Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Walk in the Garden: Garden Treat

A walk in the gardens pacifies  your inner self and refreshes  your mind and eyes. The greenery all around you chips away all carbon footprints through plants, trees and shrubs. Walks in the garden broaden your horizon and vision regarding  gardening.

Planning of landscapes involves many tasks like first sketching an overall  layout of the garden, designing the details of your garden elements. Your own personality and vision largely comes into play while drawing up the details. This is followed by the actual planting of trees, plants and shrubs at chosen spaces leaving areas for lawns, walkways and patio, etc.
Benefits of Landscaping Plans
·         The planning helps you to  reduce costs and ensures the completion of the landscaping project within a stipulated time.
·         Detailed designs assist  in determining the scope and spread of the project undertaken.
      The plan enables designs to be easily executed with necessary  changes.
·         Grasses and plants can grow naturally and flourish.
·         The plan enables faster sale of property when needed.
        Requirements
There arise situations when the planning needs to be adaptable. The existing level of soil and its features greatly contribute to the proper drainage in all areas. All well developed plans are amenable to easy modifications as and when necessary.
Quantity of  sunlight required  may be a variable factor for all plants. Too much of sunlight or shades can affect the growth of a plant in its early stages. Sufficient water is also necessary for the survival of the plant. Usage of modern equipment and resorting to sprinkling enables to minimize the requirement of water, especially in areas of water scarcity.
Owners growing plants should adhere to the permits and bylaws of the area concerned.

Landscaping ideas
·         List out your requirements for a Landscape design. This should include your prime requirements and optional(s). Whether you need a space for children to play or for relaxation apart from growing vegetables,etc?  Make  rough sketches  of areas where you would place first the essentials and then the optional. This should be according to the overall size of the space available. After consulting all the concerned like family members, make a final draft.
·         The placing of spots should bear in mind the direction of sun and wind. If you want sunlight in the morning, that spot should be on the Eastern side of your lawn and vice versa. Your design should take into account the direction of sun and wind at different times of the day and year.
·         Remember, it takes time to grow plants and fill up the vacant spaces. So it is  better to begin in a humble way by developing a few flower bed(s) of plants of your choice.
·         It will be desirable to develop your garden around a convenient central point. This should  be a natural source of attraction like a sculpture, a perennial attractive plant,etc which draws your attention forthwith. Further developments should follow your chosen plan to enhance the beauty of the  garden.
·         Determining the scale of your landscape elements and working out the exact measurements poses a tricky problem to be tackled carefully. There should be a variety in size, shape  and color to give an elegant look to the garden. Sometimes we would need repetitions of walkways and plants to provide balance to the design.
·         Change is the spice of life. It is also the spice of Landscape designs. Unless you are strongly possessive with some of the features, changes should be your motto. Appropriate changes from time to time should be your guiding principle. This applies equally to  flower plants, ornamental plants, shrubs, trees and other features like rock formations, water bodies, etc.
·         Patience is the watchword for landscape planner. Remember, it takes time to develop your garden as  visualized by you. It may be necessary to take out annuals and  perennials if they do not serve the purpose.
Landscaping Types        
Landscaping consists of a few types, yet some of the popular types are:
1.      Turf Installation:  If you have dead or sparse grass, fresh sod with fresh green grass  will be the method to adopt for an attractive yard. Everyone can use it for relaxing with one’s family and friends especially in summer.
2.      Water Spots:  Everyone enjoys a landscape laid out with  small ponds of  clear water and waterfalls soothing  your mind and body.  This is especially required, if there are too many earthy features to  your yard.  You can have hardy plants near such features. One may even provide for fish in such ponds, always a source of joy for young children and old.
3.             


