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Choosing the Best Expandable Garden Hose – A To the Point Guide

ARE YOU FED UP WITH YARDS OF garden hose strewn all over the yard, plastic hose reels that hold up just long enough for the warranty to run out? To get a truly lasting hose, you probably think you have to buy one of those heavyweight multi-core hoses that are guaranteed not to kink, wear out, burst, or do magic tricks.

What if I told you there was a solution to this dilemma? What if I told you there was a choice between the red hose and the blue hose?

The RED hose weighs a lot, but it won't kink or burst and is hard to move around.

The BLUE hose is super-lightweight, still won't kink or burst, and can be rolled up into a small package you can carry with one hand.

If you are like most of us, then you probably gave serious consideration to the BLUE hose but, ended up going with the RED one. Why? Because the blue hose sounds too good to be true.

But, if you take a minute to look at the BLUE hose, you will find that what we are talking about, is the very latest in expandable hose technology. Far from those “As Seen on TV” products of a decade or two ago, modern expandable hoses have a lot to offer as long as you know what to look for when buying one.

 

A Little History Story

Ancient Greece

You might think that the expandable hose is a modern invention. After all, it takes special materials and polymers to make an expandable hose, doesn't it? Today the answer to this would be yes, but no so far back in the annals of history. Some several thousands of years in history, the Greeks are known to have been the first ones to create an expandable hose.

Their hoses were made from animal intestines as part of the Greek War Machine. The Greek sailors would spray “Greek Fire” onto their enemies from these hoses, setting the sailors and their ships on fire. But, today using animal intestines like this might get you in a lot of trouble. So instead, we rely on modern technology to develop an expandable hose for us. Let's take a look at the construction of expandable hoses along with what you should be looking for when you are ready to buy your first expandable garden hose.

Introducing the Modern Expandable Hose

Today's expandable hose consists of an outer shell made from either a synthetic or cloth weave material. Inside is a latex hose made from a material that can expand up to 5 times its original size without bursting. The inner hose expands as it fills with water until it presses up against the outer casing.

Rubber hoses do not have the ability to shrink or expand, they are designed to be tough enough not to break or crack if they freeze or split and rupture when they get too hot. If you buy an inexpensive rubber hose, you end up one that collapses and kinks at the drop of a hat. Expandable hoses are designed not to kink or twist.

What to Look for in an Expandable Garden Hose

Blue Expandable Hose

There are many different brands of expandable garden hose on the market, and each of them claims to use the best materials to create the finest expandable hose on the market. How much of that is true, we are going to look at. Because the materials used are the most important part of any expandable garden hose, let's start by taking a look at the different materials, their advantages, and disadvantages.

The Outer Hose Casing

Today's expandable garden hose has an outer shell made from a woven polyester fabric. The term Deniers is used to measure the strength of the material being used. The measurement is based on the thickness of a single strand of silk. This measurement is used to describe most forms of natural and polyester fabric.

Obviously, the higher the denier count the less prone the material will be likely to rip, snag, tear, and damage caused the sun's UV rays. Most expandable hoses have an outer shell made from 500 Denier polyester. If you see a hose made from a material with less than a 500 Denier count, you may want to keep shopping. The benefit to using a cloth-like material is that it will expand and contract easily, allowing you to roll the hose into a small flat package.

The Inner Core

There are two different types of inner core used in today's expandable garden hose, latex and TPC (thermoplastic copolyester). Each of which has their own advantages.

The Latex Inner Core

This type of inner core is crafted from natural latex and can be made in a single, double, or triple layer construction. The more cores the longer the hose is likely to last longer than most other types of hose. The layers are thin enough to remain completely flexible even when cold.

One thing to keep in mind, if the package or the listing doesn't say made from natural latex, you should assume

The TPC Inner Core

Thermoplastic copolyester is a man-made highly elastic and flexible material that is not only used to make hoses, it has many other uses. Manufacturers say it offers excellent heat resistance and high durability ratings.

How Many Layers

One of the most common differences between the different expandable garden hoses is the number of layers the inner core is made from. You are likely to hear that a triple layer core is stronger and better than a double layer core. But, under independent testing, both appeared to be equally strong.

Layered latex is created by dipping an existing latex tube in molten latex and then letting it cool. The number of times it is dipped the higher the number of layers. Each layer is intended to add strength to the original pipe, but at the same time, each layer added reduces the amount of flexibility the finished product has.

Some manufacturers use a special type of polymer for the outer layer instead of more latex. Among the most common combinations is a latex core with thick outer PVC layers.

The good news is that all of the options make an excellent choice for your next expandable garden hose.

The Benefits of an Expandable Garden Hose

There are many great benefits to replacing your old rubber or PVC hoses with the latest in expandable garden hoses.

The Pros:

  1. Lightweight – did you know a long rubber hose filled with water can weigh up to 50 lbs.? An expandable hose typically weighs less than 5lbs with no water in it.
  2. Water drains out – the water automatically drains out if you leave the end open.
  3. Easy storage – no hose reel needed, you can hang these hoses on a peg out of the way.
  4. Reduced kinking – by their design, these hoses are naturally resistant to kinking and tangling.
  5. Expands – this is the biggest advantage of all, these hoses expand to three times their size when filled with water. And they go back to their original size when you are done.

The Cons:

  1. Quality control does seem to be a problem with some manufacturers, be sure you buy your expandable garden hose from a reputable manufacturer with good reviews.
  2. People don't read the instructions and get confused about how these hoses work.

That's about it as far as cons go. Once these hoses were more of a joke than they were a useful product. Thanks to major advances in technology and materials, today's expandable garden hoses are well-worth investing in and will certainly take the strain off your back moving them around.

With all of this in mind, I took a look at many of the different expandable garden hoses out there before I chose the ones I am currently using.  Here are my five picks for the best Expandable Garden Hoses available today.

Glayko Tm Expandable Garden Hose

This expandable garden hose features a double inner layer TPC core, brass fittings, and expands to 100 feet. This is three times its original length. The hose is extremely lightweight, making it easier for you to carry it around the yard. The included spray nozzle offers eight different spray patterns and comes with 2 spare rubber washers.

Pros Cons
Expands and contracts rapidly Spray nozzle inexpensively made
Weighs only 4 lbs. Some people have trouble getting it to expand
Expands to 100 feet

GrowGreen ALL NEW 2018 Garden Hose 50 Feet

This expandable garden hose starts out at 17 feet and expands to 50 feet when filled with water. Weighs an incredible 1.85 lbs. The inner core is made of latex and PVC and all fittings are made of brass. The hose is covered in a high-quality polyester cloth wrap for added strength. Comes with an 8-pattern spray nozzle, and a rust-free shutoff valve.

Pros Cons
Very lightweight at only 1.85 lbs. Tends to kink
Strong polyester cloth outer protective layer. Some issues with splitting
Comes with spray nozzle and shutoff valve May not stay extended all the way

FlexiHose Upgraded Expandable 50 FT Garden Hose, Extra Strength

The FlexiHose expandable garden hose is long enough to be convenient without being ridiculously long. It comes with 3/4″ solid brass fittings and a double latex inner core designed to handle water pressures up to 12 BARS. Collapsed size is only 17 feet, but it expands to 50 feet when filled. Comes with a lifetime replacement guarantee. Comes with an 8-pattern spray nozzle.

Pros Cons
Double latex inner layer for strength and durability The inner liner has been found to leak after the first few months of use for some
Solid brass 3/4-inch fittings Spray nozzle is of inferior quality
Lifetime free replacement warranty Problems reaching full extension

Elk & Bear Strongest Expandable Garden Hose with Brass Fittings

This expandable garden hose goes from 16 to 50 feet under pressure and will quickly return to its original size when you are done with it. The inner core is made from latex and is covered with a 5000D high-quality fabric outer shell. Fittings are solid brass for maximum durability. This expandable hose also comes with a lifetime warranty from the manufacturer.

Pros Cons
Latex inner core Inner core prone to leaks
5000D outer layer Nozzle under par
Lifetime warranty Issues with it reaching full length

The FitLife Best Expandable Garden Hose

This FitLife expandable garden hose is available in four different sizes, 25, 50, 75, 100foott lengths. It features the strongest triple latex inner core, solid brass fittings. The 3/4-inch inner diameter provides you with plenty of kink free water. Comes with an 8-position spray nozzle. Burst-tested to 145 PSI/10 Bar and endurance tested for 1100 to 1200 uses to ensure quality.

