The Challenge of Landscaping Small Yards

The Challenge of Landscaping Small Yards

Landscaping projects, no matter how big or small, requires thorough research and advanced planning. This is also true in landscaping small yards. One should be meticulous in doing such because of the limited space requires just the exact and perfect fitting ornaments so that the project would look good despite its size.

Landscaping is all about changing the land’s appearance, modifying such for personal satisfaction or to upgrade the land’s value in the market. The change could vary from simply changing the plants in it or arranging the structures in the area to hauling up, digging further and constructing materials that could really drastically change the landscape.

Perfect Fit
In doing the modifications for small yards, one must first assess the size or the part of the land to be used. Based on the calculated size, you may proceed with research first and then you can plan.

In researching, the same rule applies as to those projects with big landscapes. You must first know about the place well enough, its weather conditions, the type of soil in it and the plants that would grow in the place.

Information as abovementioned could be gathered in landscaping books and magazines. The Web has also vast information and pictures for such projects that you may want to see first to have an idea of the different styles that you may opt to replicate or combine one or two styles. You may also create your own if you are knowledgeable in the process. And asking around will also a lot, especially when you get to talk with people whose landscaping are excellent. You would really get an idea of what to do and also what not to do in the process so that you’d have minimal errors once you sit down on your project.

When you have a small yard, planning should be simple yet very detailed. The type of plants that you may opt to use should be placed accordingly. Be mindful of the color and the sizes of the plants, as well as the positioning of each because you can actually make the land appear larger than it is through the use of such ornaments.

Structuring Each Element
When you plan on landscaping for a small yard, you need to have a structure for everything. You need to know how much space would each ornament consume because in the process, you need to maximize everything. You need to utilize each free space to make the land appear larger than it really is and so that no one could actually fault the place as to having to much at such its small size.

You may still have other materials in the area like some fence or a water element such as a small pond or simple fountain maybe, this just depends on the placing of each material. All these could be laid out in the plan, but you can still do minor changes once you’re already into the process and is actually seeing what the blueprint looks like in reality.

Landscaping small yards may be quite a challenge. But when one is equipped with the right knowledge and the proper materials, mistakes would be minimal. The advantage of having a small yard is that it is easy to maintain so you are free to choose from a wide variety of ornaments as long as you’re sure that those would survive in the place’s conditions.

Fountains of Refreshment

Fountains of Refreshment

When hot, sticky days hit, try to use all your senses to keep cool. Sight and sound have amazing psychological effects, even when the thermometer soars.
One of the most cooling and relaxing sounds I know is that of a trickling spring. It relaxes my mind and helps my body unwind. In the city, it can drown out the sounds of the daily hustle and bustle of life, calming and refreshing the spirit. I also love the glinting, reflective surface of water. You can have the soothing coolness of water without a huge space so why not recreate this in your outdoor living area?
Some small water features have still water and aquatic plants but with the fight to remove stagnant water where mosquitoes can breed, many people now prefer items with moving water.
The most popular “moving water” items are tabletop fountains, statuary fountains and spitting creatures. All rely on a pump to circulate water through the feature. The water is pumped up through plastic tubing and released into the fountain, returning to the bottom where it is pumped up the tubing again. Most pumps run on an electrical connection but some smaller tabletop fountains have batteries. There are also solar units available that require no electrical hook-up.
Simple or elaborate, all fountain features have the following elements:
a “bottom” where the pump where will be located and the water returns. This can be a large pot, an urn, a trough and so on.
a “top” from which the water will emerge. This can be a small pot, a fanciful creature such as a frog, a conch shell, etc.
a “middle” – the water course which will receive the water from the top and return it to the bottom. This can be pots, pebbles, shells, marbles, or even empty space, creating a freefall.
a pump. Give crucial attention to two features of the pump: maximum gallons per hour (gph) and maximum lift.
The gph can vary from 35 gph for a small battery-operated tabletop unit to over 600 gph for large garden fountains. Choose one appropriate to the size of your water feature – more is not necessarily better. A low gph will give you a gurgling effect in the same fountain that a higher gph pump would provide a steady stream – or even splash. It’s strictly a personal preference within the range recommended for the fountain size.
The maximum lift figure tells you how high you can expect your “little pump that could” to push the water. A small pump that has a lift of “up to 2 feet”, for example would not be appropriate for your 3-foot wall mounted lion’s head.
You will also want to consider the length of the electrical cord if applicable, and whether the unit has an on/off switch, if that’s important to you. Remember, though, that water left sitting will stagnate.
If you are making your own fountain, the pump is the most important part. Pump kits are available that include pump and tubing but tubing is quite inexpensive (about 60¢ per foot) and can be purchased at most garden centers.
You can make a fountain from something as simple as terracotta pots and pebbles. For instructions, visit
So soothe your senses with the calming sounds of moving water and keep cool in your outdoor space!

