Category: Yard & Garden

Yard, landscape, hardscape, xeriscape, garden, and lawn

How to DIY an Outdoor Water Fountain

Splash and Trickle….I love water fountains

How to DIY an Outdoor Water Fountain

The soft trickle of a water fountain on a patio or near your favorite chair in the garden can soothe away the cares of any day.

I LOVE the sound of trickling water and with all the easy DIY design options out there, there’s no reason not to have one.  You are only limited by your imagination…..and an electrical hook-up; which, by the way, is a much over-looked and very important component when designing your fountain.

Fountains can be as simple or as complex as you choose to make it.  Let’s take a look at a simple pot-in-pot fountain.  I love this one featured in a Sunset magazine.

(insert pic of fountain)

Materials needed:

  • 2 glazed ceramic planters (pots) with a drain hole

1 large

1 small enough to fit inside larger one but nesting at the top

  • 1 5-gallon bucket
  • Submersible fountain pump (the kind the old swamp coolers used is good for a project this size~they’re cheap
  • 42 inches of plastic tubing to go with pump
  • Silicone caulking
  • Tin snips
  • Electric drill, possibly
  • 1 2-ft square of heavy steel mesh (strong enough to hold weight of fountain)
  • Landscaping stones

1. Dig a hole in the soil deep enough to hold the plastic bucket. Using tin snips or a drill, create a ½-in. notch in the bucket rim. Put the bucket into the hole with its rim at ground level and the notch facing your electrical outlet.  Set the pump in the bucket.

2. Using tin snips, cut a square opening (about ½ in. across) in the center of the steel mesh.

3. Attach the plastic tube to the pump and thread it through the center opening in the steel mesh. Position the mesh square atop the bucket. Pull out the free end of the pump’s power cord; position so it exits the bucket through the cut notch.

4. Slide the plastic tubing’s free end through the drain hole of the large pot.

5. Center the large pot atop the steel mesh while guiding the tubing up through the drain hole.

6. Squirt a bead of silicone caulking around the upper inside of the outer pot. Place the shallow pot into the larger one, while guiding the tubing up through the drain hole.  Make sure the inner pot makes a good snug fit with the caulking. Trim the top of the tube so that its end is flush with the bottom of the shallow pot.   Allow the caulking to dry overnight.

7. Put landscaping stones around the pot to hide the mesh.

8. Fill the plastic bucket under the fountain with water, and turn on the pump. (This is where the electrical outlet comes in.  Make sure you plan to place your fountain near an outlet.  That’s what makes the pump work! J)

One word of caution.  The water will evaporate more quickly than you may think.  Check the bucket often to make sure there is enough water to cover the pump.  Otherwise, you may be buying a new pump.

Amazing Rock Garden Plant Ideas

Beautiful Rock Garden Plant Ideas

Rock Gardens….and my dad’s aching back!

When I was a little girl my parents loved to go for drives and road trips.  One experience that was always included was time spent looking for rocks for my mom’s rock garden.  I don’t mean just little ole’ every day run of the mill rocks; I mean large and very beautiful rocks.  My dad would stop at mom’s “request” and the two rock hounds would march out into some field or wooded area in search of the rock that would inevitably end up under my feet in the back seat of the car.  Fun memories!  WOW!  Would I love to have some of those rocks now.  Included in many were fossils and petrified wood.

Well, we would get home from the trip and next up was (and this still brings a very big smile to my face) mom orchestrating dad around the yard to place the new find in EXACTLY the right spot.  It always took no less than 6-7 moves.  Keep in mind these were very HEAVY souvenirs!   Well anyway, they ended up with a beautiful collection of mini-boulders for a fabulous rock garden.

Unfortunately, however, they planted tams between the rocks rather than beautiful, flowering, creeping ground cover and some well-chosen perennials.  Now, don’t get me wrong, tams have their place, but eventually all these beautiful rocks were completely covered with these evergreen shrubs.  What a waste!  And these bushes claimed many of my tennis balls and badminton birdies as well!

We, too, have some beautiful rocks (which we paid dearly for, by the way, and one reason I would NEVER want to cover them up), and a favorite hobby of mine is to try different flowers/ground covers, etc. to plant in and around these natural sculptures.

Some of my favorites:

  • Basket of Gold Alyssum
  • Creeping Phlox
  • Purple Salvia
  • Ice Plant
  • Soapwort
  • Snow in Summer
  • Lavender
  • Sweet Potato Vine
  • Geraniums
  • Creeping Jenny
  • Mother Hen & Chicks

Although it is still early spring and many of our plants are not in bloom, you can get the idea of what we have done in our yard.  The Basket of Gold is truly one of the showstoppers this time of year.  These are just a few pictures of the rock gardens at my house 🙂

Rock Garden back yard Rock Garden front yard

 

9 Tips to Growing Fabulous Tulips

9 Tips to Growing Fabulous Tulips

Tulips are a free gift every year!

No matter how tired you are of planting this fall, make sure you create for yourself a tulip garden.  They are a wonderful way to celebrate your efforts of yesteryear.  And no matter how many springs come and go, I am always surprised by the splendor of these florae!

theflowerexpert.com provides these tips on growing tulips:

  • Select the location for planting.
  • Prepare the soil by working it well, removing rocks and weeds.
  • Mix in plenty of organic material and fertilizer.
  • Special bulb formulas and bone meal work best.
  • The Tulips will bloom in almost any soil with a good drainage.
  • When buying Tulip bulbs, select only the finest quality bulbs. In general the bigger the bulb, the bigger the bloom.
  • Follow the directions from the supplier for spacing and depth. If no directions are included, plant the bulbs 6-8″ apart and at a depth twice the diameter of the bulb.
  • After the Tulips bloom, let the plant continue to grow until it dies off. During the post bloom period, the plant sends energy to the bulb to store for use next spring.
  • Tulips require a period of cold while they are dormant and resting between shows.

Some suggest digging up your bulbs after they have bloomed and storing them in a cool dry area for replanting in the fall. NOT ME!  I planted these tulips about 9 years ago and this is the sight from my front window today:

Tulips and front porch

Something I have never considered, is planting them in pots and then storing them in the garage to allow them to winter over and then bringing them out in the spring to place them anywhere you want for that splash of springtime color!  I love this idea!!

tulips in pots

Tulips!  A free gift to me every spring.