Protect Your Pool and Spa In drought conditions

Here are some tips that will help keep you from swimming pools and spa, deck and equipment from damage is usually caused by drought conditions. When in drought conditions, please be careful of the following preventive measures:

Water Level

Evaporation of water will be fast under hot, dry conditions. Try and keep the level of water in the bottom of the drainage grate. Low water levels can damage the equipment.

Pool Deck

Although deck reinforced with steel rebar, sand and drought conditions severely difficult in ground swimming pool decks due to the contraction of soil. This can lead to cracking or shifting movements, similar to what happened with the foundation of the House.

Keep your soil conditions consistent around Your pool. Avoid very dry or wet soil around the pool and decking.
The water around the yard and pool deck (in a level 2 water restrictions mandate) to keep the land and pool from separating. Hand watering or using drip hoses will help maintain consistent humidity levels.
Do not allow drainage into a pond near the pool (too much water).

Expansion Joints & Deck-O-Seal

Periodically check the expansion joints to see if there is damage to the Deck-O-Seal. If there is any damage or separation between the deck and pool, it should be handled.

It's almost impossible to completely avoid some movement, even under normal conditions. As we all know, Dallas, Texas, summer can be anything BUT normal. So, it is important to maintain consistent levels of ground water around Your swimming pool for exceptional circumstances and in a district mandate set.

Seasonal Checklist – Secret To Success

Here is a recap of what to do to keep Your pool running in optimum condition. Following these recommendations will save you time and a service fee if done correctly and in a timely manner. Keep in mind you can easily avoid potential damages and repair costs is largely due to 1) the height of the water is not correct and 2) filter is dirty and basket.

Twice a week:

Check and clean the skimmer basket.
Check and clean the pump basket.
Add water.
Check and adjust chemical levels
Add a sequestering agent for prevention of stain.
Steps brush and a Chair.
Check the air filter.
Check the pressure filter.
Clear bag cleaner
Check the pad to place wet equipment.

Every 4 to 6 Weeks:

Backwash filter does it seems to need it or not.
Clean the calcium deposits and debris from tile and valves.

Every 3 months:

Clean and lumasi pump o-ring.
Clean the chlorinator lumasi and o-ring.

Seasonal Summer (6 months):

Summerization (tear down and cleaning the filter element).
Lubricate the valve and o-ring.
Customize settings for hours.
Check your other equipment to proper operation.

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Garden Gates

Garden gates are an ideal way to complete the front of your property

Curb appeal is vitally important to the appearance of your property. Curb appeal is your property’s first impression it gives to the world as and as they say, you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. Garden gates are an ideal way to give your home instant curb appeal. Nothing finishes the front of your home quite like garden gates. Garden gates look like the owners care about their property and that a property is loved and cared for on the inside too. Garden gates can be simple and rustic giving an informal cosy appeal or they can be more formal and elegant giving a reserved, sophisticated edge. It is funny but garden gates can  actually tell you something about the owners inside.

Garden gates come in all sizes and styles

There are garden gates for every style in every size and for every budget.

All garden gates are made to measure so your gates fits perfectly thus making your property even more secure. For a more sophisticated and prestigious look, iron garden gates are great. For more country properties, pine garden gates look cosy and welcoming. Garden gates can be plain and simple or more ornate. Garden gates make a statement about you as a family before anyone even enters into your home. You can find garden gates suitable for most properties that are designed to fit any budget. Garden gates are the ideal to complete the front of a property and give it a welcoming feel.

For great looking and affordable garden gates, look no further than by going online today

If you are looking for great looking and affordable garden gates, then go online today to There you will find a wide range of garden gates, pergolas, fences and decking kits. All of their garden gates are made to measure and will suit any budget and any style. Visit them today to find the ideal garden gates for your property.

Water Gardening

Doesn’t it feel relaxing when you get to sit back and relax or lie down on the grass in your garden and you hear nothing but the sound of water flowing smoothly in the background, ringing like beautiful music to your ears? Doesn’t it feel like paradise? The sight and sound of water has always drawn the interest of people. Water brings a pleasing element to a garden. Water gardening involves fountains, waterfalls, ponds, and elegant combinations of rocks and lighting. A water garden is a pool of water that contains fish, water plants, and other water creatures.

Water gardening has now evolved to be one of the very popular landscaping styles nowadays. People of all ages love the sound of flowing water because it is very calming and peaceful.
If you want to have a water garden, one of the most important things to take into consideration is choosing the right spot for it.

