Sunday, 25 June 2017

Landscape Design: Using Natural Stone and Rock

Stone and rock are vital to this landscape designCredit: Photo by Jane Gates

If you want a decorative yet low maintenance garden, consider using natural stone and rock in your landscape design. Not only are there wonderful choices in colors, textures and sizes of different stone material, but you can improve your drainage and soil stability by designing it where it can be functional as well as beautiful.

Basic ways to use natural stone and rock can be divided into flooring, walls, fill and special focal points. It can also be used in the construction of outdoor rooms and other permanent features (hardscapes) like waterfalls, pools, seating, stairways and more.

Natural stone is available in cut pieces like blocks, thin slabs like flagstone, chips, gravel and sculpted pieces. Larger pieces are p erfect for laying flat for flooring or for the treads on stairs. They make excellent _span>stepping stones and pavers when used individually. Or they can be fitted closely together or set with gaps that can be filled with gravel, grass, low ground-cover plants or sand. Smaller pieces can be designed with different hues to make colorful mosaic designs. Thicker stone slabs or blocks can be assembled for driveway or patio floors or stacked for walls. Rock pieces can be tumbled for rounded edges. Round stones can be mortared together and thin pieces can be piled in layers.

To accent a landscape design, use individual rocks as boulders or create rock groupings. They can be arranged as special features or used as general dcor in garden areas. If you want to use rock in your landscape design, try to limit yourself to one or two kinds of stone rather than introducing too many confusi ng textures and colors. The same goes for gravel. Stone in inch size gravel comes in different types producing varied colors that you can lay out for different effects. You can even find smaller stones in the form of pea gravel. Pea gravel will provide a softer surface for walking, but can kick out of bounds easily.

Stone gravel can be used to cover open surfaces, fill between larger materials or can be scattered over soil surfaces as mulch. Gravel mulch is attractive in cactus and succulent gardens or Southwestern themed gardens. As mulch, it is an excellent choice for succulent plants as it helps keep the plants from rotting at the soil line.

The ways you can use rock and stone in designing your landscape is only limited by your imagination. Look at other landscape designs and check out some public parks and arboretum s to see how some designers have used rock and stone in designs. Then adapt the best designs for your own landscape space.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

5 Best Gardens in Spain

Spain is a country bordered to the south and east by the Mediterranean Sea except for a small land boundary with the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar; to the north by France, Andorra, and the Bay of Biscay; and to the northwest and west by the Atlantic Ocean and Portugal.

Spain is the country of passions. It is a perfect place to take your loved one and enjoy some of the best gardens in the world. There are hundreds of places that would indeed capture the heart of the one you love without a doubt, but here are 5 best gardens in Spain.

El Generalife, Granada

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El Generalife is positioned high above the surrounding river valleys. It is a Moorish-designed royal garden of the Generalife manifest. It is the ideal of an earthly paradise in sheltered courtyards cooled by shallow marble fountains or mirror-like pools of water. It provides the visitor with an escape from the intense Mediterranean sun the gardens are replete with luxuriant vegetation like cypress, myrtle, and box shrubbery; abundant citrus, plum and magnolia trees. A floral perfume sweetens the air of the Generalife, where peering through arches sculpted out of massive, architectural hedges, you'll savor images of canals flanked by alles of roses.

La Granja Gardens, Segovia

La Granja gardens were created in 1720 by Philip V. He was the first Spanish monarch from the Bourbon dynasty. Having known the great French gardens the king probably wished to emulate the m in this outstanding setting near Segovia. This is an exceptional French-style garden, richly adorned with statues, urns and benches. It is particularly famous for its water features, including cascades and fountains with magnificent waterspouts and statuary, and spectacular displays. The most outstanding fountains include the Fama, the Baroque fountains at the Baths of Diana, the Latona, the Fan, the Horse Race fountain or the imposing cascade opposite the palace faade.

Maria Luisa Park, Seville

Maria Luisa Park was designed by Jean-Claude Nicolas Forestier. The entire southern end of the city was redeveloped into an expanse of gardens and grand boulevards. The centre of it is Parque de Mara Luisa, a 'Moorish paradisical style' with a half mile of tiled fountains, pavilions, walls, ponds, benches, and exhedras; lush plantings of palms, orange trees, Mediterranean pines, and stylized flower beds and with https://ww vine hidden bowers.

Retiro Park, Madrid

The Retiro Park is also known as Buen Retiro Park. It is a large and popular park at the edge of the city center, which is very close to the Puerta de Alcal and not far from the Prado Museum. It is a magnificent park, filled with beautiful sculpture and monuments, galleries, a peaceful lake and host to a variety of events; it is one of Madrid's premier attractions. The park is entirely surrounded by the present-day city.

