Gardening DIY: How to Incorporate Concrete Pavers into Your Garden & Walkway

Image by Bronisław Dróżka from Pixabay

For anyone who is intimidated by the idea of working with garden pavers, for those who may think they are tools only for professionals experienced in masonry, be assured that you too can beautify your garden and yard with these smooth finishing touches.  Perfect for taming and refining wild, overgrown areas, concrete pavers are easily customizable building blocks for framing or accenting outdoor spaces.  And making a permanent commitment or leaving the option to change it up is all up to you–in most cases using grout is optional depending on the purpose and look you’re going for. 

Rock Garden Borders

To complement any small trees in your yard, you can dot the area surrounding the base of the tree with smaller plants and flowers, either potted, in the ground or both.  Creating freeform borders allows you to build around the existing trees and plants, and curved lines give your yard a flowing atmosphere.  Concrete pavers serve this purpose especially well since many styles offer interlocking shapes or flat edges that can be tightly lined up against each other to hold in mulch, natural stones, gravel, or other attractive fillers.  

Planter Pedestals

Flat-edged pavers or designs with interlocking shapes offer an easy way to elevate potted plants and keep them out of the dirt, upright, and steady.  Set a few pavers together on either side of the front door or at the entrance to your garden and place a potted plant on top.  Giving plants some extra height adds interest and spotlights them as welcoming touches.

Stepping Stones

If you enjoy having a fair amount of lawn space and particularly if you live out in the country, having a beautiful yard to curate usually comes with the price of tracking dirt into your house.  Use concrete pavers to form a natural, neutral walkway in the hue and shape of your choice, or arrange several together to create stepping stones to your front door.  Both solutions help keep dirt off of shoes on the way in and don’t take up much of your yard.  

Border For Your Outdoor Kitchen

For sheds, pet houses, or even outdoor kitchens made of wood, the sides collect dirt and sand, particularly in seasons of stormy weather.  Concrete pavers let you easily build a border around these structures to beautifully frame them as well as help protect them from dirt and dust.  You can also add a stepping stone pathway to the building that matches its border.

Border For Garden Beds

Evoke the ambiance of an English garden by filling unused garden space with concrete pavers.  Line the ground beneath first with weed prevention cloth if your garden is especially prone to weeds; without grout you will likely still get some growth between the stones anyway but, when well maintained, adds to the rustic look.

How To Create A Child-Friendly Garden In Your Backyard

Whether it’s for your children or grandchildren starting a kid-friendly garden is a rewarding activity for everyone. It’s a great hobby to enjoy together and a wonderful learning experience for you both.

Start by sectioning off a piece of your yard or garden just for them. If you already have a garden or plan on starting one of your own this will allow your child to have a space of their own and protect your more advanced plants from their inexperience. They will love to have a corner for themselves! Allow them to do as they please here and decorate it as they wish.

When putting their garden together don’t make all the decisions for them. Allow them to pick out which plants to grow and/or where they will be planted. Help them choose from plants they are already familiar with or to create a themed garden such as a pizza, rainbow or alphabetical garden. Herbs and edible flowers make for an exciting sensory experience and make great additions to a child-friendly garden.

After choosing what to plant start with your seedlings indoors. Now is a great time to start educating them about the growing process, what to expect and what their role in helping their new plants grow will be. Visit the library together to check out some books all about gardening. Children’s educational books with lots of bright, colorful pictures and easy to read words will help them feel like this really is their project and responsibility to learn about.

If choosing potted plants take them with you and teach them the signs of a healthy plant. Allowing them to choose which plant to take home will create excitement and ownership over the gardening process.

Assign your child age-appropriate tasks for caring for their garden and assist them where needed. As much as it is their garden they will need your help to keep it alive and thriving. This could be planting the initial seedlings, weekly watering, or regular weeding. And be sure to include them when it comes time to harvest all of your hard work together!

Keep the learning process and excitement alive with activities to track the progress of their garden. Consider helping them start a plant journal where they can track color, growth or draw depictions of their plants. You could also keep a photo record of your child standing next to the plant each week to track its growth in a fun, visual way.

Gardening is an enriching, relaxing and educational pastime for adults and children alike. Spend quality time with your child by helping them start a garden of their very own, even if it’s just a small corner of your own prized garden. Reap the rewards!

Spruce Up Your Yard

A great home is complimented by a good looking yard. No matter how well built your home may look, if your yard is not well maintained, it gives a bad impression to a first time visitor.  Interestingly, it is note worthy that you do not need a huge budget to spruce up your yard.  Through ingenuity and creativity, a great looking yard can be developed at a minimal expense. There are several options to be considered when sprucing up your yard. If you have a larger budget with a lot of cash to spend, adding a patio, deck, arbor or gazebo would enhance the look of your yard while also providing additional areas to enjoy it. However, for those on a tighter budget, the following tips may help them achieve the yard they have always desired.