Pros Cons
Triple latex inner core Tends to cause pressure loss
Solid brass fittings Does not reach full extension
Pressure tested to 145 PSI/ 10 Bar Tends to shrink during use

What If I Want a Standard Garden Hose

Can't think of a single reason why you would want one, after all the good things expandable garden hoses have to offer. But, here is one you might find fits in with your needs and tastes.

Water Right 400 Series Polyurethane Slim & Light Drinking Water Safe Garden Hose

This non-expandable garden hose is made from FDA and NSF certified polyurethane resin. This means you can use it to water your garden or to supply you with drinking water. It contains no BPA, lead, Phthalates, or any other form of toxic chemical. All brass fittings and remains flexible in sub-freezing temperatures. This hose can also handle hot water to 140°F.

Pros Cons
NSF and FDA certified
Lightweight polyurethane resin
Contains no toxic materials

Down to the Last Kink

Or in this case, maybe not a kink at all. Expandable garden hoses are more than worth the cost but, be prepared as few of them perform quite as well as advertised. Yet they are still better than lugging a heavy-duty rubber hose all over your yard. I hope this information helps you find the right hose for your garden needs. Have information you would like to see here, drop me a line here and I might add it. Don't forget to tell your friends if you like what you see.

How to Grow Mushrooms

How to Grow Mushrooms

honey-mushrooms-57222_640

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WANTING to learn how to grow mushrooms at home? Do you feel like you are simply in the dark about it? Unlike most fruits and vegetables, you eat, mushrooms are more commonly grown indoors in the dark. However, depending on the variety, you can grow them outdoors as well.

Learning how to grow mushrooms at home can be challenging, mostly due to the incredible range of varieties you have to choose from. Each of which has their own growing requirements, some of which you might find overly difficult to replicate in your home.  However, before you can grow mushrooms at home, you need to decide which ones you are going to grow.

Finding the Best Mushroom to Grow

The first step in learning how to grow mushrooms at home is deciding which variety or varieties you are going to grow. Among the most common varieties to grow at home are:

White Button (Agricus bisporus)

mushrooms-2942347_640

Also known as a pizza mushroom, this is the most commonly grown mushrooms in North America. It also flies under the name Crimini and Portabello according to the USDA whose figures show it to account for 90% of all mushroom production.

Oyster Mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus)

mushroom-372044_640

Oyster mushrooms are among the least expensive varieties found in most supermarkets. The lowly oyster mushroom is revered for its sweet flavor and ability to add subtle flavors to many dishes. These delays fungi come in a range of colors.

Unlike many “shrooms” the stems of these are just as flavorful as the rest of the mushroom. While most you find in the stores are smaller, cultivated oyster mushrooms can reach 18-inches in diameter with caps that are thick and meaty.

Shiitake Mushrooms (Lentinula edodes)

mushroom

The Shiitake mushroom is the third most widely used variety in the world, especially in Asian foods. They can be eaten raw, dried, and cooking. They are very rich in many vitamins and minerals. Bear in mind the high level of nutrients is significantly reduced the more you cook these mushrooms.

Choosing Your Substrate

mushroomImage courtesy of Shroomery.org

The substrate is the medium in which you place the spores so that they will grow into your favorite fungi.

If part of your learning how to grow mushrooms includes one of those ready to go mushroom growing kit, it should come with everything you need to get started, including the spores or spawn and the substrate. But if you are starting from scratch and creating your own substrate, here are a couple of types for you to consider using. No matter whether you plan to use cardboard or straw for your substrate, it must first be pasteurized.

Cardboard

mushroom-in-corrugated-cardboardImage courtesy of Rainbow Valley Farm

  1. Using corrugated cardboard, cut it into small pieces of approximately the same size.
  2. Put cardboard pieces in a bucket with a brick on top or something else to weigh them down.
  3. Cover the cardboard completely in boiling water.
  4. Cover the bucket with a lid and leave it to cool down for eight hours.
  5. Wash your hands using an antibacterial soap.
  6. Squeeze as much of the water out of the cardboard as you can.
    Image courtesy Barefoot Foods

Straw

mushroom-in-strawImage courtesy of Pinterest

  1. Use wheat or rye.
  2. Cut into lengths of 3 to 4 inches (put grain in a metal trash can and use a weed whacker to shred).
  3. Place in a nylon mesh sack or pillow case and tie off.
  4. Place in a pot of water on top of the stove.
  5. Heat with water at 160 – 170F (70 to 75C) for one hour.
  6. Drain thoroughly and let it cool to no more than 80F (27C) Before using.

Inoculating Your Substrate

growing_mushrooms_by_mrca044Image courtesy of Growing Mushrooms by Mrca

Inoculating the substrate is a fancy way of saying “adding the spawn to the substrate,” which is a little like saying you are going to plant seeds in your garden. As you might imagine, there is more than one way to inoculate the substrate based on which one you are using. Always be sure you thoroughly wash your hands before you start to kill off any germs on your hands that could kill the spores.

For Those Who Chose a Kit

Follow the instructions included in your kit. Most start with sterilizing the included syringe and then using it to inject the mushroom spawn directly into the bag through a tiny hole or into several locations on the substrate.

Cardboard

Using a large food-grade plastic bag, stack layers of the wet cardboard with a small amount of spawn on each new layer before covering it with the next.  Do not overfill and then tie off the bags.

Straw

Using isopropyl alcohol (minimum 70%) wipe down a table and cover it with straw. Break up your spawn and sprinkle it over the straw. Mix it all together and then place in food-grade plastic bags. It is okay to fill the bags, just don't overfill them to the point where the contents are compressed.  Tie off the top of the bags.

After you have tied off the tops of the bags, use a sharp tool to poke holes in the bags every 2 to 3 inches. Be sure to poke a few in the bottom to let the contents drain. This is important as the mushrooms need plenty of ventilation to grow properly.

The Right Location

One of the most important things about growing mushrooms is having the right place to grow them. There are a couple of things you need to take into consideration as you search for the proper spot to raise your shrooms.

Temperature

thermometer-789898_960_720

After you have completed inoculating your mushroom spawn, it must be given time to colonize your substrate with mycelium. Most strains of mushrooms require a temperature of between 60 and 75F (16 to 24C).

Even the slightest deviation from this could adversely affect your yield or lead to a variety of different types of contamination.

Light

53c89c6844a765e30a5c4d948a12bee7Images courtesy of Mississippi Mushrooms

Light is an important factor when it comes to growing mushrooms. While most people are under the impression that mushrooms are like vampires and prefer to do their thing in the dark, in most cases this simply isn't true. The mycelium will grow in virtually any level of light, with the exception of direct sunlight.

  • Many growers prefer to put low lights on a timer to simulate the cycle of the typical day.
  • One thing to keep in mind is that if you use too much light on a straw substrate, it may actually cause the grain to sprout. This will make it much easier for your mycelium to grow.
  • Since the perfect temperature varies by strain, make sure you read the directions that came with your spawn.

Moisture Levels

mushroomImage courtesy of Barefoot Foods

It can take anywhere between two and five weeks for the mycelium to spread throughout your substrate. The mycelium will form large areas of white feathery roots. The only thing you need to do during this is a check to make sure the substrate is not dry. If it feels dry, simply use a water spray bottle to mist it through the holes you made in the bag. Do not overwater, add more drainage holes as needed.

  • Keep in mind that the only color for mycelium is white, if you see any other color growing in your substrate, it has probably molded. In which case, you would need to start from the beginning.

On to the Real Thing

mushroom_farmImage courtesy of Mushroom Adventure

Time to turn all of your hard work growing mycelium to work. You need to wait until your efforts have produced a nice thick mat.

mushroom_mycelliumImage courtesy of Nature Ponics

Once you reach this stage, the mycelium will need a change in the environment in which to fruit (produce your crop of mushrooms).

