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As a digital advertising copywriter of ten years, I have written thousands of pages of content; including web pages, articles, press releases, books, blog posts, advertising copy, product reviews, and product descriptions. These pages are a sample of my work.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Garden Ideas For Year Round Color

Garden Ideas For Year Round Color
Finding Plants That Bloom In Every Season Is Key

Year round color is the goal of many gardeners, and while it may seem like no small feat, it is really rather simple to accomplish. There are plants and bushes that bloom at all different times of the year and it is simply a matter of keeping up with them in order to keep year round color in your garden. So once you have the information for what plants have color in what seasons, you can plan (and plant) ahead.

Even if you have a garden located in an area with four seasons, then you can still keep color year round, unless there is an awfully lot of snow in the winter. Otherwise, your local garden center will have plants for every time of the year that will keep your garden colorful. Perennials are definitely an important part of having year round color. Perennials bloom in their season and then revert back to foliage, but the convenient aspect of perennials is that they only need to be planted one time.

Following are some suggestions about what to plant so that you always have color in your garden:

Spring Color For Your Garden:

Spring blooming bulbs (like tulips) are wonderful to plant because when they bloom they signal that winter is coming to a close. Other flowers that come out in the spring are crocuses, hyacinths, irises, and many other beautiful flowers. However, since springtime is a real boon for flowers, you probably won’t have any problems with color in the spring. Again, the key here is to plant perennials so that you don’t have to replant flowers every year.

Summer Color For Your Garden:

Summer is an easy time to have flowers in the garden as well. Trees in particular will usually bloom in the summer. So if you would like flowering trees, then you should look into planting roses, hydrangea, crape myrtles, yellowwoods, red buckeyes, and summer sweets.

Summertime flowers include asters, carnations, chrysanthemums, and heather to name a few. The thing to remember about these flowers is that while they will come back every year, they will need some help in the springtime to get going again. Talk to your local gardening center to find out how to winterize these summer flowers and you won’t have to replant every year.

There are also plants that attract butterflies to your garden, which adds a whole new dimension of color to your landscape.  These plants include butterfly bushes, button bushes, lilacs, azaleas, hollyhocks, snapdragons, and herbs like sage and oregano.

Fall Color For Your Garden:

There are many plants for the fall that will add color to your garden. Of course, if you have trees with leaves that turn, fall is the most beautiful time for trees - as their leaves will turn to all different shades of amber, yellow and orange. The most common flower for fall is the New York aster, but mums and varieties of sage are also colorful, and many shrubs turn beautiful colors as well.

Winter Color For Your Garden:

Winter is the biggest challenge for color, which mainly comes from evergreen trees and conifers; also there are bushes and trees like dogwoods that have berries in the wintertime that add color to any garden. Flowers that can bloom in milder winters are chrysanthemums, violas, pansies, and the dianthus. These kinds of flowers may be trickier to grow, but once you get the hang of growing them, you will have color year round in your garden. 

Thursday, July 26, 2018

What Are Your Hard Landscaping Options?

What Are Your Hard Landscaping Options?
Hard Landscaping Options Add Value To Your Backyard

If you are looking for hard landscaping options - like fences & walls, paths & driveways, decks & patios, and water features – they can be made from almost anything: including rocks, wood, brick, and metal. And hard landscaping options like these are used to define the structure of a garden. 

The possibilities and materials for hard landscaping options are as endless as your imagination - and can make a garden really spectacular if you plan them right.  

Finding hard landscaping materials locally isn’t that hard.

A trip to the local woods is a great place to find rocks - or you can go to a landscaping company and inquire as to where you can buy inexpensive landscaping boulders. Scrap metal can be found at salvage yards, and antique stores have old pieces of wrought iron that they may just be giving away. Being creative and being resourceful is the key to creating hard landscaping options if you are on a budget.

Hard Landscaping Options: Driveways And Pathways

Depending on where your garden is located and how large it is, you may be able to have a pathway or driveway running through it. A pathway or driveway can be made of almost everything, including stone, bricks, concrete, blacktop, or gravel. They can be curved or straight and are the perfect place for borders of flowers or ornamental grass.

