15 Brilliant Tricks Every Gardener Should Know About

by ,

Don’t throw your citrus peels away. Instead, use them to start a seedling. The nutrients in the peel will go directly to the soil, meaning your seed grows faster and better.

17 Brilliant Backyard Lighting Ideas

by ,

My whole family really loves these glow rocks. It’s nice because in the day they act as great yard decoration, but at night they add light to keep things nice and visible. You can find them for a pretty good price if you look hard enough.

Hang some lights from strings around your whole yard and deck. I love this look. It reminds me of my childhood, long summers, and fun block parties in my hometown. You can get hanging pendant lights from anywhere, really, so find some and get decorating!

Tiki torches are a great way to light things up in the yard. You’ll obviously want to be careful if you use real fire, though, instead of electric lights. But I think they’re worth the trouble because they look so cool and fun.

If you don’t want long tiki torches sticking out of the ground, then try wall-mounted torches. The good thing about these is that you can get mosquito repelling fuel so that your yard is lit and bugs don’t come biting you and your guests. It’s a win-win for everyone!

Take your string lights and wrap them around the trees in your yard. You’ll probably have to play around with the spacing and size of the lights, but this is such an enchanted look. I can’t get enough of it!

Use some Mason jars or similar products to making hanging pendant lights for your yard. The jars add a nice rustic touch that makes your backyard feel even homier and comfortable.

Stick some lights into your flowerbeds to accentuate the edges and border of your yard. You can choose from a ton of different lighting types, just make them big enough to illuminate the path as well as the edges of your yard.

Hanging lanterns around the yard is a fun way to get some lighting. They also act as decorations. The lanterns can be hung form trees, the ceiling, pergolas, or wherever else you feel like they could go.

Small pathway lights are really nice if you have a windy pathway that can be hard for your guests to navigate at night. They’re also just nice to have because they give a crisp outline to your yard while also lighting up the evening.

Take small jars or containers and hang them from your tree branches with rope. This creates a rustic feel that you’ll love. I like to sit underneath this with my kids to just enjoy the long summer nights together.

Make these fantastic sun jars that you can place all around your patio and yard. The jars are so fun and unique, and the lights can be placed on tables, stands, or anywhere else you need them. It’s like a pocket of light you can carry with you.

Make your own chandelier or hang one up in your patio area to really light things up. You can use wire baskets to make the chandelier or find other material that would work well.

Wrap some lights around the trellises in your yard and patio. The soft glow from this lights combined with the shape of the trellises will make you feel like you stepped right into a fairytale! They’re so cozy looking!

If you have an umbrella or parasol on your patio, then try this. Wrap some lights up on the inside of the umbrella for extra-close lighting for your late night parties. It provides all the light you’ll need without it being right in your face.

Put some water in the birdbath and then fill it with floating candles. This is an incredibly intimate type of lighting, but it looks so nice. It’s more for show and not for actual light, since you won’t get much. But it definitely adds to the ambiance.

If you’re having a large gathering in your yard and expect it to go late, then do this lighted tables! They serve as both light for your guests as well as tables for them to put their plates, cups, and other items.

Tin cans can be converted into some pretty fun lighting for your backyard. And the best part is that you can make some of these tin can lights with your kids so they feel a part of the decorating process. Just punch holes into the cans and then place a small candle inside them.

8 Brilliant Tips for Growing Strawberries

by ,

I didn’t know this, but there are three types of strawberries you can choose from. For beginners, you usually want the Junebearer strawberry. This is the most typical and easiest to care for in a home garden, and the fruit still tastes great. You can try the other strawberries, but that’s if you’re a more experienced gardener.

Make sure to plant your strawberries in a sunny spot. Strawberries taste better when they’re grown in full sun, and we all want the tastiest strawberries possible. Just make sure, especially when the strawberries are young, that they don’t get sun-scorched.

Soil is a vital factor in how well your strawberries grow. The most important rule is that you don’t let them get waterlogged. That means from overwatering or flooded soil. Provide the strawberries with well draining soil to keep them safe and dry. You could also plant the strawberries in a little mound to elevate them.

If you’re really concerned about your soil, then I suggest building a raised garden bed for your strawberries. This gives you much more control over the soil and what goes in it. Also, raised garden beds are easier are your back, which is always a plus.