Lighting

grow-timer-lightImage courtesy of Amazon

Your mushrooms will not grow without light. You should keep the level of light at approximately the same level as you would use to read a book. Use a timer set to simulate normal daylight hours.

Along with a timer, you should use indirect daylight bulbs, grow lights, or LED lighting.

Fresh Air

Mushroom-BlowerImage courtesy of Amazon

Open the top of the bag and make sure the area you are growing your shrooms in has a steady changeover in fresh air. Use a fan to keep the air moving.   

Temperature

thermometer-789898_960_720

Drop the temp to around 55 to 61F (13-16C) for optimum reproductive conditions.

Humidity

humid

Increase humidity using a humidifier or hanging sheets of plastic around the bag. You need 90 to 95% humidity for optimum results.

Water Occasionally

water sprayImage courtesy of Amazon

You can both under over water mushrooms at this stage of the game. The best way to avoid doing is to simply spray water on the inside of the bag. DO NOT soak the substrate or any mushrooms that are beginning to pop up.

If your mushrooms start turning brown in color or you see new mushrooms sprouting out of old brown ones, you're not keeping the substrate moist enough.

On the other side, if you touch the caps of your mushrooms, and they are sticky or slimy to the touch, you have been getting a bit carried away with the water.

Harvest and Enjoy

mushroomsImage courtesy of Agrodir

Your mushrooms will start out as tiny little “pins” when they first come up out of the substrate. Not to worry, they will grow into fully edible sizes within just a few days.

To pick them, press down on the substrate with one hand and with the other twist the mushroom stalks off at the base.

You can eat them immediately, store them in the fridge for a few days, or dry them for future use.

Continue harvesting and enjoying the fruits of your labor through two “fruitings” over the course of three to four months.

Keep the substrate nice and moist, and you can keep picking until you no longer have any to pick.

Enjoy!

I hope this has encouraged you to try farming your own mushrooms. You can use a corner of your basement or your shed. The spot you choose just needs to be able to properly climate controlled and have the right level of light.

If you are looking for more information on how to grow mushrooms then take a look at this guide

If you like learning how to grow mushrooms and what we have presented here, wait until you see your first mushrooms popping up! Also, let us know if you like it!

‘The Back Saver’ Garden Bed Plans

‘The Back Saver’ Garden Bed Plans

How to Build a Tall Garden Bed Out of Stuff You Might Have Around Your Home
back_saver

TIRED OF BACKACHES from working in the garden?

Bad back killing your chances of having the garden you have always dreamed of?

or maybe you just don't want to bend over to enjoy your garden anymore…

Either way, you are not alone. Thousands of gardeners of all ages (including me) suffer these same issues. One of the best solutions is the raised garden bed, which depending on the design can raise the bed up by approximately 20 to 24 inches.

This is a far more comfortable height for those with back problems to work at and is also the right height to sit in a chair, wheelchair, or power scooter as well.

Although there are a number of raised garden bed kits on the market, they tend to be a bit costly and may not be available in large enough sizes for the serious gardener. I found that not only does this design provide plenty of space, almost 12'x2.5′, but it is very sturdy and can be made using scrap lumber you probably have laying around.

Lumber and Dimensions

Piece Qty. Length Width Height Material
Rails 20 780 80 50 Pine
Top & Base Rails 4 3560 80 50 Pine
Side Rails 4 700 80 50 Pine
Front & Back Panels 12 3400 140 25 Pine
Side Panels 12 650 140 25 Pine
Beading (Long) 2 3350 40 12 Pine
Beading (Short) 2 620 40 12 Pine

Sizes in millimeters

Other Materials Needed

  • Approx. 26 bricks
  • Approx. 10m of Black Plastic
  • 50mm zinc coated countersink screws
  • 125mm countersink screws

Tools Needed

  • Circular saw (with the right blade if you choose pressure treated lumber)
  • Tape measure
  • Carpenter's square
  • Screw gun
  • Drill
  • Set of drill bits

Choosing the Right Lumber

While I chose to use some older pine lumber I had laying around, you can buy all new pine lumber if you prefer. If you plan to use any type of treated lumber, be sure to use lumber that is certified as being safe for use around food plants.

Building the Frame

Building a Garden Bed from Garden Bed Plans

The only place you can start building this raised garden bed is by building the framework first. Be sure you have plenty of space to work in as this bed measures approximately 12 feet long by 2 1/2 feet wide and you need room to lay out the pieces as you build them.

Parts Needed:

(20) Rails 780x80x50mm

(4) Top & Base Rails 3560mm

(4) Side Rails 700x80x50mm

(Box) 125mm countersink screws

Putting the Sides Together

  1. Start by cutting all boards listed above to exact measurements.
  2. Lay out one side using rails to separate them.
  3. Using a carpenter's square, screw the end rails in place.
  4. Measure the distance between the end rails and then separate the rest of rails equidistant from each other and screw them in place.
  5. Continue to use a square during this process to keep the entire frame squared.
  6. Repeat for the other side.

Tips for Building the Side Frames

  1. Always measure twice and cut once, there isn't much room for error here.
  2. Pre-drill the primary board, this will make putting it all together easier and reduce the risks of splitting the primary board.
  3. If you are using pressure treated lumber, be sure you buy a saw blade that is designed for this type of wood or you run the risk of burning the lumber more than cutting it. You might also burn out the saw.

Putting the Frame Together

There are two ways you can go about putting the frame together, depending on whether you have help or not.

raised_garden

The Easy Way

  1. With one side laying flat on the ground, screw all four side rails to the corners using a level or square to keep them perpendicular to the side frame.
  2. Lift the side, turning it 90 degrees.
  3. Have a helper hold it upright or use a couple of boards to help keep it upright.
  4. Bring the other side up against the side rails.
  5. Starting with the side rails on the bottom screw the framework together.
  6. Double check the entire assembly for square.
  7. Add the two center rails in the ends.

The Hard Way

  1. Attach all four side rails to one of the side frame assemblies.
  2. Check them for square as you go.
  3. Have two or more assistants lift the other side rail up and hold it in place.
  4. Start screwing the side rails in place checking for square as you go.
  5. Add the two center rails in the ends.
  6. Roll the entire assembly 90 degrees.

Installing the Panels

Once you have the entire frame put together, it's time to add the panels that will turn your framework into a complete box.

raised_garden_installing_panels

Parts Needed:

(12) 3400x140x25mm Front & Back Panels

(12) 650x140x25mm Side Panels

(1 box) 50mm zinc coated countersink screws

 

Assembly Steps

  1. Start with the back panels and working from the bottom up, install each panel and screw each panel to every rail for added strength.
  2. Repeat this process for the front panels.
  3. Repeat this process for the side panels completing the basic raised garden bed box.

 

Adding the Black Plastic Liner

raised_garden_plastic_liner

The last step in building this raised garden bed is adding the black plastic liner or base. This will be where you place the soil and grow your plants. There are two options here, the first is a shallow raised bed, which is preferred, the second is a full-depth bed that I don't advise for a couple of reasons. First, the amount of soil you would need to fill this bed all the way from the bottom to the top would be approximately 75 cubic feet, which is a lot of soil to move. Secondly, the cost of this much soil would be prohibitive.  

However, if you only allow for a depth of six inches, your garden bed would only need approximately 15 cubic feet of soil, costing you far less and making it much easier to move your garden should you need to.

 

Parts Needed:

(2) 3350x40x12mm pine beading

(2) 620x40x12mm pine beading

(1) roll black plastic, approx. 10m

(1) box 50mm zinc coated countersink screws

(1) Staple gun with staples

 

Method One

(1) Decide how deep you want it to be and staple the plastic along each side of the raised garden bed. (I recommend doubling or tripling the edges for more support.

(2) Staple the ends in place next.

(3) Attach the long beads along the front and back using the 50mm screws.

(4) Attach the short beads along the sides using the 50mm screws.

 

Method Two

  1. Cut the plastic to size allowing enough extra to wrap around the beading.
  2. Starting with the side, wrap the plastic around the back beading and then screw it in place on the inside of the box.
  3. Repeat this with the front and both ends.
  4. This method supplies more support for the plastic, but it doesn't look quite as pretty as hiding it between the beading and the panels.