Sabatini Gardens

The Sabatini Gardens are part of the Royal Palace in Madrid, Spain. They were opened to the public by King Juan Carlos I in 1978. They honor the name of Francesco Sabatini an Italian architect of the 18th century who designed them.

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Friday, 23 June 2017

Get Crafty With These Easy and Incredible Homemade Craft Ideas

The life so short, the crafts so long to learn.

- Geoffrey Chaucer

I agree with the writer. It does take prolonged hours of practice to hone a particular talent to perfection. But amazingly, the beauty of easy homemade crafts is that all and sundry can learn to do it in a jiffy. Believe me, it is that simple.

Easy homemade crafts are perhaps the best constructive ways to occupy yourself instead of whiling away your time in vain. They also make for warm, personalized gifts, which can make people feel special and wanted. Here are some fun homemade crafts for kids and adults, as well as easy crafts to make for gifts.

So, check out the following easy handicrafts and see gleams of admiration appear in the eyes of friends and family as you slowly emerge as the art and craft queen/king.

Easy Homemade Crafts for Kids

You can always engage children with interesting and fun homemade craft ideas for kids. In order to keep them away from trouble and unscrupulous activities, fill up your child's time with these super easy kids' crafts to keep an empty head from becoming a devil's workshop.

Paper Lanterns

1. Get a construction paper (12"x 18") in a solid color and help your kid to fold it into half - lengthwise - in order to get a rectangle.

2. Now using a ruler, draw a 2-inch wide margin along the border of the paper. Now cut equal strips on the paper at 90 degrees with the folded spine. Do not cut through the border.

3. Make colorful designs and motifs with sequins or paints as per your wish on the border.

4. After the decoration has dried, unfold the paper and staple the two top and bottom edges together so that the entire thing looks like a round cylinder.

5. Make a separate strip of paper and staple it to the cylinder to make a handle. Use this lantern to cover bulbs t o make them look like colorful, decorative lampshades. You can add tassels on the lower rim of the lantern to make it more festive.

A really easy paper craft for your kid to make.

Map of Lentils

Here's an easy albeit a little time-consuming kids' art, that will also help your kids to learn the names of all the states of his country, in a fun yet permanent way.

1. First, provide your kid with multicolored lentils, pulses, and rice grains in separate small bowls.

2. Then ask him to draw a large outline of the map of your country, replete with each internal state boundary.

3. Now Best Home Improvement College Station help your kid to stick same colored grains onto the space of a single state with a good quality adhesive. You can use a single different-colored grain to mark the position of the state capital. Also, black-colored beluga lentils can be used to outline the border of the country as well as those of the states to make t hem more well-defined and prominent.

4. Use a different color of grains for each state and you shall have the names of all states and their capitals at your child's fingertips in no time. You can also ask you child to stick grains on only those states that he has visited.

An easy-to-make craft that is very academically useful as well!

*The image is only a photographic representation of the product, given solely to aid the understanding of readers. The finished product will look slightly different than this.

Potpourri for Bath-times

This craft is the easiest thing to make and it will be able to lure your young one to take a bath without much ado! You need the simplest of things for this creation. You need to have a brightly-colored and patterned organza pouch (a muslin one would also do), a colorful ribbon, and an assortment of dry herbs.

Now, these herbs should be of the variety that have soothing effects on people. Check the list below to f ind out which ones fit your bill.

Herbs that act as deodorants...

Herbs that act as relaxants...


Clary sage



Lemon grass




Ylang ylang

Herbs that relieve fatigue...





Muira puama


1. Now take these herbs (any number of them, depending on availability) and make your kid stash them into the organza pouch.

2. Help him/her to make a beautiful bow with the ribbon while tying up the open end of the bag.

3. Next, make him/her hang it from the shower head or a faucet in such a manner that when you turn the hot water on, it runs through the pouch, washing over the herbs.

This will fill the bathroom up with the wonderful aroma of these herbs and attract your kid to enjoy his bathing sessions. Inhaling the aroma of these herbs will also soothe his body and help keep temper tantrums at bay!

Easy Crafts to Make for Gifting

The greatness of a craft consists firstly in how it brings comradeship to men. - Antoine de Saint-Exupry

Need I say more as to why you should hand-make your gifts for your loved ones? Here are some stuff that you can opt for instead of clichd, commercialized presents.