Since water gardens are usually home to fish and aquatic plants, the water garden needs to be in a place where there is constant access to sunlight during the daytime because most fish and aquatic plants depend on the sun. Also, the place should steer clear of any tree or tall shrub, to have access to sunlight and also to avoid leaf and stick rubbish in the water.
When planning your water garden, you have to use some basic principles. You have to consider the size of your lawn and your ability to maintain a water garden. If you have a small property, a small pond would probably be best. You may also add waterfalls, rockwork, lighting and fountains if you have the budget, and it would also depend on the style and purpose of your landscape. However, doing so would further enhance the scenery, especially at night.

When choosing aquatic plants, you must know that plants should not cover more than 50-60% of the water surface. There are many types of aquatic plants to choose from for example, free floating ones, or the ones that are to be submerged in water. The selection all depends on you and what you want for your pond. Water lilies are said to add drama and fragrance to water no matter how small your pond is. There are also some plants that are healthy and provide oxygen to the water. You also have the option to add fish, if you want to. A good addition would be the ever famous janitor fish which are popular for cleaning up dirty debris in the water, thus being called “janitor” because they clean. Some fish can also help control mosquito larva and other sorts of insects. However, if you have fish in your pond, you need to make sure that you regularly maintain and clean the pond so your fish can live.

It is also possible to do water gardening yourself, if you have the time and heart to do it. There are many do-it-yourself kits available and they are easy to install. These kits can be found at home improvement stores. Or, if you have the necessary budget, you may hire landscapers to do the water gardening for you.
All garden pools, regardless of their size and content require proper and constant maintenance. If you had proper planning and perhaps advice from an expert, a healthy balance between the living and decorative features of a water garden that can almost take care of itself can be accomplished, and you would only have simple maintenance procedures to do.

Garden Designer | Drought Resistant Gardening

For the enthusiastic gardeners amongst us, the hosepipe ban currently affecting an ever-increasing number of regions across the South of England is more than an inconvenience it's a potential disaster.

But do not despair. With a little thought and reorganisation, you can conserve water, minimise drought damage and still ensure you have a summer garden that's the envy of all your neighbours!

How? It's simple...............

1. Improve Moisture Retention in the Soil

Limit evaporation from the soil by mulching soil surfaces. This will significantly improve moisture retention. There are several different types of mulch which can be employed for this purpose:-

a. Organic Mulches

The best organic matter to use would be:

- Animal Manure making sure that it is well rotted.
- Mushroom Compost though this should not be used on very chalky soil or acid loving plants.
- Garden Compost when the texture has turned ‘crumbly'.
- Leaf Mould this compost will suit acid loving plants (recycling garden waste into compost makes one of the cheapest soil conditioners).
- Chipped Bark make sure you buy chipped bark, not chipped wood.

But be careful: when dry and in a strong wind, it tends to blow about the garden!

b. Non Organic Mulches

- Gravel or other Aggregates excellent, long lasting inorganic mulch available in a range of colours, textures and sizes
- Grass cuttings compost with other material first (never compost grass cuttings that have been freshly treated with herbicide).
- Cocoa shells a good, light, porous mulch with small amounts of nutrients
- Rocks, Pebbles & Glass Nuggets are a colourful, efficient alternative to all of the above.

When using an inorganic matter as mulch on the soil, first prepare the site by pegging down a porous membrane on top of the soil. The weight of the inorganic mulch will help anchor anchor the membrane and prevent the gravel or glass nuggets from becoming buried in the soil.

2. Water Butts

Place water butts in the garden in strategic spots where they can catch water from the roof of your home, garage and garden outbuildings. Water butts can be inter-linked using hosepipe to allow the maximum amount of water to be stored.

Call Original Organics for under half price Water Butts including a down-pipe connecter and a watering can on tel. 01884 841515

3. Recycle Domestic Water

Do not use water though that contains bleach or detergent. Bath water can be used so long as you rotate the type of water given in one area. Make sure that the water is not poured directly on to the leaves.

4. Lay a Drought Tolerant Lawn

Grassed areas are the first to suffer from a hosepipe ban. Consider reducing the size of your lawn and possibly replacing it with a Gravel Bed or a lawn made up of thyme or camomile. Alternatively, you could consider hard landscaping.

However, if you're set on keeping your lawn, a turf company in the South of England called Sovereign has developed a Drought Tolerant Grass called Xeris, details of which can be found by following the link.