'the backsaver' garden bed plans

Tips

  1. Be sure that if you are using pressure treated lumber that it is rated as safe for use around food plants.
  2. Pre-drilling through the primary board first will make it much easier for you to assemble the framework. It will also help to reduce the risk of splitting the lumber you are using.
  3. Use the bricks to create a solid foundation for your raised garden bed to stand on.
  4. Level the ground you plan to use before you put your raised garden bed in place.
  5. You may find it easier to put the framework in place before you add the paneling as it will be much easier to move around.
  6. If your bed isn't level when you place it on the brick foundation, you can either dig out under one or more of the bricks or you can use wood shims to raise the bed.
  7. You don't need to drill holes in the plastic for drains (although it can't hurt) as in most cases as long as you are careful when watering, you shouldn't have a problem.
  8. When using a circular saw to cut pressure treated lumber, be sure to use a carbide tipped blade that is designed for use with this type of wood. The wrong blade could bind up in the wood and cause it to burn rather than cut. It could also burn out the motor of your electric circular saw.

Conclusion

I love my ‘Back Saving' raised garden bed, I can finally enjoy gardening without my back killing me. As long as you are a bit “handy” with tools, you can build this entire project over the course of a weekend. Push yourself a bit and you could get it done in a day. I hope this gives you a good idea of how easy it is to build a raised garden bed that will take the strain out of gardening. I had a blast building mine, I hope you enjoy building yours too.

If you build ‘the backsaver', then please let me know here, or send some images in on pinterest or facebook.

Best Mortar Hoes

The 5 Best Mortar Hoes Available Online & Why They are at the Top of their FieldBest mortar hoe - Worker using hoe for mixing cement power with sand

HAVE YOU TRIED TO MIX a large batch or mortar using a shovel, regular garden hoe or even a trowel? Pretty tough, isn't it? A good mortar hoe will make the job much easier and significantly reduce the strain on your body.

Although they are quite a niche product, mortar hoes will help with cement, and concrete. You can also mix through fertilizer through soil to create that perfect potting mix.

Just like any other tool in the garden shed, having the right mortar hoe can make all the difference in the world. And I especially recommend them for people with bad backs as mortar hoes eliminate most of the bending over in the mixing process.

There Are Only Three Things You Need to Consider

The mortar hoe is not much different from a garden hoe in that it has no moving parts and if you buy the right one, will provide you with many years of service.  These parts are the handle, the hoe blade, and the way in which the head is mounted to the handle.

The Head or Blade

Much like the standard garden hoe, the head or blade of the mortar hoe is the most important piece of the puzzle. A blade made from the wrong materials or that is improperly designed will not take away from your workload. Instead, it may actually add to the workload and make mixing a spreading mortar that much harder.

The blade should:

  • Be the right size for the job
  • Be made from top-quality steel
  • Have holes in it to allow the mortar to pass through for better mixing
  • Be strong enough not to bend while being used
  • Will not rust over a short period of time

The Mortar Hoe Handle

Mortar hoe handles come in a wide range of lengths from 24 inches long to 66 inches long and more. When choosing a mortar hoe, be sure the handle you choose is long enough for the job you have in mind and that it feels good in your hands and is not likely to cause a problem if you have to use your hoe for a long time.

Handles are made from aluminum, fiberglass, and aluminum, each of which has their advantages and disadvantages. For example, wood may flex a little but can stand up to a lot of flex before breaking. Fiberglass is very lightweight, but it is more flexible and may shatter under a heavy load.  Aluminum is lightweight and flexible but may bend when being used for heavy work.

Handles also come in straight and “D” handle designs, both of which work well. Your decision should be based on which of these designs work best for you and the job you have in mind.

Bear in mind that mortar hoes can be used for a wide range of projects beyond simply mixing and smoothing out mortar. You can use this type of hoe to mix concrete, mix things like sphagnum peat moss into your soil, mixing sand into your soil, or even mixing small rocks and gravel together and spreading them out.

Features to look for in a mortar hoe handle:

  • Flexibility to absorb the shock of being used without breaking
  • The right length for the job you have in mind
  • Be properly finished to protect it from the elements
  • Be properly fastened to the head of the hoe

One of the biggest issues with mortar hoes is the possibility of the head pulling away from the handle, which makes it really hard to mix or spread the mortar (trust me there is nothing worse than having to retrieve the head of your hoe from the middle of a freshly mixed batch of whatever you're mixing). Look for hoes with heads that are riveted or bolted in place.

Heads also come in various widths and heights based on the type of work they are designed to do, all the way up to those with heads over 12 inches wide for smoothing out large areas of work.  In fact, you might find that you need several different mortar hoes to get everything you need to get the job at hand done right.

While most mortar hoes come with steel heads, not all heads are created the same. Some are much thicker than others. Beware of heads made from thin gauge steel as they are likely to bend and break, whereas those made from thicker steel will hold up to heavy work more effectively and are less likely to rust or fall apart.

With all of this in mind, let's take a look at 5 of the top mortar hoes for you to consider in your search for the right one for the job you have in mind.

My Picks for Top 5 Mortar Hoes

Bully Tools 92360 12-Gauge Mason Hoe with Fiberglass Handle

Top-quality American made mortar hoe with a triple-wall fiberglass handle

Bully_Tools_92360_Gauge_MasonBULLY TOOLS 92360 Mason Hoes

Not only does this mortar hoe come with an extra-thick 12-gauge head, it also features a triple-wall fiberglass handle for added durability. The fiberglass handle is reinforced with 14-gauge steel, it also features an extended length ferrule beam supports to help keep the head firmly fixed in place. The two large holes make using this hoe to mix mortar or cement far easier than if you were to use a shovel or standard garden hoe.

Pros Cons
24-gauge steel head A single rivet holds the head in place
14-gauge steel extended length ferrules Steel-reinforced fiberglass handle heavy
Rubber grip at top of handle

Marshalltown – The Premier Line 14279 6-Inch by 10-Inch Mortar Hoe with 66-Inch Hardwood Handle

Natural hardwood handle and carbon steel head for added durability

MARSHALLTOWN_14279_mortar_hoeMARSHALLTOWN The Premier Line 14279 Mortar Hoe

This mortar hoe features a 66-inch long natural hardwood handle that has just enough flexibility to take some of the strain out of mixing. The head is formed from a single piece of forged carbon steel for added durability. Two large holes in the blade make mixing mortar, cement, and concrete easier. The steel ferrule is riveted to head to keep it solidly in place. This is a contractor grade tool that definitely lives up to its reputation.

Pros Cons
Carbon-steel head Single rivet in ferrule may fail under load
Hardwood handle Sharp corners leave mix in wheelbarrow
Perforated blade for easy mixing Heavy

Kobalt 54-in Wood-Handle Mortar Hoe

Solid ash handle from the forests of North America

Kobalt_54_Mortar_HoeKOBALT  54 Inches Mortar Hoe

This tough as nails mortar hoe features a 1-piece forged steel head for superior strength and maximum durability. The 54-inch long North American ash hardwood handle has just the right amount of flex to be comfortable while you work. Like all good mortar hoes, the dual perforated holes are perfectly placed to make mixing your mortar or cement easier. The handle and head are pinned together to ensure the head stays in place.

Pros Cons
1-piece forged head Handle may be short for taller people
Solid ash handle Wood handle may split if left out in rain
Handle and head pinned together

Kraft Tool BC229 61/2-inch by 43/4-inch Short Mortar Hoe with a 21-inch Wood Handle

Short and sweet – perfect for those smaller tasks

Kraft_Tool_BC229_Mortar_HoeKRAFT TOOL Mortar Hoe with 21-Inch Handle

They say good things often come in small packages, and this mortar hoe is a good example of this old saying. The 21-inch hardwood handle is perfect for working in smaller areas where precision is needed. Like full-size hoes, this one features dual holes for ease of mixing. The long tang and steel ferrule are designed to help keep the head firmly fixed in place. It is perfect for mixing mortar or cement in wheelbarrow thanks to the shorter handle.

