone path down the middle. Or into four quarters with slate or gravel around the outside.  Which will emphasis the geometric and symmetrical theme.

Zen features

Of course, just because you are aiming for geometric simplicity, doesn’t mean that you can’t include a few garden accessories as well. In particular, mirror balls work well. No, not the one you get at the disco! But stone balls with a mirror finish. Which can be placed carefully at opportune spots in the garden to draw the eye.

zen garden tips

 

Additionally, water features are a very popular and a great Zen addition to this sort of outdoor space.   Just remember that they need to fit in with the style of the garden. That means out with the decorative stonework, and in with raw natural materials instead. For example, a slate piece foundation or monolith would work well in this setting.

We hope that you enjoyed our Zen garden tips, and will implement them into your outdoor space.

Creating a Family Garden When You Have Little Space

gardening ideas

 

When you have a family, the garden is often one of the most important areas of the property.  After all, it offers a fantastic place for outdoor dining.  Furthermore, it offers a place for the kids to play.  You don’t have to worry about your humble abode getting messy when they’re outside.  However, as much as we would love acres of land, we are often stuck with a small garden.  But all is not lost if you have a small garden. Check out my other gardening tips. In fact, here are some ways for creating a family garden even when you have little space:

 

 

Grow plants vertically

We all love to grow plants in the garden. After all, they can look beautiful and bring some much-needed color to our yard.  If you do want to grow some flowers, you could always go vertical.   For example, you could grow them up a wall.  Additionally, you could get a vertical structure which you can lean against your wall or use a trellis.  Consider using containers to grow plants.  Growing vertical means you and your family still get to have fantastic plants without having to use a ton of space.  And it can make your garden look unique rather than the traditional flower borders around the yard!

 

garden furniture

 

Get furniture which stores away easily

When you have a small garden, it can make it tricky when it comes to your outdoor furniture.  Most families enjoy dining outside, but if space is limited that could be a problem.  However, there are some ways you can still have a good outdoor table and chairs without using a ton of space.  Get a Rattan Cube Set,  It comes as a compact cube for easy storage too.  It actually opens up to be enough seating for six people.  And when you are not using it for eating, it can actually convert to a coffee table with some comfy seats!  Another idea, skip the table and rely on just chairs.  Just put a blanket on the grass and have a lovely picnic!

Make the most of your corners

Make sure you are using the corners.  A lot of people skip this option, but if you have little space, you should make the most of them.  After all, they may be ideal for a small chair or for plant pots.  And you could even put a BBQ there for your outdoor cooking. Therefore, don’t leave them bare.  If possible, ensure you are making the most out of all the areas in your garden.

Finally, consider growing vegetables in containers.  After all, you may not have space for a greenhouse, but that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying fresh vegetables.  Furthermore, check out my blog for more information on container gardening.  We hope that you have found our tips on creating a family garden useful.

                   

9 Tips to Increase Your Vegetable Garden Production

how to increase vegetable garden production

 

Owning a vegetable garden is an ancient practice that has survived centuries. Using a great lawn sweeper in your yard can add untold beauty to your home.  A lawn can be used for more than just flower gardens.

Vegetable gardens allow you to eat homegrown crops all year round. As promising as this may seem, it is unfortunate that many vegetable gardens do not really reach their full potential. The size of your garden may seem limiting, but there are ways to improve its production. Here are 9 tips to increase your vegetable garden’s production.

  • A Closer Look at Your Growing Medium

This may seem a bit cliché but it doesn’t reduce its importance. Your garden soil is basically the environment your vegetables would sit and be in. With this in mind, any improvement – directly or indirectly – on the soil would have an effect on your vegetable production. Get the soil tested.  Add fertilizers and lime as well as synthetic and organic nutrients if needed.

  • Use of Quality Seeds and Seedlings

While the soil may be the environment the vegetable will sit in, the quality of the seed or seedlings would determine the level of production. You cannot invest in poor quality seeds and expect a good production.  Investing in improved seeds and seedlings can help improve the general production of your vegetable garden.

  • Understand the Principle of Spacing

Most crops, if not all, have a required spacing. Plants attain different sizes when matured. The required spacing is one that would maximize the entire garden space and still allow for proper growth of the plant.

  • The shape of Your Beds

Another way to increase your vegetable garden’s production is to provide more space for planting. This brings raising and rounding out beds into focus. To maximize the garden’s bed, raise the beds and ensure they are rounded out to form an arc.

