Fall Garden Planning – Garden plans for next spring and ordering by mail

It’s September. The kids are starting back to school and I feel the onset of fall. I’m getting that garden planning itch again! It happens 2-3 times a year… This time, it’s time to start ordering bulbs and perennials for fall planting. I’m always planning how my garden will look better next season and I suppose most of you do the same. Fall is the perfect time to plant for established growth next spring!

Take a good look at your garden now and think about areas you need to fill in. Do you need late season color, early spring blooms? Are there bare spots or places where plants like poppies or tulips go dormant and you need a filler to keep your garden alive with color? I find the best time for next years planning is in the fall when bloom time and plant combinations are fresh in my mind.

You may be disappointed with a plant combination you chose last season. Fall is the perfect time to rearrange. Get rid of overgrown plants and revive areas with new color or foliage combinations. Think about areas in your bulb or perennial garden you want to develop. What size, shape and bloom color do you need? Plant them this fall and watch your pans come to fruition come spring.

Shrubs and trees do take years to mature and fill their place. You can get a jump start by planting them this fall. When spring arrives they’ll be much more hardy and will require less babying.

Fall is the perfect time to mail order bulbs, perennials, shrubs, hedges and trees. We’re winding down the season and if you’re anything like me you’re just not ready to quit quite yet. Sure there’s clean up to be done, but I find more planting helps to finish those mundane cxhores. As I clean out I plant new!

Ordering online or by mail

Ordering plants online can be a bit scary. How are the plants shipped? Will they be good quality? Will they arrive at the right time and will I be prepared to plant them then?

Fear not! I’ve ordered in fall for years and have had tremendous results!

Plant Quality and Guarantees

Nurseries do differ in what and how they ship so make sure you do some research, but almost all reputable mail order nurseries do guarantee their plants to grow or your money back. I’ve never had trouble collecting on that promise and I have used it a time or two for certain plants. I also admit, a bit grudgingly as a then new gardener, that I should never have ordered those specific plants for my climate. Nevertheless the nursery did stand behind its guarantee.

How Plants Are Shipped

Some plants will be shipped bare root, others as potted plants. This depends on the plant variety and I’ve actually found preference to bare root plants. They do look dead when they arrive (they are actually dormant), but I assure you that unless they have visible signs of disease like rot they’ll thrive come spring.

*Note – If you do get any plants that look like the crown has rotted either ship them back immediately or just phone the nursery and they’ll ship out new ones.

When to Plant

While you never know exactly when your plants will arrive, they are shipped to you at the proper planting time for your gardening zone. If plants arrive and it’s not convenient to plant immediately just make sure you follow the directions included in your shipment for keeping your plants viable until you can plant them. If you’ve planned ahead you will know where they go and it’ll take you little time to get them in the ground. A Saturday afternoon will usually give you ample time to get this done.

Keep in mind these companies have been in business for years and years and have shipped bare root and potted plants for eons. They do know what they’re doing and most of them do it very well. They’d be out of business if they couldn’t fulfill your planting requirements.

Gardening Budgets and Selection

You can’t beat the cost and selection of ordering by mail! Most mail order companies offer plant varieties you’ll never find anywhere else. The selections seem endless and I’ve been amazed what I can grow in New Mexico. Take advantage of fall specials and free shipping and you get a double bang for your buck. For about half of what I spend on a trip to the garden center on a single spring garden binge, I can have more variety and many more plants shipped to me at home.

Get on the Mailing Lists

Make sure you’re on the mailing list for the following nurseries at least! You’ll get a catalogue several times a year. Take it into the garden with you,look around and plan accordingly. Then hop online and place an order or order by mail, but use the online resources for their help with plant combinations and companion planting. They offer great suggestions you may not have thought of before. Remember – pictures will help any gardener no matter how experienced.

Patio Cover in Brampton

Here’s a product we don’t feature as much, but which is one of our absolute favourite installations: our Lifestyle rigid patio cover!