Pros Cons
Strong steel blade Not for big jobs
Hardwood handle Head is not riveted or bolted to the handle
Long tang and steel ferrule

Marshalltown – The Premier Line 14281 D-Handle Heavy Duty Mortar Hoe

Short and Sturdy Gets It Done

MARSHALLTOWN_The_Premier_Line_14281MARSHALLTOWN The Premier Line 14281

For those who need a little more control, this D-handle mortar hoe might be just what you need. The 18-inch hardwood handle with a sturdy D-shaped handle lets you take more control when mixing and finishing. The head is forged from a single piece of carbon steel and is held in the steel ferrule with rivets for added strength and durability. The black powder finish will help protect the metal from corrosion.

Pros Cons
18-inch hardwood handle with D grip Rivets may come loose
Holes for easy mixing Paint may not protect from corrosion
D-grip offers better control

Other Options

Bucket Mortar Mixer

Power mortar mixing at its best

Bucket_Mortar_MixerBucket Mortar Mixer

When all you need is to mix up a bucket of mortar this tool and a strong 1/2-inch chuck drill will whip up a 5-gallon bucket of mortar in a hurry. The corkscrew lifts the dry mortar up from the bottom of the bucket to the top for a smoother and faster blend. The foam-covered handle features oiled bearings for smoother operation.  

Pros Cons
Power mixing = less hard work You must have a 1/2″ chuck electric drill
Mix four gallons of dry pack in 30 seconds Can be hard to handle at first
Oil-impregnated bronze bearings in handle Can only mix four gallons at a time

The Final Mix

For my money (since that's all I have to spend), the Bully Tools 92360 is the clear winner. While it is a little on the heavy side, but I didn't mind the extra weight since I didn't have to worry about it breaking or bending. I also love the heavy-duty steel blade that doesn't give when I am mixing a wheelbarrow full of fresh cement. This mortar hoe meets all the needs I listed up above. It has a strong blade, a strong handle, and is made to last. I have one of these in my shed along with the Bucket Mortar Mixer for the small jobs.

I hope that the information above has taught you something about what to look for when you go out shopping for the best mortar hoe. Find one that meets everything above and feels good in your hands and you have a winner.

 

Landscaping Ideas Around Trees

16 Landscaping Ideas Around Trees

Landscaping ideas for side of house - Landscaped side of house with gate

Create a beautiful and neat appearance under the shady areas of your tree...

WHAT DO YOU DO around your beautiful trees in your yard? We were surprised when we saw how many options there are available for shaded spots around trees. Here are the best 16 landscaping ideas around trees we could find. Enjoy.

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Image courtesy of Pinterest

1. Where the Grass Won't Grow

The area under and around many trees can be hard to get grass to grow. So, why not create a garden filled with plants like coleus that love the shade? This bountiful garden adds a real touch of beauty to what might otherwise have been a barren eyesore.

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Image courtesy of Decoist

2. A Patio with Plenty of Natural Shade

Here the homeowner has chosen to create a huge patio out of natural stone. But rather than cutting down the trees to make room for the patio, he chose to build the patio around the trees, providing plenty of shade for family dinners in the great outdoors.

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Image courtesy of Pinterest

3. Making the Most of Mulch

The rocks and gravel create the illusion of a path that leads off into the distance and the mulch nicely covers the areas where the grass won't grow to create a place of quiet contemplation. The bench is the perfect finishing touch as well as a place in the shade to sit and meditate.

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Image courtesy of Houzz

4. A Place in the Shade

Here it looks as though the homeowner has covered the shaded mound in his yard with fresh wood chips. Not only is this a great way to keep the soil from being washed away in the rain, it also keeps weeds from gaining a foothold. He even used wood chips as the basis for his patio under the trees.

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Image courtesy of Pinterest

5. A Tale of Two Trees

This homeowner decided to make the most of these trees by creating a tiny patch of garden in the middle of his yard. He added a path that cuts between the trees and leads right towards the doors to his garden shed. The small plants he has chosen will not overshadow the path but will add lots of color.

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Image courtesy of Pinterest

6. A Park Bench, A Big Shade Trees, and Plenty of Flowers

You don't need to have a big garden to have beautiful flowers in your shady place to sit. This person has made use of several different types of planter to create a spot in the shade for quiet contemplation. The bird houses are sure to attract plenty of tuneful visitors.

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Image courtesy of Pinterest

7. A Simple Way to Deal with a Slope

As you can see this yard slopes towards the road. Not the best place for a garden, but the homeowner has overcome the slope by building a brick wall and backfilling it to create a nice level garden for flowers and plants under his tree.

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Image courtesy of Living Designs By Linda

8. Loving It in the Shade

By creating a round garden space under the tree, this person has created the perfect place for plants that flourish in the shade. Note how the pavers match well with the natural rock wall surrounding the area.

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Image courtesy of Gardening Lists

9. A Tisket, a Tasket, a Basket Around the Tree

What a unique way to create a raised garden bed around the tree. By weaving wood strips in and out around posts, this homeowner has created the illusion of his tree growing out of a basket. While he has chosen grass for the raised bed, you could just as easily have planted flowers or even a few strawberries.

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Image courtesy of Cypruss Group Inc.

10. The Layered Look

Using multiple layers and plenty of colorful flowers and plants, the person who designed this has created the image of his tree growing on top of a small hill. The taller plants go at the back, while the shorter ones sit up front on what appears to be level ground, despite the illusion of a small mound.

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Image courtsey of Decoist

11. Room for Everyone

Looks like having a table and chairs is not always enough for the crowds this homeowner is expecting. The walls around this patio appear to have benches built into them all the way around, providing extra seating for several more guests. (I bet he hosts lots of big cookouts)

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Image courtesy of Helpful Gardener

12. Container Gardening is a Great Alternative

When you have a lot of shade trees in the yard, putting your flowers in planters you can move around makes sense. This way you can move them into the sunlight when they need it and create barriers with them under the trees when the time comes for them to take a break from the sun.

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Image courtesy of Pinterest

13. The Original Magic Kingdom

This majestic arrangement would not be so spectacular if it wasn't for the moss hanging down from the tree in the background. The riotous colors of the various flowers and plants only add to the picture and help to hide the tree trunk so that it appears to float out of the flower bed.

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Image courtesy of Pinterest

14. Poetry in Symmetry

There is a lot to be said for symmetry when you have a large yard filled with rows of trees. This person took what could have been nothing more than rows of boring trees and turned them into something spectacular by adding circular gardens under each one filled with the same flowers all the way along the rows.

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Image courtesy of Pinterest

15. Creating a New World with Rock Pavers

Not all pavers are boring and flat. These rough-hewn looking pavers form the perfect circular raised garden bed around the tree. The rustic look works well for this older styled home and adds plenty of room for flowers and small shrubs. Pavers are very easy to work with and relatively inexpensive.

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Image courtesy of Pinterest

16. The Greeks Had a Word for It

The Greeks have their own word for relaxing, " χαλαρωτικό or in English chalarotikó", which is exactly what this cozy spot in the shade was meant for. Look closely at the Greek inspired bench and planter, now think about how relaxing this spot in the shade might be on a sunny summer day. You can buy cement recreations like this at many DIY superstores.

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Related Articles:

Landscaping Ideas for Large Backyard

15 Landscaping Ideas for Large Backyard and Yard Areas

LAndscaing ideas for large yards

Create wonders in your large background. 

Quick Navigation

MORE SPACE GENERALLY MEANS MORE work. More mowing and more maintenance. But here is the beauty of having more space. More space to do what you want. If your thinking of ideas, then these 15 landscaping ideas for large backyard and garden areas is a great place to start.

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Image courtesy of Pinterest

#1 It's All about Those Curves

When you have a large backyard to work with, why not make the most of it. Use large flagstones to create sweeping walkways, maybe even add in a decorative fountain or bird bath. Here the pergola style porch covering can help block out the sun or rain so you can still enjoy an outdoor cookout.

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Image courtesy of Garden Decors

#2 Natural Beauty and Room to Play

If you have kids, dogs, or both, they need plenty of room to play. This yard has the perfect blend of beautiful lawn to play on surrounded by a wonderful variety of shrubs and plants in complementary gardens.

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Image courtesy of Brand-Garden.Com

#3 An Intersection of Shapes

This blend of angular and curved geometric shapes creates a unique outdoor patio with plenty of room to host a party. You could use the small fountain/pond for goldfish or koi and place an outdoor kitchen under the canopy for even more outdoor entertaining versatility.

