How to Control Garden Weeds Organically

It’s the classic gardener’s dilemma—you want nice, fertile soil for your plants to grow, but it never fails that weeds shoot up right alongside your precious sprouts. Weeds are arguably the most prevalent garden nuisances, and they will single-handedly destroy your plants unless you take swift action to rectify the situation.

If your plan is to cultivate an organic garden, then harmful pesticides are simply not an option. Luckily, there are other ways to win the war on weeds without using chemicals.

Control Weeds with Physical Barriers

The best way to keep weeds out of your garden is to use some form of weed barrier. Weed barriers prevent weeds from growing and will help you keep your precious flowers from being suffocated.

A popular weed barrier is landscape fabric. It’s a biodegradable sheet you can cut to fit your garden’s space. Stretch it over the length of your garden and slit holes to guide your plants carefully through the material. Then, use a rake to smooth the fabric. This creates a physical barrier that blocks weeds from sprouting while maintaining the integrity of your plants.

Another commonly used weed barrier is mulch. Select organic mulch and add it to your garden very cautiously to prevent your plants from harm. As you spread the much, remove any rocks, debris, or weeds you discover along the way.

Till Your Garden’s Soil to Protect against Weeds

Tilling your garden is a necessity for healthy plants. Till early and often to encourage your seeds to sprout. This will also properly oxygenate your soil. After tilling, water thoroughly to give your seeds a good foundation for sprouting.

Keep a close eye on your garden for the next few weeks as you wait for your plants to sprout. Then, once they do, use a good garden rake to extract any weed roots you find growing near your new seedlings. Till again at this point – but this time, do it more gently, taking care to keep your digging shallow.

Home Remedies for Weed Infestation

Boiling water kills plant life. It’s also an effective tool to fight weeds – if you’re extremely careful. Pour boiling water directly on the weed to kill the roots and eliminate the weed from your garden. Use extreme caution, however. If you get the water anywhere near your plants, you risk killing them, too.

Vinegar is another great alternative to harmful chemical weed killers. Fill a spray bottle with vinegar and spray the weeds in your garden. This will kill them at the root as well, but similar to boiling water, use great care. Vinegar can kill your plants if you get it anywhere near them.

It is possible to win the battle against weeds without resorting to chemicals. Perseverance and vigilance are your main weapons, so check your garden every day and remove weeds before they grow out of control. In time, you will have a beautiful weed-free garden to show for all of your efforts.

Feng Shui and Your Front Landscape

There may have been a time in your life when you drove up to someone’s house, got out of the car, started walking up the pathway and then took a pause.  The lush surroundings gave you a reason to meander a bit.  You took in a deep breath, your senses were ignited by the sweet smell of the collage of flowers, and you felt relaxed in an almost Zen state of mind.  Your surroundings felt peaceful and inviting.

Why do some front yards have that “welcoming” aura about them, and yet some other yards feel like they are ready for trick or treaters – all year round?

Harmony and balance, ebb and flow, ying and yang – it’s all about the energy one feels when entering a new space or environment.  Do you instantly feel comfortable or on guard?

In the ancient art of Feng Shui, many home owners have landscaped their yards and gardens following some forms of this environmental science.  

Feng Shui is the ancient Chinese art of harnessing earth and heaven to bring well being and good fortune into one’s home and life.  By understanding a few basic concepts, you can create an environment in your front yard that feels comfortable and supporting.

Most of the teachings of Feng Shui are really just common sense deliverables. For example, a clean, well groomed yard is inviting, and more than likely will not be a hazard for guests when they approach your front door.  This sounds simple enough, but there are a few elements that can be applied to almost any yard to give it that ebb and flow, ying-yang – good energy feeling.

Take a moment to stand in front of your house on the curb. Close your eyes, take in the smells, the sound of leaves rustling in the wind—now open your eyes and look at your home for the first time.

Ask yourself:

  • Does this yard ‘feel’ inviting?
  • Is there a flow to the placement of foliage?
  • Are there spurts of color?
  • Does the design detract from the entry to the home?
  • Does the landscape overpower the house?
  • How does the energy feel?