Hard Landscaping Options: Fences And Walls

Fences and walls are other hard landscaping options that can be made of anything. While fences and walls are generally put around the perimeter of a garden, they can also be placed around a certain part of the garden, like the center. Walls can provide privacy as well as shade and can be covered with vines or anything durable like seashells or colorful tiles. Walls and fences can also be painted any color, which makes them one of the most creative hard landscaping options that you can add to a garden.   

Hard Landscaping Options: Decks And Patios

Decks and Patios are what really let you enjoy a garden, especially at daybreak and sunset. The possibilities for decks and patios are absolutely limitless; however, they are the one hard landscaping option that should really be installed by a professional. This is because a deck or a patio becomes a permanent part of your home and a poorly built deck or patio will eventually have to be torn down if it becomes dangerous or an eyesore.  

Hard Landscaping Options: Water Features

There is nothing as stunning as a pool or a fountain in a garden to really make it look spectacular.  A pool should be installed by a professional, but fountains are easy to make. You can buy all of the materials for a do-it-yourself fountain from the local home improvement center and make it out of almost anything that can be water-proofed.

Hard Landscaping Options: Raised Flower Beds

Raised flower beds are another hard landscaping option, which are especially attractive if you have poor soil in your area. Ground-level flower beds can be professionally built using quarry stone - or raised flower beds can be constructed from painted plywood that is cut and assembled into rectangles. Pre-made raised flower beds can also be purchased from your local home improvement center.

Any of these hard landscaping options will add distinction and definition to your garden, and also improve your time spent in your backyard.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Tips For Growing Flowers And Gardens In Dry Conditions

Tips For Growing Flowers And Gardens In Dry Conditions
Give Your Flowers Some Shade In Dry Conditions

Plant enthusiasts who are new to outdoor gardening have their hopes set on growing all kinds of flowers, but become heartbroken when they find out that they live in a dry climate. A climate where the flowers they love won’t grow where they live - simply because there isn’t enough rainfall.
Many gardeners suggest planting flowers that thrive in dry climates, but before you resign yourself to growing cacti, there are different ways to make sure that your more frail flowers get enough water without having to install an expensive underground water sprinkling system.

Mulch, Wood Chips, And Compost

The first way to solve a lack of water in a garden is to conserve what you have. Mulch, wood chips, and even compost on flower beds will keep the water in the soil when there is little or no rain. Also, if you have hard or infertile ground, these ground covers will help add the nutrients that plants need and also help keep plants alive and growing. Plants which may not necessarily thrive in your area without some extra help.

As well, there are many flowering ground covers that keep moisture in and fill up the places where nothing else will grow because of lack of water.

Water Deeply And Less Often

If you water your outdoor plants every day, the roots will stay on the surface and the plant will remain spindly from lack of water. It is much better to give your plants a good soaking with the hose (say about an hour or so) once every week. This gives the water time to seep deeper into the ground where the roots of the plant will follow. The deeper the roots go, the more water the plants will find in the long term and the healthier they will be.

Put Up Some Shade

More delicate plants have a better shot at staying alive and flourishing if they have some shade during the day. Shade also keeps moisture in the ground, especially when combined with woodchips. Even a small or newly planted tree will provide some shade. If you don’t have time for a tree, however, you can try other methods of shade like an extended pergola, a trellis, or even a patio umbrella.

Survey Your Property For Moisture

Whenever you are at home, try to pay attention as it rains. The land around your home may be perfectly flat, but if there are parts that are wetter than others when it rains, these are the places where you should grow plants that need more water. Especially with some mulch or wood chips added, most plants that need more water should be able to grow in these spots with less effort on your part.

