When I made my first raised beds, these are a few tips I gathered, as well as things I wish I had thought about beforehand.This allows you to easily reach into the raised bed from the side to plant and dig and weed, without having to step into the garden where you risk compacting the soil.If it’s too shallow those roots will reach down into that subsoil (or hard surface) and hit a brick wall.When preparing a raised bed garden, location is everything, but it doesn’t have to be your backyard.You’ll want to make modifications if you have a slope and assess whether the area drains well.If you want to set up a whole drip irrigation system with a line running from your tap or rain barrel, you might want to do this before your raised bed areas are finished and filled.There are some handy soil calculators out there that will help you determine how much you need to fill your raised bed, like this one from Gardener’s Supply Company.As far as type of soil, I like to emphasize buying the best quality that you can afford when preparing a raised bed garden.When I had multiple raised beds to fill, I ordered triple mix from a local supplier (after chatting with them on the phone about my options) and top-dressed it with organic vegetable compost.Here are several illustrated 4×8 raised bed layout plans you can use to determine the placement and spacing of your veggie plants. .

Backyard Vegetable Garden

Once your beds are prepared and the soil is enriched and ready to plant, the bulk of your gardening work is finished.To ensure a healthy, productive garden, consider these basic tips.Longer beds are good choices for gardeners opting for drip irrigation.Colder climates benefit from raised beds because the soil warms faster in spring, which lets you start planting sooner. .

10 Ways to Prep Your Garden for Fall

We like to embrace the cooler weather because we can actually get outdoor chores done without being a sweaty mess by the end of the day.After reading through our quick guide, it’s worth thinking about how you’re going to prep your patio for winter!If you’ve got some fragile plants that have been thriving outdoors during the summer, it’s a good time to bring them inside.Depending on where you live, late September and early October can be a tumultuous time for plants.If they’re tropical plants, it’s best to keep them in a cool dark place and barely moist so they can enter into dormancy.You can store them in a paper bag filled with shredded newspaper in a cool, dark, dry place until the spring.Here’s an awesome article from Costa Farms about the 12 annual flowers that can take the cold.Check out this guide from The Gardening Cook that gives you 15 cold hardy veggie options for you to plant this winter!Although this guide is mostly about gardening, we can’t just leave you high and dry when it comes to fall lawn care.The rest of these tips aren’t as gardening specific, but they are small chores that are a good idea to get done before winter rolls around!It’s time to clean off shovels, rakes, hoes, trowels, and any other gardening equipment you might have.Rinsing off the dirt and grime from your tools and then thoroughly drying them will go a long way in protecting them from rusting.Additionally, applying linseed oil to all wooden handles will help keep them in great condition for when you break out the gardening gloves next spring.Fall is a great time to finally organize and store your gardening tools and supplies for the rest of the winter.Now that it’s not a million degrees outside, (exaggeration) digging new beds for your plants is a great plan before it gets really cold outside.For our final tip, check out your local farmers market for great deals on fruits and veggies as the season comes to a close. .

5 Tips to Clean & Prep Your Deck

Search concrete, stone, brick and tile patios for any sign of cracks or crumbling areas.For concrete, use a putty knife or trowel to apply a vinyl patching compound to cracks in multiple layers as directed by the manufacturer.Sweep off loose debris and clean between deck cracks using a slender stick or tool.Use a garden hose or a pressure washer to remove dirt, dust and other material.Remove any mildew from your deck with a formulated deck cleaner available at your local True Value hardware store, or use a homemade solution of 3 quarts water, 1 quart oxygen bleach and ¼-cup of ammonia-free liquid dishwasher detergent.Add this solution to a garden sprayer and apply liberally to the deck’s surface.Cover any ground plants near the deck with drop cloths to protect them when spraying chemicals.Wear safety glasses when using a pressure washer to avoid splashing debris into your eyes.Knock down spider webs with a broom and use insecticide spray on stinging insect nests.Use dish soap, water and a scrub brush for tougher dirt and stains.Wipe down cushions and pillows to remove dust or dirt that may have collected in storage.Bring out your patio décor: outdoor rugs or mats, planters, lighting and wind chimes.Inspect burners and their gas tubes and make sure they aren’t worn out, rusty or blocked by debris or spider webs.To avoid serious injury, be sure the propane tank is shut off at the grill before doing any kind of maintenance.Clean the inside and outside of the grill thoroughly with hot, soapy water and a sponge or rag.You worked hard – now you can sit back, relax and enjoy lazy summer days on the patio! .

Prepping your patio for winter

Colder weather is moving in, which means it’s time to start thinking about patio furniture storage.Items that are made from stone, concrete or terracotta should be stowed away before the snow and ice hit.), feel free to call our experts in the patio department for advice on how to best protect your furniture year-round.Clean and cover the grill, store your accessories (like umbrellas) and wash the surface of your patio. .

How To Build a Stone and Brick Patio (DIY)

Introduction Add a welcoming feature to your backyard with this attractive, long-lasting brick and stone patio.Building a brick and stone patio like ours doesn’t take special skills.This DIY brick patio project isn’t technically difficult, but be prepared to devote a big chunk of time and energy to it.With a small crew of strong and ambitious helpers, you could finish this project in two or three weekends, but working alone at a leisurely pace, you’ll spend the better part of a summer.The tumbling rounds the edges and gives the stone a worn look that complements the rustic appearance of the used pavers.You may not find the exact materials we used locally; check the stone dealers in your area to see what’s available as you determine how to build a patio to your liking. .

Easy DIY Backyard Patio Installation – our Step-by-Step Guide

Incorporate a stone patio into your backyard or garden for an easy outdoor room.The hard surface gives patio furniture firm footing, so you can create a seating ensemble for outdoor dining, morning coffee, or simply relaxing with friends.Bricks, pavers, or flagstones all create sturdy and attractive stone patio designs.Bricks or pavers in straight or gently curving patterns typically work well for an easy DIY patio.Rotate the pieces until they fit together, working to create a nearly uniform space between the stones.Lay a garden hose on the ground or use stakes and mason line to define the shape of your DIY patio.If you're undecided about the best size for your new space, build a slightly larger patio than you were intending.Using a sharp garden spade shovel ($32, The Home Depot), remove the sod and soil at the patio location.Use a wheelbarrow to transport the excess soil to a compost pile, a low spot in the yard, or along the foundation.Landscape fabric is fairly inexpensive and easy to install, so this weed control method is well worth it.Add gravel or limestone paver base to the excavated area and spread it to form a 6-inch-deep layer over the entire patio space.If using limestone paver base, use a garden hose to lightly wet the material.Again, use a tamper or plate compactor to create a smooth surface for your DIY patio.Large gaps between stones invite weed seeds to germinate and add to the uneven nature of the patio surface.After all the bricks, pavers, or flagstones are in place, spread polymeric jointing sand over the patio.Water the surface with a fine mist from a garden hose to encourage the sand to sink into the spaces between the stones.Repeat the process of adding sand, sweeping, and watering about a week after construction to ensure a durable finish for your DIY patio. .

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