  • You May Need to Interplant

If you are working with limited space, you may want to interplant different crop types.  Educate yourself on compatible vegetables that can be planted together.

  • Understand Sunlight Direction and Requirements

Anyone who owns a garden obviously knows the effect of sunlight on plants. It is usually advisable to locate gardens in the south facing part of the house. This allows the garden get optimum sunlight as the sun travels from east to west. By increasing the amount of sunlight reaching the plants, your will get a better harvest. Get an idea of the sunlight requirements of the vegetables you are planting and position the garden in a way that gives it better access to sunlight.

  • Controlling Pests

When it comes to crops or a vegetable garden in particular, nothing is more of a nuisance than pests. With pests, prevention is far better and way cheaper than cure. A production without any pest infestation to deal with will be higher than one with pests.

  • Weeding Properly

Just like pests, weeds can become a nuisance to your vegetable garden if left unattended. Weeds compete with crops for nutrients and space. Manually remove these weeds or get the best sweeper for your garden by looking at lawn sweeper reviews.

  • Mulch It All Up

Mulching provides a protective layer to the top soil. Depending on the mulching material used, mulching can also add nutrients to your soil. Additional nutrients to the soil would help increase production. While they both have their advantages, it is best to use organic mulching materials over inorganic materials. The major difference between them is the possibility of decomposition.

So, you know how to increase vegetable garden production.  A bigger harvest will allow you to enjoy fresh produce during the winter months.

About the Author:  James G. Craig is a gardening enthusiast who splits his spare time between growing vegetables, preening his flower gardens, and blogging about his experiences at the Gardener Corner.

Tips to Make Your Garden Ready for Winter

tips to winterize your garden

The warm summer is almost over and days of worrying about the drought are gone.  Fall and winter, however, are seasons during which your plants are at their most vulnerable. In order to make sure that your garden remains healthy during the cold months, you’re going to need to prepare your garden. Here are some tips on how to prepare your yard for the fall.  Be sure to check out my other gardening tips too.

Cover Crops

Hairy vetch and cereal rye are excellent cover crops.  They are a type of plant species that will keep the soil microbes alive and active during cold winters. This will further boost your garden at planting time, which can bring a ton of ease for the next spring.  Cover crops are also great at adding organic material to the soil, in addition to helping your garden during the fall and winter.  Remember to gently rake the crop seeds into the soil surface, in order to avoid disturbing the standing crops.

Harvest and Preserve

Fall is the perfect time to harvest your storage crops, such as carrots, potatoes and onions and properly cure and put them away for winter. Make sure not to overlook plants such as broccoli side shoots, herbs, and sunflowers.  Herbs are particularly easy to dry and freeze, so even a small garden can create a winter-long supply.

Soil PH

Vegetables like acidic soil, so keep this in mind when checking for PH. Yes, dealing with chemistry stuff such as soil acidity does seem somewhat nerdy, but it plays a vital role in in ensuring the success of your crops the next spring.  A PH kit or electronic tester can be found easily in most plant nurseries.  If your local nursery doesn’t have it, you can always opt for online shopping. Of course, if you don’t like dealing with chemistry, you can look for a company that specializes in gardening services–although you will need to cough up some extra cash.  Nothing beats calling the experts, especially if your garden means a great deal to you.

Compost and Manure

Fall is a perfect time for adding sources of organic matter, such as compost and manure to the garden. Adding 1 to 2 inches of soil supplements will ensure that your garden is resupplied with enough nutrients for your plants to weather the cold months. The only thing you need to keep an eye on when adding compost, manure, or any other similar material are weed seeds.  Weeds multiply easily and are somewhat adaptable.  So even traces of weed seeds can ruin your entire spring. The best way to go is by checking with your supplier!

Pro Tip

It smells, makes you cry, but it’s a brilliant addition to many meals. Garlic is the perfect crop to plant in the fall. Once the temperatures have dropped significantly, yet before the ground freezes, plant garlic.  Plant individual cloves, 3 inches deep, spaced 6 to 8 inches between each other.  Add a couple of inches of mulch to the bed. Each clove will become a full head by next summer – talk about an investment!

Making sure that your garden is fall-ready comes down to preparation and experience.  Applying cover crops, compost and manure, harvesting on time and checking for soil acidity are key factors in keeping your garden healthy.  Do this and your garden will thank you once the winter passes!

About the Author: Diana Smith is a full time mom of two beautiful girls simply in love with interior design and DIY projects. In her free time she enjoys exercising and preparing healthy meals for her family.

