Posts Tagged waterscapes

The Fun and Beauty of Waterscapes

Southern California is a dry place to live – which means waterscapes a beautiful and pleasant addition to landscaping.  Here are some ideas with regard to adding these to your landscape:Central Park

Fountains: Fountains come in all shapes and sizes, from art instillation with water running through and around the sculptures, to the classic three tiered fountain, to mini pools, fountains are a great way to both decorate a yard and to help cover up any exterior noise.  I especially love fountains for homes near the freeway or a major street – as they block out traffic noise effectively.

Additionally, when summertime hits us again, fountains make a yard feel cool and breezy.

Bird Bath: This is an easy, classic water feature.  Not only is it a pleasant little feature for your yard, it’s a great way to attract birds year round.  I keep my bird bath under my orange tree – at the tree line.  This way birds attracted by the fruit, the flowers, or the shade can also have a cool place to drink.

– Pond: Ponds are always a fun feature for adults and kids.  They can be created to recycle water, you can plant pretty lilies, cat tails and more – and you can use them for lovely fish.  The only real drawback to owning a pond is that oftentimes raccoons will come along for a fish buffet.  However, there are things you can do to deter racoons like:

a. Sprinkle the area around your pond with cayenne pepper.

b. Chop up a yellow onion and set the slices around your pond.

c. Install motion activated lights around your pond area.

d. Sprinkle black pepper and cinnamon all around your pond.

These are some ideas.  Another idea is to make sure you have any other food items that may be attractive to raccoons locked up as well as you can.

– Swimming pool: This is the classic water feature.  It requires a large space so that it can be installed, and needs regular maintenance once installed.

– Jacuzzi: If you don’t have enough roof for a pool, a jacuzzi can be a great option and a lot of fun.  On chilly winter nights, or even on a sunny day, a jacuzzi is a fun place for everyone to warm up and enjoy the water.

These are just some ideas!  If you have favorite water features – let me know!

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Keeping Your Yard Looking Nice

I just did a large project of cleaning up my yard.  I have the pool sparkling, all the weeds are pulled, the cement around the pool is cleaned and swept.  My yard looks awesome.  Yours can too!  Here are some simple actions you can do to your existing yard space which can get it looking great:

– Clean up.  This is a pretty simple one – but can be the hardest thing to do.  After all, the origin of dirt is the great outdoors – which is where your yard is.  But the simple action of pulling out weeds, pruning dead growth off your plants, keeping your grass mowed and bushes trimmed, getting your pool or water feature cleaned, and pressure washing or repainting your hardscape can really make your yard the place you want to be.

– Now that your yard is neat and clean, try brightening it up with simple things like new flowers and bright pots – or more complicated things like a water feature.

– Consider revamping or installing new light features.  Summer nights are perfect for outdoor gatherings, or just sitting and enjoying.  Make sure your favorite parts of your yard are well-lit so you can enjoy them at any time.

Put in a “relaxation station”.  This can be as simple as gathering some yard furniture around a table or putting out some lounging chairs – or can be more complicated like getting a firepit installed, or getting a permanent barbecue structure.

– No matter what kind of yard situation you have – all hardscape, all lawn, half and half, mostly garden space, etc – make sure to put bright clusters of flowers in various parts of your yard.  They add beauty to your outdoor space and – depending on the flower – can attract fun insects like butterflies and bumble bees, or pretty birds for you to enjoy.

Here’s to a bright yard and a brighter summer!

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New Years Resolutions

Each year, all around the US, we make home improvement resolutions.  This coming year, here are some fun landscaping ideas:

– Create a natural habitat for local butterflies and/or birds.  Add bushes, bright and nice-smelling flowers, bird baths, trees, and bird houses.

– Add natural plants to your landscape.  If you aren’t too attached to you lawn, try out some natural landscaping with local plants.  You’ll be surprised what beautiful birds and insects you will attract.

Install landscape lighting.  Some ideas for this are track lighting along your walk ways, LED lights in the trees, lamps, etc.

– Try out a vegetable garden.  A vegetable garden certainly does not have to be traditional.  You can do a traditional English herb garden, or even plant fruit trees and shrubs.

– Install a sprinkler system.  This is a great way to conserve your water useage.

– Add a waterscape.  You don’t have to install a full-fledged pool to enjoy the cool sound of running water in your yard.   You can install a pond, waterfall, foutain, or a non-traditional waterscape.

– Get inspired. Throughout the year, visit local parks and gardens and see what they do in the off-season to keep their spaces looking gorgeous.

Here’s to a very happy holiday – and a wonderful New Year!

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Water, Water Everywhere

There is no sound more annoying in your yard than that of traffic noise.  A great way to get around this is have a water feature.

