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01 Dec
Posted by Tim, The Yard Guy
Why Hire a Landscape Professional?

By Chet Stentiford

As a landscaped designer and consultant, people frequently come up to me with numerous questions regarding their garden problems and what they can do to solve them.

Since I tend to be a social kind of guy, I usually take some time to try and answer their questions for them on the spot, but most of the time it is best that I visit their home and see for myself what the underlying issues really are.

I often hear about the hard work they put into gardening, and the woes that seem to mount up every year, and how discouraged they become watching their lawn develop browning out areas, or how their rhododendrons suffer so much die back during the winter, or when should they cut back their deciduous shrubs because they are growing at a rapid rate and are becoming unsightly.

These are questions that have numerous causes as to why they develop in the first place, and oftentimes are difficult to answer in a simple few minutes of time spent in a grocery store parking lot.

Normally I suggest an on site consult so that I can see for myself the circumstances they are up against, and can come to some conclusion as to what the problem is, why it happened in the first place, and how they can remedy the situation themselves.

This is where my story begins.

Countless times, I find that people are intrigued with free information and think that gardening and planting should be simple to accomplish. but it's not that simple. It involves lots of hard work and lots of research in planning and executing the final results.

I try to convince people that a quick consult will save them time, effort, and money in the long run, however when it comes to talking money, all of a sudden the garden isn't such a project after all.

I shake my head in amazement at how they can be so concerned about their gardens and property, but when there is a price tag attached to information, they become squeamish and shy away from making any sort of commitment to the solution of their troubles.

So, they go on their way and who knows what ever happens.

At that point, I have given them about a half hour of free time and come away without any compensation for my experience and knowledge as a horticulturist.

What are people thinking when they approach an expert and begin loading them down with questions, then walk away free as a bird not offering any compensation for the time that I have spent with them? Do people not understand that as an expert in my field that this is my life's work and what I depend on for my income?

Folks, landscaping is a science, an art form, and a tangible end product that results from experience and sensitivity to the special environment of your home in particular.

Every property owner has different issues that can propose future problems if not approached properly. Every land form and property changes from one yard to the one next door. It is not a wise decision to make, that any plant will work, or I can grow what I want and I expect it to grow. Not so...

You need to make proper decisions as to what will grow in your yard. Are there any land formations that could possibly cause drainage problems and cause my birch tree to die unless I rectify the problem?

These are questions that can be answered and should be answered by an expert, one who knows for certain if and what your yard will accommodate for plantings and design.

I speak with people all the time about consulting a professional, be it myself or someone else in the field, which can solve issues before they happen.

When making a consideration to spend a large amount of money, anywhere from a couple thousand dollars to a much larger amount of money on their yard, does a couple hundred dollars for a design and consultation seem so outrageous to make sure the job is planned and planted properly to begin with?

Think of it as an insurance policy that unlike most policies, end at the end of the year and you have spent hundreds of dollars for nothing but assurance that your home or life will be protected.

This is an insurance policy that comes with expert advice and an on going relationship with an expert that can and will sacrifice time to answer your questions, simply because you made a wise decision to hire him in the first place.

With this said, you now have a landscape you can be proud of and will grow proportionately over the years. In 3-5 years you won't be ripping your hair out because your lawn guy planted a 40 foot arborvitae in from of your picture window.

I would urge you, as a professional and one who cares about your home landscape, to consider consulting a professional consultant prior to hiring or deciding on someone to plant your landscape for you.

Chet Stentiford, horticulturist and consultant with over 30 years experience in the horticultural field.

As a member of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society and The Garden Club federation of Massachusetts, I have exhibited award winning gardens at the New England Spring Flower Shows in Boston and have been awarded numerous awards of merit including the Silver & Bronze medals of Merit for Garden Design Excellence.

Currently I offer design and consulting services on the Boston North Shore and Metro Boston areas and operate an on line Garden Store filled with countless product lines that will delight the most discerning and novice gardener.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Chet_Stentiford/557817

12 Feb
Posted by Tim, The Yard Guy
Water Garden Pond, Traditional Koi Pond, or Hybrid Koi Pond - Which Is Best for You?

By Davin Paul

Deciding to build a pond is an exciting process, but before you begin digging there are many things you should decide on before construction begins and ordering your supplies. The first main decision is what type of water feature you want. We will be discussing informal ponds which have irregular shapes and mimic a natural pond or waterfall that would be found in nature. Three different ways you can build an informal pond are a water garden pond, traditional Koi pond, or a hybrid Koi pond.

Water Garden Pond

Water garden ponds are often mistaken as Koi ponds simply because many people add Koi to their water garden along with Goldfish and other fish species. The difference is that these type of water features are designed mainly for looks and creating an environment where homeowners can sit back and listen to the beautiful melodies of a waterfall and watch the fish swimming around and spend time with family and friends. And a traditional Koi pond is built around providing and ideal environment for Koi fish.

Water garden ponds are the most popular of the three because of the ease of installation and availability of kits on the market. Water Garden ponds generally consist of a a biological waterfall filter, a mechanical filter which is generally a skimmer, EPDM flexible liner, a pump and plumbing, fish, and aquatic plants.

Most water gardens are only 2 feet deep and feature built in shelves to make them safe and natural looking. The entire bottom and shelves are covered with boulders and decorative gravel to hide the liner and filters.

This system forms a natural ecosystem with fish, plants, and filters that work to balance itself and do a majority of the maintenance by using good old mother nature.

Traditional Koi Pond

Be careful the Koi hobby can be very fun and addictive! Once people discover the joys of owning Koi fish with a water garden many go Koi crazy (or koi-kichi). Traditional Koi ponds aim to create a home where the Koi can grow and thrive and are the main focus of the feature instead of the pond itself.

There is a big difference between the construction techniques used in a water garden pond and a traditional Koi pond. In a Koi pond the filtration system is drastically increased over a water garden to handle the additional bio load from the Koi. These filtration systems usually include pressure filters, skimmers, bottom drains, settlement tanks, external pumps, UV lights, UV Clarifiers, Aerator, Ozone generators, Bead filters, multiple valves, and more. So as you can see the design and installation of these systems can be difficult for a beginner.

Their shape is generally different as well, usually Koi ponds are a geometric shape like an oval or circle. Traditional Koi ponds do not have plants or gravel in them like a water garden would and have steep walls without shelves. Not using shelves and having a deeper depth (3-5 feet) helps protect the Koi from predators by not allowing them to stand along side the pond and snatch them out of the water.

The added filtration and no gravel and plants give the Koi better water quality and provide a environment that is less likely to injure them. Without plants you can also view the Koi better.

Hybrid Koi Pond

Hybrid Koi ponds are the combination of a water garden pond and traditional koi pond. Think of it as the best of both worlds. You can provide the fish with a better environment than with a water garden pond alone and also have plants to give a natural look.

The design of Hybrid type ponds vary from one project to the next and all types of filtration can be used depending on the water features needs. Back flushable biological filters have become popular with this type of installation for ease of biofilter maintenance. Hybrid Koi ponds are in the middle of the road with depth usually being 3-4 feet deep.

What to Choose?

Whichever type of pond you choose you cant go wrong. Each one properly designed will be like bringing a piece of paradise to your home.

The author Davin Eberhardt is a pond professional that helps people create beautiful, tranquil, relaxing spaces using water features. Visit http://www.diywatergardening.com for more tips on ponds and waterfalls.

Davin's website http://www.diywatergardening.com also stocks specially made products for water gardens such as pond kits, beneficial bacteria, and premium fish food at low costs to help you save money and spend more time enjoying your pond.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Davin_Paul/502346