Best Garden Tips - The Packrat Wifey

Need To Relax? Hit Up The Garden!

There comes a time in everyone’s life where they need to sit back and take stock. It’s called relaxing, and it’s a major part of keeping a healthy and balanced life. Some do it by jetting off to a sandy location that is full of golden sand, whereas others prefer a massage and a rub down (not that kind!). The choice is yours because relaxation is an individual thing. Saying that, if you have a garden, there is no better place to unwind and hide from the rigours of life. If they have these calming features, the garden is even better than a holiday!

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Comfy Seating

Lots of people go for style over substance when it comes to garden furniture. It’s not because they prefer to sit in a nouveau riche chair that resembles a sparky’s leftover materials. Nope, it’s because they’re trying to show off to the neighbours and the rest of the neighbourhood. There is something to say for looking the part, especially when you want to get one over on a snobby busybody.  However, if your main goal is to relax, you have to put these petty squabbles behind you. Instead, you must opt for a comfy seat where you can sit and enjoy the beauty of summer. One that you just sink into is perfect.

Free Brown Wooden Bench Stock Photo

[Photo courtesy of Abie ZeroSix/pixabay.com]

Water Feature

Did you know that some people listen to whale noises to help them sleep? Not because they have an obsession with whales, although they might. No, it’s because the sounds of running water and giant squeaking mammals is reminiscent of peace and quiet. Apparently, it’s no joke either. Running water does calm down the average person, which is why you need a water feature. A company like Swell has a vast range of products, so there’s no need to worry about the cost or style. All you have to fret over is being too relaxed. Oh, and the odd aquatic animal popping up out of nowhere!

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Wind Chimes

Just like the sounds of water puts people at ease, so does the sound of wind. Not the gales that whistle through the trees and nearly pull up the house’s foundations. That kind of wind is a warning signal is ever there was one. And, neither is it the wind that human beings pass even if they deny it to the death. This kind of wind is a gentle breeze that is synonymous with summer. But, instead of letting it gently tickle your face while you survey your kingdom, you can make music. Yep, a wind chime uses the energy of the breeze to create a relaxing, and quite catchy, tune.

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Natural Focal Point

A perfect natural focal point is an old tree that has been on the property longer than the building. The reason it’s good for taking the edge off life is that it allows you to drift off into the abyss. Not literally, but metaphorically speaking. You sit there, you stare, and you lose yourself in your thoughts. Everyone does it from time to time, and it’s an ideal mechanism for winding down.

Relaxing is essential, and the garden is the ultimate place to start.   

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Keeping Your Garden Special To You

With the summer in full swing, being able to go out and enjoy the garden is an expected luxury. Your plants are green and flowering aplenty, and your apple tree is dropping fruit by the minute. But how easy is it to keep a garden in this condition? Even moreso, what’s with all the hot new trends on the horizon about garden styling? Whether your garden is big or small, or just consists of a few plants next to the window, here are a couple of tips on keeping it special to you.

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Plant the flowers you want to see

It’s good to have a conundrum of colour amongst the greenery of leaves. In your garden, be sure to buy and plant the seeds of flowers you found interesting and pleasing to the eye, instead of based on reviews. If you don’t know what the flower is or the logistical side of mixing it with other species, you can do a little research and then design your garden around your own choices.

Sunflowers are a staple of the good garden dream and everyone loves the sight of them. They’ll also grow to humongous heights which is always a pleasure to see! Bring back a little of that childhood magic by including a couple of sunflowers next to your shed or at the back of the foliage.

Similarly, planting a few marigolds here and there is an easy task to accomplish. The rich golds and reds you’ll be greeted with when you step outside is both rewarding and warming.

If you’re environmentally conscious, both of these plants are great for attracting to bees to your eco system! Just be sure to use seed varieties instead of pre-grown plants from garden centres if you’re worried about dangerous elements.

Get used to mowing the lawn

Mowing the lawn can seem an arduous task, and having your legs out whilst working on the grass means you’re in for quick sting with every strimmed blade. However, mowing the lawn allows you to take pride in your work and a heavier sense of satisfaction when you see how it looks at the end. You know you’ve grafted hard to enjoy what you have. Buying a lawn mower isn’t a hard task really either. Shopping at sites such as Beacon equipment ensures you have an easy way to make a return or exchange if you experience a fault. You want to know you’re getting bang for your buck and that your efforts will pay off, so get yourself a warranty and get that summer tan you’ve dreamed of at the same time.