When planting strawberries, you want to give them plenty of space to grow. Too little, and they’ll fight over nutrients. Most experts suggest a depth of 30 centimeters for the seed and about 40 centimeters between the rows of plants.

After a while, when your strawberry plant begins to bloom flowers, pluck them! I know it may seem wrong, but you want to get rid of the flowers so more energy can be conserved for the fruit. By plucking the flowers, the plant doesn’t need to grow them anymore, meaning it can focus its attention on making the most delicious strawberries possible.

Also when the flowers start blooming, you may want to consider using fertilizer. This isn’t necessary for every garden, but if you feel your strawberries are lacking something, this could be the solution. Choose a fertilizer that is rich in potash.

After all this work, you should be getting some amazing and succulent strawberries. Before you go picking all of them at once, remember: only pick what you’re going to eat right away. Once a strawberry is picked, its sweetness will begin to recede. So, if you eat freshly-picked strawberries, they’ll be much sweeter than strawberries that were picked a few days earlier.

7 Tips for Successfully Growing Tomatoes in Containers

by ,

The nice thing about growing tomatoes in containers is that you can move it around. That being said, you want the plant to be in a spot that will give it at least six hours of sun a day. Tomatoes need the sunlight to grow up strong and healthy, so make sure they get it.

Choose the right size pot in order to get the best tomatoes in a container. Most tomatoes will thrive in a cage that is 18 to 24 inches in diameter. That is roughly 20 gallons for pots that are sold by volume. If you have any questions, feel free to ask the employees at your local nursery; they should be able to help you pick the best size for your plant.

When you first plant your tomato, also insert a tomato cage or a similar structure. When the tomato plant gets bigger, the structure will help it grow vertically. However, if you insert it into the soil later, it can possibly disrupt and even destroy the roots. So put the cage in early so the roots can grow around it.

It may seem like a good idea to skimp on the soil in order to save money, but DON’T DO IT! The soil is absolutely vital for your tomato plant to grow. If you get cheapy stuff, then you’ll get poorly grown tomatoes. Spend a bit more money upfront and buy some premium soil to promote strong and healthy tomatoes.

If the soil you buy doesn’t have fertilizer in it, then make sure to get some. This is an important step that a lot of people forget or ignore. Because the tomatoes will be in a container, they need you to provide all the nutrients. And they’ll get those nutrients from the fertilizer you add. So don’t skip this step.

Make sure to leave at least one inch of space between the top of the soil and the top of the container. This is because you’ll most likely want to add some mulch to the container. The mulch will help the soil retain moisture, which will keep the tomatoes healthy. If you don’t have that space, then it’ll be messy and damaging to remove the soil in order to make room.

Watering your tomato plant regularly is important, but it’s absolutely vital in a container. Too much water can drown the plant and cause it to rot. Not enough water will make it dry up and die. Water regularly to keep it alive and healthy. If you can press your finger into the soil and it’s dry, you need to water. The key for tomatoes is to keep the soil moist but not wet. You may need to water every day, depending on the climate you live in.

10 Garden Path Ideas for Your Yard

by ,

Garden paths can add some great diversity to your landscape. There are so many different kinds of garden paths you can add to your yard. Here are 10 ideas that I think you will love!

This first one I found is one of my favorites! It’s a desktop background picture from Drop Place,  but you could easily duplicate it!

 10 Garden Path Ideas for Your Yard

Top 15 Most Colorful Perennials for Your Yard and Garden

by ,

Peruvian lily. The combined colors in this flower are absolutely stunning. This flower comes in purple, yellow, and orange, and each type is gorgeous. Make sure to twist the shoot off at the base so the flowers keep on growing.

Mango Punch. I’m not going to lie, this flower makes me want to drink a big bowl of fruit punch. It just has that color that I absolutely love.

Phlox. Not only is the shape great on these perennials, but you also have the choice of multiple colors. So you can always get flowers that match and complement the rest of your garden.

Russian Sage. I really enjoy the deep and rich color that comes from Russian. It can grow really big, though, so be aware of that. Usually it works best in the back of a garden so that it can reach high without blocking other plants.

