Tuesday, February 28, 2006

How to Build a Waterfall for Your Garden Pond

How to Build a Waterfall For Your Garden Pond
By Hugh Harris-Evans

Building a waterfall is easier than you think and will add a new dimension to your pool.

When building a waterfall, as with any garden project, you must first consider the design and make a plan. The biggest mistake that people make when planning a pond waterfall is to err on the large side. For a pond measuring 12 ft x 14 ft you should think in terms of a fall of 18-24 inches. The width of the waterfall should be in proportion to the size of your pond. The important point is to make sure that the scale of your construction fits in with the surrounding features and does not spoil the balance of your overall garden design.

The next question that has to be answered is the type of construction you wish to use. There are two basic choices. You can either use a liner and place rocks to form the fall or you can save yourself the trouble and buy a fibreglass unit. Either way you will still have to use your shovel to form the site of the waterfall.

The other requirement is a pump which will be sited in the pool to transport the water to the top of your waterfall. The size of pump that you will need depends on the height and width of the waterfall and also the length of pipe from the pump to the top of the fall. Once you have finalised your plans, consult your
dealer and he will be able to supply you with the correct pump.

To maintain a healthy pond environment with crystal clear water usually involves installing a biological filter. Again your dealer will be able to advise you as to the correct type and size. The filter should be placed at the top of the waterfall so that the water is cleaned before issuing out on to the fall.

Once you have assembled all the equipment it is time to get out your shovel. If your site is level and the soil from excavation of your pond is nearby this can be used as the mound on which to place the waterfall. If you are using a liner you first dig out the channel and then fit the liner. Next place the rocks so that the water can flow over them. It is helpful if you observe a natural waterfall to give you some ideas as to how the rocks can be placed for the greatest effect. Once you are satisfied with the arrangement, use black waterfall foam to seal the rocks to ensure that the water flows over and around them and not underneath. If you have chosen to use a fibreglass preformed model, you will avoid the problem of placing the rocks and will just have to dig out sufficient soil to allow you to fit the unit.

To complete the installation fit the pump, filter and hose and connect to the electricity supply. Providing all is working to your satisfaction, now is the time to relax and enjoy your handiwork.

If you have read this far and are wondering whether it would be just too much like hard work, then consider this. Water soothes and relaxes, inspires reflection, and is a source of beauty. A cascading, bubbling stream adds interest and serenity to the garden, while a waterfall can create a dramatic centerpiece. Building a pond waterfall really is worth the effort.

Hugh Harris-Evans is the owner of The Garden Supplies Advisor where you will find further articles, gardening tips and product reviews.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Hugh_Harris-Evans

For more lawncare information, please visit www.fairyring.ca

Friday, February 24, 2006

Planting Trees and Shrubs

How well your new tree or shrub does is dependent on planting your new addition to your landscape properly. By using the following steps you will go a long way in ensuring the future health of your new tree or shrub.

STEP 1: Choose the right plant for the right location. Ensure soil, moisture, and shade requirements match the plant you have chosen

STEP 2: Care for the plant before planting. Keep the tree or shrub cool and moist as well as shaded. When handling the root ball, be careful.

STEP 3: Ensure the removal of all wires, labels, etc from the plant’s stem.

STEP 4: Dig your hole as wide as possible. The hole you use for your new tree or shrub should be at least 3 times the diameter of the root ball. Make the hole saucer-shaped and as deep as the root ball is high. Make sure the root collar is level or just above the surrounding soil.

STEP 5: Remove wire baskets, burlap, or pot from the root ball. By removing these materials you minimize root system disturbances. If you find it difficult to remove the burlap, cut and peel it back for better watering.

STEP 6: Use soil from the hole you dug. Do not mix in fertilizer, sand or any organic material such as peat moss.

STEP 7: Once the new tree or shrub has been planted in the hole and back-filled using only soil removed from the hole, you can prune any broken or dead branches. Because the tree or shrub is so young do not cut back any of the health branches to reduce the crown.

STEP 8: Water the root zone once a week for the 1st year or two. Do not over-water. The majority of new tree or shrub roots are in the 1st 6-12 inches of soil. Water slowly to decrease the amount of runoff. By watering deeply and infrequently you will encourage deep root development which will aid in stability and strength in later years.