 Rock features: These features provided at differentplaces provide much needed variety to your sprawling garden. These may include borders of rocks for flower beds, a large boulder with small ones scattered around it and even small structures resembling some form of animals,etc.,which always remain a constant attraction for children and old alike. Pebbles and boulders are widely used to add splendor to your garden.
4.      Fresh  plants: One needs to grow fresh plants to replace the ones which have died. Availability of good sunshine and shade where needed is to be ensured. Choosing the right spots for your favorite plants is always a challenge. The plants should be of your liking and they require a  lot of care and attention from the very beginning for you to own  a beautiful garden.
5.      Stone walkways: If you do not want to walk on the grass and have some unutilized space, stone walkways is the preferred option Walkways running around the garden or through the middle or at chosen places will provide an fascinating  look to your garden.
6.      Spot for vegetables: There is a preference among some owners of lawns for having a spot for growing fresh vegetables. Home grown vegetables through organic cultivation methods are a craze among families. Areas with sufficient sunlight and shade where needed,  are chosen carefully without diminishing the overall beauty of your landscape.
As synthetic materials are toxic,maintenance of gardens using them is not recommended. The prime consideration should be to shift to more organic maintenance practices, also taking care of sustainability.
Maintaining Landscapes
Maintaining landscapes is a daunting task for all gardeners. Extensive methods of horticulture, innovative gardening methods and landscaping customer services build on basic principles of  maintaining landscapes.
Maintaining landscaping also  requires well-defined plans to boast of beautiful gardens.
Maintenance Plan:
Spring Cleanup
  • Debris removal
  • Cultivation of beds
  • Spaded edging of beds
  • Application of slow release fertilizer
  • Application of pre-emergent weed control
  • Mulching or top-dressings
  • Spring pruning
  • Planting of annuals
Early Summer Maintenance
  • Weeding
  • Spaded-edging
  • Pruning of spring flowering trees and shrubs
  • Pruning of evergreens
Late Summer Maintenance
  • Weeding and edging
  • Dead-heading perennials and annuals
  • Pruning as needed
  • Lawn-needs evaluated
Fall Care & Winterizing
  • Cleanup of beds
  • Cutting back perennials
  • Removal of dead annuals
  • Removal of leaves and debris
Winterizing & Dormant Pruning
  • Pruning of all summer flowering shrubs
  • Deadwood removal
Patios
Elegant residential Patios requiremodern styling techniques.Such techniques enable  various activities, including outdoor dining, entertaining and sunbathing. Some of the important issues meriting consideration are the following:
  • The best location for your patio is determined by  proximity to the home, available space, exposure to sun and shade, rainfall, etc. In short it must most convenient to your family members.
  • Next to consider is the size of the patio; often the size and number of the furniture to be used and the entertaining needs. The dimensions of furniture comfortable for relaxation to be considered. Easy movement around the furniture in the patio is vital. Use of standard furniture is convenient in most cases, it may not be always possible
  • The advantages and disadvantages of patio materials including concrete, decorative  bricks, tiles, cobblestone to be considered. Your final decision depends on the costs, maintenance expenditure and exposure to weather vagaries.
  • Choosing the best shape for your patio: rectangular, round or free-form.
  • The patio needs to integrate smoothly with the existing elements.
  • Built-in seating will be a preferred option where space is limited.
  • Where to locate a fire feature, if needed.
  • Take into consideration the views of your family members and close friends before taking a final decision on the patio.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Patio
DO’s
·         Selecting the right plants for the patio is vital to enhance your outdoor living experience. They add to the beauty, fragrance and colour to your surroundings. 
·         While the plants like Chrysanthemum, Dahlia petunia, etc. display beautiful colours and variety, fragrance is taken care of by jasmine and roses which are integral part of any enchanting garden.
·         Positioning these plants at the right places will maximize the intense experience for all. Fragrant plants located close to thewindows and doors will cause the fragrance to waft through the inside rooms.
·         Big pots may be used for putting small trees, like palms in patios lacking much ground for planting. A row of them can be graceful  partitions bettering  privacy or blocking  intrusive eyes.For a hot summer afternoon, they do provide a certain amount of  green shade.
·         Seasonal variations of a place offer often, opportunity for  cultivating seasonal  plants as well as evergreens. A good mix of such plants adds to the grace and style of your patio.
·         Choosing plants offer wide variety is equally important. A careful mix rather than adhering to one or two species is to be preferred.
·         Culinary herbs make good choice for  plants for patio areas. Woody herbs such as rosemary and lavender make first class landscape plants in pots or on ground of your patio.

Don'ts

·         Do not adopt oversize plants for your patio. You would not then need to prune or clip your plants to restrict their growth. Such a step will sacrifice their beauty. A list of small patio trees to be obtained in advance to choose from.

·         Plants that bear spines or thorns cause hurts when located near patios and especially unsuitable for small children. Roses, cactus, succulents, etc. are examples and they need to positioned to avoid trouble.

·         Use of toxic plants is  a strict no, especially when children are around. Some examples are, Morning glory, Euphorbia, castor bean, Digitalis, oleander.

·         Use pungent plants very rarely. They emit fragrance to attract pollinators luring flies, etc.  Keep in mind that scents you find appealing may not always be as attractive to others, so be careful not to overdo .

·         We need to avoid oversized pots as they are difficult to move or  remove without assistance. One alternative will be to use more of medium-sized flower pots in your patio for planting trees of your choice.