Gloriosa Daisy. I love how simple yet colorful this flower is. It adds that fantastic pop of yellow that daisies are so well known for. Plant a few in your garden to get a great accent color for your yard!

Blanket Flower. This flower is both gorgeous and it’s incredibly tough. It’s drought- and heat-tolerant, which means it can withstand some pretty brutal temperatures and climates.

Yarrow. Whether you want the simple white or the colorful yellow, yarrow is a great addition to any garden or yard. Both varieties grow well, and both add texture and color to your garden that it can’t be without.

Daffodil. This is a classic flower, but there’s a reason for it. It’s so pretty, and it’s not too hard to care for. Just because it’s a classic doesn’t mean that’s bad. You won’t regret the bright yellow addition they are to the garden.

Veronica. For a stunning addition to you garden, try veronica. These spikes of blue or red will pop out all over your garden, adding some awesome height and color to the yard. Plant them near the front for the best growth.

Purple coneflower. This is, by far, one of my favorite flowers. I just love the color and the shape of this plant. It’s so unique, and that makes me happy. It’s great for drawing attention to your flowerbed.

Penstemon. These plants don’t live for long, but I think they’re still worth it because they’re breath-taking. Their rich color is a must for any serious gardener looking for color, and their trumpet shape isn’t too bad, either.

Pineapple sage. Get that tropical feeling by adding pineapple sage to your garden. This is the best in fall, when the plant grows some astounding red spikes.

Aster. To me, aster is like that friend who is just so sweet and kind. When I look at aster, I just feel at peace. Which is why I love having it in my garden. Plus, the white they add is just so cute and pure!

Forget-me-not. I can’t forget to mention forget-me-nots! They’re so cute, and the colors are amazing. It won’t be the focus of your garden, but it will for sure add that extra boost of color that you’re looking for.

Chrysanthemum. The best part about this flower is that it comes in a handful of colors to choose from, so you have a wide selection. The circular shape and texture of the bloom is also great for adding variety to your garden.

9 Genius Ways to Create a Backyard Paradise

by ,

One of my favorite things about my backyard is the amazing water feature we have. It’s a waterfall type feature, and it’s the best. Not only does it bring birds and other gorgeous animals, but the sounds are so relaxing. I could just go back there and fall asleep right next to my water feature.

If you like to entertain guests, then hanging lights are an absolute must for your backyard. There are so many different types and ideas, but they all look good. I love the Edison bulbs because the give your patio or porch a nice rustic look that feels really homey and cozy.

Add some light and get rid of bugs by installing some mosquito-repelling tiki torches. You can make your own or buy them from the store. They easily install to the walls (or you can get tall standing ones), and help repel bugs from biting you and your guests.

One of the biggest kills to having a backyard paradise is the outdoor furniture. If you have those dinky plastic chairs, then you definitely will NOT be in paradise. It’s time to get rid of that furniture and get some nice and comfy stuff. You can still spruce up your backyard without breaking the bank.

A little garden pathway is a great visual element, but it’s also fantastic for getting around more easily. Build those gorgeous curling pathways that make you feel like you’re in an 18th century English manor or something. There are lots of different types and materials you can use to build a pathway in your own backyard.

Make sure you have a relaxing area that you can go to in order to get away from the everyday stresses of life. Mine includes a cute little pillow hammock that I can sit in to just breathe! My kids know not to bother me there, and my husband knows it keeps me sane. 🙂

For those of you who plan on using your outdoor space as much as possible in the warm months, you may want to build an outdoor kitchen. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but a nice little sink, oven/stove area, and maybe even a small fridge can save you a lot of time and hassle. Plus, it’ll stop you from having to go inside all the time, which can help with the AC bill.

Divide out your yard (if it’s big enough) to make cute distinct zones. You can use privacy hedges, picket fences, or any other type of material. This is a great idea if you tend to have adults and kids in the yard at once. Areas can be divided between the two ages while existing together at the same time.

This may seem silly, but place some greenery on your patio and porch to make it feel even more comfortable. I know you probably have greenery in your yard and garden, but if you don’t have any on the porch, it will feel like a stark divide between urban and nature. By adding some potted plants and shrubs to the patio, you help blend the two together.

