Archive for July, 2012

ROCK GARDENS

Posted: July 26, 2012 in HARD LANDSCAPING, SOFTLANDSCAPING

A rock garden is simply a plot with a mix of rocks and of several special species of  flowers. Some would say that because rocks are permanent, solid and rugged, they complement t­he delicacy of flowers. It’s the opposite of vegetable gardens which can look obviously cultivated ­and artificial. On the other hand, a well-designed rock garden evokes a sense that Mother Nature has courteously bestowed some her best work on your land.

Rock Garden Design

One can design rock gardens to exploit dry, rocky slopes thus this presents itself naturally as a landscape solution or import rocks into yards that are flat and rock less building the rock garden from scratch.

Space can influence the design of rock gardens. In larger spaces, the goal is often to create sprawling, naturalistic rock gardens. In case of limited space the design should fit neatly into the nook and you can have a round raised bed made of select rocks. The rock garden should not be in the way of mowing the lawn and should not require much maintenance.

Consideration of color schemes is very important. One can use a collection of attractive rocks like red sandstone granite, river rocks this will provide the structure for my rock garden. Also the choice of plants is influenced by the rocks used. There is a whole range of plants of different colors, shapes and sizes to choose from.

Also the longevity of the type of rocks you use, do the easily crumble?

Rock Garden Plants

In making a rock garden, you typically select plants that are drought-tolerant (because rocky soil drains quickly).

Japanese Rock Gardens: Plants, Stone, Gravel

In the Zen style- wondrously simple in its complexity. The Zen style is minimalist, with individual elements (plants, stones, gravel) sublimated for the sake of the “whole picture.” The Japanese recognized the calming and meditative effect of rock arrangement as far back as the medieval era when they developed the Zen garden. Japanese rock garden’s have the ability to evoke a contemplative mood.

NB;Rock pieces used to make mosaic paving and steps will suit rock gardens best as illustrated below

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TOPIARY

Posted: July 24, 2012 in SOFTLANDSCAPING

Topiary is the horticultural practice of training live perennial plants by clipping the foliage and twigs of trees, shrubs and sub shrubs to develop and maintain clearly defined shapes, perhaps geometric or fanciful; the term also refers to plants which have been shaped in this way. As an art form it is a type of living sculpture. The word derives from the Latin word for an ornamental landscape gardener, topiarius, a creator of topia or “places”.

What plant to use for topiary?

The plants used in topiary are evergreen, mostly woody, have small leaves or needles, produce dense foliage, and have compact and/or columnar (e.g., fastigiate) growth habits. The other issues to contend with are leaf size and plant growth. In the case of leaf size the size of the cage is the determining factor the smaller the cage the smaller the leaf size needed in order to maintain the shape of the display. In plant selection you have trade offs. For example your box woods, are typically slower growing which means they require less maintenance, but take longer to grow out a cage. Common species chosen for topiary include cultivars of European box (Buxus sempervirens), arborvitae (Thuja species), bay laurel (Laurus nobilis), holly (Ilex species), myrtle (Eugenia or Myrtus species), yew (Taxus species), and privet (Ligustrum species).

Small leafed ivy ( Ivy is perfect for shade and for forms that are open such as hearts .English ivy is a common choice for a vining plant topiary, though any plant that vines can be used, such as vinca minor or Boston ivy. English ivy is generally chosen due to the fact that is grows quickly, is tolerant of many conditions and looks lovely) or ficus (creeping fig) are excellent if you are using a moss lined form and planting cuttings into the form.

If you are trimming shrubs into a specific shape, I would suggest choosing a small leafed shrub that tolerates being clipped. Small-leaved boxwood is also good if you’re not in a hurry and your form is not too large, but I am sure there are lots of other shrubs. An evergreen shrub would be preferred to a deciduous shrub.

One can try yew – it’s wonderful. Scented geraniums might work – especially for standards. Meserve hollies as well if your form is not too small.

Lonicera nitida, or Japanese box honeysuckle (which actually comes from China) has very small leaves and twiggy growth. Grows quickly and is very hardy. This shrub takes kindly to constant clipping and is easy to grow from cuttings.

Buxus ‘Winter Gem’ and ‘Green Beauty’ are very hardy and work well up to 3 and 4′. Pyracantha is fast if you don’t mind thorns.

Another plant that might work for you is an upright fuchsia and also a dwarf species called “hummingbird” for small topiary frames. Try a Hardy fuchsia, and train the tender new growth around the wires, and pin the stems if necessary until the stems have become woody and will stay on their own.