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Image courtesy of Garden Decors.Net

#4 Nothing Beats a Park Bench

That is unless it sits at the end of a spectacular paving stone pathway in your backyard. Note how this homeowner created plenty of shade by surrounding his bench by tall trees and shrub. (Be a great place to relax with a good book and a glass of iced sweet tea!)

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Image courtesy of ErikHansen.Info

#5 Gravel Gardens Add Lovely Contrast

Love the way this homeowner used gravel in his gardens to help cut down on the amount of weeding he has to do. Not only does gravel reduce the workload, it also makes an amazing contrast to the bright green lawn and cuts down on water usage.

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Image courtesy of Homestratosphere

#6 Not Quite the Golden Arches But

Adding an archway trellis to separate sections of your backyard presents you with a golden opportunity to add climbing plants like sweet smelling honeysuckle to your yard. During the spring and all summer long, you will be treated to beautiful flowers that have an amazing smell and will attract lots of honeybees.

Most Garden Design Ideas For Large Gardens Pictures

Image courtesy of Madlon's Big Bear

#7 So Relaxing and Inviting

This homeowner decided to add on to his deck and install a complete outdoor relaxation zone to his home. The brick patio allows for a lovely firepit that can take the chill out of a summer or autumn night, but note the gas grille sitting on the deck ready to cook gourmet meals.

Luxury-Large-Garden-Landscaping-Ideas

Image courtesy of Modern Home Interior Design

#8 The Magic Roundabout

This homeowner chose to go with a statelier backyard such as you might expect to see in the courtyard of a European estate or castle. The use of short hedges with the large corner maker topiary style balls adds to the impression, but also adds to the amount of work needed to keep them all in shape.

large_garden_design_images

Image courtesy of Home Design and Decorating

#9 The Elephants are On Parade

What could possibly look better than having a family of elephants (or any other animal you happen to love) parading across your backyard? Maybe knowing a talented topiary artist who can create and maintain them for you. Living art has been popular for centuries and continues to look amazing even in today's high-tech world.

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Image courtesy of Sha-Excelsior.Org

#10 Take Dinner Outside

This homeowner has created the perfect outdoor patio for family dinner times. The patio has plenty of room to build in an outdoor kitchen and overhanging trees that can provide just the right amount of shade on sunny summer evenings.

landscaping-large-gardens-designs-for-large-home-landscape

Image courtesy of CarolinaCouture.Com

#11 This a Miniature Golf Course?

If not, it should be, look at the way each section of grass weaves its way through the carefully shaped gardens filled with colorful flowers. The narrow pathways only add to the illusion, anyone for a quick round of 18 mini-golf holes?

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Image courtesy of Best Home Ideas

#12 This Backyard is A-maze-ing

Someone was having way too much fun when they put this a-maze-ing backyard festooned with brick pathways that will never wash out and plenty of neatly trimmed hedges. The statues along the edges give the yard a “Greco-Roman” look. (One can only wonder what style the house was built in)

large_garden_e2a7a2b04d935b44dd889d8fc39b1562

Image courtesy of Pinterest

#13 Multiple Sections for Different Times of Day

This design is all about angles and creating separate seating areas for different times of the day or maybe different purposes. Not the way the homeowner has incorporated different forms of seating in each area and made use of angles throughout the design.

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Image courtesy of Pinterest

#14 Working with Multiple Levels

This backyard seems to be filled with slopes and water (perhaps this is a creek that runs through it). Note the way there is a platform across the water that creates the perfect spot for sunbathing. The stair style decking helps make navigating the slope easier and adds much more usable space to the yard.

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Image courtesy of Paris Salon

#15 Multi-Level Family Fun

Take a good look at how this homeowner is using multiple levels to give his family plenty of room to play. The huge deck is perfect for mom and dad to relax on while the kids play in the lower section, while the mid-level patio provides a place for the family to share meals.

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Landscaping Ideas for Ranch Style Homes

17 Landscaping Ideas for Ranch Style Homes

Landscaping ideas for ranch style homes

Make a classic charming ranch style homes landscaping...

ADDING LANDSCAPING TO A HOME can really finish it off and add color and depth. Here are 17 landscaping ideas for ranch style homes that will help if your not sure where to start.

ranch_house_style_landscaping

Image courtesy of Pinterest

1. Stunning Shade Trees

If you are looking to create the classic "ranch home" look, nothing is better than having plenty of shade trees surrounding your home. Adding in the hedges not only helps keep the winds down and add a classic touch to your home.

landscaping-ideas-for-front-yard-ranch-style-house-inepensive-homes

Image courtesy of Pinterest

2. Simple Yet Elegant

Adding flower gardens are a great way to get started beautifying your front yard. They don't have to be huge or heavily planted. This homeowner added a few nice curves to the front of his home and then covered it with mulch to keep the weeds out.

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Image courtesy of Pinterest

3. Multilayered Plants Add a Nice Touch

The homeowner used plants of various heights to create the gardens going around his home. Not only does this look amazing on its own, but using layers like this give the garden an illusion of depth.

ranch_house_landscaping_8b91bbaac08bb39f29e76611c3a68642

Image courtesy of Pinterest

4. Gravel and Mulch

This homeowner started with a red gravel driveway instead of cement or tar then created gardens that were curved to match the path going to the front door. The bright yellow plants add a nice touch of color to the gardens and draw the attention of passersby.

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Image courtesy of Pinterest

5. Keeping the Public at Bay

Note the way this homeowner uses large rocks to create a border between his yard and the sidewalk as if to say to the public, "stay back". The tiny patch of grass among the mulch looks a little like a golfing green. Anyone for golf?"

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Image courtesy of Fresh Home Design Ideas

6. It's All about the Flowers

A traditional ranch home has at least one flower garden in the front yard. This homeowner has used the space between the sidewalk and his house to create a garden filled with beautiful flowers and a tree that will provide tons of shade in the future.

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Image courtesy of Home Design Ideas 2017

7. Almost the Traditional White Picket Fence

Like apple pie and baseball, white picket fences are about as American as you can get. While this might not be exactly what most people have in mind, it adds a cute touch the front yard of this house. Note the use of topiaries in the gardens.

ranch-house

Image courtesy of Grolie Home

8. Like an Island in the Storm

Adding an island garden is a great way to break up a sea of grass like this one. You can add a single garden like this or several and then fill each with different plants to liven up what might otherwise be a boring lawn.

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Image courtesy of Houzz

9. Glorious Color Greets Visitors

This homeowner must love color judging by the garden filled with a riot of colorful flowers that greets visitors as they come up the sidewalk. You can put in gardens just about anywhere in your yard to add a touch of color and give it great curb appeal.

Image courtesy of Pinterest

10. A Seat with a View

This homeowner created a place to sit and enjoy the beauty he has created in his front yard. The flowering tree adds an intense burst of color each spring that lasts all summer long as the leaves replace the flowers.

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Image courtesy of Pinterest

11. Covering Up That Bare Spot

When your front (or for that matter back) yard has big trees, chances are good it has big bare spots under them. Just because grass won't grow there, doesn't mean shrubs and flowers can't be planted there along with plenty of mulch to hold the water in.

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Image courtesy of Pinterest

12. Say It with Shrubs

Flowers are great but they tend to have a short lifespan and can be challenging to care for. This house has a wide range of different colored shrubs to add color to his front yard. You could add a few colorful flowers to the gardens for a touch of color in the spring.

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Image courtesy of HomeLK.Com

13. Why Not Add a Patio

If your family likes to spend lots of time in the great outdoors, why not build a nice patio in your backyard. This is the perfect place for barbecues, morning coffee, afternoon tea, or a nice glass of wine of an evening.

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Image courtesy of HDGermany Photos Garden Landscaping Ideas

14. A View from the Porch

Nothing beats the smell of fresh flowers when you are sitting on your front porch. This home has a narrow garden that runs the length of the porch. Note the use of a plastic or tin border to keep the grass out of the garden.

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Image courtesy of Water Smart San Diego County

15. Create Your Own Desert Garden

Just because you live in a desert climate, doesn't mean you can't have a garden. This homeowner has planted a range of different types of cacti and succulents that can stand the hot sun and require very little water to remain healthy.

