The Practical Use of Stones and Boulders Japanese garden design consists of many different elements and plant life. No matter what design or elements you chose for your Japanese garden you will always use one of three basic elements. These elements are Water features, rocks, and plants. It is best to thoroughly consider and discuss one of the Japanese garden elements at a time. In this article we will look at the different uses and qualities of the rocks features.
The first use for a rock feature camouflage. A Japanese garden should have a relaxing or Zen quality to it. This feeling is created by the calming a beautiful features of the garden. If unsightly things such as the water hose and spout, a busy highway or neighbors ugly yard can be seen the Zen effect can be lost. A large boulder can hide these things from view while in the garden. This makes it feel quiet and Zen like.
Some gardens have very bad soil in spots. Bad soil can kill any plant life cause your garden to look sparse and uninviting. Placing different sized, colored, and shaped stones in these areas you can create a balanced and beautiful Japanese garden.
Rocks can also bring out other features in the garden such as a water fountain or small pond. Natural ponds have rocks in and around them, so by adding rocks to a pond we can bring its natural beauty to light. We can even create a sitting area from which visitors can breathe gentle sighs of relief as their stress is relaxed away.
Rocks can also lead the way for you and your guests. Take your time and design your rock pathway in any pattern you like. Your visitors will slow down while walking your creations and consider what different shapes and patterns may mean. This can create another level of enjoyment as well steer them onward through your garden.
If you have areas of your garden that are not finished or where you just don’t want traffic, rocks can provide a barrier to keep guests out. Create large but interesting rock formations that keep people guessing. In creating these dynamic displays guests will avoid off limits areas with out even noticing they were kept out. This is excellent for the very observant and hard to please visitor who may other wise be upset by the idea of being kept out.
Design your own unique back drop. Your visitors will enjoy their journey through your garden and want many pictures. Help capture that perfect shot by creating depth and interest behind your plants. Be sure to give your flowers enough space to bloom and grow without being hindered by the rocks.
Make hills and slopes safer and easier to walk up and down. Use some rocks to make a small staircase or to outline the flower beds. You may even want to use them as retaining walls to keep the soil and roots where they belong.
Give an existing stream new life. Line rocks decisively along the bottom of the stream. Create ebbs and flows and visibly define its borders. When you are done you will find your stream stands out as though it was larger and the erosion will be kept to a minimum.
If you are the type of person that is looking for a garden home office that represents log cabins that you would find in the mountains, then you need to consider a few things. The most important thing to consider is the amount of space and location you have in your garden for your cabin home office.
Space is extremely important and you might have to do some landscaping in order to get the amount of space that you will need. You are also going to need to figure out the correct place to build your cabin home office to make sure it’s easily accessible.
Cost is going to be another factor that determines what your cabin home office is going to be. There are a lot of options available to people on a budget and determining how much money you have available to build this cabin office of yours.
The more money you have available the more accessories you will be able to afford. Things like extra windows to bring light in, and even a bathroom can be added to your office to make it more comfortable for you and your clients when they come over.
You will need to make sure that you can get electricity to your office as well. This is going to require the hiring of a professional electrician to make sure that everything is done right and that you don’t cause a fire or electrocute yourself. If you are planning on having water for your office, you will need a plumber to come in and make sure the water line and the sewer line are properly connected as well. You can create the most professional office that you can afford this way if you have the funds to do it.
People that prefer to have their home office out in their garden because of the privacy they can get. This means they are able to get more work done in less time because they don’t have all the distractions that they would normally have if their office were in a room of their home. This may seem odd to some people, but having a cabin office in your garden could help you greatly with your home based business affairs.
Although fruit bushes take a little time to become established and need attention and netting, the taste of home-grown gooseberries, redcurrants and white currants (all of which grow on a single stem) or blackcurrants (growing on a group of stems) is so delicious you may well decide to grow them. Green and red gooseberries, for example, are totally different from the fruits usually available in shops as you can (unlike commercial gooseberries) wait to harvest them when they are perfectly ripe.
All bush fruit does best on well-drained, but not dry, soil in moderate, damp climates with enough sun to ripen the fruit. Avoid frosty and windy sites. Typically, bushes should be set around 1.2-1.5 m/4-5 ft apart, perhaps a little more for blackcurrants. Mulch around the base in spring and be careful when weeding since many are shallow rooted. Pull up suckers carefully as they form.
Various formats are available but standards or semi-standards are probably the easiest because the branches are clear of the ground, making weeding and harvesting simpler. Late autumn or spring is the best time to plant, preparing the soil well and putting in everything but blackcurrants (which can go slightly deeper) level with the old soil mark.
