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  1. When someone thinks of a damaging winter storm, they probably think of a blizzard. It’s true that a blizzard can cause damage to a landscape but there are other types of winter storms that cause far more damage.

    Here are five types of winter storms:

    1. Blizzards

    Blizzards are snow storms with winds that blow over 35 miles an hour and last at least three hours. The wind of some blizzards can knock over pots, garden furniture, and other items.

    2. Snow Squalls

    While a blizzard is defined as lasting three hours or longer, snow squalls are brief but can be just as intense. They are common around the Great Lakes.

    Interestingly, snow makes excellent insulation. It’s really ice and wind that do damage in a landscape.

    3. Ice Storms

    These storms leave at least a quarter of an inch of ice on tree limbs, power lines, and hardscaping. Because of this, ice storms are especially dangerous. Tree limbs and power lines can break, and people can slip on icy surfaces.

    4. Sleet

    Sleet is snow that partially melts when it passes through a layer of warm air then refreezes when it passes through a layer of cold air. This gives sleet the look of tiny ice beads that bounce when they hit a hard surface. Sleet can damage tender plants.

    5. Freezing Rain

    Freezing rain is like sleet except for the snowflakes completely melt as they pass through the layer of warm air. They don’t have enough time to refreeze as they pass through the cold layer of air but freeze immediately when they fall on something that’s 32 degrees Fahrenheit or cooler. Like an ice storm, this leaves a coating ice on surfaces. Freezing rain turns into an ice storm when it lasts for more than a few hours.

    Protecting Plants

    Container plants are most vulnerable to winter storms. If they can’t be bought into the house proper, they should be insulated with straw or burlap and taken to a protected area such as the garage. The gardener can also bury the pots with their plants in the ground then protect the area with a layer of mulch. Plastic pots withstand winter better than terra-cotta pots, which crack when exposed to below freezing temperatures.

    Some trees are vulnerable to being “burned,” by the winter winds. This is especially true of broadleaf evergreens. The gardener can protect against this by keeping the soil around the tree or shrub watered and forking mulch over the cold ground beneath it.  To further protect a broadleaf evergreen tree from winter burn, plant it on the eastern side of the house.

    Protecting Hardscape

    The homeowner needs to be careful when using chemicals to remove ice and snow after a winter storm. Rock salt, sand, and deicers based on calcium should work, though rock salt shouldn’t be placed on concrete. If possible, the homeowner should simply let the ice and snow melt naturally. It’s also easier to place deicers on the hardscaping during those sunny, slightly warmer winter days, and pull weeds that can enlarge cracks in hardscape.

  2. An energy efficient landscape creates a flourishing outdoor environment with a small footprint. These nine tips will bring beauty and functionality to outdoor spaces without sacrificing any visual appeal or usability. An outdoor space that nurtures and sustains offers more than visual appeal. It combines the aesthetics with the responsibility we share for the well-being of our places.

    Water Conservation

    It takes a good deal of energy to clean and deliver municipal water to your tap. Cutting the amount you use saves energy and water, one of our most precious resources.

    Best ways to conserve water include:

    • Deep soil cultivation and enrichment. Healthy soils high in organic matter retain water better than poor soils. Humus, another word for organic matter, holds onto moisture. Instead of bouncing off the soil’s surface when it rains, the water droplets will sink into the ground.
    • The use of native plants. All kinds of plants native to the region have adapted to the weather and rainfall patterns locally. They’re better able to tolerate periods of drought or flooding. If you want greater variety in the landscape, look for plants whose water use ranges from medium to low.
    • Minimize the turf. Nearly every variety of grass requires a good deal of water. While you don’t have to eliminate it altogether, consider using it as an accent rather than a ground cover. Mix it with areas of hard surfaces and save the turf for places good for children and pets to play. Although turf lessens the heat island effect, you can find hard surfaces that accomplish the same. Use lighter colors that will reflect the heat and avoid asphalt.

    Electrical Consumption

    • Use as many solar-powered yard lights and regardless of the power source, choose LED bulbs. They require minimal amounts of electricity and last longer than other kinds.
    • Energy efficient motors are now available for water pumps for pools and ponds.