Landscaping Stones That You Can Use

Landscaping Stones That You Can Use

Landscaping does not only involve planting flowers, shrubs and tress. To make it look pleasing, you also need to use natural stones. These are better known as landscaping stones.

Landscape stones comes in different shapes and colors. For instance, sandstones can be found in blends of blue, buff, black, brown or pink which are often used for wall making.

For those who will be making a fish pond or a fountain, they will need to use the slate type which is available in black, green and red. Stone marble is another alternative because these stones are finely grained. You can find these in pink white and yellow and have a high absorption of water. These can also be used for paving and wailing.

Limestone is very similar to stone marble because it can also absorb water. It is used primary also for making walls.

You can also use granite since these are fine to medium course and are very strong that are found in colors pink and red.

Apart from the big stones, you will also need some small ones and there are 5 types.

The first is called the river bed pebble. These are usually round and each one measures 2 and 75mm. in diameter. These are often used as decorative borders, ground cover, dry garden beds, swimming pool decks and patios.

Next is the stone circles. The nice thing about them is that they are low maintenance and used for large patio areas, winding paths and creative edgings for those who will be installing a fishing pond.

There are also stone cobbles which are hand chiseled. They are environment friendly, non slip, does not require any maintenance and are recyclable. These are available in big and small sizes and can be used on a pavement, outhouse and on pool sides. They are very decorative and can be mixed with other types of stones.

Stone steps is another option. From the name itself, you can already tell that these are usually used to make a flight of stairs. There are four types around namely the normal, mortared, pitched and capped stone steps.

Next is the stepping stone that is used on walkway areas and is very easy to install. All you have to do is plan the path and then put in each one. To keep them in place, you should put some builder’s sand, wait awhile for everything to settle then add another layer of sand and mulch as a finishing touch.

As you can see, there are different types of stones that are used for landscaping. You can choose what will work best based on their color so it matches with the rest of the house as well as their characteristics. You can even use a few stones which you find near your house. But since this isn’t always enough, you will really need to order them.

In case you did not know, stones can also be used to prevent weeds from growing. This is done by placing them around flowers.

When you are looking for landscaping rocks, the most important thing to remember is to get those that have similar shape, size and texture. This will give your garden a natural look which people will appreciate when they are invited as guests to your home.

New for 2006- Granite Flexible Preformed Rock Ponds

New for 2006- Granite Flexible Preformed Rock Ponds

Linderhof Castle
Source: Flickr

So you’ve decided to build your very own backyard water garden. You are in the process of actively planning out your design, and you’re visualizing the end-result. But have you paused to consider what kind of pond construction you will be using? Do you know what kind of pond constructions exist? The majority of garden ponds utilize one of two types of constructions: a preformed shell, or a pond liner.
Traditionally, preformed ponds are large shells, which are extremely burdensome and difficult to transport. For example, a typical preformed pond kit would come in a box that is 60” x 48” x 24”, which is too large for many car trunk sizes. Liner kits, on the other hand, present many difficulties for the beginner pond gardener. Since every liner pond shape is different, pond gardeners must customize their own pond and ensure that it is level, and that it does not have excessive wrinkling.
Recently, Algreen Products Inc. has helped leverage both these problems by introducing a flexible preformed pond. The folding preformed/liner hybrid is created with a proprietary blend of materials, which allows it to hold a customized shape. Yet it is easily transportable, since a typical folding kit comes in a box one-sixth the size of a regular preformed kit.
The only problem with the folding pond shell was that it was a dark solid black color. Black is a color that does not occur naturally in a pond environment, nor is it very easy to disguise. No matter how much landscaping you apply around the black shell, it is still extremely difficult to hide the fact that you are using a preformed pond.
New for 2006, Algreen is proud to announce the development of a granite flexible rock pond kit! This new folding pond shell has all the benefits of its black preformed predecessor, but both the pond and the streamlet look like rock.
Algreen advertises that its folding pond includes 3 built-in plant shelves, is weather-resistant, and is able to withstand extreme temperatures from 0 F to 105 F. Each pond shell features textured ridges, which are strategically placed to allow beneficial bacteria to form growth colonies, which significantly reduces algae-buildup in the pool.
Currently, there are two sizes of granite pond shells available from GardenSuperMart ( a 144 gallon shell, and a 72 gallon shell. Both pond kits come complete with:
The granite flexible pond shell
A flexible streamlet
An energy-efficient, heavy-duty Super Flo pump (500 or 306 gph, for the 144 gallon and 72 gallon shells respectively)
A telescopic riser and diverter for the Super Flo pump
Four fountain heads
Two 6” silk water lilies
Tubing and clamps.
At the time of this article, has the lowest pricing for these granite pond kits. has the 144 gallon granite kit priced at $166.14 USD, and the 72 gallon granite kit priced at $126.14. As part of their Grand Opening Special, GardenSuperMart is also including a FREE solar-powered frog light with the purchase of every folding pond kit.