Geometric forms.

Animal forms.

People

 Wire cages

Frames are not essential but if you are new to topiary, you will want to put topiary forms over the shrubs you choose to sculpt. As the plant grows, the frame will help guide you on your pruning decisions. Shaped wire cages are employed in modern topiary to guide untutored shears, but traditional topiary depends on rather patience and a steady hand; small-leaved ivy can be used to cover a cage and give the look of topiary in a few months. Topiary cages are mostly used for vining plants that crawl up the form and cover the shape. If you are an experienced topiary artist, you can attempt to create topiary without topiary forms. Be aware that even experience topiary artists will use frames to make things easier. If you have a larger shrub, you may need to build the frame around the topiary. The hedge is a simple form of topiary used to create boundaries, walls or screens.

 

 

Filling for the forms

Sphagnum moss, coco peat or soil can be used as filling. Filling the topiary forms may not be essential but it will help your topiary take on a fuller look much faster. Make sure all areas are evenly packed and very firm. The moss will shrink slightly when it begins to dry. Packing tight helps to hold in moisture.

Planting

Whether is a potted topiary or an outdoor topiary in the ground, plant the vine around the form so that it can grow up the form. If you are using a large form or if you simply want to cover the form faster, you can use several plants around the form. For potted forms fit the root balls of ivy in the opening of the frame. Insert the roots into the pocket reserved in the moss. Cover the roots with moss and be sure it is firmly packed and covered with moss. All roots must be covered. It is okay to plant ivy deep into the moss as the stem parts inside the moss will send out additional roots. Fern pins are used to anchor the ivy to the moss. The entire length of the ivy stem should be pressed against the moss so that the ivy can root in. The ivy will send out roots and they grow down into the moss and hold everything together. Trim off any extremely large leaves and excess ivy. This helps to bring the topiary into scale and gives a finished over-all appearance. When first planted, many of the leaves are turned with the underside up. Since ivy is photo-sensitive, within 48 hours all the leaves will turn toward the light and be right side up. The topiary will look 20% more covered once this happens.

Maintenance

 Train and prune appropriately – As the plants grow, train them to the form by helping them wrap around the form. Also, prune or pinch back any shoots that cannot be easily trained to the topiary forms. Envision how you want your final topiary to look and trim off no more than 3 inches in working towards that shape. If you are working on growing a small shrub, prune 1 inch off in areas where you need to fill in. Pruning will encourage additional, bushier growth. If you are working on shaping a large shrub, take no more than 3 inches off in areas where you wish to cut back. Anymore than this will only kill off parts of the shrub and will ruin the process. The time it will take to have a fully covered topiary varies depending on how many plants you use and the size of the topiary, but we can guarantee that when it is all filled in, you will be thrilled with the results. Train and prune the shrub a little more about every 3 months during active growth.

For ivy as the topiary begins to grow, pin down runners until it is completely covered or covered to your desire. (For your design, you may want some of the moss showing.) After it is covered, trim off excess ivy.

By continuous pinching of the newest tips of the plant it will become bushy and beautiful. By pinching out tips you will encourage branching which results in a bushy fuller plant. Pinch any buds that may be starting undesired growth. While you are encouraging new growth, make sure to trim off the areas that won’t fit into the shape and also developing flowers because they rob valuable nutrients away from foliage.

Watering

When moss-filled topiary is first planted it is a good idea to keep them in a shady location and spray over them with water several times each day. After three or four days your topiary should be acclimated and spraying over can be reduced to one or two times daily. Eventually, the ivy will be well anchored and misting is not necessary. However, if you live in a hot dry climate, misting is always helpful. There are two ways to kill your ivy topiary. 1) overwatering 2) under watering. Watering is critical with moss-filled topiary. If it is not dry do not water. Remember, if you overwater the roots become saturated to the point that there is no air and this will damage or kill the plant. At the same time, if the moss becomes too dry it will act as a sponge and rob water from the plant. When it is time to water, make sure water is penetrating the moss and soaking into the roots.

WATER FEATURES

Posted: July 21, 2012 in HARD LANDSCAPING

This includes Ponds, Fountains, Streams, a water bowl or pot, varieties of bubblers, cascades and Waterfalls.The water feature can be an accent or the focal point of the garden this dictates placement and surroundings (but not size). Whether it’s the sound of the ocean crashing or a river gushing, the consistency is what tends to sooth us. A clever way in which water features work aurally is that they can be used to disguise other less appealing noises. If your office is in an industrial area or right on a busy highway.Visually, water features have particular relevance in small spaces where there is limited potential to improve aesthetics. In a tiny courtyard for example, a simple water feature can add modernist Zen garden appeal without much effort or expense.

