So the inside of your house looks amazing but the outside is, well the outside is bland. So you think, it's what's on the inside that counts and the outside doesn't need much attention. You also think, well I don't live on the outside of the house. But just as you cut your hair or paint your nails, your house needs some external enhancement as well. There are many benefits to good curb appeal, besides the fact that it looks beautiful it can benefit you financially as well. If you plan to sell your home it has been proven that homes with good curb appeal sell faster than houses that lack curb appeal, they also sell for much more. So, it may be a good idea to make the outside of your home as pretty as the inside. Gardening is one way of boosting your curb appeal, read on to get 4 essential gardening tips.
When selecting grasses and flowers for your garden you need to consider weather and maintenance. In the Caribbean you need to select grasses and flowers that can take the hot climate. Let's start with grasses; the best type of grasses to choose for the Caribbean climate are turf grasses, as they can withstand the heat and don't need a lot of water. Here are the varieties you have to choose from:
Bermuda Grass: This type of turf grass will begin to sprout between three days to a week from the time you plant them. They need lots of light so make sure that your front yard is fullly exposed to the sunlight. Bermuda grass is planted from seeds and are tough enough to take lots of foot traffic. They are short and have a grey-green colour and have sharp edges on their blades.
Zoysia Grass: This type of turf grass have fine to medium textured leaves that feel like a thick cushion of lush carpet. Like all turf grass it requires less watering and little, if any chemicals at all, to aid in it's growth. Many zoysia grass varieties don't produce seeds so, zoysia grass is often planted using plugs. After the plugs are planted it can take anywhere from 3 to 5 years to spread across your garden. The only solution to this slow growth is to plant the plugs closer together.
St. Augustine Grass: This type of turf grass is the most tolerant of warm conditions and are only sold as sod. They grow to have broad blades and large coarse stems. St Augustine grasses are rapid growers and will require frequent mowing however, they are pest and disease resistant so that's a plus!. Most people fancy them for their attractive green colour.
When selecting flowers for your garden, remember that you don't have to select one kind. You can mix flower types, just make sure that they complement each other and complement the colour of your exterior. Here are some flower bed choices that you can consider:
Hibiscus Flowers: Some people who live in warm climates have these flowers growing arounnd their yard without even planting or maintaining them, that's the durability of these flowers. There are three basic ways to grow hibiscus flowers; from seeds, from transplant and from cutting. These heat-lovers come in many different types and mixing them up can add a touch of drama to your garden.
Marigold Flowers: These flowers are very attractive and edible, yes edible! But you probably won't be eating the ones in your garden. They can withstand harsh hot weather and have natural pesticidal properties. Marigolds need lots of sunshine and come in a variety of colours. Planting them is easy as they have large seeds and thrive in any soil.
To choose a colour scheme for your garden you need to examine a colour wheel to find the tones that complement one another. The colours on opposing sides of the colour wheel are the colours that are complementary colours. So, reds complement greens, purples complement yellows and blues complement oranges. Also don't forget to take the colour of your house into consideration. If you have a neutral colour on your house's exterior, then you don't have much to worry about but if you have a bold bright exterior colour, you have some mixing and matching to do.
If you want a more quiet subtle approach to your colour scheme, choose colours that are side by side on the colour wheel. So, place greens with blues, blues with purples, purples with reds, reds with oranges, oranges with yellows and yellows with greens.
Soil. So many people take this for granted but the truth is that no garden can be healthy without proper soil. Now you may have been blessed with soil that is already very fertile however, if you are not that lucky you will have to use fertilizers. Your garden will need nitrogen which provides healthy foliage, phosphorus which stimulates root systems and potassium which aids in flower formation. You can decide to buy fertilizer, which is usually chemical based or you can make your own by using organic matter available to you. Before you add any type of fertiliser, you should till your soil with mechanical tiller or by hand, this loosens the soil and allows for easy application.
Buying Chemical Fertilizers: Chemical fertilizers are created by artificial means. They are a combination of inorganic chemicals which form compounds like ammonium nitrate or magnesium sulfate. Many people hate the idea of using chemicals in their gardens because of the over application risk which causes burning. However, there are advantages to using chemical fertilizers, one being that plants are able to take up nutrients quickly. Chemical fertilisers can come in pallets, liquid, concentrates or powders.
Making Organic Fertilizers: You can utilise animal manure but remember that not all animal waste is created equal. You should only use manure from cows, horses, sheep, chickens or bats. Animal manure needs to be dried for approximately six months before being applied to soil as fertilizer. You can also use grass clippings that have been composted. Composting grass clippings is pretty simple, after you are finished cutting leave your clippings to decompose naturally.
Adding an extra such as accent lighting to your garden can work to enhance it. By adding accent lighting to your garden you can outline the features of your garden that you love, even at night! Choose the plants that you wish to accent with light carefully. Next use garden spike lights to illuminate them from below. Garden spike lights have adjustable heads that give you the ability to angle the light and create the effect you want. Always buy lights that are suitable for the outdoors and remember that you want to draw attention to the features you are highlighting and the light effect, rather than the actual lamps that are used. So, as much as possible try to hide them behind plants and other features in your garden.
For garden protection tips, read "Natural Ways to Protect your Garden from Pests".