Tips For Choosing The Best Outdoor Bird Bath

Bird feeders can be a great way to attract birds to your yard, but another effective way is to provide birds with a source of water. Water sources can include fountains or bird baths. Birds are attracted to the water to drink, bathe, preen their feathers and socialize. Set up the right type, and you can attract birds to your yard all year-round.

Birds are attracted to moving water. Although bird baths with pumps and with fountains are great ways to attract birds with moving water, these things are generally not necessary if you change the water of simple often enough. Small, battery operated pumps can do the job and are inexpensive. If you would prefer not to have to change the batteries, more elaborate electric and even solar options can also be purchased.

Many bird baths are constructed of plastic. They are lightweight, durable, are able to weather the cold season, are not too expensive and can be purchased in a wide variety of styles and designs. With the variety of plastic models available, you are sure to find one that will fit well in your garden or yard. Metal ones are also a great choice, but should be brought indoors in colder winter months when debris and even the birds feet can freeze to the surface of the bird bath.

Basins should be no more that about two inches deep and slope gradually from the outer edges to the center. Bird baths of this depth will prevent the birds from possibly drowning.

Another advantage of bird baths of this depth is that they encourage birds to bathe and splash, rather than just for drinking. For basins deeper than two inches, stones or seashells can be placed inside to make it more shallow. The texture of these natural objects will also encourage birds to grab on to them with their feet.

Be sure to place your bath near trees and branches in the birds become frightened and need a quick escape route. However, do not leave them so close to trees, leaves and bird feeders that debris is constantly falling into the water. It should be located in an area that receives some shade during the day in order to discourage algae growth and so that the water does not get too hot. The bird bath placement should also discourage predators, such as cats and raccoons, from capturing the birds.

Garden and Patio Outdoor Water Fountains

The Japanese have for years used outdoor fountains as a focal point in gardens creating a scene of beauty and sense of calm. As well as the Romans, farther back in our history, used water fountains to offer drinking water and for bathing.

Today, there are many types of water fountains on the market. When choosing a water fountain for your garden or patio, there are few things to consider.

The first thing to consider is space. Too large a fountain can be overbearing in your garden or patio if the space is very small. Sometimes, smaller is better. However, fountains are available in as many shapes and sizes as you can wish.

The next thing to consider is style. What is the look you are trying to make? Your fountain can have a whimsical effect, which can include fairies, gnomes, animals, birds or people. Or, sophisticated and statuesque. The choice is definitely personal preference.

The next thing to consider is the composition or the materials you would like for the effect you want to create. There are as many types of materials for outdoor water fountains as you can imagine.

There are fountains constructed of heavy stone or concrete, for a permanent outdoor fountain in your garden or patio. These outdoor fountains are not intended for moving or stored indoors in cold or harsh winter months.

Other construction materials could be fiberglass, pottery, copper, metal, aluminum, glass, wire, poly resin, steel, iron stone, brick, tile, bamboo and the list is only limited by your imagination. However, a very popular material for outdoor fountains is fiberglass.

Fiberglass can be manipulated into many forms, shapes, sizes and dimensions. It can take the appearance as to look vintage, as perhaps, and old water wheel with water cascading through it. Or, it can be painted in a shinny color as a statue of some kind.

Fiberglass is a very lightweight material affording the ease of moving the unit into different locations in your garden or patio. The fact that it is lightweight, provides the ability to clean the unit, dry it and store it indoors. In regions of the country that have particularly cold winters, protects it from damage.

Other types of outdoor fountains are sometimes constructed with iron as a stand to support pots, bowls, leave, old shoes, or any object that can help create a cascading effect. For the do-it-yourselfer, outdoor fountains are made of anything that will hold and support water.

Some water fountains have LED lights that glow when it gets dark enough to see them. Others use LED lights in the cascade to highlight the water flowing from item to item.

There are so many water fountains on the market today, that we have barely scratched the surface. One more thing to note, some water fountains have a switch for sound for on or off. Some prefer to see the water and not hear it, while others like the sound and the motion. It is just personal preference.

There are so many variables when choosing the right outdoor water fountain. For those who live in a warmer climate where you can use your gardens or patios any time of the year, purchase the best unit you can afford. That way, you will have peace and calm in your garden or patio throughout the seasons.