Home-grown gooseberries are worth the effort. They need potash in winter or spring. Prune in the winter to make an open centre to the plant, to make picking easier and to reduce the chance of mildew. Cooking gooseberries can be picked in late spring or early summer, but leave them longer on the bush to ripen for eating. Mildew can be a problem so keep the bush well ventilated and cut away any branches the moment they begin to look powdery, or plant the resistant strain Tnvicta’. Other diseases include rust, grey mould and honey fungus.
Red- and white currants
Red- and white currants are botanically similar and easy to grow. They fruit on old wood and should be pruned in winter, but they are unfussy and will produce fruit whatever you do to them. Currants should always be picked as bunches rather than individual fruits, starting in early summer although they will not fully ripen until late summer or early autumn. Aphids and leaf blister can affect the plants but are not usually serious.
Blackcurrants are different from the other bushes. They are multi-stemmed, more sprawling, and take up more space in the garden unless you choose a compact variety. They need to be planted so the old soil mark on the stems is 5 cm/2 in below the soil level, as this will encourage growth. You should then cut the stems back to one bud above the ground. This will mean you do not get a crop the first year but it will provide a better framework for the bush.
Prune in autumn or winter, keeping the center open and, since blackcurrants fruit on the previous year’s growth, cut away any old or badly growing branches at the same time. Take out one-third of all fruiting stems each year, leaving no branches more than four years old on the plant. Unless you are going to eat blackcurrants immediately, they must be dry when you pick them. They will be ready to pick in summer and, with tougher skins, will keep better than red- and white currants. Mold, aphids and occasionally honey fungus can cause problems.
Most people that are thinking on purchasing a workbench will place it in their garage, because that is generally the best place to perform any woodwork tasks. However there are also some people that choose to add their workbenches to the basement.
Generally they place the benches where ever they find suitable, in places that are easy to clean with lots of space available. The main reason that most people place their workbenches in the garage is because it is a space that requires little to no cleaning afterwards. People can leave the space a bit of a mess without worrying about others observing it.
However, this does not give a person an excuse to keep their work area cluttered or dirty, because it could become a hazard. A garage workbench has been ideal to most because it allows people to work stress free and easily on their projects. If you haven’t already chosen a garage workbench to purchase then it might help if you could consider the things listed below.
The first thing that you need to do before you purchase your workbench for your garage is determine where you plan to put the workbench. You should have enough space for the workbench that you plan to purchase. Take some measurements so that you will know which bench would be the best portable workbench to fit in that particular area where you plan on placing it.
Hooks & Drawers
What is a workbench without hooks and drawers? You will need a good amount of space on your workbench with plenty of drawer space and hooks to place the tools properly in order to keep your work area well organized. This will also ensure that you don’t lose any of your tools or that none of the tools fall on the floor.
Sturdiness in a garage workbench matters. You will need your workbench to be sturdy so that you will be able to work at the bench without it moving around or being wobbly. A cheap workbench could mean that your projects will not be done properly. Portable workbench reviews are ideal to read, especially if you plan to purchase a workbench online because you won’t really know how sturdy a workbench is you have assembled it an used it for yourself. However, those that have purchased the workbench that you are interested in buying will let you know just how sturdy the bench is.
Height of the workbench
Choose a workbench according to its height as well. You need to choose a workbench depending upon how tall you are so that you can work comfortably at the bench. You would be surprised at how much the height of your workbench matters. You don’t want to have to bend down too low because you have a short bench, or struggle to reach up on a taller bench.
Build your workbench
Custom building your workbench might be a good idea if you cannot find a garage workbench that meets all of your personal requirements and standards.
A patio may form part of a larger garden or take up the whole area of a small one as a courtyard. Building a patio as part of an existing garden is a big task so it is important you get it right first time.
- Position the patio correctly. The most practical place may seem near the house, but consider other options – it may be nice to walk down a path and either sit in a totally secluded area or look back at the house. Either way, it needs to be easily accessible and well lit if you are considering sitting out in the evening. Take into account when you will most use the patio and whether you want it to be in the sun or the shade.
- Make the patio as large as possible. You need to be able to fit a table and chairs on it and still allow room to walk around. If you find it is too large, you can always fill it up with some big containers.
- If the patio joins directly to the lawn, make the level slightly lower than the grass as this will make mowing much easier. The level should be higher than surrounding flowerbeds to prevent earth overflowing.
- The edges of the patio can be softened or modified by planting.
- If you want to change the position of an existing patio, wait a few months – the previous owners may have had a logical reason for siting it where they did, such as getting the evening sun, etc.
Courtyards need to be carefully designed because on a small scale every detail is important. In large gardens it is often possible to disguise unattractive features, such as an old shed, while in a small garden any fault will tend to stand out. There are advantages to gardening on a small scale though, and as enclosed courtyards can be very sheltered you may find that you can grow a greater range of plants than on a more exposed site in the same area. Small gardens can be given a greater sense of space by using a few tricks:
- Plant the beds with a mixture of tall and short plants.