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Image courtesy of Best Garden Reference

16. The Perfect Family Playground

When you have a large yard that has more than one level, you can do like this homeowner and create different areas for everyone. The lower level is perfect for a play area, the center is ideal for a summer meal, and the deck offers a wide range of opportunities for relaxing after a hard day's work.

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Image courtesy of HQWalls.Org

17. Life's Simple Pleasures

Sometimes the simpler your landscaping idea is the better it looks. The small garden incorporates room for the trees and separates the lawn from the porch. Small pavers were used to create a walkway from the driveway to the front steps.

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Landscaping Ideas Around Patio

15 Landscaping Ideas Around Patio and Paved Areas

landscape_around_patio

A patio landscaping should look great and functional at the same time.

LOOKING FOR AN EXCUSE TO plant some beautiful plants? Or maybe create a little privacy for when your out relaxing on your patio? Either way here are 15 landscaping ideas around patio and paved areas to help achieve what you want.

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Image courtesy of Pinterest

#1. Create a Border

1. Start with a patio created using flagstones, add in a fire pit for cooler evenings and roasting marshmallows and then let your imagination run wild. This person chose to surround their patio with gardens filled with roses, flowers, and shrubs. What a great way to enjoy your morning cup of coffee watching the birds nesting in the trees.

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Image courtesy of GardensDecor.Com

#2. Creating an Outdoor Dining Room

One of the best ways to put a patio to good use is to turn at least one part of it into an outdoor dining room. Here we see a nice outdoor dining table and an after-meal table for entertaining. There is room for four to sit comfortably at both locations. (I love the use of curves and gardens to create a warm and welcoming environment)

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#3. Fun in the Sun

While you might love spending time in the sun and the pool, there is going to come a time when you need a little shade. This lovely gazebo adds just the right amount of shade without taking it all away. The use of bricks to build the patio and pathways adds a nice touch.

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Image courtesy of HGTV

#4. Natural Beauty Adds a Nice Touch

Using slabs of natural rock for the foundation of this deck is only the beginning. What really makes it special is the use of boulders and large rocks in the gardens along with a wide variety of plants. Adding planters full of flowers and shrubs adds a nice finishing touch.

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Image courtesy of Pinterest

#5. Staggering Beauty

While the built-in firepit appears to be the central focal point of this paving stone patio, it is overshadowed by the spectacular arrangement of flowers and shrubs planted around it. His homeowner used varying height plants arranged around it to create an image of space and privacy at the same time.

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Image courtesy of Pinterest

#6. Wicker, Hanging Plants, and Space

This amazing patio is the perfect combination of bricks, wicker furniture, and hanging plants. The brick patio is not only gorgeous to look at, it is very functional in all types of weather. But what really sets it off are the beautiful hanging and potted plants strategically placed all over it.

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Image courtesy of Pinterest

#7. Everyone Loves Curves

This is a true but simple fact, everyone loves curves, whether we are talking bodies, cars, or decks. The use of natural rocks to create curved walls for the gardens is a lovely touch to the flagstone patio surface. The low rock walls by the steps make the perfect place to set out potted flowers.

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Image courtesy of ZodesignArt.Com

#8. Tucked into the Corner

This homeowner has found a great way to make use of the corner space in his yard. He built a small patio that is just big enough for an outdoor table and chairs. Love the way it is tucked into the corner with a small garden and fountain to enjoy when sitting at the table. There is nothing wrong with making use of every available inch in your backyard.

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Image courtesy of Home Decor

#9. Say It with Slate

Okay so maybe not, but this patio made from slabs of slate is a great start to creating your perfect patio. The natural rock wall and tall shrubs and trees add plenty of natural beauty as well as help to block summer breezes. Finally, the garden filled with rose bushes keep the patio separate from the side of the house.

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Image courtesy of Onlines Decorators

#10. Trés Chic

This homeowner used bricks to create a lovely patio and surrounding walls. But the addition of lots of flowers, shrubs, and traditional bistro style furniture are what sets this patio apart from the rest. Note the way the homeowner added potted plants to the steps that lead down to the patio.

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Image courtesy of American Deck and Sunroom

#11. Patterns Within Patterns

The use of two different colors of brick turns what might have been an ordinary patio into a stunning work of art. The use of blue bricks to form a line that echoes the shape of the patio and the overall shield shape of the patio create a delightful complement to the all-wood decking.

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Image courtesy of Pinterest

#12. Stonehenge on Their Mind

When you look at upright rocks that are buried in the ground surrounding a patio, do you get a hint of Stonehenge? This homeowner made great use of a blend of horizontal and vertical rocks in the gardens to create this unusual and almost ancient look.

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Image courtesy of Pinterest

#13. A Private Little Hideaway

There is nothing quite like having a sloped area of your garden that can be used to create a quiet little hideaway complete with firepit, table, and chairs. The natural rock wall behind is a good way to keep the soil behind it from eroding away. Surrounding the area with flowers just adds to the natural beauty of the area.

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Image courtesy of Pinterest

#14. Wicker and Hedges

No matter where you live, there is nothing quite like the natural beauty of wicker outdoor furniture. The nice thing about wicker is that as long as you take a little time to clean it and wipe it down with linseed oil, it will last practically forever. The hedges make a great way to enclose the patio without blocking your view.

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Image courtesy of Pinterest

#15. Going Crazy with Pavers and Bricks

The materials you choose for your patio is just as important as the shape you decide on. Swoops and curves along with matching rock walls make this porch unique and truly beautiful. Note how the homeowner has created multiple layers and has carried the curved design throughout the entire deck. The low walls offer plenty of space for potted plants.

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Landscaping Ideas Around Deck

Landscaping Ideas to Transform the Area Around Your Deck Into A Masterpiece

landscaping ideas around deck

Maximize the outdoor living area of your landscape...

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MAKING A DECK LOOK BEAUTIFUL can really make a house. Not only for those looking from the yard but also some quick landscaping can give some privacy or create a bit more of a barrier. However you want to finish off your deck then here are some great landscaping ideas around decks to help get you started.

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Image courtesy Pinterest

#1. Simple Yet Spacious

Even though this house has plenty of yard space to work with, they have chosen to add a simple deck with a shade-roof structure on top. The shade this roof provides plenty of shade during those hot summer months, yet allows just enough light in that you could stretch out and read a book or perhaps a nice chat with your neighbors.

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Image courtesy of Beeyoutifullife.Com

#2. The Bistro Look

Many cafes and bistros have outdoor eating areas with tables that have umbrellas to block the sun and even light rain. Having two tables out here instead of one allows for a bigger family to enjoy the fresh air and a good meal. You could even create an adults table and a kids table so that everyone can have fun.

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Image courtesy of Hoehnen Landscaping

#3. Natural Wood Beauty

There is nothing quite like the beauty of well-preserved natural wood. This entire deck, complete with built-in benches looks like it is made from pine that has been sealed and varnished for added beauty. There is plenty of room for a table and chairs as well as a gas grill for outdoor cooking pleasure.

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Image courtesy of Pinterest

#4. No Diving Allowed

Just because the homeowner built his deck high enough to be used a diving platform for the pool below, doesn't mean someone should try it. The elevated deck looks great and adds an extra level of space underneath that can be used for many different things, including storage. The multi-level staircase makes great use of minimum space.

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Image courtesy of Pinterest

#5. Add Gardens to Your Deck

Once you have your deck built and in place, why not spruce it up with plants? Here you see the homeowner has added a garden filled with shrubs and small trees along the deck and numerous potted plants on the deck itself for added beauty.

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Image courtesy of Lowe's

#6. If the Whole World Had a Front Porch

There was a time when most homes had a front porch or deck. This was where you met your guests and enjoyed their company over a cup of coffee or glass of iced tea. As you can see in the picture, it is also the perfect place for hanging and potted plants.

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Image courtesy of Pinterest

#7. Simple Yet Purposeful

This is one of the simplest types of deck, designed to create usable space outside of the French doors that probably lead to the living or dining room. There is plenty of room for a bench, table and chairs, and even a small gas grill.