STEP 9: Aside from watering, the next most important thing you can do for your new tree or shrub is to apply an organic mulch such as wood chips, grass clippings or tree bark. This mulch reduces compaction, aids in moisture retention, and helps keep unwanted weeds from utilizing the bare space beneath the tree. Use a circle of mulch approximately 3 times the size of the root ball and increase this as the tree grows.

By following these steps you will help ensure a good start for the newest additions to your landscape.

Paul is a Certified Pesticide Applicator in the province of Alberta, Canada. He has over 15 years experience in the lawn care industry.
For more lawn care information, please visit http://www.fairyring.ca
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Paul_Burke

Friday, February 17, 2006

Transplanting New Trees

Transplanting Trees
By Paul Burke

Problems with transplanting:

Once a homeowner decides to add a new tree or shrub to their landscape there are several factors to consider when doing this. Three of the most important factors are selection of the plant, where they will plant, and the actual process of planting the new addition. Trees and shrubs not planted correctly will show signs of slow growth, poor colour, decline and or may grow too large for the location you have chosen.


Many times a homeowner will be tempted to use a lower priced tree or shrub. Often these plants will have an underdeveloped root structure that is unable to support the plant. The root structure may be overgrown from being in a container too long. It may have broken branches or damaged bark. Ensure the plant is suited for the hardiness zone you live in. Check with a local nursery if you are unsure of which zone you live in. If you choose a tree or shrub that will outgrow the location you have chosen, move it to another location. Try to imagine what the plant will look like in 15-20 years, this will aid in your selection of location. By doing this you will cut down on the need for excessive pruning in later years. Generally trees and shrubs of poorer quality will be slow to establish themselves, they will exhibit signs of reduced vigor, die-back, and poor growth.

Choosing your site:

Characteristics of a location will also contribute to transplant problems. Almost all trees and shrubs need a well-drained soil that is moist. Many areas within an urban environment are poorly drained. The soil pH level may be unsuitable for the tree or shrub you have selected. Most trees and shrubs also require a specific sun and shade schedule. A poorly chosen site will affect a tree or shrub in many ways. Poor growth, and or poor colour will occur. Generally speaking trees and shrubs in poor locations will also not respond favourably to a good fertilizer program or good cultural practices.

How to plant:

By planting incorrectly you dramatically increase the chance of your new tree or shrub failing. Several things that can go wrong are as follows. Many times the homeowner will plant too deep or too shallow. By planting too deep you have a good chance of suffocating the roots. This is caused by oxygen deprivation. Planting too shallow can cause exposure of the root structure. This will cause drying out of the root system and kill the plant. Watering improperly is another problem encountered by the homeowner.

By watering too much you run the risk of root decay or you have the potential to drown the roots. By watering too little the plant becomes stressed and could eventually die. Leaving wire, string, rope, or burlap on the plant can encourage girdling which can eventually kill the plant in later years. Improper staking can cause the plant to be blown over in severe weather. If you leave the staking material on too long you once again run the risk of girdling.

Solving the problem:

When you are planting your new tree or shrub ensure you correct as many of these problems as possible. Do not purchase plants with poorly developed root structures. Ensure the plant is compatible with the zone in which you live. Solve any drainage and pH problems before you transplant your new addition. Remove all burlap, wire, string, or rope that has the potential to cause girdling in later years. Make sure you plant at the proper depth. Generally you do this so the top roots are just covered by soil. Water deeply and infrequently. This will encourage your new plant to develop deep roots that will aid in stability in the years to come. Water slowly as this will enable more moisture to be taken in by the plant. Watering quickly causes run-off and is just wasting your time and money. Stake your plant if it is in an exposed area to wind.

Remember to remove the stakes and wire in the second year to prevent girdling. Use a good fertilization program throughout the life of your new additions. Water and prune correctly. By alleviating these problems you will ensure the good health and appearance of your new trees or shrubs.

Paul is a Certified Pesticide Applicator in the province of Alberta, Canada. He has over 15 years experience in the lawn care industry.

