Tag Archives: landscaping

Summer in Bloom

blanket_flower_arizona_sun_600Warm summer weather is a great excuse to spend time outdoors. Picnics, beach trips, and outdoor games are favorite summertime activities, but planting a garden is especially rewarding. Gardening is a good way to exercise and improve mental health. When planting flowers in the summer, prepare your yard and choose plants that thrive in summer sunlight.

Sunny Spots: Before deciding on what flowers to plant, determine the sun conditions of your garden space. Plants’ sun requirements fall into three categories: full sun, partial sun/partial shade, or full shade. Plants that need full sun require six or more hours of direct sunlight; plants labeled as “heat/drought tolerant” fall into this category and can endure the strong afternoon sun. Flowers and plants needing partial sun/shade prefer four to six hours of light, and typically thrive in morning and early evening sunlight, versus hot afternoon light. Full shade plants thrive in shaded areas and endure very little direct light. Monitor the amount of sunlight in your garden space and choose plants appropriate for your yard’s sun conditions.

Preparing the Soil: Prep the soil before planting anything. Use fertilizer and organic material to enrich the soil (particularly in areas with thin, poor soil, or sandy soil). Organic material and mulch helps the dirt retain moisture, mulch is also good for keeping the soil cool—a must during high-temperature summer weather.

Choosing your Plants: Choose plants and flowers that thrive in your climate region; the best flowers to plant however are those native to your area. Purchase healthy-looking plants from a local nursery; wilted and stressed plants are less likely to survive in a new environment. If you want plants that thrive in summer temperatures and sunlight, look for flowers that are high heat or drought tolerant, such as Blanket Flowers or Globe Amaranths.

Find plant nurseries or florists in your area through Real Local Pages (RLP), an online directory of business listings. Users can find a large variety of businesses on RLP, from hotels and electricians, to flower shops in downtown Houston and restaurants. Search by visiting the website, http://www.reallocalpages.com, and enter your city and state. Find businesses by choosing a search term on the main page, or enter your own terms into the search box. Each listing on the results page shows the contact information for the business. Users can also leave reviews of the business through the RLP website.

Stormy Summer Skies

0001ab67_mediumSummertime is a popular season for its beautiful weather; sunny days, long nights, and warm temperatures make summer an ideal time for outdoor activities. Although sunny weather is a hallmark of the season, storms are common in parts of the country where summer is the rainy season. Summer downpours provide temporary relief from the hot sun, but stormy weather can be detrimental to personal safety and property. Strong winds and heavy rains could lead to flooding, downed trees, and structural damage to homes. The best way to prevent (or at least limit) storm damage and protect you and your family is to prepare ahead of time.

Before the storm, assess your property for structural problems, making sure that there are no leaks and that doors and windows seal properly. Prune trees and hedges to limit damage during a storm. Take photos of your home and vehicle for insurance purposes and document valuables. Make copies of insurance policies, identification, and other important papers to keep in a safe, waterproof place. Keep a list of contact information (electronic and hard copy) for emergency services, hospitals, insurance agents, family, and friends.

Prepare for severe storms by making an emergency supply kit. Pack your supply kit with a battery-operated radio, flashlights, batteries, local maps (physical maps), blankets, and a first aid kit with instructions. Store canned goods, a manual can opener, drinking water (a person needs up to one gallon per day), and prescription medication. An emergency kit should also include personal hygiene products, toothpaste, soap, hand sanitizer, and wet cleaning cloths.

After a storm, stay away from standing water in case of downed power lines, and take precautions when moving debris. Check your home for damage or contact an expert for help. Search Real Local Pages (RLP) for home repair experts like roof contractors and electricians to help you prepare for summer storms. RLP’s online directory contains listings for thousands of businesses across the country. Users can find many different types of businesses through RLP, from clothing stores and gas stations to florists and flooring services. Visit http://www.reallocalpages.com to get started. Include your location, then search by entering terms into the search box on the main page, or, choose a term from the popular categories list. Each listing includes the business’s contact information for your convenience.

Lawn Care

Green_GrassCaring for your own yard can be a rewarding way to spend your afternoon. Raking leaves, pulling weeds, watering  plants, and adding new plants to the yard is a good source of exercise and a healthy way to lower stress. When you don’t have time to work on your yard, or when you want an expert’s advice, you can turn to professional landscapers. Finding a trustworthy company to work on your yard isn’t easy, but following a few simple principles can help you find quality, reliable service.

Landscape Work: The company you work with should understand the weather and climate of your area and suggest plants that thrive in that environment. Lawn care professionals should also take note of the particular conditions in your yard, such as sun and shade coverage, soil type, drainage, moisture, trees, and terrain. Your landscape expert should make a plan that works well for your particular yard and communicate with you about conditions so that you can make informed decisions.