Here are a couple of ideas:

1. Install a pondless waterfall.  What is this?  A waterfall with no pond?  Preposterous!

Let me explain. Pondless waterfalls do actually have  a pond, it’s just underground.  The cool thing about that is, because sunlight doesn’t hit the standing water, algae and other plant life generally don’t invade your watery space.

The main kind of pondless waterfall I’ve seen is the stationary water feature, which generally looks more modern.  This is where you have an art piece of sorts that has water running down it.  It’s a clean, low maintenance water feature idea for your yard.

2. Listen to the babble of a brook.  Nothing makes me feel like I’m in a nice, natural environment than the sound of water running over stone.  This water features takes a bit of room, but the trade-off is a nice sound, plus a great place for attracting animals like birds to bathe in slower-moving portions of your little stream.

3. Do you already have a pool?  Install a waterfall which gushes its way into the pool.

As a kid, I loved these water features.  They are fun to climb, jump off of or swim under.  As an adult, I still like these water features – but I tend to enjoy them while floating on a blow-up pool recliner, drinking something icy.

4. Fountains put the “f” in “feature”.  Just kidding.  But seriously, fountains sound really nice, you can turn them off an on easily and, if you set them up with extra shallow spots, birds like them.  So, not only do you get the calming sound of running water, but you get some tweeting friends as well.

5. Set up a bubbling pond.  It’s really easy to install a feature in a pond which just shoots your replacement water a bit in the air, giving you that babbling sound.  This a neat feature because you can include water plants, fish, etc to the equation.

Here’s to a yard filled with relaxing sounds.

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Seeking Inspiration

Sometimes you have to go out on an adventure and get inspired.  I recently went out horseback riding in Topanga Canyon and was so inspired by both the natural beauty and the homes with their great landscaping.

Now that I’m inspired, I’ll pass on some ideas I had to you:

1. Exploit natural beauty and heat tolerant plants.  When I went horseback riding, there were gorgeous lavender, cactus, poppies, and other beautiful plants all over the place.

2. Bring the beach inland.  Get a beach feel with Creeping Red Fescue sod, palm trees, and more – much like this landscaping company did.

3. Install a garden. Do you love flowers or homegrown veggies like I do? Install raised beds or clear out a garden space.

4. Add a water feature. Fountains, ponds, etc. can be easy to install –  depending on the water feature. More complicated water features should be installed by a professional landscaper.

5. Go wild! Try some creative landscaping. Go quirky and show your personality!

So… here’s to a gorgeous, inspired landscape!

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Creative Landscaping

This article on creative landscaping in Thousand Oaks inspired me to look at all the great creative gardening ideas out there. Here are some ideas:

– Repurposed items. Like the article above, you could repurpose your fountain or even an old bird bath as a planter. There are a lot of other items you can use this way, it really just depends on how eclectic youre landscaping is. You could take old plastic or metal buckets and use them as plant pots, or even masonry jars. One of my favorite examples of this were some ratty old hiking boots with a little cactus planted in each that I lusted over at a garage sale a few weeks ago.

– Add air plants to your trees. This won’t work in every landscape – as air plants do well in hot climates like Southern California or other southern states, but they are a really need addition to any garden and they require very little maintenance.

– Create a rock garden. You can do this because you have really tough soil, or just as a decorative addition to your landscape. Here’s an example of some Thousand Oaks landscaping which has a cute rock garden/regular garden combo. The article also talks about the problems encountered on the property, so you can decide if this kind of thing would work in your yard.

– Install a garden mirror. I know, I’m getting a little wild here, but adding a mirror to the right spot of your garden can make your yard seem bigger and looks very metropolitan (think Chicago’s Cloud Gate sculpture).

– Paint a mural or add mosaic tiling. Do you have one of those walls between your neighbor’s and your homes that is super ugly, but your neighbor agree to tear it down or help fund a new wall? Try making your wall pretty by painting a mural or hanging mosaic tile creations on it. This could be a fun project for kids, family, friends or that local artist down the way.

– Add an interesting path or some cool steps. This one is really something you’ll need a professional landscaper for, but adding a cool path like this landscape in Thousand Oaks or some funky steps like these ones – also from a Thousand Oaks landscape, can give your yard a feeling of uniqueness and personality.

– Try water gardening.  Add a waterfall or a stream, or even a pond.  I know, you’ll need a professional for this one too, but waterscapes really add to a yard.  You can also take a look at a unique water spout to start off the water process, and see what kind of recycling system your waterworks can use – so you can use the same water multiple times.

– Add a bench or some statuary.  I’m a fan of gnomes.  My aunt loves fairies.  It’s unlikely I’ll find a fairy gnome to surprise her with, but you’d be surprised what kind of neat statuary you can find to give your landscape some pizzaz.  On a drive through the redwood forest, I found the strangest statue I’ve ever encountered.  It’s the picture next to this paragraph.

That’s all the ideas I have for today!  Here’s hoping your yard will always allow you to express your creativity.

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