It can also be used to take attention away from other less appealing sights.

With water comes life, and we don’t mean this esoterically. Plants, birds, insects and small mammals are attracted to water; and having nature integrate with your office environment can be inspiring for people who are surrounded by inanimate objects all day. A small pond with indigenous water plants is a conservationist’s delight, improving the diversity of the local ecosystems, which is good for the sustainability of your office in the long run.

PONDS

It can be an in-ground pond to an aboveground one. The former requires excavation but looks more natural. It’s also insulated from cold by the soil. Above-ground pools bring the water closer to eye level and provide opportunities for architectural sophistication as well as additional seating.Blend in-ground pools into the landscape. Avoid high spots or places where a natural pond would be unlikely to form. Also avoid the lowest spots, so that your pond doesn’t become flooded during storms. We incorporate rock outcroppings into the pond. For the lining we use a flexible liner or a concrete shell to line your pond. Rigid plastic is the least expensive and easiest to install, but sizes and shapes are limited. Concrete-lined pools are long lasting and require professional installation. Flexible synthetic rubber liners are easy to work with and the preferred liner for most garden ponds.An empty pond is somewhat simpler at first, but later needs draining and cleaning to prevent algae growth. Ponds with plants and fish can achieve a natural balance and reduce maintenance, but finding that balance can take time. In some cases, a filter is necessary. If small children are in your family or nearby, ponds may need to be fenced.

WATERFALL

This can be with or without a pond. If it is without a pond one can use a well. Large boulders are used to frame the waterfall and direct the water just like in nature. Later the waterfall is filled with rocks of various surface areas using different rocks in order to achieve different cascades. We use slates and flagstones for one waterfall tier and we use a jagged stone for another waterfall tier. This is to mix it up and keep it rocken and rollen.The cracks and voids are filled with small rocks and they are tightly packed.Black masonry foam are used to fill in the voids in the rock. Very little is used as it expands three times more this avoids wastage. One can add small stones to create spillways in order to change waterfall effects. For the lining one can use a concrete lining or flexible rubber lining.

          

ROUND TIERED FOUNTAIN

BIRD WATER BATH

Many people are discouraged about hiring a professional due to financial reasons. Since this is the “do-it-yourself” era, many homeowners want to get their hands dirty and try to landscape on their own.

Sadly, landscaping is an art form that needs professionals armed with a wealth of experience. It’s best not to do it yourself.

Mistakes, blunders and very costly errors can be made if home owners go unaided in designing their own yard. Here are some reasons as to why you should hire a professional from Eden gardening and landscaping ltd.

 Professional Landscaping Benefits

Increases the value of your property: homes without proper landscaping do not fare as well in the market when they are up for sale.

Curb Costs: It’s more cost effective to hire professionals since it’s more expensive to rent or buy equipment and purchase plants you are not familiar with. A landscaper already has all the tools needed to give you quality service. Unless you already have this kind of equipment in your home, you will need to purchase or rent it. Either way, hiring or renting the specialized tools is expensive.

Prevent Property Damage: If you have never planned or executed a landscaping project, then its best to leave it to the experts. You are most likely to lose money due to unforeseen mistakes and circumstances. Professional landscapers can work their way around existing plants and structure without damaging them. Also planting trees that may have buttress roots near buildings may result in wall cracking. One must think about any structures that may be in the way or need to be kept away from destructive tree roots. Consider where to plant flowers and how they will blend in with the rest of the yard. Flowers cannot just be planted anywhere; their location must fit into a bigger plan

Experts have experience: If your yard needs a total makeover then hire professionals. This experts are trained to design your yard with the correct processes, tools, materials and management needed.  If you are on a budget, then call us up today so we can give you a consultation depending on your budget.

It is convenient: You have your day job and you have a family to take care of. Doing landscaping yourself would cut into the time you need to get all your usual tasks done. Hiring a landscaper means he will be on the job full time. On top of that, landscapers offer regular maintenance services. He would do all the weeding, trimming and fertilizing that needs doing.

Longevity of your landscape: you want to establish a landscape that will last for long by planting the right plants at the right places so that you don’t have to cut them down later.

Please contact us today and we will give you a landscape that fits within your budget but still gives you the satisfaction that you need.