 

How to Prepare Your Soil for Next Year’s Garden

garden soil preparation

 

The growing season may be coming to an end, but your job as a gardener is far from over. It’s time to prepare for next year’s crops, literally starting from the ground up. We are all aware that a plant’s success begins with the quality of the soil in which it is planted. Follow these self-sustaining methods to ensure a healthier garden next year and check out our other gardening tips 

Tidy Things Up

Clear out dying plant, pesky weeds, and other debris. Uproot vegetables to rid the soil of lingering insects that might be nesting in them. Often times they will lay their eggs in the vines on the surface. If left to rot, the eggs can easily survive through winter and cause issues upon hatching in spring. For composting, it’s okay to save some plants and twigs as long as you’re confident they aren’t hosting any diseases. They make great additions to your compost heap and pass on nutrients to future crops. 

Consider Planting a Cover Crop

If you’re like most gardeners, you might long for fresh dirt under your fingernails and a spade in hand. Instead of daydreaming about the first buds of spring, why not create your own hardy winter garden? Be sure to choose plants that root themselves deeply such as Crimson Clover or Winter Rye. Once spring arrives, it’s important to cut these plants short and incorporate them into the soil to halt growth. Allow approximately three weeks for your winter garden to decompose before planting new crops.  

Add Plenty of Nutrients

Whether your soil will be vacant for the time being or not, it still requires a bit of care. Look to your compost heap, or even freshly fallen leaves, for all your soil prepping needs. Be sure to dig deep when mixing compost into raised beds for optimal decomposing. Don’t have any compost? No need to fret! Head over to your local supermarket or hardware store to purchase natural fertilizers and/or manure. If you’re in a time crunch consider ordering online from reputable sources, like Nature Safe, for your garden needs. Top off your soil with store-bought mulch or make your own with shredded dry leaves.  

By following these steps, you’re well on your way to starting next year’s garden on the right foot. Begin these projects immediately after your final harvest for the best results. Thank yourself for it later when you’re reaping the benefits in spring.

About the writer: Emma is a freelance writer currently living in Boston, MA. She writes most often on education and business. To see more from Emma, say hi on Twitter @EmmaSturgis2

Raaya Garden Hose Nozzle Review #RY_GARDENER

raaya garden hose nozzle review


I received this Raaya Garden Hose Nozzle for free or at a discount in exchange for an honest review.  I needed an additional nozzle for a hose in the back of my house.  This particular hose is used to wash off the picnic table, deck, and outdoor furniture.  I hate taking the nozzle off one hose and moving it to another.  So, I was looking forward to receiving the set and putting it to the test.

The package finally arrives.  The nozzle is heavy and quality made.  It comes with 2 connectors, 4 washers and 2 O rings.  You won’t have to worry about leaks for quite some time.  It was easy to attach to the connector and to the hose.  It has a nice grip and the handle is easy to apply pressure to it.  I love that it has a little triangle on top that can be used to hold the handle in place.  You can set the handle and let the hose do the work.

 

garden hose nozzle review

 

The handle is ergonomically designed too.  This feature is important to me because of my carpal tunnel.  It’s heavy, but it doesn’t add a lot of weight to the hose.

The nozzle has several water streams.  First, the full stream is what I use to wash the car or clean off the deck and outdoor furniture.  It is powerful and does the job.  It’s perfect for cleaning off the driveway or the vinyl siding on the house.  This is a plus.

The one negative on this nozzle is that the streams are not marked.  I would not use the full stream in my garden or shrubbery bed.  It’s too powerful for tender plants and it would blast the mulch from the shrubbery beds.  Because the nozzle is not marked, you have to literally turn the knob on the hose to unmarked settings and just wait and see what stream you arrive at.  It’s not a show stopper, but it is an inconvenience. Other than that, I would recommend this nozzle.

 

 

5 Ingenious Ways to Encourage Kids to Play Outside

outside activities for kids,

 

There are many parents who would to see their kids spend more time playing outside these days.  Modern children love their gadgets, but they must also  learn that the great outdoors is waiting to be discovered too.

So, how can you get them to spend more time outside? The following are some smart and simple ideas to try out.

Let Them Care for the Plants

Is there a chance that your little ones might be interested in caring for your plants?  Most children love to water plants, dig out weeds, and anything else to keep the plants healthy.

Many youngsters really enjoy looking after plants because it gives them a great feeling of responsibility. Why not try this out to see how much they enjoy doing it for a few days.