The Many Benefits and Advantages of Using a Landscaping Service

As with many things in life, there are huge benefits in employing the services of an expert and indeed when it comes to landscaping services that is certainly the case. The idea of just arranging your garden or outside area in ad hoc fashion may appeal to some but to most that simply isn’t good enough. The problem is knowing where to begin, you might an idea in your mind that you don’t know how to create or you may be looking for inspiration and this is where a landscaping service will help.

A professional company will be able to offer helpful suggestions on which plants would be most suited to your soil type and whether your property is north or south facing. You can discuss exactly what you are looking to achieve. Once again, it may be a barbeque or recreation area or then again it could just be a quiet area where you what some privacy and some time alone with your thoughts – whatever it is you need a landscaping expert will be able to help.

Professional companies will also be able to see things that most people can’t, after all, its their job and they will have training and experience. They will be able to offer fantastic suggestions that you may not even of thought or dreamed of. A professional will be able to not only design but also create something most us would have never of thought of and one thing that is for sure, it is likely to be far better than we could do!

Of course, one of the major benefits of getting somebody else to do the work is that you know that it will get done. Many of us are guilty of planning to do jobs only for months or even years later for those jobs to remain unfinished, or in many cases, not started. Once you have paid someone to do the job you know that it will get completed and you won’t have to worry about it anymore. Obviously, you will need to sit down with them and discuss what you want but you can leave the rest to them.

Another massive advantage of employing the services of a professional company is that you won’t have to do the work. Most of us lead incredibly busy lives and gardening is just another chore. We just want to enjoy our gardens or outside spaces so if someone else can do the hard work on your behalf then why not let them? Gardening, even general maintenance is heavy, time-consuming work so do you really want to be doing that during the heat of the day?

If you are looking to use a landscaping service you will want to use someone who has plenty of experience and excellent testimonials. Anyone can claim to be a gardener but you are better off using the services of a professional landscaping company – you might be surprised that they cost a lot less than you think.

5 Tips on How to Grow Melons

Do you like to eat melons? With a little bit of a green thumb you can grow melons yourself. It isn’t as hard as it might seem. Here are 5 tips on how to make it work.

Tip 1 – Cultivation
High-quality melon seeds are offered in garden centers in local green stores. They need to be first sown in small pots on the windowsill or in a greenhouse, similar to tomato plants. Ideally, about 4 weeks before you plant them outside, put them in seed starter pots or containers with potting soil and cover them with a plastic wrap or transparent foil.

It is important that the containers or pots are kept warm. New seedlings don’t like getting “cold feet.” You can place those starting containers or pots in front of a window with sunlight coming in or alternatively on top of the refrigerator. To avoid those containers from getting cold, you can place them on a piece of Styrofoam.

After about 10 days you will be able to recognize that the seeds have germinated and grown into little seedlings. Now you can remove the foil. From this point you need to water the melon plants regularly, but be careful to avoid water logging. This will prevent building mold around the delicate roots. It is also important to move the seedlings away from direct sunlight, unless you have a greenhouse with special foil or glass that breaks the sun rays.
If the plants seem to grow slowly too big or are growing too close to each other in the pots or containers, then you may want to re-pot them again to allow a proper growth and development.

Tip 2 – Transplanting in the garden
After about a month or so, or with an outdoor temperature of at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit (typically mid May), the melon plants can be transferred to the outside. As for the choice of location in the garden, you should select a sheltered, but sunny spot where your melon plants are protected from forceful winds. Assure a planting distance of about 2-3 feet apart. Take good care of those sensitive roots when moving the seedlings outside.

To prepare the new environment, loosen the soil well and add some compost or manure to help the plants getting a good start in their new location. If you use compost, I recommend incorporating it in the soil about 2 weeks before planting. If you expect some cold nights, you can also cover the plants with a frost protection blanket or a garden foil.

Tip 3 – Fertilizing
Add some previously well-enriched soil or manure. You can also use fertilizer just before flowering and when the fruits are just developing. Use a specialty fertilizer for fruit trees or alternatively a tomato fertilizer.