- For privacy, trellis with climbers does not take up as much room as a hedge and does not block out as much light as a tall fence or wall. A good combination is to have a fence or wall up to 1.6-1.8 m/5-6 ft and then trellis on top.
- An arbour will provide privacy and a certain amount of shade depending on how thickly you train the plants over it.
- Lighting can be used to create illusions of greater space.
- Formal water features usually work better in small spaces, and the sound of flowing water can enhance the peace of a city courtyard.
- If you want to plant a tree, bear in mind what its roots may do to surrounding buildings and where it will cast shadows.
- Trellis, mirrors or even trompe-l’oeil can create the illusion of a greater area of garden, but these features must be positioned carefully to be effective. Always try to position mirrors so that they reflect part of the garden rather than the people in it. You want to create the impression of more space, rather than more people!
When it comes to picking out the best pressure washer for your needs, the first thing you are going to need to do is figure out what type of jobs you are going to be using it for. If you are only interested in general cleaning of your driveway or washing the pollen off your home, then you won’t have to worry about going into the realm of high intensity industrial pressure washers.
You could stick with the household washers that have an estimated 1500 to 2000 PSI rather than turning to the commercial washers, which can go well over 3000 PSI.
Depending on what kind of job you are performing with your pressure washer, you may want to determine the amount of water flow that you will need. If you are just going to be washing down your driveway and getting rid of leaves or dust that accumulates, then you won’t have to worry about too much water flow. But if you are planning on pushing large amounts of debris around, then you will want something that can put out a decent amount of water flow so that it doesn’t take you all day long to get the job done.
Another thing you are going to need to consider is how often you will be using your power washer. If you are only going to be using your washer a few hours every year, then you can probably get by with a household washer. On the other hand, if you are going to be using it for a few hours every day, then you will want to get a commercial washer. The reason for this is that a household washer is usually made form aluminum and plastic and can’t handle the amount of use that a commercial washer can withstand.
Using a power washer can be quite beneficial for you and allows you to get a job done a lot faster than with a hose and nozzle attachment. However, if you end up purchasing the wrong washer for the jobs that you are going to be doing with it, then you will find that you are wasting more money than you could be saving. Remember, you have to have the right tool for the job.
The number of bonsai styles will vary depending upon the expert in which you inquire. Some will say there are 5 basic styles: formal and informal upright, cascading and semi cascading, and slanted. Others will say there are as many as 18 including: wind-swept, broom, exposed roots, and split trunk.
In reality, according to Bonsai Tree Gardener, the style name indicates a specific description of the bonsai. The name is used by growers and enthusiasts to provide an accurate mental picture of the tree. This classification is used in bonsai education, and as a uniform standard by which the tree is termed.
While most trees can be shaped to any style, the actual composition depends upon the specific tree, and the skill and expertise of the designer. Some trees are more suitable for an upright style, while others are more adept at a slanted or cascading style. Many growers consult catalogs for styles and use this information to determine the proper styling for their particular bonsai variety. The pictures within the catalogs provide a basis to determine which leaves or branches should be trimmed or reshaped.
Bonsai Tree Shaping
The novice bonsai grower may find it difficult to begin shaping a tree. It may be easier for a novice grower to begin with a pre-shaped specimen and strive to maintain the current style before attempting a transformation. Prior to determining the shape, one should consider the age of the tree, the tree species, and the experience of the grower. The style of the tree is not limited by the above mentioned factors, but is limited by the creativity of the grower. While a traditional style may be the preferred outcome, it is certainly not a requirement.
Formal And Informal Upright
Two of the primary styles of bonsai are formal and informal upright. Formal is the basis, yet informal symbolizes a romantic twisting and bending aura. With both styles the trunk and apex of the trunk are directly over the base of the tree. However, the informal will curve and sway. The slanting style is similar to the upright formal, as it has no curves. The only difference is the fact the trunk grows at a significant angle from the soil. Semi-cascading or cascading describes a tree in which the branches grow either directly in line or below the base of the trunk, respectively. The cascading style is widely known as the oldest style of bonsai.
The remaining bonsai styles resemble trees as seen in nature; trees which are misshapen by years of intense wind, or climate and erosion considerations. Styles include specimens with multiple trunks. Generally multiple trunk specimens have an odd number of trunks (excluding the twin trunk), and may include up to nine trunks. Some tree styles are named for the configuration of the roots; multiple trees with own roots (rather than a single root for multiple trees). Styles of a romantic nature include wind-swept and literati (meaning tasteful elegance). Windswept is exactly what the mind’s eye sees when reading the words; a slanted tree with the trunk and branches directed in a single direction. Literati, is style of tree commonly painted by Chinese artists. The tree has a thin, long trunk, with minimal branch which curves at the upper end of the trunk.