The Compromise

If you simply can’t get plants to grow in your garden because of lack of moisture, you may have to give in and buy plants and ground cover that require little or no moisture. However, you may be surprised at the amount of beautiful plants that you can find that require little or no watering.  As well, you can always grow your beloved plants that need water and shade in decorative over-sized pots and keep them on your patio.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Garden Shade Options For An Enjoyable Backyard

Garden Shade Options For An Enjoyable Backyard
Trees Provide The Most Tranquil Garden Shade

There are so many shade options for gardens that will fit anyone’s style as well as their budget. Here are a few obvious (and not so obvious) ways to shade your garden so that you can enjoy it in the summer months:

Garden Shade: Trees

Trees are the most economical and natural ways to shade your garden. They do take a while to grow, but if planted properly, mature trees will give your home added value if you decide to sell it. Make sure to plant trees so that they are not too close to the house, power lines or water lines so that they will not cause damage later when they grow larger. The best shade trees are maple, oak, and elm and are perfect for a backyard garden.   

Patio trees that are planted in large pots are wonderful for smaller areas of shade and can be moved around as needed. Dogwoods, redbuds, ficus and lilacs trees are perfect for a patio or walkway to provide immediate shade.

Garden Shade: Arbors/Pergolas

Arbors and pergolas offer shade and are also an attractive and ascetic addition to your garden. Pergolas can be custom-built or you can buy them from a home improvement store. Once the pergola is in place, this is another shade option where you will have to wait for vines to grow to create shade, but modern pergolas may simply have closely spaced wooden slats or mesh material stretched over them to keep out the sun. This eliminates the need to wait for vines to create more natural shade.

Hanging baskets can be suspended from larger pergolas, making for even more shade and a beautiful accent to any garden.

Garden Shade: Umbrellas

Large patio umbrellas are the cheapest and most versatile way to create immediate shade for dining or sitting out-of-doors, and can be easily moved or put away.  Large canvas umbrellas come in almost any size and color, so they are the best way to decorate a garden with something that is functional as well.

Garden Shade: Free Standing Trellises

A free standing trellis made of lattice work is a perfect way to shade a garden and at the same time provide privacy or section a part of a garden off from the rest.  Climbing flowers like wisteria, clematis, and morning glories can be planted to grow up the trellis, making it a beautiful focal point of your garden as well as providing shade.

Garden Shade: Gazebos

Gazebos are a more architectural way to provide shade in a garden and also a place to sit and relax. Gazebos are readily available at home improvement stores and can be stained or painted any color. They also provide a focal point for the garden and are the perfect destination for the end of a walkway.

As you can see, there are many choices for shade in a garden. If you want to get really creative, there are also options like outdoor curtains and panels that can be constructed for the summer months. Conversely, if you have too much shade in your garden, there are many plants that can grow with little or no sun.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

The Basics Of Home Garden Design For Beginners

The Basics Of Home Garden Design For Beginners
The Basics Of Garden Design Include Decorations

Whether you have your garden professionally designed or you do it yourself, it is important to know some garden design basics so that you come up with a final plan that will suit your home and your lifestyle. 

The one thing about garden design that you can count on, however, is change. Plants die, trees get too big and your tastes will change as well. So when you sit down to design your garden, don’t become paralyzed with the fear that you are making unalterable decisions.  Follow your instincts and be reasonable as to what will grow in your area and you will be fine.

Plan First Your Garden, Plant Later

A site plan is the first thing you will want to do if you are designing a garden. A site plan is a bird’s eye view of where everything will go in your garden. It can be done by a professional or you can draft one yourself. There are no drawing skills required.  Mapping out a plan simply makes it easier to execute the planting of a garden and see what it looks like before you start. You can also eliminate potential problems in this stage of garden design. When you draw your site plan, following are some garden design basics that you will need to consider:

Formal Style Or Informal Style Of Garden

Despite all of the different choices you have when designing your garden, the style will boil down to two choices: informal or formal. Keep in mind that a formal garden is not necessarily stuffy-looking and an informal garden is not randomly placed plants and trees; a formal garden is simply one with a specific purpose, and informal garden is an assemblage of plants and trees that are pleasing to the eye.  Deciding what purpose you will use the garden for will help you decide which style you want.