Tip 4 – Melon plant maintenance
You have two options. Either have the melons grow vertically on a trellis or let them branch sideways which will require more space. If the latter one is your choice, you can promote entwining by cutting the main stem after the 6th leaf. Assure your melons get watered regularly, but not excessively, because they do not tolerate constant moisture too well. You must also be sure to avoid water logging. If possible, water the melon plants in the morning. Slightly lukewarm rainwater will make those plants really happy!

Once melon fruits are recognizable, it is important to prevent the fruits from resting on the moist ground. Also here, you can use those Styrofoam sheets. Place the sheets under the melons to avoid rot.

Tip 5 – Harvest
Depending on the plant variety, the melon fruits ripen differently. Fruit ripening is recognizable by the wilting of the leaves, the incomparable melon scent and the sound. Tap on the fruit. If it sounds like a low dull tone, then it’s a sign the fruit is ripe. If the fruits are ready, use a sharp knife to separate them from the branch. To make sure the melons will last longer, cut an inch or two of the branch to leave on the fruit.

For the best garden ever consider Aquaponics

Growing your own crops is undeniably a demanding task even for those deeply in love with gardening. It certainly is a time intensive activity and it requires plenty of energy and dedication. Furthermore, a conventional garden requires fertile land which will sustain your crops. These are generally the main causes for which many people give up their desire to growing their own personal vegetables and switching to home grown organic food. What people dont generally know is that there is a method of growing organic food (pesticide and chemical free) in the comfort of your home. Yes, you read it perfectly: inside of your house.

This new type of farming is called aquaponics and is the simplest way to become a farmer! The great part is that you’ll not only grow vegetables, but you will also grow fish, with the intention to offer your friends and family a diversified nutrition. It all starts fairly simple, with a plain tank filled with water wherein you place some fish. You can get for Tilapia, Chinese Catfish, Crappie, Bluegill or Koi, or whatever species of fish you are allowed to grow in your house. Put them in the water, take good care of them and in about a month position the seeds ensuring they can reach the water and get the nutrients from it. The plants will develop and begin growing using the nutrients offered by the fish. Meanwhile, the fish will enjoy a clean environment as the plants will act as “maids” to them, cleaning and refreshing their water each and every day.

As you can tell this type of farming does not require any type of land, fertilizers or harmful chemicals. Just set up the system and make sure that the water has got the normal PH so that the fish will live comfortably in there. Then, let nature follow its course!

You can grow almost everything you need in the aquaponic farming. Leafy greens, fruity plants and legumes can all be planted within the aquaponic farming. If you have a piece of land where you might cultivate ground-based plants (potatoes, carrots, asparagus, onions, garlic and so on) you can use this water to irrigate it and the results will be spectacular!

This symbiosis between fish and plants is the one which will save you lots of time as well as provides you with a way to take on this activity without compromising your social or professional life. Couple of moments each day will be sufficient for you to make sure that both your crops and your fish are alright! In fact, growing plants and fish with the aquaponic system is so simple that your entire family will be happy to help you with that. Since it involves no dirty hands, bending and digging in the ground, you can even let your little ones help you. It won’t take long so that they won’t get bored and you will get to enjoy moments with them.

Aquaponics is the easiest way through which you will have tasty, fresh and healthy vegetables on your table everyday. There is no need to be afraid. Its easy.

Most Popular Bonsai Trees

Bonsai plants are very well-loved miniature saplings that are cultivated to capture the beauty of a large replica tree. The tree is planted in a small ceramic container, pruned and potted to keep the tree from growing to full size. Like other potted plants, there are some bonsai trees that are more popular than others. There are literally thousands of plants and varieties that might be considered for a bonsai plant, however there are a select few that are easy to sustain and grow. The following is a list of five bonsai plants that range from most popular to least popular, and a short summarization of each amazing specimen.

JUNIPER BONSAI TREE
The Juniper bonsai tree is easily the most popular genre of bonsai saplings used, because of the ease of growth and sustaining. The branches of a Juniper have adjustable branches, which makes it easy to shape and prune for both beginners and bonsai enthusiasts alike. Junipers are found throughout the Us, makings it easily accessible and ready to prune.

