Thursday, 28 March 2013

Organic Lawn Care

If you thought that lawns are nothing more than mere recreational spaces, think again. Starting from stabilizing the soil and thwarting erosion, to decreasing runoff of rainwater, lawns can serve several useful purposes. But despite the benefits of lawns, much thought often doesn’t go into lawn maintenance practices. No wonder that people often manage their lawns in such a way that triggers serious environmental side effects.

If you too have a lawn and wish to protect the environment while taking care of your green patch, you can consider organic lawn care. 

The emphasis of organic lawn care is on the selection of quality grass that’s fit for your location, and usage of natural management techniques to maintain a healthy lawn. When you use an organic lawn care approach, you will no longer require stocking up on potentially hazardous chemical pesticides around the home, or worrying about safe ways to dispose of the empty containers.

When you use organic fertilizers, along with biological pest management techniques, instead of pesticides, you will get rid of concerns about the harmful effects of pesticide residues on people. Thus, if you have children at home, who love to play on the lawn, or pets/birds/other wildlife that prefer to enjoy the greens, you can breathe easy as your lawn will be safe for them. Organic lawn care also decreases the potential risk of applicators who are exposed to harmful pesticides and other chemicals. 

Many people compost yard waste and use other available wastes in their homes for organic lawn care. By recycling resources, such people can take care of their lawns in a natural way and also help the green cause. So, if you are ready to enjoy the benefits of a healthy lawn sans the use of synthetic chemicals, here are some tips that would help you in your endeavor:


Since most organic fertilizers have a relatively low quantity of nutrients per weight of the product, you need to opt for split applications, rather than covering your lawn with a heavy layer of fertilizer. You will also need to remember that most organic fertilizers contain 3 to 10% of nitrogen, which is usually tied up in complex organic molecules, and gets released slowly. Since it could be several weeks or even months before this nitrogen becomes available to the grass, the growth response could be slow, typically spread over a period of 1-2 months.


Experts advise that the frequency of mowing should be such that each mow removes less than 40% of the grass height. Also, you should mow when the grass is dry, because mowing the wet grass may help spread disease-causing organisms from the infected grasses to the healthy ones.


Depending on the nature of your turf, frequency of watering should be decided upon. It’s advisable to avoid frequent, light irrigations that make the foliage wet and offer favorable conditions for the growth of pests and other disease-causing micro-organisms. 

Fighting weeds

When you notice weeds in small numbers, you can remove the entire plant and its root by using a trowel or spade. When weed infestation is heavy, you would need to treat and renovate the entire area. Covering the affected area for 7-10 days with sheets of black plastic, which will block water and sunlight apart from raising the soil temperature, would be an effective way to kill most weeds in the soil. A thick layer of mulch or compost can also kill weeds effectively, but you would need to be cautious not to introduce new weeds with the compost. 

Protection against insects

Prevention is better than cure – this adage applies to your lawn too. If you take proper care of your lawn and encourage the growth of healthy grasses with deep roots, they will be in a better position to withstand the damage caused by insects. Again, regular mowing is necessary too, since you can minimize thatch buildup with it. Since the thatch layer plays host to leaves and roots, which the insects eat to survive, mowing the lawn regularly to maintain a proper grass height would help fight against the insect-menace. Other important steps are to ensure watering and fertilizing the lawn at the right time and rate.

So, use these organic lawn care tips to enjoy your greens in an environment-friendly way.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Outdoor Illumination for Gardens

If you have a beautiful garden, you shouldn’t limit yourself to enjoy it only during the daytime. By investing in creative and quality outdoor lighting fixtures, you can accentuate the beauty of your space and ensure effective security – all at the same time. 

Here are some key types of illumination fixtures for your outdoors from which you may take your pick:
  • Post and Wall Lights: Be it decorative wall lanterns that can light up your patio or porch, or stylish post lights that are ideal to illuminate the outdoor spaces, you can get these items in a variety of designs, colors, and price ranges.
  • Decking Lights: Choosing the right deck lighting is all about selecting those fixtures that are unobtrusive and stay almost hidden during the day, but become functional as well as attractive by night. Common types of deck lighting include downlights (ideal for covered decks), spotlights (can be the perfect tool to highlight features like a barbecue or spa area), and floodlights (though rarely used in gardens, you can mount them high up to illuminate your pool or garden area).
  • Ground Lights: Inground lighting plays a crucial role in your landscape. Be it halogen globes or LEDs to illuminate your decks, walkways, and regions along the perimeter of your home, or inground uplighters to make your trees and bushes sparkle under the night sky, you can use them to increase your outdoor’s aesthetic appeal. Security Lights: Starting from security lights with a dusk-to-dawn sensor, to switch-controlled lighting, and illuminating fixtures with built-in motion detectors, you can choose from a variety of options to increase safety and security around your home.
  • Solar Lights: Apart from precious savings on your electric bills, environment-friendly solar lights can also give you the chance to illuminate your outdoor space by going green. Whether you are looking for embedded lighting, standalone lights, or other fixtures, you can get them all by doing a targeted search. String and Curtain Party Lights: LED string lights, paper lanterns, multi-LED string lights, mesh string lights, net lights, curtain light etc are all ideal to infuse the air with excitement, which is just the right way to prepare for a party. So, whether you are planning a BBQ with friends and family, or throwing a party for your neighbors and acquaintances, you can set the right mood with these lights.
Tips to accentuate your outdoor space’s aesthetic appeal

Once you have chosen your lighting fixtures from the choices mentioned above, you can get ready to make your outdoor space an inviting zone. Here are some tips to remember in the endeavor:
  • Use ground-level fixtures that point upward to illuminate landscape and architectural elements.
  • You can improve safety and visibility of a step or a group of steps by using step lighting.
  • Enhance the beauty of your walking surface with pathway lighting, which will also improve safety when people access these areas.
  • If your outdoor space has stucco or brick surfaces, you can accent their texture with wall-wash lighting.
  • If you don’t wish to accentuate a specific feature or object, and would rather light up large areas like play zones, lawns etc, you can opt for area lighting.
  • Make the less visible or darker areas of your home lit up with no-glare lighting fixtures that are placed strategically to ensure security and safety of your property.
  • To highlight the shape of architectural features and designs, such as statues, shrubs, trees, and fountains, the ideal solution lies in shadowing and silhouetting.
  • Specific objects can be illuminated with spot lighting.
  • You may use general lighting fixtures for pond and other water features, or use special fixtures to highlight underwater designs or objects, such as murals, statues, and tiles.
Armed with these tips, get ready to give a makeover to your outdoor space.