Landscaping Tips -1 : 6 Basic Steps To Building A Garden Pond Building a garden pond is not just a matter of digging a hole, lining it with plastic and filling it with water. There are other considerations such as whether it should contain fish or just plants; how big or small it should be; its shape, and so on. Be prepared to dig a decent hole and spend many hours complaining about your aching back … but you’ll be very pleased with the results and you can happily stand around, beer in hand, praising your efforts after the fact. For those who have done it, building a garden pond can be a very satisfying project indeed.
Step 1 - Decide on where to build your pond. Naturally, level ground would be best or else you’ll spend far more time and effort doing the levelling yourself. Building a garden pond under a tree is unwise as the roots will continue to grow and could encroach upon the pond’s territory in the future. The shade of the tree will also mean a lack of sunlight, which is essential to your pond’s survival. Since you will need electricity for the pump, proximity to an outlet is important.
Step 2 – Prefabricated or do-it-yourself liner? Prefabs are the more expensive option but you pay for ease of installation, durability and low maintenance. Liners are available in different price ranges and generally speaking, the more you pay, the longer your liner will last.
Step 3 – Installation For a prefab pond, tip it upside down on the area you’ve reserved, mark it out with 6 to 8 inches extra around the outside and start digging. If using liners, measure your outline keeping in mind the size of the liner you will be using. Building a garden pond that will last for years means that all debris should be removed from the cavity to avoid punctures to the bottom of the pond. Once the hole is the required depth and size, add the prefab or lay the lining. Fill to about one quarter capacity with water so that the weight will keep the pond in place as you refill the gaps with soil.
Step 4 – Decoration You can now add plants, rocks, bark and stone around the ‘banks’ of the pond for a more natural appearance. If you intend to add fish, plants that overhang into the water will be useful as shade and hiding spots.
Step 5 – Add aquatic plants If you’re building a garden pond that doesn’t have a pump, you should aim for plenty of plant life to keep algae growth under control.
Step 6 – Install a pump and filter There are dozens of models on the market and your retailer will be able to help you decide which size is best for your pond. Read the instructions and follow carefully, but it’s generally a simple task to place the pump in the water and connect the hose to it. The filter needs to be positioned in front of the pump to encourage water through the filter first. Building a garden pond and outfitting it should take little more than a weekend, which is one of the things that makes it so rewarding.
Landscaping Tips -2 : Concrete Pond Construction Good concrete pond construction means not taking shortcuts. Improper methods can lead to more money spent on maintenance, repairs, or replacement than on the cost of the initial construction. Since good concrete pond construction equates to having one that lasts a lifetime or longer, follow these rules of thumb to get it right – the first time!
Keep in mind that for suitable concrete pond construction, you need to pour the concrete to a thickness of four to six inches. After deciding on the dimensions and outlining the area, all soil (and rocks!) should then be dug out. Forms then need to be built and placed where concrete is to be poured, along with the proper placement of cut-to-fit reinforcement bars (rebar).
For digging out the area for concrete pond construction, you will need shovels, picks, a crowbar, and, of course, a wheelbarrow. Some other necessary items include a carpenter’s level, string, stakes, sheets of plastic, and a long two-by-four.
Pouring the cement in concrete pond construction should be done in one day, unless the pond is very large, and then it must be poured in sections. Pour cement in the bottom of the pool first, then the sides. If shelves have been dug out, pour cement there, next. Finally, pour cement for the top of the pond and for any coping that may be involved.
After you have completed these first steps of your concrete pond construction project, you need to let the cement cure for several days under plastic. Treating with muriatic acid at this stage helps prevent high pH levels in water later, which benefits fish and plants. After the acid treatment, apply several coats of paint made for pools or masonry sealant, allowing each coat to dry thoroughly.
Concrete pond construction can be a true learning experience. It’s best to start with a smaller pond, then if you meet with success, you can then move on to a larger project. But once you get the hang of concrete pond construction, there’s no limit to where you can go from there. So learn, build, and then build some more!