For more lawn care information, please visit http://www.fairyring.ca/

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Paul_Burke

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Dog Damage

Many homeowners have dogs, and one of their most common questions is how can I have a beautiful lawn as well as a dog? If your dog is using your lawn to urinate on, then the simple answer is you cannot. Dog damage to lawns creates circular spots caused by urine burns. Generally it is the female and young males, which cause the greatest damage. This has nothing to do with the fact they are female, or young males, urine is urine. It has more to do with the way in which they urinate. Adult male dogs will urinate on shrubs, or areas around power poles, playground equipment or fence posts. They do this to mark their territory. Females tend to squat while urinating, causing a greater concentration on one area. Because of the high concentration of salt and urea, it causes a circular dead spot. Normally a ring of healthy grass will surround the dead patch. This is caused by nitrogen in the dog’s urine, which acts as a fertilizer.


Having one certain area such as a graveled dog run goes a long way to keeping the majority of your lawn green and healthy. If you are unable to provide such an area, watering immediately after dilutes the urine and may prevent the damage from occurring. This must be done soon after the dog urinates, or this is ineffective.


Areas of grass, which have been damaged by dogs, have a very high concentration of salts, nitrogen, and urea. Generally if you put down seed in these areas, it will not germinate. You must first water the damaged areas to leach out as much of the chemicals as possible. Roughly rake out the dead area, and then add appropriate seed to the damaged area. Top dress with approximately ¼ of an inch of topsoil and keep the seed slightly moist until germination. Do not fertilize these areas until the root structure has a chance to become established. Generally 4-5 cuts are sufficient for this to occur.

Paul is a Certified Pesticide Applicator in the province of Alberta, Canada. He has over 15 years experience in the lawn care industry.

For more lawn care information, please visit http://fairyring.ca

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Controlling Aphids

Aphids are an insect with a soft body that utilizes their mouthparts to pierce and suck the sap from plants. These colonies of insects can usually be found on the underside of newly growing terminal growth. If a leaf becomes heavily infested it will appear yellowish and will eventually wilt. This is caused by the colony removing large quantities of the leaf's sap. Much of the damage caused by aphids is cosmetic, meaning it looks unsightly to the homeowner. Generally speaking a healthy tree or shrub is able to withstand several years of aphid attacks. While consuming the sap of trees and shrubs, aphids produce a liquid, sugary waste product commonly known as "honeydew". If you have ever parked your vehicle under a tree and noticed a sticky residue on it you have experienced this. Sooty mold can also grow on these sugary deposits found on the branches and leaves. This causes them to acquire a blackish discolouration.


Winged aphids or "colonizers" will fly around searching for a suitable host tree or shrub. Once they have found such a plant, they will drop wingless young on the new growth and continue on their way. These nymphs feed voraciously on the sap and increase in size. In 7-10 days they will mature and are capable of producing live young, generally 40-60 young each. The interesting thing about this is that most are born female. This creates a population explosion in no time. An example of this is fewer than 12 colonizers can produce hundreds if not thousands of offspring in just a few weeks. This process continues until the plant can no longer support the population. At this point, new winged aphids are produced and the cycle is repeated.


By discovering the aphids early you can minimize the effects they will have on your trees and shrubs. Keep an eye on terminal growth. Examine underneath new leaf growth for groups of aphids. By being vigilant you can usually control theses colonies by hand, either crushing them or pruning. If however, you discover aphids on more than 10% of your plant, you may want to consider using a contact insecticide to control them. As this is an insecticide please be sure to follow the instructions on the label carefully before and when applying them to your plants. For a contact insecticide to work effectively you must actually hit the aphids before control will be successful. Ensure you use an even thorough spray pattern when applying. Concentrate on growing points and protected areas within the plant. If possible spray underneath leaves for effective control.


As stated earlier, you may be able to control small populations of aphids by crushing them by hand or by pruning out affected areas. A good rinse with your garden hose will also dislodge some of the colony. Ladybugs and lacewings are also very effective at controlling aphids. These predators will consume large quantities of aphids

Paul is a Certified Pesticide Applicator in Alberta, Canada. He has over 15 years experience in the lawn care industry.

For more lawn care information please visit http://www.fairyring.ca

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Grass Clippings

To bag or not to bag, that is the question!

Many homeowners who take the time to cut their own grass are throwing away free fertilizer which could be utilized by their lawn to maintain itself during the growing season.