Gardening Cheat Sheet: When to Plant Your Vegetables

by ,

January

First off…don’t let those winter blues get you down. Spring is just around the corner! Take this time to make plans for your garden, go through your garden supplies and make a list of what you need so you can start to buy them! That way you are prepared for when the sun shines through!

February

Start vegetable seeds in pots indoors…put them near a window so they can get some sunlight.

March

Fertilize your lawn, and get it aerated. Plant spring flowers, and add compost to your soil.

8 Natural Solutions for Repelling and Killing Ants

by ,

Many essential oils can kill or deter ants from your home. One of those is peppermint oil. This is one of my favorite solutions because I love how it smells, AND it gets rid of ants. Just put a few drops on a cotton ball and wipe down common ant entry points (windows, holes, doors, etc.). This breaks up the scent the ants leave behind to get to the food.

Another great essential oil is teatree oil. Just like peppermint oil, you can place the teatree oil on a cotton swab and rub it on the places where ants are most likely entering your home from. However, teatree oil is also great as a general household cleaner, so you could just add it to your homemade cleaning solution and help deter ants that way.

If you want to get serious about dealing with ants, then you’ll want clove essential oil. Unlike the other two oils, this one will actually kill ants upon contact. So only use it if that’s what you’re going for.

For another approach, get some food-grade diatomaceous earth. It’s a substance that does no harm to humans but is lethal for ants and other bugs. Simply sprinkle the diatomaceous earth on the ants and where they walk, and it will eventually kill them.

Vinegar is another way to deal with ants. Since it’s so strong, it wipes away the pheromone trail that ants leave for each other, effectively cutting them off from one another. Add ¼ cup of white or apple cider vinegar to ¼ cup  of water in a spray bottle. Shake and spray the mixture on the ants and their entry points to get rid of them.

Lemon juice is another fantastic option to repel ants. Add equal parts purified water and lemon juice to a spray bottle and go to town. You can also add some of the aforementioned essential oils to make it even more potent. But it’s up to you.

A really simple yet effective solution for ants is just soap and water. Mix liquid soap with water in a spray bottle and then spray the ants and their entryways. The soap will breakdown their exoskeleton, killing the ants and solving your problem. So easy!

Pepper is also a great natural way to repel ants. You have two options. You can put pure pepper around high-traffic areas for the ants, and that should deter them. You could also mix pepper with some water and spray the ants. It won’t kill them, but they won’t like it, so it will deter them.

9 Genius Backyard Shade Ideas

by ,

I love the idea of having a backyard shade that can be pulled out and retracted. This lets you avoid the worst of the heat in the afternoon, but you can pull it back and put it away when the sun’s gone down and the stars are out. It makes your backyard much more enjoyable.

The cool thing about a sail shade is how it looks. You can choose from a lot of different colors and styles, so choose one that best matches your backyard décor. Sails are nice because they’re cheaper than full canopies or awnings, and they still block a significant amount of the sun.

For those of you with a green thumb, grow a vertical garden and use that to block out the sun! You can’t put the plants as your ceiling (unless you’re really skilled), but they work great as the walls for shade in the backyard. Plus, you have space for plants, which is always a plus.

If you’re looking for some greenery to have all around, then plant some wisteria. It grows really fast and it will stretch out to eventually cover your whole ceiling and provide great shade for your backyard. Wisteria will turn even the most urban home into a natural getaway that everyone can enjoy.

Build or have a pergola built in your backyard. This is one of the more classic and common ways to bring shade to the backyard. There’s nothing wrong with this idea, especially if you want some shade and a really classy structure to go with it.

An umbrella or parasol is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to bring shade to your backyard in a jiffy. You can even get tables and deck chairs that come with holders so the umbrella can slide right into it and cover where you’re sitting. This is also a great solution because it’s retractable.

Install a fabric canopy over your deck or backyard area for a simple yet classy way to add some shade. I like the fabric canopy because they’re really high quality, and they reduce the sun’s heat quite a bit.

Lattice patterns are a fun and unique way to add some shade and personality to your backyard. I like to combine the lattice with some plants and other natural elements to make the backyard for more secluded and private.

Go for a really unique look with this dome! It provides the shade you want, and it’s a great conversation piece. It’s privacy is so nice; I bet your kids and your whole family will love spending time underneath the shade down.