Eat Together Outside

Eating outside is something that most children enjoy doing when given a chance. Can you imagine how much fun they would have if you suggested all having lunch together out in the garden now and then?

By doing this you can introduce them to the pleasures of being outdoors. With a bit of luck they will then carry on playing out there once you have all finished eating.

Add Some Outdoor Toys

Possibly the simplest and most effective way of getting children to play outside is to add some outdoor toys in the garden for them. After all, they may simply not go outside because there is  nothing for them to do.

Some cool garden toys such as kids trampolines, balls, tennis nets and other exciting stuff will give them lots of new ways to have fun outside. You might even find  that some of the grownups in the family enjoy playing outside as well.

These toys will give them a terrific option when they have friends over or when you plan a birthday party for them at home.

Grow Vegetables

Another hobby that can get youngsters outside more often is growing vegetables. This is a wonderful activity that can bring the whole family benefits.  For example, healthier eating, lower shopping bills and the chance to live a more environmentally friendly way of life.

This is something that should be suggested rather than forcing them to do it. If they enjoy growing their vegetables then they will probably start to spend more time outside doing other things as well.

Get Some Pets

Some pets can also do a terrific job in getting the kids to stray outdoors more often. For example, a rabbit is the kind of pet that most youngster love to play with in the garden.

An alternative to getting your own pets could be to make your garden more bird or animal-friendly.   Encourage local wildlife to come and visit the property. The kids can then enjoy getting out to look for their little visitors.

There are many clever and practical ways of encouraging younger members of the family to put down their gadgets and head outside to play. Why not give a couple of these ideas a try and see how they work?

 

Katrina, is a proud mom of two gorgeous girls who loves writing about home improvement, decor and contributes regularly on various blogs and online publications like Mother2Motherblog.com

RAAYA Hand Spray Nozzle Review

 

gardening tools, water hose nozzles

I received this Raaya Hose Nozzle at a discount in exchange for an honest review of the product; however all opinions are my own.  This post may contain affiliate links.  Compensation from affiliate links will be used to sustain Mother 2 Mother Blog.

product review, Raaya Hose Nozzel

The nozzle on my current hose had seen better days.  I had purchased it years ago, and it was starting to show wear.  I get soaked each time I make an attempt to water my garden.  There was as much water coming out of the hose and spraying me as there was going into the garden. The shower feels great on a hot summer day, but it’s not always convenient to have to track water through the house to change your soaking wet clothes.  It’s not a great feeling on early spring or late summer days either. Burrr!

The nozzle fit perfectly on my current garden hose.  It is a quality made product that I was hoping would water my garden without watering me.  The nozzle is ergonomically designed.  This feature is important to me because of my carpal tunnel.  It was also longer than the nozzle that I was replacing, which was a plus as well. It added a few inches on to the length of the hose, which helps in watering plants in hard to reach places.

The nozzle  has 9 different spray streams.  Fan, cone, shower, soaker and flat to name a few.  I love to use the shower stream for my vegetable garden and the soaker stream for new plants just emerging in the garden.  I was excited to find that the head on the nozzle pivots.  This is a great function because it makes watering in hard to reach places easier.

 

Image-Raaya-Hose-Nozzel2

 

Finally, the nozzle fit perfectly into the notch the hose cart.  Clipping the nozzle onto the cart keeps the hose from unraveling or ending up on the ground.  I couldn’t find a negative with this nozzle.  If you’re looking for a replacement or if you’re buying your first nozzle, I highly recommend the RAAYA Garden Hose Nozzle.

 

Garden Dos and Don’ts For The Nervous Parent

gardening, gardening activities for kids, kids gardening

 

 

It’s common knowledge that the more that kids are outside, the happier they are. It boosts health, their immune system and their sense of curiosity and wonder. It’s just a given: kids should be outdoors.

The world is a dangerous place, or at least it feels that way. The days of 1970s latch-key kids are long gone.  That generation of parents has been replaced by a generation who see danger rather than a safe neighborhood.  An enclosed garden can help ease a parent’s fear of allowing their kids to wander around the neighborhood.  Children can still play outdoors, and you can protect their environment.

If you’ve got an area of your garden is not being used and you have no idea what to do with it, it can be tempting just to throw things at it and see what sticks. Here’s a list of dos and don’ts to help you create a great outdoor space.  Be sure to check my other gardening tips too:

DO: Make It Secure

A privacy fence is invaluable tool in helping to keep your brood from prying eyes.  It’s also great for keeping them inside the perimeter of the property where you can keep an eye on them, and know their location at all times.  If you have a part of your garden that is overlooked, consider a gazebo or similar, which has the double impact of protection from the sun.