    Reusing the plant material generated in the landscape as compost takes a burden off the planet and your wallet. Set aside an area for c

    ompost bins and use them for yard and kitchen waste.

    Plants benefit from top dressings of compost during their growing seasons, since it’s high in nutrients and organic matter. You can add your kitchen waste, although you can’t use meat or fats. The latter will attract insects and animals, and emit a strong, offensive smell as they decompose.

    Switch from Gas to Electric Equipment

    When practical, switch from gas-powered yard equipment to electric. Although both use energy, electric-powered tools create zero emissions in your yard.

    Poorly maintained yard equipment that uses fuel can add noxious hydrocarbons to the nearby environment. Power plants that use natural gas do have emissions, but they’re cleaner and controlled by sophisticated technology.

    For the Home

    Use the landscaping design to provide windbreaks and passive solar heating for your home. Develop a plan with your architect that combines deciduous plantings and placements that promote an energy efficient home year-round. Windbreaks that shelter your building stay more comfortable and don’t require as much heating or cooling.

  3. Landscaping during spring and even summer months is ideal, as growing conditions are optimal. However, with the cold winter comes extra challenges. Knowing these challenges will give one a better overall idea of what to prepare for during the next months. This guide covers the basic challenges of most types of landscapes.

    1. Frozen Pipes and Water Sources
    During extended periods of below freezing temperatures, pipes become frozen, blocking off all sources of water. This could be detrimental to plants that need frequent watering. A water source from elsewhere will have to be obtained.

    2. Can’t Start Young Plants
    Small plants with small root systems, especially young seedlings, are especially susceptible to cold weather. A large tree, on the other hand, has deep roots that are well protected from the elements.

    3. Mud Runoff and Erosion
    Depending on the particular climate, excessive water from winter storms can erode away precious plant soil, plus dirty sidewalks, walkways and other landscaping features of the like. Ensuring good flood drainage for the particular landscape will save tons of trouble.

    4. Cracked Cement and Other Porous Materials
    In climates where winters are below freezing, cement, brick and other structures become saturated with water from either rain or melted snow during the day. At night, when temperatures get below freezing again, the water expands and breaks the cement.

    5. Wind Damage
    Aside from leaves falling during autumn, heavy winter storm winds can break branches and cause a huge mess of debris. In more extreme climates, this may happen frequently during the winter season, requiring frequent maintenance.

    6. Leaves and Organic Debris Smothering Grass
    Leaves that fall from plants during the autumn and winter months can pile up on smaller ground plants, smothering them out entirely. Taking care of the problem beforehand will ensure healthy grass for next spring.

    7. Snow
    One of the main problems associated with snow are broken tree branches, due to the heavy weight of the snow. However, simply tying up weak branches can prevent the problem all together.

    8. Ice
    Aside from frozen piping, ice is far more difficult to clean off walkways than snow. However, simple preparation, such as immediate shoveling and application of salt on walkways, will prevent dangerous, slippy areas. Be sure to not let salt get near plants, as certain plants are especially sensitive to salt.

    9. Mold
    Mold typically is found in places where the winters are wet, yet not below freezing. This ideal, moist environment allows for the fast growth of mold. However, removing all debris from the ground, such as leaves and twigs, will allow for much better drainage of the landscape.

    10. Harder Soil
    Because the soil retains a small amount of moisture, it tends to harden during the winter months. Digging holes for plants or other structures will prove to be especially hard. Frozen ground can make it almost impossible to dig.

    Landscaping in the winter poses its challenges but with this handy list in hand, you’ll be well on your way to prepare your yard for a beautiful spring.
  4. Most homeowners work very hard to enhance the appearance of their yard or garden but neglect the night time view of their yard. Other than enticing the look of your outdoor area, the lighting can also possibly reduce cases of burglaries and accidents.

    As a result, the temptation of choosing the shortest and fastest way to light your terrain may arise. Taking shortcuts often leads to more complications. Plus the outcome won’t be as better as taking your time to do it correctly. Even if you hire a contractor to do it on your behalf, you should be keen to observe that they don’t use any shortcuts. Below are alternatives that you should avoid in landscape lighting.

