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26 Sep
Posted by Tim, The Yard Guy
Sustainable Landscape Design

By Tim Lee

Sustainable landscape design is all about the balance of both natural and mad-made elements that would allow a homeowner to feel at ease, knowing that the plants would survive and can be maintained. In a way it's like observing ants in an ant farm, but it involves a little more interaction with people who wish to keep a healthy garden or patio the way it should be. This practice is common even in real estate development, making sure the ecology of the land would not be harmed in the most damaging way possible, and it can also work with gardens as well.

To understand the design is to know how much plants or area for a patio is needed in order to create a well-balanced yard or house. It may be something like decorating, but there is science involved. Most gardeners would know when a number of plants in a garden would be too much that sunlight would no longer reach the ground, thus losing the much needed nutrients that can only come from the sun itself. The same thing with other smaller plants that would be covered by the taller ones.

Another aspect when it comes to the design is the usage as well as construction, where contractors who specialized in the field would use and identify the kinds of hazardous wastes that would upset the natural balance on most gardens. Of course it doesn't mean the waste would be harmful to humans, but will not ruin the garden ecology in a tremendous way.

There are other projects that this field also produces. One such example is the usage of alternative fuels and energy such as solar panels. This may sound extreme for most people, but for conservationist as well as those who are aware of the resources that is wasted on a daily basis about the need to protect natural resources.

Sustainable landscape design is a science that helps protect both homeowner and the environment to be in harmony with each other, and in the recent years have been sought after by hundreds of homeowners with regards to protecting their home as well as their lawns and gardens in the future. It may be the first step, but eventually would be recognized and accepted by a majority of Americans who wished to have a more ecological-friendly home.

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Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Tim_Lee/11115

26 Sep
Posted by Tim, The Yard Guy
Exploring Lawn Alternatives

By Hildy Kincade

Have you ever wondered if there are viable alternatives to lawn grass? The fact is attractive landscaping greatly enhances the real estate value of your property. However, many lawns die every year because of low rainfall, leaving some to seek options offering low maintenance, namely, lawn alternatives. Homeowners are becoming tired of seeing their lawns go brown and wilt every summer, and tired of paying a gardener to try and prolong their lawn life. All this effort costs time, money and effort as does the need to continuously irrigate and aerate lawn grass.

Lawns can be beautiful, but the cost may be too high. Large lawns, and especially the many golf courses in our communities, require crazy amounts of herbicides and chemical fertilizers to keep their condition and pristine appearance. Fuel for power mowers, harmful emissions, potentially harmful fertilizers and pesticides, water consumption and your valuable time are all variables of the cost of lawn maintenance. Finding and hiring a lawn care service may save you some time and energy, but the environmental costs still remain. Consider reducing your lawn overall size. Doing so can benefit the environment while also saving you time, energy and expense. We owe it to ourselves and future generations to experiment with lawn alternatives or at the very least, try and cut down on the total lawn area of our yard.

There are many steps you can take to reduce lawn size and cut down on time and resources for its maintenance. For example, try converting part of your lawn to a display of ornamental grasses. If you have a small nuisance area on your property that you rather not have to mow lawn grass anymore, consider replacing it with a varied combination of ornamental grasses and mulch. Adding some raised beds to your yard will not only look good by highlighting your plantings, they will provide an edge barrier from the lawn, and deter ground pests. Plant your shrubs closely to minimize weeds, and wider beds allow you to reduce lawn size. Much maintenance can be reduced by placing your beds so that the lawn areas are in continuous, easy-to-mow swaths. A border such as flagstone or brick can be used to define the edge. If you set this border below the level of the lawn, mowing will be easy with no other trimming is required. Any trees in your lawn can be given a wide skirt surrounding the base, using a combination of mulch, some ground cover or native plants.

Contrary to the neighbors, you may not need a lawn at all. For instance, if you enjoy the open feel of a lawn but not the maintenance or water requirements. Also, areas where it is difficult to establish a traditional lawn can perform well with some alternatives. For instance, if your yard suffers due to too much shade, moss may offer a solution. Once they get over the label lawn weed many people find moss attractive. Shade gardens with moss are increasing in popularity as a lawn alternative.

For more gardening tips, including Lawn Alternatives and more, visit the author's green gardening blog [http://www.comeawake.com]

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Hildy_Kincade/541946

26 Sep
Posted by Tim, The Yard Guy
Food Gardening

By Glenn Bronner

It is estimated that over 33 million households have a vegetable garden in their yard 2 million more grow at a friend, neighbors, or relatives. There are also 1 million households that grow in a community garden plot. That is a lot of vegetables being grown. The number one reason given by most vegetable gardeners is they grow for taste, followed by saving money, better quality food, and finally safety of the food. There seems to be a direct correlation between economic health of the nation and the number of households growing vegetables at home. When the economy is bad it is estimated that there are 20% more households growing vegetable gardens. This is not surprising as the average backyard garden costs about $80.00 to put in and returns a little over $500.00 in produce better than 5 times the cost.

Food gardening is a huge business and is one of the biggest outdoor activities of most Americans. Gardening in general is consider the number one leisure time activity. So it is no wonder that so many people are enjoying the fruits of their gardening activity. On average the typical home vegetable gardener has been growing their own vegetables for 12 years. It is an activity that seems to continue long term and for good reason, especially if you have ever tasted a ripe red tomato just off the vine on a summer afternoon.

If you have been thinking about starting a vegetable garden of your own it is really not too difficult and will pay you back many times over for the amount of effort you will need to put into it. On average the typical home gardener spends about 5 hours a week tending the family vegetable plot. Considering the number of people that spend at least this amount of time everyday watching television, you can see this is not a big drain on your leisure time.

The average size vegetable garden is 20 feet by 10 feet and can produce enough fresh vegetables to supply a household with 6 months of fresh vegetables. If you can or preserve some of your produce you can even stretch the amount of produce to 8 or 9 months. The best part is that you know where this food is coming from and that it is safe from chemicals and pesticides. As an added benefit you are helping to reduce the amount of pollution and greenhouse gas produced by transporting the food you would buy at the local store that would have been transported fro more than 500 miles away.

These are just some of the facts about growing your own but it is interesting to see how many Americans are actually involved in producing their own fresh food for themselves and their families.

Glenn Bronner is a professional grounds keeper with over 38 years of experience in gardening and the horticulture industry. Come join him as he tends the Urban Garden and The Woodland Garden and shares gardening tips and knowledge at his site. Glenns Garden http://glenns-garden.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Glenn_Bronner/608599