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Image courtesy of Houzz

#8. Let the Sun Shine All the Time

This elevated deck covers an area of the backyard that is otherwise mostly unusable and turns it into a large family-sized place for picnics, barbecues, and all-around fun. Note the sunbursts built into the railings, they add a very nice finished touch and provide plenty of safety for smaller children.

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Image courtesy of Pinterest

#9. A Detached Deck

No one ever said a deck has to be attached to the house. This detached deck offers a small area that is the perfect place for a couple to enjoy lunch or perhaps a chilled glass of their favorite wine on a sunny summer day. (I love the way they planted gardens filled with roses surrounding the deck)

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Image courtesy of Pinterest

#10. Tiered Beauty

While this particular deck doesn't appear to be anything too out of the ordinary, the rustic handrails add a nice touch. But look at the tiered gardens surrounding it made from pavers. What a great way to work with a yard that slopes away from the house.

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Image courtesy of Pinterest

#11. A Different Approach to a Sloping Yard

This homeowner took a different approach to dealing with a sloping backyard. The deck itself was built in multiple layers and includes a screened in gazebo so that the family can eat a tasty meal cooked on the grill without being attacked by flies and mosquitoes.

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Image courtesy of Pinterest

#12. Of Wood and Steel

Not only did this homeowner run his deck the length of his home, but he chose to use the perfect blend of wood and decorative steel railings. These railings are not only beautiful, but they add plenty of long-lasting safety for those who have small children or elderly family members living with them.

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Image courtesy of Pinterest

#13. A Little Privacy Goes a Long Way

The addition of privacy fencing to one end of this deck looks as if it was strategically placed to provide the homeowner with a small amount of privacy from the home next door. It also provides a convenient spot to mount the hangers needed for hanging plants.

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Image courtesy of Pinterest

#14. Magnificent and Massive

This deck was built to stand the test of time. The use of massive pressure treated legs and planks in its construction has created an extremely strong structure that can handle just about anything, including several inches of snow in the winter.

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Image courtesy Pinterest

15. Modern Materials

This deck starts out with a wood platform but appears to have the very latest in vinyl fencing for railing. Not only does using this type of fencing speed up the construction process, but vinyl does not rust or rot, meaning should last virtually forever and never need to be painted.

In Summary...

Thanks for reading and i hope you got some ideas from this guide on landscaping ideas around deck. Any comments or queries, use the comment form

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Landscaping Ideas for Small Backyard

Smart Landscaping Ideas for Small Backyards

Smart Landscaping Ideas for Small Backyard - Image title

Make the most of your small backyard...

ALTHOUGH SMALL YARDS ARE small. They also can pack a big punch. These 21 ideas will help homeowners with any size yard make the most out of a small space.

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Image courtesy of Slodive.Com

1. Clever Storage Choices

Don't let a lack of storage space in your yard hold you back. Make sure you use all the vertical space you can & add some design elements. This one looks fantastic!

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Image courtesy of Pinterest

2. Use Corners Efficiently

This open seating arrangement maximizes the backyard space by being hard up in the corner. Not only does it look inviting, but it also provides the homeowners an outdoor place to relax and admire the garden.

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Image courtesy of Pinterest

3. Think Big but Build Small

​Here is a working outdoor space for the avid outdoor entertainers and foodies. A great example of having an idea, and making it work in a small space. (I wonder if there are any herbs in that garden)

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Image courtesy of ThorPLC.Com

4. Making the Most of a Quiet Corner

There is nothing quite like making the most of a quiet corner of your yard. The pavers create a pretty pattern, while the rock wall and flower gardens create an inviting space to relax with a nice cup of coffee or tea. (Or in this case a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice)

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Image courtesy of ParisSalon.US

5. A Bridge Over Troubled Waters

This homeowner obviously loves having a really big pond in his yard. Notice how he solved his problem of where to put the firepit and chairs. This pond is big enough for a number of koi which make a beautiful addition to any pond.

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Image courtesy Lushome

6. Concrete Beauty All Around

Who said concrete can't be used to create beauty. From the concrete vases filled with glorious flowers to the raised concrete pathways. Note the two seats tucked away in a shady corner at the back and out of the way.

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Image courtesy of Pinterest

7. Build Your Backyard World with Bricks

Bricks make the perfect material for building an inviting place in the backyard. The round pattern fits in perfectly with the overall look of this patio while the wood furniture and fire pit create a warm and relaxing place to spend your evenings.

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Image courtesy of Fantastic View Point

8. Large Rocks for a Small Space

You might be amazed at how much using larger paving rocks can take a small space and make it look so much bigger. Here we see them being used to create a unique patio and a lovely backdrop for the pond. Imagine sitting out here for your morning cup of coffee!

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Image courtesy of Pinterest

9. Tucked Away in the Shade

The loveseat and chairs tucked in the shade trees offer a quiet place to relax with a few friends. Note the chimenea sitting on the deck, perfect for those chilly evenings when no one really wants to be inside.

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Image courtesy of Pinterest

10. Up, Up and Away from it All

Instead of keeping everything on the level, this homeowner has created a raised platform at the end of his yard to relax on and added a trellis above for shade. Hopefully, they are going to train some form of climbing plant like honeysuckle to grow over the trellis for even more shade and beauty.

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Image courtesy of ThorPLC.Com

11. Keeping it Simple

In the past few years, gazebos have gained in popularity. This one is beautifully done with wood framework and legs set inside of brick piers. The corrugated fiberglass roof keeps the sun and rain at bay so that the homeowner can enjoy his backyard even if it rains.

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Image courtesy of PlanetAdeco

12. Privacy Plus in the Corner

This homeowner chose to create a quiet private spot in a corner of his yard using trellises. Not only do they add privacy, but they can be used for a variety of climbing plants. You could use decorative plants or those that bear fruit to make the area even more useful.

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13. Portable Plants Make the Difference

Even if all you have to work with is a brick patio in your back yard, there is no reason you can't still have plenty of plants. This homeowner uses an incredible variety of planters, note that many of them appear to be on wheels so that they can be moved when needed. The birdhouse on a stand adds a nice touch too!

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Image courtesy of Design Ideas

14. Gazebos Are All the Rage

In the past few years, gazebos have gained in popularity. This one is beautifully done with wood framework and legs set inside of brick piers. The corrugated fiberglass roof keeps the sun and rain at bay so that the homeowner can enjoy his backyard even if it rains.

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Image courtesy of Landscaping Gallery.Net

15. Tucked Away in the Corner

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Image courtesy of WooHome

16. Anyone for Lemonade?

This homeowner has made the most of this corner, instead of covering everything over with pavers, he chose to leave one corner open for shrubs or trees and surround it with a flowering hedge. Lovely place to relax with an ice-cold glass of lemonade.

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Image courtesy of CoWorker

17. A Little Bit of Everything

This homeowner seems to like a little bit of everything. He uses trellis climbing plants, topiary, rock, and brick to create an unusual, slightly chaotic, but wonderfully inviting spot in his yard for a cup of tea in the morning.

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Image courtesy of Pinterest

18. You Don't Need a Huge Yard

Just because you only have a small yard to work with doesn't mean you can't make the most of it. This homeowner created a beautiful blend of lawn with an incredible array of plants, flowers, and shrubs. A true example of making the most of what you have.

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Image courtesy of Mail Online

19. Plenty of Food for the Bees

Rather than looking at the brick patio, take a good look at the wide variety of flowering plants this homeowner has planted. Not only are they going to be beautiful all summer long, but they provide plenty of food for the local honeybee population.

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Image courtesy of Good Housekeeping

20. Anyone for Lemonade?

This homeowner has made the most of this corner, instead of covering everything over with pavers, he chose to leave one corner open for shrubs or trees and surround it with a flowering hedge. Lovely place to relax with an ice-cold glass of lemonade.

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Image courtesy of Garden Design

21. It's in the Angles

This homeowner seems to be enamored with angles as every facet of his backyard design contains perfect rectangles. Worth noting is the fact he is using most of his garden space to grow food rather than flowers. Also, note the creeping vines that are starting to cover the fence for added privacy.

In Summary...

Thanks for reading our guide on smart landscaping ideas for small backyard. If you have any comments or queries, please use the contact form.

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