Having a healthier grass condition means you won’t be seeing any of the dry and brown variety any time soon. It’s so much nicer to be outside when you’re not ashamed of the weeds you have cluttering your space, and will allow your hosting abilities to skyrocket.

Keep your garden special to you by keeping in mind a few practical elements of the care process.

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Why The Lawn Is The Be All & End All Of Your Garden

A huge mistake for any greenthumb to make is to ignore the importance of grass and its role in the garden. In fact, green grass and stretches of lawn have a massive role in society that might not be clear – it is certainly something that exists in the subconscious. In fact, there might not be a better representation of the ‘American Dream’ than a green grass lawn. There is so much to do to a garden to improve its use, looks and lifespan – so it can come as a surprise to learn that everything ends with how well the grass is kept. Grass in poor health? It’s bad and it brings down the garden. You might not have known just how important grass is.

Grass? It’s the biggest crop in the United States. There is no crop more pursued or cultivated than humble green grass – and that’s because there are a lot out there who realize the importance of the lawn and the role it plays in life. It plays a bigger role than you might know or understand. When kids get shouted off for playing on a lawn, there’s a big reason for that – and that’s because people pour so much into their lawns. Behind every neat lawn lies hours and hours of work and probably thousands in money. Becoming the owner of a great lawn is certainly something to be, it’s not easy though. Well, if you have the right equipment behind you, like a zero-turn mower which you can find here and a good foundation that you don’t have to rip up, you can get it done. Even then, you can get plenty of gardening help to get you going – and enough to help maintain it.

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The key to a good lawn is not just its health, it’s yours as well. The lawn chase has grown into an obsession that frankly isn’t healthy – and considering that lawn care is a laborious process, it can be a good hobby or a distraction, but as a daily pursuit it can be crushing. The Chicago Tribune described laws as a soul-crushing timesuck and said that most of us would be better off without them! A bit harsh – but the truth is there. If we are focusing all of our efforts onto a lawn, than anything else, that might be a bit of a worry. There are plenty of negatives as well – when it comes to obsessive lawn care and the use of fertilizer, there are environmental considerations to take into account. As always the best thing to do is find the middle ground. You do not want to be caring for your lawn day in and day out because it’s not healthy to do so. Obsession, in general, isn’t healthy!

However, because the lawn is the carpet of the garden, you do need to pay attention to its upkeep if you care about your garden. However, because the lawn is the carpet of the garden, you do need to pay attention to its upkeep if you care about your garden at all. This does mean regular mowing. In fact, if your grass is poor – you might need to consider ripping it up and starting again. That’s only if it is in terrible condition – because most lawns can be resurrected from the brink of death!

The lawn foots off our garden, so if we having things like flowers, trees or a water feature, then a poorly maintained can be a massive distraction from some of these features. Off-colour grass takes the eye away from flower patches, while taller grass can hide a lot of what we would want to look at. Think of the lawn as a bonus points multiplier in that it enhances everything else, but will also subtract from everything else that is good from your garden.

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[Photo courtesy of wikimedia.org]

The lawn is especially important because of we have brought the lawn to mean. It means social status, it means money, respect and hard work. It’s a lot wrapped up into a green grass lawn – we’re judged on how well our lawns are kept. It sounds silly, but hey – that is the truth of it all. We have made lawns into a big deal!

The thing is, if you’re going to go the whole hog and put lots of effort into making your garden look good, you cannot forget about the lawn. It might just be the be all and end all of your efforts, a bad lawn will take away all your hard work.

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Laws Of Stunning Garden Design

Have you ever wondered how professionals seem to be able to create stunning garden designs? It’s not just because they’re consummate artists. It’s also to do with the fact that they learn certain laws of design, and stick to them.

The good thing about these rules is that they can be applied by anybody, whether you’re a professional garden designer, an amateur enthusiast or a parent. They’re unambiguous and easily adapted to most situations.