Landscaping Tips -3 : What Mulch to Use for Trees
One question that comes up this time of year a lot is what is the proper mulch to use for trees. Itâ€™s easy to grasp the basic premise of mulch, but when people go to their local nursery they see many different kinds. How do you know which one to use? The short answer: wood chips.
The very best mulch to use for trees is something that is going to decompose gradually. Mulch made from wood chips fits the bill perfectly, since it rots slowly, and as an added bonus, this mulch is quite low in nutrients so will not encourage weed growth. Composted wood chips are the preferred material; these can be used as durable, low-maintenance mulch, which weathers to a silver-gray color.
The bad news is that most wood chip mulch is sold as fresh material, not in a composted or aged state. These chips also decompose slowly, but as they do decompose, microorganisms develop in the mulch and use nutrients from the soil that might otherwise be available for plant growth. Composted material will not support these microorganisms, which is why it is the preferred material. One solution to this dilemma is to buy un-composted wood chips ahead of time and compost them yourself. Put them in a backyard composter along with some leaves, twigs and bark. Make sure to keep it well aerated and turned to prevent bad smelling mulch.
Organic mulches are advantageous also for their soil-enhancing characteristics, as opposed to inorganic mulch materials like crushed rock, gravel, tarps, and landscape fabrics. As organic mulches decompose over time, they slowly discharge tiny quantities of nutrients and to the soil. Therefore your layer of mulch should be renewed as needed to maintain a 2- to 4-inch depth.
For individual trees, your mulched area should cover from 3 to 6 feet out from the treeâ€™s base. It is best to clear the mulch away 1 to 2 inches from the base of plants to help prevent damage to the tree trunk from insects, excess moisture, and diseases. In fact, this is the classic mistake that many people make with mulching trees.
You shouldnâ€™t have a pile of wood chips around your tree that resembles the thing Richard Dreyfuss made in his kitchen in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Rather, it should look more like a flattened donut. This also holds true for mulching shrubs, by the way.
Follow these simple tips and your tree should do well and require less watering and fertilizer than an unmulched tree.
Landscaping Tips -4 - The Water Garden
There are a lot of new trends surfacing in gardening, and water gardening is one of the new interests. Water gardening can include waterfalls, ponds, streams and fountains, all of which can be combined with lighting, plants, and fish. Water gardening need not have a pond or natural water source moreover, it could be a plastic tub, plastic lined shallow in the back yard or, almost anything that will hold water.
An important consideration in planning a water garden is the choosing a location. Plants and fish both need plenty of sunlight, places in direct light away from trees and bushes are the top places. This will also help prevent leaves and debris from collecting in the water.
When planning for a water garden the next step is to choose the size you want. This depends of course on the resources you want to dedicate to it, how much money and time you are willing to spend. A water garden can be expensive if you go for a big garden filled with plants, rocks, fish, and lights. Also think about your propertyâ€™s size, which will also affect amount of time youâ€™ll spend maintaining your water garden.
Aquatic pond plants can be free floating, submerged, or marginal. What type you select is a matter of aesthetics and preference. Some plants are known for their scents, some for supplying oxygen keep the pool healthy, and some are just picturesque. Remember that the plants should only cover about half of the water, especially if you have fish. Fish are not only nice to look at; theyâ€™re beneficial in that they help keep debris at a minimum and help in controlling larva and other insects.
One of the big challenges in water gardening is maintaining water free of algae. Algae problems are usually the result of nutrients in the water from feeding fish too often or over fertilizing plants. By cutting back on feeding and fertilizing, adding more plants, putting in a pond filtering system, or replacing the water with fresh water, algae is easily controlled. If a pond is constructed correctly and maintained properly algae problems can be kept at a minimum.
All garden pools, no matter the size, require some maintenance during the year. With proper planning you can create a healthy equilibrium between living and decorative features of a water garden that can almost care for itself with simple maintenance inputs from you.
Thanks For Reading â€Ś Good Luck! ď Š
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