    What are the Shortcuts You should avoid in terrain?

    Poor burying of wires

    Installing a lighting system requires lots of labors. Labor can be limited, especially if you are doing it on your own. However, it’s a requirement to always bury the electrical wiring more than 6-inches below the ground. It’s quite time-consuming and may lead to the damage of grass and flowers. Due to its requirement of labor, most people tend to cover the wires with topsoil. After a while, the cables will begin surfacing, and this is dangerous because it can cause electrocution. To ensure proper burying of cables, they should be 9 to 12 inches deep.

    Use of the wrong type of Connector

    Most people don’t consider the kind of connector to use on their terrain irradiation wire. However, it has an essential role in guaranteeing the success of your irradiation system. Pinch connectors are quite common in landscape lighting because they form a connection by easily pinching together. Nevertheless, they are quite unreliable comparing them to other connectors. It’s advisable to use the two-step process. A crimping link is much better because it’s not only waterproof but also locks the wires together firmly.

    Use of Thinner Gauge Wires

    Thinner gauge wires are quite affordable in the market, that’s why it’s common in terrain irradiation. Nevertheless, it discourages future expansion. Efficient installation requires you to leave a 50% capacity of the wiring setup. If you install 40 lights, you should make space for installing 20 more bulbs. A thinner gauge overloads the wire leaving no capacity for more installation.

    Use of low-quality fixtures

    These fixtures are quite cheap and hence very common. They are made of plastic and aluminum. The major problem with these accessories is that they don’t hold up well and wear after a while. As a result, they look quite unattractive and can spoil the appearance of your landscape. Plus plugging in bulbs to fixtures not designed for them can lead to burning out of the bulbs.

    Light Control

    Having an all on or all off irradiation during the day might be inconveniencing before you go to bed. It’s advisable to go to sleep with minimal irradiation. Being unable to control your light will, therefore, be very disadvantageous.

    You should avoid installing a lighting system that isn’t controllable. You should ensure you upgrade to zone control features. It will enable you to regulate the timing at different times.

    The taking of shortcuts have lots of disadvantages. It can lead to frequent repairs, and you won’t be able to enjoy your irradiation experience. Taking time to research, buy and install the best equipment will guarantee the enjoyment of your outdoor irradiation experience.

  5. Plant-Safe Holiday Lights

    Outdoor lighting is a big part of decorating your home for the holidays. Many people think that because the outdoor Christmas lights you use to decorate your home are temporary, you don’t have to think about safety.

    However, there are precautions to take to prevent accidents and to make sure your lights are plant safe.

    Safety and Outdoor Lights

    Landscaping is a big investment for homeowners. You want to care for your trees, shrubs, and plants to keep them healthy and thriving. Outdoor holiday lights should be installed properly to ensure they don’t cause damage to your plants. Important safety tips to consider:

    • Lights should be rate for outdoor use
    • Use insulated holders and hooks to secure lights
    • Never drive staples, tacks, or nails through insulated wiring
    • Always use a GFCI to plug lights into

    A ground-fault circuit interrupter or GCI should be used to plug in outdoor lights. Portable units are available for temporary use, or you can have one permanently installed by an electrician.

    Inspect the Lights Before Use

    You should only use holiday lights that are rated for outdoor use because they’re designed to stand up to changeable weather conditions, mainly snow and rain. Labels on strands of Christmas lights indicate if they’re designed for outdoor use. Inspect all the light strands for fraying or breaks in the wiring which could cause a fire. Always follow the manufacturer’s directions about how many sets of lights can be strung together. If too many sets of lights are strung together, it could cause a power overload.

    Wrap the Lights Properly

    Always use care when wrapping outdoor Christmas lights around branches and trunks of your trees to make them plant safe. Shrubs, trees, and outdoor plants used to landscape your yard are alive and growing even during the winter months. If you wrap the lights too tightly, it could cause damage to your plants and trees. Lights that are wrapped too tightly can damage the system within the plants that move nutrients through them and interrupt their growth. If the lights are loosely wrapped, they can cause the bark to rub off trees and plants, causing damage.