Symmetry And Balance Of A Garden Plan

Symmetry and Balance have to do with the flow of the garden, the scale of the plants and trees and the repetition of the plants. People are generally more attracted to a garden that makes sense geometrically. You can be as creative as you want, but in the long haul, you will probably want plants that complement each other and have a rationale as to the way they are planted. For example, large shrubs that are surrounded by smaller flowering plants are pleasing to the eye because they balance each other out.

Planning Walls, Roofs And Paths In Your Garden

Walls, roofs and paths give an order to a garden and make them much more enjoyable. Walls make gardens private, and roofs like those on a patio or a gazebo can give protection from the sun and rain. Of course, pathways make gardens accessible so that you can enjoy walking through them. Carefully planning these design elements will infinitely make your garden a place where you want to spend your time.

Once you have considered all of these design basics, the final touch will be to decorate it. Decorations include elements like bird houses, water features, fences, trellises, benches, sculptures, and decorative planters that give your garden a finished look and showcase your personality as a gardener.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Quick Ways To Attract Beneficial Insects To Your Garden

Quick Ways To Attract Beneficial Insects To Your Garden
Attract Butterflies With Common Flowers 
When you think of insects and a garden, your first reaction may be that you want to swat at them – when they are preventing you from sitting peacefully and admiring your flowers. However, beneficial insects are very important if you want to keep a garden that is pest-free and well as safe from harmful pesticides.

It is natural for your first reaction to be to spray your garden with insecticides, but you can avoid doing this if you plan your garden correctly. Insecticides should always be a last resort. Besides being harmful to humans, insecticides also kill the good insects that pollinate flowers and help your garden grow. So let’s look at ways to make your garden more beautiful, and at the same time, make it friendlier to the helpful insects that your plants need to be healthy.

The Three Types Of Beneficial Insects

The three types of insects that you want in your garden are predators, parasitoids, and pollinators. Predatory insects are those which prey on aphids, mealy insects and other insects that destroy the foliage in your garden. Parasitoids patrol the undersides of flowers, looking for pests like harmful caterpillars that eat plants, subsequently using them for food for their young.  Pollinators, of course, make it possible for plants to multiply and grow and are essential for flowering plants.  These are the kinds of insects that are not pests, and will make your garden grow beautifully with little or no pesticides.

Making A Home For The Beneficial Insects

Now that you know what kinds of insects you need to keep your garden low maintenance, it’s time to think about how to attract these insects to your garden so they can start working for you. Much like birds, you have to make a home for these insects so they know that they are welcome.

The first insects that you will want to attract are the pollinators. These are the insects that will pollinate your flowers and essentially make your garden grow. You have to attract theses insects early in the season so it is important to get flowering plants out in your garden as early in the season as possible. This lets the pollinators know that there will be plenty of flowers for them to work on throughout the season and they will pick your garden for their home.

It is important to plant flowers of varying heights and also to plant herbs to attract insects that like ground cover and different types of nectar. A variety of plants including zinnias, fennel, dill, umbels, daisies, and sunflowers are a good mix to attract many types of beneficial insects. As well, flower beds should be mulched, so that ground beetles have cover and a place to find and eat the slugs and cutworms that can also destroy your plants from the root system. Decorative stones and rocks are also a good place for them to hide.

Lastly, don’t forget the water. If you have a sprinkler system, there should be enough water lying around in puddles for most insects. However, if you water your garden manually, always make sure to leave some excess water lying around so that insects can get a drink. You may even want to install a water feature to add a finishing touch to your garden and give the insects some water as well.


Tuesday, July 17, 2018

4 Ways Attract More Birds To Your Garden

4 Ways Attract More Birds To Your Garden
Birds Like Gardens With A Natural Place To Nest
Birds are attracted to a garden by the lure of four different elements: plants, nesting materials, food, and water. Which means that birds don’t just come to any garden that has a bird feeder. 

In order for birds to want to visit you in your garden and stay for a while, you have to make your garden a place that has the elements they need, placed in such a way that makes your garden comfortable for them.

Plants And Trees Are The Most Important Elements

While many people think that food is the most important thing to attract birds to a garden, it is actually the plants, trees and bushes that attract birds to any place where they plan to stay for a little while. This is because plant life is the place where birds can seek shelter and also roost while they rest or digest food. Bushes are also places where birds can socialize and sing, which is really why you want them around.