Our patio cover roofs are insulated, providing year-round protection from the heat and the sun, with enough shade and protection to provide up to ten degrees of additional shade outside. They’re also durable, giving you a great covered patio even in the winter, allowing you to maximize the enjoyment of your outdoor living space while enjoying the open air in all directions. See for yourself:

brampton-patio-cover002

brampton-patio-cover003

brampton-patio-cover004

To find out more about Lifestyle Home Products patio and deck covers, CONTACT US or give us a call today at 1-800-465-0593. We’ll be happy to come see you and discuss which of our great outdoor living products; sunrooms, patio covers, or retractable fabric awnings; is right for you.

Eliminate Outdoor Cooking Mistakes

Labour Day is just around the corner, and with it one of the biggest outdoor cooking holidays of the year! As humans, we all make mistakes. It is human nature to do so. When it comes to barbecuing, this rule is no different. We often make mistakes that we do not even realize until we taste our food, or something potentially dangerous happens.

Some mistakes just mean that the food you cook is not going to taste very good, while others could potentially mean a trip to the hospital, or a visit from your claims representative on your home insurance policy. No matter the severity of the mistake, you should do your best to try to avoid them whenever possible.

Cooking Mistakes

You must properly prepare the meat you are cooking, before cooking it. You should never attempt to cook meat on a grill when it is still frozen, or even partially frozen. Thaw your meat by sitting it out about 12 to 24 hours before you plan on cooking it, or by thawing it in a microwave.

Once meat is cooked, never put it back in on the same plate you had it on when it was raw. This could cause the spread of many unwanted illnesses.

Cooking with charcoal lighter fluid can be good or bad. The lighter fluid will cause the food you are cooking to taste different than with other types of grills. Alternatively, attempting to not use lighter fluid may cause a lot of frustration due to the fact that charcoal can be difficult if not impossible to light without lighter fluid.

Never poke you meat while it is cooking. Poking holes in meat will cause the juice inside to leak out into the bottom of the grill. Not only will this make your food dry and unappealing in the end, but it also could potentially ruin your barbeque grill. At the very least, it will cause a buildup of unwanted grease and juices on your grill, which will make cleanup harder.

Once the meat is on the grill, try not to open the lid to many times. Each time you open the lid, you change the temperature in the grill. The constant change in temperature and the airflow will cause your meat to dry up quickly.

Remember that the higher the heat is not always the better. While it is ok to quickly cook food, turning the heat up will just cause the meat to dry up and potentially burn.

While using tin foil or aluminum foil will make cleaning easier, it will cause your food to have more of a fried taste then a grilled taste.

Dangerous Mistakes

Never, under any circumstance, should you leave a grill alone when it is in use. Grilling does have fire involved, and accidents can happen. Fire spreads quickly, so being aware of your grill could mean the difference between a small fire that is quickly extinguished, and a visit from the fire department.

Never place a hot grill against a wall, even if the fire is already completely out. A hot grill can heat up an exterior wall to the point of combustion. Also, do not put the grill cover back on until you are sure that the grill is completely cool.

Your grill should be cleaned after each and every use, no exceptions. While no one likes cleaning the grill, it is essential for the life and safety of your grill. If you allow your grill to sit dirty, not only are you causing a potential fire and health hazard, but you are ultimately making it harder on yourself when it does come time to clean your grill.

Make sure that your grill is completely cold before cleaning it. Spraying oil and cleaning agents on a hot surface could cause it to ignite. Be careful, because the grill may seem cool, but may still be hot in certain areas. You do not want to sustain a burn.

 

How To Light Up a Garden Fountain

You are able to make a fountain shine, light up an entire pond from inside, highlighting an attractive statue, or raise the expression of a particularly gorgeous tree. You can install garden fountain lights inside or outside lighting. You need to know that all should be connected to a GFI for your own protection.

Before you start shopping for garden fountain lights, try out different effects with a strong flashlight or a spotlight on an extension cord. Focus for simplicity and nuance. Do not let yourself get carried away and change your garden fountain into an amusement park , but keep your eye on elegance.

There are numerous types of in garden fountain lights, and each one produces its own special effect, depending upon how you position it almost all designs demand lights that have dark, subdued cases. Chromium steel or white casings can be obtrusive, particularly during daylight.

Garden fountain lights, either in white or colorations, add drama to a sprayer. A few garden fountain lights also come equip with transparent rolls of various colours. Colourful light, nevertheless, should be used sparingly-it can easily become tacky.