Add some color to your yard by planting a flower garden or expanding an existing one. Look around for plants that are easy to propagate. Ask friends and neighbors if they have any hardy perennials that they are willing to share.  You will find that most gardeners have an abundance of easy to grow plants they are happy to give you when doing their spring and fall transplanting.  This will keep your need to purchase plants to a minimum.

When starting a new garden, plant flowers in groups. This will allow your garden to look fuller and more lush quicker and be easier to maintain.  Have a gardener help you identify a few plants that grow really well together.  Take a small clump of each plant, ensuring you have an adequate amount of roots, and plant them a few inches apart.  Spacing of the plants should be based on the size and height of the mature plant.  If well maintained and nourished, you will have a well established garden in no time.

Try not to be tempted with beautiful annual plants as they need to be replaced every year. However, a small investment in a few flowers will help add color throughout the season while your perennials become established the first year.  Be cautious not to let a trip to the garden center eat up your budget buying annuals that you will only enjoy for one season. However, purchasing a small garden statue, bird bath, or sundial at a yard sale or consignment shop will add beauty to your garden for years to come.

Investing in big pots, and patio containers is a great idea.  Planters are a great way to spread color throughout the yard and are a lot easier to maintain.  However, the start-up expense of container gardening can be relatively high.  You will need to purchase good soil and compost or manure to help feed the plants throughout the season.  Placing large rocks in the bottom of the planter will help reduce the amount of soil needed and help with the drainage aspect of the container.  Typically annuals are best suited for this purpose, when spaced correctly, only a few well selected plants are need.  Consistent watering and fertilizer is key to keeping your planters in full bloom.

Strategically placing rocks and boulders in your yard and gardens would increase the aesthetics. There is typically no need to purchase these, there are plenty of places that you can get them for free.  Visit a local construction site,  the contractor may be more than willing to let you take what ever you want.  Rocks that are native to your area always look best and blend well with the landscape of your yard.  A bit of exploring around the wooded area in your neighborhood may produce just what you are looking for.  There is no need to over do it, less is more when it comes to adding rocks that are not naturally occurring in your yard.

The addition of trees and shrubbery will also make a great difference to the yard. Trees are often planted first, with the remainder of the landscape designed around them.  Younger trees are much more affordable, be certain to choose a variety hardy to your area.  Adding trees to your yard can be an ongoing project, planting one or two a year can help keep you within your budget.  The shade and beauty the trees provide will make your yard even more inviting.

A little creativity, some yard work, and a few dollars is all it takes to spruce up your yard. Keeping your yard clean and well maintained will produce the landscaped look you desire.

 

Dog-Proofing Your New Back Yard

If you are a dog owner, and you are making the transition from an apartment or condo into a home, complete with a backyard, then your life is about to get a lot easier.  You’ll no longer have to take your dog on long walks for bathroom breaks, and your dog will be a lot happier being able to freely roam an outdoor area without a leash.  Win-win for everyone, right?  Not so fast.  There’s a few things you’ll need to do in order to avoid some potentially stressful headaches in the very near future.  I’ll attempt to highlight some of the more important ones here.

1.  Fencing – If you are moving to a new home that doesn’t have a fenced backyard, then consider fencing at your convenience.  Ideally, the home you’re moving to would already have this beneficial add-on, but many don’t.  Having some form of fencing installed will ensure that you can let your dog run freely without having to keep a watchful eye on them at all times.

2.  Designate a bathroom spot – Giving your dog complete control of your backyard can create a bit of a problem when it comes to bathroom time.  I really don’t need to go into specifics here….Suffice it to say that your dog can and should be trained to use a particular corner of the back yard for his activities.  Your shoes and yard will thank you.

3.  Keep your garden pet-friendly – If you are planning to make a garden in your new back yard, then be sure that you don’t pick any plants that are toxic to pets.  Many are.  Also, try to incorporate some kind of additional fencing so that your dog doesn’t treat your garden like a playground.

4.  Consider a doggy door – If you want to completely eliminate the need for you to take time out of your day to walk your dog, then a dog door can help you with that.  If you’re moving to a place with long winter seasons, then you’ll need to pick a dog door option that can be sealed easily if inclement weather arises.

5.  Shading – If you’re moving to an area that has hot summers, consider planting some fast-growing trees that will offer shade for your dog to cool off.  Without proper shading, some dogs, especially older ones, can experience distress if left in direct sun for too long.

For additional ideas, visit http://www.ehow.com/how_4779806_landscape-backyard-dogs.html