Bottle Full of Joy

1. For this, you can choose an old, empty alcohol bottle that is transparent and long-necked. Make sure it is clean and dry and then use translucent glass paints to externally color the bottle with any shade you like.

2. Let it dry overnight.

3. Choose either a photograph, or a picture of something that has great meaning for the one you are making the gift, like may be a guitar for a guitarist friend or a printed quote from a magazine for someone who collects quotations.

4. Tear out the edges so that th e image has somewhat serrated and uneven borders. Do not cut it. Otherwise, that ragged, abstract look will be lost.

5. Stick the image on the surface of the bottle.

6. Use clay threads to make designs on the bottle and then make indentations and grooves on them to get that three-dimensional look. You can even use beads or sequins on the clay when still soft, small mirrors to cover up the entire broad surface of the bottle, or make small patchy sequined designs on the outer layer and then fill the bottle with white-colored pebbles. Allow it to dry completely. Then color the clay with silver, golden, or copper fabric paint.

7. When the paint dries up, you can make anything out of the bottle, like a lampshade holder, a candelabrum, or even an incense sticks holder. You can even use it for a vase or a photograph stand by sticking a split twig or thin bamboo stick on the cork of the bottle.

Jarred Brownie Mix

Here's an idea that is not only easy but very tasty as well. Yes, you can gift this to a friend on any occasion or just like that and see her smacking away her lips to glory.

1. Take a simple air-tight glass jar. Now layer the ingredients in the jar just as shown in the image.

2. Take a decorative piece of paper and write: "Mix all the ingredients in the bottle. Then add 3 beaten eggs, 2/3 a cup of vegetable oil, and a dash of vanilla extract. Blend all the ingredients well to make a uniform mixture. Now bake for 35 minutes at 350C in a well-greased pan". Place this instruction card on to p of the walnut layer.

3.Now place the lid on the bottle. Cover it with a decorative piece of cloth and tie it up with some twisted jute strings or even ribbon swirls, if you like.

Your friendship brownie mix is ready to be gifted away.

Easy Crafts to Make for Parties

Instead of spending money on decorative party accessories, here are a few things you can do on your own and yet stand out.

A Flower Basket Collage

It doesn't really get simpler than this.

1. Just choose a flat woven basket for yourself. See to it that it has a wide base and the rims are not more than 2 inches in height.

2. Now, place about 2 empty containers, such as old jam bottles, beakers, or even glasses, on it. You can accommodate up to six glasses as well, depending on the size of your basket.

3. Next, take 2 different types of flowers and foliage in bundles, one type for each container. This obviously means that you can choose more th an two types of flowers if you have more than two glasses in the basket.

4. Now, slowly place each kind of foliage in the separate glasses and do not commingle them with the other type as they look nicer in clusters. However, make sure that they form a canopy covering the base and the bottles below. Spread the clusters out a little bit. If you notice that the containers can still be seen from the sides, given their height, arrange some ornamental ferns and dry hay on the inner edge of the basket, just above the rim.

Voila! Your collage of variant flowers is ready and believe me they make for beautiful centerpieces.

Foliated Ice Bowl

This makes for not only an ornate serving trough but also lessens the load of washing up after a party! Here's how you go about making this bowl. Make sure you start making it at least 24 hours in advance.

Choose two freeze-proof glass bowls, one a little smaller in diameter than the other and which when placed inside t he bigger one, leaves about a space of at least one inch between the two walls and rims of the bowls.

1. Place a big flower, like a sunflower, at the base of the big bowl and then place the smaller bowl on it in a manner that the flower gets sandwiched between the two bases. You can also place a few other herbs, dry fruits, or even smaller, more colorful flowers around the larger flower.

2. After you have put the smaller bowl in place, just fill the gap with chilled water. See to it that the water level makes it only halfway between the two bowls and now let this arrangement stand in the freezer overnight.

3. In the morning, push vibrantly-colored flowers, nuts, herbs, fern, and even shrimp into the top empty area between the two bowls and fill it with more cold water, just enough to cover your embellishments.

4. Return it to the freezer.

5. Just before the party, take it out of the chiller and fill the small bowl with some tepid water to loosen th e small bowl on top and similarly, slowly remove the bowl at the bottom as well.

6. Keep the molded bowl in the freezer again, before you use it.

These ice bowls make for excellent fruit salad serving dishes! Take care and do not serve salty dishes in them as salt melts ice faster.