    How Long To Leave Lights Up

    Most trees, shrubs, and plants should have outdoor holiday lights removed three to four months after they’re decorated to prevent damage to the plants. However, if you have evergreen trees on your property, you can leave outdoor lights on them all year-round if you choose to. Lights on evergreen trees should be wrapped a bit more loosely than on other trees. The lights should be hung evenly on the branches, so they don’t interfere with the growth of the trees. If the lights are left up year-round, they should be inspected periodically for any breaks in the wiring.

    Proper installation of outdoor holiday lights is essential. Always make sure to use lights designated for outdoor use, and there’s no damage to any of the wiring. To extend the life of outdoor Christmas lights, bring them indoors for storage after the holidays. If you’re installing outdoor lights on tall trees, always have someone to help you to prevent accidents, or have a professional landscaping service put up your lights for the holidays.

  6. Wood comes in a variety of ways, and there are numerous ways to use it to make the yard look beautiful. There are different ideas in which one can incorporate timber to have an incredible décor. There is no doubt the ideas will transform your yard in no time. The good news is that one does not have to spend a lot of money on decorating the yard. Using wood is an excellent way to give the home a natural look and enrich the environment. One will not go wrong with the wood in the yard. You do not have to look far for simple ways to transform the yard without spending a lot of money during winter. Here are creative ways to implement wood in the garden.

    Vertical yard using bamboo

    Bamboo is a popular choice because it is versatile. The wood is used in making different crafts and furniture. It is an excellent choice when it comes to décor. Moreover, it can be used in different surroundings. In the vertical garden, the bamboo is used for flower bed boxes which are suspended on the wall. Furthermore, it is easy to make the vertical yard using bamboo. One can use it to decorate a large white wall. It will transform the wall into something beautiful.

    Using the timber on the patio

    Another way to use timber for the yard is on the patio. In case one does not have enough space to create a yard, then a little creativity will help. The patio will be transformed into a beautiful yard without putting a lot of effort. All that one needs is a large wooden panel which will be fitted on the wall. It is a simple and elegant way to decorate the yard.

    A panel of wooden pallets

    Wooden pallets will come in handy in creating an amazing yard. Recycling objects is a great way to be eco-friendly and even care for the environment. Additionally, one will be able to cut on cost. The wooden pallets give way for one to be creative and decorate the yard. It is an original way to transform the yard. To create the panel of the wood pallet, all that one has to do is use horizontal wooden panels as a base for the vertical yard. One can use recycled materials to create the one of a kind yard. In simple ways, one will get the yard that they desire.

    Wood is a great way to create elegance around the home. There are plenty of choices that one can use to create a unique lawn. Furthermore, wood will give the lawn a great feel and look. It can be used on the walls and even on the floor. There are endless options for creating a yard. Timber gives beauty and personality at home even in winter. Go ahead and give the house the transformation it needs. One can also use the designs to protect the plants from being affected by snow. All that one need is just to be creative.

  7. Is it that time of the year already? Probably it is, and the freezing weather is here yet again. What do you do with your plants out there? Do you just disregard them and leave them for that cold and the white covering snow? I don’t think it is a good idea if you are a lover of plants.

    But what measures do you take to ensure that your outdoor plants’ life is not cut short by the winter? Most are the people who surrender to the weather during this season. In as much as they fancy their plants, they have no idea how to salvage them and see them through this harsh season. Here are the options that you have.


    Yes. It is just as simple as it sounds. Most people go off the rails thinking of sophisticated means to save their outdoor plants when winter knocks. However, you need not go that far. Sensitive plants can be easily protected from the cold by mulching, which acts as an insulator and locks warmth in the soil around your plants. Mulching helps protect the sensitive roots of your plants from freeze injuries. Other than snow protection, mulching enhances the soil by adding nutrients once decomposition occurs.

    Plant Watering

    Wet soil traps heat well than when it is dry. Hence, you can opt to heavily water the soil around your plants before the cold season commences. Watering also slows down the evaporation process and warms the air around your plants. However, this option works more efficiently if the freeze is light.