While stepping back and taking a look, you may come up with some very simple solutions.

Example: 

At your entry, there are bushes on both side of the porch. They are overgrown, blocking guests from the front door. The easy solution would be to just trim back the bushes to allow a welcoming feeling. Simple yes, but sometimes we do not see these elements until we take a closer look.

Another basic element is the entrance to your home. This represents the image you present to the world, so the pathway to your front door should have a meandering feeling, with curves and bends. This helps you “unwind” from your day before entering the home.  A straight path from the street is too direct and funnels in the chi too quickly. The curves slow this energy down.

If your pathway is constructed as a straight line, you may break up the flow by placing an arch over the beginning of the pathway and perhaps covering it with ivy. Placing potted plants with lots of soft leaves and colorful flowers at the entrance can also break, what is referred to in Feng Shui, the straight arrows, or negative energy.

The yard should have a nice combination of bushes, trees and fragrant flowers designed and planted in a flowing manner. Some plants are higher than others, and planted in curves, rather than straight lines, and will give good chi energy throughout the yard.

These are just a few simple samples that will help your front yard to feel welcoming and inviting, and by using a few Feng Shui tips, you can have a nice ying-yang, ebb and flow – balance and harmony to your home.

 

Landscape Lighting for Oceanfront Homes

Ah, life on the beach. Owning a piece of oceanfront property is a fantasy for many people, and for good reason. The sound of the surf, the warm, salt-infused breeze, the feeling of sand between your toes – there’s simply nothing like it.

People who are actually living the dream tend to concur, but routine home repairs and landscape maintenance are nevertheless a necessary evil—even when you’re living in paradise. The moonlit ocean is often landscape enough for your beachfront home, but many people opt for landscaping and landscape lighting anyway. When they do, it transforms the space from pretty to perfect – and the upgrades increase their home value in the process.

The right lighting for your oceanfront landscaping is an essential component of the added aesthetics. Plus, the drama created by using the right lighting will make your home almost as breathtaking as the waves that lap nearby.

Choose the Right Materials

It’s important to make sure you select the right fixtures and accessories for your outdoor lighting projects. Remember, the salty sea air affects lighting fixtures and components on beaches differently than outdoor lighting in other climates.

First, when you’re choosing fixtures for your oceanfront property, make your selections based upon durability and resistance. Materials such as brass and copper are not very resistant to wind and storm damage. If you want to go for longevity, stick with bronze lighting fixtures. They’ll last for years, and they have an understated appeal that won’t look garish or take away from the magnificence of the ocean. Plus, as the bronze wears, it will take on a naturally worn veneer due to the sea salt, and the rustic charm will complement your property beautifully.

The right kind of transformer and wiring is imperative to successful oceanfront beachside landscaping as well. It’s important to protect the electrical core from the ocean spray and moisture-rich air, which is why a transformer with a potted, resin-sealed core is the best for your property. Seek out a transformer with a stainless steel enclosure for the best protection from the coastal climate.

Stage the Right Mood

It’s vital to protect your landscape lighting from the elements, but it’s equally important to accomplish just the right glow outside your home. Don’t use high-wattage lighting. Instead, make sure the bulbs you select are of the soft, low-wattage variety.

Strategically position your lighting fixture choices using equal spacing throughout your property. Accent any bushes or shrubs with lights situated at the base of each trunk. If you have pathways or sidewalks, try lining smaller fixtures along the areas for safe nighttime strolling. For patios and decks, spread fixtures evenly along the length of the outside perimeter to create soft nighttime ambiance for parties and quiet nights outdoors.

A great trick is to situate your lighting to allow a subtle view of the ocean. Position some of your outdoor lighting fixtures on landscaping elements, and others pointed toward the waves. This will create a beautiful aura that will highlight the natural beauty of the ocean as well as your oceanfront home.

It doesn’t take much to create stunningly lit landscaping by the beach. The ocean is already the most attractive element of you home – show it off with a little highlighting and enjoy your outdoor oasis by the sea more than you ever thought possible.