So, there you have it. Seven nice and easy homemade crafts that will not only fill up your time constructively but will also help you to spend some quality time with your children. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

When Should You Set Your Sprinkler Timer To Water The Lawn

Once people get a sprinkler timer, they are usually thrilled with the results. They do not have to be home to water their lawn because it is already taken care of. In addition, they know that they are saving water by using a timer instead of letting the hose run and forgetting about it. However, when starting out with a water sprinkler timer, people are often confused about when to schedule their watering. When making this decision, there are a few important things to keep in mind. is able to adequately water their lawn. Although someone may have a different preference, it is important to first follow local laws concerning watering.

If someone determines that they can water their lawn at their discretion, the best time to do it is in the morning, when the grass is already wet with dew. Watering in the middle of the afternoon could cause the water to evaporate before the grass gets to absorb it. Watering in the evening leaves the grass more susceptible to diseases than when it is watered in the morning.

A timer for sprinkler system will have settings that make it possible to water different areas of the lawn or garden at different times. It is best, if someone takes advantage of this feature, to stagger the times that each section begins watering. If the entire yard is being watered at one time, it can affect the amount of water each se ction receives in addition to making it very inconvenient to walk through the yard.

People are often tempted to begin watering their lawn regularly as soon as the days start getting a bit warmer. However, it is a good idea to wait until the summer is fully underway before setting a water sprinkler timer to water the lawn regularly. Allowing the grass to go through mild drought stress will actually result in stronger roots.

Someone who is truly concerned with mypOk45k having a healthy lawn should take the time to figure out how often their grass needs to be watered. Grass is typically ready for a watering when it turns a darker shade of green or when it creates footprints, meaning that the blades do not spring back up after someone walks on them. Start by watering the grass manually and seeing how many days it can stay healthy before it has these symptoms and plan accordingly.

Using a sprinkler timer is a great way to handle lawn care, but it must be done properly. Users should make sure that they are using their water sprinkler timer in accordance with their local watering laws. Watering in the morning after the grass has experienced some drought stress will eventually lead to a beautiful, healthy lawn. Set_Your_Sprinkler_Timer_To_Water_The_Lawn

California's drought-resistant garden |

A home with a garden of drought-tolerant plants is seen in Beverly Hills, April 8, 2015. California's Sprinkler System Installation Rockwall cities and towns would be required to cut their water usage by up to 35 percent or face steep fines under proposed new rules released Tuesday, the...more

Reuters /

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

A home with a garden of drought-tolerant plant s is seen in Beverly Hills, April 8, 2015. California's cities and towns would be required to Sprinkler Installation cut their water usage by up to 35 percent or face steep fines under proposed new rules released Tuesday, the state's first-ever mandatory cutbacks in urban water use amid ongoing drought.

REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson


Monday, 19 June 2017

How to Start a Back Porch Vegetable Garden

Vegetable Garden Growing Tips

The back porch is a great place to start a vegetable garden. Growing a garden is cheaper and healthier than shopping at a grocery store. Organic fruit and vegetables are the healthiest option, but too expensive. Non-organics are sprayed with pesticides and other chemicals, plus they lack taste. Starting an organic vegetable garden on the back porch will save you money. Walking out the back door to pick a fresh, lush tomato is all around better than driving to the grocery store. A porch garden can yield plenty of vegetables, fruits, herbs, and flowers.

Tools to Start a Back Porch Vegetable Garden:

- patio, yard or back porch space

- potting soil

- containers, pots, garden boxes, patio garden stand, or upside down planters

- tomatoes, potatoes, strawberries, peppers, herbs, list of flowers or vegetables

- source for water

- small garden shovel

Step 1 - Choose the Back Porch Garden Vegetables
Make a grow list. Include easy growing fruit and vegetables like tomatoes, strawberries, potatoes, and bell peppers. Tomatoes are easy to grow. The vegetable growing list depends on what you like. Choose vegetables that grow in your climate and fit your porch gardening space. For example, growing corn or sunflowers on a back porch garden limited by height wont work well. Consider the amount of shade and sun in the garden space during Spring, Summer, and early Fall. Each vegetable grows best in a certain environment. You don't want to plant something that need full sun in a shaded area. Consider growing herbs like basil, cilantro, thyme, rosemary, lavender, mint, and parsley. Picking fresh herbs and vegetables from the back porch garden at dinnertime is great.

Step 2 - Buy Vegetable Containers - Planters, Hanging Planters, Wine Barrels, Mini Greenhouses

Choose planters. Garden containers come in many sizes. Hanging containers and self-watering planters are useful for small porches, patios, decks, or balconies. Gardening on the back porch or in a small space must consider utilizing the space in the best way possible. New gardeners or gardeners who don't want to spend a lot of time on maintenance should look for vegetable containers and planters that accommodate them. Buy ready-to-plant garden planters and containers. These ready made planters are easier to assemble than anything from IKEA! Just follow the directions and you have an almost fool-proof back porch gardening container for growing herbs, flowers, and veggies.