    Plant Covers

    The plastic covering is one of the most commonly used methods of protecting outdoor plants during the cold season. Many people fancy it because it is light in weight and obviously easy to apply. However, lack of insulation feature can lead to freezing damage to the parts touched by the plastic, stable sticks come in handy. They are placed under the plastic to pivot it off the foliage.

    As you stock up blankets for yourself during the cold season, do not forget your plants as well. Fabrics are known to be reliable plant covers while it is snowing. However, in the case of drizzles, it gets wet, and it compromises the safety of your plants due to associated breakage. For this reason, you should consider engaging reputable landscaping firm to handle the task for you.

    Plant Screens

    Potted plants are not much of a bother during the cold seasons. If your plants are potted, it is advisable to keep them on dollies so that wheeling them indoors is made easier when temperatures drop. Unlike potted plants, those on your kitchen garden cannot be moved. So, what are you left to do? Well, worry not for building them screens works excellently in this weather. It involves the erection of frames that prevent the falling of snow on your garden by providing covering on the loops to enclose your plants. Doing this locks out frost and helps to trap in heat.

    The key to adequately sustaining your plants through the cold season is by simply insulating them. This provides the warmth needed for your plants to keep growing and it also protects them from freeze damage. It is advisable to keep a watchful eye on them because these covers could limit the amount of light filtering through and affect the plant growth. These measures are effective in protecting your plants during winter, and you should embrace them.

  8. The approach of winter comes with various responsibilities for homeowners. You must prepare the place to adjust to the cold temperatures to minimize damage and one area that needs proper care is the yard. Your yard has been a flurry of activity during summer with barbecues and children running around. It was a beautiful sight in fall with leaves and flowers all over the place. The cold season, however, is not very gentle on lawns hence the need for maintenance. Water is particularly a big issue during this time of year whether it’s from rain, storms, or melting snow. How can you ensure moisture doesn’t ruin your flower beds or get into the house?

    Clean the Gutters

    During fall, your roof gutters may have collected a lot of debris, leaves, twigs, and branches, which cause blockages after a while. Clogged gutters are dangerous during the cold season, especially if it rains heavily in your area. Without proper drainage, the system will restrict flow, and that interferes with the outside drainage. Use a scoop or other tools to remove the debris and then flush the gutters to eliminate any gunk that is stuck on the surface. Gutters should also be securely attached to the roof to accommodate the flow of water when it rains.

    Check the Downspouts

    Just like the gutter, downspouts are responsible for drainage when it rains. Before the season starts to get wet, conduct a thorough check of all your downspouts. Look for any blockages caused by debris from the roof. Downspouts should also be directed away from the foundation of the house. Ensure that when it rains, the flow will not end up in the ground under the property or your garden, if there is one.

    Rake Leaves

    Don’t let the cold season begin with your yard full of leaves. When the leaves are not too many, you can mow over them so that the grass receives the nutrients it requires. However, too many leaves will interfere with drainage, which is critical in winter. Additionally, when layers of leaves accumulate in your yard, they present the perfect breeding ground for moss and other microorganisms when it gets wet. Therefore, rake the leaves and clear the lawn of other debris. Leaves make good compost so collect them in one part of the compound.

    Remove Stagnant Water Points

    Most homeowners don’t consider the threat of mosquitoes when preparing their yards for the cold season. Any area or object that can potentially allow rainwater to sit should not be on your lawn. Check for holes in the ground and containers (even bottle caps) that can act as breeding environments for mosquitoes. Look at your garden to ensure nothing can collect standing rainwater or ice.

    Cover your AC

    Winter also means trouble for your appliances so don’t forget about them. When snow collects on your outdoor AC unit, it eventually melts and results to damages when it gets into the machine. Rain has the same effect. Use a waterproof cover to protect the outside unit of your air conditioner.

    The cold season brings its share of problems for homeowners, but with the right prep work, you can prevent or mitigate the damage particularly from moisture.