Bonsai Styles | Bonsai Tree Gardener
I currently rent my house and while I plan on buying at the end of this year, I cannot abstain to obtain new and interesting perennial plants at this time. After all, it’s clear out there and new plants have always been a part of my spring. But what can you do when you have a rented property and you plan on moving?
This afternoon, I decided to do the planting, but I was missing two pots and space for them. There was a narrow strip along the side of the house who promised shade and good visibility. The entire barbecue rested there with a few other tools but they quickly entered the garage. To make good use of garden space, I extended the black plastic bags to stop the weeds or grass from breeding and then to put my new perennial pots out on the plastic.
Leaving the plants in pots, I have arranged them as if I planted large plants at the back against the siding of house, to leave the plants some shade. Once before I filled all the pots of peat moss. Peat keeps the right plant pots moist and protects against drying. Once seen to rise or grow, the pots disappear under the peat and the garden looks like it was planted. All I need to do is to keep the moisture of peat moss and plants and they will grow in a garden forever.
When I leave this fall, I will draw up simply pots, put in bags to the top of the peat moss in bags and take my plants to their new home. But in the meantime, I have what appears to be a garden, my scrap space is occupied with plants and my plants will be happy.
Meadows are quick to create because they contain a high percentage of annuals, but they are hard to maintain as the delicate balance of plants can easily be disrupted. It is important to remember that most meadow plants flourish on relatively poor soil.
To make a meadow from an existing grassy area, stop mowing and introduce traditional, robust, wild flowers. Depending on the size of the area and your budget you can use plug plants or seeds. Whatever you do, don’t dig up wild plants but try to source local species as they will naturalise more easily. To create a meadow from scratch is often easier in the long run as you can replicate the poor soil which meadows thrive on naturally.
- In the autumn remove any grass or plants, taking away about 10-15 cm/4-6 in of soil at the same time. This is likely to be the most fertile and may be too rich for your meadow.
- Break up the soil below and remove any weeds such as dock or thistle. It may seem strange to weed an area that is going to be left wild but while it is getting established your meadow will need tending to ensure that the wrong sort of plants don’t take over.
- In spring gently flatten the soil as you would for planting grass.
- You can now plant plugs or scatter seed. In practice a mixture of the two is usually best with the plugs 15-20 cm/6-8 in apart and the seeds in between.
- Meadow seed mixes are easy to buy and will give you a good balance of plants. They are available for different soils and come in a range of colors (pastel, bright, etc.). Typical plants are poppies (Papaver), love-in-a-mist (Nigella), campion (Silene), cornflower (Centaurea) and meadow cranesbill (Geranium pratense).
- Rye grass (Lolium) seeds are useful for filling gaps.
- Yellow rattle (Rhinathus minor) is also a useful annual plant to help maintain the balance of plants in your meadow. It germinates at exactly the same time as many of the stronger grasses start to grow and takes much of their water and nutrients, thereby preventing them from becoming too rampant. Luckily it is an attractive plant in its own right with pretty yellow flowers and rattly seed heads.
Fences and walls
These are probably the most common types of boundary. Most fences are relatively cheap and easy to construct and do not take up too much room, while a bushy hedge can easily encroach a metre or so into your garden. Fence panels with trellis on top work well. The fence, if the posts reach the top of the trellis, gives solidity and the trellis offers privacy and support for climbers without losing too much light (once boundaries are above eye level more is lost in light than gained in privacy by going much higher).
Since fences and walls last a long time, choose new ones carefully – their style and material should be both in keeping with the house and garden, and be strong enough – wooden uprights need treatment to prevent rot and to be buried in metal sleeves or concrete. Walls need good foundations, damp courses if they adjoin a house, and copings on top to prevent erosion by rain.
Strong winds will push over a completely solid fence so ideally about 40 per cent should be left open, letting wind through but slowing it down enough to prevent damage. More privacy can be offered by creepers. Fences should be treated annually to prevent rot but, if this isn’t possible (e.g. where climbers grow), at least check every spring and autumn that they are still in good repair and firmly fixed in the ground.
Hedges take up more space than fences or walls but provide a very good barrier and block out noises, such as passing traffic. If you are planting from new, the main decisions are whether the hedges should be evergreen or deciduous, formal or informal. Hornbeam or beech leaves turn brown in autumn without falling, providing interesting winter color. Informal hedges often take up more room than formally cut evergreens, although flowering shrubs like berberis can make attractive rather loose hedges.
Plants for a new hedge shouldn’t be too big or planted too close together. Smaller plants (up to 45 cm/18 in) will settle in quicker and grow faster in the long run. For most hedging plants 90 cm/ 3 ft is about the right distance apart – they will do best planted in early winter so that their roots can become properly established before the top starts growing in spring. Until established (at least three years), you will need to water your hedge and keep the base free of weeds. Afterwards, the only maintenance needed is pruning – trimming it at least once a year.