Law #1: Plant Similar Plants Together

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Cottage gardens with dozens of different varieties of flowers and plants emerging from a single bed have a certain charm. But, in general, the power of clustering plants together is better than mixing them up and spreading them around the garden. According to Russell Page, one of the most famous landscaping designers of the last century, it is more aesthetically pleasing to see one element in a garden repeated over and over again than to have many competing against each other. In simple English, he was saying to put your pansies in one bed and your tulips in another.

Law #2: Plant Big First, Then Small

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tree nature branch blossom plant white leaf flower evergreen botany yellow garden flora wildflower flowers petals shrub stamen rhododendron tubes delicate fragrant macro photography jasmine honeysuckle flowering plant trumpet shaped frail woody plant land plant honeysuckle family

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Most gardens have a range of large plants, like trees, medium-sized bushes and small shrubs and flowers. But if you’re starting from scratch, the order in which you plant these items really matters. Planting big first and then going small is important not only to ensure that you get the right composition but also from a purely practical perspective. Many larger plants, such as trees, could require mechanical diggers to plant. Hence, you don’t want delicate shrubs which could be damaged already in the ground before you get started.

Law #3: Go Big And Be Bold

Some gardeners are rather timid when it comes to the size of the features in their garden. But according to experts, it’s almost always better to go bigger. For instance, if you’re deciding whether to go with a tall or a short summer house, a long or a short pool or a wide or a narrow path, the former is almost always the better, even if you feel that you’re space-constrained. Visit Soulscape for ideas.

Law #4: Use The Golden Number

Knot Garden at Little Moreton Hall: Cheshire

[Photo courtesy of SJ8358/geograph.org.uk]

For centuries, something called the Golden Ratio has dominated artistic work. You can find it in the ancient pyramids, the Greek Parthenon and many other places all over the world. In fact, it’s so universal, many archaeologists think it’s about the closest thing there is to objective beauty in the known universe.

The Golden Ratio is just a number which describes the proportions of an object. Numerically, it’s 1:1.6, meaning that the length of one dimension is 1.6 times as long as the other. Gardeners can use this principle in their garden to create beauty, almost free of charge. For instance, raised beds can be carefully calibrated to observe the Golden Ratio, as can patios, terraces, and lawns. The ratio helps to bring a sense of order and stability and always looks good, no matter what the application.

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Tackling an Overgrown Garden in 6 Simple Steps

Tending to a garden can be a rewarding experience, as a well-kept garden always works well to improve the overall appearance of a house. However, it is also true that keeping a garden looking neat and tidy can be an extremely time-consuming task (and time is something that not many of us have to spare). It does not take much for a garden to start looking overgrown, and if action is not taken, things can very easily get out of hand. In many cases, the problem is deciding where to start from. If your garden is showing signs of neglect, these simple steps can help you get it back to looking its best.

Back to the Basics

Take a walk around the garden and make a note of everything that might look out of place. This includes any plants, flowers, or shrubs that have grown too far outside their original shape. Get your pruning scissors out and start cutting back. Keep an eye on the state of overgrown plants though, as in some cases they might have been starved to a point in which they will never grow back. If this is the case, simply dig them out and focus on starting with a blank soil canvas.

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Know your Weeds

Again, you need to assess the damage caused by weeds before deciding your next step. If the soil looks like it has been completely invaded by weeds, it is time to take some serious action and invest in a good-quality chemical weed killer. Also, identify the type of weeds that seem to predominate. Bindweed, docks, horsetail, and nettles can be notoriously difficult to get rid of, so don’t be surprised if it takes a few tries before you can eliminate them completely. If the situation is not too bad, avoid chemical weed killers and opt for mulching instead (see next section).

By this point, you might have a large amount of garden waste in your property. It is useful to hire a man and van service to clear your garden and give you more time to focus on getting it back into shape. Specialized man and van companies like Anyjunk can also provide mini-skips and skip bags, which you can keep until your garden makeover is complete.

Mulching

Mulch has two main functions: aesthetic (as it can rapidly improve the unkempt appearance of a garden) and functional (because it can be used to treat gardens that have been overrun by weeds). To deprive weeds from light and stop them from reproducing, you will need to add a mulch layer of at least 2 inches. Whenever possible, go for an organic mulch, as it will give your garden soil additional levels of moisture and nutrients.