By bagging and getting rid of your grass clippings you are throwing away free fertilizer. Grass clippings contain many nutrients that when used by the soil enhances the lawn's ability to fight disease, insects and drought. Generally speaking with weekly mowing a 1,000 square foot area will generate approximately 2 pounds of nitrogen from the clippings. By using a mulching mower you even decrease the size of the clippings making them even less noticeable.

If you leave the grass too long and then cut you create large areas where the clippings are too thick to be utilized by the lawn. These clippings should be raked up as summer heat can cause a greenhouse effect underneath and cause damage to the lawn.

By mowing 1-2 times a week at a height of 2 1/2 to 3 inches with a sharp mower blade, the clippings will begin to break down very quickly. Usually within a week the plant will utilize the nitrogen from these clippings and encourage new growth.

Paul is a Certified Pesticide Applicator in the province of Alberta, Canada. He has over 15 years experience in the lawn care industry.

For more lawn care information, please visit http://fairyring.ca

Friday, February 10, 2006

Choosing the Right Lawn Sprinkler

Choosing the Right Lawn Sprinkler by Paul Burke

CHOOSING THE RIGHT SPRINKLER Sprinklers come in 4 basic designs. Each of these sprinkler types has their advantages and disadvantages. Lawn size, frequency of watering and soil types are all important factors when choosing which type of sprinkler is best for you. Of the 4 basic designs a stationary or fixed sprinkler is probably the worst type you can purchase. These types of sprinklers work best for spot watering or used in conjunction with another sprinkler system. Varying flow rates are this type of sprinkler's greatest disadvantage. At the outside edge of the spray pattern the grass can receive upwards of 6-8 inches of water while at the base it may only receive 2 inches of water per hour. This is due to the water being directed through the fixed pattern of small holes in the base. Oscillating sprinklers use a curved piece of metal or plastic with small holes that move back and forth to deliver the water in a rectangular pattern. By pausing when the spray is furthest away this sprinkler does a better job of delivering the water in a more effective pattern. More up to date models will allow you to adjust this pattern as well as adjusting the width of the spray. Revolving sprinklers use one or more arms to throw the water in a circular pattern. This type of sprinkler has a fairly decent radius but suffers in the uniformity of the water being delivered to the lawn. Generally speaking the majority of the water is delivered to an area 4-9 feet out. For a large area an impulse or impact sprinkler is a good choice. By using a combination of a jet internally and a hammer externally this sprinkler can shoot jets of water in a circular pattern. On many models the head is adjustable from a fine mist to a strong pulse or anything in between. Coverage is good with this type of sprinkler. One of the more odd sprinkler systems is what is known as a traveling sprinkler. I haven't come across too many of these which is too bad. This system while looking a little bizarre gives good thorough coverage and excellent rates of moisture. The sprinkler follows the hose or track laid out by the homeowner. By varying the hose pattern you get excellent coverage. The pressure of the water exiting the rotating arms propels the unit along. For most homeowners the choice for a sprinkler system would be an in-ground system. By installing the sprinkler heads at key locations you ensure uniform coverage and excellent water delivery. Most units come with a timer to make watering your lawn even more convenient. Some models also incorporate a sensor to let the system know if it has been raining to curb the cost of your watering bill. The spray heads pop up from the lawn when activated and return to their almost hidden position when finished. When having your lawn aerated ensure the heads are clearly marked to avoid damage to them while the lawn is being aerated.

About the Author
Paul is a Certified Pesticide Applicator in the province of Alberta, Canada. He has over 15 years experience in the lawn care industry.

For more lawn care information, please visit www.fairyring.ca

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Garden Design

Garden Design: How to Choose and Place Garden Art in Your Backyard by Deborah Boland

Garden Design: How to Choose and Place Garden Art in Your Backyard

Your backyard should relax and refresh you, but it should also delight you! Choosing garden art that reflects your personality and makes you feel good is an important key to creating the ultimate backyard.

Art can mean many things to many people but basically there are 3 types:

1. Formal Art Think larger stately pieces that you see in more traditional backyards, like a classic sculpture of a Greek goddess or a stone angel. Heavy iron garden ornaments like obelisks and sundials also work well with most backyard landscape designs.

These pieces create an old-world feel and lend a sense of drama to the yard. Others might include columns, carved fountains, birdbaths, and classical architectural salvage.

