Archive for the ‘Soil / Rocks / Stones / Fill / Bark’ Category

California Poppy border this walking path. Photo by Mark (Work the Angles)

To give your garden a super charged boost of colour this spring and summer, consider going with annuals.  There are so many that you can choose from, and with our simple instructions you are sure to have a winning look in your front or back garden.

Personally I love annuals in the front garden, they can add such a vibrant look to the front of the house, and are a favourite with real estates who are trying to pretty up a drab house.

1. Choose where you want to place your annuals, they perform best in direct sunshine, so keep this in mind when choosing a location.  They look great clumped together in rows, so make the perfect border to a driveway, a fence, front of house or around the edge of established gardens.  If you want to be able to move them around, long rectangular pots are great for annuals.

2. Select the colour combination.  Annuals are best if grouped in like colours, so if for example you went for white and purple you would clump a group of purple together, then a group of white.  If you alternated plant by plant the colour would not be as intense as grouping them in larger numbers.

3. Choose the annuals for your garden. This is not too difficult most annuals grow really well in Australia, but to be sure ask the nursery or store where you purchase them to confirm they will grow well in your site.  Alternatively check out Virtual Flowers which displays a complete A-Z list of annuals in Australia.

4. Prepare the soil for your annuals by mixing in compost with the soil and digging a deep channel channel for the plants.  The hole should be deep enough for the entire root ball of the plant to be buried and wide enough that you can fit at least two plants side by side.   The length of your channel should be the length of the area you want to cover.

5. Arrange your plants and then plant them in twos, clumped closely together.  You hardly need any dirt between the two plants.  A good way to do this is to plant six of one colour in the same configuration as a punnet then move on to the next punnet.

6. Water all your plants as soon as they are in the soil, ensuring that you water nice and low to avoid getting water on the leaves.  This will ensure they leaves will not get burnt.

7. To make your annuals last longer ensure they get watered regularly (you can do this with a watering can to save water).  Water early in the morning or last thing in the evening to avoid the sun burning the leaves of the plants.  At this time also quickly check your plants and take off any faded blooms.  This will prevent the plant going to seed and will ensure that it lives longer.

For all your plant or soil needs check out the DIY Bargain Bin Soil section and the DIY Bargain Bin Plants and Seeds section for your gardening needs this spring.

Image & article sourced from Hello Hello

In Melbourne almost 70% of plants will die due to wet feet.  Plants get wet feet when water is unable to drain away from the plants roots.  The organic matter will start to decompose sucking all oxygen and starving the plant.  Plants most at risk include Azaleas, Citrus, English Box, Fruit Trees, Gardenias, Japanese Maples, Myrtus Luma, Pittosporums, Proteas, Rhododendrons, Roses, Silver Bush and Silver Birch.

How to avoid wet feet before you plant

It is easy to test an area before you plan to check for wet feet.  Simply dig the hole where you plan to plant your new tree, shrub or bush.  Fill a bucket of water to the top and pour it into the hole, then leave the hole for at least 20 minutes, fill again and leave for another 20 minutes.  If you return and your hole is still full or partially full of water, it means that you are likely to have a drainage issue, leading to potential wet feet down the track.

If you have a plant already in the ground

It can be a little more difficult to determine if your plant has wet feet once it is already in the ground.  The best way to do this is generally a combination of approaches.  First is that your plant may be looking a unwell, the second is that you may be able to smell a septic or anaerobic smell, and finally, if you dig a little hole using a small trowel about 15-45 centimetres (depending on the size of your plant) from the stump of your plant you will find the soil damp, the smell may be stronger and discoloured or dying plant roots may be visible.

What causes wet feet?

There are several causes of wet feet, but they all stem from an inability for water to drain away from the roots of the plants.  The most common reasons are below:

  • Concrete enclosures, paths or driveways prevent water run off
  • Heavy clay acts as a bucket around the plant roots
  • Excessive watering
  • Planting in 3 way, 4 way or organic soil mixes, or throwing away the original or parent soil, and
  • Planting trees or shrubs too close to laying instant turf, because you need to water the turf more to get it to take, than what you need to water the plant.

How to prevent wet feet

There are many myths such as sloping ground, digging bigger holes, not watering plants etc that are believed to prevent wet feet.  They do not work, the only thing that will save your plants is to use hardy plants in poor drainage areas or make a drainage solution for your plants.

There are three main drainage solutions that you can apply.  For more information on these, see the information sheet at at Hello Hello, from which this article has been sourced.

You can purchase soil and sand from the DIY Bargain Bin Soil, Rocks, Stones, Fill, Bark section and your plants from the DIY Bargain Bin Turf, Grass, Plants, Seeds, Bulbs, Trees, Pots & Planters section.

This image is from the Revolutionary Gardens blog. By looking closely you can see where the base dips from bad base preparation.

Laying pavers should be fairly simple, but it is easy to skip the first steps to the process, which is the preparation.  Not paying adequate attention to your preparation will cause problems down the track.

The problems

The three biggest issues are:

  1. Poor design,
  2. Laying on the incorrect surface or underprepared surface, and
  3. Not allowing for proper run off.

Each of these will require that you will basically need to pull up and relay your pavers, which is expensive and a waste of time.  Instead get it right first time.

Revolutionary Gardens in Northern Virginia has a great blog where they point out some of the disastrous paving jobs they have discovered, which is an entertaining read!  The image I have used here is from their blog showing what a bad base will do to your end job.

Getting it right

Here are our top six tips to a great preparation.  Let us know if you have any additional ones.

  1. Start with a design, this is especially important when working with a pattern.
  2. Measure the area and calculate how much paving you will need. Look into the DIY Bargain Bin Bricks, Blocks, Pavers and Other section for discounted pavers.  Ensure that there is enough for your job.
  3. Clear the area, so that you clearly know where your paving is going to go.  Mark it out.
  4. Dig out the area to be paved.  Ensure it is deep enough for your paver and your compacted under layers.
  5. Compact your soil and then compact your base layer. The DIY Bargain Bin also supplies the items for your base layer so check out our Soil / Rocks / Stones / Fill / Bark section.
  6. Ensure that your ground is even with a slight slope away from any building or structure.

A fantastic comprehensive guide to laying pavers can be found on the Boral website. It is full of good images and instructions to get it right first time.

Be sure to let us know how your paving goes.