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Plan and Design

You can now start planning how you want your garden to look like. Think about the garden boundaries, repairing or cleaning hard surfaces like steps or paths, and fixing, discarding, or adding structural elements such as pergolas, gazebos, sheds, beds, or arches. Also, decide on whether you want a purely ornamental garden, something more functional, or a bit of both. Do you want/need trees, shrubs, vegetables, or flowers? If you usually don’t have much time to tend to the garden, keep it basic and easy to care for.

Shape It!

The job is almost done and it is now time to give shape to your garden. Use techniques like edging or framing to add structure and to keep things under control. You can also consider adding garden ornaments, like sculptures, furniture, or fountains. The trick is to be creative and to make sure that your garden reflects the style of your home.

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Is Your Garden Ready for Spring?

With the warmer months rapidly approaching it’s no wonder most of us our turning our attentions to our beloved gardens. However the cooler months tend to mean our gardens have been somewhat neglected so it’s difficult to know where to start trimming and preening the wilderness that has taken over.

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So today we are discussing the simple ways we can organise and preen our gardens so they are ready for us to enjoy over the spring and summer period.

Clear Out the Debris

Sometimes the winter damage can look worse than it actually is, due to all the debris that has accumulated over the colder months. So beginning with clearing out all the debris will give you a better idea of what actually needs doing.

Re-energise the Earth

The winter months tends to leave the soil in your garden packed and undernourished, so revitalising the soil is really important. Just adding compost,and fertilizer where necessary, will have the earth healthy and ready for the sunnier seasons.

Nurturing Existing Plants

For those plants that have survived the winter, you’ll need to prune in order to prepare them for the spring and summer. Deadheading flowers and extracting dead leaves will leave your plants ready to flourish and blossom.

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Look Up

Look at the trees in your garden and evaluate their health and positioning. It’s important to keep trees trim particularly if they are situated close to your home. Hiring a local tree service company is a good idea if you’re unsure about how to care for the trees in your garden.

New Flowers and Shrubs

Look around your garden and consider the colours and types of plants you’d like to add to get your garden looking tip-top. Some fantastic spring plants are snapdragons, pansies, lilacs and tulips. So take a trip down to your local garden centre and start planning how to breathe new life into your garden.

Maintenance

Once you’ve done all the cleaning, re-nourishing, potting and planting it’s easy to think the work is done. But maintenance is key in order to keep your garden in premium condition throughout the warmer months. Dust off those little hand pruners and do a weekly inspection of the dead flowers and leaves that need removing.

Inspect your flowers and plants for insects. Looking for holes or stickiness to leaves could mean an infestation so take a sample down to your local garden centre for advice on appropriate action.

Keep your garden hydrated by watering regularly. Drip irrigation pipes and soaker hoses are generally more effective at evenly distributing water around your plants that standard sprinklers, so consider investing in one of these if you don’t already have one.

Finally, have fun with it. Gardens are the wildest area of our homes and we should be free with the way we nurture and care for them. Finding new and creative ways of adding colour and diversity to your garden is such a rewarding way to spend time over the warmer months. Then of course, there’s nothing better than sitting back on a spring evening and admiring our handy work.

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The Novice’s Guide To Keeping The Garden Healthy

The garden is, for most people, one of the most important parts of the house. It is certainly often the most beautiful, and knowing how to tend to it properly can be something of an art form. Keeping the garden aesthetically pleasing and relaxing to be in is one thing, but it is quite another to keep the place as healthy as it can be, and this usually takes considerably more understanding. It definitely takes more work, and perhaps that accounts for the amount of gardens that suffer terribly from not being cared for properly. Don’t let your garden become one of those – take a stand today and learn how to keep it healthy for longer. Take the following tips as a starting point.

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Watch Out For Pests

One of the most important things for you to do is to watch out for any pests that might be lingering around. No matter what kind of plants you do or do not have in your garden, pests are always going to be a potential issue. Therefore, learning how to spot them and deal with them is going to prove to be vital if you are dedicated to keeping your garden as healthy as it can be. Some of the more obvious signs of pests can be that your plants are being nibbled, or even that they look diseased. It is also worth getting to know the different bugs that abound in your part of the world; some will be friendly, and even useful to the gardener, and other will be a nuisance. Learning this is one of the most important steps you can take to looking after your garden more effectively.