 

gardening, garden ideas,

 

DON’T: Install A Pond

Image From: WikiMedia Commons

There’re a couple of caveats to this one.  Parents must teach children to respect the water.  That’s a tricky task with youngsters who want to catch or watch fish and dragonflies.  Keep temptation away until they fully understand the dangers of drowning.  If you can’t resist a pond, ensure it has sloping sides so any child (or creature) falling in can clamber out.

DO: Focus On Soft Landings

Children are going to stumble in the play area or fall off the swing set.  It’s almost inevitable. You need to ensure the ground that they’re landing on is friendly, no matter what the weather. Grass and mud dry out in summer heat and can be as hard as concrete. Sand is a popular choice, as long as it’s kid-friendly.  You can also use wood chips or mulch in your play area.  Unfortunately, they’re not as forgiving, but they’re better than bare earth.

DON’T: Allow Tree Climbing

I know, I know – it’s a childhood dream! Every kid wants to climb trees!  Ensure the tree is strong enough to hold your child’s weigh. Tree branches can be deceiving.  Being large doesn’t make them strong.  Children moving along them can cause them to break with the additional weigh.  Building a tree house is a viable solution. If not, call in a tree expert to assess the tree for weakness and have weak limbs removed.

DO: Give Yourself A Vantage Point

Try and organize your garden in such a way that you can see it all from one spot.  Hiding places, such as behind sheds, can bring extra dangers.  Block off those areas if possible.  Remove any trees if you must to ensure you can see the entire garden area with a quick glance.

 

 

Turn Your Garden Into An Outdoor Living Space

 

gardening, outdoor living space,

 

Is your house a little cramped? You’re not alone. When it comes to living space, we never seem to have enough.  With a little ingenuity your space dilemma can quickly change.   The solution is right under your nose. Transform your outdoor living space with our gardening tips.  Also, take a look at these surprising ways your can transform your garden:

Create A Beautiful Canopy

One straightforward and quick way to transform your garden into a living space is to build a wooden canopy.  A canopy provides plenty of shade.  It allows you to enjoy your space when temperatures soar.

Get Fired Up

In the evening temperatures can drop rapidly.  Having a fire pit in an outdoor communal areas is a great idea. With a fire pit, everyone can gather around in the evening. It’s a great way for family to enjoy marsh mellow and hot dog roasts.  Also, fire pits come in all shapes and sizes. Campbell Hill has a massive, but attractive stone fire pit that’s designed to churn out the heat. Building an extra large fire pit is a great idea if you plan on using your outdoor space for parties and gatherings.

Outdoor Eating

Outdoor kitchens are ideal for those who love to cook in the open air. They’re a step up from your average BBQ too. The best outdoor kitchens marry outdoor living with indoor comforts.

To make your kitchen fit in with the rest of your garden, you could upcycle or use salvaged materials from your garden. For example, some designers have married upcycled garden chairs with modern outdoor kitchen units.  Others have experimented with beautiful, yet varied, stone tiles and slab pavers.

What could be a better venue to cook your homegrown food?

 

garden, outdoor living space, outdoor kitchens                                                                                                                  Image Flickr

 

Texturize

One thing you can do to create an amazing atmosphere outdoors is to use texture.  Textured concrete walls are in vogue.  These walls add a depth and mood to your outdoor living spaces. Use wall lighting to highlight all the recessed crevices in the wall and create shadows.

Make Seating Sociable

If you want to make the outdoors an attractive place to live, the right seating is a must. Don’t go for generic outdoor seating. Choose something that’s comfortable and invites family as well as guests to sit down and mingle.  Corner seating is a great option.  It gets people gathered around and talking. There are plenty of outdoor seating options from which to choose.  Decide the purpose for your area.  Is for reading, mingling or dancing.  You decide.

Light Up Your Paving

Lighting is important in outdoor living spaces. Install garden lamps alongside paths.  Rope lighting can enhance the edges of your travel routes.  It provides ambiance, and helps everyone see where they’re going at night. Also, if you have a deck or paving, experiment with lighting around the edges. A well-lit paving area can generate a beautiful effect.

Make Canopied Areas Comfy

You want to make your outdoor space as comfortable as possible. In canopied areas, consider using knitted throws and cushions to increase the coziness. Curtains will help make the space feel more inviting.

Are you thinking of transforming your garden?  Which of our tips would you consider implementing?