2. Semi-formal This is the most popular type because it suits so many styles of backyards. It's more relaxed in theme, a little more nostalgic and decorative.

For example, light hearted sculptures of animals or children in concrete, resin or bronze, contemporary metal sculptures of flowers and insects, stained glass stepping stones, artistic birdhouses, and hand painted garden pots, copper wind chimes.

3. Informal Art I call this art "your imagination gone wild". Everyday objects are placed in the garden to create art that is fun, whimsical, and even campy.

I've seen all kinds of items used as garden décor like: old rubber boots planted with flowers, a nostalgic wire bedroom headboard , an antique window frame, an old-fashioned bathtub, a dressmaker's dummy, and fancy china plates.

Remember that the type of art you choose should be in keeping with the feel of your backyard but it should also be an expression of you.

The most important thing is that you should feel some emotional attachment to your garden art.

Tips for placing Garden Art In the garden, art becomes a focal point. Your eye is naturally drawn to it and it commands your attention. So where you place it is important. Put garden art:

* In a boring, bare part of the yard to add interest and stimulate conversation

* At the end of a path to add drama

* In any area to add comic relief. I have a cute bronze frog lying on a back on a lily pad beside my waterfall and pond.

* In front of an ugly spot to hide dead patch * Directly in line with an unwanted view of the neighbour's yard to create privacy

* On a wall or fence to visually break up the long monotonous line. I have a beautiful concrete painted face hanging on one part of my fence and a mirror hanging on another to add interest.

* In front of a colourful burst of foliage to punctuate the space. My classical white bird bath looks gorgeous just in front of my huge pink rose bush

* Hidden behind some greenery so it just peeks out a little to create a feeling of antiquity. This will put plants in the spotlight.

* Within the frame of a beautiful view to enhance the view even more. My backyard is on the lake and the view is made even more beautiful by a large fountain of Poseidan the sea God that we have made part of the view. * In a rock garden to create feeling of garden gallery. The rocks are natural pedestals for the art and create a wonderful playground for eye to bounce around in and land on art.

Don't forget about the view from inside. Take a look out your window to see where you might place art so that it draws you out into the backyard.

Finally, less is more. Too much garden art will make your backyard look junky. All you need is a few interesting pieces to personalize your backyard and give it a sense of place.

Deborah Boland © 2006 All Rights Reserved

About the Author
Deborah Boland is the host of the popular HGTV Canada TV series, Backyard Pleasures and author of Backyard Pleasures: 7 Simple Steps to Transform Your Ho-Hum Backyard into a Breathtaking Oasis. Sign up for her FREE e-course 7 Secrets to Creating Gorgeous Garden Rooms at www.backyardpleasures.com & or visit her blog at www.backyardpleasuresblog.com

For more lawn care information please visit www.fairyring.ca

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Mower Maintenance

Mower Maintenance for a Perfect Lawn by David Chandler

Growing and maintaining a lush green lawn takes care and the right equipment. The right lawn mover for your landscape and proper maintenance of your equipment will ensure a nice even lawn. A good lawn mower should cut the grass and not tear or rip it out.

The first thing to consider when purchasing a lawn mover is your landscape. Is your lawn on a slope or flat ground? What type of mower can get the job done with the least amount of effort? Another factor is how easy the mower is to maintain for peak performance.

If you have to cut grass on a slope, the best type of lawn mower is one with high wheels. This will make it easier to push up a hill, or to move back down the hill with. The second type of lawn mower is a cordless or electric mulching lawn mower. The mulching mower is less messy and mulches your lawn. The third type of lawn mower is a reel lawn mower. Reel lawnmowers are environmental friendly, not contributing to pollution and are easy to use.

After deciding on the type of lawn mower to purchase, review the maintenance schedule. A good maintenance program will allow your mower to last for years to come and give your grass a better cut. Every spring, the different parts of the lawnmower should be cleaned or repaired. Spark plugs should be cleaned or replaced for good firing and nuts and bolts should be checked and tightened where necessary.