A lot of garden fountain lights have installed timers that let you to automatically turn the lights off and on. You are also able to put in an independent timer in the lighting setup. Timers not only save you the hassle of regularizing the light, they also save on your electricity bill.

How to place your garden fountain lights

The first rule in setting up your fountain lights is to never them shine straight on the water since they’ll produce a harsh glare. In-ponds, lights need reasonably clean water to be efficient. Muddy water obstructs too much light and decreases the light’s effectiveness substantially. If you’ve fish in your water garden, allow dark areas where they can back away from the light. Fish need a great deal of crevices for safety. And never brighten the entire pond, particularly all night. If possible, place out-of-water lights to hide their casings and cord underneath a deck, behind a stone, or tucked into the leafage of a shrub. Any type of lighting you prefer, be sensitive to its effect on the neighbors. Do not let the lights beam in their windows.

Installation of Low Power Garden Fountain Lights

Contrary to normal 120-volt lights, installation of low-power landscape lights is a breeze, even for novices. And they are fairly safe because of their low voltage. Numerous low-voltage lighting schemes are sold as kits, complete with instruction manuals.

Installing a low-voltage system begins with installing a transformer, which cuts down the regular home current from one hundred twenty volts to twelve volts. Set up the transformer just about the GFCI receptacle closest to the water feature, using the manufacturer’s directions. Even 12-volt systems should utilize a GFCI unit to prevent shocks. Most transformers are plainly mounted next to an electric outlet and plugged into it.

Outdoor Lighting Tips For Your Home

The perfect lighting outside your house is great at enhancing the beauty of it; however, choosing the wrong outdoor lighting can spoil the whole environment. Knowing what kind of lighting will suit your house and garden is important. Your dream to stroll down the garden in the evening with the lights creating the perfect ambience and the wind slowly blowing on your face can come true; you just have to know what, and how, to get the right outdoor lighting for your place.

Outdoor lighting is also helpful for security reasons. When the days get shorter, especially in winter, outdoor lighting can lengthen the day and dramatically change the environment of your outdoor living spaces. With proper planning you can also create your outside space for entertaining your guests.

Types of Outdoor Lighting

Outdoor lighting can be divided into four categories:

Security lighting:

This lighting is used for lighting up the vulnerable areas of your property. It is advisable though to keep it away from the living areas so it’s not distracting, as the lights used are bright, and often motion activated. You can also have a manual on/off switch for your lighting so that you can override automatic illumination.

Task lighting:

This type of lighting is for specific purposes such as outdoor grilling or walking safely up and down steps and along paths. Task lighting should be kept between your eyes and the object that needs to be lighted. See to it that it does not glare, as an overly bright light will blind rather than guide.

Accent lighting:

This can create a dramatic effect, or highlight an unusual feature. For example, uplighting can illuminate an interesting piece of statuary. Silhouetting can be achieved by keeping the light between the object and your fence or wall. General or ambient lighting can display overall lighting so that people feel comfortable and look good.

Moonlighting or starlight:

You can also imitate moonlight or starlight for creating magical lighting. Moonlighting can be produced by putting outdoor lights in trees. The lights should be pointing downward to create a dappled effect, as if the area were lit by a full moon. And what could be more beautiful than natures own gift to us – stars in the night! This can be imitated by suspending tiny lights in the branches of a tree to create a sparkling night time canopy, or by using flickering candles, sprinkled here and there throughout the space.

Tips to remember:

No matter what type of lighting you want, remember not to over-do it, as less is more when it comes to lighting. Don’t use lights where they’re not necessary, and you can also be subtle by using a low watt bulb. Also be careful not to send light “upward”. Never use lights in straight lines up and down paths like the airport runway effect which is a very common error.

Avoid using yellow lights as they are unflattering to both people and plants. Instead use blue-white bulbs or purchase daylight-blue filters for your fixtures. The lights should be kept where they are easily accessible for changing light bulbs. After setting up your outdoor lighting, get outside after dark and light up the night!

 

Remember, with a Lifestyle Sunroom, our experts handle your electrical work, making lighting up your outdoor space as easy as can be. Give us a call today to book an appointment and find out more!