Keep The Lawn Trimmed

There are a number of reasons why you might want to ensure you keep the lawn trimmed, some of them aesthetic and others related to the health of the garden. Above all, it is a good idea to mow the lawn every six weeks or so, no matter what time of year it might be, as this helps the all-round health of the garden to no end. This is one of those tasks where the quality of the tools being used really helps, so make sure you have a decent lawn mower before you get started. You might even want to take a look at some lawn mower reviews before you start, to ensure that you have the best one for your particular garden. With a well-kept lawn, often the rest of a garden seems to just fall into place.

Green Push Lawn Mower

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Check Plants Before Buying

Whenever you purchase plants to add to your garden, it is really in your interest to check them thoroughly before buying them, and definitely before planting them with your other plants. This is because they could be carrying any number of unpleasant diseases, diseases which could swiftly wipe out the majority of your garden. Check the roots, first and foremost, as this is one of the easiest ways to tell whether a plant is diseased or not.

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Garden Looking Dark And Dreary? Give It Some New Life!

I love gardening, and when the sun is shining, I’m always out, seeing what I can do to improve my yard. Most of the time, it’s little things such as pulling up the weeds from between the paving. Or, planting some new flowers in the soil around the edge of my front lawn. Every so often though I do like to take on a big project and work to completely reinvent my yard. That’s what I’m going to talk about today. If your garden is looking dark and dreary, make some changes, and you’ll love spending time out there again.

Start Small

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You should start small when tackling a new look for your garden. I think we should begin by cutting the grass because that’s going to make it look grander. I’m sure that’s something that you want. A garden that gives the impression your home has a lot of space. Cut your grass as short as possible, and it will also look neat, tidy and well maintained.

Next, we need to take a look at any patio areas in your garden. If you’ve never cleaned your patio, it’s going to be looking worse for wear. That’s the bad news. The good news is that there are easy ways to fix that. I suggest you start by renting a power washer if you don’t have one. A power washer is the easiest tool to use for cleaning your patio. It will blast the marks, dirt and grime away, making it look brand new. It can even get rid of the weeds that are growing between the cracks. Let it dry out and then take a look at the effect. The grass is short; the patio is clean, and essentially, you have a blank canvas. Now you can style your garden however you want.

Lovely Landscaping

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If you want to change your garden, you need to think about landscaping. There’s nothing small about this idea, and you’ll certainly need some tools. You might even need extra help to complete this job because it tends to involve restructuring the garden. You might raise certain parts, lower others and by the time you’re finished the garden is completely different. It’s sectioned, and it has different areas for all your needs. In one part of the backyard, there’s a patio place, perfect for outdoor furniture. In another, you have a vast stretch of green for your kids. Then, around the side, there’s a place to grow flowers and maybe even some veg? Landscaping makes this sectioning a real possibility. No matter what your yard looks like right now, you can have your perfect garden with a little landscaping.

Brightening It Up

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Usually, gardens are dark because something is blocking the sunlight. If you’re overlooked, you can’t do much about this. The best idea is to add some outside lighting, but that can be expensive. In some cases, though, it’s going to be natural issues that is blocking your light, such as an overgrown tree. There’s an easy remedy for that. You just need to cut the tree down and to do this; I suggest you get a chainsaw with a long lasting battery. Getting the wires tangled around can lead to real problems cutting the tree. In some cases, you won’t have to remove the whole tree. Instead, you can just cut it down a little so that it’s not as full and thick. Once you’ve yelled timber, dispose of the fallen branches correctly to stop it cluttering your garden.

Colourful Ideas

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Some of your local flowers, shrubs and plants might not be quite as colourful as you’d like. So, how about importing some tropical shrubbery. This will give your garden a unique look, guaranteeing it stands out from the rest of the homes on the street.

If you don’t want to import plants, you can get the same effect with stones and shells. You can use a collection of rocks and shells to brighten up the garden, framing the patio or the grass. Make sure that the stones are bright and glisten. If they get dirty, give them a good wash to keep your garden looking stunning and stylish.

Shopping Spree

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Finally, let’s finish off reinventing your garden with a good old shop. You can buy some beautiful garden furniture for your yard and right now is the perfect time to do this. At the end of summer, the prices of gorgeous garden furniture go through the floor. You’ll save a bundle and have the perfect accessories to make your garden an absolute delight.

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