Pricing: Compare prices by investigating different lawn care companies and keep a record of how much each company charges for particular lawn care jobs. Ask friends and consult consumer websites to learn more about the typical cost of lawn-related jobs. Make sure you receive confirmation about the price before agreeing to a job.

Reliability: Ask friends and acquaintances for leads on reliable lawn care experts. You can also ask the company for references and look up a company’s past work by reading online reviews left by customers. Once you hire a company, keep a record of the work they perform for you. The company’s workers should be open about their pricing and work, and be considerate with your yard.

Look for lawn care experts on Real Local Pages (RLP), an online directory of businesses. You can find a wide variety of businesses on RLP, from auto repair shops, to local restaurants. Begin searching by entering your city and state on the website, http://www.reallocalpages.com. Find businesses by entering key terms into the search box. You can also search by choosing a term from the popular categories list. Each business listing on the results page will display the phone number and address of the business; users can also leave reviews of the business on the RLP website.

Gardening and Health

jardinageSpring has arrived, and with it, warmer weather (for some) and newly-grown trees, plants and flowers. Dedicate some time this season to starting your own garden; you don’t need a green thumb or even a yard to start growing your own garden this Spring. Gardening is not only a fun pastime, but it is also great way to promote your physical and mental health:

Physical Health: Gardening is mild form of exercise that combines physical activity with stretching; since it’s a low-impact activity, gardening is especially good for people who suffer from chronic pain. Spending time in the sun is a good way to soak up Vitamin D, which strengthens the immune system.  Studies also found that gardeners tend to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. Even the dirt itself is good for you; the bacteria common in soil, Mycobacterium vaccae, helps alleviate asthma and allergy symptoms.

Mental Health: Besides being a good way to stay healthy, gardening is good for your mental well-being. Research found that gardening improves mood and reduces depression symptoms. Gardening lowers Cortisol levels (known as the stress hormone), supports positive self-esteem, and lowers a person’s risk of developing dementia. Simply looking at a garden can induce calmness and positive feelings.

Start your own garden in your yard or a room in your house. Start with some sturdy houseplants like a Jade plant, a Croton, or hang a Boston fern in your kitchen. Or, plant cherry tomatoes, beans, or peppers in a large bucket (poke holes in the bucket to drain off water) and place the bucket on a porch or balcony. Herbs used in cooking are also an easy introduction to gardening since they sprout in sunny corners and can grow in small planters.

Find nearby gardening and hardware stores using Real Local Pages (RLP). RLP is an online directory containing listings for businesses and services located throughout the United States. Search by visiting the RLP website, http://www.reallocalpages.com, and entering your city. Locate local businesses by entering search terms like “garden” into the search box, or, choose a search term from the popular categories list on the home page. The results page will display the address and phone number of the business. Use Real Local Pages to find a variety of businesses and services, from lawn care experts to hobby supply stores.

 

A Leaf from Lawn History

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Lawns in the United States cover an estimated fifty thousand square miles, an area roughly the size of New York state. Americans today can hardly imagine home without picturing a green expanse of neatly cut grass. Yet, lawns have not always been so essential to our image of home. In the 19th century, most yards were bare earth scattered with trees and debris. Furthermore, only the rich could afford lawns since mowers were not invented until 1830. Maintaining a lawn required servants cutting the grass with a scythe, or herds of grazing sheep. Lawns were also out of reach for those who needed their yard to grow food.

It was Frederick Olmstead that popularized lawns in the United States. Olmstead, along with fellow landscape architect Calvert Vaux, had designed Central Park, and in 1868, he designed a suburb in Illinois. Olmstead determined that houses should be set back 30 feet from the road, and fences were eliminated to create an unbroken expanse of grass. The mass production of lawnmowers in the 1890s made lawns more affordable for the average American, and by the 1930s, the U.S. Department of Agriculture had developed the right combination of lawn grasses that could flourish in American climates.

After WWII, suburbs spread rapidly throughout the country, and with it, lawns. Scientists developed new chemical pesticides to make grass greener and protect against pests, thus making the perfect lawn possible. Maintaining a good lawn however, is an ongoing job. Lawns need regular mowing and watering as well as fertilizer and protection from bugs and disease. Search for local lawn care services using Real Local Pages, an online directory containing listings for thousands of U.S. businesses. Visit Real Local Pages online at http://www.reallocalpages.com and select your area. Use the search box to enter keywords such as “lawn” or “garden” to locate lawn care businesses, or choose “landscaping” from the popular categories list on the home page. Each listing on the results page shows the contact number and address of the business. Real Local Pages can also be used to find other types of businesses and services, such as plumbers, florists, restaurants, and spas.