5. The Hard Landscaping Option

There are a variety of surfaces other than lawn that offer interest and texture in the garden. These include:

(a) Paving leaving a space between the paving stones for creeping plants such as thyme can soften the edges of a hard-paved area. Even in dry weather there is usually sufficient moisture beneath the slabs for the efficient growth of alpines. Leaving out the occasional slab can also provide space for a larger plant to be grown.

(b) Cobbles and Aggregates naturally complement each other as well as do plants and can be easily worked into curving shapes and organic patterns. For added colour contrast, glass blocks can also be introduced in small areas.

(c) Gravel this is by far the easiest surface to lay, although it is better not to lay gravel immediately next to the house, as it is easily trodden indoors.

(d) Decking can easily be accommodated in any garden regardless of levels. Using grooved timber helps to prevent slipping when the surface is wet.

Combining the above in an imaginative way will not only enable you to conserve water, but will also provide an area of garden that needs little maintenance. It will also create a cool area where plants will thrive during spells of dry weather.

For more information about any of the above contact Amanda

6. Planting

There are a number of ways in which planting itself can help reduce the amount of water evaporation from the soil:

(a) Plant more trees- Shade from trees helps to provide cooler pockets of air, whilst the trees themselves create an excellent windbreak to minimise the drying effect of the wind. If your garden occupies a large, windy site, especially near the coast, you could benefit from planting a high hedge or a ‘shelter belt' of trees and shrubs.

(b) Grow Plants in Containers- If you grow a lot of patio plants in containers, grouping them together will enable them to produce their own microclimate. It will also help conserve water, as more is required to water more widely spaced plants. Water-retaining granules incorporated in the compost of hanging Baskets and containers will also help keep the soil moist during dryer weather.

(c) Plant Ground Cover- The use of ground cover planting is another very useful way of helping to retain moisture in the soil. Plants with silver coloured foliage are especially effective in achieving this. The art of good ground cover planting lies in creating drifts of plants, broken by the occasional change of height, shape and colour.

(d) Use Windbreaks- It is not only trees and shrubs that can be useful in slowing down the wind and reducing moisture loss in the garden. More immediate remedies are things like woven willow panels, trellising and baffle fencing, all of which provide instant, effective help in combating the drying process when erected in the right places. For long term windbreaks, evergreen hedges such as holly or deciduous hedges such as hawthorn are an excellent choice.

(e) Terracing- In sloping gardens, water quickly drains away, leaving slim opportunity for the soil to absorb any moisture. Terracing provides a flat surface to help contain and conserve water supplies. Terracing can be constructed in various ways, one of which is to use sleepers.

As a Garden Designer all these things need to be taken into account and planned for. Remember no water equals sure disaster.


Flower Gardens and Container Gardens

Growing a garden in one’s home can be considered both an art and a science. Of course, you want to use attractive plants and flowers to beautify your home. However, you must also know how to care for these plants. It may be helpful if you know which plants thrive during which seasons, and in what climates they are most suited. With this, you can maintain the beauty of your garden.

If you have a backyard, then you have all the freedom to grow a garden. If you do not have enough space in your home, you can opt for a container garden instead. This type of gardening doesn’t use up much space but can add the same natural beauty ideal for your home.

A container garden is composed of plants grown exclusively in containers instead of planting them on the ground.

Ceramic pots are often used as containers, although those made of plastic are also used. Window boxes are also commonly used. One benefit of container gardening is you can grow plants even if the soil or climate is not fit for them.

Another advantage of container gardening is the lesser risk of soil-borne diseases. Weed problems can also be eliminated. Thus, your plants are better protected. Container plants are mobile; this gives you more control over the amount of sunlight the plants receives, and you can regulate the temperature and moisture they absorb. If you want some container gardens ideas for beginners, you can research on what kinds of plants you can use.

For certified container garden design ideas, you can use herbs, flowers, cacti, and even small trees.

If you are a homeowner who has a yard, you can grow more kinds of plants. You can even have structures built to support the plants. If you want beauty, color, and fragrance in your garden, then you can cultivate vibrant flowers.

To help you come up with guaranteed flower garden design ideas, you can gather information about different varieties. You can use fragrant perennials, such as the Erysimum, which is commonly known as wallflowers. This plant’s  flowers have shades of purple, red, and deep maroon, to name a few. The bloom time of Erysimum is from early spring to early summer. There are many other varieties, and they can all enhance the visual appeal of your garden.