The underside decking should be cleaned throughout the season to remove build up of grass and dirt. Cleaning the grass and dirt will also help in preventing the spread of diseases in grass. In order to clean the deck of the lawnmower, you should first empty the gas tank and make sure that the spark plug is not connected. You can then stand the mower up on its side and spray the mower with water. You can then scrub off the rest of the dirt and grass that is stuck on the mower. Make sure to dry the mower after you have finished rinsing it off, to make sure that none of the parts rust.

Your maintenance should also include checking the oil and air filters. The air filters should be cleaned or replaced on a regular basis. Before removing the filter to replace, make sure that you know whether it is paper or foam. The oil in your lawn mower lubricates the engine. Be sure you read the operating instructions on the type and amount of oil your mower uses.

Another important part of maintenance is sharpening the blades every one or two months, depending on use. Sharp blades ensure a clean cut rather than ripping out the grass. This can be easily done by removing the blade from the mower and sharpening it with a file.

When mowing season is over, there are certain steps to properly store your lawn mower for the winter. It is advisable to remove the oil and gas, and clean the exterior.

With consistent and proper care of your lawnmower, you will be able to keep your lawn looking great through the seasons and years, and your mower will last for years too.

For more information about lawn mowers and your lawn, visit http://www.lawnmowersinfoguide.com and http://www.lawninfocenter.com

About the Author
David Chandler For your FREE Stock Market Trading Mini Course: "What The Wall Street Hot Shots Won't Tell You!" go to: http://www.stockmarketgenie.com

For more lawn care information visit www.fairyring.ca

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Ornamental Grasses

Ornamental Grasses by ElmerFizz

Ornamental grasses may be grown in your garden amongst the flowers or clumped in an open space for a natural effect and to add a vertical dimension. If you decide to add them to a flower garden, choose the type carefully, for some are extremely invasive and others may cast unwanted shade over your flowers.

Ornamental grasses differ from lawn grass in that frequent mowing weakens and eventually kills them. They can be small, clumping ground covers like blue fescue or the popular mondo grass, or stately spires like Chinese Silver Grass, towering to 20 ft. Some, like Red Switch Grass, have beautiful fall color. For a grass with strong colors try Imperata cylindrica 'Rubra'. It has tallish straplike blades of deep burgundy mixed with a green that is almost jade.

Tall grasses can be stunning used as a single specimen in the middle of the lawn, or in a landscape with trees and rocks. Most grasses have few diseases or pests to worry about and nothing could be easier to care for, so if you are pushed for time or not into major gardening, ornamental grasses may be the ideal solution.

The beauty of many grasses is not only in their leaves but the seed. Often seed is born in tall spires above the clump and not only hangs on for months, but offers food to birds and insects. Pennisetum villosum has soft and fluffy seed heads in the late summer, while the delicate feathery seed heads of Stipa calamagrostis will last right through to fall. Stipa gigantea is a larger variety as the name suggests. Many seed heads last for ages when picked and dried and make wonderful indoor decorations.

Many grasses also have flowers that are attractive, like Melica uniflora, which has tiny, beadlike flowers borne on slender, arching spikes. It requires shade to grow well and looks fantastic teamed with ferns. Some grasses like Lamarckia aurea, are annuals. This one has unusual downswept flower spikes.

Shorter grasses can also be used for borders and edgings, enclosing pretty annuals within a green framework. Blue fescue grown with black mondo grass can give an unusual and effective, yet extremely simple appeal in a small garden if grown in a checkerboard pattern. Use the grasses alone, with small, clumping annual flowers or even squares of white pebbles to give a lift. Phalaris arundinacea 'Feesey's Form', the less common variety of gardener's garters, has a white stripe down the center of the leaf that makes it most attractive.

Many woodland grasses thrive in heavy shade in spite of the root competition of overhanging trees, because this is similar to their natural habitat, so if you have a spot that is difficult to grow flowers in, think in terms of grasses instead.

Warning! Ribbon Grass, though beautiful, is one of those that are extremely invasive. Plant it in a bottomless container to prevent it spreading.

Red Baron or Japanese Blood Grass, so called for its beautiful coloring also spreads, but is not so invasive as Ribbon Grass. Lemon grass, while not madly attractive, can be picked and steeped in boiling water for a calming tea.

There are many other beautiful ornamental grasses for the garden other than those mentioned above. The only trouble is in deciding which ones to leave behind.


For more lawncare information please visit www.fairyring.ca