Check your local information to see what kinds of birds are in your area and what kinds of trees and hedges they like. Trees and bushes with lots of foliage and places to land are perfect for birds to seek cover and also build nests if you want them to stay longer.

Nesting Materials Will Encourage Birds To Stay

Many people think of traditional birdhouses when they think of nests for birds, but nesting boxes also make suitable places for birds to live and raise their young.  You can make your own, or you can buy ready-made nesting boxes and birdhouses at many places online.

Also, to help things along, you can put out nesting supplies. However, make sure to leave the birdhouses and nesting boxes bare. Birds won’t go in a nest that contains materials arranged by human hands. Instead, leave supplies of bit of wool, grasses and twigs lying about (neatly of course), so that birds may pick their own materials to build their nests.

Food For The Birds

Now that your birds have a place to socialize and a place to nest, it is time to think about what they will eat. Premade bird feeders are the easiest to put up and are also inexpensive. They come in a great variety of designs, so you can match them to the style of your garden.  Bird feeders should be put up on some kind of post, so that cats and other animals cannot get to the feed, or more importantly, the birds themselves.

Any hardware store or department store will have bird feed that is suitable for attracting outdoor birds. Once again, it is important to find out what kinds of birds are in your area before you buy bird seed.  It is also wise to buy food for songbirds or birds that you will want to sit and watch while you are in your garden. Be careful not to buy food that will attract pesky birds that will take over your garden.

Water For The Birds

Finally, your birds will need some source of water if you want them to stay around. Stone birdbaths are the obvious choice, but birds aren’t picky. Any basin of water that is a few centimeters deep will give them a place to bathe and drink and make your garden their favorite one in the neighborhood!

Monday, July 9, 2018

Adding A Water Feature To Your Garden Sets It Apart From Others

Adding A Water Feature To Your Garden Sets It Apart From Others
A Water Feature Adds So Much To Your Backyard

Once you have a beautiful home garden established, you will definitely want to add a water feature as the finishing touch to make your garden complete.

Many people shy away from water features because they think that they are expensive or time-consuming to maintain, but they are actually easy to build and almost maintenance-free.

Also, any of the well-stocked home-improvement centers will have the supplies you need to build and maintain a water feature for your garden at a price which will be lower than expected.

Deciding On A Design

The design of your water feature will depend on where you live and how much room you have. Although there are two elements that all water features have. This is a basin where the water is stored and a fountain that moves the water which makes a pleasant sound and keeps the water from stagnating.

The wonderful thing about a basin that holds the water is that it can be anything from a small clay pot to large pond, depending on what scale you are planning to build your water feature. Be sure to use your imagination and personalize your water feature for the full effect! Large clay pots, antique bathtubs, and other unusual containers all make for creative water features.

As well, don’t underestimate your creative abilities. Even something as complicated sounding as a pond can be made by using a children’s swimming pool and disguising it with rocks and plants. The point we are trying to make here is that you can have a sophisticated-looking water feature without hiring someone to design and execute it.

What You Will Need

Once you have a design picked out, there are a few simple items that you will need to complete the project. This includes a water pump, a fountainhead kit, a water-tight container, some type of water sealant, and vinyl tubing. If you purchase an electric water pump, you will need a grounded outlet, but there are solar powered water pumps available as well.  If you talk to someone at your local home improvement center about building a water feature they will be able to point you in the right direction.

Executing Your Design

Picking a spot for your water feature is important, because you will want it in a place where you can admire it while you are sitting outside. If you have an electric pump, it will also need to be near a grounded outlet.

For any water feature design, the water pump will go in the bottom of the basin and the electric cord will have to run to an outlet. Any holes will need to be sealed and the vinyl hose will be used to connect the water pump to the fountain head. You will also need some sort of stand for the fountain that will sit inside the basin. In the case of clay pots, you may turn a smaller pot upside down and sit it inside the larger pots. This makes a stand for the fountain and hides the water pump.  

Once the fountain is in place, you are ready to add water and enjoy!