  9. Standing water in your yard results from a heavy downpour when your home’s soil is compact in nature. Poor layering and grading of your yard soil may also cause the water to stagnate. Addressing this problem involves fixing the conditions that cause poor drainage. Depending on the cause and severity of the condition, you can fix the problem in various ways. This article explores a few options and tips to consider:

    Install Underground Drain Pipe

    Underground drain pipe works by diverting water run-off away from your home. This is effective, especially, when the flooding water comes from areas like the road and driveway.

    The underground drain pipe allows you to redirect the run-off from such places to other areas of your home, including the garden and pond. Remember, this can also be a way of ensuring that the water does not go to waste.

    Top Dress the Ground

    This is one of the simplest and most appropriate methods you can apply when the standing water in your yard results from a shallow depression in which the rainwater collects. It involves evening out the low areas of your home by filling them with layers of soil.

    The filing should be a process that lasts for several months to ensure that the soil is well compacted to prevent further sinking. To do this, you need to apply about half an inch soil layer to the depression at an interval of 8 to 12 weeks and continue until the ground becomes level. The layers should be made of dry soil, using a suitable tool like a shovel or spreader for even distribution.

    Aerate Your Soil

    Soil aeration is crucial, especially, when the soil around your house is compact. Compacted soil has poor perforation and does not allow water and air to pass through easily.

    Fixing poor soil aeration involves breaking loose or perforating the topsoil in your home using an aerator. The loose soil has proper permeability, which is essential in combating stagnant water in your home.

    Construct a French Drain

    A French drain or curtain drain is a comprehensive drainage system that you can apply to prevent ponding water in your home. One good thing with this system is that you only need simple materials to construct it.

    In this method, you direct the water away from your home by constructing a graded trench. Fill the trench with gravel to create gravity. The gravity channels the water into a perforated pipe, which is placed at the base of the trench.

    Plant Wet Plants

    Wet plants are those that absorb more of water, and they thrive in swampy conditions. If standing water in your home is due to a swampy environment, planting such trees helps mitigate the problem.

    However, this is a long-term solution that takes time to produce results. The plants need time to grow.

    In a nutshell, do not accept ponding water to rob you and your family of the enjoyment of your outdoor space. By knowing the cause of the stagnant water and applying appropriate methods to remove it, you can reclaim the beauty of your space.

  10. Many people use landscaping as a way to beautify their property. One unique trend on the rise is the use of glow in the dark stones in landscaping efforts.

    They come in different colors to suit your needs and color tastes. Coming in orange, blue, watermelon red, purple, white green or any other specified color, they are perfect to bring a new excitement to your yard. Most of these stones are small with an average diameter of 2cm. This small size makes them very easy to handle as you can quickly shift them from one point of your yard to another. Another remarkable advantage of this small format is that it makes them useful to create a pattern, for example, one can decide to make a “welcome” pattern near the compound entrance to signify hospitality. To make the attraction more intense, a client can order a set of different colors to bring an entertaining and a magnificent view to the yard.

    How do they work?

    Some may see this as a fraud or some magic tricks. Some, on the other hand, may think that they work by connecting them to some power source such as batteries or the average home electricity. All wrong. The pebbles are solar powered. They feed the visible light during the day for about 8 to 10 hours. Remember you do not have to monitor them while charging. They are also not affected by extreme weather conditions such as heavy rains. After the 8 hours of soaking up the visible light, the pebbles glow when it’s dark for about 10 hours. This implies that your yard is well decorated even at night.

    Be it that you want to light up your pathway, fish tank, fill a planter, or decorate any other landscaping, these non-toxic stones are the best way to go. In fact, you can make almost everything glow when using these pebbles.

    Advantages of using glowing pebbles

    The most important benefit of using these pebbles is that they help a lot in saving energy used in homes. Unlike the use of electric bulbs to beautify the lawn, these saves power by making use of the visible light which comes freely from the sun. This does not only reduce your cost on electricity bills but also helps in conserving the energy.

    For slopy landscaping that might have been considered undesirable due to their nature, glowing pebbles bring back their life. The stones can be placed in a manner that will prevent them from being eroded by any form of erosion especial water or just rolling off.