CHINESE ELM BONSAI TREE
The Chinese elm bonsai is another popular selling tree because of the beautiful leaves and the unique twisted tree trunk. This beautiful bonsai is strong, sturdy and forgiving if you are a new to bonsai, and forget to water or prune regularly. The Chinese elm adapts to either indoor or outdoor climates, makings it an extraordinarily favorite choice for bonsai.

FICUS BONSAI TREE
The third most popular bonsai is a stunning specimen with wide leaves that is great for pruning. The ficus bonsai tree has a thick trunk and wide roots that adapts well in many environments. The hardy wood should be kept indoors, which makes the bonsai popular for mens and women who dwell in the city and do not have room to grow trees outdoors.

JAPANESE MAPLE BONSAI TREE
The Japanese maple bonsai tree is best known for its one-of-a-kind leaf shape, and remarkable seasonal changes. The maple trees have a deciduous behavior, meanings they lose their leaves in the winter and bloom again in the spring. The tree would be more popular, if it kept its leaves on year around.

CYPRESS BONSAI TREES
The cypress bonsai trees are popular, and can possibly be found in the genus of pine and palm trees. The bonsai trees have deep green foliage, with a variety of branches that can make it the perfect bonsai for trimming and maintenance. Many like the cypress bonsai tree as a result of the unique beauty and exotic appearance.

SATSUKI AZALEAS BONSAI TREE
The Satsuki Azaleas bonsai tree is a popular bonsai because of the beautiful flowers that bloom tight small flowers that are perfect for miniature plants. The plant blooms at least two times a year, which makes it popular during those times. The marvelous bonsai tree can come in a variety of colors, and is considered as being a very feminine bonsai tree.

This bonsai list is made from a list of favorites bought in garden nurseries throughout North America. There are many other exotic and beautiful trees that can be planted as a bonsai, and have yet of being seen. It doesn’t matter which magnificent bonsai plant that you chose, you are sure to have a wonderful conversational piece!

Tips On Choosing An Outdoor Garden Fountain

Garden fountains add beauty and charm to home gardens, especially in places where you want to create the perfect appeal. It is not always easy to choose the right type of garden fountain. Several factors should be considered.

SIZE of the garden fountain should be the first thing to consider. A fountain may be great to look at but more importantly it needs to fit into your garden landscape. If you have a relatively small garden, it doesn’t make sense to install a grand fountain that covers most of your garden views. The fountain must not stand out and be the sole focus in your garden. It should either blend in with the rest of your garden or the garden must enhance the fountain. Picking the right size outdoor garden fountain is vital.

SHAPE of the garden fountain is the next important thing to decide. This has less to do with garden space and more to do with you and what you prefer. You need to determine what suits your garden and more importantly, what expresses you and your lifestyle. Garden fountains come in a variety of shapes including animals and wildlife, statuary, tiered, pedestal, rock and wall, just to name a few. Deciding on the shape of your fountain may be your most difficult task.

TYPE of fountain water flow must be considered when you are deciding on a shape.
BUBBLING FOUNTAINS are the most versatile and perhaps best-suited for most home gardens. Typical design involves a single jet of water produced below the water surface in the center of a glazed pot. The water runs over the edges of the pot and runs quietly down the sides into a basin where it’s collected and recycled by a small pump. These fountains are perfect for smaller, intimate spaces since they don’t make much sound, just quiet bubbling.

SPILLING FOUNTAINS have water exiting from a spout and dropping unimpeded into a basin. Be sure you listen to these types of fountains before you make your purchase. They can produce quite a bit of sound. Even a single arc of water splashing into a basin can be too much sound for a small space. Unless it’s just a drip, the sound is energizing and active, not relaxing,

JET FOUNTAINS are perfect for large spaces since the water becomes rather architectural and rather dramatic. In a large space, seen (and heard) from some distance, these fountains can become a main focal point. But there are also simple, small-scale jet fountains for small spaces, too. The water hits the surface as multiple droplets and jet fountains are typically not as loud as spilling fountains.

SEASONAL or YEAR ROUND Another important factor to consider when deciding on a garden fountain is whether you want it functioning year round. A seasonal fountain must be shut down in the winter months if you are in a colder climate. Otherwise the water could freeze and cause damage. You may also need to relocate it inside to protect it from harsh temperatures.Year round outdoor fountains are heated and can be left running in the winter months. The two main types are solar powered or electrical.