The Beginners Guide To Making a Water Feature

The Beginners Guide To Making a Water Feature

Linderhof Castle
Source: Flickr

A water feature is a lovely accent to a landscaped yard or flower garden. It provides a wonderful background for flowers and plants alike as well as providing the soothing sound of trickling water.
Most water features are marble, molded plastic or natural rock. The molded plastic water features are the lightest and easiest to work with but need special attention in climates where the water freezes over the winter. The fiberglass may become brittle and will break easily if hit or knocked. Marble, rock or cement fountains are much more durable in all climates but are considerably heavier and may be harder to install depending on the size you are planning to purchase.
There are smaller freestanding water features that are self-contained and very elaborate in design. Self-contained refers to the fact that the water used in the fountain is collected in a bowl at the bottom of the fountain and recycled continuously. There are also more natural looking water features that circulate a large amount of water into a pond or small pool. These water features or waterfalls are more elaborate and require a longer time to build and install.
Water features are not difficult to set up. You will need to do the following:
1. Level the area of the garden that you wish to place the fountain.
2. If it is free standing you will need to follow the manufacturers directions for securing the fountain. This may include partially covering the base of the fountain with soil or gravel.
3. If it is a natural waterfall style fountain dig the appropriate pool or pond space and insert the plastic liner. Mound the dirt from the pool and cover with rocks or stone to form the waterfall in the shape and height desired.
4. Hook the intake hose from the liner to the pump and the outlet hose from the pump to the top of the waterfall.
5. Fill the basin of the fountain or the pond of the waterfall to the appropriate water level.
6. Hook up the power supply to the pump.
Turn on the electricity and sit back and enjoy.
It really is that simple to add the beauty of a fountain to your yard or patio.
Most freestanding water features will come with the pump already included. Pumps are usually electrically powered and range in size based on the volume of water that they will be required to circulate. A small pump may be ½ horsepower and will circulate enough water to provide a continuous small stream in a yard or wall fountain. Large ponds require larger pumps. For water fountains located in lakes or ponds a submersible pump is needed. Pumps are rated on two components, maximum gallons per hour (gph) that tells you how much water the pump will circulate in an hour and maximum lift. Maximum lift will let you know how high the pump can push the water.
To get the correct size pump make sure that you purchase a pump that will circulate a suitable volume of water up the distance from the pump to the top of the fountain. Most reputable pump manufacturers and businesses can provide this information for you. There are also classes and workshops available on installing and designing your own waterfalls and fountains. They are usually advertised at local green houses or landscaping stores.

Water Features Can Transform Your Backyard

Water Features Can Transform Your Backyard

How do you take a boring backyard and transform it into something special? Add a water feature. Water features can transform the ordinary into something incredible as well as hide road noise creating a peaceful and tranquil environment. So all you have to decide is what kind of feature you want. Here are some of the options.


Garden fountains are one of the easiest water features to add to your yard. Most home improvement stores and garden centers will carry do it yourself kits. Choose from a large variety including stand alone fountains and those that hang on your wall. All you have to do to install it is position the fountain, fill it with water and plug in the fountains pump. If you want to get creative, you could even make your own fountain out of new or old pots, a little bit of plastic tubing and a small water pump.


Ponds involve a little more work but are still easy to do in the hands of a competent do it yourselfer. Once again, kits are readily available from your home improvement or garden center. To put in a pond you will have to first dig a hole in a suitable location. Ponds are normally only a few feet deep but it is still a lot of work to dig out all of that soil. Next you will either line the hole with a flexible pond liner or insert a formed hard plastic liner. Then add rocks and a pond filtration system. After treating the water, you can then add plant life and even fish if you so desire.


If you want more than a basic pond, you could try installing a waterfall. This installation is a little more complicated and you might want to consult a professional landscaper. It does take some experience to plan out the flow of water on a waterfall.

Waterfalls are also an excellent feature to add to an existing swimming pools landscaping. They will make an ordinary pool a sight to behold.

With all of the options, it can be hard to decide what type of water feature to add to your yard. Go over your options and choose the type that best fits your budget and your do it yourself experience level.