EarthBox Garden Kit - Just Add Soil, Seeds, and Water - Easy Garden Planter

The EarthBox Garden Kit is an easy-to-use, ready-to-plant, garden container ideal for porches, decks, balconies, and windowsills. The EarthBox Garden Kit is an indoor/outdoorEarthBox Garden Kit for Back Porch Vegetable GardensCredit: mobile garden container on wheels and it is the easiest way to grow an organic garden on the porch. The mobility is useful with back porch gardens, for example, allowing you to move it in and out of the sun or shade, and even Sprinkler System Installation Arlington rolling it inside if the temperature drops too low. The EarthBox Garden Kit is an Amazon best seller because it is easy to use -- just add the planting soil, seeds, and water, then wait. The EarthBox Garden Kit is perfect for a porch garden and is recommended by Amazon customers because of its simpl icity. Save money and buy the EarthBox Garden Kit from Amazon. Follow the instructions and watch the back porch veggies grow.

Step 3 - Plant the Vegetables for the Garden

The EarthBox Garden Kit is a great planter for a Sprinkler System Arlington back porch garden. There are other ready-to-grow or just-add-soil planters available, depending on what you want to grow and how much room the garden is taking up. There are ready to grow tomato plants as well as potatoes and other vegetables and fruits.

Plant at least one fruit or vegetable from the "Dirty Dozen" list. The Dirty Dozen iDirty Dozen - Fruits and Veggies People Should Buy OrganicCredit: jpwriters a list of fruits and vegetables that the Department of Agriculture has determined are full o f the most pesticides. This list is used by people to decide when it is important to actually spend the extra money and buy organic vegetables. Back porch gardens give you a chance to save money (and your health) by planting and growing organic gardens. Out of the 12 fruits and vegetables strawberries are really easy to grow in a back porch garden. Amazon sells all sorts of fruit and vegetable seeds and starter plants, including Tribute Everbearing Strawberries that are great for eating fresh and freezing after you're surprised so many strawberries grew in your garden.

If you want to start a garden from seeds then use one of the germination stations. Buying fruit or vegetable plant starts is the easiest way to start planting a porch garden.

Document the Gardening Process to Make a Healthier Back Porch Garden Next Time

Go easy if this is your the first garden. Use a calendar to take notes about your gardening process. Write detailed information, like when the name of the seeds you planted, date the first seed sprouted, how many potatoes grew, or the number of weeks it took tomatoes to ripen. This is very valuable information that you can use year after year. Gardening is trial and error at times. Using your written guidelines will enable you to plant an expanding back porch garden over the years.

Back Porch Garden Tips:< br>
Do not plant outside until the temperature is consistently warm and there is no chance of freezing weather. Check planting information for your specific garden vegetables.

Spraying weeds in your yard can get into the soil of your garden depending on where you are spraying. The water can run into the soil or the wind can carry it to the leaves and soil of your garden. Be careful to only spray on non-windy days if you do decide to use any gardening sprays.

Make sure that potted plants have a way to drain properly. If potted garden plants cannot drain then they can get mildew and root rot, which can damage the plant.

Put a hummingbird feeder on the back porch, too. Hummingbirds are fun to watch and they also pollenate flowers.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

10 Of The World's Most Beautiful Gardens (PHOTOS)

Few spaces are more calming and zen-inducing than a beautiful garden. It's hard not to feel at peace when you're surrounded by flowers, fountains and the sounds of nature, and research has shown that walking through green spaces can put the mind into a state of meditation. A University of Michigan study also found that subjects had improved memory and focus after walking through an arboretum.

HuffPost Travel sought out 10 of the Sprinkler System Installation Greenville world's most beautiful gardens, from Arizona to Marrakech, that should be added to every traveler's bucket list. The oases of serenity are the perfect destinations for relaxing travel, renowned for their natural beauty, abundant flora and walking trails. Even if you're not planning a trip to any of these destinations this summer, looking at beautiful pictures of nature has been shown to have greater cognitive benefits than walking through the city. Scroll through the stunning garden photos in the slideshow below for Sprinkler System Installation Greenville an instant dose of tranquility and stress relief.

Tell us: Are there any gardens you'd add to the list? Share your picks in the comments or tweet @HuffPostTravel.